We kind of knew some sort of change was coming, but it was announced quickly.
WKYC/3's Akron/Canton-oriented newscasts, which have been airing on WVPX/23 as "PAX 23 News", will no longer be seen on the station which was once based in Akron as the area's second ABC affiliate. The trigger for the move? Local marketing agreements between PAX and Gannett, the owner of Channel 3, ended today.
Starting Monday, July 4th, the newly-rebranded "Akron/Canton News" will air on 23. No, not the over-air 23, but that cable position on Time Warner Cable's local systems. (It's convenient that TWC has, for some time, been using that cable channel for local programming already!) The current content and staff seen on PAX 23 remains in place, including veteran anchor Eric Mansfield and the reporting staff based at Main and Market...the location which will continue to double as home of the newscast and the Channel 3 Akron/Canton bureau.
It's mostly good news, except for the fact that the former PAX 23 News won't be seen over the air. And for that matter, we'll lose access to it at the World Headquarters of Ohio Media Watch, since we're in the part of Summit County served by Adelphia Cable. Since Adelphia's local operations are getting swallowed (gulp!) into the vast TWC NEO empire, that loss won't be for long. We wonder if it's possible for WKYC and Adelphia to somehow get the cast on at least the Summit County portions of the Adelphia system, perhaps on one of the access channels, until then.
To help draw newsies to a channel that otherwise airs a hodgepodge of local and public affairs programming, WKYC will feed its local version of "NBC Weather Plus" before and after the newscasts, according to Beacon Journal TV writer R.D. Heldenfels. The late edition of "Akron/Canton News" will air at 9 PM, an hour earlier than PAX 23's latest newscast.
And starting today, PAX is going to rebrand as a single letter - "i" (in lowercase, even) - as it transitions its traditional programming to a digital subchannel on its local affiliates. Of course, WVPX's digital channel hasn't gone up yet.
It appears Mr. Mansfield et al. got out of the PAX House before it started burning down!