Thursday, October 29, 2009

WKYC's Donovan, Russ Among 2009 Journalism HOF inductees

CLEVELAND -- WKYC's sports anchor, Jim Donovan, as well as managing editor, Dick Russ, will be among those formally inducted into the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame at a dinner reception this evening in Westlake.

Former WKYC investigative reporter, Paul Sciria as well as columnist, Regina Brett, and photographer William Wynne from The Plain Dealer are the other inductees.

Jim Donovan came to Northeast Ohio as a weekend sports anchor in 1985 and has gone on to be arguable Cleveland's most prominent voice in sports.

Donovan has been the radio play-by-play announcer for the Browns since their return to the NFL in 1999. He has covered the Summer Olympics in 1992 and 1996 and World Cup soccer in 1994.

Dick Russ has proven to be one of Northeast Ohio's most versatile broadcasters. He has worked as a reporter, anchor and now managing editor at WKYC-TV 3.

Colleagues say Russ' talent with words has always set him apart from his peers. Russ is also a member of the Ohio Broadcasters Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

He has won 10 regional Emmys for his reporting. He is also the recipient of the Gabriel Award, the highest national honor for TV reporting on religion.

To view photos from the event, click on the following link:

Click Here

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DVR Use Increases Network Ratings

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
By Gary Levin, USA TODAY

Viewers are tuning in to the major networks this fall. Ratings are up 2% after years of steady declines.

New hits, big gains for some returning shows and comparisons with last fall's strike-hobbled start have helped. But the biggest factor: "There's much more DVR recording this year than in the past, which has had an impact on all the numbers," says ABC prime-time research chief Larry Hyams. A fourth of young-adult viewership is now recorded, though ratings among ages 18-49 are flat.

Starcom Media analyst Sam Armando says the season is off to a decent start: "People are aware of the shows and are checking them out." But overall, cable is down, partly from news networks' post-election drops.

AAmong the networks:

-- Top-rated CBS is up 6 percent (and flat among young adults), thanks to big gains from the seventh-season wonder "NCIS" and a strong launch for its L.A.-based spinoff. With time-slot moves, "The Big Bang Theory" is up sharply, but "The Mentalist" didn't gain much and "CSI" has shed 26 percent with the departure of star William Petersen.

-- ABC is down 4 percent (and -7 percent among young adults). Despite a better crop of new series, with "FlashForward" and "Modern Family" as standouts, others have declined from early weeks, and declines of top hits "Desperate Housewives" and "Dancing With the Stars" hurt.

-- Fox is up 5 percent (and +12 percent among young adults, ranking first), with its best fall in years. "House"'s move to Monday paid off, new hit "Cleveland Show" is buoying Sunday's animation block, and "Glee" has clicked with younger viewers. "Fringe" has suffered but improved Fox's Thursday, though Friday's "Brothers" and "Dollhouse" are a washout, yanked for November.

-- NBC is up 3 percent (but -5 percent among young adults), with no new hits and steep declines for its "Jay Leno Show" compared with last fall's dramas. What's helped? Big gains for its two most popular programs, "Sunday Night Football" and "The Biggest Loser." "Mercy" has been winning its Wednesday slot.

-- CW is down 3 percent (but +3 percent among young adults), even after ditching its low-rated Sundays. New "Vampire Diaries" is a keeper, but "Melrose Place" stalled, and Monday's "Gossip Girl"-"One Tree Hill" duo are off 20 percent or more.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Notes From The Newsroom: 10/27/09

By Frank Macek

It's time again for an edition of "Notes from the Newsroom" as your blogger shares some of his thoughts on our little corner of local broadcast television.

Thanks to everyone involved in our station wide event called "Heroes Help Northeast Ohio" that took place all day on Thursday, October 22nd. Over 17 bins of food were collected and lots of cash that will provide for over 30,000 meals for our local needy. Also, 312 coats were received for area childen and a room full of toys will delight northeast Ohio children this holiday season. A big thank you from all of us at WKYC, the Cleveland Foodbank, "Coats for Kids" and "The Salvation Army" and to WKYC producer Jon Adkins who made the day so successful.

Surf in tonight (Tuesday) to WKYC.COM from 7:30 until 8 p.m. for a webcast followup to the "Road to Reform" special that aired on WVIZ last Friday Night and WKYC on Sunday morning hosted by WKYC Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres and WVIZ's Dick Feagler. Tonight's webcast will answer the questions viewers sent in during the program. The website address to click at 7:30 pm is:

November sweeps officially start Thursday, October 29th. It will be an interesting month, especially for our late newscast after the limited success that "The Jay Leno" show has shown so far. While the show is doing what NBC promised advertisers in the time slot, the show is hurting late news lead in to affiliates across the country, including Channel 3. NBC has apparently given Jay two years to make the show go before they would pull the plug, but with NBC being courted by several corporate giants - a merger may change the equation for Jay.

