We're slowly getting more information on this week's Digital TV transition, and we'll have a separate update on that a little later today.
But, in matters not involving the transition...
METRO'S EXIT: To make this clear...the information we're passing along comes from a message board, and we don't know who wrote it.
But we were tipped to it by Tom Taylor's excellent daily E-mail newsletter "Taylor on Radio-Info" this morning, and the information meshes with what we've already reported.
Quoting a Radio-Info message board user named "NotMe", who started a thread on the Columbus board:
This is the final week of operations for the Columbus office of Metro Networks. Starting Monday, June 15 Metro affiliates (which includes just about everybody that isn't Clear Channel) will get their traffic information out of Detroit.
Again, we have no idea who the Radio-Info user with the handle "NotMe" is. (It's certainly "Not Us", because you'll occasionally find our messages on that site under the easily identifiable "OhioMediaWatch" handle.)
But we already knew that the remaining Ohio offices of Metro Networks, including the Cleveland market outpost in the Independence Media Gulch, were about to shut down....with the company's suburban Detroit office tasked with feeding Ohio markets that will no longer have their own operations.
We already reported that Metro/Detroit boss Howard Bouton went to the trade site AllAccess a few weeks ago with what sounded like an urgent plea for new employees for an operation that was about to start up - the remote traffic, news and sports anchoring for markets like Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati.
And June 15th is "as good a date as any" if we're trying to figure out when that all starts.
At Metro's Cleveland market operation, a short rooftop traffic camera shot away from the I-77/I-480 interchange, we don't expect many to head to Detroit.
We already reported about Dave DeNatale, who was the voice of afternoon sports updates on Good Karma's WKNR/850 "ESPN 850", along with adding news updates for Salem talk WHK/1420 when four Metro staffers were let go. He declined to head to Michigan, and is now the voice of the Frontier League's Avon-based Lake Erie Crushers.
Our prediction: whenever this happens, be it June 15th or whatever date Detroit actually begins doing traffic, sports and news for Metro clients, you won't hear many, if any, familiar voices from Metro/Cleveland.
We're also hearing rumblings that the move will trigger sports updates being handled "in house" by WKNR.
Since DeNatale's departure from Metro, "ESPN 850" afternoon producer/beat reporter Daryl Ruiter has been heard in what used to be his old job - doing the afternoon sports updates, but this time from his perch as an in-house employee at the Galleria. (Ruiter has also "filled in" for DeNatale while Dave was still at Metro.)
We have heard rumors, though we can't confirm, that WKNR may take in long-time morning sports update anchor Jeff Thomas from Metro. We wouldn't be surprised to hear Jeff in his familiar perch after the change, only from the Galleria instead of from Independence.
And that's a "good thing" for us.
In our view, Jeff Thomas has always been one of the more underrated sports radio personalities in the Cleveland market. He has a smooth, professional delivery and meshes well with live personalities (in his case, that's "The Really Big Show" with Tony Rizzo and company from 10 AM to noon).
It'd be a shame to hear him replaced with some random Detroit-based sports anchor who needs Google Maps to find Progressive Field, so we're hoping the rumors turn to reality...
SLIMMING DOWN?: It may just be a temporary thing, but an OMW reader points out a new graphic on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3's website.
It's a header graphic for a page about "Channel 3 News Today", which just lost morning co-host Abby Ham to her old home market (Knoxville TN) and to her old home station (Gannett NBC sister WBIR/10).
Here, take a look:
Yep, it's a close-in shot of "Channel 3 News Today" host Mark Nolan, and weather forecaster Hollie Strano.
Now, they have to put up something there. They can't put up a picture of Ms. Ham with a big "X" in front of her.
Just to clarify...we've heard no indication that WKYC will not replace Ham. But...we're wondering if it's possible. (We're trying not to read too much into one graphic.)
"Channel 3 News"'s evening editions are fronted by solo anchor Romona Robinson, of course, who took the Solo Anchor Slot after former co-anchor Tim White's contract wasn't renewed late last year.
