WJW Grabs an “Antenna”

No, it’s not the antenna that Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 has sorely needed for their signal-plagued VHF digital TV signal (real channel 8/virtual channel 8).

It’s “Antenna TV,” a new Tribune programming service that will launch this coming January. WJW has been cleared as an affiliate, mainly owing to the managing relationship between the two companies… for now, at least.

Antenna TV will offer a combination of movies and classic television shows including: Burns & Allen, Hazel, Father Knows Best, Three’s Company, All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Benny Hill, Maude, The Nanny and Married with Children. Classic television series will air overnight, including: Dennis the Menace, The Donna Reed Show and The Three Stooges. Their inaugural schedule can be seen here.

Tribune collaborated with MGM back in early 2009 to launch “ThisTV,” which airs on Raycom Media MyNetwork TV affiliate WUAB 43.2. ThisTV’s programming consists of MGM’s movie library that still remains in their possession (which is now primarily United Artists material – the very same movie studio that founded WUAB.)

The bigger question, however, is the future of LocalTV and Tribune itself… because of LocalTV’s primary owner Randy Michaels, who stepped down as CEO of Tribune Broadcasting at the end of this past week. To wit, WJW’s website was just upgraded to an newer version of the Tribune Interactive site design two weeks ago.

Our Primary Editorial Voice ™ will have more to report on Michaels’ departure in the coming days…

WKBN’s New Evening Anchor

New Vision CBS affiliate WKBN/27 Youngstown has found a new co-anchor for Dave Sess on their 6:00PM and 11:00PM broadcasts, after Whitney Ward left the station last month to be closer to family in her native Washington (joining KEPR-TV Pasco in the process).

It’s Teresa Weakley, who comes to WKBN from Young Broadcasting-owned (and Gray Television-managed) ABC affiliate WKRN/2 Nashville, where she was that station’s live morning reporter and fill-in anchor. She formally debuted on WKBN’s 5:00 newscast on Monday, which she will also solo anchor, along with the 10:00PM news on sister station “Fox Youngstown” WYFX-LP/62 (WKBN 27.2).

WKBN is already making a big splash with Weakley’s debut, not just with her bio page, but the background image on their website also proudly shows both Sess and Weakley on opposing ends on the screen. The bio page also notes her own personal blog at teresaweakley.com.

WKBN’s new anchor team won’t be able to gel just yet; as weeknight meteorologist Don Guthrie returns back to work next week after taking this week off.

News, Scattered and Sown

There have been so many stories that have popped up over the past week (notwithstanding the flap between Matt Patrick and the entire Michigan State Spartans fanbase for his remarks on coach Mike D’Antonio back on Monday… so much has been said that this list of articles across the country should suffice).

As OMW’s Primary Editorial Voice ™ noted late last week, a guest editor would likely be brought aboard to help out as a Secondary Editorial Voice ™. As such, this will be my first “guest post” on OMW. So, without further ado, here we go with the latest radio/TV news:

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“CAPTAIN TONY” LANDS: The former producer for country WGAR/99.5’s former morning host, Jim Mantel, now has a new gig in the Pine Tree State.

Photobucket“Captain Tony” McGinty is headed to Nassau Broadcasting country WTHT/99.9 Auburn/Portland to produce the “Dave and Michelle” morning show on “99.9 The Wolf,” hosted by Dave Winsor and Michelle Taylor, respectively.

McGinty was let go along with Jim Mantel from WGAR back on August 17 after Clear Channel declined to renew Mantel’s contract… and Tony was tied into any Mantel deal with WGAR.

There’s no word yet on a start date at “99.9 The Wolf,” but they do stream online.

BREAKING – DARYL RUITER LEAVES WKNR: In what seems to be a common occurrence at WKNR/850, yet another long-time staffer at the Good Karma-owner sports talker has left the building.

PhotobucketDaryl Ruiter, the station’s update anchor during “Munch in the Morning” and “Mike & Mike,” Browns beat reporter, webmaster and station engineer, departed from “ESPN 850” yesterday. He confirmed that Friday was his last day on Twitter, saying that it was “sad to say goodbye after 12 wonderful years but looking forward to the opportunities the future brings.”

