Thursday, March 29, 2007

Taking A Short Breather

Just a note: This is not one of our much-ballyhooed "hiatuses", but we'll be mostly be taking the rest of the week off from the beast that has become the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm).

We're recharging the batteries, as it were. Expect us back by Monday, or before if we get bored. Just don't expect multiple daily updates until early next week.

To hold you over until then...some stuff we're clearing out of the "inbox" from this week, along with stuff from various sites. We won't go into much detail about the non-original material, some of which has been out there for a day or three...

RADIO FREE FALL: In an unusual move for a station about to change format, Clear Channel's WARF/1350 Akron has brought out some numbers - to the public - to explain the flip Friday from liberal talk to sports.

Quoting from the very same "Radio Free Ohio" page we linked earlier, now updated:

While Progessive Radio is surviving in parts of the country, it has not in Akron. In two years ratings have not improved, and revenue has declined, despite the remainder of the market seeing an increase in revenue.

Before the format switch to Progressive Talk, 1350am was an all sports station. In the Winter of 2005, (the last ratings period for the station as sports) 1350am had 17,000 weekly listeners. In the latest release of ratings, for the Fall of 06, WARF had 11,600 weekly listeners, and was on the decline.* (Source: Arbitron Fall 05 and Winter 06 Akron Metro Persons 12+ Monday-Sunday 6am - Midnight)

Now, we know you can slice and dice Arbitron numbers in any way, and the 12-plus numbers are, as anyone in the business knows, "vanity" numbers.

But the facts remain as we pointed out earlier. Simply put: even with similar (lower) ratings, sports outsells liberal talk, at least at this juncture. It "sells above its numbers".

The phrase "revenue has declined" says it all here, about why the current format at Akron's 1350 is going away Friday morning...

Y-TOWN PD SHUFFLE: Two Clear Channel Youngstown properties are getting new program directors, according to AllAccess.

And one of those new programmers is an existing one, as rock WNCD/93.3 PD Steve Granato takes over the same duties sister hot AC WMXY/98.9 "Mix 98.9".

That job is open because of a departure - sister top 40 WAKZ/95.9 "Kiss FM" PD Jerry Mac, who's been there for some time and also programmed "Mix", is headed for new duties as operations manager of the NextMedia cluster in coastal North Carolina (Wilmington, et al.).

The move has left PD openings at WNCD and WAKZ. Can one person fill both? We're just asking a question, not dropping any hints...

THE DENNIS MILLER WATCH: This one is an original, thanks to a tip by regular OMW reader Nathan Obral.

Nathan tells us that Westwood One's newly launched syndicated talker, Dennis Miller, has landed in Columbus on North American Broadcasting FM talker WTDA/103.9 "Talk FM".

And his presence on the WTDA schedule pushes aside, umm, someone who's used to being dumped for other hosts - Take On The Day syndicated advice talker Dr. Laura Schlessinger.

First, pushed off one station by Glenn Beck. Then, dumped to make way for Dennis Miller. What's next for Dr. Laura, losing a clearance to Jerry Doyle?

We're still surprised she hasn't shown up on more of Salem's conservative talk stations - though as reported here, they've hooked up with WW1 for Miller in a number of markets.

Or for that matter, on Salem's teaching/talk outlets like Cleveland's WHKW/1220 "The Word" - or to replace her lost Columbus station, WRFD/880 "The Word" in the Columbus market.

By the way, your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) has not heard one pip out of Mr. Miller's new show. Though it's only carried in Northeast Ohio on NextMedia's WHBC/1480, it's widely available online...we just haven't caught up with it yet.

We'll give the erudite comedian/host a few days or weeks to get his show together...

CINCINNATI CALLING: Keith Mitchell has been programming Cumulus oldies WGRR/103.5 in Cincinnati. We don't know how long he's been doing so, or who hired him, since that massive swap in calls, frequencies, owners and formats down in the Queen City has us all confused.

WGRR has now installed Mitchell in the afternoon drive time slot...saying the former WMOJ "Mojo 94.9" morning host was needed on the air. (And yes, that was the former "Jammin' Oldies" incarnation of Mojo, before Radio One bought the name and the calls for the incoming 100.3 FM, and then tweaked the format.)

We hear the move displaces Jim LaBarbara from afternoon drive. The name didn't ring any bells for us, but we're probably too young - he had a stint as one of the WIXY/1260 "Supermen" in Cleveland.

We don't know where LaBarbara lands - perhaps elsewhere on the WGRR schedule? He's still listed in afternoon drive on the station's website...which says he's been on the airwaves in Southwest Ohio since 1969...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Finally, Akron/Canton News Closure Is Near

No, we don't know if it was our incessant "coverage" of the lack of the WKYC/3-produced "Akron/Canton News" on the former Adelphia Summit County systems now owned by Time Warner Cable. But it looks like we'll finally get our wish.

"Akron/Canton News" anchor Eric Mansfield, on his DiscoverNEO blog, says Akron area residents on the former Adelphia system should be able to see his program soon:

Don't touch that dial: The official announcement is coming Friday from Time-Warner Cable but it looks like the Adelphia customers in Summit County will now be able to see Akron-Canton News as early as next week. I don't have all the details yet, but it will help our newsroom finally reach a major component of the audience. I've heard from so many viewers in Copley, Fairlawn, Hudson, and all points in between, who've been frustrated with no access to the evening news. Watch for the full details later this week.

One question we don't know the answer to yet: "Akron/Canton News" conflicts for a half-hour with TWC's "More Sports and Les Levine".

The "legacy" TWC system in Akron/Canton breaks away from Les' show at 6:30 for the newscast, though the 11 PM repeat airing is broadcast in full on TWC's Akron/Canton local programming channel 23...

Other WKNR Shoe Drops

Good Karma sports WKNR/850 Cleveland has officially announced the latest series of lineup changes.

As reported by the Cleveland Plain Dealer yesterday, WMJI/105.7-WMMS/100.7 sports director Mark "Munch" Bishop leaves Clear Channel for "ESPN 850 WKNR"'s afternoon drive post.

Afternoon drive host Kenny Roda gets bumped 3 hours, and will take the 6-9 PM slot recently occupied by former mid-morning host Greg Brinda.

Brinda loses a regular, daily show, but will now front the station's "10th Inning" Cleveland Indians postgame show.

You might remember that "10th Inning" was done by Brinda after earlier "cost cutting" moves by former owner Salem first knocked him out of 9-noon, to be replaced by now-SportsTime Ohio host Bruce Drennan...then, of course, Drennan's legal problems forced the station to replace him with - Brinda.

The other big announcement concerns the addition of former Cleveland Cavaliers TV voice Michael Reghi to the WKNR team. Reghi will become permanent host of the station's "Wine and Gold Post Game Show" covering the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bishop, Reghi, Brinda and Good Karma boss Craig Karmazin all join current WKNR afternoon driver Kenny Roda this afternoon at three. We hear Karmazin is out buying more microphones for the sparsely equipped WKNR studio...well, we assume he is with five people in the studio this afternoon...

Drennan On WTAM's Bob Frantz Show

OMW hears that new SportsTime Ohio host Bruce Drennan will be on WTAM's Bob Frantz show Friday at 9 AM. We hear he will answer 'all' questions, in what's billed as his first "all calls" appearance after his release from prison...

EXCLUSIVE: Liberal Talk WARF/1350 Akron Flipping To Sports

UPDATE 3/28/07 1:45 PM: "Radio Free Ohio" has confirmed the end of the liberal talk format on an item titled "The End is near", on the station's website:

The End is coming.

The end of the progressive format on 1350 is coming on Friday March 30th at 8:59am.

Watch this space for more information.

The item does not announce the new format at this time, but we're reminded that change from sports to liberal talk was also made at about the same time of day, around 9 AM.

Our original item is below...


When the rumors started filtering onto our comments, we took a drive by the Clear Channel World Domination HQ/Southern Command on Freedom Avenue, and put our ears to the windows.

And before we were shooed off by a security guard, we confirmed the rumors.

Liberal talk WARF/1350 Akron is about to dump that format, following sister stations in Cincinnati and Columbus.

Starting Friday, the station will drop the progressive talk format and the "Radio Free Ohio" moniker for sports, with the on-air positioner "SportsRadio 1350". (No word what they'll do with the WARF calls.)

And sure enough, the domain "" is registered to Clear Channel's online identity division, and was first registered Monday. At the moment, any website behind that URL is behind a Clear Channel password-protected firewall.

Though some of the details are still in flux, we are hearing that 1350 will carry its primary sports talk network programming from the Sporting News Radio folks.

It's basically the only choice available to them.

Clear Channel arm Premiere's FOX Sports Radio is spoken for - at the moment on both Media-Com daytimer WJMP/1520 Kent-Akron-Mars-Jupiter, and a new clearance on WHBC/1480 Canton in its talk format.

And ESPN Radio is now booming into Akron via Good Karma's WKNR/850 Cleveland.

We haven't yet heard if "SportsRadio 1350" will launch any local non-play-by-play programming to add to its existing stable of team coverage deals, like the Eastern League's Akron Aeros and the University of Akron Zips' football and basketball teams.

But we noted in This Space a few days ago that the station is already carrying the entire NCAA "March Madness" basketball tournament via Westwood One's feed...which perked up our ears earlier.

And a birdie whispering out of the back door at Freedom Avenue also tells OMW that more play-by-play will be added.

On 1350's list is not only the available Westwood One packages (we know competitor WNIR/100.1 has some of them, like NFL's Sunday and Monday Night Football packages), but the new sports station is slated to become the Akron affiliate of the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets.

The team is currently carried in the Canton market on Massillon sports outlet WTIG/990 "ESPN 990". (And we checked with their official website this time - it's "Blue Jackets" as two words. Last time, we printed "Bluejackets", and got mercilessly lashed by Ohio's hockey fans.)

Interesting twists in this format change:

* The move returns Tony Bruno to the 1350 airwaves. He had not been at FOX Sports Radio long, when the station changed to liberal talk. Since then, Bruno landed in SNR's late-morning (ET) slot. And as far as we know, Bruno was also heard on 1350 before FSR, which brings us to...

