Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Changes, Cuts And Kudos

We've got a news-filled update this morning...linked only by alliteration...

WAVE MAKES MORNING CHANGE: Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting Cleveland market smooth jazz mainstay WNWV/107.3 "The Wave" is making a change in morning drive.

OMW hears that Tom Murphy, who's been helming the Wave morning drive shift since 1996 (according to his bio), is no longer in the building...and apparently not of his own choice.

Though we don't know why Murphy is not with WNWV anymore, the voice who will replace him is very familiar to "Wave" listeners - Mike Kessler.

Kessler has been doing weekend shifts at WNWV for a while now, but he's much better known to 107.3's listeners as the voice of traffic and news guessed it, Tom Murphy's morning show.

Kessler had been doing those updates from the now-closed offices of Metro Networks in Independence. Metro packed up and headed for Detroit on June 15th, leaving behind three Cleveland-based staffers "embedded" at local affiliates....and an empty floor at a Granger Road office complex...

TV CUTS: This one's about more TV job cuts, and worries about job cuts that may affect TV stations - even indirectly.

Shortly after we passed along word that Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8's buyouts had been accepted by veterans Belinda Prinz and Dan Coughlin, we spotted this word on the popular NewsBlues inside-the-newsroom-scoop site - run by former (long-ago) WKYCers Mike James and Mona Scott:

Scripps-owned WEWS-5-ABC in Cleveland (Market #17) laid off four news editors yesterday...including one with 32 years experience. A tipster claims News Director Jill Manuel called in sick to avoid having to do the dirty work.

That one got put on our back burner for a while, but we decided to pursue the loose ends of this recently.

Sources at 3001 Euclid tell us that the four news editors are gone because of the march of technology and multitasking, basically.

With producers and photographers doing editing on their own with laptop computers, the thought in the building is that there's less need for dedicated "editors" slaving over dedicated machines...or so the story goes.

We still don't have confirmation that "NewsChannel 5" news boss Jill Manual took a sick day instead of canning four editors.

But we understand the pressure at TV stations to have more people doing more things with an assist from technology. We're pretty sure our blogging colleague over at Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, senior director Frank Macek, does roughly five jobs at once, not counting an occasional use of the Flip video camera...

AND SPEAKING OF GANNETT (PRINT SIDE): The Wall Street Journal reports that the media giant is expected to get the Job Cut Axe out - and we're talking Clear Channel-sized numbers. Quoting the Journal's Russell Adams:

Gannett Co., the largest U.S. newspaper publisher by daily circulation, will cut between 1,000 and 2,000 jobs out of its 41,500-person work force in response to continuing revenue declines, according to a person familiar with the company's thinking.

The cuts will come from the U.S. Community Publishing division, which consists of Gannett's more than 80 local dailies, the person said, and won't affect the company's flagship, USA Today. The exact number of jobs to be cut wasn't clear. The cuts will be disclosed in the next few days.

And as such, there's no talk in the article that any of the planned job cuts will affect the TV side of Gannett's operation. Though that would presumably spare WKYC, Gannett has a whole host of newspapers in Ohio...from the Cincinnati Enquirer to the Zanesville Times-Recorder and Mansfield News Journal, just to name three.

Blogs watching Gannett are almost a cottage industry. Jim Hopkins' Gannett Blog has been the mostly widely watched, but it's apparently going away on July 10th. That blog's "recommended successor" is "Gannettoid".

If we're reading that latter blog correctly, it appears they believe the broadcast side of the latest Gannett hits involved the recently reported tiered salary reduction - which reportedly spared WKYC, because they'd gone through their own cuts not that long ago.

Yes, we get tired of having to report this sort of thing, too.

But like most big media giants having extra indigestion in an economy where revenue drops are in the double digit percentages most months, Gannett's indigestion is heavily linked to its big newspaper business...

SO, BETTER NEWS: And the "Kudos" part of our update.

Here at your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), we don't generally reprint long awards lists. When the Ohio Associated Press handed out statewide broadcast news awards not that long ago, we included a link to the list on the OAPB website and not much else.

But this one's easy, as we're an Ohio-based blog...and only two awards from the latest awards list are headed back here.

Akron's Rubber City Radio Group took home two national Edward R. Murrow Awards. Quoting the local radio group's news site

AkronNewsNow reporter Tina Kaufmann has won the 2009 National Edward R. Murrow Award, in small market radio, for the category of "Investigative Reporting" for her story and series on Bungalo Five and Hot Spots.

Kaufmann's original story on Bungalo Five aired in April of 2008 and looked at how the city used police overtime at the local nightclub. Her story lead to a policy change in Akron in less than 24 hours.

The site itself picked up its second-year-in-a-row award for best small market radio news website. And at this rate, Ms. Kaufmann is going to have to go shopping for her own awards cabinet.

As for all these awards, we note: we don't know "who entered and who didn't", kind of the nature of broadcast news awards in 2009...but even in a changed media and news world, it's still quite an honor to gain national recognition for a local effort in Akron, Ohio.

The "Akron Radio Center Newsroom" on West Market Street serves oldies/news WAKR/1590, country WQMX/94.9 and rock WONE/97.5...

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