The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 30, 1997 · Page 26
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 26

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, April 30, 1997
Page 26
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2 WEDNESDAY. APRIL 30, 1997 APPLAUSE THE SALINA JOURNAL I want my MTV How much is cable worth? By Gail Penningtmi St. Louis Post-Dispatch A squirrel chewed on your cable, and now when you try to watch the Food Network, you can't tell your soups from your souffles. You dial up the cable company and get cut off and put on hold and otherwise jerked around until you finally reach a human being, who informs you that they can have someone out two weeks from Tuesday, between 8 am. and noon. Be there. As local president of the "My Mother, the Car" fan club, you're thrilled to learn that long-unseen reruns will soon be airing on the TV Land channel. Unfortunately, your cable company has opted not to pick up TV Land, instead turning over dial space to the All Abs, All The Time channel, on which people exercise sweatily around the clock. Your monthly cable bill is now higher than your water bill or phone bill, and is quickly approaching the level of your grocery bill. "Enough," you say, glaring at the wire coming up through the floor. "I'm ripping this thing out. It's just not worth it!" How about it: Is cable worth it? Nationally, some 67 percent of households are hooked up to cable. But as subscribers quickly learn, the frustrations of cable are many. You don't get to choose a cable company; the municipality you live in does that for you. The chosen company, operating as a privileged monopoly, gives subscribers the channels it chooses (frequently, those in which it has ownership) and the level of service it deems suitable. Still, for plenty of people, cable is a necessity, as vital to modern life as the electric icebox and the flush toilet. Even those of us who wouldn't live without it, though, sometimes ask ourselves if we're being ripped off, paying too much for too little. The average cable bill is currently $30 a month for so-called "expanded basic" service — everything but the movie channels — or $1 a day. That's a bag of chips and a cola Add a $24 package of premium channels and a typical bill rises to $54 a month. That's $648 a year — a week's vacation in Jamaica. So, is cable worth it? I got out my calculator and the TV listings to see how the facts add up. Let's start with the total monthly cost of cable. For our example, we'll use an expanded basic plan, plus four movie channels (in a premium package), for a total cost of $54 a month. Be aware that basic rates and total packages vary, depending on your location and your cable company. After starting with our $54-a-month example, we'll assign dollar values for the advantages of having cable , (extensive programming) and the frustrations of having it (service and technical problems). We'll add and subtract these advantages and frustrations from the total cost to determine if cable TV is worth the money. Let's start with movies. Say you watch two movies a week, eight a month, on HBO, Show- time, Cinemax and the Disney Channel. With new releases going for $3 a movie at the video store, you've recouped the $24 you paid for the movie channels, and you J:J -'t have to drive to Block- jr—providing you aren't also ng movies you'll later get free able. Don't watch that many? re in the hole. Movies: Subtract $24 from total cost of $54. Subtotal: $30. \ great picture, and no fooling the antenna, is worth $10 a th, minimum. No argument, 3S you've had to deal with an nna lately. Clear picture: Subtract Subtotal: $20. 