Friday, August 31, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Drudge Out, WLW's Cunningham In

Premiere syndicated Sunday night host Matt Drudge exits his show after his September 30th show. OMW hears that Premiere says the host "has chosen to depart the radio business" to concentrate on his popular Internet site and "other endeavors".

The Drudge show airs on most Clear Channel-owned talk stations in Ohio, and counts an affiliate base of over 325 stations nationwide.

Replacing him is WLW/700 Cincinnati early afternoon mainstay Bill Cunningham, who starts October 7th in the Sunday night slot.

As far as we know, "Willie" continues in his local WLW weekday time slot, and as far as we know, unlike WLW stablemate Mike McConnell's daily program, that show will continue to focus only on Cincinnati and the Tri-State area.

More details as they develop...

Short Weekend Wrap

OMW will not be updated between now and Labor Day, as barbecue sauce doesn't mix well with keyboards.

But coming early next week, we'll have an exclusive (as far as we know) Q&A with a former local TV news anchor who's working on a very interesting new project...

WOW! PIGS DO INDEED FLY!: It's not often that the other local media outlets praise Raycom Media's WOIO/19 and the Cleveland CBS affiliate's "19 Action News", but it's happened today.

Cleveland Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett has good words for the folks at Reserve Square, lauding their "Take Back Our Streets" special - which aired on the station in prime time on Tuesday night. She called the show 19's "finest hour":

The program was incredibly respectable, especially for Channel 19, which has a reputation for tabloid, in-your-face reporting.

It's great to see the station produce a quality town hall meeting and see that (anchor Sharon) Reed does her best work clothed.

Gee, and we thought we made a lot of snarky comments about the "19 Action News" anchor best known for her controversial disrobing in the station's "Body of Art" series! Brett opened the column by noting that most people probably think about "her birthday suit" when they hear Ms. Reed's name.

Though we didn't see the show, it sounds like a genuinely laudable effort. We'd probably have nixed, for example, activist and overexposed media personality Art McKoy from the guest list - he's got 50,000 watts to use every Sunday night via his show on Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100, for one.

But overall, maybe it's a dialogue and a start to help curb problems on the streets in the city of Cleveland. Yes, we'll write positively about WOIO as well. Where are those airborne porcines, anyway?

And though Ms. Reed has earned much of the derision she gets in the local media community - we can't even remotely post half of what we hear about her - she gets a gold star for this one.

We know that if it's what she sets out to do, Sharon Reed can be a good journalist. OK, give or take a "call to my personal cell phone" producing a breathless report clearly designed to showcase her dramatic talents to stations in Houston and other cities.

We recall her work on Cleveland Browns pre-season games, back before WOIO lost those rights. Once she concentrated on interviewing players, instead of flirting with them, she actually did a decent job.

Maybe she's figured that if she wants to get hired at stations that don't have a tabloid reputation, like her current employer, she actually has to build some credibility...

TERRY'S HERE! TERRY'S HERE!: We're quite frankly surprised that the Cleveland Plain Dealer hasn't put up a LeBron James-style giant billboard to trumpet the arrival of incoming sports columnist Terry Pluto from the Akron Beacon Journal.

Terry's now made the move up to Cleveland, and held an online chat earlier today with his-to-become new reader base, many of which have read his column in the Beacon already.

The newspaper has been running a countdown ("Two days!") to Pluto's first PD column, which will be in Sunday's paper.

With the shrinking base of newspaper readers in an area with a shrinking population base, it's become clear that "stars" are needed. Pluto gave the ABJ a profile much larger than its local base in Akron and nearby areas.

People READ sports columnists here in Northeast Ohio. We're passionate about our local teams, as bad as they are sometimes, and even when they're bad, we need someone to help us get through it without screaming.

We suspect Pluto's a bit embarrassed by the full court press of attention lavished upon him by the PD, but...columnists are stars for the paper. And the Cleveland paper just landed a big one...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Big Ten Notwork

No, that's not a typo. We meant to say "Notwork" in our title.

That's because unless you have a DirecTV satellite connection, the new Big Ten Network is not likely to be in your TV lineup card now that it has officially launched.

The All Big Ten, All The Time Network has been negotiating with major cable multi-system operators like Time Warner, which is by far the dominant cable provider in most of the OMW coverage area.

So far, nothing.

It would appear the placement of the channel is still the biggest sticking point.

Cable operators want to put it on a sports tier, or at very least on some digital cable tier. BTN is making its case to have the channel show up on a typical expanded basic lineup, a case they renew here.

On the cable side of things, Canton Repository sportswriter Todd Porter has a Q&A with Massillon Cable president Bob Gessner here. Gessner's system - co-owned with Wooster's Clear Picture - is not one of the smaller operators that have signed up.

Who has?

Toledo's Buckeye Cablesystem, which serves a chunk of Northwest and North Central Ohio (including Sandusky), was one of the few cable systems to agree to terms with the BTN folks early. The handful of people with AT&T's "U-verse" system in Northeast Ohio will also get the Big Ten Network.

And on launch day, the Big Ten Network announced a deal with Insight Communications, which not only serves the Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati, but also a small portion of Columbus.

So, cable subscribers SOMEWHERE in Columbus will be able to catch The Ohio State University Buckeyes battle head coach Jim Tressel's former team, the Youngstown State University Penguins, on Saturday.

But the vast majority of cable subscribers in the Columbus market are served by Time Warner's huge "Mid-Ohio" division. Again, no word on TWC and BTN at this point...they would appear to be still at square one.

So, why is SportsTime Ohio, a new network, in cable systems' analog tiers, and BTN is having problems with that?

Massillon Cable's Bob Gessner explains it rather well in the above linked Canton Repository story:

Cleveland Indians Baseball has been part of basic cable for many years. In the early years of Fox Sports Net Ohio (then called SportsChannel), the Indians’ away games were all available on WUAB as part of basic cable. Everyone received them.

Gradually, all the games moved to SportsChannel. The fact 100 percent of the games were only available on Fox Sports Net makes a far more compelling argument for basic cable carriage. When the Indians started their own network last year, they moved 100 percent of Indians baseball from Fox Sports Net Ohio to STO.

The same facts are not true for Big Ten Network. The Big Ten Network will have the third or fourth choice of Big Ten football games.
TV coverage of Big Ten games will not be diminished as a result of this new network. The few games that Big Ten Network will show are new, incremental games. That’s why I believe they should be available on an optional basis.

The view from here? Much like the NFL Network thinking actual game content would drive fans to inundate their cable company with calls, the Big Ten Network seems to be counting on missing Ohio State games to send Ohioans to the phones.

And it doesn't seem to be working.

Casual fans will likely not miss either the Buckeyes' contest Saturday with YSU, or for that matter, the tilt with the University of Akron Zips the following week.

Three alert OMW readers let us know that YSU's local TV coverage, seen on local FOX affiliate WYFX "FOX 17/62", only covers tape delayed home games, and the locals will only get a radio call via Clear Channel's WKBN/570. Since this isn't a home game, it won't be televised in the Mahoning Valley anywhere, unless the viewer has DirecTV to pick up the BTN feed.

Of course, all OSU games are on the Buckeyes' extensive radio network. If you just have to know immediately how badly Ohio State is swamping Youngstown State, all you need to do is flip on a radio, for free.

The "important" games that won't be lopsided Buckeye Blowouts? They'll be on either ABC or ESPN, guaranteed.

Now, if OSU-Michigan was only on the Big Ten Network, the fans would scream. But that's not likely to happen, at all...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Some TV Quickies

The first is something that's already happening...the other is one that's likely to happen soon...

IN PLACE: WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5"'s lineup for "Good Morning Cleveland" is finally in place, as new co-host Kimberly Gill joins Paul Kiska this week, along with Jack "Air" Marschall, Susanne Horgan and Tricia Skidmore.

Gill has been doing some field reporting since she arrived in Cleveland.

The show's lineup has been in what seemed like permanent flux after the departure of personalities like Adam Shapiro.

The station must feel confident the lineup will last, or hope it will - Channel 5 has been running a number of promos for the new "GMC" team during the day.

Of course, there will be a little temporary shakeup again on the show not that long from now, when Ms. Horgan goes on maternity leave...

ON THE WAY?: OMW hears that a local TV personality who left Cleveland for another job is on their way back to town, and will land at a different station than their original local home base.

We aren't putting names and stations out there yet, though you're welcome to speculate. We have heard which person and which station, but we haven't nailed down the information enough to report more than just general rumblings...

AND WELCOME NEW READERS: Our item late last week about the exit of WOIO/19 "19 Action News" morning weathercaster Bruce Kalinowski was picked up by two very widely read online publications.

