Friday, August 29, 2008

TWC: OSU Big Ten Network Saturday Game In HD

Time Warner Cable's Northeast Ohio division has announced that this weekend's Ohio State Buckeyes game on Big Ten Network will indeed air locally in high-definition.

The contest between the Buckeyes and the Youngstown State University Penguins will air Saturday at noon on HD digital channel 433.

A TWC Northeast Ohio press release on the subject is reprinted below:


Time Warner Cable To Offer OSU Game
In High-Definition on Channel 433

Akron, OH (AUGUST 2008) – Time Warner Cable customers will be able to watch this Saturday’s Ohio State University football game in high-definition on channel 433. This announcement follows yesterday’s news that Time Warner Cable will carry the Big Ten Network in standard-definition on channel 77 and 333.

Time Warner Cable will also offer customers an additional Big Ten Network channel that will air out-of-market games when an in-market game is on at the same time. That channel will be located at 334. This Saturday, the out-of-market game will be the University of Akron versus the University of Wisconsin, at 12 noon, the same time as the Ohio State game.

More information on channel lineups can be found at or through the on-screen guide.

In addition to this weekend’s Ohio State University game versus Youngstown State, Big Ten Network is also scheduled to broadcast the September 20th Buckeyes game against Troy University.

For more information about Time Warner Cable, please visit

Radio One Cuts Hit Ohio, Other Markets

The down economy, and the media's troubles, are just part of the story at Radio One - which reportedly made a wide variety of job cuts in a number of markets Thursday, including at all of its Ohio clusters.

We don't have any details directly about the company's Cleveland stations, but columnist Tom Taylor includes this line in his story about the Radio One job cuts:

In Cleveland, production talent, parttime air talent and producers gone and some fulltime vacancies not filled, for a total of perhaps 12 bodies.

The number seems a bit high, and we haven't confirmed it from within Radio One's Cleveland cluster, which includes urban AC WZAK/93.1, hip-hop WENZ/107.9, gospel WJMO/1300 and urban talk/brokered WERE/1490.

But there are reports of eight job cuts at Radio One's hometown Washington DC cluster, and as many as 20 are said to be out of work at the company's Atlanta operation.

Taylor also reports word of two staffers being let go, each, at Radio One's Cincinnati cluster - urban AC WMOJ/100.3 "Mojo" program director Phillip March and an unnamed host at urban talk WDBZ/1230 - and in Columbus, where Taylor names WCKX/107.5 afternoon driver "B. Slim" and production director Ed Dozier as job casualties.

Radio One no longer owns stations in one Ohio market, Dayton, due to a recent sale to Main Line Broadcasting.

The cuts seem extensive.

But Radio One's problems are deeper than those of most broadcast companies, with its stock tumbling to low levels. And the company hasn't been in the best financial shape even when you set aside the economic downturn...

Akron/Canton News Returns - Sort Of - And People Meters

We're actually surprised this didn't happen earlier this year, when the WKYC/3-produced "Akron/Canton News" ended its run on Time Warner Cable's "NEON" local programming channel....after a previous run over-air on ION-owned WVPX/23.

WKYC Akron bureau chief Eric Mansfield has started what we guess could be called "Akron/Canton News 2.0" via a new video player on his WKYC "Have I Got News For You!" blog. The video player aggregates all of Mansfield's (and WKYC's) recent Akron/Canton-based stories in one online place.

But we actually first found out about this on our own, early this morning, when we stumbled onto something that Mansfield had talked about in vague terms in his most recent item:

...and my hope is to add a few copy stories that I'll read from our Akron newsroom to kind of round-it-all out.

Sure enough, Eric got a Round Tuit and did just that on Thursday night, in a short video that's labeled the "Akron/Canton Webcast", complete with use of the green screen at WKYC's Akron bureau to resurrect the old "ACN" virtual set.

Eric credits one of the more capable digital hands at 13th and Lakeside, WKYC senior director and "Director's Cut" blogger Frank Macek, for helping him launch the online version of "Akron/Canton News".

It's not quite a full over-air (or even cable) newscast, but it makes a lot of sense for WKYC to use its extensive existing online presence and video to at least try to reach those who really don't pay much attention to news north of the Ohio Turnpike.

Speaking of Frank Macek and his blog, he alerts readers that the Cleveland/Akron (Canton) TV market has indeed entered the Nielsen "Local People Meter" era, with the controversial ratings measuring devices deployed in this region starting Thursday. Quoting:

What does this mean for Cleveland TV stations?

First, it will mean a 12 - one month survey periods. Every month becomes a new sweeps time...putting TV stations in continuous, competitive situation. Will this mean you will seen the hype stories all the time. Not likely. But it will mean stations have to become smarter and wiser as to the news content they offer all year round.

Macek notes that Cuyahoga County viewers make up 35 percent of the 17 county Cleveland market viewing area, and as such, the Nielsen folks will also subdivide Cuyahoga County into five census-based zones, including the area's traditional west side/east side divide...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Zips Add FM Voice

The University of Akron Zips football team will not only be on TV this weekend.

In their last season at the Rubber Bowl, the Zips gain a regular FM radio home.

The university and Clear Channel Akron/Canton announced today that in addition to carriage on sports WARF/1350 Akron, the team's games will also air on Clear Channel rock WRQK/106.9 Canton, starting with this weekend's Zips contest with Wisconsin.

Though "Rock 106.9" has long been a Canton station, it has made efforts to expand its reach and influence into Akron under Clear Channel's direction.

More details later...

A Newsy Thursday

Items are popping up all over...

CC CLEVELAND'S NEW OM: Clear Channel's Cleveland cluster has found a new operations manager.

He's Keith Abrams, who comes to Oak Tree from the VP/Programming slot at CBS Radio's Denver cluster. Though the title is slightly different, he'll replace former cluster programming fixture Kevin Metheny...who parted ways with Clear Channel late last month.

Abrams also has Salt Lake City, Seattle, Charlotte, Memphis and Pittsburgh on his programming resume. We hear that he and his wife are from Pittsburgh and are "big Steelers fans", so we hope he has the good sense to lay low when the Browns and Steelers tangle later this season.

A station memo that floated into the OMW World Headquarters says Abrams will be "driving in" from Denver, and taking the operations manager reins on September 5th...

SIGN HIM UP: Crowing about his ratings successes, D.A. Peterson top 40 WDJQ/92.5 Alliance "Q92" has signed an extension with morning host DeLuca.

A station press release that floated in right before the CC memo says DeLuca is now under contract with the Canton market top 40 station through the year 2012. Quoting the release:

"Over the past two-and-a-half years, DeLuca has taken Q92 from mediocre morning numbers to the top of the Canton area Morning Drive ratings. Since coming to Morning Drive from evenings, he has always been popular with the younger segment of the radio listening audience. But DeLuca has an uncanny way of appealing to a mature audience as well."

It's not often that when talking about a new personality's success, you see a station admitting that its previous numbers were "mediocre"...

BIG TEN'ING IT: Time Warner Cable has released channel numbers where Big Ten Network games will be seen starting this weekend.

As we expected, but never wrote here, BTN's primary feed will show up on the TWC expanded basic lineup on Channel 77, where viewers will watch THE Ohio State University Buckeyes play the (lower case) Youngstown State University Penguins in the season opener.

The 77 placement makes sense, since it's right next to the analog home for SportsTime Ohio (76).

The BTN primary feed will also be aired on digital cable channel 333, and a BTN alternate feed will be available on digital cable channel 334.

The Akron Beacon Journal's George M. Thomas reports that the alternate feed will provide a bonus for Akron area sports fans this Saturday, as it'll carry the University of Akron Zips game against Big Ten school Wisconsin.

The TWC/BTN deal does include HDTV feeds and on demand services, but don't expect them to light up this weekend, says the TWC page on the deal:

Standard definition channels on our Expanded Basic and Digital Cable service levels will launch in time for the Saturday, August 30 game. High definition and Video On Demand services will be added at a later time.

As we write this on Thursday morning, even analog channel 77 doesn't seem to be "awake" on TWC's Cleveland-based (former Adelphia) system. We suspect it'll go live by the close of business Friday, but that's just a guess.

And for those on the far eastern end of the Time Warner Cable Northeast Ohio empire, the TWC page has news for you, too:

Customers in the Franklin, PA area will see Big Ten on channel 28, and portions of the Erie, PA area will see the channel on position 31.

Here at your Mighty Blog, we don't know what "portions of the Erie, PA area" means, but the TWC system there is basically in two parts - the legacy TWC part of the system, which covers the city of Erie, and the former Adelphia system, which covers the county outside Erie itself...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Big Ten Network, Time Warner Finally Reach Deal

The Big Ten Network and Time Warner Cable have reached "an agreement-in-principle" to clear the network on TWC's expanded basic tier, along with providing high definition and video-on-demand Big Ten Network offerings.

A joint statement between the two entities was released late Monday. Time Warner is the dominant cable provider in Ohio, serving over 2 million customers and nearly all of the state's major metropolitan areas.

The "pending" pact means TWC will be able to carry this coming weekend's Big Ten openers, including the game between THE Ohio State University football Buckeyes and the Youngstown State University Penguins...

UPDATE: WKNR "Little Brother" Growing

Good Karma Broadcasting now has the FCC go-ahead to upgrade sports WWGK/1540 "KNR2", the company's first Cleveland market acquisition, with the approval earlier this month of an upgraded signal construction permit.

OMW reported in April that WWGK filed to more than triple its daytime power - from 1000 to 3500 watts - and to move its transmitter site to co-locate at the WKNR site in North Royalton. WWGK's current transmitter site is at 1540's long-time former home, on Euclid Avenue on Cleveland's East Side.

