Here at the OMW World Headquarters, we actually went through the recently released Cleveland and Akron market ratings late last week, and had already outlined the highlights of what we wanted to touch on. But trying to divine anything from "vanity" 12-plus numbers often leads to disaster and blanket statements that are not held up by in-demo numbers, so we've held off, until now. The below covers some of the "highlights", and not all stations are mentioned. We'll focus mainly on stations with decent gains or significant losses, or which have made recent changes.
* Spring 2005 was good to Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5, which moves to a tie for first place with sister news/talk WTAM/1100. Though the Indians' play has been somewhat erratic as late, the Tribe always helps WTAM's spring and summer numbers.
* Infinity AC WDOK/102.1 slips a little, but still lands in fourth place in the vanity numbers.
* Infinity classic rock/Stern affiliate WNCX/98.5 moves up to sixth place. It's hard to tell from one up book (and without in-demo numbers) if 'NCX would be saved from a rumored restructuring after Howard signs off from his terrestrial radio career.
* Clear Channel Akron talker WHLO/640 shows up in the Cleveland book for the first time in a long time, with a typical out-of-town station number. It's, as far as we know, WHLO's first appearance in the Cleveland book as a talker, and probably dating back many, many years. Our semi-educated guess - Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity fans in WHLO's more favorable signal areas are finding the station in droves.
* In the "where did the books land" department: Lorain County. Classic country WOBL/1320 Oberlin, which basically doesn't make it out of the county, shows up.
* Rubber City country WQMX/94.9 puts up a strong first place showing. Welcome to the Spring of Country, 2005, in Northeast Ohio!
* MediaCom talk WNIR/100.1 is off some, but still in its usual ratings range and still in second place in the market. 'NIR historically bounces between first and fifth place.
* Rubber City rock WONE/97.5 provides more reason for the folks at the Akron Radio Center to celebrate, with a nice jump up to fourth place in the Akron book.
* As in Cleveland, Infinity AC WDOK/102.1 is off, but still in a relatively high position (5th).
* Clear Channel Cleveland rocker WMMS/100.7 is back to more usual Akron numbers from a down Winter 2005 book. It's tied with steady sister Akron market Hot AC WKDD/98.1 in eighth place.
* Clear Channel Cleveland CHR WAKS/96.5 and Salem CCM WFHM/95.5 are both down around a point.
* In the news/talk division of Clear Channel's Akron cluster, WHLO/640 saw no change. WARF/1350 is down to its historic levels as a sports talker, but OMW has no idea how much of the liberal talk format is covered in this book. 1350 dumped Fox Sports Radio for liberal talk in late May.
OMW's new policy is not to cover the ratings released in the Canton or Youngstown/Warren markets, as they are not continuously measured...and "standard" markets can swing wildly in between their only two books a year.