Thursday, January 26, 2006


Oceanic spares CSPAN2

Many viewers were upset when Oceanic Time Warner announced it would be shutting down CSPAN2 in order to transfer a channel to `Olelo, Honolulu's public access TV service. Apparently enough of them got on the phone to change Oceanic's mind. An article in Kokua Line in yesterday's Star-Bulletin announced that CSPAN2 will be saved, although it will move to a different channel.

The Kokua Line article said that the decision had been made last Friday:
The decision was made Friday and was part of a number of changes Oceanic plans to make to its lineup, Sandy Davis, Oceanic's director of customer care, told Kokua Line yesterday.
Not so. Or at least, it was not communicated to staff or to the DCCA (the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs). Many people reported calling Oceanic this week and being told, as I was, to call DCCA.

When I called Oceanic on Tuesday I could not get through to anyone important, but I was told to "call DCCA" because DCCA had issued the order to transfer the channel to `Olelo. I called DCCA and was told that the choice of channel was Oceanic's entirely, that DCCA does not get involved in business decisions.

The DCCA explanation rings true. DCCA posted the order, and they have also posted a press release. Unless there is something buried in other paperwork, it appears that the choice to discontinue CSPAN2 was made by Oceanic.

The order to provide a channel states:
TWE [Time Warner Entertainment] shall also designate and provide for activation to the Director or the Director's designee and additional analog channel ("6th Access Channel") for a one-year period, commencing within 45 days of the date of this Order.
The original order also states that Time Warner shall designate the channel.

What could have been Oceanic's motivation to select CSPAN2 for cancellation instead of another channel? Possibly they didn't want to lose the revenue from any of the many "shopping" and similar channels. Possibly they wanted to get the public to oppose `Olelo's request for a sixth channel. Well, if the latter, it backfired badly.

My understanding is that Oceanic received many calls during this week, and either made the decision to keep CSPAN2 in response to public pressure, or at least got their act together and let us know about the Friday decision. If indeed there actually was a Friday decision.

Thanks to June Watanabe of Kokua Line for being the champion of the people, as always.


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