Proposed Programming Policy Changes

Proposed Programming Policy Changes

Dear CCTV Members,

The Programming and Policies Committee of the Board of Directors, consisting
of Board, Staff, and Members Advisory Committee representatives, has been meeting
since June to revise the Programming section of the 17 year-old policies. Below is a draft of the proposed new policies, hard copies are also available
at CCTV. We are seeking input and comments from members. The deadline for providing
input is two weeks from now, October 4th at 5 PM. We are asking that comments
be made in writing and submitted to the Programming Committee at CCTV, or by
email to

Comments will be considered by the committee; the final policies will be released
by October 21. Thanks for your attention to this!


By agreement with the City of Cambridge, the community cable channels are administered
by CCTV. These channels are considered a public forum*, and are therefore not
subject to content regulation by the Federal Communications Commission, CCTV,
the City of Cambridge, or the cable operator. CCTV is content neutral, and any
content that is considered protected speech under the First Amendment of the
US Constitution is permissible on CCTV's channels. The Cambridge resident who
provides programming for CCTV's channels by signing the Cablecast Agreement
takes personal responsibility for the content of that programming.

Submitting Programming

Time on CCTV's channels is available for programming produced or sponsored
by Cambridge residents, as well as designated representatives from Cambridge
businesses and organizations. A Single Progam may be sponsored by any resident,
business or organization with a valid Cambridge address. A Series Program must
be sponsored by a Cambridge resident. CCTV regulations require that either the
producer or the sponsor of a series program be an Affiliate or Access Member
of CCTV. For the purposes of these Programming Policies, the term 'program
provider' means the Cambridge resident who signs the Cablecast Agreement.

A Cablecast Agreement for Series or Single programs must accompany media submitted
for cablecast. This Cablecast Agreement functions as a contract between the
program provider and CCTV. Series Cablecast Agreements must be resubmitted once
per calendar year as long as the series is active. Formatting and labeling requirements
are detailed on the Cablecast Agreement.

CCTV staff has the right to not show or stop a program if the audio and/or video
signal is below minimum technical standards as determined by those monitoring
the channel signal. CCTV staff will be consulted before a program is not shown
or pulled from the channels. Please see the Cablecast Agreement for information
on formatting requirements.

Program Delivery and Pickup

Programs may be submitted in person during normal CCTV operating hours. Internet
submissions are acceptable but arrangements must be made with the Programming
Coordinator. Under special circumstances and by permission of the Programming
Coordinator only, shows may be mailed to CCTV. A Cablecast Agreement must accompany
all submissions of Single programs. Series episodes must be accompanied by a
Cablecast Agreement when first submitted. Series episodes must be submitted
at least two business days before their scheduled cablecast; exceptions are
made at the discretion of CCTV staff.

For each individual program or Series episode, program providers will have
one month from the last cablecast date to pick up their programs. Media will
not be returned by mail. Media left at CCTV over a month after the last scheduled
play date becomes property of CCTV. CCTV is not responsible for media lost,
stolen, broken, or erased while on the premises.

Content Responsibility and Liability

The responsibility and liability for program content lies solely with the program
provider, that is, the Cambridge resident who signs the Cablecast Agreement.
CCTV, the cable operator, and the City of Cambridge assume that the program
provider has obtained all necessary releases and clearances. The program provider
may be asked to furnish proof that proper releases and clearances have been
obtained. CCTV, the City of Cambridge, and the cable operator are not responsible
for the content of the programming shown on the community cable channels or
on CCTV's web site.

Programming Restrictions

Presentation of the following is prohibited:

  • Any commercial advertising or programming (except during non-English programming
    on Channel 22) including promotion of the sale of any service or product price
    information, or commercial calls to action or inducements to buy
  • Within permitted programming, contact information must be limited to the
    name of a business. Addresses, phone numbers, and web sites may not be included.
  • Programming that does not have clearances, releases, or other assurances.
  • Programming that falls below minimal technical standards for cablecast.
    Please see the Cablecast Agreement for

    information on formatting requirements.
  • Programming that does not fall under constitutionally protected speech and
    raises serious risk of liability on the part of CCTV. This may include, but
    is not limited to: libel, slander, unlawful invasion of privacy, sedition
    (advocacy of violent overthrow of the government), or obscene material.
  • Obscene material as determined by the courts is material which, to the average
    person, applying contemporary community standards, taken as a whole, appeals
    to the prurient interest, depicts or describes sexual content in a patently
    offensive way, and taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political
    or scientific value.

