Thursday, November 30, 2006

Al Franken Taking A Flyer?

Are the long-standing rumors about Air America Radio host Al Franken leaving his noon-3 slot on the liberal talk network true?

That's what our first thought was, upon hearing the news that Jones Radio/P1 afternoon drive talk host Ed Schultz will move his syndicated program.

Effective December 11th, a week from next Monday, "Big Eddie" will air live in that very same noon-3 (Eastern) slot. The show will still be refed in its current live time slot, 3-6 PM.

P1 president Stu Krane positions the move to the folks at Radio & Records as putting Ed in "prime real estate", radio-wise. It'll also pit Schultz head-to-head with Premiere conservative talk titan Rush Limbaugh, of course.

But AllAccess notes that the move was announced one day before a hearing on Air America Radio's bankruptcy, tomorrow. Would Jones/P1 move Schultz to noon-3 if Al Franken were still in the way?

Either if the former "Saturday Night Live" star is leaving AAR to mount that expected run for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota, or if AAR itself falls apart at the seams after Friday's hearing, it would seem that Jones/P1 has enough commitments from progressive talk outlets to make the move.

We haven't heard yet what local liberal talk outlet WARF/1350 "Radio Free Ohio" plans to do.

The decision could be made academic for them, and for other liberal talk outlets, if Franken is leaving or AAR is folding...take Ed Schultz live at noon, then Randi Rhodes live from 3-6 PM. Randi would finally get her cherished live afternoon drive clearance on many stations which delay her into early evenings in the Eastern United States.

Of course, if AAR is shutting down, that means Randi's affected as well.

If Randi lost her radio syndication home, we're wondering if Jones Radio would pick her show up as part of this move. That would certainly give them a very solid liberal talk block from 6 AM until 6 PM weekdays. As it turns out, Jones would then become the, well, defacto "liberal talk network" that AAR has tried to be all along!

We're just speculating about that last part, here, because we haven't heard any updated word about AAR's financial status. We do know that Franken is about to head out for a U.S.O. tour soon, we believe starting at around the same time - after his December 8th show.

But either way, it appears Ed Schultz - and Jones Radio - is looking to fill a void, and quickly...

Clear Channel Axe Chops in Cincinnati - And Columbus

UPDATE 11/30/06 4:35 PM - We have learned of more people being let go from Clear Channel's Columbus cluster. Scroll down for more...


It had to happen eventually, with Clear Channel cluster after cluster dumping people to save money.

AllAccess reports that the company's axe has now swung in Cincinnati and Columbus.

In Cincinnati, the trade site reports "at least" 15 people were let go in the downsizing yesterday, including from various stations:

* Hot AC WVMX/94.1 "Mix 94.1" - local morning host/producer for Whoopi Goldberg's show, Mike Stevens (who used to host the shift live and local until Whoopi showed up), and afternoon host "Madison".

* Top 40 WKFS/107.1 "Kiss FM" - midday personality Storm Bennett, and promotions assistant/part-time talent Mark Stone.

* Rock WEBN/102.7 - midday personality Wendy Walker, and promotions coordinator Steve Dent.

* And commercial production staffer Shaun Schaefer and engineer Andrew Costa are reported to be out of work as well.

Up I-71 in Columbus, AllAccess also notes that Danny Wright is out of a job at the Clear Channel cluster there, also due to budget considerations.

No, not THAT Danny Wright, the former WGAR/WGCL/etc. personality (and OMW reader) who now hosts the Jones Radio overnight country show "Wright All Night".

The Columbus Danny was, until now, APD and creative services director at CC's top 40 powerhouse, WNCI/97.9.

UPDATE: We have some more names out of Columbus thanks to an OMW source there, fine folks who are hitting the unemployment lines at a rather unfortunate time of year:

* News/talk WTVN/610 lost a bunch of people, including evening news anchor Stuart Osborne and news editor George Zonders.

Both names should be familiar to Northern Ohioans. Osborne used to do news anchoring via WAN for CC sister news/talk outlet WSPD/1370 Toledo, and both Zonders and Osborne have been heard doing reports from Columbus for CC sister talker WTAM/1100 in Cleveland.

We're told that WTVN also let go production director Scott Kahler, and midday producer Lindsay Guhl.

UPDATE 12/2/06 10:09 AM: In the interests of accuracy, one name has been removed from this item for the moment. We're checking it out.

As per usual, this is a good list for those looking for talented staff who are only out of work because their company is cutting budgets to the bone, in preparation for a buyout.

With all the other recent changes in the Cincinnati market, maybe these folks can land somewhere within new stations run by Entercom and Cumulus...

Casey's Services

We'll put the reminder up here, though we suspect that due to the nature of our readership, many of you are already planning to be there.

The wake for late Cleveland sportscaster Casey Coleman is scheduled for this afternoon, from 4 to 8 PM, at Berry and Martens Funeral Home - 26691 Detroit Road in Westlake.

OMW hears that Westlake Police are expecting a large crowd to show up, and have already advised drivers to not use Detroit Road in the area of the funeral home this afternoon due to the expected heavy volume of traffic.

The funeral service for Casey will be Friday at 10:30 AM, at St. Angela's Church, 20970 Lorain Road in Fairview Park...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Some Stuff We've Put Off

The ol' Mighty Blog kind of went into a state of suspended animation the past few days.

First, there was the passing of Casey Coleman. When a well-loved local broadcaster finally loses his battle with a very real, and very deadly, disease, not much else seems to matter. So, we put other items on hold.

Then, we put out our item related to the upcoming move of the 101.7 signal to North Canton, which put up the Bat Signal in Dover, which got us quoted in the paper, again.

So, let's catch up:

HO-HO-HO PARADE: As promised, stations we've noticed doing holiday music.

That list would include at least some holiday tunes out of Rubber City standards/news WAKR/1590 Akron, though we've also heard non-Christmas music in the past day or so.

NextMedia AC outlet WHBC-FM/94.1 Canton has also turned on the All Rudolph Machine.

A number of satellite-driven stations have also made the flip, but we won't mention them since they don't have any control over the music. We already mentioned the two big Cleveland outlets doing the Holiday Dance - CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 and Salem CCM WFHM/95.5...

MANSFIELD SHUFFLE: In the "we're not sure what it means" department...

AllAccess reports that Mansfield broadcaster Gunther Meisse is buying out his partners in AC WVNO/106.1 licensee Johnny Appleseed Broadcasting. That's a list of about five people who held an interest in the station, and a 20 percent interest in Meisse's sports WRGM/1440.

Meisse also owns the area's only TV stations, independent WMFD/68-DT12, and LPTV outlet WOHZ-LP 41...which, last time we were there and near a TV, was running a full-time automated weather channel...

ANSWERING ONE UNANSWERED QUESTION: It's a question we've posed for months, ever since Time Warner Cable swallowed the local Adelphia system as part of that multi-billion dollar merger earlier this year.

Why can't new TWC subscribers in Summit County watch the WKYC/3-produced, TWC-sponsored "Akron/Canton News" with Eric Mansfield?

We asked the question directly to TWC's local spokesman, Bill Jasso, and here's his response:

We hope to make our "Akron/Canton News" available to a wider audience in the future. Right now are faced with three separate cable systems (Time Warner, Adelphia, Comcast) that need to become one network. Once that happens (hopefully by Spring) we can begin to explore advantages like that.

We'd have more of a response to that, but we don't know some of the technical specifics. We're wondering, for example, why TWC can't make the newscast available now on the "OnDemand" local channel on the former Adelphia systems...but there's probably a technical reason it can't be done right now.

We'll be least if we're still here by then!

Our Latest Newspaper Article

At this rate, we ought to call up Copley Newspapers and ask what the health benefits are like.

The Dover/New Philadelphia Times-Reporter doesn't have us on staff, but it would sure seem like it after the latest article about the move of the station currently known as WJER-FM.

The article is based entirely upon our most recent entry, just below, which linked pictures of the construction going on at the site that will house the tower, equipment and antennas for both Cumulus rock WRQK/106.9 Canton (your guess as to when it'll be taken over by Clear Channel is as good as ours at this point), and incoming Clear Channel station 101.7 FM, that aforementioned current WJER-FM.

OK, so we're still flattered by the attention. But after this, we have to make one thing clear.

We have not initiated either of the recent articles on the WJER-FM move, or for that matter, anything the T-R has published off of items originally posted on this site.

In fact, to this date, we've had NO direct contact with anyone at the newspaper, including via telephone, fax, E-Mail, in person or any other way we're forgetting to mention. They're readers here, just like you, and apparently feel we're a "solid" enough source...well, despite the fact that they have no idea who "we" are.

We're proud to say that we are generally considered a reputable online publication by most of the Northeast Ohio broadcast industry, and beyond.

However, we are...well...just a blog. And the newspapers which quote us extensively...well, we've never talked to them.

And it kind of puzzles us that we - such as we are - have become a respected enough "first source" for a local daily newspaper to use without any further reporting on its own part. It's not something we're used to seeing in journalism.

But overall, we don't mind. If the folks at the Times-Reporter wish to continue using our material here, that's fine with us. But we just thought we'd clear the air a little...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Mr. Petricola, Close Your Eyes

Today brings us to our latest update on now-WJER-FM/101.7's planned move north into the Canton market

And it's time for pictures of the construction at the site of a new tower that will soon hold both it and Cumulus (for now) (eventually Clear Channel) (honest!) (really!) rock WRQK/106.9 on 22nd St. NW off of Whipple Ave. NW in Canton.

But this time, it wasn't your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) piling into the OMW Mobile for a drive down to Canton.

These pictures are supplied by not one, but TWO readers who happened to be near the site.

(Who'da thunk it? Maybe the 22nd and Whipple tower site construction can become a tourist attraction! People have to see SOMETHING after visiting the Pro Football Hall of Fame, no?)

Progress is moving ahead by the day. Our first reader snapped the picture above on Friday afternoon.

But by Monday afternoon, gravel had already been laid down for the road leading to what will presumably be the actual site for the tower, which could start going up soon at this rate.

There still is much that needs to be done, though.

They do, of course, have to construct even a rudimentary transmitter building, move in and hook up the equipment and such, and well, put up the steel that will become the transmitting tower for WRQK/106.9, and which will hold the new antenna for (insert-call-letters-here)/101.7 North Canton.

Then, that equipment has to be tested and the like.

It would seem, to this non-engineer, a daunting task to get that all of that done between now and December 11th - particularly with winter-like weather in the forecast for the end of this week.

But progress does march on. And we stand by our earlier item that December 11 is indeed the target date for Clear Channel to take over operation of 101.7 FM, weather permitting.

To that end, another alert OMW reader pointed us to this "We're staffing a new station!" ad which appeared on the AllAccess website "Job Market"...with wording by Clear Channel Akron/Canton operations guru Keith Kennedy that the Canton/Stark County Chamber of Commerce may want to borrow:

Openings in the Hall of Fame City

The Hall of Fame City of Canton, Ohio is ready to give birth to a new radio station. Northeast Ohio is a great place to live and work. Just minutes from Akron and Cleveland, Canton provides a well rounded, family-friendly environment. The abundance of shopping, restaurants and recreational opportunities in the Canton/Stark County area, offer big-city amenities, with beautiful, rolling countryside just minutes outside of the city, and our murder rate went down this year too. We are looking for candidates in on-air positions and in programming. Selector experience is a plus, but not required. All format experience considered. Please send all materials to: 101.7fm, 7755 Freedom Ave, NW, North Canton, Ohio 44720. Attn: Keith Kennedy. Please no MP3’s. Clear Channel is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Oh, Gary Petricola hasn't heard about this, either.

(Sorry, we couldn't resist...)

Monday, November 27, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: Casey Coleman Dies

It's not like it was unexpected, but it's still no easier to take.

WTAM/1100 sportscaster and morning co-host Casey Coleman died this morning after a long bout with pancreatic cancer, at the age of 55.

While still dealing with the disease, Casey worked whenever his body allowed him to do so, up until nearly the very end.

Casey's morning co-host, Bill Wills, tells the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he was "an integral part" of the station's "Wills and Coleman in the Morning". He called Coleman "a pro's pro, and a very good friend", and said he gave the morning broadcast "credibility".

In addition to his duties as morning co-host and sports anchor, Casey was the long-time sideline reporter for the Cleveland Browns Radio Network.

WTAM hosts and anchors have been spending the morning looking back at the life of their co-worker and friend. In addition to Wills' tribute this morning, WTAM mid-morning host Bob Frantz is also devoting his show to the late WTAM sportscaster.

RIP, were indeed "The Luckiest Guy in the World". And we hope your journey "rounding third and heading for home" was a peaceful one...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Roger's Exit

You heard about it first here on your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm). OK, so maybe you heard it first on WTAM/1100 afternoon drive host Mike Trivisonno's show, when Triv brought long-simmering rumors about his print-based nemesis to light.

Roger Brown has written his final column for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which appears in Sunday's paper. Brown took a buyout from the newspaper, which has been offering them to dozens of employees in an effort to cut costs.

And it's about as typical a Roger Brown column as you'd expect out of the PD's sports columnist who rolled out a weekly column dedicated to local sports media and personalities on an extra item or two the other days of the week.

His parting shots aren't limited to media in this final column.

No, he's now officially on record with his laundry list of mostly complaints and predictions about the local professional sports teams, even going so far as to predict an early exit in Round 1 of the NBA playoffs by your Cleveland Cavaliers...though he says he likes the "early swagger" of Indians GM Mark Shapiro.

Since we're media-related here, we'll note that Roger has an item about Cavaliers GM Danny Ferry being unhappy with a recent news item out of WOIO/WUAB's "19 Action News", though it doesn't appear to have the same heft as the whole Browns/WOIO tiff which cost the CBS affiliate the team's pre-season contract.

(And WUAB is mostly "along for the ride" with FOX Sports Net Ohio in regards to the Cavs these days, only carrying five simulcast games this year.)

The Artful Roger also reports that SportsTime Ohio will carry a new presumably Cavaliers-themed talk show with PD Cavs beat writer Branson Wright, Larry Durstin and...ta da!...local media personality Chuck Booms, the Euclid native recently bounced out of his national gig at FOX Sports Radio.

And from our "How's This for Bad Timing?" department:

Booms' departure from FSR came before he could be heard in his hometown again, now that Salem sports WKNR/850 has become an FSR affiliate.

Booms had been heard in parts of the area on another FSR affiliate, Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting's WEOL/930 Elyria. FSR's third Northeast Ohio outlet, Media-Com daytimer WJMP/1520 Kent-Akron-Cleveland-Mars-Jupiter-Pluto, signed off each day long before Booms' weekend nighttime show.

Back to Roger: his final column fulfilled our Minimum Daily Quota of real estate news, with word of the sale of former Cleveland Browns player Jason Fisk's Strongsville home for $355,000.

No word on if the Akron Beacon Journal's George M. Thomas will take up the baton and report Sports Personality Real Estate news in his new Tuesday sports media column...

Anyway, Roger got a lot of attention in this area, among both sports personalities and media personalities, and not all of it favorable.

Though saying it achieved "such popularity and influence" in the Northeast Ohio sports world may be a bit of extended self back-patting by Mr. Brown, there's no question that everyone in town read his column...

"SOJ" Turns Nine

Like many broadcast ventures, the start of "Sunday Oldies Jukebox" on WSTB/88.9 was rather modest in its debut some nine years ago.

"It’s been almost twenty years since Portage County radio listeners enjoyed commercial free oldies. In 1978 what was then WSTB 'Golden 91' dropped the oldies format and never looked back, until now," "SOJ" program director "Uncle" Bill Weisinger wrote in November 1997, as a group of volunteers prepared to launch a weekly one-day format change on the otherwise rock station - operated during the week by students at Streetsboro High School.

Fast forward to 2006, and "Sunday Oldies Jukebox" is actively targeting the entire Akron market, which otherwise has no station devoted to pre-1970 rock oldies...aside from whatever older songs are still in Cleveland Clear Channel powerhouse WMJI/105.7's playlist.

(We haven't checked lately, but as "Majic 105.7" continues to try to update its playlist like most commercial "oldies" stations, we'd guess that's a small number to count.)

That full-market focus from the school district-owned station became somewhat easier in 2003, when WSTB started transmitting from a tower on the campus of Kent State University - ironically, the same one abandoned by WKSU/89.7 after its own move to a tower near Akron's Rolling Acres Mall.

The move dramatically improved the WSTB signal in the Akron area, and like Kenston High School standards outlet WKHR/91.5 Bainbridge, the station started filling an unmet need in a larger, nearby market... in a format rapidly abandoned by commercial outlets, in the case of WKHR's standards and the "Sunday Oldies Jukebox" on WSTB.

And though the WSTB signal means it can, like all other broadcast outlets in Portage County, focus primarily on greater Akron, the station hasn't forgotten its roots entirely - as noted by the station's recent full-steam-ahead Portage County election coverage.

"Uncle Bill" tells us that listeners in six Northeast Ohio counties check in with "SOJ", including some who are so hungry for 50's and 60's oldies that they drive closer to the broadcast signal on their Sunday drives.

Among the list of all-volunteer "SOJ" air personalities are at least three regular readers of OMW, so congratulations to them directly!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

WWGK: No Tony Today, But A New Addition

Here at the OMW World Headquarters, we've finally found a radio which we can twist into the right position to regularly monitor Good Karma Broadcasting sports WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540".

It's not the best, most listenable signal this far away - static abounds, and a hissing noise is constant - but it's enough to endure to figure out what they're doing on the air.

To wit, we did NOT hear WJW/8 "FOX 8" sports anchor Tony Rizzo on 1540 again this week, after last week's special Ohio State/Michigan-themed show where he openly said that he'd like to be on regularly, and would try to work that out with his bosses on South Marginal Road.

"Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540" instead ran the usual ESPN Radio programming for the 10 AM to noon Saturday slot, which we believe is whatever flavor of "College GameDay" airs then.

However, just minutes ago, the radio in the other room tuned to 1540 revealed the latest addition to the WWGK lineup: Westwood One's College Football Game of the Week.

The addition makes sense for the daytimer. Westwood One offers a regular weekday afternoon game during the college football season. It offers Notre Dame games separately, which air in Cleveland on Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100.

And..a game with a noon or 1 PM start is in no danger of being cut off by the station's sunset signoff.

We'll also note, though, that the NASCAR races the station carries on Sundays could be. To that end, we heard the station's Bernard Bokenyi in a recorded liner a week or two back warning listeners that the station was "going to low-power" at 5 PM, and signing off entirely at 5:45 PM.

That low-power is a sub-lightbulb level of 18 watts. WWGK would be lucky to make it far from Euclid Avenue and East 80th Street with that, though we once heard a scratchy signal from that power level as far away as Parma.

We're trying to remember, but we believe it's a post-sunset authority the station has on paper, but which hasn't made it to the FCC database. The FCC's online sunrise/sunset time lookup for WWGK notes a 5 PM sunset in November.

Perhaps former 1540 chief engineer and OMW reader Chris Quinn - now concentrating on the formerly co-owned station at 1460/Painesville which took the WABQ calls - can refresh our memory on this. We seem to recall that it's -not- a "critical hours" thing...

Friday, November 24, 2006

A Teaser

Since it's been a day or so since we updated, we'll just let you know that we're still around.

And coming in the next couple of days or so:

* Photographic evidence of a certain heavily-watched future Northeast Ohio transmitter site, which is a much drier place than when we last dropped in. Publication of the photos here will result in a certain person quickly closing his eyes, so he can honestly say he doesn't know the status of the project if asked by a newspaper reporter.

* A local radio anniversary.

* Our final "Ho Ho Ho Report" on local stations switching to holiday music, and our opinion as to why it may not happen as early for many stations next year.

* More on Time Warner Cable's post-Adelphia merger situation, and some unanswered questions finally answered.

* Other odds and ends we may have missed in the Thanksgiving Day holiday period, and a comment or two...and just maybe, The State of OMW.

Enjoy the rest of your holiday weekend...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Preparation

No, we don't mean turkey and stuffing, we mean we've prepared some items for you to read on the holiday.

And we give a salute to all of Ohio's broadcasters who have to work on Thanksgiving Day...

THAT 101.7 STL ANTENNA: Much earlier in the saga "WJER-FM Is Moving North", your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) saw a STL dish in a place on that Clear Channel Akron/Canton STL tower behind the company's World Domination HQ/Southern Command on Freedom Avenue in...oh, you know the drill.

As it turned out, the dish was later confirmed to be in packing, on the ground behind the aforementioned facility.

Not anymore.

An I-77 commuter heading out of Canton towards the Akron/Canton Airport informs OMW that today, crews were mounting the STL dish upon the tower in question. We haven't seen it yet, but we're told it's pointing roughly south/southwest - aiming at the location where a tower will soon rise at 22nd and Whipple in Canton. We're also told it is lower on the tower than the other dishes, so it should be easy to spot.

There is also a second dish, the purpose of which we don't know. If they'd need a second antenna aiming at the same place for WRQK/106.9, that'd explain that.

We're betting that WJER operator/former owner Gary Petricola, when asked about this item, will say "I haven't heard of any STL antennas in Stark County".

We wonder if he'll say that on December 11th, when a Clear Channel-operated feed is scheduled to take over his 101.7 frequency... or if, like a certain former Iraqi information minister relegated to late night TV comedic history, he'll deny it's even happening...

And by the way, with the move, the Clear Channel-operated 101.7 will most assuredly take new calls, leaving "WJER" behind only with AM 1450....

YES, ROBIN'S BACK: In the worst kept secret since, well, we don't know...yes, that's former WJW/8 mainstay Robin Swoboda coming back to the station, and to local TV, and to local media.

The local FOX O&O says Robin's new show, "That's Life", will be a "highly interactive show for women" when it debuts in January.

We're not sure of the timing, but we've heard it could air at 9 or 10 AM weekdays, depending on the placement of the new FOX national hour-long show with Juliet Huddy and Mike Jerrick...which will air on all of the company's owned-and-operated stations.

An earlier OMW item on that show says it will be on at 9, so that would put Robin's new local show on at 10 AM weekdays.

FOX 8 has put up a webpage and E-Mail for the new show, as it prepares to launch.

And please, try to make your comments original this time. Our site, our rules...and we'd consider your comments more insightful if you are female, and part of the target audience for this new program...

ODDS AND ENDS: With Cleveland outlets WDOK/102.1 and WFHM/95.5 officially on the Christmas music "sleigh ride", some others will follow after Thanksgiving.

OMW hears that among small, local outlets doing at least some local programming, WLKR/95.3 Norwalk will be on that list. And we presume a number of stations carrying various satellite networks will automatically be moved into holiday music whenever their networks do so...

Or not, at least in local programming time.

Dix country WQKT/104.5 Wooster afternoon host Dave Dial tells OMW that his own 4-7 PM local weekday afternoon show will hold off on the Christmas music until about December 15th.

And even then, Dial says he'll play songs "that should be sung by certain singers" even if that takes him outside the station's country format, with folks like Dean Martin doing the crooning if called for...

SINCE WE PROMISED: We'll give the folks at Mount Union College outlet WRMU/91.1 Alliance a plug for their coverage of the school's powerhouse Division III college football team's latest romp through the playoffs.

The Purple Raiders are now in round two of the D-III playoffs, playing Wheaton College at noon on Saturday. WRMU also streams the coverage at the station's website...

BYE, BYE, RUSS: A long-time local media writer is hanging it up in Toledo.

Toledo Blade TV/radio writer and columnist Russ Lemmon has written his last column for the Northwest Ohio newspaper, as he and his wife leave town and head for new vistas in Stuart FL.

(Why, oh, why, do we not pay attention to these people who leave Ohio BEFORE winter starts, and follow them in moving to warmer climes? Oh, well, no one ever said we were that bright when it comes to that sort of thing...)

Lemmon's final column for the Blade is a laundry list - in his eyes - of the good, bad and ugly of Toledo media that he's covered over the years.

He calls most local media types "genuinely nice", but aims a shot at an unnamed Toledo broadcaster "who currently works on the AM side of the radio dial".

OMW has not heard of any possible replacement for Lemmon as far as the Blade's radio/TV/media beat is concerned, and we wouldn't be surprised if they just did not fill it...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

EXCLUSIVE: Time Warner Cable Restructures Local Production, 17 Let Go

The Cleveland operation of Time Warner Cable, the former Adelphia-owned system which covers the bulk of the Cleveland area, is changing how it does its local programming.

As a result, 17 Time Warner studio/production employees will no longer be working for the company as of December 1st. They produce a variety of programs seen on the company's cable channel 15. OMW hears that some employees have been with the former Adelphia system back to the days when it was owned by Cablevision, some 20-plus years ago.

The move is because of a difference in how Time Warner and Adelphia produce local programming, according to TWC local media relations vice-president Bill Jasso.

Jasso tells OMW that unlike Adelphia, which maintained an in-house local production team, Time Warner produces local programming with a small in-house staff, and contracts out to other production companies for the bulk of the work.

You're unlikely to see many on-air (on-cable?) changes as a result of the dismantling of the former Adelphia studio operation. Jasso tells us that the system plans to keep its existing local programming in the Cleveland area, including "More Sports and Les Levine", the highest profile program on what is now Time Warner Cable channel 15 on the Cleveland system.

He also notes that there have been on-going negotiations regarding the 17 dismissed staffers since Time Warner took over the Adelphia Cleveland system, and that their final work day was moved from November 1st to December 1st at the request of a union bargaining agent "in order to ensure that benefits would continue through the holidays."

Jasso tells OMW that TWC offered "a severance package" to the employees, which the local TWC executive says "was not in their union contract".

Many will presumably try to take up working with the outside contractors, though it won't likely be the same level of work (or benefits). But this has been a pretty brutal season on the media job loss front, as you can ask many Clear Channel employees in the past few weeks...

The move does not affect the company's Akron/Canton programming staff. That existing group is already operating under Time Warner's local programming guidelines...and produces a lot less programming than the Cleveland studio does...

Clear Channel Atlanta Changes Reach Back to Ohio

Cluster after cluster, we've been reading about Clear Channel groups dumping staff just about everywhere...presumably a massive chain-wide budget cut due to the recent announcement of a sale to private equity funds.

The latest is Atlanta, where various trade websites report what can only be called the wholesale gutting of Clear Channel talk mainstay WGST/640.

And that's where Ohio comes in.

Though the top item on the list nationally is the exit of veteran morning host Tom Hughes and afternoon host Kim "The Kimmer" Peterson, the top item here concerns the midday shift, where former WSPD/1370 Toledo host Denny Schaffer is out in the evisceration of WGST.

Plus, there's another Ohio connection, as the move gives WLW/700 Cincinnati-based syndicated host Mike McConnell his first really big market clearance...WGST will pick up McConnell's program to replace Schaffer.

From the reports, it appears Clear Channel is basically giving up on the talk station they've poured money, and talent, a futile attempt to compete with Cox talk powerhouse WSB/750.

It's so bad, the company is running "Wall Street Journal This Morning" in WGST's morning drive slot with the departure of Hughes.

That's not a bad show...local stations like Clear Channel's WARF/1350 Akron run it.

But not aired once, then repeated THREE TIMES between 5 and 9 AM, with cursory local news/weather/traffic inserts. That's what WGST is planning to do in Atlanta.

More on WGST's "new lineup" from program director Randall Bloomquist here.

The Clear Channel budget axe also hit Louisville KY, where six staffers have exited, according to AllAccess.

And no, our item below next to the question mark does not concern Clear Channel's operations, or for that matter, any other local radio or broadcast TV outlet. (We still haven't heard, for example, any more names from reported CC budget cutting at the Oak Tree World Domination HQ in Independence.)

We do have some answers, though, on the item we hinted about below, and we'll share them with you in our next update...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Still Here, So Here's More

We're not yet stuffed with turkey and the trimmings, so here's some more random items:

MEDIA SHAKEUP: We can't give any more details yet, as we have yet to nail this down.

But OMW is hearing pretty solid rumors of a major shakeup at one Northeast Ohio media outpost, including people being let go...and the way that operation does business being drastically changed.

Expect to read more about this in the next day or two, as we're trying to get an official response from an executive of the operation in question.

But if you're out there worrying, don't.

If this news doesn't ring a bell with your own situation, it's not you... OMW hears that those affected by the changes are already aware of them. And you'll notice our wording is very careful.

And no, it has nothing to do with a Canton AM station...or FM, for that matter. That's all we'll say...

SAVAGE MOVE: AllAccess reports that Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 Toledo is picking up TRN's Michael Savage, after "The Savage Nation" was dumped by Clear Channel talk competitor WSPD/1370.

Savage will air on WTOD in his live time slot from 6-9 PM. Well, eventually. Not yet.

Like WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540" and its planned clearance of owner Craig Karmazin's evening show "Steve and Craig", WTOD can't air Savage yet because it is a daytimer...and the show will not actually be heard on 1560 in Toledo until roughly March, according to the FCC's website.

If you tune to 1560 in Toledo between 6 and 9 PM until then, you'll hear Radio Disney booming in...due the signal of 50,000 watt WQEW in New York City booming into the region.

Now, that'll be a jolt in the Spring...from Savage to Radio Disney without re-tuning a radio!

We ordinarily would get this kind of stuff from regular OMW reader Chuck Matthews, who's WTOD's program director, but we haven't heard from him on it...

20 YEARS: And congratulations to Mount Vernon non-comm WNZR/90.9.

AllAccess reports that the Mount Vernon Nazarene University CCM outlet recently celebrated 20 years on the air with a 20 hour live broadcast.

And there's a reason the small college station has such a professional outlook.

Former WQIO/93.7 station manager Joe Reinhart took over as MVNU's Director of Broadcasting when he left the outlet once owned by Clear Channel, which is now BAS Broadcasting's "Eagle 93.7".

And his wife Marcy is station manager and morning co-host. She also has experience at the city's commercial broadcast duo, and is also an MVNU graduate (1991)...

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Random Stuff to Start Your Week

Since your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) may be a bit busy with holiday-related stuff this Thanksgiving week, we'll put up some Monday items early on a Sunday night. We'll still be around and posting, but probably not as much this week...

MORE CHRISTMAS MUSIC: It looks like we won't have to wait long for a traditional early entrant into the Cleveland Christmas Music Sweepstakes.

Salem CCM WFHM/95.5 "The Fish" is announcing on its website that the holiday tunes start rolling Monday.

And since we have yet to hear them on CBS Radio AC station WDOK/102.1 "Soft Rock 102.1", which is already advertising itself as "the home of holiday music", we'll assume they've got the same plan in mind...give or take a day or two.

Why do stations flip to Christmas music at ever earlier dates?

Blame high ratings, which AC stations, especially, see when they turn on the Rudolph Machine at this time of year. A New York City AC station saw their ratings go through the proverbial roof the first time they made a big deal of going "all-Christmas", and you know what other radio executives thought after seeing that.

(That's radio - an industry with more copying than the photo-duplication business.)

And speaking of Rudolph, though Clear Channel's WKDD/98.1 is not breaking format for holiday music on the air, they're riding the Christmas Music sleigh online.

"Radio Rudolph" is already up at the Akron/Canton hot AC outlet's website, with 24/7 streaming Christmas music.

And there's another reason why stations do the holiday tuneage, either online or on the air - WKDD has lined up a presenting sponsor for "Radio Rudolph"...

NOW, HERE'S THE MAN WHO MAKES THAT DIFFERENCE: A regular OMW reader gives us the heads up - Rubber City Radio VP Nick Anthony is now being heard regularly behind the microphone as well.

In particular, the former WHLO/640 mid-morning talk personality - who went off the air and strictly into management and consulting long ago - is voicetracking some weekend shifts for Rubber City standards flagship WAKR/1590 Akron.

We don't know for sure, but we believe this is the first time Nick's been heard on a regular, scheduled basis on the air since he did his talk show at the old "WHLO News/Talk 64" in the mid-1970's.

And that's where we got the headline for this item. Former WHLO general manager Allen Saunders cut the hour openers for the station, and used that line to introduce the station's hosts...nearly all male, by the way, except for a woman or two occasionally on the weekend schedule.

(Back then, of course, 640 in Akron was owned by Susquehanna...and the only things the current Clear Channel-owned WHLO shares with it are the never-changed call letters, the frequency and a similar format. And Susquehanna itself is now dead, having been swallowed into Cumulus.)

And yes, your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) can list just about every former WHLO News/Talk 64 host, and what they are doing now. For one, former night/weekend host Ron Verb is now the long-time afternoon drive co-host at Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 in Youngstown...

AND SPEAKING OF WKBN: No, we didn't plan it this way, but...while we're here...

You can add that Youngstown talk radio station to the list of stations doing streaming audio. We don't know when WKBN turned on the online feed, but it wasn't that long ago.

Though the 570 signal does get into a decent chunk of the Akron/Canton/Cleveland area, the stream may allow some of those to the far west to sample "Ron and Casey" in afternoon drive (Ron is paired with former rock WNCD/93.3 midday personality Casey Malone, who apparently finally convinced management to take her off double duty), and other local hosts like Rob Mangino in mornings, and WKBN operations manager Dan Rivers in middays.

WKBN has never carried Premiere syndicated host Glenn Beck, or any other mid-morning syndicated show - as Rivers basically took over directly from late market icon Dan Ryan after his passing some years ago...

RIZZ'S DEBUT: We did manage to orient the radio in the right way to pick up at least some of the first talk show by WJW FOX 8 sports anchor Tony Rizzo on WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540" on Saturday. That, and the hastily-added streaming audio link worked fine for us...

And we say "first" with some confidence, judging by comments Rizzo made himself on the Saturday 10 AM-noon show dedicated to the Ohio State/Michigan showdown later that day.

Tony seemed eager to keep doing shows for the Good Karma Broadcasting sports station. He noted that he'd like to do a regular show - presumably in that Saturday morning time slot or somewhere on the weekends - but said he'd have to talk to management about it.

That management, by the way, wouldn't be Good Karma boss Craig Karmazin, who would appear to be eager to say "yes" to Rizzo's regular presence on his new ESPN Radio affiliate. It would be the local management of Rizzo's primary employer, FOX 8.

As Tony put it himself on the air Saturday, WJW and FOX "basically own" his career, and they'd have to give the go-ahead for him to moonlight as a radio talk show host.

We're assuming that no major hurdles will get in the way, and you'll hear Tony Rizzo with a regular show on WWGK every weekend - if not starting next week, then "soon", as Rizzo himself said at the end of his show.

We're just speculating, though, as we have not had confirmation from either WWGK's Mr. Karmazin or WJW's Mr. Rizzo...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Random Thoughts

Some news and some musings to round out our end-of-the-week late dinner menu...

UPDATE 11/18/06 11:07 AM: There is now a local streaming link up at the website for the below-mentioned special.

To save time, since there's only an hour left in the show and you still have to sign up (for the umpteenth time) to get the link...we'll provide the direct link that's working for us now here.

RIZZO ON WWGK, BUCKS ON WKNR: If Good Karma Broadcasting sports WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540" is hoping to get online listeners to tomorrow's local one-time special OSU/Michigan show with FOX 8's Tony Rizzo, their Internet elves better hurry.

As of this writing, there is still no link, either hidden or open, on for streaming audio of the 1000 watt daytimer. The "Listen Live" link still - on two browsers - forces you to fill out your name/address/etc. before kicking you to a link

We do know that other Good Karma sports stations stream, including sister ESPN affiliate WAUK/1510-WMCS/1290 in Milwaukee. But the local stream isn't up here - yet.

Our point is that we get a pretty scratchy signal out of WWGK down here at the OMW World Headquarters, so we may or may not be able to hear "Rizz" on his WWGK debut.

We'd almost put money on his voice being heard regularly on the station, though it obviously could not be in the afternoon drive weekday hole that Good Karma owner Craig Karmazin will assuredly fill with a local program at some point. (That hint he gave us back just after the station's launch was rather strong.)

We don't know if it's the new competition, or the massive hype surrounding Bucks vs. Wolverines, but Salem sports WKNR/850 seems to be kicking up its game.

The station actually sent afternoon drive host Kenny Roda to Columbus (!) Friday afternoon, where he did his show live from former Buckeye Eddie George's restaurant.

Furthermore, the station will air its Saturday morning show with the gang - Jason Gibbs, Mike Gelsinger and Josh Sabo - also live from "Eddie George's Grille", from 10 AM until the start of the Buckeye Radio Network pre-game at 2:30 PM, and the game itself an hour later on 'KNR.

Details on all of that here.

We're guessing that all the sponsor money tied to the Big Game was enough to convince usually stingy Salem to open up the purse a little more...and to put about three hundred OSU logos on the WKNR website this day before the game...

CBSSTREAM: It was not that long ago that former CBS Radio (then Infinity) boss Mel Karmazin - father of a certain new Cleveland sports radio station owner - forbid every station in the chain from streaming audio on the Internet.

We recall the policy even showing up online after CBS/Infinity bought stations which had existing streams, then shut them off.

Fast forward to late 2006, and CBS Radio is falling all over itself to stream its stations.

To wit, we told you earlier that the company's alt-rock/talk outlet in Cleveland, WXRK/92.3, recently started sending out its product over the Internet. Well, the company's three other stations in Cleveland - classic rock WNCX/98.5, AC WDOK/102.1, and hot AC WQAL/104.1 - have quietly added a "Listen Live" button to their web pages as well.

The stream is a high-quality 64kpbs model that only requires registration once for all four stations. They also offer a 32kbps stream for dial-up users.

Thanks to OMW reader Mark Geyman at for the tip. He's added the streams to his own "Ohio Streaming Directory", which is a handy place to bookmark for anyone looking to listen to Ohio radio stations online - or to pick up any streaming audio from the Buckeye State...

HO, HO, HO!: Oh, when checking out WDOK's site, we noticed that it's already promoting itself as "Your Official Holiday Music Station".

We then tuned into 102.1, but the station isn't playing Christmas music during the syndicated "Delilah" show airing at this hour. If it hasn't officially flipped yet, it would certainly be likely to do so soon.

We do note WDOK's presence on the Christmas Station List, which is about as official a list as you can get in this business. Thanks to our colleague and long-time Friend of OMW Scott Fybush for his hard work on that list each year...

We'll also be checking out Salem CCM outlet WFHM/95.5 "The Fish" for Christmas sounds, as we believe they were the first to make that move in 2005 in Cleveland...

"PROGRESSIVE TALK STAR" FOUND: And it's not, unfortunately for his fans here, contestant Mike Lampers, Clear Channel liberal talk WARF/1350 Akron "Radio Free Ohio"s local entrant in the national contest to find the next "progressive talk star".

Coming soon to a liberal talk outlet near you: Russ Belville, who was KPOJ/620 Portland OR's winner. He bested Curtis Hannum, who won the local contest at KKZN/760 in Denver, in the two-person finale on Thursday.

But as we reported here, Lampers got pretty far. He was in the four-person semifinal round.

Belville has been promised a weekend nationally syndicated show, which we'll presume will air on WARF and the other contest stations.

We're wondering if Lampers, or anyone else, will eventually get a weekend local show on "Radio Free Ohio". A number of progressive talk stations with no local weekday programming do open up some of those slots...

WZAK and Levert

UPDATE 11:56 AM 11/17/06: WZAK has cancelled plans to cover the Levert memorial service. A WZAK personality has been announcing that the family asked the station not to carry the service live, but the station will still pay tribute to him this afternoon...


Cleveland's heritage R&B station is covering the public memorial of local music star Gerald Levert at Cleveland's Public Hall today. (It had been scheduled for the Music Hall, but was moved at the last minute.)

OMW tipster Nathan Obral tells us that the coverage on WZAK/93.1 today will be anchored by Radio One sister talk WERE/1300 morning host Ronnie Duncan. We're told that national urban radio star Tom Joyner originated his show from the WZAK studios this morning...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Random Items Scooped Up

Some random items, as "OMW on Shuffle" continues:

WOIO SUIT: Like this one, for example, which we haven't had time to pursue in all the flurry of breaking news items the past couple of days.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that David Eden, former managing editor of WOIO/19-WUAB/43's "19 Action News", is suing the Raycom Media outlet for wrongful termination.

To distill Eden's suit into a nutshell: His lawyer claims it all went downhill for him at Reserve Square after he complained about "anti-Semitic remarks", workplace gambling and age discrimination at the CBS/UPN combo.

For those wondering where Eden's been since WOIO let him go in June, the PD's James F. McCarty says the former Cleveland Free Times editor has been working on a political campaign in Dayton, and is now out looking for work again...

STREAMING ROVER: Those looking for a "Rover's Morning Glory" fix away from Cleveland, or one of Shane "Rover" French's other current syndicated markets, can get it right from the source.

Rover's home kennel, CBS Radio alt-rock/talk WXRK/92.3, has launched live streaming from the "92-3 K-Rock" website.

As far as we know, all of the CBS Radio "Free FM" talkers - including the two which used to carry Rover in Chicago and Detroit - have streamed since day one. But this is the first time Rover's original home station has launched a live webcast...

AND WHILE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WXRK: This seems as good a place as any. AllAccess reports that former "K-Rock" programmer Kim Monroe has made another job move.

This one, though, is still outside of radio. Kim's moving from the Sony/BMG Red Music label to a job working for Steve Jobs.

Well, not directly, but she's been named the Producer for iTunes Originals for Apple Computer's music service.

Our congratulations to her...we honestly wish her well!

BREAKING NEWS: WHBC Operations Manager Out

OMW hears from two reliable sources that WHBC/Canton operations manager Terry Simmons was let go this morning.

Simmons is not only OM for the NextMedia stations, he's been the co-host for WHBC-FM/94.1 "Mix 94.1"'s "Terry and Maddie in the Morning", and hands on programmer on the FM side of the operation.

OMW hears the move was made immediately following his show this morning on WHBC-FM.

More as we hear it...

Clear Channel Sale

Yes, we're aware of the huge Elephant in the Middle of the Media Room.

As expected, Clear Channel has agreed to a $26.7 billion dollar deal involving a pair of private equity firms, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital.

When it's all said and done, Clear Channel will still be run by the Mays family - Chairman Lowry Mays, CEO Mark Mays and President/CFO Randall Mays.

But some changes have already been announced.

Among them, Clear Channel will dump 448 stations outside the top 100 radio markets, including what we hear is 34 stations in Ohio alone.

This wouldn't involve markets like Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron/Canton or Youngstown. The presence of Youngstown, in particular, on the "keep" list would indicate that well-performing markets just outside the top 100 are staying in the company's portfolio.

A list on AllAccess this afternoon denotes the markets to be sold off, and the list includes: Ashtabula, Ashland/Mansfield (Mid-Ohio), Chillicothe, Defiance, Findlay/Tiffin, Lima, Marion and Sandusky.

One other effect here in Ohio - the deal calls for Clear Channel to dump its TV station group. That means CBS affiliate WKRC/12 would split from the massive CC radio cluster in that market.

More, as we hear more...

Reply to the Times Reporter

A quick note:

The Dover/New Philadelphia Times-Reporter is featuring our recent item about WJER front and center, and WJER operator/former owner Gary Petricola is responding to it, via the newspaper.

