Thursday, April 19, 2007

Local TV Turmoil


There has been a lot of turnover in Cleveland TV over the past few months, and it's happening again. We have two items in just one day.

OMW hears that WKYC/3 news director Mike McCormick has announced his resignation from the Cleveland NBC affiliate this afternoon, effective immediately.

McCormick came to the station less than a year ago from Gannett sister station "First Coast News", the NBC/ABC combo in Jacksonville FL. We have no idea where he's headed.

And starting later this month, you can count the number of people working on-air in the WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" sports department by using just one finger.

As we hinted earlier, it's WEWS sports anchor John Chandler exiting the local ABC affiliate, not long after the departure of sports director Chris Miller.

OMW hears that Chandler will be a short shuttle flight up the eastern seaboard from Miller, who's now anchoring at Comcast SportsNet in Washington DC. We hear his last day at 3001 Euclid is April 26th.

We don't know his new station yet, but Chandler is taking a job in the Boston TV market - thus, our reference to the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics in the earlier item.

OMW hears that Chandler basically received an underwhelming, short term contract offer from the local Scripps-owned station, and decided to take the other option. Oh, that, and Boston is a larger TV market than Cleveland.

The move leaves "NewsChannel 5" with but a single sportscaster - Sue Ann Robak - as the Cavaliers' playoff run heats up.

They'll now have to look for both a sports director and a sports anchor/reporter. We're hearing that elevating Robak to the sports director role is not considered likely, just as the station wasn't looking to move Chandler up to the top sports spot as well...


Anonymous said...

can't wait to see what clown Channel 5 brings in to take over as sports director. I was never a big fan of Miller OR Chandler - both came across as way too corny for my liking, yet losing both in such a short period of time has got to be a huge blow. Lets hope Robak isn't next - she's extremely talented and one of the classiest people in the Cleveland media, much less the sports media.

Anonymous said...

Channel 3 whacks their news director.

74WIXYgrad said...

Bring back Howard Sudbury

Anonymous said...

This is nothing more than Scripps being Scripps.

Having worked there a short time, I can honestly say that the corporate culture includes no regard for employees, short of the top news anchors.

Scripps does not like to pay any kind of salary. Scripps likes as little staff as possible and has no aversion to working the staff to the human maximum.

It would come as no surprise if Robak remains the only sports person for an extended period of time.

On the other hand, it would be most amusing if she, too, were offered a better position elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

---Sexist pig alert---

If TV5 does try to put Robak in the big chair, they are asking for it.

C-Town is a blue collar, blood and guts sports town, and a M-F female sports director ain't gonna fly here.

It would be seen for the stunt that it is and Joe Sixpack doesn't want a woman to tell him about the Browns' draft.

Just how it is.

TV5 over the last decade or so, has been a female skewed station (having Oprah, Martha Stewart, The View on during that whole time).

And for the longest time, they barely gave poor Matt Underwood (who was a 1 man sports dept. for awhile) any time on the air, while giving the consumer reporter (remember Chris Caswell) a daily 5 minute "Trouble Shooter" segment.

ABC as a whole is a female skewed network (Housewives, Grey's, Dancing, Bachelor/Bachelorette, plus many other cookie-cutter relationship dramas.) and WEWS is trying to mold around that.

Channel 5 (post-Nev) has never really made sports a high priority, and except for Underwood (who went on to be an Indians announcer) no one has stuck around to make that job theirs.

And since wixygrad brought up Howard Sudbury, check out You Tube.

They have all sorts of old 80's era stuff from TV5, including some of Howard's bloopers.

Anonymous said...

They should put Joe Pagonakis back as the weekend sports anchor he was good.

Anonymous said...

Here's a novel idea for whomever is doing the hiring to replace Miller/Chandler at Channel 5: find someone with some local ties.

How many of the recent hires over there have been non-native northeast Ohioans?

I can't think the credibility with the viewers would be very good with a newsroom packed with "outsiders."

The Channel 3 upheaval seems quite abrupt, especially since they've appeared quite solid in presentation and news judgement.