Speaking of advertisers, we are beginning to see more and more in-show sponsorships appearing in various NBC programming. "The Jay Leno Show" has been pitching McDonald's Monopoly games among other adversisers...and "Saturday Night Live" was recently sponsored by Anheuser Busch. This was the first time in the show's 35 year history this has been done and left an extra 8 minutes of show time for content.

Jon Bon Jovi has inked an exclusive deal with NBC to promote his new album "The Circle." Look for Jon to perform on "Today," "The Jay Leno Show," "The Tonight Show" and "Saturday Night Live" in the coming weeks.

2009 will most likely be known as the "Year of the DVR" thanks to an all time high use of digital video recordings this year. Nielsen says about 33% of all TV households now own one and they are helping show ratings for 3 NBC programs in particular. In Nielsen's 7 day ratings that includes same day and people who watch the show sometime in the following 7 days, "Heroes" posted an additional 26.5% audience increase, "The Office" with 26.8% and "Community" with 21.0%. By comparison, "The Jay Leno Show" barely increased.

Don't forget complete Election Night coverage coming up next Tuesday, November 3rd on Channel 3 News at 11 p.m.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Big Flops and Breakout Hits Equally Rare on TV This Fall

Special to the Director's Cut
by Gary Levin, USA Today

Five weeks into the new TV season, it's clear that few new shows are tanking in the ratings. But breakout hits are elusive, too.

The top new show is CBS' "NCIS: Los Angeles." The spinoff follows the original "NCIS," which has eclipsed CSI to become TV's No. 1 drama.

"L.A." and "The Good Wife," also on CBS, Fox's "Cleveland Show" and "Glee," and ABC's "FlashForward," "Modern Family," "Cougar Town" and "The Middle" are doing well enough to earn full seasons. (Cleveland has already been renewed for next season.) CW's "The Vampire Diaries" also is expected to keep going.

"All in all, the networks are in decent shape" with new series, says CBS scheduling chief Kelly Kahl. "It feels a little more optimistic to me than it has" in the past.

That's not to say TV doesn't have its clunkers; far more series fail than succeed. ABC's "Hank" and "Eastwick," NBC's "Trauma," CBS' "Three Rivers" and Fox's "Brothers" and "Dollhouse" aren't likely to survive once initial 13-episode runs wrap up in January. But none seem in danger of imminent cancellation, a contrast to past years when itchy trigger fingers led networks to yank shows ahead of the November ratings sweeps period, which begins Oct. 29.

"There's a little more patience this year, just because of the lack of backups" to replace them, says Carat USA ad firm analyst Shari Anne Brill.

Only one new show has been canceled outright - CW's "The Beautiful Life," which lasted just two episodes - as fewer shows than usual have completely tanked. "There don't seem to be as many shows falling well below what was expected," says ABC scheduling chief Jeff Bader.

New shows typically get 13-episode test runs; if successful, they get the go-ahead by November for nine more, enough to last through May. The same applies to returning shows unveiled last spring: ABC's "Castle" won a full season Tuesday, while Fox's "Lie to Me" awaits word. NBC canceled "Southland" before the second season began.

Still other shows, such as NBC's "Community" and "Mercy" and ABC's "The Forgotten," probably will stick around despite lower-than-hoped-for ratings because newly patient programmers hope they'll gradually attract more interest.

Some freshmen "have gotten off to a bit of a slow start, but we see in many of them good internal signs," NBC's Mitch Metcalf says.

Also safe for now: NBC's "Jay Leno Show." The network says it's meeting expectations, even as some affiliates complain about the effect of the low ratings on their local newscasts.

Snapshot: Networks Fall Season to Date Numbers

Our partners at USA Today are tracking the success of this Fall's television season. For the first month (September 20th through October 18th), the following graphs show where the main networks are standing:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Notes from the Newsroom: 10/20/09

By Frank Macek

It's time again for an edition of "Notes from the Newsroom" as your blogger shares some of his thoughts on our little corner of local broadcast television.

WKYC is gearing up for our station wide event called a "Heroes Help Northeast Ohio" that will benefit several different groups this holiday season. From 5 am until 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, you can stop by the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center to make your donations to help benefit the Cleveland Foodbank, Salvation Army and Coats for Kids. WKYC will broadcast live throughout the day on WKYC and SportsTime Ohio's "All Bets Are Off with Bruce Drennan" show. We'll even have the Perry High School Marching Band to play for us during the morning hours. And, you'll be able to see our live, all day web stream at Please come and make this year's outreach to the community our biggest yet!

