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.

Youngstown And Nearby

Most of the items this time around are from the Mahoning Valley, though at least one is from nearby…and one item involves the Cleveland market…

RICH MORGAN: Readers in the Youngstown/Warren TV market have been peppering our inbox with questions about market veteran Rich Morgan…who’s been absent from his duties as morning and noon meteorologist for New Vision-to-be-LIN CBS affiliate WKBN/27’s “27 First News”.

We did some digging, but the question could have more easily been answered (for both us and our readers) by going to Rich’s bio page on the WKBN-TV website

Rich Morgan recently had surgery and will be off of the air for a total of five weeks. He talks about it in further detail on his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/myvalleyweather.richmorgan. Kirstie Zontini is filling in during his recovery.

From Rich’s Facebook page, posted June 1st:

I am having surgery to relieve pressure on the nerves in my neck that control the strength in my arm.

Since the surgery, Rich has written about undergoing the therapy needed to recover.

We understand this has now been addressed on the air as well…though we don’t know when the station let viewers know about Morgan’s condition…

HER NEW JOB: This one’s not from the Mahoning Valley, per se, but is about a former Youngstown TV reporter.

We told you a while back that Peggy Sinkovich, who has reported for WYTV/33 (Trumbull County bureau chief) and later for the entire New Vision-LIN operation (adding WKBN-TV and WYFX-LP “Fox Youngstown”), was heading for Cleveland…where she’ll be seen on Local TV LLC’s WJW/8 “Fox 8 News”.

We have some more information on her role at Dick Goddard Way.

OMW hears that starting in the Fall, Sinkovich will be the new “I-Team” investigative reporter for “Fox 8 News”, with help from general assignment reporter Jack Shea contributing investigative pieces.

We hear that Sinkovich and Shea will likely be seen daily on the station, working out of the newsroom and presumably, spending less time off air…

BACK IN COUNTRY: Whiplash Radio’s WYCL/1540 Niles is back to a familiar format for the daytimer – classic country.

Yes, the station has also returned to its former name and imaging in the format – “1540 The Farm”.

The classic country “Farm” format was the first format change made by Whiplash owner and OMW reader Chris Lash when he bought the station from Beacon Broadcasting.

1540 has been through a number of formats going back to the Beacon days… Christian contemporary music, sports, standards music, and talk. Until the recent change, WYCL had been operating as a simulcast of Whiplash sister standards station WHTX/1570 Warren “Fabulous 1570″.

Those wondering what happened to the King of Youngstown Brokered Talk Radio, Louie b. Free, can be assured that his eclectic show goes on via WYCL, airing 8 AM-noon weekdays on “1540 The Farm”.

Both stations are operated by Jim Davison and Laurel Taylor’s JL Communications, and Jim tells OMW that “The Farm” can be heard in streaming audio on the station’s website, a subsection of the WHTX site… though those listening on smartphones and tablets via the TuneIn app are getting an entirely different feed.

Jim notes that the station changed streaming providers, and that feed comes from whoever took over the old WYCL feed.

WYCL also features a new outdoors show on Saturday mornings with host Jim Slinsky, and an antiques show will debut later this month.

The station will carry Notre Dame football in the fall…

HD ADD-ON: OMW hears that Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 Youngstown has followed many other Clear Channel talk stations in simulcasting its programming on the HD Radio side of a co-owned FM station.

The feed of WKBN is now being heard on the HD2 sidechannel of rock WNCD/93.3 “The Wolf”.

Just to the west in Akron, Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 gets similar HD Radio rides on the sidechannels of hot AC WKDD/98.1 and rock WRQK/106.9.

For now, at least, the feed of WKBN on WNCD’s HD sidechannel does not appear to signal any future move to an analog FM frequency…rather, it’s seen as a way to increase HD Radio listenership by offering the popular AM talker in the format…

AND NEARBY: In the Canton market, where D.A. Peterson top 40 WDJQ/92.5 Alliance “Q92″ has once again managed to hire a promotions director who is not awaiting a criminal trial.

He’s local radio veteran and OMW reader Matt Spatz, most recently heard doing weekend/swing work at Rubber City Radio rock WONE/97.5 Akron.

He had previously programmed at Clear Channel Youngstown (rock WNCD, and top 40 WAKZ/95.9 “Kiss FM”) until budget cuts forced him out last October.

And the “criminal trial” reference is not at all aimed at Matt, of course…who practices clean living, as far as we know.

It’s a reference to a Louisville KY radio personality the Alliance station hired for the promotions director job a few years ago…who was very much in legal hot water when he was offered the job at “Q92″.

We’ll visit our own February 2008 item wrapping up the saga of Todd Kelly/Smith:

Former WDJX/Louisville KY personality and promotions guy Todd Kelly (Todd Smith) has been sentenced for defrauding listeners and donators by faking ALS, otherwise known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Smith has been sentenced to 15 years on state charges, which will be reduced to 5 years if he pays back some 74 thousand dollars in restitution, with interest. He’d already been sentenced to 84 months in prison on federal fraud charges.

Even if his sentence was reduced to 5 years, Kelly/Smith is still sitting behind bars in Kentucky, unable to run promotions for “Q92″ or any radio station that’s not behind bars. (Unless he was released early, of course.)

Since this saga was resolved, WDJQ has managed to hire promotions directors not awaiting sentencing to prison, and we can assure them that, as far as we know, Matt Spatz will continue that trend.

Our congratulations to Matt…we’re always happy to see OMW readers do well!

And the item fits in our theme, as “Q92″‘s signal does well in the nearby Youngstown market…

It All Happens At Once

We paused long enough to take a breath or two, and then, six things happened in the space of a day.

And we’re sure we missed something…

LEON’S REDUCTION: A veteran TV anchorman in Cleveland is moving around his work schedule.

Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5″ anchor Leon Bibb, who has been anchoring the noon and 6 PM editions of the station’s newscasts, is no longer anchoring the 6 PM show as of this week…replaced by Chris Flanagan, the Dallas-Fort Worth anchor the station originally hired to anchor the 11 PM edition of “NewsChannel 5″.

Flanagan will be paired at 6 with his 11 PM anchor, Danita Harris, making it the first time in a while that “NewsChannel 5″ has had the same anchor team – like many stations – in both time slots.

But in addition to anchoring the 12 noon show, Bibb will still be doing “Other Things”, reports the Plain Dealer’s Chuck Yarborough…who has apparently picked up the local media beat for the PD from Julie Washington:

Sam Rosenwasser, Channel 5’s vice president and general manager, said Bibb has been reassigned to do two new programs, “Leon Bibb’s Ohio” and “Leon Bibb’s Perspective.” He will continue to anchor the station’s noon newscast as well as its Sunday morning news program, “Kaleidoscope,” Rosenwasser said.

“Leon is still a very vital part of what we have here,” Rosenwasser said. “We want to put a spotlight on what he has.”

OMW hears that these new “programs” are likely to be weekly feature packages that appear on “NewsChannel 5″ newscasts. “Kaleidoscope” is a half hour public affairs program.

What Leon Bibb has, in buckets, is the ability to tell a story…and that may be a Grand Canyon-sized understatement. We hope this is behind the decision, and it’s a showcase for Bibb…not the start of nudging him out the door.

We’re not surprised by the addition of Chris Flanagan to the 6 PM edition of “NewsChannel 5″, though…we expected it when he was brought in from the DFW Metroplex…

SHE’S NO LONGER THERE: Readers have been peppering our inbox and social media accounts asking where Clear Channel Akron hot AC WKDD/98.1 morning drive co-host Jenn Ryan has been.

We were told she was on vacation, which apparently was true until Friday…when calls asking for her at Freedom Avenue were answered with the phrase “Jenn is no longer with the company”.

That’s indeed the case, and the remnants of her presence on the WKDD morning show page with co-host/program director/cluster and regional operations director Keith Kennedy have been removed, well, “Soviet-style”, as we call it.

For that matter, her Facebook account has been deleted.

We pressed our ears really hard to the windows at Freedom Avenue, and we still have yet to learn what happened to Jenn Ryan…but she’s definitely no longer there.

We also don’t know who will replace her…

SHE’S BACK THERE: A young woman named Sue Tyler started her radio career in 1991 as an intern for WKDD, back then at Akron-licensed 96.5 (that frequency is today’s Clear Channel Cleveland top 40 outlet WAKS “Kiss FM”).

She even made it on the air at WKDD back in 1991, before ending up at stations like top 40 WDJQ/92.5 “Q92″ in the Canton market, and a run at the “Next Generation” rebuild of the rock format at iconic Cleveland rocker WMMS/100.7.

Sue ended up in Buffalo at Entercom’s WKSE/98.5 “Kiss FM” (no relation to the Clear Channel “Kiss” stations) and made quite a name for herself in Western New York, by then under the name Shannon Steele.

