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Friday, March 31, 2017

NET: The return?

Classic colour logo.
NET were the predecessor of PBS, which took over in October 1970 and NET was absorbed by WNDT downstate to become flagship WNET 13.  Since there are several indie stations in the country that are neither PBS (anymore in some cases as I'll get to in a bit) or commercial, there could be a new network for them to join.  Just as commercial indies in the past few decades turned to Fox, the WB, UPN, the CW and my Network TV, their non-profit rivals could have a place of their own.
The coasts have WNYE in the tri-state and KCET (which I explained in an earlier post) in LA.  Others like them include WPDS in Largo, FL and WLAE in New Orleans, LA just to name a few.
In the Commonwealth, there can be two pubcasters per nation.  The UK has the BBC and Channel 4, Canada with the CBC (English) and Ici Radio Canada-Télé (French) as well as Ontarios TVO for Anglophones and TVFO for Francophones, Australia with the ABC (as different from Americas as the two Woolworths are, as I told Cody Simpson and Kylie Minogue) and SBS (closer in aspect to PBS compared to Aunty), and New Zealands TVNZ and Māori (not directly owned by Wellington).  In the US, PBS is TV while NPR is radio.  They have their own fish to fry with funding fears.  Not sure how this would work as far as that.  Washington directly owning a network isn't quite the way it goes, and PBS are collectively owned by their member networks being non-profit and uncommercial.
As I said the other week, NET Journal would work now as hot button issues exist today that the documentary series could cover.  It paved the way for Ken Burns and POV.
The state PBS network in Nebraska are called NET but they would have to change their name to Nebraska PBS or Cornhusker PBS if they had to for TV, and NPR Nebraska for radio.  Don't think WNET would go back to their old callsign however.  There have been other unrelated networks called NET due to the generic nature of the name.  Just as there could be dark commercial stations left lingering across the country, it'd be a task trying to make an affiliate in every DMA.  The FCC have a licence for both kinds of stations.  Public ones are in the same boat as registered charities and houses of worship as far as tax-exempt status and not making profits.  Contributions from the audience can be written off.  The Ford Foundation bankrolled NET before CPB was formed.  Since not even the major commercial networks have an affiliate in every town the antithesis of such would have a more uphill challenge.  WPBS, WSKG and WCNY back in Upstate NY have two transmitters each but they don't have the same shows as the competition of course so it's not like how CBS in Utica and NBC in Watertown had been lacking a local voice until recently.  NET could even be on existing PBS member stations' tiers if ion affiliates can have as many as six channels on a set.
UK imports like Still Open All Hours are three series behind so NET could have the newest ones as Britbox, a joint venture of the BBC and itv online isn't for everyone.  Streaming is the latest threat to public television although Independent Lens and Masterpiece can be viewed that way these days.
NET could be another source of smart programming needed in a world of mindless "reality" shows and graphic scripted series trying to turn a fast buck.

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.
WNED in Buffalo which get a lot of support going around Lake Ontario to Toronto, could put World on 17.4.  There may be more member stations that don't have it on their tier right now.
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.).