After fielding customer complaints, Adelphia Communications Corp. said it would restore C-SPAN to 24-hour status on its Los Angeles-area systems by March 1, according to the network.
Restoring C-SPAN2 will take longer — perhaps up to six months.
In its latest shuffling of analog channels, Adelphia moved C-SPAN to make room for two broadcast stations it must carry in 11 of the market's franchise areas. C-SPAN2 was bumped from the lineup, while C-SPAN was reduced to sharing a slot with TV Guide Channel, which airs during primetime.
Lee Perron, vice president of the Los Angeles division, said that in order to restore C-SPAN in the city of Los Angeles, Adelphia will temporarily drop TV Guide Channel from analog. Customers who still want an on-screen guide will be offered a free digital box, to access the digital guide, until the system completes its rebuild in the fourth quarter. The customers must return the box or upgrade to digital.
A group of vocal consumers said they were not notified of the pending change and were unhappy about how they were treated when they called to complain.
"I asked for customer complaints, and the guy said, 'Adelphia doesn't take complaints.' Can you believe it?" said Bill Pietz, a former college professor. He was advised to complain to the Los Angeles Information Technology Agency instead.
Harriet Beck said she was told to "complain to anybody you want" by one customer representative, hung up upon by another and referred to the Coudersport, Pa., headquarters by a third CSR.
Adelphia officials did not return calls for comment.
Local consumers have formed Los Angeles Citizens for C-SPAN, which Pietz will help chair. The activist group will try to protect its favorite channel.
"A cable system has become nothing more than retail space," said Beck. "Public service was important when there was nothing to air, but now that they can get paid for that space, public service goes out the window. Economics are working against us."