As the networks build up to the season finales of many of their most-watched programs, fans of ABC's shows in town are likely to see what's becoming a more familiar occurrence: in-show advertisements.
Lexington's ABC affiliate, WTVQ (Channel 36), began airing advertisements last year in some of its programming. Called a "lower-third" or "snype," the advertisement comes on to the screen for a short time during a scene and then disappears.
Advertisers have included Kentucky Utilities and Central Kentucky Research Associates.
WTVQ is the only network affiliate in Lexington to feature paid advertisements by themselves as snypes. Some others run snypes promoting their local newscasts during shows but not paid advertisements. Some also run sponsors' logos along with crawls announcing weather-related closings.
"We do not insert anything over network prime, as this would be a Fox violation and would jeopardize our license agreement," said Michael Brickey, general manager of Fox affiliate WDKY (Channel 56). "This is generally frowned upon by the networks.
WTVQ general manager Chris Aldridge said the station generally uses the snypes just to promote local news but said those that have been sold have not generated any complaint calls from viewers.
"Our sales on these are very infrequent," he said last week. "There are none running this week."
Radio operator Cumulus has hired back former WVLK news employee Kendra Steele as a midday disc jockey on 92.9 The Bear.
The first day for Steele, who was cut as part of a wave of layoffs in November 2008, will be March 22, said general manager Hal Hofman.
"She's a great talent, and we're lucky to have her back," he said.
Steele had been working as a producer at television station WYMT in Hazard but said she's excited to return to radio.
"It's really exciting to get back into the business," she said. "TV is fine and all, but radio is where my heart is."
Also, Karl Shannon, who was laid off last year as part of the morning team at Clear Channel's 98.1 The Bull, has taken a job at country station 100.7 The Coyote in Richmond.
Shannon said he is handling the morning show and program director duties at the station. Also joining the station is Al Snyder, who once worked with him at 92.9 when it was called K-93.
"I honestly think I'm more excited about this venture than anything I've ever done in radio," Shannon said last week.
"It feels like radio," he said, with "no corporate offices to deal with, the owner's office is right next to mine, and we all have a 'get it done' attitude."
WTVQ is partnering with the Kentucky Lottery to give away thousands of free "Solid Blue" T-shirts just in time for March Madness. The UK blue shirts, which read "Solid Blue" on the front, are not affiliated with UK Athletics.
The station will give away the shirts at its studios, at 6940 Man o' War Boulevard, from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday. The station parking lot will be set up as a drive-through, and each car can receive a limit of two shirts.
The station will also have a giveaway from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday next to the Buffalo Wild Wings at Richmond Centre and from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday in front of Furniture World at Brannon Crossing.
Former radio personality Scott Wilson, the house emcee at Comedy Off Broadway, has been working local television meteorologists Bill Meck and T.G. Shuck into his act.
"Bill and T.G. are so noticeable here, and weather is so very important to the news. It takes up half of it," Wilson said. "There's an old joke that everybody uses that it's the best job in the world because you never have to be right."
Wilson's act pokes fun at Meck of NBC affiliate WLEX (Channel 18) for his serious attitude about weather and Shuck of CBS affiliate WKYT (Channel 27) for his height, or lack of it.
"I always give him grief about it when I see it," said Meck, who has never seen the act but has heard plenty about it. "I know it's just good-natured fun."
Shuck said he's "glad he's batting us around a little bit. It's good publicity for us."
In case you're curious, Shuck is 5 foot 10, but as he notes, everyone looks taller on television, "so when they see me, they say I look so much taller on TV."
Wilson said he loves watching what he calls their "radar wars."
"It's all who's got the biggest radar. I guess men do that," he said.
Comings and goings
WKYT reporter Sherelle Roberts, who has been with the station for three years, has left to take a job as public information officer with Lexington police.
"She really did connect with the community and became very involved in the community," WKYT news director Robert Thomas said. "She'll do well with the police department, and we look forward to working with her in a different way."
Monday marks WLEX's 55th anniversary on the air.