New committee to examine cable TV issues in Columbia

Wednesday, November 26, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:17 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 3, 2008

A seven-member cable television task force has been appointed by Mayor Darwin Hindman to look at issues involved in the cable television franchises in Columbia.

Hindman said he is “not sure what the issues may be; that is what the committee is looking into.”

Another purpose is to review issues relating to the formation and operation of public access channels by Mediacom and Charter, the two cable companies with franchise rights in the city. These include studio facilities and equipment, funding for capital and operation costs, and operating structure and programming policies.

Gary Baugh, Mediacom senior director of operations, said the task force seems like a good idea.

“With the members of the team that I know, there is a good cross section of the community,” Baugh said.

According to Hindman, the committee will begin work next week.

The committee will look at the issue of more community access on cable television.

“One option for more community access is a new channel that community groups can use to get on TV,” said Kent Collins, a member of the task force.

The task force expects to submit a report to the City Council with recommendations on franchise renewal no later than Dec. 31. Hindman said he expects it to take longer, but would not specify on a timetable.

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