Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Realignment Hits Former Adelphia Areas

The long-promised, long-awaited Time Warner Cable digital channel realignment appears to have officially spread to the former Adelphia systems based in Cleveland.

At least it happened at OMW World Headquarters in the early morning hours of this Wednesday, April 30th...and we have heard scattered reports that we're not alone.

There are still some glitches, at least in our personal experience. A couple of new channels listed aren't available, or are apparently not correctly aligned with whatever our digital tier should allow us to view - prompting the viewer to call customer service.

And Winston Broadcasting CW network affiliate WBNX/55 Akron's digital/HD channel is indeed in the channel guide (407) - but at last check earlier this morning, there was no signal at that channel location.

The channel lineup, at least at OMW World HQ, didn't come at the same time as an update of the cable box software to TWC's new "Navigator" system, but that appears normal based on what we've heard from others.

One other note: From what we've heard, the former Comcast systems in the Elyria and Mentor areas have not yet seen the realignment.

More as we sort through it all...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tip Of The OMW Hat To Ed

Rubber City Radio's Ed Esposito, who holds the futuristic-looking title of "VP/Information Media" for the Akron-based radio cluster (oldies WAKR/1590, country WQMX/94.9, and classic rock WONE/97.5), was named chairman of the Radio-Television News Directors Association (RTNDA) at the recent NAB convention.

We've seen it announced other places, but were a bit slow on this - for one - because Ed was too modest to toot his own horn.

But you can hear a honk or two thanks to the good folks at AllAccess. The radio trade site has an interview with Mr. Esposito in its News/Talk/Sports "10 Questions" segment this week.

As per usual, AllAccess requires free registration. Chances are pretty good that you're already signed up if you're a reader here...but if you haven't, it's worth a look.

AllAccess News/Talk/Sports guru Perry Michael Simon asks Ed about the various challenges facing radio news, and about the cluster's "innovative" web news presence, the extensive AkronNewsNow.

Ed also notes that a traditional 3-station AM/FM cluster emphasizing its online news site has brought it attention from what he calls "younger web-friendly prospective employees" who get the whole "convergence" thing.

It's probably a safe bet that those young folks, and other younger news consumers, aren't finding 1590 on the AM dial any time soon.

In one of our recent stops browsing ANN, we noticed that it contained even more coverage of the late May demise of the WKYC/3-produced "Akron/Canton News".

The item linked, and the AllAccess "10 Questions" session with Ed, are both worth the read, and congratulations to Ed Esposito...not just because we know he's a regular reader of OMW...

Monday, April 21, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: Details On Matt Patrick's AM Talk Show

As first reported here last week, long-time Clear Channel Akron/Canton hot AC WKDD/98.1 morning co-host Matt Patrick will pick up an afternoon talk radio gig on sister AM talker WHLO/640.

We've now uncovered the details we didn't have last week...with an early version of a press release that floated out on the wind out of a Freedom Avenue window.

"The Matt Patrick Show" premieres on Monday, April 28th on WHLO from 5-7 PM.

No, Mr. Patrick isn't giving up his WKDD morning perch next to co-host Angela Bellios. That job is "Matt's as long as he wants it," a quote we believe will be contained in an official announcement to come very soon out of Clear Channel Akron/Canton.

As we suspected, but didn't know for sure, it'll be a second job for the WKDD morning driver.

We're hearing that Matt Patrick will get a studio in his suburban Akron home to do the WHLO show, but will continue to do his WKDD show live daily from the company's Freedom Avenue studios in Jackson Township/Greater North Canton just south of the Akron/Canton Airport in northern Stark County.

With the WHLO show ending at 7 PM, it only makes a double-commute and sleep saver, if nothing else.

The station is positioning the new Matt Patrick show as allowing "conversation on local topics", and says it won't be a "comedy show or free-for-all".

And WHLO sees an opening with the upcoming end of the WKYC/3-produced "Akron/Canton News", to call the show a "new outlet for local information at (6 PM)".

But we hear the show's been in the talking-about stages since last summer.

The new Matt Patrick Show will clip one hour off of ABC Radio syndicated host Sean Hannity's program. Hannity will continue to air live 3-5 PM weekdays.

The "lost hour" of Hannity's show, the hour now airing live at 5 PM, will move to 9 PM weekdays on Monday, following Hannity friend Mark Levin - whose WHLO airing moves up to 7-9 PM.

The odd man out?

It would appear to be TRN evening host Michael Savage, who appears nowhere on the new WHLO schedule set to start next week. Savage's show airs late evenings on Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland, from 9 PM-midnight.

