Friday, April 28, 2006

Limbaugh Settlement on Prescription Drug Charges

It's not exactly a surprise, considering that authorities in the West Palm Beach FL area have been looking into this for a long time...but hearing "radio host gets arrested" is enough to perk up anyone's ears.

As it turns out, Premiere's Rush Limbaugh came to a settlement with prosecutors over so-called "doctor shopping" charges, which involved turning himself in to local police in Florida this afternoon. He was released after posting $3,000 bail.

The settlement reportedly calls for the filing of one doctor shopping charge against the popular host, to be dismissed in 18 months if he does not violate the law, and continues successful treatment of his addiction to prescription pain killers. Limbaugh also paid $30,000 worth of prosecution costs...and will have to dig out $30 from his change a month to pay for what's being called "supervision".

The release by Rush's lawyer, Roy Black, is posted here on Rush's website. Black says the host pleaded not guilty on the one filed charge, and continues to maintain his innocence in the case.

Limbaugh's program airs on a whole bunch of Ohio stations, including WTAM/1100 Cleveland, WHLO/640 Akron, WKBN/570 Youngstown, and WFUN/970 Ashtabula...

Laura For Snow

It turns out Clear Channel talk WKRC/550 Cincinnati may not have, umm, needed listener help to select a replacement for FOX News Radio host-turned-presidential spokesman Tony Snow.

AllAccess is reporting that the station picks up TRN's Laura Ingraham for the 9-noon slot vacated by the new White House press secretary, starting next Monday.

Ingraham was one of four hosts on WKRC's website poll - the others being former time slot occupant Glenn Beck, money host Dave Ramsey and Cox/Jones' Neal Boortz. While Boortz could have been a dark horse due to his presence on Cox's WHIO/1290 Dayton, we didn't really expect anyone but Ingraham to take the opening.

For what it's worth, despite the announcement, the poll is still online at this writing...which means it has about as much influence on WKRC's decision as it did, well, before they announced Laura Ingraham as the new host...

SportsTime Ohio To Air First Non-Indians Programming

It'll still be baseball, and still be at Jacobs Field...but the first non-Indians event for team TV outlet SportsTime Ohio will be a high school baseball contest between Cuyahoga Falls' Walsh Jesuit vs. Cleveland's St. Edward's.

The game on May 4th at 7 PM, part of the 3rd Annual Cleveland Indians Charities (CIC) High School Hardball Classic, will also air in high-definition on SportsTime Ohio. The network says is the first ever local high school sports event ever presented in HDTV.

That's not hard to declare, considering that the FSN Ohio broadcast of the Cleveland Cavaliers game against the San Antonio Spurs in February was first ever local sports event broadcast in HDTV, and STO partner WKYC/3 had the first ever local baseball game in HDTV for the Indians' home opener. And the HD part itself is also not difficult, since STO's facilities at Jacobs Field and through WKYC are already fully equipped for it.

In the team's press release, STO's Patrick Kilkenney says the game will be "the first of many commitments" by the network to provide other local sports programming.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Here Comes The Format, And There It Goes!

Late last month, OMW brought you word that Beacon Broadcasting daytimer WRTK/1540 Niles had picked up a new format.

The Youngstown/Warren market station had been running a local urban format under previous ownership D&E Communications, which Beacon's Harold Glunt continued to run after taking over, mostly out of inertia. WRTK finally signed up with the ABC Radio Networks' "Rejoice" black gospel 24/7 format nearly a month ago.

They'll have to look for another one.

AllAccess reports that ABC is shuttering "Rejoice", also known on the air as "Musical Soul Food", on July 28th. The company is also shutting down another feed Glunt's Beacon Broadcasting has used before, the standards/soft AC "Memories" format. That format made occasional appearances in evenings and weekends on Beacon's WANR/1570, before it launched a locally run oldies format simulcast with co-owned WLOA/1470 Farrell PA and WGRP/940 Greenville PA.

We don't enough about the world of 24/7 black gospel formats to know what Beacon will be able to choose from. Maybe they'll set up a computer and locally automate the format, like they do at 1570/1470/940 after 6 PM weeknights...

BREAKING NEWS: Akron/Canton TV Newscast Extended A Month

It had been feared that the WKYC/3-produced "Akron/Canton News" could end its run on Time Warner Cable channel 23 at the end of this month...but there's apparently been enough response to give it at least another month of life.

The Akron Beacon Journal's R.D. Heldenfels reports on this afternoon that Time Warner will continue airing the newscast "at least" through the end of May, which gives TWC and WKYC more time to evaluate the future of the newscast anchored by WKYC's Eric Mansfield.

TWC spokesman Bill Jasso tells Heldenfels that the move to save the newscast is "headed in the right direction", and puts odds at its continuation through the end of 2006 to be "better than 50-50".

The cable company took over the role of airing the newscast produced from the WKYC Akron/Canton Bureau at Main and Market last summer, when the agreement between WKYC and WVPX/23 ended in uncertainty about that over-air station's future.

The problem is simple - "Akron/Canton News" is a costly venture, and wasn't pulling in the kind of advertising revenue that could support it. At least part of that would likely be due to the much lower profile on a local access cable channel.

But the newscast, if it survives through the summer, will pick up more eyeballs on the fringes of the Akron/Canton area...with the eventual absorption of the local Adelphia systems by Time Warner. Adelphia officials are targetting July 31st as the "essential" date for that merger to be completed...

Here's Your Tony Snow Replacement Menu in Cincinnati

Clear Channel talk WKRC/550 Cincinnati is now hosting an online poll...where listeners can go to tell the station who they'd like to hear in the 9 AM-noon slot vacated by FOX News Radio's Tony Snow with his move to the White House staff.

The choices?

Neal Boortz
Laura Ingraham
Dave Ramsey
Glenn Beck

Well, there are at least two of the options we pointed out here a while back. Ramsey already airs in a delayed 10 PM-noon clearance, and we think he's been elsewhere on the schedule before. And Boortz's Cox/Jones show airs weekdays on Cox news/talk WHIO/1290 up in Dayton...

Akron Winter '06 Book

OMW believes that Arbitron's guidelines don't allow us to put up the entire list of 12-plus numbers. But we think we're still allowed to give you the order in the "vanity" numbers for Akron's Winter 2006 book:

1. WQMX/94.9
2t. WDOK/102.1, WMJI/105.7 and WNIR/100.1
5. WONE/97.5
6. WENZ/107.9
7. WAKS/96.5
8. WKDD/98.1
9. WZAK/93.1
10. WMMS/100.7

Since we watch news/talk/sports a lot around here - Cleveland's WTAM/1100 took a dip in Akron, as did WHLO/640 (a smaller dip) and news/standards WAKR/1590. There was a slight uptick for liberal talk WARF/1350, though it hasn't quite yet reached its highest numbers as a sports talk station. Cleveland sports talker WKNR/850 was down a bit in Akron.

If you want to see our definition of "slight" or "smaller", we can't help you any more than directing you to Radio & Records Online for the full 12-plus numbers. We believe we're not even allowed to directly link to the Akron numbers, so you'll have to find it yourself in their Ratings section.

Again, as we point out repeatedly - A) we are not experts at analyzing ratings, and B) these are the 12-plus "vanity" numbers, which really don't mean anything. But they're up, so here they are.

Cleveland's are due out tomorrow, and from what we can see, they aren't embargoed as in past books. We'll do the same with Cleveland tomorrow, and leave it to others to tell you what they think these relatively meaningless numbers mean...

WBNX-TV Receives Digital Construction Permit

It appears Cleveland market WB affiliate WBNX/55 Akron's long wait for approval of its digital TV facility is over.

An OMW tipster gave word of the FCC's OK of the station's digital construction permit, and sure enough, it shows on the FCC website as being approved a week ago. (It's the one labeled "BPCDT-19991029AFM", which was filed way back in 1999.)

WBNX had to resolve interference issues with a Canadian TV station on the same channel, the digital side of Global TV's Paris ON affiliate. Even though that station isn't anywhere near being on the air, the local station still had to consider its approved facilities in Canada in its own application.

In February, WBNX had filed an amendment to the CP request, specifying some details in their request to put up a directional antenna with a "beam tilt" to direct the signal away from interference with the Canadian station's planned facility. It appears this move is what nudged the FCC off dead center with the WBNX-DT application.

On its "trends" page, WBNX says they hope to get the facility on by the FCC deadline for such stations in July 2006. The page was put up before the approval, and we understand the station is basically ready to construct it, if they haven't already started in the past week. WBNX will become the Cleveland market's CW Network affiliate in September, and the move means it's likely that the CW's HDTV programming will be seen here when the network starts...

The Snow Answer In Cincinnati

With now-former FOX News Radio mid-morning host Tony Snow now headed to the White House press secretary's job, we've wondered more than once what Clear Channel talk WKRC/550 Cincinnati would do - as it loses a show it hired in part because of the host's local ties.

The Cincinnati Post's Rick Bird checks in with the expected answer - WKRC has no plans to carry the FOX News Radio replacement for Snow, "Brian And The Judge", featuring FOX News Channel personalities Brian Kilmeade and Judge Andrew Napolitano.

WKRC program director Tony Bender tells Bird that "(w)e are working on a replacement and will announce it later this week."

At this point, we don't know if the station has a local or national replacement in mind. If it stayed national, it could go back to Premiere's Glenn Beck, or it could move ahead and pick up someone like TRN's Laura Ingraham. We're pretty sure Ingraham isn't airing in the market.

We're also fairly sure that WKRC won't mount a local mid-morning show up against sister WLW's Mike McConnell...

BREAKING NEWS: Phil Hendrie Retiring From Radio

Premiere Radio comedy talker Phil Hendrie is retiring from his syndicated radio show on June 23rd, reportedly to concentrate on his acting career.

