Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PVI's New Home

Look for the crew at WPVI to move into their new digs, next door, and be broadcasting from there by early September. I'm told that staff is pretty psyched about the new state-of-the-art facility along Monument Road just east of City Avenue and their current home which was considered "state-of-the-art" back in the day. Don't look for any drastic change in the on-air look of the Action News broadcasts, however. I'm told there will be a few tweaks here and there that are in the plan but overall--the home of Action News will pretty much look as it does now.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Use of Digital Feeds

As I mentioned in the previous post--WPVI channel 6 chose not to air live "traditional" coverage of the Harry Kalas memorial service this past Saturday which was held at Citizens Bank Park in South Philadelphia. I commented that, even though they aired streaming video online at makes me wonder why they didn't also air coverage on WPVI-2, one of their digital feeds?
Currently, WPVI has two additional channels in this digital age. WPVI DT2 and WPVI DT3. DT2 airs *repeat shows* such as "FYI Philly", "New Visions", "Perspective: Delaware" and alot of paid programming. DT3, better known as "Action News Now" is a 24/7 broadcast of local and national weather (provided by AccuWeather) along with news headlines.
Over at WCAU's NBC-10, there are also two additional digital channels. WCAU DT2 is "NBC Plus" (the former WeatherPlus) much like WPVI's 24/7 local/national weather. WCAU DT3 is "NBC Sports" provided by NBC.
KYW-3 and FOX-29 do not currently air digital feed signals. WPSG-TV "CW Philly 57" airs THREE additional digital feeds. There is children's programming Qubo; lifestyle type programming on ION Life and the power of faith on Worship.
A look at how some other markets have become creative in the programming of their digital feeds? CW affilate WTVX-34 in the Miami area airs three digital feeds one of which is "Retro TV Network" with oldies shows such as "Ironside", "Marcus Welby M.D.", "Emergency", "Kojak", "Adam-12", "Dragnet" and "The Incredible Hulk" to name a few.
New York's NBC affiliate, WNBC-4, began programming "New York Nonstop"--a 24 hour local news network similiar to CNN but with lighter fare and more repeated news cycles while Houston CBS affiliate KBTX airs "The Martha Stewart Show", "Family Feud", "Trivial Pursuit" and other syndicated fare on its DT2 feed.
ABC affiliate, WNEP-16 out of the Scranton-Wilkes/Barre market is probably the boldest and most creative I've heard about. They recently began airing a continuation of their weekday early morning "NewsWatch 16 This Morning" in the 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. timeslot after saying goodbye on their main channel and signing off to ABC's "Good Morning America". Station management felt it was just a logical move in providing news, weather and information to those looking for "local" versus the national network fare.
Other networks such as Retro TV are out there attempting to grab this additional "tree fruit" that has blossomed in the digital TV age. I would love to see stations continue to reach out to the viewer and utilize their digital feeds in this type of *interesting programming* as well as breaking news events. Live coverage of a story could be provided and promoted on the digital feed while still airing network fare on the main channel. Imagine Channel 6 airing a show in the 7 a.m. - 9 a.m. slot to compete with FOX-29's "Good Day Philadelphia"? It wouldn' take much on Matt O'Donnell and Tamala Henry's part to give "Good Day" a run for their money with "Action News Later Morning"! How about KYW-3 airing "Eyewitness News at 5 p.m." once they begin digital streaming -- against their own "Dr. Phil"?
Obviously, economics is probably the biggest obstacle in all of this and time will tell what direction this type of programming goes.

Reflections on Harry Kalas Memorial

The Harry Kalas memorial was held Saturday (4/18th) at the Phillies hometurf, Citizens Bank Park, and covered LIVE by not only CBS-3 but MyPHL-17 (using the news crew from NBC10), FOX-29, Comcast Sportsnet as well as inserts within the news on KYW 1060/Newsradio by Mike Dinardo who was good friends with Harry.
The viewing service, scheduled to begin at 8 a.m., started earlier than planned at about 7:35 a.m. when officials began allowing mourners to pay their last respects. Two large pictures were placed at the casket as mourners and fans passed by.
I watched the coverage provided by CBS-3 with Susan Barnett and Chris May handling the anchor desk. Beesley Reese and Don Bell anchored the service from the ballpark which drew Darren Daulton, John Kruk, Mr. and Mrs. Mike Schmidt, Mitch Williams, Larry Andersen, Merrill Reese, Howard Eskin among hundreds of others.
Interestingly, Channel 6 did not air coverage but chose to stream coverage online at This is when, in my opinion, stations aren't utilizing their HD digital feed capability to their fullest potential. Why couldn't they have aired live coverage on WPVI-2? THAT is an entirely separate subject (the underuse of programming on stations' digital feeds)
The service was well done, quite moving and the Phillies organization should be proud. Rest in peace Harry...