Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NBC Renews "America's Got Talent" For 6th Season

NBC has picked up a sixth season of its hit summer series "America's Got Talent" from FremantleMedia and Simon Cowell's SYCO Television. Celebrity Judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel will return to the hit series along with host Nick Cannon.

The announcement was made Tuesday by Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming and Production, NBC and Universal Media Studios.

"'AGT' continues to be a ratings sensation and has hit it out of the ballpark creatively this season," said Telegdy. "We have a dream team of celebrity judges -- Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mandel and Piers Morgan -- and coupled with our versatile host Nick Cannon, we're looking forward to an even bigger summer next year."

This is the fifth consecutive year that "AGT" has ranked as the #1 summer series in total viewers. Season-to-date, the show has averaged a 3.4 rating, 10 share in adults 18-49 and 11.8 million viewers overall on Tuesdays and a 3.3/10 in 18-49 and 11.8 million viewers on Wednesdays.

In its fifth season, "America's Got Talent," airs Tuesdays (9-11 p.m.) and Wednesdays (9-10 p.m.). Nick Cannon hosts and Sharon Osbourne, Howie Mandel and Piers Morgan star as the celebrity panel of judges. The series is a true celebration of the American spirit, featuring a colorful array of hopeful stars, including singers, dancers, comedians, contortionists, impressionists, jugglers, magicians and ventriloquists, all vying for their chance to strut and perform on stage hoping to win America's hearts – and the $1 million prize.

The two-night fifth season finale will air Tuesday, September 14 (9-10 p.m. ET) and Wednesday, September 15 (8-10 p.m. ET).

Memory Lane: The Rock Hall Opening in 1995

By Frank Macek

This weekend marks the 15th anniversary of the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Cleveland. As we mentioned in an earlier posting, WKYC will present a special one hour show this Friday Night, September 3rd, called "Cleveland Rocks" from 7 to 8 p.m.

Your blogger remembers that day when I was just beginning at WKYC as a studio technician before becoming a director and was part of the crewing assigned to be on the remote broadcast. We broadcast all of our news broadcasts that day from a platform just across the street from the Rock Hall.

The station rented one of those familiar large production trucks to cover the event. Your blogger was assigned to do audio for the noon show.

I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the behind the scenes pictures I found in the "Director's Cut Blog" archives from the opening of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Hard to believe it has been 15 years already.

My colleague, WKYC Production Manager Al Wohl, reminds me that we also did more than our news from there that day. WKYC covered the mid-day parade for over an hour live which started out as our noon news show, but the parade was so cool we stayed on the air for another hour or more.

The the evening of opening night we did a live one hour special from right outside the Rock Hall while the opening concert was going on at the old Cleveland stadium next door.

Al tells the Director's Cut Blog, "It was truely one of the coolest days (and nights) I've ever had at WKYC."

We would certainly agree!

WKYC Remote Broadcast Production Truck

Camera setup on the main talent platform

Camera setup on talent platform

Background view of the main anchor platform

Other media covering the Rock Hall Opening

Thursday, August 26, 2010

HighSchoolSports.net Friday Night Fever Kicks Off August 27th

It's back: The Predictors! The Big Game! The Best local high school sports coverage anywhere on Cleveland TV.

It's the "HighSchoolSports.net Friday Night Fever" starting tomorrow night, August 27th at 11 pm.

The Channel 3 Sports team lead by Jim Donovan, Dave Chudowsky and Lynn Olszowy are all set to cover the big games that matter.

We'll kick off our coverage with "The Predictors" during Channel 3 News at 6 PM with Dave Chudowsky and the Sun Newspapers' Mike Holzheimer, Brian Larrick, John Blake and Cody Peek. Plus, Channel 3 News Anchor Romona Robinson will weigh in on her choices too.

Then at 11:15 pm, we'll bring you the fastest wrap up in 8 minutes of more than a dozen games live from Studio B at the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.

And each week, you get to choose the "Big Game of the Week". Just log on to wkyc.com and vote. We'll feature the biggest vote getter in the show each week.

Catch the Fever - the HighSchoolSports.Net Friday Night Fever - starting tomorrow night, Friday, August 27th. We Keep You Connected to local high school sports from Channel 3.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Behind the Scenes: NBC Offers Exclusive "Behind the Scenes" Streams During The Emmys

For the first time in the history of the Primetime Emmy® Awards, NBC.com and Emmys.com are partnering with Ustream.com to give viewers a live unique perspective of "The 62nd Primetime Emmy® Awards," hosted by Jimmy Fallon, airing live coast-to-coast on NBC this Sunday, August 29th, from 8 to 11 p.m. on WKYC Channel 3.