Ruiter had been heard off and on at WKNR since 1998, but most of that time was working at Metro Networks’ Independence facility before Good Karma hired him internally to do engineering work and produce what was then Mark “Munch” Bishop’s afternoon show. Eventually, it later evolved into doing update anchoring, Browns beat reporting, and occasional fill-in hosting on the weekends… all at the same time.

Ruiter’s departure not only leaves WKNR short of a Browns beat reporter… it comes after WKNR jettisoned update anchor Jeff Thomas, reporter Bob Karlovec, and board-op/engineer Eddie Mularz back in May. (More on the first two later on in this post.)

At this same time, a group called Digital Sports Network made the following post on their twitter account:

“DSN would like to officially welcome Daryl Ruiter to our team. Stay tuned for our broadcast lineup coming soon.”

The Digital Sports Network advertise themselves as “your source for Cleveland Sports – COMING IN TWO WEEKS! Radio Programming and Blogs Featuring Cleveland Sports! Also partnering with Cleveland.com.” For the past month or so, a companion WordPress blog and Facebook fan page have been in operation, offering Cleveland sports news and opinion. Among the staffers listed on the blog are former Metro Networks/WKNR staffer Matt Loede (who is also a sports announcer with WEOL/930 Elyria) and Tony Mazur.

As for DSN’s radio programming plans… the domain sportsradiocleveland.com has been mentioned by people supposedly close to this venture, but it is an undeveloped page, with the GoDaddy.com material still on there. But Ruiter, Loede, and Mazur would have to be a part of said plans, even as they still faces an mammoth battle against WKNR, if not just because of the terrestrial radio vs. internet radio factor.

Smart phone technology, and the future of wireless internet radio, do show promise of leveling the playing field… but it will take serious time for this effort to develop, and to make some headway into the local media scene. The addition of Ruiter into the mix is a very smart and solid move.

Q104, SOON TO BE LESS “WILDE”: For those who follow OMW’s Twitter feed, Hot AC WQAL/104.1 personality Rebecca Wilde dropped a bombshell of sorts on her Twitter page on Wednesday, September 15:

“Off to travel the world!! Last day at the Q is Oct. 29th!”

On September 22, the “Wilde and Fee” co-host officially confirmed her departure on her bio page/blog on Q104’s website. And indeed, she’s leaving WQAL on October 29 for an extended travel sabbatical… with little to no sign that she may make a reentry into radio:

“There is a whole big world out there that has been calling my name and I have finally decided it’s time to go check it out.  I will miss Cleveland like you cannot even imagine.  I have some time before my final goodbye but I want to thank you for everything…….for all the love, the success and the joy that you and this city have bestowed upon me.  I truly feel like I will be leaving a huge family and many friends behind.”

Wilde will leave the station just one month shy of her 10th anniversary over there; co-host Allan Fee celebrated his in late July. Of course, Fee originally was WQAL’s off-air program director before assuming the morning host position that Danny Czekalinski vacated in 2004… Wilde herself started in middays before succeeding Carole Chandler (Sullivan) as morning co-host in 2003.

Now the attention is directed towards who will replace Rebecca Wilde on the morning show; the smart money should have to be on current afternoon host Jen Toohey. And Rebecca, best of wishes upon your upcoming travels. Would we all be so lucky or fortunate…

PUTTING THE “NEW” IN NEWS GRAPHICS: Lest we forget the fine folks at Reserve Square, Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO/19 made a very noticeable change this past weekend.

One could make the case that, after “19 Action News” made the conversion to HD back in November 2007, they ended up with one of the ugliest graphics packages in town. So much could be said about that look, but by far, the biggest offensive was the massive “19ActionNewsHD” logo that compressed the text on the L3 graphics.

Fortunately on Monday (and no doubt coinciding with the start of CBS’ fall lineup) WOIO unveiled an updated graphics package. The on-air look is cleaner and crisper, and the bottom-of-the-screen ticker was refreshed as well. The biggest improvement was the merciful excising of the “HD” from the Action News logo.

Of course, in comparison to WOIO’s sister station (and former FOX O&O/Local TV outlet) in Birmingham, Fox affiliate WBRC/6… well, there IS no comparison…

DOWN ON THE FARM: Whiplash Radio LLC’s WRTK/1540 Niles continues to make additions to their “Farm” classic country format.

