Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Director's Alert: Bye Bye Viacom on Time Warner?

Update: Both sides fold, again

In an update to a story we brought you yesterday, Viacom and Time Warner came to a virtual last second deal. We were wrong this time - and that's a good thing.

LOS ANGELES -- Just before midnight New Year's Eve, Time Warner Cable Inc. says it has reached a deal with Viacom Inc. on carriage fees, avoiding a blackout of 19 cable channels, including MTV and Comedy Central.

The two sides, citing disagreement over fee hikes, had threatened a damaging blackout at midnight that would have cut off shows such as "SpongeBob SquarePants" and "The Colbert Report" to about 15.7 million subscribers.

Shortly after agreeing to extend a midnight deadline by an hour, Time Warner Cable spokesman Alex Dudley said the sides agreed on a new contract.

Details of the deal were not immediately available.



It's turning out to be a battle between media giant Viacom and Time Warner Cable over carriage consent which expires tonight (New Year's Eve) at Midnight.

Our bet is: Time Warner customers lose Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central and 16 other channels.

Up to 13 million subscribers will see their screens go dark or to alternate programming on those channels if - I mean, when - Time Warner and Viacom fail to reach a last minute deal by midnight.

According to reports, Viacom wants an extra 23 cents a month per suscriber. Time Warner calls it an undoable deal.

Get those DVR's up and running now to record as much of Viacom's programming as possible for the kids before the end comes.

We'll have updates as receive them.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday's Bits & Pieces - 12/29/08

Here's our update of what's happening around the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center:

We're Back!

First of, we are back from a few weeks of vacation and ready to take on a new year which will be just as challenging as 2008. Hopefully, a better economy and a new direction for the nation will allow us to recover from what can only be described as a miserable local and national economy - especially with TV being so tied to the fate of the automotive industry and their large advertising budgets. Plus, we have to deal with the huge costs of the digital tv transition and a never ending need to upgrade equipment with the new technology - a challenge WKYC is ready to tackle head on in '09.

Director's Cut Reaches Another Milestone

As we approach our 2nd year on the web in January, the Director's Cut Blog has once again surpassed our expectations as your source for local news and information about WKYC. Over the holidays, we hit a quarter million page views. So, again thank you for your continued readership.

More Delays On Our New Broadcast Tower

Thanks to the crazy weather both here and where our contractors have been working on another tower raising, we are a little behind now in getting our new broadcast tower up in Parma. Once the construction begins in earnest, we need about 4 to 6 weeks to get the work finished...which puts us periously close to the transition deadline of February 17th. As Ohio Media Watch first pointed out, the station has had to request a possible extension with the FCC out of "an abudance of caution" should construction not be finished in time. In that case, we would continue broadcasting on digital channel 2 until we can make the move to digital channel 17 as soon as possible.

NBC Weather Plus Ends Its Broadcast

As we mentioned in early fall, NBC is pulling the curtain down on NBC Weather Plus this week as the channel shuts down. However, there is some good news for Weather Plus trekkies in that WKYC will continue a local version of the channel featuring a local "L" bar for your area temperatures and forecast conditions. However, this service will now be mainly seen on just our digital subchannel 3.2 instead of on your local cable company channels which will not carry the channel after this week. This feed will also be available on on the main weather page.

"Meet the Press" Holds Its Own

NBC has announced that "Meet the Press" with new host David Gregory continues to do well after its second week. This Sunday's broadcast led the Sunday morning news pack with 4.78 million viewers. ABC's "This Week" ranked second with 3.67 million viewers, followed by CBS' "Face the Nation" with 3.12 million viewers and "Fox News Sunday" with 1.57 million viewers. Gregory continues to impress viewers with his knowledge of politics and smoothness in presentation. "Meet the Press" airs Sunday mornings from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on WKYC.

From the Mailbag: Send Us Your Questions

Become part of our local television community and either post your own comments about the stories we feature or feel free to email me directly with questions you have about the programming or news product you see on WKYC.

While I can't always give secret information away - cause that would be unfair - I am thrilled to answer your general questions about the television station or listen to suggestions for new things you'd like to see featured on the blog.

You can email your questions to me:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

News: Christmas Eve & Day Programming on WKYC

CLEVELAND -- Here is a look at what's coming up just in time for Christmas on NBC and WKYC:


WEDNESDAY, 12/24 through THURSDAY, 12/25

Regular programming until 8 p.m.

"It's a Wonderful Life" - 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
"Channel 3 News at 11" - 11 p.m. to 11:35 p.m.
"Christmas Eve at St. Peter's Basillica in Rome" - 11:35 p.m. to 1:05 a.m.
"Little Shepherd" - 1:05 a.m. to 1:35 a.m.
"Meet John Doe" - 1:35 a.m to 4:00 a.m.
"Holiday Festival on Ice" - 4:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.
"Christmas at Cadllac Jack's" - 5:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.
"City That Forgot About Christmas" - 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.
"Christmas Is" - 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m.
"Today Show" - 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
"Christmas at Maxwell's" - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"Days of Our Lives" - 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
"Rachel Ray" - 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
"Hot Ice, Cool Sounds" - 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
"Wild and Wacky Christmas" - 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
"Homecoming with Jim Brickman" - 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
"NBC Nightly News" - 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
"Little Shepherd" - 7 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
"Entertainment Tonight" - 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
"Deal or No Deal" - 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
"The Office" - 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.
"Channel 3 News at 11 PM" - 11:00 p.m. to 11:35 p.m.
"The Tonight Show" 11:35 p.m.

Monday, December 22, 2008

News: A Fond Farewell to Lydia Esparra

We'd like to take a moment and say "Thank You" and "Best Wishes" to Channel 3 Weekend Anchor/Reporter Lydia Esparra who leaves us this week.

I've had the priviledge of working with Lydia since she joined us from Channel 8 and will miss her great enthusiasm, warm personality and popcorn. Yep, she always had a stash of "ready to pop" popcorn to make in the classic popcorn machine she was given after doing a story about it several years ago and kept in the Channel 3 backroom.

We wish you nothing but the best Lydia - and thanks for all the great weekend memories when I was fortunate enough to direct your weekend shows in the past.

You can reach out to Lydia on Facebook.

Photo courtesy: Carrie Young

Director's Cut Christmas Wish List

As Santa Claus gets set to make his way to the area for Christmas, I thought I'd put a few things on the Director's Cut wish list for Santa to consider.

He knows we've been good this year heaven's sake.... so -

The Top 5 List of Things We'd Like For Christmas at Channel 3

#5... A shiny, new broadcast tower

#4... A smooth transition to digital on February 17th.

#3... Better prime time shows from NBC

#2... Success for Channel 3's new direction

#1... A much better economy in 2009

Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Director's Alert: Cleveland Radio & TV Legend Dies

As reported by and our friends at Ohio Media Watch, Cleveland veteran broadcaster Bill "Smoochie" Gordon has died at the age of 83.

