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CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Discussion pertaining to Detroit, Ann Arbor, Port Huron, and SW Ontario
12thstreetbrainiac
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CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by 12thstreetbrainiac » Fri Nov 10, 2017 2:50 pm

In 1994, when WJBK dumped CBS for FOX, why CBS didn't approach 31 out of Ann Arbor back then?

sfpcc
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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by sfpcc » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:00 pm

Go to wikipedia and look up WWJ TV, or 1994 Network Alignment Switch. The events of that age a very well documented.

If I'm wrong I know someone out there will tell me. I guess 31 didn't have a strong enough signal or was to far from Detroit, or negotiations stalled. The next choice was WADL 38 but negotiations broke off when Mr Adell demanded to much money. WGPR 62 was the last option. The Masonry group that owned it sold it for 24 Million Dollars, a lot more that the station was worth. after obtaining it CBS later put a lot more money to improve the station. That's the best I got.

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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by 12thstreetbrainiac » Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:13 am

So that means 4, 7, 20, 31, 38 and 50, all rejected CBS' overtures back in 1994?

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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by sfpcc » Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:48 am

It a nutshell yes.

There are previous Threads in the board that can explain it better than I could.
Last edited by sfpcc on Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by sfpcc » Sat Nov 11, 2017 12:54 am

[quote=sfpcc post_id=564212 time=1510379288 user_id=4168]
It a nutshell yes.

There are previous threads in the board that can explain it better than I could.
[/quote]

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MWmetalhead
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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by MWmetalhead » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:16 am

WDIV had a long term deal with NBC in place.

WXYZ was propositioned and threatened to bolt ABC, but Scripps was able to ink a favorable nationwide deal with the network.

WKBD was a UPN O & O at the time, so they were off limits.

We all know the story with 38.

WXON is the one station where details are sketchy. I presume they demanded unreasonable money, too. That would've been a great fit for CBS. Great analog signal and widespread cable carriage.

31 would've been a far worse outcome than winding up on 38 or 62. Very few people were aware the station even existed, reception east of Telegraph Rd. was spotty to impossible, and the station was not carried on all area cable systems. I also understand the station couldn't relocate to Metro Detroit without changing channel position. Remember, there was an analog 32 in Windsor. I also think some sort of weird IF spacing rule relative to 38 may have been in play.
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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by pixelplay » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:32 am

MW's memory is correct. That's how I remember it.

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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by Plate Cap » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:07 am

Dittos on MW's recollections and his distillation of the info. 31 was lousy even into the west side 'burbs.

The choice was essentially 20 or 62. I've never heard a cogent explanation of why 20 was not a player. Aben Johnson was a sharp businessman....very old school and self-made....but I seem to recall he was out of the operation at that point. His son Doug was a different sort. They sold to Granite in '97....the WGPR sale was 1995.....maybe the Granite deal was in place....maybe Doug held out for too much.....don't know.

Folks here like to consider WGPR as the "special needs" station who wore /wears a crash helmet and wobbles onto to the short bus to school every morning for their 'special' classes. There is always a certain element of distaste when they are mentioned here. In reality, from inception to today, they've accomplished some pretty remarkable things, made an AWFUL lot of money, and continue to do quite well.

They had some pretty lousy engineering for a number of years, both TV and radio, but that was attributed more/less to refusal to seek competent technical talent on the open market. Once that mindset left, they became and have been as viable and professional as anything in the market or for that matter the nation.

Programming-wise, they thumbed their noses at conventional television thinking and radio broadcasting, and served their own until the TV sale, and the radio LMA. They have made an ADMIRABLE series of financial deals that have garnered them a great deal of money, and still remain one of the few major market, single-owner, full power class B stations around.

Any one of us would be fortunate to be even dipping a toe in a side pool of the money stream they have generated over the years, and continue to with the Radio One deal. I know I would like to be. Knock them if you must, but they live quite well.
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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by audiophile » Sat Nov 11, 2017 10:23 am

I've heard of a hilarious conversation by black owner on why he hires white engineers. Not sure I can repeat it...but it is a scream!
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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by Marcus » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:34 pm

Channel 31 had some coverage overlap with the Lansing TV stations, and also had poor coverage of Detroit. None of the major networks would have wanted it.
Looking back on the CBS network shuffle it would have been wise if channel 20 became CBS 20 with the WB ending up on either channel 38 or channel 62. As I recall the old WXON-TV 20 signal was close to that of the VHF TV signals in the fringe area of the Detroit TV market.

