Thursday, September 27, 2007

KETV and Cox Reach Agreement

It looks like KETV-7's parent company, Hearst-Argyle Television, and Cox Comunications came to an agreement that will allow Cox to carry Omaha-based KETV's HD and analog signals. Here's a press release on the announcement. We'll have more on this in coming days on the blog and in the City Weekly newspaper.


NEW YORK, N.Y., September 26, 2007 – Hearst-Argyle Television, Inc. (NYSE: HTV), parent of [STATION(S)] today announced an agreement providing retransmission consent for carriage over Cox Communications cable systems of the digital and analog signals of Hearst-Argyle’s television stations WESH-TV and WKCF-TV, Orlando; KMBC-TV, Kansas City, Missouri; KOCO-TV, Oklahoma City; WDSU-TV, New Orleans; KETV, Omaha; and KHBS-TV/KHOG-TV, Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Arkansas. The agreement includes carriage of the high-definition digital (HDTV) signals and carriage of digital multicast programming as well as continued carriage of the stations’ analog signals.

WESH and WDSU are NBC affiliates; WKCF is a CW affiliate; the others are ABC affiliates.

“We’re pleased to have our digital signal back on the Cox system and to be able to provide our award-winning local programs and our network programming to our valued viewers who are Cox subscribers,” said Sarah Smith of KETV.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Personal Attacks Will Not Be Tolerated

Some comments have been removed from previous posts because they were not relevant to the topic or they made inappropriate or personal attacks.

This will not be tolerated. Please keep your comments relative to the subject matter.

Thank you.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Get Ready for 'Rosey'

If you forked down $29.95 Saturday to watch the Huskers escape the upset against Ball State, you missed Jim Rose's terrific horrific call of the game. But not to worry, he'll have your undivided attention next week when the Nebraska game against Iowa State is not on TV.

What are the Husker "faithful" (as the TV folk so affectionately refer to Nebraska fans) saying this year about Rose? Here is just a sampling of the grumblings about the way he described the action of Saturday's game, courtesy of Huskerpedia's bulletin board.

What did Media Watch think of his call? Put it this way, we know the game was being played at 10th & Vine because Rose told us so at least a half dozen times.

On a related note, Randy York's N-sider column has an interesting look back to the days when nearly every Husker game was not on TV. Particularly intriguing is a comparison of Lyell Bremser's call of Joe Orduna's 67-yard touchdown run in 1970 against USC to TV footage of the play.

Friday, September 21, 2007

This Is Not Your Nebraska Governor

Our friends up at 50th & Underwood won't be pleased to read this, but we've given them a pass on it for months. Now it's time to come clean.

JohannsLast Friday night, KFAB (1110 AM) aired a public service announcement touting the Nebraska College Savings Program. What makes this PSA noteworthy?

It begins with the voice of Mike Johanns saying, "This is your Nebraska Governor."

Ouch. Johanns hasn't been the state's top official since January of 2005.

The kicker: the spot is sponsored by the Nebraska Broadcasters Association.

Tune in tonight to "The Savage Nation" and "Coast to Coast" to find out if the PSA has finally made its way out of the rotation...

Monday, September 17, 2007

News From the NRG Cluster

Spanish Omaha radio station La Bonita (the pretty one) at 1180 AM will become La Preciosa (the precious one) at the end of the month. And on Oct. 1, Jose Munoz, formerly of Spanish station KBBX (97.7 FM), makes his morning show debut on 1180 AM, which is owned by NRG Media.

Also on Oct. 1, NRG’s Power 106.9 FM will debut the “Big Boy’s Neighborhood” as its new morning show. The nationally syndicated show is based in Los Angeles and will replace the locally produced “Hot Boy” show.

Beginning this Thursday, “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” on NRG’s the Zone (1620 AM) will add an extra hour, going from 2-6 p.m. now. Hosted by Kevin Kugler and Mike’L Severe, the show now will go head-to-head for four consecutive hours each weekday against Matt Perrault and Travis Justice on Big Sports 590 AM.

More details on all of the above in this week’s City Weekly newspaper, which hits the stands on Wednesday.

More to Come ...

