Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Roger's Back From The Beach

Here at OMW, we usually joke that when we're out of town, or too busy to update this blog on a regular basis, things happen. We didn't know that Cleveland Plain Dealer sports/media columnist Roger Brown had the same problem, but he apparently does...

Anyway, Roger's back from his most recent vacation and weighs in on the two biggest local sports media stories of the past week...the abrupt dropping of WOIO/19 as the Cleveland Browns' local TV partner, and the abrupt dropping of WKNR/850 as ESPN's local affiliate.

WOIO'S FIGHT: Brown quotes WOIO's normally chatty VP/GM, Bill Applegate, who says the station has turned over the dispute with the local NFL team to its attorneys. Applegate even helpfully provided the PD columnist with the name of that law firm - Cleveland's Weston Hurd - though Roger's still playing phone tag with a lawyer from that firm...and Applegate had nothing else to say.

Could WOIO "force" the Browns to stay with them, and ride out the two years left in the local rights contract?

OMW doesn't even have a legal firm on retainer, so we aren't gonna take a shot at that one... even if we had a copy of the contract. But our gut feeling is that Browns owner Randy Lerner ran this one through the team's presumed squadron of lawyers before deciding to cut loose... not to mention the vast legal representation the National Football League has.

Most contracts have escape clauses, which anyone who has signed a contract would know. WOIO certainly is not going to throw up its hands and say "sorry!", and Raycom Media would be stupid if it didn't run to its own lawyers to see if there's a way out of this.

But we don't give them much chance, in the end...

WKNR'S NEW NETWORK: Brown tells us that WKNR, having lost ESPN Radio after the network dropped a 90 day notice on them, is looking to join up with either FOX Sports Radio or Sporting News Radio as a network partner. Wait..."word is", says Roger.

Umm...

Last time OMW checked, there were only two other options in the national sports radio network game. FOX Sports Radio, or Sporting News Radio. That's it. It doesn't exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out that WKNR will hope to sign up with one of those two networks. They will HAVE to sign up with one of them!

Even if WKNR decided to program three or four repeats of Premiere's Jim Rome in the nighttime and overnight hours, they still need a national network...and not just because they have to fill hours of programming on weekends. And those are the only two left after the loss of ESPN Radio, unless Roger knows about another sports radio network that we haven't heard about...

UPDATE 8:45 PM 7/19/06: We're reminded of the Sports Byline USA folks, who even syndicate a show produced right here in Northeast Ohio on their network. (That would be the "Average Joe Poker Show", which is produced at a studio in the Clear Channel World Domination HQ/Southern Command on Freedom Avenue in Jackson Township...)

But Sports Byline USA isn't really in the same category as either Sporting News Radio or FOX Sports Radio. Its primary focus is the late night show of the same name, hosted by Ron Barr. That show airs 10 PM-1 AM (ET).

It also offers an overnight show. The schedule outside of that seems spotty, with a number of specialty shows and frequent repeats of those shows during the daytime hours.

It's not really a replacement network for a station losing ESPN Radio...

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe WKNR will be signing up with Dan Snyder's new XXX network in Washington, DC.

:-)

Anonymous said...

Selling the fish but keeping WKNR as sports. I know sports is a money maker but based on the target demo, and some of the content, why would Salem want to keep it? I always assumed that Salem #1 goal was to spread the gospal of Jesus and make money second. If that is not the case then why do they have a preach and teach that is so damn right winged and a contemp christian radio station that has a secular show (jon tessh). If they do take Fox sports, what happens to the 2 Cleveland/Akron stations? I mean if WJMP shares FOX sports with WKNR how will they pull off calling WJMP Akron-Cleveland? I think that somehow WKNR will be sold to Good Karma and will become Cleveland's 24/7 ESPN station. Now if Cleveland could find somehow to get a few extra AM and FM stations with good signals and different formatswe would be all set.

Anonymous said...

If only news corp and fox could find a intrest in owing radio stations instead of leaching off clear channel. They could buy out Salem communications and make 850 am a sister to ch 8 again. 850 could be fox sports or fox news, 1220 could be opposite of 850, 1420 could run talk, and the fish could be a rock station or maybe a jack-fm station. I could see it now fox news 850 WJW-AM. If only Ruopert would re think his radio plans and ambititions.

Ohio Media Watch said...

As we said, we're having trouble grasping the idea of Salem selling 95.5. Period. The format is one of their key formats, and 95.5 is one of the better signals in the market.

We just threw up the rumor we heard was being kicked around, and we're frankly hoping someone can help us out with it if it is worth anything. So far, nothing. We're not going to that proverbial betting window on that.

The prospect of Craig K. buying 850 is not that far fetched, we guess, assuming Salem is in a selling mode.

When Roger Brown first put his name out there, Karmazin was supposedly kicking the tires on either WKNR or Radio Disney's WWMK/1260.

The only problem here, though, is that the recent drop of ESPN Radio from WKNR appears to genuinely have caught the station by surprise, and is not tied to changes (as far as we know) in their own facility.

-OMW

Anonymous said...

can ch 19 actually stop the browns? I don't see how unless there is no escape clause in the contract.

Anonymous said...

What is the goal/mission (mission statement) of Salem? It seems that if it is to preach and spread the gospal of jesus sports with Jim Romie doesnot quite fit. But here in ne Ohio we do have a wb staion that is owned by a preacher that at one time would beep out the word hell out of family sitcoms yet buy the rerun weekend rights to both buffy and angel that feature deamons from hell, and ch 17 that at one time was owned by Jim Bakker himself so I quess it is normal for religious stations to have 2 adgendas.

Anonymous said...

OA-I love this blog.
Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

There's always Sports Byline USA Network for WKNR :)

radio moron said...

i think the browns would be smart at put something that would let them get out of the contract.

Anonymous said...

is Sports Byline USA still around? Guess I will google it hehe.

Anonymous said...

Bring back One On One Sports!

Anonymous said...

Sporting News Radio is the former One-on-One Sports. Paul Allen owns it right now, but it's on the block.

SNR currently has former ESPNer Chuck Wilson (10p-2a), David Stein (2a-6a), and the biggest draw over there, Tony Bruno (9a-1p). But they've had some serious money problems of late, too.

Sports By-Line is currently on sportstalkcleveland.com from 10p-1a. Sports Overnight America is from 1a-6a. It could fit, but it has nowhere near as much weekend fillers as when WKNR first aired it...

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...

I think you meant Todd Wright, not Chuck Wilson.

Mark Shroeder said...

While vastly underrated, I think the Sportingnews Radio Network is a far more entertaining syndicated brand than Fox Sports. Tony Bruno alone is worth the move (most Clevelanders probably remember him from ESPN radio's infancy). He has a terrifically entertaining show. David Stein is also very good (in the same mold as Chuck Booms - although you can now hear everyone's favorite Euclidian Saturdany and Sunday nights on Fox Sports radio).

Tim Brando knows his college football and is a delight during the season. All of the above would match Greg Brinda's ratings...he's awful, and everyone knows it. How is that guy still employed?

Anonymous said...

How is that guy still employed?

You know the answer to that question. We all do. He works for next-to-nothing. Remember, they fired him once in order to pay Drennan. When Drennan imploded, they brought Brinda back because they coulnd't afford anyone else.

He's beyond awful.