Thursday Stuff

And unlike our last update, most of this is not related…

THIS PORTION OF OUR ITEM IS PAID PROGRAMMING: No, not really. We don’t have an ad sales department here at the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm).

But Raycom Media is at it again in Cleveland.

Numerous readers let us know that the company’s CBS affiliate, WOIO/19, pre-empted an hour of CBS prime-time programming Wednesday night from 8-9 PM for…paid programming. Infomercials. You know them. (We’d love to know what they actually aired.)

The paid spots bumped two episodes of the popular CBS comedy “The King of Queens” off the WOIO schedule in favor of quick cash for Reserve Square.

OK, let’s come down a BIT off the high horse here.

“The King of Queens” is well into reruns for the summer. The sitcom aired its final first-run episode, if we remember right, a month or two back. The two reruns are basically summer filler on the network’s own schedule.

But…at least “KoQ” would have viewers, even if people had already seen the episodes.

As we’ve said before, we understand the modern reality of television financing. Infomercials are basically “free money”, and occupy much of the weekend late morning/early afternoon schedule on nearly all local stations.

But CBS prime time?!?

Rerun or not, the practice seems rather cheap to us. It sounds like something a company like Raycom would do.

No, wait…they have, already. Sound familiar?

Yep, sister station WUAB/43, then a UPN affiliate, did the same a year ago on a Saturday night. But 1) UPN isn’t CBS (nor is MyNetwork TV, either) and B) UPN did not program Saturdays.

Now, this is not 100 percent new, and is not something only Raycom does, even in the Cleveland market.

We believe it’s Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 that occasionally clears out an hour for the Billy Graham Crusade, and Channel 5 and other local stations have pre-empted generic network made-for-TV movies from time to time to burn off old show reruns (“Matlock”) to get some extra cash by selling more local spots.

It just seems a little, well, more unseemly when WOIO/WUAB do it. And we don’t know what got sold at 8 PM and 8:30 PM Wednesday on “Cleveland’s CBS 19”, but we’d assume they were rather generic infomercials. At least Rev. Graham gets viewers…

AND NOT AN INFOMERCIAL: As far as we know, at least…

We’ve heard radio spots and seen brief TV promos for a program that’ll air this Saturday at 7 PM on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3.

The show is called “Lake Erie: Beyond The Surface”, and the brief radio commercial we heard promises an in-depth look – literally – at the lake and its eco-structure. We believe we heard it called a “series”.

And what perked up our technology-loving ears?

Channel 3 is producing “Lake Erie: Beyond The Surface” in HDTV.

This would be one of the first regular non-news/non-sports local TV presentations in HD, if we remember right. We’ll be tuned in, and expect to hear more from the one and only Frank Macek, WKYC senior director and author of the station’s “Director’s Cut” blog… link to your left!

NOT SMOOTH SAILING: If a headline on the website of the Youngstown Business Journal is to be believed, the move to sell at least one Youngstown TV station is “stalled” at the FCC.

We’ll assume that’s ABC affiliate WYTV/33, since the transfers of CBS affiliate WKBN/27 and sister LPTV duo WYFX-LP/62-WFXI-CA/17 have already been made to New Vision Television, the outfit that started all this.

Earlier this year, a new outfit called Parkin Television, headed by Todd Parkin of Los Angeles, filed to buy WYTV. That wasn’t the controversial part.

The controversial part was part of the WYTV license transfer application, which indicated that the new licensee intended to enter a “Shared Services Agreement” with WKBN/New Vision, the ultimate presumably to utilize WKBN to produce/help produce/somehow put together news for WYTV.

We aren’t a Business Journal subscriber, online or otherwise, so we’ll quote the front of the website:

As License Transfer Stalls at FCC,
Stations’ Employees Ask, What’s Up?
June 27, 2007 7:14 a.m.
Commentary by Andrea Wood
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – What’s the real story?

Don’t ask the employees of WYTV or WKBN/WYFX because they know only what they’re told – and the stories they’re hearing are not the same.

Confused? So are they.

Employees of media outlets getting mixed signals from management and ownership? Why, we never…


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