All Over The Map

UPDATE 12:10 AM 10/11/12: Jim Davison tells OMW that he will continue as operations manager of WHTX/1570 Warren, which will continue in its current standards format as “The Fabulous 1570″ and retain its current staff and features.

Jim also confirms that WYCL/1540 Niles has changed from classic country to a Spanish-language format as of Tuesday afternoon…

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We’re catching up again with a wide variety of media items, both in kind and location…

DISH DEAL: Viewers to Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, and visitors to the station’s WKYC.com, were warned…if the broadcast chain didn’t reach a deal with the folks at Dish Network, Channel 3 could disappear from that satellite service by October 8th…that was this past Monday (early morning).

When midnight came and went with WKYC still available to Dish Network subscribers, we wondered what was going on.

As it turns out, the parties extended their negotiations into Monday morning, and finally announced a deal had been reached…meaning WKYC and other Gannett stations were never removed from the Dish lineup.

Beyond the brief press releases from each side, there’s a story.

Yes, it’s the Hopper DVR, a Dish Network box that can zap commercials automatically from network prime-time programming (“AutoHop”), the same feature CBS honcho Les Moonves recently said “cannot exist”.

We’ll let Variety’s Jill Goldsmith explain:

Gannett’s retransmission deal with Dish expired at midnight Sunday, and the disagreement was resolved by Monday morning with no blackouts but a significant rate increase to cover Dish’s controversial Hopper DVR feature, which lets viewers watch network primetime shows commercial free the day after they air. Broadcasters have sued for copyright infringement, and a judge in Los Angeles is considering a request for a preliminary injunction.

Dish had said that Gannett was looking for a “300 percent” increase in retransmission fees, the extra fees presumably to make up for the Hopper’s “AutoHop” feature serving up shows without commercials.

As the court case and Mr. Moonves’ statement would indicate, this will probably not be the last such fight.

But for now, Dish Network customers in the Cleveland TV market won’t lose WKYC and NBC programming…

THE SHARON HAS LANDED: You knew that when controversial anchor Sharon Reed left Reserve Square, she’d land somewhere else…eventually.

That “somewhere else” is St. Louis.

The former Raycom CBS/MyNet WOIO/19-WUAB/43 “19 Action News” anchor has nabbed a prime gig in the Gateway City…5, 6 and 10 PM co-anchor at Belo CBS affiliate KMOV/4. The station itself announces her impending arrival, with an October 30th start, here.

What KMOV does not mention is something local viewers and OMW readers know all too well…her nationwide notoriety for removing her clothes on camera in WOIO’s now-infamous “Body of Art” series.

That’s covered by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Hollerman:

Reed made national headlines in 2004 when she agreed to be recorded disrobing for artist Spencer Tunick’s nude group photo shoot in Cleveland. Reed was covering Tunick’s shoot for WOIO Channel 19. The segment reportedly sent ratings through the roof and earned Reed an appearance on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Yes, Sharon Reed will always be known as “The Naked Anchorwoman”.

And with that, we’re done poking fun at Ms. Reed, a capable journalist who has made some questionable career choices in her past.

You won’t see us talking about her again unless she makes more such choices in Missouri…or if she gains positive national attention for her journalistic skills…

STO AND FRANCONA: Unless you’ve been under a rock the past few days, you know that former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona has been hired to manage the Cleveland Indians.

All of Cleveland’s sports-oriented radio stations, Clear Channel talk and Indians flagship WTAM/1100, Good Karma sports WKNR/850 and CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”, covered Francona’s introductory press conference on Monday live.

TV stations kept to regular programming for the most part (many streaming the press conference online), but SportsTime Ohio also carried the Francona press conference live.

That’s no surprise, considering that STO is owned by the Dolan family, owners of the Indians.

What was a surprise to us is how the local regional sports network (RSN) handled the press conference.

At the scheduled 11 AM start of Francona’s press conference, it hadn’t begun yet…so STO dutifully played the scheduled “Zumba Fitness” infomercial.

A few minutes later, just before Francona and Indians general manager Chris Antonetti took to the stage, STO broke in with a very brief introduction by the network’s Ashley Collins…and then a live shot of the empty stage (with reporters seated in front of it).

When the press conference was finished, Collins came on again, and basically just said goodbye. STO cut back immediately to the infomercial then in progress.

Is this any way to run a sports network connected to the team itself?

Our social media suggestion was for STO to go on at 11 straight up with one of its primary hosts, with discussion and walk-up to the press conference, and a recap afterwards.

If Bruce Drennan, Chuck Galeti or Al Pawlowski weren’t around, maybe they could have borrowed whichever sports anchor was elsewhere in the WKYC building…WKYC is, after all, the Indians over-air TV home.

It wasn’t Ashley Collins’ fault.

And there was clearly some preparation by the SportsTime Ohio folks…the network put numerous explainer graphics onscreen during the press conference itself. (And they could have even printed out that material shown onscreen and given Ms. Collins something to talk about.)

No, if you tuned into STO at 11 AM expecting the Francona press conference, you’d have learned of a remarkable way to firm up your abs. (We don’t know if Zumba Fitness is any good, we’re just making an offhand comment…)

BACK IN THE JUNGLE: You read it here on OMW…when Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850″ scooted the first hour of Premiere’s “Jim Rome Show” over to its half-lung sister, er, brother station, WWGK/1540 “KNR2″ (we call it “Puny 1540″), WKNR “The Really Big Show” midday ringmaster Tony Rizzo was taken out of the fill-in rotation for Rome.

He’s baaaack.

In what sounded like a very last minute decision, Rizzo and co-host Aaron Goldhammer filled in for Rome…today, Wednesday, October 10th.

Rizzo was open about the situation to his once-again national audience, explaining that management’s decision to expand “The Really Big Show” to 1 PM bounced Rome’s show off of 850 AM…and bounced Rizzo off the fill-in list.

The move had one odd effect: With its own Tony Rizzo hosting the Rome show, the show’s first hour returned to 850 for one day. (It was also airing in its usual place on “KNR2″.)

Rizzo even joked about how many people Rome’s producers had to call for the emergency fill-in before finally turning to him.

Of course, as we’ve already reported, “The Jim Rome Show” moves to the CBS Sports Radio network next January…

WREO UPDATE: An OMW reader tells us that Media One hot AC WREO/97.1 Ashtabula “Star 97.1″ has indeed returned to the airwaves outside Ashtabula County.

As we mentioned earlier, massive antenna destruction by a storm has meant that WREO wasn’t being heard much past Geneva or Conneaut…and now, presumably, it’s back on the air for listeners in Lake County and in Erie PA.

Just don’t get used to that familiar “Star” handle.

Domain supersnoop Lance Venta at RadioInsight tells us that the domain mix971fm.com has been registered by Media One’s Roger McCoy, program director of two sister stations – country WYBL/98.3 “The Bull” and classic hits WZOO/102.5 “Magic Oldies”.

Mix 97.1 logoFurther snooping by Lance revealed a starter Facebook page for “Mix 97.1″, complete with a logo…shown here.

(We don’t know for sure that it’s connected with the Ashtabula stations, though the page says “A community page for WREO-FM” – usually marked on non-official sites compiled by Facebook itself.)

The “Mix” handle would certainly fit with WREO’s existing hot AC format, and it’s not even being used in Cleveland anymore…the old WMVX/106.5 “Mix 106.5″ having transformed into adult hits WHLK/106.5 “The Lake”…

CHRIS SELLS OFF: Long-time OMW reader Chris Lash is no longer a radio station owner in the OMW coverage area.

Chris’ Whiplash Radio is selling its two Mahoning Valley stations, classic country WYCL/1540 Niles “The Farm”, and standards WHTX/1570 Warren “The Fabulous 1570″. FCC filings indicate that Whiplash sold the stations to Nelson Cintron Jr.’s Sagittarius Communications LLC for $150.000.

The sale means that another OMW reader – Jim Davison – will no longer be operating the Youngstown market AM pair for Whiplash. Jim and his partner Laurel Taylor started off LMAing 1540, and later added 1570 to their oversight.

Chris gave OMW the following statement:

“For the first time in 13 years, my company doesn’t own a radio station. My family and doctors are hoping to keep it that way. I want to wish Nelson and his company all the best with our former Youngstown stations.

And I want to thank Jim Davison and his staff for doing such a great job with the stations during their LMA period. Jim has become a great friend, and besides being one of the foremost authorities on Cleveland radio history, he proved that he can be a very good operator of a radio station.

I’ve retired to Florida, and we’ll see what the future holds with the radio business. I will always have the passion for it.”

We can’t check from here, but OMW hears that WYCL/1540 may have already flipped to a Spanish-language format.

And that’s no surprise, considering that former Cleveland City Council member Cintron has been involved in the Cleveland market’s newest Spanish-language radio station, non-commercial WHWN/88.3 Painesville.

