Sunday, September 30, 2007

Memo To Reserve Square

It looks like WOIO/19 "19 Action News" anchor Sharon Reed isn't proud of taking her clothes off in front of a camera, anymore.

Some three years after Ms. Reed became perhaps the most infamous local TV news anchor in America for her "Body of Art" series, the anchor and her station are now making the rounds of various websites, trying to get them to remove the racy pictures.

The Plain Dealer's Michael K. McIntyre quotes Sharon's immediate boss, news director Dan Salamone, in Saturday's "TipOff" column:

There are as many as two dozen Web sites still using images and or videotape from this story. I have sent them letters. It's our copywritten material. They don't have the right to use it.

We actually knew about this a couple of days ago, when an unrelated search brought us to another blog - not the one mentioned by Mr. McIntyre ( That blog was unrepentant, and even posted a copy of Ms. Reed's E-Mail threat. So did the folks at Wizbang.

Since the latest entry includes a repeat of one of the "Body of Art" pictures, and since we here at OMW don't wish to increase Ms. Reed's, uh, exposure - for entirely different reasons - we won't link the entry in question here.

Feel free to use Wizbang's handy "search" function, put in Sharon's name, and enjoy. Or not.

For their part, the blog folks enlisted a lawyer who specializes in defending blogs from this sort of thing. Quoting lawyer Ronald D. Coleman:

Your wish to un-ring the bells sounded by the singular performance depicted in these images, while understandable, is not a legitimate ground for you to prevent their reasonable use in connection with news reporting about that performance.

And here's where WOIO and Ms. Reed become inhabitants of Hypocrite City, a special subsection of the Reserve Square news dungeon.

OMW chuckles at the contention by Mr. Salamone - that the pictures should be pulled for copyright reasons, and that "fair use" isn't a defense for the websites and bloggers in question.

Ah, but back in 2004, these pictures popped up on websites all over the world! And oddly enough, Raycom Media, WOIO or Ms. Reed said NOTHING. They weren't sending out letters to webmasters, as far as we know, asking the removal of the pictures. (If we're wrong on that, we'd like to know.)

They WANTED the pictures all over - so they could PROMOTE their willful ratings sweep stunt and drive up their ratings!

Fast forward to 2007, where even WOIO/WUAB general manager Bill Applegate said in a recent Plain Dealer interview that the "Body of Art" series was one thing he had second thoughts about.

And just days later, the Naked Anchor In Question starts firing off E-Mails threatening legal action against sites that still carry the pictures from three years ago.

How, as Dana Carvey's "Church Lady" might say, "conVENient".

Oh, and a heads up to Reserve Square.

It should be noted that OMW has never run the actual pictures in question. It happened before we started here, and we're not a "skin blog". We don't make a habit, for any reason, of featuring women removing their clothes in front of a camera, TV news anchors or otherwise.

So, Sharon, feel free to search OMW - the "Search" box is right at the top - but you won't find the pictures.

We'll close by quoting Mr. McIntyre's last line on the subject:

Un-ring the bell? Shouldn't have unbuckled the belt.

Friday, September 28, 2007

A Tight Squeeze Play

And no, we aren't talking about a play we'd like to see the Cleveland Indians pull off in the upcoming playoff run.

We've let some items accumulate here, and we're going to put them in one big item to close out the week.

BIG TEN NETWORK GETS, UH, CABLE PRESENCE: The folks at the Big Ten Network have a cable signing to crow about.

But unfortunately for the conference-owned TV network, BTN's new signup is not Time Warner Cable, the region's largest cable provider by far.

Instead, the new sports channel has done what the football folks call an "end around".

To add to AT&T's U-verse service as a carrier, the Big Ten Network has signed up WOW Cable, the former Wide Open West service that is an alternative cable operator in some parts of the Cleveland and Columbus areas. WOW operates the system once built by Ameritech, the former Ohio Bell and today's AT&T.

BTN's channel will be in the high-expanded basic range - cable channel 87 on the Ohio systems, starting Saturday. As of yet, there's no word about HD carriage, but we'll assume WOW will air the HD version of BTN at some point.

Meanwhile, we haven't nailed it down 100 percent yet, but OMW hears that discussions involving adding Big Ten Network to Time Warner Cable are also tied in with renewal discussions for FOX Sports Net Ohio. (FOX's cable network arm owns BTN, along with the conference.)

Whether that helps or hinders the process remains to be seen.

FSN Ohio is one of a number of networks involved in what's usually a standard process to renew carriage agreements with Time Warner.

Don't let that lengthy legal notice throw you, despite the fact that it includes ABC affiliate WEWS/5 and its digital side. It's just a notice TWC is required to make public.

In addition to FSN Ohio and WEWS (and its associated Scripps-owned cable networks),
there are cable networks owned by Time Warner Cable's parent company - the On Demand versions of networks like CNN, as well as CNN en Espanol. You don't think THOSE are in trouble, do you?

TWC has not always "played nice" with corporate sisters - witness the trouble getting Cincinnati CW affiliate "CinCW" on basic cable on the company's Cincinnati system, despite the fact that Time Warner owns half of that network. But they own 100% of the above mentioned networks, and there's no other intermediary Cincinnati, the latter was then-Clear Channel CBS affiliate WKRC/12, the parent of "CinCW".

And an OMW Jeer aimed at the aforementioned "NewsChannel 5". Their evening story on this news item made it look like there was a deal between Time Warner Cable and the Big Ten Network.

Oh, sure, the audio had the proper information, but a glance at the TV gave no indication that the deal was for an alternative provider - with not even a WOW Cable logo on the screen, let alone the service's name.

And consumer reporter Angie Lau's story also gleefully repeated that the BTN folks were celebrating their 30 millionth subscriber. We could have gotten that from their press release, and WEWS could have saved the electricity needed to run the camera.

At least it wasn't a 5 minute long promo for this fall's ABC entertainment lineup, disguised as a series of "news stories". That happened the other day...

THIS JUST IN: And we mean JUST in...

OMW hears that Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron has parted ways with news director Tom Duresky, who's been handling those duties for WHLO and other Clear Channel Akron/Canton stations for some time. (He has also been heard on sister hot AC WKDD/98.1, and was heard on WARF/1350 in its previous liberal talk format.)

We don't know why Tom is no longer there, but best of luck to him in the future! And may that OMW Karma work its magic for the long-time OMW reader.

Back at Freedom Avenue, operations chief Keith Kennedy needs a replacement. If you read this blog and don't know the World Domination HQ/Southern Command's full mailing address, good luck to you....

AWARDS: A tip of the hat to Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5 Cleveland mainstay Chuck Collier, who just picked up the NAB "Marconi Award" as Large Market Personality of the Year.

And we mean mainstay, as we didn't realize he's been on WGAR for over 30 years. We know he's been there for a long time, dating back into the station's days on AM 1220 (now Salem Christian teaching/talk WHKW), but we didn't realize it had been 30 years.

That tidbit comes from Chuck's show page on the WGAR site, where you can also get pictures from the awards event earlier this week at the NAB Radio Show in Charlotte...

WHICH ONE DO WE CURSE?: As mentioned last week, be prepared for fuzzy pictures on Sunday if you're a Cleveland Browns fan.

CBS will once again designate the Browns' contest with the Baltimore Ravens as a game that doesn't deserve an HDTV broadcast. This week, the local NFL team's game shares that dishonor with the Houston Texans' game with the Atlanta Falcons.

HDTV once again returns for Browns viewers the following Sunday, with CBS listing Cleveland's game against the New England Patriots as an HD contest. But it's back to fuzzy SD for the following week's game against Miami.

The week after that? Close your eyes and hope Derek Anderson doesn't throw an interception in your imagination, as the Browns will be in their "bye" week.

As we've said before, with one less game due to that "bye" week the rest of the season, and with other providers (NFL Network, etc.) picking games away from the CBS Sunday schedule, there might be a chance it'll be all HDTV for the Browns - no matter how badly they play - the rest of the year.

And in 2008, it all lights up in high-definition for CBS, and all other NFL carriers, as part of a new TV contract...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Ex-ESPN Host Patrick Picks Up Local Affiliate

UPDATE 9/26/07 3:35 PM: AllAccess points out that Dan Patrick's new show, which will debut on WARF and other early affiliates on Tuesday, October 1st, will actually air live 9 AM-noon Eastern Time.

