On January 9, 2017, Executive Director of Amherst Media, Jim Lescault, offered the Select Board an overview of Amherst Media's Annual Report and reports on potential contractual options between the Town of Amherst and Amherst Media.
Amherst Media Board Member, Professor Demetria Shabazz, commented on changing culture of PEG services, independent media, and the crucial role Amherst Media plays in the Amherst community.
Amherst Media, the oldest non-profit media access center in the country, is facing the potential loss of its independence by the Town of Amherst. After 41 years of service and collaboration between the organization and the Town, the Town is determined to change the longstanding relationship.
Amherst Media has been without a contract since October of 2016, when the Town signed a new 10 year contract renewal with cable giant Comcast. Throughout this nearly four-month period, Amherst Media has continued to cover all of their obligated recordings as outlined in their lapsed contract. The organization continued to request an opportunity to speak before the Select Board, only to be denied. They resorted to using the public comment portion of the Select Board meeting to speak to the Town officials and the public at large.
Jim Lescault, Executive Director, Amherst Media