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Lamenting the loss of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood
by Andrew Barbano
Dec 04, 2013 | 429 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TV mogul Jim Rogers is an interesting guy. He donated $87.5 million to the University of Arizona law school, his alma mater. He served without pay as Nevada university system chancellor and has been an outspoken critic of the way we starve education.

Rogers recently stated that he has yielded LV rights to the hyper-lucrative Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune game shows and will use the time to expand Gomorrah South news coverage.

Then came the announcement about his sorta-sale of Reno’s KRNV TV-4 to megaraptor Sinclair Broadcast Group.

With rare exception, the Federal Communications Commission limits ownership to one station per market. Sinclair already owns Fox11 and “operates” (remember that word) MyTV21.

Sinclair did an end-around by acquiring KRNV’s “non-license assets” for $26 million and contracting “to operate or provide sales services to the station.”

That’s a distinction without a difference for consumers. Sinclair now controls a dozen local over-the-air digital channels, half unused. TV-4 generated about $135.2 million in sales over the past year.

Sinclair says it will drop KTVU-Oakland’s 10 O’Clock News in favor of expanding local coverage. The Bay Area program, which airs on both TV-11 and TV-21, is touted as the number one late news in this market.

The current TV-11/21 local news show is rudimentary by the expensive standards of competitors but has shown more integrity than some. Moonhowlers who expected the Fox affiliate’s news department to emulate the racist demagoguery of the Fox cable channel have been delightfully disappointed.

Well aware that it covers the region from the Pacific to the High Desert Outback of the American Dream, the Oakland station does a respectable amount of regional news. I’ll miss it.

I worry about the fate of KRNV’s long-running commentary shows. Sam Shad’s Nevada Newsmakers has originated there for two decades. Jon Ralston’s program has done well following the station’s 6 p.m. newscast. Rogers hisself does a five-minute daily interview at noon.

KRNV news went tabloid about a year ago and has shown some aggressive chops where Channels 8 and 2 are limp by management decision.

With the notable exception of Channel 4, local TV stations air the absolute minimum in public affairs programming. When they do, it’s intentionally bland. Tune in at 6 a.m. any Sunday.

As I noted last week, I have been getting hot and cold running news leads about stuff the legit media won’t touch, largely because corporations are more risk-averse than NFL coaches.

Sinclair controls 164 stations in 77 markets nationwide. Local TV now has almost no Nevada roots. Which is why I’m working to bring back a community channel.

Stay tuned.

MINOR FOOTNOTE: Channel 3 in Las Vegas endorsed my candidacy for Congress in 1984 with Mr. Rogers delivering the on-air editorial. I have never met or spoken with the gentleman to this day.

Esté bien. Haga infierno.

Be well. Raise hell. 
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