Public upset by Comcast channel changes

Comcast subscribers in Tallahassee have mixed feelings about the recent change in the channel lineup. 

On Sept. 18, Comcast’s new channel lineup took effect in the homes and businesses of more than 90,000 cable subscribers in Tallahassee and its surrounding areas. Several reasons led Comcast to make changes in their channels.

“We continually evaluate our channel lineups so that we can provide the best quality and value in television entertainment. More and more, programming is being created and delivered in digital,” said K.C. McWilliams, Tallahassee’s Comcast general manager.

The federal government has mandated that by 2009, all broadcast channels must abandon their analog, over-the-air channels and become completely digital. 

“We are providing the technology that allows our customers to enjoy this programming as easily and simply as possible,” McWilliams said.

One change Comcast subscribers may have noticed was the placement of the CW network, which was formed after the merger between United Paramount Network and Warner Bros., on Channel 6. 

The CW carries the most popular programming from both UPN and the WB. 

When informed about the merger in early summer, Comcast realized the importance of including the newly formed network in their channel lineup.

“We knew it would be important to keep the new network, the CW, on the basic level of service and alert our customers of the change,” McWilliams said.

The merger has received support among many people.

“I don’t think it was bad. It combined the two positive natures of the channels into one. I can watch ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ and ‘7th Heaven’ without changing the channel,” said Aashford James, 19, a sophomore psychology student from Clairmont. 

Former UPN affiliate WCTV was highly dissatisfied with the changes to the channel lineup.

“We’re powerless to do anything about it,” said Chris Mossman, vice president of sales and marketing for WCTV.

“Essentially, it’s all about money. We believe that we offer a very valuable product, but (Comcast) believe that they can make more money from a shopping network. We’d be happy anywhere from (Channel) 2 to 99,” said Mossman about being moved from Channel 24 to 249. 

Many students were upset about the overhaul in the channel lineup.

“I don’t think it was a positive change because not a lot of people can afford to purchase digital cable. I still can’t find ‘Martin,'” said Tiquitta Floyd, 23, a senior health science student from Miami.

In response to Comcast’s decision to change WCTV’s channel position, the station broadcast several spots to voice its opinions about the change.

“It was disappointing to us that WCTV would choose to run negative commercials,” McWilliams said. “We have always strived to foster positive relationships with our local broadcasters. 

“We consider them partners. We may not always agree, but we believe it is important to take the high road,” he continued.

Cable packages start as low as $9.52 for basic service. Full basic service is $48.50 including tax.

In an effort to provide extra services to students at a low price, Comcast introduced the Enhanced Cable feature.

For an additional $1.49 per month, full basic cable subscribers can get EC, which offers all the channels the broadcasters are multi-casting and any future multi-casts. It also provides the digital box that is needed to receive digital cable.  

Cable subscribers who have questions or who would like to voice a complaint can do so by logging onto or calling (850) 574-4000.