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Station to air fewer prime-time shows

Medford television station KFBI (Channel 48) is among the 180 MyNetworkTV affiliates affected when the network becomes what it calls a "programm service-model" next fall.

MyNetworkTV stations receive 12 hours of prime-time programming from the network per week. That will be reduced to 10 hours, which means the stations will be able to carry the prime-time programs five nights a week instead of six.

"When they call themselves a programming service, they no longer guarantee first-run programming, but they can still give it to us," said Doug Holroyd, general manager for the Sainte Television Group. "What they are going to give us are shows usually sold into syndication for weekend runs on the more popular cable and satellite channels."

The 10 hours of programming will come in two-hour blocks, with such offerings as "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" and movies. Holroyd said he did not know which evening would be cut.

KFBI, a low-power station, hit the Rogue Valley airwaves in the summer of 2006. In addition to MyNetworkTV programming, the station carries Portland Trail Blazers, San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's games.

"When you consider there are 168 hours a week and they are giving us 12 hours and dropping it to 10, it's not that much," Holroyd said. "I think what they're trying to do is get programming to stations they know will work without paying for test audiences."

Such was the case, he said, when English versions of Spanish-language shows originally airing on Univision, Telemundo or networks called Novelas didn't gain a lot of traction.

"There are more and more networks," Holroyd said. "If MyNetwork can grab something they know is already a huge hit from the numbers they see on A&E or TNT and put the cream of the crop onto a national over-the-air network, that's a pretty smart thing to do."

Holroyd says syndicated shows carried on KFBI regularly, such as "Family Guy" and "Scrubs," outperform network shows.

Even though low-power stations aren't required to follow the migration to digital transmission in the near future, KFBI and sister station KMCW plan to change next fall. He says the conversion will allow the company to add a channel when the change is made.

"We're already paying the power bill and it doesn't cost us anything to add a second channel," he said. "It's just a matter of hooking up a computer and switcher."

Holroyd said it's possible the station would use the additional channel to run infomercials, but nothing had been definitely determined.

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail business@mailtribune.com.