Friday, October 21, 2005

''Gore wants his network on Comcast''

"Al Gore was in Philadelphia yesterday in an attempt to persuade Comcast Corp. to offer his youth-oriented television network, Current TV, throughout its system.

Gore hosted a free concert in Dilworth Plaza, directly under the Comcast Building at 1500 Market St. Performers at the event, titled "Take Back TV," included the Roots, Little Brother and Fishbone.

Current TV, co-founded by Gore and launched in August, is a 24-hour station that runs continuous short segments - three to seven minutes long. The segments are shot and sent in by viewers from around the country.

"The very first words that we, the American nation, spoke were right here in Philadelphia," Gore said. "You know those words: 'We the people.' It wasn't, 'We the conglomerates.' It wasn't, 'We the corporations.' It was, 'We the people.' "

So far, the station is available widely only on DirecTV, and to some Time Warner stations. Although Comcast plays the programs on about half of its systems, the Philadelphia-area system does not run Current TV.

More than 5,000 college-aged people attended the concert.

The former vice president encouraged them to submit their work to the station.

"Send us your stories," Gore said. "Send us your television. Let us tell your stories, and let us put it on television nationwide."

Comcast has been in talks with the network about reaching a deal that would run Current TV on all of the corporation's systems, though they have not yet reached an agreement.

"Current is available on Comcast systems, reaching 13 million homes today," Comcast said in a written statement.

"We are in discussions with the new channel about their plans to further develop its content and about their interest in additional distribution in Comcast markets," the statement said. "Current is one of dozens of channels vying for scarce bandwidth and viewership."

Gore told the crowd that with digital cameras and computer editing systems, anyone can produce television.

"America is a conversation, where we talk to one another," he said. "When the conversation shifted over to television, all of a sudden, when the people tried to say something, you couldn't hear it because... it's all coming one way."

Gore drew cheers as he ended his speech with a political slant.

"We have to take our country back," he said. "And we're going to start by taking television back, and you're the ones that can do it."-from the article in the Philadelphia Daily News.

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