Houston Gets Over-The-Air Country-Music Channel

Believe it or not, some of us get by just fine without cable or satellite TV. When Rocks Off goes home at night - the odd evenings we stay home, that is - not only do we enjoy the finest network television has to offer, but the cornucopia of choices across the digital-TV spectrum: B- and C-movies from the '60s to the '90s on This Houston; reruns of our favorite retro cop shows like The Rockford Files, Hunter and 21 Jump Street on KUBE; and, when we we are not in the mood for Star Trek: The Next Generation or South Park on Channel 55, the Vietnamese/Asian network right next door at 55.2.

There's a whole hour of Buddhist studies on early in the morning; we're waiting for that inner peace to take hold any day now. Who needs Sarah Palin's Alaska?

Tonight, though, Rocks Off is going to try the newest addition to Houston's over-the-air family: KBPX, which is now broadcasting on channel 46.1 on the digital dial. According to a PR Newswire press release Rocks Off stumbled across via Google alert this morning, KBPX is the latest affiliate of The Country Network, which bills itself as "the only country network dedicated exclusively to airing country-music videos."

Naturally, you dinosaurs out there who think this means you can suddenly adjust those rabbit ears and tune in a steady diet of old Hank Sr., Merle Haggard and George Jones Time-Life footage are almost surely out of luck.

Rocks Off has been checking in with TCN's Web site periodically throughout the day and has not recognized one video the channel has played so far save Tracy Lawrence's "Time Marches On," which evidently falls into the "Legends" category now.

Erm... yeah. Also: God, we're old. After catching a whiff of Billy Currington opening for Carrie Underwood at Toyota Center last month, we immediately clicked away when the clip for "Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer" came on. (Although we do agree with the concept 100 percent.)

To further familiarize ourselves with the channel, we clicked over to TCN's Facebook page and browsed the comments. Here are a few non-request wall posts (unedited):

  • "ive hear my kinda party by jason aldean like 5 times in like 12 hours pick some newer songs"
  • "Please play something other then the same songs over and over i likd this staion but i want to here so rascal flatts please"
  • "Can you pleaseee play Trailerhood or something other than Taylor Swift OVER & OVER & OVER AGAIN"
  • "oh look! darius rucker! hmm imagine that!"

From this we are able to deduce:

  • Not all country fans are crazy about Jason Aldean, Darius Rucker and Taylor Swift.
  • We are very curious to find out whether "Trailerhood" is a band or a song.
  • Any network that doesn't play Rascal Flatts on a continuous loop deserves at least a fighting chance.

So we're not giving up on TCN yet. Among the no-names on the Web site's featured videos today (Veronica Ballestrini, anyone? James Wesley? Thompson Square?) are George Strait 2.0 Easton Corbin, who we don't hate, and today's classic clip is John Anderson's "Straight Tequila Night."

Rocks Off also browsed TCN's artist database and found lots of folks we do like plenty: Hank, Lefty and Merle all the way to current Americana stars the Avett Brothers, Elizabeth Cook and the Grascals, plus Texas music/Red Dirt artists like Charlie Robison, Eli Young Band and Wade Bowen. Even Son Volt and Whiskeytown.

We'll have to find out whether or not the channel actually plays them, but we're hoping it does in some sort of 120 Minutes-like wee-hours programming, because that's when we'll most likely be watching. We don't sleep much.

Stay tuned...

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