Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ready For Its Name Change

As reported earlier here on OMW, Kent-based public TV stations WNEO/45 Alliance-WEAO/49 Akron are about to take on a new identity.

Starting Wednesday, the stations now known as "PBS 45 & 49" on the air will become "Western Reserve PBS"...under the umbrella name of "Western Reserve Public Media".

Both are just branding changes for 45/49 - the call letters will remain the same for both stations, and the stations' owner continues to be known legally as Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio, Inc.

Those assurances, and assurances that the name change won't affect programming, are found on a page on the stations' website about the name change:

While our brand identity has changed, we are still the same organization you’ve known for over 33 years. We have the same staff of employees and the same broadcast schedule — only the name has changed. Our new brand identity is Western Reserve Public Media and the channels PBS 45 & 49 are now Western Reserve PBS, which will continue to operate as the primary broadcast service of the organization.

You can count on your favorite PBS 45 & 49 programs to be your favorite Western Reserve PBS programs.

The page also has humorous videos about the name change, which have also aired on TV.

The website address for WNEO/WEAO will also change to WesternReservePublicMedia.org, which as of this writing forwards to the existing PBS4549.org site.

This is the first of two major public relations steps for the local public TV outlet. The second is to educate Youngstown-market viewers of WNEO/45 that the station will go all digital in November, with analog channel 45 signing off early.

Oh, by the way, we checked with the good people at Western Reserve/WNEO/WEAO, and they tell us that indeed, at this time, analog low-power translator W58AM Youngstown will remain on analog channel 58 after the digital transition.

Though Western Reserve has a construction permit to convert it to digital operation (DT 44), among other things, money would have to be raised to pay for that conversion. As a result, any conversion of the analog translator meant to serve "low-lying areas" of the Mahoning Valley is not on the immediate to-do list right now.

W58AM and all other low-power translators, LPTV stations and Class A LPTV stations are not affected by the February 17, 2009 digital transition. While they can certainly still convert to digital if licensed to do so, it's a voluntary conversion for those low-power stations...

Your Digital TV Q&As

Late last week, we put out the call for your questions about the digital TV transition.

Here's our first batch of those questions:

Q: Perhaps a list of stations and their actual operating frequencies would be helpful to all.

A: We'll start here, because that information is pretty basic and should be up front. The following covers all full power local TV stations in the Northeast Ohio area. For those of you in the other parts of the state, that list would be way too long...a quick stop by the AntennaWeb or TV Fool websites should help you get that list based on your own address.

We'll order the list by current analog channel numbers, since that's how most people are used to listing stations. Then, we'll list the RF channels the DT stations are actually using, or applying to use.

If there's only one DT RF channel number listed, the station is using that channel now, and will continue to use it after the February analog-to-digital transition.

Thanks to computerized information sent alongside the digital TV signal, all channels will appear on digital tuners or converter boxes to be on their former analog channel number by way of a "virtual channel":

3 - WKYC Cleveland (NBC) - DT: 2 (current), 17 (post-transition)
5 - WEWS Cleveland (ABC) - DT: 15
8 - WJW Cleveland (FOX) - DT: 31 (current), 8 (post-transition)
17 - WDLI Canton (TBN) - DT: 39 (current), applying for 49 (post-transition)
19 - WOIO Shaker Heights (CBS) - DT: 10
21 - WFMJ Youngstown (NBC) - DT: 20
23 - WVPX Akron (ION) - DT: 23 (post-transition - has never used pre-transition 59, and has no current digital signal)
25 - WVIZ Cleveland (PBS) - DT: 26
27 - WKBN Youngstown (CBS) - DT: 41
33 - WYTV Youngstown (ABC) - DT: 36
43 - WUAB Lorain (MyNet) - DT: 28
45 - WNEO Alliance (PBS) - DT: 46 (current), 45 (post-transition - starting in November 2008)
49 - WEAO Akron (PBS) - DT: 50
55 - WBNX Akron (CW) - DT: 30
61 - WQHS Cleveland (UNI) - DT: 34
67 - WOAC Canton (IND) - DT: 47
68 - WMFD Mansfield (IND) - DT: 12 (analog 68 now off-air)

Generally speaking, you don't need to know that DT RF number. Digital tuners and converter boxes scan the band and do the translation automatically. The numbers ARE helpful if you have to manually scan per channel, for some reason (antenna reaiming, etc.).

Q: When the digital transition occurs will the stations be operating on the same frequencies, Channel 3, 5, 8, 19, etc etc.? Or will all be located in the UHF spectrum? I am interested in moving to off the air pick-up with HDTV sets or converter equipped analog sets in the house and getting off the cable, but living quite about 8 miles south west of the airport will probably require an outside antenna. A smaller UHF antenna would facilitate matters.

A: See above. (Our reader actually asked this question first.)

After analog signals shut off, you'll need some sort of VHF antenna for WJW (moving to its current analog channel 8 at the transition). Even now, you'll need one for WOIO (staying on DT 10). Those living near Mansfield will need one, even now, for WMFD-DT on RF 12.

But many UHF antennas are able to pick up signal on the high-VHF band, where all three stations will reside.

Both WJW and WOIO have filed to "maximize" their VHF digital allocations after the transition.

WOIO's application is lower in power than WJW's, and WOIO still has interference problems from CFPL (currently analog 10) in London, Ontario, Canada for those near Lake Erie. CFPL will presumably go digital at the Canadian transition date in 2011, and so far, it looks like they hope to stay on channel 10 digitally in London.

Your mileage may vary, and how this all works out in practice may be different than how it looks on digital paper.

Q: What kind of TV antenna - indoor or outdoor - should we buy to get the best reception?

A: There's a general rule when it comes to antennas. The best is "high, outside and away from obstructions". Anything else is generally a compromise.

If you can put an outdoor antenna on your roof, or high on your home, do so. If not, and you have an attic, you can put it there - but you'll lose signal going inside the house.

If you can mount an outdoor antenna on a balcony or deck of your condo or apartment, that'd be the next bet. If you can point one out of a window, that'd be the next best idea.

Indoor antennas are generally nowhere near as good an option as outdoor ones, unless you're living fairly close to the stations you want to pick up.

They should be used basically if you don't have any ability to use an outdoor antenna, or if you're close enough and can still pick up stations with no difficulty.

For example, if you live in the southern Cleveland suburbs or northern Akron suburbs, you might be fine with an indoor antenna...basically, the closer you are to the Parma "antenna farm" where all the full-power local TV stations have their towers...ditto for Youngstown folks south of downtown into places like Canfield, Boardman and Poland.

Keep in mind, though, that indoor antennas may appear to provide a stable signal, but what if you walk in front of your antenna in the living room? What if it's aiming out the window, doing fine with picking up your favorite stations, and a big truck rolls down your street in front of it? You get the idea.

Amplified antennas may or may not help, depending on the antenna, where you are, and if there's enough signal to amplify vs. the noise surrounding the signal.

Overall, an indoor antenna is basically always a second choice, unless you're bathing in very strong signal, where it wouldn't matter what kind of antenna you're using.

Even so, putting up an outdoor/roof antenna in high-signal areas may give you options you wouldn't have otherwise, like picking up nearby market stations. We know folks in Parma who can aim their antenna at the Youngstown area and get WKBN-DT with no problem...ditto for Youngstown market viewers who get stations from Cleveland and Pittsburgh thanks to a roof antenna...

Q: Will broadcast station increase their signals once they go to transmitting in digital only? Are most digital signals running at full power or are they slightly cut back?

A: Excellent question.

The short answer is, most area broadcasters are running "full power" under the current conditions on the TV band.

The extra answer is, after all the analog stations go away next February, conditions change, and many stations have filed to "maximize" their power levels to take advantage of those conditions.

We've talked about them here on occasion - WJW, WOIO, WYTV and others have filed those applications.

Though many of the "maximization" applications aren't huge power leaps, WYTV's is particularly notable, as it will go from 50KW to 1000KW! WJW will have an interim power level on digital channel 8 until they get approval for the upgrade to 30KW.

And yes, that's maximizing on the VHF band, where stations don't need the 1000KW power level to provide maximum service...just as VHF analog stations don't need the same power levels as UHF analog stations.

These changes won't be able to be implemented until after the analog dial shuts down, allowing those increases.

The current, pre-transition signal problems in the area...we've covered in the past.

* WKYC-DT is on low-VHF channel 2 digitally. That means even a decent power level can't overcome the electrical noise and other such problems that make it difficult to receive for thousands of viewers, particularly those without roof antennas or far from Parma. That goes away in February, when WKYC's digital signal is scheduled to land on DT RF channel 17 - the channel being vacated by analog WDLI/17 Canton.

* WVIZ-DT's problems are also well-documented on this blog. A long-running legal and technical dispute with CBS Radio's WNCX/98.5 - where the current WVIZ analog channel 25 trasmitter site is - was never fully resolved.

WVIZ has been running a puny temporary digital signal (1KW) from a tower behind its former studio facility on Brookpark Road in Parma. As we reported earlier, WVIZ-DT will light up its post-transition full-power facility on a new tower being built with WKYC at WKYC's current site.

This is a good a time as any to note some new information: that WVIZ has received FCC approval for a more powerful (10KW) temporary digital facility on an existing tower at that same WKYC site.

It would appear that the move is necessitated by the sale of the former WVIZ studios! This temporary facility will be replaced by the permanent post-transition installation described above.

Since it doesn't have to wait for a station to vacate an analog channel, like future tower mate WKYC, WVIZ should be able to light up from the new permanent tower at WKYC whenever that's done...the station says in the STA application that it hopes to do so by November.

We welcome any questions, comments or corrections. Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) has a lot of information stored up in this noggin about the digital TV transition, but we're not infallible...any clarifications are welcome!

WLEC Dumps Veteran Personality

Long-time Sandusky radio personality Mark Fogg won't be heard doing his morning drive local show on BAS Broadcasting standards/oldies WLEC/1450 anymore.

The Sandusky Register reports that Fogg says his job was eliminated by BAS in a cost-cutting move. We'll assume that BAS news director Steve Shoffner will continue, but with his newscasts fed into the ABC/Citadel "Timeless Classics" feed instead.

Fogg has been program director and sports director for the station BAS bought from Clear Channel, along with a number of other stations in the "Vacationland" region and in North Central and Northwest Ohio.

It's not known how this will affect local high school sports coverage, which BAS will presumably continue to provide on WLEC and its other stations in the region...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Chris "The Mighty" Quinn Dies

UPDATE 12:30 AM 9/30/08: OMW hears that there will be calling hours for Chris Quinn later this week - Thursday, October 2nd from 5-7 PM, at Burr Funeral Home, at 116 South Street in Chardon...


We're getting word this evening that Cleveland radio personality/engineer/all around radio guy Chris Quinn has passed away, apparently after an illness. We have no further details.

Chris "The Mighty" Quinn's resume covers a number of important stations in Cleveland.

In the 1990's, Chris moved from fill-ins, to weekend nights, to weeknights at oldies WMJI "Majic 105.7". But he also worked well before that at some big local stations: like WIXY/1260, WGAR/1220, and WRMR/850.

We were unaware, though, that Chris worked at Akron's WAKR/1590 in the early 1970's, nor another stop listed in the information we were given, KHTZ in Los Angeles, in the 1980's. (A quick Google search tells us that KHTZ "K-Hits" was apparently the immediate predecessor of classic rock-turned-FM talk KLSX/97.1.)

We were aware that Chris' last stop in radio was as chief engineer of Cleveland gospel outlet WABQ, first at 1540 in Cleveland. He then followed 1540's now-former ownership to their other station, the newly-renamed and newly-gospel-formatted WABQ/1460 in Painesville - the former WBKC.

We knew that, of course, because that's where Chris "The Mighty" Quinn's life intersected with ours.

A quick search of this blog for "Quinn" will reveal a number of items speculating on the future upgrade possibilities for then-WABQ/1540 (now WWGK), as it was about to be sold to Craig Karmazin's Good Karma Broadcasting as his first Cleveland radio outlet. (OK, maybe the search term "WABQ" would yield better results, and filter out all the items about morning talk radio's "Quinn and Rose".)

Chris Quinn didn't know about this blog at first.

But upon discovering the talk here, he was very, very helpful, providing us with very detailed (and accurate) information about what the new owner could do to try to upgrade the signal....and he did it on his own, since Chris went to Painesville with AM 1540's former owners, and wasn't involved in the upgrade filed recently by Good Karma.

Chris was helpful, gracious and went above and beyond the call in answering questions we brought up. So, it's no surprise to us that word his passing, only making the rounds of the local broadcast community on this Sunday evening, has us already hearing from those who mourn Chris Quinn...

New HD Radio

As one of the approximately one-dozen Northeast Ohio residents with an HD Radio unit, it's our obligation to inform the other 11 about new stations lighting up the "HD" light on those receivers.

There's a new one as of this past week, and one we believe is pretty new.

The HD Radio newcomer is on the AM side, as Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 Akron "SportsRadio 1350" is using the digital technology as of late last week. That makes it the first Akron-licensed broadcaster to go "HD" - as sister WKDD/98.1 is actually licensed to Canton, as is WRQK/106.9. WHOF/101.7 is licensed to North Canton.

WARF, of course, is Akron's oldest station that is still operating - dating back to its days as WADC in the mid-1920's.

Since it's AM, there's no alternate programming on WARF...just a change in audio quality. AM HD has its drawbacks in that regard...non-music AM HD stations, especially, sometimes sound like they're being sent over a low-bandwidth Internet connection with some artifacting.

But in brief listening over the past couple of days, the WARF HD side sounds less affected by that artifacting than sister talk WTAM/1100, one of two other area AMs putting out the IBOC carrier. (The third is Radio Disney O&O WWMK/1260.)

On the FM side, we don't know how long it's been doing HD, but Radio One urban AC powerhouse WZAK/93.1 Cleveland is simulcasting in the digital format now. WZAK has no HD2 or HD3 side formats, at least as of this writing.

And just so you're not further confused, given our call for questions in the previous item:

"HD" on the radio side of things does not stand for "high definition", though a full-bandwidth HD Radio channel may provide some audio improvements, particularly on FM.

We'd believed that it stood for "Hybrid Digital", which is the technical name for the "HD" standard..."hybrid" meaning that stations broadcast both the analog carrier, and the digital carrier, in tandem.

But we've heard recently that it's basically just a brand name...something which trademark holder iBiquity confirms in the FAQ on its own website for HD Radio:


A: The ‘HD’ in ‘HD Radio’ is part of iBiquity Digital’s brand name for its digital AM and FM radio technology. It does not mean either hybrid digital or high definition, it is simply the branding language for this new technology.

As always on this controversial topic, we have no intention of turning this item into yet another "pro vs. con" debate on HD Radio...or to provide a platform for some to promote their websites...

Friday, September 26, 2008

OMW's First Digital TV Q&A

We went back to read our item about the early analog switchoff of Youngstown market PBS affiliate WNEO/45 Alliance, and...well, we figured some of our readers may have some questions about the digital TV transition.

Late on the night of February 17, 2009, just before the clock strikes midnight into the 18th, TV transmitter facilities around America will be very busy places...as every full-power TV station in the nation shuts off its analog transmitter for good. (For the record, as far as we know, the actual time deadline to do so is 11:59:59 PM, station local time, on February 17th.)

OMW would like to take the next few days to invite you to submit any questions about the television digital transition, both in general, and specifically addressed to questions about Ohio's TV stations.

Send them directly to our E-Mail address, which is linked on the left hand side of this blog.

We can pretty much answer most of the Northeast Ohio questions, but may have to seek out help for the answers elsewhere in the state.

We'll reproduce all the questions here on the Mighty Blog(tm), in a future item. We won't print your name or city, unless you have some reason you'd like us to do so. (We're accomodating, that way.)

Have a great weekend!

Low Power Power?

A proposal being floated by Federal Communications Commission chairman Kevin Martin could have positive impact on at least two small local TV stations.

Multichannel News reports that Martin is pushing for an October 15th vote on the first phase of a plan - requesting public comment - to get low-power "Class A" stations must-carry status on cable systems:

Martin's plan would allow 555 Class A TV stations to apply for full-power status from the FCC. After obtaining approval, the stations could demand immediate cable carriage under a 1992 law held constitutional by the Supreme Court in 1997.

Locally, that would definitely affect one TV outlet - Media-Com's WAOH-LP/29 Akron-W35AX Cleveland, otherwise known as "The CAT". The station already has negotiated cable carriage with Time Warner Cable's Akron-based system, on position 14, and has scattered other cable coverage on TWC and other systems (WOW Cable, for example).

But it remains absent from the former Cleveland Adelphia system now a part of Time Warner's Northeast Ohio footprint - a large chunk of the Cleveland-area viewership.

Assuming this proposal by the FCC chief ever sees the light of day, the devil's in the details.

For one, what does "apply for full-power status" mean? And would it require WAOH/W35AX to improve facilities at all, if it wishes to assert carriage on the cable systems not already carrying the station?

And the area's other major low-power TV operation is Image Video's WIVM-LP/52 Canton-WIVN-LP 29 Newcomerstown(/Dover/New Philadelphia).

Unless we're reading the FCC records wrong, WIVM/WIVN do not actually have Class A status, and are listed as standard TV translators. If they wish to assert must-carry on cable under this plan, again, assuming it becomes policy, they'd have to file to become Class A stations.

(Despite the calls, WAOH-LP and W35AX are Class A stations.)

Since one of the big hurdles to Class A status for LPTVers is original, local programming...the Image Video outlets should have no problem meeting that standard. Their daily morning simulcast of WHBC/1480's morning drive show, along with extensive high school football coverage, should cover those guidelines with no problem.

Like Media-Com's "The CAT", WIVM/WIVN do have some local cable carriage...on the digital side of TWC's Canton system (365, up there with the local TV outlets' digital subchannels), and the high-analog reaches (99) of the former Adelphia (now TWC) system in Tuscarawas County.

We also don't know if the FCC chairman's plans or the FCC's "must-carry" rules would require cable companies to carry the converted Class A stations in basic tiers, not requiring digital converters.

And like the Multichannel News folks, we don't know if the change at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in January will affect Martin's status as FCC commissioner...thus, possibly, affecting this plan.

And it's not stations like "The CAT" or WIVM that Martin mentions when talking about his proposal. According to Multichannel News, the FCC says 43% of Class A outlets are Spanish-language:

"I think it's an important opportunity…to help to try provide opportunities for diverse broadcasters to be able to provide service to those Spanish-speaking homes," Martin told reporters.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Beacon Flips Again

Warren-based Beacon Broadcasting has flipped another radio station format, again.

This time, it's Farrell PA-licensed Youngstown rimshot WLOA/1470, which has moved from carrying Sporting News Radio to...simulcasting the classic country format of Beacon's other Pennsylvania-side AM outlet, WGRP/940 Greenville PA.

It's not the first, or even the second, time that the two Mercer County PA radio stations have simulcast programming.

In fact, WGRP had been paired with WLOA in the sports format ("Your Double-Play Combination") until recently, when it started spinning the classic country tunes.

And the two stations were paired before that as a simulcast of Beacon flagship WANR/1570 Warren, in a locally-produced "family friendly oldies" format still carried by WANR as a solo outlet under the name "Classic Hits 1570".

