Thursday’s Mixed Bag

Try as we might, we can’t get our daily updates to always fit into a neat, tidy little bag…

THIS IS A TEST, OR WILL BE: Say, what are you doing on May 21st, at 7:30 AM, 12:30 PM or 7:30 PM?

If you’re watching over-air analog TV that day, anywhere in the nation, you could be watching a national DTV test.

The Wall Street Journal reports
this week that the FCC is working on a plan that would ask TV stations across the United States to, quoting the article, “suspend regular programming and instead show a public-service ad about the digital transition for three five-minute periods May 21 as part of an effort to make sure Americans are ready for the switch.”

The “test” would be similar to regional DTV tests already conducted in various parts of the country, including two tests we saw here in Ohio in late 2008 and early this year.

Stations which have already shut off their analog signals – in Northeast Ohio, Western Reserve PBS’ WNEO/Alliance, Mid-State independent WMFD/Mansfield, TBN O&O WDLI/Canton, and Multicultural Broadcasting infomercial outlet WOAC/Canton (to be sold to Tri-State Christian Television) – would not have to run the tests.

We have just one comment – if the FCC was really serious about this, they’d put one of the tests in the middle of prime time. Of course, the major networks would probably cry foul…

STACIA’S MOVE: Former Youngstown TV news anchor Stacia Erdos is coming back to the Mahoning Valley media scene…but not as a member of a local TV news operation.

Erdos is joining the staff of the Youngstown Business Journal, in a role we’ll let Business Journal publisher and OMW reader Andrea Wood explain:

Erdos, who anchored the 6 and 11 p.m. weeknight newscasts on WYTV Channel 33 from 1990 to 1998, has joined The Business Journal as a video reporter/anchor and columnist. Her focus will be on local business topics and the media. She will write a regular column for the biweekly publication, and will also produce and anchor video reports that will appear on the publication’s Web site, www.business-journal.com.

“I am very excited to be back working where I live, and collaborating with the Valley’s most respected source of business information,” says Ms. Erdos. “In this progressive and impressive move, The Business Journal will leap to the forefront in delivering what matters to the Valley, offering video and interviews shot on location on its Web site.”

Erdos has been an anchor and reporter for Cox-owned Pittsburgh NBC affiliate WPXI/11, and as far as we know, she’s been commuting to WPXI from the home she and her husband own in the southern Youngstown suburb of North Lima.

And it looks like your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) will see a lot of Erdos’ work, as publisher Wood notes that she’ll take over the business paper’s “Media Scope” column on local media – from Wood herself.

As such, Erdos is sure to write (and talk) about the landscape she left behind some 10 years ago…which has changed dramatically.

Back when Erdos was a fixture at ABC affiliate WYTV/33, after all, “33 News” existed as a separate operation on Shady Run Road. Now, it’s a “virtual set” in a corner of the WKBN/27 “27 First News” studios on Sunset Boulevard…

SOME NEEDLING: OMW reported earlier about some behind the scenes intrigue among Cleveland TV newsrooms regarding a recent news story…and the breaking of a Cleveland Clinic news embargo by Raycom Media’s WOIO/19-WUAB/43′s “19 Action News”.

In the scheme of things…it’s not terribly significant. Honoring a news embargo by a source like the Clinic is professional courtesy, usually extended because the Clinic is a major local institution that can be a helpful source.

The story in this case was a planned event, a news conference with the Steubenville-area woman who received a face transplant at the Clinic. We’re not talking about a story of malfeasance or corruption that a news organization should uncover on its own, with or without cooperation from the institution, agency or government involved.

And nothing, really, can stop “19 Action News” from putting word of such an event on the air, even if asked by the Clinic to wait. Nothing, also, can stop the Cleveland Clinic from notifying the other three local newsrooms that they can air the story earlier than the embargo time wtih the Clinic’s blessing.

But we had to chuckle at the latest Twitter update by Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8′s “Fox 8 News”:

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Tonight at 6pm, Only on Fox8, an exclusive follow up to the face transplant story. Could be weeks before 19 has this one.

—–

So far, in Twitter-land, WOIO is not taking the bait. We did see its brief note Monday mentioning the face transplant patient before the embargo was set to be lifted, and this note Tuesday from 19′s Paul Joncich, apparently written after the market’s other stations aired the story at 5:

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joncich here. the face transplant patient…a look at her life before the accident is coming up on 19 action news @ 6pm.

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Our only reason for updating this one?

The fact that newsrooms, now encouraged to share “behind the scenes” details with viewers on blogs, in Twitter posts, Facebook pages and the like, means that this inter-station “play” is now occasionally public as well…and fodder for your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm)…

BUT ON THE POSITIVE SIDE: OK, so it’s very easy to poke fun at the folks at Reserve Square.

“Honest. Fair. Everywhere.” is their current slogan, and with its brash, tabloid style, “19 Action News” basically has a target painted upon its virtual back for those who talk about local media… like us.

But let’s give WOIO/WUAB its props for a big event coming up:

The “Biggest Job Fair in Ohio” will be held May 15th at the Tri-C Gymnasium located at East 30th and Community College Avenue from 10am to 4pm. There will be free parking available throughout the Tri-C campus.

Representatives from local and national companies will be on hand interviewing candidates for more than 1,000 job openings.

Early registration has over five thousand people confirmed to attend with more than ten thousand expected.

Now, WOIO/WUAB isn’t the first media outlet that’s conducted a job fair in Ohio…a state hard hit by the deep recession, even before much of the rest of the nation.

But this does sound like it’ll be pretty big. From an article by TVNewsday’s Arthur Greenwald:

Previous, smaller local job fairs have proven the importance of such amenities (feeding volunteers, porta potties and crowd control), says (Raycom Cleveland marketing director Rob) Boenau. “One suburban job fair had only 90 jobs- but thousands showed up and it was closed down by the fire marshal.”

To ensure a better outcome, the station partnered early on with Cuyahoga Community College (known locally as Tri-C) and also with Cleveland State University which is also offering plenty of free parking. The station and colleges have already lined up hundreds of volunteers and begun security rehearsals with the campus police forces.

That suburban job fair, of course, was the one that caused quite a mess for commuters on Rockside Road in Independence…as the mass of job seekers at the Holiday Inn Independence flowed out of the hotel and parking lot.

CSU and Tri-C are also providing a variety of services for job seekers, including resume-building help and job seeking skills seminars.

The job fair effort has also spilled over onto WOIO/WUAB’s classifieds website, ClevelandClassifieds.TV, with the station actively building up job listings there as well…

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