Classic TV on TV: Antenna TV

The FFC mandated transition to digital television allowed stations to begin broadcasting digital subchannels in addition to their primary channel. Depending on the market, subchannels are available over-the-air (i.e. 30.1, 30.2, 30.3) as well as on cable. Over the next few days I’ll be examining a number of what I call “classic television digital specialty networks” which are distributed primarily via digital subchannels. In most cases, affiliates have the option of taking some or all of the national feed, meaning their schedules may not match the national schedule.

Antenna TV

Launched: January 2011
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As of April 2013, Antenna TV was seen on 74 stations covering 63% of the country. The network is owned by Tribune Broadcasting. Its national feed includes a mixture of television shows and movies (broadcast under the “Antenna TV Theater” banner) as well as some educational/instructional programs on Saturday mornings. The bulk of the television shows on Antenna TV are sitcoms, most of which date from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s: : McHale’s Navy, Bachelor Father, Good Times, The Monkees, Father Knows Best, Maude and All in the Family. There are also a few newer shows like The Nanny and Married with Children.

Antenna TV Promotional Spot

Antenna TV Promotional Spot

In addition to the sitcoms, Antenna TV also airs Suspense Theatre (originally broadcast under the title Kraft Suspense Theatre and later syndicaed as Crisis), Alfred Hitchcock Presents, It Takes a Thief and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin. Movies are mostly relegated to the overnight and early morning hours, with the exception of Saturday night when movies are aired during prime time.

Antenna TV is one of the digital subchannels I receive. I don’t watch it often but I have seen a few shows here and there. I was watching Bachelor Father occasionally at one point last year. The other day I recorded several shows so I could time them to see if they were edited. Results were mixed:

Sampling of Antenna TV Show Durations, May 2013

Hazel – 22:18
Crisis (Suspense Theatre) #1 – 50:19
Crisis (Suspense Theatre) #2 – 50:20
McHale’s Navy – 25:26
Bachelor Father – 25:29
Father Knows Best – 22:36 Dennis the Menace – 22:31

The durations of Crisis (Suspense Theatre), McHale’s Navy and Bachelor Father suggest they are uncut. Hazel, Father Knows Best and Dennis the Menace, on the other hand, appear to have been cut by about three minutes each.

Antenna TV Promotional Spot

The network doesn’t feature a bug in the corner although my local affiliate does occasionally throw up its station identification as required by the FCC. The closing credits to all of the above programs are shown without being squeezed for a promotional spot and without a voiceover. Commercial breaks feature little in the way of promotion for Antenna TV. There were a few “next” promos and one or two generic spots.

If you’re an Antenna TV viewer, hit the comments with your thoughts.


  • Dwight Frye says:

    When we first started getting Antenna TV around these parts,was my favorite station.There wasnt even any contest.But just in the past month,they replaced timeless classics like Leave It To Beaver,Dragnet,and Adam 12 with drivel like Married With Children and The Nanny.I find that very disturbing,for these new additions arent from the Classic TV era,and I didnt even like them when they first ran.TV Land got to where they are today by starting to mix a few newer shows in with the old classics,will have to see how this turns out.Are still some good shows on Antenna TV,just not as many as there were.Luckily,just recently started to get Cozi TV here.Are a few old favorites on there,like Lone Ranger and Lassie.

  • Basil says:

    Their movie library seems to be exclusively Sony. I’ve enjoyed quite a few of the old Columbia B-movies from the 30’s-50’s on the channel. Unfortunately, the station showing it here in Miami, FL is cramming together *3* sub-channels along with a 1080i main channel so the macroblocking is horrendous in action scenes.

  • Laurie2346 says:

    Wouldn’t it be a kick and a treat to play cartoons that aired at that time along with old commercials that aired within the program? Us “Baby Boomers” would sure appreciate someone took the time to think about it, you guys play to many “sue these bastards” commercials, who needs extra stress with all that goes on these days? For those that miss Leave it to Beaver and any others that AnTv stopped playing, there is another channel called “MeTv” that also plays all the oldies. I love my classic television and I hope to be able to still see these shows until the day I die.

  • Hmm. I seem to find more classics on youtube than elsewhere. Although they do come and go, as often pulled for copywrite reasons. I am building a site (link in my name) where you can watch many of the old shows. Feel free to visit!

  • @Dwight… Agreed. Those shows cant really even be called classic. I guess us classic tv lovers are not a big enough part of the market, lol. @ Laurie, I am taking your suggestion at my classic site, and will be mixing commercials of the same time period with the shows that I host. The new link is in my Name. (the last post has a dead link, as that was the beta , or testing site.)

  • Karen says:

    Please put Hazel back on.

  • Donald says:

    Antenna TV Fan:
    When will Antenna TV put the Three Stooges back on?

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