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...