She’s back.

Apparently moving to Akron to be with her husband (according to an earlier AllAccess item), Shannon/Sue is coming back to the station where she started…2-7 PM, in an afternoon drive shift formerly occupied by the voice-tracked Tessa Hall out of, if we remember right, St. Louis.

(We don’t know if Shannon will be live or tracked, but she’s definitely in Akron for the reason stated above…)

RIZZO BACK TO TV?: We entirely missed the mid-May tweet of Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850″ middayer and former Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8 News” sports anchor Tony Rizzo:

Tony Rizzo

Uncle Rizzy will return to Cleveland TV, details coming.

But readers have also been asking about it before we found this tweet…and providing their own guesses, even.

We haven’t heard any final word on this.

Our legendary gut tells us that it’ll probably involve a weekend football-related show at Rizz’s old TV home, “Fox 8 News”. Don’t expect Tony to return to full-time sports anchoring, anywhere, while he’s still at “ESPN Cleveland”…

ONE MOVE: Yes, we are aware that former WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5″ reporter Dan Haggerty is now at 13th and Lakeside, being seen doing reporting work on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3.

OMW hears that is indeed the case for Dan, and it’s a full-time position…as opposed to the freelance work many reporters do when they cross the street with little fanfare.

We hear he’s “just a reporter”, with no anchor work in the mix at least now…

CHAD’S BRUSH WITH THE LAW: New Vision-operated Youngstown ABC affiliate WYTV/33 sports anchor Chad Krispinsky, just recently announced as 33’s regular weekday sports anchor in the combined New Vision (to be LIN) operation with CBS affiliate WKBN/27-Fox affiliate WYFX-LD/19 “Fox Youngstown”, made an ill-advised off-camera move that got him arrested.

The Youngstown Vindicator has more:

A Boardman police officer said he spotted Krispinsky’s car drifting partially into the center of the road on Market Street near McClurg Road. The officer didn’t pull over Krispinsky’s car but noticed him a short time later on foot on Roche Way and spoke with him.

After detecting the smell of alcohol on Krispinsky’s breath, the officer gave him field sobriety tests. Krispinsky refused to take a Breathalyzer test and was arrested and advised that his license would be suspended for one year.

The paper says it was the second such arrest for the 34 year-old WYTV sportscaster, who pleaded guilty to a “failure to maintain physical control” charge in 2010 after a Breathalyzer test came up over twice the legal limit.

Our advice to Chad?

Get on the horn to SportsTime Ohio, where evening talk host Chuck Galeti (“Chuck’s Last Call”), a former Youngstown sportscaster at NBC affiliate WFMJ/21, got his life back together after similar adventures.

Our guess is that among other advice, Chuck would tell Chad to make sure he didn’t look goofy while taking a mug shot…

A Nice Pile Of Items

One of our readers commented the other day that they wished “we’d post more often”…but of course, life continues to intervene, and off-blog business is keeping us very busy…dealing with both extreme highs and lows.

But…we’re around this afternoon, so here goes…

THE R WORD WATCH: When you’re 80 years old and have been doing weather on TV for 50 years, it’s no surprise that there’s speculation on your eventual retirement.

But for now, we have no information on when Local TV LLC Fox affilate WJW/8 “Fox 8 News” icon Dick Goddard will walk away from the green screen.

That speculation is ramping up because OMW hears that Goddard is reducing his on-air schedule, only working on the 6 PM edition of “Fox 8 News”. (One of his co-anchors, news veteran Wilma Smith, also only appears at 6. And of course, Andre Bernier has been alongside Dick on the evening newscasts of “Fox 8 News” for some time.)

There are rumors and rumblings that Goddard may exit around the time of the next Woollybear Festival – which would certainly be an appropriate time to announce his retirement, at the event in Vermilion that is synonymous with the iconic weatherman. Calendar markers can circle (or note on their smartphones) the date of September 30th for this year’s festival.

But for now, the only confirmed information we have is his schedule change. As noted, Wilma Smith has only been doing the 6 PM show for years…

NEW FOX NEWSIE: OMW hears that a long-time Youngstown TV reporter will be the next news type from the Mahoning Valley to head up the Ohio Turnpike.

We hear that WKBN-TV/27-WYTV/33-WYFX-LD/19 Trumbull County bureau chief Peggy Sinkovich is headed for “Fox 8 News” in Cleveland. We don’t know what role she will take, though we’re making the assumption she’ll be a reporter.

