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definition - WOIO

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Shaker Heights/Cleveland, Ohio
Branding Cleveland's CBS19 (general)
19 Action News (newscasts)
Slogan Honest. Fair. Everywhere.
Channels Digital: 10 (VHF)
Virtual: 19 (PSIP)
Subchannels 19.1 CBS
19.2 Me-TV
Translators 24 (UHF) Shaker Heights
(located in Akron)
Affiliations CBS (1994-present)
Owner Raycom Media
(WOIO License Subsidiary, LLC)
First air date May 19, 1985
Call letters' meaning We're in OhIO
Sister station(s) WUAB
Former channel number(s) Analog:
19 (1985-2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1985-1986)
Fox (1986-1994)
Transmitter power 9.5 kW (digital)
Height 304 m (digital)
Facility ID 39746
Transmitter coordinates 41°23′15″N 81°41′43″W / 41.3875°N 81.69528°W / 41.3875; -81.69528
Website www.19actionnews.com

WOIO, virtual channel 19 (digital channel 10), is the CBS affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio. It is licensed to the nearby suburb of Shaker Heights. WOIO is owned by Raycom Media and its sister station to MyNetworkTV affiliate WUAB (channel 43). The two stations share a studio facility in Cleveland and WOIO's transmitter is located in Parma, Ohio. WOIO is made available outside the Cleveland TV market in Youngstown on Time Warner Cable channel 7 and Channel 11 in Warren. Syndicated programming on WOIO includes Anderson, The Insider, and Inside Edition.

WOIO has developed a reputation in the Cleveland market as having a "tabloid" news operation, at times going to extremes to cover news.[1] Examples include having a news anchor participate in a nude photo shoot in 2004, and in 2012 using puppets to recreate scenes from a federal corruption trial. Both stunts had garnered national attention.[2]



  Early years

The channel 19 allocation in the Cleveland television market dates back to the 1950s, when a construction permit for a television sister to WHK radio was issued to The Plain Dealer. When WHK was sold to Metropolitan Broadcasting (later Metromedia) in 1958, the television station's construction permit went with the radio station. However, what was to have been WHK-TV never made it to the air. The construction permit was eventually deleted at some point in the mid-1960s, but the allocation remained.

As a television station, WOIO signed on the air on May 19, 1985 (the present-day channel 19 is a new construction permit, dating back only to 1983). Prior to that time, the WOIO call letters were assigned to a radio station in Canton, Ohio, under the frequency of 1060 AM (now WILB). In 1985, the new WOIO TV station was locally owned by Hubert B. Payne, the local sales manager at WKYC-TV (channel 3). He had been the first African-American to hold that position at a network affiliate. Payne sold the station to Malrite Communications (then owner of WHK radio) later in the year. WOIO aired a typical independent lineup of off-network sitcoms, old movies, off-network drama shows and religious shows. That fall, WOIO added cartoons in the morning and the late afternoon.

By the end of 1985, channel 19 had surpassed WCLQ (channel 61, now WQHS-TV) as the market's second highest-rated independent station, and behind only WUAB. In 1986, WOIO became the market's Fox affiliate after WUAB turned it down. It branded itself as "Fox nineteen" or "WOIO nineteen" with the "nineteen" in cursive handwriting. Soon afterward, it became the over-the-air flagship of the Cleveland Cavaliers - a relationship that continued for eight years - and also carried Cleveland Browns preseason games (and other team-produced programming, notably the weekly show Browns Insider), Cleveland Force MISL indoor soccer and Cleveland State Vikings college basketball. It also appeared on cable systems in the Youngstown market, which had no Fox affiliate of its own until 1998. It still is on cable in that market today.

In 1994, Malrite signed a local marketing agreement (LMA) with WUAB's owner, Cannell Communications and as a result, WOIO and WUAB became sister stations. Both stations moved to a location at downtown Cleveland's Reserve Square. WUAB also became the new over-the-air flagship of the Cavaliers, which it still is to this day.

  CBS affiliation

  WOIO & WUAB's studios in Downtown Cleveland.