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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by 12thstreetbrainiac » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:30 pm

Actually, WXON 20 was more interested in joining the WB than to CBS back in 1994, so they were also off limits as well. Granite bought WXON twenty years ago (in 1997) and changed their call letters to WDWB. If CBS moved to 31 back in 1994 instead of 62, where would they relocate their transmitter to? Southfield or Oak Park? In the meantime, by the way, WKBD was our original Fox affiliate from 1986 to 1994.

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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by RingtailedFox » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:18 am

Not only would WPXD 31 be short-spaced to CICO 32 in Windsor (adjacent channels in analog tend to cause massive interference), but it was also short-spaced to the next closest full-power station also on 31, CITY-TV-2 in Woodstock, which covers London and Kitchener. I used to get 31 but it was VERY snowy, and its transmitter in Chelsea was far closer to Lansing than Detroit, so I expect WLNS 6 would have put up quite the fight about a competing affiliate of the same network in the area.

CBS wasn't doing that well in the 1980s and first half of the 1990s, and they never did have the best affiliate relations. Larry Tisch really dropped the ball when he ran the network... some would say into the ground. Basically, it went like this:
WJBK 2: bought by New World, then they were bought by FOX. I saw in the late 1980s and early 1990s they started trying to act more and more like an independent when CBS' network programming wasn't around, even going so far as to distance themselves from mentioning the network in their station identification ("We're WJBK, TV-2 Detroit" instead of say, "Detroit's CBS: WJBK Channel 2")
WDIV 4: affiliation contract with NBC didn't expire until 1998 or so, and NBC was by far the #1 most-watched network, so why would they want to go from first to worst? :P
WXYZ 7: despite ABC's strong ratings, they actually did come *exceedingly* close to switching (which is why ABC bought WJRT 12 in Flint and WTVG 13 in Toledo, to try to cover places like Fenton and Holly and Monroe with their signals if they lost WXYZ). Ultimately, their owners (Scripps) said "alright, ABC. time to move your affiliation to some of the smaller stations we own, or we flip the big guy in Detroit to CBS", and ABC immediately said "sounds fair to me!"
WXON 20: They saw that CBS' programming was weak and largely forgettable, and they were doing well enough as an independent, and even aired the syndicated "Prime Time Entertainment Network" programming block on weeknights (this was the ancestor of both WB and UPN, and ultimately today's CW and My Network TV, and would last until 1997 or so... programming from that was stuff like Hercules: the legendary journeys, xena: warrior princess, and Kung Fu: the legend continues)
WPXD 31: too far to the west, covered lansing better than downtown detroit, had a crappy signal east of Telegraph Road, as attested to previously in this thread, and was mostly infomercials and home shopping stuff with only a few programs like Bowling for Dollars and Sue Thomas: F.B. Eye... yeah. it would be basically like not having an affiliate, or being just "CBS Ann Arbor".
WADL 38: So, we finally learn what Kevin Adell's "unreasonable demands" were after all this time: he wanted too much money to affiliate? He seemed fine with repeating WJBK's news and even some programs as an alternate CBS affiliate until about 1996, but that's a shame... 38 would've been great for everyone but Ann Arbor and Monroe (though I think a move to Southfield would fix that).
WKBD 50: The charter (original/launch) FOX affiliate. The move to 2 actually hurt them pretty badly as well, because they were one of FOX network's strongest affiliates during the network's first decade. It's why they immediately jumped on the UPN affiliation when it was offered, though things just weren't the same...
WGPR 62: The last man standing, as it were. It had good, if lower-quality programming, but it was constantly running on a shoestring budget. I agree with those here that said it likely would not have been able to afford new equipment for the digital transition and would have either sold itself by THEN, or gone dark.
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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by mtburb » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:00 pm

