Wednesday, July 08, 2009

We're Back, Again

We didn't intend on this being something of a lengthy hiatus, even with the July 4th holiday...but there hasn't been that much to write about.

It's still not all that busy in the world of Media News here in the Buckeye State, but we'll do what we can...

WEWS HIRES AND: That's "AND" as in "assistant news director", and the recent appointment of a second-in-command to news director Jill Manuel has some questions coming from some occupants of 3001 Euclid.

The questions aren't about the new hire herself, but rather...why?

Here's the announcement of the hire by Manuel:

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Roberta Petterson as Assistant News Director at WEWS.

Roberta is currently the Assistant News Director at WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh, a position she’s held since 2006.

At WTAE, Roberta has focused on newscast development, breaking news, investigative coverage and special projects. Roberta also led WTAE’s coverage last year of the Pennsylvania Primary and has played a key role in political coverage during the past several years. Under Roberta’s leadership, WTAE’s investigative team won a Peabody and National IRE in 2008. She has also won a Morrow and Headliner awards for driving breaking news and big story coverage.

Roberta started at WTAE in 2002 as a producer and was quickly promoted to Nightside Executive Producer. Roberta has also worked at WPXI-TV in Pittsburgh and KJRH-TV in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Roberta brings a track record of success in guiding a dynamic news staff in a multi-platform environment and will be a major player in taking our product to the next level and collaborating with all of us to achieve daily and long-term ratings success.

OMW hears that she starts at WEWS on August 3rd.

Again, the questions we're hearing aren't about Petterson, her background and career.

But as far as we know, WEWS parent Scripps is still under a hiring freeze.

We reported earlier about the exit of a number of editors - we're hearing the total number is five of 'em, a group that is actually still in the building doing a few more weeks of work before taking a severance package to exit.

And of course, WEWS has not renewed contracts for a number of high-profile on-air staffers, including former sports reporter/anchor Sue Ann Robak and weather anchor Jeff Mackel, in an effort to cut costs.

Even if Mackel is replaced by someone (see our earlier item about the station's help wanted ad for a new forecaster), it seems likely that the new hire would be brought in at a lower cost than the station was paying Mackel.

No, we don't know why WEWS is hiring for what is essentially a new position in a tough economy for Channel 5 and every other TV news operation in America, pretty much. We hear that the station hasn't actually had an assistant news director for many years...and remaining staffers at "NewsChannel 5" are being told to do more with less, like elsewhere in the TV news game...

BSK'S RETURN, BUT NOT OVER-AIR: After Good Karma Broadcasting's Craig Karmazin took over Cleveland sports radio outlet WKNR/850 "ESPN 850", former WKNR host Kendall Lewis was (presumably) one of those wondering if there was a place for him at his old station under new ownership.

Though he did manage a fill-in or two, "The BSK" did not land with any regular slot at the revamped station, and ended up working at Paul Belfi's Internet-based outlet

He's back full-time at STC, occupying the 4-6 PM weekday time slot at the local sports webcasting operation. From an STC newsletter:

As always 'The BSK' will tell it like it is and pull no punches when it comes to Cleveland sports. You've missed him as much as we have but the wait is over.

The former Internet simulcaster for WKNR has, over the years, become something of a stop/resting/refueling place for departed station personalities in its days as a solo operation.

Most notably, former WKNR host Bruce Drennan was STC's program director and a host there before his involuntary trip to Morgantown, West Virginia...Drennan landed at SportsTime Ohio with "All Bets Are Off", of course, after being allowed to walk around a free man.

For out-of-towners, you might not know that Lewis' "The BSK" nickname comes from the phrase "The Big Sports Kahuna" Lewis used during his WKNR days. No, we don't remember where Kendall got THAT nickname...

DINO WATCH: Speaking of folks with alleged former local sports radio connections, and OMW Regular Topics, we're hearing that former now-silent daytime rimshot sports outlet WATJ/1560 Chardon host Dino Costa...well, let's just say things may or may not be going well for him at his webcasting outlet

A quick trip there shows him absent from the site, with a new graphic:


The site's audio promises a "relaunch" at some unspecified point in the future.

A relaunch and lineup, presumably, without Costa. We were under the impression that he started the site, but we don't know why he's apparently gone from his own creation. A quick search of the Denver Post, the newspaper which DSR counts as a marketing partner, shows nothing.

Since the OMW Bat Signal apparently reaches Colorado whenever we mention Dino's name, we're sure he'll check in...eventually...

MJ: Unless you've been under a rock, you know that pop music icon Michael Jackson is no longer with us, after his shocking death last week.

But the media coverage of Jackson's recent death continues unabated, with the topic burning up hours on the various cable news networks...and just about any TV outlet with the ability to show pool video carried Jackson's funeral Tuesday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

So did at least two Northeast Ohio radio stations that we heard in a brief dial scan late in the ceremony - Radio One hip hop WENZ/107.9 "Z107.9" in Cleveland, and Rubber City Radio news/oldies WAKR/1590 Akron.

WAKR program director and Rubber City operations manager Chuck Collins throws open the virtual door to the station's decision making process in a post called "Why We Did It", on his "Culture Clash" blog on

If you are going to do something that requires an explanation, perhaps it is best not done at all. I don't think I need to explain why WAKR aired the entire memorial for Michael Jackson on Tuesday. But please indulge me for a few hundred words.

We'll let Chuck, a long-time Friend of OMW, do the rest of the talking about the decision to carry the Jackson funeral in his blog entry.

But we couldn't help but realize that WAKR, in its incarnation as an oldies station, is probably one of the few stations that would regularly play at least some of Michael Jackson's music - particularly from the "Jackson 5" era - outside of this period when fans are mourning his death at the young age of 50.

Add that to the station's news commitment, and its general practice of picking up ABC News Radio "instant specials" and live coverage linked to big news events, and carriage of the Jackson funeral fits into both of those missions...


74WIXYgrad said...

The day MJ passed away, WAKR had pre-empted their Indians broadcast to carry the ABC special report(s) on Jackson's death.

Now Kendall Lewis was called BSK when he was at WTAM. He went to WKNR when Jacor pillaged, I mean purchased, the station.

Dave said...

Any word about TWC? I live in Willoughby and still have not seen any new HD channels since the first wave back in March or April

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