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Saturday, March 18, 2017

WCNY and World

PBS 24 Syracuse 22 Utica
WCNY, the public station for CNY no longer carries World, a joint venture of two major east coast stations and two organisations that contribute to the network.  It could be carried on 22/24.5 and HowTo on 22/24.6 (ION 56 has the largest tier group of stations in the Syracuse DMA to date).  However, the Trump administrations proposed austerity measures put public funds to the country's answer to a pubcaster (although not the de facto network like with other countries due to the large scope of the US media) on the line.  This isn't a political blog; just pointing out how things are being cut to the bone as it is now.  WCNY did away with pledge drives a few years ago in a trailblazing move and the budget cuts may prompt members and viewers (like you) to contribute out of pocket directly.  Sesame Street has already moved first run episodes to HBO of all places last year yet still symbolises the network to this day.  All I watch on 24 these days is Keeping Up Appearances which isn't in the PBS package but is syndicated to several member stations by BBC Worldwide Americas and has a cult following in North America.  If I were to ever send money to WCNY again I'd get a beaker even though I have the one for flagship WETA 26 in Washington, DC that I bought at the charity shop which I use for my coffee every morning.  May have watched the station the two times when I visited the beltway.  They have a subchannel specialising in UK imports.
Since KCET on the west coast fell out with PBS several years ago leaving their competitor KVCR (also on 24) in Orange County to be an LA area member station alongside KLCS, KOCE and KQEH, they've become an indie public station that PBS doesn't really even need anymore.  One could be started here.  On DT1, some NETA and APTV-distributed shows not already on 24.1 could air.  Waiting for God (even more elusive than the other Auntie show here in the US) could be brought back to the area along with other shows from the Beeb (such as As Time Goes By which was just dropped from WCNYs lineup) and itv/LWT (like Dame Judi Denchs other classic with her late husband A Fine Romance).  Good Afternoon was a public affairs/community discussion type show that was on when I was growing up so something similar could air today with a new name like PM Syracuse.  Maybe even have instructional programming akin to the UKs Open University or something like public access to fill the hours.  World could be on .2.  Old films on .3 which the other place used to have (mostly obscure if not public domain titles) but now have them spread out in one way or another.  The studio could be WCNYs old one in Galeville and the rerun-heavy commercial networks mentioned in a previous post can just take the former CBS 5 one back in town as both vacant buildings were designed for TV use but could be adapted as other properties if another kind of business buys them instead leaving other places that used to be offices or retail for the new station to operate from.  As for where on the dial (who uses that here anymore?!) to air, there isn't a dark station like I've seen in other towns so anywhere that doesn't clash with another frequency here or in the next region would be allocated by the FCC.  Maybe it could air on 62.1-4 in Syracuse and 59.1-4 in Utica on the digital successor signals to WCNYs former translators.  If it were possible to get all these networks in the area then we'd almost be in league with the big cities.
V-Me, FNX, NHK World from Japan and Link TV (part of KCET) also could fill up the new tier.  Only so many films would work due to rights and budget concerns.  The UK lineup could have Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Only Fools and Horses, EastEnders (new ones as old one with retired and/or deceased characters and stars like Wendy Richards Pauline Fowler), Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, Emmerdale and To the Manor Born which also no longer air or never have in Central or Northern New York.  Irish classic Ballykissangel could also have reruns again here.  Other programmes too left field in nature for commercial broadcast in America would make sense as well.  Informercials not so much as they are still commercial and even televangelists (who buy air time the same way but have tax exempt status) don't usually go on public stations.  A documentary series like NET Journal which PBS's predecessor had in the turbulent '60s would be relevant to todays issues but would have a new name of course.  Originally programming could be developed as well.
Seems one thing I haven't looked on this blog is sports, but that's really not my area, but a show that looks at life behind the scenes without ripping off ESPN too much would be close enough if not school teams playing.  Life can be like a sports league and TV is no exception which each time hoping to win the championship and this new station could be the new underdog in the Syracuse DMA.  More of these could be started across the country.  This new station could be the counterpart of channel 28 this side of the Mississippi Valley.

