NEW TV STATION TO COMPETE ON SAIPAN

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By Jude O. Marfil

SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Mar. 1) – Sorensen Pacific Broadcasting Inc., which runs two radio stations on Saipan, will launch a television station in May.

Called KPPI, the new TV station will feature hit NBC shows such as "Will & Grace," "Law and Order," "West Wing," "Saturday Night Live," "ER" and "Fear Factor."

"We’re pretty much featuring all NBC shows," said Tina B. Palacios, Sorensen’s operations manager for Saipan. "We’re also thinking of getting some Korean and Filipino shows."

Unlike local cable channel KMCV, Palacios said KPPI can be seen for free.

"All one has to do is buy a rabbit ear antenna which is only $3 or $4. This is good for people that don’t have cable."

However, neither Micropac nor Megabyte electronic shops sell rabbit ear antennas.

"Maybe we can provide them or sell the antennas at the station," Palacios said.

To watch KMCV, one has to subscribe to Marianas Cable Vision, which charges $50 to $70 per month.

Palacios said KPPI would be operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"This is why we are hiring more people — controllers, engineers — who will man the station 24/7," she said. "We’re also moving to a new building on Middle Road to house the two radio stations and the new TV station."

Since KPPI is offering shows for free, Palacios said they would get their income from advertisements.

"With free TV, we are hoping to attract more viewers and derive income from advertisements," said Palacios.

For cable subscribers, Palacios said they could also tune in to KPPI. "We don’t know yet to what channel MCV will assign us. It’s up to them."

Mark E. Birmingham, system manager of MCV, said, "We haven’t been contacted about (the new TV station). We don’t know how we can have anything to do with that."

Besides KPPI, Sorensen also owns radio stations Power 99 FM, which was launched in 1992, and The Rock 97.9 FM, which Sorensen bought in 2001.

On Guam, Sorensen operates Newstalk K-57 AM, Power 98 FM and The Rock 105.1 FM.

March 1, 2005

Marianas Variety: www.mvariety.com

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