Any affiliate that carries the show in Patrick's former ESPN Radio time slot (1-4 PM) will be carrying it on delay.

We're curious if this "changes the game" for former affiliates of that show, who could presumably carry the show before Jim Rome. For WWGK/1540, Good Karma's "KNR2", that'd mean replacing part of shows hosted by FOX Sports Radio's Steve Czaban and ESPN's Colin Cowherd.

But as we note below, the Good Karma folks are pretty tied to the ESPN branding, and we're not sure Bristol would like such a move. Or, for that matter, if the folks currently on Broadview Road are considering it at all...


OMW hears - and we mean literally, on the station - that Clear Channel Akron sports talker WARF/1350 "SportsRadio 1350" will be one of the first affiliates carrying the new afternoon show hosted by now-former ESPN Radio host Dan Patrick.

An on-air announcement during a local football-oriented talk show Tuesday evening says Patrick will air on WARF in his old ESPN Radio time slot, 1-4 PM Monday through Friday. And we believe that so far, only WARF has announced his carriage in Northeast Ohio's largest markets.

OMW reported a while back that Patrick's Cleveland affiliate in his ESPN Radio days, Good Karma sports WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's AM 1540, KNR2", has already announced that it's staying with the network's own replacements for the former SportsCenter anchor, who is a native of the Dayton area - by the way.

Those replacements would be "Monday Night Football" voice Mike Tirico (1-3 PM) and ESPN basketball talk contributor and sportswriter Stephen A. Smith (3-4 PM, a one hour national simulcast of his show on ESPN Radio O&O WEPN/1050 in New York City).

We can't find the earlier announcement on the station's website, but we have no indication that 1540 is dumping the Tirico/Smith combo for Dan Patrick. For now, at any rate. One wonders how ESPN Radio would feel about it if they did...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Indians' Clinching Game To Be Replayed

SportsTime Ohio is planning a replay of Sunday's game between the Cleveland Indians and the Oakland A's - the win which gave the local Major League Baseball team its shiny, new American League Central title.

The game will air Tuesday starting at 5:30 PM.

One reason STO cites for the replay - the Sunday game aired on WKYC/3, the Cleveland NBC affiliate which is the team's over-air home, instead of on STO.

Quoting the press release:

The Indians clinched the Central Division Title on Sunday and the game aired on WKYC Channel 3. STO will replay it as an instant classic to provide out of market viewers the opportunity to relive the game in its entirety, including the post game celebration.

We don't know if the other over-air out-of-market affiliates carried the game, but we'll assume they did. But there are still many areas of Tribe fandom where they CAN get STO, but can't get an over-air affiliate.

The Indians Radio Network flagship, Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland, has a ton of pictures and sound from the game on its website...

Sunday, September 23, 2007


We note the passing of two names with history in Northeast Ohio media.

REX HUMBARD DIES: As far as we know, Rex Humbard hasn't been seen on local TV for many years, and he moved to Florida years ago.

But Humbard turned Northeast Ohio into the epicenter of televangelism, as one magazine noted, bringing televised evangelism "to Main Street" from its center in suburban Akron.

The New York Times notes the height of his worldwide television presence:

At its peak, in 1977-8, the program leased time on 378 television stations in the United States and Canada and broadcast on about 1,200 more in other countries. Mr. Humbard claimed that “Cathedral of Tomorrow” was on more television stations than any other program in the nation.

Humbard was a massive presence even locally, even to those who did not tune into his long-running TV programs. Shoppers at State Road Shopping Center in Cuyahoga Falls could not miss that white domed Cathedral of Tomorrow across the street, and eventually, the concrete tower Rex built next door.

That tower was destined to be a monument to the heavens, almost literally. It would have held a revolving restaurant at the top, providing expansive views of the region.

But more importantly to this group, it would have held the transmission tower for what was then known as WCOT-TV 55 - the call letters standing, of course, for Humbard's church below.

As far as we know, WCOT never made the air, and we're not even sure it got any construction permit. The unfinished tower remains today, providing a home for antennas for cellular phone service.

Rex Humbard moved his operation to Florida, and sold both the Cathedral of Tomorrow and his television studios to fellow televangelist Ernest Angley in the mid-1990's. (The tower eventually went to the family which owns Krieger's Farm Market on nearby Graham Road.)

After converting the Cathedral of Tomorrow to the new location for his Grace Cathedral, Angley got Channel 55 on the air as independent WBNX-TV Akron. The transmitter site for WBNX was originally in Brecksville, but moved into the Parma antenna farm to its current location. WBNX is, of course, today's CW Network affiliate for the Cleveland market.

WBNX had a ready-made TV studio operation, of course, because the same building which houses the Cathedral Buffet was well-equipped for Humbard's own TV empire.

Humbard continued his TV ministry from Florida, going into "semi-retirement" from it in 1999.

Rex Humbard died at the age of 88 on Friday, of natural causes...

"HOOLIHAN'S" WIFE PASSES ON: The second death we mark today is of someone who wasn't as well known in front of the camera in Northeast Ohio - but you surely know her husband.

OMW hears that Barbara Wells, wife of former WJW/8 personality Bob Wells, passed away on August 28th in Florida, after a lengthy bout with cancer.

Mrs. Wells' husband was a local TV icon - "Hoolihan" of Channel 8's "Hoolihan and Big Chuck" show. The show survived in a new form through recent years at today's "FOX 8" as "Big Chuck and Lil' John", until the recent retirement of "Big Chuck" Schodowski. Bob Wells was also a weatherman at Channel 8, then the area's long-running CBS affiliate, known as "Hoolihan the Weatherman".

The Wells family moved to Florida, after Bob had a stint managing Christian station WSUM (now WCCD)/1000 Parma.

But it's not just her more well-known husband with an extensive media background.

Barbara Wells was, we're told, one of the first female disk jockeys at then-WJW/850 in Cleveland, and also was on air at WTAN in Clearwater FL. She was very active in both community and professional theater, modeled on TV's Home Shopping Network, and did radio and TV commercials.

And like her husband, she was quite active in the church community.

An excellent look into their history and family life can be found in this article on the Cleveland Seniors website, where we also found the photo we've used here.

Barbara Wells passed away at the age of 72...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Friday Stuff

We're clearing out the decks for the weekend...with some updates, some new stuff (mostly from elsewhere), and some thoughts...

"SISSY'S" START: As it turns out, the Stefani Schaefer Era (round 2) on WJW/8's "FOX 8 News in the Morning" hasn't officially started yet.

The former WJW and WEWS anchor returned home to Cleveland after leaving NBC Universal's talk show for company O&O's, "iVillage Live". And her return was announced on the FOX 8 morning show last week, complete with an appearance by her in studio.

We don't really watch the TV morning shows, but Schaefer - known by her childhood nickname "Sissy" on the "iVillage Live" show - apparently just made the one day appearance a week ago Wednesday.

We know that because "FOX 8" has been frequently promoting her official start date on the air. Schaefer will join the "FOX 8 in the Morning" team starting Monday.

As we reported earlier, she'll only be on the 7-9 AM part of the show, the part that competes against the network morning shows like NBC's "Today" and ABC's "Good Morning America". Oh, and whatever CBS is doing in that time slot these days...

NO BROWNS HD, AGAIN: A reader reminds us of a sad fact we already know. If you're a Cleveland Browns fan and an HDTV owner, prepare to squint at a really, really fuzzy picture.

CBS, the carrier of games involving AFC teams, will once again not carry the Browns' contest with the Oakland Raiders in the HD format (Sunday, 4 PM, WOIO/19 in Cleveland).

And furthermore, the Browns game the following week against the Baltimore Ravens will also be Standard Definition Only.

This week's Browns game at Oakland is the ONLY CBS game not in HDTV, and likely the only NFL game this entire week not to get the HDTV format.

We've detailed the problem before.

CBS has said it would carry "up to 6" Sunday games in HD format, and Browns/Raiders happens to be Game 7 this week.

As we've said, this will all clear up next season, with every CBS game broadcast in HD.

In our "sports media competitive balance" department: Sunday afternoon's Cleveland Indians game with the Oakland A's will most assuredly be in HD, via Indians over-air television flagship WKYC/3 in Cleveland. (As per usual, we're pretty sure the team's TV network affiliates outside of Cleveland won't broadcast the game in HD.)

