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...