In his first year at the helm, Mark Strachota, general manager at WDJT-TV CBS 58, has had to deal with a lot of moving pieces, the biggest of which is the departure of David Letterman from the affliliate's late-night schedule.
"We will have a few more changes down the line," Strachota said when we chatted a couple of weeks ago.
Inside the studios just south of Interstate 94 on Hawley Road, there are three television stations with digital tier broadcasts and web operations that’s under Strachota’s care. Independent WMLW-TV and Telemundo WYTU-TV each have local news broadcasts in addition to the morning, midday and evening news on WDJT. When bundled together, the Weigel has one of the largest broadcast operations in the Milwaukee market.
In the past year, the CBS affiliate and flagship of the group, WDJT, has picked up a new news director with Tracy Davis stepping into the role, had chief meteorologist Mark McGinnis depart the station and has been playing musical chairs with evening anchors.
Change has happened, and dust will eventually settle.
But this spring, the station has had to deal with another change. When David Letterman walked away from his "Late Show" in May, it means greater changes at CBS.
"When you lose an icon such as Letterman, it can mean a change in the audience," Strachota said. "We are looking forward to Stephen Colbert coming this fall."
For one thing, Colbert can bring in people who don’t traditionally watch CBS. In the business, that is called sampling.
"Like you said, there can be some sampling," Strachota said, "And that could be good for us."
The good part means that Strachota and his promotions team can use its own station to share with the people who don’t usually tune in what WDJT as a whole has to offer. The promotions could be of local news, or of syndicated programs like "Wheel of Fortune" or "Jeopardy."
Letterman will still be on the air in reruns through the summer. Strachota will have that time to come up with new promotions and a plan to share all of the offerings to a potentially new and younger late night audience.
More changes at CBS 58 are coming, and some of them will start this week.
SOMETHING NEW: Time Warner Cable launched of Enhanced DVR last week. The advanced set-top box offers improved DVR features and capacity and is not available in the firm’s service areas in Wisconsin.
Enhanced DVR customers can record up to six different programs at the same time and have up to six times more storage than the current DVR, according to Time Warner. The device can save 150 hours of high-definition programming on its 1-terabyte (1,000 gigabytes) hard drive.
That’s a lot of bytes.
For regular broadcasts not in HD, the box can record more than the 150 hours.
Consumers with "Whole House Enhanced DVR" can watch, pause, rewind and fast-forward shows recorded on the Enhanced DVR on up to four other HD set-top boxes.
"DVR customers are passionate about watching what they want, when they want," said Jack Herbert, Time Warner Cable Regional Vice President of Operations. "Our new Enhanced DVR transforms our customers’ TV experience by allowing them to record all their favorite shows at once and store a vast library of programming."
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.