Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Exit

We're still consulting the OMW Medical Staff, and getting used to our "new normal", for now. But we didn't have to put a lot of effort into these items, so here we go...

BLACKOUT AVERTED: Fans of the NFL's Cleveland Browns are rejoicing...they're partying in the streets...they're...OK, maybe they're not partying or rejoicing.

Northeast Ohio's sorry excuse for a "professional football team" will make their only prime-time TV appearance on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" this coming Monday, and there was a chance that the game (with the Hated Baltimore Ravens) would not be shown on local TV...as a "few thousand" unsold tickets remained.

In the usual last minute save, the local station carrying the "MNF" game was a part of the solution, according to this team news release:

As a result of combined efforts by the Cleveland Browns, ESPN, Bud Light and WJW-TV (FOX 8), the Browns-Ravens game this Monday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium will be televised locally.

The game, which kicks off at 8:30 p.m., will air nationally on ESPN, in addition to WJW-TV in the Cleveland area. The four entities will distribute remaining tickets to the USO and other local organizations.

WJW "Fox 8" holds the local-over-air rights to the "Monday Night Football" telecast, as it did last year. NFL rules require ESPN and other cable-satellite-only carriers (NFL Network, etc.) to sell local broadcast rights to the games in the home markets of the two teams involved.

But if the game wasn't televised on WJW, the station would be left holding a rather expensive empty bag of commercial spots that wouldn't be able to air.

Fans would also have been shut out from the ESPN TV broadcast of the game if the contest wasn't sold out...cable and satellite carriers would have been forced to black out ESPN for Northeast Ohio viewers.

Even though many Browns fans in this horrible season have practiced our own "Personal Blackouts" - for your Primary Editorial Voice(tm), that consists of checking in occasionally until a Browns interception - the games are still quite lucrative to local TV partners like WJW... and it's well worth it for them to help cover the cost of a "few thousand" unsold tickets...so they have a game to put on the air...

FLORENTINO TO 'NCI/LZT: It's not like we needed to be a psychic or a rocket scientist to make this connection.

AllAccess reports that in Columbus, Tony Florentino has landed as program director of Clear Channel top 40 WNCI/97.9 and AC WLZT/93.3.

Florentino, of course, recently exited crosstown Saga, where he was operations manager for the company's cluster - including his important work as hands-on program director for AC powerhouse WSNY/94.7 "Sunny 95".

OMW reported earlier that Florentino's exit came after Saga declined to renew his contract running the Columbus stations, which also include smooth jazz WJZA/103.5, classic hits WODB/104.3 "Big Hits 104.3" and AC WVMX/107.9 "Mix 107.9".

In our October 27th item, we conveniently noted that a very compatible post was out there that could be Florentino's next stop:

"...a reader helpfully reminds us that, as far as we know, Clear Channel Columbus is still looking for a PD for top 40 mainstay WNCI/97.9 and AC WLZT/93.3...of course, after Michael McCoy's exit to Detroit..."

Sure enough, Mr. Florentino has landed...

THE LENO FACTOR: Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 in Cleveland is not immune from "The Leno Effect", and that's an effect that local TV managers apparently consider similar to the effects of H1N1 or "swine" flu.

OMW hears from others in local TV that the "Leno Effect" could well give the opening at 11 PM, news ratings-wise, to Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5...with Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO/19 up for second place. We hear it's been "some books" since WKYC hasn't been comfortably ahead there.

(Not that it's all sweetness and light for the "NewsChannel 5" folks. We're hearing that WEWS parent Scripps is aboard the "multi-media journalist" train even more so than WKYC parent Gannett...and that the station is airing a number of pieces now either voiced by video shooters, or shot in video by solo reporters not used to handling their own video. And of course, with a new approach, there are glitches. More on that, later.)

Like many displeased local affiliates, WKYC is far from silent on the Leno Problem.

Our blogging colleague over at 13th and Lakeside, "Director's Cut" blogger and WKYC senior producer Frank Macek, has written about the Leno situation frequently.

In this item, Frank asks the question - is it finally time to cancel the prime-time Jay Leno show?

This, even as he notes that Cleveland is one of Leno's best markets...faint praise, it would appear, given the overall situation. Quoting:

Nielsen ratings recently showed Cleveland as among Jay's most watched markets. Sad thing is, the ratings have wobbled between only a three and a five rating every week since the show's launch. We can only imagine how smaller markets must be faring.

Mr. Macek suggests that Leno could be moved to 10:35 PM, giving WKYC and other local affiliates a chance to mount a 10 PM local news program (and shaking up the competitive landscape locally, particularly against WJW/8's "Fox 8 News at 10"). This is just an idea, and doesn't seem to be rumored anywhere at this point.

We'll repeat the disclaimer Frank Macek adds at the bottom of his item: "Disclaimer: The thoughts and opinions expressed in this feature are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of WKYC or Gannett Broadcasting."

But though they are Frank's own thoughts and opinions, it would seem from here that pretty much everyone else in TV agrees with Frank's assessment...

7 comments:

dmking12370 said...

OMW,

First, best wishes for a speedy recovery.

It should be noted that this is not the only time the Browns will be on prime time this year. The game against the Steelers on December 10 is also a prime time game on the NFL Network. I don't know who is the OTA carrier for this game is (perhaps WUAB, since the did the NFL Network games last year).

andrew727 said...

