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WFLA Launches 8 Prime, A Vintage Digital Channel
TAMPA - What's old is new again on 8 Prime, a digital television channel launched today by WFLA, Channel 8. Vintage programs such as "Wagon Train," "Bachelor Father," "Leave it to Beaver," "Kojak" and "McHale's Navy" are in the lineup. It can be seen over the air on digital Channel 8.2 (if your television has a digital tuner). And 8 Prime is carried on Bright House Networks' cable service on Channel 607 and Verizon FiOS' Channel 460. Digital technology allows television stations to transmit more than one channel.For example, PBS outlets WEDU and WUSF both broadcast multiple digital channels, including channels devoted to children's programming as well as channels devoted to news and documentary programming. 8 Prime replaces NBC Weather Plus, a national digital forecasting service that is closing up shop after failing to generate income or viewers. "We were looking for a better use for the channel, and we thought this kind of programming would have wide appeal in the Tampa Bay area," WFLA Vice President and General Manager Mike Pumo said. The programs are supplied by the Retro Television Network, which is available in more than 55 million households in America. Retro Television (RTN) offers classic television shows including "The A-Team," "Adam-12," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Buck Rogers," "Dragnet," "Hardy Boys," "The Incredible Hulk," "Ironside," "The Jack Benny Show," " Knight Rider," "Magnum P.I.," "Marcus Welby," "The Rockford Files," "Simon and Simon," "The Virginian" and others. "It's all family programming, which is a good alternative," Pumo said. RTN was created to supply programming for the new digital channels that have been created as a result of the switch from analog to digital broadcasting. 8 Prime also carries advertising and infomercials and will be a source of revenue for WFLA. The station is owned by Media General, which also owns The Tampa Tribune and TBO.com. The new channel airs rebroadcasts of WFLA's "News Channel 8" newscasts as well as other Media General productions such as "Daytime," "Reel Animals Fishing" and "Starwatch." "We will have the ability to pre-empt the RTN programming for extended local news coverage if necessary," Pumo said. "Our local newscasts will air from 7 to 8 p.m., which provides an opportunity to those who might not have seen them earlier on WFLA."
Reporter Walt Belcher can be reached at (813) 259-7654 or [email protected]