Monday, June 18, 2007

First Shot Of The Week

And our first entry this week is more of a follow-up entry...

WJW TO CBS? HOLD ON...: When that big bombshell dropped last week, with FOX announcing its intent to sell Cleveland O&O WJW/8 "FOX 8" and eight other stations, we got a flurry of speculation that almost sounded, well, like it could happen.

At least some folks seem to think that it's a foregone conclusion that CBS itself will ride in on the white horse and restore WJW's former CBS affiliation, swiping it with style from the folks at Reserve Square, the home of Raycom Media's WOIO/19.

Just some reminders here.

CBS Radio just spent a lot of time finding buyers for their smaller market radio stations - "smaller", in some cases, as high as the low 20's in size.

While Cleveland's CBS Radio cluster remained intact, the same can't be said for Columbus and Cincinnati, where the company's long-time operations were sold off.

Is CBS, TV-side, in a buying mood?

Well, they did buy their Sacramento CA affiliate, KOVR/13. But there, they had already owned UPN-turned-CW affiliate KMAX/31 for years. The two stations, from what we've read, consolidated into KOVR's facilities. Sacramento is a similar-sized market to Cleveland.

While it may seem like "poetic justice", there's another problem with CBS buying WJW...the company is just as duopoly-crazy as FOX is, and again, WJW has no companion station in the market.

Unless they can do what FOX couldn't and buy a duopoly partner for WJW, we don't see CBS dipping its toes into this market's water.

The bulk of this item is only to put one thing on the record: There is not even any credible RUMOR about a possible buyer for WJW, at least among our local TV sources.

And it's also to remind readers that FOX has not done anything at this point than announce it intended to sell WJW and the eight other stations. That's far from announcing a deal...

AND RESERVE SQUARE AGAIN: Look to "probably early July" for the start date for "19 Action News" sportscaster David Pingalore in his new home market of Orlando, as lead sports anchor at CBS affiliate WKMG/6.

That's according to Henry Maldonado, who gave the date to Orlando Sentinel TV guru Hal Bodeker in this article on the paper's TV blog.

Maldonado talks about Pingalore's delay, due to the Cleveland Cavaliers making it into the NBA Finals:

"That was always part of the agreement. He was with them until the Cavaliers ended their run," Maldonado said. "I thought the moment they ran into the Pistons, it was all over."

The blog article is from June 7th, just over a week ago. Game 7 of the NBA finals would have been late this week, we believe, if the Cavaliers had lasted that long, and we're sure Pingalore would still like some decompression time even with the games over.

And in a storyline that sounds like it describes a possible WOIO hire, it turns out the newly hired weekend anchor at Pingalore's new Orlando station is, and no, we're not making this up, a former profesional wrestling announcer.

Former World Wrestling Entertainment play-by-play TV voice and host Todd Romero will be working at WKMG. The WKMG boss points out that Romero has "legitimate" sports experience at stations in Kansas City and Denver, and calls him "energetic".

No, that wasn't a quote out of Reserve Square...

WE HAVE ROGER TO KICK AROUND AGAIN: Many observers, including this corner, wondered if former Cleveland Plain Dealer sports/media columnist Roger Brown had just faded away.

After taking the PD's buyout offer, Mr. Brown started writing occasional columns for the Lake County News-Herald (and sister Lorain Morning Journal), and had a brief stint with "19 Action News".

Roger's newspaper columns disappeared, and he openly left the employ of WOIO.

As someone once said in a movie, "He's baaaaaack."

While searching for more on the aforementioned Mr. Pingalore, we found Roger Brown's byline once again on the website of the News-Herald, with a column written in late May. He notes that his former TV employer has apparently decided to "go serious" in the search for Pingalore's replacement:

Word is Channel 19 has given up on auditioning former local athletes (such as Bob Golic, Hanford Dixon, etc.) as potential sports anchors. WOIO now reportedly wants a veteran sportscaster to replace weekend sports anchor David Pingalore, who leaves soon for Orlando.
Roger also mentions that SportsTime Ohio's Mike Cairns, former weekend sports anchor at WKYC/3, is likely to do fill-in on the "Action News" sports desk.

Roger's return would seem to be for good, as he has another column in Sunday's News-Herald.

He notes the possible move (he says "don't be surprised") of WKYC/3 sports director Jim Donovan to TV play-by-play for Cleveland Browns' pre-season games airing on his home station - with WTAM/1100's Mike Snyder filling the radio side of the bill. (By the way, we heard Snyder once again on Friday night, filling in for Tom Hamilton on the Indians Radio Network.)

Mr. Brown also weighs in on the waiting game for FOX Sports Net Ohio, who may lose former Cavaliers player and current FSN Ohio Cavaliers analyst Scott Williams to an assistant coaching gig in Phoenix.

And for those playing the Roger Brown Drinking Game at home: There were no real estate mentions in either column we pulled up, but there is a quote from FSN host and Shaker Heights native Chris Rose in Sunday's column. And of course, there's the above quoted "Word is..."...


Anonymous said...

Don't forget Roger's appearances riding shotgun to Mike Cairns on STO's All Bets Are Off, when Bruce Drennan is off.

Anonymous said...

That is very true that CBS and FOX share that we need to have a duopoly when ever possible. But you have to remeber that raycom could decide now is the best time to leave Cleveland as well. Why?

They too can make money and unload the 19 action news mess on to someone else. Since TV stations are being bought and sold left and right, maybe raycom would see this as a chance to make some money.

If Raycom decides it is time to sell ch 19 and 43, then I could see CBS wanting it because they could make a duopoly and combine their resources with CBS radio in Cleveland.

If you think that Raycom is not looking over the numbers and seeing what 19 and 43 are worth and if anyone would be interrested, you are crazy. They have to be watching all of this and thinking what we have and who wants it and how much we can get for it.

I think if somehow Ernie could get some form of signal (digital subchanel,another station) he would sell WBNX to perserve the 90@9 club, and his weekend Earnest Angley hour even though it would cut into his out reach.

If for example one of WBNX's subchanels could go to Angley and someone else actually owns WBNX and programs the main channel, there could be a shot he would consider a deal.

Many in the indusrty canot really figure out why FOX is sellling let alone a station that has alot invested in it.

Granted by giving it a complete HD overhaul inculding a HD news copter, new set and graphics, and a FOX O & O website, they can A.) increase the value of the station, B.) perserve the O&O look at feel after the station is sold, and C.)help out the new owners so they unless they want to make changes, they have all new and ready to go station that would fit in line with the corporate plans of FOX, but you have to admit this does not make any sense to go though all of the trouble if it does not fit your plans or the station is just not good enough in profits and revune.

Besides most of the rumores in the last commets setcion are really just quesses and of what could happen in addition what if it happened not actual truth and since noone knows, your quess is as good as mine. If someone was to take those with more than agrain of salt, then so be it.

Since this news is still considered fresh, any potiental buyer would only now be considering what FOX has to offer let alone coming to town to look over the stations to see what FOX is selling. This is why their is no offical buyers as of yet. Eveyone is looking over what has been placed on the table and seeing what is out there.

Remeber this is FOX and news corp we are talking about. If you look at their track record of doing things (FOX,FX,FOX news channel), them selling ch 8 may be the start of something much larger here in NE Ohio.

Tom Lavery said...

I was up near Middlefield, Ohio over the weekend & pulled in WDOK HD1 & HD2. I was only able to pull in the analog version when I was near there the weekend before. I'm guessing that they just recently signed on because their HD2 channel was broadcasting about 30 seconds behind their main signal. According to the HD website, 'DOK is supposed to carry AC oldies when they stop simulcasting.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the WJW sale, I would not spend too much time trying to figure out why Fox would update the graphics and then announce a sale. The graphic and set update were in the works far too long and have been planned.

Rupert needs money to buy the paper, and I believe the sale was planned long after the move to update the graphics.

