Thursday, December 30, 2010

THIS JUST IN: Insight, Raycom Agree To 3 Year Deal (But Another Dispute May Loom For FOX 19 Viewers)

UPDATE 5 PM: We're hearing that the DirecTV negotiations are NOT just with Hearst. We didn't have information on this before, but apparently WXIX-TV 19 owner Raycom also has an expiring agreement with the satellite provider this weekend. Though, according to statements from DirecTV spokespeople who spoke with The State newspaper in South Carolina, the agreement renewed automatically for the next year. FOX 19 continues to run crawls about this dispute, and has slightly modified the statement they were using on their website - this was used for the Insight dispute. At this point, we cannot confirm which side is correct, but we'll find out...

We promised we'd come back if anything broke, and it did this afternoon.

Insight Communications (which is Kentucky's largest cable service provider) and Raycom Media have come to a 3 year deal to continue retransmission of 3 Raycom stations in the state. The stations involved include WXIX-TV 19/Newport, WAVE-TV 3/Louisville and WFIE-TV 14/Evansville.

Specifics on the agreement haven't been released, but we can confirm it straight from Insight's CEO, Michael Willner's blog here.

Still out there and not yet resolved are WLWT-TV 5/Cincinnati and WLKY-TV 32/Louisville owner Hearst's agreement with DirecTV as well as WSTR-TV 64/Cincinnati, WRGT-TV 45/Dayton and WKEF-TV 22/Dayton owners Sinclair Broadcast Group's deal with Time Warner. (Multichannel News reports that those often terse Sinclair/Time Warner negotiations came to more or less a total impasse Wednesday.)

But at least with this agreement, fans of FOX shows like American Idol and House won't have to worry about not being able to see them with their Insight hook-ups...although DirecTV subscribers might just have to worry about it...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Closing the Year

UPDATE 2:22 AM Christmas Eve: Local TV stations pretty much confirmed our second item of the original post Thursday afternoon... the Bengals did NOT sell out and will NOT air on WKRC-TV.

Of course, the NFL doesn't black out radio (it wouldn't likely WANT to try, anyway, as some fans do like to listen to play-by-play on the radio while at the game), so you'll still be able to hear Bengals/Chargers at 4 PM Sunday on WLW-AM 700, WCKY-AM 1530/Cincinnati and WEBN 102.7/Cincinnati, along with all other Bengals Radio Network affiliates.

As of now, and only according to the MSN TV listings, FOX 19 will have this schedule Sunday, since it has to program the 1-4 PM slot itself while other FOX affiliates carry a 1 PM game:

1-3 PM: Cadillac Man - The 1990 movie in which angry husband (Tim Robbins) catches up to a wise-guy car salesman (Robin Williams) who cons customers and women.
3-3:30 PM: Seinfeld - "The Doorman" episode from February 1995.
3:30-4:00 PM: Whacked Out Sports

The original item is below...


After this post, TSMW will go on "Holiday Hiatus" with a planned return anytime around the New Year.

But we've got a couple things that we haven't noted, that some already have...

Furman To Mornings: This has been out there for several weeks, but we're just now getting Around Tuit (tm by OMW).

Andy Furman, who currently hosts "The Furman Factor" evenings on WQRT-AM 1160/Florence, is about to make a double move...with a timeslot change, and a slight change in location.

The show will now air mornings on WQRT, starting on the 3rd of January, from 7-9 AM, broadcasting live from the Graeter's location on Fountain Square downtown. That's just about 5 blocks east (and two blocks south) of the "Real Talk" studios at WXIX-TV 19 Broadcast Plaza on 7th Street. According to FOX19 (which is co-located with WQRT), Furman plans to allow live interaction with his listeners.

We wonder if this might backfire on easy access to him could lead to harm being done to him. (And before anyone says anything, NO, we do NOT encourage anyone to attempt to do physical harm to anyone else.)

Bengals Probably Won't Sell Out: You've probably heard by now of the floods and bad weather down in Southern California, home to the Bengals' opponent this weekend, the San Diego Chargers. In fact, their stadium has flooded, which raised fears that the Poinsettia Bowl wouldn't go on tonight at 8 PM EST.

Since the Chargers are here this weekend, that means they're not impacted by any flooding issues. But Cincinnati fans won't see the game on WKRC-TV 12/Cincinnati, since they've already punted on the game (which has already taken a bump from the prime Sunday Night Football slot).

