Monday, June 22, 2009

Quick Hits For A Monday

We're still "on hiatus", as it were, but we want to bring out some items we don't want to get moldy.

OK, maybe this wasn't as "quick" as we thought...

TV CHANGE: Cleveland Classic Media's Tim Lones gives us a heads up on the future of WOAC/67 Canton, the infomercial outlet being sold out of the bankruptcy case of Multicultural Broadcasting's TV division.

And there is no future - for either the WOAC call letters, or, apparently, the old channel number 67.

Incoming owner Tri-State Christian Television plans to take over programming the station on Wednesday, according to an E-mail Tim received from the religious broadcaster's mailing list:

Another great change we are excited to announce here at TCT is the recent purchase of WOAC in the Cleveland / Akron / Canton, Ohio market. Plans are to make the transition to all Christian programming on this station next Wednesday during our noon (CT) TCT Today program. The new call letters for this station will be WRLM.

This new station, Channel 47, is a powerful mega-watt digital signal that covers the entire Northeast section with 1.7 million TV households of Ohio.

That would put the change during the 1 PM (Eastern) hour on Wednesday, of case you really want to watch or TiVo the transition.

WRLM, presumably, stands for Radiant Life Ministries - the arm of Illinois-based TCT which is purchasing the current WOAC from the bankruptcy trustee holding it in the Multicultural Television case.

FCC records show the transfer of WOAC from Multicultural to TCT/RLM was approved on June 10th, and we'll presume the consummation of the sale will be filed by Wednesday. The religious broadcaster filed a request for the WRLM calls on June 17th, according to the FCC's Call Sign Query.

And again, TCT refers to the station as "Channel 47". We don't know yet if that means TCT will dump the "67" PSIP branding for its RF channel of 47.

One change we do know is coming: TCT operates two subchannels on all its digital stations, including Jamestown NY's WNYB/26. So, we'll expect 47-or-67.1 to be TCT's separate HD feed, and 47-or-67.2 to be the SD feed that used to be on the analog side of TCT's stations.

(We say "its digital stations" because we presume TCT has an analog translator or three still operating....)

Though WOAC-to-become-WRLM is licensed to Canton, its now-only digital transmitter site is on Portage County's Brimfield Township along I-76, just across Ohio 43 from WNIR/100.1 and its sister station, WAOH-LP/29 "Retro TV"...

NETWORK CHANGE: NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton has been through a lot of changes in the past couple of years, and now, here's another.

OMW hears that starting this morning, "News/Talk 1480" will change radio news networks. WHBC will drop ABC News Radio for Fox News Radio.

FNR offers two different top-of-the-hour newscasts, and we believe WHBC will use the 5 minute version...though 1480 will likely exit the newscast early - at the first natural break - for its own local newscasts when they are present. Fox News Radio also offers a one-minute long newscast.

ABC News Radio will still be heard by most Canton listeners via its two Akron outlets - Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 (which runs the Information Network feed) and Rubber City Radio oldies/news WAKR/1590 (which runs the Entertainment Network feed, or whatever it's called these days).

While we're at Market Avenue South, as far as we know, the WHBC morning drive show with Fred Chenevey and Pam Cook is indeed still being simulcast by the WIVM Low Power TV Empire - WIVM-LP/52 Canton and its own simulcasters, WIVN-LP/29 Newcomerstown(/Dover/New Philadelphia) and WIVX-LP/65 Loudonville.

We had some questions about that arrangement after the WIVM stations flipped to become the Canton area's Retro TV outlet...

SPEAKING OF RETRO TV: Yes, we're aware that RTN is now officially RTV. (And yes, we're aware that we've mentioned the classic TV network in all three otherwise unrelated sub-items.)

The Retro Television Network folks tell Broadcasting & Cable that they grabbed onto the new initials, in part, because they call to the recently completed DTV transition:

"We're Retro Television--it's what we are and what we do," says RTV principal Neal Ardman, who says the DTV-RTV sound similarity is part of the rebrand's intent.

