Monday, April 30, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: WJW's Easterly Moves Up To GM

He almost left Cleveland entirely to take a job in Dallas, but WJW/8 news director Greg Easterly is staying at "FOX 8" in Cleveland.

As general manager.

OMW hears that it's been officially announced on South Marginal Road - Easterly, who has run the WJW news department for 10 years, will move up to the GM's chair to replace Mike Renda.

Renda announced a month ago that he was moving within the FOX corporate structure as well, to head up the company's O&O in Philadelphia, WTXF/29.

And Easterly all but had his bags packed for the ND gig at CBS O&O KTVT/11 in the Dallas-Ft. Worth Metroplex, before deciding to stay in Cleveland for what was described as "family reasons".

At this writing, we have no idea who's been considered to replace Easterly as news director at WJW.

More as this develops, but we wanted to get this out there...

A Newsy Monday

Our first item for the new week is rather newsy. We actually have some interesting stuff this time! (No, not our usual flotsam-and-jetsam for a Monday morning.)

But a request, first.

Please dial back on the jokes in our comments at the expense of a certain board op who was once on-air at a local radio station. There are many who know the "back story", and we do, as well...and we don't think he deserves the joking potshots. It's really out of the spirit of what we do here, anyway, and we'll consider deleting such comments in the future.

Thank you, and now...the news...

A DEELY MOVE?: OMW documented - albeit with little hard information - the departure of WFHM/95.5 afternooner Dan Deely from the Salem Cleveland CCM outlet known as "The Fish".

We didn't have to cast a long fishing line to find what he's been up to.

Thanks to regular OMW tipster Nathan Obral in Lorain County for landing this one (OK, enough fishing jokes) - Nathan tells us Deely was heard doing a shift on Saturday afternoon at CBS Radio AC powerhouse WDOK/102.1.

Nathan helpfully reminds us that WDOK recently parted ways with afternoon driver Chris Fox, in what passes for "staff turnover" at the otherwise quite stable 'DOK.

And though we didn't hear Mr. Deely on WDOK on Saturday, we'd have to think he's a front-runner to take that afternoon drive opening. Though, we have no idea if WDOK program director Scott Miller has other ideas...

BASKIN WITHOUT ICE CREAM: We didn't catch his evening debut on Friday, but Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) did see new WEWS/5 sports anchor fill-in Andy Baskin on the late edition of "NewsChannel 5" (At 11 - aka "NewsChannel 5 NIGHTBEAT!!! "Did We Mention NIGHTBEAT???") on Friday.

Our first impression - he was comfortable, smooth and professional. From our memory, he seemed to be have more presence on screen than his last regular stint, as weekend sports anchor over at WKYC/3.

And we're apparently not alone, as OMW hears that Baskin's debut was well-received within the confines of 3001 Euclid. And it was probably well-received at the home of one Ms. Sue Ann Robak, who FINALLY got a day off as the only current permanent full-time on-air employee in the "NewsChannel 5" sports department.

Could Baskin become a regular at WEWS, despite his own personal commitment to "Over The Falls Productions", the production company that does shows for SportsTime Ohio? And how would that square with the competitive nature of the local TV sports business?

STO, of course, is directly associated with - and indeed, technically run out of - WKYC, Baskin's last regular local TV home. Will the work he does for STO via his production company conflict with a long-term gig at 5? Could, perhaps, he still squeeze in a part-time role at WEWS and do both, if allowed?

We hear that at least now, Baskin is quite happy to be at 3001 Euclid.

We don't know if this fill-in work, which is what it is right now, is an audition as well...and we don't know the answer to all those STO-production company-related questions...we'll keep watching.

We do know that this is a very busy time of year coming up for TV stations - the May sweeps - and we're told that it is very, very difficult to find "new talent" in the middle of a book.

By the way, we also hear from 30th and Euclid that former Browns star Reggie Rucker is in the mix, at least to some degree. Rucker has been on the air at "NewsChannel 5" frequently in the past week due to the NFL Draft...he's dubbed their "Browns Specialist".

But though we understand he may have auditioned for a sports anchor slot, we don't know how serious WEWS is about using him beyond Browns-related coverage. After early this week, we may find out the answer to that - on the air...

ONN MOVES: The hiding of the Ohio News Network cable channel has begun at Time Warner Cable.

OK, well, maybe hiding is a relative term, but sometime in the past few days, the dominant local cable provider in Northeast Ohio has scooted the Columbus-based cable news channel off into Digital Cable land.

On the Cleveland-based system once owned by Adelphia, ONN has been moved analog channel 70 to digital channel 163, with a billboard left behind on 70 directing ONN viewers to the channel's new home.

On the ex-Adelphia system in the Dover/New Philadelphia area, an OMW reader tells us TWC moved ONN from analog channel 72 to digital channel 122.

As we said, "hiding is a relative term". Analog 70 or 72 is not exactly prime cable TV real estate. We guess if the folks at Dispatch Broadcast Group had their way, the WBNS/10-sister network would be either among local broadcast outlets, or in the same area as CNN, MSNBC and the like.

And as mentioned before, TWC has long placed ONN on digital cable tiers.

Does TWC just not like ONN? Well, maybe not - or maybe.

We suspect one of the main "drivers" for this move is to free up analog channel space.

Eventually, systems like TWC and others will move the vast majority of analog channels off to digital land entirely, because doing so frees up tons (and we mean tons, cable-wise) of bandwidth to use for more profitable services like high-speed Internet, HDTV and the like.

The bad news? The digital channels don't all look as good as you would expect.

In particular, we point out the move on the Cleveland-based TWC system from 70 to 163. We expected it to make ONN clearer, since analog channel 70 is interference-prone. (We explained why in an earlier item.)

On digital 163, though, ONN looks almost unwatchable, with very deep darks and little focus.

Oh, our "maybe" about TWC not liking ONN?

We can't help but wonder if TWC, with a super-dominant position in nearly every major Ohio market, would eventually launch its own local news channel in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, much like the company's existing "News 14 Carolina" in North Carolina.

The only thing stopping us from predicting this? TWC has pulled back on these channels, even consolidating the North Carolina operation.

But TWC also plays a part in the WKYC/3-produced "Akron/Canton News".

And maybe they'd do local news channels in Ohio if they felt they could get a critical mass of viewers with a cost-efficient structure.

This last part? Just speculation on our part. We haven't heard it's even in the works...

CLEVELAND'S INFOMERCIAL 1540: While dialing around to catch NFL Draft/Day 2 coverage on Sunday, we checked in with Good Karma's "little brother" sports station, WWGK/1540 "KNR2".

And just before the 11 AM start of FOX Sports Radio's live pre-draft coverage, we heard talk about home improvement, and a reference to something called "The Home Solutions Show" that was just ending.


Not only have we never heard of such a syndicated show - and it was rather clearly not part of the FSR lineup - it sounded to us, frankly, like an infomercial...though we didn't catch what products were being sold, as we only heard the last minute or two of the show.

We'll add this to the list with shows like the horse racing program that would appear to be directly sponsored by a local horse racing track - heard Thursday evenings 6-7 PM on "KNR2".

We're not going to knock Good Karma's Craig Karmazin for selling block time on his 1,000 watt daytime secondary station. In WKNR's former regime, these shows would have aired at 7 PM on 850!

Infomercials are, as a former co-worker put it, the "crack cocaine of radio". It's about as close as you get to "free money" in radio sales, so we can't blame Karmazin - as long as he limits the time sales to 1540.

Now, if "The Home Solutions Show" ends up on 850, that'll be another matter.

While we're ripping infomercials on the radio, we note that NFL Draft coverage also knocked another paid show off local radio. Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 bounced "The Mutual Fund Show with Adam Bold" into the hours long after the draft, and after Saturday night's Cleveland Cavaliers' victory over the Washington Wizards was over...

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Weekend Programming

In our zeal to enjoy the weekend, we forgot that we didn't run down today's NFL Draft, and local coverage of same.

On TV, of course, it's all about ESPN and sister network ESPN2, which own the TV rights lock, stock and proverbial barrel. Local TV affiliates will have to wait until their evening newscasts to show video of the Browns drafting Brady Russell Thomas Peterson, or whoever it'll be.

This year, NFL Draft coverage has beefed up on radio.

On Browns AM flagship Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100, at least at the opening, it's Browns beat reporter Andre Knott joined by mid-morning host Bob Frantz - slipping on the sports jersey for the station's draft show. And Frantz and Knott are doing the show live from Browns HQ in Berea.

And at this writing, afternoon driver Mike Trivisonno has also just showed up. It's not clear what role he'll play, but in past years, he's been a "drop-in" and usually spent the most time on the air immediately surrounding the Browns pick.

WTAM's full coverage today is of note because in past years, the station has been forced to dial back on the coverage due to its role as the Cleveland Indians' flagship station.

But with the Indians scheduled for an evening game tonight...WTAM has the opening for full-time draft coverage.

And though WTAM will be carrying today's Game 3 NBA Playoff tilt between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Washington Wizards, tip-off is not until 5:30 PM...which gives plenty of time for draft talk even with a half-hour Cavs pregame show.

Good Karma sports WKNR/850 Cleveland "ESPN 850" has thrown the kitchen sink at Draft Day in 2007, mounting a day-long show at Harpo's Sports Cafe in Brook Park's Brookgate Shopping Center.

And the way it's been scheduled tells you a lot about the state of the station.

Heading up the all important run-up to the Browns' third-overall pick (10 AM to somewhere before 1 PM) is afternoon driver Mark "Munch" Bishop, joined by former Browns player Jim Pyne.

