We're back, and there's not really any earth-shattering news about media in our coverage area...
While we throw that out there, let's pick up the pieces on this Monday...
MORE ON THE HD SIDE: We sifted through Time Warner Cable Northeast Ohio's "Programming Notices" page last month, informing you of new additions the company has to publicize as part of legal notices it runs in area newspapers.
There's another wave there now, listed for next month:
The following changes are planned on or after November 4, 2009:
The Weather Channel HD will be added to standard HD.
The following channels will be added to HD with carriage level varying by area: WE HD and TV One HD.
The following channels will be added to HD for customers with the Digital Basic Tier: Planet Green HD, IFC HD and Fuse HD.
The following channels will be added to HD for customers with the Digital Sports Tier: NHL Network HD, Tennis Channel HD and CBS College Sports HD.
After this addition, there will be very few "major" HD channels missing from the TWC Northeast Ohio lineup. (The first that comes to mind - the HD version of cable news/chat outlet MSNBC.)
For one, we didn't even know there WERE HD versions of networks like WE and TV One.
By the way, TWC tells us that there's a free preview of CBS College Sports (non-HD version for now) today through Sunday:
“ARMED FORCES APPRECIATION WEEK” is highlighted by a tripleheader of games on Saturday, Oct 10, including Vanderbilt at Army (NOON, PM, ET), Navy at Rice (3:30 PM, ET) and TCU at Air Force (7:30 PM, ET), as well as in-depth studio coverage throughout the day.
CBS College Sports Network is available on Time Warner Cable channel 322. The Network will feature additional “ARMED FORCES APPRECIATION WEEK” programming leading up to the live game action on October 10, including classic games and original programming.
CBS College Sports is usually only available in Time Warner's "Sports Tier"...
COLUMBUS AGAIN, PART ONE: As media news usually runs in cycles here at OMW, the Columbus cycle is still hitting on all cylinders.
It's the first Monday for the Columbus market's newest signal, Southeast Ohio Broadcasting Systems' WCVZ/102.5 Baltimore...the station known until recently as Zanesville's WHIZ-FM... and known on the air as country "Highway 102".
As it happens, your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) got a chance to sample the new signal. For whatever reason, we know a lot of people who drive back and forth to Columbus and drive through Northeast Ohio to get there...so we "hitched a ride" on one of these friends' one-day trips late last week.
From our estimation, it appears "Highway 102" is one of the better Columbus rimshots, signal-wise, from its new tower southeast of Columbus in northwest Fairfield County. (Our apologies...we typoed on the direction in an earlier revision of this item.)
We'll attach a slight asterisk to that, as our friends' travels did not take them to western Franklin County.
But the new 102.5 signal was at least semi-listenable as far north as southern Richland County on the drive down I-71, and seemed strong to us near the Polaris shopping area north of the Outerbelt on 71 (a key growth area in the Columbus region).
It would appear to be at least as competitive to the north, as rimshots from the north come in as far south as Grove City. We can't speak for how the signal did west of downtown Columbus, as we didn't control the itinerary.
The Columbus radio dial is littered with rimshots, of course.
After the established full-market, in-market powerhouses, there's only been one recent true in-market full-signal move-in in Columbus...Clear Channel's AC WLZT/93.3 Ashville, which moved in from its previous life as Chillicothe's WFCB many years ago.
The new WCVZ signal isn't quite at that level, of course. But as a rimshot? The signal's not bad.
The programming? "Highway 102" is pretty much the exact same mix of loosely automated country that we heard a few months ago when the station was broadcasting from the 102.5 facility in Zanesville.
And yes, even after the move, it's running local advertisements and public service announcements for Zanesville and Muskingum County. We even heard a "WHIZ Storm Team Forecast" weather segment, complete with a minute-long promo for the NBC lineup on sister TV station WHIZ-TV/18...aimed at a lot of people who can only watch NBC on Media General Columbus market affiliate WCMH/4.
But perhaps the most telling sign that the WHIZ Media Group folks don't plan on running "Highway 102" as a Columbus market station?
In all of our listening to 102.5 late last week, we didn't hear the word "Columbus" ONCE. At all. Ever. You'd have no idea the station could be heard in the Columbus market unless you looked out the car window to see that you were in the Columbus area.
And the legal ID for the new 102.5 signal doesn't mention Columbus...it's just "WCVZ(FM) Baltimore", with not a "/Columbus" to be found.
Even if this stuff gets tweaked over the coming days and weeks, it's not exactly the kind of competitor that has Clear Channel Columbus programming guru-WCOL/92.3 program director-apparently former OMW Reader John Crenshaw shaking in his boots...virtual or otherwise.
If the WHIZ folks aren't getting ready to hand off the 102.5 keys to someone else, and keep running "Highway 102", the station would be fortunate to gain a single share point up against the WCOL powerhouse.
And that's not to mention the other country competitors in the Columbus market (Wilks' WHOK/95.5 Lancaster "The Hawk", or its sister WNKK/107.1 Circleville "Wink") that try chipping off share points from WCOL.
And to close this out...on our run through Columbus late last week, WHOK's downtown Columbus translator was still operating - at its long-time 102.3 FM frequency, first adjacent to the new 102.5 signal. How long that will that last? We don't know...
COLUMBUS PART TWO: Here's one other Columbus item we hadn't noticed until now.
The latest shuffle at North American Broadcasting talk WTDA/103.9 Westerville "Talk FM" has resulted in a new local morning drive talk show. From the station's website:
103.9 Talk FM launches a new LOCAL morning Show with Mark the Shark, Kelly Quinn and Jeff Logan from 6am-9am Weekdays! Set your snooze alarm to 103.9 and wake up with Shark, Kelly and Logan on MorningTalk FM. Weekdays from 6am-9am on 103.9 WTDA Talk FM!
"Mark the Shark", of course, has long been the only local voice on the FM talker...doing an afternoon drive sports talk show. He has a long history with North American Broadcasting, and we believe he did mornings in an earlier incarnation of 103.9 ("The Eagle"), and he was once part of the morning show on NABCO rocker then-WBZX/99.7 in its days as "The Blitz".
The station's attempt to compete with the Giant Talk Radio Buzzsaw that is Clear Channel talk WTVN/610's Bob Conners Show comes with other lineup shuffles after it.
WTDA has moved The Content Factory-syndicated sports talker Dan Patrick into his live 9-noon slot. (Patrick also airs on Fox Sports Radio, but Columbus FSR affiliate Clear Channel sports WYTS/1230 doesn't air him due to WTDA gaining the separate, earlier syndication rights.)
Westwood One's Dennis Miller settles into the noon-3 PM slot on "Talk FM", followed by self-syndicated financial advice guru Dave Ramsey (3-6 PM) and TRN's Michael Savage (6-9 PM). TRN's Laura Ingraham, Jerry Doyle and Phil Hendrie round out the evening WTDA schedule...