AT & T to Air ABC Fare in Monterey

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In an unusual partnering, AT & T Broadband is carrying ABC Inc. programming on a special cable channel in Salinas-Monterey, Calif., where the broadcast network just lost its veteran TV-station affiliate.

Under the distribution arrangement, AT & T is airing ABC network programming, regional news from ABC-owned KGO-TV, locally produced news and syndicated shows on the newly created cable channel.

AT & T Media Services, the MSO's ad-sales unit, has exclusive rights to sell local advertising for the channel. But AT & T Broadband will share that local ad revenue with ABC, according to a press release issued by ABC last week. No other terms were disclosed.

The deal is meant to fill the distribution gap ABC was about to have in the Salinas-Monterey market due to the loss of KNTV as its affiliate.

Earlier this year, Granite Broadcasting Corp. announced that KNTV, its San Jose, Calif.-based station, was going to drop its ABC affiliation by July and later replace KRON-TV as the NBC affiliate in the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Calif., market.

KNTV will become NBC's affiliate effective January 2002, when KRON's affiliation deal expires. In the interim, KNTV is serving as a local-news-oriented independent station.

In conjunction with the debut of the new ABC-programmed cable channel, AT & T Broadband is offering noncable viewers in Monterey-Salinas free cable installation through the end of August.

Officials for AT & T Broadband couldn't be reached for comment last week, so it wasn't known how many subscribers the new channel reaches in Salinas-Monterey.

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