Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Supersized Update

As promised, here's our update that spans all over the map, and with updates on just about every subject area we cover. How big is it? Let's just put it this way...we're lucky Blogger doesn't charge at all, let alone by the kilobyte...

WVPX HD: Put on hold by Ion Media Networks' bankruptcy a while back, the HD upgrade at Ion's local owned-and-operated station is complete.

Over-air viewers of Akron-licensed WVPX/23 are now seeing an HD feed on 23.1, and viewers of Time Warner Cable will get the station on their HD cable boxes soon...if it has not happened already.

We can also pass along word that in the former Adelphia Cleveland-based system, those picking up clear QAM feeds can find WVPX's HD feed on RF channel 78.2.

Another oddity of the clear QAM feeds - though they do not appear on cable boxes in the Cleveland-based arm of the TWC NEO system, Western Reserve PBS' HD WEAO/49.1 and its subchannels are available to those picking up the QAM feeds, mapped to their over-air channel numbers.

WEAO's main feed is still available on analog cable channel 9 in the former Adelphia system, and WEAO/WNEO's HD feed and subchannels are on cable boxes in the "legacy" Time Warner Akron/Canton/Youngstown area systems. Time Warner lists the feed as "WNEO" even in the WEAO signal area.

Anyway, back to WVPX. We don't have a complete list of programming in HD, but it appears that prime-time off-network shows (such as "Ghost Whisperer") and at least some movies are in HD. Shortly after the launch, we saw an Ion movie in the daytime hours that was not only in HD, but using its original aspect ratio...which should make some movie buffs very happy...

YOUNGSTOWN HD/DIGITAL ACTIVITY: It seems the dust has settled, and Parkin/New Vision ABC affiliate WYTV/33 in Youngstown is now pumping out a million watts of power.

Viewers all over the Mahoning Valley and beyond report drastically improved reception from the new facility. (No, we can't get it from the OMW World Headquarters...but we also have trouble with New Vision sister CBS affiliate WKBN/27 from this far out on our modest setup. We imagine those in the far eastern suburbs of Cleveland and Akron should have a better shot at it.)

WYTV is indeed more powerful than WKBN, by a few hundred kilowatts, but the station's antenna is much lower than the WKBN antenna.

Elsewhere on Sunset Boulevard, the multi-station combo is preparing to add the Youngstown market's first HD newscasts.

It was supposed to happen back on April 19th, but viewers/OMW readers in the market, including PBRTV's Tom Lavery, tell us that newscasts on WKBN and its sister stations are still in SD.

We can't find a reference right now, but we seem to recall the update will also bring WYTV's MyNetwork TV subchannel (33.2) into the world of HD...

WIN IT FOR JOE: When will local sports radio legend Joe Tait hang up his headphones, and turn the Cleveland Cavaliers Radio Network microphone over to someone with very big shoes to fill?

We don't recall when he said it, but a recent profile of Tait in the Chicago Sun-Times -"Tait, as in great" - has this:

Tait, 72, has said that next season will be his last. If he sticks to that, the breed of working NBA broadcast greats will be down one.

We reported earlier that Tait's contract was renewed, indeed, through the end of the 2010-2011 season, thoguh even at age 72, Dan Gilbert is likely to keep the iconic Cavs broadcaster behind the microphone for basically as long as he wants.

Tait tells the Sun-Times:

''I feel old, fat and tired,'' the signature radio voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers said. ''Some days, I feel like I could go on forever. Other days, I'm not sure I'll make it past noon.''

and...

'In a year, the house will be paid off,'' said Tait, Evanston (IL)-born and a graduate of Monmouth College. ''Then all I want to worry about is taking care of Jeannie and enjoying the sunsets.''

Though he does sound like a man ready to retire after a long and illustrious career, he tells the newspaper he very much still enjoys his work...enjoyment, presumably, that will be magnified ten-fold if the Cavaliers manage to do what no Cleveland-based major professional team has done since 1964...win it all.

Win one for Tait, indeed.

By the way, tonight's Game 5 of the first round NBA playoff series against the Chicago Bulls will air on Fox Sports Ohio, and will also be simulcast on broadcast partner Raycom Media MyNetwork TV affliate WUAB/43. The WUAB broadcast of FSOhio games are also in HD, giving over-air viewers a chance to see the game in the crisper TV format.

And by the way again, we've confirmed through numerous sources part of an item we ran earlier: The Cavaliers Radio Network is indeed produced at Quicken Loans Arena, not at the facilities of flagship Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100. That means new Cavs Radio Network producer Marty "Big Daddy" Allen doesn't have to go back to Oak Tree for his new job.

We should have realized this, since the Cavs' post-game radio show gives 420-exchange phone numbers, the same exchange as used by the team and arena. WTAM uses the standard 578 exchange, an old "choke" exchange used by local broadcasters for years.

Back in the day, the 578 exchange was used so floods of radio contest and request calls didn't bring down other phone network users, though technology has rendered that problem obsolete...

WHILE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT OAK TREE: A former WTAM staffer is making quite a career change.

Former WTAM news director R.C. Bauer left the building in October 2006, taking a news management gig at sister Clear Channel talk WFLA/970 in Tampa FL.

