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Barbara Popovic
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Barbara Popovic is Executive Director of Chicago Access Network Television (CAN TV). CAN TV gives every Chicagoan a voice on cable television by providing training, facilities, equipment and channel time for Chicago residents and nonprofit groups. Ms. Popovic advocates for public, educational and governmental (PEG) access through Alliance for Communications Democracy (ACD), an organization that participates in court cases involving constitutional questions about PEG access and Alliance for Community Media (ACM), the membership organization of PEG centers. She was instrumental in negotiating at the state level for protections for PEG funding and channels in what is now widely seen as the strongest state video franchise law for PEG. CAN TV spearheaded the Keep Us Connected (KUC) movement in Illinois for the preservation of localism and diversity through PEG Access.


Prior to CAN TV, Ms. Popovic was the Director of Cable Services for the City of Wheaton, Illinois, where she developed their first public access facility and institutional cable system. Ms. Popovic previously worked as a public affairs producer for WMAQ-TV, the NBC-TV owned and operated Chicago station, and taught television courses at Columbia College.

Entries by Barbara Popovic

Chicago City Council to Comcast: End the Delays and Support CAN TV

(2) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 4:41 AM

Comcast, Chicago's largest cable provider, is seeking a 10-year renewal of its cable franchise in Chicago. Nationally, Comcast's wants to take over Time Warner, combining the nation's two largest cable companies. The merger is attracting attention from the justice department, public officials, and a wide range of public interest groups....

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Chicago: A Test of Comcast Merger Promises

(0) Comments | Posted February 21, 2014 | 12:47 PM

The Chicago Committee on Finance will begin consideration of the 10-year renewal of Comcast's cable franchise in Chicago at its March 4, 2014 meeting in City Hall. CAN TV, the organization I represent, was founded by Chicago cable ordinance 30 years ago as the most significant public benefit to come...

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U-verse a Disconnect for the Disabled

(1) Comments | Posted July 15, 2013 | 12:25 PM

Today's Communications Daily reports that CAN TV is urging the FCC to adopt rules that assure the disability community can access local community television.

"The FCC should adopt user accessibility rules to compel AT&T's U-verse system to carry listings for public, educational and governmental (PEG) channels in order to...
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Illinois State Cable Bill Passes with Mixed Results

(4) Comments | Posted June 3, 2013 | 7:10 AM

Illinois' cable franchise law renewal was in the mash up of bills hitting the floor during the final week of the session in Springfield. Both the House and Senate voted to approve a two-year extension of the amended Cable and Video Competition Act (the Illinois Cable Act) to July of...

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Advocates Say Put the Public First in Illinois Cable Law

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2013 | 10:23 AM

This week, Illinois NATOA and Keep Us Connected members urged the Illinois House Public Utilities Committee to prevent industry attempts to erode public protections in Illinois' first statewide cable franchise law, which sunsets in October of this year.

2013-05-10-201359TelecomHearing2.jpg

At...

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Cable: A Recession Proof Industry

(0) Comments | Posted April 29, 2013 | 11:20 AM

The Illinois legislature will act this session to renew Illinois' Cable and Video Competition Act of 2007 ("The Cable Act") prior to its sunset in October of 2013.

The Cable Television and Communications Association of Illinois is seeking changes to the Cable Act that will cut back support and...

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Kentuckians Stop AT&T, Illinois Up Next

(2) Comments | Posted April 12, 2013 | 11:32 AM

News from Kentucky is that for the second year in a row, Kentuckians went head-to-head against AT&T and won. The large telecom company wanted to abandon a commitment to provide land line telephone service to everyone in the state. But after initially passing the Senate, Senate Bill 88, better known...

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Public Channels at Risk in Illinois Cable Law Renewal

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 4:25 PM

Members of the Keep Us Connected Coalition are urging the Illinois Legislature to protect public, education and government (PEG) access channels in the 2013 renewal of the Illinois Cable and Video Competition Act of 2007 ("the Cable Act").

Since passage of that law, AT&T has...

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Quinn Endorses Elected Chicago School Board

(1) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 3:33 PM

On this week's "Chicago Newsroom," Governor Pat Quinn offered clear, direct support for an elected school board, contrary to Mayor Emanuel's position. He also said that closing so many elementary schools all at once can be "dangerous." Here's host Ken Davis' description of the program:

Governor Pat Quinn offered a serious admonition to Chicago Public Schools leadership about closing 50-some elementary schools when he stopped by for a special edition of Chicago Newsroom on Friday.

"That has to be done with extreme care," he warned. "I would recommend to the school board of Chicago to take this in a very careful manner and not to do anything that's hasty or ill-conceived. To try and do it all in a very short period of time I think is dangerous."

But he went further, saying he also feels that very board should be replaced by an elected body.

"Ninety five percent of the school boards in America are elected by the people," he told us -- in direct disagreement with Mayor Emanuel -- "And I think the Chicago Board of Education which for years has been appointed, it would serve us well to have an elected school board... Don't you think that if we had an elected school board in Chicago, where I live, that more of the issues of education would be debated by folks who are elected by their fellow citizens? I think that's a healthy process."

