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PBS Station Moves Into Cable

December 2, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ WETA, a major producer of a public TV programs, is getting into the cable business. It plans to offer next November a cable TV channel devoted to classical music.

The public broadcaster, which serves the Washington area, is in the process of trying to line up cable companies to carry the new advertiser-supported cable network called Fanfare: The Classical Music Channel. No carriage agreements have yet to be made, said WETA spokeswoman Laurie Fry.

Fry wouldn’t disclose financial details involving the new network. But WETA said in a release announcing the venture Wednesday that initial financing will be provided by cable pioneer Jack Clifford, now president of an Arizona consulting company, and unidentified investors.

The new channel’s programming will include music videos, interviews with performers by the channel’s main host, Dick Cavett, and regularly scheduled news segments about developments in the world of classical music.

The channel already has entered into arrangements with major classical music labels _ Sony Classical, PolyGram Classics, BMG Classics, EMI/Angel and the Warner Music Group _ to provide material for the network.

WETA’s TV productions include ``In Performance at the White House,″ ``The Kennedy Center Presents″ and the series produced with filmmaker Ken Burns, ``The Civil War,″ ``Baseball″ and the upcoming ``Jazz.″

WETA also runs a FM classical music radio station here. Its radio productions include ``The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s Casual Concerts″ and ``Music from Washington.″

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