Saturday, September 30, 2006

Reserve Square Shakes It Up

You may have noticed that most of our items this past week come from outposts like Cincinnati and Toledo. It's been a quiet week for Cleveland area media...until now.

Major changes are sweeping the halls at local CBS affiliate WOIO/19, according to Cleveland Plain Dealer TV/radio writer Julie Washington in the PD's Entertainment blog.

Oh, sure, there are anchors moving around again.

New weekender Paul Joncich barely makes it into his first month at "19 Action News" before being moved to the high-profile 5 PM and 10 PM weekday assignments with WOIO's Sharon Reed alongside him.

Anchor Jeff Eliasoph, who got glowing praise just a few weeks ago from management for his work on the station's weekday evening newscasts, gets moved into a co-anchor slot on "19 Action News This Morning" alongside Allison Alexander.

If that sounds like a demotion to you, consider that stations are considering their early morning newscasts as very important outposts these days. It's certainly the only time slot where TV stations are generally gaining local news viewers overall.

Ah, but we bury the lead, if only for effect.

Yes, it'll be WTAM afternoon mushmouth Mike Trivisonno showing up with a regular segment on the "19 Action News" 5 PM cast with the aforementioned Ms. Reed, via a camera link from the WTAM studios at Clear Channel's Oak Tree World Domination Headquarters in Independence.

Triv will be going back and forth with Reed about "whatever's on his mind," says WOIO news director Dan Salamone to the PD. (We can see you already typing those comments. No, we don't know if the menu at Mallorca's will be the topic most days, at least on those days when Triv isn't sounding the call for casino gambling in Cleveland, or talking sports.)

Salamone definitely wins our "truth in advertising" award for this quote to Ms. Washington, though:

“He’s somebody who was born to be in a 19 Action News format.”

We'll let Mr. Salamone's comment stand by itself.

Triv and Sharon TV will start whenever Clear Channel ensures that Triv's drool over Ms. Reed doesn't short out the equipment...or perhaps October 9th, when the WTAM afternoon driver returns from his latest Las Vegas vacation.

The other WOIO change, also listed on the PD's Entertainment blog, is almost an afterthought. Julie Washington reports that the Raycom CBS affiliate is starting up "Weather Now", the Cleveland market's second all-weather digital/cable channel after WKYC's "NBC Weather Plus".

The channel is set to launch Monday, and will reportedly be on "all the major" local cable Ms. Washington reports.

She doesn't mention that "Weather Now" will (likely) be seen on WOIO's over-air digital TV channel, likely as the new 19.2 subchannel. Local digital TV viewers have seen WOIO lighting up that secondary digital channel on and off over the past month or so.

Over on sister Raycom MyNetworkTV outlet WUAB/43, 43.2 is already taken up with the music video channel "The Tube"...

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A Cincy Update

As has been reported, Cumulus' 96.5 frequency in the Cincinnati market is about to be something else, when country WYGY officially moves fully to the 94.9 frequency once housing "Mojo 94.9".

Following up on the speculation about top 40 on the former WMOJ/96.5...a top Cumulus suit says "not so fast".

Cumulus executive VP John Dickey tells AllAccess that the station's new calls of WPRV "mean nothing", and calls rumors of a top 40 format "pure wishful speculation on the part of the industry"...saying the WPRV calls are "just good hard consonants when said".

Um, OK.

"Power 96.5", anyone? We'll see...

Marshall Towers in Toledo

OMW reported earlier that former hot AC WWWM/105.5 "Star 105" Toledo programmer Steve Marshall had been heard in afternoons on Cumulus sister top 40 station WTWR/98.3 "Tower 98-3".

We now hear that Marshall, as we speculated earlier, has taken the vacant program director chair at "Tower"...which has been without a PD for months...

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cincy Top 40?

AllAccess is hinting at a possible new top 40 outlet in Cincinnati, but has posted no other details.

OMW helpfully reminds folks that there'll be an odd frequency out in all the Radio One/Cumulus shuffles involving the move-in of 100.3 FM to the Cincinnati market.

With that frequency adopting the "Mojo" identity from Cumulus/ex-Susquehanna's 94.9, and country WYGY decamping at 94.9 from 96.5, that'll open up the latter frequency to a new format.

OMW has not heard even any rumors about top 40 on Cumulus' 96.5 once the WYGY simulcast ends, but it would certainly be open for a new format due to that above shuffle...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: WOAC Sold to Multicultural

This just in...

Scripps has finally found a buyer for WOAC/67 Canton, and the four other stations formerly owned by its former Shop at Home division.

The five stations are being sold to Multicultural Television Broadcasting in a $170 million deal.

The company is a new TV offshoot of Multicultural Radio, which owns a number of foreign language/brokered radio stations in major markets like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles.

The company made news outside the foreign language radio world when it was involved in a legal dispute with Air America Radio. Multicultural's WNTD/950 Chicago and KBLA/1580 Santa Monica/Los Angeles were the liberal talk radio network's initial affiliates in those markets until Multicultural owner Arthur Liu kicked off the network in a payment dispute...

Monday, September 25, 2006

Monday Morning

Starting off the week:

NO NEWS TO US: Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) is no stranger to late night hours, but we hadn't checked in for a while with Clear Channel Cleveland talk WTAM/1100 during the hours devoted to Premiere's George Noory and Art Bell and "Coast to Coast AM".

So it was a surprise to us when an OMW reader informed us that he was no longer hearing WTAM overnight anchor Steve Gatans in the wee hours, and that the station was running FOX News Radio instead.

Sure enough, a late night listen revealed that WTAM is apparently no longer providing local on-air news updates in the post-midnight hours, at least when we listened at 3 AM and 4 AM late last week. We have also noticed that the "WTAM SkyChief Traffic and Weather Together 24/7" positioner is no longer being used during the day, and the traffic folks are certainly not there at 3 AM either.

We also heard a highly produced promo after the FOX News Radio casts, restating the station's commitment to provide breaking news all day and all night.

OMW did hear Gatans during a recent edition of "Wills and Coleman", providing news updates in the 5 AM hour the same morning he was not heard in the overnight updates. It appears likely to us that he's been re-slotted to provide more support for the morning show. (Gatans or whoever's done WTAM overnights has done early reporting/anchoring for it in the past.)

We don't know if weekend overnighter Michael Kelly is still bouncing around Oak Tree, though.

We're conflicted about this, a little.

We certainly understand that frankly, not really much happens in local news at 3 AM in Northeast Ohio. But there's always been a comfort factor in knowing that if you hear a loud explosion or siren or whatever in the overnight hours, you could turn to WTAM, which at least had a live anchor on the air.

From our experience, though, we suspect WTAM likely has at least one person on-call for late night major breaking news, and we assume there's at least one person in the building at Oak Tree overnight that's able to put that "on call" process into motion if needed...

LOOKING FOR KEVIN'S REPLACEMENT: With long-time Rubber City Radio OM/WQMX 94.9 PD Kevin Mason headed for a Nashville record label, the Akron company is scouring the country for his replacement.

It's Rubber City VP/operations Nick Anthony heading up the search, and he tells AllAccess that he's looking for someone with at least 10 years of broadcast experience and a "proven track record" as a programmer.

OMW wonders if the new WQMX PD will also oversee day-to-day operations of sister standards WAKR/1590, as Mason did, or if the natural move would be to hand that role to veteran programmer Chuck Collins. Collins has been instrumental in implementing WAKR's recent move to locally-voiced programming...and is basically acting in the role of PD there, even if he does not have the title yet...

Friday, September 22, 2006

Marconi Awards

Congratulations to:

Clear Channel oldies WMJI/105.7 Cleveland, for winning the Oldies Station of the Year honors at the NAB Marconi Awards last night...

And Clear Channel rock WEBN/102.7 Cincinnati for its nod as the Rock Station of the Year...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: WQMX PD Mason Heads to Nashville Label

This just in, directly to us and via AllAccess (before we got a chance to post this):

Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 program director/operations manager Kevin Mason is leaving the Akron Radio Center to take a job as vice president and general manager of Nashville record label Rust Records.

His last day in Akron will be October 13th, just days after he's inducted locally into the Radio and Television Broadcasters Hall Of Fame on October 8th.

Mason has kept a high profile in the Country Radio Broadcasters national organization, and at the Country Radio Seminar...

Some More Quick Items

And some more stuff...

ESPN CLEVELAND WEBSITE: A regular OMW reader lets us know that the bare-bones "placeholder" page for the upcoming Cleveland ESPN Radio affiliate now has a logo.

And as expected, and as predicted here and elsewhere, the logo says: "Cleveland's ESPN Radio - 1540 Days / 1300 Nights", with a "Coming soon!" notation under it.