Both the industry newsletter "ShopTalk", and the popular online TV newsroom gossip site "NewsBlues" ran our item.

That has brought some out of town visitors here, and we welcome them!

Like OMW is read by pretty much every local TV news type out there in Northeast Ohio, the two reports are read by just about every local TV newsie in the country...

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Lot For A Monday

It's a pretty full breakfast plate for us on a Monday morning. Hmm, we're getting hungry...

MORE ON THE WNIR MORNING DRIVE OPENING: Though we'd mentioned that the full-week auditions for the open chair on Akron market talk WNIR/100.1's morning drive show were slowing down, we heard another "auditioner" last week sitting alongside Stan Piatt, Jim Midock and Steve French.

Near the end of the program, which is pretty much nearly all of what we'd heard, Piatt made it clear - on the air - that the Akron Beacon Journal's Kim Hone-McMahan was not there to officially compete for the job long-time host Maggie Fuller left in June. (Fuller, of course, was busy on her own last week. More on that in a bit.)

The one-day visit to a hard-to-find small building on Route 59 in Portage County became the basis for "Must love caffeine and schoolboy humor", an article Hone-McMahan wrote in Sunday's paper.

And oh, are we going to have fun with this one.

Writes Kim:

Don't get me wrong, I like my job at the Beacon Journal and don't have any interest in leaving (unless it's for a six-figure salary).

And after spending an entire morning at WNIR...noting "a testosterone-filled studio with worn-out carpet and a girlie calendar"..."with a rather antiquated phone system"...Ms. Hone-McMahan now probably realizes that any such salary offer would only be "six figures" if two of those figures were on the other side of a decimal point.

Anyway, she wasn't bad for an untrained radio newbie, at least in the little we heard, and we'd have thought she was an auditioner until Mr. Piatt said otherwise.

And is a resolution coming soon, with the "female co-host" role filled permanently?

It would appear not. For one, considering the station's management, every day they don't regularly pay someone to take Ms. Fuller's position is a day they don't have to cut even a modest check.

This is, after all, the same radio station which operates its regular, weekly remotes from a long-time sponsor's location via an unequalized phone line. Remotes from a location close enough to the station's studios that you could almost walk there.

But that's a soapbox we've climbed upon so much, we have worn footprints into the top, and it's about to break...

AND MORE ON THE FORMER CO-HOST: Not much more, actually, but Maggie Fuller just completed a week in her own auditioning role - alongside talk WEOL/930 Elyria morning drive host Les Sekely on "Les in the Morning". (Well, at least it's not "More News and Les Sekely"!)

Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to hear any of her on WEOL, and we don't know, yet, how it went.

It'll be an adjustment for Maggie, at least a little. Referring back to the "schoolboy jokes" line of the Akron Beacon Journal article linked above, WNIR's morning show and WEOL's morning show are two different animals. (And no, that's not a joke about Stan Piatt, though he may act like one at times on the air. One would assume Mr. Sekely isn't telling slightly-cleaned up jokes heard at local comedy clubs, to boot.)

From what we've heard of Ms. Fuller at WNIR, we suspect she won't have a problem "toning it down" for the audience of the station which carries mostly a straight-ahead diet of news and talk for Lorain and Medina counties...

STREAMING IN: We found out a while back that Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron is finally streaming its signal via the website, making it the last station in the Clear Channel World Domination/Southern Command compound on Freedom Avenue to webcast.

Of course, WHLO has virtually no daily local programming, so the lineup of hosts like "Quinn and Rose", Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage et al. won't sound any different than it does on a gazillion Clear Channnel (and other) talk stations that carry the same shows across the country, give or take whatever local imaging makes it through the commercial replacement system for the online feed.

But it gives an Internet voice to people like WHLO's Tom Duresky (news), and whoever will do the high school football games that end up on 640 this year.

In that vein, OMW hears that both WHLO and sister sports outlet WARF will indeed do high school football this season, as we hinted earlier - with "SportsRadio 1350" joining in the fun after the Akron Aeros complete their Eastern League baseball run.

We're also told that the games will be made available via the stations' websites in podcast form, for mothers and fathers who want to replay the call of Johnny's touchdown pass again and again...

LOCAL RADIO NEWS LEGEND RECOVERING: OMW hears that veteran retired Northeast Ohio radio newsman Ken Courtright is going through some serious health problems, though the latest news seems to be better for him.

Family members tell us that the surgery Courtright underwent Friday went "better than expected", and that he's now recovering in a New Philadelphia health care facility.

We're told he last appeared in public at the 2006 Woolybear Festival, along with his daughter, WOBL/1320 Oberlin news reporter Julie Courtright. And it's been a long, tough health road for him since, though hopefully, the latest turn of events will be better for him.

Ken started his radio career at the age of 14 at WJER in New Philadelphia, and went on to a long and storied career at stations like Cleveland's WWWE/1100 "3WE", along then-WJW/850, WERE/1300, as well as then-WDBN/94.9 Medina and then-WSLR/1350 Akron. (We trust regular readers already know the current calls, format and dispositions of all those stations.)

We're told after becoming news director at WBTC/1540 Uhrichsville in the final stage of his long run doing radio news, Mr. Courtright returned to the station now known as WTAM for part-time work.

And upon his retirement, his daughter took the news torch from her father.

Julie Courtright started her own career in under the watchful eye and tutelage of her father in Tuscarawas County, at WTUZ/99.9 Uhrichsville, before moving up to Lorain County.

We're told Ken would love to hear from people who remember him, and can be reached at the Schoenbrunn Health Care facility in New Philadelphia...

EMMY CALL: And here's our annual plug for the local Emmy Awards ceremony for Cleveland, and all the various markets included in the regional competition...isn't Indianapolis in there for some reason?


The 38th Annual Emmy Awards is Saturday, September 8 at the downtown Hilton Garden Inn, 1100 Carnegie Avenue, right across from Jacobs Field. Cocktails begin at 5pm, dinner at 6pm and the Emmy Awards at 7pm. Tickets and complete information is available on the chapter website: and are $75 for members. Also, the Hilton has rooms available at only $99 per night for the event.


Since we're pretty sure just about everyone who might attend the ceremony is reading this report, we're happy to help...

Friday, August 24, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Kalinowski Exits 19

OMW hears that WOIO/19 "19 Action News" morning weather forecaster/meteorologist Bruce Kalinowski has done his final forecast for the Raycom CBS affiliate in Cleveland.

We're told that Bruce stepped down, quietly, after his final report during the station's noon news on Friday. We're also told that the station did not intend to renew his contract, which expires in just over a month, and that he was given the option to exit the station today.

As far as we know, this is an exclusive, as we are told Mr. Kalinowski did not "say goodbye" on the air, or make a big deal out of it as a TV "pro".

One piece of Bruce Kalinowski trivia, which you may know: Before coming to Channel 19, the Northeast Ohio native - who went to Kent State University - was an 18-year forecaster for the Atlanta-based Weather Channel, using the on-air name Bruce Edwards.

We'd forgotten the length of his tenure at the cable channel, or his official title ("Director of On-Air Meteorology"), until we read his "Action News" bio, which mentions all that.

But we remembered the use of the name Bruce Edwards for the Weather Channel.

Like WJW/8 veteran news anchor and now talk show host Robin Swoboda, Bruce started using his real name when he returned to Cleveland.

Ms. Swoboda was known as "Robin Cole" when she worked in Miami, if we remember right, and was advised by locals that her given name would go over well in a city like Cleveland...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Something To Write About

UPDATED! See below...


We've been quiet here at the OMW ranch for a couple of days, but mostly because we haven't had much to write about. We've found enough...

THIS JUST IN: An alert OMW reader tips below that Good Karma sports WKNR/850 "ESPN 850" in Cleveland has signed up to be the home of the American Hockey League's Lake Erie Monsters.

Here's the blurb on

The Lake Erie Monsters and WKNR announced on Wednesday that ESPN 850 WKNR will be the exclusive radio home for Monsters games! The announcement was made by Monsters President Kerry Bubolz and Good Karma Broadcasting President Craig Karmazin.

For more information, check out news and views. The puck drops October 6th.

The local top-level minor league hockey team starting this fall is owned by NBA Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert.

The Cavaliers are in the midst of a multi-year deal with Clear Channel, and air on talk powerhouse WTAM/1100, with local sports radio legend Joe Tait calling the play-by-play...

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL - WHERE?: A little birdie reminded us that we're upon a Season of Obsession in Northeast Ohio...high school football season.

As we once told an out-of-town manager, broadcasting high school football on the radio in this part of the world is about as close as you can get to printing money. We then proceeded to prove our theory right - by getting the games, airing them, and selling more from those games than the rest of the station sold in spots.

