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Alpert to Head Rainbow DBS

Direct-broadcast satellite veteran Mickey Alpert will head up Rainbow DBS, the HDTV-centric service Cablevision Systems Corp. is commercially launching Oct. 15, officials said Tuesday.

Alpert, named senior vice president and chief operating officer of Rainbow DBS, will report to Cablevision chairman Charles Dolan.

Alpert, who been consulting for Dolan, most recently was with Alpert & Associates Inc. At his company since 1986, he has been working with American and Canadian DBS companies. Prior to that, Alpert served as a senior officer of Comsat Corp., where he led the development of the first U.S. DBS service.

Cablevision also unveiled the rest of the executive team for Rainbow DBS.

Bill Casamo, executive VP of marketing and sales, held a similar post at DirecTV Inc. and was also a VP of sales for Thomson Consumer Electronics.

Jay Aldrich will serve as Rainbow DBS’ executive VP of finance. He is formerly a senior VP with Alpert & Associates and an executive with satellite-program provider PrimeTime 24, and he worked in finance and business development with Rainbow Media Holdings Inc.

Rainbow DBS will offer as many as 39 HDTV channels, including a “Voom” package of 21 HDTV channels from Rainbow Media that will be exclusive to Rainbow DBS.

In addition, the service will offer as many as 88 cable channels in standard-definition format, as well as local digital over-the-air programming.

Former National Geographic Channels president Sandy McGovern has been working on programming deals for Rainbow DBS, but she was not mentioned in Tuesday’s press release. However, Cablevision said it will have more announcements on Rainbow DBS Oct. 15, when it will also release more specifics about its programming lineup.