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May 2019 | Jacque Smith

Happy May! At last we are seeing some tinges of green in the trees, hopefully warmer weather and sunny days aren’t far behind. This summer will be well-earned.

I hope you are all taking advantage of reading the Capitol Updates from Joe Bagnoli, filled with interesting insight and insider information from the legislative session. Visit www.mactamn.org, sign in and visit the “Members Only” section under “Membership” to view the updates. Thank you to Mark Martinez and Jodie Miller for their continued work to bring legislative news to our membership and

MACTA recently sent a letter to the Minnesota Congressional Delegation regarding impacts of the proposed FCC action for cable franchising. You can read a copy of the letter here. Thanks to the MACTA legislative policy committee for staying informed of developments at the federal level and working to keep our elected representatives aware of the impacts to their constituents.

April 2019 | Jacque Smith

The end of March brought some warmer weather and sunny days – let’s hope that continues into April. While everything is coming up daisies, MACTA is bursting with opportunities for growth and learning this spring!

I want to give special recognition to MACTA Vice-President Mark Martinez, who at the end of March launched the new MACTA legislative update email. This update is packed with great information and provides yet another great benefit to our MACTA membership. Mark isn’t done yet – he has a few more excellent ideas up his sleeve so stay tuned for more on the legislative front to keep MACTA members informed and active at the local, state and federal level.

Thank you to the PEG committee, including host-with-the-most and excellent timekeeper Tim Sasse, for hosting a successful February film festival at the City of Bloomington. Nine producers showcased a video each, talked about the methods used for production, and took questions from the audience. Nearly 50 people attended. Great job PEG Committee! Tim Sasse has passed the leadership baton to Carmen Hauck, who is now capably leading the PEG Committee members as they help plan for the June annual conference.

Hopefully you entered the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators (MAGC) Northern Lights Award Contest, and volunteered to help judge. The awards reception is Wednesday, May 22, at a venue yet to be announced. Visit www.magconline.org for more information.

February/March 2019 | Jacque Smith

Whether you’re grumbling about shoveling or embracing the snow, we can count on the fact that spring is just around the corner – along with a number of exciting MACTA events!

The February 28 winter workshop at the City of Bloomington was a great success, with seven presenters showing their video productions and answering questions. More than 25 attended and enjoyed the workshop, lunch and networking. Thank you to Tim Sasse and members of the PEG committee, along with the presenters, for organizing this event!

Mark your calendars

Day at the Capitol: April 3

Join your colleagues at the capitol for a day of learning and meeting with your representatives! More details are on the way, but for now save the date on your calendar. 

Brown bag lunch/workshop: April 17

Join Tom Wright at Hastings Community Television for a workshop, studio tour and lunch Wednesday, April 17, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. More details to come, but a demo of Sling Studio has been mentioned!

Annual conference: June 13

Everyone who’s anyone will be at the Union Depot in St. Paul on Thursday, June 13, for the MACTA annual conference. A new venue and some exciting features and speakers for the day are in the works, so you won’t want to miss this year’s conference. Be sure to keep the evening open for an exciting activity/networking event!

Committee reports

Thanks to all of you who answered the call to serve on a MACTA committee! We have filled out most of the empty spots; however, new participants are welcome on any of the committees. If you’re interested contact info@mactamn.org

Here’s a snapshot of what the various committees have been doing:

Conference/Education (Tim Finnerty, Janine Hill, Mark Martinez, Tim Sasse, Eric Strouse)

It’s all annual conference, all the time at the conference committee! After identifying a great new location for this year’s conference, it’s on to planning the nuts and bolts of the day as well as an evening networking event.

Communications (Jacque Smith, Marty Doll, Dave Kiser, Lori Pulkrabek, Tom Wright)

In addition to continuing the monthly e-Brief production, the communications committee will be tackling the migration of the MACTA website to a new platform that will provide an updated look, better organization and an improved user experience. The goal is to have the new website launched by mid-second quarter 2019.

Legislative (Mark Martinez, Jodie Miller)

Planning for Day at the Capitol April 3 is at the top of the list for this committee! Look for more information soon about how to register and the itinerary for the day’s events.

Membership (Marty Doll, Eric Strouse, Lori Pulkrabek)

This committee spent time in 2018 recruiting lapsed members back to MACTA, and understanding what MACTA can offer to entice new members. With 2019 membership renewals now overdue, this committee will be reviewing those who did not renew and follow up with those organizations with the benefits of MACTA membership.

PEG committee (Carmen Hauck, Vanessa Van Alstine, Nick Nelson, Tim Sasse, Eric Strouse)

Having wrapped up a successful winter event, the PEG committee will pivot to providing support and assistance for workshops or speakers at the annual conference. 

Legislative Update

MACTA’s lobbyist, Joe Bagnoli, provides weekly updates for the benefit of MACTA members. Below are some excerpts from his February 22 update.

