Friday, January 30, 2009

News: Obama to sign bill on analog shutdown delay

WASHINGTON -- White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says President Barack Obama will sign a bill to give consumers more time to get ready for the switch from analog to digital television broadcasts. The switch under current law is set for Feb. 17.

The Senate earlier this week passed the bill to delay that until June, but it failed in the House under a procedure that required a two-thirds vote for passage.

The Senate passed the bill again Thursday night, and the House plans to take another run at it next week under regular procedures. That means a simple majority vote is required.

Gibbs said Obama will sign the bill because he wants more time to ensure that people don't lose their television signals.

Source: The Associated Press

News: Gannett reports lowered 4Q earnings on weak ads

NEW YORK -- Gannett Co. (owner of WKYC-TV) is reporting lower preliminary fourth-quarter earnings, and says it expects to take writedowns of as much as $5.9 billion to reflect the declining value of its newspapers.

Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper publisher, says preliminary net income fell to $158 million, or 69 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, down 36 percent from a year ago, as advertising revenue continues to take a beating because of the

Severance and other expenses related to job cuts have further reduced profits.

The figures do not reflect the accounting writedowns, which Gannett expects to total $5.1 billion to $5.9 billion before taxes.

Excluding severance charges, earnings were 85 cents a share, slightly above the 81 cents a share expected by analysts.

Revenue fell 8.5 percent to $1.74 billion, below expectations of $1.79 billion.

Source: The Associated Press

Behind the Scenes: Producer Amanda's Big Birthday

Some behind the scenes fun as Channel 3 News 6 PM producer Amanda finds a surprise waiting for her when she arrives at work. Happy Birthday Amanda!

Superbowl Coverage on WKYC

Here is a list of some of Sunday's special features with Superbowl XLIII.

  • At 9a, NBC's Today will open the network's coverage with a special two-hour program with Meredith Viera, Al Roker and Ann Curry giving viewers a behind-the-scenes look at all the Super Sunday preparations.
  • At noon, Bob Costas will lead the pregame coverage with Road to the Super Bowl. Costas will be joined by co-hosts Cris Collinsworth, Keith Olbermann and Dan Patrick; analysts Jerome Bettis and Tiki Barber; and reporter Peter King among other sports contributors and Super Bowl winning coaches. Some of the highlights during the afternoon pregame show include NBC News' Matt Lauer's live interview with President Barack Obama from the White House; Bob Costas' interview with halftime performer, Bruce Springsteen; profiles of players from both teams; Al Roker hosting the Super Suite with pregame celebrity appearances/segments by Tina Fey, Will Ferrell, Jay Leno, Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Fallon among others; plus other live musical performances from rock stars Journey and John Legend as well as Faith Hill and Jennifer Hudson singing the national anthem.
  • Super Bowl 2009 game kick-off is scheduled for 628p EST. Last year's Super Bowl between the Giants and the Patriots was viewed by an average of 97.5 million Americans, making it the most-watched Super Bowl event ever and the most-watched television broadcast in 2008.
  • Even more tune in to the Halftime Show as more than 148 million viewers in the U.S. watched last year. This year's entertainment will be provided by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. According to NBC, the Super Bowl and the halftime show will be broadcast globally to more than 230 countries and territories.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sneak Preview: Super Bowl Ads

Super Bowl XLIII is just days away and while the Cardinals and Steelers are getting ready for the biggest game in many of their lives, so are a whole lot of advertisers.

In fact for them, a win during the big game means even more this year with so many suffering. Tough economic times mean some of the traditional sponsors like FedEx and the U.S. automakers have opted out of Super Bowl advertising this year.

But for those that are still shelling out big bucks for the game expect them to try to make the most of their 30 seconds and make us feel a little better in the process. In a year when the economy has left many feeling like they are just hanging on advertisers hope Super Bowl Sunday might provide a break from the worlds woes.

Expect the big game's spots to go for big laughs. "They want to be sensitive to the people who have lost their jobs and lost their houses and most of them have decided that people want respite and they want to be entertained," said Adweek ad critic Barbara Lippert. hopes to bring a smile in a grim job market. While other brands are going for that feel good nostalgia. Coke is giving the old mean Joe Greene classic a new twist. While Budweiser will once again offer up it's perennial favorite clydesdales.

On the racier side, will once again skirt the edge, while Doritos is spicing things up with a contest. One lucky amateur video makers' spots will be chosen to air during the big game and could win a million bucks

Make no mistake the ads are still big business 3 million dollars per thirty seconds- the most ever. "There is no platform like it for advertisers... If you want to reach a mass audience," said Lippert.

And making it memorable is still the name of the game. Dreamworks' Monsters versus Aliens will take it to a new level with a 3D ad. But advertisers hope a spot in the big game will mean monster gains. You'll need to pick up 3D glasses to get the full effect of the Monsters versus Aliens spot. You can get a pair at many supermarkets. They'll also work for Monday's 3D episode of Chuck on NBC.

Last year 148 million viewers watched the Super Bowl here in the U.S.

Director's Alert: Indians Television Schedule Released

CLEVELAND -- The Indians, SportsTimeOhio and WKYC announced the 2009 TV schedule for the Tribe Wednesday.

For the second year in a row, games on the two stations will be televised in HD.

  • SportsTimeOhio will show 154 regular season and seven spring training games.
  • WKYC-TV will air 20 regular season games. Those games will also be simulcast on STO.
  • FOX will televise eight games, locally seen on WJW.

Rick Manning, Matt Underwood and Al Pawlowski will handle broadcasting duties during the regular season.

Manning and Underwood will begin daily updates starting February 16 at 10 p.m. on STO.

2009 Indians TV schedule

*Click here for printable version (PDF)

Director's Alert: House defeats bill to delay digital TV transition

WASHINGTON -- The House has defeated a bill to postpone the upcoming transition from analog to digital television broadcasting by four months to June 12.

House Republicans succeeded in scuttling a bill to delay the transition, which is scheduled for Feb. 17, less than two days after the Senate unanimously passed the plan.

The defeat is a setback for the Obama administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill, who fear too many Americans are not ready for the switchover.

The Nielsen Co. estimates more than 6.5 million U.S. households that rely on analog television sets to pick up over-the-air broadcast signals could see their TV sets go dark next month if the transition is not postponed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Super Bowl XLIII

The match: The Steelers vs. The Cardinals...

The place: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida

The date: Sunday, February 1st on NBC and WKYC.