Anonymous said...

Yeah maybe Channel 5 can hire Bruce Drennan

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't put it past them. BTW, is the Kiska/Barrett/Horgan/Skidmore lineup the official Good Morning Cleveland crew now? It seems like the program has undergone three overhauls since Adam Shapiro left.

Anonymous said...

Drennan, because of his STO show, isn't doing weekday sports anchoring.

TV5 HAD someone with local ties to be Sports Director---John Chandler!

He was born here (Westlake), his uncle was an icon, and you would think that this would be his dream job.

But TV5 treated him like a scrub, and didn't see the forest for the trees.

19 even has had more stability with Chuck Galetti holding down the fort than 5 has as far as sports go.

As far as the morning show goes, the crew they have in right now looks good, but I wouldn't be surprised if they just have Suzanne Horgan do everything herself soon.

She's the only one who has been part of the show since she came in in late '05.

They had her as a forecaster, then co-anchor, then both, then back to co-anchor, then back to forecaster.

The only thing she hasn't done is do traffic in the chopper, and that's probably coming.

She has no seal by the way (neither NWA or AMS), so that means they just brought her in for her personality, and ---sexist pig alert--- her looks.

Ever get the feeling that Ted Henry is there just passing time until retirement.

Anonymous said...

Lorna Barrett always sounds like she has a mouthful of potatoes the less airtime for her the better.

Anonymous said...

''This is nothing more than Scripps being Scripps''..


Robak will be studio bound for the entire Cavaliers playoff run..which means Scipps won't have to pay for her to travel to road games..which suits them just fine..

I have to concur..she may be the solo sports person right into the May Sweeps..and thinks they would have to have a second person by the time Browns Training Camp opens in July..

Anonymous said...

My goodness, look at the decline of Channel 5 sports over the years.

From Gib Shanley to Nev Chandler to Bob Stevens to Matt Underwood to Chris Miller to Sue Ann Robek. What a steep downhill run that is.

They are notoriously cheap and treat their employees poorly. They get what they deserve.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget Jeff Gravley. He was at Channel 5 from 2000 to 2003.

Anonymous said...

As for where Bob Stevens is now, check out:

a Clevelander said...

What a bunch of MORONS at WEWS!!! They had a gem in John Chandler and should have made him sports director a long time ago. Now Cleveland loses one of the good ones.

Anonymous said...

I agree that Pagonakis was quite good at anchoring sports, but I wonder if Joe really has any interest in adding to his duties (knowing Scripps, as I do, that would be without any extra compensation).

And I would concur that Ted Henry is probably just playing out the string.

I wonder what Scripps would do if the ratings took a sizable tumble?

Anonymous said...

Hire Jeff Phelps and bring back the whoop de doo sports review.

Anonymous said...

Isn't Gib Shanley doing sports commentary on Channel 5? They can have him anchor the weekend sports.

Anonymous said...

Hire Phelps? Have Shanley anchor weekends? Not bad. Not bad at all.

Anonymous said...

Scripps CEO used to work in Cinci radio as "Scott Roddy".

Anonymous said...

For Immediate Release

April 20, 2007


The Cleveland Browns have signed three-year television partnerships with WKYC TV-3 and regional sports network SportsTime Ohio, the club announced Friday.

“The Browns organization is very pleased to continue our partnership with WKYC Channel 3 and begin a new one with SportsTime Ohio,” said Cleveland Browns Vice President of Communications Bill Bonsiewicz. “WKYC has always provided a high level of quality sports programming to its viewers, which is very important to us and our fans. Adding STO to the Browns family adds a new dimension of synergy between our partners – not only with the programming, but with talent as well.”

The deal is the latest in a continuing collaboration between the Browns and WKYC. The network will air the team's preseason games as well as The Pregame Huddle throughout the regular season and The Point After on Monday evenings.

Thanks to this partnership, this fall fans will have the opportunity to see all four of the team's preseason games in high definition.

