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...


Anonymous said...

If it's a Saturday morning deal like it was this weekend, I don't see where Fox 8 would have a problem with Rizz doing a show for 1540.

Anonymous said...


Ohio Media Watch said...

I knew someone would bring that up.

FOX Sports Radio is not actually owned by FOX Broadcasting.

It's owned by Premiere (aka Clear Channel), which licenses the name and various other things from the FOX Sports TV folks. An occasional FOX Sports TV personality shows up on FSR (the afternoon driver, for one), but that's not because they're the same company.

To further complicate things, FSR in Cleveland runs on Salem-owned WKNR, a competitor to Clear Channel's WTAM, which runs no FSR programming.

The upshot?

FOX 8 has no interest in FSR, it's not "co-owned", and as such, that isn't a problem in this case.

-The Management

Anonymous said...

OMW, Any word on what FOX8's big announcement scheduled for Tuesday 8am will be?

Morning Guy said...

I am going to guess a former TV personality returning. Again. Don't delay your entire day over this announcement. Really. Set up that DVR and go about your biz. LOL

firebird said...

Looking over the WKBN schedule, I was amazed at the local content of this station, which obviously helps in the ratings.

Over the past 9 years, Clear Channel has run WGST (market #10) into the ground. The once heritage news/talk station with plenty of local programming had the likes of Dr. Laura and Glenn Beck mandatorily placed on the schedule. Most of the management for CC/Atlanta came from Tampa, where WFLA is now syndicated 20 out of 24 hours a day. The afternoon Schnitt show, which originates from WFLA is syndicated, and it's a really bad show.

Good for WKBN for staying almost all local, especially for a Clear Channel station.

Anonymous said...

The Big Announcement Is Robin Is For The 4th Time Coming Out Of Retirement. She'll be doing some kind of daytime program starting in January. Now before OMW deletes this let's connect the dots. Back a couple of months ago Julie Washington Stated in which GM Mike Renda of Fox8 was in talks with Robin. OMW ran the story and the response in my opinion was less than favorable of yet another COMEBACK. The last time FOX ran a tease like this a year ago to the day the announcement would come at 6pm at that was the announcement of Tim Taylor calling it a career after 40 years total 27 of which at Fox. Goddard a few weeks ago when they were showing highlights of the WOOLEYBEAR FEST showed the current anchors and talent riding in the cars and one NOTABLE ONE WAS ROBIN AND DICK STATED "YOU RECOGNIZE THAT YOUNG LADY WHO'LL BE BACK AT FOX8 IN JANUARY OUR FRIEND ROBIN SWOBODA. Nobody on the morning show are set to retire McCool just returned from maternity leave,Crumpton,Bernier,Dawson,Frey are locked in for the long haul. If Wilma were going to announce or Goddard it wouldn't be at 8am it would be at 6pm like Taylor did a year ago BUT WILMA/GODDARD ARE STAYING PUT ALONG WITH RIZZ,MARTIN,BELL&TELICH. That is the only announcement that makes sense now two dark horse possible spoilers which I highly doubt but I'll put it out there The return of Neil Zurcher and his one tank trip. Big Chuck/Lil John announcing the end of there run. No to both why simple Crumpton is doing the one tank trips as specials. BC/LJ are leaving in the summer it makes no sense to announce it now unless Fox are just buying there contracts out now,possible but doubtful. Welcome back Robin it'll be nice for awhile to keep you around until one of two "for sure things" have her leaving the ratings tank or her standard I'm spending more time with my family.

Anonymous said...

570 WKBN also streams its' fantastic saturday line up of service line type programming.

casey has not been doing double duty for some time........

Anonymous said...

I recall when Robin 1st left channel 8 news. She had this huge announcment on the air. "I'm having a baby'!

Danny Wright was on Mix 94.9 at the time and did an entire bit that had to be the most entertaining thing I've ever heard coming from the speakers. He ended his show by weeping and proclaiming "I'm having a baby".

Ohio Media Watch said...

We haven't actually heard anything about the 8 AM announcement on FOX 8, but we would be terribly surprised if it's about something other than that upcoming local late morning show.

(We say "late morning" because although the time slot hasn't been announced, it'd assuredly be after FOX's upcoming national post-morning drive morning show, a one hour effort starting at 9 AM.)

And yes, we'd be surprised if it didn't involve Robin Swoboda returning to local TV, per the earlier reports of talks about that event.

A reminder - please keep your comments to a non-personal nature. Not only do we try to keep things that way here anyway, but one of the subjects of your comments may be an OMW reader...

Talk about their work performance, speculate all you like about their time on the job...just please, keep it professional, not personal.

-The Management

Anonymous said...

2 things to clear up:

I believe Neil Zurcher passed away not too long ago (correct me if I am wrong).

Also, When Chuck and John announce their retirement, it is going to be done in a big blowout with probably a prime time special on a Friday night.

Robin will probaby come in to do a Morning Exchange-esque morning show at 9, leading into the new Fox Regis and Kelly-esque show at 10.

Anonymous said...