The station will reduce to 1500 watts in the "critical hours" time period, defined as two hours after sunrise and two hours before sunset.

But the upgrade does not give WWGK any nighttime signal - which would presumably be nearly impossible considering all the full-power stations on the 1540 frequency...among them, Waterloo IA's KXEL and Toronto's CHIN.

The directional signal - depicted here in a Radio-Locator "for entertainment only" signal map - aims most of WWGK's juice north from North Royalton towards the bulk of the Cleveland area. But if the map is any guide, WWGK may actually lose some signal in some northeastern Cleveland suburbs...though it certainly improves in much of central and western Cuyahoga County.

As Good Karma's "backup" sports station, on a difficult frequency, WWGK basically gets whatever it can squeeze out of 1540.

Good Karma, owned by Craig Karmazin, bought the former WABQ/1540 as his first Cleveland station - before eventually buying what's now "ESPN 850 WKNR" from Salem a few months later...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Monday Changes

UPDATE 8/25/08 6:28 PM: Toledo NBC affiliate WNWO/24 reports that it has granted another extension to Buckeye Cablevision, which will keep the station on cable through September 10th as negotiations continue...


If you look closely, you'll notice a very slight change in our appearance.

We've been putting it off here at the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), but we finally decided to drag our old template into the new Blogger layout system. We're still tweaking some things, but this will allow us to more quickly, and easily, change things in the future.

There isn't much to talk about this Monday morning, but we're here...

RUMBLINGS: We're hearing rumblings that there could be on-air changes at a Northeast Ohio FM station "as soon as today", but don't know much more than that right now. We'll update this item when we receive more information...

BOB AND TOM AND JACOR: This doesn't directly affect Northeast Ohio radio, but it involves a show that still airs at least on at least a couple of area stations.

Tribune's WGN America, the cable/satellite home of Chicago sports and "Retro" TV nights, forges yet another link with radio, when Premiere syndicated morning drive team "Bob and Tom" debut a televised version of their radio show - distilled down into an hour - from midnight to 1 AM weeknights.

The TV side of the show starts November 3rd. The show crows about it in a WGN press release here (PDF format).

"Bob and Tom" exited Clear Channel rock WMMS/100.7's morning drive slot when Cleveland-based Shane "Rover" French and his "Morning Glory" showed up - and eventually exited WMMS entirely.

The show still airs on the company's Canton rocker WRQK/106.9 and its Youngstown sister (brother?) station WNCD/93.3 "The Wolf", and on former Clear Channel-now-Media One classic rocker WFXJ/107.5 "The Fox" in the Ashtabula market, along with other Ohio stations.

A key figure in this move is Tribune's Sean Compton, the former Premiere Radio head who cut his big market radio teeth at Cincinnati's own WLW/700.

And since Tribune is being run top to bottom by a whole host of former Jacor radio executives, including suburban Cincinnati's Randy Michaels (speaking of WLW) and new Tribune owner Sam Zell, we're wondering when they'll change the company's name to "Jacor".

Tribune recently put out a press release crowing about the Tribune-to-Jacor connection, and the former SuperStation WGN still uses their version of the old Jacor slogan, "TV You Can't Ignore".

Well, as long as they don't mess too much with CTV's "Corner Gas" for the rest of its run, we'll give 'em a break...just put it somewhere where we can run the TiVo, is all we ask...

HERE'S AN ODD MOVE: OMW hears that Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 Toledo "SuperTalk 1560" is displacing an hour of Dial Global's syndicated Neal Boortz Show weekdays from 12-1 PM.

Supposedly headed for that time slot? The brokered Catholic weekend show "Annunciation Radio", which airs on WTOD now from 12-2 PM on Sundays. As far as we know, the WSB/Atlanta-based Boortz will continue on the station from 1-3 PM.

We hear one reason behind the move is to clear the Sunday afternoon space on 1560 for radio coverage of the National...Football...League...(fanfare, imagine your best John Facenda voice).

WTOD will pick up Westwood One NFL games that can't be aired for whatever reason on sister sports WLQR/1470 "The Ticket", and also will air "Sports USA" coverage of NFL games. That network recently inked former San Diego Chargers quarterback star Dan Fouts as a game analyst...

SPEAKING OF THE NFL IN T-TOWN: OMW hears that this past weekend's Cleveland Browns/Detroit Lions game did air in Toledo not only on talk WNWT/1520, but on Cornerstone Church/Matrix Media sister station WMNT/48 "My 58".

We don't know if the TV side of the Matrix house will carry the Browns' final pre-season tilt on Thursday...or if anyone will be brave enough to actually watch it...

AND ONE MORE TOLEDO ITEM: And it's a doozy, though we won't know the disposition until we hear out of the Glass City later today.

Buckeye Cablevision viewers could find Toledo NBC affiliate WNWO/24 "NBC 24" off of their cable lineup as soon as today, as the Barrington Broadcasting-owned TV station has not reached a new carriage agreement with Buckeye, owned by Toledo-based media empire Block Communications.

The agreement was originally supposed to expire August 1st, but was extended until the end of the Summer Olympics. With the games now over, all bets are off.

An item posted to WNWO's website alerts viewers to the prospect of the station's signal going off Buckeye Cablevision "within days", and urges concerned viewers to use a "cost free" antenna, or move to a satellite dish.

The station's official response - sent via E-Mail to Buckeye subscribers - is reprinted on the station's website as well.

And the back and forth reminds us of a political campaign. The WNWO response cites a quote from the general manager of Louisville KY's WDRB/WMYO on the trade site TV Newsday back in June:

“If we were gone, I don’t think cable could hold their interest very long. We’ve put millions and millions of dollars into programming and we should be compensated if you’re making money from us.”

WNWO wastes no time reminding the reader that the Louisville FOX/MyNetwork TV combo is owned guessed it, Block Communications, which owns Buckeye Cablesystem. (And of course, Block also operates Toledo's cable-only CW affiliate, "WT05".)

For its part, Buckeye's statement is quoted on the WNWO site (if they've put it on their own site, we can't find it):

This demand WNWO is asking for is very unreasonable and exceeds the value for agreements with other Toledo area broadcasters. WNWO is seeking compensation as though it were the top-performing station in Toledo, but in fact it performs at the bottom. That is not fair.

Well, they do have a point there...WNWO is, as far as we know, Toledo's lowest-rated over-air full-power station. We're not sure they aren't heading for a dangerous spot in forcing the issue..."NBC 24" really needs as many viewers as it can get in the day-to-day battle for viewers...though WNWO also notes that the now-completed Olympics were highly rated, and "on NBC 24".

But the station compares itself not to other broadcasters like WTOL, WTVG and compares itself in the response to ESPN and other cable networks which get high compensation from Buckeye and other cable operators.

The dispute also affects cable subscribers in Sandusky, served by the Buckeye arm that used to be known as Erie County Cablevision.

Meanwhile, viewers don't want to go through changing providers or putting up an antenna to get a major network affiliate...they just want to tune to the channel and find NBC programming.

Will it be the last straw for some who were already thinking about switching to satellite, though? Who knows, but no one short of the dish installers would seem to be a winner here...

Friday, August 22, 2008

It's That Time Of Year

Back in the day, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and cable TV was in its infancy, you had just a handful of places to find a televised high school football game in Northeast Ohio.

The primary carrier of high school football was local PBS affiliate WVIZ/25, which featured its "Game of the Week" on tape delay late Friday nights.

Various other outlets, like cable access channels, carried some assorted games. But that was about it.

Now, televised high school football has popped up all over - with a steady diet of games all over the TV dial.

We're at the start of that season again, so here's a brief rundown of Who's Doing What:

FOX SPORTS NET OHIO: FSN Ohio actually started all this for 2008, beginning their series of Thursday night games this week.

The regional sports network took out a full-page ad in Thursday's Cleveland Plain Dealer listing the entire series of games, which air at 6 PM each Thursday evening.

Yes, Thursday. At some point, state athletic regulators (OHSAA) approved not only the Thursday night games, but live telecasts of those games by FSN Ohio.

FSN Ohio's Jeff Phelps and WJW/8 "FOX 8"-WKNR/850 "ESPN 850"'s Tony Rizzo are involved in the effort...

TIME WARNER CABLE: As the area's dominant local cable provider relaunches its "NEON" (Northeast Ohio Network) local programming channel, it also unveils its high school football plans for 2008.

The cable outlet says it'll offer up to three (tape-delayed) "High School Games of the Week", starting tonight at 11 PM with a broadcast of a Thursday contest between Akron schools Garfield and Hoban.

NEON will offer games regionally, via its various local zones, so we'll assume a full schedule will send different games to Akron, Canton and Cleveland parts of the TWC empire. (We already saw some of this last year.)

The games, and all of NEON's programming, will air on cable channel 23 throughout the TWC Northeast Ohio cable empire...

OTHER: We don't have the information at hand, but we'll assume other TV outlets will continue with their coverage this year.

We don't spot any games in the current schedule at SportsTime Ohio, but the sports network's high school web page proclaims its playoff and championship deal with the OHSAA. It also proclaims the return of the "High School Sports Insider" show on Mondays at 6:30 PM.

Canton-based low-power TV combo WIVM/52-WIVN/29 continues with tape-delayed high school contests this year, with a game between Lake and Green listed tonight at 11 PM in the Canton Repository's TV-radio sports listings.

AND ON THE RADIO: Good Karma sports WKNR/850 "ESPN 850" returns its "High School Hysteria" to the airwaves this evening for another season.

