Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Hearing From Central and Southeast Ohio

Two notes from readers south of the usual OMW coverage area...

* An OMW reader tells us that Clear Channel talk WTVN/610 Columbus is running promos that they are "about to take over another station". While it very well could be hinting of something as bold as adding an FM simulcast to 610, it also could be alluding to a promotion temporarily taking over...a gas station, to offer lower gas prices in a promotional stunt.

We have no inside information on this, but our proverbial $20 at the OMW Betting Window would probably go to the gas promotion at this point - as such wording has been used by stations in the past. But we will be keeping our eye on it, just in case...

* Kyle McPeck's "The King of Zanesville" blog weighs in on something that's been in progress for a while now - the planned COL move of that city's WHIZ-FM/102.5 to Baltimore OH...making it a Columbus market station.

Kyle has details on the construction permit application for the new WHIZ-FM facilities on his blog. WHIZ will leave behind WHIZ/1240 and WHIZ-TV/18, the NBC affiliate in that small one-station TV market.

Kyle wonders why WHIZ hasn't come clean on this move...well, stations tend not to do that, particularly in a small, tightly-controlled media market like Zanesville. We're guessing that they worry about losing those FM advertising dollars before the move is actually completed.

While we were looking at the WHIZ details, we once again checked records for WJER-FM/101.7 Dover. A construction permit application for the newly-approved COL of North Canton has yet to show up in the FCC's online database. There's no hurry there - Clear Channel still has a month and a half or so to file it, and then three years to build it out...

Joe Finan's Next High-Tech Advance

If you thought the idea of WARF/1350 "Radio Free Ohio" midday host Joe Finan blogging was's the next step.

The Clear Channel Akron liberal talker's show is now available in podcast form at the station's website. Like other podcasts - including the recently established feed for sister WTAM/1100 afternoon motormouth Mike Trivisonno - you can either download manually, or put the "XML" URL into your podcast catcher (iTunes, etc.) to download the show automatically.

Fortunately for Finan, who first came to radio prominence in the days of scratchy transistor radios and 45 RPM records, producer/sidekick/WARF program director Jerry Mullins is likely doing the actual computer work...

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

DirecTV HD Locals in Cleveland - Possible Date

If you're a DirecTV subscriber waiting for the satellite service to offer HDTV local channels in the Cleveland market, you might want to get out your calendar for June.

OMW hears that Cleveland market DirecTV subscribers are getting an HD locals launch date from the company's customer service representatives - June 28th.

For DirecTV subscribers to get the new HD locals, they'll have to get new MPEG4-capable equipment from the satellite company.

At launch, the HD locals will almost surely be limited to the "Big Four" networks - the digital sides of WKYC/3 (NBC), WEWS/5 (ABC), WJW/8 (FOX) and WOIO/19 (CBS). DirecTV has yet to add other HD network affiliates in other markets, and even of those "other networks", only WUAB/43 (UPN) is available in HD format in the Cleveland market. WBNX/55 (WB) is still constructing its own digital operation...

"My Network TV" Landing in Youngstown

UPDATE: The Business Journal reports the WYTV news conference has been cancelled, and will be rescheduled...

The "new network situation" is becoming clearer in the Youngstown market, where UPN/WB replacement The CW is already set. It looks like My Network TV will find a Mahoning Valley home as well.

The Youngstown-Warren Business Journal reports that Chelsey Broadcasting ABC affiliate WYTV/33 will announce a "second local channel" at a ribbon-cutting event tomorrow. (Thanks to an alert OMW tipster for passing this on!)

Though WYTV's news release does not officially detail the second outlet's programming, the Business Journal says it's expected to become the Youngstown market's affiliate for My Network TV, the FOX-owned mini-network developed after FOX's UPN O&O's got stiffed in the move to The CW. CW will air in Youngstown on current WB affiliate "WBCB", a digital/cable/satellite channel run by NBC affiliate WFMJ/21.

The Wednesday event is a launch for the construction of new downtown Youngstown studios for WYTV, which is going to move to a new facility to be built on East Federal Street. Historically, only WFMJ (owned by the Youngstown Vindicator) has broadcast from downtown Youngstown, with both WYTV and Piedmont CBS affiliate WKBN/27 - and now FOX affiliate WYFX/62 - staked out far from downtown. WYTV's longtime home is on Shady Run Road, south of downtown off I-680 and Midlothian Blvd.

WYTV is also expanding its early evening local news block, which will run a full 90 minutes from 5 PM to 6:30 PM starting on June 12th.

The move to add a second channel and My Network TV accomplishes two things - it means all three outlets of the original "Big Three" networks will have secondary channels with other networks...with WFMJ/21 hosting WB affiliate "WBCB" on its digital channel, and on cable and satellite, and WKBN/27 running "FOX 17/62" on a pair of LPTVers, on cable and soon-to-be satellite, and now on its own digital subchannel. It also means Youngstown will now get all the over-air networks locally.

The Business Journal article does not say how WYTV intends to deliver the second channel, but we'll assume it'll mirror WBCB (and now WYFX) with a digital subchannel and at least cable carriage.

Even if WYTV had not picked up My Network TV for a second channel, most Youngstown market cable viewers would have had no problem watching it anyway. Youngstown never had a UPN affiliate, even as a digital subchannel...and Cleveland's future My Network TV affiliate - WUAB/43 - has long filled that role on cable in the market.

What we'll have to see is if WYTV forces its hand with local cable outlets in the Youngstown market, and uses its new My Network TV channel to take over WUAB's channel slot...

Sunday, May 28, 2006

WKYC Weekday Morning Replacement

Oh, we almost forgot this one, even though we caught the tail end of it being announced on last night's "Channel 3 News at 11" on Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3:

Weekend anchor Kim Wheeler is "moving on up" to weekday mornings. She'll replace Carole Sullivan, who recently announced her departure from the station and from Northeast Ohio. Sullivan will follow her football coach husband to Kalamazoo MI, where he works for Western Michigan University...

Two (Hot) Weekend Items

That's hot, as in the it's currently 82 degrees at the OMW World Headquarters in northwest Akron. The items are actually rather mild...

HOT WEEKEND ITEM 1: Air America syndicated midday host Jerry Springer returned to the Northeast Ohio airwaves early this evening - apparently by accident. While running some errands around town, we heard the former WTAM/1100 Cleveland mid-morning time slot occupant on Akron liberal talker WARF/1350 "Radio Free Ohio".

We say "by accident" because "Springer on the Radio" has never been scheduled - or as far as we know, even heard - on WARF, even in weekend replays.

The station's weekend schedule currently lists repeats of WYD/Jones weekday host Stephanie Miller in the 5-8 PM Sunday time slot. It also appears that schedule is flexible, because "Radio Free Ohio" started airing an infomercial after the ABC newscast at 7 PM - and after about 7 minutes of dead air preceding ABC.

Springer's program repeats for an hour on the Air America national schedule in the Sunday 6-7 PM ET time slot where he was heard on WARF the 1350 automation computer apparently got confused and dumped into the live Air America satellite feed, complete with non-matching spot breaks and different cue tones.

The airing tonight is still a far cry from Springer's former weekday morning time slot on WTAM, which he lost earlier this year to local talker Bob Frantz...

HOT WEEKEND ITEM 2: A discussion with some online friends earlier in the week got us in the mood to make the drive over to devour three chili-cheese hot dogs at the city's iconic Hot Dog Shoppe. (Your Primary Editorial Voice was a regular visitor to that establishment in the early 1990's.)

While we were in the Mahoning Valley, we did a cursory check of some stations with a questionable status. So far, the bankruptcy-induced ownership/management changes at the Stop 26 Riverbend stations have not made it to the air.

WRBP/101.9 Hubbard was running what sounded to us like ABC's "The Touch" urban AC 24/7 format...we don't know if that's any different than what they've done in the past on weekends, but the station is still calling itself "102 Jams".

The Stop 26 AM stations were running their usual formats - WGFT/1330 Campbell with gospel, and WASN/1500 Youngstown with Spanish-language music. We did not hear an English legal ID on the latter, but did hear a liner out of nowhere in English, saying 1500 was "the station playing your kind of music".

The stations must not be looking at impending loss of transmitter site lease, which prompted the bankruptcy receiver's appointed management to shutter Stop 26's WVKO/1580 Columbus a while back. The manager is operating the stations as ownership transitions from the bankrupt Stop 26 to Bernard Radio, the radio operating company of investment firm D.B. Zwirn - the largest creditor on Stop 26's list...

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Cincinnati Radio/TV Station Combo Reunites - In A Way

Long before Hearst Argyle owned Cincinnati NBC affiliate WLWT/5, and before Clear Channel ended up with talk WLW/700, both stations were co-owned in the Crosley era.

The ownership situation is not changing, but the stations are now teaming up for a news and weather sharing partnership...which isn't really even the most interesting part of this story.

As Cincinnati Post radio/TV columnist Rick Bird notes, the new WLW/WLWT partnership - which puts the TV station's weather forecasters on WLW - means WLW is dumping CBS affiliate WKRC/12 in that role.

You know...the only TV station in the market owned by WLW owner Clear Channel.

We're scratching our head here...trying to remember when a corporate behemoth allowed such a move. In fact, we've even heard WLW midday mainstay Mike McConnell grumble on the air that corporate policy - presumably out of San Antonio - restricted him to mentioning only Channel 12 when it came to even talking about local TV news!

Not anymore...the hook is now with WLWT/ the agreement, according to Bird, covers not only weather...but news sharing, "personalities and marketing". We're wondering if McConnell will get now clipped for talking about Channel 12...

WKRC/12 will still, according to Cincinnati Enquirer radio/TV columnist John Kiesewetter, provide weather forecasts for all the other Clear Channel radio outlets in the market. The deal only covers WLW.

For "The Big One"'s part, program director Darryl Parks correctly notes that the company's local clusters do have autonomy to make such decisions. And we've seen first-hand evidence of such in other Clear Channel markets. But you have to wonder...would many other Clear Channel news/talk stations be able to dump local TV sharing agreements with company-owned stations?

In CC's home market, San Antonio, the company recently changed the name of its TV station to match WOAI/1200, the "flagship" CC news/talker which started the entire chain back in the day, and even gave Clear Channel its name.

Up in our friend Scott Fybush's home market of Rochester NY, the company did the same with its TV outlet (then WOKR), changing the name to WHAM-TV to match news/talk WHAM/1180. And a similar move was made just down the New York State Thruway in Syracuse, where Clear Channel's former WIXT-TV was rechristened WSYR-TV, to match news/talk WSYR/570.

In all three markets, the moves coincided with heavy cross-promotion.

So we say - "only in Cincinnati". That Mr. Parks and company were able to do this is not a huge surprise. The Cincinnati Clear Channel cluster has always enjoyed such autonomy, dating back to the days when Randy Michaels was running the CC national radio office out of nearby Covington.

And WLW itself has almost always been handled with a "hands off" policy out of San Antonio. Parks, as the Cincinnati cluster's AM operations manager, has been able to exert a strong hand, even when the station has been embroiled in controversy. In effect, he's been able to handle things locally.

The fact that this policy continues, long after Randy Michaels left Clear Channel, is attributed to one thing and one thing only in our minds - money.

We've noted here before that WLW is the ratings and revenue monster in the Cincinnati market. It is by far the most profitable radio station in Cincinnati, lapping even sister FM rocker WEBN/102.7 by some margin. Basically, when you're the cash cow and one of the most profitable radio stations in the entire chain, Clear Channel doesn't mess with you out of San Antonio...let alone upper management in Cincinnati.

Clear Channel is not without its "corporate mandates", certainly. They do exist, and have been well documented in other situations. But if a local cluster or station shows a long track record of success, they CAN talk the company out of such mandates if it makes sense this proves...

Julie's Update

The item about CBS Radio's Opie & Anthony, which we noted below from the Plain Dealer's Entertainment Blog, has now appeared in print in Julie Washington's Saturday radio column.

Julie also lists local award winners in the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Awards - including a slew of awards for ABC affiliate WEWS/5, and for Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 on the radio side. TV-wise, the "Best Regularly Scheduled News" first place award goes to WOIO/19, with WKYC/3 in second place. (They DO watch these newscasts, right?) Radio-wise, NPR outlet WKSU/89.7 Kent also picks up a trio of awards.

Ms. Washington also picks up on the move of former Clear Channel Cleveland regional VP Jim Meltzer, who started his new gig as VP/GM of CBS Radio's Pittsburgh cluster this past Monday...and on the 30th anniversary of radio icon Paul Harvey's "Rest of the Story" program. It airs locally on WTAM, talk WEOL/930 Elyria and standards WAKR/1590 Akron, among many other stations we're sure we're missing.

While we're on the subject of Paul Harvey, we're reminded that ABC News Radio's Memorial Day tribute special should be airing this weekend...hosted by Harvey Replacement in Waiting Fred Thompson. We haven't heard if any local stations are planning to carry the special...

Friday, May 26, 2006

We'll Help Them With Their Help Wanted Ad

Look at what we saw in the AllAccess "Job Market" section recently:

"WZKL & WDPN in Canton Ohio, needs a Promotions Director yesterday!! We’re looking for a creative, go-getter with a positive attitude."

Here's what they CAN'T say:

"...who is not currently facing prison time for running a fake charity!"

The slot, of course, was once temporarily filled by former Louisville KY promotions director and radio personality Todd Kelly Smith, who was recently arrested on fraud charges in connection with the operation of his self-titled "Todd Kelly Foundation" ALS charity in that market. We're guessing the Q92 folks will do some more background checking this time.

Here's the full ad:


WZKL & WDPN in Canton Ohio, needs a Promotions Director yesterday!! We’re looking for a creative, go-getter with a positive attitude. Must have to be considered include but are not limited to:

*Proficient in Word and Excel
*Knowledge of website management including HTML
*Flexible Hours
*Create and execute promotions, contests, concerts and events on and off the air.
*Oversee and manage Assistant Promotions Director
* Daily prize sheets for on-air talent and prize fulfillment
*Station Vehicle management
*Excellent public relation skills and listener management
*Manage winner database, e-mail database
*Recruitment and retention of interns
*Writing and enforcing rules in compliance with station policies and regulations.

This position reports directly to the General Manager and works closely with the Program Director and Sales Manager in creating elements for revenue opportunities. Interersted candidates should send cover letter and resume to Don Peterson at dapeteiii (at) AOL (dot) com or snail mail him at:

Don Peterson III
393 Smyth Ave NE
Alliance, OH 44601


There's not much to it yet...

But we hear changes could be afoot somewhere within the Clear Channel World Domination HQ on Oak Tree. Could those "Triv to WMMS mornings" rumors from a couple of weeks ago finally be gaining steam, or is it something else? Is it time for the OMW Technical Staff to set up a recording or two on 100.7?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Julie Talks With O&A

Plain Dealer radio/TV writer Julie Washington checks in - via phone from New York - with newly-reinstalled CBS Radio bad boy talkers Opie & Anthony...with an item that appears in today's PD Entertainment Blog, and will presumably make print Friday or Saturday.

There's not really much new in the item, which spends most of its time recapping recent events and the events which got the pair fired from then-Infinity back in 2002.

It does have comments from Gregg "Opie" Hughes and Anthony Cumia about the show's return to its old afternoon drive time slot on its former Cleveland affiliate, now known as alt-rock WXRK/92.3 "K-Rock".

In case you've been under a rock, the pair's return places them in morning drive in every market except Cleveland, filling the slot once owned by Howard Stern in six other cities. For its part in that time slot, CBS Radio classic rocker and former Stern affiliate WNCX/98.5 is still scouring the country for anyone who may once have even cleaned the floors at WMMS/100.7.

Anthony offers the show's former ratings success on then-"Xtreme Radio" WXTM, telling Washington "it works well in either day part", morning or afternoon drive. Opie adds that the pair is "excited" to be back on in Cleveland...

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Randy Part Deux

So, it's good to know we're not alone in our speculation.

When OMW first published the list of markets where CBS Radio is aiming to exit, Cincinnati stuck out like that proverbial sore thumb to us. Oh, Columbus as well, but especially Cincinnati.

We had a thought: Wouldn't THAT be an interesting return to major market radio for one Randy Michaels?

Mr. Michaels, of course, is the long-time former head of Clear Channel's radio division, going back to the "make some noise" days at Jacor. He's usually credited with building Clear Channel's current Cincinnati cluster into a monster, and in particular the "monster" known as the original "Big One", talk WLW/700. Though started by someone else, and funded by a wealthy investor (one Sam Zell), Jacor as a whole was largely Randy's creation.

Though a native of the Buffalo area, he ran Clear Channel's radio division out of suburban Cincinnati (Covington KY), and the Queen City is considered his hometown.

After leaving Clear Channel, Michaels has slowly been building suburban Cincinnati-based RadioActive LLC, by bidding on various FM auction licenses in cities much smaller than Cincinnati. Is RadioActive about to get a lot more "Active" in the major markets, by buying one or more clusters from CBS? Maybe as many as all 10 markets CBS is putting up for sale?

Randy getting "back in the game" is being hinted by at least a couple of trade publications. We don't have any "inside" information to back up that speculation, but if Randy's looking to get back into it, this would be a decent opportunity.

He's also been getting into the programming game, with his "Product 1st (P1)" owning the rights to Jones Radio-syndicated liberal talker Ed Schultz. And he'd been rumored to be involved in a possible takeover of the LMA of New York City liberal talker WLIB/1190, Air America's flagship station.

Randy's diverse, though...and buying the Cincinnati CBS cluster, in specific, would more likely provide him with the opportunity to use the company's big FM stations to compete head on with similar Clear Channel stations. Mr. Michaels was a significant player at now-CBS Radio's WKRQ "Q102", before he scooted across to Jacor, with the company's former Cincinnati cluster now owned by Clear Channel. Needless to say, he knows both groups pretty well...first hand.

Randy Michaels often gets a bad rap in this business, particularly for his implementation of Clear Channel directives like widespread voicetracking while he ran the radio division there.

But from what we know and have heard of him, he's actually a firm believer in the content and programming side of radio. With his own money, and without San Antonio handing down its philosophy, this might be a whole new ballgame...

Maxwell To Nights At WNCI/Columbus - No, Not THAT Maxwell

What are the odds that two large market Ohio Clear Channel music stations would feature air personalities with the single name "Maxwell"?

Apparently, even money.

AllAccess reports that the artist we'll call "Maxwell #2" has landed in the open night slot at CC top 40 WNCI/97.9 Columbus. He's inbound from Lafayette LA, where he's been APD/MD/nights at Citadel top 40 KSMB. He's also done morning drive in New Orleans. AllAccess says he'll pick up MD duties at WNCI at some point down the road.

Our original Clear Channel Ohio "Maxwell" is, of course, afternoon driver at the company's rock WMMS/100.7 in Cleveland, who's dabbled in doing weekend talk at sister talk WTAM/1100.

In a business where air names get copied, duplicated or just happen by coincidence, it's not a huge surprise, even though both "Maxwells" will be working for the same company within about 120 miles of each other.

So, here you go...OMW now presents Maxwell vs. Maxwell:

At left, the WMMS afternoon driver...

And at right, the new WNCI night guy...

