Friday, December 30, 2005

Our 2 Item Weekend Year-End Menu

Just a couple of items to close out the new year...

* Regular readers of this Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) know that we always give you a heads up when we leave town, as big things tend to happen in local media when we're out of town. We didn't know our power extended to the world of local sports.

It's been a wild ride today for local TV and radio sportscasters, upon word from ESPN's Chris Mortenson that the Cleveland Browns were going to fire VP/GM Phil Savage. The news even pulled WTAM afternoon drive host Mike Trivisonno away from his Texas Hold 'Em computer poker game on his do his show live this afternoon.

As it turns out, as we update this blog at about 6:30 PM on Friday evening, it sounds like Phil Savage is NOT being fired by the Browns. Triv's in-studio appearance included a 6:10 PM phone call from Browns president John Collins, who says Savage "has not been" and "will not be" fired.

We'll leave the details for the sports types, but we note that the news brought the first working on-air appearance for sportscaster Casey Coleman - via phone - since his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. There was a lot of confusion and a LOT going on behind the scenes at Browns HQ, and Coleman even was told by HIS sources that Savage was gone, and that an Atlanta Falcons staffer was going to come to the team to take his place.

No matter what, it was a very good thing to hear Casey Coleman's voice back on WTAM, if only for a few moments. On a show earlier this week, Triv kept asking listeners to "pray for Casey Coleman", we were worried about the worst, frankly. While we can't speak to his health, Casey sounded fine over the phone in his brief appearance.

We'd tell you how Salem sportstalk WKNR/850 did with the news, but WKNR's web streaming has been down since the station's deal with ended. And we're a few hundred miles out of the station's broadcast range.

* Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron finally gets a much-needed new coat of digital paint on its website. It looks to us like the new site - based on a Clear Channel template used by many stations - will allow the station to put up more content and features.

In case nothing else happens before the first of the year, we'd like to thank you for a wonderful 2005 for Your Very Own Mighty Blog of Fun(tm). The input from readers has been much appreciated. We're not entirely sure what form this missive will take in 2006, or if it'll even last the year.

There is a chance that your OMW primary editorial voice will move out of Northeast Ohio by spring 2006 or so, but we still could maintain this blog from we are this evening. We'll keep you up to date.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Elyria/Lorain Talker Picking Up Another Talk "Big Name"?

UPDATE (12/29/05 10:25 PM) - WEOL's website now confirms Sean Hannity is indeed that pixelated and fuzzy host pictured below, and that he's coming to the station's lineup. They don't yet confirm a live 3-5 PM or 3-6 PM placement.


One of our regular tipsters - Lorain County resident Nathan Obral - noticed this picture on the front of talk WEOL/930 Elyria's webpage:

Underneath what appears to be a picture of ABC Radio/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity, appear the words "Guess who's coming to WEOL?"

It doesn't take Lt. Columbo or Adrian Monk to figure out that it appears likely Hannity's show will end up displacing WJR/Detroit-based talker Mitch Albom on the WEOL schedule, probably after the first of the year.

It'd be the second such move by the Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting-owned station in the past year. The talker picked up Premiere's Glenn Beck shortly after he lost his clearance on Clear Channel talk powerhouse WTAM/1100 in Cleveland. And the addition of Hannity means WEOL will once again be the second regional outlet for a major national talk radio host not heard in the main part of the Cleveland market. Clear Channel Akron talker WHLO/640 also picked up Beck, and has run Hannity in afternoon drive for some time. (WHLO did not debut its current talk format with Hannity's show in afternoon drive, by the way. That slot was actually first filled by a delayed broadcast of Rush Limbaugh.)

Lorain County IS actually in the Cleveland metro Arbitron market, but is not a full market signal for Cleveland at 1000 directional watts. It's mostly a West Side phenomenon.

The "Guess who's coming" question was also employed by WEOL before Beck's addition to the schedule, only the picture featured Glenn Beck's logo.

We're actually surprised WEOL didn't make this move sooner. Albom's syndication by ABC Radio ended some time ago, and he's been selling the show himself out of WJR. And Albom's home station is widely heard in Northern Ohio...and has a powerful 50,000 watt signal that booms across Lake Erie into Lorain/Elyria.

One unanswered question - does this mean the end of WEOL's local 5 PM newsmagazine "5 O'clock World"? That's where staffer Larry Wright ended up on the schedule after WEOL picked up Glenn Beck, once "The Other Side of Morning Drive" was wiped out by the move. It's possible that the station will run two live hours of Hannity and keep the local 5 PM's certainly been done at other Hannity affiliates, including one which used to employ a certain OMW primary editorial voice...

He's Still Filling In

When Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370 program director/afternoon drive host Brian Wilson took that gig recently, he was most known in talk radio for his regular fill-ins for stations across the country. It looks like that's continuing.

Wilson is filling in this week for WBAP/Dallas-Ft. Worth mainstay Mark Davis, both on his local show, and his new ABC Radio syndicated midday show. (The show doesn't air in Northeast Ohio as far as we know, but is available via ABC's satellite radio "News and Talk" channel.)

While Wilson is electronically transporting his voice to the DFW Metroplex, he'll be replaced on the air in Toledo in this week between Christmas and New Years. Among his fill-ins on WSPD are local TV newsman Kevin Milliken (WNWO NBC 24), and one of the weather folks at that same station. Tomorrow's show will feature an interview with one of that fill-in host's competitors, WTOL/11 (CBS) meteorologist Dave Carlson.

We're not very familiar with the Toledo TV market, but we're told Carlson is retiring after some 33 years in the city...making him basically their equivalent of Cleveland's Dick Goddard, who's been forecasting snow, rain and some occasional sun in the Cleveland market for one year longer than OMW's primary editorial voice has even been on this earth!