Kristin Dahlgren's behind-the-scenes tour of media operations

Mark Barger's behind-the-scenes tour of Super Bowl Media Day.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Director's Alert: Senate Votes to Delay DTV Transition; Heads to the House

WASHINGTON (AP) -- People who have not gotten their TV sets ready for the changeover to digital signals could earn a four-month reprieve under a bill making its way through Congress.

The Senate voted Monday to delay until June 12 the deadline for the changeover from analog to digital television broadcasting. People still getting their pictures through old-fashioned antennas otherwise would face a Feb. 17 cutoff.

Comparable legislation is being readied in the House, and the Obama administration has called for a delay amid mounting concerns that too many Americans who rely on over-the-air broadcast signals won't be ready.

It's estimated that more than 6.5 million U.S. households are still not prepared for the upcoming transition.

Courtesy: The Associated Press

I Spy: The Sullivans Moving to San Diego?

Channel 3 Sports reported this evening that Mike Sullivan, the husband of 7 pm Sports Anchor Carole Sullivan is going to the San Diego Chargers.

Mike has been with the Browns since he and Carole returned to the Cleveland area as an Assistant Offensive Line coach for the team in 2007. Before that, Mike was assistant coach/offensive line at Western Michigan from 2005 to 2006.

Could this mean Carole is leaving us (again) at WKYC????

Cleveland or San Diego? Cleveland or San Diego? This is an easy one. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday's Bits & Pieces for 1/23/09

Here's our update of what's happening around the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center, on NBC and around the television industry:

Not Much Happening

January continues to be a fairly quiet month here at the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center. As much as I would like to share new things with you, there just isn't anything happening at the moment. So, I'll give you a little update on NBC and other tv business that has crossed our desks recently.

New NBC/WKYC Programming Widget

We have added a brand new widget on the Director's Cut Blog that will give you a daily update on what's coming up on NBC in Prime time each night. Plus, the widget has links to several other online content provided by the network. Check it out on the right hand menu.

Some Superbowl Ads on WKYC to Air in 3D

Next weekend is the Superbowl. And some of the commercials will air in 3-D according to the Wall Street Journal. NBC has teamed up with DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. and PepsiCo's SoBe Lifewater to create a first-of-its kind, nationwide 'Monstrous' 3D event for Super Bowl XLIII as well as a special 3D episode of Chuck with special guest Jerome Bettis. The all 3D Super Bowl commercial event will mark the debut of DreamWorks Animation's premier 3D movie trailer for its upcoming film, "Monsters vs. Aliens," opening on March 27th. Also, General Electric is planning a "Wizard of Oz"-themed commercial to promote its smart-grid technologies in a 30-second spot. GE is the parent company of NBC. The Superbowl airs next Sunday, February 1st on NBC and WKYC.

The 3D glasses are being distributed by PepsiCo through the SoBe Lifewater brand ( The glasses will be disseminated via 25,000 SoBe Lifewater retail displays in grocery, drug and other retail venues beginning in January and will be FREE to consumers. Should a display's supply of glasses run out, consumers can call 1-800-646-2904 in order to obtain a pair.

The "More You Know" Celebrates It's 20th Anniversary

NBC's award-winning "The More You Know" public service campaign celebrates its 20th anniversary by continuing to raise awareness of pressing social issues and inspiring viewers to take action. Over the past two decades, hundreds of stars have shown their commitment and creativity and this year is no exception with talent from The Office, 30 Rock, Law & Order: SVU, Heroes, My Name is Earl, Deal or No Deal, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Biggest Loser, Chuck, Law & Order, Medium, Lipstick Jungle, ER, NBC News, NBC Sports as well as USA, Sci, Fi, Bravo and Oxygen.

"Saturday Night Live" Welcomes Back Steve Martin January 31st

Steve Martin will make his SNL record 15th appearance as host when he returns after three years to Studio 8H on January 31st. Martin is joined by singer Jason Mraz, making his debut alongside the legendary performer.

Martin is one of the most diversified performers in the motion picture industry today—actor, comedian, author, playwright and producer. The 2007 recipient of the prestigious Kennedy Center Honor, Martin will return in the role of Inspector Clouseau in "The Pink Panther 2," which opens February 6th. He has a score of film roles to his credit and received critical praise in the 2006 film "Shopgirl" (which he adapted from his novella), as well as in the hits "Cheaper By The Dozen" and "Bringing Down the House." Martin has starred in several comedy classics; "The Jerk," "All of Me" "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" "Father of the Bride," "Parenthood" and "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." Martin scripted and starred in the hit acclaimed comedies "Three Amigos," "Roxanne," "L.A. Story" and "Bowfinger;" and the drama "Grand Canyon."

NBC to Show "Mercy"

According to the Hollywood Reporter, NBC has picked up the pilot called "Mercy," a drama that profiles the relationship among three nurses. We also hear that the network is working on securing an agreement for a new medical drama called "Trauma".

Actors union gives up strike vote plans

The Associated Press says this afternoon that the Screen Actors Guild has suspended plans for a strike authorization vote. A hardline faction within the union and the guild's president say the vote was likely to fall short of the 75 percent support needed to pass. The declaration represents an about-face and follows months of preparations for a strike vote that would have given the guild the power to shut down production of major studio movies and prime-time TV shows. The last contract expired in June.

News: Nielsen Says More Than 6.5 Million Not Ready for DTV Transition

More than 6.5 million U.S. households -- or 5.7 percent of all homes -- are not ready for the upcoming transition to all-digital broadcasting and would be unable to receive any television programming at all if the transition occurred today, the Nielsen Company reported Thursday.

That translates into 5.7 percent of all U.S. households. In the Cleveland-Akron-Canton area in Ohio, Nielsen says 5.91 percent of households are not ready.

In Columbus, that number is 4.29 percent and in Dayton, that number is 6.88 percent.

Under government-mandated action, all television stations are required to switch to digital programming by February 17, 2009, which will leave viewers without a television signal unless they purchase digital television sets, connect to cable, satellite, and alternate delivery systems or purchase a converter box.

For information or to learn about the converter box, contact DTV Answers online or call (888) DTV-2009.

Among the 56 local markets that Nielsen measures with electronic meters, the one that is least ready is Albuquerque-Santa Fe, New Mexico with 12.4 percent of the households completely unready.

The most prepared market is Hartford & New Haven, Connecticut with only 1.8 percent of homes unready.


