Retro Television Network

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Retro Television Network
Type Broadcast television network
Branding Retro TV
Country United States
Availability National
Slogan The Best in Classic Television!
Owner Retro Television, Inc.
Parent Luken Communications, LLC
Launch date
July 2005
Former names
RTN (2005-2009)
RTV (2009-2013)
Official website

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 Television Network logo used from July 2005 to June 2009

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,[1] and auctioned off their stations on an individual basis in June 2009.

RTV logo used from June 2009 to March 2013

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)[2][3] 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 country music-oriented channel Heartland.

Concept and programming[edit]

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".[4] The network has also featured originally produced horror film showcases like Wolfman Mac's Chiller Drive-In[5] 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) and public domain programs (such as early episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies), 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).[6] RTV also features a Saturday morning block of vintage cartoon programming.[7]

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.[8] NBC Universal Television Distribution replaced the CBS programs until June 2011.[6]

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.[9]


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.[10][11]

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.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]