Variety TV will launch next month in several markets with national programming, but stations will be encouraged to replace it gradually with locally produced shows.
Clear Channel Television plans to roll out a new digital multicasting channel that will allow its stations to replace gradually the channel’s national programming with local programming.
With around-the-clock programming, Variety TV or VTV should be up and running next month in as many as 10 markets.
Clear Channel CEO Don Perry revealed the service in an Executive Session interview with TVNewsCheck that will posted in its entirely next Tuesday.
By any measure, Clear Channel is a top-25 station group, operating 40 stations in 25 markets, ranging from San Francisco (DMA 6) to Fairbanks, Alaska (DMA 203).
According to Perry, Clear Channel wants its stations to develop multicast channels filled with local programming, but it understands that none has the capability to do that all at once.
So, Clear Channel created a national channel that would “always be on,” but whose programming could be preempted to make way for local programming, Perry said. “Eventually, the stations would have developed the local production capability and wherewithal to have full local channels.
“In the ideal world for me, we would run this network for a year or two, maybe three, and then it would go away,” he said.
At startup, the national programming will offer different types of programming on different days. One day would feature lifestyle shows and another would be devoted to religious programming, he said.
Clear Channel has found plenty of good national programming for the network, Perry said. “We have gone to the smaller producers and said, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Look, we are going to build something starting at the bottom in eight or 10 stations and see what’s there.’ We’ve gotten people to go along with us.”
Clear Channel will assemble the channel and distribute it from its operations center at KOKI in Tulsa, Okla. “It’s plug and play,” Perry said. “Stations don’t have to do anything with it.”