Ohio Media Watch says, "The Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office says Gordon was found dead in his Euclid apartment Thursday, and that the death is believed to be of natural causes."

According to the Plain Dealer's Michael Heaton article, "Gordon was known as 'Smoochie' for his signature sign-off, 'Stay smoochie, you rascal,' accompanied by a smooch of such gusto it could take the chrome off a bumper."

Gordon had over 50 years of broadcasting experience in radio and television. Cleveland was first introduced to Gordon in 1950, when he became a deejay for WHK AM after leaving Memphis, Tennessee.

Besides his work with WHK, Gordon co-hosted the "One O'Clock Club" with Dorothy Fuldheim on WEWS Channel 5 and had a conversational phone talk show on WERE AM/1300.

A native of Memphis, Gordon was a survivor of the battle of Bunker Hill in World War II and was also awarded a purple heart while in the Navy.

Although I never had the pleasure of working with Bill, I have heard many stories and good memories of one of Cleveland's legends. It's surely is a sad day.

Photo courtesy: The Plain Dealer

Spotlight Feature: The Coming of LNP

By Frank Macek

In today's tough economic environment, local newsrooms have to be smarter, more efficient and budget conscious while still gathering the same amount of content that is needed to fill hours each day on their newscasts.

But does it make sense still to have 4 local stations in the market cover the exact same general news of the day when a pool could do the same job? The answer is absolutely NOT.

Welcome to the concept of LNP or Local News Pool (or Service) - a locally developed pool system to cover the basic local news of the day - the fires, the shootings, the KFC robberies. Why send 4 reporters and 4 cameras from 4 different stations to cover the same event. In the current structure, when the story airs now, the most you'll notice is different cameras angles or sounds bites.. but does anyone care at home? That is the big question.

NBC and FOX owned and operated stations have been quietly working together to see just how fruitful sharing resources can be, without losing their own station identities, franchises or competitiveness.

In Philadelphia according to Television Week, both group operators have created an LNP which has its own set of assignment editors, reporters and shooters, selected from each station who are assigned to cover the basic news of the day. This is their job.

This pool feed is then shared between participating stations or sold to other news outlets in the market, crossing the medium to include newspaper and radio who are finding more uses for on-line video from their own websites, but can't afford their own video staff.

Stations can still pick and choose what they wish to use in their newscasts and how. Other journalists and beat reporters are freed up to work on more in depth projects where the ultimate goal is a broader depth of coverage than ever before.

Executives say this isn't so much about saving money, as it is to bringing more news and better coverage to the audience on a local level.

For years, local stations have used the same feeds from CNN or AP that act as a pool for national and international event that a local station could never cover themselves because of the cost. This same footage airs on every station...just edited differently or placed in positions in the rundown.

Now, broadcasters are understanding how that same concept can be applied to the local level as well.

I truly feel this will be next move for local stations as we head into 2009.

Cleveland is one market where such enterprising of ideas is likely to take shape, sooner than later - and by necessity. With all local stations hurting financially thanks to a lose of advertising revenue from car makers, you are going to see more cooperation between rivals in certain areas you would never have dreamed of seeing until now.

While newsrooms won't merge completely and it's highly unlikely stations will fold given they serve the public interest, the dynamics of news gathering are going to change dramatically.

Something to watch as head into 2009.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this spotlight feature are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of WKYC or Gannett.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday's Bits & Pieces - 12/17/08

Here's our update of what's happening around the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center:

Watermain Break Leaves Station High and Dry

WKYC once again is a little too close to the news on Wednesday as a large watermain break, just east of downtown Cleveland, leaves a large area without water for several hours this morning, including at WKYC. Bottled water was golden and coffee making was scarce. But in the end, everyone survived. Footage at 11.

It's Just a Test Tonight

Again, a reminder, WKYC will participate in a DTV preparation test this evening with most other Ohio TV stations that will alert over the air viewers if they are ready for the digital transition or not. The test will occur between 7:31 and 7:36 p.m. Please see our previous posting for more details.

Call for Emmy Entries

The "Emmy Call for Entries for 2008" is now available online at The entry deadline is Friday, February 20, 2009. Please note the "Call for Entries" is available on-line ONLY, and that on-line membership registration and renewal, along with on-line Emmy entry will begin December 30, 2008.

All NATAS Lower Great Lakes Chapter members who will be in the Cleveland area during the holidays are welcome to join with your Emmy friends and associates for our networking and unwinding party at the fabulous Dave and Buster's located at 25735 First Street in Westlake, OH just off I-90 at the Columbia Road exit. The big bash is scheduled for Tuesday, December 30th from 6-9 PM.

Also in a newsletter to us, we are told that all NATAS members who lost their jobs in recent staff reductions are welcome to come and network FREE!. That's right, NATAS members who recently got the ax will get in FREE ... the Chapter will pick up their admission fee. However, if you bring a guest, you will be charged for the additional person. Visit the website for more information.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

News: This Is Only A Digital TV Test...

Several Northeast Ohio Cleveland television stations will help viewers understand if they are ready or not for the big digital changeover on February 17th. This is part of coordinated test being conducted in around 30 states.

WKYC will participate in a reminder test that will occur on (tomorrow) Wednesday, December 17th from 7:31 p.m. to 7:36 p.m.

At that time, the station will broadcast a graphic on our over the air signal, that if you are see it, will tell you that your television set is NOT digital and will not receive the new digital broadcasts. You will need a converter box.

For those connected to satellite or cable - or already have the digital converter boxes for over the air broadcasts, you will continue to see regular programming.

During the test, the Ohio Association of Broadcasters will give a help-center hot line number to call with questions. The hot line will be staffed by local station engineers from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

Read more about the all digital conversion and how to get your TV ready: CLICK HERE

Ohio stations involved in the test:

Akron (Cleveland) -- WDLI-TV.
Portsmouth (Charleston, WV) -- WQCW-TV.
Sandusky (Cleveland) -- WGGN-TV.
Steubenville (Wheeling, WV) -- WTOV-TV.
Youngstown -- WFMJ-TV, WKBN-TV, WYTV-TV.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Monday's Bit and Pieces for 12/15/08

Here's our update of what's happening around the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center:

New 7 pm Broadcast Debuts Tonight

Carole Sullivan and Eric Mansfield join Channel 3 News at 7 PM for the debut of our brand new show as anchors. You'll see more interviews, longer stories and more in-depth reporting, drawing on Channel 3's experienced beat reporters and videographers. Eric and Carole both worked at the old WAKC/TV 23 in Akron at one time, so this is a reunion of sorts for them.

Weekend Anchor Changes

As you may have heard, Kim Wheeler will be taking over as solo anchor of Channel 3 News at 9 am on the weekends, while her long time co-anchor Jeff Maynor moves to the evening newsdesk as solo anchor of Channel 3 News at 6 & 11 PM begininng at the end of the month.

From the Editor's Desk...

Your blogger is taking a few weeks off from TV land to regroup, so we may not have much news to post as normal during the holidays. However, if something major develops, we'll be on it. We'll return to our normal routine on Monday, December 29th. So, I wish you the happiest of holidays and hope for 2009.

Friday, December 12, 2008

News: New WKYC Blogs

As part of the WKYC Information Center, several of our staff members are doing a little bloggin' of their own.

Here are another few new blogs to check out when you get a little web surfing time.

For more blogs from the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center: CLICK HERE

Many of our staff members also have profiles on Facebook. You can sign up for a free account and join our groups to interact with many of us online about the station and the news stories we cover. Just search "WKYC". To join Facebook: CLICK HERE

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursday's Bits and Pieces - 12/11/08

Here's our update of what's happening around the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center:

Tim's Final Day at WKYC is Friday

Join Channel 3 News at 6, 7 & 11 PM for WKYC Anchor Tim White's final appearance on the big broadcasts. As previously reported, Tim and WKYC were not able to reach agreement on a new contract. Beginning Monday, Romona Robinson will solo anchor the 6 & 11 PM newscasts, while Carole Sullivan and Eric Mansfield take over the anchor desk at 7 PM. Meteorologist Betsy Kling and Sports Anchor Jim Donovan remain on all 3 broadcasts.

Update: New Tower Rising Soon

WKYC will likely start assembly of our new broadcast tower in Parma next week as we get set to make our digital switch to Digital Channel 17 on February 17, 2009. The brand new tower will support antennas for both WKYC and WVIZ right next to our current tower location. After the transition is complete, the old tower will be brought down which currently transmits WKYC-TV 3 on analog and Digital Channel 2. So, keep an eye out for a new stick poking skyward like the "moon rising over Parma."

Jimmy Fallon Preview "Late Night" on Web Site

The future of "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" is least on-line. Jimmy has started taping video blogs with a behind the scenes preview of the show and his warm up to the big time. Jimmy will take over for Conan O'Brien, who moves to "The Tonight Show" starting in early 2009. Each of Jimmy's "vlogs" are available each weeknight at 12:30 a.m. Check out:

Gannett Says Revenue Down, More Job Cuts Coming

Gannett executives speaking on Thursday at a UBS Media and Communication conference said 2008 reveiw will fall to $6.8 billion, down from $7.4 billion last year - according to a report today in the New Mexico Business Weekly.

Craig A. Dubow, chairman, president and chief executive officer discussed the impact of the difficult economic environment but stressed: “Our philosophy and operating premise is that we have been in bad times before and we know how to manage through them. We are doing that aggressively now, while continuing to execute on our strategic plan. We believe these steps will prepare us for the return of the economy."

Like other media publishing companies, Gannett has been hit hard by falling advertising revenue in 2008 with jobs cuts across both its publishing and broadcast business.

The company also warned, according to the published report, that it is planning more job cuts into 2009 - although executives hope those numbers will be in the "mid to high single digits" next year for its broadcasting division.

You can read more of Gannett's press release today: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From the Wires: Screen Actors Guild Sets Strike Vote on January 2nd

Just in time for the new year, the Screen Actors Guild is getting ready to call for a strike vote. Will 2009 be a repeat of the Writer's Strike that brought network show productions to a screeching halt?

If the actors are smart, they'll settle this before the put us all out of business. In these lean times, we all must compromise.


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The Screen Actors Guild says it will send strike authorization ballots to its 120,000 members on Jan. 2.

The votes will be counted on Jan. 23, which will not be in time to potentially disrupt the Golden Globe Awards like the writers' strike did last year.

Approval by 75 percent of members is required to pass the measure. If approved, the SAG national board can call a strike.

Guild President Alan Rosenberg said in a statement Wednesday that the future of professional actors is at stake. The guild remains at odds with Hollywood studios over treatment of Internet productions and actor benefits in the event of unplanned work stoppages.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Director's Alert: Jay Leno to Stay at NBC; Launch new 10 p.m. show in Fall 2009

Update: 12/9/08 - It's Now Official!

NEW YORK -- Jay Leno is staying at NBC, and he's moving to prime time.

The network announced on the "Today" show Tuesday that Leno will host a show on weeknights at 10 p.m. Eastern, after he leaves the "Tonight" show. The network had announced earlier that Conan O'Brien would move to the "Tonight" show and succeed Leno.

The deal not only prevents Leno from moving to another network and competing with O'Brien, it also has the potential to be a big cost savings for NBC.

Dramas at 10 p.m. Eastern used to be a mainstay of network schedules, but they have been fading -- particularly on NBC. One reason is digital video recorders; more people are watching shows they taped earlier than the live 10 p.m. shows.

The deal was first reported Tuesday in The New York Times.

Our Original Posting from 12/8/08

Things at NBC are moving fast and we have learned another piece of the puzzle which seems to be coming together quickly.

The Director's Cut Blog has learned that Jay Leno will stay with NBC and launch a new 10 p.m. broadcast in the Fall of 2009.

TV reports this evening that Jay has apparently signed a multi-year deal to do a Monday through Friday talk/variety show at 10 p.m. weeknights, leaving the network with 5 less additional hours to program each week.

The announcement is expected on Tuesday, with NBC declining comment.

This new program would keep Jay at the network, give him a substantial pay increase and keep Conan O'Brien happy as the new host of "The Tonight Show" starting this summer.

Jay had been expected to jump to ABC or FOX.

News: Could NBC Be Closer to Changing Its Prime Time Strategy?

Earlier this year, we discussed on the Director's Cut Blog about the possibility of NBC changing its prime time strategy as the network finds itself with very disappointing numbers. At that time, we suggested the network may reduce the hours or the days it programs, more in line with the Fox TV model.

Finally, NBC Universal chief Jeff Zucker said Monday afternoon that it's a very realistic possibility. All options are now on the table for the struggling network which has yet to regain significant footing.

According to today's Hollywood Reporter, Jeff made the comments as part of Monday's keynote at the annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.

"Can we continue to broadcast 22 hours in prime time? Three of our competitors don't," Zucker said. "Can we continue to broadcast seven days a week? One of our competitors doesn't."

Again, we have nothing specific on this more than what we read...but scaling back prime time to 2 hours (from 8 to 10 pm) would certainly allow NBC affiliates a better advantage for late news by shifting to a 10 p.m. newscast as ONE possibility.

The other possibility with a 2 hour prime time schedule from 9 to 11 p.m. would be to give local station's another hour in early prime to program locally.

This is something to watch carefully in 2009.

To read more from the Hollywood Reporter: CLICK HERE

From the Wires: Tribune files for bankruptcy protection

While the following story doesn't affect WKYC or parent company, Gannett, it is an indicator of how bad things are getting for the media industry in this recession.

NEW YORK (AP) -- Media conglomerate Tribune Co. has filed for bankruptcy protection.

The owner of the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Cubs and other properties has $13 billion in debt.

Severe reductions in advertising this year because of the recession has put pressure on the company. Most of its debt comes from the complex transaction in which the company was taken private by real estate mogul Sam Zell last year.