Our best to Mr. Carlson as he hangs up his forecasting hat.

WCER/Canton's "Patriot News Hour" - YIPES!

Driving in the afternoon near Belden Village Mall, the OMW Mobile was close enough to Canton to get a car radio to stop on that market's talk/religious WCER/900, still promoting itself on-air as "News/Talk WCER 900".

OMW can't remember what USED to be on the station at 3 PM, but the show we heard Tuesday afternoon is definitely an oddity in the mainstream news/talk world.

According to WCER's website, the show is called "The Patriot News Hour w/ Jim and Eric Cederstrom".

Anyone landing on WCER looking for even TRN's Jerry Doyle would be drawn away by this. Now, OMW's primary editorial voice is not quite WCER's target audience...we're more into mainstream secular talk (of all viewpoints), and WCER, even in a turn trying some secular talk, is still positioning itself to Christian lifestyle listeners with strong conservative-leaning viewpoints...some of them, we'd presume, would be a target audience for this sort of program.

But the show's production values are awful. The hosts are feeding their program via an unequalized phone line that sounds even worse than WNIR's weekend remotes or that station's occasional Bob Golic Out Of Town show. Maybe we're not the best judge of the show, since the content seems to be heavy on conspiracy theory talk laced with ads for companies selling gold...but it's bad.

It's the kind of show that normally airs on commercial shortwave outlets like WWCR/Nashville TN, where the station sells the airtime to the show's producers to reach a small audience of hobbyist shortwave listeners. It's so bad that the one and only Dr. Laura may be a *relief* to listeners at 4 PM, and that's saying a lot.

For now, we continue to tab WCER with the "talk/religious" format description. When we first heard the station, it was promoting a 15 minute morning session reading the Holy which they'd read the entire Bible over the course of a year. The Canton station is an interesting mix of secular conservative talk and religion...something Christian-oriented Salem doesn't really do much on its local secular talker, WHK/1420 Cleveland.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Rover Loses An Affiliate, Ready To Gain Many More

Alternative rocker WMAD/96.3 Madison WI has flipped to country as "Star Country 96.3". has audio of the change, and of a goodbye message from station program director Brad Savage.

And yes, CBS Radio alt-rock WXTM/92.3 Cleveland's "Rover's Morning Glory" is among those mentioned in the goodbye the Madison station was one of the first two affiliates for the show fronted by Shane "Rover" French. (The other - Columbus' WAZU/107.1, also known as "The Big Wazoo".)

Rover and his jolly morning gang are packing their bags for Chicago, where the Radio Dog will be barking from CBS talk WCKG/105.9 "Free FM" starting next week. While keeping WXTM on the Rover Roster as an affiliate, the show will also add a number of other stations next week...including markets such as Detroit, Cincinnati, Rochester and Memphis. The complete list is on Rover's website, though they haven't taken WMAD off the affiliate roster yet.

BREAKING NEWS: Other Indians TV Shoe Drops

(UPDATED: 12/26/05, 12:35 PM)

The second part of the Cleveland Indians' new TV deal has now been officially announced.

As expected, it's Time Warner Cable that'll be the Tribe's new cable TV partner starting in 2006, with what the team calls a "non-exclusive" contract to carry the 150 regular season and 8 Spring Training games tabbed for cable TV. The Indians-connected "Fastball Sports Productions" - a new company owned by the team's ownership group - will also offer the games to other cable providers in the team's television territory, and to both major satellite providers.

The team is hoping for "100 percent" coverage of the cable/satellite territory formerly covered by long-time team cable partner FSN Ohio...and says they'll get about half of that already with the expanded Time Warner Cable footprint in the region.

As announced earlier, Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 will air 20 over-air games...the first time the team's been on broadcast TV for years. WKYC will also produce all of those games in high definition, and will produce the rest of the team's schedule for "Fastball", which isn't being announced as the over-air name of the team's new channel.

What will that channel include?

An article on the new network by Anthony Castrovince notes that "(game) distribution is key" for the team right now, and that the network won't be a 24/7 offering in the early going...but quotes Indians president Paul Dolan as saying "(o)ur goal is to get to a point where it is a full-time regional sports network with full-time programming."

The games are expected to air on TWC's existing local programming channel (cable channel 23) and similar channels on other cable systems during the 2006 season...with satellite providers carrying the games on one of their "occasional" channels.

And that brings us to a still-unanswered question. What happens if the Time Warner deal to purchase the local Adelphia and Comcast systems doesn't happen before the first pitch on the Fastball-produced network? Will those poor souls left still under the Adelphia and Comcast banner - and we're talking about your friends right here at OMW - be able to see the Indians?

We'd be shocked if they didn't offer up the games on the Adelphia and Comcast systems, for they comprise the largest part of the Cleveland cable TV footprint. We'd expect Adelphia, for example, to offer the games on local channel 15 until TWC takes over and rejiggers the local lineups. With the presence of 8 Spring Training games, the Indians' TV venture will likely start before TWC takes control of Adelphia and Comcast systems locally.

OMW also notes that the Tribe plans an over-air TV network in addition to WKYC/3, that will air the 20 games tabbed for broadcast television. One presumes that stations in Columbus, Youngstown/Warren, and perhaps Toledo will be involved. The Indians release also says the team expects to air "all" games in HDTV at some point, though it notes that only the WKYC games are definitely expected to be in HD for now.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Santa Bob

Spotted on the always interesting "Browns Tonight" on WOIO/19 this Christmas Night... look who's playing Santa! It's "Santa Bob" Golic!

Too bad the former Browns defensive star and WNIR/100.1 afternoon drive talk show host couldn't come down the chimney and deliver his former team a win against Pittsburgh on Saturday. Ouch. Don't talk to us about that one for a while...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Weekend/Holiday Leftovers

On behalf of the entire vast editorial staff of Ohio Media Watch... Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Holidays, or however you prefer to celebrate this season.

Random thoughts on our minds:

* Maybe we're becoming a bit too sensitive to excessive advertising. But while listening to a recent Cleveland Browns game on the radio, one thing came out and jarred us into paying closer attention. In the middle of his play-by-play, with no apparent connection to anything else, Browns radio voice Jim Donovan occasionally blurts out: "Don't forget to log on to and find our lowest fares." You know..."Browns complete a pass for a first down! Nice pass by Charlie Frye. Log on to and find our lowest fares!"

Now, we've reluctantly gotten used to such conventions as the sponsored 20-yard-line drive ("the Heinz Red Zone") and in baseball, a call to the bullpen sponsored by Alltel, which by the way, also sponsors the Browns' sideline reports with Casey Coleman and Andre Knott. But the Delta "mini-spot" is unnerving. It was as if they said, "hmm, I guess we can't compare every soaring pass to an airplane, so we'll just have Jim toss it in when he can!"

In a world where Everything Is Sponsored, we guess there's nothing we can do but complain. We certainly don't fault the capable Donovan for's just the card he's been handed. And the spots must work...we remember them.

* An addendum to our recent item from Glunt World, aka the Mahoning Valley's Beacon Broadcasting and its 3 AM and one FM stations in and near that market. A regular OMW tipster has an interesting theory as to why Warren steel supply magnate and Beacon owner Harold Glunt hasn't flipped urban formatted WRTK/1540 Niles to another format.

The tipster tells us a regular local gospel program producer is touting a move to WRTK soon, if it hasn't happened already. The guess from that corner is that WRTK will nudge into gospel and other such programming. Don't look for it to be the next chain in the "Family Friendly Oldies" AM simulcast with WANR/WLOA/WGRP, at any rate. It'd seem to make sense that WRTK would continue to target an African-American audience, but without some of the secular hip hop music that airs now on the station.

* We're still waiting for the announcement of second half of the Indians TV deal, with Time Warner Cable. If that breaks during the next week or so, we'll update this blog as soon as possible. As we've reported before, it's widely believed that the Indians *will* offer the cable games to non-TWC systems and to both major satellite providers. We also hope they don't forget Adelphia and Comcast customers, or OMW itself will take up the cause we're reading that the TWC acquisition of Adelphia and Comcast systems locally may not be wrapped up by April. The last educated guess we saw was talking about "the end of 1Q2006 (2006 1st quarter)", which could be as late as the end of June!

Since OMW doesn't keep to a regular schedule, and updates as needed, we aren't announcing our holiday break. But the updates will be less frequent until around the first of the year.

WTVN/Columbus Changes

It'd been hinted at on the message boards, but AllAccess makes it official - it'll basically be ABC Radio syndicated talker Sean Hannity replacing long-time local late night host Steve Cannon at Clear Channel Columbus talker WTVN/610.

The addition of Hannity's show comes with a time shift of WTVN's programming. The other local casualty is the station's long-running noon news 'TVN moves up Rush Limbaugh to a live clearance from noon to 3 PM. We liked hearing the news hour when we visited the Columbus region, but OMW recognizes that shows like that often exist solely to have a place for Paul Harvey's 15 minute noon broadcast. On WTVN, the veteran commentator slides back into the last part of the 11 AM hour... to take over the last 15 minutes of the slot occupied by Premiere's Glenn Beck. Unlike WTVN sister station WTAM/1100 Cleveland, 610 will run at least the first segment of Beck's last half hour, and won't turn the 11:30-to-noon segment into an abbreviated news "half hour" like WTAM's "Midday Report".

With Limbaugh moving to noon-3, that slides WTVN afternoon mainstay John Corby up to 3-6 PM, and evening host Joel Riley to 6-9 PM. Hannity's show will run 9 PM to midnight, when the station then goes to Premiere's "Coast to Coast AM" at midnight. George Noory and company have been filling the post-10 PM slot since Cannon's departure.

It'll be interesting to see how Hannity's show competes with his Fox News Channel cable TV show, which will air at the same time as the first hour of WTVN's radio carriage of his show.

Oh, and by the way, OMW has been picking off a number of nasty comments on this topic, attached to our earlier report on Steve Cannon's departure. Many of the comments we've deleted contain foul language and other very nasty comments, and they're probably all from the same person. Any such comments on this post will be deleted instantly...we get E-Mail notification of new comments, and are connected most of the time. It takes roughly 5 minutes between the notification and our ability to clear the comment, even if we're not at the computer.

If the attempts continue, this entry will be closed for new comments. If the problem continues beyond that, we'll close off all reader comments on all OMW items until further notice.

We understand and respect varying opinions on the topics we report. The comments in question go far beyond the line. Thank you for your cooperation.

-- The Management

Thursday, December 22, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: First Indians TV Deal Shoe Drops

The first part of the expected Cleveland Indians TV deal has been officially broadcast partner WKYC/3.

WKYC reports tonight that they've nabbed a 10 year deal to become the Tribe's over-air TV partner. They'll air 20 games this coming season. What hadn't been announced officially until tonight is a new detail...all 20 of those games will be broadcast in high definition and its accompanying Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

Indians president Paul Dolan, seen tonight on Channel 3 News at 11, said he's never actually seen any Indians game in HDTV, and said he's looking forward to this part of the deal.

The reported in-negotiation deal with Time Warner Cable has not been announced yet, according to this Associated Press article on the Akron Beacon Journal's website tonight. But some of the other pieces are known - the Indians will be launching their own cable network, which will air 138 of the team's games in 2006.

WKYC VP/general manager Brooke Spectorsky says the team's new venture is known (at least as a company) as "Fastball Sports Productions", and that WKYC will be handling the production for all 158 games for them. (OMW doesn't expect the "Fastball" name to translate to the new network itself...) The local NBC affiliate says it'll also air a weekly Indians show and other team-related programming.

There's no word on any other Time Warner-related details, like if the cable company is going to air games in HDTV. With WKYC producing them for the Indians, and the over-air broadcasts in HDTV, we wouldn't be surprised to see HDTV games on cable at some point.

With the new deal, WKYC is starting to "strut" as the new "Home of the Indians", complete with shots of Jacobs Field in dark, cold December...shades of WOIO/19's "19 Action News" proudly proclaiming it's the TV home of the Browns...

Oh, and this is almost a footnote considering the above, but the Indians' Columbus radio affiliate will the Tribe announced that RadiOhio sports WBNS/1460 will once again carry the team's games for the 2006 and 2007 season. (Thank you to a very helpful OMW tipster for the word on that new deal.)

Monday, December 19, 2005

The New Phone Book's Here! The New Phone Book's Here!

(With apologies to Steve Martin in the movie "The Jerk"...)

One of our odder hobbies at OMW is to go through a newly arrived phone book, and peruse the listings of local radio and TV stations. SBC''s...January 2006 "Akron/Medina" book - named despite the fact that Medina itself is serviced by Verizon - arrived at our doorstep this morning.

Some things we noticed in the radio/TV listings:

* PBS affiliate WVIZ/25 and its ideastream sister station, NPR affiliate WCPN/90.3, have bold-faced and larger than normal listings in both the White Pages and Yellow Pages. Both ads say the stations have (either PBS or NPR News) "for Northeast Ohio". Neither believes Akron is important enough, however, to have a local number down here.

* Clear Channel Cleveland's WAKS/96.5 "Kiss FM" has a small, perfunctory listing with no address, and the toll-free studio line and Cleveland office line. We're not sure what the rules are these days, but at one time we believe radio stations that moved their studios/offices into other areas had to have toll-free local numbers for their actual community of license - Akron, in the case of the frequency that was once WKDD.

We're not sure if the toll-free request line covers this, or if the rule is even in effect. We wonder, because if a busy on-air personality busies the request lines during business hours, would it be a problem? Or, indeed, if the station was voicetracked...

* The White Pages correctly place MediaCom talk WNIR/100.1 and LPTVer WAOH-LP/29 (and sister W35AX) in Portage County's Franklin Township, physically. But the Yellow Pages listing moves them all to Akron.

* There's always a stray listing or two for long-gone stations, due to remote line installs that never got taken out of the phone company's database or what not. This year's is a return from the grave for WSLR, the long-time country station once at 1350 AM in Akron. It lists a Smith Road address in Medina. (There's a bar on that street that plays country bands at times...maybe that's where it came from.) No, Jaybird Drennan won't answer the phone if you call 330-722-3404, as far as we know.

* In the Yellow Pages, "Fox Sports 1350" lives on, despite that station changing to liberal talk back in May. And WCER/900 Canton has laid out the big bucks for a small color display ad. The wording:

"WCER - 900 AM - EXPOSING CORRUPTION! Our Forefathers Shed Their Blood To Defend Our Liberty... WCER is committed to keeping our listeners informed of the on-going threat to our faith, our families and our freedoms. FIND OUT - ON WCER 900 AM. PLUS - High School, College & Pro Sports!" The ad also features a patriotic graphic of a praying soldier in revolutionary garb, and a plug for the station's live webcast.

The ad isn't huge, but it's a multi-color ad and had to have cost the Canton talk/religious outlet some money...

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Local Radio Type Featured on AllAccess' 10 Questions

We think we missed this most of the week, but the AllAccess "10 Questions..." series is featuring a regular reader of This Space this week.

The "Top 40/Mainstream" section sets up the questions for Kasper, who recently returned as the assistant program director/music director and afternoon drive talent at Cleveland Clear Channel CHR WAKS/96.5 "Kiss FM". (We'd provide a direct link here, but there is none, and you do have to sign up for the site.)

In addition to his in-person presence at 96.5, Kasper voicetracks into his former market of Youngstown on that market's "Kiss FM", WAKZ/95.9, along with a station in Baton Rouge LA. And Kasper shares at least two operations on his resume with OMW's primary editorial voice. Plus, he reads The Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), so he HAS to be a good guy!

Beacon Journal Gets New Radio Writer?

We're not sure if he's officially the new radio "beat writer/columnist" for the Akron Beacon Journal, but the paper's Dan Kadar had another radio-related story in Saturday's Beacon...on the exit of Howard Stern from terrestrial radio, and local affiliate WNCX/98.5, CBS Radio's Cleveland classic rocker.

Kadar talked with WNCX program director Bill Louis, who called the upcoming David Lee Roth morning show "the great unknown". Louis tells Kadar that he'll be listening along with everyone else to hear how the ex-Van Halen star develops in his role as one of three major replacements for Stern on over-air radio. Of course, one of the others in that list is in the same building with Louis for now... until WXTM/92.3's Rover moves to Chicago at the start of the year.

The station gave Stern a classy send-off during Friday's final show, with Louis noting Stern's long history on 98.5, and noting that WNCX would "proudly" air the final two weeks of the "Best of Stern".

Kadar's previous article was an interview with Premiere syndicated talk show host Glenn Beck, who brought his sold-out Christmas tour to Akron's E.J. Thomas Hall last week.

It's hard to judge from two articles, but it appears Kadar at least is more clued-in than the last person to regularly write about radio for the Akron newspaper...Denise Grollmus, who now writes for the weekly Scene newspaper in Cleveland. To be fair to Ms. Grollmus, her Scene articles are generally interesting and well-written...but the Beacon having her write about local radio was a mistake.

UPDATE: A quick Google search informed us that Kadar is currently editor-in-chief of Akron University's student newspaper, the Buchtelite. In fact, he has this December 8th column - "This year's great tunes" - in that newspaper. We've also found other Beacon Journal articles with his byline, including a story on author and former Beacon feature writer Chuck Klosterman.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Howard's Last Day and Cleveland

OMW has audio of Howard Stern's last live over-air broadcast, an event which has been hyped beyond belief, as it aired on Cleveland affliiate WNCX/98.5 this morning. We haven't listened to much of it yet, but we note that Howard did mention the area.

In his opening speech, Howard asked his audience if they remembered some seminal events in the show, including when his live national broadcast from Cleveland was cut off by an engineering employee of a WNCX rival, rocker WMMS/100.7. The broadcast event in 1994 was a "funeral celebration" by Stern, a typical event over the years on his show...when his show overtakes a rival in the ratings. (In this case, the "burial" involved not just WMMS, but Cleveland morning radio icon John Lanigan on WMJI/105.7.)

This flashback article by FMQB recounts the tale. A quick Google search shows that the former WMMS engineer was sentenced to 10 days in jail and a $1000 fine for the incident.

Former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth takes over mornings on the CBS Radio Cleveland classic rocker, and a number of other large market ex-Stern affiliates, on January 3rd. One of the other Stern replacements is CBS alt-rock WXTM/92.3 morning driver Rover, who'll move to "Free FM" talker WCKG/Chicago in January...still being heard on 92.3 locally, which means Cleveland will be the only head-to-head Stern Replacement Battleground in America.

SATURDAY UPDATE: We've been informed by a few people that WNCX has indeed been promoting the "Best of Stern", which will air between Monday and the premiere of David Lee Roth in the 98.5 morning slot. And though we hadn't noted it elsewhere in this blog, "CBS Radio" is indeed the new corporate name of the former Infinity, which is splitting off from Viacom.

More Public Radio News Shuffling in Northeast Ohio

The news battle between Northeast Ohio's two largest public broadcasters continues.

This time, it's WCPN/90.3-WVIZ/25's Renita Jablonski exiting her post at the Cleveland NPR/PBS affiliates and joining her former boss at Kent State University's WKSU/89.7, news director Dave Pignanelli. The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Julie Washington reports that WKSU is hiring Jablonski to host a new regional news magazine show. WCPN has also seen the loss of other newsies over the past couple of years for various reasons.

It is technically in the Akron market due to its presence in Portage County, but WKSU is clearly a major region-wide player, and has a number of translator stations that blanket the entire Northeast Ohio region. (We mention this because the PD's headline, and some trade publications, refer to WKSU as "the Kent public radio station".)

Though she's not a replacement for Jablonski, ideastream's WCPN/WVIZ has also hired Pittsburgh radio/TV reporter Lisa Ann Pinkerton as a reporter and anchor. Back at WKSU, 89.7's hired Daniel Hockensmith as bureau chief at the station's Stark/Wayne County bureau. Hockensmith's been a reporter/anchor for Rubber City Radio's WAKR/1590 Akron, along with sister stations WQMX/94.9 and WONE/97.5.

Ex-Q92/Canton Programmer to PD in Pittsburgh

This item has a very small Northeast Ohio connection, but since it involves a Friend of OMW, we'll gladly trumpet the news.

Veteran programmer Clarke Ingram, who was once briefly program director of Canton market CHR WZKL/92.5 "Q92", is once again holding the programming reins of a station. He's been named program director of Broadcast Communications' Pittsburgh market oldies/talk/brokered combo WKHB/620 Irwin PA and WKFB/770 Jeannette PA, better known as "620 KHB" and "770 KFB". Clarke's been with the stations for 2 years.

The native Pittsburgher's resume inclues programming Clear Channel Pittsburgh CHR WBZZ/93.7 ("B94"), and WJJJ/104.7 in its "Jammin' Oldies" days. (The stations are now rock WRKZ "93.7 K-Rock", and talk WPGB "FM News/Talk 104.7".) His most recent FM stint in that market was doing a Friday night show for CC's oldies WWSW/94.5 ("3WS").

As far as his current facilities...Clarke has helmed regular oldies blocks for the stations, particularly on weekends. And though we may be biased, since we've known him for a long time...any fan of high-energy personality oldies on AM would find it worth the drive into the Pittsburgh area on weekend afternoons and evenings to hear Clarke do his thing!

The signals are both relatively recent move-ins from the east of Pittsburgh, and 620 in particular puts a strong signal over a large chunk of western Pennsylvania during the day with its low-band 5500 watts. WKHB has a smaller night signal, but sister 770 is a daytimer due to its presence on the same channel as ABC's New York City powerhouse, talker WABC.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Brief Stop In Glunt Land

A road trip back into Northeast Ohio from Pennsylvania brought us through the Youngstown/Warren market for the first time in some while. And OMW notes that urban WRTK/1540 Niles has STILL not changed format, despite being owned by the one and only steel supply magnate/Mahoning Valley AM radio king Harold Glunt for some months now.

In fact, not much HAS changed at AM 1540. They're still running the same imaging liners voiced long ago by former station manager Lynn Tolliver Jr., aka the former "bad boy" of Cleveland urban format radio. Tolliver left WRTK some time ago for Florida, and a job at Tampa's WTMP.

