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Showing posts from April, 2009

Memorial service for Peggy Mitchell to be held May 9 in Evansville

A memorial service will be held May 9 for former WEHT children's show host Peggy Mitchell, who died Tuesday at the age of 73.

The service, according to this article in the Evansville Courier & Press, will be held at 11 A.M. on May 9 at Christian Fellowship Church, 4100 Millersburg Rd. in Evansville.

Mitchell's beloved puppets, puppet house and various memorabilia from her show will be displayed at the service, according to Mitchell's son, Kirk.

Former local meteorologist named chief meteorologist at WLFI

WLFI (18), the CBS affiliate in Lafayette, Indiana, has named a new chief meteorologist, and he's a familiar name to those of us here in the Evansville area.

Chad Evans, who spent a year at WEHT before moving to WTHI (10) in Terre Haute, will take the reins of the weather department at WLFI on May 11, replacing longtime chief meteorologist Mike Prangley, who is moving to Florida.

WLFI and WTHI are both owned by LIN Television.

Peggy Mitchell, Evansville television pioneer, dies **UPDATED**

I just got the word via Twitter from NEWS25 anchor Brad Byrd that longtime WEHT children's show host Peggy Mitchell died Tuesday night at her home in Nashville, Tenn.

Mitchell hosted "The Peggy Mitchell Show" on WEHT from 1961 to 1986, and thousands of adults in the Tri-State today, your correspondent included, fondly remember her as well as her "friends," Buster Bear, Esmeralda and others.

When I was a child, my grandmother would allow me to turn the old Sylvania TV in her living room to channel 25 each morning so I could watch Peggy's show. It was the highlight of my day.

Peggy's last local television appearance was in an interview with NEWS25 anchor Shelley Kirk filmed in Mitchell's Nashville home last September, when she announced that she was suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).

Our thoughts and prayers are with Peggy's family and multitude of friends.

This story will be updated.

UPDATE #1, 4:19 PM: For more on Peggy Mitchell, see th…

KENTUCKY DERBY 135

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This year's 135th running of the Kentucky Derby will, of course, be aired on NBC, but some might need to know when it's happening and on what channels, so here you go:

It's this Saturday, May 2.

Stations carrying the Run for the Roses in this area are:

WFIE (14.1), Evansville
WAVE (3.1), Louisville
WNKY (40.1), Bowling Green
WSMV (4.1), Nashville

Coverage will begin at 5:00 PM EDT (4:00 CDT), with post time at 6:04 PM EDT (5:04 PM CDT).

Get your mint juleps and fancy hats ready!

LIN TV chooses mobile news, weather service; "Celebrity Apprentice" picked up for another season

TVNewsdayis reporting today that LIN Television, owner of Indiana CBS affiliates WISH-8 (Indianapolis), WTHI-10 (Terre Haute), WANE-15 (Fort Wayne) and WLFI-18 (Lafayette) has chosen to use the mobile news and weather platforms of News Over Wireless (NOW), a unit of Capitol Broadcasting, which owns techno-powerhouse station WRAL in Raleigh, N.C.

LIN plans to use NOW's iPhone application, as well.

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In other news, expect to hear the words "You're fired!" aimed at a host of additional celebrities next spring.

No, they're not really being fired, but Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" has been picked up for another season by NBC. When it airs in the spring of 2010, we will be witnessing "Apprentice's" ninth season.

Maybe The Donald will finally change his trademark hairstyle to liven things up a bit. ;-)

POLL UPDATE ... Your last day to vote!

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We're down to the last full day of voting in this month's polls, so if you haven't yet voted, what are you waiting for?

Show your most trusted weather team some love ... and VOTE!

Let us know if you've got a weather radio.

And how about a storm siren? Is there one in your area? Can you hear it?

We'll close the polls at 9:59 tomorrow night, and the awards will be announced on Friday morning.

Labels will help make JDTVB "more searchable"

As of tonight, all posts back to Feb. 1 are now labeled (some say tagged) with the major and sometimes minor subjects within each post. If you click on a certain label at the bottom of each post, you'll be taken to all of the posts which pertain to that particular subject.

For example, if you click on "WBKO," you'll get all 22 posts where WBKO was the subject or included within. Just from February on, we've covered a lot of ground, so there are a good many subjects to choose from already.

Within the next week, all posts back to the premiere of JDTVB will be labeled as well.

Let me know what you think.

South Central Communications sells another station

Evansville-based South Central Communications Corporation has sold its last TV station, according to TVNewsday.

The station in question is Knoxville, Tenn. RTN affiliate WMAK (7), a digital-only station that first went on the air in 2004, and the buyer is Daystar, the Christian network which bought 16 stations in the recent Equity Media auction.

According to the article, South Central, which was founded in 1946 and owned by the Engelbrecht family, continues to own or manage 12 FM radio stations and one AM station. Those stations are (according to the company's website):
In Nashville, Tenn.: 92.9 WJXA-FM and 96.3 WCJK-FMIn Knoxville, Tenn.: 94.3 WNFZ-FM, 95.7 WQJK-FM, 97.5 WJXB-FM, 103.5 WIMZ-FM, and 106.7 WRJK-FMIn Evansville, Ind.: 1400 WEOA-AM, 93.5 WLFW-FM, 96.1 WSTO-FM, 104.1 WIKY-FM, 107.1 WEJK-FM, and 107.5 WABX-FM.South Central sold Madisonville, Ky. CW affiliate WAZE (19) and its Evansville translator stationsto St. Louis-based Roberts Broadcasting in 2007, and Roberts is…

THE MONDAY MORNING NEWS -- Louisville CW station for sale; R.I.P. Bea Arthur

WBKI (34/28), the Louisville CW affiliate, is being auctioned off, according to The 'Ville Voice, and a local group has submitted a bid.

