Friday, June 29, 2007

Final Update This Week

Barring any major Northeast Ohio media news, this will be our last update until (approximately) Monday morning. But...

We just had to update one earlier item, which we believe was an exclusive - thanks to's Lance Venta.

As expected, Clear Channel advice talker WSAI/1360 "" Cincinnati won't be providing advice to Southwest Ohio listeners starting Monday.

Clear Channel Cincinnati has confirmed to AllAccess that it launches "Cincinnati's ESPN 1360" that same day. It'll become an all-ESPN Radio network flanker to mainly local WCKY/1530 "Homer", and for that matter, to the sports-related programming on talk sister WLW/700 "The Big One".

The station already has a splash screen up promoting the launch.

We believe Cincinnati Enquirer radio/TV guru John Kiesewetter may have gotten wind of our item on Friday morning, and posted this item before CC made its announcement.

Since it is "Kiese" we're talking about here, he went into quick action and confirmed the news from the other end - Hamilton OH-based WMOH/1450, which was given a two-month notice by ESPN - a week ago - that the network was dropping it.

Unlike then-Salem sports talk WKNR/850 Cleveland, which hung in with ESPN until the end of its two month notice last year, only to later regain it under its current ownership, WMOH seems to have moved on. It will mount a new local morning show - along with keeping its local sports programming, and looking for syndicated programming to replace ESPN.

Kiese speculates that Clear Channel grabbed ESPN Radio as a pre-emptive strike - trying to stop Cumulus talk WFTK/96.5 "SuperTalk FM" from adding it.

He also expects former "Homer" morning drivers (and WLW weekend hosts) "The Two Angry Guys" to eventually show up on the FM talker - joining former WLW "SportsTalk" host Andy Furman, who's in afternoon drive at WFTK...

WNIR Morning Co-Host Steps Down

UPDATE 6/29/07 10:07 PM: We've updated and changed some of this item, as some of the circumstances surrounding Maggie Fuller's departure from WNIR become clearer.

Maggie's website contains this message, which was copied by AllAccess earlier this afternoon:

Maggie really did quit!

Yes, I need a life. I will miss everyone and it makes me sad but life is too short to work Monday through Saturday and every other holiday. I have no retirement and need to find a job with a plan. I will miss everyone. Love, Maggie

The message also has her E-Mail address, and though it is on a rather interestingly named subpage of the Angelfire host - "weird2/bitemybutt", we're told she's used it before for photos.

The original item is below, though with older information...


OMW hears that Akron market MediaCom talk WNIR/100.1 morning co-host Maggie Fuller is leaving after 9 years working for the station.

Way back when, even before WKNT "AM & FM, Kent, Ohio" became "The Talk of Akron"...oh, say in the early 80's...morning host Stan Piatt mostly reigned on the wakeup shift solo.

Over time, the show has grown to four on-air cast members who contribute...Piatt, news director Jim Midoch, sports director Steve French, and Maggie Fuller - who was the first member of the cast who wasn't there because she had some other role on the show.

We don't know much, right now, about why Maggie is leaving WNIR, or where, if anywhere, she's going.

Kudos to Maggie, and enjoy life!

And It's Friday

We'll finish off the week, and note that we're probably not going to be 'round these parts until Monday or Tuesday.

So...let's have at it...leading from the outer reaches of the OMW Empire for once...

NO MORE "SOURCE"?: A tip of the OMW hat to's Lance Venta and his Internet domain name snooping on this one.

Lance tells us that Clear Channel scooped up the domain name on Monday, and followed with two more - and

Lance also notes that while currently redirects to the website for Clear Channel Cincinnati's big sports talker, WCKY/1530 "1530 Homer", some sub-pages reveal a new logo and site for "Cincinnati's ESPN 1360".

It doesn't take the proverbial, well, you know, to figure out that CC Cincinnati is apparently readying a format flip for WSAI/1360, positioning it as a second sports flanker to WCKY. The "Lineup" pulldown page, at this writing, shows the entire ESPN network lineup.

It'd be sort of the Cincinnati version of "Cleveland's AM 1540, KNR2", only without the stray FOX Sports Radio programming (and with Clear Channel ownership).

The station - not that long ago - changed from liberal talk to "", an advice talk format with a web URL name that's calls itself, yes, in lower case, "my source for answers".

We guess doing advice talk on 1360 wasn't the answer Clear Channel was looking for.

This is hardly new for Clear Channel.

The company operates two sports talkers in Minneapolis - the locally-programmed KFAN/1130, and its sister, KFXN/690 "The Score", which primarily airs network programming. It also once had two sports talkers in Washington DC, before WWRC/1260 flipped from a flanker to WTEM/980 to liberal talk as "Progressive Talk 1260".

And it shows, again, the difficulty of finding programming for these second and third tier AM stations. Or in Cincinnati, fourth-tier, as CC already has WLW/700, WKRC/550 and WCKY ahead of 1360 in its Queen City AM lineup...

MORE ON WYTV/WKBN/ETC.: Just a brief followup to our earlier item about a "stall" in the sale of Chelsey Broadcasting ABC affiliate WYTV/33 Youngstown.

We now have a copy of the article, thanks to publisher Andrea Wood and the fine folks at the Youngstown Business Journal - which regularly features the best coverage of Mahoning Valley broadcast media.

(No, Ms. Wood didn't ask us to say that.)

Anyway, the article has details on numerous protestations by would-be WYTV owner Todd Parkin about how he's not going to basically dismantle the station's staff and news operation, and dismantle such things as staff seniority as New Vision Television did at CBS affiliate WKBN/27.

That sentiment, in a "calm down" letter sent to WYTV staffers, comes as a big surprise to veteran WKBN reporter Joe Bell, speaking for a station union bargaining unit. He tells the Business Journal:

What Parkin is representing in that letter is diametrically opposed to what New Vision’s attorney told us at the bargaining table. The New Vision attorney said that he envisioned that all those folks at WYTV would become New Vision employees, that they wouldn’t be working out of their [WYTV’s] building, and so forth. We don’t know who’s confused at the corporate level or if someone is misrepresenting themselves. We certainly would like an explanation.

Who do you believe here?

An unknown guy from California who had to tell the FCC about a "shared services agreement" in his application - not to mention an option for new WKBN owner New Vision to buy WYTV outright should FCC rules allow such a duopoly in the future?

Or a veteran, straight-ahead reporter with decades of good will in the Youngstown/Warren TV market?

You make the call.

Our guess, and this is only a guess: Mr. Parkin makes an effort on paper to carry on the WYTV newsroom and separate operations for a while. Maybe a few months to a year.

He then comes out and says, "look, we tried, but the numbers just aren't there"...and carries out the merger of the WYTV and WKBN/WYFX newsrooms and the end of WYTV's separate news operations.

That's just what our gut is tellling us, and isn't based on any fact. It's the "and musings" part of OMW, as advertised up at the top of our homepage...

OMW, NEWSPAPER COLUMN: We're told we've been quoted again in a Northeast Ohio newspaper.

It's the Ashtabula Star-Beacon, which apparently repeated some of our earlier stuff about the upcoming changes at Clear Channel's Ashtabula cluster - its upcoming sale to Tom Embrescia's Sweet Home Ashtabula, and specifically our item a while back about the briefly-proposed swap of WREO/97.1 and CC's WBBG/106.1 Niles.

We hope they followed to the end, where we found out shortly after we posted the item that the proposed swap was dismissed at the request of Clear Channel.

So, there may be more insight as to why, for example, the swap was pulled...but we haven't been able to find the Star Beacon's Thursday article on this on its website. We hear they're a bit slow to put items from the Dead Trees edition online.

We have no problem with newspapers quoting us. Feel free to do so, as long as you get our name right ("the blog Ohio Media Watch" is fine with us)...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Thursday Stuff

And unlike our last update, most of this is not related...

THIS PORTION OF OUR ITEM IS PAID PROGRAMMING: No, not really. We don't have an ad sales department here at the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm).

But Raycom Media is at it again in Cleveland.

Numerous readers let us know that the company's CBS affiliate, WOIO/19, pre-empted an hour of CBS prime-time programming Wednesday night from 8-9 PM for...paid programming. Infomercials. You know them. (We'd love to know what they actually aired.)

The paid spots bumped two episodes of the popular CBS comedy "The King of Queens" off the WOIO schedule in favor of quick cash for Reserve Square.

OK, let's come down a BIT off the high horse here.

"The King of Queens" is well into reruns for the summer. The sitcom aired its final first-run episode, if we remember right, a month or two back. The two reruns are basically summer filler on the network's own schedule. least "KoQ" would have viewers, even if people had already seen the episodes.

As we've said before, we understand the modern reality of television financing. Infomercials are basically "free money", and occupy much of the weekend late morning/early afternoon schedule on nearly all local stations.

But CBS prime time?!?

Rerun or not, the practice seems rather cheap to us. It sounds like something a company like Raycom would do.

No, wait...they have, already. Sound familiar?

Yep, sister station WUAB/43, then a UPN affiliate, did the same a year ago on a Saturday night. But 1) UPN isn't CBS (nor is MyNetwork TV, either) and B) UPN did not program Saturdays.

Now, this is not 100 percent new, and is not something only Raycom does, even in the Cleveland market.

We believe it's Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 that occasionally clears out an hour for the Billy Graham Crusade, and Channel 5 and other local stations have pre-empted generic network made-for-TV movies from time to time to burn off old show reruns ("Matlock") to get some extra cash by selling more local spots.

It just seems a little, well, more unseemly when WOIO/WUAB do it. And we don't know what got sold at 8 PM and 8:30 PM Wednesday on "Cleveland's CBS 19", but we'd assume they were rather generic infomercials. At least Rev. Graham gets viewers...

AND NOT AN INFOMERCIAL: As far as we know, at least...

We've heard radio spots and seen brief TV promos for a program that'll air this Saturday at 7 PM on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3.

The show is called "Lake Erie: Beyond The Surface", and the brief radio commercial we heard promises an in-depth look - literally - at the lake and its eco-structure. We believe we heard it called a "series".

And what perked up our technology-loving ears?

Channel 3 is producing "Lake Erie: Beyond The Surface" in HDTV.

This would be one of the first regular non-news/non-sports local TV presentations in HD, if we remember right. We'll be tuned in, and expect to hear more from the one and only Frank Macek, WKYC senior director and author of the station's "Director's Cut" blog... link to your left!

NOT SMOOTH SAILING: If a headline on the website of the Youngstown Business Journal is to be believed, the move to sell at least one Youngstown TV station is "stalled" at the FCC.

We'll assume that's ABC affiliate WYTV/33, since the transfers of CBS affiliate WKBN/27 and sister LPTV duo WYFX-LP/62-WFXI-CA/17 have already been made to New Vision Television, the outfit that started all this.

Earlier this year, a new outfit called Parkin Television, headed by Todd Parkin of Los Angeles, filed to buy WYTV. That wasn't the controversial part.

The controversial part was part of the WYTV license transfer application, which indicated that the new licensee intended to enter a "Shared Services Agreement" with WKBN/New Vision, the ultimate presumably to utilize WKBN to produce/help produce/somehow put together news for WYTV.

We aren't a Business Journal subscriber, online or otherwise, so we'll quote the front of the website:

As License Transfer Stalls at FCC,
Stations’ Employees Ask, What’s Up?
June 27, 2007 7:14 a.m.
Commentary by Andrea Wood
YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – What’s the real story?

Don’t ask the employees of WYTV or WKBN/WYFX because they know only what they’re told – and the stories they’re hearing are not the same.

Confused? So are they.

Employees of media outlets getting mixed signals from management and ownership? Why, we never...

New Technology Wednesday

For whatever reason, today's items all have a fresh, new technology bent to them...

WNEO/WEAO HD LIT UP AGAIN: Kent-based public broadcasters WNEO/45 Alliance-WEAO/49 Akron ("PBS 45 & 49") have turned on PBS HD programming again, as of Tuesday, on their digital outlets.

The stations had been running the 24/7 PBS HD feed for some time, until various equipment and financial issues got in the way and forced the end of the feed. Then, until Tuesday, the digital versions of 45/49 ran the PBS "Create" channel on 45-1/49-2, the analog simulcast on 45-2/49-2, and the public affairs channel "The Ohio Channel" on the third subchannel.

We've heard from 45/49's engineering/IT manager Bill O'Neil, who tells OMW that the FCC regulation requiring stations to continue to air analog simulcasts on the digital channel "went away" in 2005:

We do continue to program the converted analog as a convenience to our viewers and many cable systems/satellite providers are using that digital feed and converting it back to analog on their basic tier.

It does make sense, when you consider that viewers camped out on WNEO-DT/WEAO-DT wouldn't get regular PBS programming otherwise. Unlike the commercial networks, a simple upconversion of SD material on the HD channel outside prime-time doesn't work - since PBS HD is a separate feed.

The two other SD channels go away with the new configuration, though one or both may return at some point.

PBS HD and The Ohio Channel already air via the digital feed of Cleveland's PBS outlet, ideastream's WVIZ/25.

But unless you get it on cable (Time Warner Cable's Cleveland-based system carries it), good luck.

Since its inception, WVIZ-DT has operated with what's charitably been called "lightbulb power" - a very low power signal from a small antenna on top of the station's former studios on Brookpark Road in Parma. We know people who live in Parma itself, a short drive from the former studios, who can't pick it up.

At some point, some day, some how, the digital signal will move to the station's current analog transmitter site in North Royalton. We've long heard rumors about some sort of legal dispute between CBS Radio - which has WNCX/98.5's site there and is WVIZ's host - and ideastream over the use of the site for digital TV. But we don't know when, or if, this will be resolved.

So, for over-air HD viewers without cable in much of the Cleveland market, WEAO-DT is the only way to get HD PBS programming.

By the way, WNEO/WEAO is encouraging cable viewers to contact their cable company to add the digital/HD signal.

WEAO has been listed in Time Warner Cable's Cleveland lineup since nearly the day the company took over from Adelphia in Cleveland, but it hasn't been put up. We wonder if they'll add it, even considering that the very same 24/7 PBS HD feed is available on WVIZ's digital channel on the TWC system, only with a constant WVIZ bug onscreen...

ANOTHER OPTION: For those who are looking for "another video option" to cable and satellite, it's here in Northeast Ohio. Well, sort of.

This week, the folks at AT&T - you know, what was long ago AT&T-subsidiary Ohio Bell, the phone company - unveiled "U-verse", a new combination high-speed Internet/video delivery service, in a couple of dozen Northeast Ohio communities, suburbs of both Cleveland and Akron.

Notice we said "a couple of dozen". They are local cities which have already reached agreements with AT&T to provide the video part of the U-verse service.

Cleveland suburbs, from the U-verse press release, include: Bay Village, Berea, Broadview Heights, Brooklyn, Euclid, Fairview Park, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mentor, North Royalton, Orange, Solon, South Euclid, Warrensville Heights, Westlake, Willoughby Hills and Willowick.

In the Akron area: Cuyahoga Falls, Fairlawn, Kent, Munroe Falls, Silver Lake, and Stow.

The appropriate press releases are here for Cleveland and here for Akron.

AT&T says it'll increase availability on an "ongoing basis", but the new system's footprint will likely increase dramatically when a new law takes effect in a couple of months. That's the much-talked-about statewide video services bill, which will allow the company to start expanding without having to reach franchise agreements in individual cities or areas.

Governor Ted Strickland signed the measure on Monday, and it's set to take effect in late September.

Interested in what channels U-verse is offering? Someone uncovered this channel lineup card (PDF file) online.

A quick glance shows us that all the full-power Cleveland locals are included, along with HD versions of WKYC/3, WEWS/5, WJW/8 and WOIO/19 and as far as we can tell, only the SD versions of SportsTime Ohio and FSN Ohio.

Other than's a whole host of other channels well into the hundreds, including your usual components of multiple feeds of all the pay cable channels and many "channels" we haven't even heard of before.

What might be interesting: AT&T's lineup card lists any number of regional sports networks from all over the country, with the notation that the networks have programming "subject to blackout" - i.e. we presume most of the professional and college sports they carry.

These networks are on a higher "U400" tier - as it appears the service has at least four distinct tiers and then some. We have no idea what the pricing is, though.

If you're not sure if you can get the new service, check around your neighborhood for a brand new refrigerator-sized box. AT&T has been putting them in over the past year or so under the "Project Lightspeed" moniker.

And our next question - will this service prompt a strong response from incumbent cable companies like Time Warner Cable?

TWC already has some competition on the ground in parts of Northeast Ohio, in areas serviced by the WOW Cable folks...

WJW'S NEW SET: A topic of much discussion here on OMW, and a very popular E-Mail topic, is the upcoming new news set for WJW/8, the currently-FOX O&O station in Cleveland known as "FOX 8".

The talk has moved onto the station's own website, where "FOX 8 News In The Morning" feature reporter Kenny Crumpton's video blog has been exploring the work on the set with video clips.

The update linked above is from Friday, which describes the set as "almost complete". An OMW reader noted to us that a glimpse of the set - without full lighting - showed up on the air by accident on a news segment late last week.

Anyway, we don't know when they'll be done, but from the looks of that update, we wouldn't be surprised if they debut the new set at South Marginal Road as soon as this weekend...

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Day Of Silence

Those who have a favorite Internet radio stream, or two, or six, will be a bit grumpy today.

A broad-based effort by a number of webcasters, both large and small, will replace programming on the streams with "A Day Of Silence", in protest of the...well, we'll let webcast guru Kurt Hanson and his "RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter" tell the story:

On Tuesday, June 26, thousands of U.S.-based webcasters plan to turn off the music and go silent in a unified effort to draw attention to an impending royalty rate increase that, if implemented, would lead to the virtual shutdown of this country's Internet radio industry.

Internet-only webcasters and broadcasters that simulcast online will alert their listeners that "silence" is what Internet radio may be reduced to after July 15th, the day on which 17 months' worth of retroactive royalty payments -- at new, exceedingly high rates -- are due to the SoundExchange collection organization, following a recent Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) decision.

Some major broadcast groups - including Saga Communications, which owns stations in Ohio - are joining up for the event. A number of big public radio outlets, small stations and independent webcasters are also in the mix today.

But a well-known, independent local broadcaster here in Northeast Ohio is also going silent on the Internet for a day.

It's the area's classical music outlet, WCLV/104.9.

In a note posted on the station's website this morning, WCLV warns of what would happen if the larger fees take hold:

The fees being charged by the record companies could bring to an end WCLV's Internet transmission of its many classical music programs, including the Cleveland Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, Symphonycast, and concerts from Oberlin, Baldwin-Wallace and CIM.

Like the other webcasters, WCLV asks concerned web listeners to write their member of Congress. The specific goal is to urge support of the "Internet Radio Equality Act", a proposed measure which has garnered support from both sides of the political aisle.

For at least some tech-savvy WCLV listeners in Cleveland's far eastern suburbs and beyond, the Internet stream of the station's programming has been the only way to hear it in recent years.

Of course, in the Great Frequency Swap of 2001, WCLV moved off of the Cleveland-licensed 95.5 signal - now occupied by Salem's WFHM "The Fish" - to the Lorain-licensed 104.9 class A signal now coming from a tower in eastern Lorain County, in Avon just west of the Cuyahoga County line.

We don't have a list of other, smaller Ohio broadcasters and webcasters going silent today, so feel free to add your own outlet to the comments section if you're participating...

