Effective at midnight Sunday, WKPT will drop its MyNetwork TV affiliation and most of its local programming when the COZI TV network moves from channel 19.3 to 19.1.
COZI TV’s current slot on channel 19.3 will be filled by the LAFF network,which is moving from WAPK’s channel 36.3 to WKPT’s 19.3.
WAPK’s channel 19.3 will become the home of a new network addition called Bounce.
In making the announcement, Holston Valley Broadcasting President George Devault said, “We have been amazed at the popularity of nostalgic TV programming in the Tri-Cities area. The MeTV network, a nostalgia network, which has been carried on WKPT’s channel 19.2 for several months now, actually beats the new ABC Tri-Cities channel in the ratings during most time periods.
“While nostalgia network COZI TV is now carried by most area cable systems, it is not currently carried by DISH Network and DirecTV. Moving COZI to WKPT’s channel 19.1 will give it carriage for the first time on these two satellite systems, dramatically increasing COZl’s availability to Tri-Cities TV viewers. With this change, all the TV streams of both WKPT and WAPK will carry nostalgia-based programming.”
The new channel lineup will thus be: WKPT — 19.1 COZI; 19.2 MeTV (in standard definition); 19.3 LAFF; 19.4 Escape; WAPK — 36.1 MeTV (in high definition); 36.2 Grit; 36.3 Bounce; and 36.4 Heroes & Icons.
The company said casualties of the new changes will be most of the local programming, including “Good Day Tri-Cities,” and all of the syndicated programming now carried on WKPT’s channel 19.1.
Devault also announced his retirement as president of Holston Valley Broadcasting effective February 1. He was first employed by WKPT radio at age 15 in 1961 and became a full-time Holston employee in 1968. WKPT-TV signed on the air a year later in 1969. Devault has been Holston’s president since 1982. He will remain a member of the board of directors of Holston and of its parent, Glenwood Communications Corp. He will continue to serve as a consultant to both companies and will continue to have his office at the company.
DeVault’s successor as Holston’s president effective February 1 will be current Executive Vice President David Widener, a Johnson City native, who has been employed by the company since 1975. Widener first worked in television sales and transferred to the company’s Radio Division as radio general manager in 1983. Widener commented, “I am gratified that the board has seen fit to promote me to this most important post.”