WKRP? Well, Sort Of

A small Cincinnati TV station is getting nationwide attention for a name change – sort of.

Though we first picked up on this thanks to an item on the Cincinnati-area based Tri-State Media Watch blog last Monday, the name change of Cincinnati low-power Class A station WBQC-CA/38 to “WKRP” – inspired by the popular TV show about a fictional Cincinnati radio station – made the national news Saturday, via this Associated Press story.

That story was presumably inspired by Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio guru John Kiesewetter’s story about the name change Friday.

And now…the REST of the story. (No, ABC News Radio commentator Paul Harvey is not airing on “WKRP”.)

As it turns out, so far, station owner Elliott Block has basically only changed the on-air branding of the station which once acted as Cincinnati’s UPN affiliate.

The “WKRP” calls exist, for now, at least, solely on a low-power station in the Nashville TN market – WKRP-LP. If Block is making any effort to actually change the WBQC-CA calls, or if he’s working out some sort of deal with the Tennessee station, we can’t find it in the FCC records online.

But on a slow holiday weekend, newscasters tired of “Black Friday” stories ate up the “WKRP on the air in Cincinnati” story. We heard it all day Saturday on a number of national radio newscasts, including on both ABC News Radio and FOX News Radio.

Score one for Mr. Block.

The second score for the one-man LPTV kingpin of Cincinnati is a new digital signal.

Block has debuted the low-power digital companion channel to his other (OTHer?) station, WOTH-LP/25. WOTH-LD is lighting up digital tuners in Cincinnati, and it airs at least three subchannels…one, 25.2, is the rebranded WBQC, which does indeed show up on those digital tuners as “WKRP-TV”.

We’re pretty sure that the FCC has no regulations on the PSIP/tuner branding of non-primary subchannels, so Block could call 25.2 “Burnt Toast” in the digital tuner information, if he desired to do so.

For Block, it’s not just the ability to join the new digital OTA universe with his new signal. Since he’s not broadcasting any HDTV streams on WOTH-LD, he can pack it with SD subchannels…with a shopping channel apparently in the mix, and perhaps a third general entertainment channel possible as well.

Instead of running two or more separate LPTV transmitters, Block effectively can have four or five programming streams that appear to digital TV viewers as whole new channels. (We’ll call this the “TBN Effect”, as religious broadcaster Trinity pumps out five different program feeds on its stations, including Canton-licensed WDLI-DT up here.)

Block appears to be the most aggressive LPTV owner in Ohio when it comes to digital TV.

We have no word out of Lima that LPTV king Gregg Phipps – who owns the LPTV FOX, CBS and ABC affiliates in that market – is planning to go digital (or if he’s even in a financial position to do so).

Here in our Northeast Ohio base, we wonder at times if Media-Com’s WAOH-LP 29 Akron/W35AX 35 Cleveland “The CAT” doesn’t broadcast in black and white.

And so far, Image Video’s Canton-based LPTV operations (WIVM-LP 52 Canton/WIVN-LP 29 Newcomerstown) are not planning digital feeds, though one of their recently acquired stations to the west may light up as a digital station if the FCC paperwork means anything.

It’s a tough road for these stations, usually run on a shoestring budget, with digital equipment adding more costs – in a time where the advertising market is depressed, and all stations are making less money.

Back to Mr. Block’s use of the “WKRP-TV” name for one of his LPTV stations, even as just on-air branding. Doesn’t FOX Entertainment, which bought the old MTM Productions (“WKRP in Cincinnati”‘s producer), retain the trademark?

Block tells the Enquirer that he’s actually registered trademarks “for ‘WKRP’ and ‘WKRP Cincinnati.'” That’s a claim repeated at the bottom of the new WBQC/”WKRP” website:

WKRP and WKRP Cincinnati are registered trademarks and owned by Block Broadcasting.

The observant viewer – we’re not the first to notice this – will note that Block doesn’t claim the trademark to the full name of the show that inspired him to change the station’s name – “WKRP in Cincinnati”. (Note that pesky “in” that’s missing from Mr. Block’s statements.)

And the “WKRP” calls, in some form, have bounced around small radio and TV stations over the years – even not that far from Cincinnati.

A small AM station in North Vernon IN, which is about 75 miles west of the Queen City, once took those call letters. And the “WKRP in Cincinnati” Wikipedia page claims that WCVG/1320 Covington KY took the WKRP calls and an “AM rock” format at about the time the show ended, though we have no real world confirmation of same.