Potentially Objectionable Material

Unlike obscene material, potentially objectionable material may be shown on
CCTV channels, but CCTV staff will schedule this material between the hours
of 11 PM and 5 AM. It is the responsibility of the program provider who signs
the Cablecast Agreement to indicate on that Agreement whether or not a program
includes potentially objectionable material.

Potentially objectionable material may include, but is not limited to:

  • excessive profane language
  • most forms of nudity
  • sexual activity
  • extreme physical violence or degradation
  • graphic depiction of medical procedures

Note of clarification for BeLive and CCR producers: All programming, both live
and pre-recorded, is subject to the full set of Programming policies and obligations.
Currently, all live programming is scheduled before 11 PM, and therefore may
not contain any Potentially Objectionable Material.Any program provider who
violates CCTV's content guidelines or misrepresents the content of a program
on the Cablecast Agreement will receive a written warning (see Violations section
of these Policies). A second such offense will result in a second written warning
and the program will be scheduled between the hours of 11 PM and 5 AM. Scheduling
decisions and warnings may be appealed to CCTV's Programming and Policies
Committee, consisting of representatives from the CCTV Board of Directors, staff,
and Members Advisory Committee. Appeals must be made within ten business days
of an action by submitting a request, in writing, to the Committee. Within ten
business days of receiving a request, the Committee will schedule a meeting,
which will occur no later than twenty business days after the appeal is submitted.
Decisions of the Committee may be appealed by the full Board of Directors by
submitting a request, in writing, within ten business days of the Committee's
decision. The Board will consider the appeal at its next scheduled meeting.
During the appeal process, that programming will be shown between 11 PM and
5 AM.

CCTV has the right to place a disclaimer before, during, and after any program
that, as indicated by the program provider or in the best judgment of CCTV staff,
may be objectionable to any cable subscriber. The disclaimer will advise viewer
discretion for the program and will indicate that responsibility for the content
of the program lies with the program provider and not with CCTV, the City of
Cambridge, nor the cable provider. If placed during the program such a notice
will be as discreet as possible in order to avoid interference with the program


CCTV staff will program the channels with the goal of presenting a coherent
schedule to cable subscribers, building the audience, diversifying programming,
distributing channel time equitably, and minimizing technical issues. CCTV staff
retain the right to schedule each program in a time slot that is appropriate
for its content and likely audience. In the interest of ensuring diversity of
programming and equitable distribution of channel time, submissions from a single
program provider shall not include more than one non-local Series.

Programs will be scheduled in a timely manner (usually one to two weeks after
submission). Program providers will be notified of their timeslots the first
time the program is broadcast on CCTV. Notification of subsequent timeslots
is at the Programming Coordinator's discretion.

Scheduling Priorities

When scheduling CCTV's channels, first priority is given to programs produced
by CCTV members. Second priority is given to programs produced by Cambridge
residents who are not CCTV members. Third priority is given to non-local programs.
Series and Single programs are considered separately; therefore a locally produced
Single submission will not displace a non-local Series. CCTV reserves the right
to pre-empt all programs for live or special event coverage.

CCTV staff will attempt to accommodate all requests and will not exclude any
Cambridge resident from showing a program on the community channels. All programming
schedule decisions by CCTV staff are final.

Viewers may contact the Programming Coordinator to request that programming
be repeated and CCTV staff will, to the best of its ability, try to satisfy
such requests. At the discretion of the Programming Coordinator, the program
provider responsible for the program may be notified of the repeat.

BeLive and Cambridge Community Radio

BeLive and Cambridge Community Radio (CCR) are live, interactive programming
formats provided by CCTV for Cambridge residents, organizations, and businesses
to produce programming. Any Cambridge resident may use BeLive or CCR once at
no cost; only Access Members may produce BeLive or

CCR series.

