John Stark's "brief online survey" of other public access channels overlooked the "performing arts, lectures, guest speakers, and specially produced programs on current issues" that are the staple of any public access channel. These types of programming as well as high-school sports, how-to shows, local music, etc. are located on any local community media channel. For example, I produced a 20-part series on the history of architecture with the University of Oregon art history department that was played on various public access channels. Separately, BTV10 produced coverage of the Ski to Sea Parade, which is normally a public-access type of show. Many such examples exist and help to refute the idea that public access is solely guys in hot tubs or church sermons.
In short, a public access channel is like the letters to the editor page or public comment period. A public channel reflects the community it serves and gives local residents the opportunity to talk to one another about matters of interest to them. It is a vital part of the three-part local community media tripod that includes government, educational, and public programming. Most importantly, public access channel allows us to use electronic media to practice our cherished First Amendment rights.
Robert B. Clark