Monday, August 31, 2009
GOING DOWN: It's no surprise to anyone who follows population figures, but the folks at Nielsen Media Research have announced that the Cleveland TV market continues to lose position in its market rankings.
From the TV ratings giant's release:
The Top 10 local markets, known in the industry as Designated Market Areas or DMAs, will remain the same this season, with a few rank changes in the Top 20. Moving up are Seattle, from 14 to 13, and Denver from 18 to 16. Tampa, Miami and Cleveland are each down one rank.
That drops Cleveland on the new list (PDF link) for 2009/2010 to America's 18th largest market, down from 17. Cleveland's still a top 20 market, but hanging by a thread...if the current population trends continue, that will change in about three years.
Columbus faired worse, actually, as far as losing rank. It fell two ranks, from 32 to 34. Cincinnati gained one place, and moves ahead of Columbus to become the 33nd largest TV market in the country.
Dayton drops one rank, from 64 to 65. Toledo holds steady at 73. Youngstown drops one place to 110. Wheeling-Steubenville is unchanged at 159. Lima is unchanged at 186. Parkersburg(/Marietta) drops one place at 194. And tiny Zanesville is still the 203rd largest market in America...
NO GAMES FOR NOW: OMW informed you earlier that Time Warner Cable's Northeast Ohio Network ("NEON") was trying to add more Akron area games to its extensive high school football broadcast schedule...which already had plenty of games for Cleveland and Canton area viewers.
Well, not yet, at any rate.
TWC local VP and OMW reader Bill Jasso tells us that the cable company was "unable to get an agreement with the local production company to do the Akron area games" due to financial terms, as in the pricetag presented by that unnamed production company being too high for TWC.
TWC's Travis Reynolds says if any Akron area games are added, they'll be announced on a "game by game basis", with the package deal apparently out of consideration now...
GLENN BECK...WHERE?: We had to ask around, double-check and confirm this one.
Premiere syndicated radio talk show host Glenn Beck has landed a Youngstown-market affiliate, and it's not at all the kind of station you'd expect.
An OMW reader tipped us that "The Glenn Beck Program" started airing live, 9 AM-noon, last week...on...oh, wait, we have to drag this out.
No, not on Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 Youngstown, which would be the natural affiliate choice for the syndicated conservative talker. WKBN programs the 9 AM-noon time slot locally with program director Dan Rivers' show, in the time slot long occupied by the late Dan Ryan.
Beck's program, indeed, shows up nowhere on the WKBN program schedule, even in weekend or repeat form.
It has, however, landed on a quite unusual affiliate - Beacon Media Group Christian/eclectic rocker WEXC/107.1 Greenville PA, the Youngstown market rimshot known as "Indie 107.1".
No, we're not kidding.
Our ears in the market tells that despite running Beck's show Monday through Saturday in the 9-noon slot (yes, even a weekend repeat), "Indie" maintains its locally programmed mix of Christian rock music and other compatible tunes outside of those hours.
That noise you hear is coming from Central Point OR, where Talk Radio Network sales folks are probably trying to talk to Beacon's Harold Glunt as we put up this item, trying to get him to surround Beck's show with their own programming. (OK, so we're just speculating. TRN's Michael Savage and Phil Hendrie air weeknights on WKBN.)
HE'S ADAM STEVENS, SAMANTHA'S SON, APPARENTLY: Like most local TV stations do during locally-aired NFL football broadcasts, Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 in Cleveland airs "halftime news" during its Cleveland Browns contests.
Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 did so last year when it was the local outlet for ESPN's "Monday Night Football" broadcasts involving the Browns. The NFL requires that cable networks sell local rights to cable-only broadcasts in markets where the teams in the game are based.
And like WJW, WKYC records these spots...it makes no sense to force anchors to sit around in the studio when the time of the report depends on the timing of the game. And these mini-newscasts are almost extended promos for the late news, anyway.
WKYC's "halftime news" in the middle of Saturday night's Browns preseason game with the Tennessee Titans featured a couple of news stories, a weather forecast, and sports...delivered by weekend sports anchor Dave Chudowsky.
Then, two minutes after the newscast ended, it was back to the live broadcast of the game, and right before kickoff, a recap from sideline reporter Dave Chudowsky.
If you didn't know the news was taped before, seeing Chudowsky transform from a suit (on the WKYC set) to wearing an orange-colored polo shirt with the WKYC logo (on the field) in two minutes was enough to make you wonder if his name is really Clark Kent.
Even if Channel 3's helicopter was still in service, it couldn't transfer him from 13th and Lakeside to the stadium site in under two minutes, with a clothing change, even if the copter landed on the field right where Chudowsky's live shot took place.
A suggestion to our friends at WKYC - skip Chudowsky's presence in the taped halftime news entirely, and have anchor Jeff Maynor read whatever sports headlines lead back into the game.
Or, put a big red "C" on Chudowsky's chest...and rush him to the helicopter pad at 13th and Lakeside.
Or maybe invoke the classic TV memory of "Bewitched"'s Samantha Stevens, as we did in this subheader. Adam was her warlock son...
SPEAKING OF WKYC'S BROWNS PRESEASON GAMES: It took us a while, but we found out which Dayton outlet has been running the Browns' practice contests this preseason.
And as pointed out in a graphic during last Saturday's game, it's Cox CBS affiliate WHIO/7. Well, sort of.
We can't find the original item about it on WHIO's website, but the Dayton station committed to three Browns preseason games this year from the feed based at WKYC.
However, only one of those games, the Browns' contest with the Detroit Lions, aired on WHIO's main signal. The other two games, including last Saturday's game with the Titans, aired on WHIO's weather subchannel (WHIO-DT 7.2).
Notice that we're talking about it in the past tense, and we said WHIO committed to "three" games...the station is not carrying this Thursday's pre-season final Browns preseason game against the Chicago Bears, either on the main WHIO signal or 7.2.
As Dayton's CBS affiliate, WHIO will air at least some Browns games from the national feed in the regular season, though we presume the nearby Bengals will have priority...
Friday, August 28, 2009
QUICK EXIT: Thursday morning, we reported that Clear Channel Cleveland market manager Mike Kenney was packing his bags and heading to North Carolina. It'd been officially announced, just an hour or so before our post, that Kenney would take over the market manager post at Clear Channel's Charlotte cluster.
Back in Cleveland, it was "promotion from within" at Oak Tree, with Gary Mincer taking over as market manager, and George Allen taking Mincer's place as director of sales.
We're getting an idea of just how quickly this all happened.
How about "within the hour"?
CC Eastern Region EVP Tom Schurr's memo went out to folks at Oak Tree, according to the E-mail time stamp, at just after 8:30 AM Thursday.
Consider this from Tom Taylor's always excellent Taylor on Radio-Info column this morning:
T-R-I hears that Charlotte-based Regional VP Morgan Bohannon got the news that he was out yesterday morning at 8.
So, Bohannon was out at 8 AM, and his replacement ("effective immediately"), Cleveland's Mike Kenney, was officially announced just a half-hour and change later. Wow.
The turn of events was so quick, Schurr apologized to his Cleveland cluster that he had to use E-mail:
I would prefer to be able to be with you today to make these announcements in person. However, logistical limitations prevent me from doing so. I trust you understand and I will look forward to seeing you all soon.
Meanwhile, T-R-I's Taylor notes that a call to Charlotte in mid-afternoon still yielded former market manager Bohannon's voice on a voicemail message. We're wondering if Mike Kenney was on a plane to Charlotte at that time.
We don't know what happened in Charlotte, but it seems clear that Clear Channel's cluster felt it had to make a change there, and quick...
HE LOVES C-TOWN: For more radio interest than sports interest, we had to tune into at least the first segments of Premiere syndicated sports talker Jim Rome's live broadcast from the studios of his Cleveland affiliate - Good Karma's WKNR/850 "ESPN 850" - at the Galleria in downtown Cleveland.
And our curiosity was rewarded.
Rome spent much of the show giving America his love letter to Cleveland. He pushed back listener E-mail quips about needing penicillin shots to visit the North Coast, quips about body odor, and other attempts at "Jungle Humor" by his unwashed masses of "clones".
"Cleveland is a good, good town. No, it's a great town," Rome said early in Thursday's show. The giant of syndicated sports talk radio had a one day visit to "C-Town", with the live show, sponsor obligations, and a meet-and-greet with listeners Thursday at the downtown Cleveland location of Morton's, the upscale steakhouse chain.
And Rome noted that indeed, as we suspected, he doesn't do those huge "tour stops" anymore... but told listeners he took "about one second" to say yes to WKNR's offer to bring him to Cleveland for a fourth time.
There's a good reason Rome loves Cleveland, and it's not about the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers.
"The Jungle", says Rome, may not have turned into what it is without Northeast Ohio. In specific, WKNR was one of Rome's very early large market affiliates.
The host told the story of starting the show from scratch, and lining up affiliates here and there. But those stations were in small markets...and Rome had hope that a big market affiliate in a big sports town would "take a chance" on the show.
Here, that was WKNR...at the time, "SportsRadio 1220". We don't know which group owned the station when Rome's show was added 12 years ago - a quick Wikipedia search would indicate that 1997 saw the station owned by either original operator Cablevision, or Jacor.