The logo is more interesting for what it does not say.

The local rumor mill has been rumbling with noises that WABQ/1540 owner Craig Karmazin was going to pull off a swap with Radio One, ending up - as the rumors go - with WERE/1300 for his 24/7 "ESPN Cleveland" outlet.

Either this has not happened yet, or is not in the cards for the station's upcoming launch (if at all), judging from the logo. Stay tuned...

IT'S NOT A DEBATE, IS IT?: We've heard the promos on WTAM/1100 the past couple of days, and just got another reminder.

Days after gubernatorial candidates Ted Strickland and Ken Blackwell showed up for a debate on Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5, the other "big race" gets the spotlight on WTAM on Friday.

It'll be Senator Mike DeWine on the air with his challenger, Rep. Sherrod Brown, from 3:30 to 5 PM on the station's Mike Trivisonno show.

And yes, Triv will "moderate" this "non-debate", says the station...which calls it a "question and answer session" with the two candidates, with listener questions E-Mailed into the station being posed to the candidates:

“I want this to be an open, accurate, unscripted view of both candidates,” said Mike Trivisonno. He continued, “The commercials we see and hear have the candidates tearing each other apart on a regular basis, the public does not know what to believe. In my studio they will play by Trivisonno rules and the questions of the public will be addressed.”

The WTAM press release does not mention "eating in the studio" among those rules. (Sorry, it was just SITTING THERE!)

Names of the Recent Past

And we didn't even coordinate these two items which found their way into our mailbox...two people who have surfaced after leaving local media jobs:

RYAN'S JOB: Former WOIO/19 "19 Action News" anchor Ryan Andrews is back on the air in his hometown. No, not Cleveland...Orlando.

A helpful OMW reader leads us to this Orlando TV news website, which says Andrews has been hired as a reporter and weekend anchor at WFTV/9 there. Andrews is originally from the Orlando suburb of Winter Park, and went to college in Florida. He left "Action News" back in January.

His departure from Reserve Square came just before he was going to be moved from a weekday anchor slot to a weekend anchor slot - the position now filled by former Sacramento TV news anchor Paul Joncich.

But it appears from the original story that Andrews was looking to leave WOIO anyway...

KELLY BACK TO VISIT?: A reader tells us they've heard former WTAM/1100 Browns beat reporter David Kelly twice on the local radio airwaves recently, with a guest shot on WTAM's Bob Frantz show...and doing high school football play-by-play (St. Ignatius vs. Mentor) on rival Salem sports talk WKNR/850.

The Frantz appearance is easy enough to do from Memphis, where Kelly went after leaving the Clear Channel talk station here. But you'd pretty much have to be in Cleveland to call a local high school football game, even if you're just visiting.

We did not hear it, and wonder if anyone did...

Kelly left WTAM to take a job as a broadcaster for the Memphis Redbirds minor league baseball team, which ended its season earlier this month. He's still listed as one of the Redbirds' broadcasters on the team's "Front Office" web page. We can't find him on the staff page of Redbirds outlet WHBQ/560 "Sports 56", but we don't know if he did anything for the station besides the baseball games and related items during the season.

The Redbirds are the top minor league club in the St. Louis Cardinals' system...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Random Midweek Stuff

Starting at home, in Northeast Ohio...

CASEY'S DAY: Veteran WTAM/1100 sportscaster and morning co-host Casey Coleman has been in just about everyone's prayers since he learned he had months to live in his battle with pancreatic cancer.

He's apparently on the minds of those in Cleveland city government, as Mayor Frank Jackson will proclaim Tuesday, September 26th "Casey Coleman Day" in Cleveland.

But it's much more than just another proclamation. With the event, a non-profit organization called "Recovery Resources" will set up the "Casey Fund". We don't have many details about either the group or the nature of the fund, but we're sure it'll go for good causes in Casey's name.

We're also not sure when Casey will return to the Browns Radio Network's sideline reporting role, as we heard WTAM Browns beat reporter Andre Knott once again on Sunday, as the Cleveland Browns got embarrassed by the Cincinnati Bengals...

We ARE sure that another event will take place next week, a blood drive linked to Casey on Wednesday, September 27th at the world famous Clear Channel World Domination HQ on Oak Tree (6200 Oak Tree Blvd., Independence, off I-77 and Rockside Road), as we've heard in on-air promots on WTAM today.

And the American Red Cross is also getting directly involved all over the area. From the WTAM "Wills and Coleman" page:

The Clear Channel Blood drive is "In Honor of Casey Coleman" and the Red Cross is also spearheading a region-wide effort to honor Casey at every donor center and Bloodmobile that day. Casey's fortitude is an inspiration to everyone.

Although Casey will not actually receive all the blood collected in his honor, the donations will help save or sustain the lives of hundreds of people in 57 northeast Ohio hospitals. All those who come to donate blood at a Red Cross fixed or mobile site on September 27th will be able to write a personal message to Casey or simply sign their name with best wishes.

The goal is to show Casey how much he means to the community and to help save lives in the process. We encourage you to schedule your appointment via E-Donor.

Register at this link...

CINCINNATI SHUFFLE: And you thought the changes involving AM sports and liberal talk formats in Cincinnati were confusing.

Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio guru John Kiesewetter gives his blog readers the details involving a series of FM changes in Cincinnati, prompted by the move-in of an Indiana radio station to the Cincinnati market on 100.3 FM.

That outlet, owned by Radio One, picks up the WMOJ calls and "Mojo" name and format that have been on Cumulus' 94.9 FM. The move was previously reported, but Kiesewetter reports in the Enquirer today that Radio One will steer the new "Mojo" in a different direction, adding more songs aimed at African-American audiences over 30, "particularly women".

Out the door will be "Jammin' Oldies" mainstays that attract a mainly white audience, making the station more "mainstream urban", Radio One Cincinnati GM Lisa Thal tells Kiesewetter.

The "Mojo" move triggers another one, with the former Susquehanna outlet at 94.9 set to become the new home of country WYGY, now residing at 96.5 FM. And the 96.5 frequency in the Cumulus cluster, once WYGY stops simulcasting in a couple of weeks? To be announced, it appears...

All of this starts late tonight/early tomorrow...

BREAKING NEWS: Channel 5's Stefani Schaefer Leaving

And the breaking news just keeps on coming...

The co-host of WEWS/5's long-running 5 PM show "Live on Five" is leaving the Cleveland ABC affiliate for a big national gig.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Julie Washington reports on the paper's Entertainment blog that Stefani Schaefer will leave her seat alongside local TV veteran Leon Bibb...for a new job as one of three hosts on the upcoming NBC-produced daytime program "iVillage".

Because of that show's December premiere date, Schaefer will be able to stay on at "Live on Five" through the November sweeps. Channel 5 general manager John Butte is thrilled about that, and gushes to Washington that the station is "really proud of her and excited" about Schaefer's new job.

The new show is being produced at first only for the NBC owned-and-operated stations, reports Washington, so local viewers will not see Schaefer on NBC affiliate WKYC/3 - yet.

There are plans to syndicate "iVillage" beyond the NBC owned stations, but WKYC is no longer owned by the network, so it won't be on Channel 3 - or any Cleveland station - at the beginning. Since the show will be syndicated beyond the NBC O&O's, it's possible another station - say, WEWS - could pick it up once it becomes available.

Local viewers will be able to catch up with Schaefer - who's been with WEWS since 2002 and on local TV since joining WJW/8 in 1992 - online when the "iVillage" show's website launches...

There's no word yet on who will replace her on "Live on Five"...

BREAKING NEWS: WBNX Details Digital Plans

After months of speculation, new Cleveland market CW affiliate WBNX/55 has let out a little more information on its upcoming digital signal.

The station's "Trends" web page has now been updated with information we reported months ago, indicating the approval of the WBNX-DT construction permit. But it looks like it'll be a while before local viewers are watching "The CW" in high-definition:

We are planning on making our digital and HD signal available to cable and satellite by mid to late October 2006. Unfortunately it will not be available for over the air viewing until April of 2007.

This confirms something we put up here shortly after the WBNX-DT CP was approved, when a station staffer E-Mailed one of our readers that the WBNX digital over-air signal would not likely hit the airwaves until next Spring.

But it also confirms our speculation that the station would make efforts to provide a cable (and satellite) HDTV feed before the over-air signal is completed.

Simply put, it takes time to build a TV station, and expecting WBNX-DT to start broadcasting as soon as this fall was probably a stretch.