Governor Tim Walz released his first state budget. True to his rhetoric during the campaign it makes major investments in transportation, K-12 schools and health care. The $49.6 billion budget calls for an increase in spending of approximately $2 billion or approximately 8.5 percent increase in new spending for the two-year budget cycle. 

This budget includes a 20-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase; increases in car tabs; a new 1/8-of-a-cent sales tax in the metro-area; extending the 2 percent tax on health care providers; and changes in corporate tax collections. Several areas in the budget reflect Walz's priorities. Walz campaigned on the increased transportation and transit funding ($10 billion over 10 years), increases in health care access, broadband grants and education - and that's exactly what he did.

MACTA-specific items

Governor Walz’s budget proposed the following:

  • $35 million in FY 2020 and $35 million in FY 2021 to the “Border-to-Border Broadband Development Grant Program. This is proposed as a down payment toward meeting the statutory goal of border-to-border access of 25 Mbps/3Mbps broadband service by 2022.
  • $70 million per year to fund the Office of Broadband within the Department of Employment and Economic Development – DEED.

House overview of the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program

On Wednesday, February 20, the House Greater Minnesota Jobs and Economic Development Finance Division had an overview of the Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program. Office of Broadband Director Danna MacKenzie largely went through a PowerPoint presentation that outlined the history of the grant program, and the types of projects that are funded. Also testifying were the Minnesota Telecom Alliance and the Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition.

Here’s to a March that goes out like a lamb!

January 2019 | Jacque Smith


Happy New Year!

I am excited to take over the duties as your new MACTA President, and look forward to serving you over the course of my term.

Your MACTA board of directors met for its inaugural 2019 monthly meeting with four new members – Scott Denfeld, Tim Finnerty, Dave Kaiser and Tom Wright, as well as returning board members Mark Martinez, Jacque Smith (formerly Larson) and Eric Strouse. The following members were elected to officer positions:

  • Secretary/Treasurer: Tom Wright
  • Vice President: Mark Martinez
  • President: Jacque Smith

A big thank you to our outgoing president, Janine Hill, and to outgoing board members Marty Doll and Lori Pulkrabek, who continue to contribute to MACTA through service on our subcommittees, and Karen George, who has joined the NATOA board of directors.

Mark Your Calendars

Winter PEG Workshop:              Thursday, Feb. 28

The PEG committee is planning a workshop Thursday, Feb. 28, at Bloomington City Hall featuring video work from several of your colleagues from across MACTA. More to come soon on registration and details for this workshop.

Brown Bag Lunch/Workshop:     Wednesday, April 17

Join Tom Wright at Hastings Community Television for a tour and lunch Wednesday, April 17, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

MACTA Annual Conference:       Thursday, June 13

Board member Eric Strouse has been busy leading the conference committee and has identified an exciting new venue for this year’s conference! Stay tuned for the big announcement! In the meantime, mark your calendar for June 13. Be sure to keep the evening open too – more details to come! 

Help Wanted!

MACTA Subcommittee Positions Open

Members who want to contribute to MACTA without the commitment of a board position are invited to participate in a subcommittee. There’s something for everyone, including PEG, Communications, Legislative and Membership. The time commitment is relatively small – usually a phone call once a month.

If you’re interested or want to learn more, contact me or another board member to learn more. We have several positions to fill and will be actively recruiting to ensure MACTA can continue to provide great services to its members. 

MAGC Northern Lights Contest Judges Needed

MACTA will partner again this year with the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators (MAGC) on the video portion of the Northern Lights Contest. MAGC has requested about 21 judges, who will review entries from late March through mid-April. Video entries will be from the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers (TAMIO).

If you’re interested, send your name and email to info@mactamn.org.

Know your lobbyists

This latest edition of MN Cities magazine from the League of Minnesota Cities introduced the LMC lobbyists that advocate for cities at the Capitol. Read more here

All the best,


December 2018 | Janine Hill

With the theme “How will we work together to make 2019 a successful year for MACTA?” as our guide, the board of directors welcomed four newly elected board members to a daylong planning retreat this month to identify priorities for the coming year.

We discussed this past year and reviewed our accomplishments, shortfalls, trends and organizational vision. We gathered into small groups to set tasks and timing for next year’s goals as they related to our key action items identified in 2017: recruitment, retention, operations, communications, programming, legislative and outreach.

The result of this effort will be a focused, positive direction for this organization in 2019. I am confident members will see the benefits of this continued strategic planning. In January, the board of directors will meet to develop a work plan, make committee assignments and elect officers. At our planning retreat, the board elected Jacque Larson as interim president until the first board meeting of the year.

Legislative and LMC News

The Legislative session begins on January 8. MACTA will again retain McGrann Shea to provide lobbying and consulting services on legislative and administrative activities at the state level in 2019.

