The company that won the Montgomery County cable television franchise has a number of shows in mind that would be aimed at women--programs with titles such as "The Soaps," the "Super Shopper Show" and "You're Beautiful."
Company officials said they think these are the kinds of programs most women want. But the Montgomery County chapter of the National Organization for Women has other ideas. President Marie McGlone said cable should deal with more pertinent issues, and she cited Phil Donahue's show on CBS as an example.
Although the cable company, Tribune-United of Montgomery County, has not issued its final plans for women's programming, it has revealed the ideas with which it is working.
In an exchange of letters with NOW, Tribune-United offered these tentative titles: "The Soaps," a daily review of the daytime soap operas; "You're Beautiful," featuring information on makeup, hair styles and other grooming; "The Super Shopper Show," offering help to bargain hunters; "Telephone Rouge," "In the Know," "You Magazine," "Alive and Well," and a variety of shows about beauty, health and women in careers.
McGlone said viewers can see such programs on commercial television and she hopes for something better on cable for women in Montgomery County.
"We're tired of the status quo," she said. "What are they going to do that's different?"
McGlone is pushing for programs that deal with "the changing roles of women and men." She said that NOW thinks good women's programming "fights sex stereotypes and raises issues pertaining to the broad spectrum of women's lives today."
Tribune-United, she said, has been reluctant to commit itself to programs that meet those requirements.
Sylvia Brown, chairman of the Montgomery County Women's Coalition, said cable television should put more emphasis than commercial networks on such subjects as the Equal Rights Amendment and career advancement for women.
But, she said, "It's a tough problem. Different women have different ideas . . . . You're never going to come up with what everybody believes is a women's program."
McGlone said her correspondence with Tribune-United Vice President Michael J. Pohl has not been satisfactory. "He Pohl simply will not hear what we're saying," she said. ". . . It smacks of the same old story: 'You women don't know what you want.' "
Said Pohl: "I don't understand their reaction. It's not in my best interest to give them a narrow selection. If there's something for everybody, then we have a better chance of getting subscribers."
In December, Pohl wrote McGlone a six-page letter saying Tribune-United plans to air at least 140 hours of women's programs each week. He also said his company had talked with women's groups and that there "appeared to be no consensus as to what constitutes 'women's programming.' " But he held out a carrot: he said Tribune-United would be willing to broadcast a national women's channel, if one is produced, and he promised Montgomery County women access on one of Tribune-United's public channels.
David L. Scull, president of the Montgomery County Council, said the council will consider ideas proposed by women's groups and minority organizations and some may be included in the formal contract with Tribune-United, which the council is working on now.
Pohl said it will be at least 18 months after the contract is signed before any homes in Montgomery begin getting cable programming. He said Tribune-United hopes to sign up 217,000 homes in the first four years of the contract.
County Executive Charles W. Gilchrist awarded the franchise to Tribune-United, a New Jersey firm, last October.