As far as satellite TV goes, for the moment, DirecTV is only passing along the "Big Four" network affiliates in Cleveland in HDTV, and as far as we know, other markets nationwide. Dish Network still hasn't lit up HD "local-into-local" service for the Cleveland market, and we don't know if they'd offer WBNX or other CW affiliates...


Northeast Ohio radio and TV go through cycles of change, we've figured out.

Covering the local media beat reminds us of being a fireman, only without the flames and danger part. We could be sitting around here with nothing going on, and all of a sudden, changes seem to happen in bulk. And those changes may not even be related to each other.

This is another of those weeks.

We don't have any confirmation on it, so we won't run the full item yet, but OMW hears there could be programming personnel changes in one Northeast Ohio radio cluster, following Don Hallett's exit from Clear Channel hot AC WMVX/106.5 "Mix 106.5" yesterday.

(This could also be your clue, as an OMW reader, to drop us a private note helping us to confirm such a change in your cluster. Our E-Mail link is conveniently located up at the top left.)

As far as Hallett's exit is concerned, our moles at the Clear Channel World Domination HQ on Oak Tree tell us it appears to be genuinely related to the company's budget concerns, and that similar moves have happened at other Clear Channel clusters.

In fact, one of those moves involves Clear Channel news/talk programming guru Gabe Hobbs returning to the day-to-day programming world, taking over the PD reins again at the talk station which originally launched him into his company-wide role...Tampa's WFLA/970 (and sister WHNZ/1250).

Hobbs also keeps that role, adding the WFLA/WHNZ programming responsibilities to his plate...

Springer Hangs Onto...At Least One Big One

Monday was the start of Air America Radio's new lineup, as the liberal talk network moved former "Majority Report" co-host Sam Seder to his own new mid-morning show, and moved incumbent 9-noon ET host Jerry Springer to its syndication arm.

Despite being trucked off the main AAR feed, Springer has at least one bright spot out of this - Chicago.

Northwest suburban daytimer WCPT/850 Crystal Lake IL has decided to hang onto Springer in the 8-11 AM CT time slot, even after declining to take AAR's morning drive replacement for moving-to-evening host Rachel Maddow - syndicated talk trio "The Young Turks".

Instead, WCPT has picked up Jones Radio's Bill Press for its "Whenever We Sign On until 8 AM" time slot, which means he'll get at least a month or two before nearly all of his show is preempted.

(And long-time readers know there's an Ohio connection here as well, as Press' show began as a local-only show on Clear Channel Akron liberal talker WARF/1350 "Radio Free Ohio".)

Back to Springer.

One reason "Chicago's Progressive Talk" is presumably hanging onto him is the talk show host's local ties. He tapes his trash TV talk fest in Chicago three days a week and maintains a residence there...which means he splits his radio time between the Windy City and the Queen City of Cincinnati.

Either way, it's an active move on their part, as simply going to the primary AAR satellite feed as they did in the past would yield Sam Seder's new show.

What's the overall read on the move from Camp Springer? Here's a note from show staffer Jene Galvin on the official Springer On The Radio blog:

Early reports are that the vast majority of Air America affiliates have chosen to continue with Springer On The Radio.

"The vast majority" apparently does not include New York City, where there are reports that Springer's show is no longer heard on new AAR flagship WWRL/1600 - the station now reportedly carries Seder's program in the slot where Springer was once heard on former flagship WLIB/1190.

Galvin's note seems to confirm our long-time thought that the Springer radio show has also been continued to be offered outside the AAR syndication deal, presumably within Clear Channel:

Some Springer On The Radio listeners hear Jerry on progressive radio stations that are not Air America affiliates, and presumably you will be able to continue to hear Jerry’s enlightened approach to talk radio on those stations.

There's only one problem here...we're trying to figure out what stations that covers.

Cleveland's talk powerhouse WTAM/1100 was one, and it's been gone from the Springer affiliate list for months.

The San Antonio Clear Channel FM liberal talker changed to a music format some time ago, and the Clear Channel talk outlet in Sarasota FL (another Springer hometown) recently also dumped talk for music...WSRQ/1450. which aired Rush Limbaugh and other conservative talkers outside of Jerry's show, is now part of the "Dove" standards simulcast there.

And neither WTAM nor WSRQ would have been considered "progressive" radio stations, even when they were both carrying Springer's program.

Doing math in our heads here - would that only leave Springer's Cincinnati flagship WSAI/1360 in the "Not Fed by AAR" column? Maybe we're missing a station...

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


No details other than this:

OMW hears from a reliable source that NextMedia's WHBC/1480-WHBC-FM/94.1 will soon announce a new general manager for the Canton stations, "as early as today", we're told.

As we reported earlier, previous general manager Rich Bossler and general sales manager Sue Motts left the WHBC duo last week. NextMedia's Saginaw GM was tapped as interim GM in Canton, and we hear he's been dividing his time between the two markets since.

More as it develops...

BREAKING NEWS: "Mix 106.5" PD Out

AllAccess reports this afternoon that Clear Channel Cleveland hot AC WMVX/106.5 "Mix 106.5" program director Don Hallett is out in a "consolidation of duties".

The consolidation apparently involves CC Cleveland OM/cluster programmer Kevin Metheny taking "Mix" under his wing. And as such, the WMVX PD chair will not be filled.

Hallett joined the station in July 2005, after a stint at Columbus AC WSNY/94.7 "Sunny 95".

More details as they become available...

Three Phoenix Items

OK, so we're a few thousand miles east of Arizona, but here are three items - at least two of them with a Northeast Ohio connection:

KDKB AND RUBY STILL ROCKING: We know some cold water was thrown on the Internet rumor that long-time Phoenix rock outlet KDKB/93.3 would flip to a Spanish-language format...a rumor that was fueled by the station's stunting and a Spanish-language message on its own website.

Sure enough, the stunt was just that, and KDKB returned to rocking last Friday, under the tagline "Everything That Rocks"...with the major change being a widening of the station's playlist. (Sound familiar, "92.3 K-Rock" listeners?)

It only merits mention here for the same reason it did before - former WMMS/100.7 personality Ruby Cheeks remains in her midday time slot on the Phoenix station, and is not "on the beach"...

VIRGIN JOB: He's probably best known most recently as the main alternative rock personality at Washington-turned-Baltimore legendary alt-rock station WHFS.

But Tim Virgin has Cleveland on his resume, as the former afternoon driver at "Jammin' 92", the once-top 40 outlet then known as WZJM/92.3.

Virgin now moves to Phoenix, as he's named APD/MD of that city's alt-rock outlet, KEDJ/103.9 "The Edge".

And oddly enough, his former home here is now an alt-rock outlet, the above-mentioned WXRK/92.3 "K-Rock". And just like his most recent radio stop in Baltimore, "K-Rock" now has a significant FM talk presence - with "Rover's Morning Glory" in morning drive, and "Opie and Anthony" in afternoon drive...

NOT REALLY RELATED TO NORTHEAST OHIO...: But since we're spending electronic time in Phoenix, an update to our "FM News/Talk Watch".

Bonneville news/talk KTAR/620 has officially moved to the FM signal which will become its only home at the end of the year, KTAR-FM/92.3 Glendale AZ.

With the move, KTAR now images exclusively as "News 92.3", though the AM 620 simulcast won't give way to a new all-sports format until January 2007. (Perhaps that's why they still call the evening sports talk show "620 Sportsline" despite the frequency change...)

Monday, September 18, 2006

CinCW and Time Warner Update

After agreeing to air the new Cincinnati market digital-only CW affiliate "CinCW" over the weekend, Time Warner Cable in the region has found a place for it. Actually, three places, but mostly not at the same time.

Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio guru John Kiesewetter reports that on CinCW's maiden voyage, the new digital subchannel of CBS affiliate WKRC/12 was added Monday afternoon on digital channel 913.

That TV nosebleed location is next to WKRC's digital/HD channel (912), and the same placement new MyNetworkTV outlet "My YTV" got in Youngstown, next to its parent station WYTV/33's digital/HD channel.

But that's not the permanent home for CinCW on TWC.

The station's CW programming (only) will be simulcast from 8-10 PM on Time Warner's analog channel 2 for the next month, but the entire station will take over analog channel 20 in 30 days, on October 18th. That's due to the FCC requirement for cable systems to give a 30 day notice to dumped channels.

And yes, that means scrappy now-independent LPTV outlet WBQC-CA/38, formerly known as "UPN 38", will be bumped from its prime-time only placement on that same channel. WBQC owner Elliott Block tells Kiesewetter that he's hoping to grab a digital cable full-time assignment:

“I hate to lose being on basic (cable), but there was so much confusion because we were only on five hours. People would tune in during the day and find home shopping or something else,” Block says. “Being full-time on the digital level may be the best thing.”

And Block doesn't have much to fight with, regarding Time Warner. The new CinCW channel has also bumped WBQC from its long-time carriage on DirecTV's channel 25...

BREAKING DOG NEWS: Rover Out in Detroit

In what's really not likely to be a surprise to anyone...

CBS Radio talk WKRK/97.1 "Free FM" Detroit is replacing Cleveland-based syndicated morning doggie Shane "Rover" French and his "Rover's Morning Glory" with...drumroll, please!...CBS/XM's "Opie and Anthony".

The move was reported by AllAccess this afternoon, and is confirmed by the station's website - pictured at left here.

Again, no surprise.

O&A have basically been "warming up" as the morning team at sister CBS sports talk WXYT/1270 for the past few months. The placement of the duo on an AM sports talk station screamed of "we're putting them here till we decide if we're blowing out Rover on 97.1".

Cleveland's gift to the morning syndicated radio world could also face displacement in some of his other syndicated outposts, as CBS Radio is selling off stations in Rover markets like Rochester NY to other operators.

At last check, Rover and his crew don't do their show in Spanish...

Monday, Monday

Some early week items:

WBNX'S NEW PAINT: In its first day as an affiliate of the new CW network, Cleveland's former WB outlet has a new look to its website.

WBNX/55 has dumped the WB look for the new color of CW green.

The website is pretty similar in features to the one which it replaced today, and in fact, despite changing the look, they haven't even reworded the "Trends" page that says the station is "endeavoring" to air its digital/HDTV signal by September 2006. (WBNX, meet Mr. Calendar, it's September 18th!)

"Cleveland's CW" kicks off its new network with a "7th Heaven" repeat at 8, followed by an Entertainment Tonight-produced special on the CW at 9...

PLAIN DEALER FOLO 1: A small item from Julie Washington that we missed as a "Short Cut" in the Plain Dealer last week - Cleveland public radio outlet WCPN/90.3 has changed its mid-morning news and information show from "90.3 at 9" to "The Sound of Ideas".

With the exit of host Cindi Deutschman-Ruiz, "Morning Edition" local host Dan Moulthrop takes over the new show, which sounds like it's meant to be a radio companion to ideaStream sister PBS station WVIZ/25's "Ideas" show.

Julie also catches up with Akron today, and has an item on Rubber City country WQMX/94.9's lineup changes...

PLAIN DEALER FOLO 2: Roger in Brief Department - the PD's sports/media columnist touches on Ohio State's big ratings and a live broadcast of the team's Monday night "Roundtable" show from Independence in his Monday Media Column.

The Artful Roger also gets to the NFL Network (re)dumping by Time Warner Cable for former Adelphia and Comcast subscribers, with local TWC spokesman Bill Jasso hopeful for an agreement, but the NFL Network's spokesman not seeing it happening any time soon.

To round it out, Roger gives a scorecard to baseball TV analysts, SportsTime Ohio and college basketball, and FSN Ohio's handling of Browns programming as the new official cable outlet for the NFL team...

AMAZED THEY'RE OUT: Long-time OMW readers know that we have very few network TV "must-watches". But one of those is the CBS travel/reality show "The Amazing Race", which premiered last night on the network and local CBS affiliate WOIO/19.

There's actually a local angle this time, with Bilal Abdul-Mani and Sa'eed Rudolph from Cleveland taking on the race as "Muslim best friends", one of 12 teams. But those hoping for a long race from the Northeast Ohio duo were disappointed, as they got "Philiminated" earlier than any team in the show's history - in the middle of the very first leg.

"TAR" has had one other area team in its past - a now-married pair from Youngstown, Ray and Deana...

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Late Weekend Potpourri

Just some stuff that's been going around, or in at least one case, just happening:

TO SEE (C?) CINCW: An update to our earlier item about the negotiations to put the new Cincinnati market CW affiliate on Time Warner Cable, the market's dominant cable operator.

In an website item today, the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Kiesewetter reports that there is indeed an agreement between Clear Channel CBS affiliate WKRC/12 and Time Warner Cable, reached very late Saturday night, and "CinCW" will air - somewhere - on the TWC systems in Cincinnati. WKRC operates - or will operate - CinCW on a subchannel of its main digital signal.

What's not clear at this point is where the new channel will show up on the TWC systems, and when...if it'll be in time for the network's launch tomorrow. There's no new information on the WKRC website in the section devoted to the new channel, or elsewhere that we can see.

While we're talking CW - there's no sign at the OMW World Headquarters of WBNX/55's digital signal tonight, as the soon-to-be CW affiliate prepares to meet its new network. WBNX and other outgoing WB affiliates aired a five hour block looking back at the expiring network tonight.

But someone reminds us that the neon WB logo and the neon Michigan J. Frog likeness are still alive, and lit, on the side of WBNX's studio facility on State Road in Cuyahoga Falls. Then again, The WB dumped the Frog some time ago...

CC LIMA SWAPS: It's kind of hard for us to keep up with Lima, so we filed this in the "back of our head" file until someone graciously reminded us of the AllAccess report earlier this past week.

In what has to be the PD Format Switch of the Month, Clear Channel Lima top 40 WLWD/93.9 "Wild 93-9" program director/PM driver Aaron Matthews takes the PD chair at sister talk WIMA/1150. (We're guessing that "Wild" and "News/Talk 1150" don't share a lot of P1s.)

WIMA PD Dave Woodward moves over to become the cluster production director, and Russ Ryder - just in from the company's sister stations in Defiance - moves up from nights to program "Wild".

And if you haven't worn out your scorecards yet, an entity known only as "PT Q" finishes up the shuffle, taking over Ryder's nighttime slot on WLWD...

NOD TO AN ANNIVERSARY: And an OMW Tip of the Hat to Marietta AM radio institution WMOA/1490, which celebrated its 60th anniversary on the air on Friday.

Long-time Friend of OMW Clarke Ingram pointed us to this Marietta Times article on the anniversary, with the full service station airing a day of classic programming, interviews with key station personnel over the years, and even old-time radio commercials.

And when we say "full service", we mean it. Though the station is tabbed as "adult contemporary" by industry listings, and the on-air personalities promise "less talk", there's a lot of information in the WMOA programming schedule...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Radio and a Tragedy

Ever since Cleveland police detective Jonathan "A.J." Schroeder was gunned down and killed trying to serve a warrant, local media has been talking about the story.

In addition to the usual news coverage on local radio and TV, stations have been getting involved and trying to do something beyond the usual coverage.

CBS Radio classic rock WNCX/98.5's morning show ("Mud, Mihalik and Mike") has been particularly active, using the airwaves to raise money for the Jonathan Schroeder Memorial Fund. The station has held an auction, thanks to listener donations and local businesses which have contributed items.

And Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 mid-morning host Bob Frantz holds a live "police support" rally this afternoon at Gateway Plaza, the area between Jacobs Field and Quicken Loans Arena. The 2-6 PM event will air live on the station. Quoting a station release:

“When I moved back home, I wanted my show to address the unique needs of this community and directly relate to Clevelanders,” said Bob Frantz.

He continued, “This rally was born from my disgust with all the anti-police rallies being held by activists who protest the work the officers do. This was my way of showing them that Cleveland supports its protectors unconditionally. The rally will honor those who have fallen in the line of duty, it will encourage those who currently serve, and will help give our community a renewed perspective of police service.”

The rally certainly fits with the discussion which has taken place on his program since Schroeder's slaying, and the wounding of a Medina County Sheriff's deputy days later...

Format, Meet Station

We've known for some time that Radio One was moving WIFE-FM in Connorsville IN to the Cincinnati market. We now know what the station will be like.

Radio One has bought the intellectual property of Cumulus rhythmic oldies WMOJ/94.9, the station otherwise known as "Mojo 94.9". "Mojo"'s format and the WMOJ calls will land on the new Radio One signal that is licensed to the Cincinnati suburb of Norwood.

In the Radio One press release, the company says they expect to close on the WIFE sale within the next week. New sister station WIZF has already moved to 101.1 FM, to accomodate the new signal at 100.3. WIFE's former oldies format has landed on the AM station left behind in Connorsville, the new WIFE(AM) 1580.

"Mojo" is one of the few "jammin' oldies" stations left, after the format's boom in the mid-90's.

There's no indication what Cumulus, the new owner of the former Susquehanna stations, will do on 94.9 when "Mojo" moves to Radio One's new signal...

Northeast Ohio HDTV Update

A number of items all having to do with high-definition TV and Northeast Ohio:

NO CW HD YET: Unless we've missed something, it doesn't appear that the Cleveland market's new CW Network affiliate will be airing the network's shows in HDTV with The CW's launch on Monday.

