Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Catching Up

Seems we're constantly playing catch-up - but a few things we've missed:

Time Warner Adds Something we were told would happen over the weekend, launched Monday morning to a large part of our area.

Time Warner added the web-based for customers of Time-Warner Cable - regardless of who you get internet through.


It was part of a larger deal with Disney/ABC. Unlike with Insight (where, as we understood it, you need to have Insight Broadband AND Cable), Time Warner is only requiring customers to have TW Cable service - meaning you could have Cincinnati Bell Zoomtown or something else, and you'll have access to The reverse isn't true if you have Roadrunner, but get TV over a dish.

Our Take: We have used ESPN3 before, and found it to be a good service. If you want to follow your team, and they aren't on ESPN or ESPN2 or even ESPNU, that's where you can find it most of the time.

But the drawback is you really need a good connection...and a good video have a great video experience. It's simply not good enough on a dial-up connection or with a bad video card. Our old video card simply couldn't handle it even on our fast broadband.

Louisville Station Sold: We finally found out the reason that WDRD-AM 680/Newburg, KY switched from Radio Disney to ESPN Radio a few weeks ago.

It's a station sale, with Disney selling off WDRD to Chad Boeger. We don't know offhand the terms of the sale, but the LMA began early this month, says our colleague Tom Taylor at Radio-Info.

Recall that we covered the sudden shutdown of Louisville's previous ESPN Radio affiliate, WQKC-AM went dark August 2nd when Cumulus got out of the market...which is a nice segue into our next item...

WLCL Back: The other station that shut down back on August 2nd is back... but with a new owner, says Taylor.

WAY-FM Media Group has added WLCL-FM 93.9/Sellersburg to its ranks, LMA'ing it at first. But it appears they'll buy it outright.

WAY-FM already has their own WAYI-FM 105.9/Valley Station, and in fact the two stations are simulcasting, which we can confirm with folks in the area. But for how long? WAY-FM says they'll announce what will happen to WAYI later this year. We assume, though, with the new WLCL signal being full-market, they don't exactly need 105.9 anymore...

Michaels Out: By now, you know about this major elephant in the room... Randy Michaels' departure Friday from Tribune. Take your pick of any number of articles on Google, but here's two we have read:

Radio-Info Story Friday

Chicago Tribune Story

What's next for Michaels? We're speculating - but he has a couple things he could do. Perhaps he can head back to Local TV LLC, which owns 18 stations in the US, including WJW-TV 8/Cleveland in Ohio Media Watch territory. (Yes, we checked Local TV's own website.) He helped form that company, Kiese helpfully reminds us here.

Maybe, as Kiese also suggested back on October 20 here, he could start a new radio empire with some of his old friends from the Jacor days (pre-Clear Channel). It could even include the recently fired Eddie Fingers, as Kiese suggests.

We won't know until and unless we hear from the man himself. That's not likely to happen for awhile - we expect he's laying low...

An Aside: Since we invoked OMW here, a quick administrative note.

OMW now has what they call a "Secondary Editorial Voice (TM)" to go with the obviously "Primary Editorial Voice (TM)".

TSMW welcomes OMW's "Secondary Voice"... this should help OMW when the "Primary Voice" has to step away.

We kinda wish we'd done it sooner, ourselves, especially this summer...and still could at any time take reader applications to be our own second...but for now, we're not.

But that door could open in the'd have to be someone we could trust...

Monday, October 11, 2010

That WCPO Digital Transition

We'd been waiting for THIS one for a good, long while now...and it finally happens soon! Ironically, this word came on the heels of an email we got from Karen in Colerain Township (northwestern Hamilton County), asking about this very subject.

WCPO-TV 9/Cincinnati will finally begin the process of switching over to UHF broadcasting, going from digital TV channel 10 to DTV 22. (You'll still see it as channel 9; this is because of a process called PSIP encoding that will display the new signal as channel 9 on your TV, just as the current channel 10 signal is.)

This article from John Kiesewetter Sunday explains the details of how the transition will progress over the next six weeks or so. It all begins this week, with the installation of a temporary, side-mounted antenna from which WCPO will temporarily transmit, and a new UHF transmitter.

