Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Just Some Random Stuff

...with no connection, that we know of:

MORE OHIO MOVES: You invoke Scott Fybush, he's bound to check in.

The NorthEast Radio Watch and editor, and long-time friend, who could recite station moves and allocations off the top of his head, checks in with another Ohio FM move we forgot about...and it's linked to the recent FCC rules changes talked about in an earlier item.

This one is Saga Broadcasting's application to move Columbus market smooth jazz outlet WJZK/104.3 Richwood much closer to Columbus, with a new community of license of Grandview Heights.

WJZK is currently rimshotting the state capital from the northwest, from a site near Marysville - paired in the smooth jazz format with another rimshot from the east, WJZA/103.5 Pickerington.

The moves which allow this are pretty complex, and involve:

* The move of Saga's WQEL/92.7 Bucyrus to a COL of Richwood, to replace the "lost service" caused by the WJZK move. Bucyrus needs no COL replacement facility, due to the presence of WQEL sister nostalgia outlet WBCO/1540. In a deal already announced, WQEL will also be flipped to the folks at the Bible Broadcasting Network, due to ownership concentration concerns caused by WQEL's relocation into the Columbus market.

* The downgrading of WPAY/104.1 Portsmouth from a class C station to a class C1 station. WPAY can operate at 100,000 watts for one very specific reason, as far as we can tell - its transmitter location is on the Kentucky side of the Ohio/Kentucky line, just across the river from Portsmouth. The application drops it to 35,000 watts.

We hear there are other Ohio moves prompted by this relaxing of FCC guidelines, but so far, we haven't heard any that affect our primary coverage area of Northeast Ohio. We'll keep you posted...

A BUSY MAN: He moved from being morning host at then-WJER-FM/101.7 Dover-New Philadelphia to being sports director of the station which is now solely WJER(AM) 1450, with the move of its former sister station north as Clear Channel AC WHOF/101.7 North Canton.

Somewhere along the way, Bill Morgan added the Zips Sports Network to his resume, announcing University of Akron Zips women's basketball games and hosting pre/post-game and studio shows on ZSN flagship WARF/1350 in Akron.

Now, we're told Bill has added yet another job to his list - television voice of the indoor football team the "Canton Legends".

(That shows you how much we don't know. We had no idea Canton HAD an indoor football team, let alone that they're in the American Indoor Football Association! Or, for that matter, that there is an American Indoor Football Association.)

We're told Morgan is hosting the weekly "Inside Legends Football" program, which the team says airs Wednesdays at 7 PM on "various Stark and Tuscarawas County cable television outlets".

But it would appear that along with local origination channels, local low-power outlet WIVM-LP/52 Canton-WIVN-LP/29 Newcomerstown is also carrying the show, as the station's cable channel numbers are given on the team's page about the show (Time Warner Canton digital 585, and TWC-formerly-Adelphia Tuscarawas County channel 99), and the show is on the WIVM/WIVN online schedule.

We don't know if Bill's calls of TV games will be seen on cable or the WIVM/WIVN combo. The team's site promotes streaming video of games starting with a game on Friday...

"My 101.7"'s Lineup

OMW hinted a while back about the new local morning show on Clear Channel's new Canton market AC outlet, WHOF/101.7 "My 101.7". We now have the entire lineup.

Mornings will be "live and local" with AC veteran Gary Rivers handling wakeup duties.

Though we're told Rivers had a brief stint in the 1990's at WHOF's main competitor, now NextMedia-owned AC outlet WHBC-FM/94.1 "Mix 94.1", he's recently been doing radio in the Central Ohio city of Marion.

After holding down mornings at Clear Channel AC WDIF/94.3 "Mix 94.3" there (hey, it's only one channel off from his new competitor!), Rivers has been heard in the same time slot on a rather interesting low-power FM outlet that's competing with WDIF - WDCM-LP 97.5, where he's also been the station's program director.

WDCM promotes itself as "Marion's Community Radio Station", and is owned by the U.S. Open Drum and Bugle Corps organization.

From its website, it looks like it operates much like its commercial competitor, with many of the usual features you'd expect from a commercial outlet. And Marion is small enough in area that the WDCM-LP signal has no trouble covering the city itself.

Here's the rest of the "My 101.7" on-air lineup:

10 AM-2 PM - Daune Robinson (voicetracking in from the Clear Channel World Domination HQ on Oak Tree, where she is heard on country WGAR/99.5 and oldies WMJI/105.7)

2-7 PM - Jon Marochino (long-time swing/weekend guy for hot AC sister station WKDD/98.1)

7 PM-midnight - Sean Stevens (midday personality at Clear Channel Youngstown sister AC outlet WMXY/98.9 "Mix 98.9")

OMW hears whispers from Freedom Avenue that this new on-air lineup will begin on Monday, February 5th...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tuesday Night Grab Bag

Some items from the OMW Secondary Coverage Area (i.e. outside Northeast Ohio):

WHIO-FM MOVE?: Recent changes in the FCC regulatory process have started affecting Ohio. We'll let long-time Friend of OMW Scott Fybush detail what's happened, from the most recent edition of his NorthEast Radio Watch (thanks in advance, Scott!):

The new rules streamline the process by which AM and FM stations change their communities of license, frequency and class. For AM signals, any change of community was once considered a "major change," requiring a filing window that, in recent times, came only once every three or four years. For FM stations, changing communities was done through a cumbersome two-step process that began by filing a petition to alter the Table of Allotments, and only then was followed up with an application to move the station itself.

Now that's all changed, and most of those moves can be filed as a simple one-step application, without waiting for a window.

We haven't gone through the applications yet for Ohio - but we have stumbled on one of interest in the Dayton area...thanks to an OMW tipster in Southwest Ohio.

Cox Radio has applied to move WHIO-FM 95.7 Piqua to a new community of license of Sharonville, a northern Cincinnati suburb. The FCC Service Area plot of the new proposed signal is here, putting it squarely in the Cincinnati market from a transmitter location near that suburb.

WHIO-FM, now simulcasting Cox's news/talk WHIO/1290, is the former 80's outlet WDPT "Dayton's Point"...which rimshots Dayton from the north. We'll make the grand assumption here that Cox has no interest in simulcasting a Dayton news/talk outlet in Cincinnati.

Some message board types have noticed the presence of First Broadcasting in the technical application for the WHIO-FM move - we found it here - and wonder if the new facility will end up in that broadcaster's hands at some point. First owns adult hits trimulcast "Max FM" in the Cincinnati market, and the Sharonville-based 95.7 stick would fill out some areas not covered by it now, at least.

As part of the proposed move, Cox is also applying to nudge its WZLR/95.3 Xenia west closer to Dayton, with a new transmitter location near Beavercreek.

We are sure there are more out there, and maybe we'll ask Mr. Fybush (hi, Scott!) if he's found any such moves elsewhere in Ohio.

Cox has put a major effort in promoting the WHIO FM simulcast, so we'll have to assume they'll move it to another FM frequency if the 95.7 move goes through...

PAGANO TIME: We didn't say much about this at the time, but popular radio meteorologist Pat Pagano was among the recent casualties at Clear Channel talk WTVN/610 Columbus.

It must be "one of those things", as Pagano is not even based in Central Ohio. His self-run weather "service" operates out of his home in Long Island NY...where he feeds his forecasts via an ISDN line.

But for some reason, Pagano caught on at WTVN, and had enough of a Columbus market following that another station swooped in to take his services after WTVN dumped him.

Pagano is now heard on Saga oldies WODB/107.9 "B107.9", during that station's morning show.

Columbus Dispatch columnist Ann Fisher tells the story in an article from earlier this month. "B107.9" picked up Pagano's forecasts with the help of a sponsor - concrete maker Scioto Ready Mix, with ownership which depended on Pagano's weather outlook in his WTVN days.

Sometimes, when it comes to radio and popularity, it's just best not to ask why...and take the check...

AAR AND FRANKEN: What could have been huge radio news in Ohio has now become a footnote, due to changes in the world of liberal talk radio.

You've probably heard already that a New York City real estate developer has agreed to buy whatever's left of Air America Radio, the liberal talk network that originally put the format on the map.

And you've also probably heard that Air America's most known host, comedian/author Al Franken, will do his last show in mid-February...amidst speculation that he's running for the U.S. Senate from his home state of Minnesota.

Since that speculation about Franken began, the landscape for "progressive talk" has changed drastically in our home state.

Two stations that were once format mainstays, Cincinnati's WSAI (1530, then 1360), and Columbus' WTPG/1230, are now off doing other kinds of talk radio. And the lone survivor in the liberal talk arena in Ohio, Akron's WARF/1350 "Radio Free Ohio", dumped Franken's show weeks ago in favor of Jones Radio's Ed Schultz...moved up from his previous 3-6 PM time slot.

WARF does run Air America hosts Randi Rhodes and Rachel Maddow...along with Schultz and Jones Radio stablemates Bill Press and Stephanie Miller.

So, the news wouldn't appear to affect the local liberal talk least for now.

We're wondering if Air America's new owners are indeed going to focus on more "digital technology" and less radio, as has been speculated elsewhere, and how that would affect Ms. Rhodes in particular - who's basically the only "name" host Air America has now.

And we wonder how those developments affect the national viability of the format, even with many stations (like WARF) depending on other non-AAR talent for the most part...