AllAccess quotes Hendrie in a Premiere press release: "I have taken my show as far as I can in the present climate of terrestrial radio. I’ve been doing these characters for 16 years and believe it’s time for me to take them from behind the microphone and present them in front of the camera."

(UPDATE: MediaWeek has now posted a story about Hendrie's radio retirement announcement. Premiere Radio's press release is now here.)

In addition to a role in NBC's current ensemble sitcom "Teachers", Hendrie has done other pilots, and has done voice work for not only FOX's "Futurama" and "King of the Hill", but the puppet movie satire "Team America: World Police". While we're not sure if "Teachers" would last, say, more than a few episodes...there'd clearly be enough voice work for the talented Hendrie.

The backstory on this - Hendrie's show got moved into and out of drive-time at flagship Clear Channel talk KFI/640 Los Angeles, then eventually to nights at Clear Channel sports KLAC/570 there. With the station's sports schedule, Hendrie's show may not have aired much in the past few months...and like Premiere stablemate Glenn Beck, we wonder if the company's days of rabid support for Hendrie were behind him. With at least a currently regular sitcom on the air, it may have been a perfect "out" for both.

Hendrie's show airs in Ohio at night on two Clear Channel stations - talk WKBN/570 Youngstown and sports WSAI/1360 "1360 Homer" Cincinnati, where it's often preempted by sports as well on both stations...

What Do Randy's Moves Mean Here?

OMW Warning: Massive Speculation Ahead.

Word's filtering into our in-box this morning that former Clear Channel radio honcho Randy Michaels is about to land control of a New York City station - in specific, the Big Apple flagship of liberal talk network Air America Radio.

If you believe the news, so far only from Radio Business Report, Michaels has struck a deal with Inner City Broadcasting to convert WLIB/1190 there to a mainly locally-programmed liberal talk station.

That would, as the rumors go, force Air America to go looking for another NYC outlet - scuttlebutt is focusing on the not-nearly-as-good WSNR/620 Jersey City NJ, currently owned by Sporting News Radio but mostly running brokered foreign language programming. (UPDATE: We're reminded that WSNR does have a construction permit to beef up its signal, which may put it at least closer to WLIB's reach.)

RBR reports that Michaels would take over WLIB's programming in a "joint venture" with Inner City when AAR's LMA extension expires August 31st.

With a grain or three of salt - RBR has burned us before, insisting that a then-Infinity station in Cleveland would flip to "JACK FM" at least twice - the move has been foreshadowed by other long-running industry rumors with basically the same information. And with Michaels' ownership stake in the Jones Radio-syndicated "Ed Schultz Show", it would seem to make sense.

What does it mean here? (You knew we'd get to that.)

Michaels has a very extensive Ohio background. He, of course, rose through the ranks at what's now Clear Channel's Cincinnati cluster, and was even on-air as a programmer on both now-CBS Radio CHR WKRQ/101.9 "Q102" and the original Big One, Clear Channel talk WLW/700...before ascending to top management within Jacor, and later, Clear Channel itself. (Thanks for the frequency correction for "Q102", folks...we apparently had WDOK on the brain.)

We haven't met him, but we understand his love of AM radio, engineering and the nuts and bolts of the radio business is without bounds. And we understand that much of the company's expansion in this state (Clear Channel lists 84 stations in Ohio) was fueled by then-radio division head Michaels...not to mention even some of the engineering!

His recent acquisition, Mr. Schultz's program, airs locally on liberal talk WARF/1350 Akron "Radio Free Ohio". You'd have to wonder if he won't try to mount more similar shows, or buy the rights to them, and NYC could be a breeding ground for that effort in his mind. At very least, when the name Randy Michaels is attached to a project in any way, people in this business sit up and take notice.

So, the effect here could be future Michaels-helmed projects through his "P1" venture eventually landing on WARF's airwaves, or on other stations in Ohio.

And there could be an averse effect for the folks at Air America. Their financial and ratings picture, if you believe reports from right-leaning blogger Brian Maloney's "Radio Equalizer", reportedly depends a lot on WLIB.

The WSNR signal, if that's where the AAR folks land, is not even as good as WLIB...a second-tier AM signal in the market that struggles to compete with 50,000 watt sticks like WABC, the all-news WCBS/WINS combo and even WOR. And in their new NYC home, they'd end up competing with Michaels' reported locally-focused NYC liberal talk format. And if the numbers filtering out of the Big Apple in the most recent book are any indication, they really don't need a signal downgrade right now.

Would there be concern locally if, say, Al Franken left AAR early to prepare for a 2008 run for the U.S. Senate? Probably not. "Radio Free Ohio", like most Clear Channel-owned liberal talk stations, is not heavily dependent on the network or even its stars.

Franken and afternoon drive-shifted-to-evening host Randi Rhodes were late additions to the WARF schedule. If Franken decided he needed to start building his political base outside his Minnesota home radio studio, it'd be a simple matter for WARF to slide local host Joe Finan down the schedule an hour, and expand him to three hours in a noon to 3 PM time slot.

Whether any of this shakes out or has any effect locally is very debateable right now. There's enough "throw it against the wall" speculation here to fill a room. But in the end, it'll likely shake out like we've said all along...the professional, radio-savvy people and voices of liberal talk will rule the roost in that sub-section of the talk format. And the ascendance of Randy Michaels in the format can only strengthen that belief...

Late Night Snack

We're hungry, for some reason...

MORE SNOW: No, that's not the late April Ohio weather forecast, it's another item about the departure of FOX News Radio host Tony Snow for the White House spokesman's job. This time, we now know what the network will replace him with, starting Thursday.

It'll be "Brian And The Judge", which is not a bad 70's sitcom. No, it's a show hosted by two FOX News Channel regulars, Brian Kilmeade ("FOX and Friends" co-host) and regular FNC commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano. Kilmeade has filled in on other FOX News Radio talk shows, including the satellite show "FOX Across America with Spencer Hughes". Napolitano is a frequent fill-in host for Bill O'Reilly's "Radio Factor".

What we haven't found out - what is Cincinnati Clear Channel talker WKRC/550 going to do? They can presumably buy some time with SOMETHING coming down the FOX News Radio line, but since they brought in Snow in part due to his Cincinnati ties...we doubt they'll stick with the new show for long. WKRC's website shows nothing other than a headline congratulating Snow on his new job...

MORE O&A: The new CBS Radio morning show hosted by Opie and Anthony, which is an afternoon show on Cleveland's WXRK/92.3, didn't have much for us to talk about in the few minutes we heard today. But the pair wasn't sure what station they were on in Cleveland, and gave an inadvertent plug to former David Lee Roth affiliate WNCX/98.5 in the process.

Bouncing back and forth between 92.3 and the 3 PM replay of the same show on XM Satellite Radio, we noticed that WXRK was taking advantage of the pre-recorded show to fill slightly less commercial break time. By the time the show hit about 3:45 on 92.3, it was a good 3 more minutes ahead of the XM version, which started a minute or so after WXRK started their replay. It makes sense to us, since in general, afternoon drive spot loads are less loaded than morning drive spot loads.

And it gave us time to listen to WTAM/1100 afternoon motormouth Mike Trivisonno's "Build A Roof Over Cleveland Browns Stadium So Cleveland Can Host A Superbowl" show. That reminded us of the old days many, many years ago, when legendary "Sportsline" host Peter J. Franklin touted the benefits of a domed stadium for Cleveland...long before Cleveland Browns Stadium or Jacobs Field were built.

MORE WNCX: The CBS Radio Cleveland classic rocker has put up an online survey, asking listeners what (and who) they want on the station's new morning drive show. Quoting the site, which for some reason resides on sister station WXRK/92.3's web space and former domain name:

"We’re asking for a few minutes of your time today to answer a few questions about morning radio. We want to get your feedback on what we should put into our new morning show, as well as who should be a part of it.

There are not right or wrong answers here. We’re looking for your honest opinions so that we can the best classic rock morning show for Cleveland."

Now, time to raid the fridge...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Batting Cleanup

Since our title is a baseball reference, maybe we can do better than the Indians have done in the past week or so - with a list of items mostly cleaning up from previous entries...

THEY'RE BAAACK: It hasn't aired in Cleveland as of this writing, but CBS Radio has officially debuted the new over-air version of the "Opie and Anthony Show"...which will run in just under two hours locally on WXRK/92.3 "K-Rock".

The only thing we were wondering about - how will the pair sanitize its over-air simulcasted hours - was addressed...according to the item in Radio & Records Online linked above. The new replacements for fired David Lee Roth talked about how difficult it was not to use profanity. That tells us that CBS Radio is at least hoping they don't have to basically glue the dump button down for three hours, at any rate. (The show will air without profanity dump, even in those hours, on XM Satellite Radio.)

Unless "K-Rock" does something interesting locally at 3 to introduce them, or unless they mention Cleveland at all, or unless they send listeners into a church, this'll probably wrap up our coverage of this for now.

TO THE SUMMIT: A Friend of OMW points out that there's something odd about the HD2 AAA format set to debut on the HD Radio subchannel of Clear Channel Cleveland hot AC WMVX/106.5...the name.

Neither of us are sure WMVX will actually use the name of the format that's been given by the Clear Channel "Format Lab" HD2 initiative. Clear Channel could well program it locally. But if they don't here, and WMVX just takes the raw AAA feed from Format Lab, it'll be known as "The Summit". Sound familiar?

It won't be a big problem at least while all the local HD Radio listeners could still fit into a dining room, but we'd suspect the branding wouldn't go over well with Akron's WAPS/91.3, the original local "Summit" AAA format station. We believe, though, that Clear Channel has at least one commercial over-air AAA station using the moniker...

SNOW GONE: It's now official, as FOX News Radio talk host Tony Snow has been named the new White House press secretary.

