During a meeting of the Fiscal Court on Tuesday, Harlan Count Judge-Executive Dan Mosley informed a group of dissatisfied customers the cable provider Zito Media will no longer be supplying services to Harlan County.
“This has been something that’s been going on forever,” said Mosley. “Their service has been terrible…and the problem is they don’t seem to be very interested in servicing this area.”
Mosley mentioned the court has contacted the Better Business Bureau and the FCC concerning the company.
“We got some new information yesterday,” Mosley said. “You may recall David Kennedy (magistrate) had mentioned a couple months ago that Access Cable was interested in purchasing or acquiring Zito Media. That deal did not come to fruition.”
Mosley said there is an entity in the process of acquiring Zito Media.
“The problem is, two weeks ago a company signed a purchase agreement to acquire Zito Media,” Mosley said. “Unfortunately, this company is not in the TV side of the business.”
Mosley explained there are talks going on with the other local cable providers to gauge interest in taking over the television service for Zito Media customers.
According to Mosley, Zito Media currently has approximately 184 customers in Harlan County. He said the company in the process of acquiring Zito has spoken to Harlan Community Television, Access Cable and Evarts Community Television.
Mosley said the deal is expected to close before the end of the year.
“The way I understand this is, Zito will be pulling out of this area completely by the end of the year,” said Mosley. “It will be up to the other cable providers to determine if they want to expand into the area that Zito had.”
Kennedy mentioned Zito’s former customers would be without service until another option becomes available.
“I talked to Roy Baker (Access Cable) just last week,” Kennedy said. “He’s definitely interested in running cable down U.S. 119 and KY 522…if any of you people live in that area, I recommend you contact Access Cable and urge him to do that. He told me people in that area need to show an interest that they would commit to using his cable service because it’s a large investment to run that cable down the river. He also said he’s been working with Harlan Cable.”
Kennedy stated Zito’s customers were receiving bills.
“The problem these people have got is they’ve all been receiving television bills for a service they’re not getting,” Kennedy said. “These people are good people, and they want to pay their bills. But they don’t want to pay their (TV) bills because they’re not getting service, and if they don’t what’s going to happen to their credit rating? It’s going to be a blemish on their credit.”
Mosley asked the court for permission to file complaints with both the Better Business Bureau and the FCC against Zito Media. A motion was passed with no opposition to file the complaints.
“For the long-term, getting them out of the area is a good thing,” Mosley said. “What we’ve got to do now is figure out a way to get you all TV in the interim…now that Zito is going to be gone, I think you’re going to see an aggressive approach by Access Cable and the others to expand, and expand rather quickly.”
Attempts to reach Zito Media for comment were unsuccessful by press time.
In other court activity:
• Mosley announced a public meeting to be held in the old circuit courtroom at 4:30 p.m. on Monday to start putting together a plan for a celebration in honor of Jordan Smith when he returns to Harlan. Anyone interested in participating and showing support for Smith is invited to attend;
• The Harlan County Detention Center reported they had taken in approximately $163,000 through housing inmates from other counties as well as state prisoners. The female inmate work program collected 686 bags of garbage since Oct. 15;
• The court approved an agreement with the Transportation Cabinet for Looney Creek Rails to Trails;
• A resolution with Rural Development was approved for certification of levees;
• Approved an agreement for 100 tons of road salt at $97.15 per ton contingent on availability with the Transportation Cabinet;
• Approved appointments of Charles Bianchi and Roland Cornett to the Harlan County Public Library board of trustees;
• Accepted the former Harlan County Sheriff’s audit for 2014;
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde