Thursday, July 31, 2008

News: WKYC retains first place at 11 PM

The July sweeps ratings period has come to a conclusion and WKYC comes out a winner again with its first place rating for Channel 3 News at 11 PM in the 12+ Nielsen numbers.

WKYC was nearly a full point ahead of our nearest competitor at 11 pm with a 7.01/12.3 share.

At 6 PM, WKYC was 3rd in the time slot behind WJW and WEWS.

At 7 PM, WKYC was 1st in news, 2nd in the time period.

At 5 & 6 AM, WKYC rated 2nd just behind WJW.

Although July is a strange month for ratings with summer re-runs, nice outdoor weather and Indians baseball as competition, the month is still important as it shows a steady trend toward people making WKYC one of their main choices for news in the evening and early morning hours - two of the most important dayparts.

In addition, WKYC is the area's main choice for breaking political news, as Channel 3 News ranked 1st and 6, 7 & 11 PM for the two days surrounding the Cuyahoga County probe by the FBI and IRS on the County Administration Building earlier this week.

Video Gem: Ain't True Love Blind - Even on TV?

Here's today's video gem related to the TV industry:

Reporter Sergio Avila proposed to his girlfriend Griselda Sanchez during Yuma, Arizona NBC affiliate KYMA's 6 p.m. newscast on Tuesday, July 29, 2008. The couple met on MySpace and have been dating for over a year. Griselda plans to move to Tucson with Sergio next month when he starts a new job there.

The couple will enjoy a two year engagement before getting married. Perhaps this is a good example of why NOT to use the public airwaves to propose?

Take a look....

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Video Gem: Shaking at the "Judge Judy" Show

Here's today's video gem:

A whole lot of shaking was going on a the "Judge Judy" show during Tuesday's 5.4 magnitude earthquake in Southern California. The quake occurred while the show was being taped.

Take a look....

Director's Alert: Monica Robins named Midday News Anchor

On the heels of yesterday's announcement that WKYC's Barbara Gauthier is leaving WKYC, Monica Robins has been promoted to noon news anchor.

Beginning Monday, August 4th, Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins will take on the additional duties of Noon anchor. "Monica's depth of experience and commitment to the station and the news product will help us explore new directions with the newscast," said WKYC News Director Rita Andolsen.

Congratulations to Monica on her new duties.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Director's Alert: Barbara Gauthier leaving Channel 3

EXCLUSIVE -- WKYC News Director Rita Andolsen has announced that Barbara Gauthier is leaving WKYC to take a main anchor position in her hometown of Columbus, Georgia at WTVM, the ABC affiliate.

Rita says "It's the station Barbara grew up watching and the first place she went looking for a job when she graduated from college."

It's a wonderful homecoming for Barbara who will now get to spend time with her mother, sisters and the rest of her extended family.

"We will miss Barbara's habit of breaking into song at a moment's notice, her wonderful smile and spirit and her dedication and commitment to WKYC," Rita added.

Barbara is currently a morning co-anchor of Channel 3 News Today with Mark Nolan, Abby Ham and Hollie Strano. Plus, she is the anchor of Channel 3 News Midday at Noon.

Congratulation to Barbara!

Director's Alert: It's a girl: Congratulations to Betsy Kling and Paul Thomas

Congratulations to Channel 3's Betsy Kling and Paul Thomas, who welcomed Josephine Frances into the world Monday evening.

Josephine Frances, Mom and Dad are doing well.

She is 8 lbs 11oz and is 21.5 inches long.

Here's the link to baby pictures on CLICK HERE

Monday, July 28, 2008

News: WKYC engineer passes away

This is certainly one of those stories that is very difficult to report this afternoon on our blog.

WKYC has lost one of our long-time and few female engineers, Anjanelle Carter, who passed away peacefully at home on Friday, July 25th.

Anjanelle had been battling cancer for the past several years and will be missed by everyone at WKYC. Although she recently worked the overnight and early morning shift, she had a great impact on the lives of anyone who worked with her. She was always a very happy person who was a Director's delight to work with.

Our heartfelt sympathies to her family, friends and colleagues.

