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 FOXNews.com 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...