Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Keeping In Touch

Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) will be heading back to Northeast Ohio by late Saturday, it appears.

And those working in media will breathe a sigh of, not because they're glad to have us back in town.

If you've followed the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) since we started in mid-2005, there's one particular truism. When we leave Ohio for any lengthy period of time, major changes happen in the media world. At one point, then-Cleveland Browns general manager Phil Savage actually lost his job temporarily. (Maybe we shouldn't have come back. Heh.)

OK, so we're mostly joking, but since we left the OMW World Headquarters earlier this week, there have been two format changes - with Dispatch hot AC WBNS/97.1 dropping its long-time "Mix" format to become the primary home of the AM side's "Fan" format, and Saga's oldies outlet WODB/107.9 swooping in to become hot AC "The New Mix 107.9" the next day.

So, hang in there until the end of the week...

NOT MYFOX: We actually didn't expect this one, but it happened this week.

Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 "Fox 8" has dumped the Fox Interactive "MyFox Cleveland" website it adopted when it was owned by the network, and has debuted the new "".

The move is not necessarily a direct result of the station's sale from Fox to Local TV. Fox Interactive has built many "MyFox" websites for Fox affiliates not owned by the Newscorp mother ship.

But we believe Local TV has a website deal with its other stations not acquired in the deal with Fox, so it makes sense to change.

A quick look at shows that it still offers items such as online video of the station's news stories, but we'll have to dig deeper to see what's missing and what's not...

RTN'ING IT: The digital TV subchannel expansion continues in Ohio.

We reported earlier that Raycom Cleveland MyNetwork TV affiliate WUAB-DT 43.2 will finally replace the "We Didn't Kill The Tube" slide with actual programming from MGM's This TV, part of a multi-station Raycom deal. (We haven't heard when that change will take place.)

In Columbus, viewers are getting the Retro Television Network (RTN) via a subchannel of Media General NBC affiliate WCMH/4:

RTN 4.2 has retro television at its best from the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s! It has something for everyone including Leave it to Beaver, Knight Rider, Wagon Train, Rockford Files, and Black Sheep Squadron. Plus, look for current local programs including encore performances of NBC 4’s Daytime Columbus with Gail Hogan, weeknights at 8:00 p.m.

The latter shows some flexibility that the new "diginets" have - local stations can carve out time for non-network programming, though those that wish to run the services 24/7 can do so.

Or, they can dual affiliate, as Sinclair ABC affiliate WSYX/6 has done with the digital subchannel it established as Columbus' MyNetwork TV affiliate. That station now also runs, if we recall right, the aforementioned This TV in hours outside prime-time MyNetwork TV programming.

Missing in the Columbus digital subchannel equation? A player based in the Columbus market itself.

".2 Network", the locally-based subchannel's run by the Guardian Group, the Columbus-area company that sold WSFJ/51 "GTN 51" in Newark OH to Trinity Broadcasting a while back. "GTN" recamped on a low-power outlet on channel 23, and is still struggling to retain cable carriage it had as a "must carry" on 51.

But from recent trade reports, we learn that ".2 Network"'s start has been pushed back again. The Guardian folks were quoted in an article about new digital subchannel programmers getting some affiliate resistance - because the would-be affiliates were focusing resources on their main channels in this flagging economy.

Still, with This TV and RTN both picking up major groups in the past few days, we're left to wonder if the problem is more .2/Guardian getting squeezed out by its two largest subchannel programming competitors.

This TV is backed by studio giant MGM, and even with some financial and operational questions recently (mostly linked to its split with troubled Equity Broadcasting), RTN is still managing to sign up big broadcast groups...


emery_r said...

Further expansion of (at least some) note -- a Cincinnati low-power broadcaster, Block Broadcasting, recently fired up its digital signal, and now sends out four channels. The most interesting part might be that they have a BETTER signal in outlying areas than they had with analog.

25.1 is their WOTH (which has been Ch. 25 analog, and is primarily infomercials.)

25.2 is WKRP (Ch. 38 analog, a pretty ordinary independent station with syndicated programs; they recently adopted the famous "WKRP" moniker, although there's some doubt they have legally changed their call letters from WBQC).

25.3 is identified as WBQC (simulcasts WKRP content) -- these call letters translated to "WB Network in the Queen City", but mean nothing now that the WB is gone.

25.4 is I.D.'d as "Skyline", but it actually carries White Springs Television programming; this is cheesy 2nd rate movies, mostly public domain from all appearances. When I discovered these stations after re-scanning my digital converter box, 25.4 was showing "Wild Women of Wongo", an INCREDIBLY bad movie from 1958 -- Grade Z drive-in movie fare.

In any case, no other commercial broadcaster in Cincinnati or Dayton currently broadcasts FOUR digital signals -- only a couple of PBS stations and one religious broadcaster are so generous around here.

firebird said... is a lot easier to remember than Plus, it probably gets more hits on Google with the shortened website name.

andrew727 said...

I'm really looking forward to when RTN hits the Cleveland market. There are enough commercial digital stations in Cleveland that some station or group owner of a broadcast facility will have the brains to pick it up. Possibly Raycom might make it a 43.3 station sub-channel. If you're a Cleveland broadcaster, I'd jump on it before your competitiion does! Lets see, that might be WOIO 19, WUAB 43, WBNX 55, WKYC 3, WEWS 5 or maybe even WJW 8. This channel is going to be a ratings winner in a tough market for whoever pick's it up first!-)
- Andrew, -

n-dizzle said...

Oh *heck* no!! RTN better not be on WKYC or WOIO(they already have one obnoxious subchannel). Having two would only degrade the HD picture even more. WEWS is my favorite HD channel, as they have no subchannels at all, and I hope it stays that way. Same with WBNX, as they are a 1080i HD CW station.

Now WUAB would be a good fit for RTN also. WUAB is 720p(with My Network TV, plus they have a very small HD lineup. Many times one hour a day with the news. So adding a 43-2 and a 43-3 wouldn't be as painful as adding a subchannel or two to any of the real networks.

As a general rule, I hate all subchannels. But if they insist on existing, then stick them on secondary or tertiary stations like WUAB, WQHS, WOAC, WVPX. Just not on the primary stations like NBC, ABC, CBS.