Thursday, April 14, 2005

Comcast Responds To My Request For EWTN

From: Scott Tenney
Sent: Wednesday, April 13, 2005 5:27 PM
Subject: RE: EWTN-The Global Catholic Television Network

If limited basic customers are getting channel 61 it would be because our tech used an old line trap. Channel 61 is not included in our limited basic tier. We are temporarily carrying EWTN on 61 but, due to bandwidth demands associated with moving to an all digital network, we cannot keep it there. We are working with EWTN to get the rights to put EWTN and EWTN en Espanolin digital and on-demand.

I agree with your concerns about infomercials on INSP. I also think it was an unwise decision for AT&T to drop EWTN in the first place. However, my experience has been that moving or deleting religous networks is a very tricky business and causes a lot of problems. So inspite of my concerns with the informercials on INSP, I am not inclined to move or delete them.

I'm anxious to add EWTN and EWTN en Espanol as quickly as possible but right now only have bandwidth to put them in digital. Once we've transitioned to an all digital environment I will have the bandwidth and flexibility to look at moving them to the limited basic tier. However that is 2-3 years down the road and does not address your imediate concerns.

I am sorry that we are not going to be able to meet your imediate needs. If getting EWTN as cheaply as possible is your only objective, satellite is probably your best option right now.

Thanks for your input. I appreciate it and it has generated a lot of discussion within my team. We have really explored all the options but can't meet your request for EWTN in limited basic at this time.

Scott Tenney

Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2005 4:56 PM
To: Scott Tenney
Cc: Steve Burke
Subject: Re: EWTN-The Global Catholic Television Network

Mr Tenney,

Additionally, I could receive 60 channels with the most basic service from Dish Network AND receive EWTN for $25 -- a far cry from the Digital and onDemand pricing tier and acceptable for a FREE network with FREE programming. I would also receive the same 12 shopping networks that makeup the core of Comcast's 37 channel limited basic package. Unless, I live in one of the cities, apartment complexes, communities, or home owner's associations that craft monopolistic non-compete agreements to keep cable competitors out of an area.

On the limited basic network, Utah's LDS religious majority has three networks and the state's second largest religion has zero. The evangelicaland fundamentalist protestants with even less representation in the state have four channels when they don't revert to paid programming at the end of their broadcast day.

This is a basic issue of fairness and equitable distribution.

Sent: Monday, April 11, 2005 10:13 PM
To: Scott Tenney
Subject: RE: EWTN-The Global Catholic Television Network

Mr Tenney,

Thank you for your reply. What I don't understand is why other Comcast customers with limited basic programming are receiving channel 61. In fact, the only difference between the channels that I receive and the channels received by my acquaintances with the same service level is that they get channel 61 and I get HBO channel 6. I even pointed out to the service technician that I was receiving premium content as a basic subscriber (that I don't care about) while I cannot get access to a free network with free programming. I am still perplexed by the 4 year absence of EWTN from Utah in favour of a network with over 13 hours of home shopping and infomercials on a "religious" programming network (INSP).

As far as the value of on-demand to EWTN viewers, the network producers already offer several encore presentations to accommodate the viewer's need for a flexible television schedule. Unfortunately, I know of many people who want EWTN to subscribe to Comcast, but they are not in a position to pay $40 or more for FREE programming. Speaking for myself, I have been a network administrator in the dot com economy before the implosion, and my most recent employment was downsized in an organisation-wide lay off two days before Christmas 2004. At the pesent time (and before I enter a religious order), I am in no position to pay $50 for television service and I have no desire to pay $15 per month for television programming that doesn't include a FREE television channel. To this day, I still grimace when I pass channel 72 and think back fondly (to my pre-Catholic days) when that channel broadcasted 24 hours a day. Channel 72 had several Catholic devotional programs and a beautifully reverent celebration of the Mass. Now, it mostly has infomercials for Oreck, Ronco, juice makers, and a very poor substitution for the Mass from St. Ann's Communication in Scranton, PA in place of the Mass from Irondale, AL. That said, Catholics don't like to just watch the Mass, we like to attend the Mass whenever possible. We watch EWTN for the catechetical instruction, devotionals, global Catholic news, powerful documentaries, music specials, and young adult programming not found anywhere else.

From: Scott Tenney
Sent: Monday, April 11, 2005 8:08 PM
Subject: Re: EWTN-The Global Catholic Television Network

Thanks for your message. We are currently in discussions with EWTN to make content from both EWTN and EWTN en Espanol available on-demand and as a digital basic channel. We are temporarily carrying the channel in analog expanded basic. Due to bandwidth constraints associated with transitioning to an all digital environment, we won't be able to keep EWTN in analog for now.

However we want to serve the needs of our community and want to add EWTN to our lineup. In the immediate term putting the channel on digital is our best option. Offering selected EWTN content on-demand will greatly enhance its value to EWTN viewers. For example, viewers would be able to watch mass or other favorite programs on their own schedule.

I am sorry that we won't be able to put EWTN on limited basic for now. If you would like to discuss directly, please call me at my office.

Scott Tenney
Comcast area vice president for Utah
--------------------------
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld

Sent: Monday, April 11, 2005 7:25 PM
To: Steve BurkeCc: Scott Tenney
Subject: RE: EWTN-The Global Catholic Television Network

Dear Mr. Burke & Mr. Tenney,

Thank you for your reply. I was informed that Comcast in Utah has since allowed EWTN onto the expanded basic network for the month of April. However, it seems as though many people receive the channel with the limited basic package. After I noticed that many acquaintances had the channel on 61 with limited basic, I confirmed my observation with a telephone representative to place an order for limited basic to upgrade my high speed internet service -- AS EWTN IS THE ONLY NETWORK THAT I WANT! After waiting for 4 hours on Monday, I noticed a sign on my door as I was leaving that they tried to make the appointment, but moved to their next install when they did not find me at home. Not only was the doorbell not rung, but I had called and made arrangements at 1:30p for them to make the necessary installation changes on the outside of the house as I did not need any changes inside. I was informed that I would not need to greet them personally for them to complete the service call. I called back and they arranged for a second service call between 5-6:30p. Now, I have the limited basic package, but no EWTN. I have channel 72 INSP and I don't want this channel of commercials, infomercials, and other home shopping programming.



"EWTN offers its programming free of charge. If EWTN is not available on your cable system, please contact them directly."

It is absurd that a channel that is free of cost to the cable provider should be placed in any premium, second tier, or special digital package to merely seek to raise your profit margin to ridiculously spectacular heights -- especially from a company pledging their commitment to family and religious programming on their channel lineup and considering that it was on the Comcast Limited Basic Network FOUR years ago. Your satellite competitors offer this network on the most basic tier of their channel packages. At this point, I am still watching the EWTN signal from the free (but imperfect) video stream on the EWTN web site. I will wait a week to hear from you before I escalate a publicity campaign highlighting the previously cited grievances and abuses. I will also wait to hear your response before I cancel my television service. I do not need cable service for my television for the remaining 3 weeks of April if I am still forced to watch the network feed from the Internet on my computer.

Thank you for considering my request.

From: Steve Burke
Cc: Scott Tenney
Subject: RE: EWTN-The Global Catholic Television Network
Date: Thu, 7 Apr 2005 13:33:48 +0000

Thanks for your thoughtful email. I have taken the liberty of passing it on to Scott Tenney who runs our business in Utah. I am sure he will look into this situation quickly and get back to you.

Steve BurkeChief Operating Officer, Comcast CorporationPresident, Comcast Cable Communications

Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 1:35 AM
To: Steve Burke
Subject: EWTN-The Global Catholic Television Network

Dear Mr. Burke,

Here in Utah, many people want EWTN back in the Salt Lake Valley. You may also be interested to know that, in order to reach those communities which do not normally receive EWTN or EWTN EspaƱol, EWTN will offer local cable systems the right to temporarily carry either or both networks during this period as a service to those who would like to watch the memorials honoring Pope John Paul II, the papal funeral, and the events in the Vatican leading up to the announcement of His Successor. Comcast Utah risks being on the wrong side of history in not making this channel available, at the least, throughout this time of historical significance. Your company further commends itself to disgrace by continuing to receive profits from the business of pornography. I continue to be very disappointed to learn that you have not yet added EWTN back to your analog basic channel lineup especially because EWTN offers this programming free of cost.

I am requesting that you add EWTN to your channel line-up. I believe that this network can provide the hope, encouragement, and inspiration that are needed by so many in our community! Providing EWTN will certainly enhance your service and stave off the hemorrhage of subscribers that desert your service for Dish Network or Direct TV to receive this cable network. As your company remains firm in their hostile opposition to religious and family values, you are losing access to a customer base of 200,000 Utah Catholics and the many non-Catholics that also find unique and compelling programming on this 24/7 cable network with no commercial interruption. Including myself, I know many people that have enjoyed and continue to enjoy this network for many years as a non-Catholic whether or not they discern a call to conversion.

Comcast has recently launched an advertising campaign heralding their commitment to family and religious programming on their channel lineup. This campaign could be thought a farce if your real accomplishments weren't actually so tragic and contemptible. Comcast Corporation does have an incredible opportunity to rectify a great injustice perpetrated against the vocational achievements of this nation's foremost Cable Television Pioneer. By ensuring a place in their nationwide analog basic channel lineup for EWTN, Comcast's recognition of Mother Angelica would do much to disprove the allegations that their pursuit of amassing enormous profits derived from immoral investments is the only concern for this so-called responsible corporate citizen of America. If this giant telecommunications provider of entertainment programming cares nothing for the deleterious effect their product has on an increasingly degenerate and decadent society, then the genocidal rage of the 20th century will find its ignominious conclusion in the 21st century's cultural suicide. The short-term gain of profits for entertainment and media conglomerates will be mitigated by the return to barbarism dictated by our precipitously declining civilization.

Indeed, AT&T Comcast's hostility to religious values is further proof that they are a fervent advocate of this stifling culture of death and materialism that afflicts the very soul of our national being. With more than a dozen home shopping networks and a half dozen degenerate music video channels, these networks have contributed more to perpetuate the forces of perversion unleashed on our great culture than any other idea or artifact. What must the channel surfer confront in the attempt to locate this strong commitment to family friendly television? The Oxygen Network with the demoniac Canadian who hosts The Joy of Celebrating Your Inner Deviancy, MTV reality shows, E's The Anna Nicole Show and The Howard Stern Show, and the soft core porn on the premium movie channels (HBO, Cinemax, and Showtime) that once were vehicles for the home viewing of recent Hollywood theatrical releases -- instead, they have become a showcase for a society that embraces sexual liberation and cultural genocide.

There are two LDS stations, dozens of home shopping networks, two forums for liberal women, and a dozen programming options for evangelical Protestants. There are no longer any Catholic channels in the state where Catholics are the second largest denomination. Furthermore, INSP and all of the religious channels switch to home shopping during some part of the day. EWTN has programming 24/7 and it is absolutely free to the cable provider.

Comcast must reverse the December 2001 decision that replaced EWTN with INSP. For Comcast to continue to deny programming access to its many victims of restraint-of-trade practices, the clear message is that this immensely arrogant corporation has an insatiable lust for power that blinds them to all issues antithetical to self-interest -- issues of fairness, decency, and morality.

Thank you for considering my request.

Sincerely,

Deputy Grand Knight
Knights of Columbus Council 602

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