The Saga of "Fredericksburg" Channel 2



   Since coming to this part of Texas in July 1957 we were "blessed" with a
normally-vacant Channel 2 and 3, with the lowest low-band VHF local being
Channel 4 (WOAI, later KMOL).  The introduction in May of 1964 of a Channel
3 in Corpus Christi (KIII) produced a noticeable hinderance as the TV antenna
in those days was fix-aimed in that southeast direction towards the local
antenna farm near Elmendorf (actually, in Wilson County) some 25 miles away.

   Sometime back in the mid 1980's some communications consulting firm must have
discovered that a "new" FCC Channel 2+ allocation could be shoehorned in between
the long-existing Houston and Midland stations.  That required the Midland station
to change its offset frequency from 2+ to 2-, which in turn had the yet-to-be-born
educational Channel 2 in Amarillo change theirs from 2- to 2+.

   The announcement of all this had appeared in the June 1986 VUD (page 24) and,
perhaps due to my involvement with my High School 20-year Reunion activities
that summer, I didn't notice the very ominous news.

   That changed in a flash when the local Express-News carried a long article
about it on March 13, 1987.  There were a good dozen+ applicants filed for it,
no doubt lured on by the assertion that "Channel 2 will get you the largest
coverage area per watt of any TV channel".  That truism is nice in an ideal
world that doesn't contain the complications of an atmosphere (and hence an
ionosphere)!  It was with good reason that the FCC long ago made the Gulf
Coast a Zone III for TV allocation spacing mileages.

   As the article notes, from the get-go they all knew that the financial
viability of a system with a transmitter so remote from the "real-intended"
Austin-San Antonio population would require their access to the CATV systems.

   This news was the final impetus for my getting a VCR to be able to tape
what Channel 2 DX that I could get before "Fredericksburg 2" arrived.  At
the WTFDA 1985 convention in New Orleans I had seen their extreme value in
TV-DXing (and more "dynamic" to show off than simple photos or even audio
tape recordings).

   Well, the intense summer of 1987 Es season ran its course with my getting
lots of DX taped, despite discovering that a 7-second start delay and not
being able to change channels while taping were VERY serious drawbacks.

   Then, without any advance publicity, September 14, 1987 greeted us with a
local KØ2MX LPTV signal - CBars with ID and a 400-Hz tone.  If that was some
attempt to demonstrate his broadcasting competence again it, as you will see,
in my strong opinion, turned into a prime example of just the exact opposite.



   By December of 1987 I had obtained the coordinates of the various applicant
sites from Bill Fahber of the VUD.  Running very crude ERP inverse-square by
LOS-distance calculations I concluded that the closest site might produce a
signal that was only 10-db stronger than what that downtown (at 6 miles away)
KØ2MX was providing here.

   As time went on the various applicants dropped out, merged, etc.  The FCC
awarded one a CP, but when it failed to do anything it was revoked and the
(now-subdued) melee began again, resulting in more consolidations, byouts, and
dropouts.

   Meanwhile, KØ2MX was discovered to have a very strong 50.760-MHz emission
(the ZL TV audio frequency, though for me at an azimuth that would be of very
minimal conflict).  This was reported to the owner by N5TX.  His initial
attitude was anything but receptive, more or less, "prove it".  Well, a while
later a visiting FCC Engineer from the Houston office did just that!  The
solid-state transmitter was yanked off and sent back to the manufacturer for
"repair" work (Dec 27, 1988 - 1259).

   On March 22, 1989 I got a land-line from N5TX telling me that the owner of
KØ2MX would be putting it back on later that day and wanted us 6-meter ops to
"check it out".  It was found with perhaps some 30-db reduction in its 50.760
MHz spur, about the best that one could hope for, and very likely well within
the FCC specs now.

   However, having KØ2MX south-east of me was devasting for Es on that channel
for Latin America as well as for any of the rare F2 events from South America
(though I did manage to get about 15 minutes of that taped once inspite of
KØ2MX being in there.)  Any careful examination of my Ch 2 TV-DX loggings
before and after Sept 1987 will easily show its negative impact at ALL my
azimuths here.  (One of the still-high rates, KGAN from Iowa, is likely, in
no small part, due to it being close to a null point for KØ2MX!)

   As time went on there were occasional outages of it (someone unkowningly
switching off power to it in that skyscraper).  Every once in a while the
transmitter would get into some weird failure mode, but a call to the owner
would usually have that "fixed" in very short order.  Being the lone "viewer"
in town did carry a burden!

   What was most galling about KØ2MX was that its entire "program" consisted
soley of those colorbars with ID and 400-Hz tone from Sept of 1987 until April
of 1993 when it got a downlink from Channel America and did some simulcasting
of local content with another local LPTV, K67DW (April 14, 1993).

   That lasted until June 5, 1994.  After another outage then to June 14, 1994
(LPTV stations can forfeit their license if off for 30 days without "good cause")
it returned with just CBars, ID, tone, AND the "old" strong 50.760-MHz spur!  A
long while after that, March 31, 1995, it began to feed Bloomberg News (with all
those scrolling data screens, etc.)  During any heavy downtown rainstorm the
satellite downlink for that would go out, with a quaint "seeking satellite signal"
note on the screen!  By the summer of 1995 it would ID using high-pitched Morse
Code at some preset interval(s).  It looked as though that, finally, it had
achieved some "real" useful programming content (like live coverage of the Space
Shuttle launches).

   On October 20, 1995 the owner was killed in an auto accident out in the Texas
Hill Country while showing some east coast visitors (investors ?) one (or more) of
the proposed transmitter sites for "Fred-2".

   Then, on July 8, 1998, the KØ2MX transmitter found itself a new failure mode.
Lacking a spectrum analyzer, I can't really say what it looks like there, but
the video effect was much like two 60-Hz hum bars - with no VBI-evident.  Some
sporadic medium/short-lived spasms of Bloomberg would appear on it thru the late
months of 1998.

   The son of the original owner (the LPTV license had just been renewed) seemed
almost-totally unresponsive to the reports of the KØ2MX condition.  (It was later
learned that he was very likely being preoccupied by an employee-driven $1-million
embezzlement scheme to his auto alarm/radio business!)  All sorts of "pass-the-buck"
routes were given.  By March 1999 I was on the verge of filing a formal complaint
with the Dallas FCC Office over its status, but some other more-pressing business
with them had emerged.

    "Fred-2" progress had meanwhile lumbered on with various media reports on its
latest CP holders and their forecasts.  It finally got some assigned call letters,
KBEJ (by all appearances, just a sequential assignment).  See A, B and C also.

    But then had some difficulties with the FCC re its timely DTV filings.
(See also FCC DTV Applications and this bit of strangeness.)

    On April 25, 2000 it hit the air with CBars, ID, and tone.  However, this was
very short-lived, one reason maybe because of its overloading effects on those
various Hill Country CATV system headends nearby it!

    Soon after that KENS-5 (Belo) announced that it had been chosen to carry
(some) of the SA Spurs NBA games.  In short order they next revealed that they
would be "managing" KBEJ and that IT would have the bulk of those games.  Not
likely a coincidence, one of the major investors in Corridor Television (KBEJ)
was one of the original Spur owners (until the 1990's).

   Some later short-duration test were conducted in June, with an increasing
number and duration by late July.  July 29, during the midst of an immense Es
event, it was received by W9WI near Nashville, TN.  At this time, oddly enough,
it was running a CBar with a cycling ID for KVUE-24 Austin, another Belo property.

   As predicted in 1987, the KBEJ range is such that it produces a watchable
but VERY vulnerable off-air signal at 50 miles here.  With an outdoor antenna
aimed at it line noise, etc is very easily noticed.  The normal KPRC-2 Houston
tropo provides plenty of co-channel 20-kHz beat bars at times, and that
still-spewing KØ2MX is zero-beat with it and does NOT fade.  In true irony,
one of the KBEJ prime investors listed is the estate of the founder of KØ2MX!

   Its highly-touted August 3rd debut was fittingly met with one of this
season's most intense days of high-MUF Es (reaching 144-MHz that Thursday
evening).  WWF Smackdown indeed!

   And, now, perhaps the first Austin media mention of KBEJ.  Next maybe
they'll decide just whose market that they are in and which, if any, CATV
system is obligated to carry them!

   As time drags on, more and more programs are getting shifted around.
Trekkers distress.

   But, perhaps, a resoultion (even with a typo in the call).

   And, just maybe, this last of this tale of a would-be broadcaster
being "rescued" by CATV.  Maybe they can start charging for the ads now.

   Well ... they've now discovered more problems with some of their
intended-coverage area.  All together now, "I told ya so!"  If their "solution"
is so good for that side of town, why not do it for all and shut down their
primary signal (which still gives its best field strength to more cattle and
mesquite than humans) ?

   Belo Corporation has apparently become so desirous/desparate for CATV carriage on every
system that it can possibly find, that it has offered to upgrade their headend systems gratis
- and when rebuffed has gotten the FCC to back them up!

   And, after a scant year of getting ratings lower than they had previously
been getting on "real local broadcast TV", the Spurs abandon their "new home".

