Wednesday, February 28, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Channel 33 Life Boats Begin Newsroom Evacuation

And the first one out the door at Youngstown ABC affiliate WYTV/33 director Pat Livingston.

OMW hears via the folks at NewsBlues that Livingston stays in the state, taking the open ND post at Barrington Broadcasting NBC affiliate WNWO/24 "NBC 24" Toledo.

Our headline, of course, refers to the fact that Livingston is exiting WYTV before he, and likely the entire station newsroom staff, will be pushed out the door.

Most market observers expect that a planned "shared services" agreement between the incoming owner of WYTV, and the new owner of CBS/FOX combo WKBN/27-WYFX "FOX 17/62", will mean the end of the separate news operation at WYTV's Shady Run Road headquarters.

WYTV has pretty much been the third-rated TV newsroom in Youngstown for as long as we can remember, even after Vindicator's WFMJ/21 supplanted "27 First News" as the most popular news operation in the market.

And though we have a limited grasp on the Toledo market, we're pretty sure WNWO is a perennial third-place newsroom behind Raycom CBS affiliate WTOL/11 and ABC O&O WTVG/13. Of course, Raycom once owned WNWO, before it had to spin the station to Barrington after the deal to acquire WTOL.

At "NBC 24", Livingston will replace Jonathan Mitchell, who moved to KHQ/Spokane...

They Have Left The Building

Two departures, and one return of someone who "left the building" a lot. Well, at least a return in recorded form...

CHRIS MILLER'S EXIT: Today is WEWS/5 sports director Chris Miller's last day at the Cleveland ABC affiliate.

And the "NewsChannel 5" sports anchor is doing a farewell tour of sorts, if you count his appearance this morning on WKNR/850 "ESPN 850"'s mid-morning talk show with competitor-until-now Tony Rizzo.

Miller, who joins Washington DC-based Comcast SportsNet as its main sports news anchor next month, sounded comfortable on "Rizzo on the Radio", which makes us wonder if he'd ever considered taking a similar path to the FOX 8 sports anchor - doing sports talk radio as a sideline.

If we were running a DC-based sports talk station, we'd at least give him a call. He did, after all, name check Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder. Snyder also owns Red Zebra Broadcasting, parent company of the new Washington-area sports talk outlet "Triple X ESPN Radio", a three signal operation on AM 730, FM 92.7 and FM 94.3 in the DC area.

OMW hears that "NewsChannel 5" honchos are in no hurry to replace Miller, with sports anchor John Chandler filling in as primary anchor on a temporary basis - perhaps through June, with Sue Ann Robak moving into the second slot.

The two-person sports department could get to be a rather tricky proposition if, say, the Cleveland Cavaliers drive deep into the NBA playoffs...

LEAVING WHBC: A veteran of NextMedia oldies WHBC/1480 and AC WHBC-FM/94.1 "Mix 94.1" is stepping down after some 40 years on the job.

We don't blame you if you don't recognize the name. Bill Glasser has been doing engineering for the Canton stations for at least that long. He retires from his post as WHBC's chief engineer today.

We invite you to our friend and colleague Scott Fybush's "Tower Site of the Week" entries that focused on WHBC's facilities, including the site which is the home of WHBC-FM and half of the two site AM 1480 operation, and the as-if-frozen-in-time studio complex on Market Street South.

A tip of the OMW hat to Mr. Glasser, a local engineering mainstay...

THANK YOU, THANK YOU VERY MUCH: And concertgoers back in the day certainly remember the phrase "Elvis has left the building". But the King of Rock and Roll - or at least, a program based on Elvis Presley's music - has returned to the building...the building on Oak Tree Blvd. in Independence that houses Clear Channel's Cleveland cluster.

AllAccess reports that the syndicated show "Elvis Only" returns to the weekend airwaves at the company's oldies outlet, WMJI/105.7.

We hear that the show was quite popular in its time slot, but may have been taken off WMJI due to the station's ongoing effort to reach younger listeners...a battle oldies stations are facing nationwide.

But we also hear that "Elvis Only" is still popular in younger demos, at least among the usual oldies listener age groups...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

WKNR Folo: No Brainer

But first, this breaking news...a computer virus has found its way into the computers at Good Karma sports WKNR/850 in Cleveland!

It has apparently infected the computer automation system at WKNR, re-populating the on-air system with items voiced by former WKNR program director Michael Luczak.

"W32.Luczak.KNR"'s first damage was heard Tuesday night, during the opening of WKNR's pre-game broadcast for the Cleveland State Vikings basketball contest. OMW hears that Good Karma Virus Removal technicians are frantically applying anti-virus updates to stem the infection.

OK, enough joking here.

After all those changes to Cleveland's once-lagging sports talk radio station this week, we kept thinking of two words: "no brainer".

By this point in time, one Mr. Craig Karmazin - the "young guy" in charge of the Good Karma sports radio empire - has had enough ownership experience to know What Needed To Be Done(tm).

And just about everything he's done fits a pattern that pretty much anyone with a certain amount of radio experience could have done:

THE IMAGING CHANGE: Just the mere use of iconic sports radio voice Paul Turner makes WKNR sound ten times more professional. It's something that should have been done years ago, but we suppose Mr. Luczak had to do something to keep himself busy...

RIZZO ON THE RADIO: That is, the addition of FOX 8 sports anchor and experienced sports talk radio host Tony Rizzo to the daily lineup. It fits an established and successful sports radio pattern - TV sports anchors host local radio talk shows all over the country, including on Good Karma's own sister station in Milwaukee. And in this case, Rizzo is no radio novice, and comes with a built-in following...

LOCAL SPORTS TALK AT NIGHT: The move of Greg Brinda into the 6-9 PM time slot provides the station with another shot at a ready sports audience, though it's a tough climb against actual sports play-by-play - and an established local sports talk show - on Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100.

But as a whole, it "extends" WKNR's hours into the awareness of sports fans who follow games at night, and provides a smooth platform to go into the station's locally-produced post-game shows for the Indians and Cavaliers, not to mention sports events like Ohio State and Cleveland State basketball that actually air on the station.

Those, and other changes, were very basic.

Mr. Karmazin has hinted at this on the air, saying the changes were "the first step" in the revamping of a long-dormant sports talk radio station, and that if future changes are needed, he'll make them.

Our sense: He'll see how the revamped lineup and sound, and other changes, affect listenership.

But he's not afraid to change "mid-stream".

After he got settled in at WKNR sister station WAUK/1510 "ESPN Milwaukee", Karmazin almost literally jumped at the chance to lure Milwaukee's biggest sports radio name - Steve "The Homer" True - from Clear Channel talk WISN/1130, after that station basically exiled him to late nights to add Sean Hannity's nationally syndicated talk show.

He managed to bring True over, despite the fact that his primary Milwaukee signal is a daytime outlet - and the nighttime clearance provided by leased time on WMCS/1290 doesn't cover hours before 6 PM, which means the afternoon drive show goes off the air (at least in Milwaukee) early in the winter hours.

We're not suggesting that Karmazin is making a shopping list with anyone from, say, WTAM on the list. The station doesn't have an equivalent to Milwaukee's "Homer", in our opinion. But... he's clearly on the lookout for talent improvement.

The true test of Mr. Karmazin's WKNR ownership will come when he is prompted to make decisions that aren't "no brainers"...

Semi-related: OMW has heard from Paul Belfi, who runs formerly-WKNR-connected sports talk website He weighs in on the changes...

I am ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED to see what is happening with WKNR. There are many people that work there that I consider friends - obviously Kenny Roda and I are best friends to this day. And in all honesty, I was nervous about what was going to happen there.

I know Kenny is excited about the changes, and the move downtown.

I've always been a Tony Rizzo fan as well - he's priceless and cracks me up. He is a fan first, and I respect that.

I am very pleased that some of the rumors of Greg's 'demise' were just that - rumors. He's a friend as well, and I think 6-9 will be great for him.

Even though I own STC - I am a different media platform than radio, obviously. And at the end of the day, I am a sports fan and a sports talk junkie. As such, what WKNR is doing is nothing but a positive for the Cleveland sports fans, and I wish them nothing but the best.

Belfi tells us that former WKNR host Kendall Lewis is staying aboard as midday host at, along with his new gig as co-host of FSN Ohio's "Cleveland Rants" with WKNR fill-in Les Levine.

He also tells us he's "happy" for ex-WKNR host Bruce Drennan's apparently in-the-works deal to host a show on SportsTime Ohio.

But will Drennan return to STC? Says Belfi:

I look to Bruce as a mentor, and I have nothing but respect and a high regard for him as a broadcaster - and more importantly, as a friend. I am not sure if he will be able to continue with us at STC when he is back. He is welcome to, and I would love to have him here, but the decision will be his. Either way, I am fine with it. He's gone through a lot, and deserves some peace of mind.

One other thought came to mind when we were talking about Karmazin's Milwaukee signal situation.

The Good Karma boss has solved his signal problem in Cleveland by buying powerful 24 hour outlet WKNR. Or has he?

We wonder if he's satisfied with his second signal, daytimer WWGK/1540, now called "KNR2". If the station will act as an overflow for WKNR programming, how useful can that be with a daytime signal - particularly with a lot of sporting events taking place at night?

We have gone into the "Why 1540 Can't Go 24 Hours" discussion many times. But we wonder if Karmazin is STILL interested in other options for that WKNR sister station.

We've heard nothing. It's just a thought...

Sliding Into Tuesday

A mixed bag of items. Is Tuesday worth anything, except for the fact that it's not Monday?