In September 1994, WJW-TV (channel 8) dropped CBS after 40 years and took over the Fox affiliation as part of a group deal with WJW's parent, New World Communications. CBS briefly wooed ABC affiliate WEWS-TV (channel 5), but WEWS' owner, the E.W. Scripps Company, used the threat of moving WEWS (along with WXYZ-TV in Detroit) to sign a long-term deal with ABC. CBS then quickly cut a deal with WOIO. After the switch became official, channel 19 moved its sitcoms, non-Fox cartoons, and Cavaliers games to WUAB.

The affiliation switch caused a major shakeup in the Cleveland market. WJW switched to a more hard-hitting approach after the Oklahoma City bombing, one which turned off many longtime viewers. Also, WUAB's success at 10 p.m. didn't transfer to WOIO's new 11 p.m. newscast. Even former WJW anchor Denise Dufala's presence as weeknight anchor didn't help the cause. It was at this time that WEWS began its seven-year run as the top rated news station in Cleveland. Additionally, with the Fox affiliation, WJW moved its late night newscast to 10 p.m. This meant that now for the first time, there were two 10 p.m. newscasts, splitting the audience.

WKYC, which had been at the bottom of the Cleveland ratings for almost 30 years, moved to third place ahead of WOIO. Nearby strong CBS affiliates with Grade B signals in parts of the Cleveland-Akron market benefited--WBNS-TV in Columbus, KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, WTOL-TV in Toledo, and WKBN-TV in Youngstown.

In 1999, WOIO and WUAB rebranded themselves as Hometeam 19 and Hometeam 43 respectively. The stations tried to put an emphasis on local coverage and play on the fact that at the time they carried all three major Cleveland pro sports teams -- Indians and Cavaliers games were carried on WUAB, with Browns games airing on WOIO by way of CBS' NFL coverage. While both WOIO and WUAB made minor gains during this period, both were still in last place. In the late 1990s, Malrite was bought out by Raycom Media. Raycom wasn't impressed with its ratings performance in Cleveland and decided that a major change was needed. In late 2001, Raycom hired controversial station manager Bill Applegate as the GM at WOIO and WUAB. Raycom chose to rebrand WOIO's newscasts 19 Action News because Applegate was known for creating "different" newscasts and quick turnarounds of struggling TV stations to becoming contenders.

  Cleveland Browns

WOIO and the Cleveland Browns entered into a television partnership in April 2005 - in effect, resuming an agreement that ended with the original teams' 1995 relocation to Baltimore. Replacing former television partner WKYC-TV, WOIO acquired the rights to air all of pre-season games as well as a pre-season draft show, exclusive training camp reports and a Monday night coach's show.

On July 18, 2006, the Browns announced they were ending their partnership with WOIO.[3] The partnership ended due to controversy over the station's coverage of the drowning of the six-year-old niece of team owner Randy Lerner. On its newscasts, WOIO aired a 9-1-1 recording of Nancy Fisher, Lerner's sister, calling for assistance. Although WOIO was within its legal bounds to air the tape, the Browns thought that it was an unnecessary invasion of the family's privacy.[4] On August 1, 2006, the Browns and WOIO ended their contract, and two days later, the team announced a new one-year deal with WKYC, which has since been expanded to a multi-year deal.[5] Due to the NFL's contract with CBS, Channel 19 will continue to air the majority of the Browns' regular season games.

  Digital Television

Channel Video Aspect Programming
19.1 1080i 16:9 Main WOIO programming / CBS
19.2 480i 4:3 Me-TV

As part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, WOIO shut down its analog transmitter on June 12, 2009, and continued to broadcast on its pre-transition digital channel 10. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WOIO's virtual channel as 19.

However, channel 10 continues to cause interference with CTV Two station CFPL-TV (Channel 10), across Lake Erie in London, Ontario. WOIO may be forced to relocate as the analog shutdown and digital conversion for TV stations in Canada on August 31, 2011 had CFPL launch digital operations on VHF 10. On October 22, 2009, WOIO boosted its effective radiated power to 9.5 kW to allow its signal to penetrate the Akron area until it could move to a more stable UHF signal.

WOIO also operates a digital fill-in translator on UHF 24.[6] Located in Akron, the translator serves the south-central portion of the viewing area where viewers lost WOIO's signal after the transition to digital in June 2009. The translator began operating on August 12, 2011.

