SportsTime Ohio/Indians Network Update – FOX Youngstown HD

OMW can confirm what we saw on the web site of Youngstown FOX affiliate WYFX (“Fox 17/62”) – the station will indeed be the Youngstown market home of the over-air Cleveland Indians broadcasts that will air in Cleveland on NBC affiliate WKYC/3.

We also can clear up the HDTV situation with the over-air broadcasts. We understand that markets outside Cleveland will only be fed a standard/analog signal, and that HDTV broadcasts of the over-air games will only be seen on flagship WKYC…at least this season, at any rate.

Of course, the 63 HDTV home games on SportsTime Ohio will be seen on any cable system which carries the STO HD feed. For example, Time Warner Cable subscribers in Columbus and mid-Ohio will have the HD games on cable channel 752. But whichever Columbus station ends up carrying the games from WKYC, it’s our understanding that they won’t have the HD feed available for the broadcast games.

We’d also guess that whatever satellite providers sign up with STO will be offered the HD feed as well, but that’s just a guess at this point.

We did pick up another semi-related news nugget about WYFX. The FOX affiliate co-owned with CBS affiliate WKBN/27 cannot do HDTV over the airwaves, since it’s actually a pair of LPTV stations with no paired digital channel for either station. And although the FCC will allow LPTV/Class A stations to apply for a second digital channel in May, it doesn’t appear there is any room for such an additional channel in the Youngstown market.

But…all hope is not lost for folks wanting HDTV from FOX in the Youngstown market, but who don’t want to put up an antenna to try to get WJW FOX 8 out of Cleveland or WPGH FOX 53 out of Pittsburgh.

OMW hears from WKBN/WYFX engineering that the station will be providing a fiber optic feed of FOX 17/62 with FOX HD to Armstrong Cable in the Youngstown area. We understand that the station is also talking to other providers, though we have no details about those talks at this time. The cable-only feed is more and more becoming an option for low-power network affiliates who can’t provide an over-air digital feed….

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