> I never heard of a "fill-in channel," but the next best
> thing back in the '70s was to have network affiliates all the time
> on cable from another market. In Athens, GA, in addition to
> all the Atlanta stations except PBS Channel 30, we had three
> networks from Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville, and two (ABC and CBS)
> from Augusta.
This was one of the first selling points for cable in Rochester when it started up in the late 70s. When we got cable in January 1980, it carried all of the "big 3" from Buffalo, plus NBC (WSYR-TV, then) from Syracuse.
(At various times over the ensuing decade, we also got 5, 9 and 11 from New York, CJOH Ottawa via its Deseronto channel 6 relay transmitter, CBLFT-25 from Toronto, and even WSBK Boston for a time.)
When they pulled the last of the Buffalo signals off cable - I want to say this was about 1985 - they promised a "Potpourri" channel that would carry the local newscasts and other locally pre-empted programming from those signals. It never happened, probably for the retrans-consent issues that would now prevent the cable company from carrying any of those channels.
As soon as you cross the line out of Monroe County in either direction, the cable systems start carrying Buffalo and Syracuse signals, and now with a rooftop antenna and a DTV tuner, I get cleaner pictures on most of them then I ever did in the days when the cable company was picking them off the air from 60 miles out.
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