I'll bet that if the paper thing does not happen, there will be no WJW sale.

And again, WEWS has had only one owner for almost 60 years, and they are updating to HD as well.

Wonder if they will be sold, following this logic...not.

Anonymous said...

Why does Rupert's intention to buy Dow Jones now look to me like a replay of the failed 1985 takeover of CBS by Ted Turner? I do agree, however, that if the Bancrofts balk and a hostile takeover fails, WJW will remain a FTSC station.

It's an either-or game. News Corp. had to sell the NY Post in order to get the MetroMedia TV stations - and New York's WNEW-TV, now WNYW - in 1986 so as to launch Fox. They later did get the Post back, thanks to dereg and a poor owner in the interim...

So I don't hold much stock in this whole kerfuffle. WJW may not be sold - if EVER - for well over a whole year... and likely to a private equity company with significant ties to both Rupert and News Corp.

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...

How about this GOODRADIO/TV TO BY WJW,Could be an interesting situation.

Anonymous said...

Just what you want when you are attempting to sell...

Anonymous said...

Speaking of you tube, there are now videos from the old ch 61 WCLQ from the 1980's,and WUAB from the 70's.I know I enjoyed them very much.

Anonymous said...

Why does Ohio Media Watch have such a hard on when it comes to 19??? There are good folks and bad folks at every station. Your rant on 19 is getting old and starting to sound... bitter.

Anonymous said...

If Raycom was interested in WJW, they would allready have made a move, unloading WUAB or something. It was mentioned yesterday the FCC rules do not allow a company to own three stations in one market(thank God) and let's hope Sinclair stays out of the picture.

CBS and FOX should not be completely ruled out. Murdoch is unloading these stations because of his interest in Dow Jones. If this deal falls through(which it probably will) he's not going to want to sell these stations. Then FOX buying WOIO could be a reality, News Corp loves duopolies. Murdoch could do a buyout of Raycom owned FOX stations(similar to the Storer stations buyout when WJW was still CBS) and make WOIO the flagship station of the former Raycom owned stations. With the new ''MyFox'' website interface and graphics, you'd think Murdoch would want to spead this to as many stations as possible. Murdoch is interested in acquiring more channels and WJW is not just being sold for no reason, afterall WJW hepled FOX in the ratings in the early days(a top rated local affiliate on VHF, a big deal back then) Murdoch has to deal wiht Raycom, they do own five FOX affiliates, and they probably are about the same quality as WOIO.

CBS, who probably would not want an O&O, may be recruiting a company to buy WJW and make it CBS. Murdoch comes in and buys WOIO, making it FOX and then maybe Tribune or even Media General or Belo buys WJW, which becomes CBS by default. A possible reaso why WJW is taking so long with the new set, they have bigger plans in store and are planning something else.

Tribune owns a few FOX stations,but they could use NE Ohio to start expanding, buying CBS stations and creating more dupolies. (A deal with WBNX and launching WBNX DT2 for Ernie would be a good start) It would be crazy not to be interested in WBNX, afterall they are in the top 10 CW affiliates in the country and making an agreement with Angeley would be good for company image.

Whatever happens, this is definitely going to be ani interesting summer in NE Ohio television.

And to the two comments above, there is a problem with 19 Action News, these complaints need to be directed to channel 19 if we want results.

Anonymous said...

Another media related item, finally of the topic of WJW:

Chek out page C7 in the business section of Monday's Beacon Journal. The artical talks about new FCC rulings starting July 1 that opens the market for cable boxes up for compitition and the use of cable cards. This will be a big issue soon.

Anonymous said...

19 is the same newscast as the others but packaged different. Should they do the same news as 3? You got to be kidding. It's clear OMW has an ax to grind with 19. OMW you are better than that... so knock it off.

Anonymous said...

1:53, I don't think so. No other station in Cleveland used a story about one of their reporters posing in a nude photo for ratings in sweeps month or hired a reporter fired from another station because of her embarrasing and immature actions. Quit picking on OMW and accusing them of being biased against 19. The majority of people in Cleveland prefer the ''legitimate media'' not that tabloid crap. There is a reason why 19 Action news is in fourth place.

