Monthly Archives: December 2009

Lose Fox on Bright House Networks? There are alternatives

The clock is ticking, and Fox is ready to pull the plug on its channels on Bright House Networks at the stroke of midnight tomorrow.

Orlando attorney John Morgan took the mammoth media company to court today to try to stop it from cutting off its signals for the cable system. But, according to the Orlando Sentinel, Fox countered that a Florida court was not the right one to hear this issue since some of Fox’s channels are under the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission. Therefore, the media company’s attorney argued, this issue should be taken up in federal court. Morgan countered that this was just a stall tactic by Fox. Read the full story here.

Assuming the two sides do no reach agreement on retransmission compensation, Bright House customers may be without Fox 35, MyNetwork 65, Sun Sports, Fox Sports Florida and other Fox-owned channels as early as New Year’s Day. So, if you have Bright House, what should you do? Here are some tips on how to get Fox channels and programming:

First, if you have a digital television — one that gets HD signals — relax. You can easily pick up WOFL-Fox 35 and WRBW-My 65 with an indoor rabbit-ears antenna.

If you have an old analog TV, don’t panic. All you need is a digital converter box. These will run you between $40 and $55. Click here to see examples from Best Buy. With one of these boxes, you can pull in all the local stations — including Fox — with an indoor rabbit-ears antenna.

OK, so you’re set for all the BCS bowl games — including Tim Tebow’s finale as the Florida Gators face the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl. What about those Orlando Magic games on Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida?

To get them, you’re going to either (a) have to find someone who has a television provider other than Bright House, (b) sign up with one of those providers or (c) find a sports bar that doesn’t use Bright House.

For you home programming, choices include Dish Network and DirecTV for satellite. (By the way, Fox and DirecTV are owned by the same company, so chances are you will never lose any Fox programming on DirecTV). In some areas of Central Florida, there is another option: AT&T’ U-verse service.

Like all disagreements, this one will come to an end at somepoint. Hopefully, you won’t miss to many of your favorite shows or sports events.

WKMG: Urban Meyer told Gators he had heart attack

"Ping"

WKMG-Local 6 sports anchor David “Ping” Pingalore said Monday evening he stands behind his Saturday report that Florida Gators Coach Urban Meyer had a heart attack during mid-season — one health reason that may have led to the coach’s decision to take an indefinite leave of absence from the team.

During WKMG’s “The 6 O’Clock News,” Pingalore reported live via phone from New Orleans, where the Gators are set to play Cincinnati in the Sugar Bowl. He elaborated on his Saturday report, saying Meyer himself told the Gators players he had a heart attack.

“On Saturday night I did report from a source that head coach Urban Meyer did tell the team sometime on Saturday that in mid-season he suffered a heart attack, and that source continues to stand by that story. We stand by that story,” Pingalore said. “Coach Meyer on Sunday denied any kind of rumor or fact or whatever it is that he suffered a heart attack. He said he did not suffer a heart attack. But our source inside that team meeting did say that Coach Meyer did tell the team he did suffer a heart attack. And Meyer, he kind of walked around a lot of those questions that were asked of him about his health [during Sunday’s news conference.]”

“Ping” has been right with other Gators scoops, so that’s why this claim is being taken seriously by many despite UF’s denials.

Also one other interesting note about the Urban Meyer saga: WOFL-Fox 35 — which got rid of its full-time sports anchors and segments awhile ago — is running promos touting that it was the only station in town to carry Meyer’s Sunday afternoon news conference.

WFTV preparing for Bob Opsahl’s retirement

Bob Opsahl

Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather were iconic anchors for their networks. But Bob Opsahl has them beat.

Opsahl has been anchoring the news at WFTV-Channel 9 for more than 30 years — even before Rather, Brokaw or Jennings took over the lead roles on their network newscasts. Granted, Opsahl wasn’t the main anchor for Eyewitness News when he started at the station in 1978, but he’s still going long after those other guys left their respective network desks.

But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Orlando Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker reports that WFTV is starting to look for Opsahl’s replacement.

“Bob Opsahl is going to retire sometime. It would behoove us to be ready,” said WFTV News Director Bob Jordan — the man who hired Opsahl years ago. “I know one day I’m going to have to replace Bob Opsahl. I’ve be happy if he stayed forever, but he has a contract that runs out. He’s had a fantastic career. He’s an extremely valuable player.”

For now, the station is holding auditions for a male weekend anchor — but folks can see the writing on the wall. Fortunately for Opsahl’s many viewers, he’s probably not going anywhere anytime soon.

“Not next year,” Jordan said. “As long as he’s going to be here for 2010, aren’t goodbyes premature?”

A new look for Central Florida News 13

Last week, Central Florida News 13 introduced updated graphics and music. Have to say, they both are a big improvement — and the biggest changes the 24-hour cable channel has made to its on-air appearance since starting in 1997.

The graphics are bold, but the colors are softer. The familiar jingles for “Weather on the 1’s” and other features have been updated too. Even the set has been tweaked a bit, with a softer, lighter blue background.

You can see some examples below. (Note, these were taken from the CFNews13 Web site, so the “13” bug is missing from the lower right corner)

13new-2

13new-4

13new-1

13new-5

WESH pioneer Nick Pfeifauf dies

Nick Pfeifauf (left) anchoring at WESH
Nick Pfeifauf (left) anchoring at WESH
Former WESH 2 pioneer Nick Pfeifauf, 77, died last week after having a heart attack. Pfeifauf was the anchor for WESH news when I first started watching Central Florida television back in the 1970s.

 

According to WESH.com, Pfeifauf worked as news anchor, news director and vice president of research and development at Channel 2 from the 1960s until 1990. His wife, Eloise, said Pfeifauf started as a cameraman.
 
 “About two months later, someone could not go on the air and since Nick had a shirt and tie on, he was asked to deliver the news,” she said. “With his 10 years in radio, he was able to pull it off, and from then on he was on the air. ”
 
I believe he was the first anchor of “NewsCenter 2” when WESH first tried to emulate the Star Trek-like set (not the one in the picture) that was pioneered by WNBC, and I believe he was succeeded by Wayne Bennett. More on Pfeifauf here from the Orlando Sentinel.