We will look forward to weekly legislative updates from Joe Bagnoli on issues related to cable, broadband and rights-of-way. You can find these updates on MACTA’s website under the “Members Only” section.

The League of Minnesota Cities 2019 City Policies were adopted last month. Check out the policies and take note of legislative priorities you may want to discuss with state legislators for the upcoming session.

Of particular note are the following areas of focus highlighted in the “Improving Local Economies,” section LE-15 through LE-19: Telecommunications and Information Technology; Broadband; Competitive Cable Franchising Authority; Right-of-Way Management; Wireless Infrastructure and Equipment Siting.

Daniel Lightfoot is the League of Minnesota’s new lobbyist who will be covering telecommunications and housing issues. We welcome Daniel to his new position with LMC and look forward to working with him on issues our member cities face.

Farewell to Outgoing Board Members

As you know I, along with board members Marty Doll, Karen George and Lori Pulkrabek, decided not to seek another term on the MACTA board. I have thoroughly enjoyed these past eight years, serving with some of the best, most talented and hardworking people anyone could hope to collaborate with. It was my pleasure to serve in officer roles, on committees and as president of this fine organization. I’m looking forward to what this new board will achieve and am excited to see new faces join the leadership team. MACTA is in great hands! 

I have commented so many times on how my organization and I have benefited from MACTA over the years. I will continue to be an active member on MACTA’s conference committee and with legislative activities. Hope to see you around at upcoming events like MACTA’s Brown Bag Luncheons, PEG workshops or annual conference. Thank you for your membership!

I wish all of you the very best this holiday season, and good health and happiness in the new year!

All the best,



November 2018 | Janine Hill

I am pleased to announce new MACTA leadership for the coming year. Scott Denfeld, Tim Finnerty, Dave Kiser and Tom Wright were elected to the MACTA board of directors for two-year terms, beginning January 1, 2019. Filling out the leadership team are returning board members Jacque Larson, Mark Martinez and Eric Strouse. Board of Directors Marty Doll, Karen George, Lori Pulkrabek and I are stepping down at the end of the year. 

Welcome Newly Elected Board Members   

Newly elected board members (left to right) Scott Denfeld, Tim Finnerty, Dave Kiser and Tom Wright


For many years, I have admired and appreciated Scott Denfeld’s videography talents and creativity. Scott is a multiple award-winning producer and has been a tremendous asset to the City of Edina for the last 10 years. MACTA will benefit from his skills, as well.

Tim Finnerty is bringing years of expert knowledge and experience to this organization, having previously served on the MACTA board in the 90s and on various committees. Tim has served as Executive Director for Ramsey/Washington Counties Suburban Cable Communications Commission & Suburban Community Channels since 1992. It’s great to have Tim back.

Talk about accomplishments. Dave Kiser has worked at CCX Media in a wide variety of roles since 1986 and is currently the Assistant Executive Director. According to his peers, Dave is a well-respected, thoughtful leader and we are very fortunate to have him on the board. 

If all of the awesome things going on at Hastings TV are any indicator, Tom Wright is sure to bring a lot of value to the board. Tom has been the Executive Director of Hastings Community TV since 2008, overseeing a small, yet very talented, award-winning staff. Check out their video productions – you’ll agree!


Thank You Outgoing Board Members

Outgoing board members (left to right) Marty Doll, Karen George and Lori Pulkrabek  


Marty Doll, Communications Coordinator for the City of Burnsville, is MACTA’s Vice President and has served on the board of directors since 2013. He has been instrumental in our communications to members, coordinating the MACTA e-Brief each month as well as taking the lead on updating website content and other materials. Marty helped launch the e-Brief newsletter to members and authored its design. He is a very skilled leader and communicator among many other talents. I am grateful for his contributions. He has been a tremendous asset to this organization.

MACTA Secretary Karen George, Executive Director for Quad Cities Television, was first appointed to the board in late 2012.   Karen first served on the PEG Committee and, as its chair, she expertly outlined and executed goals that resulted in excellent track sessions for the annual conference and engaging, well-attended standalone workshops. I highly value Karen’s contributions to this organization. Karen will continue her service in leadership as a NATOA board member.

Director At-Large Lori Pulkrabek, Commissioner for Ramsey Washington Suburban Cable Commission, has served on the board since 2013 . She is the Membership Committee Chair and has done a stellar job at recruitment and retention of our members, two of the board’s strategic priorities for the year. Lori is also a longtime Communications Committee member coordinating the latest news for members and the popular “Facility of the Quarter” feature. Lori has many, many notable accomplishments during her years of service. It has been a pleasure serving with her.

As stated above, I will also be stepping down from the board, after serving since 2011. I am thankful for many things. Serving with these board members and those who are serving another term is at the top of the list.

