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Cable TV Starts Here

September 27, 1976

By Neil Felgenhauer
Spokane Daily Chronicle

Spokane plugged into the cable television age at 9 this morning as Cox Cable Television of Spokane began relaying 15 channels into local homes.

First to receive the new service, which about triples the local channel selection in participating homes, were residences in the area of West Broadway and West Boone, a Cox official said today. About 25 homes were scheduled for hookup by day’s end, but as technicians become more proficient in wiring in homes, the rate may increase to about 50 homes a day, said Roger M. Pierce, vice president and general manager of the local operation.

Plans call for all homes in the city north of the Spokane River to have the service available by the end of this year, Pierce said. Service to all of the city south of the river is planned to be available by Jan. 1, 1978, when the cable TV firm seeks to branch out into parts of the Valley, Moran Prairie and North Spokane areas in the county, he said.

Initially available through the system are Spokane’s three commercial channels and local educational channel, in addition to educational programs broadcast from Pullman, Pierce said. Also included in the service are two channels from Vancouver, B.C., and Seattle-Tacoma and two local additional educational channels, of which one already is in use, he said.

Additionally offered presently are six automated channels, which will focus on weather, stock market information, teletype news and a television program guide, he said.

As approved by the City Council, Cox may charge $9.95 for an installation fee and a monthly fee of $5.95 for the service. Installation includes placement of a channel selection box on a TV set, Pierce said.

Also additionally available, but only for an additional $5 installation fee and $8 monthly fee, will be a “home box office” channel offering sports and movies, Pierce said.

Spokane is the first city in the nation to have five channels dedicated to local use by educational institutions, Pierce said. Also planned as part of the system, which has a 35-channel capacity, are channels for city government, medical information and local programs offered by Cox, he said.

Questions dealing with the use of cable TV locally will be explored on a two-hour KSPS-TV program at 8 p.m. Wednesday, said Herbert A. Stocker, director of a local cable TV advisory project.

Appearing on the program as a panel will be Edward B. Lindamen, president of Whitworth College; Herbert S. Dordick, a telecommunications consultant from the University of California at Los Angeles, and Karen N. Dorn, assistant producer at KSPS-TV. Time also will be included for inquiries from viewers, said Jo Tigar, coordinator for the event.

Stocker said questions to be addressed include:

—Should everyone be guaranteed cable access as programmers and viewers regardless of ability to pay?

—Should elected officials have a voice in limiting or enlarging what cable makes available?

—Who should be the final authority on the use of public service channels?

—Should the emphasis be upon public service or profit?

—Should the city’s 3 per cent share of gross income to Cox be used to support the arts through cable TV?

Monday, September 27, 1976

From → Cable Television

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