WJLA Washington, D.C., Goes Retro

Allbritton Communications’ WJLA Washington, D.C., is replacing its Local Point TV multicast channel with programming from Retro Television Network, which supplies way-off-network programming to more than 70 stations.

The new lineup will include shows like Leave It to Beaver, Wagon Train and The Rockford Files.

Local Point TV, which a station spokeswoman described as "experimental," had been carrying short films and showcasing local arts groups including storytelling, theater and standup comedy in the area.

The new RTN channel has carriage on Comcast and Verizon Communications’ FiOS TV, and the station is in negotiations for carriage on Cox Communications, the other major provider in the Washington area.

WJLA has three digital channels -- its primary signal, a weather channel fronted by veteran D.C. meteorologist Doug Hill and now RTN, which replaces Local Point TV as of Monday.

Station director of community relations Abby Fenton said WJLA made the switch because the Local Point programming was edgier and more adult-oriented while the RTN fare was more family-friendly.

The station will also get to pick and choose from 16 hours per day of already-supplied RTN programming in which it will have six minutes of ad time per hour to sell, with RTN also getting six minutes per hour to sell.

WJLA did not sell spots in Local POINT, but it did sell sponsorships and snipes.

Fenton said the station likes the Local Point programming and is pondering where else it might fit.

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.