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!

Thursday's Bits and Pieces - 11/6/08

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 to Debut New Ford Vehicle This Afternoon

Many people may not remember the days of long, product TV commercials. But on Channel 3 this afternoon, we will be bringing back the magic as we work with our partners at Ford to debut a brand new Ford product during "Ellen", "Dr. Phil" and at the end of Channel 3 News at 6 & 7 PM.

Be sure to tune in and watch.

FCC OKs Use of White Spaces to Deliver Broadband

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal regulators have approved a plan to open up unused, unlicensed portions of the television airwaves known as "white spaces" to deliver wireless broadband service. Tuesday's vote by the Federal Communications Commission is a big victory for public interest groups and big technology companies, including Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. They say white spaces have the potential to bring broadband to rural America and other underserved parts of the country. The vote is a major setback for the nation's big TV broadcasters. They argue that the use of the fallow spectrum to deliver wireless Internet access could disrupt their over-the-air signals. Wireless microphone manufacturers and users have also
raised interference concerns.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wednesday's Bits and Pieces - 11/4/08

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

The Results Are in...And the Winner Is - WKYC

According to Nielsen, Cleveland viewers made WKYC their choice for Primetime Election coverage on Tuesday evening, including giving Channel 3 News a 1st place win at 11 PM. Also, our 5 PM Election News special ranked second, beating the established "Live on 5" broadcast on WEWS.

Micheal Crichton, Author & Producer of "ER" dies at 66

Michael Crichton, the million-selling author of "Jurassic Park" and "The Andromeda Strain," has died at the age of 66. He was also creator of the award-winning TV hospital series "ER" on NBC. His family says he had been battling cancer.

The medical school graduate was known for his scientific and techno thrillers, and many of his books became major Hollywood films, including "Rising Sun" and "Disclosure." Crichton himself directed and wrote "The Great Train Robbery" and co-wrote the blockbuster "Twister." If not a literary giant, Crichton was a physical one, standing 6 feet and 9 inches.

Crichton was married five times and had one child. A private funeral is planned.

Eriq La Salle Returning to ER, but only to Direct

Eriq La Salle, who played the County General surgeon from 1994-2002, will direct an upcoming episode of the longtime medical drama, Variety reports. The episode will air in February, which is when the NBC Thursday night staple is set to wrap up for good. After departing to focus on screenwriting and directing, La Salle has racked up a string of television directing credits, including two on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. La Salle last appeared as Dr. Benton at Dr. Greene's funeral in 2002. Anthony Edwards, who will bring Dr. Greene back to life in a flashback episode, will air next week.

From the Editor's Desk...

Four years ago during the Democratic National Convention, WKYC Anchor Tim White came out of his office in the newsroom and said, that man on the stage will be President. At first I laughed at Tim, saying no one knows this guy. I was dead wrong. Four years later, this man - Barack Obama is our next President.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Behind the Scenes of Election Night

We have posted a number of behind the scenes video of our Election Coverage in the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center on Facebook.

Because the videos are quicker to upload to Facebook, please click on the following link to go to my profile to see them:


Tuesday's Bits and Pieces - 11/4/08

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

Tonight's WKYC Evening Programming Schedule:
5:00 PM: Channel 3 News & Election Special
6:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 6 PM
6:30 PM: NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams
7:00 PM: NBC Election Coverage
11:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 11 PM
11:35 PM: NBC Election Coverage

Election Coverage Begins

Our election coverage continues this evening at 5 PM with another special edition of Channel 3 News at 5 PM with Tim White, Romona Robinson and the entire Channel 3 News team.

Special Channel 3 News at 4:30 AM

Channel 3 News Today will begin one half hour earlier on Wednesday morning. Mark Nolan and Abby Ham will have the latest election results and more beginning at 4:30 AM.