I am also thankful for MACTA and would like to thank you all for being members. MACTA is highly respected among state chapters around the country. It is because of all of you that we remain a strong, thriving organization.

My heartfelt thanks,



October 2018 | Janine Hill

Happy fall! October brought us a colorful Brown Bag Luncheon and informative Annual Membership

Business Meeting at CCX Media in Brooklyn Park. Thanks to CCX Media Executive Director Mike Johnson and his team for hosting and for providing a delicious lunch. 

Attendees were also treated to an overview of CCX Media branding and a tour of its impressive facility and operations. Covering nine cities, CCX Media sees, on average, a whopping 350,000 views per month – and that’s just the stats they track on YouTube! (Last month’s Facebook video views were 115,000.)

Want to learn more? Check out CCX Media’s programming.

Highlights of the Annual Membership Business Meeting included MACTA’s 2018 activities and accomplishments, committee reports and nominations for the 2019 board of director open seats.

Thanks to NATOA Past President and MACTA Legislative Committee Co-Chair Jodie Miller for giving us an update on what’s happening at the federal level. Thanks to all who attended!

LMC Draft 2019 City Policies

The League of Minnesota Cities’ Draft 2019 City Policies are available online. LMC is seeking comments from members and affiliate groups until Friday, November 2. Comments can be sent to policycomments@lmc.org. In your message, include a reference to the specific policy number, your organization/city, your name and your title. Your comments will be included in the information shared with the LMC Board of Directors prior to consideration and adoption of the 2019 policies.

FCC Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

On September 25, the FCC released a Second Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, proposing new rules for how local franchising authorities may regulate cable operators and cable television services.

The FCC is proposing to redefine the franchise fee and include all previously negotiated in-kind considerations and anything related to cable, e.g. free cable service to government and school buildings, SD and HD channels, electronic programming guides, I-Net facilities, etc., as part of the five percent franchise fee.

Under the proposal, cable companies would be able to quantify these in-kind considerations and deduct them at “fair market value” from the franchise fee. By some estimates, the impacts could reduce the franchise fee by 20 percent or more for many local governments.

Comments are due on or before November 14, 2018.  Reply comments will be due 30 days thereafter. NATOA’s General Counsel Nancy Werner prepared a template that all MACTA members can use as a guide for submitting comments. We will be sending that out to members in an email soon.

FCC Declaratory Ruling and Order

On September 26, the FCC approved a Declaratory Ruling and Third Report and Order that restricts state and local regulation of small cell wireless deployment. The LMC has posted more information on its website regarding this order.

Visit MACTA’s website for more on recent comments submitted to the FCC.

Action Steps

MACTA continues to oppose preemptive action by the FCC that will impact our communities. Cities need to take action. It is important that we continue to tell the stories of local government. Let the FCC know how you are doing things in your communities and how you are doing it right. Please take the time to understand these issues that affect all of us and submit your individual comments. Do not hesitate to contact MACTA or NATOA for further information. 

Until next time,



September 2018 | Janine Hill

During the state chapters’ meeting at NATOA’s Annual Conference in Philadelphia last month, I was delighted to sit next to NATOA Board Member Chris Jaramillo who is from Seattle and represents King County, WA. She had great things to say about MACTA, expressing to me that “Minnesota is the gold standard among chapters.”

Our organization is indeed impressive. MACTA’s notable chapter activities describe some of our accomplishments the first half of this year. Our communications to members is a model for our national organization. NATOA leaders often mention they look to emulate our e-Brief newsletter and surveys show members find value in it.

MACTA members are experts in their fields. Several presented on technology, station management and production along with their peers from around the country at the national conference. Minnesota also had quite a showing at this year’s GPA Awards. Thirty-one MACTA member organizations received GPA awards (4 first place) and several other member cities have received nominations for Upper Midwest Emmy Awards and recognition from the City County Communications and Marketing Association’s Savvy Awards contest. Check out all of the award winners.

You are doing remarkable work in your communities and contributing to MACTA’s high level presence on the national stage. I am proud to be part of this first-rate organization.

LMC Telecommunications Task Force
Thank you to the League of Minnesota Cities’ (LMC) for holding its annual Telecommunications Task Force meeting on Sept 10. Several MACTA members were in attendance and gave valuable input during the discussions. Rights-of-way and maintaining local authority continue as top priority issues for our cities and organizations.

The LMC’s 2018 City Policy Statements include Telecommunications and Information Technology, Broadband, Competitive Cable Franchising Authority, Right-of-Way Management and Wireless Tower and Antenna Siting.

Task force members are planning to tweak some of the language over the next several weeks. The recommendations will be presented to the Local Economies Policy Committee at an upcoming meeting. 

Eagan’s Tom Garrison to Retire

After a nearly 40-year career in communications, Eagan Communications Director Tom Garrison will retire on October 4. Tom’s impressive contributions in telecommunications and broadband have had impacts at both the state and local levels.

