Thursday, July 31, 2008

The New And The Former

Today's items both involve a news director post at a Cleveland market TV, with an incoming person to take the role, and the other, about a former local news director...

SHE CATCHES 5: New WEWS/5 VP/general manager Victoria Regan has tapped a new news director for the station.

She is Jill Manuel, who joins the Scripps Cleveland ABC affiliate from the news director's post at Tribune-owned CLTV in Chicago, that city's 24-hour cable news outlet. The Chicago Tribune's Phil Rosenthal and the Chicago Sun-Times' Robert Feder have more.

In addition to producing at FOX News Channel and CNN, and a stint as deputy director of communications for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Manuel also has been executive producer in the newsroom of Chicago CBS O&O WBBM/2.

Yes, that's the same WBBM-TV that "19 Action News" VP/GM Bill Applegate once ran, causing as much controversy as he does at WOIO/WUAB these days.

We can't tell from the Chicago news articles if Manuel's stint at WBBM overlapped Applegate's time there as VP/GM. We're guessing not, as Applegate was there roughly in the early 1990s.

At "NewsChannel 5", Manuel takes the post vacated in February by Steve Hyvonen, who left to run the newsroom at Orlando CBS affiliate WKMG/6...

AND FROM OUR PAST: A long-time Providence RI investigative reporter is leaving that market's ABC affiliate, basically saying he could no longer stick around amid changes at the station.

The Providence Journal reports
that WLNE/6 reporter Jim Hummel has left the station, "saying he was disturbed by the sensational direction" that "ABC6" was taking. Journal reporter Amanda Milkovits details Hummel's concerns:

Hummel said there was pressure to sensationalize news and use slang –– such as “lowlife” and “thug” to describe defendants –– in an effort to increase ratings for the third-place local news station.

Using slang like "lowlife" and "thug" on the air...boy, that sounds familiar.

And there's a reason, of course.

WLNE's vice president and general manager is former WOIO/WUAB news director Stephen Doerr. And his former Cleveland newsroom, "19 Action News", uses slang like "lowlife" and "thug" in pretty much every news story about criminal defendants, daily.

Among his other career highlights, Hummel covered the corruption trial that drove former Providence mayor "Buddy" Cianci out of office - and behind bars.

And one factor in his decision to exit "ABC6" in Providence? Cianci became a co-worker after his exit from prison, as the station recently hired the populist former mayor as its chief political analyst. Cianci also now does a radio show for talk outlet WPRO/630-99.7.

As for Doerr, the ex-"Action News" ND calls Hummel "admittedly, an old-school guy", and quoting the ProJo article:

“I think ‘sensational’ is an overused word,” Doerr said. He said the direction is more “edgy.” When asked about the use of the words “thugs” and “lowlifes” on air, Doerr said, “We’re a work in progress. We’re trying to be more colloquial, use plainspeak.”

Doerr's former newsroom has not exactly turned away from the "plainspeak", as the aforementioned Mr. Applegate is clearly the driving force behind WOIO's scrappy "we're speaking for everyman" format...and continues to hire news directors who will carry out that mandate...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Metheny Out At CC/Cleveland

Our inbox has been peppered with anonymous tips all day out of the Clear Channel World Domination HQ at Oak Tree, and now it's been confirmed by the various radio trade sites.

Long-time VP/Programming Kevin Metheny has left the building at Clear Channel Cleveland after a 10 year run in the post, and a 13 year run with the local cluster.

OMW hears that the exit comes at the end of Metheny's most recent contract as the company's head Cleveland programmer...

Lots Of TV Stuff

We're mostly catching up with stuff this time, but felt it needed to be put up, at least...

GAUTHIER EXITS FOR HOME: We'd heard rumblings that this was about to happen, but WKYC/3 senior director and fellow blogger Frank Macek provides the confirmation and details on his "Director's Cut" blog.

"Channel 3 News Today" co-anchor and "Channel 3 News Midday" anchor Barbara Gauthier is leaving the Gannett Cleveland NBC affiliate for Columbus.

No, she's not going to Columbus, Ohio.

She's heading for the other Columbus, in Georgia. Macek reports that Gauthier is heading for her hometown ABC affiliate, WTVM/9, as a primary anchor. WKYC news director Rita Andolsen says it's the station Barbara grew up watching.

Her move has even prompted a prominent "breaking news" item on WTVM''s website:

After more than 20 years reporting and anchoring the news at stations and news outlets like WKYC in Cleveland, BET and WXIA in Atlanta, WTVM announces the addition of Columbus area native Barbara Gauthier to the talented news team at WTVM. She will join veteran co-anchor Wayne Bennett anchoring the 5:00 PM, 6:00 PM, and 11:00 PM, newscast starting September 3rd.

"News Leader 9" and its sister FOX affiliate, WXTX/54, are owned by Raycom Media, which of course also owns Cleveland CBS/MyNetwork TV combo WOIO/19-WUAB/43.

But in the Southeast, Alabama-based Raycom is a local TV powerhouse. It owns a number of highly successful stations, including the news leaders in many markets in that part of the country.

And Raycom is in the process of launching a brand-new full-power all-digital NBC affiliate in Myrtle Beach SC...which has long watched NBC programming from Raycom's stations in Columbia SC and Wilmington NC...with a full local newsroom.

With that, we assume Gauthier will not be in the Columbus GA version of the basement at Reserve Square, despite the common ownership...

AND SPEAKING OF THAT BASEMENT: This one's actually growing a week's worth of cobwebs, as we missed the item by Cleveland Plain Dealer media columnist Julie Washington last Wednesday.

Getting her ticket out of the "19 Action News"-plex is one Markina Brown, and what a ticket it is.

Ms. Washington reports that the WOIO/WUAB weathercaster moves from the Reserve Square basement to the TV penthouse, as primary anchor for Los Angeles station KTLA/5, the Tribune-owned CW Network affiliate.

And Ms. Brown heads to the nation's second largest market as a newly-married woman, hearing that her new gig was in the works after returning from her honeymoon in Cancun. It's hard to imagine anyone in local media having a better 2008.

She'll take along long-term ties to Northeast Ohio, as Washington reports that her new husband is an East Cleveland native.

"Action News" news director Dan Salamone says the station is launching the proverbial "nationwide search" for her replacement, and that the ever-active Jeff Tanchak will hold down the weather fort solo through the afternoons and evenings starting Friday, until Markina is replaced...

AND BACK TO 13TH AND LAKESIDE: ...where "Channel 3 News" meterologist Betsy Kling is finally a new mother to a baby girl.

And back to Frank Macek, who tells us on the "Director's Cut" blog:

Congratulations to Channel 3's Betsy Kling and Paul Thomas, who welcomed Josephine Frances into the world Monday evening.

Josephine Frances, Mom and Dad are doing well.

She is 8 lbs 11oz and is 21.5 inches long.

More pictures are linked from the story here. We'd link the picture page directly, but Blogger chokes on ridiculously long, random-named URLs with a lot of ampersands in them...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Follow-Up Or Three

Followups, clarification and other stuff...

THE SAVAGE FALLOUT: When we passed along word that Salem Cleveland talk outlet WHK/1420 was dumping Talk Radio Network host Michael Savage over recent remarks about autism, we didn't know what the station would do in the 9-11 PM time slot until August 4th, when it announced it would start a new lineup.

