Monday, October 5, 2009

HEROES Can't Save Everybody

Spent a pleasant weekend in Santa Cruz, attending the wedding of a dear friend. That's outside the purview of this blog (it's nice to have a blog with a purview, innit?) but I can note an interesting way that Santa Cruz is ahead of the curve: there is no local NBC affiliate.

Because of its unusual geography, Santa Cruz has limited broadcast televsion options. it's surrounded by mountains and hills on three sides and the ocean on the fourth, and the population is small. So when I grew up there they had three network affiliates and two independents and that pretty much covered it unless you were willing to shell out for cable, which gave you access to San Francisco broadcasters. Cable went over in a big way.

Anyway somewhere along the way, KSBW 8 in Salinas decided that there ain't no future in paying franchise fees and giving up prime time to NBC. It's not like my area, where there is a Fox affiliate which has apparently decided that it's too expensive to solve the digital transmission problem to my part of town; KSBW said adios and went rogue. They're doing well enough to have a local news team, so probably a good decision.

NBC has been at the bottom of the majors for years now, and with CBS and ABC and FoxTV facing declining ratings too, the Jewel of GE (possibly GE and Comcast) looks increasingly like the network of choice to not choose. And just because these entities are called major networks, there's no law that says every town needs to carry 'em.

I understand the Jay Leno show hosted a political panel on Friday. I have finally figured out what Leno's getting at - he will make his show the Sabado Gigante of America, only two more hours and spread out over five days. And this is almost a third of NBC's weekly prime time programming. I bet the whole network leaves broadcast and is HULU-based in 5 years.

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