The WLOA format change was first reported by PBRTV Shenango/Mahoning Valley contributor Tom Lavery, who then tipped us about the format change at 1470.

Lavery tells us that after being knocked off the air last week, presumably from the windy remnants of Hurricane Ike, WLOA is back on the air again with the new format.

And via WGRP's webcast late this morning (direct link here), we heard Beacon veteran Johnny Rogers welcome in the new listeners from Hubbard, Liberty, Youngstown and other Mahoning Valley communities.

We haven't heard, but we presume both stations will continue in their role as the Mercer County home of Pittsburgh Pirates baseball. The team's games have been carried on both 940 and 1470 through all the recent format changes, including on 940 in its classic country format, and on both stations back when they were simulcasting 1570's oldies the rest of the day.

This being a Beacon-owned station, the liners still only refer to "Classic Country 940", and we only heard WGRP's legal ID. But Rogers was using the name "Classic Country 940 and 1470" on air...

Report: Wright Exiting "All Night"

The acquisition of syndicator Jones Radio Networks by mega-syndicator Dial Global has apparently led to the exit of a national radio personality with solid local ties.

Radio-Info.com's Tom Taylor reports that "Wright All Night" overnight host Danny Wright will be leaving the combined company by December, as Dial Global lets go six staff members at the former Jones Radio operation in Danny's current home city of Seattle. Taylor reports that a D-G spokesman has confirmed Wright's exit. It's not known if Dial Global will continue offering a syndicated overnight country show.

"Wright All Night" has aired locally on Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting country WKFM/96.1 "K96" Huron, which can heard in some of Cleveland's western suburbs.

Dial Global has spent the past few months figuring out the composition of its new universe. Though some have stayed around (Danny's Jones Radio stablemate "Lia" will apparently continue her evening show), other off-air and on-air offerings have been merged, and staffers let go due to duplication between the Jones and Dial Global services.

Though he's been fronting "Wright All Night" for many years now, Danny Wright's biggest radio success other than that comes right here in Cleveland.

Many local listeners spent their younger years listening to "Dancin' Danny Wright" on top 40 WGCL/98.5 "G98" (now CBS Radio classic rock WNCX).

And after stints at WQMX and WKDD in the Akron market, Danny landed at Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5, becoming an afternoon drive mainstay for years and making his mark in the country radio world.

It's there where we actually first met Danny, back when WGAR was still over at Crown Centre at I-77 and Rockside Road in Independence - before it moved just down the street into today's Oak Tree complex.

And though we haven't heard from him in a while, we know he's been an occasional OMW reader. As such, here's hoping the OMW Karma leads him to a new gig...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Report: Rover's "Dieter" Charged

There's a report that stunt guy (Dominic) Dieter, from WMMS/100.7's morning show "Rover's Morning Glory", is in quite a bit of legal hot water tonight.

Radio and Records adds some more information to the initial report by CBS affiliate WOIO/19's "19 Action News". Quoting R&R here, apparently going off an earlier WOIO report with more details than the one linked on the station's website this evening:

Dieter (...) was charged on Wednesday (Sept. 24) with three counts of assault for allegedly throwing a beer bottle from the stage and into the crowd at last June's "RoverFest." The bottle struck 29-year-old Tiffany Yuhasz, who needed 12 stitches to close wounds on her forehead and under one of her eyes. The victim claims to still be suffering from "nerve damage."

"Action News" reports today that Dieter will be arraigned on October 3rd...

Small Bites

Three small bites' worth of news items, all of 'em courtesy of our friends over at AllAccess...

SEACREST VIRUS INVADES COLUMBUS: The rumors that filtered into our inbox out of Columbus have become reality, as Premiere syndicated host Ryan Seacrest must have compromising pictures of someone in Columbus.

Oh, OK, so Ryan's not really our favorite host - but we're not in his target demo.

AllAccess reports that Seacrest's syndicated midday show joins the weekday lineup on Clear Channel top 40 WNCI/97.9 starting at noon, filling the time slot between current middayer Joe Boxer (who moves to 10 AM-noon), and afternoon driver Chris Davis...

THE ELECTRONIC ROOSTER: Even some listeners in urban areas like Cleveland, Akron and Canton have probably at least stumbled onto the electronic rooster call that signaled the start of farm radio programming at Columbus-based ABN, the network originally founded by iconic farm broadcaster the late Ed Johnson.

After being sold to Clear Channel, ABN is now back on its own again, and AllAccess and other trade sites report that it's headed for new digs.

ABN will join up with Ohio State University's WOSU/820-WOSU-FM/89.7, using studios left behind by WOSU Public Media at the university's Fawcett Center. The WOSU stations are apparently still in the building, but using newly-constructed digital facilities there.

The ABN folks say they're looking forward to interaction with OSU students, and the university says it looks forward to that - and to working with the ABN folks to "strengthen agriculture" in Ohio.

ABN's website shows most of its affiliates ring Northeast Ohio, though it does claim coverage on NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton and MediaOne sports WFUN/970 Ashtabula (we're guessing that may have gone away with the station's flip to "ESPN 970").

But ABN has long been carried, back to the Ed Johnson days, on Dix country/sports WQKT/104.5 Wooster, with its powerful 52,000 watt signal that reaches into parts of the Cleveland market...

ON THE LOOSE: AllAccess notes that former then-Salem sports WKNR/850-talk WHK/1420 Cleveland program director Michael Luczak is out on the job hunt again, after "time off to take care of back problems that required surgery".

Luczak tells the trade site that he's back in good health, and "available to work anywhere there's the right PD or OM position".

Before his time at Salem, Luczak also programmed rock WMMS/100.7 (now owned by Clear Channel) and then-rhythmic oldies WZJM/92.3 "Jammin' 92.3" (now CBS Radio alt-rock WKRK "K-Rock"). And of course, WKNR is now owned by Good Karma Broadcasting...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Satellite HD Locals In Youngstown

An item that actually broke last week, that we're catching up with...

The DirecTV satellite service has launched HD local channel service to the Youngstown market, according to a news release put out by the satellite company.

DIRECTV, Inc., the nation's leading satellite television service provider, is now offering local HD programming to customers in the Youngstown, Ohio designated market area. The following broadcast networks are available in HD: WYTV/ABC and WFMJ/NBC. With the addition of Youngstown, DIRECTV now offers local HD broadcast channels in 91 cities, representing 81 percent of U.S. TV households.

Yes, that's right...for whatever reason, DirecTV isn't carrying WKBN/27, the New Vision-owned CBS affiliate. And it's also not carrying WKBN's sister FOX affiliate, WYFX "FOX 17/62"... though as noted here frequently, Parkin Broadcasting's WYTV is being operated by WKBN/WYFX in a "shared services agreement" that appears not to extend to satellite carriage agreements.

DirecTV gives no indication of why WKBN/WYFX aren't up on the bird in HD format. All four stations are carried by the satellite provider in analog/SD form, including WYFX.

WYFX, of course, has no over-the-air HD feed, since it lives on two LPTV outlets (WYFX-LP 62 Youngstown/WFXI-CA 17 Mercer PA) and as a standard definition simulcast on WKBN-DT 27.2 (give or take a major event or two - the Super Bowl, the Daytona 500 - in HD on 27.3).

But the FOX affiliate does feed HD to local cable systems via fiber, and we're pretty sure DirecTV has carried fiber feeds in other markets in similar situations. Competitor Dish Network seems to stick with OTA feeds.

No matter - with WKBN's HD feed not being carried by DirecTV, the difficulty would seem to be financial and legal, not technical...

Your Official Tony Bruno Station

In its two stints as a sports radio station, Clear Channel's WARF/1350 Akron "SportsRadio 1350" has one long, cherished tradition.

It carries Tony Bruno.

The long-time national sports radio host has appeared on Akron's 1350 in all three national incarnations of his program...first at ESPN Radio, then at FOX Sports Radio, and most recently at Sporting News Radio.

He's back.

Bruno is launching his fourth national radio show courtesy of the folks at The Content Factory, the new syndication/sports media company that returned Dan Patrick to the sports radio airwaves after he left ESPN.

And yes, OMW has confirmed that Akron's 1350 AM is once again along for the Bruno Ride.

Bruno's new show, "Into the Night with Tony Bruno", will start on "SportsRadio 1350" on October 6th, one week after its national debut on September 29th.

And yes, that's "night" as in the new Bruno time slot - 10 PM to 1 AM Eastern, where WARF will carry the show live.

The new time slot seems designed to give him a live 7-10 PM (Pacific) clearance in his home market of Los Angeles, where rumors are already floating that he'll air on Clear Channel sports KLAC/570.

Bruno has traditionally aired in middays (Eastern). But that's where the Content Factory folks already air ESPN host Patrick - in a 9 AM-noon clearance also carried by WARF.

It hasn't QUITE been a near continuous run for Bruno on WARF. The station was formerly WTOU (call letter remnants of its old "Touch" urban AC satellite format days), and switched from ESPN Radio to FOX Sports Radio right around the time Bruno made the same switch.

In between the host's time at FSR and his third national gig with Sporting News Radio, 1350 had flipped to liberal talk as "Radio Free Ohio". The station's format change back to sports brought it to SNR, where Bruno had moved...

WNEO's Early Change

Northeast Ohio has already seen one full-power analog TV station go dark months before the federally mandated digital transition, though the change has affected only a small part of the Cleveland/Akron (Canton) market. Mansfield local independent station WMFD/68 won approval to go digital-only due to various issues regarding the replacement of its analog facility/antenna. WMFD-DT (RF 12) no longer has an analog 68 sister.

In what's no surprise to regular OMW readers, we're not long from the date where the region's second analog station will go dark.

That station is Alliance-licensed PBS affiliate WNEO/45, which will "flash cut" its analog signal on channel 45 to a digital signal. WNEO is the Youngstown market half of "PBS 45 & 49", broadcasting from a tower in Salem.

