MANHATTAN NEIGHBORHOOD NETWORK
PROGRAM POLICIES FOR PUBLIC ACCESS
Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) is responsible for administering the Public Access cable television services in Manhattan. Our purpose is to ensure the ability of Manhattan residents to exercise their First Amendment rights through moving image media to create opportunities for communication, education, artistic expression and other noncommercial uses of video facilities on an open, uncensored and equitable basis.
In providing services, we seek to involve the diverse racial, ethnic and geographic communities of Manhattan in the electronic communication of their varied interests, needs, concerns and identities.
MNN is supported by Time Warner Cable, RCN Cable, and Verizon FiOs. MNN is made possible by the work and support of thousands of individuals and groups in New York City.
Responsibility for Program Content
Submission of programs for the public access channels is, free of charge, and free of content control by MNN subject to the policies herein. Responsibility for the content of programs rests with the individuals and organizations submitting the programs. MNN requires producers and other individuals submitting programs to submit a signed and completed program agreement prior to the cablecast of any program. That program agreement provides among other things for the program provider's indemnification of MNN for any violations of MNN policies or the law and requires a certification that such programming in fact does comply. All program agreements must include the name and address of the channel user. If the individual submitting a program is not the program's producer, the individual must also submit the name and address of the program's producer.
Photo Identification and Address Verification
Series program providers are required to provide photo identification and evidence of their residence address. Satisfactory verification consists of valid photo identification and current proof of residency from the following groups:
Acceptable Forms of Photo ID
a. State-issued Driver’s License
b. State-issued Photo ID card
c. U.S. or Foreign passport
d. Military ID w/photo
e. Green card/Residency card w/photo
f. City/State-issued Welfare, Medicaid, or Benefit Assistance card w/photo
Acceptable documents for proof of residence (must be recent with applicant’s name, as reflected on the Photo ID). Select a group below and provide the items required for the group:
Group I: One form of proof.
a. Cable bill
b. Gas bill
c. Electric bill
d. Telephone bill (Land line)
Group II: One form of proof in addition to a Proof of Residence form
a. Monthly Bank Statement
b. Cell phone monthly billing statement
c. Credit card monthly billing statement
d. Health insurance monthly billing statement
e. Student loan monthly billing statement
f. Employment/unemployment pay stub
g. Medicare/Social Security Monthly Statement
h. Rent billing statement
i. Current tax return
j. Retirement plan statement
Program providers are responsible for submitting changes in address in writing to Manhattan Neighborhood Network, along with satisfactory evidence.
Organizations Submitting Programs
Individuals submitting programs on behalf of organizations must submit a letter from the chief operating officer of the organization on company letterhead. The letter must indicate who within the organization will take responsibility for submitting programs. Any changes in this designation must be submitted in writing by the organization's chief operating officer.
Minors Submitting Programs
Minors submitting programs will be required to have a parent or guardian sign a program agreement and request form. Programs intended to air on the Youth Channel will be required to abide by the Youth Channel Programming Policies. The Youth Channel reserves the right to reject any program that is inconsistent with the Youth Channel’s mission statement.
Disclosure of Information Regarding Individuals Submitting Programs
MNN shall maintain a record of the use of public access channels. Records include the names and addresses of all persons using or requesting time on the channels. These records shall be available for public inspection for a minimum of two years.
Program Content Restrictions
The following restrictions apply to all public access programming. Programs may not contain:
• Solicitation, advertising, bartering or promotion of commercial products, services or transactions;
• Material that is, slanderous, libelous, an invasion of privacy, incites violence towards an individual or group or made unlawful;
• Material concerning lottery information, gift enterprise, or similar scheme;
• Unlawful use of material requiring union residual, or other payment including but not limited to talent and crew;
• Unlawful use of material that is copyrighted or subject to ownership or royalty rights, right of publicity, or other payment;
• Material that MNN reasonably believes contains obscene content, including but not limited to sexual intercourse, sodomy, masturbation, sadism, masochism, excretion, or lewd exhibition of genitals.
Commercial programming is strictly prohibited on the public access channels. Programs may not contain commercial telephone numbers or websites anywhere within the program except as noted under "Program Credits for Contribution of Goods and Services," nor may programs contain information about purchasing a product or service. In order to prevent the promotion of commercial products produced by record and film companies, programs containing more than 50% of such material are prohibited.
