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Local cable customers miss President's message

December 19, 1998

Americans sat glued to their televisions Saturday to hear President Clinton's reaction to the impeachment vote against him.

In Hagerstown, viewers got snow.

Just as Clinton was about to comment on the historic moment, an electrical transformer in town malfunctioned, cutting service to Antietam Cable subscribers, said Hagerstown Light Department manager Terry Weaver.

Viewers were angry and demanded answers.

Carrie Schumaker, a reporter and anchor at NBC 25, said the station received "a ton" of calls.

Schumaker said one caller demanded that she personally go to Antietam Cable Television and see what happened.

"People were freaking out," said Schumaker.

The Herald-Mail newsroom received a number of calls, and a fax from a viewer who said the timing of the outage "was just too much to believed as coincidental" and should be investigated.

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Antietam Cable officials could not be reached for comment, but Weaver assured people it was due to the transformer.

The outage affected the cable company because it needs electric service to accept satellite signals, Weaver said.

"There is no conpiracy," said Weaver.

Between 300 and 400 people in the southeast part of town lost electric service due to the failure, said Weaver.

Power was restored about 7 p.m., said Weaver.

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