A TV Thursday

We’re in catch up mode again…


As noted below, The Retro Television Network, that treasure-trove of classic TV shows (“Magnum P.I”, “The Incredible Hulk”, The Rockford Files”, etc.), will air in the Cleveland market starting Monday, June 1st on Media-Com LPTV combo WAOH-LP 29 Akron/W35AX Cleveland…known on air as “The CAT”.

(For those who have forgotten, that stands for “The Cleveland-Akron Television Network”.)

As it turns out, the Plain Dealer’s Julie Washington had this announcement last week, as did the Beacon Journal’s Rich Heldenfels. (We can’t find Rich’s “Heldenfiles” column which carried the announcement online, but we’re told it appeared in the Dead Trees edition of the Beacon Journal last Saturday.)

The station is a sister to Media-Com’s better known radio properties…talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron” and sports-to-become-talk WJMP/1520 Kent/(Add Your Own Cities Here). OK, one better known property, as WJMP’s listener base could probably fit into our living room.

Retro Television Network itself has gone through a few changes, including ownership – former now-bankrupt owner Equity Media Holdings ended up flipping it to a former company executive, who had to scramble when Equity dropped satellite distribution of RTN late last year.

The disruption didn’t last long, and even new RTN affiliates like Cox NBC affiliate WTOV-DT 9.2 Steubenville were able to pick up with the network not long after.

Now, back to “The CAT”.

Channels 29 and 35 have been running various LPTV-oriented networks like America One and the Urban America Television Network, with a smattering of low-budget local programming mixed in.

Among the list of shows, a Monday night sports talk show hosted by Akron Radio Icon, Broadcast Superstar, Future Hall of Famer and OMW reader Steve French, known in real life as morning co-host on WNIR’s morning drive fun-fest with Stan Piatt, Jim Midock and Maggie Fuller.

We’re pretty sure that he hasn’t driven “Sportstalk with Steve French” to number one in the ratings, but that’s obviously not his fault.

Even if 29/35 featured programming giving live gold bars away on the air, “The CAT” simulcast never be number one, and may not even show up in the ratings.

If you’re lucky, you might get a decent watchable over-air signal out of 29 if you’re near its Brimfield transmitter site in Portage County (co-located with WNIR), or out of 35 if you’re near its antenna in the Parma antenna farm.

The signal reach for the stations are roughly equivalent to WJMP for 29, and to WVIZ-DT’s temporary digital facility for 35. (Only the 10 kW WVIZ-DT signal is at least not snowy where it is received. Oh, and more on that later on ODTV.)

Here at the OMW World Headquarters near the “BatCave” somewhere in the former Adelphia Cleveland service area, our small antennas get a snowy, semi-viewable but listenable signal out of 35, and a slightly worse signal out of 29.

So, it’s no surprise that probably the bulk of whatever viewership “The CAT” gets is via cable, where it is a long-time occupant of Time Warner Cable channel 14 in Akron, along with carriage in Macedonia (and we believe Kent) on TWC channel 29, and Cox Cleveland’s digital channel 132, along with carriage on Wadsworth Cable channel 21.

We got that list from the “RTV Affiliates” map on the Retro TV website, where we noticed (along with many of our readers) that the network is now using the name “RTV” instead of “RTN”.

Here at the OMW World Headquarters, the TWC system that was formerly the Adelphia Cuyahoga Valley system never picked up the 29/35 feed.

We’re wondering – is this potentially more popular, and higher profile, programming enough to get “The CAT” clearance on TWC’s Cleveland-based system? We’ll assume that even a digital cable carriage would be preferable to the station, and its viewers, compared to no cable carriage at all.

And though “The CAT” does not have, and will likely never have, over-air digital coverage…a good place for it on the TWC Cleveland lineup would probably be next to WUAB-DT 43.2’s “This TV”, which at some point is scheduled for placement in the Time Warner Cable digital lineup…

TWC HDTV UPDATE: More and more of our readers have checked in confirming the addition of the latest wave of HDTV channels in Northeast Ohio’s Time Warner system – including the addition of The Smithsonian Channel and Mav TV for HD Tier subscribers.

We’re also hearing that apparently, Universal HD has migrated into that extra-cost tier…which will lose HDNet and HDNet Movies on the 31st due to Time Warner dumping those channels nationally. And despite the name similar to the name of his NBA Dallas Mavericks, “Mav TV” apparently has no connection to HDNet/HDNet Movies owner Mark Cuban.

At least one OMW reader in Brecksville tells us that they’ve gotten the new HD Tier duo of Smithsonian and Mav TV, but have not received the other channels that launched on May 26th…


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