Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Out Of The Box On Tuesday

Yeah, we've hung onto a lot of items, though our Twitter feed has previewed one of them...

A SUNNY EXIT, AND ENTRANCE: Word spread quickly on Friday that Saga Columbus OM/PD Tony Florentino's contract was not being renewed, and sure enough, he exited the building shortly thereafter.

As it turns out, someone was waiting to take the job at the "Columbus Radio Group" stations, including AC powerhouse WSNY/94.7 "Sunny 95"...Cincinnati radio vet T.J. Holland heads up I-71 to take the Saga Columbus gig. (The Columbus group also includes Hot AC WVMX/107.9 "Mix 107.9", classic hits WODB/104.3 "Big Hits B104.3", and smooth jazz WJZA/103.5.)

Holland spent 14 years in Cincinnati at what used to be the Susquehanna cluster, which was swallowed into Cumulus Media Partners.

Among his programming experience that'll serve him well at Saga Columbus - oversight of AC WRRM "Warm 98", and hot AC WNNF "Frequency 94.1". He'd been director of programming for the Susquehanna-turned-CMP stations in Cincinnati from 2003 through March, when he lost his gig due to budget cuts.

What about Tony Florentino, now "on the beach", gig wise in Columbus?

We haven't heard a thing linking him to anything, but a reader helpfully reminds us that, as far as we know, Clear Channel Columbus is still looking for a PD for top 40 mainstay WNCI/97.9 and AC WLZT/93.3...of course, after Michael McCoy's exit to Detroit...

NEWSPAPERS...OUCH: It's pretty much been a fact these days...newspapers are losing readership by the thousands, and the slide is nowhere close to ending...if it will ever end.

Nowhere was that more apparent than the most recent numbers from the Audit Bureau of Circulations, the measuring stick officially used by publications to audit readership.

Newspaper trade bible "Editor and Publisher" weighs in:

On a comparable basis, ABC reported that for the 379 newspapers filing with the organization, average daily circulation plunged 10.6% to 30,395,652 -- one of the most severe drops in overall circulation. Sunday circulation for 562 reporting newspapers was down 7.4% to 40,012,253.

Locally, the "Top 25 Newspapers" list puts Cleveland's Plain Dealer at number 16 with a bullet - a bullet downward, as with the other papers, the PD showing a circulation drop of 11 percent weekdays (271,180 readers), and nearly 5 percent on Sunday (390,636 readers).

E&P points out that it's not just that readers are treating newsprint like it's coated in H1N1 flu... it notes that many of the papers are trimming non-core-paid distribution, and shrinking their distribution areas overall. So, if you can't find the Plain Dealer in a box in Western PA, that may be why...

NEWSPAPERS OUCH TWO: With the current state of the economy and the newspaper business, it may be no surprise to learn that another Northeast Ohio paper is plotting out salary cuts.

But the "17 percent" cut figure proposed by Akron Beacon Journal owner Black Press seems to have surprised just about everyone.

The plan first came to light courtesy of an E-mail to Beacon Journal union members, published at the Poynter Online journalism site in the popular column of Jim Romenesko:

Subject: The company isn't pleading poverty, but wants you to

Your Guild bargaining team met with the company Monday, where after 16 months the company revealed its economic proposal. The 19 issues in the proposal opened with the company re-nigging on a previous tentative agreement over severance pay and closed with a 17% pay cut. If you could think of a benefit you have now, it probably was included in the other 17 cuts.

A quick estimate by the Guild, according to figures supplied by the company, the cuts to wages and benefits combined would fall between 25 - 36 percent depending on your seniority and health care coverage.

This line, from Black Press negotiator Karen Lefton, caught the most flack:

When pushed on the issue by Guild staff representative Bruce Nelson, Lefton stated, "we are not saying we are not making a profit, we aren't pleading poverty." She went on to say that the company is not unable to pay at current levels, they just doesn't want to.

Rubber City Radio/1590 WAKR and its AkronNewsNow.com site went further, adding audio reaction from the Beacon's Stephanie Warsmith (reporter, and secretary for the Akron Newspaper Guild) and from Lefton, citing the decline in advertising revenue for the print industry...

WKBN UPGRADE: We haven't gotten official confirmation that the upgrade to New Vision CBS affiliate WKBN/27 Youngstown's signal is complete, but it would sure appear so from the OMW World Headquarters.

The Youngstown outlet is now reaching even deeper into the Cleveland market, after having moved its antenna "up top" on the station's tower. It was side-mounted before, due to the presence of analog channel 27's antenna on top.

With analog history as of last June, crews finally got up there and put the new, main, digital antenna on top. All the wiring was expected to be complete early Monday morning.

The new WKBN signal is not perfect here at the OMW World Headquarters, which is roughly 20 air miles from the Parma antenna farm. But it's the best it's ever been, and we figure with a semi-decent outdoor antenna, we'll probably get the station full-time now.

We don't expect such luck even with the planned 1000 kW upgrade to now-puny-sister station WYTV/33, Youngstown's ABC affiliate which is operated by New Vision in that deal with owner Parkin Broadcasting.

We're told that crews are headed there, next. But one thing we've learned is that "height is everything" in regards to digital TV signals, and even the upgraded WYTV antenna will not be nearly as high as WKBN's nearby facility. And height is important, if you're down in a valley, and hope to get any signal out of it.

No matter. We know the Youngstown signals are "bonuses" for those of us in the Cleveland market...


Anonymous said...

Not to be picky but have you forgotten about the radio station at the end of the dial in Cleveland? WENZ 107.9. I've seen no mention of the fact that Samy Sylk left or anything about the guy they got to replace him.

Vic V said...

WNCI is 97.9 not 98.9

Ohio Media Watch said...

washmrk: No, we haven't forgotten Z107.9. We just hadn't heard that news, and have limited sources at some of the local clusters (i.e. Radio One). We did report Sam's initial return. We'll look into it.

Vic: thanks for the correction...we're usually in Typo Territory when listing frequencies stations outside NE Ohio! Especially the .9 stations. Fixed.

--The Management

rootvg said...

One of the reasons the Beacon is cutting salaries is probably due to the possible bankruptcy of one of its primary advertisers, Macy's. They were on a list of companies at significant risk of filing for reorganization between now and the end of 2010.

marxtone said...

Nice to see you reporting on newspapers more often, however unpleasant the news. Thank you!