Tom helped with legislation that led to the creation of the Minnesota High Speed Broadband Task Force in 2008. Appointed as a representative of Minnesota cities, Tom served a two-year term on the inaugural task force whose recommendations led to the creation of the Minnesota Office of Broadband. Tom has also been a longtime member of the League of Minnesota Cities’ Telecommunications Task Force.

Tom created the Eagan Technology Working Group in 2004. Since then he has been the City’s liaison, mapping where fiber is installed, advocating for higher broadband speeds and helping establish a nearly 40-mile fiber backbone known as AccessEagan that has helped strengthen regional connectivity.

Tom was also instrumental in Eagan’s partnership with Thomson Reuters that resulted in the formation of Eagan Television – a partnership that was recognized by the Humphrey Institute in 2009-2010 with a Local Government Innovation Award. For more, visit Notable Member News.

Congratulations, Tom! Enjoy your retirement! 

Until next month!



August 2018 | Janine Hill

“The greatest goal of leadership is inspiring leadership in others.”— Brett Culp, filmmaker “Legends of the Knight.”

MACTA is an organization of leaders. I could fill many columns expressing the talents and leadership qualities of our members, but here are a few of these inspiring leaders who have recent news.

Minnesota continues to be well represented at the national level

MACTA Board Member Karen George will be appointed to serve on the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) board at the organization’s annual conference in Philadelphia at the end of August. She will fill an open seat on the board, serving the remaining year of a two-year term.

Among other objectives, Karen said she is enthusiastic about continuing the strong traditions of NATOA's leading voice in legislation and regulation that affect telecommunications policy. As a NATOA board member, Karen will maintain Minnesota's long involvement with our national organization and a strong commitment to PEG services at the local level. Karen will maintain Minnesota's long involvement with our national organization and a strong commitment to PEG services at the local level.

Mike Johnson, executive director of the Northwest Suburbs Cable Communications Commission and Northwest Community Television/CCX Media, is completing his two-year term this month on the NATOA board of directors, during which he served as chairperson of the NATOA communications committee.

Mike will now focus his energy serving as a board member of the Alliance for Community Media (ACM). Appointed to the ACM board in April, Mike is currently serving on the finance and fund development committees and said he is excited to help carry out ACM's mission and strategic plan. 

Congratulations to Laura Ziegler, senior intergovernmental relations liaison with the League of Minnesota Cities, who recently accepted a new position with Associated General Contractors as director of highway/heavy and government affairs. She starts her new job September 10.

Laura has been with the League since 2013. She worked closely with MACTA on policy guidance in the areas of cable, telecom and broadband, and was a tireless supporter of Minnesota cities’ ability to manage their rights-of-way.

Many, many thanks to Laura for her support and all the best to her as she takes on a new position. Laura said she’ll miss working with city officials and MACTA, but she hopes to see many of you at the state Capitol in her new role.


Keep inspiring others

There are many who enhance this organization and inspire me and others to want to achieve something extraordinary. You achieve greatness on a daily basis, producing, maintaining, troubleshooting or managing your productions and facilities that result in award-winning local stories and news so important to your community members.


Carry on, leaders!



July 2018 | Janine Hill

Our local programming and the ways we use our resources can positively impact our communities. I recently had the opportunity to observe a fantastic youth engagement program happening this summer that is a partnership between Bloomington Community Access Television (BCAT) and City of Edina’s SWTV, a member city of the Southwest Suburban Cable Commission.

The program was made possible through the hard work and talent of BCAT’s Ben Vinar and SWTV’s Dietrich Nissen.

The two organizations held the first of three weeklong video boot camps for teens ages 12 – 17 last month at Bloomington’s public access facility. Fifteen teens attended the first camp and were very enthusiastic and excited to learn how to use video cameras, and understand audio, lighting and editing techniques to create short videos as a group.

It’s encouraging to see youth eager to move beyond cell phone videos and engage in video production this way. One participant said the reason he signed up for the class was to be able to get a chance to work with professional production equipment. Another said "I loved having fun using high-tech and quality resources as well as making a video with new people that I hadn't known before." It was also amazing to see around 40 – 50 family and friends of the participants attend the last day of the camp to watch a screening of the student productions.

The Teen Video Boot Camp proved so popular that two more sessions were added to accommodate the participant response. Check out these talented future videographers in action. View the student productions, and a feature video about the Teen Video Boot Camp.

Hope you are enjoying your summer!




June 2018 | Janine Hill

Summer is upon us! With lots of fun, local activities and events to cover for your PEG channel programming, this time of year offers a great opportunity to capture the best of your communities while the temps are warm and everything is in bloom.


What did you think of the 35th Annual MACTA Conference & Trade Show? Knowing previous years’ popularity with the vendors and equipment, we decided to make it official and hold a trade show alongside the conference this year. A total of 20 sponsors provided the best in services and the latest in new technology for attendees. We also received some great feedback on the sessions and, of course, the highlight was meeting new members and getting to better know some of our current ones.


Check out the Conference Recap.


Updates from NATOA
Nancy Werner, NATOA General Counsel, provided members with an excellent overview of what’s happening on the national stage at the recent MACTA conference. Two recent updates include:

Small Cells Deployment
Earlier this month, NATOA filed a Petition for Reconsideration on the FCC’s exemptions for small cell facilities from federal environmental protection and historic preservation review.

Nancy noted that “the Petition points out that the Order fails to address the (i) impacts of Section 6409 on the availability of state/local environmental and historic preservation reviews; (ii) environmental and historic preservation impacts of denser deployments in a relatively small area; or (iii) inconsistencies with the Collocation NPA (FCC’s Nationwide Programmatic Agreement).”

MACTA agrees with NATOA’s concerns that the order sets a definition for small wireless facilities and that it is important to get on record that we disagree with these exemptions.

BDAC and Wireless/Wireline Infrastructure
Last month, I reported on the working group within the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) and its approval of model state and municipal codes for broadband and small cell implementation. MACTA believes these model codes may potentially have a negative impact on local control of rights-of-way.

NATOA, along with the National League of Cities, the National Association of Regional Councils, the National Association of Counties, and the National Association of Towns and Townships recently filed a Letter in the BDAC and Wireless/Wireline Infrastructure Proceedings. The letter discussed concerns with the BDAC process, model codes, rates and fees report from the BDAC working group.

For a high-level overview of the model codes, please take a look at the Overview of Draft BDAC Model Codes Nancy Werner prepared. Please note you will need to log-in to MACTA’s “Members Only” section to view the document.

Reg Dunlap Announces Retirement
Reg Dunlap, Civic TV Coordinator for the City of St. Louis Park, will retire on July 31, 2018. For the last 30 years, Reg has contributed a great deal not only to St. Louis Park, but to the metro community television industry as a whole.

Reg organized the Minnesota Government Access Producers (MGAP) in 1994 and chaired it for 15 years, creating opportunities for producers to share information and tour city halls. He served two terms on the MACTA board of directors, ending his most recent term as treasurer in November 2017. He also led the Membership Committee during that time.

Reg led the way for St. Louis Park to be among the first cities to stream local cable channels, upload television programs online and transition to HD programming. In addition to recording hundreds of public meetings, candidate forums and special events and producing three long-running news programs, Reg served as franchise officer for the city’s cable television providers and has been liaison to the city’s Telecommunications Advisory Commissions since 1996.

Thanks to Reg for his many, many contributions to MACTA and our industry. We wish him a happy and healthy retirement. Congratulations, Reg!

Learn more about Reg’s retirement and farewell receptions in Notable Member News.

Until next time,

May 2018 | Janine Hill

We’ve always known our members were all-stars, and two of them recently received top honors from the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators (MAGC) at its Northern Lights Awards ceremony last week.

St. Louis Park’s Communications and Marketing Manager Jacque Larson was honored with MAGC’s Communicator of the Year Award and North Suburban Communications Commission/CTV North Suburbs Executive Director Cor Wilson received MAGC’s Lifetime Achievement Award. I am honored to know and to have worked with these two remarkable women. 

An outstanding leader and gifted communicator, Jacque Larson truly deserves MAGC’s Communicator of the Year Award. I have known Jacque for many years and admire her professionalism and many talents. She is greatly respected by her peers, her staff and the city leaders and elected officials she serves with. Currently serving as an officer on the MACTA board and on both the Communications and PEG Committees, Jacque is a true asset to this organization.

With an impressive career of nearly 40 years in local government, Cor is a model recipient of MAGC’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Cor has represented local government interests for many years, serving on the board of directors and as president of both MACTA and NATOA. Her contributions and expertise in the planning of MACTA’s annual conferences over the years has been invaluable. Cor will be retiring this year on June 8. She has been a mentor for many of us. We are happy for her, but will greatly miss her talents and expertise. 

Congratulations, Jacque and Cor! Learn more about their accomplishments in Notable Member News.

Federal Updates

Working groups within the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC) recently approved model state and municipal codes for broadband and small cell implementation. MACTA believes these model codes may potentially have a negative impact on local control of rights-of-way. The National League of Cities and NATOA are working on a municipal action guide for small-cell deployment for local municipalities this summer. The guide will be published as an alternative to the model code released by the FCC Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee (BDAC). In June, BDAC plans a “harmonization process” of the code with a state model code that cities oppose.

Annual Conference

Don’t forget to join us for the Annual Conference & Trade Show on June 13. We have an outstanding line-up this year!

