With apologies to Howie Mandel of NBC game show fame...
After our last item, we're continuing to get mixed signals about the future of Clear Channel's new 101.7 move-in to the Canton market.
And to balance our last item, we'll also pass along some interesting Internet sleuthing done by some of our readers...many of whom believe that the "101.7 The Bull" website uncovered here yesterday is an act of slight of hand by those at the World Domination HQ/Southern Command on Freedom Avenue.
LITE?: A reader points out that there's yet another domain name that would presumably be attached to the 101.7 move in, that's redirecting to WKDD's website.
Like "kisscanton.com", "lite1017.com" deposits you at the online home for Clear Channel's 98.1 hot AC outlet.
STAR?: Another reader also points out that what would presumably be the website "staging area" for the station which will take the WHOF calls - "whof-fm.clearchannel.com" - is currently - unlike the "1017thebull.com" site - password protected.
This is significant, as an open Clear Channel-run site for Cumulus rock WRQK/106.9 Canton was under the "wrqk-fm.clearchannel.com" domain...as we reported earlier. (And yes, we believe that sometime within our lifetime, Clear Channel will eventually purchase that station. Honest.)
But look at what happens when you try to access the password protected site presumably linked with WHOF, and aren't successful:
Apache/1.3.37 Server at www.star1017fm.com Port 80
Long-time OMW readers note that we found the original Clear Channel country "Bull" in Northeast Ohio this way, via the website error message for a site that eventually became the online home of WYBL/98.3 in Ashtabula.
Going to the "Star FM" site listed above gives the same password prompt and error message.
Clear Channel, of course, operates AC format WREO/97.1 Ashtabula under the "Star" banner, and has other "Star" AC stations elsewhere in the country.
AND IN CONCLUSION: Only one thing appears to be clear at this point...someone at Freedom Avenue is trying to put a lot of balls in the air to confuse everyone...including your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), apparently.
We're getting word from anonymous, unidentified sources about an 11 AM staff meeting where the "Bull" country format was supposedly unveiled to staff and clients, complete with country music.
But right now? We don't believe anything. At this point, we wouldn't be surprised to see "Rumba 101.7", or female-targetted rhythmic AC with Whoopi Goldberg, even. OK, maybe we'd be a little surprised to see it flip to a Spanish-language format.
If you want to sort out all the rumors, the other "non-country" rumblings we've heard in the past few weeks include 101.7 mounting an AC format to combat crosstown WHBC-FM/94.1 - which is rumored to be tweaking its own format - and even rhythmic CHR (!!!), which would presumably fit under the "Kiss Canton" service mark.
Believe nothing you read on this...that's our current motto.
This is an Internet misinformation campaign the likes of which we have never seen in our long time in the business. The only TRUE answer may come out of your radio at 101.7 FM round about December 27th.
We're not betting against "The Bull" right now...but we'd also be cautious betting FOR it....