Needless to say, most community-oriented outlets in the region will feature some sort of high school football game this weekend.

We haven't checked the entire list, but we suspect you'll find the usual suspects on it (and we mean in a good way)...stations in Akron (WAKR/1590, WHLO/640, WARF/1350), Canton (WHBC/1480, WCER/900), Elyria (WEOL/930) and Wooster (WQKT/104.5) will carry a lot of games. If we missed your station, please feel free to provide details in the comments on this post.

And then, there's WTAM/1100.

Huh? WTAM is doing high school football?

Well, not quite.

We heard "Weekend Sportsline" host Mark Schwab tout the station's coverage of high school games, starting this Friday night. But, as you might expect, the games won't be on the radio.

We can't find where they'll be, yet, but WTAM is webcasting high school football games this year somewhere on "Schwabbie" himself will be one of the voices heard, if we remember right, along with station personalities like Browns beat reporters Andre Knott and midday host Bob Frantz, and maybe a producer or two.

We're wondering if the games will be heard on the main WTAM stream, considering that Cleveland Indians baseball will be heard most Friday nights on the air...and not on the Internet via WTAM's website, due to MLB regulations and all.

On the radio dial itself, WTAM competitor WKNR has weighed in, promoting its high school football coverage in this blurb on its website:

Friday nights will never be the same as ESPN 850 WKNR presents High School Hysteria! Each week Bob Karlovec and Bernard Bokenyi will have the call of a feature game of the week.

Aaron Goldhammer will anchor coverage with reports from all the top games of the week plus interviews of all the coaches each week.

The opening contest: Traditional Cleveland powerhouse St. Edward at Strongsville.

We'll touch on where "HSFB" will be seen on TV in a post later this week...but the local TV news operations are certainly gearing up for their all-out high school football coverage, usually seen as an extended broadcast after the Friday night editions of their newscasts...

It would appear that WTAM's Dave Ramos has landed a beachhead as a weekend and fill-in talk show host.

Ramos is the producer on Bob Frantz's midday show, and recently filled in for the host one Friday morning. And we heard him with his own Saturday afternoon 2-hour program...complete with produced liners by the station's on-air voice. In one, the voice mockingly joked that "OK, you whined enough, here (the liner) is".

Since WTAM's website schedule is etched in electronic water, due to the shifting nature of programs because of sports events, we don't see him listed there. In fact, we can't even find Ramos on Mr. Frantz's page.

But many remember that he started on the air as one of the station's "Total Traffic" reporters, and took over for Ryan Gohmann producing Frantz's show when Mr. G moved to Florida (WFLA/970 Tampa). Like with Gohmann, Mr. Ramos' job involves a decent amount of on-air banter with Bob.

We're not sure how permanent this weekend show is, though.

WTAM has shuffled various hosts and concepts through the weekend afternoons and evenings, including a stint by sister rock WMMS/100.7 afternoon driver Maxwell. If we remember right, even Gohmann did a couple of weekend shows.

But we'll assume the Big Booming Station Voice recording liners is a good sign for Mr. Ramos...

A BIG DEMAND: We noted earlier the latest controversy at Clear Channel talk WLW/700 Cincinnati, where a national Hispanic group was upset at on-air promos the group considered stereotypical.

That followed the "Big Juan" billboard campaign, much in the same vein.

Now, the group is pulling out the Big Guns, as it were.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the League of United Latin American Citizens has laid down an ultimatum to Clear Channel Cincinnati market manager Chuck Fredrick - give a plan by the end of the week that will stop such promotions from happening again, or they'll unleash a Clear Channel boycott.

Quoting the article:

(Ohio Deputy Director Jason) Riveiro said if Fredrick does not meet their demands, the group will target Clear Channel’s top 10 Hispanic markets by urging listeners to tune out and businesses to pull their ads.

That idea was clearly driven by the national LULAC folks, with an eye to the Hispanic listener base...that's much larger in other markets than it is in Cincinnati.

The group and other organizations protested WLW's Kenwood studios earlier this week, with about 20 people out in front of the Clear Channel building during the afternoon drive time period.

We're not sure if this is the kind of fodder used on the comedy talk show hosted by Gary Burbank, but we'd not be at all surprised if WLW brought its microphones - both news and promotion - out front of the building.

Remember the protest by older listeners of the fictional "WKRP in Cincinnati"? "It's a NEWS story, Les...Jennifer, call all the newspapers...."

Just get the call letters right...WLW...

ANOTHER BRIEF CINCY STOP OR TWO: And that's courtesy of Enquirer radio/TV guru John Kiesewetter and his blog...

Kiese notes that WVXU/91.7's HD Radio signal is online. But though the move allows the two dozen HD Radio owners in southwest Ohio to pick up NPR news and talk digitally, it's being hailed for something that won't happen until next Monday at noon.

That's when the Cincinnati Public Radio folks will launch WVXU's HD2 channel, a rebroadcast of what has been only an Internet feed of a once-legendary local station, nationally-known alt-rocker WOXY.

The station became a cult favorite in Cincinnati from its perch outside of town, on the 97.7/Oxford signal which is now occupied by a part of the "MAX FM" adult hits simulcast.

After the sale to First Broadcasting, the "Future of Rock and Roll" (BAM!) turned out to be on the Internet, where has struggled to remain viable.

We'll assume that the presence of WOXY's feed on a non-commercial station's HD2 feed will mean the format will be available free of charge to HD Radio owners, and won't have commercials mixed in...

Kiese also reports the start of Cincinnati's first HDTV newscast, offered by ABC affiliate WCPO/9.

The HD newscasts started rolling last Sunday night at 6 PM, which has become the traditional time for stations to launch such an effort.

But a slight correction for Kiese:

Cleveland and Columbus stations started local news in HDTV earlier this year.

Well, most of them started within the past year. But Cleveland FOX O&O WJW/8 "FOX 8 News" has been doing HD newscasts since November, 2004...

WE DON'T HAVE TODD KELLY TO KICK AROUND ANYMORE: Readers who have been with us a while remember the story of Todd Kelly Smith, the Louisville KY radio personality who landed a job at Canton market top 40 outlet WZKL/92.5 "Q92" as promotions director.

Well, he landed it until it was revealed that he was in major, major legal hot water, accused of starting a bogus charity for a condition he apparently lied about having.

News of the "Todd Kelly Foundation" and its troubles apparently never reached Smyth Avenue before Mr. Kelly's hiring, because when the Stuff Hit The Fan in trade websites and right here on OMW, newspaper reporters were quickly alerted of his pending job - which would have been rather difficult to do from a Kentucky jail cell.

Mr. Kelly Smith never made it to Stark County, and his post was filled by someone not awaiting a criminal trial.

Well, we have an update, courtesy of the folks at Louisville market NBC affiliate WAVE/3:

Former Louisville radio personality Todd Kelly, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to charges he faked Lou Gehrig's disease and cancer, then stole as much as $150,000 donated to a foundation in his name.

Kelly, whose real name is Todd Smith, admitted guilt Tuesday to mail and wire fraud as well as money laundering. He is expected to receive a 7-year federal prison term and must pay more than $74,000 in restitution.

Yes, it's kinda difficult to do a radio job when you're serving 7 years in a federal prison...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Monday Pile

And, welcome to Monday!

We've been trying to bring up items separately, lately, but we'll do our usual "all-in-one" for this edition...

BIG TEN CRUNCH TIME: That light at the end of the tunnel for those hoping for local cable carriage of the new "Big Ten Network" could be that of an oncoming deadline train instead.

The "hope" came in an item in the Columbus Dispatch, where BTN honchos were doing last minute pitching to local media outlets in the days before the network's scheduled to launch on August 30th.

We can't find the article anymore - it scrolled off the Dispatch's website - but a "Q&A" with network officials gave some fans a glimmer of hope.

The newspaper asked the network folks if they'd be amenable to the first two Ohio State football games, which will only be on BTN, airing on Time Warner Cable's analog package for local subscribers "a la carte". The games involve two other Ohio teams, the Youngstown State Penguins and the University of Akron Zips.

The Big Ten Network folks, quoted in the article, seemed like they'd be open to that option.

There's only one problem - the "option" was thrown out there by the newspaper, and wasn't a direct pitch by TWC or any other provider.

And aside from rumblings we already heard out of Columbus, the Chicago Tribune shoots down the possibility in an article from late last week:

A recent Columbus Dispatch story said the BTN might allow Time Warner to show the season's first two Ohio State games for free without a distribution deal. A BTN representative said that is not so.

Such a two-game arrangement would not have been unprecedented.

The NFL Network, which has been battling with just about every cable MSO in America, allowed Cablevision in New York City to show an important college football bowl game involving Rutgers University. We're not sure, but we don't believe the NFL Network ever came to a full-time carriage agreement with that operator.

And the first two Ohio State football games would have a built-in local interest...aside from the always-popular Buckeyes, the Zips and Penguins would be of interest in areas where Time Warner is the dominant local provider, Akron and Youngstown.'s not to be. And it's looking more and more like the Big Ten Network will be seen mainly on DirecTV in Northern Ohio, aside from carriage already assured on Toledo-based Buckeye Cablesystem and maybe some smaller operators...

NEW NEWSIE (BACK) ON BOARD: Just a brief relay of an item that WKYC/3 senior director Frank Macek had on his "Director's Cut" blog late last week.

Filling in behind the promotion of "Channel 3 News"' Rita Andolsen to news director, WKYC has hired Howard Fencl to take the assistant news director's chair she left behind in her promotion.

Or, should we say "rehired". Fencl's already been with WKYC two other times, including a stint as Executive Producer back in the early 1990's.

He held a similar role at WEWS/5 and Columbus CBS affiliate WBNS/10, and has also worked in the early days of locally-based Internet service providers.

He's been at Cleveland PR firm Edward Howard...

AND MAGGIE'S TIME: And we haven't heard it so far, but former WNIR/100.1 "The Talk of Akron" morning co-host Maggie Fuller is scheduled to be sitting alongside Les Sekely on talk WEOL/930 Elyria's morning show today...

Friday, August 17, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: "Hot 101" Fishing For New PD

AllAccess reports that Cumulus top 40 WHOT/101.1 "Hot 101" in Youngstown is without its long-time program director.

John Trout tells the trade website that he's resigned from "Hot 101" after over five years of programming the station due to "family medical issues".

As Trout steps out, nighttime personality "J-Dub" gets handed music director duties, and APD/afternoon driver Hunter Quinn stays in that role...

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ohio Print Media Watch Continues

We got this as a tip, but it's now confirmed in a story by Betty Lin-Fisher on the Akron Beacon Journal's own website.

The Beacon's Cleveland Browns beat writer, Patrick McManamon, moves to the sports columnist position vacated by 22 year ABJ veteran Terry Pluto. Pluto, as reported earlier this week, is moving his columnist keyboard to the Cleveland Plain Dealer at the end of this month.

That continues the Terry Pluto-related Shuffle.

Beacon Journal OSU beat writer Marla Ridenour moves from covering Jim Tressel and company in Columbus to covering Romeo Crennel and company at Berea, taking the Browns beat writer job.

That leaves the Buckeyes beat to...OMW reader George M. Thomas, who's currently doing general sportswriting for the paper, and a weekly sports media column we occasionally quote here.

We don't know if that column will continue when George jumps head-first into the Buckeyes football season.

Aside from our own Terry Pluto followup, the article linked here leads with the naming of Beacon Journal veteran Doug Oplinger, who's done everything from reporting to editing various sections of the paper, as the Beacon's new managing editor.

The article quotes Oplinger as calling the ABJ a ''fun place, full of artists, craftsmen and people who care about what they do.''

We can only hope, for the sake of the paper, that he truly believes that - even after the high-profile departures in the wake of the sale of the newspaper to Black Press...

We Know Who To Believe Now

In a June 29th item, we mulled over an article by the Youngstown Business Journal's Andrea Wood on the future of WYTV/33.

Back then, the company buying the Youngstown market ABC affiliate was being peppered with questions about its "Shared Services Agreement" uncovered in the FCC filing to buy WYTV - questions which led new owner Todd Parkin of Los Angeles to write a letter denying two things:

1) That Parkin Broadcasting would dismantle the existing "33 News" operation, giving control of the newsroom to the SSA partner, New Vision Television CBS/FOX combo WKBN/27-WYFX/17-62.

2) That employee seniority would be wiped out, much like it was at WKBN/WYFX as soon as NVT took over the stations.

The denials were brought after contentions from people like long-time WKBN-TV "27 First News" reporter Joe Bell, who in his role speaking for a union bargaining unit, said NVT's attorneys presented just such a scenario for the combined operations.

If you're scoring at, set and match to the veteran TV reporter.

Welcome to "D-Day" at Shady Run Road.

The Business Journal's Wood reports that with Parkin Broadcasting's official takeover of WYTV today, the union representing nearly all of the Channel 33 employees - NABET - has been notified that they'll lose their jobs when WYTV goes into the shared services agreement with WKBN/WYFX/New Vision Television.

Quoting a Parkin Broadcasting memo obtained by the Business Journal:

Within the next six months, we anticipate that NVT will be handling certain activities on behalf of the station, including news production, and they will offer employment to most of our employees. Most employees who are not hired by NVT will be offered a severance plan.

The company says that other non-news operations will continue to be handled in-house, though NABET also represents some back-office staff and technicians. We'll assume the building on Shady Run Road can hold even more sales people once the news studio is wiped out, no?

Quoting the Business Journal again, directly:

Since February, when Parkin’s $15.5 million deal to buy WYTV was announced and its intention to consolidate operations with New Vision revealed, senior management led Channel 33 employees to believe the news operation would remain separate from WKBN/WYFX.

Today Dave Trabert, general manager of WYTV, explained to employees that he did not expect the consolidation to take this form, according to multiple sources.

The business newspaper also notes that the memo wipes out WYTV employees' seniority, effective with today's takeover by Parkin.


In the previously linked item, note that we said Todd Parkin was moved enough to write a "calm down" letter to WYTV employees - denying everything that has since become, well, fact.

What does this serve?

And for those who are still around under Parkin's employ after the jettisoning of the news department, who would appear to be mostly salespeople at this point, how can you trust an owner that does this? How do you think Dave Trabert feels, assuming he's being truthful - as quoted above - about not expecting this end result?

Quoting our own earlier item:

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.

As it turns out, it didn't even take Mr. Parkin ONE DAY after taking over the station (at one minute after midnight Thursday morning) to make this kind of statement:

The changes being made to the operations at WYTV are necessary to ensure the long-term viability of the station. Once these changes are made, we will have a stronger, more efficient station.

You know, when WYTV promotes whatever its newscasts will become after WKBN/WYFX takes them over, how will they promote them?

Will they proudly note that "33 News" is "a more efficient station", with less people replaced by people you already see on two other channels? We doubt it...

A Thursday Snack

Some items to keep your information hunger pangs from getting TOO loud...

SOME ADDITIONS TO THE PLUTO FILE: We have a couple of more questions answered about the move of Akron Beacon Journal sports columnist Terry Pluto to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Thanks to the PD's own article about their now-returning sportswriter (well, after that small 22 year break in Akron), we know that Pluto's bringing his full ABJ repetoire to the PD sometime around Labor Day.

That includes not only his popular Sunday "Notes" column, but also includes the regular column on faith that he's been writing for the Beacon.

It's very difficult to overestimate the impact Pluto's departure will have on the struggling Akron paper, which has lost other high-profile columnists and names (like, for example, Regina Brett to the PD) since Black Press took over operations at 44 E. Exchange Street.

Unlike any other ABJ writer or columnist, Pluto had a national presence. His books, for example, were not all about Cleveland sports. What we understand is a very entertaining book on the old American Basketball Association is high on a list of cherished sports books nationwide, and considered by sports purists to be the ultimate book on the former NBA competitor league.

Not to denigrate the fine folks still left at the Beacon - like former movie critic, sports/media columnist and OMW reader George M. Thomas - but the new ownership seems determined, in our eyes, to fit the Beacon into the role of a shrinking mid-sized city's daily newspaper. In that vein, we hope they keep their bill with the AP wire current.

Just our opinion...

ANOTHER "BIG JUAN": You've gotta hand it to Cincinnati Clear Channel talker WLW/700 "The Big One".

Earlier, a controversial billboard campaign titled "The Big Juan" poked fun at the issue of illegal immigration - and riled up Hispanic protestors in the Queen City as well.

The resulting mess got a lot of free publicity for WLW.

And it's happening again.

This time, according to the blog of Cincinnati Enquirer radio/TV guru John Kiesewetter, it's an on-air promo offering listeners "a few useful phrases next time you converse with an illegal alien."

The promo is described (we haven't heard it) as featuring Spanish-language music in the background, and phrases like "be careful with those hedge clippers around the garden" translated into English from Spanish.

As you might expect, it's not going over well with activists representing the Hispanic community. Kiese says one such activist, representing a national group, is calling for the ouster of Clear Channel market manager Chuck Fredrick.

Meanwhile, as the noise grows, so does WLW's free publicity. As long as the immigration issue is in the news, and as long as WLW talk show hosts continue to talk about it, the station will run promotional campaigns about it...