See you soon,


April 2018 | Janine Hill

Approximately 20 people attended MACTA’s April 11 Day at the Capitol event. One of the highlights was the tours of the impressive video control rooms at the Senate and House. What a great opportunity to view live productions of the House Public Safety and Security Policy and Finance Committee that day and the taping of “Capitol Report” over on the Senate side. We learned a great deal from Alpha Video and House/Senate production staff as they showed off their state-of-the-art facilities.



A big thanks to the League of Minnesota Cities’ Laura Ziegler, our lobbyist Joe Bagnoli and NDC4’s and former NATOA president Jodie Miller for always being such great resources and for giving us a comprehensive overview of what’s happening locally during this Legislative session.

Small Cell/Broadband Update
We know that last year’s small cell wireless siting was the big issue, and wireless companies have begun deployment in cities.

“We have not heard of any big issues, but we are collecting data and getting feedback to make sure,” Ziegler said. “As always, this is a concern for the long term, as we support the rights of cities to control their rights-of-way.”

Minnesota has long been a leader in broadband and has made it a priority to ensure that the unserved and underserved are not left behind. We had a brief discussion about a bill proposed recently (though not expected to pass) that amends the successful border-to-border broadband grant program.

Jodie Miller posed the question “Why do we care?” To answer, she pointed out how the Minnesota Task Force has set broadband speed goals, set up a grant program and even appointed a director of broadband.

“All these things other states would love to have,” she said. “Building out Greater Minnesota is helpful to the metro area and supports important efforts like digital inclusion.”

We’ll continue to keep an eye on anything that may pop up before the session ends May 21. Be sure to check out the most recent “MACTA Capitol Updates” in our “Members Only” section.

Thanks to everyone who attended and to Mark Martinez, Dietrich Nissen and Jodie Miller for coordinating the event. It was good to see many familiar faces and some new ones!

All the best,



March 2018 | Janine Hill

MACTA’s membership is strong and continues to thrive because of members like you. Thank you to all who continue to find this organization beneficial and support its efforts by renewing your membership for 2018. It’s nice to see so many onboard.

I had the opportunity to reflect on the benefits of this organization when a potential member recently asked me: Why MACTA?

My organization and I have gained a lot of value from MACTA over the years. Most importantly, from a Legislative and funding perspective. Bloomington’s communications operations are funded through cable franchise fees, so understanding the policies and actions that could impact that funding is extremely valuable.

Cable Franchising
I’ve participated in many phone conferences, workshops and other meetings provided by MACTA to learn important information about cable franchising; heard from other members who were in the negotiation process; and received important legal tips from presenters. This was invaluable during my city’s franchise negotiations.

Legislative Issues
MACTA keeps me abreast of legislative issues that may impact all of us. I’ve had to report on these issues to my city leadership, and have looked to MACTA for advice. I’m looking forward to getting the latest news and meeting our legislators at MACTA’s Day at the Capitol event on April 11.

It has been very helpful to get weekly Legislative updates. Members can view the MACTA’s March 18 Capital Update Report online. Please note, you will need to log-in to view the Legislative Monitoring page under the “Members Only” section. 

Video Production & Storytelling

As MACTA members, my staff and I have also benefitted greatly from a production, technical and creative perspective. For example, the educational opportunity provided by the PEG committee's recent storytelling workshop - it was a huge success, and very well received. Video of the workshop is available online in MACTA’s “Members Only” section. (Please note you will need to log in.) My staff and I also regularly work with video producers from other member cities to learn about the latest technology and production equipment available, and solutions to other issues that arise. 

National Issues

MACTA also keeps me up-to-date with national issues (broadband, wireless, net neutrality, etc.) through our national organization NATOA. Recently, NATOA sent a letter to the FCC to oppose a proposed order on their March 22 agenda. The order would preempt local control over small cells, siting review under the Environmental and Historic preservation acts. Please familiarize yourself with the letter if you haven’t done do already.

Most of all, it has been invaluable to network and learn from other members about how they are handling their administrative operations or tackling big projects like transitioning to high definition. This was especially true for me when I was new in my position. I can’t say enough about the great working relationships I have had and the friendships I have made with other members over the years.

We’re seeing and hearing from some new members. Organizations are bringing in lots of new talent as cities and commissions are filling positions left open by retirements. I am quite sure that MACTA either has already or will soon make an impact on you as it has with me.

So, are you a longtime member or just joining? Now, it’s your opportunity to reflect. How do you value MACTA? What do you want your organization to be?

All the best,



February 2018 | Janine Hill

February was a spectacular month for sports with much excitement locally surrounding Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis and events in nearby cities that showcased Minnesota’s greatness and, yes, cold temps.  On the world stage it was the Olympics - always inspiring with remarkable athletic achievements. These events also showcased the behind-the-scenes talent of the videographers, editors, producers, camera operators, hosts, and sports commentators who illustrate – albeit on a larger scale – the kind of work we do to provide meaningful local news, and events and sports coverage for our communities.

