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WI: Keep an eye out for your local cable-TV station

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Created 05/04/2007 - 6:31am

from: River Falls journal [1]

Editorial: Keep an eye out for your local cable-TV station

Phil Pfuehler
River Falls Journal - 05/03/2007

Debate on a state bill that may boost competition among video service providers goes on in Madison. The aim, bill supporters say, is to give consumers more choices — cable, Internet and phone services — at lower prices.

But a big concern is that the change may wipe out or diminish local cable TV, including RFC-TV — River Falls Community Television.

RFC-TV gets most of its money to operate from Twin Cities-based Comcast, the cable provider for the city of River Falls and some of the immediate outlying areas. A small monthly fee on local Comcast subscribers also finances RFC-TV.

The cable franchise bill now under debate would end the 30-year practice of local communities negotiating deals with cable-TV providers. River Falls has such a deal with Comcast. The bill redirects cable franchise agreements to the state level.

That shift may have merits, but it also could imperil local deals that require a portion of cable provider profits to go to local cable access stations — like the one at RFC-TV.

If you’ve watched the River Falls Days parade, City Council meetings, high school football games or commencement ceremonies, Relay for Life highlights, River Falls in Focus (hosted by Mayor Don Richards), snippets from the Kansas City Chiefs camp including Family Fun Night and Punt Pass and Kick, church programs, concerts, and community announcements for the Food Pantry, Kinnickinnic River Land Trust, Rotary Club, Lions Club, Moose Lodge, River Falls Community Theatre, Girl Scouts, American Legion and much more, then you’ve been tuning to the local cable access station, RFC-TV.

State Sen. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls) says amendments to the cable franchise bill should not only protect consumers, but also protect the financial support of local cable access stations. Those who oppose the bill remain skeptical.

If you’re concerned about the fate of RFC-TV in River Falls, contact Harsdorf and state Rep. Kitty Rhoades (R-Hudson). Tell them why local cable programming is worth supporting. Tell them to keep this in mind as debate continues on the cable franchise bill.

Harsdorf can be reached at 800-862-1092 and at Rhoades can be reached at 888-529-0030 or at

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