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"...


Anonymous said...

But wait! There's more...

It's official: WKNR started airing promos (now voiced by prod. director Steve Dole, BTW) promising a live/local postgame show following the OSU Network coverage.

That's the first time they've EVER done that - either at 1220 or 850. Wonder how long it will go, especially since the network coverage will likely wrap up at 1AM! Think about it - that's unprecedented! I bet even Cablevision would never have done all this...

Oh, and my safe guess is that any new imaging for WKNR would likely be unveiled during the 24-hour pregame show. That's probably the best way for GK to say... "WKNR is back! And better than EVER!!!"

But that's just my guess. Either way, I'll be listening to 'em ;) 9446 Broadview looks to be a hoppin' place now.

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...

Glen Beck is a moron if he would prefer no Columbus station at all to airing on 1230.

Anonymous said...

KNR's 24 hour BCS Championship pregame promoted this afternoon during Roda's show:

Sun Jan 7
Roda 8pm

Monday Jan 8
Brinda 6-9am
OSU-Mich replay 9a-1p
Tony Rizzo 1-3pm (from Arizona)
Roda 3-5pm (from Arizona)
Brinda 5-7pm

Should be fun!

Johnny Morgan said...

>>touting the station's 50,000 watts of power<<

And how ironic you heard it tonight...when WKNR *ISN'T* at 50kw.

That's what a traffic and continuity department would do. But few stations have those anymore.

Uncle Charlie's nephew said...

Back in the good old days when KNR occupied the 1220 spot, its slogan was "Sports Radio". Only after moving to 850 did it change to "Sports Talk".

Actually, based on the original progrn lineup on 850, which was an amalgamation of WKNR sports with leftover WRMR talk, I think the slogan was really intended to mean "Sports (and) Talk", rather than the more obvious meaning of talking about sports.

I hope the new regime will lose that unfortunate slogan. They should either switch it back to "Sports Radio" or come up with something newer and better.

Anonymous said...

"Should be fun" you say?

Yeah, except for the fact that it's on KNR! Any 24 hour coverage of the title game would be good, but onl if the hosts didn't suck so monumentally bad.

Honestly, if CK has any sense at all, Roda, Brinda and Karlovic should be long gone. They are HORRIBLE. Especially brinda.

Anonymous said...

I agree. Revert the station's nickname back to "SportsRADIO 850 WKNR." The assumption of "sports (and) talk" would be a correct one, as WKNR was force-fed brokered programming after the move to 850 back in 2001. (Remember "Kelly & Company"? Apparently, I do... which is so, so sad. But that was a paid show (one of Drennan's long-time sponsors bankrolled the show, BTW) that formerly aired on WRMR. And WKNR had to air it in AMD FOR ONE MONTH! That's the real reason why Brinda and Kendall Lewis were teamed up.

So, Craig, if you can read this... please bring back "SportsRADIO" back to the station's slogan. Or try something like "850 WKNR: The Sports Explosion!" Oh, well.

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...

Any chance someone can do some voodoo magic and bring Pete Franklin back from the dead?

Anonymous said...

Ya know, that poster (3 steps up from here) is a real sourpuss, who just loves to come on here and take shots at the WKNR roster. Fella, find a different station, if you hate it so much--we're frankly sick of your whining. There are others of us who truly LIKE the current lineup, and only hope Craig expands upon the local coverage, while leaving Jim Rome intact for at least a couple hours.

While I certainly don't think Rizzo is the be-all, end-all (much prefer Chuck Galetti), he's okay...but shouldn't be considered as a replacement for any current on-air guys. If they want listeners back, they've got to start with a new morning drive show from 5 or 6am til 9. (BTW, Karlavick isn't very good on-air at all, but he seems to be a decent reporter for various teams. Worlds beyond Ken Silverstein, who was utterly unbearable--had to just switch the radio off.)

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the advertisers making the move. The commercials will start airing January 22.

Little did I expect I would be making a return to Akron radio after 20 years, much less voicing my own commercials.

Stay tuned.

Sean Gilbow

Anonymous said...

So you wondering why WTPG/1230 is biting the big one? Try the hate filled nonsense the talk show hosts participated in on a daily basis. This amounted to the same grade school banter that takes place at numerous playgrounds across the US.

If there is such a huge demand in Columbus for Progressive Talk Radio then those protesting will have no trouble getting money together to buy their own radio station to promote the hate we've listened to on WTPG/1230 for the last 2 years.

There is nothing wrong with having a different political view at the same time can't you promote it in a more polite fashion after all your not at one of the local anti-war rallies.This kind of radio translates into a complete loss of listeners. It's truely a shame that this hate has ruined progressive talk radio.

In Columbus the latest fax that went out today for radio talking points was that 58% of those voting in the last election put Democrats back into office. That obviously didn't translate into a larger radio audience.

There is a lesson to be learned here is be nice to those you wish to convert, that is the reason I stopped going to the Anti-War events in Columbus.

