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Channel switch angers viewers

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Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2007 12:00 pm | Updated: 4:54 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Kevin M. Smith

Killeen Daily Herald

A recent change in the Time Warner Cable channel lineup has upset some Killeen residents.

On June 26, AZN moved from Channel 13 to Channel 651 on the digital tier, costing Time Warner customers extra money.

Bil Henke, of Killeen, said he was disappointed that the channel was switched without notice. But Stacy Schmitt, vice president of public affairs for Time Warner Cable's Waco division, said advertisements alerting customers of the change were in the Killeen Daily Herald, Temple Daily Telegram and a local Korean newspaper on May 23 and June 3.

"The ads did mention that if you wanted to continue to receive this programming but weren't a digital subscriber you could call our office," Schmitt said.

Existing customers in Temple and Killeen can receive a special offer of the digital tier and one digital box free for 12 months.

"We are always evaluating our cable packages and channel offerings to balance quality of programming versus cost to our customers," Schmitt said. "This periodic review sometimes leads to channel changes. We move and remove channels based on many factors including cost, the network's investment in new programming and ratings."

Schmitt also said the changes occasionally are to make room for a new, potentially more popular network.

Teresa Wiedel, executive director of marketing and communications for AZN Television, said the company does not disclose how much it charges cable companies to carry the channel and AZN does not get Nielsen ratings. She did say the channel has 14 million subscribers nationwide.

Henke, who was raised in an Asian household, voiced concern about the channel moving in a message board forum at www.kdhnews.com.

"It's watched a lot in Killeen," Henke said.

Killeen has a slightly larger population of Asians in the community than the national average. According to a 2005 community survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, 4.7 percent (4,585 residents) of Killeen's 98,434 residents are Asian. Additionally, 5.5 percent (5,369 residents) claim two or more races. The same survey reported that 4.3 percent of the U.S. population is Asian and 1.9 percent claims two or more races.

Henke said he likes that he can get news from Korea, Japan and other Asian countries on AZN.

"They represent just about everybody," Henke said.

Henke also speculated whether more local advertising dollars on the channel through Time Warner would help. Schmitt was not able to answer additional questions by press time because she said she was still gathering information.

AZN was the former International Channel that was originally launched in 1990. The International Channel was rebranded to AZN in May 2005. It is available through several cable companies in the country, including Time Warner, Comcast and Cox, Wiedel said.

"AZN Television's programming targets the fast-growing, affluent and multi-generational Asian American community, as well as a broader American audience interested in the Asian experience," Wiedel said. "Genres include the most popular Asian films, dramas, documentaries, anime and news, as well as original programming."

Programming on AZN is either in English or subtitled in English.

Contact Kevin M. Smith at ksmith@kdhnews.com or call (254) 501-7550

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