Tuesday, October 20, 2009

On The Tuesday Radio Side

After an item chock full of digital TV news, it's time to expand our Tuesday diet to radio. And yes, we know. We know...the below.

KIM'S RETURN: Yes, you let us know by E-mail, by carrier pigeon, by taking out a billboard (well, almost).

That was indeed former Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 afternoon drive co-host Kim Mihalik on her former home station over the weekend, guest hosting the Clear Channel talk station's local Browns post-game coverage on Sunday afternoon.

(WTAM airs its own post-game show after Browns games - the network post-game call-in show airs on the FM flagship, rock-but-really-talk-considering-Rover-and-Maxwell WMMS/100.7.)

It's an on-air role that until this week was filled by WTAM sports talk host/Indians beat reporter Mark Schwab, who's since left "The Big One" for the weekend sports anchor role at Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO/19's "19 Action News".

It actually wasn't Kim's first on-air appearance on her former station, where she was let go in November 2005 for "budgetary reasons".

Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) cut down on his Triv Diet many, many months ago, so we only occasionally check in with Mike Trivisonno's WTAM afternoon drive talk fest these days.

It was by sheer accident that we hit the button for WTAM on the OMW Mobile radio Friday, and heard Mihalik good naturedly bantering back and forth (by phone) with Triv about an "embarrassing" incident back when she was on the show.

If there was any leftover animosity between the two since her departure from Oak Tree in 2005, it wasn't showing on the air at all...though we had no idea at the time that she was about to do a fill-in sports talk stint that weekend.

After leaving WTAM, Mihalik was best known for her stint on the local post-Stern/David Lee Roth CBS Radio classic rock WNCX/98.5 morning drive show with Wynn "Mud" Richards and local radio vet and OMW reader Mike Olszewski. The 'NCX morning slot is now filled by host Scott Miller and comedian Jeff Blanchard.

Kim also did some TV work for Fox Sports Ohio's "Cleveland Rants", back when that show still existed.

Is she in line for a regular return to WTAM? That's the question on readers' minds, if our E-mail is any indication.

There is an opening at 1100, after all...but would the former Triv co-host be in the consideration for Mark Schwab's former position as Indians beat reporter and sports host?

For the moment, we don't know the answer to that question - from either side of the ledger.

We get the idea that for now, at least, Mihalik is just helping out the short staffed WTAM sports department with some weekend fill-in...

SPEAKING OF SPORTS: OMW has very much covered the march of spoken word formats to the FM dial, such as news/talk and sports. We've also tried to cover the use of FM translators to provide better "fill-in" coverage for AM stations, a practice which is now officially in the FCC rules.

This one covers both.

Gunther Meisse's WRGM/1440 Ontario, the Mansfield area's ESPN Radio affiliate, has now lit up an FM signal on 97.3.

From the story (dated October 15th) on WRGM sister TV station WMFD/68's website:

Today, WRGM AM1440 has begun simulcasting on 97.3FM in Mansfield, Ontario and Lexington to over 70,000 people. This makes WRGM AM1440 / 97.3FM the First FM sports station in the market.

97.3 is legally W247BL/Crestline, a 120 watt translator Meisse's group bought from Mansfield Christian School - owners of Christian contemporary WVMC/90.7 - a while back.

The FCC has been granting special temporary authority for AM stations in certain conditions (low power or directional night signal, etc.) to use FM translators as "fill-ins" to the anemic AM signal. As of earlier this month, what had been a piecemeal policy - STA by STA - is now reality in FCC rules.

WRGM would certainly qualify, signal wise.

The 1000 watt daytime signal on 1440 is highly directional, but serviceable for most of the Mansfield area...with some notable exceptions north and east of the WRGM tower.

But there are holes-a-plenty in WRGM's 28 watt (!) nighttime signal, and many of them not at all far from the Meisse complex on Park Avenue West in Mansfield.

The 120 watt signal of W247BL/97.3 Crestline eminates from that Meisse tower on Park Avenue West, and when you consider that mono programming will eliminate "stereo flutter" on the edges of the signal, it should cover a decent chunk of the immediate Richland County area.

Meisse also owns AC WVNO/106.1 "Mix 106", as well as the aforementioned WMFD/68 and its low-power sister station/WMFD subchannel WOHZ-CA/41, which mostly features classified advertising text, weather information and WVNO's audio...


Aaron said...

Now if only WKNR could get on FM. From Kent, 850's signal is mediocre during the day, and practically nonexistent at night due to their directional pattern. I will often tune in at night to hear sports updates and will hear Denver news via KOA instead.

J. Moses(Tri-State Media Watch Editor) said...

Aaron, there are two or three BIG problems with being located on 850 AM. You probably already know of these, but for readers who don't, here they are:

1) 850 AM is actually a clear-channel frequency. (I don't mean they're owned by Clear Channel - in this case, clear-channel means a station on that frequency gets extraordinary protection from interference.) In this case, KOA-AM/Denver takes priority. As such, WKNR must drop its power level to 4700 watts at night to protect KOA. Thus, why you hear KOA at night.
2) WKNR is right in between two first-adjacent clear-channel stations in WHAS-AM 840/Louisville, KY and CJBC-AM 860/Toronto, Ontario. Those stations also have priority on their respective frequencies.
3) Additionally, there are second-adjacent stations at 830 (WCCO-AM/Minneapolis) and 870 (WWL-AM/New Orleans) to worry about. Those, too, are... you guessed it... clear-channel stations. Anything on those frequencies isn't really a better option.

So what's left? Not much. An FM signal is probably the best way to go - but in Cleveland, where would an FM go??? Better question - where COULD you put an FM translator in Cleveland???