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Comcast/AT&T Cable TV 3 Dumps Local Newscasts

    Just heard on WCAP's "Afternoon Live" show with Gary Francis that
Comcast has eliminated it's Massachusetts local newscasts broadcast on AT &
T Cable 3 (Lowell area, Cape Cod and Fall River area) as of today and all
news staff has been fired.The employees apparently had no clue this was
happening, they were hard at work putting tonight's newscast together when
they were called together and told to pack up and leave. Gary didn't have
much luck getting someone from AT & T or Comcast to say much about this. He
did get a faxed press release emphasizing Comcast's commitment to local
programming and it's customers and occasionally they review programming to
better serve their viewers, but it doesn't even mention the axing of the
local news. The news staffers that were let go today have supposedly been
told not to speak to any other media (TV, radio, or newspapers) regarding
this issue. Cutting local news programming doesn't better serve viewers
IMHO. Of course, our cable rates just went up again and soon AT & T e-mail
users will have to change our e-mail addresses again (what a pain it was the
last time!!).

    Here in the Lowell area, the nightly local news has been on the air over
20 years. In fact, Lowell area news director Sue Bennett has been with the
newscast 20 years, through the Colony Communications, Media One and AT &T
regimes. Many of the anchors, reporters and behind the scenes staff that
have worked the newscast over the years have moved on to such markets as
Boston, Springfield MA, Texas, Manchester NH, among others. A great training
ground for many on and off air folks.

    I also wonder if Comcast's "commitment" to local programming and  it's
viewers means that it's coverage of AHL hockey, college sports, weekly
candlepin bowling and several other locally produced entertainment
programming will be next to go.

Mark Watson