And it makes a lot of sense, as RTV, This TV and other digital network subchannels feel a giant spotlight is now upon them. With over-air viewing of full-power stations now in digital, the channels are getting exposed to a large audience that may not receive them on cable or satellite.

That applies to the local outlet for MGM-run movie and classic TV channel This TV, Raycom Media's WUAB/43.2.

But it does not apply to any local outlet for the folks at Retro TV, as the channel airs here on the aforementioned low-power analog stations - WAOH-LP 29 Akron/W35AX Cleveland, and the WIVM low-power stations based in Canton.

The folks at the Media-Com duo are taking advantage of what could otherwise be a negative - through a digital converter box, you can't view any of these stations unless your box has analog pass-through, then you have to tune the TV's regular tuner...which you are told not to use for digital channels.

Media-Com's radio flagship, talk WNIR/100.1 "The Talk of Akron", has been running promos telling viewers who did NOT prepare for the digital transition that they still have a choice.

And with the classic TV shows on "Retro TV"'s channel 29 (and 35), production voice Tom Cullison intones -"isn't it better living in the past?" - by being able to watch shows like "Ironside" and "McHale's Navy".

Is "living in the past" good? Ask anyone who has to work in WNIR's studio complex on Route 59 between Kent and Ravenna, across from the Wal-Mart.

Like New Vision Fox affiliate WYFX-LP 62 Youngstown and its western PA simulcaster, WFXI-CA 17 Mercer PA, 29 and 35 (and 52, etc.) are now basically the only options for Cleveland market analog-only viewers looking for general entertainment programming...unless you consider the NAB-produced "nightlight" DTV instructional video on analog WKYC/3 to be entertaining. (That goes away after June 26th...)

AND INSIDE THE SITE: OMW, and our sister site in the OMW Blog Network, Ohio Digital TV, chronicled the building of the new WKYC/WVIZ tower and digital TV facility on Broadview Road in Parma quite frequently.

Since we were basically taking pictures from the outside, we were left to a lot of speculation about what was going on inside, and when the facility would be completed.

We have all the answers...after the fact, of course.

Dave Kushman, one of WKYC's engineers on the project, brings us the pictures we all imagined before the June 12th transition...with his site hosting an in-depth look at the work inside and outside the site that now houses WKYC's digital channel 17 and WVIZ's digital channel 26.

We'll have to go back and see if some of our speculation was on target, or, well, off target.

The hat tip here is to our blogging colleague over at WKYC, senior director Frank Macek and his "Director's Cut" blog.

And we're wondering if Dave put up the site, in part, because of all the interest in the new WKYC/WVIZ site among our readers...


Tim Lones said...

Didnt mean to trump you on the story..For me Channel 67 was "classic" TV in a sense and I thought it wouldnt hurt to mention it..

As for WHBC, the switch from ABC to Fox News to me is sort of sad..ABC radio was the last link to the "Old WHBC" as WHBC had been an ABC radio affiliate dating back to 1947..from 1940-47 they were a Mutual affiliate..Though I cant say the switch to Fox is a surprise..

firebird said...

I thought TV stations had to keep their existing analog channel number. If that's the case, could WOIO start calling itself Channel 10?

In Atlanta, we have a Channel 69 with digital assignment of 43, which still calls itself CW69. Ditto for the CBS station on 46 which has a digital assignment of 19.

andrew727 said...

Dave @ WKYC TV 3 Engineering, you guys are amazing and the photos gave me a lot of respect for what you do. Hopefully Gannett will spend a few dollars to redecorate the interior of the building at the transmitter site. Looks like my old basement in Ohio City. Hats off to you guys, and as a fellow ham radio operator, hey, that's some antenna!-)

- Andrew, -

Anonymous said...

@firebird: WOIO could ID by its RF channel but doesn't, out of respect for CBS affiliate 10TV in Columbus.

The Atlanta stations you refer to now identify as CW Atlanta and CBS Atlanta.