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Continuing money woes trim station’s schedule

February 14, 1987

By Tom Sowa
The Spokesman-Review

Continuing monetary problems have forced Spokane television station KSKN, Channel 22, to shorten its broadcast schedule.

Rising costs and reduced revenue have prompted the station to sign on an hour later each morning and to sign off an hour and a half sooner each day.

Starting Thursday, the station’s schedule will be from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., according to station manager and local sales manager Steve Whitehead. On some weekend nights, programs will run to 11:30 p.m., he added.

The changes in hours will reduce costs of operation and program acquisition.

KSKN is one of two Spokane independent UHF (ultra-high frequency) TV stations. Unlike network affiliates, independent stations purchase or acquire all programs themselves. In turn, unlike affiliate stations, they keep all advertising revenue they generate.

KSKN’s ad sales increased in the last two quarters of 1986, according to Whitehead. But operating costs and bills to program providers kept the station from becoming profitable, he said.

In March of 1986, the station’s president and general manager, Gene Adelstein, died of a heart attack. Since then the station has been managed out of Tucson, Ariz., by a group of investors, including Ellen Adelstein, Gene Adelstein’s wife.

Whitehead admitted the station’s owners in Arizona have discussed several options for KSKN’s future. “The station ownership in fact is going through a period of reorganization. That has led to some decisions (about programming and operating) being rescinded lately.”

KSKN went on the air in December of 1983. Its first owner, Lee Schulman, sold the station to the Adelsteins after filing for reorganization in April of 1985.

Whitehead said the chances of the station closing completely are small. “We’re still running our nightly movie, our kids’ block of programming. A lot will depend on how well the station does in the February ratings,” said Whitehead.

To some extent, the change in station ownership also will determine what direction KSKN takes. “They’re rolling the dice down there in Arizona and all I can do is see who comes out the winner.”

Saturday, February 14, 1987

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