Clearing out our inbox on a Tuesday makes for a very, very random collection of items...
DIGITAL TRANSLATORS: Unique among major Cleveland market TV stations, Ideastream PBS affiliate WVIZ/25 has maintained low-power translators in locations on the edge of the market for years.
OMW reader Trip Ericson (proprietor of TV information site RabbitEars) gives us the heads up that the pubcaster intends on converting these small transmitters to digital format.
W63CT is licensed to Eastlake, but the 34 kW analog translator seems aimed at the I-90 corridor between Mentor and Geneva, approximately. The low-power digital application would put the station on RF channel 38, and put out 11 kW of power that could extend the station's range from Euclid to Ashtabula. (Digital TV being what it is, your mileage may vary.)
The application is classified as a "displacement" application. Channel 63 is outside the broadcast TV core (channels 2-51).
Channel 38 was the channel originally sought by Image Video's WIVM-LP/Canton for its new digital home, but as OMW reported earlier, the Canton LPTV outlet quickly re-filed for channel 39 based on TBN O&O WDLI-DT/Canton's impending move to channel 49.
Well, at least they didn't try to use channel 37, like one LPTV applicant recently did in Louisiana. (Bonus points if you know why even asking to locate to channel 37 is a non-starter!)
Displacement is also the reason that WVIZ has filed for a new digital home for W64AK/Conneaut, which resides on out-of-core channel 64, on channel 44.
And assuming it ever gets built, the 5 kW application would vastly extend the station's service area. The current W64AK facility is licensed for just 145 watts, and would seem to serve just a small chunk of Ashtabula County near Edgewood.
Notice that we said "assuming it ever gets built".
We have no idea if these two LP digital outlets will be built in the near future, and assuming WVIZ gets the appropriate construction permits, the folks at Playhouse Square would have the usual three years to build them out. And if they ever intend on making the conversion, Ideastream has to "get in line" to get the allocation.
But despite WVIZ's new, powerful main digital signal on RF 26 out of Parma, we know some viewers to the northeast would welcome a chance to pick up the station over-air...
TAKING A BREAK: Gannett Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3 anchor Eric Mansfield will be taking a one week break this week from his "other job", as moderator of the Western Reserve PBS news roundtable show "NewsNight Akron"...which airs Friday nights at 9 PM on the pubcaster's WNEO/45 Alliance-WEAO/49 Akron.
Eric and his panel, which is comprised of local broadcast and print journalists from Akron media outlets, kick around the Issues of the Week for Akron area viewers.
And that includes talking about upcoming local elections, which is the reason Eric will hand off hosting duties this week to a regular panelist, Rubber City Radio VP/information media and OMW reader Ed Esposito.
Eric, also an OMW reader, tells us that one of Friday's topics will be the crowded field of candidates (14!) running for the Akron School Board, and as such:
My wife, Lisa, is a candidate, so I certainly don't want to be in a position of conflict of interest.
Eric says he'll probably step aside as "NewsNight Akron"'s host at least one more time "and possibly several more times" between now and the election...to allow discussion of the school board race without the husband of one of the candidates in the studio.
He tells us:
There are no strings attached. The panel can talk for as long or as little about the topic as they see fit .. but in all fairness, I needed to get out of the way since this topic is so important for the voters.
It's a potential conflict of interest issue he's not likely to face in his "day job", as reporter and 7 PM co-anchor at WKYC.
Though Mansfield still covers some Akron stories as a Channel 3 reporter, the station now longer regularly staffs the Akron/Canton Bureau on Main and Market - next to the space where "NewsNight Akron" is now taped.
Mansfield and other WKYC reporters presumably still use the facility to process stories covered in the area.
But with "Akron/Canton News" now long off the air (or off Time Warner Cable's "NEON" local programming channel, to be accurate)...the depth of coverage of Akron issues is not nearly what it was from the Channel 3 newsroom.
And as such, it's likely that WKYC won't run many stories, if any, on the Akron school board race Mansfield's wife, Lisa, is in...and they can easily task another reporter with covering the race if needed...
MAC TIME: Fox Sports Ohio is touting its coverage of Mid-American Conference college football....with the annual "MAC Gridiron Preview" show now unleashed.
Quoting a FSOhio press release:
This one-hour special features previews from the players and coaches of the MAC’s 13 teams, “off-the-gridiron” stories behind various players as well as special interviews with the new head coaches at Miami, Bowling Green, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, and Ball State. The show also provides insight on the future of the conference with its new commissioner, Dr. Jon Steinbrecher.
Hosted by veteran broadcaster and MAC alumni Jeff Phelps, this year's show takes viewers to the MAC media day and offers a “you are there” point of view. With the show produced by another MAC alumni, Ron Glasenapp, this marks the seventh consecutive year FOX Sports Ohio has provided viewers with an in-depth preseason look at the upcoming MAC season.
The show bowed in Monday at 8 PM. But this being cable/satellite, it'll air again a number of times in the next few days:
Tuesday, August 25 at 11 p.m.
Thursday, August 27 at 10 p.m.
Saturday, August 29 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, August 29 at 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 30 at 4 p.m.
Monday, August 31 at 1 p.m.
The Cleveland-based conference has members all over the Great Lakes region, including the University of Akron and Kent State University in Northeast Ohio...
AND SPEAKING OF SPORTS: Lake Erie College in Painesville fielded a football team for the first time last year, and that opening season actually got some radio coverage.
As we noted last September, locally-owned Willoughby outlet Spirit Media talk/variety WELW/1330 carried the "Storm" football team's first season, with veteran local sportscaster Kendall Lewis on play by play.
The "Storm" is about to get a bigger platform.
The college has hooked up with Media One Group's sports WFUN/970 Ashtabula as its radio home in football season number two, with help from sister AC WREO/97.1 "Star 97.1", according to a press release that landed in the OMW mailbox:
Beginning Sept. 5, ESPN 970 will broadcast nine Storm games live, while sister station WREO Star 97.1 FM will carry the Sept. 26 game at Adrian College. In addition, all 11 games will be streamed live online at www.espn970wfun.com.
The agreement announced today (Aug. 24) with Media One Group, which owns and operates ESPN 970 and Star 97, will provide Northeast Ohio’s only NCAA Division II program with a coverage area that reaches from eastern Cuyahoga County into Western Pennsylvania.
Most of that coverage area is attributed to "Star 97.1", though WFUN's 5,000 watt daytime signal out of Ashtabula isn't bad at all into Painesville, where Lake Erie College is based.
As for the broadcast team:
Local sports radio veteran Craig Deas and former WJET-TV sports director Scott Wludyga will handle the play-by-play duties for Storm broadcasts this season. The play-by-play voice and Director of Community & Media Relations for the Lake County Captains minor league baseball team, Deas has broadcast sports in Northeast Ohio since 1987. Last season he handled radio duties for Lake Erie men’s and women’s basketball broadcasts.
The Captains, of course, are now heard on WREO "Star 97.1", flagship of a two-station network that includes original Captains flagship WELW...