Monday, October 31, 2005

Michael Graham Taking WSPD/Toledo PM Drive?

RUMOR ALERT: A Radio-Info Cleveland board regular with his ears close to the Toledo rumor mill drops this little bombshell: He says he hears deposed WMAL/Washington host Michael Graham will officially take the WSPD/1370 Toledo afternoon drive position, starting tomorrow. This is still a rumor, as we have not confirmed it, but the original message was posted by someone we believe would be in a position to hear about it, even second-hand.

Graham was suspended, and later fired, from the ABC-owned DC news/talk outlet for controversial remarks. He's been doing fill-in on a number of stations, from Clear Channel talk powerhouse KFI/Los Angeles to even WSPD itself, in a recent stint in the slot opened by the departure of Denny Schaffer to WGST/Atlanta.

And to bring this full circle, Schaffer's new program director in Atlanta is none other than Randall Bloomquist, who was Graham's immediate boss in Washington, and who left the station a few weeks after Graham was let go. We speculated, when Graham was doing the WSPD fill-in, that he was waiting to join Bloomquist in Atlanta. But for now, if this is true, it appears he'll be headed for the Glass City as opposed to the Peachtree least, for now.

If Graham is indeed headed for WSPD as a permanent, local host, he won't have a popular politician on his side. Former Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, who's running again in an attempt to unseat current mayor Jack Ford, expressed his displeasure with Graham's fill-in stint in a Toledo Blade article a few weeks ago. For his part, Ford wasn't all that welcoming to Graham either, saying through a spokesman - "I do not welcome anyone to this community who is divisive."

Graham's entrance at the Toledo news/talker would shortly follow an exit - program director Al Brady Law, a radio veteran, has left the building to program talker KTRS in St. Louis.

Odds and Ends: Starting The Week (With Pictures!)

Checking in with updates to a few past OMW items:

* There's been a lot of rumbling about why WXTM/92.3 morning doggie Rover (hey, we're running out of dog references, here!) decided to head to Chicago's WCKG/ the new home base for his expanding syndicated morning show. OMW even weighed in, noting that we'd heard it was Rover's "dream" to be on the air in his original hometown...and figured, from what we'd heard from folks who heard him talk about it at the Cleveland "TalenTrak" conference, that the decision was his, and not Infinity's.

Well, that's apparently not the whole story, according to Mr. Shane "Rover" French himself, who posted an "Open Letter to Cleveland Fans" on his website.

Now, OMW isn't sure how much of this is an attempt to appease upset Cleveland-area listeners, who have been E-Mailing Rover with complaints about him "selling out" or leaving Cleveland behind as the show's home base. But unlike a lot of these letters, Rover's seems to lay it out with a lot of detail, including stuff we're assuming the Infinity brass wish he hadn't have talked about.

The upshot: Rover tells his listeners that the idea to base out of Chicago was Infinity's, and he agreed to make the move because it meant more resources for the show, more high-profile guests and because he felt major market stations wouldn't take the show (Rover calls it "snobbery") syndicated out of Cleveland.

Oh, he does mention that minor point about the fact that he and everyone else on the show will make more money, though he notes that it "won't be much more" due to the cost of living in Chicago. He also noted his family ties to the Windy City.

So, read it, and make up your own mind.

* In response to our item about sportstalker WKNR/850 Cleveland picking up the minor league Lake County Captains next season, as a second station to Captains flagship WELW/1330 Willoughby, we heard from McKeesport (PA) Daily News media columnist Pat Cloonan. Pat reminds us that Clear Channel sports WBGG/970 Pittsburgh has run games of the minor league Washington (PA) Wild Things, carrying the feed from originating station WJPA in that southwest Pennsylvania city. He also notes that the minor league hockey Wheeling Nailers (second level farm club of the Pittsburgh Penguins) have been heard on Pittsburgh radio, on ABC-owned sports WEAE/1250.

* For some odd reason, we're obsessed with visual changes on WOIO/19's Browns pre-game and post-game shows. But there's visual fodder for YOU to see, this time. On the morning pre-game show, for whatever reason, the station outfitted hosts Brian Duffy, Hanford Dixon and Chuck Galeti with full headsets, complete with microphone attached...for their broadcast from an empty Cleveland Browns Stadium. (WOIO's David Pingalore and Sharon Reed were onsite at Reliant Stadium in Houston...the station was only using Browns Stadium as a backdrop.)

Does this picture strike everyone else as funny as it struck us? Maybe the station thought it would make them look more like football coaches or something, using the headsets instead of the more standard small earpieces that are used in TV production. Maybe they thought the headsets would look like earmuffs in chilly morning weather. Maybe they ran out of small earpieces or forgot to bring them. Heh. Whatever. But it looks all the more amusing looking at the microphone on the headset, which is pushed up away from the face to look like an antenna or something...

And on the "19 Action News" Cleveland Browns Post Game All-Brown Giant Couch of Doom, here's a picture of show co-host and WNIR afternoon drive talk host Bob Golic. Or is that legendary country star Johnny Cash sitting next to fellow ex-Browns player Hanford Dixon, give or take a few pounds and a full beard?

We're wondering if Golic wore this all-black outfit in response to a quip by Cleveland Plain Dealer media columnist Roger Brown...about his "casual" previous attire on the show. Oh, the only piece of news out of Brown's Monday sports media column - he mentions WKNR/850's plans to once again air a Cavaliers' post-game show.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Now Filling In For Jerry...Who??

(Thanks to Radio-Info poster "bierkenstock" for the heads up.)

This pretty much came out of nowhere, but Friday, syndicated liberal radio host Jerry Springer ("Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!") tapped an unusual fill-in for his show heard on a number of Clear Channel liberal talk stations, Air America's network, and CC Cleveland's WTAM/1100.

And that latter affiliate is where he went for the substitute host - Kevin Metheny, better known locally for his day job as Director of Programming for CC's Cleveland cluster. According to Jerry's site, Metheny was slated not only to talk about breaking news (of which there was a lot, politically), but was supposed to be surveying the show's listeners on "what is good or not" about liberal talk radio.

This appearance brings OMW to the question - has Mr. Metheny done talk radio before? A quick look at his resume shows roughly 7 years of on-air work under the name "Kevin O'Brien" (and others) early in his career, but doesn't show what kind of on-air work he's done.

He's been in programming management for the bulk of his time in the business...and is best known outside of Cleveland for being Howard Stern's program director at WNBC in New York City in the early 80's. (And yes, he was dubbed a porcine-related name by Howard on the air and in Howard's movie "Private Parts", which we're sure he's sick of hearing by now.) As far as we know, Metheny hasn't been on the air regularly since the late 1970's.

His stint doing Jerry's show reminds us of another large market radio programmer who does regular on-air work here in the Buckeye State - Darryl Parks, the programming chief at Clear Channel's Cincinnati cluster. Parks does a regular Saturday midday talk show on the mighty WLW/700, and from what we've heard of it, he's actually a very good host.

Unfortunately, we didn't get to hear the show hosted by Parks' Cleveland counterpart, as we only found out about it this evening.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Urban Talk Network Slated to Air in Cleveland

Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins tells the Boston Globe's Clea Simon that the company is planning to launch a new nationwide talk radio network aimed at African-Americans on many of its own AM stations across the country, and that among the markets involved at launch will be...Cleveland.

The new network's marquee attraction will be the Rev. Al Sharpton, a former presidential candidate who's made noises about going into talk radio before. He's slated to host the 1-4 PM ET slot, putting him in almost direct competition with names like Premiere's Rush Limbaugh and Air America's Al Franken. With no further details, a new syndicated talk radio gig for Rev. Sharpton was announced earlier this year. Limbaugh noted the May story on his show, and jokingly offered to provide Rev. Sharpton with radio training.