At Browns HQ in Berea is mid-morning host Tony Rizzo (presumably also working for his primary employer, WJW "FOX 8"), joined by producer/sidekick Aaron Goldhammer and long-time station reporter Bob Karlovec.

Joining in at noon will be station evening host Kenny Roda, who's said he'll be on the air from noon to 4 PM. In past years, Roda and mainstay Greg Brinda were the primary anchors for whatever NFL Draft remote the station has done.

Roda will also be tasked with taking the "this pick stinks/I'm happy with it" calls, which judging from the interest in this year's draft, could take half the night.

The station's website promotes basically everyone, including "10th Inning" host Brinda and even "Wine and Gold Postgame Show" host Michael Reghi, as being part of the draft show mix.

Your third radio, er, audio draft coverage option locally is provided by

The Internet broadcaster is hosting a live remote from Shula's 2 restaurant/sports bar in what we call the Independence Media Gulch, at the Doubletree Hotel off Rockside and I-77.

Unless you're a diehard STC listener, you probably won't recognize the names credited in the show's roundtable: Paul Teeple, Jim Kushlan, Rick Morris, Jason Jones and Jason Ashton.

But as far as we know, former WKNR/850 host Kendall "The BSK" Lewis is still aboard doing STC's mid-morning show - even after gaining much higher-profile employment co-hosting FOX Sports Net Ohio's "Cleveland Rants" with Les Levine.

"The BSK" is contributing live call-ins from Browns HQ in Berea to the STC draft day show.

In a totally unrelated item, non-sports fans may find solace in the annual WVIZ/25 Auction, which started Thursday and takes the airwaves at the Cleveland PBS outlet starting at noon today and tomorrow, and running into the wee hours.

This year, the auction folks are offering a live video stream of the show, in case you're near a computer and not able to watch TV for some reason. (They may have done so in the past, but we can't remember if they did.)

And even if you're not into the bidding, the Auction is usually a fun place to check in if you're a follower of local media personalities. And if you're here, that probably applies.

Each year, a number of local TV and radio people drop the competitive swords to help out their brethren at public TV...and you'll even get to see what some of the radio folks look like...

Friday, April 27, 2007

And...It's Friday

OK, so we will sneak in a final update for the work week...

IT'S BAAAAAAACK!: After what would appear to have been a one-day test earlier this month, Cleveland market CW affiliate WBNX/55 Akron has returned to the digital airwaves.

WBNX-DT is back up as of this writing. (If you haven't set your digital tuner up for it yet, have it scan new channels, or specifically, RF channel 30.)

And things are a little different for the station's return to digital broadcasting.

This time, WBNX-DT is putting out three subchannels. 55-1 is labeled WBNX-HD, 55-2 is labeled WBNX-DT, and there a 55-3 that's being called "WBNX-3". But right now, 55-1 is the only one putting out any signal - and we're told CW programming was indeed shown in HD on 55-1 Thursday night.

Aside from the logical thought that the station will use 55-2 to feed its SD signal to cable systems, 55-3 may have other purposes.

OMW readers have told us that WBNX owner Rev. Ernest Angley has actually outlined plans for a new WBNX subchannel on the air on his "Ninety and Nine Club".

We seem to remember that the subchannel was described, among other things, as a place the station could run that very program more than particular, in prime time, since the station moved "Ninety and Nine Club" out of its 10 PM time slot to run repeats of the popular sitcom "Friends".

But we don't seem to recall that "WBNX-3" - or whatever they'll call it - would be a running repeat of the show, or even that it would be specifically devoted to religious programming. But, we guess we'll find out with everyone whenever they start programming it.

And we have no guarantee that WBNX-DT will stay on the air from now on, as we would assume they are still in "testing" phase. For one, the other subchannels aren't "lit up" yet...

WHILE WE'RE TALKING TUBE: You probably already know how important the morning news has become for local TV stations here and across the country.

More and more, stations are putting resources into their morning shows. Many have expanded them even into the early morning hours, as viewership goes up rapidly (while it's been declining for the flagship evening newscasts).

So, it's no surprise to us that we get a lot - and we mean a lot - of questions about on-air personnel changes in local TV in the Cleveland market...and the vast majority of them concern the morning shows.

First, an update.

We've asked around, and indeed, WKYC/3 morning anchor Kim Wheeler moved off the station's wakeup show (weekdays) to take a job as the station's education reporter.

But Wheeler has also been paired with station (and market) veteran Jeff Maynor on Saturday and Sunday mornings, doing her education reporting the other three days of her work week.

We don't know how permanent that is, and note that WKYC will now be bringing in a new news director with the departure of Mike McCormick back to Florida.

As for who's anchoring ABC affiliate WEWS/5's "Good Morning Cleveland", it's anyone's guess.

Former station regular Lorna Barrett had been filling in for Tracy Carloss, who was on maternity leave. Lorna's been seen on GMC, while Carloss has returned from leave to co-anchor weekend evenings with Curtis Jackson.

Who...has also been seen on GMC.

Which...has also seen reporter Paul Kiska co-anchoring with Barrett.

Wait, there's more!

Don't forget the move of Susanne Horgan from the weather desk on GMC to the co-anchor spot with Danita Harris. Then, back to weather.

Local news mainstay Jack Marschall went from the station's morning helicopter reporting slot to the news anchor desk, and back up to the helicopter.

Alicia Booth is in there, somewhere, though we have no idea how permanent her "GMC" role is.

And don't forget anchor Adam Shapiro, who left GMC and WEWS for New York City, and who seems to have been the last regular, steady, non-moving-to-other-shows-or-roles presence on the "NewsChannel 5" morning show. His time on the show seems like it was 5 years ago, after all this.

We're not sure we've detailed all the changes - all of them within the past year, by the way. We probably got one or two wrong.

But if you think it's confusing to us - we keep track of this stuff! - think of how confusing it is to viewers.

In fact, we should run a contest: Which number is higher, the number of anchor changes on "Good Morning Cleveland" in the past year, or the number of format/owner/frequency changes in the Cincinnati radio market in the past year? It'd be a close call...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Not Quite A Week Ending Post

...unless we take Friday off, at least in the world of your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm). Which, we might...

TOWER'S NEW MORNING SHOW: We last paid attention to the morning show at Cumulus top 40 WTWR/98.3 in the Toledo market when "Tower 98-3" sent Toledo market veteran Johny D and his crew packing.

We're not even sure what "Tower" ran in mornings since, but we know what they're running now.

An item on Wednesday's AllAccess Net News scroll tipped us that WTWR has become the latest affiliate of "Kidd Kraddick in the Morning", a syndicated show based at Clear Channel top 40 WHKS/106.1 "Kiss FM" in Dallas.

And though Kraddick's show affiliate list has a lot of Clear Channel outlets, the show has apparently left the company's syndication wing, Premiere. We haven't been able to track down who is syndicating Kraddick these days.

So, in the Toledo market, Kidd will be up against Clear Channel's own top 40 outlet, WVKS/92.5 "Kiss FM". (We wonder if putting the show on WVKS' direct format competitor would have even happened in the show's days being syndicated by Premiere.)

And if you believe the Wikipedia entry on Kraddick - hang on, we'll truck in a grain of salt the size of the new I-280 bridge - the new affiliation is almost a homecoming for Kraddick.

The article claims that Kraddick was born in nearby Napoleon, Ohio...which is southwest of Toledo.

But "Tower's" relatively anemic Class A move-in signal may be faintly audible that far away from its transmitter site, which is apparently just south of the Ohio/Michigan border - an across-the-water shot away from WTWR's city of license, Luna Pier MI. (And by the way, that's one of our favorite COLs anywhere, name-wise...)

WTWR becomes Kidd's second Ohio affiliate, after Clear Channel's WZOO/102.5 "102ZOO" in the Ashtabula market...

MSNBC'S LATEST IMUS AUDITION: The show is no longer heard in Ohio, after Clear Channel flipped liberal talk outlets WARF/1350 Akron and WTPG/1230 Columbus to other formats (sports and conservative talk, respectively).

But we suspect some Ohio listeners want to keep track of Jones Radio mid-morning syndicated host Stephanie Miller, who counted WTPG as one of her first affiliates, and who also had at least a minor following on WARF.

Next week, Steph becomes the latest radio host to fill-in on cable TV's MSNBC, during the morning drive slot vacated with the semi-involuntary departure of CBS Radio host Don Imus.

Ms. Miller and her "mooks" (voice guy Jim Ward and producer Chris Lavoie) make the trek to New York City next week, doing the 6-9 AM (ET) show live from Imus' former studios just across the river in suburban New Jersey.

She'll be in the slot Monday through Wednesday of next week, and it appears that means her radio slot will be covered by a 3 hour delay of the MSNBC show's audio (9-noon ET).

Philadelphia-based conservative host Michael Smerconish (WPHT/1210) has been doing the former Imus show this week on the cable network.

But we put this item up only for this joke: For those buried in a hole, who didn't know that Imus had been canned and find Stephanie Miller on MSNBC next week, Imus to Miller is perhaps the most drastic change in looks in the history of television...

SOME REPRESENTATION: Ohio's getting a little representation in a radio trade organization.

Rubber City Radio news director Ed Esposito (Akron's WAKR/1590-WQMX/94.9-WONE-97.5) has been tapped as chair-elect of the national Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA).

And we notice from the release that Ed sports a fancy new title - "vice president of information media". As companies like Rubber City expand on the Internet, with sites like the company's AkronNewsNow, this kind of wording will become more common.

Also named as a director-at-large by RTNDA is Brian Trauring, news director of Toledo ABC O&O WTVG/13...