All indications are that Winston Broadcasting's WBNX-TV/55 has been working feverishly on completing its HDTV operation...with the digital permit for WBNX-DT/30 finally being issued a few months ago.

But we have no word that the signal will be on the air soon. We haven't seen WBNX testing its new digital signal, which would certainly be required before going live. And we have no word that the station will attempt to send out a cable-only signal before that.

(We'd assume that if the new over-air signal was coming soon, the station would not attempt a separate cable feed, unless they were going to be using that feed to send the digital signal to local cable operators long-term...)

HD WHEEL: If you've longed to watch "Wheel of Fortune" in HD, you may well be able to do so later this month in Northeast Ohio.

The popular syndicated game show has upgraded its studio and control room, and offers an HDTV version of the show to affiliates starting this season. OMW hears that you could see HD "Wheel" broadcasts on local ABC outlet and "Wheel" affiliate WEWS/5 as soon as September 25th...

HD B-BALL: OMW hears that FOX Sports Net Ohio is preparing to air 20 Cleveland Cavaliers' games in high-definition for the upcoming NBA season.

The cable channel, which recently locked up a new deal to air 70 Cavs games a year, did eight HD games late last season.

HD CLEARER: And OMW also hears that viewers of Youngstown NBC affiliate WFMJ/21's digital signal could get a stronger signal by the end of the month.

The station is readying a power upgrade to WFMJ-DT, which will more than double the current power level when it's completed. WFMJ-DT also carries sister CW network outlet WBCB on a subchannel.

Piedmont CBS affiliate WKBN-DT will still have a stronger signal, but viewers in the eastern part of the Cleveland market should have a better chance at WFMJ's digital signal with the upgrade.

Lagging behind in the Digital TV Signal Wars in the Youngstown market is WYTV/33 (DT 36). The Chelsey Broadcasting ABC affiliate has a fraction of the digital power of its two commercial competitors...and there's no upgrade in the works. But it's far from the first time that WYTV has been third to WKBN and WFMJ...

Friday, September 15, 2006

Time Warner Dumps NFL Network - Again

Though there were signs that Time Warner Cable could reach an agreement with the NFL Network, to keep the cable channel on the former Adelphia and Comcast systems...that apparently won't be the case for now.

Time Warner pulled the channel again early Friday morning, at the new deadline the cable operator had set after extending that deadline earlier this month.

There's a three screen message in place on the NFL Network channel, telling viewers about the channel's dumping:

Regretfully, the NFL Network has been deleted from the Time Warner Cable channel line-up. Despite continued talks, we have not been able to reach an agreement for carriage that is in the best interests of our customers.

We want to carry the NFL Network in a manner that is fair to all of our customers - this means placing it in a digital sports package with other sports networks that appeal to a select audience (such as NBA-TV, the Tennis Channel, and College Sports TV). This way we can make the network available to the customers that want it without everyone picking up the tab. However, the NFL Network continues to insist that all of our customers pay for the Network regardless of their interest in its programming.

We will continue to negotiate and remain hopeful that an agreement will be reached that is beneficial to all. In the meantime, we want to assure you that your home team games (many in High Definition) can, indeed, be viewed on Time Warner Digital Cable. HD services and sports programming in your area by visiting

In short, the negotiations stalled past the end of the NFL Network's pre-season game package, so TWC is in no hurry to return the channel to its former Adelphia and Comcast systems.

The NFL Network is not lying back and waiting, though.

Not only have we heard frequent ads on local radio stations urging "dumped" viewers to call the toll-free line the network has set up - which we reported earlier was urging NFL Network viewers to sign up for Dish Network - they've also paid for newspaper ads that tell viewers that Time Warner Cable "doesn't think you want to see these key matchups" - late season games carried only on NFL Network.

Of course, games involving local teams - like the Browns' December 7th contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers - will air on local over-air stations in the two teams' markets. WJW "FOX 8" gets the honors for that game in the Cleveland market.

And there's a bit of insight from an NFL Network spokesman.

The NFL Network's Seth Palansky tells the Kansas City Star's Jeffrey Flanagan that the network was actually willing to go along with placement on a "sports tier" when talking to Time Warner three years ago.

But now, he repeats the core of the network's negotiating position:

“The playing field has changed,” Palansky said. “It’s like having a $50,000 house that now is worth $200,000. Things change. This is the NFL. This is football. We know how popular it is. This isn’t the bingo channel.”

And until the actual games start showing up, TWC has the luxury of hanging back and waiting...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Less Than Helpful Corporate Siblings

We're just four days away from the debut of the second new TV network in the United States, and thousands of viewers in the Cincinnati market aren't sure they'll be able to see it.

After Sinclair WB affiliate WSTR/64 took an early ride on the MyNetworkTV Express (or maybe it's a limited stop local), and the new CW network took a pass on small independent UPN outlet WBQC-CA "UPN 38", CW landed on a new subchannel of Clear Channel CBS affiliate WKRC's digital be called "CinCW".

After years and years of watching WBQC fighting for whatever scraps Time Warner gave them for carriage - which eventually landed the low-power station a five hour prime-time clearance on cable channel 20 - local media observers felt WKRC would have an easier time of it.

After all, the "W" in "The CW" stands for Warner Brothers, a sister company to the cable system's parent, and co-owner of the network with CBS.

Think again.

While it still seems likely that SOME carriage of "CinCW" will happen on TWC's dominant Cincinnati system by the Monday debut, the local cable operation is not making it easy for the affiliate of its corporate cousin. Both sides told Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio writer John Kiesewetter this week that they're "optimistic" that something will be worked out by the network's first bow.

But the problem WKRC has in Cincinnati with "CinCW" is actually the same problem Youngstown ABC affiliate WYTV/33 is seeing with Time Warner Cable there, trying to get more prominent carriage of its new "My YTV" subchannel.

WYTV is pushing to get "My YTV" on an analog basic cable channel, where Time Warner has placed it on digital 534 - next to WYTV's HDTV feed at 533. We reported earlier a campaign by WYTV, urging viewers to call TWC's Youngstown and Warren offices to ask for an analog channel for their new sister station.

But in Cincinnati, there's that Time Warner-Warner Brothers connection.

Though Clear Channel actually owns the affiliate, one would think there'd be corporate pressure to bear... since WKRC's "CinCW" is one of very few large market digital CW outlets, and they certainly need viewers to be able to find it easily. And the station has lost valuable promotional time in the buildup to the CW launch next week.

Up I-71 and I-90 from Ohio's Queen City, Time Warner actually owns the cable-only WB-to-CW outlet in Rochester NY, "WRWB".

Tie that in with the likelihood that TWC will hand off the former "WB 16" to Clear Channel to run as a sister station to Rochester ABC affiliate WHAM-TV/13 - as reported by our friend and colleague Scott Fybush's NorthEast Radio Watch - and you have to wonder why the two companies can't figure something out in Cincinnati.

We know from experience that national corporate mandates in broadcasting often get slowed down by strong local management. But in this case, it would appear to be a key piece of the puzzle that the "W" in CW needs to solve...and Kiesewetter's item seems to indicate that the final call will be made by the TWC national corporate office.

Oh, and poor Elliott Block.

The WBQC owner will get his low-power outlet thrown up into high digital cable channel territory on the Cincinnati area Insight systems when "CinCW" takes over channel 25. And he's likely to lose his part-time slot on Time Warner cable channel 20 as well, no matter what happens to the new CW outlet.

Meanwhile, CW viewers in the northern end of the Cincinnati market may turn to Dayton's WBDT/26 instead...and they'll have to do so if they have no cable, satellite or digital TV tuner...

"MyFoxCleveland" Opens Its Doors

Regular OMW readers know we've been keeping track of the behind the scenes activities at the FOX owned and operated stations group, which includes local WJW/8. Over the past few months, they've been unveiling revamped local websites, and even doing set and graphics makeovers in some markets.

The first evidence of that in Cleveland is now live, as "" has gone public in what appears to be an open beta test.

We say that because we haven't seen it promoted on the station, and the "" site is still up and being updated.

Unlike the existing site, the "MyFox" template allows FOX 8 to update local news in-depth online, and gives the station its first online news video offering.

It also gives a preview into what could be the future of the station's on-air look, with a different "FOX 8" logo, and a "FOX 8 NEWS" logo that mimics rotating, "searchlight" style of the parent company's widely successful cable outlet, FOX News Channel.

There's no word when that style could migrate to the airwaves, but it's being initiated slowly across other FOX O&Os around the nation...

