WOIO, virtual channel 19 (digital channel 10), is the CBS affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio. It is licensed to the nearby suburb of Shaker Heights. WOIO is owned by Raycom Media and its sister station to MyNetworkTV affiliate WUAB (channel 43). The two stations share a studio facility in Cleveland and WOIO's transmitter is located in Parma, Ohio.
|Shaker Heights/Cleveland, Ohio|
|Branding||Cleveland's CBS19 (general)
19 Action News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Honest. Fair. Everywhere.|
|Channels||Digital: 10 (VHF)|
19.2 Weather Now 19.3 MeTV (launch date TBA)
|Translators||24 (UHF) Shaker Heights
(WOIO License Subsidiary, LLC)
|First air date||May 19, 1985|
|Call letters' meaning||We're in OhIO|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
|Former affiliations||Independent (1985-1986)
|Transmitter power||9.5 kW (digital)|
|Height||304 m (digital)|
|Transmitter coordinates||41°23′15″N 81°41′43″W|
The channel 19 allocation in the Cleveland television market dates back to the 1950s, when a construction permit for a television sister toWHK radio was issued to The Plain Dealer. When WHK was sold to Metropolitan Broadcasting (later Metromedia) in 1958, the television station's construction permit went with the radio station. However, what was to have been WHK-TV never made it to the air. The construction permit was eventually deleted, but the allocation remained.
As a television station, WOIO signed on the air on May 19, 1985 (the present-day channel 19 is a new construction permit, dating back only to 1983). Prior to that time, the WOIO call letters were assigned to a radio station in Canton, Ohio, under the frequency of 1060 AM (nowWILB). In 1985, the new WOIO TV station was locally owned by Hubert B. Payne, the local sales manager at WKYC-TV (channel 3). He had been the first African-American to hold that position at a network affiliate. Payne sold the station to Malrite Communications (then owner of WHK radio) later in the year. WOIO aired a typical independent lineup of off-network sitcoms, old movies, off-network drama shows and religious shows. That fall, WOIO added cartoons in the morning and the late afternoon.
By the end of 1985, channel 19 had surpassed WCLQ (channel 61, now WQHS-TV) as the market's second highest-rated independent station, and behind only WUAB. In 1986, WOIO became the market's Fox affiliate after WUAB turned it down. It branded itself as "Fox nineteen" or "WOIO nineteen" with the "nineteen" in cursive handwriting. Soon afterward, it became the over-the-air flagship of the Cleveland Cavaliers - a relationship that continued for eight years - and also carried Cleveland Browns preseason games (and other team-produced programming, notably the weekly show Browns Insider), Cleveland Force MISL indoor soccer and Cleveland State Vikings college basketball. It also appeared on cable systems in the Youngstown market, which had no Fox affiliate of its own until 1998. It still is on cable in that market today.
In 1994, Malrite signed a local marketing agreement (LMA) with WUAB's owner, Cannell Communications and as a result, WOIO and WUAB became sister stations. Both stations moved to a location at downtown Cleveland's Reserve Square. WUAB also became the new over-the-air flagship of the Cavaliers, which it still is to this day.
The affiliation switch caused a major shakeup in the Cleveland market. WJW switched to a more hard-hitting approach after the Oklahoma City bombing, one which turned off many longtime viewers. Also, WUAB's success at 10 p.m. didn't transfer to WOIO's new 11 p.m. newscast. Even former WJW anchor Denise Dufala's presence as weeknight anchor didn't help the cause. It was at this time that WEWS began its seven-year run as the top rated news station in Cleveland. Additionally, with the Fox affiliation, WJW moved its late night newscast to 10 p.m. This meant that now for the first time, there were two 10 p.m. newscasts, splitting the audience.In September 1994, WJW-TV (channel 8) dropped CBS after 40 years and took over the Fox affiliation as part of a group deal with WJW's parent,New World Communications. CBS briefly wooed ABC affiliate WEWS-TV (channel 5), but WEWS' owner, the E.W. Scripps Company, used the threat of moving WEWS (along with WXYZ-TV in Detroit) to sign a long-term deal with ABC. CBS then quickly cut a deal with WOIO. After the switch became official, channel 19 moved its sitcoms and non-Fox cartoons to WUAB.
WKYC, which had been at the bottom of the Cleveland ratings for almost 30 years, moved to third place ahead of WOIO. Nearby strong CBS affiliates with Grade B signals in parts of the Cleveland-Akron market benefited--WBNS-TV in Columbus, KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh, WTOL-TV inToledo, and WKBN-TV in Youngstown.
