KOLO TV-8 went down at 5:30:10 Sunday, the opening credits of the Academy Awards. I immediately got calls from Sparks readers via my Barbwire.TV hotline.
An NVEnergy power outage took down Channel 8’s legendary wide-area Slide Mountain transmitter. The station’s backup antenna (on Ampere Way behind – ahem – NV Energy) also failed.
Because of Hollywood’s black blackout, the hottest item on the show was Chris Rock’s opening monologue. Viewers were invited to tune in at 12:45 a.m. for a rerun, which TV-2 and TV-4 courteously reported at 11:00 p.m. At the same time, KOLO announced cancellation because it didn’t have rebroadcast rights. It ran anyway.
The one in five viewers who depend on over-the-air reception were out of luck as were DirectTV and Blackbeard Murdoch’s Dish customers. Charter Cable victims were exempt. (I checked with my neighbors.) Sparks viewers informed me that TV-8 returned at 7:20 p.m.
KOLO’s newsroom told me that AT&T’s U-Verse system was operational. Like Charter, it does not use the transmitter signal.
Déjà-Tube All Over Again – I informed TV-8 news of eerie past parallels. In 1974, KOLO went down during a severe snowstorm. The general manager was too cheap to install a remote re-set switch and the blizzard left so much snow that engineers couldn’t get up Slide Mountain for days.
The transmitter again committed suicide at the start of the 1976 Winter Olympics. Engineers had told the boss that a custom-machined part was showing signs of failure. Protecting his quarterly bonus, the g.m. kept postponing the expense. When the component failed, it cost much more in a rush.
For weeks, KOLO’s Wells Avenue backup antenna produced a very snowy picture reaching only Reno-Sparks. On both occasions, my advertising agency alone demanded credits and bonus spots to make good on deficient coverage. Others didn’t ask and paid much more for much less.
In 1977, TV-8 burned down (an ex-worker was seen nearby with a gas can), then moved into its current digs in Warren Buffet’s neighborhood.
FAILURE, PART DEUX. TV-5 blacked out the Public Broadcasting System Democratic debate a few weeks ago. KNPB GM Kurt Mische told me that because there was no PBS Republican debate, he killed the show.
Bogus, lame and lamentable.
Equal-time requirements were met because the Dems are on ballots only against each other. Besides, GOP love fests get televised almost weekly.
Longtime PBS ombudsman Michael Getler agreed with me. Responding to my query, he wrote that almost every PBS affiliate aired Bernie vs. Hillary. (See the Barbwire.US edition of this column for his chastisement.)
Mische also refused to carry Bill Moyers’ final series after banishing his previous one, “NOW,” to 2:00 a.m. Saturdays.
Even Mr. Getler couldn’t get PBS to give an excuse for killing NOW in 2009 despite its popularity.
How about some big fat corporate reasons. PBS axed a 2013 documentary on the fascist billionaire Koch Brothers who are now major funders.
See the Barbwire web edition for previous PBS censorship incidents, one of which I got reversed.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 47-year Nevadan and editor of NevadaLabor.com. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org> Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.