Wometco Home Theater
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Wometco Home Theater
New York metropolitan area
Fairfield, New Jersey
The Wometco Home Theater (WHT) was an early pay television service in the New York City area, that was owned by Miami-based ...view middle of the document...
Up until 1983, programming began at 8 p.m. In 1983 WHT began broadcasting for 22 hours a day, and increased its monthly fee to $21/month.
Programming consisted of 12 features a month, including movies and entertainment specials. In addition, select home games of the NHL's New York Islanders were broadcast live from the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Each program was repeated five times during the month. During the daytime, WWHT was a small commercial television station. The station was originally going to be a general entertainment station with shows that independents WNEW-TV (channel 5), WOR-TV (channel 9) and WPIX (channel 11) passed on. However, the costs were too high to acquire such programs so the station broadcast only a couple hours of low budget syndicated shows, The Uncle Floyd Show, public affairs programs, religious programs, stock market reports, and minority-interest and foreign language programs. In 1980, WHT began programming a movie from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. as well, later adding the adult-themed late night service, "Nightcap" with its black cat logo.
In the fall of 1980, Wometco Enterprises brought in a new management team. The team consisted of Harold Brownstein as the new president, and Robert Borders as vice president of marketing, both of them had previously worked together at a major BTB direct marketing company. Having operated at $1 million plus loss for over four years, this team turned the operation profitable within 18 months. This was accomplished by consolidating numerous satellite offices/functions into the company's headquarters in Fairfield, New Jersey; producing a bi-monthly program guide (instead of monthly), significantly reducing printing and postage costs; and implementing direct response marketing concepts into the company's multi-million dollar local television ads, so that the company could determine which markets and promotions generated sales, instead of just awareness.
WHT also employed an MATV division in an effort to expand their viewership by partnering with the real estate community to provide the service to buildings and apartment complexes, using a facility's pre-existing master antenna system.
In the spring of 1983, WHT also began operating 20 hours a day with only two hours a day of religious and public affairs shows seen on WWHT. Uncle Floyd moved off Channel 68 and onto NJN. They marketed WHT as 24 hours a day though and the two hours of religious and public affairs shows were positioned as part of WHT's lineup. This block of programming was also unscrambled. Also another two hours of children's shows were also marketed as part of WHT but also unscrambled. It was at this time that Wometco Home Theater and Wometco Enterprises were sold to the private investment firm of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.
By 1984, Wometco Home Theater had ceased its own programming and began carrying programs from California-based pay television service SelecTV. Finally, after losing more and...