"ESPN 850's" FIRST DAY: There isn't much more to be said about the debut of the new lineup and on-air remodeling of Good Karma sports talk WKNR/850 as "ESPN 850". We think we've said just about everything.

But yes, on-air changes at WKNR and sister WWGK/1540 "KNR2" did take place as scheduled Monday, including the debut of the 10 AM-noon show hosted by WJW FOX 8 sports anchor Tony Rizzo. (Long-time caller "SportsBoy Tony"'s blog weighs in here.)

And though we weren't there for what we presume was a celebration, former WKNR program director Michael Luczak's voice was finally excised from the AM 850 airwaves, replaced by new production voiced by legendary sports radio imaging voice Paul Turner.

Turner has been serving as the imaging voice for WWGK, in its first incarnation as "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540"...and will continue to be heard on the newly-minted "KNR2".

Former WKNR mid-morning host Greg Brinda debuted his nighttime show, referring to the show's listeners and callers as "Night Crawlers". Umm, OK.

And as Brinda moved to the 6-9 PM slot, he actually got a break.

His primary sports talk competitor, WTAM/1100 "Sportsline" host Kevin Keane, wasn't even on the air in the time slot.

No, not due to a Cavaliers game, but due to the Clear Channel talk station's coverage of the Barack Obama presidential campaign rally in Cleveland...which lasted during the entire 6-9 PM time frame, including post-rally talk by WTAM host Bob Frantz. Keane picked up at 9, though he continued talking about the rally - and politics instead of sports.

So, Brinda had the entire potential Cleveland sports radio audience to himself, at least for one night - assuming enough people thought to tune the dial to 850 AM, which hasn't featured regular local sports talk in that time slot until, well, Monday night...

ALLACCESSING IT: There were two items from AllAccess involving Northeast Ohio radio.

The trade website reports that Cumulus/Youngstown market manager Clyde Bass has left the building(s) after four years. Cumulus' Youngstown cluster covers eight stations, including powerhouse FMs like country WQXK/105.1 "K-105", top 40 WHOT/101.1 and classic rock WYFM/102.9 "Y103", along with five other AM and FM stations on both sides of the Ohio/Pennsylvania border.

AllAccess reports that Bass' replacement will apparently be named at a morning staff meeting on Tuesday.

The site also reports that Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland is adding an hour-long daily program, a weekday version of the Cleveland-based syndicated talk show "Family Matters Radio".

UPDATE: But it's been pointed out to OMW that it's actually sister Christian talk outlet WHKW/1220 "The Word" which is carrying the show from 3:30-4:30 PM weekdays. WHK - and sister CCM outlet WFHM/95.5 - also carry the weekend version of "Family Matters Radio", which may have contributed to AllAccess' confusion.

WHKW simulcaster WHKZ/1440 Warren/Youngstown will also carry the show, but the WHKW program schedule indicates that some local programming will pre-empt it in that market at least partially, for part of the week.

"Family Matters Radio" also airs in its weekend version on Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 Toledo...

LOCAL SYNDICATION TIES: While we're talking about Northeast Ohio ties to syndicated radio, we note the launch of a new syndicated talk show hosted by talk radio veteran Leslie Marshall.

No, Marshall - last heard on liberal talk WWKB/1520 Buffalo - won't be doing her show here. Heck, when she was on in Buffalo, she did her program via ISDN from her Los Angeles home.

And her show won't be based here, either, as new programmer TalkUSA will produce it. That's the new company owned by former Air America Radio and Democracy Radio principal Tom Athans. Democracy Radio launched shows hosted by Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller, both still represented by Jones Radio.

No, the Cleveland Connection for Ms. Marshall's new show is locally-based Envision Radio Networks, which will handle syndication for the program.

OMW hears that Envision will not just be selling the show to "liberal talk" stations.

Much like Stephanie Miller, Marshall has a long history on "general market" talk radio stations (in markets like Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco), and her radio career predates the recent establishment of left-leaning talk radio as a full-fledged format by many years.

It may be TalkUSA and Envision's best move.

With the upheaval in the format and changes at iconic network Air America Radio, it's anyone's guess how long "liberal talk radio" lasts as a full format.

With various stations dropping out of the format, including in Columbus and Cincinnati, the path to success may be in whatever "crossover" appeal Marshall can muster on talk radio stations of all kinds...

NOTE TO CLEVELAND'S NEWS ASSIGNMENT DESKS: It's no secret that OMW is widely read at just about every local TV and radio operation, so it's no surprise that we've been tapped to "spread the word" to local TV newsies about a "post-sweeps" gathering called a "February Ratings Survival Celebration:

Announcing a February Ratings Survival Celebration. Let's start a new tradition and toast the end of the February book. Celebrate either after the early or late evening news at Becky's, 1762 East 18th, anytime after 7pm until closing. Everyone, from every station, is invited to join your fellow broadcasters in raising a glass to mark the end of sweeps. We'll have our next "meeting" after the May book.

In our past, we've attended similar gatherings elsewhere, and we're surprised local TV news types in Cleveland don't make this a more regular event...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

February Can't Leave Soon Enough

As we look forward to March, and the eventual return of Spring to Northeast Ohio - which is usually closer to mid-to-late April in actuality...

SOME PRE-WKNR FLIP ITEMS: As Good Karma sports talk WKNR/850 becomes "ESPN 850", and sister WWGK/1540 becomes "KNR2", we have some related and semi-related items.

First up is a directly related item: Akron Beacon Journal sports/media columnist George M. Thomas' take on the situation, in an article in Saturday's ABJ.

The article is a pretty comprehensive take on the changes, which you've all read about right here. But unlike some other media writers in the past, Mr. Thomas actually reported this story first-hand...OMW hears he was in the WKNR studios Friday afternoon during owner Craig Karmazin's appearance on afternoon drive host Kenny Roda's show.

Karmazin tells Thomas in the article, like he told listeners on the "Saturday Morning Sports Show", that he is looking to increase the diversity of the station's on-air lineup. The question usually got posed by callers Saturday attached to the name of former WKNR host Kendall Lewis, who will appear in that very time slot next weekend.

Questions about Lewis, and about occasional WKNR fill-in Les Levine, usually elicited a positive response from the station's owner. But Mr. Karmazin pointed quickly to not-so-good research results when asked about another former 'KNR staple, Bruce Drennan.

Don't expect to hear Mr. "I Lovvvvvve Ya, Cleveland!" on AM 850 (or AM 1540) anytime soon.

But it's not like that many were clamoring for our time checking in with most of the "Saturday Morning Sports Show", we only heard Drennan mentioned about two or three times. Even former 'KNR host Geoff Sindelar, who swore off full-time radio work years ago due to his business interests, got mentioned more...

SPEAKING OF BRUCE: Mr. Drennan gets name-checked by the Beacon Journal's Sheldon Ocker in Sunday's paper.

And though we'd nearly bet the farm against him returning to his former radio home, it looks like Indians-owned TV outlet SportsTime Ohio may pick up Drennan when he's available to work.

Ocker writes:

Ever since last fall, there have been indications that the Indians would hire Bruce Drennan to host a talk show on the team's television network, probably in the afternoon.

Of course, we're not just pulling stuff out of the air when we say "available to work".

Ocker says that Drennan reportedly will be released Friday from a five-month prison sentence in West Virginia for that tax evasion case related to the host's admitted gambling on sports.

The fact that his prison time is linked to tax charges, and not sports gambling charges, apparently removes the stigma from his potential employment by, umm, the network run by the city's Major League Baseball team.

And though he's still going to be under house arrest for another five months, Ocker says Drennan "might be" allowed to leave home for work.

Ocker stands up for Drennan's chances, saying he's "served his time" and should be able to make a living in his chosen profession.

We have no problem with that, personally. If someone wants to hire him, who are we to stop them in righteous indignation?

The tax/gambling case was never our problem with Mr. Drennan. We, too, believe in "second chances".

We're just not huge fans of his style, to be honest. But we'll still tune in from time to time if he shows up on STO - though we'll hit the remote instantly if he starts singing show tunes...

BARACK-O-MANIA: The Monday evening rally in Cleveland for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama is apparently a big enough deal for Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 to cover

The station has run promos all weekend for their "live, team coverage" of the Obama rally at Cuyahoga Community College's eastern campus. WTAM's promos say morning drive host Bill Wills will co-anchor the coverage with mid-morning talk show host Bob Frantz.

Hmmm. Now that's a combination!

We haven't heard Frantz's take on Sen. Obama, though as a pretty straight-ahead conservative, it's hard to believe Frantz would be in Obama's corner.

It'll be interesting to hear how Mr. Frantz handles his role Monday night...

FUNERAL COVERAGE: Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 "SuperTalk 1560" Toledo program director Chuck Matthews passes along word that the station will carry live coverage of the funeral of slain Toledo police officer Keith Dressel.

WTOD starts its coverage at 10 AM Monday.

We don't know if WTOD's competition, Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370, is also carrying the funeral live. But, a number of items about the story are on morning host Fred LeFebvre's website, so we're sure they're talking about it...

Weekend Grab Bag

Just some stuff to occupy our weekend:

DR. LAURA'S RETURN: We don't know how we missed this, but former Premiere syndicated host Dr. Laura Schlessinger has been making her way back onto major market stations as of late.

Dr. Laura's show disappeared from the dial a year or two ago in virtually all major Ohio markets, mostly a result of lesser interest in the show by Premiere - the syndicator owned by Clear Channel.

The show left a number of Clear Channel stations, in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati - first in favor of Premiere's own Glenn Beck, then other programs. Premiere then sold its interest in the show to Dr. Laura's own company, "Take On The Day Productions", though Premiere still handles sales representation for the show.

She's back, as it were, at least in two major Ohio markets.

We already knew Dr. Laura had returned to Cincinnati via Clear Channel's "", known to mere mortals as WSAI/1360 - the former liberal talk outlet turned into an advice talker.

What we just found out is that North American Broadcasting talk WTDA/103.9 in the Columbus market also picked up Dr. Laura for its weekday lineup. The show airs after a show that's been a nemesis for her - Mr. Beck's program, which moved from Clear Channel talk WTVN/610.

Dr. Laura replaced FOX Sports Radio in "Talk FM's" 1-4 PM time slot...FSR still runs nights and weekends on the Westerville-licensed class A outlet.

In Northeast Ohio, Dr. Laura is still only heard in Canton, on Melodynamic talk/religious WCER/900.

LINEUP CHANGES: Speaking of that Canton outlet, WCER operations manager and OMW reader John Amrhein tells us of pending lineup changes at AM 900, beginning March 1st.

The station adds a live hour of self-syndicated advice guru Dave Ramsey - another host who used to have larger Northeast Ohio clearance, until his fallout with Salem took Ramsey's show off of 50,000 watt Christian talk/teaching outlet WHKW/1220 Cleveland and sister WHKW/1440 Warren.

Ramsey's second hour puts him on WCER from 1-3 PM, leading into Dr. Laura, also airing live from 3-6 PM.

WCER also adds a live hour of conspiracy talker Alex Jones from noon to 1 PM weekdays. Jones is also heard on the station in morning drive via delay, from 5-8:30 AM...

HEADED FOR F-L-A: Sometimes, OMW picks up news items by reading the various message boards dedicated to local radio, where even some on-air types hang out. That's where we found this one.

Adam Kirk, who does traffic and news for Cleveland's Metro Networks operation, tells message board readers that he's leaving Northeast Ohio for Florida - as a "morning producer and team anchor" for Cox news/talk WOKV/690-106.5 in Jacksonville.

Kirk has been heard doing traffic on Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland, along with the usual "other stations".

Adam is the latest local radio type to find refuge in the Sunshine State or somewhere in the Southeast. OMW hears that in the same building, Metro sports reporter/fill-in anchor Zack Stein is headed for Brunswick GA, where he'll be news director of a six-station cluster owned by Qantum Communications.

And we did not, for whatever reason, get to the Florida move of one Ryan Gohmann, who we have heard is leaving (or has left) his job as producer of Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland's Bob Frantz Show for sister talk WFLA/970 Tampa - to work under the direction of former WTAM news director R.C. Bauer...

LOCAL SALES TYPE HONORED: We don't normally cover the comings and goings of sales account executives, but this one got some national attention for a local AE.

Brandon Tidd gets the "2007 Horizon Award" from the folks at the John Bayliss Broadcast Foundation.

The AE for Clear Channel Akron talkers WHLO/640 and WARF/1350, according to an AllAccess item on this, is called "an individual who sets a solid example for today's radio broadcaster. Tidd exemplifies the young talent in the radio industry and, as the sixth recipient of this award, he is tangible evidence of the FOUNDATION's effort."

The Bayliss Foundation gives the award to young folks who have received its radio scholarship award in the past.

Tidd will be presented the award at the Bayliss Radio Roast, in New York City on March 22nd.

The "Roast", by the way, pokes at CBS Radio chairman/CEO Joel Hollander...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Jim Somich

His name has been associated with engineering in both New York and Los Angeles, at huge, legendary stations like top 40 WHTZ "Z100", KFI/640 and rocker KMET.

But for Northeast Ohioans with any engineering background or interest, Jim Somich is known for his stints at WMMS/100.7, WHK/1420 and the old WJW/850. OMW hears that Somich has died at the age of 65.

Somich's career did not just include tending to transmitters and tower sites.

He also worked in television, designing a number of stations for Cleveland-based Malrite, where he was also Director of Radio Engineering. (We don't have the timing, so we don't know for sure, but we could guess that he played a role in Malrite's launch of Cleveland's WOIO/19 - which was Cleveland's first FOX affiliate.)

And Jim Somich was also involved in developing new products, and reviewed products right up the present...this review of Sangean's HDT-1 HD Radio unit appeared in Radio World just a few days ago.

There was more about Mr. Somich that many radio folks may not have known.

In addition to his own engineering consultancy, Somich founded Broadview Heights-based MicroCon Systems. A quick Google search shows a much different goal for this company:

Jim Somich is the President and CEO of MicroCon Systems, Inc., a company he created in 1996 to perform basic research into age reversal.

Wow. From radio and TV engineering to age reversal!

Our condolences to Jim's family and friends on his passing...

Friday, February 23, 2007

WKNR Part 2

The other shoe has dropped in the "WKNR Makeover Sweepstakes".

As expected, as rumored, WJW/8 "FOX 8" lead sports anchor Tony Rizzo will make his return to regular sports talk radio Monday, as host of "Rizzo on the Radio" on the newly-rechristened "ESPN 850 WKNR".

Rizzo guested at 4 PM with the sports station's afternoon drive host, Kenny Roda. He told Roda that he and producer Aaron Goldhammer will "let the show evolve" in the weeks after it starts airing, and see what kind of features and such work for the new audience.

We say "new audience", since Rizzo was last heard doing regular sports talk radio in the old WHK/1420 sports talk format in the 1990's. He acknowledged enjoying that run, but says the new show won't necessarily be a repeat of those days.

He called new WKNR owner Craig Karmazin "a young guy, who works hard, loves sports, and loves sports radio".

Rizzo thanked his WJW bosses, saying the FOX O&O's local management "were very kind" in letting him do a two-hour daily radio show. Of course, Rizzo will continue to be the local FOX affiliate's lead sports anchor, and promoted a FOX 8 story on his new radio show tonight.

Oh, and he apologized for leading local newspaper columnists - like George M. Thomas at the Akron Beacon Journal, Lake County News-Herald/Lorain Morning Journal and ex-Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Roger Brown, and "that lady at the Plain Dealer" - astray. (We'll assume that's PD media columnist Julie Washington.)

The other part of this equation:

Current mid-morning host Greg Brinda, who will be displaced by Rizzo's show and the last hour of ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike", lands in weekday evenings from 6 to 9 PM. That means Roda's "Happy Hour" will take a 3 hour slot, from 3 to 6 PM.

Over at the new "Cleveland's AM 1540 - KNR2" (there's definitely a missing W in the branding), FOX Sports Radio's Steve Czaban takes over mornings, followed by an hour of FSR's James Washington and Craig Sheman from 9-10 AM, then the existing ESPN Radio shows: Colin Cowherd 10 AM-1 PM, and Dan Patrick 1-4 PM.

But WWGK/1540 won't be staying with ESPN's "Sports Bash" at 4 PM, taking FSR's afternoon drive show with Chris Myers instead.

Karmazin also confirmed what we posted here earlier, as WKNR's "Boxing Show" with Antonio Castro moves to 1540, after the High School Sports Show with Jim Isabella on Saturdays...

WKNR Part One

Yes, we've heard.

And not just on the air...OMW has received an official press release from Good Karma sports talk WKNR/850 on the first announcement in a series of two, about upcoming changes at the station.

850's branding changes on Monday, as WKNR becomes "ESPN 850 WKNR". And for good reason, for the station's schedule changes include the return Monday of ESPN Radio morning team "Mike and Mike", featuring Cleveland native Mike Golic and co-host Mike Greenberg.

The WKNR press release quotes Golic:

“I am very happy with this. Growing up on the Eastside of Cleveland and Willowick, my alma-mater, St.Joe’s…I am very happy we are back on where we belong, and certainly look forward to it.”

The ESPN morning show ran on WKNR until last fall, when then-owner Salem was forced to move to FOX Sports Radio by...current WKNR owner Good Karma, which swiped the ESPN Radio affiliation for what was then its only Cleveland outlet, WWGK/1540.

"Mike and Mike" will air weekdays from 6 AM to 10 AM, which includes the show's third hour that was not carried in the past on WKNR.

OMW hears that WKNR sister WWGK, which has been known as "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540", will become "Cleveland's AM 1540, KNR-2".

And regular OMW reader/tipster Nathan Obral tells us that another WKNR speciality show moves over to 1540 - as Antonio Castro's "The Boxing Show" will follow former WKNR staple "The High School Football Show with Jim Isabella" on 1540's Saturday lineup.

Other announcements will be made at 4 PM this afternoon on WKNR's Kenny Roda afternoon drive show. We believe more lineup changes are in the works at the new "ESPN 850", including the announcement of at least one new regular weekday host.

But...we hear that Good Karma boss Craig Karmazin is not only putting himself on Roda's show to make those announcements.

The station owner will also be the latest host of the station's "Cleveland Sports Saturday", tomorrow morning from 9 AM to noon at a local car dealership. Karmazin, of course, is the regular co-host of Good Karma evening syndicated show "Steve and Craig", which we presume will still air starting next month on what's becoming "AM 1540, KNR-2".

You can't say the guy is hiding from public input.

And in fact, from that same press release, a quote from the station's boss:

“We’re excited to have Mike & Mike back... this is all based on everything I have heard from the people in the area. So, I am going to be excited to find out if - once all the moves are said and done - I am going to get some thumbs up or some thumbs down on the changes.”

It could be one of the more interesting Saturday morning radio remotes...

A 'KNR Preview

As reported here earlier, WKNR/850 owner Craig Karmazin is expected to take to the airwaves of his Cleveland sports station today to announce a new on-air lineup - scheduled to begin Monday.

We have a little more information. A little.

OMW hears that there are "at least two major lineup changes" starting Monday on WKNR. We also hear that there is no expected job loss as a result of such changes.