Seven cameras positioned in various areas backstage at the Emmys® will "eavesdrop" and capture exciting moments and candid reactions from television's biggest stars. Viewers will be able to see nominees, presenters and performers prepare to take the stage on the most anticipated night in television. Another unprecedented Emmy® first is the live "thank you" camera, where Emmy ® Award winners will be able to express their emotions and continue their speeches once they walk off the stage.

David Neal will produce the "Backstage Live @ the Emmys" show which will stream on Emmys.com, the official website for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, NBC.com and Ustream.com, a live interactive broadcast platform. Neal most recently produced the Primetime show and the Opening Ceremony during NBC's coverage of the "2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games."

"The live streaming that will take place at the Emmys this year will provide our audience with an enhanced viewing experience that will run concurrently with the telecast," said John Shaffner, Chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. "With more and more viewers using the internet while they watch television, we believe the live streaming across these multiple platforms will allow viewers an all access look at Television's biggest night."

Watch live this Sunday @ nbc.com

Preview: Cleveland Rocks! Next Friday at 7 PM On Channel 3

Channel 3 News and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame present a one-hour special on why Cleveland is the rock and roll capitol of the world.

Hear from local artists like The O'Jays, The Raspberries, The James Gang The Outsiders, Pere Ubu, Devo, Michael Stanley, Kate Voegel and more.

Plus legendary DJ's, famed club owners and other influential Ohioans who've helped put all of Northeast Ohio in the rock and roll spotlight.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gannett Launches HighSchoolSports.Net Across Local Websites

McLEAN, Virginia – Gannett Co., Inc. (parent of WKYC-Tv) announced Wednesday HighSchoolSports.net is launching hyper-local, co-branded high school sports microsites across its network of more than 100 local media web sites, plus national high school sports pages on USATODAY.com. HighSchoolSports.net is a subsidiary of Gannett and part of the Gannett Digital Network.

Leveraging the depth and breadth of Gannett’s sports content for consumers and advertisers, the HighSchoolSports.net microsites are expected to collectively reach approximately 9.4 million unique monthly visitors.

Consumers continue to access Gannett’s trusted local high school sports coverage through local Gannett-owned media web sites, with each site’s microsite enhanced with HighSchoolSports.net content.

"HighSchoolSports.net is a strong brand in the high-school athlete community. We are combining the news gathering assets of our newspapers and television stations with the technology and school relationships of HighSchoolSports.net to create the best possible experience for users and advertisers. This unlocks the full value of our prep sports content for our readers and for sports marketers, including national marketers, who are increasingly looking to reach 12- to 17-year-old athletes and their families at the local and regional level," said Peter Lundquist, vice president and general manager, Gannett High School Sports.

"At the same time, our local media outlets -- through their new co-branded HighSchoolSports.net microsites -- provide consumers with more national and local high school sports coverage, video, schedules and statistics. Readers of USATODAY.com's national prep sports coverage will also find expanded coverage."

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Moms Like Me Special To Air Monday, August 23rd at 5 P.M.

Hey Moms! It's back to school time and Channel 3 presents another "Moms Like Me" special on August 23rd at 5 p.m. hosted by evening news anchor Romona Robinson.

We've got everything covered as your kids get ready for a new school year. From learning the core curriculum to resources for special needs kids starting kindergarten. Plus, we've got hot deals on hip clothes and information on how to pack a healthier lunch with Veggie U.

Check our website Momslikeme.com anytime for printable checklists, coupons, and bargains. Then, watch our back to school special on August 23rd at 5 pm on Channel 3.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Spotlight Feature: Where Does Local Television Go From Here?

By Frank Macek

We all hope the economy has turned the proverbial corner and local advertising dollars will continue to flow through the doors into the 2nd half of 2010 and into next year.

Watching mobile television on your portable device
Recent 2nd quarter results have been very encouraging for many of the major broadcast groups including Gannett, Disney and Fisher who have recently reported significant gains over 2009. The trend will continue upward as we head into midterm elections with plenty of political advertising flowing to local media sources including WKYC which finds itself in the heart of battleground states during any election.

But the concern for local stations is always: "What happens after November 3rd?" Local television has become too reliant on these cycles of big events to ride the highs and lows of advertising income. For NBC stations, like WKYC, the worries are especially deep when there are no Olympics, no elections or no major events scheduled on the network that allow us to charge premium dollars for advertising time. With so many television and cable networks populating the spectrum, even these big events are becoming more and more spread out and difficult for stations to depend on them for guaranteed sources of revenue.