Whether that’s enough to stave off the FOX lawyers remains to be seen. Or, for that matter, lawyers for Clear Channel and Newport TV, which own talk WKRC/550 and CBS affiliate WKRC-TV 12 in the market, respectively.

But what won’t be seen – on “WKRP-TV” or anywhere in the Block LPTV Empire – is the show itself. “WKRP in Cincinnati”, the TV show, airs Sunday nights on Tribune superstation WGN America, and also airs Monday nights on the digital cable network “American Life”.

The show reenters American TV lore every Thanksgiving, thanks to the infamous and wildly popular “Turkeys Away” episode – which aired on WGN America last Sunday night.

Block tells Kiese that he’d love to run the show on his new “WKRP-TV”, but over-air broadcast syndication rights aren’t available for the Original WKRP…

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Friday Oddities

OK, so we’ll squeeze out one more update of odd stuff this Friday after the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

There is some more economic bad news for those in local media, but we’ll put that on the back burner until our Monday morning update…keeping the meaning of “Black Friday” for holiday shopping crowds for now…

ION OF CHANGE: A little change could be coming to the digital signals of the ION Network’s owned and operated TV stations, and the ION folks are going about proposing the changes in an unusual way.

We first got word of this from Jon Ellis’ excellent Upper Midwest Broadcasting site, which reports that 42 ION-owned stations have filed an FCC form 314 to assign their licenses to Urban Television, LLC. Well, assign part of their licenses, at any rate. (Here’s the application for Northeast Ohio’s own ION outlet, WVPX/23 Akron.)

No, ION isn’t selling its stations to the Urban Television folks.

Rather, they’re proposing a shared time agreement, that essentially will split off a digital subchannel for each station, that would actually be owned by the Urban Television operation.

Why doesn’t ION just sell time on their digital subchannels?

Well, the reason behind the FCC application is to try to invoke must carry rules for the Urban Television subchannel on cable and satellite…the theory being that if Urban Television actually has a separate FCC license for the subchannel, it’d fall under the same rules as other FCC (full-power) TV licenses.

ION – which owns 49% of the Urban Television operation – explains their rationale in this FCC filing (PDF file).

Of course, in Northeast Ohio, this is all academic for now. WVPX/23 has never lit up its digital TV allocation due to a host of Canadian-related issues on its original allocation, RF channel 59.

Due to that, and the fact that all broadcast stations will have to abandon channels above 51 after the February 17th digital transition, WVPX’s very first digital broadcast will be after it “flash cuts” to channel 23, digitally, at the transition.

But it’s probably a very, very safe bet that this new request for “owned shared time” subchannels won’t be approved by the FCC before mid-February…

WHILE WE’RE TALKING DIGITAL FLASH CUTS: A reminder from our friends at Western Reserve Public Media in Kent, which operates local PBS affiliates WNEO/45-WEAO/49 under the “Western Reserve PBS” banner.

We’ve had a couple of OMW readers tell us that they’re not currently able to get the new digital signal of WNEO/Alliance, the Youngstown market side of the station which sent its analog channel 45 packing recently to recamp on digital channel 45.

“Rescan is the mantra,” we hear from the Western Reserve PBS folks.

In other words, if you’re easily within the expected signal range of WNEO-DT, and haven’t gotten it over-air since the analog went off over a week ago, you need to rescan your digital tuner or box.

The reason? WNEO-DT’s “home address” on the TV band moved from RF channel 46, to the former analog home of RF channel 45, a week ago.

If you’d scanned in WNEO DT before last Friday, that information is no good due to the move.

The solution is easy…you can rescan your digital channels from your tuner or converter box menu, more than likely under the “Setup” menu option. If you’re in the Youngstown market, that should bring back WNEO’s new digital 45 signal as soon as the scan is done. (If you’re still confused, contact the station’s DTV Help Desk, where someone will walk you through it.)

As we’ve said frequently, but repeat here again, the Western Reserve PBS changes this month do not affect the group’s Akron operation, WEAO/49, in either analog or digital format.

WEAO’s analog 49 will sign off on the night of February 17, 2009, like all the other full-power analog stations in America, and the digital side of WEAO will continue at its present location.

And of course, cable and satellite viewers of both stations won’t be affected.

But the “rescan mantra” will be necessary for TV viewers in many markets – including Cleveland – on the morning of February 18th.

