Two TV Notes

And from the world of local TV on this Tuesday…

MORNING GLITCH: The world of morning TV news has quickly become a hotly competitive landscape.

From the days where congenial “Today in Cleveland” hosts Tom Haley and Del Donahoo held forth on a folksy kitchen set on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, the playing field has turned morning news into a multi-hour, multi-anchor extravaganza at all four local TV news operations.

To say “the stakes are high” in local TV morning news would be an understatement. Two local stations are in the process of retooling those shows, which we reported below.

Today, Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 came to that battle…with the syndicated gossip show “TMZ”?

No, the substitution of “TMZ” for the last part of the highly-rated 8 AM hour of “Fox 8 News in the Morning” – an act that’s pretty much the definition of TV station insanity – was not deliberate.

The “Fox 8” computer systems that run the production of “Fox 8 News in the Morning” failed, and in 2012, you can’t run a complex TV news show without computers in most cases.

While rebooting the ailing system, WJW kept viewers informed about the tech glitch with a prominent, red-colored crawl over “TMZ”, and via Facebook and Twitter from the station’s account and from its morning anchors, notably weather anchor Scott Sabol and news reporter Todd Meany.

That’s a far cry from “WKRP in Cincinnati” news director Les Nessman confidently informing program director Andy Travis that he’d made the station’s off-air status the top story on a newscast no one heard.

We imagine the decision to keep the station on the air with “TMZ” was made at the very last minute, though we’d have gone with a less controversial choice like repeats of “New Day Cleveland” (with co-host Kristi Capel from “Fox 8 News in the Morning”), if possible.

Assured that the computer systems would likely behave, “Fox 8 News in the Morning” resumed at 9 AM. After a glitch or two…the rest of the show went off without a hitch.

Why is this worthy of such treatment here on the Mighty Blog(tm) this morning?

See our opening lines here.

There is a LOT of money attached to morning TV news these days. There’s a reason shows extend from 4:30 AM to as late as 10 AM (for “Fox 8 News”) these days.

As a noted bank robber supposedly said when asked why he robbed banks…”that’s where the money is”.

And while the folks at Dick Goddard Way were crossing their fingers and hoping the computer systems would return to normal, they were hoping that folks wouldn’t find the other morning news options on the TV dial…though channels 3, 5 and 19 were limited in local news updates due to the presence of the network morning shows…

NEOTROPOLIS: Western Reserve PBS’ business-oriented show, “NEOtropolis”, is getting another overhaul.

The show is getting the third host in its three year history, Luke Frazier, and a new time slot, Tuesday nights at 9 PM on the main Western Reserve PBS stations, WNEO/45.1 Alliance and WEAO/49.1 Akron. It’s generally been seen in some combination with the local public affairs roundtable “NewsNite” (nee’ “NewsNight Akron”) on Friday evenings.

According to a Western Reserve PBS press release helpfully provided to us by station OMW Handler Diane Steinert (we’re sure she has a better title than that):

The third season of NEOtropolis has been re-envisioned with a broader content scope, focused on helping Northeast Ohioans make sense of the forces of change that impact our lives. The series will continue to explore the region, but the net is widened.

The show’s focus will be on changes including technology, globalization and diversity.

Host Luke Frazier is, according to the station release, “an award-winning public radio reporter and producer who currently produces and co-hosts Civic Commons Radio, a weekly public affairs program.”

Social media expert Kathleen Colan, who we’re pretty sure is a follower of the OMW Twitter presence, will report on “social media feedback and trends” as part of an expanded social media presence on “NEOtropolis”, which will stream live at not only the show’s website, but on Facebook.

“NEOtropolis” will get an early Saturday repeat at 3:30 PM on 45.1/49.1, and will also air on the Western Reserve Public Media “Fusion” subchannel 45.2/49.2 Thursdays at 10:30 PM. and Saturdays at 5 PM….


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