And mostly items on the fringe of our usual OMW coverage area wrap up this Friday.
But we'll start in Cleveland, and to our friends on South Marginal Road...thank you for the Twitter Shout-Out! Quoting:
A special Fox 8 Twitter shout-out to Ohio Media Watch. Glad you're enjoying our tweets! Stay tuned, more to come
We don't know who handles the Twitter account at Cleveland Fox affiliate WJW/8 "Fox 8". We suspect it's one of those Additional Duties added to a newscast producer's already full plate. But if they're a regular reader, they probably know we're a sucker for a mention...
And speaking of South Marginal...
PLAYOFF SILLINESS: The Twitter account provides a link to video of "Bill (Martin)'s Atlanta Feud",..where the Fox 8 News evening co-anchor "has it out" with an Atlanta Journal-Constitution sports columnist via a microwave video feed from Quicken Loans Arena.
Yes, it's playoff time again for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers. And with the local team steamrolling through its second-round playoff series with the team reportedly actually showing up at "The Q", the Atlanta Hawks.
(We haven't seen much evidence that the team on the court there is actually the Hawks. Maybe they're stunt doubles. They look like the Washington Generals to us.)
With Not Much To Talk About with the actual series itself - the Cavaliers have scored roughly 586 more points than the Hawks in the first two games - it's the Other Stuff that dominates the local media's conversation.
Like, how DARE Journal-Constitution sports columnist Mark Bradley take THIS crack at Cleveland! How DARE he?:
This city, as you’d expect, is pumped. We Atlantans moan over the state of our franchises, but Clevelanders have it way worse. For one thing, they have to live in Cleveland.
Yeah, like we've never heard that one before. Throw in a joke about the burning Cuyahoga River! Go ahead, Mr. Bradley, we dare you!
Remember that Cleveland is the kind of town that can laugh about those fake tourist promotion videos racking up the views on YouTube right now. ("Cleveland...at least we're not Detroit!")
Bradley's blog before Game One of the Cleveland-Atlanta series drew the attention of Fox 8's Bill Martin, who conducted the "smackdown" upon Bradley from the safety of South Marginal...down the shoreway from the Q. (Yes, our tongue is firmly planted in cheek, as well.)
And Bradley runs with it even further, in his AJC blog before Thursday's Game 2:
Anyway, I was asked to go on the local Fox affiliate with some guy named Bob — or maybe it was Bill — who bills (or bobs) himself as the Mayor of the City of Champions. (Yes, that would, in Bob/Bill’s mind, be Cleveland, Ohio, which hasn’t seen a professional championship since 1964. But I digress.)
So there I am, trying to be a good sport, and Bob/Bill comes on, calls me a knothead, calls my employer the Urinal-Constipation (hey, new one!) and starts ranting.
Mr. Bradley, you oughta hear what locals call the Akron Beacon Journal and the Canton Repository.
Apparently deadpan doesn’t register up here because the Mayor had no rejoinder. And apparently this wasn’t making for the kind of Good TV this fine station had in mind. So Bob/Bill’s co-anchor — I believe her name was Stacy, though it might have been Cindy — said: “Mark, you know this is all in fun?”
And I said: “Actually, I thought this was supposed to be a serious discussion.”
So then the folks back in the studio decided to cut it off because I wasn’t yelling back, but not before Bob/Bill threatened to beat me up. Twice. And he told me I’d better hide. And finally I dropped the poker face and started laughing.
“Yeah,” I said, “I’m hiding from you.”
We're taking this about as seriously as both Bill Martin and Mark Bradley, which is to say, not at all.
Oh, and by the way, Mr. Bradley, we've been to your fair city more than once...and we're not sure it has much more to offer than the hot dogs at the world-famous "Varsity".
And regular readers of your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) can tell you that your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) can find tasty chili cheese dogs much closer than Georgia...and that doesn't even count the two Northeast Ohio Sonic locations...
RUMORS OF HER RADIO DEMISE: OMW dutifully passed on word that Clear Channel Toledo news chief Cassie Wilson is stepping down from her post on Superior Street, citing, among other things, the company's recently re-energized "news hub" plans that have put news anchors from sister Cincinnati talk WLW/700 on her station in middays.
The Toledo Blade had a brief item on Wilson's exit, saying she was "pursuing opportunities outside radio" in her exit from the building which contains talk WSPD/1370, where she's anchored afternoon drive along with her cluster news oversight duties.
Not-so-fast...that's not the whole story, according to this in Tom Taylor's popular "Taylor on Radio-Info" column this morning:
Cassie Wilson says contrary to the Toledo Blade article that T-R-I mentioned yesterday, she’s not done with the radio business, even if she’s resigning from Clear Channel-Toledo as its director of news operations and on-air anchor. So she’s open to another job in radio, as well as possibly outside the business (where she could use her PR and media relations experience).
The Blade article did note something AllAccess had already reported - that Wilson's exit does not affect the status of her husband, WSPD program director/afternoon drive host Brian Wilson...who will stick around at the Toledo talker as usual...
ZANESVILLE CLOSE: TRI's Tom Taylor also passes along word of a radio sale closure in Southeast Ohio...the sale of WCVZ/92.7 "Z92" South Zanesville:
Buyer Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting Systems (Hank Littick) had begun LMAing the station in November, and now the $2.2 million deal has been consummated.
And Taylor makes a link between the WCVZ sale and another station purchase in a larger Ohio market:
Seller Christian Voice of Central Ohio needed the proceeds to go forward with its own acquisition plans – to buy Columbus-market WRFD (880) from Salem for the fairly serious price of $4 million.
So, is that all there is that's "holding up" the closure of the sale of Columbus' "The Word"? It would appear so. (By the way, wanna buy a radio station or three, cheap? From what we're hearing, we're surprised Salem hasn't started putting stations on eBay...)
Taylor also noted the end of the former WCVZ CCM format ("92.7 the River") and the start of hot AC as "Z92" under Littick's watch.
But readers here know that "Z92" is actually a move of the format once heard on Littick's WHIZ-FM/102.5 Zanesville, which is now running automated country as "Highway 102" while it awaits an eventual COL move to the Columbus ex-urb of Baltimore (not Maryland). And, we presume, it's also awaiting a buyer that would operate the station in Columbus after that move.
CVCO decamped in the area to WZNP/89.3 Newark, running non-commercial CCM and Christian talk/teaching from its "Promise Radio Network".
Littick's Southeastern Ohio Broadcasting Systems continues to own WHIZ/1240, and NBC affiliate WHIZ-TV/18...
LIMA EXIT: Radio programmer and OMW reader Dan Baisden passes along word of his own exit from Ohio.
Baisden has been programming Maverick Media's WWSR-FM, WDOH-FM and WZOQ-AM in Lima, but now heads west, young man...very far west, handling operations for a cluster in Flagstaff AZ. He writes:
"I am thankful and excited to be joining Stan Pierce and Greg Dinetz (in) Flagstaff-Prescott, Arizona, in one of America's fastest growing markets. The city is really looks like the post cards. We have tremendous stations that we will continue to grow, and a great company with Grenax."
Grenax isn't one of those medications you see on TV ads ("Talk to your doctor about Grenax!") - it's apparently the name of the company that owns the Arizona stations.
Best of luck, Dan, and feel free to keep reading to get a bead on what's going on back here in the Buckeye State!
LIMA TV: While we're out in West Central Ohio, electronically, another OMW reader tells us we should be aware of changes in the local TV market there.
Since we don't write a lot about Lima, we haven't mentioned a fairly recent change linked to the sale of the market's low-power Fox, CBS and ABC affiliates to Block Broadcasting, which owns the only full-power Lima secular network affiliate station (NBC affiliate WLIO/35).
The integration of the four stations appears well underway.
OMW hears that a plan first unveiled by WLIO/Block Lima VP/engineering Frederick Vobbe on his station engineering blog has started to take shape, as now-co-owned Fox affiliate WOHL-CA 25 now appears on the 8.2 digital subchannel of WLIO-DT.
The "Fox Lima" programming on 8.2 replaces an SD simulcast of WLIO's main feed, which was preceded on the subchannel by the market's CW network affiliate. (That feed is now only found on Time Warner Cable channel 3.)
And yes, WLIO is using its RF channel, 8, to identify the station in its PSIP digital information.
So, with WLIO-DT 8.2 being the new home of "Fox Lima" in the digital world, what happens to the Fox programming now found on the other new WLIO sister station? Or for that matter, the programming on the other new sister stations?
From Vobbe's blog item last month:
What we plan to do, once WLIO analog is cleaned out and gone, is to move WOHL to channel 35, then flip it to digital. This new station will have the call sign of WOHL-CA Channel 35, and will be 9,000 watts E.R.P.
The new channel 35 will then become the home of ABC and CBS in HD. As soon as WOHL channel 35 digital comes on the air, we will then start to phase out WLQP-18 and WLMO-38 as analog stations. What will happen with them? Well, that a story for another day.
It sounds to us like WLIO is going to try what's already being done in Youngstown, where New Vision's WKBN/27 has planted HD feeds for both CBS (from WKBN) and Fox (from sister "Fox Youngstown") on WKBN-DT 27.2.
OMW hears from our reader in the region that Block is now using generic "Your News Now" branding for newscasts on all four stations, which we're told are being produced out of the WLIO operation.
The newscasts now air in a pattern - a new 5 PM broadcast joins the 10 PM broadcast on Fox affiliate WOHL-CA, and newscasts that used to only air on "NBC Lima" are simulcast now - the 6 PM show on WLQP-LP "ABC Lima", and the 11 PM show on WLMO-LP "CBS Lima". The morning newscast apparently continues to air solely on WLIO.
We haven't heard what happened to the staff that produced newscasts for the three Lima LPTVers owned until recently by local businessman Gregg Phipps' Metro Video Productions...