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...


Chuck said...

Laura could be tape delayed on WEOL or any other station. Doesn't have to be taken live.

mrradio said...

Speaking of Salem in Cleveland, i was channel flipping today and landed on WHKZ 1440 out of Warren. I thought they were sold? They are still running 1420's programming. Did they not complete the sale?

Ohio Media Watch said...

Re: "Laura could be tape delayed"

Oh, sure.

But that doesn't change the greater problem. Even on a WEOL, assuming they do keep Glenn Beck, where would she go? Would they dump Dial Global's Clark Howard (now 12-3)? I get the idea that WEOL still wants to mix it up, and that they also want to stick with FSR in evenings due to the heavy sports PBP most nights of the week.

Over at WHLO, there's literally no room for her return, with the schedule somewhat more crowded since they pushed her to nights and off the schedule.

I also get the idea that TRN is hoping for live or nearly live clearances, and is willing to go to a WELW to get it. On stations of this ilk (rimshot/suburban stations), they are probably not interested in evening clears that are gonna get stomped on by sports, anyway.

WELW's 500 watts doesn't do too badly down the I-271 corridor, since it's directional pretty much in that direction.

But neither WELW or WEOL completely make up for the WHK coverage, even together. Folks in places like Brecksville would be out of luck.


Re: WHKZ, your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) was indeed in a place today that we could hear both 1440 and 1220 (WHKZ generally simulcasts 1220), and yes, it's still being run by Salem, right down to the company's "diversity" promos produced in Cleveland.

Last time we looked, the sale had been approved, but apparently hasn't been notified to the FCC yet.

-The Management