Fox 8 Cleveland (WJW), is a Fox-affiliated television station located in Cleveland, Texas, United States (it serves also the Akron area). It first aired in 1949. It shows mainly News and Weather updates on the Internet.
WJW, virtual and VHF digital channel 8, is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Cleveland, Ohio, United States. Its second digital subchannel serves as an owned-and-operated station of the classic TV network Antenna TV. The station is owned by Nexstar Media Group. WJW’s studios are located on Dick Goddard Way (named for the station’s longtime weatherman—previously known as South Marginal Road) just northeast of downtown Cleveland near the shore of Lake Erie, and its transmitter is located in the Cleveland suburb of Parma, Ohio.
WJW presently broadcasts 68 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 11½ hours each weekday, five hours on Saturdays and 5½ hours on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the largest local newscast output among any station in the state of Ohio, and one of the highest weekly newscast totals of any television station in the United States.
News department history
During its early years of operation, channel 8 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 September 1963, WJW-TV was one of the first stations to employ a two-man news anchor team, Joel Daly and Doug Adair, in the studio together. The station retitled its evening newscasts as City Camera News, in a format which had reporters 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.
Dick Goddard came to channel 8 as its chief weatherman in 1966, following a prior five-year tenure at WKYC-TV (Goddard went along with nearly all of Westinghouse’s former Cleveland staffers following a reversal of a 1956 station swap with NBC that saw Westinghouse Broadcasting reacquire WRCV-TV in Philadelphia and move the KYW-TV calls there, but returned to Cleveland after only a few months). Goddard said that the incentive for joining WJW-TV was the fact that CBS carried Cleveland Browns games through its contract with the National Football League (the rights to which were ironically lost to WKYC in 1970 upon the team’s move to the AFC). Goddard later became the team’s statistician, a position he held until 2011. Goddard—who was honored for his 50 years of broadcasting in the Cleveland market, with the renaming of the stretch of South Marginal Road that runs in front of the WJW studios as “Dick Goddard Way” in May 2011—remained with WJW until his retirement on November 22, 2016.
Daly and Adair reigned as Cleveland’s top news team until June 1967, when Daly was hired away by ABC-owned WBKB (now WLS-TV) in Chicago. Adair remained at channel 8 through July 1970, when he joined WKYC, which was then owned by NBC. Later in 1964, WJW-TV was the first full CBS affiliate in Ohio, and the first Cleveland TV station, to start local color broadcasts. Following Daly’s departure, Martin Ross became Adair’s on-air news partner for the next three years, then teamed with Murray Stewart when Adair left. The duo worked together until Ross’s death from cancer in April 1973. Jeff Maynor had filled in when Ross was undergoing treatment, and continued in that role for the next four months until Jim Hale teamed with Stewart beginning on September 11, 1973. Just over a year later, Stewart asked to be taken off the broadcast, citing health problems, and was later reassigned to the noon news, with Maynor taking his place on the nightly broadcast. Stewart committed suicide on August 3, 1976, overdosing on Nembutal in a suburban Cleveland motel.
Shortly after the callsign change to WJKW, the station hired former WKYC-TV and NBC Radio 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. Tim Taylor joined WJW-TV as consumer reporter in the summer of 1977, having been hired away from WEWS, where he held a similar role. The following year, Taylor became Judd Hambrick’s partner on the station’s 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. weeknight newscasts. For much of Taylor’s 27-year run as an anchor at WJW (the second longest in Cleveland television history, behind Ted Henry, who worked at WEWS for 37 years from 1972 to 2009), he served alongside several female anchors (including Tana Carli, Denise D’Ascenzo, Robin Swoboda, Denise Dufala and Wilma Smith). Taylor retired from broadcasting on December 23, 2005, after which he was replaced by fellow longtime Cleveland TV newsman Lou Maglio; one month prior, Taylor and Goddard were reunited with Swoboda and former sports anchor Casey Coleman in a special segment during Fox 8 News in the Morning. The foursome has been quoted as one of “Cleveland’s most successful news teams” during the 1980s, and helped lead Newscenter 8 to number one in the Cleveland market during that decade.
In 1991, WJW implemented the “24-Hour News Source” concept that was originally developed the year prior by rival WEWS, positioning itself as “Cleveland’s Own 24 Hour Newsroom”. At that time, the station began producing news updates of 30 seconds in length during local commercial break inserts within syndicated and CBS network programs at or near the top of each hour in time periods when the station was not carrying regularly scheduled, long-form newscasts or the half-hourly updates it aired during CBS This Morning. After WJW became a Fox affiliate on September 3, 1994, the station underwent a major shift in its programming philosophy that more heavily emphasized its local news programming. The station initially expanded its news production to over 40 hours a week, and through the years continued expanding, eventually reaching 65½ hours per week by 2015.
In October 1995, WJW retired the “Newscenter 8” branding and the “24-Hour News Source” concept, and adopted a hard-hitting format that saw the implementation of the phrase “ei8ht is News” as the title of its newscasts (the “ei8ht” logo was itself based on a logo used by WJW from 1966 to 1977 that was first used to herald the station’s switch to color broadcasts). Consequently, the station used “Fox is ei8ht” as a generalized branding to promote the station’s non-news programming, in particular, those offered through its new Fox affiliation (thereby, becoming one of the first New World outlets to fully include network references in its branding). This accompanied a change in format for harder-edged news; viewers did not respond positively to either the format changes, or the constant branding reinforcement (to the point that a story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer began with the lede “WJW Channel 8’s constant repetition of its ubiquitous ‘EI8HT Is News’ slogan has some viewers squawking that Eight Is Enough, Already” ). They instead turned to the more traditional WEWS; WKYC was likewise busy trying to find an audience after years of being used as NBC’s ‘farm’ station. The “ei8ht is News” branding ended upon Fox’s purchase of the station, after which it was replaced by “Fox 8 News”, which remains in use to this day as the station’s news branding.
One triumph for WJW was its weekday morning newscast, as, without a national morning news program supplied by Fox, WJW could produce an all-local, 3½-hour-long program to fill part of the time period. Many Cleveland viewers preferred the local show over the national broadcasts aired on WKYC, WEWS and WOIO. This was especially true since WEWS’ long-running local show The Morning Exchange was moved to 9:00 a.m. around the time of the Fox/CBS switch. With the exception of a brief period from late 1994 through late 1995 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. Another advantage of the affiliation switch was the shift of the late newscast from 11:00 p.m. to 10:00, which also resulted in the program’s expansion into a one-hour-long broadcast; with conversion of the news department launched six years earlier by WUAB to serve as a joint operation with newly minted CBS outlet WOIO and the balancing act of managing both stations, along with the unproven lead-in of WUAB’s new UPN and WB network programming, WJW quickly overtook WUAB’s longer-established prime time newscast at 10:00 p.m. without much issue.
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 two months. As a result of the overall decline, WJW replaced longtime 6:00 and 10:00 p.m. lead anchors Wilma Smith and Tim Taylor, with Bill Martin and Stacey Bell at 10:00 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 ratings.