New cable news network unveiled

NEW YORK -- Soar Pointe Broadcasting Corp. (SPBC) today unveiled "The Boatnerd Network," a cable television venture that will broadcast programming about Great Lakes ships 24 hours a day.

"This is our latest entry in the growing field of cable television niche networks," said Ben Dover, Soar Pointe's president and chief executive officer. "Because we're based in New York, we  initially didn't know where the Great Lakes were located. But when we found out they were in The Fashionable Heartland, we knew right away they were a hot concept. After researching the growing popularity of so-called 'boatnerd' pages on the World Wide Web, we realized boatnerds were finally  ready for full-scale commercial exploitation."

The Boatnerd Network will broadcast from studios atop Terminal Tower in Cleveland. This will enable the network's producers to work at the center of the Great Lakes shipping industry, Dover said.

Programming for the new network will focus heavily on existing videos, talk shows and live camera shots. "A vast number of boat videos are now on the market," he said. "Some are interesting, some are bad enough to insult my dog's intelligence. We'll show them all. We figure if Geraldo can make a two-hour live special about digging under a sidewalk, we can get away with this."

Dover said BNN also will launch new initiatives in live programming, such as having crewmen aboard Great Lakes ships wear cameras similar to those worn in recent years by professional baseball players.

"We envision having a whole watch wearing cameras, enabling our studio technicians to constantly switch among live shots in the pilothouse, engine room and galley," Dover said. "Boatnerds with insomnia will be able watch hour after hour of 'wheelsman cam' as the wheelsman monitors the autopilot in the middle of the night on Lake Superior."

Boatnerd Network also will borrow techniques that have proven successful in the growing Internet pornography industry and television shows such as those featuring "personality" Howard Stern, said Dot Matrix, the network's creative director.

"For instance, we'll have a live camera at the Soo Locks that will be monitored by a studio technician. Viewers can contact us by e-mail to ask the technician to focus the camera on particular ships, or zoom in for close-ups on certain arousing parts of those ships," Matrix said.

"We'll also have talk shows hosted by leading personalities in the Great Lakes boatnerd industry. I'm envisioning programs where these hosts are having frank discussions with celebrity boatnerds, ship masters and sailors and coercing the guests into taking off their clothes. It will be hot," she said.

Boatnerd Network also anticipates producing original programming, often with the help of boatnerds around the lakes. Viewers will be able to contribute video for programs such as "World's Scariest Overtaking Situations in the Rivers," "World's Hottest Self-Unloaders" and "When Canadian Straightdeckers Attack."

Dover urged all boatnerds to immediately contact their local cable television provider to request the Boatnerd Network.