Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hi, Glenn!

The ongoing saga of changes about to be made to Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100's lineup continues to amuse us.

This time, your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) is right in the middle of the action involving the Cleveland talk station's immediate future plans.

According to one of our readers, OMW was actually quoted/invoked by Premiere syndicated talk host Glenn Beck during his "Insiders" webcam feed between the 9 AM and 10 AM hours of his Tuesday broadcast.

(We picked this picture off of the website of Beck's Akron affiliate WHLO/640 because he's pointing at "us", as it were.)

Since we're not an "Insider", we didn't hear it (we're not sure we'll spend $7 a month to hear a national radio host talking about us for a small part of one day's offerings)...but we're told he read portions of our last item on his impending return to WTAM, and chuckled without comment.

Our item was also picked up Tuesday by the radio trade site AllAccess, which elicited a response from WTAM program director Ray Davis. Davis wouldn't confirm to the AllAccess folks anything we have put up here, but did helpfully note that the station planned a programming announcement on October 20th. (Hey! That's "next week", as we said! Imagine that!)

Sorry to mess up your scheduled unveiling, Mr. Davis...but we are doing some free publicity work for you.

Anyway, all is status quo regarding the timeline here, with Beck making his WTAM debut on Monday, November 3rd at 9 AM.

Later that same day, as we reported earlier, current WTAM late morning host Bob Frantz moves into evenings, starting at 7 PM.

We've done some digging, and OMW now hears that Frantz will NOT become the "Sportsline" replacement for now-former host Kevin Keane.

Instead, expect to hear much the same kind of show Frantz has been doing from 9 AM to noon weekdays...a show focusing on news, current events, politics and other local issues.

Of course, WTAM's heavy dose of sports continues, with Cavaliers and Indians (and Browns) play-by-play showing up in the evening hours, along with pre-game and post-game shows. That's something that will continue no matter who hosts the evening show, otherwise, as WTAM and Clear Channel have long-term contracts with all the major professional teams.

And if sports makes news, we're sure Bob will talk about it, as he has done on his daytime show.

But it'll be "The Bob Frantz Show", not "Sportsline with Bob Frantz"...and that will mark something of the end of an era, as "Sportsline" has existed in evenings on WTAM for (as far as we know) well over 30 years, dating back to the Pete Franklin days.

Not only was the show the first place current WTAM afternoon driver Mike Trivisonno was heard hosting on the station, Triv also planted the early seeds for his future radio career on "Sportsline" as a regular caller to the Franklin show, using the nickname "Mr. Know-It-All".

Back to Glenn Beck for a appears with his show debuting on WTAM on November 3rd, there will be a two-day overlap with current Beck affiliate WEOL/930 Elyria. That station has already announced plans to move Talk Radio Network's Laura Ingraham into the late morning slot, but that move isn't scheduled until November 5th.

And of course, we've heard there's this little election thing on the 4th...


WERC alum said...

Pete was hired by Nick Mileti in 1970 when Nick launched WWWE (he bought WKYC-AM/FM from NBC).

Pete developed Sportsline in the late 1960's on WERE. He also did an overnight talk show on the station. But, when the station brought in the "PeoplePower" format, his show was changed to "The Pete Franklin Show" and sports was rarely discussed.

Pete briefly left Sportsline to try his hand at morning drive on WWWE. This happened somewhere around 1979-81. It didn't last long. Nev Chandler became host of Sportsline and did quite well with it. Pete soon returned to Sportsline, and Nev took over play-by-play of the Indians (with Herb Score).

Pete left Sportsline to take the afternoon drive at WFAN in New York and was fired a short time later.

At various times, he did short commentaries on WWWE after that.

A few years later, Pete launced a sports talk show in San Francisco and apparently did quite well there.

After Pete left Sportsline for New York, Mike Snyder took over the show. Later, Geoff Sindelar hosted. I'm not sure, but I believe Bruce Drennan also served as host of Sportsline for a time.