And the local MLB team could very well clinch an American League Central Division title that very day...

SPORTS LEAP: OK, more sports stuff, but this is one we teased a ways back.

A well-known local sports radio caller has parlayed his training and education into a career - as a TV sportscaster.

He's Anthony Lima, who's now the weekend sportscaster for Parkersburg/Marietta NBC affiliate WTAP/15.

And his linked bio tells interested WTAP viewers the "rest of the story", and how you may know him:

Anthony has always had a passion for talking sports in one medium or another since the age of 15, when he first became a Cleveland radio celebrity under the moniker “SportsBoy Tony.”

Yep. "SportsBoy Tony", who was calling WKNR/850 "ESPN 850" mid-morning host Tony Rizzo's old show on the former WHK/1420 sports format as a teenager in the mid-90's, is now a member of the TV sports fraternity along with Rizz, the lead sports anchor at WJW "FOX 8".

Well, OK, he's in a very small market, doing weekends...but everyone's gotta start somewhere!

Tony, er, Anthony, tells OMW:

It's truly a rags to rags story...young sportstalk show caller becomes weekend sports anchor in the one of the smallest markets in the country...and that's including a stop at Syracuse University...


Actually, young Mr. Lima is modest about the educational part of his resume.

He picked up a master's degree at Syracuse, that communications school powerhouse responsible for starting sportscasters like Bob Costas and Marv Albert. If you're plotting a career in sports media, Syracuse is stop number one. He's also holding a degree from THE Ohio State University.

It's quite a different route from "caller to pro" than the one taken by a certain afternoon talk radio host who launched his sports radio post-caller career reading sports headlines out of the paper on an FM station.

So, best of luck to you, NoLongerSportsBoy Tony....may we proudly say, down the road, that we "knew you when"...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

What We're Not

OMW gets a lot of E-Mail.

We'd estimate that roughly two dozen items come through our E-Mail account every day. And that's not including copies of blog comments - which used to be a lot more.

Some folks seem confused about who we are, and why they're writing to us. We're a blog covering local radio, TV and other media, mainly in the Northeast Ohio area, with some forays beyond the Cleveland/Akron/Canton/Youngstown axis.'s what we're not.

NOT A SHOW: No, we're not a radio show or station.

We've gotten many E-Mails from folks telling us about something they heard us broadcast. No, we don't have "OMW Radio", and no, we weren't conducting a survey on fast food the other morning.

We can't play your favorite Shania Twain song. We can't do a thing about that annoying caller on talk radio yesterday afternoon. (Or for that matter, that annoying host.)

We don't have a link to the Patriots song on the radio the other day - though we now suspect that was syndicated morning team "Bob and Tom" out of Indianapolis airing the song. (No, we're not connected to the show or any of its affiliates.)

We'll be helpful and pass along your E-Mail and request to the station or show involved, if we can figure that out (we still don't know who was doing the fast food survey).

NOT A PUBLICITY OUTLET: We get roughly two or three E-Mails a week from people looking for us to "spread the word" about some injustice or news item.

We aren't a news outlet. We don't cover stories here, we cover local media.

If you're not able to find the various TV or radio stations that might be interested, we'll be happy to provide you with their contact information - if you can't already find it on their websites or via Google.

But putting the item here? Even if we are read in most TV and radio newsrooms in Ohio, we aren't doing it. This is not a site to advance people's agendas to advance possible news coverage, and we bet if we started running such items regularly, the insiders at local newsrooms who DO read this blog would go away.

We're not your way to get around the "gatekeepers" of news coverage. It just doesn't work.

We'll be more than happy to provide help with stuff you can't otherwise find in a Google search.

But the E-Mail as described above is more numerous than it used to be, so we felt we had to say something...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Radio No Factor

UPDATE 9/20/07 2:35 PM: Mr. Maloney backs off just a little in an update to the below post.

The "Radio Equalizer" blog editor says that O'Reilly may sign a "short-term" extension to the "Radio Factor" contract into early next year. But he believes the FNC host is still destined to dump radio, to concentrate on his popular evening TV talk show.

Our original take on his report is below...


This word comes from a blog just across the Blogger-sphere:

According to "Radio Equalizer" blogger Brian Maloney, FOX News Channel evening host Bill O'Reilly is bringing his Westwood One-syndicated talk radio show - "The Radio Factor" - to a close in December.

The move, if it happens, wouldn't really be a big deal in Northeast Ohio, where the O'Reilly radio show has had a tough time gaining traction. Clear Channel owns most of Ohio's major talk stations, which carry Rush Limbaugh and have for some time, and the O'Reilly radio show airs on maybe two or three of Clear Channel's talk stations nationwide.

In this region, "The Radio Factor" is carried on weekend evenings on Media-Com Akron market talker WNIR/100.1, in a two hour slot that could just as easily filled by another Westwood One show. Dennis Miller, anyone? Does Canton market news/talk WHBC/1480 claim Akron market rights to Miller? Is his show still on the air? We haven't checked...

And on the eastern fringes of the Cleveland market, talk/brokered WELW/1330 Willoughby carries Mr. O'Reilly's program twice a day, once live, and once repeated in late nights. Maybe the station just expands Tony Petkovsek's 2 hour afternoon polka show to four hours?

For either scenario above, we're just guessing...we haven't heard what WNIR or WELW would use to replace the O'Reilly show. For that matter, we haven't even confirmed this original report.

The reason the radio show has lasted so long is the weight O'Reilly's name carries among conservative talk listeners, due to his much more successful TV show.

But at some point, assuming this report is true, he apparently has given up the towel competing against conservative talk icon Rush Limbaugh. Mr. O'Reilly actually had a modest amount of success in some markets, but his affiliate list beyond New York and Los Angeles was rather spotty.

And oddly enough, Mr. Maloney had earlier actually strongly refuted a liberal blogger's contention that O'Reilly was leaving the world of talk radio - a fact Maloney himself acknowledges in the above item.

It would, presumably, mean that radio industry people with connections pulled Brian aside electronically, and said, "well, actually..."

Speaking of Sports Again

This update will be mostly related to sports and local media, since that's where the news is...

BIG STO PICKUP: In its continuing drive to have programming other than Cleveland Indians games and assorted Cleveland Browns shows, pre-season game repeats and low-rent wrestling and poker shows, SportsTime Ohio has landed a big one.

The Cleveland-based sports network has officially announced a one-year deal for the statewide rights to the Ohio High School Athletic Association's playoffs and championship games. (The Associated Press story on it can be found here via

Quoting STO's own press release, which the network helpfully sent to OMW:

SportsTime Ohio will have exclusive rights to televise eight (8) football playoff games, six (6) football championship games, eight (8) boys’ basketball playoff games, four (4) boys’ basketball championship games, and four (4) girls’ basketball championship games. In addition, STO has exclusive distribution of a minimum of four (4) other OHSAA events to be determined.

Though STO's coverage will drastically increase the number of potential viewers for the high school games, there is one problem: The Cleveland-based network has no cable or satellite carriage in the Cincinnati and Dayton markets.

To address that problem, SportsTime Ohio turned to close partner Time Warner Cable, which will air the OHSAA contests for its viewers in Southwest Ohio. (There's no word on if STO or TWC will offer games to other cable systems in the Dayton and Cincinnati regions.)

We'll have to assume that STO upped the dollar ante, after the OHSAA folks rejected earlier bids from both that network and the previous incumbent rightsholder, the Columbus-based Ohio News Network, as being inadequate.

The release says games will be seen both live and on tape delay (digital delay now?)...

STO CROWING ABOUT RATINGS: Another press release from the Cleveland Indians-associated STO crows about ratings.

The network says Monday night's Indians contest with the Detroit Tigers, capped by a walk-off home run winner by Casey Blake, garnered the highest ratings in SportsTime Ohio's history:

According to Nielsen’s preliminary ratings, the last hour of the Indians extra innings win over the Tigers delivered a 15 rating, peaking at a 17.9. These numbers equate to over 517,500 viewers 18+ watching the game.

Now, if only we had FSN Ohio's numbers from the Indians' 1995 and 1997 World Series runs to compare...

NEW "KNR2" SHOW THIS WEEK: ESPN Radio has announced its replacement for former early afternoon host Dan Patrick, who left the Worldwide Leader in Sports a while back.

