Programming Policy & Operational Procedures
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Policies and Procedures

City of Indianapolis
Programming Policy and Operational Procedures for
Government Cable Channel 16

December 16, 1996

City of Indianapolis & Marion County Government Access Cable Television Policy

Government Cable Channel 16, a Public, Educational, Governmental (P.E.G.) Access Channel as provided for under the Cable Communications Act of 1984, Section 531, and the cable franchise agreements with licensed franchises serving Indianapolis and Marion County, is operated and administered by the Cable Communications Agency as provided by the Indianapolis/Marion County City/County Council. Programming policies are subject to the approval and review of the Cable Franchise Board.

The following objectives, programming policy and operation procedures were developed to provide guidelines to effectively and efficiently manage the overall operation of Government Cable Channel 16 and have been approved by the Cable Franchise Board.


The following objectives of the City of Indianapolis Government Cable Channel 16 are:

  • To offer City-County government information to citizens of the community.
  • To widen the dissemination of activities of the legislative and advisory bodies and boards of the City of Indianapolis and Marion County.
  • To offer public information to the citizens of Marion County about the various functions performed by the various agencies, divisions, and departments of City and County government.
  • To provide information to citizens requiring access and process information to various City and County departments and/or agencies.
  • To offer video support services t the various agencies, divisions and departments of City and County government.


It is the policy of Government Cable Channel 16 to provide direct, non-editorial information to the citizens of Indianapolis and Marion County concerning the operations and deliberations of the City and County governments. The Government Cable Channel is not a mechanism for building support for a particular candidate or candidates for political office. With respect to any program concerning subjects which may be interpreted to be materially controversial, Channel 16 will maintain a position of neutrality. Announcements for authorized municipal events or events directly or otherwise determined to be of significant municipal interest shall be allowed, but announcements for outside agencies shall generally not be permitted. Public Service Announcements for community spirited not-for-profit organizations may be considered and are subject to review by management. The Cable Franchise Board shall serve as the final approval body for resolving disputes for policy matters.


The Channel 16 Engineer will be responsible for quality of signal transmission to the Cable Operator's Head End. The current and future guidelines for signal quality shall be those set out in Part 76 of the FCC rules, as amended. The necessary tests will be performed on a weekly basis in accordance with good engineering practices. Additionally, the parameters of the modulating video signal will conform to Electronic Industries Association standard RS-170A, as amended. The engineer will also perform the same tests on the return signal from the Cable Operator, also on a weekly basis, and more often if required. The engineer will report any and all problems with Channel 16 return feed to the Cable Operator, and will work in concert with said Operator's Technical Staff to correct said problem. The engineer will also keep the City Telecommunications Coordinator apprised of all problems affecting the Channel 16 feed.

  • CHANNEL: The local government access cable television channel shall operate on Channel 16.
  • MODES OF CABLECAST: The City shall utilize four basic cablecasting modes:
    • Live Cablecast: Live coverage, principally consisting of City-County Council and other selected public meetings (i.e., boards and commissions) and events of general community interest.
    • Tape Delayed Cablecast: Many public meetings or events will be videotaped in advance for cablecast at a later period. Some live meetings or events, such as City-County Council, will be taped for subsequent replay to insure additional opportunity for viewing.
    • Pre-produced programming: Programs produced by Government Cable Channel 16 or other entities related to government facilities, services and/or operation will be cablecast if appropriate.
    • Interactive Information Service: Alpha-Numeric information consisting of program schedules and public information will be cablecast in order to maintain up-to-date schedules and keep viewers abreast of said information.
  • CABLE FRANCHISE BOARD AUTHORITY: Programming compliance to these policies and operation procedures is subject to the review of the Cable Franchise Board. The Board may hear complaints and make recommendations. Changes in policies and operation procedures require the Board's approval.
  • ACCESS POLICY: Access to Government Cable Channel 16 is limited to municipal agencies/departments and those entities with a direct corporate relationship with the City of Indianapolis and/or Marion County (municipal corporations). TV 16 is not intended for general public use.
    • Public Meetings: All public meetings of City and County policy-making of commissions or boards are authorized for cablecast. All regular City-County Council meetings will be cablecast. Meetings related to governmental committees, boards and commissions may be cablecast at the request or by permission of the presiding officer, logistics permitting. Neighborhood Association meetings should be considered to be public meetings and are therefore eligible for coverage.
    • Informational Programming: While all programming on Government Cable Channel 16 is considered to be informational, those herein are considered to be pre-produced feature programs and program series. All municipal agencies/departments may submit through their Public Information Officers or agency/Department Administrators requests which they feel may be appropriate for cablecast on Government Cable Channel 16.