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


UPDATE 12:32 AM 9/13/06: OMW hears that WHBC VP/general manager Rich Bossler and general sales manager Sue Motts have both exited, along with one other (off-air/office) staffer.

We hear the new acting VP/general manager at WHBC is the general manager of NextMedia's cluster in Saginaw MI, Floyd Evans.

For those wondering what other pieces of footwear are about to drop on Market Avenue South, OMW has NO indication at this writing that any other major changes are about to happen.

Our original item is below...


OMW hears from reliable sources that Rich Bossler, the general manager of NextMedia's WHBC/1480-WHBC-FM/94.1 in Canton, is no longer working for the station.

Our sources say that former WRQK/106.9 general sales manager Pam Allen has now taken that same role at WHBC (as GSM), but we don't know what that means for current WHBC GSM Sue Motts. We also don't know, at this time, who is either acting general manager or permanent general manager in the wake of Bossler's exit.

In all the detailed, and sometimes over the top, reporting we've done here on WHBC, we'd like to make one thing clear. We aren't celebrating Bossler's exit from the station.

Despite what it might seem, OMW does not publish every rumbling we hear. But we would like to say that even in the "darkest hour" for the news on WHBC, every single source we have has been nothing but complimentary when talking about Bossler.

He's widely perceived as a "good guy", and frankly, we haven't heard one bad thing about him either from his co-workers at Market Street South, or even from his competitors in the region.

As we always like to see the "good guys" win, here's hoping Rich Bossler lands smoothly...

WQMX Lineup Shifts

Unlike the last time we talked about looked like changes in the lineup at Rubber City Radio Akron market country powerhouse WQMX/94.9, this time, it appears to be for good.

OMW has confirmed that the new lineup for WQMX on the station's website is officially in place, as of this week.

The moves include several time slot shifts involving mainly existing WQMX staffers:

* Morning drive host Scott Wynn is joined on the "WQMX Country Club" by new co-host Shannon Alexander, who moves into mornings from her previous midday shift. Marcy Pappafava takes the news anchor position on the show, and Tina Kaufmann, at least for now, does traffic.

* After WQMX program director Kevin Mason's existing 9-11 AM show, it's Ike moving up the schedule from nights to take Alexander's now-former 11 AM-3 PM slot.

* The 7 PM-midnight opening is filled by J.R. Ewing, who moves up from overnights.

* Overnights are vacant, and the opening will be posted by Mason soon...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Air America's New Lineup

It's been hinted about for some time, but Air America's rumored lineup changes will finally be official at the liberal talk network...starting a week from today. And it brings a change for one partially Ohio-based talk host.

OMW hears that in the official announcement, as rumored and even reported by the host himself, "Majority Report"'s Sam Seder will move into the 9 AM-noon ET slot on AAR.

And though that means "The Sam Seder Show" will indeed bump former Cincinnati mayor Jerry Springer off of the main Air America satellite feed, as expected, Air America will continue to offer Springer's show via its syndication arm in the current time slot. That's the same distribution used for Thom Hartmann, which AAR Syndication offers opposite network mainstay Al Franken.

Other changes on the official schedule released late today, which starts September 18th:

* Sirius/syndicated hosts "The Young Turks" take 6-9 AM ET weekdays.

* Rachel Maddow, who shared morning drive with Mark Riley, moves to a new two hour evening show from 6-8 PM ET.

* Riley continues for an hour on the AAR schedule, 5-6 AM ET, and the new Maddow show trims AAR afternoon drive host Randi Rhodes to a 3 hour program from 3-6 PM ET.

* The rest of the old "Majority Report" slot will be filled by two AAR weekend shows going to weekdays - "Politically Direct" with David Bender, and "EcoTalk" with Betsy Rosenburg (one hour each).

* And fired late night host Mike Malloy is officially off the schedule, with Detroit-based host Peter Werbe listed only as a guest host in the 10 PM-12 AM time slot. (It appears the 12-1 AM slot formerly occupied by Malloy's show will now be filled by the start of the Al Franken repeat broadcast.)

According to the information we have, AAR says Werbe will be in the slot through September 29th, until "a permanent replacement is confirmed".

A lot of this doesn't even concern most Ohio-based AAR affiliates, with a number of these shows not even carried by the state's three liberal talk stations.

But Cincinnati icon Jerry Springer continues to hold his radio breath, and survives another day...though he will certainly lose a number of "turnkey" AAR affiliates which only carry his show because it's on the network's 24/7 feed. Until next Monday, that is.

We have not seen this on any of the other online radio trade sites, so we may well have an exclusive here...

Exits...and Entrances?

There's been yet another exit from Cumulus' Toledo cluster, but is there a return in the works in the same building?

FMQB reports this afternoon that top 40 WTWR/98.3 APD/MD/afternoon drive/imaging guy Eric Chase is now out at "Tower 98.3". As far as we know, Chase continues his part-time work in Detroit. OMW hears he got the word of his exit from his "day job" in Toledo while on vacation.

"Tower" hasn't had a program director since Brent Carey's exit back in July.

And about that possible entrance - OMW hears that a former sister station's programmer is now being heard in afternoon drive in the slot once occupied by Mr. Chase. It's former WWWM/105.5 "Star 105.5" program director Steve Marshall who is now heard in the "Tower" PM drive position.

Though this is just our speculation, it'd be rather interesting if Marshall picks up where he left off at Cumulus Toledo, though at 98.3 instead. We hear he does have some top 40 background on his resume...

In a totally unrelated item (as far as we know), a former Cleveland air personality has left his job in Michigan. AllAccess reports that Brian "Fig" Figula exits as program director of his first and hometown station, Cumulus top 40 WWCK in Flint MI. There's no word on where "Fig" heads next.

Cleveland listeners know "Fig" from his stint at CBS Radio hot AC WQAL/104.1 "Q104", where he held down afternoon drive...

Three Sports Items

Like the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Roger Brown, we're focusing this Monday on sports media items. But we have some tidbits Roger doesn't have:

KEEP RANTING: We're heading into the last weeks of yet another lost Cleveland Indians season, with the Tribe, despite better play lately, nowhere near a playoff berth.

That means FOX Sports Net Ohio will have to make a decision about "Cleveland Rants", the radio/TV simulcast featuring the network's Les Levine and WKNR/850's Neil Bender. The show has veered off from the Indians at times - it covered the first couple of days of Browns training camp - but it's mostly been tied to the team as a post-game show.

OMW hears that FSN Ohio wants to continue with "Rants" after the Indians season.

But we hear it's not altogether certain that the show will be in the exact same format, and it appears likely that WKNR won't be along for the "Rants" ride after the baseball season...making it solely a TV show.

Since WKNR host Bender is paid by his radio station and does the radio side of "Rants" alone after TV is finished, that would seem to indicate he wouldn't continue on the TV side after the changes.

Others could be in the mix alongside Levine in the post-Indians "Rants" world, and we note that FSN Ohio's Mike Reghi would be certainly available - much to the chagrin of many Cavaliers fans, since the team's recent decision to replace him as its TV voice made Reghi much less busy during the fall and winter months.

Reghi will be working on the network's weekly Cleveland Browns show (with Levine, according to an announcement he made earlier), but that's only a day a week...

CASEY'S BACK: WTAM/1100's Casey Coleman was back in his perch today as co-host of the station's "Wills and Coleman" morning drive show.

A brief setback after chemotherapy treatment last week kept him off the sidelines during the Browns Radio Network broadcast of the New Orleans Saints victory over the Browns.

(And considering how the home team played, especially in the first half, perhaps Casey was lucky not to be there.)

We did hear Casey on the phone with Browns radio studio host and WTAM sports director Mike Snyder during post game, and unless something's changed since then, Coleman still plans to do sideline reporting for the Browns game against the Cincinnati Bengals next week.

What we do have new is a note from an OMW reader, who was at the Cleveland chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences award ceremonies on Saturday. Casey got the organization's "Silver Circle" award at that banquet. We'll let our reader handle the wording:

Casey was on-stage to accept the award. And he gave a very touching, emotional speech that left the room silent. He thanked his wife for being by his side.

Martin Savidge and Kelly O'Donnell were there as hosts, but having Casey there to accept the tribute from his peers was the emotional highlight of the evening.

We have nothing more to say, other than to give our continued best wishes to local broadcasting's toughest fighter, Casey Coleman...

GETTING TO ROGER: You know it's a busy sports media menu when the local paper's sports media column is the third item on the list.

In this week's edition, Roger Brown gives kudos to former Buckeye and ABC/ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit for his work on the Buckeyes' win over Texas this weekend, and brickbats to local ABC affiliate WEWS/5 for obstructing the score with weather warning graphics, leaving a station logo behind untouched.

The Artful Roger also notes the hiring by WEWS of former Browns star Reggie Rucker as a studio contributor to the station's Monday night newscasts, and lower ratings for Indians games on SportsTime Ohio vs. last year on FSN Ohio.

If we remember right, the ratings were comparable early on, which we assume means that the Tribe being out of contention has driven away day-to-day viewers. But WKYC/3 is still putting up decent numbers for its mainly Sunday afternoon contests, says Roger.

In addition to catching up with FSN Ohio about its new Cavaliers deal and the regular broadcast of Browns head coach Romeo Crennel's press conference, Roger has a non-answer.

Yep, Roger says he still hasn't heard what the "word is" regarding WKNR's new network affiliation, with ESPN Radio heading out at the Salem Cleveland sports talker about a month from now.

Brown notes that FOX Sports Radio would have "stronger programming" than Sporting News Radio, which is sort of like saying Thunderbird is better than Ripple in the cheap wine section of your local supermarket. (It could be the other way for all we know, as your Primary Editorial Voice[tm] is a dedicated non-drinker.)

The network sports radio landscape is downright awful once you get past ESPN Radio.

Neither network has a strong morning drive show, for one. About the only show worth noting on either network is the mid-morning ET show with Tony Bruno on SNR, and that slot is currently covered on WKNR.

And no one knows if SNR will even survive parent Sporting News' sale to Advance/Newhouse, a newspaper publisher which also owns Roger's employer, oddly enough.

No wonder it's taking WKNR program director Michael Luczak so long to make up his mind. He's too busy holding his nose...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Casey Out for Browns Opener

This must really break his heart.

WTAM/1100 morning co-host and sports anchor Casey Coleman won't be on the sidelines for Sunday's Cleveland Browns home opener against the New Orleans Saints.

In Saturday's "TipOff" column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Michael K. McIntyre reports that Coleman came down with pneumonia following a chemotherapy treatment, and has doctor's orders to not work as Browns Radio Network sideline reporter during the team's regular season opener.

He has been heard doing his regular sideline reporting work during Browns pre-season games.

You don't keep Casey down for long, even when he's fighting to live as long as possible after a terminal pancreatic cancer diagnosis.

He'll be back on the WTAM "Wills and Coleman" show on Monday, and plans to travel to Cincinnati for the Browns' week 2 clash with the Bengals. We assume WTAM Browns beat reporter Andre Knott will fill in for Coleman on Sunday's broadcast.

McIntyre reminds us of an item we'd posted earlier - Casey was scheduled to pick up a "Silver Circle" award from the local chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences at a Saturday dinner...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Random Weekend Items Meaning Nothing

Just clearing out the OMW "Hold" file for the weekend:

WJER-FM GAMES: While we're trying to figure out when Clear Channel-owned WJER-FM/101.7 will move up from Dover/New Philadelphia to soon-to-be sister station WRQK's site in Canton - we paid another visit to the station's website.

The station's sports calendar lists events on 101.7 through the Ohio State/Michigan football game on November 18th.

We're not sure if that means anything...probably not, as such things can always be moved.

But OMW has heard from locals in the Dover/New Philadelphia area that former WJER owner/current manager Gary Petricola now hopes to air a full schedule of high school football this fall on the FM side. The local games are also being simulcast on the Internet. We hear the station may actually air Internet-only games if 101.7 is no longer around.

We've also heard that it's a foregone conclusion by locals that Petricola keeps operating AM 1450 in place in Dover after 101.7 moves north, echoing our comments from earlier entries.

Would he hope to add another FM to 1450?

Who knows, but just about everyone short of the guy who shines shoes outside the local courthouse tells us that WNPQ/95.9 New Philadelphia owner Jim Natoli has absolutely zero interest in selling either that station, or sister WBTC/1540 Uhrichsville.

When the topic got brought up at dinner recently, our radio-knowledgeable dining companions wouldn't let us finish the sentence before blurting out that "Mr. Natoli will never, ever sell that station, let alone let it move back to Dover/New Philly"...

PIRATES MOVE: Speaking of sports, this isn't a local one, but could affect parts of Ohio anyway.

Both Pittsburgh newspapers are reporting that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Clear Channel will announce the move of Pirates broadcasts on Tuesday, from long-time home CBS Radio news/talk KDKA/1020, to Clear Channel FM talk WPGB/104.7. The move was first reported by the Tribune-Review's Rob Rossi on Friday, and a story appears today in the Post-Gazette.

As Rossi notes, that means Clear Channel locks up all of the major Pittsburgh sports contracts on its FM stations, with the NFL Steelers long on WDVE/102.5 and the NHL Penguins recently moving to WXDX/105.9. On the college site, the Pitt Panthers are also on a Clear Channel FM station, moving in a couple of months from WPGB to oldies WWSW/94.5 "3WS".

(Our apologies for mangling the calls and frequency of that latter station. Unlike newspapers, we generally correct stuff like that!)

Clear Channel also has a stranglehold on sports here in Northeast Ohio, with long-term deals for the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers on the company's stations.

The Pirates move means that far-flung fans will have to turn to local affiliates or the Internet (or XM Satellite Radio) outside of WPGB's coverage area. But we wonder how many fans were listening to night games on 1020 outside of Western Pennsylvania...

ASKING FOR SUPPORT: Up to Youngstown we go, where Chelsey Broadcasting ABC affiliate WYTV/33 is asking for viewer help regarding its new MyNetworkTV sister station.

Channel 33 is running a crawl on, asking viewers to contact the Time Warner Cable offices in Youngstown and Warren to request that "My YTV" be moved from the digital tier (where it's on channel 534) to the basic cable lineup.

As shown here, the crawl emphasizes the channel's local news programming, including the talk show "For the People" and the 10 PM edition of "33 News" on the station.

Local Armstrong and Comcast (ex-Adelphia) systems displaced Cleveland UPN-to-MyNetworkTV affiliate WUAB/43 with the new WYTV-produced channel earlier this week on their basic cable lineups...

NFL MAPS: And just in time for the first week of the NFL season, we'd like to point out excellent work done by one J.P. Kirby.

This football fan has put up constantly updated maps showing which CBS and FOX stations will carry which Sunday NFL matchups.

And we do mean updated, because as of Friday, Kirby's maps show that most CBS affiliates in this region have switched from carrying Buffalo/New England to the AFC North-related matchup featuring Cincinnati playing Kansas City.

The Browns are a FOX game this week, with the NFC's New Orleans Saints in town for the opener on Sunday. (The visiting team generally determines which network covers the game.)

And that allows us to point out a problem for local HDTV owners who are also Browns fans. CBS is not budging this year from only offering three Sunday games in high definition, usually two early games and one 4 PM contest.

Unless the Browns get much better this year, Cleveland fans with big screen TVs are likely to see most of the team's games this season on WOIO/19 in upconverted standard definition. We hear CBS will gradually increase its HD football carriage until all games are in HDTV, by the 2009 NFL season.

The Sunday Browns/Saints tilt is in HDTV due to FOX carrying the game. FOX usually televises up to six games per week in HD...

Two Competitive Sports Radio Markets

The Cleveland radio market and Sandusky are separated by a few dozen miles, and have a difference in population of a few million people. But both are now either seeing sports radio competition...or about to see it.

When we mentioned the first new sports entrant in the Lake Erie "Vacationland" region - Norwalk daytimer WLKR/1510 "ESPN 1510" - we forgot to mention two things.

First, the station does run high school football. It can't be live on Friday nights, due to the station's daytime status, but games air under the "Pigskin Playback" banner on delay on Saturday mornings. Sister AC outlet WLKR/95.3 airs two games on Friday nights, one live, the other delayed...and the "ESPN 1510" game airing Saturday is a different contest entirely.

And WLKR does not normally broadcast on the Internet, but all three games are heard online via the station's website. It's a growing trend even in the smallest markets to offer up Internet simulcasts of high school football and basketball games.

Further north up U.S. 250, we've been listening to WLEC's online feed as the station expands its Saturday morning local sports show to two hours.

The move to all sports actually makes sense for the Clear Channel Sandusky AM outlet, which already carries a pretty hefty diet of sports play-by-play.

With a local afternoon drive show ("Wiede after Rome" with Dave Wiedenheft), WLEC seems to be making an effort to make the format more localized than just being your standard FOX Sports Radio/Jim Rome outlet.

