Browns And Scripps

This is our final update for this hectic week – OK, so it’s been hectic only for us, but we hope you understand. Sometimes, life is somewhat more important than assuring that a blog on local media news is regularly updated.

The good news? Even battling connectivity problems in a temporary situation away from the OMW World Headquarters, we can still manage to update our Twitter account. We’ve already had some of these updates there, and please keep watching in case we can’t get back to the Mighty Blog either due to technical or personal concerns.

And as always, our Twitter feed should automatically be mirrored to the left hand column on the main blog…

BROWNS TV “SAVED” AGAIN: The NFL’s Cleveland Browns haven’t had a TV blackout since “returning” to the NFL in 1999. That no-blackout streak won’t be broken this weekend.

Despite “a few thousand” tickets remaining unsold for the 1-10 Browns’ tilt with the San Diego Chargers on Sunday, the team announced Friday that the game would air in Cleveland on Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO/19.

From a Browns press release:

As a result of combined efforts by the Cleveland Browns, WOIO-TV (CBS 19) and several local establishments, the Chargers-Browns game this Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium will be televised locally. The game, which kicks off at 4:05 p.m., will air on WOIO-TV in the Cleveland area.

The Browns will be distributing tickets to the Cleveland Food Bank, the United Way, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, as well as other local organizations. Additionally, local establishments and WOIO will reward patrons with ticket giveaways while supplies last. The local establishments are offering limited numbers of tickets to customers. For more details on these special offers, fans can visit the following the locations:

We won’t copy over the sponsor list, but you can find it at the link above. It’s a laundry list mainly of local sports bars, which presumably hope you watch the game – now televised – there as well…

A better solution towards ensuring prevention of blackouts would be for the Browns to produce a better product on the field, but that’s just crazy talk, we realize. Even with the horrible economy (locally and nationally), a winning Browns team would pack the place.

For now, it’s what has become a familiar refrain…with a “few thousand” tickets left, the local TV affiliate gets together with businesses and the team to “look good” – by saving the game from an almost sure TV blackout…and helping charities at the holidays at the same time…

SCRIPPS PART 1: We knew this was coming, but didn’t have the ability to tell you due to our current situation.

As long expected, graphics on Scripps’ WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” have changed…to standardize the local ABC affiliate’s graphics with other stations in the chain.

But as we reported earlier, it wasn’t just a desire to streamline the look…”NewsChannel 5″‘s graphics package is now actually produced at a centralized Scripps facility at the company’s outlet in Tampa, WFTS.

)We’d love to put a screenshot of “NewsChannel 5’s” new look up here, but our temporary situation precludes us from doing so…)

SCRIPPS PART 2: On further analysis, this probably doesn’t note a trend that would come to Cleveland, but heads up.

WEWS’ sister station in West Palm Beach FL, NBC affiliate WPTV/5, is dumping its sports department entirely…and farming out coverage of sports to personalities from Good Karma sports WEFL/760 “ESPN 760″…of course, the Good Karma sister (brother?) station of Cleveland’s WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” and WWGK/1540 “KNR2”.

From a joint press release put out by the stations:

Starting January 1, 2010, ESPN 760 will provide extensive sports coverage to WPTV’s NewsChannel 5, including local sports features at 6 p.m. and a nightly sports wrap-up at 11 p.m. ESPN 760 will produce “Braman 5 Sports Live,” the 15-minute sports show seen every Sunday after WPTV’s 11 p.m. newscast.

Evan Cohen, ESPN 760’s popular sports talk show host, will anchor “Braman 5 Sports Live” and lead the on-air effort weeknights for WPTV. Former Florida Atlantic University defensive lineman and current ESPN 760 host/reporter, Jason Pugh, will anchor the sports segments on Fridays and the weekends. ESPN 760 producer/reporter Herb Uzzi will serve as producer/reporter for the sportscasts on WPTV, and Cohen and Pugh will provide insights and commentary on http://www.wptv.com.

WPTV officials insist that it’s not a cost-cutting move, in a time where “cost-cutting move” is about as easy to type as anything. From MediaDailyNews:

Steve Wasserman, general manager at E.W. Scripps-owned WPTV, said it is not a cost-cutting move but aimed at accessing more resources. The radio station has more talent on hand and stronger connections with local sports teams and personalities, he said.

Wasserman said the deal, with an undisclosed financial arrangement, will cost his station more than the salaries and work done by the two departed sportscasters. WPTV also has the highest ratings in the market, so the move is not made out of desperation.

The Palm Beach Post reports that the deal was primarily driven by WPTV’s desire to bring Cohen – “ESPN 760’s” biggest name – aboard as more than just an occasional contributor.

Here in Cleveland, of course, the situation is a LITTLE different.

There is an informal relationship between Good Karma’s WKNR and Scripps’ WEWS. “ESPN 850” personalities Aaron Goldhammer and Jason Gibbs have been regular contributors to Channel 5’s high school football coverage…often using what looks for all the world like a Skype video chat connection from the WKNR studios at the Galleria.

(“NewsChannel 5 in high definition, except when we have to have a cheap video line to another building a few blocks away!”)

But the highest-profile name at the Galleria is mid-morning host Tony Rizzo, who has a very solid “day” job as the primary sports anchor at one of WEWS’ competitors, Local TV Fox affililate WJW/8. That alone would seem to preclude WKNR mirroring the Florida agreement here with WEWS….

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