Changes coming to cable

Published 6:00 am Friday, March 2, 2001

At least for a little while, Cable One customers soon will besaying farewell to several “Dawsons.”

In letters to subscribers this week, officials said the companymust make lineup space for new digital services and therefore, fourcurrent channels will no longer be carried after April 1.

“We never like to drop channels,” said Bobby McCool, Cable Onegeneral manager, “but for us to offer more services, we have to dothat.”

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The four departing channels are KTLA, which features WB networkprograming such as “Dawson’s Creek” and “Seventh Heaven”; The GameShow Network, which includes a mixture of new programming andreruns like the “Family Feud” and host Richard Dawson; Bravo, aclassic movies network; and EWTN, a religious broadcastingnetwork.

McCool cited ratings and contracts as reasons for dropping thosechannels. He said Cable One does not have a contract with KTLA orthe Game Show Network.

“That’s not to say we won’t bring those back at a laterdate…,” McCool said. “Our company is looking at alternatives tobring back some WB programming in the near future.”

With the digital services, Cable One subscribers will havecapabilities to get up to 175 channels, McCool said.

Coming soon will be 40 CD-quality music channels, which will befree to digital service subscribers, and increased premium andpay-per-view options. New digital capabilities include 41pay-per-view channels, 20 HBO/Cinemax channels and 18 Showtime/TMCchannels, with 28 sports pay-per-view channels arriving by aroundmid-summer.

“It’s going to offer a lot more variety, and it will be morecustomer friendly on timing of events and so forth,” McCoolsaid.

McCool said the digital receiver to get the new services will befree for the first year. That should mean a rate savings tocustomers who now have to pay for a converter box.

After the first year, the digital receiver fee will be $8.95 amonth, McCool said. In the first and future years, additionalreceivers, which cost the company $300 each, for a secondtelevision will be $4.95 a month.

McCool said basic service only subscribers will also be able totake advantage of the digital services if they desire.

“They can still get the digital receiver and get the 40 freemusic channels,” said McCool, while also mentioning that they willhave capabilities for pay-per-view services.

According to a new channel line-up card, several channels willbe changing places.

For example, ESPN and ESPN 2 will be moving to channels 24 and25. Moving up the dial will be Nickelodeon and TV Land, which willbe going to 52 and 53. WTBS will occupy the old Bravo slot atchannel 33.