But whatever incarnation WKNR has taken, Rome has been there ever since.
Since 1997, WKNR has moved from 1220 to 850, and has gone through roughly 35 owners. OK, maybe not 35, but it was even a sister station to Clear Channel's WTAM/1100 at one point - WTAM was there basically just long enough to swipe the Cleveland Indians rights from 1220, moving the team to 1100.
It was bounced between Jacor and Capstar, companies which don't exist in 2009 except as Clear Channel license holding subsidiaries. Non-sports broadcaster Salem owned WKNR (and was responsible for the 1220-to-850 move in the Great Cleveland Frequency Swap) for many years, until selling it to Craig Karmazin's Beaver Dam WI-based Good Karma Broadcasting.
Rome cites Cleveland and Houston as his first two markets of any size to take a chance on the syndicated show - he already had a local base in San Diego.
And Rome says with the success seen by "The Jungle" in Cleveland and Houston, other large market sports stations "fell into line"...
HE'S BAAAACK: It's a very different world for a one-time Mahoning Valley icon.
But since his halcyon days as the most powerful man in Youngstown, Jim Traficant is coming back not as the Valley's representative in Congress ("Beam me up!"), but as a man coming off a long prison term.
A commentary by Youngstown Regional Chamber president Tom Humphries, appearing in the Youngstown-based Business Journal, reminds us that Traficant is about to become a free man:
Now, seven years later, Mr. Traficant has served his sentence and will be coming home on Sept. 2.
We'll leave it to Mr. Humphries to talk about his concern that some in the Mahoning Valley are celebrating the return of a man who was thrown out of Congress as a result of his federal felony convictions.
Why are we weighing in?
We seem to recall that before he headed behind bars, there was talk that Traficant "would be offered" a regular talk show on Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 in Youngstown. We don't know how serious that reported offer was, at the time. We do believe he filled in once or twice.
Clear Channel Youngstown market manager Bill Kelly is an OMW reader, but we won't bother him on this one.
Though Traficant would be far from the first convicted felon to move into talk radio after prison (G. Gordon Liddy, Providence's Buddy Cianci, and those are just the first two names that come to mind), we'd have to think that the landscape has changed somewhat since those initial rumblings.
Even now, Traficant has his champions in the Mahoning Valley. The man could basically do anything short of murder, and still garner something of a following.
But if our sense of the local mood in Youngstown is correct, most of the region has "moved on" from the slavish devotion to the guy with the messed up hairpiece.
Radio's changed as well. The aforementioned Bill Kelly has been able to keep three local hosts in his weekday schedule on WKBN - morning driver Robert Mangino, midday host/program director Dan Rivers, and afternoon drive staple Ron Verb - despite financial pressures that are surely coming from Clear Channel corporate.
To us, at least, taking a gamble on a once-very-popular local political icon, just off a prison term, doesn't sound like a good choice for South Avenue.
We could, as always, be wrong...
Thursday, August 27, 2009
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL?: As we've noted, Northeast Ohio's high school football season kicks off this week...and in fact, tonight.
(Back in the Dark Ages, when your Primary Editorial Voice[tm] was in high school, teams didn't play on Thursday nights...but now, they do.)
We've kept track of the TV side of high school football coverage, but haven't mentioned radio...where the "usual suspects" will be there with bells on. Or is that "with cowbells on"?
Rubber City Radio oldies/news WAKR/1590 Akron starts things up early this evening, with a two-hour high school preview show at 5 PM. It'll air live from the site of the station's first 2009 football contest, Archbishop Hoban High's Dowd Field, where Hoban will tangle with Akron Garfield at 7 PM.
WAKR morning drive host and high school football play-by-play voice Ray Horner will lead the charge. The station's complete high school football schedule is here.
Over at Clear Channel Akron/Canton, talk WHLO/640 will carry its usual schedule of high school games with veteran play-by-play voice Don Ursetti.
WHLO will air games each week on Thursday and Friday, with sister sports WARF/1350 joining in after the Eastern League's Akron Aeros wrap up their season. With the Aeros having another playoff - and potentially, championship - year, that might take a while.
WHLO will carry a high school football scoreboard show after games on Friday night, with Ken Carmen and Brian Maytze doing the honors. The pair hosted a Sunday morning sports show on the University of Akron's WZIP/88.1, and Carmen will be heard on another Clear Channel station this fall...as the new play-by-play voice for Ashland University football on the company's talk WNCO/1340.
Good Karma sports WKNR/850 Cleveland's "High School Hysteria" show is back on the station's schedule from 6:45 to 10 PM Friday night, and "High School Hysteria Rewind" is scheduled Saturday morning 8-9 AM.
The station's "High School Hysteria" game of the week Friday is Mayfield vs. Bedford, with Bob Karlovec and Chris Fedor on the call.
WKNR assistant program director/mid-morning sidekick Aaron Goldhammer is again the ringmaster at the controls for "Hysteria", and the station's Jason Gibbs is listed for "Rewind" on Saturday morning.
Not to be outdone in Canton, NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 is going full-tilt, with a lengthy schedule of both radio and TV contests.
The TV games, of course, will air on Image Video RTV affiliate WIVM-LP/52 and its simulcasters, and presumbably will also show up as the Canton games on Time Warner Cable's "NEON" (Northeast Ohio Network) local programming channel.
(Oh, and we're still waiting for TWC to give us a list of Akron area games they plan to add to "NEON's" schedule.)
The schedule shows very little overlap between the WIVM/TV games and the radio contests on WHBC itself, except for one game that's a must simulcast - Massillon vs. McKinley, the Stark County high school game that stops everyone in their tracks, scheduled for October 31st.
A brief visit to our coverage of TV games not hooked up to radio stations, as Fox Sports Ohio opens up its schedule tonight. From a network release:
The action starts on this Thursday, August 27 at 7pm when the West Geauga Wolverines host the Chardon Hilltoppers. Following a history of match-ups yielding 19-19-0, this is the first time in 12 years Chardon and West Geauga are battling.
ARE YOU READY FOR SOME ROMEY?: Premiere Radio syndicated sports talk giant Jim Rome is in town today.
"The Jungle" is in Cleveland for the day, and Rome will broadcast his 12 noon-3 PM national show from the Galleria studios of his Cleveland affiliate, Good Karma sports WKNR/850 "ESPN 850".
We're not huge "clones", as Rome calls his listeners, so we don't know what happened to the host's famed "tour stop" events...where he presents a live show at a local venue to thousands of listeners.
Rome's listener appearance in Cleveland tonight is more upscale and a lot smaller - a dinner event at pricey steakhouse Morton's...
LISTENER IMPRESSIONS: Christian Voice of Central Ohio Columbus market CCM outlet WCVO/104.9 "The River" passes along word of its latest hire:
WCVO, 104.9 the River has hired Olivia Lomeli as Listener Impressions Agent. Her primary duties will include assisting in organizing and implementing station appearances and events while keeping the station’s image as the highest priority and to super-serve the listener with the highest standards with only about 30% of the job being spent in the office. She will also be communicating with listeners via Facebook and Twitter all day and every day.
Head of Listener Impressions, Lori Midkiff says, “It’s so amazing to be a part of shaping this new type of department and I’m thrilled to have Olivia on board as we venture together in ‘WOW-ing’ our listeners.”
We're not 100% sure, but we think that job title translates into "promotions assistant" in the real world...with Ms. Midkiff being "promotions director"...
AND ONE ODDITY: AllAccess reports a local non-commercial radio station sale in Northern Ohio:
PORT CLINTON KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS HOME ASSOCIATION is selling the construction permit for noncommercial WHRQ/SANDUSKY, OH to OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE RADIO, INC., DBA ANNUNCIATION RADIO for $25,000.
As it turns out, Annunciation Radio is the Catholic broadcasting group run by Toledo's Deacon Michael Learned, which has been brokering time on Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 in that market.
This Toledo Blade article from May says Annunciation Radio is also involved in another Northwest Ohio non-commercial construction permit - WNOC/89.7 Bowling Green.
Annunciation Radio's website proudly lists the upcoming station up front, and the Blade article says Annunciation expects WNOC to hit the air this fall.
We were not familiar with the presence of the WHRQ construction permit in Sandusky, so a quick trip to the FCC database told us that the new station is set for 88.1 FM...a 14.5 kW class B1 outlet with an antenna just 78 meters above average terrain.
That's likely to get them coverage basically of the immediate Sandusky/Huron/Erie County region, with the Bellevue and Norwalk areas thrown in.
As far as we know, the station hasn't yet hit the airwaves, though we admit we haven't exactly gone looking for it while in the so-called "Vacationland" region...
Just days after we told you that Clear Channel Akron/Canton market manager Dan Lankford was heading to a similar post at the company's Harrisburg/Allentown PA operations, a bigger shoe has dropped...and that falling footwear is at Oak Tree.
OMW hears that it's been officially announced - Clear Channel Cleveland market manager Mike Kenney is leaving the building to run the Clear Channel cluster in Charlotte NC.