The game won't air here, meaning WKRC-TV would have to program the time themselves. Last weekend, WKRC turned to infomercials for the whole three hours, two of which were an hour long apiece. That's not going to happen this weekend - CBS has a motocross event scheduled for the 4 PM slot for those affiliates not airing a late game.

That forces WXIX to change their plans, too. They'll only be able to air half of the Fox doubleheader, at 4:05 PM when the New York Giants (who we saw collapse SPECTACULARLY last weekend) try for redemption against the Green Bay Packers, says John Kiesewetter...

WKRC, WCPO Adding Staff: In this economic time, it's great to see stations hiring people, and that's the case at the two stations that were 1-2 in November ratings. (Remember that as a rule, we don't do ratings here.) Kiese has this here, but we'll do quick summaries of each hire.

WCPO 9/Cincinnati added reporter Syed Shabbir on November 29. Shabbir comes from Topeka, KS station KTKA-TV, where he spent 18 months. Before that he'd interned at KSHB-TV/Kansas City from May-August 2008, while working toward his degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He's young, having just graduated in 2009. (We're presuming it's a Journalism degree...Neither WCPO, nor Kiese, says anything about that.)

Meanwhile, WKRC's hire hasn't yet started (he comes in Monday). He's Dan Spehler from WRTV-TV 6/Indianapolis. He'll be on the night shift, covering breaking news during the 11 PM 35 minute newscast. (We'd presume he might also be seen at 10 PM on 12.2.) Before WRTV, Spehler had been at WDTN-TV 2/Dayton and WUPW-TV 36/Toledo, and before those had served as News Director at BGTV 24 News while at Bowling Green State University working toward HIS degree (again, we're presuming he majored in Journalism).

WKRC had been looking to add this spot since before they started their 4:30 PM news September 7, so with this move, they've expanded their news staff as they expanded their news offerings...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two More Re-Transmission Agreements Expiring

UPDATE 1:35 AM EST Christmas Eve: A quick update, as we've uncovered the following statement from Insight regarding the Raycom negotiation, via this website, NOTE: Any emphasis is ours, not theirs.

"Here at Insight, our goal is to make sure you continue to receive all of the great TV programming you've come to expect from us.

"Every so often, we have to renew our contracts with programmers and broadcast companies and that is exactly what it going on right now with Raycom, the parent company of WAVE-TV in Louisville, WXIX-TV in Northern Kentucky and WFIE-TV in Evansville.

"Insight is currently negotiating with Raycom to ensure our customers get the best value for their money and we hope to reach an agreement soon.

"We negotiate hundreds of these types of deals each year and we've seen these types of tactics Raycom is employing, such as crawls running at the bottom of your TV screen, before.

"The fact is, Insight won't pull any of Raycom's stations off of our networks. Only Raycom would decide pull their channel signal from your Insight lineup.

"As a company that is has its main operations based right here and employees thousands of families in this area, Insight understands the importance of local programming. That's one reason we launched an alternative source for local weather, news and sports, called cn|2 on Insight channel 2.

"We understand that these types of tactics that Raycom is using can be disconcerting, but we are on your side, trying to negotiate a fair price with Raycom. Ultimately, these situations tend to work themselves out without any impact to customers.

"We appreciate your patience. Please check back to this site often for more updates."

Oh, and Insight CEO Michael Willner has his own post on his "Michael's Insight" blog here.

One additional note: TSMW, as a rule, doesn't spend much time on Louisville, and spends even less time on Evansville. We'd suggest subscribing to Indiana Radio Watch (which we do...Blaine, here's a free plug for you) for info on Indiana media, mainly radio (though we've seen a TV bit thrown in at times).

Now, we do not have a similar statement from DirecTV regarding the Hearst dispute that also impacts Louisville families using that service. But we do attempt to provide both sides of these issues, and that's why we've come briefly off our hiatus to update this item...

The original posting follows below.


We've got news of two more re-transmission agreements that are about to end over the New Year's Weekend...

WXIX/Insight: Yep, we've seen the crawls, too... Insight Communications in Northern Kentucky and WXIX-TV 19/Newport owners Raycom Media are working on a new agreement, as the old one ends on New Year's Eve.

WXIX has their take on the situation on this post on their website. Try as we might, we can't find a statement from Insight anywhere on their site. We'll keep looking.

Do we think WXIX will be removed from Insight systems? We're not 100 percent sure it WON'T happen. Agreements are usually reached in the final days (and in some cases hours) of the old ones expiring.

But, it's something to take note WXIX (and most likely their HD signal AND ThisTV Cincinnati) would disappear from Insight on January 1 if an agreement doesn't happen.

And for Louisville area readers: Yes, this impacts you, NBC station WAVE 3/Louisville would also disappear from Insight in THAT area...

WLWT/DirecTV: Again, we're looking for information from the DirecTV perspective...but WLWT-TV 5/Cincinnati has their perspective on their website here. In this case, the owners are Hearst Television. This agreement ends January 1, and would result in removal of WLWT from THAT provider.

Again, we're not sold on the station actually disappearing off of DirecTV.

And again, for you Louisville readers: You're impacted by THIS one, WLKY 32/Louisville is a Hearst Television-owned station, like WLWT-TV. WLKY has posted much the same statement as WLWT, with a few words changed, as a PDF file here...

JUST IN TO TSMW: Former WXIX VP and Engineer Dies

We were just watching WXIX-TV 19/Cincinnati, and caught word of this story.

A former Vice President and engineer for FOX 19 died over the weekend. James Parker was 79 years old when he passed on December 18th (Saturday).

We don't have his full history at the station (they haven't released any information, at least in their web story), but nonetheless, they mentioned it, so we're posting the news of it.

Parker's visitation will be Friday (Christmas Eve) at 10 AM with the memorial service to follow an hour later.

By the way, you can sign the online condolence book at this link.

Oh, and we do know of the WXIX/Insight negotiations. But we'll post about that separately, shortly...along with new word of yet ANOTHER agreement that may expire soon involving WLWT-TV 5.

And yes, we'll be going on our official "Holiday Hiatus" after that...but, due to the above mentioned situations with retransmission agreements, it might be shorter than normal...

Friday, December 10, 2010

An Editorial On News Coverage

DISCLAIMER: The following views are the sole views of Jeremy Moses, and are not necessarily the views of any local television station, reporter or station ownership.

There are times when we here at Tri-State Media Watch cover the human side of TV news, such as food drives, coat drives, and other things like that.

Then...there are times when we have to cover the negatives of TV news...firings, departures, and deaths.

This is a bit of both.

If you live in Cincinnati or northern Kentucky and you watch local newscasts, you know that a fire broke out in Ludlow, Kentucky last night. That's just across the river from Cincinnati, and a few minutes west of Covington. The fire took the lives of two children and their grandmother, who have since been identified. We won't reprint those names, so as to avoid causing more pain to the family.

The human side of TV news came through when WKRC-TV 12 traffic reporter Bob Herzog decided to cancel the popular "Dance Party Friday" segment for the day, saying that it just "wasn't the right time", to paraphrase his statements.

The negative? That, according to viewers, came through when reporter Angenette Levy got an interview with the father of the deceased children "just minutes", we hear, after he found out about their deaths.

I can see both sides of the latter, and commend the former. Mr. Herzog is right...doing a lighthearted segment just after news of a deadly fire doesn't look right, doesn't reflect well on any news station, and doesn't feel right to me either.

As for Ms. Levy... it might seem insensitive at first glance. But, if the father hadn't wanted to talk, he could've simply said, "No comment" or something to that effect. I suspect the reporter wouldn't have pressed the issue in this case. It's that simple.

Reporters have a human side, too. They AREN'T, despite what some people may think, trained robots sent to get the news at any cost. They're humans. They breathe, eat, sleep...and feel emotions, just like any television viewer.

I can imagine that Levy probably did NOT, in all actuality, even WANT to get those comments. If it were up to yours truly, I wouldn't want to do it. In fact, I probably would NOT have made that attempt. But I can't blame her for trying. Was it the wrong time? Yeah, probably. Could she have waited several days to get the story? Yes. It still would've had the same impact.

But again...the father wanted to talk to the station...and did so of his own free will. He's since granted interviews to the other 3 stations in town.

We have to add: This fire took place 4-5 hours before this morning's newscasts, according to news reports, happening just before 11 PM Thursday night. We don't know when Levy actually did the interview. It could have been minutes, or it could've been an hour or two. Or it could've been this morning. For all we know, Levy works early mornings - so it would've been this morning.

We don't know the family involved. But the loss of two four year old girls and their own parent has to be hitting the family hard.

As such...we do extend our sympathies and prayers to the family. And we hope that, if indeed the interview was minutes after the fire as we've heard, TV stations perhaps learn something from this...that sometimes, getting the story first will mean some backlash...