Sunday, April 13, 2008
WKBS TV Channel 48 Philadelphia
Channel 48, WKBS TV in Philadelphia, was THE TV station for Philly kids back then. Most of the cool TV shows my friends watched appeared on that very station. Sure, we watched other stations' kids shows as well (Spider-Man on Channel 17, Star Blazers on Channel 29), but the large majority of the best shows were on Channel 48.
Channel 48 first signed on the air in Philly on September 1, 1965, and was owned by Kaiser Broadcasting. In 1972, Kaiser formed a partnership with another company, Field Communications, and eventually the two companies became one under the Field banner.
The two Field brothers who controlled the company had severe disagreements about how to run the group; their falling out with each other led them to sell the company's assets. Most stations were sold off, but Channel 48 was not. They discovered that there was greater money to be made by liquidating the station's assets and taking the tax write-off. Most equipment and programming rights were sold to rival Channel 17 and the license returned to the FCC. The station went dark on August 29th, 1983. I was away on vacation when I found out about the station and was devastated; when I turned the TV on after arriving home and saw nothing but snow, I couldn't believe it.
It may seem strange to lament the end of a TV station, but I had spent nearly half my young life devoted to them. I LIVED to watch it. The station's studios were not far from my neighborhood and I passed it in my father's car several times; I actually drew a picture of the buidling and hung it on the refrigerator.
I was a weird child.
Here is a very brief promo for the station:
Here are a few audio airchecks from the station (video from the station is very rare, I'm afraid). YouTube has disabled embedding for these clips, so here are the direct links.
For more on Channel 48, read here:
Here's an example of the awesome programming the station had to offer an 8-year-old on November 15, 1982:
And of course, there's always Wikipedia: