The Evolution of Community Access Channels

Public, education and government access (PEG) channels are a hallmark of the cable industry. They were spawned in the 1970s when cable companies were mandated to set aside channels for local community use.

Originally, these channels were intended to give citizens the ability to make their own television shows on a first-come, first-serve basis subject only to obscenity and libel laws.

Channel 0

In its first season, which was based on the creepypasta Candle Cove, Channel 0 established itself as an interesting horror anthology. It had the benefit of a single director for each episode—a rarity in television—and a distinct visual style.

Showrunner Nick Antosca had the freedom to explore different horror tropes without having to worry about keeping the audience engaged. The result was an extremely compelling series that left viewers on edge. He has since gone on to write for other television shows, including the upcoming Hulu true crime drama The Act.

Channel 1

Many communities have tried to get Channel 1 out of their schools, but it’s a tough battle. Students have asked for alternative homerooms, spoken out at school board meetings and written newsletters in protest of the program.

The channel also features two minutes of skillful advertising each day, primarily for junk food and video games. That’s not something anyone wants in their children’s classrooms. Activists have fought to keep the ads off of Channel One for decades. And they might have succeeded. A Supreme Court decision has changed the landscape for PEG channels.

Channel 2

Public-access television, also known as community access TV, is a form of non-commercial mass media that allows ordinary people to create and transmit TV programming over cable. It is a channel in the cable system that is reserved free or at minimal cost to individuals and private nonprofit organizations.

The channels are usually run by the cable operator or a designated third party and offer crucial equipment and behind-the-scenes support for people interested in producing television. Most also provide conceptual and production training classes. A number of channels are available in countries worldwide.

Channel 3

Community access channels, known as public, education and government (PEG) channels, are a type of grassroots media that provides free speech to local citizens. They often operate television studio facilities and cable channels mandated by local governments as part of their cable franchise agreements.

The court found that operating the channel does not make the company a state actor and that it is not subject to First Amendment restrictions. The decision is a significant win for public access channel users. It will help protect the ability of PEG channels to air controversial programming.

Channel 4

When Channel 4 launched in 1982, it was a bold experiment. The tabloids delighted in reporting that few viewers were tuning in; early evening music show The Tube’s near-anarchic antics contrasted with BBC2’s sober, traditional offerings.

Despite its rocky start, the channel soon established itself as a force to be reckoned with. Documentary strands like Dispatches and Equinox won plaudits, while arts programs benefited from a larger timeslot. Comedy became a cornerstone of its remit, too; the savage satire Brass Eye caused offence, but also proved popular.

Channel 5

In 1997, Channel 5 launched as the UK’s last analogue television channel. It was a public service broadcaster and designed to appeal to a wide range of audiences.

It took a bold approach to programming and showed itself willing to experiment with known formats. A prime example was the cult series Family Affairs, which followed the middle-class Hart family from their home in outer London suburb Charnham.

Initially, the Channel 5 logo was a transparent ‘5’ cutout in a circle. In February 2011, a new version was introduced featuring a red ’5’ in a cube.

Channel 6

Community access channels, also known as PEG (public, educational and government), are television production facilities and channel capacity mandated by local governments as part of cable franchise agreements. They are uncurated free speech zones accessible to the public for a nominal fee.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Channel 6 was a leader in TV journalism, pioneering the personality-based, on-site news format that became common throughout the United States. The station also developed shows such as American Bandstand that helped define post-World War II teen culture.

In 2019 a divided U.S. Supreme Court decided that Manhattan Community Access Corporation, a private company that oversees NYC’s public access channels, is not a state actor subject to First Amendment constraints.

Channel 7

Channel 7 is a major free-to-air Australian television network. Its exclusive content includes international iterations of popular reality series like Big Brother, The Voice, and SAS UK: Who Dares Wins and huge sporting events like the AFL and Supercars.

Channel 7 also offers locally produced Public, Education and Government access (PEG) programming. PEG channels are usually run by local governments or non-profit organizations. They are sometimes referred to as community media. PEG channels often provide the equipment, knowledge and behind-the-scenes support that producers need to make shows.

Channel 8

Public-access television, also known as community media, is a grass roots medium of free speech. It consists of television production facilities and channels mandated by local governments as part of cable franchise agreements.

The resulting channels allow people to produce noncommercial programming and air it on a first-come, first-served basis, subject only to obscenity and slander laws. Over the years, local access channels have been a source of controversy and debate. They are currently in a state of flux.

Channel 9

Channel 9 is Australia’s national television network. It is owned and operated by Nine, and comprises GTV Melbourne, TCN Sydney, QTQ Brisbane, NWS Adelaide and WIN Television (serving regional areas) alongside the Macquarie Radio Network.

Public-access television, community television and media, and PEG channels are grassroots mediums of free speech that offer a variety of TV production facilities, channels and equipment to the general public for free or for a small fee. This can be an invaluable resource for communities. GO! also contributes to Nine’s weekly ratings wins.