SkyBest TV, a digital television service offered through SkyBest Communications to fiber-served customers of SkyLine Membership Corporation and SkyBest, is launching a local content channel on Monday, Aug. 27.
The channel, which is called SkyZone HD and noted for its high-definition content, will air on SkyBest TV’s Channels 1 and 801. The new channel will debut at 7:30 p.m. Monday, with the airing of a community feature on the history of the Virginia Creeper in Ashe County, followed by interviews with Ashe County High School Athletic Director Marc Payne and Varsity Football Head Coach Brian Hampton. Programming for the remainder of the week will include recent broadcasts of WKSK’s “Happy Time Show” and coverage of recent fall sporting events at Alleghany, Ashe and Avery high schools.
“We have been working on the creation of a local content channel for over a year now,” said SkyLine CEO Jimmy Blevins. “We formed a Video Production Team to begin the process of developing a studio for recording and editing, acquiring cameras and editing equipment and learning how to bring it all together to support this new local content channel.”
The team, along with other employees, has videotaped and produced segments of various local events to create the channel’s initial content, including general interest features on such local landmarks as the Museum of Ashe County History. Community events to be featured will include this summer’s Christmas in July Festival in Ashe County and the Cranberry Festival this fall in Shady Valley, Tenn.
Local school sporting events also have been covered to help the company create a video sample as part of its proposal to area school systems to air delayed broadcasts of local high school sporting events. So far, SkyBest has received approval from school systems in Alleghany, Ashe and Avery counties, and it plans to expand into covering additional sporting events beyond football as well as other school-sponsored events. SkyBest is working through some technical parameters in Alleghany to ensure that football games covered there also will be re-broadcast in high definition.
SkyBest TV has obtained additional high school football sports programming, so it is making a change to its original launch schedule for Monday, Aug. 27.
Broadcast on channels 1 and 801 to subscribers of SkyBest TV, the new local content channel will now launch at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27, with the airing of the Ashe County High School varsity football game with West Caldwell from Aug. 17, followed by the Ashe County High School varsity football game with Watauga High School, held Aug. 24 in Boone.
The updated program schedule for the week of Aug. 27 is posted on SkyBest TV’s website: www.skybesttv.com.
“We want to help promote our area schools’ events and not compete with gate receipts, so we will air the current week’s game the following week, and we also plan to feature team marathon events with multiple games re-broadcast on certain weekend dates,” said Blevins. “We realize that family members of students who are part of these events may not be able to attend all the games, so it will be an opportunity to view them later.”
West Jefferson-based WKSK Radio also will be highlighted on the local channel with recent broadcasts of the popular morning program “The Happy Time Show,” featuring station owner Jan Caddell.
“We are glad to be able to offer a locally-focused content channel with our digital TV service that promotes and celebrates our communities, schools and other topics of interest that reflect the multi-county region that we serve,” Blevins said. The program schedule will be part of SkyBest TV’s programming guide, and it also will be accessible through the service’s website beginning Aug. 27: www.skybesttv.com. When not airing sports and community programs, SkyZone HD will post school sports schedules, monthly lunch menus, school/community calendar events and programming updates. Future plans for the SkyZone HD channel include local advertising as new programming is added to the schedule.
SkyBest TV is currently available to SkyLine and SkyBest customers who have FTTP (Fiber-to-the-Premise)-based telecommunications services. SkyLine first announced plans to build a systemwide FTTP network in 2004. By the end of 2012, approximately 50 percent of customers served by SkyLine and SkyBest will be able to access fiber-based services, including digital TV. As fiber-based services continue to expand to more communities, residents and businesses in those areas will be notified directly by letter. Customers also may visit www.skybesttv.com, select the link ‘Can I Get SkyBest TV?,” and enter their telephone number to see if fiber and TV services are currently available at their home or business location.
Based in West Jefferson, SkyLine provides a variety of telecommunications services—from basic dial tone services to enhanced calling features like Caller ID and Voice Mail to long-distance, broadband Internet, business systems, network solutions, security systems and digital TV. With customer service centers in West Jefferson, Sparta and Seven Devils, SkyLine’s service area includes areas of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties in North Carolina and Johnson County in east Tennessee.