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Showing posts from May, 2009

WTSN now digital? We think so ...

... but we're just not yet 100% sure. I AM receiving a weak signal on channel 36 (36-1), but so far cannot tell if it is WTSN-LP as no call letters are being transmitted by the station. However, I'm following up on this and will report as soon as I know what we've got.

Stay tuned ... the winners of the Best Website poll are coming up in my next post!

13 days to go ... Are you ready? Do you know anyone who isn't?

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Right before I posted this, I checked my countdown clock (shown to the right of your screen), and it says we have 13 days, 13 hours and (at that point) 13 minutes until DTV becomes the only way to go*.

So ... are you ready? My household is; of course, we were ready on Feb. 17, but that's neither here nor there. The vast majority of homes are, at last check.

If you know someone who isn't ready, do what you can to help them out. Show them dtv2009.gov, the FCC's site dedicated to the switch. Invite them over and show them the programming they're missing. Tell them it's not an expensive proposition (and it's not).

But most importantly, remind them that unless they switch, their viewing options -- at least in areas not served by low-power stations -- will be minimal or non-existent.

* Low-power stations are not required to go digital on June 12, although several have or will in the days to come.

Of Interest ...

Here are a few interesting tidbits I've been reading today. I thought you might find them interesting:
More families are "cutting the cable," dropping expensive cable service in favor of OTA DTV and internet ... read more herefrom The Wall Street Journal.The FCC's June 3 open meeting will focus on the DTV transition, specifically a final status report on preparations, with the transition taking place nine days later. Nielsen still says 3.1 million homes aren't ready; the National Association of Broadcasters says Nielsen is counting homes that have converters that aren't yet hooked up. Who's right? I have a sinking feeling that it ain't Nielsen.TVNewsday takes a look at fees charged by newspapers to read news online. I like the article's title: "Online News Fees: Financial Salvation or Suicide?" Here in Owensboro, Ky., our local newspaper, the Messenger-Inquirer, charges such fees, and our only truly local source of news that is fre…

NEWS25 preparing to go head-to-head against Fox 7 News at 9:00

WEHT (NEWS25) anchor Brad Byrd tweeted this afternoon that Evansville's ABC affiliate will go head-to-head against WTVW's 9PM edition of Fox 7 News with a 9 PM newscast of its own, on RTN TV25 (channel 25-2).

The newscast will debut June 10, and will be anchored by Byrd and NEWS25 reporter Jennifer Cahill. Weather with chief meteorologist Wayne Hart and sports with sports director Lance Wilkerson will also feature prominently.

It will be the first 9PM newscast from the station since ending its arrangement with South Central Communications Corp. several years ago. WEHT produced "NEWS25 at 9 on WB19," which aired on WAZE.

RTN TV25 is available over the air on channel 25-2, and also on the following area cable systems:
Insight channels 189 and 437
WOW channel 111Time Warner channel 311

Four days to go ... have you voted?

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If you haven't yet voted in this month's "Best Website" poll, you have four days to let us know which station's website you feel is the best in each of the four TV markets JDTVB covers.

With 10 total votes in, here are the vote-getters as of this afternoon:

WEHT - 5 votes (50%)
WAVE - 4 votes (40%)
WFIE - 2 votes (20%)
KET - 2 votes (20%)
WEVV - 1 vote (10%)
WNKY - 1 vote (10%)
WDRB - 1 vote (10%)
WTVF - 1 vote (10%)
WZTV - 1 vote (10%)

If the voting ended today, we would need a runoff vote in the Nashville market. But I'm hoping it doesn't come to that.

So ... if you haven't yet done it, VOTE!!!

Final "soft tests" raise some concerns

The FCC's toll-free DTV help line received more than 55,000 calls after last week's final soft tests before the June 12 analog shutoff date, and of that number, more than 1,300 came from the Chicago area, which is raising some concern that many Chicagoans might not be prepared for the transition, according to this article in the Chicago Tribune.

My feeling is this: Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year-and-change, there have been plenty of notices on TV, on the internet, and elsewhere telling us that the transition is coming. And coupon or no, a $50 investment -- less than two cartons of cigarettes or a month's supply of beer -- to convert an existing television to digital is not that much, even in a down economy.

Back to work ...

After a nice vacation swing through Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas, my family and I have returned home and now it's back to the grind. I'm spending today checking into a few things I picked up over the weekend, and we'll be back up to speed tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, here's a little bit of a rundown on what we did on our "quickie vacation" ...
Stopped for a rest break at Whitehaven in Paducah, Ky. Whitehaven was once the home of a wealthy Paducahan (I think that's what Paducah residents call themselves), but is now a rest area/welcome center just off of I-24. Neat place to take a break under the shade of the trees.Ate at Lambert's Cafe in Sikeston, Mo. The home of "throwed rolls," Lambert's isn't cheap, but it is a great place to eat ... and practice catching hot bread flying through the air! Also, if you're into old license plates, as I am, the walls of Lambert's are covered with 'em. Good stuff.Filled up our flex-f…

On vacation ...

