Friday, February 27, 2009

Meet the NBC All Stars: Jimmy Fallon

Long a renowned comic talent, Jimmy Fallon's ability to deliver versatile, standout performances on the screen has allowed him to join the exclusive ranks as one of the "Saturday Night Live" alumni at the forefront of a diverse line-up of television and film projects -- while always staying grounded in his stand-up roots.

Most recently, NBC named Fallon as the replacement for Conan O’Brien on "Late Night" emanating out of New York City. The show -- which will serve as a platform for comedy, music and A-list talent to promote their upcoming projects -- is being executive-produced by Lorne Michaels and will premiere in March 2nd. In the months leading up to the broadcast debut, Fallon has produced video blogs that run online nightly at 12:30 a.m. on

Fallon first garnered attention in 1998 when he joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" and quickly became an audience favorite for his impressions of Jerry Seinfeld, John Travolta, Adam Sandler as well as spot-on musical impressions of Justin Timberlake, Jack White and Enrique Iglesias. Fallon created many memorable recurring characters on "SNL," including: Nick Burns, the sarcastic tech-support representative; rowdy Boston teen "Sully" known for playing tonsil hockey with Denise, as played by Rachel Dratch; and the explosive "Barry Gibb" opposite Justin Timberlake in "The Barry Gibb Talk Show." In 2000, Fallon became the co-anchor of the popular segment "Weekend Update" alongside Tina Fey.

During his six-year stint on "SNL," Fallon ventured off into other television roles, including his role of Second Lieutenant George Rice in Tom Hanks’ and Steven Spielberg's 2001 Emmy Award-winning miniseries "Band of Brothers."

Always a favorite among the MTV audience, Fallon co-hosted the 2001 MTV Movie Awards with Kirsten Dunst and then again while solo in 2005. He also hosted the MTV Video Music Awards in 2002. In 2005, Fallon participated in Cameron Diaz' MTV eco-friendly travel show "Trippin,’" where he traveled to Africa to educate viewers about one of the world's most unique and fragile ecosystems. In the Summer 2003, Fallon earned raves as guest hosting for David Letterman.

Fallon made his feature film debut in Cameron Crowe's rock ‘n roll road film, "Almost Famous," in which he played band manager Dennis Hope. In 2003, he appeared alongside Christina Ricci in Woody Allen's "Anything Else." In 2004, Fallon starred with Queen Latifah in the action-comedy "Taxi." That same year he starred opposite Drew Barrymore in the blockbuster romantic comedy "Fever Pitch," the Farrelly Brothers' homage to Boston Red Sox fanaticism. Most recently, Fallon starred with Lucy Liu in the comedy "The Year of Getting to Know Us," which premiered at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. He can next be seen in the roller derby feature "Whip It," opposite Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore.

Fallon is married and lives in New York City. His birthday is September 19.

Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Preview
Debuts Monday, March 2nd at 11:30 PM on WKYC-TV

Courtesy: NBC

News: Meet The Man Behind Closed Captioning

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
By Leon Smitherman

Wichita is home to some fascinating people - some famous, some not. It's also home to a man little heard of, but his work has certainly been noticed by all. To say Bill Kastner loves electronics would be an understatement.

His basement is filled with old radios and other gadgets that would look more at home in a museum. He likes his entertainment old school - no Facebook or chat rooms. Bill does his social networking using a ham radio and Morse code.

"In high school I had a stammering problem, so I resorted to Morse code and that was a means of talking to people without having the stammering problem," Kastner said.

That childhood infatuation with radios led Kastner to pursue a career in electronics and he eventually earned his masters degree in electrical engineering from K-State. After working on memory systems for the Minuteman Missile back in the 60's, Bill moved his family to Dallas where he started working for Texas Instruments.

"Thirty-two years have passed -- I guess it's time to come out and say I did something with my life," he said. What he did with his life some 32 years ago at Texas Instruments has had a profound effect on everyone's life.

Bill is the guy who developed and built the very first decoder that makes closed captioning on television possible. "I designed original closed captioning decoder, other than my manager there were only two people that really designed the original closed caption mediums scale logic," he said. "I did the logic and the other guy was Joe Lynn, who did the interface to the television set."

In the mid 1970's Public Broadcasting contracted with Texas Instruments to design a device that would allow the deaf to read what was being said on air. The test for the Texas Instruments team was to decode a message. "We had to decode that," Bill said. "One thing that happened was that PBS would not tell us on this tape they gave us what the message was. For the first decoded information and it turns out when we go the decoder running, it was 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.'"

Bill's decoder worked perfectly, but what he didn't take into account was how widely popular closed captioning would become. "We thought in the beginning that there would be a decoder box that was sold at the time through Sears that would cost $250 and there would be a limited amount of those in the world," he said. "We never expected that FCC would declare in July of 1993 that all TV's 13 inches or larger would have a closed caption decoder built into them."

Now, everywhere he looks his invention is looking back.

"One of the interesting things is that I work out at the YMCA three times a week and I can sit there and look at the TV's on the display in front of me and think I did that, but yet I can't turn to the person next to me and say, 'Hey, I did that,'" he said. "No way. They wouldn't believe that."

He's really quite humble and shy even when asked about the role he played in broadcasting. In fact, people who have known him for years didn't know that he helped create closed captioning. But he's equally content knowing that his work has helped bring words to those who could only see pictures.

"Late Night" trumpet player making a Cleveland appearance

CLEVELAND -- For 16 years, Mark Pender graced NBC airwaves, tooting his horn on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." But now, his adventure is just beginning.

In June, Pender will make his debut playing in the band on the "Tonight Show." He's making the move with Conan to L.A.

On Friday morning, Pender made a special appearance on Channel 3 News Today. If you missed it, he's making a weekend appearance at Fat Fish Blue.

Mark Pender will play Saturday night at 9 p.m. at Fat Fish Blue. There is a $15 cover charge at the door.

For more information: CLICK HERE

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Director's Alert: Former WKYC Alum, Win Smith, Passes Away

One of our friends and former colleagues at WKYC, Win Smith, passed away.

If you did not know him, Win was a hard-line, classic newsman who was the ultimate assignment editor in WKYC's Westinghouse and NBC ownership days. For a time, Win ran the assignment desk AND produced the 6 p.m. Every day. There were no editorial meetings. It all came out of his head...he assigned it...then he produced it.

WKYC Assistant News Director Howard Fencl tells the Director's Cut Blog, "In the 1980s I had the privilege of working on the 6 p.m. with Win every day. He was, by then, wanting to slow it up a bit, and he was doing associate producer duties while I line produced. But I always knew in my heart I really was working FOR Win, anyway."

According to his colleauges, Win had a wicked sense of humor and an addiction to smelly cigars which he fortunately gave up. Nobody had a better gut instinct for news. He was a devoted father and a tireless fan of OSU.

Funeral Mass will be this Saturday, February 28, at 11:30 a.m., at St. Bernadette's Church, 2256 Clague Rd., Westlake. Interment St. Joseph Cemetery in Fremont. Friends may call at the DANIEL L. BERRY & DONALD MARTENS AND SONS FUNERAL HOME, 26691 DETROIT RD., WESTLAKE, ON FRIDAY, FROM 2 - 4 AND 7 - 9 P.M.

The Family suggests contributions to Sisters of Notre Dame, 3837 Secor Rd., Toledo, OH 43623 or the Carmelite Sisters, 3176 Fairmount Blvd., Cleveland Hts., OH 44118.


Read more about Win's career: CLICK HERE

News: NBC Teams Up With Jerry Seinfield For New Show

NBC announced Wednesday a new comedy-reality series created by superstar comedian and producer Jerry Seinfeld's Columbus 81 Productions. Mr. Seinfeld has partnered with Ellen Rakieten, a 23-year veteran of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on this project.

This new series titled "The Marriage Ref" (working title) will feature opinionated celebrities, comedians and sports stars who will candidly comment, judge and offer different strategies for real-life couples in the midst of a classic marital dispute.

The announcement was made today by Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios.

Describing his new creation, Mr. Seinfeld said, "This is not a therapy show, it's a comedy show. After nine years of marriage I have discovered that the comedic potential of this subject is quite rich."

"It will be revealing, edgy, controversial and very, very funny. Picture well-known people weighing in on a couple's relationship issues -- and deciding who is right and who is wrong -- right on the spot, like a referee," added Ms. Rakieten.

Mr. Seinfeld is thrilled to partner with Ms. Rakieten on "The Marriage Ref." Rakieten joined "The Oprah Winfrey Show" as a producer at its inception in 1986, and was a major force in creating the most dominant program in daytime history.

"There is no better partner for me on this venture than Ellen. She has had such an amazing experience at Harpo, and our minds seem perfectly synchronized on the potential of this idea," said Mr. Seinfeld.

For two decades Ms. Rakieten's leadership and creativity earned "The Oprah Winfrey Show" unprecedented ratings. During her long tenure at Harpo, Ms. Rakieten produced over 3500 hours of television.

"NBC has a long and enormously successful relationship with Jerry and this great new concept reflects his incredible and unique point of view," said Silverman. "Viewers will love this highly relatable new comedy."

Added Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, NBC and Universal Media Studios, "While 'Seinfeld' was a hilarious look at single life, this new show will focus on the humor of relationships and marriage. It's a great fit with the slate of alternative comedy we are building at NBC."

Source: NBC

Gannett Announces Quarterly Dividend, 90% less

McLEAN, VA - Gannett Co., Inc.'s (NYSE: GCI) Board of Directors [Wednesday] declared a quarterly dividend of 4 cents per share, payable on April 1, 2009 to shareholders of record as of the close of business March 6, 2009. This is a reduction from the first quarter dividend rate of 40 cents per share.

"Today's action by the Board is another prudent response to the full-fledged recessions in the U.S. and UK and the continuing difficulties in the credit markets", said Craig A. Dubow, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"The reallocation of more than $325 million of free cash flow annually to pay down debt will further strengthen our balance sheet, provide us with even more financial flexibility and position us well to continue to seize opportunities for growth. This dividend represents the 163rd consecutive dividend paid by the company since 1967."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Director's Alert: Andy Richter Reunites with Conan O'Brien on the new "Tonight Show"

The Director's Cut blog has learned that Andy Richter, former sidekick for Conan O'Brien when he launched as host of "Late Night," will reunite with Conan as the announcer on "The Tonight Show."

Conan O'Brien will have a familiar face when he begins his new "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" on NBC where he will reunite with Andy Richter ("Late Night with Conan O'Brien") -- for the first time on a daily basis in almost nine years -- as the network announced that Richter will return to its late-night lineup as the announcer for the new show that begins June 1. In addition to his announcing duties, Richter will participate in comedic pieces.

Few performers enjoy the chemistry that Richter and O'Brien developed over their seven years together on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien." Richter will join O'Brien for the first time on a daily basis since May 26, 2000.

"Andy is one of the funniest people I know and we've maintained a close friendship since he left "Late Night," said O'Brien. "We have a proven chemistry that will be an incredible asset to "The Tonight Show." I'm looking forward to working with Andy on a daily basis again, particularly since he owes me $300."

Actor and writer Andy Richter rose to fame while having the best seat in the house on NBC's "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" as O'Brien's sidekick since its premiere on September 13, 1993. Since his departure from the show in 2000, Richter starred in the Emmy nominated "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" for the Fox network, and most recently starred in the series "Andy Barker, P.I." for NBC. Richter has been very active in the feature film world as well. His many appearances include such films as Robert Altman's "Dr. T and the Women" and "Scary Movie 2", "Elf" and "Madagascar: (both 1 and 2), "Talladega Nights", "Blades of Glory" and "Semi-Pro". This summer, he can be seen in the Fox feature "They Came From Upstairs". Richter attended the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign and Columbia College, where he studied film and video.

"The Tonight Show" continues to be the most dominant late-night institution in television history. Since it first premiered on September 27, 1954 with Steve Allen, "The Tonight Show" has had just four permanent hosts, including Leno. Allen, host of the then titled "Tonight," eventually left late night to start his own primetime variety series on NBC. Jack Paar premiered on July 29, 1957. On October 1, 1962, Johnny Carson stepped on stage for day one of his tenure as host of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson." Leno, who began guest-hosting "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" in September 1987, became host of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on May 25, 1992. O'Brien joined NBC as a writer on "Saturday Night Live" in 1988 and premiered as host of "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" on September 13, 1993. O'Brien becomes the fifth host of "The Tonight Show" on June 1, 2009.

"The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" will originate from Stage 1 at Universal Studios and will be produced by Universal Media Studios. Jeff Ross is the executive producer.

Source: NBC

Monday, February 23, 2009

News: TV, Internet and Mobile Usage In U.S. Keeps Increasing, Says Nielsen

The Nielsen Company reported that viewing of video on television, Internet and mobile devices - the Three Screens - continues to increase and has reached new heights. In a report it conducted in the 4th quarter, Nielsen found that the average American watches more than 151 hours of TV per month, an all-time high.

Meanwhile, Americans who watch video over the Internet consume another 3 hours of online video per month and those who use mobile video watch nearly 4 hours per month on mobile phones and other devices.

Nielsen also reported that digital video recorded and other timeshifted television is watched at double the pace as video online at 7 hours, 11 minutes per month. Yet in a potential indicator of how audiences could timeshift in the future, young adults (age 18-24) watch video on the Internet and on a DVR at the same rate -- about 5 hours per month.

Other notable facts from the report include:

  • Except for the teenage years, viewing of traditional television increases with age; the use of video on the Internet peaks among young adults while viewing mobile video is highest in the teen years.
  • Men continue to watch video on mobile phones more than women, and women continue to watch video on the Internet and television more than men.
  • The work day continues to be the primetime for Internet video. Weekdays outpace weekends for online video viewing with 65% of online video viewers streaming content between 9am - 5pm Monday through Friday, versus 51% of online video viewers logging on between 6am - 8pm on weekends.
  • Nielsen 4Q08 data shows that mobile video has grown, up to 11 million Americans, an increase of 9% versus the previous quarter. Much of this growth can be attributed to increased mobile content and the rise of the mobile web as a viewing option. In addition, the average monthly time spent viewing mobile video among reported mobile video users increased 2%, from 3:37 to 3:42 between 3Q 2008 and 4Q 2008.

You can download and read the entire study: CLICK HERE


Source: Nielsen

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Good Luck Greg!

One of the people you often do not hear about, but sometimes see on our wideshots in the studio is our floor director and teleprompter operator. At WKYC, one person, a Production Assistant, does both - much to my amazement.

On Friday, we said goodbye to one of our longtime Production Assistants, Greg Klinc, who has been with WKYC for a number of years. It's been a pleasure to have Greg on our staff and we wish him well as he leaves us for warmer pastures in Orlando where he will become a full time Director.

In addition to being a great floor director, Greg was also a fill-in Technical Director/Director at WKYC - and did an outstanding job.

Best of luck in Orlando, Greg - we will miss you!

News: Seniors get a helping hand for DTV switch

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
By WKYC Reporter Dick Russ

GEAUGA COUNTY, Ohio -- Seniors scratching their heads over this DTV transition have been offered a lifeline.

The Geauga Department of Aging has begun helping seniors confused over the transition that was pushed back from February 17th to June 12th.

Carol Vobornick is one of several seniors that use the department to help with everyday assistance--and this technological change is creating new reasons for the helping hand.

"When I took it out the directions [on the converter box] and I saw the remote control, and all the things that went along with hooking it up--I said I need help."

That's when Bill Dreimiller showed up. His area of expertise is growing with the number of seniors confused over the transition.

"I've worked on four installations so far, while delivering meals and cleaning up yards."

There are over 27 different programs and offered by the Geauga County Department of Aging; the only qualification is that you live in the county, own your own home and are over 60.


*Geauga County Department of Aging

Friday, February 20, 2009

Spotlight Feature: So Long Conan, We'll See You Soon

The expectations were high on day one for NBC: Replace Dave Letterman with someone that could keep the momentum of the show going while building it into their own. The choosen one: Conan O'Brien.

Now Conan O'Brien is promising not to cry tonight as he ends his 16-year run at "Late Night." O'Brien joked on NBC's "Today" show that he's gotten injections and has had a lot of therapy to do away with his emotions. Seriously, though, O'Brien says he doesn't know how he'll react when his final show ends tonight.

He takes over the "Tonight Show" June 1.

Jimmy Fallon replaces O'Brien March 2.

On April 25, 1993, Lorne Michaels suggested O'Brien try out to be David Letterman's successor as host of Late Night with David Letterman, with Andy Richter signed on to be his sidekick. O'Brien auditioned on the set of The Tonight Show, where he interviewed Mimi Rogers and Jason Alexander. O'Brien resigned his position on "The Simpsons", despite his contract not having expired.

Premiering on September 13 of that same year, Late Night with Conan O'Brien received generally unfavorable critical reviews for the first 2 to 3 years after its debut. O'Brien himself, a total unknown among the general public before being named host, was seen by many as not being worthy of the program. NBC even poked fun at this perception in a radio ad which aired shortly before the show's debut and had O'Brien relaying an anecdote where someone recognized him on the street and said, "Look, honey, there's the guy who doesn't deserve his own show!" Another source of criticism was the fact that O'Brien himself appeared to be very nervous and awkward during the show's early days. As a self-deprecating nod to this, the original opening sequence for Late Night With Conan O'Brien was animated and featured a caricature of O'Brien who sweated and pulled at his collar nervously.

The show remained on multi-week renewal cycles while NBC decided its fate. By 1996-97, O'Brien's writing and comedic style was thought to have improved, and he began to develop a growing fan base, especially with high school and college students, as well as the respect of critics and his peers. O'Brien would later poke fun at the first three years of the show when on his 10th Anniversary Special, Mr. T appeared to give O'Brien a gold necklace with a giant "7" on it. When O'Brien tried to point out that he's actually been on the air for ten years, Mr. T responded, "I know that, fool...but you've only been funny for seven!"

Since then, O'Brien and the Late Night writing team have consistently been nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety Series, and finally won in 2007. In 1997, 2000, 2002, 2003, and 2004 he and the Late Night writing staff won the Writers Guild Award for Best Writing in a Comedy/Variety Series.

In 2001, he formed his own television production company, Conaco, which has since shared in the production credits for Late Night.

On the first episode after the September 11th attacks, O'Brien told a story of how he went to pray for the first time since just after he had been announced as the host of Late Night, eight years prior. O'Brien was reported to have been shaken up and talked about a need to have faith.

O'Brien in Helsinki, Finland in February 2006. After meeting Finnish actor/director Lauri Nurkse on October 11, 2005, O'Brien discovered that he was popular in Finland and began a long-running joke that he resembles the first female President of Finland, Tarja Halonen. After joking about this for several months (which led to the recurring segment "Conan O'Brien Hates My Homeland" and his endorsement of her campaign), O'Brien traveled to Finland and appeared on several television shows, and met President Halonen. The trip was filmed and aired as a special.

O'Brien ad libbed the fictional website name "" on December 4, 2006, after a sketch about the fictional manatee mascot and its inappropriate web-cam site. NBC opted to purchase the website domain name for $159, since the website did not previously exist. The network was concerned that someone might register the domain name and post content with which NBC would not wish to be associated, or that people would get upset and sue NBC when they found out the website is fictional. NBC now owns the rights to for 10 years, as per Conan O'Brien. According to O'Brien, it was decided that, since NBC owned the name, they might as well create the website. Late Night has since developed an actual website, which now has received millions of hits, reaching 4 million page views in four days. People send in "horny manatee" artwork, poems, and other content. According to the Alexa website ranking system, has had over 10 million web hits.

A popular recurring bit on the show is Pale Force, a series of animated episodes in which comedian Jim Gaffigan and O'Brien are superheroes who fight crime with their "paleness." As Gaffigan introduces each new episode, O'Brien protests the portrayal of his character as cowardly, weak and impotent.

