While Waiting For The Indians Shoe To Drop

OMW’s gotta give it to Roger Brown, the Plain Dealer’s often maligned sports/media columnist. Check out his Monday column, titled “FSN stands for ‘Find Something New'”. If nothing else, he gets a few points for coining that!

We’re still in a holding pattern, as the Cleveland Indians and Time Warner Cable, along with Gannett-owned NBC affiliate WKYC/3, cross the T’s and dot the I’s on their new agreement. But we’ve been looking for hints about how it’ll shape up, and have found these:

* An article in the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum brings us word that an Indians/TWC deal would apparently also include the TWC Columbus-based systems – no surprise there, but it’s now in print courtesy of the company’s Columbus-based spokeswoman. She wouldn’t confirm a deal, but said the Columbus arm of Time Warner is involved in the talks already reported.

* The Akron Beacon Journal’s R.D. Heldenfels reports that assuming the deal does go through, games would apparently be carried on TWC’s existing local programming channel, position 23. That’s the same place that the WKYC-produced “Akron/Canton News” landed after the Gannett/PAX-TV deal came to an end. (Heldenfels’ article notes that TWC was apparently confirming the deal that day, on Monday of last week, but backed off on the official confirmation at the last minute.)

Would this mean TWC 23 would be converted to the Indians network channel? Probably not. It’s just a guess from this corner, but we get the feeling that the games themselves would be on that channel only because it would take some time to ramp up the full-fledged Indians Network, and they have to put the games somewhere with the season starting in just a few months.

We’d expect the games, pre and post-game shows, and maybe other stuff (Les Levine’s show, perhaps?) on TWC 23 in year one of the deal, and a new 24/7 channel starting in year two.

(All of the above is speculation, and based on our expectations. For one, though we know Levine has said on his website that TWC was “interested” in continuing Adelphia’s deal with him, we don’t know if they’ve actually talked yet.)

It should be noted that Time Warner/Northeast Ohio’s sister systems in Charlotte and Raleigh recently nabbed the rights for the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, and air them on TWC’s existing 24/7 news network “News 14 Carolina”, along with an existing channel on the company’s systems in the Greensboro market. Before TWC got the Bobcats, the team started its own cable network…which generated lukewarm response, possibly because it was buried in Digital Cable Land…

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