...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...