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Council Expected to OK Cable TV Pact

October 12, 1998|PAULA PISANI

The City Council is ready to sign an agreement with the two local cable providers that would put control of community programming in the city's hands.

On Tuesday the council is expected to approve a $192,500 increase in franchise fees from cable operators Jones Intercable and GTE Media Ventures for the city's cable TV fund, which is used to produce such shows as "Street Beat" and "Fireline."

The franchise-fee payments include a $50,000 settlement from Jones Intercable, one-time payments of $80,000 from both Jones and GTE Media Ventures for start-up TV equipment and payments by both cable companies totaling about $62,500, which is based on payments of $2.56 per subscriber per year.

Jones Intercable has been providing service to the city for 15 years. Its contract required production of community programming, such as the city's live, call-in television shows "Street Beat," "Fireline" and "Environment Today."

When GTE Media Ventures came to town and began competing with Jones Intercable, a deal was made with both companies for the city to produce its own shows with financial help from the companies.

Among the main provisions of the new cable TV franchise agreements is that the city provide the facilities, training and equipment necessary for the public to produce a television program to be aired on the city's public-access channel.

Before the new franchise agreements, Jones Intercable had provided the facility, training and equipment for public-access programming. Rather than require the cable companies to provide these facilities, the city and the cable companies agreed the city would produce the programming.

The shows will be produced by city staff in the council chambers.

According to Community Affairs Manager David Keith, a new show will be added to the city's lineup. "City Beat" will cover issues happening throughout Oxnard.

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