WRTK has picked up three weekend programs; first, Dial-Global’s “America’s Grand Ole Opry Weekend” on Saturday mornings from 9am-11am, “Country Music Greats with Jim Ed Brown” on Saturdays from 11am-1pm, and “Country Gold with Rowdy Yates” on Sunday mornings at 9am. But the most noteworthy addition, however, is the “Wheeling Jamboree,” which WRTK now carries on Saturdays from 1pm-3pm.

Yes, this is the very same program that originated on WWVA/1170 Wheeling for nearly 80 years, first as the “WWVA Jamboree,” and later “Jamboree USA,” before being quietly canceled on December 6, 2008 after three years worth of reruns. Since then, Clear Channel’s concert arm LiveNation spun off the program to a local non-profit, and sold off its’ longtime host venue, the Capitol Music Hall, to the Wheeling Convention Bureau. (The Capitol still hosts studio space for the entire Clear Channel Wheeling cluster.)

The Wheeling Jamboree now airs on “The Watchdawg,” WKKX/1600 Wheeling, WWVA’s all-local talk rival, and has since entered syndication, owing to WKKX’s non-existent 33 watt night signal (as opposed to WWVA’s massive 50kW signal).

Plus, as noted in this tweet from The Farm, the recent purchase of WRTK and Fox Sports affiliate WANR/1570 Warren may not be the last major move made by station owner Chris Lash. I guess we shall have to wait and see…

OTHER Y-TOWN NEWS: I was tipped off on some changes that occurred at Bernard Radio’s WASN/1500 Youngstown some months ago. Back in early January, WASN changed formats from gospel music to an urban talk format.

WASN has a local morning show hosted by “Tracey and Friends” from 7am-10am, followed by Syndication One hosts Warren Ballentine (10am-1pm) and the Rev. Al Sharpton (1pm-4pm), and Citadel host Michael Basiden (3pm-7pm), respectively. Basiden even did his show live from WASN’s studios this past Wednesday as part of his One Million Mentors tour, which had a stop in Youngstown.

The switch to urban talk also meant that a WASN mainstay, a local talk show hosted by Louie Free (which aired regardless of WASN’s past gospel and Hispanic formats), made the move to sister station WGFT/1330 Campbell, which sports a conservative talk format as “1330TALK.” Even though both stations are daytime-only, both WASN and WGFT‘s websites now feature 24-hour web streaming.

Also, there have been some rumblings that a significant station in said market could be sold in the very near future, but it’s still a very developing situation. Stay tuned…

KARLOVEC!!!: Newly minted WEOL/930 Elyria morning host Jeff Thomas isn’t the only former WKNR staffer that has seen a revival of, well… “good karma…” in Lorain County, even.

Since the start of the high school football season, former WKNR producer/host/Browns beat reporter Bob Karlovec has been the lead play-by-play man for classic country WOBL/1320 Oberlin’s HFSB broadcasts, joined alongside Darryl Maynard and sideline reporter Eric Girod.

Karlovec is hardly a stranger to Lorain County; he called games for WEOL from 1977 until 1992, and served as that station’s sports director for much of the same time. He joined WKNR upon the station’s July 1990 launch on the AM/1220 facility, and was there in numerous capacities until his dismissal on May 4, which was concurrent with Jeff Thomas’ release.

Bob’s addition also meant that former WOBL color man Jason Gibbs (who is also WKNR’s program director) was shuffled over to sister station WDLW/1380 Lorain’s broadcast crew, and is now teamed up with longtime play-by-play man Don Vincent and sideline reporter Rick Amador.

As for Jeff, he quietly returned to the field of play-by-play, serving as a fill-in sideline reporter for WEOL’s tape-delayed “Medina County Matchup” back on September 10. (Due to the big-time, big deal Elyria-Elyria Catholic game the previous night, his services were no doubt needed.)

WELL, HELLO (AGAIN) LARRY: Former Clevelander Larry Elder will be returning to the radio airwaves, on venerable Citadel talk station KABC/790 Los Angeles. The official announcement was made Wednesday afternoon during Sean Hannity’s own program.

It’s also a return to KABC for “The Sage of South Central,” where his show was once even nationally syndicated at, from 2002 until 2007 (ABC Radio replaced his show with WABC’s Mark Levin).

