The Cleveland Plain Dealer profiled former WBBM-TV boss Bill Applegate last week at his latest venue as GM of beleaguered CBS affiliate WOIO-TV and My Network TV affiliate WUAB-TV, both owned by Raycom Media. Like WBBM, WOIO has struggled in the news ratings (placing fourth) and has credibility issues (such as news anchor Sharon Reed posing nude for a report on the station.) The interview also features Rob Feder of the Sun-Times, reminiscing on Applegate’s days back at ‘BBM.
WOIO and Applegate haven’t made many friends in Cleveland, particularly with City Hall and the Cleveland Browns, who lost the rights to pre-season football games to NBC affiliate WKYC-TV after several controversial news reports.
The station, however, is starting to turn some corners. Recently, WOIO hosted an one-hour special to address the city’s escalating homicide rate hosted by Ms. Reed titled “Taking Back Our Streets”. The town-hall setting featured community leaders and city residents trying to find solutions to stem the growing tide of violence in Cleveland this summer.
WOIO and WUAB occupy the bottom rung of Cleveland TV stations ratings-wise. The duopoly is often accused of leasing too many time slots out to paid programming, or infomercials. WUAB, a former UPN affiliate, passed on the CW affiliation mainly because it did not want to pay “reverse compensation”, or pay the CW, to hook up with them – plus, WUAB did not want to give up the 3-5 p.m. weekday time slots to the network to air reruns (The CW went to WBNX-TV instead.)
WOIO on UHF Channel 19, became a CBS affiliate on September 3, 1994 after losing its Fox affiliation to top-rated WJW-TV (Channel 8) in the New World-Fox affiliation deal. That deal saw twelve stations then owned by New World Communications – eight of them CBS affiliates – switch to Fox. Cleveland was the first market to switch.