And further, the moving of the chess pieces on 850 may also have an impact on Good Karma sister sports talk outlet WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540"...and we hear that there may well be much-anticipated changes in the on-air sound and imaging of WKNR itself.

We also hear that at least one long-rumored local sports media name may become a permanent, daily addition to the WKNR lineup.

Mr. Karmazin is expected to make the announcement today on the station's afternoon drive show with host Kenny Roda...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

While Waiting For A Sports Radio Overhaul

Some other stuff not related to impending changes in Good Karma Land...well, mostly not related...

MILLER REPLACEMENT TIME: WEWS/5 sports director Chris Miller is now under a week away from his departure from the Cleveland ABC affiliate, bound for Washington DC's Comcast SportsNet regional sports channel. His last day is February 28th.

We hear that Miller and CSN's Tony Burke (an ex-WEWSer) go back a long time, and that the presence of the offer from DC didn't result in a counter offer from the folks at NewsChannel 5, though the popular sports anchor and his Cleveland station had been talking contract.

And though we hear John Chandler is also talking contract with WEWS, it's not a foregone conclusion that he'll move up to replace Miller after his exit. In fact, it seems that at least some folks believe Channel 5 will look outside the building for Chris' replacement...

XM/SIRIUS MERGER: By request from a very nice OMW reader...

OK, so we don't really "play requests" here, and don't have much to say about it, but you'd have to be under a rock to not know that satellite radio services XM and Sirius are hoping to merge.

We say "hoping", as despite the announcement, it would appear the regulatory hurdles are rather high. Approval, unlike most FCC approvals (and FTC, etc.), would not seem to be anywhere near automatic for any number of reasons.

There is a tiny Northeast Ohio angle here.

Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin is the father of Good Karma's Craig Karmazin (WKNR/WWGK), who is a bit busy these days with his own facilities in Cleveland. OK, so there's a small WKNR-related item here...

Karmazin the Elder would retain his CEO title in a merged XM/Sirius, whatever it's called. We believe that gives him the upper hand in this so-called "merger of equals"...

KASPER ACTION: We spent a lot of time on this the last time it happened, but don't have much to say this time about two Cleveland radio names getting some attention.

The name of WAKS/96.5 "Kiss FM" afternoon drive host/APD Kasper has once again shown up in the "Action" section of the popular trade website AllAccess. Twice...once Friday, and once Monday.

Not to be outdone, "Kiss" programmer Bo Matthews, who also is still in his original role programming sister Clear Channel rock outlet WMMS/100.7, appeared in that same list on Tuesday.

"Action" is - presumably - a list of people who might be "up to something" in the near future, news which is usually related to some sort of move or job change.

No, we don't know what, if anything, it means.

The last time, Kasper's name was being attached by the rumor mill to every possible opening at every possible major market top 40 outlet in America. Or, at least it seemed that way to us.

As it turned out, the Friendly Afternoon Driver and OMW reader decided to stick around Northeast Ohio - not upsetting the Radio Talent Balance in this region.

We "haven't heard anything". We're just reminding you that names can, and do, appear in that section of AllAccess even if nothing eventually happens...and if we DO hear anything, we'll let you know...

FILE IT IN THE "DELAY" FILE: And speaking of "Action", OMW is hearing that Cleveland's "19 Action News" may not round out the Local HDTV News Lineup in Cleveland as soon as the end of this month.

Oh, the engineers at Raycom Media CBS affiliate WOIO/19 are still working on it - diligently, we're told. We just have heard that the "end of February" target date may be too optimistic for the folks at Reserve Square to become Cleveland's fourth HD newsroom, after WJW/8, WKYC/3 and WEWS/5.

One problem: They'll have to perfect broadcasting in color, first.

Yes, we're just kidding...honest!

Or maybe they're waiting for CBS to return that 5.1 audio equipment, so they can put each "19 Action News" anchor on a different speaker.

Yes, we're kidding...again...

WKNR Changes Afoot

OMW has confirmed that long-rumored changes are about to come to the on-air lineup of Good Karma sports talk WKNR/850.

The Cleveland sports outlet has been the subject of many rumors and much speculation since Good Karma boss Craig Karmazin announced he was buying the station, a transaction which recently closed. Karmazin also owns sister sports outlet WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540".

We don't have many details.

All we're told is that some sort of lineup change is in the works beginning as soon as next Monday, and that Mr. Karmazin himself is expected to announce the changes on afternoon drive host Kenny Roda's show later this week - Friday, is what we hear.

You can draw your own conclusion about what those changes might be. We've certainly provided enough speculation, and there have been enough on-air indications that may - or may not - turn into reality next week...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Monday Night Mix

A whole buncha stuff tonight, mostly updates:

TIME WARNER REDUX: We're glad to provide a source of amusement to the fine folks over at Time Warner Cable. No, really, we are!

This time, it was our item/speculation about the presence of "Time Warner One", a new channel showing up on cable position 1 on the Akron/Canton-based TWC cable system.

It's showing instructional videos right now, and we wondered aloud if Time Warner would mount a new local programming channel there.

OK, so we're wrong...again. (We did say we could be, and were speculating. Remember, read this report with a grain of salt, for at least a portion of it is our own musings.)

No less a source than Time Warner suit Bill Jasso checks in and says there is no local programming channel shift planned... and whatever is done, won't involve "Time Warner One", which will be expanded as the system's official customer information channel.

Not that there aren't changes afoot.

The first has already happened - the migration of some of the former Adelphia/Cleveland programming on cable channel 15, to the Akron/Canton systems' cable channel 23. This includes shows like "More Sports and Les Levine", which started airing in the Akron/Canton end of TWC last week.

Jasso calls that "a soft launch", and says TWC is hoping to "officially" launch the local origination channel with a new name/branding by early March.

It doesn't appear, at least for now, that the channel positions are changing - with 23 remaining the local programming channel in the "legacy" Akron/Canton TWC world, and 15 remaining the local programming channel in the former Adelphia universe. (We didn't think to ask about former Comcast customers.)

But Jasso does tell us that the existing local programming will be "widened" in scope to include the company's entire Northeast Ohio footprint, "without losing the local flavor" for either the former Adelphia programming based in Cleveland, or the Akron/Canton-based programming.

We also hear that such Time Warner Akron-based stalwarts as "Civic Forum of the Air" will be brought into the company's new Cleveland footprint. That public affairs program dates back to the old WAKR-TV 23, and moved to TWC when the former ABC affiliate dumped all local programming.

So, we're not 100% wrong, as it does appear the programming will go back and forth between the two sections of Time Warner Cable - just on the existing channels, with new name/branding coming soon.

And no, we have no idea what this means for "Akron/Canton News", the WKYC-produced local news program that still does not air in the former Adelphia region serving western Summit County. (That would include, by the way, Bath, Copley, Northampton Township, even some areas actually within the Akron city limits these days!).

But it seems likely the news show will end up seen in all of the company's Summit County communities once covered by Adelphia's system.

Mr. Jasso also tells us that the "On Demand" programming on the Cleveland end of the system will "soon" be populated by existing TWC local programming, along with "newly produced programming"...keep watching...

HE'S BAAAAACK!: It looks like you WILL have Roger Brown to kick around again in print.

The former Cleveland Plain Dealer sports/media columnist has resurfaced in two co-owned suburban newspapers, the Lorain Morning Journal and the Lake County News-Herald, with a weekly column which debuted on Sunday.

We actually heard about it tonight from a caller to WTAM/1100's "Sportsline with Kevin Keane", where the station's evening sports talk host referred to Roger as "a fungus".

The Morning Journal/News-Herald column is Roger's usual mix of news, rumor, speculation and real estate listings. Come on, where else can you find out the price of Browns player Andra Davis' new digs in Strongsville?

Oh, yes, and there are sports media items, too...a note that Chris Miller, WEWS/5's sports director, is heading for Comcast SportsNet in DC in part because of a former NewsChannel 5 producer who's now an executive with the regional sports network.

(Umm, but Roger? Chris hasn't been "weekend" sports anchor for some time, unless you count the presence of the regular weekday team on Sunday nights during sweeps months.)

And in the surest sign that Roger has continued to be a regular OMW reader in his time away from newspaper writing, he says WJW/8 lead sports anchor Tony Rizzo "dismisses" talk that he'll soon land with a second job on Good Karma sports WKNR/850, replacing current mid-morning host Greg Brinda.

For the record, we've heard this rumor popping up again, which we hinted about earlier, but once again have NO confirmation that it's happening. Some folks in our comments section even had Brinda dumped from the station, only to have him do his show the next day!

We don't run with anonymous, unsourced comments, and will only report such an event here if we have reason to believe it's actually going to happen. We only mention it by name here because it was in Roger's column.

Take everything you read in the comments (or on message boards, etc.) with a grain of salt larger than the WKNR studio building on Broadview Road.

Oh, and though we have yet to see him, we believe Roger is still providing quips to the folks at WOIO/19-WUAB/43's "19 Action News", where he landed shortly after taking the Plain Dealer's buyout offer...

5.1 TO 2.0 AGAIN: Speaking of "Cleveland's CBS 19", those with fancy home theatre systems tell us that that Raycom Media Cleveland CBS affiliate is back to plain old stereo, after about three weeks passing along CBS' Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

The expanded sound showed up just before the Super Bowl, and hung in there until late last week, when it went away.

We hear from an OMW reader that WOIO staffers are telling viewers that the 5.1 sound is gone because the CBS-provided equipment is gone as well, with the network apparently looking to a "different direction" as far as the equipment type goes.

