TV, Radio And Other Stuff

We guess you could say that items have been piling up again.

But we have another full menu for you this late Tuesday evening, and it’s chock full of TV, radio and other stuff…

NOT THE HELP THEY WERE LOOKING FOR: A recent FCC filing is bound to disappoint some over-air TV viewers in the immediate Akron/Canton area.

OMW uncovered two recent filings by signal-challenged Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8″, to add low-power digital translators to improve the station’s reception in some areas.

Unfortunately, looking at the maps for the proposed facilities on RF channel 21 and 46, those areas would be away from the core population centers of Akron and Canton, where many still struggle to capture WJW’s VHF signal.

Both facilities would be located at the tower of Western Reserve PBS’ Youngstown market outlet WNEO/45 Alliance in Salem.

* RF CHANNEL 21: Licensed to Canton, this 10 kW signal would aim its directional pattern at Canton, which from Salem would appear to be aimed at improving coverage east of Canton in eastern Stark County and southeast Portage County. The facility’s 51 dBu contour would just make it into Canton.

* RF CHANNEL 46: Licensed to Austintown (actually in the Youngstown market), this 10 kW signal would aim its directional pattern north, apparently aimed at improving coverage in eastern Portage County…with bonus coverage in western Trumbull and Mahoning Counties (WKBN/27, with “Fox Youngstown” on 27.2, can’t be happy about that prospect, though its powerful RF channel 41 signal would still prevail there). The facility’s 51 dBu contour would just make it into Ravenna.

The technical exhibits for both facilities say they are designed to serve areas “considered an area that lost WJW analog television service after the station transitioned to digital only service based upon call-in information received to the station from affected viewers.” And over-air viewers in both areas currently receive a decent signal out of WKBN’s facility.

The applications’ channel numbers are instructive, of course.

21 is the long-time analog home of Youngstown NBC affiliate WFMJ/21, now transmitting digitally only on RF channel 20.

46 is former digital home of Western Reserve PBS’ own WNEO/45, which moved those facilities before the digital transition to 45, shutting down the station’s analog signal early.

And you really can’t reasonably expect to hit the core of Akron or Canton on either channel – the channels only being open because they were vacated by two Youngstown market operators.

We don’t know if WJW ever intends on increasing its main power on digital RF channel 8 from the currently licensed 11 kW. There are various construction permits on file, calling for up to 30 kW, but we believe WJW runs into trouble with Lima’s NBC affiliate WLIO (also on RF 8 ) if it goes too high.

If you’re in places like Alliance or Windham, you’re likely happy with this news. Or, in portions of the Youngstown market, where you’ll have (whenever this gets built) an alternative to “Fox Youngstown”. In Akron? Not so much.

A quick check of the FCC database shows that the other VHF problem child in the Cleveland market, Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO/19, is still waiting for any FCC action on its proposal to land a low-power digital fill-in translator on channel 24, located in the Akron antenna farm…

3D: Those on Time Warner Cable’s massive Northeast Ohio system, of course, have no problem receiving WJW “Fox 8″, albeit in old-fashioned two-dimensional mode (HD and otherwise).

Those with 3D equipped sets are now able to watch ESPN3D on the local system, on cable channel 1805.

(Oh, they have to fork over $10 a month for the “Time Warner Cable 3D Pass”. We wonder if that involves a hand coming out of the screen asking for your money. Then again, having paid for a 3D set, you’re probably used to forking over some more dough.)

It’s good timing for the network’s local launch, as far as events go, according to a Time Warner Cable release:

Some of the programming highlights will include X Games; select NCAA College Football games; Winter X Games; the BCS Championship Game; select NBA games and select NCAA College Basketball games.

3D programming is still scarce compared to the 2D variety. Here’s the complete schedule of ESPN3D through mid-January:

Sunday, Dec.5 7:30 p.m. Harlem Globetrotters
Tuesday, Dec. 7 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Jimmy V Classic
Saturday, Dec. 11 12:30 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. SEC/Big East Challenge
Friday, Dec. 17 7:00 p.m. Miami Heat at New York Knicks
Saturday, Jan. 1 8:30 p.m. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Monday, Jan. 10 8:30 p.m. BCS National Championship Game
Friday, Jan. 14 10:30 p.m. Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns

Look! You can see LeBron James in 3D on December 17th, and not in Cleveland! Heh. (Unlike a certain studio host on the Cavaliers Radio Network tonight, we will mention the name of the former Cavaliers star now toiling in South Beach…about to visit his original home NBA court…)

SPORTS SOON: We’ve wondered…after snatching the Youngstown market’s Fox Sports Radio affiliation from Whiplash Radio’s WANR/1570 Warren (now classic hits “The Blizzard”), what’s taking Clear Channel so long to establish it at its presumed new home, WNIO/1390 Youngstown?