Monday, June 25, 2007

Monday Fatigue

With weekend-long discussion of Friday's biggest media story, the placement of five Clear Channel Cleveland-operated FMs into a trust for eventual sale - and the developments over the weekend in the Jessie Davis Case Media Circus - we feel exhausted on this Monday.

But, we'll get to the hits:

A PLAUSIBLE EXPLANATION: Some of our commenters have posted possible scenarios for the first item, the move by Clear Channel to place all of its Oak Tree-located FMs into a new trust - presumably to bring the company under ownership caps so it can complete the sale to private equity funds.

And we kept saying it, as did others: To the best of our knowledge, the folks at Oak Tree only need to flip a single FM outlet to someone else in Cleveland. Many had even assumed that it would mean Akron-licensed 96.5 moves south again, even into the company's Akron/Canton operations from similar to former facilities. With that, the "strongest four" formats would occupy the remaining four FM stations licensed to Cleveland.

So? Why would the company tab all FIVE FM stations that are in the Oak Tree World Domination HQ?

We'd have to agree with the speculation that CC is "overdoing it" in the trust flip-offs, trying to grease quick approval from the feds. Then, presumably, they'd "do the math" and flip many of the stations back into the company from the Aloha Trust.

It would appear from this end that the folks at Oak Tree have not decided which of the five signals they are removing from Cleveland, either to another owner or to themselves elsewhere.

This buys 'em time, and allows the private equity sale to go through faster. And it would seem quite likely that all CC would have to do to regain the four FM signals it wants to keep in Cleveland would be to, well, withdraw the application to transfer them to Aloha Trust.

One BIG thing signaling this to us: At least as of this writing, these five FMs are the only ones in the trust application. Not listed are talk WTAM/1100 in Cleveland, along with Akron AM combo talk WHLO/640 and sports WARF/1350. Not listed are any of the three Stark County-licensed FMs run out of Freedom Avenue - WKDD/98.1 Canton, WHOF/101.7 North Canton and WRQK/106.9 Canton.

(Though, as mentioned, the former Clear Channel stations in Michigan, traded by the company for WRQK are up there, because they're already going away.)

If you were looking to exit Cleveland as a market, why would you leave one of your biggest signals off the list? Why would you hang onto the smaller Akron and Canton markets? We're making the assumption here that Friday's filings are the last made in the Great Aloha Trust Station Move, which we believe they are, from what we've read.

So, anyway...we love speculation, but don't expect a Knight On A White Horse to come in and "rescue" us from modern corporate radio programming styles. Most of the time, that's about as likely to come true as a fictional TV news anchor and congressman turning into a modern-day Noah....

BUSY WEEKEND: And that other story, the one spilling over into "real life", ratcheted up over the weekend, with discovery of the body of Jessie Marie Davis of Stark County's Lake Township in an Akron-area park, and with word that not only Canton police officer Bobby Cutts - but a female friend of his - has been arrested.

Word started moving quickly among local TV and radio reporters, and newspaper types, somewhere in the 3-4 PM hour, and the news started being reported somewhere in that time frame by stations like Rubber City Radio's WAKR/1590 in Akron - with a later simulcast on the other two stations in the cluster, country WQMX/94.9 Medina and rock WONE/97.5 Akron.

We still suffer from Inability To Hear WHBC/1480 Disease, so we didn't hear what the NextMedia talk outlet did on Saturday. But they were quoted by with the major breaking developments a little later, at about 5 PM.

We also don't have any tidbits on how Clear Channel's WTAM/1100 and WHLO/640 covered things on Saturday, though we'd be shocked if WTAM "lead team reporter" Greg Sabre wasn't in near-permanent residence down there.

TV-wise, we heard WOIO/19' "19 Action News" anchor Sharon Reed getting dramatic on CNN Saturday afternoon via telephone, reporting some personally sourced information received, she said, by a friend of the Cutts family who she's been talking with for some time.

And just Sunday night, as we were starting to put this item together, we saw WKYC/3's Akron/Canton Bureau Chief Eric Mansfield live on a "special" edition of CNN's "Larry King Live".

Not "special" enough, we guess, to get Larry out of taking a day off before that heavily hyped Paris Hilton interview"...Larry was replaced in a newly-live weekend edition of his own show by someone we didn't recognize. But Larry, or no Larry, Eric Mansfield was there via satellite from Canton.

OK, enough. But will someone please tell the folks at Reserve Square that - as far as we can tell - Ms. Davis' body was NOT found at "Keyser City Park" in Cuyahoga Falls?

As the saying goes, "close, but no cigar".

A quick Google Maps search tells us it's just down Bath Road from the actual reported burial site, in the Hampton Hills park of the Summit County parks system - which is also adjacent to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The Keyser park itself would also appear, from Google Maps' satellite photos, to be too "open" to be a place anyone would hide a body.

It's not a big deal, but we had to search, and found that of every media outlet searchable by Google News, WOIO was the only "Keyser Park" reference found, except one story out of Cincinnati quoting the folks at 19...

ANCHOR SHUFFLE, AGAIN: When in doubt, shuffle your anchors again.

This seems to be the ongoing philosophy at WEWS/5, where you can never be terribly sure who's going to be anchoring "NewsChannel 5", short of Ted Henry at least a few times a day.

OMW hears that another shift is about to happen at 30th and Euclid, but you won't see it until next week due to vacation time.

Get out that NewsChannel 5 Anchor Scorecard, folks!

We're told that Lee Jordan will add the station's noon newscasts to her assignment, along with "Live on Five". Alicia Booth stays on the noon show, and Leon Bibb on "Live on Five".

Danita Harris moves into the 6 PM and 11 PM co-anchor position with the aforementioned Mr. Henry.

Again, with some vacations, this will all be visible on-air starting next week.

Meanwhile, Paul Kiska is still the only official anchor of "Good Morning Cleveland". We hear Lorna Barrett's fill-in there is only that for now, a fill-in.

And here we are, a month removed from the end of the May sweeps - frequently cited as a delaying factor by WEWS management - and we have no idea how the station's sports staff will be filled.

Fill-in sports anchor Andy Baskin - who poked fun at his own "35 day" anniversary the other day to laughs on the news set - is also still a fill-in.

Two major positions are open in that department, and other anchors aren't set...but existing players at 3001 Euclid keep getting moved around like chess pieces, management apparently hoping fervently that *some* combination will stick...

Friday, June 22, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Clear Channel Flipping Ohio Stations Into Trust

It looks like four big Clear Channel FM stations in the Cleveland market, and a number of other stations in three other Ohio markets, are being spun off to a trust to satisfy FCC regulatory caps, in connection with the ongoing effort to spin Clear Channel itself off to private equity firms.

The four Cleveland stations would be: country WGAR/99.5, rock WMMS/100.7, oldies WMJI/105.7 and hot AC WMVX/106.5. They'd go to Aloha Station Trust LLC.

Also on the list of 71 stations - a large number in other Ohio markets - is what appears to be the entire CC Dayton cluster, along with the company's Lima stations. Many of the latter market's CC stations, of course, will land with Dean Goodman's GoodRadio.TV, who's spinning off at least one (WBUK/106.3 Ottawa OH) to yet another owner.

AND ANOTHER UPDATE: This just in from AllAccess...

CLEAR CHANNEL has filed additional paperwork with the FCC sending another 71 stations, including stations in the HARTFORD, FRESNO, OCEAN CITY-SALISBURY, HUNTINGTON, and AKRON markets, to the ALOHA STATION TRUST, doubling the number of stations for which trust assignments have been requested.

At least some of the stations tabbed are stations already destined for other owners, like GoodRadio, Cumulus (in the case of the Ohio/Michigan station swap involving rock WRQK/106.9 Canton on this end), etc...and we have at least one report that the company's WKRC/12 Cincinnati is legally on the trust transfer list, but of course, all of the Clear Channel Television outlets are already in the process of being sold.

So, what's left in Cleveland that is not on the list? How about talk WTAM/1100? And is Akron-licensed WAKS/96.5 "Kiss FM" on the cut list as well, via its COL?

The whole thing is bizarre to us, assuming the details posted on a list in the "Transactions" area of the R&R website are accurate. (An OMW nod of the hat to whoever passed that along to us.)

At least some of this has been speculated. Inside Radio put a list out a few months ago that CC Cleveland would have to sell off at least one FM station to get under non-grandfathered cap limits due to the sale transaction. But...four?

We won't be able to follow this as closely as we'd like, but we'll try to update this item or this blog with anything major or new.

We're just wondering if this is a massive chess game, moving around stations that may one day be moved back into the company once the dust clears, or if Clear Channel is indeed "slimming down".

We're just having very much trouble envisioning the stations listed here in Northeast Ohio actually being sold away...VERY much...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Matthews' Contract Renewal

The folks at Oak Tree want to make sure you know this:

Clear Channel Cleveland rock WMMS/100.7 - top 40 WAKS/96.5 program director Bo Matthews has signed a three year contract extension, taking him - on paper - until April 2010.

Bo gained the "Kiss FM" addition to his duties in replacement of former "Kiss" programmer Dan Mason, now trying to bring new stability to embattled top 40 outlet KDND/107.9 Sacramento CA ("The End"), which was that certain station with that certain contest that made national news...

STO Ups With Captains

This one only made our radar when we tuned into SportsTime Ohio, and saw a Lake County Captains game being aired.

But sure enough, the Indians-owned cable/satellite regional sports channel has just inked a five-game deal with the team's single-A South Atlantic League affiliate just up I-90 in Eastlake. The games are being produced by Classic Teleproductions.

Tonight, the Captains' 7 PM game with the Delmarva Shorebirds - first in the series - is being broadcast live. The Captains and Shorebirds' second game in this series will air on delay Friday after the Cleveland Indians' game with the Washington Nationals. Three other Captains' games will be announced later in this second half of the season.

We remember the very early days of SportsTime Ohio - OK, so it was just over a year ago - when network officials seemed cool to telecasting minor league games, even those of the team's own affiliates.

With even a limited Captains schedule, can the double-A Eastern League Akron Aeros be next up? With the deal with the Captains and Classic Teleproductions, and Akron being just a little farther from Jacobs Field than would make sense to us.

Oh, and we got a reminder of another ongoing news item while watching the Captains on STO.

As it turns out, WJW "FOX 8" has an advertising board out at Classic Park, the home of the Captains.

It's not a "Cleveland's own" style ad, has the new FOX O&O/FOX News Channel style "FOX 8" logo, with the legend: "The Most Powerful Name In Local News".

This slogan, of course, is the slogan the company is reportedly planning to adopt at its local owned stations - following after the similar FNC slogan. As far as we know, neither the new logo or slogan has been used in outside advertising (or on-air, for that matter) elsewhere for WJW.

Is it "business as usual" for the local FOX O&O stations, like WJW, until a buyer is found for the ones that are up for sale? Would a new WJW owner keep this branding even if the station remains a FOX affiliate after a sale? Will the stations up on the block actually be sold?

Oh, we've hit this topic numerous times before, of course, in the items below. But we're just thinking out loud...

The Media Circus

Forgive us for treating it like, well, the elephant in the middle of the room...but we have yet to comment on the Northeast Ohio Media Circus.

That is, the fact that much of the national media has descended upon Canton and nearby areas concerning the disappearance of a certain pregnant mother, 26 year-old Jessie Marie Davis, from her home in North Canton.

A virtual media village has set up at the Stark County Sheriff's Department, and national network and cable news reporters have made the area their second home. Among the first to make the trek to Ohio - FOX News Channel's Greta van Susteren and her "On The Record" show, flanked by at least two other FNC reporters.

And local TV and radio news operations are intensely involved as well.

On Wednesday evening's "Channel 3 News at 6", Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3 featured anchor Tim White on-scene in Canton at what we guess could be "Camp Jessie" - the parking lot of the sheriff's department.

With White joined by reporter Chris Tye and Akron/Canton bureau chief-news anchor Eric Mansfield, the "multiple coverage" reminds us of the massive "team coverage" over the Cleveland Cavaliers' recent NBA Finals series.

Speaking of which, ABC affiliate WEWS/5 was not to be left out, with "NewsChannel 5" investigative reporter Duane Pohlman breathlessly describing a search of the home of Davis' boyfriend, a Canton police officer, with "NewsChopper 5" providing pictures overhead. A similar scene played out over at CBS affiliate WOIO/19's "19 Action News" Wednesday afternoon.

Teams have also fanned out from northern Stark County and Canton, over to Wooster and up to Hudson to cover various aspects of this story.

And with the FNC folks here, FOX O&O (for now) WJW/8 "FOX 8" has had use of their footage to supplement local reporting. We saw Ms. van Susteren's tour of Ms. Davis' home on "FOX 8 News" Wednesday evening.

Local TV and radio reporters are busy serving non-local viewers and listeners as well.

We're sure just about all of 'em are doing live shots for their various sister network affiliates around the country. Those are the same live shots you've seen reporters do in other cities for local stations of the same network or owner.

News-oriented stations like Canton's WHBC/1480 and Akron's WAKR/1590 have been covering the ongoing series of events with vigor, and WHBC's microphone flag has been visible in just about every live press conference video we've seen.

We haven't had the ability to listen to WHBC's local talk shows since this started, but we'll assume that they're delving into the first big Canton news story since they changed format to talk.

And as you might expect, WAKR/Rubber City Radio's AkronNewsNow website is all over the story, with an extensive special section with news stories, audio, video and even a blog from the station's news staffers covering the events.

The story is even pressing non-newsies into service as reporters, and not just on FM radio morning shows.

As we flipped by CNN Headline News' Glenn Beck show Wednesday evening, we saw Beck tossing to someone from "our radio affiliate", Clear Channel Akron talker WHLO/640, and "reporter" Keith Kennedy on the phone.

That's right, the cluster's programming operations director and hot AC WKDD/98.1 afternoon driver was doing a news "voicer" report for the host who airs - on the radio side - weekdays on WHLO at 9 AM.

(For the OMW readers at Freedom Avenue, feel free to jokingly call him "Scoop" today.)

Beck did misidentify the station as "NewsTalk 540" twice, though the graphics were correct. (We're guessing he had affiliate WFLF/540 Orlando FL on his mind.)

Though WHLO itself dispatches no field reporters from its studios - morning anchor Tom Duresky is busy anchoring for WHLO and WKDD - the station has the services of excellent WTAM/1100 "lead team reporter" Greg Saber, who can drop into the studios after covering events.

And it's not that far of a drive.

WHLO and its Freedom Avenue sisters are actually occupying the closest broadcast media facility of any type to the home of Ms. Davis. A quick Google Maps search shows us that it's just a two-and-a-half mile drive from the home to the Clear Channel World Domination HQ/Southern Command.

And one of the most unlikely TV and radio voices is all over the place in broadcast media coverage.

The Canton Repository's Todd Porter nabbed the first interview with the aforementioned Canton police officer who's the boyfriend of the missing woman. The audio was heard on TV and radio all over Northeast Ohio - and the world - for the better part of the Wednesday, thanks to the Repository's posting of it on the website.

The Akron Beacon Journal's Bob Dyer, a former media writer for the paper himself, delves into the national media takeover of Stark County in an article in today's Beacon.

Anyway, media circus aside, particularly, we express our fondest hope that Ms. Davis and her child are found safe and sound...

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

THIS JUST IN: Golden Flashes Back To WNIR

AllAccess reports this afternoon that Kent State University sports will air on MediaCom talk WNIR/100.1 Kent-Akron starting this fall.

"The Talk of Akron" reportedly signed a five-year deal to once again become the Home of the Golden Flashes, airing the team's football and men's basketball games.

Most recently, the KSU games aired on Clear Channel talk WHLO/640, along with Cleveland affiliate Salem talk WHK/1420, and sister Youngstown market outlet WHKZ/1440 Warren, which otherwise simulcasts Cleveland Christian talk outlet WHKW/1220. Somewhere in there, we seem to recall WNIR carrying one season of KSU men's basketball after WHLO had already picked up football.

The AllAccess item would lead us to believe that the Salem stations won't air the games in Cleveland or in the Youngstown/Warren area, though we could be wrong. WNIR's signal reaches portions of both markets, but we'd have to believe Kent State wants a full-market presence in both areas.

Elsewhere in the Clear Channel Akron/Canton cluster, sports WARF/1350 "SportsRadio 1350" is in a multi-year deal carrying University of Akron sports...

Welcome To The OMW Jungle

With apologies for the title to Premiere syndicated sports talker Jim Rome (weekdays noon-3 PM, WKNR/850 and WJMP/1520):

SHOUT OUT: You never know who's reading this missive, but apparently, we've made the national grade in TV news gossip.

Popular trade gossip site NewsBlues has a link to the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), due to our earlier items and discussions about FOX O&O WJW/8 coming onto the market.

We'd like to welcome our new readers - surely mostly from outside the market, as we're pretty sure all four major TV newsrooms in Cleveland read us on a regular basis.

And to clarify a point we think they did get right: OMW itself, this blog or your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) - we're not suggesting that we have heard even any solid rumor about CBS picking up the station currently known as "FOX 8" from the FOX Sale Block, and returning it to its previous CBS affiliation.

Our readers have kicked it around, extensively and mainly anonymously, but we're not hearing it from anywhere else. Indeed, in our second item on the future prospects of WJW, we downplayed the thought - for any number of reasons.

CBS has come in and rescued a flagging affiliation in a top 20 market before. That'd be the situation we mentioned in Sacramento, where the network's affiliate had a long history of poor operation (then-Sinclair's KOVR/13, which joined CBS in 1995 due to - oddly enough - an affiliation swap with Gannett's KXTV/10).

But there are two differences here.

1) CBS bought the actual current affiliate directly. The swap mentioned above happened many years before CBS purchased KOVR/13. In Cleveland, current affiliate WOIO/19 is owned by Raycom Media, and the "for-sale" station here is former affiliate WJW/8.

2) CBS/Viacom was already a station owner in the Sacramento market, with then-UPN affiliate KMAX/31 (now, of course, "CW 31"). Here in Cleveland, CBS owns no TV properties, so if it wanted a duopoly, it'd have to buy another local station - and work out the ownership overlap caused by the four CBS Radio FM stations here.

In Sacramento, when buying KOVR to add to KMAX, CBS had to let one radio property go - powerful AM frequency KFRC/610 out of San Francisco, which figured into the mix due to its easy reach of Sacramento. They did manage to hang onto their FMs, so maybe that's not a problem if they're even thinking about a Cleveland move on the TV side.

But again...we have no information other than our very own mostly-anonymous commenters that CBS is even interested, let alone doing anything...or that FOX is talking to any potential buyers yet. And we wonder if FOX would willingly give up a dominant VHF affiliate here to a competing "Big Four" network...

35 YEARS: We have been away from the Mighty Blog for a while, so we've neglected to congratulate WEWS/5 anchor Ted Henry on his 35th anniversary.

If you've watched the station in the past few days, you're sure to have seen various video clips honoring that mark in his career, including interviews with former co-anchor Wilma Smith - now at the aforementioned WJW "FOX 8", of course - and various co-workers.

We were struck by the celebration - in that it looked like something a personality normally gets when he retires after a long tenure.

We're pretty sure Ted, who is often lauded privately as one of the nicest guys in local TV news, is sticking around for a while.

