Thursday, December 04, 2008

Waiting For Shoes To Drop

This is an item filled with mostly some random items, much of the content from outside the immediate Cleveland/Akron/Canton area.

But as they say, "stay tuned".

The rumblings surrounding pending major moves at one local TV news operation are very loud you could probably hear them while standing on, oh, just to pick a street totally out of random, Lakeside Avenue in downtown Cleveland.

What we're hearing will probably surprise you, and not just because of any names involved, or for that matter, not involved.

We're thisclose to nailing down all the details, which are bouncing around the rumor mill at all the other local TV newsrooms as well. We expect to have details later today.


FIRED OUT: We don't know how we missed this, but a local non-commercial radio station has been knocked off the air. And this time, no digitized pictures are involved.

An OMW reader passes word that Case Western Reserve University's station, WRUW/91.1 Cleveland, has been silenced over the air - offering its programming only via Internet stream - since a high-profile fire at its transmitter site.


The station's transmitter is located on top of an apartment building in East Cleveland. Around 12:00 noon on Saturday, November 22, an electrical fire broke out on the sixth floor of the building, forcing evacuation of over 400 residents of the 27-story building. There appears to be smoke and water damage to the building.

The staff of WRUW hopes to resume normal over-the-air broadcasts when power is restored to the building. At the present time, it is unknown how long until we can turn our transmitter back on.

And yes, as far as we know, that's the same apartment building fire that has been featured on local TV newscasts the past few days - unless there's another 27 story apartment high-rise in East Cleveland that also caught on fire recently.

We don't know if WRUW's signal has returned yet (we aren't currently within its signal range), even though some residents may be back in their apartments.

But, we got the idea from a brief TV news report that the power situation may not be permanently resolved, and we'll assume WRUW won't be able to return to the air until things are no longer temporary.

In the meantime, the CWRU station continues uninterrupted online, via its 56Kbps and 128Kbps Internet streaming audio feed...

A "FREQY" CHRISTMAS: Here's a surprise entrant for your Ohio Christmas Music Stations list.

It's Beacon Broadcasting WRTK/1540 Niles, the long-time gospel daytimer now under the control of the Glunt World Broadcasting Empire. (For those who haven't kept track, "Glunt" is Harold Glunt, the steel supply company magnate who took over Beacon Broadcasting's five Mahoning/Shenango Valley stations some time back.)

OMW hears that WRTK recently dumped the "Rejoice - Musical Soul Food" satellite gospel format (formerly an ABC Radio Networks product, now on its own), and is now playing a curious mix of pop Christmas tunes and occasional Christmas music from the R&B music world.

An OMW reader also tells us that the WRTK Christmas music is being promoted over on WRTK's sister classic hits station, Warren's WANR/1570.

The header for this sub-item is no joke, as the Christmas music format is being promoted as "Freq 1540". "Freq" is an abbreviation for "Frequency" (not "Freak"), we assume, as Beacon uses it as the station name for sister Christian rocker WEXC/107.1 Greenville PA ("Freq 107").

At this point, we have no word what'll happen on the Mahoning Valley's 1540 after, well, the last hall is decked and after Santa's sleigh pulls away from Niles for good.

If we had to bet, we'd put $10 on a return of "Rejoice - Musical Soul Food" after the 25th...

SALE DONE: A radio station sale in western Ohio is on the books.

Blanchard River Broadcasting reports the closing of its purchase of former Clear Channel station WBUK/106.3 Ottawa, which has most recently been carrying Clear Channel's "Fox" classic rock format.

WBUK's call letters come from its previous incarnation as oldies "106.3 The Big Buck" in Clear Channel's Lima market cluster. When the company decided to keep the "Fox" format after selling WPFX/107.7 North Baltimore to BAS Broadcasting, it moved the rock to 106.3. (BAS, of course, later flipped WPFX to Dan Dudley's "Toledo Radio", and 107.7 is still silent as the new owners seek a new facility to house it.)

But Clear Channel knew the Fox-to-106.3 move would be temporary, as WBUK was one of the very first small market stations it tabbed to be sold. WBUK was actually transferred into the Aloha Station Trust holding company, where Blanchard River picked it up for a reported $500,000.

Whatever Blanchard River does with WBUK, it'll be likely aimed at Findlay. The station just southeast of Ottawa is roughly an equal rimshot to both Findlay and Lima, but Blanchard River is the radio arm of Findlay Publishing.

In addition to owning the daily newspaper in Findlay (the "Findlay Courier"), the Findlay Publishing/Blanchard River folks also already own the city's two main radio stations - talk WFIN/1330 and rock WKXA/100.5...

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