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Cleveland, Ohio
Branding Fox 8 (general)
Fox 8 News (newscasts)
Slogan Cleveland's Own (general)
The Most Powerful Name in Local News (news)
Channels Digital: 8 (VHF)
Virtual: 8 (PSIP)
Affiliations Fox
Owner Local TV LLC
(Community TV Of Ohio License, LLC)
First air date December 19, 1949
Call letters’ meaning John F. Weimer
(founder of WJW radio)[1]
Former callsigns WXEL (1949-1956)
WJKW-TV (1977-1985)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
9 (VHF, 1949-1953)
8 (VHF, 1953-2009)
31 (UHF, 1998-2009)
Former affiliations DuMont (1949-1955)
ABC (secondary, 1949-1955)
CBS (1955-1994)
Transmitter Power 30 kW (digital)
Height 342 m (digital)
Facility ID 73150
Transmitter Coordinates 41°21′48″N 81°42′58″W / 41.36333°N 81.71611°W / 41.36333; -81.71611 (WJW)

WJW, channel 8, is a Fox-affiliated television station in Cleveland, Ohio. WJW is owned by Local TV LLC, a subsidiary of private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. Its studios are located northeast of downtown Cleveland, near the shore of Lake Erie, and its transmitter is located in Parma, Ohio.



The television station launched on December 19, 1949 on channel 9 as WXEL, owned by the Empire Coil Company, a wartime manufacturer of radio coils and transformers ([1]). In its early years, WXEL was a primary DuMont affiliate, and later became a secondary provider of ABC programs, sharing that affiliation with WEWS (channel 5).

WXEL also carried an affiliation with the short-lived Paramount Television Network, and in fact was one of that network's strongest affiliates. The station aired such Paramount Network programs as Hollywood Wrestling,[2] Bandstand Revue,[3] and Time For Beany.[4] During the late 1950s, the station was also briefly affiliated with the NTA Film Network.[5]

Following the 1952 release of the FCC's Sixth Report and Order, a realignment of VHF channels in the Midwest forced WXEL to move to channel 8 on December 10, 1953. Its former channel 9 allocation was moved to Steubenville and given to a new station, WSTV-TV (now WTOV); the switch took place only two weeks before WSTV-TV went on the air.

In 1954 Empire Coil sold two of its television interests -- WXEL and KPTV in Portland, Oregon, the United States' first UHF station -- to Storer Broadcasting. The new owners changed the station's call sign to WJW-TV on April 15, 1956, to match new sister stations WJW radio (850 AM, now WKNR) and WJW-FM (104.1 MHz., now WQAL). George B. Storer, the company's founder and president, was a member of the board of directors of CBS, and used his influence to take the CBS-TV affiliation from WEWS in 1955. The WJW stations later moved into the former Esquire Theater building at 1630 Euclid Avenue, near Playhouse Square.

Local Programming

In its early years, the station lagged behind its competitors in producing local programming, perhaps because its studio was located at the transmitter in Parma, while the other stations had studios downtown. A young Alan Freed, previously at WAKR radio in Akron, worked for WXEL starting in 1949. Freed hosted an afternoon movie and performed live commercials for several years before he became the self-titled father of "rock and roll" while as an evening host on WJW radio, before moving on to radio jobs in New York City. Soupy Sales, then known as Soupy Hines, had a weekday variety program called Soup's On where he started his pie-in-the-face routines.

The station also broadcast a popular and unique 11:00 p.m. newscast, The Sohio Reporter, featuring a Western Reserve University speech professor named Warren Guthrie who delivered the entire newscast from memory, speaking directly into the camera long before the days of the teleprompter.

In 1960, WJW-TV became the broadcast rights holder of the Cleveland Indians. Channel 8's partnership with the team continued until 1979, when the Indians moved to then-independent station WUAB (channel 43).

