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TV Notes: 2/25/03

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

By Rob Owen, Post-Gazette TV Editor

AT&T becomes Comcast

AT&T Broadband officially became Comcast Cable yesterday and announced plans for two local "programs" -- actually five-minute segments to run at 25 and 55 past the hour on CNN Headline News.

"Comcast Newsmakers" will feature community leaders and politicians voicing their opinions on local issues.

"Seeking Solutions With Suzanne" will air at least three times daily and offer information on health, enrichment, relationships and style for seniors. Suzanne Roberts, wife of Comcast founder Ralph Roberts, is the host.

WPXI, which previously provided 24 local news updates daily in these time slots, will now have 12 daily updates airing at 55 past the hour in even-numbered hours.

Comcast will also move the Golf Channel from the digital tier to the expanded basic tier on most systems effective Friday. Golf goes to Channel 73 on the rebuilt city of Pittsburgh system. It remains on Channel 405 in nonrebuilt areas of the city, Hampton and Tarentum.

In the suburbs, Golf Channel will be on Channel 62 or 65 except in West Deer, where it will be on cable-ready sets at Channel 69 and Channel 77 through converter boxes.

Flood alert

Some Adelphia cable customers were startled by an emergency alert that blacked out the screen during prime time Sunday night. It directed viewers to Channel 20, where information on a flood alert was posted. Adelphia picked up the flood alert from monitoring KDKA, the region's primary distributor of emergency alerts issued by the state.

Adelphia South Hills general manager Chuck Redpath said a coding glitch caused the emergency signal to be put on customers' screens every 15 minutes. Adelphia has since reprogrammed it to appear once an hour. Alerts for tornadoes and civil emergencies will continue to appear every 15 minutes when issued.

Suburban Comcast customers experienced a prolonged warning Sunday night about flash floods in Washington County. Comcast spokesman Brian Jeter said a signal from KDKA didn't include an "end of message" marker that would have stopped the message from airing so long. Technicians eventually overrode the alert.

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