Ohio Media Watch said...

Anon @ 10:09 PM:

I think you're overstating it.

Oh, sure, we throw a joke or two in the direction of Reserve Square. Honestly, they deserve more, for reasons stated elsewhere here. The operation is very clear the "tabloid TV" outlet in this market, and is apparently very proud of their style.

But we have noted many times that despite its style, there are many good people down there at WOIO.

We poke fun sometimes, especially at personalities who tend to be "larger than life", but we don't personally attack them.

And as such, we ask the same of our readers.

Who was it who asked if we were "warming up to the comments"? Not now...

We're not going to be able to do a full update for a while, so we'll keep this open, but reserve the right to close it...

-The Management

Lee said...

There is no way that Fox will sell to CBS because they'd lose the affiliation and they need their VHF stations to keep their network numbers where they are. You can fuggetaboutit.

Anonymous said...

Funny how OMW and other readers hear can dish it out to 19 but when it comes to taking some criticism they quickly go... defensive. OMW doesn't just poke fun at 19 it attacks them for doing just what they say they are doing... tabloid news.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line on 19..they are unsuccessful. As for WJW, Rupert Murdoch's history is filled with moments when he's put things up for sale to drive up the company's stock price, then pulled things off the market.

Anonymous said...

I am in television M&A and caught this blog off of a link from a trade website. Here is my take -these FOX stations will be sold. The buyer (there will be just one buyer for all of the stations), will more than likely be a private equity firm. My bets are either Cerberus, Providence Equity Partners or Silver Point Capital.

Either after the transaction has been completed or concurrent to the transaction taking place, some of the markets may be spun off to strategics for a very high multiple.

This deal will happen because these nine television stations account for less than 10% of the TV groups revenues. They are just too small to keep.

Anonymous said...

"There is no way that Fox will sell to CBS because they'd lose the affiliation and they need their VHF stations to keep their network numbers where they are."

I would go with the first part of your statement, but as of 2009 when everyone supposedly moves to digital, WJW will end up on ch. 31 and WOIO will be on ch. 10.

Anonymous said...

Raycom likely has a long term affiliation agreement with CBS, so the network just can't come in and buy WJW as a solo and flip it back to CBS--they would have to swallow the whole group of Fox stations that are on the block and they aren't likely to want them all.

And let's not bury Raycom too quickly--even if CBS could pull off acquiring WJW and putting the network back on Channel 8, Action News would play just fine with a Fox affiliation (maybe even better.) You can criticize them all you want, but the facts are that they probably aren't losing money or sleep over Revere Square these days.

Plus, the anonymous M&A guy above is so right on the point that if Fox sells, it will be for the whole group of stations because it wants to move the mid-markets it doesn't care about so much (Birmingham and Austin come to mind) and a station in Cleveland makes the group much more attractive to private equity money--the only people with checkbooks who are buying these days.

Anonymous said...

Ooops...Make that Reserve Square

Anonymous said...

Bottom line, 19 Action News SUCKS, plain and simple

Anonymous said...

Actually ch 8 is going back to ch 8 and ch 19 will get stuck on the crappy ch 10 that has interference problems with Canada.

But I do agree to some extent with the television M&A that this will be a group deal and probally a equity firm will take over ch 8. That of course if ch 8 gets sold.

But something tells me this deal may not happen or if it does they may inculde at least Austin if not Oscala just some they can have stations no lower than market 25.

I do agree that what Fox has placed on the chopping block equals less than 10% revune, but getting rid of 2 top 20 markets stations and keeping market 47 and 151 has to make you wonder if this is to rasie the stock price or it really is a revune item.

Anonymous said...

I see Antiadgirl, and/or Hegel and/or some of the other Channel 19 cheerleaders from the forum have gotten marching orders to cheer over "hear" at OMW.

