Entries in Television Category

Television: Newsmakers Jan 2, 2008



Detroit Free Press:

The government is now offering $40 coupons that consumers can use to apply towards the cost of a converter box that will let their old analog TV work when the complete switch to digital television takes place in a little over a year. A government-run Digital TV Website began offering the coupons New Year's Day. Consumers fill out a very simple form and, sometime late next month or in March when the converters go on sale, the site promises to mail out coupons that will give a $40 discount on the cost of the converters. You can get up to two of the coupons per household... Get your digital TV converter coupon (Wed, 1/2)


Television: Newsmakers Jan 11, 2008



Detroit Free Press:

Michigan lawmakers are crafting a bill to reverse Comcast's plan to exile public access programming from the low-numbered stations to digital-only channels positioned in the 900s. State Reps. Tory Rocca, R-Sterling Heights, and Steve Bieda, D-Warren, are drafting the bill, which is to go before the Legislature next week. Although it won't be introduced until after the cable provider's Tuesday switch, if approved, the bill would require Comcast to revert to the original format. In order to pass, it must get 56 House and 20 Senate votes. Meanwhile, Bieda brought forth a nonbinding resolution Wednesday to the House, vocalizing his opposition to Comcast's plan. The Macomb County politicians joined the fight against Comcast after hearing complaints from local leaders and constituents in their districts. They say Comcast's requirement that 1.3 million Michigan subscribers go digital is a major inconvenience and is possibly violating a federal law that ensures government channels are in basic cable packages... Comcast channel changes opposed (Fri, 1/11)

The city of Dearborn and Meridian Township near Lansing sued Comcast cable in federal court in Detroit today to block a plan that would move local access channels up the dial on Tuesday and require non-digital basic subscribers to get digital converter boxes to continue receiving those channels. “They are taking away a service that should be provided to subscribers,” said Deborah Guthrie, Meridian Township cable coordinator, after the suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit. She said Comcast’s unilateral decision would cost basic subscribers $4 to $5 per month per television for access boxes — over and above the free box Comcast is offering subscribers with analogue televisions for one year... Lawsuit filed to block Comcast channel moves (Fri, 1/11)

Grand Rapids Press:

Jon Koeze, administrator of the city's cable television access Channel 26, does not score big ratings on most evenings. Now he is afraid a switch by Comcast cable will ruin one of his biggest nights of the year Tuesday. City cable subscribers who look for city results from Tuesday's presidential primary election will not find them on Channel 26. That is because Comcast is moving its public, educational and government channels to Channel 915 that same day. Unless viewers have a converter box from Comcast or own the latest digital-compatible television, they will not be able to tune into Channel 915, Koeze said... Comcast switch may limit GR's election coverage (Fri, 1/11)

Lansing State Journal:

Communities across mid-Michigan are running into the fallout of a 2006 state law altering oversight of cable television. The consensus view appears to be one of unhappiness at changes in which community content will appear. The most viable solution: Look more to the technology of the Internet to deliver community and school news. Causing the angst is cable giant Comcast's decision to move public access channels from their traditional home in the basic cable tier (think low-numbered channels) to new slots in the 900-range. Unfortunately, the way to access the 900-range is to have Comcast's digital (pricier) service, or acquire a special converter box to capture the public channels... Public TV: Comcast shift on public access enhances importance of Web (Fri, 1/11)

Muskegon Chronicle:

Viewers of Muskegon City Commission action televised over government access channel 97 will have to obtain a digital converter box if they want to keep watching after Tuesday. Comcast Cable Communications is moving the local government programming to channel 915, despite a city commission resolution requesting the existing channel locations be maintained. Public education programming, including that of Muskegon Community College, will move to Comcast channel 902, local religious access to channel 924 and Michigan Government Television to 187. To receive any of those channels, viewers will need a converter box if they don't already have digital-ready television sets or subscribe to Comcast's digital cable service... Public channel TV viewers will need to convert (Thu, 1/10)


Government Mandated End of Analog Television Set for February 17, 2009. Michigan Association of Broadcasters Developing Consumer Information and Education Program

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) is urging Michigan citizens to make sure they are prepared for the upcoming transition to digital television. Under federal law, analog television broadcasting is scheduled to end on February 17, 2009. At that time all television broadcasting will be transmitted in a digital format only. (Note: some low power television stations will be allowed to continue broadcasting their analog signals after this date, but will also eventually be switching to a digital format)

“The transition to digital television represents a major transition in television history,” said MAB Board Chairman Bart Brandmiller, Director of Sales for Clear Channel Radio in West Michigan. “Though the transition presents some challenges for broadcasters and consumers, we will do everything in our power to see that Michigan citizens will be fully prepared.”

The federal government mandated the switch from traditional analog television to digital in order to conserve limited spectrum space at a time when demand is high for wireless devices and emergency first responder need. Digital television (DTV) broadcasts significantly higher quality pictures and sound than the analog format. DTV also provides more variety in programming through digital sub-channels or multicasting, and will vacate the current analog spectrum, leaving it available for the Federal Communications Commission to auction off for new technologies.

Traditional analog television sets are not compatible with the digital format. In order to receive digital television, consumers will need to take one of the following steps before February 17, 2009:

1) Switch to a cable, satellite or telephone company service provider, in which case analog sets will continue to function. Consumers that already receive their television signals through cable, satellite or telephone companies will see no difference, and will not be required to purchase new equipment;

2) Purchase a new TV set with a built-in digital tuner; or

3) Purchase a DTV converter box that will convert the new digital signal into the old format for an existing analog television set. Analog TV consumers may also require a new set top antenna depending on the antenna they already have.

The federal government has set aside $1.5 billion to fund a program to provide coupons towards the purchase of converter boxes. There are four ways consumers can apply for a coupon:

• Apply online at www.dtv2009.gov

• Call the coupon program’s 24-hour hot line, 888-388-2009;

• Mail a coupon application to P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000; or

• Fax a coupon application to 877-388-4632.

Converter boxes will be available through many major electronic retailers.

One of the challenges in the DTV transition is ensuring that all Michigan citizens are aware of the scheduled end of analog broadcasting, and have the resources necessary to prepare their households for DTV. Of particular concern are the estimated 600,000 Michigan households that are receiving television signal on an over-the-air basis only. Many of those at-risk households represent elderly, economically disadvantaged and rural residents.

“Television is a crucial communications link to the world, and often times is the only resource for vital news and emergency information for many of our citizens,” said MAB President & CEO Karole White. “Purchasing a new television set may not be an option for many people, so we have to make sure that proper resources are in place so their access to emergency information via television is uninterrupted.”

MAB is developing a statewide information and education program that will be formally announced in February. The MAB DTV awareness campaign will involve a coalition of prominent organizations that represent many of the 600,000 at-risk households, as well as statewide television and radio public service announcements.

“MAB wants to ensure that every Michigan citizen is aware of this upcoming change and has the information they need to ensure they will continue to receive a television signal after February 17, 2009, said White.

The MAB has established a website with more detailed information about the DTV transition, which is www.michigandtv.com.


Television: Newsmakers Jan 15, 2008



Detroit News:

A federal judge late Monday temporarily halted plans by Comcast to move local public access channels to digital TV today. Those plans would have put the channels out of range for hundreds of thousands of basic cable subscribers in Michigan. The city of Dearborn and Meridian Township sued Comcast in federal court Friday and asked U.S. District Judge Victoria A. Roberts for an injunction to stop the move. "It gives us the opportunity to make sure there's a careful examination of what's correct before a decision is made," Dearborn Mayor John "Jack" O'Reilly said Monday night. "We just want to make sure the local programming people rely upon is going to be available to them." A Comcast spokesman said he could not immediately comment on the ruling. The channels in question typically feature coverage of local council meetings, educational programming and notices of community events... Fed judge stops Comcast's channel changes (Tue, 1/15)

Detroit Free Press:

A federal judge late Monday temporarily halted Comcast cable's plans to move community access channels higher up the dial today, putting them beyond the reach of thousands of Michigan cable subscribers with analog televisions. The decision by U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts in Detroit temporarily prevents Comcast from moving PEG -- public, educational and governmental access -- channels across the state into the 900-level digital range. The move would require subscribers with analog televisions to buy digital cable-ready televisions or rent or buy a digital converter box for each set to continue receiving those channels. Comcast, which offered to provide customers with a free converter box -- a $4-a-month value -- for one year, said the move was designed to free up bandwidth so it could offer more services, including high-definition channels, to its tech-hungry customers... Comcast channel changes on hold (Tue, 1/15)


Television: Newsmakers Jan 18, 2008



New season, new host for CCHA All Access

The second season of CCHA All Access on FSN Detroit features the same great behind-the-scenes look at college hockey’s most dynamic conference, but the show takes on a new feel with the arrival of host Michael Kosta.

Kosta, a professional stand-up comic, brings his wit, enthusiasm and energy to CCHA All Access, which is scheduled to premiere Friday, Jan. 25 at 7:00 & 10:00 PM. A new episode of the 10-week show premieres each subsequent Friday at 6:30 or 7:00 PM and also airs Saturdays at 11:00 AM.

The premiere edition is the first of a two-part episode originating from Fairbanks, Alaska where Kosta and the All Access crew was on hand to see the Alaska Nanooks host the defending national champion Michigan State Spartans. They followed first year coach Doc DelCastillo, captain T.J. Campbell, and an army of Nanook faithful to get an up-close look at hockey in the great white north. From the practice ice, to the film sessions, to the locker room speeches…from 60-below afternoon temperatures, 30-foot tall inflatable polar bears and dogsled rides, Fairbanks is unlike no other hockey town (see a preview of the first episode at www.foxsports.com/detroit).

It’s all in a weekend’s work for the crew that spans the CCHA to take you on-campus and in the middle of the action. Other destinations this season include Notre Dame, Ferris State, Bowling Green, Lake Superior State, Michigan State and Michigan.