* By adding SNR, 1350 has now officially run through all three major 24/7 sports talk radio networks. The station launched sports before Clear Channel took it over as "ESPN 1350". CC kept the network for a time, then went to FOX Sports Radio, which was carried until the change to progressive talk.

The format change is no surprise to us.

While some individual hosts are still doing well, the liberal talk format as a whole reached its peak well over a year ago.

The format has basically become the "Jammin' Oldies" of the 2004-2006 time period - the experimental, "new" format used by Clear Channel and other companies to prop up second and third-tier AM stations that used to run sports, standards or oldies.

Akron isn't the only market where the libtalker has gone back to sports.

It's not that they can burn up the ratings with the format - 1350 certainly didn't in its FSR days - but you can sell sports well beyond the format's ratings.

It's a truism that has been solid wisdom since they first put a local team's play-by-play on the radio.

Add to the fact that sports is a "male magnet", and it's an easy sell for people wanting to sell products to men. It's practically the raison d'etre for the format, particularly in a day where radio stations sell to fragmented parts of the population.

Over on the liberal talk side, many of the hosts aren't commercially friendly. Even with former SNL star Al Franken headed off to run for the U.S. Senate, much of what's left of Air America Radio sounds like "preaching to the choir", and Air America is still a component of many stations in the format.

If the folks fronting liberal talk radio would only take Jones Radio's Stephanie Miller and clone her, the format may work as a whole. OK, so some of the clones would be male. Some of them would tell less fart jokes. There might be a Kim Jong-Il impression or two replaced with something else.

But overall, Ms. Miller gets what nearly every other nationally syndicated liberal talk show host does not's about the entertainment, stupid.

Others are close, like Jones stablemate Ed Schultz, the "gun-toting, meat-eating lefty". But even Big Eddie veers into more activism at times.

And liberal talk hasn't been strong enough to overcome what the more-establishment conservative talkers had to endure after the 2000 election, when George W. Bush came into power and Republicans took over Congress.

The "heat" of politics hasn't been enough to draw people into the tent for the liberal talk format in recent months, with Democrats in control on Capitol Hill.

The "future of liberal talk" may lie with hosts like Stephanie Miller and Envision Radio Networks' Leslie Marshall making their way on general market talk stations. It'll be an interesting ride, as one reason the folks at Air America Radio launched 24/7 liberal talk was that they didn't believe liberal talk would fit in on conservative talk radio schedules.

Just our commentary, as it were.

In the day or so we'll keep this open for comments, please refrain from direct political attacks on groups you oppose. We'd like to keep the discussion to RADIO, and related issues...not the usual back-and-forth between left and right you see on roughly 50 million other Internet sites...

UPDATE 12:19 AM 3/29/07: This item, per our usual policy, has been closed for comments. You may continue to comment on the newly posted item, which contains more about WARF's format change...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Munch In, Roda Out for WKNR Afternoon Drive

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Arts & Entertainment blog reports big changes at Good Karma sports talk WKNR/850 Cleveland.

PD columnist Mike McIntyre reports that Clear Channel WMJI/105.7-WMMS/100.7 sports director Mark "Munch" Bishop is headed for the 3-6 PM slot at "ESPN 850 WKNR", replacing Kenny Roda. McIntyre quotes unnamed sources that Roda will stay aboard at WKNR, though it is not clear what role he will take.

Bishop joins another former WMJI'er on the WKNR roster - mid-morning host Tony Rizzo. It would appear that the key to sports talk radio success in this market is doing sports for John Lanigan!

We don't know when "Munch" takes over the 3-6 PM slot. Some sources are suggesting it could be as soon as tomorrow, others say next Monday.

More as we hear more...

Random Tuesday Fodder

NOTE TO KEN AND KITTY FANS: We appreciate your reading this article, which has apparently been linked to their website.

However, Ohio Media Watch is not connected to either the show, or to the former radio home of the show. We are an independent online media publication that owns no broadcast facilities.

If you wish to reach Ken and Kitty, please hit the BACK button on your browser and contact them directly via their website.

Thank you!

--The Management


We've got some flotsam and jetsam. Just what IS "flotsam and jetsam" anyway?

KEN AND KITTY AND OUT: AllAccess reports that after taking all the trouble to move them to a new radio home in Cincinnati, "Ken and Kitty" have departed now-Bonneville-ex-Entercom country WYGY/97.3 "The Wolf".

This item will be much longer than it should be. For one:

* Entercom got 97.3 in the first place by buying it from CBS Radio.

* Bonneville bought many Entercom stations, including 97.3.

* 97.3 used to be alt-rock WAQZ, back in the CBS Radio days.

* Susquehanna owned the original country outlet in Cincinnati with the WYGY calls.

* Cumulus bought Susquehanna

* Cumulus moved WYGY's country format and name from 96.5 to 94.9, eventually launching FM talk "SuperTalk FM 96.5".

* Entercom, the departing CBS Radio, Cumulus, the dog catcher, Citgo, Marathon, and the guy who runs the hot dog stand on Fountain Square swapped stations.

* Entercom picked up the WYGY calls and intellectual property to move it to 97.3 as young-skewing country "The Wolf" (a standard Entercom country brand).

* Throughout ALL of this, "Ken and Kitty" did the morning show on WYGY, wherever it was broadcasting, and whichever company owned it. And all of this happened within the year or so, most of it in the past few months. In fact, the picture/logo we used above was swiped off of the "96.5 The Star" website, which still exists to this day.

Where's the aspirin when you need it?

We're probably wrong about the order here, and maybe even some of the facts, but it's something close to that.

We don't hear any rumblings from Bonneville/Cincinnati, but we wonder if the young-skewing country format is long for 97.3? Blowing out your morning show, which would seem to be a successful one from here, is a sign of that sort of thing.

AllAccess quotes WYGY PD Marty Thompson as saying a "major announcement" about mornings on 97.3 is due "soon".

As for the show's part, they've posted a farewell message on

Ken & Kitty fans, it is with a heavy heart that I have to let you know that the new company (Bonneville) that just purchased the Wolf Radio Station has decided not to make us a contract offer. :( I know that it is frustrating when radio stations make changes and don't announce it on the air, so I thought I'd post this message. We are trying to talk to other radio stations in town and I will let you know on this website as things progress!

Kitty and I want to thank all of you who have tolerated us and participated in our show the last 2 & 1/2 years here. You have made our jobs easy & so much fun stirring it up with us each morning. So again, THANK YOU!

Check back here next week for an update.
Respectfully Yours,

The AllAccess folks helpfully add that the pair is not wedded to country as a format, and will consider gigs in hot AC, top 40, rock and talk formats...

FIRST FULLTIME JOB: This item out of Toledo actually has a Northeast Ohio connection.

He's David Holmes, the Kent State University graduate who won ESPN's "Dream Job" competition, giving him a one-year job as a sports anchor on the cable network.

We didn't run into him much in our forays watching The Worldwide Leader of Sports, so we figure he spent most of his time on ESPNews.

(Or is that ESPNNews? Taking out the extra N makes it sound like a network for psychics.)

The Uniontown native has been hired by Toledo ABC O&O WTVG/13, where Toledo Blade media columnist Ron Musselman says Holmes will be a sports photographer/reporter and fill-in anchor. He replaces Hakem Dermish, who is headed for Washington DC NBC O&O WRC/4 in a similar role.

Holmes starts at WTVG on April 2nd.

Now, here's a question no one has answered for us yet. Quoting Mr. Musselman:

Holmes currently hosts an afternoon radio sports program near Canton.

Umm, IS there an "afternoon radio sports program near Canton"? What station is the Blade media writer talking about? We can't find it on a quick Google search, but maybe we're missing something...

Anyway, best of luck to Mr. Holmes.

We saw this article earlier in a Google News search, but a note on the "Director's Cut" blog by WKYC/3's Frank Macek reminded us to finally put it up. Macek says Holmes worked on the station's Cleveland Browns-related programming while an intern out of KSU...

AND WHILE WE'RE IN A TV MOOD: And speaking of another WKYC-originated blog, one of our regular complaints may be close to being answered - soon.

We don't check in with WKYC/3 Akron/Canton bureau chief and "Akron/Canton News" anchor Eric Mansfield's blog nearly as often as we should. It is truly one of the better "behind the news" reports you're ever going to get.

And Eric brought up the topic we've posted on the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) a dozen or so times - the lack of "Akron/Canton News" being offered to subscribers of the Time Warner Cable systems in Summit County formerly owned by Adelphia.

We're one of those subscribers here at OMW World Headquarters, of course, but we do get a fair amount of E-Mail asking about it.

Eric weighs in on the topic in a March 9th entry:

We're getting a good response from viewers about our return to cable channel 23 on Time Warner. The TWC folks tell me the Adelphia conversion is going very well and the folks in Northern Summit County who haven't been able to see the Akron-Canton News will have it very soon.

While "very soon" apparently isn't "March 27th", it's still good news for us.

Eric also retells the story of a technical glitch which put the "Akron/Canton News" on both Time Warner Cable 17 and its new (old) home of channel 23. Both channels displayed Mr. Mansfield's video fine, but the old channel had him overlayed upon audio of movie previews...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Controversy With Drennan

Our title, of course, is a play on the name of sportscaster Bruce Drennan's former WKNR/850 morning show, "Mornings With Drennan". Feel free to sing it out loud in the style of, say, a show tune...

Ever since regional sports network SportsTime Ohio announced that Drennan would host a daily talk show on the channel ("All Bets Are Off"), the Northeast Ohio media world can't stop buzzing about the hiring of a man who so recently walked out of a federal penitentiary, he has to get a work release exemption to even be able to leave his home and do the show.

(For the three people who haven't already heard, Drennan recently completed a five-month sentence in a West Virginia federal penitentiary for not claiming tens of thousands of dollars in gambling income on his federal taxes, and is now serving another five months on house arrest.)

