Our apologies if OMW is looking like Columbus And Youngstown Media Watch lately, but that's the bulk of what's been going on in Ohio the past two to three days.
Just as a teaser, though...early next week, we'll have a little more from a long-time Cleveland radio personality now "on the beach" - and no, we don't mean literally "on the beach" these days...
WIPING OUT A TRANSLATOR: Everyone knew that the move of Clear Channel country WMRN-FM/106.9 to the Columbus market, and the station's frequency move to 106.7/Dublin, would push a translator on that frequency off the air.
The translator has been owned by Sandyworld, Inc., one of the two organizations that filed repeated moves to try to stop the WMRN-FM move-in.
That effort being unsuccessful, and the station getting a construction permit for the move, the Sandyworld folks continued to try to derail the move as recently as a week before it actually happened.
Listeners in the Columbus market tell OMW that the Sandyworld translator did NOT go off the air when WMRN-FM's new signal lit up, causing some interference problems in the general area of the translator's existing location.
We don't know for sure, but we believe the translator gave up at some point, and signed off.
But the WMRN-FM move didn't just affect that facility.
OMW has heard from more than one reader that the new Clear Channel full-power 106.7 facility, currently stunting with TV theme songs, has wiped out another existing 106.7 translator - a 13 watt station that relays Columbus City School district outlet WCBE/90.5 in the Central Ohio city of Newark.
We've put in an inquiry to the WCBE folks, but haven't heard back yet.
But for those writing us: Basically, in FCC-land, FM translators are considered a "secondary service".
If a full-power station wins approval to set up a new or changed signal, the translator is basically required to move or shut off. Period.
And though WCBE is certainly providing a needed radio service to the Newark area, which would presumably be on the fringe of the 90.5 signal out of Columbus, when WMRN-FM got the construction permit for 106.7/Dublin, WCBE had no protection legally to prevent it from happening.
We're assuming that WCBE will seek a new frequency for the Newark translator, though a quick check of FCC records doesn't show it applying for such a frequency. (If they aren't looking to do so, maybe they should...in just the past two days, we've had two non-regular readers apparently plug the "WMRN" calls into Google and find us, just to read or complain about this issue.)
But again - that's a move/decision the Columbus school district will have to make, and they've better hurry. The aforementioned FCC check shows a boatload of translator applications pending in Newark, dating back to 2003, meaning they'll have a lot of competition for a new spot on the Newark dial...
AND NOW ON THE LIFEBOAT, THE GENERAL MANAGER: In what's really not a surprise to most observers, the general manager of Parkin ABC affiliate WYTV/33 Youngstown is himself heading out the door.
Dave Trabert had dutifully passed on the, umm, stuff that the station's new management had fed him about the future of the market's third-ranked outlet under a rather thinly developed company, amid reports and rumblings from sources such as the Youngstown Business Journal, and of course, this very blog.
The Business Journal reports this weekend that Trabert says "it's time to go home" - home being Wichita, Kansas, where he ran KAKE-TV until coming to WYTV four years ago. His family apparently still lives in Wichita, even to this day.
As for the "body count" of job losses at WYTV after Friday's ultimatum, the Business Journal's Andrea Wood reports that "about 40" of the ABC affiliate's 70 employee roster won't be staying on with the moved Channel 33 operation, including eight of the 28 newsroom staffers. She reports that engineering staffers took the hardest hit in the round of cuts.
As expected, anchors Vince Bevacqua and Gina Marinelli won't be making the move to the WKBN/WYFX facility. Marinelli used to work there, of course.
WKBN/WYFX will make a similar personnel move next Friday.
Then, WYTV will take the weekend of December 8th and 9th to make the move, with 33's newscasts going dark that weekend in favor of syndicated programming.
Wood reports that the moved WYTV newscasts will retain the station's current "look and feel", but will share "newsgathering resources" with the WKBN/WYFX newsroom, with some combination of the WYTV and WKBN/WYFX news staffers producing similar content for both operations. (Remember, the latter folks are also expected to see similar job cuts next Friday.)
Will they buy reporters 3-station microphone flags, or just go without?
And Wood also reports that Ms. Marinelli, exiting as anchor at WYTV, is apparently lobbying for an open anchor slot on the only Youngstown station not involved in all this, Vindicator NBC affiliate WFMJ/21. That move would mean that she'd be one of the few local TV personalities seen on every commercial outlet in the market...