Who needs Skinemax when you have Houston MediaSource?
Until now, the battle over Houston MediaSource's programming largely has been waged on a limited front: the public-access channel's supporters against City Councilwoman Addie Wiseman.
Funny how airing nudity can change that.
Several council members who'd been ambivalent about the issue now say they can't support the channel's $800,000 contract with the city after a show featuring nude women aired Wednesday night.
"This absolutely has changed the dynamic of this whole debate," said Councilman Michael Berry, who said he now would vote against renewing the channel's contract. "This is no longer a free-speech-versus-censorship issue. This is about basic accountability and people who have no business putting on public programming."
Under its deal with nonprofit MediaSource, the city moves fees collected by cable providers to MediaSource to provide a forum for citizens that is free of government interference. No city funds are spent on the public-access channel.
MediaSource doesn't operate the separate government-access channel that broadcasts council meetings and other official programs.
Mayor Bill White said Friday that he hadn't seen Hough's video, and that he isn't yet sure whether he will support renewing the contract when it comes before the City Council on Wednesday.
He said he wants to ensure the channel has quality programming that complies with the law.
"I don't think that Houston MediaSource should get a contract unless there are some changes that would prevent an abuse," he said.