Thanks to the recession, or depression of 2009, local television stations got a jarring wakeup call that forced us to change our thinking and strategy. We need something else. What is that "thing?" - digital platforms. In 2010, the move toward new platforms has only accelerated and television stations are no longer just television stations. They are content providers who just happen to broadcast on the tv or the internet.

The question becomes how to make money on these new opportunities. We all know the internet has been a priority for stations to develop websites or acquire more profitable on-line businesses that can supplement their mainstream media business which can not survive like it has in the past.

Gannett - parent company of WKYC - has spent the last several years effectively developing new subsidiaries including Careerbuilder.com, Shoplocal.com, Point Roll, Inc., Planet Discover and the Captivate Network and partnerships with giants like Yahoo that will use the content provided among the 23 local television stations and 81 daily newspapers in the chain. This in turn will drive additional revenue streams.

Howver, the next big business will clearly be mobile television. Consumers - our customers - are demanding we provide television to them wherever they go and in the form they want...their mobile devices. No longer are just stand alone mobile websites acceptable. They are telling us and telling us loudly that in order to survive, we must begin providing them local television content 24/7 and on-demand.

You can already see local stations in the Cleveland market ramping up efforts to be competitive in the news category. News used to be more expensive to produce than syndicated programming. Those costs have done a complete turn around with the advance of technology and reduction of staffing that makes news a better option today. Why else would a station like WJW offer 9 1/2 of local programming per day?

Other stations are likely to follow soon especially in the early morning hours where a 4:30 a.m. newscast is being added in many major markets to attract more people earlier in their day. Other stations are adding more automation to reduce costs in staffing after they waited too long to do so to reign in costs earlier in the recession.

But the foundation for this new world was laid recently when several large television groups formed a mobile television coalition that is working on a business model for this new technology that already exists and is ready to be implemented.

In my opinion, mobile TV will be the saving grace for local broadcasters in the next five years. Stations will finally have another stream of revenue that isn't as dependent on the political or sports cycles every year. Much like retransmission fees paid by cable operatores, local broadcast  are banking on the willingless of the customer to pay for the convenience of getting their tv wherever they are. The only outstanding question is how much are they willing to pay. We see mobile TV starting out much like cable or satellite did...a modest cost that will increase based on the amount of programming desired and consumed.

But that content must be fresh, relevant and available on demand. Too much news that's rehashed will simply fail and that will the balancing act local stations will have to make in order to survive the new world order. More won't necessary be better. Content will be king.

We are proud of the strategic moves made by WKYC and Gannett  that puts us well positioned for the future as a massive upgrade to the station and company infrastructure will be done in the coming months and will allow us to share content across all platforms now in use and those coming in the future. No other station in the market will have such flexibility.

Those who thought HDTV was the climax of local television's long running success were clearly short sighted as only imagination and creativity awaits us. See you on your mobile device soon.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

From the Wires: Hart Leaving 'Entertainment Tonight' Next Year

Mary Hart on 2/8/2001
NEW YORK -- Longtime "Entertainment Tonight" host Mary Hart is leaving the show after her upcoming 30th season.

Hart said Thursday that it's time for a change, but she'll be leaving with mixed sentiments. It's not clear when her last day will be, but a television season traditionally ends in May.

The former English teacher from Sioux Falls, S.D., joined "Entertainment Tonight" in 1982, working most prominently with John Tesh. She's kept the job as the entertainment news industry grew around her. "ET" is the original entertainment newsmagazine and still leads in the ratings.

No replacement has been named. One potential candidate is Lara Spencer, who anchors "ET's" sister broadcast, "The Insider."

"Entertainment Tonight" airs weeknights at 7:30 p.m. on WKYC-DT.

Source: The Associated Press

Special Feature: History of WKYC

WKYC's Current Station Logo
The Director's Cut Blog often gets emails from readers wanting to know more about the history of WKYC from its sign on as WNBK/Channel 4 in 1948 to our current location on Digital Channel 17.

We have put together a cool little download as an Adobe .pdf file called the "History of WKYC-TV from 1948 to 2010"

It's a timeline of some of the important dates in the station's history that we hope to add upon in the upcoming months and years as we do some more research to fill in the gaps between dates.

It was interesting to see how much has happened since your blogger started at WKYC in June 1994 and how the station is very different (and safer) than it was over at E. 6th Street in our old home.