A number of stations will make frequency changes on the digital side at the transition, including NBC affiliate WKYC and FOX affiliate WJW…which will still appear as “3” and “8” on digital tuner boxes…though WJW’s digital signal will actually replace its analog signal on channel 8…

HAPPY HOLIDAYS: OMW readers in the Youngstown market tipped us today, and we confirmed, that Clear Channel hot AC WMXY/98.9 “Mix 98.9” has indeed flipped to Christmas music as of today.

It’s the second such flip within the Clear Channel Youngstown cluster on South Avenue, as sister classic hits WBBG/106.1 “Big 106.1” made the Ho-Ho-Switch earlier.

It also sounds like Rubber City oldies WAKR/1590 Akron has started sprinkling in some holiday music, with WAKR program director Chuck Collins playing that a Christmas tune or three during his air shift this midday Friday. (We have heard at least two non-holiday tunes on WAKR in the past hour or so.)

Other than that, we’re not going to keep obsessive track of the Christmas Music flips from now on, since just about any station with compatible music could still make the change as the holiday season wears on…

A TIE REPORT: Do you like to keep tabs on neckwear worn by a television network news anchor? A Northeast Ohio woman has just the ticket.

Associated Press TV writer David Bauder has the story of The Brian Williams Tie Report Archives, a blog by local teacher Nance Donnelly solely devoted to tracking what’s hanging from the neck of “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams during his news broadcasts.

She describes herself in the Blogger “About me” section:

I’m a high school English teacher in a public school defined as an “urban school with a significant minority population” in NE Ohio.

Nance gives thumbs up or thumbs down to ties worn on the air by the NBC anchor, even assigning some of the worst ties to a special status:

What does “TWSNLBRAINDTM” Mean?

This strange acronym stands for Tie Which Shall No Longer Be Reviewed And Is Now Dead To Me. Brian wore it with such shameless frequency and it is such a boring, pedestrian tie (which spawned a series of ties with the similar color combination and stripes–always stripes!) that I have forever refused to describe it ever again. If you wish to read a description of this awful tie, you may refer to the 2/19, 4/18, 5/3, 5/10, and 5/15 Tie Reports. After that, I went completely over the edge and conferred TWSNLBRAINDTM status.

Umm, OK.

Seriously, Donnelly explains herself to the AP’s Bauder:

“People must think, ‘This poor woman must be one of those stalker freaks,’ but it can’t be any further from the truth,” said its author, Nance Donnelly, who is teaching her students by example that if you want to be a writer, write every day.

OK, so she sounds normal.

We applaud and salute Ms. Donnelly, and encourage her to branch off to watch the ties worn by Northeast Ohio’s own TV news anchors.

Heck, we do THIS blog, who are WE to snicker at a blog about a network news anchor’s ties? And anything that gets high school students writing regularly is a good thing…

Random Midweek Update

We guess the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) is not very organized this holiday week…and this may well be our last update before the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday…

CLOSING IN ON A HOME: Though it’s technically a service and not a radio station, OMW has occasionally carried items about Akron’s WCRS.

Those aren’t FCC call letters – the acronym “WCRS” stands for “Written Communications Radio Service”, otherwise known as the Akron-based radio reading service for the blind. In a previous life, WCRS was TCRRS – the “Tri-County Radio Reading Service” – and your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) may have volunteered there as a teenager.

We lost track of the story the past couple of years, where it took a rather terrifying turn, with loss of operating funding, state scrunity, and problems linked to the foreclosure of the former East Akron Rollercade on East Market Street, where WCRS’ studios have been located. After a recent sheriff’s sale, the building’s out-of-town owner is kicking out the reading service folks.

WAKR/AkronNewsNow’s Craig Simpson has the update in a story put out Tuesday. As it turns out, WCRS officials are now scouting out two potential sites – one not far from the Rollercade – hoping to find a new home sometime in the next month.

WCRS has had quite a harrowing ride in recent years, with even some legal hot water for the woman who started it all, long-time executive director Marcia Jonke.

All that’s detailed in this Akron Beacon Journal article from last week.

WCRS is now under control of a new board of directors, and is being run by station manager and new board president David Binkley – who told the Beacon he managed to reduce the operation’s sizable debts, and says WCRS will pay for whatever new space it finds.