Good morning, readers! I hope this beautiful Friday morning finds all of you in good spirits and preparing for what looks like -- at least from my perspective -- to be a great Memorial Day weekend.

My family and I are preparing to head out in a short while to visit relatives in Oklahoma and Kansas. Therefore, there won't be any new updates until Tuesday ... I guess you could say we're putting JDTVB on hiatus, but only for a few days.

While I'm away, if you see anything you think I need to post once I get back, go ahead and drop me a line via e-mail (jnewkirk77 at att dot net) or tweet me (JNewkirk77). I will be able to check those two things occasionally; how I love having a netbook!!!

Until then, have a great weekend and remember -- take a few moments to reflect on those who have died to allow us the freedoms that we hold dear.

DTV "soft tests" set for later today

It does appear that there will be three so-called "soft tests" for those still receiving analog broadcasts today. Analog programming will be interrupted for said tests this morning, again around midday, and finally at approximately 6:30 PM.

Viewers who have already converted to digital shouldn't see anything except regular programming.

Interesting article on Raycom

TVNewsday interviewed Susana Schuler, VP of news at Raycom, for today's issue. I found the article, which delves into Raycom's strategies for success in today's difficult market, a good read.

Raycom owns and operates WAVE and WFIE, the NBC affiliates in Louisville and Evansville, respectively, which, like many of Raycom's news operations, lead the ratings in their respective markets.

Take a few minutes and read the article. I think you'll find it very informative about some changes we could very easily see as the dissemination of news continues to evolve.

Posts will be sporadic this week

Hi, folks! Just wanted to check in and let you all know that posts will be sporadic this week as my family and I prepare for our annual Memorial Weekend trip to visit relatives in Oklahoma and Kansas.

Of course, with six of us, it takes longer to actually get ready for the trip than the trip lasts. Go figure.

I do plan to keep my eye on things, and if I don't get them posted immediately, they will get posted sooner or later.

Take care!

More on Fusion's WBKI buy

It certainly appears that Fusion Communications is upbeat about its recent purchase of Louisville CW affil WBKI. In a time when many station groups are pulling back, Fusion is expanding.

Check out this great article in TVNewsday today about Fusion and WBKI. Very enlightening. And, if you're a loyal WBKI viewer, it could prove to be exciting!

CBS Evening News getting a new look tonight

Viewers of the CBS Evening News this evening will notice a few changes in the Tiffany Network's perennial third-place national newscast.

TVNewser is reporting that the show will have a new logo and graphics package designed for HD.

Now, if they could just get rid of Katie Couric and give the chair back to Bob Schieffer, they might have a shot at better ratings ...

POLL UPDATE ... Wanted: Your Vote!

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Have you voted in this month's poll yet? You have only two weeks left for your vote to be counted.

Which station has the best website? Here's what the voters say so far:

WEHT: 62% (5 VOTES)
WAVE: 37% (3 VOTES)
WFIE: 25% (2 VOTES)

TIED WITH 12% (1 VOTE EACH):
WNKYWDRBWTVFWZTVKETI'd really like to see this poll get into double-digits as far as total votes this week. So, do your part and vote!

News Roundup, May 10-16

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I guess the biggest news in the News Roundup this week is that I'm going to do away with the Roundup.

Since I've started labeling each post, it's now easier to find the post you're looking for, just by clicking on the subject you're interested in at the right.

Of course, if there is a burning desire among the readership for the Roundup, I can always bring it back later.

Let me know if it's something you've absolutely "gotta have."

NOT TV RELATED: GM dealers closing in the greater Evansville area: For the most part, they're not telling

GM is being a great deal more secretive today than Chrysler was yesterday about the dealers it wants to terminate.

In fact, in southern Indiana, we know of only one dealership that will be closing. NEWS25 reports this evening that Tell City's A & G Motors, a Pontiac-GMC dealer that has been in business since 1953, will not get its franchise renewed next year; the dealership's owner said he isn't surprised.

A & G is the last franchised new-car dealership in Tell City. In recent years, Tell City Ford-Lincoln-Mercury, Cochenour Chrysler-Jeep and Cambron Chevrolet-Buick have all closed their doors, and in neighboring Cannelton, Randy Aubrey Dodge closed within the past year.

Nexstar posts big 1Q revenue drop, but it's smaller than others

Nexstar Broadcasting's first-quarter results are in, and they ain't exactly what you might call pretty.

The company's first quarter revenue came in 12.9% under 1Q2008 at $55.5 million, and while that is bad news, it's not as bad as what other station groups have been reporting of late. The average drop is in the neighborhood of 20%.

TVNewsday reports that Nexstar's e-media revenues and retrans dollars were up, however, which is good news. And the Four Points Media station-management deal, which is bringing in additional cash from Cerberus Capital Management (which owns Four Points) is an additional plus.