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hump Day

Disorganized, and in no particular order...

AND THE REST OF THE STORY: We've already reported that former WKYC/3 sports anchor Andy Baskin starts pinch-hitting in the WEWS/5 sports department Friday, which is now officially down to one person ("The Overworked Sue Ann Robak") on-air after the departure of anchor John Chandler.

What we haven't reported yet may be just as interesting.

OMW hears that upon the departure of sports director Chris Miller - now happily at Comcast SportsNet in Washington DC - a sports anchor previously seen filling in elsewhere in the market has been trying to get back on the air.

Charlie Minn.

Yes, that Charlie Minn.

In perhaps the strangest stint ever for a TV personality doing an extended audition for regular work, Minn had many heads shaking as a fill-in sports anchor on CBS affiliate WOIO/19's "19 Action News". (And really, working at Reserve Square, you have to DO something to make people think you're odd.)

The animated sportscaster was best known for his throw-it-against-the-wall schtick. We remember him wadding up paper and throwing it at the camera for some reason.

In the end, despite support from former Cleveland Plain Dealer sports/media columnist Roger Brown, Minn didn't catch on, and WOIO hired David Pingalore out of Pennsylvania...who, of course, is headed for Orlando FL.

We don't have an inside pipeline into the WEWS general manager's office, but all the rumblings we're hearing elsewhere out of 3001 Euclid would indicate that Mr. Minn shouldn't expect a return call any time soon.

So, perhaps Cleveland has been saved from Charlie Minn - again...

SINGLE SPONSOR: WKYC/3's "Director's Cut" blog, a regular link to our left-hand side, notes a local TV first of sorts.

It's been done on the network level, including on "NBC Nightly News". But the local NBC affiliate tried a single sponsor newscast locally for the first time Tuesday:

Tonight at 6 PM, WKYC launched its very first - single sponsor newscast in the Cleveland television market. Ohio Savings Bank, which changed its name to AmTrust, on Monday bought the entire 1/2 hour of Channel 3 News to bring you a virtually uninterrupted newscast.

It's actually harkening back to early TV days, where entire programs on a daily basis were brought to you by a sole sponsor...

SPORTSTIME OHIO'S PLACEMENT: The Cleveland Indians' SportsTime Ohio now has full-time placement on a number of systems, most notably Time Warner...where STO airs now on cable channel 76 on the "legacy" Akron/Canton TWC system, and on channel 17 on the Cleveland-based system formerly owned by Adelphia.

But at least one viewer is left to wondering.

We got a note from a subscriber to TWC's Norwalk system, telling us that he hasn't seen STO in the mornings at all.

We don't know how far the "full-time" progression has gone for STO, even on favored cable partner Time Warner.

We do know that Tuesday night, after the Indians' game with the Minnesota Twins, all forms of STO went dark on the Cleveland-based TWC system - analog 17, digital 179, and even HD 798, which at times has been left "up" even after the game ends. (Tuesday night's game was not in HD, since it was in Minnesota.)

Instead of "Outdoors Ohio" with venerable Cleveland outdoors media personality D'Arcy Egan, we were treated to What It Looks Like Outdoors With No Stars In The Sky.

STO is switched out of the WKYC "Digital Broadcast Center", so maybe Mr. Macek will have an explanation on his blog...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

More Tuesday Potpourri

We're just in an odds and ends kind of mood lately...

HELP INCOMING: Just two days after WEWS/5 lost sportscaster John Chandler to the land of New England, OMW hears that a fill-in may already be on the way.

We hear that if it hasn't happened already, former WKYC/3 sportscaster Andy Baskin will soon be tapped to pitch in at the local ABC affiliate - to ensure Sue Ann Robak isn't chained to the sports department 7 days a week, and to help with "team coverage" of events like the Cavaliers' run in the NBA Playoffs.

(We're pretty sure the definition of "team coverage" includes having more than one person on the air, after all.)

After leaving the local NBC affiliate, Baskin has started his own production company ("Over The Falls Productions"), and produces shows on a freelance basis for SportsTime Ohio.

We haven't heard much about the details of Baskin's upcoming work with "NewsChannel 5", but we get the idea it is strictly on a fill-in basis.

UPDATE 4/24/07 2:03 PM: We wrote this article before reading Akron Beacon Journal sports/media writer George M. Thomas' column in Tuesday's Beacon.

Thomas writes that Baskin will come aboard at WEWS starting Friday. We've been aware of the possibility since late last week.

And we maintain our original reporting, that as far as we know, Baskin will only be aboard at "NewsChannel 5" on a fill-in basis. One assumes that his production company would preclude any full-time gig.

As for now-former WEWS sports anchor John Chandler, we hear that he'll also get to do some feature-length pieces for the New England Cable News (NECN) sports department...

NOT REALLY LOCAL, BUT...: ...but, the person quoted by AllAccess Monday was definitely a local radio mainstay at one time.

Former WAKS/96.5 "Kiss FM" programmer Dan Mason, who's now in Sacramento by way of Miami, has landed a new morning show for the Entercom top 40 outlet there - you know, the one which ran That Contest, long before Mason showed up to clean up the mess.

And that's what Dan has brought to mornings at KDND/107.9 "The End" - a Mess.

No, we mean "The Morning Mess", a morning show which used to air on Clear Channel top 40 station WHKF/99.3 in Harrisburg PA, a sister "Kiss FM" outlet to Dan's Cleveland station.

In its new Sacramento incarnation, the show will become known as "The Wakeup Call".

And Mr. Mason mentions this in the AllAccess quote:

"I've been aware of JASON, KELLY, and GAVIN, since I programmed for CLEAR CHANNEL in CLEVELAND. I always thought the show would find it's way to a major market and I am thrilled that it's happening at KDND."

We have no confirmation to a rumor that the Harrisburg trio won't even be allowed to MENTION Nintendo video games...

THE CINCY GANG IS SPLITTING UP: With the sale of Clear Channel's television division to investment group Providence Equity Partners for $1.2 billion dollars, the split between Clear Channel's TV and radio holdings will become official when it closes.

In Ohio, this affects only one station - Clear Channel CBS affiliate WKRC/12 Cincinnati "Local 12", which will break ranks with Clear Channel's massive radio cluster in the Queen City at the sale's completion.

It almost seems like a footnote to us at OMW. Remember, dominant Clear Channel talk WLW/700 already had its own split from sister station "Local 12", when "The Big One" decided to hook up with NBC affiliate WLWT/5 for its news, weather and content sharing partnership some ways back.

A trivia question with an answer: There is, technically, one other Clear Channel-owned TV outlet in Ohio - at least for a while.

The company's hot AC WDFM/98.1 Defiance "Mix 98.1" operates WDFM-LP/26 in the same Northwest Ohio city, which is a locally programmed LPTVer that mainly features frequent repeats of local public affairs shows.

With Clear Channel's pending sale of hundreds of small market radio stations, including "Mix 98.1", the distinction won't last long...though the small market radio sale has hit a bump or two recently.

Technically, WDFM-LP isn't considered an asset of Clear Channel Television. It's a side business of the radio operation...

Living On The Air In The DVD Section

Countless local radio types credit one thing for their career in the business - the late 70's-early 80's TV show "WKRP in Cincinnati".

And it only seems that we've been waiting that long for the DVD version of the show, the first season of which is released in stores today.

Not only is there that inspiration, there's also the Ohio connection...the southwest Ohio city which served as the home of the fictional radio station in the CBS sitcom.

As would befit a newspaper headquartered in the Queen City, the Cincinnati Enquirer has put up a number of articles, quizzes and even videos to accompany the release date.

Enquirer TV/radio guru John Kiesewetter weighs in with a bunch of stories in Sunday's paper, such as this one about people so drastically affected by "WKRP" that they either moved to Cincinnati, or went to college there, after seeing the show. One Danish teenager was so taken, she got into an exchange student program that sent her to Cincinnati - where she still lives today.

But our favorite "WKRP" bit on the Enquirer's website is a video by Enquirer photographer Glenn Hartong, with Kiese's help, recreating the original 'KRP opening sequence with today's Cincinnati landscape.

For one, Paul Brown Stadium is there now, and Riverfront Stadium is not. The video compares the original opening sequence (with music) to today's Cincinnati, side-by-side. It's linked from all of the WKRP stories on - we don't want to put up the window-laden direct video link here.

Kiese has much more, including a behind-the-scenes of that recreation and some other stuff that wouldn't fit in print, on his TV/radio blog.

And yes, there is that music thing.

As has now been made clear, the "WKRP" DVD has been excised of much of the music which served as a soundtrack to the original show. (A Canadian magazine writer, Jaime Weinman, has a pretty extensive list of the substitutions here.)

While the show's original producer, MTM, used videotape instead of film for the very same reason - music rights costs - those rights don't transfer to the world of DVD. And, including the same "real" music from popular artists of the day would apparently drive the cost of the DVD set into the stratosphere. We believe there was music substitution even on the original VHS tape release.

This is only a small problem in some places on the show - but musical interludes provide a number of the show's turning points in a number of episodes. The music issues even forced them to take "Fly Me To The Moon" off of Jennifer Marlowe's world-famous apartment doorbell.

Still, short of charging over $100 (just our guess) for the first season's DVD set - which would mean very little sales - this was the only way they could get it out on the market.

So, we're resigned to it, and sigh at the thought of a Russian defector calling the one and only Bailey Quarters "terrible dresser" (we guess it was a dub for "Tiny Dancer", as in that song removed), but realize that many other scenes have no major music connection - like the infamous "Turkey's Away!" that even non-regular WKRP viewers know.

