Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Insight Going All Digital - An Update

We were up early (or maybe it should be late) this morning, and were able to get more information on the upcoming transition to all-digital for Insight Cable.

It looks as if that transition is going to take place over the next couple of months, from having some TV's that are hard-wired to the wall, to having "mini-boxes" for any TV without a larger converter.

In fact, we caught an instructional video on Insight Cable channel 19. That had been C-SPAN's old channel number. (That video is now available on a newly launched website. Click here to see it.)

We had heard that the timeline for the upgrade here would be the end of the year. As far as we know, that's still active.

Stay tuned, we're going to have a lot more on this story as the upgrade date gets closer...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The 4:30 AM Birthday Follow Up

As we're celebrating a birthday today, we've got a couple things to pick up.

Your Editor is 25 years old today, something that didn't seem possible for us personally 10 years ago.

With the pleasantries out of the way, it's time to focus on a suddenly VERY crowded 4:30 AM news race...

WCPO Hops Into the Fray: Yes, the only station that had NOT declared entry into what was, when we left for Missouri, a 3 horse race at 4:30 AM, did so last week.

This entry from the Kiese Blog details why WCPO-TV 9/Cincinnati decided to hop in. ABC has given affiliates permission to, if they choose, take over the 4:30-5 AM time block, and Channel 9 has decided that with WKRC-TV 12/Cincinnati jumping in, they didn't want to be the odd station out.

With ABC getting out of the way at 4:30, ABC will move "America This Morning" to 4:00 AM. (We presume that in cities where affiliates choose not to take over at 4:30 AM, ABC will still give those affiliates a 4:30 AM lead-in to local news.) Katherine Nero, Larry Handley, and the entire crew of "Good Morning Tri-State" will lead an expanded news block at 4:30 AM.

WKRC Plans Updated: Across I-71 at 1906 Highland, it looks like the current "Good Morning Cincinnati" team at WKRC will also extend their working hours.

But we saw advertisements this morning touting that the newly expanded newscast will start not at 4:30 AM - but at 4:25 AM. And both traffic anchor Bob Herzog and AM meteorologist John Gumm posed questions to fans of their respective facebook pages to see what their fanbase thinks of the new move.

By the way, it also looks that Kit Andrews will continue to anchor the now-expanded 4-5 PM block, as well. (By the way, the above link also explains the disposition of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" - it jumps over to WXIX-TV 19/Newport.)

FOX 19 Expanding, Too...: But WXIX is planning to go the OPPOSITE direction, expanding later into the morning hours.

Kiese reports on this one too, saying that Frank Marzullo will be paired with a still-to-be-hired new anchor for a new 9-10 AM hour of what looks like a newscast geared to the stay-at-home parent. (Kiese said stay-at-home moms, but we know some dads stay home with their children, as well.) And it appears that another meteorologist will be hired to help 4:30-9 AM, too, while Rob Williams and Sheila Gray will have a limited presence in that new hour.

One has to wonder if FOX 19 News Director Matt Miller saw something he liked in Marzullo's recent stint as replacement anchor, and decided to give him a shot at a regular position...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Wheeling's "Big One" Off The Air

This is well outside our coverage area, but we're going to note this one anyway...

At this hour, WWVA-AM 1170/Wheeling, WV is still off the air due to a tower collapse. Sometime around 4:00 PM yesterday, a line of severe thunderstorms that contained winds of upwards of 70 miles per hour tore through the St. Clairsville, Ohio area, which is where WWVA's tower array is. WTRF-TV 7/Wheeling-Steubenville has more here, where they report that the National Weather Service confirms a downburst hit that area.

Those winds somehow did the damage you see in video on the webpage of WEGW-FM 107.5/Wheeling PM Driver and CC/Wheeling OM Chad Tyson.

At this point, it's unclear exactly when WWVA will get back on the air on 1170. For the time being, regular WWVA programming is being aired on sister WBBD 1400/Wheeling, except overnights and during Pittsburgh Pirates baseball games.

We'll attempt to update you as warranted, even while off on hiatus. You can also follow friend of TSMW Cindy Detro at twitter.com/cdetro who may also have updates, and for official info straight from WWVA itself, visit twitter.com/WWVA.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Mid-week Update

As we clear our plate before our (hopefully stress-free) vacation, a few notes and news pieces...

