It’s a David and Goliath Story
GLENDALE—Hundreds of community members gathered in front of Charter Communications offices on Friday to protest the corporate decision to arbitrarily yank Horizon Armenian Television off the air on February 19.
The community members were heeding the call of a citizens’ group, “Save Horizon TV Task Force” and took to the streets to protest this decision, which has rocked the community.
Earlier this month, the management of Horizon Armenian Television was notified by Charter Communications that the channel that has been serving the Armenian community for more than two decades would be yanked off the Charter lineup effective February 19, despite the fact that Horizon signed and delivered a contract for 2013.
The task force is planning a large demonstration Friday, February 8 at 11 p.m. at Charter’s regional headquarters, 4781 Irwindale Avenue, Irwindale, CA 91706. Follow asbarez.com for complete details of this event.
“It is a David and Goliath story,” said Avedik Izmirlian, chairman of the Armenian Media Network board of directors. He explained that Charter Communications, the fourth largest cable operator in the country, wants to stifle Horizon Television, a channel that has been serving the Armenian-American community for almost 25 years.
Izmirlian thanked the protesters for their support for Horizon and urged the community to come together right this wrong and ensure that the community’s voice is not silenced.
Charter officials are wrongfully telling customers that Horizon Television did not sign its contract and are misleading them by absolving Charter of any responsibility, explained Tro Krikorian, a member of the “Save Horizon Television Task Force.”
Krikorian and another task force members entered the Charter offices to demand explanations for the corporation’s actions against this community television channel. Inside, they were by a Charter representative who failed to adequately answer the concern of community representatives.
Deeming this action by Charter as nothing short of bullying a non-profit organization, which is dedicated to service and betterment of the community, the Save Horizon TV Task Force has also initiated an online and print petition drive that has been met with overwhelming support by the community.
In a matter of days there are thousands of responses to the online petition (http://signon.org/sign/save-horizon-nonprofit), which is directed to Charter Communications regional management and the Federal Communications Commission. The paper petition, which was circulated at various community events since Saturday, has also received thousands of signatures.
“Charter is acting in bad faith and violating the principles of a good corporate citizen by ignoring the needs of the community and being insensitive to the customers they serve,” said Zanku Armenian a spokesperson for the Save Horizon TV Task Force. “As a franchisee in Glendale, Burbank and La Crescenta, Charter serves at the pleasure of the citizens of these cities and with their callous actions they are demonstrating they don’t care about their customers.”
Armenian-Americans comprise more than 40 percent of the population in Glendale and La Crescenta and 35 percent of the total population in Burbank—the area covered by Charter Communications that carries Horizon Armenian Television.
Horizon Television was the first Armenian-language channel to become part of the Charter lineup with a 24-hour channel in 1999 and was chosen by the corporation because of its deep roots and its demonstrated service to the community. Horizon Television debuted in May of 1989 with a mission to inform and serve the Armenian-American community. In a short time, Horizon became a broadcast outlet for news and information and evolved into a true voice for the ever-expanding Armenian community. In 1999, Horizon expanded its programming to become the first 24-hour television channel in the Armenian community and since then, by partnering with organizations and businesses alike, it has provided groundbreaking coverage of all things Armenian for its viewers. Horizon is the Armenian language equivalent of the non-profit PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) network on mainstream television.