Another local TV sports host, Les Levine, weighed in last week on his Time Warner Cable show "More Sports and Les Levine". He basically interrupted an in-studio interview with former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Mike Fratello to comment on the hiring...with a statement we transcribe here:

I realize that what I'm about to say is going to be scoffed at by some people who will say that I have a case of "sour grapes" because I have a television show on a network - FSN Ohio - that competes with SportsTime Ohio.

I'm all for deserving people getting a second chance, and it would be nice if some TV or radio station would give Bruce Drennan that second chance.

But not one that is owned by the Cleveland Indians.

Somebody's gotta help me out here.

According to a published report in the Plain Dealer, Drennan bet between 14 and 37 thousand dollars - a day - on baseball for several years.

Now, the Indians have hired him to do a daily sports show called "All Bets Are Off", and will have segments on the show featuring the manager, Eric Wedge.

Gambling scares baseball more than steroids scares baseball. Now, if you want to believe I have an agenda here, you can be my guest, but I do have one question: What the heck are the Indians thinking?

Les has a good point.

In the Cleveland Plain Dealer article about the hiring ("TV station gambles on host" by writer Mark Gillispie), a Major League Baseball spokesman is quoted:

Major League spokesman Richard Levin said in a telephone interview Tuesday that he had not heard about Drennan’s hiring.

“This is new to us, so we’ll have to look into it,” Levin said. He declined to comment further.

But in the Associated Press story on the Drennan hiring, found here on the website of the Times-Reporter newspaper in Dover-New Philadelphia - don't reach for that copy/paste, T-R folks, you already printed it! - gives us the impression that STO and the Indians have already run this by MLB.

Long-time Indians PR guy Bob DiBiasio tells the AP that Drennan won't be allowed in the clubhouse, but will be allowed on the field at Jacobs Field and in the press box. And then, there's this:

“We informed major league baseball of the situation and told them of our plan,” DiBiasio said. “They felt what we were doing fell in line as appropriate action.”

Either way, Mr. Levine is correct in his above statement. Baseball is VERY antsy about gambling, and even if the Indians have run this by the folks at the MLB offices, they WILL be watching Drennan closely...and the Indians, as well.

The whole thing is made even more odd by the fact that the sport Drennan admittedly betted on, and in some quantity, is baseball itself. That's something even fellow gambling addict and former Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose didn't even admit until fairly recently.

MLB probably doesn't have much say in Drennan sitting in a SportsTime Ohio studio, and pontificating about sports from afar - even if it's the Indians' owners who own the network. They didn't hire Drennan to manage the team, or to do anything but open his mouth on TV.

It's the contact directly with players, manager Eric Wedge and others, that they'll be concerned about.

How will it go? Well, as Drennan says, people either love him or hate him. And that'll probably rule the day.

And even the show tanks, or if for whatever reason, the powers in New York force them to pull Drennan out of Jacobs Field, STO has already gained thousands upon thousands of dollars of free publicity...

UPDATE 3/27/07 1:58 PM: As per our new policy, this item is now closed for comments.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

WHBC's Early Talk Debut

UPDATE 3/26/07 1:35 PM: As reported and expected, the WHBC talk format has launched. We'll keep the item open for comments until later tonight, as opposed to starting another item... --The Management


OMW hears from numerous sources that the debut of the talk format on NextMedia's WHBC/1480 Canton will happen on Monday.

The date that had been floated out of the building for the debut was April 2nd.

But WHBC is apparently ready at the starting gate for March 26th - perhaps because they signed on the dotted line with FOX Sports Radio to fill the remaining hours of non-music programming, starting this Monday.

Monday is also the start of the much-aforementioned syndicated program hosted by Dennis Miller, who will be heard noon-3 PM on 1480. And OMW also hears that local 10 AM-noon host Ron Ponder will debut that day as well.

And in answer to one question - no, morning drive hosts Fred Chenevey and Pam Cook aren't going anywhere. Their information-based local morning show is quite typical on such a news/talk station.

We say "news/talk" because of that, and because of the continued presence of the station's local news's a very standard format move.

Anyway, if you're hoping to catch the last gasp of oldies music on WHBC, we'd assume that would be sometime late Sunday evening...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Where Else Does Dennis Go?

The latest entertainment industry entrant into the talk radio realm debuts his Westwood One syndicated talk show Monday.

And at launch or soon after, comedian/commentator/former football TV voice/actor/raconteur (whew!) Dennis Miller will have over 80 affiliates in his list, including some in reasonably large markets - including a clearance in his hometown of Pittsburgh, on CBS Radio's new FM talk station WRKZ/93.7.

Well, it's rocker WRKZ now. Starting April 2nd it'll be WTZN "The Zone - Pittsburgh's Man Station". (Umm, OK. Was "He Man Woman Haters Club" trademarked by someone?) We also wonder if CBS Radio's "Free FM" brand is a part of the past now, but that's another story.

Regular readers of OMW already know that Mr. Miller will be mixing his 21st and 17th century cultural references on at least one Northeast Ohio outlet, with NextMedia's WHBC/1480 Canton set to carry the show starting April 2nd (noon-3 PM) in its official start as a full-time talk outlet.

Where else will Dennis Miller air in this region?

Well, how about Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland? Not yet, at least.

We bring up that station because Salem's "Where Your Opinion Counts" talkers in a number of major markets have made some sort of commitment to carry the Dennis Miller radio show.

Quoting conservative power website

The former "Saturday Night Live” star’s show will run in seven of the top 10 markets, including Salem Communications stations in Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas and Detroit.

Many of the announced clearances are in evenings, either 6-9 PM or 9-midnight. In Seattle, the Salem talker (KKOL/1300) will run Miller from noon to 3 PM (PT, of course), and Chicago's WIND/560 has him slotted noon to 2 PM (CT).

We haven't heard any official or even rumored word about Cleveland, but WHK would be Miller's only full-market option. We believe WTAM's Mike Trivisonno would give up eating all food - on-air or off - before the Clear Channel talker would pick up a unproven Westwood One show.

We wouldn't be surprised to see him show up on the "NewsTalk 1420" lineup at some point down the road, given how Salem's conservative talk outlets usually run in lockstep across the nation. For one, they picked up TRN's Laura Ingraham show one after the other.

Where? Our guess - and it's only a guess - is that Dennis Miller would bump TRN's Michael Savage to later hours, and air 9 PM-midnight. That's what Salem's Philadelphia talker, WNTP/990 is doing.

And in Akron, where Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 carries Westwood One's Jim Bohannon late nights, along with Bill O'Reilly and Lars Larson on weekend evenings, we would also not at all be surprised to see Miller's show end up somewhere in the non-prime lineup of "The Talk Of Akron".

Again, only a semi-educated guess...

Thursday, March 22, 2007

A Few Random Items, AllAccess Style

Here are some local quickies, courtesy of AllAccess:

WHBC IS FOX: With a nod to our ongoing coverage of the move of NextMedia oldies WHBC/1480 Canton to talk, AllAccess reports another piece of that puzzle is complete.

As rumored here for a long, long time, WHBC is indeed turning to a sports network to fill its non-game-night evening hours. FOX Sports Radio will begin airing on 1480 starting next Monday, from 7 PM to midnight and "around the clock" on weekends.

We presume WHBC will keep its existing late night syndicated talk offerings, including Westwood One's "Jim Bohannon Show".

We have no idea, at this point, if this means weekend air personalities like former WNIR/100.1 talk host Jim Albright will be taken off the air. We hear Albright does full-time off-air work for the station, so he won't be unemployed as far as we know.

Anyway, the FSR move means the oldies format will be officially be history at AM 1480 - after it adds Westwood One's Dennis Miller, and the 10 AM-noon show hosted by long-time local activist and community leader Ron Ponder - both expected to happen on April 2nd.

Former WHBC-FM/94.1 "Mix 94.1" personality Brady Russell has been doing local talk for the past couple of weeks in afternoon drive. Now, if only people would stop calling him asking for movie times...

And with the changes to 1480 all but complete, we'd like to do a victory lap.

Months ago, we started telling you about these rumblings, and many were skeptical. We took a lot of heat for some items, and even removed some stuff we thought to be premature.

With the moves reported above, just about everything we've ever reported on the changes at WHBC has come true.

It took a long time, longer than we expected, but here we are. And it's a new era for the historic station. We'll just see how it "takes" least some of the moves are very, very risky.

It's not all "positive" for us on this. We don't like to see people A) lose their jobs or B) worry about such loss by reading about it being possible, say, in some local media blog.

But we've heard from more than one person in the know - "this never would have happened under Beaverkettle and Ray Hexamer".

If there's instability at Market South, don't blame folks talking to us, or even local management as it exists now - blame the NextMedia suits flying in from out of town. In our humble opinion, of course...

SCHWAB LEAVING: No, we don't mean WTAM/1100 afternoon sports anchor Mark Schwab, as far as we know.

We mean one John C. Schwab, who's general manager for the Metro Networks operation in Cleveland, along with heading up the company's operations in Columbus and Toledo.

AllAccess reports that he's heading back to Philadelphia, where he'll become general sales manager of CBS Radio talk WYSP/94.1 "Free FM". Schwab has extensive sales/management experience in that market, including stints with other stations in the same now-CBS Radio cluster, as well as sports and TV sales positions.

He'll be heading to the City of Brotherly Cheesesteaks on April 23rd, according to the AllAccess folks. (And we don't normally, as a rule, deal with off-air moves...but it was in the AA scroll Thursday.)

VALENTINE MOVING IN QUEEN CITY?: And almost as a throwaway for us, AllAccess reports that syndicated morning star Valentine could be headed away from Cincinnati Clear Channel top 40 WKFS/107.1 "Kiss FM" "down the dial to another non-Clear Channel station".

Hmm. We didn't know Valentine's show ever left the CC universe.

The Los Angeles-based host also airs in morning drive, of course, on the company's Northeast Ohio "Kiss FM" outlet, WAKS/96.5. We haven't heard any word of that changing...

Pete Kenworthy's Landing

Earlier, OMW told you of reports out of Buffalo, where WKBW/7 morning anchor Pete Kenworthy was tabbed for a move to the Cleveland market. We just didn't know where he was headed.

We do now.

OMW hears that Kenworthy is headed for Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5. He'll become the Akron Bureau chief for "NewsChannel 5" when he arrives in Northeast Ohio.

Though that bureau at the Akron Beacon Journal has mostly been staffed by Jonathan Costen as a fill-in recently, Kenworthy will be the official replacement for Brad Harvey, who left WEWS for a morning anchor job in Toledo.

Kenworthy's last day in Buffalo is tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

More STO, And DirecTV

In our rush to put up the item on the new SportsTime Ohio show to be fronted by local sports personality Bruce Drennan, we didn't outline some of the other changes at the network which adopts "full-time" status on April 1.

Among them: three new shows.

Former WKYC and FSN Ohio staffer Andy Baskin's "Totally Tribe" will be on the STO schedule. As reported earlier, Baskin is producing the show from his own new production shingle, Over The Falls Productions.

Veteran local sports voice Al Pawlowski (Cleveland State Vikings radio play-by-play) joins up with former Indians player Brian Anderson for "The Tribe Report", and the network also announced a new show called "The High School Sports Insider".

Going beyond STO's press release, Akron Beacon Journal sportswriter George M. Thomas shares what seems to be a policy change for SportsTime Ohio in an article in Wednesday's newspaper.

STO chief Jim Liberatore tells Thomas that the network will start airing some minor league baseball broadcasts. They'll apparently start at the top, with the Indians' top minor league club, the AAA Buffalo Bisons, along with coverage of the AAA Columbus Clippers (an affiliate of the Washington Nationals these days, it would appear).

Future telecasts of the two immediately local minor league clubs - the double-A Akron Aeros and the single-A Lake County Captains - are also possible.

We call it a "policy change" because Liberatore downplayed the possibility of these kinds of games airing on the network when STO first started, saying the network would certainly cover the Indians' farm teams, but wasn't likely to air full games.

But you can only play repeats of "classic games", earlier live games and other shows so often for a 24/7 schedule, we guess.

Oh, and about DirecTV.

OMW stumbled upon this massive update (for 2007) of SportsTime Ohio's "411" about the satellite provider.

And the "update" is actually "no change". Again this year, the network will not be carried on DirecTV in outer areas of the Indians' TV territory. Quoting:

DirecTV has informed SportsTime Ohio that they will once again limit our coverage area. Nothing has changed since the 2006 baseball season, which had many Cleveland Indians baseball fans living without STO and our Cleveland Indians telecasts. DirecTV will only offer STO in the Cleveland, Columbus and Youngstown areas.

This means DirecTV viewers outside of Northeast Ohio or the Columbus area, but still considered in part of the Indians' territory by Major League Baseball, will again not get the team's games on STO. As in 2006, Dish Network will air STO to the entire Indians region, as will the cable systems that have signed up for the channel.

On the "411" page, STO says it's had "continuous discussions" about the stance over the past year...but apparently, with no fruit. It also helpfully gives links to Dish Network, and participating STO cable affiliates in the affected areas.

Given this voluminous page, it appears unlikely that DirecTV subscribers outside of Northeast Ohio will get STO again in 2007...nor will customers who sign up for out-of-market regional sports network packages to get companion sports programming.

And like last year, DirecTV customers in those affected areas will also be blacked out of Indians games on Major League Baseball's "Extra Innings" package...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Drennan's New STO Show Announced

As per usual, we're away from the keyboard when news is breaking. In fact, we had to flag down a stray person with a laptop to put this one up...we'll expand it later.

To no one's surprise, cable/satellite sports network SportsTime Ohio has officially announced the hiring of long-time local sports personality Bruce Drennan, last heard doing mid-mornings on Cleveland sports talker WKNR/850, on the Internet on, and seen most recently at...well, you know.

And our first reaction when hearing the news: "They called his show WHAT???"

In an apparent effort to get the talk about his gambling problems away up front, Drennan's new daily sports talk show will be called...are you sitting down?..."All Bets Are Off".

(Thus, former Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose will have to come up with another show name if he ever returns to sports talk radio. If you think we've got a million of 'em, drop by SportsBoy Tony's for a much more humorous take on this announcement...)

The new Drennan show will air 5 days a week - Sundays at 7 PM, and Monday through Thursday at 3 PM - and debuts April 1st.

STO is also expanding its schedule to 24/7 with the new show and other new programming, along with repeats of games old and new, and devoting the 9 AM-noon slot for "Product Showcase" - a fancy term for infomercials...

Coming To A TV Newsroom Near You

A heads up we first spotted in our colleague Scott Fybush's NorthEast Radio Watch...

WKBW/7 Buffalo anchor Pete Kenworthy is leaving the market's ABC affiliate at the end of this week, and is heading to Cleveland. Kenworthy has been morning anchor and reporter for the Buffalo station.

Buffalo News media columnist Alan Pergament reports on the move in an article from Friday, and says Kenworthy's pending move to Northeast Ohio has been in the works (and known) for nearly two months...but this is the first time we've heard his name mentioned at all, let alone in connection with the Cleveland TV market.

And there may be a reason behind it, too.

Kenworthy's WKBW bio says he's a 1993 graduate of the College of Wooster. He returned to his native Philadelphia after graduation to intern at WCAU-TV, before furthering his education and his career in the Dallas market.

We don't know if Kenworthy has any other Northeast Ohio ties, but maybe he met his future wife while attending college in Wooster. It'd make sense...he got married in 1997, four years after he graduated from there.

Where is Kenworthy going as far as his new Cleveland TV home? OMW hasn't heard...yet.

Oh, though it's not really related, we thought we'd add that now-former WKYC/3 Akron Bureau reporter and "Akron/Canton News" fill-in anchor Joy Benedict has officially made her move to ABC affiliate rival WEWS/5.

We're told Benedict was seen reporting on "NewsChannel 5" on Monday evening.

Of course, we reported first some time ago - nearly two weeks ago - that Benedict was going to jump two channel positions...

WKBN To Produce WYTV News - The Details

More details are coming out about that planned "shared services agreement" between two Youngstown TV stations, CBS/FOX combo WKBN/27-"FOX 17/62", and ABC affiliate WYTV/33.

And according to FCC filings uncovered by the Youngstown Business Journal's Andrea Wood, it's exactly what observers thought would happen.

Wood uncovers the agreement between New Vision Television, the owners which have taken over WKBN/WYFX, and Parkin Television, which is in the process of buying WYTV.

To quote the Business Journal article:

The soon-to-be new owner of WYTV has agreed to pay the new owner of WKBN-TV $750,000 annually for producing Channel 33’s newscasts and supplying engineering, technical and back-office services – essentially every function that WYTV employees perform except the duties of senior managers and sales account executives.

Wood reports that the arrangement "hit like a dull thud" at WYTV's Shady Run Road headquarters, where management told employees of the filing late Monday.

Whatever "wiggle room" there is in the agreement that would provide any jobs for WYTV hard to find.

The agreement notes that WKBN will basically provide fully-formed newscasts for WYTV that "will have an on-air appearance" as if WYTV originated them, and notes that WYTV non-management news employees would be made available to WKBN/WYFX.

Our guess: This is the part of the agreement where the new combined news operation would be able to use popular on-air "33 News" employees in the WKBN-produced newscasts - a la WYTV's Stan Boney and the like. Whether this is the case, and if it fits into their contracts with WYTV, we don't know. As we said, it's just a guess based on the wording.

But another phrase in the filing covers the allowance of "non-exclusive" news content on WYTV, which is the key to the station airing WKBN/WYFX-produced news reports.

The agreement follows the form of many others before it, including two in nearby Erie PA, which has four stations using two newsrooms...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Word Is

OK, we'll have to admit that we got a chuckle out of the item in the Cleveland Plain Dealer's "TipOff" column this morning, crafted with loving care by columnist Michael K. McIntyre.

"Word is," says McIntyre borrowing a tride-and-true phrase, that ex-PD sports media columnist Roger Brown is out at Cleveland market CBS affiliate WOIO/19's "19 Action News"...apparently making his own decision to step down from the gig.

Brown E-Mailed his former employer to note that he left his role as 19's sports/gossip guy to - and we quote here - "devote my attention to other possibilities, options and opportunities".

Those opportunities may or may not include writing a weekly sports/gossip/media column for the Lorain Morning Journal and Lake County News-Herald.

Though we don't get either paper here at the OMW World Headquarters, we've only been able to find two columns written by Brown on the co-owned papers' websites - the latest on March 4th. If he's still writing the column, it certainly wouldn't appear to be a weekly one...assuming there's not a web glitch in the works causing columns not to show up online.

Brown expresses interest in doing "more TV work in the future", though we're not entirely sure where an on-air sports gossip reporter goes after leaving the most gossipy news operation in the market.

And we'll toss it to Mr. McIntyre for the perfect closing line in a piece about Roger Brown:

...we have no idea whether he has sold his house or how much it went for.

Starting The Week

Consider this something of a light breakfast. Not too filling, but at least it puts some media food into you...

SKYFOX HD FLYING: We earlier mentioned some visuals from the Cleveland market's first HDTV-equipped news helicopter, the newly-minted "SkyFOX HD".

Well, we haven't seen it ourselves yet, but the station has begun promoting the new HD helicopter capabilities with the same booming station voice which first trumpeted the station's entry into HDTV news some time ago.

It's not only the first HD-equipped news helicopter in the market, it's also the very first use of mobile outside-the-studio HD camera shots.

FOX 8's own camera mounted to the roof of the station's South Marginal Road building aimed at the East Shoreway, and WKYC/3's use of a turned-around Jacobs Field HD camera don't count for this discussion.

We're talking non-fixed cameras not already in place either because they're at the studios, or in WKYC's case, a part of the existing fiber optic HD feed from Jacobs Field to 12th and Lakeside - for WKYC and SportsTime Ohio's Cleveland Indians coverage.

