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Early Cable Channels of the 20th Century

On Originals 2000-2012

ECC-High School Star Trek Channel

In 1977, an area high school teacher decided to open up a third closed circuit cable channel on the high school's cable system.

With two lab channels on channels 3 and 5, he added a third on channel 7 that simply replayed episodes of Star Trek and Saturday Night Live among other shows. The channel ran from 7am until 4pm during school days.

Unfortunately, the copyright police forced the teacher to stop the TV show reruns, as he was publicly performing copyrighted works he does not have the right to broadcast.

He replaced the programming with taped replays of high school sports. No word on if the channel still exists on campus.

On Originals 2000-2012

ECC-Living and Dining Room Talk Network

In 1982, an area family of eleven created a version of CSPAN called the Living and Dining Room Talk Network.

From 6 until 10pm except Sundays, they broadcast discussions of their day's events and worked out problems.

It was one of the earliest attempts of reality programming ever.

It went off the air by summer, however, when its area cable viewers demanded their MTV, which took over their cable slot.

Later on, MTV would debut its first reality series: The Real World.

On Originals 2000-2012

ECC-Lost Dog Channel

In 1982, an area cable man launched a channel that lasted just five days.

He leased a channel on a satellite transponder and transmitted a poster that says "Lost Dog. Answers To Fluffy", and showed an address on where to return the dog.

It was carried as replacement programming on cable systems nationwide.

As soon as Fluffball was returned, the Lost Dog Channel as it was called shut down, never to return.

On Originals 2000-2012

ECC-Student University Channel

In 1978, three college students created a closed circuit channel for their area universiity.

It was called Student University Channel, and was carried on closed circuit cable channel B.

It featured a live call-in show where students could get tips on homework assigments.

Unfortunately, the dean of telecommunications had to shut it down a month later when he discovered it was televising a show that gave away the answers to tests run by instructors.

On Originals II 2000-2012

ECC - Black Religion Television

In 1981, an area church decided to create BRT, Black Religious Television.

It was widely carried by cable systems countywide.

It was their answer to the other cable networks that featured mostly white hosts and ignored their segment of the population.

It featured sermons, lessons, Bible chapters, and a version of videos whose songs were heard on Soul Train and local R&B radio.

Despite its huge viewership, which often beat ABC's programming on a local station in the area, BRT ceased transmission due to high costs and low donation pledges, and was replaced with a just-launched satellite-delivered channel called BET; Black Entertainment Television.

Some of BRT's programs would up as substitute programming for cable systems to use when they had to replace syndex-affected and duplicated network programs that the cable system was required by request to ... black out.

On Originals II 2000-2012

ECC-College Educational Network

In 1980, the deans of an area university got together to form College Educational Network.

It enabled students in their dorms to watch live classroom sessions even if they could not get to a class.

It used local area microwaves and converter boxes to transmit its signal to area dorms.

Unfortunately, it got shut down a month later because classrooms were empty, due to students preferring to stay home to watch the sessions.

On Originals II 2000-2012

ECC-Farming News Channel

In 1979, two area farmers, who wanted to see a channel devoted for farm and country reports, created a newsdesk and studio in their garage, added cameras, and a rotating anchor to form the set for their channel.

They called it, Farming News Channel.

From 5am until 5pm, the station featured news and lifestyle reports of farm living just like what the man in Green Acres envisioned.

Unfortunately, it got no cable coverage as there was no cable system in existance in the area.

Viewers had to drive for miles until they reached the house, pull up to the driveway, walk to the garage, pull up a chair, and watched the channel in person.

After three months, FNC shut down after viewers lost interest and stopped visiting.

On Originals II 2000-2012

ECC-The Local Broadcasting Network

In 1980, an area man decided to put his TV station on satellite to compete with WTBS.

Due to a roadblock, however, he could not put all of its programming on the satellite bird because it was affiliated with a major broadcast network. So he created a cable channel based on its local programming concepts called LBN: The Local Broadcasting Network.

It featured public access shows, local newscasts that were rerun often, college based talk shows, kid show hosts, and something that was a precursor to MST3K called Silly Movie Theater 2K, where the host, who called himself Vinnie O. Tape, made fun of the movie dialogue with on screen jokes.

Alas, the channel ceased transmission when all of its assets had to be liquified to pay a huge bookie debt.

On Originals II 2000-2012

ECC-Sports Our Way

In 1979, bored with the direction of prime time TV, two area boys launched a prime time channel they called Sports Our Way.

It ran during prime time from 7pm until midnight on their cable system's channel I, next to HBO.

It showed taped local area competetions, such as bowling, college hockey, local league baseball, and even rodeo events.

It also had a show called Outpick with Bill and Nick, where sports fans try to beat the hosts' predictions for the outcome of NFL games.

