Alliance for Community Media

2012 Hometown Media Awards

Entry Rules and Information


Please read this information carefully before you submit your program. If you have questions, please contact ACM Headquarters at or phone at (703) 506-2889.


The Hometown Media Awards honors and promotes community media and local cable programs that are distributed on Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) access cable television channels.   Awards are presented to creative programs that address community needs, develop diverse community involvement, challenge conventional commercial television formats, and move viewers to experience television in a different way. Hometown is local cable’s largest video awards competition.


Winners Receive National Recognition

Each award winner receives a beautiful plaque personalized with the name of the producer, title of the program, and the category for which it won. Duplicate plaques may be purchased for a fee.


All winning entries will be listed on the Alliance web site. Selected entries may be included in sampler tapes and other materials used by the Alliance to promote community media.


Judges may also award an Honorable Mention to programs that deserve special recognition. Honorable Mention recipients receive a personalized plaque.



The Hometown Media Awards welcome non-commercial programming from media professionals, non-professionals and youth. With the exception of the Website categories, programs entered must have had their first telecast on a local cable access channel on or between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. Some categories require specific criteria to be met in order for an entry to be eligible. Be sure to read the category descriptions carefully so that your entry will not be disqualified.


Enter Online

Use the on-line process entry at to complete entry forms, upload your submission and submit payment.  If you must pay by check and/or submit a DVD, there is a $20 processing fee.

Please refer to this Entry Form for a full list of questions. Only use this as a reference.

Please refer to this form for Overall Excellence supplemental questions. Only use this as a reference.


Entry Fees

If submission is uploaded online

$50 Members $75 Non-Members


If mailing in DVDs ($20 processing fee per entry)

$70 Members $95 Non-Members


Member Discount

Current ACM members may submit an unlimited number of entries at the member rate. Individuals claiming an organizational member discount MUST list the organization they are affiliated with. If you are paying by check, please print out your completed entry forms and payment confirmation.  




We encourage you to pay online (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express). If you must pay by check, money order, or purchase order, please mail it to the ACM at the address below. Additionally, there is a $20 processing fee if you choose to mail your submission instead of uploading it online. This fee is per entry so uploading submissions is strongly encouraged. Make your check/money order/purchase order payable and send to:


Alliance for Community Media

Hometown Media Awards

1760 Old Meadow Road, Suite 500

McLean, VA 22102 


One check may be sent for the total amount of all required fees


Entry Deadline

Entries must be uploaded/postmarked by


April 6, 2012.



We are moving to an entirely digital process this year and entries uploaded must be video or audio files (preferably .mov, .avi, .mpg., .wmv, .mpg, .mpeg, .mp4) under 300MB.


Time Limit

All entries must be edited and cued to the start of the edited program material. You are encouraged to submit edited entries. If the entry is not edited, the judges will view only eight to twenty minutes based on the total running time of the program. (see below)

·         Programs < 30 Minutes: Entry should include no more than eight minutes of the program and should contain clips from at most three different excerpts. Time limits are strictly enforced.

·         Programs > 30 Minutes: Entries should include no more than 20 minutes of the program and should contain clips from at most three different excerpts. Time limits are strictly enforced.

·         All entries must be under 300MB

If you choose to submit a DVD, there is a $20 processing fee. This fee is per entry so uploading submissions is strongly encouraged. If you submit a DVD, the file size still must be under the 300MB size limit.


Standard Category Entries

You may enter your program in as many categories as you wish. You may NOT enter a program in more than one producer division. For example: you may enter a program as a non-professional producer in two different categories, but you may NOT enter the same program as a Youth entry in one category and as a Nonprofessional in another. Check the appropriate producer division box on the entry form. 


For Standard Categories, submit a single program. Compilations of multiple programs are not allowed for standard category entries. You may submit an entry of up to three episodes from a single program.


The total file size may not exceed 300MB.