President/CEO Perry Sook, one of the industry leaders in squeezing the most cash out of retrans agreements, appears to be pleased with his company's performance. Can't say that I blame him.

Nexstar Broadcasting is the owner of Evansville Fox affiliate WTVW (7).

NOT TV RELATED: Six Evansville-area, five Louisville-area Chrysler dealers on list to close

Since Chrysler filed for bankruptcy recently, it's only been a matter of time before the other shoe dropped and we found out which dealers would be on the automaker's hit list to close.

Now we know.

Chrysler wants the dealers to wind up their business over the next few weeks and shut down on June 9. The dealers can appeal, but if I were a betting man, I'd say it's a done deal. Appealing would only prolong the inevitable.

Here is the list of the Evansville-area dealerships affected:
Bob Luegers Motors (Jeep), Jasper, IN ... also sells Pontiac, Buick, GMCByrne Motors (Chrysler-Jeep), Princeton, IND-Patrick Inc. (Jeep), Evansville, IN ... also sells Ford brands, several import linesEvansville Chrysler, Evansville, IN ... also sells Mazda, Volvo, KiaHendrickson Enterprise (Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep), Boonville, INMemering Motorplex (Jeep), Vincennes, IN ... also sells Chevy, Buick, NissanFive Louisville-area dealerships are also on the list:
Alex Montgomery Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, Mt.…

NOT (entirely) TV RELATED: GM, Chrysler to shed up to 3,000 dealers -- Reuters

Reuters reports this afternoon that beleaguered U.S. automakers GM and Chrysler will tell as many as 3,000 of their dealers that their services are no longer needed ... possibly as early as tomorrow.

Chrysler is already in bankruptcy and appears likely to give 1,000 of its dealers the boot, while GM will terminate its relationship with about 2,000, according to sources, while trying to avoid the Chapter 11 route.

The extended auto industry downturn has played havoc with advertising. Dealers advertise heavily on local TV stations, and, until the slump hit, the manufacturers themselves were among, if not the biggest advertisers nationally.

And when ad dollars aren't flowing, TV stations feel the pinch. And when stations feel the pinch, pink slips get handed out, as we've seen across the spectrum. While most of the cost-cutting probably isn't too noticeable to the average viewer as of yet, if the downturn continues much longer, my own personal fear is that it very well could …

More newspapers killing off their TV sections ... sort of

MediaDailyNews is reporting today that several McClatchy newspapers have started charging subscribers who want the paper's TV section extra to continue receiving it.

Last month, the Kansas City Star went that route, and now the company's papers in Sacramento, Calif., Miami, Fla. and Tacoma, Wash. have followed suit. MDN states that it isn't a corporate edict, but rather one undertaken at the local level.

In the latter three, the cost to the consumer isn't huge -- 25 cents per week -- but still, it appears this is little more than a way to justify killing the TV sections eventually.

With the rapid advance in on-screen program guides, most viewers no longer need printed guides to help them figure out what's on, so the longtime staple is gradually fading away. Add in the fact that many newspaper companies are, financially speaking, on the ropes, and you get the idea.

Has your local newspaper given up on its printed TV section? Let us know.

WHAS anchor Roedemeier retiring in June

Longtime WHAS-TV anchor Gary Roedemeier announced his retirement from the station earlier this evening.

Roedemeier, who has been at WHAS for 25 years, is the latest in a string of well-known, longtime Louisville news personalities to either retire or leave under "other circumstances," although, like retiring WAVE meteorologist Tom Wills, The 'Ville Voice reports that Roedemeier will still be around, at least part of the time:
"The station says Roedemeier will continue to play a role with the station and remain active with some of his interests, including the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program, WHAS-TV’s Excel Awards and perhaps some special reports."Best wishes and congratulations on your retirement, Gary. You will be missed.

POLL UPDATE: Who has the best website?

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This month's poll asks the question, "Which station has the best website?"

If you haven't yet voted, you've still got time, but I'd like to see some more responses.

Check this post for the full list of links to the sites for all of the stations in Evansville, Bowling Green, Louisville and Nashville.

With 6 votes so far, here is how they shake down -- stations without votes are NOT listed:
WEHT, 4 votes (66%)WAVE, 3 votes (50%)WFIE, 1 vote (16%)WEVV, 1 vote (16%)WNKY, 1 vote (16%)WDRB, 1 vote (16%)WTVF, 1 vote (16%)WZTV, 1 vote (16%)KET, 1 vote (16%)When you vote, you may vote for as many stations as you like, because sometimes you can't pick just one.

The poll will close at midnight CDT on May 31, and the top vote-getter in each market will receive the "Best Website" award.

In the event of a tie in any market, we will have a five-day runoff vote beginning at noon CDT on June 1 and ending at noon CDT on June 5.

Some WTVW viewers to lose signal with switch to digital

Yesterday, I reported that some WSIL viewers will lose the Harrisburg, Ill. ABC station's signal when the station turns off its analog transmitter one month from today.