   After several years of non-news, KBEJ makes some again with this.
By April 2006 it had been decided that KBEJ will become San Antonio's CW affiliate with the new
call of KCWX.  This causes the Austin CATV system to block KCWX's CW Network programming as
Austin now has their own dedicated CW affiliate carried on it - so a reduced claim of being
an SA-Austin market station.  Things might have been a lot smoother for everyone 20 years ago
if one of the many then-vacant UHF allocations had been sought rather than trying to rim-shoot
two cities on this squeezed-in lowest VHF channel.  At least it will likely maintain the dubious
distinction of being the last full-powered NTSC Channel 2 that the FCC licensed.

   In the years meantime, a new form of Es interference was noted to KBEJ/KCWX.  At first the
fast-changing snowy picture* was ascribed to problems with their transmitter/antenna (after
noticing the effect on more than one antenna-set system here).  It was soon discovered that this
was from a DTV signal on Channel 2 - (as verified by the 54.310 MHz DTV "pilot" signal on my
Yaesu FT-847).  This has come mainly from the DT-2 stations in Rapid City, SD and Las Vegas, NV
(each with their respective NTSC's for several decades operating on Channel 3). This would also
match the general aiming-azimuth, n-nw, for any San Antonio viewers attempting to get their best
over-the-air signal from KBEJ/KCWX.  (*It was very much like the effects from a solar noise
burst that often occurs with major flares - only sustained for far much longer.)

   In the latest (June 2006) DTV "election" KCWX appears to have chosen Channel 8.
That was puzzling at first since KLRN-9 has been DT-8 here for several years, but they
apparently plan to revert to DT-9 sometime after February 2009.  So once again 54-60 MHz in the
future might be vacant in this area for attempts at long-distance propagation studies - though
it be limited to Canadian and Latin American NTSC stations and the few US DTV stations who have
taken the foolish step to put themselves in that part of the spectrum where they will find
themselves subject to much disruptive (often mutual) interference.
Co-channel "venetian blinds" on NTSC were a lot more tolerable than the blocking/pixelation
that DTV delivers when its video degrades but slightly.

   Recall that the FCC study done with the "old" FM band (40+ MHz) during WW2 found one
reason to move it to 88-108 MHz was the prevalence of much co-channel Es interference.
(And 88-108 MHz is hardly "immune" from such effects either!)
-----
KCWX-2 becoming KCWX-DT-5 (as Austin KTBC-DT-56 becomes KTBC-DT-7 and objected to a KCWX-DT-8
being so "close").

From a Sept 2008 FCC filing.

LICENSEE FILED A REQUEST FOR SPECIAL TEMPORARY AUTHORITY, BLSTA-20080908AAY,
WHICH WAS GRANTED BY THE COMMISSION ON 9/12/2008, WITH AN EXPIRATION DATE OF
2/17/2009, TO REDUCE POWER ON ITS ANALOG STATION ON DECEMBER 15, 2008 BY
TURNING OFF ONE TRANSMITTER TO ACCOMMODATE THE DIGITAL TELEVISION TRANSITION.
SPECIFICALLY, ONE OF THE KCWX TRANSMITTERS WILL BE UPGRADED FROM ANALOG TO
DIGITAL DURING THIS PERIOD. THIS WILL RESULT IN A REDUCTION OF TRANSMITTER
POWER BY 3 DB. APPROXIMATELY 70% OF THE STATION'S VIEWERS RECEIVE SERVICE VIA
CABLE OR SATELLITE, WHICH WILL NOT BE AFFECTED. OF THE REMAINING 30%, ONLY 15%
WILL SEE A REDUCTION IN SIGNAL QUALITY SERVICE DURING THIS TRANSITION. KCWX
WILL NEED TO SHUT DOWN THE SECOND TRANSMITTER ON OR ABOUT FEBRUARY 10 TO
REPLACE THE CHANNEL 2 ANTENNA WITH A CHANNEL 5 DIGITAL ANTENNA.

and from a yet still-later filing

FOR THE REASONS STATED IN CORRIDOR'S STA REQUEST FILED SEPTEMBER 8, 2008
(FCC FILE NO. BLSTA-20080908AAY), ONE OF THE ANALOG TRANSMITTERS MUST BE
TURNED OFF TO ACCOMMODATE THE TRANSMITTER'S UPGRADE FROM ANALOG TO DIGITAL.
HOWEVER, THE WORK ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED FOR DECEMBER 15 (THE DATE SPECIFIED IN
THE STA REQUEST) HAS BEEN POSTPONED BY LARCAN (THE CONTRACTOR) UNTIL JANUARY
3, 2009, WHICH IS WHEN THE STATION NOW INTENDS TO SHUT DOWN THAT ONE
TRANSMITTER AND REDUCE POWER BY 3 DB. ON OR ABOUT FEBRUARY 10, THE SECOND
TRANSMITTER WILL HAVE TO SHUT DOWN AS WELL TO REPLACE THE CHANNEL 2 ANALOG
ANTENNA WITH A DIGITAL ANTENNA TO OPERATE ON CHANNEL 5. THIS IS A SINGLE
ANALOG STATION THAT WILL HAVE TO FLASH CUT TO DIGITAL ON FEBRUARY 18,
NECESSITATING THAT THE STATION BE OFF THE AIR FOR THIS ONE WEEK PERIOD.

So there might be an actual week in Feb 2009 when Channel 2 will be vacant
here once again so that a chance for DXing any other US full-power Ch 2 NTSC
stations still on the air then will be possible!


Or so we thought until Congressional knee-jerk reactions muddied the waters
in late January 2009 with their "DTV Transition Delay" feel-good legislation.
It is unknown at this time what schedule KENS-5 will follow.
--------------------------------------------------------------
If this FCC list is accurate, then it would appear that the status
quo will be extended for an undetermined period beyond Feb 17, 2009.
So much for the carefully-crafted plans of cutting their NTSC ERP, transmitter
modifications, and antenna work on the tower.

KENS-5 reset countdown clock.
Welcome to another (partial) summer season of Es CCI for them!
An even sixty of such (1950-2009).
And, at half power, KCWX-2 enters its 10th.

From the latest KCWX filing of Feb 11.

Exhibit 39
Description: JUSTIFICATION FOR EXTENSION OF STA

ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2008, THE COMMISSION GRANTED AN STA FOR THIS STATION TO SHUT
DOWN ONE TRANSMITTER AND OPERATE AT REDUCED POWER SO THAT TRANSMITTER COULD BE
CONVERTED TO DIGITAL CHANNEL 5 PRIOR TO FEBRUARY 17 2009, FCC FILE NO. BLSTA-
20080908AAY. THE STATION'S SECOND TRANSMITTER WAS TO BE SHUT DOWN ONE WEEK
PRIOR TO THE TRANSITION DATE SO THAT IT TOO COULD BE CONVERTED TO DIGITAL.
THIS STA EXPIRES FEBRUARY 17, 2009.

THE FIRST TRANSMITTER WAS SHUT DOWN AS PLANNED AND HAS BEEN CONVERTED TO
DIGITAL CHANNEL 5. ACCORDINGLY, THE STATION CONTINUES TO OPERATE AT 3DB
REDUCED POWER AND WILL DO SO UNTIL THE NEW TRANSITION DATE IN JUNE, WHEN THE
STATION ONCE AGAIN PLANS TO SHUT DOWN ITS SECOND TRANSMITTER AND CONVERT TO
DIGITAL ONE WEEK PRIOR TO THE TRANSITION DATE. AS NOTED IN THE STATION'S
ORIGINAL STA REQUEST, ONLY 15% OF THE STATION'S VIEWERS ARE EXPERIENCING A
REDUCTION IN SIGNAL QUALITY DUE TO THE LOSS OF THE TRANSMITTER.

DUE TO THE EXTENSION OF THE DTV TRANSITION FROM FEBRUARY 17 TO JUNE 12,
CORRIDOR RESPECTFULLY REQUESTS THAT ITS STA AUTHORITY BE EXTENDED TO JUNE 12,
2009.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
On or about May 20, 2009 KCWX-2 started running a crawler indicating that they
would NOT terminate their NTSC on June 2 as previously announced
but will stick it out to the bitter end (Jun 12) and eventually appear as a
DT-5 sometime in July.  So much for that hoped-for 10-day DX window .....

Now a target date of July 10:

Reason given: CORRIDOR HAS BEEN ADVISED BY THE TOWER CREW (COAST-TO-COAST)
THAT BAD WEATHER IN KANSAS AND TEXAS HAS CAUSED SCHEDULE DELAYS AND THEY WILL
NOT BE ABLE TO INSTALL THE KCWX DIGITAL ANTENNA UNTIL EARLY JULY. ALL OF THE
DIGITAL TRANSMISSION EQUIPMENT IS AT THE STATION AND ON-SITE EXCEPT FOR THE
ANTENNA, WHICH IS IN A WAREHOUSE FOR SAFEKEEPING (THEREBY INCURRING ADDITIONAL
COSTS FOR THE LICENSEE). HOWEVER, THE TOWER CREW'S ANNOUNCED DELAY IN
INSTALLING THE ANTENNA IS BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE LICENSEE. AFTER JUNE 12,
CABLE SUBSCRIBERS WILL CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THE STATION VIA FIBER FEED.