The Radio One-operated network - which will also be offered to other non-company owned stations - will program 10 AM to 7 PM ET, and will leave morning drive open to local stations. There could be at least one reason for that - Radio One is launching the new urban talk network with Reach Media, which produces and syndicates urban morning radio superstar Tom Joyner's show. It's much like Fox Sports Radio not producing live programming from noon to 3 PM ET, to make way for stations to carry Premiere's Jim Rome.

Sharpton will be followed in afternoon drive by Doug and Ryan Stewart out of Atlanta, better known to ESPN2 viewers as "Two Live Stews". Their local radio program currently runs on Atlanta sports talker WQXI/790 "The Zone". The fledging network is still seeking a midday host (10 AM-1 PM ET) before it launches sometime in early 2006.

It doesn't take the proverbial rocket scientist to point out that Radio One's WERE/1300, currently running brokered talk and other paid programs, is likely to be the destination for this effort in Cleveland...though the company does also program gospel-formatted WJMO/1490 on the AM band, in addition to its two FMs in the market - WZAK/93.1 and WENZ/107.9.

Friday, October 28, 2005

WKNR/850 To Air Lake County Captains in 2006

It's not often that a major market sports station becomes the second affiliate for radio broadcasts of a Single-A minor league baseball team, but it's just happened in Cleveland.

The Lake County Captains have announced that Salem sportstalker WKNR/850 Cleveland will broadcast 120 games of the popular Eastlake-based minor league team in the 2006 season. It will not be the flagship station. That honor goes to Willoughby's WELW/1330, which has broadcast the team since it began play in Lake County. WELW will continue to air all 140 of the team's games, will originate the coverage, and play-by-play announcer David Wilson will be in his fourth season as the team's radio voice. The Captains are the Indians' "high-level A" affiliate.

OMW's generally thought that more play-by-play is better for a sports station, and WKNR hasn't had many "lakefront" (so to speak) PBP contracts. By far, WKNR's biggest contract is as the Cleveland home of Ohio State sports, and it also carries Cleveland State games. While we're generally a fan of minor league baseball (including Akron's own Aeros), we're not sure how it looks for a top 30 market sports station to "follow along" as an affiliate of a Single-A team, whose broadcasts are produced by a tiny suburban AM that can barely be heard outside Lake County at night. But...we will be listening, and we're sure WELW does a fine job on the broadcasts.

One thing in WKNR's favor - it's at least better than infomercials or paid quasi-sports related programming in the evening hours and on weekends.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Rover's Chicago Dream

Like some others, OMW speculated that the move of WXTM/92.3 Cleveland morning dog Rover to Chicago - to mount his new syndication in place of Howard Stern in some markets - was prompted by Infinity wanting to base him in one of the top 3 markets in the country.

Well, as it turns out, not so much.

A number of observers in the business report that it's Shane "Rover" French's dream to go on the air from his original hometown market. Mr. French, 30, was born in the Chicago area, and lived there as a youngster. French reportedly told crowds at the recent Conclave "TalenTrak" convention in Cleveland that he'd basically move heaven and earth to be on the air in Chicago. He's never been on there, despite the fact he's worked in larger markets than Cleveland.

Well, that earth and heaven may have already been moving at the time, as we've known for some time that Rover was in the "Stern replacements" mix, certainly before this recent conference on the North Coast. In fact, WXTM's morning doberman was the very FIRST name mentioned officially by Infinity, when he was signed to his new multi-year deal with the local station now formerly known as "Xtreme Radio". The announcement hinted - correctly, as it turned out - that Rover would replace Stern on stations in Midwestern markets.

So, we apologize for believing that Infinity couldn't possibly want Rover in Cleveland, syndicating out to Chicago instead of syndicating IN to Chicago from the hinterlands...

(Oh, and Rover, if you're reading this - if you don't like being called a "doberman", feel free to let us know which breed you'd like to be. Use the "View my complete profile" link at the left to E-Mail OMW. We're running out of dog puns, frankly!)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Chicago Media Weighs In On Rover

When 30 year-old Shane French - nom du chien "Rover" - takes over for Howard Stern in a half-dozen markets in early January, Chicago will be by far his largest market. So, it's no surprise that the Chicago media is focusing on his ascension to the Windy City, where he'll relocate after a successful run at Cleveland's WXTM/92.3 (which will still carry "Rover's Morning Glory" as an affiliate).

The Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal talks to Rover, and gets a bead on his feelings...and describes his show. One notable quote: "Clearly, in Rover, the city is not getting a candidate to become the next host of public television's 'Chicago Tonight.' Instead it's a guy who once staged a hoax in which he pretended a cat had been tethered to a helium balloon and let loose aloft."

The article notes that Mr. French was born in the Chicagoland area, and spent his earliest years in the Chicago suburbs before being moved by his family out west. His sidekick, "Duji", has spent time on Chicago airwaves, as a co-host for veteran Chi-town personality Kevin Matthews.

But, though it's a homecoming for Rover, it's not a radio homecoming, as he's never been on in that market. Rover's most notable stint before coming to Cleveland was doing nights at a Denver rock station called "The Peak"...the gig that first brought him to the attention of those watching radio nationally.

The Tribune article also quotes Infinity's Joel Hollander, who repeats his belief that Rover will skew younger than Stern. And Hollander talked up Rover's ratings on WXTM, saying he's a "strong #2" to Stern on WNCX/98.5.

It'll be interesting to see if he can overtake one of Stern's other replacements in the only market where they'll compete David Lee Roth will air in Stern's current slot on WNCX.

Meanwhile, media beat writer dean Robert Feder is far less kind to Rover in his column in the Chicago Sun-Times, ripping Infinity management for passing over a host of known Chicago radio/media quantities in the time they had to come up for a replacement for Stern on WCKG:

"So what did they do in all that time? They bungled Mancow Muller, alienated Jonathon Brandmeier, overlooked Mike North, rejected Eddie & Jobo, disregarded Bob Sirott, stiffed Garry Meier, ignored Steve Cochran and lost Kevin Matthews.

Instead of all those options -- or any others worthy of Chicago -- they decided to go with some dog from Cleveland named Rover."

Ouch. That's a bite!

FOX 8 News at AM?

We've finally encountered circumstances which would force local FOX O&O WJW/8 Cleveland to entirely cancel its 10 PM newscast.

Last night's "longest ever" World Series game lasted some 5 hours and 41 minutes, before the Chicago White Sox finally beat the Houston Astros in the 14th inning. We were without sleep last night in the OMW World Headquarters in northwest suburban Akron, so we were watching the game late into the night. And as 1 AM gave way to 1:30, and then 2 AM, we pondered if WJW would actually try mounting even a half-hour news show in the middle of the night. At some point, we started wondering if they'd call in the "FOX 8 News in the Morning" staff a couple of hours early!

But alas, there's not a lot of money to be made off of running a newscast that regularly runs in prime-time, at 2:30 AM. FOX 8 mercifully gave Bill, Stacey, Dick and Tony the rest of the night off, and didn't force them to make continuing jokes about "oh, we mean later TODAY"... and a "Seinfeld" rerun immediately followed the World Series post-game.

How To Take Three Stations Off The Air In One Easy Step

OMW hasn't had a lot of fun in the World of Glunt recently, so let's go back there, shall we?