The station, which went on the air as WGRB back in 1983, is currently owned by Cascade Broadcasting. It's also one of two stations in the Louisville market with a 10 P.M. newscast, produced in this case by WHAS (11, ABC); WDRB (41, Fox) produces its own newscast in that time slot.

We'll let you know when we find out who the new owner is.

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On a sad note, we found out on Saturday that Emmy-winning actress Bea Arthur (Maude; The Golden Girls) passed away. She was 86.

Her unmatched wit, style and sense of humor entertained fans for decades, and I think the words "stage presence" were probably put together to describe her.

We'll miss ya, Bea. Rest in peace.

NEWS ROUNDUP, April 19-25

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Kind of a slim week for news this week, but here we go, anyway:

WBKO INCREASES POWER
Bowling Green ABC/Fox/CW affilate WBKO finally upped their power to 22 kW, but I'm still not able to get it. I'm considering a rooftop antenna (I have a line on a like-new used one), so we'll see if that helps.

UGLY BETTY RETURNS A WEEK EARLIER THAN PLANNED
ABC decided, given the problems with "Samantha Who?" and "In The Motherhood," to put "Ugly Betty" back in new episodes starting this coming week. My take? Thank God.

JUDGE TELLS BLAGO THE REALITY SHOW IS A NO-GO
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, under indictment on corruption charges, asked a federal judge to let him fly to Costa Rica in order to appear in NBC's "I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" The judge said no. Once again ... thank God.

PBS LAUNCHES ONLINE VIDEO CHANNEL
If you're like me, sometimes you can't get home in time to watch that PBS show you like so much. And…

WAVE meteorologist Tom Wills to retire

An icon in Louisville television is retiring. Not just an icon in broadcasting, but also in broadcast meteorology.

Tom Wills, who has been a fixture at Louisville's WAVE-3 since 1969, will retire in July, according to The 'Ville Voice, and I'm quite sure he'll be missed by most viewers in the Louisville and Southern Indiana area. Wills was there during the Super Outbreak on April 3, 1974, and his memories of that day make for interesting reading 35 years after the horrors of that day.

Back when I was a kid, my great-grandmother lived on a farm in rural Perry County, Indiana, and, almost invariably, her old RCA console television would be tuned to WAVE. I remember her telling us that the only meteorologist she'd watch in times of bad weather was -- you guessed it -- Tom Wills. Great-Grandma was fascinated with the radar they used back then, which, as Wills recalls in his memories of April 3, was a retired airplane radar that had been modified for television use. …

RTN TV25 temporarily off-air -- NOW FIXED

If, like me, you've been a-flippin' through the channels tonight, you might have noticed that WEHT's RTN subchannel, 25.2, is off the air.

Fear not, fellow retro television fans, it's temporary.

They have more on this at their website. It's a technical issue, and the parts to fix it are on the way.

Sure will be a long night without my customary "Rockford Files" nightcapper, though. :-(

UPDATE, 12:58 PM Friday: We're good. RTN is back on the air.

THE APRIL POLL QUESTIONS: One Week to Go ... Have You Voted?

With one week to go in this month's polls, here is how things stack up:

MOST WATCHED SEVERE WEATHER COVERAGE:

Evansville, 33 total votes:
WEHT now holds a 69-15% lead over WFIE, and 9% voted "none of the above."
Last week, WEHT held a 71-14% lead over WFIE, with 10% voting "none of the above."Bowling Green, 9 total votes:
WBKO now holds 55% of the vote, with 44% voting "none of the above."
Last week, WBKO held 57% of the vote, with the remaining 42% voting "none of the above."Louisville, 9 total votes:
WAVE's lead has dropped to 55% of the vote, with "none of the above" taking 22%. WHAS and WDRB are tied with 11% of the vote each.
Last week, WAVE was carrying 66% of the vote, with WDRB and "none of the above" tied at 16%.Nashville, 6 total votes:
WTVF now has 50% of the vote; WKRN, WSMV and "none of the above" each carry 16%.
Last week, WTVF led with 60% of the vote; WKRN and WSMV were tied with 20% each.###

DO YOU HA…

Maryland viewers upset after Comcast moves public television to digital tier

One thing cable companies have a hard time figuring out is that customers don't like change, especially if it costs them money.

When Time WarnerCable took over Adelphia here in Owensboro, they re-jiggered the channel lineup, changed the packages, and, even more insulting, they hiked prices ... repeatedly. Now you know why I no longer have cable in my home. And I'm not alone.

Such could prove to be the fate suffered by Comcast in the Washington, D.C. metro area after moving Maryland Public Television to the digital tier, which many customers don't subscribe to.

It didn't help that MPT told its viewers in a press release on April 14 ... the day the switch happened.

In response to a flurry of calls and letters to both parties, Comcast is giving customers free digital cable boxes for a year, but after that, the boxes will cost viewers an additional $3.65 a month.

So why the switch? Comcast offered three public stations on its basic tier -- Arlington, Va.-based WETA, Washingt…

So, did they, or didn't they?

According to WBKO's website, they did indeed increase their transmitter power today. However, if that happened (and I'm not saying it didn't), it didn't get their signal as far as the southwest side of Owensboro, at least not as of this writing.

