The News and Observer from Raleigh, North Carolina on August 13, 1978 · 75
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The News and Observer from Raleigh, North Carolina · 75

Raleigh, North Carolina
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 13, 1978
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ny m rrry y t y y 0 y y y y yy y af y ri y ' ' yyywywy y w y ¥ t m ' yyyyyy y y yyy- y yy Living The News and Observer Raleigh NC Sunday August 13 1978 Entertainment ArtTravel Gardens Section V iS5 v - 1700 ft I Leisure 3 I C f 3 iVI Ch 28's 1700-foot tower near Apex 1 Pp " l -- ''l"! " 0X033 83 Station manager Douglas McLarty wants to make WPTF-TV a major force in Triangle market Staff photo by Dixie O Vereen c h makes its move By BILL MORRISON Entertainment Editor Even the masterminds behind WPTF-TV the "new" Channel 28 agree that it will be no bed of roses changing a video David into an electronic giant "It will be a slow fight There will be nothing magical about it" said station manager R Douglas McLarty of WPTF-TV's attempt to gain parity in the highly competitive Raleigh-Durham television market Actually the battle will be lost before it begins if the station's highly touted 5 million-watt signal fails to dramatically improve the quality and range of WPTF's picture Monday signal The mere flip of a switch will largely dictate the station's future when the new signal goes on the air — Monday night at 7 : 30 barring unforeseen technical problems Channel 28 formerly WRDU is taking an expensive gamble that it can become a major force in the local TV market Durham Life Broadcasting Service Inc its parent company has invested more than $3 million in the operation beyond its $2275 million purchase price Channel 28 has a long way to go Its average share of the local viewer audience is only 15 percent less than half that of rival channels 5 and 11 Always a money-loser the station received only 4 percent of the local TV advertising dollar as late as 1976 ' The station has improved its ratings in the Triangle area (Wake Durham and Orange counties) in recent months but fares only half as well in the outlying ADI (area of dominant influence) which contains 60 per cent of the viewers in the local 20-county market Durham Life Broadcasting realized that an improved signal was the only panacea for the station which it purchased July 1 1977 The broadcasting company owned by Durham Life Insurance Co subsequently invest- Staff photo by BobKreti News director Woody Durham right works with staff on script On the Inside IS Elvis' memory remains strong a year after his death Page 3 ed $17 million to increase the station's oper- I ating power from 2 million to 5 million watts I the strongest signal permitted by law The signal will be beamed from a new 1700-foot tower near Apex It has combined that with innovative pro- : gramming changes and aggressive promo- 1 tions aimed at attracting more viewers WPTF-TV still has the handicap of being a UHF (ultra high frequency) station The signal can be received only by those homes equipped with cable TV or an appropriate antenna The firmly entrenched competition operates on VHF (very high frequency) bands as accessible as the nearest television receiver Furthermore those stations plan to "fine tune" their present pictures by shifting to taller more effective transmitter antennas WRAL Ch 5 Raleigh will put a 2000-foot tower-antenna in operation Sept 11 WTVD Ch 11 Durham plans a more powerful facility sometime next year Shares audience WPTF must also share the NBC audience with WITN Ch 7 which plans to expand its coverage area by about 20 per cent when it goes on the air with a new 2000-foot tower Durham Life petitioned the Federal Communications Commission to deny the conduction permit requested by the Washington NC station but the petition was denied in May The parent company's concern is understandable Television isn't the only game in town but it's among the most expensive Although WPTF-TV's gross income almost doubled during the year ending July 1 the Durham station still lost roughly $500000 Last week Durham Life Broadcasting blamed its loss of $611000 for the first half of 1978 on Channel 28 operations (Triangle Telecasters the former owner suffered overall losses of $257 million during the eight years it operated the station) Carl Venters Jr president of Durham Life Broadcasting says the $3 million his company has invested includes the $17 million See CHANNEL page 10 Garner singers poem lands a prize By BILL MORRISON Entertainment Editor I Bonnie Strickland would do well to : read Loretta Lynn's autobiography There's a heap of consolation there : for a struggling country music sing- - er s : ' Not that Bonnie Strickland a Garner housewife by day a some-l what frustrated country entertainer by night is particularly downheart-ed But Lord she says "I'd go to Nashville tomorrow if I got the : - chance I surely would I've been : t looking forward to something hap-l pening for so long now" And something quite unexpected did happen Her first attempt at songwriting was picked from more than 300 entries as the Eastern North Carolina winner in a national contest sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken Simple poetic "It's Been A Good Life Lovin' You" a gentle waltz with a poignant lyric swept past the competition It was the essence of country music simple poetic and from the heart A trip to Nashville in September accompanies the honor ("They say I might get a guest shot at George Jones's Possum Holler club" she said obviously thrilled by the prospect) And there's always the chance that her composition — one of 15000 national entries — will be picked as the grand winner Actually the prize will be divided between two songs that in turn will be recorded by Barbara Mandrell for distribution to country music stations If it turns out otherwise she says there's always something else waiting in the wings "Now that's just like Bonnie" See GARNER page 9 Country singer Bonnie Strickland Staff photo by Jim Strickland 4

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