For new readers, that means we'll be talking about that Youngstown/Warren market cluster known as Beacon Broadcasting, owned by Warren steel supply magnate Harold Glunt. Among the operations in Glunt Land: WANR/1570 Warren, WRTK/1540 Niles, WLOA/1470 Farrell PA, WGRP/940 Greenville PA, and WEXC/107.1 Greenville PA - the latter targetting Youngstown as Christian rocker "Freq 107".

We hear that Beacon sales manager Michael "Angel" Arch - former majority owner of the company until this year, selling his interest to Glunt - just can't resist "playing radio". OMW hears that WANR/1570's "family friendly" oldies programming suddenly left the air one recent Sunday afternoon, on a shift manned by Mr. Arch. In its place on AM 1570? An unidentified webcast from "", apparently pulled up on the WANR automation computer because Arch wanted to listen to it in the studio.

But that's not all! (As the late night TV pitchman would say...)

The act of switching the main WANR automation computer around to hear a webcast for personal, off-air reasons also ended up taking simulcast station WLOA/1470 *completely* off the air. The WANR automation computer directly feeds the WLOA transmitter via an Internet feed, as OMW suspected some time back. From our best guess, the move would have also taken WGRP/940 - the third station in the "family friendly oldies" simulcast - off the air, as it seems to feed directly off of WLOA.

This means when Mr. Arch decided he needed to hear some tunes which were not airing on the station which actually EMPLOYS him...he changed programming on one station, and took two other stations completely dark, for the better part of a Sunday afternoon. Given that we've heard "Michael Angel" strain to attach religious meanings to secular oldies tunes on Sunday afternoons in the past, he may well have done a public service.

Some advice to Mr. Arch from OMW - next time you feel the need to listen to something else, bring along an MP3 player or a CD. Or, we're guessing that you'll likely have PLENTY of time to listen to other audio, at home...

Oh, OMW also hears that Mr. Glunt may indeed be considering "kicking the tires" at troubled stations WGFT/1330 Campbell and WRBP/101.9 Hubbard, both in the Youngstown market. The stations are owned by Stop 26 Riverbend Productions, which was recently told by a bankruptcy court to get in shape financially or sell those stations, as well as WASN/1500 Youngstown and two stations in the Columbus market.

If Beacon bought 1330, it could easily sell off recent acquisition WRTK/1540 in that market, which as far as we know has yet to change formats from urban contemporary. 1330 is a far better signal, and is not a daytimer like Niles-based WRTK. And 101.9 would make a nice full-market replacement for Greenville PA rimshot WEXC/107.1, as a new home for "Freq". We'll be watching...

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Cleveland "Free FM"/Stern Departure Fallout - Big Rover News

(UPDATED - 2:35 PM ET)

There's been a lot of speculation on what happens after Howard Stern leaves over-air radio, and now we have an official answer from Infinity itself...and at least in part, it involves a local morning star here in Northeast Ohio.

A week after basically denying rumors it was flipping a number of FM stations to younger-skewing talk, the company is doing exactly that.

And the Stern plans are as expected, with regional replacements including former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth, comedian/TV/"Loveline" late night radio host Adam Carolla originally announced months ago, Cleveland's own "Rover", who holds forth at alt-rock WXTM/92.3 and is currently syndicated to two other stations.

Under the plans announced today by Infinity, "Rover" (er, Shane French when he's not barking into a microphone) will stay on WXTM...but will physically move to Infinity talker WCKG/105.9 in Chicago, which is one of Infinity's FM talk stations now being rebranded as "Free FM". He'll add not only WCKG to his list, but will also be heard on WKRK/Detroit, WAQZ/Cincinnati, WZNE/Rochester and WMFS/Memphis.

But...Cleveland's morning radio dog (soon to be Chicago's) will also be competing here with the New York-based Roth, who will slide into the Stern morning slot on WNCX/98.5. Roth will also be heard on Stern's big market east coast affiliates in Boston, Philadelphia and a couple of other markets, including the current Stern affiliate in Pittsburgh. (Roth won't get Washington DC or Baltimore, which will air WJFK/Washington's "Junkies" in morning drive.)

We've read and re-read the announcement, and it appears Cleveland is the only market which will see two of the Stern Replacements going head to head - Rover and Roth.

The Infinity news, which we first spotted thanks to our friend Perry Michael Simon's item on, is also found in this company press release. It indicates that WNCX will keep its current classic rock format after Roth's show, and there is NO indication that WXTM will drop its alt-rock format after Rover. In an Infinity press conference call monitored by AllAccess, company brass indicated that adding him to WKRK/Detroit - instead of Roth - was a "last minute decision" aimed at giving Rover a shot at some larger markets. They noted that Rover skews younger in the ratings, which they were looking for at some stations, and that he's "definitely less edgy" than Stern.

We'll have to echo one thought already expressed by some others - it's sad that Infinity feels the need to move Rover out of Cleveland to front his new syndication in the Windy City. We suppose it makes sense, because Roth is in NYC and Carolla is in Los Angeles, but Mr. French's show built up its following here.

And Infinity needs only to look at its own Westwood One-syndicated afternoon drive show in Washington DC, hosted by WJFK's Don Geronimo and Mike O'Meara, to see how bad moving a show to a larger market can torpedo momentum. The show adopted New York City as a second home, after being syndicated to WNEW/102.7 in that market.

Here's hoping Rover doesn't imitate that move - which saw the veteran DC radio team basically try to plant themselves in the nostrils of the Big Apple, while basically shunning the audience which built their empire in the Nation's Capital. We'll see...

98.5 JACK FM?

OMW didn't hear it early Monday morning, but various radio trade sites repeated Howard Stern's contention from earlier in the day...that he was about to lose at least two affiliates of his show to a "JACK FM" format flip. Later, it was considered that the stations may do the format flip the rest of the day, after Stern's show (like WBUF/Buffalo did a while back)...and would continue to run the Stern show until his departure from over-air radio in just under two months.

We quickly considered the possibility...could this mean a "JACK FM" flip for WNCX/98.5? Considering that a Cleveland flip to Infinity's current Format of the Month (give or take a "Free FM") has been rumored for some time...we admit we've at least thought about it.

Now, a Radio-Info Cleveland board regular ("Johnny Morgan") alerts us to this blurb on the industry site FMQB.

To quote:

"Where might The King Of All Media feel Jack-FM's boot? Looking down the list of his remaining Infinity affiliates, there are a few markets that lack a Jack-FM style station and are potential targets, but don't necessarily fit the "small market" criteria that Stern suggested. Among the stations are WMFS/Memphis, WNCX/Cleveland, WRKZ/Pittsburgh, WPBZ/West Palm Beach, and WOCL/Orlando."

But...please, read the whole article. It doesn't appear to have anything resembling solid information...and the writer is basically throwing Stern affiliates against the wall and seeing what sticks. And though we would not entirely rule out such a move on 98.5 (which would, presumably, keep Rover on the newly-rechristened "92-3X", aka alt-rocker WXTM/92.3), we're not at all sure that we'll wake up hearing "Playing What We Want" on 98.5 tomorrow...or rather, later today, since it's past midnight as we write this.

We'll see... but we remind everyone that the folks at Radio Business Report felt confident that either 104.1 or 102.1 would flip to JACK FM "soon"...weeks ago.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Yes, Geraldo Will Be At Large on FOX 8

When it was first announced that Fox News Channel reporter/weekend host Geraldo Rivera would do a weekday show for the Fox network's owned-and-operated stations, we assumed local WJW "FOX 8" would be along for the ride. And sure enough, it will be.

At most of the FOX O&O's, Geraldo's new half-hour show will replace "A Current Affair". That'll indeed be the case in Cleveland, where "Geraldo at Large" will slip into the 7 PM weeknight slot starting a week from today.

Not only have we seen the promos, but the showy reporter/host himself was in Cleveland this morning, co-hosting WJW's "FOX 8 News In The Morning" live from the station's South Marginal Road studios. We only saw the clip on the FOX 8 6 PM show tonight, so we don't know if he nudged anyone aside to promote his new show. (It's a joke, people! Don't sue us!)

PBS 45 & 49 Digital/HDTV Update

OMW noted below that local PBS affiliate WNEO/45-WEAO/49 has discontinued its 24/7 feed of PBS HD for now.

We then stumbled upon a message at AVS Forum, a well-recognized audio-visual/home theatre support site, claiming to be from the station itself. (The author did not sign it with a name or title.) For us, it passes the "smell test" and we'll assume that it was indeed posted by someone at the Kent-based public TV station. Here's the message:


"WNEO-DT and WEAO-DT (45 and 50) have temporarily discontinued our HD service. This is a technical and legal issue. When we have the technical problems resolved (aiming for November 5) we'll return with three channels from midnight until 7pm, and a HD and SD channel from 7pm until midnight.

Channel 1 will be our HD service. Channel 2 will remain as our digital rebroadcast of our analog service. Channel 3 will be our Information & Education service (INFOTV), blending CPB/Annenberg programs with rebroadcasts of PBS prime-time shows and school age kids shows. Channel 4 will be The Ohio Channel, which provides live coverage of the Ohio House and Senate, committee hearings and government issues, along with public affairs programs produced by PBS stations around Ohio.

We're sorry that we've been forced to temporarily drop the HD channel. It will return as quickly as we can resolve our switcher issues."


We're not sure what the promo about a kids service was, that aired recently on 45/49...since when we were watching, the sound on our over-air digital box was not working...and we just saw the graphics. But perhaps their third channel above would fit some of that bill...

And as expected, it appears that they'll run the HD channel only from 7 PM to midnight, presumably simulcasting whatever HD shows PBS runs in prime-time.

In addition to the PBS HD feed it still carries, Cleveland PBS affiliate WVIZ/25 (DT 26) also carries an audio feed out of Cleveland's radio reading service on a digital subchannel. We haven't seen it, but OMW seems to recall that WVIZ-DT may also carry the "Ohio Channel" mentioned above. Since Adelphia sends down only the PBS HD feed from WVIZ, and since we can't even remotely pick up the anemic temporary over-air feed out of WVIZ, we can't verify this.

High Definition TV Update

Watching the Browns get beat by the Lions on FOX's high-definition feed (WJW-DT) yesterday reminded's time for a local HDTV update.

The biggest news so far is a change at the Akron area's PBS affiliate, "PBS 45 & 49" - digitally, in this area, WEAO-DT 50. Since the station put WNEO-DT 46 up out of the Salem transmitter site, and later added Akron's WEAO-DT, they've been running the 24/7 PBS HD feed on the digital signal, with a SD simulcast of the over-air PBS 45 & 49 feed. The PBS HD feed simulcasts any HD shows that are on the regular network, and fills the rest of the time with other HD and SD digital widescreen shows.

Some time in the past couple of weeks, WNEO/WEAO discontinued the full-time PBS HD feed, though we believe they'll still simulcast HD versions of the prime time shows on 50.1 (and 46.1). Right now, there are two simulcasts of the over-air signal on each subchannel.

It's our understanding that they will use the digital signal to air a new children's network, which we presume will be something different from the "PBS Kids" feed offered by many pubcasters in the past. That feed migrated off of the PBS affiliates' digital signal and is now the cable/satellite network "Sprout". We saw a promo for the new 45/49 "kids" feed, which gave an October 31 start date.

It's not unprecedented...many PBS stations program a menu of specialized/educational/childrens feeds on their DT signals during the day, and shut them down at night to make room for the HD feeds.

Meanwhile, Cleveland's WVIZ-DT 26 still carries the 24/7 PBS HD feed. But though they were expected to raise power by now, there are apparently more technical and/or legal issues preventing them from putting up the full-power DT antenna at their analog site in North Royalton. There was a legal dispute with the tower site's owner, the Cleveland cluster of Infinity Radio (WNCX, in particular), but we're not sure if that's the same problem preventing the new WVIZ antenna from going up. We were told, months ago, that the IdeaStream-Infinity dispute was settled.

Until this all gets worked out, WVIZ-DT 26 is sending out a weak signal from a small antenna on top of their Brookpark Road studio location. The signal can't be picked up by us here at OMW World Headquarters in suburban northwest Akron, but Adelphia cable does carry the PBS HD feed off of WVIZ-DT.

The other digital stragglers in the market are Pax/i's WVPX/23 Akron, and the local WB Network affiliate, WBNX/55 Akron. Both are apparently still working out Canadian interference issues, and are not yet on the air digitally.

The WOIO Amateur Hour - Again

If it's Sunday night, regular OMW readers know it must be time for a look at WOIO/19's "Browns Tonight" late night show, with 19's Brian Duffy, and ex-Browns player co-hosts Hanford Dixon (who does WTAM's Browns post-game show) and Bob Golic (WNIR's afternoon host).

We note that the Giant Brown Value City Furniture Couch that threatens to swallow the trio for its size, is still on the set. (Only former defensive star Golic is big enough to overcome it...) And we also note that 19's Sharon Reed has apparently stopped using the show as a dating service, as she didn't extend her personal invite to Browns special teams star Joshua Cribbs to sit next to her on the couch on "BrownsTown Live" tomorrow.

But this week, two things caught our eye.

* The videotape highlights segment, in particular, the highlights of the Steelers/Bengals game earlier in the day. We're curious...before WOIO taped those highlights, was the tape previously used to store newscast video from the 1980's? The quality of the video was so, really bad...that you couldn't read the names on the back of the players' jerseys, even in relatively close shots! We took off our glasses at least twice, wondering if they'd suddenly become fogged. It looked like those old worn film feeds you'd watch from the early 70's.

Other video highlights were bad, but not THAT bad. If it weren't for the colors of the jerseys, you'd have no idea which team was which. WOIO has long been derided for having aging equipment, but this is ridiculous. For the record, we watched on WOIO-DT, the digital version of the station, and the analog feed on Adelphia cable 4 is also fed to the cable box are all local network affiliate stations. Both looked awful.

* OMW doesn't know if WOIO has live manual camera operators, or if the studio cameras are remote controlled now. But that was no excuse for Brian Duffy's video being off center. At one point, you saw about two-thirds of the shot with the background above Brian's head, and poor Mr. Duffy was nearly out of frame at the bottom. Even with remote control, there was no excuse to "shrink" him like that. Unless he really WAS being consumed by the Giant Brown Value City Furniture Couch from Hell...

Come on, guys...this is a major market. Despite losing population fairly steadily over the years, Cleveland is still the 16th largest market in the nation. The Duffy shot, in particular, reeked of cable access, where the volunteer camera people apparently don't know how to center the shot. For that matter, so did the Frequently Used And Dull Videotape.

The positive? We like the show, as a rule...and Duffy, Golic and Dixon have a lot of fun on it, and provide good insight. Too bad that "Browns Tonight's" production values are outdone by local cable shows...

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cumulus Regional OM Heads For Detroit

AllAccess reports that Tim Roberts, the Toledo-based regional OM for Cumulus stations including the company's Youngstown cluster, will take the PD chair at Infinity country WYCD/Detroit.

