Friday, March 20, 2009

Our Friday Menu

And for those who are curious, the Thursday night menu was a pair of coney dogs from a nearby local outdoor drive-in restaurant...the business' opening a sure sign of spring in Northeast Ohio.

We can get Sonic chili dogs 12 months a year in Streetsboro, but these ones only from March through November...

NOT SO FAST, OMW: At the moment, we'd like to pull back on the back patting a bit.

In one of our Thursday items, we poured on the self-congratulation for correctly predicting the disposition of ABC Radio Networks' "Paul Harvey News" time slots, with former Republican presidential candidate/former Arkansas governor/Fox News Channel weekend host Mike Huckabee's existing "Huckabee Report" commentaries being fed down the old Paul Harvey satellite feed starting on Monday.

Notice that we said "being fed down".

That's similar language to what ABC Radio used when talking about what ended up being two week fill-in stints by KGO/San Francisco host and ABC News Radio veteran Gil Gross, and ABC News Radio Information Network anchor Doug Limerick.

So, will Huckabee's 5 minute commentaries continue to be fed down to Paul Harvey News' existing affiliate base for the long term, or is there more?

Thanks to a Friend of OMW, we got a look at the rest of what Inside Radio had to say on the topic. Some sample quotes:

A spokesman tells Inside Radio the network expects to have announcements about other personalities.

Our friends at AllAccess, who actually slipped this story "under the wire" late Wednesday night (we missed it), offer this:

With HUCKABEE's segments shorter than the standard HARVEY time slot, ABC will be offering additional short-form news features to be disclosed shortly.

That's one-third right. Huckabee's segments are all five minutes long, including commercial inventory.

The only former Harvey segment that doesn't match that time is the 15 minute "Noon Visit"...and we've speculated here that stations will probably start dropping that no matter what is offered in Mr. Harvey's place, due to the archaic nature of such a long "short form" feature.

(We noted here earlier that even ABC/Citadel itself already dumped the "Noon Visit" on two of its major market stations after Harvey's passing - to make room for full three-hour mid-morning clearances for the network's Joe Scarborough on WABC/770 New York, and for local host Frank Beckmann on Detroit's WJR/760.)

Time-wise, the five minute morning and afternoon drive editions of "The Huckabee Report" require no extra fill vs. the former Paul Harvey News time slots.

So, who are these "other people" and what role may thay play in ABC Radio's post-Paul Harvey world?

Quoting Inside Radio again:

There’s still no word on whether Paul Harvey Jr. will have a role. A network rep says, “He may have interest in returning to radio, but it’s not something he’s prepared to give an answer to today.”

Will ABC Radio's Life After Paul Harvey consist of offering Gov. Huckabee to stations in morning drive and middays, and eventually (assuming he wants to do it) offering Paul Harvey Jr.'s own "Rest of the Story" segments again? Remember, the Younger Harvey has both written and voiced that segment in recent years.

It sounds like as good a guess as any we've made. We don't see Gross or Limerick interested in a future role, and wouldn't put money on Dallas-based Ron Chapman returning to the former Harvey syndication.

BTW, with former Paul Harvey affiliates WAKR/1590 Akron and WNIO/1390 Youngstown declining to carry Huckabee starting Monday...we haven't yet heard out of the other two Northeast Ohio stations involved - WHBC/1480 Canton and WEOL/930 Elyria...

MORE COLLEGE B'BALL: With the University of Akron Zips giving a strong showing in their NCAA Men's College Basketball first round tournament game - "Insert Name of Month" "Insert Name of Excited Mental State", as we don't want to be sued by the NCAA - the spotlight was heavily on the MAC Champions on Thursday.

The game wasn't nationally televised, of course, since it's an early round contest...but OMW hears that viewers as far away as the Los Angeles market got treated to Zips vs. Zags.

Those listening to coverage via Sirius Satellite Radio were not treated to the Zips ISP Sports Network call by Akron Radio Superstar Steve French and Joe Dunn, heard locally on network flagship WARF/1350 Akron "SportsRadio 1350" and simulcaster rock WRQK/106.9 Canton "Rock 106.9". Sirius opted for Westwood One's national coverage instead.

At least one reader took us to task for our recent needling of Mr. French, who flies high over Akron radio as co-host of the popular morning show on talk WNIR/100.1 "The Talk of Akron", joining Stan Piatt, Jim Midock and Maggie Fuller.

