Long live rock, TCI told

The subscriber backlash against Tele-Communications Inc. and its recent policy of dropping established networks from its cable systems and replacing them with newer services resulted last week in TCI announcing it would reinstate A&E and the Nashville Network in Houston, and MTV on its Grand Junction, Colo., system.

Now rock stars are getting in on the act of taking TCI to task.

Don Henley, John Mellencamp, Jewel and Tony Rich have agreed to participate in a press conference Wednesday in Denver to help classic-rock radio station KRFX-FM protest TCI’s dumping of VH1 on the local cable system.

The four musicians — whose videos, performances and interviews are often heard on VH1 — reportedly will speak out about “the importance of VH1, and tell people what they can do to try to get it back on the air.”

MTV Networks, which owns VH1, is helping pull the strings for the Denver press event and the attempts to get MTV restored on TCI systems in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Des Moines, Iowa. MTV has sent employees to those cities, as well as all of the markets where it has been dropped, to lobby TCI for reinstatement.

But MTV’s fans likewise have gotten in on the act, peppering TCI’s offices with thousands of phone calls and let-ters, as well as petitions objecting to the drops.

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