As of October 2005[update], Late Night with Conan O'Brien had for eleven years consistently attracted an audience averaging about 2.5 million viewers.

In 2004, O'Brien was named as Jay Leno's replacement when he leaves the Tonight Show in 2009. Leno stated on the show that he wanted to avoid a repeat of the controversy and hard feelings that resulted when he was chosen by NBC to host the Tonight Show over David Letterman.

O'Brien is an avid guitarist and music listener. When Bruce Springsteen and the Sessions Band appeared on the show as a musical guest, O'Brien joined the 17 piece band along with the Max Weinberg 7 and guests Jimmy Fallon & Thomas Haden Church and played acoustic guitar and contributed backup vocals for the song, "Pay Me My Money Down".

In 2008, Conan O'Brien staged a feud with Comedy Central's Jon Stewart (of The Daily Show) and Stephen Colbert (of The Colbert Report) over a dispute about which of the three were responsible for giving Mike Huckabee's campaign to become the Republican presidential nominee a "bump." This fight crossed over among all three shows.

On the June 13, 2008 episode of Late Night, O'Brien simply walked out at the start of the show. Instead of his usual upbeat antics and monologue, O'Brien announced that he had just received news about the sudden death of his good friend, fellow NBC employee and frequent Late Night guest, Tim Russert. O'Brien proceeded to show two clips of his favorite Russert Late Night moments.

On July 21, 2008, NBC announced that O'Brien will take over the Tonight Show on June 1, 2009 and will post reruns of "Late Night" until Jimmy Fallon takes over.


*The Late Night Final Day Twitter Pix - CLICK HERE
*Late Night Web Site - CLICK HERE

Biography Source:

Director's Alert: Local Emmy Award Submission Deadline Extended

We just received word from the Lower Great Lake Chapter of NATAS that due to technical problems, the Emmy submission deadline has been extended.

According to their release: "The Emmy Express system stopped verification of membership at 1am. EST on Feb. 20th. Emmy Express has been notified and are working on the issue.


One work around is to fill out your entry, which will show NON-MEMBER rates. SELECT PAY LATER. Until we can adjust the entry to the correct rate."

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Blast from the Past: Action 3 News Mini Cam

One of our regular readers, Dan Hirschfield, sent us some photos from the 1981 Cleveland Airshow that he scanned from a batch of 35mm slides in his collection.

They included a series of pics of a WKYC "minicam" crew taping a guy riding a motorcycle through a bunch of flaming wood. Dan points out that if you look really hard at the second to last pic in the sequence you can just see the motorcycle in the middle of the inferno and the last pic is the motorcyclist himself safe and sound discussing his feat.

It's a flashback from the days of the ol' WKYC suburban. Dan says he does not recall if the reporter on scene was John Darling or Mini Cameron.

We've brought the still images back to life with a little Director's Cut magic.

Thanks Dan for sharing with us.

If you have any old vintage WKYC photos, please send them to us and we'll feature them on the blog. Our email is:

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Video Gem: What Goes On During Commercial Breaks

Our WKYC news colleague came up with our video gem of the day from WGN-TV in Chicago. It's a good indication of what "may" go on behind the scenes during those commercial break you hate sitting through.

Be sure to check out Eric's blog, "Have I Got News For You": CLICK HERE

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

News: Transition to all-digital television begins today

Today, hundreds of television stations across the country will switch from analog to digital transmission even though Congress voted to delay the deadline for the conversion until June.

As of today, more than 600 stations across the country will transmit only digital signals to begin a new era in television.

Today had been the deadline for all full power stations to turn off analog, and turn on digital but Congress voted to give stations a choice to delay that deadline until June 12.

Older TV's that use an antenna will need a converter to continue getting a picture with digital transmission. Millions of people are still on a waiting list for coupons in a government program to help offset the cost of those converters.

Markets that decided to move ahead with the conversion had to agree that at least one station in the market would transmit an analog signal for news, public affairs, and emergency alerts for 60 days after the switch.

Mark Wigfield of the FCC says "we basically said unless one of you agree to stay on in analog you can't go."

That way, consumers will have more time to get ready for the switch.

In markets that have converted, consumers will still be able to rely on TV for warnings.

Tim Morrissey, General Manager of WCNC, says "I think we're hoping for a seamless transition."

Hoping, watching and waiting as analog becomes history.

People who use cable or satellite TV don't have to do anything to prepare for the conversion from analog to digital. Television stations can make the switch anytime between now and the June 12th deadline but first need approval from the FCC.

Source: NBC

Monday, February 16, 2009

Feature: "The Tonight Show" Experience

As Jay Leno winds down his tenure as host of "The Tonight Show" this May, NBC takes a look back at 50 years of the program from Steve Allen to Conan O'Brien's pending debut.

The Tonight Show Experience Timeline: Explore 50 years of comedy history with video, photos, and milestones.

50 Years of Memories... 1 Website... Click on the picture to begin your multi-media experience:

Get To Know Team 3: Monica Robins

Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins steps into our "Get to Know Team 3" Spotlight. Recently, we had the chance to spend a few quality moments with Monica to find out more about both her reporting life and things she likes to do outside of work. We have worked with Monica since she came to WKYC and you'll find she has quite a few interests that you might not know about.

Question: You have worked as a videographer, editor, producer, news anchor, health anchor and investigative reporter during more than 20 years as a broadcast professional. Have you found being so flexible has benefited your career? And, do you recommend that others in the business have multiple skills in this new age of television?

Monica: Absolutely. I truly believe it's the only way to survive in this ever changing business. No one should think they're too old to learn something new. I also think in these unsure days, flexibility = job security.

Question: You worked in Columbus as an investigative reporter before coming to Cleveland and tackling health matters as your main beat. When doing the investigative work, what were the most appalling stories you uncovered?

Monica: Sadly there were quite a few. Phil Hayes and I worked on a story in which we discovered the Columbus Police Department hired admitted felons onto the force in order to fill a campaign promise the mayor had made at the time.

The stories we did helped to change the hiring practices of the department.

I also spent a year getting gang members to trust me enough to show me their world. I did a three part series on Gangs in Columbus at a time when city officials refused to accept the existence of street gangs. I met nine-year-old murderers in jail and their older counterparts on the streets. The series I did was then used by various Sheriff's departments to educate communities and parents about gangs and how to keep their kids out of them.

Question: As a health reporter, what issue has been the most amazing to you that you've reported on?

Monica: I'm so lucky to work in Northeast Ohio because there are amazing medical advances taking place every day. I would have to say the bioengineering stories are probably the most fascinating. I was stunned to learn that the skin from circumcised infants could be used to make tissue the size of a football field. That skin is then being used to treat open wounds on diabetics and burn patients.