We're wondering why the format remains. Glunt is certainly not a likely operator of an urban formatted station. A curious possibility is that he's still sorting out his future radio plans, and if those plans include picking up any of the Stop 26 Riverbend stations. Still, it's kind of odd that he hasn't at least flipped the switch on 1540 to simulcast the "family friendly oldies" format on his other Beacon Broadcasting AM stations.

Speaking of which, the drive afforded us a chance to hear personable market veteran Steve Fine filling in for midday jock Ron Leader. Steve's been in and out of the WANR/1570 building on Warren's Courthouse Square a lot, as former program director of oldies WRRO/1440 back in the day, twice. And he's been on and off the frequency as well, as program director of WOKG "Talk 1570" in the late 80's/early 90's, and as afternoon driver in WANR's first Christian music incarnation ("The Arrow") that time, 1570 was present in that same former WRRO facility.

For a while during our drive along I-80 in the Shenango Valley and into Ohio, WANR simulcaster WLOA/1470 Farrell PA lost its Warren-fed oldies simulcast, which also shut off the feed to WGRP/940 Greenville PA. And we got to hear the amazingly LOUD interference on AM 1470, which is normally mostly masked by the music. It sounds to us like a badly tuned AM radio that's off frequency. But we know that WLOA is fed via WANR/1570's Internet how the other AM noise is being grafted onto 1470 we have no idea, since it's not present on the Internet feed anyone can hear at WANR's website.

Elsewhere in Beacon Land, WEXC/107.1 Greenville PA's "Freq 107" Christian rock format is unchanged, on a station that recently saw the messy exit of its program director. The Youngstown-targetting station put up a website that promises live audio feeds...but for the moment, those links do not work.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Beck: "I Got Too Political"

Nationally syndicated Premiere host Glenn Beck is in town today...he'll make the final appearance in his "Christmas Tour" tonight at Akron's E.J. Thomas Hall.

While looking for information about this, we found this article by the Akron Beacon Journal's Dan Kadar, which appeared in Sunday's Beacon. And in talking about being cancelled from his midday perch on Clear Channel Cleveland talker WTAM/1100, Beck said something many radio observers have noted over the past few opinion heard from This Space as well.

Beck told the Beacon Journal that he believed WTAM was looking to "put an entertaining show" on by replacing him with liberal host Jerry Springer. (OMW hasn't heard Springer lately, but that line brings us a chuckle, and we wonder if Beck was slightly misquoted.) The paper quotes him as saying that an entertaining show was what "WTAM thought they were buying from (him). " Beck adds: "After 9/11, I got all screwed up and the show became about politics and war.''

It's the first time we've seen the popular syndicated host address the issue we've brought up when talking about him in the past. Beck's right...after 9/11, he veered off into "Glenn Beck, Real American" territory, and almost became a parody of himself and other right-leaning talk show hosts. Of late, when we've listened, the show has returned closer to its more entertaining roots.

That's not to say that the audience for Beck's Akron affiliate, Clear Channel talker WHLO/640, and other stations, isn't looking for a solid conservative viewpoint. But until he tried to be Rush Limbaugh Jr., Beck was always a bit different...and he's obviously recognized that and returned to the formula which got him noticed in the first place.

The Beacon's Kadar says that Beck's arrival at WHLO has given the station "good ratings". We haven't seen any specific numbers yet, but we've noted here before that WHLO has even made two appearances in the Cleveland ratings book since Beck took over the midday slot at 640.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

While Waiting For The Indians Shoe To Drop

OMW's gotta give it to Roger Brown, the Plain Dealer's often maligned sports/media columnist. Check out his Monday column, titled "FSN stands for 'Find Something New'". If nothing else, he gets a few points for coining that!

We're still in a holding pattern, as the Cleveland Indians and Time Warner Cable, along with Gannett-owned NBC affiliate WKYC/3, cross the T's and dot the I's on their new agreement. But we've been looking for hints about how it'll shape up, and have found these:

* An article in the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum brings us word that an Indians/TWC deal would apparently also include the TWC Columbus-based systems - no surprise there, but it's now in print courtesy of the company's Columbus-based spokeswoman. She wouldn't confirm a deal, but said the Columbus arm of Time Warner is involved in the talks already reported.

* The Akron Beacon Journal's R.D. Heldenfels reports that assuming the deal does go through, games would apparently be carried on TWC's existing local programming channel, position 23. That's the same place that the WKYC-produced "Akron/Canton News" landed after the Gannett/PAX-TV deal came to an end. (Heldenfels' article notes that TWC was apparently confirming the deal that day, on Monday of last week, but backed off on the official confirmation at the last minute.)

Would this mean TWC 23 would be converted to the Indians network channel? Probably not. It's just a guess from this corner, but we get the feeling that the games themselves would be on that channel only because it would take some time to ramp up the full-fledged Indians Network, and they have to put the games somewhere with the season starting in just a few months.

We'd expect the games, pre and post-game shows, and maybe other stuff (Les Levine's show, perhaps?) on TWC 23 in year one of the deal, and a new 24/7 channel starting in year two.

(All of the above is speculation, and based on our expectations. For one, though we know Levine has said on his website that TWC was "interested" in continuing Adelphia's deal with him, we don't know if they've actually talked yet.)

It should be noted that Time Warner/Northeast Ohio's sister systems in Charlotte and Raleigh recently nabbed the rights for the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, and air them on TWC's existing 24/7 news network "News 14 Carolina", along with an existing channel on the company's systems in the Greensboro market. Before TWC got the Bobcats, the team started its own cable network...which generated lukewarm response, possibly because it was buried in Digital Cable Land...

Monday, December 12, 2005

Coming Soon - The WTAM KeyBank Newsroom?

This one has picked up so much attention, it's on the AP wire today.