Back in the late 1980s, Elder hosted a public affairs show on PBS affiliate WVIZ/25 Cleveland, which eventually moved to then-Fox affiliate WOIO/19 as “The Larry Elder Show.”

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That’s it from here… have a great weekend!

Exclusive And Digital

This is an exclusive blog post about local Cleveland TV. It will appear on no other blog…until someone picks up our RSS feed or links to us, of course. But at the moment we’re typing this, it’s exclusive. Honest.

FUN WITH RESERVE SQUARE: The reason our tongue is so firmly in cheek above is due to Reserve Square.

Raycom Media’s WOIO/19-WUAB/43 “19 Action News” breathlessly promoted an “exclusive” interview of Joe Jackson, father of the late Michael Jackson, on the 10 PM edition of “19 Action News” on WUAB “My 43”.

Conducting the interview was 19’s Sharon Reed – and unlike one of the last times she had an “exclusive interview”, she was actually the one asking Jackson the questions, live on set.

The interview, as of this writing late Friday morning, is still tagged on the “19 Action News” website, in bold, red letters, as a “SHARON REED EXCLUSIVE”.

Here’s our problem with Reserve Square: To them, “exclusive” apparently means “the only station interviewing Joe Jackson on Thursday night”.

For today (Friday), the father of the late King of Pop – in town for events at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and Cleveland State University – has already appeared live on Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8’s “Fox 8 News in the Morning”, and then on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3’s “Good Company Today”.

He also has a scheduled appearance later today on Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5’s “Live on Five”.

We haven’t checked Univision O&O WQHS/61, but we half expect him to appear in that station’s lobby for its weekend public affairs show.

Again, unless there was a chromakey effect in play, at least Sharon Reed was actually sitting next to Joe Jackson, and was actually interviewing him…but exclusive?

Jackson’s appearance in town is newsworthy because it comes on the first anniversary of his son’s death…and the Rock Hall will hold events marking that somber anniversary with Joe Jackson present. We hear the events at the Rock Hall are “exclusive”…at least as far as rock museums go…

AND DIGITAL: Those following our Twitter account know we made the round of local TV stations’ smartphone applications – with particular interest paid to the Android platform used by your Primary Editorial Voice(tm).

And as it turns out, all the Cleveland market TV news operations that have smartphone apps also have Android versions.

We already knew about, and installed, the Android version of WEWS/5’s application.

But it took reader tips to direct us to the Android app for WJW/8 “Fox 8”, and to one for WOIO/19’s “19 Action News”.

We don’t have an iPhone here at OMW World Headquarters, so we can only compare the Android versions of the above apps.

In our view, the Android “NewsNet5” application is by far the most complete, with the most news stories, video, weather radar and other features.

The “Fox 8 News” app and the “19 Action News to Go” app are actually produced by the same provider, LSN.

They’re both somewhat limited compared to the WEWS app. “Fox 8 News” only has about two or three local stories and two or three local videos. “19 Action News” has a significantly larger haul of local news stories, but no video of any sort.

And in the “it sticks in our craw” department: The “Fox 8 News” Android app, though it actually has a “Live Video” button, does not offer the station’s live video feed during local/news programming. The underlying screen says it’s for the iPhone, and clicking the video screenshot reveals – a text URL for the iPhone streaming, and nothing more.

We assume they’re working on this, or they wouldn’t have a “Live Video” button on the Android version – right?

You can pick up the “Fox 8” Android app at this link.

We include it because we had trouble finding it in the Android Market.

Searching “WJW” did not work, and searching “Fox 8” brought up two other apps in addition to the local version – including Local TV sister station WGHP/8 in the Greensboro NC market.

As you’ll note on the file description linked above, “Fox8 Flash” has no indication that it is for WJW in Cleveland.

We found the “19 Action News” app by searching for WOIO.

As far as we know, Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 has no smartphone apps, though it does have a version formatted for mobile browsers (mobile link).

For our iPhone friends, we apologize for another detour into Android land, but local TV stations having iPhone apps really is not news anymore…

Clearing Out

The rain is clearing out, according to the weather forecasters…and so are we. The inbox, that is…and we have some updates on old items…

RUMORS DYING: We passed along rumblings in Tom Taylor’s always excellent “Taylor on Radio-Info” column that involved the Cleveland market.

