Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

As noted in a previous item, OMW will basically "go dark" for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, though we will post any major news involving the local media if we're able to do so.

But here we are, slipping one under the door at deadline...

FINAL HO-HO-HO UPDATE, AND A FORMAT ADJUSTMENT: It's Salem CCM WFHM/95.5 "The Fish" in Cleveland as the latest holiday convert, with a planned switch to Christmas least according to their website, at any midnight tonight/Thanksgiving morning.

(And a further update as we create this item: the WFHM Christmas music switch happened with the first song past midnight, at 12:02 AM Thanksgiving Day...Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime".)

Any further updates won't be provided. For one, we're "goin' fishin'" after this, and for another, what's newsworthy about a station flipping to holiday music on Thanksgiving or after? Hmm?

Thanks to Rubber City Radio operations manager and oldies WAKR/1590 Akron program director Chuck Collins for checking in with OMW on his own station's holiday flip. He tells us:

We switched Monday at 9am and the calls have run three-to-one in favor. Of course the ones who hate it say they love the station (Oldies) and will be back after the holidays.

Speaking of liners, just wait 'til you hear the oldies T: "We have more Beatles than a Florida double-wide! 1590 WAKR...News! Sports! Oldies!"

Heh. We bring this comment "up front" for one reason...we're officially taking the "standards" off of our regular format description for WAKR.

Music on the Akron station has been migrating into the oldies (er...classic hits?) category slowly for the last few months, and it's been a while since we've heard any titles that wouldn't be comfortably found on a traditional 50's/60's AM oldies outlet.

Which really, is how it should be.

FM oldies stations, like Cleveland giant WMJI/105.7 "Majic 105.7", have nudged their own playlists into the 1970's and even the 1980's, as they struggle to keep a hold on listeners that are still, umm, demographically desirable.

But there are still plenty of older in-demo (i.e. 25-54, or up to 64 on the AM side of things) listeners who enjoy the older rock-era/pop titles.

Of course, like John Lanigan, Jimmy Malone and company on WMJI are the rock of "Majic", and WMJI could well change formats to anything short of polka music if Lanigan decides to retire anytime soon, WAKR's driving force is its "News Authority" image and extensive local news and information coverage.

In our view, lowering what we'd have to presume would be very aged demographics to keep the still mature - but more saleable - news listener between newscasts is a smart move for the folks at 1590.

We've found ourselves actually listening to WAKR more, since it's moved into oldies music...

DAILY TALK: Time Warner Cable's "Northeast Ohio Network" has quietly added a companion sports talk show to Les Levine's long-running effort.

"The Daily Dose" is hosted by Patrick Pierson, and airs weeknights at 7 PM - immediately following "More Sports and Les Levine".

Pierson has a very short commute to get to the set of his own new show, as he's the producer of Les' show - and we assume the "Daily Dose" set is next to Levine's own set at Time Warner Cable's Cleveland studios on Lakeside Avenue.

Like that program, "The Daily Dose" usually features a knowledgeable local sports media figure. The times we've tuned in, we've seen some WKNR staffers dropping in.

But Pierson is, of course, somewhat younger than his TV sports talk mentor. So, we're resisting the temptation to call Patrick's show "More Sports: The Next Generation"...

AND A LEGEND PASSES: We got a note recently wondering why we haven't mentioned the passing of legendary Cincinnati sports broadcaster Joe Nuxhall.

He certainly deserves the note.

We don't really know much about the long-time Cincinnati Reds radio voice, who started in that role in 1967 (!!!) and has been heard even in recent years on the team's radio network, based at 50,000 watt flamethrower Clear Channel talk WLW/700.

He's certainly an iconic name in broadcasting in the Cincinnati area, and hugely popular.

But we're up here in Northeast Ohio, so our experience and exposure to Nuxhall and his broadcasting career have been limited.

We'll turn the electronic stage over to others.

First, there's Cincinnati Enquirer radio/TV guru John Kiesewetter's own farewell to Nuxhall on his blog. It's a little more personal than a newspaper story.

Kiese quotes Reds broadcast partner Marty Brennaman, who should certainly know, from earlier this year:

"With all due respect to Pete Rose, there is no bigger figure in City of Cincinnati than Joe Nuxhall. In all the years we've been together, going back to '74, I have never heard one person ever ever utter a negative comment about him. That's almost unbelievable! You can’t expect that of anybody!"

And we'd like to share another personal story, from a freelance TV technical producer who first wrote us about a past experience with Nuxhall:

"It's 1982, and I am a senior at the (University of Akron) working at the college radio station (now WZIP) doing afternoon sports. I had a chance to go down to Florida for spring break, and since we always did a preseason baseball special, I applied for credentials from the myriad of teams that trained in the Tampa/St. Pete area to get some original content.

To make a long story short, for the most part I was blown off by just about everybody... with one notable exception - the Ol' Lefthander took pity on the poor college kid, and sat down in the visitor's dugout with him at old Al Lang Field and chatted about the Reds and the state of the National League for a good ten minutes. That was Joe's way.

If you read the papers and the blogs, you can't find anyone who didn't have an experience comparable to mine.

Twenty-five years in television production later, I have met and worked with a lot of so-called professional talent, and very few have lived up to Joe's standard."

RIP, Mr. Nuxhall. We weren't from the "Tri-State" and heard you maybe for 10 minutes via WLW's giant signal, but it sounds like you were a giant yourself...

AND ONE MORE DEATH-RELATED NOTE: OMW recently passed along the passing of former Cleveland talk radio host John Dayl, who ended up living and working in Arizona.

We noted that a reader called Dayl "a Gary Dee wannabe" and didn't have much nice to say about Dayl in his time here.

Well, another local broadcast pro has better memories:

"He also worked at WERE in the 80's, and was truly a nice guy and a true professional. One day, he decided to make chili for us at the station. To this day, and apologies to my wife because she makes GREAT chili, it was the best chili I've ever tasted."

The note comes to us directly from long-time WKNR talk host Greg Brinda...which proves one thing.

People say a lot about other people in the business, and many of it is based on their own personal experience or take on what happened while they were around that person.

Someone's "untalented jerk" may be someone else's "great guy who was nice and made the best chili".

Have a great Thanksgiving Day weekend, everyone. We'll see you back here next week...


Juli said...

Apparently, Mix 98.9 in Youngstown is another station that's now playing non-stop Christmas music. It was a surprise to me since I never heard any mention about the switchover on the air.

Juli said...

Ignore the above; they're not playing all-Christmas this morning so maybe they're only doing it during the overnight hours.

Neil said...

Joe Nuxhall holds the record for being the youngest person ever to play Major League Baseball. During World War II he briefly pitched for the Reds at age 15.