We also hear that Raycom Media has no intention on resuming 5.1 broadcasts, unless CBS delivers them new equipment. And we hear that's not expected to happen for at least a few months, if ever...with the company not looking to buy its own 5.1 equipment...

WTAM NEWS CHANGE: This change doesn't involve personnel at Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 in Cleveland, but rather, formatics.

We can't pin down when it happened, but at some point, top-of-the-hour newscast formats changed on WTAM.

The station's newscasters now do a brief headline, go to traffic, then go into FOX News Radio...returning to local news after the network's three minute newscast (the first section of the FNR 5 minute cast).

Also gone during the top-of-hour casts - the recorded brief "20/20 Sports" once heard in that newscast. The anchor reads one sports headline under that name before going to commercial. "20/20 Sports" with anchors continues as usual in the station's sports talk programming, as well as during the afternoon drive foodfest hosted by Mike Trivisonno.

Why did WTAM do this?

It would seem simple to us, as Clear Channel talkers around the country continue to embrace the popular FOX News branding. We'll assume that WTAM or Clear Channel management felt that carrying the actual newscast when possible would strengthen that branding - much more so than just running an occasional FOX News Radio wrap or actuality.

We're told by listeners that the new format extends to all the station's local newscasts, not just the evening and weekend casts we heard earlier...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Comings And Goings To The Power Of 5

Cleveland Plain Dealer media columnist Julie Washington has more on one exit and one entrance at 3001 Euclid Avenue, the home of Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5.

MILLER TO CSN: Washington confirms a departure first reported here a while back: "NewsChannel 5" lead sports anchor/sports director Chris Miller is headed for Washington DC's Comcast SportsNet. She says Miller will anchor evening newscasts for the regional sports network which covers not only Washington, but nearby Baltimore MD.

"CSN" also airs in other markets, such as Chicago and Philadelphia, but we're pretty sure it produces its local sportscasts only within the market in we'll assume Miller will only be seen in the DC/Baltimore area.

Miller exits WEWS at the end of the month, and starts in DC a week later. There's no word on who might succeed him, though at least some believe the station's John Chandler (nephew of the late legendary Cleveland sportscaster Nev Chandler) might move up to replace Miller...

INCOMING TRAFFIC: Washington also notes that new "NewsChannel 5" traffic reporter Tricia Skidmore has local roots.

Though she joins WEWS from a station in Peoria IL, we're told Skidmore used to live in Mentor and Highland Heights, and graduated from a school in Cleveland Heights. And Skidmore's mother still lives in the area, in Willoughby Hills.

Though she's been seen throughout the day in the past week due to the station's extended weather coverage, Skidmore is a part of the "Good Morning Cleveland" team.

She's basically an in-house replacement for long-time Metro Networks-based traffic anchor Linda Dawson, who continues her duties on various area radio stations for that company...

A "Dumb" Stunt

So, the OMW inbox was peppered with notes from folks telling us about the streaker who interrupted a "19 Action News" live shot in snowy downtown Cleveland during this past week's storm. The clip made it onto, among other places, ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live", and MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann".

Basically, a large, apparently naked man cavorts around 19's Jon Loufman as the weather forecaster interviews someone else in the snow out at East 12th and Chester Avenue.

That's otherwise known as The Convenient Downtown Live Shot Location Right Outside Reserve Square - the home of Raycom Media CBS/MyNetworkTV combo WOIO/19-WUAB/43.

Given the Naked History of "19 Action News", we wondered if WOIO itself had put the man up to it. Now, the station has generally been known to parade around or hire naked female anchors, but maybe this time, they thought a naked man would be funnier in a major snowstorm.

We weren't THAT far off.

No, it wasn't WOIO management who put the streaker up to it. It was another media outlet.

The now-world-famous streaker is known only as "Dumb" (sometimes the shoe just fits so easily), and he's the phone screener for WXRK/92.3 "K-Rock"-based morning drive show "Rover's Morning Glory".

"Dumb" ended up talking to Loufman later, clothed, thankfully, for a follow-up piece, which brought the forecaster into the WXRK studio.

And a German TV crew, with apparently nothing better to cover in the United States, visited Cleveland Friday and interviewed both men in front of Reserve Square.

(We sure hope the crew was already in the States. Sending a TV news crew from Germany to Cleveland to cover this "story" may be the definition of television idiocy.)

We say "apparently naked", by the way, because there's at least one shot of the guy wearing a small pair of shorts after the "romp". Thank goodness for, uh, small favors. That can't be seen on camera in the original shot because, again, thankfully, the station's on-screen graphics obscure that part of his body.

Oh, and one thing?

In all the plays on network or cable TV, or in any of the clips seen all over the Internet, not once do viewers find out that the naked man in question is the employee of a radio station doing a stunt...let alone find out the name of his employer.

We thought it was Radio 101 that such stunts needed to include some sort of sign or visual display or audio getting publicity for the radio station and the show.

Maybe the folks in Rover's "kennel" need to call up "Opie and Anthony" (heard in afternoon drive on WXRK) for some pointers on that...

Various video links to the stories are prominently displayed on Rover's website, and the "19 Action News" site has its own video links to the original story and follow-ups.

Speaking of Rover's site, we've noticed it has excised the section on the show's syndicated outposts. Well, really, are there any left? We thought "The Nerve" in Rochester NY was still along for the ride...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Saturday Stuff

Three items, including two semi-related, maybe. Or maybe not:

MORE LES STILL: At this rate, we're going to have to start charging local sports media personality Les Levine for ad space.

But we can't help it if the fast moving developments in local sports radio and TV lately all seem to involve him, for whatever reason.

This time, it's Mr. Levine's second straight appearance on the "Saturday Morning Sports Show" on Good Karma sports talker WKNR/850 this morning. But unlike last week, where Les did the show solo, his partner was former WKNR host Kendall Lewis.

It, presumably, was something of an audio preview of the upcoming season of FSN Ohio's "Cleveland Rants", where Lewis will join Levine as his new co-host, along with "roving reporter" Kim Mihalik (WNCX/98.5). We didn't get to hear the show, though.

We're starting to agree with other observers...the Saturday show appears to officially be Good Karma boss Craig Karmazin's "audition show" for personalities he might want to add in the future.

One big reason for our agreement: Lewis had already been scheduled for a March 3rd WKNR fill-in.

We didn't realize until looking at the calendar that March 3rd is a Saturday, which would put him in the "Saturday Morning Sports Show" slot as a solo host. Today's appearance was apparently added very recently, at least after Lewis told the Akron Beacon Journal's George M. Thomas about the March 3rd show.

One thought we can't shake, though it's just a guess on our part: Somewhere in there, we have to believe that Mr. Karmazin wants at least one two-person show on his daily lineup.

The two-person sports talk show is iconic in the format. Though several popular hosts basically run solo (Jim Rome, etc.), nearly every sports talk station features a popular show with two hosts bantering back and forth about sports.

You can come up with examples without even trying. America's most popular local sports talk show is WFAN/660 New York City's "Mike and the Mad Dog", which owns sports talk radio in that market.

And though they do have solo hosts, the format at Philadelphia sports station WIP/610 is also littered with dually-hosted shows. Even market icon Angelo Cataldi has a credited co-host/sidekick in morning drive now (Al Morganti).

That last station is important, for it's the sports talk station which helped form the views of a certain new WKNR owner.

Mr. Karmazin began his own radio career as an intern at WIP, along with fellow intern Steve Politziner - now co-host along with him of Good Karma syndicated show "Steve and Craig". Good Karma's WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540" will begin airing that show in early March after the Daylight Saving Time change, when the station's broadcast hours extend past 7 PM due to a later sunset.

And Karmazin himself uses the format at some of his other stations.

Though his highest profile show at WAUK/1510 Milwaukee is a solo show hosted by market veteran Steve "The Homer" True in afternoon drive, "ESPN Milwaukee"'s mid-morning show "The D-List" features sportswriter Drew Olson and "a group of co-hosts featuring WISN 12's Dan Needles and The Game's former co-host Bill Johnson in a light-hearted look at the sports world from Milwaukee's premiere sports enthusiasts."

With the "auditions", and the longer the station waits to make an on-air overhaul of its overall sound (for the love of Pete, please get rid of the Michael Luczak liners!!!), we have to wonder if Something Big is coming in the next few weeks. We just don't know when, though some would suggest by the end of the month...

TIME WARNER ONE: Yet another in our series of continuing updates on this certain group of stories.

This time, an OMW reader who subscribes to Time Warner Cable's Akron/Canton system notes the recent addition of a channel identified as "Time Warner One" to that system, on, well, cable channel 1.

For now, there is no programming on "Time Warner One", which features ongoing instructional video about hooking up your cable equipment. The onscreen programming guide only has the words "Coming Soon!" on the channel.

But...we wonder. Is more headed for "One"?

Again, just a wonder here. We have no information that the channel will become anything but a place your cable box points to, when you are "welcomed" to the system (or when the cable box resets, etc.).

We'd also have to note that you need a cable box to tune to any channel 1, so if it were destined for something more, "Time Warner One" would have to be remapped to another channel for analog customers.

It's just another data point, and may mean nothing. But wouldn't "Time Warner One" make a great name for a local programming channel? And why would the system put "Coming Soon!" on the programming guide if there's nothing more destined for "One" than setup videos?

On the former Adelphia system serving greater Cleveland and parts of western Summit County, cable channel 1 is the relatively new home for "Time Warner On Demand"...

ROB OUT: OMW hears that WKDD/98.1 overnight/swing/weekend jock Rob Mckenzie has parted ways with the Clear Channel Akron/Canton hot AC outlet.

