UPDATE 6/25/09 2:21 PM: Our report of the buyouts accepted by WJW/8 "Fox 8" veterans Belinda Prinz and Dan Coughlin has been confirmed/separately reported by Cleveland Plain Dealer media columnist Julie Washington...
There is a lot of information floating around, most of it related to broadcast television in Northeast Ohio.
And we "know" most of it, though some of it is still speculation based on information that's out there...
WE KNOW - TV: OMW hears that two veteran local TV names are the latest to take the exit ramp off of the Full-Time TV Highway.
We're told that two staffers at Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 have taken a company-offered buyout: news reporter Belinda Prinz and sports reporter/anchor Dan Coughlin.
Our sources say the buyout means the end of Prinz' media career, after a total of over 30 years in radio and TV.
As far as Coughlin, a sports media institution who came to TV out of a long newspaper career, OMW hears that he may still do some part-time work for "Fox 8" during the high school football season.
We believe Coughlin has contributed to the Lorain Morning Journal and sister paper Lake County News-Herald, but find no evidence that he's written anything for them recently. And we don't have all morning to search...
WE KNOW, MOSTLY - TV: We first got word from the popular TV news insider tipsheet NewsBlues that struggling media giant Gannett was instituting a forced salary reduction for its non-contracted employees.
MinnPost.com, an excellent non-profit online news site in Minnesota established by a host of former newspaper and media types in that state, posted the staff memo explaining the pay cuts. Gannett owns NBC affiliate KARE/11 in the Twin Cities.
Quoting the memo from David Lougee, president of Gannett's broadcast division, from the blog by MinnPost's David Brauer:
In effect, we have to have our own “reset” to match the changes in the broadcasting business. As a result, we are making the following changes in compensation for employees making $30,000 or more in order to reduce costs and minimize the need for additional job-related actions in the future.
Effective July 1, for:
• Employees making $30,000 to $39,999, compensation is reduced 4%.
• Employees making $40,000 to $49,999, compensation is reduced 5%.
• Employees making $50,000 and higher, compensation is reduced 6%.
Lougee says Gannett's broadcast financial results are at the "top of the industry". We'd hate to see what'd happen if the results were at "the bottom".
Now, thanks to the NewsBlues folks, the story that affects Northeast Ohio.
The industry news newsletter reported Wednesday that Gannett's big broadcast property here, WKYC/3, will not be impacted by the above listed pay cuts...along with the company's WCSH/6 in Portland ME.
They've already taken the pay cut pain. (Cleveland...pioneer in TV's New Economic Model!)
And of course, as we reported back in March, Gannett staffers have been forced into taking unpaid furloughs. That may explain why a prominent WKYC reporter and anchor has "Gone Fishin'" on a week when the biggest story in his portion of the region came to a head on Tuesday...the fishing pole was forced into his hand.
There's one other WKYC connection in this sub-story.
NewsBlues is written by former Orlando FL sports anchor Mike James, who apparently also once toiled at WKYC. His wife is the daily contributor of a grammar section written under the name "Mrs. B", and helps her husband put out the final product.
Unless you weren't in Northeast Ohio in the 1970's and 1980's, or Central Ohio after that, you know "Mrs. B" better as Mona Scott, the former WKYC anchor who moved to Columbus' WCMH/4 in the 1980's - along with then-husband and then-co-anchor Doug Adair. In an era where WKYC still lagged behind news powerhouse WJW/8 (then the market's CBS affiliate), "Doug and Mona" were popular, both on-camera and off-camera.
Mona retired from the TV news game after a brief return to Columbus, where she anchored on the WBNS/10 morning show until 1998. An excellent article on the Cleveland Seniors website tells of her love of Lake Erie and suburban Bay Village, and a brief mid-career non-TV period where she lived with a relative in Ravenna, but we can't access it at this writing.
We don't know if Mona still has sources at the station (now at 13th and Lakeside, in the "Digital Broadcast Center" built long after Mona left Cleveland), but it's a coincidence nonetheless...
WE DON'T KNOW - TV: We couldn't help but notice an ad posted on fellow blogger Frank Macek's always-excellent "Director's Cut" blog, a great source of information about the aforementioned WKYC.
The station has posted a job opening, believe it or not, for a "multi-media journalist" for the WKYC "Good Morning Today" show and its associated morning newscasts:
WKYC-TV is currently accepting applications for the position of Multi-Media Journalist for AM newscast.
POSITION SUMMARY DESCRIPTION: * Shoot, write, edit, and report stories for daily AM newscasts. * Enterprise stories and package ideas. * Deliver live stories and packages from remote locations and in studio. * Produce daily content for website and social media platforms. * Work with desk on follow-up. * Other related duties as assigned.
We don't know what this means for the station's morning show, which is currently hosted by Mark Nolan alongside meteorologist Hollie Strano. We also don't know if they intend to replace now-former co-host Abby Ham, now firmly "back home" at Gannett sister NBC affiliate WBIR/10 in Knoxville TN. (Did we mention Abby really loves Eastern Tennnesee?)
But the job ad is interesting nonetheless...
WE DON'T KNOW - TV: No, your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) has no idea why Canton-licensed infomerical outlet WOAC/67 hasn't changed hands yet.
The incoming owner of the station, Illinois-based Tri-State Christian Television, annoucned to newsletter subscribers late last week that they planned to take over WOAC yesterday - and change its call letters to WRLM. The switch was, the group said, planned to happen during the outlet's live, midday talk show, "TCT Today", during the 1 PM Eastern hour.
We got the tip from Cleveland Classic Media's Tim Lones, who signed up for that E-mail newsletter when he learned of the WOAC sale. Like many in Canton, he has memories of WOAC's days as a local independent station.
But...nothing happened on Wednesday afternoon. As of this writing, late Thursday morning, WOAC is still pumping out the infomercials...complete with spots asking potential advertisers to call Ron Rembert at a Kent phone number - 330-677-6760. (Hey, maybe if the TCT folks called Ron now, they could book time on WOAC by the hour...before they take it over!)
FCC records still show that the sale of WOAC to TCT's Radiant Life Ministries was approved on June 10th, and that TCT/RLM applied for the WRLM calls for WOAC on June 17th.
We're guessing that they are waiting for the official lawyerly paperwork to be noted by the FCC, and we're guessing the change will happen sometime during that "TCT Today" show in the next few days...
WE KNOW - RADIO: The reach of the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) sometimes surprises us, and we've been doing this for nearly 4 years now.
If you talk about someone and ask questions about them, they're bound to show up in the OMW E-mail box, and that's exactly what happened with former Metro Networks morning news anchor Chris Coleman.
Chris' virtual ears (eyes?) were burning, so he dropped us a note explaining his current situation - which we were curious about since we heard him filling in for Metro's Jeff Thomas on Good Karma sports WKNR/850 "ESPN 850"'s morning sports updates.
Chris has done that before, but this time, Metro is a company without a local studio, and Mr. Coleman was clearly not located at WKNR's Galleria studios...Jeff Thomas' new work location after Metro shut down its operation on Granger Road this month.
Maybe Chris is sharing space with a former U.S. vice president this week, as he tells us he is doing the WKNR updates from "an undisclosed location in Independence". He confirms that he did not follow Metro's local operations to Detroit, and he isn't one of the staffers "embedded" at Metro's area affiliates.
Coleman tells OMW that after he finishes filling in for Thomas, he'll officially be a former Metro Networks employee.
For now, his next move is outside radio. He tells us he plans to "begin pursuing advanced college degrees, with the goal of teaching journalism at the college level".
But we're not sure we've heard the last of Chris Coleman on the radio.
It's a crazy business, and those who pursue it, then leave, are often lured back in one way or the other.
Maybe it's a virus, and it's nearly impossible to expunge it from your body...and we would not at all be surprised to hear in the future that Chris has combined his new college studies with some sort of stint behind a microphone...