In September of that year, they lost their channel space when their area cable system gave away their channel to ESPN launched that month. SOW survived for a while on the system's public access channels and as substitute programming for duplicated TV shows that were blacked out.

SOW quit in 1982 and formed a sandwich business.

On Originals II 2000-2012

ECC-Television Music Radio

In 1979, an early attempt to form a 24 hour video music channel came from an area cable system in New England.

It was called TMR: Television Music Radio.

It played video versions of the pop songs that were charting at the time. Unfortunately, the idea was short lived.

In late July of 1979, after the channel's playlist was over 60 percent disco music, vandals broke into the station, destroyed the controls and equipment, and spray painted the words "DISCO SUCKS" all over the walls.

Two years later, MTV was launched, and yes, it didn't play disco.

On Originals III

ECC-Home Punk Channel

In 1977, an area cable system launched a pay channel that featured live music events from local area venues.

For a monthly fee, viewers could pay to support the punk garage bands that played in the local clubs and auditoriums.

It was called Home Punk Channel.

It was popular for a while until 1982, when subscribership dropped because, well, its core audience outgrew the music, and the channel shut down by the end of the year.

On Originals III

ECC-College Text Channel

In 1980, three area university students created a text channel that simply listed what their closed circuit college radio station recently played.

It also listed songs to suggest and a phone number to request the songs. They used an Atari 800 computer to display the text on the screen, and it was relayed through the college cable system.

Unfortunately, it got shut down when vandals rigged the Atari 800 computer to play Star Raiders for hours, and afterwards, they reprogrammed the script to display obscene messages.

So much for that.

On Originals III

ECC-The Age of Aquarium

In 1984, two area men created a channel that showed only their aquarium. The Age of Aquarium was a pay channel that viewers could tune in and see a live aquarium full of fish on the TV screen anytime they wanted.

Unfortunately, things got nasty when someone broke into the house and threw a pirhana into the tank, then it proceeded to eat up all of the fish.

The channel ceased transmission after just one month.

On Originals III

ECC-Talk With Hank

In 1982, an area man launched a celebrity talk show in his backyard patio that was facing a city in the valley for the background.

Talk With Hank the channel ran for an hour on a few area cable systems. It was so successful that it expanded to three hours a night, and reruns were shown on his days off.

Unfortunately, his a-list celebrity list dried up when a local broadcaster launched a competiting local talk show and stole all of his a-list guests.

It's no doubt that he never watched that broadcast channel ever again.

On Originals III

ECC-Video Game Channel

In 1979, some area kids decided to have some fun with an outdoor antenna and their video game system.

They hooked up their Intellivision system backwards and broadcasted their video games through their outdoor antenna on channel 3.

When the FCC forced them to shut it down, the kids took their idea for their channel to their area cable system and created their own show called Video Game Channel.

They talked about their video game collection and played each other for two nights on Fridays and Saturdays for three hours each.

Their channel listed for two years.

On Originals III

ECC-Cable Test Channel

In 1978, an area cable system created a test channel.

It showed pilots for upcoming TV shows the broadcast networks were considering to pick up.

Viewers were encouraged to call in and tell the channel if they liked the TV shows or not.

The winners got picked up on the broadcast networks from the summer of 1978 until the spring of 1979 when the channel shut down.

The reason the channel shut down? It was because of some pranksters who rigged the system to corrupt the networks, and some of the so-called winners were among the worst TV shows in history.

The bad shows that got picked up were so unwatchable that some, like Supertrain, almost broke the network, and one, Co-Ed Fever, was so bad that it was pulled after one episode.

Other rigged winners include The Waverly Wonders, Who's Watching the Kids?, Delta House, Operation Petticoat, and Flying High.

Only one winner of the Test Channel actually lasted five years: Real People.

On Originals III

ECC-Fifty Vee

In 1983, an area cable company launched its first pay per view channel.

What was so unusual about itwas that it showed music concerts and videos for people too old for MTV.

Fifty-Vee, that's five-zero-V, was designed for older music fans who grew up on 50's and 60's R&B, jazz, swing, rockabilly, standards, and folk.

Fats Domino, Chubby Checker, The Platters, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Penguins, Sarah Vaughn, and Elvis Presley, were featured in non-stop musical concerts, shows, and videos.

With a price of $20 a day, it lasted six months before it was pulled due to lack of sales.

It was replaced with MTV, and yes, it was free.

On Originals III

ECC-Garage Sale Channel

In 1980, an area cable company needed some programming to replace duplicated programming they had to black out.

It created a Garage Sale Channel.

Each day, a different set of garage sale announcements were scrolled up the screen on the all text-based analog channel.

It also ran overnights during the early hours on certain channels that signed off overnights.

The Garage Sale Channel ended in 1984.

On Originals III

ECC-Supernarius Presents

In 1981, Captain Roy G. Biv and his wife Queen Christina Miss Lights started a cult channel inspired by supernaturality and the universe.

