Thank you for hanging in there while we took an extended hiatus. And, welcome to 2008!
Here are some random items to carry you along for a while. And watch this space for a possible announcement sometime in the next few days...
FREEMAN EXITS 45/49: Kent-based PBS outlet WNEO/45-WEAO/49 "PBS 45 & 49" is saying goodbye later this year to a key, long-time employee.
The station says chief operating officer Don Freeman will retire on March 28 of this year.
Freeman has been with the Akron/Canton/Youngstown-targeted public TV station for nearly 20 years, and has been working in public TV for over 40 years.
He came to WNEO/WEAO in 1988 - from Columbus - as director of programming...adding operations duties along the way, before being named to his current post in 2006.
Under Freeman's direction, PBS 45 & 49 has spread its wings, and has become a solid second pubcaster in the Cleveland market - and the primary provider of PBS programming in the Youngstown market. The station has broadened a public affairs commitment to the underserved Akron area with the long-running panel show "NewsNight Akron", and has produced similar programs for the Youngstown market.
WNEO/WEAO says after retiring, Freeman will head back with his wife to his home state of Colorado this summer.
Freeman is known in the online world for keeping in touch with viewers, so he may read this...and we wish him the best...
AND ALSO ON THE PUBLIC SIDE: Radio division, that is, where OMW hears of a major scheduling change...also out of Kent.
We're told that Kent State University NPR outlet WKSU/89.7 has cancelled its locally-produced "Your Way Home" newsmagazine, which aired until Monday at 6 PM weekdays.
Sure enough, the show has disappeared from the WKSU online programming schedule, replaced by an extra half-hour of the NPR afternoon mainstay "All Things Considered".
Sources in Kent tell us that with the departure of some key news staffers - including host Dan Hockensmith leaving for Crain's Communications' Akron-based "Plastics News" magazine - it became more difficult for the station to produce the daily "Your Way Home"...
WCMH GOES HD: The Columbus TV market now has two HDTV-equipped news operations.
OMW hears that Media General NBC affiliate WCMH/4 "NBC 4" flipped its newscasts to HD over the weekend.
The station is also using 16:9 video in the field. Some of our readers in the market thought that the field video was in HD, but it's apparently only in widescreen SD for now...though that could change in the future.
The move is a part of a push by WCMH's current owner to add HDTV newscasts in even smaller markets like Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville SC-NC and Roanoke VA, where Media General has long owned stations.
Media General only recently bought "NBC 4" in Columbus from its previous owner, the network itself...NBC Universal.
The WCMH HD switch makes the news operation the second HD newsroom in the Columbus market, after Dispatch CBS affiliate WBNS/10's "10TV News HD". Up here in our home base of Northeast Ohio, all four major local TV news operations are running out of HD studios...