And some followup to some of the items we've been talking about:
GOING LOCAL: We're listening right now to a recording of this morning's first local mid-morning talk show on WTAM/1100. As reported here first, it's indeed WSPD/1370 Toledo evening host Bob Frantz - a former WTAM sports voice - on the air for day one...after the end of what Frantz called the Jerry Springer "experiment".
While noting that he was a "moderate conservative" and welcomed all viewpoints, Frantz joked that WTAM's decision affected roughly 7 people he'd like to take to dinner, and that the station would no longer be airing "George Soros talking points", a jab at the wealthy contributor to left-wing causes. He held a little on-air "funeral" for Springer, in a bit which said Springer's "only problem as a talk radio host was that he wasn't very good at talk radio".
Frantz did come out and say he's "100 percent in favor" of bringing casino gambling to Northeast Ohio, which should serve him well in currying favor from afternoon motormouth and casino proponent Mike Trivisonno.
While Frantz did confirm that he'll be back tomorrow, he framed his appearances as "being asked to fill-in" by Clear Channel local programming guru Kevin Metheny...who, oddly enough, once characterized himself on-air as Springer's "talent coach". It would appear with Springer's radio stint, coaching just isn't enough to make it work.
Though the station has created production elements for Frantz, it has done so on short notice for fill-in hosts before...so we wouldn't read too much into it. We still believe, as we did weeks ago, that Frantz has "the inside track" at the permanent gig.
ONE SPORTSTIME PICKUP: An OMW reader tips us, and we've confirmed via the Sandusky Register, that Toledo-based Buckeye Cablesystem has signed a deal to air the 130 cable-only games aired by new Indians' network SportsTime Ohio. It's by far the largest pickup for STO outside of direct partner Time Warner Cable. The deal also includes Sandusky-based Erie County Cablevision, a Buckeye sister cable system.
AND MORE SPORTSTIME: Still no word a SportsTime Ohio deal with "the big three" cable systems in the Cleveland market: Adelphia, Comcast and Cox. A deal is supposedly close with all three. The Plain Dealer's Roger Brown weighs in with his Monday sports media column on another concern that providers have - they'd apparently be more amenable to paying for STO if it offered more programming outside the Indians game broadcasts.
DirecTV's Dan Fawcett tells Brown he doesn't see any "real aspirations" from STO to build a full-time sports network. He's apparently not buying into STO chief Jim Liberatore's non-specific vision of a 24/7 channel.
Meanwhile, Brown reports that STO plans an advertising blitz to encourage DirecTV subscribers to move to Time Warner before Opening Day, so they can get Indians games on TV. As the relative of a huge Indians fan with DirecTV, we just don't see that one flying with him... he'll probably just make do with the 20 over-air games, and the Indians Radio Network for the rest.
AND STILL MORE SPORTSTIME: Brown asks newly-minted "alternative" Indians post-game TV/radio host Les Levine how it affects his weekday talk show on Adelphia 15. Levine says the FSN Ohio/WKNR show won't end his Adelphia program, but does not answer the "what happens when Adelphia is no more" question we posed below.
We'd have to think that there's a chance "More Sports and Les Levine" may not make the jump to Time Warner Cable, which is heavily involved with SportsTime Ohio. Whether FSN Ohio finds a place for the show now seen on Adelphia at 6 PM weeknights may depend on whether they can even find a place for him to do it.
It's odd to us, though, that a network we've often criticized for a lack of local programming may have to ramp up such programming in the wake of losing one of its flagship properties.