The future of TV seems to be -- of all places -- Chattanooga, Tenn.
Forget about your West Coast and East Coast-centric ideas. The man who gave you the Chattanooga-based Retro Television Network (RTN) -- the local digital-TV signal based TV network -- believes there is much more programming to come, at least locally anyway.
Two decades ago (when cable TV networks weren't really successful in the original programming business) syndication and other TV programmers were pleading for more time periods because the very strong business of local broadcast television was like a money-printing machine.
Now, a couple of decades too late, TV programmers get their added shelf space. But guess what? So has everyone else. In addition to local digital TV platforms, there are a plethora of other strong distribution points -- cable and the Internet, for example.
Local TV digital networks are still a work in progress. Interestingly, many are starting out as many cable networks did -- running classic old TV sitcoms and dramas, as RTN does.
Henry Lukens, the founder of RTN, believes you could have as many as 25 local and thriving digital networks per market. But other executives believe for this to happen, local digital networks would need to evolve -- drastically -- from what is currently offered over the air now.
These local digital signals need to be very different from their local mothership TV stations, or that of national cable networks.
Programmers would have to find micro-niche networks, perhaps targeting certain parts of markets/cities where viewers have specific interest. For example, one local TV group is focusing on regional high school events.
So it's really not just about TV programming ideas from Chattanooga, the home of RTN. It's actually about developing programming from and for Portland, Ore; French Lick, Ind.; Spokane, Wash.; Dothan, Ala; Watertown, NY; Bixby, Okla; and other places.