R.I.P.

On schedule KCWX-2 shut off their NTSC transmitter at midnight CDT Jun 12, 2009. I was busy watching/taping the KENS-5 shutdown, but I doubt that I missed any "special ceremony" on this station (KWEX-41 had extensive coverage of their own NTSC shutdown an hour earlier). So, immediately evident on the vacated Ch 2 was the nitelite programming from KPRC-2 in Houston, aided by very enhanced tropo conditions (and, with all the DTV channel hopping on other channels, kept me up rather late). Later Saturday came the first session of Es - with WJBK-2 Detroit running their nitelite (prominent Fox 2 logo, etc). By evening there was WFMY-2 Greensboro. There are only about a dozen US Ch 2 stations doing this (vs. 50-60 of what were once there). The last time that situation existed must have been in the early 1950's! Having almost the entire low-VHF band free of locals (there is KFLZ-CA-6) is a new experience for me! Sunday had more of WJBK nitelite in (as well as unID nitelites on Ch 3 and 4). The astounding tropo conditions also had KPRC at times looking as nearly as good as KCWX had since their January power cut! Now to catch some Ch 5 nitelite stations via Es before KCWX-DT-5 snows that channel. For Ch 2-6
nitelites. Channel 5 nitelites caught during this "window of opportunity": KRGV-5 TX Weslaco KXAS-5 TX Fort Worth WRAL-5 NC Raleigh (Jun 16: 1305 CST; Jun 26: 1005 CST) KTLA 5 CA Los Angeles (Jun 22: 1531 CST) WLWT 5 OH Cincinnati (Jun 26: 1102 CST)

DT-5 Reincarnation

Well, July 10 came early - like on July 2! While trying to decode some Es DTV signals I thought that I'd check Ch 5 with the Zenith DTT901 CECB. I was momentarily excited by the "bar meter" there until I turned the antenna more to the north and found out that KCWX-DT-5 had been born.
KCWX-DT-5.1 (a screen capture from later in the day)
So after nearly 9 years KCWX is finally producing what could be considered a local-quality signal. Their 23kw at 46 miles decodes over a wider range of antenna azimuths than I had really expected. Ironically, my first DTV Es decode was later "discovered" that day of
KVBC

Subchannel

Again without fanfare, c. July 21 there appears another "5.2" (KENS) on my DS DTX9950 system running the 1960's flick "Town Without Pity" with a "This/Central Texas" logo in the lower right. Of course, this turns out to be KCWX-DT-5.2 (virtual 2.2 on rescan of the CECB). After a few days of fumbling around they get the PSIP, etc info stabilized. (I'd become familiar with the
This Network programming whenever KPRC-DT-35.2 was in well from Houston.)
KCWX-DT-5.2
KCWX-DT-5.2, PSIP improved
KCWX-DT-5.2 TOH ID (still trying to be a multi-DMA station)
I've actually spent more time watching programming on that subchannel the past several weeks than I had on KCWX-2 in the almost 9 prior years! To achieve wider coverage (or, more accurately, a better signal where the most folk are) KCWX has started a two-prong strategy: (1) applied for 80-kw ERP at their current TL (which would crush all the other DT-5 stations in the US in an Es event) and (2) applied for translators on Ch 8 in Austin and San Antonio. Any bets of the more-likely approved application ? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Corridor Takes Over Management

In late April 2010 some strange changes in programming were noted such as Subchannnel 1 sometimes simulcasting the Subchannel 2 ("This TV"), wide variances in audio levels on Subchannel 1 between commercials and programming, a very unreliable EPG display for Subchannel 1, and some rather gaudy new idents/logos being used on Subchannel 1.
KCWX-DT-5.1 gaudy ID
KCWX-DT-5.1 bug
A posting about all of this on the San Antonio HDTV AVS Forum was soon nicely answered: It was not widely publicized but at the stroke of midnight, April 24, the Belo Corporation ceased management of KCWX. Corridor Television of Austin, TX now operates the station. They have built a new Master Control and they are re-establishing connections with satellite and cable delivery systems in South Texas. The transmitter location, channel assignment and power output have not changed. Here is the new contact information for KCWX management: CALLS: 1 (512) 482-8111 EMAILS: ctawil@sbcglobal.net LETTERS: Corridor Television LLP 5929 Balcones Drive, Suite 202 Austin, Texas 78731 __________________ Yours in DTV, Jerry Paonessa Assistant Director of Technology, Belo Technology Operations, KENS ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Network Swap

KMYS had been running promos as "The New CW" for the better part of a month. full article Starting Aug. 30, KMYS (Channel 35/Time Warner Cable Channel 7) will become the city's new CW network affiliate. In other words, it will become the new home of popular youth-targeted shows such as Gossip Girl, Vampire Diaries, Supernatural and 90210 as well as two promising new fall offerings: action-adventure Nikita, an updated take on La Femme Nikita, and Hellcats, a cheerleader drama starring Ashley Tisdale of High School Musical fame. Affiliate switch OK, now for more details on the network switch by KMYS, which will soon be re-branded The CW 35. It will be swapping affiliations with KCWX (Channel 2/Time Warner Channel 4), the current carrier of CW programming in this market. KMYS' current affiliation, My Network TV, will switch over to KCWX on Aug. 30; programming will include lots of movies, sports and syndicated fare, such as reruns of Monk and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Sinclair Broadcasting - owner of KMYS - was able to nab the up-and-coming network, which is especially popular with teenage girls, for several reasons. John Seabers, general manager of both stations, said KMYS has more "technical strength" - better reception - than KCWX (Channel 2), which is licensed to Fredericksburg, not San Antonio, and is owned and run by Austin-based Corridor Television. The CW also is a perfect fit with Fox - the network of KMYS' sister station, KABB, and home of American Idol. KMYS also will provide a distinct local platform for the CW programming since it already carries Fiesta parades, Spurs and Dallas Cowboys games, and high school football in prime time with its continuation of Thursday Night Lights, starting Aug. 26. Seabers said he plans to promote the heck out of The CW's Monday-through-Friday lineup. "We are thrilled to partner with this growing, youth-oriented network," he said. "Many of the current shows are proven winners, and the new programming coming this fall is exciting and clever." He sees the CW lineup as a "perfect complement" to KMYS' syndicated programming, which includes The Office, How I Met Your Mother, The New Adventures of Old Christine and hotly anticipated newcomer Swift Justice with Nancy Grace. Now maybe they should swap call letters ? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------












Will be transcribed here whenever it's relocated.




















S.A.'s first low-power TV station signs on

Jeanne Jakle
(excerpted from San Antonio Express-News, Thursday, September 17, 1987)


  No, you're not seeing things.  That ghostly new San Antonio TV signal you're getting on Channel 2 is for real.

  It's KO2MX, the city's first low-power television station.  It signed on Monday with a test and pattern and will start programming in a couple of months.

 The type of fare it'll offer hasn't been determined, says part-owner Bob Roth, but he did mention these possibilities:  

  • Maybe a music video station like Houston's Hit Video USA.  
  • Or movies, movies, movies.  
  • Or - and this seems the best bet - it might be part of a new low-power network around the country that's just getting started.

     "We want to offer a service like no other in town," said Roth, who's no stranger to local TV pioneering.  He was the builder and owner of Channel 12, and the first to bring movies to S.A. TV on a regular basis with the old 10:30 p.m. "20th Century Theater."

      Roth kept Channel 12 for 11 years - from 1957 thru 1968 - during which time it was S.A.'s top-rated TV station.  "I've missed the broadcasting biz ever since I sold 12," he says.

      Then along came Channel 2.  But Roth says he's not looking to compete with the big boys.  "That would be futile since our station's power is all of 37.7 watts, while other stations like KMOL, KENS, and KSAT are 100,000 watts or higher," Roth said.

      KO2MX's antenna is atop the Tower Life Building downtown.  Though the signal will come through best in nearby homes, particularly those with antennas pointing toward Tower Life, Roth said says it could go as far as Loop 1604.

  •   That's where you come in.  Roth asks viewers who are picking up the test pattern on Channel 2 to drop him a line at 121 Interpark, Suite 503, San Antonio 78216.  "Then I can get a better idea of our range," he said.

    (partial excerpt)
    October 21, 1995
    San Antonio Express-News

    VIA's Roth is killed in wreck
    Angela Neaves and Tom Bower Express-News Staff Writers

    VIA board trustee Bob Roth, known for his dry wit and no-nonsense approach, died in a two-vehicle accident Friday afternoon in Gillespie County. He was there with business associates looking at land.

    Roth, 73, was driving his 1992 white Chevrolet Suburban with two passengers five miles south of Stonewall when his vehicle was broadsided by a 1986 Ford truck hauling a 24-foot trailer, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. Witnesses said Roth's Suburban was stopped at a stop sign on Shumann Road for about 30 seconds, DPS Trooper Gary Rudd said. Roth turned left onto Farm Road 1623 when the collision occurred. The truck driver, Charles B. Tuttle, 37, of San Marcos, was on FM 1623 and Roth's Suburban was struck on the driver's side, the DPS reported. Tuttle was taken to Hill Country Memorial Hospital in Fredericksburg where he was listed in good condition.



