New Broadcasting Resources
In rescanning my digital-TV converter box a few weeks ago (which one should do from time to time because new stations are added, unpredictably), I discovered some new channels. And when I pressed a button on my car radio that I rarely use, I discovered what was for me a new radio station, in French!, a language that is hard to hear in this region.
Spanish. Channel 47, flagship station of the Telemundo Spanish-language television network (owned by NBC, and licensed to Linden, NJ but operating out of Fort Lee) has added two digital subchannels, 47-2 and -3, to its longstanding 47-1. Most of their programming tends to telenovelas (Spanish soap operas), talk shows, and sports, with a little news here and there. Few people know that when WNJU debuted as a Spanish-language station, it did so from Newark:
At sign-on in 1965, WNJU was located at Symphony Hall (previously known as The Mosque Theatre), 1020 Broad Street in Newark, in the former studios of WATV (later WNTA [and then WNET]) Channel 13.My Spanish isn't good enuf to follow telenovelas or the odd comedies on Spanish TV, but I can get the gist of most news stories, because people speak in complete sentences. So much of English-language TV nowadays is so bad that I'm glad to have some more Spanish-language stations to surf by and have playing in the background when I'm doing other things. There is also Spanish-language broadcasting on various of the subchannels of WMBC-TV out of Newton, NJ. I eliminated from my channel list those that regularly broadcast only Korean or Chinese shows. I did a little preliminary study of the Mandarin language, but accepted that I would never learn it. I did encounter one amusing bit, tho. "Yes" is "shih"; "No" is "bu shih".
The new stream, which appears to over-the-air viewers as Channel 9-3, will be the home of Bounce TV .... According to the network's Bounce TV website: "Bounce TV is the first African American broadcast network, featuring a programming mix of theatrical motion pictures, sporting events, documentaries, specials, inspirational faith-based programs, off-network series, original programming and more. Bounce TV’s founders include Martin Luther King III, Ambassador Andrew Young, Andrew “Bo” Young III, and Rob Hardy and Will Packer, co-founders of Rainforest Films, one of the top African American production companies in the world."Channel 9 and channel 5 are both Murdoch (Fox) stations. The FCC, when it cared about the public, used to bar ownership of more than one TV station in a given market, but now that it no longer does care about the public, it has caved in to mass takeover of broadcasting stations by enormous corporations, and a narrowing of choice and opinion to the public. Channel 9-1 broadcasts out of Secaucus, and spends a fair amount on its news time on North Jersey stories. Not enuf, but some.
Unfortunately, TVGuide.com was not showing listings for 9-3, and the EPG (Electronic Program Guide) is not kept up by the station — which should be punished by the FCC, and would be, if the FCC cared a thing about "the little people" who watch TV, not just the rich corporations that dominate broadcasting. After waiting a while to see if listings would become available (9-3 went on-air February 16th or 17th, but I didn't discover it until mid-April), I sent email to TVG last Thursday, May 3d:
[Subject:] 9-3, "Bounce TV" in NYC not listedLater that day, I received this reply:
I don't know if this is the right address to which to direct a request that you add listings for channel 9-3, an OTA channel in New York City that features a full schedule of movies and classic shows like Soul Train and Fat Albert but whose EPG does not always show details. Pls fix this. I find it odd that you do show [recently added] Spanish-language channels 47-2 and -3 but not English-language 9-3. Thank you.
Thank you for contacting TV Guide Network. There was an issue with the code for channel 9-3, but it has been corrected and your lineup should be refreshed by tomorrow. Sorry for the inconvenience.It actually took a couple of days, but 9-3 is now listed, and I've put it into my Favorite Channels grid. This is the second time I had to contact TVGuide.com about missing listings, but they fixed things quickly in both cases.
I have no idea on what channel, if any, Cablevision carries 9-3, 47-2, or 47-3. I switched providers on TVGuide.com to Cablevision, and didn't see them in numerical order or by station call letters (WWOR and WNJU). If you don't know how to get these stations on cable, perhaps you have to call Cablevision.
French Radio. I don't know if a radio station changed its frequency or the selector button on my car radio somehow wandered to a different frequency or I got interrupted in looking for a congenial station, but when I pushed the third button for frequently-listened-to stations a couple of weeks ago, French-language programming came on. My French is much worse than my crappy Spanish, so I was delited to find this station. I used to watch France 2 ("Deux") when it was broadcast on channel 25, but that stopped years ago. It was replaced by France 24 ("Vingt-Quatre"), which broadcast in English in the same timeslot on 25. But I could rarely stand to watch it because of the hideous British accents it used. If I want to hear British accents, I'll watch BBC World News America. A few months ago, France 24 ended its New York broadcasts too.
France 2 is available in video online, so I can listen to it while working on other things, but I got out of the habit of doing so, because I would usually need to do nothing else while it's on if I'm to understand much of it, and I usually need to multitask when at the computer. That does cut productivity and quality, but I have too much to do to get it all done without multitasking. And I'm retired!
So I'm glad this station, which my radio reports as 107.9 FM, affords me some French while I'm driving, even tho the reception isn't good, and some of the time it broadcasts in Haitian Creole (Kreyòl ayisyen: pronounced much like standard-French créole haitienne) rather than standard French. I rather doubt I'll ever understand that, but am pleased to see that it employs a reformed spelling, apparently more phonetic than the idiotic standard spelling of French, which is almost as insane as traditional English spelling, except that you usually know how to pronounce French, which cannot be said of English.
As long as I don't expect to understand everything, it's good to have Spanish or French on in the background when I have nothing in English I'd rather listen to. That accustoms my ear to those languages. Now to find something in Portuguese, which Newark certainly should have. My Portuguese is the crappiest of the languages I can read.
I had a hard time finding information about the French/Creole station, because I haven't heard any station-identification break, and perhaps because the frequency my radio reported, 107.9, is wrong, or because the station recently changed from 105 FM. I finally did find some info about a "Radio Vérité" that broadcasts from Irvington, which would seem to fit geographically. The signal is apparently very weak, because it meets interference in western East Orange, which is not at all far from Irvington. Its website does stream its programming live.
Podcasts. In addition to OTA television and radio, and streaming Internet broadcasts, another area of broadcasting with NJ connections is free podcasts available on iTunes and via individual websites. The HBO series Real Time with Bill Maher (who was raised in River Vale, Bergen County) has full episodes in audio, but only isolated snippets in video. Livingston's own Chelsea Handler has a talk show on the E! cable network, Chelsea Lately, which offers brief video snippets. And Verona's Jay Mohr has an audio podcast of his talk show. All of these are available free via the iTunes store, and Jay Mohr's Mohr Stories show (perhaps a play on "war stories") is also available thru his own website. I'll offer some observations of what I found noteworthy about these and other broadcast topics another time.