Sixteen tune in for Fargo cable forum
The first public forum held by Fargo's cable TV review committee was more like C-Span than "The Sopranos." Sixteen people attended the 90-minute hearing Monday night and listened to questions and concerns about Fargo's franchise agreement with Ca...
The first public forum held by Fargo's cable TV review committee was more like C-Span than "The Sopranos."
Sixteen people attended the 90-minute hearing Monday night and listened to questions and concerns about Fargo's franchise agreement with CableOne. The current agreement expires Sept. 7, 2004.
Opening the forum, committee chairman and City Commissioner member Rob Lynch said the purpose of the meeting is to get public input.
And that's exactly what they got.
"It is my opinion the CableOne Inc. has done a terrible job of providing their customers in the Fargo trade area with quality product at a fair price," said Hans Miller of Fargo, reading from a prepared statement.
Miller focused largely on digital cable and having to get a digital converter to receive premium channels like HBO. He added that in order to watch the automotive network Speedvision, he has to subscribe to a package with eight other channels he doesn't want.
Scott Geston, general manager of Fargo's CableOne, responded by saying the company would've offered Speedvision separately, but isn't in a position to offer pick-and-choose programming.
"A la carte would demand more components and more payments," Geston said.
Scott Barnard complained about customer service, pointing out that no operators are on hand after 5 p.m. He said on occasion he's called Geston at home with questions.
But for every bit of criticism, there were equal amounts of compliments.
Crystal Dueker praised CableOne for allowing her the opportunity to host a show on public access.
Margie Bailly, executive director of the Fargo Theatre, commended CableOne as a community partner. Fred Calabrese, the architect of CableOne's new building, spoke as an "unabashed supporter" of the company.
Just as there seemed to be old friends, there seemed to be old animosities.
Ross Johnson from Goldmark Property Management criticized CableOne for not renegotiating old "right of entry" agreements which would allow property owners to take part in revenue sharing.
"It's a business transaction between company A and company B and I don't think the city or public needs to get involved," Geston said after the meeting. "It was apparent his appearance at the meeting has purely financial motives for himself and his company."
The next public forum has yet to be scheduled, but Miller asked that notices be include in the previous month's CableOne bill.
Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533