The Wisconsin State Journal in Madison reports that Clear Channel news/talker WIBA/1310 in that Wisconsin city has sold the naming rights to its newsroom. After the first of the year, WIBA reporters and anchors will be heard from the "Amcore Bank News Center".

No, we're not making this up.

And it's not even the first station in that state to do so. According to the article, sister Clear Channel news/talker WISN/1130 Milwaukee sold the naming rights to its newsroom last year to Pyramax Bank. (Banks seem to be the thing.) This part of the story has a Northeast Ohio connection, of course, as WTAM/1100 Cleveland anchors handle the bulk of WISN's non-drive time updates via the company's WAN. So, somewhere in the CC World Domination HQ on Oak Tree in Independence, even as you read this, an anchor may be delivering a report "from the Pyramax Bank News Center".

A local professor in Madison tells the paper he's not concerned, as it harkens back to the 1950's when companies title-sponsored newscasts all the time...even at the network level. And for its part, Clear Channel/Madison notes that a fully staffed newsroom is expensive.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

FOX 8's HD News - A Ratings Grabber?

Surely, you've seen those little promos on local FOX O&O WJW/8's "FOX 8 News"...where the deep-voiced announcer proclaims proudly that the newscast is "nowwwwww HIGH DEFINITION", while a "FOX 8 HD" logo appears onscreen.

FOX 8 is one of a handful of local news operations in the nation to broadcast its local news content in HD. Well, most of it. (More on that, later.)

OMW stumbled upon an October article at - which gives readers an inside look at how WJW got to HD local news production, and what's in the future. It quotes the station's VP of Engineering as even crediting the new technology for helping FOX 8 increase its ratings! TVTechnology's Claudia Kienzle quotes FOX 8's Tom Creter that after the newscast went HD:


" the February, May, and July 2005 books, we have been number one in the market for news for almost every newscast," Creter said. "While our high-quality news content contributed to that success, you can't rule out the impact that the superior HD picture quality and enhanced sound had on both the digital and analog audiences."


While we're big HD fans here at OMW - with even a digital USB HDTV tuner used on our laptop computer - we're not as sure about that. But Creter's right when it comes to the analog/SD quality...even when FOX 8 installed the HD cameras in 2002, and was using them in SD, the FOX 8 News studio picture was noticably sharper than the other local affiliates' particular a certain technologically-straggling CBS/UPN affiliate combo in the basement of a certain downtown Cleveland condominium building. (Hey, it's just too easy! Sorry...)

Anyway, though it's quite technical, the article talks about FOX 8's extensive future HD plans, which will include local commercial and other production (Big Chuck and Lil John in HD?), HD live cameras to replace the SD widescreen used now in the field, and even a new 720p camera for "Sky Fox".

The latter will have to wait until technology catches up with FOX 8, though other 720p stations are up in the air in HD-equipped helicopters now...including sister station WNYW/5 in New York City, and ABC's two largest O&O's, WABC/7 in NYC and KABC/7 in Los Angeles...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

No, This Is NOT "Indians Media Watch" - It Only Seems Like It

If Plain Dealer sports media columnist Roger Brown is to be believed, the long-speculated Indians TV deal is taking shape...a script I shape, to be exact.

Brown reports that the Indians are close to announcing a new deal with two players - NBC affiliate WKYC/3, and Time Warner Cable/Northeast Ohio. The team's reportedly set to create its very own cable channel, and Brown says the Tribe will air 130 of its games on the channel which will have TWC as its primary carrier. And as we expected, 20 games would end up on Channel 3, the first over-air appearances for the Indians in some 5 years.

Roger quotes a sports media analyst as saying the new Indians network will be likely be a basic cable network that'll also end up being offered to satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network.

As you can read below, in the third entry in this series of four (sorry, news happens fast), your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) speculated Time Warner's role in this, though we were thinking more along the lines of TWC picking up overflow from WKYC. No, if Brown is to be believed - and we'll have to take the PD's often flaky sports media columnist at his word right now - it'll be Indians TV, much along the lines of the San Diego Padres' channel we mentioned just below this item.

To that end, OMW also expects the channel to be offered to other area cable systems besides Time Warner, which takes over Adelphia and Comcast subscribers locally around the time the Indians throw out the first pitch. Cox subscribers in Cleveland should not be left in the cold, and smaller cable companies like Wooster's Clear Picture and Massillon Cable should also be offered the chance to carry the Indians. We haven't heard anything about if this will actually happen, but we'd be surprised if the local team shut out those viewers. (We're not as sure, however, if the Indians and Time Warner will be as kind to TWC's in-city cable competitor in Cleveland, Wild Open West [WOW].)

We're also wondering...and may be the first to do so...what'll happen if the TWC/Adelphia deal is not finished by the start of the Indians season. Would the team and TWC make some effort to make the games available to Adelphia and Comcast subscribers before they become Time Warner subscribers, after completion of the deal?

One thing's for sure...if this deal happens, they'd better have the games on DirecTV in April, or we'll be getting hourly calls from our satellite-owning relatives complaining about it...

Monday, December 05, 2005

And Still More On The Indians TV Rights Battle

The negotiations over the Cleveland Indians' TV contract should theoretically be winding down, but there's still more to write about.

This time, it's Plain Dealer sports/media columnist Roger Brown who weighs in again...and unlike some past columns, this includes a direct quote from Fox Sports Net Ohio's Steve Liverani. The FSN Ohio GM tells Brown that the Indians are basically not interested in returning to his cable network, and for one reason...they want to "manage and control their own coverage".

It's a growing trend in sports broadcasting. Clubs are, more and more, taking the production of their own telecasts and radio broadcasts in-house. The NFL's Washington Redskins may be the biggest example...they produce EVERYTHING for both their local TV partner, and radio's WJFK-FM and its network.

