Here at your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), we'll let out the usual Monday early morning update on Sunday evening, for one good reason...our first item.
5 CATCHING CHANGES: We hinted at this in our last update, and hoped to have it late Friday, but we haven't been able to get to it until now.
Scripps Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5 "NewsChannel 5" is no stranger to juggling its anchor lineup. We get a headache trying to remember all the times that the station has moved around, juggled or changed jobs of its anchors in the past year or so.
Here we go again.
As in the past, the laser focus this time appears to be "Good Morning Cleveland", as Channel 5's morning news show undergoes yet another anchor change.
OMW hears that starting Monday, reporter and Akron bureau chief Pete Kenworthy moves into the anchor chair of "GMC". That sends "GMC" co-anchor Paul Kiska back to street reporting, though we don't know in what shift, and we don't know who'll directly replace Pete in Akron (assuming he won't be commuting down there after the morning show).
The other big on-air change on "GMC" means adding weekend weather forecaster Jason Nicholas to weekday mornings, with Susanne Horgan swapping out to cover weekends. For now she will be, as we hear from multiple "NC5" sources that Horgan's contract will not be renewed, and will be allowed to expire.
We're also told that two producers will move shifts, also linked to the morning show.
Though no "NC5" news show has been immune to anchor shifting (see Danita Harris, Lee Jordan and the like), "GMC" seems especially prone to it. The morning news battle is tough, and 5 is in a tough fight...particularly with WJW/8 powerhouse "FOX 8 in the Morning", and with the new Mark Nolan/Abby Ham combo over at WKYC/3.
WEWS has been continually moving around anchors, and even what position they occupy or sit in while on the show, since Adam Shapiro left for New York City back a ways ago.
With morning news audiences showing the only real viewership growth in TV news these days... the attention to that daypart has grown everywhere in the business.
And since the last time around, "NC5" has a new VP/general manager and a new news director...changes that often trigger other changes at a TV news operation...
BYE, METRO CLEVELAND: OMW hears that traffic, news and sports provider Metro Networks is telling its radio and TV affiliates that it plans to close its Cleveland market studio facility entirely by the end of the second quarter of 2009, part of a major restructuring by the company.
We're hearing affiliates are being told, specifically, that Metro intends on serving its Cleveland stations remotely from its Detroit hub, and we also hear that "not many" of its local employees are heading for Detroit next year.
The cuts aren't just meant for the folks on Granger Road, in the Independence Media Gulch that's about to lose one of its operations down the street from Clear Channel's Oak Tree complex, and Salem's operations on Summit Park Drive.
And news of cutbacks is not new, either, though this word from an affiliate is the first we've heard that - as many guessed - the Cleveland market operation would be on the cut list.
Job cuts have been made at Metro operations around the country, as the traffic and information provider announced a 15 percent cut in workforce nationwide, and a reduction from operating in 60 cities, to being in just 13 "regional hub" cities by the middle of next year. Cleveland won't be one of those cities.
Officials believe technological upgrades will allow them to cover traffic from cities many miles away, sending reports back presumably either via ISDN for radio (for those needing live reports/contributors), or via the Internet. We're not sure how they'd handle TV feeds.
Across the nation, Metro has reportedly offered non-custom generic reports or text traffic information to many of its affiliates, with fewer people around to voice custom reports.
A quick check of various local news stories via a Google News search shows us that up to about a half-dozen people have reported to have been cut, in each of a number of the company's markets...
THIS IS THE NFL ON WTAM AND WKNR: With the Cleveland Browns resting up in a "bye" week this weekend, Browns AM flagship Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 had to go find another game - particularly since Your Cleveland Indians aren't in the Major League Baseball playoffs.
It was a new sound this afternoon on WTAM - the SportsUSA Radio Network's early contest between the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles was heard on the Cleveland talk powerhouse.
Over on Good Karma sports competitor WKNR/850 "ESPN 850", listeners to Westwood One's first Sunday contest almost heard former Cleveland Browns starting quarterback Charlie Frye take over the Seattle QB position for an injured Matt Hasselbeck.
Hasselbeck shaked off a knee injury very early in the game, and when he was pulled out after the Seahawks were getting pummeled by the Giants, it was Seneca Wallace behind the Seattle center, not Frye.
When the Browns have a "bye" week, WTAM usually switches in the Pittsburgh Steelers Radio Network, but couldn't today - the Steelers played the Sunday Night Football game (heard via WKNR's Westwood One feed).
So after Redskins/Eagles, WTAM brought local listeners the Cincinnati Bengals Radio Network feed of that team's 31-22 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Of course, both the Steelers' and Bengals' networks are hubbed at Clear Channel sister stations in Pittsburgh (WDVE/102.5, WBGG/970) and Cincinnati (WCKY/1530, WEBN/102.7, WLW/700).
The Bengals are normally heard in Northeast Ohio only via tiny Massillon affiliate WTIG/990 "ESPN 990", with a 250 watt signal that doesn't make it out of Stark County for the most part...