Monday, November 03, 2008

Radio Day Of Changes

UPDATE 11/3/08 12:00 PM: The just updated schedule at Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron shows that it's self-syndicated money advice guru Dave Ramsey filling the 8-10 PM hole in the station's weekday schedule, starting today.

Ramsey has been heard in the area only on Melodynamic talk/religious WCER/900 Canton since being dropped from a clearance on Salem religious talk/teaching WHKW/1220 Cleveland "The Word", in a dispute between Ramsey and Salem - Salem wanted Ramsey to start paying for his clearances, Ramsey didn't want to pay.

The WCER schedule currently lists Ramsey from 2-4 PM, though we don't know if that reflects current reality, or if their carriage of the host will continue.

Ramsey is also seen at the same time (8 PM ET) on TV's FOX Business Network.

The original item is below...

-----------------

Aside from the drone of job loss news, there are many other broadcast media changes that either take effect today, or have over the past few days...

We'll start on the radio side in this first item, where Northeast Ohio's big Talk Radio Shuffle starts today.

The big change that started the three-station shuffle is the return of Premiere syndicated host Glenn Beck to the schedule of Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland, weekdays 9 AM to noon.

That move, first reported by OMW weeks ago - which even prompted Beck himself to read the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) to his "Insider" subscribers - takes effect today at 9 AM.

Beck's original clearance on WTAM was actually from 9 AM to 11:30 AM, but the station has since cancelled ABC News Radio's Paul Harvey - who once occupied the 11:30 AM-noon slot surrounded by the station's "Midday Report" news block.

Harvey's segments - with or without him - have not returned to Cleveland radio, with Rubber City Radio oldies/news WAKR/1590 Akron proudly proclaiming itself as "Northeast Ohio's home for Paul Harvey" in the absence of a Cleveland affiliate for the iconic newsman and commentator.

The return of Beck to Cleveland's "Big One" sends the previous occupant of the late morning WTAM time slot down the schedule to nights.

But local host Bob Frantz will not premiere in his new time slot tonight. WTAM's coverage of the Cleveland Cavaliers asserts itself already this evening in Bob's first week, as the Cavaliers visit the Dallas Mavericks.

Frantz will open his new night era on election night, November 4th.

OMW heard Frantz talking about it in that evening slot Friday, with "Sportsline" fill-in and Indians beat reporter Mark Schwab.

Frantz said he'll be online blogging and posting on his message boards Tuesday night during the station's carriage of FOX News Radio's election night coverage, then will take to the airwaves afterwards locally...presumably, if previous elections are an indication, well into the night and perhaps even early morning hours.

But...what is Bob's actual regular schedule?

The newly updated PDF schedule pages on WTAM.com show that Frantz's night show will air 7-11 PM on nights without Cavaliers coverage, and after the "Cavaliers Live" network post-game call-in show from (approximately) 10:30 PM-midnight on Cavs' game nights - give or take different game start and end times.

We'll note that with an 8:30 PM start to Monday's game in the Central time zone, Frantz probably didn't want to come out of the gate for a half-hour-ish late night show on Monday.

But while both links above confirm our earlier reporting that Frantz will be doing his regular, issues-oriented show in nights, WTAM's currently posted Indians game day schedule poses another question. It shows Frantz listed - solely - as the host of "Extra Innings" post game show on game nights. Whether this actually plays out this way next April remains to be seen.

There are two other stations in this shuffle, and one will also see changes today.

WTAM sister Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron host Matt Patrick moves from his 5-7 PM time slot into that same 9 AM-noon time slot starting today, replacing Beck's show.

The move keeps Patrick in the Freedom Avenue building for both of his shows, as he'll move across the hall from his perch as hot AC WKDD/98.1's morning drive host with Angela Bellios each day at 9 AM to do the WHLO talk show.

Until the time slot move, Patrick hosted the WHLO late afternoon show most days from his home studio in Hudson - lest he become so familiar with I-77 and Ohio 8 from a double commute that he could name all the exits without trying too hard.

Patrick's jump to late mornings/middays brings ABC Radio/Premiere's Sean Hannity to his full 3-hour live clearance (3-6 PM) on WHLO the day before the election, and nudges the two hour clearance of Hannity's ABC Radio stablemate and friend Mark Levin to a live clearance of 6-8 PM.

It also brings Matt Patrick into direct competition with the Akron market's biggest talk radio name by far - WNIR/100.1 midday host Howie Chizek, who airs 10 AM-3 PM on "The Talk of Akron".

And unlike when a former Chizek co-worker, the late Joe Finan, moved into a midday slot on then-liberal talk WARF/1350, Patrick is an unapologetic, straight-ahead conservative host. The competition should be very interesting...perhaps Chizek's first true competitive test in his nearly 35 years of talk radio dominance in Akron.

At this point, we still don't know what happens after 8 PM on WHLO's weekday schedule.

The third station involved in the Beck Shuffle is Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria.

They're hanging onto the Premiere host for two more days, but the WEOL website now officially confirms our report from much earlier - a graphic posted now shows Talk Radio Networks' Laura Ingraham making the move from 6-8 PM to 9 AM-noon, starting Wednesday, "11.05.08", as hinted previously by the site.

We presume WEOL will return to filling the 6-8 PM time slot with its FOX Sports Radio clearance - on nights when it doesn't act as the Lorain County affiliate of the various Cleveland professional sports teams.

The moves would appear to make sense for all stations involved.

By all accounts, Beck was a ratings (and revenue) winner for WTAM until local management decided to try to ride the Jerry Springer Radio Train - which ran out of steam after a short run.

While some will try to couch that now-clearly-very-bad move in political terms - Beck's conservatism for Springer's liberalism - it seemed to us to be more of an opportunistic gamble. WTAM was not the first, and won't be the last, station to try to "grab onto" a "big name" like Springer...even though his worldwide fame came from his syndicated TV trash talk fest, not radio.

We've heard talk radio stations all over try to turn everyone from big name politicians to newspaper columnists into radio hosts, and 90 percent of the time, it doesn't work.

Stations, for whatever reason, seem to think that their job will be easier if you don't have to explain who a host like Jerry Springer is - despite the fact that he was absolutely miserable as a radio host (and that's being kind), and despite help from former Clear Channel Cleveland programming VP Kevin Metheny as his "talent coach".

Though WTAM tried to recover from the Springer Debacle with Frantz's local midday show - which we still think was a good move - Springer cratered WTAM's ratings in the 9 AM-noon time slot. Cratered may be too kind of a word...we hear his ratings drops on "The Big One" look like recent stock market numbers, without the upticks.

Meanwhile, the station hangs onto Frantz in the evening slot - admittedly, a time slot not as important as even middays, and with frequent sports pre-emptions. But WTAM's 50,000 watt flamethrowing signal at least gives Frantz a shot at the vaunted "38 states and half of Canada" coverage long touted by the station.

There was a time that 1100 was basically ONLY successful in that time slot, under "Sportsline" legend the late Pete Franklin. Frantz's move into nights as an issues host ends the decades-long weekday "Sportsline" franchise dating back to Franklin's days at then-WWWE "3WE", though we presume Mark Schwab and others will continue as usual with "Weekend Sportsline".

WHLO, meanwhile, gains a high-profile local radio host as midday competition to an established talk radio presence.

While even Matt Patrick is "making a transition" to doing an issues talk show, he's a talented radio veteran with a big name in the Akron market from his time at WKDD...who's had a head start at making that move in the 5-7 PM evening slot, and who continues his WKDD show.

We're also reminded of the transition successfully made by Patrick's new lead-in at WHLO, WPGB/104.7 Pittsburgh/syndicated morning drive host Jim Quinn ("The War Room with Quinn and Rose"). He was also a long-time FM music station morning host, before he successfully moved his existing show into current events waters.

Before WPGB, Quinn held forth with a popular talk show on an otherwise-rock-formatted FM station. His show is credited as a key ingredient for the upstart FM talk station, which has made life very miserable for once-dominant CBS Radio talker KDKA/1020, particularly in younger demos.

WEOL loses Beck, which the station has reportedly said has "done very well" for them, but picks up the second-ranked midday talk radio franchise with TRN's Laura Ingraham. They can thank Salem's WHK/1420, of course, as Ingraham only became available to WEOL after Salem dumped her show in a dispute with TRN...

1 comment:

74WIXYgrad said...

In regards to Dave Ramsey on WHLO: That's super! We now, at least on delay, can get common sense for our dollars and cents.