Monday, August 13, 2007

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...

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