In watching Evansville Fox affiliate WTVW over the past several days, I noticed that some viewers will lose that station's signal as well, and in southeastern Illinois, some residents of the following counties won't be able to watch Fox programming at all if they have no cable or satellite service:
WayneWhiteHamiltonSalineGallatinHardinViewers in the following counties will lose WTVW's programming, but may be able to receive programming from Terre Haute Fox affiliate WFXW (38.1):
Richland, Ill.Lawrence, Ill.Knox, Ind.Daviess, Ind.Martin, Ind.Viewers in these counties should be able to receive programming from Louisville Fox affiliate WDRB (41.1):
Orange, Ind.Crawford, Ind.Breckinridge, Ky.Viewers in these counties should be able to receive programming from Bowling Green Fox affiliate WBKO-FOX (13.2):
Ohio, K…

NewsHour getting new look, returning to two-anchor format

No, Jim Lehrer isn't retiring.

He is, however, getting a sidekick.

Since Robert MacNeil retired 14 years ago, Lehrer, 75, has anchored PBS' The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer solo. That will change this September, when the show will get a new name -- PBS NewsHour -- and three co-anchors will take turns sitting in with Lehrer, or in his stead when he is off.

The co-anchors, all longtime NewsHour regulars, will be Gwen Ifill, Judy Woodruff and Jeffrey Brown, according to today's New York Times.

The Times reports the show will undergo several changes to make it more lively and better integrated with PBS' other news and public affairs programming. As for the return to the two-anchor format, PBS insists they aren't planning for Lehrer to retire any time soon, despite the longtime host's recent heart-valve replacement surgery.

The NewsHour is available in the JDTVB viewing area on KET, WNIN, WKYU, and WNPT.

An early flip of the switch across the country? Maybe ...

The Washington Post reports this morning that the FCC is working with broadcasters to possibly do an early switch -- just for a few minutes, mind you -- from analog to digital on May 21, just nine days from today.

It would only be a test, so people can see exactly if they're ready for the transition ... or not.

As of three months ago, there were 6.5 million households across the country that were unprepared to make the switch, according to Nielsen; but, given Nielsen's well-known difficulties in getting ratings out, I'm not sure the number was really that high then.

So, will it happen? I'm not sure, but when I find out, you'll know.

Nexstar chief financial officer resigns

Looks like Deathstar -- I mean, Nexstar -- is looking for a new CFO this morning.

Matthew Devine, the broadcasting company's money honcho for the past three years, has stepped down, and Nexstar VP Shirley Green will take the reins while the search for a new CFO is undertaken.

Of course, while it's probably a fairly stressful job, there's not much money to play with at Nexstar ... their stock, which is listed on NASDAQ, closed at all of 71 cents yesterday.

Nexstar Broadcasting is the owner of Evansville Fox affiliate WTVW (7).

WSIL damaged by Friday storms?

I've not been able to confirm anything, but I understand that Harrisburg, Ill. ABC affil WSIL might have been knocked off the air during the severe storms which blew across southern Missouri and southern Illinois on Friday.

If anyone in the WSIL/KPOB/K10KM viewing area could shed some light on this, it would be GREATLY appreciated.

---

In other WSIL news, they have posted the list of counties which could lose the station's signal when the analog transmitter is shut off on June 12.

In Illinois:
WayneEdwards
In Indiana:
PoseyVanderburgh
In Kentucky:
HendersonWebsterHopkinsCaldwellLyonMarshallGravesCallowayHickmanFulton
In Missouri:
MississippiNew MadridScottBollingerSt. Genevieve Some of these counties (particularly the Indiana counties and Henderson, Webster and Hopkins counties in Kentucky) will be able to view ABC programming on Evansville station WEHT. However, the other counties might be out of luck. KPOB's digital signal may cover a portion of some of the Missouri counties list…

It's a quiet day ...

... and I HATE it!

There's not much going on in the DTV world worth writing about, at least not much that I think you'd be interested in reading. So I decided to spend the day outside and really enjoyed it.

If you've seen or heard anything that you believe is newsworthy, shoot me an e-mail (jnewkirk77at att dot net), tweet me (JNewkirk77 on Twitter) or leave a comment here.

Have a great night, everybody!

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all of our moms out there. I hope you'll pardon me for taking a break from keeping track of the latest news to send out a quick note to the Moms in my family:
My MomMy wife, GingerMy sister-in-law, MeganMy mother-in-law, CarolMy stepmother-in-law, Jackie
Grandma VenusGrandma JoyMildredAM (you know who you are!)
God bless all of you. You are a blessing to all of us!

And to all of our Moms out there, may this be a wonderful and blessed day for each of you.

The 250th Post -- News Roundup, May 3-9

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Lots of goodies to line up and put in a nice, neat package this week, so let's get right to it:

WHAS ADDS ACCUWEATHER SUBCHANNEL
Louisville's ABC affiliate now has a weather subchannel, 11.2, produced by AccuWeather.