In addition to being heard overnight and weekends, Rob also held down traffic/co-host duties with WKDD program director Keith Kennedy in afternoon drive.

Rob, as the saying goes, is "looking for his next opportunity". Drop him a line at robmichaels81 - at - yahoo - dot - com, without all the dashes and substitutions...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Weekend Wrapup, Mid-February Edition

Some random stuff:

MASON OUT: It doesn't seem like long ago that we were congratulating long-time WQMX/94.9 operations manager Kevin Mason on his new gig as VP/GM of a record company in Nashville.

Unfortunately, it appears the volatile nature of the music business has left the former Akron country programmer without a job.

AllAccess reports that Mason's new employer, Rust Records, is folding up its tent along Nashville's Music Row, leaving Mason and everyone else with the company out of work.

Of course, the former WQMX OM/PD is looking for a new job...reach out to him at kevin - at - kevinmason - dot - com. (We don't know how much that prevents spammers from picking up addresses, but we're trying...)

AIRING IT OUT: George M. Thomas' weekly "Airing It Out" sports media column in Friday's Akron Beacon Journal touches on something we reported here - the expansion of Les Levine's "More Sports and Les Levine" TV talk show to the Akron/Canton reaches of Time Warner Cable this week.

According to Thomas, Levine's show apparently runs only 30 minutes on the Akron/Canton end of TWC, because it has to make way for the 6:30 PM edition of the WKYC/3-produced "Akron/Canton News" on cable channel 23. (It may or may not be repeated later...that, we don't know.)

It's the first cross-pollenization of local programming from the former Adelphia system based in Cleveland, to the existing Akron/Canton-based Time Warner system.

So far, we haven't seen anything more coming back in this direction - we're on the former Adelphia end. And we caution you once again that our earlier posts about this have been primarily speculation - don't blame anyone for them but us.

We'll make that clear again, and wonder (yes, wonder) if Time Warner will eventually launch that "local channel" we guessed about earlier.

There is precedent for it - when the company's Albany NY system launched all-news outlet "Capital News 9", it moved the existing non-news programming on that local channel to cable channel 3, where it became "TW3". (Read about it in this Wikipedia article.)

Again, purely our own speculation here...and not factual. We wouldn't be surprised to see them eventually do it, but we have no indication that it is in the immediate future. And if you have any questions about this speculation, talk to us, not other blogs.

Oh, and we noticed a new "Cleveland Local" heading under Time Warner Cable's "On Demand" channel, free programming section (cable channel 1, former Adelphia system).

So far, the only choices are two recent high school basketball games. No "Akron/Canton News" (yes, we are going to continue to bring this up, TWC folks), no other local programming including Mr. Levine's show, etc.

And while we're talking about the whole topic, we've been asked by readers why WKYC itself doesn't show "Akron/Canton News" on its over-air digital channel.

We can answer that without help from WKYC.

The Cleveland NBC affiliate only runs one subchannel right now on WKYC-DT - "WKYC WeatherPlus", the local version of the NBC-owned weather feed.

As far as we know, there is no provision for WKYC to "break format" and air anything but WeatherPlus on WKYC-DT 3.2.

We've seen other TV stations with home-grown weather channels run actual programming - it's all the rage in Indianapolis, for example. But WeatherPlus would appear to not allow that, either technically or probably contractually.

If WKYC wanted to run "Akron/Canton News" on its digital over-air channel, it would have to open up a second subchannel, then figure out what to surround the channel with. And since WKYC and Time Warner Cable are in a pretty tight situation with the newscast, we doubt they'd do it'd be one less "reason" to subscribe to cable...

Again, this is our own information, speculation and educated guesses. Please don't bug the folks at Channel 3 or Time Warner about this...they have nothing to do with this post...

AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT: Please don't associate stuff posted in our comments section (Motto: "On Its Last Legs, Honest!") directly with this report.

A persistent commenter or commenters have added a number of rumors about the employment status of a certain local mid-morning sports talk radio host, and his rumored replacement... a name we've brought up here numerous times. And the station itself, of course, has gone through changes recently.

But let's go on the record.

We've actually been overwhelmed (!) with E-Mail asking about the comments, which were not added by your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) and were posted without identification.

At this point, we have NO information confirming the rumors attached to the comments section on this board. None.

It's not that we believe changes may not happen. After all, the rumored "replacement" host has been mentioned frequently as someone we expect to hear regularly on that certain station in the future.

But...we've got nothing. We just wanted to disassociate ourselves with the rumors, and we'll let you know as soon as we hear anything we can "go to print" with, as it were.

And if you are an "insider" with information that could verify such, feel free to write us privately. Identify yourself, and we will not "give you up"...we hold onto our sources and keep them secret...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

More Les And More Rants

These two items also revolve around local sports personality Les Levine and his two local TV shows, oddly enough.

MORE LES: It's something we thought might happen in one of our earlier items.

Levine announced on his "More Sports and Les Levine" show last night that the Time Warner Cable show will expand to the company's entire Cleveland/Akron/Canton footprint starting with tonight's program.

Well, at least to the original Time Warner areas such as Akron/Canton, which were specifically mentioned. We also believe we heard him mention former Comcast areas like Mentor and Elyria.

We don't know if that means the company's local programming "main" channel will be consolidated, or if that means the WKYC-produced "Akron/Canton News" will start showing up in the former Adelphia service area in Summit County, at least.

Yes, as we've said about three dozen times by now, former Adelphia subscribers living within the Akron area - in the former Northampton Township in Akron or Cuyahoga Falls, along with Bath and Copley - still can't see the newscast ostensibly aimed at them...

MORE KIM: And Les' other television show, FSN Ohio's "Cleveland Rants", will gain another radio personality in addition to new co-host Kendall Lewis.

We didn't know this one until we stumbled onto the new FSN Ohio page for "Rants", but here it is:

New to Rants this season is WNCX morning host, Kim Mihalik. As a roving Rants reporter, Mihalik will frequent some of northeast Ohio's hottest lunchtime spots to get the pulse of Cleveland sports fans for the show. Fans can expect to see Kim and her camera crew at their favorite restaurants beginning next month.

The co-host with "Mud and Mike" on WNCX/98.5's morning drive show, of course, has something of a sports-related radio the former co-host of the sports-heavy WTAM/1100 afternoon drive show with Mike Trivisonno.

Fans might also expect to see a new picture of Lewis on the page. Right now, his bio is next to a picture of WKNR/850's Neil Bender, who was last year's co-host...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

It's Lewis With Levine For Rants

As hinted earlier, from even the same source, former WKNR sports talk host Kendall Lewis is "back on the airwaves". Well, the cable lines and satellite waves.

Akron Beacon Journal sports media columnist George M. Thomas reports that Lewis will join FOX Sports Net Ohio's 2007 version of "Cleveland Rants", co-hosting with FSN Ohio's Les Levine. The show's new season starts March 5th.

The show aired last year with Levine and WKNR/850's Neil Bender, but the 2007 version will not be simulcast on the Good Karma sports talk outlet. Thomas reports that this year, it will also only air Monday through Friday, after Indians and Cavaliers' games.

However, Thomas reports that Lewis' voice will be heard on his former radio home soon, at least for a one-time stint. "The BSK" is set for a guest stint on 'KNR on March 3rd. The former WKNR talker has been heard on Paul Belfi's Internet sports outlet, and we haven't heard if that relationship will continue or not.

While we've got WKNR on the mind, we hear that the station ran ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike in the Morning" and "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" in the 9-noon slot normally occupied by local host Greg Brinda.

We're told on-air announcements said Brinda was out due to the inclement weather, and would return tomorrow. We're also told that the ESPN shows were presented as "a special presentation of Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540".

Is this a sign that "Mike and Mike", in particular, are primed for a return to the WKNR airwaves in morning drive? It may be too early to predict it, but the ESPN programming being used as a fill-in vs. whatever FOX Sports Radio airs in that slot might be a positive sign in that direction...

Weather Or Not

The local TV news operations in the Cleveland market rarely need help emphasizing bad weather. Most of 'em pull out all the stops even when moderate storms are forecast anywhere NEAR Cleveland, complete with flashy graphics, hyperactive and excited weather forecasters, and bundled up live reporters all over town.

Give them a real storm, and they're off to the races.

Local stations preempted such important programming as soap operas and popular syndicated talk shows for coverage of this winter storm.

For example, ABC affiliate WEWS/5 pushed talk titan Oprah Winfrey to 2:05 AM early Wednesday morning, right after an airing of ABC's "General Hospital". We didn't see if WKYC/3 did the same to its own talk powerhouse, Dr. Phil, which keeps the "Channel 3 News" folks off the air until 6 PM on most days.

And local stations also kept people in late, and brought them in early. The morning shows got a jump on things this morning with a 4 AM start...some even bringing in weather forecasters from the night before.

Radio-wise, Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 blew out Premiere's "Coast to Coast AM" in favor of live, local programming with weekend morning host Bob Becker, leading up to the station's "Wills and Snyder".

The major winter storm experienced in these parts didn't quite warrant the final move - preemption of prime-time network programming, which continued unabated on all of Cleveland's "Big Four" stations. Oh, with the requisite "Official School Closing Station" graphics at the bottom of your screen, of course.

By the time we hit the late newscasts on Tuesday, we tired of it all. Yes, all the schools are closed. Yes, you're not supposed to be out on the roadways.

So, we hit the national news feed live out of Univision, the Spanish-language outlet seen locally on WQHS/61 in Cleveland.

And we got a strange satisfaction about picking out words like "tormente" while watching the live Reporter In Front Of The Highway Department's Salt Dome shot from "Nueva York". And we know not even a bit of Spanish.

By the way, we hear out of Time Warner Cable that the storm prompted them to cancel their press conference scheduled for Wednesday morning. We suspect the TWC folks would do it, if not for the fact that they wouldn't have anyone show up for it.

We've been told that we'll be kept in the loop about future developments, which may or may not track with some of our speculation in the previous item we posted. As we told them, we reserve the right to be spectacularly wrong in our own clearly labeled speculation...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Weather Claims Northwest Ohio Radio Tower

In extreme weather, like, well, we're experiencing now, broadcast facilities often take hits.

That's just what happened to Findlay's WFIN/1330, which lost its 280 foot tower Tuesday during near-blizzard conditions in the Northwest Ohio city. The tower collapse took the station off the air.

Via its website, the station says it is hesitant to say when it'll be able to reconstruct the tower. But the message from WFIN says it is "in the process" of figuring out a way to return to the air on an interim basis.

Until then, the station is delivering extensive storm news and information not only on the Internet, but on sister classic hits outlet WKXA/100.5...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Radiothon Hits New Record

The folks at Clear Channel's Akron/Canton Southern Command pass this along:

The 8th Annual "Have a Heart - Do Your Part" Radiothon on hot AC WKDD/98.1 over the weekend broke a record. The total raised for Akron Children's Hospital this time around: $858,376.98.

The money raised includes over $141,000 raised by some 1400 "Change Bandits", who have spent the past few weeks collecting spare change for the effort.

Congratulations for a job well done. And, for the folks who don't believe Clear Channel and other major corporate radio players can "do anything right", we say it's heartening that for at least three days, one of their stations played a major role in bringing in this kind of money for a very worthy recipient...

Starting The Week With TV Stuff

For whatever reason, all the stuff in our "hold file" has to do with local, let's turn on the Virtual OMW Tube:

TWC AKRON/CANTON CHANGES: This one, oddly enough, comes from one of the newest additions to our left-hand side links section...WKYC/3's "Director's Cut" blog, brought to you with care by WKYC News senior producer/director Frank Macek.

Frank tells us that WKYC's "Akron/Canton News" returns to Time Warner Cable's cable channel 23, after being bounced around to channel 17 or 96 due to the full-time presence of the Indians-run sports network SportsTime Ohio on 23.

That means STO is moving to its own dedicated channel - 76, says Mr. Macek - for this reason:

" preparation for the launch of a new local Channel on 23, which will include the Akron Canton News in it's daily lineup."

Hmm. Is this a feline creature being let out of its paper sack enclosure a bit early? We ask, because...

TWC PRESSER: OMW's now on the official press release list for the aforementioned Time Warner Cable, and we've been notified of a press conference Wednesday titled "Time Warner: Status in Greater Cleveland". Quoting the invite:

With 180 days as Greater Cleveland’s new cable operator, Time Warner Cable has celebrated success and overcome challenges. For Time Warner Cable customers and employees, the future offers continued opportunity.

Hmm, again.

We doubt they'd go to the trouble of dragging everyone up there on Wednesday if they're just saying "hey, it's cool we've been at this for six months!". But we have no other information than the brief press conference announcement.

So, we enter speculation mode here.

Is this the announcement that TWC is finally going to standardize lineups between the former Adelphia and Comcast systems in the Cleveland area, and the long-incumbent Akron/Canton lineups? (Yes, we know the Akron and Canton lineups are not 100% identical, but they're close.)

And would the aforementioned "local channel 23" be part of this announcement? TWC certainly has enough material to do it. The former Adelphia and Comcast systems offer local programming like "More Sports and Les Levine" and "The Midnight Movie" and could probably fill out a channel with the stuff TWC airs out of Akron/Canton.

We also wonder what other role WKYC plays in this...if, perhaps, repeats of WKYC-based Cleveland newscasts could join the station's "Akron/Canton News" on the new local channel as the system consolidates. And of course, such a move would finally deliver that newscast to the former Adelphia subscribers in Summit County's western and northwestern reaches.

For his part, WKYC's Macek on "Director's Cut" says he hasn't heard of such plans, or plans to put the Akron/Canton Newscast on the ex-Comcast systems, but is "hopeful".

Almost all of this is our own educated guessing/speculation, but we wouldn't be surprised if much of it came true on Wednesday. We can't be at the press conference, but we've requested that the relevant announcements be sent to us...

45/49'S HD: Those looking for PBS in HD in Northeast Ohio are surprisingly limited in their options.

Cleveland's WVIZ/25 has had a long-time battle to get its full-power digital TV transmitter going from the analog site in North Royalton. The site is owned by CBS Radio (WNCX/98.5), and we've heard in the past that there have even been legal issues and a dispute between the two broadcasters.

We haven't heard why that has dragged on into 2007. For now, those looking for PBS HD out of WVIZ either have to use antenna firepower to pick up a small, temporary setup out of the station's former Brookpark Road facility, or tune to Time Warner Cable (ex-Adelphia) 710.

Out of Akron, WNEO/WEAO-45/49 ran PBS HD when the stations' digital signals first went live...but stopped at some point. The station has since been gathering the federal grant money and preparing to return to running the HD feed on WEAO-DT and WNEO-DT. is still getting in the way. PBS 45 & 49's Don Freeman explains on a local forum dedicated to HDTV:

Our first generation automation software, server hardware and digital encoder are incompatible with the upgraded automation software. We can't insert anything into the digital HD stream we receive from PBS, or record any of those programs for later use, until we get the new software.

Without making those insertions, or having the programs air from our servers, we can't broadcast the PBS-HD programs. We'll be shopping at the NAB show in April, money in hand, and fully expect to have our decisions made, equipment ordered and installed by the beginning of our next fiscal year, July 1, 2007.

How's that for "official information"? Hats off to Mr. Freeman and the folks at the Kent-based public TV station...

AND NO INFORMATION: Meanwhile, compare that to the website of local CW affiliate WBNX/55.

You know, the station which said it would try to put up a digital/HD signal to local cable stations and satellite providers "by the end of October 2006", with an over-air signal from WBNX-DT by about April of this year?

The "trends" section of WBNX's website contains...the exact same wording. In February, 2007!

We've never had much success getting any information out of WBNX on this. They've never responded to our queries of any sort, and we've never been able to corner any station officials to answer this "live".

We know WBNX's Lou Spangler told Akron Beacon Journal TV writer R.D. Heldenfels that they were having some technical glitches in trying to ready the HDTV feed for cable. But...that was months ago.

Meanwhile, fans of CW shows like "Veronica Mars", "Everybody Hates Chris" and the like have missed out on their shows in HDTV for the fall season, at least through now...and likely the entire way, unless a WBNX HD cable feed is about to light up soon.

For a market that's advanced enough to have three out of four local TV news operations in HDTV, not having ANY digital signal out of the local CW network affiliate is odd...

AND SPEAKING OF HD NEWS: We don't have anything solid on this, but the local TV rumor mill is piping up on that fourth station converting to HDTV local newscasts.

Rumblings are going around the market that engineers at Raycom Media CBS/MyNet combo WOIO/19-WUAB/43's "19 Action News" are going full-tilt this month, readying the station for conversion of its newscasts to HD format.

We hear they're aiming for the end of this month for a launch.

With that conversion, local news-wise only the WKYC-produced "Akron/Canton News" will not be in HDTV, unless that's in the future as well.

Oh, and there's the local news operation of Mansfield independent WMFD/68, which is technically in the Cleveland TV market...

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Ex-WHBCer Back Doing Talk On 1480

This is an odd one for at least two reasons.

We got a tip that this Sunday night, NextMedia oldies WHBC/1480 Canton is airing a three hour local call-in talk show, from 7-10 PM.

Not only that, the host of this evening's show may surprise you: Brady Russell.

Yes, the same Brady Russell who was let go from sister AC outlet WHBC-FM/94.1 "Mix 94.1"'s afternoon drive show just over two years ago for his on-air comments related to protesters at the second inauguration for President Bush.

Quoting Russell in the 2005 article by Canton Repository entertainment beat writer Dan Kane:

“I suggested humorously that some harm might come to some of the communists and anarchists who were protesting at the president’s inauguration,” he said.

“I fall on the conservative side of the line. It had to be someone left of center who complained.”

Sunday night is not exactly prime radio time for a local talk show. Even Akron market talker WNIR/100.1, which has an extensive local talk schedule, is not live and local on Sunday nights.

We can't help but wonder if this is an audition for a regular weekday program.

For one, we've heard all those nagging rumors we've passed along to you - that WHBC's AM side has been trying to find its way to a post-music future, and has kicked around changing its format to talk.

One obstacle, we keep hearing, is the lack of decent syndicated talk radio product on the market. Nearly all shows even remotely worth considering are tied up, many of them by Clear Channel (WHLO/640 and WARF/1350 both claim Canton rights to syndicated programs) and even by crosstown talk/religious WCER/900.

There isn't much left on the syndicated talk plate for the folks at 1480 to pick up. Perhaps the highest profile talker not cleared here in Northeast Ohio is Jones Radio's Neal Boortz, and the menu offerings look pretty slim after that.

But if they're looking to mount a talk format, presumably conservative, wouldn't bringing back a guy they let go for being too controversial in that very same vein be an interesting move?

We have no idea if there is any plan for Mr. Russell beyond tonight's show.

And so far, from the bit we've heard (WHBC's signal aims nicely north out of its nighttime transmitter location, so at least we can listen to a weak signal), he has been talking about relatively tame topics like plans for downtown Canton, and people finding jobs.

That last one is a topic Brady knows about personally - since leaving WHBC-FM two years ago, he's apparently been working at a staffing agency as his "day job".

