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...