In 1964, WJW-TV was one of the first stations to use a two-man news anchor team, Joel Daly and Doug Adair, in the studio together. The newscast was called City Camera News, and reporters were equipped with Polaroid cameras to photograph news events, so that pictures could be quickly broadcast when they returned to the studio. Station programming also featured Adventure Road hosted by Jim Doney, which presented filmed travelogues narrated by the filmmakers. Daly and Adair reigned as Cleveland's top news team until 1967, when Daly was hired away by WLS-TV in Chicago. Adair remained at channel 8 until the early 1970s, when he joined WKYC-TV (channel 3), which was then owned by NBC.

One of the most memorable programs produced by WJW-TV was the Friday late night horror movie hosted by "Ghoulardi", a character created by Ernie Anderson. Wearing a bad fright wig and phony beard and a pair of sunglasses with only one lens, he interacted with the movies and created an on-going patter and rehearsed skits during the movie breaks. The program began in February 1963 and created a generation of fans who could recite catch phrases such as "Turn Blue", "Stay Sick", "Camera Four" and "Over Dey." Before Ghoulardi, Anderson had a weekday morning program on channel 8 starting in 1961 called Ernie's Place with sidekick Tim Conway, that included skits reminiscent of Bob and Ray.

When Anderson left for lucrative voice-over work in Hollywood in September 1966, Friday night movie hosting was inherited by Hoolihan and Big Chuck: "Hoolihan" being Bob Wells, who did the station weather forecasts as "Hoolihan the Weatherman"; and "Big Chuck" being Chuck Schodowski, a station engineer who had risen to director and had appeared in some of Ghoulardi's skits. After Bob Wells departed channel 8 in September 1979, his position was filled by local jeweler and little person John Rinaldi, who had also previously performed in skits on the show. The program was renamed as the Big Chuck and Lil' John Show, and it continued airing on Friday nights before moving to Saturday nights in the early 1990s.

The show ended its run on June 16, 2007, as Chuck Schodowski retired after a 47-year career at channel 8. At the time of its conclusion, the Big Chuck and Lil' John Show had been the only locally produced television show in the Cleveland market that was primarily entertainment, that is not news or informational.

Insert, then remove a "K"

The station moved to its present studios at 5800 South Marginal Road on November 2, 1975. While WJW-FM was sold in the late 1960s, Storer kept WJW radio until it was sold in late 1976. The AM station's new owners were allowed to keep the WJW call letters, forcing channel 8 to change theirs (at the time, the FCC did not allow radio and television stations with different owners to share the same call letters; this is not the case today). Thus, channel 8 became WJKW-TV on April 22, 1977, with the new calls being a variant of WJW. The K was added, but didn't stand for anything.

At the same time, the station hired former WKYC-TV news anchor Virgil Dominic as its news and public affairs director (a position which he held until 1983 when he became the general manager for WJKW/WJW until his retirement in 1995), and also began to pump considerable money into its news operation. The name of the newscasts even underwent a transition as well, going from City Camera News to Newscenter 8 around the summer of 1977. Within a year, channel 8 had overtaken longtime leader WEWS as the highest-rated news station in Cleveland -- a lead it kept for almost 20 years. On September 16, 1985, it regained its historic WJW-TV calls as WJW radio changed its call letters following another ownership transaction.

After Storer Broadcasting was bought out by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in 1985, the station underwent a series of ownership changes. KKR sold the stations to Gillett Communications in 1987; shortly thereafter, SCI Television was spun-off from Gillett to take over the stations after Gillett's bankruptcy. New World Communications purchased WJW-TV and the other SCI Television stations in 1993.

Like most of its sister stations, channel 8 pre-empted portions of the CBS schedule, usually the late morning daytime shows. In the 1990s, WJW-TV and its fellow New World stations prepared to launch their own morning newscasts, and as a result, channel 8 began to pre-empt CBS This Morning as well. The station also gained notoriety in 1993 by being one of the few CBS affiliates to tape-delay the Late Show with David Letterman by half an hour in favor of Murphy Brown reruns. Despite the preemptions, CBS was generally satisfied with WJW, which was one of the network's strongest affiliates.

From CBS to Fox

In September 1994, as part of a deal between New World and the News Corporation, WJW-TV swapped affiliations with WOIO (channel 19), taking that station's Fox affiliation. WJW's outgoing CBS affiliation went to WOIO. The station expanded its news production to over 40 hours a week. It initially filled local non-news time with such programming as low budget syndicated first-run talk/reality shows and off-network sitcoms.

