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...