Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thursday Grab Bag

Back to our potpourri:

NO LAST MINUTE SCORE EXPECTED: Those hoping for a last-minute settlement between Time Warner Cable and the NFL Network, keeping that network on the systems once owned by Adelphia and Comcast, are about to lose hope.

Broadcasting and Cable reports that it's not looking good for a long-term deal between TWC and the NFL Network. The cable operator says the parties still talking, but says "nothing conclusive" has come of those talks. And if you ask the NFL's owned-and-operated network, they say talks have actually broken off entirely.

So, unless there's a major change, it appears ex-Adelphia and ex-Comcast types now under the Time Warner umbrella will once again lose NFL Network as soon as Sunday, though TWC officials say the removal may be staggered to provide a buffer for the FCC mandated 30-day notice about the end of carriage.

And B&C makes the same point we did, about Time Warner basically having the upper hand for now:

The NFL Network carries every preseason game, but does not have a regular season game until Thanksgiving (Nov. 23, Denver vs. Kansas City), so, while the FCC acted quickly to restore the preseason games in August and try to nudge a market solution, after the regular season starts Sept. 7, there would arguably be less government impetus to push the parties until November, and Time Warner is free to pull it.

NEW TV NEWS WEBSITE: Vindicator NBC affiliate WFMJ/21 has become the latest local TV news operation in the Youngstown market to revamp its website. is now known as "21 News Now", and features not only breaking news and newscast video, but a web-only "21 News Nowcast". We checked last night, and that video file was updated at about 9 PM.

Channel 21 has had news video on its website in the past, but the video was usually delivered by very small, low-bandwidth RealVideo files. The new video is designed for high speed Internet connections and is somewhat clearer.

OMW hears that WFMJ sister station WBCB "The Valley's WB", soon to become the Youngstown market's CW affiliate, will also get a new website soon...

URBAN TALK DROP: It's not here, but Pittsburgh's WAMO/860 drops the Radio One-provided Syndication One urban talk lineup after just 6 months to return to an R&B/classic soul format.

That move, along with rumors that Radio One's own WILD/1090 Boston is for sale - its FM sister was sold to Entercom recently, and WILD has itself dropped the company's talk lineup for gospel music - is prompting some to wonder how much time Rev. Al Sharpton and company have on the national talk radio landscape.

The two situations aren't really related.

For one, WAMO is actually owned by Radio One rival Sheridan Broadcasting, the Pittsburgh-based urban radio outfit. It was a surprise to see Sheridan sign up with the format in the first place.

As for Boston, it appears Radio One is actually exiting markets where it does not have a reasonably sized cluster built up.

That is not a problem in Cleveland, where the company owns four stations - WERE/1300 and WJMO/1490 on the AM side, and WZAK/93.1 and WENZ/107.9 on the FM side.

For now, it wouldn't appear changes are afoot at the company's local Syndication One affiliate, WERE...aside from the rumors that incoming WABQ/1540 owner Craig Karmazin will broker 7 PM-6 AM on 1300 for his ESPN Radio sports talk format...

Cavs Announce New FSN Deal - WUAB Not Entirely Shut Out

The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced the expected new deal with FOX Sports Net Ohio, but what wasn't expected was the continued involvement of Raycom Media UPN/MyNetworkTV affiliate WUAB/43.

The team says the "multi-year deal" calls for 70 games a year on FSN Ohio, and five of those games will also be simulcast on WUAB. Playoff games not airing on ABC nationally will be aired on both outlets.

That's certainly a significant drop in Channel 43's coverage, and it won't even be the exclusive outlet for its five games. But the TV/sports rumor mill had long said that the Cavaliers would go entirely with FSN Ohio...and end over-air broadcast presence entirely.

Cavaliers' president Len Komoroski says though the team is expanding its relationship with FSN Ohio, "at the same time, even though a very high percentage of the market now has cable or satellite, it was important to us to have a meaningful number of games still available via an over the air format, including playoff games."

Whether fans consider five games a year plus some playoff games "meaningful" is open to question. But it's five more than the "zero" expected while talks continued over the past few weeks and months.

The new deal picks up with the upcoming 2006-2007 Cavaliers season.

Cleveland Plain Dealer sports media columnist Roger Brown reports something that wasn't mentioned in the press release - the announcing team of Fred McLeod (inbound from Detroit Pistons TV duties), and incumbent analysts Scott Williams and Austin Carr. We suppose the heat over the firing of Michael Reghi has not yet died down enough for the team to include McLeod's name in the announcement.

As for the analyst side of things - with there no longer being an even split between FSN Ohio and WUAB, Brown reports that Williams and Carr will do their own split of duties...with Williams heard on 40 telecasts a year, and Carr on 30...

Air America's Turbulent Times

The biggest brand name in liberal talk radio, Air America, is going through some times that could even charitably be described as "rough".

The most visible evidence of the network's problems involve the actual on-air schedule.

Wednesday afternoon, about 30 minutes before he was scheduled to fill-in for AAR afternoon drive host Randi Rhodes, Atlanta-based late night host Mike Malloy was told his services would no longer be required by the network.

Malloy, on his own website, says the move was explained as a "financial decision", just days after he believed he was staying on under a new contract:


There will be no Mike Malloy program on Air America Radio as we have been terminated as of 8/30/06.

We are as shocked as you are, especially since as recently as last Tuesday we were told we had the go-ahead to announce our return to NY airwaves and that our contract was "on the way."

We are told its a financial decision.

More details to follow as we hear them ourselves.

Malloy's own 10 PM-1 AM ET show is being covered this week by Detroit-based Peter Werbe, the long-running weekend talk show host at Greater Media Detroit rocker WRIF/101.1.

Malloy's situation is by far not the network's only scheduling change.

As OMW has reported, AAR evening host Sam Seder has been announcing his move to the mid-morning network slot currently occupied by (partially) Cincinnati-based host Jerry Springer.

We also hear that Seder and Springer may actually co-exist in that time slot, with "Springer on the Radio" moving to a syndicated effort decoupled from the turnkey AAR feed...offered to whatever stations still want to carry it.

That'd make the Springer radio show AAR's second "syndicated" show, after Thom Hartmann's 12-3 PM ET program, but we have to wonder if Springer's program is just being sent out to die at the expiration of his contract with Clear Channel.

OMW has heard rumblings that Randi Rhodes' afternoon drive show - delayed to evenings on all three Clear Channel Ohio liberal talk outlets - will be clipped from four hours to three, and that morning host Rachel Maddow will move into a two hour 6-8 PM weekday slot.

One reason this makes sense is that Maddow loses New York City starting tomorrow. New AAR flagship WWRL/1600 will not carry AAR's morning drive programming, keeping an existing local morning show with Sam Greenfield and Armstrong Williams.

Rumblings from the rumor mill suggest that syndicated hosts "The Young Turks" will slide into the AAR morning slot.

How this affects Ohio's three progressive talk stations - if at all - is hard to say. Of the three stations, Springer is only heard on home base WSAI/1360 in Cincinnati. If AAR is hanging onto him as a syndicated show, he'll likely stay there until the end of his contract with Clear Channel.

All three stations carry Rhodes' afternoon drive show delayed into evenings, and WTPG/1230 Columbus has long carried only one hour of that program. The only effect to stations like Akron's WARF/1350 "Radio Free Ohio" is that there will physically be one less hour of Randi's show to run on delay.

WTPG and WSAI do carry "Air America Mornings" with Maddow and Mark Riley, which sounds like it's ending. We wonder if either station will consider picking up Jones Radio's Bill Press, who is heard locally on the station which started his current show, WARF.

And none of the three Ohio Clear Channel liberal talkers carries Mike Malloy's late night show live, or even delayed, on weekdays. Malloy's "best of" Saturday late night broadcast has been heard, and we assume the local stations will carry whatever AAR feeds in that slot - or run "best of" segments from other shows already on the schedule...

Q92 Digging Out of Hole Over Controversial Bit

Canton market top 40 WZKL/92.5 "Q92" is apparently saying "uncle" after strong reaction to a bit by evening personality "Igor".

The Canton Repository reports that the Alliance-based station has officially apologized for a regular bit called "Name that Tune with Mongoloid Mike". The Repository's Melissa Griffy Seeton reports that the contest "invited people to sing a song as if they have mental retardation and listeners tried to guess the song to win a prize." The Akron Beacon Journal's Mary Kay Quinn also has a story in today's paper.

According to the Repository, Igor's first response was - among other things - to blame people outside the Q92 listening area for stirring up the pot.

But it quickly became clear that much of the negative response was from hundreds of Stark County residents, as members of the local Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities board mobilized to flood the station with complaints over the past few days.

As a result, MRDD officials got an official apology call from Q92 general manager Don Peterson III, a statement of apology by programmer John Stewart, and a pledge from Igor to kill the segment.

In an on-air statement Wednesday, Igor noted that it wasn't his "intention to hurt anybody" with the bit:

“I try to do an entertaining show every night and didn’t realize that maybe some people would take offense to this. ... It’s been pointed out to me that this isn’t a proper forum for such behavior, so, and actually I do know where you’re coming from. I have a cousin who has Down syndrome, so I can relate to those who’ve made complaints about it.”

And the station has posted its apology on the Q92 website (warning, CAPS LOCK ahead):


Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) is fortunate, in that we have no family members who are so affected.

But one of our best friends in this world is the adoptive mother of a developmentally disabled 16 year-old boy. We've spent a lot of time with her and with her son, and over that time, we also became somewhat sensitive to stuff like this. Maybe we're "too sensitive"...we don't know. We're sure that some will consider this incident "political correctness run amok". Knowing this woman and her son, it's hard for us to laugh about this.

We don't really know Igor. We suspect he's a reader of OMW, and everything we've heard about him tells us he seems to be a "good guy". We hope he takes this all to heart...

Some Canton Thoughts

A LOW-POWER FULL-POWER FM: Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) toured around in the OMW Mobile(tm) on a drive from Portage County, into Tallmadge and then Cuyahoga Falls, with the sole purpose of checking out the currently low-power signal of Cumulus rock WRQK/106.9 Canton, otherwise known as "Rock 107".

Low-power's the word for it, alright.

Let's put it this way - WRQK includes not only Canton and Massillon in their legal ID, but also Akron and Alliance. No one in either city is listening to this reduced signal.

In parts of the drive above, "Rock 107" was fighting it out signal-wise with Jones Radio's syndicated evening show hosted by Lia Knight...which we'd assume was coming from Clear Channel's "Buckeye Country" in Marion, WMRN/106.9. Neither signal was listenable for any period of time.

We don't know much about what happened, but OMW does hear the station has been operating only on its exciter for at least part of the past few days. We previously reported folks working on the WRQK transmitter, which is located at 22nd Street near Whipple Avenue in Canton - co-located with the studio and transmitter facility for religious/talk WCER/900.

All of this comes just days before Clear Channel is scheduled to take over WRQK's operations, in an LMA that - at last report - was set to begin on Friday.

MORE OLDIES: While we're electronically in Canton, just one note about a topic which consumed a lot of energy here - rumored changes at NextMedia oldies WHBC/1480 in the Hall of Fame City.

About the only thing we're hearing lately is that the Canton outlet may actually be expanding its oldies library, at the behest of local staff wanting to open up the playlist.

We hear that NextMedia corporate programming types are still trying to figure out what might be demographically desirable for the Canton station's long-term future.

And for that matter, we're not getting any word that any of this is imminent, or even, enjoy it now!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Midweek Items Mostly Outside Town

Some more items this Wednesday:

TOLEDO TURMOIL: There must indeed be "something in the water" in the Toledo radio market, and the stations in that area might want to check.

This time, brand new WWWM/105.5 "Star 105" program director Mark McKay, who replaced Steve Marshall just days ago, is out at the Cumulus Toledo hot AC outlet. OMW has no verifiable information on the reason for McKay's quick departure from the Star PD post.

Marshall was barely out of the building - he announced his resignation about two weeks ago, and left the station on August 18th. McKay showed up for his first day at "Star" just nine days ago, on August 21st...

CMA'ING IT: The Country Music Association has announced the nominees for the CMA Broadcast Awards.

There aren't a lot of Ohio nominees, but CBS Radio country WUBE/105.1 "B105.1" gets a nomination not only for Large Market Station of the Year, but for its morning show - "The B105.1 Morning Show with Bill and Amanda".

And one former Ohio personality is nominated as well...a name very familiar to Cleveland radio listeners. Former WGAR/99.5 afternoon driver Danny Wright is up for National Broadcast Personality of the Year for his Jones Radio overnight show "Wright All Night".

And as mentioned here before, Danny's at least an occasional reader of Your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), so we give him all the OMW Jungle Karma we can muster... (with apologies to Premiere's Jim Rome...)

HOGUE MOVES: We alluded a ways back to a former Northeast Ohio radio talk show host losing his gig in another out-of-state market.

For fans and friends of former WHK/1220-WHK-FM/98.1 talk host Eric Hogue, we're pleased to announce that the move in question doesn't put him out on the unemployment line.

Hogue, who did an afternoon talk show when he was here on the station now known as WHKW/1220 "The Word", is moving from his morning drive perch on Salem sister conservative talk KTKZ/1380-KTKZ-FM/105.5 in the Sacramento market.

Salem has announced that he lands in afternoon drive for a two hour talk show on their Christian talk/teaching outlet in the Sacramento market, KFIA/710. And as a bonus, Hogue picks up a second station in the move... a big one, Salem's 50,000 watt Christian talk/teaching outlet KFAX/1100 in San Francisco.

As a result of the move, KTKZ will adopt a fully satellite-fed schedule...featuring mostly Salem's "Where Your Opinion Counts" conservative talk lineup, which is heard here on the company's WHK/1420...

WAKR Dumps The Bird

Rubber City Radio standards/news WAKR/1590 Akron has sent the Dial-Global (formerly Westwood One) "Adult Standards" format packing, at least during weekdays.

The station has announced a "live and local" lineup of on-air personalities for its music hours which used to be covered by the satellite. That lineup apparently starts today. Among them - former WKDD/then-96.5 program director Chuck Collins, who is now heard on WAKR in mid-mornings.

Collins calls the station's new local lineup "a new kind of WAKR", and apologized to listeners for any glitches as the station "goes back to West Market Street". Despite that mention, what we heard of Collins' first show was smooth.

Collins announced that station veteran Bob Allen will take over middays - he's already been heard doing a music shift in afternoon drive, and has been already been in middays hosting the WAKR Noon News block. WAKR also stays in-house for afternoon drive with Tim Daugherty, the long-time Rubber City voice also heard mornings on sister rock WONE/97.5.

WAKR's Ray Horner continues in morning drive, and the station will continue as the local affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, Browns and Cavaliers.

We don't know what they'll do in the nighttime and weekend hours not covered by sports yet, though we'll assume non-weekday hours will still be in the standards format, and either locally automated or still with the satellite service.

Though the new lineup is being presented as "live and local", we'd have to assume, for example, that Daugherty isn't burning the clock candle on both ends by doing the WAKR afternoon shift live.

We alluded to Collins' hiring at Rubber City in an item in mid-July, and also alluded to the end of weekday satellite programming on one local station around the same time, though we hadn't connected the dots until hearing Collins on WAKR today...

Alliance Radio Owner Dies

The patriarch of the Peterson family, owner of Alliance-based WZKL/92.5 "Q92" and WDPN/1310, died Saturday evening at the age of 88.

Donald A. Peterson, who was publisher of the Alliance Review newspaper before owning the Stark County city's two radio stations, was a Navy veteran and participated in numerous boards in the Alliance and Stark County region. The Youngstown native spent the bulk of his life in Alliance.

His family continues to operate the radio stations today. Grandson Donald Peterson III is the general manager of Q92 and WDPN.

A full obituary, and a link to an online condolence book, is at the website of the Cassaday-Turkle-Christian Funeral Home in Alliance...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Former WDBN/Medina Owner Passes Away

We can't let too much time go by without noting this:

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that former WDBN/94.9 Medina owner Robert Miller has passed away at the age of 71, from complications stemming from lung disease.

Miller bought the powerful Medina-based FM station in 1968 off of a stint at Cleveland's WERE/1300. The station now known as Rubber City Radio Akron market country outlet WQMX once programmed beautiful music as "The Quiet Island", from a studio and transmitter facility near the I-71/Rt. 18 interchange.

The PD article also points out something even those who knew Miller from WDBN may not have realized - he was a dynamic community leader in Medina County, long after he'd sold the radio station...

Some Loose Ends

Continuing in our "non-theme theme" week:

WABQ/WERE: We wanted to get the details on what potential overlap there will - or rather, won't - be between soon-to-be Good Karma Broadcasting's WABQ/1540 and the station which is rumored to be partnered with it in running nighttime programming, Radio One talk WERE/1300.

WABQ chief engineer Chris Quinn gives us the heads up on the facility he currently tends to.

In November and December, for example, the station signs off entirely at 5:45 PM, leaving an hour and 15 minutes between that time and the reportedly possible 7 PM start of ESPN Radio programming on WERE.

As we suspected, WABQ's minimal post-sunset authority power level is small - anywhere from 18 to 21 watts.