Friday, WHK aired Savage's show as normal, and the station did so again on Monday night.

WHK/Salem Cleveland general manager Mark Jaycox announced last week that ABC/Citadel syndicated host Mark Levin would take over for Savage, but that clearance doesn't start till next week.

By the way, we're just the messenger here.

We've been pelted with E-Mail from campaigns from both sides of the controversy - those pushing for Savage to be pushed off the air as a scourge of radio, and those defending the host as a champion of free speech - and we aren't passing along any of it.

We'll continue to pass along news of how the program does as far as affiliates go, particularly in Ohio, but not much else. Please hold your E-Mail campaigns for those who care.

Repeat after us: It's a radio show. It's just a radio show.

It is a radio show that has a couple of more Northern Ohio affiliates than we realized when we wrote the last item.

Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 Toledo carries "The Savage Nation", though it does not during the winter months due to WTOD's daytimer status.

And we didn't remember that Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 Youngstown still carried Savage until we heard the show ourselves on Friday evening. (And thanks to the OMW readers who also reminded us.)

AND SPEAKING OF WKBN: When we heard Savage on WKBN, we also heard frequent on-air announcements that mean ABC Radio mainstay Paul Harvey is losing another talk radio affiliate.

Starting Monday, WKBN moved Harvey off its own airwaves, but the Chicago-based commentator stays in the family on South Avenue...his various segments now air on WKBN's sister standards outlet, WNIO/1390.

In moving Mr. Harvey off of WKBN, Clear Channel Youngstown had a ready-made place to land his option most other Clear Channel talk stations (WTAM, etc.) did not have.

Paul Harvey has mostly been absent from his own program in recent months. He's been ill, and mourning the loss of his beloved wife Angel a while back. Though we haven't heard it, we understand Harvey is returning to the airwaves part-time, starting with doing his 15 minute Saturday newscast.

In addition to the standards format, WNIO also carries newscasts from WKBN (and those produced for WKBN elsewhere in the Clear Channel system), and is the flagship for the New York-Penn League minor league baseball team the Mahoning Valley Scrappers...

A SAFE RATINGS STATEMENT: Regular readers of OMW know that we generally don't do radio ratings posts.

For one, most of the publicly available numbers are "12-plus", the counting of listeners 12 and over that is known as radio's "Beauty Contest". They're pretty to look at, nice to point to, but in the end, don't really mean much on the business side.

For another, it's very easy to slice and dice demographic numbers to make them fit a broadcaster's point. ("Look, we're number one in men 18 to 22 who eat cheese!")

But we feel comfortable enough to make one assessment, based on numbers we've seen and really can't put up here.

It does appear that new WMMS/100.7 morning host Shane "Rover" French had a significant debut on his new affiliate. We've heard that out of Oak Tree, but we have seen numbers - from elsewhere - to back it up, with "Rover's Morning Glory" bringing a significant listener boost to the WMMS morning drive slot.

A caveat or two: For one, it remains to be seen if the ratings in question hold up in the long-term, and how much of the listenership increase is "sampling" - due to the show's well-publicized move from WXRK/92.3 "K-Rock" to WMMS.

But if Mr. French and his crew hang onto a decent chunk of it over a few books, the once-busy revolving door of WMMS Morning Drive may be getting a long rest.

We wish we could go into detail, but OMW and all other online sources are not allowed to reprint in-demo numbers, let alone 12-plus numbers. (We know at least one message board claims that they can print rankings, and that's it, in the 12-plus demo. We don't have lawyers on retainer, so we won't do even that.)

But what would appear to be a coming stability in the WMMS morning drive slot, after years of a rotating cast of hosts along with one attempt at airing syndication (Bob & Tom), is definitely news...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Savage Flap Prompts WHK To Drop Show

The ongoing flap over controversial remarks by Talk Radio Networks host Michael Savage has cost him his Cleveland affiliate.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Julie Washington reports that Salem talk outlet WHK/1420 Cleveland has given Savage his walking papers, after widely reported on-air comments about autistic children that have caused both advertiser and affiliate drops nationwide.

Salem Cleveland general manager Mark Jaycox is quoted by Washington on the move, with wording you don't normally hear from a radio executive:

"This guy's a knucklehead, and I want to get rid of him," Jaycox said.

The WHK move ends the station's contract with TRN for Savage, which Washington reports was set to last through 2010.

"The Savage Nation" is down to one Northeast Ohio affiliate now, Melodynamic talk WCER/900 Canton. WCER GM Jack Ambrozic tells Washington that he's keeping the show.

WHK will mirror a move made by another former Savage affiliate, Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron, by bringing in ABC/Citadel syndicated talker Mark Levin for 9-11 PM. (In the "Fortunate Timing" department for the Freedom Avenue folks, WHLO dumped Savage for Matt Patrick's new 5-7 PM local show, and Levin, before the current controversy started.)

Local WHK weekend host Tom Kelly's "Kelly and Company" will air - in what we presume is a brokered slot - from 11 PM to midnight.

Jaycox described the reaction to the controversy to Washington, saying he pulled the plug "after receiving about two dozen calls and emails from parents of autistic children, who said they were hurt by the remarks".

Washington reports that the station will make the changes starting August 4th, and we don't know if Savage's show will continue to air tonight or next week.

For the moment, Savage is still listed on WHK's website, along with an apology for the remarks by Salem national news/talk PD John Butler...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"KY" on XM

The big news this week is that competing satellite providers XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio are about to get the FCC go-ahead for a long-planned merger, according to the Wall Street Journal.

There's a smaller piece of local-related news about one of the two services as well.

XM's "Decades" channels frequently do tributes to legendary radio outlets of the past, and Cleveland is in the spotlight tomorrow.

WKYC/3 senior director and "Director's Cut" blogger Frank Macek gives the heads up about Friday's tribute to the top 40 days of "Radio 11", which carried the WKYC calls now only on television after the whole Westinghouse/NBC mess of the 1960's sent "KYW" packing back to Philadelphia. (Today, of course, 1100 AM is Clear Channel talker WTAM.)

The tribute to "KY" will air on XM's 60's channel, 6, from 4 PM-9 PM on Friday afternoon and evening.

From the channel's website:

Sonic Sound Salutes- This Week: WKYC in Cleveland, OH
4:00 PM - 9:00 PM

60's on 6 "Sonic Sound Salutes" continue as we re-create great 60's radio stations across America. Terry " Motormouth" Young transforms the 60's on 6 into these great stations every Friday with their original jingles, DJs, and local happenings. This week WKYC in Cleveland, OH.

And even if the XM/Sirius merger gets the FCC's OK before then, we're pretty sure that won't change...

Thursday Tidbits

A few late week tidbits for you...

UPDATE 10/27/08 5:35 PM: From Morrison's agent, Steve Swienckowski from the David Crane Agency:

"All charges related to a July incident involving former WUPW Meteorologist Mike Morrison have been dismissed, and all references on his record have been expunged.

That is the ruling of a court in Toledo as of today. "

BAD WEATHER: OMW hears that WUPW/36 "Fox Toledo" chief meteorologist Mike Morrison is "no longer in the building".

Morrison was arrested early Sunday morning at a downtown Toledo nightspot, reports the Toledo Blade:

According to police, several restaurant patrons saw a man urinating on a van owned by Sounds of Music, a disc-jockey company.