Back at Oak Tree, Gary Mincer moves up from the Director of Sales post to take over as market manager for Cleveland.
George Allen, presumably not the former football coach, moves up into Mincer's now-former job as head of sales at Oak Tree....
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
MORE FOX: It's not like it was exactly a secret.
We knew that Local TV Cleveland Fox affiliate WJW/8 "Fox 8" was about to lose its 9-10 AM syndicated morning show, "The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet".
"M&J"'s run ended months ago, with the announcement that original production would be stopped earlier this year. The show has continued to air on affiliates like "Fox 8" locally, but in reruns.
Mirroring a move by other "M&J" affiliates, WJW is stretching its popular "Fox 8 News In The Morning" to a full five-hour run, from 5 AM-10 AM, starting September 8th.
The station has put up a video promo for the expanded morning show here.
The fifth hour of "Fox 8 News In The Morning" seems like overkill to some, but it's up against roughly the 10th hour of NBC's "Today" show over on WKYC/3...
STREAMING ALONG: The last major Cleveland broadcaster not to stream its signals on the Internet has ended its holdout.
It's part of what turns out to be a nationwide streaming audio effort by Maryland-based Radio One, which is now offering online feeds from its four Cleveland market stations - urban AC WZAK/93.1, hip-hop WENZ/107.9 "Z107.9", gospel WJMO/1300 "Praise 1300", and urban talk/brokered WERE/1490 "NewsTalk 1490".
The "Listen Live" links actually showed up on the stations' websites a few days ago, but just went "live" during the day on Tuesday.
The new streaming audio capability is part of a rather extensive technical upgrade at Radio One's Cleveland facility on St. Clair Avenue over the past few months, with studio rebuilds, and audio and data system upgrades.
While we're electronically looking in on Radio One/Cleveland, we note that WJMO's Brother Ed Powell is doing some local on-air work to supplement national hosts like morning drive's Yolanda Adams. We don't know if he's voicetracked, live or both.
And speaking of now-former WJMO on-air types, we don't think we noted that former "Praise 1300" afternoon drive host Ronny Knight ended up in the same time slot at crosstown New Spirit Revival Center gospel competitor WCCD/1000 Parma.
AND SPEAKING OF WCCD: That's PARMA, despite a legal ID we heard on AM 1000 on Tuesday...proudly proclaiming that the station was "WCCD, Cleveland Heights, Ohio!"
Please check the license and try again, we say in our best imitation of Lily Tomlin's voice.
The New Spirit Revival Center church is apparently located in Cleveland Heights, but the FCC's license for WCCD says it is licensed to Parma, and AM 1000 has always been (as far as we can remember) licensed to Parma.
It's the same problem we fixed for the good folks at Beacon Broadcasting, who were incorrectly identifying WRTK/1540 Niles as being licensed to the nearby Mahoning Valley community of Mineral Ridge...presumably because the station's transmitter site is near that community.
We don't know if any WCCD staffers read the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), but you're welcome in advance for saving the New Spirit center from potential FCC fines for improper legal ID...
AND TRANSLATING DIGITAL: After we noted the applications to convert Ideastream PBS affiliate WVIZ/25's two eastern translators to digital, we got an update on another coming digital public TV translator in Northeast Ohio.
Western Reserve PBS station manager Bill O'Neil tells OMW that the Kent-based public TV outlet is in the process of converting analog Youngstown translator W58AM into W44CR, a digital replacement to serve Youngstown viewers shadowed by terrain and distance from WNEO/45's signal out of Salem.
O'Neil says the 1.5 kW facility's antenna is already mounted - we seem to remember it's on the tower of NBC affiliate WFMJ/21 just south of downtown Youngstown - and that they're waiting for delivery of the transmitter.
Expect digital channel 44 to light up somewhere in the September to October time frame.
And this time, we didn't accidentally give Mr. O'Neil a promotion....
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
DIGITAL TRANSLATORS: Unique among major Cleveland market TV stations, Ideastream PBS affiliate WVIZ/25 has maintained low-power translators in locations on the edge of the market for years.
OMW reader Trip Ericson (proprietor of TV information site RabbitEars) gives us the heads up that the pubcaster intends on converting these small transmitters to digital format.
W63CT is licensed to Eastlake, but the 34 kW analog translator seems aimed at the I-90 corridor between Mentor and Geneva, approximately. The low-power digital application would put the station on RF channel 38, and put out 11 kW of power that could extend the station's range from Euclid to Ashtabula. (Digital TV being what it is, your mileage may vary.)
The application is classified as a "displacement" application. Channel 63 is outside the broadcast TV core (channels 2-51).
Channel 38 was the channel originally sought by Image Video's WIVM-LP/Canton for its new digital home, but as OMW reported earlier, the Canton LPTV outlet quickly re-filed for channel 39 based on TBN O&O WDLI-DT/Canton's impending move to channel 49.
Well, at least they didn't try to use channel 37, like one LPTV applicant recently did in Louisiana. (Bonus points if you know why even asking to locate to channel 37 is a non-starter!)
Displacement is also the reason that WVIZ has filed for a new digital home for W64AK/Conneaut, which resides on out-of-core channel 64, on channel 44.
And assuming it ever gets built, the 5 kW application would vastly extend the station's service area. The current W64AK facility is licensed for just 145 watts, and would seem to serve just a small chunk of Ashtabula County near Edgewood.
Notice that we said "assuming it ever gets built".
We have no idea if these two LP digital outlets will be built in the near future, and assuming WVIZ gets the appropriate construction permits, the folks at Playhouse Square would have the usual three years to build them out. And if they ever intend on making the conversion, Ideastream has to "get in line" to get the allocation.
But despite WVIZ's new, powerful main digital signal on RF 26 out of Parma, we know some viewers to the northeast would welcome a chance to pick up the station over-air...
TAKING A BREAK: Gannett Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3 anchor Eric Mansfield will be taking a one week break this week from his "other job", as moderator of the Western Reserve PBS news roundtable show "NewsNight Akron"...which airs Friday nights at 9 PM on the pubcaster's WNEO/45 Alliance-WEAO/49 Akron.
Eric and his panel, which is comprised of local broadcast and print journalists from Akron media outlets, kick around the Issues of the Week for Akron area viewers.
And that includes talking about upcoming local elections, which is the reason Eric will hand off hosting duties this week to a regular panelist, Rubber City Radio VP/information media and OMW reader Ed Esposito.
Eric, also an OMW reader, tells us that one of Friday's topics will be the crowded field of candidates (14!) running for the Akron School Board, and as such:
My wife, Lisa, is a candidate, so I certainly don't want to be in a position of conflict of interest.
Eric says he'll probably step aside as "NewsNight Akron"'s host at least one more time "and possibly several more times" between now and the election...to allow discussion of the school board race without the husband of one of the candidates in the studio.
He tells us:
There are no strings attached. The panel can talk for as long or as little about the topic as they see fit .. but in all fairness, I needed to get out of the way since this topic is so important for the voters.
It's a potential conflict of interest issue he's not likely to face in his "day job", as reporter and 7 PM co-anchor at WKYC.
Though Mansfield still covers some Akron stories as a Channel 3 reporter, the station now longer regularly staffs the Akron/Canton Bureau on Main and Market - next to the space where "NewsNight Akron" is now taped.
Mansfield and other WKYC reporters presumably still use the facility to process stories covered in the area.
But with "Akron/Canton News" now long off the air (or off Time Warner Cable's "NEON" local programming channel, to be accurate)...the depth of coverage of Akron issues is not nearly what it was from the Channel 3 newsroom.
And as such, it's likely that WKYC won't run many stories, if any, on the Akron school board race Mansfield's wife, Lisa, is in...and they can easily task another reporter with covering the race if needed...
MAC TIME: Fox Sports Ohio is touting its coverage of Mid-American Conference college football....with the annual "MAC Gridiron Preview" show now unleashed.
Quoting a FSOhio press release:
This one-hour special features previews from the players and coaches of the MAC’s 13 teams, “off-the-gridiron” stories behind various players as well as special interviews with the new head coaches at Miami, Bowling Green, Toledo, Eastern Michigan, and Ball State. The show also provides insight on the future of the conference with its new commissioner, Dr. Jon Steinbrecher.
Hosted by veteran broadcaster and MAC alumni Jeff Phelps, this year's show takes viewers to the MAC media day and offers a “you are there” point of view. With the show produced by another MAC alumni, Ron Glasenapp, this marks the seventh consecutive year FOX Sports Ohio has provided viewers with an in-depth preseason look at the upcoming MAC season.
The show bowed in Monday at 8 PM. But this being cable/satellite, it'll air again a number of times in the next few days:
Tuesday, August 25 at 11 p.m.
Thursday, August 27 at 10 p.m.
Saturday, August 29 at 2 p.m.
Saturday, August 29 at 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 30 at 4 p.m.
Monday, August 31 at 1 p.m.
The Cleveland-based conference has members all over the Great Lakes region, including the University of Akron and Kent State University in Northeast Ohio...
AND SPEAKING OF SPORTS: Lake Erie College in Painesville fielded a football team for the first time last year, and that opening season actually got some radio coverage.
