Friday, September 28, 2007

A Tight Squeeze Play

And no, we aren't talking about a play we'd like to see the Cleveland Indians pull off in the upcoming playoff run.

We've let some items accumulate here, and we're going to put them in one big item to close out the week.

BIG TEN NETWORK GETS, UH, CABLE PRESENCE: The folks at the Big Ten Network have a cable signing to crow about.

But unfortunately for the conference-owned TV network, BTN's new signup is not Time Warner Cable, the region's largest cable provider by far.

Instead, the new sports channel has done what the football folks call an "end around".

To add to AT&T's U-verse service as a carrier, the Big Ten Network has signed up WOW Cable, the former Wide Open West service that is an alternative cable operator in some parts of the Cleveland and Columbus areas. WOW operates the system once built by Ameritech, the former Ohio Bell and today's AT&T.

BTN's channel will be in the high-expanded basic range - cable channel 87 on the Ohio systems, starting Saturday. As of yet, there's no word about HD carriage, but we'll assume WOW will air the HD version of BTN at some point.

Meanwhile, we haven't nailed it down 100 percent yet, but OMW hears that discussions involving adding Big Ten Network to Time Warner Cable are also tied in with renewal discussions for FOX Sports Net Ohio. (FOX's cable network arm owns BTN, along with the conference.)

Whether that helps or hinders the process remains to be seen.

FSN Ohio is one of a number of networks involved in what's usually a standard process to renew carriage agreements with Time Warner.

Don't let that lengthy legal notice throw you, despite the fact that it includes ABC affiliate WEWS/5 and its digital side. It's just a notice TWC is required to make public.

In addition to FSN Ohio and WEWS (and its associated Scripps-owned cable networks),
there are cable networks owned by Time Warner Cable's parent company - the On Demand versions of networks like CNN, as well as CNN en Espanol. You don't think THOSE are in trouble, do you?

TWC has not always "played nice" with corporate sisters - witness the trouble getting Cincinnati CW affiliate "CinCW" on basic cable on the company's Cincinnati system, despite the fact that Time Warner owns half of that network. But they own 100% of the above mentioned networks, and there's no other intermediary Cincinnati, the latter was then-Clear Channel CBS affiliate WKRC/12, the parent of "CinCW".

And an OMW Jeer aimed at the aforementioned "NewsChannel 5". Their evening story on this news item made it look like there was a deal between Time Warner Cable and the Big Ten Network.

Oh, sure, the audio had the proper information, but a glance at the TV gave no indication that the deal was for an alternative provider - with not even a WOW Cable logo on the screen, let alone the service's name.

And consumer reporter Angie Lau's story also gleefully repeated that the BTN folks were celebrating their 30 millionth subscriber. We could have gotten that from their press release, and WEWS could have saved the electricity needed to run the camera.

At least it wasn't a 5 minute long promo for this fall's ABC entertainment lineup, disguised as a series of "news stories". That happened the other day...

THIS JUST IN: And we mean JUST in...

OMW hears that Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron has parted ways with news director Tom Duresky, who's been handling those duties for WHLO and other Clear Channel Akron/Canton stations for some time. (He has also been heard on sister hot AC WKDD/98.1, and was heard on WARF/1350 in its previous liberal talk format.)

We don't know why Tom is no longer there, but best of luck to him in the future! And may that OMW Karma work its magic for the long-time OMW reader.

Back at Freedom Avenue, operations chief Keith Kennedy needs a replacement. If you read this blog and don't know the World Domination HQ/Southern Command's full mailing address, good luck to you....

AWARDS: A tip of the hat to Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5 Cleveland mainstay Chuck Collier, who just picked up the NAB "Marconi Award" as Large Market Personality of the Year.

And we mean mainstay, as we didn't realize he's been on WGAR for over 30 years. We know he's been there for a long time, dating back into the station's days on AM 1220 (now Salem Christian teaching/talk WHKW), but we didn't realize it had been 30 years.

That tidbit comes from Chuck's show page on the WGAR site, where you can also get pictures from the awards event earlier this week at the NAB Radio Show in Charlotte...

WHICH ONE DO WE CURSE?: As mentioned last week, be prepared for fuzzy pictures on Sunday if you're a Cleveland Browns fan.

CBS will once again designate the Browns' contest with the Baltimore Ravens as a game that doesn't deserve an HDTV broadcast. This week, the local NFL team's game shares that dishonor with the Houston Texans' game with the Atlanta Falcons.

HDTV once again returns for Browns viewers the following Sunday, with CBS listing Cleveland's game against the New England Patriots as an HD contest. But it's back to fuzzy SD for the following week's game against Miami.

The week after that? Close your eyes and hope Derek Anderson doesn't throw an interception in your imagination, as the Browns will be in their "bye" week.

As we've said before, with one less game due to that "bye" week the rest of the season, and with other providers (NFL Network, etc.) picking games away from the CBS Sunday schedule, there might be a chance it'll be all HDTV for the Browns - no matter how badly they play - the rest of the year.

And in 2008, it all lights up in high-definition for CBS, and all other NFL carriers, as part of a new TV contract...


david5258 said...

tom duresky will be missed in the akron-canton market. he is a true professional who reports rather than becomes the story. hopefully ed esposito will bring him on board across town.--david 5258

SBC2007 said...

i agree, tom is a talented news reporter, and will be missed, any news on who his replacement will be, and why he was let go? also what was that news on keith kennedy? something about him needing a replacement?