We'd like to thank Tim Lone's Cleveland Classic Media Blog and Cleveland Seniors for a couple of the photos included.

To download a copy to save and print, just click on the photo below:

Behind the Scenes: Happy Birthday "Yak"

You don't see many of the people who work behind the scenes here at the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center, but there are certainly some who deserve to be recognized for their hard work and never ending contributions.

One of those is our WKYC Sports Producer Jeff "Yak" Yakawiak who keeps abreast of everything the Cavs, Indians, Browns and all the other sports teams do in town.

Come along as we surprise him in the newsroom Thursday afternoon with some ice cream cake as well celebrate "Yak's" birthday.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

New Blog: Tom Beres "Decision 2010"

As part of transition to multiple platforms, WKYC has several staff members who are doing a little bloggin' of their own.

Here is another new blog to check out as you surf around the media universe.
  • Tom Beres on Politics - WKYC Senior Political Correspondent Tom Beres provides unique insight into the important issues and decisions to be made during the 2010 midterm elections around northeast Ohio.
For a complete list of blogs from the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center: CLICK HERE

Join us on WKYC on Facebook as well: www.facebook.com/WKYC.Channel3

Preview: Channel 3's New "Flash Mob" Show Coming Soon!

The Director's Cut Blog has gotten a "behind the scenes" peek of a new show we are working on that will air soon.. It's called "Flash Mob."

Click on the video to find out who's putting it together and why it may soon be sweeping the country.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Notes From The Newsroom: 8/2/10

By Frank Macek

Time for another behind the scenes look at what's happening at the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.

Three years ago today (August 2, 2007), a freak summer storm left Channel 3 an island in downtown Cleveland as heavy rains flooded not only the parking garage, but several roadways around the station. 4.45 inches of rain fell in one hour. It was quite a day to see former General Sales Manager Tom Humpage with his suit pant legs rolled up and mopping water out of the garage along with many others. To see pictures and read the original story: CLICK HERE

Congratulations to our WKYC blogging colleauge Eric Mansfield for his strong showing in the Akron Life And Leisure Magazine's "Best Blog" contest. Eric's blog "Have I Got News For You." earned him runner up status. Eric jokingly says he got beat out by one called "Rubber City Bullsheet." With a blog name like that, the blog just had to win.

Browns Preseason Football is just around the corner. Once again, WKYC is your "official local television home of the Browns" with all preseason games on WKYC-DT beginning with next Saturday's game in Green Bay against the Packers. This year's games will be called by WKYC's Jim Donovan and former Browns Quarterback Bernie Kosar. The Director will once again be my colleague, Allen Wohl.

Our preseason schedule includes:
  • August 14th - 8 pm - Browns at Packers
  • August 21st - 7:30 pm - Browns vs. Rams
  • August 28th - 5:30 pm - Browns at Lions
  • September 2nd - 8 pm - Browns vs. Bears 
In addition, Channel 3 will continue to bring you the best coverage all season long with plenty of special Browns programming including:
  • The PreGame Huddle: Sunday mornings at 11:30 a.m.
  • Browns Tonight: Sunday nights at 11:30 p.m.
  • The Point After wtih Jim Donovan, Sam Rutigliano, Tony Grossi, and Doug Dieken: Monday at 7 p.m.
July sweeps ended last Thursday, July 28, and the station continued to perform extremely well in the local news ratings. In the all important demographics Adults 25-54, WKYC continued to be rated #1 at 6 & 11 p.m., despite summer reruns of Dr. Phil at 5 p.m. and a lackluster NBC primetime lead-in that falls short of expectations.

WKYC's 7 pm newscast saw its shares increase from June even with the launch of a competing newscast on WJW. WKYC was ahead of WJW is all key demos. Also, WKYC's 11 pm newscast rose 28% from last July and continues to be the market leader for late, local news following on the heals of a strong May.

Channel 3 News Today from 5 to 7 a.m. remains a solid number 2 for early morning news, while Good Company fared well against "The Robin Swoboda Show" on WJW between the two locally programming stations in the 10 a.m. hour.

As always, please don't forget to become a friend of Channel 3 News and Channel 3 Weather. We have special on-line content just for our Facebook friends including your chance to be our Facebook Friend of the Day, daily behind the scenes promos, sneak peeks at NBC shows, a daily programming guide of what's on Channel 3 and much more.

Memory Lane: Popular NBC Conductor Mitch Miller Dies At Age 99

NEW YORK -- Mitch Miller, the goateed orchestra leader who asked Americans to "Sing Along With Mitch" on television and records, has died at age 99.