WCRS’ output is carried over a subcarrier of the University of Akron’s WZIP/88.1, with special receivers needed to hear the programmming. WZIP has been a creditor for WCRS as well, but the Beacon story says WZIP has forgiven half the debt owed by the reading service…

NOD TO CHUCK: We didn’t mention yet that long-time OMW reader Chuck Matthews has actually done something few have managed to do recently in the radio business – pick up new work.

Chuck has climbed aboard with Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting’s Sandusky operation, with part-time production, on-air, voicetrack, board op and other work for ELB country WKFM/96.1 “K96” Huron and sports WLKR/1510 Norwalk “ESPN 1510”, among other things, we’re sure.

The former Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 Toledo program director continues to run his voiceover business, and continues to consult Matrix talk WNWT/1520, from his new perch in Vacationland…

Random Tuesday Stuff

Some items kicking around the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm)’s storage bin…

HSFB IN HD: The good folks at SportsTime Ohio have passed along their coverage plans for this coming weekend’s Ohio High School Athletic Association high school football championships.

And the schedule of six games includes three that will be broadcast in HD format:

11/28 11:00am Div. VI – Delphos St. John’s vs Bascom Hopewell-Loudon

11/28 3:00pm Div. IV – HD – Steubenville vs. Kettering Archbishop Alter

11/28 7:00pm Div. II – Sylvania Southview vs. Cincinnati Anderson

11/29 11:00am Div. III – HD – Columbus Eastmoor Academy vs Aurora

11/29 3:00pm Div. V – Youngstown Ursuline vs. Findlay Liberty-Benton

11/29 7:00pm Div. I – HD – Cleveland St. Ignatius vs. Cincinnati Elder

An STO release notes that only one HD production truck was available, but that still allows them three games in the HDTV format.

The STO folks note a veritable army will cover the championship games:

Matt Underwood, Al Pawlowski, Greg Frey, Andre Knott, Mike Cairns, Matt D’Orazio, Jerry Rudzinski, and Katie Witham will all be involved providing play-by-play, color commentary, and sideline reports. In addition, Mark Schwab of WTAM 1100 and Jim Isabella, the ‘Principal of High School Sports’ will be in the STO studio providing updates and halftime programming.

Cairns, Frey and Isabella will be on hand at STO tonight at 7 PM for a preview of the championship weekend…

INTERESTING HOLIDAY FILL: An alert OMW reader noted an interesting group of fill-ins for CBS Radio Cleveland AC WDOK/102.1’s morning show on Monday.

And we’re told among those filling in for Trapper Jack, Terry Moir and company on “Soft Rock 102.1” was a WDOK staffer who just became a former staffer. Now-former afternoon driver Dan Deely was heard by our reader on Monday morning, just days after he lost his regular shift to what we’ll have to presume was a budget-linked schedule cutback.

As CBS Radio is moving rather rapidly to make live midday shows a thing of the past, Deely was bounced out of afternoon drive – after station veteran Nancy Alden was moved there from middays.

Deely was joined, we’re told by our reader, by new midday voice Desiray McCray, and WKYC/3’s apparently now-former reporter Vic Gideon.

(Our apologies for the earlier, incorrect name check to “19 Action News” weekend sports anchor and regular radio fill-in Chuck Galeti…the information given to us was correct, but we had Galeti mixed in our head with Gideon for some reason when we wrote it.) We weren’t around this morning to hear if that group continued the fill-in today, but we’ll assume so.

We’ll also make the logical assumption that McCray is voicetracking the midday shift, in addition to her regular Saturday morning air shift.

As this is the Thanksgiving holiday week, expect to hear a number of fill-ins on the radio as the week progresses…

‘STB: Another alert reader pointed out that the recently-returned WSTB/88.9 signal was actually off the air for a few hours on Monday morning.

By the time we were able to catch up, the Streetsboro City Schools-owned station was back on the air with its student-run “AlterNation” format.

OMW checked, and the off-air time was not planned, and not linked to the dispute that took WSTB off the air for a month recently.

But considering how closely that station has been watched, it’s no wonder we were alerted…

‘NEO: An official update: Western Reserve PBS Youngstown-market outlet WNEO-DT/45 Alliance is now operating on its (currently licensed, for now) full power facility.

Our friends at Campus Center Drive confirm to OMW that they’ve filed for a “license to cover”, the official notification to the FCC that the station has successfully brought the construction permit on the air.

But as we’ve reported here, it’s not the final signal for WNEO.