WKNR assistant program director/midday co-host Aaron Goldhammer is once again driving the "Hysteria" bus (keep those hands on the wheel, Hammer!), with pre-game and scoreboard features surrounding the station's "game of the week"...the Avon Lake/Maple Heights contest is first up. The scheduled "Hysteria" start is 7 PM.

Outside Cleveland, we're sure the usual full coverage applies on stalwart stations like Akron's WAKR/1590 and WHLO/640, Canton's WHBC/1480, Elyria's WEOL/930 and Wooster's WQKT/104.5.

WHLO sister sports outlet WARF/1350 aired a lengthy high school football preview earlier this week. We'll presume that they're once again along for the high school football ride following the conclusion of the Eastern League Akron Aeros' 2008 playoff run.

AND A NON-GAME RELATED RADIO SHOW: It doesn't involve game coverage itself, but a new weekly radio show hopes to make its mark.

Metro Networks/Cleveland sports reporter Joe Lull tells OMW that he's fronting a new effort called "High School Frenzy", a brokered hour-long "high school football scoreboard/recap show" show on Salem talk WHK/1420. It airs Friday nights at 10 PM, starting tonight.

The "Frenzy" press release lists two other well-known local sports personalities joining Lull for the show: former WKNR/FSN Ohio host Neil Bender, and Metro/WKNR morning sports update anchor Jeff Thomas.

Lull is apparently hoping to nab high-school football obsessed listeners when WKNR heads away from "Hysteria" to carry the baseball postgame show "Tenth Inning"...

AND...: If we missed anything, please let us know, either via a comment on this item or via E-Mail...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The (Early) Death of a Congresswoman

Any hardened newsie will tell you that the death of a sitting member of Congress, especially unexpected, is Big Breaking News. But before reporting the death, you probably should make sure that the public official is actually, well, dead.

That's the problem that was faced by both print and broadcast media in Northeast Ohio on Wednesday, with the death of long-time Cleveland congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones after she suffered a brain aneurism.

About two hours after a noon press conference announcing her grave condition, a number of media outlets both in Ohio and beyond reported the congresswoman's death - prematurely, as it turned out.

Since print media is no longer "print only", the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Tubbs Jones to be dead on its 1:49 Wednesday afternoon.

In its follow-up about the "confusion" over the early death report, an unnamed PD staffer wrote last night on

The newspaper based the report on several trusted sources, who described Tubbs Jones as either dead or brain dead. In Ohio, people are considered legally dead when doctors declare them brain dead.

Tubbs Jones' doctors, however, said at a mid-afternoon news conference that her brain had "very limited brain function" following the bursting of an aneurysm in an inaccessible part of her brain.

The PD story says a number of outlets, including the Associated Press and CNN, also reported Congresswoman Tubbs Jones' death a full four hours before it actually happened, announced to be 6:12 that same evening.

We weren't near a TV at the time this all happened. We know ABC affiliate WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" passed along the story on their NewsNet5 website, and we also saw the PD's item on

Radio-wise, we did actually hear Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 interrupt a portion of Rush Limbaugh's third hour to pass along the death reports.

We heard WTAM news director Darren Toms point out that the information was coming "from a variety of news sources", including the Associated Press and FOX News...both of which supply news content to the station. Toms did not, as far as we know - we missed the first few seconds - say that WTAM was confirming the reports.

But caution was displayed at least at one local media outlet, Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, as the station's Frank Macek writes in his "Director's Cut Blog" item about the station's 5 PM news special on the story Wednesday evening:

We'll provide the latest developments on her condition - as it was erraneously reported by every OTHER Cleveland market station and CNN that she had died earlier in the day. WKYC reported the facts, and respected the truth with responsible reporting that indicated she remained in critical condition.

That item was written after the erroneous reports, but before Tubbs Jones' official death announcement later that day.

And we're not sure we blame the electronic media outlets that jumped the gun, particularly if their own national news sources (with sources the local stations don't have in Washington, for example) are reporting the death.

It's not like they were using information from an anonymously-published blog about local media as the sole source of their story. Not like any small city Northeast Ohio newspaper would ever do that...right, Dover/New Philadelphia folks?

Anyway, it's just another reminder that in the rush to "be first" in today's full-time, 24/7 news world, perhaps some more caution should be employed...even by the "print media".

We do not know if any family, friends or associates of the late Congresswoman read OMW, but if you do...we offer our condolences on her death...

Tough Media Times

UPDATE 8/21/08 12:56 PM: Those looking for a LOT, and we mean a LOT, more detail on the Beacon's latest cuts need only turn to a story on Rubber City Radio's AkronNewsNow, by reporter Craig Simpson.

The story notes that the reported 20 job cuts targeted at the Beacon would comprise some 17-percent of the newsroom staff of 100.

And Simpson reports on how the reductions will affect the newspaper's readers:

The latest cuts will also be felt on the pages of the newspaper, according to accounts of a meeting held among newsroom staffers Tuesday. While Food, Enjoy!, weekend Home and Premier sections will remain other special feature sections will be dropped after Labor Day.

As we've said more than once, we hope Black Press keeps its Associated Press wire account current.

One other change we've noticed recently...the Beacon is reprinting, in full, articles written directly for other Ohio newspapers. That includes the Cleveland Plain Dealer, as that paper's story on Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones' death was published verbatim on the Beacon's front page Thursday, complete with the PD bylines.

We'll assume it's a reciprocal agreement among the Ohio papers, as we've seen stuff from the Beacon in the local news sections of the PD, articles from the Youngstown Vindicator in both papers, and so on. The articles are not being run through the Associated Press.

As all newspapers cut staff nationwide, and certainly here in Ohio, it's a way to "stretch the product".

Our original item is below...


It's a tiring refrain...the down economy, combined with a soft advertising market, have contributed to what seem to be never-ending layoffs for those in the media business.

We've chronicled various layoffs at radio clusters, and local TV outlets...wide reaching cuts that seem to have hit just about anything remotely resembling an electronic media outpost.

This time, it's print's turn to take more pain.

We first saw it as a short story in Wednesday's Akron Beacon Journal...the Black Press-owned paper says it's offering early retirement and buyouts to all newsroom employees.

WKYC/3 Akron Bureau chief Eric Mansfield reports that "multiple" sources at the Beacon say the paper's parent company is looking to eliminate 20 positions by getting employees to take the offer, the latest in the newspaper's attempt to downsize.

This Associated Press story we found on WEWS/5's "NewsNet5" website has more newspaper job news, and it's not good.

As it turns out, the Beacon isn't alone in offering a new wave of buyouts. The Advance Publications-owned Cleveland Plain Dealer is also offering the exit packages to a chunk of its non-union staff - around a third of the paper's total employee count, according to the AP.

The AP story says the PD buyouts are aimed at "newsroom managers", and a host of other non-newsroom employees...and says the Cleveland paper isn't looking for any specific number of employees to take the offer.

Though we've touched on big news from time to time, we're not in the habit of regularly covering moves in the print media in Northeast Ohio.

But if there's one media industry suffering even more than radio and television, it's the newspaper game. All of the electronic and print media are being hit hard by not only the current economic situation, but the growth of the Internet...while trying to figure out how to make enough money from the Internet to, well, keep people employed and producing the product...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Some More Things

Some stuff we left behind in our "Two-Fer Tuesday" update, and mostly minor notes...

THE NATION'S STATION: Clear Channel has programming rights to a handful of channels on XM Satellite Radio, which was recently merged into competitor Sirius under the corporate name "Sirius XM Radio".

Trade site AllAccess reports that Clear Channel is making a number of changes on its XM space, including the change of the "Sunny" AC format channel to "The Pink Channel", as described by a recent AllAccess item: "(The channel) will feature pop hits from the '70s, '80s and '90s, as well as segments on health and wellness, personal development, trend reports and more."

It's a joint effort between Clear Channel's Premiere Radio Networks and cancer hospital "City of Hope", which will also get donations from listeners who choose to make them.

Clear Channel will also, as reported, dump the XM simulcast of its WSIX-FM in Nashville.

But the part that concerns this report is in Cincinnati, where AllAccess reports that the simulcast of Clear Channel talk WLW/700 on XM channel 173 will remain on the satellite radio provider, despite the other changes.

As's Tom Taylor notes, the moves, and establishment of a new channel, would seem to indicate that Clear Channel will continue programming their space on XM for at least the short term, despite legal/financial disputes with XM, and the Sirius merger...

EXTRA BENEFITS, NO, NOT FROM US: Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 Cleveland ran into a problem caused by their use of reports from a sister Scripps-owned station in Cincinnati.

Consumer reports from WCPO/9's John Materese have long-aired on "NewsChannel 5", complete with custom opens and closes. Materese's segments also air on a host of other stations.

On Tuesday's editions of "NewsChannel 5", the station teased a report on digital TV, with "the extra benefits you'll get" with TV's digital transition in February 2009.

The segment was fairly straightforward, with an interview from a Consumer Electronics Association spokeswoman and a demonstration of one of the "Coupon-Eligible Converter Boxes", those marvels that can be bought for around $10-20 with the help of a government discount coupon/card.

Here's the problem - at least an in-house one for the folks at WEWS.

The box being demonstrated scanned a bunch of digital channels and subchannels in Cincinnati, including WCPO's own local 24/7 weather subchannel. The report also mentioned the ability to pick up a number of PBS subchannels.

Two problems here for the WEWS folks:

1) WEWS has no weather subchannels, or any other digital subchannels. Two of its major competitors, WKYC and WOIO, do have such subchannels. There's nothing quite like sending your viewers to services run by competitors.

