From Soup To Nuts

Well, OK…from broadcast (mainly television) to print, from broadcast to cable…here’s our latest midweek contribution…

REMEMBERING TOM: Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) has been without full-fledged Internet access for much of the past 24 hours, so we had to resort to posting-by-E-mail for our item on the death of former WKYC/3 personality Tom Haley on Tuesday.

We’ll confess to once being a regular viewer of WKYC’s “Today in Cleveland”, the folksy and friendly morning news show that used to precede NBC’s “Today Show”.

In a day where TV stations increasingly see morning news shows as the Last Big Profit Center, with viewership numbers actually growing (vs. the shrinking numbers seen in the traditional nighttime news wars), the fact that a show like “Today in Cleveland” could be so dominant for so long seems almost antediluvian.

“Today in Cleveland” featured Haley and long-time partner Del Donahoo (also of “Del’s Folks” fame) basically chewing the fat, talking to viewers as much as they were talking to each other, or, well, delivering news and information.

The simple set was a jumble of knick-knacks and personal effects brought in by the hosts, and sent in by regular viewers.

No bright stage lights, no fancy “Weather Center” with sophisticated Doppler Radar…it was more of a home breakfast nook than a TV news set.

Even when Haley and Donahoo were in the final years of their morning get-together, your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) was still somewhat younger than the older demographic “Today in Cleveland” surely attracted.

But the show had appeal even for us…and when we were up before 7 AM, we were usually watching Tom and Del.

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, WKYC “Director’s Cut” blogger Frank Macek shares video from the very last “Today in Cleveland” show from 1997, and his memories of Tom Haley, and Tim Lones at Cleveland Classic Media shares his memories as a long-time viewer.

Pictures, of course, are courtesy WKYC, and thanks to Mr. Macek’s site and Mr. Lones’ site for the assists…

THE WRESTLERS LOSE: The updated scorecard from Friday night’s upcoming local TV sports battle: Ohio State 1, Cleveland State 1, World Wrestling Entertainment 0.5.

Thanks to our friends at CursedCleveland.com, we brought you word that Raycom Media would split first round NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games involving teams of local interest between the company’s two full-power Cleveland market signals.

The CBS-aired contests will be on CBS affiliate WOIO/19 (Ohio State) and MyNetwork TV affiliate WUAB/43 (Cleveland State).

Since the CBS coverage of the Cleveland State game starts somewhere after 9:30, WUAB will join its sister station’s network NCAA coverage at that time…throwing the wrestlers to the mat, as it were. The only programming that gets ratings on MyNetwork TV, “WWE Friday Night Smackdown”, will continue on without WUAB until it ends at 10 PM.

Thanks to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, we know the next step. WUAB will record the WWE show and air it later…after the game:

WWE Smackdown, the original program slotted on Channel 43 for that time period, will be preempted and will be rebroadcast immediately following conclusion of basketball on WUAB.

We’re making the assumption here that WUAB will still air “Smackdown” starting at 8 PM, breaking from its live MyNetwork TV airing to go to the basketball coverage…before airing it again after the Vikings’ game.

If the digital TV transition had happened back when it was supposed to air, maybe Raycom could have lit up WUAB-DT 43.2 and simulcast the wrestlers over there live, still opting to record/delay the WWE on the main channel.

But as digital TV viewers have noticed, 43.2 is now not even carrying the “This TV Cleveland” ID banner it had been carrying the past few weeks. (No, we don’t know when “This TV”‘s local channel will actually start programming.)

The other option would be to simulcast the WWE show on WOIO-DT 19.2 “WeatherNow”, which at least has some digital TV carriage on local cable systems. We presume that “This TV” will also get clearance (“The Tube” did), but it’s not up yet.

We’re admittedly not fans of wrestling here at the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), so we don’t know if viewers will body slam their TV when the WWE is taken away for one night in its regular time slot.