WKYC, WVIZ/PBS & 90.3 WCPN ideastream and the Plain Dealer are teaming up to present a special show examining some of the important issues facing voters in this year's General Election on November 3rd. WKYC Senior Political Corrrespondent will appear along with WVIZ's Dick Feagler for "Road to Reform" and an in-depth examination of Issues 5 & 6 that could very well reform Cuyahoga County government. The show will air on WVIZ this Friday, October 23rd at 8:30 p.m. and on WKYC on Sunday, October 25th at 10 a.m. You can read the Plain Dealer for special stories related to this project and on-going coverage of the county reform initiatives. Be sure to watch the show for details on a follow up, web only special that will answer your questions directly the following week.

On the corporate level, welcome back to Gannett CEO Craig Dubow who recently returned to work after surgery. We wish him well. Also, as we mentioned late last month, Gannett posted solid 3rd quarter financial results giving the business some hope we may have turned the economic corner as we head into 2010.

Don't forget, the Winter Olympics from Vancouver, Canada, are only 3 months away. We are busy planning for the return of the "Olympic Zone" show that will feature some great content from our Gannett sister stations covering the event in February.

Our personal thanks to Virgil Dominc for sitting down with your blogger last week to discuss the future of television and to get his insight on what lies ahead. His consultation has been crucial to our success at WKYC this year as we have weathered quite a storm.

Finally, we discovered that former WKYC weekend anchor/reporter Scott Newell is running for Pepper Pike City Council this election day. Our Director's Cut spies were out in full force and happened to find one of his campaign signs planted with his big ole smiling face. We wish Scott well in his endeavours.

You can read more about Scott's campaign run at:

(and no, Scott did not personally approve this "message" in the Director's Cut Blog, but we are sure he'll be reading our column).

Thursday, October 15, 2009

WKYC Introduces Our New Text Messaging System

CLEVELAND -- WKYC-TV and WKYC.COM are proud to announce our brand new instant text messaging system for iAlerts, breaking news, severe weather and more.
WKYC Text Alerts
Now you can get our alerts direct to your mobile phone or device faster and easier than ever before, with WKYC's new text alert messaging system.

Get breaking news updates along with other local information sent to you as a text message.

The best part is you can select only the messages you wish to receive.
  • Our iAlerts are broken down by individual schools.
  • Our severe weather alerts are only for the counties you select.
  • Our other features are only the ones that interest you.
You can choose from the following categories:
  • News - Be alerted when important local and national news happens.
  • Severe Weather Alerts - Stay updated when severe weather is in our area.
  • Daily Weather Forecast- Get the daily forecast sent to you each morning.
  • Friend to Friend - A friendly monthly reminder for women's health.
  • iAlert School Closings - Be notified when your school is closed.
  • Coupons & Contests - Be the first to know about Channel 3 News contests. Save money with valuable offers from local businesses.
Signing up is fast and very easy!

Click on the following link to get started:

Click Here

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

News: Delayed Viewing Boosts Numbers For Networks

Special to the Director's Cut Blog
By Gary Levin, USA Today

Viewers with DVRs are catching up with series in record numbers, brightening the picture for TV networks by easing yearly declines.

In new Nielsen data for the season's premiere week, many shows scored substantial gains from viewing delayed one to seven days after they aired.

The lift, bigger than ever, blunts early fears several top returning series had plummeted. Grey's Anatomy added 3 million viewers, climbing 17% from its initial total, and two others - CBS' The Mentalist and Fox's House - added nearly as many. In all, 36 shows added 1 million or more viewers, and ratings for 14 programs shot up 20% or more.

And it shows how DVRs - now in one in three homes, up from 27% last fall - not only shift viewing but also increase it; owners watch far more TV than those without. Yet because viewers can skip commercials, networks can't charge advertisers for many of those extra viewers. (Ad buyers do pay for commercial viewing up to three days later.)

Popular programs in competitive time slots continue to be the most heavily recorded. Grey's, CSI, The Office and Fringe, all airing at 9 ET/PT Thursday, are among the biggest gainers. ABC's FlashForward was the most heavily recorded new-series premiere, adding 2 million late viewers (16%); NCIS: LA gained 1.8 million (10%).