WHLO will also nudge Savage's TRN stablemate, Rusty Humphries, up to a 10 PM start...

TWC Ex-Adelphia Changes Early Tuesday?

UPDATE 9:15 AM 4/22/08: There's a good reason there's a question mark on this item's title.

As below, TWC did indeed move SportsTime Ohio's analog feed from 17 to 76 last night in the former Adelphia areas. There's now a screen up on 17 directing viewers to tune into 76.

As far as we can tell from our vantage point, the rest of the alignment did not happen.

We'll see if it happens tomorrow night.

Our original item is below...


If you believe this notice on the front of SportsTime Ohio's website, the long-awaited Time Warner Cable digital channel alignment will come to the company's former Adelphia (Cleveland-based) customers late tonight into Tuesday morning:

Urgent Programming Advisory

Time Warner in the former Adelphia areas throughout NE Ohio will be moving STO to channel 76 on Tuesday April 22nd between 1am and 6am.

(Thanks to an OMW reader for the tip!)

Though both channel 17 (the current STO channel) and 76 are analog placements, the move of the analog placement of STO is tied in with the overall realignment. The SD digital simulcast of STO will also move, and the HD version will move as well.

This dovetails with rumblings and rumors we've heard, that this would be the target date for the realignment to finally reach north of the Ohio Turnpike in the now-expanded TWC Northeast Ohio region. Akron/Canton area customers who were on the "legacy" TWC system got the realignment some weeks ago.

It also dovetails with the official word we heard from TWC's long-time Akron-based spokesman Bill Jasso, who told us last week that the system was aiming for the realignment to reach Cleveland-area customers by the end of the month....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

TWC Digital Realignment Update

An update to our earlier post/question about Time Warner Cable's local digital channel realignment...

TWC's Bill Jasso tells OMW that the cable operator expects to complete the digital channel moves in the Greater Cleveland area by the end of this month.

The cable operator has already put in the new digital lineup in the so-called "legacy" areas in the Akron/Canton region - the systems that the company previously operated before acquiring Adelphia and Comcast's Cleveland area subscribers.

He also notes that another change being experienced - replacement of digital cable box software with the company's new "Navigator" platform - isn't linked to the digital channel realignment process.

Jasso tells us that "Navigator" is being installed, among other reasons, because it's needed for new services like TWC's "Start Over". If we remember right, that's the company's service allowing cable subscribers to join an already started show in progress...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

THIS JUST IN: WKYC/TWC Akron/Canton News Shutting Down

WKYC and Time Warner Cable announced today that "Akron/Canton News", the WKYC-produced weekday news broadcast airing on Time Warner Cable's "NEON" local programming channel at 6:30 and 10 PM, will close up shop on May 30th.

Channel 3 senior director and Friend of OMW Frank Macek has an item on the end of "ACN" on his "Director's Cut" blog this evening, with a quote from WKYC general manager Brooke Spectorsky. The station blames poor economic conditions for the end of the newscast.

And the anchor and face of the newscast, WKYC Akron bureau chief Eric Mansfield, has his thoughts on his own blog here.

WKYC says that the station's Akron/Canton Bureau at the corner of Main and Market in downtown Akron will remain, and Mansfield will continue to report news from the region to air during the regular Cleveland-based editions of "Channel 3 News".

It's been a long road for Eric and the gang.

The newscast sprouted originally on the station which was always known for Akron/Canton television news, the former WAKC/23.

After the original WAKC news was discontinued by the PAX TV network under its ownership, the Akron-licensed station again picked up the torch as the home of "PAX 23 News" an agreement between the city of Akron (former WAKC anchor Mark Williamson is now spokesman for Akron mayor Don Plusquellic), PAX TV (now Ion Television), and the newscast's new producer, WKYC.

It was all made easier by the fact that WKYC owner Gannett was part of a chainwide agreement to operate the then-PAX TV stations in markets around the country, including Cleveland(/Akron [Canton]). And it was easy for Gannett/WKYC to graft a "2" next to their existing "3" logo.

When that local marketing agreement expired, and the PAX network's future came into question, the newscast quickly left the 5-million watt signal of now-WVPX/23, and ended up on another channel 23...the cable position Time Warner Cable had already dedicated to local programming.

It's been tough since then.

The visiblity of the newscast was reduced drastically, with very few non-"public service" type programs on the local origination channel that wasn't available to non-cable subscribers.

Recent efforts by TWC to "spruce up" the channel now known as the "Northeast Ohio Network" (NEON) came too late to raise the profile of the "station around the newscast", and significantly impact its future prospects.

