Top 10 Bizarre TV Channels You Won’t Believe Existed

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There have been many TV channels throughout the years, some good and some bad. The good ones stay and cater to the audience. The bad ones either ran so cheaply, or had such a strange premise, they failed hard. These are of the latter:

10. The Puppy Channel

puppy-channel

In 1997, after seeing how TV was little more than OJ Simpson and bad soap operas, someone decided to make a channel simply for relaxation. So the Puppy Channel, nothing more than puppy footage 24 hours a day, was born. It stuck around for a few years, but soon the concept grew thin, especially once the dot com boom began, and people realized footage of puppies could much more easily be found on the new-fangled Internetty thingy that the kids were all talking about.

9. Dumont Network

dumont-logo

One of the first major networks in the United States, Dumont was the third-largest station in the 1950’s, even beating out ABC for a time. Owned entirely by the chemical company Dumont, every single show was filmed inside their building. There were pretty much no sets for shows, so everything was filmed randomly here and there, in offices, break rooms, and anywhere else they could fit a camera.

Despite this, Dumont was about to buy out ABC, and become the largest station in the US, when the FCC yelled “ANTI-TRUST!!!1!!” and ABC got backing from Paramount. To save money, they switched to UHF signals and, since no one liked UHF in the 1950’s, the channel shut down unceremoniously.

8. RTV Politika – The Stolen Movie Channel

politika

Staying alive for just over a decade in Serbia, this channel was pretty much known as “the free movies that are not even in theaters yet” channel, getting bootlegs of famous movies such as The World is Not Enough, for the purpose of diverting attention from the fact that their government was crumbling before them. Once Slobodan Milosevic was ousted from power, and died in 2006, the station ceased to be useful, and its license was not renewed. And nothing bad ever happened in Serbia ever again.

7. WLBT Jackson, Mississippi

wlbt-jackson

In the 1960’s, WLBT Jackson decided to go against civil rights, and preempted all newscasts and TV shows with black people, or anyone mentioning civil rights for that matter, even giving warnings that the shows were biased in favor of Northern views. The channel even had a white supremacist bookstore inside the station. This happened well into the 1970’s, when the civil rights movement had pretty much ended. Seeing this one holdout, the FCC decided to revoke their license. As a condition of reinstatement, WLBT was forced to allow all normal-as-usual programming to air, even if they had black people.

6. WJIM – Lansing, Michigan

WJIM

In 1950, Harold Gross, who only went into the business after winning his first radio license in a card game, decided to try his hand at TV. Not caring about station affiliates, he decided to just pick and choose the best content for his station. Running the whole station out of a motel because he didn’t think TV would last, he proved tyrannical. Anyone not agreeing with his political views was shut down, and he would just black out any shows he didn’t like (even though he had become a CBS affiliate at some point,) and just fill in those shows with shows from other networks, or extra-long commercials. WJIM became so bad that the FCC shut him down, something they had only done once before. Gross was soon back on the air but, being closely watched now, he sold the station.

5. WQEX – Pittsburgh

early-mr-rogers

WQEX in Pittsburgh was a station that not only had all black-and-white TV well past the mid-1980’s, but was also famous for gigantic transmitters that frequently broke down, and aired programming that, for a PBS affiliate, made it look more like a cable access station. Finally, it had to shut down – a sad end for a station that broadcast Mr. Rogers in the beginning of his career.

4. Hughes Network

howard-hughes

In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, Howard Hughes started up a fourth major network, in his own head anyhow. Despite being a national station, they showed Cleveland Browns games, the Stanley Cup, and pretty much nothing else interesting. Unless of course, you live for jai alai, bowling, or pretty much any other boring sport out there. Though it was supposed to become the new NBC or CBS, the Hughes Network was little more than a random sports channel. Because of the insane programming, and not realizing that Americans didn’t watch sports like that, the network limped its way to a quiet demise in the ’70’s.

Though judging by the success of ESPN2, we’re starting to wonder if Hughes was simply ahead of his time.

3. National Education Television

national-education-television

Started in 1952 as the first educational TV channel, NET famously brought Sesame Street into the world. They’re also famous for doing everthing in their power to distance themselves from such crap. In 1963, NET decided to start showing documentaries that tackled the tough issues, like poverty and racism. While some didn’t like it because of the perceived liberal bias, what really irked people was that they showed these documentaries during times that kids were watching,.

After one documentary about the Nixon administration’s top advisers, the FBI investigated the station, and concluded that kids were learning TOO much. Therefore, the Ford foundation, and the government, decided to either force them to stop showing such material, or they would pull funding. Within a year, NET lost so much revenue, they shut down — all for showing disturbing and thought-inducing documentaries to 4-year-olds.

2. Overmyer/United Network

United-Network-Ad

When an ultra-conservative man started a TV channel to challenge CBS and NBC, bad things were bound to happen. Envisioning an ultra-clean channel, the Overmyer/United Network was to start in 1967, coast-to-coast. However, they failed to realize just how little television out there caters to the ultra-conservative, even back then. With only a few hours of programming, and only a handful of failed sports leagues giving it live entertainment, the ON lasted only a month before going bankrupt.

1. Cable Music Channel

Cable-Music-Channel

In 1984, after seeing the smut of MTV, Ted Turner decided to make an ultra-clean competitor, CMC. Armed with billions of dollars, Turner set up the new music mega station … in a small house in Los Angeles. But even if he had actually put some effort into housing the thing, it turns out the public didn’t actually want a G-rated music station that showed only light rock and country, especially with MTV and its edgy (popular) artists a mere click of the dial away. Turner, less than a year later, sold CMC to MTV, who then turned it into VH-1 … a clean music station known mainly for playing light rock and country. Maybe the public just didn’t like Ted Turner.

Evan V. Symon’s work can be seen here, and his book can be read here.


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12 Comments

        • Don Newbury on

          It was definitely Dumont and they also made their own television sets. The store you’re confused with was Wanamaker’s which I believe was in New York. They had studios on the upper floors and broadcast while people went shopping down below.

          Jackie Gleason and a bunch of other stars got their start there and his variety show was where “The Honeymooners” were first seen with Pert Kelton as Alice. When Kelton got blacklisted (The official story was that she had heart trouble,) Audrey Meadows took over the role. They lost Gleason to CBS because they were much more successful and had a lot more money, plain and simple. Dumont struggled the whole time it was on the air.

          Go to Wikipedia for more info and then go to YouTube and watch some of the limited old kinescopes from that network. I believe it was on the air for about eight years.

        • K.M. Richards on

          And that isn’t actually the DuMont logo. That’s the one from Uncyclopedia, the satire site.

  1. Ms Medieval on

    The picture of the dog is heartbreaking. I seriously doubt the puppy channel showed anything like that 🙁

  2. I actually remember Cable Music Channel. I was too young to watch MTV, so CMC it was. Lol, it was awful.

  3. There is now a dog network channel on Direct TV. I don’t get the channel but I saw a clip on a tv show that showed how they ejaculate a dog to get the prize sperm for breeding. I’m actually glad I don’t get this channel.

  4. The Puppy channel photo is actually a photo of an art installation when the dog was left to die unfed tied to a rope. It caused quite the uproar. Unfortunately it was used in this piece without a thought.

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