Del Donahoo Retiring

Literally millions of current and former Northeast Ohioans grew up watching Del Donahoo roam Ohio for interesting stories and interesting people...and now, the long-time WKYC/3 personality is retiring.

Donahoo announced the retirement Monday on the station, and the local NBC affiliate is airing a week's worth of "Del's Folks" stories on all of its newscasts, leading up to the end of his 39 year tenure this Friday.

WKYC is offering a special web page for Del's departure from the local TV airwaves, with pictures, some of his stories and a way for viewers to send him a "farewell".

Del calls his retirement a "mutual decision", in a Julie Washington article in today's Cleveland Plain Dealer. And Julie's article reminds of us of very recent sad news in Mr. Donahoo's life... the passing of his beloved wife Martha last October, after their 58 years of marriage...

Stuff That Hasn't Happened Yet

Since we've been away, some reminders of things that are "still out there", but not completed yet...

WKNR CHANGES: Though we've been "away", OMW has tried to get more information on whatever changes could be coming to Good Karma Broadcasting sports WKNR/850 Cleveland.

And the situation is eerily quiet.

So quiet, we're beginning to wonder.

Is this "the calm before the storm", with Good Karma boss Craig Karmazin getting ready to make a major overhaul? Or is it as we suggested earlier - that there are no major lineup changes in place, and there's nothing to talk about?

We've said this before, and we'll say it again - we'd be shocked if WJW "FOX 8" sports anchor Tony Rizzo wasn't in the WKNR mix with a regular, daily presence...either hosting on his own, or paired up with another host. We just don't know when it's going to happen.

We also don't know when Karmazin and company will obliterate all of the imaging still voiced by former WKNR program director Michael Luczak.

And perhaps Karmazin has been busy elsewhere. One of his FM stations in Madison WI recently flipped from a hip hop format to rock.

One WKNR change we believe is new happened last night.

Afternoon drive host Kenny Roda extended his "Happy Hour" show until 7:30 PM, to match the start time for the Cleveland State Vikings basketball pre-game show.

We know Roda has hosted in the 7-8 PM hour for things like the weekly Buckeyes-themed show, but we believe this "no brainer" half-hour extension hasn't been done before. We seem to recall that the station usually has run network programming (once ESPN, now FOX Sports Radio) in such situations before, when there's no local show at 7 and a play-by-play event was at 7:30...though, as always, We Could Be Wrong(tm).

And too often in the past, the formerly Salem-owned sports talker has acted like there's a giant wall between programming "before 7" and "after 7"...

WHOF MORNING SHOW: OMW hears that there will indeed be a local morning show at new Clear Channel Canton market AC outlet WHOF/101.7 "My 101.7".

And as a teaser, we're told that whatever it is, two names will NOT be involved: former WHBC-FM/94.1 morning host/program director Terry Simmons, and syndicated Premiere morning star/comedienne Whoopi Goldberg.

For what it's worth, WKTU/103.5 New York City-based Whoopi has generally been placed on Clear Channel's rhythmic AC stations, and probably would be out of place on a straight-ahead AC outlet like WHOF. And with the station baring its fangs at "Mix 94.1", we doubt they'd go syndicated in morning drive anyway.

But that said, they'll be doing it without Simmons, the WHBC-FM mainstay recently let go by NextMedia. We're told the new morning show host will be a surprise to most...

CLEVELAND'S OWN: Our brief item on the latest affiliate loss by Shane "Rover" French's WXRK/92.3-based morning show "Rover's Morning Glory" has prompted a lot of speculation.

"Rover" only remains syndicated on two outlets outside of Cleveland - in Rochester NY and Memphis TN. Those are both CBS Radio-owned stations that are headed for other owners, as a result of the company's divestiture of its smaller market stations.

(We were also corrected in our earlier item - Rover did appear on one other non-CBS Radio-owned outlet besides recent affiliate loss KPNT in St. Louis...a small Cape Cod MA outlet which dropped him in May.)

After all of the affiliate losses, Rover has become sort of the Cleveland version of Washington DC's "Don and Mike", based at CBS Radio hot talker WJFK-FM/106.7 in that market... a local show that just happens to have a handful (or less) affiliates. But unlike "D&M", we wouldn't be surprised to see Memphis and Rochester exit the Rover Kennel soon, due to the ownership issues.

We don't spend much time with "K-Rock's" morning doggie, but the last time we checked in, the show sounded like a local Cleveland program, with talk about Browns players and the like.

But despite the speculation, we don't see Rover leaving "K-Rock" anytime soon. He still does very, very well in the proper demos in the Cleveland ratings.

While we're electronically visiting "K-Rock", we hear that former WMMS/100.7 morning co-host Cristi Cantle is now doing weekend shifts on the CBS alt-rock outlet.

With former co-host Hunter Scott now programming the aforementioned NextMedia Canton AC outlet, WHBC-FM/94.1, we lost track of the third member of WMMS' last local morning drive show. For that matter, we'd have to search our own archives to be reminded of his name...

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Return

OK, so we snuck in here Friday, but we're officially back. And...we think we have a solution for our "comments problem".

For now, we'll leave the comments "turned on". But a more permanent solution is on the horizon, which we hope to announce in the next week or two. Until then...we'll dive into some leftovers:

FRANTZ CONTROVERSY: Yes, we're aware of the hot water WTAM/1100 mid-morning host Bob Frantz got into last week.

We don't have much to say about it now, as it's basically over, but we understand Frantz's show was pulled from the air briefly one day last week after the host related an off-air comment by a listener.

The listener's "comment" was directed at a local congresswoman, who was on Frantz's show as a guest before she walked out - apparently not at all happy with the host's questions.

We believe it happened in the context of Frantz relating the listener's comment second-hand in the manner of "this is not the kind of thing we want to air", and the original comment did not air, or come from Bob himself.

Similar comments in other markets have gotten hosts suspended for long periods of time, or even fired.

In Rochester NY, sister Clear Channel talk WHAM/1180 host Bob Lonsberry was "on the beach" for months after such wording, though in that case, it was his own. He was eventually returned to WHAM, but not after some major controversy blew over.

Anyway, Bob was back on the air as normal on Friday, with no mention of all of the earlier problems. We suspect he'll be a little more careful in relating incendiary listener comments in the future...

WOAC-TV CHANGES: As it turns out, WOAC/67 Canton's digital signal popped into our TV recently...and we noticed changes.

MultiCultural Television, the new TV arm of New York City-based MultiCultural Radio, has officially taken over the station formerly owned by Scripps and formerly the home of "Shop at Home" and "Jewelry Television". The latter network took over programming of WOAC and the other SaH stations after Scripps abandoned their shopping network.

Under another corporate arm, Scripps owns Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5, but the company never had any intent to operate WOAC/67 in a duopoly with WEWS.

Anyway, mark "infomercials" as the format for WOAC in the MultiCultural era. And the station is running frequent on-air announcements directing interested people to call a 212 area code number to buy on-air time...

WHILE WE'RE ON THE TV DIAL: Another Cleveland market station with small viewership is apparently changing languages.

OMW hears that WRAP-CA/32, an LPTVer broadcasting from a downtown Cleveland office tower, will move from home shopping to Spanish language programming as an affiliate of the Azteca America network.

The move gives Cleveland (nominally) its second Spanish-language TV outlet, after Univision O&O WQHS/61. Considering that the Hispanic population in Northeast Ohio is not exactly huge, we're wondering just how many people watch either station.

Univision got WQHS in a package deal when the network bought out the old Home Shopping Network outlets. And in most large markets, Univision mounts a local newscast - but they have no local programming in Cleveland as far as we know.

And it would appear the WRAP-CA transmitter site could serve what Hispanic viewers there are in Northeast Ohio if it moved, say, about 30 miles west...round about where the only Spanish-language FM in the market is licensed (WNZN/89.1 Lorain)...

WHK ANNIVERSARY: OMW hears that Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland is going to air a special celebrating the station's 85th anniversary in March.

Producer John Palmer's Verity Media has been hired by the station to put the show together. And Palmer tells us he would like some help:

I'm looking to find as many personalities - both local and national - and as much media and memorabilia as I can, in order to pay proper tribute to the station's history.

Maybe a friend of a friend used to record (insert former WHK programming here) and he's got it saved on his computer. Or people that might know where former staffers are located. We need them to make this project complete.

Drop a note to John if you'd like to help out...

Friday, January 26, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Rover Loses St. Louis

It's not quite in the "major" breaking news category, but since we're here anyway, getting ready for our "official" return on Monday...

CBS alt-rock/talk WXRK/92.3 "K-Rock" morning host Shane "Rover" French has just lost another affiliate.

Emmis St. Louis alt-rocker KPNT/105.7 "The Point" dumped Cleveland-based "Rover's Morning Glory" after this morning's airing, just a couple of hours or so ago.

OMW hears that the station proclaimed that "Rover is Over" just minutes after the end of the show at 10 AM St. Louis time, and played supposed listener calls with such choice comments as "shoot the dog!".

"The Point" has already put up the web page for Rover's replacement, something called "The "Fandango Experiment"...hosted by former KPNT air personality Donnie Fandango returning to the station for morning drive:


Effective immediately, Rover's Morning Glory is history on The Point.

Because you demanded it, we're introducing an all new Point morning show, with a helluva lot less talk, and a ton more music.

