WPXI-TV DROPPED FROM ARMSTRONG CABLE LINE-UP
NBC Affiliate Explains Reasons to Viewers PITTSBURGH, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- After failing to reach a mutual
agreement, WPXI-TV announced today that on Oct. 6, Armstrong Cable of southwestern Pennsylvania will no longer carry the station's signal on its cable system.
This unprecedented move will affect approximately 110,000 subscribers in eight counties serviced by the cable company, a spokesman said. The decision comes after a negotiating process mandated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under the retransmission consent provisions of the 1992 Cable Act. "We think it's very unfortunate that this will inconvenience those of our viewers served by Armstrong Cable," said John A. Howell III, general manager of WPXI-TV "We offered them a package similar to the one that has been accepted by other major cable companies. We offered our new 24-hour local-regional news, talk and information channel that we believe will be very popular with subscribers in western Pennsylvania. We are asking systems to subscribe to the channel and with that they will get consent to broadcast WPXI-TV at no extra cost. This is the first system in the region to refuse our proposal," said Howell. The removal of WPXI from Armstrong comes as a result of conditions outlined in the new cable law's retransmission consent provisions. It allows, for the first time, broadcast stations, to request compensation or grant "consent" to local cable systems to transmit their television signal. If a station and a cable operator cannot come to an agreement, the FCC requires that the cable system pull that station from its line-up, the station said. "We are negotiating for an agreement to create a win/win situation for the system and its subscribers," added Howell. "We're confident our news channel will enhance news programming by offering a valuable 24-hour information service to all of our viewers." The programming format for the channel set to debut in January 1994 and will be similar to that of CNN, but with a more local focus. "Currently, we have reached agreements with many of the systems that cover most western Pennsylvania cable viewers," Howell said. The deletion will make it necessary for Armstrong Cable subscribers to seek an alternative method of receiving WPXI's broadcast signal. This alternative will require the use of an antenna. Due to the hilly terrain in some communities, however, the clarity of the signal will likely not match that of a cable transmission. WPXI's most popular programming option continues to be live coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers regular season home and away games. WPXI also provides exclusive live coverage of Steelers pre-season games, as well as pre- and post-game shows. However, with WPXI no longer on the line-up, Armstrong subscribers will not receive these programs via cable. WPXI and NBC will continue to televise the remaining nine regular season games, plus the playoffs and Superbowl after the Oct. 6 deadline. WPXI/Channel 11 News currently brings viewers served by Armstrong Cable many news and programming options. In addition to delivering Pittsburgh's only 24-hour news source, Channel 11 also offers viewers more news more often, which includes "Starting Today" from 5 to 7 a.m., "News at Noon," "First at Five," "News at Six," the "Nightbeat" at 11 p.m., the Newspaper Exchange, the Radio News Network, and features area high school football teams on John Fedko's "Skylights," the station said. WPXI-TV also provides viewers live coverage of holiday parades, telethons, special events and much more. Because of the complexity and the severity of this issue, WPXI-TV has produced a number of public service announcements (PSAs) to explain to subscribers the implications that will arise after the station has been deleted. The PSAs began running during the Steelers/Rams game on Sunday, Sept. 12. "We would still like to be a part of the Armstrong system," said Howell. "We remain committed to working out some type of agreement before the deadline, and I hope that will happen. However, with regards to their reluctance to move from their current position, it appears that Armstrong feels that its subscribers won't mind losing WPXI from the line-up." Subscribers who are concerned about the impending inconvenience are urged to write or call Armstrong Cable Company at 412-283-0925, the station said. Armstrong Cable is comprised of Armstrong Utilities Inc. and Armstrong Communications Inc. Its service areas include parts of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Lawrence, Mercer, Washington and Westmoreland counties. WPXI-TV, founded in 1959, is owned and operated by Cox Enterprises, Inc., Atlanta. -0- 9/13/93 /CONTACT: Mark Barash of WPXI-TV, 412-237-1190/
CO: WPXI-TV; Armstrong Cable Company ST: Pennsylvania IN: TLS SU:
CD-KC -- PG005 -- 1230 09/13/93 11:02 EDT