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KXLY needs Extra! channel to make room for new shows

March 6, 1994

By Jim Kershner
The Spokesman-Review

On the theory that one station is not enough, KXLY is launching its own cable channel, KXLY Extra!, on April 4.

This 24-hour-a-day channel will carry movies, syndicated sitcoms, national news and local news. Its biggest programming innovation, however, will be to carry simulcast versions of KXLY-AM‘s radio talk shows.

That’s right, there will be TV cameras in the radio booths along with hosts Pete Fretwell and Alex Wood. If you tune in to KXLY Extra!, you can watch them talk instead of merely listen to them.

KXLY Extra! will be on Cox Cable‘s channel 14 in Spokane (replacing the Disney Channel, which moves to channel 66) and also on Cablevision‘s channel 3 in Coeur d’Alene. Subscribers will receive it with the basic cable package.

Probably a “couple of dozen” stations in the nation have launched their own cable stations, but none in the Northwest, said KXLY vice president and general manager Steve Herling.

And nobody, to KXLY’s knowledge, has married a cable channel with a radio station.

“I think we’re pioneers in this whole area,” said Bob Witter, the station manager of KXLY-AM and FM.

KXLY Extra! will run three main types of programming. One is the All News Channel, a national all-news station out of Minneapolis, which will fill about seven hours each day, including most of the night. Movies and syndicated TV shows, including “Star Trek,” “Golden Girls,” “Who’s the Boss?,” “Martha Stewart,” “Siskel & Ebert,” and “Bob Vila,” will fill another large chunk of time.

However, the showcase programming will be local. KXLY-4’s TV news shows will be simulcast on KXLY Extra!, as will nearly four hours of radio talk shows. Even the radio “Lawn and Garden Show” on Saturday mornings will be broadcast on KXLY Extra!

By the way, KXLY’s new “interactive” concept makes more sense in light of this announcement. On KXLY Extra! viewers can watch the TV news, and then watch the radio talk segments featuring reporters and anchors taking call-in questions about their stories.

In addition, Herling said KXLY will now have unprecedented flexibility to devote large chunks of time to live TV coverage of breaking news stories.

He said the station will not be shy about cutting in to a scheduled program. He wants to let viewers “be eyewitnesses as events develop.”

“It’s KXLY’s on-ramp to the information superhighway,” said Herling.

One way video

If you call one of these talk shows, viewers will have to settle for just hearing your voice. That’s because KXLY has not yet figured out a way to get a camera into everybody’s home.

Who knows? With the way technology is going, that may be next.

Sunday, March 6, 1994

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  1. Say goodbye to XTRA « Spokane Television History

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