But it got us to thinking - when Ted Henry eventually retires, when Dick Goddard retires, when Wilma Smith retires, and others (Tim Taylor, Big Chuck Schodowski, etc.) who have retired or are about to retire - who'll be the Next Generation?

In 20 years, after all of these people are long off local TV, who will get such lavish praise and remembrances?

We ask because Cleveland, being an older-skewing "hometown" market, holds onto "its own" in local TV with such fervor.

"FOX 8" positions even today as "Cleveland's own", with much of the staff being either natives, or long-time residents. WKYC runs promos reminding us that every single one of their four weather anchors grew up in Northeast Ohio.

It's a "big deal" here. So, after Ted, Wilma, Dick, Big Chuck and other personalities who've been on the air here for decades retire...who's our next wave? Just a question....

SPEAKING OF BIG CHUCK: The final edition of "Big Chuck and Lil' John", the popular skit/late night movie show bowing out at "FOX 8", is this Friday night.

As we reported here earlier, the last show was actually taped a while back.

The show will also bow out in prime time on Friday at 8 PM, with a one hour special titled "The End of an Era: Tribute to Big Chuck Schodowski".

And though we suppose "Big Chuck's" retirement was inevitable no matter what, we wonder how this all would have played out had FOX sold the station before the end of the show was announced last year - with your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) noting FOX's corporate-above-Cleveland desire to end the show going back to 1994...

WHK MEMORIES: The ongoing celebration of Salem talk WHK/1420's 85th anniversary will be "in the flesh" at an event slated for next month.

OMW hears that Saturday, July 21st, an event will be held at Cleveland's "House of Blues" honoring WHK's famous Beatles concert back in 1964.

The Beatles tribute band "Hard Day's Night" will play, and there will be commemorative T-shirts and replicas of the original 1964 tickets.

And there will also be a live broadcast on WHK before the show. Organizers hope for a visit from those associated with "all eras" of the station's history, and those who may not have been heard on the station's 85th Anniversary Special broadcast...

Monday, June 18, 2007

First Shot Of The Week

And our first entry this week is more of a follow-up entry...

WJW TO CBS? HOLD ON...: When that big bombshell dropped last week, with FOX announcing its intent to sell Cleveland O&O WJW/8 "FOX 8" and eight other stations, we got a flurry of speculation that almost sounded, well, like it could happen.

At least some folks seem to think that it's a foregone conclusion that CBS itself will ride in on the white horse and restore WJW's former CBS affiliation, swiping it with style from the folks at Reserve Square, the home of Raycom Media's WOIO/19.

Just some reminders here.

CBS Radio just spent a lot of time finding buyers for their smaller market radio stations - "smaller", in some cases, as high as the low 20's in size.

While Cleveland's CBS Radio cluster remained intact, the same can't be said for Columbus and Cincinnati, where the company's long-time operations were sold off.

Is CBS, TV-side, in a buying mood?

Well, they did buy their Sacramento CA affiliate, KOVR/13. But there, they had already owned UPN-turned-CW affiliate KMAX/31 for years. The two stations, from what we've read, consolidated into KOVR's facilities. Sacramento is a similar-sized market to Cleveland.

While it may seem like "poetic justice", there's another problem with CBS buying WJW...the company is just as duopoly-crazy as FOX is, and again, WJW has no companion station in the market.

Unless they can do what FOX couldn't and buy a duopoly partner for WJW, we don't see CBS dipping its toes into this market's water.

The bulk of this item is only to put one thing on the record: There is not even any credible RUMOR about a possible buyer for WJW, at least among our local TV sources.

And it's also to remind readers that FOX has not done anything at this point than announce it intended to sell WJW and the eight other stations. That's far from announcing a deal...

AND RESERVE SQUARE AGAIN: Look to "probably early July" for the start date for "19 Action News" sportscaster David Pingalore in his new home market of Orlando, as lead sports anchor at CBS affiliate WKMG/6.

That's according to Henry Maldonado, who gave the date to Orlando Sentinel TV guru Hal Bodeker in this article on the paper's TV blog.

Maldonado talks about Pingalore's delay, due to the Cleveland Cavaliers making it into the NBA Finals:

"That was always part of the agreement. He was with them until the Cavaliers ended their run," Maldonado said. "I thought the moment they ran into the Pistons, it was all over."

The blog article is from June 7th, just over a week ago. Game 7 of the NBA finals would have been late this week, we believe, if the Cavaliers had lasted that long, and we're sure Pingalore would still like some decompression time even with the games over.

And in a storyline that sounds like it describes a possible WOIO hire, it turns out the newly hired weekend anchor at Pingalore's new Orlando station is, and no, we're not making this up, a former profesional wrestling announcer.

Former World Wrestling Entertainment play-by-play TV voice and host Todd Romero will be working at WKMG. The WKMG boss points out that Romero has "legitimate" sports experience at stations in Kansas City and Denver, and calls him "energetic".

No, that wasn't a quote out of Reserve Square...

WE HAVE ROGER TO KICK AROUND AGAIN: Many observers, including this corner, wondered if former Cleveland Plain Dealer sports/media columnist Roger Brown had just faded away.

After taking the PD's buyout offer, Mr. Brown started writing occasional columns for the Lake County News-Herald (and sister Lorain Morning Journal), and had a brief stint with "19 Action News".

Roger's newspaper columns disappeared, and he openly left the employ of WOIO.

As someone once said in a movie, "He's baaaaaack."

While searching for more on the aforementioned Mr. Pingalore, we found Roger Brown's byline once again on the website of the News-Herald, with a column written in late May. He notes that his former TV employer has apparently decided to "go serious" in the search for Pingalore's replacement:

Word is Channel 19 has given up on auditioning former local athletes (such as Bob Golic, Hanford Dixon, etc.) as potential sports anchors. WOIO now reportedly wants a veteran sportscaster to replace weekend sports anchor David Pingalore, who leaves soon for Orlando.
Roger also mentions that SportsTime Ohio's Mike Cairns, former weekend sports anchor at WKYC/3, is likely to do fill-in on the "Action News" sports desk.

Roger's return would seem to be for good, as he has another column in Sunday's News-Herald.

He notes the possible move (he says "don't be surprised") of WKYC/3 sports director Jim Donovan to TV play-by-play for Cleveland Browns' pre-season games airing on his home station - with WTAM/1100's Mike Snyder filling the radio side of the bill. (By the way, we heard Snyder once again on Friday night, filling in for Tom Hamilton on the Indians Radio Network.)

Mr. Brown also weighs in on the waiting game for FOX Sports Net Ohio, who may lose former Cavaliers player and current FSN Ohio Cavaliers analyst Scott Williams to an assistant coaching gig in Phoenix.

And for those playing the Roger Brown Drinking Game at home: There were no real estate mentions in either column we pulled up, but there is a quote from FSN host and Shaker Heights native Chris Rose in Sunday's column. And of course, there's the above quoted "Word is..."...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Through The Weekend

Clearing out the ol' Inbox again, with some non-connected stuff from various trade sites and our own reporting...

LATEST FM HD RADIO OUTLET: We hinted at it earlier, and now it's official - Clear Channel has lit up another Northeast Ohio station with HD Radio.

Not long after hot AC WMXY/98.9 "Mix 98.9" in Youngstown turned on the digital bits, its sister hot AC station about 40 miles to the west has also done so.

Akron/Canton hot AC WKDD/98.1 is new to the digital radio game, as of Friday morning. That brings all of Freedom Avenue's FM signals into the HD world, with Akron talk WHLO/640 and sports WARF/1350 still analog-only.

For now, WKDD is just simulcasting the analog product, but we believe they'll start up an HD-2 subchannel fairly soon.

For what it's worth, OMW hears that WMXY's previously reported "Endless Love" HD-2 subchannel went away last weekend...we don't know if it's back up. It would appear broadcasters doing the subchannels have to test this technology and nail it down.

And no, we don't know what's going to show up on WKDD-HD2 on the OMW Accurian HD Radio, or on the dozen or so other HD-equipped radios around Northeast Ohio...

DEDICATED TO THE SLEEPING MS. ROBAK: With Your Cleveland Cavaliers officially home from the NBA Finals, we'll assume that The Overworked Sue Ann Robak won't be at work at Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" for a while. For all we know, she's sleeping two or three straight days to recover.

So, it's Still A Fill-In Anchor Andy Baskin at the NewsChannel 5 sports desk this weekend.

And Friday night, we chuckled at an "inside" line he uttered while joking with veteran WEWS anchor Ted Henry.

When Ted started to throw it to Andy for a brief sports segment before the long-form "(Insert-Car-Maker-Name-Here-Because-They-Don't-Pay-OMW) Sports Extra", he started to stumble over the toss, particularly at the "NewsChannel 5 sports...anchor" part.

Andy joked back:

"I feel like I need to introduce myself. 'Hi, I'm Andy, I've worked at every station in town over the last year. I just want to say, I feel like I've worked with you guys for the past 20 weeks."


The "worked at every station" part probably only feels like it to Mr. Baskin, who came from NBC affiliate WKYC/3, and has also been seen on WKYC-associated SportsTime Ohio (both under WKYC's auspices and after leaving, on his own), and before that, at FOX Sports Net Ohio.

He hasn't yet worked on South Marginal Road or in the basement of Reserve Square. (Perhaps he should be thankful for that latter fact.)

And speaking of Reserve Square, we don't know how quickly Orlando-bound David Pingalore will be out of the home of "19 Action News", but we're sure we'll find out soon.

We haven't heard anything yet, but we wouldn't be surprised if Andy Baskin gets hired on full-time at NewsChannel 5. If not as sports director and primary sports anchor, at very least as the second anchor, in the role once filled by John Chandler. We'll keep our ears up for news about that, as well.

And here's some advice for the folks at 3001 Euclid. If you want to keep Andy around, don't make him guess if you want him or not. That sure didn't work for Mr. Chandler, so much so that he even expressed that thought to the newspaper...

GOODRADIOWEBSITE: A regular OMW tipster points out the new website put up for GoodRadio.TV, which is not only the domain address for the company's site, but the actual name of the company in line to buy a pretty decent chunk of Clear Channel's small market Ohio radio stations.

The company, controlled by former PAX TV/Ion Networks president Dean Goodman, lists its currently owned stations (six in Iowa), plus the incoming acquisitions under the link "Stations Under Contract".

And we're reminded that some parts of Ohio will also see the new ownership in local stations. We don't believe we've pointed out that GoodRadio has also picked up the Parkersburg WV-based Clear Channel stations, which spread over the Ohio River into the Marietta area.

And though the Clear Channel Findlay/Tiffin stations are listed, we don't see Defiance OH based hot AC WDFM/98.1 "Mix 98.1" on the acquired stations list.

We're wondering if an operator in nearby Ft. Wayne IN is looking at WDFM. (We're just wondering, we don't know of any rumors to that effect, even.)

WDFM has attempted to serve the Ft. Wayne market in the past, at least as a rimshot... complete with an on-channel booster the station had in Northeast Indiana's largest city. (We've seen the site - it's behind a strip shopping mall.)

We don't remember if the loss of that tower a ways back had anything to do with it, but in recent years, WDFM has concentrated on its hometown Western Ohio base. With a new owner, could that change? Again, only a question, not a rumor.

And back to GoodRadio(.TV LLC) for a bit.

When we first reported the possibility of the company sniffing around the small market Clear Channel stations in Ohio, we got about a half-dozen E-Mails from folks looking to contact the company for possible employment.

You can do it right from the company's website now, at this link...

AND A BRIEF NOTE ON THE END OF A LEGENDARY BROADCAST: Classical WCLV/104.9 has let us know that the run of "Adventures in Good Music with Karl Haas" is about to come to an end, with the last show scheduled for broadcast June 29th at 8 PM.

The show actually started on WJR/760 in Detroit in 1959, and moved to WCLV in 1970 - which launched a syndication effort which spread Mr. Haas' efforts worldwide to hundreds of stations and millions of listeners.

Mr. Haas passed on in February 2005, and few stations stuck around for the posthumous broadcasts of his series.

We'll have a more detailed look at Karl Haas' life, legacy and numerous awards later this month...

We're Still Here

Due to circumstances beyond our control, OMW will operate on a sporadic update schedule until further notice.

This basically means that our readers should not expect our usual daily (or more than daily) updates.

We will try to put items up when possible, and will do our best to post major, breaking news as soon as possible. (e.g. the WJW/FOX sale item just below this one, or other significant items involving local media)

So, please, keep checking, but don't be surprised if we're not around for a day or two. We'd be happy to refund any money you, umm, well, no one has paid us...

We'll have a week-ending update sometime later today...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


UPDATED 6/13/07 10:00 PM

This just in:

News Corporation, owner of TV's FOX network, has announced it is selling Cleveland O&O WJW/8 and eight other below-top-10 market stations.

"FOX 8" is the largest market station on the block. The Cleveland/Akron (Canton) market is still hanging in there as the nation's 17th ranked TV market, after once being in the top 10.

Denver, which has grown to be right under Cleveland in market size (18th) is next on the FOX For Sale Block, with long-time FOX O&O KDVR/31 being sold off.

The rest of the for-sale list has a chunk of FOX stations in medium Midwestern markets like St. Louis, Kansas City and Milwaukee, in Salt Lake City and in medium southern markets like Memphis and Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem NC.

There had been rumors kicking around that FOX was looking to sell off its smaller market stations, though we'd have to say WJW and the Denver station are surprises on the list.

Though Cleveland isn't exactly a growth market - one metric used in such deals - WJW has been an exceedingly strong and successful FOX O&O, and barely lost a step or two after the transition from CBS.

But here's your wildcard in this: FOX is especially concerned with keeping its markets where the network owns two stations. And Cleveland isn't on that list.

(We'll leave it to the readers, in our comments section, as to why FOX couldn't buy a second station in Cleveland, among possible targets like WBNX/55 and WOAC/67. We have our own answers, but we want to hear yours, first.)

FOX also, curiously, declined to sell single stations in such markets as Austin TX (market #52) and Ocala FL (market #162 with Gainesville).

Our guess is that Austin is considered close enough to the FOX O&O duopolies in Houston and Dallas, and ditto with Ocala and the FOX Orlando duopoly.

Other single stations are still in the FOX universe, but all in large markets like Boston, Philadelphia and Detroit. And Baltimore's WUTB/24 is not being sold, but that's a short drive from the company's Washington DC stations.

If you'd like to comb over the FOX O&O station list, the company has one on its website.

It would appear that one reason News Corporation is selling off the stations is to raise cash to help fund its multi-billion dollar bid for Dow Jones, as speculated in this Associated Press article we found on the Akron Beacon Journal's website this evening...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


OMW would like to extend our condolences to WJW/8 "FOX 8 News" sports anchor and WKNR/850 "ESPN 850" mid-morning talk show host Tony Rizzo on the loss of his grandmother.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer has more on Josephine "Jeffie" Rizzo's life in a news obituary published Monday.

Of course, her son, and Tony's father, is long-time Cleveland radio and TV personality Jack Reynolds...

Tuesday Update

Well, now that we've brought forth a station swap and killed it within two items, let's try something else...

AP AWARDS: The list is far too long to mention here, but a number of Northeast Ohio stations have picked up yearly broadcast awards from the Ohio Associated Press.

TV-wise, Cleveland's WKYC-TV nabbed top prize for outstanding large market news was Clear Channel talk WLW/700 Cincinnati on the radio side.

Akron's WAKR/1590 (along with Rubber City Radio sisters WQMX/94.9 and WONE/97.5) took medium market radio top news honors, and also picked up a host of other group and individual awards for anchor Pat Kennard, sportscaster Joe Jaztremski and a second place nods to Larry States and Marcy Pappafava. WKBN/570 Youngstown's Jim Michaels was named best reporter in that grouping.

And without its now-former FM sister station around, Dover/New Philadephia's WJER/1450 did similarly well in the small market radio category. Reporter Amanda Robbins was named best small market reporter and Robbins and WJER staffer Jamie Hambach picked up other individual awards. Crosstown country WTUZ/99.9 Uhrichsville picked up one second place finish.

Cleveland Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 morning host Bob Frantz was crowing about its awards this Monday morning, including large market "best reporter" first and second place awards for Greg Saber and Ted Klopp, and best regularly scheduled sports (to sports director Mike Snyder).

Frantz took the opportunity to take a shot across the bow at the station's unnamed "all they do is sports, and we beat them" competitor, Good Karma's WKNR/850 "ESPN 850" Cleveland.

That's all well and good, but we have no idea if the folks on Broadview Road even entered the competition, and if they are even an AP member station.

Also showing up in the large market radio category are awards for staffers at both ideastream's WCPN/90.3 Cleveland and Kent State University's WKSU/89.7 Kent.

Despite technically being an Akron market station, 'KSU opted for the larger market competition...which we suppose is reasonable considering their Northeast Ohio-wide coverage via various repeater and translator stations.

TV-wise, in "large market best reporter" honors, it's an interesting one-two punch - investigators Tom Meyer and Carl Monday, in that order, listed under their then-current employers - WOIO/19 and WKYC/3.

And yes, "19 Action News" gets its only nod, as "best regularly scheduled news" in the large market category. We're beginning to wonder if that's a long-running prank or something, but we're sure we'll see the Cleveland CBS affiliate trot out the award pretty much every other break.

If we missed anyone, too bad...we tried. We can't please everyone. Feel free to spotlight a local winner we didn't mention in the comments section...

AS EXPECTED...: We've mentioned on and off in the past that NextMedia news/talk WHBC/1480 Canton was expected to start throwing in more local programming on weekends, supplanting more and more of the full-time feed of FOX Sports Radio.

Here they grow again.

The station has debuted "Stark Sports Live" Saturday mornings from 10 AM to noon, following the relatively recent addition of station and local radio vet Jim Albright in the Saturday 6-10 AM slot.

"SSL" features new top WHBC sports guy Sam Bourquin, who moved to morning drive and became sports director after the retirement of Jim Johnson recently. Also on the Saturday show is Chris Schieman, who appears to have taken Bourquin's spot on the station's afternoon drive show hosted by Brady Russell.

Dave Sheetz and Ben DiCola round out the new program, which debuted this past Saturday...

BUSY PLACE: And local radio historian Jim Davison checks in and tells us just how busy the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Alan Freed Studio is these days.

We noted that Cleveland radio legend Larry Morrow's new Sirius Satellite Radio show will originate from there sometime later this month.

We also knew that another big radio name connected to Cleveland, Norm N. Nite, does his own show on Sirius' Gold Channel (5), Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 3-6 PM. That's the same Sirius channel which Morrow will be heard on.

But there's also an album rock-oriented show with Dusty Street somewhere in the mix in the studio as well.

We're told visitors to the Rock Hall's fifth floor can look in and watch the shows being broadcast, and maybe even be invited in to talk with the personality...

Monday, June 11, 2007

As It Turns Out

It would appear that the big proposed swap between Clear Channel's WBBG/106.1 Niles and WREO/97.1 Ashtabula has fallen apart in mere days.

OK, so we were skeptical when anonymous commenters alluded to it on the item immediately below this.

But sure enough, both applications are listed as "dismissed" as of this evening on the FCC web site, with a dismissal date of today.

Here's the link to the WBBG application, and the link to the WREO application, both of which show the "dismissed" status.