Police said the man, identified as Mr. Morrison, became verbally abusive when he was asked to stop and refused six times to provide police with identification, a report said.

The Blade says Morrison pleaded not guilty Monday to three charges linked to the incident, public indecency, intoxication, and resisting arrest.

And as we mentioned, the forecast of seeing him again on "Fox Toledo" is quite dim...

PROMOTED: It's a happier forecast for a key figure at a locally-based radio syndication company, who's been promoted.

Beachwood-based Envision Radio Networks ups affiliate relations director Rebecca Pixley to VP of its new sales division. Pixley will continue to handle affiliate relations for large markets.

The local syndicator has its hands in a large number of radio projects, including short-form and long-form programs in all sorts of formats...

A WORD FOR FILL-INS: It's summer, which means local radio personalities often have fill-in hosts handling a week or more worth of shows for them.

We'd like to make one request, based on hearing a couple of talk radio fill-ins in the past few weeks.

Can you please, please, please, tell us who you are? And that you're filling in for the host?

We make the plea after hearing the vacation fill-in for Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron late afternoon host Matt Patrick a week or two back.

The voice sounded familiar, but it took a good 15 minutes into the fill-in host's opening monologue before we picked up a clue to the name of the was WJW/8 "FOX 8" weekend weatherman Brad Sussman, a frequent local fill-in in the Northeast Ohio Clear Channel universe.

Brad? This isn't TV, and there's no "Brad Sussman / Fill-In Host" graphic in front of the radio... and though you do fill-in fairly often, we didn't quite pick up your voice at first. (We also don't know if Sussman was doing the WKDD part of Matt Patrick's schedule that week.)

Then, we heard a voice we did not recognize filling in for NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton's Jim Albright a week or two ago. This host did eventually say his name, but we didn't recognize it (John Hanson? Hansen? Or was it something else?).

We're kind of old school when it comes to identifying yourself on the radio...say the name, the show name and station name often.

Maybe we were the only frustrated listeners out there...

SPEAKING OF WHBC: The station, as expected, is "going all out" as Canton enters its most important time of the year...with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Ceremonies and all that comes with that.

With Mr. Albright's return, we've heard the station promoting a number of live remotes, starting this Friday, related to HOF events.

And Albright and mid-morning host Ron Ponder will take part in a number of off-air HOF related events as well, as will morning drive hosts Fred Chenevey and Pam Cook.

The station seems comfortable with Albright doing afternoon drive, when he basically seemed to be pushed into just "filling the time slot" immediately after the departure of Brady Russell.

The long-time former host of Akron market talker WNIR/100.1's "Dating Show" was doing off-air work on Market South, when NextMedia apparently realized they had a veteran talk host actually in the building, and started a Saturday morning show with Albright...a show we believe Albright still does, even after his promotion to weekday afternoon drive...

ION DAYTON: TV Newsday reports that the ION TV folks are touting a new affiliation in Dayton.

Low-power outlet WRCX-LP 40 has picked up the network, which developed out of the old "PAX TV".

The station touts the ION affiliation in a promo seen on its website, which calls the station "Dayton's Urban Vision". The promo would indicate that WRCX is now calling itself "ION 40".

We've written about this LPTVer before, when it became the Dayton market affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers Television Network...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

You're Welcome, Mr. Salyer

Here at OMW, we don't toot our own horn very often. (For one, there's no sound on this website, so you wouldn't hear it. Yes, we're kidding.)

But on one major local media news story, we've led the way both locally and nationwide.

OMW was the very first place many learned about the sale of then-FOX O&O WJW/8 "FOX 8" in Cleveland, a purchase recently completed by Local TV, LLC, the operational arm of private equity giant Oak Hill Capital Partners.

And here, and only here, did you learn that WJW and the other stations bought by Local TV had a 10 year affiliation agreement with outgoing owner FOX to keep that network on the stations.

This, despite various questions in print - "it's not known if WJW will stay as an affiliate of FOX" and the like.

So, you're welcome, WJW programming/promotion boss Kevin Salyer.

Plain Dealer media writer Julie Washington checks in with Salyer in the aftermath of the Local TV deal's closure, in an article found this afternoon on

Quoting the article:

Channel 8 will keep showing Fox programming, even though it's no longer a Fox owned-and-operated station.

"Viewers are not going to see any difference at all," Salyer said. "It's more of an internal thing."

You're welcome, Mr. Salyer.

Now, we can understand why the FOX 8 programming honcho is not too thrilled with us.

After all, our excellent sources inside South Marginal led us to the news - an exclusive - that FOX corporate was finally getting its wish with the end of the popular local show "Big Chuck and Lil' John".

That's a story that local WJW brass were not at all happy with, despite our portrayal of them (from what we have been told) as the "good guys" in keeping the show on as long as possible, despite years of pressure by the suits in New York.

That part of our story was basically confirmed in the station's prime-time salute to "Big Chuck" at the end of the "BC&LJ" run, where the ever classy Chuck Schodowski thanked Salyer on the air for keeping the show alive, especially in recent years.

In this story, we've mined our sources to verify that FOX wasn't leaving WJW behind without a long-term affiliation with the network.

And until the Julie Washington article that came out today, we've been the only one saying that.

Stepping away from the Vindication of OMW (no relation to the Youngstown newspaper) for a moment, Salyer also doesn't expect Local TV "to shuffle anchors or reporters in the short term", at least.

We have no information on that, but we'd consider a talent shakeup at WJW to be nearly Television Suicide for the new owners at Local TV.

What happens down the road, when expensive, long-term anchor contracts come up? We don't know.

But we'd have to agree...we also don't expect any immediate on-air/personnel changes at the Local TV-run "FOX 8"...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Update

Starting a new week with these items...

DRAGGED INTO THE 21ST CENTURY: It's the Nagging Rumor That Won't Go Away, Northeast Ohio radio-wise.

Is Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 "The Talk of Akron" about ready to become "The Talk of the (Internet) World", as it were?

An OMW reader tipped us a month or two back to an on-air comment by WNIR midday host Howie Chizek...that the station was apparently readying a streaming audio feed, offering the local talk station's programming to Internet listeners.

And then, there's this reader comment to one of our recent items:

The real big news is that WNIR is finally going to stream their signal starting next week. A new, updated website is also on the way.

Will the world be ready for the great Howie Chizek, Schwebel Bread, Community Club Awards and Bennie Da Bookie?

We have not been yet able to get confirmation from our sources about that timing, though we do believe the station is in the process of such an upgrade.

But we'd be very, very surprised if the new website and Internet stream for WNIR started in the next week or so.


WNIR, more than just about any major station in Northeast Ohio, has been incredibly slow to embrace technology.

We're told, for example, that after the station caved into the age of computerized spot delivery by buying "Scott Systems" equipment, that equipment sat boxed and unused for a LONG time. (A possible exception: it was probably put into place fairly quickly for automated FOX Sports Radio sister station WJMP/1520.)

WNIR has, somewhere in that building, an ISDN studio unit which enables it to air Kent State University sports.

Yet the station has not, to this day, bought another ISDN or other digital telephone feed system to air its long-running Saturday remotes from the various Klaben dealerships. (As we mentioned back when the ISDN studio box went in, we believe it's actually owned by Kent State.) Or, a relatively modest RPU/Marti unit that would enable them to radio the broadcasts without any additional charge, in broadcast quality. get the idea.