However, both Cleveland viewers and WJW realized a major weakness with the new affiliation in April 1995 at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing. When the news broke, all of the other stations in Cleveland were able to switch to national network coverage of the attacks. However, at the time Fox had no news division and therefore channel 8 could not offer coverage.

Additionally, due to lack of feeds, WJW could offer only limited recap coverage of the events on their newscasts. The whole ordeal resulted in a major ratings decline for channel 8 and many viewers moved back to WEWS. This left WJW in a daze, and the news department was unsure where to go next.[citation needed]

Later that year, WJW adopted a hard-hitting format and began using the phrase "ei8ht is News" for the title of their newscasts. The "ei8ht" logo was itself a revival an old WJW logo used from 1966 until 1977. However, in many people's minds the phrase was used on the station a little too often (one Plain Dealer story even started, "some viewers [are] squawking that 'ei8ht is enough', already"), and even more people moved away from WJW's newscasts.[citation needed]

One triumph for WJW was the morning newscast. Without a national morning show, WJW could produce an all-local 3.5 hour morning newscast. Many Cleveland viewers preferred the local show over the other stations' national broadcasts. This was especially true since WEWS' long-standing Morning Exchange was preempted until 9 a.m. around the same time of the Fox/CBS switch. With the exception of a brief period from late 2004 through early 2005 when it was titled "Good Day Cleveland," Fox 8 News in the Morning has constantly been Cleveland's top rated morning newscast since the time of its debut.

As a Fox-owned station/affiliate

In 1997 Fox bought New World Communications, making WJW a Fox owned-and-operated station. Fox added stronger syndicated shows as well as stronger off-network sitcoms to the programming mix. In news programming, the station retook the top position from WEWS in 2001. By mid-2002, all of WJW's newscasts placed first. This continued until January 2004, when viewers began turning away from WJW's hard-hitting style to the more traditional WKYC-TV. Even Fox 8 in the Morning lost its top spot to WKYC's morning newscast for about 2 months.

As a result of the overall decline, WJW replaced long time 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. lead anchors Wilma Smith and Tim Taylor with Bill Martin and Stacy Bell at 10 p.m., hoping the two would attract a younger audience to the program. The change paid off for channel 8, and today its newscasts frequently rank number-one in the important 18-49 demographic.

In 2006, WJW also debuted their new website - MyFox Cleveland, which follows a format that is also used by other Fox-owned stations. This lasted until the end of January 2009 -- several months after Fox Television Stations sold the station and seven others -- when WJW and six other former Fox O&O stations which previously used the myFox interface (plus co-owned NBC television affiliate WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa) launched redesigned Web sites through Tribune Interactive. This was a result of a management agreement between Local TV and Tribune Broadcasting, forming a separate division (controlled by Tribune) called Community Television (which became the licensee for seven of the former Fox O&Os), which operates all of the television stations owned by Local TV. (Until late June 2009, WBRC in Birmingham continued to use the myFox interface for its Web site even though that station is now a sister station to Raycom Media-owned WOIO and WUAB.)

Although its former radio sisters had dropped the WJW calls some years before, Fox dropped the -TV suffix from channel 8's legal callsign shortly after it assumed full ownership of the station (it had been minority owner of New World since the 1994 affiliation switch) although the station continued to use the -TV suffix on-air for several years afterwards.

On December 22, 2007, the News Corporation announced that they had entered into an agreement to sell WJW-TV and seven other Fox-owned stations to Local TV LLC, a subsidiary of private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. [6] The sale was closed on July 14, 2008. Early in 2009, WJW began clearing the entire Fox network schedule--including Weekend Marketplace--as it does to this day. The station was handed Weekend Marketplace partly due to a lack of a weekend morning newscast and partly because WBNX had declined the two-hour infomercial block.

During Fox ownership, WJW was the only (fully) network owned-and-operated station among the "Big 4" networks in the Cleveland area, and was the only Fox-owned station to carry a historic 1920s three-letter call sign. It remains the only Fox television affiliate in existence to carry such a three-letter call sign.