Should anyone actually care ..

If you get sick of Christmas music, I am going to hold off completely on holiday music until 10 days before Christmas before I begin rotating ANY Christams music, at all, in to my afternoon weekday drive (4-7 PM) show.

I just can't take it. And being a former Program Director here, and the ratings being food, they leave me alone to program whatever I want (absolutely pricelss in radio for a jock). That's how I've come up with the "no sad sappy standard country b.s." rotation which I have for the last two years. It's hard sometimes because the majority of country is the "let's all wallow in our sadness" type of fare. I have received positive comments about the attempt from "The Primary Editorial Voice here at Your Might Blog of Fun" and that meant a great deal to me. Not a "YOU'Re GREAT", just a notice that I am trying to do something different than the standard country moaning and wailing. This follows the same philosophy of attempting to keep things in perspective. I don't feel people getting off work want to hear the truly heart wrenching lyrics of a standard country song to start their evening. Admittedly, it's almost impossible to keep it 100% this way but you'll find it different, I guarantee you that. And my "schtick", as others put it, is primarily making fun of stupid people attempting criminal activity or cruelness to others. It does vary but that's the thrust.

So, if you've reached the point where you can't stand another Christmas song, give me a listen. When it gets to be December 21st,it will be about 80%. But, prior to the 15th, no Christmas music on 104.5 FM 4-7 PM.

AND .. when I do play Christmas music, I WILL be breaking the format with the Christmas songs that SHOULD be sung by certain singers.... such as .. Nat King Cole singing "The Christmas Song" or Dean Martin singing "Let It Snow". I couldn't envision any further an abomination than the sad Josh Turner trying to turn his sappy baritone in to a happy celebration mode of delivery. The songs that should be sung by certain singers will be sung by them, format be damned.

The luxury of being the only "live" jock on a fully computerized/satellite station.

The only point of this post truly being that if you can't take another Christmas song, give me a listen ..

MIKE YOUNG said...

2 things to correct NEIL ZURCHER IS VERY MUCH ALIVE AND WRITING BOOKS ABOUT HIS ONE TANK TRIPS. Neil recently was a guest on GOOD COMPANY WITH FRED GRIFFITH. Second Robin would be on at 10am,as the new FOX NATIONAL TALK PROGRAM AIMED TOWARDS REGIS,BEGINS AT 9,thus Robin on at 10 or 11am.

74WIXYGrad said...

Dave Dial,

Seeing that 104.5 is on my presets, I will give you a listen, especially when I get tired of Christmas music. Are you going to play the good version of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"? That's the one by the Irish Rovers.

Anonymous said...

I think that people are just tired in general of Robin Swoboda retiring and coming back. Give someone else a shot. I think that is as nice as I can put it and I don't think it was offensive

Anonymous said...

"Are you going to play the good version of "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer"? That's the one by the Irish Rovers."

You got it, WIXY grad. 262-1947 is the direct studio line if anybody here ever wants to correct me (quite possible, and on an incessant need basis) or just like to hear a tune, you got direct access with that. I didn't know it was "The Irish Rovers" for that tune. Thanks for the info and any other suggesstions about staying ture to the artists meant to sing certain tunes, I'm open to suggestions from the OMW reader base. It'll certainly take A1 priority over "Joe PBR Drunk Six Pack".

Ohio Media Watch said...

To anonymous at 11:40 AM:

We never said no one could criticize people on this blog.

We never "automatically" close comments because of criticism of local personalities, or this one would have been closed long before now.

However, let's get a few things straight here.


We enjoy and appreciate comments to our items, or they wouldn't be here.


2) See #1. We have no time or inclination to moderate comments on this board, and we also have no intention of letting them be an unmoderated "free for all".

3) The closing of commenting is just as related to the number of comments vs. anything else. We generally tend to close comments when the numbers start pushing well into the double digits. By that point, most people have "said their peace" and are just repeating themselves arguing with other commenters.

OMW exists so we can post news and related items about local media in Northeast Ohio and beyond. The ability for readers to comment "came with the blog", as it were.

It's hard enough for us, especially lately, to keep an eye on the comments here. We barely have enough time to do the blog itself!

If the time issue becomes more of an issue than it has been, we will close down the ability to comment on all items TFN. We are not at that point right now, and may not get to that point soon, but it's an option.

The comments are an issue to us because they play a part in how OMW is perceived in the broadcast community.

While we have offered, and continue to offer, honest, straightforward criticism of local media operations and personalities when we believe it is warranted, an unfettered, unchecked comments section only drags down the perception of this site.

You know, along the lines of "oh, it's where all those anonymous idiots with no life go to take potshots at people they don't like". We do not want that perception to cloud what we do on this blog.

Again, we never meant to be a message board. If you'd like to partake in one, there are no less than three message boards dealing with local media topics, and many of the same people who read OMW regularly read them.

This is not a "free speech" issue.

Our blog, our rules. Period. If you don't like it, go start your own blog.

Enough said. Oh, and for now, we'll keep this item open.

-The Management