Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Cleveland/Akron/Canton/Toledo/Detroit/Windsor Market

The markets ringing Lake Erie seemingly merged for a day, at least.

Northeast Ohio commuters heading home in the afternoon on Friday were hearing traffic reports talking about tieups on "the Fisher", "the Lodge" and accidents on 8 Mile Road.

No, their cars weren't magically transported to Detroit. Cleveland's Metro Traffic affiliates weren't accidentally getting Detroit-centric feeds from the company's new hub in suburban Detroit.

And no, Canada's CBC Radio generally does not target listeners in the Cleveland market.

So-called "tropospheric reception" (explained pretty well in this Wikipedia article) turned the Cleveland area's FM radio dial into one very crowded place on Friday, and also scattered TV stations well beyond their normal coverage area.

Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) experienced this firsthand while driving along Ohio 303 from Lorain County, into northern Medina County, then northern Summit County, on Friday afternoon.

Some of our own observations:

ROCKING DETROIT...AND PENINSULA, OHIO: At one point on our drive, Greater Media's Detroit classic rock mainstay WCSX/94.7 was the most powerful signal on the OMW Mobile's stock car radio, more powerful than even first adjacent Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 Medina.

Note, of course, that despite maintaining a Medina city of license, "Akron's Own Country" broadcasts from a tower owned by Western Reserve PBS' WEAO/49 Akron in Copley Township...just south of the Montrose shopping area in suburban Akron. The WCSX signal did weaken somewhat the closer we got to the WQMX site...though it still nudged in there next to WQMX as far east as Peninsula...

RIVER FLOWS TO OHIO...THROUGH A LAKE: CTVglobemedia's 100 kW AAA outlet from Windsor ONT, CIDR/93.9 "The River", is an easy daily listen for folks driving from Toledo to Sandusky along the Ohio Turnpike.

Friday, it was an easy catch for us all the way into Summit County.

CIDR's FM sister station, alt-rock CIMX/88.7 "89X", was also along for the ride with a strong signal. Both stations also target the Detroit market across the international border.

Of course, in much of the Cleveland market, it doesn't take any special atmospheric conditions for CTVglobemedia's talk CKLW/800 to be heard each back to its days as the entire Lake Erie region's dominant top 40 outlet...

AS IT HAPPENS, CBC IN NORTHEAST OHIO: CBC Radio's CBCL/93.5 London ONT is not normally heard in northern Medina County or northern Summit County.

But with very little interference, we were able to catch the CBC Radio One newsmagazine staple "As It Happens" live at 6:30 on Friday evening...all the way to the OMW World Headquarters. Like the Windsor FM outlets, CBCL is a powerful, 100 kW station, but usually doesn't make it to places like Brunswick or Richfield with a clear signal.

"AIH" fans in Northeast Ohio don't need special atmospheric conditions to hear the show weeknights at 8 PM on Ideastream NPR outlet WCPN/90.3 Cleveland, thanks to its U.S. public radio syndication deal with American Public Media. And CBC Radio One also camps out in the U.S. on Sirius channel 137...

OTHER VISITORS: Other Detroit/Windsor stations littered our FM radio dial, as did Clear Channel rock WIOT/104.7 out of Toledo. We also caught a dual tropospheric effect - strong signals from CBS Radio sports WXYT/97.1 "The Ticket" from Detroit and Media One AC WREO/97.1 "Star 97.1" Ashtabula were fighting it out for supremacy on our radio...

VISUAL AIRPOWER: Then, there's the TV side of this.

This is a still picture of a promo for upcoming Olympic coverage from Canadian private TV network CTV.

The logo on the right is from a promo for Canadian sports network "TSN2".

And we took these pictures without leaving the OMW World Headquarters.

CTV rebroadcast transmitter CKCO-TV-3 Oil Springs (Sarnia) ONT was received on analog channel 42 in the early evening Friday right here, using a regular TV tuner and our usual indoor antenna pointing out a second floor window.

It's not the first appearance here for CKCO-TV-3/42, which repeats "CTV Southwestern Ontario" (CKCO/Kitchener ONT) from the area not far from Port Huron MI. A few years ago, the same station showed up on a bedroom TV set just enough to make out which station it was.

This time, the signal may look snowy here, but it was definitely watchable, with clear audio.

In fact, Friday evening, it was more watchable than Media-Com's Kent-based Retro TV Network affiliate feed - either on WAOH-LP 29/Akron or W35AX/Cleveland, both LPTV/Class A outlets, of course.

We assume that not only was the signal stronger this time - there's no longer any analog channel 43 here to get in the way of the Canadian signal's presence.

An OMW reader in the western part of the Toledo area reports that he was able to receive the digital signals of Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3 "like it was a strong local", along with ABC affiliate WEWS/5, with a modest indoor antenna.

He also picked up CHWI/16 Wheatley ONT ("A Windsor") with a strong analog his case, "somewhat" clearer than Toledo's LPTV MyNetwork TV affiliate, WMNT-CA/48 "My 58".

CHWI is the main signal for the Windsor-based broadcaster affiliated with the "A" network. It is located not far from Leamington, on the Ontario peninsula which juts into Lake Erie.

Again, check the Wikipedia article on the topic for details.

So-called "tropospheric ducting" doesn't happen all the time, but is most likely during warm summer afternoons.

So, we'll likely see more of this with current weather forecasted through at least Monday. But there's no guarantee the "catching" will be as good as it was on Friday in this area...

1 comment:

Andrew J said...

The rather hefty band opening over the lake last Friday and Saturday made WOIO so useless that they should have shut down their transmitter. My grandmother was extremely angry (to put it lightly) that the show she was watching on WOIO became pixelated beyond all recognition (she lives 10 miles from the Parma antenna farm). Shortly thereafter the signal completely disappeared. I flipped over to the old analog and saw our friendly neighbor CFPL coming in. It had a considerable amount of snow on the picture, but any trace of an analog signal is good enough to obliterate a DTV signal.