WFIE OFFERS SNEAK PEEK AT NBC FALL LINEUP
Evansville's NBC affiliate gave us all a brief look at the new shows that we can expect to see on the Peacock Network.

NEW LOOK FOR JDTVB, AND A NEW POLL FOR THE MONTH OF MAY
I've given JDTVB another new look, one that I think you'll find more pleasing to the eye and less distracting. Also, I finally posted this month's poll regarding stations' websites. Which do you think is best? Vote!

WEVV OFFERING A LUCKY VIEWER THE OPPORTUNITY TO "FLIP THE SWITCH"
If you are the lucky winner of the "Flip the Switch" contest from Evansville CBS affil WEVV, you'll get to throw the switch that takes WEVV's analog signal off the air on June 12. It's an interesting twist ...

WEHT DEBUTS NEW OW…

Severe damage reported in Missouri from today's storms

The line of severe storms that is headed for the JDTVB coverage area has a history of doing extensive damage in southwestern Missouri, and ended up blowing across southern Illinois leaving damage there as well. The winds blew through Carbondale, Ill. at 105 miles per hour!

Click here for a complete list from KYTV in Springfield, MO.

Some of the more significant damage noted:
Roofs blown off of several schools in SW MissouriHalf of KSNF-TV tower blown down on houses and vehicles in Joplin, MO;Approximately 60,000 customers without power in the Joplin area
Boat dock destroyed at Udall on Norfork Lake in southeast Ozark County, MOSeveral homes destroyed and damaged, cars overturned, extensive damage to outbuildings and power poles along Highway U in Pomona in Howell County, MOSeveral deaths were reported, including two people south of Poplar Bluff, Mo., who were killed when a tree fell on their van.

More Louisville helicopter news

No sooner had I passed the word that WLKY (32, CBS, Louisville) got a new helicopter, than I read in The 'Ville Voice that WHAS (11, ABC) and WAVE (3, NBC) are in talks to perhaps share a chopper. Both stations currently have their own birds.

In these lean economic times, though, it seems competitors are putting away the daggers and chains and extending olive branches ... at least on things as expensive as a helicopter. TVV says the cost of flying a chopper is about $400,000 per annum ... and that's not a pittance by anybody's math.

There's no deal yet, but I'll let you know when/if one does come to pass.

###

Now back to WLKY's new bird -- just a quick note: It is a brand-new helicopter, and the station has signed a long-term lease for it. That, too, comes from The 'Ville Voice.

Audio problems hamper some NEWS25 viewers' morning ritual

If you're a regular viewer of NEWS25 Daybreak on WEHT and have NewWave Cable -- at least in the Madisonville and Hartford, Kentucky areas -- you've probably noticed there's no audio this morning on WEHT.

The issue began when the station was apparently hit by lightning during the severe thunderstorms that rolled through the area early this morning. Following the strike, the station's over-the-air digital signal was out of commission for a short while, although the analog signal stayed on the air.

UPDATE, 7:25 AM: NEWS25 Daybreak anchor Jon Chrisos relays the following message from WEHT Engineering -- "(The problem is) with NewWave, not us."

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On a lighter note, the same storm that produced the lightning which struck WEHT dumped just shy of 1.5" of rain on JDTVB HQ, most of that within a 35-minute timeframe!

I always wanted to be the king of my own castle ... I just didn't ask for a moat to go with it!

WSIL digital translator update

I don't ordinarily cover the Cape Girardeau-Harrisburg-Paducah market, but RabbitEars.info has information on the forthcoming digital translator for the Cape Girardeau area that will simulcast the digital signal of WSIL (3, ABC, Harrisburg).

The original plan was for K10KM (10), which already serves the city with an analog signal, to go digital in February, but when the transition was delayed to June 12, WSIL's management elected to hold off. Now they have filed for an extension to June 12, when WSIL and its full-power Poplar Bluff, Mo. translator, KPOB (15), go all digital.

The delay is also necessary because the digital equipment is not yet in place, according to the FCC filing.

As justification for the extension, WSIL's management cites potential confusion among the station's viewers if only the low-power transmitter were switched, followed by the others. Makes sense to me.

14WFIE's afternoon lineup changing this fall

Oprah Winfrey and her friends are going to rule the entire afternoon schedule at WFIE (14.1, NBC, Evansville) starting in September.

Jeopardy! is moving to 1:30 PM (it's at 2:30 now), followed by the new Dr. Oz show (starring Dr. Mehmet Oz) at 2:00. Dr. Phil will stay at 3:00, and -- of course -- Oprah will continue to hold down the 4:00 slot.

I'm not yet sure of the exact date in September when these changes will take place, but I will post it as soon as I know.

WLKY taking to the air -- literally -- in the mornings

Louisville CBS affiliate WLKY has decided to go where its competitors haven't, at least not thus far.

The station's helicopter, "NewsChopper 32.1," will be used during the morning newscast to cover traffic and breaking news, according to this article from Business First.

