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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — Base housing residents soon will have the option to subscribe to The Movie Channel, Showtime, Cartoon Network and even The Golf Channel, but some folks say they want something different.

About 100 members of the Sasebo base community signed a petition recently asking Americable International Inc., Japan, to consider adding a greater selection of family-oriented programming and at least one station devoted to Christian television.

They began gathering signatures Feb. 22, the day after a base town hall meeting in which Mark Pickrell, local Americable system manager, presented proposed channel menus for two levels of service. The company plans to start activating the system early this week.

One of the signature coordinators, Jacquelyn Dabney, submitted the petition to Pickrell on Feb. 24. “And we didn’t even really push that hard to get the 100 signatures. It was basically compiled over one weekend,” she said.

“I promised Ms. Dabney that I would pass along the petition,” Pickrell told Stars and Stripes on Thursday. “And I immediately e-mailed the petition to officials in the company.”

Americable regional manager James Smith said some channels widely available in the United States are not in Japan.

“I have tried to respond to several of the people involved with the petition,” he said. “We negotiated the channel lineup about a year-and-a-half ago, and we’ve actually already made a couple of changes since then.”

Users, who will receive cable free initially, will have time to decide what options they prefer, Pickrell noted. Before Americable, cable users received free service that included a full lineup of American Forces Network channels, a few Japanese channels, a command channel and a 24-hour movie channel operated by the public affairs office.

Americable will offer a “Military Free Tier” of service, including programming similar to that currently available, plus a local weather channel, a high school channel and an option to purchase The Movie Channel for $13.95 per month.

But that’s not what some residents want.

“We have reviewed the Military Free Tier and found the lineup to not meet our community and family needs,” according to the petition addressed to the president and owner of Americable, Joan Hermanowski. “There is also a large population that is concerned about Christian and family values.”

James said the proposed lineups distributed at the town hall meeting inadvertently omitted a Protestant Christian channel — Miracle Network — that will be part of a paid tier of service. He also pointed to the AFN Family programming that will be included once the channel launches.

The Tier No. 2 option includes the free channels and several others, such as a local MWR channel, Adventure One, CNN International, Animal Planet, Fox, The Golf Channel, Cartoon Network and ESPN for $37.95 a month. This level features options for programming such as Showtime for $12.95 a month, The Filipino Channel for $9.95 a month and Viva-Cinema One for $10.95 per month.

The petition signers request Christian channels Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) and Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), as well as TV Land and Discovery Channel on four of the six local Japanese channels on the Military Free Tier.

“We [also] are requesting American Movie Classics, movies from the 1930s through ’80s, on the Military Free Tier in lieu of The Movie Channel, which is optional paid programming,” the petition adds, suggesting optional/paid channels remain solely on Tier No. 2.

“There are many variables that factor into the channel lineup, including logistics, availability and licensing issues,” Smith said, adding his company cannot access satellite programming that is broadcast only “on the other side of the Earth.”

“We don’t try to provide everything to please everybody all the time, because you just can’t do that. However, we do try to provide something for everybody.”

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