Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spotlight Feature: So Long Akron Canton News

By Frank Macek

This first part of the year has been a difficult one for several reasons...the economy is connected to every single one of them. A tough advertising reality is forcing change that has not been easy to deal with.

While the specifics are important only to those affected, I must say that losing colleagues and friends is especially difficult. As you know, this week marks the end of journey for WKYC's Akron Canton News News that has been a tough go from the start.

First, the news lost its "over the air" broadcast home on WVPX/Channel 23. It was Paxson Communications' shortsightedness that ended the partnership between Pax and Gannett, effectively killing the Akron News before it really had a chance to get off the ground. Fortunately, Bud Paxson and his gang were forced out, as the struggling network was rebranded ION and continues to fight for its life. Specifically, it gives us some peace of mind that Bud Paxson failed in his own mission.

However, ION would have been smart to consider a deal with WKYC to continue the newscast which would not have only benefited the Akron area, but their station with plenty more viewers sampling their station. It was not meant to be.

Then, Time Warner came along like a knight in shining armor and saved the day - or did they just bandage the carcass and hope it would come back to life.

At first, we were encouraged that TWC was out to make the cable deal work. But after numerous channel shufflings to accommodate the Indians new network, SportsTime Ohio - the show was surrounded by public access and could not find a permanent home except between the community calendar and the blackness of empty tv space. It didn't work. It couldn't work.

Finally, after Channel 3 threatened to end the show because of bad advertising sales, TWC ramped up their efforts with a new sales staff. There was a big gathering of community leaders from both Akron and Canton who were committed to saving the show. We thought we were back on track, but the little engine that could, would find no more steam.

Now this week, the final curtain falls...and the show officially comes to an end. Yes, people were laid off and there is little chance of someone reviving the broadcast. But, we say a simple thank you to Eric Mansfield, Executive Producer Chris Hyser and all the talented men and women who believed in their city right up to the very end.

Rest in Peace, ACN.

Disclaimer: The comments are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of WKYC or Gannett Broadcasting.Please post your comments below or email me:

News: Murrow Award Presented to WKYC

Today was a big day at WKYC as the station was presented the regional Edward R. Murrow award for "Overall Excellence" - the 2nd year in a row the station has won this coveted honor.

The "Overall Excellence" category encompasses all aspects of the news operation including spot news, special projects, community involvement, sports, and weather. WKYC is part of Region 7, an area that covers all of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan - including such major market cities as Chicago and Detroit.

This year's winning entry was from a compilation of big news stories of 2007 including the tragic SuccessTech Academy shooting, Jessie Davis murder coverage and "Race for the Cure" coverage.

Edward R. Murrow's pursuit of excellence in journalism embodies the spirit of the awards that carry his name. The Radio-Television News Directors Association has been honoring outstanding achievements in electronic journalism with the Edward R. Murrow Awards since 1971. Murrow Award recipients demonstrate the spirit of excellence that Edward R. Murrow made a standard for the broadcast news profession.

RTNDA chairman Ed Esposito, who is also the Vice President of Information Media for the locally owned Rubber City Radio Group in Akron, presented the award to WKYC-TV Vice President/General Manager Brooke Spectorsky and WKYC-TV News Director Rita Andolsen Wednesday.

The station will now be competing for a national award from the other regional areas.

Congratulations to the entire staff of WKYC for their commitment to excellence.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Feature: Music to read the "Director's Cut Blog" by

Welcome to the Director's Cut on the "retro" cassette to enjoy a little, specially programmed music by me (remember, I'm multi-talented). It's a little quiet music for you to enjoy as you read our features and stories on-line.

If you listened to me on Smooth Jazz, 107.3 The Wave, for nearly a decade here in Cleveland, you'll know exactly what kind of music makes me feel good for blogging. This is my latest project which just may grow into something bigger yet.

Feel free to pause the music when you want to watch our on-line video features. You can even go forward and backward between songs!

If wish to click on a link to a story and wish to keep the music playing, just hover over the link and hold the "CTRL" or "SHIFT" key while clicking on the link. It'll open a separate web page for you.

I'll change the playlist when I can, so hey just stop by to listen to an hour's worth of the smoothest music around while you're working at your desk. You'll feel like everyday is a vacation on a tropical island - without the cost!

Photos: Betsy's Baby Shower

Last week, the station held a baby shower for Betsy Kling as she and her husband, Paul Thomas, get ready to welcome their first child in the world.

WKYC anchor Romona Robinson had her camera in overdrive taking pictures that first appeared on her blog - and that we'd like to share with those of our readers who haven't yet seen them.

Click on your browser refresh button if the slide show already played through.


You can email Betsy:

Photos Courtesy: Romona Robinson

Friday, May 23, 2008

From the mailbag: Will you still be "Channel 3 News" on Digital Channel 17?

From: Ken Kovats in San Antonio (former Cleveland resident)

Q: Here's another question I am wondering about...When everybody switches to digital in February, does this mean that WKYC will only be available on the Digital 2 or 25, or whatever channel the FCC gives you? Does this mean the end of branding y'all as "Channel 3 News" and becoming just "WKYC news" or Channel 2-1 News or whatever...?

It would be interesting to see how local stations will be positioning themselves to stand out among the competition as we get closer to DTV. Any insights?

A: Unless something changes between now and February, stations will likely continue to position themselves in the same way you are used to. For example.. Channel 3 News will continue to be "Channel 3 News" even on digital channel 17. (This will be our new channel as we move from digital channel 2 in February).

In the analog world, there is a direct relationship between the channel number and the RF frequency. In the digital world, this relationship becomes indirect (but linked) using an electronic system called PSIP (Program and System Information Protocol). You can read more on the specifics at

The PSIP is data that is transmitted along with the station's digital TV signal to alert your new digital TV where to find a station on its tuner. The PSIP identifies both the DTV channel and for now, the NTSC (analog) channel. Your TVs will electronically associate the two channel numbers making it easy for viewers to tune to our station(s), even if that do not know the new digital channel number. Thus, the digital channels really become irrelevant.

Because stations won't want to lose audience, they will continue to brand themselves the same way as you current see...because, well because they can! No one is telling us otherwise.

You can read more of the original article: CLICK HERE

You can email your questions to me:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

News: NBC Fall Premiere Dates

NBC has released its Fall premiere dates for a number of its hit shows. Please find those listed below:

8 to 10 PM - America's Toughest Jobs two-hour series premiere
(Runs September 19th 8-9 PM for five weeks; then moves on October 24th to 9-10 PM)

8 to 9 PM - Heroes (clip show)
9 to 11 PM - Heroes (2-hour season premiere)

10 to 11 PM - Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

8 to 9 PM - Knight Rider (series premiere)
10 to11 PM - Lipstick Jungle

8 to 9 PM - My Name Is Early (one-hour season premiere)
9 to 10 PM - The Office (one-hour season premiere)
10 to 11 PM - ER

8 to 9 PM - Chuck
10 to 11 PM - My Own Worst Enemy (series premiere)

10 to 11 PM - Life

9:30 to 10 PM - Kath & Kim (series premiere)

8 to 10 PM - Crusoe (two-hour series premiere)

8:30 to 9 PM - 30 Rock

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

News: Finally the end of May Sweeps

We have made it through another May Sweeps period which officially ends tonight.

It will be interesting to see how the ratings tally after a rather unusual month where some of the most anticipated ratings winners did poorly, while others did better than expected.

Fox will win the prime time lineup thanks to "American Idol." NBC, CBS and ABC all had some successes and some failures throughout the month. We'll comment on these as the final numbers come out.

As far as news goes in the Cleveland market, not many surprises are going to be had this month. WKYC will retain its number one position at 11 pm... a second place finish at 6 pm.. and nice growth in the morning news block between 5 and 7 am.

The next book will come in July.

Director's Alert: WKYC launches new

It's here! After many months asking users what they want in a news and information site, we're proud to unveil the all new

Our new site is packed with all the features, tools, and interactivity you told us you were looking for, delivered 24-7.

Comments / Online community - One exciting addition to the new is our online community.

Our site offers social networking, similar to what you may have used with sites such as Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn.

Although you don't have to be a member of our community to read or view news and information on our site, you do have to become a member of our community in order to comment on our stories, or use any of our community tools.

Just click the "Become a Member" link at the top of any page within, and follow the easy instructions to set up your own Community Profile.

After you set up your profile, you can create your own blog, or talk to others in our community forums.

Video - See a video on you just have to share?

Our new video player will allow you to e-mail it, share it on Facebook, or even embed the clip in your own blog, making video available to you where you want it.

Weather - We know you frequently visit to keep up with the latest weather forecast, and you will find that our brand new weather section gives you all the tools you need to know what to wear and what to expect for the day and week.

This includes Channel 3 WeatherPlus, WKYC Weather TV, Live Radar and our weather widgets.

Events - Our searchable online calendar aims to become Cleveland's one-stop-destination to share and discover what's going on each day.

From concerts to plays to sporting events to church functions, you can find something to do using our calendar.

Plus, we have designed the calendar so that you can submit your own events to be featured on our site.

Just click the "submit an event" button on the calendar, and fill out the easy-to-follow online form to see your event included.

Homepage - You'll still find that our homepage offers up-to-the-minute coverage of the very latest news in northeast Ohio.

However, we've made some changes we think you will appreciate:

You will notice that the way our top news stories are laid out is bolder, with larger photos.

The top stories of the moment cycle slowly on the main page, and you can see any one of them at any time by mousing over the story you want.

Please consider registering for the site by clicking "Become a Member" and letting us know what you would like to see on the new

Monday, May 19, 2008

Spotlight Feature: Ellen gets ready to say goodbye to NBC, Hello to Warner Brothers

by Frank Macek

For fans of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," you are about to see history in the making as the show gets set to tape its final week at the historic Studio 11 from NBC Studios in Burbank, California, which are being sold by NBC Universal as part of a previously announced deal.

Starting this fall, the show will begin filming in high definition from new Stage 1 at Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, California, featuring 32,000 square feet of studio space that will encompass three stages areas. This location will also give Ellen easier access to talent who are working on the WB's large campus.

According to a statement from her office, Ellen says "When they asked me if I wanted to move to Warner Bros., I was so excited. And it's not just because they film tons of movies and shows there, or because George Clooney has an office next to ours, or that there's a Starbucks...That's all great, but the main thing is I get my own golf cart! Finally!"

Another enticing feature of the new facility will be an all digital, tape less environment. Not only will the footage be shot digitally, but the entire editing and archival process will be the same. This will help with faster editing and easier access to material by all producers working on the broadcast.

The main control room will be connected via fiber optic cable to most other areas of the Warner Brothers lots allowing Ellen to move around the entire area to shoot different segments of her show at will.

This will also be the first time that the studios, control room facilities and dressing rooms will all be centrally located for all to use. Plus, the audience seating capacity will also increase nearly 50% giving even more viewers an opportunity to participate in the live taping.

"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" has been renewed through the 2010-2011 season.

News: WKYC Reporters sign new long term deals

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported on Sunday that two of WKYC's top notch reporters have signed long term deals with the station in the past month. Terms of their deals were not disclosed.

Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres has served as a general assignment reporter for WKYC since July of 1979 and was promoted to senior political reporter in May of 1998. Tom is a graduate of Northwestern University and holds a bachelor degree and a masters in broadcast journalism During his college years, he worked as a radio correspondent in Washington, DC and his radio reports were transmitted to stations throughout Chicago.

Senior Health Reporter Monica Robins also signed a new deal. Monica joined WKYC in 1998 and is responsible for reporting the day's medical news. She has worked in television since 1988 and has an additional five years of radio and print journalism experience. She was an investigative reporter at WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio and while there, became the Midwest correspondent for NBC News Channel and traveled the country covering national news.

Congratulations to both.

News: Indians Programming Change on WKYC

The Cleveland Indians and WKYC have announced a slight programming change for two games in July.

The July 5th game against Minnesota will not air on WKYC.

Instead, the July 12th game against Tampa Bay will air on WKYC in Prime Time...with a 7:10 PM start.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Where Are They Now? - Rick Jackson

We have so many alumnists from Channel 3 that we want to get caught up on a few more of those who have moved on and been quite successful. As you may know, WKYC has always been an excellent stepping stone for those making their way to either the NBC network or other larger market cities. In fact, WKYC was often considered a training ground for the network stars of tomorrow.

Rick Jackson is one such person who has done very well for himself since leaving the station. Rick is a friend of the Director's Cut blog who asked him to take a few moments and reflect on his career so far, in his own words.


I reported news at WKYC from September 1983 until April 1986, serving as a general assignment reporter and as the substitute morning news anchor whenever the inestimable Del Donahoo took time off from his morning duties.

During the second half of my tenure, I was paired with Tom Beres in what were called "Greater Cleveland" beats. Neither of us ever did stories inside the city, but worked the suburbs exclusively. I was positioned, and even promoted as; "The Greater Cleveland East" reporter.

As for memorable stories, I loved traveling to Washington and Chicago for a special series I worked on in 1984 that (correctly as it turned out) predicted the rise of the personal computer and the surveillance that computers now allow all across the world. Wish I'd had the foresight to actually invest in what I was reporting about.

I also enjoyed accompanying the Cleveland Force to Chicago in 1986 when they competed in the MISL playoffs, lead by Kai Haaskivi (Who remembers 'that' Cleveland sports legend, eh?)


I've been back in Cleveland since 1999, having left for 13 years. I moved south, became a main anchor at WCNC in Charlotte, North Carolina, then moved on to a four year stint as anchor of the overnight CBS News Program, "Up To The Minute," broadcast live Monday through Fridays from New York City.

I am now a program host and producer at Ideastream, the PBS Television and NPR radio outlets which broadcast from Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland. I am the face of both ideas, our news and public affairs TV show, and of NewsDepth, the news program written for 3rd through 8th grade students which is broadcast statewide and seen in thousands of school classrooms. You can also hear me almost each day on WCPN radio - delivering news reports and newscasts.


Broadcasting is a way of life, and something I hope to continue doing, but I have other interests as well. I've thought of returning to college to teach, and I've considered, but so far rejected a few opportunities to leave the field for other types of writing. I still hope to inspire future reporters to continue to learn and practice JOURNALISM, a category which I separate from much of which permeates the airwaves today under the guise of news.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

News: New Romona's Room Blog

As part of the WKYC Information Center, several of our staff members are taking a cue from the popularity of the Director's Cut Blog to do a little bloggin' of their own.

Here is another new blog to check out when you get a little web surfing time.

  • Romona's Room - a blog by WKYC Anchor Romona Robinson as she discusses where she has been, what's on her mind and she answers your questions.

For more blogs from the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center: CLICK HERE. We also have a list of our favorites in our right hand menu under "Favorite Sites."

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

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

News: NBC updates schedule

The following is a revised schedule from NBC regarding programming for the Fall 2008, Winter/Spring 2009 and Summer 2009 Primetime schedules:

NBC Fall 2008 Primetime Schedule

Monday: Chuck, Heroes, My Own Worst Enemy
Tuesday: The Biggest Loser/Families, Kath & Kim, Law & Order: SVU
Wednesday: Knight Rider, Deal or No Deal, Lipstick Jungle
Thursday: My Name is Earl, 30 Rock, The Office, The Office, SNL Election, ER Final Season
Friday: Crusoe, Deal or No Deal, Life
Saturday: Dateline NBC, Knight Rider Encore, Law & Order: SVU Encore
Sunday: Football Night in America, NFL Sunday Night Football

NBC Winter/Spring 2009 Primetime Schedule

Monday: Chuck, Heroes, The Philanthropist
Tuesday: The Biggest Loser/Couples, Kath & Kim, Law & Order: SVU
Wednesday: Knightrider, Deal or No Deal, Law & Order
Thursday: My Name is Earl, 30 Rock, The Office, The Office Spin-Off, ER Final Season/Celebrity Apprentice
Friday: Deal or No Deal, Friday Night Lights, Life
Saturday: Dateline NBC, Law & Order: SVU Encore, Law & Order Encore
Sunday: Dateline NBC, Merlin, Medium, Kings

NBC Summer 2009 Primetime Schedule

Monday: American Gladiators, America's Toughest Jobs, Dateline NBC
Tuesday: Most Outrageous Moments, America's Got Talent, Law & Order: SVU Encore
Wednesday: Shark Taggers, America's Got Talent Results, Law & Order Encore
Thursday: The Office Encore, The Office Spinoff Encore, Last Comic Standing, The Listener
Friday: Chopping Block, Dateline NBC
Saturday: Drama Encores
Sunday: Dateline NBC, Monk, Nashville Star, Kings Encore

Monday, May 12, 2008

Director's Alert: WVIZ & WKYC to build & share new transmission tower

We couldn't divulge this secret until it was official, but since Ohio Media Watch and FCC datbase are both reporting it, we'll making a quick mention of it.

WVIZ is indeed going to making a move of their broadcast location from the WNCX tower in North Royalton to the WKYC facility in Parma later this year.

After a long running dispute between WVIZ and CBS Radio, their current tower owner, the station has come to terms with WKYC owner Gannett about working with WKYC to build a brand new tower that will support both station's digital broadcasting antennas. WKYC's old tower will be razed after the February 17, 2009 transition date according to WKYC Director of Engineering, Mike Szabo.

This will finally give viewers of WVIZ-DT a much clearer signal since the station has been broadcasting from a mini tower on the old studios on Brookpark Road.

As we have told you in the past, WKYC will be busy this year building out another new digital transmission facility that will move WKYC-DT from digital channel 2 to digital channel 17 by February 17, 2009.

This will eliminate many of the problems over the air viewers are currently having with reception of WKYC-DT 2. However, we will not be able to make the channel switch until a station in the Canton area moves to their new digital home in early 2009.

More on this as construction begins for both stations.

Additional Information:
To read more about WVIZ's plan to the FCC: CLICK HERE
To read the application permit to the FCC: CLICK HERE

Director's Alert: It's Official - Jimmy Fallon taking over "Late Night"

As we first told you on the Director's Blog 2 weeks ago, NBC has indeed tapped Jimmy Fallon to replace Conan O'Brien on "Late Night."

Here was the offical announcement made today by NBC:

NBC has identified the last piece in its late night succession plan, naming Jimmy Fallon as the new host of "Late Night" when Conan O'Brien moves to "The Tonight Show" in 2009.

The announcement was made today by Marc Graboff and Ben Silverman, Co-Chairmen, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, at a press conference at the Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Center.

"We couldn't be happier to have Jimmy back on NBC and to have our number one-rated late night team fully in place for the future," said Silverman, "Jimmy is more than just a likeable guy and a great comedian, he is genuinely interested in what people have to say."

"Jimmy's proven track record and personality make him a natural for this important role that will bring a new generation of fans to "Late Night," said Graboff. "He will put his own distinct mark on late night humor just as he did on "SNL" and in his other creative endeavors."

Added Rick Ludwin, Executive Vice President, Late Night and Primetime Series, NBC Entertainment, "Simply put, Jimmy has all of the qualities for a late night host -- in addition to being funny, he loves talking to people on and off camera, he's a talented comedy writer and his time at "SNL" demonstrated not only his ability to entertain, but also the work ethic and dedication it takes to succeed at hosting a nightly show."

A recognized comic talent, Fallon has demonstrated an ability to deliver versatile, standout performances while always staying grounded in his stand-up roots.

Fallon first garnered attention in 1998 when he joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" and quickly became an audience favorite for his memorable recurring characters and spot-on impressions and in 2000, Fallon became the co-anchor of the "SNL's" signature segment "Weekend Update" alongside Tina Fey.

Fallon ventured off into other television roles, including Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's Emmy award-winning miniseries "Band of Brothers." A favorite among the MTV audience, Fallon hosted the MTV Movie Awards twice and hosted the MTV Video Music Awards in 2002. Fallon made an impressive turn guest hosting "The Late Show" for an ailing David Letterman in 2003.

Fallon made his feature film debut in Cameron Crowe's "Almost Famous" and went on to appear in numerous films including Woody Allen's "Anything Else," "Fever Pitch" opposite Drew Barrymore and the indie "Factory Girl."

The premiere date for "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon" will be announced at a later date. Lorne Michaels is executive producer. "Late Night" is a production of Universal Media Studios in association with Broadway Video. NBC is America's Late Night Leader with the number one-rated "Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "Last Call with Carson Daly" and "Saturday Night Live."

Friday, May 09, 2008

Meet the NBC All Stars: Lester Holt

Lester Holt is the weekend anchor for the flagship broadcast "NBC Nightly News," and is also the co-anchor of the weekend edition of "Today." In addition, Holt serves as fill-in anchor and correspondent for "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" and the weekday "Today" program. He also contributes to MSNBC, NBC's 24-hour cable news network.

Holt has reported from many of the world's hot spots. In 2006, he reported from the front lines in Lebanon on the war between Israel and Hezbollah and from London on the terror threat to U.S. bound-airliners from the UK. In 2005, Holt was on the ground for Hurricane Katrina covering events both in Louisiana and Mississippi, and later that fall covered Hurricane Rita in Texas.

Before becoming co-anchor of "Weekend Today," Holt anchored "Lester Holt Live," a daily news show on MSNBC in which he covered breaking news and provided news updates and analysis. Holt has also served as the lead anchor for daytime news and breaking news coverage on MSNBC. He has served as a primary anchor for MSNBC's coverage of the biggest news events of the last several years, including Operation Iraqi Freedom and the war in Afghanistan, and he was the lead daytime anchor for MSNBC's coverage of Decision 2000. Holt also served as anchor of "Countdown: Iraq," a nightly news telecast concentrating on the latest developments surrounding the war with Iraq, from October 2002 through March 2003.

The award-winning broadcast journalist came to MSNBC from WBBM-TV in Chicago, where he spent 14 years. His duties at WBBM-TV included anchoring the evening news. Holt not only worked at the anchor desk in Chicago, but he also reported extensively from trouble spots around the world including Iraq, Northern Ireland, Somalia, El Salvador and Haiti. He has contributed to the CBS News broadcast "48 Hours," earning a 1990 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award for his work on "48 Hours: No Place Like Home."

Previously, Holt worked as a reporter at WCBS-TV in New York City from 1981-82. In 1982 he transferred to sister station KCBS-TV in Los Angeles as a reporter and weekend anchor and returned to WCBS-TV a year later as a reporter and weekend anchor.

Holt majored in government at California State University in Sacramento. He resides in New York City with his wife and family.

Courtesy: NBC

News: WKYC winner of Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards

WKYC Channel 3 News has won a number of awards for outstanding work by several of our staffers for their work in 2007.

The Ohio Excellence in Journalism Awards is a statewide competition sponsored by The Press Club of Cleveland. More then 1000 entries were judged this year. The awards ceremony is scheduled for Friday, June 13, 2008

Congratulations for the following WKYC staffers for the work:

Spot News (T-1)

  • First Place: Danielle Fink & Vic Gideon for "Strip Mall Fire"
  • Second Place: Danielle Fink for "Warehouse Fire"

General News (T-2)

  • Second Place: Dave Summers & Mike Leonard for "Ice Rescue"

In-Depth Coverage (T-7)

  • Second Place: Dave Summers for "Amish After Dark"

Human Interest (T-8)

  • Second Place: Dave Summers & Mike Greene for "Winnie the Watch Pig"

Thursday, May 08, 2008

News: WKYC Weather Plus planning special 2009 calendar

We get such great photos from our viewers that the WKYC Weather Plus Forecast Center has decided to expand that program and do a nice, high quality weather calendar for 2009.

Visit to see how you can submit your weather-related photo.

What we are looking for:

Landscapes, wildlife, skyline shots, mammals, flowers, insects, weather scenes, storms and dramatic sky shots, clouds, sunsets, atmospheric phenomena and seasonal themes.

Each chosen will have a photo credit and a get a number of calendars for their very own.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

News: Ohio TV stations unite to spread word about digital

Ohio television stations hope to make it hard for viewers to escape the message that the switch to digital broadcasting is coming.

More than 40 Ohio TV stations say they'll run public service announcements about the transition at the same time: 7:58 p.m. Wednesday (tonight).

On Feb. 17, 2009, major U.S. TV stations will stop broadcasting their traditional analog signals and go all-digital, which means a much sharper picture and better sound. But viewers who use an antenna will need a newer TV or a converter box to receive the digital signals.

This is the kind of information explained in the public service announcements.

TV station general managers are meeting at the Ohio Statehouse on Wednesday to discuss the digital changeover with lawmakers.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Spotlight Feature: Finding a TV Job - Part II: How to get a job

by Frank Macek

In part one of our feature, we discussed the state of television for those of you who may be interested in getting a job in the business. We had tremendous response to our article and received numerous emails from those who read the Director's Cut blog.

The second half of this "Spotlight Feature" will focus on how to impress those who do the hiring whether it be working for the news or engineering departments which employee the vast majority of our staff. There are also plenty of opportunities on the sales side as well.

For this article, we'll focus on what I'm most familiar with - and that's daily news operations.

Jobs in the news department include producers, associate producers, assignment editors, reporters, editors, photojournalists, web producers and managers including News Director, Assistant News Director, Managing Editor and Executive Producers.

Reporters have the most difficult time in getting jobs because these jobs have unique and very competitive requirements: talent, good looks - and more good looks. Plus, they must be capable of solid storytelling and writing for multi-platforms including on-air, web and mobile TV.

The criticism about those with good looks having no talent do arise from time to time, but is good fodder for another time.

The other news department positions have their own special skill levels and requirements and some of are becoming interchangeable as the business evolves including backpack journalists who shoot, edit and track their own work for air.

How do you get your work noticed among the stacks of resumes and phone calls the station gets on an almost daily basis for any of these positions?

I asked WKYC News Director Rita Andolsen what she looks for in potential hires. "This is a very competitive business, so it's important that you get the attention of a prospective employer. A short, succinct, well written and sincere cover letter works best. Briefly state what makes you different and what makes you stand out from the rest. I am big on work ethic and experience. Tell me that you paid your way through college while maintaining a great point average. Outline your intern experience. Tell me what you bring to the station," says Andolsen.

"If you are still in school, work on your writing and the skills that will make you versatile. Web is huge and the more knowledge you have of current and emerging technology, the better. Internships are critical Think about what you can do during your internship that gives you something tangible when it is completed. If you’re just out of school, all you have is your body of work completed in school and your internship."

Meantime, engineering positions are those that deal with the behind the scenes functions of a television station including robotic cameras, master control, satellite & live feed acquisition, tape ingest, technical director and audio engineer - among others. These people do great work that you see, but rarely see them on the air.

For those of you interested in this part of the business, I asked WKYC Director of Engineering Mike Szabo the same question. Mike tells us, "I don't know that there is anything specific that I would look for in an individual. I will say however, that I think honesty is important. Don't try to bluff your way in the door by trying to come off like you know everything there is to know. You can generally see through someone who is trying to impress you about how much they know about the business. If you are not familiar with something let the person know and state that you are willing learn. As you know, being able to learn and expand into new areas is important in this business today. Once you give up the willingness to learn the business will pass you by."

So to conclude, it's a very tough business to work in. But having the right attitude, networking and being persistent are your best bets to be successful.

I welcome your feedback about the article or if you care to share your stories about how you got in the door. You can always email me directly:

To read Part I of our feature: CLICK HERE

Disclaimer: The thoughts in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of WKYC or Gannett.

Monday, May 05, 2008

News: WKYC phone bank keeps experts busy

Jay Seaton, president of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Cleveland says tonight's phone bank at Channel 3, in which he and 4 other experts from his service are answering debt - related calls, could be the busiest he has ever participated in.

For two hours, Channel 3 viewers are being invited to call with their debt or credit related questions, so that the free service can give them advice and help get them started on the way to solving their problems.

As soon as one call was completed the phones instantly started ringing again. In fact, during our live shot at 6 p.m., the phones rang continuously as Jay and Dick Russ did a live interview on the air.

An ominous sign of the times...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

News: February Sweeps moving to March for 2009

Nielsen, the tv ratings firm, has announced that the February sweeps period in 2009 will move from February to March next year.

With the move from analog to all digital TV on February 17, 2009, Nielsen feels that keeping sweeps during the same month might be an inaccurate assessment of a local station's performance.

Also, Nielsen will begin to test ratings collections on digital-only stations this December.

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