Other than those cases, all non-studio video for all three local HD-equipped news operations is either in 4x3 SD, 16x9 SD or in some cases, stretched from 4x3 to 16x9, still in SD, both live and taped.

We've been watching HD launches in some other markets, and at least some of them are vowing to go full HD outside of the studio. Pioneer HDTV news operation WRAL-TV in Raleigh NC has been doing it for years.

Wouldn't it be interesting if THAT was the holdup for Raycom Media's WOIO/19-WUAB/43's HD conversion for "19 Action News"? Oh, wait, we have been watching comedy on TV, so we don't need to laugh any more...

WHILE WE'RE AT FOX 8, ELECTRONICALLY: It's yet another job for FOX 8 sports director Tony Rizzo.

No, he's not picking up another radio gig to add to his 10 AM-noon weekday show for Good Karma's WKNR/850 "ESPN 850". This one's in-house.

We spotted a promo on FOX 8 News for "Nothin' But Net", a station-produced webcast which gives "The Rizz" yet another chance to rant about local sports in yet another format. It's said to be interactive, which in this case means E-Mails, online chat and blogging. (No, we're not involved.)

TV, radio and now Rizzo aiming to be Cleveland's "King of All Media", with apologies to Sirius Satellite Radio's Howard Stern?

Hmm, come to think of it, WKNR did mention quite a few times that Mr. Rizzo's call of the MAC Tournament Championship Game was also being heard on Sirius, in what we presume was a nod to a certain station owner's father - who happens to run said satellite radio service...

STATEWIDE LOCAL NEWS: We've been aware, of course, of Dispatch Broadcast Group's Ohio News Network, the cable arm of the company's WBNS/10 Columbus.

(And no, Roger Brown, ONN is still not the "state's cable network", though it is still carried on cable systems around Ohio.)

We've also been aware that ONN runs repeats of WEWS/5's "NewsChannel 5" for viewers in Northeast Ohio...i.e. the 6 PM news runs again at 7 PM on ONN, and so forth.

We didn't know the network is apparently making its local news repeats available statewide.

Not until we stumbled onto ONN's listings for not only "NewsChannel 5 at Noon" (aired at 1 PM), but also the company's own Columbus-local "10TV Eyewitness News", and Clear Channel Cincinnati CBS affiliate WKRC/12's "Local 12 News".

Sure enough, you can watch the Columbus and Cincinnati local newscasts even here in Northeast Ohio.

It's not as big a deal as it once was, of course. Just about every local TV news operation in the state offers on-demand video via the Internet. But it's kind of a different feel for those who like to watch the whole thing, including keeping track of newscasts' "look and feel", not to mention anchors and other on-air personnel.

While we're talking about "10TV Eyewitness News", OMW hears that when WBNS-TV debuts its HDTV local newscasts on April 2nd, they'll drop the "Eyewitness" and become "10 News HD".

How many folks here remember "TV 5 Eyewitness News" in Cleveland, and how many remember the booming tones of one Ernie Anderson (formerly "Ghoulardi") delivering that name once used by WEWS/5's local newscasts in Cleveland?

You heard Ernie delivering that SAT UP AND TOOK NOTICE. Or, at least we did...

MORE STREAMERS: Without fanfare, we stumbled onto working streaming audio for Clear Channel's latest two Canton radio additions.

The "Listen Live" links work at the websites for AC WHOF/101.7 "my 101.7", and rock WRQK/106.9 "Rock 106.9".

This leaves, we believe, talk WHLO/640 Akron as the only non-streamer out of Freedom Avenue.

While we're looking at the Clear Channel cluster just down the road from Belden Village Mall, we noticed that liberal talk WARF/1350 Akron "Radio Free Ohio" has been running the Westwood One feed of the NCAA "March Madness" tournament.

Sports events are not an unusual part of the WARF lineup - as 1350 is the home base for the University of Akron Zips' football and basketball teams, and the station will once again be the home of the Akron Aeros AA baseball team this season.

But we're trying to remember the last time 1350 picked up a network sports broadcast...

Friday, March 16, 2007

The Mason Has Landed

With much fanfare, WAKS/96.5 "Kiss FM" programmer Dan Mason left the Clear Channel Cleveland top 40 outlet for the warmth of South Florida.

He left Northeast Ohio to take the program director's chair at sister top 40 station WHYI/100.7 "Y100" in Miami.

It seemed like the perfect match for one of America's fastest rising top 40 PDs, and one of the country's iconic stations in that format.

And it lasted, well, not very long.

Before you could say "Miami Vice", Mason was out at "Y100".

We're not very well tapped into the South Florida radio gossip mill, but whatever floated back up to Ohio gave us the impression that Mason and the station's upper management were not exactly on the same page. In fact, they didn't even appear to be reading the same book.

As we're proud of radio folks with Northeast Ohio ties, we're pleased to announce that Dan Mason has landed.

AllAccess reports that Mason has officially been named program director at Entercom top 40 KDND/107.9 Sacramento "The End".

Yes, THAT station...the one in some major hot, or maybe cold, water for a morning show water drinking contest which ended up in the death of listener Jennifer Strange, a story which gained worldwide attention.

Mason has been interim PD at "The End" since not long after former station manager Steven Weed was bounced, along with 9 other station employees with even the remotest connection to the "Hold Your Wee for a Wii" contest. Strange's family has filed a lawsuit against the station and the company.

So, it's an odd situation for the former "Kiss FM" programmer.

"The End" has been pretty successful. "The Morning Rave", the show now excised from the KDND lineup, was in the top 5 in Sacramento's morning drive race.

So Mason has to craft a way to hang onto success, at a station which has been a flashpoint of worldwide controversy - and all without a large chunk of the people who helped get that success.

The Prevaling Wisdom in radio-online-pundit land has been that KDND would scrub the top 40 format entirely, or move it to another Entercom frequency in that market under another name.

The hiring of Dan Mason signals one thing - Entercom wants to do top 40 in Sacramento in whatever form it takes. You don't hire a Dan Mason to flip to country.

Best of luck to you, Mr. Mason, former Clevelander...and a man with one of the more challenging jobs in radio right now...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Winding Down

Yes, we're still here, for now. So we probably owe you some updates...

MORE WHBC TALKING: As NextMedia oldies WHBC/1480 Canton moves towards what looks like a firm date for the launch of its talk format on April 2nd, we have been pondering who will take the mid-morning time slot - you know, 10 AM-noon, the slot between the morning show with Fred Chenevey and Pam Cook, and Westwood One syndicated talker Dennis "Obscure Cultural References" Miller.

Did you notice? We said "pondering".

And for good reason, as OMW hears that it's all but official - Canton community activist Ron Ponder will be the host in that time slot.

Ron who?

We don't live in Canton, so we don't know much about him. But a quick Google search turns up his current role as chairman of the group "Coming Together Stark County" and a prior stint heading up the Canton branch of the NAACP.

Ponder apparently also does video production out of his own Canton-based firm, and for at least some time, hosted a public affairs program called "Ponder The Issues" on Canton LPTV outlet WIVM-LP/52. We don't know how long the program lasted, but it's not on the station's current schedule...a station which has since added simulcaster WIVN-LP/29 Newcomerstown, aimed at Dover-New Philadelphia.

We also turned up links to black gospel outlet WINW/1520 "Joy 1520", back a few years ago not long after it restarted.

You'd expect with his community group experience, he'd get compared to another African-American community activist - WTAM/1100 Sunday night host Art McKoy. But we're not sure they're all that similar, based on what we've read about Ponder.

We believe he was one of the Sunday night tryout hosts after Brady Russell, who's already launched into talk on his new weekday program.

So, assuming all the I's get dotted and T's crossed with Mr. Ponder, the WHBC weekday talk radio lineup will be complete. We still understand that the station has eyes on either Sporting News Radio or FOX Sports Radio for nights and some weekend fill, though we have no idea what else the station plans to run on weekends...

WHILE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WHBC: A long-time voice recently departed from the halls at Market Street South has landed across town. Or is that "up I-77"?

Clear Channel AC WHOF/101.7 "my 101.7" has hired Brice Lewis for weekends. Lewis was the veteran afternoon drive host on AM 1480, until he was let go last week to make way for the station's move from oldies to talk.

Brice writes on his brand new WHOF web page:

My wife has been listening to WHOF since it began in January and she kept telling me I should move to 101.7FM. I took her advice.

I'm excited to join the staff of the new My 101.7. I can't wait to get on the air and spend time with you again. I'll be on My 101.7 in just a few days, I can't wait.

Lewis' first appearance on his new station will be Saturday, where he'll take the 10 AM-3 PM shift. He's also scheduled from 12-5 PM on Sundays. And no, we have no idea if he'll be live in studio or voicetracked.

The page reminds us that Brice Lewis has also had history on the FM side of WHBC, aka "Mix 94.1", so it's actually a return to the Canton FM band for him...

HD SKYFOX: OMW hears that as hinted earlier here, FOX O&O WJW/8 has put its "SkyFOX HD" helicopter on the air.

An Alert OMW Reader tells us the HDTV helicopter pictures made a brief appearance Thursday on "FOX 8 News In The Morning", before the chopper had to land due to the weather.

It's surely the first HD helicopter of what will be many in the Cleveland market, which features more HD newscasts than any market in America. And we couldn't help but notice that NBC affiliate WKYC/3 features a brief shot of its helicopter in the promos for its own HD newscast. If that means anything, we don't know...

NOT HD, BUT CD: That's not "compact disc", but "cat defense".

It's the buzz all around the market, and two OMW readers have sent us a link to video of the event.

Poor Kathleen Cochrane. She looks like someone who wouldn't upset animals. But during a live shot on an animal cruelty sentence, the FOX 8 News reporter was holding a cat...who was clearly not thrilled with being co-opted for a live report.

So much so, the cat - which was meowing rather loudly the entire time, decided to take a swipe at Ms. Cochrane.

Kathleen holds her own - after letting the cat down, she recovered and acquitted herself very well. And though FOX 8's Bill Martin told her that the video would "end up on a reel somewhere" at the end of the live shot, he needs to adjust his cultural references - for it's already on YouTube. (If it's up on WJW's own, we can't find it.)

As far as we know, Cochrane suffered no injuries from the close encounter of the feline kind...

AND HOW COULD WE MISS THIS?: We'll repeat that our normal base is in Northeast Ohio - basically, the Cleveland and Youngstown TV markets cover the same territory. But we do venture into other parts of the state from time to time.

And this one? Well, it's huge if you're a Southwest Ohio radio listener.

Gary Burbank, whose afternoon drive program has graced the airwaves of Clear Channel talk WLW/700 - with even some regional syndication - for 27 years, will retire at the end of 2007 when his contract expires.

Cincinnati Enquirer media guru John Kiesewetter has more in this article from a week ago.

Outside the Queen City, listeners may know Burbank for the syndicated comedy bit featuring his best known on-air character - "Earl Pitts, Real Amerikun" - which is still syndicated to over 160 stations.

Clear Channel Cincinnati AM operations chief Darryl Parks calls Burbank "an icon" and a "true entertainer".

So, who do you replace a "true entertainer" with?

Both Kiesewetter and the Cincinnati Post's Rick Bird take on the question. The prevaling thought is that the slot will stay local and stay in the entertainment vein. Bird even has rumblings about a possible replacement: sister rock WEBN/102.7's long-time "Dawn Patrol" host Eddie Fingers, who's filled in for Burbank.

But Mr. Fingers (did we just type that?) is backing off from talking about the speculation, noting that Gary will still be leading the "BBC" for another few months...and claims he has no idea what direction the show will take after Burbank heads off to Retirementland...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

New Comment Policy

After much talk, mostly by your Primary Editorial Voice(tm), we've implemented the first change in our comment policy.

As of today, comments will be open for approximately 24 hours, then will be closed without regard to the topic being discussed. It'll be an automatic policy for us, no matter what.

Comments on topics not having to do with the original item or related topics will be also deleted, at our discretion.

We've closed comments on all recent items before this - everything on our front page - except for the most recent item.

As time goes on, we'll continue going back into the old items and closing comments as far back as we can. (If someone posts to them, no one will really see the comment anyway, as it'll be far off the front page...but if the items are commented upon, we'll go in and close that particular comment.)

We remind readers once again that when we started OMW back in mid-2005, we had no intention on becoming a default message board. Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) has neither the time nor inclination to moderate message boards, and it's not why this report began. As we often say, "the comments came with the blog".

The comment policy is in place until further notice. Any abuse of the policy, and all new items will be posted without any ability to comment. As per usual, we direct you to the various message boards catering to local radio and TV, some of which are linked on the left-hand side of this page.

Thank you for your cooperation, and consideration,

--The Management

Tuesday Madness

Stuff we have to get out of our heads...

JOHNY D LANDS: Just a couple of months after getting bounced from his morning drive gig at Cumulus Toledo top 40 outlet WTWR/98.3 "Tower 98-3", Johny D has landed.

And it's a pretty soft landing, too.

Toledo Blade media columnist Ron Musselman reports that Johny D will launch a new two-hour weekday show on CBS Radio FM talker WKRK/97.1 Detroit, a station which carries both the "Live" and "Free FM" banners.

We were also not aware that Johny's picked up a voicetracking gig, afternoon drive at Clear Channel's Lima top 40/rhythmic outlet, WLWD "Wild 93.9".

Well, we think it's a voicetracking gig, as the Musselman says he does the show "via a remote set-up" in his Toledo area home...and that Mr. D will continue to do the Lima program.

(Oh, by the way, Johny D apparently does have a last name according to the folks at AllAccess - Dimodica. We're not clear if he's going to use it in Detroit.)

And while Musselman says Johny "burned all his bridges" in Toledo - the former "Tower" morning man blasts Cumulus as "the worst group I've ever worked for", for one - the Blade media writer helpfully points out that Toledo is market #87 and that Detroit is market #10.

You do the math...

HD COLUMBUS: OMW hears that next month, Columbus will become the second Ohio TV market with local news in HDTV.

Dispatch CBS affiliate WBNS/10 "10TV" will turn on the switch to HD on its "10TV Eyewitness News" in April.

Here in this part of the state, Cleveland has all but one of its major local TV news operations running in HD - Raycom Media CBS/MyNet affiliate WOIO/19-WUAB/43's "19 Action News". And as we've reported here, that is in the process of changing...though last we heard, it will be a while before the folks at Reserve Square go HD. (OK, we've done enough "it's a wonder they're broadcasting in color" jokes.)

While we're talking about HD news in Cleveland, OMW hears that FOX O&O WJW/8's "FOX 8 News" is doing testing on the market's first HD-equipped helicopter, the newly-retrofitted "SkyFOX". Its official debut date isn't yet known...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Brian Jennings Riding In To Program WGAR

Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5 Cleveland has found its replacement for former program director Meg Stevens, who left the station to program Clear Channel's country outlets in Washington DC and Baltimore.

He's Brian Jennings, who's spent over 8 years in Lincoln NE at another Clear Channel country outlet - KZKX "96KX - the last 6-plus as its program director.

OMW hears Jennings will start at Oak Tree on April 2nd.

With a new PD installed at WGAR, Clear Channel cluster VP/Programming Kevin Metheny will continue day-to-day programming duties for WMJI/105.7 "Majic 105.7" and WMVX/106.5 "Mix 106.5"...

BREAKING NEWS: Akron's WHLO Drops Laura Ingraham

An alert OMW reader called this to our attention, and we've confirmed it: TRN's Laura Ingraham has been dropped by Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron.

She's been replaced in the 9-11 PM slot by another TRN host, Rusty Humphries.

OMW hears that one reason for the Ingraham departure on WHLO is timing.

Originally brought aboard in her live mid-morning time slot (then 10 AM to noon on 640), Ingraham was moved to nights on WHLO after the station grabbed Premiere's Glenn Beck, when sister talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland dumped him.

We hear that a 12-plus hour tape delay for Ingraham's show just wasn't working in the eyes of the folks at Freedom Avenue, as news events can certainly change between 9 AM and 9 PM.

Ingraham continues to air live from 9 AM-noon on Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland.

Some folks are wondering if WHLO's move would clear the way for NextMedia's WHBC/1480 to carry Ingraham in their 10-noon slot, with talk on the horizon very soon at the Canton oldies outlet. We haven't heard any word about that, at least so far...

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Another Weekend Update

And no, still without Chevy Chase...

MORE WHBC STUFF: Our sources have provided more clarification on the immediate future of NextMedia oldies-to-talk WHBC/1480 Canton, though there are still unanswered questions.

We're told that you may or may not hear Brady Russell doing full-fledged talk radio starting Monday in WHBC's afternoon drive slot, occupied until this past week by 20-year station vet Brice Lewis. And we're not sure he actually starts in the time slot as early as Monday.

We get the impression from more than one source that the "full-on" start of WHBC's new talk direction may happen on April 2nd, when the station starts carrying Westwood One syndicated talker Dennis Miller.

Anyway, what you hear out of 1480 on Monday afternoon...we're not sure what it will be, or if Mr. Russell will be on the air playing music, taking calls or whatever. It sounds to us like April 2nd is the "launch" for talk on WHBC.

OMW has also heard that midday host Tom Jarrett will NOT be doing the 10 AM-noon talk slot. Though we understand it may not be finalized as yet, we're told there could be an "unusual" local talk show host in that time period between the station's morning show with Fred Chenevey and Pam Cook, and the syndicated Dennis Miller show.

We'd give you a name, but we don't know who it is. No, literally...we don't.

It is not, as far as we know, an existing WHBC personality - so that would rule out, for example, a weekday gig for station weekend host Jim Albright, better known for his lengthy stint as the host of WNIR/100.1's popular "Dating Show" before he left radio to run promotions for the Carousel Dinner Theatre.

We hear Mr. Jarrett is not headed for the unemployment line, at least for now, as he'll continue behind the scenes.

We also haven't heard any more about what 1480 will do in evenings - surrounding the various sports events the station runs. We'd put money on a syndicated sports network...but don't know if they've found one. ESPN Radio is out in the market unless they swipe it from WTIG/990 Massillon, for example...

AND ANOTHER REGULAR COUNTRY HEARD FROM: There isn't much more to say about Good Karma sports WKNR/850, but we did catch some of Chuck Booms in the "Saturday Morning Sports Show" rotation.

While it's never been clear if the 9 AM-noon Saturday slot on "ESPN 850 WKNR" has been an audition slot, or just a place the station can run some market names having fun on a Saturday, we're guessing Booms considered it an active audition.

Not only has the former FOX Sports Radio host all but moved in with WKNR afternoon drive host Kenny Roda, who joined the Saturday show in advance of his own Ohio State basketball local pre-game show, but he made veiled references to what we interpreted as his desire to do it regularly.

We don't say "all but moved in" lightly.

Roda said on the air that Booms has been a frequent off-air caller to him, not to mention his appearances on Roda's "Happy Hour" show. He joked that Booms had even taken to leaving 10 minute "rants" on Roda's voicemail. It indeed sounds like the former co-host of FSR's "Kiley and Booms" has done everything but camp on Roda's doorstep.

Umm, OK.

(And yes, Mr. Booms sounds to us more like the above mentioned Dennis Miller than we remember from his earlier days doing sports talk radio.)

We unearth a thought we brought up a while ago. At some point, does Good Karma use Booms as part of a two-person show, maybe even pairing him with Roda?

We caution that we have not even heard a faint rumor about such a pairing.

We just bring up our thought that WKNR would like at least one two-person show on the air. ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" covers some of that, but...well...Booms is not really our cup of tea, radio-listening-wise, but he may be appealing to the station.

Again, there is no news or even rumor about this. It's just a random educated "prediction", as it were...but some of these musings have turned to reality, even if they're given by us long before they're even rumored...

I LOOOOOVE YA, STO!: The rumblings that SportsTime Ohio and former WKNR morning personality Bruce Drennan are talking about a new TV talk show have turned into shouts.