(The FCC application indicates that he has 33% of WHWN’s ownership…we presume he divested the rest so he could buy two commercial radio stations…) A quick check of the FCC ownership records for WHWN shows that Cintron has always had 33% ownership of the station, the rest split with two family members…

HD ACTION AT FREEDOM AVENUE: There are two new additions to the family among HD Radio sidechannels at Freedom Avenue, otherwise known to new readers as the Clear Channel Media+Entertainment+Ice Cream Akron/Canton cluster. (Yes, we’re just kidding about the frozen dessert part.)

Both are specialty channels, but only one is new.

That’s Golden Flashes Radio, a 24/7 stream heard on rock WRQK/106.9’s HD2 sidechannel, dedicated to Kent State University sports.

In addition to both replay and live Golden Flashes sports contests – and not just football and basketball – Golden Flashes Radio will feature a daily Kent State sports show and other university related content.

In between the Kent State content, Golden Flashes Radio is playing AAA music…presumably from Clear Channel’s Premium Choice/IHeartRadio channel dedicated to the format…at least at launch.

If you’re not among the handful of people with an HD radio set, Golden Flashes Radio is available via IHeartRadio here, and in the various IHeartRadio mobile apps for smartphones and tablets. The station’s on-air ID is prominently featuring the IHeartRadio feed.

The second new HD sidechannel at Freedom Avenue is something we knew was coming.

EMF, the California-based parent of the Christian contemporary “K-Love” and Christian pop “Air1″ formats, will indeed use hot AC WKDD/98.1’s HD3 channel to feed its translators.

We don’t know yet which service will use WKDD HD3 to feed the translators. Our guess is that it’ll be Air1, which counts translators including W273BL/102.5 Akron.

But we don’t know which translators will be fed by WKDD HD3. And we don’t know if the newly restarted W291BV/Solon, another Air1 outlet recently heard repeating Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5, will be fed from there, or via a new HD sidechannel of WGAR itself.

And we also don’t know if either “Air1″ or “K-Love” has made it to WKDD HD3 yet. Our HD radio set is currently not working.

Of course, the analog/HD1 formats of all of the above stations aren’t changing at all. You’ll still hear hot AC music on WKDD, rock on WRQK and country on WGAR.

And the placement of an EMF format on WKDD’s HD3 sidechannel means that the station is keeping the HD2 simulcast of talk WHLO/640 Akron on WKDD’s HD2 channel…but we don’t know if Golden Flashes Radio bumps the WHLO simulcast that had been heard on WRQK HD2…

From Sports To TV To New Radio

The title says it all. And as usual as of late, some of these are brand new, and some are catching up over the past few days…

INDIANS STAYING ON WTAM: So, we hinted about this both on our social media presence and earlier this week right here on the blog, on an item we posted last week:

“Before we dive into this item, one note: Don’t print those “92.3 The Fan/Indians” bumper stickers just yet…”

We got a little “back patting” flack pointing back to this on Twitter, but really, we were far from alone in hearing the very loud rumors that Clear Channel would sign a new deal to keep Cleveland Indians baseball on its talk WTAM/1100.

We mean loud. We’re nearly surprised it wasn’t put on the scoreboard at Progressive Field.

Indians beat reporter Chris Assenheimer of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram was first to actually break the silence on this, compiling enough sources to run with the story in Sunday’s paper:

According to multiple sources, WTAM 1100-AM will continue to serve as the Indians’ flagship station. An announcement is expected in the coming days.

Now that it’s “out there”, we checked our own sources, and indeed, the about-to-be-signed Clear Channel renewal will be for five years. Assenheimer reports that CBS Radio offered a two year deal to move the Indians to sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”.

There’s no word or confirmation of the role of WTAM “brother” station rock WMMS/100.7 in the new deal.

This year, WMMS started picking up regular Friday night Indians games, and the station is the conflict home for the Indians if they’re nudged off WTAM (like due to a Cavaliers game, especially if the local NBA team is in the playoffs).

We have heard that as reported elsewhere (take a bow, Crain’s Cleveland Business!), CBS Radio put up quite a bid to move the games to WKRK, but it looks like Clear Channel and WTAM have come out on top…keeping the games they’ve had since the mid-1990s, when then-WTAM parent Jacor bought then-WKNR/1220.

Though there was certainly an attempt, in Jacor’s brief ownership of WKNR, to turn it into a sports flanker to WTAM (we distinctly remember hearing Mike Trivisonno on 1220 more than once after Jacor took it over, though 1100 was and is still his home base), Jacor moved the Indians over to WTAM pretty much the day they took over 1220.

Of course, Jacor was bought by Clear Channel, today’s Clear Channel Media+Entertainment or whatever they’re calling it in 2012.

We hear very strong rumblings out of Clear Channel’s Oak Tree facility that the company expects an even tougher fight to keep the NFL’s Cleveland Browns on WMMS(/WTAM).

For now, though, it appears all of our earlier speculation about filling 92.3’s signal holes that are reached easily by WTAM is off the board.

And note to Chris Assenheimer: in an otherwise excellent article, one small correction.

WKRK does indeed have a “weaker signal” than the flamethrower that is WTAM…but you can’t directly compare AM wattage to FM wattage. They are two very different animals.

“92.3 The Fan” can’t ever hope to reach WTAM’s coverage of “38 states and half of Canada” (a bit of hyperbole) even if it were somehow able to increase power to 50,000 watts, or if “The Fan” moved to another CBS Radio frequency in Cleveland.

FM signals are local, and even the most powerful FM signals, like the 100,000 watt-plus monsters elsewhere in the U.S., don’t go past two or three states in reach…unless atmospheric conditions pick up the signal and deliver it in an unpredictable pattern far from its home base…

JOHN’S COMING HOME: Remember Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3’s former anchor John Anderson? You won’t have to tap into the long term memory banks anymore.

The folks at 13th and Lakeside have brought Anderson back from Philadelphia. Courtesy of blogging colleague Frank Macek, senior director for “Channel 3 News”, quoting the returned anchor in a station release:

“We are really happy to be moving back to Cleveland,” said John. “Kristin and I loved our time there, and I’m looking forward to jumping back into the news and sports world of Northeast Ohio.” John will join Lynna Lai weekend nights at 6 & 11pm as News and Sports anchor, and will also report during the week. His first day will be October 24th.

John’s return to “Channel 3 News” is part of a growing trend in local TV news…stations are beefing up staffing for newscasts that formerly had just one anchor.

Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8 News” brought in Elisa Amigo to co-anchor the weekend morning newscasts with OMW reader Mark Zinni, and well-traveled-among-the-stations weather anchor A.J. Colby. (The show was expanded to a 7-10 AM time slot on Saturday and Sunday as well.)

“Fox 8 News” also hired former Sinclair ABC/Fox Columbus combo WSYX/6-WTTE/28 anchor and Akron native Gabe Spiegel to sit alongside Jennifer Jordan at noon weekdays.

And then, there’s Anderson’s pairing on weekend evenings with Lynna Lai, the former Raycom CBS/MyNet WOIO/19-WUAB/43 “19 Action News” anchor who’s been soloing anchor-wise after the departure of Eric Mansfield to Kent State University.

Of course, weekend anchoring being what it is, Amigo, Spiegel and Anderson (as noted above) will also report for weekday newscasts…

SPEAKING OF NEW WKYC ADDITIONS: No, he’s not coaching the station football team.

But the most noted (now-former) college football coach at The Ohio State University since Woody Hayes will join the “Channel 3 News” team in a unique role.

We turn again to Frank Macek’s “WKYC Director’s Cut” blog with Jim Tressel’s new role, quoting WKYC president/GM Brooke Spectorsky:

“Jim’s national championships as head football coach at Ohio State and Youngstown State universities are well-known to all, but his motivational speeches and best- selling books will be the basis of our “A Moment with Jim Tressel.”

“Jim motivates with passion but leads with compassion,” added interim News Director Virgil Dominic. “We envision a weekly segment that takes daily news stories and makes them teachable moments.”

“A Moment with Jim Tressel” will air each Wednesday night during Channel 3’s 7pm newscast.

Tressel still has a pretty high profile in Northeast Ohio these days. He came to the region as Vice President of Strategic Engagement at the University of Akron…

NEW RADIO STATION, WELL, SORT OF: The frequency of 106.1 in Cleveland’s eastern suburbs is not new.

It’s been a low-power translator, and when last we visited it, it was being used by California-based owner Educational Media Foundation to serve small parts of Cuyahoga County with EMF’s Christian pop music format “Air 1″ from a cell phone tower a few furlongs from the Thistledown race track.

Fast forward to Tuesday evening, when an alert OMW reader let us know that the I-271 corridor near Warrensville Heights – and well beyond – was being treated to a simulcast of Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5 on 106.1. Huh?

WGAR certainly doesn’t need the signal help along I-271, being a full-power, full-market 50,000 watt class B station coming out of the Parma antenna farm.

Readers tell us the upgraded 106.1 signal has been making it to Lakewood and downtown Cleveland, at least to some degree.

Since we don’t yet know the final disposition of 106.1, we’ll throw out some possibilities.

1) Clear Channel will launch another station on 106.1, much like the 99.1 translator which became alt-rocker “99X”, which will be fed by WGAR’s HD2 channel.

This is not as automatic as you’d think, despite the 99X launch.

For that matter, we’d say the same about something we thought would happen with 99.1, a WTAM simulcast.

The 106.1 construction permit calls for 39 watts on the tower shared by Salem CCM WFHM/95.5 “The Fish” and CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” alongside I-271. (Of course, the tower was long home to WCLV in its 95.5 days, before the Great Cleveland Frequency Swap landed the local classical outlet on 104.9/Lorain.)

There’s already been a lot of speculation on the message boards about possible Clear Channel uses for 106.1 – keeping in mind that the company does use EMF-owned translators to add stations in places like Minneapolis.

Would it be an east side repeater for 99X? An east side FM outlet for WTAM? Some other format?

Ah, but we go to our second possibility.

2) EMF will once again program “Air 1″ on the upgraded 106.1, using WGAR’s HD2 channel (or that of another Clear Channel station like hot AC WKDD/98.1 Munroe Falls in the Akron market, listed in the CP) to send the Christian pop music format to commercial band translators in the Cleveland area, the Akron area and beyond.

EMF and Clear Channel currently have just such an arrangement in place in Detroit, where EMF leases the HD2 sidechannel of Clear Channel urban AC WMXD/92.3 “Mix 92.3″.

From the excellent Michigan media site Michiguide:

8/2010: Clear Channel and Education Media Foundation reach an agreement that puts EMF’s Contemporary Christian K-Love format on WMXD’s HD2 stream. 4 metro area translators (W252BX 98.3 Detroit, W272CA 102.3 Detroit, W288BK 105.5 Rochester Hills, W292DK 106.3 Westland) begin simulcasting WMXD-2.

Note that the four translators in Detroit are all on the commercial band. FCC rules say that EMF can’t directly translate a noncommercial signal onto the commercial band via satellite, but you can certainly run a noncommercial format on a commercial station (HD sidechannel or otherwise).

Until it went off the air a few months ago, W291BV/106.1 Solon had been picking up the off-air signal from EMF-owned WCVJ/90.9 Jefferson, in Ashtabula County. We even saw the FM yagi antenna pointed northeast on that old cell tower.

EMF has a number of commercial band translator permits in Northeast Ohio, including:

* W220DM/Parma, which has a construction permit to move from 91.9 to 92.7 from West 3rd Street on the edge of downtown Cleveland, a few homeruns south of Progressive Field
* W279BT/103.7 Cleveland, which is on the same WFHM/WXRK tower off I-271 as the new 106.1 location
* W273BL/102.5 Akron, in the Akron FM/TV antenna farm…it’s currently on the air running Air 1.

All four stations list Clear Channel’s WKDD as primary…but changing a primary station for a translator is easy, especially when the same company owns the different choices.

Though, for example, the 92.7 translator is perfectly positioned to send a WTAM simulcast into the seats at Progressive Field and into downtown (see above about WTAM’s coming Indians contract renewal), our gut is telling us that EMF is lining up a Detroit-like deal to feed its own translators from the HD2 sidechannel of a powerful Clear Channel station.

We could be wrong. Or, the translators could be split between the two companies.

We banged the drum for months about the potential of a 99.1 simulcast of WTAM, but we were wrong. We were going on the company’s similar moves in other markets.

And we haven’t yet found anyone at Oak Tree/Chuck Collier Blvd., or at Clear Channel’s Akron/Canton compound on Freedom Avenue, that knows a thing about this. That’s not a surprise, since this appears to be a corporate deal between that company and the California-based religious broadcasting giant…

CAPTAIN TONY: There’s a second new recent hire on West Market Street, with a familiar name landing at the Akron Radio Center.

Tony McGinty, the former Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5 morning producer who lost his job when veteran host Jim Mantel was shown the contract-won’t-be-renewed door, is now doing similar duties for Rubber City Radio oldies/news WAKR/1590’s “Ray Horner Morning Show” news and talk show.

Between being let go from WGAR and his new gig in Akron, “Captain Tony” did some part time board/producer work back at Oak Tree, for WTAM and Indians Radio. That’s a very good case of “not burning your bridges”.

McGinty joins the first new face on West Market that we already told you about: former NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton afternoon news anchor Scott Jennings…

INNER ROCCO SANCTUM: If you had to guess where the long-running local rock music show “Inner Sanctum” would go next, which station would you guess?

Why, Murray Hill Broadcasting alt-rock/AAA WLFM-LP 87.7 “Cleveland’s Sound”, of course. (That wasn’t even that difficult!)

The show is a natural fit for the locally-run rocker, as the “Inner Sanctum” folks announced themselves on Facebook:

The Inner Sanctum returns to the CLE airwaves on Sunday, October 14th at 9pm on 87.7 Cleveland’s Sound! We are thrilled to team up with a station built by Clevelanders for Clevelanders & employing Clevelanders!! Not to mention PLAYING Clevelanders!!!

“Inner Sanctum” has been on just about every Cleveland station that once tried an alt-rock or AAA format, including: WENZ/107.9 “The End”, WKRK-etc./92.3 “Radio 92.3/Xtreme Radio/[et al.]”, and WNWV/107.3 in its days as AAA-formatted V107.3.

In order, those stations are now Radio One hip hop “Z107.9″, CBS Radio sports “92.3 The Fan”, and Rubber City Radio smooth AC “107.3 The Wave”.

Speaking of WNWV’s former incarnation, former “V” program director Ric “Rocco” Bennett showed off a “87.7 Cleveland’s Sound” logo and E-mail address on his Facebook account recently.

We don’t know what Rocco (ex-WMMS/WENZ/et al.) is doing at the Agora, but we’d probably be safe to say it’s a combination of engineering and at least one on-air shift (as posted on one of the message boards)…

ROME IS MOVING: In a deal everyone expected to happen, syndicated sports talk giant Jim Rome is moving his radio operations from Clear Channel’s Premiere to CBS Radio, as announced last week.

It was expected because Rome had already signed an extensive TV deal with CBS Sports, and his contract with Premiere will expire at the end of 2012. Add together CBS’ hunger for sports content, the start of the new CBS Sports Radio network (Rome’s show will be the 12-3 PM Eastern component), and it fits together pretty well.

But…don’t put any bets on Rome’s show moving locally from Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850″ to CBS’ WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”.

Simply put, CBS Radio’s sports game plan (so to speak) involves all day local sports talk in its larger markets.

Cleveland is certainly in that category with “The Fan”, with a live and local schedule weekdays 5 AM to midnight, and much of the weekend as well.

No, CBS is likely just as happy cashing Craig Karmazin’s checks to clear Jim Rome on his only-ever Cleveland home, WKNR (give or take an hour on “Puny 1540, KNR Mini”, er…”ESPN 1540 KNR 2″).

What would CBS do if Good Karma dropped Rome on 850? After all, Mr. Karmazin has already trimmed “The Jungle” down to two hours on his main, People Can Actually Hear It Far From Euclid Avenue signal.

We don’t know, but we still have trouble thinking about Jim Rome on 92.3 in pretty much any form.

We do expect Rome to eventually end up on the smaller market CBS Sports Radio affiliates (startup January 2013) that don’t have significant programming.

We don’t know, for example, how long Clear Channel sports WNIO/1390 Youngstown “The Sports Animal” has left with the show, until next year syndicated by Premiere…and we assume that Cumulus sports WBBW/1240 in the same market will eventually replace ESPN programming with a hefty dose of the new CBS Sports Radio network…

MONSTERS ON RADIO: It’s about time to drop the puck at Quicken Loans Arena…at least when Dan Gilbert’s main team isn’t shooting hoops.

The American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters announced a two-to-four station radio schedule, splitting 38 games a piece evenly between the aforementioned WKNR/850 (with some daytime games on WWGK “KNR2″), and Salem Christian talk WHKW/1220 “The Word” (with some games on talk WHK/1420).

The WHKW end of the deal also puts the Monsters on mostly simulcast WHKZ/1440 Warren, which may be the official sign that Salem has given up on trying to sell the Mahoning Valley station.

Quoting a team press release:

Handling the calls once again on both the radio and television sides will be Doug Plagens, who enters his second season as the Voice of the Monsters. He serves in the same capacity for the Cleveland Gladiators, Quicken Loans Arena’s Arena Football League team.

Plagens will be joined on television broadcasts by Cleveland hockey legend and Monsters assistant coach/Director of Hockey Operations & Team Services, Jock Callander, who will provide color commentary. Veteran Cleveland sports broadcaster Kenny Roda will return for his fifth season as rinkside reporter and intermission host on all telecasts in 2012-13.