The land of WNIR Internet Streaming seems like a far-away place, though we do believe it's in the works from all the rumbling we've heard.

For now, though, the WNIR website continues to exist primarily for one purpose - to attract whatever banner ads the station can throw up there for its sponsors.

Those banner ads continue to overwhelm the original part of the site, which has shrunk in size dramatically since it began.

And for now, the only audio on the WNIR site is the embedded "The Talk of Akron" jingle that comes up each time you visit...

UP FOR AN AWARD: We're reminded that Akron "Triple-A" outlet WAPS/91.3 "The Summit" is up for a national award.

"Summit" on-air personality Bill Hall tells OMW that the nomination came late last month for the Akron Public Schools-owned station:

Radio & Records nominated us in the category "Triple A Station of the Year" in markets 50+ (Non-commercial). We're competing against stations in Albany, NY, Durango, CO, Louisville, KY, Anchorage, AK and Ocean City/Monmouth, NJ.

For the TV types who visit here, and don't know much about radio formats, "Triple-A" (AAA) is radiospeak for "Adult Album Alternative" rock...

FILL-IN: Clear Channel talk WTVN/610 Columbus weekend host Dirk Thompson checks in to let us know he's being heard in Toledo for a while.

Thompson is filling the 6-7 PM "Eye on Toledo" slot on sister talk WSPD/1370 in the Glass City through the end of the week, as regular host Maggie Thurber moves into program director Brian Wilson's afternoon drive slot during his vacation.

We believe Wilson returns to his perch at WSPD a week from today (Monday).

Thompson hosts WTVN's Sunday afternoon "Radio Deli" show...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

WYTV Files For Full DTV Signal

We've often wondered here why Youngstown ABC affiliate WYTV/33 seemed happy with its anemic, 50 KW licensed digital TV signal - which we believed would become the station's primary signal on February 17th of next year.

They apparently weren't happy, after all.

WYTV owner Parkin Broadcasting has filed to maximize the WYTV-DT (RF 36) signal after the digital transition to 1000 KW, which would move it from the outhouse to the penthouse signal wise.

The increase, if granted, would give WYTV the most powerful digital signal in the Youngstown television market (at least by wattage), surpassing now-sister-via-New Vision-LMA WKBN-DT's 700 KW and Vindicator's WFMJ-DT at 460 KW...

Making News: Ohio Style

You might guess from the title of this entry that we've found a new guilty pleasure on TV. (And when you're talking about reality TV, "guilty" is pretty much the operative word...well, with exceptions.)

The TV Guide Network, that place where people used to go to get live cable TV listings in the days before digital cable and the Internet, is running the second season of its "Making News" reality TV series.

After a small Texas station gunning for number one grabbed the "Making News" spotlight in the first year, this time it's a struggling (and we mean struggling!) ABC affiliate in Savannah, Georgia, which tags along a sister FOX affiliate for "Making News: Savannah Style".

The good folks of Savannah's WJCL (ABC 22) and WTGS (FOX 28) allow the TV Guide Network cameras to capture those struggles, mostly with equipment that shouldn't be allowed in a cable access studio or a high school video room. Stuff breaks down so frequently, it's a wonder anything ever makes it to air... let alone a suite of morning and evening newscasts, seven days a week.

And one interesting touch: Until recently, WJCL's official web presence was just down the Information Highway from your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm)...right here on Blogger.

What does any of this have to do with Ohio?

Well, it's mentioned frequently in the series that WJCL has recently been purchased by New Vision Television, which is the current owner of Youngstown CBS affiliate WKBN/27. Like WKBN, WJCL has been through a long series of out-of-town owners the past few years...after a long-time local ownership presence.

And like WKBN, WJCL's sister station "FOX 28" is actually a New Vision LMA of a station owned, we're not making this up...Los Angeles-based Parkin Broadcasting, the entity which holds the license for WKBN's new sister station, ABC affiliate WYTV/33.

And speaking of Ohio, it looks like Parkin's shaping up - for New Vision - to be its version of Mission Broadcasting, the tiny Brecksville-based company that allows Nexstar Broadcasting to run stations it would not be allowed to own otherwise. Mission was once based in the Medina County home of its owner, and was profiled in an Akron Beacon Journal article a ways back.

There's one other WJCL-Ohio connection we uncovered, though we doubt she's on the "Making News" broadcasts due to her very recent arrival.

New WJCL reporter Ashley Olmstead is an Ohio University graduate with time on the air in the state, per her bio on the station's website:

Before joining this team I reported at the ABC Owned & Operated station in Toledo, Ohio. My first military related story caught national attention. I broke the story when Toledo, Ohio’s mayor forced training Marines to take their urban training drills elsewhere, causing first a local uproar, and then national anger from military supporters after they’d seen it on CNN. My first job in television news, however, was as an Assignment Editor at WTVG 13ABC.

The bio says Ms. Olmstead joined "The Coastal Source" just this June, long after taping of the TV Guide Network show ended.

The show itself is a decent, if a bit cheesy look at a low-rated station struggling up from the bottom of all ABC affiliates for news ratings.

We wish there were more actual material, because as per reality show standards, they throw in repeated video for "rejoin" segments and teases. (Hey, so does TV news!)

It's hard not to root for the scrappy WJCL newsies, many of them on their first or second jobs...and longing to move to bigger jobs and bigger markets. As for the equipment, New Vision has promised to update it, and is apparently scouting for new studio digs - WJCL now camps out south of town near a car lot that used to be owned by its original owner.

In case you don't get the TV Guide Network, or don't want to watch the channel do its combination of video and scrolling TV listings, the show has a presence on the "Hulu" online video site...with full episodes on the available for broadband viewing free of charge.

What's next for the third season?

We don't know, but we suggest, humbly, "Making News: Cleveland Style".

Oh, we'd almost pay to watch that...particularly if they brought the TV Guide Network cameras into the basement of a certain hotel/apartment complex a couple of blocks from the Greyhound Bus Station in downtown Cleveland...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Assorted Stuff

Just a few non-related items, mostly as usual...

FALLEN OFFICER BENEFIT: The folks at Oak Tree tell us that Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5 morning man Jim Mantel is involved in a fundraiser for the family of Twinsburg police officer Josh Miktarian, who was killed during a traffic stop in that city early Sunday morning.

The benefit is a memorial motorcycle ride from South East Harley-Davidson in Bedford Heights to Twinsburg High School on Saturday, July 26th. Riders' minimum donations of $10 will be routed through the Cleveland Police Scholarship Fund to Miktarian's family.

For more information, check out the notice posted in the "Ride Guide '08" section of Mantel's WGAR web presence...

MARCONI AWARDS 2008: The NAB's 2008 Marconi Awards nominee list includes some Ohio radio stations, but none north of Interstate 70.

Bonneville's Cincinnati alt-rocker WSWD/94.9 "The Sound" shows up on the list of nominated stations twice: once for Large Market Station of the Year, and once for Rock Station of the Year.

It competes in the Large Market Station category with long-established Clear Channel rocker WEBN/102.7, which doesn't show up in the Rock category.

