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December 28, 2005

No end Insight: Round 3

Since humans began using the Gregorian calendar, Dec. 31 has signified a day of cleansing, reckoning and perhaps most optimistically, new hope. We’ll have none of that around here, thanks.

Three days from now, television-watching Louisvillians may notice a change on their dial. WYCS — the call letters stand for “Your Community Station” — will be gone from channel 24, a spot it’s held for nearly a decade. In its place will be TV One, which airs programming geared toward African Americans.
The change was announced to WYCS general manager Mark Stanton in a two-sentence letter, dated Aug. 19, from Insight Communications’ New York corporate headquarters. It offered WYCS no other location in any of Insight’s television packages.

After some pushback both from the station and its viewers, Insight offered WYCS channel 759 in its digital package. Stanton has made it clear he doesn’t want that, and said last week that the contract Insight initially offered was “not acceptable.”

Although he couldn’t discuss specifics, Stanton said the station’s attorney is working with Insight’s corporate office to generate a contract more pleasing to the station. Ostensibly, that means WYCS could end up with a better spot than channel 759.

“At this point, I’m certainly open to any sort of compromise, if that should be offered,” Stanton said. “But I have no reason to believe that would be offered.”

Stanton lobbied the Metro Council’s Contracts and Appropriations committee at a Nov. 17 meeting, and he has sent numerous mass e-mails about the subject. City government, however, has no authority over the cable provider’s programming decisions. Its only responsibility is to administer the city’s cable franchise agreement with Insight, which was violated last summer when Insight merged with the Carlyle Group, according to a recent analysis by the County Attorney’s office.

Insight community relations manager Reba Doutrick was out of town at press time; other representatives did not return calls seeking comment.

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