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Station Break

Hubbard Cooks Up HD Channel

Hubbard Broadcasting's KSTC-TV Minneapolis has launched what it bills as the market's first "all-HDTV, all-the-time channel" using a slice of its digital channel. KSTC-HD (dubbed 45.2) features programming from Mark Cuban's Dallas-based HDNet, including lots of sports—from boxing and basketball to water polo—and some movies.
Hubbard still operates regular old indie KSTC-TV and has added a digital version of it, KSTC-DT, which is ch. 45.1.

For those who need to know, station spokeswoman Dayna Deutsch says that is a dot, rather than a point (or even a period), in the name (45-dot-HD). "We like to be a little different," she says.

KSTC-TV is required to simulcast only 12 hours a day, says Director of Engineering Dick Rice, so it could have divided up its digital day between a simulcast and HDTV fare. It decided instead to go 24/7 with both, in part because some cable systems and translators in outlying areas depend on the digital signal as their primary feed.

The HDNet 1080i signal is fed via satellite from Dallas-based HDNet as a 19.4-megabit stream. KSTC-TV "bit-shapes" and statistically re-multiplexes the HDNet signal with the 480i simulcast signal and then repackages it as an ATSC stream. The process eliminates the need to decode and re-encode the HDNet signal. Rice says the results—since the Oct. 15 launch—"are stunning" and suggests "the HDNet affiliation and re-multiplexing technique are a great HD solution for independent stations." It helps that the technique saves the price of a $50,000 HDTV encoder.

On the Move

Sinclair has tapped Marshall Porter, senior VP, general manager and corporate director of sales, for Citadel and its WOI-TV Des Moines, Iowa, to head up WMSN-TV Madison, Wis., as general manager. Porter is no stranger to the state, having once worked in sales at WAOW-TV Wausau, Wis. Also, former WQOW-TV Eau Claire, Wis., news anchor Lisa Patrow has been named news director for the ABC affiliate, replacing Jessica Witte, who resigned. Patrow was 6 and 10 p.m. anchor from 2000 until earlier this year, when she decided the late hours were taking away too much time from family. …

Susan Roesgen, veteran news anchor and a reporter for National Public Radio, has joined WGNO-TV New Orleans as 10 p.m. anchor. She will take over for Liz Reyes, who continues to anchor at 5 and 6 p.m. and will do more investigative and enterprise reporting. Roesgen is a former anchor at WDSU-TV New Orleans, as well as for WABC-TV New York, KFMB-TV San Diego and KATV-TV Little Rock.

KNBC-TV Editor Dies

Daniel Rabinovich, an editor with KNBC-TV Los Angeles for the past six years, was killed in a single-car accident Oct. 20 in Los Angeles. Formerly a news editor, he had most recently been in the creative services department. VP of Creative Services Ginger Zumaeta called Rabinovich's death "heartbreaking for the station. He has been a valued member of our family for many years and will be greatly missed." Rabinovich is survived by his wife, Jessica, and two daughters from a previous marriage, Emily and Natasha. The station has set up a fund to help the family.

Hechos in Los Angeles

Hispanic network Azteca America has launched its first local-news program. Hechos
("what has happened") 54
debuted Oct. 20 at 10 p.m. on KAZA-TV Los Angeles (ch. 54), the network's flagship station. Azteca currently airs news on its stations, but it is general-interest national news imported from Mexico, where Azteca TV operates two national TV channels.

Road Trip

Dick Johnson and Ellee Pai Hong (left), co-anchors of NBC-owned WMAQ-TV Chicago's morning newscast, visited New York last week to tape some promos with Today show co-hosts Katie Couric and Matt Lauer.

According to the station, the Today
crew is planning its own road trip in the next few months to broadcast the show from the station's new studio on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

John Eggerton
John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.