Friday, Feb. 8, 2008 at 10:18 a.m.
A new challenge from WUFO TV
By BILLY COX
Michael Gravino is the co-owner of a low-power TV station, one of those little under-the-radar things that used to carry Spanish-language fare before the changeover in November. It’s called WWTD-LP, tv49.
To help buck it up, the site's "content provider," UFO TV, sells DVDs online from what Gravino calls the “alternative science” genre. Judging from the titles, there’s something for everybody: “Atlantis and the Kingdom of the Neanderthals,” “Project Montauk: The Time Travel Chronicles,” “Operation Mindazzle: Military Remote Viewing Psychic Training Course” “Underground Bases: Reptilians and the Battle for Humanity” or “Frankenstein Science: Animal Transgenics.”
Gravino can’t vouch for all of it; after all, he’s got anywhere from 700 to 800 hours of programming in his stash. And, as he says from his home outside New Haven, Conn., “I’ve got bills to pay.”
The amazing thing is, new material — new DVDs, new productions, videos from past UFO conferences — keeps being cranked out all the time. Which probably isn’t surprising, given the deteriorating credibility of government science policies over the last seven years. But it works out great for Gravino because it’s all grist for his 24/7 programming schedule. And the headlines turn around so quickly. The Stephenville Incident, which unfolded over Texas on Jan. 8, is already a three-hour $14.95 documentary.
Gravino calls his gig the WUFO TV Network, but what makes it interesting is where it’s located — in the District of Columbia metro area, right smack dab in the heart of the political universe. Gravino says more than 1.25 million viewers can receive the signal.
Moreover, WUFO’s Web site is dispensing the presidential contenders’ phone numbers and urging readers to bombard their offices with requests to promise UFO disclosure if elected. Yesterday, it rolled continuous-loop footage of John Podesta, chief of staff for former President Clinton, making formal remarks calling for an end to UFO secrecy.
“I’d definitely like to hear how the candidates feel about this issue, particularly Hillary Clinton,” says Gravino, whose offers of free airtime to those willing to share their views have drawn no response. “She’s got some questions she needs to answer about her meetings with" Laurance Rockefeller.
But without a news budget, WUFO TV won’t be doing much follow-up. Which is OK by Gravino for now. “We’re not going to look like the major networks,” Gravino says. “It’s going to have a rough, YouTube feel to it. I almost run it like a jukebox.”
Who knows? Maybe if he turns a profit, WUFO TV will get a news staff. In the meantime, anything goes. Anything but the Sept. 11 conspiracy stuff. Willie Nelson joined the celebrity chorus this week (Ed Asner, Rosie O'Donnell, Charlie Sheen, James Brolin, David Lynch, etc.) in questioning the official version of those horrific events, but Gravino doesn’t plan to bite that apple.
“I was in Washington on 9/11,” Gravino says. “It’s not something I feel comfortable about.”