The community media centers and associated community access channels, enabled and funded in part by cable franchise agreement provisions, continue to foster the development of hyperlocal programming by and for residents throughout Multnomah County

As the data in Finding 1.4 demonstrates, hyperlocal community media programming is seen by residents as important and is significantly viewed. Respondents to the Scientific Residential Survey indicated a 46% overall awareness of the local cable PEG access channels, with awareness at 57% among cable subscribers. For those that were aware, viewership was significant when compared against all the other viewership options available.  

Table 11: About how frequently, would you say your household views any local community access channel programming?

The majority of viewers utilized cable at 65%, 21% online, and 7% both via cable and online. The Scientific Residential Survey also tested the importance of hyperlocal community access channel programming. Regardless of how often someone may watch it themselves, nearly three quarters of all respondents to the Survey (cable subscribers and non-cable subscribers, cable viewers and online viewers, and non-viewers) indicated a level of importance.  This shows the significant impact of community media in Multnomah County.

Table 12: Regardless of how often you may watch, how important is it that local community access channel programming be available?   Would you say it’s… 

review of recent activity reports (pre-pandemic) shows that both Open Signal and MetroEast are very active in supporting multimedia and digital literacy. Specifically, Open Signal in a one-year period, provided a total of 96 classes and workshops focusing on everything from introduction to film and video production and post-production (editing), to training on motion graphics, stop motion animation, and sound-stage studio and screening. 601 community members were trained.

Open Signal’s media literacy programs also included those provided through partnerships and special workshops with the Oregon Center for Public Policy, the Alliance for Media, Arts and Culture, the MEChA Conference and Grant High School. Open Signal also continues to support its Black Filmmaker Fellowship program focused on support and development for people of color in professional filmmaking.

MetroEast over one year offered a total of 89 training classes and workshops attended by 522 community members. This included everything from basic video production classes (camera, studio, field production and editing) to use of DSLRs for both photography and videography, and iPads and Go Pros for point-and-shoot video production. They also partnered with groups such as Rockwood DIY, the City of Gresham’s Pathways to Employment Program, Free Geek, IRCO, Africa House, and Portland Youth Builders to expand digital literacy concerning use of computers and smartphones.

Both MetroEast and Open Signal work with local governments to produce public meetings and distribute other outreach and service-oriented programming. Together, the community media centers in 2019 covered 274 government meetings as part of 1,505 hours of government programming. All the local governments indicated that the assistance was beneficial and an important part of their provision of information to the community.

Portland Public Schools continues to provide local meeting coverage and other programming by and about the school district and its schools and sees its community access channel as a valuable part of its overall provision of communications and outreach services. Portland Community College continues to provide a substantial amount of evergreen programming to the community and its Media Services department is working on future strategies concerning its overall production and distribution of content, including for its community access channel.