3n the other hand, if your ca- 15 g. In>u • 8Z5-52OO • (BOO) 025-0206 ble goes out, you have no picture at all, unless you've stashed an old set of rabbit ears in the top of the coat closet. Although cable is more reliable than in the early days, you can still count on it going out three or four times a year, usually while you're taping a pivotal episode of "All My Children," or on Friday night of a long holiday weekend. Figure they owe you $1 for each of two brief outages, $3 for one long one. Outages: Add $5. Subtotal: $25. Watch a movie a week, commercial free, on American Movie Classics, and one on Turner Classic Movies, and you're up another $2. "Classic" movies: Subtract $2. Subtotal: $23. Your cable system doesn't give you Turner Classic Movies, though, does it? You may also want but not receive, QVC, the Sci-Fi Channel, the Cartoon Network, the History Channel, Bravo and/or Home and Garden TV. It's frustrating to hear about new cable channels and learn they're not for you. Lack of channels you want: Add $5. Subtotal: $28. It's baseball season, and the Cardinals are on Channel 11, with 60 games broadcast free. They're also on cable's Fox Sports Midwest, 50 more games. One cable game a week until October should be worth about $5 a month, about the price of a Bud Light at Busch Stadium. Baseball: Subtract $5. Subtotal: $23. "Biography," the most popular program o A&E cable, has a fresh profile of somebody interesting — Elizabeth I, Howard Stern, etc. — every night. You might learn something. "Biography": Subtract $2. Subtotal: $21. "The Larry Sanders Show" is much-praised and Emmy-nominated, but without HBO you wouldn't have a clue. "Larry Sanders": Subtract $1. Subtotal: $20. Cooking shows are the meat and potatoes of the TV Food Network, and you can get so many recipes you may never need to buy a cookbook again. Recipes: Subtract $2. Subtotal: $18. If someone asked you to pay for reruns, you'd laugh. But thanks to cable, great shows like "Mission: Impossible" (f/X), "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (Nick at Nite), "Beauty and the Beast" (WON) and "The Flintstones" (WTBS) live on. You watch this stuff a lot; you know you do, so add on $3 a month. Reruns: Subtract $3. Subtotal: $15. If someone asked you to pay for infomercials, you'd scream. But cable subscribers pay for hours of infomercials every week — late nights and weekends, sales pitches fill virtually all cable channels. This time comes out of your pocketbook even if you don't buy a treadmill or clip-on hair. Infomercials: Add $2. Subtotal: $17. More and more cable channels are offering original series, like "Silk Stalkings" and "La Femme NiMta" on USA, "Beavis and Butt-head" and "Daria" on MTV, "Remember WENN" on AMC. You can't see these anywhere else, so one a week should be worth $1. Original series: Subtract $1. Subtotal: $16. CNN Headline: a whole day's news every half-hour. Think of the time you can save, and time is money. Headlines: Subtract $1. Subtotal: $15. When there's nothing else good on, Discovery Channel fans can always find a nature documentary. Sometimes, they'll even stop channel surfing to watch. Isn't this worth at least $2 a month? Nature shows: Subtract $2. Subtotal: $13. Mainly, TV movies are nothing to stay home for, but cable channels try harder with their originals. Last year's "Road to Galveston" and "Sophie and the Moonhanger," to name two, were special, and worth at least $1. Original movies: Subtract $1. Subtotal: $12. Maybe you're hip and happening; maybe you already happened. But checking in on MTV or even VH1 once in a while can stave off old-fogy status a while longer. Music videos: Subtract $1. Subtotal: $11. Speaking of hip, "The Gossip Show" on E! is so deliriously mean, it would make this channel worthwhile even without Joan Rivers on Oscar night. And 'Talk Soup" can save you from ever having to watch a real talk show. Gossip on E!: Subtract $1. Subtotal: $10. Bel6P A&E has usurped public TV for British mysteries and miniseries. Without cable, you'd have missed "Pride & Prejudice," and when somebody said "Cracker," you'd think Ritz. British drama: Subtract $2. Subtotal: $8. The Travel Channel takes you on vacation from your living room. Think what you'll save in airfare and hotel. What's more, the Weather Channel will let you know whether you should take a raincoat if you were actually going somewhere. Armchair travel: Subtract $1. Subtotal: $7. Don't forget O.J. and the