WNEO’s new digital facility is putting out 44KW, a power level that will eventually increase when a new, maximized facility increases that power output by over 10 times (500KW).

But we’re getting reports from well into Western Pennsylvania that even the pre-maximization WNEO-DT is putting an improved signal out that way – compared to the former WNEO-DT facility on RF channel 46.

We’re not getting it here at all this far west – but we’re firmly in the full-power signal grasp of WEAO-DT and the still-operating WEAO analog channel 49. WNEO-DT isn’t meant for us…

Maybe Nothing To These – Yet

A couple of rumors, reports and such that may or may not mean anything to Northeast Ohio… yet:

CLEAR CHANNEL/CBS SWAP: A note in Monday’s “Taylor on Radio-Info” E-Mail newsletter caught our attention.

Columnist Tom Taylor reports word that CBS Radio chief Dan Mason spent Monday in Houston, reportedly working out details a rumored swap that would have Clear Channel sending two stations to CBS Radio there.

As part of Clear Channel’s recent privatization deal, the U.S. Department of Justice required it to flip a number of stations to another owner.

In addition to the two Houston outlets Taylor cites, one of those stations on the Flip List is right here in OMW land – Clear Channel top 40 WAKS/96.5 Akron, the Cleveland market’s “Kiss FM”, which still operates out of the Clear Channel World Domination HQ on Oak Tree while under the nominal care of the Aloha Trust spinoff company.

This is not at all to suggest that even if it were possible, that WAKS would end up in CBS Radio’s cluster in Cleveland.

Not only would that put them over the ownership limits, CBS Radio itself is trying to unload its four Cleveland market stations, and pretty much all of its stations outside the top 10 markets.

But it’s a reminder. The tighter-than-a-drum credit markets mean that station sales are not nearly as automatic as they once were…and by “once were”, we mean even a few months ago.

Could the fate of the five Cleveland market FMs up for sale be decided, in part, by either Clear Channel or CBS working out swaps with other operators in other markets?

With debt-laden Big Deals pretty much a thing of the past, everywhere, in every line of business, this may be the only way the companies get those stations off the books in markets like Cleveland…

SPEAKING OF THE BAD ECONOMY: A brief note we spotted from Dave Hughes over at DCRTV, the long-established Washington DC-based media news and rumblings site:

Speaking of Gannett, we’re hearing rumblings that the McLean-based media giant has started offering a series of employee cost-savings buyouts at many of its TV stations around the country. No word about buyout cuts at Gannett’s Channel 9/WUSA.

In OMW land, of course, Gannett owns Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3, which just saw a number of reporters depart 13th and Lakeside involuntarily – mainly by the station exercising early contract-ending windows.

We don’t know if this was part of the company-wide initiative Dave Hughes mentions, or if more cuts are on the way.

Unfortunately, it’s probably not a bad bet to say that more cuts are on the way at anything remotely resembling a media outlet nationwide. And now that local TV and radio stations are no longer swimming in political ad buys, 2009 could get worse in a hurry.

One thing that continues to bother us: in the past few months of massive layoffs, it doesn’t seem to matter how important you are to a station or a newspaper, or how many years you’ve been there.

If they can cut costs by taking you off the books, they’ll do it, and institutional memory is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. (WKYC saw this in the most recent round, with the departure of veteran reporter Obie Shelton.)

There’s gotta be a light at the end of the tunnel sometime, no? A light that isn’t coming from a speeding, oncoming train?

Positive thoughts…it’s all we can do right now…

Two Christmas Stockings Filled

The early flip to Christmas music has happened twice in Cleveland.

As expected, CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 “Soft Rock 102.1” and Salem CCM WFHM/95.5 “The Fish” have become the next Northeast Ohio stations – and the first Cleveland market stations – to flip to all Christmas music.

The moves comes after Clear Channel Canton market AC WHOF/101.7 “My 101.7” and Youngstown market classic hits WBBG/106.1 “Big 106.1” flipped to holiday music in the past week.

WDOK had been promoting a Christmas music flip later this week (Wednesday morning), but apparently decided to board Santa’s music sleigh a little early. Listener comments about the flip on the WDOK web site start as early as Sunday afternoon.