Although the next major principal payment isn't due until June, analysts say Tribune has been in danger of missing lender-imposed financial targets.

Tribune made the filing Monday in bankruptcy court in Delaware.

Friday, December 05, 2008

News: High Def Camcorder A Great Gift This Holiday Season

Time to stuff those stockings with some great new holiday gifts this year. If you are technie, like me, you'll be interested in a High Definition, pocket sized camcorder this holiday season.

It's the new Flip minoHD, the world's smallest high definition camcorder that takes video that can only be described as breathtaking, considering it's coming from a camera so small it fits in a shirt pocket.

NBC reporter Mike Wendland has a demonstration:

Thursday, December 04, 2008

News: David Gregory Likely New Host of "Meet the Press"

Update: David Gregory was offically introduced as the new host of "Meet the Press" as we mentioned in our previous article last week.
The New York Post reported today that NBC has apparently settled on David Gregory as the new host of Sunday morning's "Meet the Press." The problem is someone leaked the information to the media before NBC wanted it out, which is to come this week when Tom Brokaw will pass the chair to David.

As we reported earlier, Brokaw's last show as moderator is to be this Sunday, December 7th.

This leak has led the network brass to be a little cranky and refusing to confirm or deny that Gregory is its choice. However, given the star power of Gregory, we are pretty certain he's got the job.

The Post also reports that NBC Political Director Chuck Todd, himself a contender for the job, may have been the source of the early announcement.

Stay tuned on this soap opera. We wonder aloud why everyone seems to think keeping secrets can be done in this new age of bloggers and new media. Being open and honest can do more good than harm.

"Meet the Press" airs Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. on WKYC.

Read more from the New York Post: CLICK HERE

News: Think Smart This Holiday Season When Shopping for a New TV

By Frank Macek

Go green this holiday season and beware of how much energy that new television is going to use.

Unlike years past, most newer tvs are more efficient thanks to new standards being implemented this month by the government to lower energy waste.

Consumers will save hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, in wasted energy during the life of a new tv set. Many people think that TVs don't use energy when they are turned off...but they do if left plugged in. In fact, most household appliances and computer equipment devour energy when not used.

Today's new TVs are required to be 30% more efficient. And overall, LCD sets consume less power than plasma tvs. So as you shop for that new set this holiday season, think smart - think green - and save yourself money in the long term.

Tracy Davidson has more on this:

Director's Alert: Anchor Changes Made at WKYC

WKYC announced Thursday that Carole Sullivan and Eric Mansfield will be moving to the 7 PM anchor desk soon as Channel 3 continues to "re-define" local television in a way that will have a positive effect on our community during tough times.

Carole returned to Channel 3 in a part-time capacity after moving to Michigan with her husband. Prior to that, she was the morning news anchor with Jon Anderson at WKYC.

Eric Mansfield has been Channel 3's Akron Canton Newsroom Chief and former anchor of the Channel 3 produced "Akron Canton News" which ended earlier this spring.

Both will bring a fresh new approach to our 7 pm newscast while Channel 3 News Anchor Romona Robinson will handle the 6 & 11 pm broadcasts as newsrooms across the nation begin shifting away from traditional two anchor teams for their newscasts.

While times are difficult, we look forward to the new challenges that our business has to offer and the opportunity this presents us in television to re-invent ourselves.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

News: Holiday Programming on WKYC

WKYC and NBC are all set to ring in the holidays and new year with plenty of holiday themed programming.

These shows will include special editions of "My Name Is Earl," "The Office" and "ER" and more traditional specials including airing of "Miracle on 34th Street" and "New Year's Eve with Carson Daly."

For a list of what's airing through the end of the month of December: CLICK HERE

News: Christmas in Rockefeller Center Tonight at 8 PM

NBC heralds the arrival of the holidays with a dazzling display of musical talent and the lighting of the world's most famous Christmas tree during the 11th annual "Christmas in Rockefeller Center" telecast.

Hosted by Al Roker ("Today"), the star-studded 76th annual tree lighting extravaganza will feature musical superstars such as Beyonce, Tony Bennett, Neil Boyd, the Jonas Brothers, Harry Connick Jr., David Cook, Rosie O'Donnell and the Broadway Kids, Faith Hill, Rascal Flatts, and Solange Knowles as they perform current hits and holiday classics from Rockefeller Center in New York City.

Here's a preview:

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

News: Online Viewers Attention Span Very Short

Since online is becoming more and more a part of our daily lives in the newsroom business, it might be helpful to keep in mind some basic research to make your efforts most beneficial.

In short, brevity is best!

Advertisers who buy online post-roll ads may want to read this. Online video distribution/measurement service Tube Mogul studied the issue of follow thorough, measuring what percentage of videos clicked on are actually watched until the end. A sample of 188,055 videos on 6 top sites (YouTube was not one of them) found that 10.39% of viewers clicked away after just 10 seconds and that over half of the audience left after one minute.

The longer the video, the quicker erosion; all but 16.62% of the audience left the building by the end of a 3-minute clip. Tube Mogul notes that the research indicates that overlay ads should also be placed as early as possible within the video stream.

Audience Attention Span

Video length    % of Audience who watched the entire video
10 sec.                   89.61%
20 sec.                   80.41%
30 sec.                   66.16%
60 sec.                   46.44%
 2 min.                   23.71%
 3 min.                   16.62% 
 5 min.                    9.42%

Source: Tube Mogul & Cynposis

Wanted: Your Favorite Holiday Lights Photos and Video

Once again, WKYC and WKYC.COM are looking for the best holiday lighting displays around northern Ohio to feature on Channel 3 News at 11 PM.

Please visit the following link where you can upload your photos or find more useful information about the holidays including recipes, activities and the cutest costume contest from our "Moms Like Me" and the ulimate Metromix Cleveland guide to the Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and the winter wonderland that is C-town: CLICK HERE

You can also view photos that other users have sent us: CLICK HERE

Happy Holidays from all of us at WKYC and WKYC.COM!

Monday, December 01, 2008

Video Gem: Getting into the Holiday Spirit

Our video gem tonight comes to us courtesy of Betsy Kling who found this on You Tube from

It doesn't get much better than this folks!

Friday, November 28, 2008

News: Brokaw Ending Tenure on "Meet the Press"

TV Week is reporting today that Tom Brokaw's last day as moderator of "Meet The Press" will most likely be on Dec. 7, according to the New York Times. Brokaw filled in as the interim moderator after the death of Tim Russert in June, and there has been much public speculation as to who will be the show's next permanent host. However, according to the Times, NBC News is still determining who that replacement will be.

A lot of speculation has been placed on possible replacements including NBC's David Gregory, NBC Political Director Chuck Todd, PBS's Gwen Ifill, or Discovery's Ted Koppel who is leaving that network before the end of his planned contract.

News: Theft of big-screen TVs on the rise

AKRON -- Thousands will spend millions to buy them on "Black Friday" weekend, but if you get one, you might not be the only one watching it.

Akron Police are investigating more than 100 home thefts of big-screen TVs over the last two-and-a-half months.

Now officers are warning owners to take precautions so that they're not advertising their high-tech gadgets to opportunistic thieves.

"Maybe at least close their blinds," said Lt. Charles Brown, Akron Police. "Potential burglars can look inside and see the flat-screen TV, and they can also possibly see where you're at in the homes."

While many owners might be overconfident that the size of a big-screen television would be a deterrent, Brown warns that thieves have little trouble hauling the big, sometimes bulky, television set out of your house.

Police also suggest that you turn on your television at night, and then walk out to your sidewalk to see if you can see the television through the front windows. If you can see it, so can the bad guys, Brown said.

He also suggests that residents work with their existing block watch programs and use home alarm systems if they them.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Spotlight Feature: Are These Ads Too Much?

Special to the Director's Cut
By Kristine Frazao

Using sex to sell is not exactly a new advertising tool but when it's in the middle of the shopping mall, some shoppers say retailers are taking it too far.

Outside Fredricks of Hollywood at Horton Plaza in San Diego, California, there is a sign that's making some shoppers blush. On the windows of Victoria's secret - a similar sight, though some say it's not so bad.

SDSU Marketing Professor Mickey Belch says over the last few years, the FCC has loosened their standards when it comes to advertising on television and the trend is trickling down.

"For the longest time you couldn't even show a woman in a bra in advertising," said SDSU marketing professor Mickey Belch. "You could show the bra, you could show a woman with a sweater on with the bra over top. You couldn't show a bra."

Even though these stores specialize in bras and underwear, some asking if it's just the underwear they're selling?

"It's inappropriate," said shopper Martha Protzman. "They can put it inside the store and not out where all the children are walking by."

And then there are those who say the ad is offensive yes - but for a different reason. "I'm just upset that my butt doesn't look like that," said shopper Jennifer Courson.

Westfield Shopping town owns Horton Plaza. Their spokesperson Steve Fluhr released this statement about controversial ads outside tenant stories in their mall. "It's up to each store how they use their advertising space. Both of the stores mentioned are lingerie shops and they are advertising for the goods they sell. As long as what is being advertised is not illegal, the mall does not involve itself."

Bits and Pieces for Wednesday 11/26/08

Here's our update of what's happening at the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.

Thanksgiving Day Holiday Programming Schedule 11/27:

9 AM to 12 PM: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
12 PM to 2 PM: National Dog Show Presented by Purina
2 PM to 4 PM: NBC Movie: "Miracle on 34th Street"

NBC Announces Midseason Premiere Dates

NBC has revealed midseason premiere dates for new and returning series starting during the month of January:

January 4 - Superstars of Dance at 9 PM (Finale air 1/26/09 at 8 PM)
January 6 - The Biggest Loser: Couples at 8 PM
January 9 - Howie Do It at 8 PM
January 16 - Friday Night Lights at 9 PM

Best Wishes to Jennifer Murphy and Bill Safos

Our best wishes from the Director's Cut blog to two long time employees: Jennifer Murphy and Bill Safos as they pursue new opportunities in their lives. Your blogger had the pleasure of working with both of them at Channel 3 News for a number of years. They are both true professionals and leave us with some great memories, stories and fun times.

We wish them both well.

From the Editor's Desk...

We wish you nothing but the happiest of Thanksgiving Holidays. Stay safe, stay sober and thanks for being part of our blog.

News: Elvis Is Alive Afterall and Working at 'KYC

After all these years working at Channel 3...and all the reported sightings of Elvis - well, I have to admit, this one makes me a believer that Elvis lives.

WKYC Akron Canton Newsroom Chief and Anchor Eric Mansfield discovers he has God given talent that will serve him well in another life - or did in a past life, perhaps.

Eric is starring in the Weathervane Playhouse of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

As Eric tells us, "If you're familiar with the show, you know that it's the Old Testament story of Joseph and his brothers .. and eventually Joseph is taken to Egypt where he becomes an advisor to Pharoah. With constantly-changing musical genres, Joseph finds Pharaoh to be Elvis ... hence my get-up."

So, Elvis Akron and he's Eric Mansfield in disguise. And, now you know.

Read more on Eric's Blog "Have I Got News For You":

Monday, November 24, 2008

News: USA Today to cut about 20 newsroom jobs

McLEAN, Virginia -- Ken Paulson, editor of the nation's largest newspaper, told staff in a memo Sunday evening that USA Today plans to cut about 20 newsroom jobs early next month.

USA Today is owned by WKYC parent company Gannett.

That's almost a 5 percent cut from a newsroom that employs about 450.

The newspaper cut about 45 newsroom jobs last November, and other papers owned by its parent, McLean, Va.-based Gannett Co., endured two rounds of layoffs this year, in August and October.

The newspaper industry is struggling, not just because of the weak economy but also from a years-long decline in circulation and the migration of advertising dollars to the Internet.

Gannett stock closed at $7.29 on Monday, up 15.35%

Source: The Asssociated Press

Director's Alert: Former WKYC Anchor Husband Sentenced in Philadephia is reporting this afternoon that former CBS3 Philadelphia anchor Larry Mendte (and husband of former WKYC Anchor Dawn Stensland) has been seentenced to 3 years probation, 6 months home confinement, 250 hours community service, computer monitoring plus a fine.

We first began following this story right after Memorial Day when Mendte's home was raided by the FBI and was determined he had hacked into the email accounts of his one-time KYW colleague Alycia Lane.

Again, we wish to stress that Dawn was in no way found to be involved in Larry's email hacking, nor had any knowledge of it.

For more on this breaking development, CLICK HERE

Friday, November 21, 2008

Video Gem: Are We Getting the Analog to Digital Message Out?

We came across this video that seems to sum up everything we are doing to inform the public about the February 17, 2009, transition to digital television. Question is, are we getting the message across? We Report, You Decide... take a look:

WKYC Anchor Heads Down the Red Carpet with Actor Will Smith

CLEVELAND -- Actor Will Smith came to Cinemark Valley View theater for a red carpet appearance to promote his new movie "Seven Pounds" and benefit the Cleveland Food Bank.

As part of the event, Smith donated 200 turkeys to the Cleveland Food Bank for the holiday season.

Channel 3 News Anchor Romona Robinson walked Smith down the red carpet and got a one-on-one interview with him.

Click here to see photos from the premiere.

"Seven Pounds" premieres nationwide on Dec. 19.


Romona Robinson's live report from the red carpet

Romona Robinson's full one-on-one interview with Will Smith

Thursday, November 20, 2008

News: WKYC Assistant News Director Named to Board of the Press Club of Cleveland

Congratulations to WKYC Assistant News Director Howard Fencl for his recent appointment to the Board of Directors for the Press Club of Cleveland.

