Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tuesday Stuff

Just some unrelated stuff this time around...but you should be used to it, right?

NEW SET AT SOUTH MARGINAL: WJW/8 "FOX 8" in Cleveland has spent the past few weeks building a brand new set for "FOX 8 News". It's a set we hinted at here a LONG time ago, back when FOX started tooling with the "look and feel" of its owned and operated stations...of which WJW is one, at least for now.

The set made its debut on the air on Monday.

Those who aren't within the FOX 8 viewing area, or who just want to call it up on demand, you can get a look at the new set and a video "behind the scenes" tour by the station's Todd Meany on the station's website, which itself was the first hint that changes were on the way.

Our thoughts?

The set is flashy, bright and busy. VERY busy.

It's got enough lights to light up downtown Cleveland, enough monitors to fill Cleveland Browns Stadium, and all sorts of "effects".

The new graphics are even "busier", with lots of moving objects and words. We can only imagine that some people are getting headaches from all that flash.

And yes, the new "searchlight" style FOX 8 logo, reminiscent of FOX News Channel, is fully in place.

One thing we did notice - the weather graphics remain unchanged, and we didn't see any replacement, yet, for the old weather center. We could have just missed it, but at 10 PM Monday night, while Andre Bernier was outside the building, Dick Goddard was just doing the green screen map-pointing.

But there is a giant HDTV monitor in the middle of the set. The station says that particular monitor is a 131-inch model...

NO MORE "GOODRADIO"?: No, that's not an editorial comment on whatever programming will be presented by the over 452 small market Clear Channel stations - including many here in Ohio - when their new ownership company takes over.

And the company will still be taking over...it just appears it won't be called "GoodRadio", and former PAX TV/Ion executive Dean Goodman is apparently out of the picture.

That's the report by Radio Business Report on Monday, and parts of it were confirmed by other trade websites later in the day.

Appearing to be moving in as Goodman's replacement in the company funded by private equity fund American Securities Capital Partners - is one Jeff Warshaw, CEO of Connoisseur Radio. Warshaw's first incarnation of Connoisseur once owned a number of Youngstown market stations now in the Cumulus fold.

So, the sale apparently goes on, in a different direction and with a different leader.

OMW also hears that Goodman isn't dropping out of the radio acquisition game. He'll hang onto the stations his company acquired separately in Iowa and Missouri, and could add to them...

SPORTSTIME OHIO BITS: SportsTime Ohio has dropped us a line letting us know about three local Emmy nominations.


SportsTime Ohio is nominated for its Cleveland Indians Baseball Games, directed by Pat Murray and produced by Steve Warren, as a Regular Scheduled Sports Program. Pat Murray is also nominated for the Indians Baseball Games as the Director of a non-news program. Murray has previously received ten (10) local Emmy awards.

SportsTime Ohio producer Joe Ranyak also received a nomination for “Showdown at the Shoe” in the Sports Programs – Specials category. “Showdown at the Shoe” was a one hour preview of the 2006 Michigan-Ohio State game, arguably the biggest college football game of the year. The show was hosted by Andy Baskin and featured former OSU quarterback Jim Karsatos and WKNR’s Mark “Munch” Bishop.

Of course, Andy Baskin is now independently producing shows for STO, and in between, filling in at WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5". And we're pretty sure "Munch" wasn't with WKNR at the time of that program.

The regional Emmy awards are September 8th.

AND ANOTHER STO NOTE: OMW hears that some Dish Network subscribers are having trouble getting the new HD feed of SportsTime Ohio's Cleveland Indians games, which should be available on channel 381 - even if they have the proper HD equipment.

The problem?

STO and most of the regional sports networks recently added to Dish Network's lineup in HD are on a satellite that many don't even have a dish pointed at - at 129 degrees in the sky. That location could also preclude some folks from even getting it, due to obstructions.

We're told a call to Dish Network could help, in regards to getting a dish pointed in that direction (if you can get it from your location), but we're not a customer...

AND A COLUMBUS QUICKIE: Not many details on this, but OMW hears that Bernard Radio's WVKO/1580 Columbus is on the air from its new tower on Morse Road near a local apartment complex.

When it was on before, under the ownership of now-bankrupt Stop 26 Riverbend, WVKO had been airing a format aimed at the local African-American community - along with such other programming as the play-by-play of the AAA Columbus Clippers baseball team. That team has landed once again on North American Broadcasting standards WMNI/920 on weekends.

This time, it's apparently testing the signal by playing salsa music, which would be a companion to Bernard Radio sister station WVKO-FM/103.1's Regional Mexican format if it holds up as a permanent format.

