Letter at length, August 27

Re: Classic Arts Showcase on TV

Leah E.W. Ireland's Aug. 24 guest commentary "Service after awhile?" goes in the right direction but doesn't name our "local cable company." However, we assume she is referring to Ashland TV/Ashland Home Net. Unfortunately, their fine service and programming is restricted to Ashland "city" residents, similar to AFN, and those of us who live in Ashland, but outside the city limits, can't obtain their services or programming ... and its affordable pricing. She referred to our "local cable" provider, which is wisely offering (after smartly surveying potential subscribers' interests) Classic Arts Showcase (www.classicartsshowcase.org), on commercial-free public access channel 24 for their basic service subscribers.

Most importantly to us and, possibly, the myriad culturally interested TV viewers who are acquainted with Classic Arts Showcase: We cannot receive this program via the "other" giant cable TV provider, Charter Cable, which broadcasts this 24/7 programming for only four hours on Sunday evenings via local PBS broadcaster SOPTV.

Amazingly, many arts lovers here and elsewhere aren't aware of this wonderful channel, beamed free from their Burbank, Calif., nonprofit organization's studio for airing on public access channels in the U.S. and the rest of the Americas. Being the only full-time culturally oriented TV channel (A&E and Bravo were supposed to do so but don't), it's a travesty that, with Ashland being such an arts-oriented community, SOPTV's constituents don't demand that they broadcast it much more frequently (it's not even listed on Charter's TV schedule guide) than they do currently. With its excellent segments (about five minutes each to be permitted by the unions, program copyright overseers, etc.) of performing arts, film, travel, music and other great, often rare and magnificent video footage, it's probably the main programming we view.

We moved here from Malibu, Calif., six years ago (also very arts-oriented, as well as the "industry" bedroom community for performers and execs), where they too did not broadcast Classic Arts Showcase regularly on their local Charter Cable public access channel. After the Malibu Times, at our behest, published an editorial about this issue, the public access local broadcaster, Pepperdine University, was inundated with requests for them to do so ... and they did.

Right now, in order to receive Classic Arts Showcase, we must also subscribe to Dish Network, which airs it 23/7, and pay duplicate service fees for both services ... just to receive one special program. If you feel that SOPTV and local Charter Cable TV should serve the community better and provide more access to Classic Arts Showcase, please contact them to suggest that they do so.

Larry and Joy Marshall


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