Following this, the most critical phase begins. That's when WCPO will install their new antenna on top of their 900 foot tower in Walnut Hills. That work begins October 25, and Over-The-Air (OTA) viewers who currently can receive WCPO without issues may temporarily lose that signal, as WCPO must reduce the power on that side-mounted antenna so that workers can safely operate atop the tower.

Once that work is done, testing is expected to commence Veterans' Day, running for four days, and on or around November 15, WCPO will turn on the new digital 22 signal for good. OTA viewers will have to rescan their TV's.

For those with Cable or Satellite service, NONE OF THE WORK will impact you. You'll still have WCPO programming. And if you're close enough to the tower in Walnut Hills, you shouldn't have problems either.

WCPO has had a construction permit for three months to make the switch from channel 10 to channel 22. They've installed the new generator and wiring needed for the new transmitter, and we'd wondered how this was coming along...until the article above fell into our laps...

Weekend Wrapup

After things had been pretty quiet on the TSMW front, as far as news we normally post anyway, Thursday changed one big and one small way...

Big One Cuts off its "Finger": As in Eddie Fingers, a 25 year veteran of Cincinnati radio. And yes, we're talking about what is still apparently Cincinnati's number 1 PM drive time program on WLW-AM 700/Cincinnati.

We didn't catch it happening, but John Kiesewetter has this story, saying he was let go around 1:45 PM Thursday in what appears to be a contract dispute.

Apparently, Fingers actually offered to take some cuts...not bonuses, not a raise, but a CUT. The decision came from higher up, somewhere above the local level, Kiese says.

We're pretty sure this is one of those rare situations where a personality offers to take a cut in pay or benefits, only to find themselves out of a job.

Now, it appears, WLW-AM 700's PM drive program will still be hosted by Tracy Jones, but he'll be joined by WLW-AM PD Darryl what will unofficially become "The Tracy and Darryl Show"...

MAX Goes Espanol...For Some?: There's another chapter in the long history of the terrestrial version of the WOXY-FM call letters. (We'll give you that history in a moment.)

That station, located at 97.7 FM and licensed to Mason (yes, near Kings Island), has just been LMA'ed to TSJ News Incorporated, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier. (LMA means Local Marketing Agreement, a common industry term.) In this case, TSJ News Inc. will operate WOXY-FM, but First Broadcasting will retain ownership...well, for now. The agreement does give TSJ an option to buy WOXY eventually if they choose to.

What's unclear is the fate of current simulcast partner WAOL-FM 99.5/Ripley. We've heard different things (the station is included; it's not and will continue with the MAX FM format; it's not included but a new format will be launched for it)...all of which could be true. We'll double check the documents and get back to you, our readers.

We also don't know the status of personalities that are currently with the station, although we'd presume they'll just transition over to WAOL if it's not part of the LMA.

For now, this much we do know: WOXY will part with the Variety Hits format on November 1st.

Oh, and as for the history of WOXY? It was formerly targeted at Miami University students as WOXR-FM, then became WOXY-FM, transitioned to a Modern Rock format in 1983 which continued until it ceased to exist as a terrestrial station in 2004, leading to shut down in March - we'd forgotten that fact. Thanks to an anonymous commenter below for the fact-check.). First Broadcasting picked up the FM license shortly after WOXY's former owners left terrestrial radio, and it relaunched in 2005 as "MAX FM". (Another anonymous commenter below this item clarified that for us...while WOXY's former owners DID indeed end their version of WOXY on the frequency in May 2004, First Broadcasting picked it up the next day, according to our anonymous commenter. Thanks to them for THAT fact-check, also...we could not easily pick up WOXY back in those days, as they were still in Oxford and did not reach Northern Kentucky with a very good signal - at least that we ever could pick up.)

Oh, and there had been a third simulcast partner too...WAXZ-FM 97.7. That station is currently licensed to Salt Lick, KY, between Lexington and Ashland...and we don't know if it's still part of the simulcast. Heck, we can't even FIND the station in the FCC database - it simply doesn't exist there.

Whew...that's a LOT of history...