The local radio rumor mill has tabbed the group LMAing the FM side as being behind the new AM format, but we haven't been able to confirm that...


Anonymous said...

Ah yes, Dean Goodman. Funny his name should pop up, especially with all of the recent discussions about the old WAKC-TV23 news. Mr.Goodman was the very Paxson henchman that announced to the staff that 23 Newsday "ceases as of this moment" and went on to fire the entire company staff (rehiring about 20 to keep the station on the air). Mr Goodman was the gentleman that authorized the letter to ABC dumping the affiliation. Ah, fond memories of Mr. Goodman....

Anonymous said...

Love the new Fox 8 set..best in town..graphics in HD are amazing. Don't know who did the lighting but it's great.

Anonymous said...

The FOX 8 set is identical to the Fox 5 set in Atlanta.


Anonymous said...

All of the Fox O&O's will have the same set and graphics. This is something Fox has been working on for a long time.

And just because a station gets a new set doesn't mean they won't be sold. If a company wants to sell something, they will sell regardless of what they have spent. Whatever the cost for the WJW set, it was divided between all of the other O&O's sets, as it was a package deal. Remember, you get discounts for volume. Also, whatever the new set cost Fox, they have billions of cash, so it would NOT factor into a potentioal sale as it is but a drop in the bucket to Rupert.

And the large screen is a rear projection, not a "131 HD monitor"

But does a new set and graphics make a newscast? I thought content is what matters. I'll bet the ratings do not change for the four stations. I don't think viewers watch for the set. In this market, they watch for the on-camera talent.

Anonymous said...

Saw a FOX 8 news promo, and thought, "Oh goodie, it's 'Action News, part deux'." Any station of exec who thinks people tune in a newscast for the "set" or other frilly crap (it's Doppler-5000!!) are fooling themselves. And wasting a lot of money. They're more likely to alienate loyal viewers who are, shall we say, "set in their ways." So hey, keep on spending!

Anonymous said...

Channel's 8 set isn't exactly like the one in the ATL, 8 doesn't have the weather center, and they have monitors on the walls in the interviewing area where as in ATL they have book shelfs. Also I think the lighting is completely different. Also channel 8 kept thier "Cleveland's own" slogan instead of using "the most powerful name in local news" (even though it is). The new set looks great, the opening they used needs to be longer and they need to show the anchors in the opening, and redo alot of the graphics but the set is definately the best in town, and probably the nation. I just hope it doesn't take them another 12+ yrs to upgrade next time.

vanillacokehead said...

Quick impressions on the new FOX 8 look:

* the set: looks great. very well done.

* the graphics: also look good. I'm glad they didn't go 100% whole-hog "FOX corporate look". They kept at least a couple of shreds of the old FOX 8 image, like the "Cleveland's Own" tagline and the style of the 8 in the logo.

* the on-air execution: very choppy at 5 and 6; much better at 10. The new format is much faster paced than the old one - and the flow of the newscasts was very choppy at 5 and 6 and a bit less so at 10. I wish the tempo would slow down just a tad. I felt rushed and like I wasn't being given a chance to breathe as the anchors went from story to story.

I'm waiting to hold more lasting impressions until November Sweeps; between now and then the talent and crew will have time to get used to the new format and there will very likely be a LOT of tweaks in the way things are executed.

My first thought, though, when I first saw the 5pm news last night: "I am Murdoch of Borg. Cleveland, you have been assimilated."

Anonymous said...

Love the new FOX 8 set. The only thing that is a bit annoying is the ever-changing FOX 8 News logo at the bottom of the screen. It's too large and the constant movement at the top should go. I think if they just make it smaller and stop most of the movement of the "box" it will work fine.

Anonymous said...

I don't ever recall selecting a newscast based on the set or graphics, nor do I ever recall hearing anyone else say that they selected a newscast based on the set or grpahics.

I agree that it would send an ominous message if a newscast looked like something out of the early '60's (cardboard, balsa wood and magic markers writing on easels), but spending large amounts of money to "upgrade" a set and grpahics seems wasteful.

Perhaps I'm wrong. I haven't conducted any surveys or focus groups.

clevemkt said...

"I don't ever recall selecting a newscast based on the set or graphics, nor do I ever recall hearing anyone else say that they selected a newscast based on the set or grpahics."

But, people will "not select" due to set/graphics that annoy them. Just as poor sound or poor video will cause folks to tune away (even if they aren't sure what it is that annoys them)

Ed Franklin said...

