Well, mostly teasers, as it's a motley collection of semi-developed items and rumblings...with SOME very solid news...
FAREWELL SOON: OMW was the very first place where the impending retirement of WJW/8 "FOX 8"'s Big Chuck and Lil John was reported in October 2006, much to the chagrin of, well, management on South Marginal Road.
Just one day later, Plain Dealer entertainment/media writer Julie Washington talked to "Big Chuck" Schodowski, who told her that he was considering retirement...oh, right about now, in the summer of 2007.
This clashed with our account that Schodowski and co-host "Lil John" Rinaldi were basically being nudged to the exit door after many years by FOX corporate - not the local management, as we painstakingly said at the time, but the New York-based overseers of our local FOX affiliate here in Cleveland.
Water under the bridge, as far as we're concerned.
Whoever prompted what, Schodowski was gracious about it, and we were reminded that despite appearing ageless, the long-time weekend movie/sketch show host was 72 years old.
So, here we are in May 2007, and OMW hears rumblings that "Big Chuck and Lil John" are about ready to tape their final show. "Is that all there is?"
To that end, OMW readers tell us that Schodowski has been talking on the air about his impending retirement, including a series of spotlights on various regular skit cast members, and talk of a "Best Of" show in prime-time.
It appears the last original show featuring the local TV icons will air sometime late next month...
SMOKE ABOVE SOUTH MARGINAL: According to the latest update of Rick Gevers' "ND List", "FOX 8" has indeed named its new news director:
WJW-TV, Cleveland, OH...late this afternoon SONYA THOMPSON was named ND for this FOX o-and-o. Sonya's been the Assistant ND here for more than ten years. She'll replace as ND the man who promoted her, GREG EASTERLY, who himself was promoted to General Manager last week. Long time EP ANDY FISHMAN has been named Assistant ND to replace Sonya.
We reported here earlier that WJW was looking at two strong in-house candidates...
OVER AT LAKESIDE: We haven't yet learned who'll take the same job (ND) at Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, though we think that job is also down to two candidates as well - if not one.
But someone's apparently stalking former WKYC/3 news director Mike McCormick. Out of nowhere, we received an unsigned note claiming he'd interviewed for yet another ND opening in the Gulf Coast region...you'll recall that the gossip site NewsBlues earlier reported his interest in running the newsroom at New Orleans' WWL/4.
Both stations would be within relative easy travel distance of McCormick's original home base of Jacksonville FL.
We won't say more than that, as we can't vouch for the veracity of the anonymous note...
NOT "GOOD" FOR ASHLAND/MANSFIELD: That's not "Good" as in "Not GoodRadio.TV", as the official list of Clear Channel small market Ohio spinoffs to that company is out.
And according to AllAccess, as expected, the company's Ashland/Mansfield cluster is not on the list of stations being picked up by former PAX TV/Ion Networks executive Dean Goodman's new radio company.
The other clusters listed here are on the list, including Lima, Findlay, Tiffin, Sandusky, Chillicothe and Marion, as well as Clear Channel's cluster in nearby Wheeling WV - yes, including the 50,000 blowtorch WWVA/1170.
That is particularly interesting, when you remember that Clear Channel filed in 2004 to MOVE that station out of Wheeling to a new COL of the Akron suburb of Stow. The move, of course, was vacated later that year by Clear Channel, for reasons having nothing to do with zoning radio stations in Stow. (Sorry, Denise! Couldn't resist!)
Oh, and AllAccess notes that WSRW-FM/106.7 Hillsboro and WMRN-FM/106.9 Marion's "original facilities" aren't included in the sales, both stations having filed for COL moves under Clear Channel. Both stations' sister AM outlets will stay with GoodRadio.TV, it appears.
WMRN-FM, we presume, stays with Clear Channel whenever it manages to move into Columbus, and we believe WSRW-FM moves to Chillicothe. There's a frequency change or two in there as well.
CC's Ashtabula stations, as reported earlier, are going to veteran Cleveland radio executive Tom Embrescia's "Sweet Home Ashtabula". Yes, Matt is his son, and no, Tom doesn't own the Jamestown NY MediaOne stations, which are owned by his brother.
What about CC's Ashland/Mansfield stations?
Well, one of the biggest problems is that the "Mid-Ohio" cluster is incredibly spread out geographically, with signals bordered on the north by the Sandusky stations, on the northeast by Canton and Akron, and to the south by Columbus.
We've heard the name of Saga thrown out there as a possible suitor, but we can't see them absorbing all those facilities...and would expect that some of the outer stations (i.e. like "Fox Classic Rock" simulcasters WXXF/107.7 Loudonville and WXXR/98.3 Fredericktown) might get split off from the heart of the cluster.
Just a guess on our part...