Kosta, a native of Ann Arbor who now resides in Los Angeles, is a rising star on the comedy circuit. He is a popular act in clubs around the country, makes numerous local and national radio appearances, and has displayed his talents through television on Comedy Central, NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” and the HBO/US Comedy Festival. Kosta also is a former assistant tennis coach at Michigan and played three years in the professional ranks earning world rankings in both singles and doubles. He was two-time Michigan state high school champion at Ann Arbor Huron and was a four-time Big Ten champion at the University of Illinois where he earned his degree in speech communications. He recently authored the book 101 Tips for Winning More Tennis Matches and currently independently teaches tennis nationwide.


FSN celebrates Black History Month



FSN has announced plans to celebrate Black History Month with a series of national and local programming initiatives designed to honor the contributions of African Americans to American culture, both inside and outside the world of sports.

For the first time ever, FSN’s programming plans will include a national component, including a half-hour special – “Americans in Focus” – that chronicles compelling stories compelling stories of African Americans who struggled to overcome obstacles to achieve greatness in their field. Among those are civil rights icons with Detroit connections – Rosa Parks and Ralph Bunche:

• Americans In Focus (30-minute special) – Sat. Feb. 9 @ 6:30 PM & Mon. Feb. 18 @ 7:30 PM on FSN Detroit. This show features extraordinary achievements of African Americans and their perseverance for equality in society and/or sports during a period when racial segregation was the law of the land. Profiles include civil rights trail blazers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., legendary Detroiter Rosa Parks, Arthur Ashe, and Larry Doby, as well as former slave-turned entrepreneur Bridget “Biddy” Mason, Nobel Peace Prize-winner and Detroit native Ralph Bunche, and Charles Cooper, the first African American drafted by an NBA team.

• Black History Month Tributes, presented by Toyota – FSN Detroit commemorates Black History Month by presenting a series of 30- and 60-second tributes airing within Pistons telecasts and other programming throughout February. The tributes, presented by Toyota, were taped on Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit. Among the presenters are Pistons guard Lindsey Hunter and museum president/CEO Juanita Moore. The tributes recognize landmark events, significant accomplishments and influential individuals.

Also airing on FSN Detroit during Black History Month:

• ’51 Dons: Pride, Honor, & Friendship – Sat. Feb. 9 @ 6:00 PM & Mon. Feb. 25 @ 7:30 PM on FSN Detroit. This 30-minute program tells the story of the 1951 University of San Francisco Dons, which entered the college football season fielding a team that would go undefeated (9-0) and which produced nine NFL players, including three future Hall of Famers (Gino Marchetti, Ollie Matson, and Bob St. Clair). The team was the school’s best ever, but it never went to a bowl game. It was an era of segregation, and when the only bowl to express interest in the Dons was the Orange Bowl, promoters let it be known they would invite USF only if they left their two African-American players behind. The team refused rather than compromise their values.

• Americans in Focus (90-second vignettes). Airing during FSN’s NBA and NHL telecasts and other programming, this first-time vignette series will showcase past and present African Americans who have excelled in professions that initially were considered outside the realm of possibility for a person of color. Subjects include: Bessie Coleman, the first licensed African-American female pilot; Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut (and namesake of the Mae C. Jamison Academy in Detroit); renowned artist Ernie Barnes, one of the most collected painters in the U.S.; and photographer, writer, and filmmaker Gordon Parks, the first African American to work as staff photographer for Life Magazine.

In producing the national shows, FSN has partnered with Beezley Films, Inc., an African-American-owned, multi-media production company based in Los Angeles. FSN had previously worked with Beezley Films on the critically acclaimed Crosstown Rivals, which chronicled the historic high school football rivalry in Los Angeles between Pasadena High School and John Muir High School.

FSN’s Black History Month programming will be showcased across all of its regional sports networks.


Television: Newsmakers Feb 8, 2008



Detroit Tigers:

For the second consecutive year, the Tigers will have all but one of their games televised in their local area between FSN Detroit, FOX national and ESPN. Though rainouts or postponements could change matters, the only game currently on the schedule that won't be on television is a Saturday afternoon contest on Aug. 2 against Tampa Bay. Because the game starts at 6:10 p.m. ET, it falls inside the FOX network's exclusive broadcast window, and they did not put that game on their broadcast schedule. FSN Detroit, featuring the broadcast team of play-by-play voice Mario Impemba and analyst Rod Allen, will air as many as 151 games this season, including at least 75 in high definition on FSN HD. Three April and May games that conflict with the Detroit Pistons or the Red Wings are slated to air on FSN Plus, an alternate channel made available through cable and satellite providers... Tigers' TV slate released- Only one game not currently scheduled for broadcast (Thu, 2/7)


As the deadline for cut-off of many over-the-air analog TV signals draws closer, the Community Broadcasters Association (CBA) is warning consumers to check and make sure the digital converter boxes they will be buying to keep their analog TV's functioning contain both an NTSC (analog) and ATSC (digital) tuner.

Owners of LPTV stations, TV translator stations, and Class A stations, many of which will continue operating with an analog signal past the full-power station cut-off date of February 17, 2009, are concerned that consumers may not realize the purchase of a converter box without an NTSC tuner will not be able to receiver their stations through that converter.

The CBA is considering several options — many of which could derail the DTV transition, including filing suit — to remedy what it sees as a serious flaw in the government-sponsored DTV converter box coupon program.

The association objects to the converter box design that qualifies for the $40 reimbursement coupon from the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) because it does not include an NTSC tuner.


The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) has announced that 43 Michigan television stations are taking a rare action by simultaneously airing a 60-second consumer awareness minute on the transition to digital television. The joint airing of the consumer awareness minute will take place at 7:58-7:59 p.m. on Wednesday, February 20.

“The fact that 43 Michigan television stations have committed to airing the consumer awareness minute during this high viewership period demonstrates the commitment Michigan broadcasters have to ensuring that all Michigan citizens are aware of the digital television (DTV) transition,” said MAB President and CEO Karole White.

Under federal mandate, most analog television broadcasting will end on February 17, 2009, and be replaced by digital television. Consumers with cable, satellite services should notice no disruptions in their services. Citizens who receive their television signals over-the-air via rabbit ears or a roof top antenna must take steps to continue to receive their favorite channels. They can: subscribe to cable or satellite services, buy a new television with a digital tuner, or install a modestly priced converter box on their current set to continue to receive a television signal.

The consumer awareness minute that will air on Wednesday, February 20 is done in the form of a television news report. The message informs viewers of the DTV transition deadline, and briefly discusses steps consumers need to take to prepare their televisions for the new digital era. The message also directs consumers to get more DTV information from a website that has been developed by the MAB, which is www.michigandtv.com.

The airing of the consumer awareness minute is part of a broader MAB Digital Day being held on Wednesday at the State Capitol in Lansing. MAB and key stakeholders will use the event to announce their year-long DTV education and assistance program to help Michigan citizens prepare for the DTV transition. The MAB news conference is scheduled as follows:

MAB DTV News Conference
Wednesday, February 20
11 a.m.
State Capitol Rotunda


MAB Joined by Key Stakeholders in Year Long DTV Campaign. 600,000 At-Risk Households Targeted For A Comprehensive Education and Assistance Program

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) today announced a comprehensive yearlong campaign to educate and assist Michigan citizens for the end of analog television service, which is scheduled to occur on February 17, 2009. The federal government has mandated that local full power television stations will only broadcast in the newer digital format after that date.

“The transition to digital television or DTV is the most important development in TV since the advent of color television,” said Bart Brandmiller, MAB Chairman of the Board and Director of Sales for Clear Channel West Michigan.

“MAB and all of our local broadcasters in Michigan want to ensure that every Michigan citizen is informed about the digital transition, and will be equipped to receive a digital signal by this time next year,” said Diane Kniowski, MAB Vice Chairman/Chairman Elect and President and General Manager of WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.

Michigan broadcasters are particularly concerned about an estimated 600,000 households in the state that do not have cable or satellite, and only receive their television services over-the-air. Many of the citizens in those households are low income, elderly, rural and disadvantaged, and risk not having any television service at all after February 17, 2009.

MAB announced a comprehensive education and assistance plan to inform and assist the at-risk population in the state. Part of that strategy involves the help of a diverse group of key stakeholders who have committed to distributing DTV information to their constituents and identifying individuals who are particularly vulnerable.


FSN Detroit’s coverage of Michigan high school championship events continues this month with live presentation of the 2008 MHSAA Girls and Boys Basketball Finals on consecutive Saturdays, March 8 and 15. The girls finals are contested this Saturday, March 8, at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center. Play-by-play announcers are Dan Gutowsky (Class D & A) and John Keating (Class C & B). Serving as analyst for all four games is Greg Kelser.

The boys championship games, held Saturday, March 15 at the Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, feature play-by-play announcers Matt Shepard (Class D & C) and Keating (Class A & B), joined by analyst Kelser. Note: The boys Class C game will be seen live at 12 noon on FSN Plus, with an 11:00 PM replay on FSN Detroit. This marks the 10th consecutive year that FSN Detroit has aired the MHSAA Girls Basketball Finals, the 11th year in a row for the boys event.

Here is the lineup of the 2008 MHSAA Girls & Boys Basketball Finals on FSN Detroit,
available to 3.2 million cable and satellite homes throughout Michigan and portions of Northwest
Ohio and Northern Indiana. The participating teams are determined after semifinal action March
6-7 (girls) and March 13-14 (boys):

MHSAA Girls Basketball Finals – Saturday, March 8
Class D: 10:00 AM, LIVE (Dan Gutowsky, Greg Kelser)
Class A: 12:00 PM, LIVE (Gutowsky, Kelser)
Class C: 4:00 PM, LIVE (John Keating, Kelser)
Class B: 6:00 PM, LIVE (Keating, Kelser)

MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals – Saturday, March 15
Class D: 10:00 AM, LIVE (Matt Shepard, Kelser)
Class C: 12:00 PM, LIVE on FSN Plus* (Shepard, Kelser) – replay 11:00 PM on FSN Detroit
Class A: 4:00 PM, LIVE (Keating, Kelser)
Class B: 8:00 PM, LIVE (Keating, Kelser)

FSN Plus: Schedule and Channel Update

March and April provide a plethora of sporting events of local interest which means FSN Detroit will once again activate its auxiliary service, FSN Plus, several times in the coming weeks. On days with simultaneous games, FSN Detroit will carry one game, while cable and satellite providers make FSN Plus available to air the second contest.