And the FCC website notes that 5 PM is the alloted sunset time for WABQ's facility in those months, which means the last 45 minutes of that time will be on "sub-lightbulb power", as it were.

But a look at the sunrise sign-on times for WABQ - which has no pre-sunrise authority - could be an even bigger problem for Mr. Karmazin and company.

"ESPN Cleveland" (presumably) would lose up to an hour and 45 minutes of ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" show...between WERE breaking off from the LMA at 6 AM for local talk host Ronnie Duncan's morning drive show, and the 7:45 AM sign-on for 1540 in the EDT hours of October, and all of December and January.

Again, it's roughly the same problem Karmazin has in Milwaukee with WAUK/1510 Waukesha WI. And assuming Radio One is on-board in brokering the 7 PM-6 AM hours on 1300 to Good Karma, they aren't going to be flexible beyond that due to their incumbent urban talk programming.

The WABQ signal is, at best, marginal...particularly beyond the core inner urban areas of Cleveland's East Side. We'd have to believe Karmazin is working with his engineers in Wisconsin to squeeze out a power upgrade somehow.

But we've talked about this at length before. There's just not a lot of room for WABQ to get a substantial power increase...and any such power boost will have to be a tightly directional signal to get it between the existing powerhouses on or near the 1540 frequency, let alone smaller stations nearby...

WRQK PROBLEMS: While we're talking about engineering, we don't know much more about what's plagued Cumulus-to-become-Clear Channel rock WRQK/106.9 Canton on a technical level.

But OMW reader John Amrhein, operations manager of talk/religious WCER/900 in that city, tells us he's seen engineers working on the WRQK transmitter. WRQK's transmitter site is at the facility which houses WCER, at 22nd Avenue near Whipple in Canton...

CORBY'S WIFE PASSES: Our most sincere condolences to WTVN/610 Columbus host John Corby, whose wife Jennifer has died of cardiac arrhythmia at the age of 50.

WTVN program director Bruce Collins calls Jennifer "a neat person, a really sweet person" in an interview with the Columbus Dispatch. The station is giving Corby "all the time he needs" in this time of grieving...

Early Tuesday Grab Bag

Some scattered items, the first two from long-time OMW reader/tipster Nathan Obral:

WWVA CHANGES: Nate tips us off to the addition of TRN's Michael Savage to the lineup at Clear Channel talk WWVA/1170 Wheeling WV.

The station carries two hours of Savage from 6 PM-8 PM, which clips local afternoon drive show "The Drive Home with Steve Novotney" down to 3-6 PM. It's actually the second TRN placement on the weeknight WWVA schedule, as the network's "Advice Line with Roy Masters" airs as part of the 8 PM-1 AM paid religious programming block...

Nate also notes that WWVA is no longer running a long-time programming staple - the repeat of the Saturday night "Jamboree USA". After "Jamboree" ends on WWVA, locally-programmed "Net Biz Radio" now follows from 9-11 PM on Saturday nights...

COURTRIGHT ON THE MOVE: An OMW reader asked us recently about the current whereabouts of Cleveland radio news veteran Ken Courtright.

We responded that Courtright and his family had settled in the Dover/New Philadelphia area in retirement, where his daughter had already gotten into the "family business".

After working at WTUZ/99.9 Uhrichsville-New Philadelphia as a news person, Julie Courtright moved to WEOL/930 in Elyria. Mr. Obral tells us that she's recently joined the crosstown combo of WOBL/1320 - WDLW/1380 as a news anchor/reporter...

WRQK IN NEWS, THIS TIME NOT DUE TO SALE: We're getting several reports that Cumulus rock WRQK/106.9 "Rock 107" Canton is much harder to hear than normal, especially outside of Canton.

We hear unconfirmed reports that it's due to some sort of transmitter problem that's taken hold since over the weekend.

We can't confirm that staff from Clear Channel tripped over a cord when they left after Friday's visit.

(Umm, that's a joke, folks!)

We do know that WRQK - under whichever ownership - will have to replace the aging tower which now holds the 106.9 stick off Whipple Avenue on 22nd Street, but we're pretty sure that work hasn't begun yet. It wasn't even in the process of being prepared when we drove by the facility a couple of weeks or so ago.

When that work is completed, the new tower will also - eventually - hold the antenna for the incoming 101.7/North Canton signal, the facility known for now as WJER-FM...

Monday, August 28, 2006

Roger's Monday Media Column Again

There's actually some meat this week, for those of us who take apart Cleveland Plain Dealer sports/media columnist Roger Brown's Monday Media Column...

ESPN NIGHTS: As speculated here repeatedly, Brown reports that "word is" that Radio One talk WERE/1300 may be handling the nighttime ESPN Radio programming commitment in Cleveland, from 7 PM to 6 AM 7 days a week.

The main ESPN Radio affiliation in the market is expected to move from Salem sports WKNR/850 to current gospel outlet WABQ/1540 sometime around mid-October, when new owner Craig Karmazin is expected to take that station over.

If the report is correct, it's likely due to Karmazin duplicating what he does in Milwaukee.

Like in Milwaukee, his to-become ESPN Radio affiliate in Cleveland is a daytime outlet. In Brew City, Karmazin brokers 6 PM-6 AM 7 days a week to run "ESPN Milwaukee" programming on urban talk WMCS/1290 in that market.

We assume that if it happens, the WERE deal would start at 7 PM due to Radio One's incumbent afternoon drive hosts, sports talk duo "The Two Live Stews". In Milwaukee, the first hour of the broker/LMA deal on WMCS includes a local show.

The arrangement solves Karmazin's daytime problem in Milwaukee, for the most part...and would do so here as well. However, winter would mean - in both cities - that there would be a gap between sign-off of the daytime signal (WAUK there, WABQ here) and the resumption of night-time programming on the brokered second signal (WMCS there, WERE here).

WABQ has a small post-sunset authorization, but it is with little power, and we're pretty sure it doesn't last until 7 PM 12 months a year. Perhaps WABQ engineer Chris Quinn, a regular OMW reader, can chime in.

There's also the pesky little problem of promoting two frequencies - "ESPN 1540 Days, 1300 Nights", as it were, as Karmazin does in Milwaukee.

The move - if it takes hold - would seem to signal that Karmazin is hanging onto WABQ as his primary outlet in Cleveland. We'll be checking for moves to upgrade that signal, which is fair to poor everywhere but Cleveland's east side...

ROGER'S PLUGS DEPT.: After plugging long-time column staple Chris Rose's new gig on FSN's college football coverage, the Artful Roger notes that Friend of the Column Ronnie Duncan picks up a new role as "main sports personality" at Winston Broadcasting's WBNX/55.

There isn't much word on Ronnie's workload at the local WB-to-CW affiliate...other than "sports-related segments" on the station and a daily sports webcast on

TV PROGRAMMING: Brown notes incoming Notre Dame programming on SportsTime Ohio - due to the popularity of the school in Northeast Ohio, says STO boss Jim Liberatore. He also notes that the network has passed on carrying Canadian Football League games.

OTHER STUFF: Brown reports that WJW/8 sports anchor Tony Rizzo gets some work for the network which owns "FOX 8". He'll be on the sidelines as a reporter when FOX airs the Browns' home opener with the New Orleans Saints on September 10th.

Roger says that ratings for Lake County Captains minor league baseball games on WKNR/850 "easily exceeded" expectations of Captains' officials. Of course, he doesn't say what they expected.

He also notes that WOIO/19 news anchor Sharon Reed gets "juicier sports assignments" than her sports department colleagues. Reed gets into the ring as announcer for a boxing event in the Flats next month...

Random Monday Items

Our apologies for the indigestion being suffered by Blogger this morning. We're thisclose to investigating alternatives.

TOLEDO TO CLEVELAND: OMW hears that WTOL/11 Toledo reporter Bob Jones is heading "back home" from the CBS affiliate to Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5...the tip coming from the folks at NewsBlues.

Jones' WTOL bio says the Euclid native has been a reporter for "Toledo 11" since 1994, joining the station a year earlier. He's listed as WTOL's "court and crime reporter". And his bio says that as a 10 year old boy, the Euclid native "would mimic news anchor Tim Taylor on WJW in Cleveland".

Oddly enough, WTOL is also the destination for WEWS reporter Brad Harvey, who is leaving the station and its Akron bureau for a morning anchor gig at the Raycom CBS affiliate in the Glass City...

LIMA TO DAYTON: We're hearing conflicting reports on our earlier item about the Lima TV market losing a few thousand people, dropping it to nearly the bottom of the top 200 markets in the 2006-07 Nielsen list.

Someone dropped us a note letting us know that Lima lost Auglaize County and its approximately 10,000 TV homes to the Dayton market. We also have a note on our earlier item that the Lima market lost Findlay to the Toledo market, but we thought that happened some time ago.

KIM'S IN: Syndicated computer talk show host Kim Komando can add this part of Northeast Ohio to her market list, finally.

Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron is adding Komando's show Saturdays from 3 PM to 6 PM.

We believe Komando has been heard on WKBN/570 Youngstown, but until now she's never managed to make it to Akron, Canton or Cleveland.

Komando is syndicated out of Phoenix by WestStar, a syndicator co-owned by her and her husband, veteran KFYI/550 Phoenix host Barry Young...

ROLLYE'S IN: While we're mentioning WKBN, we noticed on the station's program schedule that the Clear Channel Youngstown talker has picked up Philadelphia-based syndicated host Rollye James' show to take the 10 PM-1 AM weekday slot vacated by the end of Premiere host Phil Hendrie's show. James is also heard on WHLO, now from 11 PM to 1 AM...

DAN'S IN: Former Sandusky and Mount Vernon radio guy Dan Baisden is starting a new job today in Lafayette IN. Dan tells us he starts today as program director of Artistic Media top 40 outlet WAZY/96.5 "Z96.5"...

OOPS, NO HD: It's hard for us to verify the status of HD Radio operations without, well, an HD Radio receiver.

We've been reminded that Clear Channel rock WMMS/100.7 Cleveland has not YET turned on their HD carrier, despite the fact that some of WMMS' Clear Channel sister stations have done so.

The delay we heard in the Cleveland Browns pre-game on 100.7 on Saturday was solely the standard analog profanity delay...

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Speaking of Sports

With the title as a nod to late ABC Sports commentator Howard Cosell...

BROWNS BITS: Just a couple of things we noticed about the radio broadcast of the Cleveland Browns' 20-17 pre-season victory over the Buffalo Bills.

For one, during pre-game, Browns Radio Network flagship WMMS/100.7 in Cleveland was clearly on a long delay. We noticed it when network stations WONE/97.5 Akron and WHBC/1480 Canton were airing items a good 10 seconds or so before they were heard on WMMS.

Our guess: WMMS was still using the delay forced by the IBOC/digital/HD Radio feed during pre-game. (Stations which run HD feeds have to delay analog audio if they wish to match the digital feed with the analog feed, so when the digital signal is replaced by analog, it mirrors the digital in timing.)

Sometime later, during the game itself, we noticed that delay had been shut off.

OMW recalls that last year, WMMS had a delay going during games (like a traditional profanity delay), and WTAM/1100 did not have such a delay when it carried Browns games. WMMS was not running its HD Radio feed last season.

We're wondering if that balance will happen again this year...and if WMMS will turn off either A) the IBOC carrier or B) the analog delay to match that feed during games this year...or at least until WTAM starts airing Browns games on a regular basis.

WTAM, of course, isn't along for the Browns until after the Cleveland Indians shoot this season out of our misery.

The other thing we noticed, while closely listening to Casey Coleman's sideline reports on Saturday night: Not only has Verizon Wireless replaced Alltel as the sponsor for said reports, the sponsor content has increased even more this year.

We had the game on for roughly a minute crossing parking lots in the Montrose area, and by the time we got across the street, we heard play-by-play voice Jim Donovan do three sponsor tags.

We jokingly did one of our own in the car after that: "This safe trip across West Market Street has been brought to you by Safe Auto...we keep you legal for less!" Too bad the auto insurance company isn't paying us for that one...

THAT STO CAR RACE: It turned out to be so much ado about nothing, in regards to SportsTime Ohio airing NBC's feed of the "Champ Car" race from Montreal. The race was postponed after heavy rain started falling in the Canadian city after just six laps. It'll run tomorrow morning, but will only be seen on the Champ Car Series' website.

STO's carriage of the NBC feed not only showed up on Time Warner Cable - including on the former Adelphia system here at OMW World Headquarters, even on cable 17 - but it also aired in markets like Youngstown. Viewers on Armstrong Cable in that area tell OMW that they were able to watch the Champ Car race not only on WFMJ/21, the local NBC affiliate, but on STO.

We presume that happened because they'd rather have been "safe than sorry", though the Indians game actually aired in Youngstown on FOX affiliate WYFX "FOX 17/62"...the market's affiliate for the over-air Indians contests...

THAT GOLF THING: Those interested in watching Tiger Woods continue his domination of Akron golf courses by winning the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club may have been confused when they turned on the TV.

Akron Beacon Journal TV columnist R.D. Heldenfels noticed it, according to his blog entry today:

I'd be pretty excited to watch -- except CBS is running tape-delayed coverage from much earlier today (nor, at this point, does it have a graphic onscreen identifying this as taped coverage). Because of worries about the weather, which has included rain here and there, the final round started early at Akron, with even the marquee names on the course before CBS started its telecast.

And Rich wasn't the only one tripped up.

Shortly after hearing an ABC News Radio anchor on WARF/1350 Akron tell listeners that Tiger Woods had just made a birdie putt to win the Bridgestone event in a four-hole playoff, we tuned over to a show that might be expected to elaborate on it...the Golf Show, with Russ Jeske and Gary Trivisonno on WTAM/1100.

Russ and Gary opened up letting us know that Tiger was still in a heated playoff with Stewart Cink. At some point, two listeners returning from Firestone Country Club called them up to let them know it was over. While they probably should have been watching the wires or even listening to the news, we can't blame them too much with CBS delaying coverage that you'd expect to have been live...

About that STO Airing of the Race

SportsTime Ohio is picking up the "Champ Car" NBC race that WKYC/3 pre-empts today for a Cleveland Indians game...the TV rescheduling that'll take the place of an October 1st Indians game that will air on STO.

In case you're hunting for the race in about an hour and can't find it, here's why:

NBC Sports Special, Champ Car: Montreal.
Due to late notice, not all cable operators will carry this race.

Of course, outside the Cleveland market, NBC affiliates will generally carry the race anyway.

However, some racing fans in Lima may be out of luck - WLIO/35's schedule shows the Indians game today, and we're pretty sure DirecTV doesn't carry STO in that area. Time Warner Cable's system in the region carries STO on channel 25, but we don't know if the race will be made available there.

We've checked online schedules for the Indians TV network affiliates in Erie - WICU/12 (NBC) and WSEE/35 (CBS) - and don't see the game listed.

Any reaction to problems with this race will probably be somewhat minor, at any rate, compared to the fuss made over the NASCAR "Nextel Cup" circuit...

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Les Levine's New FSN Ohio Role

It's funny how questions can get answered not long after you think about them.

We were watching FSN Ohio/WKNR's "Cleveland Rants" the other night, and wondered what'll happen to show co-host Les Levine on the cable network after the show ends - presumably at the end of the Cleveland Indians season in just over a month.

It didn't take long for our answer to appear - during the final edition of FSN Ohio's Browns Training Camp show on Thursday.

Show co-host Michael Reghi informed viewers that he'd be hosting the new "Browns Table" weekly show on FSN Ohio, starting Wednesday, September 13th at 7 PM along with Levine - and Browns players Dennis Northcutt and Andra Davis.

The timing will be interesting - with Levine's existing now-Time Warner Cable show "More Sports and Les Levine" airing from 6-7 PM on cable channel 15.

Unless he's moving it to FSN Ohio's studios, or unless he's got the Space Shuttle handy, Les would likely have to tap a substitute host on TWC on Wednesdays. He's already done so when "Rants" prevents him from being at the former Adelphia Cable studios in that 6-7 PM time slot...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Clear Channel Upheaval - Not Much Here

We don't have much to say about it, because - for one, we don't know much about it...and we don't think much changes here.

Clear Channel has undertaken a major reorganization of its regional management staff, which doesn't appear to have had much effect in Northeast Ohio.

According to reports on AllAccess and Radio & Records Online, the company's Cleveland management structure remains as it is, with Cleveland-based market manager Mike Kenney keeping that role at Oak Tree, and VP/Programming Gene Romano also continuing in that role in this part of the Clear Channel universe...overseeing Cleveland cluster programmer Kevin Metheny and individual station programmers.

If we missed anything, we'll let you know. For one, we don't know how all this affects the company's clusters outside of Cleveland... but for now, things appear status quo in this part of the world of CC...

Where That Channel 3 Indians Game Went, and Beacon Journal Folo

As reported earlier, WKYC/3 is giving up an October 1st Cleveland Indians contest to SportsTime it won't preempt a NASCAR race on that day.

As the other half of that deal, Akron Beacon Journal TV columnist R.D. Heldenfels reports that WKYC will instead air an Indians game this coming Sunday.

That bumps NBC's "Champ Car Series" race from Montreal, but STO will air that race instead of WKYC, starting at 1:30 on Sunday afternoon.

