TV package throws fans a curveball

Jackie Dunnavant's love affair with the Atlanta Braves began in 1982.

 

Since then, she has experienced the highs and lows of the past 25 years through a TV set in the bedroom of her Columbia County home.


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For Ms. Dunnavant, who is 75 and receiving hospice care, it is her main source of entertainment.

"It's really the only enjoyment I have anymore, except for my great-grandchildren coming over," she said.

But because of changes made by the Braves, Ms. Dunnavant might not be able to watch all 162 Atlanta games this season. Forty-four games will be shown on Peachtree TV, formerly WTBS and related to the superstation that carried Braves games for years.

Cable providers in the Augusta-Aiken area can't offer Peachtree TV because the station is now an over-the-air broadcast channel and is available only in the metro Atlanta area.

That doesn't sit well with folks like Ms. Dunnavant.

"My health won't allow me to go up there and see the games," she said. "If I can't see my Braves, it's going to make me sicker."

THE SPLIT

Last fall, WTBS split into two channels: TBS, a national cable station that offers primarily movies, comedy shows and Sunday MLB on TBS , which features a national game of the week; and Peachtree TV, a broadcast channel available only in the Atlanta area that offers movies, comedy shows and select Braves games.

WHERE TO WATCH

Fox Sports Net South and SportSouth will televise the bulk of Atlanta games this season. SportSouth will carry 81 games, and 25 will be on FSN South.

The rest of the Braves' games will be shown on Peachtree TV, Fox-Ch. 54, TBS and the ESPN family of channels.

RESOLUTION?

Gina McKenzie, a spokeswoman for Peachtree TV, said her station is trying to make games available to affiliates in the Southeast.

"We're talking to carriers now," she said. "(Viewers) within the Braves' footprint should expect to see the Braves."

Bill Botham, the public relations director for Comcast in Augusta, said a solution hasn't been found.

"We're kind of scrambling, but if they don't have a way or make it available," viewers in Augusta will be left out, he said. "There's no way to get it right now."

OTHER OPTIONS

The Braves are telling fans outside the Atlanta area that they have the following options available:

- Listen to games on the Braves Radio Network (WGAC, 580 AM and 93.1 FM, is the primary outlet in the Augusta area).

- Subscribe to online broadcasts at MLB.TV ($14.95 per month or $89.95 for a yearly subscription).

- Satellite TV might be an option, but the 2008 schedule for MLB Extra Innings has not been released.

Reach John Boyette at (706) 823-3337 or john.boyette@augustachronicle.com

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