A taxpayer-funded statewide model for PEG fees is inconsistent with the historical mission of PEG channels to serve local interests. Other alternatives are available that would be more consistent with local funding and control of PEG channels.
First, local governments and franchises could make PEG channels available on cable systems at a higher fee for the subscribers interested in receiving them. If the state then wants to encourage subscribers to help fund the channels, it could provide a tax deduction for PEG channel contributions, consistent with the tax deduction currently available for local PBS channels.
Second, local schools and governments could make current PEG channel programming available for Internet broadcasting. Alternative means of video distribution are now available through YouTube, blogs, vlogs, iPods, and many other new channels. Diane S. Katz has noted: "In the 1970s, when PEG became a standard feature of municipal franchising, video production systems could cost $100,000 or more. ...Today, a high-definition portable camcorder can be had for less than $3,500, and there exist thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Web sites where video can be uploaded and viewed at no cost. ..." The Detroit News recently televised the removal hearing for Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick on its Web page using the same technology that could be used to carry a city council meeting over a local Internet site. Thus, it is now an option to make PEG channel programming available for Internet broadcasting, as Meridian Township near Lansing is currently considering doing.