Saturday, September 13, 2014

Rant: Washington's WJLA-TV preempts Me-TV's Saturday Lineup

I was looking forward to watching the Saturday evening Me-TV lineup (after a long week). But on the evening of Saturday, August 30th- I was quite disappointed to see what was in place of Me-TV’s Saturday lineup. Instead, Washington area viewers were treated to "bottom-of-the-barrel" sports programming from this new start-up service- the American College Sports Network.

This has been going on every Saturday since then- and this blog writer is very disappointed in Channel 7’s preemption of Me-TV’s Saturday evening programming.  I learned that the local affiliate that carries Me-TV in the area, WJLA (ABC) decided to preempt a good chunk of the Saturday schedule- consisting of classic westerns in the afternoon and science fiction programs in the evening.

Viewers in the Washington are also missing out on Me-TV’s telecast of The Adventures of Superman, thanks to Channel 7’s new owners.  The main highlight of Me-TV’s Saturday lineup is iconic Chicago horror host Svengoolie (portrayed by Rich Koz), and his showcase of vintage Universal Studios horror feature films. Svengoolie is also preempted by Channel 7’s stale sports programming.

This is because of WJLA’s new owners, forcing the station to carry programming from their American College Sports Network instead of the great shows on Me-TV. Recently, WJLA (and its cable outlet, NewsChannel 8) was acquired by the controversial Sinclair Broadcast Group (which is based in Baltimore, and operates the American College Sports Network). This was part of Sinclair’s acquisition of Allbritton Communications’ TV stations (after Allbritton’s heirs decided to focus on their Capitol Hill rag, Politico). Sinclair has been on a massive buying spree over the years, acquiring TV stations left and right (all thanks to rampant corruption in the Federal Communications Commission, along with greedy Capitol Hill lobbyists- in this blog writer’s view).

It has been reported that similar situations have been happening on Sinclair-owned (or managed) TV stations across the nation. Not just on their stations that carry Me-TV, but on stations that carry other digital networks (through their stations' sub-channels). Many (including this blog writer) have written on WJLA’s Facebook page, suggesting that they restore the Saturday lineup on Me-TV. The only other way to get Me-TV (around ATM’s home base) is through the sub-channel of Baltimore’s WBAL-TV 11 (owned by Hearst). But unfortunately, ATM’s home base is situated in a “DTV dead zone”- and Comcast only carries the Washington stations’ sub-channels in the Frederick area.

It would be nice if another Washington area station would be interested in carrying Me-TV (full-time). In this case, it may be pretty unlikely- as the only non-network owned stations (in addition to Sinclair’s WJLA) are Gannett’s W*USA-TV 9 (CBS, with Bounce TV and WeatherNation on their sub-channels) and Tribune’s WDCW-TV 50 (CW- which carries Antenna TV and This TV on their sub-channels).

To paraphrase an old slogan that WJLA used - it looks like that TV 7 will no longer be “a part of my life", nor will that station be “on my side”- until they stop preempting Me-TV’s Saturday schedule.

In this writer’s opinion, the executives at Sinclair deserve to have rubber chickens thrown at them for dumping Svengoolie.

TELL SINCLAIR/WJLA-TV: “DON’T MESS WITH ME-TV!” At The Matinee’s proprietor has voiced his opinion to WJLA (through their “contact” section on the station’s website). Now it’s your turn to tell WJLA (or any Sinclair-owned station that carries Me-TV) not to preempt Me-TV’s Saturday programming:

1100 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22209 Phone: (703)-236-9555

10706 Beaver Dam Road
Hunt Valley, Maryland 21030 (410)-568-1500

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