Wednesday, July 22, 2009

News: More than Half the Homes in U.S. Have Three or More TVs

New findings from Nielsen's Television Audience Report show that in 2009 the average American home had 2.86 TV sets, which is roughly 18% higher than in 2000 (2.43 sets per home), and 43% higher than in 1990 (2.0 sets).

In addition, there continue to be more TVs per home than people - in 2009 the average U.S. home had only 2.5 people vs 2.86 television sets.

This year about 54% of homes in the U.S. had more than 3 or more television sets, 28% had 2 television sets and only 18% had 1 television set.

There are 114.5 million TV homes in the U.S. in 2009
  • 38% of U.S. TV homes have digital cable.
  • 88% have a DVD player, while VCR fell to 72%.
  • 82% of homes have more than 1 television set.
  • 11% of U.S. TV homes only have the capability to receive TV reception “over the air”.
  • These homes have neither cable nor ADS.

Download the complete Nielsen report: CLICK HERE

Source: Nielsen & USA Today

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

USA Today Web Poll: Is NBC Losing The Leno Crowd?

Our sister publication, USA, has conducted a new web poll and found Jay Leno fans have yet to adapt to Conan's hosting of the "Tonight Show".

Respondents say they are beginning to look elsewhere or not even watch after a strong start has fizzled for Conan as host of the "Tonight Show."

Here's where viewers say they are going:

Monday, July 20, 2009

Notes from the Newsroom: 7/20/09

By Frank Macek

Time for another edition of "Notes from the Newsroom" as your blogger shares some of thoughts on television.

Although Walter Cronkite worked for a network competitor, CBS, everyone seems to have an opinion of what an impact "Uncle Walter" had on the industry - the "Most Trusted Man in America."

I found it fascinating to watch the network newscasts over the weekend and all the stories people had to share. Everyone who has been anyone in the news industry had nothing but praise on the one man many idolized.

Even WKYC's Romona Robinson shared a story with viewers Friday Night at 11 PM after the news broke of his passing about what an impact Mr. Cronkite had on her. At one point, she received a letter from him after he saw her work and was highly complimentary. Uncle Walter touched many lives and will leave a huge void in our industry.

Finally, some encouraging news from the financial world after Gannett reported higher profits during the 2nd quarter. Gannett is the parent company of WKYC.

In fairness, revenue was way down, but the steps the company has taken seems to be putting us on somewhat more stable ground for now. Investors responded well to the results as stock prices climbed almost 30% in one day and have been heading up since July 15th when the results were released. To listen to a replay of the earnings conference call, which is fascinating look behind the scenes of a market broadcasting company: CLICK HERE

Other media companies have not been so lucky with additional layoffs happening at some other Cleveland stations as you may have read. Like we mentioned here on the blog several times before, this was bound to happen as technology creates efficiencies. Operations can be combined and fewer people are needed. However in some cases, this is purely based on the recession and job losses may recover during the rebound.

More than half of the Youngstown TV stations are in bankruptcy including WKBN, WYFX, WYTV and their sister MYTV channel. Of course, all these stations are owned by a single company: New Vision Television. Apparently, their new vision didn't match reality and must now restructure.

This Wednesday, I will be participating in judging of Regional Emmy Awards for the Chicago market in the "Weathercaster" category. This will give me and the others I've asked to help judge a chance to review our peers' work. It's a good chance to see how others present weather in other markets. We are so used to Cleveland meteorologists it is refreshing to see alternative presentations.

Social media-wise, WKYC continues to branch out on Facebook, Twitter and on our many staff blogs. Check out the blogs of many of our co-workers including Romona Robinson, Eric Mansfield, Monica Robins, Kim Wheeler and our weekend morning show crew. A complete list is available: CLICK HERE

Also, don't forget you can find WKYC on twitter at and on Facebook at We provide other behind the scenes looks at the station that you don't find on our website,

One big project the station is undertaking is being done across Gannett, called "Hero Central." There are many wonderful organizations here in Northeast Ohio that stand ready to help you. And many volunteer opportunities for you and your family to help those in need. Do you need a hero? Can you be a hero? To find out more, go to the following link: CLICK HERE

That's about it for this addition of "Notes from the Newsroom." Wish we had more to share with you at this point, but the summer months are traditionally pretty bland.


Friday, July 17, 2009

Director's Alert: Walter Cronkite Passes Away At Age 92

Veteran newsman Walter Cronkite has died at the age of 92 this evening at 7:42 p.m. after a long illness with his family by his side.

It was reported in mid-June that the legendary CBS newsman was "gravely ill."