RingtailedFox wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:18 am
WXYZ 7: despite ABC's strong ratings, they actually did come *exceedingly* close to switching (which is why ABC bought WJRT 12 in Flint and WTVG 13 in Toledo, to try to cover places like Fenton and Holly and Monroe with their signals if they lost WXYZ). Ultimately, their owners (Scripps) said "alright, ABC. time to move your affiliation to some of the smaller stations we own, or we flip the big guy in Detroit to CBS", and ABC immediately said "sounds fair to me!"
Another citation mentioned in the purchase of WTVG was that it provided a moderate signal in the Sandusky area with a gradually weaker signal from there on east. This was all in the viewing area of Scripps sister WEWS in Cleveland, which, like WXYZ, was also being courted to flip to CBS, though for their viewers it was no major loss, as ABC also had another Cleveland affiliate through Akron-based WAKC. Had WEWS flipped to CBS, WAKC would more than likely remain with ABC today and would have never become a Pax/i/Ion station known as WVPX.
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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by mvcg66b3r » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:36 pm

mtburb wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:00 pm
Had WEWS flipped to CBS, WAKC would more than likely remain with ABC today and would have never become a Pax/i/Ion station known as WVPX.
Would WAKC/WVPX have moved its stick to Parma?

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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by mvcg66b3r » Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:52 pm

RingtailedFox wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:18 am
38 would've been great for everyone but Ann Arbor and Monroe (though I think a move to Southfield would fix that)
They had (and still have) that short tower.

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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by RingtailedFox » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:30 am

mvcg66b3r wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:52 pm
RingtailedFox wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:18 am
38 would've been great for everyone but Ann Arbor and Monroe (though I think a move to Southfield would fix that)
They had (and still have) that short tower.
Well, couple being on a short tower, with also being in Mount Clemens, a good 45-50 miles away....
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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by RingtailedFox » Fri Nov 17, 2017 10:33 am

mvcg66b3r wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:36 pm
mtburb wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:00 pm
Had WEWS flipped to CBS, WAKC would more than likely remain with ABC today and would have never become a Pax/i/Ion station known as WVPX.
Would WAKC/WVPX have moved its stick to Parma?
If i remember, it was always an also-ran in Cleveland, but was #1 in Akron and Canton. I think it would have either moved to Parma to serve the whole market as ABC 23, or, somewhat less likely, Akron and Canton would have broken off to become market #72 or so if a low-powered station signed on to join Fox or WB. I know WEWS wasn't all that pleased with having to compete with channel 23 for network shows, even if it was the strongest privately-owned affiliate in the network.
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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by RayQix » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:54 pm

RingtailedFox wrote:
mvcg66b3r wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 3:36 pm
mtburb wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:00 pm
Had WEWS flipped to CBS, WAKC would more than likely remain with ABC today and would have never become a Pax/i/Ion station known as WVPX.
Would WAKC/WVPX have moved its stick to Parma?
If i remember, it was always an also-ran in Cleveland, but was #1 in Akron and Canton. I think it would have either moved to Parma to serve the whole market as ABC 23, or, somewhat less likely, Akron and Canton would have broken off to become market #72 or so if a low-powered station signed on to join Fox or WB. I know WEWS wasn't all that pleased with having to compete with channel 23 for network shows, even if it was the strongest privately-owned affiliate in the network.
So how would this all shake out today with everyone being on the digital signal?

Would it be the same or would it be even an issue anymore?


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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by MWmetalhead » Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:07 am

WKBD was owned by Paramount Stations group. It did not "affiliate" with UPN. It was an O & O. Pretty sure that was the case on day one. Someone please correct me if I'm mistaken.
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Re: CBS 31 in Detroit/Ann Arbor in 1994?

Post by RingtailedFox » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:11 pm

I remember it was owned by Cox Communications (the same guys that run Cox Cable) in the 1980s, but they wanted to unload it... the problem was, the station was one of the leading independents in the country, and even after it joined FOX in 1986, it was still very valuable and they couldn't get what they were asking for it at the time... I think paramount bought the station in 1993... which makes for a pretty damned good coincidence with WJBK bolting from CBS to Fox.... or maybe they saw New World buying it and getting cozy with Fox and bought it to hedge their bets so they'd have an O&O in detroit... very smart move on their part if that's the case.

Wikipedia says that Viacom (the 1971-2006 incarnation that's now CBS) bought Paramount right before all this went down, and when CBS came knocking on the door to see if channel 50 wanted to join the network, they said "uh, no. we're starting UPN... but thanks anyway."
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