CABLE ADVISORY COUNCIL

P. O. Box 87

Newtown, Connecticut

~ Minutes ~

Minutes of Public Regular Meeting –

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Newtown, CT

 

There was a regular meeting of the Cable Advisory Council called to order at 7:08 p.m., Tuesday, May 12, 2009 by Chairperson Carmella Amodeo at the Charter Communications facility, Newtown, Connecticut.

 

ATTENDEES: Carmella Amodeo (Newtown),  Jim Lang (Trumbull), George Fletcher (New Milford), Kate Donahue (Trumbull), Paul Katzmark (Southbury), Eugene Rosen (Newtown), George Fletcher (New Milford), Gregory Davis (Roxbury), Donna Cassidy (Trumbull) John Bell (Kent).From Charter: Greg Van Antwerp (Community Access), Paula Cecchetelli (Marketing), Tom Horan (Operations) and Tom Cohan (Government Relations).

 

PUBLIC INPUT:  None

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Minutes from March 2009 approved with one change. (Cassidy motion, Davis 2nd, 9-0-1)

 
TREASURER’S REPORT:

Carl Braun could not make it.  Carmella will scan his report and send it to everyone.

 

NEW MEMBER:

Joe Hurley has been appointed to the Council by the First Selectman of New Milford.

 

CHARTER COMMUNICATIONS REPORT.

·        Some channels will be moving locations but staying on the same tier.

Effective June 17, 2009 the following changes will be made to your line up:

 

Channel

From

To

 

Do It Yourself

124

108

 

Bloomberg

125

220

 

Biography

126

226

 

History International

127

227

 

Boomerang

130

105

 

Soap Net

131

180

 

MTV Tr3s

144

130

 

CMT

214

125

 

Gospel Music Channel

220

127

 

Jewelry Television

250

185

 

G 4

290

305

 

Fox Business

298

221

 

ABC News Now

305

230

 

 WFSB NEWS

750

243

 

NBC PLUS

755

245

 

WVIT SPORTS

756

249

 

·        New HDTV channels:  USA Network, CNN, IFC, WE, AMC, Fuse, Speed

·        Adding World Fishing Network

·        MLBN HD will be on channel 766

·        Events:  Trumbull Day, Brookfield Concert on the Green, Litchfield Jazz Festival, New Milford Fair (working on, having trouble getting access for the trailer – George Fletcher will help)

Tom Cohan

·        Charter debt restructuring is happening now.

o       3/27 filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy – investors exchanging debt for stock options

o       3/30 1st Day Orders – petition to get court approval to pay employees, vendors, etc.

o       No layoffs, business as usual

o       1st Q earnings were good

o       CT DPUC did not consider this to be a change of control therefore no approval by them required

o       Plan is to ultimately become publicly traded again

o       Website to monitor bankruptcy proceedings:  www.kccllc.net/charter

o       Investor vote – June 15

o       Video sales are off, Internet and telephone subs are up

o       Cable industry is pretty healthy overall

Greg Van Antwerp

·        Internship – last group was 27 – biggest class ever

o       Had a film festival at the end

o       Created private blog so those in the group can continue to communicate

o       New intern class June4

·        Annual Public Access Channel Report completed for 2008

o       Greg will check if he can make enough copies to send to each town’s First Selectman/Mayor and library

Tom Horan:

·        New area codes for Connecticut:

o       475 will overlay 203 in May

o       959 will overlay 860 later in the year

·        Wants to hear from the Council so he can solve problems locally

 

CORRESPONDENCE:

·        Joe Hurley asked about the value of the Council.  At the September meeting he would like to discuss what the Council does, is it relevant?  He also wants to know if Charter or the Council can promote the lowest level of Charter service more aggressively.

o       Charter responded that they do not actively promote the lowest level of service.  A number of channels that are on expanded basic require a very high penetration level (they currently have 85-90% penetration) as part of their rate agreement.

o       The state has a discount program for low income/seniors that rebates them 10-20% off basic cable service.

·        Donna Cassidy asked if Charter has seen any pick up in digital cable penetration from the switch to digital broadcast.  Tom Cohan indicated they haven’t seen any yet but expect they will once the switch actually occurs on June 12.

·        George Fletcher remarked on the inconsistency in his bills from month to month. Are the CSRs including taxes in their quotes to customers on the phone?

·        Several other members (Eugene Rosen, Carmella, Jim Lang, Paul Katzmark) also offered evidence that there is inconsistency between what shows up on bills and what people are told on the phone in addition to different people/places having different pricing for the same package.  It’s very confusing.  The Council asked that Charter look into this matter and suggested they find some ways to confirm to customers what was said on telephone calls.  Also, the observation was made that Council members can usually get problems solved for those customers that contact them but what happens to all the people who have problems but never bother to contact one of us?

·        Tom Cohan agreed to come back next meeting with an explanation of why bills get miscalculated (taxes, some other reason??).

·        Tom Horan asked that George and Eugene get him the details of the billing issues they’ve had so he can track it back to try to understand the systemic issues.

·        Also, Paul Katzmark pointed out that there is no where one can find the phone number for the local Charter office.  Tom Cohan will find the answer.

·        John Bell pointed out that there continues to be issues with ad insertion on the Channels 3,4 and 6.  Tom Horan will check with Comcast.  Also, there are reception issues with Channel 4 on the northwest side of Kent along the Rte 7 corridor.

·        Thanks to Greg for updating the website.

·        Kate will send a mailing to the Town Clerks, First Selectmen/Mayors and school Superintendent’s in an effort to go to electronic distribution of the Council’s minutes and agendas.

 

OLD BUSINESS: 

Grant Program

·     5 applications

o    4 approved:  Southbury, New Fairfield, Woodbury and Newtown for a total of $7,128.40

o    1 denied:  Trumbull

o    Vote:  9-0-1

o    Committee recommends cycling off the program for one year before we do it again so we don’t run out of money.  AGREED

§      Next time:  Make sure we revisit what groups will qualify for grants – do we open it beyond schools?

 

NEW BUSINESS:   None.

 

ADJOURNMENT:

The meeting was unanimously adjourned at: 9:07 PM.  Respectfully submitted by:  Kate
Donahue, Secretary

 

 

 

 

Text Box: NEXT MEETING: July 14, 2009 at Charter Communications offices in Newtown at 7:00 PM.  
PLEASE CONTACT CARMELLA IF YOU CANNOT ATTEND AT: 203-270-6132 or email amodeoc@newtown.k12.ct.us
 

 

 

 

 

 

Text Box: ~ 2009 Meeting Dates ~
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009