North County is served by two television cable companies and has seven locally-based radio stations.
The cable companies charge hook-up and monthly fees; the radio stations only require a turn of the dial.
Here's a bit about each:
Known to some die-hard couch potatoes as the vein of life, cable television is a staple in most North County communities.
In the lingo of the industry, "penetration" is high, which, translated, means that an unusually high percentage of homes are wired for cable.
The array of services and channels is basically the same from system to system, although the price structures vary. Of course, it's not like residents have a choice--each area is served by just one system.
Service to Carlsbad, La Costa, Fallbrook, Del Mar, portions of Encinitas, portions of Solana Beach, Vista, San Marcos.
Basic rate is $17.85 for 17 channels, not including satellite services such as ESPN and CNN; "Cable Plus" service costs $20.95 and includes 32 channels. A basic "lifeline service" of 12 channels, priced at $10.95, is available to people of low income.
Four pay services are available--Cinemax, Showtime, Disney and HBO--at a rate of $10.95 each per month, although special package deals are available. Phone: 931-7000.
Service to Escondido, Oceanside, Camp Pendleton, Vista, San Marcos, Encinitas, Ramona, Solana Beach.
Basic rate of $18.45 a month for 23 channels, not including ESPN, CNN, TNT and a few other services; "Prefered Dimension" package is $19.95 for 30 channels, including ESPN and CNN; "Prefered Dimension Plus" is $23.95 for 30 channels, including a converter box for special events, a remote control and cable guide.
HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Movie Channel and the Disney Channel are offered at $10 each per month. Senior discounts available. Phone: 721-9000.
Talk of North County radio is a bit misleading, since area residents can pick up many stations from both Los Angeles and San Diego. Yet, there is a thriving radio scene in the area, separate and distinct from San Diego.
There are several stations based in the North County, each with a distinctive format. They offer residents a wide array of music and talk formats, from all-business to country music. A separate ratings book for the North County makes the competition among the stations especially fierce.
KKOS-FM (95.9): Based in Carlsbad, the station offers a mixture of upbeat Top 40 tunes, with a sprinkling of oldies hits. It likes to emphasize its North County roots, billing itself as "North County and proud of it." Phone: 729-5945.
KCEO-AM (1000): The sister station to KKOS focuses on a business news. For the most part, it's a hodge-podge of talk programs and speciality shows. Phone: 729-1000.
KOWF-FM (92.1): The Mighty Cow, as its devoted followers like to call it, is the North County Mecca for country music fans. Based in Escondido, it has carved out a solid ratings niche. Phone: 745-8511.
KSPA-AM (1450): Dubbed the "Station of the Stars," the sister station to KOWF features those oldies but goodies. Phone: 745-8511.
KPRZ-AM (1210): Specializing in religious programming, "K-Praise" is able to reach many parts of the county with its relatively strong signals. It's offices are based in San Marcos. Phone: 471-1177.
KGMG-FM (102.1): This station jams with a mixture of current and classic rock 'n' roll, featuring the hard-edged rock 'n' roll more than anything other rock station in the county. the main studio for "Rock 'n' Roll 102.1" is in Oceanside, although it also has an office in San Diego. Phone: 757-1321.
KGMG-AM (1320): The "light and easy" sister station to the hard and fast rock of Rock 'n' Roll 102.1. The music is decidely mellow, although it is a step more upbeat than the straight instrumental variety of mellow featured on some stations. Phone: 757-1321.