And the folks at PBS 45 & 49 - slated to become "Western Reserve PBS" - are getting out the word to Youngstown area viewers:

Because of related engineering upgrades that need to be made to the station’s Salem transmitter, there will be times during the first three weeks of November when the WNEO channels will be off air. Finally, the WNEO analog signal will permanently go off the air on Wednesday, Nov. 19, three months ahead of the national analog shut-off date, in preparation for the conversion to all-digital channels.

The complete timetable is at the link above.

There will be a couple of days after the November 19th analog shutoff for WNEO - where the station won't be broadcasting either on analog 45 or digital 45...but the station says it'll continue to feed cable/satellite viewers in that two day construction period. (The "49" half of the combo, Akron's WEAO, is not affected, and will continue broadcasting on both analog and digital.)

The station filed an application with the FCC for this early transition plan months ago. OMW originally noted it in an item we posted back in February.

Again, for Cleveland/Akron/Canton viewers, none of the early shutoff activities noted here will affect WEAO/49.

That station will continue to broadcast on analog 49 *and* WEAO-DT (RF 50, 49.1/2), through February 17, 2009, when analog 49 will join all the other analog full-power stations in the country and will sign off.

WEAO-DT is staying on RF 50, though it will continue to appear on digital sets as "49", and so the Akron station has no need to "flash cut" or sunset the analog signal early.

This activity in November only affects Youngstown market viewers who depend on over-air signals from WNEO. WNEO is abandoning its current pre-transition digital channel, 46, for its current analog RF channel 45...again, a "flash cut" not needed in Akron. (Copley Township, technically.)

One November change does affect both WNEO and its Cleveland/Akron market sister, WEAO. On November 1st, both WNEO-DT 45.1 and WEAO-DT 49.1 will change from the 24/7 PBS HD feed, to a high-definition simulcast of the station's main schedule.

Of course, this doesn't change non-HD programming into HD, but the new 45.1/49.1 will act much like the main channel of other network affiliates...when there's HD, it'll show up there. Shows not in HD will be upconverted. We believe this is a change being made at the national PBS level.

45.2/49.2 will not go away on November 1st, but will cease being an SD simulcast of 45/49 at the February transition...as other subchannels are planned.

The station also notes that analog translator W58AM Youngstown, a simulcast of WNEO intended for the low-lying areas of the Mahoning Valley, will continue in analog even past the February 17 transition date. Low-power stations and translators are not affected by the full-power transition, and any digital conversion they do is voluntary.

OMW has noted that W58AM has a companion digital construction permit... since it's a companion, and not a flash cut, WNEO/WEAO could theoretically sign on the digital RF 44 signal of the current W58AM while keeping 58 in analog, but it doesn't sound like they're preparing for that right away.

If you're confused by this, feel free to contact PBS 45 & 49. The station has set up E-Mail and toll-free help lines - 1-877-DTV4PBS or dtv4pbs@wneo.org.

And WNEO/WEAO/Northeastern Educational Television of Ohio/Western Reserve Public Media/Western Reserve PBS (whew!) president and CEO Trina Cutter continues to hold her "Get Ready for DTV: Tuesdays With Trina" free presentations.

The next one is tonight at 6:30 at Austintown Branch Library, 600 S. Raccoon Road...followed by one next Tuesday at Columbiana Public Library, 332 N. Middle St. Registration is recommended, but not required, by calling 1-800-554-4549.

The station says you can also call that number if you have questions about the DTV transition, and WNEO's early analog shutoff.

By the way, we hear the station's new "Western Reserve PBS" branding is set to hit the airwaves on October 1st...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Laura Inches Onto WEOL

Continuing the ongoing saga of the Cleveland market affiliation of Talk Radio Network host Laura Ingraham:

OMW did hear Ingraham make her debut on Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria this Monday evening, after the 6 PM news.

Yes, we said "6 PM"...and the front page of WEOL's website now welcomes Ingraham to the schedule "Weeknights at 6:00". (She's still not on the WEOL schedule page, though.)

The show's clearance on WEOL was first announced on Ingraham's website as being from 5-7 PM weeknights...and long-time OMW reader/tipster Nathan Obral confirms what a commenter here first noted: that WEOL advertised that same time slot for Laura in the co-owned Elyria Chronicle-Telegram last week.

Now, in the past week, we've both written and learned more about Laura Ingraham and her radio show than we thought we ever would. But since the move from Salem talk WHK/1420 has had more fits and starts than an ailing lawn mower, we have to keep track of it.

For the moment, we don't know if the two hour Ingraham clearance will eventually eclipse or move the third hour of ABC/Citadel/Premiere host Sean Hannity's program, which still airs on WEOL from 3-6 PM.

A thought: Mr. Obral noted that WEOL is still looking at a few more days carrying Cleveland Indians games, which would pre-empt even the small portion of Ingraham's show airing now. The Indians' pre-game show starts most nights at 6:37 PM, which would provide about a half-hour of Laura Ingraham before Jim Rosenhaus and company take over the airwaves.

And Fridays, as we noted already, WEOL covers the 6-7 PM hour with its local high school football pre-game show.

A guess, and only a guess: Will WEOL extend Ingraham to the previously announced 5-7 PM clearance after the Indians hang up their bats and gloves a week from today? Then, they presumably could park the last hour of Hannity's show, on a two hour delay, from 7-8 PM.

It's similar to what Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron did when it launched Matt Patrick's local talk show in the same 5-7 PM slot, only Hannity's 3rd hour airs on WHLO after ABC/Citadel stablemate Mark Levin's 7-9 PM show.

And it's a move that would only make sense for WEOL when the nearly-daily action of Indians play-by-play winds up.

It isn't a perfect move for Hannity partisans, as the station still carries a pretty heavy sports schedule in evenings, both local and regional. But it sounds more feasible after the Indians pack it up...

Again, just a guess...educated, or otherwise...

"Rover" Show Looking For Producer

As a continuing public service of your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), we hope to help reduce the media unemployment rate in Northeast Ohio.

To this end, we're copying this item posted on AllAccess - of an opening at Clear Channel's World Domination HQ on Oak Tree:

Rover’s Morning Glory, a syndicated morning show based at legendary WMMS Cleveland, OH is seeking a full-time off-air producer. Responsibilities include guest booking, planning and coordinating bits, stunts and events, research of guests and topics and much, much more.

Candidates must have excellent organizational and communication skills, be able to do the impossible (we need a donkey in-studio tomorrow!) and be willing to throw their social life out the window to work long, thankless hours.

Send resume along with a killer cover letter on what you bring to the table to: WMMS Morning Producer, 6200 Oak Tree Blvd. 4th Floor, Independence, OH 44131. No calls please. Clear Channel is an equal opportunity employer.

We don't know "RMG" enough to know why the show needs a new producer...or, for that matter, what role donkeys play on the show.

We do know that WMMS' program director is Bo Matthews, should you wish to address him personally in your submission...

Cleveland On The Block

OK, so now, we have some more details about the possible disposition of CBS Radio's four Cleveland stations.

The New York Post reports that the 50 mid-market CBS Radio stations the company said it would sell are officially on the block starting today, as the paper reports that "first round bids" for the stations are due today. From the article by Post writer Peter Lauria:

CBS, which is not using an investment bank to help with the auction and is instead handling it in-house, is trying to unload 50 stations in 12 markets, including Las Vegas, San Diego, Baltimore, Cleveland and others.

Among those to receive books and expected to bid are: Cumulus Media, Entercom Communications, Bonneville Broadcasting, Connoisseur Communications, and Tribune Co., as well as former radio industry executive Bobby Lawrence and former CBS Radio CEO Joel Hollander.

The list is full of companies we've kicked around here, and some surprises.

It's long been speculated that former Jacor owner Sam Zell and radio head Randy Michaels could expand Tribune's one-station radio holding (talk WGN/720 Chicago).

Zell became a billionaire with radio by selling the high-flying Jacor group to Clear Channel when station values were at a high, and suburban Cincinnati-based Michaels likely hasn't gotten radio out of his blood even in his current role as COO of Tribune.

But this is the first official sign we've seen that Tribune may be sniffing around at radio stations. And it IS Tribune listed, not Randy Michaels separately through his RadioActive group.

Note, too, that fellow former Jacorite Bobby Lawrence - now heading up Local TV, LLC (owners of Cleveland FOX affiliate WJW/8) - is on the list. We presume Mr. Lawrence could run into problems with cross-ownership in markets like Cleveland due to his TV ownership company's expanded presence, assuming he makes any successful bids...and closely associated Tribune could well have the same problem in some markets.

And we don't know what former CBS Radio head Joel Hollander has in mind, either.

Note, of course, that this reported action today is the "first round bid" part of our program.

CBS Radio is clearly serious about selling the 50 stations, including Cleveland outlets WKRK/92.3, WNCX/98.5, WDOK/102.1, and WQAL/104.1.

But the article, quoting CBS CEO Les Moonves, suggests the group won't just jump at the first semi-decent offers for its radio stations:

"We don't know what the marketplace is," Moonves admitted during a Goldman Sachs conference last week. "If we don't get the right pricing for it, we're not going to sell."

The article quotes unnamed financial sources as saying the initial bids could be as low as "seven and eight times" station cash flow, and CBS clearly hopes for numbers higher than that.

We also don't know what bidders are interested in what markets or what stations, or if any of 'em hope to swallow the 50 stations as a group...or just how serious bidders like Tribune, Local TV's Lawrence and former CBS Radio head Hollander are about pursuing this, particularly if CBS Radio isn't biting at lower bids than they expect.

We'll be watching...

Mahoning Valley Bandscan

Some oddities from two recent trips to the Youngstown/Warren radio market, particularly on AM...

WHERE'S REV. MANN?: OMW reported in February that Salem was selling the station now known as WHKZ/1440 Warren - which has mostly been a simulcast of Cleveland religious sister station WHKW/1220 "The Word" - to the Pentecostal Temple Development Corporation out of the Pittsburgh area.

PTDC is run by one Rev. Loran Mann, a former Pittsburgh TV reporter who owns WGBN/1150 New Kensington PA in that market.

Given that most radio sales are done within about three months, given no hiccups, what happened?

FCC online database records show the sale transaction was approved by the FCC back in early May, indeed, about three months after the application was filed.

But on the form we just linked, there's a big blank space next to "Consummation Date", and indeed, Salem is still listed as the licensee of WHKZ.

In our trips to the Mahoning Valley this past week, we heard WHKZ running various infomercials (mostly secular health-related ones) in the afternoons, clearly under the auspices of Salem - right down to the company's usual fill material between the infomercials, and a disclaimer mentioning Salem by name.

Though we didn't listen for long periods of time, it didn't appear that - at least in the time we heard - that WHKZ was making any effort to directly simulcast WHKW in Cleveland. We were able to hear both signals, and they were running different programming...even the infomercials weren't the same. But again, it was a short period of listening.

We have no idea why the sale to Rev. Mann's organization has yet to be completed, nearly five months after it was approved by the FCC. Perhaps some of our Pittsburgh-area sources can work this from the other end.

Whenever Rev. Mann does finally get control of WHKZ, we'd expect some sort of gospel format. His Pittsburgh outlet does some locally programmed gospel on weekday mornings, and rounds out the schedule with the satellite-delivered "Rejoice - Musical Soul Food", a 24/7 format once owned by ABC Radio Networks but now on its own.

Regular OMW readers know that unless some sort of new deal is reached, Rev. Mann won't have that latter option in the Mahoning Valley. "Rejoice" airs on Beacon Media gospel WRTK/1540 Niles...

AND NEXT ON THE VALLEY AM DIAL: ...literally next, that is, would be another Beacon Media station - sports WLOA/1470 Farrell PA - which has apparently been off the air for a few days.

We don't know when the Sporting News Radio affiliate stopped broadcasting, but we'll guess that the Remnants of Ike were responsible a week ago Sunday.

This past Sunday, the station sounded like it wasn't transmitting at all. Earlier in the week, 1470 was putting out a carrier strong enough to stop the OMW Mobile radio's scan near the Southern Park Mall, but was transmitting enough loud, unlistenable noise (and no programming) that it might as well have been off the air.

The rest of the stations in the Glunt World Empire - Beacon classic hits WANR/1570 Warren, gospel WRTK/1540 Niles, Christian rock WEXC/107.1 "Freq 107" Greenville PA and classic country WGRP/940 in that same PA city, were all up and running Sunday.

And we haven't yet figured out where all those stations are physically located, studio facilities-wise.

We know for sure that WANR is run out of the company's Courthouse Square studios. We're told that WEXC and WGRP are still physically operating out of their McCracken Road studio in Greenville.

And we thought that WRTK and WLOA are running their automated formats from their transmitter sites (near Niles, and near the Ohio/PA border in Hubbard OH, respectively).

It only became a question for us because WLOA did actually have transmitter power earlier in the week, but it sounded to us like it was picking up major STL interference...which would tend to rule out a computer pumping out Sporting News Radio in Hubbard.

Not to mention the fact that someone has to show up to run the Pittsburgh Pirates games on both WLOA and WGRP during the baseball season...though a good guess would be that those are run out of McCracken Road as well...

MISSING TRIBE: As the Cleveland Indians wind down their 2008 non-playoff season, they're apparently the odd man out on the radio in the Mahoning Valley.

As far as we know, Sunday's 10-5 Indians win over the Detroit Tigers was not carried by Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 Youngstown, which picked up the Cleveland Browns network pre-game show roughly in the middle of when the Tribe game would have aired.

It's not a huge deal, really...the Indians - despite matching the hapless Browns in score on Sunday - are out of the playoff hunt...and easily found on most Valley radios via the team's 50,000 watt Cleveland flagship, WTAM/1100.

But we still need a scorecard to find where the various Cleveland and Pittsburgh pro teams land on the Mahoning Valley dial...or elsewhere, for that matter, outside those cities.

As near as we can figure, WKBN and sister rock WNCD/93.3 simulcast the Browns, particularly after the Indians are over.

We found the Steelers Radio Network over on standards WNIO/1390, though we don't know if that's a regular placement for them. We believe WNIO is also the Cavaliers Radio Network affiliate in the market again in 2008.

In other sports, we found NASCAR on Clear Channel classic hits WBBG/106.1 Niles, and Westwood One NFL broadcasts on...the aforementioned Beacon Media classic hits WANR/1570 Warren, which as far as we know is a new clearance for them.

(And in other sports play-by-play notes, we didn't hear the game Saturday, but we also heard WANR running promos earlier in the week for the Notre Dame ISP Sports Network.)

Over in Akron, it appears Rubber City Radio has officially anointed rock WONE/97.5 as the Akron Radio Home of the Browns. We don't know if WAKR/1590 will come along for the ride once the Indians are done...but assume so...unless there's a Cavaliers conflict or two in there...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Baby, If You've Ever Wondered

An iconic Cincinnati radio station celebrates its 30th anniversary today.

It's a radio station that never actually existed on the dial, as you might be able to tell from our quote from its opening theme song in the title of this entry.

Television's "WKRP in Cincinnati" provided a surprisingly accurate, and hilarious, look at the radio industry in its run on CBS in the late 1970's and early 1980's. It also gave Ohio's Queen City a national "home" on the tube, and spawned a brief syndicated-only sequel in the 1990's.

"WKRP" is run these days on at least two cable outlets, with superstation WGN America recently adding it to the Sunday "Retro Night" lineup.

Tonight, to mark its 30th anniversary, The Mighty 'KRP rides with a mini-marathon on WGN America, from 7 PM to 10 PM (Eastern).

The show also regularly airs Monday nights up in high-numbered digital cable land on something called the American Life Network.

And this being OMW, we note that 'KRP ended up on WGN America not long after Tribune COO Randy Michaels showed up. Randy, of course, is the former WLW programmer who owns a Northern Kentucky home within sight of many of the Cincinnati landmarks shown on the WKRP opening.

Oh, and speaking of that opening...

Cincinnati.com has brought back a 2007 "Then and Now" video that compares the shots featured in the show's 1978 opening, with what they'd have looked like in modern times. It's well worth a view.

We're wondering in our heads if some radio folks could do a similar comparison for radio as it existed (fictionally) in the late 70's and now.

Remember the 'KRP episode where a station tried to lure away Venus Flytrap, by making him the program director of an automated station... revealed when a massive wall of spinning reel to reel tape machines comes out from behind a curtain?

Today, that's incredibly common...well, except that the reel to reel machines are long gone, replaced by a program on a small personal computer that fits under a desk.

And even the gifted 'KRP writers and producers couldn't possibly imagine today's remote voicetracking, where that "automated station" could have live-sounding voices piped in via the Internet from across the country.

"WKRP" was about as accurate as the visual medium ever got about radio. Our only minor complaint - the jocks never wore headphones.

But everyone in radio knew a Herb Tarlek, a Les Nessman, and a "Big Guy" manager, at their own station or one across town. You probably wanted to work with an Andy Travis, a cool, friendly program director who seemed to know what he was doing...and sympathized with him and with Dr. Johnny Fever as they moved "town to town, up and down the dial" to get ahead -or even stay - in the business.

Though, we're not sure about that whole Jennifer Marlowe-as-receptionist thing actually happening at most stations...let alone both Jennifer and Bailey Quarters in the same building. The whole "Jennifer vs. Bailey" debate became the "Ginger vs. Mary Ann" debate of its time.

The show inspired a legion of radio people to get into the business. And even some of them haven't been driven from the business or laid off...yet.

Despite WLW being "The Nation's Station" and still booming 50,000 watts all over the Eastern U.S. each night (not to mention being on satellite radio nationwide)....despite sister WEBN being one of America's most known rock stations...and despite other powerful and influential stations in the market...

WKRP will always be the best-known radio station in Cincinnati...

Friday, September 19, 2008

No Laura - Yet

We've kept track of the affiliation moves of Talk Radio Network mid-morning host Laura Ingraham, caused because of a dispute between the TRN folks and Salem Communications. Until this week, Ingraham aired on 17 Salem talkers across the country, including Cleveland's WHK/1420.

OMW reported Monday that the show now lists Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria as Laura's new Cleveland affiliate, with a delayed clearance from 5-7 PM weekdays.

Well, not yet.

Tonight, we heard WEOL still running ABC/Premiere's Sean Hannity in the 5 PM hour, with the station's high school football pre-game show (as would be expected, even with a new host) in the 6 PM hour.

A birdie in Elyria tells us that there may be "clearance problems" that have delayed Ms. Ingraham's debut on WEOL. We'll assume that means that the station has to work out the details, with ABC/Citadel/Premiere/whoever handles Sean Hannity's affiliation these days, of the removal of one of Hannity's hours for the new show.

Anyway, aside from Ingraham's own website, which still has WEOL on its "new stations" list, we're the only place reporting her alleged return to the Northeast Ohio airwaves.

WEOL has yet to confirm the show's listing, and hasn't put any mention of her on its website schedule or elsewhere online.

We assume they'll do that whenever those "clearance problems" get cleared up. It sounds like the show is still slated to join the WEOL lineup, just not yet...

Western Ohio CC Station Sold

Though there's absolutely no word (or even strong rumor) about the fate of a big Northeast Ohio Clear Channel station spun off into the "Aloha Station Trust", another of the company's stations in Western Ohio is indeed headed for a new owner.

That would be WBUK/106.3 Ottawa, the Findlay-Lima market rimshot that picked up the oldies "Buck" format from the Lima market's 107.5 (now rock WZRX/107.5 Fort Shawnee "X107-5").

But WBUK has most recently been classic rock "The Fox", a moniker and format it picked up from another Clear Channel spinoff in the region, WPFX/107.7 North Baltimore. (At last check, after a brief time as AC "My 107.7" and a sale to BAS Broadcasting, the latter is still silent, pending its takeover by Toledo Radio's Dan Dudley and company.)

Your winning buyer for WBUK is Blanchard River Broadcasting, which owns Findlay's talk WFIN/1330 and rock WKXA/100.5, and is an arm of Findlay Publishing, which owns the city's daily newspaper "The Findlay Courier".

That sounds like a media monopoly. But the company's radio stations do get competition from places like Fostoria, where AC WBVI/96.7 "Mix 96.7" aims at Findlay, or Tiffin, where country powerhouse WCKY/103.7 "103-7 CKY" booms into Findlay.

Whew. More than you ever wanted to know about the Findlay media scene, in just two sentences!

WBUK was an early station tabbed for sale by Clear Channel, an early entrant into the Aloha Trust list. And in fact, it was actually one of those stations that was supposed to go to former PAX TV executive Dean Goodman's "GoodRadio.TV", then was to be spun off from there into its own trust for supposed future sale.

None of that ever happened, as "GoodRadio.TV"'s planned acquisition of a boatload of small market Clear Channel stations fell apart. So, WBUK remained with Clear Channel, until it was flipped into Aloha recently.

Speaking of that Aloha Station Trust, of course, the station we mention at the top of this item is still "in there" - top 40 WAKS/96.5 Akron, otherwise known as Clear Channel's Cleveland market "Kiss FM" outlet. No word on any possible buyers, or the future disposition of 96.5, at this time...and it continues to operate as usual from Clear Channel's cluster on Oak Tree...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cluttered Wednesday

Like the various tree limbs, leaves and such still left behind in Ohio after the "remnants" of Hurricane Ike hit us on Sunday, this one's a bit cluttered, too. More on that storm and its effects in a bit...

A brief foray out of our electronic media world, to the print media world.

We stumbled upon this item literally by accident, but it appears the latest round of cuts at the Akron Beacon Journal has put the job of sports columnist Patrick McManamon in the crosshairs - again.

On his own "Beside the Point" blog, McManamon breaks the news...

Finally … a personal note … the Beacon-Journal has again decided to lay off employees. This time, five reporters are on the list, me being one of them. The outrage is that this calls into question the long-term future of this brog. Layoffs take effect in 60 days. While I certainly hope things change in that time, I can only promise this clog will be around until Nov. 15. Questions may be directed toward your local Sta-Puf Marshmallow Man.

OMW reported in August 2006 that McManamon - then the paper's Cleveland Browns beat writer - was on the "Beacon Bloodbath" layoff list, the first 40 job cuts instituted by new owner Black Press.

McManamon managed to hang in there the first time, and a year later, he took the sports columnist job vacated by Terry Pluto's move to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

It'd be another huge loss if McManamon isn't able to hang in there after November 15th. The Beacon made a smart move by putting him into Pluto's old job - particularly considering that the Plain Dealer has made efforts to target the Akron market with Pluto now on staff in Cleveland, right down to billboards featuring their new arrival on I-77 on Akron's west side.

Not to mention the fact that we're right in the middle of the Cleveland Browns' 2008 season, and though he's not the team's beat writer, McManamon brings plenty of Browns insight along for the ride.

Again, McManamon has survived the Job Grim Reaper before at the Beacon Journal - as did OMW reader and former movie columnist George M. Thomas, by moving to sports - so, we'll see what happens between now and November 15th.

For now, we'll use our standard line about the Black Press-decimated Beacon Journal... we hope they have their AP wire bill current. And maybe it would be easier to list who's LEFT at 44 E. Exchange Street, instead of listing those no longer there...

NO POWER TO THE PEOPLE: Here at the OMW World Headquarters, we did lose power for about seven hours on Sunday night, but we've had juice ever since. At this writing, a few hundred thousand or so fellow Northeast Ohioans weren't so lucky.

One of those FirstEnergy customers affected Sunday night was - wait, you'll be able to guess this one! - MediaCom talk WNIR/100.1, "The Talk of Akron".

That's no surprise, presumably, since everyone knows WNIR has no backup power generator of any sort, and the station has gone off the air in power outages quite frequently.

But this time, it was different...power appeared to be in working order at the station's transmitter site, off Ohio 43 at the I-76 interchange in Brimfield. The WNIR signal was up and running throughout Sunday night.

But...it wasn't being fed with any programming, which leads us to believe that the station's studio complex, the Broadcast Trailer Park between Kent and Ravenna on Ohio 59, was without power.

We don't know what time that programming was restored, but we heard Howie Chizek doing his show as usual, early Monday afternoon.

So basically, the "Talk of Akron" was without words, while its transmitter facility was still running. Not only does WNIR not appear to have any generator power at either place, it apparently also doesn't have any way to broadcast from the transmitter site.

We admit that'd be difficult, since the small building housing equipment there likely doesn't have enough ROOM to hold the station's usual contingent of live and local air talent. And getting the station's phone lines into a temporary setup out there might be a stretch to ask.

We keep harping on this, and expect more from WNIR, since it is a successful station that frequently tops local ratings. The most recent Akron 12-plus numbers, just released, once again show WNIR at the top position.

And we once again laud "The Talk of Akron" for staying live-and-local from early morning to late at night. That certainly costs the station at least some money, though we don't get the idea that anyone there makes a ton of money individually (well, maybe that certain midday host makes a bit).

But unless they're selling their commercial spots at $5 a piece or something, they should have made enough money over the years to be able to take care of rudimentary items like backup generation, or broadcast quality feeds for remotes, or...you get the picture.

If WNIR were like its sister AM station, fully automated lightbulb power daytimer FOX Sports Radio affiliate WJMP/1520 Kent/Akron/London/Paris/Tokyo, no one would care. WJMP can and has gone off the air for days with very little notice.

But as a well-listened-to source of locally originated programming, it's different for WNIR...

NEW STATION?: A small note in Doug Smith's American Bandscan blog caught our attention.

The long-time radio hobbyist - and columnist for "Monitoring Times" magazine - notes that two applications to move New Mexico stations clear across the country have been denied by the FCC.

And one of those moves would have put a station right here in the middle of OMW land, with the proposal to send KVLP/91.7 Tucumcari NM to...the Northeast Ohio hamlet of Brewster in Stark County, just a stone's throw from Massillon.

The proposal by Educational Media Foundation - the California-based parent of the "K-Love" and "Air1" Christian music networks - would have put the New Mexico station on the dial at 90.1 FM in Northeast Ohio, squeezing next to stations like ideaStream NPR affiliate WCPN/90.3 Cleveland.

The proposed 4.8KW signal wouldn't have gotten EMF's new station much past Canton, we presume. The proposed transmitter site would have been right on the Stark/Tuscarawas County border near East Sparta.

Doug's item suggests that Stark County will apparently get another non-comm station:

In KVLP's case, the station didn't claim it would provide a first or second non-commercial service to at least 10% of the people in their proposed service area. (or that that 10% would amount to fewer than 2,000 people) The competing applicant did claim to provide first or second service, and thus won the preference.

That "competing applicant" would appear to be a proposal for a new 90.1 outlet licensed to nearby Bolivar, submitted by local religious TV mainstays Denny and Marge Hazen Ministries ("Plus or Minus 60").

Another 90.1 outlet is proposed for Ashtabula County's Jefferson as a repeater for Youngstown State University outlet WYSU/88.5, but we're not sure if that's far enough away to not cause a problem for the Bolivar application...which specifies, apparently, the same tower site as the now-bounced EMF Brewster application.

The Hazen-operated 90.1 Bolivar would be a 2KW Class A outlet...

CONGRATS: ...to a former Northern Ohio radio personality who just got a promotion in Columbus.

Steve Kelly, who moved to afternoon drive at Saga AC WSNY/94.7 "Sunny 95" in Ohio's capital city, has been named assistant program director of the station.

Kelly's name appeared frequently here in the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) in 2006, when we chronicled the move of then-WJER-FM/101.7 from Dover/New Philadelphia to Canton, where it's today's Clear Channel AC WHOF/101.7 North Canton.

We noted his departure for WSNY in this June 2006 item.

Of course, WJER continues to exist today as an AM-only outlet at 1450, now once again owned by long-time owner Gary Petricola...and we haven't mentioned it since last November, only in comparison with Clear Channel's move of Marion's WMRN-FM to the Columbus market as today's WRXS/106.7 Dublin "Radio 106.7".

And to wrap up that line of thought about news nearly a year old, Clear Channel did indeed send the WMRN-FM calls and "Buckeye Country" format back to Marion, on the former WDIF/94.3...

OFF TOPIC, ALMOST: But back to Northeast Ohio's power situation, and one of our earlier items.

Our mention of our intent to devour a footlong chili cheese hot dog from the area's brand new Sonic Drive-In has produced a response we haven't seen since we chronicled the new news set for WJW "FOX 8" some time ago.

Apparently, not only are OMW readers interested in local radio and television - they're devout Sonic fans, at least those who've encountered the Oklahoma-based chain in other areas.

So, given that interest, and given that we haven't seen much on the opening in the area news media - who are busy with such trivial things as hundreds of thousands of people without power due to the remnants of a hurricane, or presidential and vice presidential candidate visits - we'll fill the gap.

The Sonic location in Streetsboro did indeed open as scheduled on Monday, despite the fact that very large parts of that Portage County city had no electricity the Day After Ike. By our visual survey driving down Ohio 14 from Ohio 43, the Sonic location, and the nearby Chipotle and Wal-Mart Supercenter, were the only businesses that had power.

In case you're looking for it, that's where it is...in front of that new Wal-Mart Supercenter, across from the Sheetz gas station, less than an eighth of a mile from the Ohio Turnpike interchange with I-480 and Ohio 14. Be prepared to wait about 15 minutes in line, at least this week, as a "staging area" is set up in the nearby Wal-Mart parking lot.

The Record Publishing "Gateway News" weekly, which covers Streetsboro, did have an item about the opening in this week's edition.

Considering that chili cheese hot dogs are known for not only being the favorite food of "Corner Gas"' main character Brent Leroy (CTV, seen in the U.S. on WGN America, most nights at midnight ET - at least through early November until radio's "Bob and Tom" start their new TV show), but of many radio and TV personalities in Ohio and beyond...

...you're welcome.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Ingraham Lands On WEOL

It looks like Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria will be the new home of Talk Radio Network's Laura Ingraham in the Cleveland market.

This, from a list of new affiliates now found on Ingraham's official website:

Cleveland ­ WEOL AM 930 ­ 5-7pm M-F

Yes, it's a delayed clearance for the show - which would clip an hour from ABC/Premiere's Sean Hannity on the WEOL schedule, and apparently leave a live 9-11:45 AM clearance for Premiere's Glenn Beck on the Lorain County station.

So far, there's no sign of Ingraham's new clearance on her apparent new affiliate's website. And there's no word on when the show will start on WEOL.

WEOL has been added to the show's main affiliate list for Ohio, which not only still has WHK listed, but also mistakenly lists Ingraham with a weekend clearance on Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron. (We're pretty sure that went away when WHLO picked up syndicated tech talker Kim Komando.)

Thanks to OMW reader Greg for the tip!

As we mentioned more than once here, our earlier prediction that crosstown Spirit Media talk/variety WELW/1330 Willoughby would pick up the show was just that - a prediction that apparently isn't coming to pass.

An OMW reader asked an interesting question after we posted that over the weekend - is the syndicated "Duke and The Doctor" alternative medicine show (9-11 AM on WELW) a brokered clearance? We're not familiar enough with that program to answer the question.

Either station - by itself - isn't the ideal Cleveland market-wide clearance for Ingraham. Even both stations wouldn't quite serve the entire market.

WEOL is a decent station overall, but it's basically only usable for Cleveland's western suburbs. (It also has a decent signal into fast-growing Medina, which is still in the Cleveland market, and has been a second focus area for WEOL for some time.)

WELW has the same problem, and even more so, as far as mostly being limited to the eastern suburbs of Cleveland. It is also higher on the dial (1330 vs. 930), and half the power (500 watts vs. 1000 watts), compared to WEOL.

In Cleveland, there's no reasonably-signaled "third-tier" talker after Ingraham's former affiliate, WHK/1420...like many of the other stations on that list we linked above.

Ingraham's biggest upgrade on the list is a delayed night clearance starting later this month on Citadel blowtorch talk WBAP/820 in the Dallas-Fort Worth market...

Big Monday

No time to chat...time to get busy, with all these items on our Monday plate.

And perhaps on our lunch plate later today: a footlong chili cheese dog from the Sonic drive-in set to open for the first time today in Streetsboro...

THE WHY OF LAURA: We've kept you up to date over the weekend on the departure of Talk Radio Network syndicated mid-morning host Laura Ingraham from all 17 of her Salem affiliates, including the comapny's talk WHK/1420 Cleveland.

Salem's own Mike Gallagher will slide into the 9-noon slot on WHK and the other Salem outlets starting later this morning. WHK has already made the change on its website schedule.

As of this writing, there's still no announcement on where Ingraham's show will land in Cleveland, either live or on delay. We still expect that locally-owned WELW/1330 Willoughby to be the announced affiliate, give or take a delayed clearance on some other station in Northern Ohio. Again, this is just an educated guess...see our Saturday item for more.

But we have possible insight as to why Ingraham and Salem are parting company.

No, it's not a money issue. OMW reported a couple of years ago that Salem lost self-syndicated money advice host (and now FOX Business Network TV host) Dave Ramsey after Ramsey staffers told our readers that Salem asked the host to pay for his clearances.

But Radio and Records' Mike Stern sheds some light on the nature of the Ingraham/Salem spat on a Friday news item:

The rift appears to date back to the three-week period at the end of the spring book when TRNE and Ingraham were at odds over contract negotiation issues and she was locked out of her studio. With so many affiliates, Salem was one of the owners least happy about the situation and it appears to have resulted in a parting of the ways.

TRNE, by the way, is Talk Radio Network Enterprises, the apparent new corporate name for TRN.

So, assuming Mr. Stern is correct, TRN playing hardball with Ingraham during her contract talks - and taking her off the air - has now led to a mad scramble to find new affiliates in her Salem markets. (And remember, when Ingraham was off the air the first time, Salem briefly turned to its own Mike Gallagher Show to fill part of the gap in her show...at least on WHK, here.)

The Salem stations aren't exactly the shining lights of talk radio in their home markets.

To call WHK a "distant second" in talk radio in Cleveland to Clear Channel's WTAM/1100 is being exceedingly kind to WHK. And the Salem talkers are in basically the same position elsewhere in the country, scratching out a 1-2 share or less 12-plus, swamped by a major Clear Channel, CBS Radio or other big company-owned dominant news/talk station.

But Ingraham's replacement affiliates named so far are very much the third-tier stations to Salem's second-tier stations...and not a single one of them is an "upgrade" from the Salem stations which carried the show until Friday...

EX-TV'ER AFTER UNIVERSITY JOB: In recent years, she's been the spokesperson for two Cleveland-based healthcare giants - MetroHealth and University Hospitals.

But former TV medical reporter Eileen Korey now has her sights set on a big job at a local university.

The Daily Kent Stater student-run newspaper reports that Korey interviewed last week for the post of vice president in charge of university relations at Kent State University, a job which would basically make her the point person for "telling Kent State's story", as she says.

Korey left the medical reporter job at Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 after an eight year run in 1992, first starting her own medical information company - then moving to University Hospitals as a result of that. She's been MetroHealth's top voice and face since 2004...

DOWNTOWN...EVERYONE WANTS TO TAPE...DOWNTOWN: We've been keeping an eye on the downtown Akron home for what's now WKYC/3's Akron Bureau, which is getting new tenants - with new production and sales facilities for public broadcasters WKSU/89.7 and WNEO-WEAO/45-49.

Though we haven't seen signs of activity outside the Main and Market facility, there are things going on inside.

Perhaps we should have turned on a TV instead of peering at the building's windows, as it turns out.

WKYC Akron Bureau chief Eric Mansfield doubles as host of 45/49's "NewsNight Akron", and Mansfield noted last Friday on his blog that "NewsNight" taped its very first show in the United Building:

For regular viewers ... the set will look different .. and the host (me) is positioned on the left side of your screen now. I'm also standing after spending all the previous shows seated. The reason behind that will be apparent in the next few weeks as we add a "smart board" similar to the touch-screen monitors CNN is using on its political shows.

The new location is also a big plus for the panelists and for getting future guests on the broadcasts. I'd like to invite a studio audience in from time-to-time as well.

Of course, sometime fairly soon, "PBS 45 & 49" will undergo a branding change. The Kent-based PBS affiliates will become known as "Western Reserve PBS", part of an overall branding change to "Western Reserve Public Media"...

PAGING GMA: ABC-TV's morning news magazine show is getting ready to camp out in Northeast Ohio.

"Good Morning America" is scheduled to air live Wednesday from the tiny northern Trumbull County hamlet of Gustavus. It's part of the show's pre-election related "50 States In 50 Days" tour, and Gustavus was apparently picked because A) it's on the train route the show's team is taking across the country, and B) because it has a lot of farmers.

The Youngstown Vindicator's Rebecca Sloan has more in a Friday story, noting that country singer Brad Paisley is expected to join the festivities, and perhaps...hush, hush, whisper, whisper, one of the presidential candidates may be riding the train into Gustavus on Wednesday morning.

Since we have never heard of Gustavus, we got out a map and found that it's on Ohio 87 at Ohio 193, not far from the Trumbull/Ashtabula County line...

FROM FLYING TO BUILDING MANAGEMENT: An OMW hat tip to Cincinnati Enquirer radio-TV guru John Kiesewetter for the link to the Vindicator story on his blog (Kiese had never heard of Gustavus, either).

And there's another interesting story on Kiese Blog, as he notes that long-time Cincinnati radio traffic reporter John Phillips has become the latest with WLW ties to end up working for Chicago-based Tribune, aka Tribune COO Randy Michaels' effort to "Get The (Jacor) Band Back Together".

Phillips, however, is not working either on the air or off the air at Tribune's two big broadcast operations in Chicago, talk WGN/720, or CW affiliate WGN/9 (and superstation offshoot WGN America).

Kiese has details on Phillips' new gig under Michaels:

Phillips manages the Tribune Tower services and operations -- 36 stories above the ground, and seven below. Built in 1925, the tower has 22 elevators "none of which go to all of the floors," he says.

Tribune Tower, of course, is the company's Chicago headquarters...more recently made famous on its WGN America, where Tribune interactive president and former Jacor-ite Marc Chase hosts weekend late night movies from "The Fortress of Television Innovation" under his "Night Watchman" persona.

Phillips segued from his long-running WLW traffic gig to hosting morning drive on WLW sister station WKRC/550, before Clear Channel budget cuts brought his run with the company to an end in late 2007...

COLLINS LANDS: We almost missed this AllAccess item because it didn't mention his most recent gig.