Roda is, of course, co-host of “ESPN 850’s” “Cleveland Sports Night” evening show with another long-time local sportscaster, Michael Reghi and joined by occasional OMW reader Dave DeNatale.

And as noted above, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert owns the Monsters, and now also the Arena League’s Cleveland Gladiators, which air on “92.3 The Fan”…

Major League Catchup

No, that’s not something the Cleveland Indians are about to try, based on their dismal play as of late.

It’s something we’re going to try now, after an unplanned Life Intervenes(tm) hiatus for about two weeks. (Note: We’ll have a planned hiatus for personal reasons, right after the Labor Day holiday. Or, maybe we’ll be more active…)

Anyway, on with the show…

OTHER SHOE DROPS: We already told you that now-former Ohio News Network Cleveland bureau reporter Cristin Severance had found a new gig…just days before the Columbus-based cable news outfit leaves the airwaves at the end of this week.

We also told you that she’d have some Cleveland company at Scripps ABC affiliate KGTV/10 in sunny San Diego, and now, it’s official.

KGTV is also hiring Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 reporter Dan Haggerty, and making him the second happy Clevelander to be able to treat snow shovels as a thing of the past.

It’s no accident.

It’s no secret in the Cleveland TV news community that Severance and Haggerty are together as a couple, and they’ll move their happy homestead to Southern California while sharing a workspace.

And though they leave a lot of friends behind in the Cleveland market, we wish both Cris and Dan the best in a beautiful city, San Diego…

THE NAKED MOVE: We’re sorry, former Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO/19-WUAB/43 “19 Action News” anchor Sharon Reed…this stuff writes itself.

After being out of the TV rumor mill for a while, Reed’s name is surfacing in St. Louis, as a potential anchor replacement in that market.

And there should be no surprise in the headline by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Holleman, “Once-nude anchor in the mix for KMOV job”.

Vickie’s Newton’s KMOV Channel 4 anchor chair is still warm from her final show Thursday night. But the rumors already are heating up about possible replacements — including Sharon Reed, a former high-profile anchor at Cleveland’s CBS affiliate.

Reed made national headlines in 2004 when she agreed to be recorded disrobing for artist Spencer Tunick’s nude group photo shoot in Cleveland, which Reed was covering for WOIO Channel 19. The segment sent ratings through the roof and earned Reed an appearance on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Jokes are flowing freely to our keyboard…(“Maybe they’re trying to save on the clothing allowance”)… but despite the Nude Stunt, Reed is a capable news anchor and reporter, when she plays it straight.

We do wonder if we should give a heads up to team members of the St. Louis Rams, the St. Louis Cardinals and the NHL’s St. Louis Blues, though…but if she isn’t dating pro athletes, or trying to date them, she does a decent job in the sports arena as well…

THE OTHER NUDE 19 ACTION NEWS ANCHOR: The operation at Reserve Square had one distinction no other newsroom in the country could claim: it employed two female anchors you could see without clothing just by searching the Internet.

But unlike her former “Action News” colleague Sharon Reed, Catherine Bosley’s situation was more sympathetic.

Celebrating great medical news, Bosley and her husband visited a Florida bar in Key West, where she eventually got into a “wet T-shirt contest”. The photos in question were supposed to stay in the bar, but someone unleashed them on the Internet, and the then-WKBN/27 Youngstown “First News” anchor and her husband were mortified.

Bosley left “27 First News” and was hired at WOIO/WUAB, and she’s done a fine job since coming to Cleveland.

But when such pictures land on the Internet, and with questionable outlets like the skin magazine Hustler, they’re hard to eradicate.

The Plain Dealer’s Rachel Dissell reports that Bosley’s legal team won a battle with the Cincinnati-based skin magazine, and its notorious publisher Larry Flynt, last week.

Local news anchor Catherine Bosley triumphed this week over Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt in the latest round of a years-long battle over a revealing photo of her his publication ran without permission.

This week, a federal appeals court rejected an appeal by Flynt’s company to overturn a 2010 jury verdict that had awarded her $135,000 in damages.

The Bosleys had the copyrights to the pictures, Dissell writes, because, according to court documents, they negotiated for those rights with the amateur photographer who took the Key West bar shots.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Sharon Reed asked for the attention, and Catherine Bosley did not.

It’s incredibly difficult to “unring the bell” when it comes to Internet content, particularly pictures of unclothed, attractive females. But we wish Catherine Bosley all the best in similar efforts…

WLFM TESTING, AGAIN: Cleveland’s newest “radio station”, the 87.7 FM signal powered by Murray Hill Broadcasting’s WLFM-LP analog TV channel 6, has changed up its testing.

The past few days, the station has aired a long, continuous tape of 3-5 second snippets of popular songs of the past few decades.

YouTube user dannykewl, whom we believe is also an OMW reader, shared a sample on the popular video sharing website:

From Danny’s description on the YouTube video:

They are playing a pre-recorded cassette tape loop of the Billboard Time-sweep which has a snippet of every Billboard magazine Hot 100 song from 1955 till 1992, in order. This 4+ minute video clip has the timesweep somewhere in the 1978 – 1980 range. They have a Western Digital logo screensaver on the channel 6 video, with no station ID seen. I have heard occasional audio ID’s, “This is WLFM Cleveland”

Some quick Google searching tells us that the station has apparently dumped the cassette tape’s audio onto a Western Digital brand consumer media player resulting in the screensaver logo noted above.

In the early testing using this loop, the audio had massive dropouts, leading us to wonder if WLFM was testing a studio-transmitter link over the Internet from the station’s apparent home (the Cleveland Agora) to the transmitter site (in Parma). That was just a guess on our part, though. Presumably, if they were doing that, they were using the Internet serving capabilities of the WD device.

As far as the station’s debut, unless you count this continuous loop, we doubt very much that they’ll make the second deadline of August 31st…this Friday.

The station now identifies itself as “87.7 Cleveland” on its placeholder website, though “87.7 Clevelanders Rock” is still in the title. (We’ll be that sounds familiar to AAA format fans…remember “107.3 Cleveland”?)

As of yet, we have no news on a debut. But if the WLFM folks have a rabbit to pull out of the audio side of a TV transmitter on 87.7 FM, we’ll let you know…

CAVS TV CHANGES: The Cleveland Cavaliers will, as earlier announced, air 81 games this season on Fox Sports Ohio…but there’ll be a change or two around the games.

Fred McLeod will continue to call Cavaliers action on FSOhio, with ex-Cavs star Austin Carr returning alongside him.

But with the exit of Dionne Miller, the network has made some changes elsewhere on the broadcast team.

Jeff Phelps gives up the role of sideline reporter, to become the full-time pre-game and post-game “Cavaliers Live” host.

He’ll add duties for road games this year, doing those shows from the FSOhio studios in Independence…and will continue doing shows for home games from Quicken Loans Arena. He’ll be joined for all shows by former Cavalier and FSOhio veteran Campy Russell.

FSOhio adds Allyson Clifton for sideline work. She’s a University of Toledo grad who’s worked for ABC affilate WTVG/13 and the Buckeye Cable Sports Network in that city, as well as with the AAA Toledo Mud Hens of minor league baseball’s International League.

Phelps, of course, remains behind the microphone at the Halle Building with WEWS sports director Andy Baskin as co-host of “Baskin and Phelps”, otherwise known as “Cleveland’s Talking Heads”, middays on CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”…

“NEWSNITE”, DEAD OR ALIVE: The word out of Western Reserve PBS, home of WNEO/45 Alliance and WEAO/49 Akron, is that the long-running news discussion program “NewsNite” returns this fall…with a new format.

But the back and forth discussion of weekly local news events, particularly in the Akron area, will not return.

From a station release:

Previously composed of a news panel discussing the week’s top regional stories, the program now features one-on-one interviews that address noteworthy news events about Northeast Ohio.

Long-time “NewsNite” panelist Jody Miller will preside over an interview program similar what she did with the show’s “NewsMaker” specials, which aired mostly during the holidays.

The new season’s debut is September 7th at its usual time, 8:30 PM on Fridays. It also repeats on Mondays at 6:30 PM.

The season’s opening show will feature interviews with John Green, PhD, distinguished professor at the University of Akron and director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics; Dan Moulthrop, curator of conversation at the Civic Commons; and Diana Swoope, PhD, senior pastor of Arlington Church of God. They will discuss the Civility Project, a year-long study addressing the impacts of civil discourse, particularly as it relates to politics. Topics planned for upcoming episodes include the work of University Park Alliance and the 10th anniversary of the Akron Marathon.

Quoting Western Reserve Public Media president/CEO Trina Cutter:

“Using the ‘NewsMaker’ format provides a way for Western Reserve Public Media to continue its long-standing commitment to keep NewsNite on the air,” said TrinaCutter, Western Reserve Public Media president and CEO. “We will continue to offer timely, in-depth coverage of regional news topics while at the same time broaden the discussion to include community leaders and news makers.”

