MediaOne Links with Fort Myers Outlet

Publish date:
Updated on

MediaOne's system in Fort Myers, Fla., will provide
program-management services to WEVU-TV -- a local, low-power United Paramount Network
affiliate that's merging with another UPN affiliate, WSWF-TV, to form "The New

That's in plenty of time for UPN's new five-night
fall season, which debuts Oct. 5.

David Elliott, MediaOne's director of local
programming, who's now general manager of the newly combined stations, said the terms
of the local-market agreement -- which he called "unique," at least among
low-power stations -- stipulate that WEVU will continue under the ownership of Tamiami Ft.
Myers Inc.

Elliott said WEVU is now available to 250,000 cable
subscribers of MediaOne, Time Warner Cable and Adelphia Communications Corp. in the Fort
Myers/Naples market. This boosts its coverage of the 83rd-largest DMA to 80 percent from
42 percent.

Elliott said WSWF had been an affiliate of The WB
Television Network from fall 1995 until this past March, when Acme Television bought WTVK,
another station in the DMA, upon which WTVK switched its affiliation to The WB. WSWF then
hooked up with UPN, he said.

When WEVU approached MediaOne about joining forces to
provide full-market coverage, "we jumped at the chance," Elliott added.

Elliott said MediaOne heard from executives last week who
were interested in exploring similar LMAs in their markets.

Besides such UPN series as Star Trek: Voyager and Legacy,
WEVU will offer Tampa Bay Devil Rays Major League Baseball games, local evening news on
weeknights, public affairs and other programs of local interest, including high-school
football games. WEVU offers five hours of local programming daily.

In November, Elliott said, WEVU will add a Fort Myers
studio to the existing MediaOne facility in Collier County for expanded local-program and
commercial production.

He added that retransmission consent doesn't figure in
the agreement, and that low-power stations are exempt from must-carry.