We touched on this item a while ago, since Snow was recently added to the lineup of Clear Channel talk WKRC/550 Cincinnati, his only major market Ohio affiliate. There's no word on if Snow will even be replaced on the FOX News Radio side, or what WKRC will do to fill the void left by his departure. A "quick fix" would be to slide Premiere's Glenn Beck back into the slot, but if the station goes another direction, it'd be interesting.

We'd try to avoid generalizations about Premiere's waning support for Beck, with many of these decisions are actually made locally in the Clear Channel universe (like WTAM/1100 going with a local mid-morning show after Jerry Springer got bounced). But we remember that Akron's WHLO/640 basically had to send up flares and call out the Highway Patrol to get Premiere to talk to them about Beck after he was first bounced from WTAM.

ONE COLUMBUS NOTE: AllAccess reports that Radio One urban WCXK/107.5 ("Power 107.5") in the Columbus market brings up Nia Noelle for middays. She was last at Cumulus urban AC WRHP in Huntsville AL, and has Ohio ties...she's originally from Columbus...

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Opie And Anthony Speculation

Just hours from now, the infamous radio talk show hosts who got taken off the air for a controversial listener visit to a church...will be back on radio airwaves owned by the very same company that yanked them.

But unlike in six other markets, where the comparison is pretty easy to make - Opie and Anthony riding in like the cavalry from XM Satellite Radio to save CBS Radio from sub-1.0 ratings out of former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth - it's different here.

In Northeast Ohio, Roth's former home station - WNCX/98.5 - will move forward presumably with a local in-format-oriented morning drive show. Here, O&A's return puts them in their old time slot on their old station, give or take a format tweak or two.

Is WTAM/1100 afternoon motormouth Mike Trivisonno downing some extra Miller High Lifes tonight? Is he worried? Should he be? Well, this time around, nearly four years after O&A came in strong in afternoon drive ratings, and ended up even winning some battles in their short time on the radio...there are variables.

VARIABLE 1: They aren't live. Unlike 2002, listeners to 92.3 will hear what Opie and Anthony said a few hours ago...unlike anywhere in America. This may not seem like much, but it cuts Cleveland out of any live listener participation the show chooses to do. That is, unless listeners here catch the pair on XM in morning drive, or on the webcasts of their New York, Philadelphia or Dallas affiliates. (Oddly enough, XM itself will also be repeating the 3 hour CBS Radio-originated part of O&A's the very same time slot WXRK will be airing it.)

And we're not even counting the possibility of podcasting - which CBS does currently for all of its "Free FM" shows. They may or may not with O&A, due to a previous XM deal with the folks at

We're not really familiar with how much listener participation O&A get in their various markets. We're just pointing out that this variable didn't exist at all in 2002, when O&A were live in afternoon drive and couldn't be heard elsewhere by Cleveland-area listeners.

VARIABLE 2: It's 2006. Do TODAY'S listeners remember O&A from when they were moving up the ratings on then-WXTM/92.3? They're getting some publicity, but is that enough to get back the people who flocked to them in 2002?

VARIABLE 3: Their home station has changed. Early this year, WXTM "Extreme Radio" morphed into WXRK "K-Rock". Has the demographic base changed to any degree for 92.3? Has it "grown up" with more older alt-rock titles, and could that actually play into the more "grown up" O&A show?

VARIABLE 4: And that brings us to another point. XM programming honcho Eric Logan has made a point of saying how much the show has "grown" in the past 18 months on the satellite service. The pair hasn't cursed nearly as much as they used to, says Logan, and he says the show is "better". (More on this in an interview with Logan.) Will it be the same kind of show O&A's old listeners expect, assuming they do find their way back to 92.3?

Whew, that's a lot of variables...and we're sure we've left out one or two, like how the shows competing against O&A here have changed. For one, it's now talk-heavy Maxwell doing WMMS' afternoon drive show, trying to hang onto some of those same in-demo listeners. And Triv's got a slightly different cast of supporting characters as well.

It'll be fun to watch, or listen to, at any rate. We wouldn't be surprised if O&A did well here again - there are still "WOW" bumper stickers on rusting cars all over Northeast Ohio. But we just can't sit here and say they're "headed for the top" in Cleveland, due to all of the above variables...

Clear Channel HD2 Formats in Cleveland and Columbus

Clear Channel has officially announced the HD2 formats that will air on its latest HD Radio stations, and that includes its five Cleveland market outlets.

Here's the list locally:

WAKS-FM - CHR/Pop - All New Hits
WGAR-FM - Country - Classic Country
WMJI-FM - Oldies - 50's and 60's Oldies
WMMS-FM - Rock - Classic Alternative
WMVX-FM - Hot AC - Adult Alternative (AAA)

Not a lot of surprise there, really. "Kiss FM" puts up a "new hits" station. WGAR and WMJI go with older-skewing versions of their over-air formats. WMMS could be competing a little with WXRK/92.3 with an older alt-rock format on its HD2 channel, and WMVX's HD2 channel brings the Triple A format to Cleveland...a format only heard in parts of the area until now out of Akron's WAPS/91.3 "The Summit".

But then again, folks...we're talking HD Radio here. The number of HD Radio listeners in Cleveland can probably be measured in the low three digits, if that. This is all "future" stuff.

As mentioned, these are HD2 formats, which make them digital radio subchannels of the main station. The "HD1" stream for all HD Radio stations will carry a digital simulcast of the analog station.

And, that's about the quickest one of our pieces of speculation has been shot down. So much for a WTAM simulcast on the Clear Channel FMs, eh? As we said, it was just a thought...

Oh, we almost forgot Columbus. (Sorry about that...we're mostly a Northeast Ohio production.) Here's the list there:

WBWR-FM - 80s - Rock/Metal
WCOL-FM - Country - All New Country
WLZT-FM - AC - Love Songs
WNCI-FM - CHR/Pop - All New Hits

The formats can all be heard at Clear Channel's new "Format Lab" website, and the local versions will be added to the Clear Channel HD Radio website when they go live in the various markets. The company says some stations will program the HD2 channels locally, and others will run the version you'll hear on the Format Lab site...

A Match Made In, Uh, Heaven

Rarely do so few words say so much.

This afternoon on WTAM/1100:

"I'm Mike Trivisonno for '19 Action News'."

It's the best match since peanut butter and chocolate became Reese's Peanut Butter Cups...

Could It Happen?

The below items are just idle speculation on the part of your OMW Primary Editorial Voice, and have no fact or even rumor supporting them. They are NOT to be reprinted either as fact or even rumor. They're just our thoughts.

But...could it happen?

HD SIMULCAST?: OMW notes today that among the parade of new HD2 feeds for various radio stations, Cox Broadcasting will simulcast dominant talker WSB/750 Atlanta on the HD2 subchannel of one its Atlanta FM stations. (In case you care, it's classic hits WSRV, otherwise known as "97.1 The River".)

In Chicago, CBS Radio airs a simulcast of all-news WBBM/780 on the HD2 subchannel of talk WCKG/105.9, and in Los Angeles, the CBS FM talker there (KLSX/97.1) airs Dodgers games from all-news KFWB/980 on its HD2 subchannel.

When the Cleveland Clear Channel cluster mounts HD2 subchannels for its FM stations, could we see an HD2 simulcast of talk WTAM/1100 on one of them? Maybe WMJI/105.7 or WMVX/106.5 could be a destination for such a move. The main HD channels, of course, continue to air a digital simulcast of a station's over-air analog format.

As stations start thinking more and more of moving talk to FM, this would be a no brainer move, and would make sense for Clear Channel to do locally. There are really not many HD Radio listeners right now, but it wouldn't take any effort to do, and could help position the station for the future...

(UPDATE - 6:11 PM 4/25/06 - So much for that...see the above item about Clear Channel's HD Radio HD2 format plans in Cleveland. It's still a good idea, though...even if it won't be happening. It appears that Clear Channel, unlike CBS Radio, isn't doing HD2 simulcasts of its AM news/talk stations.)

WINDY ROVER TROUBLE?: It probably won't happen as soon as tomorrow, if it happens at all. But a Friend of OMW put this bug into our ears - that the presence of newly-minted CBS Radio hot talk morning hosts Opie and Anthony could spell trouble down the road for Shane "Rover" French, who moved to the above mentioned WCKG in Chicago after a successful stint on then-WXTM/92.3 here.

Rover, of course, is still heard on the same station here - now WXRK "K-Rock" - and the company declined to pit O&A against him on the former home of David Lee Roth and Howard Stern, WNCX/98.5.

While we don't expect WXRK to move O&A out of afternoon drive, the move provides CBS Radio's Chicago cluster with a live, morning drive option if they aren't happy with Rover's performance in the Windy City. (For that matter, the same could be said about another Rover affiliate, WKRK/97.1 Detroit.) It's an option they basically did not have while the former Van Halen frontman was occupying the space formerly held by Stern.

Don't read too much into this speculation, though. Again, it's just something we're throwing against a wall...and we have not heard any move to end Rover's stint at his new home base or in Detroit. We do tend to think that CBS Radio will have a lot more patience with the formerly Cleveland-based show than they had with DLR, and we also think Rover's at least got a shot of building an audience as a veteran radio host.

And again, we've said it before, we'll say it again - there is absolutely no guarantee that the "Sex in a Church" duo will pick up where they left off nearly four years ago. (More speculation on THAT later.)

Furthermore, WCKG did not run O&A in drive time, either mornings or afternoons, when they were on before...the pair was delayed into nights. Stern was on in mornings back in 2002, and market icon Steve Dahl was - and still is - on in afternoon drive on WCKG.

But...we're sure someone at CBS Radio is reminding him that O&A could well be an option in either Detroit or Chicago if ratings don't improve. Radio's a cruel master...

Tuesday Follow-Up

Other media sources have finally gotten a Round Tuit (an item available on eBay, we believe), and are following up on what you've already read here:

TUIT 1: The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Michael Heaton finally clears up the confusion for that newspaper's readers, and notes that CBS Radio's returning bad boy hot talkers Opie and Anthony will indeed be airing on WXRK/92.3 "K-Rock", and not on now-former David Lee Roth/Howard Stern home WNCX/98.5.

Of course, you know an article about radio in a newspaper can't be 100 percent accurate - there must be an Ohio law somewhere next to the one about calling WTAM's Mike Trivisonno "afternoon motormouth". Heaton's article, at least on, says O&A will be on "morning drive" on WXRK. Which, of course, is the article itself notes "from 3 to 6 p.m." immediately after that. Oops. Well, the time is correct, so perhaps people will overlook that.

Heaton correctly notes that WNCX is now touting its morning show as being "under construction". He also says that "WNCX management is weighing the merits of playing more music in the morning versus personality-driven talk radio". We're pretty sure he's basing this upon WNCX's website statement we noted here yesterday.

TUIT 2: A Friend of OMW lets us know that the hiring of "First Coast News"/Jacksonville FL news director Mike McCormick as news director of Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 has made the popular TV news/gossip website NewsBlues. It's a subscription website, but the headline "Jacksonville ND headed to Cleveland" is up on the front page. OMW first reported the item on Friday, at least in rumor form at any rate.

TUIT 3: While we're in TV Land - no, not the cable channel - Clear Channel Cincinnati CBS affiliate WKRC/12 announced it's mounting a 10 PM newscast on Sinclair WB (to become My Network TV) affiliate WSTR/64 starting in August. The move strikes us as a bit odd, since WKRC itself will be starting up a digitally-fed CW Network competitor to WSTR in the Fall, and we'd expected them to start a 10 PM newscast THERE instead...

TUIT 4: It turns out CBS Radio Cleveland AC WDOK/102.1 is not actually broadcasting an HD Radio signal after all. WDOK program director Scott Miller tells OMW that "38 year old women aren't 'early adopters' so we're last on the list". And we're told that Clear Channel CHR WAKS/96.5 Akron (aka Cleveland's "Kiss FM") IS promoting its HD Radio status on the air...if you're looking for "early adopters", look to a young-skewing hit music station. We've updated the item below...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Random Items

Some random, maybe unrelated items:

RANDOM ITEM 1: We've certainly been following the saga of DirecTV and SportsTime Ohio, the Indians' new cable/satellite channel. OMW reported last week that the satellite service has given the thumbs down to adding STO for those outside greater Cleveland...saying the response was "surprisingly little" from those blacked out by the company's "only in Zone 1/2" policy.

A regular reader of OMW, "Moohead Radio"'s Marc Steenbarger, is not buying that. The Internet sports radio host is declaring E-Mail war - well, he calls it a "Bovine Fatwah" - on a DirecTV executive Moo says negotiated the limiting deal with STO.

OMW wonders if folks in Columbus were added to the DirecTV ZIP code list in error, as those ZIP codes and others have now been removed from the list on STO's website. Indeed, we don't have any idea if Columbus area DirecTV subscribers have ever gotten the STO games...maybe Moohead's far flung network of Internet listeners would be able to answer that question.

RANDOM ITEM 2: We mentioned the debut of Youngstown CBS affiliate WKBN/27 on local digital TV dials, and noted it was testing. The station officially launched WKBN-DT on Friday, according to a report on "27 First News" that night. We also got a note sent to us by WKBN/WYFX chief engineer Tom Zocolo, and appreciate his keeping in touch!

The new station has a good shot at much of the Akron/Canton area, and even some southern Cleveland suburbs. We're watching it right now on the little TV in our palatial OMW main office in northwest Akron. The signal varies with atmospheric condition, but we're able to get it most nights with an amplified indoor antenna.

WKBN-DT runs a simulcast of WKBN-TV and CBS HDTV programming on 27-1, and a standard definition simulcast of WYFX-LP 62 Youngstown/WFXI-CA 17 Mercer PA, otherwise known as "FOX 17/62", on 27-2.

While we're in digital TV land, we hear from spies at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas this week that a Cleveland TV station is scoping out high-definition studio equipment...which would make it the third local station to do local HDTV newscasts. FOX O&O WJW/8 started the trend, and NBC affiliate WKYC/3 will follow shortly thereafter, probably in the next month or so. You guess the rest. Let's just say that the equipment in question is NOT likely to be headed for Reserve Square...

RANDOM ITEM 3: Cleveland CBS Radio alt-rocker WXRK/92.3 "K-Rock" is spreading the word about its new/old afternoon drive show "Opie and Anthony", set to debut on Wednesday. The station's on-air personalities have been promoting the move most of today, and there's now a large O&A banner on the WXRK website:

(The O&A ad appears on the animated top banner after an existing concert advertisement.)

OMW assumes that this banner, the on-air announcements and a CBS Radio press release will be enough for the local media to FINALLY figure out what's happening...instead of blindly taking word from wire copy that David Lee Roth would be replaced by Opie and Anthony on WNCX/98.5. But...we're not holding our collective breath...

RANDOM ITEM 4: Blogger, the huge service which hosts OMW, has been going through some growing pains lately. We had trouble updating the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) for a part of this afternoon. We frankly wonder why there's been such difficulty...we thought Blogger owner Google had more servers and bandwidth than Bill Gates, and more programmers, too.

So far, it doesn't appear to affect the user end of things, but if it does in the near'll know why...

UPDATED: New HD Radio Formats Coming To Cleveland And Columbus

The continuing rollout of HD Radio's secondary formats is now set to roll into the Cleveland and Columbus markets, according to a release today by the industry group HD Radio Alliance. (Radio and Records Online reports it here.)

The Ohio markets join existing markets Cincinnati and Dayton on the list, and 22 other cities which will see the move to add second (and third) programming streams to the stations' digital signals.

In Cleveland, three of CBS Radio's FMs - alt-rock WXRK/92.3, classic rock WNCX/98.5, hot AC WQAL/104.1 - have been broadcasting with a digital signal, but hadn't yet populated the additional channel space. Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting's smooth jazz WNWV/107.3 Elyria was the first local station to start turning on the digital bits.

(UPDATE: 11:44 AM 4/25/06 - OMW hears from none other than WDOK program director Scott Miller that the CBS AC station has yet to go on the air in HD Radio...noting that "38 year old women aren't 'early adopters' so we're last on the list." Thanks, Scott!)

We also know that Clear Channel has been working on HD Radio, at least on its Cleveland FM stations. A brief visit by WTAM/1100 program director Ray Davis to afternoon motormouth Mike Trivisonno's show informed listeners that the local CC FMs were going digital, and would add these additional formats at some point down the road.

We don't have a digital radio, but we don't believe the Clear Channel FMs in Cleveland have activated even the basic HD-1 signal yet...though this link from the HD Radio folks shows WAKS/96.5 Akron - aka Cleveland's "Kiss FM" - as being on in HD Radio now. (UPDATE: 11:44 AM 4/25/06 - OMW hears that "Kiss FM" is indeed touting its HD Radio signal.)

The list also shows Kent State University NPR outlet WKSU/89.7 Kent as being on digitally, though we thought only WKSU repeater WNRK/90.7 Norwalk had added the capability so far.

In a semi-connected announcement, Clear Channel's "Format Lab" is now live with 75 (!!) streams the company says it's developing for all radio companies' HD radio subchannels. The list contains not only regular FM standbys like "Mix", but also some left-for-dead formats like "Jammin' Oldies"...once a Clear Channel favorite "new" format over the air...

Official: O&A to WXRK/92.3 Afternoons, WNCX On Its Own

As expected, former CBS Radio afternoon bad boys Opie and Anthony are officially back in the saddle again at the company, taking over for the fired David Lee Roth in morning drive in six of Roth's markets - with a simulcast on their current home of XM Satellite Radio.

And as tipped last week by AllAccess, the pair's show will indeed air here in Northeast Ohio not on former Roth/Howard Stern affiliate WNCX/98.5, but delayed into afternoon drive on CBS Radio alt-rock sister WXRK/92.3 "K-Rock". The show will, according to the CBS press-release, air 3-6 PM on 92.3, while airing live 6-9 AM on the other six former Roth outlets.

Freed of syndicated morning talk, WNCX broke out the station's usual classic rock playlist this morning, with recorded announcements like this one at 6:30 AM:

"This morning show is 'under construction'. 98-5 NCX, Cleveland's Classic Rock, is conducting a search for the right person - or people - to create a brand new morning show...right here in Cleveland. And yes, we will involve you, the listener, in this process. For now, we'll be filling your mornings with the best classic rock. But soon, we will be building a new morning show - together, for Cleveland, on 98-5 NCX."

The station has also posted this on


We are going to be posting a questionnaire soon! This way, you can tell us what YOU want to hear in the mornings on WNCX! Maybe it's more music? Maybe you have a certain radio host you would like to hear? You'll be able to tell us! In the meantime, enjoy the music that has made us Cleveland's only ALL CLASSIC ROCK!"

OK, you don't have to drop an anvil on our head to get a hint through to us. Though we suppose anything's possible, we'd be very surprised to see 'NCX mount another syndicated morning show in the wake of this. Sure, there's Bob & Tom out there, but the Premiere-syndicated show based out of Indianapolis has, last we checked, few CBS Radio affiliates.

It could happen, but we expect a local morning show, with probably at least some music, and our gut feeling tells us they'll go after a recognized local "name" host. That last part is just a guess. Maybe we should stare at that list of guests for "Five Cleveland Mornings" a while back and see what might work...

Sunday, April 23, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: "Barnaby" Dead at 86

For people outside the area, the name "Barnaby" may refer to TV's Barnaby Jones.

Here, for most people over a certain age, it brings back memories of long-time Cleveland TV kids host Linn Sheldon, better known as the character of that name. Word is out today that Sheldon has passed on at the age of 86.