Below is the upcoming schedule of FSN Plus events, which includes college and high school basketball tournament action, a Red Wings game and three early-season Tigers games:

- Sun. March 9: 7:30 pm – ACC Men’s Basketball: Maryland at Virginia
- Mon. March 10: Summit League Men’s Basketball Tournament:
    7:00 pm – Semifinal #1, 9:30 pm – Semifinal #2
- Thu. March 13: MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament:
    12:00 pm – Quarterfinal #1, 2:30 pm – Quarterfinal #2
    7:00 pm – Quarterfinal #3, 9:30 pm – Quarterfinal #4
- Fri. March 14: MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament:
    7:00 pm – Semifinal #1, 9:30 pm – Semifinal #2
- Sat. March 15: 12:00 pm – MHSAA Boys Basketball: Class C Final
- Sat. March 15: 3:00 pm – MAC Women’s Basketball Tournament: Championship Game (delayed)
- Sat. March 22: 7:00 pm – Detroit Red Wings vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (Red Wings Live at 6:30 & postgame)
- Wed. April 9: 7:00 pm – Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox (Tigers Live at 6:30 & postgame)
- Fri. April 11: 8:00 pm – Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox (Tigers Live at 7:30 & postgame)
- Tue. April 15: 7:00 PM – Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins (Tigers Live at 6:30 & postgame)

With the shutdown of the Comcast Local channel on Comcast systems across Michigan, viewers of FSN Plus will need digital service to receive the programming on either Channel 900 or 901.


Television: Newsmakers Mar 4, 2008



Detroit Free Press:

The first coupons for TV converter boxes are starting to show up in consumer mailboxes as the television industry braces for D-Day -- Feb 17, 2009 -- when old analog TV sets no longer will pull in over-the-air TV signals and the nation switches to the crisper and clearer digital mode. The coupons, which work like a gift card, bring $40 discounts to those who need the boxes, estimated at about one in ten TV households nationwide. In Michigan, that's about 1.5 million homes. The boxes, which cost $50 to $80, install between the antenna and the TV and allow normal reception on older sets. The coupons come free on request, either online at www.dtv2009.gov or by phone at 888-388-2009. They must be used within 90 days... TV industry readies for digital switch (Tue, 3/4)

The Oakland Press/AP:

he transition to digital broadcasting is the biggest thing to hit television since color. To make sure it goes smoothly, the Federal Communications Commission wants to do a test run. The digital shift will happen nationwide next February. Viewers who don't have a digital set and watch shows via an antenna will lose their picture unless they buy a converter box. The changeover has members of Congress and the FCC worried that irate viewers with no picture will direct their anger at Washington. FCC commissioner Michael Copps suggested a test run in certain markets, prior to the national shift, would be a good idea. He explained his idea Monday in a letter to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. "Broadway shows open on the road to work out the kinks before opening night," he wrote. "The DTV transition deserves no less"... Digital TV shift may get a test drive before going prime time (Tue, 3/4)


Television: Newsmakers Mar 8, 2008



Detroit Free Press:

I asked for it. In a column earlier this week about the Feb. 17, 2009, transition to digital TV, I invited readers to send me their questions. More than 100 of you did. To help clear up the confusion, I asked experts from the cable and electronics industry, government telecommunications agencies and local broadcasters to help... Clear up confusion over digital switch (Sat, 3/8)

FSN Plus programming reminder: Summit League Men's Basketball Tournament Semifinals

The Summit League men’s basketball tournament semifinals will be televised Monday, March 10 on FSN PLUS at 7:00 & 9:30 pm. Of local interest, Oakland University would play in the 9:30 game if it wins Sunday’s quarterfinal contest.


Television: Newsmakers Mar 11, 2008



Detroit News:

Could there finally be peace in our time between Comcast and the Big Ten Network? The two sides are back to active negotiations, in hopes of finally reaching an agreement. A published report Monday said the two sides were close to an agreement, but neither the BTN nor Comcast would confirm that. Allegedly, some difficult impasses have been broken, which could lead to the Big Ten Network reaching some Comcast customers by summer. The BTN, which launched August 2007, has not been carried by Comcast cable, because of long-running disagreements over carriage and fees. The biggest casualty of the blackout has been Metro Detroit's Big Ten sports fans who are Comcast customers, equaling 70 percent of the market... Comcast, BTN open talks again (Tue, 3/11)

Detroit Free Press:

The Big Ten Network appears on its way to most homes in Michigan. According to a source close to the negotiations, Comcast and the BTN have made significant progress toward a deal and only an unforeseen setback would prevent the network from being on the cable system by football season. Considering the animosity between the sides much of last fall and into the winter -- Comcast ran negative ads, especially on radio, attacking BTN -- a deal would be significant... Barring unforeseen setback, Big Ten Network and Comcast deal should get done (Tue, 3/11)


FSN Detroit will deliver 103 of its 152 Detroit Tigers telecasts this season in high-definition – a 72 percent increase from the 60 HD games offered in 2007 – starting with the March 31 season opener against the Kansas City Royals. The HD schedule includes 72 home games, 31 on the road.

The high-definition telecasts will be shown on FSN HD, a channel available on high-definition cable service provided by Comcast, Bright House Networks, Wide Open West (WOW!), Charter, Buckeye, Broadstripe (formerly Millennium), Coldwater and D&P Cable. FSN HD is also available via satellite on DIRECTV and Dish Network.

FSN Detroit began its HD telecasts in 2006 when the regional network delivered 27 Tigers games. Now, FSN Detroit is producing 160 high-def games annually among the Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons. Nationally, FSN HD is producing more than 1,000 MLB games this season, nearly double the amount of high-definition games produced in 2007.

"It's clear that sports fans love HD. Fans are watching our HD games in record numbers in every sport and the number of high-def homes continues to accelerate. It makes perfect sense for FSN to deliver as many HD games as we possibly can," said Greg Hammaren, Senior Vice President/General Manager, FSN Detroit. “FSN is the industry leader in delivering sports in HD and we’re proud to offer more than 100 HD Tigers games this season, one of baseball’s most formidable teams.”

Beyond the games on FSN HD, FSN Detroit’s standard definition Tigers programming goes to 3.2 million cable and satellite households throughout Michigan and portions of Northwest Ohio and Northern Indiana. FSN Detroit is scheduled to deliver 900 hours of Tigers-related original programming during the 2008 season including a record 152 regular season games, Tigers Live pre and postgame shows, Tigers Weekly, Spotlight and In My Own Words episodes, and other special programming.


Television: Newsmakers Mar 19, 2008



Detroit Free Press:

Regional sports network FSN Detroit has signed agreements with the Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings to televise nearly all their games -- exhibition, regular season and playoff -- for at least the next decade. The restructured rights agreements give FSN an unprecedented stranglehold on Detroit's sports scene. FSN will control the rights to all telecasts not picked up by a national network. The deals begin this year, FSN officials told the Free Press. FSN will televise up to 152 Tigers games -- an increase from 134 last year -- including 103 in high-definition. ESPN or Fox are scheduled to televise the season's other 10 games... FSN hat trick: Network has deals in place with Tigers, Pistons, Wings for the next decade (Wed, 3/19)

Detroit News:

Television commercials explaining the big switch are hitting the airways, the converter boxes are on display at Best Buy and Target, and worries of glitches are mounting as America gets ready for the biggest change to television since the advent of color. Beginning Feb. 17 next year, the trusty analog signals that have brought free TV -- from familiar channels like ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS -- into tens of millions of U.S. homes for more than half a century will die. In their place will be new-and-improved digital signals that promise higher quality picture and sound and more program choices. The impact on the vast majority of U.S. households will be minimal... Signals get switched: Push is on to prevent glitches in move to digital TV (Wed, 3/19)

FSN’s networks share Saturday Wings/CCHA coverage

Following is the lineup of Red Wings and CCHA hockey coverage for Saturday, March 22
across FSN’s collection of networks:

- Red Wings at Columbus: 7:00 pm on FSN Plus, coverage begins at 6:30 with Red Wings Live
(game replay at 11:00 PM on FSN Detroit)

- CCHA Championship Game: 7:30 pm on FSN Detroit & FSN HD


Television: Newsmakers Mar 27, 2008



Washington Post:

The low-power television industry is facing a "death sentence" because of a flaw in the government's plan to force broadcasters to shift to digital broadcasting and has asked a federal judge for a reprieve. The Community Broadcasters Association, which represents owners of small television stations, wants the Federal Communications Commission to ban all digital set top converter boxes that are not equipped to receive an analog signal, a request that has the potential to derail the biggest broadcasting transition since color television. As of Feb. 18, 2009, all full-power television stations in the U.S. are required to stop broadcasting an analog signal. Anyone who gets programming through an antenna and does not have a newer-model digital TV set will need to buy a box that converts the digital signal to analog. The government is providing two $40 coupons per household that can be used to buy these boxes. The problem facing the 2,600 low-power television stations represented by the association is that they are not subject to the deadline. Most of the converter boxes now on sale will actually block the low-power analog signal from those stations, while the full-power digital signal will display normally... Small Stations Sue Over Digital TV Plan (Wed, 3/26)


FSN’s "April in the D" celebrates Detroit sports passion

In April, regional sports network FSN Detroit celebrates the Sports component of “The D” with an
unmatched month of coverage, upwards of 40 games among the Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings –
offered up by FSN’s various programming platforms (FSN Detroit, FSN Plus and FSN HD). Here’s
a sample of what FSN Detroit’s April in the D delivers:

• 24 Tigers games (13 in HD) including key divisional matchups against the Indians, White Sox and Twins along with contests against perennial favorites Yankees, Angels and the defending World Champion Red Sox.