It seemed as if Kevin had a notion that the station wanted to open the format (or perhaps he was told to do so). He was doing more and more shows that had little or no sports involved.

Perhaps it's fair to ask if this is mostly a cost-cutter, or if the station management sees Kevin as too much a sports guy to host a general show, and sees Bob Frantz as someone with the credibility to handle both areas.

Anonymous said...

Off by two years... WKYC AM/FM was sold to Ohio Communications (Mileti/Embrescia) in 1972, which was the same year Mileti bought the Indians (narrowly beating out one George Steinbrenner). Franklin was wooed away from WERE to WWWE to start Sportsline that same year.

After Franklin left for WFAN, Drennan was hired as his replacement. Franklin's stint ended in early 1989, when WFAN replaced him with two relative unknowns... "Mike & the Mad Dog"... who would become iconic sports radio fixtures.

Drennan was let go by WWWE in 1990 or so, and the hosts rotated between Mike Snyder, Geoff Sindelar (until the launch of WKNR/1220), and Craig Carton (now cohost on WFAN's morning show with Boomer Esiason)... until WWWE brought in Triv.

Triv kept the "Sportsline" name up until early 1998, when Franklin was brought back to host the 7p-12a shift. As he was conducting the show from KTCT/1050- San Francisco, he was phoning it in... literally and figuratively. When that happened, Triv's show was retitled... "The Mike Trivisonno Show."

Franklin stopped doing "Sportsline" in May 1998, and Casey Coleman took over... but it was never credited as "Sportsline." Not until Casey and Drennan (then WTAM's morning sportscaster) swapped shifts in October 1998 did the "Sportsline" title get revived under Drennan's name (and later Kevin Keane's).

Oh, and in late 2000, KTCT not only had Franklin, but also had one Bob Frantz in afternoon drive.

- nate81

Anonymous said...

While it is looking like a budget move, this move looks more like a repudiation of Kevin Methany's worst programming move... Beck for Springer on the Radio. Which only happened after he left. Hmmm.

It's kinda sad, though, that Kevin Keane in the only "one on the outs." I never was a fan of Kevin's schtick, and questioned his objectivity at times... but being fired like this.

Essentially, we get a live clearance of Mike Gallager (yawn) on W(e)H(ardly)K(are), Laura Ingraham makes a (sorta) lateral move from WHK to WEOL, Glenn Beck back on WTAM, and Kevin Keane loses his job.


- nate81

Chuck Matthews Blog said...

WMJI alum and former Lanigan producer DOC THOMPSON fills in for Beck via Doc's perch at WRVA/Richmond.

To date I believe The Doctor has filled in at least 3 times.

Pre-WRVA Doc has also done fill-in for Mike Gallagher.

Ohio Media Watch said...

Thanks for the history, folks. So, if I'm reading it right, "Sportsline" has been used as a sports talk show title by 1100 from basically 1972 until next month, give or take a few months in the late 90's?

That is definitely worth noting... the show has been on the air in one form or another for 36 years.

During all of this discussion, I can't get the "Pete Franklin's SPORTSLINE!!" (whistle!) jingle out of my head. Now, I'll have to go search for that audio online somewhere...

-The Management

Tim Lones said...

Franklin actually began in Northeast Ohio on WOIO-AM 1060 in Canton (WQIO/WRCW/WILB) for a few months (maybe even weeks) sometime in 1967, when WOIO was doing "two way radio"...Unusual for a station in that size market to do all talk throughout the day..Another slogan they had was "All Talk, All News, All Day.."

WERC alum said...

If I remember correctly, Pete was still working at Canton when the seeds for Sportsline were planted.

It was my understanding that Pete was also working part time for WERE and was given a chance to take some phone calls during an Indians rain delay.

That would make "Sportsline" about 40 or 41 years old.

I want to believe that the format could still be successful in this market, and I do feel very badly for Kevin, but I never felt that he was the ideal choice (perhaps I'm guilty of trying to compare every Sportsline host to "The Inimitable One".

And, wasn't Pete on KNBR in San Francisco?