Channel 58 is going through some major changes, as it makes the technical upgrade to HD newscasts.
It began with the unveiling of a new set for its newscasts, a necessary step as Milwaukee's affiliate moves toward the state-of-the-art high-definition news programming. HD robotic cameras are in place, but general manager Jim Hall says, in laymen's terms, the hard drive of the station has to be upgraded for HD broadcasting.
"I'd like to have it happen now," Hall tells me, but he expects HD to launch in eight to 12 weeks. "It'll happen when we're ready. This is a marathon, not a sprint."
He's right, Channels 4, 6 and – most recently – 12 have already made the upgrade. While it's not a race, adopting the latest technology is necessary for Channel 58 to maintain what Hall calls "production and technical parity with the competition."
In addition to the HD transition, Channel 58 is adding a noon newscast in September. The exact date hasn't been announced, but he confirms that the morning team of anchors Tom Durian and Jennifer Tomazic, and forecaster Lance Hill will staff the new half-hour of news.
It will take advantage of the lead-in available from CBS' "Young and the Restless" at 11 a.m., one of the dwindling number of remaining network soap operas. The noon hour now features the syndicated "Insider," which will move to another time slot, or sister channel WMLW-TV.
Speaking of WMLW: Hall was just as excited to talk about the September launch of syndicated reruns of "The Big Bang Theory" in the 6 p.m. hour in September on WMLW.
Hall says he thinks the comedy will bring a large audience to the station, taking viewers from cable and some from his local broadcast competitors.
"We expect it to make a big bang," he said, swearing he had just come up with that line.
WMLW is available over the air as Channel 58.2 or 41; and is Channel 7 and digital 982 on Time Warner Cable, 7, 8 or 21 on Charter; Channel 5 on AT&T U-Verse; and Channel 41 on DirecTV and Dish Network.
A new program director at WBWI-FM: West Bend's WBWI-FM (92.5) has named radio veteran Ken Kohls as its new program director, replacing Fuzz Martin, who has left the business.
You may have heard Kohls on the air at WMIL-FM (106.1), and he's worked around the country in a 28-year radio career, including a stint as program director at KKRQ-FM in Cedar Rapids/Iowa City.
The country music station continues to look for a morning drive-time host, with AJ Randall – a familiar voice to listeners of the old Matthew Blades show on the station formerly known as WKIT – filling in until a permanent host is found.
Milwaukee Film venue expansion: The 2011 Milwaukee Film Festival, which runs Sept. 22-Oct. 2, has announced that the Landmark Downer Theatre and the Marcus Ridge Cinema in New Berlin will screen films for the entire festival, joining the existing venues – the Landmark Oriental Theatre and Marcus North Shore Cinema in Mequon. Three of the four venues will have two screens showing festival films this year. The Downer will have one screen devoted to the event's screenings.
On TV: MTV is marking the death of Amy Winehouse by airing a 2007 Winehouse concert today at 5:30 p.m.
- ABC says it's enforcing a new policy not to pay subjects of news stories, according to The Daily Beast's Howard Kurtz. In the past, it's paid for the use of video or photographs, a way round the general rule of not paying for interviews.
- Kaley Cuoco of CBS' "Big Bang" theory will host the Aug. 7 "Teen Choice Awards" on Fox.
- John Goodman is joining NBC's "Community" as a vice dean at Greenfield Community College.
- TNT has ordered a second 10-episode season of "Franklin & Bash."
That wacky Danny Pudi: The G4 cameras were rolling when Marquette grad (and "Community" star) Danny Pudi visited Comic-Con 2011. Here's the video:
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.
A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.
In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at OnMilwaukee.com.
When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.