Cable company offers an FM signal solution that is not a solutionRemember Peter Finch in the movie Network? Playing a television news anchor, Finch tells his viewers to go to their windows and yell: "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more."

In 2004, that is a useful response to many of the megacorporations that exhibit the hearing capacity of a dinosaur. Our local version of this beast is Charter Communications. In case you thought Charter gets it, reflect on how the cable company has responded to customer complaints about dropping FM radio signals in this market.

As Kate Ramsayer reported in Monday's edition, some 400 people in Cannon Beach petitioned Charter to change its mind. In response, Charter is putting KOPB back on its cable. Sort of.

The gimmick is that listeners will receive the FM signal through the television set. And Charter is only restoring one of the Portland signals that was dropped.

What Charter fails to hear or to honor is the simple reality that this region cannot receive FM radio signals from Portland because of the Coast Range. That physical impediment is why Astoria has the oldest cable television system in America.

The truth about megacorporations and multinationals is that they live everywhere, and they live nowhere. They like one-size-fits-all solutions. They don't want to be bothered with local nuances. In fact, they really detest local nuances, because that gets in the way of their profit picture.

The right (and smart) thing for Charter to do in this instance would be to reinstate the full FM service.

Meanwhile, it is important for customers in this market to let Charter know that this "solution" is no solution. Send your response to Linda Kimberly, General Manager, Charter Communications, 521 N.E. 136th Ave., Vancouver, WA 98684.


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