2) Viewers scanning for Cleveland's PBS affiliate, WVIZ/25, are very unlikely to pick up either the station or its own subchannels, which include PBS HD, The Ohio Channel, PBS World and PBS' "Create" channel.

Well, that is, unless they happen to have a really good rooftop antenna, and are in the Parma WVIZ-DT will continue to pump out an anemic, low-power signal from a small antenna at the station's former studios on Brookpark Road - until finally going full-power on a new WKYC-owned tower by the digital transition.

(The Ohio Channel, PBS HD and PBS World feed do appear on Time Warner Cable's Cleveland system.)

The Matarese report, though accurate overall, is yet another example of stations relying upon generic materials from outside the local TV market to try to explain the digital transition. For once, we'd like to see stations do their own, detailed, local reports.

And that extends to their websites.

Take WVIZ's own "Digital TV" page, for otherwise excellent effort that includes this chuckle-worthy line:

You Probably Don’t Need a New Antenna
In general, if you’re an antenna viewer, you can continue to use your current rooftop or indoor antenna to bring in a digital signal.

Uh, yeah, you probably need a new antenna if you're trying to get WVIZ-DT before next February...

WIKIPEDIA STUFF: Efforts, apparently by listeners, to have fun with the Wikipedia entry of Akron market talker WNIR/100.1 "The Talk of Akron" made it to Bob Dyer's column Tuesday in the Akron Beacon Journal.

Bringing along the truckload-sized "grain of salt" we also invoke when referring to the "online encyclopedia anyone can edit", Dyer writes:

Earlier this month, a bit of wording that you don't normally find in an encyclopedia could be found under the entry for local talk radio station WNIR (100.1-FM). The sentence has since been revised, but only after it had been posted for more than 30 hours.

''The station airs The Morning Show during morning drive-time with the very well-endowed Stan Piatt, 'Knucklehead' Steve French, 'Punny' Jim Midock and 'Rugburn' Maggie Fuller.''

Some of the same pranksters who had fun with the WNIR Wikipedia entry apparently turned their sights to the Akron Beacon Journal's entry, which currently reads, in part:

Bob Dyer ("Dyer Streets") has been a columnist for the Beacon for over two decades which is , in and of itself, simply amazing. Bob thinks he is simply amazing too. Bob enjoys boarding an Akron Metro bus toward Portage County and visiting WNIR 100.1 FM "The Talk of Akron" with the very highly rated and very handsome(citation needed here) Stan Piatt and the well-endowed, vivacious and "marina-bound" Maggie Fuller of "The Morning Show".

He is currently waiting to be hired by the Plain Dealer much like his other more famous Akron Beacon Journal cohorts. Bob can often times be heard yelling at his neighborhood kids by saying, "Hey you kids! Get off of my lawn".

Where's that grain of salt, again? Or maybe we should bring a laugh track.

The WNIR entry still contains the names of a large number of the station's regular callers, and regular E-Mailers. Well, at least it did last time we looked at it.

Since Mr. Dyer has long tracked local radio, and has had what we believe to be a decent relationship with WNIR and its personalities over the years, it's all in good fun - especially if as we do, you don't take Wikipedia all that seriously.

After all, "anyone" can edit it...even budding online comedians...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Two Fer Tuesday

And we're back for a Two-Fer Tuesday!

(OK, so we never have said that phrase, ever, on-air or off...there's a first time for everything! And we do have two items, and it is Tuesday as we write this...)

APARTMENT FIRE KILLS MAN, AND...: One of Cleveland's top news stories this Tuesday morning was the fire at a downtown Cleveland apartment building, which killed the resident of one apartment.

WOIO/19's "19 Action News" reports that the fire was contained to the 13th floor apartment of the victim, 27 year-old Brett McDavid, though a water main break sent water into the basement of the building. Mr. McDavid had apparently started cooking, and left it unattended.

Now, we're not a general news source, and don't usually talk about fatal apartment fires...but this is a local media story as well.

We also don't generally cite or link to "19 Action News" for information, but the CBS affiliate and co-owned MyNetwork TV outlet WUAB/43 were actually part of the story this morning - since the apartment was in a certain downtown Cleveland apartment/hotel/office building we have mentioned here often:

19 Action News Studios are located in the basement of Reserve Square and were off-air for approximately an hour.

14 stories below, WOIO/WUAB still got dumped a water main break that happened in the effort to fight the fire above.

When we first heard the story, we wondered if the victim had been an employee of the local Raycom Media stations - with an elevator ride comprising his commute to work.

We were close, says "19 Action News":

19 Action News has learned McDavid worked as a bartender at Scorchers - a bar restaurant inside Reserve Square.

Since the sports bar is just above WOIO, and has been the home of 19's non-official Cleveland Browns pre-game coverage, he probably ran into more than one station staffer at some point.

Our condolences to Mr. McDavid's family...

FOXY BROWNS: While watching the Browns lose to the World Champion New York Football Giants in last night's pre-season contest, we found out the local TV disposition of some of the team's national games.

The game on ESPN's "Monday Night Football" was aired locally by Local TV-owned FOX affiliate WJW/8 "FOX 8" in Cleveland.

NFL rules require all non-broadcast games to be offered to TV stations in the two teams' home markets...and that's a Big Deal this year because the Browns have five prime-time games in 2008, four of them airing on ESPN or the NFL Network. (The fifth is an NBC "Sunday Night Football" contest that'll air locally on NBC affiliate WKYC/3.)

Right at the end of the WJW-produced "Kickoff Countdown", FOX 8's Tony Rizzo announced that all of the ESPN "Monday Night Football" games involving the Browns will air on WJW.

A quick check of the Browns' website schedule shows that'll include the October 13th regular season contest with the very same Giants at Cleveland Browns Stadium, along with two road games - November 17th at Buffalo, and December 15th at Philadelphia.

Rizzo didn't mention a regular season FOX contest that WJW gets anyway, due to its network affiliation: the team's opener on September 7th against the Dallas Cowboys. With the FOX-favorite Cowboys and a 4:15 PM (ET) start, that's likely to be seen by most of the country.

With the ESPN games on FOX 8, and the September 14th "Sunday Night Football" Browns/Steelers game on WKYC via its NBC affiliation, that leaves one prime-time Browns game unaccounted for - the Thursday night, November 6th home game against the Denver Broncos, which will be aired nationally on the NFL Network.

We'd assume that if WJW picked up the rights to that game, they'd have trumpeted it on Sunday night along with listing the ESPN contests. So, either someone else bought the local rights to that game, or the local carrier hasn't been announced yet. (Or, we've missed it if it has been.)

The game WILL be aired by one of the local network affiliates, due to the aforementioned NFL rules.

And Browns fans can be thankful for those rules, because there's still no deal in sight between NFL Network and the dominant local cable provider, Time Warner Cable. The NFL Network folks won't be able to use the game as leverage, since those rules mean it WILL air in the Cleveland TV market on an over-air station.

The two remaining Browns pre-season contests will air on WKYC, as part of the station's rights deal with the local NFL team.

WKYC's Jim Donovan will return to doing TV play-by-play for those two games.

Donovan was heard back at his perch as the Radio Voice of the Browns on Sunday night on the Browns Radio Network, hubbed at Clear Channel rock WMMS/100.7, and also heard Sunday night on talk WTAM/1100, which carries the team's games when there's no conflict with the Cleveland Indians...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Thursday Menu

And this time, we have one item that makes our use of the word "menu" in the title of this - literally...

NEW SUMMIT MUSIC DIRECTOR: There's word that Akron Public Schools-owned AAA WAPS/91.3 "The Summit" has brought in a new music director.

She's Liz Mozzocco, who's been programming Cumulus AAA outlet KBXR in Columbia, MO, along with co-hosting the station's morning show. Various trade reports say Mozzocco has been at the Columbia station for 13 years.

Liz also coming in to cover the on-air position of nights at "The Summit", though we are guessing that it'll probably be voicetracked in addition to her music duties...

BIG ED: Another syndicated liberal talk host is making a personal appearance in Columbus.

Bernard Radio/Cowtown Communications outlet WVKO/1580 is announcing a live broadcast by SuperRadio/Dial Global's Ed Schultz on Friday, August 22nd.

As might befit a talk format with a lot of connections to local unions, the broadcast is scheduled for - let's see here - the "Plumber’s and Pipefitter’s Local 189 Union Hall". In case you're neither a plumber nor a pipefitter, the address is listed as 1250 Kinnear Road in Columbus.

Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 on the day of the show.

Schultz will broadcast two live shows - his regular Dial Global syndicated show from 12-3 PM, and an earlier local/regional show (9-noon) based at KFGO/790 Fargo ND, Schultz's long time home base. Schultz at one point stopped doing the KFGO local show - called "News and Views" and syndicated to stations in that region - but returned to the role after KFGO was bought from Clear Channel by its former-and-again local operator.

Of course, his Dial Global (ex-Jones) counterpart, Stephanie Miller, made an appearance in Columbus for WVKO some time ago, though she did not mount a live broadcast while in Columbus...

EAT AT BOB'S: WNIR/100.1 "The Talk of Akron" afternoon drive host Bob Golic is getting into the restaurant business.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Joe Crea reports that Golic is involved in a sports bar and restaurant planned for Cleveland's Warehouse District. "Bob Golic's Sports Bar & Grille" is set to open in the next few weeks at 1213 West Sixth Street.

Pete Bosinger, who'll be the operating partner for the Golic venture, tells Crea that he's hoping the new sports bar and restaurant - bearing the name of the popular former Cleveland Browns defensive star - will be similar to Chicago's "Harry Caray's", a landmark bearing the name of the long-time late Chicago Cubs broadcaster.