    (partial excerpt)
    October 8, 1997
    San Antonio Express-News

    Area may see new TV station
    Sanford Nowlin

    After more than 10 years of legal wrangling, a group of San Antonio and Austin investors including B.J. "Red" McCombs appears poised to set up a new VHF television station for the region.

    The Federal Communications Commission is expected to award a license soon to the McCombs group to develop, own and operate a VHF station near the Hill Country town of Fredericksburg, according to officials involved in the deal. The partnership developing the station includes McCombs Enterprises Inc.; Bob Roth Jr., son of prominent local businessman Bob Roth Sr., who died in a 1995 car accident; and Austin couple Carmen and Saleem Tawil, who own an engineering business and developed and operated an independent VHF station in Austin. "This has been a very long and involved process," said David Silverman, who is representing the partnership in legal issues surrounding the FCC license.



    (partial excerpt)
    June 19, 1998
    San Antonio Express-News

    Investors moving on TV station Picture improving for area TV station
    Sanford Nowlin

    A group including B.J. "Red" McCombs is moving ahead with plans to set up a regional VHF television station, but progress has been slow.

    The group of San Antonio and Austin investors has fought legal battles for more than 10 years to own and operate a VHF station near the Hill Country town of Fredericksburg. In April, the group, called Corridor Television LLP, finally received a permit to begin construction on the transmitter tower. "We plan to start construction on the tower this fall and our goal is to be on the air June 1," said Carmen Tawil, a partner in Corridor who also will co-manage the station with her husband, Saleem. Corridor was formed when rival groups headed by the Tawils and McCombs joined forces. The group broke through the legal wrangling last year when the Federal Communications Commission dismissed three other groups' applications for the license.



    TV station coming soon

    Licensing static finally clearing up for Corridor Television

    By Sanford Nowlin
    Express-News Business Writer

    After more than 10 years of delays, a new VHF television station backed by investors including Minnesota Vikings owner B.J. "Red" McCombs appears ready to go on the air by January.

    Fights at the Federal Communications Commission and in the courts between different groups vying for the station's broadcasting license held up its development since the late 1980s.

    Those conflicts ended last year when a federal court ruled McCombs' group, called Corridor Television LLP, owned the license.

    With the ownership dispute resolved, construction has begun at the broadcast tower site near the Hill Country town of Fredericksburg. Officials said the station should be on the air by Jan. 1.

    "VHF stations are very difficult to obtain; the FCC is not giving out many more of them," said Gary Woods, president of McCombs Enterprises. "Given the value of media properties right now, this thing has significant value. We want to get it on the air."

    He said Corridor will spend $3 million to $6 million getting the channel on the air.

    The station will broadcast on the unused Channel 2 in San Antonio and Austin, with a reach from northermost Austin to southernmost San Antonio.

    The San Antonio and Austin television markets have a combined population of about 3.2 million, roughly the size of the Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto, Calif. television market, the nation's 20th largest.

    Individually, San Antonio is the nation's 37th-largest television market and Austin the 60th.

    Corridor is talking with various networks about a possible affiliation, said company partner Carmen Tawil, who will co-manage the station with her husband Saleem. The Tawils also developed and operated an independent VHF station in Austin.

    Woods and Tawil would not say what networks the company is talking with, but said Corridor has several options.

    "In taking all this time to get the license, we've lost a lot of opportunities," Woods said. "During that time we've had other stations come in and take some good programming. If this had been resolved five years ago, we would have had some more choices."

    Industry officials said Corridor is likely to seek affiliation with the UPN network, which no longer has a station in San Antonio. Local channel KRRT-TV gave up that affiliation last year when it switched affiliations to TimeWarner Inc.'s WB network.

    "We receive a lot of calls from people asking for the UPN network," said Karen Hartley, vice president of marketing and communications for Paragon Cable.

    UPN officials in Los Angeles were unavailable for comment.

    The new station's call letters are KBEJ, but Tawil said Corridor is likely to change the letters before the station begins broadcasting.

    KBEJ's FCC license requires San Antonio-area cable companies, including Paragon, to carry the station, assuming it passes a signal quality test, Tawil said. Austin cable companies would have a choice on whether to include it.

    However, Hartley said Corridor officials have not met formally with Paragon about its plans. She said Paragon would carry the station if the FCC requires it to do so.

    McCombs and the Tawils until 1996 were competitors for the Channel 2 license, but eventually joined forces to form Corridor.

    The FCC in 1997 dismissed three other groups' applications for the license. One of those groups, a Fort Worth-based venture that included local attorney Oliver Heard, challenged the FCC decision, but was rejected by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington D.C.

    Local television officials said there would be adequate viewership and advertising interest to support another VHF station in San Antonio.

    "I'm sure they'll have viability and be a competitor to us," said Bob McGann, general manager of KENS-TV.

    Thursday, May 6,1999



    (partial excerpt)
    August 28, 1998
    San Antonio Express-News

    SAPD closes embezzlement probe

    By Adolfo Pesquera

    A San Antonio police team specializing in white-collar crimes closed a nine-month investigation of a man and woman accused this week of embezzling nearly $1 million from a North Side electronics distributor.

    The embezzlement charge is believed to involve the largest sum of money in a case ever investigated by the financial crimes unit of the police department, according to SAPD spokeswoman Sandy Perez. "They were doing a pretty good job (of covering their tracks) up until the time the owner caught on," Perez said Thursday. Cherie Mott, 53, of the 2400 block of Blue Quail was charged Wednesday with misapplication of a fiduciary property. She was released from Bexar County Jail Wednesday evening on a $75,000 bond. Her suspected accomplice, Gregory Vickers, 51, of the 300 block of Brettonwood Place was arrested and charged Thursday morning. He was released from Bexar County Jail late Thursday after posting a $30,000.


    Man gets term for embezzling from S.A. store

    By Adolfo Pesquera
    Express-News Staff Writer

    For 17 years, Gregory Vickers worked for Travel Music of San Antonio Inc. Now he'll serve a 15-year sentence for embezzling nearly $1 million in inventory from his employer.


    He was sentenced after pleading guilty Friday before 226th District Court Judge Sid Harle.

    Bob Roth, owner of the company, stood up in court to tell Vickers he had "devastated" Roth's family.

    "Financially, we've lost our life savings. I've owned this business for 25 years and I'm just barely able to keep the doors open," Roth said. "A lot of people would've filed bankruptcy, but I bellied up and paid all my creditors off."

    Vickers, 51, and Cherie Mott, 53, were indicted Aug. 28. The indictment came after Roth found that over the preceding winter they had been diverting his inventory and selling it to eight businesses in the Houston area for as low as 40 cents on the wholesale dollar.

    As part of Vickers' sentence, he also was required to cooperate in a civil lawsuit Roth filed in an attempt to recoup losses.

    Mott, in a plea bargain, earlier had received a 10-year probated sentence.

    Friday, Jun 25,1999


    Jury awards $40,000 to electronics store owner

    By Adolfo Pesquera
    Express-News Staff Writer

    Alleging a group of Houston discount electronics business owners willingly bought what they knew to be stolen merchandise, a San Antonio businessman took them to court in hopes of recouping some of the nearly $1 million his former employees embezzled from him.

    Jurors deliberated seven days before finding Thursday that the Houston retailers breached their contracts and unlawfully took the merchandise, but they awarded damages of less than $40,000.

    Bob Roth's attorney, Wade Hayden, called the verdict "an extremely hollow victory."

    Roth was forced into bankruptcy after employees embezzled from his Travel Music. He earlier won a meaningless court judgment of $921,000 against Gregory Vickers, the penniless traveling salesman who betrayed him.

    Cherie Mott, the bookkeeper romanced by the salesman with a gambling problem, faced her judgment day a year ago when a district judge gave her 10 years' probation for a felony charge of misapplication of a fiduciary property.

    David Cunningham, Roth's co-counsel, portrayed the defendants Bill Arafat, Mohammed Aslam, Sid Siddiqui, John Douglas and John Reger as unscrupulous capitalists who would cut any corner for a buck.

    Cunningham argued before 150th District Court Judge Janet Littlejohn that the Houstonians must have known they were engaging in shady dealings because they purchased at unusually high volumes during the fall 1997 season, when Vickers pocketed most of the money that should have gone to Travel Music.

    The Houston men bought top-of-the-line car stereo and alarm equipment at prices they knew to be below the manufacturers' listed prices, he said, with payments made in cash or using checks made directly to Vickers.

    James Wilkens, Aslam's lawyer, countered that Roth was known to accept cash on deals and knew about and accepted checks made to Vickers.

    Humberto Haddad, representing Arafat, brought an expert witness to testify that the steep discounts his client received were normal in the competitive Southwest retail district where he and several other defendants operated.

    But Haddad denied that his client bought in the unusual volumes alleged, a denial all defendants reiterated.

    The deception, Haddad insisted, went no further than Vickers and Mott and was so well-concealed that Roth's accountant did not discover it.