Here's the meat of it:

According to the OhioMedia Watch Web site, WJER operator Gary Petricola of Dover “has been given a ‘drop dead’ end date of Dec. 10 for his operation of FM 101.7.”

However, Petricola was adamant Wednesday night that, “I don’t know anything about that date.”

The only response we have at this time: OMW stands by our original item...and we believe a large number of people in the Dover/New Philadelphia area knew about this even before we posted it...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540's First Local Talk Show Host Is...

The first person to take to the microphone on new Good Karma Broadcasting sports outlet WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540" as a local talk show host will be...

Tony Rizzo.

Well, at least for one day.

The station announced on its website that the FOX 8 sports anchor will host a special two-hour local show Saturday from 10 AM to noon, devoted to all things Ohio State...before the Buckeyes' highly-touted clash with Michigan for a shot to go to the BCS national championship game.

(Or, perhaps, a shot for a rematch in that game.)

The game itself, of course, is on competing Salem sports talker WKNR/850, the Cleveland market affiliate of the Ohio State University radio network.

From the WWGK website:

Join Fox 8 sports anchor Tony Rizzo on Saturday morning from 10 to 12pm. "The Rizz" will preview every angle and give you a chance to sound off on the Buckeyes before kickoff. You can reach the show at (216) 229-7500.

WWGK's blurb on the special show (one day only, as far as we know) says it'll be streamed on

Well, at this point, we can't find any sign of local streaming out of the Good Karma operation... and we know that station boss Craig Karmazin has been a reader here, so we'll assume it'll be up sometime in the next couple of days. (Hint!)

Because as it did before, signing up for the station's club under the "listen live" link only takes one to a link to Not to mention that there's no "login" system, so you have to enter your information EVERY SINGLE TIME.

If there's a link for "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540"'s own in-house streaming, we can't find it.

Rizzo, of course, is far too busy to take to the radio airwaves during the week, but would be a rather interesting choice to become a regular local host on WWGK.

Local sports radio fans generally fondly remember him from his time at once-populist sports talk outlet WHK/1420 "The Fan" (now a Salem-owned conservative talk station)...not to mention for his long stint doing sports on WMJI/105.7.

As WJW's primary sports anchor, Rizzo is on the air at FOX 8 during the presumptive hole for a local show on the local ESPN Radio outlet - afternoon drive. But we wouldn't be surprised to hear him as a regular on 1540 on weekends...

BREAKING NEWS: WKBN/WYFX Youngstown Sold to New Vision

Thanks to numerous OMW readers for the heads up on this one...

Piedmont CBS/FOX combo WKBN-TV/27 and WYFX/17-62 are being sold to New Vision Television, an Atlanta-based broadcast group.

The Youngstown-Warren Business Journal reports that the company is paying $47 million dollars for the stations.

OMW hears that "27 First News" announced the sale on their 5 PM newscast tonight, which we've confirmed from this item on the WKBN/WYFX web site:

Our corporate owners, Piedmont Television Holdings, have signed an agreement to sell both WKBN-TV, and our sister station WYFX, to New Vision Television.

The transaction is subject to approval by the F-C-C, a process expected to take several months. New Vision is run by veteran broadcasters with an outstanding record of success in the industry. We at First News and First News on FOX welcome New Vision to the Mahoning Valley, and look forward to a relationship that most benefits you, our viewer.

Who is "New Vision"?

The company recently restarted as a TV group owner with the purchase of two Media General CBS affiliates, WIAT/42 Birmingham AL and KIMT/3 Mason City IA. That purchase was closed last month.

We say "restarted", as this is apparently the second go-round for New Vision, which has been backed by equity investment firm Arlington Partners.

That company's website notes that New Vision once had four stations, in California, Minnesota, Texas and Indiana - the latter being Fort Wayne's NBC affiliate, WISE/33 - before selling them off to three different companies.

This wording might be interesting to folks in Youngstown, though we're not sure if it holds true in practice:

All stations are ratings leaders in their marketplaces and produce strong local news programming. New Vision continues to actively pursue additional station acquisition opportunities with similar operating profiles.

The group has been ramping up again, with WKBN/WYFX apparently being its third acquisition in its second stage.

Here's an interesting article on, where New Vision company officials call local TV stations "beachfront property" that will be "big winners" in the technology future.

It also calls New Vision's Jason Elkin and John Heinen "controversial industry veterans"...with plans to acquire several mid-market stations in this second round. The article was written in the summer of 2005, just a few months before the first two acquisitions listed above...

BREAKING NEWS: CC Budget Axe Hitting Cleveland

Clear Channel has been making somewhat more than the usual budget-related staff cutbacks nationwide, reportedly to prepare itself for a sale to private equity firms.

That budget axe has apparently now started hitting closer to home.

Much closer, as in the Clear Channel World Domination HQ on Oak Tree in suburban Cleveland, where OMW hears one name is already on the cut list: T.R. Renzy, imaging/production guy at oldies WMJI/105.7 "Majic 105.7".

We hear there are others affected, but that's the only name that we have so far.

More as we hear it...

News About WJER Popping Up All Over

Some very big news is about to break regarding Dover/New Philadelphia stations WJER/1450 and WJER-FM 101.7, the latter station getting ready to make a move north into Clear Channel's Akron/Canton cluster.

To that end, OMW hears that you can circle - in pencil, depending on weather - December 11th on your calendar...if you're hoping to hear at least the first sounds of the new FM 101.7 from its facility at 22nd and Whipple in Canton...whatever those sounds are.

We note the weather, because the move depends on how long it takes for the tower to be erected at that location. We mentioned here yesterday that earth is moving again at the cleared tower site, which means they'd have to have the new tower for WRQK/106.9 and the future 101.7 completed in just under a month to make that date.

OMW hears that WJER operator Gary Petricola has been given a "drop dead" end date of December 10th for his operation of FM 101.7.

And to THAT end, OMW hears that it should be official soon: Petricola, who has been running the Dover/New Philadelphia stations under an LMA with Clear Channel since the company bought them from him a couple of years ago, will hang onto AM 1450 when 101.7 moves to its new Canton-area facilities.

We hear that all is done but the dotting of the proverbial I's and crossing of the proverbial T's, and Petricola will buy back his former AM station from Clear Channel to keep it in the Tuscarawas Valley.

It would put into motion a process that's basically already been happening on the air for some time, with WJER mainly consolidating its AM and FM operations in preparation for the departure of the FM side to the Clear Channel World Domination HQ/Southern Command on Freedom Avenue.

The move was also telegraphed by the logo above, which appeared on WJER's website months ago.

And a clarification to our earlier item. It appears WJER's AM side is still mounting a separate morning show with Randy Fox, alongside the FM's show hosted by Bill Morgan. We're told by local listeners there that the stations basically simulcast otherwise now, except for some sports events in the evenings and on weekends appearing only on AM 1450...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tuesday Grab Bag, Mid-November Edition

Just because we're still kind of in a random it "OMW on Shuffle"...

GEORGE'S IN, BUT MOVED: OMW and other media outlets reported on the impending departure of Akron Beacon Journal movie critic George M. Thomas, who was one of the names listed in the newspaper's massive budget cutback list a while back.

Indeed, Thomas' role as movie critic was taken over by newly-dubbed "pop culture" writer Rich (Used-To-Be-R.D.) Heldenfels, adding movies and other things to his existing TV beat.

He's baaaaack.

It turns out George was apparently apparently able to convince the newspaper's new owners to keep him around in a different role: sportswriter, with a weekly sports media column.

That's right, George Thomas will take up, for the Beacon Journal, a role that long-time Plain Dealer columnist Roger Brown has filled for that newspaper. Mr. Brown is, of course, out the door sometime between now and the end of 2006 by taking a buyout, as the PD has also been dealing with budget woes.

Mr. Thomas' first sports media column ("Airing It Out") appeared in today's Beacon Journal. His first column is taken up by a number of items talking about THE Game in Ohio this weekend. And no, we're not talking Steelers/Browns on the shores of Lake Erie on Sunday.

While we liked his call of WEWS/5's Buckeyes coverage this week turning the station into "OSU North", we'll also point to Thomas' new sports musings blog "The Sports Blitz"...with one of our favorite lines of his ever in the first entry:

"Normally I’m the last person in Northeast Ohio checking out 19 Action News on WOIO..."

He goes on to chastise the aforementioned CBS affiliate for its recent series "exposing" the Browns' new decorating contracts at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

As George aptly points out, anyone with an IQ of over about 90 sees that series for what it was: a chance for WOIO to "stick it" to the Browns for the whole contract mess which ended up with the Raycom Media outlet losing the team's local TV contract, due to its newsroom airing a 911 call involving relatives of team owner Randy Lerner.