As we noted last September, locally-owned Willoughby outlet Spirit Media talk/variety WELW/1330 carried the "Storm" football team's first season, with veteran local sportscaster Kendall Lewis on play by play.
The "Storm" is about to get a bigger platform.
The college has hooked up with Media One Group's sports WFUN/970 Ashtabula as its radio home in football season number two, with help from sister AC WREO/97.1 "Star 97.1", according to a press release that landed in the OMW mailbox:
Beginning Sept. 5, ESPN 970 will broadcast nine Storm games live, while sister station WREO Star 97.1 FM will carry the Sept. 26 game at Adrian College. In addition, all 11 games will be streamed live online at www.espn970wfun.com.
The agreement announced today (Aug. 24) with Media One Group, which owns and operates ESPN 970 and Star 97, will provide Northeast Ohio’s only NCAA Division II program with a coverage area that reaches from eastern Cuyahoga County into Western Pennsylvania.
Most of that coverage area is attributed to "Star 97.1", though WFUN's 5,000 watt daytime signal out of Ashtabula isn't bad at all into Painesville, where Lake Erie College is based.
As for the broadcast team:
Local sports radio veteran Craig Deas and former WJET-TV sports director Scott Wludyga will handle the play-by-play duties for Storm broadcasts this season. The play-by-play voice and Director of Community & Media Relations for the Lake County Captains minor league baseball team, Deas has broadcast sports in Northeast Ohio since 1987. Last season he handled radio duties for Lake Erie men’s and women’s basketball broadcasts.
The Captains, of course, are now heard on WREO "Star 97.1", flagship of a two-station network that includes original Captains flagship WELW...
Friday, August 21, 2009
Some have speculated that the cable boxes Comcast used - manufactured by Motorola and General Instrument - have been an obstacle that slowed down the HDTV rollout in the areas that used to be served by that company.
Those boxes...are being shoved out the door in a big promotion by Time Warner Cable, aimed at former Comcast customers in the Elyria/Lorain area.
Time Warner tells us that they're aiming to get some 14,000 Motorola and General Instrument boxes replaced, so letters are going out to those 12,000 customers starting on Monday.
The affected customers will have 30 days after the receipt of the letter to either go to TWC's service centers in Elyria or North Olmsted, and get a free swap for a new box (presumably a Scientific Atlanta model). Customers who do the swap themselves will also get $25 worth of coupons for "On Demand" movies.
The other option is to call 877-77-CABLE to set up an all-day appointment with a technician to come out and swap the box for you. TWC is asking that you use the special code ELYRIAMOTO when going this route, and you won't get the "On Demand" coupons. The swap itself will still be free.
The new boxes will provide "several enhancements", TWC tells us, including "an enhanced on-screen guide, caller-ID on TV, larger DVR storage capacity, and over 15 new HD channels within 30 days."
That will presumably bring the Elyria/Lorain lineup into line with the HDTV lineup in the rest of the Time Warner Northeast Ohio system, with channels like ESPNews HD, Bravo HD, Animal Planet HD, CNN HD, Fox News HD, Golf HD, and FX HD, plus others, that are not seen yet in the former Comcast system.
We're told that the new HD channels won't show up immediately when the box swap is made, but should appear within 30 days of the receipt of the letter...and if you get the letter and your box hasn't been swapped, it'll be the proverbial toast after that 30 day period.
The exchange will take place in stages through November, so if you're an ex-Comcaster in Lorain County and you don't get a letter on Monday, hang in...it'll come, eventually. Monday's only the start of the effort.
Here's a list of the affected communities, in case you're not sure if you're a former Comcast area customer:
NEW RUSSIA TWP
NORTH RIDGEVILLE CITY
SOUTH AMHERST VILLAGE
And no, we don't know how or if this affects the former Comcast area in and around Mentor that's now part of the TWC Northeast Ohio empire, or if the swap is even needed in that area.
More details are in this article from the Elyria Chronicle Telegram...
Thursday, August 20, 2009
And though he comes to Freedom Avenue from out of state, he's no stranger to Ohio.
Bill Clark comes to the local group from the Clear Channel cluster in Macon GA. But we hear that he's also a "20-plus year veteran" of the Toledo market.
And sure enough, we found this Clear Channel press release from 2004, when he was appointed to the Macon market manager post:
For the last 25 years, Bill Clark has had a very successful career in Toledo, radio market #82.
For the last 16 years, Clark has been with Clear Channel Radio as Local Sales Manager, General Sales Manager and, most recently, as Director of Sales.
Clark takes over for now-former CC Akron/Canton market manager Dan Lankford, who just left Freedom Avenue for Clear Channel's operations in Harrisburg and Allentown PA.
Clark will also take over Lankford's oversight of the Ashland/Mansfield CC cluster...
Raycom Media's alleged Cleveland market CBS affiliate, known legally to the FCC as WOIO(TV) Shaker Heights, is requesting an immediate power increase for its digital TV facility on RF channel 10.
WOIO is asking to increase power from 3.5 kW to 9.5 kW on its existing antenna system.
The station recently received approval to mount a new, higher antenna that would put out 10.3 kW of power. The special temporary authority request would use the lower antenna WOIO's digital facility is using now, until the 10.3 kW permit is built out and ready to take to the airwaves.
It'll be interesting to see if this actually returns the station to many local digital converter boxes and tuners that have lost it in the past. Like, for example, all three digital tuners here at OMW World Headquarters, just 20 air miles from Parma.
Thanks to OMW reader Trip Ericson, proprietor of the excellent RabbitEars.info TV information site, for the heads up...
MANAGE THE MARKET: A day after OMW reported the exit of long-time Clear Channel Akron/Canton market manager Dan Lankford to Pennsylvania, we hear his replacement is heading for Freedom Avenue.
For the moment, we don't know the name of this mystery person, but expect the Akron/Canton cluster to have a new hand at the management wheel very soon.
The job presumably continues to include oversight of Clear Channel's Ashland/Mansfield cluster in the Mid-Ohio region...
HIGH SCHOOL HIJINKS: As we approach the All-Important Ohio High School Football Season, another Northeast Ohio TV outlet is talking about its plans to cover the games.
This time, it's SportsTime Ohio that has unveiled its 2009 HSFB coverage plans. From a network press release:
Home to the OHSAA State Championships, STO will launch its high school coverage Friday August 28th. New to the schedule will be a live 90 minute show previewing High School Football matchups from around the state. Ohio High School Kickoff Show will be hosted by Mike Cairns on Fridays from 3:30pm – 5pm and include interviews with coaches statewide.
In addition, STO will expand its High School Football coverage with a regular season game of the week. The season kicks off Saturday August 29th with a rematch of last year’s playoff battle between State Champion St. Ignatius and Glenville; ending on Halloween with the “Holy War” between St. Edward and St. Ignatius. For the 3rd consecutive year, STO will carry the OHSAA Football Playoffs and Championships.
A list of STO's currently-scheduled high school football schedule is here. Other games will be added by the week...
BUT NOT TO BE OUTDONE: When we wrote about this year's high school football schedule on Time Warner Cable's Northeast Ohio Network (NEON) local programming channel, we noted that it seemed to lean heavily upon games in the Cleveland and Canton areas, with very few Akron area contests.
Ah, that prompted a response directly from Time Warner Cable's downtown Akron offices, with local TWC VP and OMW reader Bill Jasso weighing in on our report.
Jasso assures us that Time Warner is not going to ignore high school football fans in Akron. He says the cable outlet is working to line up production of additional games from the Akron area...and for that matter, games in the western portion of the former Comcast service area...in places like Bay Village, Elyria and Lorain.
Yes, this is Northeast Ohio, and people take their high school football seriously.
Jasso tells OMW that we should hear some more about additional games later this week...
LIMA ACTIVITY: Ohio's smallest TV market is a hub of activity this month.
First, we note that the Dish Network satellite service is finally bringing "local-into-local" stations for the Lima TV market.
A quick check of the Local Channels dialog at Dish's website shows the available stations - and oddly enough, only Block Communications NBC affiliate WLIO/digital 8 is not listed. (Since we don't live in Lima, we used the studio address of WLIO - 1424 Rice Avenue, Lima, OH 45805 - to get the list.)
It's certainly odd, because all the other Lima network affiliates are on the Dish list, including ABC affilaite WLQP-LP/18, Fox affiliate WOHL-CA/25 and CBS affiliate WLMO-LP/38.
Of course, all three of those stations are now owned by Block Communications, which owns WLIO...so we don't know why WLIO is not listed on the Dish Network local channels availability page. Maybe it's a mistake. Maybe the previous owner of the LPTV outlets, Gregg Phipps, signed that deal before Block/WLIO bought the three stations.
The Lima stations - also including Bowling Green State University-owned PBS affiliate WBGU/27 and religious independent WTLW/44 - are only available in standard definition via Dish Network for now.
However, it looks like there's a lot of movement on the HDTV front in Lima, if you check out WLIO VP/engineering Frederick Vobbe's excellent WLIO Engineering blog.
There, you'll learn that Block has put on low-power Class A digital WOHL-DC/35, which now occupies the channel used by WLIO's analog signal for decades. WLIO exited channel 35 for RF channel 8, and the station also now uses channel 8 for both on-air and off-air marketing/PSIP purposes.