*Update on Digital TV, converter boxes and WKYC reception: CLICK HERE
*Post your questions in our DTV forum: CLICK HERE

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Director's Alert: Senate Reaches Agreement on Altering DTV Date

Senate negotiators reached an agreement today to take action on altering the digital TV changeover. The move could have legislation before the Senate as soon as Friday, according to several Senate aides.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Reflections on the Inauguration Coverage

By Frank Macek

January 20, 2009, is one of those moments in history you'll remember in your golden years - the Inauguration of Barack Obama as the nation's first African American President. The coverage and attendance by our fellow Americans in Washington D.C. was unprecedented. A brand new day had come to our nation.
Here at the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center, we spent much our day preparing for our local coverage that included a special edition of Channel 3 News at 5 PM following NBC's day long coverage. The thinking started long ago, but the day's plan fell into place as we got set to bring our viewers the local flavor of what the day meant.

That was our mission of the day. Behind the scenes, the staff worked in a state of controlled chaos which usually comes on a big news day. On Inauguration Day, we not only had the 5 pm special, but the 6 pm and a special 7:30 pm broadcast to prepare and to execute as well.

At 5:00 as the Director of the 5 pm broadcast, I called for the show open and our anchors Carole Sullivan, Eric Mansfield and Romona Robinson wove it all together into an hour filled with many live guests, reporters and feature packages about an historic day. Romona, herself a proud African American, evoked great reflection from local political strategist Arnold Pinkney and the Reverend E.T. Caviness who graciously joined us in the studio.

What I found the most interesting about the day wasn't so much what we were doing, but the emotion surrounding the fact Tuesday marked a new beginning for us all - even though many of the same problems remain. We all seemed to feel a bit of hope for a change. The transfer of power was so overwhelming that words can't do justice.

But, the pictures did. The day was poetic justice for the new age of high definition television. The coverage was stunning from a technical standpoint, despite the few stray camera shots that I'm sure gave the on site directors a little indigestion from time to time.

The high definition cameras made you feel as if you were right there...standing in front of the new President... walking beside the first couple... and feeling a connection to being part of history. In particular, I found the shots of the Capitol Building, the White House and the Inaugural Parade absolutely stunning in high definition. Even though I was preparing for the broadcasts, I found myself curiously staring at the high definition monitors in the control room. It was hard to pull away.

Plus, you can not underestimate the technical feat such coverage brings. The networks had the unenviable task of bringing viewers worldwide the action, wherever it was. Many times, the action was simultaneous. Hundreds of cameras were positioned throughout Washington D.C. Try to think back on how many different vantage points you saw throughout the day. As a director who is used to working with multiple location shots, this was still astounding to me.

In Cleveland, our job was relatively easy - to bring local reaction to the Inauguration. But, our entire staff did an outstanding job from anchors to reporters, to everyone on the technical side.

Somehow though, we are still a little bit glad that big events like this only come along so often.

NBC offers special Inauguration DVD

NBC News presents ''The Inauguration of Barack Obama,'' a comprehensive look at all the extraordinary events of January 20, 2009.

Brian Williams hosts this commemorative four-hour DVD, covering the historic Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States. You'll see the complete swearing-in ceremony at the Capitol, as well as President Obama's Inaugural Address in its entirety.

And there's much more, including the changing of the guard at the White House, the Inaugural parade, and a glamourous evening of Inaugural Balls honoring the new President and First Lady.

This DVD is your ticket to a front-row seat for all the unforgettable moments of a remarkable day, as covered by the award-winning NBC News team.

Please note: This item can only be shipped domestically.

Please note: This item cannot be paid for with PayPal.

Price: $19.99

Availability: Ships on March 10th

To order go to this link:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Behind the scenes: The Making of "The Last Templar"

Academy Award winner Mira Sorvino stars in this epic action-adventure tale about the greatest mystery of our time.

In this four-hour miniseries, Oscar winner Mira Sorvino ("Mighty Aphrodite," "Mimic") stars in an epic action-adventure tale about the greatest mystery of modern time. As the journey begins, Tess Chaykin (Sorvino), a Manhattan archaeologist, reluctantly teams up with FBI agent Sean Daley (Scott Foley, "The Unit," "Felicity") - and the pair are drawn into a fast-paced, romantic adventure as they attempt to uncover the lost secrets of the legendary medieval Knights Templar.

The miniseries also features Victor Garber ("Eli Stone," "Alias") as Monsignor De Angelis, a high-placed Vatican envoy. Veteran thespian Omar Sharif ("Doctor Zhivago," "Lawrence of Arabia") rounds out the all-star cast playing the role of Konstantine, a Greek savant who rescues Tess and Agent Daley after they are shipwrecked and wash up on the beach at Symi.

"The Last Templar" opens in 1291 with the fall of the Latin Kingdom's reign in the Holy Land in Acre. As the burning city is taken by the Sultan's forces, a lone galley escapes out to sea, carrying Martin of Carmaux, a young knight from the historic order of the famed Knights Templar. Also on the galley are Martin's mentor, Aimard of Villiers, and a mysterious chest entrusted to them by the order's dying Grand Master. But the ship never reaches its destination.

The story fast forwards to present-day New York City. During a gala opening night for an exhibition of Vatican treasures at the Metropolitan Museum, four masked horsemen, dressed as Templar Knights, storm into the museum, scattering Manhattan society. Tess watches in silent terror as the leader of the horsemen hones in on one particular piece -- a strange geared device that he grabs as he disappears into Central Park.

As the horsemen's dead bodies start turning up -- and the importance of the stolen device becomes more apparent -- Tess and Agent Daley are drawn into the dark, hidden history of the crusading Knights and of the last surviving Templars' fateful journey from Acre. The pair is soon propelled into a dangerous adventure that takes them into the cemeteries and sewers of Manhattan, across continents, through desolate Turkish highlands and finally into a violent storm on the Mediterranean that shipwrecks them onto a remote Greek island -- and into the very heart of an incredible Vatican secret.


For more on how "The Last Templar" was made, WKYC Channel 3 has uploaded a 30 minute special, "The Making of The Last Templar", on Just follow the link below and click on the video player.


Spotlight Feature: The DTV Transition Date Debate

By Frank Macek

We've waited for this big day - February 17, 2009, for basically 12 years since the idea of digital broadcasting and high definition television was decided upon as the next logical step in our wonderful world of broadcasting.

Less than a month to go, lawmakers are being asked to postpone that mandate until at least June 12th. Broadcasters are not happy.

