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March 26, 2007
Tears falling like rain over the Weather Channel

weather channel.jpg

It's raining, and the phones here at 21Q central are ringing.

The reader lament?

"Hey, where's my Weather Channel? I tune into Channel 42 and all of a sudden it's CNBC. What gives?"

Ah, you must have Comcast as your cable-service provider. Last Thursday, Comcast shook up its cable lineup for subscribers who live in Sacramento, Folsom, Rancho Cordova and other satellite cities. And, yes, among the stations affected is the Weather Channel.

Here's the deal, according to a Comcast spokesman: The Weather Channel, C-Span 2, MSNBC and the TV Guide Channel have been "upgraded" to Comcast's more pricey but more comprehensive digital service.

Why those four channels? Here's how Comcast spokesman Bryan Byrd explains it in an e-mail:

"Comcast looked at Nielsen Media Research to see what channels are popular among our digital cable customers in Sacramento, and less so with our basic and standard cable customers. These four channels fit that description. In fact, based on the popularity of C-SPAN 2 with our digital customers, we decided to add a whole new C-SPAN channel - "C-SPAN 3" - to the Digital Classic tier. Additionally, weather-related programming is already available on basic and standard cable by the broadcast network news ...."

Comcast probably made the move now to force encourage subscribers to go digital. And it sweetened the enticement by offering digital for only $1 more than standard cable ($52.15 a month).

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