In 1999, WOIO and WUAB rebranded themselves as Hometeam 19 and Hometeam 43 respectively. The stations tried to put an emphasis on local coverage and play on the fact that at the time they carried all three major Cleveland pro sports teams -- Indians and Cavaliers games were carried on WUAB, with Browns games airing on WOIO by way of CBS' NFL coverage. While both WOIO and WUAB made minor gains during this period, both were still in last place.
In the late 1990s, Malrite was bought out by Raycom Media. Raycom wasn't impressed with its ratings performance in Cleveland and decided that a major change was needed. In late 2001, Raycom hired controversial station manager Bill Applegate as the GM at WOIO and WUAB. Raycom chose to rebrand WOIO's newscasts 19 Action News because Applegate was known for creating "different" newscasts and quick turnarounds of struggling TV stations to becoming contenders.
WOIO and the Cleveland Browns entered into a television partnership in April of 2005 - in effect, resuming an agreement that ended with the original teams' 1995 relocation to Baltimore. Replacing former television partner WKYC-TV, WOIO acquired the rights to air all of pre-season games as well as a pre-season draft show, exclusive training camp reports and a Monday night coach's show.
On July 18, 2006, the Browns announced they were ending their partnership with WOIO.  The partnership ended due to controversy over the station's coverage of the drowning of the six-year-old niece of team owner Randy Lerner. On its newscasts, WOIO aired a 9-1-1 recording of Nancy Fisher, Lerner's sister, calling for assistance. Although WOIO was within its legal bounds to air the tape, the Browns thought that it was an unnecessary invasion of the family's privacy.
On August 1, 2006, the Browns and WOIO ended their contract, and two days later, the team announced a new one-year deal with WKYC, which has since been expanded to a multi-year deal. 
Due to the NFL's contract with CBS, Channel 19 will continue to air the majority of the Browns' regular season games.
Coverage in Canada
The station is readily available over-the-air to Kingsville, Leamington and Pelee Island in southern Essex County, Ontario and was once listed in the TV Guide edition for those communities (and Windsor, Ontario until 2000 though the station's signal wasn't strong enough to reach Windsor and Detroit). Unlike WKYC-TV, WEWS, and WJW-TV, it was not one of the stations from Cleveland carried on local cable in those three locations. WOIO is available on cable in St. Thomas and was briefly available on the digital tier in London in early 2005.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed. As part of the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, WOIO shut down its analog transmitter on June 12, 2009, and continued to broadcast on its pre-transition digital channel 10. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WOIO's virtual channel as 19.
However, channel 10 is currently causing interference with A station CFPL-TV in London, Ontario, even though CFPL-TV's broadcasts are still in analog. WOIO may be forced to relocate as the analog shutdown and digital conversion for TV stations in Canada on August 31, 2011 will leave CFPL's digital signal on its current analogue channel frequency, VHF 10. On October 22, 2009, WOIO boosted its effective radiated power to 9.5 kW to allow its signal to penetrate the Akron area until it could move to a more stable UHF signal.
On January 20, 2010, WOIO filed an application to the FCC for a digital fill-in translator on UHF Channel 24. The translator will serve the south-central portion of the viewing area where they've lost WOIO's signal after the transition to digital in June 2009. On March 2, 2011, the FCC granted WOIO a construction permit.
|19.1||10.1||480/1080i||16:9||Main WOIO programming / CBS HD|
Sunday mornings during football season, CBS 19 airs the weekly Tailgate 19 Browns pregame show. The hour long program features sports director Tony Zarrella, former Browns playersBob Golic, Reggie Langhorne, Hanford Dixon and Joe Jurevicius (the last two alternate weekly). Chief meterologist Jeff Tanchak reports from the Muny Lot (during home games), and fantasy football expert "The Fantasy Consultant" Nathan Zegura also is featured.Currently, WOIO broadcasts a total of 29½ hours of local newscasts per week (with 5½ hours on weekdays and one hour each on Saturdays and Sundays); the station produces the market's only 4 p.m. newscast. In addition, WOIO produces a nightly, hour-long 10 p.m. newscast on sister station WUAB. Other locally produced programming includes Warrant Unit (a crime solving program that's been described as Cleveland's version of America's Most Wanted); hosted by WTAM evening host Bob Frantz, and The Star Frame Bowling Challenge (a local bowling competition comparable to the classic Bowling For Dollars franchise).