Menendez brothers. Your set was perpetually tuned to Court TV. Trials, live: Subtract $2. Subtotal: $5. One viewer's "Singled Out" is another's "Sportscenter" and another's "Larry King Live." Are all the other cable shows you never miss worth $5 a month? If so ... Everything else: Pay $5. You're even; cable's worth it — but just barely. To keep you, they'd better work on programming, service and attitude. If not.... Watch Letterman or Leno every night and get to sleep early. Read a book. Rip the darn wire out of the wall. Ebony Fingerboard & Tail Piece • Ebony Tuning Pegs • 4 Fine Tuners Comfortable Chinrest Glaesel A.R. Seidel full size violin Violin Only. Quantities limited. Financing available. 210 S. Santa Ft, Salina 825-6296 1-800-262-1576 OYAL TIRE Our Car & Pickup Tires Include FREE Service Call When Your Tire Goes Flat Crawford & Broadway, Salina / 827-3681 HlSIUUESTUIIE T* re s to n c MAIN 1817 South 9Hi St. Kraft Manor, Salina For Auto, Home & Life It Pays To Compare! 913-825-8234 Mutual of New! 104 East Iron St. Sallna, KS 913-827-3838 1-800-607-0668 'Beverly A. Baker Specialties^ Cards, Gifts, Candies, Unique Novelties MUSEUM Gift Store 211 West Iron Tncs.-Frl. 12-5 & Sat. 10-5 Sun. 1-5 vWoman Custom Window Treatments By Appointment p± a c 822-0912 Elizabeth Bryan PLAY PLACE BIRTHDAY _ PARTIES! '£tV? Call Today To Make Your Child's Birthday A Special One! j\j\ Play Place at Planet Avenue McDonald's •McDonalds Don't Forget! Hot Cakes Supper S-7pm § • 1» Tuesday Nights at South Broadway McDonald's! Birthday Party Includes.. * Happy Meal Of Your Choice * 19x12 Birthday Cake * 12 oz. Child Size Drink * 2 oz. Lowfat Frozen Ice Cream * 2 Party Favors and 1 Balloon per Child * Special Present For Birthday Child * And More! $ 17 15 Per Month Some Qualifications Apply 913-825-1581 1911 S. Ohio, Salina, KS CONNECTION Division of USA, Inc. Shoes „ Clothing 7 Equipment Easy Access g Location On 3 South Ohio- Shop & Compare Salina Price & Quality Just South of the Stop Light on Cloud & Ohio. 1915 S.Ohio 825-6247 Sports Connection OHIO B&K PRESCRIPTION SHOP "People Helping People" Ron Schmitz R.Ph. Don' /C«oto 24 Hour Answering 827-4455 601 E. Iron Salina Vierws On By Thomas H. Jett, D.D.S. YOU DON'T HAVE TO LOSE TEETH Research in the past 30 years indicates that losing our teeth because of aging is far from inevitable. Nearly 70% of tooth loss is caused by perlodontal disease, which can be recognized, diagnosed, and treated. If you are in the 19-44 age group, there's a good chance you already have gingivitis, an early form of gum disease. Thirty five .percent of all adults over eighteen do. If your gums bleed when you brush or are red, swollen or tender, see your dentist. You should ask your hyglenist to do a periodontal examination every time you have a routine checkup. The main culprit In periodontal disease is plaque, the sticky bacteria-laden film that forms constantly on your teeth. You can't see plaque, but it's what you remove daily by brushing and flossing. Some of the bacteria produce acids from sugars and starches in the foods we eat. The acids cause decay and can eventually destroy bone and tissues that anchor teeth in place. *** Prepared as a public service to promote better dental health. SALINA DENTAL ASSOCIATES Harry J. Jett, D.D.S. & Thomas H. Jett, D.D.S. 827-4401 950 Elmhurst Blvd. Coming this Sunday: Curfews? Tattoos? Pierced lips? How far should a teen be allowed to go? We asked students in grades 6 to 12 to tell us how much freedom they want... and they did. Their answers will surprise you... this week in USA WEEKEND. 'Straight Talk' from Beatle Ringo Starr 218,350 STUDENTS SPEAK OUT TEENS& FREEDOM Tracy Antrim, 17. of Gotten, Ohio, tyus half puipto. But Mtien her niolhef d(«w Iho line At a ptacod tovtww, An exclusive national survey shows a surprising number of teens want some limits In their lives: • 75% would ban clothes with gang symbols at school • 50% support curfews • 30% buck Internet restrictions ' the Salina Journal WEEKEND

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