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WWBI basic facts

WWBI-TV Station ID (2007)

Recent developments:

WWBI switches networks... again! and again! (October 2006)

WWBI-LP 27 has returned once again to i Network (used to be Pax). WWBI had dropped Pax TV for the Daystar Network (religious programming) in the Fall 2005 as the Word of God Religious Fellowship was to purchase TV-27 from SMC Communications for $1.2 million. However, Fybush.com reports that the sale "has fallen through."

Videotron drops Pax TV, as Pax rebrands

Because they couldn't find a solution to their technical problems, Videotron had to remove Pax TV (now known as i) from the illico line-up.

illico subscribers (Videotron digital) were getting PAXSAT instead of WWBI-LP (PAX) even though the CTRC actually approved the distribution of WWBI-LP but not PAXSAT. Videotron's engineering department was never able to pick up the signal they were supposed to be using in the first place, hence the use of the other channel.

Logos of the past


i logo (independent television/formerly PAX)
DayStar TV logo

Daystar TV Network logo. TV 27 was part of this network from the fall of 2005 until 2006.


pax logo

Pax logo, used until 2005.


i logo (independent television/formerly PAX)

Note: In 2005, because Pax didn't actually wait until the fall to introduce this new name and logo, WWBI was technically part of the new "i" network for a brief period of about a couple of months, just before switching to Daystar. The i Network replaced PAX on July 1st 2005. Although, it should be noted that the network was really still in a transitional phase in July and August as both the i and Pax logos were shown in different corners of the screen and in various promos.

It's pretty much a standard practice for the CRTC to let the cable companies provide an alternate feed for a brief period when there are technical difficulties. But only for a brief period. Remember during the ice storm when Fox Burlington was replaced with Fox Buffalo (or Fox Rochester depending on where you lived).

The removal comes just after Pax changed its name to i on July 1st, short for independent television, although I'm not sure what's really independent about it. Just because the programming is bad, doesn't make it independent.

PAXSAT was Pax TV's generic satellite signal, which aired only infomercials in the daytime. WWBI, on the other hand, had the tendency to air daytime syndicated programming, such as Montel Williams. But the programming was the same during prime time, apart from the lack of local station IDs and Shop 'Til You Drop.

The PAXSAT feed still exists in the U.S., by the way, under the new i brand name (I wonder if the program guides will refer to it as iSat?... Probably not)

The CRTC approved WWBI for Montreal-area digital coverage on June 10th, 2003. PAXSAT was available to illico subscribers on channel 56, from January 14th, 2004 to mid-July 2005, and was part of the following illico packages: iUsa, 30/30, iA-la-carte, iTelemax, iUltra, iMega.

History

Although launched in 1992 as an independent station, WWBI TV-27 was originally intended to become Montreal’s cross-border Fox affiliate, but that never worked out (As you may have noticed, there's a Fox 44 but no Fox 27). After unsuccessful negotiations with the Fox Network, WWBI had to settle for UPN affiliation status in 1995 and as if that wasn’t bad enough, they later became a PAX TV affiliate (When WFFF became a secondary WB station and WBVT switched from the WB to UPN).

In the early days of TV 27, the station placed radio ads on CHOM FM in Montreal, including ones for "Married with Children" reruns.

While it is extremely difficult to pick up WWBI, over the air, in Montreal, is not impossible. The web master had discovered this in 1995, from what was then, my third-floor apartment just a few blocks away from the St-Lawrence River in LaSalle. And apparently I wasn't alone. When, The Gazette's TV Times tried to remove TV 27 from their listings, they got a few complaints.

Programming highlights

At the risk of editorializing, I must say that WWBI is probably the most unusual local station I've ever watched. For an example, when they switched to UPN, they aired a locally produced promo for "Star Trek: Voyageur" which had the look and feel of a home video. The promo featured a Trekkie in full custom (or is that a Trekker, I never really knew the difference). I'm hoping that he was a local viewer and that perhaps TV 27 was just being nice to him because his performance made William Shatner seem worthy of an Oscar. (FYI: WWBI's switch to UPN is the reason why WVNY had to stop airing Voyageur that year, but fortunately it was still available on CFCF)

Also in 1995, WWBI often didn't bother to update their promos. That "Coming This Fall" promo you saw in the summer would still be airing six months later... In January! They would also play their promos in the same continuous loop and after a while you could actually predict what the next promo would be.

Apart from Voyageur, UPN shows at the time included "Deadly Games" with Christopher Lyodd (Taxi, Back to the Future) on Tuesday nights followed by "Live Shot" which was like an American version of E.N.G. In 1995, UPN only aired network programming on Monday and Tuesday Nights. WWBI still looked like a superstation, the rest of the week.

Saturday late nights included weird programming such as a show called "Weird TV" with Shadoe Stevens (American Top 40, Dave's World, Hollywood Squares). You only had to watch this show once to know why it was called "Weird TV." Other Saturday late-night hits included "Mystery Science Theater 3000," likely the only really funny show to ever to ever air on TV-27, and "Night Flight," an unusual mix of an independent short films and '80s music videos. Other syndicated hits included "Jerry Springer" and "Jenny Jones."

Recently WWBI was home to the "New Candid Camera," "Supermarket Sweep" and reruns of "Bonanza," all of which were on the full PAX-TV network. There was little local or even syndicated programming left on WWBI, which, in this case, may have actually been a good thing.


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