KETV-7 and Cox Communications came to an agreement last Saturday (Sept. 15) to air the Notre Dame-Michigan and Nebraska-USC football games, as well as the NASCAR race on Sunday – all in HD and analog on Cox’s system. (See related story below).

Negotiations resumed today to determine if any further HD programming, or KETV’s analog signal, for that matter, will be carried by Cox. KETV has set a Sept. 30 deadline for the decision.

Look for more details in this week’s City Weekly newspaper.

Friday, September 14, 2007

KPTM’s 4 p.m. Newscast to Debut Monday

Local TV viewers will have another choice for news at 4 p.m. beginning Monday, as KPTM will launch a 4 p.m. newscast and debut its new set.

It will be a one-hour newscast, and will be anchored by Amanda Mueller and Taylor Wilson, who also anchor KPTM’s 9 p.m. one-hour newscast. Tyson Pearsall will handle weather, with J.J. Davis on sports.

“It’s an opportunity to bring newsmakers in-house to be on the scene of events that are happening in the afternoon, but to also be a part of news that’s happening all around the world,” said Joe Radske, news director at KPTM.

Mayor Mike Fahey will be an in-studio guest next Thursday, Sept. 20.

No More Nebraska Games on TV

Get your attention? Well, settle down. That hasn’t happened yet. But it could.

It’s been almost a year since KETV-7 pulled its HD signal off of Cox Communications’ lineup. That means you won’t be watching NU vs. USC Saturday in HD on Cox’s system. But you can – for now – still watch the game on KETV’s analog signal on Cox channel 9. And if the two entities don’t come to an agreement by Sept. 30 KETV plans to pull its analog signal from Cox, too.

If KETV does go missing from Cox, you’ll have options if another Huskers football game is picked up by ABC (of which KETV is an affiliate) this season, and you happen to want to see it.

To get the game free over the air, whether analog or HD, you’ll have to get an antenna or an HD converter box. If you don’t want to hassle with that, you can’t subscribe to other cable providers, such as the Dish Network or Direct TV, which carry KETV’s analog and HD signals.

But hopefully we won’t all have to head down to Radio Shack for a set of rabbit ears. Hopefully, KETV and Cox can work out their differences. The differences? Well, it’s really just one difference: KETV thinks it should be paid for its broadcast signals, especially the HD signal, which cost the station millions to create. On the other hand, Cox thinks it shouldn’t have to pay for those signals.

“Negotiations have resumed, and they had been stalled for months,” Sarah Smith, general manager of KETV, said this week. “So my interpretation is that our issue to potentially pull the analog signal brought Cox back to the table, which is encouraging to me.

“I am told that we are exchanging offers back and forth and we’re further than we’ve ever been, so I’m encouraged that we will reach an agreement.”

Because of proprietary rules, KETV and the other broadcast stations in Omaha cannot discuss any agreements they may or may not have with Cox to carry their signals. KMTV, for instance, was the most recent Omaha station to tangle with Cox. KMTV, the local CBS affiliate, pulled its HD signal from Cox before the two – presumably – came to a monetary agreement that both were happy with. Now KMTV’s analog and HD signals are carried by Cox.

“We’re hopeful that we’re going to reach an agreement shortly, and we’re pretty confident we will,” said Summer Miller Widhalm, public affairs manager at Cox in Omaha.

Widhalm would not say whether or not any of the other Omaha stations are compensated by Cox to carry their analog and HD signals. Why? Yep, “it’s proprietary.”

“Our position with broadcast is that’s something that you can receive for free, so we don’t know why if you’re a cable subscriber, why you’d have to pay for it,” Widhalm said.

“With all the broadcast stations you can receive those all for free with an antenna. So if I’m a cable subscriber and you’re not a cable subscriber, why should I have to pay extra as a cable subscriber for something you’re getting for free? Because we would have to pass that on to the customers (by raising their fees).”

Interestingly, Widhalm said, “We (Cox) don’t charge for our HD signals – those are all free.”

Hmmm, I suppose that might be true. However, you have to subscribe to Cox’s coveted digital tier to get to access those HD channels on their system.