Representation of Authorizations
Channel Users must represent that they have obtained all necessary permission for material and individuals appearing in their programs. Channel Users are required to provide satisfactory evidence of such permission upon request by MNN.
Adult, Violent, Medically Graphic Programming
MNN wants to provide a means of notifying parents or guardians when programming appears on the access channels that may be inappropriate for children. MNN also wants to assist people in making informed viewing decisions while providing an opportunity for all forms of expression without censorship and in accord with existing laws.
Programs containing mature themes, mild profanity, or lifelike imagery of nudity for the purposes of artistic, literary, political, or scientific discourse will be scheduled after 9:00pm. Programs containing depictions or simulations of sexual intercourse will be scheduled after 11:00pm.
Programs containing and/or entitled with excessive vulgar language, nudity, extreme physical violence, extreme degradation, graphic depiction of invasive medical procedures or indecent material must include a message advising viewer discretion and will be scheduled between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
Channel Users shall be responsible for including a viewer discretion at the beginning of each episode if their program contains material requiring an advisory message.
It is a violation of MNN policy to submit for cablecast programming that is obscene or otherwise made unlawful.
Charging for Time on the Access Channels
Time on the public access channels is available free of charge. Channel Users may not require compensation from individuals in exchange for appearing on a public access channel. Furthermore, channel time may not be bartered or sold.
Program Credits for Contribution of Goods and Services
Programs may contain credit for individuals, businesses or other organizations that have contributed goods, services or funding used in the program production. Individual credits for such contributions are limited to fifteen seconds. Total credits for all contributions are limited to sixty seconds. Credits may include an acknowledgment of the contribution made. Credits may not contain any advertising information. The following guidelines apply to all credits for contributors:
• Credit must appear at either the beginning or end of the program;
• Credit may include a logo, name, address, and phone number;
• Credit may include a phrase describing the business of the contributor and the nature of the contribution;
• Credit may not contain any qualitative or promotional information. Phone Numbers, Website Addresses and Other Contact Information
Only non-commercial phone numbers and website addresses can be displayed throughout the duration of programming. Commercial phone numbers or websites can only be displayed as a credit for contribution of goods and services.
Solicitation of funds during access programs is limited to non-profit organizations providing an IRS letter of determination indicating 501 (c) (3) status. Only Manhattan–based non-profit organizations may fundraise. The IRS letter of determination must be on file with MNN prior to any solicitation of funds. The 501 ( c ) 3 determination does NOT apply to political fund-raising, religious organizations (such as churches, synagogues, mosques, and other places or worship), and to certain types of foundations. The 501 ( c ) 3 is a federal designation, not a state or city designation.
MNN will, to the best of its ability, provide channel time as requested on a first-come, first- served basis, subject to the policies and guidelines herein. MNN will schedule programs within the parameters of overall program composition and flow including themed channels and programming blocks, taking into consideration audience building and the representative diversity of programming on the access channels.
MNN will also exercise scheduling discretion to ensure access for new channel users, single programs, series of limited duration, and special events. MNN will be guided in its scheduling decisions to ensure residents and organizations within Manhattan will have the highest priority in using the public access channels set aside for their benefit.
Limits of Liability
MNN is not liable for any mistakes, omissions or interruptions in the cablecast and any other means of distribution of programs. MNN is also not liable if the program or material submitted is damaged, lost or stolen while in its custody except in the case of gross negligence on the part on MNN resulting in damage or loss of the submitted format. In cases of gross negligence on the part of MNN, liability is limited to the cost of replacing a blank tape or DVD. MNN strongly suggests not submitting master tapes.
Program Scheduling Priorities
Manhattan Neighborhood Network prioritizes scheduling in the following order:
A single program or "special" is defined as a program that is scheduled for a single time slot rather than on a recurring basis. Channel users may request time for single programs at any time. All single program requests must be accompanied by a completed episode.
Generally, single programs will be scheduled within three weeks after submission. MNN will schedule single programs as requests are received. MNN will schedule a 28 minute special for three timeslots. Programs that are 58 minutes long will be scheduled for two timeslots. A single program request will be guaranteed to have one prime time airdate and will be scheduled subject to available channel time.