While the Big Game and the Winter Games have come and gone, the excitement continues with the kickoff of the 2018 Minnesota legislative session on February 20.

Local Control
There will be much activity underway at the Minnesota State Capitol now that the session has begun. MACTA’s Day at the Capitol event on Wednesday, April 11 will provide a great opportunity for you to meet with your legislators. In fact, this year, MACTA will be placing an even larger emphasis on the importance of making connections with those who represent your communities. 

Want to find out who represents you? Visit www.leg.state.mn.us/leg/districtfinder

Maintaining local control has always been important to MACTA and our member cities. We are currently working on talking points for members, which you will be able to use in discussions with your city leaders and local, state and federal elected officials. The handout will contain local control issues such as broadband, cable franchising, and rights of way. 

Closed Captioning
Section 508 standards of the Rehabilitation Act were updated by the Access Board last year. As of January 2018, Federal agencies have been required to comply with these standards. Click here to learn more about the update

While these standards may not apply directly to PEG channels, it’s possible they may have implications for local governments because of our requirement to comply with ADA standards. 

As part of our annual conference this year on June 13, MACTA is planning a general session on closed captioning. You can expect to hear more information regarding the Section 508 standards, as well as new technology available for closed captioning. 

Until next month,


January 2018 | Janine Hill

Hello, MACTA members! I hope you’re having a great start to your new year. We’ve got a lot of catching up to do!

MACTA Board Retreat Overview 
Outgoing, incoming and current MACTA board members had a very productive end-of-year retreat in December. The highlight was a facilitated conversation to determine how we will work together to make 2018 a successful year for MACTA. 

We assessed accomplishments, shortfalls, trends and organizational vision. Further brainstorming resulted in a list of key action items for 2018: recruitment, retention, operations, communications, programming, legislative, outreach and outstate. The next step is to identify our priorities and determine how we will carry them out. We’ll be working on these issues throughout the year. If you have input regarding these action items, please let me know.



December Board Meeting, Election of Officers 

In addition to the retreat, we also held our regular board meeting during which we elected 2018 officers. The results include: Janine Hill, President; Marty Doll, Vice President; Jacque Larson, Treasurer and Karen George, Secretary.  Directors at Large include Mark Martinez, Lori Pulkrabek and Eric Strouse.

Members were also assigned to committees, and those members are already planning a PEG workshop in February, the Day at the Capitol event this spring, another Brown Bag event in May and organizing the line-up for this year’s annual conference in June.

Thanks to the City of St. Louis Park for hosting, and for showing off your newly remodeled Council Chambers while we were there. Very impressive!  

New Management Firm
On March 1, MACTA will officially transition to a new management firm AdminBrandingBox (ABB). ABB handles smaller organizations like us, and I’m confident they will expertly serve our needs. They come highly recommended by their clients and we’re looking forward to working with Christine Strak and her team. 

I expect the transition and new operations to be seamless. MACTA’s website will not change, so you can continue to register and pay for conferences, membership dues, etc., in the same manner.  We will provide you with a new address to contact us by mail after March 1.

Thank you to The Harrington Company for providing excellent service over the past two years. Their staff is top notch and we’ve enjoyed working with them. I wish them all the best!

2018 Legislative Session
I’d first like to take a moment to remember Sarah Janecek, who recently passed away. Sarah teamed with Wy Spano to provide very effective lobbying services for MACTA for several years. She published a detailed directory of legislators and edited of the Politics in Minnesota newsletter during that time. 

“Sarah was a wealth of knowledge, understanding the inner workings of the legislature,” according to former MACTA board of director and past president Jodie Miller. “She seemed to wear the hats of advocate and journalist, helping to cover the news of the state capitol while working on policy issues for her clients.”  

Our heartfelt condolences to Sarah’s family and friends. 

We’re gearing up for the 2018 Legislative Session, which begins February 20. MACTA’s lobbyist Joe Bagnoli recently reported that there’s not much on the agenda related to telecom this year, but he said “there’s always something that comes up.” (As you know, last year’s small cell wireless siting was the big issue and we’re watching it settle in and seeing how it plays out.) 

You can keep informed with what’s happening by visiting www.mactamn.org where we’ll post legislative updates on a regular basis in the Members-Only section.

If you would like to hear firsthand what’s going on at the local and national level, consider joining MACTA’s Legislative Committee. We meet once a month for about an hour to hear the latest news. Email co-chair Mark Martinez for more information and to get on this list.

Would you like some good instruction on how to communicate with legislators? The LMC offers tips for communicating with legislators in its latest Minnesota Cities magazine.. This article is not only a good resource, but also good prep for when you meet legislators in person at MACTA’s Day at the Capitol event. More on that later. 

Looking forward to another great year!

All the best,


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