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.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Rochester Road Trip 2: Electric Boogaloo! (November 19-20, 2011)

Greetings TV Garth readers! For my birthday this year, I decided that I wanted to embark on a sequel to my previous Rochester Road Trip. (Last year's blog entry includes full disclosure about my obsession with the Flower City!) This time the journey involved two cars, two days and too much mayhem! We also made an impromptu visit to Rochester's ABC affiliate WHAM! So sit back and get ready for a recap that's part travelogue, part TV-log! (All television pics are from my reception in Markham, unless otherwise noted!)

Saturday Nov. 19, 2011

We began our journey to Rochester with a stop in Niagara Falls, NY for some shopping. I know we've crossed the border when we start seeing gigantic Cellino & Barnes billboards.


It felt bittersweet to see a vacant storefront for longtime Western New York staple Rosa's, as they held bankruptcy closing sales earlier this year. (Ad seen via Buffalo, NY's WGRZ, RF33 on Feb. 10, 2011.)


We also passed a Metro Mattress outlet during our travels. I heart their ability to turn any occasion/holiday into a sales event, as evidenced by their "March Mattress" ad seen on Buffalo's WIVB (RF39) on March 27, 2011.


Mighty Taco is a famous Buffalo institution, though on our last two trips to Buffalo we opted for rival Salsarita's. (Ad seen via Buffalo's WKBW, RF38 on June 4, 2011.)


We stopped off at Wendy's to eat before continuing on to Rochester. I have to say Wendy's is one of my favourite fast food restaurants on both sides of the border. I adore the baconator!


I also adore television related advertising! There were some amazing cards sitting at all the tables promoting a WUTV (FOX 29) and WNYO (My TV Buffalo) sponsored event called "No Shave November." I may have grabbed one or two as souvenirs before leaving.


Here's a pic of my tasty travel gang! From left to right are me, Chris, Ilana, Mr. A (front), Indira, Adam and Brian!

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Indira reminds us that we've always got time for Tim Horton's at a rest stop in Corfu, NY. The coffee giant is becoming as ubiquitous in Western New York as it is in Canada! (Check out the ad for the chain as seen on Rochester, NY's WHAM, RF13, on September 9, 2011.)


Mr. A was just as surprised as I was to see a Checkers restaurant at this rest stop. I knew the chain from ads I'd seen back in the Summer on Ohio TV stations (Check out the ad below, as seen August 13, 2011 on Cleveland, OH's WEWS, RF15.) It was unusual to see it in Upstate New York, as I haven't seen ads on any Buffalo, Rochester or Syracuse stations for it.


Later that day, we arrived in the Roch-cha-cha and checked into the Rochester Plaza Hotel. One of the first things I did was pull out my new Eviant portable digital TV that was a gift from my parents and my Grandma! I scanned for channels and picked up most Rochester channels, plus a couple of Canadian ones!

I caught WHEC and spaced out when I saw their MeTV subchannel (RF10-2) showing Star Trek!


WHAM also came in on RF13, and the pic below shows their CW subchannel on 13-2 with a local ad for the Marina car dealership.


WXXI (RF16) was Keeping Up Appearances on my new portable TV!


Batavia, NY's ION affiliate WPXJ was also present on RF23.


I was surprised to be getting a relatively decent analog signal from Peterborough, ON's CIII (Global) repeater on RF27! (They haven't gone digital yet, as Peterborough wasn't on the list of cities that had to transition on August 31, 2011.)


WUHF was looking FOX-y on RF28!


I also picked up a couple of analog Rochester stations, such as WHSH-LP (HSN) on RF36! (I've also noticed this pop up a couple of times in my own neck of the woods during tropo last Summer!)


WBGT-CA is Rochester's MyTV station and broadcasts on RF40, which has also turned up in my area a few times after the Canadian DTV transition.


Low powered TCT repeater W42CO showed up on RF42!


One more Canadian analog popped up! It was a fuzzy signal from Peterborough, ON's CBLFT (R-C) repeater on RF44. (Note the CBC logo in the bottom right corner.)


After feasting on some over-the-air TV, I was ready to dance! Our group got ready to head to Tilt and waited in the hotel lobby. Mr. A shot this pic of us while we were waiting for our cab!