We don't know the ins and outs of auto racing rights, but it appears NASCAR's main events are not allowed to be aired outside of their normal live network time slots...but there would appear to be more flexibility to other racing events.

While we're mentioning a Beacon Journal writer - maybe it's different in the print newspaper, but there's been something of a silence from the Beacon itself about the paper's recent cut of a quarter of its newsroom staff. We haven't seen anything about it on, aside from the story which ran the other day in the business section.

And TWC 23 "Akron/Canton News" anchor/WKYC Akron-Canton bureau chief Eric Mansfield alludes to that in his DiscoverNEO blog:

Still, I thought Black Press took a weak approach to its decision by putting the cuts in the business section instead of the front page. If any other major employer in town (think AGMC, Roadway, etc..) were dumping 25 percent of its main workforce, the ABJ would have put them in bold print on A1.

Eric has a point. Indeed, even stories on the future of his own Akron-based local TV news operation have been usually been published on page A1 in the Beacon.

Reading items from soon-to-be dismissed Beacon staffers like Pat McManamon and George Thomas gives us an eerie feeling.

But more importantly, the cuts are causing us to reconsider paying for a Beacon Journal subscription.

OMW had a Beacon Journal Digital Edition subscription until we let it lapse a few months ago. We'll still buy an occasional newsstand copy, and read, but we won't commit to getting the paper (digitally) again on a regular basis until we know what they plan to do about local news coverage, features and columnists.

If the Beacon is going to be known as Akron's source for reprinted AP wire copy, we'll pass on sending them money...

Clear Channel Unwraps Its New Canton Toy

From what we've been told, staffers at Cumulus rock WRQK/106.9 Canton are getting a visit from their soon-to-be Clear Channel co-workers today. Clear Channel plans to operate WRQK in an LMA starting a week from today.

And once again, we've heard nothing beyond WRQK in the "Clear Channel's Cumulus acquisitions" file in Northeast Ohio...

Bernie Responds to Whispers

In his Friday outing, Cleveland Plain Dealer sports/media columnist Roger Brown brings up something that's been asked off-air by some locally - what's wrong with Bernie Kosar?

The former Cleveland Browns star quarterback's demeanor has been talked about ever since he appeared via phone on WTAM/1100's afternoon show with Mike Trivisonno.

The response to that appearance even prompted Triv to launch into a spirited defense of his friend Kosar - pictured here with Browns TV cohorts Sam Rosen and Brian Brennan.

"He's always sounded like that," Triv responded to callers making wild speculation on what Kosar may have been drinking. Others asked if number 19 was suffering the effects of too many hits from opposing defenders.

Brown's entry today is only notable because he's gotten Kosar to respond to the whispers wondering about his health.

The current Browns TV analyst tells the Artful Roger via E-Mail that:

"[There's] no problem... It is what it is and I am who I am."

That's the same response that Triv gave when some listeners called up wondering about Kosar's, umm, mental state.

Kosar says he's not a polished analyst, and doesn't intend on becoming "the second coming of John Madden".

In our humble opinion, much ado about nothing. Now that "it's out there" and Kosar has responded, maybe we can concentrate on how Kosar can improve in the Browns TV booth...

FM News/Talk Watch: Phoenix

This is the latest in our ongoing watch of news/talk stations moving to FM in other markets.

Though Bonneville news/talk KTAR/620 Phoenix was already readying an FM broadcast on 92.3 there, as it turns out, the station is actually MOVING to the FM dial...leaving its long-time AM home at 620 behind.

The station announced this week that it'll create an all-sports station on the AM frequency KTAR will open up. KTAR's sports rights, which include most of the Phoenix market's major league and major college properties, will stay at 620 surrounded by the new sports format.

KTAR will simulcast on 620 AM and 92.3 FM starting next month, and will solely air on FM starting in January 2007.

Bonneville is by far the largest proponent of FM news/talk and news formats in the country. It moved Washington DC all-news outlet WTOP to 103.5 FM, and simulcasts its 50,000 watt news/talk KSL/1160 Salt Lake City on an FM frequency in its home market.

Does this mean we'll one day see Clear Channel talk powerhouse WTAM/1100 on the FM dial, either as a simulcast or alone?

We're not saying that's even in the near future. The four Clear Channel FM outlets in Cleveland are established, popular and basically not going anywhere.

But one day...mark our words. All major news and talk outlets will migrate to FM. The AM band is basically being held up by the presence of these stations, and popular sports talk stations. Without stations like WTAM on the AM band, the band may as well blow away and die.

And the biggest reason? Aging demos. And the fact that more and more, younger demos, even as they "grow up" into the time in their lives where news/talk stations become more important to them, are barely aware of the AM band.

Ask any 25 year-old. We did...asking our niece who is about that age. They don't even know the AM band exists. Heck, at this point, with the iPod, MP3 downloads and the like, they aren't tuning into the FM band as much as their, say, older uncles were at that age.

If you're a news/talk station hoping to catch people as they age into their 30's, tooling around on the AM band may be like driving an aging Oldsmobile trying to give them a ride.

Will it be in the next couple of years or the next 10 years? We suppose at least a part of it depends on how successful the existing FM news/talk stations are - especially in lowering demos. Clear Channel is no stranger to this concept, with FM news/talkers in Pittsburgh and Minneapolis.

The Pittsburgh station was basically an instant success, taking a large chunk out of dominant CBS Radio AM news/talker KDKA/1020 - and helping out sister Clear Channel FM rocker WDVE/102.5. The jury's still out in Minneapolis...

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Two TV Items

A couple of items involving TV:

TV MARKET RANKINGS OUT: The new list of America's TV markets is out, and the Cleveland/Akron/Canton market continues its slow slide down to the bottom of the top 20.

Northeast Ohio's dominant TV market is now 17th in the country according to the folks at A.C. Nielsen, the ratings service that's the keeper of the TV list of designated market areas. That's down from 16th last season. When your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) was just a youth, we remember that Cleveland was as high as the 11th largest TV market in the country...and it was once in the top 10.

Jumping ahead of Cleveland was a growing sunbelt market, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale, which just nudged ahead of this area with a population gain of nearly 16,000 homes. The Cleveland market lost about 4,000 homes.

Both gaining a few thousand homes, Columbus stayed steady at market number 32, and Cincinnati is now right behind it...up from 34 to 33. Dayton also went up one in ranking to market 58.

Toledo lost a place and is now market 71, and Youngstown is now market 103...also losing one place with a slight population drop. Zanesville is market 203, down from 202.

But here's one to make you scratch your head. The Lima market has fallen through the floor according to the Nielsen folks. It's down from market 185 to 196! The population loss shown is from 70,940 TV homes to 53,180.

Folks over in west central Ohio will have to fill us in on this - that kind of drop sounds to us like Lima lost part of its territory to another nearby larger market...

MY NETWORK SHENANIGANS: The folks at MyNetworkTV have finally confirmed what's on their own website's affiliate lists - the new mini-network has found homes in both Toledo and Dayton.

Broadcasting and Cable and MediaWeek report that MNTV will air in Toledo on current UPN affiliate WNGT-LP/48 "UPN 48", and that the network will air in Dayton on a subchannel on the digital side of Sinclair's FOX affiliate in the market, WRGT/45.

OMW reported earlier that for whatever reason, Cincinnati WB-to-become-MyNetworkTV affiliate WSTR/64 has an analog translator on Channel 66 in Dayton.

Since Sinclair owns WSTR, the translator and WRGT, the affiliation is not a surprise. We're just surprised it took them this long to announce WRGT's MyNetworkTV digital affiliation. Maybe they just hadn't figured out about programming the subchannel until now...

As for WNGT, it's at least a sign that the Toledo station will continue as a general entertainment independent for now - at least from 8-10 PM weeknights.

The station's ownership status has been in question for some time. It's been in bankruptcy receivership, and Cornerstone Church's Matrix Broadcast Media filed an application to take over the station last October.

Cornerstone owns CCM WDMN/1520 "Dominion 1520" in the Toledo market, and still owns Toledo rimshot WKNL/96.9 (formerly WXQQ) Wauseon, which it operated as a dance format station until turning its programming over to the K-Love folks...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Random Items of an Interesting Nature

Some stuff that's been kicking around our heads, and we hope we remembered right at the keyboard tonight:

SPRINGER GONE?: We've been expressing doubt about the status of Air America Radio-WSAI/1360 Cincinnati host Jerry Springer's mid-morning talk show, even before Clear Channel moved it and the liberal talk format from 50,000 watt powerhouse WCKY/1530 a while back.

Is "Springer on the Radio" history, soon?

A message board post brought this Boston Globe profile of Air America evening host (co-host?) Sam Seder to our attention. Seder's been hosting AAR's "Majority Report" with comedienne Janeane Garofolo since the liberal talk network started, but Garofolo is now either gone, or not showing up regularly, or...who knows?

Here's the line that caught our eye in the Globe profile:

Most listeners had never heard of Seder, whose ``Majority Report" was promoted this week to the midmorning slot -- 9 a.m. to noon -- on more than 70 stations across the country, including New York and Los Angeles.

9 AM to noon? Hey, that's Jerry Springer's time slot!

You see no sign of this on Air America's own website, which still lists "Majority Report" (with both hosts) 7-10 PM Eastern, and which still links to "Springer on the Radio" and its own site. And Springer co-host Jene Galvin isn't whistling in the radio graveyard least now...

Springer's radio show is but a memory for most Northeast Ohio radio listeners, as it hasn't been heard here since WTAM/1100 dumped it in Cleveland a ways back - filling the time slot with local conservative host Bob Frantz.

"Majority Report" has never been heard live on Clear Channel liberal talk WARF/1350 Akron, which carries a delayed airing of AAR's Randi Rhodes in that time slot. But in a piece of what must be considered trivia by now, Media-Com's WJMP/1520 Kent-Akron-Cleveland-Mars-Jupiter aired it in place of Springer's show in the daytimer's brief time as an AAR affiliate...

CLEVELAND EMMYS: A regular OMW reader sends us word of the upcoming 37th Cleveland Emmy Awards, hosted by the Cleveland regional chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. More at the local NATAS chapter's website.

The September 9th event at Westlake's LaCentre Conference and Banquet Facility features former Cleveland TV news names Martin Savidge and Kelly O'Donnell as hosts - who are both toiling in the world of network TV news these days.

The group will recognize Cleveland TV stations for their combined efforts to raise money for victims of the Asian tsunami and of Hurricane Katrina.

The Emmy Awards presentation also features the Silver Circle awards. This year, WTAM/1100 sportscaster/morning co-host Casey Coleman will be honored, along with long-time Indianapolis TV anchor Mike Ahern. (The Cleveland regional chapter of NATAS includes the Indianapolis market.)

And as far as we know, Casey will be on the sidelines for the Browns Radio Network the following day, September 10th, as the Browns open up the regular season against Reggie Bush and the New Orleans Saints...

NO AKRON/CANTON NEWS ON EX-ADELPHIA, YET: Time Warner Cable "Akron/Canton News" anchor-WKYC/3 Akron/Canton bureau chief Eric Mansfield talks about the upcoming addition of the local newscast to the Time Warner systems formerly owned by Adelphia.

On his "DiscoverNEO" blog, Mansfield doesn't have any news for those of us in Former Adelphia Land, yet, other than to ensure us that the newscast will be seen on the ex-Adelphia system at some point in the future.

Our message to TWC - we can't figure out what is preventing you from offering "Akron/Canton News" on the former Adelphia very least, on your newly repopulated "On Demand" system, which saw added TWC content from day one of the takeover...

Mansfield also has some "inside" tidbits on the recent massive job loss in the Akron Beacon Journal's newsroom.

And he makes a very good point - don't expect a number of those losing their jobs to end up at the competing Cleveland Plain Dealer. That newspaper has also had to pull back in the job department, mostly by offering early buyouts to workers to cut costs.

Our advice to the Beacon staffers? Get out of Dodge, or rather, Northeast least if you want to continue working in the newspaper business. The combination of the area's lagging economy and the newspaper industry's declining fortunes has borne fruit here...hmm, sounds like radio, doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

And It Trickles Out...

FMQB now weighs in with a small item on the OMW Story of the Year, the big station swap between Cumulus and Clear Channel in Ohio and Michigan:

Clear Channel and Cumulus have worked out a complex swap of stations, where CC's Ann Arbor, MI and Battle Creek, MI clusters are being traded for Cumulus' Canton, OH stations. Clear Channel owns four stations in each of the Michigan cities. Sources tell FMQB an LMA is set for Friday, September 1.

Note that the FMQB folks say "Cumulus' Canton, OH stations".

On the company's website, WRQK/106.9, WQXK/105.1 and WSOM/600 are broken out as the company's "Canton Salem" cluster. This, despite the fact that both of the latter stations are operated out of the Cumulus "Radio Center" building on Simon Road in Youngstown.

While the math makes more sense with K105 and WSOM in the trade mix, we have yet to hear any of our sources confirm their presence in the swap deal...and we've already outlined at least one or two good reasons for each company that those two stations could not be involved.

Could we - and our sources - be wrong on this? Well, at last check, we are not perfect. But we're still hearing even today, after WRQK employees found out about the sale officially for the first time, that it's the only Cumulus station in Northeast Ohio going to Clear Channel.

Stay tuned...

Beacon Job Bloodbath

This is print media related, but it's way too big for us to ignore here at OMW.

The long-rumored job cuts at the Akron Beacon Journal are becoming reality, and they are deep.

Beacon Journal business writer Gloria Irwin reports that some 40 of the newspaper's 160 newsroom employees are being laid off in a cost-cutting move by new ABJ owner Black Press.

New publisher Edward Moss had the unenviable task of wielding the job cutting knife. He tells Irwin that the Beacon's profits had dropped some 50 percent over the past four years.

WEWS/5 reporter Brad Harvey - who witnessed the story first hand from the station's Akron bureau inside the Beacon Journal building - lists names of some of the paper's staffers now being cut... including names such as Browns beat reporter Patrick McManamon, and writers Lisa Abraham and Julie Wallace.

OMW has heard other names on the cut list, including movie critic George Thomas, music/entertainment writer Malcolm X. Abram, and sportswriters Stephanie Storm and Tom Reed. (A special note goes out to Mr. Thomas, who dropped us a note a while ago telling us he's a regular OMW reader. Here's hoping some OMW Karma visits you soon, George!)

Other, non-newsroom cuts are in the offing...and Moss warns Irwin of possible future newsroom job cuts "if revenues do not improve".

While we don't really cover the print media, this is a major local media event. Let's hope that the cutbacks don't turn the Beacon Journal into one of those papers that mainly reprint wire copy...

Quick Hits

We'll expand more on these later, if needed:

MORGAN SPORTS: WJER/101.7 Dover-New Philadelphia morning drive host Bill Morgan may be losing his FM perch when Clear Channel moves that station up into their Akron/Canton cluster on Freedom Avenue, but his voice will be heard on at least one Clear Channel outlet this fall and winter.

OMW hears that Morgan has been hired by the University of Akron's Zips Sports Network as in-studio host, and play-by-play man for Zips' women's basketball games. ZSN airs games on CC liberal talk WARF/1350 Akron. The university network does the hiring for its on-air personnel, not Clear Channel.

Morgan takes over for Tommy Geherlenter, who left ZSN a few weeks ago.

OMW also hears that as far as his "day job" goes, Morgan will stay on at the WJER facility in Dover, handling sports director duties. After Clear Channel takes 101.7 north, it's widely expected that WJER's former owner and current manager Gary Petricola will hang onto AM 1450 and keep it in the Tuscarawas Valley...

NASCAR ON 3: This ran in Roger Brown's Monday Sports Media Column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, but we just got around to it now.

NBC affiliate WKYC/3 has officially moved a Cleveland Indians game out of the way of an NBC NASCAR race broadcast on October 1st. SportsTime Ohio will now air the Tribe playing the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on that date, so WKYC can air (and no, we're not making this up) the "Banquet 400" NASCAR race.

(OMW is wondering when the Poulan-Weed Eater folks will get around to sponsoring a NASCAR event. We loved their college football bowl game - the Poulan-Weed Eater Independence Bowl!)

Now, They Know

OMW hears that the long-awaited announcement has been officially made this morning at Cumulus Canton rock outlet WRQK/106.9 "Rock 107" - the station is going to Clear Channel as part of that multi-station swap in Ohio and Michigan.

OMW also hears from a number of sources that the announcement only involved WRQK, as we've been reporting for some time now. Despite rumors and even other reports on the deal, there is no indication that any other Northeast Ohio station is being swapped from Cumulus to Clear Channel. Cumulus, in return, will get Clear Channel stations in two Michigan markets.

Clear Channel will take over operational control of WRQK in an LMA on September 1st.

We understand that folks from the Clear Channel World Domination HQ/Southern Command on Freedom Avenue will be visiting WRQK's Martindale Road studios on Friday of this week to talk to employees there. WRQK will move into the Freedom Avenue compound, though that move may not happen exactly on September 1st.

We hope the WRQK employees, after reading about this on OMW for weeks and having it denied even in-house, can breathe easier now. From everything we've been hearing, it does not appear that Clear Channel plans any massive or even minor cuts at "Rock 107"...

It Still Hasn't Happened Yet

"It", of course, is our now long-standing report of that cross-state radio station swap between Cumulus and Clear Channel, which we know for sure includes Cumulus Canton rocker WRQK/106.9 going to Clear Channel...and a pair of Clear Channel clusters in Michigan going to Cumulus.

That part has been confirmed numerous times by numerous OMW sources in both states, and also by other sources, including Mike Austerman's Michiguide up there.

The folks at Conclave's "Main St. Tattler" have reported a rumored aspect of the deal, which would also include Cumulus Youngstown market country WQXK/105.1 "K105" and standards WSOM/600, both licensed to Salem, both going to Clear Channel.

Just so you don't think we're hallucinating this, the "Main St. Tattler" report is now available in PDF form on its website. Click the link, and have some version of Adobe Acrobat handy to read it.

OK, so there isn't really anything new. This entry primarily exists to provide that link, and clarify once again that OMW is NOT reporting the K105/WSOM rumor linked to the sale. We keep asking our sources, and not one of them (in either state) has confirmed that portion of the Main St. Tattler report we link above. Frankly, we're mostly getting a lot of head shaking.

And the other reason: many expect this swap - in whatever form - to finally see the light of day sometime this week. Well, the light of day that isn't right here on Your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm)...

Monday, August 21, 2006

Two Cincinnati Items

Starting off the week with a couple of items outside the usual OMW coverage area, from the Queen City of Cincinnati:

CBS SELLS CINCY: It'll be Entercom buying the CBS Radio cluster in Cincinnati.

The $262 million deal also covers CBS Radio's stations in Rochester, Memphis and Austin. Joining the Entercom family in Cincinnati will be country WUBE/105.1, hot AC WKRQ/101.9 "Q102", oldies WGRR/103.5, and alt-rock WAQZ/97.3.

This deal means two things:

1) It ends speculation that former Clear Channel radio head Randy Michaels was a candidate to buy the CBS Radio Cincinnati cluster, at least.

Another piece of speculation involving Mr. Michaels also fell through recently, as he did not take over programming of Inner City liberal talk WLIB/1190 New York City. And today, AllAccess reports that instead of being a Randy Michaels-programmed competitor to Air America's programming on new flagship WWRL/1600 in NYC, WLIB is set to launch a gospel format on September 1st.

2) It leaves the CBS Columbus operations on the block for now. (CBS Radio's four station group in Cleveland is remaining with the company.)

NO REDS VOICE: The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Steve Stewart won't be returning to the Cincinnati Reds' radio booth alongside iconic team radio voice Marty Brennaman next season, as Stewart's contract won't be renewed.

He joined the radio team as a part-time replacement for Reds radio veteran Joe Nuxhall in 2004, and had his contract extended until the end of this season. Brennaman will reportedly be directly involved in picking Stewart's replacement.

The Reds are heard on a network based at Clear Channel talk WLW/700 in Cincinnati. They were also, at last check, heard as far north as the Canton market on ESPN affiliate WTIG/990 in Massillon...

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Toledo TV Correction

For whatever reason, we had this one wrong.

As it turns out, current Toledo market WB affiliate-to-be-CW affiliate "WT05" is NOT available on DirecTV, as we had thought previously.

Long-time OMW reader Chuck Matthews recently picked up voiceover work for the station, which is owned by Buckeye Cablevision and is seen on that system - and some others - in the Toledo market.

Chuck tells us that the WB channel in Toledo's DirecTV local channels lineup is not "Toledo's WB5", but is currently the network's Baltimore MD affiliate. Before, DirecTV was feeding the WB outlet in West Palm Beach FL to markets where the local WB station wasn't carried.

DirecTV does carry other WB outlets that do not have an over-air analog component. The WB affiliate in the Roanoke/Lynchburg VA market is the cable/digital-only WB outlet "WBVA/WB5", and that channel has carriage on both DirecTV and Dish Network.

Chuck passes along that "WT05" is indeed working to get that carriage on DirecTV, so maybe that out-of-market WB channel will be replaced with the Toledo-based incoming CW affiliate sometime soon.

Thanks, Chuck!

In addition to his role as program director of Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 Toledo, and voicetracking afternoon drive for low-power AM network "Surfside 1640" in Surfside Beach SC, the former WMJI/WMMS staffer has a growing voiceover business - which can be visited at

Saturday, August 19, 2006

More New Network Stuff

The two local affiliates of incoming TV networks The CW and MyNetworkTV are unveiling more online.

Raycom Media's WUAB/43 has unveiled a new website entirely for the occasion. "Cleveland's Go-To Place For Everything" promises: "MY FRIENDS, MY SHOWS, RIGHT HERE".

It's a clear attempt to capitalize on that certain popular "My" website, MyNetworkTV parent NewsCorp/FOX's "MySpace", with blog links, dating tips and music and "hangout" information.

Over in CW land, incoming affiliate WBNX/55 has put up an extensive section on the new network, including promo video produced both by the network and by the station.

That latter video announces that WBNX will pick up reruns of the sitcom "George Lopez" in 2007, and the syndicated run of the ABC hit "Desperate Housewives" in 2008.

It also shows what would appear to be the final "WBNX CW" logo, though the video loop didn't seem to use the color blue for the WBNX call letters. The top of the CW page says "Cleveland CW".

Despite the new content, WBNX's "Trends" page hasn't changed much - since the station changed the "endeavoring for" date to September 2006 for the upcoming WBNX-DT digital signal. But the link to "WB Shows in HD" has now been changed to list The CW's HD shows...

Are Shoes Starting to Drop?

One of the first reports outside of OMW, about the CC/Cumulus swap involving stations here in Northeast Ohio and in Michigan, has now appeared.

"Main St. Tattler", the E-Mail newsletter of the folks behind the Conclave Learning Conference, is reporting that not only is rock WRQK/106.9 Canton headed for Clear Channel, but that CC also gets country powerhouse WQXK/105.1 "K105" and standards WSOM/600 for its Youngstown cluster. The other half of the deal is as has been reported here and at Michiguide, with Clear Channel's Ann Arbor MI and Battle Creek MI clusters going to Cumulus.

(The newsletter has not yet been linked to the Main St. Tattler site yet, but should be on this page in the next few days.)

OMW has heard the rumors about "K105" being a part of this transaction. But we're not at all sure the report is accurate, as we have received no definite word of the involvement of the other two Youngstown-based stations in the deal from any of our numerous sources in either Ohio or Michigan.

Furthermore, any additional stations in the Clear Channel Youngstown cluster would certainly force the company to divest an equivalent amount of existing holdings. There's no way they could fit K105 and WSOM the way the cluster exists now. In fact, CC was forced to sell stations fairly recently...flipping stations like 95.1/Grove City PA, and 1200/1280/92.1 in the New Castle PA area, to other operators.

We have a hard time seeing what stations Clear Channel Youngstown would be happy with divesting. K105 would certainly be a "prize" for South Avenue, but the cluster's existing FM stations all seem like stations they'd want to hang onto.

Anyway, we're just letting you know...

Two Julie Items

A couple of things from Julie Washington's keyboard at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, as seen in the newspaper's "Entertainment Weblog":

ROBIN'S BACK?: Popular Cleveland radio/TV host - and OMW reader - Robin Swoboda may be back on your TV screen before too long.

Both Swoboda and WJW/8 president/GM Mike Renda admit to Washington that the station is talking with the former "NewsCenter 8" anchor about returning to Channel 8, this time as part of a local mid-morning show of further unknown nature.

Swoboda is one of Northeast Ohio's most popular media personalities, best known for her time next to Tim Taylor on the WJW news set in the 80's and 90's.

Her most recent media gig locally was as morning co-host at Salem CCM WFHM/95.5 "The Fish". She left the job citing the need to spend more time with her family - Swoboda is married to former Browns punter Bryan Wagner, and the couple has children.

That's where OMW comes Swoboda found our item about her departure from "The Fish" and confirmed it right here on your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm). Robin, if you're out there reading, still...feel free to confirm it when you finally do reach an agreement with FOX 8, OK?

The mid-morning TV show would presumably be much more "family friendly" schedule-wise than a morning drive radio show...

JAVA START: Washington also answers a question we had...about when incoming WAKS/96.5 "Kiss FM" personality "Java Joel" Murphy starts in nights at the Clear Channel Cleveland top 40 outlet.

"Early September" is the given start date for Murphy's new locally-originated show, which will air in the same time slot his voicetracked show from Chicago once aired in.

Washington correctly quotes WAKS PD Bo Matthews on Mr. Murphy's physical presence at the CC World Domination HQ on Oak Tree starting next month.