The new local show starts Monday.

"Rover's Morning Glory" was on the St. Louis station as its replacement for former morning man Howard Stern. But the Emmis-owned outlet was the only non-CBS Radio station making that move...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Our Return Date

Barring other issues popping up, OMW will return to regular publication on Monday, January 29th.

Thanks for bearing with us during our hiatus!

--The Management

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Hiatus Post

As hinted here repeatedly, OMW is going on a hiatus of undetermined length...probably somewhere on the order of a week or two, if we had to guess right now.

Each time we use the "h word", we get a lot of queries.

Our incoming E-Mail volume increases, and it appears some people are actually concerned about the health of your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) and the future of this blog.

Don't worry...we're fine.

But, we owe you an explanation.

Simply put, at times OMW gets a bit overwhelming. When we started this little blog in mid-2005, we had absolutely no idea what it would become.

With something on the order of 1200 unique visits per day, we can confidently say we are read in every broadcast cluster/operation and media-related outlet in Northeast Ohio, and some well beyond this region. At this point, it is easier to name who does NOT read us, and we don't say that to brag...just to explain.

The problem? "Real life" intrudes, and makes it somewhat difficult to update this blog as often as we'd like. We've set a standard for regular updating, and it's very hard to keep to that standard when there are only 24 hours in a day, and Life Intervenes off of this blog.

At least some folks get demanding with us, when we do not have information on stories they want to know more about. OMW is, as always, a free service updated at our leisure. Demanding anything won't get you very far with us.

Don't get us wrong...we like the fact that this little missive has apparently become something of importance to many in the local media community. times, it's difficult to keep up.

And then, there's the "Comment Problem", where your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) is forced to ride herd over a quasi-message board, including deleting inappropriate or offensive comments we do not want here.

One recent comment, a very profane, vulgar and mean tirade aimed at a local on-air personality, particularly bothered us. Most of you didn't see it, as it was removed within roughly 5 minutes of being posted.

The Internet as a whole often gets lumped into the "those crazy, stupid people with no life and no career themselves, who like to attack people anonymously" category, and we do not wish to be linked to that sentiment here.

It's time to reset, and figure out what form this report takes in the future.

We can almost guarantee that the comment system will be modified when we get back. At very least, a Google account login will be required, and we may disable them entirely - either temporarily or permanently.

We've said roughly 200 times that the OMW comment system is not a message board, and that there are no fewer than three message board options off-site if you wish to "talk" about things.

But...we haven't wanted to lose the vast majority of cogent, interesting comments that do filter into here - so it's likely we'll try out the login system first when we get back, and go from there. Maybe we'll take advantage of the "moderation" feature, though that wouldn't end the time sink that dealing with the comments has become.

If that doesn't work, we'll permanently disable comments. We'll see how the changes go.

As noted before, we will try to, within reasonable time, update major breaking news during the hiatus period. That includes station sales and format changes, other major on-air lineup changes and the like, primarily within the "primary" OMW coverage area of Northeast Ohio.

But...please don't pepper us with "why haven't you posted this?" (Yes, we know WOIO/19 "19 Action News" anchor Sharon Reed did a show on WTAM/1100 on Saturday afternoon. The local media world will probably survive without further comment on that. Oh, and since most of you have weighed in about our hiatus, we'll disable comments on this post from the start.)

We'll get around to posting news, if it's big enough, and we'll try to be back regularly soon...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Clearing Out The Inbox

Here's what should be our final regular update for a while. We'll wax philosophical on it in a final entry sometime over the weekend.

During our "hiatus", as mentioned, we'll continue to update major "breaking media news" items, mainly in our primary coverage area of Northeast Ohio.

More details on that to come, but...for now...

CLEVELAND RADIO VET: Walt Tiburski, a name certainly familiar to anyone with a history with Cleveland radio, is retiring.

AllAccess reports he's stepping down from his job as market manager of Renda Broadcasting's Ft. Myers FL cluster, where he's worked for the past two years.

But those reading this blog will remember his long-time stint in Cleveland radio...particularly as the general manager of iconic rock station WMMS/100.7.

Best wishes to you, Mr. Tiburski, from all of us at OMW...

JOHNY D OUT: We actually knew about this Thursday, but it's now public thanks to new Toledo Blade media columnist Ron Musselman in Friday's newspaper. (Sorry, as we prepare to dial back, we've been slower...)

Musselman notes that "two key players" are out at Cumulus top 40 WTWR/98.3 "Tower 98-3"'s morning show.

Umm, yeah, maybe the including the host they named the show after?

Yep, that's right, "Johny D" (we would love to know where the extra "N" went) is no longer doing morning drive at "Tower". Producer Jeremy Baumhower, a former staffer at Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370, is also out.

Cumulus market manager Chris Taylor sings the familiar management refrain about such changes - they wanted to "move in a different direction". Yes, away from the guy who's been hosting since September 2005...that's a move in a different direction, no?

Various combinations of music and part-time talent will fill the gap until whenever Tower figures out what's next.

OMW hears that it's been rather interesting behind the scenes at Cumulus Toledo and at Tower in specific...and that "Johny D and the Morning Crew" wasn't exactly burning up the ratings.

It looks like Johny D didn't catch on like was hoped. He joined the station after a 10-year stint with Clear Channel's top 40 competitor to WTWR, WVKS/92.5 "Kiss 92.5".

And AllAccess notes that midday personality Crystal Harris follows Johny D out the door at Tower....

AND WHILE WE'RE IN TOLEDO: Electronically, at least, we'll note that former WSPD/1370 afternoon driver Denny Schaffer has landed in Atlanta, at least with a regular weekend gig.

Schaffer's "Denny Radio" is now heard Saturday mornings on Dickey sports WCNN/680 "The Fan" under the modified title "Denny Radio: Sports and More". The show debuted on January 6th, according to the station's website.

The former WSPDer was bounced a while back from his mid-morning gig at Clear Channel talk WGST/640 in the Peachtree City...along with pretty much nearly everything resembling a local talk show...

EMMY STUFF: This one passed on directly from the folks at the Lower Great Lakes chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS), otherwise known as the Emmy people...

The deadline for the local Emmy Awards is quickly approaching. Saturday, February 3 is the deadline, and there are a few changes to the process this year. All entries must be on DVD, with the DVD minus R format recommended. No VHS entries will be accepted, only DVD. The entry cost has been reduced to $70 for members. Plus a new category was added this year for interactive media. Entry forms and complete information are here.

The "Lower Great Lakes" chapter covers a wide territory from its base in Cleveland, from Erie PA to Bloomington IN and just about every TV market in between...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Entercom Exits Cincinnati, Bonneville Enters

Almost as quickly as it entered the Cincinnati market, Entercom is leaving.

The Philadelphia-based group is initiating a trade with Bonneville, and that company picks up the newly-reformed Entercom cluster in Cincinnati: rock WUBE, country WYGY, hot AC WKRQ and alt-rock WSWD. Bonneville also gets three Entercom stations in San Francisco.

We'll have to go back into our archives to remember which of those stations came from Entercom's initial purchase of the CBS Radio cluster in the Queen City, and which came in that trade from Cumulus. We'd have to track the frequencies, as the calls and formats have moved around so many times it even makes US dizzy.

The move allows Entercom to re-enter the San Francisco market.

Bonneville is the broadcasting arm, of course, of the Salt Lake City-based Mormon Church. It has no other Ohio operations...

Randy's Back In The Media Game

When you say "Randy Michaels is back", people's ears perk up.

And though it's not radio - yet - the statement is now based in reality, not rumor.

The suburban Cincinnati-based former Clear Channel radio head, who rose to prominence with Jacor, is officially "back in the media game", as new company Local TV LLC has named him chief executive officer.

Local TV LLC is the operating arm of Oak Hill Capital Partners, an private equity firm which is buying the nine New York Times Company TV stations.

That'll be the first item on the plate for Michaels, and long-time associate Bobby Lawrence...the ex-Jacor executive who'll be alongside as president and chief operating officer.

And though it's not radio - yet - Michaels and Lawrence are already sniffing around Clear Channel...albeit the company's for-sale TV division, which owns stations like Cincinnati CBS affiliate WKRC/12 (and its associated digital CW affiliate subchannel).

An article by Cincinnati Enquirer writer Cliff Peale notes that Michaels' non-compete with Clear Channel actually lasted through the end of 2006.

Though he has not been fully away from broadcasting, with his RadioActive LLC winning small city radio construction permits, Randy is back to full speed.

And it's not hard to imagine that while talking to his former employer about buying part or all of the Clear Channel Television group, some radio stations may end up in the Local TV portfolio.

Clear Channel, of course, does have 448 small and medium market stations on the sales block...and Randy knows many of them better than anyone on the planet. A noted engineering mind, he's probably got every transmitter and antenna height of stations he acquired for Clear Channel - including literally dozens in Ohio - memorized even to this day.

So, we'll have to see about the possibility of the new company expanding into radio. Their only statements about expanding into "broader media platforms" would appear to point to the Internet, a place where most local TV stations have been expanding rapidly the past few years.

Like RadioActive and the former Clear Channel and Jacor radio operations, and Randy himself, Local TV LLC will be based in the Northern Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Random Stuff Floating Around

An announcement, which we'll make in more detail later, and have hinted about: OMW is indeed going on hiatus sometime this week.

