Everything old may be new again

Last year at my old blog The Nutmegs and Bolts, I reported on how Antenna TV, Tribune’s hybrid classic TV/movie channel, seen here on Cablevision channel 114 or for those who want to save some money, WPIX 11.4, came on early in January, but later in the month here. Now on that blog, before I get to the meat of the matter on this one, I have to include some updates…

 

And also, some of the CT TV stations will go HD on 1/26

I know these will go HD

WVIT on 6 and 696
CPTV on 10 and 722
WCTX on 24 and 699
WTIC on 25 and 697

 

WTIC went off Cablevision a few months ago.  But the other CT channels…so far…are on and in HD, including 3 and 8. As weird as it may be, I like to check the on screen cable guide, channel 99, for details. As they of course promote their business and pay-per-view events, I also get updates on the goings on of channels in the service.  For example Versus will be renamed NBC Sports Network come January 2nd.  No surprise given the move of NBC Sports to Stamford and how Versus seems to carry NBC Sports present imaging.

But now onto the topic. It looks like another, and even bigger, retro TV network will be coming to some parts of Connecticut. The Chicago-based MeTV (Memorable Entertainment TV) is set to appear on TV screens according to its website  ” On or about 1/4/12.” MeTV is owned by Weigel Broadcasting and its service is seen in most of America on digital subchannels or digital cable and in some parts of Boston, it’s seen twice, on WMUR 9.2 out of Manchester and WSAH’s sister station WMFP in Laurence, MA

But here is where it gets complicated.

MeTV is set to appear on a small struggling independent TV station based out of Bridgeport, but gets some cable penetration in both the New York City and Hartford/New Haven markets. The station is WSAH-TV 43.1/UHF 42. Now WSAH, with studio and transmitter in Seymour, CT which has ties to Comcast, has had a most interesting history.  At one point WSAH was once called WICC-TV naming itself for Bridgeport’s long standing radio station at 600 AM.  According to WSAH’s Wikipedia

 

Channel 43 first appeared in March 1953, when WICC-TV (meaning “Industrial Center of Connecticut”, referring to Bridgeport[1]) signed on with programming from ABC and DuMont, a month after Connecticut’s first UHF station, WKNB-TV, signed on. The station was named after WICC radio (600 AM). Considering that UHF was rather new at the time and required an expensive converter, the station was not seen by many. In addition, ABC and DuMont network programming was easily seen in much of WICC’s viewing area via WABC-TV and WABD from New York City, respectively.

One attempt at locally-generated programming on the station was Newsvision, created by station owner Ken Cooper, in which a station camera was pointed at a teletype machine, with music being played on the audio channel. The FCC disallowed this because they ruled the video and audio channels must work in sync, rather than be separate sources.

None of WICC’s attempts to gain viewers succeeded — one of these included a stunt where Bob Crane (who later became the star of Hogan’s Heroes) offered $100 to the first caller who reached the station. No one called, leading the station to announce in January 1960 that WICC was the “only station in the U.S. without any viewers.”[2] That December, WICC-TV went off the air. Most of the station’s programming inventory was destroyed by fire a few months later.

 

Channel 43 lay dormant until the 1980’s.

 

A group of women, under the name of Bridgeways Communications Corporation[3], received a construction permit for a new channel 43 on November 20, 1980[4], and on September 28, 1987, the station signed on as WBCT-TV, airing home shopping programming.[3] Initially, the station planned to become a locally-focused independent station, with WBCT’s management concerned that Bridgeport was only being served by New York City stations[3]; a year later, however, the station had changed its plans and planned to implement cultural programming aimed at the Jewish community in the New York City market as a whole.[5] Shortly afterward, the station changed its call letters to WHAI-TV, in reference to the Hebrew word for living. However, the station was sold in 1994 to ValueVision[6], which in turn sold WHAI to Paxson Communications in 1996.[7] By then, the station had also added infomercials to the schedule.

 

Needless to say the station was floundering into the 1990’s and 2000’s.  In 1998, CPTV did a documentary on CT TV history.  Included was the only thing saved from the WICC-TV fire, a film about the goings on at the station, including an appearance from Bob Crane, then morning man on WICC Radio later  the star of Hogan’s Heroes, which is seen seen on MeTV, soon enough ironically to be on the former WICC-TV.

 

 

Today WSAH and its aforementioned Boston sister station’s are run by Multicultural Television Broadcasting, LLC.  And, like any station owner without deep pockets and the banksters like ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, et al…

 

Multicultural ran into financial problems and defaulted on its loans, WSAH was placed into a trust; the station was then placed for sale.[24] On October 6, 2011, it was announced that WSAH would be auctioned off in bankruptcy court by the end of 2011. [25] In the auction, held on November 15, the station was acquired by NRJ TV, LLC, which had earlier acquired KCNS [San Francisco]and WMFP; the deal is subject to bankruptcy court approval, though the auction has been challenged by Arthur Liu, who owned Multicultural and is associated with failed bidder NYVV.[26]

 

Again, according to MeTV’s listing of WSAH, it is seen the following ways, aside from 43.1

 

Cable

AT&T (NYC) 43
Cablevision (NYC) 77/15
Cablevision (Hrtfd/New Hvn) 24
Cablevision (Salem) 15
Charter (NYC) 22
Charter (Hrtfd/New Hvn) 22/246
Comcast (NYC) 27/19
Comcast (Hrtfd/New Hvn) 15/22/95/23
Cox (Hrtfd/New Hvn) 75
Verizon 19

Satellite

DIRECTV (NYC) 43
DISH (NYC) 43

 

For the record, I get WSAH on channel 77.

Now before you think you are going to get classic TV 24/7…THINK AGAIN.  WMFP’s schedule which went to MeTV a couple of weeks ago, does have SOME MeTV programming.  The rest of the time it’s covered by that scourge of TV viewers…THE INFOMERCIAL.  Now if it’s for DVD’s of The Dean Martin Roasts, Carol Burnett Show, The Midnight Special or Time Life CD’s of rock oldies, OK that’s one thing.  If the DVD/CD breaks, send it back and get another one usually at no extra costs.  It’s the other ones (about 96% of them) I HATE.  Well it’s more than likely WSAH goes the same route.

We will all see come January 4th.

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