David L. Cohen Executive Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer Comcast Corporation Comcast Center 1701 JFK Boulevard Philadelphia, PA 19103
I am writing to bring to your attention to a November 11, 2016 letter from Jennifer Gaiski, SVP, Content Acquisition, Comcast Cable, to The Word Network, which informed The Word Network that Comcast will unilaterally remove carriage of The Word Network on January 12, 2017 on 456 Comcast systems. This action would disrupt The Word Network's carriage for roughly 7 million subscribers, many of whom rely on programming carried by The Word Network for their daily religious and spiritual edification. Ms. Gaiski's two-sentenced letter gave no explanation for this surprising move and has caused deep concern within the African American community.
As you know, The Word Network is the largest African-American religious network in the world. It is available in over 200 countries, reaching billions of viewers in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and the Americas. It reaches nearly 97 billion homes in the United States alone. Ms. Gaiski's decision would remove The World Network from key African-American markets, including Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore, as well as from other major urban areas, including Houston, San Francisco, Denver, Boston and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
I am concerned that this action may violate the commitments made by Comcast as it sought to acquire NBCUniversal. In the December 13, 2010 Memorandum of Understanding between Comcast and several African American leadership organizations, including The National Action Network, Comcast committed to extending current programming that targets the African-American community. In her November 11 letter, Ms. Gaiski informed The Word Network that Comcast will eliminate such programming. It seems to me that removal of programming targeted to the African-American community is the exact opposite of extension of such programming.
Rev. Al Sharpton Founder National Action Network
CONTACT: Mort Meisner Associates for The Word Network, MORT MEISNER, 248-545-2222
SOURCE Mort Meisner Associates for The Word Network