• After the Red Wings wrap up another stellar regular season, April in the D delivers the start of the Stanley Cup Playoffs with FSN carrying the majority of games during the first two rounds of the team’s quest for the Cup.

• Speaking of championship aspirations, April also brings the start of the NBA Playoffs. The Pistons play five times on FSN to wrap up the regular season, then on to postseason play as they look to bring another championship parade to The D.

Besides the award-winning game action, April in the D on FSN keeps fans informed about all the teams with exclusive pre- and post-game shows on Tigers Live, Red Wings Live and Pistons Live, providing local sports access, before and after the games.

• Further encouraging regional tourism and growth of The D brand, April in the D programming will include interviews with several influential and notable Detroiters representing the brand’s five core marketing areas: Cars, Culture, Gaming, Music and Sports.

• FSN Detroit is also executing a full scale marketing campaign that will be seen on the network via on-air promos, in-game drop-ins and special mentions during all of the pre- and post-game shows. April in the D promos also will air on several other networks delivered into homes by cable and satellite providers. And, a dedicated web page – AprilintheD.com – supplies fans with a sweepstakes, program schedule and promotional video. Off-channel marketing efforts will include radio spots, internet presence, outdoor billboards and in-stadium/arena signage.

• On board as presenting sponsors of April in the D are Saturn and Metro PCS.

“FSN Detroit is proud to present April in the D, delivering the Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons nearly every day, while showcasing the city and its great sports fans,” said Greg Hammaren, Senior Vice President/General Manager, FSN Detroit. “If you’re a sports fan, there’s nothing like the hope and promise of a new baseball season and the daily drama of the playoffs. Combined with the welcome arrival of spring weather, it’s a great time to celebrate and embrace everything connected with the sheer joy of April in the D.”

“There's no better way to jump-start spring in Detroit – the Best Sports City in America – than during FSN Detroit's April in the D celebration,'” says Larry Alexander, President & CEO, Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Sports are an integral part of Detroit’s identity, and we invite sports fans to catch a game in The D and check out our region's hot culture, revitalized riverfront, new restaurants, hotels, attractions and entertainment. April in the D is a great reason to come together, cheer for our teams and support our hometown.”


FSN Detroit is set to televise five of the seven possible games in NHL Western Conference Quarterfinal series between the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators:

Game 1 – Thu. April 10 at Detroit, 7:00 PM, FSN Detroit & FSN HD
Game 2 – Sat. April 12 at Detroit, 2:00 PM, NBC
Game 3 – Mon. April 14 at Nashville, Time TBD, FSN Detroit
Game 4 – Wed. April 16 at Nashville, Time TBD, FSN Detroit
Game 5* – Fri. April 18 at Detroit, 7:30 PM, FSN Detroit
Game 6* – Sun. April 20 at Nashville, 3:00 PM, NBC
Game 7* – Tue. April 22 at Detroit, Time TBD, FSN Detroit
* if necessary
(HD availability to be determined for Games 3, 4, 5 & 7)

• FSN telecasts begin 30 minutes prior to game time with Red Wings Live pregame and Red Wings Live postgame follows all FSN telecasts.

Versus telecasts in this series are subject to blackout in the FSN Detroit coverage area.

The following Detroit Tigers games will move to FSN Plus in order to accommodate Red Wings playoff games:

Thu. April 10 – Tigers at Boston, 7:00 PM
Mon. April 14 – Tigers vs. Minnesota, 7:00 PM
Wed. April 16 – Tigers at Cleveland, 7:00 PM

If Games 5 & 7 of the Red Wings series are necessary, the following additional Tigers
telecasts would shift to FSN Plus:
Fri. April 18 – Tigers at Toronto, 7:00 PM
Tue. April 22 – Tigers vs. Texas, 7:00 PM


Tomorrow, Tuesday April 29th, the 7:00 PM Detroit Tigers-New York Yankees game will be simulcast on FSN Detroit & FSN Plus. If the Tigers game is still in progress at 10:00 PM, the conclusion will be seen on FSN Plus only, while FSN Detroit shifts to coverage of Game 3 in the Red Wings-Colorado NHL playoff series.

On FSN Detroit:
6:30 PM - Tigers Live pregame
7:00 - 10:00 PM - Tigers at New York Yankees
10:00 PM - Game 3: Red Wings at Colorado Avalanche

On FSN Plus:
6:30 PM - Tigers Live pregame
7:00 PM - Tigers at New York Yankees (in its entirety)
After the Game - Tigers Live postgame

The Red Wings/Avalanche game will also be shown in high-definition on FSN HD.


CMU, 9&10 News expand partnership

A relationship between Central Michigan University and a local television station has expanded to give CMU's aspiring broadcasters professional positions and valuable experience working on newscasts - all while they are still in school.

CMU's School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts and WWTV/WWUP-TV in Cadillac have broadened a five-year partnership to now train student interns as producers for the station's newscasts, pay them for their work and, potentially, hire them on as employees.

"The idea is that they'll become staff members if they are successful and if positions open," said CMU BCA faculty member Rick Sykes, adviser to the university's "News Central 34" nightly news program. "It's a great opportunity and an enhancement of our existing partnership."

Kevin Dunaway, the station's news director, said CMU's BCA students "always work hard" and "are usually ahead of the game, and those are the types of candidates we are looking for.

"CMU has a great broadcasting program," he said, noting that the station has CMU interns most every semester. "CMU's BCA students typically have a better hands-on experience than most other places we draw our interns from. We have a great amount of respect for how they train their students at CMU."

The original partnership between the university and the station provided production internship opportunities to CMU BCA students who had completed related course work. In 2005, the relationship expanded to include a general-assignment reporting position for an experienced "News Central 34" reporter or anchor who, upon selection by Dunaway, would endure a reporter "boot camp" and eventually become a weekend reporter for the station.

CMU alumnus Ryan Raiche, who completed the boot camp, became a general assignment reporter for the station while still a student and is now a Traverse City Bureau reporter for TV 9&10 and its sister station, WFQX-TV in Cadillac, typically appearing on WFQX's 10 p.m. newscast.

"The partnership between CMU and TV 9&10 got my foot in the door," said Raiche. "It provided me the perfect opportunity to prove myself - not by being the perfect reporter, but by showing potential. Any internship is helpful, but the partnership with TV 9&10 is more than any internship."

To learn more about CMU's School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts - including Moore Hall Television, the Michigan Association of Broadcasters' College Station of the Year for the past seven years, visit www.bca.cmich.edu.

For more information about 9 & 10 News, visit www.9and10news.com.


FSN Detroit and FSN HD will televise Saturday's Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinal series between the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic. Coverage starts at 4:30 PM with Pistons Insider, followed by the game from Orlando at 5:00.

Announcers are George Blaha, Greg Kelser and Ryan Field. Pistons Live follows the game with player reaction, coaches' press conferences, expert analysis and extended highlights.


Detroit Free Press:

Michigan residents -- specifically people in southeast Michigan -- are outpacing national averages in requesting $40 government-subsidized coupons to buy converters to make nondigital TV sets capable of receiving digital signals by the Feb. 17, 2009, broadcasting switchover. Dan Alpert, chief operating officer at WTVS-TV (Channel 56), reports that nearly 5% of all requests for the coupons have come from Michigan, "though we have only 3% of the nation's population," Alpert said. Information is available at www.dtv2009.gov or 888-DTV-2009... Michiganders rush for coupons for converters (Sun, 5/11)


Michigan Emmy Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to the numerous winners of Emmy awards across Michigan. To view the complete list of winners, please click here.

Story from the Detroit Free Press: Freep.com wins 5 Michigan Emmys (Sun, 6/8)


Chicago Tribune:

There were times when a Big Ten Network-Comcast union appeared as likely as uncovering scratchy footage that showed Woody Hayes screaming "Go Blue!" But that day is here. Almost. Comcast and the BTN are prepared to put nearly two years of bitter negotiations aside to announce a long-term partnership, the Tribune has learned. "For all intents and purposes, it's done," one source close to the negotiations said Sunday. Technically, it's not done. But sources expect the deal will be completed and unveiled this week. The deal will nearly double the number of homes that can access the BTN, from 30 million to 55 million. In the eight-state Big Ten footprint, the number will surge from 6.5 million to about 13 million. That still leaves out about 5.5 million homes in the Midwest, but officials hope the Comcast deal will provide a framework for negotiations with prominent cable carriers Time Warner, Mediacom and Charter... Big Ten Network, Comcast ready to call a truce (Sun, 6/15)


Big Ten Network:

Comcast Corporation and the Big Ten Network announced today that they have reached a long-term multimedia agreement for Comcast to carry Big Ten Network programming across television, broadband and video-on-demand in time for the 2008 college football season. Under the terms of the agreement, Comcast will initially launch the network as part of its expanded basic level of service to promote it to the majority of its customers residing in states with Big Ten universities (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, with the exception of the Philadelphia region which will launch on a broadly distributed digital level of service) starting August 15th. (Comcast does not have systems in Iowa, the eighth Big Ten state.) In Spring 2009, Comcast may elect to move the network to a broadly distributed digital level of service in most of its systems in these states. Comcast's digital customers in the Big Ten states will also have immediate access to live Big Ten games and events in high definition, Big Ten programming via Comcast's video-on-demand platform, and a wide array of conference-related content through Comcast.net... Comcast, Big Ten Network Reach Broad Multimedia Agreement for Big Ten Network Content (Thu, 6/19)



Detroit Free Press:

