Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Grab A Snack, It's A Big Stack

When we "come back" from a hiatus, even if it's only a brief one lasting just a couple of days, we find out what anyone coming back from vacation learns. The work continues to pile up, and doesn't go away because you're not minding the inbox.

So, with that in we go....

"THE BSK" RECOVERING: Our sincere, best wishes for a speedy recovery for a long-time Cleveland sports media personality.

OMW hears that Kendall Lewis, the former WKNR sports talker also known as "The Big Sports Kahuna" or "The BSK", reportedly suffered a stroke a few days ago.

Recently, Lewis has been program director at Paul Belfi's Internet sports talk outlet, hosting the 4-6 PM show "The BSK on STC", and Belfi tells OMW:

I spoke with Kendall several times since then, and he is preparing for aggressive rehab...and is in good spirits.

We're looking forward to having him back on staff ASAP.

Again, our most sincere wishes and prayers for Lewis' full recovery...and we'll keep you up to date on his progress and return...

SPEAKING OF 'KNR: OMW hears there are some off-air moves afoot at Good Karma sports WKNR/850 "ESPN 850".

Without much further explanation, we hear that 'KNR has moved promotions director Jason Gibbs into the role of assistant program director.

The station's Aaron Goldhammer, who has held the APD title until now, continues as producer/sidekick on 'KNR's "Really Big Show" with Tony Rizzo, and as host of the station's "Friday Night Hysteria" high school football wraparound show.

We'll also assume he'll continue to host various weekend shows as the sports play-by-play schedule and pre/post-game schedule permits...

SPEAKING OF RIZZO AND CREW: As far as we know, the "Really Big Show" one-day takeover of Premiere syndicated sports radio icon Jim Rome's national show is still set for tomorrow from noon to 3 PM.

WKNR still lists the substitution on its updated program schedule, with station veterans Greg Brinda and Kenny Roda teaming up in the "RBS" late-morning 9-noon slot locally on WKNR itself....freeing up Rizzo, Goldhammer and Josh Sabo for the national fill-in.

An OMW reader reminded us that Romey has a full-power local affiliate now in Akron - Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 "Fox Sports 1350". We're trying to wrap our heads around that station airing a three hour quasi-commercial for the highest profile local show on its only major in-format competitor in Northeast Ohio...

TWC HD CHANNELS: It looks like Northeast Ohio's Time Warner Cable operation is turning the HDTV channel spigot back to "on".

Though we have few details beyond what's appeared on the TWC legal "Programming Notices" page, here's the list of channels that page promises "on or after October 15th":

The following channels will be added to standard HD: Cartoon HD, TCM HD, HLN HD, E! HD;

The following channels will be added to HD for customers with the Digital Basic Tier: Biography HD, Disney SX HD, Outdoor HD, Fox Business News HD, Style HD, Hallmark Movies HD

That's all give or take local availability...for example, in the former Comcast areas. Subscribers in the Elyria-based former Comcast system are in the long process of swapping out equipment, planned by area, and won't get any of these channels until their "swap" has been completed.

OMW does hear that for whatever reason, former Comcasters on the other side of Greater Cleveland may have better luck...we're told that 15 HDTV channels have been added there, with more to come.

We're told the ex-Comcast subscribers in the Mentor area have a lineup fairly close to the rest of the Time Warner Cable Northeast Ohio empire, without the addition - yet - of SDV or "Switched Digital Video"...the electronic magic that has fueled HD channel additions in the rest of the region. No, we don't know how.

We also hear that TWC has quietly added the HD feed of Tri-State Christian Television's WRLM/47 Canton (the former WOAC/67) to its "legacy" systems in the Akron/Canton area - on cable channel 413. It's the same feed which appears over-air on WRLM's 47.2 subchannel.

WRLM HD does not appear in the former Adelphia/Cleveland-based TWC lineup, but for whatever reason, has been added to the former Comcast system in Elyria. WRLM does appear in SD in all the areas covered by FCC "must carry" guidelines...

SPEAKING OF TWC SPORTS: The local cable company's "Northeast Ohio Nework" (NEON) programming channel will carry coverage of this weekend's Seventh Annual Road Runner Marathon through Akron.

The marathon takes place starting at 7 AM this Saturday. It won't be aired live, but will appear on "NEON" (cable channel 23) at the following replay times:

Wednesday, September 30, and October 7, 7 p.m.
Thursday, October 1 and 8, 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 3 and 10, 1 p.m.
Sunday, October 4 and 11, 8 p.m.

TWC also notes that the RRM will be available on the company's "Local on Demand" channel, on channel 1 or 501 depending on which part of the TWC NEO universe serves you.

Of course, you'd be able to tell by the name alone that Time Warner has been a long-time sponsor of the race bearing the name of its high speed Internet service.

We also hear that Rubber City Radio news/oldies WAKR/1590 Akron will have live reports from the marathon course, with veteran sports anchor Joe Jastrzemski, during its regular news and on-air programming on Saturday - starting at 7 AM...

SPEAKING OF TWC MUSIC: The cabler also tells us that the locally produced "Random Acts of Music", a staple on NEON, starts its sixth season this fall.

The show, created and produced by Canton's Henry J. Konczak, features independent musicians from Northeast Ohio and beyond, and has a new contest this year...says a TWC release:

This season, artists have the chance to enter a songwriting contest. The winner will star in their own music video, provided by Henry J. Productions, with a private video release party at the 356th Fighter Group Restaurant in North Canton.

Other prizes include recording studio time and an acoustic guitar provided by Darrell Wiles of Canton Music Center.

More details are at the NEON website, the on-demand home for NEON on channel 501, or on the Random Acts of Music site...

EXIT TO NEWSPAPER: OMW hears that former Envision Radio Networks VP/general manager Tim Kelly has left the world of broadcasting - for the world of print. Well, we think it'll be print.

Kelly joins Sandusky Midwest Newspapers as vice-president of sales. He says his new role will be to "direct all sales development at the northern Ohio and Michigan media companies"...we assume including newspapers like the Sandusky Register, the chain's flagship paper.

Before joining Envision, the Beachwood-based syndicated radio firm, Kelly had worked in various management capacities at Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting.

Before leaving that company, Kelly was operations director, and market manager for ELB's Sandusky-area properties - country WKFM/96.1 Huron "K96", AAA WLKR/95.3 Norwalk, and sports WLKR-AM/1510 "ESPN 1510" Norwalk.

Sandusky Newspapers, by the way, is no stranger to radio, assuming it's the same firm which just hired Kelly. The locally-based company has long held stations in markets like Seattle and Phoenix. From the announcement, it doesn't sound (for now) as if Kelly is heading in that direction.

We don't believe Sandusky Newspapers has any electronic media operations in Northern Ohio, though we believe they actually still own low-power TV outlet W41AP/41 Sandusky, which now serves as an informational outlet for the Sandusky City Schools...

RADO AND CORNHOLE FUNDRAISING: Yes, we were correct when we stated earlier that charity cornhole fundraising tournaments were keeping a former Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 producer/host busy these days.

Former WTAM afternoon drive producer/sports talk host Paul Rado is announcing one of those tournaments coming up, in a note which somehow made it into our inbox:

Garfield Heights residents will hold a memorial cornhole tournament three nights this weekend... honoring US Army SPC Brad Davis, who was killed in Iraq on April 22, 2009.

The proceeds of the tournament benefit the USO of Northern Ohio.

A flyer for the tournament says it will be held "this weekend, September 25th, 26th, & 27th behind the Maple Leaf Intermediate School located at 5764 Turney Road in Garfield Heights. The events will be held under the lights of the softball field behind the school."

More information can be found at the USO of Cleveland's website...


Aaron said...

Just tuned in to 1350 and they are running Steve Czaban's show instead of the Rome feed. I wonder why Clear Channel would do that, because technically WKNR and WARF are in different radio markets, and WKNR doesn't reach Akron (at least the east side) very well, and WARF doesn't reach the Cleveland area very well. Is CC really this petty? I know, I know, stupid question, but still. Plus, does CC think they will ever get any ratings with 1350 by running it as essentially a repeater station for FSR? It hasn't really worked in other markets, they gutted WDFN 1130 in Detroit, but recently have added some local programming back after they fell so far behind CBS' WXYT.

Ohio Media Watch said...

You know, we don't know if we can blame the folks on Freedom Avenue for pre-empting the RizzoFest on Rome's show on Thursday.

Things are different on the Rome show when there's a fill-in.

WKNR itself has occasionally preempted Rome's subs for local programming, particularly on a Monday after a big local weekend sports event (i.e. Browns/Steelers game, big OSU game or such).

Or they've moved the Rome show over to 'KNR2 for the day.

Frankly, and this is meant as no offense to Rizzo and the gang, but despite the best efforts to find subs, the Rome show suffers if Jim is "in the basement" matter who is there. The Rome show is very dependent on its star. (And over on the talk radio side, "ditto", so to speak, with Rush Limbaugh and his subs,)

Now, if Freedom Avenue really wanted to "be petty", they would have preempted the show Rome did recently from Cleveland, where he all but gave an on-air french kiss to 'KNR for three hours. As far as I know, they ran that show.

Key? It was Rome hosting his own show, not a sub.

As an occasional listener, it's not really a big deal to me if a station doesn't carry Jay Mohr, or the Sklar Brothers, or Petros and Money subbing for Jim (the latter show being heard nights on FSR via 1350, of course).

-The Management