Monday, February 12, 2007

Starting The Week With TV Stuff

For whatever reason, all the stuff in our "hold file" has to do with local television...so, let's turn on the Virtual OMW Tube:

TWC AKRON/CANTON CHANGES: This one, oddly enough, comes from one of the newest additions to our left-hand side links section...WKYC/3's "Director's Cut" blog, brought to you with care by WKYC News senior producer/director Frank Macek.

Frank tells us that WKYC's "Akron/Canton News" returns to Time Warner Cable's cable channel 23, after being bounced around to channel 17 or 96 due to the full-time presence of the Indians-run sports network SportsTime Ohio on 23.

That means STO is moving to its own dedicated channel - 76, says Mr. Macek - for this reason:

"...in preparation for the launch of a new local Channel on 23, which will include the Akron Canton News in it's daily lineup."

Hmm. Is this a feline creature being let out of its paper sack enclosure a bit early? We ask, because...

TWC PRESSER: OMW's now on the official press release list for the aforementioned Time Warner Cable, and we've been notified of a press conference Wednesday titled "Time Warner: Status in Greater Cleveland". Quoting the invite:

With 180 days as Greater Cleveland’s new cable operator, Time Warner Cable has celebrated success and overcome challenges. For Time Warner Cable customers and employees, the future offers continued opportunity.

Hmm, again.

We doubt they'd go to the trouble of dragging everyone up there on Wednesday if they're just saying "hey, it's cool we've been at this for six months!". But we have no other information than the brief press conference announcement.

So, we enter speculation mode here.

Is this the announcement that TWC is finally going to standardize lineups between the former Adelphia and Comcast systems in the Cleveland area, and the long-incumbent Akron/Canton lineups? (Yes, we know the Akron and Canton lineups are not 100% identical, but they're close.)

And would the aforementioned "local channel 23" be part of this announcement? TWC certainly has enough material to do it. The former Adelphia and Comcast systems offer local programming like "More Sports and Les Levine" and "The Midnight Movie" and could probably fill out a channel with the stuff TWC airs out of Akron/Canton.

We also wonder what other role WKYC plays in this...if, perhaps, repeats of WKYC-based Cleveland newscasts could join the station's "Akron/Canton News" on the new local channel as the system consolidates. And of course, such a move would finally deliver that newscast to the former Adelphia subscribers in Summit County's western and northwestern reaches.

For his part, WKYC's Macek on "Director's Cut" says he hasn't heard of such plans, or plans to put the Akron/Canton Newscast on the ex-Comcast systems, but is "hopeful".

Almost all of this is our own educated guessing/speculation, but we wouldn't be surprised if much of it came true on Wednesday. We can't be at the press conference, but we've requested that the relevant announcements be sent to us...

45/49'S HD: Those looking for PBS in HD in Northeast Ohio are surprisingly limited in their options.

Cleveland's WVIZ/25 has had a long-time battle to get its full-power digital TV transmitter going from the analog site in North Royalton. The site is owned by CBS Radio (WNCX/98.5), and we've heard in the past that there have even been legal issues and a dispute between the two broadcasters.

We haven't heard why that has dragged on into 2007. For now, those looking for PBS HD out of WVIZ either have to use antenna firepower to pick up a small, temporary setup out of the station's former Brookpark Road facility, or tune to Time Warner Cable (ex-Adelphia) 710.

Out of Akron, WNEO/WEAO-45/49 ran PBS HD when the stations' digital signals first went live...but stopped at some point. The station has since been gathering the federal grant money and preparing to return to running the HD feed on WEAO-DT and WNEO-DT.

But...equipment is still getting in the way. PBS 45 & 49's Don Freeman explains on a local forum dedicated to HDTV:

Our first generation automation software, server hardware and digital encoder are incompatible with the upgraded automation software. We can't insert anything into the digital HD stream we receive from PBS, or record any of those programs for later use, until we get the new software.

Without making those insertions, or having the programs air from our servers, we can't broadcast the PBS-HD programs. We'll be shopping at the NAB show in April, money in hand, and fully expect to have our decisions made, equipment ordered and installed by the beginning of our next fiscal year, July 1, 2007.

How's that for "official information"? Hats off to Mr. Freeman and the folks at the Kent-based public TV station...

AND NO INFORMATION: Meanwhile, compare that to the website of local CW affiliate WBNX/55.

You know, the station which said it would try to put up a digital/HD signal to local cable stations and satellite providers "by the end of October 2006", with an over-air signal from WBNX-DT by about April of this year?

The "trends" section of WBNX's website contains...the exact same wording. In February, 2007!

We've never had much success getting any information out of WBNX on this. They've never responded to our queries of any sort, and we've never been able to corner any station officials to answer this "live".