WTAM/1100's newscasts noted that Sheldon was seen on "all local TV stations" at some point in his career. But our memories of him, like most people around our age, was on weekends at WUAB/43. "Barnaby" and Marty Sullivan's "Superhost" provided the then-independent station an identity among young people, long before anyone ever heard of "UPN".

WKYC/3 reports that Sheldon started at WEWS/5 back in 1948, and started portraying the popular kids' character on their station in 1957.

This article in the Sun News back in 1999 should bring back a lot of memories for those who grew up with "Barnaby". It was published on the release of a book Sheldon wrote, called "Barnaby and Me"...published by local book topic specialist Gray and Company.

RIP, Mr. Sheldon...

Thinking It Out On The Weekend

SNOW-ED OUT?: Clear Channel talk WKRC/550 Cincinnati recently replaced Premiere's Glenn Beck with FOX News Radio's Tony Snow in middays. The station touted Snow's local ties - he was born not far from Cincinnati in Kentucky, and went to school in the Queen City. Now, the station may have to look somewhere else, as numerous media sources report that Snow is on the "short list" to replace departing White House press secretary Scott McClellan.

Snow's radio show hasn't really gained much traction in that competitive 9 AM-noon ET slot, and the commentator would seem to still have a higher profile from his weekend work on FOX News Channel. If Snow takes the White House job, does WKRC go back to Beck, or go elsewhere? If it were in any market except Cincinnati, the opening would be a natural for WLW-based Mike McConnell's new syndication effort...but McConnell is not moving off the Big One. (We also wonder if McConnell's syndicated show will eventually end up displacing Beck on WTVN/610 Columbus.)

SHUT OUT: Regular readers know this effort grew out of our long-time contribution to various radio message boards, in particular the Radio-Info Cleveland board.

Last night, the family of late Radio-Info co-founder Doug Fleming took over the board's domain, and has set up a new site with archives of some of the old messages. (At this writing, the replacement site is down for technical reasons.) Previous R-I management and staff have established a new site of their own, at

Local radio-board-wise, the Listening Party forum is still up... and it's a more civilized alternative than it was back a year or so ago.

MISSING OUT: Despite the fact that two widely-read and respected radio trade sites have reported that XM Satellite Radio's Opie and Anthony will NOT be directly replacing David Lee Roth on Cleveland CBS Radio classic rocker WNCX/98.5, no one seems to be getting that information in the print media.

It's been Plain Dealer columnist Chuck Yarborough following the saga for Cleveland's major daily newspaper, and he's still trying to figure it out. Yarborough got nothing but giggles and no confirmation from a CBS Radio spokeswoman, and can't get a call back from WNCX GM Tom Herschel. Meanwhile, down here at Your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), you already know that O&A are expected to hold down afternoons on WXTM/92.3, not mornings on WNCX/98.5...

Elsewhere in the PD, TV/radio columnist Julie Washington checks in with the WVIZ/PBS Auction (this and next weekend), WJW/8 entertainment reporter David "Mossman" Moss, and a Sunday schedule change at local NPR outlet WKSU/89.7.

FOUND OUT: And OMW stumbled onto something we haven't seen mentioned elsewhere. Some time in the past few months, WKSU added to its far flung repeater and translator network, establishing W298BA/107.5 Boardman as a translator in the Youngstown market.

The stick is actually south of Boardman, closer to the town of New Middletown - where it was originally licensed. It would not appear, from signal maps we've seen, to be intended to cover even a part of the entire Youngstown's a bit too far south and not powerful enough to put a full signal even over Boardman. But it appears perfectly situated to serve travelers on the last few miles of the Ohio Turnpike. According to its FCC service area map, the 10 watt translator's tower is located basically directly at the last rest stop on the Turnpike, southeast of Youngstown....

Friday, April 21, 2006

Week Ending Wrapup

Some items and follow-up to close out Friday and the work week:

ITEM 1: Veteran former Cleveland radio general manager Walt Tiburski is moving up at his current radio home. Tiburski has been named market manager for Renda's stations in Fort Myers FL. He moves up from a post as director/sales for the group of four stations, which includes stations running hot AC, classic hits, rhythmic oldies and talk formats.

It'd be easier to name which Cleveland FMs Mr. Tiburski did NOT manage - the stations on his Cleveland radio management resume over the years include WNCX/98.5-WXTM/92.3 (most recent), WHK/1420-WMMS/100.7, and an ownership stake in WQAL/104.1. He left the WNCX/WXTM GM post last October to take the Florida sales director job.

ITEM 2: The fallout over the CBS Radio firing of David Lee Roth, and hiring of Opie & Anthony, continues. Radio & Records Online now echoes the earlier AllAccess report, with word that O&A get afternoon drive (delayed) on WXRK/92.3 "K-Rock" instead of a live clearance on WNCX/98.5, the former local home of Roth and the man who started all this, Howard Stern.

It seems that word hasn't gotten to the traditional press yet, or at very least, their websites. WKYC/3's site still has a story that says that O&A will take over for Roth in Cleveland. The AP article does not mention this, so we'll assume it was a local edit by one of WKYC's staffers.

ITEM 3: An OMW tipster in the Dover/New Philadelphia area informs us that the Times-Reporter's article on the WJER-FM move's FCC approval was the top story on the newspaper's front page on Thursday...with a large, bold print headline blaring "WJER Step Closer to Stark". A tip of the OMW hat to T-R business editor Lee Morrison for a well-written article on the move...and we hope we helped, at least indirectly...

RUMOR ALERT: WKYC Names New News Director

We haven't confirmed this yet, so take it with a rumor-ish grain of salt, but...

OMW hears that former WTLV/WJXX "First Coast News" Jacksonville FL news director Mike McCormick is headed north to take Gannett Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3's open ND slot, effective June 1st.

The opening was created when WKYC VP/News Dick Moore left the station for a broadcast news teaching position at the University of South Carolina.

McCormick stays in the company for this move - an item on TV agent site says he resigned last month from that Gannett-owned NBC/ABC combo in Jacksonville. McCormick was ND of the Jacksonville stations since 1999, and has Ohio in his a former EP of Dispatch's Columbus CBS affiliate, WBNS/10.

David Lee Roth Is Gone, And A BIG Shocker in Cleveland

The first part is now official, from both David Lee Roth and CBS - the former Van Halen rocker is now free to rock again, as CBS Radio is pulling the plug on his morning radio experiment. Roth said so himself on the air this morning, and a CBS Radio spokeswoman has confirmed it.

CBS Radio has yet to announce replacement plans for Roth, but popular trade website AllAccess confirms that it'll be former afternoon bad boys Opie and Anthony directly replacing Roth in six markets, including flagship WFNY/New York. AA reports that the pair start Wednesday.

Yes, we said six markets.

AllAccess reports, exclusively as far as we know, that O&A *will* be heard in Cleveland. won't be in morning drive on WNCX/98.5.

Instead, AA reports that O&A's three hour CBS Radio program will be heard in AFTERNOON drive on its former home, now-WXRK/92.3 ("92.3 K-Rock"). 92.3 syndicated morning voice Rover and his "Rover's Morning Glory" will remain on that station, and WNCX goes on its own in morning drive. (We don't know at this time if the classic rocker will mount a local morning drive show, but we'd be surprised to see them grab another syndicated show.)

That sound you heard was a gasp from WTAM afternoon motormouth Mike Trivisonno. That's right, it appears Triv will once again be competing with Opie & Anthony.

A caveat here, of course, is that the O&A program will be on delay here. We don't know how much that means in this battle, which will once again put them on the same frequency and in the same time slot where they got very good ratings before. It's also been a few years since their success on 92.3,'s not a given that they'll "pick up where they left off".

But you have to wonder how the move's going over on Oak Tree Boulevard, no?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Some Short TV News Items

ITEM 1: OMW caught former WKYC/3 and "PAX 23 News" reporter John Freiss back on the local airwaves last night. He's apparently doing fill-in work for WOIO/19-WUAB/43's "19 Action News", reminding us of the stint that former WKBN/27 anchor Catherine Bosley did last year. Bosley's now a full-time reporter at "Action News".

ITEM 2: We're not sure why, but WKYC weekend anchor Scott Newell made the trek down to Main and Market, and anchored the station's "Akron/Canton News" on Wednesday (6:30 and 10 PM, Time Warner 23 or 17 or whatever channel it was on). Well, we think it was Wednesday, because we can't get the newscast here in Not Yet Time Warner, Wait Till Late July Land. So, we saw Newell in the station's web video clips out of Akron. We bring it up because we don't recall someone not normally stationed out of the station's downtown Akron bureau doing the newscast. It may mean nothing...

(UPDATE - We're reminded that it's quite possible, through the magic of "green screen" technology, that Newell did the Akron/Canton newscast without leaving the comfort of WKYC/3's downtown Cleveland studios. Remember, the "set" for Akron/Canton News doesn't exist in reality...)

ITEM 3: WKBN/27's digital transmitter, reported below, is still testing over in Youngstown. Tonight, it's not putting a regular enough signal into the OMW World Headquarters...but we assume they are not at full strength...

WKRC/12's CW Network Plans

The Cincinnati Enquirer's Cliff Pease finally informs the newspaper readers of Cincinnati about the CW Network's decision to go with Clear Channel's WKRC/12, which will host the new network this fall on a subchannel of digital outlet WKRC-DT.

WKRC general manager Chris Sehring tells the Enquirer that they plan on building "a separate television station" around the programming provided by the CW folks. (It did appear somewhat unlikely that WKRC-DT would default to running the "CW-Plus" cable-only feed on the new channel, if only because of Cincinnati's market size.) One presumes that WKRC's plans for the new CW outlet would include things like mounting a 10 PM newscast produced out of the "Local 12" newsroom, and repurposing its own syndicated shows into different time slots.

Sehring says they'll actively work to make the new CW Network-based channel available on local cable systems.

Pease tells us that current Cincinnati UPN affiliate WBQC-CA "UPN 38" will indeed go independent, according to station owner Elliott Block.

We suspect that the Enquirer's delay on this story is due to the medical absence of veteran TV beat reporter John Kiesewetter, who's on hiatus due to scheduled surgery. Our best wishes to "Kiese" for his good health...

STO and DirecTV - A Note from a Cow

OMW received a note from the man known online as the Resident Bovine behind the sports radio website/webcast "Moohead Radio". He took exception to the impression our earlier item about DirecTV and SportsTime Ohio left in regards to the fan interest in the outer (out of Cleveland/Columbus immediate metro) zones.

We're reprinting his letter in full here, and will have a comment or two below:


Please print this on your blog. I think it presents a clear picture of what has happened. Your article tends to imply something that isn't so:

Who do you call when DTV has NO published corporate phone numbers? They have intentionally severed themselves from their customer base, dissipating subscriber resentment through their intentionally inefficient CSR's. You are incorrect. DTV has insulated itself and turned a deaf ear to ALL dissatisfied customers. Could you imagine getting a chicken sandwich after ordering a burger at a drive thru, and being forced to settle the issue with a minimum wage person 2000 miles away?

The petition was a fast way to collect names. DTV's policy to prevent people such as myself to reach the corporate offices, left fans no reasonable choice. And, of course, DTV claims there was little interest. For God's sake..if nobody can reach them by phone (and I personally KNOW that Erin Ryan bounced e-mails BACK UNREAD from disgruntled viewers), then how does a fan proceed?

DTV is disingenuous. Please do NOT imply that the fan effort was insufficient. DTV simply refused to listen. It is funny that a company runs an ad campaign that says "talk to a person" when they refuse to publish corporate phone numbers. The "person" you talk to is a dweeb. A diversion. Placed there to stroke the customer.

I am proud of the petition effort, in light of limited time and resources. I would suggest cancellation of DTV if blackouts persist. They deserve no explanation at all

Mr Moohead
Resident Bovine


Thanks, Moohead. Now, a comment or two:

The "surprisingly little response" line is out of DirecTV itself, as that's what they told STO's Jim Liberatore. We've corrected one part of our wording that made it sound like we pretty much agreed with it, which we don't.

You bring up some very, very valid points. Anyone who got the Line of BS from DirecTV that first weekend where most of greater Cleveland was blacked out from the STO Indians games knows what you say has a lot of merit. How can CSRs who can't even accurately tell fans why they aren't getting games, correctly deliver fan response to the corporate level? It sounds to us like they can barely tie their shoes without falling over, at times.

As we told you earlier today, we probably agree on this much more than we disagree. Our point about online petitions was basically that they don't really mean much to a large, multibillion dollar corporate entity like DirecTV.

What does mean something? You hit it at the end of your letter - cancellations. It would appear that the only way DirecTV would change its stance regarding the "outer market" Indians/STO blackout is if they see large numbers of customers going away in those areas, with a specific notation that the STO situation is why they cancelled.

One note - DirecTV HAS listened to an outcry before. When a number of hobbyists learned that the service was going to charge a large amount extra for HDTV broadcasts of its NFL Sunday Ticket, they mobilized and got DirecTV to eventually waive that amount for those who called in individually, usually with their own threat of cancelling the service. They didn't get DirecTV to completely remove the "SuperFan" HDTV surcharge, though...and that's probably similar to what outer market Indians fans are up against.

UPDATE: 8:50 PM 4/20/06 - Here's a response by Patrick Kreiser, the petition's author... which originally appeared in the comments section of this item:


Hi All:

I would like to offer a few additional comments on this matter. After submitting the petition to DirecTV yesterday (with 560+ signatures), I received an automated response from DirecTV indicating that they did not have the necessary resources to cover the entire Cleveland market (the EXACT same e-mail message from DirecTV customer support that I have seen posted on several different Indians forums). So at the moment, DirecTV is refusing to acknowledge the fact that well over 500 people have signed a petition asking them to pick up STO in ALL areas of the Indians market.

However, all hope is not lost. The head of the OMW Blog mentioned that customer cancellations will play an important role in this process. I very much agree with this point (and I urge you, should you decide to cancel your subscription to DirecTV, to tell them WHY you canceled). However, there is one additional avenue that may still get DirecTV to listen. That avenue is to convince numerous media outlets to pick up the story and expose the situation for what it is. The Akron Beacon-Journal and the Dunkirk (New York) Observer have already mentioned the petition in their papers (and why the petition exists). The Buffalo News will publish the web link to the petition tomorrow (Friday) and a full article on the issue next week. The Athens Messenger will be publishing a full article within the next couple days. I have personally talked to over 20 other media outlets that are considering running this story. I truly believe that once 3-4 area newspapers pick up the story, others will follow. If we can get 10+ papers to publish the story, then DirecTV will start to listen. I PROMISE to all of you that I will not give up this crusade. This no longer an issue that revolves solely around Indians games, it is also about 150,000 DirecTV customers who are being consistently ignored. The company is taking us for granted and they assume that we will not take our business elsewhere. Time will tell whether this was a sound 'business' decision on their part.

In the meantime, please keep up the fight. I know that it is not easy to take on a large corporate entity, but as the OMW Blog mentioned, it has been done successfully in the past. What I would encourage each of you to do is:

1) Sign the petition
2) Call DirecTV to tell them you would like for them to pick up the Indians games in ALL areas (all calls to DirecTV are, or at least should be, logged)
3) If it is important enough to you, tell DirecTV that you would 'consider' switching to a different service provider
4) If you do decide to switch to another service provider, then tell DirecTV WHY you switched (it will not do any good if they don't know the reason that you are taking your business elsewhere)
5) Contact your local newspaper(s), television station(s), and radio station(s) to ask them to pick up this story. Tell them that as a local customer/viewer, this issue is important to you.

As a business professor and someone who has interacted with a large number of businesses, I can tell you that DirecTV WILL listen to us if they think it is in their 'economic' best interests to do so. Therefore, it is now up to us to convince them that there are a large number of customers upset about this issue, and that many of us would consider taking there business elsewhere if DirecTV does not rectify this situation.

I apologize for the length of this message. But please keep fighting and don’t get discouraged. This is not over by a long shot. Pride in our sports teams (and in each other) is what makes us Cleveland fans in the first place.

Patrick Kreiser

HD Locals on Satellite in Columbus

Satellite provider DirecTV has lit up HDTV versions of local channels in the Columbus market, along with adding the service in seven other cities...including nearby Pittsburgh.

DirecTV subscribers wishing to add the channels will have to add new HD equipment, as the local channels use a new standard (MPEG4) that is not supported by the existing HD equipment. Existing HD equipment does allow subscribers to bring in the HD locals via an over-air antenna.

Wither Cleveland? OMW keeps hearing from a number of sources that Cleveland's "HD LILs" could be available by June, or sooner.

The DirecTV HD locals, for now, only include digital simulcasts of the "big four" network affiliates, so here, that'd be WKYC (NBC), WEWS (ABC), WOIO (CBS) and WJW (FOX)...

Good Morning, Opie and Anthony

UPDATE: 5:30 PM 4/20/06 - An Associated Press article on this quotes two unnamed sources "with knowledge of the deal", and says there will be an "official announcement" next week, assuming all the I's get dotted and T's get crossed. It says that CBS Radio's WNCX/98.5 - David Lee Roth's local outlet - will be among the stations airing Opie & Anthony.

Well, we take that back - the Akron Beacon Journal's local edit of the AP story says it'll be "WCNX" carrying the show. Arrgh. Don't get us started about newspapers' inaccuracy about radio...

Our original report is below...


It's not been confirmed yet, but it's being reported all over the place as nearly a fait accompli - former CBS Radio bad boy duo Opie and Anthony are set to return to the terrestrial airwaves, taking over for the faltering David Lee Roth "within weeks", according to several reports today in trade publications and papers as diverse as the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal.

Billboard Radio Monitor reports that O&A would indeed take over for Roth in all of his seven markets, which would mean their return to the Cleveland airwaves...this time, via current Roth and former Stern affiliate WNCX/98.5, CBS Radio's Cleveland classic rocker.

According to the Billboard report, the new arrangement would actually keep them on XM Satellite Radio. The show would actually air for three hours on the CBS over-air stations, and that part would be simulcast on XM. The pair apparently intends on then going to XM's studios in Manhattan (about a block away from the CBS studios) and will continue on the satellite service alone each day after the CBS-originated show.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the three hour CBS part of the show will be somewhat cleaner over-air, though the reports say XM would simulcast it uncensored.

A deal has apparently not yet been signed officially, but is considered likely.

You'd have to imagine that WNCX management is thrilled with the idea. Not only has Roth done badly, but O&A racked up pretty impressive ratings in their brief stint on then-WXTM/92.3 in afternoon drive. We haven't seen the exact numbers, but depending on who you believe O&A at very least gave highly rated WTAM afternoon motormouth Mike Trivisonno a run for his money...if not beating him in some young demos. Even if they don't duplicate that performance up against icons like WMJI's John Lanigan (who would presumably not skew as quiet as young), it'd have to be better than whatever Roth is managing to attract.

No word on if their new contract includes a clause keeping them away from churches...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: WKBN-TV/Youngstown Testing Digital Signal

Local digital TV watchers are abuzz with the first sign of Youngstown CBS affiliate WKBN/27's digital signal.

We're assuming that they are testing the signal right now, so it's likely go to in and out until they are finished. But even here at the OMW World Headquarters in northwest Akron, we're able to pull in WKBN-DT, with both subchannels active - 27-1 (HD/digital version of WKBN), and 27-2 (SD/digital version of WKBN's FOX 17/62, otherwise known as WYFX). This would seem to indicate to us that WKBN is operating at its fully authorized power of 700,000 watts...the most powerful digital signal in the Youngstown market.

