Blogs > Jim Collins' Editor's Notebook

Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Problems with Time Warner Cable linger on

A lot of readers have let me know they agree wholeheartedly with my feeling about Time Warner Cable and how it has gotten rid of dozens of channels for families that don’t have digital TV reception.
Yes, I know. You can get a free converter box by calling the number on the screen, waiting for the box with its multitude of wires to arrive in the mail and then assembling them to convert from analog reception to digital.
Some readers have assured me it’s a snap to assemble. One reader said it was so simple for his wife to assemble that he was willing to send her over to do the job for me.
I appreciate the offer, but there is one small problem. If his wife turns out to be a good-looking blonde, that will make two good-looking blondes in the house.
I will not even go there, nor will I try to explain the lady of the house what the other blonde is doing there. That is a problem I do not wish to deal with, even if that sentence does end with a preposition.
Here is how a good friend of mine dealt with the assembly problem. Bill Crosier, the retired police/fire/deputy chief, went in to the Time Warner office on Plaza Boulevard in Mentor, just a short walk from Giant Eagle, and told them he needed nine, count ‘em, nine, converter boxes for the many small TV sets he has all over the place.
Not only that, but would they mind sending someone over to assemble them? The person behind the counter said yes, it would be done.
Good enough for me. I am going to make the same request. We have only seven or eight small TVs all over the place.
A lady from Willowick even wrote me that they took Turner Classic Movies off her TV. I never heard of such a thing.
But I have an entirely different reason for being upset that dozens of channels have been arbitrarily swept out, leaving only a “so sorry” message on the screen.
One of the channels they obliterated was 95. It may have a different number in your area. But that is the Lakeland Community College TV channel in Willoughby, where I live, and I have a special reason for being upset that it is now blank.
Since 1982, my colleagues and I have been doing TV interviews with candidates for public office. That year, we did them in a conference room at The News-Herald.
Starting in 1984, and every year since, we have conducted the interviews in the TV studio at the college. It is a professional setting, the technicians, Phil and Sam, are adept at their jobs, and the result is excellent interviews have gone out over the air, giving viewers a chance to take a first-hand at the people who will be on their ballots, see how they respond to questions we ask and perhaps make up their minds which ones will get their votes. We will be doing the interviews again later this month.
I would say that the interviews, in the past, have been a success. We have received great feedback on them. I could almost write a book on interview highlights over the past 30 years. The questioners have been me with one of the editors from The News-Herald.
Well, guess what? If you don’t have a TV with digital reception, and you don’t have a converter box yet, you won’t be able to watch the people who are seeking office in the area where you live.
To me, removing this channel is a serious abdication of civic duty by Time Warner.
I was under the impression that cable companies were required by law to offer a certain amount of public service programming. There was at one time a Congressional committee with authority to make sure cable companies did not fudge on this obligation.
Maybe Congress has given up enforcing this civic duty. With all the other problems government has these days, it may have forgotten this responsibility.
Well, I haven’t forgotten it. And if Congress won’t do anything about it, perhaps we should just appeal to Time Warner to set the profit motive aside momentarily and think about civic responsibility.
It wouldn’t take much to turn Channel 95 back on. There is a little box down on Tyler Boulevard in Mentor that one of the people there can open up and flip the switch on for Channel 95.
I will be watching and waiting. But it probably won’t do much good.
Civic responsibility often takes a back seat in the corporate world, even it if means making a difference in choosing good candidates over bad ones.

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JCollins@
News-Herald.com




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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The boxes are "free" right now, but did you ask them how much they will be after the "free" period expires. I was told that next year we will be charged $2.00 per box per month.

July 30, 2014 at 6:26 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next you'll want to bring back rotary phones. It's called progress.

August 1, 2014 at 4:31 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want a better use of your leisure time that will improve the quality of your life; Do what I did. Cut the TV service out of your cable bill and purchase a HDTV antenna. If enough people do this , It will pressure the cable co.'s to stop raising prices .

August 1, 2014 at 7:57 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was also told - after September 2015 each box will cost $1.95 per month. I will be leaving Time Warner after being with them since cable came to Chardon years ago.

August 1, 2014 at 8:51 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just get AT&T Uverse. It's better and cheaper. Problem solved.

August 2, 2014 at 6:20 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS is a huge problem for you? Big enough to write two (and counting) pieces in the paper it? Hey Jim: The WAAAAAAHmbulance is on it's way to take you to the old folks home where you can be around others who can't figure out how to plug stuff in and who wish it was still 1963. I'm looking forward to your five part series next week: "They Don't Make Soap Dispensers Right Anymore" where you describe how you have to press the plunger down two, sometimes even three times to get enough soap to wash your hands. Riveting.

August 4, 2014 at 4:12 AM 

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