Overall Excellence Entries

Overall Excellence in Community Media entries must be submitted by an access organization, cable company, educational institution, local government, or other institution that provides public, educational, or governmental access services. The Overall Excellence divisions are based on the access organization’s annual operating budget: 


(1) Less than $300,000;

(2) $300,001 to $650,000

(3) $650,001 or more.


Overall Excellence entries must include one unedited excerpt from each of at least six different programs that first aired between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. The excerpts should be separated by black, a character-generated slate or a video bridge. The total file size may not exceed 300MB.  


Producer Division

Entries may be submitted as Professional, Non-professional, or Youth. Youth producers must be 18 years of age or younger. Use the worksheet below to determine whether you should submit as a professional or nonprofessional.


  1. In the past year, was the individual most responsible for the content of the production paid to produce this or any other video production? YES=10pts
  1. Total cash budget for this program:

a.     $0 = 0 pts.

b.    $1 to $500 = 5 pts.

c.     $501 to $1000 = 15 pts.

d.    $1001 or more = 20 pts.


  1. Was any of the video production work done:

a.     At the access facility at a time when the access facilities and equipment were not available to other producers under the same circumstances. YES=5 pts 

b.    Using private facilities or equipment not available to other access producers? YES=5 pts

c.     By a person other than the producer who was paid, including access center staff as part of their assigned duties? YES=5 pts

d.    All of the above; YES=5 pts


  1. In the past year, were any of the crew members (camera, audio, director, editor) paid any amount for work on this production or any other? YES=5 pts  


If your total score is 20 or more, you must enter as a professional.


Youth Division: Programs created by youth age 18 and younger. Adults may supervise the production but the overall direction, control of the production and all technical tasks (camera, directing, editing, sound, etc.) must be performed by the youth involved. 




Community media centers around the country will conduct the judging of the Hometown Media Awards. If you would like to volunteer your access center as a judging site, please contact ACM Headquarters.


Three judges will review entries in each standard category, five will judge Overall Excellence Awards.  Judges may select more than one winner or no winner at all. Judges may also award Honorable Mention awards to entries that do not win, but, which the judges feel have special merit.


Each producer division is judged separately. However, in the event that there are fewer than 3 entries in either the Youth or Nonprofessional divisions of a category, the youth and non-professional entries will be combined for judging. 


Winners will be determined by: (1) how well the entry represents the qualities appropriate for its category; (2) the extent to which the programs develops and maintains viewer interest; (3) the match of program content to production format or style; (4) the unique or creative way the programs approaches its subject (5) technical competence.



Entries will be disqualified if:

1.   The entry is not viewable: audio is inaudible, video is unstable, entry not finalized or for any other technical reason. Judging sites will attempt to view on at least 2 machines before disqualifying.

2.   An entry clearly violates a specific requirement of the category in which it is entered.

3.   Any portion of the program was taped after December 31, 2011.

4.   First cablecast of the entry was after December 31, 2011.


No refunds will be made for any entry that is disqualified or if any other error is made by the producers or submitters of any entries. A decision by the judging panel to disqualify an entry is final. 



Return of Judging Forms

The Alliance and Hometown management offer the return of judging forms as a courtesy to entrants. However, we cannot guarantee the return of all judging forms. We will make every effort to return judging scores and comments to those who specifically request them but due to a variety of circumstances beyond our control, we may not be able to fulfill all requests.   



All decisions made by the judging panels and ACM Headquarters are final.



Non-exclusive rights to entries

The Alliance retains the right to use all or part of the entries for promotional purposes on a non-exclusive basis for ONE year from the Hometown Media Awards deadline. The producer is responsible for obtaining all approvals, clearances, licenses, etc., for materials contained in the entry and must provide such clearance upon request.



Awards Ceremony

The 2012 Hometown Media Awards Ceremony will be held on August 1, 2012 during the Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference and Tradeshow in Chicago, IL. Information about the conference is available at, or call (703) 506-2889


Winners are responsible for their own travel plans and expenses.




Questions should be directed to:

Alliance for Community Media

Phone: (703) 506-2889


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