WOIO uses a Bell 206-B3 Jet Ranger helicopter for traffic coverage and reporting. The helicopter is primarily red and was replaced in 2008 with a newer refurbished Jet Ranger that included digital microwave gear and a newer Flir camera system. The camera system is not HD but shoots in 16:9 standard definition. It is piloted by Bill Asad. Due to budget cuts by the other Cleveland TV newsrooms, WOIO had the only TV news chopper in Cleveland for a couple of years, though WJW has since resumed use of their chopper in September 2010.
At first, WOIO had no intention to start a news department. However, CBS informed WOIO that it "preferred" that the station air newscasts. Since there was little time to form a news division, WOIO had LMA partner WUAB (which already was airing a 10 p.m. newscast), produce its newscasts. WOIO began airing briefs during CBS This Morning with Julie Hanahan, WOIO's first news employee, and Betty Haliburton. Early additions to the news staff were Emmett Miller, Denise Dufala (former longtime anchor at WJW); Dave Sweeney, weeknight weather; Jeff Phelps, weeknight sports; Gretchen Carlson and Dave Barker, weekend co-anchors; Ronnie Duncan, weekend sports; Julie Hanahan, weekend weather.
WOIO started newscasts at 6 and 11 p.m. in February 1995. The two WOIO newscasts and the 10 p.m. WUAB broadcast became collectively known as Cleveland Television News. Romona Robinson and Jack Marschall remained as anchors for WUAB, maintaining their long history of ratings success at 10 p.m. One of the first big stories aired on WOIO featured the "glasses cam", which Dave Barker used to show how he could just walk into a school without being stopped. In 1996, WOIO and WUAB dropped the Cleveland Television News moniker. WOIO began identifying itself as CBS 19 and titled its newscasts CBS 19 News. WJW-TV had been one of the strongest CBS affiliates in the country and WOIO hoped that viewers would associate CBS with a high-quality local newscast. Later that year, WOIO added news at 6 a.m. and pre-empted most of the first hour of CBS This Morning with local news. They also added a noon newscast around the same time. Still, WOIO failed to win viewers.
In 1997, WOIO tried a two-woman anchor team for its weeknight newscasts, pairing Carlson and Dufala. This had rarely been tried nationally and had never been tried in Cleveland. It failed to catch on, and Carlson left WOIO - finding success later at the Fox News Channel. Eleven years later, WOIO again began using a two-woman anchor team, this time withCatherine Bosley and Lynna Lai during the noon newscasts.
Also in 1997, WOIO tried to have its news studio at street level where pedestrians could see the newscasts being taped (similar to what CHUM Limited tried out with its "NewNet" stations in Ontario). This concept for Cleveland did not last long, but today this concept is being used by Good Morning America and the Today Show as well as several television stations in larger markets.
In May 2002, Action News debuted, using a theme based on the signature tune of WBBM-TV in Chicago. A popular press format was put into place. The pacing, the look, the style and the language of each newscast took on a dramatically different look and feel.
Soon after, the newscasts' title would officially be changed to 19 Action News, airing on both WOIO and WUAB. Ratings improved almost immediately, especially in late news, where 19 Action News at 11 became the only late newscast to gain viewers an unprecedented four years in a row, as WKYC, WEWS and WJW's late newscasts either remained flat or lost viewers. They added an hour of news at 5 p.m. in 2002, joining the newscasts of WEWS and WJW for a three-way competition for second place in the time slot at the time (as WKYC's airing of Dr. Phil at 5 p.m. had long been in first place until recently).
In June 2004, WOIO launched Cleveland's first 4 p.m. newscast with David Wittman and Sharon Reed. In late 2006, Reed was moved to 5 p.m. The newscast is now anchored by the main anchor team of Wittman and Denise Dufala (Paul Joncich and Danielle Serino take over at 4:30) and also features chief meteorologist Jeff Tanchak, sports director Tony Zarella, and traffic reports with Joy Redmond. It debuted in last place, but began to grow steadily and today fights for second place with WJW's Judge Judy, but still trails WEWS' The Oprah Winfrey Show at that hour.
WOIO's 11 p.m. newscast mounted a serious challenge to WKYC that began in 2004 and had success in marginally overtaking WKYC once in 2008. In recent years the 11 p.m. news race in the Cleveland area has been highly competitive, with WOIO taking part in this spirited competition; often, no more than one ratings share point separates first place from third place among the three newscasts which air in this time slot (to the point where all three stations have claimed victory with different sets of demos at various points within the past year). However, WOIO frequently finishes in distant third or fourth place in most other dayparts with its newscasts (though it has won the noon timeslot in recent ratings periods due to the lead in of The Price is Right hosted by Cleveland native Drew Carey). The station's theme music is the newest version of CBS Enforcer, a package created for CBS O&O's which originated at Chicago's WBBM-TV, based on the theme's signature, based on an old folk song, "I Love Chicago, Chicago My Home.".