UPDATE, 3:25 AM Thursday: NashDigie's late report is that he couldn't pick up anything from 'BKO either. :-(

UPDATE, 2:00 PM Friday: Nash reports that WBKO's engineer confirms the power has been upgraded. Neither Nash nor I are getting anything over the air, so it must not have extended the signal's reach as much as we'd hoped. :-( :-(

If you've noticed a difference -- or if you're getting their signal and couldn't before -- please leave a comment and let us know.

PBS launching online video channel

Mediaweek reports that PBS is starting a new online video channel today, where viewers can choose from their favorite current and -- eventually -- older shows in one convenient spot.

Previously, programs were spread willy-nilly about the PBS website, and if you were looking for any one show, it could take you a while of wading through pages to find what you wanted. In my case, it was frustrating.

I'll take a look at it and let you know what I think.

UPDATE, 11:48 AM Wednesday: I've tried out the new PBS Video site, and as usual, it is a top notch product from a top notch outfit.

I anticipate that they'll probably tweak it a bit, as it is in Beta mode now, but overall I give it an A+ for effort, execution and content. Videos are crisp, clear and jitter-free, even on my netbook with its shared video memory.

The final word: Try it. I think you'll like it.

Another fine morning for DXing

As I type this, I am watching "WordWorld" on WEIU out of Charleston, Ill., some 141.9 miles from home.

Yes, I know it's a children's program. But it illustrates what I've been able to pull in this morning. And that's not all! Check this out:
WPSD/Paducah, KY; 6.1 (NBC) and 6.3 (Weather) ... 6.4 is a test pattern.WTHI/Terre Haute, IN; 10 (CBS) ** ANALOG **
WUSI/Olney, IL; 16.1 (PBS HD), 16.2 (PBS SD), 16.3 (Create), 16.4 (WSIU radio/DTV info video)WVUT/Vincennes, IN; 22 (PBS) ** ANALOG **WKYU/Bowling Green, KY; 24.1 (PBS), 24.2/3/4 (Weather Radio/Radar)WNKY/Bowling Green, KY; 40 (NBC) ** ANALOG **WNKY/Bowling Green, KY; 40.1 (NBC), 40.2 (CBS)WEIU/Charleston, IL; 51.1 (PBS), 51.2 (MHz World), 51.6 (Hit Mix Radio)What's interesting is that, given the direction I have my antenna oriented -- generally NW to SE -- I shouldn't be getting WPSD at all. But I am.

Oh, and you probably noticed that there's no WBKO on my list. I'm hopeful that means they…

NashDigie's new site goes live

Our Nashville Correspondent, NashDigie, has been doing yeoman work for us here at JDTVB, keeping a finger on the pulse of the Nashville and Bowling Green markets, pretty much from the very earliest days of JDTVB late last summer.

Now, our friend has a new websitelisting the DTV stations he's picked up from his home.

I'm impressed! But as he says, right now "it is really just a web page with a few pictures. So, there is not that much on there now. I will be adding a few more screen captures in the near future."

We'll be looking forward to it, Nash!

My 200th Post!

It's kind of hard to believe this is #200, but here it is!

And I'm going to make it a fun one.

For you "Blago-Watchers" out there, the judge in former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's case has DENIED F-Rod's request to be allowed to fly to Costa Rica, where he would have participated in the NBC reality show, "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!"

Praise the Lord for small miracles!

I really, really, REALLY hope this setback is the beginning of the end for "reality" shows. In case you haven't noticed, about the only thing real about them is that the people involved are living, breathing humans ... for the most part.

They are to television what "shock jocks" are to radio: Something easy and stupid to fill airtime when nothing good is available.

It's high time that the networks put some real effort into giving people quality TV again. There's no excuse for keeping this kind of crap around any longer.

What do you think?…

Doom and gloom?

As if this economy didn't produce enough doom and gloom to go around, how about this headline at TVNewsday this morning:

Bankruptcy Cloud Looms Over TV Owners

Harry Jessell of TVNewsday seems to think that "80 to 90 percent" of broadcasting companies will have to go to their bankers with hat in hand this year.

Meanwhile, LIN Television's former CEO, Gary Chapman, feels that some owners will be forced into bankruptcy, but stressed that such moves would be the exception, not the rule.

I'm not the typical doomsayer, but I think Chapman's wrong.

Companies that played a smart hand and didn't overextend themselves will probably find themselves on a hot stove, but not on the plate and on the way to the table.

Others, like Nexstar, are on the table and waiting to be eaten. Those who just ate the Equity Media meal are now sitting back, digesting, and waiting for the check to come.

One sad factoid I didn't know about is this: In the last 15 months, some 260 radio st…

ABC bringing back new "Ugly Betty" episodes a week early

The LA Times reports today that "Ugly Betty" is returning with new episodes a week earlier than planned, on April 30.

When that happens, "Samantha Who?" and "In the Motherhood" are going away ... indefinitely.

My reaction? In the case of "Motherhood," it's easy: Thank. You. Lord.

I watched an episode of that "show" the other night and I think I actually heard my IQ drop a few points. The Times says the show has had "problems" behind-the-scenes. I'll bet.

"Motherhood" also suffers because it's a vehicle for the unwatchable Megan Mulally, who has absolutely no place in television. She is not funny. She is not talented. And I could go on.