Programs longer than 58 minutes will be guaranteed one timeslot. One additional play may be scheduled subject to available channel time and at the discretion of MNN.
Program providers are limited to scheduling one single program per month. Single programs will not be scheduled while the same program is scheduled as a series.
A program series is defined as a number of episodes, under one single title and scheduled at regular times (i.e., weekly, biweekly, or monthly). MNN divides the scheduling year into thirteen-week quarters. An "original episode" is defined as a program that, in whole or in substantial part, has not previously appeared on MNN, at any time, regardless of the channel:
• weekly series require eight original episodes per quarter;
• bi-weekly series require five original episodes per quarter;
• monthly series require two original episodes per quarter;
• Daily series requires fifty-five original episodes per quarter
Channel Users are required to submit an episode for each week their program is scheduled. Otherwise, Channel Users will forfeit their series time slot for failing to provide the requisite number of original episodes within a quarter. In addition, Channel Users are required to identify which of their episodes are "original" upon submission. False identification of an episode as "original" will result in cancellation of the series time slot. Channel Users are allowed one active series per quarter.
A daily program slot entails greater use of MNN resources on many levels, thus the decision making process is of a higher standard of scrutiny than for other timeslots, and are limited to hours outside primetime (6:00pm-Midnight). The guidelines will be applied uniformly and on a nondiscriminatory basis. Program must follow present guidelines of the Programming and Training & Facilitation Departments.
Program must be time appropriate for early morning schedule. Episodes must contain at least 60% original material, excluding footage already aired on MNN. (No more than 7 repeats allowed per quarter.) Program can be either 28 or 58 minutes. Failure to comply in policies can result in loss of timeslot
Airing a promo is an opportunity for you to inform viewers about your show and generate greater interest in your programs. Promos will be scheduled to air in the 2-minute interval between programs, and they will be scheduled at random. Please note, promos may not contain obscene content. Also, you cannot request that your Promo be placed at any particular time or on any channel, unless You are announcing a move in your program’s schedule (in which case the promo will be placed in the slot immediately before your formerly scheduled time.)
Guidelines for Producer’s Promos
In order for MNN to air a Producer’s Promo, it must meet the following guidelines:
- The promo must promote the producer’s show only:
- Promo can only mention public access channels-it cannot tell viewers to watch a producer’s show on leased access or any other non-public access medium;
- Promos should be 30 or 60 seconds (please note 60 second promos receive less rotation);
- Promo should include the program title, airtime and channel on all cable carriers, Time Warner Cable, RCN, Verizon FiOS;
- Promos must be recorded on Mini-DV SP mode or DVD master;
- Promos recorded on Mini-DV must have audio levels -20 db and -12 d;
- A Channel User can submit 1 promo per quarter (Channel Users who have been re-scheduled to a different time slot will be able to submit an additional promo);
- Promos may not contain any website or other contact information other than www.mnn.org;
- Promos must follow all MNN Program Policies.
MNN will schedule all eligible series submitted by Manhattan residents and organizations on a quarterly basis. All series requests must be accompanied with one completed episode only which will be scheduled as the first episode of the series. (Channel Users seeking a series timeslot will be required to submit proof of residency, as outlined in the Address Verification section. Series applications will not be considered completed until this information is provided.) All requests received and verified by the designated submission deadline will be scheduled for the proceeding quarter. MNN will mail out confirmation to Channel Users 3 weeks prior to the start of the quarter. Program providers should check with MNN 2 weeks prior to the beginning of the quarter if they have not been contacted.
Non-Manhattan Channel Users who have had another series scheduled within the last year, will be scheduled at the discretion of Manhattan Neighborhood Network and subject to available channel time. Channel Users are limited to scheduling one series at a time. Two or more series regularly featuring the same host, guest or footage will be treated as the same series regardless of the Channel User and one of the active series will be cancelled.
Continuing series are subject to scheduling changes, reduction in series frequency or length, or cancellation depending upon the number of requests received from new series providers. If a scheduling change is necessary to accommodate a new series request, MNN will be guided by the program priorities listed above. Continuing series from Manhattan providers will not be replaced with series from non-Manhattan providers. Continuing series program providers may request a change in their existing time slot.