And speaking of broadcasting...from the article:

As for the atmosphere and other fun stuff, expect to find 20 big screen TVs, a draft beer system featuring at least 15 to 20 specialty drafts and local brews, as well as a radio transmission area where Golic can do live broadcasts.

Since we're talking "live broadcasts" and Golic's home station of WNIR here, there's no word on if that means that the "radio transmission area" will actually be a tiny phone booth with a really bad phone...

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Another Kiss Update

An addition to Monday's item on WAKS/96.5 "Kiss FM"'s lineup change, which we haven't had time to add...

96.5 is also adding the syndicated "On Air with Ryan Seacrest" from 12-3 PM weekdays. Seacrest starts Monday. The previously announced Elvis Duran morning show starts August 25th.

The addition squeezes Michelle Taylor's voicetracked midday shift down to 10 AM to noon...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Monday Menu

UPDATE 8:46 AM 8/11/08: It turns out our reader was onto something about the absence of "Valentine" from the WAKS/96.5 "Kiss FM" website.

The station is now promoting its new morning show, set to begin airing August 25th. "Elvis Duran and the Kiss FM Morning Show" will air from its home base at Clear Channel top 40 WHTZ/100.3 in the New York City market - the legendary "Z100" - part of its mounting syndication effort.

Duran first expanded his reach when Miami's "Y100" picked up the show...which has also recently been added at Philadelphia's "Q102".

Both of those top 40 powerhouses have ties to Cleveland and WAKS. Former "Kiss Cleveland" program director Dan Mason spent a few months in 2006 as PD at Y100, before landing at Sacramento's KDND. And WAKS afternoon driver/assistant program director/OMW reader Kasper spent time doing afternoon drive at Q102, before returning to Oak Tree.

WAKS is not just promoting Duran's upcoming debut. They've launched a very, very slick customized website at "" - with a video welcome from Duran and audio clips of his show.

Duran's show is very clearly a Clear Channel product. We wonder why they'd "bother" adding him with such fanfare for a short time if the Kiss FM format itself was not long for Cleveland, given the eventual sale of the 96.5 frequency in Clear Channel's divestiture of stations into the Aloha Station Trust. As we note below, WAKS is already in the trust.

It may not be a direct sign that Clear Channel intends on displacing another of its four FM formats in Cleveland with Kiss' brand of top 40 when 96.5 exits the wouldn't seem to dispel speculation about that, either.

Our original item, with speculation about "Kiss Cleveland's" morning show before we learned this, and a host of other items, is below...


We're updating this late Sunday night, so we don't know the answer to a question in our first item. As noted, we're on the road for much of the week, but we should be able to update any major breaking media news...

ALOHA MOVE?: We'll surf the FCC database for fun, if not for profit, from time to time, and we stumbled onto something this past week.

According to the FCC's online database, Clear Channel Cleveland market top 40 WAKS/96.5 Akron "Kiss FM" has already been transferred legally into the hands of the Aloha Station Trust.

Don't believe us? Check here to see this:


Further digging shows that the move was consummated, as far as the FCC is concerned, on July 30th. The link takes you to an information card for a Milton, WV station that apparently held the group list of CC-to-Aloha transfers in its database.

What does it mean?

Well, as near as we can tell, Clear Channel's World Domination HQ at Oak Tree will continue to provide programming to the 96.5 signal until such time when a new actual owner either takes control of the station...or enters an LMA to operate it.

But one eagle-eyed OMW reader has already spotted a change on the station's "Kiss Cleveland" website.

Valentine, Valentine, where for art thou Valentine? The "Kiss" syndicated morning driver has disappeared from the station's website schedule pulldown under "ON AIR", with nothing listed from 6-9 AM.

He's also not prominently featured elsewhere on the website, though we did spot Valentine on the staff contact/E-Mail list.

We're not going to read too much into this for now. We remember where we jumped on a reader mention that CBS Radio's WNCX/98.5 did not list now-former morning show host David Lee Roth on its site...until we were reminded that WNCX never really featured mainstay Howard Stern there before.

We're writing this on Sunday night, so tuning on the radio Monday morning should answer the question at least for now.

We'll make the assumption that even under Aloha's trustee/ownership, the station will continue to have access to Clear Channel voicetrack personalities via the company's WAN, via the oversight from Oak Tree.

And Sean Valentine, now the morning drive personality at Clear Channel's KBIG/104.3 "MyFM" in Los Angeles, continues to offer his voicetracked show on at least one other now-definitely-former CC outlet, Monticello Media's WHTE/101.9 in the Charlottesville, VA market...

LOVELINE CLARIFICATION: And across the hall at Oak Tree, we reported sister rock WMMS/100.7's addition of Westwood One relationship talk show "Loveline" to the evening schedule, from 10 PM to midnight Sunday through Thursday nights.

An OMW reader asked: wouldn't that put "Loveline" on WMMS from 1-3 AM, since the show is live 10 PM to midnight Pacific Time?

Well, no.

We did some digging, and found this Westwood One clock (PDF file) that indicates the show is fed two times via satellite - the live airing on the west coast, and on a one-day delay from 10 PM to midnight Eastern Time...with Thursday night's "Loveline" airing Sunday night on the feed for the east coast.

OMW reader/tipster Nathan Obral reminded us that the show has aired twice in Cleveland before: on CBS Radio alt-rocker then-WXTM/92.3 in its days as "Xtreme Radio", and on CBS sister hot AC outlet WQAL/104.1 "Q104".

We don't remember that latter "Loveline" stint, so we'll take Nathan's word for it...

BTN, WHERE THE N STANDS FOR NOT ON TIME WARNER: An item by Akron Beacon Journal sports media columnist and OMW reader George M. Thomas in Friday's Beacon takes us back to yesteryear... the thrilling days of August, 2007.

For the second year in a row, the cable/satellite network Big Ten Network will air THE Ohio State University Buckeyes in their football season opener against the Youngstown State Penguins.

And for the second year in a row, it's coming down to the wire as far as BTN being carried on Time Warner Cable, the dominant cable provider in the entire state.

Thomas notes that a possible deal between the two factions remains "far from reality". Quoting:

''We're a little concerned that the pace of negotiations with Time Warner may not allow us to reach an agreement in time,'' Big Ten Network spokeswoman Elizabeth Conlisk said.

"In time" means before the Buckeyes-Penguins game on August 30th, and Thomas reports that two other early OSU contests have apparently already been nabbed by the BTN folks: a game against Troy University and another against Minnesota, both in September.

As for the Time Warner folks, local spokesman Bill Jasso tells Thomas he's "optimistic" a deal can be reached, but none has been:

''The serious talking doesn't start until the 11th hour,'' he said, ''and we're in the 11th hour.''

There was a glimmer of hope interjected into the TWC/BTN talks, when the other major provider negotiating, Comcast, worked out an unusual multi-faceted deal which allows it to move BTN in and out of various lineup tiers depending on the time of year.

But that glimmer hasn't yet provided any light on the TWC/BTN side of things.

We said it before, we'll say it again...unless BTN somehow manages to pull the Ohio State-Michigan football game off of ABC or something, there'll be relatively modest outcry...

DIALED OUT: OMW hears that long-time Dix country WQKT/104.5 Wooster personality Dave Dial is no longer hosting the late afternoon local show "The Best of the Best", and is out at "Wooster Radio".

Dial's been replaced by, well, the same Dial Global satellite-delivered country format that powers the station's programming most of the day.

WQKT has long concentrated its local programming resources mainly on sports and news, particularly the former. It and sister oldies WKVX/960 have occasionally brought on live, locally originated music shows, but local personality/music shows have never been the staple of the station's recent programming.

Dial was on his second stint at WQKT, after his involvement in various sports-related websites based in California during the "dot-com boom"...

IMAGE VIDEO EMPIRE EXPANDING?: Our earlier FCC database diving led us to, as far as we known, an exclusive item.

Image Video Teleproductions, which owns Canton-based LPTV combo WIVM-LP/52 Canton-WIVN-LP/29 Newcomerstown, is picking up two TV translators for $12,500.

Image Video is buying W69AO/Millersburg and W65AH/Loudonville from Ohio University, which has operated them in the past as far-flung translators for WOUC/44 Cambridge.

In the FCC filings, the WOUC and WOUB-TV/20 Athens owner cites the loss of control of both translators' transmitter sites - they've apparently been taken over by a non-related state entity. Ohio University also filed to take both translators silent in mid-June.

The university also cites the upcoming uncertainty about the status of analog translators in a post-transition digital world...not to mention both translators being out of the new TV broadcast band core, channel wise, and their isolated location compared to both WOUC and WOUB.

For its part, Image Video has filed a displacement application for one of the two stations, which would move W69AO to low-power digital channel 27. (WKBN-DT Youngstown is staying at 41 after the transition, freeing up 27 in eastern Ohio after its analog signal shuts off.)

It's the only digital application Image Video has filed, that we can find...with no such move filed so far for either WIVM-LP or WIVN-LP.

We are assuming that one or both translators will be used to extend the WIVM "empire" to the west...

Friday, August 08, 2008

Capping The Week

We'll be again more sporadic in our updates for the next few days, though we will still post any "breaking news" about local media that crosses The OMW News, keep checking!

But here's our closeout for the week:

"LOVE" IN THE EVENING: Clear Channel rocker WMMS/100.7 has added one more talk show to its roster.

It's Westwood One syndicated relationship advice show "Loveline", which 'MMS is adding to the schedule Sunday-Thursday from 10 PM to midnight.

