Alibi V.23 No.28 • July 10-16, 2014 

Idiot Box

Da Doo Ron Rerun

Retro TV comes to town


It’s not all that unusual to come across a new cable TV station. They pop in and out all the time. (FYI, where the hell did you come from?) But a new broadcast network? That’s something to write home about—assuming you don’t know what text messaging is. And if you don’t know what text messaging is, then Retro TV is right up your alley.

Retro TV claims to be “the first broadcast network to offer the best in classic television.” I’m not sure what loophole discounts MeTV, which has 161 affiliates nationwide and broadcasts locally as KRTN-33.1, but OK. While MeTV offers stuff like “Gunsmoke,” “Batman,” “Emergency!” “Adam-12,” “M*A*S*H,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Get Smart,” “Star Trek” and “The Twilight Zone,” Retro TV serves up “The Lucy Show,” “One Step Beyond,” “Dragnet,” “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet,” “Bonanza,” “Lassie,” “Petticoat Junction,” “Route 66” and “I Spy.” There are a couple of crossovers (both show “Bonanza” and “Dragnet”), but between the two stations, it’s a hefty dose of televised nostalgia.

Owned by Luken Communications (the corporation behind the Heartland network, The Family Channel and TUFF TV), Retro TV was one of the first digital broadcast networks launched in 2005. There are something in the neighborhood of 60 or so affiliates crisscrossing the country. Originally these affiliates were designed to operate on major networks’ digital subchannels, but most networks have taken over those subchannels to broadcast “clone” feeds. That’s why, for example, Albuquerque’s over-the-air digital broadcasts have several KOB channels and several KNME channels. Some are rerun feeds; some are regional translator feeds; some are Spanish-language feeds. So Retro TV recently changed its business plan, snapping up low-power UHF stations across the country. As of July 1, 2014, Retro TV added Albuquerque-Santa Fe affiliate KYNM-30, a low-power station that’s spent most of its life as a repeater for other cities’ religious programming. You can find Retro TV on over-the-air digital channel 30.3.

If you’re currently living cable-less and satellite-free, then KYNM is a nice addition to your slim viewing options. As of July 5 Retro TV started showing classic episodes of “Mystery Science Theater 3000.” (In case our cover story on Joel Hodgson didn't clue you in, we’re big “MST3K” fans here at Alibi.) That bad movie showcase (airing every Sunday at 6pm) is enough to attract sci-fi fans. But Retro TV also announced a deal with the BBC to start broadcasting “Doctor Who” later on this summer. And we’re not talking about the current episodes being aired by BBC America, either—we’re talking classic episodes from throughout the show’s 51-year run, starring the likes of William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. Still not enough? How about actual Saturday morning cartoons? “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” (1983), “BraveStarr” (1987), “Filmation’s Ghostbusters” (1986), “The Mr. Magoo Show” (1964) and “The Archie Show” (1968) are among the offerings.

Although it isn’t the only game in town, Retro TV adds a welcome flashback to your TV viewing day. So pick up that remote and get to scanning. There’s episodes of “The Soupy Sales Show” to be watched, people!