Though Trina Cutter doesn’t quite finish that thought, “a way to continue its long-standing commitment to keep NewsNite on the air” sounds to us like, well, that it’s cheaper to pay one interview panelist.

“NewsNite” host Eric Mansfield is out of broadcasting now, as a senior media relations executive at Kent State University. (His predecessor at the old “NewsNight Akron”, Vince Duffy, is a public radio executive in Michigan these days.)

But we bet regular “NewsNite” panelists like Rubber City Radio VP/Information Media and OMW reader Ed Esposito, and regulars from the Akron Beacon Journal and Kent State University’s WKSU/89.7 would have welcomed the opportunity to bounce Northeast Ohio’s issues off each other in front of the camera…

IN TAMPA: The slightly rain delayed Republican National Convention has quite a Northeast Ohio media presence.

This is an incomplete list, so we’ll add any we missed.

WKYC “Channel 3 News” has sent primary anchor and former network news anchor Russ Mitchell to Tampa, and he’ll repeat the assignment with the Democrats in Charlotte.

We’ve seen WEWS “NewsChannel 5″ reporter John Kosich doing live shots from Tampa.

Radio-wise, WKSU/89.7 news director M.L. Schultze gets Tampa duties, with senior reporter Mark Urycki covering the Democrats in Charlotte. (It’s a mini “Ann’s Corner”, if you will…though we don’t think personal and professional Friend of OMW Ann VerWiebe, WKSU’s marketing guru, is driving the “Folk Alley” bus down to Tampa or Charlotte…)

We heard alternate Republican convention delegate Bryan Williams, the veteran Summit County politician, on Rubber City Radio oldies/news WAKR/1590 during the “Ray Horner Morning Show”…and he’ll continue to share his insights from Tampa, with another delegate doing so for the Democratic National Convention…

HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS INSIDER: SportsTime Ohio’s “High School Sports Insider” is back on the air, as OMW reader Bill Castrovince continues his recovery from having a brain tumor removed.

The show airs Mondays at 6:30 PM on STO…and it’s produced by Twinsburg’s Classic Teleproductions with Bill Boronkay aboard alongside Castrovince…

SPEAKING OF RECOVERY: Medical rehab appears to be going well for a long-time Akron and Canton radio sports personality.

Joe Jastrzemski has most recently been heard on NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton, but is best known for his 17 year stint doing sports and news in Akron for Rubber City Radio’s WAKR.

Joe has been moved from Akron General Medical Center to the ManorCare center on West Market Street, a short drive from his former Akron radio home.

Joe would like to pass along his sincere thanks for all who have checked in with him during this time, and provided support and comfort.

We know you’ll hear him calling a game or doing a newscast or sportscast, somewhere on the radio, as soon as humanly possible.

And for now, we certainly hope he’s able to go home, soon…

RADIO PARENTS: At this rate, they’ll be able to staff a children’s radio station.

Our sincere congratulations to Kasper, assistant program director/music director/afternoon drive host at Clear Channel Cleveland top 40 WAKS/96.5 “Kiss FM”, and his wife, Clear Channel Akron hot AC WKDD/98.1’s Krissy Taylor, for their latest, uh, co-production. From Kasper via AllAccess:

NATALIE IRENE was born WEDNESDAY morning (8/22) at 11:58, weighing 7lbs exactly,” KASPER told ALL ACCESS. “Mom and big sister KATIE are doing great. Yep, two daughters. We’re in trouble!”

We’re wondering what Clear Channel markets will hear voicetracks one day from Katie and Natalie. Dad is already heard in his former home market of Youngstown on WAKZ/95.9 “Kiss FM”, and in Dallas on that market’s “Kiss FM”. Mom voicetracks into Grand Rapids in addition to her work on WKDD…

A VOID: Those of us who do this whole online media coverage thing are a small group.

You already know about our long-time personal and professional friend Scott Fybush (“NorthEast Radio Watch”), and we’ve also mentioned long-time friend Blaine Thompson (“Indiana RadioWatch”).

Many of us look up to those considered the best at what they do, like Tom Taylor.

The radio and media coverage veteran spent the past five years writing what he called a “slightly addictive” daily radio newsletter called “Taylor on Radio-Info”, brought to you by the Chicago-based Radio-Info.com, run until recently by the parents of the late Doug Fleming.

That’s changed, as “Talkers” magazine publisher Michael Harrison has taken over the editorial operations of the site that grew out of Doug’s cherished message boards….and with the change, there’s no more “Taylor on Radio-Info”. (The Flemings held onto the message boards, under the new URL RadioDiscussions.com.)

Tom told his readers last week that he was taking a break, for now, and we wish him much success in whatever his next endeavor will be.

And speaking for OMW, we will eventually stop twitching early Monday mornings, when we’ve read the latest “NorthEast Radio Watch” and then have nowhere else to go to get our fix…at very least until the AllAccess folks start updating for the day…

A Pile Of Items, Released

UPDATE 8/16/12 10:05 AM: If you read this before 10 AM, scroll down for an additional item…

——–

As per usual, important items pile up in a clump of anywhere from three to a half-dozen. This update doesn’t cover everything in that pile, but we’ll get close enough to doing so.

And coming ’round the bend sometime in the next few days – “Couch Burner, The Followup”.

Yes, as reported here and by the Akron Beacon Journal, John Denning has taken over the 10 AM-3 PM time slot on WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron”…after 25 years of listener calls to nearly 40 year Akron talk radio icon Howie Chizek under that flaming furniture nickname.

We’ll go back to that topic later. But first…

YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A MURRAY HILL: We expressed some skepticism when WLFM-LP 6/87.7 “87.7 Clevelanders Rock” honcho Tom Wilson told local media that a company named Murray Hill Broadcasting owned the station that was owned, according to the FCC, by Venture Technologies Group.

We should have waited a while longer.

Murray Hill, with Wilson named as “managing partner”, has filed to buy WLFM-LP outright from Venture, a company Wilson has worked with frequently in the past.

Price tag, according to documents filed with the FCC? $25,000.

Not bad for a “Franken FM”, riding the analog audio airwaves of TV channel 6 at 87.75 mHz FM, at least for another three years, playing the role of a radio station in America’s 30th largest market. (More on that three year thing in a bit.)

When the station actually launches playing more than sports fight songs and a hit by a local band whose frontman is actually working at another station, is anyone’s guess.

WLFM staffers have been telling friends of the station’s Facebook page that they’re planning on launching by the end of this month (two weeks away!), presumably from studios in the Cleveland Agora building at 50th and Euclid.

We’ve heard no more about staffing decisions, aside from the presence of former CBS Radio promotions staffer Archie Berwick in morning drive, and former CBS Radio alt-rock (now sports) WKRK/92.3 personality Rachel Steele in afternoon drive…

We have heard rumors of some more off-air staffers heading for the Agora, and perhaps a veteran programmer from another market potentially in the mix at 87.7, but we haven’t yet confirmed those rumblings yet…

AND ABOUT THAT WLFM “THREE YEAR” THING”: In two of its other markets, Venture has been trying to convince the FCC to let it inject an analog audio carrier alongside a digital channel 6 signal…the audio carrier, of course, to show up on FM radios at 87.7.

The FCC came back and basically said, well, no.

From Tom Taylor’s excellent Taylor on Radio-Info column – a column we hope continues somewhere, somehow after the sale of Radio-Info.com to “Talkers” trade magazine publisher Michael Harrison:

The gear from Axcera would let Venture’s Pittsburgh and Lubbock TV stations continue transmitting an analog radio signal at 87.7 after the required conversion to digital TV in 2015. In other words, they could continue to be heard on most FM radios in analog. That would require more transmitter power, however, and the FCC doesn’t fancy that idea.

Tom helpfully provides a link to the FCC decision regarding Venture’s WBPA-LP Pittsburgh and KFMP-LP Lubbock TX.

At this writing, WLFM-LP in Cleveland has not filed an application for a digital channel 6 facility.

But it sure sounds like this potential “out” for it and the other so-called “Franken FMs” isn’t passing muster with the FCC.

Without such a change, the radio station created by WLFM-LP’s presence on the analog FM dial will have to find some other home on September 1, 2015…

SCRIPPS HIRED HER, HOWEVER…: Cristin Severance, a fixture at Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5’s “NewsChannel 5″, has been a fixture in doubt…since her employer, the Columbus-based Ohio News Network, announced it would end operations on August 31st.

No network, no Cleveland bureau…but as it turns out, Scripps has hired Cristin Severance.

Just not in Cleveland.

Starting next month, Severance will be working for another Scripps ABC affiliate, KGTV/10 in San Diego, as a “consumer investigative reporter”.

Though she’ll certainly miss her friends in Ohio, Cristin tells OMW that she’s very much looking forward to the trek west.