The original rumors noted sale talks that could involve the cluster of four CBS Radio stations in Cleveland – alt-rock WKRK/92.3, classic rock WNCX/98.5, AC WDOK/102.1 and hot AC WQAL/104.1.

Tom initially noted that the possible buyer could be Cumulus Radio Investors, the latest acquisition effort involving Cumulus Media, that was interested in some five markets CBS wishes to sell – including Cleveland. (CBS has actively been interested in selling its operations in markets below the very largest.)

Stand down. Nevermind.

Taylor notes that the rumored talks are apparently dead:

Now I hear that the CBS asking price was ultimately too “frothy” for the buyer. Lew Dickey said when he took the wraps off the Crestview Partners-backed CRI that he’d potentially be up for paying 7-8 times cash flow for premium properties. But CBS – Les Moonves – is probably still locked in on the multiples it got in the last batch of selloffs.

We’ve noted here time and again that despite expressing quite public interest in selling stations in its non-top-10ish markets – Moonves has repeated that sentiment at various conferences – CBS is not in a hurry to dump stations in Cleveland or anywhere else. If they get the number they’re looking for, they’ll sell, but this is by far not a “fire sale” operation.

And we’ve heard rumors, separately from Tom Taylor’s reporting, that the Cleveland CBS Radio cluster was about to be sold, or even “has already been” sold.

Other than what we’ve reprinted from Mr. Taylor, we’ve heard absolutely no evidence to support an agreed-upon sale, or near sale, of the Cleveland CBS stations.

Meanwhile, those who were following the rumors in “Taylor on Radio-Info” are probably breathing a sigh of relief, even if it’s only temporary.

Cumulus is not exactly known for high staffing levels. The company decimated staffing in former Susquehanna markets (including big markets like San Francisco), and has been a very active participant in recent layoff rounds – along with just about every other major or even minor radio company in the recession.

But we get the idea that Cumulus is very much a “lean and mean” company when it comes to staffing…recession or no.

And a quick search on the “Cumulus” name right here in the OMW search box (now to the right in our WordPress version, or a pull down menu in the mobile WordPress version) will provide plenty of examples…

AWARDS: For various reasons, we don’t spend a LOT of time with awards, but as a public service, here are some links we found with awards information.

Instead of linking to the various local TV stations, we’ll just go here for the list of local Emmy awards presented last weekend.

The local NATAS (Lower Great Lakes) chapter includes not only markets like Cleveland, Youngstown and Toledo, but also reaches into Pennsylvania and Indiana. As last year, the Hoosier stations picked up a decent number of awards.

And the folks on West Market Street are noting their third national Edward R. Murrow Award (Small Market: Radio) for the website AkronNewsNow.com, the online news component of Rubber City Radio Group’s oldies/news WAKR/1590, rock WONE/97.5 and country WQMX/94.9.

MOBILE: While we’re talking about West Market, AkronNewsNow now has an iPhone app in Apple’s App Store. For now, other mobile users can access ANN’s mobile-browser-friendly sub-site.

And we believe Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 is the first Cleveland market TV station to make its station/news app available on the Android platform, adding to its existing iPhone app…and since we have an Android device here at OMW, we hope the other area TV and radio stations follow suit.

(Youngstown’s WKBN/27 was actually the first TV station in the region to have an Android app, and the My Local TV folks, creators of the WEWS app, have apps for WUPW/36 “Fox Toledo” and Dayton’s WDTN/2.)

Semi-related…the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Cleveland.com has launched its own new mobile-friendly site, in what appears to be an improvement over the previous version in our brief time using it.

Ah, but newspapers strike again.

We saw the announcement in a tweet from Cleveland.com that took you to a story on the traditional site, with a link to go to Cleveland.com (and thus, pull up the new mobile site on a mobile browser) that did not work.

One note: we urge the folks at Cleveland.com to NOT wall off the traditional site from mobile users.

Point your mobile browser to NYPost.com for a very bad example of that…there is NO WAY to access a regular New York Post link from a mobile browser, rendering the content inaccessible to everyone but desktop users.

Links followed from Twitter or Facebook on a mobile device get “swallowed” into the main menu of the mobile New York Post site, where the original article sometimes can’t even be found. (We do have an alternative mobile browser that presents a desktop user agent.)

Given that social media is a prime traffic driver to news websites, and that much of that social media is consumed on mobile devices, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to us.