The PD item also assures fans of CBS’ soap operas, facing pre-emption on WOIO Thursday and Friday, will “pick up where they left off” on Monday…

NOT CLEVELAND AGAIN: Recently, an online item about the predicted health of newspapers kicked up a lot of controversy, including here in Cleveland.

What turned out to be a list NOT from Time Magazine tabbed the Cleveland Plain Dealer as one of 10 big city papers the author believed were in danger of not surviving. The list’s author – who actually writes for the Internet site “247WallSt.com”, not Time – said he expected the PD to either fold or go online only by the end of 2010, citing the economy…and the Even Worse economy here in Northeast Ohio.

Uh, oh…when it comes to predicting the demise of Cleveland’s only major daily newspaper, here we go again.

Tuesday’s death of the Dead Trees edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer prompted USA Today’s David Lieberman to write about the poor health of the newspaper industry. And this line from today’s story jumped out at us:

At least one city — possibly San Francisco, Miami, Minneapolis or Cleveland — likely will soon lose its last daily newspaper, analysts say. And it “could be a lot more widespread than people have been predicting,” says Mike Simonton, who tracks media debt for Fitch Ratings.

We’ve gone up and down Lieberman’s article, both online and in USA Today’s own Dead Trees edition, and we find no citation directly from an analyst about that list of cities.

It seems to be a regurgitation of the 247WallSt.com piece that got slapped with a Time Magazine logo on both that magazine’s website, and on Yahoo, and doesn’t seem to be linked to Mr. Simonton’s quote that immediately follows.

There’s just that vague phrase – “analysts say”.

When that original online article came out, Plain Dealer publisher Terrence Eggar came out firing, pointing out that A) the PD actually made money in 2008, B) it expects, with various cuts and budget reductions, to do so again in 2009, and C) it has no plan to shut down the presses any time soon.

Now, it looks like Eggar will have to contend with various “Demise of Newspaper” stories picking up “Cleveland” along the way, for the sole reason that other writers will grab that list of cities… now from the USA Today piece.

Again, regular readers here know that we’re not exactly optimistic about the future of newspapers in this new age of the Internet, and in this flagging economy. And we believe Mr. Simonton is most likely correct in his thought that the closures could be more widespread than even expected now.

And we once again repeat our prediction that the Plain Dealer and Black Press’ Akron Beacon Journal won’t survive as independent entities for that much longer…though our prediction has always been that Advance would pick up the remnants of the Beacon for a song, and merge what’s left into the Plain Dealer – which already has extensive circulation in the Akron market and elsewhere in Northeast Ohio.

(That’s just a prediction, not based on any facts or even rumors. It’d basically mirror what happened recently in Denver.)

But those who do this sort of reporting for a living? They need to quit pushing along rumors based on one guy’s list of “endangered papers” that appear to be no more than the predictions that we’re making here – which are clearly identified as such, on our part…

AWARD WINNERS: OMW gets word from Columbus that Time Warner Cable’s Northeast Ohio division has picked up a number of awards in the Ohio Cable Telecommunications Association’s “IMAGE Awards” competition, given out at the trade group’s convention in Central Ohio last night.

From the group’s site, talking the awards:

The 2009 OCTA IMAGE Awards recognize and celebrate the many contributions Ohio cable systems make to their communities, and their efforts to enhance cable’s image with customers and in the areas they serve.

TWC NEO’s Bill Jasso tells OMW that the local Time Warner division picked up “a record 15 OCTA Image Awards for local programming, including the top Image Award for Excellence in Local Programming.”

Programs on TWC NEO’s “Northeast Ohio Network” (NEON) local channel taking Gold Image Awards include “Made Here”, “The High School Game of the Week”, “3 Squares”, and “Helping Hands.”

And yes, we know we have a lot of readers interested in some of Time Warner Cable’s future moves, including addition of HDTV channels and implementation of the Switched Digital Video system (in part, to free up bandwidth for new channels).

We will have a more detailed update on that very soon, within the next day or so…

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