Turning to the approximately $100 billion in pension liabilities the state faces, Quinn said he supports the pension reform bill sponsored by Rep. Nekritz that recently passed in the Illinois House. It's a highly controversial bill that's strongly opposed by many unions.

Quinn said that he agrees with key elements of the Nekritz bill, such as slowly increasing retirement age. "For younger people today you might have a little bit later retirement age when it's time for them to retire," he said. "And another one is to have a limit on how much money can be -- they call it -- pensionable. Social Security says it's about $113,000, and I think that's something we'll do in Illinois."

He also addressed cost-of-living adjustments, which he says need to be revisited. "The basic pension amount, I don't think anyone should touch. But the cost of living adjustment should be accurate. Right now in Illinois it's above the cost of living," he said.

Quinn says that in each of his years as governor he has made the required pension contribution, something ignored by previous administrations. "I think you need to write into law that the state can never again have "holidays".

Addressing automatic access to state health-care, he says "there's no automatic access to the state health-care system when you retire. Now the system is set up where there'll be a co-pay of some kind that's going to be set up by administrative rule... unlike other states we didn't have any kind of co-pay for those who are covered under the system, and we can't afford that any more. We can't afford a system where people get 100 percent of their retirement health care paid for by all the taxpayers."

He describes himself as optimistic that meaningful pension "reform" will pass. "Oh, yeah. I think this year a lot of the legislators ran in the last campaign on pension reform. The message is getting out that this needs to be done."

Quinn recently signed a law on sentencing policy reform that's supposed to change the kinds of offenses that can land, or keep, an offender in state prison.

"For folks who have committed a crime and have to pay a consequence, we want to make sure that if it's a non-violent crime... that we really don't treat everybody in a manner that just throws all the folks in state prison together," he says. " We work a lot with folks who have these alternative sentencing programs. It's a big endeavor. It's going to take a little while to implement it. But I want to make sure that our state prisons are there to incarcerate hard-core prisoners who have committed grievous offenses that jeopardize the public safety. For those who have committed less-serious offenses, there may be other alternative punishments... It's very expensive to go to a state prison."

Asked about the recent series by WBEZ'S Rob Wildeboer about numerous prison issues, including the housing of hundreds of men in prison gymnasiums due to overcrowding, the Governor acknowledged, but downplayed the situation: "The Director of Corrections and the Warden have to do what's necessary to preserve order in the prison, preserve safety, and they were able to do that."

On the topic of an assault weapons ban, Quinn said: "Now I believe in gun safety and I think that means we need to reform our laws. We have to ban assault weapons, also high-capacity ammunition magazines that go with those...

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NRA Wrong: Guns Are Offensive, Not Defensive Weapons

(11) Comments | Posted February 25, 2013 | 1:39 PM

Appearing on the latest edition of CANTV's Chicago Newsroom, author and publisher of We the People Media Ethan Michaeli takes on the NRA, whose instructors, he said, trained him in the use of firearms. You can read about it in host Ken Davis' description of the program below. Our other...

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How Much Did CFD's Life-saving Hold Down 2012 Murder Numbers?

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2013 | 8:08 AM

Our weekly news discussion program Chicago Newsroom tackled Wrigley Field renovations and Midway privatization this week, along with an intriguing look at the huge numbers of people whose lives the Chicago Fire Department saved last year. This is host Ken Davis' description of the show:

Here's an interesting mind-game. Imagine for a minute that Chicago didn't have the vast network of Fire Department ambulances and life-support equipped fire engines, along with the incredibly effective trauma staffs at area hospitals.

Now take into consideration the 1,893 people the Police Department says were shot and wounded in Chicago last year. By some estimates, the Fire Department saved hundreds, perhaps even a thousand lives in 2012. So what might the gun death toll have been without this emergency medical heroism? It's impossible to say, but way more than 506.

Ted Cox wrote about this hidden aspect of the gun toll in an early edition of DNAInfo, Chicago's newest online news source. "They're already dealing with the 500 deaths," he says on today's show. "That's bad enough publicity. You don't wanna say hey, we're saving 1,500 people who also got shot. It's a hard feel-good story to tell."

Over the past decade or more, Chicago's Fire Department has come to the point where emergency medicine is almost the Department's primary job, because they get so many medical calls. "There was one Fire Department official who said that his best estimate was that the Department treats about 90 percent of all the people who get shot (in Chicago)," Cox tells us.

Cox's stories raise an even more troubling hypothetical: If today's remarkable trauma network had been in place decades ago when shooting deaths were even higher than today, might the death totals for those years have looked more like today's?

We lead off the show with a conversation about Wrigley Field. Mayor Emanuel seems to be in a strong position to get the deal done this time, now that the Ricketts family has proposed spending its own money on stadium renovations. But there are real sticking points.