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The Rochester Plaza Hotel has great murals of the Rochester Jazz Festival, which I gamely posed with! (Check out the second pic which I caught on WHAM, RF13, back on June 15, 2011.)


Speaking of the Festival, I enjoyed seeing Adam Chodak's report about it this past Summer because he makes me feel jazzy! (Be glad I didn't opt for the pun involving horns...) Seen via WHAM, RF13, on June 15, 2011.


Mr. A snapped this gorgeous shot of the Tilt entrance in black and white, adding a cool feel to a hot nightspot!

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I was ready to go full Tilt with my sassy crew!


I was surprised that the club brought in Minnie Driver to entertain the crowd until I realized it was actually the fierce drag performer Sasha Sashay! (Love that name!) She worked the crowd into a frenzy with the hot Freemasons remix of Loleatta Holloway's Love Sensation!


We indulged in Tilt's dangerous $2.50 shots, though I seemed to be the only one Tilting by the end of the night. (I think that was also due to some sweet vodka cokes I had guzzled down.)


As we left the club, I ran into this fabulous Diva and had to take a pic with her! I also started to ramble about how much I loved her city's stations and pointed at my shirt in the process!


Back at the hotel, some folks were getting ready for bed, but you couldn't pry the remote out of my hand as I surfed the hotel cable. Around this time, Adam ordered a pizza for the night owls to chow down on!


In my tipsy state I was utterly fascinated by the turkeys shown on WXXI.


I was also utterly fascinated by the wrestlers being shown on WBGT-CA.


Then came the highlight of the night! I stumbled on the Mr. T Flavorwave infomercial (one of my faves) and introduced it to my gaggle of pals as we ate pizza!

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I'm not sure where we ordered the pizza from, but it was delicious! (Adam couldn't remember the place he'd called, and the box was generic.) I sent an e-mail to the Pizza Guy from the awesome Rochester NY Pizza Blog and he thinks it may have been from either Big Deal Pizzeria or Mark's Pizzeria!

Mystery Rochester Pizza

Sunday Nov. 20, 2011

After all my drinking the previous night, this is what I felt like in the morning. (Seen via WHEC's MeTV subchannel, RF10-2, on my portable TV.)


I scanned for channels again on my l'il digital TV and caught WROC (RF45) which hadn't come in the previous night. The woman below is advertising implants. Dental implants, you dirty minded readers!


Having the portable TV gave me access to channels I wouldn't see on hotel cable, like WHEC's weather subchannel (RF10-3) with the awesome Josh Nichols giving the upcoming forecast!


Brian snapped a pic of me documenting my reception that morning!


When we checked out of the hotel, I noticed a sign featuring the Visit Rochester logo I've admired since seeing it on WXXI (RF16) way back on March 17, 2009.

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As we drove away from the hotel, I caught this pic of an ad for the Rochester Lancers on a bus shelter. I remembered seeing a story announcing the arrival of the pro indoor soccer team back on July 21, 2010 on WROC (RF45). I really think the team should work with PBS affiliate WXXI to produce a kids educational show called The Lancers Have All The Answers.

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On roadtrips, I'm always snapping away at sights I recognize from tropo TV viewing at home. I was excited to spot the Blue Cross Arena, which is home to the Rochester Americans, Knighthawks and the aforementioned Lancers! Check out the second pic showing Cory Hepola reporting live in front of the arena on WROC (RF45) back on Sept 26, 2011.


My pal Brian captured a great shot of the iconic Ford Street Bridge, which is frequently used in Rochester promotional pics. Check out the bridge as seen behind Jennifer Johnson and Doug Emblidge on WHAM's morning news back on July 28, 2011. (As a sidenote, I love WHAM's morning news and this past Summer Don Shipman & I praised their show on Twitter which led to some neat Tweet backs!

Ford Street Bridge

Last year, I was blown away by Kasha Davis at a Drag Brunch I saw during my previous Rochester road trip. Although I didn't get to see her live, I was still very happy to find Kasha on a poster for a play she recently starred in at the Blackfriars Theater!


Soon our group was reunited to eat at a wonderful greasy spoon called Jim's Restaurant Too! The diner featured some great breakfast food!