But yes, it appears former Clear Channel talk WTVN/610-WYTS-1230 Columbus program director Bruce Collins has landed, as he's been named the new program director of Border Media Partners talk KURV/710 in Brownsville-McAllen TX.

And the "border" part of his new company's name is quite evident there...the Brownsville-McAllen market is literally on the border with Mexico. (BMP owns other Texas stations not directly on that border.)

A decent chunk of Collins' experience comes south of the Mason-Dixon Line, much of it not far from his new South Texas home market. Among other stops on the Collins resume - programming Clear Channel talk KTOK/1000 Oklahoma City, along with stops at CC talkers in Atlanta (WGST/640) and Nashville (WLAC/1510)...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Predicting Laura's Home

An update to our earlier item:

Various trade reports confirm that Talk Radio Network host Laura Ingraham has aired her last show on all of her affiliates owned by Salem, and that those stations will indeed turn to Salem's own Mike Gallagher to replace Ingraham starting Monday. The 17 stations making that switch include Salem's Cleveland market talker, WHK/1420.

And in a Friday release announcing several new affiliates for Ingraham, TRN says seven more new Ingraham stations in former Salem markets will be announced next week:

As a courtesy to those additional stations transitioning, the following upgraded signals in seven more markets will not be announced until next week, those markets are: Seattle, WA; Minneapolis, MN; Sacramento, CA; Colorado Springs, CO; Cleveland, OH; San Antonio, TX; and Portland, OR - even more are in the works.

OK, so Cleveland's on the list of markets where new Laura Ingraham affiliates will be announced next week. Where?

Any potential affiliate in Cleveland would be no upgrade from 5,000 watt WHK/1420, a full-market signal in the heart of the market.

The other AMs in the Cleveland market are basically off the table in a discussion of a new home for the Ingraham show. And we find it hard to picture Ingraham's show landing even on the relatively anemic signal of Radio One brokered/talk WERE/1490.

We haven't checked in with the Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting folks, or Clear Channel World Domination HQ Southern Command on Freedom Avenue, but we'll make the relatively easy assumption that both WEOL/930 Elyria and WHLO/640 Akron will stick with Premiere's Glenn Beck in the mid-morning time slot.

(WHLO carried Ingraham some time ago, later grabbing Beck after he was bounced off of WTAM in a Jerry Springer-induced haze.)

So, our prediction, based upon knowledge of the market and a look at the other replacement affiliates on the TRN press release: Spirit Media talk/variety WELW/1330 Willoughby.

The small, locally-owned East Side station already carries a compatible show - it's the only Cleveland market affiliate for Westwood One's "The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly", with a long-time live clearance for the FOX News Channel host's radio show from noon to 2 PM weekdays.

The WELW schedule shows a decent opening for an Ingraham live clearance - 9-11 AM has been occupied by the syndicated "Duke and the Doctor" show, which appears to focus on alternative medicine.

Locally-based Lake Effect Radio's variety lineup occupies 11 AM-noon. We will assume that's a brokered slot, but both the Lake Effect hour-long block and "Duke and the Doctor" also air later in the day on WELW - Lake Effect from 4-5 PM (and again late at night) and "Duke" from 9-10 PM.

So, we predict that sometime next week, the 500-watt Lake County station will be announced as the Cleveland market's new home for TRN's Laura Ingraham Show, with at very least a live 2-hour 9-11 AM clearance...the third hour's clearance depending on the contract with the Lake Effect Radio folks.

This is primarily an educated guess, and may well be 100 percent wrong...and is not based on any actual inside or even outside information from either the syndicator or from the radio station, let alone any rumors...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bye, Laura?

We provided extensive coverage when Talk Radio Networks midday host Laura Ingraham was away from her microphone earlier this year - when the host and syndicator had a contract dispute.

Another such dispute could mean the end of Ingraham's show on nearly a dozen-and-a-half stations, including her Cleveland affliate, talk WHK/1420.

Chicago Sun-Times radio/TV guru Robert Feder reports that WHK owner Salem is dumping Ingraham's show from its Chicago station, WIND/560, among others:

Starting Monday, she will be replaced from noon to 2 p.m. weekdays by Mike Gallagher.

Ingraham's syndicated show has been dropped by Salem in 17 of its markets. The move follows a dispute with her distributor.

Gallagher's show aired in mid-mornings on WHK for a few days in the earlier dispute, which at that time was between the host and her syndicator. This time, the problem appears to be between that syndicator and Salem.

Gallagher's show is currently buried in late nights on WHK and many other Salem conservative talk stations, despite the fact that it's owned and syndicated by the company itself. Gallagher did get a big boost from Salem recently, acting basically as quasi-local host on the company's new talk WNYM/970 in his hometown New York City market.

Last time around, TRN was readying weekend host Monica Crowley as a potential Ingraham replacement. This time, it's Salem having to do its own shuffling to replace Ingraham.

Salem has been here before, as the radio group lost self-syndicated financial advice host Dave Ramsey in 2006. As reported right here on OMW, Ramsey pulled his show from all Salem stations because the company started asking the show to pay for its clearances ("not what we do", fired back Ramsey's staff).

We find it hard to fathom that Salem would be asking TRN to pay for Ingraham's clearances on key stations, but...who knows?

We'll assume that like in Chicago, WHK listeners in Cleveland will hear Mike Gallagher from 9 AM to noon weekdays starting Monday, at least in the short term.

Ingraham is well aware of the changes.

Just now on her program, she implored listeners to check her website for new affiliates if they don't hear the show on Monday. Her on-air message - recorded today, as her show is otherwise a repeat this morning - bragged about new clearances and "upgrades".

Ingraham's show has already announced its move in Southern California, from Salem's talk KRLA in the Los Angeles market and KCBQ in San Diego to Mount Wilson FM Broadcasters talk KGIL in L.A. and its sister simulcaster XESURF, hitting San Diego from Tijuana, Mexico. We're not sure that's an upgrade...more of a lateral move.

As of this morning, her website affiliate list still shows WHK carrying the show, along with other Northern Ohio stations WGFT/1330 in Youngstown and WTOD/1560 Toledo. The dispute doesn't affect those outlets, since they aren't owned by Salem.

We presumably don't have to remind listeners that an affiliate "upgrade" for Ingraham in Cleveland is basically impossible, as there is no other full-market talk radio station which would carry her program...

Wave Changes Confirmed

Our earlier item regarding on-air changes at Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting Cleveland market smooth jazz WNWV/107.3 "The Wave" has been confirmed by a new station schedule posted online.

Though now-former afternoon driver Richard Greer is still listed on front of "The Wave's" website for whatever reason, the station's "Programming/On-Air" schedule page has the changes we detailed in our earlier item.

In addition to confirming the move of midday host Mark Ribbins to afternoon drive, the page shows us that new WNWV program director Angie Handa is apparently using the on-air name Angie Calli as she takes over Ribbins' former midday slot.

A quick Google search on the name doesn't come up with any radio-related hits, and we don't know anything other than that...having little background on Angie other than her previously released resume information...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WMVX Looking For Programmer

When Kevin Metheny was still heading up the cluster programming ship at the Clear Channel World Domination HQ at Oak Tree, he also (eventually) held day to day programming duties at the company's hot AC outlet, WMVX/106.5 "Mix 106.5".

Metheny's replacement, new operations manager Keith Abrams, is now looking to bring on a new program director for WMVX.

Abrams tells AllAccess.com:

We are searching for a 'been there, won that' PD who is consumed with continuing to grow the ratings, revenue and digital assets of MIX 106.5.

Keith will take E-Mail (without audio) at the usual Clear Channel E-Mail format address, and audio can be sent to him at Oak Tree, of course.

The active search for a separate PD for WMVX brings up a number of questions, considering that one of the five Clear Channel Cleveland market FM stations will be heading for different ownership due to the company's recent ownership change.

But right now, we have no answers to those questions...

Wave Changes

OMW hears that Cleveland market smooth jazz outlet WNWV/107.3 is making some lineup changes.

We're told that "107-3 The Wave" is saying goodbye to long-time afternoon driver Richard Greer. Midday host Mark Ribbins will take the vacated afternoon drive chair, with newly-minted WNWV program director Angie Handa going on the air middays.

No, we don't know why Greer is no longer at the Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting-owned station.

But at least, as far as we know, the station isn't budging from its perch as Northeast Ohio's smooth jazz station...as the seas are definitely turbulent for the format nationwide.

Smooth jazz lost another outlet just this past week, as the reincarnation of Philadelphia's WJJZ was bumped into a soft AC station ("Now 97.5") by owner Greater Media...who took the time and trouble to move a long-time rock station out of Burlington NJ closer to Philly to reestablish a format abandoned by Clear Channel's 106.1 in the market.

Greater Media only ran the newly-returned format for a while, apparently deciding that trying to chip a few shares off of locally-owned Philadelphia market AC powerhouse WBEB/101.1 "B101" would grab them a better chance of success.

The situation's a bit different in this region, which may help ensure the format's survival in Cleveland.

As the only Cleveland-market FM owned by Elyria-based Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting, WNWV has been able to carve out a rather successful niche with a format that wouldn't likely to be pursued by the big corporate owners in the market - with a rimshot, though a very good rimshot, signal owned by a local company.

Elyria-Lorain has other stations, of course..."The Wave"'s AM sister news/talk outlet, WEOL/930 Elyria, and stations in small Northern Ohio cities like Huron (WKFM/96.1) and Norwalk (WLKR/95.3 and AM 1510).

But since the company isn't trying to pay down large company debt, is making money off the format as far as we know, and is still running WNWV out of less-expensive Elyria.

That's a combination that's likely to keep smooth jazz flowing out of radios tuned to 107.3 - for much longer the format is likely to last in other large markets...