(Fwd) Massive Rate Increase Hits 90’s Channel [cr-95/11/06]


Sender: "Craig A. Johnson" <•••@••.•••>

This certainly graphically makes the point about monopolistic
control.  TCI management is known to be a little to the right of
Attila the Hun anyway, but this is abhorrent.

Though it is evidence of the dangers of excessive concentration, it
does not ipso facto mean that all media companies will behave the
same way.

I doubt very much that Time-Warner/Turner Broadcasting would
discriminate against liberal programmers the way TCI does. John
Malone, after all, is a big fan of Rush Limbaugh.



                                                 PRESS RELEASE

                                   DANI NEWSUM (303) 442-5693
                                   OR JOHN SCHWARTZ (303) 442-2707


                 The FCC Declines to Issue Emergency Stay;
        The 90's Says Astronomical Increases Undermine the Intent
                          of Federal Cable Law

     BOULDER, COLORADO, November 1, 1995.  The 90's Channel----this
country's only full-time progressive cable television network---was
forced off the air at midnight last night on seven cable systems
operated by Tele-Communications, Inc. due to a massive rate increase.
The channel was faced with the choice of paying TCI almost $250,000
per month or shutting down.

     "In practical terms, that was no choice at all," said John
The 90's Channel's President.

     The 90's Channel had petitioned the Federal Communications
for an emergency stay of the rate increase, but the FCC yesterday
declined to issue one. The FCC has not yet ruled on a second petition
filed by The 90's challenging the legality of the rate increase.
However, under FCC rules the new rates will remain in effect until the
matter is fully adjudicated.  The channel said the increase is too
great to pay, even temporarily.

     The 90's Channel leased its cable carriage from TCI, meaning that

it paid TCI to carry 90's programming. Federal law requires cable
operators to lease a certain number of channels in order to prevent
them from exercising monopoly control over the content of information
and entertainment programming carried on their systems. The more
typical arrangement requires a cable operator like TCI to pay a cable
network (CNN, ESPN, etc.) to carry the network's programming.

     "To require a cable operator to lease channels as a means of
increasing the diversity of information sources, while at the same
time to allowing the operator to charge ruinous lease rates, is to
frustrate the intent of the federal cable law," said  Jeff Chester,
executive director of the Center for Media Education in Washington
D.C.  "This ruling makes it even more difficult for independent and
progressive programming to be seen and heard by American television

     Jeff Cohen, executive director of the New York based Fairness and
Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) commented, "At midnight this morning, the
monopolization of American television took another step forward  -
 another independent voice is being silenced. Meanwhile our elected
representatives in Washington aid and abet the censorship of
independent and innovative programming."

     This was not the first time TCI has tried to rid its systems of
The 90's Channel.  In 1992, TCI advised the network that it planned to
drop The 90's from all of its cable systems. The Channel took TCI to
court, and the parties negotiated the current agreement for carriage
through October 31, 1995.

     The loss of The 90's Channel carriage does not mean the end of
efforts for a progressive television network, however.  Beginning in
June, The 90's Channel's parent company has operated a companion
project known as FREE SPEECH TV.  FStv, as the venture is abbreviated,
continues the work pioneered by The 90's Channel, airing programs
championing the perspectives of working men and women, promoting human
and civil rights, exposing corporate and governmental corruption,
showcasing experimental media, and highlighting environmental dangers
and success stories.  FStv currently provides programming which is
carried on a part-time basis on 44 cable channels serving over 4.2
million households.  In recent months, The 90's Channel systems had
served as some of FStv's most important affiliates.

     "Even though the loss of the seven full-time cable channels is no

small setback, I want to stress that we remain committed---if
anything, more strongly---to the task of building a network for
progressive television," concluded Schwartz.



John B. Schwartz                           •••@••.•••
P.O. Box 6060                              voice 303-442-2707
Boulder, CO  80306                         FAX   303-442-6472

 Posted by Andrew Oram  - •••@••.••• - Moderator: CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)
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