In the interest of full disclosure, when it first aired, I didn't like "Ugly Betty," but it's head and shoulders above "Motherhood" as far as quality. And it's actually sort of fun to watch, which is rare among the shows I find myself …

WBKO power increase is on for Wednesday -- UPDATED 7:00 PM, 4/21/09

NashDigie reports tonight that WBKO will be going ahead on Wednesday with the power increase they had originally scheduled for last week.

In addition, Nash will be setting up a website soon. Stay tuned for that!

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UPDATE, 7:00 PM, Tuesday: WBKO now has the official word on their website. Viewers should expect to see some programming interruptions while the upgrade is taking place, beginning at 7:00 AM. For my part, I'll be checking in sometime tomorrow to see if the upgrade allows the signal to reach JDTVB HQ here in Owensboro. Since I can get WKGB most nights as long as it's not raining -- and that station's signal is weaker -- I'm hopeful.


95 Channels!?

Late last week, I sat down, gathered the lists (yes, I had more than one) of stations I've managed to pick up at some time or another since we switched all of our televisions to digital about a year ago.

For kicks, I decided to count and see just how many channels I've gotten during that time.

Would you believe 95 channels?

That total includes subchannels, but even so, it ain't too shabby, especially when you consider I'm using antennas -- mounted inside my attic, mind you -- that are made of wire coat hangers, scrap lumber and screws from God-knows-what (on at least a couple of the antennas).

Of course, I haven't managed to get all of those at any one time, but we do average between 15 and 20 channels on a good day ... or a good night, as the case may be.

As far as the longest distance of any station from my HQ here in Owensboro, well, that would have to be WBXX, the CW affiliate out of Crossville, Tennessee. That is 230+ miles away, if memory serves.

I've managed…

NEWS ROUNDUP, April 12-18

OK, folks, since I'm going to be away tomorrow, I've decided to move the Roundup to Saturdays. I think we'll make this a permanent move, too.

Here we go:

WBKO STILL AT LOWER POWER ...
Bowling Green ABC/Fox/CW affiliate WBKO was supposed to increase their power (from 11.6 kW to 22 kW) this past Tuesday, but it didn't happen.

Surprised? I'm not either.

NashDigie says he's heard it'll happen this coming Wednesday. I'm not holding my breath ... yet.

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KET AND WPGD TURN OFF ANALOG SIGNALS
Across Kentucky, if you want to watch KET programming, you now have only the option of doing it in digital. Same goes for TBN station WPGD in Nashville.

The analog signals were turned off on Thursday.

WPGD is planning to move from digital channel 51 to channel 33 at some point in the near future. NashDigie and I are banking on that happening in June, but I won't be too surprised if it happens earlier.

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WEHT APPLIES FOR STA
Evansville ABC affiliate WEHT has applied for spe…

WPGD shuts off analog

NashDigie reports tonight that WPGD (Nashville's TBN station) did go ahead on Thursday and turn off their analog signal, but they remain on digital channel 51 for now.

They are expected to move to channel 33 (vacated in January by WBKO), possibly after the June 12 transition.

On another note, Nash was able to grab WBKO last night for the first time since they moved to channel 13. Must've been a good night for getting stations! (See my earlier post on WFXW.)

Equity Media Holdings auction sells 60 stations, nets $21.3 million

Equity Media Holdings, the Little Rock, Ark.-based company which first brought Retro Television Network to the air and rapidly grew a portfolio of 104 television stations across the U.S. before even more rapidly imploding last fall, auctioned off 60 of its stations to the highest bidder yesterday.

For more on who got what, you can read here and here, but I have a few highlights for you:
Max Media, which owns Bowling Green NBC/CBS affiliate WNKY, picked up three full-power Fox affiliates in Montana, along with three Fox translators.Daystar, a Christian network, took home 16 stations overall (7 full-power and 9 low-power), the most of any buyer.Equity held 44 stations, by my count, out of the auction. They're still accepting bids on those.An April 24 hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Little Rock will confirm the sales.

I predict this won't be the last big auction of TV outlets we'll see; there's at least one more juggernaut that the wheels are trying really hard to fall …

WFXW joins list of "gets" at JDTVB HQ

So I was lying here in bed, just listening to Stairway to Heaven, when for whatever reason, I decided to rescan the converter box attached to my trusty old Sony TV back here in the bedroom.

Imagine my surprise when, of all stations, I picked up Terre Haute, Ind. Fox affiliate WFXW (38). Not a fantastic signal (19-25%), but watchable.

This is the first time I've been able to watch Fox 38 (which went by WBAK back when I watched it regularly) since I moved back to this area from Terre Haute nearly 12 years ago. I'm actually kind of shocked; I figured I'd stumble across WFXW's sister station, WTWO (2, NBC) first.

As I've reported in the past, I've been able to get Terre Haute's CBS affiliate, WTHI (10) on a number of occasions. Terre Haute has no ABC affiliate, so I'm just one station away from being able to claim the whole set, so to speak.

NEWS25 anchor battling breast cancer

I'm not easily shocked nowadays, but last night I witnessed something that I was unprepared for. It shocked me, and it made me sad.

NEWS25 anchor Shelley Kirk announced during the 6 PM newscast that she has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Kirk went on to explain that it took more extensive measures than just a mammogram to detect her cancer, using her own personal bad news to inform viewers that doctors at St. Mary's Breast Center in Evansville now have a new tool for detecting cancers that mammograms might miss.