On a percentage basis, Fox's low-rated sci-fi Dollhouse was top gainer. It added 37%, which translated to just 914,000 extra viewers. Fringe, up 34%, was next, followed by four CW series up 30% or more. NBC's Heroes got a 27% lift but still ranked below last year's opener.

Shari Anne Brill, analyst at ad firm Carat USA, says delayed viewing also spiked because, in contrast to last fall's strike-hobbled start, "there are a lot more new shows bumping up against each other in competitive time periods," and more of them won recorded tryouts from viewers.

The data "doesn't radically change perceptions" about borderline series, says Fox scheduling chief Preston Beckman. But "on a night when there's so much good programming, you want to see if you're the second choice or the third choice. It helps us to feel comfortable that if we're patient, we can start to see growth" from same-day viewing.

News and sports programming continues to rank among the least-recorded. So were weak new series such as Fox's Brothers and CW's already-canceled The Beautiful Life. And while NBC touted its new Jay Leno Show as "TiVo-proof," the flip side is that the show gained less than 5% in its second week from delayed viewing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Spotlight Feature: Newsrooms working with less, Expecting more

By Frank Macek

Over the weekend, I had a chance to read an excellent article by Hillary Atkin in NewsPro Magazine that takes a look at the current state of television news and how we got to this point. I thought I'd share some of my comments on the general points made by Ms. Atkin.

The bottom line is cutbacks by television stations are having an enormous impact on the overall quality of television news, including here in Cleveland. All our stations locally have been hurt financially in 2009. However, we doubt that few, if any, local station managers would admit their product isn't what it used to be because of staff reductions. They would probably argue its been multi-faceted.

One of the biggest reasons for cutbacks is diminishing profit. Since the great economic downturn that started in late 2007 and 2008, stations have been under extreme pressure financially. Advertisers aren't spending as much money and local television stations are now competing for ratings and revenue from cable, satellite and the internet (including mobile) - in ways we have never seen before.

The owners initial reaction was to cut back, and cut back fast. Then figure it out later. And many broadcast companies did just that.

The first folks in television to go have been high priced talent. Those who were at the top tier were jettisoned early on through non-renewed contracts or buy outs. In many cases, these people were some of the most experienced and most seasoned professionals in the business. Their knowledge and ideas were assets to newsrooms, particularly during times of crisis. Now, stations are relying more on younger and less experienced people to help re-invent the product. We fear the next time there is a major regional disaster and how well we will be able to cover it.

The recent California wildfires was one example Ms. Atkin used after the Los Angeles stations were highly criticized for lack of coverage - mainly because it was on the weekend when newsrooms are barely staffed.

Also, local stations are replacing higher priced syndicated programming (which costs a lot of money also) with an increase in daily news programming. Stations are actually doing MORE news, not less in their economic climate. The increased news does not cost stations more, it actually saves money going to syndicators with the same staff and resources.

No one where has this more apparent than with Fox affiliate stations. This fall, many stations added an extra hour of news from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. to replace the cancelled "Mike and Juliet Show." That included WJW who feels more news is a cheaper option than paying for another syndicated show. They are right.

Regardless of how much news a station does, all news departments are expected to do more with less. This includes providing fresh content not only to your television screen, but to the web and through social media - like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. WKYC has been highly involved in this area for well over a year now as we reach untapped audiences.

Also, talent are now anchoring multiple newscasts. Producers are expected to spend more time working on the web before and after their newscasts. Reporters are becoming one man bands of photojournalists, editors and reporters or "MMJ - Multi Media Journalists". And control room staffs are being nibbled toward automation where crew of 5 or 6 are whittled to one or two.

Those who will survive in this new media environment are the ones who can do it all, don't mind long hours and accept lower pay than folks they've replaced. Television ownership knows they have the upper hand, as more people are looking for fewer available jobs. This allows stations to choose those who best fit their future needs.

Your blogger has found it very hard to encourage those in college wanting to work in television. In today's environment, the committment one must have is deep and very personal. The satisfacation one gets working in television or broadcasting must come from within and benefit you as much as it does the company.

Journalism is far from dead. But the new opportunities are going to created by entrepeneurs who can use new technology as their new platform rather than the newspaper, or television station or radio talk show. The power of the internet is waiting to be tapped.

Those opportunities are there. The true challenge is figuring them out.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Snapshot: Tracking Leno's Numbers

News: Flat Screen TVs Go Green

Shopping for a flat-screen TV? Buying one with the Energy Star sticker could land you a cheaper electric bill.

Energy Star-certified televisions are usually about the same price as comparable models, if not cheaper, and also save on electricity. California is even close to banning the sale of energy-guzzling TVs.