Services for Anjanelle will be held:

Thursday, July 31st, at 6 PM
at St. Aloysius Church
10932 St. Clair Avenue
(corner of Lakeview & St. Clair)

From the Mailbag: Any baby yet?

I keep getting tons of emails from folks wondering if Betsy had her baby yet.

As of today (Monday at 3:30 PM), still no baby.

Keep checking back and we'll announce as soon as we know!

You can email your questions to me:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

News: Updated NBC Fall Season Premieres

The following is the latest update we have for the fall season premiere of many of your favorite NBC shows on WKYC and NBC...


8-9 PM: Deal or No Deal (runs for 4 weeks Mondays @8P)
9-10 PM: America's Toughest Jobs (series premiere) (runs for 4 weeks Mondays @9P, then resumes Fridays @8P eff. 9/19)


8-10 PM: The Biggest Loser: Families


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


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


8-9 PM: Knight Rider (series premiere)
10-11 PM: Lipstick Jungle


8-9 PM: My Name is Earl (one-hour season premiere)
9-10 PM: The Office (one-hour season premiere)
10-11 PM: ER


8-9 PM: Chuck
10-11 PM: Life (runs for 2 weeks Mon. & Fri. @10P, then airs Fri. @10P eff. 10/17 )


8:30-9 PM: Kath & Kim (series premiere)
9:31-10 PM: Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday (runs for 3 weeks)


10-11 PM: My Own Worst Enemy (series premiere)


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


9:31-10 PM: 30 Rock

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

News: WKYC Radio to be featured on XM on Friday

As most Clevelander's know, WKYC is not only the famous call letters of a legendary television station - it's also the call letters of a famous radio station as well.

This Friday afternoon from 4 pm until 9 pm, WKYC 1100 radio will come back to life through the magic of satellite radio. XM Satellite Radio will present a "Sonic Sound Salute" with old time radio jingles and chatter from the station's legendary days in the 1960s. You'll find the special show on XM Channel 6.

A Little History Lesson about WKYC Radio

In the early 1960s under Westinghouse ownership KYW, known on-air as "KY11," became a Top 40 powerhouse with DJs Jim Runyon (the "weeeellll" voice of the Chickenman series), Jim Stagg, Jay Lawrence, Jerry G., and the morning duo of Harry Martin and Specs Howard. Its main Top 40 rival in the Cleveland market was "Color Channel 14" WHK 1420.

Almost immediately after the trade was finalized between NBC & Westinghouse, Westinghouse complained to the FCC and the Justice Department about NBC's extortion.

In 1965, after a protracted legal battle, the FCC ordered the swap of stations reversed without NBC realizing any profit on the deal. NBC regained control of the Cleveland stations on June 19. Not wanting to tamper with success, NBC changed the Cleveland stations' calls were changed to WKYC-AM-FM-TV. The "KY" came from KYW, and the "C" stood for Cleveland. Since the station's nickname was "KY", the calls were munged to spell We're KY in Cleveland.

To their end, KYW AM has explained that KYW "moved" to Cleveland in 1956 and "returned" to Philadelphia in 1965. However, the three stations' facilities remained the same.

WKYC continued as a Top 40 outlet under NBC ownership with DJs such as Hal Martin, Specs Howard, Jay Lawrence, Jerry G, Jim Stagg and Jim Runyon. When Program Director Ken Draper left for Chicago's WCFL in early 1966, both Stagg and Runyon wasted no time following him. Bill Winters came in about this time. Jim LaBarbara was wooed away from a 3 day stint at WIXY to do evening prime time. Chuck Dann and KLIF's morning duo Charlie and Harrigan signed on. Jim Gallant was doing overnights.

In late 1966, popular afternoon DJ Jerry G (Jerry Ghan) also decided to follow Draper to WCFL. He was replaced by WIXY's evening man Jack Armstrong, who then decided to call himself Big Jack. LaBarbara was moved to overnight to accommodate Armstrong's installation as the evening jock.

In early 1967, the on air staff was: LaBarbara, overnight; Charlie and Harrigan, morning drive; Bob Cole, late morning; Jay Lawrence, mid afternoons; Chuck Dann, afternoon drive; and Big Jack in the prime time slot.

