These two brief items are related only by the fact that they have been brought to our attention by Tom Lavery, the Shenango Valley contributor to our western Pennsylvania colleagues at PBRTV. As a result of his location, he's exposed to the Youngstown/Warren TV and radio markets...
WNEO/WEAO HD: Lavery passes on word from elsewhere on the Internet that Northeast Ohio PBS affiliate WNEO/45 Alliance-WEAO/49 Akron is about to return to transmitting PBS programming in HDTV format.
Those who have been in the digital TV realm for a long time as viewers may remember that "PBS 45 & 49" started running the PBS HD feed almost from the beginning of life for the station's two digital outlets.
At some point, various issues conspired to force the dumping of that HD feed, and the 45/49 folks replaced it with "Create", a 24/7 PBS SD subchannel focused on various creative pursuits like crafts and cooking.
Lavery says PBS 45 & 49's Don Freeman, the station's chief operations guy, told readers on a home theater website that PBS HD returns to WNEO/WEAO's DT channels around July 1st.
The move will also at least temporarily dump "Create" and the public affairs channel "The Ohio Channel" from the digital side's selection, at least until new encoding equipment is put into service later this year...left behind will be the PBS HD feed, and as required by federal law, an SD simulcast of the analog WNEO/WEAO feeds.
Local TV outlets aren't allowed to run their DT stations without at least one feed of the main signal, as far as we know, and since PBS HD is not carrying the WNEO/WEAO schedule in pattern (it is a live national feed via satellite, with all HD or widescreen programming), that's why the SD simulcast is up. There's nothing the 45/49 folks can do about it.
The move is actually being welcomed by more than just Akron-area viewers watching WEAO-DT or Youngstown market viewers picking up WNEO-DT.
WEAO's signal also serves much of the Cleveland area, and as anyone who likes PBS and is picking up digital TV over the air knows, Cleveland PBS outlet WVIZ/25 is running its digital signal at roughly just over the power it takes to run a hair dryer.
We don't know why, but years later, the station has been unable to resolve its dispute with its North Royalton tower site landlord, CBS Radio - which hosts its classic rock WNCX/98.5 there.
There have been rumblings of anything from legal problems to technical concerns, and the dispute was said by some to be over - LAST summer.
But THIS summer approaches, and we have no word that WVIZ-DT will be able to move off of its mini-powered antenna on top of the station's former studio building on Brookpark Road in Parma.
Even despite this, Time Warner is able to pick up the DT signal and offers it on the former Adelphia system in Cleveland, with both PBS HD and "The Ohio Channel" distributed.
But for those without cable and with an HD set and antenna in the immediate Cleveland area who have a shot at WEAO-DT's tower in suburban Akron, they'll be able to get PBS HD over the air again in about a month...
AND MORE DIGITAL: PBRTV's Mr. Lavery updates his earlier item about Clear Channel hot AC WMXY/98.9 Youngstown "Mix 98.9"'s new HD Radio signal with some more news.
"Mix" has indeed added an HD2 subchannel, and it's running "Endless Love".
Yes, it's one of the formats brewed out of Clear Channel's "Format Lab", which supplies many stations with their HD2 formats.
No, that's NOT a 24/7 loop of the Diana Ross/Lionel Richie song from the movie with Brooke Shields, though we're sure the song will be in the channel's playlist somewhere.
"Endless Love" will feature nothing but love songs, all the time...