That station is still pumping out the standards (and Christmas music lately), but Clear Channel is now directing the entire “wnio.com” domain to the new domain name, “sportsradio1390.com“. So, it’s not entirely a secret that something’s happening.

And it may be coming, soon.

We hear that WNIO’s big brother talk station, WKBN/570, is now running teasers for a “sports station in Youngstown that you can actually hear”… a not-at-all-veiled swipe at the market’s incumbent sports outlet, ESPN affiliate WBBW/1240 “ESPN 1240″, which carries the usual graveyard channel power of 1 kW.

Cumulus’ recent addition of an FM ESPN Radio outlet in the market, WLLF/96.7 Mercer PA “ESPN 96.7″, can be heard to at least some degree on the Ohio side of the state border, but is mostly aiming at western PA and its natural Shenango Valley signal base.

We’re told the teaser announcements have no other information, like the launch date of this new station, but we’ll be checking the streams and the dials on Wednesday. A decent car radio can actually pick up WNIO/1390 in much of the region, albeit somewhat scratchy outside the Youngstown area.

Why is Clear Channel waiting to launch FSR, when WANR gave up the format almost immediately?

Two words (and it’s only a guess on our part): Dan Patrick.

The syndicated host is a cornerstone of the current Fox Sports Radio lineup, but has been carried (on delay) by WBBW – via his previous-to-FSR syndication deal with The Content Factory via Premiere. (Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 Akron did the same, before they ended up joining FSR and getting Patrick through that channel, anyway.)

We assume that the folks on South Avenue are waiting for the expiration of the Dan Patrick/WBBW deal, and wouldn’t want to launch FSR on 1390 without him. And the first day of a new month would sure be a convenient day for a contract expiration, wouldn’t it? We’re just guessing.

We don’t know if WBBW even still runs Dan Patrick…it was running in afternoon drive surrounding the station’s various local shows, including John Caparanis’ “Tip of the Cap”, which is still heard on WBBW right now, but is moving to the aforementioned WANR soon. We can’t tell Patrick’s show status from WBBW’s loud, broken website.

WANR took an interesting tack when Whiplash’s Chris Lash took over – then-“Fox Sports 1570″ ran FSR’s alternative morning drive show, Indianapolis-based “Zakk and Jack”, to fill the Patrick hole from 9-noon. Previous owner Beacon Broadcasting had been running an independently -syndicated boxing specialty show in that time slot.

Even before it finally becomes the Youngstown market’s FSR affiliate, WNIO is no stranger to sports, being the market’s outlet for a number of sports properties.

It runs the Cleveland Cavaliers radio network, is the home of minor league baseball’s Mahoning Valley Scrappers, and took over the Ohio State University Buckeyes rights from WKBN when the news/talker became the home of the hometown Youngstown State University Penguins…

QUICK HITS: Just some very brief mentions, some of which will be expanded upon later:

* Classical mainstay WCLV/104.9 is about to make its move into the Idea Center at Playhouse Square. Long-time OMW reader and WCLV president Bob Conrad tells us they’re aiming to move from “Radio Ranch” in Warrensville Heights into the Ideastream-owned facility (with NPR affiliate WCPN/90.3 and PBS affiliate WVIZ/25) on the morning of December 8th.

* Veteran Cleveland broadcaster Larry Morrow is out with a book from Cleveland’s Gray and Company. “This is Larry Morrow” will be out in hardcover ($19.95) in early December, featuring on-air and off-air stories from the local radio personality known for his time at stations like WIXY/1260 and WQAL/104.1.