And there's still a lot to like about WKRP, even without some key musical interludes.

And yes, Cincy is one of those towns which jumps and jumps when a local connection is big news in the national media, so the 'KRP stuff on local media there this week may seem a bit excessive.

But remember, Cleveland, we have all those Drew Carey newspaper stories...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday, Monday

Some pickups/leftovers/questions to start the week:

THERE GOES JOHN: OMW hears that Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5 announced on its 11 PM newscast Sunday night that sports anchor John Chandler's last day would be - Sunday. It's news that isn't news to regular readers of This Space, which reported the "NewsChannel 5" sports anchor's exit on Thursday.

(An error on our part resulted in us reporting a last date of April 26th.)

We didn't get a chance to see it, but we're told anchors Curtis Jackson and Tracy Carloss gave Chandler a send-off, along with weather anchor Jason Nicholas - who quipped, "John Chandler's leaving?"

OMW hears that Mr. Chandler's destination in Boston is New England Cable News (NECN), the massive local cable news channel co-owned by Hearst (WCVB-TV there) and Comcast, where we presume he'll join the network's sports anchor rotation.

And Chandler's fiancee is apparently from the Boston area, and the pair has an upcoming wedding in the works as well.

We also caught the only on-air sportscaster remaining at WEWS after April 26th, Sue Ann Robak, make a quip Friday night - thanking her producer and an intern, if we remember right.

OK, Sue Ann - you're the only *on-air* sportscaster staying at 3001 Euclid...

With the Cavs in the playoffs, and Robak being the only sports anchor left, "NewsChannel 5" is going to have to find at least a second fill-in sports person - and quick. With the May sweeps looming, we hear it's going to be a tall order for WEWS to hire anyone permanent in the next couple of months.

They'd better at least get fill-in help, or Ms. Robak may have to use that producer and intern to physically hold her up, and stop her from falling over from exhaustion...

AND GOINGS...: Cleveland Plain Dealer media/radio/TV/moviemaking columnist Julie Washington has more on something else we reported in that item, the departure of WKYC/3 news director Mike McCormick.

McCormick tells Washington he was "tiring" of commuting between Cleveland and Jacksonville FL to "see his family", and denies that he was being thrown under the bus due to lower ratings at the local NBC affiliate.

Julie tells us that McCormick will be out of the building at 13th and Lakeside "before May sweeps", which, as we look at the calendar would be pretty much, well, very soon.

We'll do our best not to be skeptical here, but the timing seems pretty quick to us, particularly happening just days before an important sweeps ratings period...

AND GOINGS?: We are reminded by our comments that another local media departure has gone unreported.

And that's only because, well, we don't know anything about it.

But it does appear that Salem contemporary Christian WFHM/95.5 Cleveland "The Fish" is no longer featuring veteran voice Dan Deely in its afternoon drive position.

The move would seem to be confirmed by the "Fish" website's staff page, which shows Josh Booth in afternoons - and still shows Deely as host of the "Sunday Morning Celebration" from 8 AM to noon on Sunday.

But a click on the page for that Sunday show credits Salem's Glenn Mertz - presumably also voicetracking overnights on WFHM - as the host of "Celebration".

Meanwhile, Deely's own page still exists on the station's website, untouched from his time doing afternoon drive. And Josh Booth's WFHM staff page confirms his regular presence in the "Fish" afternoon drive slot.

And to further confuse matters, we've heard that Dan Deely's voice has still been heard doing production.

So, we just don't know. We'd appreciate any information about this - please, folks, E-Mail us privately if you can. We will be discreet and always.

And please, keep it "nice" in the comments...

DENNY REDUX: We reported here some time ago that former Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370 Toledo afternoon drive host Denny Schaffer had "landed" with a tryout at Dickey Broadcasting sports WCNN/680 Atlanta "The Fan", with a weekend show called "Denny Radio: Sports and More".

While Schaffer had always made it clear that the show was a tryout, we lost track. And looking for something else recently, we found out that the show apparently didn't continue past its first few tryouts.

Schaffer's name and bio are no longer on the WCNN website, and his own website's page with audio from the show has been moved into the "Past Shows" directory, with only one day's worth of audio from January 20th available.

It's not that the former WSPD host is completely out of the radio loop.

We missed it, but we're told Schaffer substituted last week for Premiere nationally syndicated host Glenn Beck (weekdays 9 AM-noon, WHLO/640 Akron, WEOL/930 Elyria and others).

A letter on Schaffer's E-Mail page from a former Toledo listener indicates that the host was heard doing Beck's radio show last Tuesday, in the aftermath of the Virginia Tech massacre.

Anyway, as we'll surely be asked after we post this, we don't know what the future is for one Mr. Schaffer and a permanent radio gig...

Friday, April 20, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Browns Re-Up With WKYC/3, Add SportsTime Ohio

The Cleveland Browns are sticking with local NBC affiliate WKYC/3 for the 2007 season, as the team's official broadcast TV partner and home of Browns preseason games.

But on the cable side, the local NFL team is making a change for 2007, as it will start a new agreement with SportsTime Ohio, the local cable/satellite regional sports network owned by the Cleveland Indians.

The other big news out of this agreement is for HDTV fans.

Channel 3 will air four 2007 pre-season games in HD format, and new cable partner STO will replay these games in HD within a day after the original airing on WKYC.

STO's technical operations are handled from studios at WKYC's "Digital Broadcast Center" in downtown Cleveland, and WKYC is also the broadcast outlet for Cleveland Indians baseball.

WKYC will also continue to air the "Pregame Huddle" pre-game show and the "Point After" show on Monday nights.

The STO agreement takes effect July 1st. The team has had a pact with competitor FOX Sports Net Ohio.

The Browns renewed their relationship with WKYC last year, when the team broke ranks with then-broadcast partner WOIO/19 over the 911 tape controversy.

And as last year, WOIO will actually air all but two regular season Browns games, as the local CBS affiliate. FOX O&O WJW/8 will pick up the other two, due to that network's role as home carrier for the National Football Conference, when those teams visit Cleveland...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Local TV Turmoil


There has been a lot of turnover in Cleveland TV over the past few months, and it's happening again. We have two items in just one day.

OMW hears that WKYC/3 news director Mike McCormick has announced his resignation from the Cleveland NBC affiliate this afternoon, effective immediately.

McCormick came to the station less than a year ago from Gannett sister station "First Coast News", the NBC/ABC combo in Jacksonville FL. We have no idea where he's headed.

And starting later this month, you can count the number of people working on-air in the WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" sports department by using just one finger.

As we hinted earlier, it's WEWS sports anchor John Chandler exiting the local ABC affiliate, not long after the departure of sports director Chris Miller.

OMW hears that Chandler will be a short shuttle flight up the eastern seaboard from Miller, who's now anchoring at Comcast SportsNet in Washington DC. We hear his last day at 3001 Euclid is April 26th.

We don't know his new station yet, but Chandler is taking a job in the Boston TV market - thus, our reference to the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics in the earlier item.

OMW hears that Chandler basically received an underwhelming, short term contract offer from the local Scripps-owned station, and decided to take the other option. Oh, that, and Boston is a larger TV market than Cleveland.

The move leaves "NewsChannel 5" with but a single sportscaster - Sue Ann Robak - as the Cavaliers' playoff run heats up.

They'll now have to look for both a sports director and a sports anchor/reporter. We're hearing that elevating Robak to the sports director role is not considered likely, just as the station wasn't looking to move Chandler up to the top sports spot as well...

WTAM's Crystal Award

With the folks at the National Association of Broadcasters holding their yearly gathering this week in Las Vegas, it's also time for awards.

And one of those awards goes to a local news/talk mainstay, Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland. WTAM received one of the NAB's Crystal Awards, which goes to stations with an "outstanding year-round commitment to community service".

Two WTAM efforts got the NAB's attention for the 2006 Crystal Awards.

The first is a long-running station campaign, "Coats for Kids". The yearly event has been a local radio staple for 25 years, starting in 1981.

WTAM's "Coats for Kids" brought in 24,000 coats for needy kids last year.

The second WTAM community service campaign is much more personal to the folks on Oak Tree.

It's the support and work on behalf of finding a cure for pancreatic cancer, including a fundraising walk put into motion by the man whose diagnosis started this, sportscaster Casey Coleman.

Not only did the "PanCan" walk raise a lot of money for the cause, but it was a heartfelt labor for Casey's co-workers and friends at Oak Tree. And a small tear comes to our eye when we realize that, of course, Casey is no longer around to see this award being given.

WTAM was one of ten stations getting Crystal Awards from the NAB this year. Along with other news/talk powerhouses like KOA in Denver and KTAR in Phoenix, small market stations got them...and AllAccess points out that along with them, curiously enough, four Minnesota stations were honored...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


NOTICE: We accidentally closed comments on this item too early, in our attempt to close the item below it. The comments are once again open on this item, if you'd like to add your two cents worth. -- The Management


We weren't even planning on being here today, we are, with a mid-week installment...

BLACKSBURG NORTH: Two days after the largest shooting massacre in American history, local TV stations in Cleveland continue to camp out in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The Virginia Tech incident has brought local reporters to the small Southwest Virginia city from near and far.

WKYC/3 senior director Frank Macek, whose "Director's Cut" blog is linked to the left here, gives the lowdown on how the local NBC affiliate's evening co-anchor Tim White was able to be on the air so quickly from Blacksburg:

He was actually in Washington D.C. at the time the shootings occurred getting ready to fly back to Cleveland to anchor the news Monday Night. Tim was able to be in the right place at the right time - and drove to Blacksburg to begin our on-site coverage of a story that has become a national and a local story...since it was just a few years ago that Case Western experienced a similar attack.

