And, welcome to Monday!
We've been trying to bring up items separately, lately, but we'll do our usual "all-in-one" for this edition...
BIG TEN CRUNCH TIME: That light at the end of the tunnel for those hoping for local cable carriage of the new "Big Ten Network" could be that of an oncoming deadline train instead.
The "hope" came in an item in the Columbus Dispatch, where BTN honchos were doing last minute pitching to local media outlets in the days before the network's scheduled to launch on August 30th.
We can't find the article anymore - it scrolled off the Dispatch's website - but a "Q&A" with network officials gave some fans a glimmer of hope.
The newspaper asked the network folks if they'd be amenable to the first two Ohio State football games, which will only be on BTN, airing on Time Warner Cable's analog package for local subscribers "a la carte". The games involve two other Ohio teams, the Youngstown State Penguins and the University of Akron Zips.
The Big Ten Network folks, quoted in the article, seemed like they'd be open to that option.
There's only one problem - the "option" was thrown out there by the newspaper, and wasn't a direct pitch by TWC or any other provider.
And aside from rumblings we already heard out of Columbus, the Chicago Tribune shoots down the possibility in an article from late last week:
A recent Columbus Dispatch story said the BTN might allow Time Warner to show the season's first two Ohio State games for free without a distribution deal. A BTN representative said that is not so.
Such a two-game arrangement would not have been unprecedented.
The NFL Network, which has been battling with just about every cable MSO in America, allowed Cablevision in New York City to show an important college football bowl game involving Rutgers University. We're not sure, but we don't believe the NFL Network ever came to a full-time carriage agreement with that operator.
And the first two Ohio State football games would have a built-in local interest...aside from the always-popular Buckeyes, the Zips and Penguins would be of interest in areas where Time Warner is the dominant local provider, Akron and Youngstown.
But...it's not to be. And it's looking more and more like the Big Ten Network will be seen mainly on DirecTV in Northern Ohio, aside from carriage already assured on Toledo-based Buckeye Cablesystem and maybe some smaller operators...
NEW NEWSIE (BACK) ON BOARD: Just a brief relay of an item that WKYC/3 senior director Frank Macek had on his "Director's Cut" blog late last week.
Filling in behind the promotion of "Channel 3 News"' Rita Andolsen to news director, WKYC has hired Howard Fencl to take the assistant news director's chair she left behind in her promotion.
Or, should we say "rehired". Fencl's already been with WKYC two other times, including a stint as Executive Producer back in the early 1990's.
He held a similar role at WEWS/5 and Columbus CBS affiliate WBNS/10, and has also worked in the early days of locally-based Internet service providers.
He's been at Cleveland PR firm Edward Howard...
AND MAGGIE'S TIME: And we haven't heard it so far, but former WNIR/100.1 "The Talk of Akron" morning co-host Maggie Fuller is scheduled to be sitting alongside Les Sekely on talk WEOL/930 Elyria's morning show today...