During our hiatus, we'll continue to pass along major local media news, like station sales, format changes and major changes involving on-air personalities (firings, departures, moves, etc.). But we won't publish daily until our return. We'll explain it all in the "Hiatus" message about to be posted, but until then...

WSPD GETS T-R-O: A Lucas County judge has granted a temporary restraining order against the office of Toledo mayor Carty Finkbeiner - requiring the mayor's office to keep Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370 in the information loop.

The station sought the order after a long public battle with Finkbeiner's office, which has prompted city officials to shut out WSPD from press conferences and other media information avenues.

The battle came to a head last week, in an item we reported below...where a door nearly broke at City Hall when a mayoral aide tried to hold back all but one WSPD staff member trying to get into a press conference.

WSPD officials say they hope the temporary order becomes permanent. We're predicting that detente will finally come to the relationship, as both sides have "made their points", as it were...

WHK AND RAMSEY?: A regular OMW reader reports hearing self-syndicated advice guru Dave Ramsey on Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland on Saturday evening.

We're particularly interested, as OMW was the very first source nationwide to report a split between Ramsey and Salem. The Nashville-based talker ended his relationship with the company over Salem's request for him to pay for his airtime on the company's talk and Christian talk/teaching outlets.

Ramsey's people told an OMW reader that they do not pay for airtime, so the program was allowed to be taken off WHK sister station WHKW/1220 and other Salem stations, including WHKW simulcaster WHKZ/1440 Warren-Youngstown, and WRFD/880 in the Columbus market.

At this point, the Saturday evening Ramsey airing is not on the WHK website schedule, and we don't know if it's unpaid filler or paid programming. But unlike in other markets, Ramsey has yet to find a new Cleveland market outlet to take his program...

WHIO ADDS NEWS STAFF: Incoming at Cox news/talk WHIO/1290-WHIO-FM/95.7 Dayton is Rachel Murray...who we just heard yesterday doing midday news at Clear Channel talk WLW/700 Cincinnati (via the station's feed on XM Satellite Radio, of course). She'll take the open afternoon drive news anchor slot posted in a job listing here a while back.

It's a return to the building for Murray. WHIO operations manager Nick Roberts tells OMW that she was a co-anchor on the station's "Miami Valley Morning News" in the late 1990's.

WHIO also adds news anchor fill-in Jason Michaels as permanent midday anchor. Michaels continues as APD for sister station "95.3 The Eagle", and as evening personality on sister country "K99.1"...

MAXWELL'S SIGHTS ON O&A: Every once in a while, talk radio personalities deal in "inside baseball" about radio, their competition and the like that we here at OMW call "Manna From Heaven".

We didn't hear it ourselves, but an OMW reader tips us off to some of this "inside" talk from Clear Channel rock WMMS/100.7 afternoon host Maxwell.

Though Maxwell does play music, he's really more of a talk personality...and apparently sees talk radio hosts as his direct competitors.

Our reader tells us Maxwell crowed about good ratings in the last ratings period, though he noted that he couldn't go into much more detail due to the various rules regarding Arbitron's surveying.

But he did say, according to our reader, that he beat both sister talk WTAM/1100 afternoon eating machine Mike Trivisonno and CBS Radio alt-rock/talk syndicated afternoon team "Opie and Anthony". (UPDATE 7:25 PM 1/17/07: We'd like to clarify this...upon reading our reader's E-Mail, we were told it "appeared" Maxwell said he beat both Triv and O&A - from the conversation on the air. Our apologies for the misread.)

Ratings being what they are, and details being scarce, we don't know what demographic Maxwell was talking about.

But when a caller prompted Maxwell to talk about Triv, the WMMS PM driver reportedly responded:

That's not even what we were worried about. To be honest, it was Opie and Anthony. They come back in here after ruling the airwaves with an iron fist.

He's talking, of course, about O&A's initial stint in Cleveland, via once and current affiliate "92-3 K-Rock". We haven't heard if they're tearing up the ratings again, after doing well enough before to put a scare into Triv.

If any of our assembled readers can give us private information about this, we'd appreciate it. Posting it in a comment is one thing, but we really need to know WHO is telling us this, and if they have any credibility.

As always, OMW respects the privacy of our sources - we could tell you who, but it'd break that chain, after all...and we'll probably still be around here and updating through the end of the week at any rate...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: It's "My" For Canton's 101.7

OMW has first word of the format about to launch on Clear Channel's new Canton market radio station, WHOF/101.7.

It's "My" format.

No, not "my" format - or even "ours", editorially - but "My" as in the name for an adult contemporary format - the station will be known as "My 101.7", and launches at 4 PM this afternoon...just moments from now.

UPDATE 4:30 PM 1/16/07: As reported above, "My 101.7" (or do we put that in lower case?) launched on schedule at 4 PM.

After a countdown, a station piece took a shot across the bow at NextMedia AC competitor WHBC/94.1, with this line: "If you think variety is the same 200 songs everyday, listen to 94.1". Another liner calls to new listeners whose favorite station "is now playing harder music", a nod to recent playlist changes at "Mix 94.1".

The opening song: "My Life" by Billy Joel.

The "My" branding exists elsewhere in the Clear Channel chain. The company's Philadelphia outlet at 106.1 FM, which launched a rhythmic adult contemporary format as "Philly's 106.1", has now taken the "My" name.

It appears the company is flexible with the "My" branding. An OMW reader notes that "My" is on a Clear Channel classic hits outlet in Milwaukee.

Interestingly enough, a trip to the "" website even at this writing produces the same error message that appeared on another 101.7 placeholder site - an error message citing a server at "".

UPDATE 4:30 PM 1/16/07: The "" site went live with the station this afternoon. And if you don't think the folks at Freedom Avenue don't already get enough feedback from OMW readers, the website offers a toll-free "feedback" line - 866-444-1017. Though we would expect your comments here would be more direct...

"Star", as we noted in the earlier item, is a standard Clear Channel AC brand markets as close as Ashtabula, and as far away as San Francisco.

Though we didn't know at the time, this may have been the very first sign that an adult contemporary format would end up on 101.7...despite the subterfuge of a fully-laden site for a country station named "The Bull"...

Monday, January 15, 2007

WHOF About To Launch, And WRQK Now Clear Channel's

UPDATE 1/15/07 8:35 PM: The countdown started, we're told, somewhere during the 4 PM hour, and is timed for a station launch at what sounds like exactly 4 PM on Tuesday.

Intermixed with the "tick, tock" of the countdown clock is a female voice announcing: "This is 101.7, where a new radio station begins in (x) hours." A simple " WHOF North Canton" legal ID is inserted by the automation computer at or near the appropriate time. The tick, tock sound also has long periods of time without any announcements.

Various OMW listeners report that the station has put, at least on good radios, a listenable signal into much of the Akron area...though it loses its "punch" the closer you get to the Ohio Turnpike on the north fringes of the signal.

To our ears, it's not quite as strong as now-Clear Channel rock sister station WRQK/106.9, or NextMedia's WHBC-FM/94.1...which is no surprise considering the class A 6,000 watt signal just northwest of downtown Canton. And WRQK, of course, is running 27,500 watts with a class B signal from the very same location.

We do, though, have at least two radios at the OMW World Headquarters that can pick up the 101.7 signal with clarity...including the same Sony boombox which could pick up WJER-FM from its previous Dover location with some interference.

On the other end, we know people can hear the signal in its former home city, Dover, but we don't believe it reaches southern Tuscarawas County with a listenable signal.

Some OMW listeners, via the comments on this entry, report that the WHOF signal carries an IBOC/HD carrier from launch.

Here at OMW, we aren't able to get that signal on our Accurian HD radio (otherwise known as the Radio Shack $99 special), though that same radio picks up a clear analog signal from WHOF with the long FM antenna included with the radio.

But that's a similar circumstance on the same radio and same antenna, with other analog signals that reach it from nearby markets.

We know, for example, that Cumulus country giant WQXK/105.1 Salem runs HD, and we've never been able to get that...or for that matter, CBS alt-rock/talk WXRK/92.3's signal from Cleveland's east side.

And we have to have the antenna put up just the right way at our second floor window to get a lock on the HD signal on Elyria-based smooth jazz outlet WNWV/107.3 "The Wave".

Another update from Clear Channel's pair of new Canton FM stations: AllAccess reports that long-time WRQK middayer Keith Hamilton has been named program director of "Rock 107".

Our original item is below...


OMW hears that in just over a half hour from this writing, at 4 PM, Clear Channel will finally "light up" its new Canton market station, officially known as WHOF(FM) 101.7 North Canton.

The first day of broadcasting from the new facility will apparently, from what we've been able to figure out from various sources, consist of a computerized countdown to "a new radio station".

The countdown will last 24 hours, with the new format - whatever it is - set to debut on 101.7 FM at 4 PM Tuesday afternoon.

And no, we do not have any idea what the format will be...any more of an idea than we've had over the past month or so.

Elsewhere involving Freedom Avenue, we hear that Clear Channel has officially taken over Cumulus rock WRQK/106.9 on its short-term-until-sale-clears LMA.

With the switch, exiting are program director Garrett Hart and market manager Dave Kelly. Kelly moves over to Cumulus' sister cluster in Youngstown, we believe in a sales management role.

And also exiting is 7 PM to midnight "Rock 107" personality Joe Kleon. We haven't heard of any other on-air impact of the transition to Clear Channel at this time...

Monday Pileup

Some random notes...

STILL WAITING: We're going to hold off on trying to set a debut date for Clear Channel's new Canton FM station, WHOF/101.7. We believe it'll be "soon", but we're not going on a limb until someone at Freedom Avenue gives a heads up on the exact start time.

You may find out earlier, if you're within range of the station's signal, by turning on a radio to 101.7 FM...

WOIO GRAPHICS: We've passed along rumors, such as they are, that Raycom Media's WOIO/19-WUAB/43 will make the Local HD News Race a four horse event...probably sometime in the next month or so.

Could we be seeing a preview of that conversion, even now?

"19 Action News" has spruced up its graphics package a bit. Though a number of the station's existing elements ("Loud! Shout! WE'RE 19 ACTION NEWS!") haven't changed, the station is using a new font for its on-air identification graphics.

The new font is, to our eyes, a little "classier" than what the station has used for years. But...the station continues to use its long-time "19 Action News" logo in the older style.

The station's news music package has been tweaked as well, but is still along the same musical lines as the "19 Action News" theme music used for some time...

WSPD TIFF: Relations between Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370 Toledo and controversial mayor Carty Finkbeiner have never been favorable, but they're downright hostile lately.

The station was front and center at a mayoral press conference last week, with reporter Nik Rajkovic joined by a host of WSPD staffers, including program director/afternoon drive host Brian Wilson, news director Cassie Wilson, and the focal point of the current Mayoral Discontent - talk host/news reporter Kevin Milliken, who was refused entry to an earlier press conference.

Finkbeiner's City Hall has basically cut off WSPD from all contact, though they were apparently willing to let reporter Rajkovic into the press conference last week.

But a clumsy effort to let him in, but reject the other WSPD staffers, led to a confrontation where the WSPDers eventually got through the door that appeared ready to break.

The dispute goes back some months, with the mayor's office not happy with how the station talks about Mr. Finkbeiner on the air, and the station demanding an apology for a mayoral statement questioning the credibility of one of its hosts - morning drive host Fred LeFebvre.

This latest escalation of the conflict ended up with a cancellation of the press conference.

The mayor's office has questioned the credentials of the WSPD hosts and management staffers, but we believe all of them have the proper state-issued news credentials. That's quite common at a news/talk radio station.

And though there's certainly something to be said for saying a talk radio station is hoping to ramp up publicity - much like WOIO/19 did when the office of then-Cleveland mayor Jane Campbell "threw them out of City Hall" a couple of years back - city officials often look somewhat petty when they do stuff like this.

By the way, though characterized as anything from a talk show host to a public affairs show host for his hour-long "Eye on Toledo" evening show, OMW readers know that Milliken - a former WNWO/24 reporter - has been working in the WSPD news department for some time. He took that role after the departure of news director Tom Watkins...who's now doing a morning show on Cumulus talk competitor WTOD/1560 "SuperTalk 1560".

While WSPD is not without its own "antics" here, this tried-and-true formula mostly comes as a result of thin-skinned, high-profile politicians who think they own the cities they run. We've seen it a hundred times before...

Sunday, January 14, 2007

The WKNR Change Watch

Note that the following item is filled with speculation, rumor and not really a lot of facts. Still, we'll helpfully identify what is fact, and what isn't, for you...

The Cleveland sports radio community and listeners are in a holding pattern wondering what'll happen to Good Karma-run sports talk WKNR/850. Changes of some sort would appear to be in the offing, but what?

Let's run through some stuff we found in a recent Google search. Most of this stuff has been written in the past month or so, but we just haven't gotten around to sharing it...

THE SCENE FROM SCENE: First up is a recent item from the entertainment section of the blog "C-Notes" on the website of alt-weekly Cleveland Scene.

Scene's Erich Burnett, in an item called "The New King of Sports Talk", weighs in on the topic with an interview with Good Karma boss Craig Karmazin. And we thought WE had the corner on local media snark:

Karmazin insists no shakeups are planned with WKNR’s on-air talent, which is kinda like invading North Korea to go for beers with Kim Jong-Il.

C’mon, even Greg Brinda? The Radio Version of Sam Fulwood hasn’t uttered a compelling phrase since 1982.

“We love all our on-air guys, and all the on-air guys that were here when we got here still have jobs,” he says. “We’re extremely excited about what they’re doing.”

Yes, WKNR's airstaff still has jobs, even as of this writing.

And Mr. Karmazin's quote above is actually consistent with at least some of what we've heard bouncing around the local rumor mill.

At least one set of changes we've heard rumored would move Mr. Brinda, the existing mid-morning host, into morning drive, making room for long-rumored WKNR full-time addition Tony Rizzo in middays.

Premiere's Jim Rome stays, no question. And everything we've heard rumor-wise from day one of the Good Karma era at WKNR would seem to suggest that afternoon driver Kenny Roda is staying not only on the station, but in his time slot.

There. No "major shakeup" there...just adding one more local show, with the existing hosts still employed. (Again, we caution that these rumblings are not being reported here as fact. Call it "quasi-informed speculation.")

WKNR's biggest problem has not necessarily been its local air personalities, though many would pipe in that neither Brinda nor Roda excites them.

WKNR's biggest problem has been that it's been operated by an owner of religious and conservative talk radio stations, which had absolutely no desire to take the necessary steps to market the station and beef up its on-air sound.

Our guess as to upcoming near-term changes, and it's only a guess, in four parts:

BYE, BYE, THE VOICE OF LUCZAK: WKNR's on-air sound undergoes an overhaul, with a new, professional imaging voice and other such niceities ignored by the previous ownership.

TWEAK, NOT SHAKE: The immediate lineup changes are no more significant than what we reprinted from RumorLand(tm) above, with the addition of Tony Rizzo and other minor tweaks.

We also aren't ruling out rumored pairings of hosts - WKNR is one of the few stations that does not have a single weekday show with two hosts, a sports talk radio staple in other markets. Even WKNR's new owner is actually part of one of these shows, "The Steve and Craig Show", which should start airing on sister WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540" in the Spring.

BENCH PLAYERS: The station finds and identifies a solid "second-tier" of hosts and other on-air personalities, and begins to build its bench. Our earlier item noting the pairing of WKNR promotions director Jason Gibbs with ex-Browns draft pick Jim Pyne could have been the first step in this direction.

INVOLVED: Good Karma does what it can to dramatically improve WKNR's visibility, and its relationship with local sports organizations (not just the major professional and college teams).

Does this mean there are no lineup changes in the next week or two, i.e. Mr. Rizzo's rumored full-time gig and perhaps something like a live, local weekday evening show? (That's just a guess, folks...again, we are not reporting this as fact.)


But the foundation has to go in first, and the items above are that foundation, in our humble opinion.

Other Good Karma/WKNR-related stuff we found of recent vintage:

GALLERIA: Crain Cleveland Business' John Booth, who was the first print reporter to break the sale of WKNR to Good Karma, has more details on the company's planned move to the Galleria at Erieview, a shopping center/office complex a reasonable walk from Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Booth says the WKNR/WWGK move will be to a 4,000 square foot first-floor space at the Galleria's eastern end by "late 2007". Mr. Karmazin tells Booth that the move will increase the stations' visibility and proximity to the local sports teams, and calls himself a "believer" in downtown he's not only moving his stations there, he now lives there.

And while the Crain's article doesn't address the on-air lineup at WKNR, Karmazin does say there will be "no jobs lost" as a result of the merger...noting that WWGK only has two employees (that would refer to update anchors/reporters Aaron Goldhammer and Bernard Bokenyi).

He also channels his famous father, Sirius Satellite Radio boss Mel Karmazin, noting that there will be "continued growth" of the stations' sales force...

RODA PROFILE: And we also found a Lake County News-Herald profile of WKNR's afternoon drive host, which ran a couple of weeks after the Good Karma acquisition announcement.

Aside from some interesting comments about being the most infamous Pittsburgh Steelers fan in a city which hates that team even drawing air, Kenny Roda name checks his new boss:

WKNR was recently purchased by Good Karma Broadcasting from Salem Communications, but Roda said he is excited about the new ownership team and is looking forward to working for Craig Karmazin and Good Karma.

KARMAZIN PROFILE: And we're not sure we ever linked this profile from April, on the website

It's a fascinating Q&A session with the WKNR/WWGK owner that might be worth a read for folks, say, working out of a certain building on Broadview Road...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Friday Stuff

And some more stuff floating around the OMW Pool - yes, we're heated, so come on and dive in! You'll find some familiar things in the water...

WRQK'S TRANSFER: OMW is hearing from numerous sources that the official transfer of Cumulus rock WRQK/106.9 has been "set in stone", after a number of false starts and guesses.

At 12:01 a.m. next Tuesday, January 16th, "Rock 107" goes under the control of Clear Channel in an LMA. The LMA will be in effect until the reported sale of WRQK to Clear Channel, part of a swap involving two Clear Channel clusters in Michigan, is finalized.

OMW hears that the move doesn't necessarily mean an immediate studio transfer to the Clear Channel World Domination Headquarters/Southern Command on Freedom Avenue in Jackson Township. That move may not take place until early-to-mid-February, which means WRQK will still broadcast from its current studios on Martindale Road for a few weeks.

We're also hearing some rumors about changes that may happen at WRQK as a result of the Clear Channel takeover - changes NOT including any format change for "Rock 107".

But the information comes to us totally anonymously, from someone who does not wish to identify himself or herself privately to us. So, we're not going with it.

If you do have direct information that you'd like to share, please send it to us and tell us who you are. We have a long, storied history of keeping our sources confidential. As we often say, we'd give you examples, but that'd break our streak of not revealing sources...

101.7 REDUX: While we're at 22nd and Whipple NW in Canton, virtually, OMW hears that two new antennas are officially up on that World Famous New Tower - the antennas for both WRQK/106.9 and WHOF/101.7.

We hear if you're looking for them, the WRQK antenna is the higher of the two, and that other smaller antennas - for purposes we don't know - need to be moved as well.

Considering the possibility of upcoming wintry weather, the timing couldn't have been better.

We still have no word on WHOF's debut, though. We'll keep checking our radios...

WKNR'S CHANGES: We haven't had any update on possible changes at Good Karma sports talk WKNR/850 in a while, though we've heard some interesting on-air pairings we believe are intended as auditions for future programming.

On this list is former NFL offensive lineman and Browns draft pick Jim Pyne, who teamed up with WKNR promotions director Jason Gibbs earlier this week...when Gibbs was substituting for afternoon drive host Kenny "Flying Back from Arizona" Roda.

Other listeners concur with us - perhaps the pairing was a way to see how the two clicked for something like a new weekend or evening show. But...that's just speculation on our part.

Our WKNR-connected sources will only say at this point that major changes at the sports talk outlet could happen "sometime in the next couple or three weeks"...

WEWS HD GLITCHES: We've nailed down what could be causing those graphics glitches on the HDTV broadcasts of WEWS/5's "NewsChannel 5".

A source on Euclid Avenue tells us that it's a piece of equipment that interfaces locally-generated HD content, like the newscasts and like the recordings of the HD versions of "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!" - to the station's HD output to its digital transmitter. As such, the glitches are not seen at all on WEWS' SD feeds of NewsChannel 5.

Our source tells us that the WEWS engineering folks "are on it", and hoping to squash the bug soon. It's popped up and has been noticed, because the equipment in question wasn't getting a lot of use until the newscasts went HD...

WNPQ LINEUP SHIFT: Canton market CCM outlet WNPQ/95.9 "The Light" is shuffling its schedule.

Grant Holmes joins the station for morning drive, and is being paired with Katie Carr for "Breakfast with Grant and Katie".

The move shifts WNPQ program director (and OMW reader) Ed Franklin back to his regular afternoon drive perch...

UPDATE 1:07 AM 1/13/07: Our apologies to both Eds, Mssrs. Richards and Franklin, for our misidentification earlier. We'd just read a comment from Ed Richards, and his name came off the keyboard when we meant to properly identify WNPQ PD/afternoon driver Ed Franklin.

Maybe one day, when we're able to afford proofreaders...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

WKSU Veteran Retires Friday

The nearly 20-year veteran morning host at Kent-based public radio outlet WKSU/89.7 will no longer be heard each morning during NPR's "Morning Edition". Leonard Will is retiring from WKSU after Friday's broadcast.

Will has been with WKSU since 1988, joining the NPR outlet fresh off of a unique challenge - restarting public radio in Cleveland, as the general manager and architect of WCPN/90.3 at its launch.

But his resume extends back much further, as WKSU's Bob Burford shares in the release on Will's retirement:

Will began his journalism career following a 1962 honorable discharge from the U. S. Army Security Agency, where he served in Germany as a Russian voice transcriber. His first radio job was as a newscaster at WLEC in Sandusky, Ohio in 1963.

Will returned to Germany in 1966 as a freelance correspondent, covering a number of major stories for the Mutual Broadcasting System and ABC News that included the kidnapping and murders of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

At the end of 1972, Will and his family returned to Ohio where he worked as a reporter/newscaster for WERE “People Power Talkradio” in Cleveland. He left the following year for Iowa to help build and format one of the nation’s first fully-automated music stations.

Will returned to WERE as the station switched formats from talk to all news in 1975. Initially, he was the editor/producer of the daily five-hour morning drive news block but soon was assigned greater responsibility – rising to news director, program director, and finally operations manager.

WKSU has put up a page to say goodbye to Leonard Will here.

Current WKSU "Your Way Home" host Renita Jablonski sets her alarm clock much earlier starting on Monday, as she takes over the local "Morning Edition" host duties...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Picking Up Sticks

We're doing a midweek cleanup, and we're adding some new items as well...

NO 101.7 YET: No, Clear Channel's new Canton radio station hasn't hit the airwaves at 101.7 FM as of this writing.

But OMW hears from an eyewitness that an FM antenna was indeed placed atop the tower at 22nd and Whipple NW in Canton late Wednesday afternoon, where the station - and soon-to-be-sister station WRQK/106.9 - will broadcast from.

That eyewitness is none other than John Amrhein, an OMW reader with a pretty good perch - just a few hundred feet away from the tower at the studios of Melodynamic talk/religious outlet WCER/900 Canton, where he's operations manager.

We don't know if the antenna belonged to WRQK or to the new WHOF/101.7. Remember, WRQK will be on the tower as well, and was the original reason the tower was envisioned.

But since we brought up the Cumulus rock outlet that's being dealt to Clear Channel in that two-station swap...we hear that "Rock 107" will be under Clear Channel's domain "sooner rather than later" under a short-term LMA, until the sale is approved.

That could mean sometime mid-to-late this month...but we've been burned so many times on guessing the WRQK transfer to Clear Channel that we've lined up a gigantic grain of salt.

At least this time, the sale/swap is officially recorded, so no one thinks we're nuts...

WEWS HD: Just a brief note - we've done the rounds of the various HDTV enthusiast message boards, and it appears we're not the only site which has noticed some early graphics glitches in the new HD broadcasts of "NewsChannel 5".

Occasionally, the graphics will freeze up part of the screen, causing digital confusion.

We saw it Tuesday night at 11, but haven't been able to get a picture of imagine it along a large part of the bottom third of the screen of this screen shot, around where the second "NewsChannel 5" logo is.

We saw a "lockup" of the lower-screen graphics which persisted into a later shot, and some up-and-down blocking that almost resembled digital volume levels.

We haven't seen it since, and hope the local ABC affiliate is aware of the problem and working on it. They had to reboot the graphics computer earlier that day, an outage which actually took the HD version of the newscast off the air for a minute or two.

Oh, and we're told that the 16x9 SD live shots and taped video are actually being upconverted on the fly from a 4x3 feed for the WEWS newscasts. That'd explain why some folks look a little shorter and fatter than they normally do...

And we've confirmed that WEWS does indeed play the 1 AM repeat of "NewsChannel 5 at 11" in HDTV format. We presume they're using the same recording equipment used to record "Jeopardy!" and "Wheel of Fortune" in HD...

CINCINNATI TURMOIL CONTINUES: On the heels of our other news about recent changes in the Cincinnati market, here are some more, courtesy of Cincinnati Enquirer radio/TV guru John Kiesewetter.

Kiese has word of two more cuts at the already-hard-hit Clear Channel cluster in the Queen City, at talk WLW/700 "The Big One": long-time "Sci Zone" weekend host Bill Boshears, and "America's Truckin' Network" weekend host Eric "Bubba Bo" Boulanger.

Boulanger continues his "day job" as morning drive host at suburban Cincinnati country outlet WSCH "Eagle Country", just over the Ohio/Indiana border in Aurora IN...

Kiesewetter also checked in Saturday with new WFTK/96.5 "SuperTalkFM" sports talk host Andy Furman on the debut of his post-WLW professional life...saying the Clear Channel talker is "in my rear-view mirror" and that he wants to move on.

Without callers? After a star-studded opening day on the new Cumulus FM talk outlet, Kiesewetter notes today that he heard few calls on Furman's new show on Day 2...

ONE MORE CINCY ITEM: AllAccess notes that former Clear Channel top 40 WKFS/107.1 "Kiss FM" programmer Tommy BoDean lands across the proverbial radio street in Cincinnati - programming Entercom's new sorta-alt-rocker WSWD/94.9 "The Sound"...

HATS OFF TO SUE...UH...SHANNON: OMW hears that though you don't know the name "Shannon Steele", you might know the new full-time midday host at Entercom top 40 WKSE/98.5 "Kiss 98.5" in Buffalo NY.

She's none other than long-time Northeast Ohio radio type Sue Tyler, who has worked locally for stations like Cleveland rockers WMMS and WXRK, Akron's WKDD, and Canton's WZKL "Q92".

Congratulations to Sue!

What's the saying? Success by any name smells just as sweet...

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Alice Weston

We'd be remiss in our role as a site honoring local media history if we didn't mention the passing of Alice Weston on Tuesday.

Generations of Cleveland TV viewers - and we mean literally, generations - watched Alice Weston on local TV. In her 50-plus year career, which took her to pretty much every local TV station, Alice was a true fixture of this TV market.

She was a pioneer, as well...becoming the first female TV host in this region when she joined WEWS/5 just a year after the station hit the airwaves.

