Monday, October 24, 2005

The WOIO Amateur Hour - Again

If it's Sunday night, regular OMW readers know it must be time for a look at WOIO/19's "Browns Tonight" late night show, with 19's Brian Duffy, and ex-Browns player co-hosts Hanford Dixon (who does WTAM's Browns post-game show) and Bob Golic (WNIR's afternoon host).

We note that the Giant Brown Value City Furniture Couch that threatens to swallow the trio for its size, is still on the set. (Only former defensive star Golic is big enough to overcome it...) And we also note that 19's Sharon Reed has apparently stopped using the show as a dating service, as she didn't extend her personal invite to Browns special teams star Joshua Cribbs to sit next to her on the couch on "BrownsTown Live" tomorrow.

But this week, two things caught our eye.

* The videotape highlights segment, in particular, the highlights of the Steelers/Bengals game earlier in the day. We're curious...before WOIO taped those highlights, was the tape previously used to store newscast video from the 1980's? The quality of the video was so, really bad...that you couldn't read the names on the back of the players' jerseys, even in relatively close shots! We took off our glasses at least twice, wondering if they'd suddenly become fogged. It looked like those old worn film feeds you'd watch from the early 70's.

Other video highlights were bad, but not THAT bad. If it weren't for the colors of the jerseys, you'd have no idea which team was which. WOIO has long been derided for having aging equipment, but this is ridiculous. For the record, we watched on WOIO-DT, the digital version of the station, and the analog feed on Adelphia cable 4 is also fed to the cable box are all local network affiliate stations. Both looked awful.

* OMW doesn't know if WOIO has live manual camera operators, or if the studio cameras are remote controlled now. But that was no excuse for Brian Duffy's video being off center. At one point, you saw about two-thirds of the shot with the background above Brian's head, and poor Mr. Duffy was nearly out of frame at the bottom. Even with remote control, there was no excuse to "shrink" him like that. Unless he really WAS being consumed by the Giant Brown Value City Furniture Couch from Hell...

Come on, guys...this is a major market. Despite losing population fairly steadily over the years, Cleveland is still the 16th largest market in the nation. The Duffy shot, in particular, reeked of cable access, where the volunteer camera people apparently don't know how to center the shot. For that matter, so did the Frequently Used And Dull Videotape.

The positive? We like the show, as a rule...and Duffy, Golic and Dixon have a lot of fun on it, and provide good insight. Too bad that "Browns Tonight's" production values are outdone by local cable shows...

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