Please refer to the following Policies and Procedures if you are interested in volunteering on a production crew, producing a program or requesting the playback of a program produced elsewhere. These have been approved by both the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees and the Birmingham Area Cable Board.
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3.0 Channel Identity and Content
4.0 Production Roles and Responsibilities
5.0 Program Development Process
6.0 Eligibility/Residency Requirements
7.0 Programming Definitions and Restrictions
8.0 Underwriting and Sponsor Guidelines
9.0 Producers and Volunteers Workshop Curriculum
10.0 Access Policies
11.0 Rules of Conduct for Producers and Volunteers
12.0 Dub and Playback Policy
13.0 Program Scheduling Policies
14.0 Community Bulletin Board
Adopted May 2002
Revised February 2003
Revised March 2008
Revised May 2010
Revised March 2011
Revised June 2012
Revised May 2016
Revised May 2018
Revised August 2018
Bloomfield Community Television (BCTV) was established by the Charter Township of Bloomfield in 1983 to provide its residents and others active in community life access to local television. BCTV provides programming to Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills according to its original franchise obligation, and to Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Franklin and Bingham Farms by contract with the Birmingham Area Cable Board (BACB).
The mission of BCTV is to facilitate the production and cablecast of television programs which reflect the interests and activities of the community and inform and enrich the lives of the people in our viewing area.
1.3 Definitions and Acronyms
- BCTV: Bloomfield Community Television,
- BACB: Birmingham Area Cable Board,
- PEG: Public, Educational and Government Access Television,
- PDC: Program Development Committee,
- FCC: Federal Communications Commission,
- CAB: Cable Advisory Board,
- CG: Character Generator,
- Series: more than one program under one project
- VOD: Video on Demand
1.4 Cable Providers
- Comcast (offered as Xfinity)
- AT&T (offered as Uverse)
- Wide Open West (WOW)
2.1 Channel Operation
Programs produced by BCTV may be seen on Comcast Channel 15 and AT&T U-verse Channel 99 in Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills and Comcast Channels 18 and 15, WOW Channels 18 and 10, and AT&T U-verse Channel 99 in Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms and Franklin. The BACB’s Birmingham Area Municipal Access (BAMA) airs on Comcast channel 15 and WOW channel 10. The BACB’s Birmingham Area Public Access (BAPA) airs on Comcast channel 18 and WOW channel 18 All municipal and public access shows air on AT&T Channel 99.
2.2 Financial Support
BCTV’s operations are funded by franchise fees and public benefit monies paid by the cable operator under terms specified in Bloomfield Township’s Cable Franchises and Bloomfield Township’s Code of Ordinances, Chapter 34, Article II.
2.3 Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees
Bloomfield Township’s Board of Trustees grants to residents of Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills the privilege of using the Township channel for programs that benefit the community. The Board charges the BCTV staff, the Program Development Committee and the Cable Access Board the authority to implement appropriate programming.
2.4 Cable Access Board
The Cable Access Board (CAB) is an advisory commission consisting of members acting under the jurisdiction of the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees and the City of Bloomfield Hills. Its function is to manage, allocate and review the use of the public benefit resources provided by the cable operator and to recommend to the Township and the City appropriate regulatory actions that may improve the public benefits potential of the cable system. It meets as necessary throughout the year. The BACB appoints a representative to attend all meetings of the CAB.
2.5 Program Development Committee
The Program Development Committee (PDC) is an advisory committee consisting of residents of Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills and a designee of the BACB. Its function is to review all program proposals for BCTV and the BACB with regard to their eligibility, the soundness of their concept, the practicality of their format and their demands on the resources of BCTV. It is the PDC’s responsibility to work with each potential producer to develop programs of the highest technical and conceptual standards using the available resources.
2.6 Birmingham Area Cable Board
In January 2001, BCTV entered into a contractual agreement with the Birmingham Area Cable Board (BACB) to provide public and municipal and library access programming. BCTV is responsible for the day-to-day operations of this programming; all policies governing the two BACB channels are determined by the BACB.