The article goes on to state that all four of the major stations in Louisville have their own choppers.

Iowa company wins auction for WBKI

As I reported previously, Louisville's CW affiliate, WBKI, went to auction recently. The winner has been announced, and it's not the local group that had hoped to pick up the station.

The lucky bidder is Iowa-based Fusion Communications.

Fusion, doing business as Louisville TV Group LLC, will take over the station once the FCC approves the sale.

BEHIND THE SCENES: How live shots are done

Have you ever wondered how local TV stations' live shots are done? I know I have. You can wonder no longer, because Stuart Peck, Western Kentucky reporter for WFIE 14News, shows us how it's done in this informative video:

FCC working on new rules for digital replacement translators

Stations that have difficulty reaching viewers in their former analog coverage areas with their digital transmitters could be in luck.

The FCC is working on new rules to allow stations to use low-power translators to more closely replicate their former analog coverage areas. In addition, some stations have found areas well within their digital coverage areas that don't receive the signal, and translators could help to eliminate those gaps in coverage.

Broadcasting & Cable reports that the Commission could release the new rules for such translators as early as this week.

Interestingly, unlike other translator stations, the licenses for these new translators will be tied to the station's main DTV license and could not be sold separately from a main station.

"Soft tests" again

Broadcasting & Cable reports today that the FCC is looking at another round of "soft DTV tests" to run on May 21.

The Commission wants the stations which have not yet switched off their analog transmissions to run three such tests that day -- once in the morning, once at midday, and again in the evening.

Of course, all of the stations in the JDTVB coverage area have already done this at least twice (and if I'm wrong on that, someone please correct me). But I suppose it doesn't do much good to complain, because that date is within shooting distance of the June 12 transition.

R.I.P. Dom DeLuise, 1933-2009

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It is with great sadness that I report the death of comedy legend Dom DeLuise.

According to DeLuise's son, Michael, DeLuise had been hospitalized in Los Angeles, suffering from kidney failure and respiratory problems when he died in his sleep Monday night at the age of 75.

Perhaps best known as Burt Reynolds' co-star in such films as The Cannonball Run and Cannonball Run II, DeLuise starred in numerous films and television shows. He also was a regular on the late Dean Martin's NBC variety show and briefly had his own variety show on ABC.

One of my favorite movies which featured DeLuise was Mel Brooks' Robin Hood: Men In Tights. I still crack up just at the thought of that one.

In his later years, DeLuise started a second career as a chef -- and a good one, at that. He wrote two cookbooks and enjoyed whipping up his culinary creations on morning TV.

Rest in peace, Dom. This world won't be the same without ya.

(PHOTO CREDIT: Associated Press file)

Fox dumps Mad TV and Spike Feresten ... for Wanda Sykes?

'Tis true.

The death of the long-running Mad TV is old news at Fox, but killing Talk Show with Spike Feresten ... now that is a shocker. I don't watch much late-night TV on the weekends, but Spike has earned a few of my laughs on occasion, especially with this hilarious DTV transition video:



But, alas, Spike won't be around for a fourth season. Instead, Fox is readying an hour-long (!) show at 11:00 PM Eastern that is said to be in the mold of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher ... hosted by Wanda Sykes.

The last time Fox gave Sykes a shot, we got Wanda at Large, which somehow made its way through one and a half seasons.

Don't get me wrong. Wanda Sykes is funny ... to a point. But I don't think she's as funny as Spike Feresten, nor do I think a Maheresque show will play on Fox, especially against SNL.

But I guess we'll see what happens come this fall.

LNS: Wave of the future, or the death knell for competition in local news?

Local News Service, the content-sharing program started by Chicago stations WMAQ and WFLD late last fall, has two new members, WBBM and WGN.

Each station contributes two photographers and an assignment editor. More details on what LNS is and how it works can be found here.

Count me in the ranks of the skeptical. I'm not sure pooling news gathering is a good idea, but in these fiscally troubled times, maybe it is. My big worry -- despite (sometimes good) arguments to the contrary -- is that such an effort homogenizes the news. One thing that is good about competition is that different stations can approach a story from different angles, and I don't see how that would work with LNS or a similar program.

And, to be honest, in most markets, would it work? I highly doubt it, especially in smaller markets where news departments are extremely competitive.

But if the Chicagoland stations can make it work, and work well, they may well turn out to be geniuses.

CW throws in the towel on Sunday nights

This fall, the CW network will only air five nights of programming each week, leaving affiliates to figure out what to run on the weekends.

According to this THR.com article, after outsourcing the Sunday night programming to MRC flopped last year, the honchos at the network have decided to transition that night back to the affiliates.

Of course, some of us don't get to watch ANYTHING on the CW regularly ... thanks to WAZE's owners having completely dropped the ball for those of us watching over the air, so this whole Sunday night thing is somewhat academic.

Another new look

You've probably noticed the new look for JDTVB, and I hope you'll agree that this layout is a little cleaner and simpler.