"For the first time ever Cleveland Browns fans will get the opportunity to see four preseason games in high definition, which provides a vastly superior video quality," WKYC President and General Manager Brooke Spectorsky said. "Channel 3 has been the home to almost every preseason game and to local Browns programming since the team returned in 1999.

"We've had a great partnership over the years and look forward to continuing and building on this very successful relationship."

The high definition broadcasts of the preseason contests also will be replayed in their entirety within 24 hours of the game on SportsTime Ohio, who will become the team's official regional sports network effective July 1.

STO will feature year-round Browns programming for the 2.7 million homes across its viewing area. Specific programming will be announced at a later date.

“This new relationship between the Browns, WKYC and SportsTime Ohio is a big win for the fans,” said Jim Liberatore, President of SportsTime Ohio. “There will be an unprecedented quantity of Browns coverage throughout the year, including a full 52 weeks of programming on SportsTime Ohio.”

Leading the on air talent on both networks will be long-time Cleveland sportscaster and WKYC Sports Director Jim Donovan. In addition to continuing his duties as the team's radio play-by-play announcer, Donovan will continue to host The Point After in addition to much of the team's programming on STO.

“As the sports anchor at Channel 3 for the last 20 years I can honestly say this is great news,” said Donovan. “It’s no secret I love being the voice of the Browns and to host The Point After on WKYC is really great. It’s a show that gives Browns fans a chance to catch up on all the action.”

"The tremendous synergy between WKYC and SportsTime Ohio should bring a significant improvement in the quality and quantity of Browns programming," Spectorsky said.


Sat., Aug. 11 vs. Kansas City 7:30 p.m. EDT WKYC-TV 3

Sat., Aug. 18 vs. Detroit Lions 7:30 p.m. EDT WKYC-TV 3

Sat., Aug. 25 at Denver Broncos 9:00 p.m. EDT WKYC- TV 3

Thur., Aug. 30 at Chicago Bears 8:00 p.m. EDT WKYC-TV 3

Anonymous said...

So how long before Fox Sports Ohio goes off the air?

Anonymous said...

I think that WEWS should hire Ron Jantz also he needs a job. Maybe they can give him a break

So Anonymous said...

WHY hasn't anyone commented on the WKYC news director situation? Or are the comments being deleted?

Anonymous said...

Why no comments on the WKYC news director situation? Are the comments being purged, or does no one know anything?

Anonymous said...

Browns and STO, not a bad fit really, since TV 3 is the broadcast rights holder it makes sense that STO (which for all intents and purposes is a sister station to WKYC) get the cable rights and have everything under 1 roof.

Jeff Phelps on weekdays and Ron Jantz doing weekends with Gib Shanley doing his Andy Rooney style commentaries would be kinda cool.

Those 3 were the very first sports team for Channel 43's 10 O'Clock News, which of course evolved (or devolved) into 19 Action News.

Why no comments on TV 3's news director?

I think it's because TV 5's sports anchor merry-go-round is an on air story--something everyone can see and how it directly affects the newscast.

The WKYC ND story is behind the scenes stuff, and may not directly affect the on air newscast.

Anonymous said...

I thought Ron Jantz was head of the media department for Lorain County Community College.

Anonymous said...

I think Eddie Mularz should get a shot at the Channel 5 sports job.

Anonymous said...

Two words:

Michael Reghi.

Sy Sperling said...

I like the idea of Michael Reghi as a sports anchor him and Tony Rizzo can be spokesmen for hair club for men

Anonymous said...

In response to anonymous 4:12PM ("So how long before Fox Sports Ohio goes off the air?"),

In reality, the STO/Browns deal is nice, but not a big deal.

Didn't STO have Browns "coverage" and programming last year without it.

If FSN wants to run Browns programming, it requires nothing more than some video off the Fox Network or AP, a local host and the hiring of one or two ex-Browns looking for a little money and a chance to be on camera, to analyze the last week's game and preview the next one.

It's not as if Fox Sports was airing the games and lost the rights to them.

There's no exclusivity that says you can't develop your own programming.

The deals that have impact are the rights to the Indians, Browns and Cavs games (and to a much lesser extent, Ohio State and Cleveland State).