2.7. Bloomfield Community Television (BCTV) Staff
BCTV staff members are employees of Bloomfield Township and work under the conditions set forth in the Bloomfield Township Employee Handbook. They carry out the production needs of BCTV and the duties agreed to in the contract between BCTV and the BACB.
3.1 BCTV: Community Access
Bloomfield Township’s Channel BCTV is a government access channel governed by the Township’s Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees invites people active in community life to produce television shows that provide useful, enriching and entertaining information and programming to residents of Bloomfield Township and surrounding communities. The Trustees grant the Cable Access Board (CAB) authority to allocate resources and the Program Development Committee (PDC) the authority to set standards for programs.
3.2 BAMA: Municipal and Library Access
The BACB’s Municipal and Library Television Channel (BAMA) is for the use of the communities represented by the Birmingham Area Cable Board. As per contract outlined in 2.6, public meetings, events and programs sponsored by the municipal governments and libraries are shown on this channel.
3.3 BAPA: Public Access
The BACB’s Public Access Channel (BAPA) is a public access channel for Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms and Franklin. Residents of those communities may use the channel as a forum for free speech and express a diversity of viewpoints as outlined in the 1984 Federal Cable Act. The channel may also air the programs produced for the BCTV viewing community.
3.4 Program Placement
The channels BCTV and BAPA cablecast many of the same programs; therefore, a producer who is a resident of a community in one franchise area may, but is not entitled to, have his or her program also aired on the channel of the other communities. This dual privilege is granted for each channel by either the BACB or the CAB for their communities respectively.
3.5 Program Review
All shows are subject to review after three months and annually thereafter to confirm they adhere to BCTV and BACB standards and policies. Shows not in compliance are subject to cancellation.
BCTV staff members are paid employees of Bloomfield Township and work under the conditions set forth in the Bloomfield Township Employee Handbook. They carry out the production needs of BCTV and the duties agreed to in the contract between BCTV and the BACB. They are responsible for all production aspects, including but not limited to:
- working cooperatively with producers, volunteers and community partners;
- providing all technical & production expertise for programming;
- training all community producers and volunteers;
- purchasing, maintaining and repairing equipment;
- obtaining production crew;
- editing and post production;
- scheduling production in cooperation with producer;
- scheduling program broadcasts;
- operating channel playback;
- publicizing schedule of programs;
- providing producer dubs.
The producer is a community, municipal, library or public access user who creates, plans, writes, and makes necessary arrangements, appointments and reservations for a program. The producer must meet eligibility requirements, as set forth in section 6.0, and also must attend a Volunteer Workshop. There should be one producer per program, and that producer is the ultimate contact person/authority, on questions or concerns regarding the program. The producer is ultimately responsible for:
- All program content;
- Copyright approvals and FCC law;
- Creating and purchasing the set and having it approved by staff before booking production time;
- Scheduling pre-production meetings at times that are mutually convenient with BCTV staff;
- Scheduling the studio or other locations at times that are mutually convenient with BCTV staff;
- Making all arrangements for production locations, including confirming sufficient power and power outlets for equipment and determining audio needs;
- Contacting and scheduling all hosts and guests who appear on a program, and securing signed, accurate standard release forms;
- Confirming and submitting accurate CG information prior to a shoot;
- Requesting producer DUBs
It is the responsibility of the producer to contact BCTV staff to cancel a shoot. The producer must make all reasonable efforts to cancel 24 hours before a scheduled production.
A producer may schedule up to two tentative shoot dates per series at one time, which will be noted on the studio calendar. A tentative reservation will remain on the calendar for no longer than two weeks. After the two week time limit has ended the date must be confirmed by the producer. If it is not confirmed it will be removed from the calendar and the time slot freed up for other producers.
An endorser is a person who meets the eligibility/residency requirements as set forth in Section 6.0, who chooses to preview, sign and sponsor a program for playback for residents and/or organizations outside the BCTV municipalities.
