Thursday, May 28, 2009

A TV Thursday

We're in catch up mode again...


As noted below, The Retro Television Network, that treasure-trove of classic TV shows ("Magnum P.I", "The Incredible Hulk", The Rockford Files", etc.), will air in the Cleveland market starting Monday, June 1st on Media-Com LPTV combo WAOH-LP 29 Akron/W35AX Cleveland...known on air as "The CAT".

(For those who have forgotten, that stands for "The Cleveland-Akron Television Network".)

As it turns out, the Plain Dealer's Julie Washington had this announcement last week, as did the Beacon Journal's Rich Heldenfels. (We can't find Rich's "Heldenfiles" column which carried the announcement online, but we're told it appeared in the Dead Trees edition of the Beacon Journal last Saturday.)

The station is a sister to Media-Com's better known radio WNIR/100.1 "The Talk of Akron" and sports-to-become-talk WJMP/1520 Kent/(Add Your Own Cities Here). OK, one better known property, as WJMP's listener base could probably fit into our living room.

Retro Television Network itself has gone through a few changes, including ownership - former now-bankrupt owner Equity Media Holdings ended up flipping it to a former company executive, who had to scramble when Equity dropped satellite distribution of RTN late last year.

The disruption didn't last long, and even new RTN affiliates like Cox NBC affiliate WTOV-DT 9.2 Steubenville were able to pick up with the network not long after.

Now, back to "The CAT".

Channels 29 and 35 have been running various LPTV-oriented networks like America One and the Urban America Television Network, with a smattering of low-budget local programming mixed in.

Among the list of shows, a Monday night sports talk show hosted by Akron Radio Icon, Broadcast Superstar, Future Hall of Famer and OMW reader Steve French, known in real life as morning co-host on WNIR's morning drive fun-fest with Stan Piatt, Jim Midock and Maggie Fuller.

We're pretty sure that he hasn't driven "Sportstalk with Steve French" to number one in the ratings, but that's obviously not his fault.

Even if 29/35 featured programming giving live gold bars away on the air, "The CAT" simulcast never be number one, and may not even show up in the ratings.

If you're lucky, you might get a decent watchable over-air signal out of 29 if you're near its Brimfield transmitter site in Portage County (co-located with WNIR), or out of 35 if you're near its antenna in the Parma antenna farm.

The signal reach for the stations are roughly equivalent to WJMP for 29, and to WVIZ-DT's temporary digital facility for 35. (Only the 10 kW WVIZ-DT signal is at least not snowy where it is received. Oh, and more on that later on ODTV.)

Here at the OMW World Headquarters near the "BatCave" somewhere in the former Adelphia Cleveland service area, our small antennas get a snowy, semi-viewable but listenable signal out of 35, and a slightly worse signal out of 29.

So, it's no surprise that probably the bulk of whatever viewership "The CAT" gets is via cable, where it is a long-time occupant of Time Warner Cable channel 14 in Akron, along with carriage in Macedonia (and we believe Kent) on TWC channel 29, and Cox Cleveland's digital channel 132, along with carriage on Wadsworth Cable channel 21.

We got that list from the "RTV Affiliates" map on the Retro TV website, where we noticed (along with many of our readers) that the network is now using the name "RTV" instead of "RTN".

Here at the OMW World Headquarters, the TWC system that was formerly the Adelphia Cuyahoga Valley system never picked up the 29/35 feed.

We're wondering - is this potentially more popular, and higher profile, programming enough to get "The CAT" clearance on TWC's Cleveland-based system? We'll assume that even a digital cable carriage would be preferable to the station, and its viewers, compared to no cable carriage at all.

And though "The CAT" does not have, and will likely never have, over-air digital coverage...a good place for it on the TWC Cleveland lineup would probably be next to WUAB-DT 43.2's "This TV", which at some point is scheduled for placement in the Time Warner Cable digital lineup...

TWC HDTV UPDATE: More and more of our readers have checked in confirming the addition of the latest wave of HDTV channels in Northeast Ohio's Time Warner system - including the addition of The Smithsonian Channel and Mav TV for HD Tier subscribers.