Talent continuity

WJW-TV has long prided itself on its homegrown talent. Along with the aforementioned Houlihan, Big Chuck, and Lil' John, many of its personalities grew up in the Cleveland area and have been with the station for 20 years or more.

For instance, announcer Howard Hoffman was the first on-air voice heard at WXEL's sign-on in 1949. Handling myriad duties, including as newscaster, weatherman and live booth announcer, Hoffman stayed at the station until October 1986.

Cleveland City Hall beat reporter Bob Cerminara and field reporter Neil Zurcher, both of which joined WJW in the late 1960s, stayed until the early 2000s. Zurcher is most famous for the "One Tank Trips" travel series that began in the late 1970s, highlighting vacation destinations close to home due to the energy crisis at that time (the feature continues to this day with different staffers, and Zurcher himself continues a similar feature biweekly in newspaper The Plain Dealer's Automotive advertising section, with an accompanying book series and weblog); he departed the station in August 2004.[7][8] Feature reporter Gary Stromberg had been with channel 8 since 1977. He announced his retirement on April 1, 2008. Gary has since written two books. Aren't You That News Man? shares stories of his years at Channel 8. Every Tiger Has a Tale presents the fascinating life stories of 48 amazing graduates of Cleveland Heights High over the decades. Sports reporter John Telich is still at WJW and began in 1981.

In addition, Dick Goddard has been chief weatherman since 1966, joining the station after spending the previous five years at WKYC-TV, then known as KYW-TV. In 1965, when Westinghouse Broadcasting relocated KYW-TV's operations to Philadelphia (following the reversal of its 1956 station ownership swap with NBC) Goddard went along, but came back to Cleveland in a matter of weeks. Goddard has said that he joined WJW-TV due to the fact that CBS carried Cleveland Browns games through its contract with the National Football League. Goddard later became the team's statistician, a position he still holds.

Tim Taylor joined WJW-TV as consumer reporter in the summer of 1977, having been hired away from a similar role at WEWS. The following year, Taylor became Judd Hambrick's partner on the station's evening newscasts, and continued in that role with several female co-anchors (notably Denise D'Ascenzo, Robin Swoboda, and Wilma Smith) through 2005. Taylor's 27-year run as an anchor at WJW was the second longest in Cleveland television history, behind WEWS' Ted Henry. On December 23, 2005, Taylor anchored his final newscast on WJW before retiring. But one month prior, a special feature was broadcast during Fox 8 News in the Morning, reuniting Taylor with what was quoted as one of "Cleveland's most successful news teams" during the 1980s -- Taylor, former co-anchor Robin Swoboda, former sports anchor Casey Coleman and Dick Goddard. In many people's eyes (as well as high ratings to back it up), this news team led Newscenter 8 to number one in the Cleveland market. ([2])

Taylor's replacement on the 6 p.m. newscast, Lou Maglio, is also a long-time Cleveland TV news personality. In November 2006, it was announced that Robin Swoboda is returning once again to host a new hour long show in the morning beginning in January 2007, That's Life. In September, 2007, Stefani Schaefer, also a popular Cleveland news personality, returned to WJW to co-anchor the morning newscasts.

Out-of-market coverage

Over-the-air, WJW-TV can be easily received in neighboring areas such as Toledo and Youngstown, Ohio; Erie, Pennsylvania; and as far north as Kingsville, Pelee Island, and Leamington, Ontario. When atmospheric conditions are right, WJW's signal can be picked up as far as Detroit and Windsor, Ontario; during the 2003 North America Blackout, Detroit-area viewers were able to tune in WJW's analog signal, when the blackout silenced adjacent WXYZ-TV (channel 7) and Windsor's CBET (channel 9).

The station was once one of the three stations from Cleveland carried on local cable in Kingsville, Pelee Island, and Leamington. (The others being WEWS and WKYC-TV, until 2000 when Cogeco displaced Shaw Cable as the cable provider for Essex County.) WJW was also seen on cable in London, Ontario until the 1970s.