Any programming request shall be subject to review of the Studio Manager for appropriateness and technical consideration. Those programs which are consistent with the overall operating policy of Government Cable Channel 16, as determined by the Studio Manager, shall be cablecast. The decisions of the Studio Manager may be appealed to the Cable Franchise Board. Written permission for the use of copyrighted material must be authorized in advance by the materials owner and obtained by the sponsor of said material.

    • Individual Statements: Requests for access to Government Cable Channel 16 by persons other than bonafide municipal officials or administrators for the purpose of advocating a personal viewpoint or policy will be reviewed for appropriateness in accordance with regulations adopted by the Cable Franchise Board. Announced candidates for public office shall not be permitted to make personal statements over Channel 16, except in the regular discourse of public meetings or within a forum of public debate or question/answer format with all other declared candidates being invited and under the oversight of impartial third party using mutually agreeable ground rules. Incumbents who become candidates for public office can not appear on Channel 16 except as described above during their period of candidacy.
    • Billboard Information Messages: Information for the billboard may be submitted by any municipal agency/department. Messages submitted should be consistent with the previous policies and intentions of this policy statement and shall be cablecast at the discretion of the Studio Manager.
  • EDITING POLICY: Editing of programming on Government Cable Channel shall be subject to the following.
    • Public Meetings: Any public meeting cablecast on Government Cable Channel 16, be they live or on videotape, will be aired in its entirety, gavel to gavel without editorial comment. Exceptions to this policy may occur only when editing out possible recesses, to comply with public standard of decency or when technical limitations restrict production procedures. Supplemental information on agenda items which the Studio Manager determines will aid the viewer in understanding the issues or matters under discussion may be provided.
    • Departmental Programs: Any programming prepared or provided by a municipal agency/department may be modified or edited as deemed appropriate to the policies governing Government Cable Channel 16's use by the Studio Manager or an agent directed by the Studio Manager. This determination may be made by policy restrictions or by technical, scheduling or staff limitations and may be subject to the review of the Cable Franchise Board

It is recommended that Government Cable Channel 16 continue its development in the following areas:

* Government Cable Channel 16 may assist municipal agencies/departments with:

-Video Program Development
-Programming and Public Information Dissemination.
-Pre-production, Production and Post Production
-Instruction and Recommendations

* Encourage municipal agencies/departments to utilize video programming for job notices, public information, public meetings and department service notices and descriptions.

* Continue to improve cable origination capabilities through the use of technological improvements in production and signal transportation.

* Offer training for municipal agencies/departments in the use of video facilities and equipment as requested or deemed necessary whenever time permits.

* Maintain technical standards for the improvement of signal and program quality.

* Arrange for teleconferencing on the local level.

* Encourage expanded use of cable technology including the use of educational access.

    • Interactive Information Service: Messages programmed into the information service shall be edited to provide clarity. Messages cablecast are subject to appropriateness as determined by the Studio Manager and subject to the review of the Cable Franchise Board. No paid commercial space or notices for events other than bonafide municipal activities shall be allowed on the billboard information service.
    • Cablecast Commercialism of Public Forums is Discouraged: In furtherance of this policy Channel 16 directors will get tight shots of speakers in a manner to exclude commercial banners and logos wherever feasible. It being understood that a commercial name may appear, and Channel 16 can not control its exclusion, such as hotel names or other sponsor's logos on speaker's podiums.
    • Warranty: Government Cable Channel 16, the City of Indianapolis and its administration, its officers, employees and agents do not warrant the accuracy of any information cablecast over Government Cable Channel 16.
  • ENDORSEMENTS: At no time will Government Cable Channel 16 endorse specific brand name products or service providers.
  • SPONSOR ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: Channel 16 may provide "on- air" acknowledgments of program sponsors in accordance with The National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) Guidelines to underwriting for public radio stations, dated October 1992. These guidelines are:
    • Underwriting defines what Channel 16 may and may not do in announcing funding for a specific program or series of programs.
    • If money is given without direct connection to any programming, it is considered a donation. Donor announcements are not required, but may be made at Channel 16's discretion.
    • When announcements for donations or underwriting from for profit entities are made, they may include:

