WETA to launch cable channel

January 06, 1999|By David Zurawik

WETA, a major producer of public television programs, will be going into the cable television business this spring with a new channel devoted to public affairs.

The Washington home of such shows as "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" announced yesterday that it is teaming with Gannett's Freedom Forum to create the Forum Network, a 24-hour regional channel featuring news and public affairs programs.

The pairing of a public television station with a private foundation to create a cable channel is unprecedented but indicative of the new kinds of arrangements being made by PBS operations these days. WETA also plans to launch a music cable channel in late 1999.

"We will present programs and people to explain and clarify a complex world," said Ed Turner, former executive vice president of CNN, who will run Forum Network.

No date has been set for the launch of the channel, according to WETA spokeswoman Michelle Kirkwood. WETA and the Freedom Forum are negotiating for channel space on cable systems in Washington, Maryland and Virginia. .

Pub Date: 1/06/99

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