    Vickers is serving 15 years in prison for the thefts made during the last three years of his 17-year employment with Travel Music. He testified that he stole to cover bets on sports games.

    To cover his tracks, he pretended to love Mott in an effort to gain her cooperation. They hid the missing money by moving it to accounts that were payable at some future date.

    "He enlisted and engaged (Mott) with passion, romance and love," Haddad said. "They stole ... until the bottom fell out. Unable to hide it any longer, she finally went to Mr. Roth and confessed that there was a scheme."

    Jury foreman Steve Walls said his peers, although inclined to award significant damages, were convinced that Vickers had successfully deceived the retailers into believing he was at least a part owner of the company.

    apesquera@express-news.net


    07/27/2000


    Setting it straight

  • In Friday's editions on Page 3B, an article about a lawsuit brought by Bob Roth against four Houston businessmen incorrectly stated Roth's involvement in a bankruptcy proceeding. Roth, owner of Travel Music of San Antonio Inc., was a litigant in a separate bankruptcy case. He did not file for bankruptcy.


    KBEJ Promo Banner - Limited Engagement 'Spurs Home' 2000-2001 Season Only

    New TV station coming Aug. 3

    By Jeanne Jakle
    Express-News Staff Writer

    Spurs and wrestling fans take note.

    San Antonio, Austin and points in between get a new TV station next week that will broadcast 31 Spurs basketball games and the popular "WWF Smackdown!" wrestling program.

    The new United Paramount Network affiliate, KBEJ, channel 2, will begin broadcasting Aug. 3 from a facility in Fredericksburg. Owned by Corridor Television, L.L.P., the station will be run by Belo, which owns several TV stations in Texas, including KENS in San Antonio.

    Corridor shareholders include Carmen and Saleem Tawil of Austin, the Red McCombs family, the president of Red McCombs Enterprises, Gary Woods, as well as the estate of longtime San Antonio broadcaster Bob Roth Sr.

    Carmen Tawil said the broadcast signal will be strong enough to pick up in San Antonio, Austin and in rural areas throughout the Hill Country.

    A UPN press release said the channel will be carried on Time Warner cable systems in both markets. However, Time Warner Cable of San Antonio indicated Wednesday that KBEJ has yet to land a home on its cable system.

    Time Warner-San Antonio President Navarra Williams said: "We're currently negotiating at the corporate level. But no agreement has been reached at this point."

    He said KBEJ is transmitted out of Fredericksburg which, according to FCC rules, puts it in Austin's designated market area (DMA). So, it's not technically a must-carry station in San Antonio, he said.

    KENS General Manager Bob McGann, who'll be managing the local station under a local marketing agreement between Belo and Corridor, said he's confident an agreement with San Antonio's Time Warner system will be reached. He anticipates that KBEJ will be carried on cable here within 30 days of the Aug. 3 broadcast launch date.

    The request is that KBEJ be put on the same channel number as its broadcast channel, cable Channel 2.

    Cable Channel 2 is the current home of KPXL-26, San Antonio's PAX network station.

    Williams indicated that should KBEJ secure cable Channel 2, KPXL, a must-carry station, would move to another channel on Time Warner's basic cable tier (consisting of channels 2-22).

    That would mean another cable channel would be bumped to make room; Williams named the Fox Family Channel (4), Galavision (6) and Nickelodeon (9) as possible candidates for relocation.

    Until a cable deal is inked, however, only TV sets with antennas will be able to pick up Channel 2.

    McGann said the launch of KBEJ is an exciting development in local television, which has been without a UPN affiliate since 1998. KMOL has been carrying the UPN lineup on a tape-delay basis in late-night hours. That will cease on Aug. 3.

    KMOL's last broadcasts of "WWF Smackdown!" and "Star Trek: Voyager" will be Saturday at midnight and Sunday at 11 p.m., respectively. (Saturday's "Smackdown" features Tuesday's taping in San Antonio).

    KMOL will temporarily fill its vacated late-night hours with "Tonight Show" rebroadcasts and paid programming.

    According to Steve Carlston, UPN's executive vice president of affiliate relations, who was in town Tuesday for the "Smackdown" taping, low-power station Channel 52 also will be required to cease running UPN programming.

    KBEJ will be a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week station. It's prime-time hours, between 7 and 9 p.m., Monday-Friday, will consist of UPN programming and Spurs games. KENS will carry 10 games during the 2000-2001 season and KBEJ will carry 31.

    In previous years, KSAT and KRRT shared the broadcasting of the games.

    KRRT went to the negotiating table for Spurs games last month, but the Spurs made the decision to go with KENS/KBEJ instead.

    "It was a financial decision," said KRRT General Manager John Seabers. "I don't have a problem with it."

    McGann said the Spurs will benefit from the cross-promotion of the Spurs.

    One reason KENS, the CBS affiliate, won't carry more basketball games is to prevent preemptions of popular CBS programming, such as "Survivor," "Judging Amy," "60 Minutes" and "Everybody Loves Raymond."

    As for what will become of UPN programs on game days, they will be tape-delayed and run after the Spurs broadcasts, McGann said.

    Among the better-known shows on UPN are "Moesha" with Brandy, and "The Parkers." "The Hughleys," which formerly was an ABC comedy, can be seen on UPN this fall.

    Syndicated programming and Paramount movies will fill the rest of the time slots. Much of the programming will be sci-fi shows, "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and the newer "The Invisible Man;" dramas, "ER" and "NYPD Blue;" game shows, "To Tell the Truth" and "Family Feud;" and Pamela Anderson's fairly new show, "V.I.P."

    A second announcement made by UPN this week deals with its name.

    As of Jan. 1, 2001, the network, which is a unit of Viacom Inc., will be retitled The Paramount Network.



    07/26/2000



    NOT HERE ! - KBEJ Promo Banner

    TV: UPN affiliate to deliver more than wrestling

    By Jeanne Jakle
    Express-News Staff Writer

    Memo to San Antonio TV viewers looking forward to the new UPN affiliate, KBEJ, Channel 2, signing on Thursday: There's more to the Paramount network than wrestling. Honest.

    It doesn't just "Smackdown!" It also can lift up; UPN offers plenty of lively half-hour comedies, most of which have an urban feel.

    The Monday to Friday, 7 to 9 p.m. schedule is full of sci-fi dramas and action-adventure shows and movies as well. UPN executives say their target audience is young males. However, the channel's appeal has spread to total teens, male and female.

    At this point, the new channel, which is being managed by local Belo station KENS, is not on Time Warner Cable in San Antonio, so it can only be seen on broadcast TV.

    Those hooked up to cable will need an indoor antenna and an A-B switch, which permits one to go back and forth from cable to broadcast TV. This switch can be purchased at most electronic stores.

    UPN and syndicated programs viewers will be able to enjoy on Channel 2 starting Thursday at 6 a.m.:

    Sitcom reruns, such as "Andy Griffith" and "I Love Lucy," a UPN kids block from 7 to 9 a.m., a Dallas-based show, called "Good Morning, Texas," at 9 a.m. and a repeat of KENS' noon news at 1 p.m. More comedy and drama repeats follow, including "Matlock" and "In the Heat of the Night."

    The fare gets more interesting, come September, when KBEJ adds several new and established syndicated shows. These include the reality show "COPS," "Martha Stewart" and new versions of game shows "To Tell the Truth" and "Family Feud."

    The weekends, which contain no UPN lineup, will feature a new syndicated sci-fi show, "The Invisible Man," Pamela Anderson's action series, "V.I.P.," the syndicated versions of "NYPD Blue" and "ER," and plenty of movies from the Paramount library.

    KBEJ also will air 31 Spurs games when the NBA returns to action.

    As for UPN prime-time, summer offerings largely consist of repeats. The cream of the crop, which will return with new episodes come fall, includes:

  • "Moesha" (Mondays at 7 p.m.), a family comedy starring Grammy winner Brandy.

  • "The Parkers" (Mondays, 7:30 p.m.), a mother-daughter comedy that was spun off "Moesha," and stars Countess Vaughn and Mo'Nique.

  • "7 Days" (Wednesdays, 7 p.m.), a sci-fi drama about an elite military intelligence unit capable of sending an agent (Jonathan LaPaglia) back in time to undo present-day catastrophes.

  • "Star Trek: Voyager" (Wednesdays, 8 p.m.), the premier science fiction drama of the network that goes into its seventh and final season this fall. The U.S.S. Voyager, which battles all sorts of alien foes, stars Kate Mulgrew as the captain.

  • And lest we forget, there's UPN's megahit, "WWF Smackdown!" (7-9 p.m., Thursdays), which has paid two visits to San Antonio in recent months. These two hours are especially popular among male and female teens.

    Among the hard-bodied stars that populate the weekly wrestling spectacle are the Rock, Chyna and Triple H.

    This fall, UPN also will launch several shows. These include:

  • "The Hughleys" (8 p.m., Mondays). Formerly an ABC show, the sit-com, starring comedian D.L. Hughley, moves to UPN for its third season. In the show, Hughley is a self-made businessman who moves with his family from a working-class area to an upwardly mobile suburban neighborhood in a posh area of Los Angeles.