4.4 Community Access Volunteer
BCTV volunteers are required to attend a BCTV Volunteer Workshop prior to using BCTV equipment. Volunteers are not responsible for the programs on which they crew; volunteers are responsible for the following:
- Using the equipment in a professional manner, as to not damage or misuse the equipment in any way;
- Signing up or contacting BCTV staff to volunteer crew productions;
- Adhering to accepted policies & procedures and rules of conduct.
Prospective producers must attend a Volunteer Workshop before submitting a Program Proposal. They must also read the Policies & Procedures and sign the form acknowledging they have done so. The Program Development Committee will meet as needed (when Program Proposals are submitted) to consider proposals. Once a proposal has been approved and assigned to a staff member, the producer must produce a show within six months. If a program does not begin production within six months, or if a show begins production but then ceases production activities for six months or more, a new Program Proposal must be submitted to the Program Development Committee and the prospective producer must go through the process again.
Before anyone can go on to produce a program he or she must work as a volunteer camera operator on three separate dates. In most cases a series will not begin to air until the producer has produced at least four shows.
Current producers who do not produce a new show for a period of six months or more must present a new Program Proposal to the Program Development Committee in order to resume production.
All producers and endorsers must meet one of the following eligibility requirements in order to use the resources of BCTV or the BACB. The person must be 18 years of age or older to be eligible to use access facilities, equipment and channels. Those persons under age 18 may qualify for certain community access services by having a parent or legal guardian accept full legal and financial responsibility for the actions of the minor by signing a waiver (see section 6.3 for complete policy regarding minors).
The communities for each channel are:
- BCTV: Comcast Channel 15 and AT&T Channel 99 in Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills
- BAMA: Comcast Channel 15, WOW Channel 10 and AT&T Channel 99 in City of Birmingham, Village of Beverly Hills, Village of Franklin, and Village of Bingham Farms
- BAPA: Comcast Channel 18, WOW Channel 18 and AT&T Channel 99 in City of Birmingham, Village of Beverly Hills, Village of Franklin, and Village of Bingham Farms.
Residency (defined as one who resides within the municipalities of Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms and Franklin) in one of the municipalities served by BCTV, which are Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills, or the BACB, which are Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Bingham Farms and Franklin, as long as the BACB contract is in effect, as proven by a driver’s license and/or a current utility bill which clearly shows the name and address of the person requesting to produce a program. A copy of proof of residency document will be made at the time the program proposal is submitted and kept in the program file. The person providing the document may designate any information on it other than their name and address as information of a personal nature, the public disclosure of which will be considered to be a clearly unwarranted invasion of that individual’s privacy.
6.2 Non-profit Organizations
A nonprofit 501(c) 3 organization serving Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, Birmingham, Beverly Hills, Franklin and/or Bingham Farms may produce a public or community access program. It must register its proof of nonprofit status with BCTV and shall designate one member of the organization to be responsible for all producer responsibilities. This producer is not required to meet the usual eligibility requirements as defined in section 6.1.
6.3 Bloomfield Township Policy for Bloomfield Community Television
Regarding Minors Involved in Television Productions
Youth and teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 are welcome at Bloomfield Community Television (BCTV) as production volunteers. For their safety, the following rules apply:
- A parent or guardian must attend the initial volunteer workshop with the prospective volunteer.
- Youth between the ages of 12 and 15, inclusive, must be accompanied and supervised at all times by a parent or legal guardian during all studio and on-location productions.
Occasionally, BCTV produces programs that involve children as on-air talent. For their safety, the following rules apply:
- A parent or guardian must sign a standard release form, giving BCTV permission to include the child in each program in which the child will appear.
- Children and youth up to age 15, inclusive, must be accompanied and supervised by a parent or guardian at all times.
BCTV program content regulations are pursuant to the Communications Act governed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
7.1 Obscene Broadcasts Are Prohibited at All Times
Obscene speech is not protected by the First Amendment and cannot be broadcast at any time. To be obscene, material must meet a three-prong test:
- An average person, applying contemporary community standards, must find that the material, as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest;
- The material must depict or describe, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct specifically defined by applicable law; and
- The material, taken as a whole, must lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value.