After a stint in Pittsburgh in the 1960's, Weston returned to Cleveland, where she ended her TV career in the mid-1990's at WKYC/ the age of 86. She died at her Sheffield Lake home at the age of 95.

OMW reader and regular tipster Nathan Obral tells us that Weston, a long-time Lorain County resident, was also one of the first announcers for Elyria's WEOL/930 and its FM sister station, which is still co-owned as today's WNWV/107.3 "The Wave".

Her first station, WEWS, weighs in online here...and has an item here...

Two Quick Hits

Our apologies for being away, as what was advertised as a two-hour Blogger outage turned into a four-hour outage. It's free, right?

NEXTMEDIA CHANGES: And no, the NextMedia changes we're talking about are not at the company's Canton cluster...but rather, at the top.

NextMedia co-founder and executive chairman Carl Hirsch is stepping down from his post at the mid-to-small market radio group. He's heading out for new challenges in media, or so the release says. His departure is said to be amicable, and he's also cashed out his financial stake in the company.

NextMedia, of course, owns Canton's WHBC/1480 and WHBC-FM/94.1...

WHOF?: OMW hears that Clear Channel's new Canton move-in, WHOF/101.7 North Canton, could be on the air from 22nd and Whipple NW as soon as tomorrow.

We hear that the station could launch as "Marilyn 101.7", with hard rock featuring Canton native Marilyn Manson.

Wait, you didn't BELIEVE that, did you? We're just joking!

We actually don't know where the WHOF format wheel will land, between long-rumored format choices of country, soft AC, oldies or anything else that's been thrown out there just to confuse us.

We also caution that the station may not sign on with its final format, though that's just a wild guess on our part...based on what other stations have done before.

There wouldn't appear to be a need for a long stunt format, though, as the station has literally been off the air for all of 2007...

Monday, January 08, 2007

Another Followup Post

And at least part of this multi-headed hydra of an update is under the sub-heading "overkill"...

WEWS HD LAUNCH: In case you haven't figured out by the "HD" letters on the logo...or the roughly 200 mentions in the past day...or the 30th play of Angie Lau's "Buying an HDTV" piece...

Yes, Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5 has officially converted its "NewsChannel 5" newscasts to the HDTV format.

The proverbial "switch" was pulled at the start of Sunday's 11 PM newscast. That broadcast opened up with a message from WEWS general manager John Butte. (In case you missed it, it was roughly similar to the item posted on, which we linked in an earlier item.)

So far, as far as "out-of-studio" video, WEWS appears to be taking a similar route as NBC affiliate WKYC/3.

All live local video is shot in 16x9 SD, with what appears to be most taped local video in the same format. At least some video appears to have been stretched from 4x3 to 16x9.

Any video that's not 16x9, local or national, gets the "Circle 5 HD" sidebars. (And unlike either WKYC, or FOX's WJW/8, WEWS's sidebars include an automatic legal ID for the station...)

There was a glitch or two involving what appears to be the overlaid time/temperature bug, which disappeared from the HD feed of NewsChannel 5 at Noon - while remaining on the SD version. We've seen similar glitches, mostly involving the lower half of the graphics display, even through Monday's 11 PM newscast.

And unlike WKYC or WJW, WEWS is using a sharper graphics feed for its "Power of 5" weather radar. Last time we checked the station's competitors, both appeared to be using upconverted SD weather radar displays.

Whether this helps viewers see more storm detail remains to be seen... but WJW's venerable "StormFOX" radar is particularly long-in-the-tooth by comparison.

Then again, Mark Johnson and Susanne Horgan (pictured) are not Dick Goddard...

FOOTBALL OVERKILL: OK, so we don't blame Good Karma Broadcasting-run sports outlet WKNR/850 Cleveland for running 24 hours of Ohio State pregame coverage.

Overkill coverage of "The Big Game" is standard issue for any good major market sports station, and it's the kind of thing WKNR never did in the Salem days. Oh, and 'KNR IS the OSU Cleveland market affiliate...and they had no idea the Buckeyes would get obliterated by the Gators.

We're just mentioning this because part of that coverage included Tony Rizzo, the WJW/8 sports anchor. The FOX 8 personality hosted 1-3 PM on Monday, a time slot normally occupied by Premiere's Jim Rome.

It's Rizzo's first appearance as a host on WKNR, and we keep hearing rumors that it definitely won't be his last.

Here's a new thought - could Good Karma's Craig Karmazin be interested in pairing up hosts?

We've heard rumblings that a Tony Rizzo-Kenny Roda pairing would be something of interest, which made hearing Roda and Rizzo together Monday all the more interesting to us.

We put this just above "minor buzz" on the rumor mill. We have no indication that such a pairing would happen...and if it was even on the Good Karma Radar, it couldn't happen in afternoon drive, because Rizzo is not leaving his primary job at FOX 8.

Could Rizzo be headed for 9-noon weekdays, with current mid-morning host Greg Brinda paired up with him? Or does Brinda move to morning drive? And how do ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" figure into this?

We haven't heard much more lately about this, but we would be nearly shocked if Rizzo was not on the WKNR airwaves in some capacity, on a daily basis, by the end of this month...if not sooner.

ROBIN'S ON: We almost hesitate to mention this, but...

Former WJW/8 news anchor Robin Swoboda's show "That's Life" made its debut Monday on her former and current station.

We won't say much more about it, since A) we don't think it's fair, since we haven't seen it, B) the mere mention of Robin Swoboda seems to cause fits in the comments on this blog and C) we're not in the target audience for it - your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) is a male.

But we will pass along a link to Julie Washington's article on "That's Life" in Monday's Cleveland Plain Dealer, and note that the show is being broadcast in HDTV...

MORE COLUMBUS CHANGES: On the heels of North American Broadcasting's WTDA/103.9 flipping to talk and sports as "Talk FM", we hear there are other format changes in Columbus.

Long-time CBS Radio country outlet WHOK/95.5 is not only no longer being run by CBS - it's got a new name.

New owner Wilks Broadcasting has dumped the long-time "K95.5" name for a new name - "95.5 The Hawk", saying it plays "everything country".

Meanwhile, OMW ears in the Columbus market tell us Wilks has pulled the plug on the alt-rock format on WAZU/107.1, flipping it to a new-leaning country format as "Wink 107.1".

(We can't remember if syndicated Cleveland voice and WXRK/92.3-based Shane "Rover" French's show was still running on the station now formerly known as "The Big Wazoo", but it's surely gone with a new format.)

We can't confirm either change, but the new logo for "The Hawk" is up on the WHOK website, and WAZU's "Big Wazoo" site is now entirely blank...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

UPDATE: "Ted FM" Goes to "Talk FM" in Columbus

As expected, North American Broadcasting adult hits WTDA/103.9 "Ted FM" in the Columbus market is flipping to FM talk - with a heavy dose of sports talk - as "Talk FM".

The station's website sports a new logo in the same color scheme as the old one, and has the new programming schedule - which includes the previously announced addition of Premiere's Glenn Beck for the 10 AM-1 PM slot.

(Beck is live from 9-noon, but WTDA is keeping Premiere's "Bob and Tom" for the 6-10 AM time slot.)

Also new to the schedule, as we're told was announced on the air on North American rock WBZX/99.7 "The Blitz" on Saturday, is an afternoon drive local sports talk show hosted by WBZX morning and weekend sports voice "Mark the Shark".

Mr. Shark, who apparently carries the name Mark Howell when he's out from behind the sports microphone, hosts a two-hour Saturday morning sports show on 99.7 - in addition to his primary role doing sports and news on the "Blitz"'s morning drive show. His WTDA show is scheduled from 4-6 PM weekdays.

For now, the schedule on the WTDA website indicates that FOX Sports Radio will fill out the talk schedule, with future "feature programming" to be announced...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

UPDATED: WEWS Confirms HD News, "Circle 5" Logo

UPDATE 1/7/07 1:25 PM: WEWS confirms the HD newscast launch we've been reporting here for some time, starting tonight. (We hear that the 6 PM newscast may be the first in HD.)

From the item on

On Sunday night, Jan. 7, legendary WEWS NewsChannel5 makes Cleveland the nation's most advanced high-definition (HD) television city in America.

Cleveland will be the first city where its top three television stations broadcast their local news in HD. NewsChannel5's launch will include exclusively HD weather and expand the station's HD programming to the most available on Cleveland television.

The station has also unveiled the new logo we spotted in the original report below this update.

OMW regular reader/tipster Nathan Obral points out that it's a slight, more angular retake on the original "Circle 5", which is in use (pictured at right) at NBC affiliate WPTV/5 in West Palm Beach FL.

To us, the new WEWS logo almost conjures up images of the "ABC Circle 7" logo used at many ABC-owned major market stations.

The original item is below...


One day before Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5 is reportedly set to launch its local news in HDTV, we believe a new graphic slipped through the cracks.

On Saturday night's "NewsChannel 5 at 11", viewers saw a different graphic for the "Power of 5" doppler radar during meteorologist Jason Nicholas' weather segment.


Is that the old, familiar "Circle 5" we see in the "Power of 5 Doppler Network HD" logo up at the left hand side, right above Nicholas' head?

How about that!

WEWS has been using the current NewsChannel 5 logo - seen at the bottom right - for what, about two or three years now? Most adult Northeast Ohioans who grew up with the station probably still remember the station's Circle 5 logo.