  • "Girlfriends" (8:30 p.m. Mondays). This new comedy comes from executive producer Kelsey Grammer of "Frasier" fame. It focuses on four female best friends, who allow no man to come between them ... unless, of course, he's rich and good-looking.

  • "UPN's Night at the Movies" (7-9 p.m., Tuesdays). These consist of both theatrical and original motion pictures with an action feel. The mix will include sci-fi, supernatural and adventure films.

  • "Freedom" (7 p.m., Fridays). This drama comes from producer Joel Silver of "The Matrix." It's an action series featuring four martial arts fighters who work for the Resistance in the battle to free the United States from the clutches of a military elite.

  • "Level 9" (8 p.m., Fridays). Revolving around a top-secret federal group of technology and criminal experts called Level 9, the series combines federal law enforcement with cyber-crime.

    It comes from "China Beach" creator John Sacret Young.

    As for next year, viewers can look forward to UPN's XFL games, an extreme football show; a new animated series from Howard Stern called "Doomsday"; and a haunted-hospital show from Spelling Television, "All Souls."

    A new "Star Trek" series also is in UPN's plans.


    jjakle@express-news.net

    08/01/2000




    Jakle

    (excerpted from the San Antonio Express-News Thursday, August 10, 2000)

    I've heard from numerous disappointed viewers in the San Antonio area who report they haven't had much luck tuning in the new UPN affiliate KBEJ, channel 2.

    So I consulted the director of engineering for KBEJ and KENS, which are both under the management of Belo. And Frank Peterman insists that the secret to good reception lies in the position of the viewer's outside antenna.

    He suggests that viewers who have been having problems "rotate the antenna to a northwest position because that's where the transmitter is about 10 miles east of Fredericksburg."

    Also, make sure the antenna is at least 30 feet off the ground.

    This advice could be the answer to viewers' channel 2 woes; I heard from one viewer this week who did just that and now reports that the channel which carries "Star Trek: Voyager" and "WWF Smackdown!" is crystal clear.

    Peterman also suggests that viewers in the Hill Country who have the opposite problem (channel 2 comes in so strong that it dominates other broadcast channels) should check with the various electronics-equipment stores in their area and get a filter, which owners of the new KBEJ are providing for free.

    If viewers still experience problems, Peterman asks that they call KENS/KBEJ at 366-5000. So far, KBEJ hasn't gotten the go-ahead to join Time Warner Cable's lineup. The word is, possibly September.


    jjakle@express-news.net



    (excerpted August 21, 2000)
    By Jeanne Jakle
    San Antonio Express-News

    New digital goodies

    San Antonio subscribers to the digital cable lineup on Time Warner (about 40,000, 12 percent of the total cable customer households here) will get a four-channel bonus come late September.

    According to head honcho Navarra Williams, four new entertainment channels will be added at no extra cost to digital subscribers.

    These will include another Disney channel, Toon, which is a popular cartoon mecca for kids; ESPN News, a 24-hour sports news channel; BBC America, which airs all sorts of intriguing and absorbing fare produced by the British Broadcasting Company; and ZDTV, a channel devoted to technology buffs.

    A new premium channel will also be available to digital customers in late September. San Antonio is one of the first markets to launch HBO Latino, Williams said. This will offer programming and movies in Spanish.

    As for the new UPN affiliate, KBEJ (Channel 2), which airs "Star Trek: Voyager" and "WWF Smackdown" among other shows, Williams said negotiations are going well and Time Warner is hoping to get an agreement completed soon.

    Once that's accomplished, it'll take 30 days for the channel to debut on cable. That's because the channel that needs to be moved to make room for KBEJ is guaranteed a 30-day notice.


    jjakle@express-news.net

    08/21/2000



    TV deal leaves UPN's future in air

    By Seth Sutel
    Associated Press
    Tuesday, August 15, 2000

    NEW YORK -- Just one month ago, the outlook for UPN seemed a lot better. The 5-year-old network, still struggling to become profitable, had pulled out of a ratings slump, chalked up gains in ad sales and announced a new name and logo to highlight its association with the Paramount entertainment brand.

    Corporate parent Viacom Inc., which owns CBS and had recently taken full control of UPN, was lobbying federal regulators to ease rules barring one company from owning two networks.

    But now that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has outbid Viacom in acquiring New York-based Chris-Craft Industries Inc., the owner of eight major UPN-affiliated stations, the future of the fledgling network is far more cloudy.

    While UPN is affiliated with more than 100 stations, the eight being sold to Australia-based News Corp. -- owner of rival Fox network -- cover some of the biggest cities in the country. If all eight drop UPN, it would cut the network's national reach from an average of 87 percent to 67 percent and leave it out of the crucial markets of Los Angeles and New York.

    Viacom, which had been in serious talks to buy Chris-Craft, wouldn't comment on News Corp.'s $5.4 billion acquisition, or how it would affect the future of UPN, which is changing its name to the Paramount Network next year. But Mel Karmazin, the hard-charging new Viacom president and former head of CBS, has said he would close the network if it does not become profitable.

    Peter Chernin, president of News Corp., made it clear in a conference call with investors that the company had little interest in the future of UPN or whether the Chris-Craft stations remained affiliated with the network.

    "I'm not sure I know what will happen to it. . . . I don't think we care enormously," Chernin said. "Whether it's to be a UPN affiliate, whether it's to run these as independent stations . . . we have multiple ways to go."

    News Corp.'s main motive for buying the stations is to take advantage of recently relaxed federal rules allowing one company to own two stations in the same city, which means major cost savings in combining sales forces, news and programming operations. News Corp. already has a profitable two-station combo in Dallas.

    In adding the 10 Chris-Craft stations to the 23 it already owns across the United States, News Corp. would have two stations in each of four key cities: New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Salt Lake City.

    Danny Baker, general manager of Austin's News Corp.-owned station, KTBC, Channel 7, said it's too early to tell exactly how the Chris-Craft deal will shake down in Central Texas.

    "My guess, and this is just my personal opinion, is that as of January, they'll close down UPN," Baker said.

    KTBC also owns low-power station KVC, Channel 13, which carries UPN programming. KTBC, which had decided some time ago to drop the UPN affiliation, will do so Oct. 23.

    At that point, KBEJ, Channel 2, a new Fredericksburg station owned by Belo Corp., will begin carrying UPN shows. KVC will carry locally produced programming that has yet to be determined.

    Although Austinites can receive KBEJ over the air, it is not carried on Time Warner Cable and technically is considered a local San Antonio station.

    News Corp. will have to dispose of several stations in order to comply with a cap on total station ownership, but Chief Financial Officer David DeVoe told investors on a conference call that the company hoped to use station swaps with other companies to achieve at least five other two-station arrangements, known in the broadcasting industry as duopolies.

    News Corp. is paying a total of about $5.35 billion for Chris-Craft, but after accounting for cash held by a Chris-Craft subsidiary and planned sales of television stations to comply with federal ownership limits, the final value of the transaction will be about $3.6 billion.

    Chris-Craft's shares have been on a roller coaster ride since Friday. At first they plunged 11 percent to $62 following Viacom's announcement that it had ended talks to acquire the former boat builder. Then Monday, after official word of the News Corp. deal came out, the shares soared $17, or 27 percent, ending at $79. Trading was extremely heavy on the New York Stock Exchange with volume of 2.1 million shares, compared with average daily volume of 71,000 shares.

    U.S. shares of News Corp. rose 37.5 cents to $50.125.

    American-Statesman Television Writer Diane Holloway contributed to this report.



    Horns opener moved off cable

    By Mike Finger
    Express-News Staff Writer

    Fans in San Antonio hoping to watch the University of Texas' football season opener this weekend may have to trade in their orange foam Longhorns hats for rabbit ears.

    Because of a conflict with tennis and ongoing negotiations between new station KBEJ and Time Warner Cable, Saturday's game between Texas and Louisiana-Lafayette is not scheduled to be available locally on cable.

    KENS (channel 5) owns the rights to the syndicated weekly Big 12 football package that includes the Texas-Louisiana-Lafayette contest, scheduled for an 11:30 a.m. start. But because the CBS affiliate is required by its network to air the U.S. Open tennis tournament Saturday afternoon, the football game was moved to KENS' sister station, KBEJ (channel 2).

    KBEJ, which has been operational for about a month, still is negotiating a contract with Time Warner and can only be seen on broadcast TV with the use of an antenna. A spokesman for the new UPN affiliate, which is also slated to air 31 Spurs games this season, said there is "no chance" that KBEJ will be on Time Warner Cable by this weekend.

    "I can promise you that won't happen," spokesman Stan Melton said. "Our original intent was to be on cable this past Monday, but now we're hoping to have the negotiations completed by the end of September."

    Time Warner spokeswoman Maricela Espinoza-Garcia confirmed Wednesday that KBEJ and the cable company still are in negotiations, and said there is no timetable for the talks' completion.

    Saturday's game actually will be the second one that KENS has been forced to move this season (last week's Iowa State-Ohio game also aired on KBEJ), but Melton said the remainder of the season-long Big 12 package will air on KENS.

    Local cable viewers may still have hope this week, however.