Because our people couldn't reason with the those who supported the troops they wanted to fist fight w/them. That's really peacefull isn't it? What's sadder yet is the troop supporters spent money to videotape our people being violent, obstructing the flow of traffic on the sidewalk & roadway, attempting to vandalize video & camera equipment and to watch a certified teacher assualt a grandmother of 5 who tried to save a $3,000 wireless microphone from being kicked into the road for a car or truck to run over. What kind of peace message is that?

These same troop supporters also have a long list of police report numbers to show the deliberate acts of violence, the threat of one anti-war supporter who was told to leave a lady troop supporter alone who then threatened to come to her home to rape her,and the numerous fist a cuffs that alleged degreed/edcuated out of town individuals participated in on a weekly basis with these same troop supporters.

All of this from those who claim to protest in the name of peace? What a group of liars. Unfortunatly this is the same kind of things that have been promoted by various progressive talk radio show hosts and the radio listeners voted by the shows they listened to and what they related to the radio station of what they wanted to hear.

There may be a democrat majority in the house and senate after this last election, it's all conditioned on a bi-partisan way of conducting business instead of the partianship politics that these newly elected democrats said they wouldn't participate in.

Your right I'm posting anonymous since I don't want to have the confrontation (that I will win when they all sit in prison for many many years) with the brownshirts (the Albanian woman and her muslim husband have made numerous threats towards the troop supporters) of the alleged Central Ohioians for Peace anti-war movement.

It sickens me that we can't gather enough educated indivdiuals to talk with those who support the troops instead of phyiscally fighting with them.

Anonymous said...

You call it hate radio. I call Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage "hate radio." So who is correct? You don't like a format so it should be gone?

1230 WTPG has posted higher shares in younger demos (25-54) then the station posted in the previous (at least) six years. And yes, I have the Arbitron research that proves it.

They say they cannot sell it which I don't believe. I know the WTVN sales staff and sales manager who are all very talented. Quite frankly if they cannot sell it in tandem with WTVN then they are not trying very hard.

Neil said...

Nathan, not only do I remember Kelly & Company, but I also remember that when it moved into the 6 AM hour it was a vast improvement over the previous occupant, Jack Hamir.

But I wasn't sorry to see Kelly move on and Drennan take over the AM drive.

Anonymous said...

Regarding WKNR: How can they call themselves the voice of the fan, when in on a typical 24 hour day, only 6 hours is local programming. In my opinion, they need to be local much more, including a local morning show, and local programming well into the night. With the majority of Cleveland sports teams playing at night, fans want to talk about the games and the teams after a game, and want to hear and talk about the games first thing in the morning. When Pete Franklin was on 1100 from 7 till midnight, he was very successful. WKNR could do the same thing with the right hosts, and there certainly are plenty of those out there to chose from. If they want to be a strong 24 hour sports operation they need to upgrade from the FOX sports programming that they are carrying now.

Anonymous said...

Making WKNR more of a local presence really is the ticket here. WKNR would be wise to reinstate local programming in AMD, plus Craig likely tipped his own hand when alluding to a local 7p-10p show.

Here's my guess, which is purely based on assumption:

1) Tony Rizzo takes over Greg's 9-12 slot within the next week. His apparently being a part of the OSU pregame show is as big a hint as you can get.
2) Greg goes back to AMD, dropping Steve Czaben's show in the process. I'd stress that this would only be on a temporary basis until a permanent host is slotted.
3) The safe money would be with Mike Catan (alone) slotting the 7-10 slot, but Craig might go and pick someone else for that time. I wouldn't be shocked at all.


Oh, and how could I forget Jack Hamir (who, IIRC, was related to a friend of mine) which was on from 5a-7a? Or "Direct Source," two hours of political talk originating from a (really) bad ISDN line from 7p-9p (also inherited from WRMR)? Or of Marty Cohn's "20/40" show on Sundays that displaced ESPN MLB package AND WW1 NFL package? (Out of all those crappy shows, "BeerTalk" was probably the best, IMHO.)

But just think: Salem literally THREW away morning drive from the station for brokered (stuff) for a whole month back in 2001! That's real committment to the sports format.

- Nathan Obral

Johnny Morgan said...

>>They say they cannot sell it which I don't believe. I know the WTVN sales staff and sales manager who are all very talented. Quite frankly if they cannot sell it in tandem with WTVN then they are not trying very hard.<<

You can't sell something that no one wants to buy.

A station doing as well as you say in 25-54 should have advertisers beating down its doors. NATIONAL advertisers.

They apparently are not. Thus, there's nothing to sell. No buyers, no sales.

It really is that simple. The Johnny-come-lately local advertisers aren't going to replace the money lost by 1230's sales staff trying to convince them to buy.

It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

I hear that Mr. Karmazin wants Rizzo to team with Roda but Rizzo wants no part of that. Two strong personalities that run their shows different ways. That could end up being like Brinda and Lewis...not so good.I think Rizzo should do 9-12, Rome 12-3, PB 3-7 and Roda 7-11 or post games maybe. It should be very interesting though in a couple of weeks.

Anonymous said...

My doubts on teaming Rizzo with Roda in PMD exist for one other reason: unless his contract with WJW is altered in some way, he'd have to be at both WJW's lakefront studio AND in WKNR's current Broadview Hts. facility at the same time. Even if the shift was shortened to 3-6; the logistics are impossible.

It's obvious I will get flamed here, but what the hell? My personal hopes are for Roda to be teamed with... yep, Chuck Booms. The equation would make sense, as both are apparently good friends. Roda paid several phone-ins to Booms' former FSR show; and Roda spoke quite highly of Chuck when Craig sat in the studio several weeks back.

They could mesh well, especially if Booms tries to make Roda his comedic foil a la Kevin Kiley. It could be a unique show, loud, controversial and pompous. But I'd sure as hell listen.

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...

please just get rid of Greg Brinda

WHK Rules said...

Bring back the Morning Marathon with McCable and McDowell!

trefdawg said...

Why through "carts" into a bonfire? Carts make excellent "projectiles" when held in one's hand and thrown like a football! When I was a jock 30 some years ago in Frederick Maryland I would use them as a "projectile" to stave off sales reps trying to enter the studio while I was doing my shift!

Anonymous said...

Who was KNR's station voice in the mid 90's when they still had the Indians? He had a a great set of pipes. Was he an in-house guy, or national?

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with Brinda. He's been around longer than any of the other local hosts, and his experience/knowledge of the teams & history are invaluable. Some of these other hosts probably don't even know the term "Kardiac."

What is the infatuation with Tony Rizzo, for pete's sake? He's mediocre on TV, and from what I've heard of him on the radio, nothing special at all. We sure don't need another loudmouth, arrogant prima-donna on the airwaves. Speaking of which, Nathan...buddy...Chuck Booms? Ha ha ha. No, no, NOOOO. That freak just likes to hear his own voice droning on and on.

Anonymous said...

I say Bring back Pat McCabe for some serious sports jawboning

Ruby Cheeks said...

Pat McCabe and say, SportsBoy Tony?? Now that would be an entertaining talk show!

!!Aardvark!! said...

Will Les Levine have a spot at the new 'KNR? I hope so...

Anonymous said...

Where's Gilley?

Anonymous said...

Rizzo, a radio "entertainer?"

How about smug goofball.

Wonder if he can eat into the mic like that fat pig (oops, sorry, that's Donald's term) up the dial.

#1 Reason the Browns should hire Bill Cower: Fat Pig has vowed to stop talking...and maybe he'll just go away altogether. What, doesn't his promo say he's got it all (smoke, drink, Texas hold'em and porn)? What an embarrassment.

Anonymous said...

WKNR's imaging voice in the mid-90's was Ken Dardis. Previously was at WLTF/106.5 and WWWE/1100. Ken was indeed in-house, as he also held production director duties, but also was with AudioGraphics at that time (and still is).

When Ken left with the Jacor buyout in 1998, Steve Dole took over production.

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...

Question for Nathan Obral:

What do you do for a living?

I ask that with no disrespect intended, but I've never heard your name attached to any local companies or radio stations, so I'm wondering about your interest in/knowledge of local radio, and if you are in the industry.

Thanks Nathan...

Anonymous said...

"What is the infatuation with Tony Rizzo, for pete's sake? He's mediocre on TV, and from what I've heard of him on the radio, nothing special at all."

The infatuation is rooted in the fact that Rizz is an entertainer. This is something the WKNR crew needs to understand if they think they are ever going to get far in this business. There are an infinite amount of people who know sports - just knowing sports doesn't make you qualified to host a sports talk show.

Tony Rizzo understands that radio is theater. He knows a successful radio show doesn't just take phone calls while the host plays "Mr. Radio answer guy." That's lame, vapid radio.

Rizzo has a cast of characters. His callers know that if they aren't entertaining, Rizzo won't continue to have them on. Rizzo does entertaining bits (And we're not talking, What's your beef?). Rizzo breaks up the monotony of bland sports talk radio.

Get it now?

Anonymous said...

This morning on Brinda (I'm one of his 6 listeners), a caller asked what happened to Mike and Mike - and Brinda said w/o hesitancy, "Be patient, you never know what's around the corner."

Terrific, more scripted national radio that takes itself way too seriously. I absolutely loved Czaban. I don't need 3 hours of discussion over the designated hitter or who the next MVP is. Terrible radio. Oh yeah, they interview the same 6 people every freakin' week? Why does this show have listeners?

Ohio Media Watch said...

Two comments "signed" with names of broadcast personalities have been reposted under an anonymous heading.

At OMW, we consider the "impersonation" of an actual broadcaster a very serious issue, and if this continues, the comments section will be disabled at least on a temporary basis.

We do not want people to get in trouble for items posted here "under their names". And we remind readers that the names "signed" here have no verification...and can be used by anybody.

We're also closing this comment. Feel free to add more to our next WKNR-related item...which is probably going up late tonight.

-The Management