The Final Word: Not for lack of Inspiration

I had tried a couple of times to look into the matter of why Comcast Cable devotes two channels, 6 and 17, on its top tier of offerings in Waynesboro, Staunton and Harrisonburg to The Inspiration Network, the broadcast home of controversial archconservative religious figures like John Hagee and Benny Hinn, secular conservatives David Cerullo and Jay Zekulow and the scary-nutty conspiracy theorist Hal Lindsey.

Good news and bad news from my latest and most successful effort to that end, though even the good news this time around is tinged with some bad – because we’re still going to get one dose of The Inspiration Network on the local Comcast lineup, though the second is going to be recast with an as-yet undetermined offering taking the place of the second Inspiration Network among the top 20 channels on the dial.

The other bad news – that we’ve been getting two Inspiration Networks for the past 18 months was the result of a simple oversight by Comcast.

The duplication began in the fall of 2007 as Comcast shuffled its local channel lineup following the takeover of the Valley cable franchises of Adelphia Communications. At that time Comcast moved Richmond-market broadcast stations off the lineups in Waynesboro, Staunton and Harrisonburg, “and when they did that, it created a vacant channel. And so instead of customers going to channel 6 and seeing dead air, they duplicated Inspiration,” said Jaye Linnen, a spokesperson for Comcast in its Mid-Atlantic territory.

“It was supposed to have come down. It wasn’t supposed to have stayed there the entire year. And so we’re taking steps right now to remove the duplication, and that’s going to happen in the coming weeks,” Linnen said.

I tried to press the issue as to why Inspiration is at all a part of the top tier of the cable lineup with broadcast stations from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and The CW, the two local government access channels plus cable staples like C-SPAN, C-SPAN2 and The Weather Channel. The answer from Linnen was a classic example of passing the buck: “We don’t control the content of the stations in our lineup.”

Linnen then provided me with contact information for a PR person with The Inspiration Network, I guess so I could let the press flunky there ruminate on why Comcast decided to give the network prime space on its cable lineup.

Take what you can get here, right? That’s what I’m doing, anyway, whilst toying yet again with the idea of going the satellite-TV route in the fall so I watch whatever football game I want.

In the meantime, I can still get my fill of white guys in blue blazers telling me that Barack Obama is the antichrist, if only on the one channel.

  

– Column by Chris Graham


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