FTVLive is reporting that this past Thursday was the abrupt end to Fall River's "Comcast News 9" program. Read the rest from FTV's story with information coming from the Fall River Herald News:
The Fall River Herald News writes that viewers tuning in to Comcast Channel 9 Friday afternoon to watch the local half-hour news program did not find the newsmen and -women they are accustomed to watching.
Instead, the cable and Internet giant decided to abruptly discontinue the local news program. The decision meant Thursday afternoon's broadcast was the last for local news veterans like Jim Phillips and Eric Ricci.
Marc Goodman, a Comcast spokesman, said the station will, however, continue to broadcast local meetings and bring viewers eight hours per week of local coverage.
He also placed some of the blame for the cancelation of the news program on the city for refusing to sign a new contract with the company.
"In our current license negotiations with the city, we have been extraordinarily generous in offering $635,000 per year to support local programming," Goodman said. "Fall River could have used that money to keep the news program going.
"We have no obligation to produce a local news program."
However, Fall River Mayor Edward M. Lambert Jr. called Goodman's statement "ridiculous" and "disingenuous."
"The $635,000 he is talking about is our money. It's a percentage of the assessment on the cable ratepayers given back to us," Lambert said. "I think the company should be obligated to mention this money is a fee assessed to our ratepayers.
"The statement is very disingenuous. It's not their money they are talking about."
Goodman also attempted to portray the move to cut the news program as a "positive" for Comcast customers, who he says will see a 52 percent reduction in the franchise-related costs on the cable bills.
That 52 percent reduction amounts to just 69 cents per month.
Lambert pounced upon Goodman's comment regarding the rate increase, asserting the city is "better served to have a television news program," rather than not having it and getting less than a dollar back.
"If the company is so happy about reducing the rates, then why don't they return some of their profits with lower rates across the board?" Lambert quipped. "Then, we could all be thrilled together.
"Comcast is an incredibly successful company with little to no competition. They make massive profits, yet they cut a local news program."