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What You May See In The Cablevision/A T & T Broadband Deal

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As a result of A T & T Broadband's acquistions in Massachusetts (the
purchase of Media One, the purchase of the Charter systems in Worcester,
and yesterday's announcement that A T & T is buying Cablevision's
Massachusetts properties), I think you'll see the following things:

For one thing, Cablevision's local-origination channels will be replaced
by what is now the Media One regional channel (A T & T Channel?). This
deal will result in that channel being seen in almost every (exception:
a few South Shore towns served by Adelphia, but I think A T & T will
eventually acquire those systems, too) cable home in Massachusetts.

In addition to regional public affairs, Harvard sports, and Lowell
LockMonster hockey, the
"A T & T Channel" will probably pick-up "Extra Help", the
three-days-a-week (3-7 P.M.) homework hotline show that has been running
on Cablevision's L/O channel in Boston and Brookline during the school
year since 1988, making the show statewide. You might also see
Northeastern Univeresity sports (which Cablevision's Boston/Brookline
L/O channel has covered from time-to-time over the years) on the "A T &
T Channel".

Both Media One and Cablevision have run their own weekly high-school
sports highlights shows during the year, which will be consolidated,
obviously, into one show. And (especially if A T & T picks-up Adelphia's
South Shore systems) A T & T would pretty much serve all of
Massachusetts, you might see live coverage of some high-school sports

Some major community events that are ignored by broadcast TV like the
St. Patrick's Day Breakfast, the Patriots' Day re-eneactments in Concord
and Lexington, and the July 4th parade in Norwood might get live
statewide broadcast.

One other thought: Since the "A T & T Channel" would be available to
virtually every cable-TV home in the state, does anyone on this list
think that channel might raise their sights even higher and begin to bid
for syndicated off-network sitcoms? I believe there are a few regional
L/O chanels in other parts of the country that are running syndicated
shows, including off-network sitcoms. Sure, to acquire one or two
"A-list" off-network sitcoms would be a loss leader for A T & T, but
wouldn't the acquisition and broadcast of such shows attract viewers to
an "A T & T Channel"?

Currently, Cablevision runs public-access in most of it's Massachusetts
systems (major exceptions: Boston, Brookline, Fitchburg and Leominster).
A handful of Media One systems run public-access
in their towns (like Dedham). I think A T & T will elect not to run
public-access channels on their own, and spin them off to independent,
nonprofit concerns (but funded by the cable operator) as has been done
in many communities. This means that many local cable studios
by Media One or by Cablevision will either become home to an independent
access channel, or,
if the newly-independent access channel gets new equipment and a new
studio at a location different from the existing cable facility, the
existing facility will shut down.

Here in Norwood, we have three local channels on Cablevision:
Local-Origination is on cable channel 31, which is the channel where
most local government meetings are broadcast. The Norwood schools have
their own channel on cable channel 33 (Norwood School Committee meetings
also air on that channel), and public-access shares cable channel 61
with the Learning Channel. My guess as to the eventuall outcome of all
this would be that two new channels (Norwood's channel capacity was
recently increased) will open up, one to carry TLC 24 hours a day, the
other to carry local government meetings. Channel 61 will get spun-off
to an independent public-access organization, and Channel 31 will become
the "A T & T Channel", being Local-
Origination in name, but actually being a regional channel.

Joseph Gallant
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