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Old 06-05-2014, 02:07 PM
TDog TDog is offline
WSI Prelate
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Modesto, California
Posts: 17,898

Originally Posted by Railsplitter View Post
WOR (Which became WWOR after it was sold) was part of cable packages prior to 1990. I even remember when they ran Islanders games. I don't recall why it was dropped, but I suspect the fact that it was difficult to distinguish it from any other channel showing reruns and old movies.
Syndex was an FCC regulation, I think to protect over-the-air/local television, that allowed local broadcasters to black out cable programming in a market if they owned the rights to that programming. For example, if you had a local station in El Centro, California, and you had the rights to show Sledge Hammer reruns, you could have them blocked from any cable channel showing it at any time, whether you were running the progam or planned to actually run the program. Local stations had an interest in blacking out as much cable television as they could. That led to cable systems dropping some superstations and some superstations changing their programming. Through other rules, in some markets, stations were also allowed to black out superstation baseball. When I was living in Waukesha, Wisconsin, I found a number of Cubs and White Sox games were blacked out when the local station was running Brewers games. Because I was close enough to see the Sox games on weekends and could get them on radio, I didn't feel that cheated. I lived about 17 years in communities that hadn't made WGN available, even on any tier, when they started doing tiers, so occasional blackouts weren't that frustrating, especially with so few White Sox games available on WGN.

When WGN and WOR signed on with the WB network, WGN got a deal to show WB program nationally. WOR did not, and that led to more cable systems dropping WOR, probably leading to its death as a superstation. At the same time, it was the beginning of the erosion of WGN sports being shown nationally as WGN didn't pre-empt WB programming with sports. While all of this was going on, TBS stopped focusing on the Atlanta Braves and got into national sports.

I get the feeling that WGN America will lose more stations if it doesn't become more America and less Chicago. WGN America is running ads for Salem on my local cable system even though my local cable system doesn't carry WGN America. The station would be better off if it were listening to sales pitches from producers of original programming. AMC wasn't the first station to hear the Breaking Bad pitch. FX, at least, turned down Breaking Bad, which may be why FX was all over Fargo. Original programming isn't all good. Damages and Men of a Certain Age didn't get the basic cable following expected, but they weren't disasters. Before Mad Men, the best TV was being done on premium channels who wanted the product to get viewers. Now it's more about getting the must-see series on cable networks that need to be in demand to stay on cable systems.

It's really amazing that Chicago baseball has run as long on WGN America as it has, especially with so many other premium alternatives. Dropping it doesn't seem to be a bad business decision. Hanging on to it for so long, however, does.
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