KNOLOGY RAISING RATES: Citing rising programming costs, Pinellas County cable TV carrier Knology Inc. said Friday it plans to raise the monthly rate for its standard "basic/extended basic" TV package by $2.75 to $34.95. The company is also raising the surcharges for its "Digital Gateway" and "Digital Preferred" services by $1.05 each to $5 and $8, respectively. The rate hikes will take effect in February. Rates for premium movie channels and Knology's Internet phone and Internet broadband services will remain unchanged. Bright House Networks said last month it plans to raise the monthly rates for its standard cable TV package in Pinellas County to between $31.95 and $37.95, depending on the area.
KNOLOGY DEAL FALLS THROUGH: Knology Inc. said Friday Orange Broadband Inc. of Charlotte, N.C., has backed out of its plans to buy Knology's Cerritos, Calif., cable system. Knology said Orange was unable to negotiate a franchise pact with the city of Cerritos. "We are confident in our ability to reach an agreement with another buyer for the Cerritos assets," Knology chief executive Rodger Johnson said in a statement. Knology said in May that Orange had agreed to buy the Cerritos system for $14.8-million in cash. Knology, a West Point, Ga., cable company that provides cable TV service in Pinellas County, bought the Cerritos and Pinellas cable operations from Verizon Communications in 2003 for about $18.8-million.
TRIBUNE PROMOTES WEAVER: After an internal search, the Tampa Tribune has named Janet Weaver, 41, its executive editor and vice president. Weaver, until now the newspaper's managing editor, succeeds Frank Denton, who resigned last month after less than a year on the job. Before joining the Tribune in June, Weaver had briefly been dean of faculty at the Poynter Institute, which owns the St. Petersburg Times. Before that, she was executive editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, owned by the New York Times Co. Publisher and president Gil Thelen said a search will be conducted for a managing editor.
FOUR INSURERS CANCELING POLICIES: Four small insurance companies are canceling about 9,000 policies in hurricane-battered Florida, but officials hope other companies will step in to fill the void. Liberty American, Penn Charter, Auto-Owners and Mobile USA have started canceling policies, according to insurance agents. Officials with the state Office of Insurance Regulation said about 9,000 policies will be canceled _ and the state hopes to get other private insurers to pick up the policies. Together, the four companies have about 191,000 policies across Florida.
JABIL PLANS TO ADD JOBS: Jabil Circuit chief executive Tim Main said Friday the St. Petersburg company plans to add several thousand jobs worldwide this year including hiring "a couple of hundred" in the United States. The contract electronics manufacturer has about 40,000 employees worldwide. Jabil spokeswoman Beth Walters said Jabil also added jobs in the United States in 2004, after emerging from an industry downturn. She said the outlook for 2005 is "a little bit better."
TAMPA MARRIOTT WESTSHORE SOLD: Host Marriott Corp., the nation's largest hotel real-estate investment trust, Friday said it sold six hotels, including the Tampa Marriott Westshore, for $223-million in three separate deals. The agreements closed late last month and this month, the company said. Additional details were not disclosed. Proceeds will be used to buy upscale or luxury hotels, Host Marriott said.