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WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Covers all of Northern Lower Michigan (from Ludington to Tawas northward), as well as the Straits Area and Soo Region.
TVC_DX5678
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WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by TVC_DX5678 » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:11 pm

I can't believe I glossed over this. A couple of months ago, YouTuber Adam Schrohstein uploaded 1 partial and 4 full WBKB newscasts (commercials included) ranging from 1994-2008. Not much has been talked about the station around here, and for years we had very little older footage of the station. Now we have some on our hands.

Links:

12/5/1996: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xE-oJijaYaw

6/1/1994: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzycMP7w1eY

11/17/1994: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CCux1sRXPY

2/15/2008: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJgZNMy90gg

1/4/1994: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwo8Rc6E4I4



bmw
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Re: WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by bmw » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:15 pm

Growing up in northern Michigan without cable TV in the 1990s, channel 11 was the only channel we could reliably receive. I have vivid memories of all of those weather graphics.

Nice find.



organman95
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Re: WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by organman95 » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:18 am

Didn't know Adam was at WBKB before 7&4. He was probably quite happy to not have to do weather as well as news.

Great find!



innate-in-you
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Re: WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by innate-in-you » Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:15 pm

It's interesting to see that the map behind her shows Bay County as being in their coverage area.

I wonder if the shift of CBS affiliation from WEYI (25) to WNEM (5, and a transmitter site further north, closer to Alpena) hurt WBKB.

Note that WBKB has a short tower and DA nulling the West. Was that a stipulation of WBKB having to protect WWTV and WWUP from competition for CBS viewers?



organman95
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Re: WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by organman95 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 4:22 pm

Doubt it was an issue for WBKB. My understanding of that area is that they take care of their own.

If I recall, the reason for the for the WNEM transmitter was for backup for WTOM back in the 70s/80s during tropo issues, if/when it lost signal from WPBN.

Likewise, I think WPBN used WOOD-TV as a backup when it lost the NBC signal.



mocom70
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Re: WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by mocom70 » Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:44 pm

WPBN had no direct NBC feed until sat delivery. They had off air pickups at Morley for WOOD and near Barryton for WNEM, microwaved to the TX site. They would switch to whoever had the best signal. WTOM was fed by microwave from TC from the start. They did have off air pickup in case of microwave failure. This was related to me from a 30 year vet of GR engineering.



CK-722
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Why Is It I Always Think This Thread Is About WLS-TV When I See The Title?

Post by CK-722 » Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:31 am

Why Is It I Always Think This Thread Is About WLS-TV When I See The Title? I keep thinking they found Bob Balaban's first childhood screen test amongst the old films.

Yes. The Channel 11 Allotment. It got kicked around for decades before signing on. So late that the WBKB-TV call letters were available when they signed on. So many entities were worried that it would take a piece of their pie, that it ended up more like a high power translator. The pattern was and is peanut shaped. This avoids wasting power over Lake Huron, and makes for a design that fully serves both North and South directions. A good signal was available off air from WEYI-TV not far from there. So was the WNEM-TV Michigan Cable TV SuperStation Microwave Relay, as well as the over the air backup. You may recall that 24 Hour Late Night Movie Channel WNEM-TV and Default ABC Cable Affiliate WJRT-TV were once on cable TV systems all the way up to Petoskey and Sault Ste. Marie. WBKB(-AB ) is once again an ABC affiliate, bumping then ABC-TV O and O WJRT, and coowned with WLS-TV at the time.

I wonder if there are any remnants left of the WNEM-TV 5 OTA head end 5.7 miles South of Chippewa Lake Rd. on the West side of the road? It was on a berm next to the farmer's driveway, and wasn't that tall. The 5 Element Channel Yagis were in disrepair when I saw them circa 1980.


Is THAT where they got the idea for the 486-SX?

Same (x, y, z), different (t)

Your bullet missed my trial balloon.

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ftballfan
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Re: Why Is It I Always Think This Thread Is About WLS-TV When I See The Title?

Post by ftballfan » Mon Mar 25, 2019 9:07 am

CK-722 wrote:
Mon Mar 25, 2019 3:31 am
Why Is It I Always Think This Thread Is About WLS-TV When I See The Title? I keep thinking they found Bob Balaban's first childhood screen test amongst the old films.

Yes. The Channel 11 Allotment. It got kicked around for decades before signing on. So late that the WBKB-TV call letters were available when they signed on. So many entities were worried that it would take a piece of their pie, that it ended up more like a high power translator. The pattern was and is peanut shaped. This avoids wasting power over Lake Huron, and makes for a design that fully serves both North and South directions. A good signal was available off air from WEYI-TV not far from there. So was the WNEM-TV Michigan Cable TV SuperStation Microwave Relay, as well as the over the air backup. You may recall that 24 Hour Late Night Movie Channel WNEM-TV and Default ABC Cable Affiliate WJRT-TV were once on cable TV systems all the way up to Petoskey and Sault Ste. Marie. WBKB(-AB ) is once again an ABC affiliate, bumping then ABC-TV O and O WJRT, and coowned with WLS-TV at the time.