The poll and all other "gadgets" have been moved to the right side of your screen, and the Arial font should be a little easier on the eyes than the old Georgia font.

I've been looking into various templates, but none really suited my tastes like this one. Oh, yeah, I liked the old "Harbor" style I was using, but when I can simplify things a bit, I'm gonna do it. And simple can be a good thing.

OK, check it out ...

I figured out how to use WBKO and WAVE's RSS feeds to make gadgets (in the right column) like those I downloaded previously for WFIE and WTVF, so we now have news headlines from all four markets in the JDTVB coverage area up and running.

Let me know what you think!

NEWS25 debuts new Owensboro newsroom

It looks like WEHT's partnership with Regent Communications is paying off in more ways than one, as the Evansville ABC affiliate now has a satellite newsroom located at the studios of Regent-owned radio stations WBKR/WOMI in Owensboro, Ky.

The newsroom made its on-air debut earlier today.

Now NEWS25's Owensboro-based reporter Corey Allan can get his stories on air from the city he covers, instead of having to make the half-hour (or longer, depending on traffic!) trip to the station's main newsroom in Henderson.

In a tweet earlier this afternoon, the station's news director, Mark Glover, said "We're very excited about having this presence with @news25callan (Corey Allan) in Owensboro."


Want to flip the switch on June 12? WEVV might pick you!

On June 12, Evansville's CBS affiliate WEVV (44) will join the rest of the country in flipping from analog to digital, and they've decided to let one lucky Tri-State viewer flip the switch on their transmitter.

All you have to do is watch Two and a Half Men each weeknight at 6:30 PM, catch the secret word and then enter here.

You must be 18 years old or older and a resident of the Indiana, Illinois or Kentucky counties in the Evansville DMA.

FINALLY! The May Poll is going up! Who has the best website in each market?

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Once again, it took me a while to figure out what to ask this month, but I think I've got it, so the following poll is now up and running:

WHICH STATION HAS THE BEST WEBSITE?

You may vote for any station you wish in any market (Evansville, Bowling Green, Louisville, Nashville). The top vote-getter in each market will receive the "Best Website" award for that market.

As you vote, ask yourself the following questions:
Is the website user-friendly?Do you have to search for what you want, or is it easy to find at a click?
Is the website informative?If the site has integrated video, how well does it work?
If the website has news coverage, is it kept up to date?Does the site load quickly?Are there problems with portions of the site (broken links, etc.)?
You may also decide to use other criteria as well. That's up to you. So, with all that out of the way, here are the contestants:

In the Evansville market:
WTVWWNINWFIEWAZEWEHTWEVVIn the Bowling Green market:
WBKOWNKYIn the Louisvi…

Have you noticed?

Last week, I put up new local news feeds from Evansville (courtesy of WFIE 14NEWS) and Nashville (courtesy of WTVF NewsChannel5), but I'm still looking for feeds (using the same technology, hopefully) for Bowling Green and Louisville.

If you know where I can find them, or if you have them, please leave me a comment.

14WFIE offers sneak peek at NBC's fall lineup

Evansville NBC affiliate WFIE (14) has a sneak peek at NBC's fall primetime lineup. There are a few new series coming to the Peacock Network, including four dramas and two comedies, but I'm more interested, personally, in the new "Jay Leno Show," which will air each weeknight at 9:00 PM Central.

I won't steal 14's thunder, so to read up on the new kids on the block and those returning for another season, check out the story over there.

NBC plans to release their full fall schedule on May 19.

WHAS adds AccuWeather Network subchannel, and other Louisville market news

I don't have full details yet, but in the RabbitEars Mailer I received last night (thanks, Trip!), I noticed that Louisville ABC affiliate WHAS (11) has added the AccuWeather Network on channel 11.2.

The AccuWeather Network is available in a number of markets across the country.

One wonders, however, if this setup is cheaper to put on the air than using the station's own personnel and technology ...

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WJYL-CA (16, Jeffersonville) has made a few changes to its channel lineup. Here's what the guys at RabbitEars.info have been able to nail down:
16.1 -- TBN16.2 -- Church Channel16.3 -- WNDA News (7:00 PM-10:00 PM); Smile of a Child (10:00 PM-7:00 PM)16.4 -- JCTV16.5 -- Praise 1600 (radio, audio only)16.6 -- (audio only, unknown)WNDA's website (Indiana9.com) states that they "will be moving to channel 9.1 coming in April," but I've heard no word of that coming to fruition.

NOT TV RELATED: This is your brain on foreign cars.

NEWS ROUNDUP, April 26 - May 2

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Here's what we covered this week here at JDTVB:

LOUISVILLE CW STATION ON THE AUCTION BLOCK
Since Cascade Broadcasting is looking to get out of the TV ownership biz, they've decided to sell WBKI (34, Louisville) at auction. A local group has submitted a bid.

