Lighting It Up For Thursday

Combing through our list of Thursday items…we’ll find a common thread in here somewhere…

LIGHTING UP “THIS”: Buried deep within the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Cleveland.com, hidden under those annoying rollover ads, and probably in small print in the Dead Trees edition of the PD, is a note that Raycom Media MyNetwork TV affiliate WUAB/43 “My 43” will finally launch the “This TV” subchannel soon.

We uncovered this item published Wednesday:

This TV, a new classic-movie channel, will launch on WUAB Channel 43 on Wednesday, April 1. Raycom Media is partnering with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio Inc. (MGM) to roll out the network, according to a release. This TV will tap into MGM’s library of film and television programming resources.

OMW and our readers noticed some time ago that WUAB put up a “This TV” ID slide on its digital subchannel 43.2, where “This” will live in Cleveland.

There’s a little more information from an article written for the trade website TVNewsday, which also quotes a certain WOIO/WUAB executive:

“This partnership with MGM is an exciting venture for us,” said Vice President and General Manager Bill Applegate of Raycom properties WOIO and WUAB TV. “Our viewers will reap the benefit of having another television station on the dial with material from the world’s largest film and television library.”

Both items mention that Raycom is in talks with local cable operators to bring “This TV” to life on cable lineups. We’ve long speculated that the channel will likely return to the digital cable universe occupied by WOIO’s “WeatherNow”, and take up similar space formerly occupied by WUAB music video subchannel “The Tube” somewhere in the 300s on Time Warner Cable’s local digital lineup…

HIGH DEFINITION HOOPS: It’s a big weekend for Ohio high school basketball, as all four state divisions will see the final round of boys’ basketball playoffs.

And with news that SportsTime Ohio will dedicate its Saturday – starting at 10:30 AM – to live, high-definition telecasts of all four state championship games, comes a resurfacing. From an STO press release which landed in the OMW mailbox:

Mike Cairns, Brad Sellers, Al Pawlowski, Tony White, Andre Knott, and Pat Vuyanich will all be involved providing play-by-play, color commentary, and sideline reports.

In addition, Sue Ann Robak, Dave Wojciechowski and Jim Isabella, the ‘Principal of High School Sports’ will be in the STO studio providing updates and halftime programming. Prior to the Div. I Championship at 8:00pm, Robak and company will recap the previous three championships and preview the Division I match-up.

We actually missed this the first time we read the release – yes, that’s now-former WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” sports reporter/anchor Sue Ann Robak making at least a one-day return to the Cleveland TV sports scene.

We’ll have to check in with the SportsTime Ohio folks to see if Robak has any more planned work on the channel.

STO has employed many former over-air sports reporters in the Cleveland market, and even bought shows produced by one of Robak’s now-former co-workers, current “NewsChannel 5” sports director Andy Baskin.

(Who, we’re suspecting, really misses Robak’s help after her contract wasn’t renewed at 3001 Euclid. With the Cavaliers driving towards a hopeful championship, and the Indians about to break camp out of Goodyear AZ, the sports department there has only Baskin, and sports reporter Terry Brooks, to handle it all…)

Speaking of the high school basketball playoffs, it turns out that Rubber City Radio news/oldies WAKR/1590 Akron will be the sole radio home of the St. Vincent/St. Mary Fighting Irish team’s playoff run.

The station carries the Fighting Irish state semi-final game on Friday at 2 PM, and will air the team’s game on Championship Saturday if the Fighiting Irish win their Friday contest.

That Saturday game, if St. V’s gets past Columbus St. Francis DeSales, would be at 5:15 PM…

AND SPEAKING OF WEST MARKET STREET: While fishing through the aforementioned TVNewsday site to find the article about WUAB’s carriage of “This TV”, we couldn’t help but notice the face of a local radio executive adorning the top of the site’s main page.

That’s where you’ll find a link to TVNewsday chief Harry Jessell’s interview with Radio Television News Directors Association chairman Ed Esposito, known to mere mortals here in Northeast Ohio as VP/information media for Akron’s Rubber City Radio. (And, an avid OMW reader, as we know him here.)

The news trade association won’t be replacing Akron native Barbara Cochran when she steps down as president in June, so Esposito will be front and center dealing with a number of RTNDA issues, including embracing the digital world – from its own communications and operations, to the expanding world of online news delivery.

At the Akron Radio Center, Esposito has a front row seat to that new world…with Rubber City’s existing and extensive news website AkronNewsNow.com, and the newest addition on West Market, the 24/7 streaming audio news feed dubbed “WAKRNewsNow”.

Jessell’s article points out that under Esposito’s direction, that the RTNDA is moving towards becoming the RTDNA – which stands for the “Radio Television Digital News Association”.

And like the stations operated by the group’s members, the RTNDA is also dealing with lower budgets…with Esposito noting that digital technology is helping the association save money for both it and for members.

RTNDA is ending the print “Communicator” in favor of online communications, and is using digital delivery to facilitate lower-cost participation in the Edward R. Murrow Awards…

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