I wonder if there are any remnants left of the WNEM-TV 5 OTA head end 5.7 miles South of Chippewa Lake Rd. on the West side of the road? It was on a berm next to the farmer's driveway, and wasn't that tall. The 5 Element Channel Yagis were in disrepair when I saw them circa 1980.
I saw where WBKB was originally supposed to be an ABC affiliate on the same tower as WCML, but WGTU stopped them. Speaking of the Microwave Relay, WKBD was also on that. WKBD was on most cable systems in the state (the only exceptions being far SW Michigan and the Ludington/Manistee area)



organman95
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Re: WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by organman95 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:26 am

mocom70 wrote:
Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:44 pm
WPBN had no direct NBC feed until sat delivery. They had off air pickups at Morley for WOOD and near Barryton for WNEM, microwaved to the TX site. They would switch to whoever had the best signal. WTOM was fed by microwave from TC from the start. They did have off air pickup in case of microwave failure. This was related to me from a 30 year vet of GR engineering.
Cool, good to know, thanks :)

I never could pick up WBKB when I was a kid. Growing up on the southeast side of Cheboygan (I was only two miles from the WTOM tower) I had hoped I would pick up WBKB on quiet, clear sky nights. Unfortunately that never happened.



CK-722
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Re: WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by CK-722 » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:24 pm

I saw where WBKB was originally supposed to be an ABC affiliate on the same tower as WCML, but WGTU stopped them. Speaking of the Microwave Relay, WKBD was also on that. WKBD was on most cable systems in the state (the only exceptions being far SW Michigan and the Ludington/Manistee area)
I think that is the reason why they took the WBKB-TV call letters. It was to be a smallest market version of an ABC O & O. Then the edges of the market and the cable had an actual ABC O & O, WJRT-TV, which would have wanted to be WJR-TV, had the since modified call letter rules had allowed it in the 1950s. The Michigan connection to major market, and/or big network O & O call letters has other examples. Edge market CBS Affiliate WKNX-TV took the modified CBS O & O KNXT call letters is another. Then they had the CBS Eye/WEYI call letters, when they had to divest WKNX-TV so that it was not coowned with WKNX 1210. Then they switched affiliation, and the call letter meaning was lost on most younger viewers as an NBC affiliate.


Is THAT where they got the idea for the 486-SX?

Same (x, y, z), different (t)

Your bullet missed my trial balloon.

RTN Price. Not guaranteed. As of 12:30, 157.71 Down 0.22.

Artificial Intelligence is a Child that needs a Parent to guide it through.

CK-722
Posts: 384
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2018 3:53 pm

Re: WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by CK-722 » Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:33 am

innate-in-you wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 10:15 pm
It's interesting to see that the map behind her shows Bay County as being in their coverage area.

I wonder if the shift of CBS affiliation from WEYI (25) to WNEM (5, and a transmitter site further north, closer to Alpena) hurt WBKB.

Note that WBKB has a short tower and DA nulling the West. Was that a stipulation of WBKB having to protect WWTV and WWUP from competition for CBS viewers?
True or False. The WBKB-TV analog Grade B contour stretches all the way South to Van Dyke Ave. True.

https://fccdata.org/?lang=en&appid=301642&facid=67048

The Grade B analog contour almost reaches to Northern Bay County. Due to crossing Lake Huron along much of its path, the analog signal into Northern Bay County was probably pretty good, as was the is signal on Van Dyke Ave. in Port Austin, and quite a bit of the Tip of The Thumb.

That sounds better to the sales department.


Is THAT where they got the idea for the 486-SX?

Same (x, y, z), different (t)

Your bullet missed my trial balloon.

RTN Price. Not guaranteed. As of 12:30, 157.71 Down 0.22.

Artificial Intelligence is a Child that needs a Parent to guide it through.

ray cathode
Posts: 2
Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 12:43 pm

Re: WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by ray cathode » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:00 am

Here's a message I received awhile ago about some WBKB history:

WBKB's is a really a great story - four guys who worked together at American Forces TV Network Germany Ramstein in the late 60's and early 70's stayed in touch after we seperated -as civilians - it was a dream of ours to build a TV station 'somewhere.' The only three requirements were: 1) it had to be a V, and 2) it had to sustain being an independent, and 3) it had to be east of the Mississippi.

In 1974 we began community ascertain studies out of an office on Water Street; and went on the air in 1975. I hired Larry Elliott (to do weather)and three others, including Curt (who did sports), and we put TV on the air. I'd like to think the earliest days were some of the best that Alpena got to see. I was the ND / anchor, and in 1977 became the EP at WISH-TV in Indy, at that time market 17. So that was a pretty good mark jump even by today's standards. WBKB was a small operation with a lot of heart, the zeal of community service, and people who really were passionate about their work.

