As people cut the cord, Arizona TV antenna maker sees opportunity

CHANDLER, Ariz. (FOX 10) -- It is, in a sense, a turning back of the clock as the television antenna is becoming a more and more popular way to watch TV. The trend has led to a major comeback for the classic TV antenna, and one of the biggest names in the business is based in the Valley.

Streaming services helped fill some of the void, but it was time to go back to the good 'ol days of the TV antenna in order to get everything they wanted.

Gone are the days of the rabbit ear design," said Coty Youtsey, CEO for Chandler-based Channel Master.

If the brand Channel Master sounds familiar, it's because they've been in the antenna game for a while.

"This brand has been around since 1949," said Youtsey. "We saw a spike in the 60s and 70s, it kind of went down in the 80s, 90s, and now, we're seeing a return."

Today's antennas are different. Channel Master still displays the older products, from radios to rabbit ears to rooftop products. Today's indoor antenna is much easier on the eye, and getting over-the-air channels is just part of what the Channel Master products do.

"We have products where you can enhance that experience with recording it, program guide, user interface, and things of that nature," said Youtsey.

13 percent of homes in the country depend on the antenna or about 16 million people. That's up from 10 percent in 2014. Business is so good, in fact, that Channel Master moved to Chandler and basically doubled their operating space.

"I feel it somewhat is, we kinda got lucky," said Youtsey. "We're in the right spot at the right time. It all changed with the 2009 digital transition. That kind of opened it up more channels available for free. More HD. The quality was there."

The facility in Chandler ships many of the products, both to homes and some brick and mortar stores around the country. They also produce some of the products needed to connect the antennas and newer non-subscription DVR service.

The key now is to keep people tuned in.

"Right now it's a lot of people who recognize the legacy brand," said Youtsey. "They're saying 'Channel Master is back. They're on the up again', but we're also trying to market to the millennials, the younger generation, because we feel that they are not going to subscribe to a service, but at the same time, when the big game comes on or a program, they seem to buy TV antennas when the need comes up, based on the content that's out there and available."

Channel Master says they're in the process of not only providing the ability to get over-the-air channels, but also creating their own content that would be available only to Channel Master customers.