7.2 Indecent Broadcast Restrictions
The FCC has defined broadcast indecency as “language or material that, in context, depicts or describes, in terms patently offensive as measured by contemporary community broadcast standards for the broadcast medium, sexual or excretory organs or activities.” Indecent programming contains patently offensive sexual or excretory references that do not rise to the level of obscenity. As such, the courts have held that indecent material is protected by the First Amendment and cannot be banned entirely.
It may, however, be restricted in order to avoid broadcast during times of the day when there a reasonable risk that children may be in the audience.
Consistent with a federal statute and federal court decisions interpreting the indecency statute, the Commission adopted a rule pursuant to which broadcasts -- both on television and radio -- that fit within the indecency definition and that are aired between 6:00 AM and 10:00 PM are subject to indecency enforcement action.
The Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees reserves the right not to air a program on BCTV between 10:00 PM – 6:00 AM based upon its expressed community broadcast standards concerning indecency.
7.3 Profane Broadcast Restrictions
The FCC has defined profanity as including language that “denote[s] certain of those personally reviling epithets naturally tending to provoke violent resentment or denoting language so grossly offensive to members of the public who actually hear it as to amount to a nuisance.”
Like indecency, profane speech is prohibited on broadcast radio and television between the hours of 6 AM to 10 PM
The Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees reserves the right to not air a program between 10:00 PM – 6:00 AM based upon its expressed community broadcast standards regarding profanity.
The speaking of false and malicious words concerning another whereby injury results to his or her reputation. Slander is prohibited at all times.
A false and unprivileged publication in print, writing, pictures or signs of defamatory material. Libel is prohibited at all times.
The unprivileged publication of false statements which result in injury to another (injure reputation, diminish the esteem, respect, goodwill or confidence, or to excite adverse, derogatory or unpleasant feelings or opinions against another). Defamation is prohibited at all times.
7.7 Candidate and Political Programming
PEG Access Channels are not legally obligated to adhere to the FCC “equal opportunity” rule or the Fairness doctrine. These rules state that a channel that airs one candidate or controversial issue on its channel, that the opponent or opposing view must get equal opportunity to air time.
Underwriting (the exchange of goods, service and/or money) is allowed only for the support/improvement of a production. (For example, a business may provide financial assistance, materials, equipment, location, artist fees, or other forms of in-kind support.) Underwriting is not allowed for the personal gain of the producer, crew or sponsor or for the payment of labor and time.
8.2 Recognition of Contributors
Contributors may be recognized in the programs credits under the following conditions:
- A listing of the type of product or service provided by the contributor;
- One credit cannot be longer than 10 seconds;
- The credit may be given once before and once after the program;
- The credit cannot be within the content of the program;
- An official slogan or jingle may be used as long as it is used elsewhere in their ordinary course of business. For example: "Flowers for the set were supplied by Flowers Forever, Inc...bringing joy through flowers to Oakland County."
BCTV and/or any contractual clients accept no liability for any disputes arising from underwriting contracts.
The following is prohibited from any show produced for, with or by BCTV:
- Commercial (solicitation of goods and/or services) content in any access program;
- Advertising by or on behalf of a political candidate;
- Soliciting for money;
- Lottery information;
- “Call to action” statements (e.g., “call us at …” or “ask about our new line of products…”
- Inducements to buy, sell, rent or lease;
- Specific pricing information;
- Use of 1-800 and 1-888 (and similar) telephone numbers;
- Use of websites with direct links to purchase.
Everyone who wishes to become involved in access programming in any capacity must attend at least one workshop, and subsequent workshops, depending upon level of desired involvement. The Introductory workshop will be held at times mutually agreed upon by staff and prospective producer/volunteer. Other production workshops will be provided following the introductory workshop at BCTV staff discretion.
A person with prior experience in television production or with other television production qualifications may be able to bypass some of the production workshops at the discretion of the BCTV staff. A test will be administered to determine if the person qualifies to “test out” of the workshops.
Below is a summary of the course outline; each session and/or series may vary slightly depending upon class composition and BCTV staff.
