Monday, August 14, 2006

Policy Change

We've thought a long time about this here at OMW, and we've decided to not only make a policy change...but to make an announcement about it here.

Your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) has become less fun these days.

We're realizing, day by day, that we are a major source of information for Northeast Ohio (and beyond) radio and TV. We get roughly 1200 visitors a day on weekdays, and are read at pretty much every major electronic media operation in the area and beyond.

Well-respected radio trade news outlets, such as AllAccess, frequently quote our items and depend on us for information in the Cleveland/Akron/Canton/Youngstown region and elsewhere in the state of Ohio.

Since this blog is what it is, it also comes with a fair amount of speculation, and even our own opinion...and widely distributed market rumors end up here fairly quickly.

But recently, we've been caught up in rumored changes to two radio operations in Canton. And we've now seen evidence that things have gotten out of hand.

On one of the local radio message boards, someone has posted wild rumors about one of the items we consider to be fact-waiting-to-be-announced, the sale of Cumulus rock WRQK/106.9 to Clear Channel.

The rumor posted not only does not come from here, it also does not reflect information we've posted here. In fact, it does not even reflect what we have heard and not published.

The uncertainty surrounding that sale, and many rumored changes at crosstown WHBC/1480, has gotten out of hand. We're hearing wild rumors and speculation about the expected changes at WHBC as well today, and as far as we know, it's just people taking things out of context...and nothing yet, as far as we know, has actually happened.

So, as of now, we declare an OMW moratorium on items regarding both WRQK and WHBC, save for well-verified fact about actual moves that have actually taken place. Even when we speculate, and clearly identify it as such, it gets misread and turned into Fait Accompli.

It's not at all that we're pulling back from our earlier reporting on the situations in question. We still believe that what we've heard is being said, and that anything we've reported as "official" has - barring changes we haven't yet heard about - actually happening.

But...we've fostered an environment of fear and worry as a result of the attention we've paid to the details of what's being talked about, and that's not right. It's not fair to not only you as a reader, it's not fair to those worrying about their future on Market Street South and on Martindale.

So, we make a turn here. If changes have been made or are actually imminent, not just speculated about, they'll be reported here. If people are gone from a station, we'll tell you as soon as we know it has actually happened...but not before. If a format change happens, we'll tell you as soon as we believe it is taking place in the immediate future, not weeks before as something that's being talked about.

We will continue to have the right to speculate, and share our opinion.

But...we must be more responsible in our reporting of changing situations. If we are not, we risk being lumped in with less responsible folks both online and off.

We'll still bring market rumors to our readers. What we won't do is publish detailed reports on rumored changes before decisions about those changes have happened.

We apologize for those who have been affected by what we have written, and we honestly hope things work out for the best in all situations.

-Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm)


david5258 said...

oa-thanks for remembering and practicing the old j-school dictum--report the story without becoming the story. your post today increases my respect for your work.

Anonymous said...

Not Very happy with your decision, not very happy at all

Anonymous said...

Unless you have been in OA's position, having info that should be shared, yet needing to temper it with compassion for the people involved, you have no room to really complain or be upset. The choice was not a easy on for him, but I believe he made a good one.


Anonymous said...

Right. More STORIES (with O.A.'s valued commentary) and less RUMORS.

Anonymous said...

His decision is the right one. The only people who will truly be affected by changes (if any) at WHBC are (a) WHBC employees, and (b) the audience. Anyone else is just a hanger-on wanting to be the first to spread the rumor at their water cooler the next day, and IMHO, those people should mind their own business. Curiosity (in some cases, morbid curiosity) does not translate into a need to know, especially when what is "known" is still unconfirmed.