The number one concern of the President-elect is to ensure that everyone who needs $40 coupons to purchase analog to digital converter boxes have the ability to get them after the funds that Congress appropriated ran out. For those that have waited, will June 12th make any difference? Probably not.

Most of the consumers who are complaining waited too long. Many of the consumers who requested coupons never used them. Most of the consumers feel it's their right to free tv.

I have yet to read in the Constitution where people have the right to get television signals delivered in their homes at no cost to them. We certainly don't have the right as broadcasters to use the public airwaves for free. We pay large sums of money for license renewals and other government fees that are imposed on stations for the ability to broadcast a signal. And this is why we must sell advertising time to help offset that cost.

So, this delay becomes more an issue for us - the broadcasters. Most are ready for the transition date and have spent great time, effort and money in making sure they did their part to be ready on time. New technical equipment had to be bought, station infrastructure re-designed, new transmitters purchased and advertising time allocated for preparing the audience on the air.

Now, in this tough economy where every budget dollar counts, we are being asked to wait...and spend more money to keep two transmitters broadcasting for much longer than we expected. It's very likely any delay will cost stations more jobs and further lost revenue caused by consumer confusion that may ensue.

Had the broadcasters requested the delay, we would have likely been told "tough" by lawmakers and the Federal Communications Commission.

In my opinion, the transition date should happen on time. Customers have had a decade or more to prepare for this time. Anyone can purchase a converter box at any electronic store. They are readily available They aren't that expensive and it's simply not a valid excuse for a delay.

Yes, some viewers may be left out for economic reasons or lose coverage due to the new standards of the digital transmission. But the FCC mandated these changes at the broadcasters expense.

We simply can't afford to wait.

Editor note: In fairness, WKYC is currently in the process of building a new tower which may delay our ability to change from digital channel 2 to digital channel 17 on time, but we have been broadcasting digitally and in accordance with the FCC mandates this entire time.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of WKYC or Gannett. References to this article may be done with this understanding.

You comments can be posted below, or you may me:

Monday's Bits & Pieces for 1/19/09

Here's our update of what's happening around the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center, on NBC and around the television industry:

Special Edition of Channel 3 News Tuesday

WKYC will present a special edition of Channel 3 News following the end of NBC's coverage on Tuesday around 5 p.m. Anchors Romona Robinson, Eric Mansfield and Carole Chandler will bring you live, in depth, local analysis of the day's events from our team of reporters covering every angle of the transition of power.

At 6 p.m., Channel 3 News will present a single sponsor newscast with Romona Robinson.

Also Channel 3 News at 7 p.m. will move to 7:30 p.m. so that we may bring you a special edition of NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams from 6:30 until 7:30 p.m.

Super Bowl, February 1st on NBC

We now know you will be playing in the Super Bowl this year: the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals. You'll see all the action on NBC and Channel 3 this year, including extended pre-game coverage.

Speaking of the Superbowl, the Associated Press is reporting the Super Bowl is on track to remain one big, glitzy bash even in these tough economic times. That's not to say some advertisers aren't nervous about buying expensive ad slots as business falters. Some stalwarts such as General Motors Corp., FedEx Corp. and Garmin Ltd. won't be advertising on the Feb. 1 broadcast on NBC. Playboy Enterprises Inc. isn't throwing its customary party at the game, for the first time in nine years. But the tone of some ads this year will reflect tough times. As Tim Calkins, marketing professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management puts it: "A good ad connects with its audience. And that audience is stressed about finances."

Matt Lauer Doesn't Quite Get That First US Airways Pilot Interview

The pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 that crashed into the Hudson River on Thursday in New York City decided against talking to Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today Show" Monday morning after the U.S. Airline Pilots Association requested he continue his silence as the investigation continues.

A Quick Death for NBC's "Knight Rider" and "Kath & Kim"?

The future of NBC's "Knight Rider" and "Kath & Kim" is uncertain, as ratings for both shows have not been strong enough to guarantee them a second season, The Age reports. New NBC Entertainment President Angela Bromstad revealed at the network's Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour presentation that the two are "indicative of shows that may or may not be coming back," the site says.

"Lost in Space" Robot Actor Bob May Dies at 69

For those of us old enough to remember: Bob May, who donned The Robot's suit in the hit 1960s CBS-TV show Lost in Space, has died. He was 69. According to the AP, May died Sunday of congestive heart failure at a hospital in Lancaster, said his daughter, Deborah May. May's robot was the Robinson family's loyal sidekick, warning them of approaching disaster at every turn. His line to one of the children, Danger, Will Robinson, became a national catch phrase. He went on to appear in numerous films with Jerry Lewis and in such TV shows as The Time Tunnel, McHale's Navy and The Red Skelton Show. He was also a stuntman in such 1950s and '60s TV shows as Cheyenne, Surfside 6, Hawaiian Eye, The Roaring 20s and Stagecoach.

Friday, January 16, 2009

News: Sen. Jay Rockefeller: Switch to digital TV signals in June

Update: The Senate has blocked a bill Friday evening to move the switchover to June 12th. However, Democrats will bring back the bill for a vote within a week.

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
By Leslie Cauley, USA TODAY

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., incoming chairman of the powerful Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, on Thursday proposed legislation that would delay the USA's switch to digital TV nearly four months, to June 12.

"I firmly believe that our nation is not yet ready to make this transition," Rockefeller said in a statement. Any extension also must be approved by the House.

Separately, the House Appropriations Committee recommended $650 million in new funds for the DTV transition.

"We're pleased to see Congress moving so quickly on an issue that will affect millions of consumers," says Chris Murray, a senior lawyer with Consumers Union, which supports a delay.

Congress originally ordered the switch to digital TV to take place on Feb. 17. Congressional action is needed to change the cutover date.

The government's $1.34 billion coupon program for digital converter boxes ran out of money two weeks ago. The program, authorized by Congress, gives households up to two $40 coupons to offset the cost of buying a digital converter box, which turns digital signals into analog. Only TVs that use antennas to get over-the-air signals need boxes. Cable and satellite TV customers aren't affected.

The coupon program is considered core to the switchover. The boxes cost $40 to $70, on average. The coupon program is being overseen by the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Since funding ran out, the agency has been putting consumers on a waiting list. As of Thursday, about 2.1 million people were on the list, a twentyfold increase from two weeks ago.

Those supporting a delay include President-elect Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Consumers Union, AARP and telecom giant AT&T. Opponents, including the Consumer Electronics Association trade group and Verizon, argue that a delay would cause even more confusion.

