In the wake of public concern regarding the loss of Turner Broadcasting channels, Cable ONE general manager David Wall delivered an update Monday night to the Ardmore City Commission during the first of its two meetings this month.
Wall outlined the history of the dispute with Turner Networks and read a statement from Cable ONE CEO Tom Might. Might referred to Turner Networks decision to remove TBS, TNT and the Cartoon Network as "an extraordinary act of retaliation and bullying."
The statement said Cable ONE chose to drop Turner Classic Movie Channel, CNN, CNN Espanol, Headline News, Boomerang and TruTV channels because of expense and lower ratings, and negotiated separately for TBS, TNT and the Cartoon Network through the National Cable Television Cooperative, which allows for the purchase of individual channels rather than the entire bundle of eight.
"In a punitive reaction, Turner Networks refused to recognize the NCTC contracts and immediately de-authorized all Cable ONE systems in order to 'teach' Cable ONE a lesson about the power of cable programmers, and tied and bundle channels together and force carriage of unwanted bundles," Might's statement said.
Wall said Cable ONE was replacing some of the lost channels with previews of different channels, such as the Hallmark Channel, Science Channel and Gameshow Channel this week until Cable ONE can decide what to do. He said he had nothing new to report, and admitted Turner has the upper hand with sports programming right now, but that will change when Fox begins to carry the baseball playoffs in the next round.
Commissioner Bob Geurin asked Wall about the contract the city had signed with Cable ONE in regards to its commitment. Wall said the programmer is keeping its commitment in the variety of programming offered. Geurin also asked Wall if Cable ONE had a reduction in cost from its programmers, would the Ardmore residents, in turn, receive a reduction. Wall said that has never happened.
Wall said Cable ONE has filed a suit against Turner. Whether that is successful or not will be determined, but until there is a resolution, Geurin appears to be taking in the playoffs at a local business.
"The traffic has been big at the Holiday Inn, because they have DirectTV," Geurin told Wall. "They are furnishing popcorn to your customers."
The commission also confirmed a number of appointments to boards, and confirmed Carter County Sheriff Ken Grace to assume the duties as police chief effective Jan. 2, 2014.
"I appreciate the confidence you have in me, and I'm very honored," Grace said.
In the list of confirmations, Dr. Brent Holland was named to the Ardmore Main Street Authority Board to fulfill the unexpired term of Justin Ramsey, which will run through June 2015. Jerry Landrum was reappointed to the Board of Adjustment for a second three-year term, which will expire May 2016.
Page 2 of 2 - The city also received a number of grants that will benefit different departments. A Coverdell Forensic Sciences Improvement Grant from the Oklahoma District Attorneys Council in the amount of $3,700 was approved. The grant will be used to fund the police department's forensic laboratory.
An application for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program Local Solicitation in the amount of $29,395 was approved. The grant will be split with the county, with the city to receive $14,697.50 for the purchase of law enforcement equipment.
The library received a grant from ProLiteracy Worldwide in the amount of $5,000. The grant will fund the Adult Literacy Program.
Christmas will be brighter in the downtown area after the commission approved the expenditure of $42,579.70 for lighting along the roofline of Main Street businesses. The current lights have been in use for more than 12 years, and the new lights will have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years.
Leases for two loader/backhoes and two loader/extend-a-hoe backhoes were approved. The police department will also receive a new police unit.
During the public works meeting, trustees approved a bid received from Teledyne Isco, Inc. for two auto samplers at the Wastewater Treatment Plant in the amount of $10,852. Approval was also given to a bid from Insituform Technologies, Inc. for the mainline repairs in Basin 10 in the amount of $7,637.294.