The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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March 5, 2013

Readers' Forum 3-5 | Cable subscriber upset; official responds

— I wonder how many local cable company subscribers realize that the company is dropping KDKA after March 15. This information has appeared only on a Weather Channel crawl. The crawl states that this decision is because of “rising costs” and “avoiding duplication.”

I choose to watch CBS on KDKA, not on the so-called local channel. KDKA has the best sports coverage in western Pennsylvania (and yes, that is where Johnstown is located), and Bob Pompeani is an outstanding sports anchor.

As a major fan of the Steelers, Penguins, Pirates and Pitt sports, I am being denied in-depth coverage of my favorite teams. I will no longer be able to watch Pomp’s detailed interviews with star players such as Sidney Crosby, Ben Roethlisberger and Andrew McCutchen.

KDKA is also the only area station with a 4 p.m. newscast. Also, when Steelers games are broadcast on NFL Network, KDKA broadcasts them so that everyone is able to watch.

I fail to understand why cable customers are being denied access to news and sports from our closest major city. Many of us travel regularly to Pittsburgh for sporting and cultural events, the airport, etc.

Johnstown obviously is labeled as a rural wasteland for television coverage. We have no other options because we have only one cable provider.

Although we are losing KDKA, our cable bills increase.

I urge KDKA fans to let the cable company know your feelings.

The company promises “dozens of new HD channels.” Keep them. Give us

KDKA.

Debbie Chuba

Johnstown

Editor’s note: We asked Atlantic Broadband for a response, which follows:

TV station became cost prohibitive

The decision to drop KDKA has been a difficult one, and we apologize for any inconvenience our customers may experience. Most consumers aren’t aware of the exorbitant fees Atlantic Broadband pays to retransmit broadcast stations like KDKA. They assume broadcast stations are “free” TV because they may be able to pick them up over the air with an antenna.

Every year, the prices for broadcast programming increases at a rate much higher than inflation and the consumer price index. Year after year, the cost of carrying KDKA has nearly doubled.

Atlantic Broadband customers will be pleased to know that WTAJ, the CBS affiliate from Altoona, carries all the syndicated CBS programming customers want, including “CSI,” “NCIS,” “NCIS Las Vegas,” “The Amazing Race” and “Survivor.” 

Customers concerned about sports coverage or local news will be happy to learn that KDKA news is rebroadcast on the CW Pittsburgh, Atlantic Broadband channel 15, at 10 p.m., and in high definition on Channel 715. This newscast features the same anchors you’ve come to know on KDKA and they are the same stories carried on their newscasts.                                                                                    And, WTAJ will carry almost all of the regular season and playoff Pittsburgh Steelers games. There are one or two Thursday night games per season not carried by WTAJ. However, they are available on the NFL Network, carried by Atlantic Broadband on channel 311.

As customer demand for high definition channels increases, we must make the best possible use of our bandwidth to fill that need. Many new high definition channels will be launched by year’s end.

David Dane

COO, Atlantic Broadband

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