He got a promotion to the top programming job at the successful Florida station in early 2009, after Gabe Hobbs felt the Clear Channel downsizing axe.

Bauer is leaving WFLA on his own...and to a higher "station" as it were.

Radio-Info.com columnist Tom Taylor provides us the confirmation of a tip we received late last week, in his column which landed in E-mail boxes Monday morning:

RC Bauer hears the call of the ministry and is leaving radio – and his job as Director of Information and Services and PD of talker WFLA, Tampa (970) – to become a full-time minister. RC’s departing the Clear Channel roster at the end of May to become executive pastor at the Generations Christian Church in Trinity, Florida.

Taylor notes that R.C. will remain on WFLA's local programming advisory board, and could even do some fill-in for the station once he moves to his new role as a pastor...

THE TRIBE IN THE 'BULA: That's Ashtabula, and the Indians are getting some FM air-time in that extreme Northeast Ohio community.

Media One Group features both the Indians and the team's nearby minor league affiliate, the single-A Lake County Captains, on sports WFUN/970 "ESPN 970".

Conflicts this year will push the major league club onto sister country WYBL/98.3 "The Bull", with the April Indians/WYBL schedule here.

Last Sunday was a conflict of particular note, with the Captains on WFUN, the Indians on WYBL, and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Media One's WZOO/102.5 "Oldies 102.5".

SPEAKING OF MINOR LEAGUE BALL: By the way, according to a Captains release, Spirit Media talk/brokered WELW/1330 Willoughby is resuming its role as the team's flagship outlet in 2010, with "selected games" on WFUN and WZOO.

Over in Lorain County, we neglected to inform you that the Lake Erie Crushers, the Avon-based independent minor league team, gets a partial broadcast presence this year, with Sunday afternoon home games heard on Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria.

It's not the entire schedule, but the team had no over-air call in its initial season.

Former WOBL/1320-WDLW/1380 and Metro Networks staffer and voice of Oberlin College sports, Dave DeNatale, called the games online via SportsJuice.com. DeNatale was the afternoon sports update voice at Metro for Good Karma sports WKNR/850 "ESPN 850" in Cleveland, until the local Metro Networks operation closed its Independence facility.

For WEOL, staffers Tim Alcorn and Rob Polinsky are calling the Captains' Sunday afternoon contests...

TWC AWARDS: The local arm of Time Warner Cable picked up a lot of hardware at the Ohio Cable Television Association's annual award ceremony - for a number of programs on its Northeast Ohio Network (NEON) and associated Local On Demand (LOD) channel.

Here's the list, courtesy of a TWC release:

The 9 Awards:
Excellence in Local Programming – NEON/LOD programming
Education Outreach – Connect A Million Minds
Product Launch/Promotion – Viewer’s Choice LOD Contest
Community Outreach – Connect A Million Minds
Live Action Sports Programming – High School Football Game of the Week
Community Affairs Programming (2) – Helping Hands and Great Lakes Science Center Partnership
Entertainment Programming – Made Here
PSA/Promotional Message – Connect A Million Minds 30-second spot


The awards are called the "Image Awards", which are "established to honor OCTA members' efforts to build and enhance relationships with their customers and foster a positive image in their communities."

The local programming is part of the service's arsenal in competing against satellite and other multichannel providers like AT&T U-verse. Or as TWC VP/Communications and OMW reader Bill Jasso puts it:

“NEON and LOD are unique to Time Warner Cable, an added value only available to our customers.”

THE ZONE IS BACK: It had been speculated by many of our Toledo-area readers for some time, but Cumulus has indeed used an FM translator to bring back a format recently killed to give sports WLQR/1470 "The Ticket" an FM home.

As expected, W264AK, the former Cavalry Chapel-owned religious translator at 100.7 FM, has moved to a more centrally located facility in Toledo, and is now under Cumulus control at 100.9 FM - pumping out the "Zone" alt-rock format displaced by sports on the former WRWK-now-WLQR-FM/106.5.

Tom Taylor's Radio-Info.com column notes that the feed is coming from classic rock WXKR/94.5's HD2 channel, and that Cumulus did much the same in Atlanta for an alt-rock station there ("99X").

The Calvary Chapel folks, meantime, have completed their end of the swap with Cumulus, broadcasting the network's religious programming on 1560 AM. The station long held the WTOD call letters, but Calvary Chapel changed calls Friday to WWYC.

This page on the church's website incorrectly identifies the new station as being at 1590 AM, and incorrectly identifies the new WWYC as an FM station - though it also notes the AM station's daytime-only operation.

The station does have a construction permit for a whopping 3 watts of nighttime power, a level that might cover a few blocks around the transmitter - if the signal doesn't get clobbered by the skywave of Radio Disney's WQEW/1560 in New York City. (We're betting on the Mouse.)

As Cumulus' WTOD, the station ran a mostly syndicated talk format.

The WTOD calls are now being parked on a Cumulus station in Hartsville SC...

1 comment:

Stephen said...

MyYTV will go HD here: http://www.wkbn.com/content/news/local/story/Most-Local-TV-Newscasts-to-See-Major-Changes/TtHJeg6lmEC8Vg0tXtD4MQ.cspx

And WKBN/WYTV were supposed to go HD with newscasts on April 19, but that date has slipped and they're still SD as of noon today.