Category Archives: Television

FCC sets incentives for Erie TV spectrum

According to Broadcasting & Cable, the Federal Communications Commission Friday released the opening bid prices for the March 2016 auction that local Erie TV stations could choose to participate in and receive tens of millions of dollars in compensation for relinquishing or downgrading their broadcast spectrum.

On a pure spectrum basis, the FCC deems WJET-TV the most valuable station in the Erie DMA (#150), with a possible opening bid of $155,740,500 to push it off the air, or as low as $62,296,200 to move to a high VHF channel. The next highest spectrum opening bid is for WFXP, with $130,693,500 potentially being offered for a move off the air, with WSEE-TV and WQLN close behind. WICU-TV‘s current placement on a high VHF makes it the least desirable station in the market spectrum-wise, however its channel still worth $60,002,100 if it chose to leave the business.

Along with the opening bid information, the Commission issued detailed application procedures and data for each TV station owner to consider if they wish to participate in the incentive reverse auction, with a deadline to apply in mid-December. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced, “Stations that miss the December 18th deadline will not be able to participate in this historic auction. Commission staff stand ready to educate and assist applicants as they prepare.”

B&C has the nationwide complete list of opening bids on their website; Erie DMA information can be found on page 41.

WICU/WSEE air local anti-violence spots

In an excellent and creative approach to try to stem escalating teen violence on Erie’s streets, Lilly Broadcasting has enlisted sports celebrities who hail from our city to send a positive message to anyone who will listen. The group is Erie Athletes Against Violence and the first spot has hit the air from Jovan Johnson and we have it here at P&T.

We will update this post as the other videos in this series go public.

Former Erie weatherman leaves live set for son’s birth

Former WSEE weather man Dave Price, who is currently on Fox 5/New York as co-anchor of Good Day New York, got an e-mail on his phone Wednesday (12-12) in the 9:00 hour of his newscast. It was telling Price that his wife was in labor, and to go to the hospital right now.

The interview with “Homeland” star Mandy Patinkin would have to wait…

YouTube Preview Image

This clip is making the rounds on Inside Edition and the entertainment news shows.

We wish Dave and his family all the best.

Thomas to leave Nexstar

Kim Thomas

Kim Thomas

WJET/WFXP News Director Lou Baxter tells P&T that he’s on the lookout for a new primary anchor to partner with Sean Lafferty. Kim Thomas will leave at the end of the month to join the office of State Senator-elect Sean Wiley.

Lou continues:

Kim has done a great job for us the past 6 years ago, having spent the last two of them on the anchor desk with Sean Lafferty. We wish her the best of luck. We have launched a nationwide search for her replacement. In the interim, Sean will solo.

Tapes and resumes to lbaxter@wjettv.com.

Erie news goes HD

Lilly Broadcasting has broken the High Definition barrier for daily local news in Erie.

WICU 12News Open Graphic

WICU and WSEE are producing and broadcasting their news products in HD. In addition, on Monday WICU debuted their new 16:9 aspect ratio designed news set, complete with both a news desk and interview station. A brand new HD graphics package accompanied the transition, which looks big market.

Watching over a couple days you can really get the sense of what a huge undertaking this is. A month ago we began to see the beginnings of local HD origination with some syndicated programming broadcast in HD. All of the field cameras and editing equipment, studio cameras, new switchers, production suite, weather computers, and all the minutia has now been converted to the new system.

Cummings to lead Lilly newsroom

TV News headhunter Rick Gevers is reporting that Pennsylvania native Bill Cummings returns to the Keystone State to become News Director of WICU & WSEE/Erie.

Bill Cummings

Cummings replaces Lisa Adams, who steps down from the ND role after 18 months. Adams will continue to anchor newscasts at the duopoly.

Bill Cummings comes to the Snow Belt from the significantly warmer market of Yuma, AZ where he directed the news efforts of KSWT-TV, since February. Before that he worked in Tallahassee and Tucson. The Erie gig will be his third set of call letters in 2012.

Editors Note: HT to Sylvester for the head’s up.

Edinboro native to appear on NBC’s ‘The Voice’ Monday

A dozen summers ago, the family singing trio Westbrook, based in Edinboro, was a headlining act at the very first Kingdom Bound By the Bay music festival that I was part of producing when managing WCTL radio. The group had released a CD and received some national airplay for their tight familial harmonies.

Fast forward to the fall of 2012, and a member of the new generation of Westbrook’s will make a national splash on NBC Monday night on “The Voice.” Celica Westbrook, Edinboro native and 16-year old budding pop star now based in Nashville, will most likely appear on Monday’s blind auditions that air locally on WICU at 8:00 PM.

Celica has been working with Nashville producer Keith Thomas, and has several songs released on YouTube and iTunes, yielding over 420,000 views of her music. Now she’s going for a chance to work with a world-famous singing coach and the ultimate possibility of scoring a major label deal.

Celica’s older brother Graham is back in Erie, attending Mercyhurst University pursuing an Intelligence degree. He’ll be watching, and you can cheer for Celica too, by watching “The Voice” Monday night on WICU.

More on Celica: