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ORANGE : Cable Firm Told to Fix Film Feed

October 13, 1994|LESLEY WRIGHT

Cablevision of Orange said it will consider informing its 24,000 subscribers that their homes might be receiving unscrambled adult movies on channels 44 and 45.

More than a dozen angry residents attended a meeting Tuesday to demand that the City Council force Cablevision to resolve technical glitches that have allowed children to view the movies.

Resident Chuck Davis described an unscrambled feed of the Playboy channel he received about 5 p.m. within earshot of his 10-year-old son and four-year-old daughter. The movie featured oral sex acts, "complete with sound," he said.

Kristy Casasanta, general manager for the cable company, placed the blame on a 1992 federal law mandating that cable companies carry certain programs. Cablevision decided to that Hot Choice and Playboy share channels with other programming. The adult channels should have been scrambled after 5 p.m. in homes that did not subscribe to the channels. But some boxes "were not getting the message," she said.

Casasanta said the adult programs now have their own channels, which should solve the problem. But the audio feed is a problem that affects cable companies "industrywide," she said.

Council members agreed that many working parents might not be aware of the problem and they urged Casasanta to send some type of letter informing subscribers about the problem.

Assistant City Manager Jim Evans said he will prepare a strong letter from the council to Time-Warner Inc., which owns Cablevision of Orange, to "insist that it be fixed."

The franchise renewal for Cablevision of Orange is scheduled for April 30 and includes a series of public hearings.

Councilman Mike Spurgeon said the company "will have to make some moves very quickly before any of us can seriously consider holding hearings (about franchise renewal)."

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