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New Commercial TV Station Goes On The Air In Albany Area

Some upstate New York television viewers have eight more reasons to cut the cord.

In the age of HD cable and streaming, you might not realize if you just plug an antenna into a TV, you can receive 39 different channels —   from network television to Home Shopping Network. And eight new channels became available over the weekend on Channel 14. Station president and general manager Dan Viles notes WYBN has actually been around for a while, broadcasting from atop Windham Mountain.  "Channel 14 signed on in October of 2011, and we had a real nice happy home on top of Windham Ski Area, and they are putting in a big six-passenger chairlift which required everybody on the top of the mountain attached to that building that the chairlift goes in to vacate. So we got that notice March 9th. So we decided to make lemons into lemonade and move the station from Windham to 'here' because there was space available, and from where we're standing it's 8.1 miles to downtown Albany."

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Marker at the highest elevation in Albany County.

"Here" is a Heldeberg mountaintop, the highest point in Albany County. WYBN began beaming a test signal carrying eight channels Saturday.   "14.1 is Brother TV, the old Goodson-Todman library of game shows from 1955 to maybe eight years ago. 14.2 is Cozi, and it shows like “Rockford Files,” “Frazier” for two hours and then “Will and Grace” for two hours. 14.3 had been tuffTv, it's going to be switched to Action Sports, which is the same type of show. 14.4 is live from France, from Paris, it’s 24-hours news, they're like CNN was 30 years ago, straight-up news, they've got 30 bureaus around the world. 14.5 is Rev'n, it's like 'how do I fix my car, how do I fix my snowmobile?' 14.6 is RetroTV, which for five years was on Channel 10 on 10.2, shows from about 1955 to 85, with a mixture of shows form the BBC like “Doctor Who.” 14.7 is LATV from Los Angeles, it's a Spanish network. And 14.8 is ThisTv from MGM and Lionsgate film library."

Viles says he regularly hears from people who have been streaming to their TVs but miss local stations. He advises getting a high-quality outdoor digital antenna.  "And you get over-the-air TV. And the reason people are excited about it is the signal quality of over-the-air TV actually surpasses by miles the quality of the signal from cable."


You have a little time to shop around for an antenna: Channel 14 has been operating in "test authority" mode, and is signing off for a couple of days in compliance with FCC regulations, as the commission finalizes clearance of the new signal. 

WYBN is carried on Mid-Hudson Cable but previously didn't qualify to get on Spectrum in the Capital Region under the federal "must carry" rule.

An official with Charter/Spectrum television says the cable operator will "look into" whether or not it will be compelled to place the relocated station on its line-up.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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