Vobbe's blog says the 9 kW WOHL-DC (DC for "Digital Class A") has been testing, and lit up regular programming on Monday, with a 720p HD feed of "ABC Lima" on 35.1, and a 720p HD feed of "CBS Lima" on 35.2.
Over on WLIO's 8.2, "Fox Lima" is still up, but, quoting Vobbe on his blog:
Fox (8.2) is in SD because that is what the network is sending us. We don't have a choice in that. However, we are sending out an HD signal in 720P format should they change their minds. That means that NBC, CBS, and ABC will be the only HD signals so far.
The Fox network uses something called a "Splicer" to seamlessly provide its HD feed to stations. Either they haven't sent the unit to WLIO yet, or there's some technical magic involved in making the "Splicer" work on a subchannel...since it's basically designed to manage the bandwidth on a full channel at the network level.
Fox HD can indeed be done on a subchannel, though. Maybe Mr. Vobbe should call Tom Zocolo, chief engineer at "Fox Youngstown", to see how it's being done there...with the "Fox Youngstown" HD feed riding along on WKBN's 27.2...
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
But enough about now-former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. This isn't about her.
The Northwest Ohio man forever immortalized on the 2008 campaign trail as "Joe The Plumber" is making an attempt to become "Joe The Talk Show Host" in his local radio market.
The Toledo Blade reports that Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, known to the entire world as "Joe The Plumber", could have a career in conservative talk radio ahead of him...the same medium which largely championed him as a hero after his on-site questioning of then-Democratic candidate-now-President Barack Obama at a Toledo area event turned "Joe" into an icon in the campaign.
The Blade reports that Wurzelbacher (can we just call him "Joe"?) sat in as a guest host on Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370's "Eye on Toledo" early evening show, which has been without a regular host since local political figure Maggie Thurber left.
(Yes, WTVN/610 Columbus weekend "Radio Deli" host and OMW reader Dirk Thompson, we know you've filled in during the WSPD 6-7 PM time slot after Thurber's departure.)
Quoting "Joe" in the article by the Blade's Florence Dethy:
“Just because I’ve become Joe the Plumber, do not believe I’ve become a millionaire,” he impressed upon listeners as the hour came to a close.
“Notoriety does not necessarily mean a big bank account — the reason I’m doing this is because I want my son to have the same opportunities I had.”
Dethy writes further:
Mr. Wurzelbacher opined on everything from the health-care debate to the Cash for Clunkers program and called on all Americans to get involved in the tea parties being held nationwide.
Despite the fill-in by Joe The Would-Be Host and Dirk The Columbus Host, the WSPD online schedule now shows Citadel Media syndicated host Mark Levin's program starting at 6 PM.
But for WSPD program director/afternoon drive host Brian Wilson and Clear Channel Toledo market manager Andy Stuart, this could be a publicity train that would be very, very hard to resist...assuming "Joe The Host" can reasonably acquit himself as a radio talk personality for one early evening hour a day for a very receptive audience.
Quoting the article:
Based upon how smoothly things went last night, the station may decide to make Mr. Wurzelbacher a permanent member of the conservative station’s team.
“There’s a possibility radio and WSPD could be part of his future,” Program Director Brian Wilson said.
That sounds like a program director who's just waiting to E-mail the press release to the national media, doesn't it?
We'd be shocked if Wurzelbacher didn't get at least a brief run as "Joe The Talk Show Host".
Oh, and this isn't "Joe"'s first notable attachment to talk radio, aside from being a frequent guest on such programs during the campaign.
His mere presence on the campaign trail, and in the news, was enough to get Citadel talk KGO/San Francisco CA weekend evening host Karel Bouley hot and bothered enough to scream curse words into a live remote microphone from his Long Beach CA studio during a network radio newscast.
That got Mr. Bouley, unaware at the time that the foul language was being broadcast, dumped from his KGO job...
Lankford is heading for a new job as market manager of Clear Channel's Harrisburg/Allentown PA stations. And by heading, we mean he's expected to start today.
At Freedom Avenue, Lankford has been in charge of five stations - hot AC WKDD/98.1, rock WRQK/106.9, AC WHOF/101.7, talk WHLO/640 and sports WARF/1350.
In addition to those stations, Lankford has also been market manager of Clear Channel's Ashland/Mansfield cluster.
At this point, we have no word of any replacement back at Freedom Avenue.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
The Plain Dealer's Tony Grossi reports that the team has reached a deal with Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 to ensure local TV carriage of the Saturday night contest, despite some 4,800 unsold tickets just over a day before the NFL's blackout deadline.
The financial details, and disposition of the unsold tickets, is apparently undisclosed.
Our blogging colleague at WKYC, Frank Macek, has more here...
WITHER CHUCK?: When Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland afternoon drive host Mike Trivisonno took a few days off after the tragic death of his long-time wife Linda, regular Triv sub Chuck Galeti dropped in to cover for the WTAM host.
Galeti has been the weekend sports anchor for a certain Cleveland market CBS affiliate, known legally to the FCC as WOIO(TV) Shaker Heights. He was once weekday sports anchor in the basement of Reserve Square, but flipped places with the station's Tony Zarella.
Is Galeti still working at the TV station in question?
We ask because a reader points out that Galeti is missing from the station's on-air talent page. (Don't try to block us from linking it, Reserve Square folks...we have a screen shot!)
Zarella's bio text has now been clumsily extended to the right, to cover what we presume is the place where Galeti's bio was.
And though the alleged CBS affiliate in this market can't be picked up over air at the OMW World Headquarters, and we do our best not to watch, our reader says Sue Ann Robak, former sports reporter/anchor at Scripps ABC WEWS/5's "NewsChannel 5", has been seen performing the same duties at Reserve Square - presumably (?) in a fill-in mode.
(Robak has also done fill-in work for SportsTime Ohio since leaving Channel 5.)
We only have the above information, and have not confirmed Galeti's departure, or for that matter, Robak's presence/status at the CBS affiliate. Needless to say, we've been dropped off of a lot of Christmas card lists at Reserve Square, and they probably have OMW blocked by their IT people...
SPEAKING OF TRIV: And a hat tip to one of our readers.
We're not the only ones here familiar with radio talk show host Don Geronimo, who was nationally syndicated for many years (Westwood One) before leaving the "Don & Mike Show" after his wife's death in a car crash.
In an earlier item, we suggested that the aforementioned Mike Trivisonno should seek out Geronimo for advice - since he's probably the only other human being on earth who has pondered questions about his future as a radio talk host after losing his loving wife.
One of our readers forwarded a link to that item, via Twitter, to Geronimo on his Twitter account. And the response:
I will reach out to him! Thx Thx!RT@jet1978 in addition 2u I listen 2 Triv. u can offer advice since u have been there http://bit.ly/1ljy0
Having absolutely nothing to do with this blog, or our reporting on this situation, we really hope Don Geronimo and Mike Trivisonno have talked about this. And any support someone can get when losing a beloved spouse, yet still trying to go on with his life and his career, is a Good Thing.
In our sampling of Triv's show since he came back, we've heard him once or twice push back the early talk about "if I stay on the radio", saying more than once that he "isn't going anywhere", radio-wise.
No matter if he got advice from his fellow host - now doing a local midday show on Ocean City/Salisbury MD market talker WGMD/92.7 - "What I Do With My Future After This" is still a question he has to answer on his own, one way or the other. And we continue to wish Triv well in that regard...
TIME WARNER NEWS: Two items courtesy of the folks at Time Warner Cable Northeast Ohio...and for now, at least, we still have no word on when expanded HDTV lineups/SDV will appear in the TWC NEO area formerly served by Comcast.
Small comfort to these folks is the addition of three new standard definition channels around the TWC NEO footprint. From a release:
RFD-TV, channel 229 (Choice Tier), is the nation's first 24-hour television network dedicated to serving the needs and interests of rural
Crime & Investigation, channel 222 (Choice Tier), offers viewers in-depth criminal investigations, behind the scenes police work on some of the world's most fascinating cases and a close-up look when new technology solves 'cold cases'. Crime & Investigation examines stories behind the headlines, biographies of infamous murderers, serial killers and outlaws and probes unexplained mysteries.
Military History Channel, channel 139 (Choice Tier), is a spin off of the popular History Channel. Military History features programming that looks back at some great battles of yesteryear as well as programs that profile key individuals such as generals, soldiers and spies. Documentaries and series give the viewer an insight into how battles were fought and the lives of those who fought them.-----------
"Choice Tier" means the channels are available on a tier costing an extra $5 a month.
You'll notice that the description for RFD-TV does not include the channel's simulcast of the Don Imus radio program, which landed on the rural-themed network after Imus (a former Cleveland radio name) landed again on Citadel's WABC/770 New York with a Citadel Media (ex-ABC Radio Network) syndication deal.
We won't go looking for the links here, but just about every media outlet that cares about the topic reports that Imus' TV simulcast is about to move to the Fox Business Network, which is already in the standard digital lineup for Time Warner Northeast Ohio subscribers....