We're not altogether sure if this antenna positioning will hold, or if atmospheric conditions will hang in there to allow us regular reception of WKBN-DT. But it's a nice alternative to WOIO/19 when needed...and much clearer than we used to get WKBN's analog signal as a teenager growing up in Cuyahoga Falls...

UPDATE: 2:18 PM 4/20/06 - The WKBN-DT signal is completely off the air...we presume it's being worked on again, and as we noted, it'll likely go on and off and on and off again until they're done working on it...

No STO For Outer DirecTV - For Now

If you're one of those diehard Cleveland Indians fans out in Erie, Toledo or other areas a ways from Jacobs Field, and you're hoping for DirecTV to turn on SportsTime Ohio so you can watch the games...don't hold your breath.

STO's Jim Liberatore tells OMW today that he's heard back from the largest satellite provider, and they're NOT going to turn on the "outer zones" away from Cleveland, but still in the Indians TV footprint. Liberatore says DirecTV tells STO they've had "surprisingly little response" from outer market Indians fans.

It looks like those who want the games from DirecTV, and aren't getting them, will have to start basically yelling at them...if that'll even work. We know there's an online petition started by Ohio University professor Patrick Kreiser with 550 signatures on it...and the Big Furry Moohead at Internet sports talk radio site Moohead Radio says it's been sent to DirecTV.

But the petition got little coverage, as far as we know. And not to disparage the efforts of Mr. Krieser et al., but even in the Internet age, phone calls from subscribers and actual letters sent via the USPS mean more to a major communications company like DirecTV. If opening up the games to the "outer zones" is ever going to happen on that service, that effort is going to have to be much bigger.

In the meantime, again - if you're a DirecTV-owning Tribe fan in Toledo or Erie or southeast Ohio, again, don't hold that breath. We know folks who've had a Dish Network setup put in at $30 a month solely for baseball season. And cable systems in many of these outlying areas do carry STO's Indians games, most of the time on a low-cost "basic" tier.

Just be sure with either your cable system or Dish that you'll actually get STO. As far as we know, Dish Network is not nearly as restrictive as to who gets STO in the Indians footprint, but double check when you get it installed...especially if you're in an area outside Ohio...

Wolverine Encursion Into Buckeye Territory

AllAccess reports that Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 "SuperTalk 1560" has signed up for the rights to University of Michigan Wolverines football games in a three-year deal.

We don't know the history of Wolverines football on Toledo's radio airwaves - maybe WTOD program director (and OMW reader) Chuck Matthews can give us background. But the team's 2005 radio affiliate list doesn't have a Toledo affiliate. Or, for that matter, even one elsewhere on the nearby Michigan side of the Michigan/Ohio line. Of course, Wolverine flagship WJR/760 Detroit booms into Toledo and well beyond with its powerful 50,000 watt signal.

AllAccess notes that sister Cumulus sports WLQR/1470 "The Ticket" is the home of Ohio State Buckeyes football in the Toledo market, so...November ought to get really interesting at Cumulus Toledo...

Cincinnati's CW Goes to WKRC/12

We're not going to say we called it, but sure enough, one of our predictions has happened again.

Broadcasting & Cable magazine reports that Clear Channel CBS affiliate WKRC/12 will pick up the new CW Network and place it on one of its digital subchannels. It's a part of a group deal between CW and three Clear Channel television stations...the other two are in Salt Lake City and Little Rock AR.

Since the moment that Sinclair WB affiliate WSTR/64 joined a number of its sister stations in picking up FOX/NewsCorp's My Network TV, we've speculated that the Cincinnati market's existing UPN affiliate could end up NOT being the local CW Network affiliate. That station is low-power Class A outlet WBQC-CA/38, owned locally by Cincinnati resident Elliott Block and his Block Broadcasting.

Block has something of a history with CW co-owner Time Warner, once declaring "war" on the company's Cincinnati system in an attempt to gain carriage of his station. TWC relented enough to charge Block for a 6 hour prime-time programming block on a channel otherwise carrying local infomercials and weather information.

When Block told a Cincinnati newspaper that CW officials hadn't been returning his calls, after the WSTR/My Network TV announcement, we knew something was up. In the end, it's Clear Channel's financial and marketing muscle that wins out for the new network, which apparently decided that it wasn't worth seriously negotiating with a scrappy LPTV outlet.

That, and Block had his own spin after finally talking to CW...wondering openly in a newspaper article if CW was worth paying for. (The new network is asking for "reverse compensation", direct monetary payment from its affiliates.)

The future of WBQC? Well, Block may well try to program it as an independent station. He's already hinted that he could increase local programming without UPN to fill prime-time. But without that UPN affiliation, it'll be tough...and unlike Block, WKRC/Clear Channel should have no problem getting cable affiliates to sign up...

Two Important Follow Up Items

STO AND DIRECTV MEET: We've been hearing a rumor that the folks at SportsTime Ohio and DirecTV sat down on Tuesday to try to hammer out the "outer market" situation with the satellite service and viewers outside the immediate Cleveland/Akron/Canton and Columbus markets, who haven't gotten Cleveland Indians games since DirecTV agreed to carry STO.

STO's Jim Liberatore confirmed the meeting to us this morning, and tells OMW that DirecTV is "supposed to decide this week" about opening up the games to the outer "zones" - places like Toledo and Erie, to name just two, which are currently blocked for the Indians' new cable/satellite network. We'll let you know when we know...

NEW HIRE CONTROVERSY: What happens when a Northeast Ohio radio station hires a new promotions director, and that new hire is still under a legal cloud in his former home market?

When OMW told you of the hiring of Todd Kelly Smith as promotions director at Canton market CHR WZKL/92.5 Alliance ("Q92"), we didn't recognize the common-sounding name immediately. But then, it hit us...we'd read something about him earlier on AllAccess. Mr. Kelly Smith is in legal hot water in Louisville, as this story from TV station WHAS/11 points out.

We'll let the words of WHAS/11 reporter Kirby Adams in this March story speak for themselves:


"The Louisville radio personality who raised thousands of dollars for a fatal disease he claims to suffer from appeared before a grand jury today.

For years Todd Kelly who’s real name is Todd Smith used his celebrity status to promote fundraisers for ALS, a fatal disease he claims to have.

The Todd Kelly Foundation raised over 100 thousand dollars through walks and gala fundraisers in Louisville. But when I asked Todd what he did with all that donated money, he couldn’t give us the name of a single ALS patient helped by the thousands of dollars worth of donations. The Kentucky State Police began to investigate the Todd Kelly Foundation and today after a number of delays. Todd Kelly complied and appeared before the grand jury."


OMW understands that the investigation is still ongoing, and Mr. Kelly Smith has yet to be charged with any wrongdoing...thus, he is able to leave Louisville and accept a new job in Ohio.

But we're still not sure if the folks at WZKL were aware of this situation, which was widely reported in the media in Louisville. It could well be that Q92 was informed of this by Todd Kelly Smith himself, and they're standing by him as the case is resolved. After all, the move was openly reported in the radio trade press...and we know staffers at WZKL read AllAccess, which first carried news of Mr. Kelly Smith's situation in January in this item:


"Ex-WDJX DJ Todd Kelly Under Investigation For Possible Fraud
ABC affiliate WHAS-TV/LOUISVILLE's KIRBY ADAMS reports that former RADIO ONE Top 40 WDJX/LOUISVILLE Promotions Dir. TODD KELLY, who resigned his job last week, is being investigated for possible fraud for his role in collecting over $100K in money for ALS (better known as LOU GHERIG'S DISEASE) research through his charitable organization, the TODD KELLY FOUNDATION. The IRS has no evidence or record of the foundation or any of the thousands of dollars in donations it collected. "


Either way, we'll see. We understand the grand jury should weigh in, one way or another, early next month...

News Travels Slow to New Philadelphia

Over four days after the FCC approved WJER-FM's move from Dover to North Canton, and after OMW reported the move in this item, the newspaper readers of the Dover/New Philadelphia area have finally learned of the action.

What's that ABC News motto? We'll modify it a bit - "More New Philadelphia newspaper reporters get their news about local radio from Ohio Media Watch than from any other source". Heh.

There's not much new ground broken in the Wednesday story by Times-Reporter business editor Lee Morrison. But he did manage to coax a quote or two out of Gary Petricola, the long-time owner of WJER-FM and its AM sister station, who's currently operating the stations under an agreement with Clear Channel...which bought WJER(AM) and WJER-FM from Petricola in 2004.

Here's a good one from Mr. Petricola: "We could be here until they decide we’re not going to be here." Huh? That sheds a lot of light on things, Gary! You could be there until Clear Channel decides you're not going to be there. One would assume that's the case, since they now own the facility and you operate it under that reverse LMA. Or are you hinting what we talked about earlier...that any possible renewal of that LMA would include an out for Clear Channel to end the agreement and move the station north?

Oh, but it gets better from Mr. Petricola in the T-R article. Read on:

"It’s up to them (Clear Channel). I’m disappointed that they’re doing that. I’m disappointed that the commission saw it as something they could do. I have sadness about it, but that’s the way it is."'s what we don't understand. That's a quote from the man who was the sole owner of WJER until 2004, when the stations (both AM and FM) were sold to Clear Channel for $3.6 million.

You can't HONESTLY tell us that this man believes his stations were bought by Clear Channel for that much money to remain in Dover! That's insane. Gee, Mr. Petricola, you didn't possibly look at a map and realize that 101.7 FM could very easily be nudged into Canton and beyond to, oh, we don't know, be co-owned and operated with AN EXISTING CLEAR CHANNEL FACILITY just up I-77? Either you're the most naive man in radio, or...well, we'll leave it to the reader to figure out the other option.

And since we have learned that OMW's original article on the approval has been printed out and tacked up on a billboard at WJER, perhaps he'll read these words there, too...

