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Delayed Cable Debut At Issue

With great fanfare, Maryland Public Television yesterday launched the state's first public all-Spanish-language channel, featuring an array of educational and entertainment programming. But it could be a while before most Comcast subscribers in Montgomery and Prince George's counties are able to tune in.

As the digital station made its debut in the Baltimore region, officials from Comcast, the Washington area's dominant cable provider, hadn't committed to a starting date in the two Maryland jurisdictions with by far the largest Hispanic populations.

The debut in Prince George's and Montgomery, where more than two-thirds of the state's Latino population lives, could occur as late as 2009, MPT officials said.

That prompted a chorus of calls from Latino advocates and elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D), to apply public pressure on the cable provider.

"People ought to be calling Comcast and expressing their wishes and desires," said Brown, a Prince George's resident, who took part in the station's morning launch at MPT headquarters in Owings Mills. When Brown took the microphone, he relayed his desire to watch the station, called V-Me, with his family, saying it could help his two young children learn Spanish.

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By Anne Bartlett  |  August 21, 2007; 10:26 AM ET
Categories:  John Wagner  
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