AND THE OTHER TWC ITEM: Yes, it's mid-August, and just the other day...your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) realized that Northeast Ohio's high school football season was probably close.
From another Time Warner Cable Northeast Ohio release:
As the month of August comes to a close, sports fans across Northeast Ohio are gearing up for one thing: high school football. This year, Time Warner Cable will provide viewers even more coverage with the debut of “Varsity Sports Preview” on the Northeast Ohio Network (NEON), channel 23.
“Varsity Sports Preview,” a 30-minute show comprised of news, analysis and interviews covering the upcoming weekend’s matchups, will air Thursdays at 7 p.m. on
NEON has also unveiled its high school football broadcast schedule:
NEON has also unveiled its high school football broadcast schedule:
The 2009 season will kick-off the last weekend in August with Euclid @ Strongsville and Green @ Lake. Games on NEON are televised on a tape-delayed basis throughout the weekend, with the first airing Friday at 11 p.m. Games replay Saturday at 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The full list of games - subject to change later - is on the NEON website.
A quick look at the schedule as it stands shows the coverage favoring both Cleveland and Canton, with only two games involving teams in the Akron area - the contest involving Green the first week, and a game between Akron area parochial schools Walsh Jesuit and Archbishop Hoban on week three.
It looks like the crews contracted by TWC directly are staying in the Cleveland area for the most part, and the Canton area games are presumably joint ventures with Canton-based WIVM-LP/52. The low-power outlet is owned by long-time area video production house Image Video, which has been covering high school football games very nearly since the days of black and white TV...
AND ONE MORE QUICK SPORTS SHORT: Brett Favre seems inexplicably linked with Cleveland, though the local NFL franchise has never expressed any interest in acquiring the on-again/off-again/on-again (etc.) quarterback.
Unless you're under a rock, you know by now that Favre is apparently "back on again", as ESPN has breathlessly reported that the former Green Bay Packers legend is getting ready to suit up for the Minnesota Vikings. (And we mean breathlessly - earlier this afternoon, they were nearly drooling over live helicopter video of Favre strolling around the Vikings' practice facility. That was too much for us, so we found something else to watch.)
But what about Cleveland?
When Favre first "unretired" after tearfully saying goodbye to Cheeseheads all over Wisconsin, he landed with the New York Jets.
The Jets were in Cleveland to play the Browns in a preseason game the day Favre's return was announced, and that announcement came from a conference room inside the bowels of Cleveland Browns Stadium... prompting extra coverage from local sports reporters, anchors and talk show hosts even though the move didn't affect the Browns one bit.
(Oh, of course, Browns head coach Eric Mangini was the Jets coach at the time, though no one expected he'd land in Cleveland the following season.)
Here we go again.
Though Favre's latest return won't be unveiled by the Vikings in Cleveland this time around, Northeast Ohio figures prominently into this sports soap opera once again.
Assuming today's events happen as expected, Favre will take the field as a member of the Vikings for the first time in the regular season on September 13th...as the Vikings play, you guessed it, the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium.
An opening regular season game has enough attention upon it...but this means ESPN and other national outlets will certainly camp out on the shore of Lake Erie for the better part of that week...
Sunday, August 16, 2009
This coming weekend, Browns fans may not be able to see their team play the Detroit Lions - unless they're sitting in Cleveland Browns Stadium.
Yes, there is still the possibility that the local NFL franchise could see its first local TV blackout since "the new Browns" started up in 1999, as an expansion team that took the name, colors and record history of the city's storied professional football franchise.
Since 1999, the "returned" Browns have often been awful. But no matter how awful they've been, even preseason games have sold out...allowing local TV rightsholders to show home games with no problem.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer's Tony Grossi has an update on the situation today:
Through Friday, they had less than 5,000 tickets left for the exhibition home opener on Saturday against Detroit. If they are not sold by Wednesday's 72-hour blackout deadline, the game will not be shown live.
And for that matter, Grossi notes that Browns TV voices Jim Donovan and Bernie Kosar may not need to show up at all if the game is not sold out:
It's also possible the game won't be televised on a delayed basis by WKYC Channel 3. The station is reviewing its options.
(Of course, if there ends up being no TV broadcast, Donovan would presumably slide over to his usual role as the Browns Radio Network's play-by-play voice. Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 sports director Mike Snyder takes the radio reins when Donovan does TV work.)
The team blames the poor economy for the lack of preseason sales - not a difficult target when the economy really does stink nationwide, and certainly here in Northeast Ohio.
But for that matter, "stink" is an adequate description for the Browns. After a 17-0 embarrassment at the hands of the Packers on Saturday, who could blame someone for not shelling out his or her hard-earned-money to watch the Browns and Lions in person on Saturday?
The team is selling all tickets for 50% off, and has launched a heavily promoted $99 "Family Four Pack" promotion, aiming to fill those empty seats - including game tickets, food and the like. In the current situation, that price seems like it's about $99 too high.
The Browns local preseason TV network this season includes New Vision/Parkin ABC affiliate WYTV/33 Youngstown and Dispatch CBS affiliate WBNS/10 Columbus. If the games air in Toledo, Dayton or Lima, we couldn't find listings for them last night. It looks like former Toledo Browns preseason TV network affiliate - low-power MyNetwork TV affiliate WMNT-CA/48 "My 58" - has gone with the Detroit Lions' network this year.
If the Lions game isn't sold out by Wednesday, the other stations won't be showing the game live, either...or at all, apparently...
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Northeast Ohio commuters heading home in the afternoon on Friday were hearing traffic reports talking about tieups on "the Fisher", "the Lodge" and accidents on 8 Mile Road.
No, their cars weren't magically transported to Detroit. Cleveland's Metro Traffic affiliates weren't accidentally getting Detroit-centric feeds from the company's new hub in suburban Detroit.
And no, Canada's CBC Radio generally does not target listeners in the Cleveland market.
So-called "tropospheric reception" (explained pretty well in this Wikipedia article) turned the Cleveland area's FM radio dial into one very crowded place on Friday, and also scattered TV stations well beyond their normal coverage area.
Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) experienced this firsthand while driving along Ohio 303 from Lorain County, into northern Medina County, then northern Summit County, on Friday afternoon.
Some of our own observations:
ROCKING DETROIT...AND PENINSULA, OHIO: At one point on our drive, Greater Media's Detroit classic rock mainstay WCSX/94.7 was the most powerful signal on the OMW Mobile's stock car radio, more powerful than even first adjacent Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 Medina.
Note, of course, that despite maintaining a Medina city of license, "Akron's Own Country" broadcasts from a tower owned by Western Reserve PBS' WEAO/49 Akron in Copley Township...just south of the Montrose shopping area in suburban Akron. The WCSX signal did weaken somewhat the closer we got to the WQMX site...though it still nudged in there next to WQMX as far east as Peninsula...
RIVER FLOWS TO OHIO...THROUGH A LAKE: CTVglobemedia's 100 kW AAA outlet from Windsor ONT, CIDR/93.9 "The River", is an easy daily listen for folks driving from Toledo to Sandusky along the Ohio Turnpike.
Friday, it was an easy catch for us all the way into Summit County.
CIDR's FM sister station, alt-rock CIMX/88.7 "89X", was also along for the ride with a strong signal. Both stations also target the Detroit market across the international border.
Of course, in much of the Cleveland market, it doesn't take any special atmospheric conditions for CTVglobemedia's talk CKLW/800 to be heard each day...dating back to its days as the entire Lake Erie region's dominant top 40 outlet...
AS IT HAPPENS, CBC IN NORTHEAST OHIO: CBC Radio's CBCL/93.5 London ONT is not normally heard in northern Medina County or northern Summit County.
But with very little interference, we were able to catch the CBC Radio One newsmagazine staple "As It Happens" live at 6:30 on Friday evening...all the way to the OMW World Headquarters. Like the Windsor FM outlets, CBCL is a powerful, 100 kW station, but usually doesn't make it to places like Brunswick or Richfield with a clear signal.
"AIH" fans in Northeast Ohio don't need special atmospheric conditions to hear the show weeknights at 8 PM on Ideastream NPR outlet WCPN/90.3 Cleveland, thanks to its U.S. public radio syndication deal with American Public Media. And CBC Radio One also camps out in the U.S. on Sirius channel 137...
OTHER VISITORS: Other Detroit/Windsor stations littered our FM radio dial, as did Clear Channel rock WIOT/104.7 out of Toledo. We also caught a dual tropospheric effect - strong signals from CBS Radio sports WXYT/97.1 "The Ticket" from Detroit and Media One AC WREO/97.1 "Star 97.1" Ashtabula were fighting it out for supremacy on our radio...
VISUAL AIRPOWER: Then, there's the TV side of this.
This is a still picture of a promo for upcoming Olympic coverage from Canadian private TV network CTV.
The logo on the right is from a promo for Canadian sports network "TSN2".
And we took these pictures without leaving the OMW World Headquarters.
CTV rebroadcast transmitter CKCO-TV-3 Oil Springs (Sarnia) ONT was received on analog channel 42 in the early evening Friday right here, using a regular TV tuner and our usual indoor antenna pointing out a second floor window.