Even after the addition of new, well-produced local programming ("Three Squares", "Made Here", etc.), and the move to finally establish an identity, "NEON" is still not the equivalent of a true "local cable channel".

And for one, it's still split in channel numbering even now - 23 in the legacy Akron/Canton areas, 15 in Cleveland's former Adelphia areas, etc.

If we were pushing the buttons, "NEON" would realign with the same channel number throughout the region, a channel that can be promoted to all viewers in all of Northeast Ohio.

Even in the "ACN" territory, those in former Adelphia territories in western Summit County welcomed the newscast on cable channel 15 instead of 23, and due to local access channel congestion, former Adelphia viewers in the Macedonia/Hudson area didn't ever get the newscast on any channel.

And an unfortunate time slot clash meant that for TWC Akron-area viewers, another of "NEON's" high-profile programs got cut in half in its live airing - the "More Sports and Les Levine" show with the long-time area sportscaster and sports writer.

Even if all this were "fixed", and even if the Time Warner folks even more significantly upgraded "NEON" than they have now, it's still not a broadcast channel - and even surrounded by "Mama's Family" reruns and shopping game shows, "Akron/Canton News" had a better shot at viewers with a must-carry full-power over-air signal. better economic conditions. there a future?

Time Warner's Bill Jasso tells OMW:

"Channel 3 came to us and said they could not continue the newscast for financial reasons. This was a partnership and we lost our partner. Time Warner is still very interested in continuing the Akron Canton News. If another qualified partner would present themselves, we would certainly be interested in discussing a new partnership to provide the Greater Akron and Canton communities with a nightly newscast."

This is actually not a surprise.

Remember, we'd heard before that TWC had been interested in some sort of local news programming even before Eric and company brought their newscast over from WVPX.

There is a need for the product. Can someone make it happen and still not lose a lot of money?

The problems we mention above will still exist, as will the shaky economy at least for the time being. But we'll be watching to see if anyone else - "another qualified partner" - steps in...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Our Number One Asked Question

We wouldn't say we get a flood of E-Mail, but even when we're away, we get a decent trickle.

And the number one asked question of the past few days is:

"When will Time Warner Cable complete their digital channel realignment?"

Those asking the questions, as near as we can tell, are in TWC's "North/Cleveland" territory, otherwise known as the former Adelphia and Comcast system areas TWC acquired some time back. By all we've heard, the former "legacy" TWC systems in the Akron/Canton area have made the change.

We're along with you, and we haven't seen any signs of the change here at our outpost in the former Adelphia region.

We've gotten all the pre-change lineup cards, letters, and whatnot.

So, when?

Our usual contacts within TWC have been unresponsive, so we have no official word. We've heard rumblings that some expect it done by the end of April or early May, but that's basically a "rumor" at this point.

We will note that last time we mentioned this, we mentioned a technical glitch for some former Adelphia customers - a half-hour of blank video at 10:30 PM after the WKYC/3-produced "Akron/Canton News" at 10 - and that was fixed the next night.

So, maybe someone at TWC will pop up after this, and answer our earlier placed questions about the status of the digital lineup realignment in the Cleveland-area systems formerly owned by Adelphia and Comcast...

Cleveland HD Locals On Dish Network

It's official, according to a Dish Network press release: The company is offering HD "local-into-local" service for the Cleveland market.

All of the market's "Big Four" network affiliates are being offered: WKYC/3 (NBC), WEWS/5 (ABC), WJW/8 (FOX) and WOIO/19 (CBS). For now, at least, the satellite provider won't offer either WUAB/43 (MyNetworkTV) or WBNX/55 (CW) in HD.

Competitor DirecTV has offered HD locals in the Cleveland TV market for some time.

OMW hears that HD locals on Dish Network, at least here, will require a separate dish pointed at the 61.5 orbital the EchoStar customer service folks for more...

THIS JUST IN: WKDD's Patrick To Do Talk Show

The details are sketchy and few right now.

But word is leaking out of Clear Channel Akron/Canton's Freedom Avenue compound that long-time hot AC WKDD/98.1 morning man Matt Patrick is set to do another regular show in May...a three-hour local talk show on the cluster's talk outlet, WHLO/640 Akron.

We don't have further details on this, including in what time slot he would do the show, or how it affects his long-time gig hosting the WKDD morning show...which Patrick has been hosting since long before WKDD's format moved from the Akron-licensed 96.5 (now Cleveland-based top 40 WAKS "Kiss FM") to the Canton-licensed 98.1.

Patrick wouldn't be the first host to do "double duty" on both an FM morning show and a later AM talk show, even within Clear Channel.