The Akron Beacon Journal's George M. Thomas has been driving this bus, first reporting a while back that Drennan and STO were talking about a new show - we believe a weekday afternoon show was in the discussion.

Now, STO boss Jim Liberatore is openly talking about the channel's interest in Drennan, and Thomas reports that Liberatore and Drennan met to talk about it this week.

From this, it sounds like Mr. Liberatore is darn near gushing about Drennan:

"It went well. He's got some good ideas and obviously he's a pro,'' Liberatore said. "He shares our passion for connecting with local fans. He understands this is a new opportunity, kind of a new life for him.''

That would be a "new life" after a stint in a West Virginia federal pen, where the sports talker did time on tax fraud charges related to his betting on sports.

Thomas reports that the negotiations are "ongoing" with Drennan, though it would appear from the above quote that the question about Drennan on STO is "when and how" as opposed to "if".

And maybe "where", as Bruce is now serving five months on house arrest as a result of his conviction. It does seem likely that he'd be able to get a permit to work away from home, though.

Though we also have expressed that we're not exactly big Drennan fans, it's easy to see the interest from the SportsTime Ohio folks.

For better or for worse, Drennan is a sports talk "name" in this market, and STO is in desperate need of more local programming to fill out its schedule. You can only run those local wrestling and poker shows, and repeats of old games, so many times.

To that end, Thomas also tells about now-former WKYC/3 sports anchor Andy Baskin and his new "Over the Falls" production company, which will produce - on an independent basis - shows like "Totally Tribe" for STO.

And STO is apparently launching a local version of ESPN's old "Dream Job" show, offering a would-be sportscaster a six month gig...

Friday, March 09, 2007

1480 Moves To More Talk

OMW hears that NextMedia oldies WHBC/1480 Canton, as long rumored in This Space, is finally bringing on the talk.

We hear from many sources this evening that WHBC veteran afternoon drive host Brice Lewis was let go after his Thursday program.

And sure enough, the station has done the "Soviet-style purge" of Mr. Lewis from its website.

Listed on the WHBC schedule 3-7 PM now is "Afternoons on WHBC". Lewis is also off the station's "On-Air Personalities" page as of today.

OMW hears that taking his place in the afternoon drive slot will be a name that's no surprise to anyone who has been reading this missive in recent weeks - Brady Russell, who did something of a talk tryout for WHBC a few weeks ago on a Sunday evening, and who we hear now gets the shot for a 5 day-a-week talk radio gig.

Russell returns to his former radio employer, and even to his old time slot, only on the AM side instead of the FM side. He was the afternoon driver at sister AC WHBC-FM/94.1 "Mix 94.1" until he was let go after a controversial comment in 2005 prompted listener complaints.

In his new role, Brady will likely have somewhat more leeway, as he'll be on an AM station moving more and more towards talk, and somewhat likely with a strong conservative bent. Mr. Russell's comment that got him showed the door at 94.1 involved a colorful response to protesters at President Bush's second inauguration.

To that end, OMW hears that WHBC will become one of the first affiliates of the new Westwood One syndicated talk show hosted by comedian/commentator/former Monday Night Football voice Dennis Miller.

Miller is slated to debut on 1480 in April - we presume April 2nd. His show doesn't start until March 26th.

He'll be Russell's lead-in, from what we're told, in the noon-to-3 PM time slot. The Dennis Miller radio show will be produced live in the 10 AM-1 PM Eastern time slot, if we remember right, so that means a two hour rolling delay on the WHBC side.

We don't know how this affects midday host Tom Jarrett, but we're told he's been mixing talk and music in the hours before 12 noon...mid-morning local talk, anyone?

There isn't much left to do to turn WHBC into a full-fledged talk station.

The morning drive show is already a news/information program with Fred Chenevey and Pam Cook. If Tom Jarrett segues to talk, the addition of Miller's program and local afternoon drive talk with Brady Russell puts the station in the format all day...and no matter what Brian Novak does at night, the time slot is frequently pre-empted by sporting events anyway.

(We're wondering if an old rumor we passed along happens at this point - that WHBC picks up Sporting News Radio for evenings/nights/weekends. We're just guessing at that one, as we've heard nothing recently on that.)

It'll be interesting to watch.

In one of the more important talk time slots, middays, the station is gambling on a comedian known for his high-minded obscure cultural references and with no radio talk experience. Dennis Miller's show will have to climb pretty high to reach even a decent fraction of the audience of one Rush Limbaugh, on both WHLO/640 Akron and WTAM/1100 Cleveland.

But that's been one of WHBC's problems in trying to move to the format - the lack of good syndicated talk programming not already claimed by other stations in or near the Canton market...

Your Weekend WKNR Update

Next up in the rotation on the ever-changing host lineup of Good Karma sports WKNR/850 "ESPN 850"'s "Saturday Morning Sports Show": Chuck Booms.

Well, not just Chuck, as the former FOX Sports Radio host ("Kiley and Booms") and Euclid resident will be joined by Cleveland Plain Dealer Cleveland Cavaliers beat writer Branson Wright from 9-noon Saturday - presumably to talk All Things Hoops, in the midst of the MAC Tournament, the upcoming NCAA "March Madness" and the Cavaliers' own run to the NBA playoffs.

WKNR's website headlines the appearance of "Branson and Booms", despite the fact that, as far as we know, Mr. Wright has no radio hosting experience. Maybe we'll be surprised on Saturday...or maybe they're just playing on the name of Chuck's old radio show by putting him in the second slot in the show name.

Mr. Booms, in whatever role, is the latest Cleveland sports media personality to take the slot. FSN Ohio's Les Levine has done it both alone and with former WKNR personality (and new "Cleveland Rants" co-host) Kendall Lewis. New station mid-morning host Tony Rizzo also did it once, before ascending to the weekday schedule.

We should hold a contest to see who has a shot at the Saturday show in a week's time. Any guesses? We can tell you one thing - it won't be your Primary Editorial Voice(tm).

While we're in a rotation mood, OMW notes that we've heard any number of different voices doing the sports updates on Good Karma's smaller station, WWGK/1540 "KNR2".

Both men originally hired for the job - before Good Karma bought AM 850 - have moved on to other work for the stations.

Original 1540 morning update anchor Aaron Goldhammer is now on the 850 side as producer/sidekick for the aforementioned Mr. Rizzo. Original 1540 afternoon update anchor Bernard Bokenyi is doing a myriad of other work as well.

That's brought some of those pre-Good Karma voices over to "KNR2". We've heard WKNR staffers Josh Sabo and Neil Bender doing the 1540 updates in recent days, among others.

For them, the good news is that it gives them regular airtime.

The bad news? It's on a 1,000 watt daytime station that's the little brother to the station everyone knows about. But "KNR2's" profile is being raised by cross promotion on the 50,000 watt mothership.

Good Karma has launched full-time streaming for WWGK on For whatever reason, it's not displayed with a "Listen Live" link - you have to click on the station's logo on the right hand side.

And it still brings up the misspelled underlying URL the station has used for local streaming since, well, Tony Rizzo's first appearance on 1540 doing that Ohio State/Michigan pre-game show. (Clevenlands? Since when did typos have to stick?)

OMW reader and regular tipster Nathan Obral tells us that the "KNR2" streaming audio delivers the straight FOX Sports Radio feed during hours WWGK is not on the air, with no local inserts.

The station has also resurrected the old WKNR audio stream for the MAC Tournament games...though it comes up with "File not found" as of this writing. Consultants charge money for this sort of thing, and we give it to the good folks at Good Karma for free...

Back to Chuck Booms for a second.

When we heard him call into afternoon driver Kenny Roda's show to talk about the Saturday show, we couldn't help but wonder...did Chuck Booms always sound like he was doing a Dennis Miller impersonation?

We know Miller is about to launch a Westwood One syndicated talk show (non-sports). But when we heard Booms call Roda "Kenneth", we started to listen for arcane sports and cultural references.

Maybe it was just a phone line thing...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Escape From Youngstown TV

Just days after WYTV/33 news director Pat Livingston announced his move to Toledo's WNWO/24 - in the wake of pending changes at the Youngstown ABC affiliate that could decimate that station's newsroom - two other bombshells have dropped.

If CBS affiliate WKBN-TV/27 begins producting news content for WYTV in that FCC-tipped "shared services agreement" filed by new WYTV owner Parkin Broadcasting, you won't be seeing "27 First News" mainstays Robb Schmidt and Sarah Eisler on 33.

You won't even see them on WKBN or sister FOX outlet WYFX, either, because the anchors are both on their way out the door, period.

The Youngstown Business Journal's Andrea Wood reports that Schmidt announced his resignation late Wednesday, and will anchor his final newscasts on April 6th. Eisler put in her own resignation earlier, and will leave the "First News" main anchor team on March 30th.

One almost pictures the two anchors running out the door with their hair on fire.

We're talking two unusual operators here, after all.

New Vision Television, the new owners of WKBN-TV and sister FOX outlet WYFX "FOX 17/62", has owned stations in other markets, and our impression is that they didn't exactly spend money. And Parkin will not likely be running its own newsroom when it takes over WYTV.

If you're expecting a large newsroom with "the best of WKBN and WYTV" when all this is done, you're probably an optimist.

Careful...if you walk by either WKBN/WYFX or WYTV, you're likely to be hit by dozens of flying resumes and videotapes...

Q104's John Conner Out

Though it's pretty much a "long tradition" here that we're away when news breaks - it just happens that way - we apologize for this one.

AllAccess reports that CBS Radio hot AC WQAL/104.1 Cleveland "Q104" middayer John Conner is exiting the station, as Q isn't renewing his contract when it expires on March 31st. Evening host Tim Richards moves into the daylight hours to replace him, starting April 1st.

Richards joined the station last year after a stint as morning co-host at D.A. Peterson top 40 outlet WZKL/92.5 Canton, otherwise known as "Q92".

And Conner himself was once heard in the evening time slot, before then-middayer Jen Toohey took over afternoon drive after Brian "Fig" Figula departed for a PD gig in Michigan.