As envisioned by Congress, the cutover was supposed to be a seamless transition that would usher in a new era in TV viewing. Instead, the USA now finds itself in crisis mode. NTIA informed lawmakers in late December that the coupon program was about to run out of money. Congress wasn't in session at the time.

The Federal Communications Commission says it expects to field 2 million calls, at least, on the day the cutover happens.

Programming Alert: Special "Dateline" tonight at 10 p.m.

NEW YORK -- NBC announces that Dateline NBC will feature a special one hour show tonight (Friday) at 10 p.m. "Miracle on the Hudson."

Ann Curry will anchor a special "Dateline" tonight, "Miracle on the Hudson," at 10 PM/ET.

The hour long broadcast will take a minute-by-minute look at the miraculous landing of US Airways flight in the Hudson River just off New York City yesterday and why it went right.

The report also includes interviews with some of the 155 survivors and some of the heroes that made what could have been a tragedy, a remarkable and inspiring story.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Director's Alert: Proposed New Digital Transition Date of June 12th

Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., is proposing the transition to all-digital television signals be delayed until June 12.

The current DTV-switch date is Feb. 17, but President-elect Barack Obama last week asked legislators to push the date back.

Meanwhile the Associated Press is reporting today that at noon sharp in Hawaii, a message appeared on analog TV sets across the islands: "All full-power Hawaii TV stations are now digital."

The state has shut down old-fashioned broadcast signals more than a month before the rest of the country is set to make the now-contentious switch.

Even before the change, residents lit up special TV help center phone lines set up by the Federal Communication Commission. On home screens, the shutdown message flashed for about a minute in white text on a blue background. Then, a seven-minute announcement video began a broadcast loop that will continue for several weeks on major island stations.

Technicians are calling it the "analog night light."

The FCC center got 300 calls for help Wednesday and braced for more after the switch.

iAlert: Why can't I see the bottom of the new school closings? How do I sign up for text alerts?

Two issues have cropped up consistently: The bottom of the crawl is hard to see on some TVs and not everyone is getting a text alert when their school closes.

I can't see all the lines on your new on-air iAlert. Fix it!

We know there are display issues and our artists and engineers are working on them; they are dealing specifically the display issue on the lowest line of information so that is moved up on the screen. We appreciate your patience. We appreciate your input and invite your comments and suggestions any time.

How do I sign up for iAlert text messages? Why haven't I gotten a text alert yet?

Click here to sign up for iAlert school closing text messages

It can take up to 36 hours for you to get a confirmation code on your mobile device.

Our iAlert system delivers text messages to your mobile phone provider, such as AT&T Wireless, Verizon, Alltel, and so on.

It is up to your provider to then deliver the text message to your phone or mobile device.

All text messaging works this way; unfortunately, the texting system is not perfect.

But you should receive a text message no matter if school is closed, delayed, or if there are after school activities canceled.


WKYC's Dan Ketterick answers your questions about iAlert:

WKYC's Assistant News Director Howard Fencl answers your questions about the new school closing crawl:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

From the Wires: Gannett imposes 1-week unpaid furlough as ads drop

NEW YORK -- Gannett is requiring employees at its newspapers in Ohio and throughout the country to take unpaid, week-long furloughs.

The northern Virginia-based newspaper publisher says the move could help minimize further layoffs amid a severe downturn in advertising. Gannett had several rounds of layoffs last year.

In Ohio, the company owns The Cincinnati Enquirer and 10 newspapers in central Ohio cities.

Employees must take the furloughs during the first quarter. Union-covered employees will be asked to participate, and layoffs are possible if they refuse.

Gannett owns 85 U.S. daily newspapers, including USA Today, and 23 TV stations (including WKYC). It has more than 40,000 employees.

USA Today also has declared a one-year freeze on wages, effective Feb. 1.

Source: The Associated Press

Director's Alert: NBC To Air President's Bush Farewell at 8 p.m. Thursday

NBC has obliged the White House in giving President Bush 15 minutes of prime time coverage for his farewell address on Thursday, January 15th beginning at 8 PM.

The network also announced their revised Thursday night lineup as a result:

8:00 PM

8:15 PM

THOSE CHEATIN' HEARTS - GUEST STAR BEAU BRIDGES RETURNS AS EARL'S FATHER AND THE TWO BOND OVER THEIR WOMEN TROUBLE - Earl (Jason Lee) and Randy (Ethan Suplee) decide it's time to make amends with their childhood neighbors, the Clarks. But when they discover more skeletons in the closet than they had expected, the brothers find themselves needing to sort out some family issues between their mom (Nancy Lenehan) and dad (Guest Star Beau Bridges). Meanwhile, Joy (Jaime Pressly) has duped one-eyed Willy out of his glass eye, and despite Darnell's (Eddie Steeples) efforts Willy may never "see" that eye again.

8:30 PM

"CHiPs'" ERIK ESTRADA GUEST STARS - When auditions for Erik Estrada's (guest star Erik Estrada, "CHiPs") new reality show come to Camden, Earl (Jason Lee) encourages Joy (Jaime Pressly) to go for her childhood dream of becoming famous and tryout, thus allowing him to cross an item off his list. Joy, initially reluctant, steals Randy's (Ethan Suplee) audition and makes a fool of herself. Her crazy antics are a cause for concern when Darnell (Eddie Steeples) receives a startling phone call.

9:00 PM

A FIGHT TO THE FINISH - The office is on eggshells because Andy (Ed Helms) still hasn't found out about fiancee Angela's (Angela Kinsey) affair with Dwight (Rainn Wilson). When Michael (Golden Globe winner Steve Carell) spills the beans, Dwight and Andy take matters into their own hands. Meanwhile, Michael is nervous about being called down to corporate for a meeting with Wallace (Andy Buckley).

30 ROCK (O)
9:30 PM

Liz (Fey) tries desperately not to catch the flu, but it's spreading amongst the "TGS" cast and crew quickly; and Jack (Baldwin) is being selective over who receives vaccinations from Dr. Spaceman (guest star Chris Parnell). One is offered to Liz, but she refuses to take it, championing for the rights of the crew. Meanwhile, Elisa (guest star Hayek) is working seven days a week, so Jack must be creative about finding ways to spend time with her.