WKYC "Radio 11" was a large record-selling influence as far away as New York City and Miami, Florida. However, its main local competition in those days was WIXY 1260 "Super Radio". Unlike WIXY, WKYC - being an NBC owned-and-operated station in a situation not unlike WRC in Washington - was obligated to carry all NBC Radio programming such as Monitor, as well as all top-of-the-hour NBC Radio newscasts. The NBC Radio afternoon daily network news feed was also based from WKYC's studios and anchored by Virgil Dominic.

On February 1, 1968, at 3:05 p.m., following an NBC Radio newscast, the station altered its' format to a "more music"- style presentation derivative of the Drake-Chenuault Top 40 format known as "Power Radio," programmed by Hal Moore. Personalities at that time included Charlie & Harrigan (Jack Woods and Paul Menard), Chuck Dunaway, Lee 'Baby' Sims, Fred Winston, Buddy Henderson and Mark Elliott.

It remained a Top 40 station until early 1969, when WKYC went for a short time, to "Heavy 11" which focused on acid rock artists Iron Butterfly, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Janis Joplin, and the like - an oddity for a powerful AM station. In short while, WKYC eventually went back to a more adult-friendly MOR format. The FM station at 105.7-FM varied between automated easy-listening formats of the time.

By 1972 NBC exited the radio dial in Cleveland again - and permanently - by selling WKYC-AM-FM to Ohio Communications, owned by sports franchisor Nick Mileti and broadcasters Jim and Tom Embrescia. NBC ended up retaining ownership of WKYC-TV until 1989.

Information courtesy:

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

News: WKYC Launches "Zoo Cam"

WKYC has added a new feature to our new website - the Cleveland Metroparks "Zoo Cam."

Watch cownose rays, southern red stingrays, bamboo sharks, nurse sharks and horseshoe crabs swim right past your computer desktop.

Catch the Rays getting fed around 9 am, Noon, 3 pm and 5-6 pm at the exhibit called "TOUCH!"

TOUCH! allows visitors to reach into an 11,000-gallon saltwater pool and feel the smooth skin of small sharks and stingrays, which have their barbs carefully removed to ensure a safe, fun experience for all ages. Dozens of cownose rays, Southern red stingrays and bamboo sharks swim right up to you, and some participants may get a chance to feed the aquatic animals, too. New in 2008, nurse sharks and horseshoe crabs have joined the rays for an even more TOUCH!ing experience than last year.

TOUCH! is $1 with Zoo admission and free for Zoo members and children under 2.

Just click on the picture above for a live look.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Director's Alert: Husband of former WKYC anchor officially charged in e-mail scandal

PHILADELPHIA -- A longtime Philadelphia newscaster has been charged with illegally accessing the e-mail of his former co-anchor.

Federal prosecutors have charged Larry Mendte with a felony count of intentionally accessing a protected computer without authorization. Authorities say he hacked into the account of Alycia Lane hundreds of times over more than two years. A prosecutor says he went "well beyond just reading someone's e-mail."

Mendte was fired from the Philadelphia CBS affiliate last month after FBI agents seized his computer. His attorney says Mendte is cooperating "and will accept full responsibility for his actions." He faces a six-month prison term if convicted.

Lane was fired from the station in January after a series of off-camera incidents, including an arrest after a late-night scuffle with police in New York City.

Larry is the husband of former WKYC news anchor Dawn Stensland who works for the crosstown FOX affiliate in Philly.

Courtesy: The Associated Press

Director's Alert: Leno to sign off May 29th

NBC announced this morning that Jay Leno's last day as host of the "Tonight Show" will be on Friday, May 29th.

Conan O'Brien will take over the following Monday, June 1st, for a smoothless transition according to NBC Entertainment Co-Chairs Ben Silverman and Marc Graboff.

Speculation continues to have Leno going to ABC as host of a new show at 11:35 p.m. that will displace Nightline.

Still, we scratch our head as to why NBC would jeopardize losing their late night leading position with a move at this time. While Conan does well, he isn't Leno.

Your them under "comments" below.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Spotlight Feature: The FCC Rules & The Public File

By Frank Macek

Ever wonder what rules that WKYC and other television stations must follow in order to keep their broadcast licenses?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) often updates its rules and issues them to stations as a guideline to serving in the public interest. These rules cover such topics as obscene programming, indecent material, children's television programming, lotteries and contests, closed captioning and a myriad of other areas.