Rounding out the Queen City's nominations: Clear Channel's WKFS/107.1 "Kiss FM", up for CHR Station of the Year...which is up against four other stations, including one just up I-71 - sister powerhouse WNCI/97.9 in Columbus.

Clear Channel rock WTUE/104.7 Dayton is nominated in the Medium Market Station of the Year category.

And that's it. No Cleveland, no Akron, no Canton, no Toledo and no Youngstown stations.

Something we believe should be made clear: A column by's Tom Taylor reminds us that CBS Radio outlets are nowhere to be found in the nomination list, since that company is no longer a member of the NAB family.

The entire Marconi Awards nominees list is here...

HE'S OUT: The latest radio personality to exit a job in Ohio is in the Toledo market.

Cumulus top 40 outlet WTWR/98.3 "Tower 98-3" programmer Steve Marshall is no longer...programming "Tower", that is.

His already-named replacement is Chris Reynolds, who comes off a 7 year stint programming and doing afternoon drive on Citadel AC outlet WFMK in Lansing MI.

And speaking of Michigan, that seems to be where Cumulus wants to focus "Tower"'s efforts, to the point of calling the cluster "Cumulus Toledo/Monroe" in the announcement marking the changes at WTWR.

WTWR was once licensed to that north suburban Michigan community of Monroe, but gained a COL change to the small outpost of Luna Pier MI...just far enough south to nudge its tower closer to Toledo, if we recall right.

From what we've heard, "Tower" would seem to be going the other way these days...moving its marketing focus to Michigan, perhaps in an attempt to gain traction in an area away from Clear Channel competitor WVKS/92.5's main Toledo base?

Who knows? We're just speculating...

AND SPEAKING OF TOLEDO: We hadn't noted it here yet, but Matrix talk WDMN/1520 in Toledo officially changed calls to WNWT a while back, to match its new format.

The talk outlet carries a variety of syndicated shows. It's owned by the broadcast arm of Toledo's Cornerstone Church, which also owns MyNetworkTV LPTVer WMNT-CA/48 "My 48/58" (the 58 for its Buckeye Cablevision channel position). Both WMNT and WNWT carry Cleveland Browns football broadcasts for the Toledo market.

And technically, Cornerstone Church also still owns western rimshot WKNL/96.9 Wauseon, which it leases to the Educational Media Foundation folks for the 24/7 "K-Love" Christian contemporary satellite format...

EX-MMS'ER OUT: The Oak Tree folks certainly hope the Revolving Door of WMMS Morning Shows has stopped spinning, with the presence of Shane "Rover" French's "Morning Glory" on the Clear Channel rocker.

One of the roughly 351 people heard on WMMS morning drive between "Jeff and Flash" and "Rover" is on the beach.

This time, it's Dick Dale - who has been doing morning drive at Entercom's Kansas City alternative outlet, KRBZ-FM. Dale helpfully notes his experience in Cleveland and other markets, like Las Vegas, in his pitch via AllAccess to get a new gig.

We also didn't note earlier that now-former WHBC-FM/94.1 "Mix 94.1" programmer Hunter Scott was also in that long list of ex-WMMS morning talent, part of the most recent local morning drive show before the station picked up - and later dropped - Premiere's "Bob and Tom"...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Other Shoe Drops On South Marginal

It's official - Cleveland no longer has a network "owned and operated" TV station.

New ownership group Local TV LLC closed on the purchase of eight FOX-owned stations Monday, including "Cleveland's Own" WJW/8 "FOX 8" right here in Northeast Ohio.

OMW hears that WJW, and other new Local TV outlets, announced the sale on air Monday. And "FOX 8" also puts this item on its website:

WJW wants to let you know that you will continue to see your favorite programs on Fox 8 -- including Fox 8 News, American Idol, The Simpsons, House and the MLB All-Star game Tuesday night.

Though it's not said directly in the story, there has been some question about the future of FOX 8's network programming...well, at least among some in the print media.

Here at OMW, we haven't we reported very early on that WJW and the other stations now in Local TV's hands agreed to a long-term (10 year) deal to remain as affiliates of FOX.

As we wrote at the time, it'd be basically television insanity for the network to leave the affiliation status "up in the air" in the Local TV markets. And it makes sense for WJW's new owners to "stay the course", as "FOX 8" has been very, very successful in the FOX era.

What does it mean for viewers?

We don't know...yet.

While viewers will indeed continue to see those popular shows on WJW, Local TV could make any number of decisions regarding how it deals with WJW's operations, both on-air and off-air.

It'd seem for the moment that any major changes would be ill-advised, but that's just our take...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Mid-July Visit

There's nothing particularly "breaking" going on, at least that we know of, in local media. But we managed to cobble together a few items to fill a Monday morning update...

NEON SWITCH: A couple of OMW readers checked in over the weekend to ask a question... "Did you know that Time Warner Cable has switched its local programming channel to channel 23?"

That switch has been made in the former Adelphia areas of greater Cleveland - including here at the OMW World Headquarters - where the "Northeast Ohio Network" ("NEON") channel had resided at cable channel 15.

That brings the cabler's local programming channel to the same position it's occupied for many years in the company's "legacy" areas, such as Akron/Canton.

And with the move, Time Warner has even launched a new website promoting the channel... giving brief descriptions of all the shows that air, and a schedule. (Note to TWC's webmaster: It's "More Sports and Les Levine", not "More Sports with Les Levine". You're welcome.)

Speaking of "NEON's" highest profile host, we hope he was able to get the word out about the channel change. Cable channel 15, the local programming outlet's former home, has now been taken off digital cable boxes, and displays nothing on an analog set.

The move has forced some shuffling of some local/government access channels, such as noted in this article we found on "":

Like it or not, Time Warner Cable has moved G-TV's local government access channel from channel 23 to channel 20.


Time Warner made the channel move in order to make channel 23 available for the "Northeast Ohio Network" (NEON) on which the cable TV company plans to provide a variety of local event programs from throughout the Cleveland-Akron area, according to G-TV Manager Dave Jevnikar.

23 was an interesting choice for the systemwide channel position. We're still wondering about confusion with WVPX/23 over the air, which lands on cable at 10, 4 or somewhere else depending on where you are in the TWC universe.

As over-air channel 23 was Akron's once-ABC affiliate, and the one-time home of the "Akron/Canton News" that eventually moved to TWC cable channel 23 before its demise, maybe they hoped people in the Akron/Canton area would naturally turn to "23" for local programming.

Anyway, be it "23" or "15" or whatever, this is a change we've been suggesting here since Time Warner first mounted its takeover of Adelphia. But the wheels of Big Cable TV move slowly, sometimes...

NOT YET, THAT WE CAN SEE: A trip into downtown Akron recently had us wondering - have NBC affiliate WKYC/3's two new "roommates" moved into the United Building yet?

WKYC is sharing space formerly used by "Akron/Canton News" with the Akron area's two public media outlets, PBS affiliates WNEO/45-WEAO-49, and Kent State University radio outlet WKSU/89.7.

Our guess, from a gander at the windows on Main and Market - not yet.

A good portion of the streetside facility has its windows covered by what appears to be black plastic. And we're pretty sure we saw vestiges of the former "ACN" set on the south end of the first floor space.

We're assuming July 1st was the first entry for WKSU and WNEO/WEAO, and that they likely plan a "public face" to their new digs.