* Ears in the Toledo market tell us that new country outlet WPFX/107.7 Luckey “The Wolf” is staffing up. The station’s Facebook page denotes former Cleveland personality Sandy Bennett joining up for morning drive, with former WKKO “K100″ personality Craig Snyder already aboard for afternoon drive and music programming. “The Wolf” is the station formerly licensed to North Baltimore (near Findlay), which was moved into the southern edge of the Toledo market by its new owner, long-time Toledo market veteran and former station owner Dan Dudley.

AND FINALLY: It looks like we don’t have Roger Brown to kick around anymore, no, really, we don’t.

Though he’s been writing a regular sports column for SportsTime Ohio’s website, “The Junkyard”, the former Cleveland Plain Dealer sports/media columnist has been mainly absent from print…aside from a brief apparently freelance stint appearing in the Lake County News-Herald and sister Lorain Morning Journal suburban papers.

We were actually looking for something else in a Google search, honest, when we stumbled upon Brown’s new gig: general news reporter in Bristol VA/TN, the “Tri-Cities” area at the border of the two southern states.

No, really, we’re not making this up, as Dave Barry would say. Look at his page on the website of the Bristol Herald Courier, where staff writer Roger Brown is certainly not hiding from his journalistic past:

A native of University Heights, Ohio, Brown spent nearly 20 years at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He worked as a metro reporter, op-ed columnist/editorial writer and entertainment critic. During his last seven years at the Plain Dealer, Brown was a popular and often controversial sports columnist.

“Often controversial”…that may be the understatement of the year.

Though the job choice seems a bit odd from here, a guy’s gotta work, a writer has to write, and we honestly wish Roger well in his new employment. We poke fun at him from time to time, but we did always enjoy his column.

And since he has very limited references to even sports media in his STO “Junkyard” column (which has continued, even after Roger’s move to Virginia/Tennessee), this is where we’ll close the chapter in the OMW Book of Roger, at least for now…

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4 Responses to TV, Radio And Other Stuff

  1. Mark Jonson says:

    To be honest, I’m happy with FOX Youngstown coming from WKBN’s digital broadcast since FOX network is 720p anyway. What I’d much rather have in the Youngstown market would be a WOIO translator to bring CBS network in at 1080i. Any possibility of that happening in the next few years?

  2. Yekimi says:

    I went out yesterday and bought the most powerful antenna I could for OTA signals and STILL cannot pick up WJW, or WOIO. WKYC is hit or miss, sometimes it’s there, most of the time it’s broken up. WEWS comes in the best of the Big 4 stations. As the crow flies. I live less than 2 miles from 23 & 17’s tower and they come booming in even with rabbit ears. WVIZ I can finally pick up, never could before, same with WBNX. Don’t live very far from WNEO’s tower either so never had a problem picking them up. Also the Spanish language station from Cleveland comes in well, but since I don’t speak Spanish I could care less if it comes in or not.
    You would think that these OTA stations would be screaming bloody murder to the FCC for a power increase or a fix of some kind because if I was an advertiser and found out my product wasn’t being seen by a chunk of people, I sure as hell would not be spending any of my money on advertising with their station. Yeah, you can say “So what, most people have cable or Dish/Direct TV so they can watch it there” is a disservice to those of who use OTA TV & who can’t afford the monthly (or so it seems) increase in cable prices as well as the crappy channels they force you to pay for even if you don’t want them.

    Seems to me that it also is an abuse of their license agreement with the FCC to “serve the public” when it looks like if you don’t live right next to their antennas you might as well forget about watching OTA TV.

    • Snuffy says:

      Yekimi, you say that you “bought the most powerful antenna I could for OTA signals and STILL cannot pick up WJW, or WOIO.” However, you don’t state the manufacturer or model number of the antenna. I live over 50 miles from the Cleveland transmitters and have no problem receiving the stations you’re having difficulty with. My guess is that you purchased the wrong antenna for your needs.

  3. Bismarck318 says:

    You folks in Akron/Canton are fortunate enough to to have the ability for a secondary market (Y-Town) plus be far enough away from the lake to be able to get repeater allocations with out interference with Canada. I am below the ridge in Lake County. I recently lost solid signals on WJW (plus a few others) from what I assume the ODOT noise barriers along Rt 2, time will tell what else I will lose as more of these barriers are constructed.

    The only solid signals I recieve is WEWS & WQHS.

    I miss the Analog days when Fox 8 & WOIO were the strongest, now they are the most troublesome.

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