Comcast reaches agreement with Big Ten Network. The BTN and the cable carrier announced a multiyear agreement today that puts programming on expanded basic on Aug. 15 in states with Big Ten schools. After the 2008-09 basketball season ends, Comcast has the option to shift the network to its digital service. Comcast has about 5 million customers with basic cable and 4 million with digital in Big Ten states. Under the agreement, Comcast will initially launch the network as part of its expanded basic level of service and promote it to the majority of its customers in states with Big Ten universities -- Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.. Comcast reaches agreement with Big Ten Network (Thu, 6/19)


Traverse City Record-Eagle:

Chuck Meers and his wife, Paula, don't watch a whole lot of television. But the analog set in their house may be on more often these days after Meers' new digital converter box -- bought in anticipation of the broadcast signal switch to all-digital next year -- provided an unexpected surprise: more channels. "I'm very pleased with it," said Meers, who used to get the three basic local stations on antenna: 7&4, 9&10 and 29&8. "Now, we get nine channels." Like millions of TV viewers across the country, Meers bought the box to make sure his television set remains usable after Feb. 17, 2009, when broadcasters stop transmitting the traditional analog signal and switch to an all-digital signal... No More Rabbit Ears: Converter boxes clear picture for analog users (Fri, 6/20)


Hillsdale Daily News:

By federal mandate, the broadcast of analog television signals will cease on Feb. 17, 2009. But the extreme level of demand for digital television converter boxes means consumers might have less time than they think to prepare for the switch. Because traditional analog television sets are not compatible with digital signals, consumers will need to do one of three things: * Purchase a digital converter box that will convert the new digital signal into an analog signal the existing set can interpret. Analog users might also require a new set top antenna depending on what model they have. * Switch to a cable or satellite provider. * Purchase a television set with a built-in digital converter. A coupon program launched by the Department of Commerce on Jan. 1, 2008 provides coupons for the purchase of digital converter boxes. This combined with the relative expense of the other options means most consumers are trying to purchase the converter boxes... Digital TV converter box proves to be prized item (Wed, 6/25)


Grand Rapids Press:

"One minute!" "Here we go everybody, have a good one. Nice and tight." "Silver 2 and cue music." "Effect 8 and fade music." "Pull Y ... dissolve." It's 7 p.m. on a warm, mid-week June night at Comerica Park. The Detroit Tigers are facing the Chicago White Sox in a key American League Central showdown, and there still are at least five minutes to go before Tigers starter Justin Verlander makes his first pitch to leadoff batter Orlando Cabrera. Right now, all the action is in the FSN Detroit production truck, a 53-foot long state-of-the-art semi trailer with millions of dollars worth of consoles, monitors, computers -- and seemingly just as many cables and wires. Inside, there's about a dozen people shouting -- often simultaneously -- in code about fonts, graphics, camera angles, replays and promotions. This kind of controlled chaos is routine on game day, one of the 150-plus games FSN will cover this season... Behind the scenes of a Tigers broadcast (Sun, 6/29)


Red Wings parade encore, special Tigers telecast highlight Independence Day on FSN Detroit

The Red Wings, the Tigers and our nation are celebrated this Friday, July 4, on FSN Detroit:

9:30 AM - Red Wings Weekly - Stanley Cup Celebration edition: A recap of the best sights and sounds following the Red Wings Stanley Cup-clinching victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins.

10:00 AM to 3:00 PM - Red Wings Victory Parade: Set the DVR - it's an encore presentation of the FSN Detroit/WJBK FOX 2 simulcast of the Red Wings victory parade held June 6 in downtown Detroit.

3:00 PM - Tigers Weekly

3:30 PM - Tigers LIve Pregame (HD)

4:00 PM - FSN / Tigers 4th of July Celebration, Tigers @ Seattle Mariners (HD): For the third consecutive year, FSN presents the Tigers July 4th game with limited commercials presented by Marathon Petroleum. A series of vignettes will run between innings that involve patriotism, baseball and some of the nation's July 4th traditions.

Postgame - Tigers Live (HD)

8:00 PM - Tigers @ Seattle Mariners (replay)



Dowagiac Daily News:

The spring edition of MHSAA Magazine, a television program recapping seasonal Michigan High School Athletic Association tournament activity, makes its debut next week on FSN Detroit on Saturday (July 5), at Noon (EDT). The 30-minute program will include highlights and interviews of all MHSAA post-season tournament action in both the Lower and Upper Peninsula from the recently-completed schedule, and will also include a feature on Blissfield High School baseball coach Larry Tuttle, who became the 11th coach in the sport nationally and the first in Michigan to top the 1,000-win mark in his coaching career. The program is being hosted by Mickey York of FSN Detroit... MHSAA Magazine on FSN Detroit July 5 (Thu, 7/3)



Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama have appealed to Michigan voters with nearly $6 million in campaign ads so far. The nonpartisan Michigan Campaign Finance Network said Wednesday that a check of advertising data at television stations shows Republican McCain spent $3.2 million airing ads between May 28 and July 20. Democrat Obama spent $2.7 million for ads running between June 20 and July 28... McCain, Obama spent $6M on Michigan TV ads (Wed, 7/23)


South Bend Tribune:

Weigel Broadcast Co. and WSBT, Inc. announced Monday that they have signed an agreement under which WSBT Inc. will purchase the assets of the three Weigel low-power television stations serving South Bend: WBND (ABC), WCWW (CW) and WMYS (MyNetworkTV). The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2008. Norman H. Shapiro, President of Weigel Broadcasting, stated "We are proud of having maximized low power television broadcast facilities in the South Bend/Michiana market, without which there would be no local ABC, CW or MyNetworkTV service"... WSBT to purchase three local stations (Mon, 8/4)


Televison: Newsmakers Aug 5, 2008



FSN's Tigers telecasts lead primetime TV ratings

Detroit Tigers telecasts on FSN Detroit have dominated spring and summer local primetime television viewing, topping all other broadcast and cable competition since Opening Day.

According to Nielsen Media Research from March 31-July 31, Tigers primetime telecasts delivered an 8.0 average rating, highest in the Detroit DMA (designated market area) and more than two ratings points ahead of the closest competitor:

1. Tigers on FSN Detroit- 8.0 (154,000 households)
2. WXYZ Ch. 7 (ABC)- 5.6
T-3. WDIV Ch. 4 (NBC)- 5.3
T-3. WJBK Ch. 2 (FOX)- 5.3
5. WWJ Ch. 62 (CBS)- 3.4
6. FSN Detroit (all programs)- 3.1
T-7. WKBD Ch. 50 (CW)- 2.0
T-7. TNT- 2.0
9. USA- 1.7
10. Disney Channel- 1.6

Source: Nielsen Media Research, Detroit DMA TV Household Ratings - 3/31/08 - 7/31/08. Primetime defined as Monday-Sunday 7-11 PM. One rating point equals approximately 19,250 households.

The 14 Tigers primetime telecasts in July averaged a 9.4 rating - including six games of 10.0 or higher - while all 25 games during the month averaged an 8.4 rating.


Television: Newsmakers Aug 18, 2008



Broadcasting & Cable:

The Federal Communications Commission Monday said it identified about 80 TV markets that would need some extra care and attention in the transition to digital TV. Those are markets where at least 15% of the viewers get their TV over the air, according to FCC chairman Kevin Martin, who said Monday that at least one of the FCC commissioners would visit each of the markets -- he likened their selection of what cities each would visit to the National Football League draft -- adding that the National Association of Broadcasters agreed to help coordinate so-called analog-cutoff soft tests in those markets (note: included on the list are the Michigan markets of Detroit, Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Lansing, and the nearby markets of Toledo and South Bend)... FCC Tags Markets in Need of Extra DTV Care (Mon, 8/18)



WJR AM was the most-listened to radio station among listeners age 12 and above during the first trend of the summer ratings period. Following very closely behind were WKQI-FM, WWJ AM, WMXD-FM, and WJLB-FM... Detroit 12+ radio ratings (Tue, 8/19)



Michigan Radio to report from Democratic and Republican Conventions

Michigan Radio, the public radio service from the University of Michigan that includes WUOM-FM 91.7 Ann Arbor, WFUM-FM 91.1 Flint, and WVGR-FM 104.1 Grand Rapids, will provide exclusive reports from both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. During the week of August 25th, Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody will report from the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The following week, Michigan Radio reporter Sarah Hulett will be in Minneapolis to provide coverage of the Republican National Convention. Michigan Radio is the only public radio station in the state that will have reporters at either convention.

Steve Carmody and Sarah Hulett will be at the conventions providing reports and interviews with members of the Michigan delegation and top ranking state party leaders. Their reports will focus on the views and activities of the Michigan delegates, and how the issues affecting the state are being addressed in each party's platform. Among the specific questions to be answered at the Democratic Convention are whether all of Michigan's delegates will be seated at the convention, and how the continuing mayoral crisis in Detroit will affect the Democratic presidential campaign in the months leading to the election in November. Michigan Public Radio Network reporter Rick Pluta will also be filing reports from the Democratic Convention, which will air on Michigan Radio during the week.

Michigan Radio will air these special convention reports during "Morning Edition" (Monday-Friday from 5:00 to 9:00 am) and "All Things Considered" (Monday-Friday from 4:00 to 6:30 pm) during the weeks of both conventions. The Democratic National Convention runs from August 25-28 in Denver, CO. The Republican National Convention is Sept. 1-4 in Minneapolis, MN. The reports can also be heard online at www.michiganradio.org.