That's just one of hundreds of amazing stories. Every day there's something new. I find however, that it''s the practical information that gets the biggest response. I did a story on odd heart attack symptoms and a year later received a call from a man inside the Cardiac ICU at a local hospital who said he remembered the story and called 911 because his symptoms were odd. He called me after having quadruple bypass surgery to say thanks.

Question: You do a lot of work for the Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure" each fall. Why do you feel such a personal connection to the fight against breast cancer and helping survivors of this horrible disease?

Monica: I'm a woman and I'm at risk just like one out of every eight women. Chances are almost all of us know someone affected by Breast Cancer. My Grandmother and Aunt both battled the disease. And since I've worked with the Race and 3Day, I've met hundreds of women and men who inspire me to what I can to help find a cure.

Question: Can you tell us one thing you'd still like to do as a journalist?

Monica: Retire wealthy and write a few books.

Question: Growing up in Pittsburgh and now living in Cleveland , you must feel a split loyalty between the Browns and Steelers. Which team do you tend to support more?

Monica: If a Browns fan moved to Pittsburgh would they stop supporting the Browns? I want nothing more than the Browns to do well because the rivalry needs to get back on a level playing field. At least both teams hate the Ravens.

Question: Many people have heard you sing the National Anthem at various sporting events, but they may not know you are the lead singer of the BFD Band. Tell us about the band and who have you gotten to open for.

Monica: BFD is now known as Monica Robins and the Whiskey Kings. We're comprised of videographers from TV 3 and Fox 8 and a few others who don't work in TV news. Over the years we've had some great opportunities. We've opened for Hall and Oates, Donnie Iris, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Eddie Money, South Side Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Temptations and some others. We started out as a Blues Band but morphed into a down and dirty Cleveland Rock Band. We're comfortable playing anywhere from Biker Bars to the Shoreby Club.

Question: Tell us about your favorite "hangout" – and why it is your favorite.

Monica: I'd have to say the MetroPark Hiking trails. No matter the season, I enjoy taking my dog for walks along those trails and hanging out with the real "wild" crowd.

Question: Any special plans for St. Patrick's Day - anything that's become tradition for you each year?

Monica: The only St. Patrick's Day tradition for me is that I'm usually working.

Question: You are also an avid Harley rider. Where do you find is the best place to ride and why?
Monica: The MetroParks and the back country roads in Ohio are my favorite. You never know what you're going to see next.

Director's Alert: WKYC and WOIO Announce Video Sharing Partnership

Read the original Director's Cut Article about LNP's that we predicted last year was coming to Cleveland: CLICK HERE

CLEVELAND -- WKYC and WOIO have announced a video-sharing arrangement designed to pool resources and allow both stations to cover more stories, while keeping the focus on content unique for their stations and their brands.

Videographers from both stations will participate in a pool coverage system to cover basic events of mutual interest, including news conferences, court hearings, groundbreaking ceremonies, and other pre-planned events.

"This new collaboration will allow both stations to shift more resources toward enterprise stories that support our individual style of newsgathering", said Brooke Spectorsky, President and General Manager of WKYC, Cleveland's NBC affiliate.

Bill Applegate, President and General Manger of WOIO/WUAB CBS 19 echoed that sentiment, saying "We, like all businesses, are looking for ways to be more efficient without compromising the fine work being done by our reporters and anchors".

It's common to have videographers from all four local stations at the same event, shooting the same footage and the same sound. WKYC News Director Rita Andolsen says, "by sharing that basic footage, both stations have more resources to gather unique content that sets us apart".

"This is a win-win situation", adds Dan Salamone, 19 Action News Director. "Viewers at both stations will get more stories, but each newsroom still keeps the editorial independence to write and report those stories in its own way".

Saturday, February 14, 2009

From the Wires: For millions, digital TV deadline still is now

SAN DIEGO - Despite a government extension for the shutdown of analog TV signals hundreds of stations say they will still make the transition come this Tuesday.

Because it is costly to keep broadcasting analog signals, nearly 500 stations say they will make the switch this month and not June 12 -- the Federal Communications Commission's new deadline. The FCC has gotten about 43 stations to halt the switch on Tuesday but the others plan to move forward.

It means TV viewers like Isidro Diaz of San Diego who surfs channels on his old television about three hours a night will have an even more limited number of programs to watch. Diaz, who recently lost his job says eventually he'll come up with $200 for a digital television.

The Obama administration sought the delay in the analog TV shutdown after the government ran out of money for the $40 coupons that subsidize digital converter boxes. The program has a waiting list of 4 million coupons; each household can get up to two.

Source: The Associated Press

Friday, February 13, 2009

News: Former WKYC/KYW Radio Guy, Sports Producer Passes

Here's a note we wished to pass along earlier, but have just gotten around to.

According to the News Herald, John Wellman passed away on February 4th.

Mr. Wellman had worked for many years in radio at KYW/WKYC as well as WEWS as a producer and was a radio broadcast spotter for the Cleveland Browns. He loved sports according to those who knew him.

Funeral services were held earlier this week.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

From the Wires: NY's blind governor says NBC's `SNL' insensitive to disabled

Editor's Note:

So, Saturday Night Live is in trouble because it makes fun of people - especially those with disabilities. We find it ironic that this is the first time anyone has complained, especially after all those skits of former George W. Bush for years and no one cared. Apparently, this guy isn't the most righteous of folks either.

MORRISVILLE, N.Y. -- The legally blind governor of New York says a second parody of him on the television show "Saturday Night Live" promotes insensitivity against the disabled.

Democratic Gov. David Paterson said Thursday that the show's continued parodies hurt disabled people not in a position to fight back.

A segment on Paterson aired last week featured "SNL" cast member Fred Armisen -- with one eye closed most of the time, the other focused on his own nose -- unable to see fellow cast member Seth Meyers or a prop. Armisen portrayed the governor as a clueless blind man with a past of youthful drug use and womanizing.

NBC spokeswoman Sharon Pannozzo says neither the network nor the show would comment on Paterson's remarks.

Source: The Associated Press

New Feature: Even More Weather Stories from

Now you get even more great weather stories from northeast Ohio and around the world.

Channel 3's "Weather Headlines" are now available as an RSS feed for your blogs, Netvibes, Widgets or other techie toys when you need dependable, accurate weather info.

To subscribe to our WKYC Weather Headlines RSS Feed, click on the following link:

Video: Joaquin Phoenix on Letterman

There isn't much to say about Joaquin Phoenix's appearance on last night's Late Show with David Letterman. Which is fitting, as not much was actually said—at least, not by Phoenix.

This is a must see TV event. Staged or Real? Take a look -

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Director's Cut Does "Twittering"

A reminder for our new blog readers that we are available on "Twitter" with real time updates posted as soon as we write them.

You get breaking news and weather from the Director's Cut Blog, the Fair Weather Fans Blog, and as it happens.