Among the stations under Roberts' distant oversight in Youngstown is two-market country powerhouse WQXK/105.1 Salem, much better known as "K105". Cumulus/Youngstown also includes: CHR WHOT/101.1 "Hot 101", classic rock WYFM/102.9 Sharon PA "Y103", rock WWIZ/103.9 Mercer PA "Rock 104", AC WLLF/96.7 Mercer PA "96.7 The River", and on the AM side, sports WBBW/1240, news/talk WPIC/790 Sharon PA, and standards WSOM/600 Salem.

We don't think we missed one, unless you throw in Canton-based rocker WRQK/106.9...which shares some staff with Youngstown.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The WTAM Afternoon Commercial Show

This isn't even the first time we've commented on the high commercial load on the afternoon show hosted by WTAM motormouth Mike Trivisonno...but waiting for the start of Triv's show, after "Paul Harvey's Rest of the Story" today, we noticed something.

Virtually EVERYONE ON THE SHOW has a commercial endorsement/live read.

Triv's list of sponsors is up to about a half-dozen now, including spots for car dealers, hardware stores, restaurants, beer makers, a gutter cover system, and more. Co-host Kim Mahalik has done spots for a dog food maker, and others.

But the list doesn't stop with Triv and Kim, or with sports director Mike Snyder (a car dealer), who's normally on the show, but is doing morning drive sports in place of the recuperating Casey Coleman.

No, Triv's show is the only talk show we've ever heard where BOTH PRODUCERS have a regular live read spot. We've been involved in news/talk radio for most of our 15-plus year career, but this is the first instance we've seen where the support staff gets live reads.

For studio producer/engineer Marty "Big Daddy" Allen, it's a local chicken restaurant chain. And producer Paul Rado shills for a car company. This afternoon, both those spots aired back to back before the start of the show. Of course, both Allen and Rado appear on air occasionally...apparently enough to garner sponsors wanting them to read copy on the air.

Is it any wonder that the commercial load is high in afternoon drive on WTAM? Heck, the time needed for all 10 or so "live read" sponsors alone bulks up the commercial content on Triv's show!

And frankly, it makes the Triv show a difficult listen. (And that's not even counting its host, who, without any commercial content, can be a "difficult listen" all by himself.) To our ears, at least as far as we can tell, Clear Channel's "Less is More" commercial load reduction initiative hasn't made it to 1100 AM in Cleveland...

We don't begrudge either Rado or Allen for taking advantage of the opportunities presented them. When we were on-air weekends at a major news/talk radio station, we'd have jumped at it ourselves. But when the overall "live read" commercial load is already so high, even just counting the two main's like the proverbial final straw for listeners.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Channel 5 Cranks Up The Wayback Machine

OMW spotted this today on the Akron Beacon Journal's "Beacon TV" blog:

WEWS/5 is bringing back an old TV friend. And we mean "old", as many of us are too young to really remember it well. The local ABC affiliate once aired a popular weekly music program called "Upbeat". Hosted by Channel 5 veteran Don Webster (the station's long-time weatherman), the show featured all sorts of musical acts in its run from 1964 to 1971.

October 29th, WEWS resurrects "Upbeat" for one night, in a benefit for "Partners for Potential", a charity benefitting urban youth. The show will feature many oldies acts, including Martha Reeves and Billy Preston, and other acts including local rocker Michael Stanley. Channel 5 airs the "Upbeat" return that night from 8 to 9 PM, and yes, Don Webster will host.

After leaving his weather post, Webster went into management at WEWS, and continued to host "Academic Challenge" for a few years after he left the weather desk. Though he gained most of his local fame that way, "Upbeat" garnered a lot of national attention. The WEWS release says the show featured the first TV appearance by the legendary Simon and Garfunkel, and the last by another music legend, Otis Redding.

Tickets are available at the Partners for Potential web site...starting at $25 for General Admission.

Veteran Cleveland Sportswriter Dies

Though we don't spend a lot of time dealing with the print media, OMW would feel remiss not passing this along.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that veteran Cleveland sportswriter and editor Hal Lebovitz has died at the age of 89. Lebovitz most recently worked for the Lake County News-Herald as a weekly columnist, but was also once sports editor of the PD, and worked at the old Cleveland News. He was nationally famous for his "Ask Hal, The Referee" column in the Sporting News.

In addition to what we're sure are thousands of local sports talk radio appearances, Lebovitz was one of the regular panelists on Les Levine's Adelphia cable TV sports talk show. We're sure Levine will talk about Hal's passing on his program tonight (6 PM live, 11 PM repeat, Adelphia 15).

More On Infinity's Renewed FM Talk Push

An addendum to the item just below this one: reports this morning that it's indeed learned of a widespread Infinity plan to launch FM talk stations in various markets, and brand them (and rebrand existing FM talk stations) as "Free FM". The first strike would reportedly be at the aforementioned KIFR/San Francisco, which is currently stunting with clips that would tend to foretell a talk format. The station has actually been rumored to become a talk station for some time now, with a well-known talk programmer at the VP/GM helm for the past month or two.

How does that affect Cleveland? Well, in the AllAccess item, Cleveland is not mentioned. But one of the registered URLs for the "Free FM" format references the frequency 92.3. Some local observers have wondered if that's headed for WXTM, the "Extreme Radio" alt-rocker that's currently home to locally-based syndicated morning show "Rover in the Morning".

But alas, 92.3 is also the frequency for WXRK/New York, the long-time flagship of exiting Howard Stern. That's one of the stations reportedly set for a "Free FM" makeover. It's also possible, one assumes, that Infinity could take out another 92.3-related URL for WXTM... and a station with an already existing locally-based syndicated FM talk show would certainly seem ripe for a format change in a nationwide push to install talk formats.

As of yet, though, we've heard no rumors that mention either Cleveland or WXTM, or any of the other stations in Infinity's Cleveland cluster.

One More Infinity Format Not Here Yet

OMW notes that we're now many, many weeks past a report by the folks at Radio Business Report, which reprinted the "JACK FM" rumor...and said it was imminent to be placed at one of Infinity's Cleveland market stations.

Fast forward to mid-October, and, well...

* WQAL/104.1 (the station most mentioned in rumors) is still hot AC "Q104".

* WDOK/102.1 hasn't budged from its AC perch.

* WXTM/92.3 is still pumping out the alt-rock, with "Rover" in AM drive.

* And, WNCX/98.5 is still classic rock-ing, with the last days of Howard Stern's over air program.

Furthermore, unless we're missing something, Infinity hasn't flipped ANY stations to "JACK FM", the eclectic "iPod on shuffle" format also known as "classic hits" or "adult hits" in the business, since legendary oldies stations WCBS/New York and WJMK/Chicago got "JACKed". This, despite actually hiring a new format chief solely in charge of, well, "JACK FM".

Now, Infinity, soon to be known again as CBS Radio, is reportedly hot on another FM format... talk.

Monday, a San Francisco FM station formerly owned by religious broadcaster Family Radio was officially handed over to new buyer Infinity, which has been stunting on the 106.9 frequency since. (For the record, locally, Family owns WCUE/1150 in the Akron market, and WYTN/91.7 in Youngstown. The programming heard on those stations is the same as what's been heard on 106.9 FM in San Francisco until this week.)

The new California station, now known under the calls "KIFR", is reportedly headed for an FM talk format, under the guidance of veteran west coast talk programmer Ken Kohl as VP/GM.

But that's not the only thing prompting trade publications like Inside Radio speculating about Infinity fueling more talk radio on the FM band. WTKK/96.9 Boston afternoon driver Jay Severin is set to debut early next year on 10 major market Infinity radio stations...and it's thought many of those may be new FM talk converts. Severin is definitely a political talker, not an entertainment or sex-driven talker.