Cronkite is best remembered for his signature sign-off, "And that's the way it is," that made its way into the homes across America every night when he was anchorman on the CBS Evening News from 1962 to 1981.

He grew up in Missouri and Texas before dropping out of college to take a job covering sports at a newspaper.

He went on to work in radio and was eventually discovered by Edward R. Murrow, who brought him on at CBS.

Cronkite succeeded Douglas Edwards as anchorman of the CBS Evening News on April 16, 1962, a job in which he became an American icon. The program expanded from 15 to 30 minutes on Sept. 2, 1963, making Cronkite the anchor of American network television's first nightly half-hour news program.

Most say that Cronkite's most memorable moment at CBS was his on-air reporting of the assassination of President Kennedy in 1962, a moment that showed to perfection the straightforward, calming presence that America had come to know.

He was known in viewer polls as "the most trusted man in America."


Behind the Scenes: Your Blogger Directing the 6 PM Show 7/17/09

My quick camera friend, Producer Jon, snuck behind me and caught a shot of me switching and directing the 6 pm newscast this evening.

I seem so lonely in that control room!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

From the Wires: Gannett Posts 2Q Profit, Beating Analyst Views

MCLEAN, Virginia -- Gannett Co. posted a profit in the second quarter, beating analyst expectations and reversing a loss recorded in the year-ago period.

The largest U.S. newspaper publisher recorded income of $70 million, or 30 cents per share. Excluding special items, the company posted adjusted earnings of 46 cents per share, topping the average Wall Street forecast of 36 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

In the second quarter of last year, Gannett recorded a loss of $10.03 per share because it booked a hefty write-down on its declining market value.

Revenue in the latest quarter fell 18 percent to $1.41 billion, as ad revenue at the company's publishing division sank 32 percent. Analysts projected sales of $1.46 billion.

Gannett, based in McLean, Va., publishes USA Today and more than 80 other daily newspapers.

Gannett is the owner of WKYC-TV.

Source: The Associated Press

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Promo: Channel 3's Fugitive of the Week

Here is the new HD promo for our highly successful "Fugitive of the Week" program, every Monday night at 11 p.m. on Channel 3 News.


*To view past Fugitives and see who's been caught thanks to viewer tips: CLICK HERE
*To watch our Livestream Fugitive of the Week channel: CLICK HERE

Monday, July 13, 2009

Spotlight Feature: We Aren't Turning the Corner Yet

By Frank Macek

More and more broadcasting executives are coming to the realization the economy is not turning the pivotal corner.

Advertisers continue to spend less and want more for their money in this new environment that has evolved in this recession. As we mentioned in an earlier post, the advertisers are the ones driving the bus right now. And they are digging in their heels for cheaper rates.

Many folks thought the stimulus plan would have helped to jump start the economy. After all, $787 billion is a good amount of money.

But as of Sunday, Secretary of the Treasurer Timothy Geithner was pitching the notion on CNN and other media outlets we must be patient. The stimulus relief is coming soon.

However, can the media afford to wait?

Jobs are being lost at an alarming rate in all arms of the media. It doesn't take much perusing of the trades to find stations laying off people almost daily. Newspapers, magazines, radio and tv are all suffering from the sticker shock of how their past decisions are playing out in the new world order. Many company executives are having sleepless nights.

Unfortunately, most broadcast owners are being faced with the same issues: downsize or hub. Some are doing one, many are doing both.

For those of you working in the radio part of the business, this notion of hubbing is not foreign. The big boys, like Clear Channel, have been hubbing operations for a number of years.

In northeast Ohio, newsrooms including WTAM-AM/1100's provide news updates and other special coverage for their stations in other markets. Cookie cutter news has been a way of life in places like Cleveland, Akron, Canton and Youngstown locally. You hear the same person doing the news on different stations.

This has helped radio survive. Lower your cuts and your overhead.

Now, it has become television's turn.

In the early days of television, competition was low. Few stations existed. Those that did could afford large staffs and payrolls. This all started to change, arguably, in the 1980s as the industry began more about entertainment and less about news and journalism.

Today, the environment has changed even more with the addition of cable channels that blossom worse than weeds. Every month, viewers have more choices in programming and entertainment - not to mention the competition from Internet and other non-television related media.

Remember 10 years ago when we laughed at the notion we could choose from 500 channels. This is only the beginning as we head into the next decade and the era of "micro-niche" entertainment.

So, broadcast stations are forced with those aforementioned choices in order to survive with a smaller and smaller piece of the ratings and advertising pie.

