Shadowboxing

Garland is more concerned that Time Warner's decision to bounce the network could have repercussions in smaller and perhaps more conservative markets. "There is a large fear here that this could begin a domino effect," Garland says. "It could give an operator in Tulsa, for instance, the idea to either take you off the air or not give you a chance -- the thinking being, 'If it's not working in New York City, why would it work here?' But that hasn't happened yet, and we aren't shutting the doors and going out of business and we aren't going to run away. Throughout the office, after the initial shock of the news, it sort of mobilized our team. There was a bonding, a determination to not just roll over and let this happen."

Garland is convinced that another slot will eventually open in Time Warner's New York lineup as the company expands its programming choices. He also believes that the Box's reputation among music-industry insiders as a breeding ground for new acts -- coupled with its Box Latino offshoot, which will make its Miami debut in late February -- will keep it in competition with MTV, the network's only major adversary in the music-video industry and an institution he thinks is ripe for toppling. "It's just a matter of time before we're back in New York," Garland declares. "There is no question in my mind that it was a hit there with consumers. So often we have people saying that [the Box] is like MTV used to be. That's what made us a hit in New York and everywhere else. We don't have game shows and we don't have blocked programming with just one type of music. People at home don't look at music in categories. They like the way our programming flows -- the differentiations between the music. And too many people at the cable companies and record companies forget that the consumers -- the people watching and listening -- are the most important element here.

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