WKSU plans an Akron news bureau to supplement its main operation in Kent, and WNEO/WEAO will likely use the space for some Akron-based studio productions.

And both will mount efforts into Akron from the new location...

TIP OF THE COWBOY HAT: one of Northern Ohio's country radio mainstays.

Clear Channel's WNCO/101.3 Ashland has been in the country format as long as your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) can remember, long before the station was owned by Clear Channel.

How long? The answer would be "40 years", as WNCO celebrated its anniversary playing country music at a concert over the weekend.

The Ashland Times-Gazette published a very good story on the history of WNCO and its country format last week, crediting Paul "Tex" Regan's weekend country music show with sparking the entire format change:

It was Regan's friend, WNCO salesman Ed Thompson, who pitched the idea of playing country music to then station owner Walt Roberts.

"Walt says, 'We'll give it a try and see how it goes,'" Regan recalled. "So I started out announcing three hours on Saturday mornings."

The new format started to catch on and Regan soon was spinning country records on weekdays as well, coming in after his shift at Faultless Rubber. He would be on the air 2 to 5 p.m. weekdays and 6 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

The article notes that though it did take a while after that, Regan's country music spread to the entire station, making it one of the longest running stations staying in the country format...

VOICE FROM THE PAST: Yes, we did see the item in AllAccess about Danny Czekalinski, the former morning man at hot AC WQAL/104.1 "Q104" in Cleveland.

The Palm Beach Post-Gazette in Florida reports that a count of domestic battery against Czekalinski was dropped last week, and the case involving Czekalinski and his live-in girlfriend based on a May 31 incident won't be further pursued.

Czekalinski is now the morning co-host at West Palm Beach hot AC WRMF/97.9, where he's part of the "Jennifer and Danny" show...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

WKSU Launches HD Subchannels

Kent State University NPR/classical WKSU/89.7 Kent has unveiled two HD Radio subchannels.

The WKSU-originated "Folk Alley" programming takes the HD2 subchannel, and the station's all-classical feed is occupying WKSU-HD3. The station's main broadcast signal continues its digital presence at WKSU-HD1.

Both programming streams have long been available over the station's website.

WKSU general manager Al Bartholet writes in his "Al Things Considered" blog that the subchannels have been up since Tuesday, and says the station already got an E-Mail note about it from a listener in Medina (so, at least one other Northeast Ohioan has an HD Radio!).

Here at the OMW World Headquarters, we do have one of those now-old Accurian HD Radio units we got in a holiday $99 sale, and we verified the WKSU subchannels this afternoon.

Bartholet notes:

Currently, we have these additional channels only on the main 89.7 tower north of Akron, but WNRK in Norwalk (which was outfitted with a digital transmitter when we built the tower) is next on the list to have digital side streams added and then it is on to the other communities we serve with repeater stations.

In addition to the various car aftermarket radios, Sony's XDR-F1HD gets glowing performance reviews from radio hobbyists - here's just one example of the praise - for its overall performance on both analog and HDR signals...and it's selling for $99 in many places.

This is NOT, as far as we can tell, the same Sony unit sold in some of the consumer electronics stores for quite a bit more...and is a tuner (no built-in speakers, etc.), not a standalone radio.

We still believe that the price of these units need to go down for wider acceptance in the marketplace, but the Sony sounds like a good unit even without considering HD Radio in the mix...

On The Fringes

A trio of recent items that are on the fringes of our coverage area, have some links to Ohio or are otherwise used to fill this next update:

ABC FOR THE OHIO VALLEY: The Wheeling/Steubenville market is about to get what it has never, ever had - a full-time, in-market ABC affiliate station.

The folks at TVNewsday report that West Virginia Media CBS affiliate WTRF/7 Wheeling will launch a new ABC affiliate for the Ohio Valley on August 1, with a digital subchannel on WTRF-DT. That'd have to be, as the story indicates, WTRF-DT 7.3, as 7.2 is already taken by "FOX Ohio Valley".

The trade site quotes West Virginia Media president Bray Cary:

"Our new affiliations with the ABC Television Network in Clarksburg-Weston and Wheeling-Steubenville will expand the programming choice for our viewers, enabling them to enjoy the entire ABC Network schedule along with local news broadcasts produced specifically for these markets. This expansion of service with the Aug. 1 launch of WBOY-TV/D2 and WTRF-TV/D3 also creates important new advertising opportunities for our local station clients."

WBOY-TV is the company's NBC affiliate in the Clarksburg-Weston WV market, which is also adding a new ABC subchannel.

Until now, those living in the Ohio Valley have relied upon out of market ABC affiliates, like WTAE/4 Pittsburgh and WSYX/6 Columbus.

It won't be the first relatively new ABC affiliate serving Ohio viewers, as Metro Video's WLQP-LP/18 Lima switched from UPN to ABC, when the former network faded into the TV history books a couple of years ago.

But WTRF's effort will be on its main digital signal, which will put "ABC Ohio Valley" (or whatever they end up calling it) right next to the mothership CBS and existing FOX affiliate for digital viewers - a good spot to be over-the-air after the analog-to-digital transition kicks in next February...

DP TO NBC: The Content Factory syndicated sports talk radio host Dan Patrick is "getting the band back together", as it were, as NBC hires him for highlight duties alongside his former ESPN SportsCenter partner Keith Olbermann on the network's "Football Night in America" pre-game show starting this season.

Akron Beacon Journal sports media columnist and OMW reader George M. Thomas has more from Tuesday's Beacon, though he doesn't mention Patrick's various Ohio ties.

Dan Patrick is a native of the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, and a graduate of the University of Dayton. His newly-re-syndicated radio show now airs live from 9 AM to noon on Clear Channel Akron sports talk outlet WARF/1350 "SportsRadio 1350".

OK, so they're relatively minor ties...

FROM CLEVELAND TO DAYTON: While we're in Mr. Patrick's hometown area, electronically, we have word of a sports-related item...thanks to Indiana RadioWatch's Blaine Thompson.

Cox CBS affiliate WHIO-TV/7 Dayton has announced that the station will air two August pre-season Cleveland Browns games in 2008 - the August 7th contest against the New York Jets and the August 28th game against the Chicago Bears.

Both games come to WHIO-TV courtesy of the Browns' pre-season TV network, as far as we know based again this year at Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC-TV 3 in Cleveland.

WHIO's announcement says it may add a third pre-season contest to the schedule.

The Browns are no stranger to the Dayton media scene, with Clear Channel sports WONE/980 and simulcaster WIZE/1340 Springfield airing the team's radio network for some time now...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Midweek Drop In

Just checking in...and some of these items have been sitting around for a while...

THREE EXIT, ONE RETURNS: We've gotten some inquiries about some of these recent local radio departures, and a former local radio mainstay is coming back to this area to take one of the openings.

AllAccess reports that NextMedia AC WHBC-FM 94.1 "Mix 94.1" Canton program director and afternoon driver Hunter Scott is out, confirming rumblings we've heard the past week.

And the trade site reports today that his replacement will be a returning Northeast Ohio programmer - former Clear Channel Youngstown top 40 outlet WAKZ/95.9 program director Jerry Mac transfers up within NextMedia, from his programming job at that company's cluster in Wilmington, NC, to take the "Mix" programming gig just down U.S. 62 from his old job.