Program changes will be scheduled in accordance with the above program priorities and after all new series request have been scheduled.
Resubmission of Programs from Repeat Program Violators
There is a mandated waiting period of 6 (six) months for any Channel User whose program has been cancelled due to programming violation(s). The program may be cancelled based on the following considerations:
• Prior violations(s)
• Severity of violation(s)
• Participation in harassment or aggravated threat toward staff or/and other producers.
The following constitutes a programming violation:
• sub-technical standards
• failure to submit required episodes during a programming quarter
• failure to acquire permission to use copyrighted material
• any other violation of MNN’s programming policies
Fillers are programs that are scheduled to air in vacant timeslots, these programs are scheduled at the discretion of MNN.
Preemption of Programming
A program(s) may be preempted if MNN receives requests from Channel Users seeking airtime for timely programming that may be deemed beneficial to MNN viewers. MNN will contact the Channel User to advise of the program preemption and do its best to provide an alternate timeslot based on availability.
Transferring Time Slots and Program Substitution
Time slots may not be transferred to another Channel User.
MNN accepts the following formats: Mini-DV, DVCam, DVC-Pro and DVD mastered. MNN accepts only one program per format. Tapes must be recorded in SP mode and begin with 60 seconds of uninterrupted video, prior to the start of the actual program (pre-roll). The video can be any combination of color bars, countdown or black. Tapes should also have 60 seconds of black following the end of the program (end roll). DVDs do not require pre-roll, however DVDs must be authored, playable in standard DVD players and must not contain chapters.
MNN has minimal technical standards which allow us to properly cablecast your show. Programs submitted with extremely low audio/video do not meet these standards. Tapes/DVDs that are damaged and hazardous to MNN playback equipment will not air. Any program that does not meet MNN’s technical requirements will result in the producer receiving a warning letter. Any continual problem(s) will result in immediate program cancellation.
Programs must be delivered during designated tape drop off hours and must be submitted a minimum of four days in advance of scheduled cablecast.
Failure to Comply with Stated Policies and Applicable Law
MNN is committed to providing video production facilities and workshop training at no cost for production of non-commercial Public Access programs. All users are welcomed to use the facilities in the manner described in existing policies. The Executive Director may impose, at his/her discretion, sanctions and penalties for failure to comply with MNN policies.
Facility users are responsible for their actions within the facility and the care of the equipment they use.
Producers, facility users and their guests are to abide by MNN’s Code of Conduct and Production Policies.
MNN may require reimbursement for replacement or repair of property and equipment damaged by facility users. At the discretion of the Executive Director, persons who fail to pay for such reimbursements or whose behavior is not in accordance with MNN’s Code of Conduct and Production Policies may be suspended or banned from use of the facilities.
MNN channels, equipment, and facilities may be used for production of non-commercial Public Access programs only. Commercial programming is strictly prohibited, and the facilities may only be used for Public Access programs intended to air on MNN channels. MNN may impose fees from persons found to be using MNN facilities, and/or equipment for non-Public Access purposes. At the discretion of the Executive Director, such persons may be suspended, banned, and/or charged a fee for such violations. They may also lose their channel time.
MNN will make every reasonable effort to inform individuals about programming polices and prohibitions when a violation has occurred and to cure those violations. MNN reserves the right to take any action with regard to program scheduling and transmission to comply with applicable law and to ensure compliance with these policies, including but not limited to immediately suspending access rights.
Submitting false information in connection with scheduling a program will result in program cancellation and restrictions in scheduling future programs.
Failure to provide programs as scheduled will lead to program cancellation and restrictions in scheduling future programs.
Accumulation of multiple programming suspensions may result in a permanent ban from the use of MNN’s facility and/ or prohibition from scheduling future programs.
Individuals who feel they have been denied fair access to channel time as described in these policies may submit an appeal to the Executive Director within 30 days of the Programming Department decision. Appeals should be in writing. The Executive Director will attempt to respond to the appeal within 60 days. Any cablecasting restrictions will remain in effect pending the outcome of an appeal.