Timing, and location, is everything.

ABC affiliate WEWS/5 has decided to go with numbers.

Newly-minted Akron Bureau chief Pete Kenworthy, who basically just unpacked his belongings from his previous home market of Buffalo, was joined at Virginia Tech by evening co-anchor Lee Jordan - the pair is still scheduled to air reports from Blacksburg this evening.

And many of the local reporters left back in Cleveland have been pressed into service covering local angles related to the Virginia Tech shooting...

SPORTS INSTABILITY: Something just dawned on us.

Only one Cleveland market TV station has seen no changes in its sports anchor/reporter lineup over the past few months.

That station, of course, would be FOX O&O WJW/8, which has the solid trio of Tony Rizzo, John Telich and Dan Coughlin aboard.

We're reminded of this due to a note from an OMW reader, who tells us WKYC/3 has put up an official job advertisement to fill the vacancy left by the departure of sports anchor Andy Baskin.

Baskin ended up starting his own production company - "Over the Falls Productions" - and has landed on shows he produces for SportsTime Ohio as a result.

WEWS/5 is still looking for Chris Miller's replacement, after the long-time sports director headed for a gig with Washington DC's Comcast SportsNet. And Cleveland CBS affiliate WOIO/19 is now tasked with replacing weekend sports anchor David Pingalore, who's heading for WKMG/6 in Orlando.

And OMW hears that yet another local sports TV type could be bolting town soon. And we hope he likes covering the Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics...

NEW HD RADIO: OK, maybe only a dozen people in Northeast Ohio have HD Radio units. As posted earlier here, there is one in the OMW World Headquarters.

So, this word of a format change on a local "HD2" radio channel may not affect many.

But, we dutifully pass along word of the new "HD2" feed on Clear Channel otherwise-hot-AC WMVX/106.5's digital side: "Totally Kidz".

It's described to us as a youth-oriented format aimed at 6 to 10 year old listeners, to sister WAKS/96.5's recently introduced "KIWI Radio" HD2 format - aimed at kids a little older.

Both are programmed locally by WAKS/WMMS program director Bo Matthews.

The HD2 format on 106.5 replaces "The Lake", an adult album alternative format...

BOOM MEMORIAL: And long-time WMMS/100.7 iconic voice Len "Boom Boom" Goldberg is being honored in a new memorial.

Cleveland's "Hessler Neighborhood Assocation", which normally holds a street fair on Hessler Street in the University Circle area every year, is holding a reunion for many people who have helped put together the fair over the years.

And they're using the reunion - to be held on May 19th - to memorialize "Boom", who lived on Hessler Street from the 1960's into the 1980's.

The "Voice of the Buzzard" was silenced late last year with his death at the age of 74, though his voice still lives on for many who grew up listening to WMMS...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday's Here

And a note from your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm): Real life intrudes again, and our updates may not be as regular this week as we'd like. But we'll try to check in...

MAD DASH TO BLACKSBURG: As America got really familiar with a college campus in Southwest Virginia really quick, coverage of the largest shooting massacre in American history overtook local airwaves as well.

All local TV stations, that we saw, dipped in and out of coverage of the mass murder at Virginia Tech on Monday afternoon, provided by their various networks.

On the radio side, we didn't have much chance to check, but did hear WTAM/1100 "Sportsline" host Kevin Keane on his program later in the day - putting aside the balls, bats and nets for one night on the Clear Channel talker.

But then, we noted that at least two local TV news types were dispatched to Blacksburg, Virginia - presumably at the point where someone in their newsroom looked at a map and said, "hey, there's only one state between Ohio and that part of Virginia!"

Making the trip for NBC affiliate WKYC/3 was evening co-anchor Tim White, and heard by phone from the area on ABC affiliate WEWS/5 Monday night was new Akron Bureau chief Pete Kenworthy. (No, we don't know if Pete was sent because Akron is closer to Virginia than Cleveland.)

If FOX O&O WJW/8 and CBS affiliate WOIO/19 sent anyone, we missed it...

EXTRA CHANNELS: OMW commenters and E-Mailers provide the "rest of the story" to our note that Universal HD has now shown up in the HDTV lineup of Time Warner Cable's Cleveland-based systems - formerly owned by Adelphia and Comcast.

There's now a reverse HD migration - of a network that's been available in the former Adelphia TWC territory since before the sale being offered to "original" TWC systems.

We're told that ESPN2HD has now made it to the "legacy" Akron/Canton TWC lineup on channel 560.

TWC just announced a company-wide deal with Disney involving the ESPN networks, and the folks formerly in Adelphia land already had it in a grandfathered deal with that company.

We still haven't seen ESPNU return to the TWC Cleveland digital lineup as of yet. The network did, for whatever reason, NOT have that grandfathered agreement in the old Adelphia deal.

And we're told Universal HD is now also on the TWC Akron/Canton system at channel 556, though we don't know if that's new or not. We recall TWC has added the network for special events (like the Masters, which completed recently), but maybe it's there to stay now...

PUSHING OUT THE FRINGES: OMW hears from Bill Weisinger, otherwise known as "Uncle Bill" from WSTB/88.9's "Sunday Oldies Jukebox", on some technical fixes to the Akron market station broadcasting from a tower formerly used by Kent State University's WKSU/89.7 on the Kent State campus.

Bill tells us that some "long overdue improvements" have been made to the transmitting facility, which he says should improve fringe reception for WSTB. The changes are even more important since the Streetsboro City Schools-owned station had to drop online broadcasts recently, due to changes in music royalties and reporting for online outlets.

Of course, this will also expand listenership for WSTB's primary alternative rock "AlterNation" format, which is operated by Streetsboro High School students Monday through Saturday...

AND ONE EDITORIAL NOTE: Folks, please note - we are not connected with any TV or radio stations or other media organizations in Ohio (or anywhere else).

For whatever reason, many people seem to think we're somehow involved with "Ken and Kitty", the now-former country radio morning show recently dumped from WYGY/97.3 "The Wolf" in Cincinnati, which may or may not be owned by: Bonneville, Cumulus, Susquehanna, Entercom, John Doe Broadcasting or the Cincinnati Reds.

(Well, we've lost track, haven't you? It's owned by one of those companies, but if we put it here, it'll probably get sold again tomorrow.)

Just this week, a reader E-Mailed us asking us if we could improve our signal. OMW Radio, anyone? We have a lot of radios here in the OMW World Headquarters, but we're pretty sure there's no transmitter in the building.

We asked what frequency the reader thought we were on, and our reader apparently was looking for Kenston High School-owned adult standards outlet WKHR/91.5 Bainbridge. And yes, it's a tough catch from our reader's location on the far west side of Cuyahoga County.

We're thinking of putting up a page with local broadcast information, including contact numbers, websites and E-Mails. If this doesn't take over our lives, we'll think about doing it.

But please, readers...use Google first, or some other source. We have no transmitter and can't bring back your favorite morning duo...

Monday, April 16, 2007

Opening Up The Week

Happy Monday to you, such as it is...and our opening volley of the week is a mix of stuff...

THAT WHK 85TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW: As first mentioned here months ago, Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland is planning an 85th anniversary special.

We now know the date - this coming Thursday at 6 PM. And we know the host - former WHK personality Johnny Holliday.

From the WHK website page about "The WHK Radio Retrospective":

From 1959 to 1964, Johnny Holliday was the biggest name in Cleveland radio.

Join Johnny as he looks back over 85 years of great memories. You’ll hear familiar voices from the past including: Bill “Smoochie” Gordon, Gary Dee, Tim Taylor, Pete “Mad Daddy” Myers, Don Imus, and many others who played an important role in the rich history of Ohio’s first radio station.

It’s a celebration of Greater Cleveland’s history as you remember hearing it over 1420 WHK.

Yes, Don Imus...the former WHK and WGAR/1220 personality who's been the center of international attention. As far as we know, only his voice from the past will be heard.

We're told the special is an hour long, and will be rebroadcast Saturday at 7 PM, and Sunday at 5 PM...

UNIVERSALLY HD: The addition had long been rumored, but it's now official - Time Warner Cable's Cleveland division has added a new HDTV channel.

Universal HD is now airing on TWC's channel 775 in the former Adelphia service area. We hear it's also on the former Comcast systems absorbed by Time Warner - we believe on channel 227.

In case the channel's name doesn't ring a bell, Universal HD is basically the place NBC Universal runs HD versions of its cable hits like USA Network's "Monk", movies, and sports programming (like HD feeds of USA Network sporting events)...

WHILE WE'RE TALKING TWC: An OMW reader sent us this link to a story in the Lake County News-Herald on Thursday.

It notes a planned move of the Columbus-based news channel Ohio News Network on the former Adelphia systems in Lake County from analog channel 70 to digital channel 163. It isn't made clear in the News-Herald article, but it does sound like the move is being done on the entire former Adelphia system.

It's no surprise, actually.

As noted by TWC spokeswoman Heidi Mock in the article, the channel change is "consistent with all of Time Warner Cable, which has always carried ONN on the digital cable tier."

For example, in the so-called "legacy" Akron/Canton TWC system, ONN has always been on digital cable channel 119. Other TWC systems, including the one in ONN's hometown of Columbus, carry it on digital channel 100.

The issue came to the attention of the News-Herald thanks to complaints by the Perry Township trustees, who are hoping to convince TWC to change the decision.

Some are wondering if the ONN move is part of a lineup standardization among TWC's systems, but we don't believe so. For one, the network is apparently moving to digital channel 163, while the "legacy" TWC systems have it on 119.

And just down the road from Lake County's Perry Township, Comcast operated systems in the region in Mentor until the TWC swap. And it doesn't appear (PDF channel lineup file) the Comcast systems carried ONN at all...

ONE-DAY SPECIAL?: A while back - specifically, April 5th - OMW noted the first appearance of the digital signal of Cleveland market CW affiliate WBNX/55 Akron.

WBNX-DT wasn't quite ready for "prime time" yet, but it wasn't bad for the first time in what we presume was a test.

The signal seemed pretty close to full strength here at the OMW World Headquarters, on a par with the other local full-power digital signals out of the Parma antenna farm. The only problem we could see was some digital picture dropouts, which have also been plaguing WEWS/5's established digital signal in the past few days.

But as near as we can tell, WBNX-DT (RF channel 30) disappeared after that one day appearance.

The station promised an HD cable feed "by the end of October 2006", which never happened, and promised to be available over-the-air by "April of 2007".

Does one day count?

Oh, and note that the WBNX "Trends" page still lists the allegedly in-planning HD cable/satellite feed, which we learned later from WBNX officials - via the Akron Beacon Journal's R.D. Heldenfels, since they've never talked to us - was put off due to computer/interface problems...

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Up Next On WKNR Saturdays: "Hammer and Booms"

On Good Karma sports talk WKNR/850 Cleveland in the Saturday 9 AM-noon slot this week:

The second "Saturday Morning Sports Show" co-hosting appearance by comedian, former FOX Sports Radio host and Euclid resident Chuck Booms.

The show comes with a built-in name this time - "Hammer and Booms" - the first name in the billing, of course, being "Rizzo on the Radio" producer/sidekick Aaron Goldhammer.

We're not sure if the show name is significant, or as usual, if anything regarding this time slot "means anything".

Booms clearly wants to do a regular show on WKNR.

But the Saturday slot, since Good Karma's Craig Karmazin took over 850 AM, has been a laundry list of local sports media types past and present, fill-ins and such.

We're wondering if it will ever have a regular host, or if it's more valuable to Mr. Karmazin to use the slot to put together piecemeal on-air work from potential regular show hosts or contributors (i.e. the Akron Beacon Journal's Brian Windhorst, who shows up as a co-host fill-in on Tony Rizzo's mid-morning show early next week).

As Good Karma continues to reshape WKNR, the smart money may be on the second answer...

Friday, April 13, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: It's Q104's Turn

On the heels of the departure of CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 Cleveland afternoon driver Chris Fox, it's time for sister hot AC WQAL/104.1 to take a spin in the "Lineup Change Machine".

AllAccess reports that "Q104" is changing around its schedule.

Station midday personality and music director John Conner exits, to "enter the world of artist management" - that's an AA quote from WQAL programmer Dave Popovich.

That moves evening host Tim Richards up to the midday slot, and brings in WDVD/Detroit's Rob Kruz for evenings at WQAL. All of this starts Monday.

And in case you wanted to complete the circular connection, WDVD is the Detroit station now employing former "Q104" APD/MD/afternoon drive host Brian "Fig" Figula.

Fig left his PD gig at hometown WWCK/Flint MI to take a job doing nights and imaging for the Detroit station...

More "Newsy" Sports

Back in the day when FOX Sports Net Ohio was the only local cable TV sports operation, we think it's safe to say that you could call it a bit complacent.

The network had the rights to both the Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Cavaliers, and really didn't feel the need to produce any news or information programming besides the pre-game shows and post-game shows.

That changed drastically when the Indians took their baseball and went to a new TV home, their own SportsTime Ohio, last season.

Since then, both networks have built up local sports programming outside the games, and have been more aggressive in covering breaking sports news. It's quite common on cable/satellite sports networks in other markets, but hasn't really happened in Cleveland until recently.

We're reminded of that due to a press release put out by the SportsTime Ohio folks today.

STO says that a 4:30 PM press conference with Indians pitcher Jake Westbrook, who just signed on the dotted line with a new contract deal, will be carried live on the network this afternoon.

It'll air as a part of the talk show hosted by former Morgantown WV resident Bruce Drennan, "All Bets Are Off". (And we're about ready to go to Vegas to bet on how long that title will be was "cute" when Bruce just walked out of a federal prison on tax charges, but sounds a bit strained as the weeks go on.)

We're trying to remember back in the pre-STO days, if FSN Ohio would carry such press conferences live.

For its own part, FSN Ohio has taken to the practice of carrying live press conferences involving the Cleveland Browns...a part of the team's "exclusive cable deal" with the NFL club...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Imus Cleveland Fallout

Don Imus hasn't been on the radio airwaves in Northeast Ohio for a good 10 years, since his syndicated show aired on sports talk WKNR, then at 1220 AM.

But there are plenty of connections between this region and the now-former host of "Imus In The Morning", a morning drive radio program that aired on CBS Radio, and simulcast on MSNBC cable, until this week.

We won't repeat the oft-reported story here. You've probably already heard that both his radio and TV masters have now shown Imus the door, and he's now without regular daily access to a microphone.

But things running through our head while listening to - and watching - local radio broadcasters talk about "the new climate" based on the quick suspension, and later firing, of Imus...

WE MADE HIM: Cleveland has played a huge role in Imus' career.

Don Imus started in radio in the small Southern California city of Palmdale, which was once even more out of the way than it is now.

He eventually aired in places like Sacramento. But his "big market break" was in Cleveland, where he worked at the old WGAR/1220. He was "discovered" here, and quickly headed for New York, where he ended up staying.

HIS RETURN: ...well, most of the time. A transgression in the Big Apple forced his corporate masters to ship him back to Cleveland as "punishment", where Imus held court on WHK/1420 for a year or so...before finally returning to, and staying in, New York.

When his home base in New York, WNBC/660 ("66 W-NNNN-BC"), switched to sports talk - WFAN/1050 entered a deal and took over 660 from NBC - the station kept Imus on in morning drive. Of course, the frequency once also aired Howard Stern in afternoon drive - before the latter host moved to FM on then-WXRK/92.3 "K-Rock". (Our thanks to Lance Venta of for the memory correction.)

(Of course, those calls and format name are now on the very same frequency here.)

HIS SYNDICATION: His success on the relatively new sports talk station prompted sports radio stations across America to add "Imus In The Morning".

One of those stations was Cablevision's new sports talk outlet in Cleveland, WKNR/1220 "SportsRadio 1220". And yes, it was the very same frequency where Imus vaulted into stardom when it was WGAR.

Imus was around on 1220 the second time for a couple of years or so, if we remember right, in the mid-1990's. At some point, WKNR and other stations realized that just because Imus got big ratings in New York City on a sports outlet didn't mean he'd get similar ratings in other cities running the format.

(Someone commented to us today that if WFAN had run dogs barking in morning drive and it got ratings, every sports station in America would follow.)

ABOUT THAT NEW CLIMATE: Local talkers like WTAM/1100's Bob Frantz and Mike Trivisonno cite the "post-Imus world" we're now in...where they are worried that their every word could lead to someone being offended, and doing something about it...costing them their jobs.

In reality, though we understand any host's concern about this sort of thing, we'd respectfully submit that the worry is overheated in light of very recent news events. Maybe some perspective will be gained over time, and we'll see just how this all fits in - like with the infamous "Janet Incident" at the Super Bowl a couple of years or so ago.

While we're at it, in a case of Major Timing, nationally syndicated afternoon drive host Michael Baisden just happened to be in Cleveland today, doing his talk show from the studios of Radio One urban AC WZAK/93.1.

Baisden provided perspective for WZAK and his national listeners, including airing a live, telephone interview with Al Sharpton, who has been a part of this story and who hosts a show for Radio One - which airs on WZAK sister station WERE/1300.

And Baisden also became the perfect interview on the story for Cleveland's local TV stations...

Moving Central Ohio Radio Stations

Our friend and colleague Scott Fybush at NorthEast Radio Watch, who goes through new FCC applications like some folks go through candy, passes this one along.

Scott tips us off that WKOV/96.7 Wellston OH, licensed to that city in extreme southern Ohio near Jackson, has filed an application to head north - for a change of community of license to Frazeysburg.

Yeah, that meant nothing to us, either, until Mr. Fybush pointed out to us that the small town is just outside of Zanesville, and the station identifies a new transmitter site between Zanesville and Newark that would put a full signal over both of those communities.

For WKOV to move north, WCMJ/96.7 Cambridge has agreed to move over to 102.7 with a power increase. And due to a technical issue brought up by that move, WBIK/92.1 Pleasant City has agreed to move to a different transmitter site. It's all outlined in this attachment (PDF) to the WKOV application.

What's the eventual disposition of the WKOV move-in, whenever it happens?

Well, we've reported extensively here about the desire of the WHIZ Media Group folks to find a replacement frequency for WHIZ-FM/102.5 Zanesville - which will eventually move into the Columbus market, with a new community of license of Baltimore (Ohio, not Maryland).

To that end, it was learned that the WHIZ folks unsuccessfully tried to buy WCVZ/92.7 South Zanesville, the only other full power commercial FM in the immediate area, from the Christian Voice of Central Ohio folks...who run the Christian contemporary "River" format on it. (Oldies WYBZ/107.3 Crooksville OH rimshots Zanesville from the south.)

So, it would seem natural to us that these proposed moves - already coordinated with the stations that need to make changes - would lead to the new 96.7 Frazeysburg being the eventual replacement for 102.5, and free the current WHIZ-FM to make its move into the Columbus market.

But...we're reminded that another station in the region is also trying to make a move west to the "big city".

That'd be oldies WNKO/101.7 Newark, which has applied for its own new COL of New Albany. The move, if approved, would put it directly in the Columbus market.

So, we don't know right now. Maybe there's even some combination there, where stations get traded like so many playing cards. (See: Cincinnati radio market.)

But we're laying down a guess that the new frequency - or a trade for it - will end up being the new home of ONE of the stations bolting for Columbus...eventually...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: "Triv TV" Shutting Off

Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 afternoon driver Mike Trivisonno says he's giving up his "Triv TV" segment on Raycom Media CBS affiliate WOIO/19's "19 Action News" this week. Cleveland Plain Dealer media columnist Julie Washington has more on the PD's Entertainment Blog.

In the item, Washington says Triv blames the current broadcast climate, particularly the well-publicized trouble former Cleveland radio star Don Imus brought upon himself recently with rather poorly chosen words.

Triv made the announcement on today's "Triv TV" segment with "Action News" co-anchor Sharon Reed, saying he "didn't need another venue" to be careful about his wording.

Yes, we're skeptical, but for now we'll have to take the WTAM talker and frequent eater at his word.

For the record, we've never seen a moment of "Triv TV", and for that matter, we haven't heard a full 10 minutes of his radio show in roughly three months...


CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 Cleveland is often the model of radio stability, so we don't usually have anything to say about them. Well, until now.

AllAccess reports that WDOK afternoon driver Chris Fox "exits". The shift will be filled, at least on an "interim" basis, by local radio veteran and WDOK part-timer Bob McKay.

OMW is reminded that McKay did afternoon drive at Clear Channel hot AC WMVX/106.5 "Mix 106.5" until about five years ago.

More as it develops...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

T.K. O'Grady Is Recovering

We've known about this for a while, but rather unfortunately, we've been kind of swamped in the Real Life Dept.(tm) to get something up here in the past day or two.

So, we're heartened that it's good news that brings us to post this item.

OMW hears that Rubber City Radio rock WONE/97.5 Akron program director T.K. O'Grady has indeed successfully gone through his prostate cancer surgery, which took place on Monday.

We hear that O'Grady is expected home tomorrow, and is "doing fine". We also hear he'll be recuperating at home for the next six weeks or so.

Perhaps the best source of information on what T.K. is going through - comes from the same building.

Rubber City's has more on his surgery, including video of the WONE PD and afternoon drive on-air personality explaining the situation to his listeners.

It's part of a continuing evolution of the company's news site, which now regularly posts not just audio from the airwaves, but video.

A quick check of AkronNewsNow this afternoon shows a link to video from Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic's appearance on WAKR/1590's "Ray Horner Show" this morning.

And WAKR program director Chuck Collins, who does a lot of work on the website, is leading the way. He's put up his own YouTube section with various Rubber City-related videos, including a report on last weekend's snowstorm, and videos of sister country WQMX/94.9 personalities talking about "American Idol".

There is still a transmitter pushing out 5,000 watts on 1590 near the I-77/I-277 interchange, and will be for many years to come. But like with many other stations, casting a wider "net" is becoming more important for WAKR and its West Market Street sister stations...

Monday, April 09, 2007

STO Scrambles With Tribe Move

Television production can't often turn on a dime, but SportsTime Ohio is doing a lot of dime turning this week.

With baseball officials moving the Cleveland Indians series with the Los Angeles Angels to Milwaukee's Miller Park, STO says they'll air the three-game set as scheduled - scooping up a last-minute commitment on a production truck in Wisconsin, and flying staffers up to Milwaukee.

The sole casualty of the move will be STO's HDTV telecast, which won't take place since the games will not be in the already-equipped-for-HDTV confines of Jacobs Field.

STO's release says that in place of tonight's cancelled games with Seattle, the network will turn to its archives to re-air the "enhanced version" of Len Barker's perfect game.

And different, since last time this classic game aired on STO - that game's color commentator, Bruce Drennan, is now a staff member of the network...

Welcome To Monday

...such as it is. And as per usual with our early week posts, we're in a mix of updates and ongoing topics...

LES ON THE RADIO: When Good Karma sports WKNR/850 started revamping its lineup, bringing in names like Tony Rizzo and Mark "Munch" Bishop, we wondered what would happen when these hosts took time off.

With a rather busy sports month or so mostly behind us, it's no surprise that Rizzo - in his "day"/night job as WJW/8's primary sports anchor - would be taking some time off from both TV and radio...and that time comes starting this week.

Another former host from WHK/1420's sports talk days in the 1990's will be sitting in for him this week.

Yes, it's FSN Ohio/Time Warner Cable host Les Levine in the 10 AM-noon slot this week on "ESPN 850 WKNR".

Levine has done WKNR fill-in since Good Karma took over the station - mostly on the still-not-permanently-filled "Saturday Morning Sports Show".

WKNR promotions director Jason Gibbs did the Saturday show this past weekend.

We say "mostly behind us" above, of course, because the Cleveland Indians have been trying to play a complete home opener since Friday evening. And with today's makeup contest also postponed due to snow, and rain expected this week, the Indians head to Milwaukee to play the Angels under the safety of retractable roof.

We would surmise that even without Tony Rizzo being hired for the 10 AM-noon slot, Levine wouldn't have been interested in permanent WKNR work - with his very busy TV schedule. But as a week-long fill-in? Sure...

WHILE WE'RE AT SPORTS: We don't know what WEWS/5 sports anchors John Chandler and Sue Ann Robak do to keep themselves alert, but we'd like to know. (Lots of coffee? Red Bull's strongest drink? People popping paper sacks in front of them to wake them up?)

As far as we've been able to determine, both of them have worked pretty much every day since the Cleveland ABC affiliate said goodbye to sports director Chris Miller - who booked to Washington DC's Comcast SportsNet a while back.

And since that day, we've had a deep run into the NCAA championship game for the OSU Buckeyes, with Chandler on-site wherever they were, and Robak mostly back at 3001 Euclid. We've had the end of Indians' spring training, and the start of the season. And of course, the Cavaliers are heading into the playoffs.

The point is, of course, that "NewsChannel 5" has been working its two-person sports department like they've had three people. We're surprised Chandler and Robak haven't collapsed on air.

And we hear WEWS is not in a hurry to hire a permanent replacement for Miller.

But we do wonder - can't Channel 5 bring in a fill-in sports anchor somehow? At very least, their very busy current sports folks can grab a wink or three...and perhaps to audition an eventual replacement for Miller.

For that matter, if they did decide to do that, they'll have to compete with CBS affiliate WOIO/19, who - as reported just below this - now has to look for a weekend sports anchor to replace one David Pingalore.

But "19 Action News" has brought in a lot of fill-in sports anchors in the past - among them, WNIR/100.1 afternoon drive host Bob Golic.

We wonder if the ex-Cleveland Browns defensive star turned Akron talk show host is going to show up again some weekend later this month or early next. (We just wonder - we haven't heard if Golic will be tapped for fill-in at all. It's just an educated guess based on his past fill-in work.)

And could one other known local name could be in that mix at "19 Action News" as well? We'll let that feline out of the paper sack later in this item...

WHILE WE'RE AT CABLE: Yes, at least in western Summit County, Time Warner Cable/WKYC's "Akron/Canton News" started airing last Monday in places like Bath, Richfield, Copley and the former Northampton Township.

Since some folks seemed confused about this the last time we mentioned it, we'll clarify it a bit.

The former Adelphia systems recently absorbed into Time Warner Cable in Summit County are not connected.

One of them serves, as mentioned, the western part of Summit County. If you go back far enough, it's the system originally built by Cablevision back in the 1980's...coming out of Cleveland, which was the company's original hub. All of this was bought by Adelphia some time ago.

The other system serves eastern/northeastern communities like Hudson and Macedonia. This system was the former Western Reserve Cablevision, which was separately absorbed into Adelphia - and has a different lineup than the western Summit County system now formerly run by Adelphia.

For that matter, it has a different lineup than Cleveland's former Adelphia systems, since it wasn't built out of Cleveland like the other system was.

The problem is simple, says TWC: The former Western Reserve system does not have a local programming channel, where the former Cablevision systems do.

Oh, the former Western Reserve system does run local programming. But from our understanding, it's mostly "spoken for" with mandated local access productions and such, and there's no room at 6:30 and 10 for the imported "Akron/Canton News".

Even on the Akron-area ex-Adelphia systems which now run the show, it's kinda awkward. Local cable origination isn't known for its exact timing and imaging, and this arrangement seems even more "odd" - so you're likely to see the last 30 seconds or so of "More Sports and Les Levine" after the newscast ends at just before 7 PM.

Oops! Well, if you want to see the last half-hour of Levine's show, you can tune in for the repeat at 11 PM on all the local TWC systems...

HELLO, GEORGE!: An OMW nod to the Thursday media column of Akron Beacon Journal sports columnist George M. Thomas.

Thomas reports on the "save" of the MLB Extra Innings package for cable - Time Warner, locally - and on that cable service's deal with ESPN, which returns ESPNU to TWC's former Adelphia systems and brings it to the "legacy" Time Warner system in Akron/Canton.

It'll also bring the HD version of ESPN2 to the Akron/Canton TWC systems - ESPN2HD has been on the Cleveland-based former Adelphia system since before the transition.

George also points out some possible hosts for the Friday edition of SportsTime Ohio's "All Bets Are Off", giving the show a sixth day on former Morgantown WV resident Bruce Drennan's day off.

Among those "mentioned" is former WKNR Indians beat reporter Ken Silverstein, current WTAM/1100 Browns beat reporter/host Andre Knott, and a co-worker of Knott's, WTAM mid-morning talk host Bob Frantz.

We put "mentioned" in quotes, as it's how Thomas presented the information - but the ABJ columnist has been plugged into this story since day one, so we wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't far from the mark.

We continue to get the idea that the Friday "All Bets Are Off" slot won't be filled by one permanent host, as we assume the network doesn't want to front anyone regularly for the show besides Drennan.

Thomas' use of the phrase "guest hosts" seems to back that up.

And continuing our item above, could Drennan end up on the WOIO/19-WUAB/43 airwaves on a part-time basis? Writer Kevin Kelley of the suburban weekly newspaper "WestLife" brings that up in a recent story about STO's newest host:

“I fully intend to incorporate my story, my case, my experiences leading up to the five months at Morgantown, and my five months at Morgantown,” said Drennan, who is also in discussions to work part time for WOIO/Action 19 News.

AND JIM'S TALK RETURN: Thanks to a friend, we did get a chance to hear NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton's Jim Albright take calls and chit-chat on his new Saturday 6-10 AM show.

It's pretty much as we expected...a weekend morning easy-going chat, humor and information show. It has been a number of years since the radio veteran did talk - as long-time host of WNIR/100.1's "Dating Show" - but it didn't take him long to climb back on the bicycle, as it were.

In addition to talk of baseball game memories in the wake of the Indians' postponed home opener - back and forth with the sports anchor - Albright fearlessly took calls from people unhappy with the format change.

To those missing the oldies, Albright reminded listeners that the station played "the same 200 oldies" in those days that even an oldies aficionado like the host himself was tiring of playing. He noted that the station couldn't go part-time oldies due to music rights costs.

And Albright quickly reminded those listening and calling that the station's other elements around the songs remained as is.

Well, yes and no.

The news, sure, though there have been some cutbacks to that even in the last days of the oldies formats (most notably, weekends after Albright's show). Fred and Pam haven't moved, or changed much. The local sports folks are still there, and we imagine their role will probably grow at some point.

But folks who liked the on-air personalities around the oldies...well, they're gone - Tom Jarrett, Brice Lewis (now weekends at Clear Channel AC WHOF/101.7 "my 101.7") and the like. And at least three hours a day, one of those hosts has been replaced by a syndicated talk show.

It was still a pretty good attempt at placating upset listeners.

But there wasn't much Albright could do to help the elderly woman who missed the obituaries the station used to read in the evening. She apparently doesn't get the paper...

Friday, April 06, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: WOIO's David Pingalore Headed To Florida

This just in, and as far as we know, exclusive to OMW - at least on the Ohio end:

WOIO/19 "19 Action News" weekend sports anchor David Pingalore is leaving the Raycom Media Cleveland CBS affiliate for Florida.

In his blog, Orlando Sentinel TV columnist Hal Boedeker writes that Pingalore is headed for Orlando, where he takes the top sports job at CBS affiliate WKMG/6.

Boedeker writes that Pingalore heads south later this month to become that station's sports director.

Up here, Pingalore is second in the "Action News" sports department to Chuck Galeti, the long-time local sports personality who has also been heard on radio (WTAM/1100, WXRK/92.3).

Pingalore came to WOIO in 2005 after working six years in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre PA market. It's actually a return to Florida for him....his first TV internship was in Tampa, and his first on-air job was in Jacksonville...

Weekend Loose Ends, April Edition

After enough snow delays to stop a baseball game four times, time to clear out the odds and ends before we hit the weekend...

ANOTHER WHBC CHANGE: OMW hears that NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton, now finishing its second week as "NewsTalk 1480", is making another adjustment to its new format.

And judging from the feedback we get here, it's one that will please many of our readers.

We hear that WHBC weekend mainstay Jim Albright will premiere a Saturday morning talk/information program starting tomorrow from 6-10 AM.

The show's described to us as a "full service" show - with a combination of local and national news, sports and weather, along with talk, trivia and calls from listeners.

We'd assume that it'd be basically a Saturday, solo-hosted version of the station's "Fred and Pam" weekday morning drive show - a bit more laid-back for the weekend audience, and pretty much a staple on many news/talk outlets across America.

Albright moves up the schedule from his former Saturday afternoon oldies show.

WHBC continues to air FOX Sports Radio the rest of the weekend...

WEWS CHANGES, CURRENT AND COMING: We've had a tip or two reminding us that Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5 has given its 11 PM newscast a name.

No, not "NewsChannel 5", which is the name for the station's entire news operation - and also extends to non-news branding.

The name applied to the 11 PM newscast is "NewsChannel 5 Nightbeat".

As with most such "different" names, it's even being used by live reporters in the field in their so-called "lockouts".

OMW hears that WEWS crime beat reporter Joe Pagonakis will change gears sometime in the next few weeks. He'll go from covering shooters to being a "troubleshooter". (Nice turn of phrase, if we do say so ourselves.) We're told to expect the change before the end of April.

The change will not affect current consumer reporter Angie Lau, who will continue in her current role...

WBNX REDUX: We warned you, and sure enough, the new digital signal of Cleveland market CW affiliate WBNX/55 Akron has left the airwaves.

A brief check for WBNX-DT on and off today revealed no signal each time we checked in, including as we write this item on Friday night.

Again, no surprise. It's quite typical for stations to have periods of testing, adjustment and whatnot before finally going fully live. It's the same process Youngstown CBS affiliate WKBN/27 went through when it launched WKBN-DT.

When WBNX-DT was up, they were having some problems with screen dropouts, or so many have told us. The station wasn't putting up CW programming in HDTV, but we don't know if that's just something they haven't "turned on" yet.

If you do have a digital tuner and want to keep looking - WBNX's digital signal is on RF channel 30...

SPORTS CONFUSION: The "It Really Didn't Count" Cleveland Indians home opener caused a lot of scrambling on both radio and TV.

For one, it nudged the game on Indians flagship Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 right into the Cleveland Cavaliers/Washington Wizards game...the latter scheduled for 8 PM, the former originally scheduled for 4:05 PM, but delayed by snow for hours until they finally gave up and called it off.

It also nudged non-rightsholder Good Karma sports WKNR/850 "ESPN 850"'s post-game show with Greg Brinda into the late evening hours, which made it the direct lead-in for the "Wine and Gold Cavaliers Post-Game Show" with new station addition Michael Reghi.

One other WKNR note from earlier: In the radio equivalent of trying to program against the Super Bowl, Good Karma boss Craig Karmazin took the station's afternoon drive shift himself on Friday.

The co-host of his company's "The Steve and Craig Show" - which doesn't sound like it's going to be airing on sister station WWGK/1540 "KNR2" after all - took over the post-4 PM slot after station hosts Tony Rizzo, Mark "Munch" Bishop and Kenny Roda did their shows during a live block from a downtown nightclub from 10 AM to 4 PM.

We're not knocking Mr. Karmazin, at all - but we figure about the only way he'd program himself in afternoon drive time on WKNR would be with the assumption that most listeners will be elsewhere with the Indians home opener underway.

For one, Karmazin is a smart, young radio guy. He knows he's not regular afternoon drive talk material in a market the size of Cleveland, even on a station he owns. If he thought so, or if his on-air career was the driver for him, he'd have slotted "Steve and Craig" at 7 PM on WKNR.

At this point, as indicated above, we're not even sure the show he co-hosts will be heard on 1,000 watt "KNR2". The website has removed "Steve and Craig" from the program lineup, even on the WWGK side of things.

While we're on the subject of the Good Karma stations' website, we're reminded that AM 1540 has debuted "Thistledown Track Talk", another specialty show on the WWGK lineup. The horse racing show airs Thursday from 6-7 PM on "The KNR Deuce", as it were.

A quick check listening to the show this week has us believing that it's not just a title sponsorship, but that Thistledown actually pays for the show. That's just a guess, though.

Sports fans...remember when such shows were actually staples of the main WKNR lineup at 7 PM?

Thursday, April 05, 2007


This may be bigger news to you if you're a fan of the CW Network's prime-time lineup, and have a high-definition TV.

OMW got a tip that Winston Broadcasting CW affiliate WBNX/55 Akron has finally lit up its long-awaited digital signal.

We lit up our own HDTV set, and sure enough, it's there, apparently at a decent power level.

We imagine that like most such installations, WBNX still has to test and make adjustments to the signal. But this is the first ever sign of the WBNX-DT signal, which broadcasts on RF channel 30...

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

WKSU's Vincent Duffy Heads For Michigan

OMW has confirmed that WKSU/89.7 program director Vincent Duffy is leaving the Kent-based NPR outlet for a new job out of state.

Duffy will become news director of the University of Michigan's network of three NPR stations, based at the university in Ann Arbor.

"Michigan Radio" originates at WUOM/91.7 Ann Arbor, which serves southeast Michigan including nearby Detroit, and has outlets in Flint and Grand Rapids.

OMW hears that in addition to the radio work, Duffy will have a chance to do some TV work as well with the university's PBS operation, "Michigan Television"...of course, Duffy is also the host of WNEO/WEAO-45/49's weekly news roundtable show "NewsNight Akron".

Before taking over the programming reins at WKSU, Duffy was the station's news director for seven years

Over the years, "89.7" has taken on a number of new frequencies across Northeast Ohio - the latest being translators near Youngstown and in Ashland.

Duffy's last day at the local public radio outlet is May 4th...