SNL Sweeps Up Monday Night

NBC's special "Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash 2008" dominated last night, averaging a 5.6 adults 18-49 rating from 9 to 11 p.m., according to Nielsen overnights, boosting the network to an easy nightly victory in the demo. "SNL" was the night's highest-rated show in the demo and also averaged 14.4 million total viewers, behind only ABC’s "Dancing with the Stars." It marked the network's best non-Olympic rating and total viewers in the timeslot dating back to the January 2007 Golden Globes.

More Households Ready for the Big Switch

TV Newsday is reporting that Nielsen said Tuesday that the number of TV households "completely unready" for the DTV switch declined from 8.4% of TV households in September to 7.7%, the biggest decline in the past six months. Since there are 114,500,000 TV households, according to Nielsen, that would mean if the switch to DTV happened today, about 8.8 million households would not be ready, meaning they do not have a DTV set, an analog-to-digital converter box or cable or satellite service. The "completely unready" figure is down from 9.8% in May as broadcasters and the government continue to alert viewers to the switch via public service announcements and outreach efforts.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Monday's Bits and Pieces for 11/3/08

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

Tonight's WKYC Evening Programming Schedule:
5:00 PM: Channel 3 News & Election Special
6:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 6 PM
6:30 PM: NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams
7;30 PM: Channel 3 News at 7 PM
8:00 PM: Deal or No Deal
9:00 PM: Saturday Night Live Presidential Bash 2008
11:00 PM: Channel 3 News at 11 PM
11:35 PM: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno

Election Coverage Begins

Our election coverage is in full swing on WKYC with our first special airing tonight at 5 pm. Tim White, Romona Robinson and the Channel 3 News team take you step by step through one of the most important elections of our time.

Meet the Bloggers

Once again as part of Channel 3's on-line connection with viewers, WKYC will host "Meet the Bloggers" during Tuesday evening's election special coverage. They will be blogging from the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center about all things politics. You can log onto on Tuesday evening to watch them live on our special Mogulus Channel. You can read more about who are "Meet The Bloggers": CLICK HERE

Time to Ring In the New Year, Already?

We aren't too far from the end of the year and NBC has told us that Ludacris, 50 Cent and Katy Perry will perform on "NBC's New Year’s Eve With Carson Daly" on Dec. 31 live from New York City. The 5th annual celebration will be broadcast for the first time with one hour airing in prime time between 10-11 p.m. ET and one hour during late night at 11:35 a.m.

Kath & Kim Get a Full Season

NBC approved nine additional episodes of its new comedy Kath & Kim, giving it a full-season order. To date, Kath & Kim, starring Molly Shannon and Selma Blair has averaged a 2.6/6 among A18-49 and 6.0 million viewers according to Nielsen.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

From the Wires: Election Night Coverage from the Networks

AP Television Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- For television news organizations, Election Night is like the Super Bowl -- the year's best chance to show off their talent and technological innovations.

A couple of folks sitting behind a desk reading numbers? How 1950s.

Tuesday will see holograms and virtual reality, a "magic wall" and a "launchpad," and two New York City landmarks -- Rockefeller Center and Times Square -- turned into TV studios.

NBC News will imprint a map of the United States on the Rockefeller Center skating rink, turning states blue or red as they are called for Democrat Barack Obama or Republican John McCain. Giant banners for each candidate will climb 16 stories up 30 Rockefeller Plaza, marking the progress to 270 electoral votes.

Three giant video screens put in place by ABC News will loom over Times Square, where Bill Weir will be stationed to get the reaction of people watching the vote.

"We wanted the scale and scope of the coverage to match the moment, to match the interest and enthusiasm that we have been seeing from the public," said David Chalian, ABC News political director.

Election Night is one of the very few remaining events where broadcast news divisions know they will have prime time to themselves. The competition among ABC, CBS and NBC is intense. The cable networks CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC -- whose business every night is news -- approach equal footing now. And they're not
the only choices viewers have.

Besides providing up-to-date information, networks feel pressure just to catch someone's eye.

