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WPTZ basic facts


History

Channel Info: WPTZ
Cable (West Montreal) 23
Cable (Central and East Montreal) 18
Cable (Digital Montreal) 52
Look TV 83
Bell ExpressVu N/A
Star Choice N/A
Cable (Burlington) 5
Cable (Plattsburgh) 2

Plattsburgh’s Channel 5 first went on the air under the call letters WIRI, at the end of 1954. Originally owned by The Great Northern Communications Company, the NBC affiliate was also a secondary ABC station, similar to how WFFF (Fox 44) carries both Fox and WB network programming today. However, WIRI was only able to carry a few of the best shows from ABC (because of limited room in the NBC schedule, whereas the schedule of a typical Fox station today is mostly made up of syndication). At some point during the sixties, WPTZ cut it ties with ABC at about when WEZF-TV (now WVNY 22) signed on in Burlington.


Sounds of WPTZ

1983/84 WPTZ promo for Solid Gold Hits

Yes that's right! For those of who you couldn't get enough of Solid Gold, they came up with a spin-off airing 5 days a week.


1983/84 WPTZ-TV local ID

Also for Solid Gold Hits. "Be There!" jingle used.

WPTZ Erin Clark 1991

WPTZ's Erin Clark in 1991.


More sounds of WPTZ

At the NBC page of 80stvthemes.com, you can find a localized version of the Come Home to NBC '87-'88 promo campaign, from WPTZ.

Programming highlights

WPTZ was the home of "Donahue" in the early 80s as well as "The People’s Court," "Siskel & Ebert" and a local cartoon package called "Tom and Jerry and Friends" which included Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. WPTZ was the first station to bring "Entertainment Tonight" to Montrealers, about a year before it came to CFCF.

In the late 80s WPTZ made some daring and unusual decisions. They were the first ones in Plattsburgh/Burlington to provide programming all night long, at least on weeknights. Also, on Thursday Nights, where NBC was king, WPTZ actually dared to drop one of the "Must See TV" shows, "A Different World" at 8:30 p.m. They replaced it with a rerun of "Cheers," just before NBC’s presentation of Cheers at 9:00, creating what WPTZ referred to as "Happy Hour." However, it should be noted that "A Different World" could not only still be seen on CTV, in the same time slot, but if you really wanted to watch it on WPTZ, it could still be seen Sundays at noon. Perhaps WPTZ was simply avoiding signal substitution from CTV. After all, the late eighties and early nineties (up until the arrival of Global Quebec) represents when the American border stations put a considerable amount of effort into attracting Montreal viewers.


North Pole!?!?

For the record, WPTZ does not actually broadcast to the North Pole or anywhere near the Arctic circle, even though their station ID does say "Plattsburgh - North Pole - Burlington." But the North Pole they’re referring to is actually North Pole, N.Y., a small town where the WPTZ transmitter is located. There’s a very funny blooper from the late 80’s where in a local promo for WPTZ, Oprah Winfrey looks directly at the camera and says (I may be paraphrasing somewhat): Come home to the best on WPTZ channel 5, Plattsburgh, North Pole... North Pole? North Pole! What...


Before they were stars

Perhaps you’re familiar with CNN national news correspondent Jeanne Moos, now based in New York. But you may not know that her big break came when she worked at WPTZ in 1976, when she was the first woman correspondent hired by the station. While at WPTZ, she covered a variety of local and national stories, including the 1980 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, N.Y. She has been with CNN for 20 years.


WPTZ 1982-83 local jingle

...We’re Channel 5, just watch us now.
New York State and Vermont,
We’re Channel 5, just watch us now.
U.S.A., Canada,
We’re Channel 5, just watch us now...

Info on NBC

NBC celebrates 75 years of broadcasting Part 1 and Part 2 (archived external links to Suite101, March and April 2002).



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