I got 4 going off in my town tonight, the PBS will hang longer, they have translator station issues among other things. I have a 5-inch portable Sony B&W set up with my camcorder looking at the screen... We'll see how .... well damn, snow, there it goes....
The station I was parked on was the Decatur ABC affiliate. At midnight, they began running their standard signoff message. I have another TV in the room on cable, same station, to see the difference. Cable was about 2 seconds behind OTA. Anyhow, they started the 3-minute signoff simultaneously, but you could see someone flipped the OTA transmitter off five seconds past midnight, poof. Kind of anticlimactic; I guess I'm just a sentimentalist, I expected something special... but just a quick dip to snow.
The cable version ran the full signoff, then went to a loop training tape of DTV how-to for homeowners. I went back to the Decatur OTA, its powered up again on analog, but just playing the loop. I flipped past the NBC and CBS OTA affiliates, already gone and into playing the same loop.
PBS is left, Mother Angelica, pre-eyepatch, is on a local OTA analog repeater for Eternal Word. The Fox and CN affiliates are still on but my reception for them is poor anyhow, think I'll call it a night early.
Anticlimactic is one way to put it. To add in some missing nostalgia, I'll jot down my early TV memories from around 1964 in Chicago. We had the three O&O's and channel 9 was the independent. only one station was on UHF at the time, it was considered kind of sketchy. My memories of saturday mornings were: waking early and having to move like a tai chi master to avoid all the creaking floorboards on the way from my shared bedroom to the living room. Big old Monkey Wards color TV. How loud that knob clacked when you twisted it on. I was so early, around 6 AM, channel 9 hadn't signed on yet. I watched the static snow with eyes crossed, and every once in a while, I would think I saw shapes in the static. Then, power-up and sign-on, Flag and anthem. Orion Samuelson doing an early morning farm trade/commodities and news report. Some news and traffic. THEN, finally my cartoons! I knew I was becoming a teenager when I started sleeping in longer in the mornings and missing the sign-ons.
I was fortunate that in my childhood they still had locally produced programming, people still talked about "the Chicago School of TV" from the earlier glory days in the 50's. And WGN, WBBM, and WLS and WFLD still made live local TV for kids, as well as talk shows and entertainment/variety shows for adults. I found this site with some interesting bits:
Hey Mark do you remember the "Max Headroom Incident"? That has to be one of my favorite Chicago T.V. stories. It was 20 years ago this last November that someone overpowered the STL's of both WGN and WTTW and aired some bizarre scene of a guy wearing a Max Headroom mask getting spanked with a fly swatter!... Even 20 years later there are ops guys patching porno into the Super Bowl...Somethings never change! LOL