CABLE SYSTEMS MAY NOT CARRY NEW TV STATION

ROB OWEN TV/Radio writer
Section: LIFE & LEISURE,  Page: D5

Date: Thursday, August 14, 1997

The Capital Region is about to get a new TV station, but will anyone with cable be able to see it? That's the dilemma facing independent TV-25, which aims to be on the air by early October.


``We won't be carrying that,'' said Time Warner Cable government relations and public affairs vice president Peter Taubkin. ``We're not required to and don't have any plans to do so.''


Allan Sagendorf, general manager of TCI of Schenectady, was unavailable for comment. Cablevision of Rensselaer general manager George Smede said he'd wait to see TV-25's programming before making a decision to carry it on his system.


As an over-the-air station, anyone within reach of the station's signal will be able to pick it up, but if you're hooked up to cable you'd have to unhook your cable and switch to a regular antenna. Most people probably aren't going to want to make that effort.


TV-25 station manager Dan Viles said negotiations with local cable systems have begun, and he's confident the station will get picked up because of its programming.


While WXXA, Ch. 23, will continue to carry prime time UPN shows on the weekend, TV-25 will be a secondary affiliate, offering UPN's teen shows ``Sweet Valley High'' and ``Breaker High'' at 4 and 4:30 p.m. weekdays and a cartoon block Sunday 9 to 11 a.m.


TV-25's overnight programming consists of shop at home shows (that's subject to change, Viles said), but the rest of the schedule is typical of an independent station. TV-25 will carry the new syndicated talk show ``Arthel & Fred'' weekdays at 9 a.m., reruns of ``Beverly Hills, 90210'' Sunday evening and midday movies weekdays.


Although TV-25's antenna will be on the Helderberg escarpment with the antennas for most of the other full-power local stations, TV-25 consists of three low-power stations cobbled together. Over the air signals from TV-25 will appear on Channel 25 in Albany/Schenectady/Troy, Channel 39 in Saratoga Springs/Glens Falls/Hudson Falls and Channel 49 in Manchester/Bennington.


Viles said people who receive existing local stations without the help of cable should have no trouble picking up the TV-25 signal. But don't look for a TV-25 studio in New York state. ``Low-power TV rules say you can originate programming from anywhere that you have a studio and production facility,'' Viles said.


TV-25 is based at the headquarters of its owner, Vision 3 Broadcasting, in Keene, N.H., but an advertising and sales office will be based in Albany.


What can consumers gain from telling their cable system they want the station? More programs. Independent stations offer viewers an alternative and shows we can't see elsewhere. For example, new syndicated dramas ``Fame L.A.'' (based on the 1980 movie and mid-1980s TV series, but no longer in a classroom setting) and ``Soldier of Fortune'' (from the producer of movies such as ``The Rock'' and ``Con Air'') will be part of TV-25's prime time lineup.


And I know of at least one ``Highlander'' fan who has been waiting for that show to be available locally. With the advent of TV-25, Capital Region viewers will have an opportunity to see ``Highlander.''


Although its call letters haven't been approved by the FCC, Viles has assembled a complete program schedule, including this weekday prime time lineup: Monday: ``Showtime at the Apollo'' (8 p.m.), ``Highlander'' (9 p.m.), ``Poltergeist'' (10 p.m.) Tuesday: ``Sinbad'' (8 p.m.), ``Tarzan'' (9 p.m.), ``FX: The Series'' (10 p.m.) Wednesday: ``Ghost Stories'' (8 p.m.), ``Poltergeist'' (9 p.m., repeat of Monday episode from the week prior), ``Highlander'' (10 p.m., repeat of Monday episode from the week prior) Thursday: ``FX: The Series'' (8 p.m., repeat of Tuesday episode from the week prior), `'Soldier of Fortune'' (9 p.m.), ``Power Play Music Videos'' (10 p.m.) Friday: ``Roc'' (8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.), ``Fame L.A.'' (9 p.m.) and ``Bounty Hunter'' (10 p.m.)