TV Arts

Do any of you remember television before Cable TV? To some, having only
a handful of stations compared to these times might seem like the stone
age or something, but it really wasn't all that bad. They were actually
some real good times. I grew up in Detroit, and here are the stations
we had:

Channels 4, 7 and 2. These were the ABC, NBC, and CBS, all the major
programming but they also had some neat things of thier own, such as
"Scream Theatre" on Channel 7 on friday nights, or "Sir Graves Ghastly"
on Channel 2 Saturday afternoons. Then there was..

WGPR-TV, Channel 62 - This was the first black owned TV station, and
one of my favorites. They would show old movies all night long every
night, old cartoons, and lots of strange but interesting programming
that set it apart from any other station at the time or since. The
movies on "Movies all night" were mostly very old 30's dramas and
westerns. John Wayne, East Side Kids, you name it, quite a mix of
stuff. Believe it or not, there was sometimes foreign films that showed
NUDITY as well thrown into the mix!!!! Church programs were shown all
day sunday, the real fire and brimstone stuff!!!

Channel 50 - This was a really FUN station. Cartoons every day after
school. The "Chiller Movie" on saturday nights. Lots of great
syndication comedies. Older movies (though not as old as the stuff 62
would play!!) Real great station for kids, lots of fun. I heard this
later on became Fox.

Channel 20 - This was a real interesting station; somewhere between 62
and 50 but trying to be 7. Thier horror movie thing was called "Shock
Theatre". Early on in the 1980's, all programming after 8:PM was
scrambled for this cable-like service called "ON TV".

Channel 9 was interesting: It was a canadian station that we got
crystal clear since we were right across the boarder.

Then there were those stations that ya got, but didn't really come in
all too well; Channel 13 and "Toledo 11" come to mind. It's a shame
because those always seemed to have some GREAT programming.

Slowly, cable began to creep it's way into the neighborhood. I would go
over my friends house and there were all these stations to pick from,
and it was like crazy!!!! We never had it. In fact, my family back east
never got cable until 1997!!!!!!!!!!!! And we were a HUGE TV family,
there was a TV, literally, in every single room (even the bathrooms).
I don't have cable, but I live between 3 markets (one of which being
Chicago), so I can get about 25 channels.
That's as many as "basic cable" in some places right there!!!!!!!!
I remember that back then 'cable' meant being able to get ABC. For some 
reason we could get NBC and CBS and the local stations, but not ABC. 
Finally we were able to get abc. The NBC station we got was WPTZ 
plattsburgh, and the CBS station was WCAX burlington. But for some 
reason, we got 2 ABC channels- WEZF (now WVNY) and WMTW in Poland Spring 
Maine. That channel always got rather fuzzy reception and eventually was 
dropped from the grid. We also used to get CKSH SHerbrooke, channel 9 
(French) which was mainly known for showing dirty movies late at night. 
However, that one has long since been dropped from our grid.
Marlene Blanshay ([email protected]) writes:

But the problem with NBC and CBS here in Montreal was that they
were adjacent to local channels.  So the only time I remember watching
them was early in the morning, before the local stations came on.

In other words, we could watch "Captain Kangaroo" with a not very
distinct picture for about half the show, at which point the local
station would put a test pattern on and wipe out reception.

I didn't have cable until 1982, and gave it up in 1997 when I
got internet access (deciding I'd rather redirect the money).

It's the UHF channels that get here from the US, FOX, ABC and the
PBS stations, because NBC and CBS are still adjacent to local channels.