The station's digital signal is multiplexed. On August 1, 2011, WOIO became the Cleveland affiliate of Me-TV, airing it on subchannel 19.2, which had previously been "Weather Now", a 24/7 weather forecast/radar loop. 19.2 is also carried on some NE Ohio cable systems.

  News operation

  WOIO newscast title card

Currently, WOIO broadcasts a total of 34 hours of local newscasts per week (with six hours on weekdays, an hour on Saturday and three hours on Sunday); the station produces the market's only 4 p.m. newscast. In addition, WOIO produces 12 hours of newscasts per week on sister station WUAB, including an hour-long, weekday morning newscast (an extension of the WOIO morning newscast) and a nightly, hour-long 10 p.m. newscast. Factoring in the WUAB newscasts, WOIO produces 46 hours of local newscasts per week.

Sunday mornings during football season, WOIO airs the weekly Tailgate 19 Browns pregame show. The hour-long program features sports director Tony Zarrella, WKRK-FM morning co-host Chuck Booms, and former Browns players Bob Golic, Reggie Langhorne, Hanford Dixon and Joe Jurevicius (two of the four appear every week on a rotating basis). "The Fantasy Consultant" Nathan Zegura also is featured with fantasy football advice.

WOIO uses a Bell 206-B3 Jet Ranger helicopter for traffic coverage and reporting. The helicopter is primarily red and was replaced in 2008 with a newer refurbished Jet Ranger that included digital microwave gear and a newer Flir camera system. The camera system is not HD but shoots in 16:9 standard definition. It is piloted by Michael Johnson.

  Early years

At first, WOIO had no intention to start a news department; however, CBS informed WOIO that it "preferred" that the station air newscasts. Since there was little time to form a news division, WOIO had LMA partner WUAB (which already was airing a 10 p.m. newscast) produce its newscasts. WOIO began airing briefs during CBS This Morning with Julie Hanahan, WOIO's first news employee, and Betty Haliburton. Early additions to the news staff were Emmett Miller, Denise Dufala (former longtime anchor at WJW); Dave Sweeney, weeknight weather; Jeff Phelps, weeknight sports; Gretchen Carlson and Dave Barker, weekend co-anchors; Ronnie Duncan, weekend sports; Julie Hanahan, weekend weather.

WOIO started airing newscasts at 6 and 11 p.m. in February 1995. The two WOIO newscasts and the 10 p.m. WUAB broadcast became collectively known as Cleveland Television News. Romona Robinson and Jack Marschall remained as anchors for WUAB, maintaining their long history of ratings success at 10 p.m. One of the first big stories aired on WOIO featured the "glasses cam", which Dave Barker used to show how he could just walk into a school without being stopped. In 1996, WOIO and WUAB dropped the Cleveland Television News moniker; WOIO began identifying as CBS 19 and titled its newscasts CBS 19 News. WJW-TV had been one of the strongest CBS affiliates in the country and WOIO hoped that viewers would associate the network with a high-quality local newscast. Emmett Miller left and Gretchen Carlson joined Denise Dufala, creating a two-woman anchor team for its weeknight newscasts. This had rarely been tried nationally and had never been tried in Cleveland at the time. It failed to catch on, and Carlson left WOIO, finding success later at the Fox News Channel. Later that year, WOIO added a weekday morning newscast at 6 a.m. and pre-empted most of the first hour of CBS This Morning with local news; they also added a noon newscast around the same time. Still, WOIO failed to win viewers.

Also in 1997, WOIO tried to have its news studio at street level where pedestrians could see the newscasts being taped (similar to what CHUM Limited tried out with its "NewNet" stations in the Canadian province of Ontario). This concept for Cleveland did not last long, but today this concept is being used by Good Morning America and the Today Show, as well as several television stations in larger markets.

