Storer Broadcasting Co. of Miami increased its hold on the cable television market in Maryland this week when it received the cable franchise for the City of College Park.
The franchise will add 6,000 homes to the company's system in the Washington area. Two weeks ago Storer purchased 80 percent of the stock of Howard Cable Television Associates Inc. of Ellicott City. That transaction exceeded $3 million and gave Storer 2,000 more subscribers to its system. The Howard cable association serves Howard County, parts of Columbia and most of Ellicott City.
Storer also said it plans to invest an additional $3 million to extend service to the remainder of the Howard cable district, including the rest of Columbia and several other subdivisions in the Ellicott City area.
Storer controls cable television viewing in more than 20,000 homes in the Washington area, excluding franchises on the Eastern Shore, said a Storer executive, Winfield Kelly, the former county executive of Prince George's County.
In Prince George's County, Storer already has franchises to serve Hyattsville, College Park, Mt. Rainier, Bladensburg, Riverdale and Cottage City. Twenty-two other municipalities also have authority to select franchises.
Storer plans to bid on two franchises for the rest of Prince George's County that will serve 75 percent of the county's homes, Kelly said. The municipalities only cover 25 percent of the county.
Storer also is planning to bid for service in Montgomery and Fairfax counties, Kelly said Arlington County and the City of Alexandria already have awarded cable television franchise.
The awarding of the College Park franchise was made Tuesday by the College Park City Council, according to City Administrator Leon Shore. Shore said that the nation's top 10 cable companies were notified of the opportunity to bid on the franchise but only Storer and Cross Country Cable of Prince George's applied.
Although both companies were highly rated, Shore is bigger and "Storer is a conservative company so the system they planned would be a conservative system and work well."