One important lesson about this came in 1976, when NBC built a giant map of the country as a backdrop in their studio. The states were lit in white, and were turned red if Democrat Jimmy Carter won, blue if they backed Republican Gerald Ford. After some early glitches -- the plastic Georgia almost melted from a hot light in
rehearsal -- the map became an instant hit.

Four years later, all three broadcasters had big maps. The colors eventually became uniform to what they are now: blue for Democrats, red for Republicans.

"People are becoming more sophisticated," said Phil Alongi, executive producer of NBC News specials and supervisor of the construction of virtual reality studios for Ann Curry and Chuck Todd. "If you do just the traditional stuff, they'll turn away."

Despite all this work, the most memorable prop of the past few Election Nights was simple and cheap: the white board where the late Tim Russert distilled the 2000 election to its essence -- "Florida, Florida, Florida."

"Outdoor set or indoor set, gizmos of all kinds, are not as important as how smart the people are, and how articulate and how clear they can be," said Paul Friedman, senior vice president of CBS News.

Katie Couric will anchor the CBS coverage, with Jeff Greenfield and Bob Schieffer as her top analysts. She'll head immediately onto a Webcast when the TV coverage reaches its 2 a.m. scheduled end.

The campaign has stretched so long, between primary nights and debates, it's almost forgotten that it will be the first general Election Night as the faces of their networks for Couric, ABC's Charles Gibson and NBC's Brian Williams.

Williams will be joined at NBC's anchor desks by analysts Tom Brokaw and Andrea Mitchell. The three-person team is a subtle change of the dynamic at NBC following Russert's death in June. The Brokaw-Russert team was the nation's most popular in 2000 and 2004. "We're not going to deny we're going to miss Tim," Alongi said.

ABC's coverage will originate from the "Good Morning America" studios in Times Square. Gibson will team with Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos. It won't be like New Year's Eve, but Chalian said he's interested in seeing if people gather in Times Square to watch the news unfold.

The Fox broadcast network will air coverage anchored by Shepard Smith, one of five separate TV, radio or Internet newscasts to originate from Fox's Manhattan studios. Brit Hume anchors the Fox News Channel coverage. It's a swan song for Hume; he'll be cutting back from daily on-air work at Fox. Fox is using the night to debut its "launchpad," a technology that uses a control pad to allow reporters to quickly customize visual elements like results, maps and live shots.

CNN has its own new technology, following the "magic wall" that allows John King to bend and shape information -- and was parodied recently on "Saturday Night Live." It will have a virtual-reality Capitol to track control of Congress, and a holograph projection device that can make it appear someone being interviewed in a separate city is in CNN's New York studio.

"It might open up a different dynamic in a live interview, if people would feel like they're in the same room," said David Bohrman, CNN senior vice president and Washington bureau chief.

As if CNN already won't have enough people in the studio -- 14 analysts alone, not counting reporters or the anchor team of Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and Campbell Brown.

David Gregory will anchor the MSNBC coverage, trying to get a word in edgewise with the team of Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow and Eugene Robinson. Curry, looking at exit poll information, and Todd, crunching the numbers, will do double duty on NBC and MSNBC.

Jim Lehrer leads the PBS team. Lest you think PBS will be stodgy, note that its correspondents will be posting reports on Twitter.

More specialized outlets will also be following Election Night, like the business networks CNBC and Fox Business Network. It's an opportunity for fledgling Fox, which has seen the economic crisis as a chance to establish itself much like the Monica Lewinsky scandal helped establish Fox News Channel a decade ago, said Neil Cavuto, senior vice president and managing editor of the network.

Fox Business Network will keep track of the overseas markets as election results come in, report on the probable economic policies of the incoming administration and hear from guests like Steve Forbes and Donald Trump.

"We're going all-out," Cavuto said.

Two networks aimed at African-Americans, BET and TV One, will also be providing special coverage on a night that could see the election of the first black president. Univision, the nation's leading network for Spanish-speaking viewers, will also have Election Night coverage.

And if the night is getting too serious, there's always Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's live one-hour special on Comedy Central, at 10 p.m. EDT. No "magic wall" is promised.