    Big 12 associate commissioner Tim Allen said the conference will ask television partner Fox Sports Net to arrange to make the game available. One alternative would be to move the game to an open cable-access channel that Time Warner could provide for that game, Allen said.

    Paragon Cable has made similar arrangements in the past, picking up several CBC-TV broadcasts of the old San Antonio Texans in the Canadian Football League in 1995.

    "Obviously, it's a challenge to get the game on in this short a period of time," Allen said. "We will make every effort to see if we can't get something arranged."

    Allen said a high priority has been placed on finding a suitable compromise in San Antonio, the sixth-largest television market in the Big 12 region and 29th largest in the country.

    "We obviously wanted to get the games on in the area," he said. "It's available in the market, which is our No. 1 concern, whether they use rabbit ears or whatever."


    mfinger@express-news.net

    Staff writer Tim Griffin contributed to this report

    09/06/2000



    (partial excerpt from September 12, 2000)
    Trekkers to miss cable premiere
    By Jeanne Jakle

      Sorry, "Star Trek" fans.

      Time Warner Cable here wont be picking up the UPN affiliate, KBEJ (broadcast channel 2), in time for the Oct 4 season premiere of "Star Trek: Voyager," starring Kate Mulgrew.

      Navarra Williams, Time Warner-San Antonio president, says it's more likely that the cable system will pick up the channel on basic cable by the end of October, in time for the first Spurs game to air on KBEJ.

      Although negotiations are going well, Williams said, the cable system will need to bump another basic cable channel to make room for the UPN affiliate on Time Warner's lineup.  And before doing so, Time Warner must give that channel 30 days notice.

      (In other words, it's already too late to meet the "Voyager" premiere date.  And if Time Warner is to begin carrying KBEJ in time for the Spurs' premierem it must have a deal in place with the station owners by the end of this month.)

      As I said, that's bad news to cable customers here who want to view "Voyager" and other UPN and KBEJ programming.

      As it stands, it would be a hassle for these customers to try to get it; they'd have to install an outside antenna and switch out of cable.

      But why, if the channel is considered local, isn't Time Warner required to carry it as a must-carry station?

      It's actually transmitted out of Fredericksburg, said Williams, which is in the Austin-designated market area, not the San Antonio DMA.

      Rotten luck, right?

      As for which channel on basic cable would be bumped for the the UPN affiliate, that would either be Galavision, which offers Spanish-language programming on cable channel 6, or Fox Family on cable channel 4.

      Nickelodeon is much too popular a channel, agrees Williams, to be moved off the basic cable tier.

      Oh, and while we're discussing KBEJ, many folks have complained that the Express-News TV grids list two channel 2s.

      So, let me clarify: The first one listed is the broadcast channel KBEJ.  The second channel 2 is cable channel 2 and broadcast channel 26 KPXL, the Pax affiliate.

      That's why, if you have cable and tune to channel 2, you can't get the "Martha Stewart Living" show at 10 a.m.; that airs on KBEJ, which hasn't made it to cable yet.



    (partial excerpt from September 28, 2000)
    UPN, news coming to cable

    Local fans of "Star Trek: Voyager," "WWF Smackdown!" and the Spurs can breathe easier.

    At press time Wednesday, I got word that Time Warner Cable here was close to announcing a deal to carry the UPN affiliate, KEBJ. That means, in 30 days or so, locals can watch their favorite UPN shows on basic cable.

    What's more, local news junkies have a real treat in store come 2002. Time Warner and KENS' owners, Belo Corp., have entered into a partnership to produce and carry a 24-hour San Antonio news channel. That would open up lots of job opportunities to local news people. That channel, too, will be carried on basic cable.

    And as early as the end of this year, Time Warner will add Belo's statewide Texas Cable News channel to its digital lineup. Time Warner President Navarra Williams said he was pleased to get the 24-hour service, which will add a closer-to-home variety of news programming to the digital lineup.


    jjakle@express-news.net



    UPN affiliate to join S.A. cable lineup

    By Jeanne Jakle
    Express-News Staff Writer

    San Antonio's new UPN affiliate, KBEJ, home of "Star Trek: Voyager," "WWF Smackdown!" and 31 Spurs games, will join the local cable lineup Oct. 28.

    Time Warner Cable confirmed late Wednesday that the system has struck a deal with Corridor Television LLP, the owners of the Fredericksburg-based KBEJ, to carry it on basic cable Channel 4. That channel currently is home to the Fox Family Channel.

    Fox Family will move to another channel (to be announced later) on Time Warner's standard cable lineup (channels 23-77).

    Once the move happens, the 320,000 homes that are connected to cable in the San Antonio and New Braunfels areas will see UPN and syndicated programs airing on KBEJ.

    These include not only wrestling and "Voyager," but also UPN comedies, such as "The Hughleys," "Moesha" and its spinoff, "The Parkers," and the new comedy from Kelsey Grammer, "Girlfriends."

    Syndicated programs carried by KBEJ include "Martha Stewart," the new versions of game shows "To Tell the Truth" and "Family Feud," the Pamela Anderson action series, "V.I.P.," reality show "COPS" and several sci-fi dramas including a new one, "The Invisible Man." The syndicated versions of "NYPD Blue" and "ER" also will be available.

    "We're very pleased to provide this much-requested programming to 97 percent of our customers," said Time Warner Cable President Navarra Williams.

    "Customers have been requesting UPN programming in San Antonio for several years, and certainly were very concerned about whether or not they would be able to see KBEJ's Spurs games by the beginning of the season."

    The first Spurs game will be telecast on KBEJ just days after the station is launched on cable here, Williams said.

    He added that Time Warner Cable is the only cable or satellite company to have an agreement with Corridor for carriage of the UPN affiliate.

    Corridor shareholders include Carmen and Saleem Tawil of Austin; the B.J. "Red" McCombs family; the president of Red McCombs Enterprises, Gary Woods; as well as the estate of longtime San Antonio broadcaster Bob Roth Sr.

    KBEJ is being managed by A.H. Belo Corp, which owns KENS and several other Texas TV stations. It launched on broadcast Channel 2 on Aug. 3.

    Because KBEJ is currently designated as an Austin-area station, it wasn't considered a must-carry cable station in San Antonio.


    jjakle@express-news.net

    09/27/2000

    (partial excerpt from October 26, 2000)

    'Voyager' episode reruns on cable

      I've got some good news for "Star Trek: Voyager" fans: Well, sort of.

      Though cable users may have missed the first several episodes of the weekly sci-fi series, starring Kate Mulgrew, they won't miss last night's show thanks to a special agreement San Antonio's UPN affiliate, KBEJ, made with the Network.

      According to KENS/KBEJ spokesman Stan Melton, this week's episode will be rebroadcast on Sunday afternoon, the day after KBEJ signs on Time Warner Cable.

      It can be seen on cable channel 4, at 5 p.m. Sunday, and will follow "Star Trek: Next Generation." The Fox Family Channel, which has had its home all these years on cable 4, will move to cable channel 67.

      Melton said be tried, per viewers' requests, to run all the missed "Voyager" episodes in a block on Sunday, but UPN wouldn't grant permission for the rebroadcast.

      As for other goodies folks can expect to see right away when the UPN affiliate debuts at 6 a.m. Saturday on cable channel 4, those will include that evening's prime-time lineup: Starting at 6 p.m., sci-fi newcomer "The Invisible Man," debuts. That's followed by the Pamela Anderson detective vehicle, "V.I.P.," the new show "Sheena" and reruns of "COPS" and "NYPD Blue."

      The first "Voyager" that can be seen in its regular time slot will air at 8 p.m. on Wednesday. And the initial Spurs game on KBEJ, according to Melton, will be the evening of Nov. 7. OK? Beam me out of here, Scottie.


    jjakle@express-news.net

    10/26/2000

    and, for a bit of "I-told-ya-so"



    Express-News: Spurs
    Spurs' station signals S. Side

    By Travis E. Poling
    Express-News Business Writer

    South Side residents without cable television will be able to get their Spurs fix before the end of the season.

    Troubled by low ratings for San Antonio Spurs games broadcast on the fledgling UPN2 station, media company Belo Corp. has decided to boost its signal on the South Side and step up its marketing efforts to promote the games on UPN2.

    Since Belo-owned KENS-TV struck a deal to show Spurs games on CBS affiliate KENS and UPN affiliate KBEJ, ratings have been less than it hoped for, Spurs officials said.

    "With UPN, we're disappointed with the ratings, and that's what the meetings (with Belo) are about," said Lawrence Payne, Spurs senior vice president of broadcasting.

    UPN stands for United Paramount Network. It recently was added to the area's cable offerings.

    KENS General Manager Bob McGann said a signal booster would be installed on the KENS tower outside Elmendorf so residents without cable television on the South Side can pick up KBEJ with antennas.

    The KBEJ tower is near Fredericksburg in Stonewall, but most San Antonio-area stations have broadcast towers south of the city, including several on a "tower farm" in Southeast Bexar County. That means most antennas are aimed south rather than north.

    A signal boost would be good news for Spurs fans without cable television on the South Side. KBEJ, owned by Corridor Television LLP and operated in conjunction with KENS, broadcasts on Channel 2 (cable Channel 4).