“I’ve really enjoyed living and working in Cleveland, but this is a dream position for me in a city (where) I’ve always wanted to live. It is the Scripps station, so I’ll still be apart of the WEWS family,” Severance told us as she works out her final days at 3001 Euclid.

OMW hears that she’ll have inbound Cleveland company in San Diego and at KGTV, though we’ll share that piece of news with you later…

TO TV, AND BACK TO RADIO: Rubber City Radio Group oldies/news WAKR/1590 Akron morning news anchor Lindsay McCoy, who has been alongside morning host Ray Horner since her return to the Akron station, is leaving again.

This time, Lindsay moves into television, taking a multimedia journalist role at Vindicator NBC affiliate WFMJ/21 in Youngstown.

And now alongside Horner as WAKR’s new morning news anchor, at least for the next while, is someone who’s no stranger to the station or its former TV sister station.

Mark Williamson was most recently the long-running spokesman for Akron mayor Don Plusquellic.

But thousands of Akronites still remember him as the anchor and news director on “23 Newsday” at Akron’s former ABC affiliate, WAKC/23…now ION network O&O WVPX/23, serving the entire Cleveland market.

He also has an early stint at WAKR itself on his resume, back when the radio stations (WAKR and then-WAEZ/97.5, now rock WONE) were co-owned with the TV station.

Rubber City Radio VP/Information Media and long-time OMW Reader Ed Esposito talks about his new anchor.

“I think Mark’s experience on both sides of the fence provides him with a unique view of how the system works,” Esposito tells us. “He’s an intelligent person who was the spokesman for the mayor, but now he’s an intelligent person using that experience to help our listeners understand the story behind the story.”

Esposito says that Williamson will be in the role part-time “while we post the position of anchor/reporter as required.”

And just what requirements are attached to the job of morning anchor on WAKR?

“We’ve posted the news anchor/reporter position and are looking for someone with electronic journalism experience; we are a digital news operation producing news for broadcast, online, mobile and social media platforms with text, audio, video and short-form (Twitter, mobile) presentation,” Esposito tells OMW. “Looking for someone with natural curiosity and the confidence to ask questions that get to the heart of the story.”

Esposito also tells OMW that a producer will be added to the Ray Horner Morning Show, though that job description is still in the works…

LOW POWER: Media One Group hot AC WREO/97.1 “Star 97.1″ in Ashtabula is proud of that station’s signal…often invoking its reach from Cleveland’s eastern suburbs all the way to Erie PA (“Mentor, Cleveland, Erie and you”).

That signal isn’t what it should be.

WREO explains on its web page:

We are having some work done on our star 97.1 radio towers. We hope to have it done soon so that we can get back to providing you with the regional coverage and fun tunes you love from Cleveland to Erie. We have a very low signal going out to Ashtabula and Geneva right now. We miss you all as well.
Be back soon from your Star 97.1 family

Listeners in the region are definitely noticing the difference. An OMW reader in Lake County asked us about 97.1’s signal problems, which prompted us to check.

And you can bet Media One Group is working as hard as possible to get things back to normal at WREO. The station, especially in its current incarnation, spends a lot of time paying attention to affluent Lake County suburbs of Cleveland.

And unlike most stations, WREO can’t instruct its far flung listeners to stream its audio. “Star 97.1″ offers no stream.

The low-power signal means the voice of a regular OMW reader isn’t going as far as it normally does.

Chuck Matthews tells us he’s now entering “year 3″ as the station voice for “Star 97.1″…

COURTRIGHT, THE NEXT GENERATION: Could there be a new generation of the Courtright family in Cleveland radio news?

OMW hears that Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 news anchor/reporter Julie Courtright could make that possible.

Julie is going to be away from the WTAM airwaves for a few weeks in the next month or so for good reason: she and her husband are expecting their first baby, a baby girl, due date September 21st.

OMW readers are well aware of the Courtright family’s history in local radio news.

Julie’s father, the late Ken Courtright, spent decades doing radio news in Cleveland, including (twice) on the 1100 facility where his daughter now works.

Like her father, Julie worked her way up in radio news, being heard in Dover/New Philadelphia and in Oberlin before taking the WTAM job.

And Courtright’s son, Alan, has his own voiceover business in Medina, and was also heard doing radio news at Rubber City Radio’s WAKR a ways back.

We hear Julie “is sure (the new arrival in the family) will carry on the Courtright broadcasting tradition”, though we don’t know if she’ll take a page from the folks in Massillon.

Newborn babies in that high school football-mad community are presented with small footballs in the crib… we wonder if Julie and her husband will put a small microphone in their infant daughter’s crib…

The Storm Rides Out

On a day seeing Northeast Ohio pelted with thunderstorms (and some lost power or cable TV service), let’s take advantage of a calm period to update some items we’ve been piling up for the past day or more.

But nearly all of the below items have previously been announced on our social media presence…

THE END OF ONN: Ohio’s only regional cable TV news operation will be no more as of August 31st.

The Ohio News Network, an arm of the Dispatch operation in Columbus, announced Wednesday afternoon that its final day on the air will be the last day of August.

More from, well, the soon-to-be-shuttered network’s website:

“We launched our 24 hour statewide network in 1997 and have focused on bringing viewers coverage of Ohio news, weather, sports and politics in the most professional manner possible. Changing news consumer habits is the primary contributor to us making this most difficult decision. We thank viewers for the support of ONN over the past 15 years.”

The Columbus Dispatch’s Tim Feran writes on the end of ONN in the newspaper co-owned with the network, noting that the ONN Radio operation will not be affected.

One clue to a major problem for ONN could be right at the top of the ONN website, where some of the network’s major cable providers are listed along with the ONN channel number on those systems:

Time Warner Channel 362 AT&T U-Verse Channel 233 WOW! Channel 187 Insight Channel 58

ONN started on the former Adelphia system in the Cleveland area on analog channel 70.

After Time Warner Cable took over that system, ONN was bumped into the 100s, digital cable-wise, and eventually landed in the “digital simulcast” news tier alongside the other news networks in the 300s.

But ONN was nowhere to be found near the primary home of those networks, analog cable channels in the 30s…and we’re betting even digital cable subscribers still punch up the analog numbers for networks with no HD simulcast.

ONN, of course, is not available at all on either Dish Network or DirecTV…and never has been on either satellite provider.

In essence, especially outside Columbus – Dispatch’s home market and home of the company’s dominant CBS affiliate, WBNS/10 – ONN was a low-profile cable channel…something you can’t afford to be as a regional operation.

Then, there’s the the fact that Ohio is very separated geographically.

People in the Cleveland TV market generally don’t care about the day-to-day news in Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton or other markets.

People in the Cincinnati TV market generally feel the same way about Northeast Ohio’s daily happenings.

There are exceptions, such as major stories of statewide interest, or stories which affect more than one part of the state.

ONN’s greatest strength and highest profile was its use of bureau reporters at affiliate stations. Here in Northeast Ohio, that reporter has been ONN’s Cristin Severance, based at 3001 Euclid Avenue at Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5″‘s newsroom.

“NewsChannel 5″ has long used reports from Severance and her ONN predecessors to beef up local news coverage. But at this point, it’s not known if WEWS will bring Cristin under its own wing after August 31st as a local reporter…or if another station will take advantage of her reporting skills…

TO CHICAGO: It had been rumored for awhile, and announced on a Facebook page, but it’s now official…former Cleveland radio host Maxwell is about to start a morning drive gig in Chicago.

Chicago media beat dean Robert Feder has more in his column on the TimeOut Chicago website:

Jim Richards, operations manager of Merlin Media classic rock WLUP-FM (97.9), coolly confirmed Wednesday that Maxwell, just in from Cleveland, will debut from 5:30 to 8:30am Monday on the Loop.

“Coolly” likely refers to Richards’ quote to Feder, saying “he’s not being advertised as the new morning man”.

To that end, Maxwell writes on his Facebook page that he’ll be “playing a ton of music”, so he’s basically not launching a “talk show” there.

And as such, not going along to Chicago for the ride are his talk radio sidekicks in Cleveland (Stansbury, “Chunk” and the like), who were along for his long stint in afternoon drive on Clear Channel talk/rock WMMS/100.7, and his blink-or-you’d-miss-it stint in morning drive at CBS Radio classic rock WNCX/98.5.

And of course, WMMS replaced Maxwell with Alan Cox, whose last gig was mornings at Chicago alt-rocker WKQX/101.1 “Q101″. Cox’s show on WMMS quickly became a ratings winner.

To confuse you even more, the original “Q101″ became all-news “FM News 101.1″, and just recently flipped to adult hits as “i101″. “i101″ and “The Loop” are sister stations, first under Emmis, and now under Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media.

And to end this mess, Maxwell has actually been already voicetracking for yet another Merlin Media station in Chicago, the new home of the “Q” alt-rock format, WKQX-LP/6-FM 87.7 “Q87.7″, where we’re told he uses the on-air name of “Slater”.

