Well, if you have Time Warner Cable, turn to channel 68 for Look TV, a local television station with a new look, new programming and new studio. It also focuses solely on the people, places and things in Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties.
“It has always been my dream to create programming for a target very clearly defined,” said owner Jesse Jackson. “And expanding into Saratoga is a dream come true.”
Over-the-air viewers can pick the station up on channel 8.
Look TV was purchased by Jackson seven years ago as a small, 10-watt analog station in Glens Falls. Jackson, who spent years as head of marketing for channels such as A&E, History and V-H1, had always wanted to have his own television station so he could focus on news and programming specifically targeted toward the local residents.
“I started looking across the country for a station,” said Jackson, who had been living in New York City. “And luck would have it there was a small, 10-watt analog station in Glens Falls for sale.”
With inside knowledge of the possible changes for broadcast licenses—the federal government would eventually require all analog signals to go digital—Jackson took the leap of faith and purchased the station. But, it would require a lot if it was to reach a broader audience—television signals are linear, so Jackson would need to find a location for a broadcast antenna.
He found a spot—West Mountain, which tripled the broadcast footprint of the station.
“Our investment in equipment was enormous,” explained Jackson. “But we took a 10-watt analog and made it into a 15,000-watt digital station.”
Continuing, he noted that even after they found the location on West Mountain, a lot of research had to be done in order for approval for the license from the Federal Communications Commission.
“We had to have all kinds of surveys and signal strength tests done to make sure our footprint was not impeding on another station,” explained Jackson.
Slowly the station’s programming began to evolve with unique features such as Showcase, which goes more in depth exploring the uniqueness of an area business, calendar of events—shown twice an hour, giving viewers options on where to go, what to do and where to be seen; and local news that is truly local.
“This is such a wonderful area and has so much,” said Jackson. “[Look TV] is much different than an Albany station—they may say they service Saratoga, Warren and Washington counties, but their true focus is Albany. Our main focus is these three counties—I guess you could say we are going to super serve these three counties.”
Programming at Look TV is, said Jackson, “not what I want to watch, but what the people want to watch.”
For example, the station covers the Saratoga Springs City Council meetings and the town of Queensbury. They also cover local football and basketball games, as well as county fairs, local parades and local fundraisers.
Look TV is also developing new programming to go along with its new storefront location where people can watch a program being filmed. One of their newest programs in development is Adirondack Journeys showcasing all the exciting things residents and visitors can do in the Adirondacks. Another is Traxs—a program designed to highlight local musicians.
“They have to be from the area and play original music,” said Jackson. “But they also have to play one cover track of the artist that inspired them to pick up an instrument in the first place.”
And while they have had a cooking show for the last four years, Jackson said they plan to also have one called Guest Whose Cooking, highlighting local chefs and their signature dishes.
And while the station has had a news anchor for the six o’clock and 10 o’clock news, they did not yet have a weatherman.
“That is why we just invested in a meteorologist,” said Jackson, who admits that the station employs a handful of people and everyone pitches in.
“We’re like a rock band—all play, all write and all sing,” said Jackson. “Our program is content-driven-story-telling is at the center of it all.”
The station was also able to expand its operations, opening a recording studio right in downtown Saratoga Springs on Putnam Street.
“We built this studio here and with a street front so people can actually watch a TV program being filmed,” said Jackson.
But, the biggest new thing for Look TV is the partnership with Time Warner, allowing people with cable to now access their programming.
“We have a great relationship with Time Warner,” said Jackson. “It allows us to add something we couldn’t offer before.”
Jackson noted that those without Time Warner can still access the station by going to over-the-air channel 8.
“We are very grateful to be on cable,” said Jackson. “Now they’ve started a campaign to show people how to rescan their TV’s so they can get the station.”
Jackson said he is excited about the future of Look TV.
“Television is a very powerful tool—there is sight, sound and motion—it has so much to offer,” said Jackson. “This is a dream come true.”