Spectrum: Long live Time Warner

Here at last!
After nearly a year of waiting, the Time Warner Cable name has finally gone the way of its predecessors Warner Amex, NewChannels and Adelphia (in CNY anyway).  TWC commercials have been phased out, TWC News now is called Spectrum News (which may now be added to pre-existing Spectrum systems such as Alpena, MI), and Spectrum vans are now on the streets (some older ones and third-party contractors may still have the old guard on them yet to be covered).  Spectrum Centre in Raleigh, NC is now renamed while other venues with naming rights had them sold to others or closed.
TWCs former corporate parent turned namesake are being sold to AT&T, owner of DirecTV.  Even Time and Life magazines aren't owned by them anymore.  Someone years ago said the company would split into several separately traded entities (AOL, Warner Music Group, etc.).

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

MyNetworkTV

Modified from former CLE 43 logo.
MyNetworkTV is one of the last new TV networks to launch prior to DTV being standard and after The WB and UPN folded in the CW.  A weak sister of Fox, it tried having Anglophone telenovelas (usually a Hispanophone phenomenon, yet ABCs version of the Ugly Betty franchise held its own) but the ratings were as bad as some of the sister networks obscure short-lived series!  It is not a network per se, now but rather a syndicated package, yet affiliates don't identify as indie the way WPCH (née WTBS) in Atlanta does.  SVU (also on similar rival ION) has repeats as do several other shows on MNTV.  Due to the large scale nature of the American TV industry, it would be tedious to list every small market that has yet to get their own, as a network would have roughly 200 stations nationwide.  Watertown, NY is only just about to get their station and Alpena, MI now share it with the sister networks station there as MNTV are a lower priority.  Plattsburgh, NY (the last area in my state left to get one after down US 11), Columbus, GA (halfway between Atlanta and Florida), and Ft Myers, FL (my only contact there would never watch it anyway) are just a couple places left to conquer.  Now W45EC-D in Erie, PA could become my 45 WECD (pictured).  Just when you think there couldn't be another space to fill!  The next one west in Cuyahoga County is now called CLE 43 WUAB to avoid confusion perhaps with CNY's own my 43 WNYS.

Friday, February 10, 2017

CKWS

Serving Eastern Ontario and beyond.
I've known about CKWS in Kingston, ONT for years as they had listings in TV Guide as they could be reached not only across St Lawrence River in Watertown but also in Utica down NY 12 on cable.  They may even have been available in Syracuse in the '80s.  They were an affiliate of Canadas pubcaster the CBC until a couple years ago when station owners Corus switched it to rival network CTV.  CBC is either available on cable or satellite at least per CRTC regulations, or from a repeater of the Ottawa flagship CBOT.  There is a secondary affiliation with Global for news.  There could be a tier with CTV on DT1, CTV Two on DT 2, Global on CT3, and CBC on DT4.  Gatineau (CRTC) would have to approve this, and it might not work that way there as it would across the seaway.  Third-party owned stations aren't as common in Canada and almost like the US, occur more in smaller markets like Kingston.  Having the same kind of branding is also not widely known there, so it otherwise could be called CTV 11, or CBC 11 in the recent past.  All the major networks have to appear on Cogeco, Vidéotron (eastern Ontario and Québec cable systems, respectively, although both are based in the latter), Shaw Direct and Bell TV (Canada's answers to Dish Network and DirecTV in no particular order).  Even in Canada, some people are trying to save money by using an antenna and watching online (where they can bypass Cancon to watch international programming).