For that matter, Clear Channel is not immune to "regular", traditional talk on FM...with WPGB/104.7 Pittsburgh just down the road, and a new Minneapolis FM talker to start later this year. WPGB has Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, in addition to local talk vet Jim Quinn (also heard on WHLO/640 Akron, WWVA/1170 Wheeling WV and other stations), and their Minneapolis station will take Rush and Hannity from crosstown station KSTP/1500.

OMW's not about to speculate on which of the above four Infinity Cleveland stations could also see talk in its future. In fact, we have no idea if Infinity - er, CBS Radio - plans to expand talk radio down into the low end of the top 30 market spectrum.'s apparently on the sidelines as an option for the company, next to "JACK FM" on the Infinity Future Format Menu...

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bye, Bye Jake! reports that Clear Channel Akron/Canton hot AC WKDD/98.1 Creative Services Director/air personality Jake Reynolds is moving on from the station.

Jake, also known as Matt Haze, left the station for a short time a while back, to take a full-time position at CHR WORK/107.1 Barre VT... then returned to 'KDD for the position he's now leaving. He'd been voicetracking overnights since his return, and had also been doing traffic (the car variety) for WKDD/WHLO/WARF in afternoon drive.

From AllAccess:

"Reach him (Jake/Matt) at (440) 225-2989 or for some weekend work"

WKDD's current schedule has the overnight VT duties now handled by Rob MacKenzie, who's been heard (and is still listed) as the station's Sunday morning personality. He's also filled in for the station's PM driver, WKDD program director and CC Akron/Canton operations guy Keith Kennedy.

Casey's Back Home!

An update from WTAM/1100's website:

Sportscaster and morning co-host Casey Coleman was released from the Cleveland Clinic on Saturday, just in time to watch the Browns play the Ravens on Sunday from his home TV. And, of course, he heard the Browns Radio Network broadcast as an outsider for the first time, including hearing WTAM Browns beat reporter Andre Knott once again fill in for him. (Too bad that Casey had to endure that Browns loss on Sunday!)

WTAM's emphasizing the positive news from Casey's surgery - that it appears the pancreatic cancer hadn't spread beyond the tissue removed from him a week ago Friday. They note he overcame hurdles in being able to be operated upon, and with the removal of the cancerous tissue once they were able to operate.

Listeners can drop him get well notes through the WTAM website. If you haven't already done so, take a moment to brighten his day.

Fox 8 Staffers - We Know What You've Been Doing This Fall

OMW first approached this topic below...when we shared the news of the new Fox TV local stations chief, and reports that the network intends on spreading the Fox "look and feel" down from its popular cable network to local Fox owned and operated - "O&O" - stations. One of those stations is Cleveland's WJW "Fox 8".

Now, comes this from an article by Michael Learmonth at Variety magazine:

"Staff at News Corp.'s far-flung station group -- which includes Fox and UPN affiliates across the country -- are waiting to see what changes are ahead. While it's still early in the new regime, one thing seems certain: The landscape of local television is going to change.

Local news editors, producers and on-air talent have been flown to New York for intense two-day training sessions to help local news personalities abandon dry anchor-speak and adopt a more Foxian barstool conversational style."

Now, we're not sure what a "Foxian barstool" style is, but our local Fox O&O doesn't really have THAT far to go in conversational style. It's always been one of the chattier outlets in the market, and has gone to great lengths to personalize its anchors to the audience. The station's 5 and 10 PM anchors - Bill Martin and Stacey Bell - casually joke about reader E-Mail and have an easygoing style. Even veteran anchors Tim Taylor and Wilma Smith, now voluntarily only on WJW's 6 PM show at this point in their careers, aren't exactly "stilted".

We haven't seen a promo for it on Fox 8, but do watch out for Geraldo Rivera's new "Geraldo at Large" syndicated news/talk set for an October 31st premiere on all the Fox O&O's.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Casey Coleman Update - Thursday 10/13/05

WTAM/1100 has now devoted a prominent space on their main web page to informing listeners about the health of Casey Coleman. The veteran Cleveland radio and TV sportscaster and co-host of WTAM's "Wills and Coleman" morning drive show has been in Cleveland Clinic since last week, where he had surgery on Friday related to pancreatic cancer.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like he'll be back home as soon as expected. The latest WTAM update says Casey "had a little setback" today (Thursday), and is running a fever, and is "not feeling well". It had been hoped that he'd be able to check out of the hospital, and continue his recuperation from home, as soon as Friday or Saturday. From the update, it doesn't sound like that'll happen, at least on Friday at any rate.

OMW doesn't like to bring up topics as controversial as religion, except when it comes to broadcast formats. But however you pray, or communicate with whatever you consider to be a higher force, we'd like to ask you to put in a thought for Casey Coleman. Even if it's just a "thought to yourself". This illness has likely thrown not only his own family for a loop, but also his broadcast family on Oak Tree Boulevard.

We have no idea how long it'll take Casey to finally recover fully from this setback, and we have no idea at all when his health could even remotely be good enough to permit a return to the WTAM microphones, but we're praying it's soon. We are very, very concerned about a member of Northeast Ohio's broadcast community, who's going through a very rough time now. Think good, positive thoughts.

And if you wish to send some of those positive thoughts, feel free to drop an E-Mail to this address - - as WTAM will make sure Casey gets the message.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Battle of The Local Weathercasters

OMW's been bouncing between WJW "FOX 8" and WOIO's "19 Action News" this afternoon (yes, we're gluttons for punishment on that last part), and we're noticing that both stations' weather anchors are predicting vastly different weekend forecasts.

Local veteran forecaster Dick Goddard on FOX 8 calls for a high of 58 on Saturday, 55 on Sunday, with a 40% chance of rain Friday night into Saturday, and 30% Saturday and Saturday night. Yesterday, FOX 8's forecast called for a high of 60 on Saturday, 52 on Sunday, and what looks like a chance of rain on Saturday. The video capture of that forecast is still on the FOX 8 website, so we bring it to you here:

Over on 19, former high school basketball Jeff Tanchak says it'll be as high as 66 on Saturday, 56 on Sunday, and has "taken the rain" out of the forecast, though he acknowledged on the air that there could be a SLIGHT chance of rain over the weekend. On Tuesday, Tanchak's forecast was calling for low-50's and a chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday.

(Unfortunately, the 19 Action News website doesn't have the graphics that we can grab and use in this entry.)

Both forecasts note a breezy to windy condition.

Now, if we had a horse in this race, we'd be at the betting window for Dick Goddard. No offense to Jeff Tanchak, but as noted in the item below, Dick's been forecasting Northeast Ohio weather for over 40 years. At this point, he could probably do a block by block forecast. We'll see who wins this one, on Monday...

FOX (News Channel) 8 In The Future?

Here's a small item called to our attention by our media blogging colleagues at this Variety story about the appointment of former CBS local owned-and-operated stations head Dennis Swanson to a post as operations chief for Fox's local owned-and-operated TV stations.

And here's the part which jumped out at us:


Swanson will focus on local news for the stations group, including Fox's characteristic morning shows, which take on NBC's "Today" and ABC's "Good Morning America" in local markets and Fox's 10 p.m. news.

That could mean standardizing the look and feel of Fox newscasts, and sharing of talent between local stations and Fox News Channel.


In other items about this, it's being speculated that the local Fox O&O's, as the owned-and-operated stations are called, will take on much of the look, feel and even some of the programming ideas from the parent company's Fox News Channel. The first such move comes soon, with the premiere of a new daytime show by FNC reporter and weekend host Geraldo Rivera coming soon on the Fox O&O's.

