Some stuff that's been piling up, waiting to be let free...
A CLEARER OUT OF THE STUDIO PICTURE: OMW hears that with this coming Saturday night's 11 PM newscast, Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" will be the first local station with news video in the field to be shot and delivered in HDTV format.
Our sources at 3001 Euclid tell us that all recorded video shot after Saturday will be in full 16x9 720p HD format, with no upconversion. Video shot before the new HDTV video recording and editing systems go into place will still be in SD format, upconverted from 4x3 standard definition.
Unfortunately, this won't affect live shots, which will still need to be upconverted due to the lack of live HD transmission capability we talked about some time back on OMW.
To that to occur, WEWS and other local stations across the nation need to wait for a massive conversion program headed up by the folks at Sprint, which is funding the new equipment needed as a part of its plan to move the TV broadcast/ENG folks out of a band they currently share with Sprint's "Nextel" walkie-talkie/cell phone system.
Channel 5 isn't the first station to do HD out of the studio in the Cleveland market, as FOX O&O WJW/8's "SkyFOX HD" has been on the air for months. And NBC affiliate WKYC/3 has use of a remote HD camera at Jacobs Field, due to that facility's built-in HD equipment.
But the field video on all local stations has been either shown in 4x3 SDTV format upconverted to HDTV, or in 16x9 SDTV format (ditto). We believe all local stations except for WKYC have been upconverting and stretching the SD field video, with WKYC recording the original video in 16x9 format (but in SD) from when they started to do HD newscasts.
With all full-market local news operations now with firmly entrenched HDTV studios - well, except for the stragglers at Reserve Square, who are barely doing newscasts in color - the "next step" will be field video. We'll presume that the folks at WKYC and WJW are moving towards that "next step" as we speak.
But as for WOIO - there's no word yet on when, or if, they'll convert to HD newscasts. We'd heard the rumor for nearly a year now, and have no concrete evidence that they'll debut the HD format version of "19 Action News" any time soon - though the rumor mill is buzzing again...
U (OF AKRON) TUBE: MediaCom Akron market talk WNIR/100.1 morning sports voice Steve French is getting some good natured ribbing from his morning show colleagues at "The Talk of Akron" over something that he didn't even do - in their building.
French is also the radio voice of the University of Akron Zips football team, via the "Akron-ISP Sports Network" (with flagship WARF/1350 Akron, Clear Channel's "SportsRadio 1350".
And a clip of his call of the Zips' "Miracle" win a while back over Western Michigan made its way to ESPN - and then to YouTube.
Remember that call by the Appalachian State football radio team when that upstart lower tier team upset Michigan in the first week of the college football season this year? It was so "wild" that it still gets replayed for comedic effect in the opening of Good Karma sports WKNR/850's mid-morning show with Tony Rizzo.
The call by French and his Zips network partner, former Browns player Frank Stamms, is pretty much on a similar level. We're pretty sure French's voice reverts to pre-puberty levels somewhere near the end of the clip, and we're not sure Stamms still has a voice.
And it's given his WNIR morning partners, Stan Piatt, Jim Midoch and Maggie Fuller, something to chuckle about...
YOUNGSTOWN PASSING: We don't know much about it, but we're getting peppered with information from our Youngstown sources on the death of a former WHOT Radio "Good Guy".
He's listed in a newspaper obituary as 57 year-old Nicholas Roman, though it also notes the radio name most people in the Mahoning Valley - over a certain age - would remember - Steve Miller.
We're told that Nick was a fixture in nights as WHOT's Steve Miller, in more than one turn doing the shift, in the 1970's. At the time, WHOT was on its original frequency of 1330 AM.
We're also told that he logged time at WNIO, at both AM 1540 (now Beacon Broadcasting gospel WRTK/1540 Niles), and at its current dial position of 1390, both on-air and in sales.
And Nick Roman even had a turn at the former Ott Communications' WASN/1330, which later occupied the former WHOT frequency as a controversial talk outlet.
Our condolences to his family, and large number of friends, in the Mahoning Valley broadcast community. Judging from the E-Mail we've received on this, a lot of you either remember him or worked with him...