Detroit News:

The nation's switch from analog to digital television hasn't exactly been picture perfect. From short supplies of digital converter boxes at retailers to confusion over which boxes to get, TV owners trying to make the change before all over-the-air analog broadcasts go dead next February are hitting some snags along the way and some worry that problem could get worse as the deadline nears. For some consumers, the coupons being distributed by the government for the converter boxes are expiring before they can find a box at the store. And some TV owners who have already hooked up their boxes and are getting the digital signal have complained that reception is poor and the boxes pick up fewer channels than their old rabbit-ear set-ups. Many stations are broadcasting in both signals during the transition period. Retailers are scrambling to keep up with the demand for the converter technology; with nearly six months to go before the changeover, some store owners say they're having difficulty keeping the boxes on store shelves... Analog TV owners struggle to go digital (Tue, 8/19)


WXYZ-TV broadcast home of the 2008 Detroit Indy Grand Prix

WXYZ-TV/Channel 7, the official television partner of the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix, will provide metro-Detroit viewers with comprehensive coverage of all the racing activities on both Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. WXYZ-TV's coverage plans include six live special programs produced by the Action News and Sports departments. WXYZ-TV will provide comprehensive coverage of the weekend's events culminating in the Detroit Grand Prix racing on Sunday afternoon, August 31st. All of Channel 7's programming specials and news coverage will be presented in high definition.

Highlights of WXYZ's Grand Prix-related programming is scheduled to include:

* Countdown to the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix: Primetime Edition - Wednesday August 27th, 8:00 - 9:00pm: Live from WXYZ-TV's set located on Belle Isle, Action News Sports Director Don Shane will provide a comprehensive look at all the 2008 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix activities. The program will feature interviews with a variety of drivers, team owners and the individuals that were key to securing the Grand Prix's return to Detroit.

* Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix: The Green Flag Special - Friday August 29th, 7:00 - 7:30pm: Action News will take you live trackside for a complete summary of Free Prix Day festivities. This action packed half-hour special will include driver and team interviews, highlights from the day's time trials and a look ahead to Saturday's American LeMans series and Sunday's Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix races. The show will be hosted by WXYZ-TV Sports Director Don Shane and Action News anchor Stephen Clark.

* Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix: Start Your Engines - Sunday August 31st, 9:00- 10:30am: WXYZ-TV Action News anchors Stephen Clark and Carolyn Clifford kick-off Grand Prix coverage with a 90-minute live special featuring a comprehensive look at race day activities with updated weather and traffic information designed for racing fans.

* Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix: Race Day Edition - Sunday August 31st, Noon -1:00pm: Live from the WXYZ-TV Belle Isle set, Action News anchors Diana Lewis and Stephen Clark will provide comprehensive coverage of the Detroit Grand Prix. The program will include exclusive interviews with drivers and the latest updates from race officials. WXYZ-TV live Race Day Edition will also provide continuing coverage of the latest weather and traffic conditions.

* Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix: Pit Pass Special - Sun. Aug. 31st, 2:00 - 3:30pm: WXYZ-TV's Don Shane will give Grand Prix viewers a trackside view of the day's big race. The program will include interviews with city and event officials, drivers and racing analysts.

* Firestone Indy Car Grand Prix at Detroit - Sun. Aug. 31st, 3:30 - 6:00pm: Live from Belle Isle, ABC Sports will provide flag to flag coverage of the 2008 Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

* Action News Special Edition - Sunday August 31st, 6:00 - 6:30pm: WXYZ-TV Sports Director Don Shane will report live from the Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Winners Circle, providing post-race analysis, live interviews, and the highlights from all the day's Grand Prix race activities.



Detroit News:

Big Ten football fans who missed out on games last year because Time Warner Cable didn't carry the fledgling Big Ten Network can now relax. The network and the cable company said late Monday that they've reached an agreement that will enable Time Warner to carry games this fall... Time Warner Cable agrees to carry Big Ten Network (Tue, 8/26)


Television: Newsmakers Aug 27, 2008



Charter and Big Ten reach carriage agreement

Charter Communications, Inc. and the Big Ten Network have reached an agreement-in-principle on terms of a multi-year distribution agreement in which Charter will carry the Big Ten Network and related programming throughout the Big Ten territory, including its systems in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Northern Illinois. Big Ten Network and Charter are currently working together in an attempt to ensure that the majority of these same systems can launch the network on its expanded basic level of service in time for Saturday's Big Ten college football openers. (Wed, 8/27)



Grand Rapids Press:

The Michigan High School Athletic Association is back in the television business. Beginning this season, the MHSAA Network will produce regular-season and tournament games to be distributed on multiple platforms, both TV and internet. "We've partnered with When We Were Young Productions to produce tournament and regular-season events," MHSAA communications director John Johnson said. "We've got 450 hours of programming planned for this fall and another 1,000 hours scheduled for winter and spring events. We're striving to do streaming video on the internet and audio for as many other things as possible." Some games will be produced like a contest you might see on a cable sports channel, with capabilities including four cameras, graphics, two announcers and instant replay. Other games will feature a single camera with a single announcer. Comcast Cable will carry games on digital cable (channels 900 and 901) and maintain an archive of contests on its Video on Demand service... MHSAA announces plan to broadcast games (Wed, 8/27)


Television: Newsmakers Sept 5, 2008




The Detroit Red Wings and FSN Detroit today announced the 2008-09 Red Wings local television schedule. FSN continues its exclusive production and carriage of Red Wings games by airing 74 regular-season contests with 65 games slated for air on FSN and nine on FSN PLUS. Additionally, FSN will carry three pre-season games and all non-exclusive games in the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs if the Wings advance. FSN continues to lead the NHL in technological advances by airing a substantial number of Red Wings games in high-definition on FSN HD (HD schedule to be announced at a later date). Ken Daniels and Mickey Redmond return as the Wings TV announce crew with former Red Wing Larry Murphy filling in for Redmond during select road games... Local TV schedule announced for Red Wings (Fri, 9/5)


Television: Newsmakers Sept 16, 2008




February 17th, 2009 - it's the day all television stations switch to digital broadcasting. It's 155 days away but the Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) is doing what it can now to make sure everyone's ready. A Michigan State University study shows everyone knows about the transition; but 44% of Michigan residents are not ready for it. So to help, the MAB has teamed up with the Michigan National Guard. Believe it or not, they have more to do with the switch then you think. Monday leaders of the MAB announced their partnership with the Michigan National Guard to help educate citizens on next year's digital transition. "People have told us that they receive most of their in-depth information over the television," says MAB President Karole White. "The Michigan National Guard will depend on television in times of emergency to deliver in-depth information"... Michigan National Guard enlisted to help with DTV transition (Tue, 9/16)



MAB DTV press conference audio available

The Michigan Association of Broadcasters held a news conference yesterday at the Michigan National Guard Reserve Forces Service Center in Lansing to announce new partnerships with the Michigan National Guard, Don-Lors Electronics, the Michigan Jaycees and the Retired Senior Volunteers Program to help educate and assist the public on the best steps they need to be prepared for the Februrary 17, 2009 transition to digital television. In additon, Dr. William Donahue, The Donahue Group, Michigan State University, announced preliminary results of a statewide survey on the DTV Transition... Click here for audio clips


The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) will host a statewide DTV preparedness training October 23, 2008 at 6:00pm at various Michigan National Guard Facilities.

The training will focus on educating people on how to install and operate a digital converter box. Additionally, the training will bring to light the importance antennas play in the digital transition.

The Michigan National Guard has opened its facilities and the use of their interactive video teleconferencing equipment so that each site participating in the training can communicate with multiple other sites. This will allow engineers and DTV experts to answer questions more specifically to one area.

The DTV preparedness training will be open to the public and is free of charge. Doors will open at 5:30pm and a valid photo ID is required to enter. The MAB and the National Guard strongly encourage the public to attend this informative training as well as participate in the question and answer session that will follow.

For a list of participating Michigan National Guard facilities, please visit MichiganDTV.com or just Click Here.


Television: Newsmakers Oct 23, 2008



FS Detroit to air high school playoff selection show

High school football teams around the state will huddle around their television sets this Sunday, October 26th, at 6:30 p.m. to find out the qualifiers and pairings for the 2008 Michigan High School Athletic Association Football Playoffs during the Selection Sunday Show, exclusively on Fox Sports Detroit.

The 30-minute program, hosted by FSN's Mickey York and Ryan Field, will provide a rundown of the 256 teams that have qualified for the MHSAA Playoffs, as well as their first round matchups and game sites.

"Selection Sunday is one of the biggest television shows we do with FSN all year long," said John Johnson, communications director for the MHSAA. "The Selection Sunday Show has created a great atmosphere for the beginning of the playoffs, as teams gather together to celebrate their great season, and then watch to find out about their tournament draw. It's also one of the biggest nights of the year for our website, mhsaa.com."

Following the completion of the Selection Sunday Show at about 7 p.m., the MHSAA website, mhsaa.com, will provide the complete list of playoff qualifiers and first round pairings. Actual game times will be added to the list the following day as they are determined and provided by the participating schools.



FS Detroit's next "Under the Lights" episode features Red Wings prospect camp

The next installment of Fox Sports Detroit's "Under the Lights" follows four promising Detroit Red Wings draftees through every aspect of the team's September prospect camp in Traverse City. Under the Lights: Red Wings Prospect Camp - Living the Dream premieres Thursday, Oct. 30 at 8:00 & 9:30 PM.

One week before the veterans arrive, the Red Wings hold a camp for their prospects - highly-touted talents that represent the franchise's next generation of players. Prospect camp is boot camp/job orientation/tournament rolled into one - all with the constant reminder that the most important eyes of the organization are focused on them.

The Fox Sports Detroit cameras and microphones followed forwards Justin Abdelkader, Cory Emmerton and Mattias Ritola, as well as goaltender Thomas McCollum, through the fitness tests, team meetings, practices and games. Fox Sports Detroit was granted unprecedented access to the prospects, general manager Ken Holland, assistant GM Jim Nill, head coach Mike Babcock as well as the players and coaches that keep the Red Wings winning tradition on course. The show takes an inside look how the player evaluation process works with a rare, unfiltered glimpse of how personnel decisions are made.

Through interviews with Holland, Nill, Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Curt Fraser, player development director Jiri Fischer and others, viewers find out what is expected from prospects as they progress through the organization. Each of the four featured players describe how they struggle to live up the expectations and embrace a whole new way of playing in the professional ranks.