Thursday, February 9, 2017

NBC 26 WNYD

I should really learn how to make real logos of my own!
They say that one thing leads to another, and it always does.  Also, just when you think the entire country is covered, somewhere falls through the cracks.  Someone mentioned getting NBC 7 & 4 from Traverse City which lead me to finding out the resort town of Alpena, MI until recently were in the same boat as fellow Great Lakes city Watertown, NY as far as not having NBC or MyNetworkTV to call their own, making this the next frontier to conquer.  However, I've only been to the Midwest once in my life, so I know even less about there myself than New Yorks North Country which I have been to several times.  Then again, NBC 45's owner are based in southern Georgia, so it's not uncommon for a station owner to be based out of town and/or state as it's not uncommon, even in Roscommon.  The FCC just cares that a licence is paid for and regulations are followed.
Through a shared sales agreement, cable-only CW 21 WBAE (yes, that's a real station!) could be simulcast on 26.3 as predecessor The WB had cable based affiliates for smaller markets in the past.  One of the little networks like ThisTV could be on 26.4.  Channels 18 and 31 are also available to create new tiers with these newer netlets as the possibilities are almost endless now.  New call letters would have to be found as the ones they had look more like the kind for translators such as W63AE in Oneonta which simulcasted ABC 20 WUTR in Utica back in Upstate NY in analogue days to Otsego County and the northern Catskills, yet these new stations will be over in the Wolverine State, which like much of the Midwest largely lacks elevation which can disrupt signals especially in the elements.  Sky truly is our (if) only limit now.
If there's another lesser known area missing a certain channel based there I'll eventually hear of it and come out of my occasional writers block.  Meanwhile, Alpena sounds like a nice place to visit during the summer so I could see how it goes there but that's a story for another day.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Smaller networks

The most elusive of them all.
In the past decade or so, new networks like ThisTV, Antenna TV and RTN have cropped up on DTV giving people more choice over the air.  Older generations recall being lucky to have three channels on the dial!  Now they can see the shows they grew up with on most of these netlets.  MeTV and Antenna TV have picked up rights to several classics.  Series shown had reruns aired in syndication and on cable in the past after their network run had ended (yet off-network repeats usually start after Series 4 when there are enough to pad out a cycle to avoid too much repetition in a short span of time).  Some have yet to even appear on DVD, BluRay or streaming (The Golden Girls for example are on a few cable stations and now Hulu, twenty-five years after the original series left NBC and twenty after terrestrial broadcast rights expired in the US).  Other chestnuts had not aired at all in years and are now available for a new generation to enjoy although the ratings for these fledgling networks may be bubbling under in the Nielsens as they are low priority next to the big boys today.
Only Albany and Buffalo have a ThisTV affiliate Upstate at this time.  Watertown (45.3), Rochester (36.1), Syracuse (5.3), Binghamton (20.2), Elmira (39.2) and Plattsburgh (3.3) have space for it.  In my area, if the existing tiers won't expand, a new one could open and could get the old CBS 5 studio in the city or the one for WCNY (PBS) in Galeville (Liverpool).
Escape, AntennaTV, Decades, CoziTV, Justice Network, H&I, TBD (an actual network, not an undetermined one; currently in CNY and WNY), The Works, Light TV, Movies! and YouToo (which is even older than Fox) all also have yet to reach CNY airwaves, although some may be available on cable and satellite as even Fox had a national feed for small markets yet to catch up with the rest of the country with their own station as recently as over a decade ago, but now these poor mans versions of Nick at Nite/TV Land provide an alternative for those tired of todays headlines, reality shows and reboots yearning for a simpler time.  They do have something for the kids if not what I may have watched in my day to meet FCC E/I programming requirements, even if no one really watches at all.
TheCoolTV is down to just a couple stations despite playing more music videos than MTV, BET, VH1 and MuchMusic for that matter combined as late payment of royalties to station owners if not record companies in addition to people watching them online may as well shut the network down.  The Tube previously had the same thing but could also be seen on cable.  I remember The Box with a 900 number back in the '90s where my43 and AMG are today.
If these newbies have new series it might not work due to their low-man status on the totem pole.  Catalogue or library titles account for much of their budgets as far as royalties, rights and residuals.  Old or new there is more competition than ever in America yet only the front line networks get feedback at the water cooler the next business day as opposed to the old guard from when you used the tap.  Still it's good to have more choice when some parts of the world are lucky to even have the bare essentials.