Tuesday, May 16, 2006

WOAC/67 Needs New Programming

Shop at Home Network owner E.W. Scripps has announced it is shutting down the TV home shopping network, which airs locally on WOAC/67 Canton. In a company release, Scripps says it's shutting down the Shop at Home TV side, and the network's associated Internet site, on June 22nd.

The company has been doing some shopping of its own - shopping around the SAH stations to other buyers. Scripps says that effort continues, and they'll seek alternative programming for the stations while they seek a new owner or owners. The Scripps release says the company's lost $84 million on the effort since first buying into SAH in 2002.

There's no word, even in this report by Reuters, what kind of programming would be sought for the on-the-block SAH stations.

In Northeast Ohio, WOAC is actually technically a sister station of long-time Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 Cleveland, though we don't believe there's been any connection between the two local stations other than common ownership. And with Scripps still looking to sell off the stations, presumably as a block, there may not be even the outside chance the company will do anything with WOAC and WEWS here...even temporarily.

Channel 67 began life as an attempt to bring Canton a new independent, secular TV station, after WJAN/17 turned into religious WDLI, and eventually landed in the hands of the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The station actually mounted a small local programming effort, with local news updates by Scott Davis and public service talk shows with Sherry Lee (our swiss cheese memory isn't all that clear if that's her correct name). It was also the first station to air local "Ghoul"/"Ghoulardi" knockoff "Son of Ghoul", who now airs on "The Cat" low-power combo (WAOH-LP 29/Akron - W35AX/Cleveland).

And the land of low-power TV is where Canton-serving local TV ended up.

After being bought by Paxson Communications (WVPX/23 owners), WOAC/67 upgraded to the maximum 5,000,000 watts of UHF power to serve the entire Cleveland TV market...and was then sold to Shop at Home. Image Video's WIVM-LP/52 Canton then became the latest entrant in the Canton Local TV Sweepstakes, and still operates today with sister LPTVer WIVN-LP/29 Newcomerstown aiming at nearby New Philadelphia and Coshocton...


Anonymous said...

You are correct--her name was Sherry Lee, though she hardly had a "local affairs" show. Essentially her show was a 30 or 60-minute (however much available time there was) commercial for her dress shop and modeling studio, as well for anything else who wanted to advertise. WOAC also aired the CBS late-night lineup, at least until the arrival of David Letterman in 1993.

I miss WOAC. I miss the cheesy graphics, the low-budget jingles, the bartered network reruns (Where else can one find Mayberry RFD?), all the special Pro Football Hall of Fame programming (mostly old, old, old films from the NFL Films archives), tape-delayed high school sports, and public domain movies. It was a very noble effort and greatly missed by one who can't get WIVM on Dish Network and whose rabbit ears can't seem to get it, despite living in North Canton, where WOAC still comes in clear as a bell.

Tim Lones said...

Sherry Lee actually dates back to WJAN-TV 17 where she had a number of interview shows in the 1970's