The Press Club of Cleveland unites news-breakers and news-makers through a variety of social and educational activities. By becoming a member, you will have opportunities to make friends and business contacts, as well as to participate in the annual Excellence in Journalism Awards.

Howard tells the Director's Cut Blog that he is excited about his appointment, "and that going forward I'd like to expand membership to embrace new media."

Howard has been Assistant News Director since September 2007 and just finished up graduate work at Hiram College earlier this spring as he keeps his hand in education, as well.

From the Wires: Study links fast-food TV ads to childhood obesity

ATLANTA (AP) -- A restaurant industry spokeswoman says a new study linking obesity and fast-food ads is based on old information.

At issue is a study suggesting that banning fast-food ads on TV could reduce the number of obese young children by 18 percent. The number of obese older kids could drop by 14 percent.

The study is based in part on several years of government survey data from the late 1990s. A spokeswoman for the National Council of Chain Restaurants says restaurant menus have changed a lot since then, including healthier options.

She also argues that parents -- not kids -- have control over most of a family's food spending.

The study is being published this month in the Journal of Law & Economics.

Source: The Associated Press

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spotlight Feature: Holiday Ads Taking a Softer Approach This Year

With the holidays fast approaching, retailers are taking a softer approach to draw customers to their stores and websites. In addition to deep discounts, retailers are rolling out commercials that focus on the emotions of the holiday season.

This holiday, Santa Claus and all things merry and bright may hold the key to what motivates consumer spending. They are the hugs and other emotions that tug at heartstrings and if retailers get their wish, wallets too.

From department stores to discounters, the trend this season in advertising, a soft-sell approach with messages reflective of the tough economic times and the spirit of the season.

"What retailers try to do is they try to make an emotional connection with the consumer, by bringing campaigns that bring a lot of nostalgia. You give people that warm and fuzzy feeling of the way things used to be," said Mike Gatti, executive director of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association.

Sears is tapping into the memory of the wishbook, with home improvement items at the top of the list. Wal-Mart is simply lighting up the checkout aisles. The subtle ads are a far cry from last year when luxury gifts were the must-haves, and retailers, including Harley Davidson put the emphasis on indulgence.

This year, analysts are predicting one of the worst shopping seasons in more than a decade. "It's going to be a tight Christmas this year with everything that is going on in the economy and the job market and whatnot," said consumer Paul dye. An estimated seven out of 10 consumers are trying to stretch their dollar.

"We are trying to make sure we are doing some smart spending instead of overspending this year," said consumer Rasheka Wheeler.

And although soft-sell ads are nothing new Budweiser rolled out the Clydesdales in the 80's their return is a reminder that this holiday less may be more.

Retailers may get a good indication of how much consumers will spend on black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season.

Courtesy: NBC News

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday's Bits and Pieces - 11/18/08

Here's our daily update of what's happening at the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.

Tonight's WKYC Evening Programming Schedule:
6:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 6 PM
6:30 PM: NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams
7:00 PM: The Point After
8:00 PM: Biggest Loser: Families
10:00 PM: Law & Order: Special Victim's Unit
11:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 11 PM
11:35 PM: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (Guests: Larry the Cable Guy; Chris Matthews; Adele)

"The Point After" Tonight at 7 PM

Channel 3 Sports celebrates last night's big last minute win over the Buffalo Bills with a special "The Point After" broadcast tonight at 7 PM featuring the radio voice of the Browns Jim Donovan, former Browns Coach Sam Rutigliano, The Plain Dealer's Tony Grossi and Jim's radio partner and former Browns player Doug Dieken. You can watch the show on-line beginning at 7 PM on

Thanksgiving Programming on WKYC

WKYC is all set to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday as well with special programming on NBC and Channel 3 all next week. A bevy of series will celebrate the most festive time of the year including "The Office," "ER," "My Name Is Earl," "30 Rock," "Kath & Kim" "The Biggest Loser: Familes" and "Deal or No Deal." For Thanksgiving, WKYC is offering up the "82nd Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade" from 9 am until noon on Thursday, November 27th. That will be followed by "The National Dog Show Presented by Purina" from noon to 2 p.m.

For a complete list of our Thanksgiving week specials: CLICK HERE

NBC's HULU Catching up to YouTube

Online video joint venture Hulu will catch up to YouTube in U.S. ad sales despite having more than 10 times the unique user base (83 million vs. 6 million), according to a forecast from digital media research firm Screen Digest. Screen estimates YouTube will notch $100 million in U.S. ad sales this year, compared to $70 million for Hulu, while each will post $180 million in U.S. ad revenues in 2009. If you haven't tried Hulu: CLICK HERE

Don't Forget...

You can follow the Director's Cut Blog on "Twitter" anytime. Our twitter address is

Friday, November 14, 2008

News: AT&T Launches a Super DVR

The first digital video recorders started popping up in American households in 1999. Now, about 20 million people have DVRs.

On Tuesday, AT&T unveiled a new DVR that expands the machine's capabilities.

AT&T's new DVR works anywhere in the home from one location and can record four shows at once. It also has another feature in which one can pause a recorded show and start watching it again in another room.

As many as seven TVs can be connected to one unit. Prices for the new DVR range from $40 to $160 per month, which includes Internet service.

Source: NBC Newschannel

News: hhGregg Stores Helping Educate You This Weekend About DTV

We are less than 100 days from the conversion to digital television (DTV) and if you have questions, you are not alone.

That's why WKYC is teaming up with hhGregg to educate viewers on what they need to do to be ready for the switch to DTV.

This weekend, all northeast Ohio hhGregg stores will be providing live, hands-on demonstrations with converter boxes, television sets and printed instructional handouts. To locate your nearest store: CLICK HERE

They'll give customers all the information they need to get tuned in for digitial television. The stores will also have special deals for Channel 3 viewers.

Stores are open Saturday from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

News: WKYC's Tom Meyer Inducted into Journalism Hall of Fame

The bad guys fear him. We all love him at Channel 3. He's Tom Meyer - "The Investigator."

As we told you earlier this week, Tom was inducted into the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame by the Press Club Thursday evening at LaCentre in Westlake. Tom was among a group of award-winning journalists recognized for their outstanding contributions.

In nearly 35 years in TV - 30 of them in Cleveland - Tom's chased down many a bad guy. He's been pushed, shoved, spat on, and even punched in the face in pursuit of a story. But he's never backed down.

Tom works his sources like few other reporters. And he has lots of sources, from top government officials to low-ranking union workers. His cell phone - programmed with the Illini fight song, his alma mater - rings constantly.

The first thing you notice when you walk into Tom's office inside the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center are the shiny Emmy Awards lining his shelves - a total of 54 - and more than any other reporter in Northeast Ohio.

Tom told the Director's Cut blog that "when I look at past inductees…people like Dorothy fuldheim, Dick Feagler, Virgil Dominic, pulitzer prize winner Connie Schulz, Brent Larkin... just to name a few... I consider this award to be very special. I'm truly honored to be included in this distinguished group of people."

"I feel it takes a lifetime to become a good reporter, but this honor tells me that there are some pretty cool people who think I'm doing something right and that I'm headed in the right direction," Tom added.

All of us at WKYC offer Tom our congratulaions for hard work and dedication.

Our special thanks to Susan Vinella, Tom's producer, for contributing to this story.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thursday's Bits and Pieces - 11/13/08

Here's our daily update of what's happening at the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.

Tonight's WKYC Evening Programming Schedule:
6:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 6 PM
6:30 PM: NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams
7:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 7 PM
8:00 PM: My Name Is Earl
8:30 PM: Kath & Kim
9:00 PM: The Office
9:30 PM: 30 Rock
10:00 PM: ER
11:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 11 PM
11:35 PM: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

WKYC and HH Gregg Team This Weekend

Are you counting down the days to the DTV transition? Is your TV set ready for the big change. WKYC is teaming up with our friends at HH Gregg this Saturday and Sunday at all locations across Northeast Ohio. We'll have hands on demonstrations about how to get your old TV set hooked up and tuned in for All Digital Television coming this February. Of course, it wouldn't be a bad idea to buy a new HD TV in the process and enjoy the best television has to offer, picture quality wise.

A Bad Economy Could Be Good For Local Viewership

With a worsening economy, one benefit for local television stations, including WKYC - in fact, the only benefit we see at the moment - could be an increase in viewership. People are tightening their budgets on things like eating out, movie theaters, other entertainment and activities that take them away from their homes and TV sets. However, the wild card in this is all remains how many choices are available to viewers, with more being unveiled regularly from satellite, the internet and such.

More Women Coming to NBC and WKYC on Saturday Nights

The popularity of Tina Fey as Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live has caused the show to add more women to its cast of characters. First is Abby Elliott who is the daughter of comedian Chris Elliott and a former member of the Upright Citizens Brigade. Also added to the show is Michaela Watkins who has done several guest spots on comedy shows in addition to performing with the Groundlings. (Courtesy Variety)

NBC Renews "Days Our Lives"

NBC made a commitment with Sony Pictures Television to keep 43-year old daytime soap "Days of Our Lives" on the air for another 18 months, reports Variety. NBC's production agreement for "Days" was due to expire next March and with this new extension the soap will air through September 2010 with another year tacked on if certain parameters on the show are met taking it to September 2011. The previous production contract between Sony and Corday Productions was for five years and the new shorter time frame points to NBC's possible reluctance to keep funding the daytime drama which reportedly costs $1.7-$1.8 million per week. The new contract also includes possible casting changes. (Courtesy: Cynposis & Variety)

NBC Cancels "Enemy" and "Lipstick Jungle"

NBC has had enough of "My Own Worst Enemy" and "Lipstick Jungle" after dismal fall performances by both shows. The Christian Slater show sank to a 1.8 national rating among the coveted 18 to 49 year olds according to Nielsen. Brooke Shields couldn't help her show much either with a 1.2 rating this week...translating into only 3.3 million viewers - although Lipstick did better this week than last.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Director's Alert: Former Voice of NBC News Howard Reig Dies

NBC News has announced that long-time Nightly News announcer Howard Reig has passed away in Venice, Florida. He was 87.

Howard was the voice of Nightly News from John Chancellor to Brian Williams, but that was just part of a long and varied career. He had the distinction of being the first staff announcer employed by General Electric and the last. In over 63 years in the business he was a radio actor, hosted live big band shows and got to know Duke Ellington in his prime. He was an on air pitch man who shared the screen with J Fred Muggs and voiced some of the more well-known commercials of the 60s.

He is survived by his 4 children and 5 grandchildren.

For more on the career of Howard Reig including his classics commercials, a photogallery and more, visit his website:

Photo Courtesy: NBC News

Wednesday's Bits and Pieces - 11/12/08

Here's our daily update of what's happening at the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.

Tonight's WKYC Evening Programming Schedule:
6:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 6 PM
6:30 PM: NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams
7:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 7 PM
8:00 PM: Knight Rider
9:00 PM: Life
10:00 PM: Law & Order
11:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 11 PM
11:35 PM: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Check Out the New Channel 3 News Sponsor Tonight

Channel 3 News has a new sponsor starting tonight at 6 PM. Be sure to tune in to see another one of our really cool high definition opens. Most of these billboard opens are still created in house, then married to our new Gannett news opens. So far, our past sponsors have included Ford Flex, Ford Lincoln, Time Warner Cable and others.

Station History Updated on WKYC.COM

For those of your interested in WKYC's 60 years of on-air broadcasting, we have updated our station history page on including a look at some of our major accomplishments over the years, station slogans, news slogans and more. WKYC first signed on the air at WNBK-Channel 4 on October 31, 1948. To read more about our history, visit our website and click on "Station History" under the "About Us" tab or CLICK HERE

Half Way Through November Sweeps

Hard to believe, we are at the halfway point of November sweeps already. Numbers are looking good for Channel 3's 6 & 11 PM shows, despite the switch to Local People Meters (LPMs) which have been a little controversial since their launch on August 28th in Cleveland. With LPMs, demographics become more important than households as broadcast shares tend to decline, persons using TV (PUTs) go up and daily numbers tend to be volatile. The November book ends November 26th.

McCain a Winner On Leno Last Night

According to Nielsen, former Republican presidential candidate John McCain was a winner for Jay Leno and NBC last night, coming exactly one week after losing the election. McCain's first post-election interview gave Jay his best Nielsen household outing in 10 months, averaging a 4.9 rating/12 share.

Digital TV Doesn't Mean HD TV...Though Viewers Think So

A new study by Frank N. Magid Associates show that twenty-nine percent of respondents believe all TV programming will be presented in HD after the digital transition takes place in February 2009. A total of 96 percent of all consumers ages 21 and older say they have heard something about the pending digital transition. But not everyone has taken the steps necessary to be prepared for the upcoming change. The survey found that 59 percent of all consumers say they have what they need to receive local broadcast TV signals on Feb. 17, 2009. This proportion drops to 40 percent among households at greatest risk - those which rely solely on over-the-air signals for their TV programming.

For more on this study:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday's Bits and Pieces - 11/11/08

Here's our daily update of what's happening at the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.

Tonight's WKYC Evening Programming Schedule:
6:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 6 PM
6:30 PM: NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams
7:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 7 PM
8:00 PM: Biggest Loser: Families
10:00 PM: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
11:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 11 PM
11:35 PM: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Back in the Office

Sorry for the lack of updates on Friday and Monday. Your blogger took a nice long weekend trying to get those darn leaves all blown into my neighbor's yard. Mission accomplished.

Channel 3's "The Investigator" Gets Another Title

One of Ohio's most honored investigative reporters, Tom Meyer, will get to add the title of member of the Journalism Hall of Fame. Tom will be inducted this Thursday evening at LaCentre in Westlake for his 30 years of service in broadcasting. During this time, he has won 53 regional Emmy Awards and more than 150 other awards, including best TV reporter in Ohio three times by the Associated Press Society of Ohio. Congratulations Tom.