In addition to the sports media beat, Thomas has already been versatile in the rest of his new department, writing recent stories on the Browns and Cavaliers. It looks like he'll be a new second writer to backup Patrick McManamon, Brian Windhorst and the like, when the paper needs depth on the local teams.

Congratulations to George, who, of course, is a discerning OMW reader...

MOVING EARTH: OMW hears that more earth is moving at the Canton site that will, eventually, house the new tower for two antennas - Cumulus (eventually Clear Channel, some day, one of these days, maybe before your Primary Editorial Voice[tm] passes on) rock WRQK/106.9, and the incoming Clear Channel 101.7 operation, being moved north from Dover.

We don't have any information on actual steel being moved into place for a tower yet, but if they're planning on moving 101.7 north before Christmas, they'd better hurry. We hear there's this thing called "heavy snow" possible around these parts in a month or two...

ZIPS LIVE: And an addition to our item about not being able to find the Akron Zips' online streaming service, which will be needed to hear the team's football and basketball games on the Internet since newly streamed WARF/1350 Akron "Radio Free Ohio" will block the broadcasts from its online feed.

We've helpfully been pointed to the "Zips Zone" logo on the right hand side of (You'd think the "live webcasts" thing would have helped us find it.) The service includes all Zips football and basketball audio, and even some football game video casts for those who live outside Summit County. Cost is $49.95 a year, or $9.95 a month.

The Zips have already started up their men's basketball season on WARF, and Cleveland affiliate WERE/1300 with long-time voice Steve French (also morning sports/co-host at WNIR/100.1) doing play by play.

New to the women's basketball games this year is WJER/Dover-New Philadelphia morning host Bill Morgan, in his new role as play-by-play man. He also does studio duties for the Zips-ISP Sports Network.

(While we're at it, we didn't realize the Zips had hooked up with the folks at ISP, who handle a boatload of college sports radio networks in cities all around the country...particularly in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions...)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Wide Variety of Monday Stuff

From near, from far, and from in between:

"RADIO FREE OHIO" STREAMS: Clear Channel liberal talk WARF/1350 Akron "Radio Free Ohio" dips its toes into the streaming audio water starting today.

The station's new streaming feed will not only carry the regular lineup of liberal talk shows, but will also bring Akron Aeros games to the world during the Eastern League baseball season...and high school sports as well.

What "Radio Free Ohio's" online listeners will -not- hear is University of Akron Zips football and basketball. The Zips have a separate streaming deal with, though we'll be darned if we can find where it is on that UA athletics website.

Oh, and we bet that logo above gave some liberal talk fans a start.

No, it's not Rupert Murdoch's FOX that's sponsoring the stream for "Radio Free Ohio". It's Fox International, a Cleveland-area company which sells home products on its website...and as far as we know, has no connection to the FOX News Channel or anything Murdoch-ian...

HARRY'S OUT: You may remember him better as Scott James, a former air personality for 92.3 in the Cleveland its days as - if we remember right - top 40 outlet WRQC "92Q".

But his real name is Harry Legg.

No, really, it is. And he's been working as Creative Services Director at Clear Channel's rhythmic top 40 outlet in New York City, WKTU/103.5. Until now, that is.

Legg becomes one of the most recent victims of a major round of Clear Channel cutbacks nationwide. He's out at WKTU along with the station's overnighter, who'd been there for 11 years.

The giant broadcasting company has been dumping people across the country, a move which is widely believed to be to prepare itself for an acquisition by a group of private equity funds.

We're pleased to report that Scott, er, Harry is not exactly standing on the street corners looking for change after being dumped from WKTU. We're told he has a thriving voice over/imaging business.

By the way, we lost them long ago, but your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) once had a set of jingles from "92...WRQC...Cleveland Heights OHIOOOO!" on a reel-to-reel tape. Oh, we lost the reel-to-reel deck, too, as most people (and stations) have.

92.3 is now, of course, WXRK "92.3 K-Rock", CBS Radio's alt-rock/talk outlet...

YOUR FM TALK WATCH CONTINUES: We'll put this in a group item because we'd already announced it before.

But Clear Channel has finally launched its latest FM talk outlet. It's New Orleans' 99.5 FM, which goes by the moniker of - believe it or not - "The New".

No, that's not just the URL for the station's website...the station is actually calling itself that on the air, complete with the "dot-com".

The former WRNO is the company's third large market FM news/talk outlet, after Pittsburgh (WPGB) and Minneapolis (KTLK). It actually has a pretty decent amount of local talk, with ABC Radio's Sean Hannity the only major daytime syndicated show on the station.

Premiere's Rush Limbaugh is not part of the equation on the new New Orleans FM talker. But he's already on FM in the market, as Entercom news/talk giant WWL/870 added a simulcast on 105.3 FM some time back.

Why has New Orleans, of all places, become a hotbed of FM news/talk? Most of the radio operators there say the rebuilding city is hungry for information, in its reconstruction mode after Hurricane Katrina...

AND JUST BECAUSE WE'RE HERE: AllAccess reports that Clear Channel top 40 giant WNCI/97.9 Columbus has re-inked program director Michael McCoy to a new deal of unspecified length and terms.

And since we are talking about Columbus, and all other news is secondary there this week behind the You Know What Game, he's quoted as saying "Michigan sucks, go Bucks!"...

Sunday, November 12, 2006

A New Station in Wooster - Well, Sort Of

An OMW reader alerted us to the presence of a billboard seen while driving through Wayne County, trumpeting "your new family fun station" on 102.7 FM. Huh?

We weren't aware of any new radio stations in that area, especially one with enough resources to buy a billboard, so we did some digging and found this.

In specific, it's a new translator for Mansfield's WVMC/90.7, a non-comm Christian contemporary outlet ("Christian Hit Radio") which also operates a translator on 91.1 in nearby Ashland.

The station proudly announces the new translator on its website:


The Lord has been amazing as we planned, prepared and worked toward this goal!

And now, WVMC FM has three frequencies to serve North Central Ohio: 90.7 Mansfield, 91.1 Ashland and now 102.7 Wooster!

But we missed the translator when we first started surfing through the FCC database.

The station is licensed to Jefferson OH, which we always thought was the small town in Ashtabula County. Evidently, someone at WVMC uncovered a subdivision or census place name "Jefferson" near Wooster.

W274AN, as the new 13 watt translator is officially known, is camped out on the southern edge of Wooster.

A MySpace page run by someone who appears to be WVMC's engineer says the station went on the air October 4th...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Half a Six-Pack, Plus An Extra

And for us, it's half of a six-pack of iced tea, since we don't drink, with an extra non-alcoholic chaser:

LEWIS TO STC: We heard rumblings about this, and now get it officially from head honcho Paul Belfi.

Former WKNR/850 sports talk host Kendall Lewis is now taking noon-2 PM weekdays on the Internet sports talk outlet...which, of course, was once the online presence of the Salem Cleveland sports talk station. Until that falling out thing, that is.

There are plenty of ex-'KNR types bouncing around STC, mostly producers and the like, but Lewis is the second high-profile former WKNR host in Paul Belfi's stable. The other is former WKNR morning drive/midday host Bruce Drennan, who - as far as we know - will return to the online outlet when he's able to do so.

Lewis left Cleveland after being let go by WKNR in a "budget cutting" move, and took up a gig at a Memphis sports talk radio station...where he was bounced around the schedule a few times...

AKRONNEWSNOW: A reader sends us word that Rubber City Radio has gotten its site up and running.

The site is pretty extensive, with local, state and national news, sports, traffic and weather. The local news, sports and traffic content appears to be updated in-house at the company's newsroom which services news/standards WAKR/1590, country WQMX/94.9 and rock WONE/97.5.

There's also an option to hear or podcast the station's latest newscast (presumably from WAKR), which we couldn't get working this afternoon. Maybe they're in "dress rehearsal" mode?

CINCY SHOE DROPS: To use our usual shoe metaphor, at this point format changes in the Cincinnati market are dropping enough shoes to start a shoe store.

This time, it's the final (we presume) format for 94.9 FM in that market. You know, the station which used to be the "jammin' oldies" outlet "Mojo". You know, the format which moved to new market move-in 100.3 and got tweaked in the process by Radio One. You know, the frequency which was trumpeted as the new home of country WYGY "The Star"...which itself got tweaked and just landed as "97.3 The Wolf".

Oh, we already have a headache, and we have to check our generic pain killer for metal pieces.

The format wheel lands on the "rock" selection for 94.9. Well, sort of between "rock" and "alternative rock", which would certainly explain the announcements on then-WAQZ/97.3 telling the alt-rock station's listeners to give 94.9 a try.

The Entercom-run station is calling itself "94-9 The Sound". (The sound of what? Did they get that from WUAB/43's old "The Block" on-air moniker?).

If you want to hear the 9,490 songs being played featuring everyone from the Dave Matthews Band to the Beastie Boys, point your browser at the station's website,

We're pretty sure that wraps up the massive format changes in the Queen City. We think...

BYE, BYE LIBERAL TALK - IN MADISON?: This is not really a local item, but it gives a local broadcaster a choice to make.

For whatever reason, a station that's usually held up as an example of progressive/liberal talk radio's success is dumping the format.

Clear Channel's WXXM/92.1 Sun Prairie WI, otherwise known as Madison market liberal talk outlet "92.1 The Mic", is flipping to FOX Sports Radio in January...dumping not only Air America programming from Al Franken and Randi Rhodes, but Jones Radio's Stephanie Miller and Ed Schultz. All four hosts are heard here on Clear Channel Akron liberal talk outlet WARF/1350 "Radio Free Ohio".

(Please. No back and forth sniping about the worth of the format here. It only ends up ugly, and any attempt to compare the situation to, say, the future of the format here is a stretch.)

We only bring it up because the move will take the attention of a Cleveland station owner for a while.

The current FSR affiliate in the Madison market is none other than WTLX/100.5 "FOX Sports Radio Madison", which is owned guessed it, Good Karma Broadcasting.

Good Karma's Craig Karmazin has moved to Cleveland, either temporarily or permanently, but now has to figure out what to do with his Madison sports outlet from here.

And no, the answer isn't "ESPN Radio Madison" - at least as far as we know. The new FSR affiliate at 92.1 will actually co-exist with the market's long-time ESPN Radio outlet, Clear Channel sister station WTSO/1070.

Whenever Good Karma's WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540" gets enough hours on its daytime schedule to broadcast past 7 PM, the station will feature Karmazin and his co-host's hour-long "Steve and Craig Show", which originates in part from his Madison outlet. And in part, here, due to Karmazin's presence in Cleveland...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: Sue Wilson Jumps From Fish to QMX

Nothing much more to say on this but to get it up here:

Salem CCM WFHM/95.5 "The Fish" program director Sue Wilson is a little bit country.

Or, she will be, when she takes a new job as program director at Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 in the Akron market.

AllAccess reports that her last day at The Fish is November 24th. She'll take the programming chair vacated by Kevin Mason, who left the Akron country powerhouse for a Nashville record company gig...

Some More Stuff to Pick Up

Still picking up little pieces of news and follow-up...and we really should recharge this portable sweeper...

MORE STARS: OMW reported a while back that Northeast Ohio's representative in the national Clear Channel/Jones/Center for American Progress-sponsored "Progressive Talk Star" contest, Mike Lampers, made the final round of eight contestants for a chance at a syndicated talk show.

He's now in the final four, according to a station press release.

Lampers will once again hit the national airwaves in a show airing Sunday at 12 PM on local liberal talker WARF/1350 "Radio Free Ohio". If he moves out of that final four contest, there'll be a final round on November 16th in front of a live audience (presumably between the two top would-be hosts)...and the final prize is a syndicated weekend talk show courtesy of Jones Radio and Clear Channel.

Oh, and about that comment about Bob Golic and WNIR's "Akron Idol" contest in our last entry:

We didn't mean to imply that Golic "beat out" Lampers, who we didn't even hear in the rotation of amateur hosts trying out for the WNIR afternoon drive slot. We don't have any idea if he was even possibly a "winner" based on his on-air time there.

We were just using a throwaway line about the nature of what WNIR called "Akron Idol".

Even if there WAS a possible "winning host", the entire contest had a ringer - a former Cleveland Browns player with radio background, whose "entry" was a brief fill-in during Tom Erickson's show.

In the end, it ended up about as good for WNIR as it could have.

It's not Bob Golic's fault that he wasn't a real "contestant" in an amateur contest to fill a veteran's shoes in afternoon drive. It was just our little jab at the entire idea of filling a crucial time slot in a market the size of Akron with such a contest. And we also can't blame the Kent-based talk station for jumping at the chance when a local celebrity's mother tipped him off that there'd be a job available back home.

And yes, the "Progressive Talk Star" thing is a bit silly, too. If it were up to us, we'd encourage local stations like WARF to home-grow local talent to grow into the format. (For one, giving Lampers or some other newcomer a regular local weekend show isn't a bad idea.) But it's not like the winner will be on nationwide weekdays, replacing Al Franken or Randi Rhodes...

WWGK/1540: Regular OMW tipster Nathan Obral out in Lorain County tells us that Good Karma Broadcasting sports outlet "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540" is now legally known to the FCC as WWGK/Cleveland.

The call sign change took effect Tuesday, according to the FCC's website.

WWGK was briefly WBKC, taking the call letters swapped from former owner D&E Communications' outlet in Painesville, the station now known by 1540's former calls, WABQ.

And another note about Cleveland's new ESPN Radio outlet: For whatever reason, the station's on-air signal seems stronger over the past two to three days.

Obviously, it's still operating at 1000 watts (daytime only). Aside from some processing changes that WWGK owner Craig Karmazin confirmed to OMW shortly after the station's launch, we know that the station also needed some serious ground work done...

Maybe that's happened courtesy of Mr. Karmazin's ownership...

HELLO BRAD, BYE HEATHER?: Our earlier note about the presence of former WEWS/5 weatherman Brad Sussman on FOX O&O WJW/8 could have another component to it.

We've heard people guessing, but it does appear that FOX 8 weather forecaster Heather Weber has been given the typical TV "Stalin-style purge" removal from WJW's website, She's nowhere to be found on the station's four-page list of local personalities.

Sussman hasn't been added, either...we'll guess that any permanent role he'll have, if any, has not been decided. He may just be filling in, in the absence of Weber.

But it would sure be an interesting pickup for them, and definitely improves the FOX 8 "bench", weather-wise...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wednesday Follow-Up

Just following up on some stuff from earlier:

ELECTION POST-OP: We didn't realize, when we wrote our earlier item on local election coverage, that the Cleveland Cavaliers would get in the way.

No, literally, as the local NBA team's game with the Atlanta Hawks forced a number of stations that would normally have had election coverage as early as 8 PM to start much later, after 10 PM in many cases.

That affected not only Cavaliers "mothership" WTAM/1100, but Akron's WAKR/1590 and other Cavs radio affiliates. Our long-time friend and colleague Scott Fybush from NorthEast Radio Watch checks in that Cincinnati powerhouse WLW/700 was also running sports of some sort last night.

(NOTE: We get word from Hillcrest Avenue that they did actually blow out the Cavaliers game on WQKT/104.5 in Wooster, for complete election coverage with station veteran [and OMW reader] Dave Dial anchoring. We apologize for the oversight.)

Though a last minute court decision pushed results back to about 9 PM, there was still some early news missed by the sports-running stations - give or take any in-game bulletins, which we're sure were there, but did not hear in our dial scanning. A wire service called the Ohio governors' race at 7:30 PM, at the close of polling...despite some Cleveland-area voters still being able to cast ballots, delaying official returns out of Columbus.

Stations heard by us doing coverage include Clear Channel talk WHLO/640, with wall-to-wall coverage starting at 8. Clear Channel sister liberal talk WARF/1350 had local break-ins and live speeches, but used Air America's live evening election special as their "glue".

As expected, MediaCom talk WNIR/100.1's Tom Erickson weaved the results into his existing local show on the Akron market talker. And we heard the aforementioned WAKR going full-tilt with local election news coverage after the Cavaliers game.

As for that Time Warner Cable special we talked about - on the Cleveland-based former Adelphia channel 15 - apparently it's been going on for about five years now, with "In the Spotlight" host Bob Conklin...

MORE CINCINNATI FOLO: That Cincinnati game of musical chairs continues, with word that now-former country outlet WYGY/94.9 - which was only in the format for a while - is marking a countdown to a new format of some sort...according to Cincinnati Enquirer radio/TV guru John Kiesewetter's blog.

Market rumor would suggest that Entercom, which picked up the station in a swap with Cumulus and promptly prepared to move the country format to a new home, is putting some sort of rock outlet on 94.9.

Meanwhile, back at the former home of alt-rock WAQZ, 97.3 is preparing to become country "The Wolf".

While we're electronically in the Queen City, we belatedly note the arrival of new program director Mark Anderson at Clear Channel top 40 outlet WKFS "Kiss FM" and hot AC WVMX "Mix". Anderson comes in from a Las Vegas consultancy, and is the former programmer of "Kiss" sister WKST in Pittsburgh.

And Kiesewetter notes that "Angry Guy" sports host Tom Gamble is apparently only one possible candidate to take over WLW/700's "Sports Talk" after the dismissal of long-time host Andy Furman. Gamble is better known as one of the "Two Angry Guys" on sister sports WCKY/1530 "Homer", a pairing with Richard Skinner which also extends to a WLW weekend slot...