Go mobile, content providers, but go smartly. And with a reported 160,000 new registrations per day, the Android platform is quickly showing that “the mobile app strategy” is not just putting up an iPhone app. And that’s not even mentioning the very popular Blackberry platform.

The iPhone and its related devices are the leaders and insanely popular, but the overall popularity of smartphones means there are now millions of people out there with capable devices that aren’t made by Apple.

Forgive us for wearing out the soapbox…it’s about to break…

ADS: Readers may notice that some Google ads are appearing on OMW.

That decision wasn’t ours. It’s part of the “free” bargain for our use of the WordPress.com system, and the ads pop up without any intervention from us. We receive no income from the ads.

(Oddly enough, the Google-powered Blogger had no “forced” ads.)

The ads are also showing up in the mobile version of the site. At least on our Android device, they are causing some very slight formatting issues… the text is pushed to the very edge of the mobile window.

If you’re noticing the same, E-mail us via the link up at the top of this blog, making sure to note what device you are using. The “WPTouch” skin used for the mobile version works on a wide variety of mobile device browsers, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android devices and WebOS devices…

Chasing His Dream

UPDATE: Our friends at CursedCleveland.com point out in a comment below that Tony has just tweeted about a new job:

Just took a job in N Carolina w/ ISP Networks… on the air with UW Huskies broadcasts on KJR in Seattle. Thanks for all your support!!!!

Congratulations, Tony!

Our original item is below:

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Tony Castricone is by far not the first Ohio media person to lose his job and wonder “what now?”. It’s how he answered that question that brings his story to OMW.

The former Columbus TV/radio sportscaster didn’t just send out resumes and video and audio clips when he found himself looking for work recently. He embarked on an ambitious journey that could change his life – one way or the other.

Tony tells OMW:

“Instead of looking for another job right away, someone said ‘do what you always wanted to do.’ I decided to cash out my 401K and be a touring musician, since that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve been playing guitar for 11 years.”

From there, it was an extensive Google search for “open mic” nights at various locations across the country – “the biggest and best”, Tony tells us. That resulted in a 40 day, 10,000 mile cross-country music tour Castricone is currently undertaking.

Upon realizing “he didn’t have the money to do this”, he turned to friends to raise the money for his road trip.

Oh, Castricone got into a car accident just before heading out, and had to arrange to buy a new car – while unemployed.

Tony tells us that he’s “living the experience of a lifetime”, in the middle of a tour that started June 10th, and will finish on July 20th.

He tells us:

“I’ve gotten dozens of emails, many from complete strangers, who have told me they were inspired to do what THEY’VE always wanted to do from hearing the story. One signed up for cooking classes, one started taking piano lessons. Some just vent their frustrations to me about getting laid off and say the story’s giving them hope!! What an incredible experience.”

Tony has also hit various media outlets, appearing on TV in Columbus, Baltimore and other cities to tell his story.

That story is on the web here, and his on-the-road-from-the-tour blog is here, with plenty of video and audio.

Our best of luck to Tony, and we thank him for a very inspiring tale!

Monday Lunch

OK, so we’re thinking of food as we get this late morning Monday update underway. Expect us to stop this from time to time as we raid our own kitchen…

SHE’S HERE: Imagine our surprise when OMW received a press release – directly – from Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 on its latest addition at “NewsChannel 5”, assistant news director Roberta Petterson.

We got the full press treatment from WEWS, including a photo of Ms. Petterson.

Since we have the release, let’s quote it:

WEWS NewsChannel 5 has named a Pittsburgh television executive as Assistant News Director. Roberta Petterson comes to WEWS from WTAE in Pittsburgh, where she also held the position of Assistant News Director. While there, she led WTAE’s newscast development, breaking news, investigative coverage and special projects.

“Roberta’s track record of success in guiding a dynamic news staff in a multiple-platform environment will enable NewsChannel 5 to continue to deliver Northeast Ohio’s leading news coverage,” said WEWS News Director Jill Manuel.

Petterson was responsible for WTAE’s coverage of last year’s Pennsylvania Primary and has played a key role in that station’s superior political coverage. Under Petterson’s leadership, WTAE’s investigative team won a Peabody and National IRE in 2008. She also won Murrow and Headliner awards for driving breaking news and big story coverage.

