The digital television spectrum in the Quad-Cities got a little Retro at noon Monday.
WHBF-TV debuted its digital subchannel, Ch. 4.2, carrying programming from the Retro Television Network, or RTN, including reruns of “Leave It to Beaver,” “Knight Rider,” “The A-Team” and “Dragnet.”
J.D. Walls, operations and program manager for the Rock Island-based CBS station, said plans were only finalized last Wednesday after contractual, operational and technical issues were resolved for its digital channel.
Walls said the station is starting with a “soft launch,” and will not publicize it on its own airwaves until at least mid-December.
“The programming is up. I expect it’ll before two weeks before we have local (commercials),” Walls said. “We’re still ironing out some technical and operational issues. It’s not the shiny new product we want it to be, but we knew all along that we were going to launch it soft.”
The programming schedule, which also includes three hours of RTN’s own talk shows, currently follows a national feed, Walls said. In time, WHBF may choose to make its own choices in programming from the RTN library or its own schedule.
“The order is really shaped by the local stations,” Mark Dvornik, executive vice president of the Little Rock, Ark.-based RTN, said in an April interview. “It’s not some national brand that has nothing to do with them. With a local partner, we have a connection with viewers.”
The channel can be viewed by those who have a digital converter antenna, which will be mandatory for those without cable or satellite delivery in February. It is also on Mediacom’s digital tier at Ch. 245, as well as on several other cable systems in the WHBF viewing area.
Retransmission agreements have not been reached with the two largest satellite broadcasters, DirecTV and Dish Network, Walls said.
Citadel Communications, which owns WHBF, signed an agreement in April to put RTN on its digital channels in Rock Island as well as Lincoln, Neb., and Des Moines.
More information about RTN is available online at RTNville.com.
Here is the weekday daytime schedule for WHBF-TV4.2, which began carrying the Retro TV Network Monday. It is available to those with a digital antenna, or on Mediacom Ch. 245 on the digital tier:
5 a.m. “McHale’s Navy” (two episodes)
6 a.m. “Kate and Allie”
6:30 a.m. “Bachelor Father”
7 a.m. “Leave it to Beaver” (two episodes)
8 a.m. “Daytime”
9 a.m. “Ironside”
10 a.m. “Marcus Welby, M.D.”
11 a.m. “Quincy”
1 p.m. “Kojak”
2 p.m. “Simon and Simon”
3 p.m. “The Rockford Files”
4 p.m. “Adam-12”
4:30 p.m. “Dragnet
5 p.m. “The Incredible Hulk”
6 p.m. “Knight Rider”
7 p.m. “The A-Team”
8 p.m. “Magnum, P.I.”
9 p.m. “Emergency”
10 p.m. “Unreliable Sources”
11 p.m. “Closing Remarks”
Midnight “Leave It to Beaver” (two episodes)
1 a.m. “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (two episodes)
2 a.m. “Night Gallery” (two episodes)