ER (O)
10:00 PM

WAS I DREAMING? - ALEX KINGSTON ("CSI") REPRISES HER ROLE AS DR. ELIZABETH CORDAY -Neela (Parminder Nagra) finds herself having a recurring dream about her crazy day trying to saving a young girl with sickle cell anemia. Gates (John Stamos) works on saving a patient that jumped out of a window during his sleep. Meanwhile, Neela goes in for an attending interview and is surprised to see Dr. Corday (guest star Alex Kingston).

I Spy: A Visitor in the House

While sitting in the newsroom this afternoon, I happened to notice the Plain Dealer's Julie Washington in the building.

What was she doing? Who was she talking to? Why was she here?

The answer is coming sooner than later.

News: This is only another test

More than 40 Ohio television stations representing eight media markets in the state will take part in a digital television (DTV) test on Thursday, January 15. Most stations will start the five-minute tests at 7:30 p.m., although local start times may vary. The test will air on stations' analog signals only and will alert TV audiences if their television sets are not ready for the DTV transition. Instead of regular programming, viewers whose TVs are not digital ready will see a graphic informing them that they need to take action to prepare for the digital conversion.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has requested that television stations participate in these DTV tests as a means of alerting consumers who are not prepared for the DTV transition to take action. The actual DTV conversion is scheduled to occur on February 17, 2009, when the Federal government will require that all full-power television stations turn off their over-the-air analog signals and begin broadcasting only in digital. Over the past week, there have been discussions in Washington about delaying this February 17 date. However, any change to the date would require action by Congress.

"Television stations in Ohio and across the country have been preparing for this digital television transition for the last ten years, and have made tremendous efforts over the last year to educate their viewers about the transition," said Christine H. Merritt, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of Broadcasters, which is coordinating the test in Ohio. "While we know there is a high level of awareness about the transition, we believe this test provides an important opportunity for viewers to determine if any of their television sets are not yet prepared for the transition."

As part of the five-minute test, telephone call centers will be operating in each market to answer any questions from viewers. To continue receiving television programming after the transition, Ohioans who receive over-the-air analog broadcasts will need to either buy a converter box that plugs into their analog TV, buy a TV with a digital tuner, or connect their analog TV to cable, satellite or another subscription service. The Federal government is offering two $40 coupons to every American household to cover most of the cost of purchasing a converter box.

Stations taking part in the DTV Test:

WCET-TV, Cincinnati
WCPO-TV, Cincinnati
WKRC-TV, Cincinnati
WLWT-TV, Cincinnati
WSTR-TV, Cincinnati
WXIX-TV, Cincinnati
WDLI-TV, Akron (Cleveland)
WBNX-TV, Cleveland
WEWS-TV, Cleveland
WJW-TV, Cleveland
WKYC-TV, Cleveland
WOIO-TV, Cleveland
WVPX-TV, Cleveland
WUAB-TV, Cleveland
WVIZ-TV, Cleveland
WBNS-TV, Columbus
WCMH-TV, Columbus
WOSU-TV, Columbus
WSFJ-TV, Columbus
WSYX-TV, Columbus
WTTE-TV, Columbus
WWHO-TV, Columbus
WOUB-TV, Athens (Columbus)
WVPX, Akron (Columbus)
WDTN-TV, Dayton
WHIO-TV, Dayton
WKEF-TV, Dayton
WRGT-TV, Dayton
WPTD-TV, Dayton
WPTO-TV, Dayton
WBDT-TV, Dayton
WGTE-TV, Toledo
WLMB-TV, Toledo
WNWO-TV, Toledo
WTOL-TV, Toledo
WTVG-TV, Toledo
WUPW-TV, Toledo
WFMJ-TV, Youngstown
WKBN-TV, Youngstown
WYTV-TV, Youngstown
WQCW-TV, Portsmouth (Charleston, WV)
WTOV-TV, Steubenville (Wheeling, WV)

Courtesy: The Ohio Association of Broadcasters (OAB)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesday's Bits & Pieces for 1/13/09

Here's our update of what's happening around the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center, on NBC and around the television industry:

Inuguration Coverage on WKYC and NBC

WKYC will have complete Inauguration coverage of President Elect Barack Obama on Tuesday, January 20th. Our coverage will begin with Channel 3 News Today at 5 a.m. with the latest news on preparations in Washington D.C. At 7 a.m., the "Today Show" will bring you 3 1/2 hours of live coverage as we inch closer to the big moment. NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams will take over at 10:30 a.m. and anchor coverage for the next 5 1/2 hours featuring commentary by "Meet the Press" host David Gregory and NBC Political Director & White House Correspondent Chuck Todd. We'll then have complete wrap up coverage on Channel 3 News at 6 & 11 PM following a special edition of NBC Nightly News beginning at 6:30 p.m. Presents Complete Inauguration Coverage

On-line, will provide extensive coverage of the inauguration as well with the latest news and video.

Get Well Wishes to "Deal or No Deal" & "Howie Do It" Host Howie Mandel

We have learned that Howie Mandel, host of NBC's hit show "Deal or No Deal" has been released for the hospital. According to the Associated Press on Tuesday, a publicist for Howie Mandel says he's out of the hospital and plans to return to work Wednesday. Mandel was in Toronto taping his new show "Howie Do It!" when he was taken to the hospital for an irregular heartbeat Monday, said Lewis Kay, publicist for the 53-year-old comedian and game show host.

President Bush Requests On-Air on Thursday to Say "So Long"

The White House has made a request of the major networks: NBC, CBS, FOX & ABC for 10 to 15 minutes of prime time coverage on Thursday for the President to give a fond farewell to the nation he has governed for the last 8 long years. Some of the networks were wondering whether the address was newsworthy, but will probably give Bush what he wants. No times have been announced.

50/50 Chance DTV Date Will Change

Broadcasting & Cable is reporting today that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin says there is now a 50/50 chance that the digital deadline may move from February 17th. The main hold up is not broadcasters, but the fact that the government funds to help consumers buy analog to digital converter boxes. Martin says that there would be significant costs of moving the date, including contracts the FCC has with call centers and advertising, but added that the major cost was what had been invested in telling people about the hard date.

Monday, January 12, 2009

News: Youngest reporter ever to cover Presidential Inauguration

We've all be talking about how much younger our newsroom staffers are becoming these days. In fact, those of us in our 30s seem ancient anymore.

Here's one story we found about the youngest reporter who will be covering the inauguration of President-Elect Barack Obama.


The hardest working 10-year-old in the news business just learned that its all paying off.

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has been following Florida fifth-grader Damon Weaver's quest to cover the inauguration as a correspondent.