9.1 Introduction to BCTV – Prereq: None
1 two-hour workshop
- Orientation to BCTV’s history, policies and procedures, and role in community;
- Basic camera operations
If a person is not interested in producing his or her own program but wants to actively volunteer, this one workshop will be sufficient preparation and he or she may continue to volunteer for production crews as a camera operator only. If the volunteer wishes to learn additional skills, he or she should sign up for additional workshops at a later time.
9.2 Production Van Volunteer Workshop – Prereq: Intro to BCTV
1 two-hour workshop
This workshop is for the person who wants to volunteer as a crew member on BCTV and BAPA productions. It will cover set-up and strike down of equipment as well as advanced camera operations.
9.3 Community Access Production 101 –Pre-requisite: Introduction to BCTV and crew on three productions.
2 two-hour workshops
This class is for the person who wants to work with BCTV staff to have a program produced at the BCTV studio. It will consist of two workshops. Upon completion, the potential producer will be able to schedule the pre-production of his or her own show. Topics addressed will be:
- Program Format
- Intro to Scriptwriting
- Importance of Sets/ Locations
- Underwriting Polices
At the discretion of staff this material may be covered during the program development process
It is the responsibility of every producer and volunteer to know and understand all applicable policies and procedures. BCTV reserves the right to change, modify or alter policies and/or procedures at any time without notification.
For a full description of the roles and responsibilities of staff, producers and volunteers, and for eligibility requirements, please see Section 4.0 – 5.0 of this document.
BCTV resources may be used only for productions intended for cablecast on BCTV, BAMA and BAPA.
If a producer derives income from any program produced with BCTV equipment, vehicles, staff and/or facilities, he or she must notify the BCTV General Manager and share 20% of the gross income with Bloomfield Township.
BCTV and BACB assume no responsibility for the actions of any producer or volunteer and shall be indemnified and held harmless for any claims or damages resulting from a producer or volunteer’s actions while working on a production.
Volunteer producers and crew may not represent themselves as an employee of, representative of, or a paid producer for the BACB or BCTV or any cable provider.
Producers must secure all releases for use of copyright music in any production submitted for playback. BCTV reserves the right to request an original signed release to keep on file. Programs with copyright music without written consent will not be broadcast on any channels under BCTV jurisdiction.
- The access user shall not engage in activities that violate federal, state or local laws and ordinances.
- The access user is expected to be courteous and respectful to staff and other access users at all times.
- No alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs are allowed on any community, municipal or library access premises.
- Anyone suspected to be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs will not be allowed on any community, municipal, or library access premises.
- No smoking is allowed while working on any community, municipal or library access production.
- No food or beverage is allowed in any studio, control room, edit suite, production vehicle or other places designated off-limits for these activities. An exception will be made for food or beverage used as part of the content of a program.
- No producer, crew, talent or guest may use offices, storage areas, closets, office equipment, phones or supplies without permission from staff. Office equipment, phones and supplies are for business use only.
12.1 Dub Policy
Anyone who would like to have a dub (duplicate tape/DVD) of a BCTV, BAMA or BAPA program must fill out and submit a dub request form.
Dub prices and media formats are detailed on the dub request form. Prices are based on format. Payment must be received before the dub is made; staff may make exceptions for regular producers. It may take up to five business days to process most dub requests. There is an additional charge for shipping and handling.
A producer may receive one dub of each of his (her) programs at no fee DVD media format. As many programs as possible will be copied onto one DVD.
12.2 Playback Terms and Conditions
All persons submitting shows for playback on BCTV, BAPA and BAMA must fill out a Request for Program Playback and Statement of Compliance for each program. If the program is a series that will be submitted on a regular basis, then only one form needs to be submitted and renewed (resubmitted) on a quarterly basis.
BCTV staff reserves the right to refuse any tape or DVD that does not meet our standards of technical integrity, including but not limited to:
- a minimum of 30 seconds of black video at the end of the program;
- all tapes, DVDS and cases must be clearly labeled with the program name, producer and total running time.
12.3 BCTV Disclaimer
The station will carry the following disclaimer:
“Views and opinions expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of BCTV staff and the municipalities BCTV represents. Therefore BCTV and the municipalities BCTV represents do not assume any liability for the programming content.”
