One quick hit for TV, one for radio...
WKYC DIGITAL: From the ODTV side of OMW, a bit about Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 Cleveland's new facility.
As if drawn by a giant magnet to Broadview Road in Parma, the OMW/ODTV Mobile took another trip up to the tower that will soon hold antennas for WKYC-DT (RF 17) and ideastream PBS affiliate WVIZ-DT (RF 26).
Why, this time, again?
Our inbox was peppered Tuesday with questions from folks who were having trouble picking up the current WKYC-DT (RF 2) facility, which sits on the existing tower right next to the new one at the Broadview Road site.
The outage for the digital side of WKYC on Tuesday apparently extended to subscribers of Dish Network, which displayed a message about technical difficulties where WKYC's digital signal would normally be seen.
Unaffected? Those watching analog channel 3, and subscribers of Time Warner Cable, which we're pretty sure receives all of WKYC's signals via fiber optic cable at its headend just a few blocks down Lakeside Avenue from WKYC's Digital Broadcast Center.
So, we found our way to Cleveland's most famous TV tower site to see what was going on.
The answer, by the time we'd reached Broadview Road in late afternoon? Nothing that we could see. Since we left our decent digital camera back at OMW World Headquarters, we don't really have a good picture to show you...but we'll describe it as best we can.
The new tower appears to be pretty much structurally completed, and is now approximately the same height as the original WKYC tower
On Tuesday afternoon/early evening, we didn't see any tower crews up there, and saw no antennas mounted (of any sort) to the new tower that will eventually hold the antennas for both WKYC and WVIZ's digital facility.
The top portion of the tower's height appears to be in place along the side of where the antennas will be mounted up at the top. We'll assume it is there to make the installation easier, then it will be removed when the antenna system is in place.
Our guess - and it's only a guess - is that the crews working at Broadview Road will use a stretch of decent weather the next few days to finally mount the antenna apparatus. Remember, WVIZ has filed with the FCC hoping to get approval for post-transition digital power levels by June 5th, a date the station says it expects to complete its construction.
And at least Thursday through Saturday, the weather forecast looks to be ideal for tower work. That's just an educated guess on our part...well, semi-educated.
Between now and June 12th, expect temporary signal disruptions from WKYC-DT and WVIZ-DT, as work continues to be done. And we wouldn't be surprised if, after the antennas go up, late night testing could bring some surprises for digital TV viewers...
METRO LANDING: We hadn't heard Metro Networks/Cleveland-based afternoon sports and news anchor Dave DeNatale on either of his stations - Good Karma sports WKNR/850 and Salem talk WHK/1420 - in a few days, so we wondered if he was still toiling at Metro's facility in the Independence Media Gulch.
Of course, that facility is about to be shut down - if it isn't gone already - as Metro will move all Cleveland market on-air operations to its suburban Detroit facility...as part of the company's massive restructuring nationwide. The traffic/news/sports outsourcing company is shutting down all but 13 of its operations centers, and feeding content to the markets it leaves behind physically via those new hubs.
We found our answer to the "Where Is Dave DeNatale" question by accident...thinking about taking in a baseball game, we were looking for information on the home opener Tuesday of the new Frontier League baseball team in Avon, the Lake Erie Crushers.
And sure enough, the Crushers have hired DeNatale as their radio play-by-play voice, as the local minor league baseball team based at Avon's new All-Pro Freight Stadium starts its first year.
Well, sort of "radio voice" - as for now, as far as we know, the Crushers haven't picked up a broadcast affiliate for DeNatale's call. That means the game audio is only available via the Crushers' website, through a deal with Internet sports play-by-play rebroadcaster SportsJuice.com.
We did manage to catch much of DeNatale's first home game as the Crushers' voice, as the team opened up that new ballpark apparently named in a sponsorship deal with a local freight hauler.
And oddly enough, one of the Crushers' team sponsors is Clear Channel Radio. No, really.
Of course, there's not really any appropriate facility for Clear Channel to air DeNatale's play by play call.
There's also no room on Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting's WEOL/930 Elyria, and Avon is on the other side of Lorain County from DeNatale's previous-to-Metro employer, locally-owned country station WOBL/1320 Oberlin. WOBL owners Doug and Lorie Wilber also own Lorain oldies outlet WDLW/1380, which has a 57 watt nighttime signal that probably doesn't sound all that great in Avon.
DeNatale has continued to do Oberlin College football and basketball play-by-play on WOBL, a job he kept even after leaving the station for Metro/WKNR.
And the only broadcast transmitter site physically in the city of Avon is Radio Seaway classical stalwart WCLV/104.9, licensed to Lorain, which moved that far east in an attempt to provide a better signal in Cleveland.
Anyway, we stumbled onto this article about DeNatale's new job on the website of sports talent agency Sportscasters Talent Agency of America (STAA), which claims the local broadcaster as a client. He explains the situation with Metro:
DeNatale, who is also the voice of Oberlin College football and basketball, has spent the past 14 months doing sports for Metro Networks in Cleveland. When his job fell victim to the economy, DeNatale was given the option of relocating to Detroit. He appreciated the opportunity, but it just didn’t feel quite right.
“My situation is the epitome of ‘when one door closes another opens,’ DeNatale says. “I wasn’t sure if would follow Metro to Detroit. This opportunity came along to stay home and it seemed too good to pass up.”
Our congratulations to Dave, and he sounded like a seasoned baseball play-by-play announcer to us last night...