Also recently off the air and out of work in Cleveland are Clear Channel oldies WMJI/105.7 morning drive sports/traffic contributor "Big John" Crawford, and Metro Networks/Salem talk WHK/1420 afternoon news anchor Mike Ward.

We have no further information on any of these items, but felt the need to put 'em up...

ONE MOVES UP: The program director vacancy at Clear Channel Columbus talk combo WTVN/610-WTPG/1230 has been filled from within the building.

Station assistant program director/executive producer Mike Elliott moves into the big talk radio programming chair, ending the search for the replacement for now-former PD Bruce Collins.

Elliott has also been on two sister FMs, rockers WBWR/105.7 "The Brew" and WRXS/106.7 "Radio 106.7", and he'll hang onto his air shift on one of the two stations after taking the programming reins of WTVN...the other replacement FM voice will be announced by "Brew"/"Radio 106.7" program director Laura Lee...

ANOTHER BUCKEYE: While we're electronically in Columbus...if you're a sports talk radio station in the Home of the Buckeyes, what do you need? Apparently, enough former Buckeyes to field your own football lineup.

Dispatch sports talk WBNS/1460 "The Fan" is adding ex-Ohio State quarterback Craig Krenzel to their, uh, oh-air lineup. Quoting a "Fan" press release that arrived in Scarlet and Gray:

Krenzel will join The Fan as a co-host for The Mid-Day Show with Mike Ricordati and Scott Torgerson, which airs weekdays from 12pm to 2pm, as well as filling in on The Big Show with Chris Spielman, Bruce Hooley, and Kirk Herbstreit, weekdays from 4pm-7pm. In addition, Krenzel will also host the OSU Roundtable Show, a statewide broadcast on the Ohio State Sports Radio Network, Monday evenings during the football season.

Which leads us to wonder... are there any OTHER former Buckeyes football names who are not heard in some capacity on "The Fan"? We wonder...

Monday, July 07, 2008

After The Holiday

UPDATE 11:20 PM 7/7/08: AllAccess confirms, as do our own sources within WNCX, that the below moves on the WNCX Morning Show are permanent. It's indeed "Miller, Mihalik and Mike" now, and yes, that is former WDOK programmer Scott Miller aboard at 98.5...he's been in the chair since last week.

The artist known solely as "Mud" on the show is no longer with WNCX.

And we don't feel as bad now for mangling the spelling of Kim Mihalik's last name in previous items. At least we didn't use a "C" like AllAccess did...


We're back, post-fireworks, and tracking some items we've touched upon before - along with some brand-new, developing stuff...

DIFFERENT M?: OMW had heard rumblings that CBS Radio classic rock WNCX/98.5 Cleveland had made a change on its "WNCX Morning Show", and we quickly verified it with a listen to the show this morning.

We are reasonably sure that it's the former program director of CBS Radio sister AC WDOK/102.1, Scott Miller, taking the lead role in what's being touted on-air as "Miller, Mihalik and Mike". The other two cast members, Kim Mihalik and Mike Olszewski, are still in place.

(Our doubt about Mr. Miller comes only from the fact that we never heard him on-air at WDOK, and we didn't hear him use his full name on WNCX this morning. But we're operating under the assumption that it's him.)

OMW has no idea of the status of "Mud", the "M105" veteran known in various places as "J. Mudcliff", "The Mudd" and even Wynn Richards. (As far as we know, he's always just been touted as "Mud" on WNCX.)

We can't say for certain that he's no longer associated with the show or the station, and don't know if the Miller placement is permanent or a temporary fill-in.

And at least some of these folks have been OMW readers in the past, along with some other WNCX personnel, so we'd appreciate a heads up or clarification of what's going on.

The station's webpage for the "MMM" show is "under construction", with a cryptic message:

Big changes underway
check back often...

It does, though, still carry the text legend atop it: "MUD, MIHALIK & MIKE in the MORNINGS"...though the only content is a link to an "Indians GameFace" interview with WNCX assistant program director and show producer Dave Jockers...

LOCAL AWARD: Northeast Ohio has become busier and busier on the syndicated radio front, and one driving force in that activity picked up an award at a recent broadcasting convention.

Beachwood-based Envision Radio Networks President and CEO Danno Wolkoff received the 2008 Rockwell Award at the Conclave Learning Conference in Minneapolis late last month. The Rockwell is a "lifetime achievement award".

Wolkoff was presented the award by MJI Broadcasting founder Joshua Feigenbaum, who Wolkoff considers an "early inspiration" from his own days working at MJI. The local syndicator's boss also kicked in $2600 to the group's Rockwell Scholarship Fund.

The Beachwood company calls itself "the largest independently owned affiliate relations company in America with more than twenty-five years of experience in radio syndication", and represents a laundry list of both short-form and long-form radio programming, along with various off-air and Internet services...

CLEARING UP TIFFIN AND FINDLAY: OMW readers in the region are helping us get a handle on the recent moves by BAS Broadcasting, which just filed to flip away the Findlay/Tiffin-area stations it picked up in the Clear Channel small market sell-off.

First, to WPFX/107.7 North Baltimore.

The station once known as classic rock "The Fox" was flipped to AC "My 107.7" as a virtual clone of Clear Channel Canton AC outlet WHOF/101.7 "My 101.7" - just a few weeks ago. After BAS closed on the station last week, it went silent...and our sources in the area say it was still off the air this weekend.

We passed along an AllAccess report that WPFX was being sold again, this time to a company called "Toledo Radio" headed by a Daniel Dudley. But our institutional knowledge of the Toledo market is not very broad, so we didn't recognize Dudley's previous turn in Toledo radio ownership.

As it turns out, he owned Toledo rocker WBUZ "The Buzz 106.5", a station now known as Cumulus alt-rocker WRWK/106.5 "The Zone", in the mid-to-late 1990s. He eventually launched an LMA/simulcast on cross-market WJZE/97.3.

Dudley also was responsible for bringing then-syndicated radio morning star Howard Stern to the Toledo radio market. Cumulus dumped Stern - who would eventually leave over-air radio for Sirius - about a year after buying 106.5 from Dudley.

Much of this information is courtesy of old Toledo newspaper articles found on a Howard Stern fan site which kept track of Stern's various syndicated markets.

As before, we don't know if Dudley is considering moving WPFX north to act as a Toledo rimshot, or if he could even do that, technically...

AND ABOUT TIFFIN: An OMW reader in the area tells us that, at least according to the local buzz/rumor mill, that the incoming new owner of former Clear Channel-turned-BAS Broadcasting WTTF/1600 Tiffin is indeed syndicated morning talk radio host Doug Stephan.

We hear Stephan is a graduate of Tiffin's Heidelberg College, which would explain his interest in the region at any rate.

But whatever plans Stephan has for WTTF, they won't be immediate. The sale contract between BAS and Tiffin Broadcasting, LLC calls for BAS to continue to run the station for the new buyer for a lengthy period of time...up to two years, if we read it right.

We believe Stephan's show does run in the early morning hours on WTTF, though we're pointed to the still-on-the-Clear Channel-server WTTF schedule that lists "The Early Edition - Russ Snyder" in the 6-10 AM slot. If that reflects reality, that'd be a move from Snyder's previous midday slot, and a replacement of previous morning host Jason Aldrich.

