New TV Times debuts today

FILLERS

BY JOHN CULLEN

We introduce our new TV Times format in this issue. It’s no longer a separate tabloid section. We redesigned it to fit on a two-pages pullout in Section B.

As we noted in mid-December, it was getting too expensive to produce the TV listings in their previous tabloid format. We suggested that maybe we’d have to eliminate the listings to keep the cost of a subscription to a reasonable level.

Our readers responded with pleas to keep the listings, since most newspapers eliminated them years ago, figuring viewers could find the program schedules on their on-screen cable guide. But many readers find the good old-fashioned printed listings much easier to navigate, and we agree.

Our previous TV Times contained the listings of nearly 80 channels, most of which probably weren’t viewed. We asked you readers to tell us which channels were your favorites, and we would keep them. Again you responded, and with your guidance we were able to reduce the number of channels to the 31 most requested. They include all the Sioux City network stations, PBS and popular cable stations such as Turner Classic Movies (my favorite), TBS, TNT, USA, History, Hallmark, all the news channels, and on and on.

We regret if a channel that you watch occasionally is no longer listed, but with so many channels available, in addition to Netflix, Showtime, Starz, Amazon Prime and countless others, it is impossible to list all of them.

It’s a compromise that we hope keeps you reasonably happy while keeping our costs under control. The Storm Lake Times is still the only newspaper around here that has TV listings. The Des Moines Register and Sioux City Journal dropped them years ago, and TV Guide, which used to be right next to the Bible in most homes, is no longer in print; it’s only available online.

Our TV listings include primetime listings for every evening as well as daytime Saturday and Sunday.

JOHN MURRAY, my uncle and godfather, was inducted into St. Mary’s Hall of Fame Friday night between the girls and boys basketball game. It was an enjoyable evening for Art and me, as we were reunited with seven of John and Janette’s children, who live in the Twin Cities. Also on hand was Joan Linnan, formerly Storm Lake now living in Spencer, who with her late husband Don were close friends of John and Janette.

John, who died a couple of years ago, was the winningest basketball coach in St. Mary’s history. He coached for 13 years in the 1950s and 60s, fielding some of the best Panther teams in school history. They just missed the state tournament several seasons, and won the Sioux City CYO diocesan tournament on multiple occasions, back when that was a big deal with dozens of western Iowa Catholic schools competing for the title. He coached some of the best athletes in St. Mary’s history, including the great Jim Mech. Storm Lake attorney Dan Connell was also one of his players and could regale you with stories about those days when the team travelled to games in station wagons.

John and Janette lived in a house on a Cayuga Street where St. Anne’s Convent stands today. Murrays lived on the second floor with their newborn son Tom (who was at Friday’s event); the first floor housed the first grade classroom with Sister Annunciata running the show with nearly 50 students spread out over the living and dining rooms. That’s where I started school. When the convent was built the house was moved east a couple of blocks. As the family grew they moved to a house on Superior Street, then to West Fifth Street, where Argotsingers live today.

In addition to coaching all sports, John was the school’s only phys ed teacher and taught a full load of business courses. John left coaching to become postmaster here, then moved to Burlington where he taught school again until retiring. The family moved to the Twin Cities, where most of them live today.

I love to tell the Murray kids that they wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for me. John was Mom’s brother, and Janette was Dad’s niece. Mom and Dad figured John and Janette would make a good couple and invited them to be godparents at my baptism. That’s how they met, and a few years later I was the ring-bearer at their wedding. So in addition to being my godparents, John and Janette were my aunt and uncle and Janette was also my cousin. It’s complicated!

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