Next News In HDTV – WKYC?

We stumbled onto this one in a search for news about SportsTime Ohio.

A Broadcasting & Cable Magazine article on local TV stations doing HD sports broadcasts delves further into the relationship between Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3 and STO. WKYC produces not only its own schedule of 20 Indians games, but also the entire Indians schedule for SportsTime Ohio as a part of the 10 year pact with the team.

But although there are more details about that relationship in the article by Ken Kerschbaumer, including details of WKYC renting a remote HD production truck out of Columbus for its away games, we note this piece of news at the end of the article:

“On April 7, the station is scheduled to flip the switch on a full HD conversion. All local news and talk-show content will be shot, produced and delivered in high-definition.”

We don’t believe that actually happened on Friday, as WKYC’s 90 minute “Cleveland Celebrates” pre-pre-game show was not aired in HDTV…though the 30 minute “Indians On-Deck” pre-game show and the game itself were in HD on WKYC. And the Sunday night 6 PM edition of “Channel 3 News” is not in HDTV tonight.

But…we predicted this one before. WKYC owner Gannett has been at the forefront of conversion to HDTV in its local newscasts. It’s already added or announced HD newscasts in at least three other markets – Washington DC, Atlanta and Minneapolis, in addition to an existing HD news operation in Denver. WKYC’s broadcast facility (the “Digital Broadcast Center”) is relatively new, and the conversion to HD for local news probably isn’t as big a deal as it would be for, oh, we don’t know, maybe WOIO/19? They barely have an “Analog Broadcast Center” in the basement of the Reserve Square office/apartment complex in downtown Cleveland.

WJW “FOX 8” blazed the HD news trail here, of course, and has reportedly been looking at upgrading equipment to provide remote HDTV feeds for news live shots, the “SkyFOX” helicopter and the like, not to mention local commercial production.

The sentence above has us wondering if WKYC will also shoot recorded news video in HD – which WJW does not right now – and if it means HD for the station’s “Good Company” mid-morning talk show.

Whenever WKYC goes HD in local news, that’ll leave WOIO and WEWS/5 as the odd stations out in the HD game…and make Cleveland one of the few TV markets in the country with competing HDTV local newscasts…

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