Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Western Reserve PBS Adds New SD Subchannels

When we were marveling at the appearance of the full-power WVIZ-DT signal last night, we wondered...what subchannels would Western Reserve PBS offer after transition?

We knew that WNEO-DT 45.2 and WEAO-DT 49.2's SD simulcast of the main Western ReservePBS signal would go away after June 12th.

The Kent-based public broadcaster has announced that it'll add two new standard definition subchannels starting early the morning of June 13th, shortly after the button is pushed to end analog transmissions on WEAO/49 Akron.

And except for may be a small sliver of programming, the new Western Reserve PBS sujbchannels don't duplicate the three subchannels now seen market-wide in Cleveland via the upgraded WVIZ-DT signal.

WNEO-DT 45.2/WEAO-DT 49.2 will feature "Fusion", which will be a locally programmed arts, cultural and public affairs channel. That local service will actually launch on August 1st, so from June 13th until then, Western Reserve PBS will offer "Classic Arts Showcase" on 45.2/49.2.

WNEO-DT 45.3/WEAO-DT 49.3 will air "MHz Worldview", a nationally-offered subchannel service featuring English-language programming produced by a host of international public TV outlets, including Germany's Deutsche Welle, NHK, France 24 and others.

Those outlets have long produced English-language programming for North America, dating back to shortwave radio broadcasts from decades ago.

(Though shortwave is kind of on life support in 2009, many of the broadcasters now offer that programming both there and on the Internet..."Worldview" is structured similarly to the "World Radio Network", which airs on satellite radio and on the Internet.)

As a teenager, we used to listen to "Radio Netherlands", the Dutch government's shortwave service, in English...and gained a major appreciation of the Netherlands as a result.

Both new Western Reserve PBS subchannels will land on Time Warner Cable's digital SD lineup, but only in Akron, Canton and Youngstown to 367 for "MHz Worldview", 368 for "Fusion".

Massillon Cable has agreed to air the channels on positions 84 ("Fusion") and 85 ("Worldview").

How about Time Warner Cable's lineups in Cleveland and elsewhere?

A Western Reserve PBS news release, which we will reprint below, says: "Cleveland and other markets to follow".

The former Adelphia systems now in TWC's fold in the Cleveland area have also not added the HD feed of the 45/49 programming, though the station showed up in early channel lineup cards shortly after TWC took over the ex-Adelphia systems. PBS HD on the TWC Cleveland/former Adelphia systems is via carriage of WVIZ-DT 25.1 on HD channel 411.

Our note about a "small sliver" of duplication refers to Western Reserve PBS' plans to carry, on "Fusion", some Ohio public affairs programming presumably brought their way by "The Ohio Channel", which airs as a subchannel on WVIZ-DT (and in fact, WVIZ owner ideastream is a partner in producing the channel).

The Western Reserve PBS release is below...


Western Reserve Public Media announces launch of two new standard definition channels

KENT, Ohio – June 11, 2009 — Western Reserve Public Media (formerly PBS 45 & 49) announced today that it will launch two new standard definition broadcast services at midnight on June 13, 2009, to coincide with the national analog shut-off and to herald the beginning of the all-digital broadcast environment.

Fusion, the new service airing on WNEO.2/WEAO.2, will focus on arts, culture, public affairs and regional productions. Fusion will debut with Classic Arts Showcase programming airing around the clock until Wednesday, Aug. 1, when the new locally programmed schedule begins. The variety service will feature regionally produced programming from both Western Reserve Public Media and independent producers; arts and performance programming from PBS, American Public Television, Minority Consortia and other sources not carried on the organization’s primary channel; Ohio Statehouse floor activities coverage from Ohio Government channel and other public affairs programs; and more than 10 recently acquired British comedies and other BBC Worldwide programs not carried on Western Reserve PBS.

Premiere date: Classic Arts Showcase will air around the clock beginning Saturday, June 13, 2009. On Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2009, the new locally programmed schedule will begin.

Channel designations: Digital channels 45.2 (WNEO) and 49.2 (WEAO); Time Warner Cable channel 368 (beginning July 15 in Akron, Canton and Youngstown; Cleveland and other markets to follow); Massillon Cable channel 84; other cable system carriage pending

MHz Worldview, the new service airing on WNEO.3/WEAO.3, is an independent, noncommercial service presenting fresh, relevant English-language international content including news, documentaries, cultural programming, dramas, films and mysteries, music and sports. Known for its “programming for globally minded people,” MHz Worldview presents programs from around the world to American audiences, representing networks such as Asian News International, Beijing TV, Bolivision (Bolivia), Deutsche Welle (Germany), euroNews, France 24, Israel Broadcasting Authority, NHK World TV (Japan), Nigerian Television Authority, RT (formerly Russia Today), South African Broadcasting Corp. News International, Taiwan Macroview TV, TV Polonia and many others.

Premiere date: Saturday, June 13, 2009

Channel designations: Digital channels 45.3 (WNEO) and 49.3 (WEAO); Time Warner Cable channel 367 (beginning July 15 in Akron, Canton and Youngstown; Cleveland and other markets to follow); Massillon Cable channel 85; other cable system carriage pending

Western Reserve PBS, the organization’s primary, high-definition broadcast service, will continue to air on WNEO PBS 45.1 and WEAO PBS 49.1 and in its current cable and satellite positions. Western Reserve PBS offers a wide range of programs on subjects including science and nature; drama, art and music; how-tos, travel and adventure; history and biography; and news and public affairs. Additionally, the station airs over 60 hours of children’s programming each week. It is well-known for sustaining an excellent relationship with local independent producers and is the premier television outlet for their work.

“Western Reserve Public Media has long positioned itself as a broadcast service offering alternative TV programming — from commercial television stations as well as from other public television stations,” said Trina Cutter, president and CEO of Western Reserve Public Media. “Our two new channels will present unique, engaging program content for northeast Ohioans.

“For the past 10 years we have been intensely focused on the technical logistics of converting two broadcast transmitters to digital,” Cutter continued. “It is refreshing and reinvigorating to finally be shifting all of our focus to services for our community.”

The new broadcast services range from the local to the global. Station programmer Don Freeman explained, “We want to be a showcase for northeast Ohio’s best local and regional productions, a home for creative voices and a place to find out not only what is happening in the world, but what the rest of the world says about it when it’s happening.”

Western Reserve Public Media continues to work with area cable and satellite TV providers to add these new channels to their lineups. More information is available online at or by calling 1-800-554-4549.

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