It'll be Monday Night Football play-by-play voice and ESPN TV mainstay Mike Tirico sliding into the 1-3 PM slot formerly occupied by Patrick, with a national simulcast of New York-based WEPN/1050 "ESPN 1050" host Stephen A. Smith in the 3-4 PM time slot weekdays. Smith, of course, is also a mainstay on the TV side of ESPN.

Both shows will only be heard on small stations in Northeast Ohio.

With primary local ESPN affiliate Good Karma WKNR/850 Cleveland running other programming - the last two hours of Jim Rome's Premiere Radio show and the first hour of local afternoon drive show "Munch on Sports" with Mark "Munch" Bishop, the new ESPN shows won't air on "ESPN 850 WKNR".

Instead, they'll be welcomed into Patrick's old time slot on 850's little brother station, WWGK/1540 "Cleveland's AM 1540, KNR2". The station has put up an announcement to that effect on the website.

We'll assume, for now, that Canton market ESPN affiliate WTIG/990 Massillon "ESPN 990", and Youngstown ESPN affiliate WBBW/1240, will carry the new shows.

But...for how long?

Patrick's new radio show, for Chicago-based "The Content Factory", will start soon - October 1st. Will some ESPN Radio stations hang in there for a few weeks with Tirico and Smith, or will they bolt for the new Dan Patrick show? We'll find out in about three weeks...

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Keeping Busy Tuesday

We hadn't planned on an update Tuesday, but some stuff to sweep up after...

IT'S OFFICIAL: The day it happened, and two days after OMW reported it would happen, the takeover of the former Clear Channel Ashtabula stations was reported in the national radio trade press.

The announcement, which we saw on AllAccess's Monday Net News scroll, says Tom and Matt Embrescia's Sweet Home Ashtabula spent $3.5 million on the WFUN/WREO/WZOO/WFXJ/WYBL combo in Northeast Ohio's most northeastern-most small market.

The living is easy, competition-wise, for the long-time Cleveland radio executive and his son. The group is the dominant broadcast operation in the market, with only nearby WKKY/104.7 Geneva as an in-market commercial competitor.

Even tiny AM WWOW/1360 Conneaut has mostly gone to a religious format with Catholic programming from the EWTN folks. And WKKY itself, as we've written often here, spends most of its time with nearby Lake County.

Ashtabula gets hit signal-wise from Cleveland to the west and Erie to the east. But by far the strongest out-of-town signal in the region is Canadian rock outlet CFPL/95.9 "FM 96", booming across Lake Erie from London, Ontario.

OMW hears that while major changes may not happen this week, there are already some changes possibly in the works. We just don't have any details about what the Embrescia father and son team will plan, or for that matter, what's on the mind of former cluster GM-turned-returned GM Dana Schulte...

...involving Ohio stations in the trade website's recent Net News scroll.

Clear Channel rock WNCD/93.3 "The Wolf" in Youngstown says goodbye to middayer "Tina", who takes at very least a first name, if not a last name, to an unspecified station in another market. WNCD PD and OMW reader (Matt) Spatz takes over. We're not sure when Matt lost his first name, or why Tina didn't use a last name.

And AllAccess also reports that Clear Channel 80's outlet WBWR/105.7 "The Brew" in Columbus goes a different direction from PD Bob O'Dell, which means he's no longer there.

More Columbus items, as North American Broadcasting active rock WBZX/99.7 "The Blitz" adds a "Morning Blitz" team member - Jay Charles, from San Antonio.

And former Saga AC WSNY/94.7 "Sunny 95" staffer Chuck Knight takes the programming reins of locally-owned Philadelphia AC powerhouse WBEB "B101", which segues into a new presentation under the "Fresh" label...

WOIO'S NON-HD NEWS: We made a quip earlier this week that Raycom Media CBS/MyNet combo WOIO/19-WUAB/43's "19 Action News" (motto: "First. Fair. Everywhere. In Color!") has yet to implement a rumored plan to broadcast its newscasts in HDTV, which would make the Reserve Square operation the last HD newscast in the Cleveland market.

As it turns out, perhaps Raycom has discovered that you can't just put in a new HD/digital control room to go HD.

OMW hears that WOIO/WUAB did indeed convert its news control room to HD. But they apparently are missing more than one piece (cameras?), and the local rumor mill has no clue when they may put it together.

We also hear that the folks at Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" are readying the next step in the HD News chain - shooting field footage in true HD format, and being able to edit it in HD at 3001 Euclid.

The missing link will be "live" HD, as most remote live HD broadcasts (from live trucks, etc.) will depend on equipment being bought for stations under a government program by the folks at Sprint.

We don't quite remember all the details, but it goes something like this: the Nextel folks (cell/digital walkie-talkie) agreed to buy equipment for TV stations so they could use some bandwidth now contentiously shared with their own system. The new equipment is all-digital, and on a different set of frequencies than used by Nextel, which is now part of Sprint.

Now, we'd assume stations CAN go outside this program and pay for new digital over-air links themselves - else, WJW/8 "FOX 8" couldn't have SkyFOX HD - but most stations are waiting to retrofit their remote live equipment "for free" courtesy of the Sprint/Nextel folks.

The problem? We hear that program is dragging its heels.

Anyway, the recorded field video aired on "NewsChannel 5" will air in HD in the next few weeks.

There's no word on if the folks at Reserve Square will contemplate giving away 3-D glasses to viewers to make their currently non-HD broadcast "19 Action News 3-D".

(That's a joke, folks!)

No, not to Mr. Kotter, but to Mr. Sylk.

We'd heard rumblings about this for a while, but it does appear former Cleveland radio personality Sam Sylk has taken the "former" off of that title, as he returns to the North Coast for afternoon drive on Radio One hip-hop/R&B outlet WENZ/107.9 "Z107.9".

Sylk went to Chicago, where he did afternoons on legendary Clear Channel urban outlet WGCI, then went to sister urban station WUSL "Power 99" in Philadelphia for mornings. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that he left that station in August, and his new website shows he returned to Cleveland for Z107.9's afternoon drive slot a week ago.

We're far too old and unhip to have "Z" on our presets (see the "Welcome Back, Kotter" reference above), so we can't remember the details. But we seem to recall Sylk syndicated back to Cleveland at some point, from either Chicago or Philly...

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Stuff

We start off this week with an update or two, a musing or two, and other stuff...

SANDY'S OUT: Here's an item that showed up on AllAccess late last week, but we didn't get to it yet...

SAGA COMMUNICATIONS AC WSNY (SUNNY 95)/COLUMBUS, OH midday jock SANDY BENNETT exits. She is replaced by sister station Smooth Jazz WJZA midday talent TRISHA MOORE.

Of course, Sandy also has history in the Cleveland market, at stations like WMJI/105.7 and the old "Jammin' 92" (then-WZJM/92.3, now CBS Radio alt-rocker WKRI "K-Rock").

OMW has no word why Sandy is no longer at "Sunny", or if she has landed or will land somewhere else, but we'll pass it along if we find out...

A REMINDER: Today is the scheduled day for the takeover of the former Clear Channel Ashtabula market stations (WFUN/WREO/WYBL/WZOO/WFXJ) by Tom Embrescia's "Sweet Home Ashtabula".

We'll have our ears pointed to the northeast, and hope listeners in the market tell us about any immediate changes to any of the five stations - though we don't expect any major overhaul on Day One.

And going back through our own older items, we reminded ourselves (nice trick) that Mr. Embrescia's son Matt is indeed listed as president for the company.

One point we didn't make earlier.

We don't know what plans either Embrescia has to expand the company beyond the new Ashtabula cluster. (The MediaOne cluster up in Jamestown NY and environs is owned by another family member.)

But don't let the Ashtabula-only operating company name fool you. It's a 100% owned subsidiary of Tom Embrescia's Cleveland-based Second Generation, Ltd., according to FCC records...

FUND RAISING: The folks at Clear Channel Cleveland hot AC outlet WMVX/106.5 pass along the final total for the station's "Brian and Joe Rainbow Radiothon", an effort to raise money for Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.

"Mix 106.5" morning drivers Brian and Joe, and the rest of the WMVX crew, raised $537,000 for the Cleveland pediatric hospital.

