FOX 8’s HD News – A Ratings Grabber?

Surely, you’ve seen those little promos on local FOX O&O WJW/8’s “FOX 8 News”…where the deep-voiced announcer proclaims proudly that the newscast is “nowwwwww broadcasting…in…. HIGH DEFINITION”, while a “FOX 8 HD” logo appears onscreen.

FOX 8 is one of a handful of local news operations in the nation to broadcast its local news content in HD. Well, most of it. (More on that, later.)

OMW stumbled upon an October article at – which gives readers an inside look at how WJW got to HD local news production, and what’s in the future. It quotes the station’s VP of Engineering as even crediting the new technology for helping FOX 8 increase its ratings! TVTechnology’s Claudia Kienzle quotes FOX 8’s Tom Creter that after the newscast went HD:


“…in the February, May, and July 2005 books, we have been number one in the market for news for almost every newscast,” Creter said. “While our high-quality news content contributed to that success, you can’t rule out the impact that the superior HD picture quality and enhanced sound had on both the digital and analog audiences.”


While we’re big HD fans here at OMW – with even a digital USB HDTV tuner used on our laptop computer – we’re not as sure about that. But Creter’s right when it comes to the analog/SD quality…even when FOX 8 installed the HD cameras in 2002, and was using them in SD, the FOX 8 News studio picture was noticably sharper than the other local affiliates’ newscasts…in particular a certain technologically-straggling CBS/UPN affiliate combo in the basement of a certain downtown Cleveland condominium building. (Hey, it’s just too easy! Sorry…)

Anyway, though it’s quite technical, the article talks about FOX 8’s extensive future HD plans, which will include local commercial and other production (Big Chuck and Lil John in HD?), HD live cameras to replace the SD widescreen used now in the field, and even a new 720p camera for “Sky Fox”.

The latter will have to wait until technology catches up with FOX 8, though other 720p stations are up in the air in HD-equipped helicopters now…including sister station WNYW/5 in New York City, and ABC’s two largest O&O’s, WABC/7 in NYC and KABC/7 in Los Angeles…

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