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February 1, 2024 12:33 am  #1


Archivist's Old Cable Access Shows Collection Becomes Big Hit

They were the cheesiest shows and had the lowest production values of just about anything television viewers had ever seen. Who knew that years later, an archivist would uncover some hidden taped gems of the early days of cable TV access channels and turn it into a campy hit? 

Sadly, this is Winnipeg and not Toronto where entities like the shows that aired on places like Keeble Cable, Metro Cable, MacLean-Hunter and of course Rogers Channel 10 are likely to be long gone. The kinds of programs that used to air there were both boring and bizarre, but there were nuggets amongst all that fool's gold. And that's what a guy from Manitoba has turned into a chest of hidden treasures.

Winnipeg Babysitter celebrates Wild West years of Canadian cable access television

I know that the great Ed Conroy from Retrontario (a SOWNY member) has saved a ton of great stuff from local TV stations over the years and his site is a must see for anyone who grew up in the Big Smoke. (I'm not sure if he also has any cable access stuff in his collection. Perhaps he'll see this and post a reply.)

I have no idea if we will ever get to see this Winnipeg material, but it sounds pretty enjoyable in a campy kind of way. I hope someday someone here looks through whatever archives are left from those really early cable days and sees if there's anything that can be salvaged.

It was awful then.

It's nostalgic today. 

 

February 1, 2024 1:00 am  #2


Re: Archivist's Old Cable Access Shows Collection Becomes Big Hit

One cable channel line-up in Sept. 1972:

     Thread Starter
 

February 1, 2024 8:40 am  #3


Re: Archivist's Old Cable Access Shows Collection Becomes Big Hit

1. I wonder what the monthly cost to subscribers would have been in September 1972.                                                  2. WUTV had been on the air for almost two years. Still not available to cable subscribers. Customers would gladly give up CKCO to receive it. However, in the CRTC world, it is better to give them an almost duplicate CTV channel rather than one of those evil stations beaming from south of the border.

 

February 1, 2024 9:21 am  #4


Re: Archivist's Old Cable Access Shows Collection Becomes Big Hit

Worth remembering that at this time, there was a lot of growing unrest by Canadian advertisers plugging their wares on Buffalo stations. (No simsub then!) Broadcasters here were constantly complaining about border station siphoning off commercials they would have preferred be spent on their airwaves. 

It's easy to forget, but this battle went on for years before the government put rules into effect to stop it and today, you never see any Canadian spots on any of the Buffalo outlets. 



Plus at the time WUTV was an independent, with no network affiliation (but lots of "Lost In Space" reruns, as I recall!) so viewers weren't being deprived of any network. 

I thought it was interesting to see what was available on cable back then. It was really just a way to get clearer Buffalo signals and nothing else. And I, too, would love to know how much they were charging monthly for this option back then. 

     Thread Starter
 

February 1, 2024 9:46 am  #5


Re: Archivist's Old Cable Access Shows Collection Becomes Big Hit

My favourite Cable Access material we have found thus far is the Trillium/Scarborough Cable 10 Star Trek call-in show "Ten Forward" from the late 80s/early 90s.


 

 

February 5, 2024 9:01 pm  #6


Re: Archivist's Old Cable Access Shows Collection Becomes Big Hit

Mace & RA;
When my parents took Rogers Cable TV in 1968, the cost for one TV outlet was $4.50/mo.  An additional TV or FM outlet was $1.00/mo.  Their initial cable TV installation fee was $15.00 and it was $10.00 if you wanted them to come back and install an additional outlet.

For perspective, $4.50 in 1968 is equivelent to about $38 in today's money.  That $4.50 rate was still effective in 1973. That's somewhat impressive, as I don't know of any TV provider today that has not increased their rate over the last 5 years.

https://www.officialdata.org/canada/inflation/1968?amount=4.50
 

 

February 5, 2024 10:02 pm  #7


Re: Archivist's Old Cable Access Shows Collection Becomes Big Hit

Did they consider it worth the money?

     Thread Starter
 

February 5, 2024 10:46 pm  #8


Re: Archivist's Old Cable Access Shows Collection Becomes Big Hit

So the skinny packages on Rogers and Bell at about $25/mo are considerably cheaper than the $4.50/mo in 1968 or $38/mo in today's dollars?  Both of these skinny packages offer more channels than what was available in 1968.  Not that you necessarily would watch all of these channels, but the basics are there.  Picture and sound quality on all channels are also much better today than in the late 60's.

 

February 10, 2024 10:52 pm  #9


Re: Archivist's Old Cable Access Shows Collection Becomes Big Hit

Sorry for the delay..  Agree, you get more channels now with today's $25 skinny basic than what you did back then. Good analogue TV reception has always been about location.  Some folks couldn't pull in a quality signal, especially if you had a tall building in the way between you and the Tx or a noisy high voltage power line nearby.  I recall hearing the late Phil Lind (of Rogers) say that they used to cheer whenever a tall building was being constructed in Toronto as it would impair reception in nearby homes.  

 

Yesterday 12:13 pm  #10


Re: Archivist's Old Cable Access Shows Collection Becomes Big Hit

Somewhere on VHS I have a recording of an old cable access show featuring Reiner Schwarz. That one is not so easy to find but I did find an old reel to reel recording I made off Canadian Pay TV with Reiner doing the narration. Was doing a bit of research on something and had to dig out the tape. Being a fan of both NY and Reiner am glad I saved the tape.

This is a very brief snip

Last edited by Fitz (Yesterday 12:14 pm)


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