Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Continue Fall of KVOS

In spite of it's location thirty miles sout hof the Canadian border KVOS-TV has been main stain of the Vancouver television market since the begining. However as the competition has increased in the lower mainland the Bellingham, Washington based station has been marginalized to a point where it relevance is now questioned especially after the station was serious devalued in it's recent sale.

On January 24th the FCC aproved the sale of the station from Newport broadcasting to OTA holdings out of San Francisco. OTA paid $2.8 million for the station which Newport bought in 2007 for $28 million in conjunction with a station in Santa Rosa, California. No matter how you look at it Newport suffered on their investment. The bargain price for the station which has gone through four ownership changes since 2003 is reflective of a entity that has suffered through some poor managementhere and the reality that it's initial purpose was out dated.

When the station was founded in 1953 there was only one TV station in Seattle and none in Vancouver. When KVOS signed on in June of 1953 with the corination or Queen Elizabeth the second it instantly connected with viewers in Vancouver hungry for television. While KVOS initally had it's sight set on attracting viewers from Seattle, it's signal could be recived clearly in Vancouver, while in Seattle it was fuzzy. With an affiliation to CBS, KVOS would dominate the Vancouver market for decades. The advent of cable did mean conflict with KIRO for CBS programing, but soon KVOS would become an indipendent carried on both Vancouver and Seattle cable systems given the station a powerful northwest presence.

The demise of KVOS started off slow. In the ninties the station the station was removed from many cable systems in the Seattle-Tacoma market when it program schedule conflicted with KCPQ at a time when KVOS started to air FOX shows. The trouble really started in 1997 when more cimpetition came to Vancouver starting with CIVT (now CTV), to later be followed by CHNU (Joy TV), CHMN (Omni) and CIVI (now CTV Two). The increased competition combined with KVOS's ownership woes meant that the station could no longer keep up with quality programing or hang on to viwers advertisers in the Vancouver market. It also meant that becuase it was not based in Vancouver KVOS lost it's place on channel 12 in the Vancouver and Victoria cable market and is now no longer a part of Shaw's basic package. The station is a part of Novus and Telus systems, but is not seen on Bell or Shaw Direct.

It can be argued now that KVOS clearly belongs to the city it broadcasts from, Bellingham, Washingotn. However Bellingham and it's surounding communities are still a small population which on it's own have never generated enough money to keep the station on the air. Over the years as popularity has declined, so has it's amount of local programming. Even though "local" shows meant the Vancouver market with icons such as Reb Robinson and Jack Cullen. The last Bellingham based newscast was News View which aired at 6:30am daily. It was canceled in 2007. Last April the station affiliated with Chicago based MeTV airing a steady stream of re-runs with mostly 60's and 70's programing with local programing basically reduced to community callender announcements.

As KVOS becomes more reliant on Bellingham to stay on the air, the less relevant to Bellingham it becomes. At the same token it has become quite irrelevant to Vancouver. While it still makes some effort to attract lower mainland viewers it's community presence has dwindeled significantly. When I was a kid it was the palce for after school television with shows like the Flintstones and Scooby Doo. It had the Canucks Kids Fan Club which gave away thosuands of hockey tickets to youngsters like myself back in the days were the Canucks were emerging from the basement of the NHL.

The MeTV lineup includes many shows made popular on CBS such as Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke, and Bob Newhart which aired during the time KVOS was a CBS affiliate. It is a reminder of the stations former glory. It is a reminder of what the station was, and has to think in the environment of increasing competition and move towards high defenition television whether this could be a last hurah for old Channel 12 before fading to black.

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