Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Rhode Island PBS Comes to Middlesex and Worcester Counties in MA


The fix is in. And for residents of central Massachusetts, it’s a welcome fix indeed. In an inspiring  example of persistence paying off, one woman’s crusade to get her cable company to carry her favorite public television station in her community is about to come to fruition. Starting July 30, Comcast will carry Rhode Island PBS into 25 towns in Middlesex and Worcester counties, from Framingham north and west to Winchendon at the New Hampshire border.

Leslie Fleischer of Framingham, Massachusetts, could not understand why Comcast carried Rhode Island PBS in surrounding communities but not in her town. The electronic program guide on her television screen promised the programming “soon,” but months passed with the same message and no service.

After several calls to Comcast and to Rhode Island PBS, Leslie enlisted the local assistance of Annabel Dodd, chair of Framingham’s Cable Advisory Committee, and Bill Rabkin, Access Framingham (AF-TV) board president. Together, their requests for upgrades, fixes, and adjustments to technical services and programming caught the attention of the Philadelphia-based cable giant, who coincidentally is currently in negotiations with town officials over renewing its cable services contract.

“This is great news,” Ms. Fleischer said in a recent telephone interview. “I give much of the credit for this victory to Annabel and Bill for their efforts. I’m thrilled to hear I will be able to watch my favorite shows on Rhode Island PBS.”

“We’re happy to have such enthusiastic support in central Massachusetts,” said David W. Piccerelli, president of WSBE Rhode Island PBS. “Changes in service areas as well as changes in the way consumers are viewing television content all play a role in the speed of rolling out services. We’re glad to see Comcast’s cable services extended, and we welcome this opportunity to share our schedule and to expand viewing choices for residents in Middlesex and Worcester counties.”

Fleischer said what she finds so appealing about Rhode Island PBS is that its schedule is different from other PBS stations in the area, and she prefers the programs Rhode Island PBS offers.

“Next, we’ll work on getting [Learn and Vme] on Comcast, too,” Fleischer said.

WSBE Learn is the station’s second channel, featuring an expanded schedule of children’s programming, national programs and series from PBS, APT, NETA, as well as local independent films and original programming by Rhode Island PBS. Although there are similarities, Learn’s schedule is different from the Rhode Island PBS schedule. WSBE Vme transmits Spanish-language programming over the air on 36.3 and over select cable channels.

WSBE Rhode Island PBS will be found on different channel numbers in the Comcast system, depending on ZIP code. Residents in the following newly added towns are advised to check local listings for the actual channel number:

Ashby
Ayer
Boxborough
Carlisle
Concord
Devens
Fitchburg
Framingham
Gardner
Hudson
Leominster
Lincoln
Littleton
Lunenburg
Maynard
Phillipston
Shirley
Southborough
Stow
Sudbury
Templeton
Townsend
Westford
Westminster
Winchendon



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