The station morning duo hit the airwaves from Rainbow for 12 hours a day for three days late last week to bring in the cash...

FOOTBALL FLINGING: Sunday's jaw-dropping 51-45 win by the Cleveland Browns over the Cincinnati Bengals was the first Browns game of the season not to be broadcast in HDTV format by CBS, the NFL's carrier of games broadcast from AFC teams' home stadiums.

CBS is not yet to the point where they'll broadcast all weekly games in HD. But in 2007, they'll do all but one or two games in the format on most weeks. (Considering the Browns' performance last week, could anyone blame them for putting today's game on the "no HD" list?)

In 2008, from what we've heard, all NFL games will be in HD. And even later this year, as games start being seen on other networks, more games will be in HD on CBS.

After the Browns wrapped up their improbable win Sunday, CBS' second doubleheader game (New York Jets vs. Baltimore Ravens) was also in not in HD.

But you can blame local CBS affiliate WOIO/19 for that, as the game was broadcast nationally in the HD format. Someone at Reserve Square A) apparently wasn't aware of that, B) just didn't care, or C) had some sort of technical glitch preventing them from making the switch after the Browns game ended.

Which would YOU bet on, if you were us? This is the station, after all, that was rumored to be the last local station to broadcast news in HD...a plan/decision/thought that never took hold.

From what we saw of the Browns game today, it was even blurrier than can be expected in standard definition.

And once we saw a dual legal ID super (the upconverted analog ID with the digital "Cleveland's CBS 19-1" ID next to it), it became clear that WOIO was actually upconverting its own SD signal directly, not sending down the network digital, but non-HD, signal...which is probably a good reason it looked even worse than normal. It probably saved them on staff somehow, though.

One other problem has reared its ugly head for HDTV sports watchers on that station.

Last week's Browns/Steelers game was in HD on CBS. But the game was plagued not just with poor play by the local NFL team...the CBS broadcast on WOIO-DT was indeed in HD, but full of more macroblocking and motion sickness than any 1080i game we've ever seen. It was almost unwatchable when anything was moving.

We hear from an OMW reader that it looks like WOIO did not reduce the bandwidth to its "WeatherNow" subchannel (WOIO-DT 19.2) during the game last Sunday, like it has apparently done in the past.

Meanwhile, over at NBC affiliate WKYC/3, they DID throttle back the bandwidth on their "NBC WeatherPlus" subchannel (WKYC-DT 3.2). That made the network's Sunday Night Football MUCH easier to watch than Browns/Steelers earlier that day.

Sometimes, we wonder how programming even shows up in color on Channel far, the worst-looking TV station in the Cleveland market as far as picture quality HDTV, SDTV or any other definition...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Columbus Radio Shocker

We don't have really good sources in Central Ohio, so we apologize for being a couple of days late with this one.

We were started on this road by rumors that Christian Broadcasting Services 80's/eclectic pop non-comm outlet WHKC/91.5 Columbus was playing Christian pop instead, starting this weekend.

The station was established last year by Robb Case, the popular former helicopter pilot/reporter for Columbus NBC affiliate WCMH/4 - the latest in a string of Central Ohio radio stations he's been involved with...including Spanish-language WDLR/1550 Delaware "RadioSol".

So, imagine our shock when we researched this, and stumbled onto this Columbus Dispatch article from Friday - Channel 4 helicopter pilot Robb Case dies.

Dispatch radio/TV writer Tim Feran reports that Case died at the age of 50 Thursday morning, after a "long battle with cancer".

Case, born Robb Casagrande, had become something of a radio folk hero to those seeking out non-corporate radio music programming in the Columbus market. His WHKC launched nine months ago with 80's pop music and other stuff thrown in, and was getting a "buzz" among those looking to alternatives to offerings from commercial music radio outlets.

But it was pretty much assumed by everyone, even 91.5's most devoted listeners, that the 80's and 90's tunes were destined to be replaced by some sort of Christian-themed programming. After all, look at the name of the station's ownership company - Christian Broadcasting Services.

Not long after Robb Case passed away, WHKC started replacing the secular 80's pop with Christian contemporary music.

But it isn't a reaction to his death. Business partner and long-time friend Mark Litton tells the Dispatch that such a move - to a Christian-oriented format - was already in the works.

And the CCM playing now will apparently make way for a Christian talk format as soon as later this week.

What would appear to be a legitimate website registered in the WHOIS database to the late Mr. Case touts the station as "Central Ohio's only FM Christian Talk Radio", with this mention apparently directed to station personnel about the upcoming launch:

As you can see the site isn't completely finished. It should be fully working by Wednesday morning, though portions of the site will come online throught the next few weeks.

We can't verify the veracity of this, but the registration info and the site looks legitimate to us.

The move to Christian talk pits WHKC up against established Salem outlet WRFD/880 "The Word", which shuts down at sunset due to its presence on the channel dominated by CBS Radio all-news WCBS in New York City.

And it also sends 80's music fans scurrying to out-of-market stations, weekend programs or satellite and Internet radio...

Friday, September 14, 2007

Death Of The Buzzard

We'd like to point out this fascinating article by the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Michael Heaton - on today, presumably in the Dead Trees edition of the newspaper Saturday.

It's all about rumblings we had here earlier this week, with Clear Channel rock WMMS/100.7 Cleveland rapidly de-emphasizing its call letters on air - the station is now mostly known on-air solely by its 100.7 frequency.

And it would appear that WMMS, er, 100.7, is sending the well-known "Buzzard" mascot to fly away somewhere else. 100.7 programmer Bo Matthews tells Heaton that it's not about changes in format, or killing iconic call letters or mascots:

"Nobody's killing anything. Chief Wahoo is not on every piece of Indians promotional material they send out. Ronald McDonald is not in every McDonald's commercial you see. We're not losing the letters. All we're doing is shifting an image. We do a lot of research, and it tell us our listeners feel that music content is the star. We're just reflecting that."

Matthews, and Clear Channel regional programming VP Kevin Metheny, point to the WMMS calls, and the "Buzzard" slogan and cartoon mascot, as being more revered by listeners who are off listening to other stations - presumably older skewing listeners spending most of their time with CBS Radio classic rock WNCX/98.5.

Former WMMS programmer John Gorman also weighs in, suggesting that the earlier, unsuccessful attempt to get rid of the "Buzzard" mascot may have diluted the brand's importance to the station for good.

There's no indication, or questioning, in the article about the newly minted "100.7" changing format.

As we noted before, there's plenty of speculation about it, but we have absolutely no information that a full format change (aside from rock playlist changes) is in the works at the station now whispering the "WMMS" call letters.

And if you think OUR comments get a bit wild (or used to), check out the comments on the story...

Sweet Homecoming Monday

OMW has confirmed that the new owners of the soon-to-be-former Clear Channel cluster in Ashtabula will take over Monday morning, September 17th.

That would be the company known as "Sweet Home Ashtabula", which is owned by long-time Cleveland media executive Tom Embrescia.

The sale was actually approved by the FCC back in August, and involves:

* WFUN/970 Ashtabula (news/talk/sports)
* WREO/97.1 Ashtabula (AC "Star 97.1")
* WYBL/98.3 Ashtabula (country "The Bull")
* WZOO/102.5 Edgewood (hot AC-turned-top 40 "102ZOO")
* WFXJ-FM/107.5 North Kingsville (classic rock "The Fox")

So, what changes on Monday?

We've heard a lot of rumors, but the only other solid piece of information we can offer is that former cluster GM Dana Schulte will back in charge with the new ownership. Schulte's role running the CC Ashtabula cluster ended when Clear Channel Youngstown market manager Bill Kelly took direct oversight of Ashtabula from South Avenue.

Embrescia's son, Matt, will also play a key role - we'd presume he's being groomed to eventually take over "Sweet Home" from his very experienced father at some point down the road.

We haven't heard any rumors of wholesale format or personnel changes at the opening of the Embrescia era.

But if Schulte's return to the building is any indication, we'd expect at least some more localization, perhaps with a beefing up of local sports coverage. It's a formula that works very well for many similar stations in small markets like Ashtabula...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Radiothon Time

Here at OMW, we've paid some attention to local media participating in charity events, like the long-time Akron Children's Hospital Radiothon produced by the folks at Clear Channel hot AC WKDD/98.1.