Weaver, a student at West Palm Beach's Canal Point Elementary School was denied press credentials for the inauguration ceremony, so the Presidential Inaugural Committee decided to step in, offering him credentials to the inaugural welcoming event, the parade and a children's concert that will be aired on live television.

Presidential Inaugural Committee spokesperson Melanie Roussell says Damon will be the only student reporter receiving inaugural credentials.

In a statement Roussell said:

"Damon is a shining example of engaging young people in the government process early and we look forward to seeing him as a roving reporter during the inaugural ceremonies."

"It makes me feel a little bit special," Weaver said.

Damon was fitted for a tuxedo Friday afternoon, saying its the perfect inaugural attire.

"Its warm enough for Washington, D.C. and I think I will impress the ladies," he joked at the fitting.

As he documents each historic moment, he's not giving up on his dream of interviewing Barack Obama.

He says receiving press passes after being denied is proof that anything possible.

"My mother always taught me to never give up; to shoot for your dreams. So, I never gave up about the press credentials and now I have them," Damon explained.

He's confident he'll get a one-on-one with the President-elect.

"I still have hope and I think I will get the interview," he said. "You always have to think positive."

Saturday, January 10, 2009

News: Era ends but Dick Feagler not retiring

Special to the Director's Cut
by Tom Beres

CLEVELAND -- Dick Feagler is not shy and he's not retiring.

Cleveland's longtime columnist is ending his regular columns for the Plain Dealer.

Feagler's been a reporter/columnist at the Cleveland Press. He spent 19 years at Channel 3 as an award-winning commentator and briefly was an anchorman.

"Biggest mistake I ever made," he says about the anchor experiment.

He most enjoyed covering Carl Stokes and Dennis Kucinich.

His politics have gone from lefty-liberal to cranky-conservative to radical- try-something-different.

He's enjoyed a week of tributes and accolades. But he's not disappearing. He may work on another book and will continue doing "Feagler and Friends" on WVIZ covering Northeast Ohio, calling things as he sees them.

He's 70 years old and he says he's in pretty good health despite a recent scare involving blood clots.

He is one of Cleveland's longest-running media personalities in a class of famous last names like Fuldheim and Goddard.

And when he has something to say about an important subject, you may see his face and byline back in the Plain Dealer.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Video Gem: Costa Rica TV Station Gets Rocked by Earthquake

Here's another one of those stories about the media becoming part of the news. A major earthquake rocked Costa Rica on Thursday and was centered about 22 miles northwest of the capital of San Jose.

The six-point-one magnitude quake caught thousands of people off guard this afternoon, including workers at this television studio.

Hold On!

Thursday's Bit & Pieces for 1/8/09

Here's our update of what's happening around the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center, on NBC and around the television industry:

Our Condolences

A couple of sad notes to pass along:

According to our friends at Ohio Media Watch, Harry Martin passed away at age 81 from liver cancer on Monday in Southern California. Harry was heard on former KYW radio (WKYC's radio arm) as part of the "Martin and Howard" show. OMW says Mr. Martin was at the "top rung of Cleveland radio success...from 1962 to 1968."

Also our best wishes to WKYC Director of Local Programming Terry Moir on the recent loss of her father, Dr. Thomas William "Bill" Moir at age 85. Dr. Moir was a physician, educator, Korean War Veteran, lifelong student, runner, sailor, pilot and good friend to many. Services will be held Friday at the Church of the Gesu, 2470 Miramar Rd., University Hts., at 1 p.m.

Obama Wants Congress to Postpone February 17th DTV Date

President-elect Barack Obama is urging Congress to postpone the Feb. 17 switch from analog to digital television broadcasting. In a letter to key lawmakers, transition team co-chair John Podesta warned Thursday that too many Americans who rely on analog TV sets to pick up over-the-air broadcasts won't be ready. The incoming administration is pushing for a delay in part because the Commerce Department has run out of money for the coupons that subsidize digital TV converter boxes for consumers. People who don't have cable or satellite TV or a new TV with a digital tuner will need the converter boxes to keep their analog TVs working. Obama officials are also concerned that the government is not giving consumers enough help with the TV transition.

Don't Forget the Deadline for Regional Emmy Awards - 2/20/09

The Emmy Deadline date was moved 2 weeks later than normal in anticipation of possible user issues with the switch in software this year. The Chapter officers will continue to monitor the Emmy process to ensure compliance and fairness to all that enter. Visit the The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Lower Great Lakes Chapter for more information:

News: Digital TV, converter boxes and WKYC, Channel 3 reception

CLEVELAND -- WKYC has experienced reception issues with our digital channel. If you are having reception problems with digital you can continue to use the analog signal until the cut-off date.

Our digital channel is transmitted on VHF channel 2 just below our analog.

Our main problems are with rabbit ears and interference generated from power lines and electrical noise.

Because of their small size, the rabbit ears do not work very well on channel 2 and do not always provide enough signal to the set.

The electrical noise interference is a problem inherent to the low VHF channels and can be seen as white dots or lines in the analog picture. While you can watch a picture with snow, lines, or ghosts in analog, the digital sets cannot deal with these issues very well and have problems decoding a picture.

We are working to complete the installation of equipment so that in February we can move to a UHF channel and overcome the issues we are currently experiencing.

While the winter weather makes it difficult to work on television towers, we are hopeful that the weather will cooperate and the equipment will be installed in time to meet the deadline.

In the meantime we will maintain the analog signal for our viewers until the cut-off date of February 17, 2009.

Click here to learn more about the Digital TV transition, and what you need to do to prepare. You can also ask us questions.

Director's Alert: Special "Point After" on Thursday at 7 p.m.

With the Cleveland Browns ready to officially announce the hiring of Eric Mangini as the next head coach, Channel 3 Sports will bring you a special edition of "The Point After" tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m.

The regular PT crew will join the radio voice of the Cleveland Browns, Jim Donovan, to break things down. Doug Dieken, Tony Grossi and former coach Sam Rutigliano share their thoughts and unique perspective.

We'll also stream the show live on

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Tuesday's Bit & Pieces for 1/6/09

Here's our update of what's happening around the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center, on NBC and around the television industry:

WKYC launches New iAlert System with Text Alerts

WKYC is launching a bigger and even better iAlert system that will bring you the latest closings and delays faster than ever. We now have 3 bars of information and a "Just In" tab for the latest updates coming up as we receive them into the television station. Plus, we are launching a brand new text messaging service for closings that you can get right to your mobile phone for the schools are you interested in. And of course, WKYC will continue to have the latest closings available anytime, 24/7 on our website: You can sign up for text closing alerts right now: CLICK HERE

Tower Update: Still Delayed

Still not much to report on the rise of WKYC's new tower. We are still being delayed due to circumstances beyond our control. It's very possible, Channel 3 will be forced to continue broadcasting on Digital Channel 2 beyond February 17th. The FCC is also granting certain broadcasters with an extension to continue broadcasting on their analog channel provided no interference would occur with the new digital channels. Channel 3 would qualify for that according to FCC guidelines.