Relax...we're just having fun, and we're pretty sure Steve is having fun as well...he's a "big boy", and he can take it.

And like most Radio Stars, he loves the attention and publicity...even from a little media blog like this one...

AND MORE HOOPS: An OMW reader tells us that another CBS affiliate in Northeast Ohio is doing the NCAA Round One split with local teams on Friday night.

We hear that New Vision CBS affiliate WKBN/27 Youngstown will opt for THE Ohio State Buckeyes' first round game, and like WOIO in Cleveland, will send the Cleveland State Vikings contest over to its sister MyNetwork TV affiliate - in the Youngstown case, its Parkin Broadcasting's WYTV-DT 33.2 "My YTV".

(Any regular OMW reader - with eyes closed - can tell you here that New Vision operates Parkin's WYTV and My YTV from its studios on Sunset Blvd. in Youngstown.)

For Youngstown, it's not as big a decision as it was for Raycom Media in Cleveland...but with an Ohio team involved, the New Vision folks presumably felt it was easy to offer the game by moving it to the now-sister subchannel that's carrying heavy sports branding....

AND SPEAKING OF YOUNGSTOWN: A quick visit to the Mahoning Valley earlier this week netted us another example of how New Vision/WKBN/WYFX operates WYTV as a nominally separate entity.

This week's Big Story in the Youngstown/Warren TV market was the bankruptcy filing of health care giant Forum Health, and the two local TV newsrooms were all over it.

We watched all four commercial stations' coverage of a bankruptcy court hearing which allowed Forum Health to dip into a cash reserve to pay immediate bills, and we watched the shuffle between WKBN and now-sister station WYTV.

Both stations featured live shots from the Federal Courthouse during early evening newscasts... at 5 PM, WKBN's "27 First News" led with the live shot, and at 5:30, it was on WYTV's "33 News". Two different reporters were used, with one coming over from another story she'd already filed.

Forum Health's CEO appeared live in studio for an interview early in a "27 First News'" newscast, then hung around the building a bit to do the same on the "33 News" set.

Standard "B-roll" footage of Forum Health's facilities, such as Youngstown's Northside Medical Center and Warren's Trumbull Memorial Hospital, was mixed in with footage of Newton Falls - the same footage on both stations. At some point, we could tell you when the water tower with "Newton Falls" on it would show up before it actually did so.

Newton Falls is the location Forum Health plans to build an urgent care center, a plan that's apparently still in effect post-bankruptcy filing.

Other, less important stories were near simulcast on both WKBN and WYTV due to their placement.

But more unnerving than that was the replay of "27 First News This Morning" (5-7 AM on WKBN/27) from 7-9 AM on WYFX "Fox Youngstown"...the only difference being a superimposed "First News on Fox" time/temperature bug on the latter station.

In the You Know Your Morning Show Is Taped From Earlier Department:

* "Live Skycam" footage of downtown Youngstown in the dark...being played long after sunrise....seen via the WYFX feed.

* A promo for the upcoming "CBS Early Show", starting in "just a few minutes" if you're watching the WYFX feed at 8:55 AM. No, not unless you recorded it off of WKBN, or invested in a DeLorean with a Flux Capacitor.

The new WKBN graphics look modern - and appear to have finally assigned the "Fox 17/62" branding for the station's Fox arm to the trash heap, as everything we saw the other day said "Fox Youngstown".

And yes, with access to an HDTV tuner, we confirmed that New Vision is still running both WKBN-DT 27.1 (CBS) and WKBN-DT 27.2 (Fox) in 720p HD format, the former being downconverted from the network's 1080i feed...the latter instead of an SD 480i feed.

We saw some occasional drop-outs, though we can't be sure that should be blamed on the electronic squeezing needed to fit two HD feeds into one channel's bandwidth...or just reception anomalies...

1 comment:

Neil said...

Minor correction: Joe Scarborough's show on WABC is 2 hours (10 AM to noon), not 3 hours. (Very good program, BTW. Well worth listening to via the web stream at

Re P.H. Junior: For a couple of months before the end, he was permanent host of the 8:30 AM broadcast, and his "This Is News" was significantly different from what his father and Gil Gross and Ron Chapman were doing in the noon hour. I was disappointed when that program was discontinued. I hope he will consider reviving it.