After the departure of Gretchen Carlson, Kevin Cokely joined Denise Dufala on the anchor desk for the 6 and 11 p.m. newscasts. This lasted until 1999, when Jack Marschall was brought in as 6 and 11 p.m. anchor to replace Kevin Cokely, while still continuing to anchor the 10 p.m. news on WUAB with Cynthia Tinsley. Several months later in February 2000, CBS 19 News became Hometeam 19 News and introduced a new look that coincided with Raycom's takeover of WOIO and WUAB. After WUAB lost the broadcast rights to the Cleveland Indians in 2001, the Hometeam branding was dropped and WOIO's newscasts were simply known as 19 News. Because of the continued low ratings, Bill Applegate was brought in as General Manager and sweeping changes would take place at WOIO and WUAB over the next several months.

  Action News

  19 Action News logo.

In May 2002, Action News debuted. A popular press format was put into place, using Shelly Palmer's Palmer News Package, a theme based on the signature tune of WBBM-TV in Chicago (a station that Applegate managed in the 1980s; incidentally enough, WBBM never used that specific theme). The pacing, the look, the style and the language of each newscast took on a dramatically different look and feel. Soon after, the newscasts' title would officially be changed to 19 Action News, airing on both WOIO and WUAB. Ratings improved almost immediately, especially in late news, where the 11 p.m. newscast became the only late newscast to gain viewers an unprecedented four years in a row, as WKYC, WEWS and WJW's late newscasts either remained flat or lost viewers. The station added an hour of news at 5 p.m. in 2002, joining the newscasts of WEWS and WJW for a three-way competition for second place in the timeslot at the time (as WKYC's airing of Dr. Phil at 5 p.m. had long been in first place until recently).

In June 2004, WOIO launched Cleveland's first 4 p.m. newscast. It debuted in last place, but began to grow steadily and today fights for second place with WJW's Judge Judy, but still trailed WEWS' The Oprah Winfrey Show at that hour (Winfrey's program ended in 2011, and WEWS replaced it with Dr. Oz).

WOIO's 11 p.m. newscast mounted a serious challenge to WKYC that began in 2004 and had success in marginally overtaking WKYC once in 2008. In recent years the 11 p.m. news race in the Cleveland area has been highly competitive, with WOIO taking part in this spirited competition; often, no more than one ratings share point separates first place from third place among the three newscasts which air in this time slot (to the point where all three stations have claimed victory with different sets of demos at various points within the past year). However, WOIO frequently finishes in distant third or fourth place in most other dayparts with its newscasts (though it has won the noon timeslot in recent ratings periods due to the lead in of The Price is Right hosted by Cleveland native Drew Carey).

The station's current theme music is the newest version of CBS Enforcer, a package created for CBS's owned-and-operated station group which also has its' roots with Chicago's WBBM-TV's signature tune, based on an old folk song, "I Love Chicago, Chicago My Home.".

  HD newscasts

WOIO began to broadcast their newscasts in high definition with the station's 6:30 p.m. newscast on October 21, 2007, making the Cleveland market the first in the nation to have all the Big Four affiliates broadcasting news in the format. The 10 p.m. newscast on Channel 43 also broadcasts in HD; that newscast airs in 720p due to that resolution being MyNetworkTV's HD display format, while Action News programs on Channel 19 air in CBS' 1080i format.

The conversion to HD by Channel 19 created a situation where its news and weather cut-ins during The Early Show aired in 16:9 HD, whereas the Early Show was broadcast in 4:3 SDTV. As of April 26, 2010, the Early Show is now broadcast in HD. The station's new set, designed for HD, was unveiled on January 14, 2008, with the weather center graphics following suit a week later. Touchscreens have also been integrated into the set (highlighted by the "Big Board", which is used for web related stories). Field acquisition of news stories continues to be shot in 16:9 SD.

  News Presentation

Since 2002 when the 19 Action News branding took effect, WOIO has developed a reputation of having a "tabloid" news operation, using a brash, in-your-face style in its anchoring and reporting. Channel 19 has also been controversial in the choice of stories it promotes, as well as the way they present other stories. Examples include airing the aforementioned Lerner family 9-1-1 tape, as well as:

  "Body of Art"

In early 2004, Spencer Tunick, a photographer known for taking pictures of large groups of naked people, came to Cleveland. Then-WOIO anchor Sharon Reed (regarded by many viewers as very attractive) was asked by news director Steve Doerr to participate in the project for a first hand account of the experience. The idea for the story was the brainchild of GM Bill Applegate. Several other media outlets participated in the same way, including The Plain Dealer and Cleveland Magazine. The other news stations also covered the event.