In Kirk's case, doctors used ultrasound -- basically the same type as used during pregnancy -- to detect what the mammogram could not: a two-centimeter cancerous mass, which Kirk informed viewers was later removed via a lumpectomy.

Kirk begins chemotherapy later today, and my thoughts and prayers are with her and her family as they deal with this.

I think Shelley's longtime fellow anchor and friend, NEWS25's Brad Byrd, probably said it best in a Twitter me…

Football legend Madden won't return to the broadcast booth

It's apparently official, folks: John Madden is retiring.

The burly, 73-year-old NBC Sunday Night Football announcer, is hanging up the keys to his custom-built tour bus, saying this is the "right time" to retire.

I've enjoyed the Madden-Michaels team calling "my" Colts games over the past few years, and I will definitely miss the big guy.

Thanks to 14 News ND C.J. Hoyt for the heads-up on this!

APRIL POLL UPDATE #2 -- Have you voted yet?

Here is this week's Poll Update -- if you haven't yet voted, you still have two weeks to get it done!

MOST WATCHED SEVERE WEATHER COVERAGE:

Evansville, 28 total votes:
WEHT now holds a 71-14% lead over WFIE, with 10% voting "none of the above."Bowling Green, 7 total votes:
WBKO holds 57% of the vote, with the remaining 42% voting "none of the above."Louisville, 6 total votes:
WAVE is carrying 66% of the vote, with WDRB and "none of the above" tied at 16%.Nashville, 5 total votes:
WTVF leads with 60% of the vote; WKRN and WSMV are tied with 20% each.###

DO YOU HAVE A WEATHER RADIO?(17 total votes)
64% say yes, while 35% say no.###

IF THERE IS A STORM SIREN NEAR WHERE YOU LIVE, CAN YOU HEAR IT?(15 total votes)
33% -- Yes, if I'm outside.53% -- Yes, even if I'm indoors.13% -- There isn't one in my area.

Thanks to all of you who have voted so far! Remember, reader participation is what makes these polls work so well, so tell your friends to drop by,…

KET and WBKO update

Well, for KET, the analog era has ended.

All of the network's analog transmitters, at least those I could get a signal from (WKOH, WKMA and WKGB), have now gone dark.

Folks had a lot of advance notice, however, so I'm hopeful that if anyone was caught with their pants down, so to speak, they'll find a pair to slide on shortly! (Sorry, I thought I'd try a little humor.)

###

As far as the WBKO signal increase that was supposed to happen on Tuesday, well, that's been put off until next week. NashDigie, our Nashville Correspondent, says it'll happen next Wednesday.

*begin rant*

IMHO, this really sucks.

*end of rant*

WBKO's rushed move to digital (which was delayed repeatedly, as we've reported here) was an exercise in frustration for many viewers, and while it did finally happen, many outlying viewers (and some fairly close to the transmitter) still can't get a signal, if the blog comments at the station's site are any indication.

I'm sure hopeful that…

Another example of what's wrong with television

Disgraced former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is asking a federal judge this week to let him leave the country to film a new reality show for NBC.

"I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" is filming in Costa Rica, but according to the terms of the ex-gov's bond, he can't leave the country. Oops.

Personally, I think NBC's really going out on a limb with this one. A thin, weak limb. Sure, F-Rod will draw a few viewers for a while, but the act won't hold up.

I could be wrong, of course. I just don't understand why people actually enjoy these so-called "reality" shows, if they really do enjoy them.

N.C. station debuts mobile DTV on city bus

Raleigh, N.C. CBS affiliate WRAL has debuted what it calls the nation's first mobile DTV service, according to TVNewsday. The system, consisting of a receiver and two plasma screens, has been installed in a Raleigh city transit bus, where it is being tested now.

After the upcoming National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas next week, three more buses will be fitted with the setup as well.

This is an interesting development, and one I fully expect will roll out across the country eventually.

Having such a service available might draw more people to mass transit, which would ease traffic problems and, in turn, reduce pollution.

It could help local TV stations as well, because, if people like what they see while they're on the bus, they'll check out the station at home. At least that seems to be the hope.

Keep an eye on this techonology, folks. It could be big.

No further updates today

I won't be posting any further updates today due to the fact that I'm not feeling well. I will, however, be checking e-mail and Twitter periodically, so if you have anything you'd like to share, please go ahead.

Thanks!

DID YOU KNOW?

Here are some interesting little TV factoids and tidbits I thought you might enjoy:
Catholics bless a lot of things, but television towers? In South Bend, Indiana, they sure do. WNDU-TV, which until a couple of years ago was owned by the University of Notre Dame, went on the air in 1955, and atop their original tower was a statue of the Virgin Mary, which was blessed before her trip to the top of the tower by Father Theodore Hesburgh, then-President of the University. When a new tower was built in the late 1960s, the statue was moved to it. Even after Notre Dame sold the station to Gray Television, Mary remained, and at last check, she's still keeping watch over the surrounding area.Do you have more than three TV sets in your home? I do. Don't feel bad ... we're in good company. Some 66% of households in the U.S. have three or more sets. I'm curious how many of those households -- like Graceland -- have those TVs side-by-side. I'd be willing to bet that num…

WEHT applies for STA to run on temporary antenna beginning June 12

WEHT (NEWS25) has filed an applicationfor special temporary authority to use a side-mounted antenna on their broadcast tower when they switch from channel 59 to channel 7 on June 12.

The side-mounted antenna will be temporary, as the station's top-mounted analog antenna must be replaced with a new, permanent digital antenna. When the top antenna replacement is done, WEHT plans to seek approval to use the side-mounted antenna as a backup.

