Whatre You in For? The Cable, Mostly


Our readers come in all shapes, shades-and stripes. Last week, an inmate from a prison in Lancaster, Calif., wrote us requesting information and addresses for the British Broadcasting Corp. (guess he was tired of watching
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire
). The inmate, who learned about
Multichannel News

through the local cable-television franchise authority,
also wanted to know how the police department could obtain cable-televised documentary programs.

It's nice to know people outside the fraternity rely on us for industry news and information.

The Denver Chapter of Cable Positive sang and danced its way to raising a record $73,000 following its sixth annual "Positively Cable" satirical musical revue on No. 2. This year's musical, staged before a sell-out crowd of more than 300 at the Comedy Works NightClub, took on a Beatles-esque theme:
Sgt. Broadband's Magic Dot Com Land
. It offered up cable-laden lyrics to
Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
Yellow Submarine

Strawberry Fields Forever
, and
poked fun at severance in an era of cable consolidation and the ongoing scrap between Time Warner and Disney.

Sample lyrics:
Gerry has a pipe into the marketplace/Michael has a home in Disneyland/Michael says to

Gerry, want some channel space/Gerry has his lawyers laugh at

Mike's demand.

The money they raised benefits The Denver Rainbow House, a day-care center for children whose lives have been affected by AIDS.

Last Wednesday, one day after last week's neck-and-neck presidential election, EchoStar Communications Corp. spokesman Marc Lumpkin asked The Wire to correct last week's report that stated vice president Al Gore hadn't appeared on Dish Network's Vote 2000 channel, which offered free air time to presidential candidates. Gore's half-hour promotional tape arrived one week before Election Day and was placed on the channel at midnight, Nov. 1. For more than a week before that, candidates Ralph Nader and Pat Buchanan had the channel to themselves. George W. Bush remained a no-show, despite repeated requests by EchoStar's Washington office for a promotional tape, Lumpkin said. At press time last week,
it was too early to surmise whether Gore's Vote 2000 appearances might have helped or hurt him among Dish viewers in Florida.

EchoStar would not tell The Wire how many subscribers it has in the state, but Lumpkin said Florida is important enough that Dish provides local station packages in three markets: Orlando, Tampa and Miami.

Talk about foresight. Four days before the Nov. 7 presidential elections, Florida-based Sunshine Network decided to postpone the post-election taping of its Florida public affairs political program
Inside Florida Politics

from Nov. 9 to Nov. 14
because it feared all the state's votes would not be tallied in time to provide effective analysis.

"At the time, all of our reporters said that Florida would still be in play after the election," Sunshine public affairs director Steve Hull said. "Our guests were right, but we had no idea how right they would be."

Terayon Communications Corp. last Thursday sent out a press release touting its sponsorship of the Western Show party featuring 1980's two-hit wonder The Bangles.
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parent Cahners Television Group is another sponsor, along with the California Cable Television Association. "What a great party this is going to be," read the quote from Terayon CEO Zaki Rakib. But the best part came at the end:
the "safe-harbor" statement from Terayon, warning that "this news release contains forward-looking statements.that involve risks and uncertainties."

Terayon is battling several shareholder lawsuits accusing the company of issuing misleading statements. But we'd like to think show-goers wouldn't go to court if the party got cancelled.

USA Networks Inc. CEO Barry Diller was conspicuously absent from last Thursday's Center For Communications award luncheon honoring Sony Corp. of America CEO Howard Stringer. Diller was an event co-chair, but had to attend a board meeting of The Washington Post Co. Stringer joked that the media powers in attendance-including Viacom Inc. president Mel Karmazin-should take notice.
Any time Diller misses such an event, "you have this uneasy feeling that you're about to be screwed


The Welsh-born Sony executive also took some ribbing from Karmazin, who called Stringer "one of the finest Japanese executives in the business," who has a "really cool accent that must come from whatever part of Japan he's from."