Some More Things

Some stuff we left behind in our “Two-Fer Tuesday” update, and mostly minor notes…

THE NATION’S STATION: Clear Channel has programming rights to a handful of channels on XM Satellite Radio, which was recently merged into competitor Sirius under the corporate name “Sirius XM Radio”.

Trade site AllAccess reports that Clear Channel is making a number of changes on its XM space, including the change of the “Sunny” AC format channel to “The Pink Channel”, as described by a recent AllAccess item: “(The channel) will feature pop hits from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s, as well as segments on health and wellness, personal development, trend reports and more.”

It’s a joint effort between Clear Channel’s Premiere Radio Networks and cancer hospital “City of Hope”, which will also get donations from listeners who choose to make them.

Clear Channel will also, as reported, dump the XM simulcast of its WSIX-FM in Nashville.

But the part that concerns this report is in Cincinnati, where AllAccess reports that the simulcast of Clear Channel talk WLW/700 on XM channel 173 will remain on the satellite radio provider, despite the other changes.

As Radio-Info.com’s Tom Taylor notes, the moves, and establishment of a new channel, would seem to indicate that Clear Channel will continue programming their space on XM for at least the short term, despite legal/financial disputes with XM, and the Sirius merger…

EXTRA BENEFITS, NO, NOT FROM US: Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 Cleveland ran into a problem caused by their use of reports from a sister Scripps-owned station in Cincinnati.

Consumer reports from WCPO/9’s John Materese have long-aired on “NewsChannel 5”, complete with custom opens and closes. Materese’s segments also air on a host of other stations.

On Tuesday’s editions of “NewsChannel 5”, the station teased a report on digital TV, with “the extra benefits you’ll get” with TV’s digital transition in February 2009.

The segment was fairly straightforward, with an interview from a Consumer Electronics Association spokeswoman and a demonstration of one of the “Coupon-Eligible Converter Boxes”, those marvels that can be bought for around $10-20 with the help of a government discount coupon/card.

Here’s the problem – at least an in-house one for the folks at WEWS.

The box being demonstrated scanned a bunch of digital channels and subchannels in Cincinnati, including WCPO’s own local 24/7 weather subchannel. The report also mentioned the ability to pick up a number of PBS subchannels.

Two problems here for the WEWS folks:

1) WEWS has no weather subchannels, or any other digital subchannels. Two of its major competitors, WKYC and WOIO, do have such subchannels. There’s nothing quite like sending your viewers to services run by competitors.

2) Viewers scanning for Cleveland’s PBS affiliate, WVIZ/25, are very unlikely to pick up either the station or its own subchannels, which include PBS HD, The Ohio Channel, PBS World and PBS’ “Create” channel.

Well, that is, unless they happen to have a really good rooftop antenna, and are in the Parma area…as WVIZ-DT will continue to pump out an anemic, low-power signal from a small antenna at the station’s former studios on Brookpark Road – until finally going full-power on a new WKYC-owned tower by the digital transition.

(The Ohio Channel, PBS HD and PBS World feed do appear on Time Warner Cable’s Cleveland system.)

The Matarese report, though accurate overall, is yet another example of stations relying upon generic materials from outside the local TV market to try to explain the digital transition. For once, we’d like to see stations do their own, detailed, local reports.

And that extends to their websites.

Take WVIZ’s own “Digital TV” page, for example….an otherwise excellent effort that includes this chuckle-worthy line:

You Probably Don’t Need a New Antenna
In general, if you’re an antenna viewer, you can continue to use your current rooftop or indoor antenna to bring in a digital signal.

Uh, yeah, you probably need a new antenna if you’re trying to get WVIZ-DT before next February…

WIKIPEDIA STUFF: Efforts, apparently by listeners, to have fun with the Wikipedia entry of Akron market talker WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron” made it to Bob Dyer’s column Tuesday in the Akron Beacon Journal.

Bringing along the truckload-sized “grain of salt” we also invoke when referring to the “online encyclopedia anyone can edit”, Dyer writes:

Earlier this month, a bit of wording that you don’t normally find in an encyclopedia could be found under the entry for local talk radio station WNIR (100.1-FM). The sentence has since been revised, but only after it had been posted for more than 30 hours.

”The station airs The Morning Show during morning drive-time with the very well-endowed Stan Piatt, ‘Knucklehead’ Steve French, ‘Punny’ Jim Midock and ‘Rugburn’ Maggie Fuller.”

Some of the same pranksters who had fun with the WNIR Wikipedia entry apparently turned their sights to the Akron Beacon Journal’s entry, which currently reads, in part:

Bob Dyer (“Dyer Streets”) has been a columnist for the Beacon for over two decades which is , in and of itself, simply amazing. Bob thinks he is simply amazing too. Bob enjoys boarding an Akron Metro bus toward Portage County and visiting WNIR 100.1 FM “The Talk of Akron” with the very highly rated and very handsome(citation needed here) Stan Piatt and the well-endowed, vivacious and “marina-bound” Maggie Fuller of “The Morning Show”.

He is currently waiting to be hired by the Plain Dealer much like his other more famous Akron Beacon Journal cohorts. Bob can often times be heard yelling at his neighborhood kids by saying, “Hey you kids! Get off of my lawn”.

Where’s that grain of salt, again? Or maybe we should bring a laugh track.

The WNIR entry still contains the names of a large number of the station’s regular callers, and regular E-Mailers. Well, at least it did last time we looked at it.

Since Mr. Dyer has long tracked local radio, and has had what we believe to be a decent relationship with WNIR and its personalities over the years, it’s all in good fun – especially if as we do, you don’t take Wikipedia all that seriously.

After all, “anyone” can edit it…even budding online comedians…

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