KMVT 15 Frequently Asked Questions

+ What is community media?

In the Cable Communications Act of 1984, Congress established a provision that would permit local authorities to develop requirements for public use of the local cable system. This provision enabled communities to provide a "voice" for their residents and organizations. To meet this objective in Cupertino, Los Altos, and Mountain View, these cities make a channel available for the public to use on the local cable system through their cable operator. Any individual or organization from these communities can produce a television program, and air it on their local community television channel. This channel is operated by KMVT 15 Silicon Valley Community Media, under contract with the cities. KMVT 15 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides the training, staff support, and equipment needed to produce and cablecast community video programming.

+ Why is community media important?

Community media is truly a public forum and helps "build" community by providing a speaker's platform for the communities of Cupertino, Los Altos, and Mountain View. It is a place where people can freely communicate their ideas to one another and establish a form of dialogue where democracy can flourish.

+ What kind of programming can air on community media?

Programming on almost any topic imaginable can air on community media. The content is the sole responsibility of the producer and is protected under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. All editorial control rests with the community producer. The programming is not censored by KMVT 15, the cities, or the local cable operator. However, some content, such as obscenity, is not protected by the First Amendment and cannot air on KMVT 15 or any community media channel. KMVT 15 also prohibits commercial programming on the channel.

+ Is all the programming that airs on KMVT 15 considered community media?

No. KMVT 15's staff also produces about 300 hours a year of original community-based programming. This programming is considered "local origination (LO)" or "staff-produced programming," and its content is strictly controlled by KMVT 15. Candidate forums, public service announcements, and local sports are all examples of staff-produced programming. Staff-produced programming accounts for about 25% of KMVT 15's total programming; 75% is community-produced programming.

+ Can any community resident or organization produce a show at KMVT 15?

Yes. Any individual and organization can take KMVT 15’s workshops and produce any programming that is of interest to them.

+ Who decides what kind of programming airs on KMVT 15?

Station management schedules all KMVT 15 programming depending on channel space availability. The decision to air a program is not content-based. Any program that is afforded protection under the First Amendment and submitted to KMVT 15 by an individual or organization will air on the channel.

+ Why do some shows on KMVT 15 come from other cities and states?

Quite often, community residents and organizations acquire pre-produced programming they want to air on the channel. This programming is often produced in neighboring cities and sometimes other states. KMVT 15 defines this type of programming as "import" programming. Any program produced outside of KMVT 15 facilities can air on the channel, but the program must be sponsored by a Cupertino, Los Altos, or Mountain View resident or organization. Import programming accounts for about 50% of KMVT 15's programming.

+ Does KMVT 15 have the power to censor community media programs?

No. Community media television by its very definition is programming whose editorial content is exclusively controlled by the producer. If KMVT 15, the cities, or the cable operator pre-screened programming to determine what should or should not air, they would be taking away the producer's editorial control. In turn, they would be denying "access" to the public to use the airwaves. KMVT 15 does believe it has a responsibility to its producers, viewers, and community to educate the producer as to what content is constitutionally protected under the First Amendment and what is not. However, the final interpretation of what is constitutionally protected is the producer's responsibility.

+ Are there any FCC regulations regarding censorship that community media stations, cities, or cable operators must follow?

No. In the 1984 Cable Act Congress specifically prohibited cable operators from "exercising any editorial control over any video programming provided" on any access channel, supporting the fact that access channels are a public forum. Cities and community media stations have followed suit. Sections of the Telecommunications Act of 1992 attempted to give censorship control back to the cable operators for indecent programming, but in June of 1996, the Supreme Court struck down those sections, citing that indecent speech is protected under the First Amendment and cannot be censored. In 1973 (Miller V. California) the United States Supreme Court developed a three-part test to define obscenity, which is not protected by the First Amendment. Under this test a community media station could prohibit programming considered obscene, but the Supreme Court's definition is extremely broad and community media stations have generally had difficulty applying the three-part test. In turn, many community media stations do not attempt to censor obscene programming. Also, in 1993, the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit found that the judicial system must be used to deal with obscenity.

+ If I see something on the channel I don't like, can I do anything about it?

Yes. We respect our viewers' rights as well as those of our producers, and KMVT 15 welcomes and encourages viewer comments. It is important that the station and producers receive feedback for the programming aired on KMVT 15. If you see something you do not like, please contact the KMVT 15 Executive Director and express your concern. If the Executive Director determines that the program in question egregiously violates any station policies, the program may be pulled from the schedule until the violation is resolved. The viewer or producer can initiate the Grievance Process as defined in the KMVT 15 User's Guide if they are discontent with the Executive Director's decision.

+ Who can receive KMVT 15's channel signal?

Any Comcast cable subscriber who resides within the Cupertino, Los Altos, and Mountain View boundaries receives KMVT 15's signal via Channel 15. City government programming for Foster City can be seen on Channel 27 and for Sunnyvale can be seen on Channel 29. KMVT 15 is also available via AT &T U-Verse channel 99 throughout the Bay Area and at KMVT 15 is not carried on any of the dish networks or satellite TV.

+ How is KMVT 15 funded?

KMVT 15 is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, with the majority of funding provided by municipal cable franchise fees and cable company support. Additional revenue comes from donations, fundraising and client services.

+ What hours does KMVT 15 program?

KMVT 15 currently cablecasts programming 24 hours a day. The Community Bulletin Board, Public Service Announcements, and Station IDs run in between programs and during non-programming hours.

+ How is KMVT Channel 15 different from City Channel 26?

KMVT Channel 15 is the local community station. City Channel 26 is the local government access channel. Unlike KMVT 15, the City Channel is dedicated to City government news and information, and the editorial control rests with the City. Live coverage of City Council and selected Commission meetings are the mainstay of Channel 26 programming. In addition, programs highlighting City services and issues are also produced and cablecast.

+ What is KMVT 15's reputation compared to other public access stations?

KMVT 15 is an award-winning organization that is highly respected in the industry and considered a model station nationally. During the past five years the station has been honored both regionally and nationally for its outstanding commitment to community television. In July of 1997 and 1998, KMVT 15 won the coveted Alliance for Community Media's national award for "Overall Excellence in Local Origination (Staff-produced) Programming."

+ How does the community get involved with KMVT 15?

The station offers a multitude of production and digital media literacy workshops to all community members and organizations. Some of these workshops are grant-funded and focus on specific groups. KMVT 15 also works closely with many local nonprofit organizations to promote their services and events. Volunteers can get involved by helping to support community media and staff-produced productions as well as KMVT 15 daily operations. If a community member has a program he or she would like to see aired, a message to communicate, or is simply interested in supporting free speech, he or she can contact the station at (650) 968-1540, fax us at (650) 968-1543, or e-mail us at

+ I am having issues with my Comcast Cable; what do I do?

Comcast is not part of KMVT 15. They are the cable provider that you subscribe to. If you are having trouble with your cable service contact Comcast at - 1-800-945-2288. If you need to visit their location, return your video box Comcast is located at 717 E. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

+ What is Roku?

Roku is a service provider for streaming content. You would need to by a Roku box to be able to stream content from a Roku channel.

+ How do I find KMVT 15 on Roku?

If you are looking to stream KMVT 15 through your Roku box currently you will find all our programming under The official "branded" KMVT 15 channel will launch at the end of 2013.