02. February 2006 · Comments Off on RADIO AND TV GALLERY, PART 2 · Categories: Uncategorized

OK, a few more scans because I’m tired tonight. I like this one because it’s a rare glimpse of the logo of a truly demented TV station of the 70’s and 80’s:

WWHT, channel 68 Newark (with a translator on the World Trade Center on channel 60) and its satellite, WSNL-TV, channel 67 on Long Island, were… OK, let’s see. The history you might see on Wikipedia or elsewhere is a little off, so let’s correct it now. The station existed as a construction permit as WWRO Newark, but by the time it went on the air (I actually saw the very first test transmission, a painting of a big tree with the calls in the corner), it was WBTB-TV, and the early schedule included bargain basement black-and-white shows with bad prints (“Dobie Gillis” being the best of the lot), cheesy local variety shows (“The Danny Tarantino Show,” featuring some lounge singer on a bare set), stock market news (with ticker on the bottom of the screen), and Uncle Floyd, who was the one redeeming feature of the channel. But you know about him, and he’s still around, one of the “Wise Guys” on Sirius.

WSNL started separately- it was a local station for Long Island that also carried the WFL’s New York Stars games, went dark, and eventually re-emerged as a simulcast of 68.

Later, the station was purchased by Wometco, the Miami company, which changed the calls to WTVG (their Miami station was WTVJ) but kept programming cheap (they did briefly carry WTVJ’s local-legend kid’s show “Skipper Chuck”); eventually, they changed the calls to WWHT and launches scrambled subscription programming as “Wometco Home Theater,” The crappy daytime programming and the sublime Uncle Floyd remained, but in the evening, the picture went scrambled and required a converter box to watch HBO-style movies while nonsubscribers heard a loop of music including Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s In Need Of Love Today” over and over and over. A favorite pastime of the cheap- OK, that would be me- was to try and futz with the vertical hold to unscramble the picture, especially with R-rated movies, when you might get to see an occasional breast. (Hey, I was a kid at the time, gimme a break)

The station eventually went all-scrambled (except for a block of public affairs/educational shows on the weekends); when the subscription bubble burst, it became an MTV competitor, “U-68,” playing a pretty cool mix of odd videos MTV wouldn’t touch, programed by veteran music industry guy Steve Leeds. That failed, too, and the station went through a long Home Shopping Network period before going Spanish as the New York Telefutura affiliate, which it is today.

But back in the day, it was about the most cheesy major market TV station ever, cheesier than the 90’s incarnation of Philly’s channel 48, cheesier than L.A.’s KDOC, just plain cheesy. Naturally, I loved it. The ad you see above has the logos and one other feature: someone was too cheap to design a new ad for the show’s second season, so they just pasted “SECOND SEASON” over the words “NEW SHOW,” the top of which is still visible in the ad. Just perfect.

And while we’re on ABA TV ads (or, at least, ads for TV stations featuring teams that were at one time in the ABA), here’s a Kentucky Colonels/WLKY-TV ad from ’74, with a cartoon of Artis Gilmore and Dan Issel. 32 was the ABC affiliate then, is CBS now. No reason for this, just because. Gotta go.