The Mountain Times

°F Thu, April 24, 2014

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Channel 14 may be back soon


KILLINGTON - Persistence pays off as Killington's Channel 14 is likely to be back on the air soon, perhaps by Thanksgiving.
Back in October, cable provider Comcast decided to replace the channel - which featured outdoor sports programming, events at the Killington Mountain Resort, and other local content - with a home shopping network channel.
"If you don't like this," Killington 14 TV posted on its Facebook page Oct. 9, "please pick up the phone and call Comcast at 1-800-COMCAST and let them know!!!"
Viewers did, according to Jeff Dumais at Outdoor Television, the company that provides most of the channel's programming. Besides the local content, the channel shows lifestyle features and outdoor sports programming.
"We've been working with Comcast to remedy the situation, and we could possibly be back on the air by Thanksgiving," said Dumais.
In a previous interview, Killington Chamber of Commerce member Vince Chiarella said the channel provided a valuable service.
"It featured local businesses and the night life in Killington. People always watched it to see the ski conditions. But Comcast decided they wanted to make more money," he said.
The situation wasn't quite that simple, according to Channel 14 station manager Steve Kent. Channel 14 had been operating for about 25 years without a vital legal document in place.
"We were operating without a formal agreement," Kent said. Such agreements set out the terms under which the local channel can operate.
Local support, however, made the difference, Kent continued.
"The resort's been great in supporting the local station and its programming," he said. "There's been an outpouring of support from viewers. They're passionate, and let their feelings be known."
Kent was also impressed with Comcast's response.
"It takes a lot of people to move a company as large as Comcast," he said. "Comcast listened to their customers, and they've been trying really hard to get us back on the air."
For all the optimism, Kent said, some final details still need to be ironed out.
"We're still in negotiation," he said. "We had a great discussion with Comcast, and we're finalizing the details."
Had the deal not gone through, PEG-TV had been thinking about taking over some of Channel 14's services, according to PEG-TV Executive Director Mike Valentine. Valentine said the PEG-TV board had discussed the situation at its most recent regular meeting.
"Nothing's been decided," he said. "We've decided to hold back and see what happens."
At the Killington TV 14 Facebook page, the most recent post (as of Nov. 24) reads, "We… hope to be back on the air very soon, if not by Thanksgiving. Thanks to all who helped by reaching out to Comcast. That and the efforts of Rob Megnin and his team really made the difference. Thanks and have a happy Thanksgiving!"