We'll be listening, and trying to figure out more...

Friday, February 09, 2007

Children's Hospital Radiothon

It's that time of year again for the folks at Clear Channel's WKDD/98.1.

The Akron/Canton hot AC outlet undertakes the 8th Annual "Have a Heart - Do Your Part" radiothon for Akron's Children's Hospital, this weekend.

It actually started Friday, and continues with pledge lines open (866-543-0981) this Saturday and Sunday from 7 AM to 9 PM. You can also donate online at the station's website.

We hear that new this year, the radiothon becomes almost a telethon, or maybe you can call it a "streamingmediathon". WKDD has put up a link to live streaming video of the event.

Last year, the station raised $842,098 on behalf of the local hospital, including over $200,000 from change collected in its "Change Bandit" drive.

What we neglected to mention in 2006 was our own history with the radiothon.

In its earliest days, in the mid-1970's, the "Children's Hospital Radiothon" was sponsored by Akron's WHLO/640. Back then, WHLO was, as it is now, a talk radio station...but it was owned by Susquehanna, the company absorbed into today's Cumulus Media.

As far as we know, there's no direct connection between the two efforts, aside from the same beneficiary and radio facility. And of course, WHLO left the talk format for many years, before being returned to it by Clear Channel a few years ago.

But there is the memory of a certain youth spending Sunday afternoon answering the pledge line phones, as the radiothon - WHLO, mid-1970's version - set up at Akron's Summit Mall...

Next On The WKNR List: Les Levine

OMW hears that local sports talk veteran Les Levine is next up in the "Saturday Morning Sports Show" hopper at Good Karma sports WKNR/850, Saturday from 9 AM to noon.

We're not sure if that means anything - if the presence of Levine in that time slot one week after WJW/8 "FOX 8" sports anchor Tony Rizzo means that new WKNR owner Craig Karmazin wants to hear a rotation of possible future WKNR hosts for himself.

Or, it could be nothing more complicated than tapping some local sports media veterans to hang out on the radio on a Saturday morning.

It would appear to mean, for now, that the rotation of young producers/hosts that formerly occupied the time slot is done.

It's not the first time Levine's been heard on WKNR, of course, but all of it was before Karmazin announced his purchase of the station that has been owned by Salem.

The FOX Sports Net Ohio personality, seen weeknights on Time Warner Cable Cleveland channel 15 on his "More Sports and Les Levine", was on WKNR regularly via FSN Ohio's "Cleveland Rants" simulcast with the sports talk station during the Cleveland Indians season.

And we seem to remember that WKNR briefly aired Levine's Internet-based "Sports Club" show, in a delayed time slot - 6-7 PM.

By the way, it would appear that the rumors we've heard are correct, and that "Rants" will return - with Levine - for the upcoming Indians season.

To that end, Akron Beacon Journal sports media writer George M. Thomas reports that former WKNR host Kendall Lewis - now doing middays at - has been talking with FSN Ohio about joining Levine this year on "Cleveland Rants". (Read the rest of the article,'s a good one.)

And we've heard in rumorland that if Lewis does join up with Levine, it won't return him to the WKNR airwaves. We've heard since nearly the end of the show's first season that it would likely be TV-only for 2007...

Other WKNR-related items:

COSTAS MOVES: OMW hears that the station's schedule change on Saturday mornings, including the 7-9 AM time slot for "The Golf Show" and the move of the "Saturday Morning Sports Show" to 9-noon, have meant a new time slot for Premiere syndicated host Bob Costas. "Costas on the Radio" will air Sundays from 8-10 AM.

SALE APPROVED: We went into the FCC online database, and found that the sale of WKNR to Good Karma was officially approved by the FCC on January 24th. (For those playing at home, "Caron Broadcasting" is a Salem Communications license subsidiary.)

Of course, the company must close on the station and officially file that closure with the FCC. It's kind of a moot point here, since Good Karma has been operating WKNR in an LMA since the very day the sale was announced.

STUDIOS: An OMW spy in Downtown Cleveland tells us that the future studio space for WKNR and Good Karma sister sports WWGK/1540 is marked by a sign for "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540" and a "Coming Soon!" sign.

As reported a while ago, the studios will be on the first floor of the Galleria at Erieview shopping/office complex a short drive away from Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Good Karma space will be at the east end of the complex at East 12th Street.

So far, we're told it appears no construction has begun, at least yet. (And the presence of only the "Cleveland's ESPN Radio 1540" logo tells us that the sign likely went up before Good Karma announced the purchase of WKNR from Salem.)

We're told by our downtown spy that the space appears basically unchanged from what appears to be a previous life as a craft or flower shop...but we're sure that'll change as the year goes on...

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Three Thursday Things

Some stuff that's been hanging around and really, really needs to be freed:

DIRECTOR'S CUT: As an OMW reader, you're probably used to a look "inside" various local radio and TV operations, usually involving talent moves or other station changes.

You can't get any more "inside" one local TV station without showing up on their doorstep, thanks to a relatively new blog.

WKYC/3 senior producer/director Frank Macek's "Director's Cut" is must reading for those who want to know all the details of why things happen at the local NBC affiliate.

Among recent items: The actual workings of what it takes for the station's recent graphics package upgrade to work, questions and answers about the technical and behind-the-scenes workings at "Channel 3 News" and even a news item about the upcoming switch of NBC Nightly News' studio to HDTV.

It's well worth a visit, and we'll find a place for it as a permanent link sometime in the very near future!

And reading Frank's bio on his profile page, we know why his name sounds familiar. He's had past stints in Cleveland radio, including on-air stints at the WDOK, WNWV and the old WRMR.

At WKYC, Frank is responsible for directing all of the stations' evening newscasts (6, 7 and 11 PM), as well as the 6:30 and 10 PM editions of the WKYC-produced "Akron/Canton News" on Time Warner Cable 23...

STOP 26 STOPPED: The takeover of the former Stop 26 Riverbend Productions stations in Columbus and Youngstown by Bernard Radio LLC has been approved by the FCC, as of late last month.

In the Youngstown market, that includes gospel WGFT/1330, urban talk WGFT/1500 and urban AC WRBP/101.9. And in Columbus, that includes Spanish language WVKO-FM/103.1 and the currently silent WVKO/1580.

It's the latter station getting our attention...for now that Bernard Radio has taken it over, the company has restarted the process of trying to land a new transmitter site for 1580 AM. The bankruptcy trustee operating the station in the transition took it off the air last May, due to finances and the station's impending loss of its then-current site.

An OMW reader passes along an article a week ago in "ThisWeek", a suburban Columbus newspaper.

After getting approval last fall by Columbus City Council for a new facility on Morse Road, and securing that site from a local redevelopment agency, WVKO must now get a building permit approved for the towers planned for that site.

Bradley Scher, the aforementioned trustee, tells the newspaper that the station hopes to be on the air sometime this year, but gives no indication of the format for 1580's return.

Before all this happened, the station aired a mix of gospel music and urban talk and information, along with being the home station for the Columbus Clippers AAA baseball team...

WHILE WE'RE IN COLUMBUS: Electronically, that is, local radio watchers there have been buzzing about the 80's music format that's camped out on new non-comm station WHKC/91.5, which first lit up its construction permit back in December.

Is the 80's music format the permanent choice for WHKC owner Robb Case, a former local TV helicopter reporter?

He plays coy with Tim Feran at the Columbus Dispatch, in an article in Wednesday's newspaper.

New format-wise, Case hints at anything from an NPR-affiliated news/talk outlet with local drivetime shows, to a new place for Christian contemporary music now heard on WCVO/104.9 "The River". It would appear the 80's music is just a filler.

And like any good promoter, he asks listeners for suggestions on the station's new format, via E-Mail...

Feran's article also touches on an item we had here a while back, the proposed move of WJZK/104.3 Richwood to a new community of license of Grandview Heights...and Saga's proposed donation of WQEL/92.7 Bucyrus to the Bible Broadcasting Network, if FCC regulations do not allow Saga to keep it after the WJZK move...

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The REAL Story Behind WYTV's Acquisition

Kudos to one of the most dogged reporters in the entire Youngstown market, Andrea Wood at the Business Journal, for uncovering THIS little gem.

As it turns out, the announced sale of Chelsey Broadcasting ABC affiliate WYTV/33 in the Valley to Parkin Broadcasting has more to it than meets the eye.

Wood and The Business Journal dug into FCC records for the proposed sale, and found this gem...we'll quote the last part of it, since the FCC's all-upper case style in the online database is hurting our eyes:


NVT Youngstown, as explained in the document, is the proposed licensee of Youngstown CBS affiliate WKBN/27 and FOX affiliate LPTV combo WYFX-LP/62-WFXI-CA/17 ("FOX 17/62"). It's better known to readers here as New Vision Television, the Atlanta-based company that announced it was buying WKBN and WYFX from Piedmont Television.

The "Shared Services Agreement", as Wood hints in the Business Journal, would likely involve a sole news operation between the two (three) stations. It is hard to imagine the scenario which would result in the WYTV newsroom surviving intact.

It's a story that's played out in many other markets similar to Youngstown, including nearby Erie PA, where multiple stations are operated by single companies. And the mere economics in a market like Youngstown, with a fast dwindling population, work against three entirely separate news operations.

Our favorite part of this "story behind the story"? Apparently, the folks at Parkin Television put out a press release announcing the purchase of WYTV...with the very same phone number put on the release announcing New Vision's purchase of WKBN/WYFX.

It'll be very interesting to watch how this plays out...but if we were on Shady Run Road, our tapes and resumes would be out before we could finish this sentence...