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WATR/Channel 53

Channel 53, WATR-TV was a killer signal throughout the entire state of
Connecticut when they were on top of the mountain.  According to a friend
who used to live in Waterbury, WATR was the original ABC affiliate in the
area.  Waterbury is very isolated in terms of location.  The ridge of
mountains blocks out virtually all of the Hartford and New Haven stations.
This is similar to the way the Berkshires block out all Springfield signals,
some 25 miles away.  WATR-TV was a technical disaster.  Picture quality
was always dark.  They received their ABC feed via WHYN-TV (now WGGB) in
Springfield.  When ABC was switching to color, WATR was left out in the
dust.  They tried to composite feed color from WHYN-TV but still got a
very dark but colorful picture.  In comes NBC.  They needed a station
for the Western part of Connecticut due to Channel 30's significantly
weaker UHF signal.  They offered to modify Channel 20's video chain to
pass full quality color. In turn, Channel 20 would go NBC.  They did.
But local color was not in the future until 1974.  Even then, local was
slides and the PTL Club.  Nobody simply wanted to advertise on this
really rinky-dink UHF station when cable provided WNBC/4 and WHNB/30.
     The Channel 53 to 20 switchover is vague at this time.  I am in
the process of finding more info on WATR.  
     WATR-TV became WTXX in 1982 with a brand new owner, new transmitter
new antenna and tower and a full independent status.  When Channel 20
jumped from a measly 200,000 watts to several MILLION, the overlap with
NBC affilliate WVIT/30 was enough to require WTXX to leave the network.
That was the plan to make Connecticut's second new Indy.  (The other
was Gene Scott's WHCT/18).  I was able to watch the new Channel 20 on
a regular basis when I lived on the Cape, myself.

BTW: the old Channel 43 in Bridgeport was ALSO ABC at one time.  Where
does Channel 8 (WNHC/WTNH) fit in ?

- -Pete-

Peter Q. George, N1GGP                  *  "Scanning the bands since 1967 !" 
P.O. Box 1183                           *                  +
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