This was originally conceived as a segment called "What We Like"...to provide some positive balance to the occasionally not-so-positive points highlighted here and in other online venues. But since Thanksgiving is upon us...it's "What We're Thankful For". And some local media outlets who take some constructive criticism by us will lead the list...
WOIO/19 - WUAB/43's "19 Action News": Perhaps the most frequent recipient of our barbs, but we don't dislike everything at the local CBS/UPN affiliate combo. The station actually has a pretty decent, solid field reporting staff, including market veterans like Paul Orlousky and newcomers like former WKBN/27 Youngstown anchor Catherine Bosley, who's apparently still a freelancer...but who's deserving of a regular slot.
And though OMW feels that WOIO often pushes OVER the "sensationalism" line...OK, maybe they stomp on it...there's something to be said for 19 staking out their position in the Cleveland market as a more lively, up-tempo newscast. We've always liked sports director Chuck Galeti, but our "guilty pleasure" at Reserve Square is hyperactive weather anchor Jeff Tanchak. He's basically the TV equivalent of NoDoz, and is fun to watch. His forecasting isn't bad either. While he's certainly no Dick Goddard on any number of levels, he did well in a recent survey of local forecasters by the Akron Beacon Journal. And for OMW, it doesn't hurt that the off-air "buzz" about Tanchak is very positive...no ego here.
We're also thankful for a pretty good range of local TV weather forecasters, from the frantic Tanchak, to the still upbeat but more calm Mark Johnson on WEWS/5, to the solid Mark Nolan on WKYC/3 (and Akron/Canton's Time Warner 23). And then there's the dependable Mr. Goddard, WJW/8's mainstay, who gets an entire category by himself, as he well deserves after keeping his finger on the area's weather pulse for over 40 years.
WKNR/850: The Salem-owned Cleveland sportstalker has taken more of its share of hits from this corner, and other local media observers. But since we're focusing on the positive, we're thankful for long-time local sports talk host Greg Brinda, who took over the station's midday position again after Bruce Drennan's recent, umm, troubles. The change instantly returned the station as a destination for the OMW Mobile's radio between 9 AM and noon.
Elsewhere on the schedule, we're not the biggest fans of afternoon driver Kenny Roda, but he usually provides a dependable sports talk stop when we're tired of a certain afternoon talk host up the dial. WKNR is also pretty good about the usual Indians/Cavs/Browns pre-game and post-game shows, in the typical "non-rightsholder" manner...and provides a much needed counter-viewpoint on local sports issues.
And speaking of which...
WTAM/1100: The station's 24/7 newsroom is vital for the region. And yes, though it's basically a "headline service", what do you expect out of commercial news/talk radio? We're not talking NPR here, folks, and nor should we. (Local NPR outlets like WKSU/89.7 and WCPN/90.3 more than ably fill that role, thank you very much.) There's still a talented news crew at Oak Tree, and we're still wondering if hard-working reporter Greg Saber is somehow hitching a ride on the station's decommissioned traffic helicopter. Either that, or he can actually be in three places at once.
Though we have made it clear that afternoon motormouth Mike Trivisonno isn't our favorite radio host, the afternoon show still provides some entertaining moments. And for now, one of OMW's favorites is alongside Triv...Indians beat reporter and "Weekend Sportsline" host Mark Schwab, who's clearly destined for bigger things.
While we're on the topic, we're thankful for not only our own health, but the continued recovery of WTAM morning drive co-host and long-time sports anchor Casey Coleman, and we pray for his full recovery and return as soon as he's up to coming back on the radio.
WNIR/100.1: The Akron-market talker still pumps out a nearly full schedule of local talk, 5:30 AM-11 PM weekdays, and now from 6 AM to 7 PM on Saturday. Midday fixture Howie Chizek is the host who got us started listening to talk radio at the age of 10 (!!!), back when the station was WKNT (AM & FM).
WHLO/640 and WARF/1350: While neither station features significant local programming, we're still glad they are there. The stations make OMW's midday talk listening habit difficult...adding right-leaning humorist Glenn Beck (WHLO) and the talented left-leaning funny woman Stephanie Miller (WARF) to our mix in that time slot with the aforementioned Mr. Chizek, at least for two of his five hours. (It's a constant problem in the OMW Household...everything we like is ON AT THE SAME TIME! It even goes to TV, too, where Tuesday nights at 9 PM have our TiVos and DVRs running overtime.) Beck and Chizek should be thankful that radio is not a visual medium, or they wouldn't have a chance against Ms. Miller, but that's another matter...as the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) is clearly controlled by a straight male.
640 and 1350 both do local sports programming of note, including both area major colleges, the AA Akron Aeros, and associated sports talk shows. And the newsroom is held down in morning drive by the capable Tom Duresky. All in all, it sure beats the former formats on both stations...mostly paid religious programming on 640, and satellite country and urban music on 1350, before its stints running ESPN and Fox Sports Radio.
As OMW is primarily obsessed with news/talk/sports radio and TV, we've given short shrift to some of the other good things about local media. But a quick trip into the music radio world would include folks like WMJI/105.7 morning icon John Lanigan, WMVX/106.5's Brian and Joe, and WQAL/104.1 middayer Jen Toohey (currently in afternoon drive). Stations as a whole which get our music listening minutes are in a wide range - from Akron/Canton's hot AC WKDD/98.1 to smooth jazz WNWV/107.3 out of Elyria. (And who said we don't have "range"?) We're thankful that we're in a region with a lot of choices between three markets, and some from nearby markets. We may not be here forever, but we'll enjoy it now, at least.
And...we're thankful that you're reading. Happy Thanksgiving to all!