"The other thing that complicates this," explains the Tribune's Hal Dardick, our other panelist, "is these rooftops. The anomaly is enshrined in a twenty-year contract entered into in 2004 where the Cubs agreed to let them continue to operate the rooftops, they wouldn't block them, and (the rooftop owners) would give them 17 percent of the revenue the rooftop owners made. And they in turn went and invested tens of millions of dollars in these buildings. And the contract is still running."

"And I think there is a dispute brewing about exactly what it says," he adds. "Does it say you can't block their views, or what exactly does it say? It's a private contract -- no one has gotten their hands on that."

So whatever is arranged between the Cubs and the rooftop owners is a private matter, but the city can help negotiate a different deal if necessary. In any case, there's the complicated entanglement of landmarks issues, since city approval would be needed for anything that materially changes the appearance of the historic park. And there will be contentious negotiations with the neighbors, since the Cubs seem to be demanding a large increase in the number of permitted night games, or possibly an elimination of all restrictions.

We also tackle the impending privatization of Midway. It can be difficult to understand how the average citizen benefits from leasing such a well-run city asset to a private entity, which will be drawing profit from the operation and obviously raising consumer prices to fund that profit. But Dardick says the city could benefit in several ways.

"First of all, there's more than a billion dollars in debt at Midway," Hardick says. That's debt that was accrued during the massive remodeling in the '90s. "If you get that debt off the books it enables the city to borrow money to do other things. And all the revenue that comes in at Midway is used at Midway. It's all part of the Aviation Department. This could not only pay off some debt but it could bring in a new revenue stream that the mayor ostensibly could divert to other infrastructure projects outside of the airport. So it would give him more financial...

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Joravsky on Rahm: "And He Wonders Why No One Trusts Him"

(0) Comments | Posted December 26, 2012 | 2:56 PM

Does Mayor Emanuel already know what schools he wants to close in March? The Reader's Ben Joravsky thinks he does. And WBEZ's Achy Obejas thinks that there's not going to be much movement on gun regulation after all the special interests have their say. They made their comments and predictions...

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Budgets, Unions and Billborads

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2012 | 4:39 PM

The City Council passed its six-billion dollar budget with only three dissenting votes yesterday, and on this week's Chicago Newsroom host Ken Davis welcomed the Reader's Mick Dumke and Sun-Times/WFMT culture critic Andrew Patner for a discussion about budgets, unions, billborads and handguns in carry-ons. Here's Ken's description:

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Will Cook County Dems Coalesce Around One Second District Candidate?

(0) Comments | Posted November 30, 2012 | 4:31 PM

This week on CAN TV's Chicago Newsroom, host Ken Davis and the panelists discuss the crowded race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr, the proposed five-year moratorium on school closings and some very interesting developments in local journalism. Here's Ken's description.

It's hard to keep track of how many...

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The Pension Referendum Was Rejected. So Now What?

(0) Comments | Posted November 16, 2012 | 3:05 PM

Chicago had two important referendum issues on many of its ballots on November 6. The "pension reform" question went down to defeat, and the elected school board issue passed with overwhelming numbers in the hundreds of precincts where it was presented to the voters.

On this week's Chicago Newsroom we...

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"In Chicago, You're Either Prey or Predator"

(4) Comments | Posted October 29, 2012 | 4:10 PM

That's the sentiment a Chicago gang member expressed to Diane Sawyer in her recent "20/20" broadcast. We talk about it on this week's "Chicago Newsroom," as host Ken Davis explains...

The whole conversation was distressing to Jet Magazine Senior Editor Kyra Kyles, who joined our latest discussion.

"And...

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$30 Million? So the Speed Cameras Were About Raising Revenue?

(1) Comments | Posted October 22, 2012 | 10:24 AM

Mayor Emanuel has been widely praised for his new budget, and there have been relatively few complaints about his eight billion dollar proposal. But on this week's Chicago Newsroom, CAN TV's local news discussion program, Ben Joravsky and Miguel Del Valle say $30 million dollars may be a...

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Rahm's New Budget Still Faces Steep Hurdles

(0) Comments | Posted October 12, 2012 | 6:53 PM

We talked about Mayor Emanuel's new budget on this week's Chicago Newsroom, and about Community Media Workshop's latest report on how Chicagoans get their news. Host Ken Davis says the new budget still has some unsettle numbers in it:

Mayor Emanuel has released his 2014 budget, and,...

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Romney Energy Plan Doesn't Make U.S. Safer or Reduce Prices

(3) Comments | Posted October 5, 2012 | 3:05 PM

This post was originally published on Chicago Newsroom.

On this week's edition of CAN TV's Chicago Newsroom, host Ken Davis talked global energy policy with Chicago author Kari Leydersen. Here's Ken's description of the show:

At Wednesday's presidential debate, Mitt Romney, explaining what would be his...

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The Ever-Changing CHA Plan for Transformation

(2) Comments | Posted September 29, 2012 | 5:41 PM

On CAN TV's Chicago Newsroom this week, we took a look at the CHA's Plan for Transformation. Here's host Ken Davis' description of the discussion.

We started with a succinct explanation of the CHA's Plan for Transformation:


Mayor Daley was a very successful politician, and he was...

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