The spicy show is a staple of the various CBS Radio "hot talk" stations across the country, and was once hosted by West Coast-based Howard Stern replacement Adam Carolla ("The Man Show"). Carolla now does the morning drive slot at KLSX/97.1 Los Angeles, and a handful of other affiliates in the Western U.S. are along for the ride.

"Loveline" mainstay Dr. Drew Pinsky is still aboard, assisted by one-named KROQ Los Angeles personality "Stryker".

A WMMS press release also crows about the Spring 2008 ratings for new morning show "Rover's Morning Glory", which we touched upon briefly here a while back, and the station's overall ratings.

The WMMS release claims Shane "Rover" French and his crew have climbed to the top of the listener pile in young demographics, "eclipsing every other station in the Cleveland market" with a large share. It also cites overall station ratings gains in certain demographics, and a second-place finish in those young demos for afternoon driver Maxwell.

(The release goes into more detail about the numbers, but as we've posted before, we're not sure how much of it we're allowed to use on this blog, per Arbitron's various guidelines and rules. The numbers echo ratings we saw earlier from non-station-connected sources.)

It also touts nominations for the station and program director Bo Matthews for Radio and Records' Rock Station of the Year and Rock Program Director of the Year honors...the awards will be announced next month in Austin, Texas...

NEW 'TVN NEWS DIRECTOR: Clear Channel talk WTVN/610 Columbus has found its new news director.

She's a veteran of the Columbus TV news wars - Lu Ann Stoia. The Columbus Dispatch reports that Stoia was an "Emmy-award winning reporter" for Dispatch CBS affiliate WBNS/10 "10TV" from 1989 to 1999.

Stoia has been communications/community relations director for the suburban New Albany school district since leaving TV. A quick Google search tells us she left there in February, after her contract wasn't renewed...

DUMM DUMM...DEE DUMM DUMM: Local Time Warner Cable subscribers will be getting an extra helping of Olympics coverage, as the 2008 Summer Olympic Games start today in Beijing, China.

(In case you haven't heard.)

In addition to the existing NBC Universal network offerings on TWC, the cable outlet is offering three new HD channels - USA HD, and two channels dedicated to basketball and soccer. The existing Universal HD will be opened up out of the HD Tier to all subscribers. (USA HD won't stick around after the Olympics, and Universal HD will go back to an HD Tier offering after the games.)

TWC says it's also providing both SD and HD "on demand" Olympic video offerings, and will link to the online coverage from its RoadRunner online portal.

The main NBC coverage will be on local affiliate WKYC/3, and this year, it sounds like pretty much all of it will be in HD ("right down to the small, lipstick cameras", we've read).

And as such, WKYC can thank its lucky stars that WKYC-DT is carried at channel 403 on the TWC system...considering that the station is very, very difficult to receive off-air unless you have the proper outdoor antenna, or live fairly close to Parma.

That, of course, will change after the digital transition in February 2009, which we've reported here. WKYC-DT will move from noisy low-VHF channel 2 to UHF channel 17 after TBN's WDLI/17 shuts down its analog transmitter next February...

AND SPEAKING OF SPORTS: We've been corrected on our earlier list of Cleveland Browns pre-season TV network affiliates.

As it turns out this year, Toledo is out of the low-power Matrix MyNetwork TV affiliate WMNT-CA/48 "My 58" is not carrying the WKYC-produced pre-season Browns contests this year.

We do hear that WMNT's sister AM talk outlet, WNWT/1520, is carrying the games on the radio side of the Matrix house...

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Followups And Other Stuff

UPDATE 9:01 AM 8/7/08: OMW has confirmed that WJW "FOX 8 News" Columbus bureau reporter John Damschroder is a victim of the station's recent round of layoffs, as the station is closing the bureau entirely at the end of the month.

We hear out of South Marginal that the bureau's existing photographer will head back to home base in Cleveland.

With the WJW bureau closing, will anyone come in and take over a ready-made TV news bureau in the State Capital?

We don't know if there's any interest out of other Cleveland stations, or other market stations. At least one Cleveland market station gets Columbus news, Scripps' WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5"...but via an existing agreement with Dispatch/WBNS' Ohio News Network, so it has no need for its own bureau.

And in an era of continued cutbacks in broadcast media, can anyone afford it?

JIM MARTIN UPDATE: Our item on the we-don't-know-when-it-happened format change at Keymarket's WOHI/1490 East Liverpool - from ESPN sports to classic hits "The Pickle" - included a musing about former WOHI host Jim Martin...we wondered what happened to him, and wondered if he still was an OMW reader.

As it turns out, he's fine, and yes, he still is.

Jim dropped us a note to let us know that he landed safely:

I am still in radio, and I have been BLESSED very much. I am now doing mornings 6-10 am on The Light 95.9 WNPQ-FM in Canton, Ohio. Keymarket was very GOOD to me over the years. They finally let me go in 2007 in October. I have been filling in at The Light, then I was hired full-time.

Sure enough, Jim's right there on the Christian contemporary station's website under morning drive. The Youngstown market veteran (WFMJ, etc.) is now using his real name, Jim Berni.

Thanks for the note, Jim, and best to you in your current position!

PIECING TOGETHER THE BROWNS: For whatever reason, the NFL's Cleveland Browns don't have a list of all of their pre-season television network least not one we can find the morning before the team's pre-season opener against the New York Jets.

So, we'll cobble it together market by market.

Cleveland - This one isn't in question, as Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 is the Browns pre-season TV flagship for the second year of a three year contract. In addition to tonight's live broadcast of the game, cable network partner SportsTime Ohio will re-air the games. We know that because our TiVo guide lists two repeats on Friday...

Youngstown - It's Parkin Broadcasting MyNetwork TV affiliate "My YTV" (WYTV-DT 33.2) that'll carry the games this year. The station is being touted by Parkin and/or LMA partner New Vision Television (WKBN/WYFX) as "The Valley's New Home For Local Sports". It'll also carry two Pittsburgh Steelers pre-season games, and is the market's home this year for the Cleveland Indians' over-air telecasts - which also originate at WKYC...

Toledo - We believe Matrix MyNetwork TV affiliate WMNT-CA/48 "My 58" is once again aboard for Browns pre-season football in the Glass City, along with sister talk radio outlet WNWT/1520...

Columbus - It's Dispatch CBS affiliate WBNS/10 "10TV" carrying the Browns this year in the State Capital least according to local TV listings...

Dayton - OMW reported earlier that Cox CBS affiliate WHIO/7 signed up to be the Browns affiliate in Dayton this year...for at least two pre-season games, including tonight's contest...

Of the four Browns pre-season games, only three will air on the WKYC-hubbed network. The second contest against the New York Giants on August 18th will be a national game on ESPN's "Monday Night Football".

WKYC will once again air all three of its Browns pre-season games in HDTV, though we have no idea if the other affiliates will have an HD feed. "MyYTV" and WMNT "My 58" do not have HD feeds to begin with, being an SD digital subchannel and an analog LPTVer, respectively...

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Two Columbus Sales

There's new word on two Columbus broadcasting sales, one just announced, the other approved by regulators.

APPROVED: The TVNewsday trade website reports that the FCC has given its blessing to the previously announced sale of Columbus market station WSFJ/51 Newark by Guardian Enterprise Group to religious superbroadcaster Trinity Broadcasting Network.

WSFJ has been the Columbus market affiliate of the ION Network, though it's gone off on its own direction in the past year or so.

Guardian is leaving station ownership for a new direction: starting its own new ".2 Network", aimed at filling broadcast stations' digital subchannel space with movies. The company says the $16 million TBN will spend for WSFJ will fund the new network.

And it looks like - as expected here - that ".2" ("dot-two") won't be airing on WSFJ-DT 51.2.

Though it'll continue to operate the WSFJ physical plant for Trinity, Guardian tells the FCC that it won't provide any programming to the TBN folks - which means Trinity will light up all of the WSFJ digital subchannels with its own slate of religious programming ("The Church Channel", "Enlace" and the like, seen on TBN O&O's like WDLI-DT/17 Canton).

If ".2 Network" adds Columbus to its affiliate roster, it'll be through a deal with some other local Guardian hinted in its very first release about the new network...

AND ON THE RADIO SIDE: A newly announced deal in Columbus, as Salem exits the market.

Salem is selling its sole station in Ohio's capital city, Christian talk/teaching WRFD/880 Columbus-Worthington "The Word", to prominent crosstown religious broadcaster Christian Voice of Central Ohio.

CVCO owns Christian contemporary mainstay WCVO/104.9 Gahanna "The River" in the Columbus market, and several other stations in Ohio and other states. It picks up WRFD for a cool $4 million.

(And yes, WRFD is licensed by the FCC to "Columbus-Worthington".)

Does 880 become the new flagship of CVCO's "Promise Network", which airs on the small market FMs the company acquired from the old Cincinnati-based "X-Star Network" in Chillicothe, West Union and Richmond IN?

What "Promise" airs now would certainly seem compatible with the current WRFD offerings, though of course, the three FMs are non-commercial. We don't know how the brokered religious programming airing on commercial WRFD would be able to fit with that.

Tom Taylor's "Taylor on Radio-Info" column notes that Salem "never found any brothers and sisters" for the 23,000 watt daytimer it has owned for years.

The company's been selling off stations in markets like that, or even in Milwaukee WI - where it owned two stations, a Christian talk/teaching outlet and a rimshot "Fish" CCM station.

And connecting it back to Ohio, of course, WKNR/850 Cleveland owner Good Karma Broadcasting picked up that Christian talk/teaching station as the new home for its "ESPN Milwaukee"...

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Some Quick Hits

In the "we don't know much, haven't confirmed many details, but here's what we know" file...

FOX 8 LAYOFFS?: We're still working this one, but here are the sketchy details so far.