For whatever reason, we've not really mentioned a similar effort undertaken by WKDD's hot AC sister station in Cleveland, WMVX/106.5 "Mix 106.5". But it's going on now, and we'd like to give it a boost.

The 5th Annual Brian and Joe Rainbow Radiothon is a three-day event, which started Wednesday, and runs today and tomorrow from 6 AM to 6 PM. "Mix" morning guys Brian and Joe are handling the 12-hour-a-day live broadcast from the beneficiary for the event, Cleveland's Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.

OMW hears Brian and Joe and the WMVX crew brought in some 418-thousand dollars in last year's version, and are hoping to have even more success this year.

Like the WKDD radiothon, the Cleveland effort will also feature change collection "Change Bandits", hoping to turn small change into big cash for the Rainbow folks.

You can donate via phone (216-983-5437 or toll-free, 888-431-5437), or via an online donation form found here...

Thursday Collection

Some updates, some speculation, and some mea culpa from your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm)...

SHE'S IN: As reported here late Tuesday night, former local TV anchor Stefani Schaefer is back in Northeast Ohio, taking an apparently new position on WJW/8's FOX 8 News In The

UPDATE: The station has posted information about her return, and video from the announcement, here.

It's a return to the area, and a return to the very show she was on in the mid-1990's.

Stefani was the "big announcement at 8 AM" - which, in true TV style, was made in the last 10 minutes of the hour on Wednesday morning (gotta keep those viewers watching!). She told viewers she hadn't even sold her house in Cleveland - where her family has moved in again - while doing "iVillage Live" for NBC's owned-and-operated stations.

Schaefer will be on the air for only two hours of "FOX 8 News In The Morning", in the 7-9 AM segment...the one where WJW's popular local program competes with the three big network morning shows on NBC, ABC and CBS. (OK, maybe two and a half.)

And our "mea culpa".

Our item posted Tuesday night on her return to FOX 8 had a number of errors, which were corrected Wednesday morning.

* No, Stefani wasn't on "Good Morning Cleveland" - as our original item on her departure from WEWS accurately reported, she was on "Live on Five". But we'd tabbed her to "GMC" in at least one other item, which we've also now corrected.

* As far as we know, her first name is NOT spelled "Stephanie", though we have seen Google references to items on her with that spelling as well.

By some of the private brickbats we received from overheated anonymous readers, our "poor reporting" was responsible for mass illness and panic across newsrooms in Northeast Ohio, or something of the sort.

Though we do extend our apologies to the NewsBlues folks, who picked up our item with the above errors just minutes before we made the proper corrections, we do have to make a point here.

This blog is not the Cleveland Plain Dealer. We're not connected to the Akron Beacon Journal, or any other professional publication.

OMW is basically a hobby, as we've said more than once, without benefit of proofreaders or a large editorial staff. We are also free, like good things in life are supposed to be.

We also strive to be as accurate as possible. Please note: "as possible".

If we mess something up, tell us, and we'll fix it at our earliest convenience.

We're not responsible for making you "look bad" by posting our items, or items based on our items, in your newsroom. If you're not happy, please contact OMW's financial office for a full refund of every penny you've paid us.

And we wonder why we even do this...

SHE'S ALSO IN: Like a comfortable blanket on a chilly day (no, not a wet one), WNIR/100.1 morning co-host Maggie Fuller has indeed returned to the show she left in June, the station's morning drive show with Stan Piatt, Steve French and Jim Midock.

And though we don't check in with the WNIR morning crew a lot, we did catch a little of her return on Monday - and it's like she never left. That appeared to be a "good thing" for regular listeners and callers, who were welcoming her back.

Piatt himself welcomed back his once-and-again co-host on his website:

WNIR Morning Show gang reunited

September 10, 2007

Pick your song:

Reunited - Peaches and Herb
Welcome Back - John Sebastian
Return to Sender - Elvis Presley

After 8 weeks away and multiple "replacement" trials, Maggie Fuller has returned to the WNIR Morning Show.

Maggie, it's great to have you right back where you belong!

OMW hears that at least one of the women who took part in those tryout shows, former Cleveland radio personality Sally Ride (WDOK/Metro Traffic/etc.), is still out there looking for on-air work...

AND IT'S FIXED: OMW reported a while back on a tip from Akron Beacon Journal sportswriter George M. Thomas, a long-time reader of This Space who told us that the new AT&T U-verse system did indeed carry the first week of the Big Ten Network - but not the Ohio State-Youngstown State opening contest.

AT&T's new cable TV competitor had apparently not made arrangements to carry BTN's "overflow" channel. While attempting to record OSU-YSU back home while he covered the game from Ohio Stadium, Mr. Thomas returned home to a DVR with the Michigan-Appalachian State upset instead of Buckeyes-Penguins.

The item George started here ended up finished in his own "Airing It Out" column, which has continued since he started as the Buckeyes beat reporter for the Beacon.

Mr. Thomas confirms something we heard in comments here: The "glitch" was fixed for AT&T U-verse subscribers (George is on a 30 day trial) last weekend, with the OSU-Akron Zips game and other non-primary BTN contests carried on "overflow" channels.

(And another "glitch" has been fixed by the folks at the ABJ's - the link to find George's writing now works! Until recently, it's been bringing up an empty page.)

AND WHILE WE'RE ON THE BTN: The new cable/satellite network's pitch to Big Ten fans hasn't diminished.

We continue to see the custom TV spot for Ohio, with Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel being a "company man", urging viewers to call the BTN toll-free number - where, if it's like the NFL Network, they likely get pitches to sign up for DirecTV and Dish Network. The latter satellite provider also just signed a pact with the Big Ten Network folks.

But, of course, Time Warner Cable hasn't - and that by far covers the largest chunk of Ohio cable subscribers.

Don't expect much change.

For one, the next Ohio State Game, the Big Ten opener with Northwestern on Saturday, will be on ESPN. Even if there are a lot of OSU fans clamoring to see that opener, it'll be on the nation's most widely available sports network - which has been carried on Time Warner Cable and its predecessors since nearly its inception.

Though it would seem possible that one or maybe two Ohio State games may end up being snatched by BTN - if the other networks pass them up - most of them will air on ABC or ESPN.

This, again, reminds of us of the NFL Network urging fans to call a toll-free number to "get" the network...when there weren't any games on the network's schedule at the time of the commercial's airing...

AND ONE FINAL NOTE: This is one that flew up the AllAccess Net News scroll the other day - so fast, that we missed it.

The popular trade website reported that Clear Channel rock WRQK/106.9 Canton, now officially in the company's hands, was one of the latest stations the company applied to put in the "Aloha Station Trust."

That's the resting place for stations Clear Channel is moving off its books, to pave the way for the eventual sale of the company (we THINK that's still in the works) to private equity funds.

"Rock 106.9", known for most of its life as "Rock 107", joins all of the Oak Tree-based Clear Channel Cleveland FMs in the list of stations "flipped" to the secretive trust.

The prevailing opinion in this corner, and among most folks we trust, opinion-wise, is that the move doesn't necessarily mean the stations are tabbed for exit from either Oak Tree or Freedom Avenue, the Jackson Township building now housing WRQK.

We'd still guess that this was a wide shot meant to reduce the overall bulk of Clear Channel, to speed along the deal for federal regulators. Then, we'd assume that the new CC ownership would "keep" as many stations as they could fit, ownership-limit-wise...give or take a new set of "eyes" deciding to cast aside assorted stations for other reasons.

From this vantage point, speculation that stations like WGAR, WMJI, WMMS, WMVX or WRQK are headed out of Clear Channel's domain at ANY point is premature. We'd take the bet that they don't even move one Prophet computer out of their current homes...

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: Schaefer Returns To Cleveland TV

It's an item we hinted about way back in mid-August (see last item), and it's about to come true. VERY soon.

OMW hears from reliable sources that former WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" anchor Stefani Schaefer is returning to Cleveland.

This time, though, she's landing a few blocks to the northeast of the local ABC affiliate - on South Marginal Road, as she'll be joining the WJW/8 "FOX 8 in the Morning" team. Or rather, "rejoining", as she was on the program before heading to 3001 Euclid in the late 1990's.

FOX 8 has teased her return with a "big announcement" scheduled for Wednesday morning at 8 AM on the show.

We had heard earlier that it was a battle between WJW and NBC affiliate WKYC/3 for Schaefer's services.

Schaefer left WEWS in 2006, after some seven years on the set, to join the startup for NBC-TV produced magazine show "iVillage Live".

The show was produced for NBC's owned-and-operated local stations, and since WKYC hasn't been owned by the network in many years, it never aired in Cleveland.

A recent shakeup in that show's production may have prompted Schaefer, known by her family nickname of "Sissy" on the show, to return to Northeast Ohio...

Monday, September 10, 2007

BREAKING NEWS: "Mix" Cincinnati Flips To "Radio 94.1"

Clear Channel hot AC WVMX/94.1 "Mix 94.1" Cincinnati has flipped to a new format and presentation.'s Lance Venta has the scoop on the noon change:

Just as we pondered on August 29, WVMX Cincinnati has dropped the “Mix” moniker in favor of “Radio 94.1” at noon today.

A quick glance of the playlist shows a shift towards Modern AC.

And sure enough, the WVMX website now redirects to "", with a message for surprised listeners:


Mix 94.1 is no longer on the air in Cincinnati.

We regret any inconvenience this may cause to you.

Whoopi Goldberg's morning show, "Wake Up With Whoopi", can be heard weekday mornings by clicking (here) (

You can hear "Mix" radio on our sister stations 107.7 to the north and 94.5 to the south.

In Cincinnati, we invite you to try a new station: Radio 94.1, by clicking here.

Indicative of perhaps nothing, the new "Radio 94.1" website is titled in online style: "Hi, :)", with an emoticon smile face.

Mr. Venta serves up the the new format's first hour playlist here...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

WNIR's New Morning Co-Host: Familiar

OMW hears that the replacement for former Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 "The Talk of Akron" morning co-host Maggie Fuller will start Monday.

Taking the microphone alongside Stan Piatt, Steve French and Jim Midock Monday morning will be...

Maggie Fuller.

We don't have much information why Ms. Fuller has decided to return to her spot on the Akron market talk station's morning show, but she will, starting Monday morning.

We don't know, but we do believe that the station had not anticipated her return, and was slowly auditioning people to actually take the slot...

Friday, September 07, 2007

Closing Out The Week

Assorted stuff we haven't gotten around to, and the like... and a teaser or two...

THAT TEASER: OMW hears that a long-time Northeast Ohio media personality returns to the local broadcast community on Monday.

Is this the same person we hinted about in an item a while ago? Or, is it something entirely new and surprising? It certainly was for us, when we heard it.

Or maybe it's not "entirely" new?

Keep watching for details. We may update this one before Monday...

SAVING RANTS?: OMW hears that FSN Ohio's 2007 version of "Cleveland Rants" is getting swamped in the ratings by SportsTime Ohio's "All Bets Are Off With Bruce Drennan", and that a recent move to air the show at 9:30 each night - instead of as a floater after games end - may have been to try to salvage the show's fortunes.

The problem would not appear to be anything related to this season's pairing of Les Levine and Kendall "The BSK" Lewis as the show's hosts. Last year, of course, Levine and then-WKNR/850 host Neil Bender teamed up for a radio/TV simulcast, in the waning days of Salem's ownership of the local sports talk radio station.

With new ownership in Good Karma Broadcasting, the simulcast did not continue. WKNR went its own way with the "10th Inning Show", hosted this year by station veteran Greg Brinda. (And if that beer company wants us to use its name on the show, they should talk to us about paying us for it.)

And it wouldn't, from what we've heard, necessarily be attributed to excessive popularity of former Morgantown WV resident Bruce Drennan, who hasn't - as far as we know - broken into show tunes on his STO program.

Though Drennan certainly has his audience, the key factor here isn't him - but the lead-in.

On STO, that would be actual Cleveland Indians' game broadcasts, where FSN Ohio has to settle for the network's mediocre national prime-time lineup to deliver audience to Mr. Levine and Mr. Lewis.

Here at the Mighty Blog(tm), we wouldn't be surprised to see "Cleveland Rants" end sometime this year, we'd guess at the end of the Indians' playoff run. Assuming they do keep heading in that direction, of course.

But we'd expect FSN Ohio to hang onto Les Levine, in particular, who already does other work ("Browns Table") for them. And we wouldn't be surprised to see "The BSK" in some other role at FSN Ohio, though that's just a guess...

WILLIE TROUBLE: On the way to his new national show, which starts next month, Clear Channel talk WLW/700 Cincinnati early afternoon host Bill Cunningham had to stop at the Cincinnati Reds' clubhouse.

"Willie" delivered an apology to Reds player Adam Dunn, for questioning his on-field sobriety on a recent show. It was a comment prompted by Cunningham's appraisal of Dunn's play in a game the night before. Hat tip to the Cincinnati Enquirer's John Fay for the Willie quote:

"Adam Dunn looks like a monkey with a football in left field. He has to have consequences for what he does. That is again a loafing ballplayer who ... would have blew a .15 if someone gave (him) the intoxilizer last night. I say .15. The son of a gun is drunk. And he's playing baseball in left field for the Redlegs."

Fay reports that Dunn shrugged when asked if he accepted "Willie's" apology.

It doesn't appear like this one will turn out like T.J. Houshmanzadeh situation for the popular WLW host. T.J., of course, was upset with then-"Sportstalk" host Andy Furman's comments, and Furman was eventually let go by "The Big One".

After some contract/non-compete negotiations, Furman ended up in afternoon drive on Cumulus talk WFTK/96.5 "SuperTalk FM", where his program airs today.

Not only does Cunningham have a lot more clout than Furman did at the station, but the "shrug" by Dunn probably pretty much ends that.

And WLW hosts are used to apologizing for everything except what time the sun comes up, due to the controversial nature of the station, and the general leeway hosts are given to make their remarks.

Mr. Cunningham takes the reins of "Live On Sunday Night with Bill Cunningham", the show replacing Premiere Radio's Matt Drudge, on October 7th at 9 PM (in Cincinnati)/10 PM (nationally)...

BRING ME THE FLOATING HEAD OF TERRY PLUTO: About the only thing that the Cleveland Plain Dealer hasn't done is put a giant likeness of his head on a billboard near an Akron freeway, just a mile or two from the headquarters of the sports columnist's former home, the Akron Beacon Journal.

No, wait, they have.

Writes "Crain's Cleveland Business" writer John Booth in his blog:

"Big billboard, big Terry head, big circulation department phone number visible on I-77 northbound just past the downtown Akron exits"

And thanks, John, for the nice tip of your own blogging hat to this report.

It kind of reminds us, a little, of the billboard sparring cable's FOX News Channel does in Atlanta, where it takes pot-shots at Atlanta-based Cable News Network via billboards visible from CNN Center - well, without the "over-the-top" comments FNC's billboards usually carry.

And it's not yet evidence that the PD is trying to tweak Pluto's former co-workers and bosses directly.

No, to do that, they'd be sneaky, and buy ad time on the ABJ's own digital ad billboard atop its headquarters building...

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A Big Ten Network Interception

As of this writing, the Big Ten Network is still the Big Zero Network for customers of Ohio's largest cable TV multi-system operator, Time Warner Cable.

And it doesn't likely to change anytime soon, with full knowledge by fans that the most important Ohio State Buckeyes football games (i.e. OSU-Michigan) will be telecast in their full glory on good old ABC or ESPN.

Alternatives include DirecTV, which is the primary partner with the BTN folks - FOX owns a share of both the new network and of DirecTV itself - and the new AT&T-driven IP-cable service U-verse, which is available in parts of Northeast Ohio.

Some smaller cable outlets, including Wadsworth's city cable system and Toledo-based Buckeye Cablesystem, have signed up - but you don't have a traditional cable TV choice in Northern Ohio unless you, well, move to an area served by a different system.

The untold story is that BTN offers several channels on game day.

If, for example, the Appalachian State upset (heh!) of Michigan was the primary game, you could tune to another channel to watch the Buckeyes and Coach Jim Tressel beat his former team, the Youngstown State University Penguins.

Or you could tune to another channel to watch another Big Ten Network game.

Well, at least you could on DirecTV.

No less an authority than Akron Beacon Journal sportswriter George M. Thomas, an OMW reader now covering the Buckeyes for his newspaper, checks in to tell us that AT&T's fancy new U-verse system did not offer OSU-YSU at all:

What they do not tell you is that they don’t carry overflow games. What’s this mean? Last week’s Appalachian State-Michigan game was the primary game. THAT is what U-verse customers got. Not OSU-YSU.

They claim to not have room for overflow channels and to be working on the problem. End result? Any OSU football games broadcast there will be hit and miss.

Can you say "oops"?

U-verse is new, and is still working out many of the kinks, we'd imagine. We'd be surprised if this "one BTN channel only" deal lasts very long, considering the long-term nature of the Time Warner Cable/BTN dispute.

The Columbus Dispatch's Michael Arace jumps in with his own commentary in a column from Tuesday's Dispatch. And while Buckeye Nation may not be clamoring for Ohio State-Akron on TV this Sunday, the growing OSU basketball fan base may not be happy to be reminded of this:

BTN is gearing up to air 64 Big Ten regular-season men's basketball games.

It's one thing to miss a Northwestern-Northeastern football game. It's something else to miss 10 Illinois basketball games, eight Michigan State basketball games, seven Ohio State basketball games and six Indiana basketball games. The BTN also has rights to three conference tournament games.

Ah, the hometown interest, and leveraging fans of the second most popular Big Ten sport around these parts, basketball. (Remember, the basketball Buckeyes also played for a national title last season - and also lost to Florida. And we were trying to forget that one...) And in places like Indiana, they'll tear down the baskets if they can't watch a large enough number of Hoosiers games.

We remember the old days.

Oh, say, 2006...when all of the games that were aired on TV were on either over-air TV, or on widely available cable networks that are carried on just about every system in America - for no extra charge beyond the expanded basic tier fee.

But, there's more money to be made this way...for the conference, that is...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

No, We Don't Know About WMMS

UPDATE 9/5/07 3:37 PM: It would appear from what we've heard and seen, WMMS has excised nearly all mentions of those legendary call letters.

And that means from both the airwaves and from the station's website, which carries this new "100.7"-only logo.

Does this mean anything, or is ' to get a little attention in a stunting fashion? We'll see.

The station also appears to be having some fun with its website playlist.

Original item below...


No, we don't have any information on rumblings of changes at Clear Channel rocker WMMS/100.7 in Cleveland, as hinted in today's AllAccess Net News scroll.

The item points to some imaging adjustments, and seems to indicate a "gold"-leaning playlist today.

Here at the OMW World Headquarters, we haven't heard of any major adjustments to the once-iconic rock outlet.

But local programmers certainly remember the last time someone tried to "adjust" the station known universally as "The Buzzard"...

Followup Stuff

Mostly followup to stuff posted below this item, with some new items as well...

"RIK AND SARAH" NOW CORE OF WHBC-FM MORNINGS: For at least some time, WHBC-FM/94.1's Madison Woods actually hosted morning drive solo at "Mix 94.1", NextMedia's Canton AC outlet.

When Rik Elliot showed up, the two teamed up. And now, "Maddie" is out of mornings.

A memo from the station flew out of Market Street South and somehow made the trip up I-77 to us. It says "Mix" is "building" the morning show around Rik and Sarah.

It shows us how long we haven't been paying much attention to that building - we didn't even know there was a Sarah!

That would be one Ms. Sarah Kay, who is listed on her WHBC-FM web bio as "Morning Show Producer/Weekends". We assume that description will change sometime soon.

Ms. Woods hasn't flown the "Mix" coop entirely, according to the station memo, which says she'll continue as an "on-air contributor" to 94.1, and that they're looking forward to "creating new on-air opportunities" for her.

We'll assume that doesn't mean she'll swap and take Sarah's weekend shifts...

"Mix 94.1" has also hired a new promotions/marketing manager, Gina Bannevich. The station says she joins NextMedia Canton from a stint at the county Convention and Visitors Bureau...

"WILLIE" NATIONWIDE: OK, for a moment, let's do an impression of the man WLW/700 Cincinnati early afternoon host Bill Cunningham will replace on Premiere Radio's syndicated Sunday night show in October...


Heh. That felt good! We didn't get any credit anywhere for an item we've had up since, well, late Friday, but we're not that it basically fell into our laps just a couple of hours after other sites had shut down updating for the weekend.

Anyway, Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio guru John Kiesewetter does what we have not done yet - Kiese got some choice quotes from the WLW star himself, who presumably won't be wearing a fedora when he takes Matt Drudge's time slot:

“This is a confirmation of 24 years of work,” says Cunningham, 59, an attorney who has hosted talk since 1983 on WLW-AM. “I feel it’s a compliment to this market. Premiere could have chosen any talk show host not heard nationally, and they chose me.”

We're not sure Mr. Cunningham wears "humble" well as far as his on-air persona goes, but we're sure he's sincere about that statement.

Kiese notes that Cunningham's live show will run on WLW from 9 PM-midnight, and Premiere will feed it live 10 PM-midnight, then refeed the first hour that will air live only on Cunningham's flagship station from midnight to 1 AM.

Anyway, either way, the "Willie" repeats go away on "The Big One".

And as we speculated, the new show doesn't affect his current local early afternoon program (12:25-3 PM weekdays), which will continue to air only on WLW.

Tossing THAT away would be a suicidal programming move that isn't in Daryl Parks' playbook, as far as we know.

A connection here is one Sean Compton, who Kiese notes is not only a Clear Channel programming vice president - he knows Cunningham well from his days at WLW. And Mr. Compton is, apparently, the son of former overnight trucking show icon Dale "The Truckin' Bozo" Sommers...

AND MORE WLW-RELATED SYNDICATION NEWS: WLW's Mike McConnell, whose weekday show IS now syndicated, gets some new competition soon in his original national time slot.

AllAccess reports that Clear Channel talk KOGO/600 San Diego afternoon driver Roger Hedgecock is launching a new noon-3 PM (Eastern) Saturday syndicated show, with an eye on eventually syndicating his afternoon drive (PT) local show on KOGO.

That Saturday noon-3 PM slot is the live slot for McConnell's original national show, "The Weekend", a show which one existed as a vehicle for Clear Channel to air various local hosts from around the company. McConnell took over "Weekend" by himself, and it was then offered in syndication to non-Clear Channel stations.

It airs on many stations live, but others, like local Clear Channel talkers WHLO/640 Akron, WKBN/570 Youngstown and WTAM/1100 Cleveland, either bounce it around the schedule due to sports. As far as we know, WTAM doesn't air "Weekend" at all these days.

Hedgecock, the former San Diego mayor who blossomed into a local talk radio star, is no stranger to the national airwaves. He's the most regular substitute for Rush Limbaugh, for one. (For that matter, the aforementioned Mr. Cunningham has also done Rush subbing.)

His show is being offered by the folks at Syndicated Solutions, as we assume Premiere didn't want to launch a second show in the McConnell "Weekend" slot...

OH, THAT BILL APPLEGATE: Though he was apparently puzzled by the interest, WOIO/19-WUAB/43 general manager Bill Applegate got the full profile treatment over the Labor Day holiday weekend in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

There's far too much in the main article, or even its sidebars, for us to cover here. The Bill Lubinger piece does note that Applegate's on-air editorials on "19 Action News" are actually a corporate mandate by owner Raycom Media, which wants its local managers to have on-air presence.

Another interesting quote:

He shook a quiet station awake in a demanding, volatile management style that doesn't always play well. A longtime employee who would only speak anonymously for fear of reprisals said morale is awful because of Applegate's bullying, the stress of adding newscasts while cutting staff, and the station's controversial approach.

"He's everything that's wrong with television news," the employee said. "He has single-handedly helped lower the bar in this market as far as quality, integrity."

Hey, how did Bill Lubinger get into our E-Mail inbox? Heh.

On the other side is this glowing quote from new "Action News" investigative reporter Carl Monday, just in from a library in 13th and Lakeside:

"I think 19 shook up the market," said Carl Monday, who recently left WKYC Channel 3 for WOIO. "All you have to do is sneak a camera into their newsrooms at 4 o'clock. They're all watching Channel 19 to see what they missed that day."

The folks at Raycom are apparently happy that 19/43 are making more money, though a number of its newscasts are still, umm, ratings challenged.

We'll help in that definition: Ratings challenged means "19 Action News" broadcasts that don't have the CBS prime-time lineup as a lead in...