Mid-July Visit

There’s nothing particularly “breaking” going on, at least that we know of, in local media. But we managed to cobble together a few items to fill a Monday morning update…

NEON SWITCH: A couple of OMW readers checked in over the weekend to ask a question… “Did you know that Time Warner Cable has switched its local programming channel to channel 23?”

That switch has been made in the former Adelphia areas of greater Cleveland – including here at the OMW World Headquarters – where the “Northeast Ohio Network” (“NEON”) channel had resided at cable channel 15.

That brings the cabler’s local programming channel to the same position it’s occupied for many years in the company’s “legacy” areas, such as Akron/Canton.

And with the move, Time Warner has even launched a new website promoting the channel… giving brief descriptions of all the shows that air, and a schedule. (Note to TWC’s webmaster: It’s “More Sports and Les Levine”, not “More Sports with Les Levine”. You’re welcome.)

Speaking of “NEON’s” highest profile host, we hope he was able to get the word out about the channel change. Cable channel 15, the local programming outlet’s former home, has now been taken off digital cable boxes, and displays nothing on an analog set.

The move has forced some shuffling of some local/government access channels, such as noted in this article we found on “GeaugaMapleLeaf.com”:

Like it or not, Time Warner Cable has moved G-TV’s local government access channel from channel 23 to channel 20.

(snip)

Time Warner made the channel move in order to make channel 23 available for the “Northeast Ohio Network” (NEON) on which the cable TV company plans to provide a variety of local event programs from throughout the Cleveland-Akron area, according to G-TV Manager Dave Jevnikar.

23 was an interesting choice for the systemwide channel position. We’re still wondering about confusion with WVPX/23 over the air, which lands on cable at 10, 4 or somewhere else depending on where you are in the TWC universe.

As over-air channel 23 was Akron’s once-ABC affiliate, and the one-time home of the “Akron/Canton News” that eventually moved to TWC cable channel 23 before its demise, maybe they hoped people in the Akron/Canton area would naturally turn to “23” for local programming.

Anyway, be it “23” or “15” or whatever, this is a change we’ve been suggesting here since Time Warner first mounted its takeover of Adelphia. But the wheels of Big Cable TV move slowly, sometimes…

NOT YET, THAT WE CAN SEE: A trip into downtown Akron recently had us wondering – have NBC affiliate WKYC/3’s two new “roommates” moved into the United Building yet?

WKYC is sharing space formerly used by “Akron/Canton News” with the Akron area’s two public media outlets, PBS affiliates WNEO/45-WEAO-49, and Kent State University radio outlet WKSU/89.7.

Our guess, from a gander at the windows on Main and Market – not yet.

A good portion of the streetside facility has its windows covered by what appears to be black plastic. And we’re pretty sure we saw vestiges of the former “ACN” set on the south end of the first floor space.

We’re assuming July 1st was the first entry for WKSU and WNEO/WEAO, and that they likely plan a “public face” to their new digs.

WKSU plans an Akron news bureau to supplement its main operation in Kent, and WNEO/WEAO will likely use the space for some Akron-based studio productions.

And both will mount sales…er…underwriting efforts into Akron from the new location…

TIP OF THE COWBOY HAT: …to one of Northern Ohio’s country radio mainstays.

Clear Channel’s WNCO/101.3 Ashland has been in the country format as long as your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) can remember, long before the station was owned by Clear Channel.

How long? The answer would be “40 years”, as WNCO celebrated its anniversary playing country music at a concert over the weekend.

The Ashland Times-Gazette published a very good story on the history of WNCO and its country format last week, crediting Paul “Tex” Regan’s weekend country music show with sparking the entire format change:

It was Regan’s friend, WNCO salesman Ed Thompson, who pitched the idea of playing country music to then station owner Walt Roberts.

“Walt says, ‘We’ll give it a try and see how it goes,'” Regan recalled. “So I started out announcing three hours on Saturday mornings.”

The new format started to catch on and Regan soon was spinning country records on weekdays as well, coming in after his shift at Faultless Rubber. He would be on the air 2 to 5 p.m. weekdays and 6 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

The article notes that though it did take a while after that, Regan’s country music spread to the entire station, making it one of the longest running stations staying in the country format…

VOICE FROM THE PAST: Yes, we did see the item in AllAccess about Danny Czekalinski, the former morning man at hot AC WQAL/104.1 “Q104” in Cleveland.

The Palm Beach Post-Gazette in Florida reports that a count of domestic battery against Czekalinski was dropped last week, and the case involving Czekalinski and his live-in girlfriend based on a May 31 incident won’t be further pursued.

Czekalinski is now the morning co-host at West Palm Beach hot AC WRMF/97.9, where he’s part of the “Jennifer and Danny” show…

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