Each station must maintain a "public file" which is available to members of the public at any time during regular business hours. This file must contain documents relevant to the station's operation and dealings with the community and the FCC and must be maintained at the station's main studio, which for WKYC is at 1333 Lakeside Avenue in Cleveland. Although you do not need to make an appointment to view the file, making one may be helpful both to the station and to you.

Contents of the public file include the station's license, applications and related materials, citizen agreements, contour broadcasting maps, material relating to an FCC investigation or complaint, ownership reports and related materials, list of contracts required to be filed with the FCC, political file, EEO materials, and letters and emails from the public. Additionally, stations are required to keep quarterly programming reports, children's television programming reports, records regarding children's programming commercial limits, time brokerage agreements, lists of donors, local public notice announcements, must carry or retransmission consent election and the DTV transition consumer education education activity reports.

As you can clearly see, it can be a full time job keeping all these reports. However, it's a requirement for all broadcast stations.

If you would like to read a copy of "The Public and Broadcasting: How to Get the Most Service From Your Local Station," you can download it from us: CLICK HERE

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

News: Gannett reports 2nd quarter drop of 36 percent

McLEAN, Virginia - Gannett Co., the nation's largest newspaper publisher (and parent company of WKYC) on Wednesday reported a 36 percent drop in second-quarter earnings as the newspaper industry's woes caused a sharp decline in revenue. Shares plunged more than 12 percent.

The profit of $233 million, or $1.02 per share, compared with a $366 million, or $1.56 per-share profit in the year-ago quarter. The earnings matched expectations of Wall Street analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

The company's shares dropped $2.09 to $15.24 in morning trading.

Gannett, publisher of USA Today and 84 other U.S. dailies, sold several newspapers in the year-ago quarter that added 32 cents per share to earnings. Excluding the sale, profit fell by 18 percent.

Revenue fell 10 percent to $1.72 billion in the quarter.

Gannett stock has lost two-thirds of its value in the last year.

The company announced last month that it plans to take an accounting write-down of $2.5 billion to $3 billion to reflect the company's declining market value. In a press release issued Wednesday, the company said the exact amount has not yet been determined, but narrowed the range slightly, to between $2.6 billion and $2.9 billion.

The write-down will be included in the second quarter in an amended statement to be filed before Aug. 8.

For the year, Gannett has so far earned $424.5 million, or $1.85 per share. That's down 26 percent from the first half of 2007, when it earned $576.2 million, or $2.45 per share.

The vast majority of lost revenue in the quarter stemmed from a 14 percent drop in advertising revenue in the company's publishing business. Retail advertising fell 8 percent, and classified advertising fell 19 percent.

At the flagship USA Today, the nation's largest newspaper, advertising sales fell 17 percent in the quarter.

Newspapers across the country have struggled not only with the generally weak economy but with eroding circulation and a migration of advertising dollars to the Internet. Newspaper Web sites are seeing increased ad revenue, but not nearly enough to offset losses on the print side.

Gannett's broadcasting segment, which includes 23 television stations in the U.S. and accounts for about a tenth of the company's overall revenue, reported a 6 percent drop in revenue, to $193 million.

To read the complete news release from Gannett: CLICK HERE

Courtesy: The Associated Press

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

From the Mailbag: Glitching graphics

From: Renee in Bay Village

Q: I keep seeing graphics that are flickering on my screen, particularly during the "Dr. Phil Show". Is it my old TV or is something weird going on?

A: This one is actually us. The graphics you are referring to are called "snipes" and are graphics that promote upcoming shows and other station events that run during regular programming - like the "Dr. Phil Show." (see picture example).

For some reason, we have a bad computer board that runs this system and causes the glitches. We are aware of the issue and hope to have it fixed soon.

Ain't new technology wonderful?

You can email your questions to me:

From the Mailbag: Did Betsy have her baby?

From: Doug in Cleveland

Q: Tim and Romona said that Betsy has gone on maternity leave. Did she have her baby? What did she have?

