Friday, May 18, 2007

A Newsy, Newsy Week's End

(Our apologies for posting this without allowing comments...it's a mistake that has been corrected. Thanks! -- The Management)

Local media news items are stacking up like so many planes trying to land, so we'll try to close them out as we close out the week. And since we've done a lot of TV items recently, let's start on the radio side...

WERE, WJMO SWAP: Radio One, on the heels of selling off its Dayton stations (we'll revisit that below), has announced major changes in Cleveland involving its two AM outlets.

Starting Monday, June 4th, Radio One swaps frequencies between urban talk WERE, which moves from 1300 to 1490, and gospel WJMO, which moves from 1490 to 1300. Cleveland Plain Dealer entertainment/media columnist Julie Washington has the story online Friday, and presumably in the Dead Trees edition of the paper on Saturday.

The move shuttles WERE local morning driver Ronnie Duncan, and Radio One talkers Al Sharpton and the Two Live Stews, to the less-powerful 1490 frequency (1,000 watts), while WJMO syndicated morning host Yolanda Adams and local afternoon driver Ronny Knight end up on the more powerful 5,000 watt, but directional, signal of 1300 AM.

In between Ms. Adams and Mr. Knight - a new local midday show hosted by Radio One sister WZAK/93.1 mainstay Grace Roberts.

Radio One local VP/GM Chris Forgy tells Washington that the new frequency will allow WJMO's gospel format to better serve African-American listeners who've moved out to the southern and western suburbs.

Meanwhile, Forgy says research says "most" WERE listeners will still be able to listen on the talk format on 1490.

Who's the "winner" here? Clearly, it's the "Praise" crew moving to 1300.

1300 is not even the fourth best signal in the market, and its advantages aren't as clear over 1490 as the power level would indicate. Some listeners will actually lose the gospel format after it moves to 1300, due to a tight directional pattern.

But the station IS five times more powerful than 1490, at least in the direction the signal goes. And in AM radio these days, it's all about boosting the power in core areas to overcome new noise and interference, from anything from power lines to computers to fluorescent lights.

Not only that, the article would seem to indicate a larger promotional push for the WJMO move, with Ms. Adams even recording telephone calls to inform listeners of the new frequency. And WJMO adds a new local personality. Meanwhile, WERE is relegated to a "most people can still hear it" comment from Mr. Forgy.

By the way, Radio One is exiting the Dayton market entirely, as well as selling all but one of its Louisville KY stations. The buyer is Main Line Broadcasting, the broadcasting arm of Washington DC private equity fund Arlington Capital Partners. Main Line got rolling with stations it bought in Richmond VA.

The company says it is shedding the stations so it can exit "non-core markets" with smaller African-American population.

In both markets, Radio One operates many stations outside their traditional urban radio core, including country WKSW and sports WING in Dayton...

BERNIER WITH GODDARD:
A second item on Ms. Washington's plate is a big one... WJW/8 veteran (super-veteran) (mainstay) (iconic) meteorologist Dick Goddard will no longer be going solo in the evening.

It's "FOX 8 News In The Morning"'s Andre Bernier moving a week from Monday to the evening editions of "FOX 8 News" alongside Goddard, where the two meteorologists will forecast together. Scott Sabol picks up Bernier's morning show duties.

New WJW VP/GM Greg Easterly, fresh up from his news director job, moves quickly to dispel notions that Bernier being moved is a sign that Goddard will soon retire after 40-plus years of forecasting the weather, in Ms. Washington's article:

"Dick has no plans to go, and we want him here as long as he wants to be."

Congratulations to Mr. Easterly for taking the "Joe Tait Route", much like Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has done. Dick Goddard, like the popular Cavs radio voice, makes his own retirement date, and any manager who thinks otherwise does so at his or her own peril.

Julie also reports what we'd reported earlier: the elevation of Sonya Thompson into the WJW news director's post vacated by Easterly's upward movement...

WE THOUGHT HE LEFT: But Ms. Washington has an item we didn't already have.

It turns out the search for a replacement for Renita Jablonski as local host on WKSU/89.7's "Morning Edition" has been much more difficult than imagined.

So much so, that a familiar voice will fill in the slot from June 4th through roughly September: long-time former host Leonard Will.

Yep, that's the same Leonard Will who retired with much fanfare a few months ago, in January.

WKSU PR guru Bob Burford tells the PD that Will's return won't be permanent...

BC & LJ REDUX: And we have another Julie Washington item that both follows up on our earlier post, and adds new information.

Ms. Washington reports that WJW "FOX 8" will air that previously expected prime-time retrospective looking back on the career of retiring "Big Chuck" Schodowski and the show which made him famous, "Big Chuck & Lil' John".

And, of course, its predecessor, "Hoolihan and Big Chuck", along with the WJW veteran's early days on the "Ghoulardi" show with Ernie Anderson.

The show will air at 8 PM on Friday, June 22nd, around which time the show itself will presumably end for good...

AND MORE TV NEWS: This one is an exclusive item, though it's basically tying up loose ends.

OMW hears that former WKYC/3 news director Mike McCormick has indeed landed in the Gulf Coast region job-wise, not far from his hometown of Jacksonville FL. (Well, that's "not far" as in "somewhat closer than Cleveland".)

We hear McCormick starts on June 11th as news director of WPMI/15, the Clear Channel-owned (for now) NBC affiliate in Mobile AL. That's the second interview stop we were alerted about in an earlier E-Mail.

Clear Channel, of course, is in the process of selling its TV assets...

SPATZ IS BACK: And an item not related to Cleveland radio or TV, but one we spotted on AllAccess this afternoon.

Former WWIZ/103.9 "Rock 104" program director Matt Spatz, who left the Cumulus Youngstown market rocker in March 2006 to program Clear Channel rock WROV/96.3 in Roanoke VA, is heading back home.

This time, it's Clear Channel rock WNCD/93.3 Youngstown that'll be Spatz's destination, where he takes over the PD reins left behind a couple of months ago, when Steve Granato moved over to program sister hot AC WMXY/98.9 "Mix 98.9".

Welcome back "home", Matt!

32 comments:

Anonymous said...

Goddard has done a great job with the forecasts over the years.
Bernier is another strong forecaster. The two will enhance the evening events and will have an edge on the competition.
The right formula in my book for a local news station is well detailed news, weather and sports with the the right amount of entertainment, wihout having too much garbage of details or too little details in their reporting. The "right" newsteam.. Which WJW is making an effort.

WJW is looking for the top viewership like any other newscast and that is "RATINGS".

So if I didn't lose anyone with what I just typed..

KUDOS TO WJW-8!!!

Keep up the good work with your posts OMW!!!

Anonymous said...

The NBC Station in Columbus has hired Dave Trygar who used to be at WFMJ-TV in Youngstown. They have double coverage weather weeknights on their news casts. Maybe Fox 8 following suit?

Anonymous said...

Leonard Will is returning? Just like Mark Urycki? Has word gotten out that things are so bad at WKSU that the only people who will work there are those who can be recruited to "pretty please" come back? What's next, the return of Duffy to replace Pignanelli?
Something really weird is going on at WKSU.

Anonymous said...

Andre Bernier is simply the strongest on-air meteorologist around. Period. Not only is he educated and has an actual degree in meteorology, he has an incredible presence on-air. His ability to give an accurate forecast, AND give you the story behind that forecast so that you understand what's going on, is second-to-none.

74WIXYgrad said...

Regarding the new option on allowing, or not allowing comments. Blogger sorta did some changes without informing the blogmeisters. Caught me by surprise yesterday too. Took me a few minutes to figure it out.

Anonymous said...

Regarding WJMO:

1300 will become the third frequency in the station's history. It signed on at the daytime-only 1540 position back in 1947 - the same year WSRS signed on at the 1490 and 95.3 positions.

WJMO's then-owner, Friendly Broadcasting, and WSRS founder Sam R. Sague, traded stations in 1958. WJMO got both 1490 and 95.3 (which moved to 92.3 at that time; and is now WXRK).

WSRS got scooted to 1540, and became WABQ a year or two later - and stayed at 1540 until last year when it moved to 1460-Painsville (at which point WWGK took the 1540 spot).

- Nathan Obral

Anonymous said...

I agree with the earlier comment that something really weird is going on at WKSU.

Anonymous said...

WELCOME BACK MATT AND GOOD LUCK!!!!!
----YOUR FORMER CO-HOST

Anonymous said...

Andre is a real nice guy. He'll do well in the evening. I wonder how Dick's health is? He's been stumbling a bit lately. I wonder if he's alright?

Anonymous said...

KSU bringing back Leonard and Mark U...who is next to come back-Fitz with the blues on Friday and Saturday? Know that won't happen, but it does seem a shame that NEO doesn't have a high quality blues program somewhere on the dial.

Anonymous said...

Andre/Dick tag-team is very interesting,I know what Greg stated about Dick and his future and as you pointed out OMW it's like Dan Gilbert/Joe Tait,the ICONS WILL DECIDE WHEN TO CALL IT A DAY. Here is my prediction Dick will not be doing the 5pm show that goes to Andre and at 6/10pm they split the air-time,Now come '08 Dick will start cutting down his time or as we know it as the Wilma Smith/Tim Taylor(now retired)deal with Dick doing 6pm only. Dick's been at 8 since 1966,prior to that at KYW(CH.3)FOR 5 years including a short stint in Philly all together 46 years I say Dick goes in 4 years a grand total of 50 years on the TV and ironically if that happens it strengthens Andre's contract negotiation which is up at the time Dick retires if this timeline comes to light. On a side note ROSIE'S NEW TALK SHOW AFTER LEAVING THE VIEW IF SYNDICATED WHICH IN ALL LIKELY WILL HAPPEN LOOK FOR FOX TO PICK IT UP AND PUT IT ON AT 10am which means good-bye ROBIN,THE RATINGS ARE BAD AND FOX 8 IS SHELL SHOCKED RIGHT NOW.

Anonymous said...

WAIT! Is Pignanelli leaving WKSU?

Anonymous said...

Andre Bernier may be a competent meteorologist, and he is entitled to his beliefs, but if he starts opining that global warming is a fraud, as he has done on religious-right radio stations in the area, it will not help WJW's credibility.

And it's not Ms. Jablonski's position WKSU has a problem filling, it's Leonard Will's!

Anonymous said...

Well then WKSU has found the perfect person to fill it...Leonard Will. I wonder if they will make such a big deal on his NEXT last day on the air.

Anonymous said...

Robin's show on WJW has to be the worst show on TV!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry somebody else will hire Robin again after she is fired from her TV Show. Amazing how someone can keep finding jobs in this market no matter how many shows have been cancelled because of them.

Anonymous said...

It's Renita, right? Not Rita.

Anonymous said...

Andre Bernier is allowed to say that Global Warming is a fraud. Why do liberals get so upset when someone has a different opinion then themselves?

Anonymous said...

And I'm allowed to say that the Earth is flat, the moon is made of green cheese and Iraq is a model democracy. But I don't have a microphone in front of me and the credibility of a mainstream broadcast operation behind me.

The reality of global warming has become the consensus of the scientific community, even if it runs counter to some people's political agendas.

What passes for "fair and balanced" news in today's media is giving equal time/space and weight to consensus arguments and the dissenting fringe — for example, a newscast gives 10 minutes to a scientist who speaks for those who believe the moon is made of rocks and 10 minutes to one who believes it's made of green cheese. This is a distortion in the name of fairness that does the media no credit.

Rich in Medina said...

On WKSU...they are trying to replace Renita on "Your Way Home," not "Morning Edition." She replaced Will on "Morning Edition." Correct?

Anonymous said...

"The reality of global warming has become the consensus of the scientific community, even if it runs counter to some people's political agendas."

Utter nonsense. To have a "consensus" you have to have total agreement. Props to Andre for independent thought. Hopefully more skeptics will speak up in the future.
GW is a scientific issue that's been politicized.

Anonymous said...

If Liberals are upset that their viewpoint is not being heard then they can go to many outlets to hear their viewpoint. Air America, NPR, CBS Evening News, ABC Evening News, NBC Evening News, CNN, MSNBC. Global Warming is not 100% for sure and I am glad that Andre has the guts to think independently of the liberals on this issue.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Pignanelli has left the building. Will the last person who quits at WKSU teach the GM how to run the board?

Anonymous said...

Pignanelli's gone???! Where did he go??? When is Jablonski's last day? She's going national, right? I hope Pign's left for a better gig too.

Anonymous said...

I hear Dave's going to NPR. I guess he should be grateful the GM is so bad, otherwise he never would've looked for another job.

Anonymous said...

Most of the people who are leaving (Pignanelli, Duffy, Jablonski, etc) left for better jobs. I suppose they should all send thank you notes to the GM.

Anonymous said...

It can't be that bad, if Will and Urycki are going back to WKSU.

Anonymous said...

WKSU can create a new recruitment slogan, "Yes our GM drives away our best talent, but it beats working at WCPN or retirement!"

Anonymous said...

I know for a fact that Duffy has family in the area, he grew up in Kent, graduated from Kent State and and was hoping to stay for many years. He started looking elsewhere because of GM. Other employees other than the latest three have left because of the GM. Don't fool yourselves.

Anonymous said...

Like Duffy, Pignanelli had no intention of leaving this area. Neither did Renita. Their departures are directly related to poor management at highest level of that station.

Anonymous said...

All I know is, I miss Renita on "Your Way Home" and I'll miss her on "Morning Edition".

Anonymous said...

I'll miss Duffy too. I didn't hear Pignanelli on the air that much, but Duffy seemed committed to the station and the community. I met him once when he was speaking and he really made the case for public radio. Whether he left for a better opportunity or was driven out or both, it is a loss.
Still, I remain a fan of the station and wish the best for WKSU and for those leaving.