Not long after eating, we were on the road again and I caught a nice shot of downtown Rochester! Compare it to the backdrop on WHAM's morning show a few pics above and it appears to match the skyline, but in reverse.


I zoomed in to capture the Cellino & Barnes billboard. They advertise so heavily on Western New York stations that even Canadians can sing their jingle. I love the second pic where the duo seem to have mischievous grins on their faces. I can picture them starring in a pilot for a humourous law show, where the pair would be framed for a dastardly crime, but since they're lawyers, they'd find a way to get themselves off. Parental watchdog groups would misunderstand the part about two men getting themselves off and protest, but the ensuing controversy would guarantee a hit! Cellino & Barnes coming soon to TNT! (Ad seen on WHEC, RF10, on August 4, 2011.)


Our next destination on the road trip was Rochester's ABC affiliate WHAM. Their station was the only one I hadn't tried to visit on my last trip to the Flower City. On the way to WHAM, we passed the building for ABVI (The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired). I remembered seeing anchor Don Alhart promoting a gala for ABVI's 100th Anniversary on WHAM (RF13) back on Oct. 10, 2011!

ABVI building

As we made our way to WHAM, it felt like we were travelling through an advertising alley on West Henrietta Road! In rapid succession I saw place after place that had been advertised on Rochester stations! Sleep City has a catchy jingle, and I caught one of their ads on WHAM (RF13) as recently as October 6, 2011!


Upstate Auto Credit popped up next, and I recalled seeing their ad on WUHF (RF28) back on April 7, 2011!

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The York Furniture Gallery appeared shortly after and I caught their ad on WHAM (RF13) back on July 28, 2011.

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Ruby Gordon is furnished with a wonderfully retro appeal, and their ad is equally chic as seen on WHAM (RF13) July 7, 2011!


We motored by one of the many Dorschel dealerships on the strip, which reminded me of an ad I saw on WROC (RF45) on February 23, 2011!


I zoomed by the John Holtz dealership as well, which brought to mind another ad I saw on WROC (RF45) back on August 16, 2011.


Soon enough we had arrived at WHAM! I was a bundle of nerves as I was super excited to see the station, but too scared to knock on their door. My pal Mr. A stepped up and used the phone outside their entrance to ask someone inside if we could get a tour. The person inside agreed to meet us at the door with the news after he checked with his boss.


The gentleman who came to greet us was super friendly, and explained that they couldn't give us a tour, but he did give me a WHAM business card with the station logo on it! (I loved it!)

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Here's a close up of the card, which is an awesome souvenir! (I love station swag, especially if it has a great logo!)

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The man from WHAM also agreed to take a picture of our group spelling out TV GARTH! (I knew I probably wouldn't get a tour on such short notice, but my backup plan was to spell out my blog's name as a group outside the station!) From left to right are Brian, Adam, Ilana, Mr. A, Indira, Chris and myself!


Before I left, I had to get pics with the WHAM news vehicles! According to Mr. A I always become Vanna White when I pose with the cars at TV stations.


The relatively new WHAM logo (the "circle 13") appears on this car!

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WHAM is ready to drive over their competition with this well branded hood!

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I also posed with the main station sign that can be seen from the road.


After visiting WHAM, we drove through a Tim Hortons that looked almost exactly the same as one that's down the street from me. That reminded me of a unique Tim Horton's ad that I saw on WHAM (RF13) back on April 7, 2011 that declared their coffee was "Roasted In Rochester."


Our next stop on the road trip was the legendary House of Guitars! Their wacky commercials are great and I remember making a mental note to visit them after seeing their ad on WUHF (RF28) back on August 6, 2011.


What really sold me on visiting the store was their ad's declaration that they carried "Over 4 Million CDs, LPs & DVDs." I love browsing through a great music store! (Compare our visit with the commercial, as seen on WUHF August 6, 2011.)


Look carefully and you can spot me browsing the CDs in the middle of this pic! While inside, I chatted with one of the store's employees and he gave me some great stories about musicians who have passed through! (I also squeezed him for some tidbits about the WROC-WUHF sponsored American Idol contest!) I love a place where people are passionate about music, and they provided great customer service!


I can't give enough praise to House of Guitars, but if you ever go to the Rochester area I highly recommend stopping in! I bought a bag full of musical goodies to take home with me, and their selection was very impressive!