Gannett, the owner of WKYC, has been one of the largest groups to start hubbing operations across their broadcast division in recent years. This started with centralizing our graphics departments and now includes master control operations, webmaster duties and human resources.

Another large group, Scripps, announced a similar move last week. Traffic for their stations will be based at KNXV Phoenix and WFTS Tampa, and will be operational by the end of the third quarter. WFTS will also house the graphics hub, which Scripps aims to be fully operational in the fourth quarter.

Again this means the loss of many jobs, a standardized look for all stations and a real lack of local creativity in the long run.

Unfortunately, this is the reality until market conditions change - if they ever do. Some markets, like Cleveland, will suffer far more than others as people and jobs are lost - and take their money with them.

So, no - I don't think you'll find many, if any, General Managers or General Sales Managers saying things are better - or will be better anytime soon.

Expect even mean more job cuts as we head towards 2010 and for media to centralize even more. We wouldn't be surprised if television stations eventually start hubbing their news operations as well.

When that happens on a large scale, it's game over for everyone.

Let me what you think.


WKYC To Air: "To The Moon: Ohio's Journey"

Editor's Note: In case you missed the original airing of "To the Moon: Ohio's Journey" in April, WKYC will rebroadcast the show on Saturday, July 18th from 7 until 8 p.m.

As the high definition leader in locally produced programming in Northeast Ohio, WKYC is proud to showcase our region's efforts in space exploration.

We have always looked to the sky. And for a brief moment, mankind walked on a heavenly body other than earth. Ohio was at the heart of it all. Pioneering the technology and sending our bravest into space.

WKYC Channel 3, in partnership with NASA Glenn Research Center, presents a high definition hour long special.

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, we honor the Ohio men and women who dreamed of a journey beyond all others. We celebrate the local companies that created products and solutions for America's space program. And we take a look back…and a look forward... at what the next missions mean to our region.

"To the Moon: Ohio's Journey" features rare interviews, fascinating archive footage, and a behind the scenes glimpse of the next generation of moon exploration.

The show includes exclusive interviews with John Glenn, James Lovell, NBC space correspondent Jay Barbree, and Dr. Robert Graham along with comments from Neil Armstrong during Glenn Research Center's NASA 50th Anniversary Gala.

"To the Moon: Ohio journey" is hosted by NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams and WKYC News Anchor Romona Robinson.


Visit our website for more: CLICK HERE

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Notes from the Newsroom: 7/9/09

By Frank Macek

Just sitting here in the WKYC newsroom getting ready for a 7 p.m. telecast and wondering what to write about.

This summer has been so boring in terms of big news coming from the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center. It's almost a major let down after the transition to all digital television on June 12th and our new tower construction.

The business offices of SportsTime Ohio moved into the building in June, so we are all one big, happy family. If only the Indians could turn things around. Prior to the move, only the productions were done here with the business office off site.

June 26th we finally turned off our analog transmitter for the final time. WKYC was a "night light" station for the local market which aired non-stop programming in English and Spanish for those viewers who still had not made the conversion.

The July sweeps period started last Thursday, July 2nd, and runs through Wednesday, July 29th.

The drama of the Michael Jackson story is finally beginning to wane after wall to wall coverage it seemed. We heard from a lot of viewers who were sick and tired of all the coverage. Cable newschannels were the worst. Most of the Cleveland stations seemed pretty balanced, in my opinion.

Still no announcements about any changes to the morning show after Abby Ham's departure back to Knoxville in early June. The economic climate continues to make it difficult for local stations to staff like they used to. Hopefully this will change by next year as we feel we have already reached a bottom in terms of advertising issues, but in the meantime - Mark Nolan is the solo news anchor of Channel 3 News Today with Hollie Strano on weather, Maureen Kyle out and about and Pat Butler with those great traffic updates.

So we just wanted our viewers to know, we are still alive and well. Hopefuly we'll have something fresh, really fresh soon.

In the meantime, I hope you'll continue to enjoy many of the features in our archives and news coming about Jay Leno's debut at 10 p.m. on September 14th. It's a show that will make or break NBC and their local affiliates.



Wednesday, July 08, 2009

From the Wires: 30.9 Million Watched Jackson Memorial

NEW YORK -- Just under 31 million people in the United States watched the Michael Jackson memorial on television.

Nielsen Media Research says that's a smaller audience than for Princess Diana's funeral or President Barack Obama's inauguration -- but it's still impressive in today's TV world. Millions more watched video streams on their computers.

The Jackson memorial on Tuesday afternoon was carried live on some 19 different networks, including all the big broadcasters and cable news stations.