A: We are still officially on baby watch as of Tuesday. No "Petunia" yet has anchor Tim White has named the child already. Although, Betsy and her husband, Paul Thomas, will keep us in suspense up until the very end.

We'll let you know as soon as we find out.

You can email your questions to me:

News: DTV coupon program frustrate consumers

Complaints have started to come in about the government coupon program designed to help people get ready for the switch to digital television. Where they live can make it harder for some people to get the discount on the digital converter they need.

When the rules were first written, they were very specific. Coupons could only be delievered to a residential household with it's own address.

This causes problems with people who live in nursing homes, RV parks and mobile home parks where everyone's mail is delivered at a single address.

Though the rules will be changed this fall, it's causing some folks to come up empty when they apply for their two, $40 converter coupons.

Scott Friedman has more...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Caught on tape: Reporter assaulted during interview

We are always on the lookout for must see video regarding the TV industry. And we found another gem to share.

A reporter for Kansas City, Missouri NBC affiliate KSHB and his photographer found themselves on the receiving end of an assault Friday while trying to interview a man in a motorized wheelchair.

Take a look:

Spotlight Feature: NBC stations getting ready to pay to be an affiliate

by Frank Macek

In another sign that times are changing in the television industry, NBC executives have decided that NBC affiliate stations will begin paying reverse compensation for network programming, beginning with the renewal of their affiliation agreements after this Labor Day.

In the past, networks would pay stations to be one of their affiliates. This often had the advantage of being an additional revenue stream for local stations and helped the network keep their affiliations with stations they considered critical to their success.

With the increasing cost of production for shows and the high price of big sporting events, NBC has been forced to go the way of FOX which began the reverse compenstation process about 10 years ago. According to TV News Day, CW affiliates also pay reverse compensation to their network.

What could this mean for a station like WKYC - one of NBC's top performing stations? It really depends. In bigger markets like Cleveland, NBC would be likely to charge less than underperforming stations it sees as weak and draining their bottom line.

High performing stations not only help the network with make bigger sales, but NBC wouldn't wish to jeoparidize losing stations, like WKYC, as an affiliate.

Smaller and underperforming stations are likely to take a bigger hit. Some may even be forced to change affiliates, or reduce their local news budgets to pay for the higher affiliation agreements.

And this leads us to another point, I first talked about on the Director's Cut many months ago.. Could NBC be finally ready to decrease the amount of hours it programs in prime time?

NBCU's President and CEO Jeff Zucker left open that possibility when he made the reverse compensation about a month ago at the NBC affiliates convention in California.

This leads us to wonder, again, if NBC affiliates, like WKYC would benefit from having the 10 pm hour to locally program news - and a new possible show to start late night by 10:35 pm hosted by someone, like Jay Leno, who apparently isn't quite ready to give up the "Tonight Show" to Conan O'Brien next year.

We continue to follow this one carefully. But it is another piece of a puzzle that could prove interesting as the February 17, 2009 all digital deadline turns into an attractive opportunity for TV to re-write the rules both at the local and the network level.

We welcome your comments and thoughts. You can post them here or email to:

Disclaimer: The opinions of the Director's Cut blog are those of Frank Macek and do not necessarily reflect those of WKYC or Gannett Broadcasting.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Where Are They Now? - Ben Holbert

Time for another in our series of "Where Are They Now?" features on the Director's Cut Blog where we catch up to some Channel 3 alumni as they continue their careers across the country.

Ben Holbert was one of Channel 3's reporters who also worked for a period of time as a reporter on our "Akron Canton News" when it aired on WVPX, Pax 23.

We talked to Ben recently and here's what he had to share.


I spent 25 years in broadcasting. I was pleased to work with every commercial television station in Cleveland. I served as a featured news reporter at WKYC-TV, PAX 23 in Akron, WOIO-CBS/WUAB-TV; WVIZ-TV, Cleveland Television Network in partnership with WEWS-TV. I began my broadcast career in 1980 as an vacation relief engineer at WJW-TV (formerly WJKW-TV). I also spent nearly three years at WJMO-radio 1490-AM as a news anchor/news reporter and talk show host.