Even with the lower-powered side antenna, the engineering statement accompanying the application states that, even at a reduced power of 8.73 kW (the final setup will have a power of 12.5 kW), the signal will reach 121% of the population that now receives WEHT's analog signal and 120% of those getting it now on digital channel 59.

I'll be sure to let you know what the FCC decides.

IN MY OPINION: In local TV news, only the strongest will survive

I'm 31 years old, and I have witnessed many changes in local television in my lifetime, but there's one change I don't like.

That change is the decline in local news coverage.

It isn't a problem where I live, thankfully, as we have three choices -- Fox 7, 14 News, and NEWS25 -- but in some areas, the choices are dwindling.

Only one station in this area has eliminated its news department. WEVV, the last to enter the fray, was the first to leave. That happened in the summer of 2001.

The most recent -- and probably most publicized -- news operation to fold up its tent was WYOU in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pa. Nexstar, which runs the station through a "management arrangement" with WYOU's "owner," Mission Broadcasting, says they'll save $900,000 to $1 million a year by not airing news.

And if you think Nexstar will stop with just one news department massacre, I'll guarantee you're wrong.

Nexstar is a company on the ropes. They've lost mone…

GOOD NEWS: If you've wanted to comment but didn't want to sign up, now you don't have to

I've decided to take off restrictions on who may post comments, at least on a trial basis.

After I got some comments that were completely unrelated to anything I posted last fall, I changed things so anyone who commented would have to register at Blogger.com, and if you really wanted to comment, that extra layer of security didn't take too long.

But I've just got a feeling that some of you might want to speak your mind and not have to deal with that extra layer, so here's your chance. Now, if you have news to share, a thought, a suggestion or even if you want to put your feet on the desk and gripe a little, you can do so.

All I ask is that you keep it clean. I reserve the right to delete any comments with foul language.

Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for your comments. Let's get to it!

Nashville's WPGD turning off analog on Thursday as well

JDTVB Nashville Correspondent NashDigie reports this morning that KET won't be the only ones turning off their analog signal on Thursday. Nashville's Trinity Broadcasting Network station WPGD (channel 50, licensed to Hendersonville, TN) will turn off their analog signal on Thursday as well.

WPGD also has a CP to move to digital channel 33 -- which was vacated when WBKO moved to channel 13 -- but we're not yet sure if that will happen Thursday or at a later date. When it does take place, the move will allow WPGD to reach a larger coverage area, as they'll be increasing power as well.

We'll continue to follow this, but if you're in the Nashville area and are unable to get your usual TBN digital programming after they switch off the analog, just rescan your converter box or digital TV set.

WBKO increasing power tomorrow

If you're a regular reader here at JDTVB, you know that WBKO (13, ABC/Fox/CW) was the first commercial station in the Evansville, Bowling Green or Nashville markets we cover to make the digital transition. However, all was not bliss with the switch, as many loyal WBKO viewers are still not able to watch the station.

Hopefully, that will change tomorrow.

WBKO will go dark for a little while tomorrow (at least that is still our understanding) while they switch on some upgraded equipment. The changes will double the station's power from 11.6 kW to 22 kW, and the hope seems to be that this will fill in those dead spots where the digital signal hasn't been able to reach since they moved to digital channel 13 back in January.

I'm hopeful, too, that this will enable me to pick up WBKO more regularly than I could before (especially since I can't get CW on digital ...), but we'll only know that once the switch is made.

Stay tuned for more info as we get it!

NEWS ROUNDUP, March 5-11

Well, between Easter egg hunts, visiting the in-laws and last-minute Easter clothes shopping for me (I hate that), I did end up putting off the Roundup until the regularly scheduled slot, after all.

So here we go:

NEWS25 NOW HANDLING NEWS FOR LOCAL REGENT RADIO STATIONS
After last week's shutdown of the Regent Communications Evansville radio cluster's news operation, Mark Glover, NEWS25's ND, gave me the official word that the TV station is now doing the news for those radio stations.

Daybreak anchors Jon Chrisos and Whitney Ray are the primary voices behind the radio newscasts, but Glover informed me that when breaking news occurs, the station's other anchors will get in on the action as well.

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HISTORY LESSONS
I took a brief look back at where our Evansville TV stations were 50 years ago, mainly as a prelude to what I hope will be a much more in-depth look at the history of television in the Tri-State.

In addition to the stations which are now on the air, I'm hoping to…

FOCUS ON: KET to end analog broadcasts next week

Next Thursday, April 16, will mark the end of an era for KET viewers.

After a little more than 40 years, KET will switch off all of their analog transmitters, including WKOH in Owensboro, WKMA in Madisonville and WKGB in Bowling Green. For people like me who grew up with KET -- one of my earliest TV memories is of watching Sesame Street on channel 31 on my grandparents' old Sylvania console set -- it might be a little bittersweet.

But we'll get by.

After all, since KET went digital several years ago, the folks on Cooper Drive in Lexington have put a lot more programming out there for us to watch, to enjoy, to learn from, and it's public television at its very finest. Why, they even open up the treasure trove of classic KET productions and let some good old treasures like Distinguished Kentuckian out, too!

KET has long been a pioneering institution in the world of television. In that respect, it's only fitting that, at least in my home television market (Evansville), tha…

WEATHER RADIO INFO: Madisonville transmitter out of service for maintenance

NEWS25 meteorologist David Heckard tweeted this morning that the National Weather Service is performing maintenance on the Madisonville weather radio transmitter, and therefore the transmitter is not currently broadcasting.

It is expected to be back on this afternoon.

UPDATE 1:53 PM: It's back on.

WSMV anchor Dan Miller dies at 67

WSMV news anchor Dan Miller, a fixture at Nashville's NBC affiliate since the 1970s (except for a short period of time in the 1990s when he worked in Los Angeles, part of that time as Pat Sajak's sidekick on Sajak's short-lived talk show), has died of a heart attack in his hometown of Augusta, Georgia.

Miller was 67.

He had traveled to Augusta with friends to watch practice rounds for the Masters golf tournament, according to the station.

More details on the life, work and tragic passing of Dan Miller can be found here, at WSMV's website.

Our condolences go out to Dan Miller's friends and family.

WHAS-TV's Mark Hebert leaving to take PR post at U of L

If, like me, you're familiar with KET's Friday evening public affairs program Comment on Kentucky, you're familiar with Mark Hebert, WHAS-TV's top investigative reporter.

Just recently, Hebert was one of the two reporters (the other being WLEX-TV sports director Alan Cutler) seen on national television and YouTube chasing ex-University of Kentucky men's basketball coach Billy Gillispie down a hallway.

But perhaps his most notable score in recent years happened when he broke the story of former Kentucky Governor Paul Patton's extramarital affair with Tina Conner, the then-owner of a West Kentucky nursing home, during the last year of the governor's administration.

I mention the above because it's the kind of tough journalism that WHAS viewers will have to keep in their memory, and that is because, after 22 years at the station, Hebert has decided to move on to a new line of work.

In May, he'll take his background in communications to the University of Lo…

POLL UPDATE

If you're new to JDTVB, be sure to check out the monthly polls, which are located on the left side of your screen ... here's how they're shaking out as of this morning:

Which station do you turn to in case of severe weather?

EVANSVILLE ... 24 TOTAL VOTES:
NEWS25 has a commanding 70-16% lead over 14 News. But with 22 days to go, anything can happenBOWLING GREEN ... 6 TOTAL VOTES:
WBKO holds a 66-33% lead over "neither."
LOUISVILLE ... 5 TOTAL VOTES:
WAVE takes 80% of the vote, with "neither" holding 20%.
NASHVILLE ... 4 TOTAL VOTES:
WTVF has a 75-25% lead over WKRN.
Do you have a weather radio?
69% -- Yes.30% -- No.If there is a storm siren in your area, can you hear it?
36% -- Yes, if I'm outside.54% -- Yes, even if I'm indoors.0% -- No.9% -- There isn't one in my area.That's where we stand this Wednesday morning. Keep on voting, and I'll update the tally again on Saturday in this week's News Roundup.

Daytime Emmys WILL air on The CW Aug. 30

Recently, I reported that the Daytime Emmys might possibly be moving to The CW network this year.

Now it's definite: The awards show will air on CW affiliates on Sunday, August 30, according to this article in TVNewsday.

In the Evansville DMA, if WAZE is still a CW affiliate -- or still around, for that matter -- in August, it'll air on that station.

Bowling Green-area viewers can catch the show on WBKO-CW, channel 13.3. Nashville viewers will see it on WNAB, channel 58.1.

I still think it's odd that a network which isn't even associated with daytime TV will host the show, but in this day and age, I guess anything is possible.

New countdown clock!

Did you check out the new Transition Countdown Clock at left?

I decided it was time to put one here at JDTVB, and after looking at several options, I picked the one you see.

So if you haven't yet taken the opportunity to get yourself ready for DTV, the clock is ticking!

An update on my history lesson!

Trip Ericson of RabbitEars.info sent me some links last night that gave me some more stations which I need to add to my little 1959 history lesson that I posted the other day, and I will eventually post them all, but only after I do some digging.

For example, if these sites are to be believed (and I've no reason not to believe them), the Steele family of Owensboro, Ky., had permits for two stations at different times, both with the WVJS-TV call letters.

One of the two would actually have been licensed to Hatfield, Indiana (a tiny, unincorporated town in Spencer County, Indiana, and would have been on channel 9 (where today's WNIN resides). The other, licensed to Owensboro, would have been on channel 19. I'm not sure which one came first, but neither one ever went on the air.

These sites have given me a pretty good list of stations that, at best, I had only a vague idea even existed ... at least in someone's mind, anyway. I'm planning to do some research on all of t…

NEWS25 begins providing news for Regent radio stations

As you drove in to work this morning, you might have noticed new but oddly familiar voices giving you the latest news on your favorite radio station.

And no, it wasn't your imagination.

NEWS25's Jon Chrisos and Whitney Ray have begun providing news for Regent Communications' Evansville stations WKDQ, WGBF (AM and FM), WJLT and WDKS.

Chrisos and Ray are the co-anchors of NEWS25's morning newscast, NEWS25 Daybreak, and Ray also anchors the station's new midday program, The Friday Show.

But NEWS25's other anchors, too, will join in as needed, according to NEWS25's news director, Mark Glover. "The primary spot will be mornings, so Jon and Whitney will be the main anchors," he explained. "However, others will be on as news happens."

