CHCH is one of the few Canadian stations yet to announce a planned fall lineup. While most Canadian stations rely heavily on their American counterparts to set their lineups first, CHCH does not air a lot of American programming. The station only airs two scripted series during the prime time hours, one of which had it’s finale this past May.
While the announcement of a fall programming lineup is still to come, I’d like to take a look at the structure of the channel as it stands today and offer up my own wishlist of what I would like to see come to CHCH-TV this fall.
One of the biggest upgrades that CHCH made last fall with the format change to news all day was the addition of an on screen information ticker. Much like other new channels, CP24 and CTV News Network included, the ticker allows for a multitude of information to be provided to the viewer beyond what is being said and reported.
The ticker shows sports scores, weather, traffic updates, stock details as well as news bytes, all updated on the fly and available at any time. There is no need to sit and wait for the score of last night’s hockey game or see what the afternoon weather is going to be. Within a few short minutes, or sometimes seconds, the information is readily available.
Even still there is room for improvement.
The first enhancement I think would be beneficial is a simple one. The ticker needs to be on the screen more. Currently the ticker is on screen every minute of the hour from the start of Morning Live at 5:30am until the opening of Square Off at 5:30pm. The graphics are removed for Square Off, the 6pm and 11pm editions of Evening News, SportsLine and the primetime, latenight and overnight programming.
While I agree with the assertion that the ticker should be absent from movies and episodic programming, including latenight newsmagazines and talk shows, the ticker should remain for CHCH’s news and opinion programming.
Not only should the ticker remain on the screen during this prime time news shows but also during ‘paid programming’ that airs on the weekends. A lot of people who have digital cable make use of the built in tv listings to choose what they want to watch. Unless you are an avid informercial junkie you probably avoid anything listed as paid programming which is nothing but a half hour long commercial. As CHCH is a news station during the week, the average person may turn to CHCH to check on the weather or sports. Finding paid programming the viewer is likely to tune out and look elsewhere.
The addition of the news ticker during these times would not only allow viewers access to the news information but may also cause them to remain on CHCH and potentially watch that paid programming. For the most part these programs aren’t bad, and some are downright entertaining, but they are not a destination for most. With the news and information on the screen people may leave the channel where it is and watch the commercial while they wait for their news.
Expanding the sports leagues covered in the sports ticker to include the leagues that Hamilton’s sports teams play in (AHL for Bulldogs, IBL for Thunderbirds, MLL for Nationals, USL for Hamilton FC) would also add local importance to the ticker.
New 30-Minute Local Sports Show
The addition of Sportsline immediately following the evening news brought CHCH it’s most recent foray into sports programming. The show, hosted by Clint “Bubba” O’Neil and Mark Hebscher, is a show in the same vein as Pardon the Interruption. The two sports buffs talk about the days sporting events and issues, as well as larger topics in the world of sports. The scope of the show is mostly the ‘big leagues’ and there isn’t much focus on local sports.
A daily sports should should be introduced to give some attention and spotlight on the local sports scene.
The City of Hamilton is fortunate to have multiple professional sports teams that do not get much press or attention in the local media. With the exception of the Tiger-Cats, and occasionally the Bulldogs, the other teams in Hamilton are virtually ignored. This would be a great opportunity to expand local interest in the community. What better way to attract viewers than to engage them with local sports.
The show should feature not only news on the local pro teams, but also features on the teams, leagues or community events. Coverage could also be expanded to cover high school sports, as well as Mohawk and McMaster teams.
Jeff Leyland could host the show, which could be called something like “Sports Show with Jeff Leyland.”
The best time to air such a show would be weekdays at 5:00pm, late enough to be seen by those who go to school or work during the day, but early enough that viewers have time to go to a sports game covered on the show.
Morning Live Sports
The one element missing from the Morning Live program is any showing of sports scores or highlights. With the exception of the ticker at the bottom of the screen, sports is non-existant. There is a very simple solution to this issue. Repackage the previous late evening news sports broadcast. This is already done with the weather report for the late evening news with Matt Hayes’ forecast recorded previously in the evening. With minimal effort or cost the Morning Live show increases its appeal and value.
Saturday Morning Live
Saturday morning newscasts are a trend that started in the United States a few years ago. The weekday morning shows like Today, GMA and The Early Show spawned Saturday morning editions.
The current lineup for CHCH during Saturday morning is one two-hour movie and five hours of paid programming.
Rather than have the same format as the weekday edition, the show could be formatted as an early version of the newscast with an emphasis on the weekend and community events.
Game of the Week
A weekly Hamilton sports team game, or even a condensed hour long version highlighting the decisive plays in the game would be a great addition.
I’ve just learned that CHCH and Channel Zero, which owns the station, plans to announce their fall plans later today. Nick Dixon tweeted that it will be a big announcement. I’m looking for great things with CHCH and hope they deliver.