By comparison, President Obama's inauguration in January had an audience of nearly 38 million. Nielsen says 33.2 million people in the U.S. watched Princess Diana's funeral in 1997.

Source: The Associated Press


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

New Show Preview: Great American Road Trip on NBC

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
By Mark Barger

Millions of American families are taking road trips this summer, but not quite like this one, the Great American Road Trip. It's NBC's latest entry into the summer programming sweepstakes.

"We don't know what we're in store for. We really don't," said Alecia Montgomery of Montclair, California. Her family is one of seven from across America that will make a cross country journey in this reality series. They'll go from Chicago to California in separate recreational vehicles.

"It's not a race," said the show's host, Reno Collier, "No one's racing in the RVs to go flying down the highway. It's nothing like that." But there is competition. Head to head challenges for the families at stops along the way.

Each week, one team will be eliminated.

"We're a new blended family," said Hyerli Katzenberg, of Westport, Connecticut, "This is definitely going to challenge us, blend us, bond us."

The historic Route 66 provides the setting for this test of families ties. "Route 66 is such a piece of Americana," said Ricardo Rico, of Katy, Texas, whose family is also competing.

The show's host anticipates family fireworks in the RVs. "Stick them in one of these things and you'll find out how close they really are," said Collier. Maybe close enough to win 100-thousand dollars.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Axiom TV Helps Families Find Family Friendly Viewing

Special to the Director's Cut
by Mike Wendland

Axiom TV wants to be the Google of movie download sites. And it's off to a good start, claiming to have the largest database of family friendly movies anywhere, movies you can watch online or order on DVD.

The films and various TV shows are all reviewed and screened for sex and violence so that if Axiom offers it, it is suitable for the whole family.
Axiom claims nothing on the site will make you cringe or cover your eyes, and that parents can feel comfortable watching the movies on axiom with their kids.

What kind of movies? Family friendly doesn't just mean cartoons and children's shows.

While some of the movies may challenge you, and some may not be suitable for small children, all are deemed to deliver a good message or clean entertainment.

You can set parental controls to fine tune exactly what you want to filter out. Prices start at $2.99 for online rental.

Something else: you can even set up custom logins for your kids that will let them only watch the kinds of movies you determine.

Program Note: WKYC to Air Michael Jackson Memorial Tuesday

WKYC will air the NBC News Special: Michael Jackson Memorial on Tuesday, July 7th from 1 p.m. until 3 p.m.

The service will also be carried live on our website:

Also, Dateline NBC will wrap up the day's services with a one hour special Tuesday evening from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Jackson's memorial is planned for Tuesday morning at the Staples Center sports arena in Los Angeles.

Organizers made tickets available free of charge for 11,000 seats in Staples and 6,500 in the adjacent Nokia Theatre.

Jackson died June 25. He was 50.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Behind the Scenes: Sketches From A Courtroom Artist

Our flip cams caught up with Ed Freska who was doing courtroom sketches today for Tom Beres & Tom Meyer's coverage of the first two defendants in the FBI/IRS federal corruption probe into Cuyahoga County government officials -- J. Kevin Kelley and Kevin F. Payne -- they pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court.

Since cameras weren't allowed in the courtroom, we have to rely on sketch artists to paint a picture of the expressions, moods and emotions of those involved as the proceeds happen.

Ed Freska got his BFA in Industrial Design Cleveland Institute of Art in 1969. He worked for two years as an auto designer at Ford when the Cleveland Plain Dealer offered him a position as picture editor. Ed was also syndicated with the Los Angles Times OpEd group.

He eventually established Freska Graphics and worked as the editorial cartoonist for the Sun News group in Cleveland.

See how those images go from rough sketch to being watercolored into the images you see on the air.

From the Wires: Gannett To Cut 1,400 Jobs In New Round Of Cuts

NEW YORK (AP) -- Newspaper publisher Gannett Co. plans to cut 1,400 jobs in the next few weeks, about 3 percent of the work force, as it faces a prolonged slump in advertising revenue.

Bob Dickey, head of the company's newspaper division, informed staff of the layoffs in a letter Wednesday. He told employees that "there have been some promising signs of a recovery, but the reality is the improvements are not broad-based and the economy continues to be fragile."

The majority of layoffs will come by July 9, he said.

The move follows a 10 percent cut at Gannett last year, which left the company with about 41,500 employees.

Gannett publishes USA Today, the largest newspaper by circulation in the U.S., along with dozens of other newspapers.

Gannett also owns WKYC-TV/Cleveland.

Source: The Associated Press