As far as the much larger market to the east of the Sandusky/Norwalk area, we're hearing rumblings that something big could be afoot regarding the presence of "ESPN Cleveland", the first all-sports competitor to Salem's WKNR/850 in some time. (That, of course, doesn't count the Sports Radio Elephant in the middle of the living room in Cleveland, Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100.)

But we have no details right now.

We'll just continue with our ongoing speculation about what new WABQ/1540 owner Craig Karmazin's Good Karma Broadcasting is going to do to overcome his signal handicap with the 1000 watt daytimer...and the repeat of our earlier mantra that Karmazin would have a tough time being competitive with that mostly inner city daytime signal...

Friday, September 08, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: WLEC/Sandusky Flips to Sports

Here at OMW, we often tell you that when we leave town...major changes seem to happen. That truism now seems to apply to our visits *to* a city...or rather, our exit from a visit.

As we'd hinted in an earlier item, Clear Channel standards WLEC/1450 Sandusky has changed formats, from "American Music Classics" to a sports format as "Sports Radio Sandusky". The station's website has already been changed to reflect the new format.

And the format change literally just happened...tonight.

Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) was driving around the Sandusky and nearby areas this afternoon, in part to hear the format change of the last AM in the area to move from music to sports, "ESPN 1510" WLKR, the AM daytime side of WLKR/95.3.

OK, so we were mostly there to enjoy beautiful early September weather near Lake Erie.

But we'd been tipped off to the possible change to WLEC, so the combination of all the above prompted us to put some less expensive gas in the car and head up to the Lake Erie vacationland region this afternoon.

And when we were in the area, WLEC was still serving up the standards late as 6 PM, when we were leaving the region. (We suppose a big high school football evening is a great time to kick off a format in a small market!)

We've been listening to WLEC's Friday night high school football coverage, and the station's Steve Shoffner has been giving some information on the new sports format lineup.

The station will rely on FOX Sports Radio for its network coverage, and will also carry Premiere's Jim Rome in his usual midday time slot.

It'll continue to be the local outlet for all three Cleveland professional teams, and for Ohio State sports, along with all the local coverage of high school sports...and Westwood One/CBS Radio sports programming, including the NFL and baseball coverage.

Shoffner also promoted what we assume is a local weekday sports talk show with Dave Wiedenheft, Monday through Friday from 3-7 PM, and a continued local morning drive show from 6-9 AM...we believe with Shoffner joining host Mark Fogg.

WLEC's Saturday morning local sports show expands to 10 AM to noon, and the station will carry the new Premiere show hosted by Bob Costas from 6-8 AM on Saturdays, starting next week.

Of course, we're listening late tonight via WLEC's Internet simulcast, since they were still doing standards when we left town.'s our timing, again!

NOTE TO WLEC/CC SANDUSKY STAFF: Since we're sure someone up there will read this at some point...

As of just after midnight, your brand new FOX Sports Radio feed is not making it to the Internet simulcast...which is featuring the golden tones of "Dead Air", and has been for some 10 minutes.

We're pretty sure FSR is not on the "can't broadcast online list"...

(We could also point out that we didn't hear a legal ID out of the other new sports station in the area, Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting's WLKR/1510 Norwalk, for at least two hours on Friday afternoon...)

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Ruby Safe?

For those concerned about former WMMS personality Ruby Cheeks, with rumblings that her Phoenix rock station is changing to a Spanish-language format a week from Friday... you may not need to be concerned.

Despite the overhaul of the station's website, and a Spanish-language message about a format change after a 35 year run on September 15th, there's this tidbit from AllAccess this evening:

With new PD BUZZ CASEY just hired, it's doubtful a Spanish flip is in store. Sources in the building tell ALL ACCESS that the Rock format will continue with some interesting tweaks. Stay tuned here for updates.

Radio companies are getting more in-tune with trying to create buzz online.

A recent format switch in Rochester NY resulted in a station's new website being found prematurely by online users, which resulted in a Labor Day weekend poem about the online rumblings being posted on that very website.

The poem not only mentioned trade magazines like Radio and Records, but also long-time Friend of OMW Scott Fybush, editor of NorthEast Radio Watch.

The station, by the way, did actually flip to the rhythmic AC format with Whoopi Goldberg hinted by the "Snap 107.3" website.

(Note to Northeast Ohio radio stations contemplating format change stunts: Feel free to call out OMW. We'd get a kick out of it, even if you're not poetic...)

So, the upshot is...take online moves by a radio station with a grain of salt. The world of "we're just tweaking our format, but we want to draw attention to it by faking a format change" radio has arrived on the Internet...

Rock 107 Rocking Akron Again

We haven't been listening every day, so we don't know when it was fixed... but Cumulus rock WRQK/106.9 Canton "Rock 107" is once again able to talk to Akron...and for that matter, other areas beyond Stark County.

The same drive we took a few days ago in Cuyahoga Falls, when WRQK was mostly inaudible, we took again tonight...with "Rock 107" coming in loud and clear this time.

The station has been operating at low power for much of the past week or two, while it repaired what we've heard was a malfunctioning transmitter.

Oh, for those waiting for other "Rock 107" news...not yet. We've heard a certain major event we've been reporting that was scheduled to happen Friday of last week may not happen until sometime next week...

Cleveland Radio Vet Losing Her Station

The rumblings started popping up online this morning, and it now appears to be official: Phoenix rock station KDKB/93.3 is flipping formats a week from Friday, and the new format is likely to be in Spanish.

The station has wiped out its website and tells listeners:


And something that would seem to confirm the rumors, the message is immediately repeated on the web Spanish.

Since this is not Arizona Media Watch, we should probably tell you that we're posting this because the move apparently displaces Cleveland radio veteran Ruby Cheeks, who held down middays on the Sandusky-owned rock station. (That's Sandusky - the radio company, not Sandusky - the home of Cedar Point.)

Ruby, who is best known here for her stint at rock WMMS/100.7, also did talk radio on the old 3WE before it became today's WTAM/1100.

Her KDKB bio, which we fished out of the Google cache, says she was "coaxed out of radio retirement" to join the Phoenix station - after an off-air job with Premiere Radio Networks.

We don't know if this is the end of the road for Ruby in Phoenix, as other stations in that market have recently made changes that involve moving to other frequencies and owners. And even if not, she could pop up somewhere else...

More Random Items

Talk about random...there's really not much holding these together:

TWO FROM TOLEDO: ...where we hear from the Glass City that Cumulus classic rock WXKR/94.5 has flipped on the IBOC/HD switch. (Thanks to those who pointed out that the station is actually the last Cumulus FM station in Toledo to do so.)

And we hear another switch has been made, due to the fact that minor league baseball's Toledo Mud Hens have made the International League playoffs.

That means Mud Hens flagship Cumulus sports WLQR/1470 "The Ticket" is staying with them, and it bumps the big Ohio State/Texas college football clash this weekend on the Toledo radio dial to the aforementioned WXKR.

How long is WLQR for the Mud Hens? OMW hears that it's possible Clear Channel sports WCWA/1230 "Fox Sports 1230" could pick up Klinger's Favorite Franchise next year. In addition to "The Ticket" this year, the Mud Hens are also heard on Fostoria's WFOB...

ANOTHER KARMAZIN MOVE: OK, maybe we'll use sports as our tie here.

With the likely debut of "ESPN Cleveland" just over a month and change away on Good Karma Broadcasting's WABQ/1540 Cleveland (and expected night hours on Radio One talk WERE/1300), Good Karma owner Craig Karmazin's moves elsewhere are under scrutiny.

This time, AllAccess reports the FCC approval of a license city move for his Madison market FM sports outlet - WTLX/100.5 Columbus WI "FOX Sports 100.5". WTLX gets the nod to move its COL to Monona WI... in other words, somewhat closer to Madison, making it basically an in-city signal instead of a rimshot for Wisconsin's second-largest city.

We can't help but continue to look at the anemic signal of 1000 watt daytimer WABQ - if you want to listen static-free in places like Bay Village and Westlake, forget about it - and wonder what magic Mr. Karmazin has up his sleeve for his new Cleveland signal.

We've already run through the scenarios here many times, with the help of outgoing WABQ chief engineer and OMW reader Chris Quinn...there just isn't much room for significant improvement on 1540 in Cleveland.

Maybe we'll be surprised, but it doesn't seem likely...

HERE COMES THE JUDGE: The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Entertainment blog notes the presence of a pair of feuding Akron neighbors on the premiere of the latest TV courtroom show, "Judge Maria Lopez".

PD television writer Mark Dawidziak says the sparring Akron litigants open up the run of the show Monday at 2 PM on Raycom Media MyNetworkTV affiliate WUAB/ what's being promoted as "could be a case of 'Tractor Trailer Trickery'". Uh huh...