20 Years of TV Fright

Last week, local TV movie host Keven Scarpino – otherwise known as the spooky looking “Son of Ghoul” – celebrated his 20th year on the local airwaves. “Son of Ghoul” has been planted for roughly half of that time on WNIR/100.1-owned low-power combo WAOH-LP/29 – W35AX, otherwise known as “The CAT”.

That placement has meant longevity for the show, but less visibility…due to the small range of the Akron and Cleveland based signals – actually based in Portage County’s Brimfield Township and in the Cleveland suburb of Parma – and spotty local cable TV presence. Though WAOH has been on Time Warner Cable’s Akron system for some time, the Cleveland-based Adelphia system only carries it in some service areas – not including the largest part of the system.

Scarpino tells the Beacon Journal’s R.D. Heldenfels that despite once being sued by original “Ghoul” Ron Sweed, he considers his act more of a homage to the man both men descend from in the Northeast Ohio Late Night Movie Host pantheon… the late Ernie Anderson, who started his long TV career as “Ghoulardi” on WJW/8. A more direct descendent in the lineage, WJW’s “Big Chuck” Schodowski, actually worked directly with Anderson, and still works with “Lil John” Rinaldi on the station.

Oddly enough, Scarpino’s old station is once again going through changes. WOAC/67’s owner, Scripps’ Shop at Home TV, is shutting down nationwide on Thursday. A Knoxville TN-based outlet, Jewelry Television, is reportedly buying many of the network’s assets, but not the SAH over-air TV stations like the Canton-licensed WOAC.

There’s no word yet on what programming Channel 67 will feature when the shopping network shuts down. The Scripps ownership makes WOAC a corporate sibling of Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5, but there’s no indication that there will be any direct connection between the two outlets… and there never has been…

UPDATE 1:16 AM 6/21/06 – An OMW reader tips us off to the presence of the aforementioned Jewelry Television on the Shop at Home feed, starting just a few minutes ago (which is midnight Central time – both operations are based in that time zone). A scroll that’s been running on the network says “the new Shop at Home returns Friday at 12:00 AM CT”. The SAH website is down for “technical upgrades and enhancements”.

Jewelry Television is reportedly buying the SAH satellite uplink facilities, among other things, which would likely explain the change this morning. As far as we know, they’re not taking over the over-air stations.

We’d expect the Jewelry Television folks to launch a rebranded Shop at Home Friday, and that programming to continue to run on WOAC and the other over-air stations until a new buyer takes the broadcast stations over…

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