Tim McGraw to Host "Saturday Night Live"

Live from New York! It's Tim McGraw. His spokeswoman, Jessie Schmidt, says McGraw will host NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on November 22, joining a short list of country stars, including Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton, to host the show. McGraw's hits include "Live Like You Were Dying," "Where the Green Grass Grows" and his latest, "Let It Go." He co-stars with Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon in the upcoming holiday movie "Four Christmases," due out later this month.

More Bad News for TV Advertising

In the face of a rapidly deteriorating economy, the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB) Tuesday lowered its revenue forecast for television stations for next year, projecting total spot sales would fall 7 to 11 percent. Breaking down the total, TVB said local spots would be down 4 to 8 percent next year and national spots would fall between 11.5 and 15.5 percent. The TVB's earlier September forecast had pegged local at flat (between +2 percent and -1 percent) and national down 7 to 10 percent.

Legendary Indians Pitcher/Announcer Herb Score Dead at 75

Former Cleveland Indians pitcher and the team's long time broadcaster Herb Score has died at the age of 75. Score passed away after battling various illnesses the last few years. He most recently had pneumonia and had been hospitalized off and on before returning home recently.

He was one of the greatest Indians of all time, although his career was cut tragically short when he was hit in the eye by a line drive in May, 1957. Score was also part of the lives of Indians fans for more than half a century, including his time in the broadcast booth.

A native of Rosedale, N.Y., his deep voice and thick New York accent became a fixture for generations of Indians fans. He retired from broadcasting after the 1997 season, his 34th in the booth.

Herb Score was just 21 when burst onto the Cleveland scene in 1955, on his way to winning 16 games and becoming an All-Star and Rookie of the Year. In 1956 Score was even more spectacular, winning 20 games with 5 shutouts and 263 strikeouts. Herb Score was inducted into the Indians Hall of Fame in 2006 with his best friend Rocky Colavito at his side. He spent his later years mostly at home with his wife, Nancy, in the Cleveland area.

Source: Information from and the Associated Press


Herb's Career and Video: CLICK HERE
Funeral Arrangements: CLICK HERE

Monday, November 10, 2008

News: 100 days until DTV arrives

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
By WKYC Reporter Mike O'Mara

NORTH OLMSTED -- "Time is ticking, time is ticking!" said Mohammed Wahdah, the DTV guru at the hhGregg store in North Olmsted.

Standing by a stack of digital converter boxes, Wadah has been trying to get the message out to consumers. "Look at the beautiful picture on this television," says Wadah. "In 100 days, if you want this kind of quality, you'll need a digital ready TV or one of these converter boxes."

By law, full-power television stations nationwide must begin broadcasting exclusively in a digital format on February 17, 2009. Digital television (DTV) is an innovative type of broadcasting technology that will give you crystal-clear pictures and sound, and more programming choices than ever before.

While the benefits of DTV are remarkable, millions of households risk losing television reception unless they take a few easy steps to receive a digital signal. "A lot of people are going to wake up on February 17 and then you'll hear all the complaints," said Jack Louis.

The 85-year-old Mentor man has been using the trusty aluminum antenna on the top of his house for his television sets. In fact, almost 12 percent of all televisions in Northeast Ohio are still hooked up to an antenna or rabbit ears.

"You have to put up with it," said Jack about the impending digital change. "The government is forcing your hand on this digital thing." On Monday afternoon, Louis purchased a converter box, but doesn't plan to try to install it until February.

At the hhGregg store in North Olmsted, Chris Musial was looking at the converter boxes. "I have cable TV for most of the TV sets in our house," she said, "but we've got a couple with rabbit ears. "The one downstairs in my laundry room is the one I had back in college. It still works and I can turn it on when I sort the laundry."

She added, "I know I've got to use a converter box 100 days from now or else the old set won't have any reception on it." Most converter boxes cost about $60. However, the federal government is offering a coupon worth $40 to help pay for the box. The coupons are available online.

Installation is fairly simple. However, be prepared to spend some time making sure your converter box and television set are in sync to pick up the new digital channels. "It's really not that difficult," said Wahdah. "But 100 days from now, nothing happens without a digital converter box for people with the old tv sets."

Until March 31, 2009, consumers can apply for up to two $40 coupons per household by calling 1-888-DTV-2009 (1-888-388-2009), by applying online or by mailing an application to P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000. Applicants will receive their coupons in the mail.

For more information go to:

Friday, November 07, 2008

Farewell to Another Long-time Friend: Obie Shelton

It seems like I'm writing farewells to my co-workers on an alarming, regular basis - and the fact is, that's true. And it hurts personally and professionally.

The changing media environment is having a tremendous impact on everyone involved in the media from radio, to tv to newspaper. Only the economy is to blame.

Friday was long time reporter Obie Shelton's final day at WKYC after his contract was not renewed by the station, according to the The Plain Dealer who reported this news last week. Obie had been with WKYC for 22 years. Before that, Obie worked at WEWS.

Obie's signature bow ties, warm smile and friendliness will be just three things that the heart of Channel 3 News will be missing as we move forward. We had a nice going away party for Obie on Thursday and he looks forward to the new challenges that await him.

As many of your know, Obie is a gifted musician and will have time to explore his 2nd love. Look for Obie to perform with the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra in January.

We all wish Obie lots of love and happiness.

Photo Courtesy: Jim Kegelmyer & Danielle Fink

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Caught on Tape: Bush Dog Bites Reporter

Here is another one of those pieces of video showing the dangers of "working" in the media business - and it comes right from the White House where none of the Republicans, including the President's dog, is feeling jovial these days.

Barney Bush doesn't seem to be taking the news that a new dog will soon have run of the White House very well. The Scottish Terrier snapped at the hand of Reuters reporter Jon Decker Thursday near the White House briefing room.

Decker and radio correspondent April Ryan had stopped to chat with Barney's handler when the bite occurred. Barney chomped on Decker's finger as the reporter reached out to pet him. The bite broke the skin.

Decker, who was amused by the incident, was treated by the White House physician. He's been put on antibiotics and will return to the White House tomorrow for a tetanus shot.

WKYC Anchor Receives "Diversity in Media Distinguished Leadership" Award

Congratulations to WKYC 6, 7 & 11 PM anchor Romona Robinson who was honored Thursday with the Diversity in Media Distinguished Leadership Award.

The ceremony was held at Kent State University in front of a large gathering of her peers and co-workers.

Kent State selected Romona for the honor this year because she represents the highest standard of excellence in broadcast journalism, community service and diversity.

In an interview for the Director's Cut Blog, Romona explains, "I'm both honored and humbled by this recognition. I want to thank Kent State University and commend them on their Diversity program."

"I've worked tirelessly in Northeast Ohio, trying to serve as an example to youngsters that through hard work your dreams are possible," she added.

Our congratulations!