(Merlin, of course, LMAs the audio signal of WKQX-LP from Venture Technologies, which owns WLFM-LP/6-FM 87.7 here in Cleveland, prepping for a launch as AAA-formatted radio station “87.7 Clevelanders Rock”. And, again, WLFM-LP are calls moved to Cleveland from the Chicago station. There, we think we’re done.)

We don’t know when the radio personality known as Maxwell and the radio executive known as Randy Michaels crossed paths first…we believe the former Cleveland radio host worked under Randy’s domain at Clear Channel Radio at some point in his career. Michaels left Clear Channel before Maxwell started at WMMS.

Maxwell was cruising along at WMMS until contract renewal time, where we’re told he was basically asking for similar money to what morning driver Shane “Rover” French got to move to the station.

WMMS held its ground, and moved on…eventually bringing “The Alan Cox Show” to the station, keeping the afternoon drive talk component to its so-called “man cave” male-targeted mix…

SUIT SETTLED: The legal wrangling is finally over between D.A. Peterson Canton market top 40 outlet WDJQ/92.5 “Q92″ and its former morning hosts, Pat DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco.

And in the end, it looks like a win for the former “Q92″ morning stars, and a “moving on” for the station.

The Canton Repository wraps it up:

Former radio personalities Pat DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco can keep streaming their Internet show, and their former employer must pay them unused vacation time.

The newspaper reports that it’s a victory for the pair, which got the OK earlier to continue the Internet show despite a non-compete contract provision covering a radius 60 miles from the station near Alliance, but, according to Stark County judge Charles E. Brown Jr., not covering a non-terrestrial radio show on the Internet.

The Repository article says DeLuca and DiFranco will get their unpaid vacation time…apparently when “Q92″ receives past broadcast audio that both sides agreed the pair will not use.

The Canton market top 40 outlet replaced “The DeLuca Show” with what is now known as “The Nikolina & Jeremiah Morning Show”…

FOX 8 AKRON: We now know, as we tipped you first on social media Wednesday afternoon, where Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8 News” will hang its bureau hat in Summit County.

After abandoning its nearly 12 year home at “Studio 8″ at Summit Mall, “Fox 8 News” is going to college in Akron…literally.

The station and the University of Akron are unveiling a new Akron bureau home for “Fox 8 News”…at the UA School of Communication.

Quoting a press release from UA:

“The studio provides us a more central location, with easier access to news breaking out of Akron and surrounding cities,” says Greg Easterly, president and general manager of FOX 8. “In addition, there are so many scholars on the university campus—political analysts, lawyers, scientists, engineers, specialists in education, health and psychology—professionals who can help us inform our viewers and will be more easily available to our reporters.”

Easterly talks about the move from Summit Mall, in an article by Akron Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels:

“There was nothing bad about it,” WJW General Manager Greg Easterly said of the mall location. “It was a very visible location. We had always had a vision to tie a store in with it. … We had an idea of what we wanted it to be and it never quite came together that way.”

So, “Fox 8 News” is trading neighbors…from Orange Julius at Summit Mall, to the University of Akron’s “Z-TV” student television operation, WZIP/88.1 and The Buchtelite at UA’s Kolbe Hall. UA School of Communication interns will get opportunities as well.

The Heldenfels article notes that WJW will share space with a “Z-TV” production studio, and Akron-based reporter (and UA graduate) Dave Nethers will use an office at Kolbe Hall.

The article notes the attention paid to the Akron/Canton area by Cleveland TV news operations, with WKYC/3’s former Akron/Canton News broadcasts and WEWS/5’s bureau down the hall from Heldenfels at the Beacon Journal.

And omitted, with good reason, is Raycom Media WOIO/19-WUAB/43’s “19 Action News”, which has no bureau in either Akron or Canton.

We guess gassing up and driving south on I-77 is their definition of…(cue Drew Carey’s voice)…”everywhere!”…

Late July Mixed Bag

In which we update some stuff, bring on new items and more…

87.7 BUILDING BLOCKS, BUT WHEN?: We’re hearing some details surrounding the launch of Venture Technologies/Murray Hill Broadcasting’s WLFM-LP 6/87.7, which will operate as a radio station under the name “87.7 Clevelanders Rock”.

First, an appearance by station operators Tom Wilson and Tom Embrescia on the soon-to-be-extinguished “Good Company Today” on NBC affiliate WKYC/3 shed at least some light on what shape the soon-to-launch radio station will take.

Embrescia told hosts Hollie Strano and Michael Cardamone that the music format for “87.7 Clevelanders Rock” will be Adult Album Alternative rock, otherwise known as “AAA” or “Triple-A”.

It’s a format last tried in the market by Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting’s WNWV/107.3, and the format was changed (semi-)back to smooth AC when Akron’s Rubber City Radio Group bought the now-former “V107.3″ and brought it back to its former identity as “The Wave”.

OMW hears from multiple sources that “87.7 Clevelanders Rock” has found a morning drive host, and yes, our own reaction was, “who?”

He’s…drumroll, please!…Archie Berwick.

Again, who?

Berwick is a former CBS Radio Cleveland promotions staffer, who we’re told has been doing similar work with the New York Mets. As far as we know, though we could be wrong, Archie has no significant on-air experience.

The Used To Work For CBS Radio Cleveland vibe continues, as we hear former alt-rock WKRK/92.3 air personality Rachel Steele – already linked with the new station – is expected to handle afternoon drive for 87.7.

OMW hears that various other former Northeast Ohio personalities and radio staffers showed up at Saturday’s audition, but we don’t know if any of them has an inside track at the new station.

We also hear, as we’ve reported before, that “87.7 Clevelanders Rock”‘s search process continues outside of Saturday’s public audition.

Where will WLFM-LP hang its studio hat?

Though the audio on the video from “Good Company Today” deteriorates by that point, we heard Tom Embrescia mention the Cleveland Agora…and we now hear that the famed location at 5000 Euclid Avenue will indeed be the home of 87.7.

We don’t know, however, if the new station will use the space formerly occupied by WHK/1420 and WMMS/100.7. We’re told that a recording studio using the Agora building is no longer there.

We hear from more than one source that there’s no word if the station will make its debut before the end of this month, as previously promised…but we’d consider that unlikely at this point…

LIVE ON LAKESIDE: We hinted that WKYC’s “Good Company Today” was “soon-to-be-extinguished”, and well, it is, sort of.

After the schedule-gulping NBC coverage of the Olympics in London ends in mid-August, WKYC will basically combine elements of “Good Company Today” with the noon edition of Channel 3 News, and the result will be “Live on Lakeside”.

Quoting an item on blogging colleague Frank Macek’s “WKYC Director’s Cut” blog:

Hosted by Hollie Strano and Michael Cardamone, the new show will be a mix of news, weather, entertainment, lifestyle and advertiser friendly segments.

Airing from 11a.m. – 12:30p.m., the show will also feature News Anchor Amanda Barren, Meteorologists Bruce Kalinowski and Marcus Walter, Arts, Culture and Entertainment Reporter Karina Mitchell, Lifestyle and Features Reporters Joe Cronauer and Desiray McCray, “Ways To Save” Anchor Matt Granite and a host of other contributors.

Whew! It’s almost easier to list who WON’T be on the new show.

And yes, Karina Mitchell is the wife of new “Channel 3 News” anchor Russ Mitchell, a broadcaster in her own right. Karina was most recently doing entertainment reporting for CBS News – where her husband was weekend anchor of “The CBS Evening News” for years.

And the new show apparently adds CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 “New 102″ afternoon driver Desiray McCray on a permanent basis.

We’ve seen McCray join Caradmone on the set of “Good Company Today”, as that program comes to its end.

“GCT” has been a half-hour show this week in order to accomodate various E/I “NBC Kids” preemption reschedules…and on Friday, those shows will preempt what would have been the last “Good Company Today”, according to TV listings.

We’re assuming that weekend sports events forced the moves.

The show occupying the 11 AM to 12:30 PM time slot obviously moves it out of the way of direct competitor “New Day Cleveland” on Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8″, and presumably moves the fourth hour of NBC’s “Today” show with Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford to a 10 AM live clearance, next to the rest of “Today”.

“Live on Lakeside” premieres on August 13th…

LANIGAN TO THE RESCUE: Listeners to Clear Channel classic hits WMJI/105.7 “Majic 105.7″ morning icon John Lanigan got some “inside” news related to the horrific mass murder at a Colorado movie theater early Friday.

Lanigan’s son is Lt. Jad Lanigan with the Aurora (CO) Police Department, and among other duties, he was tasked with dealing with the media late Thursday and early Friday.

But John Lanigan’s wife heard the younger Lanigan’s voice from the scene, and the WMJI morning host asked if his son was indeed involved in the arrest of the shooting suspect.

Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5’s NewsNet5.com and WJW/8’s Fox8.com have more.

Lt. Lanigan didn’t have much time to talk to his father, but briefly confirmed via text message that he was indeed a part of the arrest team.

