Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Weekend Cleanup Post

As usually happens when we go "on hiatus" here at your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), media news happens. It's an indisputable Law of OMW...if we push away the keyboard, the flood comes in, and that's already the case this time around.

So, though we're still trying to "stay away", let's briefly expand on the two items that we've popped onto our Twitter feed.

And again, you don't even have to access our page directly...they show up over there to the left of the main scroll here. Just keep watching that area, even if we're not "back" for a while...

SCHWABBIE TO 19: As reported in the earlier tweet, Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Indians beat reporter/sports talk host Mark Schwab is leaving Oak Tree, heading for a new and fulfilling life in the basement of Reserve Square.

OK, so we poke a lot of fun at Cleveland's alleged CBS affiliate - poking that they apparently can't take in good humor, given actions like blocking us from following their Twitter feed.

But Raycom's WOIO/19-WUAB/43 and its "19 Action News" made a very good hire here...bringing on the WTAM veteran to take over the open weekend sports anchor job, a full-time role that includes sports reporting during the week.

And though we have a lot of fun with some of their more outrageous stunts or actions, or the fact you can't pick up their over-air signal in much of Cleveland and Akron without major antenna help, we also feel we really do try to be fair (first? everywhere?) with the folks at Reserve Square when they do things that they should be lauded for.

Long-time OMW readers know that we've always liked Mark Schwab's work. We've always considered him to be one of the more underutilized players in Cleveland sports media, and thought he was ready for a "prime time" role long ago.

Moving from 1100 to 19/43, Mark will bring both professionalism and personality to the "19 Action News" weekend sports desk.

Yes, the CBS/MyNet combo's newscasts sometimes resemble a three ring circus, or an out of control carnival. But the sports department is "the toy department of life", and some pizazz and personality goes a long way.

(No, not Charlie Minn-style pizazz. That's just clowning.)

Of course, Mark Schwab technically replaces another now-former Reserve Square type with ties to Mark's soon-to-be-former radio station...and Chuck Galeti has continued to fill in on WTAM, for afternoon drive host Mike Trivisonno, after leaving "Action News".

As for the fate of recent "Action News" weekend sports fill-in Sue Ann Robak, we stumbled upon this - buried in a recent Plain Dealer feature article on dozens of people looking for work in Greater Cleveland:

Update September 2009: Working freelance

Robak is freelancing at WOIO Channel 19. "It's a lot harder than I thought to find work in television. I'm grateful to Channel 19 for the freelance opportunity I have now. I had contemplated changing careers and going back to school to pursue teaching, but I decided to stick it out longer in search of full-time TV work because this is what I love to do."

We wonder if Sue Ann is going to continue to search for full-time TV work, or if she'll pursue a career change. We also presume she could continue to do freelance work for SportsTime Ohio...or offer her services to continue to fill-in at Reserve Square for sports director Tony Zarella or for Schwab...

TWC WORRIES: Those actively looking for new HDTV offerings on Northeast Ohio's Time Warner Cable system don't just turn here looking for news.

They watch - like a hawk - the legal "Programming Notices" page which appears on the company's website.

Recently, Time Warner Cable changed the format of this page, so it now directly reproduces the legal notices filed for each newspaper in the TWC NEO service area.

And these notices were recently updated to remove a list of HDTV channels we reported would be added to the company's local systems on (/or after) October 15th and November 4th.

Panic visited the land! "They're turning back on their promise!", people shouted, jumping to conclusions like it was an event in the upcoming Vancouver Olympics.

And yes, they shouted that to the OMW Mailbox. We can only imagine what the Time Warner customer service reps heard.

So, we checked in with sources at Time Warner Cable's Northeast Ohio offices, and we're here to tell you - straight out of the book/radio series/movie "Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy" - "Don't panic!" (Oh, and carry a towel.) (The towel is optional.)

Our sources at Northeast Ohio's cable TV giant tell us that they are still "on target" for the previously listed channels to appear October 15th (/or after) and November 4th (/or after).

Copying from our previous entries, to put the list in one convenient place:

(On or after October 15th)

The following channels will be added to standard HD: Cartoon HD, TCM HD, HLN HD, E! HD;

The following channels will be added to HD for customers with the Digital Basic Tier: Biography HD, Disney SX HD, Outdoor HD, Fox Business News HD, Style HD, Hallmark Movies HD

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.

These HD channel additions have MOSTLY been "on time" in recent months, give or take a couple of delays of a few days to a few that's why the "/or after" above.

But we're told viewers shouldn't worry...and that the absence of the previously listed channels on the new legal notices doesn't mean they are not coming....


Anonymous said...

Kept that for Oct 15 and Nov 4 will be add hdtv! Very glad for follow up HDTV.

Shawn said...

I have been having repeated problems with TWC's digital and HD channels balcking-out, pixelating, freezing, etc. A techie told me on the phone last week that they don't actually have enough bandwidth to deliver all those lovely looking HD channels, since their customer service managers refuse to take or return phone-calls, I can't get an answer as to why they keep adding channels if they can't consistently provide the channels they have now. I have too many trees in teh way of the satellites to get Direct or Dish, and I'd switch to U-Verse in a heartbeat if they were available in my area, until that happens I'm stuck with the poorest excuse for customer-service EVER: TWC!

MrCommonSense said...

I agree with your opinion of Mark Schwab. I think he is the very best sports talker on radio, and I'm sorry that I won't be able to hear him anymore. But like you said, he was underutilized on WTAM. Best of luck to Schwabbie.

firebird said...

Is Denny Schaffer still on the air in Northwest Ohio? He's starting a new evening show on WGKA/920 in Atlanta today. Not sure if he's buying the time as this is a Salem station and they don't do local programming.

Mark said...

TWC continues to ignore its Pennsylvania subscribers and does not offer FSN-Pittsburgh in high definition (Penguins and Pirates broadcasts). It's frustrating to live in western Pennsylvania and miss out on FSN-Pittsburgh, as well as local Pittsburgh channels. Two years of contacting TWC hasn't made a difference. TWC's customer service is pitiful.