Will WKYC experiment with a similar setup in mornings, with Nolan as sole host, and Hollie Strano and others shuttling in and out to the seat next to him?
Or could one of those others - specifically, "Channel 3 News Today" reporter Maureen Kyle - be a possible co-host to replace Abby Ham?
This item is full of speculation, and we haven't really heard any rumors out of 13th and Lakeside that would validate this thinking.
Consider this item "going through the possibilities"...part of the "musings" that we advertise up in the header...
CALLING COLUMBUS: Central Ohio has always been a secondary market for us, so we apologize that we haven't put up some big TV news in the Columbus market.
But...it is big, we're told.
Dispatch CBS affiliate WBNS/10 "10TV" has moved weekday sports anchor Jeff Hogan over to the news side of the house...where he's taken over as weekend co-anchor with the station's John Fortney.
Back in the Land o' Sports, "10TV" veteran Dom Tiberi becomes weekday sports anchor...with sports reporter/anchor Dan Fronczak moving into Tiberi's former weekend spot.
(And we mean "veteran", as Tiberi was first hired by WBNS-TV in 1981! He's apparently been doing weekends all that time...which would mean it took the station 28 years to promote him into the main sports anchor slot.)
So, back to Hogan...how does someone whose resume screams "sports!" end up in the news business? The WBNS release quotes president and general manager Tom Griesdorn:
"Throughout his career at 10TV, Jeff has demonstrated a strong commitment and leadership in our newsroom, in our community and with our viewers," Griesdorn said.
"His success serving as interim anchor awaiting Aneitra Hamper's debut on our morning and noon newscasts, coupled with his interest in news anchoring, earned him a spot on the weekend desk. I am confident that, just as he did with sports, he will report the news with the passion, commitment and relevance that our viewers have come to expect from Central Ohio's News Leader."
We're wondering what prompted Hogan to officially make the switch into news, and what could happen down the road. But we don't know enough about the Columbus TV market to accurately look at the tea leaves.
And job switches are nothing new in local TV.
Right here in Cleveland, the aforementioned Mark Nolan has successfully moved into morning news hosting after many years as WKYC's chief meteorologist. (Well, he still is, if you believe the recorded intros to his weather forecasts on Clear Channel's Akron/Canton stations...)
THE FAMILY DETROW: When we reported on the death of the mother of SportsTime Ohio Cleveland Indians play-by-play voice Matt Underwood, we passed along an Ashland Times-Gazette item on Sophie Underwood's death - which said she was a partner at Ashland's Detrow and Underwood.
It isn't a big secret that Detrow is the family name of two very successful radio broadcasters who started their careers long ago at Wooster's two commercial radio stations - then known as WWST at AM 960 (now oldies WKVX) and FM 104.5 (now country WQKT).
From the Wayne County seat, the brothers ventured off to build highly successful careers.
Jon Belmont was a member of the iconic "20/20 News" team at Windsor/Detroit powerhouse CKLW/800 "The Big 8", which meant that he had a lot of listeners in Northeast Ohio in those days.
Jon eventually landed as news anchor on ABC News Radio flagship the Information Network, and after a stint in mornings at Journal Milwaukee talk WTMJ/620, he is now morning anchor at Associated Press Radio News.
Jeff Elliott, meanwhile, has been one of San Diego's most popular morning drive radio personalities for many, many years.
His "440: Satisfaction" listing shows Jeff had stints in the 1970's locally at WHLO/640 Akron (as "J.P. Detrow") and WWWE/1100 Cleveland before establishing his San Diego radio, er, beachhead starting in 1988.
Anyway, the reason we bring all this up is because we hear that the Ashland branch of the Detrow family is indeed related to the Wooster branch - they're cousins, we're told.
And Jon and Jeff have not forgotten the old hometown, by far.
Both of the "Detrow Boys" have voiced liners and IDs for their former local home stations. As far as we know, their voices are still heard on "Wooster Radio" today...