Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday Night Mix

A whole buncha stuff tonight, mostly updates:

TIME WARNER REDUX: We're glad to provide a source of amusement to the fine folks over at Time Warner Cable. No, really, we are!

This time, it was our item/speculation about the presence of "Time Warner One", a new channel showing up on cable position 1 on the Akron/Canton-based TWC cable system.

It's showing instructional videos right now, and we wondered aloud if Time Warner would mount a new local programming channel there.

OK, so we're wrong...again. (We did say we could be, and were speculating. Remember, read this report with a grain of salt, for at least a portion of it is our own musings.)

No less a source than Time Warner suit Bill Jasso checks in and says there is no local programming channel shift planned... and whatever is done, won't involve "Time Warner One", which will be expanded as the system's official customer information channel.

Not that there aren't changes afoot.

The first has already happened - the migration of some of the former Adelphia/Cleveland programming on cable channel 15, to the Akron/Canton systems' cable channel 23. This includes shows like "More Sports and Les Levine", which started airing in the Akron/Canton end of TWC last week.

Jasso calls that "a soft launch", and says TWC is hoping to "officially" launch the local origination channel with a new name/branding by early March.

It doesn't appear, at least for now, that the channel positions are changing - with 23 remaining the local programming channel in the "legacy" Akron/Canton TWC world, and 15 remaining the local programming channel in the former Adelphia universe. (We didn't think to ask about former Comcast customers.)

But Jasso does tell us that the existing local programming will be "widened" in scope to include the company's entire Northeast Ohio footprint, "without losing the local flavor" for either the former Adelphia programming based in Cleveland, or the Akron/Canton-based programming.

We also hear that such Time Warner Akron-based stalwarts as "Civic Forum of the Air" will be brought into the company's new Cleveland footprint. That public affairs program dates back to the old WAKR-TV 23, and moved to TWC when the former ABC affiliate dumped all local programming.

So, we're not 100% wrong, as it does appear the programming will go back and forth between the two sections of Time Warner Cable - just on the existing channels, with new name/branding coming soon.

And no, we have no idea what this means for "Akron/Canton News", the WKYC-produced local news program that still does not air in the former Adelphia region serving western Summit County. (That would include, by the way, Bath, Copley, Northampton Township, even some areas actually within the Akron city limits these days!).

But it seems likely the news show will end up seen in all of the company's Summit County communities once covered by Adelphia's system.

Mr. Jasso also tells us that the "On Demand" programming on the Cleveland end of the system will "soon" be populated by existing TWC local programming, along with "newly produced programming"...keep watching...

HE'S BAAAAACK!: It looks like you WILL have Roger Brown to kick around again in print.

The former Cleveland Plain Dealer sports/media columnist has resurfaced in two co-owned suburban newspapers, the Lorain Morning Journal and the Lake County News-Herald, with a weekly column which debuted on Sunday.

We actually heard about it tonight from a caller to WTAM/1100's "Sportsline with Kevin Keane", where the station's evening sports talk host referred to Roger as "a fungus".

The Morning Journal/News-Herald column is Roger's usual mix of news, rumor, speculation and real estate listings. Come on, where else can you find out the price of Browns player Andra Davis' new digs in Strongsville?

Oh, yes, and there are sports media items, too...a note that Chris Miller, WEWS/5's sports director, is heading for Comcast SportsNet in DC in part because of a former NewsChannel 5 producer who's now an executive with the regional sports network.

(Umm, but Roger? Chris hasn't been "weekend" sports anchor for some time, unless you count the presence of the regular weekday team on Sunday nights during sweeps months.)

And in the surest sign that Roger has continued to be a regular OMW reader in his time away from newspaper writing, he says WJW/8 lead sports anchor Tony Rizzo "dismisses" talk that he'll soon land with a second job on Good Karma sports WKNR/850, replacing current mid-morning host Greg Brinda.

For the record, we've heard this rumor popping up again, which we hinted about earlier, but once again have NO confirmation that it's happening. Some folks in our comments section even had Brinda dumped from the station, only to have him do his show the next day!

We don't run with anonymous, unsourced comments, and will only report such an event here if we have reason to believe it's actually going to happen. We only mention it by name here because it was in Roger's column.

Take everything you read in the comments (or on message boards, etc.) with a grain of salt larger than the WKNR studio building on Broadview Road.

Oh, and though we have yet to see him, we believe Roger is still providing quips to the folks at WOIO/19-WUAB/43's "19 Action News", where he landed shortly after taking the Plain Dealer's buyout offer...

5.1 TO 2.0 AGAIN: Speaking of "Cleveland's CBS 19", those with fancy home theatre systems tell us that that Raycom Media Cleveland CBS affiliate is back to plain old stereo, after about three weeks passing along CBS' Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

The expanded sound showed up just before the Super Bowl, and hung in there until late last week, when it went away.

We hear from an OMW reader that WOIO staffers are telling viewers that the 5.1 sound is gone because the CBS-provided equipment is gone as well, with the network apparently looking to a "different direction" as far as the equipment type goes.

We also hear that Raycom Media has no intention on resuming 5.1 broadcasts, unless CBS delivers them new equipment. And we hear that's not expected to happen for at least a few months, if ever...with the company not looking to buy its own 5.1 equipment...