We know WBNX's Lou Spangler told Akron Beacon Journal TV writer R.D. Heldenfels that they were having some technical glitches in trying to ready the HDTV feed for cable. But...that was months ago.

Meanwhile, fans of CW shows like "Veronica Mars", "Everybody Hates Chris" and the like have missed out on their shows in HDTV for the fall season, at least through now...and likely the entire way, unless a WBNX HD cable feed is about to light up soon.

For a market that's advanced enough to have three out of four local TV news operations in HDTV, not having ANY digital signal out of the local CW network affiliate is odd...

AND SPEAKING OF HD NEWS: We don't have anything solid on this, but the local TV rumor mill is piping up on that fourth station converting to HDTV local newscasts.

Rumblings are going around the market that engineers at Raycom Media CBS/MyNet combo WOIO/19-WUAB/43's "19 Action News" are going full-tilt this month, readying the station for conversion of its newscasts to HD format.

We hear they're aiming for the end of this month for a launch.

With that conversion, local news-wise only the WKYC-produced "Akron/Canton News" will not be in HDTV, unless that's in the future as well.

Oh, and there's the local news operation of Mansfield independent WMFD/68, which is technically in the Cleveland TV market...

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Speaking of left side of the page links, it appears that the Indiana Radio Watch page is dead.

Ohio Media Watch said...

Thanks for the update...it's been fixed! One nice thing about the new Blogger setup...

-The Management

Andrew said...

Does anyone know of the reason why WKYC doesn't air their Akron Canton news on their subchannel 3-2? Do they have some kind of deal with TWC? It's frustrating that I live in Akron and can't watch my own news because I don't want to pay for cable. It should be broadcast OTA.

OhioBiz said...

Here are some Ohio stations added to my radio streaming list at http://www.ohiobiz.com/Ohioradiofeeds.htm:

WNDH 103.1 Napoleon
WZOM 105.7 Defiance
WBWR 105.7 Columbus
WAKZ 95.9 Youngstown
WNCD 93.3 Youngstown
WMXY 98.9 Youngstown

It looks like more Ohio Clear Channel stations are gearing up to stream.

OhioBiz

Anonymous said...

When will TWC offer additional HD programming on the Dover / New Philadelphia network? Come on now!

Anonymous said...

Or can the Indians move from channel 23 to channel 76 be the easy way for TWC to force Indians fans to pay the full rate for cable instead of the basic (approx $10) charge that gets you the first 23 channels.

Anonymous said...

The Tribe can move STO to frikkin Timbuck-too. If they think I'm paying ONE CENT more for my already-overpriced cable, they've got another thing coming. Enough is enough. I've got a radio...and a LIFE.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Time Warner in Akron get WVIZ-HD? Time Warner need to add more HD channels. Their HD selection is small and not worth their high prices.

Anonymous said...

RE: George Thomas's fawning over Kendall Lewis returning to talk sports...

BSK is back? S.O.S.!!! Poor Les.

Wonder if he'll actually present intelligent sports takes this time, or lapse into his self-promotion and singing, which caused so many to race for the on/off switch on WKNR?

Anonymous said...

Just so the record is clean here I am not against Time Warner Cable or everyone in the Akron or Cleveland office. And I would love to keep my Friends there to so In no way I am not against Time Warner Cable or anyone in the Cleveland, or Akron Office.

This is for all the Time Warner Cable people in the Akron Office and Cleveland Office. This met cause a fire storm today but I have said this before and no one seems to listen to me. So I thought that fire storm needs to be started.

As for the Akron/Canton News and Northen Summit areas like Twinburg,Copley, Bath. The only reason that TWC won't add the Newscast is because they don't care about it. I have ask this question to the Top people at TWC in Akron and they don't seem to care about it.

But Channel 3 care about the people I have talk to the Top people there and they have told me that they want the NewsCast added to all the Summit areas and many more areas but it is TWC they won't do that.

Also I want to bring this up for a Big Fire Storm in the clevealnd Office and Akron Office today. Channels lineup That should have been taken care in Nov or Oct but still nothing has happen. You would think that Time Warner Cable TOP people would get the idea that they should have taken care of this in Oct or Nov and not wait until sometime in the next year.

I do want to point out that I am not against Time Warner Cable just making a point that things need to change soon. You have people paying 5% more this month and you want to keep those people so I would get moving on some of things that need to get done.

Like Channel lineup,Roadrunner for all of the Adelphias areas,

I will not put down my name but people in the Akron and Clevland Office of Time Warner Cable will know who this is.

Andrew said...

I've asked this question probably a million times and haven't found the answer. WHY DOES WKYC RELY ON TWC FOR THEIR AKRON CANTON NEWS???? We have digital TV now, and they might as well make use of their subchannel, 3-2 for airing Akron Canton news so we don't need cable to watch it.