Wednesday, July 26, 2006

WTAM Names Its Newsroom

OMW first talked about this way back in December, when we learned that Clear Channel's Madison WI news/talk station sold naming rights to its newsroom to a local bank.

Some seven months later, Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland has followed suit in selling newsroom naming rights...though the station did not turn to a bank, it turned to a utility.

WTAM's local newscasts are now tagged "from the WTAM/1100 24 Hour Newsroom, powered by The Illuminating Company and Ohio Edison". We don't know how long they've been doing this, but we just heard it today. ("Powered by", get it?) Due to the need for FirstEnergy to name both its Cleveland-based and Akron-based systems, it's a bit unwieldy.

The sponsorship tagline leads one to wonder what'll happen if there are massive power outages in the region. "The 24 Hour Newsroom, one of a few things still powered by...", perhaps? OK, so we're having a little fun with this...


Anonymous said...

When the power goes out, the sponsor becomes Onan Generators

Ben said...

I heard this today for the first tme and noticed it right away. I think it is kind of tacky - but I guess you do what you have to do. WTAM has not been providing the greatest news lately, IMO.

Anonymous said...

Oh, real nice.

So, tell me. What happens when there is a negative story about First Energy?

The Clear Channel lunacy knows no bounds.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait until they sell the rights to Triv's private bathroom.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, "This potty break brought to you by Cleveland City Hall and the Summit Co. Executive's Office, where the stink ain't coming from the toilets." How's the traffic, Pat...?

Dan Mcdowell said...

I'm very disappointed with that news. I used to do radio in the market (WHK-AM 1420) and always looked up to their operation at Oak Tree. Not anymore.

Neil said...

>> "WTAM has not been providing the greatest news lately, IMO."


I can't stand their constant use of slang. It is "cops", "kids", and "bucks" instead of police, children, and dollars.

News should sound authoritative. WTAM doesn't.

Neil said...

I have never understood why WTAM reporters always claim to be "live in the newsroom".

Where else would we think they were--the employees' cafeteria?

Maybe that has just been a placeholder all along, and maybe now we'll have to hear the sponsor's name ("live in the Illuminating Company newsroom")?


Anonymous said...

News should sound authoritative.

Why? Regular people don't talk like authoritative.

Remember when news was sponsored by cigarette companies on TV? Geritol? it's no different.

Anonymous said...

Quick historical tidbit:

CEI owned WTAM from 1927 to 1930. In fact, they owned the station at the time it attained a clear channel I-A designation.

Even still, it's just another stupid Methany move. Way to go, WTAM. You did it again.

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...


It's not a Metheny move. Its a national move by one than more radio company. Naming rights are another way to work in a sponsor mention without the clutter of a :60 or a :30. They are proving to be effective and popular.

Remember when WSLR broadcast all nite from Bob's Big Boy? WHLO broadcast from Maddoxx Fine Furniture? All regular shows, sold for the name mentions and no spots.

I'm sure you've never watched the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl or any "Nextell" cup races?

No difference.

Anonymous said...

Exactly right, anonymous. Naming rights to bowl games, arenas, and stadiums are standard. It's another way to work in a sponsor that pays big money to have their name repeated often.

Let me say that again: pays big money.

How dare Clear Channel try to actually make money.

Because you know, radio is a gratis business. It's not run for profit, it's run because people enjoy spending all their time and money broadcasting information and entertainment out of the goodness of their hearts.

Those evil bastards have ruined it for everybody. Next thing you know, other stations will actually be selling their products to advertisers in exchange for currency as well.

Those bastards.

Ohio Media Watch said...

I'm kind of in the middle here.

Goodness knows direct commercial sponsorship is nothing new to newscasts. Your PEV(tm) has been in radio for nearly 20 years, and we've said "this news brought to you by" for nearly all of it at one point or another.

I'm just trying to figure out if this is a step "beyond" a line...with one continuing sponsor attached to newscasts, hour after hour.

I honestly don't believe WTAM will cover FirstEnergy's operations any differently because of this.

From hands on experience in many similar newsrooms, these issues very rarely filter down to the day to day issues of covering news.

And let's face it - WTAM is not about to do a multi-part series exposing FirstEnergy's flaws even WITHOUT taking their sponsorship money. The station is mostly a headline service, and that's what commercial news/talk radio basically does in 2006.

To expect any different is pretty much idealistic in light of the current state of radio.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, but I wonder if WTAM would air the 9-1-1 call of the First Energy CEO's sister's daughter tragically dying?

Anonymous said...

Neil wrote:
"I can't stand their (WTAM) constant use of slang. It is "cops", "kids", and "bucks" instead of police, children, and dollars.

News should sound authoritative. WTAM doesn't."

-Maybe Neil would listen to the high and mighty, educated newscasters at WCPN. They were so authoritative they barely made mention of the hundreds of people forced to evacuate their homes in the big flood. Of course you wouldn't expect their reporters to get their chinos dirty actually covering local news. Give me WTAM any day.