It's not the first appearance here for CKCO-TV-3/42, which repeats "CTV Southwestern Ontario" (CKCO/Kitchener ONT) from the area not far from Port Huron MI. A few years ago, the same station showed up on a bedroom TV set just enough to make out which station it was.
This time, the signal may look snowy here, but it was definitely watchable, with clear audio.
In fact, Friday evening, it was more watchable than Media-Com's Kent-based Retro TV Network affiliate feed - either on WAOH-LP 29/Akron or W35AX/Cleveland, both LPTV/Class A outlets, of course.
We assume that not only was the signal stronger this time - there's no longer any analog channel 43 here to get in the way of the Canadian signal's presence.
An OMW reader in the western part of the Toledo area reports that he was able to receive the digital signals of Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3 "like it was a strong local", along with ABC affiliate WEWS/5, with a modest indoor antenna.
He also picked up CHWI/16 Wheatley ONT ("A Windsor") with a strong analog signal...in his case, "somewhat" clearer than Toledo's LPTV MyNetwork TV affiliate, WMNT-CA/48 "My 58".
CHWI is the main signal for the Windsor-based broadcaster affiliated with the "A" network. It is located not far from Leamington, on the Ontario peninsula which juts into Lake Erie.
Again, check the Wikipedia article on the topic for details.
So-called "tropospheric ducting" doesn't happen all the time, but is most likely during warm summer afternoons.
So, we'll likely see more of this with current weather forecasted through at least Monday. But there's no guarantee the "catching" will be as good as it was on Friday in this area...
Friday, August 14, 2009
Whenever a new "announcement" was being touted, Rizz and the gang joked around that it didn't involve adding a "coveted third hour" to the two hour program, which has aired weekdays from 10 AM to noon.
Well, this time, it apparently does involve that "coveted third hour".
We'd heard from readers that such an announcement was made at the end of Friday's "Really Big Show"...but the confirmation for us appears on the station's official Twitter account:
Heard the Really Big News? The Really Big Show is extending their hours to 9am-12pm starting Sept. 8! Three hours of Hammer and Rizz, yay!
Though we're convinced many would not have worded that last sentence in exactly the same form as WKNR did, the two hour show has always seemed a bit crowded to us...as Rizzo and the gang (producer/sidekick/assistant program director Aaron Goldhammer, Josh Sabo, etc.) try to do a less-structured-sometimes-not-sports show, with lots of "extra hijinks", in a very short time slot.
Left unsaid is the fate of the final hour of ESPN Radio's flagship morning drive show, "Mike & Mike", which now airs on WKNR from 9 to 10 AM.
We're wondering if the Worldwide Leader is OK with the 6-9 AM only slot, or if the fourth hour of "M&M" gets nudged over to WWGK/1540 "KNR2", displacing the first hour of Fox Sports Radio's Dan Patrick Show. We don't know the answer to that part of it at this time.
Patrick's show, of course, airs 9 AM-noon on Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 Akron "Fox Sports 1350", which may have a larger coverage area in the Cleveland market than WWGK, with its current 1 kW East Side-based signal...
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
We hear her last day was today in Akron, and she'll exit South Marginal tomorrow...and that the departure from "Fox 8 News" was her own decision.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
No, it's nothing you said.
You can blame "Vince", or "Julie", or whatever name our resident comment spammer has been going by this week. He/she/they/it have/has been leaving roughly a half-dozen to a dozen comment spams each morning, pushing some sort of scam linked in the signature file of the messages.
And it's now added "spam cleanup" to our duties here at your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), which doesn't make it much fun.
Now, we realize that in general, talking to comment spammers is about as effective as addressing drywall directly.
But some of "Vince"'s attempts at spamming contain references to the topic at hand, and possible knowledge of the world of Ohio broadcasting. (His cross-dressing side, "Julie", hasn't displayed that knowledge yet.)
So, maybe he's here reading, preparing to post a link to his latest scam on one of our comments.
Don't bother, "Vince".
With comment moderation, your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) will be the only one who reads your attempts...which will hit the bit bucket as soon as we click "Delete", and will not be seen by anyone else in the interim.
And no, we're not interested in your spam blogs. Even if you wear a pretty dress and call yourself "Julie".
As far as actual, real comments are concerned...we will do our best to post them without interference, as quickly as we are able to do so.
And we don't expect the full moderation to last all that long...
Monday, August 10, 2009
SHE'S HERE: Imagine our surprise when OMW received a press release - directly - from Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 on its latest addition at "NewsChannel 5", assistant news director Roberta Petterson.
We got the full press treatment from WEWS, including a photo of Ms. Petterson.
Since we have the release, let's quote it:
WEWS NewsChannel 5 has named a Pittsburgh television executive as Assistant News Director. Roberta Petterson comes to WEWS from WTAE in Pittsburgh, where she also held the position of Assistant News Director. While there, she led WTAE’s newscast development, breaking news, investigative coverage and special projects.
“Roberta’s track record of success in guiding a dynamic news staff in a multiple-platform environment will enable NewsChannel 5 to continue to deliver Northeast Ohio’s leading news coverage,” said WEWS News Director Jill Manuel.
Petterson was responsible for WTAE’s coverage of last year’s Pennsylvania Primary and has played a key role in that station’s superior political coverage. Under Petterson’s leadership, WTAE’s investigative team won a Peabody and National IRE in 2008. She also won Murrow and Headliner awards for driving breaking news and big story coverage.
If this story sounds familiar to you, you're not dreaming...we broke news of this hiring over a month ago. (But we still appreciate the official release.)
Though we assume Ms. Petterson will be welcomed as a person and a new manager at 3001 Euclid, there has been some question within that building if a new assistant news director hire is a good idea in the current economic environment...in a world of hiring freezes, contract non-renewals and the like.
Our earlier item said Petterson would take her new role at WEWS on August 3rd.
As a note, WEWS parent Scripps just announced financial results that look like all the other big TV groups...according to this report from TVNewsCheck, the new name for the former TVNewsday trade site:
The E.W. Scripps Co. today reported second-quarter operating results for its television, newspaper, and licensing and syndication businesses. Revenue from the company's television stations was $61.1 million, a decrease of 24 percent from the second quarter of 2008.
You can almost predict TV revenue reports - they're all down roughly 20-30% from the same quarter in 2008...
YOUNGSTOWN TV CHANGES: As the New Vision stations in Youngstown prepare for Life After Bankruptcy, they're making some changes on the air.
New Vision-operated Parkin ABC affiliate WYTV/33 is leaving the 5 PM news game, as the company is no longer going to compete with itself at 5 for news viewers.
In what should be no surprise for a Youngstown media item, the information about this is from Andrea Wood and her Youngstown Business Journal:
As the operators of WKBN/WYFX and WYTV sail through bankruptcy reorganization with a hearing set for Sept. 10 to confirm the restructuring of $400 million in debt, local management today announced it will eliminate one newscast effective Sept. 21.
WYTV’s 5 p.m. weekday newscast will be replaced with a syndicated version of “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader,” says Dave Coy, general manager of the three TV stations. WYTV will continue to broadcast a local news program at 5:30 p.m., he notes.
There's a funny line in there, somewhere, about "Smarter Than a 5th Grader", but we'll let you come up with it in your own mind.
Since WYTV and WKBN are both operated by New Vision out of WKBN's long-time Sunset Boulevard home, it makes sense for the company not to mount two (semi-) different newscasts at the same time...as it hopes news viewers will stick with 27 at 5, and head for 33 if they're not looking for news.
Willl the move increase "27 First News"' ratings at 5 PM, as it would only have to compete with Vindicator NBC affiliate WFMJ/21 for news viewers at that half-hour? They hope so, we presume.
But along with others in that market, we wonder how long New Vision will attempt to differentiate news content between "First News" and "33 News" with different reporters...or if 27/33 will see Erie-style news simulcasting at some point.
The station does say that no jobs will be lost in the move, and says there are no expected job losses as a result of the New Vision bankruptcy filing...a Chapter 11 filng that came packaged with help from the company's lenders. Nominal WYTV owner Parkin Broadcasting - which got financial help from New Vision to buy WYTV - is in the same proverbial boat...
A BOOST: There haven't been many complaints from Cleveland over-air digital TV viewers about the 1000 kW signal from CW affiliate WBNX/55.
But the station got FCC approval for a slight upgrade back in July. (Heads up to reader Andrew for the FCC approval link, which we also missed earlier!)
The new construction permit calls for WBNX's antenna to move about 25 meters or so higher on its Parma tower, at the same 1000 kW power level.
As TV reception is as much about height as it is about power level, some WBNX viewers on the fringes of the signal could see some improvement.
But in the List of Local TV Station Reception Complaints, the local CW outlet is way below such former powerhouses as Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8, and a certain alleged CBS affiliate claiming to serve the Cleveland TV market...
AND ONE RADIO ITEM: Though it's firmly within the territory of our friends at Tri-State Media Watch, the word "Cleveland" is in there somewhere.
From John Kiesewetter's blog on the Cincinnati Enquirer's website:
Christian WAKW-FM (Star 93.3) has a new boss: Randy James has been hired as program director to replace Kurt Wallace, who left in April to a Christian station on the air in Indianapolis. James has worked for WVMX-FM in Cleveland, WMMX-FM in Dayton and KHMX-FM in Houston.