WTAM NEWS CHANGE: This change doesn't involve personnel at Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 in Cleveland, but rather, formatics.

We can't pin down when it happened, but at some point, top-of-the-hour newscast formats changed on WTAM.

The station's newscasters now do a brief headline, go to traffic, then go into FOX News Radio...returning to local news after the network's three minute newscast (the first section of the FNR 5 minute cast).

Also gone during the top-of-hour casts - the recorded brief "20/20 Sports" once heard in that newscast. The anchor reads one sports headline under that name before going to commercial. "20/20 Sports" with anchors continues as usual in the station's sports talk programming, as well as during the afternoon drive foodfest hosted by Mike Trivisonno.

Why did WTAM do this?

It would seem simple to us, as Clear Channel talkers around the country continue to embrace the popular FOX News branding. We'll assume that WTAM or Clear Channel management felt that carrying the actual newscast when possible would strengthen that branding - much more so than just running an occasional FOX News Radio wrap or actuality.

We're told by listeners that the new format extends to all the station's local newscasts, not just the evening and weekend casts we heard earlier...


Anonymous said...

WTAM now carries the Fox News reports at the top of every hour - even in morning and afternoon drive. I'm not surprised either... this was bound to happen.

Only it's not handled right (could you guess?) The newscasts really should begin with a :30 sec TOH ID/news-wx headline leading into the FNR cast immediantly at the top. Listen to WGY/Albany, WWVA/Wheeling, or even WFUN/Ashtabula, and see what I mean.

The way it's currently formatted, WTAM allows more than a minute to be wasted with an overblown traffic report and weather BEFORE the FNR cast - leaving only 1 1/2 minutes for local headlines. It's worse when you get to the hard-break formatted shows like Rush and C2C.

Theoretically, on non-drive time hours, the tx SHOULD be coupled with the :05 weather forecast, and should be read by the anchor (unless if the conditions are bad enough, i.e. last week) Aside from that, it's pointless otherwise.

It's REALLY sad when I can think of this, but no one in Oak Tree can...

- Nathan Obral

Ben said...

Ah Roger Brown, made up rumors, house prices and ripping the home town team. Faaaantastic.

Anonymous said...

WOIO needs to do something about the sound on their HD channel, it's worse than the sound on their analog channel. CBS should buy WOIO. The only thing Raycom Media has done is make Woio the worst TV station in Ohio-no the whole country!

Anonymous said...

It's disappointing that Fox is being forced on the news folk. There's barely any local news anymore.

Mark Dallas said...

Roger Brown and the News-Herald, the perfect match...An amateur writer and an amateur newspaper.

Anonymous said...

'TAM hasn't been right since they switched GM's....
the new guy doesn't understand cleveland and doesn't wanna be here anyway......he was ASSIGNED...
he should have stayed in cincy.

Anonymous said...

You guys can rip Roger all you want, but don't act like that wasn't the first item you checked out each Monday/Wednesday/Friday/Sunday. I don't think they ever tried to pass it off as legitimate "journalism," so i'm not sure why he's the butt of jokes on here and in the media. He delivered an "entertaining" column, in a paper that has zero of them.

Anonymous said...

Barely any local news anymore? Why would Clear Channel care about that?

Anonymous said...

I noticed the change last week in 7am 'casts when Bill Wills billboarded locasl stories Tom Moore was working on "right after Fox News checks the World..."

Anonymous said...

yWhat do you mean local news all I ever hear is the Dummy yelling

Anonymous said...

"Barely any local news anymore? Why would Clear Channel care about that?"

We would like to thank "starkcounty" from radio-info for checking in today!

R.Duncan said...

I am so happy Roger is back!

The BSK said...

Me too!

The BSK said...

Me too!

Anonymous said...

WKNR announcement will be made lineup starts Monday. Riz and Les are in.

Anonymous said...

Since Roger Brown left the PD, I don't even care to pick up the paper anymore. That was ALWAYS the first thing I read, and (as one writer said) there is nothing to fill that void. Wish I got his two new papers; maybe online. Too bad, PD...your loss.

So, WKNR's gonna shake things up, huh? None of the rumored names or pairings interest me in the least. Ya know what...who needs to listen to sports-radio, anyway? I've got music in my car, and a TV in my house. So long, Karmazin. Way to drive the listeners away. Not one single move you've made thus far even hints at being an "improvement."

Anonymous said...

The quicker they get rid of Brinda the better. He has had the same take for almost 30 years now. Time for someone else. I ll take Les, the Riz anybody at this point over Brinda.

VODood said...

The GM doesn't program WTAM. That's still PD Ray Davis' gig. (and Kevin Metheny).

Anonymous said...

hahahahahahaha! that's funny!

exradio said...

Market-leading radio news operations in big markets almost universally abandoned carrying network news at the top of the hour in the 80's. (Major exception: CBS stations that carried plenty of local news before or after the network news.)

Local TV news gives very little coverage to national news, because they think viewers want local. Are radio listeners different?

If they have 2 1/2 minutes an hour to fill locally produced news, instead of 5 or 6, do they need as big of a staff as they have now? I've heard radio newscasts produced by TV stations that can fill 60 or 90 seconds fairly coherently, although the casts are often prerecorded in batches.

Or maybe WTAM's going to have their local staff spend more time on the website. With the shorter casts they'll have more time on their hands.