Today wasn't the first time, however, that NEWS25's coverage has been carried on the radio in the area. Regent's Owensboro stations, WBKR and WOMI, have been airing the TV station's news coverage for…

Fifty Years Ago: A look at TV in Evansville and the surrounding area

In 1959, cable television wasn't too well known (if anyone had heard of it at all), and if you mentioned the word “satellite,” most people probably thought of the space race between the U.S. and the Soviets, not television. If you could get a good picture on two or three channels or so, you were doing well … and you were probably at least somewhat popular with the neighbors! There was no Fox, no HBO, no CNN ... heck,PBS wasn't even around yet.But in the Evansville market, there were three stations, none more than six years old, vying for viewers. You know them all, so let's see what they were up to in 1959:
WEHT - CBS Affiliate was First to Arrive in the Market
Now known as NEWS25 and an ABC affiliate, WEHT was still on channel 50 and broadcasting the programs of the CBS Television Network in 1959, as it had since the station first went on the air on September 27, 1953. The station, based then as now on Marywood Drive in Henderson, Ky., wouldn't move to channel 25 unti…

Easter Seals Telethon raises $935,430 for Rehabilitation Center

I just finished watching this year's Easter Seals Telethon on NEWS25, and this year's event raised $935,430 for the Rehabilitation Center in Evansville, which serves many people from throughout the area.

Even in a bad economy, it makes me feel good that the Tri-State, as usual, comes through for those who need help.

A BIG JDTVB THANK YOU to all who volunteered their time, talent and treasure to benefit this noble cause!

News Roundup, March 29-April 4

Howdy, folks, and welcome to this week's roundup of all the news that is news, from right here in the Tri-State, and around the country. Let's go:

MR. CALIPARI GOES TO LEXINGTON
Perhaps the biggest news in the state of Kentucky this past week -- aside from the massive increase in the cost of buying smokes or adult beverages -- was the hiring of the John Calipari as the UK men's basketball coach.

In the Evansville TV market, WFIE 14 News and WEHT NEWS25 worked the story from many angles, and both stations had call-in question shows on Monday. 25's was online-only, while 14's was online and on-air.

However, of all the local stations, only one actually put someone on the road to get the story at its source -- NEWS25. Randall Parmley traveled to Lexington for the official announcement.

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JDTVB MOST-WATCHED NEWSCAST AWARDS TAKEN BY NEWS25
In the first of what I hope will be many such contests, the first JDTVB Awards for Most Watched Morning Newscast and Most Watched Eveni…

Another news operation bites the dust, this time in local radio

Regent Communications, the Cincinnati-based media company which owns several stations in the Tri-State area, has terminated its Evansville-based news staff, according to Fox 7. The employees were informed today that this would be their last day on the job.

Regent owns the following stations in Evansville:
WKDQ 99.5 FMWGBF 103.1 FMWJLT 105.3 FM
WDKS 106.1 FMWGBF 1280 AMand in Owensboro:
WBKR 92.5 FMWOMI 1490 AMMy heartfelt best wishes go out to those who have lost their jobs.

KET to host live call-in DTV show Tuesday at 9/8 PM

KET, which will go all-digital on Thursday, April 16, is giving its viewers the opportunity to call in and ask questions about the transition this coming Tuesday, April 7.

The program, Digital TV Call-In, will air on KET1 (channel 31/31.1, 35/35.1 or 53/53.1) at 9:00 PM EDT/8:00 PM CDT.

According to the network's website, the live program will
"provide viewers with an opportunity to get answers to any remaining questions they might have about the digital transition. KET experts will offer information that will help viewers get a clear signal over the air using an antenna. Information also will be available about converter boxes, which must be used for over-the-air viewers who use an older analog set." If this program does not answer all of your questions and you still need help, I invite you to leave me a comment or send me an e-mail at jnewkirk77 (at) att (dot) net (replace the at with @ and the dot with a period). If I'm not able to answer your question myself, I'…

Nexstar strikes again: Pennsylvania station loses news, 14 people lose their jobs

TVNewsday reports that viewers in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania market have one less choice for local news starting tomorrow, no thanks to Nexstar Broadcasting (owner of Evansville's WTVW Fox 7).

CBS affiliate WYOU's news department is going by the wayside, its programming being replaced by syndicated entertainment and news magazine programs such as "Judge Joe Brown." Fourteen full-time employees are now out of work.

The company's other station in the market, NBC affiliate WBRE, will keep its news department. UPDATE 9:05 PM: Drew Speier, formerly of WFIE 14 News, is the lead anchor at WBRE, according to jtkohlm.

WYOU is actually owned by Mission Broadcasting, but as with all of Mission's other properties (like Terre Haute Fox affiliate WFXW), it is operated by Nexstar in what some in the industry consider a thinly veiled attempt at skirting FCC ownership rules.

On the financial front, Nexstar claims the elimination of the WYOU news department will sav…

New website for NEWS25 is up and running; The Friday Show premieres at 11 AM

Image
My lovely wife alerted me to the debut of NEWS25's new website (see screenshot at left) just a short while ago, and while I was originally going to wait and post this later today, I couldn't bring myself to hold off.

About the only thing that hasn't changed is the address; it's still news25.us; everything else has been brought completely up to date, slicked down and tricked out.

The folks on Marywood Drive have surely been busy of late, what with the new website, new Friday Show (premiering at 11 AM today) and new severe weather on-air graphics (designed by meteorologist David Heckard, no less) that made their first appearance yesterday.

I'm still checking things out, but from what I see so far, I'm impressed.

The new First Warning Doppler graphics introduced earlier this week have made the transition, and in addition, you can select animated radar loops for Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois, not to mention just about any other weather information you might desire. R…