OMW hears that the Local TV LLC era at "Cleveland's Own" WJW/8 "FOX 8" is starting off with a bumpy ride for employees, with a number of layoffs of support and off-air staffers last Friday.

We say "a number" because we haven't confirmed the actual number. Last time we went down this path a few weeks ago, we had been told by a source that a certain number of people were laid off at Raycom's WOIO/19-WUAB/43 a while back...only to get quick clarification of the number from company staffers worried that employees would fear more massive layoffs.

At WJW, we're hearing that more layoffs are expected this week, apparently in the news and engineering departments. We don't know if any of those job cuts involve on-air talent.

But as far as worrying employees, well, we get the idea that those at South Marginal Road are aware of the above apparent facts.

Still, as always, we remind you that it's not a good idea to base decisions about your future, or concerns about it, on what's reported in a blog. And since this report is often picked up in national trade publications like the excellent "ShopTalk", we felt the need to be vague on some of this, until we get a clearer picture of the exact numbers...

TRIV'S SURGERY: No, we haven't put this up yet, because we don't know much (or if there is much) beyond what Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 afternoon host Mike Trivisonno has said on the air.

But we dug into the online archives to hear Triv call into his own show Friday, hosted by former WMMS/100.7 morning drive co-host Ed "Flash" we'll piece together what we've heard.

Triv's been absent from his 3-7 PM show on WTAM, he said Friday, since he underwent a surgical procedure...apparently related to a prostate cancer diagnosis of some sort.

The only medical detail we heard in the Friday broadcast described what sounds like some sort of mass radiation treatment for Triv. We'll spare the graphic details.

On that Friday show, the WTAM afternoon driver said he was expecting to be back on the air Monday. But that was apparently too soon, as Triv producer/sidekick Paul Rado noted Monday afternoon on the show that the host would be considered "day to day"...he could be back as soon as Tuesday afternoon, or not.

Friday, apparently post-surgical procedure, Triv urged men over a certain age to get prostate cancer testing, repeatedly...and repeatedly thanked listeners, "even those who hate me", for their well wishes.

He sounded like he could have done the show from his hospital bed, complete with wisecracks and jokes with show guest Peter Lawson Jones, the Cuyahoga County commissioner. But when told by Rado and studio producer Marty Allen that he sounded fine, Triv quickly added that well, he didn't feel QUITE as well as he sounded.

Here at your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), we listen to Triv's show about 100 percent less than we did when this blog began. Like many, we scratch our heads wondering how this host has become the "Voice of Cleveland", at least talk radio wise.

We don't "hate him", on air, and we've actually heard that he's a pretty decent guy off the air. We genuinely wish Mike Trivisonno good health...and hope he's physically able to return to his afternoon drive perch on "The Big One" soon....

LIMA TV BATTLE: There's a pretty fierce battle over the FOX TV affiliation in the Lima market.

The owner of the market's current and long-time FOX outlet, low-power WOHL-CA/25, is suing the owner of long-time NBC affiliate WLIO/35 "NBC Lima" - claiming that Block Communications is trying to swipe the FOX affiliation from WOHL.

The Lima News reports that WOHL owner Greg Phipps is trying to block a proposed deal between FOX and WLIO with a court injunction.

WLIO and Block actually kicked the tires in an attempt to buy Phipps' operation, but pulled away - believing the asking price was too high ($4 million).

Block's attorneys don't deny that they're hoping to nab the FOX affiliation - which would be placed on a new WLIO digital subchannel, presumably alongside WLIO's existing CW Network operation.

But after dropping the plan to buy WOHL, Block's attorneys reportedly say that the interest in moving Lima's FOX affiliation came from the FOX network brass, looking to increase their coverage in Lima from a low-power outlet to a full-power signal.

For Phipps' part, the Metro Video owner - who also owns all the other network affiliates in Lima via various low-power outlets - is quoted in the article saying losing the FOX affiliation would "cripple" his business:

"We won't be able to survive," Phipps said fighting back tears. "It'll shut down."

This, presumably, despite the presence of "ABC 18" and "CBS 38" in the Phipps fold.

However, the other two stations are newer, and carrying FOX programming has been very successful for's clearly the strongest of Phipps' three Lima network stations, and the most established. And overall, Phipps' operations are struggling financially, which prompted the earlier sale talks with Block/WLIO.

It is a battle fought often by low-power stations. The big networks are more than willing to hook up with low-power outlets if there's no other choice for affiliation.

But with full-power digital becoming more and more important than low-power analog, being on a digital subchannel of an established station is a draw for a network these days...just months before the February 2009 digital transition.

We saw it in Cincinnati, where the CW Network declined to affiliate with long-time UPN low-power outlet WBQC-CA/38, choosing then-Clear Channel-now-Newport owned CBS affiliate WKRC/12's new "CinCW" digital subchannel instead.

For now, at least, the Lima News reports that temporary injunction against a Block deal with FOX is still in place, as lawyers ready to prepare final arguments in the case by next month...

WAKS Tabbed For Clear Channel Trust, Sale

We know it's been kicked around before, but the newly privatized Clear Channel is now officially listing one of the company's big FM signals in Cleveland to be sold due to regulatory concerns.

As expected, top 40 WAKS/96.5 Akron "Kiss FM" is on the list being moved into the Aloha Station Trust, where it and over 50 other stations nationwide will be set up for sale or trade.

WAKS was listed many months back by trade magazines as being a likely target for sale, figuring out that the privatization of Clear Channel would require the company to slim down in the Cleveland market by one station. The problem, of course, is that the ownership change of Clear Channel wiped out previously grandfathered and allowed stations above local market cap limits.

And of course, though WAKS is licensed to Akron, still, its presence in the Cleveland market is the problem...with an improved signal that covers all but the far fringes of the Cleveland market after "Kiss FM" moved off Lorain's 104.9, and 96.5 thus landed at Oak Tree.

We found the complete list on the Radio Ink website here.

And also listed are a handful of Clear Channel's Ohio stations...Dayton's top 40/rhythmic WDKF/94.5 Englewood "Channel 94.5" (the former "Kiss FM") and smooth jazz rimshot WDSJ/106.5 Greenville, along with Lima market classic rock WBUK/106.3 Ottawa "The Fox", the former oldies "Big Buck" that now carries the format formerly on ex-Clear Channel outlet WPFX/107.7 North Baltimore/Findlay.

Not on the list, because they won't be going into the Aloha trust and will be sold directly, are the previously reported WNNF/94.1 and WOFX/92.5 in the Cincinnati market.

So, here's where we are in the Cleveland radio market: as many as five large signal FM radio stations could be up for sale, with this move and with CBS Radio's presumed likely exit from Cleveland.

There are so many chess pieces moving around the market right now, we don't think even a chess Grand Master could keep track of them.

We're not going to speculate much here, except to remind folks...the news doesn't necessarily mean that the top 40 "Kiss FM" format is exiting Oak Tree. It only means that the 96.5 signal is headed out.

Though we have no information to suggest anything is underway to this regard, Clear Channel could well shuffle around the five FM formats and displace another station with "Kiss FM". It's still too early to hear those rumblings, though, so we're just pointing out that it's a possibility...

Monday, August 04, 2008

We're Back

And this time, it wasn't just our hectic behind-the-scenes life that kept us away.

Every so often, the Blogger computers automatically scan the service's blogs to make sure that automatically-posted unsolicited marketing blogs (think "canned luncheon meat by Hormel") aren't clogging up the system.

Late Friday, we were told that we were "flagged" by this process, which was clearly an error. (A human-posted news-oriented blog that's been around for over three years?) That "flag" - while keeping OMW alive for readers - meant we were unable to edit or add items, since it was "locked" behind the scenes.

We submitted for a review by human eyes, and they have now figured out that we're OK, your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) is alive, and not a machine attempting to force unsolicited ads upon the Blogger universe.

So, here we are...with a lot to catch up on...and we mean a lot...

THIS ISN'T CLEVELAND CBS?: Perhaps the loudest noise in the local media world has been speculation over the future of the CBS Radio Cleveland cluster.

The noise comes from last week's announcement by CBS' Les Moonves that the company was moving to sell around 50 stations in "mid-sized" markets.

A number of folks did the math, and figured that basically all of the company's non-top-20 market stations could be on the block - remember, CBS Radio sold off a lot of its smaller markets before, including its clusters in Columbus and Cincinnati, and hung onto only Cleveland in Ohio.

We've found the most detail on this in a story on the Radio Business Report website. A key quote:

CBS Corporation announced this morning that it plans to divest another 50 or so radio stations in medium markets, but it has already been moving to get them sold. CEO Les Moonves said in his quarterly conference call that the company is already in talks with several strategic buyers. A deal or deals could be announced within 30 days and Moonves hopes to go to closing in Q1 or maybe Q2 of 2009.

Moonves and other CBS executives say there's no official list out there. And Radio and Records has this Moonves quote:

"By selling selected stations in these markets we can focus on the larger market stations, many of which are showing growth.”

We're not sure what "selected" means - but in today's word of Cluster Radio, do stations get peeled off to other operators, or does a CBS Radio exit the market entirely?

Pittsburgh would appear to be getting that latter word, according to an article by Kim Leonard in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

CBS Corp. may be putting KDKA-AM -- the nation's oldest radio station -- up for sale, along with three Pittsburgh FM stations.

Station officials told KDKA employees at 11 a.m. Thursday at their Downtown office that the station likely will be in play, as CBS moves to find buyers for 50 radio stations in midsize markets.