(And if future WTTF owner Stephan's show does appear on the station, perhaps it's in the 5-6 AM slot. That's just a guess.)

And, "Early Edition" would be the only local programming on the station aside from the "WTTF Noon News Hour", as the station runs - wait, hang on, let us guess, this shouldn't be difficult! - ABC Radio/Citadel's 24/7 "Timeless Favorites" standards/oldies/soft AC hybrid outside of those hours...

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Other BAS Shoes Drop

Thanks to the folks at AllAccess, we can "clear the books" on the Findlay/Tiffin side of the BAS Broadcasting purchases from Clear Channel.

The trade site reports that BAS is flipping both WPFX/107.7 North Baltimore/Findlay and WTTF/1600 Tiffin to different owners.

A company called Toledo Radio, headed by someone AllAccess identifies as Daniel Dudley, picks up the station that has been known as AC "My 107.7" for a cool million bucks. The company name is interesting, though we'd have to run it past our experts (paging Mr. Scott Fybush!) to determine if WPFX has a shot at becoming even a far southern Toledo rimshot.

On the Tiffin side, AllAccess says Tiffin Broadcasting, LLC, headed by one Dudley Stephen, is buying WTTF/1600 for $500,000, and that BAS will continue to run the station via LMA.

We missed it, apparently, but BAS did take over WTTF earlier this year. We're told by those who did keep track that the station's staff was trimmed, and that outside of a local morning drive show, WTTF runs - wait, try to guess this! It's not hard! - the same ABC Radio/Citadel "Timeless Favorites" standards/soft AC format run by BAS' WLEC/1450 Sandusky.

As for WPFX, we have no idea who Daniel Dudley is, or what his plans are for the station. But since he's not BAS Broadcasting, it may mean a different fate for the station than becoming AC "Eagle 107.7", running the ABC/Citadel "Hits and Favorites" format.

We were wondering if BAS would have run the same route, with 107.7's listening area pretty well covered by the company's existing WFRO/99.1 Fremont and its "Eagle 99.1" AC format. But now...a different road, we presume...

Radio News Website, Other Local Connections In Murrow Awards

A hearty congratulations to Akron's Rubber City Radio for a much-deserved award.

The local radio company's extensive local news website,, has received an Edward R. Murrow Award.

Quoting the local site's own article on the award, written by Rubber City VP/Information Media Ed Esposito: was judged best news website for the category covering radio stations in markets 51+ for the Murrow Award. The Murrow Awards program is administered by the Radio Television News Directors Association (RTNDA), the world's largest association of electronic journalists.

AkronNewsNow is in very good company. The large market award winner in the same category is, the site run by well-respected Bonneville all-news outlet WTOP-FM/Washington DC.

And one other Murrow award has a local connection as well.

The small market Radio Documentary prize went to the University of Michigan's WUOM/Ann Arbor MI, for a report on the anniversary of the Detroit riots.

WUOM's news director is Vincent Duffy, a name which should be very familiar to regular OMW readers.

Duffy was program director at Kent-based public radio outlet WKSU/89.7 until April of last year, when he went to Ann Arbor to run the newsroom at "Michigan Radio".

Duffy was also WKSU's news director for many years before taking the programming reins, and hosted WNEO/45-WEAO/49 "PBS 45 & 49"'s "NewsNight Akron"...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

WOIO/WUAB Cuts Off-Air Staffers

UPDATE 7:47 PM 7/1/08: We've gotten some new, very credible information on this, and it appears the total number of layoffs between the two areas mentioned is 6, with another couple of employees moving to part-time status.

We wanted to clarify this quickly, to make sure those who are still employed are not concerned that additional layoffs (beyond the 6) are coming. As far as we know, this is it for now.

The original item below did say "as many as 13", due to a little uncertainty to the exact number.

We've edited the header for this item as well, to reflect the new reality. We've also republished this item to move it to the top of the current news scroll.

--The Management


We've heard the rumblings about this, but OMW can now confirm those rumblings.

Sources inside Reserve Square tell us that as many as 13 off-air employees (see new information above about number) at Raycom Media CBS/MyNet combo WOIO/19-WUAB/43 have lost their jobs as of late last week.

We hear the job casualties hit, among other areas, master control operators and studio crew members.

It's a tough economy for broadcasters.

Those TV and radio outlets who haven't laid off workers yet are expected to do so at some point, especially if the economy continues going into the proverbial Northeast Ohio and across the nation. And more layoffs are possible down the road even for those outlets which have already cut staff.

As we hear separately - but haven't confirmed - that at least a couple of local radio broadcasters are also involuntarily out of their jobs, we once again offer a service to them or anyone.

OMW is always available for "Situation Wanted" advertisements, and certainly, for that matter, "Help Wanted" advertisements.

Both are offered free of charge.

And we also offer a "blind box" style ad for those who don't wish to put their name and contact information out there in public. OMW is read by those with hiring power at many area broadcast operations, and we'll gladly act as an intermediary if need be. As always, we offer confidentiality.

We all have to pull together, as members of the local broadcast community, to make this rough ride as smooth as possible...

BREAKING NEWS: WQMX Looking For New AM Drive Co-Host

OMW has confirmed that Rubber City Radio Akron market country station WQMX/94.9 is looking for a new morning co-host, after the voluntary departure of Shannon Alexander.

Well, the initial word came from WQMX's own Morning Show website page:

Special Announcement: It's is with mixed emotions we announce that Shannon Alexander has left her position on the WQMX Morning Show. We are happy that Shannon will get to be at home full time with her boys, but we will miss her presence on the air daily. In the interim, until a new co-host is found, WQMX Program Director Sue Wilson will be joining Scott Wynn in The Morning.

And that WQMX programmer, Sue Wilson, checks in with OMW about the opening.

She’ll be staying home with her two young sons. We will miss her presence both on the air and in the building. We’ll be running ads and conducting an active search after this holiday week is over.

And Sue, who has a full plate as WQMX's PD and various other duties with Rubber City Radio - at last check, she was helping program one of the company's Lansing MI stations - will surely welcome Shannon's replacement...if only so she can get more sleep!

BAS Takes Over Findlay's WPFX

An OMW reader in the region tells us that BAS Broadcasting has taken over one of the stations it acquired from Clear Channel earlier this year - WPFX/107.7 North Baltimore, the Findlay-area station that flipped from rock "The Fox" shortly before the sale to AC "My 107.7".

The "Fox" rock format then scooted over to WBUK/106.3 Ottawa OH, near Lima, formerly oldies outlet "The Big Buck".

The reader in the Findlay area mentions that WPFX has been off the air "since yesterday".

When it returns, is WPFX destined to become the latest BAS outlet running ABC Radio/Citadel's 24/7 "Hits and Favorites" satellite network under the "Eagle 107.7" moniker?

We don't know. That's just pretty safe, educated speculation based on BAS' past history with both the format and the name in places like Mount Vernon and Fremont...with the company's "Eagle 99.1" just up the road from the new 107.7.

To put it bluntly, the bottom-line and sales-oriented BAS isn't exactly the most creative broadcaster.

BAS also bought Clear Channel's Sandusky stations in the transaction, and it's been operating those stations for a while now.

No word on what this means for Tiffin's WTTF/1600, the other station outside Sandusky in this transaction...