Who We Are
Wisconsin Community Media's mission is to support community expression through media by serving the needs of Public, Education, and Government media center staff, community producers and volunteers. We are a non-profit 501(c)(6) professional organization.
WCM believes it is important to keep media production and distribution facilities in the hands of communities, where "everyday" people can use them for the purposes they value without having to consider whether a message is commercially viable.
Our members provide training to young and old in video and new media, they provide professional production services for the coverage of key community institutions, issues and events, and they distribute this programming through cable channels and the web.
What is "PEG?" PEG stands for "public, education, and government." PEG access channels may be managed and programmed by non-profit organizations, schools, or local governments. Many of our members provide "public access" to training, equipment, and the channel. PEG access media centers have existed since the 1970s when the Federal Communications Commission began allowing communities to ask for space on cable systems for their own use. PEG channels continue to be important because they give local governments, schools, and the public the opportunity to reach their communities directly through television.
WCM's history. Wisconsin Community Media was formed in 1998 as the Wisconsin Association of PEG Channels (WAPC). WAPC's founders were managers of PEG centers around the state and they wanted to organize in order to share knowledge and hold professional development events. They were also interested in showcasing what they were doing through a statewide video fest. For the first eightyears, WAPC was managed by an all-volunteer board of directors. In 2006, with 38 member stations, WAPC hired a part-time executive director.
In 2007, WAPC's membership grew rapidly to 65 members when state legislation ending local franchising and decimating community media was introduced and heavily promoted by AT&T and the cable industry. While WAPC was unable to stop passage, final language softened the effect of the legislation on PEG stations, even though it ended the collection of PEG fees from subscribers, a dedicated source of funding for community media.
In 2012, the WCM Board of Directors decided to open membership in WCM to individuals, businesses, and organizational supporters of community media. As a result, WCM now offers Friend memberships. We also have a special membership category for the many people who have dedicated most of their career to facilitating access and are now retired. Our member stations can nominate these special people to be Emeritus Members of WCM.
Who We Are Today. Today WCM has 51 "station members." Our members all produce video and use cable access channels, but nearly all of our members also distribute programming through the web and some of us operate low-power radio stations. If you'd like to know more about WCM activities, go to What We Do. You'll learn about our conferences and workshops, and hear about our annual video fest, which has expanded to include nine Midwest states! We also have a program sharing service and a variety of networking tools.
WCM also invites you to "Find Your Media Center" on our home page and start using YOUR community media center!
If you want to be on a general email list and be contacted from time to time with big news or event information, you can join our mailing list.