Retro Television Network
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|Type||Broadcast television network|
|Slogan||The Best in Classic Television!|
|Owner||Retro Television, Inc.|
|Parent||Luken Communications, LLC|
|Launch date||July 2005|
|Former names||RTN (2005-2009)
The Retro Television Network (branded on-air as Retrotv) is an American television network that airs classic television shows as well as more recently produced programs. Owned by Luken Communications, LLC, the network airs mainly on stations' digital subchannels.
Retro TV launched in 2005 (under the RTN branding) as a programming source for some individual stations owned by Equity Broadcasting (later known as Equity Media Holdings), a chain of small (often low-powered) satellite-fed UHF TV transmitters controlled directly from Equity's headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. Equity had expanded quickly with many small stations in the early 2000s, but by 2008 was struggling to meet its obligations.
In June 2008, financially troubled Equity Media Holdings sold RTN to Henry Luken, Equity's former president/CEO and the company's largest shareholder, for $18.5 million in cash. Equity had an option to re-purchase the network for $27.75 million, which expired without exercising on December 24, 2008; Equity had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 8, and auctioned off their stations on an individual basis in June 2009.
Since its acquisition by Luken Communications (the operating company Henry Luken formed in 2008), RTN would be rebranded to RTV in June 2009 (a nod to the digital (DTV) switchover that occurred that month, though a trademark dispute with the Racetrack Television Network was also a factor) and again to Retro TV in 2013. The network is one of several broadcast network properties owned or co-owned by Luken Communications, notably among them the family-oriented My Family TV and the revived country music-oriented channel The Nashville Network.
Concept and programming
Since its creation, Retro TV's principal concept is the airing of classic television programming, initially a round-the-clock schedule of shows dating from the 1950s to the early 1990s along with rarely seen older programming. There have been some deviations to the format, including during the network's ownership by Equity Media Holdings, which added some original talk programming (notably Unreliable Sources) during Monday-thru-Friday late-nights from Summer 2008 to the beginning of 2009, a concept billed as "Classic Hits All Day & Fresh Talk All Night". The network has also featured originally produced horror film showcases like Wolfman Mac's Chiller Drive-In and Off Beat Cinema, and previously aired the daily talk show Daytime, a show produced at WFLA-TV, until WFLA owner Media General severed its ties with RTV in 2011.
By June 2011, when RTV's programming relationship with NBC Universal Television Distribution ended, the network would adjust its schedule to feature programming from other distributors (e.g. I Spy and Starsky and Hutch) as well as more recently produced programming (Cold Squad, Da Vinci's Inquest) as well as reality and documentary programming (including reruns of Cold Case Files). RTV also features a Saturday morning block of vintage cartoon programming.
RTV's current programming roster draws from various distributors including Classic Media, Genesis International, Peter Rodgers Organization, and Sony Pictures Television, as well as Stay Creepy Productions (which distributes Wolfman Mac's Chiller Drive-In) and John DiSciullo (the distributor of Off Beat Cinema). The network previously had large content deals with CBS Paramount until July 2008. NBC Universal Television Distribution replaced the CBS programs until June 2011.
Until 2011, RTV offered a customized schedule for each affiliate that wished to use one. By June 2011, when RTV's relationship with NBC Universal ended, the network moved towards one set national schedule, although affiliates have the option to pre-empt or reschedule some network programming.
As of April 18, 2013, RTV's official website lists current or future carriage agreements with approximately 90 stations in the United States. While the network's primary strategy is carriage on digital subchannels of local broadcast stations, only 22 of their present carriage is on full powered stations. RTV is also seen on approximately 70 low-power digital stations and on free-to-air C-band satellite via SES-2 in DVB-S2 format.
Pre-digital transition, RTV was seen on a number of analog stations owned by Equity Media Holdings, the network's former owner. Some Equity stations mixed RTV programming with first-run and recent off-network syndicated programming or also carried another networks, such as MyNetworkTV or ION Television.
- Arkansas Business: "Creditor Files to Liquidate Equity Media, Claims Company Cannot Meet Payroll Obligations", 12/10/2008.
- "RTN Rebrands as RTV", from broadcastingcable.com 6/17/2009
- "Attorney Defends Luken Actions In Purchase Of Retro TV Programming". The Chattanoogan. July 24, 2013. Retrieved July 27, 2013.
- "Back from Basic," from BusinessTN, September/October 2009
- "Wolfman Mac interview", from Outsight Radio Hours, 3/27/2011
- Primetime All The Time on RTV: New line-up of program as of 6/27/11 Retrieved June 27, 2011
- "RTV Bringing Back Retro Saturday Morning TV", from TVNewsCheck, 8/5/2010
- Creditor Files to Liquidate Equity Media, Claims Company Cannot Meet Payroll Obligations
- RTV Changes Schedule, Loses Universal
- SES-2 at 87.0°W, LyngSat
- Free TV from United States, LyngSat