Says KETV’s Smith: “The consumers out there have been led to believe that those entities (the other Omaha TV stations) are not being compensated by Cox, either. I don’t know for sure, but what I do know is that those entities did come to the table and negotiate with Cox and both got up from the table and had a deal, so they must have both felt good about it. That’s all we’re asking for, a fair deal.”

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ingraham to Appear at Orpheum

If you’ve been wanting to get the autograph of nationally syndicated talk-show host Laura Ingraham – and you know you have – now is your chance. The conservative host, who is pretty cute for a conservative, will be in Omaha next Wednesday, Sept. 19, for an appearance and speech at the Orpheum Theatre.

Ingraham, who is on Omaha’s news-talk KKAR (1290 AM) weekdays 8 to 11 a.m., will present “Salute to the Military,” during which she will take questions from the audience. Afterwards, she’s set to sign autographs.

But it’s not free. Tickets are $18 and $15 and are available via

Big 10 Still Could Be Coming to Cox

Cox Communications apparently has not closed the door on adding the Big 10 Network to their lineup. The channel features sports from the Big 10 conference 24 hours a day. Fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes – especially their football program – obviously would enjoy the addition, as the University of Iowa is a member of the Big 10.

However, none of the 208,000 households that subscribe to Cox’s service are seeing the Big 10 Network. But they still could.

“We haven’t decided not to yet. We’re still negotiating that,” said Summer Miller Widhalm, public relations manager at Cox in Omaha.

“The reason the Big 10 important is because of Iowa, and we serve Iowa. But only one of the first four Hawkeye games was even on the Big 10 Network, and most of the big games are on carried on other networks. So it doesn’t make sense for us to charge our customers for a network when all of the key games are actually on other networks. You might have one or two that are really important, but overall we’re not going to give our customers a very good value if we pay for that and then it’s only a couple of games that are actually valuable for them.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Kugler Goes National

Kevin Kugler, co-host of “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” on the Zone (1620 AM) 3-6 p.m., will be delivering play-by-play Saturday during the Nebraska-USC football game. No, Kugler isn’t replacing Jim Rose, who does the Huskers’ play-by-play for the Husker radio network.

Kugler is co-host with Terry Bowden for the Westwood One radio network, which serves more than 5,000 radio stations nationwide. This week’s featured game, of course, is the Husker-Trojan match up. So you won’t hear Kugler Saturday on Nebraska radio, but if you’re in Boston you can tune him in.

Charleston Returns to Omaha

Dan Charleston, who was the longtime sales manager at Sweet 98 (now Q-98), is returning to the city to manage the sales team for Omaha’s cluster of Clear Channel radio stations – the Kat (103.7 FM), the Brew (96.1 FM), US 93.3 FM, KFAB (1110 AM) and KGOR (99.9 FM).

Charleston will be working with Taylor Walet, who joined Clear Channel in July. Walet returns to Omaha where he previously was manager of Z-92 (92.3 FM). Charleston was most recently vice president of sales with Finest City Broadcasting in San Diego.

Power 106.9 Jock Wins By KO

Houston “Strong Arm” aka “the Assassin” Alexander continues to ride his rising star in the Ultimate Fighting Championship fight league. If the name sounds familiar, you might have heard Alexander on Power 106.9 FM, where he hosts a Sunday night show called “Sunday Night Raw.”

But when he’s not on the air, and when he’s not taking care of his six children or putting on a dance demonstration at a local school, Alexander is an Ultimate Fighter. And on Sept. 8 the Assassin pummeled another opponent – this one in 1:01 at UFC 75 in London (you can see the fight via the link below).

During his post-fight interview Alexander wore a Nebraska Cornhusker hat and pointed to it and said, “Nebraska is in the building!”

A writer from the Baltimore Sun was impressed with Houston’s fight.

“Alexander put on another show last night in absolutely dominating Alessio Sakara,” the newspaper said. “Alexander showed a lot of energy and a lot of aggression and he also showed us that along with the fists that he displayed against Keith Jardine in his last fight, he has some wicked knees, too. Alexander is a powerfully built fighter and Sakara could do nothing to keep him on the ground.”

The link to the video: