Welcome to TV Garth!

Ever since I was a kid, I loved antennas and TV reception. It was always a thrill to hook up an antenna and see what stations I could get, and see if I could pick up anything from a far distance. With the transition to digital broadcasting happening, my love for OTA (over the air) reception came back and this blog will focus on what channels I'm able to receive via antenna from my home just outside of Toronto, Canada. Plus there may be occasional commentaries on shows that I see while adjusting my reception.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays From TV Garth!

I always get very Santamental around this time of year! Wishing all my readers the very best throughout this Holiday season and beyond! (Today's pic from Erie, PA's WFXP, RF22, as seen Nov. 13, 2010!)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rockin' Road Trip To Rochester Nov. 20-21, 2010!

Greetings TV Garth readers! I wanted to showcase my most recent road trip, which was a journey to a city with a special place in my heart - Rochester, NY! I quite enjoy picking up the city's TV stations via antenna whenever the tropo helps them come in, and that love actually goes back to when I was a kid!

When I was growing up in Scarborough, Ontario our cable company was one of two in the Toronto area that offered Rochester stations! Both WROC and WHEC were on the lineups for the Scarborough and Pickering systems. (I also learned I could occasionally pick them up over-the-air when the conditions were right.) It always felt neat to me that we had "extra" affiliates on the dial. I also liked that they offered some shows that weren't on the Buffalo channels we received. (For example, WHEC ran programs like Friday Night Videos when WGRZ didn't.) Check out the pic below for a look at a Scarborough Cable channel guide from 1989, plus a brochure from 1988.

Scarborough Cable 1988-1989

By 1997, however, the stations were taken off cable to make way for new specialty services, and that was also the year I moved to Markham, where they were never carried. Upon moving to Markham, I DXed occasionally and was happy to see that I could still pick them up by antenna. Fast forward to 2008 when I had my rabbit ears out and was getting a fuzzy analog WROC showing an ad for a Henrietta car dealership. With all the talk of the coming DTV transition, I had a bittersweet feeling that it might be the last time seeing those channels. Cut to 2009, and with some new antennas and a renewed passion for DXing I found out I could get Rochester stations in full HD! I didn't think it was possible and was totally blown away the first time I picked them up digitally! (It was great getting reacquainted with "old friends" and ushered in a new wave of DX mania for me!)

So with that history under my belt, I still heart Rochester very much! I passed through during a trip to JemCon in September, but had always wanted to see the city proper and that dream came true this past November. I travelled with four awesome friends, and we had a blast taking on the Roch-Cha-Cha experience! We called ourselves the M.A.G.I.C. crew after realizing our initials fit the acronym! (Marsha Ankur Garth Indira Chantal!) We weren't heading to Cleveland, but we certainly had the Power of 5 during our trip!

TV Garth Rochester Trip Group Shot

November 20, 2010

We were on our way to the Flower City, and I was very excited!


I recognized Rochester Colonial (pictured below on a water tower) from their TV ads! Compare with a pic of their ad as seen on WROC (RF45) Nov. 12, 2010.

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I'm convinced that Cellino & Barnes own Western New York, and I laughed when I saw their billboards every few blocks as we drove. The pic I took below looks almost like a portrait of a town with mysterious secrets and vampy women from any number of mid-season replacement shows on ABC. Speaking of ABC, check out the second pic for a Cellino & Barnes ad I saw on Rochester's ABC affiliate WHAM (RF13) back on June 25, 2010!


I was already starting to squeal as we got closer to downtown Rochester. Compare the skyline in the pic with the downtown traffic cam on WHEC-DT (RF10-2) as seen July 20, 2010.

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I zoomed in a bit to get a better shot of the buildings, which I recognized from all the Roch-Cha-Cha newscasts I've watched. Compare with the backdrop on WHAM as seen on their new HD set Sept. 16, 2010.

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I then zoomed out to get a shot of the whole view, including Frontier Field on the left. Compare with a shot of downtown Rochester seen behind Brian Neudorff on WROC, June 22, 2010.


Here's the famous Frontier Field where the Rochester Red Wings play ball! Check out the second pic showing the Red Wings in action on WUHF (RF28) Sept. 6, 2010.

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Look closely, and you'll see the sign that says Welcome To Downtown Rochester!


Mr. A was getting me to put the addresses of the TV stations I wanted to visit into our car's GPS. I joked that I was breaking our tradition of visiting NBC stations by going to WROC, but by mistake I typed in WHEC's address first! I laughed when I realized the tradition was preserved! They have a great 3-D logo on their building.


Mr. A captured a great pic of a Rochester Red Wings sticker a car parked near the station. Compare with a pic from an ad I saw on WHEC (RF10) back on July 21, 2010.

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People probably wondered What the HEC I was doing as I happily posed with one of the station's news vehicles.


I totally heart WHEC! (Fond memories of watching The New Archies in the late 80s, Friday Night Videos in the 90s and more recently Rebecca Leclair in the 2000s!)


Here I am at the main entrance of the building, proud as a peacock! (The NBC variety, not the Katy Perry variation...)


Nobody was around in the main lobby, but Mr. A noticed some activity in the newsroom. At first I was afraid when he went to knock on the window, but soon enough we were both standing there trying to "talk" with our hands to the anchors! I was excited to see Josh Nichols (a great meteorologist on WHEC) and Nikki Rudd. Josh seemed to smile and laugh as I pointed to my TV Garth shirt and tried to gesticulate that I loved their station. My friend Marsha got a great pic of us at the window talking to them.


Later that evening, Nikki was aghast and said "Can you believe those people at the window? Who were those loonies?" To which Josh replied "They're Canadian, eh?" (Just kidding...the pic below is a shot of the duo as seen on my TV at home back on July 18, 2010!)

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After we left WHEC, I noticed another Rochester icon - Sticky Lips BBQ! Compare with the ad I saw April 2, 2010 on WROC!

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Soon we were off to see WROC!


They're still in the same building they've had for decades, as evidenced by an awesome ad that I scanned from a 1962 Lake Ontario edition TV Guide!

WROC 1962 TV Guide Ad

I eagerly posed with the first W-CAR-OC that I saw!


I was caught between a ROC and a FOX place!


I posed with the WUHF van, which featured FOX 31 branding that is rarely used by the station these days. (WUHF is another station I remember from when I was a kid...in fact, I remember it as one of the first ones I could get that wasn't on our cable at that time.)


Here I am posing with a different van that had a neat "film strip" of the city alongside WROC station branding.


What happened next totally surprised me. I saw Meghan Backus pop out of the station's doors and quickly grabbed my entourage to chat her up. She was very friendly and I quickly explained my TV station love and a bit about what I had planned for my b-day road trip. Mr. A impishly tried to get me to tell her about some of the bad puns I've used for her on my blog. (He was trying to get to me to mention "Backus That Thang Up" but I went with the more tame "Meghan can you Backus up on that?") The second pic shows Meghan as seen on my TV at home on June 15, 2010.


I was totally surprised again when I saw WROC photojournalist Chetan Rakieten arrive at the station! I immediately recognized him from a story I saw last Summer that was part of the station's One Community, Many Faiths series! He was surprised I recognized him, and I think it was at this point that Meghan said she was impressed by my interest in local news. Check out the second pic for Chetan on air as seen July 22, 2010 on WROC!

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It was a triple play as I got a pic with another WROC photographer, and I loved his jacket. They were all very friendly to me and my pals, and I was totally geeking out over bumping into them!


We hit the road again and I was giddy when I saw the billboard for Midas Rochester! They had one of the first local Rochester ads that stood out to me last year and I featured it in an early Reception Report. Compare their current billboard with an ad that I saw back on March 9, 2010 on WUHF!

WUHF as seen March 9, 2010

I captured a gorgeous shot of Rochester at night!

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We soon checked into the Rochester Plaza Hotel and I immediately noted the neat mural for the Rochester Jazz Festival. I knew of the Festival from newscasts I had seen over the last couple of years. (Second pic comes from a story I saw on WHAM, June 19, 2009.)

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We were about to head out to Tilt nightclub later that night, but before we left, I watched some FOX First At Ten on WUHF with Bob Metcalfe on the hotel's TV.


Here is the M.A.G.I.C. crew going full Tilt at the club! We...er...indulged a tad too much in their generously oversized $2.50 drinks. By this time we really shouldn't have been having those delicious alcoholic purple test tubes, but when in Rochester....

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After being sufficiently sloshed and getting back to our hotel, what better way to unwind than to pull out a pocket TV and surf for channels? I brought my Casio hand held mini-TV and saw Rochester's WBGT-CA on Ch. 40, which is blocked at home by CFTO's digital signal.


I was also shocked to see some CanCon In The US with Peterborough's CIII (Global) repeater coming through on Ch. 27! They were showing Million Dollar Challenge. (Note the fuzzy Global logo in the bottom right corner of the first pic and the Canadian rating at the top left in the second pic!)


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The next day, I got to see this great view from our hotel!


I laughed again when I saw that Cellino & Barnes were even stamped on our phone book! I guess that's appropriate given how many times they throw the book at people in court.


More Casio hand held TV surfing, where I saw Peterborough's CBLFT (CBC French) repeater on Ch. 44. Note the word "pouvoir" in the pic below.


More from WBGT-CA on Ch. 40 (which brands itself "My 18" after their cable position.)


Cartoons as seen on what I believe was the Peterborough repeater of CICA (TV Ontario) on Ch. 18.


Here's another great mural promoting the Rochester Jazz Festival seen outside the Rochester Plaza Hotel!


I was also jazzed to see the famous Kodak building. The iconic structure is also shown during WUHF's FOX First At Ten intro, as seen Aug. 2, 2010!

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If you look closely at the "One Way" sign in the middle you'll find WXXI, Rochester's PBS affiliate!


We passed a great WXXI billboard that was promoting their Healthy You campaign. The second pic shows the campaign as seen on WXXI (RF16) July 22, 2010. (On a sidenote, that woman needs to watch her V-neck, or else there'll be another "X" in the middle!)

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We recovered from our wild night at Tilt with a fabulous Drag Brunch at Edible's Restuarant. The hosts were Poison Waters and Kasha Davis, pictured below. Click here for an interview Kasha Davis did on WROC promoting Rochester's Gay Pride events back in 2009!


The awesome Pandora Boxx was the special guest at the Drag Brunch. All the queens were amazing and it was a highly entertaining event!


Chantal shot some footage of the performances and edited together a great sampler that you can watch below:

Drag Brunch in Rochester, NY from chantalsunita on Vimeo.

Pandora Boxx was my favourite performer from Season Two of RuPaul's Drag Race, and I was lucky enough to interview her earlier this year! It was a thrill to see her perform and to get pics with her afterward.


The M.A.G.I.C. crew was having a magical moment with Pandora! She was super sweet to us and werked her outfits with Divalicious flair! (We also won tickets at the Brunch to a Christmas concert featuring the Rochester Gay Men's Chorus, but had to turn them down because we wouldn't be in town! We actually huddled to see if we could do another road trip, but the dates didn't work.)


After the Drag Brunch, I wanted to visit Outlandish Videos & Gifts which I'd seen advertised in abOUT magazine. Here's Mr. A being...er...outlandish! The store was part of a neat complex that included a baseball card/nostalgia shop (where I bought two vintage TV Guides), a record store and a wig shop!


We spotted a hilarious Cosby adult film parody inside Outlandish.

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Inappropriately enough, we visited the Jell-O Museum in Le Roy, NY not long after seeing that Cosby parody (which presumably involved an entirely different sort of pudding pop.)


The REAL Cosby appeared throughout the Musuem and in a loop of vintage commercials that was played. The Museum was wonderful and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting the area! (Our tour guide even worked in some Canadian Jell-O trivia when she found out we were from the Toronto area.)


I was also happy to see one of my ultimate icons - Lucille Ball - represented in the Museum!


CanCon In The US alert! Here's the Canadian Jell-O display, including a Toronto Blue Jay mold!


Check out this hilarious video that Chantal shot of Indira and Marsha inside the Jell-O Museum:

Indira and Marsha @ the Jello Museum from chantalsunita on Vimeo.

I took a picture of some of my key Rochester loot after returning home! (Descriptions appear after the pic!)

Rochester TV Guides and more!

TOP ROW: TV Week (Syracuse Post-Journal), TV Week (Rochester Democrat & Chronicle), TV Guide (national, Eastern edition) and Doritos Pizza Cravers (which caught my eye at a gas station.)

SECOND ROW: Remote Patrol (Batavia TV mag which is printed like a section of the paper), vintage 1950s TV Guide (Scranton, PA edition), Rainbow smiley from Outlandish, and Image Out guide for the Rochester Lesbian & Gay Film Fest (much like Toronto's Inside Out.)

BOTTOM ROW: The Empty Closet (Rochester LGBTQ magazine), TV Guide (Rochester edition from 1997), Hostess fruit pie (yum) and Butterfinger!

So that about wraps up my Rochester road trip of 2010! Click here for my full Flickr set of pics and click here for Mr. A's full set. (Both sets overlap at times, but we cover the trip from different perspectives!) Stay tuned to TV Garth for more road tripping, TV watching, station loving fun!