KBVO IS BACK
LIN TV launched new programming on an existing station with familiar call letters, but it may not be free TV in Austin, even though they have dubbed themselves “My Austin TV”.
October 21, 2009 LIN TV, owner of KXAN TV (NBC) and operator of KNVA (CW) began airing programming from MyNetworkTV on its full-power station in the Hill Country, now called KBVO TV. MyNetworkTV had aired on KNVA at 10 p.m. after CW programming.
Owned by Fox, MyNetworkTV had been trying to make it as a network airing reruns, but on September 28th, it ceased to be a network. It is now a programming service with shows like “The Unit”, “Law and Order-Criminal Intent”, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, and movies.
LIN also intends to augment and enhance the new KBVO with sports. “MyAustinTV will air San Antonio Spurs NBA basketball games, Houston Texans NFL pre-season games, and Big 12 college basketball games, including The University of Texas Longhorn basketball games. The station will also air other UT sports programming, including Longhorn Sports Center Weekly, with the potential to air live UT sports such as baseball, women’s basketball, softball and more.,” according to the news release. It will also rebroadcast KXAN TV’s 10 p.m. newscast at midnight.
“MyAustinTV is dedicated to providing local and regional sports and entertainment programming to Central Texas,” said Eric Lassberg, President and General Manager, KXAN-TV (NBC), KNVA-TV (CW) and KBVO-TV (MNT). “We especially want to thank the University of Texas, the San Antonio Spurs and our other partners in the community for helping us provide viewers with their favorite local content.”
The problem is this: Unless you live in the KBVO Channel 14 digital footprint, you cannot see it on free TV. I live in Southwest Austin, and none of my TVs equipped with a DTV convert boxes can detect the channel. The digital transmitter is located near Llano. It is available on the Time Warner HD tier and Direct TV (Satellite). Grande plans to programming KBVO on two tiers. Plans are in the works for AT&T U-Verse and Suddenlink.
A little background: In 1983 KBVO were the original call letters of what is now KEYE TV (CBS). KBVO was independent then. When the station became the CBS affiliate in 1995, the KBVO call letters became available. LIN TV signed-on the full-power Hill Country station KXAM TV licensed to Llano in 1991. It simulcast KXAN programming. September 1, 2009 KXAM became KBVO TV. Got all of that?
So far, KXAN and LIN are mum about any plans for KXAN’s digital subchannels. Part of the problem has always been the limitations of the KXAN physical plant on West MLK Jr.
This KXAM/KBVO shift might seem a little baffling. KXAM TV was the brainchild of LIN TV CEO Gary Chapman to increase the reach of KXAN into the Hill Country. For years, the Hill Country belonged to KTBC TV (Fox) because its VHF frequency boomed into basic antennas in western counties of the market. Adding KXAM with a news bureau equipped with a live truck and a live link in Round Mountain in Blanco County gave KXAN a presence. Nielsen called it KXAN +. Sure enough, it helped KXAN become #1 in the late 1990s.
So why change?
“Years ago, when Gary Chapman launched KXAM, 60% of households in that area, “Hill Country”, received our signal over-the-air. Today, less than 15% are now getting KXAN over the air, since as you know most people have moved to cable or satellite,” says a LIN TV spokesperson. “Our viewers are better served by offering a new and more vibrant product with the MyNetworkTV programming.”
Assuming those audience view trends are correct, comparing 1991 to 2009, the switch makes total sense. LIN TV is smart to make its existing full-power TV station in something else, unique from KXAN and KNVA. It then becomes a station that must be carried on cable systems in the community. It should not subtract from KXAN or KNVA’s audience, and it should create what I keep calling an additional revenue stream.
I just wish I could see it without paying more for it. I’m curious. Can you pick up KBVO where you live?
Click “comments” and let me know, yes or no, and tell me what part of town you’re in.
© Jim McNabb, 2009