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...


Anonymous said...

This was "dismissed" too soon by clear channel. It's one of two things one of them already mentioned on here about it having to do with the new owners or maybe they now have a different plan in mind. I wouldn't be surprised if we seen something else filed by them sometime real soon, or could a sell now be in the works? I guess we'll have to stay tuned to find out.

Anonymous said...

I really hope WREO stays in Ashtabula. The 50,000-watt signal is a great service to the north coast, and a great complement to Erie's Classy 100. Classy skews older, WREO younger. I like the mix on 'REO. I can hear Steve Winwood, The Cars, and Toto back-to-back with out Bennie and his annoying Jets getting in the way :-) Counting rimshots, Clear Channel has, what, around twelve signals in the Youngstown/Cleveland area? Enough. Ashtabula may have more stations that is necessary, but WREO should not be the one that goes away. Leave 97.1 alone.

Anonymous said...

Since comments were closed on the other board, I wanted to respond to Scott Fybush's comments on the thread which continues here. Scott said

"A 97.1 move into Cleveland would have been a non-starter. There's no grandfathered short spacing between WREO and WAKS, so you'd need 74 km between WAKS (at the Channel 3 tower) and WREO as a full B, or 71 km if WREO downgraded to B1. It *might* have worked as a Geauga County A, for whatever THAT would have been worth. Or it might have worked a bit closer in as an A if 96.5 had stayed put in Akron rather than moving north."

I may have not been really clear in this past post but I never said that 97.1 could be a full move-in but could be a decent east-side rimshot by moving its tower about 10 miles west to somewhere in the neighborhood of the Perry Power Plant. There would be three issues... co-channel with a Canadian station which could likely be obviated via a directional rig. There are some co-channel issues with 96.5, but the tower is in Brecksville (the WTAM/WZAK site) which buys a few miles of wiggle-room. Being, though, that such a move would be currently all in the Clear Channel family, they could opt to a waiver for short spacing. The other issue that would keep the tower from moving further west is 97.5.

This is all predicated on leaving the station as a full-bore Class B... with the only concession being directional so the signal over the lake is attenuated towards Canada. It could presumably stay licensed to Ashtabula... or choose a closer-in COL, possibly Mentor IF an in-metro COL was desirable. Leaving it licensed to an Ashtabula county station could presumably leave it out of the Cleveland station cap computations. The downside to this is that it would have to remain a "below the line" station and not identify with a city licensed to the Cleveland Metro. However, most buyers will look at a Tapscan, Strata, or Marketron ranker which makes no distinction whether a station is above or below the line... and the trye COL is easily buried. (Just ask the hundreds of programmers that were doing this back befor the FCC loosened the city of ID rules.)

Don't forget, too... there are still two available Ashtabula Co. allocations.... 93.9 (Madison) and 96.1 (Ashtabula)... so there are other options to move WREO to another signal at some point if, indeed this current swap tanks.

Anonymous said...

93.9 allocated to metro Ashtabula? That's darned close to Erie. The FCC must think it's western New York state, heh.

Scott Fybush said...

There's no co-channel 97.1 anywhere in southern Ontario. Closest co-channels are WKRK Detroit and WBNS-FM Columbus, which are both fully-spaced and then some. Closest Canadians are 97.5 in London and 96.7 in Kitchener, neither of which present spacing issues.

The current spacing between WREO and WAKS is 92 km, which gives WREO 18 km of wiggle room to move south and west without downgrading or resorting to 73.215 shortspacing.

97.5 Akron is not a factor - it's 107 km away, against 74 km full spacing for a second-adjacent B to B.

But there's one other factor that would keep 97.1 out of Geauga County, and that's IF spacing to WENZ. A full B on 97.1 must be 20 km from a full B on 107.9, and there's no way to waive that - you can't cure an IF spacing issue with a directional antenna, terrain protection or anything else. (This is precisely why WODB is, and will always be, a weak player in Columbus.)

If WENZ could be moved down to the Parma tower farm - and it can't, in part because of spacing to WODB - that IF spacing wouldn't be an issue.

Draw a 20 km circle around the WENZ tower, and a 74 km circle around the WAKS tower (which is, yes, in Brecksville - I always get that mixed up), and you're not left with much wiggle room to get 97.1 usefully into the Cleveland market.

Anonymous said...

Backatcha, Scott... I'll defer to your calculations regarding who's spaced with whom, but we seem to agree in principle... the WREO tower can potentially be moved 10-12 mi (or 18km due west.) We also agree that the area where a tower could be re-located is relatively small. I did these calculations a while ago and when I did I recall three intersecting circles, one of which was from the south which pinned the potential new site within a couple of miles of the Lake.

Assuming that the only things preventing more of a move-in would be 96.5 and 107.9 there might be a potential to move the sticks about 10 miles even further to the east if 96.5 would waive interference nd assuming that 97.5 would not. That would place the potential site around Fairport Harbor or Painesville, putting the 60dbu contour right around the Cuyahoga River to the due WSW, Parma to the SW and around Nortfield to the SSW.

This would be by no means a full-market signal but could be a spoiler at the least... or could be used to fill out coverage for a signal-challenged AM (or FM such as WCLV).

An engigeer once told me that the big issue with WENZ was spacing issues with WNWV which he told me could be solved by co-locating both towers closer to Cleveland. Any 107.9 short spacing issues with WODB in Delaware could likely be handled by employing a DA, although current spacing of approximately 175 km between the two should leave some wiggle room as well.

You do make an excellent point about WODB, however. I always thought the issue was short spacing with 2nd adjacent WCKX but forgot about the 97.1 IF issue. I do posit, however, that with all the moving of signals around Columbus, some of which are already owned by Saga, I wonder if WODB might eventually find itself on a better signal.