And of course, since this is Ohio Media Watch, we remind you that the Fox people own and operate WJW/8 in our very own backyard.

"Fox 8 News" has been a bit odd as a news show on a Fox station goes. The inheriting of the old CBS affiliate news operation means that the station has many familiar veteran anchors, including Tim Taylor and Wilma Smith, along with Dick Goddard...who's been doing weather in the Cleveland TV market since before OMW's primary editorial voice was even born.

So, it'll be interesting to watch how Swanson's appointment affects our local Fox-owned station - a station that former WJW news director Virgil Dominic once sniffed "would never become 'Fox 8'" after the sale to New World Communications was announced in the mid-90's. New World, of course, was itself swallowed by Fox shortly thereafter.

But if you start hearing phrases like "fair and balanced" and "we report, you decide" on Channel 8...don't say you weren't given a heads up by us...

Monday, October 10, 2005

Casey Coleman Update

Now, we know why WTAM/1100 sportscaster Casey Coleman's illness has been such an earth-shaking event for his co-workers at the CC World Domination HQ on Oak Tree Boulevard.

The Plain Dealer's Roger Brown reports that the WTAM morning co-host and Browns sideline reporter was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Coleman is reportedly recovering at the Cleveland Clinic after his earlier-reported surgery on Friday, and as noted on the Browns Radio Network yesterday, got a Browns game ball from quarterback Trent Dilfer after Sunday's Browns win over the Bears. (OMW considers the classy gesture by Dilfer to be his third "score" of the day. It's not often that a guy pulls out a close win on an NFL playing field, and thinks of the ailing radio sideline reporter in the process.)

Brown reports that Casey's recovery will move from a week at the Cleveland Clinic to a six-to-eight week recuperation period at home. There's no word on when we may hear the veteran sportscaster return to the airwaves...we'll assume the answer out of Oak Tree is "whenever he's ready". For now, WTAM sports director Mike Snyder moves to morning drive alongside host Bill Wills, and WTAM Indians beat reporter and "Weekend Sportsline" host Mark Schwab takes Snyder's place in afternoon drive, on the Mike Trivisonno show.

And a note: We were very impressed with the station's Browns beat reporter, Andre Knott, in his last-minute role filling in for Coleman on the Browns Radio Network sideline reports. He shines in situations like this, and did a fine job in the substitution, with crisp, concise questions and a good rapport with Browns players and coaches. It reminded us of one of his earliest WTAM a contributor to the station's NFL Draft coverage.

It's hopefully comforting to Casey Coleman that the station's well-served by his fill-ins, until he's able to return to the airwaves at 1100. Again, our best wishes to him and his family, and a sincere hope for a speedy recovery.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

WTAM's Casey Coleman Out - After Friday Surgery

OMW doesn't know this poster on Radio-Info's Cleveland board, so we didn't know what to make of his report that WTAM morning sports anchor Casey Coleman was sick, and that afternooner Mike Trivisonno reported on the air that Coleman needed surgery on Friday.

But this afternoon, on the Browns Radio Network broadcast of the Cleveland win over Chicago, we noticed that Coleman was absent, and WTAM Browns beat reporter Andre Knott was filling in, doing Coleman's usual sideline reporting role in the game. Clearly, if Casey was healthy, he'd be at that game.

No matter what, OMW extends its thoughts and concern for the long-time local sportscaster, and we hope Mr. Coleman's health problems are short lived...and that he's back in the game doing both the Browns broadcasts, and his WTAM duties, soon.

UPDATE: While being interviewed by Andre Knott during the Browns Radio Network post-game show just now, quarterback Trent Dilfer referred to Casey Coleman being sick, and said he got a game ball for him. Mike Snyder just said that Casey did indeed have surgery Friday, but says his fellow WTAM sportscaster is recovering and "doing well".

And we just now noticed that the Plain Dealer's Roger Brown has a brief item in today's column about Coleman's illness, though with not much more detail than has been said on the air.

Report: WKHR General Manager Passes On

From Bill Weisinger, who's the program director for the WSTB/88.9 Streetsboro-based "Sunday Oldies Jukebox" programming block:

Long-time WKHR/91.5 Bainbridge volunteer general manager Scott McVay passed away recently after a long illness. Weisinger reports that McVay had held that position for somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 years.

And in one of those odd coincidences, OMW's very first time hearing WKHR came on a drive back into Akron last night, along I-76 in rural Portage County. The station's class A Geauga County-based signal hits primarily Cleveland's eastern suburbs and the city's east side, and programs big band music...a format long abandoned by commercial AM stations in Northeast Ohio.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

WOHI/East Liverpool To Change - Radio Vet Looking

The first shoe in this situation dropped when WOHI/1490 East Liverpool's sister station WOGF/104.3 - one of the Froggy Country chain around western PA and nearby - stopped programming locally... and started simulcasting with the Keymarket country chain's main operation out of Pittsburgh, WOGI/98.3 Duquesne.

Now, OMW learns that WOHI itself will change format soon, as of November 1st...when it reportedly plans to become a full-time ESPN Radio affiliate.

That change leaves a WOHI veteran, and an Eastern Ohio radio/TV vet, out of work. He's Jim Martin, who's been doing the East Liverpool station's morning show for 15 years. But OMW remembers him when we were in the Youngstown/Warren market...he had a long stint at WFMJ-TV 21 there, as well as its then-sister radio station, WFMJ/1390 (now Clear Channel standards WNIO). He ended his time at WFMJ while OMW's primary editorial voice was celebrating a year in that market, so we caught him at least a few times on TV 21's "Dialing for Dollars".

Jim's still in Youngstown, and anyone who wants to contact him, feel free to drop us a note. Use the "View my complete profile" link to the left of every OMW page, to get to our E-Mail address.

Monday, October 03, 2005

A New "Light" Morning in Canton

There's been a change in morning drive at Canton market CCM WNPQ/95.9 "The Light".

The morning show is now called "Terry and Suzie in the Morning", and the co-host not yet pictured on that webpage is named Terry Lee. The show used to feature Tom Sullivan, a 30 year Northeast Ohio radio vet who joined the station in March, according to this March 7th article in the Canton Repository.

Though Tom's been at a number of Akron and Canton stations, he's best remembered by OMW for a stint on Akron's WKDD, then on 96.5. Immediately before taking mornings at WNPQ, Sullivan did weekend work for WZKL/92.5 "Q92" Alliance, also in the Canton market. He's no relation to another Tom Sullivan in radio, a popular talk show host at Sacramento's KFBK/1530, who occasionally fills in for Rush Limbaugh...

WSPD/Toledo's Afternoon Slot, And Michael Graham

Listeners to Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370 Toledo are hearing Michael Graham fill-in during the station's open afternoon drive slot today. The slot opened when local talker Denny Schaffer left Toledo, for a gig at sister Clear Channel talk WGST/640 Atlanta.

Graham is the controversial host who raised the ire of some Islamic groups with comments made on his show at ABC talk WMAL/630 Washington. ABC suspended, and later fired him, and Graham has done fill-in talk both on radio stations, and on the website, since.

Now, Graham has stopped the Internet-only show, and gives the impression on his website that a full-time broadcast gig is just weeks away.

In what could very well be a coincidence, Graham's former program director, Randall Bloomquist, recently left WMAL for a gig as...say it with us, now...program director of WGST in Atlanta. That makes him Denny Schaffer's new boss, as the former WSPD host was scheduled to start his new Atlanta midday show today.

And while Graham is just filling in on WSPD today and tomorrow, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to link him and former PD Bloomquist, who also hired Graham at Clear Channel talk WRVA/1140 Richmond. Road show, anyone?