    "About 99.9 percent of the people who come in here looking for antennas come in with UPN trouble," said Julio Peralta, who works at Radio Shack on Southwest Military Drive at Pleasanton Road. Most are looking for a way to pick up the Spurs games, he added.

    A roof-mounted antenna with enough range to reach from the deep South Side to Fredericksburg costs $80 to $130, Peralta said.

    The KBEJ signal from Stonewall can reach 40 to 60 miles, but reception inside that area varies greatly depending on the terrain. For those living in low areas or the far South Side, having a roof-mounted antenna often is the only viable option.

    Those who will be able to pull in the signal will need patience. It will take time to order the equipment and have it installed, McGann said. He said it should be up before the season is over in late spring.

    "This is a baby television station," McGann said of UPN2, the KENS partner in Spurs broadcasts.

    For that reason, KENS is using its high profile to promote the Spurs games shown on UPN2, an effort that will be stepped up, he added. The well-recognized KENS has had no trouble attracting an audience for the few games it shows.

    The games have garnered acceptable ratings comparable to those shown in past years on former Spurs broadcast partner KSAT, Payne said.

    Games shown on KENS averaged a rating of about 11, meaning 11 percent of households with televisions in the viewing area were tuned to the Spurs game.

    The disappointment comes from the KBEJ ratings, which are well below the levels of KSAT's partner, KRRT.

    McGann said the Spurs on KBEJ have averaged about a 5.5 rating, while KRRT last year achieved about an 8.5 rating.

    About 65 percent of the 694,000 households with televisions in the San Antonio designated market area have cable television, according to information from the latest Nielsen ratings book. Officials at Time Warner Cable and several local television stations had no data on cable penetration on the South Side.

    Ratings are expected to increase as the Spurs get closer to the playoffs.

    "The numbers are lower (than with KSAT and KRRT), but we're in it for the long haul," Payne said of the Spurs' relationship with KENS. "There's a get-acquainted period. We knew there was going to be a learning curve and a viewership curve."

    KSAT and the Spurs parted ways last year when hit ABC shows such as "The Practice," "NYPD Blue," "20/20" and "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" made pre-emption for Spurs games difficult.

    KENS is running up against the same wall with restrictions from CBS that allow only a certain number of nights that nationally televised programs can be put off in the local market, Payne said.


    tpoling@express-news.net

    02/23/2001



    wait until the Es season hits 'em

    (partial excerpt)
    Express-News: Jeanne Jakle
    Jeanne Jakle


    San Antonio Express-News

    Advance parade gripes

    The parade telecasts haven't even begun and I'm getting complaints already about the quality of reception on one of the Fiesta channels: KBEJ.

    Matthew Montgomery writes: "KENS spends so much time promoting its 'affiliate' station, Channel 2 ... maybe it should spend a little of the budget on boosting its broadcast signal."

    He continues: "Not only are those of us without cable being subjected to watching our Spurs through wavy lines and interference, but we now look forward to the beautiful Fiesta parades a la the North Pole. I'm really anxious to see what the River Parade looks like through a 'lack of TV signal worth a darn' snowstorm.

    "Boy, do I miss the KMOL and KLRN broadcasts already."

    Perfectly understandable, Matthew; and plenty of folks no doubt will be singing the same sad song Monday, the night of the Texas Cavaliers' River Parade, the one Fiesta procession that will be broadcast on the UPN affiliate. (KENS will telecast the other two: Battle of Flowers and Fiesta Flambeau.)

    Despite all the hints KENS has given during the past several months on how to improve cableless reception of channel 2, the station reports it still gets lots of beefs from viewers.

    Of course, the main problem is the outside antenna placement. As the transmitter is toward Fredericksburg, you must turn it toward the north. (Problem is, to receive the other stations, the antenna should be pointed in the opposite direction, says KENS/KBEJ spokesman Stan Melton.)

    If that doesn't work, Melton suggests the viewer phone KENS' regular number, 366-5000 (during regular hours), state the problem, and someone will try to help.

    jjakle@express-news.net

    04/17/2001



    and, more "I-told-ya-so"

    San Antonio Business Journal - October 12, 2001
    October 12, 2001

    Spurs change television partners for 2001-2002 season

    W. Scott Bailey

    The NBA Spurs have changed one of their television partners.

    After only one season on KBEJ-TV, a UPN affiliate (Channel 2), the franchise has announced that it will shift its UPN portion of coverage to KRRT (WB 35).

    WB 35 will carry 30 Spurs games this season. KENS-TV, which televised roughly a dozen regular season games last season, will continue to be one of the Spurs' television partners. The local CBS affiliate is expected to broadcast 11 Spurs games this season.

    Mike Granados is regional manager for Sinclair Broadcast Group, which operates WB 35.

    "We look forward to a great season and the opportunity to continue providing fans with top-quality game broadcasts," says Granados.

    Adds KENS Vice President and General Manager Bob McGann, "This partnership is the perfect pairing of two strong San Antonio institutions: a winning sports team and a winning news team."

    The first WB 35 telecast is scheduled for Nov. 1, when the Spurs travel to Seattle to face Gary Payton and the Sonics. KENS' first telecast will be the Spurs' home opener Oct. 30 against the Los Angeles Clippers.

    On cable, Fox Sports Net has announced that it will broadcast 36 regular season Spurs games. The local Fox Sports Net affiliate is Fox Sports Southwest, and the first game will be a Nov. 6 home game vs. the Orlando Magic.

    Fox officials also say each Spurs telecast will be preceded by Southwest Sports Tonight, a 30-minute pregame show.

    Veteran television broadcaster Joel Meyers will again handle play-by-play duties for the telecasts. Former Spurs forward Sean Elliott will serve as color analyst, and former NBA head coach P.J. Carlesimo will fill in for Elliott for a limited number of games.



    
    June 1987 VUD, pp. 21-22
    Fredericksburg Channel 2 applicants
    
    ERP     HAAT City/Applicant
    ======  ==== ==============
    100      602 Fredericksburg; Fredericksburg Channel 2
      6.16   506 Fredericksburg; Fredericksburg Community Television
    100      998 Fredericksburg; Frontier Southwest Broadcasting (amended)
    100     1358 Fredericksburg; Hal S. Widsten (amended)
    100     1500 Fredericksburg; International Broadcasting Network (amended)
    100      494 Fredericksburg; Johnnie B. Woodberry
    100      494 Fredericksburg; Mountlake Productions Inc.
    100      377 Fredericksburg; John R. Powley (amended)
    100      632 Fredericksburg; Stonewall Broadcasting Inc.
    100     1500 Fredericksburg; Telemundo Group Inc.
    100     1562 Fredericksburg; TexStar Communications
    
    September 1987 VUD, pg. 2 Fredericksburg Channel 2 applicants ERP HAAT City/Applicant ====== ==== ============== n.c. 1683 Fredericksburg; TexStar Communications (amended)
    October 1987 VUD, pp. 40-43 Fredericksburg Channel 2 applicants ERP HAAT City/Applicant ====== ==== ============== 100 575 Fredericksburg; Global Information Technologies Inc (amended) Fredericksburg; Blair Broadcasting (dismissed) consolidated hearings set for: Global Information Technologies Inc John R. Powley Texstar Communications Frontier Southwest Broadcasting Telemundo Group Inc. Fredericksburg Channel 2 Mountlake Productions Inc. International Broadcasting Network Fredericksburg Broadcasting Company Hal S. Widstein (sic) Stonewall Broadcasting Inc. Fredericksburg Community Television
    September 1989 VUD, pg. 13 Construction Permit Granted ERP HAAT City/Applicant ====== ==== ============== 100 193 Fredericksburg; Stonewall Broadcasting, Inc. (initial) Applications Dismissed: (initial decision) Fredericksburg Channel 2 Frontier Broadcasting, Inc. Global Information Technologies, Inc. Hal S. Widsten TexStar Communications Ltd.
    April 1990 VUD, pg. 18 Application Dismissed: Frontier Southwest Broadcasting Inc.
    May 1998 VUD, pg. 6 Construction Permit Granted: ERP HAAT City/Applicant === ==== ============== 100 334 Fredericksburg; Corridor TV 30-17-57N 98-56-16W
    August 1998 VUD, pg. 11 Construction Permit Application Change: ERP HAAT City === ==== ============== nc 413 Fredericksburg; KBEJ 30-08-13N 98-36-35W
    December 1998 VUD, pg. 19 Construction Permit Change Granted: ERP HAAT City === ==== ============== nc 413 Fredericksburg; KBEJ 30-08-13N 98-36-35W

    KØ2MX major noted "outage/failures" (time are CST): off: Dec 27, 1988 1259 - Mar 22, 1989 c. 1500 vid loss: Sep 16, 1991 1130 - Sep 17, 1991 by 0930 off: Sep 20, 1991 1355 - Sep 30, 1991 1300 off: Jun 05, 1994 c. 1000 - Jun 14, 1994 c. 1435 vid/aud loss: Jul 08, 1998 - with many medium/short-lived spasms of "recovery" thru late 1998.




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