His daughter, Margaret Miller Reuther, said Monday that Miller died Saturday in Lenox Hill Hospital after a short illness.

Miller was a key record executive at Columbia Records in the pre-rock 'n' roll era, making hits with singers Rosemary Clooney, Patti Page, Johnny Mathis and Tony Bennett.

"Sing Along With Mitch" started as a series of records, then became a popular NBC show starting in early 1961. Miller's stiff-armed conducting style and signature goatee became famous.

As a producer and arranger, Miller had misses along with his hits, famously striking out on projects with Frank Sinatra and a young Aretha Franklin.

The TV show ranked in the top 20 for the 1961-62 season, and soon children everywhere were parodying Miller's stiff-armed conducting. An all-male chorus sang old standards, joined by a few female singers, most prominently Leslie Uggams. Viewers were invited to join in with lyrics superimposed on the screen and followed with a bouncing ball.

"He is an odd-looking man," New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson wrote in 1962. "His sharp beard, twinkling eyes, wrinkled forehead and mechanical beat make him look like a little puppet as he peers hopefully into the camera. By now most of us are more familiar with his tonsils than with those of our families."

Atkinson went on to say that as a musician, Miller was "first rate," praising "the clean tone of the singing, the clarity of the lyrics, the aptness of the tempos, the variety and the occasional delicacy of the instrumental accompaniment."

An accomplished oboist, Miller played in a number of orchestras early in his career, including one put together in 1934 by George Gershwin. "Gershwin was an unassuming guy," Miller told The New York Times in 1989. "I never heard him raise his voice."

Miller began in the recording business with Mercury Records in the late '40s, first on the classical side, later with popular music. He then went over to Columbia Records as head of its popular records division.

Among the stars whose hits he worked on were Clooney, Page, Bennett, Frankie Laine and Jo Stafford. His decision to have Mathis switch from jazz to lushly romantic ballads launched the singer as a superstar.

He had a less rewarding collaboration with Sinatra, whose recording of the novelty song "Mama Will Bark," featuring a barking dog, was considered the nadir of the singer's career. Still, Miller became known for his distinctive arrangements, such as the use of a harpsichord on Clooney's megahit version of "Come On-a My House." He used dubbing of vocal tracks back when that was considered exotic.

"To me, the art of singing a pop song has always been to sing it very quietly," Miller said in the book "Off the Record: An Oral History of Popular Music."

"The microphone and the amplifier made the popular song what it is -- an intimate one-on-one experience through electronics. It's not like opera or classical singing. The whole idea is to take a very small thing and make it big."

Miller and a chorus had a No. 1 hit in 1955 with "The Yellow Rose of Texas," and that led to his sing-along records a few years later.

The years of Miller's biggest successes were also the early years of rock 'n' roll, and many fans saw his old-fashioned arrangements of standards and folk favorites as an antidote to the noisy stuff the teens adored. As an executive at Columbia, Miller would be widely ridiculed for trying to turn a young Aretha Franklin into a showbiz diva in the tradition of Sophie Tucker.

But Miller was not entirely unsympathetic to rock 'n' roll.

In a 1955 essay in The New York Times magazine, he said the popularity of rhythm and blues, as he called it, with white teens was part of young people's "natural desire not to conform, a need to be rebellious."

He added: "There is a steady -- and healthy -- breaking down of color barriers in the United States; perhaps the rhythm-and-blues rage -- I am only theorizing -- is another expression of it."

"Miller has often been maligned as a maestro of 1950s schlock ... Yet Miller injected elements of rhythm and blues and country music, however diluted, into mainstream pop," Ken Emerson wrote in his book "Always Magic in the Air."

In the Martin Scorsese documentary on Bob Dylan, "No Direction Home," Miller acknowledged that he was dubious when famed producer John Hammond brought the nearly unknown Dylan to the staid Columbia label in the early '60s. "He was singing in, you know, this rough-edged voice," Miller said. "I will admit I didn't see the greatness of it." But he said he respected Hammond's track record in finding talent.

In recent years, Miller returned to his classical roots, appearing frequently as a guest conductor with symphony orchestras.

In 2000, he won a special Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.

Reuther said her father died of "just old age."

"He was absolutely himself up until the minute he got sick," she said. "He was truly blessed with a long and wonderful life."

Miller was born in 1911, in Rochester, N.Y., son of a Russian Jewish immigrant wrought-iron worker and a seamstress. He graduated from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester.

Reuther said there will be a memorial service for her father in the fall.
Source: The Associated Press