Plus, we occasionally jump in with other fun updates live from the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center about the local television industry and entertaining newsbits from the wonderful world of television.

Just click on the picture to find our Twitter page where you can sign up to follow us at absolutely no cost. Knowledge is power, so be the first to know. You'll also find us on Facebook and MySpace. Those links are posted in the hand column of the blog.

Director's Alert: President Obama Signs DTV Transition Delay

It's official!

President Barack Obama has signed the legislation that postpones the digital television transition until June 12 according to our sources.

In a statement released this afternoon, the President says "During these challenging economic times, the needs of American consumers are a top priority of my administration."

"This law, which was crafted in a bipartisan way and passed overwhelmingly in the House and Senate, ensures that our citizens will have more time to prepare for the conversion," he added.

As previously mentioned, WKYC will wait until June 12th to shut off our analog signal for over the air viewers. This appears the case with most all other Cleveland/Akron/Canton television stations in our local market.

Programming Preview: Tom Meyer Investigates...

This Thursday at 11 p.m. on Channel 3 News, "The Investigator", Tom Meyer exposes city workers contaminating our air in violation of the city's own policy.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

News: Hundreds of TV stations to end analog on Feb. 17

NEW YORK -- More than a quarter of major U.S. TV stations intend to shut down their analog broadcasts on Feb. 17, sticking to the original date despite the wish of the Obama administration that they delay until June.

Congress last week gave TV stations until June 12 to shut down analog broadcasts, hoping to give viewers more time to prepare. Money has run out for the federal fund that subsidizes converter boxes, and there's a wait list for the coupons.

The Federal Communications Commission said Tuesday that 491 of the 1,796 full-power TV stations in the country say they intend to keep the Feb. 17 date. The FCC has reserved the right to deny individual stations an early shutdown.

For a complete list of stations making switch: CLICK HERE

Source: The Associated Press & USA Today

From the Wires: TV Company Apologizes For Burning Down Luxury Hotel

Editor's Note: Sometimes, media becomes the is the case in China where one state owned TV network wound up burning down a luxury hotel. Unfortunately, we can't say "only in America" on this one.

BEIJING - China's state-run television broadcaster is apologizing for a fireworks display that sparked a blaze that destroyed a luxury hotel and killed one firefighter.

The official Xinhua News Agency reports a handful of others were injured in the fire that was doused early today after burning for more than five hours at the unfinished Mandarin Oriental hotel.

A fire official blames the unlicensed fireworks used to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

The spokesman says the people hired to set off the fireworks are being questioned.

CCTV said it is deeply grieved "for the severe damage the fire caused to the country's property."

The Mandarin Oriental is part of a stunning CCTV complex that helped transform the capital's skyline for last year's Olympics.

Source: The Associated Press

Monday, February 09, 2009

Programming Note: Monday's Special Primetime Lineup

WKYC and NBC will air a special Monday evening lineup of programming due to President Obama's first primetime news conference scheduled for 8 p.m./ET.

This will be followed by a new episode of "Heroes" and "Medium"

8:00 p.m. - NBC NEWS: Presidential News Conference
9:00 p.m. - HEROES
10:00 p.m. - MEDIUM
11:00 p.m. - CHANNEL 3 NEWS AT 11 PM

11:35 p.m. - THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO - guests: Simon Baker, Heidi Montag & Spencer Pratt, and music from Duffy

12:35 p.m. - LATE NIGHT WITH CONAN O'BRIEN - guests: Clive Owen, Judah Friediander, and music from Brett Dennen

From the Wires: New TV World Record Set

We found this little article on the wires Sunday evening and were so moved, we just had to share this with the world. At the Director's Cut Blog, we were shocked someone actually could pull this off without going nuts. Then again, maybe he did. Scary!

STOCKHOLM -- Suresh Joachim has broken his own Guinness world record for nonstop broadcast-television watching, clocking 72 hours in the Swedish capital.

"I feel fine, I drank between 25 and 30 cups of coffee," Joachim said Sunday.

His previous record was 69 hours, 48 minutes, set in 2005.

Joachim, a Sri Lanka native who lives in Toronto, watched three seasons of the drama series "24" featuring Kiefer Sutherland, said Swedish TV4 spokeswoman Janina Witkowski.

Courtesy: The Associated Press

Friday, February 06, 2009

Director's Alert: WKYC to continue analog broadcast until June 12th

By Frank Macek

As part of the decision by Congress to delay the digital transition date until June 12th, WKYC will continue to broadcast on both our analog and digital channels until the new date.

WKYC Vice President and General Manager Brooke Spectorsky tells the Director's Cut Blog exclusively, "We want all viewers to have enough time to get their converter coupons and buy and hook up their new boxes. We think that is what congress intended with the new June 12 legislation."

Mr. Spectorsky adds that 41,600 coupons have been requested, but are on the waiting list in the Cleveland/Akron/Canton DMA - a sizeable amount of viewers who would be in jeopardy of losing their over the air programming from NBC and WKYC.

This delay will mean viewers will continue receiving our broadcasts on both WKYC Channel 3 analog and WKYC-DT Channel 2 until June 12th.

News: NBC announces series finale dates for the spring

UNDATED -- Get ready for the season finales for many of your favorite NBC shows this spring on Channel 3.


Chuck (April 27th from 8 to 9 p.m.)
Heroes (April 27th from 9 to 10 p.m.)
Medium (May 18th from 10 to 11 p.m.)


The Biggest Loser: Couples (May 12th from 8 to 10 p.m.)
Law & Order: SVU (May 19th from 10 to 11 p.m.)


Chopping Block (April 29th from 8 to 9 p.m.)
Life (April 8th from 9 to 10 p.m.)
Law & Order (May 20th from 10 to 11 p.m.)


My Name Is Earl (May 14th from 8 to 8:30 p.m.)
Kath & Kim (March 12th from 8:30 to 9 p.m.)
Parks & Recreation (May 14th from 8:30 to 9 p.m.)
The Office (May 14th from 9 to 9:31 p.m.)
30 Rock (May 14th from 9:31 to 10 p.m.)
ER (April 2nd from 8 to 9 p.m. - 1 hour retrospective)
ER (April 2nd from 9 to 11 p.m. - 2 hour series finale)
Southland (May 21st from 10 to 11 p.m.)


Howie Do It (April 24th from 8 to 8:30 p.m. and 8:30 to 9 p.m.)
Friday Night Lights (April 10th from 9 to 10 p.m.)




Celebrity Apprentice (May 17th from 9 to 11 p.m.)

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Director's Alert: FCC Announces Procedures For Shutting Down Analog Stations with New Date

The Federal Communications Commission has issued a public notice on Thursday, February 5th regarding the procedures full-power television stations must follow is they wish to terminate their analog television service on or after February 17th - in the event the extension of the deadline is enacted into law.

