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...


Anonymous said...

I wonder why Val would air on a non-CC station. Could that just be a smoke-screen? I dont kno that has ever happened before.

For the record, the AllAccess item had a typo. Kiss in Cincy is at 107.1, not 107.5

Anonymous said...

Before (thankfully) getting the budget for a local show, I was negotiating to put Valentine on my non-CC station. According to his people there are a small number of non-CC stations that carry the show.

Anonymous said...

The risk for HBCA is huge. Will they be able to pick up enough share from NIR and other talk outlets to make up for the audience they are bound to lose due to the switch? Reply hazy.

Did a longtime AE just leave the station earlier this month? Could this be an indication of where the sales staff sits on this change? Hmmm. Where did she go? Beuhler?

Anonymous said...

''This never would have happened under Beaverkettle and Ray Hexamer''...

Which is exactly why WHBC-AM is in the situaiton its in..

Hexamer finally bailed when he tired of working for people who kept raising the revenue expectations bar too high and too many times..

The cash the FM generated could not carry a wounded AM forever..

Many of you forget that Beaverkettle could never decide if it wanted to go talk or not..1480 has carried Rush, Dr. Laura, Art Bell and tried a local late night talk show years ago..but never could decide what kind of station it wanted to be..

Give NextMedia credit for at least going into talk full bore, without apologies..

The problem for Denver is, the AM still has way too many people on the payroll..this is not the result Skip and Company wanted..but they are stuck in a sinkhole of their own creation..and cant find anyone stupid enough to pay what they paid for the station almost seven years ago..

Without cross promotion, and some dollars spent on billboards, cable TV ads, and other media, its going to take a while for the talk format to work..

The switch to a sports network for nights and weekends is a plus..there is an underserved all sports audience that can fuel some numbers at night and on the move..

WHBC-AM has been marketed as all sports station for several years now..something its own management couldn't--or wouldn't--admit..

The test will come when a major advertiser--Downtown Ford--decides this isnt what it signed up for..if and when that happens will determine what direction the talk format will go in..a liberal/conservative mix is a tough sell..

Anonymous said...

You'd think the folks at 94 would get around to updating the website.
The new logo has been on billboards for months!!!
still not on the website though

Anonymous said...

Wonder what their next format will be after the talk fails. I plan on toasting my marshmallows and weenies over the flaming wreckage that WHBC AM will become over this stupid move.