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Holiday movie marathon gets a gift from WANE

Thursday, February 21, 2013 - 12:01 am

Steve Shine's holiday movie marathon has found a new home. In an agreement announced Thursday, the marathon will air 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Christmas Day on WANE-TV, Channel 15.2, its Antenna TV channel, according to a news release from Shine.

The agreement was signed Feb. 6, and Shine said there already is a staff assigned to the program, which has expanded to a 10-hour telecast.

The Holiday Marathon has become iconic among locally produced television programs. I am delighted that it has found its new home on WANE-TV, long known for being a leader in local television production, Shine said.

Shine's holiday movie marathon did not air in 2012 when Indiana News Center pulled it from its lineup. Shine quickly had to notify guest hosts, which included the mayor, governor, local DJs and other media personalities, of the cancellation.

Shine also had scheduled the programming for the 2012 marathon — Christmas episodes of classic TV shows, such as “Ozzie & Harriett” and “Jack Benny.”

Since the marathon will air on Antenna TV, these classic holiday episodes are a perfect fit for the channel that also airs vintage TV shows on its Antenna TV, Alan Riebe, WANE-TV vice president and general manager, said.

“This year, the blend of holiday programming from Antenna TV and additional seasonal movies and holiday specials will make for a terrific holiday celebration for northeast Indiana viewers, a warm Christmas feeling for the whole family,” Riebe said.

Guest hosts also will continue to share their holiday stories, and include local radio show hosts, Gov. Mike Pence, U.S. Rep. Marlin Stutzman, Mayor Tom Henry, unique animals from the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo and Santa and Mrs. Claus, Shine said.

The marathon originally aired on WFFT, which Shine — an attorney and Allen County Republican chairman — had joined in 1981 as a news broadcaster.

The marathon continued on WFFT until the mid-1990s when the station became Fox. It had been off the air for a couple of years when WANE-TV approached Shine to restart the marathon on its UPN channel, which aired the marathon a couple of years until UPN went defunct. INC then picked up the program and aired it until 2011.

Antenna TV also is available on Comcast Channel 250, Frontier Cable Channel 463 and Mediacom Cable Channel 106.

Shine also announced WANE-TV will become the television media sponsor for “Christmas on Broadway,” a holiday tradition that Shine and his law partner, Tom Hardin, started in 2005 to celebrate Christmas in the neighborhoods that border the Broadway Plaza, which also includes the law office of Shine & Hardin.

WANE-TV will air live coverage of the arrival of the 40-foot spruce during its 6 a.m. Nov. 15 morning news program, as well as the lighting of the tree, wrapped in more than 28,000 lights, during the 6 p.m. Nov. 22 newscast.

“We want to be Fort Wayne's home for the holidays and 'Christmas on Broadway' and the holiday marathon are great ways to enjoy the Christmas season,” Riebe said.

“Nothing brings a community together like the holidays, and I am pleased that WANE-TV is able to support this tradition to allow it to flourish during what will be the ninth consecutive year of celebrating the holidays in the neighborhood,” Shine said.