12.4 Video Format
BCTV can only accept the following formats: Digital file and DVD. Only one program per DVD is permitted.
12.5 Playback Producer/Endorser Responsibility
It is the presenter’s responsibility to deliver their program to the studio and to pick it up when it is off the playback schedule. All tapes/DVDs not retrieved 30 (thirty) days after final scheduled playback may be discarded. It is the Producer/Presenter’s responsibility to follow BCTV’s program schedule to determine when to pick up the program. If the program is part of a series, and airs on a regular basis then it is the producer/presenter’s responsibility to follow the schedule and coordinate program deliveries and retrievals. Failure to provide regular programming in a series may result in loss of a regular time slot.
Scheduling is done at the discretion of BCTV staff. Shows will play for a one-week period, and in some cases longer. Staff will make every effort to air programs of a live community event, or programs of a timely nature, the week after the event takes place.
13.2 Playback Priority
BCTV accepts all programming for BAPA on a first-come, first-serve, non-discriminatory basis. BCTV does not pre-screen or censor programs submitted for playback. However, BCTV does reserve the right to refuse any program that does not meet standards of technical integrity. Programs submitted for BCTV, BAPA and BAMA will by scheduled for playback based on the following priority:
- Programs produced in joint copyright with BCTV have first priority on BCTV’s playback schedule.
- Second priority are programs produced by governmental entities, elected officials, or non profit organizations serving Bloomfield Township, Bloomfield Hills, or the communities represented by the BACB;.
- Programs produced elsewhere but submitted by residents of the above communities.
All programs submitted for playback must be accompanied by a completed Public Access Playback Request Form that will be reviewed quarterly to ensure fair and equitable playback; and to update program and residency information. Reasonable efforts will be made to provide a regular time slot, but this cannot be guaranteed.
Scheduling is done by BCTV staff, following the wishes of the communities served by the BACB. Each municipality is given the same number (or as close as reasonably possible to the same number) of time slots, in total, for its public meetings. Each governmental unit will have its latest meeting play in its time slot until its subsequent meeting takes place.
Every effort is made to assure that each program plays in a morning, an afternoon, and an evening slot each week, but this cannot be guaranteed. Programs of a live community event, or programs of a timely nature, will usually, but not always, depending on staff time commitments, play the week after the event takes place.
The BAPA playback schedule is often, but does not have to be, the same as the BCTV schedule. It follows the same ranking of priorities, with the substitution of BACB area residents respectively instead of Bloomfield Township and Bloomfield Hills residents and governmental bodies.
13.5 Guaranteed Times
Each regular series produced at BCTV will be assigned presentation times at the discretion of BCTV. These times will be retained for that series as long as the producer continues to produce new shows. If no new shows are produced in a three-month period, these guaranteed times may be lost and the series will, in most cases, no longer be aired until four new shows are produced. At that time the series will once again receive two guaranteed time slots, although they will not necessarily be the same as the original guaranteed times. BCTV staff reserves the right to periodically review and re-assign guaranteed times.
13.6 Video on Demand
After a show airs on BCTV we will make every effort to put the show on the website. Once a show airs on BCTV it will remain on for a minimum of one week.
The following policies apply to BCTV, BAMA and BAPA Bulletin Boards.
- All submissions for the Bulletin Boards may be edited at the discretion of BCTV staff for space and for clarity.
- If the notice is intended to publicize a public or nonprofit event, it must be submitted at least two weeks before the event.
- Notices must not have any commercial content. They cannot be used for personal or corporate benefit.
- Notices cannot publicize a fundraising raffle or lottery.
You may email, fax or mail a Bulletin Board Request – contact numbers and addresses are listed below.
BLOOMFIELD COMMUNITY TELEVISION
4200 TELEGRAPH ROAD
PO BOX 489
BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, MI 48303-0489
Cable Dept. Bloomfield Twp
General Manager: Greg Kowalski
Operations Manager: Steve Rota
Studio Coordinator: David Sommerfeld
Production Specialist: Greg Black
Office Manager: Jo Marengere