High definition newscasts
WOIO began to broadcast their newscasts in high definition with the station's 6:30 p.m. newscast on October 21, 2007, making the Cleveland market the first in the nation to have all the Big Four affiliates broadcasting news in the format. The 10 p.m. newscast on Channel 43 also broadcasts in HD; that newscast airs in 720p due to that resolution being MyNetworkTV's HD display format, while Action News programs on Channel 19 air in CBS' 1080i format.
The conversion to HD by Channel 19 created a situation where its news and weather cut-ins during The Early Show aired in 16:9 HD, whereas the Early Show was broadcast in 4:3 SDTV. As of April 26, 2010, the Early Show is now broadcast in HD.
The station's new set, designed for HD, was unveiled on January 14, 2008, with the weather center graphics following suit a week later. Touchscreens have also been integrated into the set (highlighted by the "Big Board", which is used for web related stories). Field acquisition of news stories continues to be shot in 16:9 SD.
"Body of Art"
In early 2004, Spencer Tunick, a photographer known for taking pictures of large groups of naked people, came to Cleveland. WOIO anchor Sharon Reed, regarded by many viewers as very attractive, was asked by news director Steve Doerr to participate in the project for a first hand account of the experience. The idea for the story was the brainchild of GM Bill Applegate. Several other media outlets participated in the same way, including The Plain Dealer and Cleveland Magazine. The other news stations also covered the event.
WOIO shot video of "News Babe" Reed getting up in the morning, going to the event, getting undressed and finally nude shots of her from behind. The story called "Body of Art" aired in the November sweeps period after being promoted heavily with promos that contained a "viewer discretion advisory".
WOIO insisted that the story was supposed to make viewers question whether Spencer Tunick's body of work is art or "something else". On the night the story aired WOIO received its highest ratings ever. The story also gave Reed and WOIO national attention as she was invited to defend the piece on Fox News and on The Late Show with David Letterman.
- 19 News (1995–1996 & 2001–2002)
- Cleveland Television News (1995–1996)
- CBS 19 News (1996–1999)
- Hometeam 19 News (1999–2001)
- 19 Action News (2002–2015)
- Cleveland 19 News (2015-present)
- We're Nineteen. And we're yours (1985-1990)
- The Address is CBS 19, Welcome Home (1998-1999; localized version of CBS campaign)
- The Hometeam (1999–2002)
- Honest. Fair. Everywhere. (2002–2015; news slogan)
- Cleveland's News Center (2015-present)
Current on-air staff
- Romona Robinson - weeknights at 4 and 6 p.m.
- Mark Nolan- weekdays at 4 and weeknights at 6
- Catherine Bosley - weekday mornings and noon
- Harry Boomer - weekday mornings and noon
- Lydia Esparra - weekend evenings
- Denise Zarrella - Sunday mornings
- Tiffani Tucker - weeknights at 5, 9 (on WUAB) and 11 p.m.
- Chris Tanaka - weekdays at 5 and weeknights at 9 (on WUAB) and 11 p.m.
Ford First Alert Weather
- Jeff Tanchak (AMS Seal of Approval) - chief meteorologist; weeknights
- Jon Loufman (AMS) - meteorologist; weekend evenings
- Beth McLeod - meteorologist;
- Samantha Roberts - meteorologist
- Tony Zarrella - sports director; weeknights at 6 and 11 p.m.
- Mark Schwab - sports anchor; weekend evenings, also sports reporter
- Laura DeMaria
- Harry Boomer - general assignment reporter
- Shannon Davidson - general assignment reporter
- Dan DeRoos - "Big Board" (web) reporter
- Lydia Esparra - general assignment reporter
- Carl Monday - chief investigative reporter
- Paul Orlousky - general assignment reporter
- Jen Picciano - general assignment reporter
- Joy Redmond - traffic reporter
- Bill Safos - general assignment reporter
- Mike Trivisonno - commentator/contributor
- Denise Zarrella - general assignment reporter (wife of Tony Zarrella)
- Gretchen Carlson - now co-anchor of Fox & Friends on Fox News Channel
- Gib Shanley - deceased
- Romona Robinson - now weeknight anchor at WKYC
- Jeff Phelps - now sideline reporter for the Cleveland Cavaliers on FS Ohio
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