The Broadcasters:  Strange Paradise On The Airwaves
by Curt Ladnier

At the time of its creation, STRANGE PARADISE was an unusual production – an original continuing drama produced independent of any U.S. network affiliation, marketed directly to local television stations across North America. It broke new ground as the first dramatic series on American television released exclusively in first-run syndication. Because of its independent status, SP was brought to life with financing originating outside of the major U.S. networks (quite an accomplishment in its own right). Ultimately, three other players in the broadcast industry joined forces to make STRANGE PARADISE a reality – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Metromedia, and Kaiser Broadcasting. 

The CBC is the broadcaster most commonly associated with SP, despite its being only one of three entities backing Krantz Films Inc’s production of the series. (This is probably due in large part to the show’s being filmed in Ottawa, and the producers’ heavy reliance on Canadian performers.) The CBC first became a force in the broadcasting community in September 1952, when it brought three television stations to the airwaves, establishing itself as Canada’s national public television broadcaster. Over time, further stations were added to its stable, and for nearly a decade even privately owned stations within Canada were required to have a CBC affiliation. However, this practice had been relaxed by the time that STRANGE PARADISE made its debut on the CBC on October 20, 1969 originating over station CJOH. 

Metromedia, in 1969, was an entertainment-oriented business concern consisting of television and radio stations, a tv production and distribution company, and various forms of live entertainment such as the Ice Capades and the Harlem Globetrotters basketball team. It took the name Metromedia in 1961, but was actually formed from the holdings left after the demise of the very first licensed commercial television network, DuMont. After shutting down its network operations in 1955, DuMont’s surviving broadcast operation was re-named the Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation in 1957, before ultimately adopting the name Metromedia four years later. After almost another quarter of a century on the air, Metromedia’s television stations were sold to the News Corporation in 1985, establishing the fledgling incarnation of today’s Fox Broadcasting Company. Currently, the Metromedia name is still alive in conjunction with several sports and entertainment related projects, but no longer bears any connection to television broadcasting as it did in its days with STRANGE PARADISE.

Kaiser Broadcasting entered the world of television communications modestly with the purchase of a station in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1958. However, it soon moved to expand its broadcast holdings on the U.S. mainland by securing licenses from the FCC to construct new UHF stations in major markets across the country. The operation this created was a group of independent television outlets broadcasting on the UHF band. Kaiser did much to attract viewers to the newly emerging UHF market, aggressively promoting off-network programming and movies, and certainly STRANGE PARADISE was among these efforts. This strategy met with success, and Kaiser Broadcasting flourished for nearly two decades. They left the television field quietly in 1977, selling their holdings to Chicago-based Field Communications.
  

SEPTEMBER 8, 1969 – MAY 31, 1970: 
STRANGE PARADISE’s initial U.S. run
State City Station

Affiliation
(if known)

California Los Angeles KTTV (Channel 11) Metromedia
California Oakland KBHK (Ch 44) *  Kaiser
California San Francisco KNEW (Ch 32)  Metromedia
Connecticut New Bedford WTEV (Ch 6) ABC
Idaho  Boise  KBOI (Ch 2) ABC/CBS
Indiana Evansville WTVW (Ch 28) ABC
Indiana  Indianapolis  WLWI (Ch 13)  
Iowa  Cedar Falls  KCRG (Ch 9)  ABC
Massachusetts  Cambridge  WKBG (Ch 56) * Kaiser
Michigan  Cedar Rapids WMT-TV (Ch 2)  
Michigan  Detroit  WKBD (Ch 50)  Kaiser
Minnesota St. Paul KSTP (Ch 5) NBC
Missouri  Kansas City KMBC (Ch 9) Metromedia
Missouri  Springfield  KTTS / KOLR (Ch 10)  
New Mexico Albuquerque  KOAT (Ch 7) ABC
New York New York City  WNEW (Ch 5) Metromedia
New York Syracuse  WNYS (Ch 9)  ABC
Ohio  Cleveland  WKBF (Ch 61)  Kaiser
Pennsylvania  Philadelphia  WKBS (Ch 48)  Kaiser
South Carolina Spartanburg WSPA (Ch 7) CBS
Tennessee Chattanooga WDEF (Ch 12) CBS
Texas  Houston  KTRK (Ch 13)  ABC
Utah  Salt Lake City KUTV (Ch 2) NBC
Washington DC   WTTG (Ch 5) Metromedia
 
NOTES:
  1. The stations marked with an asterisk (*) were Kaiser Broadcasting affiliates during 1969 – 1970, but no documentation has yet come to light confirming their airing STRANGE PARADISE. However, since Kaiser Broadcasting was a partner in the financing of SP, it is a near certainty that all of their affiliates carried the series at the time of its debut.

  2. While no broadcaster in Connecticut has yet been identified, the newspapers in Naugatuck, CT list the series’ debut on 9/8/69 on their area’s Channel 5. To date, this station’s city of origin and call letters have not been confirmed.

  3. Anecdotal reports from fans indicate that the series also aired on ABC affiliate WVUE in New Orleans, Louisiana. 

 

Later Syndicated U.S. Broadcasts
When Where
June 1970: Just weeks after the series ended its original run in the U.S., Seattle, Washington’s CBS affiliate KIRO Channel 7 optioned STRANGE PARADISE for late night airings each Friday as a segment of their popular horror movie show NIGHTMARE THEATRE.
September 1970:  Almost exactly one year after the series’ U.S. premier, KTLA Channel 5 in Los Angeles, California picked up STRANGE PARADISE, and ran through the series completely before dropping it midway through a second airing. KTLA broadcast the series from September 28, 1970 to September 3, 1971.
1971: THE NEW MEXICAN, a newspaper based in Santa Fe, indicates that their area received Spanish language broadcasts of STRANGE PARADISE over Channel 2 for at least a portion of this year. The call letters and point of origin for this Channel 2 have yet to be determined, but it is likely that these were Mexican broadcasts reaching Santa Fe residents from across the border. Anecdotal reports also indicate that SP aired for much of this year in portions of Arizona.
1974: A UHF station in New York, broadcasting on Channel 67, aired the series for much of this year. The station has not been positively identified, but it was very likely WSNL-TV, an independent station based in Patchogue, NY.
1976: Independent station WSNS Channel 44 in Chicago, Illinois aired the series across portions of the north and mid-west.
1977: Portions of the upper U.S. along the Canadian border, particularly northern Montana, received broadcasts of STRANGE PARADISE from Lethbridge, Alberta’s CJOC Channel 7 / Cable 9. More across-the-border transmissions reportedly originated from Winnipeg, Manitoba’s CKND Channel 9 / Cable 12.
1992 – 93: Martinsburg, West Virginia’s FOX affiliate WWPX Channel 60 broadcast STRANGE PARADISE to their viewing area, including portions of Maryland and other surrounding states.


Don’t see a listing for the station that aired STRANGE PARADISE in your area? Give me a shout at strangeparadiselibrary@yahoo.com and me know about it.

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