‘Public access porn’ ChannelAustin prompts complaint

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Flipping through late-night television this week, Nick Papatonis said his remote stopped on channelAustin , and he could not believe what he saw.

“Last night, I came to Channel 16,” Papatonis said, “and I came to this naked woman dancing topless and bottomless.”

Papatonis recorded the “public access porn” and filed a complaint with the City, which holds the station’s contract.

“Last night, it repeated again,” he said, “once the city was told, so I believe the management at public access TV is like anything goes down there.”

Nude or not – channelAustin said it is “content neutral and non-discriminatory, and therefore does not pre-screen any programs.” Because of the complaint, “it has suspended the program in question pending investigation.”

Producers of each program apply and go through training before a show ends up on air. The contract they sign – which makes sure the city won’t be held liable – excludes any obscene content among other things.

KXAN showed still photos from the program to other Austinites and asked if they considered a woman dancing nude obscene.

“Public television is for the public,” said Allison Martinat, “and it should be all age-friendly.”

“I don’t think things like that should be open for kids,” said Charles Lott. “Something needs to be done about that.”

ChannelAustin allows sexually explicit content to air between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., as long as it does not violate Texas Penal Code. Papatonis said he recorded his clip around 2:25 a.m.

“I think they’re wrong,” said Kyle Stutts. “It’s as simple as that. If you want to watch it, pay for it.”

It is not pay-per-view. It is not even regulated by the city or the FCC, because it is public access. While Papatonis said he is against censorship, he also said there should be more oversight for something like this.

“I was totally shocked at seeing this on TV,” he added. “It’s one thing, if you’re subscribing to the Playboy Channel. It’s another thing, if you’re getting this on a regular TV channel.”

Papatonis is a former producer at channelAustin. The city said he was banned from the building last year for several, unnamed violations.

KXAN also spoke to Eric Krueger, the producer of the program in question. He said he is a horror buff, and the woman on the show was meant to portray a nude, dancing zombie. She has frequented the airwaves at least 20 times in the last year doing that same dance.

The city said the last time it received a complaint like this was in 2005. After an investigation, channelAustin found no problem. The City also said, over the last several months, it has received a number of complaints from Papatonis, but it has to take every one of them serious in a situation like this.

It is also important to note this is not Channel 6, the Austin-owned municipal television channel. This is, once again, channelAustin – the public access station.

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