Media Bridges Shutting Down
Media Bridges, “Cincinnati’s Community Media Center,” will be shutting down this year due to a lack of funding. The organization operates Cincinnati’s public access television stations, a radio station, and provides training and equipment to allow members of the community to create video and audio productions for these outlets.
This CityBeat article is a good summary, but I disagree with the phrasing of the following statement:
The organization’s demise is a result of the city eliminating funding for Media Bridges in its latest budget, which was passed by City Council in May.
Up until 2011, the organization was funded by Time Warner Cable, as required by the state of Ohio. After TWC lobbied the state to end this requirement, the City of Cincinnati picked up the tab and provided temporary funding for one year. According to the CityBeat article, “Media Bridges and its staff weren’t informed that the city funding was meant to be temporary,” but that doesn’t really change the equation.
Media Bridges was, unfortunately, a casualty of Ohio’s attack on local government. The state took away the organization’s funding source, leaving the city to pick up the tab. This is a reoccurring theme in communities all across the state.
In the city’s latest operating budget, they slashed funding to Media Bridges (as well as many city departments) in order to spare the police and fire departments from any significant cuts. Media Bridges was ranked as a low priority in surveys that were conducted as part of the city’s “priority-driven” budgeting process.
Media Bridges claims that the survey results were skewed and did not fairly represent low-income city residents, who rely more on the organization’s services. But if that’s the true, Media Bridges should have been reaching out to the low-income city residents — both through the organization’s internal communications and our city’s public access airwaves — to encourage them to participate in the surveys.