Not related, but on the same blog - Kiese notes a Cincinnati Reds doubleheader with the Pittsburgh Pirates will be the first Reds doubleheader in HD on FOX Sports Net Ohio, on August 28th. One of the games is a makeup game from earlier in the season.

That, of course, is the FSN Ohio Cincinnati branch network, generally not seen north of Columbus...

SPEAKING OF COLUMBUS: Where the PD slot at Saga AC outlet WSNY/94.7 "Sunny 95" is still open, that is.

We're just openly wondering if any Northeast Ohio programmers are looking to make the trek down I-71, to do more than to check out an Ohio State game.

It's been done in reverse, of course. "Sunny's" long-time PD, Don Hallett, went up to Clear Channel hot AC outlet WMVX/106.5 in Cleveland, where he lasted about a year and a half before losing his job due to "consolidation".

Hallett landed as program director of two Beasley Broadcasting outlets in Las Vegas, KSTJ/102.7 "Star 102.7" and KKLZ/96.3 "Classic Hits 96.3". He joined Beasley in April to program KSTJ, and added KKLZ to his oversight a week ago...

CALLER TO PROFESSIONAL: We don't have details right now, but OMW understands a member of the Cleveland Sports Talk Regular Caller Universe may actually be seen on the air soon, somewhere not that terribly far from our coverage area, as a TV sportscaster.

This one's good...stay tuned!

DEPARTURE: We'll admit, we don't really keep track of Dover-New Philadelphia radio mainstay WJER/1450 as much as we did back in the days when its FM signal was being sent north.

But OMW can confirm, now, that WJER morning host Randy Fox has left the building, leaving morning host duties, solo, for now, to sports director Bill Morgan.

That can't last long, since Morgan is up to his headphones in other work, including his job with the University of Akron's Zip Sports Network - heard on Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 Akron "SportsRadio 1350".

The basketball season keeps Morgan the addition to hosting weekly shows for ZSN, Morgan does women's basketball maybe he's got a chance to fit it all in for the next couple of months or so.

AND THAT COMPETITOR: We're aware of the item above appearing a couple of days or so ago on the new Northeast Ohio Radio Report website.

Well, we think so, because we don't read it - on purpose.

Not that we're upset at them, or that we don't think they're doing a good job.

It's kind of a "Clean Room" atmosphere that prompts us to say that. Simply put, we don't want any rumor items they post stuck in the back of our heads, and we continue to put up this report independently, with our own sources.

We'll invite the NEORR folks to give us a heads up on any confirmed, factual item they post, and we'll give them the proper credit - as we have here.

If we report something here after it appears on that site, generally, we haven't even seen it. We have our own independent network of sources, and sometimes, they'll have rumors and rumblings before we will. Some sources will tip off both blogs.

And if you see something over there and want to give us the heads up, please identify the site, so we know where it came from. Again, factual/confirmed items - we'll give them credit.

We welcome our friendly competitors, and continue to wish the NEORR folks well!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Channel 3 Shuffle

No, it's not involving any on-air talent. At least, at this time...

But an item posted to WKYC/3 senior director Frank Macek's excellent "Director's Cut" blog gives us the heads up to an approaching schedule shuffle at the Gannett NBC affiliate.

The moving around is prompted by the station's carriage, starting in September, of the fourth hour of NBC's popular morning show "Today". You know, the show which once aired from 7-9 AM, and then expanded to 10 AM...and now, adds another hour in the Fall.

WKYC will carry "Today's" new fourth hour, but at 11 AM instead of after the first three hours.

That allows the station to keep the local talk/service show "Good Company" - and of course, allows WKYC to carry the revenue from the show that features a number of sponsored appearances.

The addition of the disconnected fourth hour of "Today" means the 11 AM "Channel 3 News Midday" is bumped to noon starting on September 10th, which of course, puts it into direct competition with the market's other noon newscasts.

But the fourth "Today" hour will compete with a ratings buzzsaw - ABC's popular talk show "The View" (WEWS/5). Unlike the current "Midday" news broadcast, "Today"'s fourth hour will be aiming for much of the same audience.

And it also has different hosts. Regular "Today" hosts Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieria won't be working the fourth hour of the show. In fact, Vieria can't, because her contract for the syndicated game show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" prevents it...

The Most Slight Cleveland Connection

Those who keep track of the Cleveland radio market know that former WFAN/New York-Westwood One morning host Don Imus did his time in Northeast Ohio radio, before ending up establishing a long-time beachhead in New York City.

(Well, until he got bounced recently for on-air comments.)

With word that Imus has settled with WFAN owner CBS Radio, the Other Shoe Dropped, and the popular New York sports radio outlet has hired a new morning team with Ohio connections.

"Boomer and Carton in the Morning" features former Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Boomer Esiason - who is best known these days for doing the radio broadcast of "Monday Night Football" - and Craig Carton.

Most people know Boomer's time in Cincinnati, of course. He even once hosted a show on now-Clear Channel talk WLW/700.

But it took an OMW reader to remind us that Carton has an Ohio connection, too. And even a Northeast Ohio connection.

WFAN's announcement for the new show cleared it up for us.

Though we don't remember it at ALL, Carton was at the station then known as WWWE/1100 "3WE" in Cleveland, as a host for the station's evening "Sportsline" show - in 1992. He left the station now known as Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 for iconic sports station WIP/610 in Philadelphia.

We seem to recall that the rotation of hosts post-Pete Franklin was pretty active, until 1100 hired current afternoon driver Mike Trivisonno to do the evening show that defined Cleveland sports radio for decades.

Carton, if you care after that, comes to the WFAN morning slot from an afternoon drive co-host gig at successful Trenton NJ-based FM talker"New Jersey 101.5"...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


At OMW, we primarily cover the local broadcast media...but we'll post items about the print media if they're significant enough to warrant local attention. This one is.

Long-time Akron Beacon Journal sportswriter Terry Pluto is leaving the newspaper after 22 years to join the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Beacon confirmed the move in an item just posted to

Rubber City Radio's AkronNewsNow website (WAKR/WQMX/WONE) had first confirmation of the rumor that was bouncing around local media types this morning, with more background from both inside, and outside, the Beacon's East Exchange Street headquarters.

It's actually a return to the hometown paper for native Clevelander Pluto. He was the PD's Indians beat writer in the early 80's before making the move down I-77 to become the Beacon's Cavaliers beat writer. (Well, after a brief stop somewhere in Georgia, at any rate.)

Pluto has been an award-winning columnist for the Beacon since 1993, and has also been writing a column on faith.

The announcement says Pluto will take "a similar position" as a sports columnist for the Plain Dealer.

And in a line surely aimed at questions about the recent upheaval at the Akron paper in the wake of its sale to Black Press, editor Brian Winges notes: "This decision is not about Terry being unhappy at the Beacon Journal. It is more about Terry seeing an opportunity to reach a wider audience, and to reach that audience in the city and region that he knows best."

Winges tells his staff writer that the ABJ will seek a new sports columnist...

And Tuesday

Here we are, for once, for a second day in a row. Feels like old times, no?

TOLEDO'S HOME OF THE BROWNS: nowhere, at least on the radio.

Some non-radio friends confirmed to us that no Toledo radio station carried the Cleveland Browns' pre-season win over the Kansas City Chiefs over last weekend. Not WTOD/1560, nor any other Cumulus or Clear Channel stations, or...anyone.

And radio sources in the market say the situation is bleak for expecting any station to swoop in and carry the Browns Radio Network rights in Toledo, with Cumulus appearing to have stepped away from the table entirely.

No surprise, here, as we've already delineated what we've heard from other cities - the local NFL team charges a premium to its outside-Cleveland affiliates.

With the last minute nature of the Toledo situation - Clear Channel dropped the games from its WCWA/1230 "FOX Sports 1230" just before the pre-season began - it's no wonder.

If the sister Clear Channel cluster to Oak Tree - which owns the Cleveland rights to the Browns radio broadcasts in a long-term deal - cites "budget reasons" for dropping the is a small daytime talker like "SuperTalk 1560" going to justify paying whatever money Clear Channel would not?

The lack of interest from WTOD's sister Cumulus stations also says a lot.

A number of Toledo market media types tell us that as a result, the Browns are very likely to go without ANY radio affiliate in the Toledo market in 2007.

This is a bad move, for many reasons. In the quest to squeeze out some extra cash, the team and its radio network get NO Toledo affiliate, and NO money or listeners there.

Long-suffering Northwest Ohio Browns fans will have to seek out stations from places like Sandusky or Findlay to hear the games.

Hmm. Findlay.

Isn't that the hometown of Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Rothlisberger? We're told that there's a decent little Steelers fan base in Northwest Ohio because of his role on that team.

Are the Browns writing off the fan base west of Sandusky? (Well, aside from having affiliates in Lima, Celina and Findlay.) Is this move "penny wise and pound foolish"?

While we're on the Browns in Toledo thing, our Browns fans/non-radio-types tell us that the first pre-season game was on TV in Toledo, but it may as well not have been.

It appears that tiny Toledo MyNetworkTV affiliate WMNT-CA/48 "My 58" has picked up the rights to the Browns pre-season games, originated at Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3.

The low-power Class A station is called "My 58" because it is camped out on Buckeye Cablevision's cable channel 58. It's now officially in the hands of Matrix Broadcast Media, Inc., the TV arm of the Cornerstone Church (WDMN/1520 Rossford OH, and former owners of now-K-Love Toledo market rimshot affiliate WNKL/96.9 Wauseon OH)...

RUBBER CITY NEWS: Rubber City Radio news, to be specific.

The news director of the Akron company which owns WAKR/1590, WONE/97.5 and WQMX/94.9, Ed Esposito, sends us along a job advertisement for a news anchor/reporter. We'll presume it's for whoever will replace veteran news anchor/reporter Pat Kennard (see previous item).

We'll get to it in a second, but first, a tip of the hat to the long-time OMW reader for his new off-site blog, in that Blogger neighborhood next to us and WKYC/3-Akron/Canton News' Eric Mansfield.

With the two blogs, you really get an inside feel for local news in the Akron area, and how two of its major news operations cover the news - behind the scenes.

Now, here's the ad:

The News Department of the Rubber City Radio Group has an opening for an experienced news anchor-reporter.

Applicants should have at least three years experience that includes broadcast news reporting and anchoring. A college degree in journalism or communications is preferred but not required. This position also requires knowledge of computer automation for studio production and newsroom systems. Familiarity with web-based content information systems a plus.

Applicants should have a good disposition, be aware of current and topical events and work well with others as a team.

Send airchecks, resumes and writing samples to:

Edward L. Esposito, News Director
Rubber City Radio Group
1795 W. Market Street
Akron, OH 44313
eesposito - at - rcrg - dot -net

no phone calls please

Rubber City Radio Group is an equal opportunity employer.

No word on if Mr. Esposito's pre-hiring ritual includes testing applicants for the ability to pronounce "Plusquellic"...

COMING BACK?: Occasionally, we'll get rumors that local media personalities are returning to Northeast Ohio - after stints elsewhere.

We don't have any details right now, but we're hearing rumblings that one of those returns may be in the cards, and soon.

We'll add more to this item as we nail down the details...

Monday, August 13, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: WAKR/1590's Pat Kennard Exiting

This just in from Rubber City Radio news chief Ed Esposito on his new blog:

WAKR/1590 news anchor Pat Kennard is leaving the Akron station after a long, long stint in the news department of WAKR.

Esposito isn't saying where Kennard will go after her last day at Rubber City (August 24th), but notes that it's "an excellent opportunity for Pat and we are very happy for her."

Many of us who've been around Northeast Ohio also remember Pat for her work at formerly co-owned TV 23 (WAKR/WAKC).

More as we learn more...

A Monday In Mid-August

Items for a Monday...

MAGGIE'S AUDITION: OMW has nailed down, thanks to an anonymous tip, details on the upcoming week-long audition by former Akron market talker WNIR/100.1 morning co-host Maggie Fuller on another Northern Ohio station.

Maggie will be on the air one week from today (August 20th) on Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria, alongside Les Sekely on his "Les in the Morning" show in morning drive.

As we hinted in our earlier item, the Elyria station is actually a lot closer to her current home, in Medina County's Valley City, than were the WNIR studios on State Route 59 between Kent and Ravenna.

And from our excursions out that way, we've noted that WNIR's signal is flaky - pretty much as you get west of Medina itself. There's basically very little effective overlap between the two stations...

BACK AT WNIR: And back at Maggie's former long-time radio home, we're getting some rumblings about her potential replacement...whoever that might be.

A number of women have appeared on "The Talk of Akron" in the studio with Stan Piatt, Steve French and Jim Midock since Maggie's departure, though no one was taking that role last week.

A lot of the rumbling has been about Karen Golic, the wife of WNIR afternoon driver Bob Golic, who sat in the former Maggie Fuller Chair a couple or three weeks ago. Some seem to believe the job is "hers", if she wants it.

But, we haven't heard any indications that anything is in the works on any side of this, either in interest from her, or from the station. Or, for that matter, that the station has approached anyone else to take the job permanently.

From here, it would appear any number of dominoes would have to fall for the station hire Mrs. Golic to take Ms. Fuller's place, and we're not sure that happens. And at this point, to us, it would appear to be an open competition...

SECOND WAVE: This one's an exclusive, as far as we know, though it affects the relatively small number of HD Radio owners in Northeast Ohio. And it affects the FM sister station of WEOL, Cleveland market smooth jazz mainstay WNWV/107.3 Elyria "The Wave".

WNVW has fired up its HD2 subchannel with a traditional jazz format dubbed "The Second Wave" in on-air announcements.

Like most HD2 subchannels, "The Second Wave" features mostly music interrupted by small liners and announcements. And like WKDD/98.1's 90's music HD2 subchannel before it, WNWV is properly legally IDing ("WNVW-HD2 Elyria-Cleveland") at the top of each hour.

It's enough to make our good friends at Toppy smile...

BROWNS IN HD, RADIO: We know we noted that most of the Cleveland Browns' regular season games will be broadcast in HDTV this year, via CBS' coverage on Cleveland affiliate WOIO/19, and that network's increase of HDTV broadcasts of NFL games.

But we don't remember noting something which started on Saturday.

This year, all of the team's pre-season games will be aired in HD locally by WKYC/3, in the Cleveland NBC affiliate's second year as the local TV partner of the NFL team.

The first year for WKYC carrying Browns' pre-season games, of course, came In A Big Hurry after the dispute between the team and then-local TV partner WOIO. The CBS affiliate's airing of regular season Browns games only comes via the network having the contract to televise most AFC games during the year.

As was the case last year, WKYC sports director Jim Donovan moves from his usual play-by-play role on the Browns Radio Network to similar duties on his home TV station during the WKYC-broadcast pre-season outlets.

Filling in for Donovan alongside Doug Dieken on the radio side of things during pre-season is the versatile sports director of Browns Radio Network AM flagship WTAM/1100, Mike Snyder.

And since that opens up the pre/post-game and halftime reports, WTAM's Bob Frantz is taking those segments over in the pre-season rotation.

Though Frantz has moved over from the sports to general talk arena, he's filled in on WTAM in some sports capacities since he took the 9 AM-noon weekday slot. He's occasionally co-hosted such things as NFL Draft coverage, for example.

WTAM's Andre Knott has returned as the radio network's sideline reporter for another year. Knott stepped into that role, of course, during Casey Coleman's illness, and after his unfortunate passing...

BROWNS IN TOLEDO?: Unless we missed it, it would appear Saturday's pre-season Browns tilt with the Kansas City Chiefs was not heard on local radio in Toledo.

The Toledo Blade reported earlier, and OMW echoed, that Clear Channel sports WCWA/1230 "FOX Sports 1230" had backed out of airing the Browns in Toledo, and that Cumulus sports WLQR/1470 "The Ticket" is staying with their long-time Detroit Lions affiliation.

That left interest from Cumulus sister talk daytimer WTOD/1560 "SuperTalk 1560", which just happens to be programmed by OMW reader Chuck Matthews.

But your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) is apparently off Chuck's Christmas card list, as we haven't heard from him in months.

Anyway, maybe both sides (and the Blade, even) underestimated what's involved here.

After all, someone with many ties in another Ohio market - smaller than Toledo - tells us that his city's long-time Browns Radio Network affiliate won't be carrying the team, either. (We're not publishing details because we have yet to confirm this.)

He tells us that the Cleveland radio sports networks apparently charge what he calls "exorbitant" rates to carry the city's major pro sports teams on the radio.

And this is a market, again, smaller than Toledo. If the number attached to Browns' rights doesn't fit into WTOD's budget, well, the Browns may continue to be without an affiliate in Toledo.

Aside from Mr. Matthews' stated interest, the rest of the stations in the Cumulus cluster don't appear to be rushing to sign any deal for the Browns.

While we realize that Toledo is more aligned with Detroit, sports-wise, there are still many Browns fans in the region...

AND MEANWHILE, IN CINCINNATI: An item on Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio guru John Kiesewetter tells us that HDTV-owning fans of that city's Bengals have precious little to see.

Kiese reports that there will be no locally-produced pre-season Bengals broadcasts planned in HDTV. Clear Channel CBS affiliate WKRC-TV/12 (in the process of being sold) has the rights, but the games are produced by the Bengals and aren't in HD.

But Channel 12 will air the HDTV feed of the one Bengals pre-season game produced by ESPN, August 27th at the Atlanta Falcons. Starting last year, ESPN and NFL Network started offering the HD feeds to local stations simulcasting the non-over-air games (cable/satellite) into the affected team's markets.

Another quick Kiese blog hit that also affects Northeast Ohio: Cincinnati Raycom Media FOX affiliate WXIX/19 has hired Frank Marzullo, morning/noon meteorologist for Youngstown NBC affiliate WFMJ/21, to fill one of two openings in the station's weather department.

Kiese quotes a station memo as saying Marzullo had a brief stint on the assignment desk of Raycom sister station WOIO/19 in Cleveland...

Friday, August 10, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Lynn Kelly To WQMX Middays

This just in:

Lynn Kelly, who has been doing middays at Akron Public Schools non-comm AAA outlet WAPS/91.3 "The Summit", is moving back to the commercial radio dial.

Starting August 20th, Kelly will take over middays at Rubber City Radio country powerhouse WQMX/94.9.

Of course, Lynn is no stranger to that commercial part of the FM band, with a long stint in the very same time slot at Clear Channel hot AC WKDD/96.5-98.1 in the Akron market.

WQMX program director Sue Wilson tells OMW:

She’s a great talent, with a great track record and what’s really cool, is that she has market equity. WQMX is all about being “live and local” so it really works for us Lynn has been a personality in Akron for almost 10 years.

WQMX personality "Ike" was filling in during middays, but has returned to his original role as "Ike The Night Guy".

There's no word what "91.3 The Summit" will do to fill its 12 noon-4 PM slot...

BREAKING NEWS: WEWS/5 Names Sports Director

UPDATE 12:50 PM 8/10/07: Our apologies to Akron Beacon Journal sports/media columnist George M. Thomas, an OMW reader who has Andy Baskin's appointment Thursday as WEWS/5 sports director as the lead item in his sports media column today.

OMW learned the news late Thursday night, separately, from one of our regular sources at "NewsChannel 5".

We weren't aware that it was in the Beacon Journal today. We don't subscribe to the Dead Trees edition of either the Beacon or the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

And we note that the newly-redesigned, though it has a section for Mr. Thomas' writings, hasn't quite figured out how to actually PUT his material in that section. (That'd be a hint to the folks at 44 Exchange Street.)

Thomas also notes the name of that second sports person hired - Terry Brooks, who comes from the 24 hour "News 14 Carolina" cable news channel.

Anyway, Baskin tells George Thomas that WEWS folks "made (him) feel at home" when he came aboard as a fill-in. And he's eager for high school football season to start, with the station's planned heavy coverage of the popular sport.

Our original report is below...


There's finally a full house in the sports department at Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 in Cleveland.

OMW hears that long-time fill-in sports anchor Andy Baskin has been officially named as sports director at "NewsChannel 5", after a long stint filling one of the two empty sports chairs.

Baskin has history in the market, at Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, and at WKYC-linked SportsTime Ohio - the latter both in his capacity at Channel 3 and as an independent producer.

OMW also hears that WEWS has also hired ANOTHER sports reporter, though we don't know who that is right now.

Will The Overworked Sue Ann Robak stay, and make it a three-person sports department at 3001 Euclid?

We don't know.

But we told you long ago that station management apparently had no intent on making Ms. Robak the lead sports personality - a thought we're sure Sue Ann figured out even without our help.

And now that the other dominoes have officially fallen, she doesn't have to guess at what'll happen...and may feel the same way John Chandler did when he left for a gig in Boston...

One Of Those Follow-Up Posts

So, since we've mostly been gone for the past week or two, it would figure that our first big "return" post is almost entirely an update of our most recent item.

But we'll start with a new one...

MS. GILL: OMW told you some time ago that Kimberly Gill was headed for 3001 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, taking the permanent co-host gig on Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5's "Good Morning Cleveland".

Gill's not on "GMC" yet, but she's in town, and like Akron bureau chief Pete Kenworthy before her, she's already been thrown on the air reporting during breaking news.

("Hi, Kimberly...look, we know you don't know South Euclid from North Olmsted yet - we have severe's a map and a live truck!")

Ms. Gill, in fact, has been up to her ears in breaking weather news coverage, first showing up at a Parma apartment complex heavily flooded in the first major storm of this week.

On Thursday evening, she was on the air for "NewsChannel 5"'s "Live on Five", phoning in reports from Lodi, which was hit by the most recent storm.

The woman who will eventually take the chair alongside Paul Kiska in the morning comes to the area from CBS affiliate WBTW/13 in Myrtle Beach/Florence SC.

Ms. Gill is probably happy that her out-of-studio live "breaking news" experience comes in early August, and not in mid-January...

MAGGIE'S NEXT STOP?: After talking about it a bit, OMW hears that former WNIR/100.1 Kent "The Talk of Akron" morning co-host Maggie Fuller will be opening up a microphone again soon, at least for a while - in her quest to return to the airwaves.

And we hear that her upcoming brief audition stint is at a station located outside WNIR's signal area.

Oddly enough, as we found out from Maggie's own website and Stan Piatt's site, Ms. Fuller had been commuting a LONG way to WNIR. She lives in Medina County's Valley City, which is actually just outside of her former station's broadcast range.

(We'd guess she gets an unlistenable mix of WNIR and Clear Channel-for-now oldies outlet WSWR/100.1 Shelby...the latter, probably the dominant 100.1 signal at the station she'll be heard on in just over a week...)

WITHER 1520?:
And across the hall, in a closet near we noted in the previous item, MediaCom sports WJMP/1520 Kent "FOX Sports 1520" (otherwise known as "Not WNIR") had been off for much of the week due to technical problems.

It would appear to be on the air at this writing. Either that, or someone else has put up a weak AM signal on 1520 mixing CBS Radio News with FOX Sports Radio.

OMW hears from a birdie on State Route 59 that a lightning strike hit the station's transmitter, and the folks there have been efforted replacement parts to return The Mighty (cough, cough) 1520 to its daytime service of Kent, Ravenna, Streetsboro - and very patient sports fans in parts of other eastern Akron and southeastern Cleveland suburbs.

Then again, they could have saved a penny or two, and not rush to return it to the airwaves...

NOT "MY 90's": After we posted the item about Clear Channel hot AC WKDD/98.1 putting up a 90's format on its HD2 channel, we figured we'd better pull out our own HD Radio and listen to it for a while.

And for the moment, at least, it does appear to be mostly the company's "My 90's" feed out of the Clear Channel Format Lab - complete with that imaging.

But we've hear there is some 90's audio in the HD2 station's library from, of all places, WKDD itself.

Expect the "My 90's" moniker to go away, and soon.

Even though HD Radio isn't really blowing off the doors in market share right now*, there's still chance for confusion with the company's own WHOF/101.7 North Canton, the Canton market AC outlet known as "My 101.7".

* The asterisk is not for Barry Bonds, but for that guy who spends roughly 24 hours a day finding anti-HD Radio comments online, and feels the need to plug his own blog in our comments. Any more plugs will be removed. It's not like it's that difficult for people to find you, as you seem to post EVERYWHERE...

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Catching Up From Our Hiatus, Sort Of

OK, so we've been quiet.

We can't guarantee that we'll be here daily (or twice daily, as some hinted, and thank you), but we'll try to be more regular from now on, at least as long as we're around...

TK ON THE MOVE: OMW, kind of late to the party, pointed out the recent end of the relationship between Brecksville-based syndicated music show host Tom Kent and his former syndicator, the TKO Radio Network.

We haven't yet passed along word that two well-known hosts have been hired to take over Mr. Kent's former shows, both with Ohio ties: Marty Thompson and John "Records" Landecker.

AllAccess reported a while back that Thompson takes over weeknight and Saturday duties for "Classic Top 40" and "Hall of Fame Coast to Coast". Marty is best known here in Ohio for stints with both Clear Channel and Entercom in Cincinnati, including at oldies WGRR/103.5, though he has been on a long run in Las Vegas.

Landecker is the iconic Chicago air personality who once did mornings at the old WPHR/107.9 Cleveland, when it was top 40 "Power 108". 107.9, of course, is today's Radio One WENZ "Z107.9".

As for Brecksville's own Mr. Kent, he's back in the trades with an announcement of representation by "Media Arts and Sciences", owned by one David Martin.

AllAccess notes that the new rep firm is going, and we quote, "to help him find the optimum job opportunity".

We're wondering if that phrase means anything - i.e. could Tom Kent land with a singular on-air position in one market, or is syndication still in the cards? That's a question, not a hint.

Still, we hope it's something big. He's talented, and he's One Of Us...

WKDD LIGHTS UP HD-2: Clear Channel Akron/Canton hot AC outlet WKDD/98.1 has, as expected, lit up its HD2 subchannel...which, given the small number of HD Radio receivers out there, may have been done just for us.

No, we're kidding, of course, but those who do happen to be on the HD Radio bandwagon will find "WKDD '90's" on the HD2 side of 98.1's digital feed.

All 90's music, all the time.

Someone had tried to plant a rather interesting rumor into our electronic ears. We got a tip that WKDD's HD2 subchannel would become the latest Clear Channel signal to run the company's "Pride Radio" format...aimed at gay listeners.

The format airs on the HD2 channel of about 20 Clear Channel stations across the nation, but it isn't coming to Akron/Canton as far as we know.

Anyway, "WKDD 90's" is up on the HD side, but we don't see a link to it yet on We presume a streaming audio feed will show up there alongside the main WKDD feed.

Clear Channel's "Format Lab" does feature a new "My 90's" format, though we don't know if the format on that page is the same feed that WKDD's now running on HD2. WKDD, at least, is imaging locally...

WNIR'S MORNING CO-HOST SLOT: We're trying to figure out what Akron market talker WNIR/100.1 is thinking when it comes to finding a new female personality to replace long-time morning show co-host Maggie Fuller, who left the station a month or so back.

Out of the gate, for the first week of fill-ins, "The Talk of Akron" tabbed Sally Ride, an actual broadcaster who was once heard on a number of Cleveland stations (WDOK/102.1, etc.) while working at Cleveland's Metro Traffic operation in the Independence Media Gulch...just down the road from Clear Channel's Oak Tree digs, and Salem's outpost on Summit Park Drive.

Her stint was followed by appearances from a number of women alongside Stan Piatt, Steve French and Jim Midock in morning drive, among them, the owner of one of the station's advertisers (Stow's "Rose's Run" golf course) and Karen Golic, the wife of WNIR afternoon drive personality Bob Golic.

Who's next? We don't know.

But the fewer actual radio/media people are on (yes, we know Karen is on with Bob from time to time, and we think she has some past experience in Los Angeles), the more we wonder..."Akron Idol II", anyone?

Meanwhile, we're also wondering where Ms. Fuller will show up next. We haven't heard any news to that effect, but we'll assume she's out there looking...

IF A ONE-THOUSAND WATT DAYTIME RIMSHOT FELL IN A FOREST...: Speaking of the Brady Lake Media Empire, OMW got a listener "tip" that WNIR's "little brother" sports daytimer - WJMP/1520 Kent "FOX Sports 1520" - was off the air, and has been "since at least Sunday morning".

Before we even read that note, we happened to tune by 1520 well within its broadcast range late Wednesday afternoon - and sure enough, there was nothing but static.

The last time this happened, we put the note up here, and were informed that there was a technical problem that was in the process of being corrected - which it was, a day or so later.

But you can bet that if it was "The Talk Of Akron" involved, it wouldn't be off the air for over four days...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A New Competitor - For Us

Well, we can pretty much blame ourselves.

As it turns out, at least on the radio side of things, we apparently have a new "competitor". A trip to a local message board provided us with a link to "Northeast Ohio Radio Report", which just started up on Monday.

We'll assume that two recent events - our latest hiatus, and the move to close comments to only registered Google users - prompted the new creation. If we may take the liberty of quoting the site:

Yes, the comments sections are open, and we won’t be editing comments…who has the time? Suck it up buttercup, not everybody is always going to like you. We invite your comments/news/rumors/lies to this address.

Best of luck to you, whoever runs this new blog. We are open, and welcome you to the Media Coverage Space in this region.

Just a quick look at the "NEORR" blog indicates that whoever runs it has more time to spin the radio dial around and listen, more time than we have, anyway. They also touch areas we don't generally get into, like more in-depth reports on who's on various morning shows.

And then, there's the whole comments thing. Perhaps their presence will provide this report the opportunity to send commenters there if they don't wish to create a Google login, or if they don't like how the comment section works here.

Anyway, for the moment at least, it appears we serve a complementary purpose. And if "NEORR" supercedes us in readership, maybe we'll head off into the Blog Sunset and join up as a reader and commenter over there.

And if it gains traction, and seems like it's going to stay around, we'll put it up over on the left as a link.

We'll see.

In the meantime, if you're reading this on Wednesday evening, we're preparing a fresh update of reasonable length for Thursday morning...stay tuned!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Browns Silence In Toledo?

Yeah, it surprised us, too.

Unless something's changed since late last week, it appears the Cleveland Browns currently have no Toledo radio affiliate lined up for the 2007 season.

Clear Channel sports WCWA/1230 ran the NFL team's games in 2006, but the Toledo Blade's John Wagner reports that "FOX Sports 1230" is declining to renew for this year. And he says sister rocker WIOT/104.7, which ran the games since the franchise started up again in 1999, is also not expected to carry Browns football.

The article notes that an independent company, "OnSports Productions", apparently tried to buy the Browns' Toledo rights with the aim of brokering the games on WCWA, but ran into too many conflicts with the station's broadcast of Cleveland Indians' games.

Wagner then rings up the other AM sports station in the Toledo market, Cumulus sports mainstay WLQR/1470 "The Ticket", where PD/afternoon host Norm Wamer tells the Blade that they're "happy" being the Detroit Lions affiliate in Northwest Ohio.

The Toledo market has a bunch of stations that would likely do well carrying the Browns. There are plenty of Browns fans in the region, as noted by Browns Radio Network honcho Joe Nero from the fourth floor of a certain building on Oak Tree.

Yet, the only one expressing interest is WLQR's sister talk station, WTOD/1560 "SuperTalk 1560"...where program director Chuck Matthews tells the newspaper that the station "would love to have the Browns".

The station's status as a daytime outlet wouldn't have an effect, says the long-time OMW reader (to the newspaper, not to us), since the games could be scooted to sister Cumulus FM outlets if necessary - much like WTOD does now for Michigan football games that air past the station's sign-off times.

(Hmm, the Browns and the Wolverines on the same odd!)

Anyway, per the article, it appears that the Browns Radio Network would rather have a daytimer as an affiliate in Toledo, as opposed to having fans in the Glass City having to strain to pick up stations in Sandusky or Findlay.

Nero tells the Blade that he'll approach WTOD about the rights.

And unless someone else in the market steps up and gets the rights, and assuming Mr. Matthews can work out an agreement with those in the building where he used to work, "SuperTalk 1560" will likely become "Toledo's Home of the Browns" as soon as this coming weekend.

On the TV side, it's not nearly as complicated.

The Browns are in the AFC, which means CBS affiliate WTOL/11 can air as many Browns games as it wants. The Detroit Lions, in the NFC, likely rule the roost on Sundays at FOX affiliate WUPW/36 "FOX Toledo"...

Friday, August 03, 2007

Media Icons And Their Talented Sons

It's no surprise, especially to those who follow the world of "independent" films, that Shaker Heights native David Wain has a new critically-acclaimed film opening over the weekend.

Wain's "The Ten" opens up Saturday at the Cedar Lee and Shaker Square Cinemas locally, and at other locations across the country. It's described as a "far out, raucous comedy", and features stars like Paul Ruud, Liev Schreiber, Gretchen Moll, Wynona Ryder, and Jessica Alba. Wain wrote and directed the film.

Here's an article about David Wain and his films, in Friday's "Plain Dealer". He gained attention for his earlier film, "Wet Hot American Summer", which also screens at the Cedar Lee this weekend.

And by now, many OMW readers have figured out why we're doing a preview of a film premiere.

Yes, David Wain is the son of Norman Wain, a name very familiar to local radio types. The filmmaker's father had a long stretch of radio ownership and management in the Cleveland market at stations like WHK/1420 and WIXY/1260.

We can't help but also think of another filmmaking son of another iconic local media type.

Paul Thomas Anderson is best known in Hollywood as the man behind 1997's "Boogie Nights". But to some folks in Cleveland, he'll always be the son of the late Ernie Anderson, who graced Cleveland TV screens as "Ghoulardi" on WJW/8 long ago...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: WKYC Names New News Director

Gannett Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3 has officially named a news director.

WKYC senior director Frank Macek's "Director's Cut" blog alerts us that acting news director Rita Andolsen, who was assistant news director under now-former ND Mike McCormick, takes the top news job on a permanent basis.

After McCormick left "Channel 3 News", he landed at WPMI in Mobile AL.

We'd heard rumblings of other possible news director candidates at 13th and Lakeside over the past few months.

But from what we've heard from just about anyone inside - and outside - the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center, Andolsen was clearly the popular choice. So, we believe her appointment to run the newsroom there will be well-received...