MHSAA.tv web site launched



The latest step in the growth of the MHSAA Network happened this week with the official launch of the MHSAA.tv Website, which will serve as the go-to location for all video content created during the fall regular season in several sports, and which will also host live distribution of Association Finals in a number of tournaments, beginning with the Boys Soccer Finals on November 1.

In addition to broadcasts of contests that became available on Friday, the majority being from this year's fall regular-season competitions in football, boys soccer and girls volleyball. Videos of the 2008 MHSAA Boys Baseball Finals are also available, as well as classic contests from the 1990's in football, volleyball and soccer. Visitors to the MHSAA.tv Website can sort games by sport, and also search for games by school.

Information about purchasing DVDs of available games can also be accessed. The remainder of the 70-plus games already produced this fall by the MHSAA Network will be loaded during the coming week, along with tournament contests and highlights shows in golf, tennis and cross country.

"The MHSAA.tv Website makes it possible for fans to access games at their own convenience from wherever they are located," said John Johnson, MHSAA Communications Director. "This on-demand availability, coupled with contests being shown on cable television on a scheduled basis, give the MHSAA Network incredible reach, and helps spread the good word about high school sports."

Visitors to the MHSAA.tv Website will find navigation tabs on the left side directing them to the most recently played games which have been uploaded; a number of "best of" videos; highlighted games from the current season; classic games from seasons past; a complete list of games available on the site; and a link to audio of MHSAA post-season tournament and regular season contents on the MHSAA Internet Broadcast Network, which has been originating Association Finals in a number of sports the past three years.

A total of 20 live fall tournament events will be streamed through the MHSAA.tv Website, beginning with the Boys Soccer Finals on November 1 at Troy Athens and Rochester Hills Stoney Creek High Schools. On the weekend of Nov. 20-22, the Semifinals and Finals of the MHSAA Girls Volleyball Tournament, the Finals of the Lower Peninsula Girls Swimming and Diving Tournament at three locations, and a prime time Semifinal game in the MHSAA Football Playoffs will be streamed live.

MHSAA Network content is also available on Comcast Cable on Channel 900 its Video On Demand service. The MHSAA Network debuted on Comcast in early September. Negotiations are ongoing with other cable television outlets.

Content for the MHSAA Network is being created by When We Were Young Productions-Michigan, which is located in Hartland. When We Were Young Productions is a leading provider of high school sports content and distribution platform development. Headquartered in Madison, Wis., WWWYP was founded in 1992 and has successfully partnered with a number of high school associations and cable providers.

"The Internet element is essential in the contemporary audio and video network," said Tim Eichorst, president of When We Were Young Productions. "People still enjoy appointment-based viewing of events on cable television and over-the-air television and radio outlets, but Internet on-demand availability broadens the reach locally and to followers of high school sports worldwide."

The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 1,600 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract approximately 1.6 million spectators each year.


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Oct 28, 2008



Listener support helps WRCJ to successful fall membership drive

Listeners of WRCJ 90.9 FM have demonstrated that classical and jazz deserves a place on Detroit radio. On Sunday, the final day of the station's Fall Membership Drive, the listener-supported public radio station reached its goal with pledges totaling $226,000, even with the area's long suffering economy and a recently plunging stock market.

WRCJ president Rich Homberg commented that listeners have "made it clear how much they value the programming on WRCJ. Every penny of the donations will be put to the best possible use as we preserve and build on this treasured classical and jazz music service that is like no other in Detroit. We think those who make it possible are pretty special, too."

WRCJ's membership campaign remains open. Make your secure contribution by visiting wrcjfm.org or by calling (866) 909-9725.



Michigan Radio completes successful fall membership drive

Michigan Radio (WUOM FM 91.7 Ann Arbor / WVGR FM 104.1 Grand Rapids / WFUM FM 91.1 Flint), the public radio service of the University of Michigan, finished what it considers a very successful fall membership drive last Friday. The on-air fundraiser, which ran from October 17 - 24, generated over 7400 pledges totaling more than $770,000 from donors across southern Michigan and northern Ohio. Of that, over 3400 pledges came from first time donors to the station, a new all-time high, and a 38% increase in new donors compared to a year ago.

Overall, the fall 2008 membership drive's success amounts to a 16 percent increase in total contributions over last fall's campaign. The money raised helps pay for programming costs at the station, with membership support being the single largest source of income.

Contributions during the 2008 fall on-air membership drive came from different sources, with over $200,000 generated from people making a donation through the station's website, and more than $570,000 from listeners calling in a pledge to phone volunteers.

The success of the membership drive was particularly noteworthy since Michigan Radio tried an innovative approach compared to many stations, and actually decreased the amount of fundraising hours by more than 20% compared to previous membership drives. The station was responding to listener requests to reduce the amount of on-air fundraising, and eliminated fundraising breaks entirely during many weekday and weekend programs.

"Because we were able to achieve our goals in fewer hours, our hope is that we can continue this trend the next time around," said Director of Broadcasting Steve Schram. "We're very gratified that particularly in these challenging economic times, our audience continues to value our service enough to support it with their dollars."



Fox Sports Detroit 'Plus' channel ready to kick off its 2008-09 broadcast schedule

Starting with Wednesday's Detroit Red Wings - Anaheim Ducks hockey game, Fox Sports Plus will be airing a number of Wings and Detroit Pistons contests through the spring of 2009. Tomorrow's Red Wings game will be televised on Fox Sports PLUS with coverage beginning at 9:30 PM.

Fox Sports Detroit offers select Red Wings, Pistons, Tigers, CCHA and MHSAA telecasts on Fox Sports PLUS when the network has dual events scheduled for an overlapping time period. Most cable and satellite providers have allocated an alternate channel to accommodate the Fox Sports PLUS telecasts.

Below is the list of Fox Sports PLUS channel numbers for Wednesday's Red Wings game, as designated by the cable/satellite operators:

9:30 pm - RED WINGS LIVE
10:00 pm - Red Wings at Anaheim

BROADSTRIPE 18, 19 or 97
CARR 212
CEBRIDGE Channel varies by location
CTS 46
WOW! 14


Metro Detroit: Newsmakers Nov 10, 2008



The Fox strips for listeners

Country WDTW-FM, 106.7 The Fox, is giving back to listeners and bringing ten national recording country artists together for one night of music this Thursday, November 13th, for "Fox Stripped Live" at The Fillmore in Detroit. Darius Rucker, Randy Owen, Josh Turner, Rodney Atkins, Emily West, Billy Currington, Trent Tomlinson, Big Kenny (From Big and Rich), Jamey Johnson and Heidi Newfield will all be on one stage, stripped down, raw, real and giving the stories behind some of their favorite songs.

Doors are scheduled to open at 6pm with the concert to begin at 7 at The Fillmore Detroit, 2115 Woodward. These tickets are among the hottest in town as they can only be obtained by winning them on air or by going to one of the station's announced ticket stops each day.

Go to www.foxspacelive.com for more information about Fox Stripped Live.



PD Scott Walker exits WOMC

Scott Walker has exited as program director for oldies WOMC and is transferring to sister station WRBQ in Tampa, FL where he'll become that station's PD.

Following last month's announcement that Dom Theodore would be moving to CBS Radio/Detroit from Clear Channel's Detroit operations and take the reigns of programming both WOMC and smooth jazz WVMV in addition to his new roles as vice president of programming for the Detroit cluster and vice president of programming for all of CBS Radio's contemporary hits stations, it was unclear just where Walker and current V98.7 PD Tom Sleeker were going to fit in the org chart.

While there still hasn't been any announcement about the future of Sleeker, the chain of command at WOMC just became more clear.



Detroit Free Press:

Nearly a year ago, Janet Narich did exactly as recommended by the TV industry, government Web sites and the public service spots of former Detroit Tigers broadcaster Ernie Harwell -- she requested a discount coupon for a converter box to receive digital TV signals. Yet, she still isn't ready for digital television. And, ready or not, it's coming Feb. 17. Now Narich, 58, of Ferndale is stuck with an expired $40 coupon she received last winter and took to a retailer that hadn't received its shipment of converter boxes, which sell for about $50. Each coupon -- a plastic card roughly the size of a credit card -- expires 90 days from the date it was mailed. "It just seems strange to me that these coupons expire because a lot of the stores didn't have the converter boxes in stock when people were getting their coupons," Narich said. The Michigan Association of Broadcasters (MAB) said it has received more than 600 calls in the past couple of months from people who have expired coupons and people who said they never received coupons... Many get coupon, but no digital TV box (Mon, 11/10)

The Salvation Army of Metro Detroit in partnership with FM 98 WJLB collected 1,224 coats and $53,453 in cash donations to provide warm coats for thousands of children during the 26th Annual Coats for Kids Radiothon held at the Phoenix Theatres Bel-Air Center in Detroit over the weekend... Salvation Army, FM 98 collect over 1,000 coats, donations still accepted (Mon, 11/10)




The Hot Stove season has arrived, and so has the Tigers' regular off-season radio program. The TigerTalk Show makes its season premiere tonight at 8 p.m. ET online at tigers.com and over the air on WXYT AM 1270 and FM 97.1. Tigers radio play-by-play broadcaster Dan Dickerson and Pat Caputo will co-host the weekly hour-long show, which will feature the latest news on the Tigers as well as interviews with Tigers players, coaches and front-office members. FSN Detroit television analyst Rod Allen will also contribute a weekly segment. In addition, listeners can call in and ask questions about the Tigers ... The TigerTalk Show will run weekly through mid-February, when the Tigers report to Spring Training... TigerTalk debuts tonight (Mon, 11/10)




WOMC Hosts 'Military Moms Luncheon': CBS RADIO Oldies WOMC/DETROIT is hosting the station's fourth annual "Military Moms Luncheon" on VETERANS DAY, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 11th. Morning guru DICK PURTAN will be emceeing the luncheon which recognizes and thanks MICHIGAN military moms whose sons and daughters are giving so much by serving our country. "WOMC is very honored to present this event on VETERANS DAY," noted WOMC GM DEBBIE KENYON. "This is just a small token of our appreciation for what DETROIT moms sons and daughters have done for our country." (Mon, 11/10)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Nov 17, 2008



Muskegon Chronicle:

In a few months, television stations nationwide will begin broadcasting in digital, bringing an increased sound and picture quality previously unavailable to those without cable or satellite TV. The change, which doesn't affect cable and satellite TV users, requires the estimated 600,000 Michigan households that rely exclusively on antennas to watch TV buy a converter box to receive the digital signals by Feb. 17. That's when stations stop broadcasting in analog and begin broadcasting fully in digital. Yet, a recent poll by state government officials found that 44 percent of Michigan residents aren't ready for the change. Many haven't purchased a converter box, which are sold at many electronics stores... Are you ready for television's digital age? (Sun, 11/16)


FOX Sports Detroit for the 11th consecutive year is the exclusive television home of the Michigan High School Athletic Association Football Finals. The 2008 edition is Friday, November 28 and Saturday, November 29 at Ford Field, presented by Farmers Insurance.

fsdetroitSix games are scheduled to be televised live on FOX Sports Detroit, while Saturday's Division 3 contest is set to air on FOX Sports Plus. Friday's Division 4 matchup will be streamed live at www.foxsports.com/detroit and televised later that night on FOX Sports Detroit. Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Herman Moore is among the announcers for the weekend, making his first appearance on the network's coverage of the MHSAA Finals.