We're also hearing that apparently, Universal HD has migrated into that extra-cost tier...which will lose HDNet and HDNet Movies on the 31st due to Time Warner dumping those channels nationally. And despite the name similar to the name of his NBA Dallas Mavericks, "Mav TV" apparently has no connection to HDNet/HDNet Movies owner Mark Cuban.

At least one OMW reader in Brecksville tells us that they've gotten the new HD Tier duo of Smithsonian and Mav TV, but have not received the other channels that launched on May 26th...


Mark Terlecky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Terlecky said...

Is the temporary facility for WVIZ the tower that you see as you take the exit onto 176 North from 480 west? Does anyone know what the new output for WVIZ will be on when tower that WKYC is building is complete? I still can't get WVIZ-DT or WOIO-DT here in Westlake.

Anonymous said...

All of OMW's attempts to curry favor from 'superstar' Steve French will go for naught (at least for a few days) as the Voice of the Zips is on an extended vacation.

I wonder if his return to the WNIR airwaves on June 1st is just a coincidence or is part of the plan by the Kaiser Bill to calm the dozens of viewers of SportsTalk who might fear that French has completely 'left the building' when the A-Team or Simon and Simon airs in French's time slot.

andrew727 said...

Okay, we're two weeks away from the digital transition date. That means THE CAT will need to go digital, or find itself only on cable, and possibly only on a basic premium channel. The question is also how long THE CAT can survive? Something tells me that either WUAB or WBNX might pick up RTV if THE CAT dumps out. I speculate it may be then picked up and put on WUAB DT 43.3, or WBNX 55.2 in the future. Being an LP station, one wonders how long RTV would stay on THE CAT if offered a better deal on a stronger DTV channel. Just speculation. Also, can THE CAT still have authorization to transmit an analog signal. Perhaps even a more important question, how many people will be able to watch it if they have a converter box hooked-up or buy a new widescreen tv which no longer can get analog channels. My prediction is tv sets this fall will no longer support analog transmissions - wouldn't make much sense? Well, thats my two cents.

- Andrew, -

Anonymous said...

The question is also how long THE CAT can survive?


The CAT is improving its programing, not moving backwards.

What in the world makes you think that there is any question about whether 'the Cat can survive'?

Tim Lones said...

Interesting note:

WIVM-52 Canton and sister stations WIVM 29 New Philly and WIVX-65 Loudonnville are showing RTN programming this afternoon..The Incredible Hulk from RTN is on now..

PolarBear said...

If you have WUAB on TWC, check channel 248. I noticed earlier today that THIS TV has been added to position 248. It was buried in the HDTV notices that TWC was adding it in May. It's odd that it is in the middle of the lineup, rather than up in the 300s with the other subchannels from WVIZ and WOIO and WKYC.

The PQ is really nice on THIS, since it is a digital subchannel. I cringe at the thought of RTN on WAOH. The PQ on TWC 14 looks about the quality of OTA.

Are the channels, WIVM, WIVX in Canton carried on the analog tier or the digital tier?

andrew727 said...

Low Power Stations will either have to convert to DTV, take a berth on a cable channel, or simply fade. Television manufaturers will have no reason to build television sets for the United States and later, Canadian markets with analog/digital tuners - does not make much sense.

- Andrew, -

Tim Lones said...

WIVM is now on digital channel 365 in the Canton area..It is scheduled to be moved to 367 in the nearfuture. One other note-While leads to Image Video's website, there is currently nothing about WIVM programming on their website..

Bismarck440 said...

A shame the Cleveland Broadcasters much continue to ignore Central/Eastern Lake & Ashtabula counties who are deemed part of the Cleveland market but not fully served by either Cleveland or Erie's weak signals, & after 6/12 will likely get worse.

Below the ridge has OTA difficulties that have been known about for years.

As Interesting as the Cats programming is, seems like a throwback to the independents of the 70's, a shame they never hooked on as a sub to a full power DTV signal.

Perhaps 43, 55, or 61 ought to pick up RTN as a sub.