WOIO shot video of "News Babe" Reed getting up in the morning, going to the event, getting undressed and finally nude shots of her from behind. The story called "Body of Art" aired in the November sweeps period after being promoted heavily with promos that contained a "viewer discretion advisory". WOIO insisted that the story was supposed to make viewers question whether Spencer Tunick's body of work is art or "something else". On the night the story aired WOIO received its highest ratings ever. The story also gave Reed and WOIO national attention as she was invited to defend the piece on Fox News and on The Late Show with David Letterman.[7]

  "The Puppet's Court"

In the winter of 2012, the "circus like atmosphere" and explicit testimony at the Cuyahoga County corruption trial inspired the staff of the station to recreate word for word testimony using puppets. This was due to the fact that as a federal case, cameras were not allowed in the courtroom. The use of puppets on the nightly news quickly gained national attention.[8][9]

  News/Station Presentation

  Newscast titles

  • 19 News / Cleveland Television News (1995–1996)[10]
  • CBS 19 News (1996–1999)
  • Hometeam 19 News (1999–2002)
  • 19 Action News (2002–present)[11]

  Station slogans

  • "Don't Let Nineteen Weekends Pass You By" (1987–1988; localized version of Fox ad campaign)
  • "The Address is CBS 19, Welcome Home" (1998–1999; localized version of CBS campaign)
  • "The Hometeam" (1999–2002)
  • "Honest. Fair. Everywhere." (2002–present; news slogan)
Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

  Current on-air staff

WOIO's primary news anchors include Catherine Bosley weekday mornings and noon, Denise Dufala weeknights at 4, 6 and 11 p.m., Brian Duffy weekday mornings, Lydia Esparra on weekends, Paul Joncich weekdays at 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. (will be leaving in August), Romona Robinson weeknights at 5, 6 and 11 p.m., Danielle Serino weekdays at noon, 4:30 and 5:30 p.m., Tiffani Tucker weeknights at 10 p.m., David Wittman weeknights at 4, 5 and 10 p.m., and Denise Zarrella Sunday mornings

The "Ford First Alert" weather team features chief meteorlogist Jeff Tanchak (AMS Seal of Approval) weeknights, Jason Handman weekday mornings and noon, Jon Loufman (AMS Seal of Approval) weekend evenings, Jenn Harcher (AMS Seal of Approval) Sunday mornings, and Beth McLeod fills in. WOIO's weather team also provides forecasts for WQAL FM 104.1.

The CBS 19 sports team includes sports director Tony Zarrella (weeknights, also host of Tailgate 19), and weekend anchor Mark Schwab. WKRK-FM sportscaster Anthony Lima serves as a fill-in anchor/repoter. During Browns season, a number of former Browns players appear as analysts on Tailgate 19, including Bob Golic, Reggie Langhorne, Joe Jurevicius, and Hanford Dixon. WKRK morning co-host Chuck Booms and fantasy football expert Nathan Zegura are also featured on the show.

Field reporters include Harry Boomer, Blake Chaneult, Shannon Davidson, Dan DeRoos ("Big Board" web), Ed Gallek (crime beat), Ashley Johncola (traffic), Dawn Kendrick, Carl Monday (chief investigator), Paul Orlousky, Jen Picciano, Bill Safos, Scott Taylor (investigative), Mike Trivisonno (commentator), and Chris Van Vliet (entertainment).

  Notable alumni

  Coverage in Canada

The station is readily available over-the-air to Kingsville, Leamington and Pelee Island in southern Essex County, Ontario and was once listed in the TV Guide edition for those communities (and Windsor, Ontario until 2000 though the station's signal wasn't strong enough to reach Windsor and Detroit). Unlike WKYC-TV, WEWS, and WJW-TV, it was not one of the stations from Cleveland carried on local cable in those three locations. WOIO is available on cable in St. Thomas and was briefly available on the digital tier in London in early 2005.


  External links



All translations of WOIO

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