The "back to the future" logo will take some time to get used to. In the graphic we see above, it seems a bit retro. But logo-wise, the past may be the future for WEWS...

Two Quick Weekend Items

A couple of weekend tidbits we need to put up before they happen...

WEWS HD DEBUT: OMW hears that the debut of HDTV on WEWS/5's "NewsChannel 5" broadcasts is Sunday night at 11 PM on the Cleveland ABC affiliate.

The time makes sense to us. It would basically be a dress rehearsal, allowing the station to get out the bugs out before the weekday newscasts start.

At this point, we don't know what "NewsChannel 5" will do with out-of-studio video. Both WKYC/3 (NBC) and WJW/8 (FOX) use 16x9 standard definition feeds for live shots.

WKYC also uses 16x9 standard definition for most local taped reports, with the exception of video shot out of the station's Akron bureau. (We'll presume that's due to the lack of HD capability at WKYC's "Akron/Canton News" broadcast.)

WJW does not use 16x9 SD for local taped pieces, which carry the same "FOX 8/HD" bars in 4x3 as feeds from outside the station do...

WCER/900 Canton operations manager and regular OMW reader John Amrhein passes along this word of an anniversary of a long-running weekly show. Since we don't know anything about it, we'll let John take the guest "keyboard" here:

Elder R.L. Fletcher, chaplain of the Hiram, OH Police Dept., started his weekly broadcast "Songs of Zion" in 1951 on WADC 1350/Akron - later WSLR, moving to WRCW 1060/Canton sometime in the 80s, then to WCER 900/Canton in 2004. The 1-hour weekly show was broadcast live up until the Fall of 2005, and is now prerecorded each week.

Elder Fletcher plays a mix of black gospel oldies - and still uses a rhyming style for his local advertisements - similar to R&B DJ's of the time when he started the broadcast. The 9AM Sunday, January 7, 2007 program will be Elder Fletcher's 56th Anniversary broadcast.

And - what has to be the longest-running local advertising relationship: C.C. Supply has been sponsoring "Songs of Zion" for 47 years!

BREAKING NEWS: Beck to 103.9 Columbus on Monday

Premiere syndicated host Glenn Beck is apparently not even missing a day on the air in the Columbus market.

The very day his program last aired on Clear Channel talk WTVN/610, Beck's website is announcing his move in the market Monday to North American Broadcasting adult hits WTDA/103.9 "Ted FM".

Well, maybe it's not announcing it exactly like that, as we quote the site:

Attention Fans from Columbus, OH:

THANK YOU! Because of your support and loyalty, we’ve found a new radio home in Columbus, OH.

Starting on Monday morning, tune in to 103.9 FM to hear the Glenn Beck Program from 10am-1pm every weekday!

You'll notice that Beck's site does not say "Tune to 'Ted FM'" or reference anything but the new affiliate's frequency.

Just how long will the adult hits format last on 103.9?

We point back to now-10 month old rumors that WTDA was heading for an FM talk format, rumblings we dutifully passed along way back in March.

"Ted", of course, has been airing Premiere's "Bob and Tom" in morning drive for some time now. The addition of Beck, though a different kind of show, gives it a solid talk block from 6 AM to 1 PM.

Any move to FM talk by WTDA is complicated by the fact that Clear Channel has gobbled up a lot of the traditional/conservative shows for its new WYTS/1230. Perhaps 103.9 goes shopping for shows like Neal Boortz and other shows not cleared in Columbus?

It would appear, as a guess from This Space, that 103.9 picking up any of the liberal/progressive shows left behind by 1230 is not in the cards. We could be wrong.

As far we know, North American has no talk radio experience whatsoever, so we have nothing to go on. (For that matter, we can't name any of the company's stations outside Columbus, if they even have any.)

But it sounds like they may be mounting Ohio's second new FM talk station, after Cumulus Cincinnati's WFTK/96.5 "SuperTalk FM".

Of course, the state's very first FM talk outlet is Media-Com Akron market station WNIR/100.1 Kent, which has been yakking since the early 1980's full-time - with midday host Howie Chizek taking the microphone back in 1973 (!!!).

But maybe WTDA can keep the "Ted FM" moniker, given the first name of the new Ohio governor...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Month of Change

Welcome to January...a month of change in local radio and TV.

We've compiled this handy list of upcoming major events in local media, either announced or rumored, in no particular order...

WKNR CHANGES: OMW hears lots of rumblings out of a certain building on Broadview Road...the beginning of Good Karma Broadcasting's overhaul of Cleveland sports talker WKNR/850 is imminent.

If we had to pull out a calendar date for this momentous event, we'd aim for sometime in the next two weeks. We'd guess next Monday, but the entire WKNR staff will be busy as all get out well into Tuesday - with the Ohio State Buckeyes' appearance in the BCS Championship Game on Monday.

And to that end, we heard WKNR afternoon driver Kenny Roda on his own show this afternoon live from sounded like he'd basically quickly thrown the suitcases on the hotel bed and fired up whatever 'KNR is using as a remote telephone codec - which sounded good, by the's probably a Vector or Hotline or similar.

The upcoming 24 hour broadcast from the site of the championship game is one of those things Salem would never have done...or paid for.

But new station owner Craig Karmazin is very savvy at lining up sponsors to pay for major events at his other sports talk stations. And what advertiser wouldn't want to attach their name to Ohio's most popular football team on the Cleveland outlet for the Buckeyes?

So, in effect, Mr. Karmazin has already made some changes.

But as far as "big" changes, we're still hearing mixed signals on what might change 'round about - and we're just guessing here - January 15th. Stations like to make major changes like this on a Monday, and January 8th is definitely out for the above mentioned reasons.

We'll put up our earlier bet...expect WJW/8 "FOX 8" sports anchor Tony Rizzo somewhere on the new WKNR schedule, and we are led to believe that Mr. Roda is staying in afternoon drive - at least if you believe the rumblings going around the local radio community.

What happens beyond that, like what happens to WKNR mid-morning host and sports director Greg Brinda, or if the station goes local in morning drive, or even in evenings...remains to be seen. We also don't know if these rumored changes happen this month, or just start this month.

But the liners recorded by former WKNR program director Michael Luczak?

If radio was still using carts, you would have a line of volunteers to start a bonfire in front of the station's Broadview Road studios to get rid of them.

And just tonight, we heard the ID Luczak recorded to poke at then-new Good Karma outlet WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540", touting the station's 50,000 watts of power - with WWGK's 1,000 watt daytime output implied. Of course, WKNR is now under the same management...

BULL, STAR OR WHATEVER: We've already touched on it extensively below...the launch of Clear Channel's new Canton FM outlet, WHOF/101.7 North Canton.

We haven't had much more input on what might come out of the speakers on that frequency on Monday or Tuesday - well, at least if you're south of the Ohio Turnpike or so.

But for whatever reason, the rumblings are heading back from a country "Bull" outlet to a soft AC aimed at undercutting NextMedia's WHBC-FM/94.1.

"Mix 94.1" has made music changes we've noticed here...that put it more directly in the path of Clear Channel's WKDD/98.1. That would presumably leave room for a softer AC lean out of the new 101.7.

One other change we hadn't noted yet at WHBC-FM: The station has dropped ABC Radio news commentator Paul Harvey. We're surprised they did not do so years ago...he's been out of place on the station for years, and of course, still runs on sister AM outlet WHBC/1480.

We're still not betting against "The Bull", though. Maybe it's even money between the two, with a small slice of action on a rhythmic top 40 outlet. This is just gut feeling, and not based on any information we've heard...

COLUMBUS TALK CHANGES: January 8th is the already-announced filp of liberal talk WTPG/1230 Columbus to a more general talk format with conservative hosts like WPGB/Pittsburgh-based "Quinn and Rose" and TRN's Laura Ingraham, along with Premiere sports talker Jim Rome.

And on the same day, Clear Channel sister talk WTVN/610 will also move evening host Joel Riley into mid-mornings - displacing Premiere's Glenn Beck, who apparently wasn't tracking with his show moving to the more anemic 1230 signal.

And thus, we go back to the topic of 1230.

Like in other areas which are losing their liberal talk outlets, listeners/activists are petitioning to forestall the format change. The Columbus effort seems to be based at

(By the way, despite some E-Mails we've gotten, we're a non-connected blog and have no part in trying to change or save radio formats. Please contact the folks at that website instead.)

Unlike liberal stronghold Madison WI, where a group there helped stop "92.1 The Mic" from becoming a FOX Sports Radio outlet, the prognosis is grim in Columbus for those who want the current format to stay.

OMW has received E-Mails - forwarded from listeners - from WTVN/WTPG program director Bruce Collins...and he nails it in his response to them: Not enough listeners, not enough revenue.

From here, it would appear that Jones Radio's Stephanie Miller did pretty well on WTPG, and has a dedicated following - if smaller, compared to established conservative talkers. The show basically started on WTPG and one other station, and there's always been a decent Columbus base for Steph.

But it may well be like the situation at Clear Channel's WWRC/1260 Washington DC, another ailing liberal talker...where her show is basically the only one that gets measurable ratings.

Some of the advertisers on WTPG have, we're told, ponied up for advertisements on the Internet stream of Ohio's only remaining progressive talk outlet, WARF/1350 Akron "Radio Free Ohio"...