Monday, April 16, 2007

Opening Up The Week

Happy Monday to you, such as it is...and our opening volley of the week is a mix of stuff...

THAT WHK 85TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW: As first mentioned here months ago, Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland is planning an 85th anniversary special.

We now know the date - this coming Thursday at 6 PM. And we know the host - former WHK personality Johnny Holliday.

From the WHK website page about "The WHK Radio Retrospective":

From 1959 to 1964, Johnny Holliday was the biggest name in Cleveland radio.

Join Johnny as he looks back over 85 years of great memories. You’ll hear familiar voices from the past including: Bill “Smoochie” Gordon, Gary Dee, Tim Taylor, Pete “Mad Daddy” Myers, Don Imus, and many others who played an important role in the rich history of Ohio’s first radio station.

It’s a celebration of Greater Cleveland’s history as you remember hearing it over 1420 WHK.

Yes, Don Imus...the former WHK and WGAR/1220 personality who's been the center of international attention. As far as we know, only his voice from the past will be heard.

We're told the special is an hour long, and will be rebroadcast Saturday at 7 PM, and Sunday at 5 PM...

UNIVERSALLY HD: The addition had long been rumored, but it's now official - Time Warner Cable's Cleveland division has added a new HDTV channel.

Universal HD is now airing on TWC's channel 775 in the former Adelphia service area. We hear it's also on the former Comcast systems absorbed by Time Warner - we believe on channel 227.

In case the channel's name doesn't ring a bell, Universal HD is basically the place NBC Universal runs HD versions of its cable hits like USA Network's "Monk", movies, and sports programming (like HD feeds of USA Network sporting events)...

WHILE WE'RE TALKING TWC: An OMW reader sent us this link to a story in the Lake County News-Herald on Thursday.

It notes a planned move of the Columbus-based news channel Ohio News Network on the former Adelphia systems in Lake County from analog channel 70 to digital channel 163. It isn't made clear in the News-Herald article, but it does sound like the move is being done on the entire former Adelphia system.

It's no surprise, actually.

As noted by TWC spokeswoman Heidi Mock in the article, the channel change is "consistent with all of Time Warner Cable, which has always carried ONN on the digital cable tier."

For example, in the so-called "legacy" Akron/Canton TWC system, ONN has always been on digital cable channel 119. Other TWC systems, including the one in ONN's hometown of Columbus, carry it on digital channel 100.

The issue came to the attention of the News-Herald thanks to complaints by the Perry Township trustees, who are hoping to convince TWC to change the decision.

Some are wondering if the ONN move is part of a lineup standardization among TWC's systems, but we don't believe so. For one, the network is apparently moving to digital channel 163, while the "legacy" TWC systems have it on 119.

And just down the road from Lake County's Perry Township, Comcast operated systems in the region in Mentor until the TWC swap. And it doesn't appear (PDF channel lineup file) the Comcast systems carried ONN at all...

ONE-DAY SPECIAL?: A while back - specifically, April 5th - OMW noted the first appearance of the digital signal of Cleveland market CW affiliate WBNX/55 Akron.

WBNX-DT wasn't quite ready for "prime time" yet, but it wasn't bad for the first time in what we presume was a test.

The signal seemed pretty close to full strength here at the OMW World Headquarters, on a par with the other local full-power digital signals out of the Parma antenna farm. The only problem we could see was some digital picture dropouts, which have also been plaguing WEWS/5's established digital signal in the past few days.

But as near as we can tell, WBNX-DT (RF channel 30) disappeared after that one day appearance.

The station promised an HD cable feed "by the end of October 2006", which never happened, and promised to be available over-the-air by "April of 2007".

Does one day count?

Oh, and note that the WBNX "Trends" page still lists the allegedly in-planning HD cable/satellite feed, which we learned later from WBNX officials - via the Akron Beacon Journal's R.D. Heldenfels, since they've never talked to us - was put off due to computer/interface problems...


Anonymous said...

Thanks OMW. You're always on the ball.

Any indication as to what the second channel on the HD feed will be for WBNX?

Anonymous said...

If they brought back the old WHK when it went Country music with Gary Dee mornings (dead), Joe Finan (Sim-Sala-Bim and deceased) and Don Imus (looks dead) they would get a bigger share than they are getting now.

Anonymous said...

ESPN2HD and UniversalHD have been added to the TWC Akron 'legacy' system also. ESPN2HD is on channel 560 and Universal HD is on channel 556.

Anonymous said...

They'd get big ratings with country? I doubt that, not with WGAR, WQMX, WNCO, WKQT blasting country 24/7, whether they brought back dead people [which is what I think country music is meant for] or got new live ones.

Anonymous said...

I'd safely guess that the 2:09PM posting was really more of a comment on WHK's current format. An all-sattelite lineup of talkers mostly syndicated by the current owner (with exclusions to TRN's Laura Ingraham and Savage) and with brokered block programming on the weekend.

It is sad, because I agree: Imus, Dee and Finan - VT'ed even from the great beyond - could draw better ratings than Bill Bennett, Michael Medved, Hugh (who?) Hewitt, et al. And that's because Salem has not, nor will ever, try to make WHK even a mere shadow of its past glory. It's all about the ideology put forth - and on the cheap, no less.

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...

It's a sad state of affairs for such an old station, and one that had some enormously glorious times.

Working there gave many of us a true sense of pride and a determination to try and do great things (whether we succeeded or not).

It's hard to imagine that Bennett, Medved, Hewitt, et. al have any appreciation for the greatness that preceded them.

Yes, the great ones would certainly attract big numbers now. I can't help but keep hoping that a day will come in which some entripising person will want to return to successful practices and use them to earn some money and prestige.

Doesn't anyone in radio want fame and fortune anymore?

Anonymous said...

Which reminds me....Johnny Holliday wrote an autobography in 2002 called "From Rock to Jock" about his days in the radio business including his stints in Cleveland. Very good book, really takes you back to what AM radio was like in the 60's.

Neil in Radioland said...

Caught first 10 minutes of Thursday special and liked what I heard. Couldn't listen to any more because my wife has the quaint idea that during dinner I should give my attention to her and not to the radio.

Maybe I'll be able to hear more when it replays over the weekend.