The move of Richards to middays will leave the "Q104" evening slot vacant.

So, WQAL is launching a contest - "Cleveland's Next Top Jock" - where "listeners will have input" on the next evening personality at the station.

The guy going through all those tapes and resumes for the evening slot, WQAL programmer Dave Popovich, also takes the music director duties from the departing Mr. Conner...

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

More Comings, Goings And Other Stuff

As it turns out, Tuesday was a very busy day...

JOY BENEDICT JUMPS TWO CHANNELS: And exclusive, as far as we know...

OMW hears that WKYC/3 Akron Bureau reporter Joy Benedict is leaving to join ABC affiliate WEWS/5.

We hear she'll take the morning reporting position on the station's "Good Morning Cleveland", presumably as a direct replacement for now-former "NewsChannel 5" reporter Michelle Relerford. Benedict starts March 16th at Channel 5.

While she was at WKYC, Benedict not only reported Akron/Canton news for the local NBC affiliate, but was also the fill-in anchor for Eric Mansfield on the station's "Akron/Canton News", which airs weeknights on Time Warner Cable.

You know, the local news show on cable channel 23 in Akron/Canton, and some day, maybe if we're good and beg and scream loud enough, on the Summit County part of former Adelphia system now run by Time Warner.

(Sorry, old habits. But really, TWC and WKYC folks, we could have built our own TV news studio by hand, in the time it's taken you guys to get together on this...)

TWO SIGHTINGS OUT OF CANTON: Well, one far away and one near, of personalities who used to air in the Hall of Fame City.

AllAccess reports that former AC WHBC-FM/94.1 Canton "Mix 94.1" afternoon personality Steve Rockford has landed at 106.9.

No, not Clear Channel rock WRQK "Rock 106.9" in Canton, but as program director of hot AC outlet WKZA/106.9 in Lakewood NY, near Jamestown.

We could have also spooked you out another way and said "at "Kiss FM", because the station carries that slogan also used by many Clear Channel top 40 outlets, including Cleveland-based WAKS/96.5.

But alas, it's owned by a company called Cross Country Communications. We'll assume that's a locally-owned outfit, despite the "outsized" name.

In case you're not sure where WKZA is, it serves extreme southern New York State, and the station's signal also covers a chunk of northwestern Pennsylvania. Not a heavily populated chunk, but a chunk nonetheless. If you head up to the Peak n' Peak ski resort, you'll hear the station there.

And closer to home, a denizen of Freedom Avenue lands on Smyth Avenue, as former WKDD/98.1 swing/weekend/traffic guy Rob Mackenzie lands at D.A. Peterson top 40 WZKL/92.5 Alliance for overnights and weekends...

WHK'S 85TH ANNIVERSARY: Salem Cleveland talk outlet WHK/1420 has begun trumpeting the station's 85th anniversary on the air.

We're not all that surprised, as we gave you the heads up a while ago of the upcoming production of an 85th Anniversary on-air special, which we assume will air sometime this month.

But along with frequent on-air mentions, we're told that WHK now has an anniversary timeline up on the station's website.

The folks at Salem don't even shy away from some of the more controversial history of the station, with a mention of the one and only Gary Dee (and a newspaper wedding announcement picture with Dee and former wife Liz Richards) gracing the 70's entry.

Of course, it's kind of hard to produce anything even remotely resembling a WHK timeline without a nod to one of its signature personalities of the past.

And they also nod to the popular "Voice of the Fan" sports format of the mid-90's.

We're told that former WHK sports talk host Les Levine, who hosts FOX Sports Net Ohio's "Cleveland Rants" and has done occasional fill-in for Good Karma sports WKNR/850, has voiced a liner or two to mark WHK's anniversary...

WHILE WE'RE SEGUEING: ...between WHK and WKNR, we're told by an OMW reader that WHK is running promos for the "Inside the Great Outdoors" weekend outdoor sports show, which has run for some time on the station once known as "SportsTalk 850".

The reader suspects the outdoors show is paying its way onto WHK, which sells block time on weekends for local programming...and WHK, of course, is no longer co-owned with WKNR. The time given, at least to us, is Saturdays from 2-4 PM.

"Inside the Great Outdoors" disappeared from WKNR a while back, round about the time that Premiere's "Costas on the Radio" got nudged into a Sunday morning time the station's recent schedule shuffle...

JOHN TESH CROSSES THE STREET IN LIMA: OK, even programmer Dan Baisden would have to admit that syndicated host John Tesh has probably never visited Lima, Ohio, let alone actually "crossed the street" there.

But Baisden tells OMW that Tesh's radio show is moving - from Clear Channel AC outlet WMLX/103.3 St. Mary's OH to Maverick Media's WDOH/107.1 Delphos OH, which he programs. (For those not Western Ohio Conversant, both cities are near Lima and serve the Lima market.)

Tesh's release says he's "privileged" to join WDOH, and touts the radio station's "great playlist".

What, he's gonna say anything bad about a new affiliate?

Just once, we'd like a syndicated host's boilerplate quote about a new affiliate to say something like "You know, this station really stinks, but they paid us enough money, so what the heck! It beats not being on at all in, umm, what market is this again?"

Our guess is if you put "Lima" in front of Tesh and he wasn't aware the text was about a new affiliate, he'd pronounce it like the city in Peru.

(This is just a general comment about network/syndicated show press releases, and not the station in question...)

WDOH starts Tesh next Monday, from 7 PM-12 midnight...

Monday, March 05, 2007

In No Particular Order

We're not sure what to call this one, so let's plow into it!

CATCHING UP WITH JULIE: We don't get the Dead Trees edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer here at OMW World Headquarters, so we only see the PD via its online presence at

While we're quite grateful for that ability, there's one thing the site doesn't do - provide an easily accesssible page with all the media-related articles written by Julie Washington. Her articles on local film industry issues have an index, for some reason, but not her regular media writing.

So, we missed the one which came out Saturday.

Aside from that, the radio/TV stuff was buried under a visit with a local native who acts in a cell phone commercial, so...let's close our eyes and pretend it's Saturday, no?

The big news - after the cell phone thing - is the departure of WEWS/5 reporter and anchor Michelle Relerford. "NewsChannel 5" GM John Butte tells the PD that Relerford left the station to look for anchor gigs elsewhere.

Julie also catches up with something noted here a while back, the fill-in done by former Channel 5 mainstay Lorna Barrett. We saw her sitting in the weekend anchor chair just this past weekend. She's in for anchor Tracy Carloss, who's on maternity leave.

And Ms. Washington elicites a chuckle from former WKYC/3 morning anchor Carole Chandler, er, Sullivan. Carole left the local NBC affiliate to rejoin her husband, who was a coach for Western Michigan University.

We say "was", of course, since husband Mike Sullivan was recently added to the assistant coaching staff of your Cleveland Browns, which brings Carole back to Cleveland, and brings us back to her chuckle at Julie Washington's wondering about her return to the local TV airwaves.

But this time, it'll have to fit with Mother Hours, as Carole has a new son...born just four months ago. (Congratulations, if the new mom is reading this!)

Julie also mentions else something seen here - the addition of syndicated weekend talk show "Dawson McAllister Live" to the lineup at Clear Channel's Cleveland top 40 outlet, WAKS/96.5.

(We're guessing the mention of the show in our comments section prompted Clear Channel's PR folks to send out a general release about it, which we got a couple of days after those comments were put here.)

Mr. McAllister's show is an interesting mix, and an interesting story.

It's aired on a number of religious stations, and at some point along the way, it became a more secular offering to major top 40 outlets. It's a staple on many of them, and still airs on the religious stations to this day in addition to the top 40 outlets...

HD OFFERINGS: Speaking of the folks at Oak Tree, they pass along word of the Cleveland market's first format change ever - involving an HD2 subchannel.

The HD2 subchannel of the aforementioned WAKS/96.5 "Kiss FM" now airs "KiWi Radio", which the station says is aimed at...young teens and pre-teens 11 to 15 years old. It's a market also known as the "Tweens".

The idea, presumably, is to get those young people involved in listening to radio. Well, we'll let the press release say it:

KiWi fills a void in the radio landscape by focusing solely on the teen lifestyle. This unique format features today's hit music teen songs that contemporary radio isn’t airing, such as High School Musical and Hanna Montana. The content is young teen focused and as with anything new, the channel will be refined as time moves on.

The format comes out of the Clear Channel "Format Lab" for new HD Radio formats, and if we're reading the release correctly, was created by WAKS/WMMS programmer Bo Matthews.

The WAKS HD2 channel was, until now, airing an "underground dance" format (thanks to an alert OMW reader for that correction), and the main HD channel for 96.5 continues to air the digital version of the main "Kiss FM" feed unabated...

HELLO, STEEL CITY: Our chronicling of the recent changes at Good Karma sports WKNR/850 "ESPN 850" and WWGK/1540 "KNR2" has had a few interested readers in Pittsburgh and environs.

Among them is long-time Friend of OMW Pat Cloonan, who writes a media column for the suburban McKeesport Daily News.

This week, Pat namechecks OMW in his item about the changes, linking WKNR/WWGK owner Craig Karmazin with his father, former Infinity Radio boss and current Sirius Satellite Radio boss Mel Karmazin, and the Pittsburgh-area holdings of the company now known as CBS Radio.

But our favorite line?

Also, thanks again to OMW, WKNR afternoon drive host Kenny Roda is a long-time Steeler fan “who gets a LOT of grief about that up here.”


We'd direct you to Pat's column online, but it's behind the newspaper's subscriber wall...

HELLO, REEGE: And a regular OMW reader has a followup to the item about the retirement of WSOM/600 hosts and Youngstown radio market icons Dick Thompson and Johnny Kay.

Before Dick Thompson became a fixture in the Mahoning Valley, we're told he was program director of World War II-era KSON/1240 in San Diego.

While there, the story goes, a persistent young would-be newsman bugged Thompson for a job. A lot.

Thompson hired the kid.

You might recognize the young man's name: Regis Philbin...