Back in the day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and cable TV was in its infancy, you had just a handful of places to find a televised high school football game in Northeast Ohio.
The primary carrier of high school football was local PBS affiliate WVIZ/25, which featured its "Game of the Week" on tape delay late Friday nights.
Various other outlets, like cable access channels, carried some assorted games. But that was about it.
Now, televised high school football has popped up all over - with a steady diet of games all over the TV dial.
We're at the start of that season again, so here's a brief rundown of Who's Doing What:
FOX SPORTS NET OHIO: FSN Ohio actually started all this for 2008, beginning their series of Thursday night games this week.
The regional sports network took out a full-page ad in Thursday's Cleveland Plain Dealer listing the entire series of games, which air at 6 PM each Thursday evening.
Yes, Thursday. At some point, state athletic regulators (OHSAA) approved not only the Thursday night games, but live telecasts of those games by FSN Ohio.
FSN Ohio's Jeff Phelps and WJW/8 "FOX 8"-WKNR/850 "ESPN 850"'s Tony Rizzo are involved in the effort...
TIME WARNER CABLE: As the area's dominant local cable provider relaunches its "NEON" (Northeast Ohio Network) local programming channel, it also unveils its high school football plans for 2008.
The cable outlet says it'll offer up to three (tape-delayed) "High School Games of the Week", starting tonight at 11 PM with a broadcast of a Thursday contest between Akron schools Garfield and Hoban.
NEON will offer games regionally, via its various local zones, so we'll assume a full schedule will send different games to Akron, Canton and Cleveland parts of the TWC empire. (We already saw some of this last year.)
The games, and all of NEON's programming, will air on cable channel 23 throughout the TWC Northeast Ohio cable empire...
OTHER: We don't have the information at hand, but we'll assume other TV outlets will continue with their coverage this year.
We don't spot any games in the current schedule at SportsTime Ohio, but the sports network's high school web page proclaims its playoff and championship deal with the OHSAA. It also proclaims the return of the "High School Sports Insider" show on Mondays at 6:30 PM.
Canton-based low-power TV combo WIVM/52-WIVN/29 continues with tape-delayed high school contests this year, with a game between Lake and Green listed tonight at 11 PM in the Canton Repository's TV-radio sports listings.
AND ON THE RADIO: Good Karma sports WKNR/850 "ESPN 850" returns its "High School Hysteria" to the airwaves this evening for another season.
WKNR assistant program director/midday co-host Aaron Goldhammer is once again driving the "Hysteria" bus (keep those hands on the wheel, Hammer!), with pre-game and scoreboard features surrounding the station's "game of the week"...the Avon Lake/Maple Heights contest is first up. The scheduled "Hysteria" start is 7 PM.
Outside Cleveland, we're sure the usual full coverage applies on stalwart stations like Akron's WAKR/1590 and WHLO/640, Canton's WHBC/1480, Elyria's WEOL/930 and Wooster's WQKT/104.5.
WHLO sister sports outlet WARF/1350 aired a lengthy high school football preview earlier this week. We'll presume that they're once again along for the high school football ride following the conclusion of the Eastern League Akron Aeros' 2008 playoff run.
AND A NON-GAME RELATED RADIO SHOW: It doesn't involve game coverage itself, but a new weekly radio show hopes to make its mark.
Metro Networks/Cleveland sports reporter Joe Lull tells OMW that he's fronting a new effort called "High School Frenzy", a brokered hour-long "high school football scoreboard/recap show" show on Salem talk WHK/1420. It airs Friday nights at 10 PM, starting tonight.
The "Frenzy" press release lists two other well-known local sports personalities joining Lull for the show: former WKNR/FSN Ohio host Neil Bender, and Metro/WKNR morning sports update anchor Jeff Thomas.
Lull is apparently hoping to nab high-school football obsessed listeners when WKNR heads away from "Hysteria" to carry the baseball postgame show "Tenth Inning"...
AND...: If we missed anything, please let us know, either via a comment on this item or via E-Mail...