A BeLive or CCR slot may be requested by submitting a BeLive or CCR Agreement,
which includes all of the rules and procedures related to BeLive and CCR programming
and indicates that the program provider consents to these rules and procedures
. The Programming Coordinator will set up a training session with the producer
prior to scheduling a slot.

BeLive and CCR series are renewable on an annual basis and a BeLive or CCR
Agreement must be resubmitted. CCTV staff will attempt to provide a renewing
BeLive or CCR program the same time slot, however, this is not guaranteed. BeLive
and CCR series are subject to cancellation if the producer consistently misses
shows. Please see the BeLive and CCR Agreements for more information.

BeLive and CCR programs are subject to the same restrictions as other programming
on CCTV's channels. However, due to the time slots available for the production
of live programming, potentially objectionable content is prohibited during
BeLive and CCR slots. Any BeLive or CCR producer who violates CCTV's content
guidelines or misrepresents the content of a program on the BeLive Agreement
or Cambridge Community Radio Agreement will receive a warning (see Violation
section of these Policies). A second such offense will result in cancellation
of the live program.


A Series consists of at least four new programs with a consistent theme and/or
format. Persons providing a series may request a regular time slot, which will
be granted when an appropriate time becomes available. Series time slots are
renewed annually on a calendar-year basis and a Cablecast Agreement must be
resubmitted at that time. CCTV staff will attempt to provide a renewing Series
the same time slot, however, this is not guaranteed.

In order to maintain a time slot, a Series program provider must regularly
submit new programs. New episodes should be submitted at least two days prior
to the cablecast date or by special arrangement with the Programming Coordinator.
To meet the requirements of series programming, at least one new episode per
month must be submitted. Episodes that have previously played on CCTV channels
may be re-submitted only after at least six months have passed since the original
cablecast. Cancellation of a Series time slot may result from a failure to meet
the above conditions and is at the discretion of the Programming Coordinator.
CCTV staff may require that four episodes be submitted with the renewal of a
show previously cancelled because episodes were not supplied in a timely manner.

Disclosure of Information

CCTV shall maintain a viewer response line at 661-6900, option 6. Viewers and
members of the general public may leave comments for or ask to be contacted
by the program provider and CCTV staff will relay that information. The name
of a program provider will be provided upon request.


If a viewer requests copies of a program, CCTV staff will contact the producer
for permission, and if permission is granted will provide copies for a reasonable

Bulletin Board

CCTV operates an electronic Community Bulletin Board, which is shown on the
channels when no other programming is scheduled. Events or notices sponsored
by non-profit organizations and the City of Cambridge are listed as space allows,
and are generally shown for one week, prior to the event. CCTV gives priority
to Cambridge-related notices, but there is no guarantee that every notice submitted
will be shown. Notices sponsored by political campaigns or candidates are not
permitted. All other programming restrictions apply to the Bulletin Board.

Notices may be submitted by email to, fax to
617-661-6927, or mail to CCTV, 675 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. 02139.

Political Campaigning

Political candidates are subject to the same operating procedures as other program
providers for CCTV's channels. Everyone in the community has equal access
to the facilities and channel time. There is no equal time rule for cable television.CCTV
has a responsibility to provide an open political forum. CCTV considers election
programming to commence with certification of candidates for the ballot and
end on Election Day. Within two weeks of certification, all candidates on the
local and county ballot will receive notice of CCTV's policies and availability
of resources. CCTV has no responsibility to produce programming for candidates
because another candidate requests resources. It is the responsibility of the
candidates or those working on their behalf to submit programming, or to become
Access Members and produce programs to be shown on CCTV's channels. There
shall be no programming relating to a candidate or a ballot issue cablecast
on the CCTV channels after Sunday at midnight prior to that election.


CCTV staff will publicize programs in a variety of ways, including listings
on the CCTV web site, in the Cambridge Chronicle, Cambridge TAB, and on the
electronic Community Bulletin Board. Please consult the Programming Coordinator
for deadlines and more information. In addition, program providers are encouraged
to consult the staff for guidance in preparing short promotional spots or utilizing
other avenues for publicizing their program.