The top-rated morning host on Tampa's WFLZ-FM, known there as M.J. Kelli, does an afternoon drive syndicated show based at the company's talk WFLA under his real name of Todd Schnitt ("The Schnitt Show").

And it was also done for some time at one of the company's California clusters, by a host with a similar background to Matt Patrick.

Stay tuned...

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Decision To Make

In what would have been much bigger news around the Buckeye State a couple of years ago...

Even if you're no longer within earshot of a liberal talk station, you've probably heard of all the hot water syndicated host Randi Rhodes got into recently...after what's been called a "profanity-laced" tirade about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and others, at what amounted to a stand up comedy/personal appearance on behalf of her San Francisco affiliate, KKGN/960 "Green 960".

The controversy eventually resulted with Randi walking from Air America Radio, and pretty much the next day signing up with upstart syndicator Nova M Radio. Her show returned Monday afternoon via Nova M on many of its former affiliates.

In recent weeks, Randi has had only one affiliate in Ohio: Bernard Radio/Cowtown Communications talker WVKO/1580 Columbus...the station which picked up the format a few months after Clear Channel's now-WYTS/1230 "Your Talk Station" dumped left leaning talk for a mix of general market (conservative, sports) talk.

And even that station has been slicing the last hour out of Randi's show for a one hour daily local talk show hosted by previous station host Mike Cole (5-6 PM).

Well, now, WVKO has a decision to make.

They can basically do three things:

1) Air whatever Air America Radio programs in Randi's former slot - so far, a "celebrity guest host" rotation starts with actor/comedian Richard Belzer. Since no decision is made yet, we presume that's what's airing this so far (no satellite feed change, and WVKO's online schedule lists "Air America Host" in that time slot).

2) Pick up Randi's new show via Phoenix-based Nova M Radio. It wouldn't be difficult for the station, technically, since they already carry Nova M's only other national host, Mike Malloy. A number of stations - including most, if not all, of Clear Channel's remaining liberal talk outlets, chose this option for her Nova M debut.

3) Choose neither, and expand Cole or some other sort of local talk show programming into the entire afternoon drive slot.

The station has clearly gotten an earful from listeners, and posted a statement to that effect on the WVKO website:

As many of you know, Randi Rhodes resigned from Air America this week. She has since signed on with Nova M Radio, another syndicator of Progressive Talk radio shows. We at WVKO-AM understand the passion of those who would like to continue to hear Randi, as well as the passion of those who side with Air America on this issue.

We at WVKO strive to provide high-quality programming for our Central Ohio listeners. At this time we ask you to please bear with us as we explore many possible scheduling opportunities.

From here, we don't see staying with Air America as a strong possibility...unless some sort of host who would appeal to listeners emerges.

Some in the liberal talk community suggest that AAR move evening host Rachel Maddow into the slot, but we figure they'd have done that instead of the "Celebrity Guest Host" thing if they could (or if she could). Perpetual AAR fill-in Sam Seder occupied the slot in Randi's absence while she was still an employee, but that move doesn't seem likely, either.

So, we'll see...

Friday, April 11, 2008

WTOD Programmer Out

OMW has word that Cumulus' Toledo cluster has "downsized" one of our readers right out of his job.

Chuck Matthews, who programmed the cluster's talk WTOD/1560 "SuperTalk 1560" and was creative director for all the Cumulus Toledo stations, is no longer working there.

We hear Chuck is looking for programming or imaging director duties, and still runs his own voiceover shop. He's heard as an imaging voice on a number of radio and TV stations, including Block Communications cable CW Network affiliate "WT05" in the Glass City...

The O&A, Uh, Empire?

UPDATE 4/11/08 2:16 PM: We've been forwarded an affiliate list that shows another 7 or so markets for O&A outside New York, Boston and Cleveland. We don't know how accurate that is, but they have lost a lot of big markets in this most recent run...


We started noticing a trend when the reports filtered in.

CBS Radio has come to a new contract agreement with its syndicated hot talk hosts Opie and Anthony. The duo who came back to the company after the attempt to replace hot talk morning icon Howard Stern with rocker David Lee Roth crashed and burned so spectacularly that you could see it from here.

"Diamond Dave's" short stint, which will easily make history in the "Bad Radio Idea" category, left the CBS Radio folks so desperate that they had to go back to two radio hosts who had their very own massive entry in the "Bad Radio Idea" category - doing a sexually-related show live from a New York City church.

O&A, of course, first resurfaced on XM Satellite Radio, and it's still their "home". The new CBS Radio deal announced Thursday is the same as their first return deal - the duo host a 3 hour broadcast friendly over-air show for CBS that's simulcast on XM, then do a ceremonial walk to the satellite company's studios to finish it up without broadcast standards above their heads.

But the deal is different in one way...the "trend" we noticed.

While the initial return to CBS slotted O&A in nearly all of the former Stern markets (Eastern U.S. division) in morning drive, this deal only covers three affiliates: Over-air flagship alt-rock WXRK/92.3 "K-Rock" in New York City, rocker WBCN/104.1 Boston, and an O&A mainstay, alt-rock WKRK/92.3 right here in Northeast Ohio.

Are we reading this right? Is O&A's over-air affiliate list actually down to three stations, New York, Boston and Cleveland?

It's a sign that the duo has struggled since returning to over-air radio. O&A have lost a bunch of major markets, from Philadelphia (rock WYSP, once an O&A stronghold, went with a local show in morning drive) to Detroit (long-time FM talker then-WKRK flipped to FM sports as WXYT-FM with local morning drive hosts, sending its old call letters down I-75 and the Ohio Turnpike to Cleveland's 92.3.).

In the Motor City, in fact, Opie and Anthony actually ended up replacing Cleveland's own Shane "Rover" French, who landed in Detroit in his own post-Stern deal out of Chicago.

O&A's current CBS Radio deal covers the same number of stations that Rover now airs on - three - though the New York-based duo's markets are much larger.

And O&A have replaced Rover on his original CBS Radio home here...moving in from afternoon tape delay on 92.3 after the Big Dog of local young-skewing FM morning talk radio moved to his new kennel, Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7.

One big problem for "edgy FM talkers" - the post-Janet Jackson mindset has even long-time FM talk proponent CBS Radio pulling hosts back from the edge...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Our Brian Wilson Update

And since we're Ohio Media Watch and not Billboard Magazine, that means an update on Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370 Toledo afternoon drive host/program director Brian Wilson, not an update on that Beach Boy.

The Baltimore Sun's "Critical Mass" blog provides a first-day update on Wilson's debut Wednesday as the mid-afternoon host (12-3 PM) on that city's CBS Radio FM talker, WFHS/105.7.

And the update, and an article in the Dead Trees edition of the Sun the day before, confirms our reporting here earlier in the week:

Although living in Toledo, where he holds down the afternoon drive-time slot on WSPD, he'll be broadcasting out of Baltimore through the end of this week. Then it's back to Toldeo, where he'll send his voice back to B'More through the wonders of ISDN transmissions.

(That typo in the second mention of the name of Northwest Ohio's largest city was from the Sun folks.)

So for now, at least, Wilson will also continue holding forth as PD and afternoon host at "NewsTalk 1370" in the Glass City, holding down six hours of talk radio for two cities from 12 noon to 6 PM weekdays.

How long will that last, 6 hours behind the microphone and other off-air duties, including preparing different broadcasts in two different cities?

We don't know. But it's at least the Brian Wilson plan for now.

WHFS has been doing talk for a few years now, starting as hot talk WXYV "Live 105.7", and later adopting the iconic WHFS call letters after programming alternative rock nights and weekends - in the style of the former WHFS/99.1, now running a Spanish-language format.

It's morphed a bit, and has a local hit on its hands with former Baltimore police boss Ed Norris. It's Norris' move from middays to the afternoon drive slot - replacing Washington DC-based "Don and Mike" as that show morphs into a new incarnation without its retiring primary host - that left that big early afternoon hole in the WHFS schedule.

(By the way, that retiring host, Don Geronimo, makes his final appearance on the show Friday. Listeners in Northeast Ohio can only catch it via the Internet these days, but the "Don and Mike Show" has had local affiliates in the past. Beacon Broadcasting now-oldies WANR/1570 Warren carried it most recently, but the show also once aired on now-Radio One Cleveland talker WERE, then at 1300, now at 1490.)

How the future of the two-city Brian Wilson Show plays out will probably depend on the success of the post-"Don and Mike" WHFS afternoons, with both Wilson and Norris as highly-recognized local personalities...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

UPDATE: WEWS Goes HD From Field

They tried it as long ago as October of last year, but now, Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" has become the first Cleveland market station to regularly air out-of-studio news field video in HDTV format.

OMW hears that after all the glitches were worked out, WEWS' newscasts started featuring the full-resolution 720p recorded video yesterday. And we've seen the results on the air.

The move is as a result of the station's investment in a bunch of field HD cameras and in-house and remote editing computer equipment compatible with HD video.

Of course, "NewsChannel 5" isn't the first local station to do HD video outside the building on newscasts.

Still-for-now FOX O&O WJW/8 "FOX 8" has had SkyFOX HD up for some time, and both WJW and Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 have had fixed outdoor cameras for traffic shots and the like - "FOX 8" on top of its South Marginal Road building pointing at the East Shoreway across the street, and "Channel 3 News" with its ability to use HD cameras at Field under its own control.

But WEWS is the first station to offer actual news video in HD. It, and the market's other stations, have been using SD video - usually 16x9. And even WEWS still has to use 16x9 SD in live shots...only the recorded out-of-newsroom video is HD, and we saw video tonight out of Akron that was clearly fed to the station via an SD link.

OMW hears that the Channel 5 folks are working on this - with a new HD-capable satellite truck due to arrive on that end of things fairly soon, and the eventual acquisition of new HD-capable live microwave video systems - whenever the Cleveland market gets its equipment in that whole Sprint/Nextel replacement program.

The video change on WEWS makes the non-HD video look even more anemic...the analog video noise from the Akron story feed was evident to us, and a non-HD satellite live shot from Columbus looked like someone put wax paper on the camera lens...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

"Sounds" Familiar

So, perusing the AllAccess scroll this afternoon, we see this:

BONNEVILLE INTERNATIONAL launched its highly anticipated station in LOS ANGELES -- as 100.3 THE SOUND --with U2's "BEAUTIFUL DAY." The new AAA format went on the air at 10a (PT).

Hmm. Boy, does that name SOUND familiar!

Yes, that's Bonneville's rocker in Cincinnati, WSWD/94.9. We don't keep very good track of Queen City radio, but we believe Bonneville inherited both station and format there from Entercom.

And of course, 94.9 has done other formats - but we'll have to dig into our archives to get that history.

Evidently, the whatever form...has been successful enough for Bonneville to clone it in Los Angeles.

We aren't the ones who do detailed playlist comparisons here, so others will have to make the comparison. The Los Angeles "Sound" format results from Bonneville's purchase of the Radio One station there, which had been rumored to be doing FM news/talk...

Sunday, April 06, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Gib Shanley Dies

One of the true legends in Cleveland sports media has passed away.

Gib Shanley, who was the long-time sports director at Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5, has died at the age of 76.

"NewsChannel 5" reports that Shanley died of "complications from pneumonia". The Plain Dealer's now-former veteran sportswriter, Bob Dolgan, has a very extensive look at Gib Shanley's life and career here.

In addition to his work on Channel 5, and his role as the first sports anchor on WUAB/43's then-new 10 PM news program "The 10 O'Clock News", Gib is also remembered by many as long-time radio voice of the NFL's Cleveland Browns, from 1961 to 1984. He called the last major pro sports championship in Cleveland, with the Browns in 1964.

He's also remembered even nationwide for an on-air incident where he burned an Iranian flag on the air during the heated Iranian hostage crisis in 1979.

That, and many other memories, are also detailed in a Cleveland Seniors website profile of Shanley, done a couple or three years ago. The image above is linked from their profile.

In addition to coming back to WEWS for a stint doing weekend sports anchor work some years ago, Mr. Shanley also has been seen recently doing commentaries on the station's weekend sportscasts...

Friday, April 04, 2008

A Clump Of Toledo News

Here at your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), we don't know what it is...but media news from Toledo seems to always come in clumps. It's almost never just "one" item.

Here we are again, with word of one change that's already been made, and one move that may or may not affect the market.

We'll start with the second, with the announcement on Dave Hughes', "confirmed" by the Baltimore Sun newspaper, that veteran Baltimore market radio voice Brian Wilson would be returning to the airwaves of that city, taking the early afternoon slot (12-3 PM) at CBS Radio FM talker WHFS/105.7 starting next Wednesday, April 9th.

The opening is prompted by a number of changes, including the move of midday host (and former Baltimore police honcho) Ed Norris into afternoon drive to cover the slot occupied-until-now by the WJFK/Washington-based Westwood One-syndicated "Don & Mike Show"...which is losing its primary host to retirement, and losing WHFS as an affiliate.

This all affects OMW, of course, since Brian Wilson is currently program director/afternoon drive host at Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370 Toledo.

And though we don't have all the facts yet, it appears that sentence will continue to be accurate for the foreseeable future.

DCRTV reported that Wilson would be moving to Baltimore to take the WHFS afternoon drive shift. That report was actually refuted online by a note attributed to Clear Channel Toledo's Andy Stuart on the popular local "Glass City Jungle" blog...

There have been some inaccurate announcements on some websites stating that Brian is leaving WSPD to take a full-time job in Baltimore. In fact, he will be doing fill-in work for this Baltimore station and will remain as the PD/PM Drive host on WSPD. Any questions by other media, clients or listeners can be directed to me until Brian returns from vacation on Monday.

Glass City Jungle's Lisa Renee then stumbled onto this announcement of Wilson's WHFS gig on the Baltimore station's own website:

Brian Wilson is back in Baltimore, hon! The familiar voice you heard in the car on the way to school is working his magic from 12 PM – 3 PM on FM Talk 105.7.

Though we don't have the details yet, it appears that the WHFS gig will be done via ISDN from Toledo when Wilson is in Ohio, and his afternoon drive WSPD show will be done via ISDN from Baltimore when he is in that city.

The veteran host is no stranger to ISDN-based long-running daily talk shows, as a fill-in or otherwise.

Wilson pioneered the "ISDN-fill-in" business with his Vacation Relief, Inc. company...and while doing that fill-in work for various stations across the country, hosted then-ABC Radio talk KSFO/560 San Francisco's evening show from his home near Baltimore five days a week. This, of course, was before he got the WSPD position.

Our other Toledo item is indirectly linked to our first one.

Under the radar, under our noses and noted by almost no one, Wilson's predecessor in afternoon drive on WSPD has returned to the Toledo airwaves - and this time, not by a small-city FM rimshot.

Apparently starting this week, Denny Schaffer's "DennyRadio" program is airing on WSPD's AM sister station, sports WCWA/1230 "FOX Sports Radio 1230", from 10 AM to noon weekdays, after the local morning drive general issues show hosted (and brokered) by financial expert Troy Neff.

We haven't heard it since WCWA started airing "DennyRadio", but we're told it is basically the same show Denny's been doing from his Internet site since being involuntarily dumped in a purge of local programming by Clear Channel talk WGST/640 Atlanta. In other words, WCWA is basically the "DennyRadio" Internet show's broadcast affiliate/flagship now.

Though Denny did a brief weekend stint on an Atlanta sports station after the WGST demise, we have no indication that he's doing a sports show with "FOX Sports Radio 1230" aboard. For that matter, Neff's morning drive show is not a sports show, either.

It's a curious return to the market for Schaffer, a popular host on both WSPD and on sister top 40 outlet WVKS/92.5 "Kiss FM" for many years.

But at least it's actually in the market, unlike his voicetracked Sunday morning "DennyRadio" show on Clear Channel (for now) country WCKY-FM 103.7 "103-7 CKY" out of Tiffin, a far rimshot into Toledo.

Schaffer continues to do that show, and the live "DennyRadio" weekday show now airing on WCWA, from his home in the Atlanta area.

For now, other than the common station time slot (current/former) for the two hosts, and the common station ownership, these two items do not appear to be directly related...

BREAKING NEWS: KNR2 Files For More Juice

We spent many days back when Good Karma Broadcasting bought the Cleveland station now known as WWGK/1540 saying this: this 1,000 watt East Side daytimer couldn't be owner Craig Karmazin's only plan in the market.

And while things became clearer when Karmazin bought 50,000 watt WKNR/850, there's now a signal upgrade plan for the small station which has become known as "Cleveland's AM 1540, KNR2".

Good Karma has filed with the FCC for facilities changes for "KNR2"...calling for a daytime signal upgrade to 3,000 watts, with 1,500 watts in the "critical hours" period on the edge of sign-off.

However, one important upgrade is not included - there is no nighttime service in the new filing, presumably for many very good technical reasons that don't allow for that (KXEL/Waterloo IA, CHIN in Toronto, etc.).

The application would move WWGK's transmitter site from its long-time home on Euclid Avenue on Cleveland's East Side. "KNR2" would camp out at its "big brother" station's site, the transmitter site long used by AM 850 - even in its days as WJW Radio.

Good Karma plans to accomplish this move by turning the non-directional WWGK into a directional station, which requires the addition of two shorter towers to the WKNR site. This gives it a more centralized coverage area, and allows it to upgrade considering the various other stations on 1540 and nearby in the region.

But the move all by itself would give WWGK some "wiggle room" with two stations it needs to consider now - physically moving it farther from on-channel Beacon Broadcasting gospel WRTK/1540 Niles, and second-adjacent Media-Com sports WJMP/1520 Kent...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Columbus' "Blitz" Stunting

We know nothing about it, yet, but our Columbus readers tell us that North American rock WBZX/99.7 "The Blitz" is stunting this afternoon.

We're told by numerous listeners/OMW readers in the market that they're interspersing computer "beeps" with a message that "your radio station is rebooting", promising "completion" by Friday at 5 PM.

A similar message shows up - after a couple of seconds or so - when visiting the station's website...

Up For Air For A Bit

We've still got the "Gone Fishin'" sign up - and that's a stretch, since your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) hasn't ever actually picked up a fishing pole.

A lot has happened, and we're just here to mention some stuff we haven't put up due to our continued absence.

For one, we mourn the passing of more broadcasters with Ohio ties who have recently passed away, like Wes Hopkins (WAKR/1590 Akron, then-KYW/1100 Cleveland) and former WHK/1420 Cleveland personality Scott Burton.

Other brief items, in no particular order:

WOOF: As reported here way back in February, one Shane "Rover" French and his crew have officially started doing morning drive on Clear Channel rock WMMS/100.7.

We only mention this to close out the item, particularly since at least some online types were not even sure our reports were accurate.

They were, very much so....right down to our (as far as we know) exclusive item that Rover was producing "Rover's Morning Glory" from a studio at the Clear Channel World Domination HQ at Oak Tree the past few weeks to be heard on his Rochester and Memphis affiliates...and, of course, later, on WMMS' HD2 signal and the station's website.

Oh, and starting now, we'll add "talk" to the 100.7 format designation, since WMMS is now a full-fledged FM talker from the start of morning drive through the end of afternoon drive...

BYE, ALISON: While we're visiting Oak Tree, a short drive from the I-77/Rockside Road interchange...OMW has independently confirmed that sister talk WTAM/1100's "Alison" has resigned from her job on the station's afternoon drive talk fest helmed by Mike Trivisonno.

In our first more-than-30-seconds visit listening to the Triv show in some time on Tuesday, we heard him mention this as well...but it being an "April Fool's" show, who knows?

Alison is a former show intern who took over the "female on-air role" on the program after long-time Triv co-host Kim Mihalik was let go for budget reasons. Kim, of course, is now a morning co-host on WNCX/98.5...

STAN'S CO-ANCHOR: It's Niki Weirich who landed as co-anchor for Parkin Youngstown ABC affiliate WYTV/33's newscasts with long-time weather anchor-turned-news anchor Stan Boney. She takes the role vacated by Angee Shaker, who was named solo anchor after WYTV moved in with New Vision Television's WKBN/27-WYFX/17-62 and has since left the station.

And that move is no surprise, as Weirich was last seen as anchor on "First News at 10" on "FOX 17/62". So a "crosstown move", as the media rags often say, was not really a physical move at all for her...

TRIBE TV MOVES IN Y-TOWN: And while we're talking about Youngstown, a reader asked us why the aforementioned WYFX didn't run Monday's Cleveland Indians opening game, which was aired on and produced by Tribe over-air TV flagship WKYC/3.

The reason is that WYTV's "MyYTV" digital MyNetworkTV affiliated subchannel is carrying those games this year...presumably a "scoot over" from WYFX due to the new cozy relationship between the two stations.

That's horrible news for Tribe fans in the Mahoning Valley. "MyYTV" A) is relegated to a high digital channel on the area's Time Warner Cable systems and B) is a digital subchannel of WYTV-DT, which has the worst digital signal in the Youngstown TV far. At least "FOX 17/62" is fed on the powerful digital signal of WKBN-DT...

WE'LL TRY NOT TO SING THE JINGLE: And while we're Talking Baseball...(indiansbaseball!!)...Talking Tribe!... the new 24/7 SportsTime Ohio HD has launched.

The new Time Warner Cable digital lineups already had a place for STO HD, and it's also being fed down the former Adelphia systems' lineup at the former "HD Bonus" position of 798. By everything we've heard, the new digital migration has only been completed in the "legacy" Time Warner areas (Akron/Canton, etc.).

Now, here's hoping the changeover - whenever that happens in what TWC calls the "North/Cleveland" systems - happens soon...or there'll be an FSN Ohio HD Cavaliers game to figure out next week...

AND ANOTHER TWC ODDITY: We're told that the process of feeding the WKYC/3-produced "Akron/Canton News" at 10 PM has developed a glitch, but apparently only in the former Adelphia TWC areas in western Summit County who get the "Northeast Ohio Network" (NEON) on cable channel 15.

A reader informs us that after anchor Eric Mansfield signs off the 10 PM show, and after a couple of commercials, channel 15 goes blank for the remaining 30 minutes until 11 PM. And we mean "blank", as in a black screen with no video (or audio). We're told it's been going on for a few weeks.

We're pretty sure this is somehow related to the method used to feed "Akron/Canton News" to the Summit County-based nodes of the former Adelphia system, serving areas like Copley and Bath. For those people, the newscast preempts whatever TWC is sending out of Cleveland to the rest of the former Adelphia customers on channel 15...