The only tired act is the one of 19 uber alles. Even varsity cheerleaders take the spring and summer off.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure if enough money was placed in front of Univision, they would sell Channel 61 faster than an illegal can cross the Rio Grande.

Anonymous said...

here is a set update from WJW:

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine FOX actually selling to CBS. WJW is one of the top performing FOX affils (if not the best) so they will want to sell the station to someone who will not switch affiliations.

FOX's asking price for WJW will probably be too high for Raycom to be interested.

Anonymous said...

Here's an aside to anonymous 10:09 and the others claiming that OMW is biased against CBS 19.

I worked over there at one time, and I know how very frustrating it can be. Taking out your frustrations on a blogger won't help you.

In reading this blog on a regular basis, I have yet to sense the kind of bias that you seem to believe exists. And that comes from someone who still feels a connection to the hard working, under capitalized folks at WOIO.

If you find this blog is offending your sensibilities, do what one of my former station managers advised: read something else.

Anonymous said...

No bias against 19??? Here's two quick examples from OMW.

And yes, "19 Action News" gets its only nod, as "best regularly scheduled news" in the large market category. We're beginning to wonder if that's a long-running prank or something, but we're sure we'll see the Cleveland CBS affiliate trot out the award pretty much every other break.

The "worked at every station" part probably only feels like it to Mr. Baskin, who came from NBC affiliate WKYC/3, and has also been seen on WKYC-associated SportsTime Ohio (both under WKYC's auspices and after leaving, on his own), and before that, at FOX Sports Net Ohio. He hasn't yet worked on South Marginal Road or in the basement of Reserve Square. (Perhaps he should be thankful for that latter fact.)

Anonymous said...

"Actually ch 8 is going back to ch 8 and ch 19 will get stuck on the crappy ch 10 that has interference problems with Canada."
WOIO is not "stuck" on crappy ch 10 - Raycom REQUESTED staying on crappy ch 10, probably because the power bill is much lower for a VHF Hi band signal than any UHF signal. The other possibility is that by staying on ch 10 CBS will is back on VHF in Cleveland. No matter the reason, Raycom's request to keep ch 10 is a bad move. Canada is not going digital for some time, there will continue to be interference problems with CFPL for years after the U.S. ends the transition. Another victim of the Raycom request is WBNS in Columbus, which was squeezed off ch 10 by Raycom.
A station that was on ch 10 for decades before WOIO was even a construction permit loses it's "legacy" frequency to this upstart.

Bottom line 19 belongs on 19, not 10. With WKYC moving to 17 after the transition, we Clevelanders would have had 15, 17, & 19 in a neat "big 3" package to receive OTA. Instead we get "crappy ch 10" for our CBS (unless you are lucky enough to pull in WKBN out of Youngstown - which is a possibility for many here).

Anonymous said...

After watching the video from FOX8's Kenny Crumpton about the new set, it looks like we can rule out any changes in affiliation for sevearl reasons:

1. This whole sale of stations is looking more and more like a publictiy stunt to raise stocks in News Corp. and the buying of Dow Jones probably will not happen.

2. From the video, the new set appears to be in the FOX O&O image. FOX would not make a change this big and expensive if they were going to sell the station. A new company that buys WJW may absolutely hate this new look or decide to take the news department in a different direction. Examples-WJW did not start using the FOX8 name unitl they were bought by FOX, and WOIO's news changed after Raycom bought them. An investment this big would not be a good idea.

3. The new set looks like it will be ready to go very soon. In the video, all the walls of the set are put up. The only thing left to do is put in the monitors on the one wall, put up the backgrounds and other decorations and the furniture. Many of the reporters are on vacation this week, possibly a week or two before a big launch of the new set and graphics.

Bottom line, it seems unlikely that WJW will change affiliations anytime soon and the sale of the stations looks like it may not happen.

