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June 29, 2018 7:34 am  #1


Friday Flashback: When DX-ing Brought A World Of Television

There are a lot of advantages of High Def TV, undoubtedly the biggest change to domestic television since the invention of the cathode ray tube. But here’s one thing it didn’t help – the practice of DX-ing.
 
For those who don’t know, DX-ing is a hobby that sees enthusiasts trying to pick up distant stations on either their radios or their TVs – and the farther away, the better. But unlike the old analog signals, HD broadcasts don’t propagate the same way and the golden age of pulling in those far away places is all but gone.
 
Here’s an article from TV Guide way back in 1969, talking about the phenomenon, with an emphasis on overseas TV.
 
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I believe this piece, written by Glenn Hauser, is the same guy who for decades has hosted a DX-related radio show on a slew of shortwave stations in the U.S. called “World of Radio.” All these years later, he’s still at it.

I still remember the first distant station I ever got. It was back around 1964 or so.  I was just a kid but they were playing a Motown record and I stopped and thought, “whoa, whoa, who’s this?” Turns out it was, in fact, “whoa, whoa,” WOWO at 1190 AM in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. It would not be my last “get.”
 
Some of what you could receive was amazing. Like the day Denver TV came into Toronto like a local.

 
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Same with channel 3 – this one, in Louisiana.
 
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That was quite a summer. I was never lucky enough to be able to get anything from overseas. But that doesn’t mean those over there weren’t looking at their own versions of our old TV Guide.
 
Check out this cover from Holland, back in the 70s. It features the saddest excuse for “Zorro” on the cover anyone has ever seen. (Fortunately, they were showing the original Guy Williams version. But who’s that pathetic guy on the horse?)

 
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They also covered pop music, although all I can figure out is that it was the year Diana Ross parted ways with the Supremes and Dennis Wilson left the Beach Boys. As for how Buffy Ste. Marie got in there, well, your guess is as good as mine.  
 
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As for programming in the land of windmills and wooden shoes, it appears Mary Tyler Moore really could turn the world on with her smile.
 
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Here’s what the French were watching on a night in October 1971.
 
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Meanwhile, over in Germany, someone was watching “The Time Tunnel.”
 
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The only show I could recognize from these listings back in 1971 was “Skippy The Bush Kangaroo” (or Kanguruh.)
 
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Down under, there were a lot of local shows we never got to see in the place Skippy called home.
 
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Britain had a host of different versions of TV Guide, including one called “TV Guide.”
 
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The most famous was The Radio Times, which is still being published today.
 
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Here’s a list of what Brits were watching back in 1992.
 
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And a typical night’s viewing in 1994.
 
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The Radio Times lived up to its name, also covering radio.
 
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And even back home in North America, it was like another world. At least if you were looking at Montreal’s TV Hebdo, for those who only spoke French.
 
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How do you say “Houston, we’ve got a problem?” in Quebecois?
 
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Over in the U.S., Puerto Rico was in a TV world of its own, although Hawaii Cinco Zero was obviously a local fave. But shouldn’t it be sponsored by Alberto V05-0?
 
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Here’s a list of the hot songs in the American territory in 1969. Notice the only English tune was written by Andy Kim.
 
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Still, despite all the differences, there are some things that are, quite literally, universal.
 
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The TV world is a very different place now for DXers, thanks to HD, instantaneous satellite transmission and the Internet. It would have been a lot easier if they’d been in place back then. But somehow, I kind of think it wouldn’t have been as much fun.