Friday, November 28

10:00 AM on FOX Sports Detroit: Division 8 Final - Crystal Falls Forest Park vs. Muskegon Catholic Central; Play-by-Play: John Keating Analyst: Rob Rubick

1:00 PM on FOX Sports Detroit: Division 2 Final - Muskegon vs. Warren De La Salle; Play-by-Play: Dan Dickerson Analyst: John Wangler

4:30 PM on FOX Sports Detroit: Division 6 Final - Montague vs. Leslie; Play-by-Play: Dan Dickerson Analyst: Herman Moore

7:30 PM on www.foxsports.com/detroit (delay at 11:00 PM on FOX Sports Detroit): Division 4 Final - Holland Christian vs. Detroit Country Day; Play-by-Play: Matt Shepard Analyst: Rob Rubick

Saturday, November 29

10:00 AM on FOX Sports Detroit: Division 7 Final - Traverse City St. Francis vs. Ubly; Play-by-Play: Matt Shepard Analyst: Rob Rubick

1:00 PM on FOX Sports Detroit: Division 1 Final - Rockford vs. Lake Orion; Play-by-Play: John Keating Analyst: Rob Rubick

4:30 PM on FOX Sports Detroit: Division 5 Final - Ovid-Elsie vs. Muskegon Oakridge; Play-by-Play: Dan Dickerson Analyst: Herman Moore

7:30 PM on FOX Sports Plus (replay at 12:30 AM on FOX Sports Detroit): Division 3 Final - East Grand Rapids vs. Inkster; Play-by-Play: Matt Shepard Analyst: John Wangler

The TV coverage will also include some special features. During halftime of the Division 8 Final, (Friday 10:00 AM), Ryan Field reports from homecoming night in Manistee on playoff qualifier Manistee Catholic Central, the smallest school in the MHSAA with 58 students, 19 of which played on the football team which went 9-0 in the regular season, outscoring its opponents 402-50.

At halftime of the Division 6 Final (Friday 4:30 PM), Pershing High School assistant coach Kiana Dennis, a member of the Detroit Demolition women's professional team, will be profiled sharing her football knowledge with the Doughboys.

Rob Rubick will provide his analysis of the first half of the Division 7 Final (Saturday 10:00 AM) from the sidelines for a unique perspective of the game.

Finally, the Division 1 Final (Saturday 1:00 PM) will have a halftime feature on Romeo High School's co-coaches and best friends Jason Couch and Curt Reinas, complete with plenty of mic'd-up interaction during a practice session.


Starting Tuesday, December 16th in Detroit and Wednesday, December 17th in Grand Rapids there will be a series of tests aired by local television stations to help assist viewers in determining if their televisions are ready for the February 17, 2009 conversion to DTV.


In Detroit, WJBK TV 2, WDIV TV 4, WXYZ TV 7, WMYD TV 20, WUDT TV 23, WADL TV 38, WKBD TV 50, WTVS TV 56, and WWJ TV 62 will all participate in the tests that are scheduled to run every Tuesday through Feb. 17 at different times in an effort to reach as many people as possible with varying viewing habits. The tests will be "road-blocked" each week, airing on all participating stations at the same time for maximum exposure.

Its estimated that almost eight percent (146,000 households) of the Detroit DMA is still completely unready for the February's DTV transition, so these Detroit area stations are going to help viewers figure out if their television is ready for digital (or if its still receiving analog signals) with this series of "soft" DTV tests called Test Your TV Tuesday.

During the test, viewers will either see a green screen marked "PASS", indicating that the television they're viewing is receiving a digital signal and ready for DTV, or a red screen marked "FAIL" if that TV is still receiving an analog signal and additional steps must be taken to ensure that television set is ready for DTV before analog broadcasts cease on February 17, 2009.

Stations will also air promotional messages in advance of each weekly test so viewers will know what time they can expect a test each week. The test is sixty seconds in length and will encourage individuals seeing it to check their other televisions in the home.

The "FAIL" message will also inform the viewer where to get additional information to take further steps - including the Michigan DTV web site, www.michigandtv.com and Michigan DTV Helpline (1-888-MI-DTV-09).

A complete list of dates and times of Test Your TV Tuesdays is available here.


Grand Rapids local TV stations WWMT TV 3, WOOD-TV 8, WZZM-TV 13, WXMI TV 17, WGVU/WGVK TV 35/52, WOTV TV 41 and WTLJ TV 53 will be participating in "Test Your TV Wednesdays" beginning on Wednesday, December 17th and then on every Wednesday from January 7th through the Feb. 17 conversion. The tests will be similar in nature to those run in Detroit; Regular programming will be replaced by an on-screen graphic and announcer who will inform viewers whether their TV sets are "ready" or "not ready" for the digital transition. "Not Ready" viewers will be referred to both a local phonebank as well as the Michigan DTV Helpline.


Michigan DTV Helpline completes second month of operation

The Michigan DTV Helpline just finished its second month of operation and has already proven to be huge asset to Michigan Broadcasters and citizens alike. Since its launch in early October, the helpline has assisted over 12,000 Michigan citizens with DTV related issues.

Don-Lors Electronics, sponsor and call center provider for the Michigan DTV Helpline, reported 81% of calls to the helpline were from people who needed assistance ordering converter box coupons. As the transition date moves closer, folks realize the urgency to order the coupons so they recieve them in time for the transition. Don-Lors call data shows nearly 75% of Michigan DTV Helpline callers have no internet access, which limits their options to apply for the federal coupons; and although there is a national hotline to order the coupons, many people have found the automated system to be difficult to understand and navigate.

In addition to coupon orders, the helpline is fielding DTV questions ranging from basic information to technical inquiries. Don-Lors Electronics has provided a list of the top four reasons people call the helpline:

  • 1. Assistance ordering converter box coupons
  • 2. Inquiring about expired converter box coupons
  • 3. Technical assistance after they have received and connected the converter box and are having difficulty finding a signal from one or more stations.
  • 4. Technical assistance in connecting the converter box to the TV or the antenna to the converter box.

Don-Lors Electronics estimates as the transition date draws nearer, the need for DTV assistance will rise and the trend will be an increase in more technical questions. In the coming weeks the call center is prepared to take in a higher volume of calls and welcomes any Michigan citizen to take advantage of this unique and helpful tool that is only offered in this state.


Mid-Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 16, 2008



Jackson Citizen-Patriot:

For months people have watched ads on TV reminding them to prepare for the switch to digital TV. At 6:08 p.m. Thursday their TVs will tell them if they are ready or not. "This is actually a call to action for those who have not done something," said Mary Epps, DTV coordinator for the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. "We really are pressing people." Most TV stations are already sending out two signals: the traditional analog signal and the new digital signal. Thursday, they will interrupt regular programming to test the system... Area stations to test for DTV transition Thursday (Tue, 12/16)


West Michigan: Newsmakers Dec. 16, 2008



Grand Rapids Press:

Starting Wednesday at 6:08 p.m., local television stations will conduct on-air tests to help viewers determine whether their TV sets are ready for February's nationwide switch from analog to digital broadcasts. Chuck Mikowski, vice president and director of technology at WZZM-TV (Channel 13), will appear in "Ask Chuck" segments during newscasts and online to address concerns about the switch. The Press quizzed Mikowski about the most common questions he receives: I only have an antenna. I do not use cable, satellite or the phone company for my television reception. Do I have to do anything to continue to receive TV?... Digital TV or not? Tech expert from Grand Rapids station answers questions ahead of broadcast test (Tue, 12/16)


Comcast has major TV service interruption



Just before noon today, television customers of Comcast cable in parts of Michigan experienced a major service interruption. The outage of most TV channels appeared to affect Comcast customers in multiple locations across Michigan, from Metro Detroit as far west as the Lansing area and north to Flushing. Just after the outage began, customer service lines appeared to become overwhelmed, resulting in all circuits are busy messages or even hangups after being connected.

After about 30 minutes, customer service lines confirmed the outage but did not provide any details on possible restoration of service. Customers in different locations reported that there were several channels that continued to operate, such as The Weather Channel and Public/Educational/Government offerings. Advertisements that appear to originate on local cable systems were are functional and appeared on channels that were otherwise not showing any programming.

In Macomb county, service was partially restored within about two hours but not all channels had returned.

If the root cause of the outage turns out to be related to today's winter weather, it would be quite ironic for Comcast as it has based a good deal of its marketing on contrasting cable's supposed availability no matter what the weather is compared to what Comcast infers is unreliable service from satellite TV companies in foul weather.







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