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Hot Time For Digital Channels

Dispatch’s WBNS Columbus has announced its new weather-themed digital channel, Doppler 10 Now, airing on the Wow! and Insight cable systems in central Ohio. Doppler 10 is a partnership with AccuWeather. WBNS President/GM Tom Griesdorn told me earlier this week that his viewers research constantly comes back with two clear messages:

“Weather, weather weather, and local, local, local,” he says. The channel aims to catch both.

Meanwhile, down in Columbia, SC, WKTC begins airing Retro TV (Neal Ardman told me earlier this week that the former RTN is now RTV, partially because it sounds like DTV) tomorrow. RTV of course offers vintage series like Leave it to Beaver and The A-Team, along with new (at least new to RTV) shows like The Rifleman and Peter Gunn.

By the way, Ardman mentioned the most popular show among RTV viewers. It is…wait for it…the firefighter drama Emergency!.

What’s been tough for many stations in the past week has been quite good for digital channels, as viewers rescan and find channels they never knew existed. Ardman, for one, says he got about 11,000 emails from new viewers after the big switch, most of them looking for an RTV schedule.

I’ve got a story about digital channels and the wide open DTV frontier in Monday’s issue.