We're reminded that there are at least two or three Danny Wrights running around radio, and not just the Cleveland radio veteran ("G98", WGAR/99.5) who now handles Jones Radio's syndicated country overnight show "Wright All Night" out of his new home area in Seattle. In fact, one of the other Dannys has experience in other Ohio markets.

But the long-time Cleveland voice is still the original Danny Wright to us, and not just because he's a regular reader of Your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm)...though that helps...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Our 58 Update

That's 58, as in what you get when you add "3" to "55" for this update:

WKYC HD: We've noticed, in watching Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3's new HDTV newscasts, that not everything is "there" yet for the debut week. This morning, meteorologist Hollie Strano apologized for not having her usual morning quiz graphics, saying "not everything's been converted yet" to HD. While she said that, we couldn't help but notice a flat screen monitor just above her head...which appeared to still be wrapped in plastic. The things you notice...

We also noticed that so far, none of the station's stories originating from the Akron/Canton Bureau have either widescreen or HD video. We'll assume the WKYC outpost at Main and Market has yet to be retrofitted with such equipment. The twice-nightly newscast produced there for Time Warner Cable is obviously not in HD, unless there are plans afoot that we don't know about.

We'll assume, though, in the general scheme of things, that WKYC will also add HD equipment in Akron...and even if the live HD transmission paths are probably still a ways off, they could still send live video to Cleveland in 16x9 SD...

WBNX SCHEDULE CHANGES: It's been tipped by contributors to our item below about WB affiliate-to-become-CW affiliate WBNX/55, but we've now found the confirmation.

According to this graphic found on the WBNX website, the station plans to air syndicated reruns of the hit show "Friends" in the weeknight 10 PM slot starting on June 11th. (We've edited the graphic down for space, to the top and bottom parts.)

That time slot is very significant...currently, it's occupied by "The Ninety and Nine Club", a religious talk show hosted by none other than WBNX owner Rev. Ernest Angley. We don't have any word on where Rev. Angley's show will move in the schedule.

UPDATE: We're told that Angley told viewers of his show that it would still air in its morning time slot - 9 AM - when we're told he sometimes does the show live. WBNX also apparently plans, if what we're being told is correct, to add an additional subchannel to the upcoming WBNX-DT, alongside digital/HD programming for the main channel. No matter what WBNX does as far as programming this subchannel, it'd probably provide an opportunity for Angley to get an evening time slot for his show on the new second outlet.

He's moved "Ninety and Nine Club" on his own station once before. The show's name refers to its old time slot of 9 PM weeknights, a placement Angley abandoned when he agreed to affiliate WBNX with the then-new WB network...

CBS Radio to Exit Two Ohio Markets

CBS Radio has been making noises about selling its smaller-market stations for something close to a year now, but the company has finally nailed down which markets it expects to exit.

The company says it intends to sell all of its stations in 10 markets, including the company's entire clusters in Columbus and Cincinnati. That'd leave only Cleveland in the CBS Radio portfolio in Ohio. (You can read the whole story at Radio & Records Online.) Other soon-to-be-former CBS Radio markets include Austin, Buffalo, Fresno, Greensboro, Kansas City, Memphis, Rochester, and San Antonio.

It's interesting that CBS is keeping some clusters that are in slightly smaller markets than some of those being divested. For example, while they jettison Columbus and Cincinnati, CBS suits are hanging onto markets like Las Vegas. Analysts speculate that expected market growth in sunbelt areas like Las Vegas and Orlando are driving CBS to keep those clusters.

The move comes as no surprise to CBS Radio Columbus VP/GM Valerie Brooks...who tells R&R that she'd expected the stations could have been sold at any time since the company picked them up from Jacor in 1998. Brooks tells R&R she's not worried about new ownership, calling the cluster's stations "fabulous stations with great sellers and air talent".

CBS Radio owns country WHOK, alt-rock WAZU and classic rock WLVQ in Ohio's capital city, and country WUBE, oldies WGRR, hot AC WKRQ and alt-rock WAQZ in Cincinnati. Staying with the company will be the Cleveland cluster of AC WDOK, hot AC WQAL, alt-rock WXRK and classic rock WNCX...

Monday, May 22, 2006

WKYC Flips The Local News HD Switch

As expected, Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3 did indeed start broadcasting local newscasts in high definition today...beginning with the 6 PM edition of "Channel 3 News".

The station did a slight revamp of their existing set, adding bright, colorful parts like the sign that now says "WKYC NEWS HD" at the top, and what may be an upgraded video screen in the middle of the main set. The weather area also got a makeover, with new "WeatherPlus" graphics.

WKYC appears to have the capability to shoot HD video in the field, as at least one story in the 6 PM newscast featured that video. But another story, a later breaking news piece that was bumped to the top of the show, was in SD. We couldn't tell for sure, but it appeared the live shot parts of both stories were in 16x9 widescreen SD. Perhaps, for now, WKYC's reporters can come in and edit pieces in HDTV in-house, but can't yet transmit that video from the field.

Weather segments featured the HD camera on forecaster Mark Nolan, and the graphics behind him were in SD with "HD" sidebars. Non-HD field video, from network sources and whatever was shot locally in SD, did not have the sidebars.

The move makes WKYC the second HDTV news operation in the Cleveland market, as WJW "FOX 8" has been using HD cameras in its South Marginal Road studios for months. WJW's field news pieces are still shot in SD...

The Week's Starting Menu

ONE FROM COLUMN A: A followup to our item about Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3 and its impending change to HDTV local news.

The station is now doing its newscasts from a temporary newsroom-based set, which looks to us like it's roughly "just behind" where the station's regular set would be. Here's a screen shot from Sunday night's "Channel 3 News at 11":

If we remember the placement of the regular WKYC set, it'd be to the left of where Lydia Esparra, Scott Newell and Betsy Kling are sitting, and further back from the newsroom back wall. We don't know if this means they just had to install HDTV cameras, or if they're working on a brand new set.

UPDATE: We hear the change could come as soon as tonight's 6 PM edition of "Channel 3 News"...

ONE FROM COLUMN B: An item from our long-time friend Scott Fybush and this week's edition of NorthEast Radio Watch. Scott tells us that Cumulus Youngstown market rocker WWIZ/103.9 "Rock 104" is abandoning a move to change its community of license from Mercer PA to Hermitage PA, closer to the heart of the Youngstown market.

Why? Scott believes that it may have to do with something called "Rule 4" in FCC parlance. That basically means that Cumulus/Youngstown is already grandfathered to be allowed to own eight stations in the Youngstown market, and moving WWIZ would result in that arrangement having to be abandoned.

In addition to WWIZ, Cumulus owns top 40 WHOT/101.1, classic rock WYFM/102.9, AC WLLF/96.7, sports WBBW/1240, and news/talk WPIC/790 - all attributed on the company's website to its Youngstown "Radio Center" on Simon Road. (We're pretty sure WPIC, as a Mercer County-targeted station, still broadcasts from studios on Pine Hollow Road in Sharon.)

Then, of course, there's country monster WQXK/105.1 and sister standards WSOM/600 listed in its "Canton Salem" office along with rock WRQK/106.9 in the Canton market. But, everyone on the list except for WRQK has main studios at the Youngstown complex. "K-105" holds down a sales desk or two in Canton.

All but WRQK can be tabbed to Cumulus/Youngstown, which makes the list more than would be allowed without the grandfathering clause.

An oddity when you go into the Youngstown market page for Cumulus (go here, then select Youngstown) - they also list "WBJT-FM 101.9". Are we missing something, or did Cumulus ever have even LMA control of the station now coming out of that Stop 26 Riverbend bankruptcy proceeding? The current calls - WRBP - date back to Stop 26's initial purchase of the station. And the above listed calls would presumably be a typo for the WBTJ calls 101.9 sported in its "Beat" Rhythmic Top 40 days...a format which eventually landed at Clear Channel's "Kiss FM" (WAKZ/95.9 Sharpsville PA).

ONE FROM COLUMN C: A brief visit with Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Roger Brown's Monday sports media column.

He enlists anonymous local media executives to speculate on former WKNR host Bruce Drennan's chances of returning to the airwaves, after he'll spend five months in prison for a tax evasion charge stemming from his illegal gambling. With answers from "I won't bet on it" to "interesting thought, but he does carry baggage", Brown gets a mixed reception.

But one media executive is already on board. In fact, according to Brown's column, that area news director will have Drennan write a weekly website column from prison! It should be no surprise to any local media observer which outlet would do so...yep, you guessed it, WOIO/19-WUAB/43's "19 Action News".

The station has a history with "rehabilitative hires"...remember the trouble Chuck Galeti got into before he was brought aboard first to do fill-in reporting, then as main sports anchor? In that case, it worked out very well, as near as we can tell. And Drennan would certainly be a good fit at "Action News", style-wise, if he eventually landed on the air after the prison term.

We have never been big fans, or even small fans, of Mr. "I LOVVVVVVE YA, CLEVELAND!". Our last straw wasn't the gambling thing, but Drennan singing show tunes on his old WKNR morning drive show. We always thought he was more schtick than substance.

But we have no problem with a "second chance" for him. Not at all. We heard him talk after his tax evasion case plea, via soundbites on one of his former employers, Cleveland Clear Channel talker WTAM/1100. And he said all the right things...he accepted guilt for what he did, and he didn't try to sugarcoat it.

We do NOT expect him to return to the airwaves of Salem's WKNR/850, for any number of reasons...both philosophical and programming wise, as they've basically moved on. But we wouldn't be surprised for him to show up elsewhere, even in addition to "19 Action News".

And in a "sign of the media times" item, Brown notes that WKNR sportscaster Neil Bender is not paid extra for his work on the FSN Ohio/WKNR simulcast "Cleveland Rants" Indians post-game show.

