OPEN MIKE

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Compliments cheerfully accepted

Editor: Like most everyone, I resist change. I flee from innovation, and I'm hostile to any "improvements" by those who would tinker with something of great, fundamental value in my professional or personal life.

Here comes the However: I love your redesign of my beloved Broadcasting & Cable. It is absolutely breathtaking.and I can only observe that some kind of genius descended on your makeover team ([Todd] Gast, [John] Eggerton, [Susan] Qualtrough, [Bill] McGorry, [Larry] Oliver, [Denise] O'Connor, [Harry] Jessell, [P.J.] Bednarski and the incomparable Don West), which has produced a stunningly attractive new format for the most valuable and relevant of our industry journals.

It doesn't look like a "trade" book anymore.but rather resembles a dynamic and proper forum for your pronouncements and findings about all the fast-changing developments in the expanding world of electronic communication.-William O'Shaughnessy, president and editorial director, WVOX(AM) and WRTN(FM) Whitney Radio

A local cry

Editor: The satellite industry is now taking a lesson from the current political election process, as the two parties keep at bay any third-party attempt to gain a foothold to power by just adopting the third-party issues into their own platform.

One notes with interest the remarks being made by the satellite industry of late, which smack of protectionism. As the FCC is poised to license the re-use of the 12 gig Ku band to pioneers like Northpoint, those who now fear the competition play the interference card as an attempt to stall the inevitable.

The recent Satellite Bill, for the first time, permitted small-dish users to receive local TV channels, which has been a boom to subscriptions. The two primary providers of small-dish TV have decided to only access the most lucrative top 50 of 212 local TV markets. They have abandoned smaller markets as the cost and channel allocation may not be in their best interests.

By making a conscious decision to only carry the top 50 TV local markets of TV stations, the satellite industry has opened the door to a surge of competition. Necessity being the mother of invention, local TV operators are motivated to survive by accessing new distribution technologies. If the satellite industry chooses to kill our business we will do what is instinctive-fight to survive!

Pioneers such as Northpoint and Skybridge should be commended, for they have put forth a remedy to the FCC by re-using the 12 gig Ku band from another angle. Congress recognized the lack of local rural TV distribution and appropriated funding to underwrite new technologies. So let's license it. We now have the new competitive technology, but the two companies that created their own universe now have cried foul. Legislation pending in the Senate, S.2097 and House Bill 3615, will make them do it anyway..

Small-market broadcasters need relief now. Audiences are being eroded daily to neighboring large-market TV stations that are being offered on satellite. The problem of local-into-local was all of the satellite industry's own making. License the remedy quickly please, so we can stop the bleeding.-Bill Varecha, general manager, KKCO-TV, Grand Junction, Colo.

It Takes A Village

Editor: I appreciate Broadcasting & Cable's balanced article (Aug. 28) concerning our National Geographic Channel's U.S. launch. The story's sidebar called me the channel's "builder"; I'm tickled, but this isn't the case. Tim Kelly, president of National Geographic Television, has been building toward this moment for more than a decade. John Fahey, now the Society's CEO, greenlit our international launch and has been our senior player since.

Both the Society's and Ventures' boards have strongly supported each step, and our partners (Fox and NBC) have made our explosive growth possible. Sandy McGovern, the channel's first president, gave us a terrific start, and David Haslingden, our international channels' CEO, has led those operations to even greater success.

And, most importantly, an incredible crew of employees and millions of viewers have made us the fastest-growing international channel in history. Now Laureen Ong and her team will bring the world's most compelling television back home.-C. Richard Allen, president and CEO, National Geographic Ventures

We like letters

Broadcasting & Cable welcomes your letters about our coverage, or media issues in general. You can mail them to Broadcasting & Cable, Open Mike, 245 W. 17th Street, New York, NY, 10011 or e-mail them to pbednarski@cahners.com. Please include a daytime phone number. We won't publish unsigned letters, and we have the right to edit them for space and clarity. Longer point-of-view submissions concerning the media-up to 700 words-are also welcomed for our Airtime feature.

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