Two TV channels to debut in Ames

Tim Paluch

Residents of Ames and surrounding areas soon will be the recipients of two additional television channels that promoters say, content-wise, couldn’t be more different.

The WB, which is scheduled to launch in the Des Moines and Ames area sometime this fall, bills itself as offering family- and youth-oriented programming, while the Hot Network, a new pay-per-view cable channel, features sexual content.

AT&T Cable announced that beginning Aug. 1, the Hot Network, which had been turned down by some cable providers across the country because of its explicit sexual content, will be made available to some 109,000 digital-cable subscribers throughout Iowa.

Debra Blume, spokeswoman for AT&T Cable’s regional office in Des Moines, said the Hot Network will replace the Hot Choice channel, which offered R-rated action/adventure programming. The Hot Network will feature movies with full frontal nudity as well as explicit sexual scenes, she said.

Movies will be slightly higher priced than those seen on the Spice channel, another pornographic channel offered to digital-cable subscribers, she said.

As for the content of the Hot Network, Blume said AT&T Cable expected some complaints, but as long as there is a market for the Hot Network, it will go on the air. “At this point, I don’t see the company reversing its position,” she said.

Some ISU students said they have varied opinions about the Hot Network coming to Ames.

Lorainna Williams, sophomore in performing arts, said it depends on who’s watching the channel.

“For people who are old enough to handle it, great. But once children have access to it, that’s a bad thing,” she said. “If the parents don’t like it, they should get a v-chip or something to block it.”

Jeanna Dierks, junior in marketing, shared the same sentiments.

“Most TVs have v-chips already. So if parents decide they don’t want that seen, they can block it out,” she said.

Rev. Dave Nerdig, pastor at Bethesda Lutheran Church, 1517 Northwestern Ave., said he fears people seeking to make profit from pornography don’t consider the damage it inflicts on a community.

“Generally, I think children having access to pornography is not good for that child or for the community as a whole,” he said.

Blume said that should not be a problem, since the channel is offered only through purchase via pay-per-view with digital cable.

“If you don’t want it, don’t order it,” she said.

The less-controversial WB network will launch in the Des Moines and Ames areas in mid-October, said Howard Shrier, senior executive vice president for Pappas Telecasting Cos.

Shrier said the KPWB network will be seen on Channel 23 in Ames and Des Moines. The syndicated station will give the area a sixth, “free, over-the-air” channel in addition to ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC and the Iowa Public Television Network. WB programming was previously seen on WGN, but the network discontinued the children’s programming lineup in September and the primetime lineup in October, Shrier said.

Fans of such programs as “Pokemon,” “7th Heaven,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Dawson’s Creek” and the “Steve Harvey Show” will now be able to view these programs. The WB will also offer first run episodes of “Star Trek: Voyager” and “WWF SmackDown,” as well as reruns of “Friends,” which Shrier described as the highest rated, off-network program.