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Viewers miss Olympics coverage

September 14, 2000

Viewers miss Olympics coverage



By SCOTT BUTKI / Staff Writer


Some Antietam Cable subscribers have expressed displeasure that the company is not providing extended coverage of the Summer Olympics available on CNBC and MSNBC.

The cable company's customers will be able to see only the Olympic coverage provided on NBC.

One resident, Dan Gervacio of Boonsboro, said Thursday he was so upset with Antietam Cable that he is considering getting a satellite dish.

"We should have the option of seeing whatever is being broadcast," he said.

Gervacio said he felt the cable company should not prevent customers from seeing a world sporting event.

About 10 people had called Antietam Cable to complain about the decision not to pick up the extended Olympics coverage, said Cynthia Garland, Antietam Cable's director of special projects.

Tele-Media Company, which provides cable coverage in Berkeley Springs, W. Va., also decided not to provide extended coverage on MSNBC and CNBC.

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GS Communications Inc., which serves Frederick County and part of Washington County in Maryland and Berkeley and Jefferson counties in West Virginia, is carrying not only the NBC regular coverage, but the CNBC and MSNBC coverage, a spokesman there said.

A spokesman for Comcast Cable, which provides cable service in Pennsylvania, did not return phone calls Wednesday.

MSNBC began its Olympic coverage Thursday night by showing a men's soccer team game. Some people called The Herald-Mail Wednesday night and Thursday to complain that they couldn't see the game on Antietam Cable.

Many cable companies were running the coverage on all three channels, according to an NBC customer service representative who said she could not give her name.

NBC suggests that viewers upset by Antietam Cable's decision to call the local cable company to express their dissatisfaction, she said.

Garland said she realizes sports fans might be frustrated by the decision but said it was made for two good reasons.

Antietam Cable would have needed to pay an additional fee to NBC in order to provide the extended programming on the CNBC and MSNBC channels, she said.

In addition, a national cooperative representing 10 million viewers to which Antietem Cable belongs failed to reach an agreement to provide the programming without a fee. For proprietary reasons, she could not reveal the amount of that fee, Garland said.

Second, broadcasting Olympic coverage would have upset people who tune into CNBC and MSNBC for regular financial programming, she said.

Tony Muto of Hagerstown said if the cable company were to conduct a survey of local residents he believed they would find more people interested in watching the Olympics than the usual programming on CNBC and MSNBC.

MSNBC has been running radio and television advertisements saying it will show the soccer games.

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