Little known was the long drawn out fight between Thunder Bay Broadcasting and WGTU and a guy named Kiple, who had objected to the license on the grounds of UHF "impact." In those days, the FCC was protecting the newer UHF stations from the V's who had better distribution. Ironic is the fact that years later, after Tom Scanlan had enough of Marx, he would end up owning WGTU as part of his small group of stations.

Our vision, all along, was to put a 1,000 stick at Tawas to better signal the thumb region, since, as a CBS affiliate, we could (then) deliver a better signal than WEYI, which then was a CBS-U --- AND we had carriage of the Lions which they did not. But it never happened, for many reasons, but it was a great dream.

My wife and I still have fond memories of 1390 Bagley, and the early days. It's a pity that our efforts to collaborate ("convergence") with the Alpena News and WATZ fell on deaf and jealous ears. We could have ben ahead of our time - everybody could have won and we could have all made Alpena a better place - altruistic, I know.

If you see Bob Race, please give him my regards. He is a good man, as is Curt.

Peter Neumann



WC8KCY
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Re: WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by WC8KCY » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:19 pm

organman95 wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:26 am
I never could pick up WBKB when I was a kid. Growing up on the southeast side of Cheboygan (I was only two miles from the WTOM tower) I had hoped I would pick up WBKB on quiet, clear sky nights. Unfortunately that never happened.
Very occasionally, I could pick up WBKB at the Radar Base near Sault Ste. Marie when I lived there (1989-91). It was a nice option to have CBS programming available on 11 when 9&10 was carrying Tigers games.

One thing I wish I would've done while living there was take a portable TV to the roof of the radar array tower, just to see what would've come in.


Hamming it up on 2m and 70cm

WC8KCY
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Re: WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by WC8KCY » Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:41 pm

ray cathode wrote:
Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:00 am
Here's a message I received awhile ago about some WBKB history:

WBKB's is a really a great story - four guys who worked together at American Forces TV Network Germany Ramstein in the late 60's and early 70's stayed in touch after we seperated -as civilians - it was a dream of ours to build a TV station 'somewhere.' The only three requirements were: 1) it had to be a V, and 2) it had to sustain being an independent, and 3) it had to be east of the Mississippi.

In 1974 we began community ascertain studies out of an office on Water Street; and went on the air in 1975. I hired Larry Elliott (to do weather)and three others, including Curt (who did sports), and we put TV on the air. I'd like to think the earliest days were some of the best that Alpena got to see. I was the ND / anchor, and in 1977 became the EP at WISH-TV in Indy, at that time market 17. So that was a pretty good mark jump even by today's standards. WBKB was a small operation with a lot of heart, the zeal of community service, and people who really were passionate about their work.

Little known was the long drawn out fight between Thunder Bay Broadcasting and WGTU and a guy named Kiple, who had objected to the license on the grounds of UHF "impact." In those days, the FCC was protecting the newer UHF stations from the V's who had better distribution. Ironic is the fact that years later, after Tom Scanlan had enough of Marx, he would end up owning WGTU as part of his small group of stations.

Our vision, all along, was to put a 1,000 stick at Tawas to better signal the thumb region, since, as a CBS affiliate, we could (then) deliver a better signal than WEYI, which then was a CBS-U --- AND we had carriage of the Lions which they did not. But it never happened, for many reasons, but it was a great dream.

My wife and I still have fond memories of 1390 Bagley, and the early days. It's a pity that our efforts to collaborate ("convergence") with the Alpena News and WATZ fell on deaf and jealous ears. We could have ben ahead of our time - everybody could have won and we could have all made Alpena a better place - altruistic, I know.

If you see Bob Race, please give him my regards. He is a good man, as is Curt.

Peter Neumann
Hey, thanks for sharing all this.

The fight between WGTU and WBKB is well documented in the For The Record pages of Broadcasting magazine. I came across it all doing research on WGTU's K55AW Alpena translator.

It's a head-scratcher. I doubt WBKB and WGTU had much, if any, signal overlap out in the field. The 55 translator went up, inexplicably, after WGTQ was launched, and the 8 signal already made it to some northern Alpena-market viewers.


Hamming it up on 2m and 70cm

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rugratsonline
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Re: WBKB Footage Unearthed... At Last!

Post by rugratsonline » Tue Apr 09, 2019 11:33 pm

CK-722 wrote:
Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:24 pm
I think that is the reason why they took the WBKB-TV call letters. It was to be a smallest market version of an ABC O & O. Then the edges of the market and the cable had an actual ABC O & O, WJRT-TV, which would have wanted to be WJR-TV, had the since modified call letter rules had allowed it in the 1950s.
WJRT didn't become an ABC O&O until 1995, twenty years after WBKB signed on.



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