Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday's Delayed

We're a bit on the late side for your usual Monday morning update, as we've been spending time struggling with local Internet issues.

As we were preparing to make another trek to a Wifi hotspot, our service returned...

PD ON THE DEFENSE: In the today's troubled world of newspapers, those publications are turning to a tried, tested defense..."The rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated".

That's pretty much it in a nutshell for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, which is putting out all the stops after that now-infamous online list of "10 Troubled Newspapers", mistakenly attributed to Time Magazine due to its presence on that magazine's website.

The paper has taken a two-pronged approach in the past few days.

First, on Friday, PD editor Susan Goldberg did a live interview on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3's 7 PM news, with anchors Eric Mansfield and Carole Sullivan. (Sullivan, of course, is packing up her house and heading to San Diego, but will co-anchor the 7 PM "Channel 3 News" with Mansfield until this coming Friday.)

WKYC Director's Cut blogger and senior director Frank Macek provides a link to the full video of the interview at his site.

And as noted on the item, Goldberg "(puts) rumors to rest the Plain Dealer would not continue publishing 7 days a week, could close down, or might move on-line only as other papers have done recently."

The second prong in the PD's approach was a column on Sunday by reader representative Ted Diadiun. As his boss did Friday on WKYC, he talked about the very important journalistic light the newspaper shed upon two vital issues in Cuyahoga County in the past week, involving the proposed Medical Mart project, and now-former Cuyahoga County sheriff Gerald McFaul...who resigned that post "for health reasons" last week under the cloud of an investigation.

Diadiun asks:

Echoing (PD publisher) Egger: Who else would have the staff, expertise or resources to do that reporting? What radio talk show host, television reporter or blogger could have given citizens that information, and made it stick?

Speaking as a blogger here..."not us". We never claimed to be investigative reporters here, though we have actually broken some minor broadcast (and even print) stories.

But aside from an occasional story broken by local TV investigative reporters, very few outlets have the resources to handle "the big stories" that need more than just surface reporting.

And in her interview with WKYC, Goldberg noted the confusion that came with the "10 Endangered Newspapers" it (apparently automatically) appeared on Time Magazine's site, lending it more credibility.

For now, Plain Dealer management continues to insist that a move to limited print publication, or online only publication, is not in the cards...well, at least in the cards that the PD holds in its hands right now...

ELVIS EXPANDS HIS BUILDINGS: New York-based top 40 morning radio star Elvis Duran is going syndicated. Well, more so.

Duran's show has been added to the syndication roster of Clear Channel's Premiere Radio arm, where it will be offered coast to coast.

Of course, Clear Channel also owns Duran flagship WHTZ "Z100", the top-rated New York City powerhouse now under competitive attack by CBS Radio's new "Now FM" (WXRK/92.3). And here in Northeast Ohio, Clear Channel owns Duran's Cleveland market affiliate WAKS/96.5 "Kiss FM".

Of course, "Elvis Duran and the Morning Show" has also been heard in markets like Philadelphia and Miami, with WAKS as his most recent addition.

But it's been an internal syndication within Clear Channel, and the move to Premiere will allow Duran and his crew to expand his base nationwide on many other stations owned by all companies...

HELLO, FARGO: The North Dakota city of Fargo is basically, at last check, holding its collective the flooded Red River has risen to record levels.

Though the river reportedly crested below levels that had been expected over the weekend, it's still running quite high, and there are concerns that a coming storm could bring winds that could cause levee breaks and flooding problems.

Throughout it all, radio has shined in Fargo, with no fewer than three competitive commercial radio news/talk operations going full-tilt providing residents with vital flood related information 24 hours a day.

Along with KFGO, the former Clear Channel operation that itself is actually behind sandbags, and WDAY, the local news/talker owned by the "Forum" newspaper, there's a third AM station in Fargo that's devoting its efforts to covering the flood threat full time.

It's "The Flag", known legally to the FCC as WZFG/1100 Dilworth MN (Dilworth is an eastern Fargo suburb). The station is owned by former WDAY general manager Scott Hennen, a talk show host who has occasionally been heard subbing for national talk radio personalities.

Aside from noting the excellent job of community service provided by the three stations in a true time of crisis (we've dipped into streaming audio a few times to listen), there's one other reason we mention it here...look at that frequency occupied by "The Flag".

WZFG indeed sits on 1100, the same frequency covered in "38 states and half of Canada" by Clear Channel talk WTAM here in Cleveland.

And normally, it puts out just 440 watts of power at night, aimed away from Cleveland (and San Francisco, where religious KFAX occupies that frequency).

But taking advantage of FCC rules, WZFG has been operating with as much as its full 50,000 watts of daytime power into the overnight hours. The FCC allows stations in emergency situations to maintain daytime power levels, and the situation facing Fargo would certainly qualify.

Though the WZFG signal is obviously not making it anywhere near Northeast Ohio, we've heard that some folks to the west are now getting a mix of WFZG and WTAM via skywave propogation.

OMW hears that KFGO/790 is also operating at night with daytime power levels, which has put it on some radios far to the east.

Our hats off to all the radio (and TV) people in Fargo for their community service, and our thoughts to all of the people in North Dakota... and here's hoping that any flooding problems as the Red River goes down will be minor...

1 comment:

ClevelandSportsGuy said...

Thanks OMW,
I was wondering why "The Flag" was overpowering WTAM last Thursday night. It was fascinating listening to their community-service programming about the floods on my drive from Flint, Michigan back to Cleveland. The WZFG-1100 signal was loud and clear until just east of Sandusky, and was cutting in and out with WTAM until I got to eastern Lorain County.