On October 16, 2009, the Windsor Star had notified readers that digital subchannels of the Detroit and Toledo stations would be added, while the Cleveland stations (such as WJW) and some Toledo stations would have to be dropped from the listings to make room for them, starting with the next issue of the TV Times, released the next day. The only Cleveland local station remaining in the Windsor-area TV Times is WUAB.

After WJW moved from CBS to Fox, WJW served as the de facto Fox affiliate in much of the Youngstown-Warren market until Youngstown's WKBN-TV (a longtime CBS affiliate) put WYFX-LP on the air in 1998.

Digital television

After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion was completed on June 12, 2009 [9], WJW moved its digital broadcasts back to channel 8.

News Operation

WJW broadcasts a total of 48 hours of local news a week (9 hours on weekdays, and 1½ hours on weekends), more than any other television station in the state of Ohio. From the time WJW affiliated with Fox in 1994, the station has put more emphasis on its local newscasts keeping a newscast schedule very similar to a CBS, ABC or NBC affiliate. Local newscasts were expanded to 3½ hours (and eventually to 5 hours) on weekday mornings, plus the extension of the 5PM newscast by a half-hour, and the moving of the 11PM newscast to 10PM.

In December 2004, WJW became the first station in the Cleveland market (and the third station in the United States) to produce local news in high definition.[10] In 2007, Skyfox HD debuted. WJW uses a Eurocopter Ecureuil Astar 350 Helicopter. WJW has one of the fastest TV helicopters in Cleveland. All the other Cleveland stations own Bell 206 helicopters.

In the February 2006 ratings period WJW's newscasts placed first in the morning, second at 6 p.m., and first at 10 p.m.. WJW also had the highest rated newscast at 5 p.m., but it still fell behind WKYC's broadcast of Dr. Phil. In the November 2006 ratings period, WJW's morning newscast continued its dominance over its competitors, while its other newscasts remained very competitive in their timeslots.

WJW's remodeled news set officially debuted on July 16, 2007. Along with the new set, WJW adopted a new graphics package, new music, and a new logo (which had been on some promotional items months prior to the re-vamp) similar to what has become standard on the other Fox-owned stations.

In the February 2008 ratings period, WJW's newscasts finished in first place in all of their timeslots except for its noon newscast, which finished third behind the noon newscasts of WEWS and WOIO. WJW's 5 p.m. newscast even managed to win its timeslot, knocking WKYC's airing of Dr. Phil (which had been winning the timeslot until recently) down to third place behind WJW's and WEWS' 5 p.m. newscasts. [11]

WJW is one of only two ex-New World stations and former Fox O&Os (along with WGHP in North Carolina's Piedmont Triad) sold to Local TV without a newscast in the traditional late news timeslot (former sister station WBRC in Birmingham -- now owned by Raycom Media -- along with WDAF in Kansas City and WITI in Milwaukee already had 10PM newscasts along with their 9PM newscast long before the Local TV purchase and KTVI in St. Louis added a 10PM newscast after its 9PM newscast in 2008, just before the sale closed). Other than WJW and WGHP, KTBC in Austin (which remains an Fox O&O) is the only other ex-New World station without a newscast in the traditional late news timeslot.


Current On-Air Talent

Current Anchors

  • Stacey Bell - weeknights at 5 and 10 p.m.
  • Wayne Dawson - weekday mornings
  • Lou Maglio - weeknights at 6 p.m.
  • Bill Martin - weeknights at 5 and 10 p.m.
  • Tracy McCool - weekday mornings (5-7 a.m.) and noon
  • Stefani Schaefer - weekday mornings (7-10 a.m.)
  • Bill Sheil - weekends (also lead investigative reporter)
  • Wilma Smith - weeknights at 6 p.m.
  • Suzanne Stratford - weekends
  • Robin Swoboda - Host of The Robin Swoboda Show


  • Elisa Amigo - general assignment reporter
  • Amy Basista - general assignment reporter
  • Kathleen Cochrane - general assignment reporter
  • Kenny Crumpton - morning feature reporter
  • Kevin Freeman - general assignment reporter
  • Stacey Frey - general assignment reporter
  • Danielle Frizzi - general assignment reporter
  • Dan Jovic - web reporter/sports reporter
  • Todd Meany - general assignment reporter
  • David "Mossman" Moss - entertainment reporter
  • Dave Nethers - general assignment reporter
  • Jack Shea - general assignment reporter
  • Lorrie Taylor - investigative/consumer reporter
  • Autumn Ziemba - general assignment reporter
  • Mark Zinni - general assignment reporter