There was at least one other radio connection to the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado…Denver sports radio intern and blogger Jessica Ghawi, known professionally as Jessica Redfield, was one of the earliest identified among the 12 dead…

MANSFIELD DOINGS: A new radio station has sprouted up in Mansfield, and it’s another FM translator.

Christian contemporary “99.3 The Light” has been on the air since earlier this month.

It’s yet another arm of the Gunther Meisse Broadcast Empire in mid-Ohio, with its analog home being W256BG/99.3 Butler. 99.3 is rebroadcasting the “home” feed for “The Light”, on WVNO/106.1’s HD2 sidechannel.

The Mid-State folks moved the station’s location north from near Bellville to the company’s complex in the Mansfield suburb of Ontario, and off the former frequency of 99.1.

In its previous incarnation, 99.1 Butler was a translator in the network rebroadcasting Mansfield Christian School CCM outlet WVMC/90.7, and now, it’s a commercial competitor to WVMC.

Sister WVNO “Mix 106.1″ programmer and morning co-host Tony Mitchell tells the Mansfield News Journal that some local content will be added to the Salem Radio Network “Today’s Christian Music” feed:

Mitchell said positive local news and weather forecasts will be featured, along with area pastors.

“We’ll have local pastors giving half-hour sermons on Sunday mornings and every day we’ll have a ‘Pastor’s Minute’ where we’ll have local pastors taking a minute to give a quick word of encouragement,” he said.

Christian radio is a crowded field in the Mansfield area.

Not only is local stalwart WVMC in the format, but Educational Media Foundation’s “K-Love” airs on owned station WYKL/98.7 Crestline.

And back to the Gunther Meisse Mid-State Multimedia Empire, which includes not only WVNO and ESPN Radio affiliate WRGM/1440-W247BL/97.3, but TV operations WMFD/68 and WOHZ-CA/41.

OMW apparently missed WMFD’s conversion to local HD studio programming, which we believe started back in March.

The move means WMFD’s “NewsWatch” local newscasts are now in HD, and that means every newscast in the Cleveland TV market is in HD.

The main local newscasts in Cleveland converted long ago, but Mansfield is actually on the far southwest fringe of the Cleveland/Akron (Canton) TV market…

A Cooler Combination

Cooler because, though we have highs in the mid-80s, it’s sure cooler than it was last time we set the air conditioning in the OMW World Headquarters to “freeze”…

A STEADY HAND: So, you’re a Cleveland TV station, and your news director has “made the move up” to a job with your parent company. You’re heading into an all-important period which will gain you new viewers…the 2012 Summer Olympics, live from London.

But SOMEONE has to run the newsroom until a permanent candidate is found, and it’s going to be kind of busy due to the aforementioned events to temporarily turn the duties over to an assistant.

Where do you turn?

If you’re Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, you put “Channel 3 News” in the hands of a trusted pro, and that’s just what’s happened at 13th and Lakeside.

To say former WJW/8 general manager Virgil Dominic is an experienced newsman is sort of like saying the Grand Canyon is this little hole in the ground in Arizona.

Dominic has been named interim news director at WKYC, guiding the ship with a steady hand until a permanent replacement for Rita Andolsen is found.

Andolsen, according to the item on our blogging colleague Frank Macek’s “WKYC Director’s Cut” blog, “has embarked on a new role as Director of Advocacy and Community Initiatives working closing with Gannett corporate and twenty other Gannett broadcast stations.” (Whew!)

For long-time watchers of local TV news in the Cleveland market, Virgil Dominic is basically “The Man Who Built NewsCenter 8″, leading the folks at Cleveland’s then-CBS affiliate to a decade and a half of dominance in local TV news.

Dominic left South Marginal Road in 1995, as the station was transitioning to a Fox affiliation (and later as a Fox O&O). The “Director’s Cut” item quotes WKYC president and general manager Brooke Spectorsky:

“For the past six years, he has been with us as a talent mentor and consultant, and we see this as a continuation of that vision.”

And yes, Virgil Dominic started his large market TV career as WKYC’s main anchor in 1965…

MORE AT 13TH AND LAKESIDE: “Good Company Today” co-host Joe Cronauer has indeed expanded his horizons at “Channel 3 News”.

The broadcasting veteran, previously best known as part of the “Brian and Joe” team on a number of area radio station, is now setting the alarm clock very early…joining the “Channel 3 News Today” morning team as a “lifestyles and features” field reporter.

Quoting the announcement, once again found on Channel 3 News senior director Frank Macek’s “WKYC Director’s Cut” blog:

Joe will scour the area looking for unique, unusual, fun, community based, interesting stories that he knows will get viewers talking.

That would put him as WKYC’s opposite number to “Fox 8 News In The Morning” reporter Kenny Crumpton, though we don’t know if, in fact, Cronauer will be “Kickin’ It”.

(Yes, it’s a bad joke.)

Cronauer joins “Channel 3 News Today” anchors Chris Tye and Erin Kennedy, weather anchor Hollie Strano, reporters Amanda Barren and Stephanie Coueignoux, and traffic anchor Pat Butler (shared with Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100)…

AND TO THE 3RD POWER: Our third brief item about the gang at 13th and Lakeside.

Not only will WKYC join NBC Summer Olympics coverage later this month, they’re also sending some people to London.

We’ve seen promos that say that two members of the aforementioned “Channel 3 News Today” – Chris Tye and Amanda Barren – are bound for England…though we don’t know exactly what they’ll do.

Presumably, they’ll try to bring stories of any Northeast Ohio athletes in the Games…

SPEAKING OF THE OLYMPIAD: Unless an agreement is reached soon, Dish Network customers in the Youngstown TV market will have to find some other way to watch the NBC broadcast network’s coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

That’s because on July 6th, they lost the Mahoning Valley’s NBC affiliate, Vindicator-owned WFMJ/21, in a carriage dispute between the local broadcaster and the second-largest satellite provider.

WFMJ is very much playing up the “David vs. Goliath” battle in an FAQ on its website:

DISH is one of the largest television companies in America. WFMJ is locally owned and operated right here in Youngstown. We are invested in Youngstown and other communities we serve, and we take our commitment to serve the public seriously. When large companies based in big cities take the local signal, sell it to you for a high price, and pay little or nothing to WFMJ, they are taking money and jobs out of Youngstown without providing anything in return. We don’t think Youngstown citizens should be asked to subsidize DISH Network or its wealthy shareholders.

The website advises viewers worried about losing NBC’s Summer Olympics coverage to consider moving to another cable or satellite provider, or to pick up the station’s free over-air broadcast signal.

In our experience, only those in far, outlying ends of the Youngstown TV market should have any problem picking up the WFMJ over-air signal, and even some of those folks have NBC affiliated alternatives available OTA, like the aforementioned WKYC, Pittsburgh’s WPXI/11 and the like.

Those looking for WFMJ’s local newscasts are now able to stream them live from the station’s website…

NEW DIGS: You may have noticed this week that the set for Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5’s “NewsChannel 5″ broadcasts is a bit cramped, and that you aren’t seeing the weather and sports anchors moving around at the main set.

That’s because the current set has been temporarily moved to WEWS’ Studio C, while a revamp is happening in Studio A this summer.

It’s no secret…6 and 11 PM co-anchor Chris Flanagan shares all the details on the station’s NewsNet5.com:

All newscasts are moving from Studio C to Studio A. Studio A is where ‘Academic Challenge’ and the Ohio Lottery drawings are broadcast out of. We will move back into Studio C after Labor Day.

We will unveil our new anchor desk, weather center and expanded state-of-the-art set later this summer.

There are pictures and video of the current setup, and there’ll probably be more along the way as construction gets going.

One of the primary features of the new set will be LED lighting, allowing the set to look crisper and brighter for viewers of the station’s HD broadcasts…and making things cooler in the studio, to boot…

JEFF’S DEBUT: We managed to catch some of Jeff Kinzbach’s audition for the 10 AM-3 PM time slot on Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron”…of course, in the time slot left open by the unfortunate death of station icon Howie Chizek.

The former star of WMMS/100.7’s “Jeff and Flash” team seemed genuinely interested in the job, at least if we’re reading some of his on-air comments correctly.

Kinzback lauded WNIR as one of the last bastions of true, local radio, and noted that he is an Akron area resident…eastern Medina County, we’re guessing, based on his comment that he was the announcer for his daughter’s high school band at Highland High School.

Up next in the audition rotation, unless things have changed from the earlier announcement: 25 year regular Howie caller John “Couch Burner” Denning on Thursday.

Regular fill-ins Bob Earley and Jim Isabella will handle the shift when other auditioners aren’t scheduled…

UPDATE 12:44 PM 7/11/12: Reader Derrick King notes in our comments to this item:

I managed to catch an announcement this morning on WNIR. The next new fill in is Monday when former WAKC news anchor and former Plusquellic administration official Mark Williamson takes the microphone.

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