A similar meeting took place at noon with the staffs at KDKA sister stations Y108 (WDSY-FM), Star 100.7 (WZPT-FM) and 93.7 (WBZW-FM) based in Green Tree. Workers were told the process could take a long time, but to work under the assumption the stations will be sold.

We've had no such word out of CBS' Cleveland cluster about any such notification...if anyone would like to confirm that for us, we'd appreciate a tip.

Overall, it sounds like CBS Radio wants to concentrate on its largest markets, and Cleveland isn't one of them any more than Pittsburgh is.

There would appear to be no easy answers to the question of a potential buyer in Cleveland. It would presumably HAVE to be a new operator to Cleveland, since none of the existing operators either can buy stations or would be able to buy four decent FM signals.

But is that new operator an Entercom, or Emmis, or Bonneville? Do they have any interest in Cleveland?

Or is it one of the "up and coming" groups like Stephens Radio, which bought into upstate New York by taking over stations Entercom had to divest by buying CBS stations, among others? Does Wilks Broadcasting add to its Columbus CBS pickups?

Or does Cleveland's CBS cluster - generally thought to be successful and a moneymaker - somehow stick around with the company?

Given all the above, that seems unlikely. CBS seems to be chanting the "major market" mantra. And despite the fact it is very successful, FOX had no problem selling WJW/8 here...with much the same mantra about major markets going through its corporate thoughts.

But there are certainly more questions than answers...and on the above questions, we have no answers, or even rumors right now, and are frankly just throwing stuff against a wall to see if anything sticks...

BUT ON THE BLOCK, OFFICIALLY: While CBS seems to be willing to sell heritage, flame-throwing talker KDKA in Pittsburgh, the newly-privatized Clear Channel isn't dumping "The Big One" in Cincinnati, WLW/700.

The Cincinnati Enquirer's John Eckberg reports that Clear Channel will instead sell hot AC WNNF/94.1 "Radio 94.1" and classic rock WOFX/92.5 "The Fox" to comply with FCC ownership guidelines.

It was reported earlier that Clear Channel had to divest two stations in the Cincinnati market because its new private equity fund owners had a minority stake in competitor Cumulus, which competes with Clear Channel in the market.

And early rumblings from the Enquirer's John Kiesewetter - which we reprinted here - said that the other possible sale combination was top 40 outlet WKFS/107.1 "Kiss FM"...and the aforementioned WLW.

The gasps could be heard here, well over 200 miles from Kenwood, when that little tidbit was put up as being floated around the cluster.

So, now that Bain/Lee officially has the reins of Clear Channel, they've decided to cast two of the low-to-mid-range stations in the Cincinnati arsenal...and hang onto two of the bigger ones, including ratings-and-revenue market champion WLW.

The Eckberg piece quotes local media maven Robert Riggsbee as saying the stations may be swapped instead of sold. An unnamed Clear Channel spokesperson tells Eckberg that WNNF and WOFX won't be flipped to the "Aloha Trust", but will be put directly on the market...

STAYING PUT: At Akron country powerhouse WQMX/94.9, there's no question about who will join morning host Scott Wynn as a co-host on a permanent basis.

Former co-host Shannon Alexander left the station's morning drive show, saying she was looking forward to being a stay-at-home mom. That prompted WQMX program director Sue Wilson to temporarily fill the morning co-host position next to Wynn, while looking for Alexander's permanent replacement.

As it turns out...she'll be looking into a mirror to answer that "replacement" question, as Wilson sticks around with Wynn as the new regular co-host of the WQMX morning drive show.

She certainly wouldn't be the first radio programmer to pull double-duty as PD and morning host...and should have no problem adjusting with extensive on-air experience on her resume...

ABC OHIO VALLEY: We'd heard rumblings that Wheeling/Steubenville market CBS affiliate WTRF/7 had "soft launched" (beta tested?) its new digital subchannel ABC affiliate before its August 1st announced start date, and we actually managed to be in the market last week to confirm that.

Sure enough, "ABC Ohio Valley" was already running on WTRF-DT 7.3 on Thursday, assuming you are within about 5 miles of the low-powered digital signal on RF channel 32 just west of downtown Wheeling. (Our efforts to pick up the signal without a permanent base in the market were reminiscent of the old "FOX Viewing Position" gag from the show "Married With Children".)

And as expected, WTRF has adjusted its newscasts to simulcast them on the ABC side of the house, with newly-produced opens airing only on the new sister station - while channel 7 airs its regular open - and a "7" logo with an ABC next to it to cover the one with CBS next to it that is seen on the regular WTRF cast.

That is, when the control room operator remembers to superimpose it.

It was a little rough that day, last Thursday...but we'll attribute it to a "dress rehearsal" one day before the announced start of the new ABC affiliate.

WTRF's biggest problem isn't synchronizing and simulcasting the news on two different outlets.

It's the fact that only curious TV geeks like us, or those with a big antenna on the roof, or those basically in sight of the WTRF tower just over the Ohio side of the border, will be able to even watch the new "ABC Ohio Valley".

Though the West Virginia Media Holdings station did manage to get analog cable carriage for its other DT subchannel, "FOX Ohio Valley" from dominant provider Comcast (it bumped WPGH/53 out of Pittsburgh) isn't getting that low-analog-channel placement for the ABC subchannel.

WTRF-DT 7.3 is only seen on Comcast on digital channel 205, which puts it up there with various "WeatherPlus" subchannels.

Comcast continues to carry WTAE/4 out of Pittsburgh, -and- WYTV/33 Youngstown, on prime low analog channel slots.

We understand how WTAE was able to hang in. It has long-time, historic coverage as the substitute ABC affiliate for folks in the Wheeling/Steubenville market. But we're having a hard time understanding how WYTV escaped being bumped off analog cable channel 19.

It'll get better for WTRF, presumably, after the digital transition next February. It'll "maximize" on VHF 7 digitally...

AND IN THE OHIO VALLEY, RADIO-WISE: We took the long way back from the Wheeling/Steubenville market, and discovered a change we didn't believe anyone noted on the radio.

We reported here a few years ago when Keymarket's WOHI/1490 East Liverpool dumped standards - and local morning drive host Jim Martin - for ESPN Radio.

Somewhere between then and now, the company decided to change WOHI's format again.

We don't know when, but 1490 is now...oh, wait, guess! It won't be hard!

What music format does Keymarket run when it isn't doing the "Froggy" country format?

That's right, WOHI is now doing classic hits (er, oldies) as "The Pickle".

No, we're not making that up. Keymarket is as predictable as BAS Broadcasting when it comes to using Formats/Names In A Box. They're still running ESPN Radio, though, on Steubenville's WSTV/1340 and Wheeling simulcaster WOMP/1290 Bellaire OH.

The "Pickling" of WOHI would make sense, we suppose, since 1490 is sharing space in Beaver PA with FM "Pickle" outlet WKPL/92.1 Ellwood City PA, serving places like New Castle and Beaver Falls as the simulcaster of sister "Pickle" station WPKL/99.3 Uniontown PA.

WOHI, WPKL and WKPL are all running the ABC/Citadel satellite format "Classic Hits Radio" (nee' "Pure Gold", and known until recently as "Oldies Radio"). We heard a promo on 1490 for the WPKL/WKPL morning drive offering "The Real Dill Morning Show with Fish". (Do fish eat pickles, we wonder? Or, do frogs? How about eagles? Oh, wait, that's the other guys.)

But outside of that apparent morning simulcast, WOHI was running its own liners and spots over the ABC feed, identifying solely as "AM 1490, The Pickle". We weren't around early enough to see if any other local "Pickle" jocks, if there are any, were heard on 1490.

And we don't know if Jim Martin, who returned to the station doing a midday talk/public affairs show after the ESPN Radio format took hold, is still there...or if he's still reading OMW, for that matter.

We wouldn't mark this as a new format change. For one, we don't know when it started...they could have been doing this for months, or even not long after the ESPN format change. But since we're not in East Liverpool often...

AND SPEAKING OF RECENT FORMAT CHANGES: Over to the other end of the state, where Springfield oldies outlet WULM/1600 has found religion.

In particular, on the radio as the latest outlet of the Louisiana-based Radio Maria network.

We don't know the exact timing on this hitting the airwaves, either, but we believe it happened within the past couple of months. The Radio Maria folks still have the "welcome" up for Springfield/Dayton area listeners on their website, and the sale was filed back in February.

WULM is Radio Maria's second Ohio outlet, after WJHM/88.7 in the small western Ohio town of Anna, south of Lima.

And technically speaking, WULM had already "found religion" - as it was owned by local religious outfit Urban Light Ministries even when running oldies and other secular formats, like talk.

But Urban Light's Eli Williams told the Springfield News-Sun back in March that though the ministry bought the former WBLY to save it as a voice on the city's airwaves, WULM "never made money", and that he needs "to be focused more on the priorities of the ministry than radio station management"...

AND WHILE WE'RE TALKING RELIGIOUS RADIO: And Catholic radio, in specific...Canton's outlet specializing in that programming, WILB/1060, is preparing for a big upgrade.

The 5000 watt daytimer known as "Living Bread Radio" filed back in April for a new 15,000 watt upgrade, accomplished by a tower that will be added to the station's existing site at Hills and Dales Road.

The three-time signal boost is aimed at spreading the EWTN programming (and a local show or two) north into the Cleveland market. Of course, as now, it'll remain a dominant KYW/1060 Philadelphia owns the frequency at night all over Northeast Ohio.

The "Living Bread Radio" folks have already broken ground at the new tower, according to this item on their website:

GOD WILLING, by 2009, Catholic radio will have made its debut on Cuyahoga County airwaves.

For now, it's the FCC addition to the station's fundraising efforts...