Packaging Up The Week

This update will hopefully clear out the ol’ inbox for the weekend.

We’re not going on an official “hiatus” over the holiday weekend, and will update anything major (format changes, major personnel changes at local TV and radio outlets and the like). But since it will be a holiday weekend, we don’t expect much…

WJW MOVES COMING: We have no idea why, but we get at least a handful of E-Mails out of nowhere every single week asking us when FOX O&O WJW/8 “FOX 8″ Cleveland will adopt the company’s “FOX Look” on its local newscasts.

In fact, just hours after the latest request for a status report out of nowhere, we got an answer, again, unsolicited.

A reliable OMW source says the “FOX-ification” of “FOX 8 News” in Cleveland is nearly at hand.

And by “nearly”, we mean sometime in the next few weeks. We hear that the local station is about to build a new set, which will require a pause in live shows for “That’s Life with Robin Swoboda”. They’ll put in pre-taped shows to fill the gap.

(And before some of you go running to the comments section at the mere mention of Robin’s name…we already know what you’re going to type.)

Anyway, “That’s Life” has to go on hiatus, because WJW will move the existing news set into that studio, and air “FOX 8 News” from there while the new set is being built.

A few weeks later, you’ll see what’s long been anticipated by OMW readers – a new set, and an update of graphics to the new FOX O&O style, which is basically patterned after the network’s FOX News Channel.

The graphics will also be HD-style, as opposed to the current upconversion…

TO THE SPORTS DEPARTMENT: …where we find The Overworked Sue Ann Robak at WEWS “NewsChannel 5″ now being helped by the capable Andy Baskin. He’s the former WKYC/3 sports reporter/anchor who left to start his own production company, and has done fill-in for The Only Large Market Station In America With One Solo Full-Time Sports Anchor.

Well, not quite.

We hear the situation at CBS affiliate WKMG in Orlando is even worse as they await the Cleveland Cavaliers to release WOIO/19 “19 Action News” weekend sports anchor David Pingalore, who isn’t leaving town or the CBS affiliate here until the Cavaliers get knocked out of the playoffs, or, as is about as likely as the Space Shuttle landing on I-77, until they win it all.

We understand that a news anchor at WKMG has even taken to reading a brief sports summary, while they continue to watch the NBA basketball bounce in Detroit and Cleveland and wait for “Ping” to head south.

Anyway, back to 3001 Euclid and Andy Baskin.

OMW hears that he continues to impress the management at WEWS, and with good timing, too… the station may finally name a new sports director soon.

We are NOT hearing that Baskin has the job in hand, but that he’s being “strongly considered” for it.

But, we’re putting all these rumblings together in our head, and we’d be surprised if he didn’t land the gig. But that’s just a gut feeling on our part.

And a tip of the hat to Ms. Robak, who’s been an ironwoman, as it were, after both of her co-workers left for other jobs…she’s certainly improved her own standing, if not at WEWS, than somewhere else…

AND WHILE WE’RE TALKING TV (AND ADDING RADIO): We don’t dive into ratings much, but OMW hears that your May TV sweeps “winners” are WJW/8 and WKYC/3, with WEWS/5 and WOIO/19 on the down side.

And over in radioland, the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Julie Washington has an excellent rundown of the Cleveland ratings in Saturday’s PD.

We won’t delve into it piece by piece, but the top 12-plus all-day finisher in the Winter book was Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100.

Top finishing shows in their appropriate demos include Clear Channel oldies WMJI/105.7 mainstays John Lanigan and Jimmy Malone and CBS Radio alt-rock/talk WXRK/92.3′s once-again-hometown show “Rover’s Morning Glory” with Shane “Rover” French in morning drive.

In afternoons, it’s WTAM’s Mike “I Have Never Found Free Food I Wouldn’t Eat On The Air” Trivisonno and Radio One urban AC WZAK/93.1 syndicated host Michael Baisden’s relatively new show.

Notice, if you will, that all four shows are basically talk shows, even on the FM side.

And Julie points out that the home of Rock and Roll isn’t treating its rock stations well, with the highest-rated traditional rocker in ninth-place 12-plus. (By “traditional”, we mean that Ms. Washington apparently isn’t including alt-rock WXRK, which airs eight hours a day of talk, in that list.)

We won’t go much beyond this, because the PD has the ability to publish more ratings than we do (and they have much more expensive lawyers).

Julie has much more at the link above…

YEP, IT’S WKRI: As reported in Radio & Records Online on Thursday, and speculated here earlier, WXRK/92.3 Cleveland Heights will sport new call letters soon… after sister station WFNY in New York City reclaimed their historic calls in a format flip from talk back to rock.

“92.3 K-Rock”, the Cleveland version, will legally become WKRI(FM) as soon as all the paperwork shuffling (or bit twiddling) is completed at the FCC…and WXRK(FM) ends up in the Big Apple, that station also returning to the “92.3 K-Rock” on-air handle.

OMW hears that there are no programming changes expected for the local 92.3.

A tip of the hat to RadioInsight’s Lance Venta, who makes a habit of call letter searches and surfing through new domain information…he let us know about this as well.

THE WOLF RETURNS?: It’s Lance who also provides us the launching pad for this one.

He tells us Clear Channel just registered 933wolfrocks.com, which redirects to the website to the company’s rocker WNCD/93.3 Youngstown.

And sure enough, there it is, a new “93.3 The Wolf” logo staring us right in the face.

Since we haven’t heard the station since, well, forever, we can’t tell yet if they’re positioning like that on the air. (We tried picking up their online feed tonight, but haven’t been successful due to local computer issues.)

But long-time listeners in the Mahoning Valley know the station is actually returning to its roots.

WNCD launched under its original ownership (Dominic Baragona et al.) at 106.1 Niles, as “CD 106, The Wolf”. The animal is a long-time original brand for the station, which Clear Channel eventually bought and swapped its frequency with that of oldies WBBG – the latter now camping out at the aforementioned 106.1.

WNCD has been known recently as “93-3 NCD”. We don’t know when it was “de-wolf-ified”.

And if you want further confusion, WNCD at 106.1 was once the sister station of WNIO. No, not today’s Clear Channel-owned standards outlet at 1390, but the original WNIO, at 1540 Niles.

To close up the chain, 1540 is now WRTK – sporting calls moved from 1390 once intended for a short lived talk format.

And today’s WRTK/1540 is a satellite-driven gospel outlet owned by the king of single-owner radio in the Mahoning and Shenango Valleys, Harold Glunt’s Beacon Broadcasting (WANR/1570 Warren, WLOA/1470 Farrell PA, and WGRP/940-WEXC/107.1 Greenville PA).

There’ll be a quiz, later, especially for Glunt Watchers…

AND 85TH REDUX: And OMW hears that if you missed Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland’s 85th Anniversary Special, you’ll get to hear it again this weekend.

We’re told that the special, hosted by former WHK disk jockey Johnny Holliday, will re-air on “NewsTalk 1420″ this Saturday – later today, by the time you read this – at 7 PM…

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