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Station to feature family-oriented programming

August 25, 1998

Station to feature family programmingBy KERRY LYNN FRALEY / Staff Writer

photo: JOE CROCETTA / staff photographer [enlarge]




MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Infomercials will be the exception rather than the rule once WWPX-TV60 in Martinsburg joins 79 other television stations in the new Pax Net network on Aug. 31, said Sales Manager Tammy Albright.

The family-focused network - including stations across the continental United States and Hawaii, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands - will become the seventh broadcast television network in the country, Albright said.

All of the stations will show the same mix of dramas, comedies, game shows, talk shows, movies and children's shows, she said.

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The guarantee - hyped in a multimedia blitz promoting the network locally and nationally - is that everything will be appropriate for the entire family, no matter what time of the day or night viewers tune in, Albright said.

Formerly FOX affiliate WYVN-TV, channel 60 has been airing mostly infomercials and some religious programming since Paxson Communications Corporation bought the bankrupt station in 1996, she said.

The station will continue to run infomercials on a limited basis until the end of the year, Albright said, but it will discontinue religious programming.

The station's new format won't include local programming, although local news could be in its future, Albright said. It wouldn't be considered for at least five years because of the expense and the fact that so much news is already available on television, she said.

The station hasn't featured local news since WYVN-TV in Martinsburg stopped broadcasting in 1994.

Since it won't be producing any local programming and will farm out local advertising production, the station won't need to add to its current 10 full- and part-time workers, Albright said, but some additional salespeople may be hired.

The station will continue to operate out of a converted barn on Lost Road, though it no longer owns the building, Albright said. It's leasing the bottom floor, which is being remodeled to create more office space, she said.

Pax Net is the brainchild of Home Shopping Network creator Lowell "Bud" Paxson, who is chairman and chief stockholder of the company.

With its pledge to offer only programming and advertising free of explicit sex, violence and obscene language, the new network will fill a niche none of the other networks has, Albright said.

"Survey after survey, people are really tired of the violence. It's not just a mom thing - young and old alike," she said.

Featured prominently in prime time will be reruns of the popular "Touched by an Angel," "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" and "Diagnosis Murder."

Original programming will include "Neon Rider," a drama series about a psychologist who runs a ranch for troubled teens; "Flipper: The New Adventures," an updated version of the old "Flipper" show; game show "Reel to Reel;" kids' show "Cloud Nine;" "Woman's Day," a talk show based on the magazine; and "Great Day America," an upbeat morning news show.

Viewers without cable in the Eastern Panhandle, Washington County, and Fulton and Franklin counties in Pennsylvania can view the station on TV channel 60, Albright said.

On cable, the channel varies depending on the company, she said.

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