Well, that's not a surprise to us...we're also assuming that FSN Ohio's Les Levine isn't getting paid by WKNR for appearing on their airwaves as well... it's the "you pay your guy, we'll pay ours" dynamic that probably makes "Rants" even possible, considering the two employers involved. In the meantime, though Bender isn't getting any TV coin, he is getting the ability to compile TV demo tapes...

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"19 Action News" Hits New Low

Regular readers know that here at your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), we aren't usually at a loss for words when the subject is "19 Action News", the dual-headed monstrosity that occupies airtime at Raycom's local CBS affiliate, WOIO/19, and sister UPN-to-become-MyNetworkTV affiliate, WUAB/43.

We've hit that inability to say much more with this story, which we found in Saturday's "Tipoff" column by the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Michael K. McIntyre.

We find it hard to improve on the original, so we'll put up a few choice quotes about how WOIO handled a story of an "after hours strip joint" which led to the arrest of a local coffee shop owner...

Reporter Matt Stevens referred to "a woman who just arrived with a date" paying $20 each to get in and then engaging with a nude dancer in "an hourlong relationship that could easily be used as a definition of obscenity." The man and woman, their anonymity protected, were then interviewed about what "our undercover camera" caught.


What the reporter failed to tell viewers was that the woman, who works at a local legitimate strip joint, and a man were recruited and paid several hundred dollars by the station to get lewd undercover video. And they didn't sit there passively in the one-hour obscenity session.


For his defense, 19 Action News news director Dan Salamone tells McIntyre that he needed to hire the ringers because he was having trouble getting usable video with his regular news production staffers. Oh, boy. The cost of getting video of a situation Salamone says he really wanted to "expose" (ahem)?

"$300, including cocktails", says Salamone to the PD. Nice work if you can get it, no?

It reminds of us of the Los Angeles market, where video cameras roll every day taping this kind of stuff. Only the footage is not paid for by TV news operations - as far as we know. It gets transfered to tape and DVD and gets sold behind the curtain at the local low-rent video store, and is sold all over the Internet.

Say, Mr. Salamone! If you have trouble getting naughty stuff on video in the future, for a story on naked people...remember, in your own Reserve Square newsroom, you have an attractive female anchor who's willingly shed her clothes for your own cameras before. In public, even! For a news story! The money you put aside in this story for paying "interviewees" could have just been added to her bonus check.

Of note - McIntyre says the "pay for sex sources" story has hit a sour note even with some WITHIN that very newsroom.

When Mr. Salamone was hired as news director at WOIO/WUAB, he had been a manager at a Portland OR station with a far less, umm, unseemly reputation. We wondered how he'd fit in at Cleveland's 19 Tabloid News. We guess it didn't take long for him to do so.

OK, so we DID have a little more to say...

EXCLUSIVE: WKYC/3 News Coming in HD

As OMW tipped a month and a half ago, Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3 is now touting its newscasts in high-definition.

WKYC is now airing a promo tagged "local television redefined", and promises "the bigger picture... with greater clarity" in a spot helmed by Channel 3 News weekday anchors Tim White and Romona Robinson.

We have only seen the promo, so far, on WKYC's "NBC Weather Plus" feed. And it gives no indication when the newscasts will air in HDTV. For all we know, they already have started, since we haven't watched in a while...but we now have our HD DVR set up to record the station's newscasts so we can check for sure.

Though "local television redefined" is a nice tagline, WKYC is not the first station to do HDTV newscasts. WJW/8 "FOX 8" has been doing all of its newscasts in HD for some time now. What we believe MAY be different at WKYC - they may be airing local field video in HD, which WJW does not. Right now, "FOX 8 News" only airs the studio in HD...remote live shots are 16x9 SD widescreen, and all video is pillarboxed 4x3 SD.

WKYC, of course, has HD-capable facilities at its relatively new broadcast center at 13th and Lakeside in downtown Cleveland, and does HD production of Cleveland Indians games not only for itself, but for the team's SportsTime Ohio.

The move by WKYC is part of what appears to be a chainwide effort by station owner Gannett. The company has flipped or will flip local news to HD in markets such as Washington DC, Atlanta and Minneapolis...

Saturday, May 20, 2006

WEWS/5's Adam Shapiro Headed to NYC

Lose power and stay away from the keyboard for a couple of days...and what else can you miss?

The Plain Dealer's Julie Washington reports that ABC affiliate WEWS/5 morning co-anchor Adam Shapiro is leaving the station, is headed out of Cleveland and is moving to New York. Apparently, he doesn't have a gig in NYC at this time, and is just moving because he's wanted to live there for a long time...near family members in the area, for one reason.

Shapiro exits "Good Morning Cleveland" on June 2nd, and has even already sold his house and two vintage cars he owns.

Local TV veteran Jack Marschall, who's been flying in the station's helicopter as "Air Marschall", will fill in for Shapiro in the mornings until WEWS names a new "GMC" co-anchor. In addition to replacing him as a news anchor, Shapiro's departure means WEWS will also have to find a new host this fall for "Academic Challenge", the station's long-running weekend high school quiz show...

Not Driving To Talk

And another update to an earlier item - Detroit's WDTW/106.7 is not flipping from classic hits/rock "The Drive" to a FM news/talk format, one format that had been earlier considered one possibility for the station by industry observers.

No, "106.7 Needs Help", it now says, with names for a new country music format. So, Detroit doesn't go on the list in our watch of FM stations flipping to news/talk or sports formats, at least not now.

Unless, of course, they're "double stunting" with a temporary country format. We're reminded by a Detroit area resident among our group visiting for the weekend that 106.7 was a long-time country station before flipping to the rock hits format ditched last week. The station's old "W4" name as a country outlet is atop the "names" list on the 106.7 website. (We have a feeling they don't really need any help with the naming, either. Just a guess on our part...)

We also hear that Clear Channel had tried to throw people off during the Detroit stunting...dropping hints of a new rock format called "The Brew", presumably a clone of their similarly-named stations in Columbus and Milwaukee. But, we remember that Clear Channel did the same in reverse when stunting before the debut of Milwaukee's version of "Brew" - dropping all sorts of hints about a liberal talk format with the words "Air America" sprinkled in. (Clear Channel runs FM liberal talker WXXM/92.1 "The Mic" in the nearby Madison WI market.)

There are so many reverses and double reverses in this situation, we can't say for sure what the station will stick with. And radio being what it is, even "permanent" formats have a way of becoming somewhat more temporary than imagined...

A Three Tier HDTV Update

Our apologies for being gone for a day or two here at OMW. Not only are we busy enjoying weekend activities with some out-of-town friends who are in Northeast Ohio through tomorrow, but the palatial OMW World Headquarters was without power for the better part of Friday night into Saturday morning! And only the OMW World Headquarters, and about 34 other unlucky neighboring souls. All's back to normal, now.

UPDATE LEVEL 1: A clarification to our earlier item, suggesting that Cleveland market WB-to-become-CW affiliate WBNX/55 may not have its digital signal over the air until Spring 2007. Don't blame us...blame whoever answers the WBNX feedback E-Mail for this directly quoted answer, received by our OMW tipster as a reply to a message asking them about their digital situation in the wake of the approval of the WBNX-DT construction permit:

Thank you for your feedback. An antenna has to still be designed and built at our transmitter site. Spring of 2007 is a likely date. Thank you for watching wbnx-tv!

The information did NOT come from WUAB/43 or another competitor, and we thought we made that clear in the initial item. It came directly from the keyboard of whoever answers the "vwrfdbk" E-Mail address at ""'s the link you see on their web page under "Viewer Feedback". We did not pull this out of the air, folks. We did not make this up. It was not planted by a competing station.

If indeed WBNX is actively constructing its over-air digital facility and aiming to get The CW on the air in HDTV by this fall (or for that matter, whatever The WB runs in the summer in HDTV), someone better tell whoever answers their E-Mail to provide the correct answers to viewers. We understand WBNX is advertising their upcoming digital capability on air, but we have yet to see that in occasional watching of the station the past few days...and their "trends" web page has yet to be updated.

Quite frankly, the E-Mail we've been forwarded above didn't make a lot of sense to us, but it was (presumably) from a station employee charged with answering viewer E-Mail. (It would not be the first time that such an event has occurred, depending on what kind of attention a station pays to its incoming viewer E-Mail.)

We will attempt to get a straight answer from WBNX, and will post it here when we do receive that answer.

UPDATE LEVEL 2: WNEO/WEAO "PBS 45 & 49" programming and operations director Don Freeman weighs in on the digital TV situation at the Kent-based PBS affiliate. Freeman tells a home theater/HDTV hobbyist website about the station's travails with aging digital encoding equipment and automation interfacing, which have prompted some unwanted changes on the WNEO-DT/WEAO-DT signals:

Our first generation digital encoding equipment is showing its age. The unit has limitations and those, combined with our incompatible automation system interface, limit what the station can deliver. That's why the Information & Education Channel (CPB/Annenberg) has temporarily been discontinued. That is also why, after 6 months of effort, we are TEMPORARILY de-listing our HD service. That is also why we've made considerable changes to our 2am-5 am primary channel service.

We have been expecting funds from a federal grant to upgrade our automation system since September. We are now spending considerable time reviewing replacement mux and encoding equipment. But we are not abandoning HD as one of the significant broadcast streams in our future.

When we get all the pieces-parts together HD will be on the air again. I, for one, can hardly wait.

Don Freeman
Director of Programming and Operations

UPDATE LEVEL 3: Over in the Youngstown market, CBS affiliate WKBN/27's digital/HDTV signal is now available via Armstrong Cable channel 104. And sister WYFX-LP/62-WFXI-CA/17, better known as "FOX 17/62", is also available in digital format AND with FOX HD programming on Armstrong Cable channel 105.

Since FOX 17/62 can't literally do any better digitally over-the-air than an SD subchannel of WKBN-DT 41, the FOX HDTV feed is being sent via fiber optic from WKBN to Armstrong (as is the CBS HDTV feed).

There's no word on if Time Warner Cable, the other major Youngstown/Warren market operator, will add these feeds...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The CW and WBNX

The CW Network, which premieres in September on many former WB and UPN affiliates, has unveiled its premiere lineup at a new website, complete with video of the network's opening promo.

Meanwhile, OMW hears that WBNX/55 Akron, the Cleveland market WB affiliate that's moving to The CW in the fall, may NOT have its digital signal up in time for the fall CW season's high-definition programming.

OMW reported earlier that WBNX had finally received a construction permit for WBNX-DT 30, which has been tied up for years due to interference concerns with a Canadian station. WBNX said it'd obtained the verbal OK from the Canadians, but didn't hear from the FCC until the CP was approved.

An OMW tipster tells us the station is now telling viewers who ask about it that WBNX may not be able to put up the digital signal until "spring 2007". The station says it has to still design and build an antenna, for one.

We're not engineers, so we don't know how much work a station can do on a new facility - legally - before the FCC approves the construction permit. We're guessing they can build the physical building that would hold a new transmitter, if needed, but they probably can't work on any of the actual technical pieces that would create the new facility.

In the meantime, we're wondering why WBNX isn't readying a cable-only HD feed for The CW in the fall...

Thursday Fun Stack

Just a few odds and ends from various parts of the state and beyond:

STACK ITEM #1: You normally don't look to TV "up front" presentations for radio news, but that's what happened Wednesday. CBS head honcho Les Moonves tipped at the network's presentation to advertisers that the company's looking to sell off 35 "small market" radio stations.

It's not the first time the company's said that. It's not even the second time. And we don't have any indication, at least in the above-linked article from, of what markets CBS plans to exit.

We're assuming that Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati aren't on the list, for now. But a friend of ours who works for the company in the North Carolina "Triad" area (Greensboro et al.) may be working for new bosses if CBS ever gets around to selling stations in smaller markets...

STACK ITEM #2: AllAccess reports that Cox country powerhouse WHKO/99.1 "K99.1" Dayton morning man Jim Day is headed for a plum gig...mornings at Cumulus country WSM-FM/Nashville "99.5 The Wolf". (Jim's pictured here with "K99.1" morning partner Nancy Wilson.)

It's hard to think of many better gigs for a country morning guy than working in Music City, though the competition is quite intense in country radio there. Among other things, Day and partner Amy Nash will be up against country radio legend Gerry House and his "House Foundation" (on Clear Channel country WSIX/97.9 "The Big 98").

STACK ITEM #3: It doesn't have anything to do directly with Ohio radio, but it reminds us of something that happened here about a year ago.

Still reeling from reaction to a morning show parody called "Wetback Steakhouse", Cox rocker WBAB in Long Island is now dealing with more fallout from something it says it did NOT do - broadcast a racially-charged country song with numerous not-so-nice references to African-Americans, both offensive and violent.

Long Island Newsday reports that the station says someone apparently hijacked the WBAB signal, by interjecting their signal between the station's studio and transmitter site - disrupting the existing STL. WBAB programmer John Olsen says he's "not happy about it" and wants to find out who did it...saying the same song was interjected over sister CHR WBLI's signal a couple of years ago.

It reminded us of the stunting that Clear Channel's Akron/Canton cluster did shortly before the flip of then-sports "Fox Sports 1350" into today's liberal talk WARF "Radio Free Ohio". The local stunting involved a supposed pirate taking over the signal to "bring the truth to the people"...when of course, it was actually the station itself simulating such interruptions.

We're not engineers here at your MBoF(tm), so we don't know how likely it is for someone to overpower the Long Island station's STL feed and broadcast intensely racist hate songs. But we tend to think the station itself couldn't possibly do that. Well, unless they're the dumbest radio station in America - broadcasting such garbage just days after apologizing for a skit they DID produce.

They say "no publicity is bad publicity", but this would pretty much be it. The "Wetback Steakhouse" bit they can earnestly "apologize for", and not lose a lot of face. But this isn't the kind of "stunting" a legitimate radio station does...or anything anyone wants to be associated with. Just our thoughts...

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The OMW FM Talk Watch - Detroit?

In our continuing series highlighting moves to put talk, news/talk and sports formats on FM across the Detroit next?

AllAccess reports that Clear Channel Detroit classic rock/hits station WDTW/106.7 "The Drive" has pulled the plug on its eclectic format, and is stunting with "everything from Garth Brooks to Barry Manilow".

Detroit TV news legend Bill Bonds is reported to be voicing the stunting, directing listeners to make requests at "", and is inviting them to "build your own radio station".

One of the rumored permanent format candidates for the Detroit FM signal, according to AllAccess, is news/talk.

It makes a lot of sense. Detroit is used to talk on FM, with CBS Radio's long-running, successful hot talker WKRK/97.1. Meanwhile, Clear Channel has never mounted a serious news/talk challenge to ABC's WJR/760. The company's largest AM station is popular sports WDFN/1130 "The Fan", which is not changing format. The company started a second-tier talk station on 1310 AM, but that signal is not nearly good enough to go up against WJR with. (It's now liberal talk WDTW[AM], which oddly enough sports the same calls as the stunting 106.7.)

It reminds us a lot of Pittsburgh, where Clear Channel's AM signal (sports WBGG/970) is not good enough to go up against full-market blowtorch CBS Radio news/talk KDKA/ the company launched "FM News/Talk 104.7" on now-WPGB/104.7, and was more successful than anyone had anticipated. And the use of a market TV news legend to voice the stunting would seem to point to a news/talk format in the future, no?

We keep bringing this trend up - news/talk radio on FM - because of by now almost comical ongoing rumors that either Clear Channel or Infinity would do the same in Cleveland. But unlike Detroit, Clear Channel's AM in Cleveland IS the market blowtorch, WTAM/1100.

If the company ever does mount an FM spoken word format here, it could well be a WTAM simulcast. (Just a guess on our part, don't go to press with it!) But we'd expect that to happen only if there is competitive concern, much like Entercom did in New Orleans with news/talk giant WWL/870's new FM simulcast...moving to dull the impact of a rumored/now-announced new Clear Channel FM talker there...

WFMJ's Mark Koontz Will Be Back

After suffering a stroke during one of his weekend weather segments in March, NBC affiliate WFMJ/21 Youngstown meteorologist Mark Koontz will be back on the air this Saturday evening.

The Youngstown Vindicator reports that Koontz got hugs and handshakes from WFMJ co-workers, when he returned to visit the station on Tuesday. Koontz had trouble coming up with the right words when he had the stroke on March 17th, and needed help from weekend anchor Jennifer Baligush to finish his weather report. Koontz was then quickly whisked to a Youngstown hospital, and then lifeflighted to Cleveland later that evening.

He tells the Vindicator's Guy D'Astoflo that he's very thankful for the support shown by viewers, and that his doctor is prescribing less stress and a better diet for his recovery. He says health-wise, he's "90 percent back".

Cleveland area TV viewers over a certain age (including, umm, us) remember Koontz for his long-time stint as Dick Goddard's backup at then-CBS affiliate WJW/8...

Midday Items

ITEM 1: That was indeed Ron "The Ghoul" Sweed we heard plucking Froggy's magic twanger this morning on CBS Radio Cleveland classic rocker WNCX/98.5, as the station continues its search for a new morning show.

The Plain Dealer's Julie Washington updates that search, noting the laundry list of mostly veteran local radio personalities filling in the time slot once occupied by Howard Stern, and most recently, the David Lee Flop show. Er...Roth, sorry.

When CBS Radio Cleveland decided not to pit young-skewing shock talkers Opie & Anthony against the company's homegrown "Rover's Morning Glory", that opened up the floodgates. But not everyone's hoping to take the full-time gig...some are just doing it for fun, much like the week of "Five Cleveland Mornings", where the 6-10 AM slot became a reunion for almost anyone who's opened up a microphone on WNCX, WMMS/100.7 and other stations like the old "M105" (the former rocker WWWM, now Clear Channel oldies WMJI/105.7).

Like "Five Cleveland Mornings", the WNCX fill-in rotation has a definite "old WMMS" feel to it. Notable is an appearance by "Jeff and Flash", the long-time WMMS morning team of Jeff Kinzbach and Ed "Flash" Ferenc. Former WMMS voices "Slats" - who later hopped over to WNCX CBS sister alt-rock WXRK/92.3 - and David Spero have also been aboard.

Though WNCX is reportedly also listening to out of town applicants, CBS Radio Cleveland VP Christopher Maduri's job description for the new host/hosts would almost seem to ensure they'll have WMMS experience. He tells Washington that WNCX "is looking for a host or morning crew that can create a show that relates to Cleveland, pulls in listeners 40 and up and fits in with the station's classic rock feel".

With "The Buzzard" rock radio's golden child in Cleveland, especially for those in that 40-plus demo, we'd be shocked if a WMMS veteran or veterans were not in the WNCX morning chair. (And though we don't know if they're seriously trying for it, it'd be hard to beat the name recognition "Jeff and Flash" would have, especially in that demographic.)

ITEM 2: Second in our Julie Washington trifecta, as she notes the departure of Carole Sullivan, Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3's morning news co-anchor. Sullivan, known as Carole Chandler before marrying former Browns assistant coach Mike Sullivan, is following her husband to Kalamazoo MI...where he's an offensive line coach for Western Michigan University. She broke the news on Channel 3's morning show on Monday...

ITEM 3: And Washington finally catches up with our item about the hiring of new news director Mike McCormick at WKYC. The Jacksonville FL TV veteran ("First Coast News"/WTLV/WJXX) starts at Channel 3 in June. Exiting VP/news Dick Moore, headed for a role as associate professor at the University of South Carolina's school of journalism, heads south in July.

For the record, OMW gave readers a heads up on this item nearly one month ago...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lima's UPN Outlet to...ABC

In a late March item, OMW actually foresaw this possible outcome for Greg Phipps' UPN LPTVer, WLQP-LP/18.

The Lima News reports that come September 1st, "UPN 18" will become..."ABC 18". Apparently, Phipps has been trying to land approval for an ABC affiiation in Lima for some time. We're not sure why it didn't happen until now...perhaps ABC's own O&O affiliate up in Toledo, WTVG/13, stood in the way. (We seem to remember, last time we were in Lima, that WTVG had local cable carriage there.)

The move gives Phipps' three low-power Lima stations affiliations with three of the "Big Four" networks - ABC on 18, FOX on WOHL-CA "FOX 25" and CBS on WLMO-LP "CBS 38". He tells Lima News reporter Tim Rausch that they'll have to do some co-branding between the CBS and ABC affiliates, as they "don't have the ability to produce two newscasts at the same time", likely at the traditional times of 6 PM and 11 PM.

The move to ABC on 18 means that the recently announced My Network TV affiliation in Lima will indeed land out of pattern, we assume after 11 PM, on "FOX 25".

Across town at dominant Block Communications full-power NBC affiliate WLIO/35 "NBC Lima", they'll take on The CW network...which will not only replace WLIO-operated "WB100" cable channel "WBOH", but will also air on a subchannel of WLIO-DT.

And thus, like Charlottesville VA, the very small TV market of Lima will officially have every nationwide English-language general entertainment network represented on the local TV dial, even with the area's second full-power station running a religious format...

BREAKING NEWS: Drennan Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion

As expected, it's not the illegal gambling that was veteran Cleveland sports personality Bruce Drennan's was the taxes.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports this afternoon that Drennan pleaded guilty to evading federal taxes on winnings from betting on baseball games in 2003 and 2004. The plea deal between Drennan and prosecutors will put the talk host behind bars for five months, and under house arrest for up to another five months.

Drennan admitted placing the illegal bets with David Hammon Jr., who's now in prison on a two-year sentence for operating an illegal gambling operation and evading taxes. Prosecutors indicated earlier that they would not go after Drennan on the gambling charges, leaving only the tax evasion charges against him.

The former WKNR/850 and WTAM/1100 sports talker has been working as program director and midday host for Paul Belfi's (aka, a Cleveland-based Internet sports radio outlet. Until news of the gambling investigation surfaced, and resurfaced, Drennan held down mid-mornings at Salem sports talk WKNR...moving from morning drive after the station added ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike".

Drennan has actually been on TV frequently in the past few days, as one of the folks featured in SportsTime Ohio's special on the 25th anniversary of Indians pitcher Len Barker's perfect game in 1981. Drennan was in the Tribe TV booth that day, alongside play-by-play voice Joe Tait... who's rather busy these days with the Cavaliers' extended playoff run.

Bruce Drennan's formal sentencing is set for July...

WOAC/67 Needs New Programming

Shop at Home Network owner E.W. Scripps has announced it is shutting down the TV home shopping network, which airs locally on WOAC/67 Canton. In a company release, Scripps says it's shutting down the Shop at Home TV side, and the network's associated Internet site, on June 22nd.

The company has been doing some shopping of its own - shopping around the SAH stations to other buyers. Scripps says that effort continues, and they'll seek alternative programming for the stations while they seek a new owner or owners. The Scripps release says the company's lost $84 million on the effort since first buying into SAH in 2002.

There's no word, even in this report by Reuters, what kind of programming would be sought for the on-the-block SAH stations.

In Northeast Ohio, WOAC is actually technically a sister station of long-time Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 Cleveland, though we don't believe there's been any connection between the two local stations other than common ownership. And with Scripps still looking to sell off the stations, presumably as a block, there may not be even the outside chance the company will do anything with WOAC and WEWS here...even temporarily.

Channel 67 began life as an attempt to bring Canton a new independent, secular TV station, after WJAN/17 turned into religious WDLI, and eventually landed in the hands of the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

The station actually mounted a small local programming effort, with local news updates by Scott Davis and public service talk shows with Sherry Lee (our swiss cheese memory isn't all that clear if that's her correct name). It was also the first station to air local "Ghoul"/"Ghoulardi" knockoff "Son of Ghoul", who now airs on "The Cat" low-power combo (WAOH-LP 29/Akron - W35AX/Cleveland).

And the land of low-power TV is where Canton-serving local TV ended up.

After being bought by Paxson Communications (WVPX/23 owners), WOAC/67 upgraded to the maximum 5,000,000 watts of UHF power to serve the entire Cleveland TV market...and was then sold to Shop at Home. Image Video's WIVM-LP/52 Canton then became the latest entrant in the Canton Local TV Sweepstakes, and still operates today with sister LPTVer WIVN-LP/29 Newcomerstown aiming at nearby New Philadelphia and Coshocton...

A Neighboring Update

Insomnia leads us to an early morning update that really doesn't have much to do with Ohio, especially if you are an Ohio State Buckeyes fan, but it clarifies an earlier item of ours.

We had learned that Michigan Wolverines football broadcasts were headed off of long-time flagship WJR/760 Detroit, and wondered if that's what paved the way for Cumulus Toledo talker WTOD/1560 to pick up the games starting this fall.

As it turns out, it appears Northern Ohio will still be blanketed by a Detroit-area AM powerhouse's signal for Michigan games in the fall...just a different signal.

Detroit News writer Angelique S. Chengelis reports that the AM flagship for Wolverines football is expected to be announced soon, and it'll likely be in another country. Canada, that is, on 50,000 watt blowtorch CKLW/800 Windsor ON. CKLW focuses mainly on the Windsor area with its news/talk format these days, but has a rich history serving both sides of the international border. CKLW also runs a handful of U.S.-based syndicated talk programs, such as Dr. Joy Browne, Dave Ramsey, and Premiere's "Coast to Coast AM" overnight show.

The football team also ends up on FM via CBS Radio oldies WOMC/104.3, and Wolverines basketball and hockey get split among two Detroit CBS Radio AM stations, news WWJ/950 and sports WXYT/1270.

We don't feel TOO bad for Chuck Matthews and the gang at Toledo's WTOD, though. Even with a big signal like CKLW blowing down I-75 and across Lake Erie, they'll still be able to sell the local call of the Michigan games in Toledo with no problem...

My Network TV Slowly Expands in Ohio

With The WB and UPN going away in September, new merged network The CW - and new competitor My Network TV - are slowly building their nationwide affiliate lists.

But unlike The CW, the network owned by UPN parent CBS and WB parent Time Warner, FOX's My Network TV is ramping up rather slowly in Ohio. There's now officially a CW affiliate in every Ohio market short of Zanesville, a puny mini-market which will likely see its WB100 cable channel flip to CW+ without much fanfare.

My Network TV has only managed to sign up affiliates in Cleveland (WUAB/43 UPN) and Cincinnati (WSTR/64 WB), until today. The MNTV folks have announced a clearance in Lima, where Greg Phipps' WOHL-CA 25 "FOX 25" is now listed as the network's new affiliate.

We'll assume that's a mistake, and that the MNTV affiliation is instead headed for Phipps' WLQP-LP 18 "UPN 18"...which would seem much more likely to us than a delayed clearance on FOX 25. MNTV probably listed WOHL's call letters due to parent FOX's main network airing there. (The CW will air in Lima on a newly-minted subchannel of NBC affiliate WLIO/35.)

My Network TV still has to announce affiliates in Columbus, Dayton and Toledo.

It'll likely be stuck with a delayed clearance or a new DT subchannel in Columbus, with LIN TV's WWHO/53 "UPN 53" landing as a CW primary affiliate recently.

WWHO has carried WB programming out of pattern, so it'd only make sense that they could do the same with MNTV if the network has no other choice in the market. And LIN TV has an existing relationship with the My folks...affiliating some of its stations with MNTV before going with the CW in markets like Columbus.

Dayton may be a little easier, as we're surprised My Network TV hasn't inked a deal with WHIO-TV's sister station, cable/digital-only "UPN 17". (CW goes to WB's WBDT/26.)

Toledo is a little more interesting. With the current cable/digital/satellite-only WB affiliate ("WT05 - Toledo's WB") going to CW, the My folks may be without a broadcast option with the questionable status of UPN affiliate WNGT-LP 48 - in bankruptcy receivership and likely to be picked up by the Cornerstone Church.

And we wouldn't be surprised at all if there is no new My Network TV option in Youngstown. The market never had a UPN affiliate, with Cleveland powerhouse WUAB/43 filling that role with extensive cable coverage...and WUAB will likely act as Youngstown's imported My Network TV affiliate as well.

My Network TV doesn't have a generic cable feed like WB/CW, so it'd be status quo unless perhaps WKBN/27's sister FOX affiliate WYFX/62 "FOX 17/62" carries the network out of pattern at 11 PM. Or, if ABC affiliate WYTV/33 somehow mounts a new digital subchannel to run MNTV. We don't consider that very likely...

Monday, May 15, 2006

Odds and Ends and Sides

ODDS: Exiting "Kiss FM" Cleveland PD Dan Mason weighs in with AllAccess on his appointment as PD of sister Miami top 40 outlet "Y100": "It's an honor and privilege to be part of one of the most legendary Top 40 stations in America. This is my dream job and I look forward to working alongside DAVE DENVER and (RVP/GM) MIKE CRUSHAM to make an already great station even greater."

Radio and Records Online has their version of the story here. It reminds us of how Mason, by far WAKS' first programming employee, guided the station's move from class A rimshot 104.9/Lorain (now upgraded and used by Seaway classical WCLV) to the much stronger 96.5 signal once occupied by Akron's WKDD (now on Canton-licensed 98.1 out of an upgraded stick in Hartville).

As far as the opening caused by Mason's departure south, Clear Channel regional programming VP Kevin Metheny is heading up the search at WAKS. He's soliciting resumes and audio via E-Mail at his CC E-Mail address. For those who don't know the mailing address of the Clear Channel World Domination HQ by now, it's 6200 Oak Tree Boulevard, 4th Floor, Cleveland, OH 44131-2510.

We're far from experts in the realm of Top 40 radio, but we'd have to say that Kasper has a good shot at shedding the "acting" from his new "Kiss FM" title. For one, he's been alongside Mason as APD/MD for some time at WAKS, except for a brief stint doing afternoons at Clear Channel Philadelphia top 40 outlet WIOQ "Q102"...

ENDS: The Toledo Blade finally picks up on the exit of long-time WSPD/1370 news director Tom Watkins from the Toledo Clear Channel building, which OMW first reported last week.

The Blade's Russ Lemmon characterizes the move as "getting the boot", though Watkins (and WSPD program director Brian Wilson) will not comment on the specifics to the newspaper as the parties work out a separation agreement. Watkins will NOT call the move a "retirement", and says he's "on the market" for a new gig. Clear Channel Toledo's news department is now overseen by Wilson's wife, veteran radio news anchor Cassie Wilson.

Meanwhile, WSPD's newest employee - former WNWO "NBC 24" reporter Kevin Milliken - has been filling in news-wise. And Milliken also continues hosting the talk show "Eye on Toledo" (weeknights 6-7 PM). Despite burning the radio candle at both ends of the day, Milliken continues to update his new blog. Hmm. Either he's a reader of OMW, or he just happened to pick the same Blogspot template...

SIDES: AllAccess reports that there's a new local show in evenings at Clear Channel sports talker WONE/980 Dayton ("980 Homer"). "The Sports Mafia" features Steve Huggins, a station weekender and former host at a Sarasota station, and producer/host Dave Alexander.

"The Sports Animal" is primarily a repeater for its sister Cincinnati station, WSAI/1360 ("1360 Homer"), and mirrors the Cincinnati-based station's programming from 6 AM to 6 PM, including affiliations for both stations with Premiere's Jim Rome. But the 6-8 PM slot has been local for some time...we're just losing memory of the show/hosts who held down evenings before on the Dayton station. WSAI airs Premiere's Phil Hendrie in the 6-9 PM slot, when it isn't pre-empted by sports play-by-play.

And a side note to our side note - NBC TV has declined to pick up Hendrie's sitcom, "Teachers", for the 2006-2007 TV season. But Phil was well aware of that prospect even before announcing he was leaving his radio show to concentrate on acting...


OMW hears it is official - Clear Channel Cleveland top 40 WAKS/96.5 "KISS FM" program director Dan Mason is exiting the station, heading for the PD slot at legendary Miami CC sister top 40 outlet WHYI "Y100".

APD/MD/afternoon driver Kasper has been tapped as acting program director while the station searches for Mason's permanent replacement.

UPDATE: AllAccess quotes CC South Florida regional programming VP Dave Denver on the move: "Dan's an exciting programmer. We love his promotional mind and passion for the format. He has proven himself at WAKS taking that from a baby startup to a successful Top 40 within CLEAR CHANNEL. We think he's going to bring all that programming expertise to our successful Y100 brand for the youthful culture of SOUTH FLORIDA."

The OMW "News/Talk On FM" Watch

We promised to bring word of companies converting FM stations to talk or news/talk (or sports) formats across the nation, and there's now officially another one on the way. (Thanks to Perry Michael Simon at AllAccess for the tip!)

In New Orleans, Clear Channel is about to wipe out classic rock mainstay WRNO/99.5 for a new FM news/talk station. New Orleans Times-Picayune media columnist Dave Walker reports that the "working date" for the new station is June 1st. From the description, it sounds like it'll be a lot like the company's successful FM news/talker in Pittsburgh, WPGB/104.7. Clear Channel actually has had the rights to ABC Radio's Sean Hannity for a few months - a competing AM talker stopped airing Hannity in February - and we wouldn't be surprised to see them to land Rush Limbaugh as well.

But the flip has been all over the radio rumor mill in the Big Easy for at least a month or two. In fact, Entercom, which owns news/talk powerhouse WWL/870 in New Orleans, recently added a permanent FM simulcast to the AM broadcast. Many NOLA radio observers believe Entercom returned FM 105.3 to the WWL simulcast as a pre-emptive strike to Clear Channel's then-rumored FM talk effort.

There are indeed some parts of this story that are unique to New Orleans. In the weeks and months after Hurricane Katrina, Clear Channel and Entercom actually cooperated to form "United Radio Broadcasters"...delivering vital news and information over a number of both AM and FM frequencies owned by both companies (and others). Clear Channel has apparently come to the belief that they need a news/talker in New Orleans due to the continuing appetite for news and information in that market.

For now, this makes New Orleans one of the few markets with two major FM news/talk stations. Others include Salt Lake City, where Bonneville AM blowtorch KSL/1160's FM simulcast on 102.7 gets competition from upstart Simmons FM talk KFMS/97.5.

The WRNO name may be familiar to radio hobbyists even far afield from New Orleans. "The Rock of New Orleans" once had a shortwave radio sister station, which simulcast large chunks of the FM rocker's programming some time ago. The shortwave outlet known as WRNO still exists as far as we know, though it is no longer co-owned with the FM station now owned by Clear Channel. It now runs mostly paid religious programming, and hasn't simulcast WRNO-FM in many years...

It's Roger's World - We Just Live In It

Our weekly dissection of Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Roger Brown's Monday sports media column, with some extra added flavor by OMW:

* Actual news out of the column concerns the growing interest in high school football by local sports TV outlets. Noting that FSN Ohio has already said it will do high school games in the fall, Brown adds that competitor SportsTime Ohio is expected to do so as well, perhaps airing a live Saturday night "game of the week".

Last we heard, STO plans to go 6 PM-midnight daily in a couple of months or so, though we suspect the already-existing replay of the night's Indians game will cover much of that time.

* Brown also reports rumblings that STO may sign up local radio sports voice Mark "Munch" Bishop (mainly heard on Clear Channel's WMMS/100.7 and WMJI/105.7) as a correspondent for the Ohio State Buckeyes' upcoming football season. It'd be a good move, and "Munch" has not only done some TV work...he's filled in doing weekend sports anchoring at WOIO/19's "19 Action News"...but he's a fixture on radio Buckeyes coverage out of Columbus on WTVN/610.

* Non-news items include a talk with WJW/8 weekend sports anchor and local TV sports fixture John Telich, with a note that he "recently" got a 3 year contract extension. That extension would push his on-air tenure to nearly 30 years at the local FOX station. Of course, much of that was during WJW's time as the local CBS affiliate.

* And Brown weighs in on comparing Cleveland sports radio to what's offered in Detroit. It's hard to argue with his conclusions, based on our brief experience dipping into the web stream offerings of Detroit sports stations WDFN/1130 (Clear Channel) and WXYT/1270 (CBS Radio). At very least, the competition appears to be much stiffer in the Motor City...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Cincinnati Road Trip

Well, it's a virtual road trip to the Queen City, since a quick look at the OMW budget shows we can barely afford to leave the OMW World Headquarters...

STOP 1: Some changes at CBS Radio's Cincinnati cluster, courtesy of Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio columnist John Kiesewetter's excellent blog...WKRQ/101.9 "Q102" programmer Patti Marshall ascends to OM of Q102 and sister alt-rocker WAQZ/97.3. Marshall keeps her Q102 programming duties, and Julie Evans slides into that chair at WAQZ from the promotions director's seat.

On the TV side down in Cincy, Brian Giesenschlag moves from sports reporter to sports director at WXIX/19 "FOX 19", replacing now-minor league baseball voice Dan Hoard. Giesenschlag and WXIX are looking for his replacement in his old gig.

STOP 2: As we mentioned earlier, Premiere Radio is debuting a new AC-focused morning show hosted by Whoopi Goldberg. We noodled through the unlikely chances for it to end up airing on Clear Channel's hot ACs WMVX/106.5 (high-rated "Brian and Joe" in the way) and WKDD/98.1 ("Matt and Angela" also are not going anywhere).

If "Wake Up With Whoopi" ended up outside the Clear Channel AC/hot AC universe, CBS Radio's WDOK/102.1 isn't about to let go of Trapper Jack, and even a replacement of "Wilde and Fee" on WQAL/104.1 with a syndicated Premiere offering is unlikely.

As for Cincinnati, "Kiese" jumps in with a comment from WMVX's sister station in Cincy, WVXM. "Mix" programmer "Bobby D" tells the columnist in an item this week - "The Whoopi show announcement yesterday was the first I heard of it. We are coming off 2 very strong ratings months and feel the more music in the morning angle is working very well for us."

Across town in the Cincinnati Post, TV/radio columnist Rick Bird notes "Mix" Cincinnati's mediocre morning drive ratings for the music-intensive show hosted by Mike Stevens, and says "many local radio observers" expect Whoopi to show up in Cincinnati in July...

Friday, May 12, 2006

Premiere's Glenn Beck Confirmed For 3 Hour WHLO Slot

As first reported here on OMW, Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron is indeed expanding the live clearance of Premiere's Glenn Beck - to its full 9 AM to noon time slot.

The station had polled listeners via its website about the change. Beck has been airing for only two hours (10 AM-noon) due to the repeat of the first hour of the morning show hosted by WPGB/104.7 Pittsburgh's Jim Quinn and Rose Somma Tennent. At least a part of the reason for the Quinn and Rose repeat was due to the station's weaker night-time signal, which encroaches into morning drive during much of the winter months.

Former Elyria Newspaper/Radio Group Leader Dies

This one directly from our OMW tipster in the area, Nathan Obral (photo courtesy Elyria Chronicle-Telegram)


Arthur D. Hudnutt, retired publisher of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and Medina Gazette, and former chairman of Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting, passed away (Thursday). Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting owns WEOL/930 and WNWV/107.3, so it's recognized as a rare grandfathered radio/newspaper duopoly.
Hudnutt served as publisher for the C-T's parent firm, Lorain County Printing & Publishing, from 1970 to 1991. Concurrently, he also was chair of ELB (solely owned by LCP&P) through this same period. Control of both parties have rested in his son's hands, A. Cooper Hudnutt, since.


The Plain Dealer obituary on Hudnutt says services will be held Saturday morning at Elyria's First Congregational United Church of Christ. Hudnutt was 76.

In addition to the newspapers and WEOL/WNWV, Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting also owns country WKFM/96.1 "K96" Huron, AC WLKR/95.3 Norwalk and oldies WLKR/1510, also in Norwalk...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mr. and Mrs. Golic?

We're not sure if it is leading to anything permanent, or what prompted it, but Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 afternoon drive host Bob Golic has his wife, Karen, aboard as a co-host on his show today on the Akron market talk station.

We heard someone ask about her presence on the show this afternoon, and we got the idea that they might find some sort of on-air role for her...if not necessarily co-hosting the show with her husband.

Mrs. Golic once filled in for her former Cleveland Browns star/husband on his Saturday afternoon show, while Bob was busy with TV duties for a WOIO/19 pre-season Browns telecast...

Two Cleveland-Related Moves

Two moves involving Cleveland radio names this afternoon:

* Former WXRK/92.3 program director Kim Monroe lands quickly after her departure from the CBS Radio alt-rocker, and lands on the music end of the business. She's been announced as National Director of Artist Development and Promotion for Sony/BMG/Red Strategic Marketing. Monroe will reportedly work out of Cleveland, for now. R&R Online reports she'll not only be working with radio stations, but will create "marketing concepts for artists".

* Eddie Bauer, who's been APD/MD of Radio One urban WENZ/107.9 "Z107.9" Cleveland, heads south to Dayton to program sister Radio One CHR/rhythmic WDHT/102.9 "Hot 102.9". He replaces Craig Blac, who exited to program yet another Radio One outlet, CHR/rhythmic WHHL/104.1 "Hot 104.1" St. Louis. We'll assume Eddie's heard all the jokes about a certain New England outfitter...

Blocked Up And Off The Air

Best wishes to former Cleveland-based host Shane "Rover" French, who is recovering from being hospitalized on Monday. Chicago Sun-Times radio/TV beat writer Robert Feder reports that French left his now-Chicago-based morning drive show early on Monday, and checked himself into a Chicago area hospital for tests. "Rover's Morning Glory" is telling listeners that Rover suffered from "an intestinal blockage".

A word of advice to CBS Radio's morning doggie, as we wouldn't be surprised if the host formerly based here was reading - keep away from Feder's columns, as they may not help your indigestion. Feder, who's actually a really nice guy in person, hasn't been Rover's biggest fan since he moved to the Windy City in January. Or even before...

TOLEDO: WSPD News Director Out

OMW hears that long-time WSPD/1370 Toledo news director Tom Watkins has left the Clear Channel talk station after 7 years.

The Clear Channel Toledo cluster recently hired Cassie Wilson to oversee news at all of the company's stations. Wilson is the wife of WSPD program director and afternoon drive host Brian Wilson, and also anchors newscasts in afternoons on WSPD.

Ears in the market tell us that newly-minted 6-7 PM "Eye on Toledo" talk show host Kevin Milliken has been heard doing news in the wake of Watkins' departure. Milliken recently came to WSPD after a stint reporting at NBC affiliate WNWO "NBC 24"...

Morning Thoughts

Some random, unconnected, late morning thoughts:

THINKING OF FM: OMW has promised you updates on FM stations across the country flipping to a news, talk or spoken word format, and there's another on the way. Bonneville, which has been leading the way in this, is buying Emmis' CHR/rhythmic KKFR/92.3 in the Phoenix market and will flip it to a simulcast of their news/talk AM in the market, KTAR/620.

The announcement follows the company's move in two other large markets, moving all-news powerhouse WTOP in Washington DC to a primary FM broadcast, and adding an FM simulcast of flagship news/talk KSL in Salt Lake City. And it follows the company's announced goal of adding more news and talk on the FM band.

Bonneville, of course, doesn't own any stations in Ohio. But we still believe the trend will become red hot in the next couple of years, particularly if Bonneville and others (Clear Channel in Pittsburgh and Minneapolis) have success with these new operations. If nothing else, the presence of the spoken word format on FM lowers its demographics by a few years.

Oh, and if Good Karma Broadcasting's Craig Karmazin is really serious about mounting a sports talk station in Cleveland, he'd do well to look at an FM. We don't know if he can afford a full-market FM in a top-30 market, but he's young and likely agrees with us on this trend.

The obvious Cleveland FM candidate would be Moody's WCRF/103.3, but they've likely turned down any number of multi-gazillion dollar offers from the majors over the years. If they didn't sell in the big Cleveland Frequency Swap of 2001, they may not sell now...and as well as he seems to do, Karmazin likely doesn't have that kind of money.

Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting's WNWV/107.3 Elyria could well be another candidate, but we're sure the locally-owned Cleveland-targeted smooth jazz outlet has also seen offers from the major groups and turned them down before. And we don't expect that to change.

It's a thought, though...FM is the new "plastics" for news/talk format operators. (Think "The Graduate"...)

WHOOPI! (YAWN.): You've no doubt heard by now that comedienne Whoopi Goldberg is the latest mega-star to try her hand at radio, with a recently announced deal with Clear Channel. "Wake Up with Whoopi" is set to start in morning drive on July 31st, and is aimed mostly at AC stations. Stations will apparently be able to program the show's music locally, much like a couple of other syndicated morning shows which aim at different demographics.

The Premiere-syndicated show will be based in New York City, and a CC executive hints to Radio & Records that some "major" stations are already on board. The initial affiliate list will be announced in early July.

We're going to assume that Whoopi's morning show is not likely to be heard in Cleveland or Akron/Canton, at least on Clear Channel-owned stations. For that to happen, either or both WMVX/106.5's Brian and Joe or WKDD/98.1's Matt and Angela would have to go, and that'd be considered somewhat north of "unlikely". (Unless, of course, Mr. Patrick has a REAL retirement announcement in his future. Heh.)

And though the music mix would apparently be locally selected, the show seems aimed at AC stations, anyway...though we suppose hot AC stations could come along for the ride.

Like AllAccess news/talk/sports maven and Friend of OMW Perry Michael Simon, we were also rankled by Whoopi's press release. "Radio is an area I have always wanted to play in," it quotes the star of such gems as "Jumpin' Jack Flash". (Not every movie can be "The Color Purple".)

You know, Whoopi? We've always wanted to "play in" the movie business. Can you call up a producer or two and make that possible? Thanks. Sheesh! At least the Air America Radio folks didn't say they wanted to "play in" radio when that motley collection of movie stars, comedians and an actual talk show host or two started their venture...

What, Whoopi, you saw John Tesh doing morning drive for a smooth jazz station or two and thought it'd be easy?

RADIO WASTELAND: Regular OMW readers know we're pretty much a news/talk/sports creature when it comes to our regular listening. (We try, really, not to give short shrift to music formats, but there's only so much one can say about Matchbox 20, and actual PERSONALITY radio offerings on the music side are few and far between in 2006.)

We were up in Lake County visiting some friends the other night, and we did a scan of the AM band in the 8 PM hour...and were sorely disappointed.

The lakeshore counties have the benefit of getting any number of stations on both AM and FM from anywhere from Detroit to southern Ontario. ABC Radio news/talk WJR/760 Detroit and CHUM's news/talk CKLW/800 Windsor ON blast across the lake like local signals into the lake-facing counties, and were no exception the other evening. It's no wonder that CKLW, in its historic top 40 incarnation, regularly showed up in the Cleveland ratings book.

This night, though, it wasn't contemporary music or even local - or Canadian - talk blasting across Lake Erie from that powerhouse stick at 800 AM. It was, and no, we're not making this up, DAVE RAMSEY. Yes, the homespun Southern money advice guy is now being cleared in Canada. (Isn't there a law against that?) Presumably, Ramsey considers CKLW his Detroit market affiliate, though the station mostly aims at the Canadian side with its news/talk format.

For ABC's WJR, it was Dr. Laura Schlessinger, enjoying one of her now-very-few 50,000 watt clearances. Here in Ohio, Dr. Laura can't field a station larger than Canton's 500 watt religious/talk WCER/900, but she hangs in there on WJR for whatever reason.

And CKLW and WJR were not the only booming disappointments that night. Sean Hannity was heard on two stations, WRVA/1140 Richmond and WOWO/1190 Fort Wayne. Clear Channel powerhouse WHAM/1180 Rochester was pumping out...Michael Savage. Why do we even bother to bandscan at night?

Locally, Cleveland's 50,000 flamethrower, WTAM/1100, was dutifully presenting a Cleveland Indians game with, we believe, Kansas City...and 50,000 watt day/4700 watt night WKNR/850 was covering the team down the street from where we were, the Lake County Captains. Our frustration was mostly aimed out of the Indians and Captains play-by-play offerings were certainly preferable to a blowtorch signal delivering Dr. Laura or Dave Ramsey...