Overall the set looks awesome! Everthing "pops" in HD. Lighting is a little funky. It seems a little too bright (washed out) on the main set, same for the talent. In other areas of the set they look fine. I'm sure there's fine tuning going on.

Did the weather dept. not get the memo about the graphics change? Maybe because Dick and Andre' were on vacation last week? Last night Dick joked as he went to the green screen, "how do you like the new weather set?"

It looks as if the weather center will remain "offsite" from the rest of the main set. Since we haven't seen it, I can only hope they're peeling wallpaper from it right now.

Anonymous said...


connoisseur owns stations in the following markets:


I would assume that Jeff wouldnt keep all the Goodradio Properties.

This makes things even more interesting because Jeff is only in rated markets

Anonymous said...

I see Goodradio's website now reflects the acquisition changes.

Any idea what the new company is to be called headed by Warshaw?

Anonymous said...

I know of a TV station where the weather center was in the basement. When they repainted the walls they didn't want to pay to have the "Channel 7" replaced that was painted on the wall. The painter painted everything right up to an inch before the logo. It's looked awful on the wall.
A beautiful white whall with a gray grungy logo.

Anonymous said...

The new set and graphics are great. The reason for the anchors being far apart was explained at 5 today, it's for the HD broadcast.

The bad thing is they are still using some old graphics, like in the weather. A guess would be that they have new weather center and computers coming. Also, the old logo is still in some commercials, I saw it in a Seinfeld commercial. The old logo is still transparent on syndicated shows and the old ''FOX8-1'' logo is still being used in primetime on the HD channel. The other O&Os such as FOX5 have a smaller version of the vertical logo, minus the News part, as the logo on syndicated shows and the HD channel. It looks like this will be changed too.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a new logo? tonight there is what looks like the FOX network logo in the black sidebar on WJW

Anonymous said...

The changes with "Goodradio" only bring home the fact that business interests in the U.S. have written off over-the-air radio as a viable investment, especially in any markets out of the top 20.
Capital is hard to raise, and the few stubborn operators who remain will try to make it work by continuing to cut costs on every level, hoping the smaller audiences they get will provide them with an ever-decreasing profit margin.
While stalwart broacasters say the radical reforms of the '90's hastened this scenario, the end result is still the same. Like newspapers, over-the-air radio, for all its "free-ness" and tradition, is a dwindling medium. No doubt we will miss it someday, but the dollars are speaking loudly, and its fate has been sealed by the forces of the free-market system. I.E., it's crap, and few people want or need it anymore.
Any well-reasoned arguments to the contrary are welcome.

Anonymous said...

Everybody needs to just chill! Everytime something is changed, people freak out. Be happy! They finally replaced that outdated set and graphis with nice new set and graphics. So Wayne is not on the left anymore, they are sitting farther apart, there's a logo in the corner and swooshing noises. I think it's all good. It's about time Cleveland gets a newscast like in a big city. I've watched small town newscasts(like Youns gstown) and almost died of boredom. I like the big city feel and hope this new style spreads to the other stations. Some are mad because they are focusing on HD. It's about time someone starts filming for HD, since it is coming in two years. My only complaint, the weather graphics. With all the new graphics, why leave the maps and other weather graphics in the old style.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:36 PM, The GoodRadio change has little to do with the "free market rejecting traditional radio". Jeff Warshaw has a long track record of sucess in medium and smaller markets, and had more recent radio experience than Dean Goodman.

Many traditional radio stations in these markets have margins that reach 40%+. That's very attractive to private equity groups. As successful as Arbitron is, they only sport 30% margins. Compair that to many other industries that turn 10% margins, and radio still looks pretty good.

Anonymous said...

''Many traditional stations in these markets have margins that reach 40%+. That's very attractive to private equity groups''.

Really? Can you name a couple?

Want to know how they get those margins? By paying people peanuts, by letting spots loads go well past 20 minutes an hour, and by not caring what their stations sound like..

Do you think American Securities Capital Partners will be writing Dean Goodman a check anytime soon?

What Goodman has now are stations in the middle of nowhere, in places you've never heard of, in Missouri and Iowa..plus some deals for more of the same in Louisiana and New York state..

We've all seen how this works a few too many times..Dean thinks he can take the Clear Channel Playbook and do it better..cut staffing down to the absolute minimum, hire Broadcast School grads who will work for 18K a year, and then flip the stations to some other sucker three to five years down the road.

Dean has already walked away with 3 million from his first version of ''GoodRadio'', just so he would go away already..the rest of us should be so lucky..