Cable TV, Competition and Community Service

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Twenty years ago, cable companies promised to wire libraries, schools and hospitals as part of their public service. Community groups would be connected to local government, senior citizens could talk directly to city hall and politicians would be called to account on programs focusing on politics and government--all in exchange for monopoly franchise agreements with local cities and counties. Although most of those promises have not been kept, many of the franchise agreements remain. Now, even the public service programming may be at risk. In Sacramento, it's a bill to promote "competition" that's racing through the Legislature. Locally, it's Time-Warner, which is taking over from Adelphia and Comcast to become the biggest cable operator in LA and Orange Counties.  We hear about the fate of public service on cable TV from local and state officials, and a former cable TV host.



Warren Olney


Frances Anderton