Most recently, I served as Chief Communications Officer for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District since July 2007. I reported directly to the Chief Executive Officer of the largest public school district in Ohio, helping oversee a 1.2 million-dollar departmental budget and managed 14 full time employees. My responsibility included promotional campaign concepts for the district as well as serving as the district spokesperson.


What I enjoyed most about my career in broadcasting was my ability to being a voice to people who had a story to share. As a native of Cleveland, having grown up on the southeast side, graduating from Benedictine and Kent State University, I have a significant history of the Greater Cleveland community and had a familiarity of the issues and concerns of people. I tried to develop my career around being a "community reporter."

My goal is to report on the positive items in Cleveland and find solutions to problems. My desire was to use my influence as "The Newsman" to make a difference in lives of people in Cleveland.

Frank, I was very pleased with my career in broadcasting. I was pleased to have worked with some quality people who taught me a plenty about the industry and about life. There are many days that I miss my involvement in television; I hope that my presence provided a positive difference in the lives of the viewers that I came in contact.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

News: WKYC offers Del Folk's Classics Online

You have seen Del Donahoo travel the state in search of the area's most fascinating people and most interesting places to visit during a career that lasted for decades at WKYC.

Now, WKYC helps you re-live all those fond memories as the Folkwagon traveled hundreds of thousands of miles.

Take a trip down Memory Lane with "Del's Folks Classic TV". Click on the picture to visit Del's homepage where the video player lives.

You can also find Del on Facebook.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

News: New Kim Wheeler Blog

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

  • Kim's Classroom Notes - a blog by WKYC Education Reporter and Weekend anchor Kim Wheeler who writes news about our schools and our kids.

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

News: Gannett buys out remaining stakes in ShopLocal

WKYC parent company and newspaper publisherGannett Co. said it purchased stakes held by Tribune Co. and McClatchy Co. in ShopLocal LLC, a marketing and database services company.

Tribune owned 42.5 percent of ShopLocal, while McClatchy owned 15 percent.

McClatchy said it sold its stake for $7.9 million, which would have placed a value of about $52.5 million on the whole venture. Gannett didn't disclose the price it paid for Tribune's stake.

McClatchy said it used the proceeds to pay down debt. It will record a related charge of about $3 million in the second quarter. McClatchy had acquired a stake in ShopLocal through its acquisition of newspaper publisher Knight Ridder Inc. in June 2006, and later sold a portion of that stake to Gannett and Tribune.

ShopLocal will work in conjunction with Gannett's Internet media company PointRoll to create ads for retailers.

Tribune and McClatchy will remain partners with Gannett in CareerBuilder, Classified Ventures and Tribune and Gannett also jointly own Metromix, a network of local entertainment Web sites, and are partners in online advertising venture quadrantOne.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Video: TV crew covering California wildfires

Every once in a while, we come across some video which shows people in our business who risk their lives to cover the news for viewers. This is one such example.

Some people living in northern California have been told to get out because of
encroaching wildfires. Winds are pushing flames toward homes in Butte County, north of Sacramento.

This local T-V crew got a first-hand look at the power this blaze is wielding
as they drove through intense heat and flames. There's barely any visibility because of the smoke and the shifting winds are making thing difficult for firefighters.

As the crew neared the glow of the fire, they had to turn around because conditions were just too dangerous.

Take a look:

Monday, July 07, 2008

Exclusive: Behind the scenes of the Olympic International Broadcast Center

The countdown to the 2008 Summer Olympic games is just one month away. NBC and WKYC will provide extensive coverage of this year's games that open on August 8th in Beijing, China.

WKYC will also bring you a local, pre-olympic show called "WKYC Olympic Zone" which will air live from 7:30 until 8 pm every night leading into primetime coverage.

For a complete guide to the events & schedule: CLICK HERE

To kick off our coverage, the Director's Cut Blog takes you to one of the most fascinating places to be during the games - the Olympic International Broadcast Center. This is the place where journalists from all around the world gather to bring their home countries complete coverage of the games.

Emily Chang takes us on our tour.

NBCU buys the Weather Channel for $3.5 billion in cash

NBC Universal and two partners said Sunday they have reached a deal to buy The Weather Channel from Landmark Communications Inc., ending a drawn-out process that had attracted interest from several major media companies.