Here's a montage of everything I bought at the House of Guitars. Given the totally butch selections I made, I'm sure they had no clue about my sexual orientation!

Goodies from House of Guitars

Soon after leaving House of Guitars I caught a great pic of a "City of Rochester" sign, complete with the flower symbol. (Compare with the logo as seen on WROC (RF45) back on July 13, 2011.)


We drove by the Peppermill Restaurant which seemed vaguely familiar. I spent a long time going through my 2010-2011 "TV G'Archives" to find a TV photo of it but had no luck. As it turned out, the pic I was thinking of was seen on WROC (RF45) all the way back on June 11, 2009!

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The KOST was clear as we passed by the tire and muffler shop! (Compare with their ad seen on WROC, RF45, on July 28, 2011.)

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I was surprised to see another Upstate Auto Credit location, which was fairly new given the "Now Open" sign on their window. (Compare with the ad seen on WUHF, RF28, on April 7, 2011.)

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There were quite a few Delta Sonic locations in the area. (We stopped in at one to get gas, and there was a whole kerfuffle about Canadian postal codes not working at the pump. Meanwhile, I bought a Cherry Coke and was happy!) Compare with their ad on WHEC (RF10) as seen on June 20, 2011.

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I wasn't too tired to snap this pic of Dunn Tire, which I know from their frequent ads on Buffalo and Rochester stations. (Compare with their ad seen on WROC, RF45, on July 15, 2011.)


We decided to visit the Jell-O Museum in Le Roy, NY again because we enjoyed it so much the first time around. (Plus we were travelling with a few folks who hadn't seen it before.) And besides, there's always room for Jell-O! As you can see below, Adam was revving up for our tour in the Jell-O mobile!


Here, Chris and Indira give Bill Cosby a run for his money as Jell-O spokespeople!


Ilana fell in love with this beautiful retro wagon which is part of a showcase of vintage Le Roy vehicles in the basement of the museum.


These were our wonderful Jell-O tour guides, and they are both as sweet and enjoyable as the dessert their Museum celebrates! Love them! (Click here for the recent profile of the Museum shown on CBS Sunday Morning.)


After the Jell-O Museum we ate at McDonald's and I spotted a Pontillo's Pizzeria location nearby. (Compare with the ad seen on WUHF, RF28, on August 13, 2011.)

Pontillo's Pizza Nov 2011

Shortly after our McBreak in Le Roy, we began our journey home! The pic below showcases the collection of Rochester and area TV Guides and other souvenirs amassed during the trip! Included are TV Week (Rochester), TV Topics (Buffalo), The Empty Closet, TV Guide, Remote Patrol (Batavia), plus my WHAM card, my WUTV-WNYO standee and delicious Girl Scouts cookies I bought in Niagara Falls!

TV Guides from Rochester, Buffalo, Batavia Nov. 2011

A big thank you to Adam, Mr. A, Brian, Chris, Ilana and Indira for helping make my trip to Rochester electric! A huge thanks as well for the amazing photos from Adam, Mr. A and Brian that joined my pics to create a well rounded travelogue!

And thank you my dear readers for letting me celebrate my love of TV reception and related travels with you! Stay tuned to TV Garth for more antenna antics coming your way!


  1. I always feel like a creeper replying on old posts but the Pizza Guy linked to this post on facebook today and I felt the need to share:

    You don't see Checkers Ads in WNY because the thruway authority contracts with a vendor to figure out who is actually in the rest stop. So now advertising because they're scaled down versions of the franchise, if my memory serves me. That particular Checkers was a Fuddruckers for a couple years, so I wouldn't expect it'll actually be there too long. On the other hand, the Tim Horton's has been there for about 10 years at this point.

    I'm also inspired to go see what Canadian signals I can pick up here. I grew up north of Syracuse and we got Ottawa and Kingston stations on our cable system!

  2. Haha...you're not a creeper at all! I appreciate my readers, and I loved the info about Checkers! (It struck me as odd to see a chain that I only saw advertised in Ohio!)

    You should definitely try to see what Canadian channels you can get in your area! :-) That's cool that you got Ottawa/Kingston stations on cable growing up. (I read on a forum that the Watertown area still gets them, even now!)

    Take care and thanks for the comment! :-)