Stations must notify the FCC by February 9th of their intentions.

WKYC has yet to announce the station's plans.

Broadcasting & Cable reports on Thursday that groups committed to June 12 included those of CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo and ABC. Gannett (owner of WKYC) and Hearst-Argyle had pledged to keep the vast majority of their stations on until June 12.

For a complete copy of the FCC's public notice: CLICK HERE

DIY: How to hook up your television to a digital converter box

CLEVELAND -- With the switch to all digital television happening soon, do you know how to connect your old tv up to the new digital converter boxes? We can help.

For those of you who will continue using your old analog tv sets and receive your broadcast signals over the air, you will need to purchase a digital converter box. Those of you who get your tv over cable or satellite will not affected.

The government is expected to resume the digital converter coupon program soon after it ran out of money, as the digital televison switch moves from February 17th to June 12th.

However, there is currently a waiting list of about 2 million people who need coupons.

This government aided program helps you receive two coupons of $40 each to use toward the purchase of converter boxes.

But, once you get those boxes, will you know how to connect them to your tv?

Click on the video to see how simple it is.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Director's Alert: House Approves DTV Delay, Sends Bill to Obama

Editor's Note: The House of Representatives, by a 264-to-158 vote, today ended the debate over whether the country is ready for the digital TV transition with a clear "no."

It sent to President Obama legislation for a "one-time only delay" that would postpone the digital transition from Feb. 17 until June 12th.

Now, if the President signs it, the next question will be what will Nielsen do about the February book that was moved to March? Stay tuned on this one.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress has now decided to give people four more months to prepare for the upcoming transition from analog to digital TV broadcasting.

The House voted Wednesday to postpone the end of analog TV signals until June 12. The move is meant to address concerns that more than 6.5 million Americans with older TVs would not be ready by Feb. 17, the originally mandated deadline.

The House took up the question last week but under a special procedure that required more than a simple majority. This time it went through a normal vote.

The Senate passed the measure unanimously last week and the bill now heads to President Barack Obama for his signature. Obama's spokesman has said the president will sign it.

Sources: The Associated Press & NBC

HD Promo: Channel 3 News - Keeping You Connected

Here is yet another one of our outstanding HD promos for Channel 3 News that has just started airing. Tell us what you think. Post your comments below or email me:

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

WKYC Poll: Are You Ready for the DTV Transition?

Are you ready for the switch to digital television? conducted an exclusive poll.

Press play to watch the results animate right before your eyes.

Spring Training bloggin' style with "From the Truck"

It's almost Tribe Time and Sportstime Ohio and WKYC have got you covered for a behind the scenes look at our brand new training facility in Goodyear, Arizona.

Our very own Indians game director Pat Murray and producer Jim Murphy are once again blogging about their experiences as they settle into their new digs for this year's Spring Training and Cactus League games to be played in the desert before coming home for the Tribe's home opener.

You'll find regular updates and lots of photos on their special blog "From the Truck."

Bookmark the link:


Video Gem: Porn Interrupts the Superbowl in Tucson; viewers "shocked"

Editor's Note: You have may have already heard about this, but we have some reaction to go along with the viewers in Tucson who got porn instead of the Superbowl. It's another kind of "wardrobe malfunction" we best guess.
Tucson, NBC affiliate KVOA is investigating pornographic material viewed during the Super Bowl by some Tucson area Comcast viewers.

Just after the last touchdown by the Cardinals, approximately 30 seconds of pornographic material was shown. It appears this material was only viewed by some Comcast customers.

Cardinals fan Lorraine Ferrick, caught more than her favorite team on TV last night.

"I almost wanted to turn it off, but I didn't, I thought it must be a joke," she says.

During the 4th quarter, after Larry Fitzgerald's 64 yard touchdown catch, Ferrick saw the unthinkable.

"It almost made me sick to my stomach," she says, after watching about 30 seconds of pornography, "it was a shock, why am I looking at this? I don't want young people to see this."

With viewers like Lorraine angry, both KVOA and Comcast are investigating how it happened.

KVOA General Manager Gary Nielsen explains," what we do know is that it didn't happen at KVOA, and it didn't happen to subscribers of Cox, DirecTV, or Dish, or any over the air subscribers, it only happened to Comcast subscribers."

Comcast released this statement to News 4:

"We are mortified by last evening's Super Bowl interruption and we apologize to our customers. Our initial investigation suggests this was an isolated malicious act. We are conducting a thorough investigation to determine how this happened."

While that's some relief for Lorraine, she has a message for who ever is responsible.

"I say you need to go to jail. You've done damage to young people."

News 4 also put a call into the Marana Police Department. They'll get involved once Comcast completes its investigation, to determine if criminal charges will be filed.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Man shares extensive collection of old tv cameras

DTV transition is just another step in television's evolution. Looking at our modern television studio cameras today, there more like computers than cameras -- true high definition, lightweight, and all robotically controlled.

But it didn't use to be this way. Before the change over to digital television, one man likes to look back at the cameras television stations used to use.

Winder, Georgia resident Bobby Ellerbee has one of the best collections of studio cameras in the country. Like RCA's first color camera -- and would you believe it once belonged to Red Skelton?

"He had his own production company to do all his shows called Red-Eo-Video, that was bought by CBS and rolled into CBS' Television city in Hollywood and they later sold the camera's to NBC," said Ellerbee.

This camera changed television forever -- just like the switch to digital television will. But Ellerbee says this isn't the first switch to high definition.

"In the 30s, they switched from broadcasting in 300 lines of resolution to more than 500 lines of resolution," he said. The oldest camera in Ellerbee's collection is an RCA TK-30, introduced after World War Two. The camera was a major step forward for television.

"This was the first camera to use the image orthocon tube," he said. "Before that, the camera's were gigantic -- had to have an enormous amount of light."

The best part of another camera is its story.

"NBC president Pat Weaver, who started a lot of famous NBC shows like The Tonight Show and The Today Show, was given this camera as a present," he said. "After passing, he left it to his daughter, Sigourney Weaver. It was put up for sale at an estate auction and a good friend of mine was able to purchase it, and he wanted it to have a good home and left it to me."

Ellerbee also has a camera that used to bring one of most famous names in television to our living rooms every night. "This camera was used on the Johnny Carson show," he said. "They were the first to use a plumicon tube made in Europe. And plumicon tubes were known for their pastel colors."

Ellerbee knows these cameras are more important than just their electronics. They've seen history and brought it to our own television sets. "So everything you saw came through one these," he said. "What these things have seen are basically indescribable."

Courtesy: NBC & WXIA-TV

Learn the difference: HDTV versus DTV, what the conversion means for you

Special to the Director's Cut
By WKYC Web Reporter Kim Wendel

While Congress still debates whether to keep the changeover to digital television (DTV) on Feb. 17 or move it to June 12, people are still asking "What does the term 'high definition' really mean and will all TVs now have 'high definition' picture and sound after the changeover?"

