What We Do
Wisconsin Community Media supports community expression through media. Our main focus is supporting the community media centers that make local coverage possible -- the public, education, and government access channels found on cable television systems and now on the web.
What Does WCM offer members and the public?
Conferences. Since 1998, we have sponsored educational conferences on video production techniques, equipment, community television facility management, cable television laws and regulations, and first amendment issues. Our annual two-day Spring Conference is held at various sites throughout the state, most recently in Milwaukee, Marshfield, and Waukesha. In 2015, it will be held in Milwaukee at the Downtown Hilton Hotel on April 30 and May 1
Workshops. In order to remain accessible to small media centers and producers, we also hold one-day seminars at a community media center every Fall. Member stations and Friends pay $35 to attend. Additional people from a member station pay only $20 to attend. Recent workshops were held at media centers in Marshfield, Whitewater, Oshkosh, Sheboygan, River Falls, and Wisconsin Rapids.
Video Fest. Our annual Video Fest gives professional and amateur community television producers a chance to showcase their programs and receive valuable feedback. Producers are awarded trophies, plaques, and certificates. Media centers use the awards they win to promote their stations and to acknowledge the work of both their staff producers and amateur community producers. The Fest is open to non-members, but members receive a big discount. Since 2013, our Fest has been known as the Best of the Midwest Video Fest and it's open to producers in a nine-state area!
News and information: WCM publishes a monthly enewsletter for members and maintains a Facebook page. Like us!
Member networking. WCM operates a listserv and now a Forum to enable members to quickly share questions and answers to their questions on everything from production equipment to policy. Members are also a part of "Circles" that are like Facebook friend groups. These circles can be created by any member for any purpose. WCM has five "regional" circles and one circle for low-power radio station managers.
Public networking. The "Find Your Media Center" search tool on our homepage is an easy way to find a media center in the state. Our site also lists the names of centers that offer training and volunteer opportunities, and which accept programming from outside sources. The public can also use the Public Access Forum to ask questions about community media.
Lobbying. WCM is registered to lobby in the State of Wisconsin. In the 2007 session WCM was opposed to state franchise legislation that took cable regulatory authority away from cities and abolished PEG fees, a source of dedicated funding for community media centers. In the 2009 session, WCM lobbied for legislation designed to roll back the most damaging provisions of the 2007 law, including a provision that would have restored funding as a local option. On the federal level, WCM has been active in generating support for the Community Access Preservation Act (the CAP Act).
Information and referral. Do you have a question? Executive Director, Mary Cardona, answers PEG-related questions and can connect you with members who are experienced with your situation. Mary can also point you to a source outside WCM. Mary has worked professionally in the field of community television for nearly 30 years, as a producer, community media center manager and a telecommunications consultant to cities.
National organization connections. WCM enjoys close relationships with American Community Television, the Alliance for Community Media, and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors. WCM has also worked frequently with the League of Wisconsin Municipalities and the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin.