Monday, October 13, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: WTAM Adding Beck, Frantz Moves To Evenings

At some point today, with all the noise surrounding this, with multiple confirmations both inside and connected to Oak Tree, it became silly to wait to share something we've known for some time now.

And frankly, Premiere's Glenn Beck nudged us over the "wait to share this" line today, announcing a "Cleveland" tour stop date on Beck's "Christmas Sweater" tour - December 13th at Playhouse Square's Allen Theatre.

Since he's been heard on Clear Channel talk WHLO/640, Beck has in the past brought his tour to Akron's E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall. The page linked above lists no presenting radio station sponsor for the Cleveland tour date.

That, and those "I'm baaaack" announcements in Beck's voice, that have already aired on Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland. If WTAM is trying to keep this secret, this isn't the way to do it.

So, here it is.

OMW hears that WTAM/1100 will indeed return The Glenn Beck Program to its former spot on the station's schedule, 9 AM-noon weekdays. We hear the move will be announced officially next week, and we believe Beck will debut on/return to WTAM on Monday, November 3rd, one day before the closely-watched presidential election.

Since WTAM can only broadcast one show at a time, we can also report what we've heard about the fate of current 9-noon time slot occupant Bob Frantz. OMW hears that Frantz is indeed set to move into the evening slot that has been occupied by "Sportsline" host Kevin Keane.

We reported Friday that Keane is no longer at Oak Tree, and a quick check of the WTAM website shows that "Sportsline with Kevin Keane" has been removed from the "Shows" pull-down menu, and his regular show page has been removed from the servers. (Keane's name will still be found on the daily schedule PDF files, but we presume those just haven't been changed yet.)

The one piece of information no one seems to have: No one seems sure what kind of program Frantz will head up during those evening hours, in a shift that starts at 7 PM and ends most nights after Indians or Cavaliers play-by-play (as late as midnight). Without play-by-play and post-game components, it's scheduled until 11 PM.

We haven't been able to determine if the evening show will be billed as "Sportsline with Bob Frantz", or "The Bob Frantz Show" with non-sports topics also present, though we'll have to presume sports will be a core no matter what due to the station's existing and longstanding play-by-play/pre-game/post-game commitments, which are not going away.

Frantz, of course, has a long sports radio background (including a previous stint doing sports for WTAM), and is well-suited for even a mixed role.

Even as a general issues host in late mornings, he's helped out the station's sports department with such things as Browns pre-game/post-game shows (when sports director Mike Snyder has to sub for Browns radio play-by-play voice Jim Donovan during WKYC/3-aired pre-season games) and has regularly contributed to NFL draft coverage and sports "roundtable" specials.

At very least, assuming that the time slot's format doesn't change from sports talk, Frantz's flexibility will come in handy in covering non-sports related topics that occasionally come up in evenings...such as political coverage, news events and the like, which Keane has had to cover very occasionally over the years.

We presume, but don't know for sure, that Mark Schwab and Andre Knott (and maybe others) will do "Sportsline" the next couple of weeks - and that Frantz will continue his 9-noon show through the end of October. This part of our report is just an educated guess. We assume with the Indians off, the Browns in action and Schwab's usual past presence as the primary sub host for Keane, he'll be heard the most.

In our item earlier this morning, we already reported that the Beck-to-WTAM move has forced the show off of Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria, which will move up the newly-added Laura Ingraham Show from 6-8 PM into Beck's late morning time slot in early November - we hear WEOL will make that switch on November 5th.

We have no idea what Beck's Akron affiliate, Clear Channel talk WHLO/640, plans to do - if the show would be kept (second affiliation a la Rush Limbaugh's WHLO clearance), or if another show will be brought in to replace it.

Even if WEOL wanted to keep Glenn Beck, they would not be able to do so. Elyria is in the Cleveland radio market, and WEOL is owned by an independent company.

WHLO is in the Akron radio market, and owned by Clear Channel (the parent company of Beck's syndicator, and a sister station to WTAM), so that decision would appear to fall to the folks on Freedom Avenue.

We'll see...


firebird said...

When is Frantz's contract up? Sounds like a cost cutting move. Could Hannity end up on WTAM in the near future?

Andy said...

WTAM still needs someone local for the evening spot that is usually a post-game show.

Anonymous said...

The daily schedule PDF file isn't that up to date because Alison is still isted as being part of the Triv show.

pookeye said...

this is terrible, Keane was the only host that i consistently looked forward to listening... he is the least bias of all the host at wtam..

Frantz is a right wing nut
Triv is just a fat slob of an idiot.

andre knott is okay... but not on par with keane...

david5258 said...

schwabby came on tonite after the cavs loss to the celtics. no mention of sitting in. liner, sportsline with your host mark schwab. talked about cavs for 10 minutes then shifted gears to browns demolition of the giants last night.

Section147 said...

Thank God! I lose WEOL way too easily and I'm in the western 'burbs. Guess the "we've got to present a balanced view" BS that TAM spit out when they kicked Glenn to the curb for that jackass Springer was just that...BS. Bad radio is bad radio. Welcome back, Mr. Beck! Now if we could just find a spot for Laura Ingraham...

Anonymous said...

You can put in laura ingrahm from 3-7 weekdays for the fat dope ...

MRN said...

Kevin Keane is a huge loss ... dumb idea to ditch him.

Other than Cavs and Indians games, he's the only reason to listen to 1100 in the evenings. I like Frantz, but not really doing sports. Bad bad move. It just proves once again, there really is no one more spineless and stupid than radio executives.