FOX8 Weather

  • Dick Goddard (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights at 10 p.m.
  • André Bernier (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weeknights at 5 and 6 p.m.
  • Sally Bernier (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekend/fill-in meteorologist (wife of André Bernier)
  • Scott Sabol (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekday mornings and noon

Sports Team

  • Tony Rizzo - Sports Director; weeknights
  • John Telich - Sports Anchor; weekends (also sports reporter)
  • Dan Coughlin - high school football analyst/fill in anchor
  • Tom Hamilton - Indians analyst (also radio play by play announcer for the team)

Notable alumni

Television.svg This film, television or video-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions.

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • The Gillette News Parade (1949-1955)
  • The Sohio Reporter (1955-1965)
  • Channel 8 Report (early 60s)
  • City Camera News (1964-1977)
  • Newscenter 8 (1977-1995)
  • ei8ht is News (1995-1996)
  • FOX 8 is News (1996)
  • FOX 8 News (1996-present)

Station Slogans

  • Get it All, and then Some (1971)
  • Catch the Brightest Stars on Television 8 (1975-1976; customized verson of a CBS-TV promotional slogan)
  • Discover 8! (1977)
  • Look for Us (summer 1977-1979)
  • TV-8 and You (1979)
  • We're Looking Good on TV-8 (1979-1980; customized version of CBS-TV promotional slogan)
  • TV-8: The Winners! (1980-1981)
  • You Sure Look Like a Winner! (1980s; the slogan was used in a series of promos using Frank Gari's "The One 4/For All")
  • Newscenter 8: The Team to Watch (1982-1985; slogan used to promote NewsCenter 8)
  • Great Moments, Here on TV-8 (1982-1983; a customized version of a CBS-TV promotional slogan)
  • We've Got the Touch, Here on TV-8 (1983-1986; a customized version of a CBS-TV promotional slogan)
  • Come on Home to Newscenter 8 (1984-1985)
  • Proud to be Your News (1985-1988)
  • Cleveland's Own (1988-present, primary slogan)
  • Get Ready, for TV-8 (1989-1991; customized version of the CBS-TV promotional slogan)
  • The Look of Cleveland is TV-8 (1991-1992; customized version of the CBS-TV promotional slogan)
  • ei8ht is News (1995-1996)
  • The Most Powerful Name In Local News (2007-present, secondary slogan)


Further Reading

Schodowski, Chuck (2008). Big Chuck: My Favorite Stories from 47 Years on Cleveland TV. Cleveland, OH: Gray & Company, Publishers. ISBN 978-1-59851-052-2

External links


  1. ^ Bob Dyer (1988-08-07). "Mystery of WJW call letters solved: Grandfather's initials launched station, woman says". Akron Beacon Journal. p. B2. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  2. ^ "Television". The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, OH): pp. 14. 1953-12-11. 
  3. ^ "Television". The Coshocton Tribune (Coshocton, OH): pp. 4. 1955-08-27. 
  4. ^ New Castle News (New Castle, PA): pp. 30. 1950-06-08. 
  5. ^ "Require Prime Evening Time for NTA Films", Boxoffice: 13, November 10, 1956, 
  6. ^ News Corporation
  7. ^ Washington, Julie E (2004-07-24). "End of the road for Zurcher’s 'One Tank Trips'". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  8. ^ Washington, Julie E (2005-06-17). "Tales from the trips: Zurcher book offers Ohio tidbits and trivia". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Boutilier, Corey (1 February 2007). "WJW-TV IN CLEVELAND PURCHASES JVC GY-HD250U PRO HD CAMERAS". Retrieved 2008-04-21. 
  11. ^ Washington, Julie E (2008-03-30). "Channel 8's morning shows win big in February sweeps". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 2008-05-12. 

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