The short answer? Unless you already have a high definition TV, you will get digital transmissions but not get 'high definition' viewing once the changeover occurs.

The difference is that all programming will be transmitted to you digitally and will be available for all to receive. Whether or not you decide to buy an HDTV or upgrade your cable or satelllite to HD to view it in high definition is up to you.

Digital television (DTV) and high definition television (HDTV) are two separate things.

Digital television (DTV) is the newest type of over-the-air broadcasting technology that allows TV stations to provide dramatically clearer pictures and better sound quality.

Analog television service, what is in existence now on all TVs, is the traditional method of transmitting signals.

The DTV transition is a transition from analog broadcasting to digital broadcasting. It is not a transition from analog broadcasting to high definition broadcasting.

Digital broadcasting allows for high definition broadcasts but high definition TVs are not required and you do not need to buy an HDTV to watch digital TV.

You will, however, need a converter box for your analog TV that uses an indoor or outdoor antenna, that is unless you have your TV hooked up to a cable system or have a satellite provider.

But whenever the DTV transition occurs, you will receive digital transmissions but, unless you have a "high definition" TV (HDTV), you will not being seeing the programs in the sharpest "high definition."

Cable companies will handle the switch from analog to digital for you but you will have to upgrade your cable service to high definition if you want to view your programs in 'high definition' HDTV.

You can watch high definition programming on a standard definition TV or on an analog TV hooked to a digital-to-analog converter box, but you won't be seeing it in full "high definition" quality.

You can go to the federal DTV information Web site at for more answers or to

Why the switch?

Analog is not as efficient as digital television. It uses up much more valuable spectrum than digital, and only allows TV stations to transmit one channel at a time.

Using the same amount of spectrum, a digital signal lets stations broadcast up to four or more programs at once. Analog is also susceptible to interference and "snow," making a picture less clear.

Standard-definition TV (SDTV) has a lower resolution than HDTV. Therefore, it has a lower quality picture.

However, SDTV and HDTV both use digital technology. The images on SDTV are of better quality than those of today's typical TV screens and SDTV supports stereo sound.

Monday's Bits & Pieces for 2/2/09

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

Happy Groundhog Day

For those of us who live in Cleveland, we are destined for another 6 weeks of winter, despite many folks prayers the worst is behind us and that sunny skies are ahead. Now for the news of the day...

"Chuck" in 3 D Monday Night

NBC will present a special 3D version of the hit series "Chuck" tonight at 8 p.m. on WKYC, followed by new episodes of "Heroes" and "Medium." You'll be looking at the future of television since most folks in the industry below the next logical step after high definition television will be 3D. Hopefully that transition will go smoother.

Romona in the Spotlight

Check out this month's copy of "Cleveland Magazine" where we find an article with our very own Romona Robinson and her thoughts about becoming our solo news anchor at 6 & 11 PM. We couldn't help but laugh at the photo, I mean cartoon, they used for the article. I've never seen Romona portrayed in quite that way before.

Also, speaking of Romona...we've been telling you the Plain Dealer's Julie Washington has been seen around the building and hanging out at some downtown eateries with Romona a couple of times now. Our sources tell us she is working on a big article about Romona coming out this month. Apparently she needs lot to time to pull it all together.

Your Regular Dose of the DTV Daily Dilemna

The mess with Congress trying to decide whether to delay the digital television transition continues in earnest. As of Monday afternoon, we hear the House is expected to wait until Wednesday before voting again on a revised proposal that past the Senate last Thursday Night. Can't we just get over this and move on? There are much bigger problems Congress should be worried about at the moment.

WKYC Tower Delay Update

WKYC's Director of Technology Mike Szabo tells us and the Plain Dealer construction on our new television tower continues to be delayed thanks to problems with our tower contractors working on another tower that hasn't been completed due to weather delays. Thus, WKYC will continue broadcasting on digital channel 2 until the tower is complete and on analog Channel 3 until the FCC chooses it's final shutdown date. We've received many letters about folks have trouble picking up our digital channel 2. Hang in there, the new tower will be worth the wait as we migrate to digital channel 17.

The Superbowl Sweeps Up for NBC and WKYC

Superbowl XLIII turned out to be quite an exciting matchup between the Arizona Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Although, we hate that the Steeler's win, we were all winners with "super" ratings.

Nielsen reports 89.2 million viewers tuned in during the broadcast between 7 & 10 p.m. ET. In prime time among households, the game averaged a 39.0 rating/59 share from 7-10 p.m. and a 37.9/57 from 7-10:30 p.m, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research numbers. In the overnight metered markets, the game drew a 42.1/65, coming in 6% below last year's record-breaking telecast. Last night's match-up between the Steelers and the Cardinals also averaged a 33.3 rating/66 share among viewers 18-49 from 7-10 p.m. From 7-10:30 p.m., the Super Bowl averaged a 32.3/64 in the demographic and 85.9 million viewers. This second set of numbers takes into consideration the final half hour of the telecast, after the game had ended. Due to the nature of live programming, final numbers may change once time-zone adjusted information is released later today. Last year's Super Bowl was the most watched ever, with 97.5 million viewers. It ranked as the second most-watched telecast ever, coming in behind the series finale of "M*A*S*H," which drew 106 million.

Locally, WKYC rated in households with a 47.7 rating and 69.2 share. More impressive was men aged 25 to 54 with a 50.5 rating and 81.2 share.

NBC revealed its sold-out advertising inventory within Super Bowl XLIII broke all previous Super Bowl records totaling $206 million, though the total for the entire Super Sunday ticked up to $261 million. Spots within the Big Game went for $3 million apiece, while spots in the pregame went for $44,500 per spot during the first hour (noon-1p) and up to $1.6 million for those placed in the 15-minute window prior to kick-off. NBC tallied a total of 32 advertisers and their commercials can be viewed online via, and

By the way, the "Doritos" ad took top honors among viewers favorites according to USA Today's annual Super Bowl Ad Meter competition. The low score was racked up by a spot for Vizio televisions.

"TiVo" Sees Higher Time Shifting During Sweeps Periods

According to Home Media, primetime television programs during network broadcast sweeps in May and October garnered the heaviest time shifting on digital video recorders seen so far, according to TiVo. 54% of primetime programming was timeshifted during those two months, compared to 40% in June, July and August.

HD Promo: Channel 3 Weather - Keeping You Connected

Here's our Super Bowl promo. Okay, so it aired right after the big game(bills have to get paid which means advertisers get the plum in-game spots). Anyway, this promo shows you why the Channel 3 Weather team is Northeast Ohio's best source for weather information anytime, anywhere.