WOIO: Wikis


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Shaker Heights/Cleveland, Ohio
Branding Cleveland's CBS 19, WOIO (general)
19 Action News (newscasts)
Slogan Honest. Fair. Everywhere.
Channels Digital: 10 (VHF)
Affiliations CBS (1994-Present)
"24/7 Weather" (DT2)
Owner Raycom Media
(WOIO License Subsidiary, LLC)
First air date May 19, 1985
Call letters’ meaning OhIO
Sister station(s) WUAB
Former channel number(s) Analog:
19 (1985-2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1985-1986)
Fox (1986-1994)
Transmitter Power 9.5 kW (digital)
Height 304 m (digital)
Facility ID 39746
Transmitter Coordinates 41°23′15″N 81°41′43″W / 41.3875°N 81.69528°W / 41.3875; -81.69528
Website www.19actionnews.com

WOIO (digital 10/virtual 19), is the CBS affiliate in Cleveland, Ohio. It is licensed to the nearby suburb of Shaker Heights. WOIO is owned by Raycom Media and is 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.



The channel 19 allocation in the Cleveland television market dates back to the 1950s, when a construction permit for a television sister to WHK radio was issued to the Cleveland 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, and the construction permit was eventually deleted. 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 (now WILB). 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. 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.

CBS affiliation

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.

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 produced the Cleveland market's original 10:00 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 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. in February 1995. The two WOIO newscasts and the 10:00 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 10:00 p.m. One of the first big stories aired on WOIO was the glasses cam, in which Dave Barker used to enter into a school without being stopped.

However, 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 10:00 p.m. didn't transfer to WOIO's new 11:00 newscast. Even Dufala's presence 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 10:00. This meant that now for the first time, there were two 10:00 newscasts splitting the audience. WJW's newscasts made Cleveland Television News look somewhat amateurish by comparison. WKYC, which had been at the bottom of the Cleveland ratings for almost 30 years, moved to next-to-last place ahead of WOIO.

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 6:00 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 6 and 11:00 newscasts, pairing Carlson and Dufala. This has rarely been tried nationally and had never been tried in Cleveland. It failed to catch on, and Carlson left WOIO - only to find success later at the Fox News Channel. Eleven years later, WOIO again began using a two-woman anchor team, this time with Catherine 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 1999, both 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 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.

Cleveland Browns

WOIO and the Cleveland Browns entered into a television partnership in April 2005. After the Browns contract with WKYC-TV expired, WOIO acquired the rights to air all of pre-season games as well as a pre-season draft show, execlusive training camp reports and a Monday night coach's show.

On July 18, 2006, the Browns announced they were ending their partnership with WOIO. [1] 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.[2]

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 three-year deal. [3]

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.

Digital television

The station's digital channel is multiplexed. After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion took place on June 12, 2009, WOIO-DT continued on its pre-transition channel number, 10. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will 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 during the analog shutdown and digital conversion for TV stations in Canada on August 31, 2011, if CFPL is allowed to move its digital signal to channel 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.[1] 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.

Video Aspect Programming
19.1 480/1080i 16:9 Main WOIO programming / CBS HD
19.2 480i 4:3 "24/7 Weather"

News Operation

Action News

19 Action News logo.

WOIO presently offers five-and-a-half hours of news each weekday. On Saturdays and Sundays, there is one hour of news. Also, WOIO produces an hour-long 10 p.m. newscast on sister-station WUAB.

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 5:00 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 5:00 had long been in first place until recently).

In June 2004, WOIO launched Cleveland's first 4:00 p.m. newscast with David Wittman and Sharon Reed. In late 2006, Reed was moved to 5pm. 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 Rick Abell. 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 pm 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. 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.".

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 and is still set for 4:3 aspect ratio. It is piloted by Bill Asad with Rick Abell aboard as the traffic reporter.

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 Cleveland 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.

High definition newscasts

WOIO began to broadcast their newscasts in high definition with the station's 6:30pm 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 10pm 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 creates a situation where its news and weather cut-ins during The Early Show are in 16:9 HD, whereas the Early Show is still currently broadcast in 4:3 SDTV.

The station's new set, designed for HD, was unveiled on January 14, 2008, with the weather center graphics following suit a week later. The blue coloring theme and integration of the CBS eyemark within the graphics resembles that of WCBS-TV in New York, along with the desk and paneling designs. Touchscreens have also been integrated into the set. Field acquisition of news stories continues to be shot in 16:9 aspect ratio, Standard Definition.


Current On-Air Talent

(as of March 2010)
Current Anchors

  • Catherine Bosley - weekdays at noon
  • Denise Dufala - weeknights at 4, 6 and 11 p.m.
  • Bob Frantz - host of Warrant Unit (a weekly crime report program)
  • Paul Joncich - weekday mornings, 4:30 and 5:30 p.m.
  • Sharon Reed - weeknights at 5 and 10 p.m.
  • Lynna Lai - weekday mornings and noon
  • Danielle Serino - weekdays at 4:30 p.m. (also consumer reporter)
  • Tiffani Tucker - weekends
  • David Wittman - weeknights at 4, 5, 6, and 11 p.m.


  • Rick Abell - traffic reporter
  • Harry Boomer - general assignment reporter
  • Blake Chaneult - general assignment reporter
  • Shannon Davidson - general assignment reporter
  • Dan DeRoos - general assignment reporter
  • Brian Duffy - news/sports reporter
  • Ed Gallek - general assignment reporter
  • Dawn Kendrick - general assignment reporter
  • Carl Monday - chief investigative reporter
  • Shannon O'Brien - general assignment reporter
  • Paul Orlousky - general assignment reporter
  • Jen Picciano - general assignment reporter
  • Myrt Price - general assignment reporter
  • Scott Taylor - investigative reporter (known for his "CLEAN UP!" catchphrase during his "Dirty Dining" reports)
  • Chris Van Vilet - entertainment reporter
  • Denise (Strzelczyk) Zarrella - general assignment reporter (wife of Tony Zarrella)

First Alert Weather Team*

  • Jeff Tanchak (AMS Seal of Approval) - Chief Meteorologist; weeknights
  • Jon Loufman (AMS Seal of Approval) - Meteorologist; weekends
  • Jenn Harcher - Meteorologist; weekday mornings
  • Jason Handman - Meteorologist: weekday mornings and noon

(*) - WOIO's weather team also provides forecasts for WKRK and WQAL Radio.

Sports Team

  • Tony Zarrella - Sports Director; weeknights
  • Mark Schwab - Sports Anchor; weekends (also sports reporter)
  • Bob Golic - Browns analyst/fill-in anchor
  • Reggie Langhorne - Browns analyst

*Note* - The 10 p.m. newscasts air on sister station WUAB.

Notable alumni

News/Station Presentation

Newscast Titles

  • 19 News (1995-1996)
  • CBS 19 News (1996-1999)
  • Hometeam 19 News (1999-2002)
  • 19 Action News (2002-present)

Station Slogans

  • The Address is CBS 19, Welcome Home (late 1990s; localized version of CBS campaign)
  • The Hometeam (1999-2002)
  • Honest. Fair. Everywhere. (2002-present; news slogan)
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