We don't spend a lot of time listening to either of Radio One's AM stations in Cleveland, so when we first heard just what changes were made this week, we were surprised.
But starting Monday, the company has moved Syndication One host Al Sharpton's national show talk in the Cleveland market from urban talk WJMO/1490"The People's Station" to its original frequency home in Cleveland, gospel WJMO/1300 "Praise 1300". Syndication One is an arm of Radio One.
Sharpton's program airs in its live 1-4 PM time slot on WJMO, displacing the first two hours of local afternoon drive host Ronny Knight's show...which still airs starting at 4 PM.
Over on the 1490 side, we hear that at least part of that time slot is covered by the syndicated conservative religious-themed "Point of View" talk show. That's the show most known for its creator and former host, the late Marlin Maddoux. Kerby Anderson hosts the show these days.
From Al Sharpton to the show formerly hosted by Marlin Maddoux. Talk about a change in, well, the talk radio "point of view"!
The show is distributed by the USA Radio Network. We don't know if it's a free clearance, or if the "Point of View" organization pays for airtime. The show also airs on a number of stations in Ohio, including Canton talk/religious WCER/900. USA Radio Network programming has shown up often on WERE, in place of unsold time.
And we question, as well, the placement of an issues talk show in the middle of the daytime schedule of gospel mainstay "Praise 1300".
We'll assume that Radio One/Syndication One wanted to put Sharpton back on the company's best AM signal in Cleveland, where his show launched originally when the WERE news/talk format was on 1300.
And we wonder if the company is decoupling from its earlier vision to build a full-fledged national urban talk format - given that Al Sharpton is now the only remaining host in the Syndication One talk format launch lineup.
By the way, an aside here: Former Syndication One afternoon drive sports talk hosts "The Two Live Stews" have landed, doing 1-4 PM (Eastern) weekdays on Sporting News Radio.
That time slot on SNR's Northeast Ohio affiliate, WARF/1350 Akron, is filled locally by a delayed broadcast of The Content Factory's Dan Patrick Show. But when they were on either Radio One AM outlet in Cleveland, the WQXI/790 Atlanta-based "Stews" never had any opportunity to build a fan base south of the Ohio Turnpike due to signal issues...