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 outlet...at 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...


david5258 said...

oa-when i was in dayton 6 weeks ago, i got a chance to listen to whio on both am and fm. very well done operation. news staff is professional, local and objective. neil boortz is a whiner, but the station has him doing liners for the rest of the shows, including clark howard(6pm). if you go thru dayton/piqua--definitely worth listening to.

Anonymous said...

Other moves 92.7 WQEL Bucyrus to Richwood. 104.3 WJZK Richwood to Grandview Heights (Columbus).

Bob said...

I cannot for the life of me understand why WTVN would dump Pat Pagano. He's a competent forecaster whose banter was a perfect complement to the "Morning Monarch," Bob Conners. I am also uncertain why WBNS-TV thought their meterologists were a good fit for WTVN, as their parent already owns two stations in Columbus. Maybe they feel they could get better exposure on a competing station?

As for the WHIO moves, those will be intriguing to watch as well. WHIO has invested a lot in the way of promotion to tout the addition of the news-talk format to 95.7 FM, so it's unclear to me why they would entertain the idea of dumping that so soon. That is, unless they are planning to pick up a better frequency and move WHIO-FM there.

(On that note, while I enjoy some of WHIO-FM's syndicated talk programming, I find I cannot listen to their local newscasts. They are over-saturated with promotional one-liners and are more hype than substantive news coverage. I don't buy that all radio news is that way. I hear plenty of stations that present the news and leave it at that.)

Anonymous said...

The 95.7 move to Sharonville... interesting. Since the site moves about 75 miles to the south, one wonders if, once the re-allocation has cleared the commission, Cox could re-apply to have 95.7 allocated again to Piqua (or a convenient nearby "un-served community).... maybe downgrading to a B1 or even an A. If that, I'd look for Cox to keep their simulcast on 95.7. If not, I see it moving to another frequency in the market.. maybe 95.3?

Tim Lones said...

I read somewhere that Bible Broadcasting Network was going to buy WQEL 92.7 I am personally glad to see them get another station in Ohio but am wondering..where is Richwood, Ohio?..Still hoping to get BBN in the Canton area someday.

Kentucky Media Watch said...

About the moves...

101.5 is a new allocation for Enon which is just west of Springfield and that was filed by 101.7 WKSW's owner Radio One. Interesting to say the least.

As for another 95.7? There has been plenty of talks about a new 95.7 frequency being built near the community of Sidney.