Frankie's Sports Bar and Grill in Uptown Dallas is hoping to guzzle less power by switching some sets to more energy-efficient models. "Our electric bill is anywhere from $6,000 to $9,000 a month," said Joel Hill.

He said the bill is just the cost of doing business. "We have to have the game on and have it on in a lot of places," Hill said.

Oncor said the sports bar could save energy and money by switching to Energy Star-certified televisions.

"You are going to save about 30 percent compared to your old TV right now," said Jeamy Molina an Oncor spokeswoman.

Hill said the bar has recently added several energy-efficient flat-screen TVs.

"All the newer TVs we replaced were the Energy Star ones," he said.
Robert Sam said switching helps everyone save money.

"For the average television, maybe a 50-inch size, you are liable to save yourself probably $12 to $14 a year," he said.

News: Cables Are The Key For Good HD TV

You've got a new flat-screen high-definition TV and HD cable box-but there's a good chance you're not even using the high-definition technology your TV was built for. The culprit isn't your TV though: check the cables.

Most people don't know that the type of cable running between their TV set and cable box has such a big impact on picture quality. Simply upgrading from composite video cables to HDMI or component cables (for only about $15) will make a huge difference in the clarity.

The folks at the Geek Squad say the same clarity can be achieved with your TV and home theater's audio system by replacing analog wire with a coax or optical cable.

Our sister station, KARE explains:

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

News: Big Japanese Brands Readying 3D Flat-screen TVs

CHIBA, Japan -- Japan's big name electronic manufacturers are readying flat-screen TVs that can show high-definition movies and video games in 3D for launch next year.

At the country's biggest consumer electronics show that opened Tuesday just outside of Tokyo all the major makers displayed 3D prototypes.

Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. said they would bring their first models to market next year.

The companies are plowing ahead even before there is much content available, with corporate spokesmen saying only that preparation is under way.

Demonstrations at the exhibitions were mainly short clips of movies, nature scenes and sports.

Source: The Associated Press

WKYC to Present "Heroes Help Northeast Ohio"

Last year WKYC helped the Cleveland Foodbank pull off their largest one day food drive in foodbank history thanks to everyone's generosity in dropping off canned food items during our one day event.

This year, we are aiming to make the event even bigger and beat last year's total."Heroes Help Northeast Ohio" will be held on Thursday, October 22nd, from 5 am to 7:30 pm in front of the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center, 1333 Lakeside Avenue in Downtown Cleveland.

WKYC staffers will be on hand all day to collect items in a drive through that will be easy and convenient.

In addition to collecting food, WKYC will also be collecting new or gently worn coats for our annual "Coats for Kids" campaign we hold each year with our radio partners. Plus, we'll accept holiday gifts for the Salvation Army.

We need everyone's help in the community to be part of the Hero Army and make the day a complete success.

Please encourage your kids' schools or neighborhood schools to take part. Plus your local charity organizations are also welcome. We you to collect items and between now and October 22nd and then turn them in the day of our drive.

Help WKYC make a difference in our community on Thursday, October 22nd with "Heroes Help Northeast Ohio." You'll be glad you did.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

"SNL" Zings David Letterman's Difficulties

NEW YORK -- Add "Saturday Night Live" to the shows making sport of David Letterman's difficulties. But in the hands of "SNL," Dave got off pretty easy.

On Thursday, the late-night host acknowledged having sex with women who worked for him and told viewers he was the victim of a blackmail attempt.

On SNL's "Weekend Update," anchor Seth Meyers dubbed the extortion attempt by a CBS News producer "a stupid human trick."

Meyers added that the would-be blackmailer was threatening to reveal embarrassing details of Letterman's personal life, then gave a joking example: After sex, Dave would say, "Stay tuned for Craig Ferguson."

Fellow TV hosts Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon are among comics who already had zinged Letterman on their shows.

Source: The Associated Press, Frazier Moore, AP Television Writer

Thursday, October 01, 2009

From the Wires: Comcast Shares Dive on Reports of NBC Acquisition

PHILADELPHIA -- Shares of Comcast Corp. are diving after reports surfaced that the nation's largest cable TV provider is in talks to purchase a stake in NBC Universal.

Comcast has called some of the reports inaccurate but stopped short of denying that talks were held.

General Electric Co. owns 80 percent of NBC Universal, which includes several cable channels plus the NBC and Telemundo networks, the Universal Pictures movie studio and a chain of theme parks. The other 20 percent is owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi SA.

Shares of Philadelphia-based Comcast were down $1.17, or 7 percent, to $15.71 in morning trading Thursday. GE fell 26 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $16.16.

Source: The Associated Press