Russo Out, but is Holmes In?: We're now able to confirm what we spoke of Friday morning.

The Enquirer confirmed that Regina Russo does indeed leave FOX 19 WXIX-TV/Newport on the 21st, to take the new marketing job at the Art Museum across town. (And it literally IS across town...just on the other side of downtown from the FOX 19 studios.)

John Kiesewetter also reports that WXIX is looking at Kimberly Holmes to fill Russo's seat at 10 PM on weekends, but that she is just one candidate.

You may remember that last week we speculated that Sara Celi could be tapped...and we still think that's possible. But Holmes would also be a good choice. She did weekends in Salisbury, MD, from which she came to FOX 19.

Anyway, any speculation is just that...speculation...until we hear definite news from FOX 19.

Furman Moves Up The Dial: Also today, it's reported that Andy Furman, the host of WQRT-AM 1160/Florence's "Furman Factor" is not on this week - but yet is still on the air in Cincinnati.

Why? Well, Kiese reported this morning that Furman was asked to fill in on Fox Sports Radio for the week. He's doing 3-7 PM on WSAI-AM 1360/Cincinnati this week filling in while FSR searches for a replacement for Sean Farnham, who just quit FSR to do ESPN. Furman was scheduled for vacation from 1160 this week...but when he was asked Saturday, he jumped at the chance to do a national show.

Openly, Furman's bosses at WQRT are supportive, it seems, of him doing the national show, saying they'd miss him but "the radio station is not built around Andy".

We'll have to see, but for now, Furman says he's still scheduled to return to WQRT on Monday...

Another Reds Game Taken For National FOX TV: With the Cincinnati Reds now in a very interesting pennant race in the National League Central, FOX is cashing in with yet another national broadcast, having just done one this past Saturday night.

This time, the game will be a pivotal one in the aforementioned pennant run, as the Reds' tilt with the current NL Central leaders the St. Louis Cardinals on September 4th will now be on FOX nationwide, and NOT on Fox Sports Ohio.

FSO has decided to pick up next Wednesday's game between the two teams, instead. It'll air at 12:30 next Wednesday, August 11th with the usual "Reds Live" pregame at 12 noon. That game is a home game for Cincinnati. FSO didn't say, but we'll assume it'll be in High Definition.

We'll be on hiatus next week, but will make sure we can tweet the reminder...

Sloan Confirmed to Replace McConnell: We confirmed this item Friday night in a tweet, but some closure.

Scott Sloan does indeed move up the schedule to replace Mike McConnell, whose Chicago show debuts next Monday morning. FOX 19 had the story Friday night, before we were aware.

That, of course, still leaves a hole 9 pm to midnight...but we don't know who will air in that slot. And we can't imagine WLW going syndicated at all...it's just not them...

Columbus "Rewinds": And an item or two from markets we don't typically cover wraps up this super large update.

We were able to confirm that WODB 104.3/Richwood, Ohio and WJZA 103.5/Pickerington, Ohio paired up Friday afternoon to do 80s oldies as "Rewind 103.5/104.3".

Sound familiar?

That's because WREW 94.9/Fairfield currently does much the same thing as "Rewind 94.9".

We had thought that WODB and WJZA would somehow go talk. It fooled our cross-state colleagues at Ohio Media Watch as well as RadioInsight's Lance Venta, who had pegged the new coming format as FM talk.

But let's face it...even if Saga had wanted to do FM talk, who's out there that Saga could use for content?

Louisville No More for Cumulus: And just in to TSMW via the aforementioned RadioInsight.com, comes word that Cumulus has left the Louisville market altogether.

The move out of the market leaves WLCL-FM 93.9/Sellersburg, Indiana and WQKC-AM 1450/Jeffersonville, Indiana completely dark. At this moment, the websites http://www.classichits939.com/ and http://www.1450theticket.com/ both redirect to the Cumulus homepage.

Both signals weren't very good...WLCL was, according to RadioInsight, a Class A licensed with 2650 watts, while WQKC was 1000 watts non-directional, and both transmitters were north of Louisville.

What does this mean? At the moment, we're not sure, other than the loss of ESPN Radio from the 1450 signal, and classic hits from 93.9.

Stay tuned...this could be interesting...