Sunday, February 21, 2010

They've Got A Name, Or A Letter

Cleveland's newest radio format launched with a "Boom" around the end of 2009...literally.

But an apparent claim on the trademark by a distant CBS Radio HD2 subchannel snuffed out the name of Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting's shiny new AAA format on WNWV/107.3 Elyria, which shifted from its 20-plus year run as smooth jazz "The Wave" to "Boom 107.3".

The apparent trademark claim forced WNWV to quickly reposition as simply "107.3 Cleveland" for the past few weeks, but the station has landed on a new identity.

Timed apparently with a Saturday piece on the station by the Plain Dealer's Michael Heaton, WNWV grabbed the last letter of its held-over call sign, and is now known as "V107.3".

The station's Facebook presence has moved to a page under the new name, and we heard program director/afternoon drive host Ric "Rocco" Bennett using the "V" name on-air on Saturday afternoon.

About that's no mistaking if you sense the "WMMS back in the day" influence on the new AAA station. Quoting Heaton:

Three former WMMS employees are behind this new aural attack on corporate radio. Lonnie Gronek, Ric "Rocco" Bennett and consultant John Gorman are the independent Davids battling the Goliaths of Clear Channel and CBS Radio, which operate a total of 10 stations in Cleveland.

Gronek is Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting's VP/GM, Bennett is known for his "Rocco the Rock Dog" days at WMMS and WENZ/107.9 "The End" (most recently, he was doing weekends/swing at Rubber City Radio rock WONE/97.5 Akron), and any long-time OMW reader doesn't need reminding that Gorman was the program director of WMMS, long before Clear Channel eventually took over the station.

Would "V107.3" be, basically, what a non-corporate-owned WMMS-of-the-past would sound like if it aired in the year 2010? Quoting Heaton again:

At V107.3, Bennett is the only one of the three whose name might still be known to listeners from his WMMS days. The mission at the new station, however, is not to replicate those old playlists but to honor the spirit of that eclectic programming.

It's certainly a more eclectic version of the AAA format, which airs elsewhere in Northeast Ohio on Akron Public Schools-owned WAPS/91.3 "The Summit".

While we're talking about the newly-christened "V107.3", we neglected earlier to note its airstaff.

"Wave" hold-over Mike Gallagher continues in the "V" morning drive slot, and Bennett takes 2-6 PM. But we hadn't yet mentioned the addition of Cleveland radio veteran Ravenna Miceli from 9 AM-2 PM.

And yes, as the Heaton article points out, the new "V" middayer - the former long-time midday voice at WMJI/105.7 - is indeed the wife of "V" consultant Gorman.

But given her long-time on-air presence in the market and her run at WMJI, it seems silly to open up the mention of her in the article by calling her "Gorman's wife".

Miceli points out in the PD article that she has experience in the format long pre-dating both her days at WMJI and her marriage to Gorman:

"My first job was a AAA station on Martha's Vineyard. People are always blown away by it."


andrew727 said...

Actually my hope is they will let a little bit of one time progressive-rocker, WNCR FM get into its spirit. That was a station who's 'free-form' life was cut too short.

Mike said...

Might this be a fit for Brian Fowler and Joe Cronauer?