UPDATE: An eagle-eyed OMW regular reader informs us that Schaffer has a note on his website about his new location and show, but says it'll now start a week from today, October 10th.

Schaffer also notes that his WGST show will be from 8 AM to noon. Hmm. If Mr. Graham is on the top of new WGST PD Randall Bloomquist's mind, could that be enough time to split into two shows, two hours a piece? And could it be that, or is just the changes prompted by Bloomquist's arrival that caused the announced start date was delayed a week? Again, we're just idly speculating here...

For Schaffer's part, he seems enthused about his new location, new station and new co-workers, and gives no indication of any turmoil. And whether it's in Atlanta, back in Toledo or anywhere else, we wish him the best.

HELP WANTED: Y-103 in Youngstown Looks for Co-Host

Cumulus Youngstown market classic rocker WYFM/102.9 ("Y103") is looking for a new morning co-host. OMW isn't sure of what prompted the advertisement. But former WKBN/27 anchor Catherine Bosley, who landed at Y103 after her world-famous "situation", is now doing regular reporting for Cleveland CBS affiliate WOIO/19's "19 Action News" on a freelance basis.

Here's the ad, found on radio industry website AllAccess:


Youngstown's Y103 #1 rated Classic Rock Morning Show with Scott Kennedy & Mr. Sports now has a rare morning co-host opportunity to join their winning team. Do you create compelling content daily? Do you LOVE people, teamwork, public appearances, have creativity, writing & production skills, and want to WIN? OK! We want to hear your stuff! Help us continue to dominate in AM Drive in the Midwest and rock this Steel town!
Send your aircheck, resume, photo to:
Y103 Program Director
4040 Simon Rd., Youngstown, OH 44512
or mp3 to
NO CALLS PLEASE. Cumulus is an EOE

An AC Eagle Flies in Mount Vernon

Yesterday, OMW bought a shortwave radio. We've occasionally owned one over the years, but this new one also turns out to be more than a decent performer on the FM band. And thus, from the OMW World Headquarters in northwest Akron - far from its usual range - we've been able to hear the steady stunting of WQIO/93.7 Mount Vernon most of the night. Through lots of interference,'s not a local signal by any stretch of the imagination...but it was there. (It's now also the second radio here that picks up New Philadelphia's WJER/101.7 with little problem.)

Of course, when it counted, the end of the Bobby McFerrin-fest on WQIO just minutes ago was not clearly heard. It's Murphy's Law, Radio Observer Division, of course. Just when you NEED to hear something, it fades away! But we did catch enough to report on a voice we assume to be BAS general manager Tom Klein introduced himself, and launched into the new format.

And that format is...well, we'll have to say adult contemporary, not far from the station's previous format. OMW heard the phrase "today's hits and yesterday's favorites". And somewhere in there, we heard the sound of a bird crowing. We'll be darned if we could pick up the actual NAME, so we'll assume it's "The Eagle".

And sure enough, since the phrase "today's hits and yesterday's favorites" is used on-air by the ABC 24 hour format "Hits and Favorites", and since we've heard that the station planned to use a full-time satellite format, we went to the ABC format's website and fed in 43050, the ZIP Code for Mount Vernon. And the following page, though it had an error, has a logo for "Eagle 93.7". Bingo!

Unfortunately, the signal that served us so well for catching "Don't Worry, Be Happy" through the static has now dropped off the dial here at OMW World Headquarters, so we'll have to fill in other details later...including the station's lineup and such, outside of the ABC format. Here's a tip for future stunting stations - Bobby McFerrin apparently helps your signal...

Mid-Ohio's Bobby McFerrin Station

When OMW posted the item below about WQIO/93.7 Mount Vernon stunting, we'd forgotten that we can pick up the station - at least enough to confirm its stunting - right here down the street from OMW's northwest Akron World Headquarters. And indeed, now that we've heard it with our own's a Bobby McFerrin "Don't Worry, Be Happy" marathon on the station formerly known as "93Q".

The changes are listed in a bit more detail by Dylan McCament in Friday's Mount Vernon News. (Thanks to Radio-Info Cleveland board regular Nathan Obral for the tip.)

It turns out the move displaces four station personalities, including veteran Mount Vernon radio voice Ron Staats, who's been with the stations for nearly 30 years. It would seem that Staats will return in some capacity, as soon as he and new owner BAS Broadcasting figure out how. BAS's CEO - Tom Klein - tells the News that they're looking to cut expenses, which would presumably signal that the new station will have a satellite-delivered format, as has been rumored in the region.

Two other ex-93Q folks are staying with Clear Channel, as they're reportedly heading for Mansfield's Y105 (WYHT/105.3). That station has recently moved more towards CHR, as it's picking up the listeners abandoned by the former Kiss FM 98.3/107.7 combo. Those two stations were recently bolted onto classic rock WFXN/102.3 Galion as "The Fox Rock Network". Oh, and an early Sunday morning tip of the hat to an OMW reader who corrected us on the calls of the original "Fox" rocker - 102.3 shed the WGLN calls it had for 5 years, according to the FCC, in early 2002. It's now WFXN-FM, so a Clear Channel AM in Moline IL could pick up the WFXN(AM) calls.

Klein repeated WQIO's current stunting theme - "don't worry, be happy" - and says they'll be unveiling changes at noon on Monday. Through the static, if we aim the car in the right direction, OMW will try to listen...

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Are Pigs Flying? FSN Ohio Does Extra Indians Show

OMW has long complained about penny-pinching local sports TV network Fox Sports Net Ohio. The local operation has no studio, and produces little local programming outside of actual game coverage. And we've heard that they declined to air a recent crucial Indians game for fear of A) getting clobbered by football coverage and B) since they didn't have time to make any money off of it.

But hold onto your hats, ladies and gentlemen. FSN Ohio will air a one-hour Indians special Sunday night at 7 PM - no matter if the Indians squeak into the playoffs or if they go home empty. "Indians 2005: A Look Ahead" will air highlights from the just completed regular season, interviews with players and Tribe GM Mark Shapiro, and a roundtable with various sports journalists. We're told this information appears in the Columbus Dispatch today, but we'll be darned if we can find it online. And since the paper's website charges for non-subscribers, we wouldn't be able to read it anyway.

About that non-aired game a couple of weeks ago - according to the Plain Dealer's Roger Brown, the Sunday afternoon Indians game a week later nabbed an 8.4 rating, airing directly against the Browns/Colts tilt on CBS/WOIO 19. Of course, that game got a rating three times higher than FSN Ohio's baseball telecast, but the Indians/Royals rating was still rather respectable. And we suspect they'd have done much better the week before, when the Browns game with the Packers did not start until 4 PM...

Mount Vernon's WQIO Stunting - Confirmed

A listener in range of the signal of Mount Vernon's AC WQIO/93.7 "93Q" reports that the station is stunting with Bobby McFerrin's novelty hit "Don't Worry, Be Happy", with a similarly-voiced announcer telling listeners that they shouldn't worry, and be happy, because they're building a new radio station.

The change would appear to coincide with the purchase of the station from Clear Channel by Fremont's BAS Broadcasting, which also owns WFRO/99.1 Fremont and WOHF/92.1 Bellevue. The purchase - along with the BAS purchase of co-owned WMVO/1300 Mount Vernon - was been approved by the FCC on September 9th.

The general speculation in the region is that WQIO will re-emerge with a satellite-driven format of some sort.

SATURDAY EVENING UPDATE: We've confirmed this stunting with a tipster in the region. We also hear that WMVO/1300 is still running its standards format, and is so far unaffected.