It's the Spitzer AutoWorld Sportscast

Have you noticed our sportscast this week? We have a brand new sponsor for Jim Donovan's nightly sports at 6, 7 & 11 PM. We are thrilled to have Spitzer Auto World bring you our nightly sports broadcast. And remember, buy American - support our local auto workers.

"Biggest Losers: Couples" Premieres Tonight at 8 p.m.

It's back... season 7 of "Biggest Loser: Couples" starts tonight (Tuesday) at 8 p.m. on WKYC and NBC. The season begins by introducing the players, who will compete in pairs. Grandparents, best friends and former plus-size models are among the twosomes. The group also boasts the oldest contestants and the heaviest contestant in the show's history. For a behind the scenes preview of the show: CLICK HERE

Behind the Scenes: Facebook Promo Outtakes

As you know, one project of the WKYC Information Center is doing daily news promos that have the producers and anchors/reporters talking about some of the stories we work on for an upcoming newscast.

Sometimes, they are one takes - sometimes not.

Here's a look at one from today that needed take 12.

Thanks to WKYC Producer/Director Matt Babb for editing and sharing with us.

News: Feds start wait list for DTV converter box coupons

WASHINGTON -- The Commerce Department says there's a waiting list for anyone applying for federal coupons to pay for converter boxes ahead of the transition to digital television broadcasts.

Those on the list may not get their voucher in time for next month's switchover.

The waiting list started forming Sunday after the $1.34 billion funding limit set by Congress was met. The list already has 103,000 requests for coupons.

The agency will send out coupons to those on the list only as unredeemed coupons currently in circulation expire. Meanwhile some lawmakers say more money needs to be freed up to help consumers make the transition.

Those with cable or satellite TV or anyone who buys a television set with a digital tuner has nothing to worry about.

To get your name on the waiting list:


Source: The Associated Press & WKYC.COM

Friday, January 02, 2009

Friday's Bits & Pieces for 1/2/09

Here's our update of what's happening around the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center, on NBC and around the television industry:

Happy New Year!

We wish all of you and Happy New Year and hope that 2009 will be better than most people are expecting it to be. We are realistic that it may not, but how many analysts have you watched on TV that have been wrong? I can think of plenty, so there is always hope.

Happy Birthday to WKYC's Fred Griffith

Local television legend and WKYC "Good Company Today" co-host Fred Griffith celebrates his 80th birthday on Saturday. Fred joined WKYC in May 2000. Before that, he was with WEWS for 33 years, as a reporter, news producer, news and public affairs director, and for over 26 years, host of the daily two hour Morning Exchange program. For nearly five years he was also co-host of the hour-long Afternoon Exchange. He holds the national record for time on live TV, with more than 13,700 hours. He is in the Cleveland Press Club Hall of Fame and holds the Distinguished Service Award from the Society for Professional Journalists and the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters Award for Excellence.

*Read more about Fred: >>CLICK HERE<<

*Watch Fred's birthday celebration on Good Company Today on Friday with special guests Connie Dieken and Jan Jones: >>CLICK HERE<<

Weekend Programming Highlights

A couple of programming notes to pass on for this weekend on NBC including plenty of football action and a brand new NBC show.

Saturday Sports Hightlights:

*U.S. Army All American Football: 1 to 4 p.m.
*Football Night in America: 4 to 4:30 p.m.
*NBC Football (Atlanta @ Arizona): 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
*NFL Bridge Show: 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
*NBC Football (Indianapolis @ Chicago): 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
*Channel 3 News at 11: 11 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Sunday Programming Hightlights:

*Superstars of Dance (premiere) - 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.
*Channel 3 Sports Tonight (premiere) - 11:35 p.m. to Midnight

Behind the Scenes: "Superstars of Dance" Debuts Sunday, January 4th at 9 PM on WKYC

"Superstars of Dance" is a breathtaking international dance competition led by executive producers Nigel Lythgoe and Simon Fuller, two of the masterminds behind "American Idol" and "So You Think You Can Dance."

The series is hosted by Michael Flatley ("Lord of the Dance") and co-hosted by Susie Castillo ("House of Payne"). The unique series pitches the masters of various dance genres from eight countries against each other.

Equal parts sporting event, rock concert and artistic exhibition, "Superstars of Dance" is poised to become one the greatest spectacles of dance performance ever seen on television.

Eight countries will participate in the competition with each team comprised of two soloists, one duo and one larger group. Viewers will get to know the competitors and the coaches through the trials and tribulations, both behind the scenes and on the stage.

The stakes are high for these artists, as they are not only representing themselves, but also their dance form and their entire nation. The eight countries currently scheduled to participate include: Ireland, India, USA, Argentina, China, Russia, South Africa and Australia.

"Superstars of Dance" is the first production from Big Red 2 Entertainment - an entity formed by Nigel Lythgoe ("American Idol," "So You Think You Can Dance") and Simon Fuller ("American Idol," "So You Think You Can Dance") who serve as executive producers.

Have a look behind the scenes of the show during a recent taping:

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Video Gem: New Sports Time Ohio Opener

Here is a cool, new HD production for Sports Time Ohio by our very talent graphic designer Ian Zeigler. Ian tells us it is new and exciting. He's been working on this for quite a while and it may just see its debut January 3rd on STO before the first CSU basketball game. Be looking for it.

As you probably know, STO is the sports production arm of the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center and home to the Cleveland Indians baseball TV network.


Video Gem: Fun Time in Sin City on New Year's Eve

You just know people aren't going to behave on New Year's why do news stations risk the inevitable? For fun.

Take a look at the video gem we found from a Las Vegas reporter who says it's a peaceful, but rowdy night in Sin City. Lemor Shlomof from Reno, NBC affiliate KRNV was doing a live report from Lake Tahoe on the New Year's eve celebrations when a man tried to kiss her. A woman also came up and tried to steal the show by making faces then jumping in front of the camera and doing her own report. After that a man put his hat on her head.

Take a look: