Manchester Public TV launches Channel 97 – mix of history, nostalgia and live talk radio

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Sadly, there were no TV cameras around when these guys ruled the city: Group portrait Mayor Arthur E. Moreau and the Board of Aldermen. Seated left to right are Dana Emery, Ward 1; Hamilton M. Henry, Ward 6; Albert L. Clough, Ward 2; Arthur E. Moreau, Mayor; Fred Hecker, Ward 10; Raoul Herbert, Ward 8; Arthur P. Morrill, Ward 4. Standing left to right are Charles E. Chapman, Ward 9; Francis A. Foye, Ward 7; Carl E. Rydin, Ward 3; Charles McLaughlin, Ward 11; William E. Gilmore, Jr., Clerk; George J. Rheault, Ward 12; Francis J. Houlne, Ward 13; and Francis X. Carroll, Ward 5. (1928) Coutesy/Manchester Historic Association

MANCHESTER, NH – Bruce Springsteen once lamented about the lack of keen TV programming, despite the wide selection of channels at our fingertips. And so, with a nod to Bruce’s “57 Channels and Nothin’ On,” we bring you something completely different:

Channel 97, Where Everything’s On!

That’s right, Manchester Public TV has launched a new station into the mix, Channel 97, which is called the History & Radio Channel. You can tune in any time for a pot luck helping of nostalgia dating back to 1992, everything and anything from Board of Aldermen meetings to a themed month of special events programming (like all things St. Patrick’s during the month of March, or that 1990s Memorial High School choir concert during which your big hair obliterated everyone on the risers behind you).

The new channel, which officially launched two weeks ago, will also broadcast video feeds of its current live radio programming on WMNH 95.3 FM as it happens, starting with the daily Morning Show with Peter White and the Moose, which airs 7-9 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Manchester Public TV Executive Director Jason Cote says the addition of a fourth channel is the fulfillment of a three-year mission, to bring residents more viewing options.

“This has ben a three-year dream, going back to starting a downtown radio station, and having a TV station that can show radio live,” says Cote. “But it’s also a chance to disseminate more information to the citizens of Manchester – that’s our job here, to create the most informed citizens possible.”

Cote speaks from a personal place of experience, having just celebrated 20 years with the city’s public TV station. He got his start as an operations assistant and worked his way up to Executive Director. Geeking out on the new History Channel also means he gets to relive some of the highlights of his early broadcast days.

“It’s funny to look back at some of these meetings. You forget that issues that are in the news today were often being discussed 20 years ago,” Cote says.

It has been a painstaking process of digitizing MPTV’s full library, and one that will take another three or four years to complete. Cote thanks his staff and MPTV’s board of directors for their patience and support. He also plans to expand the live radio broadcasting as soon as everything is operating smoothly.

In the meantime, Cote hopes people will enjoy tuning in for a trip down memory lane.

“I asked John Clayton yesterday if he’d be willing to provide some introductions to some of the videos, and he’s agreed to do it, which should be a lot of fun,” Cote said.

Clayton, who is Executive Director of the Manchester Historic Association, and who made his first million (give or take) writing columns of historical interest for the New Hampshire Union Leader, says he couldn’t be happier about the new viewing option.

“We at the Manchester Historic Association are thrilled that Manchester Public Television Service is launching a channel devoted to the history of the city,” says Clayton, “and we hope to be regular contributors both on and off-camera. It’s almost like an extension of our ministry – if I can employ a religious simile – in that it will enable us to engage those who are already intrigued by our remarkable history, and also to reach others who may not be aware of all the great stories we tell at the Millyard Museum.”

Clayton, a recognized expert on local history and veteran of local television himself, has worked in the past with NHPTV, including a 1996 pledge special celebrating Manchester’s Sesquicentennial celebration, and an Emmy-Award winning segment on the Amoskeag Brownies 1929 Winter Carnival at the Amoskeag Ledge.

Other Manchester Public TV channels include: Channel 16/Education; Channel 22/Government; and Channel 23, Public Access Broadcasting. Manchester Public TV is city-funded through Comcast Cable franchise fees.

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Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!