The failure of the Jay Leno Show is the failure of NBC overall to hold an audience for most of its shows - that’s the reason GE is jettisoning the turkey, er, peacock network. Its problems started when they relied to heavily on reality programming as a cheap way to fill airtime - unfortunately for NBC, reality is passé. Even American Idol has been slipping in the ratings. Some of the programs are not really reality, but light to moderate scripting. But lets get back to Leno. Jay worked in the 11:35PM to 12:35PM timeslot. If you remember, Conan was making a fair amount of noise that if he didn’t get the Tonight Show, he might well bolt to another network. This got the NBC brass worried, and gee, after all, Leno was skewing older, so maybe it would be a good idea to boost Conan to an earlier hour. However, there was still Leno to consider. If he left to ABC for example, it would take away pie from the Tonight Show. Pat Weaver’s program had seen better days under Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. NBC is showing a lot of desperation in bumping Jay Leno to ten in the evening during the week - its saying its program development is in a mess - it does not have the ’magic’ touch. In any case, NBC is going to Comcast and hopefully the network will do better than it had under NBC.
-Andrew, MALL727net-

antom3559 said...

FSN Ohio has announced that six of the XU games they will carry this season are being pushed onto their alternate channel due to conflicts with games for the Cavs and Blue Jackets: tinyurl.com/ygvyfqz & tinyurl.com/yjpjtgv
Xavier alumni and fans have since contacted FSO to voice their displeasure, but have been met with a lot form responses.

Could OMW please contact FSO to get their comments on why this decision was made, what considerations were given when making it, and what they are doing to rectify it? If they are going to (understandably) give priority to the Cavs and Blue Jackets, shouldn't they also ensure that there is greater access to the alternate channel on Ohio's cable and satellite providers? Currently, not very many have included the alternate feed: foxsportsohio.com/pages/channelfinder

Thanks for the time, and feel better soon!

J. Moses(Tri-State Media Watch Editor) said...

Xavier actually happens to be in TSMW territory. :) So, I shall do what I can (I apologize that I missed the ball on this one - blame it on physical troubles, not similar to what OMW's Primary Editorial Voice (tm) is dealing with.

I do suspect that FSO has negotiated in good faith with some of these cable companies and just has not come to an amicable resolution.

I also know that they are being/were negotiated case-by-case on satellite for at least two cases, and may need to be for others also. Last night's game aired on Dish Network Channel 450 and on DirectTV Channel 652. For 12/23, that game will be announced as soon as a decision is reached. I'll be on the ball for that one and you can check TSMW for details on that as soon as I know them from FSO.

With all of this said, in some markets, such as Youngstown, the XU game WAS shown last night on FSO because the Blue Jackets are blacked out for that area.

J. Moses(Tri-State Media Watch Editor) said...

OK I went back and looked at the FSO Facebook...and I gathered that nobody is pleased about this.

Unfortunately, what we seem to have here, and I will look for clarification from FSO, and/or maybe OMW can assist me with this effort also when they're up to doing so, is a case of pro over college, I.E., the Blue Jackets taking precedence over the XU Musketeers due to being a pro team. It's the same thing as the Cavs taking precedence over the high school teams here on Oct. 31 - which I did NOT see a big stink being put up about.

Again, I'll endeavor to follow up on this on Monday from the Cincinnati end - but, I suggest you contact your cable company to see if they plan to have an alt. channel for you to watch the remaining XU games if you're not on Satellite and/or in Cincy.

By the way, IN Cincy, the alt channel is 99 for Time-Warner...and usually channel 6 for Insight in NKY.

antom3559 said...

Thank you very much for the response, TSMW. No worries about not having a post about it yet on your site; FSO sprung this late on all of us. And I apologize for not replying back to you earlier.

I neglected to include this before, but I'm a Cleveland area resident and a WOW Cable subscriber. I've contacted them about FSO's decision, and asked them to add the alternate channel to their lineup. WOW actually carries it in the Columbus market on cable access channel 18, and I pointed this out to them and suggested they do the same in Cleveland on their cable access channel 19. Basically, they told me that the decision of whether to do this is solely up to FSO (didn't sound right, and I asked them several times if that was correct - they insisted it was), and that the next time the game is on the FSO alt. channel to tune into 19 and cross my fingers. I've also since contacted FSO about what WOW told me and a list of complaints, but they've yet to reply.

You are correct that FSO is giving precedence to pro over college with this decision. Even one of the XU games - 12/23 vs Miami - won't be shown on either the main FSO channel or Fox Sports Cincinnati due to the Blue Jackets game. Does that make ANY sense for FSO to do this with two local teams in the Cinci market? Haha, and I've since heard that the current FSO president is a big hockey fan - I don't know if that's correct, but it would make sense.

And you are certainly correct that a lot of fans are angry about this. For instance, here's one of the threads about it on the XU fan message board. And I'm sure you've already seen the article about it on Cincinnati.com.

This whole situation is very confusing and very frustrating. It's great for Xavier (and other college basketball teams) to have their games on cable as opposed to local TV. But it doesn't do much good if the cable channel they have a contract with has schedule conflicts (six total in which XU is not being shown on the main FSO channel) for over a third of the games they announced to televise this season (originally 16 total).

J. Moses(Tri-State Media Watch Editor) said...

Hmmm... so let me just get my mind around this...WOW Cable has told you that it's up to FSO, YET FSO hasn't responded to the situation??? Odd...

By the way, FSO has started sending me pressers, as these games are bumped.

And wait a minute - now you're telling me that the Miami/XU game won't even get an ALTERNATE channel? The Cavs play a 10 PM start that night - PLUS the Blue Jackets game you mentioned, which doesn't even START until 8:30 PM! That of course would leave only 90 minutes of the X/Miami game - unless they can transition quickly from XU to Cavs, you're right - they won't get an alternate channel.

It's not often I give my opinion but, what a load of crap this is for XU fans - and for that matter, Miami fans for that game too!