The Supernarius Channel, or Supernarius Presents, shared time with several area cable public access channels.

The two hosts, who claim to have come from a far away planet Supiter, shared their religion of unity, spirital love, and their claim that a new natural life will begin two years after they die.

This upset virtually all religions, as they claim that it's a disguise for religious domination as their real intent was to silence all other religions. The viewers got wind of it and soo after, Supernarius was off the cable systems, and its downtown store shuttered.

On Originals III

ECC-Video Art Channel

In 1981, a group of area artists decided to create an overnight Video Art Channel to be carried on channels that signed off overnights.

It simply showed a computer generating an image on the screen.

Each picture took 30 minutes for the computer to generate.

It disappearred when most of the local channels went 24 hours a day.

On Originals III

ECC-Car Wash Channel

In 1986, when cable systems needed to test some new channels on their expanding lineup, an area cable system tried to do one live shot of cars going through a car wash.

Unfortunately, the screws got loose on the camera that was bolted to the ceiling and the camera fell to the ground. Water and soap sprayed on the camera caused it to short out and there was only a static-filled screen.

recorded-not on CD yet

ECC-Live Street Corner View Channel

In 1982, to fill up a channel space on a temporary basis, an area cable system launched a life street corner view channel.

It was designed to replace duplicated syndicated and network programming on its cable system.

It was simply a live shot of pedestrians passing through a street corner.

After months of viewer complaints of obscene flashers and signs with expletitives being seenm the camera was moved so that it faced a few mountains to the north.

Soon after, pigeons started landing on the camera, and taking dumps on the camera lens until the screen was nothing but bird dung on the viewer's TV screen.

The channel was taken off the system a day later.

recorded-not on CD yet

ECC-Frankenradio

In 1988, an area cable system launched a frankenradio station.

It was basically a radio station using an open cable TV channel slot.

The video was displaying the date, time, weather, and a view of the city's landscape.

The radio station, however, was a pioneering hip hop and house music format not heard on any local station in that area.

Things got grim when songs depicting drug use, killing cops, and the gangsta lifestyle got played, and angry viewers complained to the cable system about the content being played. They were outnumbered, however, by viewers supporting freedom of speech on the station. In 1990, the format moved to an FM outlet, but with a tamer playlist, and the frankenchannel was replaced with a new channel. E! Entertainment Television.

not recorded

ECC-The Local 9

In 1976, an area cable company system needed to fill in a prime time slot for a distant network channel that had to be blacked out for the benefit of a local network affiliate.

So they created a part time channel that aired from 8-11pm seven days a week.

Each day, it broadcasted from random places around town such as bowling alleys, live skate rinks, high school sport fields, area churches, civic center meetings, elementary school auditorium shows, and high school film projects.

For lack of a better name, the cable channel was called The Local 9, because, it was on cable 9, and it shared time with a channel 9 from out of the market.

It lasted until the cable system was fooled into broadcasting a live KKK rally after signing a contract guaranteeing airtime for a three hour "rally for the over looked human."

The channel was gone the next day and replaced with AP text news as blackout programming.

not recorded

ECC-A One Weekend Car Dealership Channel

In 1986, a car dealership leased a cable channel for the whole weekend to broadcast a sell a thon of his entire lot of 1,000 cars.

All the cars sold out in two hours, so to fill the rest of the time the car dealer paid for, he staged a concert of live local bands.

The Saturday night crowd got rough when a punk band came on at 8pm and sang a song full of expletitives, and the crowd began exposing themselves and flipped the bird at the cameras.

The channel went dark 10 minutes later.

The next day, the channel came back, but with a marathon of church pastors condemning the punk acts and reading several passages from The Bible for the rest of the day.

not recorded

ECC-Live Local Cable Talk Show

In 1986, an area cable system launched a live TV talk show four days a week.

It was one of the first live cable TV talk shows in cable history.

It was hosted by a local former mayor, who was forced to resign from his post due to controversal dealings we don't have time to explain.

It started out as a serious talk show, but by 1989, due to the once popular Morton Downey Jr. show, guests ranging from racial supremacists to gang leaders to gay and abortion rights activists forced themselves onto his otherwise white bread Judeo Christian leaning right wing talk show.

By the end of 1990, the host had enough and quit the show.

The TV show itself became the inspiration of another talk show: The Jerry Springer Show.

not recorded

ECC-The Clock Channel

In 1983, an area cable system launched The Clock Channel. All it did was to display what time it was in every time zone around the world.

It was seen across various cable channel slots to fill in the times, pun intended, when certain channels went off the air or were blacked out.

Things were okay for a while until the power went out, and when the computer came back on, all it did was to display the time for every time zone as 12 o'clock.

They fixed the computer's time, but it failed during the time when Daylight Saving Time ended on October 30th, and all of the time zones were stuck displaying time in the 1am hour every hour.

The channel was taken down the next day.

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