Financial terms weren't disclosed, but a person familiar with the matter who insisted on anonymity said the purchase price was $3.5 billion in cash. NBC was joined in the deal by the private equity firms The Blackstone Group LP and Bain Capital LLC.

In addition to The Weather Channel, which can be seen by 97 percent of U.S. cable subscribers, the deal also includes several related assets such as weather services for newspapers and radio stations and the widely used Web site

NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co., became the sole bidder for The Weather Channel last month after Time Warner Inc. dropped out. CBS Corp. and cable industry leader Comcast Corp. had also expressed interest earlier.

NBC already operates a digital weather and news service called NBC Weather Plus that was launched in 2004 and would make a logical fit with The Weather Channel. NBC Weather Plus is owned by NBC and its affiliated TV stations and can be seen on digital cable services and digital subchannels operated by NBC stations.

NBC and Landmark said in a statement that The Weather Channel would be operated as a separate entity out of its base in Atlanta. They said they expected the transaction to close by year-end, pending regulatory approvals.

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., GE Commercial Finance, GSO Capital Partners and Sankaty Advisors LLC will provide debt financing for the transaction.

Landmark, a privately held media company based in Norfolk, Va., put The Weather Channel up for sale in January along with its other businesses, which include The Virginian-Pilot and eight other daily newspapers. No announcement has yet been made about the newspaper sales, which are continuing on a separate track.

The Weather Channel was launched in 1982. Its Web site has about 37 million monthly unique visitors, putting it in the top 15 Web sites, according to the company. The Weather Channel has 1,300 employees and estimated annual revenues of $550 million.

Courtesy: The Associated Press

Friday, July 04, 2008

Spotlight Feature: Celebrating 20 years in Cleveland Broadcasting

You may have seen the countdown to July 5th that I was giving here on the Director's Cut Blog. Well, the time has come. It's finally here. July 5th officially marks my 20th year as a Cleveland broadcaster.

It was July 5th, 1988, that I opened the microphone at little 1,000 watt country music station WLND-AM in Cortland... It was 6:05 a.m. and time to say those most memorable words: "Good Morning, I'm Frank Macek with your WLND News..." I was so scared, I trembled at first. But that soon passed.

Although my tenure at WLND was only to last the summer of 1988 before college started in the fall, it was a memorable time at the little station at the corner of St. Rts. 305 and 88 in Cortland in a building shared with a dentist office. Owner Nancy Hoffman (whose son Chris Hoffman once worked at WKYC) and station manager Jay Michaels gave me that big break after I contacted them about wanting to do the weather forecast for their station. Instead, I got to do the weather AND the news.

I also got to spin those little 45 records on the turntable playing those "All Hit Country" favorites. Meryle Haggard, George Strait, Eddie Rabbit and Crystal Gayle were the big name stars at the time.

In the fall of 1988, I started at Cleveland State University when Sandy Kish Jordan offered me an internship with WDOK and WWWE on the 2nd floor of Reserve Square in downtown Cleveland. I was so impressed with their studios. I felt like I was in the big time now.

While my first job there was in promotions, I quickly moved into other areas and found myself playing the weekend hits on WDOK...all your "Soft Favorites" which was the positioning the station took at the time under PD Sue Wilson. Even though it was the overnight shift on the weekend, I still got the chance to crack the mic and do the weather. But, hey that was cool I thought.

At WDOK, I can remember first using what we called "carts" - a professional version of "8 track-type" tape that music and commercials were recorded on. That replaced the vinyl in the late 80s and early 90s.

I also got to work with Gary Dee, Bruce Drennan, and a cast of other characters who followed them around inside the studios of our sister station, WWWE. In fact, I actually was on the Gary Dee show one day talking about the apathy of college students regarding world affairs. I guess it was a VERY slow news day. Plus, Gary's regularly scheduled guess didn't show up. But hey I can say I was on the "Gary Dee Show" for what it's worth. Not much.

After a station swap, WDOK became sister stations with WRMR and "The Music of Your Life" penetrated my blood. Program Director Jim Davis gave me a shot at a shift on the AM 850 frequency. I was playing the music of my grandparents - Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Tommy Dorsey and more. But I didn't care. I loved it.

