Monday, December 17, 2007

Wrapping Up Some Loose Ends

...and waiting for others.

First, a reminder: OMW will be sporadically updated between now and January 2nd, 2008. We will continue to provide "major" breaking news - i.e. format changes, sales, and major personality moves - throughout the holidays, into 2008.

And by our count, we've got at least a couple or three of those waiting to happen...

NOT YET, BUT...: We haven't heard an official announcement, even within the building, of a potential new hire by a Cleveland TV station. We hinted at it earlier.

We're still waiting for the shoe to drop, and we'll let you know as soon as we are able to do so. We're pretty confident that it'll happen...

HOW CINCINNATI SHOOK OUT: Just to "get it on the record here", Cincinnati market FM talk outlet WFTK/96.5 "SuperTalk FM"'s new format is indeed rock, as the station now carries the "96 Rock - Cincinnati's Pure Rock" moniker.

And by the logo on the station's still-under-construction new website, which carries the slogan "Angry in the morning, pissed all day", it would appear that former sports talk act "The Two Angry Guys" (Richard Skinner and Tom Gamble) will return to their former morning perch on 96.5 at the start of 2008.

And unless "pissed" refers to the mood of "SuperTalk" afternoon drive host Andy Furman when he heard about the format change, he's likely out the door.

Even from the outside, where we've been following the changes in that market, you almost need to buy a faster computer to keep track of all the changes in Cincinnati in the past year or two.

Remember, Furman was the long-time evening "SportsTalk" host on the market's dominant station, WLW/700, before he ran into the Bengals' T.J. Houshmanzadeh and lost. (So have the Bengals, but that's another matter.)

The "Angry Guys" got split up at sports talk WCKY, now "1530 Homer", and eventually reunited on the FM dial, where Furman had landed as well.

Now, instead of being followed by sports talk or political talk, Skinner and Gamble will be anchoring morning drive at a rock station that will presumably have a rock-and-roll "attitude" the size of a Mack truck.

Furman? There wouldn't appear to be any in-market options for him, unless someone changes to a sports or talk format and takes him on. Clear Channel once again has a market-wide monopoly on both talk and sports, between WLW, WKRC/550, WCKY, WSAI (now sports "ESPN 1360").

And though we wouldn't QUITE bet the OMW World Headquarters against it, it seems very, very, very unlikely that he'd be welcomed back to CC's Kenwood complex any time soon...or even after that.

OMW is reminded that there were brief rumors that Furman was talking with the folks at North American Broadcasting Columbus FM talk outlet WTDA/103.9 "Talk FM", before he landed with Cumulus and WFTK. We haven't heard any similar rumors now, but it's just a data point from the past...

AND WHILE WE'RE IN COLUMBUS: One thing most of our readers have learned since OMW started in August 2005...don't depend on us for perfect descriptions of music format stations and their playlists.

So, we'd like to delineate the formats used by two Clear Channel stations with similar on-air positioning: WMRN-FM-to-be-changed/106.7, the new Columbus market "Radio 106.7", and WNFF/94.1 in the Cincinnati market, the former WVMX "Mix 94.1" now going as "Radio 94.1".

We first dip back into the OMW archives for a format description of the Cincinnati "Radio" version:

The new "Radio 94.1," according to a Clear Channel source, will be a "guitar and pop" variety station targeting females ages 25-39. It is a new type of Adult Contemporary radio station that is being positioned as "Starbucks" style music. The DJs, to be named in the future, will be more laid-back and mellow, concentrating more on the song selection with less-intrusive bantering, according to the source.

Radio 94.1's core artists will include: Dave Matthews Band, Nora Jones, Jack Johnson, Rob Thomas, John Mayer, Tori Amos, Matchbox Twenty, Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Goo Goo Dolls, Bare Naked Ladies, and Sheryl Crow.

That description, as we mentioned before, is from an article by contributor Robert Riggsbee in Cincinnati's "Business Courier".

Now, let's hear about "Radio 106.7" in Columbus.

This description comes from Clear Channel Columbus programming chief John Crenshaw, in his release announcing the new station:

“It was time for Columbus modern rock fans to have their own station. Radio 106.7 will play new and established rock artists, in the longest music sweeps available in Columbus radio today, and we will even include music by some of Columbus’s best-known or soon-to-be-discovered local bands.”

The release goes on to talk about a playlist that "will include groups like U2, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Killers, Nirvana, Nickelback and the Dave Matthews Band in a sort of 'pop-rock-alternative' combination."

Unlike its Cincinnati sister, "Radio 106.7" is going after a 25-44, presumably male, demo. The stations do share Dave Matthews Band in their playlist samples, which would presumably indicate DMB's mass appeal.

But the two stations also share the same on-air philosophy - with both promising less intrusive on-air personalities, and a focus on "the music".

This isn't the first Clear Channel "format concept" to be tweaked from city to city. Even the venerable "Kiss FM" branding applies to varied playlists in different areas, with some leaning as heavy rhythmic outlets, and others much more CHR/Pop.

(Again, don't come to us for exact dissection of music formats.)

The theory, or so it goes, is that the laid-back, less interruption format interpretation, with some attention being paid to the music, will bring back folks who may have left music radio for the mighty iPod...


Andy said...

What happened to the Televison themes format this station had goin' on there for a minute? I guess it's a good way to get people to listen, and I enjoyed it if I only had to be in the car for a couple minutes ^^

blah said...

"Starbucks-style" music format, eh? Yet another indication that radio has abdicated its once powerful position as a driver of musical tastes.

dave said...

If we're going to survive, we need to be LESS like an iPod, not emulate it.

Everytime .. anything .. has attempted to "be more like" something, it has generally failed.

We need to be more like radio.

ohiobiz said...

Slight correction - 94.1 in Cincy is WNNF not WNFF.

yekimi said...

Let's see,they've blown up stations in Columbus & Cincy....could a station in Cleveland be next?

andrew727 said...

Local weather person changing stations? There are a few secondary weather forecasters who deserve to be a primary forecaster. And if it's not a primary weather position, does that mean Don Webster is moving back from Florida? Or could it be Andre's wife? As they say on tv, stay tuned!
-Andrew, MALL727net-

superjock said...

Don Webster is not returning and FYI he's not living in Florida.
Mark Koontz is not coming in from Youngstown for a variety of reasons
Andre's wife Sally will not be switching stations she currently home schools their son Noah.
It'll be Bruce K fresh from his last gig at 19 news.

andrew727 said...

Hi SuperJock!

Thank-You for setting me straight - Bruce K would be one of my choices as well! Have our paths bumped into the other in Cleveland broadcast journalism in the past? And by-the-way, do you know what Mike Spatura and Scott Cunningham are up to these days?

superjock said...

Hi Andrew I'm sorry to say have no info on Mike & Scott.
As for Webster he's been retired and with the exception of local commercials I believe for basement system which happened to be on WKYC'S Good Company and he giving the web site for more info he will not come out of retirement and move back to Cleveland.
Bruce would be a fine edition to WKYC.
Some people have even mentioned Sussman or Heather Webber I for one can't see that happening at least where Heather is concerned.
Brad hmmm unless he's still not under contract to Fox could be him going to 3 but my gut tells me it's Bruce.
2008 should be I hope an exciting time in radio/tv with ownership changes,formats etc..
Happy Holiday to one and all and OMW we look forward to your fair reporting.

WERC alum said...

happy holidays to all, and to all a good night.