Cincinnati’s CW Goes to WKRC/12

We’re not going to say we called it, but sure enough, one of our predictions has happened again.

Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports that Clear Channel CBS affiliate WKRC/12 will pick up the new CW Network and place it on one of its digital subchannels. It’s a part of a group deal between CW and three Clear Channel television stations…the other two are in Salt Lake City and Little Rock AR.

Since the moment that Sinclair WB affiliate WSTR/64 joined a number of its sister stations in picking up FOX/NewsCorp’s My Network TV, we’ve speculated that the Cincinnati market’s existing UPN affiliate could end up NOT being the local CW Network affiliate. That station is low-power Class A outlet WBQC-CA/38, owned locally by Cincinnati resident Elliott Block and his Block Broadcasting.

Block has something of a history with CW co-owner Time Warner, once declaring “war” on the company’s Cincinnati system in an attempt to gain carriage of his station. TWC relented enough to charge Block for a 6 hour prime-time programming block on a channel otherwise carrying local infomercials and weather information.

When Block told a Cincinnati newspaper that CW officials hadn’t been returning his calls, after the WSTR/My Network TV announcement, we knew something was up. In the end, it’s Clear Channel’s financial and marketing muscle that wins out for the new network, which apparently decided that it wasn’t worth seriously negotiating with a scrappy LPTV outlet.

That, and Block had his own spin after finally talking to CW…wondering openly in a newspaper article if CW was worth paying for. (The new network is asking for “reverse compensation”, direct monetary payment from its affiliates.)

The future of WBQC? Well, Block may well try to program it as an independent station. He’s already hinted that he could increase local programming without UPN to fill prime-time. But without that UPN affiliation, it’ll be tough…and unlike Block, WKRC/Clear Channel should have no problem getting cable affiliates to sign up…

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