Soon I was hired full time as assistant program director for WRMR and did regular on-air shifts alongside Carl Reese, Bill Randle and Ronnie Barrett. For several years, I produced and engineered Ronnie's "Saturday Night Swing" Show which found a new home on WRMR after being booted off WQAL where I remember listening to Ronnie on Saturday nights.

Also during this time, CDs were making their debut and I was buying up as many as I could. I had a huge collection of everything you could imagine. My basement was filled with Sinatra and other "Music of Your Life" artists. I was hooked.

Then came the rough times. Tom Embrescia, the station owner, was getting ready to sell his stations as the lead up to the big Telecommunications Act of 1996 that ruined the industy. Soon, I was out the door. And it hurt. I was fired for the first time in my career.

Almost without a beat, another fantastic opportunity came along - the wonderful world of television. And I found myself two weeks later inside the studios of WKYC at E. 6th and Rockwell.

At first, I worked here as a technician. My first duties were on the morning show "Today in Cleveland" with Del Donahoo and Tom Haley. I remember watching them each morning as a kid before catching the bus to school at 7:10. A very dear old man, Hank Zybreski, taught me how to be a good audio man. Hank soon retired and passed away a few years ago. He was one of the best audio men in the business.

Around the same time, in January 1995, Steve Hibbard - program director of Smooth Jazz 107.3, The Wave - brought me in for an interview and I joined the station for almost the next decade.

I would work TV all week, then radio on the weekends. Somedays, I would do both. It was something that a person in their 20s could do, but not any more than I'm nearing the big 4-0. Those days were brutual and best left behind.

Later in 1995, I was given an opportunity to start directing news at WKYC thanks to then Programming/Production Manager Rich O'Dell. I knew he wasn't sure I could do it, but gave me the chance anyways. I proved him I could. In 1997, I was hired full time to replace retiring director John Oven who still resides down in sunny Florida running his own little video production company and having fun I hear.

Meanwhile at the Wave, I found myself transitioning from playing CDs to the dreaded automation system that basically replaced most of the disc jockeys in the radio business over a very short period of time. Clear Channel bought up all the main stations and now stations could voice track entire shifts without anyone being in the studio. It was hard to accept, but I knew the time had come to call it quits.

So, in January 2005, I decided to hang up my headset and focus full time on Channel 3 - and to have a life once again.

Fast forward to July 2008, TV is at a crossroads. Some say it will die, others feel it will always be around. I feel broadcasting will evolve, but not go away. Only the delivery platforms will change.

Even here at Channel 3, we are all being replaced with computers and automation. As you know, our technical director and director positions are being combined into one. Today, I direct and switch my own newscasts in a control room that has gone from 5 or 6 people to only a few.

The time will come when I, too, am no longer needed. And that will be okay. Because over the last 20 years, I know I have always given my all to the product. When one door closes, another one opens.

So, thanks to all who have believed in me over the years and given me the opportunity to be a Cleveland broadcaster. Here is hoping for another 20 years in Cleveland broadcasting.

To view more of my career in pictures on my Facebook page: CLICK HERE

Thursday, July 03, 2008

News: Happy Retirement John!

Today was a sad day at WKYC as long time employee John Marinko edited his final commercial and headed into a long overdue retirement.

John started at the station 51 years ago - an unbelievable 5 decades in this business! Over those years, John worked in a variety of jobs beginning with his duties in radio where he worked alongside a number of big name stars.

On the TV side, John brought plenty of enthusiasm and professionalism to his duties from cameraman to editor and many jobs in between. He worked in film all the way the high definition television and was most recently our main commercial editor.

Over the years, John received a number of awards for his work and was inducted as a Silver Circle member into the National Television Academy of Arts & Sciences, Great Lakes Lower Chapter, in the class of 1996 along with Clifford Adkins, Alan Bush, Jenny Crimm, Charles E. (Bud) Ford and Joe Mosbrook.

Plus, John always had a fondness for the weather, which I personally appreciated getting to work with someone with similar interests over the last 14 years.

All of us wish John a happy retirement!

The video is from John's final day at the station with an appearance on "Good Company Today" on Thursday.