Monday, April 09, 2007

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...


Anonymous said...

Looks like the days of Mike Catan, Neil Bender and Josh Sabo gracing the WKNR airways are officially over. (Remember that they were essentially the only fill-in options when Roda and Brinda had time off). Looks like they'll have to actually prove themselves in another market or give up the on-air hosting dream unless giving updates is their thing.

Tim Lones said...

Indins scehedule note:

According to the AP and the Plain Dealer, today's doubleheader with Seattle has been postponed..and the Home series with the Angels to be played at Miller Park in Milwaukee Tues-Thurs...Interesting in that The old Milwaukee County Stadium was "stand in" for Cleveland Stadium in the "Major League" Movies.

Anonymous said...

If the first poster's comment has any truth, it's KNR's loss. Munch is so over-the-top and uncredible, I cannot tolerate 3-6p anymore. Karmazin may have wanted to shake up the entire lineup, which he did, but he made it much worse. Worst of all, he failed to recognize the talent waiting in the wings, who shined whenever given a chance on-air. Oh well, it's beating a dead horse, because he obviously doesn't listen or care what makes good radio. So, I'm off to WTAM. Triv is starting to look really, really good.

Anonymous said...

"Triv is starting to look really, really good."

I hope to God this is simply a figure of speech....

The guy that never listened to you on 850am said...

An open post to Mike, Neil and Josh:

Outside of your mothers and the IRS,there is nobody who knows who who all are. Please stop wasting our time with the repeatitive posts on how great you all are. You aren't, at least not yet.

Take this time on the beach, (hey! there's no Surf in Cleveland!) to seek gainful employment at another broadcast outlet. Make tapes at home, create resumes, and send them out. If you are as good as you claim, SOMEBODY will call back. It may take time, but eventually somebody will call.

Use the energy you use for your endless self-promotion to fine tune your craft, even if it's with a Mr. Mircophone. In fact may I make the suggestion that if you want to be on WKNR bad enough, go to radio shack, buy a couple of parts, and retune a Mr. Microphone to 850am. Then sit back and host your show all day long if you want. Munch says something you don't agree with? hit that black button and say loudly, you are wrong mister!

Anonymous said...

Sabo and Bender are now the 2 full time update guys on the deuce (1540/KNR2).

Catan and Karlovec are now full time "Beat reporters" for the 3 pro teams.

I don't think any of these guys had delusions of grandeur about becoming a full time daily talk show host.

They all just happened to work for a company who was working on the cheap, and since they were already employees at 850 (as producers and whatnot), they got thrown on the air.

Now though we when the 3 main daily hosts (Rizzo/Munch/Roda) are off, we will see a Les Levine/Kendall Lewis/Chuck Booms be brought in from the outside, or have a Reghi or Brinda (when they're not doing a post-game show) come in and work an extra shift.

Blame Salem if you didn't like the OCB contingent on the air, but don't dump on the guys themselves for being put in spots they weren't ready for.

Eddie is the best said...

I am disappointed that Eddie Mularz does not get to read the weather in the morning anymore

Anonymous said...

Guess WOIO/WUAB must like hiring the felons...first Chuck Galeti following his DUI/possession of marijuana charges and now Drennan. I suppose those two can reminisce about their fun times in the big house. Probably those two are working at bargain basement prices. Maybe that's why Carl Monday went there, just to keep tabs on those two, easier to do investigations when you only have to walk down the hall.

~~NPHSQUAKER said...

It would be nice if they'd have a guest fill-in of Gib Shanley back in the seat he used to fill in the "Catch 5" 70's Era..


Anonymous said...

Catan and Karlovic the beat reporters you say? Pound for pound the best duo out there.

Anonymous said...

Boy, that "guy who never listened" sure has a petty axe to grind with someone. He has to be the wannabe who always has a cheap shot or snarky remark about the talented guys he addresses in his moronic "open letter." Listen, fella...since you can't believe they couldn't possibly have "fans," let me assure you---I AM ONE. I always enjoyed those talkers on Saturday, and wish you'd just take your crappy jealous snark elsewhere. You're in the minority, bub. They have more sports sense than you'll ever possess, and their on-air banter was entertaining, as opposed to the drech WKNR is offering these days.

And for the guy who always wants to bash Galetti and Drennan...face it, man, they're GOOD. Actually two of the best sportsguys Cleveland has to offer. So lay off your tired droning.

-- Ryan Ditmar

Anonymous said...

I missed the "Dating Show" that Jim Albright used to do. My best friend was set up on a date once on that show. That show was fun to listen to.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Ditmar, but i've seen those weekend numbers, and the guy that was critical of the Saturday Sports Show was certainly not in the "minority," as you put it. But more to the point, if you took the Sabo and Catan show to advertisers, who would bite? Compare that with Rizzo or Les Levine, and it's not even a fair competition. Nothing against Neil or Josh (who knows, maybe they are content with doing updates, there's nothing wrong with that), but let's face it, you couldn't make money on a station giving them time slots.

Anonymous said...

Has WKNR made money with Greg Brinda Kenny Roda so far. Last I checked the station was always in the bottom of the ratings with those supposed pros. Might as well give the OCB contingent the time slots. I don't think they can do any worse than 20th in the market. Only in Cleveland do we think that Tony Rizzo is talent. If Tony is so talented how come he can't find a better wig for that bald head of his?

Anonymous said...

Hey that is not a wig on Tony Rizzo's head! Why are people always attacking that great head of hair he has?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that PETA doesn't get involved. How inhumane can you be to kill some poor innocent animal & stick it on your head and pretend it is your "real" hair.

Gibby said...

"Only in Cleveland do we think that Tony Rizzo is talent."

Well, Karmazin is anything but a Cleveland guy, and Tony is the first person he called. If you really think the OCB guys should be hosting instead of Tony Rizzo, than you are either one of the OCB guys, or you are the competition, trying to make it seem like Karmazin made a mistake.

And for those of you making fun of his hair, that's not exactly the most difficult of targets. And i'm sure Tony and his 6-figure-plus Fox salary and the 50K-plus Karma salary can handle hair jokes from OCB grads making 8.50 an hour.

Anonymous said...

Hello, 550 South Market?

Brice Louis no longer works there. Time to change the promo for 94.1's contest rules.

Thanks and have a good day.

Anonymous said...

I also heard a promo for Fred and Pam saying "Join Fred, Pam and the OLDDDLIES YOU LOVE every morning..."

Now if that isn't rubbing it in to old ladies who loved the music nothing will. Then again, maybe they wouldn't even pick up on it.

Of course we are used to stations playing the wrong stuff with the Clear Channel AM stations here.