And to the post above, things are going to be interesting in Febuary 2009 after the digital conversion. It's good to see WKYC is changing stations(they really got the short end of the stick with the position on channel 2, which is about impossible to get with an antenna) WKYC should get to move now, 17 is just wasted on that dumb religion channel. In 2009, the hard to get station will be WOIO, I would try to get WKBN just because their station is better than WOIO(I think they even have 5.1 sound?)

Anonymous said...

if you haven't seen WAGA's set.

this will be same look as WJW.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the link! I checked out that video and that is what the new WJW set is starting to look like. In an online chat with Melissa Mack, she said the new set is going to be nice, but I had no idea it is going to be THAT nice. WJW being sold is starting to look more and more unlikely, especially after seeing the new set. There's no way News Corp would spend what looks like hundreds of thousands of dollars(if not a million when the HD equipment ad update to SKYFOX are included) on a station he is going to sell. Plus these new graphics look like a (insert call letters, market name and channel number here) package like the MyFox websites on O&Os. And there's no way WJW would drop the ''Cleveland's Own'' unless mandated by their owner. If the station is sold, FOX8 may drops some of the changes(which would be a waste of the time and money of the new stuff). This new look does not fit their style and it looks like FOX may not be selling afterall. THis should be interesting to see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Is it me, or does this new Fox look seem like it is very much the same as what WOIO is doing right now? The anchor desk looks like it would fit right in at WOIO.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, The wall to the left and right of the picture in the moddle looks like the walls with the open newsroom on WOIO.

Anonymous said...

From the ''Blogs'' page at myfoxcleveland, ther is a rumor going around that Wayne Dawson was let go for his comments to Kenny Crumpton. They were talking abut playing air gitaur and Wayne said Kenny plays the skin flute. The YouTube video is not available because FOX8 had it removed, but I found it:

ltr said...

When the digital transition takes place in 2009, stations will have the choice of either of their two frequencies. Meaning that 8 can stay on 8 if they want, and 19 can stay on 19 (I see both happening). 3 going to 17 would be a good move, as lo-VHF is terrible for digital. Any stations between chs. 52-69 will have to move.

Channel placement won't mean much. The stations will use "virtual channels" which will still show whatever channel they want to put on the display.

And my prediction for the buyer of the FOX stations (if they sell) will be a private equity firm. That's who's buying nowadays.

Anonymous said...

It's certainly reasonable to understand Fox wanting to sell off some of their stations now. They know that their ratings numbers are at their peak, but will begin a steady decline in the years to come as American Idol begins to bore more and more. Idol's novelty is wearing off and many predict a steady decline (although next year may have a bit of a spike). Fox has some other good shows that will continue to deliver, but they know the decline is coming. Best to sell now when they can get a good price. There are just too many emerging competitors for the coveted 18-34 demo including a steadly growing CW Network, a gazillion cable nets and of course the internet. But, in the end I believe 8 will remain Fox no matter the owner. IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Two things:

1) Watch YouTube videos of sister station WTVT/13 in Tampa. That will be a good indication of how WJW will evolve into. WTVT's music package (first used by the station; now dubbed "Fox O&O News Package" on SouthernMedia's News Music Search Archive) eill also be used on WJW, too.

2) The new Fox O&O rebranding includes "The Most Powerful Name in Local News" for all the stations. No doubt WJW will take it, but likely with "Cleveland's Own" integrated in some way. It's outlasted "NewsCenter 8," "Ei8ht is News," and the first varient of "Fox 8 News."

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...

What, no return to "City Camera"?

Anonymous said...

You can tell that the new graphics and set are FOX mandated, WJW would never do their news in this style. A better change would be to bring back something retro, like how WEWS brought back the circle 5 logo(which they should never stopped using). WJW shoud bring back Newscenter 8 and TV8.

Anonymous said...

here is video of WHBQ Memphis. the FOX O&O is there

Anonymous said...

Los Angeles private equity and hedge fund borrowing are the main things propping up the stock market these days. That won't last forever, but for now it's hiding the real economic damage that is being done.The tax issue is valid, and something most people can understand, but the real tragedy of the current situation is much more complex.