Providing opportunities for people to become producers as well as consumers in the marketplace of ideas is an expensive proposition. To get the job done requires not only secure funding, but also strategically allocated resources and carefully managed budgets.
A large majority of AIM's funding comes from the franchise agreements between Arlington County Government and the cable television providers Comcast and Verizon. These agreements require both companies to help fund a “community access center” for providing media training, production, and programming services to the public as rent payment for the companies’ use of the public right-of-way.
In 1982, Arlington County designated the non-profit organization known as the Arlington Community Access Corporation (doing business as Arlington Independent Media) to fulfill this mission. We’re proud to say that in the last thirty years we have not only continuously provided these services, but we have built an organization, production facility, and distribution network that has eight times been named the best local, independent media center in the country.
Franchise agreements are normally contracts between cable companies and local governments and many of the terms are negotiated based on community needs assessments. AIM just participated in one such study, which found a continued community need for, and a high level of interest in, an independent training and production facility. As the Comcast franchise is negotiated, AIM will be calling on its members, producers, volunteers, and friends to spread the word about its central role in our community.