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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

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Darren Blair

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I have dreamed a dream.

Somehow or other, I was in an area that was getting an independent television station coming from Corsicana; might have been here given the way the local cable company keeps finding new channels to expand its offerings. I’ve already checked the call letters I remember seeing, and various combinations thereof; all are real, but only one is a television station and none of them are from there. Regardless, there it was.

In the dream, it was a Saturday morning. How do I know? The station’s Saturday morning line-up was playing. In addition to whatever educational programming the station had that day (the US government requires that all over-the-air television stations at least three hours of kids’ educational content a week), the station had actual, honest-to-gosh, entertainment programming. Curiously enough, the show I was watching was the Japanese series “Patlabor”, which was actually a prime-time police procedural with science fiction elements, and so a curious choice for a Saturday morning series.

During a commercial break, I checked the digital listings. Between that and a commercial announcing programming, I got some idea of the other programming. At either 11 AM or 11:30 AM, “Patlabor” was either the last or next-to-last show of the Saturday line-up; I don’t entirely remember the details. A “Transformers” series (likely the original 1980s cartoon based on the images I was seeing) was supposed to air at 9:30 AM, but the listings said that today’s episode had a delayed start and so was running in a compressed amount of time (20 – 25 minutes?), possibly to compensate for something earlier in the day running long. The previews definitely advertised for the fact that the station would be picking up syndicated re-runs of “Will and Grace”. I also recall seeing individual images from a handful of kids’ series, such as the Fred Ward “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” cartoon and another 80s sci-fi property known as “Centurions”.

But in addition to the previews, there was also an extended sequence promoting the station itself. According to the promotion, the station was founded by a series of local business leaders who came together to make an independent channel, essentially something that they felt would be more relevant to local audiences than an affiliate station. And while there was a central broadcasting tower, the facilities themselves were apparently divided between a handful of nearby buildings, most of which had other activities and businesses going on as well. I doubt it’s realistic, but it further emphasized the “community” nature of everything.

This has me wondering.

Unless there’s something I’ve missed, we only have about five over-the-air radio stations and two over-the-air television stations originating from this area, plus various public access channels as allowed for by various cable providers. Most everything else originates from Waco, Temple, or Austin. So what does this mean for us?

Well, that depends upon how you view things. For example, if a radio station has a van, but that van is only used for errands instead of live remote broadcasts, does that mean the station isn’t really representing the community? What if the station frequently has people in the studio itself for interviews? Does that count?

And if it’s decided that none of the local stations actually represent us locally, then what? Do we lobby the stations to change? Do we start a new one? If so, who will fund it and staff it? Where will it be? Radio or television? What content will it have? Et cetra. All things that may or may not be worth considering as this region grows.

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