Thursday, July 14, 2005

The OMW Five Items Or Less Lane

ITEM 1: We guess that we don't listen to WTAM/1100 afternoon motormouth Mike Trivisonno as much as we used to, as we missed a recent controversy centering around him. This column from the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Connie Schultz explains it - Triv apparently made quite a few insensitive remarks about HIV-positive people.

We felt the need to include the mention here, but didn't really feel the need to talk about it. Reporting that Mike Trivisonno makes insensitive and stupid comments is roughly equivalent to reporting that there's a thunderstorm in Northeast Ohio in July. The popular WTAM host wears his ignorance near his mouth like a badge of honor, so this is really no surprise. And if the fine folks at the local AIDS Task Force are still upset about it at this stage in the game... remember this: Despite the fact that Triv hosts the #1 afternoon radio show (or somewhere near there, give or take a place), a good 90-percent-plus of the Cleveland market's radio population is listening to rock or country or something else from 3 to 7 PM, or not listening to the radio at all.

'Nuff said.

ITEM 2: A small item we picked up while searching for news articles about the "Triv controversy"...expect the new FOX News Radio on WTAM in August, according to WTAM program director Ray Davis in a Billboard Radio Monitor article. This isn't really news, as the Clear Channel/FNR deal was announced months ago, and the company's big news/talkers are expected to switch during this summer. Since WTAM does its own hourly updates 24/7, you're not likely to hear the FOX-produced hourly newscasts on 1100, but you will hear FOX's reporters and sound bites in the local newscasts. Listeners have already reported hearing interviews with FOX News reporters on WTAM's "Wills and Coleman" morning drive show.

Expect Akron CC sister talker WHLO/640 to carry the newscasts in August as well. There's no word on what happens to ABC on WHLO's new liberal talk sister WARF/1350, but OMW would bet the virtual farm that Jerry, Keith and company won't put the right-leaning FOX News product on "Radio Free Ohio". If ABC goes off 1350, expect something like CNN Radio, heard on many Clear Channel liberal talk stations.

ITEM 3: It's nearly Friday, and no Cleveland radio station is yet proclaiming that "we play what we want" or calling itself "JACK" or "DAVE" or "DENNIS". (That last one would be a good name, considering the city's colorful former mayor, now a Congressman, and a one-time presidential candidate. Oh, we understand he's getting married...yes, Congressman Kucinich, we at OMW understand the appeal of a smart, redheaded woman...)

You might recall an earlier note from the folks at Radio Business Report, saying they were expecting a Cleveland Infinity station to flip to the eclectic "adult hits" format "soon". Infinity flipped its last two "JACK" converts, WCBS-FM in New York and WJMK-FM in Chicago, to the format at 5 PM on a Friday. We're not saying it's going to happen on Friday on WQAL/104.1 or WDOK/102.1, but we're just throwing that fact out there, and noting that 5 PM Friday is just hours away this week.

OMW can't help but think of involving WXTM/92.3 and WNCX/98.5 in this speculation. It's widely expected that WNCX could drop classic rock once morning anchor Howard Stern goes away, and if you believe the shock jock, that could be as soon as September due to sales concerns. Infinity is putting some big bets on 92.3 morning host Rover as a regional replacement for Stern, and it would not be surprising to see them move him to the more powerful 98.5 signal when Howard's off the terrestrial airwaves.

WDOK, especially, is said to make a LOT of money for Infinity's Cleveland cluster, and there aren't a lot of bettors holding the 102.1 ticket for a JACK flip.

As a responsible online news source (we try), we once again caution that there is absolutely no solid, or even shaky, information behind our speculation. Consider it a "prediction", and if it happens, we're reading the tea leaves correctly. Frankly, we're mostly just throwing stuff against the wall with this one.

ITEM 4: Welcome to all of those reading from a link on, a Pittsburgh-based radio news site. It's a great place to check out news from Western Pennsylvania, particularly the area just beyond our usual haunts in markets near the Ohio border.

ITEM 5: We're out of the area once again for a personal weekend trip. This time, we've nailed down all of our remote computer and monitoring issues, and we'll be able to check out most Northeast Ohio radio stations even from a few hundred miles away. Since big things seem to happen when we leave town, OMW feels almost obligated to give you the warning.

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