"Java Joel" has been heard in Montreal, where his voice has been heard on top 40 outlet WYUL/94.7 Chateaugay NY, the English-language top 40 rimshot known as "Hits FM".

Thanks to a note from an OMW reader (see comments here), we're not sure WHERE Murphy has been doing that show. We're told he may actually have moved back to upstate New York, not that awful far from Montreal.

It makes sense to us, since it's actually his hometown area. He grew up in the small upstate New York town of Massena, which is one of the locations "Hits FM" owner Martz Communications broadcasts from.

Matthews - at least in Ms. Washington's item - indicates that Joel will continue to do that Montreal show...voicetracked out of Cleveland.

More importantly, it would seem to us that a number of CC top 40 outlets will call for his VT services at some point after he lands in Cleveland...

Friday, August 18, 2006

Clear Channel Akron/Canton Chief Engineer Retiring

OMW hears that long-time engineer Don Krieger worked his last day Friday as chief engineer for the Clear Channel Akron/Canton stations today - after a 32-year run.

Krieger came aboard at then-WSLR/1350 back in 1974, after having worked at other local stations including WHLO/640 in the 1960's and 1970's. Of course, 1350 (now WARF) and 640 are now sister stations in the CC cluster, along with WKDD/98.1 and two other incoming FM signals.

Where's he going?

We're told that he'll leave day-to-day radio work for a new career in aviation. Krieger will be working in the skies flying critical medical supplies and other such items somewhere in the Eastern U.S. If a hospital needs a new heart flown in pronto, Don Krieger will be the man to do it.

The retirement means that Clear Channel is actively looking for a full-time chief engineer for the World Domination HQ/Southern Command on Freedom Avenue in Jackson Township, and we're told that they also need an assistant engineer as well...

Two Late Week Items

Still waiting for those shoes to drop, and at least one of them may drop sooner than expected. But we can't just sit here waiting for footwear to hit the floor:

MARATHON AND BRUCE: The sports talk radio website is holding its third-annual "Up All Night Marathon" over the weekend, in a fundraising effort.

The marathon starts Saturday at 5 PM and runs through Sunday at 1 PM. It benefits the Carol Morris Scholarship Fund at Bowling Green State University, a fund aimed at paying for the education of those going into the special education field.

A complete schedule is located with last year, you'll see a number of guests sprinkled into the mix, and an oddity - STC head honcho Paul Belfi plays an hour and a half of Rick Springfield music. (We didn't know there WAS an hour and a half of Springfield's music.)

But there's an eyecatcher at the very end of the schedule, Sunday at 12 PM:

12:00 Noon: Interview with Bruce Drennan, host and program director about the 2006 baseball season

To walk around the elephant in the room gently, we don't know if the interview was pre-recorded, or what Bruce's current physical address is.

But it's interesting that STC's schedule for this marathon still lists him as host and program director.

The STC "bios" page still lists the former WKNR and WTAM sports talker as program director and at very least, whenever Drennan is able to return to regular work talking about sports, he would seem assured of STC being by his side...

NOD TO A FRIEND: This is actually outside the OMW coverage area, though at least one of the two signals involved makes its way across the Ohio/Pennsylvania border...and the person involved was once program director for about a cup of coffee at a certain Canton market top 40 station.

But a congratulations to long-time Friend of OMW Clarke Ingram for his promotion at a pair of suburban Pittsburgh AM outlets. Clarke has been upped from program director to operations manager at Broadcast Communications oldies/talk outlets WKHB/620 Irwin PA and WKFB/770 Jeannette PA.

Clarke tells us that he'll also keep his programming duties, and will continue to be heard on the stations spinning oldies tunes on weekends. During the week, the station mixes oldies with brokered talk programming.

We're probably biased, knowing Clarke for so long, but oldies stations would do well to listen to how he presents the format on his stations. Taking a cue from his entertaining, high-energy presentation would work well for a format that's hanging onto its relevance in the fast-changing radio world...

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The CW/UPN/My Shuffle

We're rapidly approaching the first drawing in the New TV Network Sweepstakes.

On September 5th, MyNetworkTV will premiere nationwide, including locally on the newly-dubbed "My43" - aka Raycom Media's current UPN affiliate WUAB/43.

On September 18th, the CW Network will launch...with original programming showing up a couple of days later.

There's a squeeze there.

UPN programming will not air on WUAB/43 and other UPN affiliates moving to MyNetworkTV starting on September 5th, unless the stations manage to delay it out of prime-time.

And though most of the UPN shows are long into repeats, some of which will air again on The CW the week it starts, there is the matter of "WWE Smackdown".

That wrestling show will be live throughout September, and we still haven't heard how WUAB and other UPN-to-My affiliates will handle the weeks between the My launch, and the CW premiere of Smackdown on Friday, September 22nd.

At least some stations are trying to handle this.

Six incoming CW affiliates owned by network partner Tribune Broadcasting are airing the show a few weeks early...the first three weeks of September after UPN's affiliation goes away on competing stations moving to MyNetworkTV.

As far as local marketing of the new networks are concerned, OMW reported that WUAB adopted the "My43" on-air name a while ago. And while new CW affiliate WBNX/55 has not yet changed from calling itself "Cleveland's WB" on-air, we have seen frequent CW promos on the local station.

We don't yet know if WBNX will bring "Smackdown" aboard early, or if WUAB will find a place for it outside of prime-time starting the first full week of September. We'd tend to think the incoming affiliate would be a better choice, with the show going off WUAB's airwaves entirely for the future...

Toledo? What's Up with Your Market?

For all the commotion in parts of Northeast Ohio's radio world the past few weeks, we've got nothing on Toledo.

OMW gets word of yet another major change in the Glass City's radio scene, as Cumulus hot AC WWWM/105.5 "Star 105" program director Steve Marshall has resigned from the station.

And our sources in the market say there's already an incoming replacement PD, though we don't know where the new programmer is coming from. We hear Marshall's replacement could be in the building as soon as Monday...

A lot of the recent changes in the Toledo market have come in the Cumulus cluster there, and most of them have not even been related at all...

While Waiting for Shoes to Drop

And there's at least a pair of shoes on their way to that position...

HOT IN HD: Cumulus top 40 WHOT/101.1 Youngstown is turning on the HD juice, according to an item in today's AllAccess. The station calls itself "the first in Eastern Ohio" to do so, which would presumably not count all the major Cleveland market stations running HD carriers right now.

"Hot 101" programmer John Trout tells the trade website that he "threw the switch" to turn on the station's IBOC carrier at 5 PM on Wednesday. In the item, he nodded to the station's broadcast history in the Mahoning Valley, and linked himself to the station's only two previous program directors in its 51 year history, Dick Thompson and Tom Pappas.

Much of that history, of course, was on the AM side of things. There's no word if WHOT plans an HD2 subchannel, or if the number of HD-capable radios in the Youngstown/Warren market has gotten into double digits yet...

SORT OF NORTHEAST OHIO RUMOR: We're only placing this here so we can confirm it later.

OMW hears that a former Northeast Ohio talk radio host is about to be without a show in his current market (well outside the area). The station involved appears to be ending his show, the only local talk show on the station, in favor of a fully syndicated schedule...

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More on that WRQK/Clear Channel/Cumulus Deal

UPDATE 8/16/06 8:50 PM: OMW has learned about at least part of what comprises "the other half" of the Clear Channel/Cumulus swap, which locally involves rock WRQK/106.9 "Rock 107" in Canton ending up with Clear Channel.

At least from what we've heard so far, Clear Channel will send a number of Michigan outlets to Cumulus in exchange for WRQK - stations in Battle Creek and Ann Arbor.

We hear from at least two sources that all of the Clear Channel stations in those two Michigan markets will be swapped to Cumulus as a result of the deal involving WRQK locally. OMW hears that employees at those current Clear Channel outlets in Michigan got word of their end of the deal today.

We still haven't nailed down what other stations may be involved in what's looking to be a rather complex swap, or what cash considerations may be involved.

One of the Ann Arbor Clear Channel stations was involved in a call letter swap that looked very odd at the time.

It now appears that its legendary calls of WWWW - which have resided on Ann Arbor's "W4Country" - were planted on a Clear Channel AM station in Detroit in order to hang onto the call letters within the company, due to this transaction. The "W4Country" calls and format once resided in Detroit.

The reason the calls were warehoused on the former WDTW(AM) Dearborn MI - which still calls itself "WDTW" on the air - is now clear. With Clear Channel losing control of the Ann Arbor country FM now known as "W4Country", they are keeping it on one of their AMs until they need to use it later on another property.

We're hearing other rumors about other parts of the WRQK/CC/Cumulus swap, but we've only been able to confirm the information we'll hang onto this one, for now...