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Local Moves We Haven't Posted Yet

In the past couple of days:

* Canton market CHR WZKL/92.5 Alliance ("Q92") picks up a new promotions director. He's Todd Kelly Smith, who comes to the station from Radio One's CHR station in Louisville KY, WDJX. The opening's created by the move of Charlotte DiFranco to an on-air post with morning slammer DeLuca. (OK, maybe no one says "morning slammer", but he used to be a "night slammer" in radio parlance...)

* Clear Channel talk WTVN/610 Columbus producer B.J. Patton becomes the station's traffic director starting in early June. We'll assume that's traffic as in commercials, not traffic as in highways.

And speaking of traffic, as in highways, we just noticed that Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland has a new traffic section on its website, complete with maps and details of traffic troubles, accidents and construction. It's actually pretty good, from what we can see so far. It appears to have been rolled out chainwide by Clear Channel, as there's a pull-down map with many other locations...presumably in markets where the company has launched its own in-house "Total Traffic" service.

The WTAM Cleveland traffic map includes Akron and Canton, by the way...

WWHO/Columbus Picks CW

LIN TV Columbus market UPN affiliate WWHO/53 has finally decided to go with the CW Network when UPN and The WB shut down this fall. WWHO also runs WB programming out of pattern, making it basically the only choice for the new network in Columbus.

WWHO joins three other LIN-owned stations in going with CW. We suspect it took this long because LIN was an early complainer about CW's model of charging local stations for the affiliation - a practice called "reverse compensation" in the TV industry.

The other interesting twist here...WWHO would have been an automatic CW Network affiliate if the change had been announced a year or two back. LIN TV took over the station from Viacom, then-CBS' parent company, and CBS is half-owner of the new CW Network.

In Ohio, the move leaves only Cincinnati without an announced future affiliate for CW. The station that was thought to be the obvious choice in that market, Sinclair's WSTR/64, signed up with My Network TV in a group deal. That leaves current UPN affiliate WBQC-CA/38, an LPTV station...and it's not altogether certain that CW will hook up with WBQC for any number of reasons.

Without them, CW would have to mount a cable channel, or partner with a broadcast station's digital subchannel...

Rover Gets Another Shot At Him From Chicago

Long-time Chicago Sun-Times media columnist Robert Feder takes another shot at formerly Cleveland-based morning doggie Rover, known in the non-canine and non-radio world as Shane French.

It's not like Feder has ever been a fan of even the IDEA of Rover taking over morning drive on former Howard Stern Chicago affiliate WCKG/105.9, now sporting CBS' "Free FM" moniker for its FM talk stations. When it was announced Rover would get the gig after a successful stint at then-WXTM/92.3 in the CBS Radio Cleveland cluster, Feder reeled off a list of popular personalities with present or past Chicagoland ties and wondered why the CBS suits in Chicago chose "a dog out of Cleveland".

This time, Feder's aim is more at directly at Rover's bosses at his new flagship of WCKG. The Sun-Times media guru calls moves to install news WBBM/780's GM in charge of WCKG, and a similar move at adult hits WJMK/104.3 "Jack FM", "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic".

Though we don't mean to pile on the host Feder says CBS "foisted" on Chicago on WCKG, he's got a point.

Like with all the Howard Stern replacements, Rover's very early numbers in Chicago have been nothing short of abysmal. Meanwhile, a veteran Chicago radio name that was on Feder's list, Jonathan Brandmeier, was released by CBS into the waiting arms of Bonneville classic rock WLUP/97.9...and HIS early numbers were somewhat encouraging to that station.

Again - early numbers. Unlike the seemingly-destined-to-crash-into-a-wall David Lee Roth show, it's still early for both Rover and Los Angeles-based Stern replacement Adam Carolla. But it's probably not a stretch to take the obvious pun, and say Rover's on...uh...a short leash.

CBS Radio probably expected major losses in losing the Stern Money Machine to an unproven fill-in, but we're not sure how long they're gonna sit on the kind of numbers they've seen early out of their replacements...and Feder reports that the first full post-Stern book for WCKG is expected to be "catastrophic".

There's really not much the generally affable Mr. French can do about this. In a way, he's almost set up for failure in Chicago. Not only is he replacing a popular worldwide star in Stern, he's not really "Chicago" in a market which holds onto its media icons and hangs on their every word.

Oh, sure...the man we know as Rover was actually born in the Chicagoland area, and spent a bit of his early childhood in the region. But to radio listeners, he's not really a Chicago guy...for one, he's never been on the air in that market until this gig. To the "homers" of Chicago radio, he's some guy they brought in from Cleveland.

We're not saying he can't overcome that, and it has been done before there.'s another hill the WCKG/WXRK morning canine has to bound over...

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Fred Thompson Era's First Shot

ABC Radio's anointed successor to veteran commentator Paul Harvey had his first on-air fill-in for Harvey on Saturday. We missed it, but got a chance to hear actor/former Senator Fred Thompson's first ABC broadcast online this afternoon via was the Saturday "noon visit", which will be archived the rest of the week.

We normally don't unload on someone who's doing his first show, It's so bad, you have to hear it. THIS is who is going to replace a radio icon? This is the man who will become a skilled, polished communicator's successor? It is not quite "David Lee Roth taking over for Howard Stern" bad, have to hear it.

Thompson's attempt to do the 15 minute Harvey broadcast sounds very poorly edited, with stories patched together easily identified by very loud level shifts when Thompson talks way too loud into the microphone.

It's not that Thompson can't read broadcast copy. He can. He's read the written word for ages, as an actor and doing voice overs. But...he sounds like he's, well, reading broadcast copy.

And perhaps that's not fair to anyone taking over, even temporarily, for Mr. compare him to the man's smooth, easy style that doesn't at all sound like he's reading off of a piece of paper. And Thompson may well find his voice and ease at doing a 15 minute radio news segment.

For now, he sounds to us like an odd combination of Wilford Brimley and Tom Bodett. We keep expecting him to tout the virtues of whole grain cereal.

But, we said it before, and we'll say it again. When Paul Harvey hangs up his headphones, and is stops doing his radio broadcasts for good, ABC Radio (soon to be Citadel) should not replace him at all. We suspect when Paul Harvey News becomes Fred Thompson News, a whole boatload of affiliates will drop the very least, they'll drop the 15 minute noon segments.

Of course, ABC/Citadel will not listen to this advice, hoping to be able to continue to mine the Harvey Gold with a new host in the new millenium. But it just sounds like a poor substitute, to us...

Regular OMW readers have read of impending changes at Cleveland's FOX owned-and-operated WJW/8 and other FOX O&O's across the country. Here's another one, once again with the heads up to Dave Hughes' DCRTV.

FOX is apparently rebranding its O&O websites, and has registered a number of domain names in the format of "myfox(city).com". Sure enough, they've registered "", according to a WHOIS lookup:

"Registrant: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation (DOM-1472842) 10201 W. Pico Boulevard Los Angeles CA 90035 US Domain Name:"

The registration goes back to October 2005. At this writing, it does not even forward to the current FOX 8 website (

Of course, FOX's new mini-network is called My Network TV, so the company at very least has an attachment to the "My" moniker. But the MNTV affiliate-to-be here, WUAB/43, is not owned by the network.

If FOX is planning to rename the FOX O&O station websites in this manner, it's our guess that they're more likely doing so to link the My Network TV affiliates and the FOX brand in markets where they own both stations...which doesn't apply in Cleveland. But the greater link still appears to be with the local stations and the popular FOX News Channel cable network...

Random Items For A Monday

Just some stuff both old and new:

* In our recent interview with SportsTime Ohio president Jim Liberatore, we asked him about the prospect of HDTV games being made available to satellite subscribers. The HD Tribe games - all of the 63 home games carried by STO - are only available on cable for now. Liberatore tells us that the HD games are indeed available to the satellite folks, and a game or two could show up at some point on DirecTV or Dish Network. DirecTV, in particular, carries HD MLB games on an occasional channel for most of the RSNs. It didn't sound like they could/would carry the entire HDTV schedule from STO (or any RSN save for the ones in New York or Boston).

* Did anyone else notice this full-page ad the other day in the Akron Beacon Journal, and presumably in the Cleveland Plain Dealer and other papers?

The ad asking people how much they "tip" their cable company - presumably because there is no competition. It touts a toll-free number and a website. Since full-page newspaper ads are expensive, we did some checking...and sure enough, on the "about us" page, among such noted organizations in the "coalition" like Asian Women in Business, the Center for International Freedom, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, there's one listing that explains it all. Look, it's AT&T! How'd THEY get there?

AT&T, the telephone company formerly known as SBC, is starting to launch Project Lightspeed, an IP-based television competitor to cable. It wants state governments to overhaul the cable franchising process, and allow companies to apply for franchises for an entire state. And now, as Paul Harvey might say, you know the REST of the story!

* It was a small item on, and we can't yet find it anywhere else. Cleveland's own Tom Kent expands his basement-based radio syndication empire, as TKO Radio Networks announces a 24/7 format channel called "Classic Top 40". It's described as "Top 40 hit music of the 60s, 70s and 80s"...and joins TK's nightly "Hall of Fame Coast to Coast" and Sunday night "Into the Seventies" show...

* And between Roger Brown and Julie Washington, we've seen "team coverage" of WERE/1300 morning host Ronnie Duncan's career in the Plain Dealer, but it's hard to top last week's feature on him by Washington. "The mouth that ROARS - Busy life of Ronnie Duncan permits little time for sleep" provides an hour-by-hour look at Duncan's roles as WERE host, TV producer at Village Television and Cleveland Cavaliers PA announcer. Julie's slipping, though...she didn't tell us what time he walks his dog, or scratches his nose...or maybe she's waiting for the PD's sports media columnist to include that with the price of Duncan's suburban house...