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...
ON THE LIST AGAIN: 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...