Assuming Mr. James did indeed work at "Mix 106.5" here, the call letters, of course, are WMVX, not WVMX. The latter calls, once in Cincinnati, are now on Saga's "Mix 107.9" in the Columbus market...
Friday, August 07, 2009
It's the 10.3 kW facility Raycom Media's WOIO/19 Shaker Heights (RF channel 10) applied for in mid-2008, which would be a slight bump up from the current 3.5 kW facility being used by the station. It'd also be slightly higher up on the station's tower - 361 meters height above average terrain, vs. 304 for the current DT 10 facility.
Trip and others have told us in the past that you "shouldn't expect much" whenever that new facility makes it to the air.
It's still rather low in power level, and does virtually nothing to solve reception problems north of the Parma antenna farm...for very good reason, as Canadian-cross-Lake-Erie powerhouse CFPL/10 London ON is still on the air, and needs signal protection.
And it'll need that protection from Cleveland even after Canadian TV goes all digital in a couple of years, as CFPL has filed to remain on channel 10 in the digital age.
But...it's at least slight movement, and maybe some people will have a better shot at the signal.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
The complete Press Club press release is reprinted below:
The Press Club of Cleveland Announces 2009 Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame Inductees
August 4, 2009, Cleveland, Ohio – The Press Club of Cleveland announces its 2009 Journalism Hall of Fame inductees. Three current and former reporters/anchors from WKYC-TV Channel 3 join a pair of Pulitzer Prize finalists from The Plain Dealer in the Cleveland Journalism Hall of Fame’s Class of 2009.
The 2009 inductees include WKYC-TV’s sports anchor Jim Donovan, managing editor Dick Russ and former investigative reporter Paul Sciria, along with two-time Pulitzer finalist for commentary Regina Brett of The Plain Dealer and former Plain Dealer photographer William Wynne. All were elected to the Hall of Fame by members of the Press Club of Cleveland.
Additionally former Cleveland Press and Plain Dealer reporter Walt Bogdanich, a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner at The New York Times, and Plain Dealer editorial director Elizabeth Sullivan will also be inducted that night. Both were elected in 2008 but were unable to attend the ceremony.
The 2009 winners will be formally inducted at a dinner reception on October 28, 2009 at LaCentre in Westlake, Ohio. Call 440-899-1222 for more information or e-mail The Press Club of Cleveland at email@example.com.
The 2009 inductees:
Regina Brett: Few local columnists anywhere have had the kind of impact that The Plain Dealer’s Brett has had in Cleveland. For the past two years, she has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist for commentary based on “her range of compelling columns that move the heart, challenge authority and often trigger action,” according to the Pulitzer’s board of directors. The American Bar Association and the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association both recognized her efforts in establishing open discovery in Ohio this year, honoring her with the Silver Gavel Award and the Liberty Bell Award, respectively. Additionally, in 1999, Brett won the National Headliner Award for her columns on her breast cancer. Ten years later, she won the award again for her series of columns, “The Inheritance,” about passing the gene on to her daughter. She also won the James Batten Medal in 1999 for columns championing underdogs and ordinary folks, and she was a finalist again for the medal this year. She has been named best columnist in Ohio by The Press Club of Cleveland, Ohio SPJ and the Associated Press Society of Ohio. She is a Kent State University graduate and a native of Northeast Ohio.
Jim Donovan: He came to Northeast Ohio as a weekend sports anchor in 1985 and has stayed for almost a quarter of a century to become arguably Cleveland’s most prominent voice in sports. Donovan has been the radio play-by-play announcer for the Cleveland Browns since their return to the NFL in 1999, as well as serving as sports director for WKYC-TV Channel 3. For NBC he has covered the Summer Olympics in 1992 and ’96 and World Cup soccer in 1994. He also announced NFL games for NBC before becoming the play-by-play announcer for the Browns. He calls Cleveland Indians games for Channel 3 and has hosted the PBS coverage of the All-American Soap Box Derby since 1991. Donovan received a regional Emmy for Best Sportscaster and received the same award from The Press Club of Cleveland. His 1992 report on the Cleveland Browns also won a regional Emmy. His charity work includes serving as spokesperson for the Kidney Foundation of Ohio.
Dick Russ: For more than 30 years, Russ has proven to be one of Northeast Ohio’s most versatile news broadcasters, working as reporter, anchor and now managing editor at WKYC-TV Channel 3. Colleagues say Russ’s way with words sets him apart from other broadcasters. “I’ve never met anyone in TV news who writes as well as Dick,” said Hall of Famer Tim Taylor. Russ is already a member of the Ohio Broadcasters Hall of Fame and he also received the Silver Circle Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, recognizing him for more than 25 years of exemplary service to the industry. Russ has won 10 regional Emmys for his reporting and twice has been honored by the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists as the best TV documentarian in the state. He received a Gabriel Award, the highest national honor for TV reporting on religion and also won the Religious Communicators Council’s national award. He was a reporter and noon anchor for 20 years at WJW-TV before coming to WKYC-TV in 1999. He also worked at Channel 23 in Akron.
Paul Sciria: Before “60 Minutes” or Carl Monday, Cleveland had TV investigative reporter Paul Sciria watching the streets and city hall for corruption. Channel 3 hired Sciria as its first full-time news reporter in 1957. In time, his car with his name and the station’s call letters on the side became a familiar sight around town. Sciria interviewed everyone from Bobby Kennedy to the Beatles, but ferreting out the inside scoop was his specialty. He worked at Channel 3 until 1975, and then formed his own public relations firm. In 1992, he became the founding editor of La Gazzatta, a 10,000-circulation Italian-American newspaper. He remains active with La Gazzata at age 80.
William Wynne: The latest in a long line of honor for Wynne came earlier this year when he was selected to the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, joining such luminaries as John Glenn, Jesse Owens, Norman Vincent Peale and Dorothy Fuldheim. After a decorated military career in World War II and seven years with NASA, Wynne worked more than three decades as a Plain Dealer photographer before retiring in 1984. His biggest assignment was as part of the three-man investigation of Lima State Hospital for the Criminally Insane -- an exposé of gross mistreatment of inmates by prison guards in 1973, resulting in the conviction of more than 30 employees and former employees. Reporters Richard Widman, Theodore Whelan and photographer Wynne were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and won at least a half-dozen other awards for the series. But Wynne is probably best known as the author of “Yorkie Doodle Dandy,” a memoir, now in its third printing. Smoky, a four-pound Yorkshire terrier was found in a New Guinea foxhole in March 1944. As a hobby, Wynne trained the seven-inch tall dog by trial and error in the remote jungles to respond to over 200 commands and behaviors. Wynne was part of a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer in the 1970s.
The 2008 Inductees:
Walt Bogdanich: The former Cleveland Press and Plain Dealer reporter won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting in 2008 along with New York Times colleague Jake Hooker for their stories on toxic ingredients in medicine and other everyday products imported from China, leading to crackdowns by American and Chinese officials. It was Bogdanich’s third Pulitzer Prize. He won the Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for National Reporting for his series "Death on the Tracks," which examined the safety record of the U.S. railroad industry. He also won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 for Specialized Reporting for his articles in The Wall Street Journal on substandard medical laboratories. Bogdanich has won four George Polk Awards and an Overseas Press Club Award. He became investigations editor for the Business and Finance desk of The New York Times in January 2001. He was named an assistant editor for the paper's newly expanded Investigative Desk in 2003. Before joining The Times, he was an investigative producer for "60 Minutes" on CBS and for ABC News. Previously, he worked as an investigative reporter for The Wall Street Journal in New York and Washington.
Elizabeth Sullivan: Sullivan was named editorial director of The Plain Dealer in 2009, succeeding Hall of Famer Brent Larkin, who retired. She formerly was foreign affairs columnist and an associate editor of the editorial pages and a reporter for the paper. As The Plain Dealer's European Correspondent in the 1990s, she covered the Balkan wars and the breakup of Yugoslavia. Her 1990 article predicting the end of Yugoslavia was one of the first to foresee that bloody outcome. In 1994, at the height of the Bosnian war, she was held for 72 hours by the Bosnian Serb Army. Sullivan also chronicled the post-Cold War transitions in Russia, Germany and Eastern Europe, and has reported from Israel, the West Bank, Northern Ireland, Cuba and Korea. In 1985, during a three-month journey through China on a Gannett Journalism fellowship, she was one of the early Western travelers to reach Tibet. Sullivan has circled the world twice, in opposite directions. She is conversant in Russian and Serbo-Croatian and has a traveling vocabulary for French, Spanish, Chinese and German.
About the Press Club of Cleveland
The Press Club of Cleveland is an organization for print and broadcast journalists and editors, public relations and advertising professionals, and anyone who works with them. The club serves its members by providing social and educational opportunities, promoting excellence in journalism, attracting and educating high- quality candidates to enter journalism, and maintaining a history of journalism in Cleveland, Ohio.
More information is available at www.pressclubcleveland.com or by calling 440-899-1222.