WFHM, meanwhile, follows at least one other Salem “Fish” station (in Sacramento) in turning to Christmas music early. The station itself was Cleveland’s first holiday music format changer last year…

Just Some Monday Stuff

There’s nothing particularly pressing, right now…we just wanted to clear the Friday deck:

WNEO: We have yet to check in with the folks at Western Reserve PBS, so we’re just putting this item up as a placeholder until we’re able to get with them for an update on the newly-returned WNEO-DT/45 Alliance signal.

But our own observations – far afield from the WNEO transmitter in Salem – saw the WNEO digital signal lighting up on and off over the weekend, but not quite locking a signal from OMW World Headquarters in the Cleveland TV market.

(As we told our friends on Campus Center Drive, we suppose that’s why they have that little WEAO transmitter site in Copley Township, with a full-power signal we have no trouble watching in large parts of the Cleveland market. Heh.)

As soon as we get the update, we’ll change this item as well…the delay is ours, as we just contacted them a while ago…

SORT OF RELATED: A note from a reader about Northeast Ohio’s other PBS affiliate:

Maybe it is just a freak of Lake effect snow, but I am receiving WVIZ-DT in northern Summit County today after never getting any kind of signal before. Is their new tower now broadcasting?

As far as we know, ideaStream’s WVIZ is still broadcasting digitally from its second temporary location, an auxiliary tower at the WKYC transmitter site in the Parma antenna farm, with 10KW of power. (So our answer to our reader is – yes, we guess it’s atmospheric conditions helping deliver WVIZ-DT.)

The move has at least provided much of southern Cuyahoga County with a shot at receiving the station…but the entire market will have to wait until WVIZ-DT’s full-power post-transition signal lights up – possibly as soon as this month – from the new tower at WKYC’s site.

From WVIZ-DT’s latest FCC transition update, filed in mid-October (forgive the caps, it came that way):

THE SCHEDULE HAS BEEN MET EXCEPT FOR DELIVERY OF THE TRANSMITTER AND ANTENNA, DELIVERY OF WHICH IS EXPECTED ON OR ABOUT NOVEMBER 15, 2008. TRANSMITTER INSTALLATION AND PROOF ARE NOW ANTICIPATED FOR DECEMBER.

As we’ve posted here more than once, WVIZ-DT will be able to light up the full-power DT 26 operation on the new WKYC site tower before the February 17, 2009 national transition…since unlike WKYC, it will not have to wait for an analog station to vacate its permanent digital home.

WVIZ will stay on its current RF channel (26), while WKYC can’t light up RF channel 17 until WDLI/17 Canton shuts off its analog signal in February.

Until then, both stations are at pre-transition sites. WVIZ-DT’s new temporary antenna is somewhat lower than where its permanent antenna will be (121 meters above average terrain, vs. 336 meters)…and as the better-than-expected performance of even WNEO-DT’s lower power temporary facility shows, height matters.

And just to further confuse things, with digital PSIP information that rides along with the signal, WKYC will still show up as “Channel 3” on digital tuner boxes, and WVIZ will still show up as “Channel 25″…so those channel numbers (26, 17) will be invisible to the end user, unless they go deep into the menus of their converter boxes or digital tuners.

C’MON CAVS: The early on-court success of the Cleveland Cavaliers has resulted in TV success for Cavs TV rightsholder FOX Sports Ohio.

Though it’s been mentioned elsewhere, we first noticed this news Friday in a blog from, of all places, the Los Angeles Times.

The Times passes along word that winning ways and star power (see: “James, LeBron”) have fueled TV ratings increases in a number of NBA markets, including right here:

The New Orleans Hornets, coming off of last year’s strong showing, are the league leader with a 163% ratings jump. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ 109% ratings jump undoubtedly was driven by LeBron James leading the team to an eight-game winning streak.

The numbers come from the folks at Nielsen Media Research, in their primary business of rating television programming. Nielsen’s numbers show an average of a 6.2 household rating for the Cavaliers on FSOhio, second among NBA markets nationwide.

(And yes, in something we never got around to posting, it does appear that FOX Sports Net’s regional networks have dropped the “Net” in their names – leaving the local outlet as “FOX Sports Ohio”. The slimmed down onscreen graphics now identify the team name up at the top right, i.e. “FSCavaliers”.)

The L.A. Times blog entry contains the usual dumb comments…the first firing a shot at Northeast Ohio (“what else is there to do in Cleveland?”). Well, apparently, there’s so much to do in Los Angeles that people have time to read Internet blogs and make comments about there being nothing to do in Cleveland…