BEA ARTHUR, 1922-2009
Beloved actress Bea Arthur (Maude, The Golden Girls) died of cancer last weekend at the age of 86.

SOUTH CENTRAL COMMUNICATIONS SELLS FINAL TV STATION
Evansville-based South Central Communications Corporation, former owner of Evansville CW affiliate WAZE, has sold its last TV station, WMAK (7, Knoxville, Tenn.) to Daystar, a Christian broadcasting network. South Central continues to own 13 radio stations in three states.

LIN TV CHOOSES MOBILE NEWS SERVICE
The owner of four CBS affiliates in Indiana (WISH/Indianapolis, WLFI/Lafayette, WANE/Fort Wayne and WTHI/Terre Haute) has chosen to use NOW's wireless news service for local viewers with mobile phones and other such equipment.

LONGTIME WEHT CHILDREN'…

Want to build your own VHF antenna? NashDigie shows us how!

You've seen here at JDTVB the plans for building your own UHF antenna (which is fine for most DTV viewing), but some channels will be moving to VHF, if they aren't there already.

JDTVB's Nashville Correspondent, NashDigie, has the plans on his website to help you build your own VHF antenna. It looks to be a little more involved, but not terribly complicated.

I'm going to be trying this within the next few weeks, so check it out for yourself, and if you decide to build one, by all means, let us know how it comes out!

Call for Suggestions: Poll questions

Good afternoon, readers! I hope your Friday is going well. Things are great here at JDTVB HQ, except for one little thing:

I have NO ideas for poll questions this month.

None at all.

So, if you have any ideas, PLEASE leave a comment on this post, tweet me (my Twitter name is JNewkirk77) or e-mail me at jnewkirk77 (at) att (dot) net.

Up next ... the weekend weather forecast from the JDTVB SkyTracker Forecast Center.

MOST TRUSTED SEVERE WEATHER COVERAGE - Evansville

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Saving the contest between the "home folks" for last, we now come to the Most Trusted Severe Weather Coverage award for the Evansville area.

In what was by far the most lopsided (and most voted in) contest of the four markets JDTVB covers, NEWS25 WEHT's First Warning Doppler team took home the honors.

The First Warning Doppler team took an amazing 72% of the vote -- 27 out of 37 votes cast -- compared to 13% for WFIE and 2% for WTVW.

Congratulations to Chief Meteorologist Wayne Hart and meteorologists David Heckard and Scott Dimmich. We salute you!

MOST TRUSTED SEVERE WEATHER COVERAGE - Bowling Green

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Congratulations to the First Alert weather team at WBKO, the winners of this spring's Most Trusted Severe Weather Coverage award for the Bowling Green area.

WBKO carried all of the votes (60%) for those watching any station in the area, defeating WNKY; however, 40% of voters chose "none of the above."

The members of the First Alert Storm Team are:
Chris AllenJason BerryShane HolindeFinally, thank you to our readers for your participation this month.

MOST TRUSTED SEVERE WEATHER COVERAGE - Louisville

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It is with great pleasure that we present Louisville's Spring 2009 award for Most Trusted Weather Coverage During Severe Weather Events to WAVE-3.

The WAVE-3 team handily beat out WHAS, WLKY and WDRB, carrying 54% of the vote.

WHAS came in second with 18% and WDRB garnered 9% of the vote. WLKY earned no votes.

Our congratulations to the WAVE-3 Weather Staff:
John BelskiTom WillsKevin HarnedAndy WeingartenAngie Glotzbach

And, finally, thank you to our readers, whose votes made this award possible.

MOST TRUSTED SEVERE WEATHER COVERAGE - Nashville

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It is with great pleasure that we present Nashville's Spring 2009 award for Most Trusted Severe Weather Coverage to WTVF-NewsChannel5.

The NewsChannel5 team handily beat out WKRN, WSMV and WZTV, carrying fully 50% of the vote.

WKRN and WSMV tied with 12% of the vote apiece, but "none of the above" carried 25% of the vote.

Congratulations to WTVF's Chief Meteorologist Ron Howes and the Storm5 HD Weather Team:
Lelan StatomCharlie NeeseKelly CoxAnd, finally, thank you to our readers, whose votes made this award possible.

APRIL POLL RESULTS #1: Weather Radios & Storm Sirens

Thanks for voting in April's JDTVB Polls, folks. The response was the best we've had so far.

With this part of the country now in the heart of severe weather season, I figured I'd ask questions related to severe weather. And here are the results:

DO YOU OWN A WEATHER RADIO? (24 total votes)
66% (16) said YES.33% (8) said NO.IF THERE IS A STORM SIREN NEAR WHERE YOU LIVE, CAN YOU HEAR IT? (20 total votes)
60% (12) said YES, even if they are indoors.25% (5) said YES, if they are outside.15% (3) said NO, there is not one in their area.The Most Trusted Severe Weather Coverage awards for Evansville, Bowling Green, Louisville and Nashville will be awarded in the next four posts, starting with Nashville.