If this story sounds familiar to you, you’re not dreaming…we broke news of this hiring over a month ago. (But we still appreciate the official release.)

Though we assume Ms. Petterson will be welcomed as a person and a new manager at 3001 Euclid, there has been some question within that building if a new assistant news director hire is a good idea in the current economic environment…in a world of hiring freezes, contract non-renewals and the like.

Our earlier item said Petterson would take her new role at WEWS on August 3rd.

As a note, WEWS parent Scripps just announced financial results that look like all the other big TV groups…according to this report from TVNewsCheck, the new name for the former TVNewsday trade site:

The E.W. Scripps Co. today reported second-quarter operating results for its television, newspaper, and licensing and syndication businesses. Revenue from the company’s television stations was $61.1 million, a decrease of 24 percent from the second quarter of 2008.

You can almost predict TV revenue reports – they’re all down roughly 20-30% from the same quarter in 2008…

YOUNGSTOWN TV CHANGES: As the New Vision stations in Youngstown prepare for Life After Bankruptcy, they’re making some changes on the air.

New Vision-operated Parkin ABC affiliate WYTV/33 is leaving the 5 PM news game, as the company is no longer going to compete with itself at 5 for news viewers.

In what should be no surprise for a Youngstown media item, the information about this is from Andrea Wood and her Youngstown Business Journal:

As the operators of WKBN/WYFX and WYTV sail through bankruptcy reorganization with a hearing set for Sept. 10 to confirm the restructuring of $400 million in debt, local management today announced it will eliminate one newscast effective Sept. 21.

WYTV’s 5 p.m. weekday newscast will be replaced with a syndicated version of “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader,” says Dave Coy, general manager of the three TV stations. WYTV will continue to broadcast a local news program at 5:30 p.m., he notes.

There’s a funny line in there, somewhere, about “Smarter Than a 5th Grader”, but we’ll let you come up with it in your own mind.

Since WYTV and WKBN are both operated by New Vision out of WKBN’s long-time Sunset Boulevard home, it makes sense for the company not to mount two (semi-) different newscasts at the same time…as it hopes news viewers will stick with 27 at 5, and head for 33 if they’re not looking for news.

Willl the move increase “27 First News”‘ ratings at 5 PM, as it would only have to compete with Vindicator NBC affiliate WFMJ/21 for news viewers at that half-hour? They hope so, we presume.

But along with others in that market, we wonder how long New Vision will attempt to differentiate news content between “First News” and “33 News” with different reporters…or if 27/33 will see Erie-style news simulcasting at some point.

The station does say that no jobs will be lost in the move, and says there are no expected job losses as a result of the New Vision bankruptcy filing…a Chapter 11 filng that came packaged with help from the company’s lenders. Nominal WYTV owner Parkin Broadcasting – which got financial help from New Vision to buy WYTV – is in the same proverbial boat…

A BOOST: There haven’t been many complaints from Cleveland over-air digital TV viewers about the 1000 kW signal from CW affiliate WBNX/55.

But the station got FCC approval for a slight upgrade back in July. (Heads up to reader Andrew for the FCC approval link, which we also missed earlier!)

The new construction permit calls for WBNX’s antenna to move about 25 meters or so higher on its Parma tower, at the same 1000 kW power level.

As TV reception is as much about height as it is about power level, some WBNX viewers on the fringes of the signal could see some improvement.

But in the List of Local TV Station Reception Complaints, the local CW outlet is way below such former powerhouses as Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8, and a certain alleged CBS affiliate claiming to serve the Cleveland TV market…

AND ONE RADIO ITEM: Though it’s firmly within the territory of our friends at Tri-State Media Watch, the word “Cleveland” is in there somewhere.

From John Kiesewetter’s blog on the Cincinnati Enquirer’s website:

Christian WAKW-FM (Star 93.3) has a new boss: Randy James has been hired as program director to replace Kurt Wallace, who left in April to a Christian station on the air in Indianapolis. James has worked for WVMX-FM in Cleveland, WMMX-FM in Dayton and KHMX-FM in Houston.

Assuming Mr. James did indeed work at “Mix 106.5” here, the call letters, of course, are WMVX, not WVMX. The latter calls, once in Cincinnati, are now on Saga’s “Mix 107.9” in the Columbus market…

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