Early Week Pileup

Some items have been piling up here at OMW World Headquarters, so it’s time to clear the traffic lanes…

QUICK EXIT: Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” has parted ways with reporter/anchor Justin Michaels, rather suddenly.

From a brief station memo about his exit from news director Jill Manuel:

I want to share the news that Justin Michaels is no longer with NewsChannel 5. Please join me in wishing Justin luck in his future endeavors.

From what we’re hearing out of 3001 Euclid, Manuel could well have added “…but don’t let him back in the building.”

OMW hears that Michaels’ exit happened after he had more than one open confrontation in the newsroom, and that it’s probably not likely that many NewsChannel 5 staffers will meet him for coffee any time soon…

IT’S SD INSTEAD: For some time, over-air viewers of New Vision CBS affiliate WKBN/27 Youngstown got a bonus – a full high definition simulcast of “Fox Youngstown” on WKBN’s 27.2 subchannel.

This especially served its purpose when the true home of “Fox Youngstown” was WYFX-LP/62, an analog station that was once paired with now-dark WFXI-CA/17 Mercer PA as “Fox 17/62”.

Of course, New Vision recently converted WYFX-LP to digital low power status, and is broadcasting (in HD) on the new WYFX-LD 19.

At some point, observers expected New Vision to downgrade the HD simulcast on 27.2 to standard definition, and that, they have finally done.

Viewers in the market say it appears to be deliberate…27.2’s PSIP information has changed to “WYFX-SD”…so now, the only over-air HD source for “Fox Youngstown” ls WYFX-LD 19. (Of course, “Fox Youngstown” is also available in HD on local cable systems.)

That has some over-air viewers with HDTV sets outside the immediate Youngstown/Warren/Niles area upset (not to mention some on the eastern edge of the Cleveland/Akron market), because WYFX is a low-power station.

We don’t know why WKBN decided to flip 27.2 to SD, though there are some advantages…for one, the move returns WKBN’s main CBS and local HD programming to full 1080i resolution. now that 27.2 is back to 480i.

When the “Fox Youngstown” HD signal was added (at 720p, Fox’s standard), the 27.1 CBS/WKBN side was downconverted to 720p, and some noticed occasional picture glitches.

We have also heard speculation that Fox forced the move, now that WYFX has an HD signal of its own, but we can’t at all confirm that..

ANN’S CORNER: OK, so we only call it that because this item involves Kent State University public outlet WKSU/89.7’s “Folk Alley” programming service… and because it came from Good Friend of OMW Ann VerWiebe, WKSU’s marketing type and official OMW Handler.

(Again, we’re pretty sure WKSU doesn’t pay her any extra to deal with us, much like public media counterpart Western Reserve PBS doesn’t pay Diane Steinert extra for that additional, unofficial title.)

Ann tells us that Folk Alley will be teaming up with NPR Music to webcast an important awards event:

Join Folk Alley and NPR Music for a live webcast of the 2011 AMA Awards and Honors show, Thursday, Oct. 13 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. The webcast is hosted by veteran Americana music radio DJ Jessie Scott and music critic Ann Powers and it will be streamed at FolkAlley.com and NPRMusic.org. Performances will be archived for on-demand listening. Leading up to the event, both websites will host a sidestream of music by this year’s AMA nominees and past winners.

Presented by the Americana Music Association, the annual Awards and Honors ceremony returns to the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and features performances by roots music stars and emerging acts. Grammy Award-winner Jim Lauderdale acts as the on-stage emcee – inviting the best in Americana to the stage.

WKSU is pretty much a typical NPR local affiliate on the radio side, but Folk Alley continues to operate on the national stage…

JIM’S BACK: Our best “get well” thoughts to nationality/standards WKTX/830 Cortland operations manager/chief engineer James “Jimmy” Georgiades.

His fiancee, a regular OMW reader, tells us that Georgiades has been at home recovering from a heart attack late last month.

With the WKTX staff holding the place together and keeping it on the air while he recuperates, Georgiades will still do his regular radio show, “Dimitri’s Greek Radio Show,” on Sunday afternoons from 3-4 PM (in the Greek language).

We’re told that he thanks everyone (his family, friends, co-workers, and colleagues) for prayers, thoughts, and support he has received…

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