Media Notebook: WTVQ puts a second channel on HD

WLEX Chief Meteorologist Bill Meck.
WLEX Chief Meteorologist Bill Meck.

Lexington's MyNetworkTV affiliate, run by ABC affiliate WTVQ (Channel 36), will begin broadcasting in high-definition Wednesday.

"There's only a handful of stations in the country that are broadcasting two channels over the air in HD," General Manager Chris Aldridge said.

Cable operator Insight Communications also will begin airing the HD feed on channel 917. MyTVQ2, as WTVQ calls it, had previously run only as a standard-definition channel.

The channel includes a nightly newscast produced by WTVQ at 10 p.m., syndicated programming including The Dr. Oz Show and The Doctors, and reruns of network programming including The Office and Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.

Other Lexington stations air only their primary network in HD. CBS affiliate WKYT (Channel 27) once aired both its CBS and CW feeds in HD but went back to standard definition on The CW to improve the quality of the CBS feed. The CW's HD feed is sent to Insight customers (Channel 914) via fiber-optic cable.

Aldridge said WTVQ is using new technology that won't degrade the ABC feed.

Classical's first day

WEKU has finalized programming plans for the launch of its new classical music station on 102.1 FM, starting July 1. That day, the station will continue to play some smooth jazz, the genre that has been broadcast on 102.1 for the past decade. WEKU has leased the frequency from its owner, Frankfort-area office developer C. Michael Davenport, for three years.

The station also will play some light classical music "to introduce current 102.1 listeners to what the station will sound like," WEKU Station Manager Roger Duvall said.

That night, a Friday, the station will also play some mainstream jazz, which will be broadcast Saturday nights in the future.

Awards season

Regional Emmy nominations have been announced, and WKYT led all Lexington television stations with 11 nods. Among them was Sam Dick for best news anchor, T.G. Shuck for best weather anchor, Dave Spencer for best news reporter and the Hoops for Haiti telethon for community service. The Ohio Valley Regional chapter includes television markets in Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio and West Virginia.

KET received seven nominations, including best cultural/topical documentary for Thoroughbred, which looked inside the world of Thoroughbred racing, and best news special for Born Too Soon: A KET Special Report, which examined long-term effects of premature births in the state.

NBC affiliate WLEX (Channel 18) received four nominations, including best special-event coverage for last year's Kentucky Derby and best general assignment within 24 hours for a report by Jaimie Weiss and Zachary Tucker called "Man Panties." The oddly named report detailed the efforts of Tim Arvin, who stripped down to a Speedo and ran through Shelbyville last winter to raise money for a family who lost a child in a house fire.

WTVQ received a nomination for best feature news report for a piece by reporter Greg Stotelmyer and photographer Christopher Woosley. Regional Emmy winners will be announced during a ceremony July 30 at the Seelbach Hilton in Louisville.

Also, the Kentucky Associated Press Broadcasters awards were recently handed out. In the television category for large markets, WLEX received seven first-place awards, including best news anchor for Kristen Pflum and best weather anchor for Bill Meck. WKYT received two first-place awards, and WTVQ received one. In the radio category for large markets, WUKY-91.3 FM received four first-place awards.

Perino first woman on national group's board

WLEX sports anchor Mary Jo Perino recently became the first woman elected to the board of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. Perino, who has won back-to-back NSSA Kentucky Sportscaster of the Year awards, also recently was a panelist at the organization's "Women in Sports Media Issues" forum in Salisbury, N.C.

Heroism award for WLEX photographer

A WLEX photographer who rescued a woman from a burning car while traveling to Houston to cover the NCAA Final Four has been nominated for a national civilian heroism award.

Rob Cook, who has worked for the NBC affiliate for nearly 30 years, has been nominated for a Carnegie Medal, which is awarded by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

Cook saw a crash as he was approaching Houston and was able to pull out a window and help a woman escape. Another driver helped get a man out. Soon after everyone was away from the car, "tires started exploding and the car really engulfed," Cook said after the crash. No one was seriously hurt.

Since its formation in 1904, the organization has honored 151 Kentuckians, according to its online database.

Boost for public radio

Public radio programmer Public Radio International has partnered with the Center for Public Integrity, an investigative journalism non-profit, to hire reporters in all 50 states to investigate state and local government.

In Kentucky, former Herald-Leader reporter, business editor and editorial writer Jacalyn Carfagno has been hired for the 18-month project. Carfagno will be based at WEKU, which will provide equipment, office space and technical support.

NASCAR brings Voda back

The Kentucky Speedway's inaugural NASCAR race in July will be a homecoming of sorts for a former Lexington television anchor.

Krista Voda, who was a weekend sports anchor at WLEX, will visit the track in her current role working for the Speed channel.

Voda hosts the channel's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series pre-race show and numerous other special events. She also is a pit reporter for Fox Sports.

Weather app for iPad

WKYT recently launched an app on Apple's iPad tablet computer, the first for a Kentucky television station, the CBS affiliate said in a new release.

The free app, called "WKYT Weather," allows users to zoom into their neighborhoods, receive the latest forecasts and watch videos of the station's weather updates.

The application also includes weather information for 10,000 areas in the United States and 50,000 sites around the globe.

Comings and goings

Two morning anchors from WYMT, the sister station of WKYT in Hazard, will move to Lexington to become reporters. Melissa Etezadi starts Tuesday and replaces Tamara Evans, who took a job at the Fox affiliate in Louisville.

Sean Evans will join the station in August and replaces reporter Cheryl Glassford, who is leaving WKYT to take a job in Florida.