Since we did not learn of this through sources connected to Clear Channel, we don't know what's happening "behind the scenes" here - that would prompt the company to lose the application a mere ten days after it was filed.

The prompt timing would lead us to believe that the company itself made the move to call for the dismissal of both applications - the FCC just doesn't move that fast if it is actually in the process of considering an application.

Clear Channel was also responsible for the dismissal of their one-time application to move WWVA/1170 Wheeling WV to Stow OH, likely due to market cap considerations.

Since this would be a one-station-for-one-station swap, that would not come into play as far as we know.

The only "X" factor here is the pending sale of the Clear Channel Ashtabula cluster, which includes WREO, to Tom Embrescia's "Sweet Home Ashtabula". We had presumed that Mr. Embrescia would pick up the moved-north 106.1 in replacement, and had presumed that he was aware of this planned move...

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Eastern Ohio Swap

UPDATE 6/11/07 8:01 PM: Well, not so much. Details on the update to this story are at this link, which is the item just above this on the regular scroll. Here's what we posted Sunday night...


On its way out the door in Ashtabula, Clear Channel is filing for a frequency swap between that area and Youngstown.

The company has filed to move 97.1 FM - the long-time home of AC WREO "Star 97.1" - to McDonald, a small village in Trumbull County.

In turn, 106.1/Niles, the current oldies WBBG "Big 106.1", heads north back up into the Ashtabula area, with a community of license of Geneva-on-the-Lake. (For those keeping score, that is actually a separate community from Geneva, which already has Music Express country outlet WKKY/104.7.)

The facilities changes:

WREO TO YOUNGSTOWN: 97.1 downgrades from a Class B to a Class A facility in its move to the Youngstown market, with the proposed antenna site at the current tower holding Clear Channel sister station rock WNCD/93.3 "The Wolf".

For those keeping score, it's also the antenna home of Cumulus sports WBBW/1240 "ESPN 1240", and is next to the long-time former studio facility on Knox Street.

And since WBBG used to be on 93.3, its new replacement facility will be on the very same tower as its former home.

WBBG TO ASHTABULA: 106.1 stays a Class A outlet in its move up north, with antenna co-located with current Clear Channel sister top 40 WZOO/102.5 Edgewood OH "102ZOO".

Why is this being done?

It would appear that on its way out of Ashtabula, Clear Channel wants to fix up signal problems with 106.1 Niles by supplanting it with the new 97.1.

Even since 106.1 signed on with the original WNCD "CD 106 The Wolf" rock format, long before Clear Channel ended up with the facility, it wasn't all the best for covering the entire Youngstown market.

In fact, current Cumulus AC WLLF/96.7 Mercer PA "The River" once simulcast WNCD, as you can probably tell by the call letters it has kept even to this day.

Problem areas for the 106.1 signal would include the Mahoning Valley's most vital residential areas, like Boardman, Canfield and the like. And if you're in a market that doesn't really see much growth, you've gotta be where the people are living.

The new 97.1 McDonald wouldn't be located as far north as the 106.1 facility is now. It'd be in the heart of the market, co-located with 93.3.

As for the new-to-Ashtabula 106.1 Geneva-on-the-Lake: We presume that's the facility which will be flipped to Tom Embrescia's "Sweet Home Ashtabula", along with the other current Clear Channel Ashtabula facilities (WFUN/970, WYBL/98.3, WZOO/102.5 Edgewood, WFXJ/107.5 North Kingsville).

As for questions about the new 106.1 Class A facility moving west...probably not. It's unlikely for various reasons, including the presence of Cleveland second-adjacents WMJI/105.7 and WMVX/106.5.

Even with (current) common ownership, Clear Channel isn't going to agree to any changes that would even cause fringe-area concerns with its powerful Cleveland stations.

And you can bet Clear Channel isn't dropping this frequency into the hands of Tom Embrescia, if it thought the long-time Cleveland broadcaster could compete with them by trying to move it...

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Wrapup

Now, on to the stuff clogging up our inbox, and our collective mind...

MIX TO KISS PD IN Y-TOWN: AllAccess reports that Clear Channel Youngstown hot AC WMXY/98.9 "Mix" middayer Sean Stevens slides across the hall to top 40 WAKZ/95.9 "Kiss FM" to take its program director opening.

The move takes Stevens off the air at "Mix", with newly-minted PD Steve Granato going on the air there. Sean has been holding that pesky "acting PD" title at "Kiss FM" since Jerry Mac left the post a few months ago.

And we don't know, yet, if Sean's new job affects his voicetracking in evenings at Clear Channel sister AC WHOF/101.7 in the Canton market...

LARRY MORROW'S NEW GIG: We don't know much more about it than the Plain Dealer item we spotted on the other day, but...

Legendary Cleveland radio personality Larry Morrow, known for work at stations such as the old WIXY/1260 (now Radio Disney's WWMK) and WQAL/104.1, is dipping his toes back into the radio waters - or at least the satellite radio waters.

The PD's Bill Lubinger reports that Morrow is about to start "Coast to Coast with Larry Morrow" on Sirius Satellite Radio's "Gold" Channel (5). The two-day-a-week show will be heard Tuesdays and Wednesdays 3-7 PM, and will reportedly originate from the studios at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Cleveland.

As you'd likely expect, it's set to feature various interviews and features on the artists played on the channel, which covers much from the mid-1950's to early 1960's.

No broadcast/over-air component to this, as far as we can tell...which means if you don't have a Sirius tuner, you'll have to be lucky enough to drive behind someone who does, and hope they have a taste for music of that era...

The man who came to Cleveland in the 1960's after becoming a sensation here from across Lake Erie as CKLW/800 Windsor ONT's "Duke Windsor" now continues to run the Larry Morrow Group, an advertising and promotions firm...

SYNDICATION MATTERS: A mainstay on some local talk and Christian radio stations is expanding its syndication, with help from a Cleveland company.

"Family Matters", which has aired on Salem's three Cleveland outlets - Christian talk WHKW/1220, talk WHK/1420 and Christian contemporary WFHM/95.5 - is getting added to the syndication lineup of Cleveland-based Envision Radio Networks.

That's the same local company which recently picked up a new show hosted by former WKBW/1520 Buffalo host Leslie Marshall.

In addition to the Salem outlets here - WHKW also airs the show weekdays - the weekend edition of "Family Matters" is in the lineup of Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 Toledo. And of course, WTOD program director Chuck Matthews is a regular OMW reader.

(See, we had to turn it around to us, didn't we? Heh.)

We didn't realize that "Family Matters", hosted by Caroline Kruse and Jacquie Chakirelis, has been airing in one form or another for nine years...

TWC MOVES: It looks like Time Warner Cable is shuffling around some channels in various areas of the company's massive Northeast Ohio footprint.

An OMW reader in Norwalk tells us that ESPN Classic is now up at digital channel 117, moved (according to the TWC online channel guide) from analog 34.

The reader speculates that it's to make room for ESPNU's entrance to the TWC lineup. We haven't heard any confirmation of that, and note that ESPN Classic has always been on digital cable in the company's Cleveland (ex-Adelphia) lineup.

For that matter, so was ESPNU, until TWC dumped it just hours after taking over the system from the former operator.

From an entirely different outpost in the Time Warner SuperSystem: A New Philadelphia reader tells us that the earlier move of the Ohio News Network off to digital cable land has left behind an interesting sight on analog 72.

He says it appears that the Tennis Channel has landed there, and the channel apparently shares time with Time Warner Cable's own "Akron/Canton News", the WKYC/3-produced newscast with anchor Eric Mansfield.

Tennis and news? Umm, OK...

TWC's New Philadelphia/Dover system is one acquired in the Adelphia purchase, so it's the latest new outpost for "Akron/Canton News"...

WEWS-TV/DT SAN ANTONIO: No, there's no truth to the rumor that Scripps Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5 has filed with the FCC for a license change to San Antonio. It only seems that way.

By the day of Game One of the NBA Finals on Thursday, "NewsChannel 5" had sent a veritable army to south Texas, including, but not limited to:

Anchors Ted Henry, Danita Harris and Paul Kiska
Sports anchor Sue Ann Robak
Reporter Carolina Leid
...and numerous photographers and producers.

We'll give 'em a break, again.

Channel 5 is, after all, the outlet which is broadcasting the Finals via its network, ABC. The ratings won't be out for at least a while, but we're willing to bet that the station will draw Super Bowl-sized crowds every single night.

No, not everyone has left the building at 30th and Euclid.

But even most of the remaining reporters (Joy Benedict, Jonathan Costen, and John Kosich, for example) are doing various Cavs-related stories.

With the "LeBron's From Akron" angle fully mined by now, it was left to Costen to drive another 20 miles south on I-77 - to look into the background of the other major Cavaliers player with local ties, Canton McKinley graduate Eric Snow.

We were just thinking - the "NewsChannel 5" crew in San Antonio outnumbers the entire staff of some small market stations...

AND A MENTION: We're always thrilled when the universe of this Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) intersects with the print media.

This time, it's living Cavaliers radio play-by-play legend Joe Tait's first NBA Finals that brings us to the outside world.

The Medina Gazette has an excellent story in today's editions about Tait and his broadcasting of this series, written by sportswriter Brian Dulik. Quoting the man himself:

"From what I hear, there are a number of people who are happy I am finally going to be broadcasting the NBA Finals," Tait said. "That lets me know that I've probably done a pretty good job over the years, which is a nice feeling. It's very flattering."

Oh, and the part about us. Heh.

How widespread is Tait-mania at this point? A respected Ohio media Web site suggested that one of the Cavaliers' goals over the next two weeks should be to "Win it for Joe Tait."

Us? Respected? Wow. The universe does indeed work in mysterious ways.

And unlike the Cavaliers, at least Tait doesn't have to directly compete with whomever San Antonio has working the PBP microphone.

But he'd have a much better chance, at least based on the local team's play last night.

Such a contest between broadcasters would likely be "Tait In Less Than Four", and we have no idea who does the San Antonio broadcasts...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Wednesday Pick Up

Top of the midweek to you...and here's what's on the agenda for today so far...

INCOMING?: Some of our readers noticed this, and so did we.

AllAccess notes that a former Ft. Myers FL morning show team is on a "seven city audition tour", and that Cleveland is one of the stops for the team known as "Damage and Gravy" (???).

The pair used to be on the "Morning Mess" show on Beasley classic rock WRXK/96.1 "K-Rock" in the western Florida city, and the AllAccess item says they've also auditioned for a major market spot in the Southeast.

We'll leave it to our readers to guess where they may be visiting in Cleveland, if anywhere. There wouldn't appear to be an immediate opening, unless a station is getting ready to jettison a show or something.

And we don't know if Mr. Damage or Mr. Gravy have format experience outside the rock or classic rock worlds, so without that knowledge, we can't even make any guesses as to who they're talking to here.

Or, if they're talking to anyone at all here in Northeast Ohio. Anyone can throw out the phrase "we're auditioning in this list of cities" with nothing to back it up...

SLATS ACTION: Cleveland figures in another AllAccess tidbit posted Tuesday.

The name of former WMMS/100.7 and ex-WXTM-now-WKRI/92.3 personality Tim Slats shows up in Tuesday's AllAccess "Action" listing.

Mr. Slats, after leaving Cleveland, left full-time radio for an assistant golf pro job in Florida. (Some people are smarter than we are.)

He told AllAccess back a few months ago that he was still dabbling in the business, doing creative writing of station imaging liners on the side.

Is he getting back on the air? And if so, is it down in Florida, or here?

We don't know, yet...but we're trying to find out.

UPDATE 1:15 PM 6/6/07: AllAccess reports that Tim Slats is dipping his toes back in the radio water in his new home area of Orlando. He'll be doing swing/weekend work at Clear Channel rock WJRR/101.1 "Real Rock 101.1" there...while continuing his "day job" as an assistant golf pro at Orlando's Grand Cypress Resort...

TRIV'S VACATION: An OMW reader lets us know that there's a good reason Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 afternoon driver Mike Trivisonno is on vacation the same week the Cleveland Cavaliers are in the NBA Finals.


Triv's apparently in the World Series of Poker, a long-planned trip which puts him in Las Vegas this week. We're sorry we missed this news, but we have drastically cut down on our Triv Diet the past few months.

As we said in the previous item, we can't blame ol' Triv for this one. Not even the most optimistic Cavaliers fan on the planet would have declined taking vacation for mid-June, hoping to see the local pro basketball team in the NBA Finals.

And yes, of course we're aware that Cleveland doesn't host the series until next Tuesday.

We only brought it up because we were marking local media members' trips to San Antonio, and such a series is pretty much an "all hands on deck" situation for a team's flagship station, whether it is here or in the visitor's home city.

As such, even while competing in a poker tournament, we would bet on Triv burning up his cell phone minutes calling back to the station the rest of this week...

AND SPEAKING OF SAN ANTONE: OMW hears that WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" reporter Carolina Leid is no longer alone with her presence for the Cleveland ABC affiliate in San Antonio.

Newly-minted "Good Morning Cleveland" anchor Paul Kiska is already there, and has promoted that he'll be co-hosting the morning show from San Antonio the rest of the week.

But which one of the two will become San Antonio Bureau Chief, anyway?...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Assorted Tuesday Stuff

Today's usual collection has four odd items with no relation to each other...

WBNX-HD'ING IT: It's official - Winston Broadcasting Cleveland market CW affiliate WBNX/55 Akron is no longer making a secret of its new digital signal, which it started testing two months ago.

After literally months of saying "we expect to be on cable in October", the local home of "Gilmore Veronica Girls WWE Smallville Smackdown on Mars" (we think that's actually a show) is now promoting its new digital signal on its "Trends" web page:

We are pleased to announce that WBNX can now be seen in high definition! With its incomparable blend of sight, sound, color, motion and emotion, television delivers hours of enjoyment to people year round. Now with HDTV you can experience television like never before.

But for the moment, only viewers with an antenna attached to a TV with a digital tuner can "experience television like never before", at least when it comes to WBNX.

Despite hinting last year that a cable/satellite HDTV signal would appear before the broadcast signal (the aforementioned October date), it appears that WBNX is now asking viewers to bug the local cable providers and the satellite providers to add the station's HD signal.

On the page in a highlighted Q&A box:

Q: Why can’t I see WBNX in HD on my cable or satellite provider?
A: Call your cable or satellite provider and tell them you want WBNX in HD! If you have an antenna you can turn to channel 55-1 on your high definition tuner.

We don't know all the details behind it, but we'd have to assume that WBNX wouldn't have a difficult time getting on, say, the dominant local cable provider, Time Warner Cable.

The station's network, The CW (do they still call it "The" CW?), offers a large portion of its programming in HD, and the programming is attractive, particularly to younger, tech-savvy viewers.

Getting on DirecTV or Dish Network may be more challenging. The satellite providers have been fairly slow adding non-"Big Four" network affiliates in HD...Dish even more so than DirecTV, which even added local HD sports feeds a few months ago...

WINNING AWARDS AWAY FROM HOME: Clear Channel Cleveland top 40 WAKS/96.5 "96-5 Kiss FM"'s nighttime human cup of coffee, "Java Joel" Murphy, has picked up a couple of reader popularity poll awards.

But these kudos aren't coming from the local weekly alt-papers, Scene and the Cleveland Free Times. In fact, they aren't even coming from this country.

AllAccess reports that "Java Joel" picks up two reader nods for "Best Radio Show" and "Best Radio Personality" from readers of the weekly Montreal Mirror.

No, there aren't thousands of Canadians camped out on the Internet, listening to the "Kiss FM" web stream.

Regular readers know that Joel, in between his departure from WAKS sister station WKSC/103.5 "Kiss FM" in Chicago and his hiring at Oak Tree, kept the pipes warm by voicetracking afternoon drive on Martz top 40 WYUL/94.7 "Hits FM" Chateaugay NY. That's a cross-border rimshot into Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The station's signal JUST reaches into Montreal from its position just south of the international border, but fortunately for an English-speaking American-style top 40 outlet, it does very well in the "West Island" area and other parts of Montreal that have a lot of English speakers.


Anyway, after moving to Cleveland to do a live nighttime show on the local station he voicetracked into before, from Chicago, Mr. Murphy continues to do his "Hits FM" afternoon drive show digitally from Northeast Ohio.

And a popular show it is...even with Java Joel's physical presence not anywhere near the Canadian border...

CAVS WATCH, DAY 2: Monday continued the enormous hype about the Cleveland Cavaliers' appearance in the NBA Finals, which starts Thursday with a game in San Antonio.

A quick listen to Good Karma sports WKNR/850 "ESPN 850 WKNR"'s Kenny Roda show tonight let us know that at least three 'KNR staffers are making the trek to Alamo City...along with Roda himself, "Wine and Gold Post Game Show" host and former Cavaliers TV voice Michael Reghi is headed to the home of the Spurs.

And as mentioned here earlier, WJW FOX 8 sports anchor Tony Rizzo - who just so happens to host a little two hour radio show on WKNR - will be in San Antonio as well.

UPDATE: We apparently heard wrong that Rizzo wouldn't be on his radio show today, because he was. He's headed for Texas this afternoon.

Over at "Cavaliers Mothership" Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100, aside from sports director/Cavs radio host Mike Snyder's likely presence in San Antonio - and our guess with morning co-host Bill Wills along for the ride - we found out one big station name who may not be there...afternoon drive host Mike Trivisonno.

In what's almost a regular occurrence for him around big local sports weeks, Triv is off all this week.

WOIO/19 "19 Action News" sports director and ex-'TAMer Chuck Galeti filled in for him Monday, and will do so again Friday. The "Triv Show without Triv" with the remaining afternoon cast members will be heard Tuesday, and we're not sure about the rest of the week. Our guess that there will be some sort of "special game-related programming" on Thursday.

But unless Triv has redirected his vacation time to San Antonio, he won't be on...though he's called in via phone in the past in situations like this.

We're reminded of the furor surrounding the Cleveland Browns' near-firing of general manager Phil Savage around the Christmas holidays in 2005.

Triv was off, but hauled himself into the studio from home to join in the station's coverage of a firing that appeared to be imminent at the time, but never happened.

Now, we don't blame Triv for taking vacation time. It's in his contract, and he's got the leverage (ratings performance, etc.) to ask for it.

And we're guessing that he chose this week long before ANYONE thought the Cavaliers would still be playing in early June.

Meanwhile, over in TV Land, WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" reporter Carolina Leid is still in San Antonio, interviewing Every Last Cavaliers Fan, and exploring Every Last Nook And Cranny of "enemy territory"...

WHAT A MICROPHONE SALE!: If you've had your eyes on a classic microphone with a Cleveland history, you just missed one on eBay.

Voiceover guy and Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 Toledo program director Chuck Matthews passed along word of this auction on a microphone historians would drool over, an RCA 44-BX microphone with a "WJW" logo on it.

Of course, that's not WJW as in the current FOX-owned TV station...that's WJW at 850 AM, a frequency now occupied by today's WKNR.

We don't know who the seller is, but he offered thanks to that current station's staff in the listing...and he made a decent amount of money off of it.

The winning bidder put in a final bid of $1526. Whew!

Chuck told us about it in a note Sunday afternoon, but unfortunately, we couldn't get around to putting it up here until after the auction. We assume not many had that much money or credit card space to buy the microphone at its eventual asking price.

And but for another $14, the winner could have matched the frequency of 850's current sister station, WWGK/1540...