An interesting mix this morning, including a couple of updates to radio items we've had recently...
HORROR TURN: Like when most radio people end up involuntarily headed for unemployment, it seemed like former CBS Radio Cleveland classic rock WNCX/98.5 morning co-host Mike Oleszewski disappeared like a character in a horror movie.
As it turns out, that's exactly what he'll be this summer.
An alert OMW reader points out that "Mike O" will be in the cast of the horror movie "The Dead Matter", which is set for release in August.
The movie's IMDB cast list has Oleszewski as "TV News Anchor #2", and contains a couple of other Cleveland media names...including long-time WJW/8 personality "Big Chuck" Schodowski, and sports reporter/anchor Al Pawlowski (SportsTime Ohio, WKYC/3, etc.). That's no accident, as we'll see in a bit.
The main website for "The Dead Matter" has a little more on the plot:
A vampire relic with occult powers falls into the hands of a grief-stricken young woman who will do anything to contact her dead brother. The Dead Matter is a story-driven horror film drenched in the dark atmospheric world of Midnight Syndicate's music.
Unlike our reader's suggestion, the local cast members of "The Dead Matter" aren't "going Hollywood" literally...they didn't even leave Northeast Ohio for this project, which is now in post-production.
The locally-filmed movie is the brainchild of local musician and producer Edward Douglas, who owns the movie's production company Midnight Syndicate, and is based in Geauga County's Chardon.
Douglas' Midnight Syndicate became known for creating Halloween-style horror movie and video game scores, and that got him into movie production, according to a 2006 article by Abby Cymerman in "Smart Business Cleveland":
Networking with his new movie industry connections and having access to a larger budget, Douglas soon will be directing and producing a horror-suspense thriller, “The Dead Matter.” It’s a remake of a movie he directed and scored after he graduated from college, and, still fighting the system, he plans to film in Northeast Ohio with local talent.
We wish everyone involved in the project well.
We know nothing about horror movies, but it seems this one is attracting quite a bit of attention from the "horror industry press", as it were. It's also attracted at least one "name" cast member...Andrew Divoff, who played Mikhail Bakunin on the ABC mega-hit "Lost".
And this "Press" link on the movie's site includes a number of those articles, and Douglas' appearances on..."The WNCX Morning Show" while Oleszewski was a co-host.
A trailer from the movie is posted on the main "The Dead Matter" site linked above.
There must be something about that WNCX show and performing. Later, we'll have details on another former "WNCX Morning Show" cast member who's involved in a theatre project...
ERRATA: For whatever reason, when we posted the item about talk WNIR/100.1 "The Talk of Akron" airing TRN's Michael Savage as a network fill-in for local evening host Tom Erickson, we thought we'd heard that Erickson would return from his Florida family wedding trip on Monday night.
He didn't, and Savage once again aired in the 7-10 PM portion of his regular weeknight time slot on Monday.
OMW reader and WNIR fan "Wayne in Akron" corrects our earlier item, and says Erickson will be back on the air at Broadcast Park starting Wednesday night.
Which still leaves our unanswered question: Will the controversial Michael Savage join the syndicated late night/weekend network schedule at "The Talk of Akron"?
To say that Savage syndicator Talk Radio Network plays hardball in trying to clear all of its shows may be like saying "water is wet".
Though TRN's big name shows have long disappeared from WNIR's Akron market talk competitor, Clear Channel talk WHLO/640, the company's Rusty Humphries remains.
Without TRN's rumored sales tactics ("we'll give you the show you want, only if you carry these other shows you may not want"), Humphries may not have an affiliate base, period. No, we're not fans.
But somehow, in the process of once selling Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage to WHLO back in those days, Humphries ended up on the WHLO schedule...and is still there, even after the Clear Channel talker dispatched both better known hosts off that schedule. Well, a talk station has to air something at 9 PM weeknights, we guess.
Wayne, our reader who seems to know more about WNIR than some actually working there, suggests that the overnight clearance of Salem's Mike Gallagher is actually popular with regular listeners.
And he notes that Gallagher's program even gets some attention on the WNIR morning drive funfest with Stan Piatt, Akron Radio Superstar/Icon Steve French, Jim Midock and Maggie Fuller. (Well, so do other WNIR hosts like Erickson, but...define "attention" to us.)
But we suggested that TRN may try to push Savage there, because Gallagher's show now gets a live Northeast Ohio clearance on Salem's own talker, WHK/1420 Cleveland. (Of course. TRN really wants Savage cleared live 6-9 PM, which is not happening on local talk stalwart WNIR, period.)
And if the station wants to continue using Savage as "network fill-in" for Erickson, TRN will probably want WNIR to "find a home" for the show somewhere on the schedule, even late weekend nights/overnights.
And, of course, clear Savage's commercial spots in his live time slot...during the last hour of afternoon driver Bob Golic's show, and the first two hours of Erickson's evening show.
We'll see if anything develops...
TV LOGO: For whatever reason, OMW readers are fascinated with local TV stations' positioning, sets and logos.
We got a flurry of questions when Local TV-then-FOX O&O WJW/8 was in the process of revamping its news set and their on-air look to the FOX O&O standard. Our readers searched out signs of the new set and look, and peppered us with questions about it.
Now, some of our readers are noting a slight change at Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5. From a comment by one reader:
I noticed that WEWS has a new on air look for the news. The ugly old "News Channel 5" bug is gone and it has been replaced by a bug that resembles an ABC7 O&O bug(except ours says ABC5). As far as I can tell, they're still calling it "News Channel 5" (unfortunately) when talking about the news shows.
Sure enough, a "circle 5/ABC" bug has made its way to the regular WEWS on-air look, as the station continues to deemphasize the "NewsChannel 5" branding for pretty much everything except the news itself.
At one point, the entire station, including its entertainment programming, fell under the "NewsChannel 5" moniker. (i.e. "Catch an all-new 'Lost', tonight at 9 on NewsChannel 5!")
But while watching for this, we caught audio in a promo for the station's full prime-time lineup, where the female voice-over announcer called the station "Channel 5 ABC". (Note the logo and the voice-over person using that same order, and it's not "ABC5"...it's much closer to what ABC O&O WTVG/13 Toledo brands as "13abc".)
We've also noticed the station pulling the WEWS call letters out of mothballs. There was a time you wouldn't know Channel 5 was WEWS unless you squinted at the legal ID text.
What does this mean in the scheme of things? Not much, but people seem to notice...