Rounding out our week...
NO 58: With the digital side of Western Reserve PBS' WNEO/45 Alliance off the air this week in preparation for the station's early digital switchover, one of our readers noticed that the public TV outlet's Youngstown-based low-power translator is also off the air.
OMW has confirmed that the translator, known legally as W58AM and serving low-lying areas of the Mahoning Valley that may be shadowed from WNEO, is indeed off the air due to transmitter problems...and has been off the air since last weekend.
Of course, the station's engineers are a bit busy right now in Salem, making the various changes that will allow WNEO-DT, in a week's time, to upgrade its signal in the wake of the early shutoff of analog channel 45.
So, the channel 58 Youngstown repeater is on the back burner.
OMW hears from our friends on Campus Center Drive that if the analog W58AM transmitter can't be easily fixed - once they're able to get to it - Western Reserve PBS will go ahead and convert it to digital. The station has a digital construction permit that will allow it to move W58AM to DT channel 44.
For now, it's an answer we won't know until after the WNEO work is done.
We also don't know yet if Dish Network will be among the outlets providing the WNEO signal to Youngstown market customers while both the station's analog and digital signals will be off the air for about two days next week in the early conversion process.
And a reminder, again - Western Reserve PBS' WEAO/49 Akron is not affected by any of this, and will continue to pump out its existing analog and digital signals from the Copley Township transmitter site through February 17th, when the analog signal shuts off in the nationally-mandated transition to digital TV...
AN APOLOGY, OF SORTS: ...to long-time Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 "The Talk of Akron" morning co-host and sports voice Steve French.
In an earlier item about hot AC WKDD/98.1's current morning show, we noted that we hadn't remembered French as a member of the old WKDD/96.5 "Waking Crew", alongside Matt Patrick and Barbara Adams.
French wrote back to OMW, noting that he'd been on that show for "13 (expletive deleted) years". The expletive apparently convinced Gmail's spam filters that Steve was a spammer, and dumped his E-Mail into our Spam folder - which we only checked later this week, finding his missive among advertisements for body part extensions and dating services.
The expletive was the same one that got San Francisco host Charles "Karel" Bouley bounced from his weekend gig at Citadel talk powerhouse KGO...only in that case, it was on the air, albeit accidentally.
Well, Steve, we're human, and we apparently didn't listen enough to the "Waking Crew" show when you were there. Or, maybe we were concentrating on Matt and BA. Or, maybe we're just so used to you on WNIR these days, that our brain cells devoted to remembering you were filled with your long-time gig (over 12 years) at 100.1 alongside Stan Piatt, Jim Midock and Maggie Fuller.
We're only human. We're fallible.
Anyway, we mention Steve French because we were glued to the sound of his voice last night.
Around about 11 PM, we wondered if he'd still be in the press box of the Rubber Bowl at 5 AM today, instead of at the WNIR studios in Portage County, as the University of Akron Zips and the University of Buffalo Bulls were about to enter a fourth overtime period (!!!).
In case you haven't heard, Thursday's contest was the very last Zips football game scheduled for the aging Rubber Bowl, as the University of Akron will open a new on-campus football stadium sponsored by a telemarketing firm and a hospital chain that aren't paying us for the mentions.
We've always enjoyed French's work as the radio play-by-play voice of the Zips, even if we are "dumb guys". And his call of the Zips/Bulls game was worth staying up for.
Did we mention Steve French was a member of the old WKDD "Waking Crew" show cast for 13 years? Did we mention he's been a part of the WNIR morning show since 1996? Just checking...
MORE PICKUPS: A nod to Friend of OMW Chuck Matthews, who's made some more voiceover client pickups from his new base in the Sandusky area:
CHUCK MATTHEWS PRODUCTIONS signs a trio of APPALOOSA BROADCASTING stations for VO services; Classic Rock KRQU/LARAMIE, WY; Classic Hits KANT/GUERNSEY, WY; and KROW/LOVELL; WY. But that's not all! CMP also signs DESTINY COMMUNICATIONS Rock KEAU-FM/GREAT FALLS, MT for VO and imaging duties.
Re-upping with CMP are DESTINY COMMUNICATIONS KTGF-TV/GREAT FALLS, MT; WETM-TV/ELMIRA, NY; and Sports/Talk WGHB/GREENVILLE, NC .
Demos at http://chuckmatthews.voices.com; Contact CHUCK at (419) 350-6188 for rates and availability.