As has been speculated here and elsewhere, the scenario means that the broadcasts will likely be split between current reported frontrunner WKYC/3, and cable's Ohio News Network (ONN), which Mr. Brown once again realizes is not owned by the state of Ohio. (Sorry, we're getting a lot of mileage out of that one.) But the broadcasts would be produced by the Indians, no matter which broadcast or cable outlet has the rights.

This opens up some of what we've speculated about here. If the Indians are producing and distributing the broadcasts, it would be a fairly simple thing for them to add games on Time Warner's cable channel 23 next season. By that time, TWC's local operations will officially include nearly all Cleveland area cable homes, with their upcoming purchase of the local Adelphia and Comcast operations. And with WKYC/3 as the over-air rightsholder, they'd be the "bridge" to TWC 23, where they already have an agreement to air "Akron/Canton News" weeknights at 6:30 and 9.

Again, this is just our own speculation, and we have not even rumor to suggest that it's happening. It just seems likely from this corner. It's already being done in San Diego, where the Padres and Cox Cable produce the "Padres 4" channel.

We're kind of repeating ourselves here, but we wanted to get all these ducks in a row immediately before any announcement on this topic.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Still More Indians TV Rights Fodder

We haven't yet mentioned Roger Brown's latest stab at nailing down the Cleveland Indians' TV rights story, which appeared in his Friday column.

Roger now cites "growing buzz" that Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3 is now leading the race to nab those rights...eiither that, or Roger's ear is too close to his electric razor. It's been reported that incumbent rightsholder Fox Sports Net Ohio may even be out of the chase for the televised Tribe, but...

If WKYC/3 is the victor in this battle, they will likely not run anywhere NEAR the full 155 game slate that FSN Ohio has run in the past. They're a broadcast network affiliate, of course, and the presence of the NBC schedule would likely rule out nearly ANY prime-time games on Channel 3 short of important games near the end of the season...if the team's once again in a playoff race.

So, if WKYC gets the Indians rights, where do the bulk of the team's TV games go? They could very well be back on FSN Ohio, in a deal by WKYC to sell secondary (cable) rights to that network. They could go to ONN, which seems hungry to add the Indians to their statewide cable schedule. (And poor Mr. Brown...after one time correctly noting ONN as "statewide", he's back to "the state cable network" again. Oh, well. We tried.) Or they could land on BOTH cable outlets.

That'd leave perhaps a 20 game schedule on WKYC/3, mostly in weekend afternoons, with 130 or so games moved off to cable. OMW notes that if this were a couple of years ago, WKYC/3 could have run a number of games on then-co-operated WVPX/23, the local PAX/i affiliate.

We're also remembering our earlier speculation that the close relationship between Gannett/WKYC and Time Warner Cable of Northeast Ohio could land more programming on TWC's position 23 besides the Akron/Canton evening newscasts which used to run on the aforementioned "PAX 23". Hmmm. It may be a year or so too early to do it this year, because TWC will just start taking over Adelphia and Comcast's local operations by the time the first pitch is thrown, but...hmmm. Next year?

Oh, a tip of the hat to our good friend Scott Fybush at NorthEast Radio Watch, who let us know just WHY ONN looks so bad on Adelphia cable channel 70. Scott tells us that cable channel 70 is (frequency-wise) equivalent to UHF channel 19, so it gets interference locally from the strong over-air signal from WOIO/19. It also explains why African-American oriented cable network "TV One" on Adelphia 74 looks just as bad - "ingress", as it's called, from WVPX/23.

Newspapers Mess Up Radio Coverage: Example #329,398

We're not sure here at OMW, but we believe this came from the Canton Beacon Journal...

Friday, December 02, 2005

PD's Julie Washington on Meltzer Dismissal, WERE's Urban Talk

OMW had been hearing that the Plain Dealer's Clint O'Connor was no longer covering local radio, and it appears that the PD's local TV columnist - Julie Washington - has added radio to her plate.

Washington's latest missive touches on the recent exit of Clear Channel/Cleveland market manager and regional VP/GM Jim Meltzer from the CC World Domination HQ on Oak Tree. And from her description, it sounds like Meltzer's exit was a push, at least when it comes to his last day in the building...if not before. She also gets in touch with WKDD/98.1 morning star Matt Patrick, who spoke highly of Meltzer's handling of station transitions, and of high-profile talent like, well, Matt Patrick.

Where will Meltzer land? It appears he has to wait out a non-compete agreement in Northeast Ohio, for at least some period of time. But he was apparently already scouting out opportunities, and looking at leaving on his own some time next year.

The PD's Washington also finally picks up on the flip of Radio One brokered talker WERE/1300 to an urban talk station, powered mainly by the company's 10 AM-7 PM lineup of nationally syndicated personalities. But it looks like WERE will be making morning drive a live and local shift, and may already be auditioning hosts.

To that end, a Radio-Info Cleveland board poster reports that this morning, he heard the last minutes of an audition by Cleveland market veteran Ronnie Duncan, who's counted WOIO/19-WUAB/43 on his resume along with sports talker WKNR, back in the days when it was on 1220 AM.

Duncan would certainly be a strong candidate for AM drive on the new urban talker. We'd also bring up former WKNR host Kendall Lewis, but he recently took a sports talk gig in Memphis. And another former local sportscaster, ex-WTAMer David Kelly, is in that same market on another radio station, doing play-by-play for the AAA Memphis Redbirds.

Local Radio One officials tell the PD that the new talk format will start up on WERE on January 16th. We're wondering who Radio One will hire nationally to host the still-open 10 AM-1 PM slot, with Rev. Al Sharpton and Atlanta's "Two Live Stews" filling the other time slots...