* a trade name or brand name

* location and phone number

* logograms or slogans that are not of a promotional nature

* value-neutral descriptions of a product line or service that aid in identifying the contributor

* names or service listings that do not include qualitative or comparative language

    • Channel 16 is not allowed to promote the goods or service of any underwriter or donor.

In order to avoid "promoting," announcements made regarding entities who have furnished some consideration must not include any:

* mention of price: no interest rate, pricing information, discount, savings, or value of any kind may be included in acknowledging a contribution.

* call to action: any announcement regarding a company or person who furnishes remuneration to the public broadcaster may not suggest that the listener take action - the listener cannot be encouraged to "call," "come by," "try," or even "be sure" in relation to a product or service.

* inducements to buy: it is improper to entice the viewer to make a purchase by offering bonuses, freebies, or other specials.

* qualitative or comparative language: this tricky area prohibits descriptive or comparative language of a product or service. An announcement may not explain, for example, that something is "perfect," "less filling," or is the "largest," "smallest," or "most" anything.

  • PROMOTIONS: Promotional announcements for municipally sponsored events or activities are generally, acceptable for cablecast on Government Cable Channel 16. Public Service Announcements for agencies outside of municipal government are subject to appropriateness as determined by the Studio Manager and subject to the review of the Cable Franchise Board. No commercial oriented promotions will be considered for cablecast.
  • USE OF GOVERNMENT CABLE CHANNEL 16 EQUIPMENT: The use of Government Cable Channel 16's video production equipment shall be restricted to municipal agency/department related activities by municipal agency/department employees or persons under the direct supervision of Government Cable Channel 16 staff. Loaning of equipment for personal use is not authorized.
  • HOURS OF OPERATION: It is the goal of Government Cable Channel 16 to provide programming twenty-four (24) hours per day, seven (7) days per week with live, videotaped, alpha-numeric and satellite programming. Hours of operation are enhanced through the use of automated playback equipment.
  • RETENTION OF TAPES: It shall be a general policy to retain video tapes of locally produced events and meetings for one (1) calendar week. At the end of that time, tapes may be recycled and the original material erased. Any requests for longer retention should be made in advance of the one (1) week period to the Studio Manager. Tapes of meetings shall not be considered to be official records of said meetings and there shall be no liability for erasure or omissions.
  • DUPLICATION OF PROGRAMMING: Copies of programs produced by Government Cable Channel 16 may be obtained subject to the following price and policy:
DVDs Cost $10 each

Payment for dubs may be made in cash, check or money-order, payable to "City of Indianapolis."

In consideration for their cooperation for a program's production, persons contributing to the production of programs may receive one free copy of a program if they provide a high grade videotape or for $10.00 if the videotape is supplied by Government Cable Channel 16.

Copies of programs, meetings or portions of meetings for in-house, governmental use are provided at no charge. That governmental agency or official is expected to provide the high grade videotape, otherwise copies of programs/meetings made on videotapes provided by Government Cable Channel 16 for use in-house remain the property of Government Cable Channel 16.

All copies are subject to availability of programming and dubbing facilities.


BE IT RESOLVED by the Cable Franchise Board of the City of Indianapolis, Indiana that the Regulations Governing Public Use of Channel 16, a copy of which is attached hereto and made a part hereof are hereby approved.

Adopted this 16th day of December, 1996.



Carlton Curry, Chairman

Esther Meier, Recording Secretary