Sinkovich joined then-separate ABC affiliate WYTV/33 as its Trumbull County reporter in 2005, and started work for all the New Vision stations in the 2007 merger of the CBS, ABC and Fox affiliates’ news operations.

(As we reported earlier, New Vision is selling WKBN and WYFX to LIN, which will also assume the Shared Services Agreement to operate PBC’s WYTV. As a part of the LIN deal, WYTV and the other stations New Vision operates, but does not own, will be sold to a new owner as well.)

Before coming to WYTV, Sinkovich was a reporter for the Youngstown Vindicator…

RADIO 2012: Hats off to the Plain Dealer’s Chuck Yarborough, for an excellent (and accurate) article on the state of Northeast Ohio radio in 2012, in a world where Pandora is rising and the economy is flagging.

Yarborough talked with CBS Radio’s Cleveland market manager Tom Herschel, and Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 program director Sue Wilson and her morning co-host Scott Wynn in Akron, about the importance of locally originated radio in the face of new media competition.

Not present in the article was perspective from Clear Channel, as local operations manager Keith Abrams declined to comment, as did representatives of the company’s corporate office in San Antonio.

And radio consultant John Gorman, best known for his long stint as program director of WMMS/100.7 in its world-famous days as “The Buzzard”, also chimed in…

SPEAKING OF RADIO PIECES IN PRINT: Even if you’re an avid fan of “Kiley and Booms”, the morning show at CBS Radio Cleveland sports talker WKRK/92.3 “92.3 The Fan”, you’ll probably learn things about co-host and Euclid native Chuck Booms in a recent Cleveland Magazine article.

“Almost Famous” recounts Booms’ comedy career, including a friendship with Jerry Seinfeld, and Booms’ Comedy Central show, “Comics On Delivery”.

We did not know, however, that Booms was very much a finalist to replace CBS-bound David Letterman at NBC…so much so, that he was surprised when Conan O’Brien was announced as Letterman’s replacement at the Peacock Network, as he had thought he won the job.

The article by Andy Netzel also notes that Booms fell into radio by getting a woman appearing on his Comedy Central show a tryout at Washington DC’s WTEM/980…but WTEM liked Chuck instead of her.

That station is where Booms paired with co-host Kevin Kiley to start “Kiley and Booms”, before the pair landed at Fox Sports Radio, and today, they’re in Cleveland on “92.3 The Fan”…

SPEAKING OF JOHN GORMAN: Our thoughts go out to Gorman, an OMW reader (as are many mentioned in this item), who is recovering from a recent stroke.

He wrote the following on his Facebook account, a status update that was then picked up by radio trade sites:

It was a minor, unexpected detour on the boulevard of life. That’s all. Yes, it’s true. I had a stroke this past week. I lost neither consciousness nor my faculties (though some believe I lost the latter years ago). My doctors feel my fortunate outcome was related to a preventive lifestyle of good diet & exercise.

AND MORE MEDICAL BEST RECOVERY WISHES: Local sportscaster Bill Castrovince (SportsTime Ohio’s “High School Sports Insider”, former WYTV/33 sports director) is an avid OMW reader, and let us know that he’s on the road to recovery as well.

I found out I had a brain tumor. It was cancerous and very aggressive, but they got it out by surgery and it’s been a long road since then.

I haven’t anchored for the show since then, but I’ve slowly worked my way back to work, and now I’m voicing stories and highlights. And of course, I’m still shooting and covering games.

Yep, it’s been a long road, but I might get back on camera at the end of the season. We’ll see!

The “High School Sports Insider” show on STO is produced by Twinsburg’s Classic Teleproductions. Our best wishes to Bill as well!

FLASHBACK TO (JEFF AND) FLASH: Speaking of the station Gorman programmed, “Jeff and Flash” owned the morning airwaves at WMMS for some 18 years, until some guy named Howard Stern syndicated his New York morning show to classic rock WNCX/98.5.

With that event, and ownership changes, the long run of Jeff Kinzbach and Ed “Flash” Ferenc eventually came to an end in 1994, and a local TV news website recently shared video of the pair’s last day on “The Buzzard Morning Zoo.”

It’s Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5″‘s excellent “Video Vault” segment, which dips back into historic video in a section on the station’s NewsNet5.com. (We’ve been unsuccessful at embedding the video…follow the link above.)

Photojournalist Tom Livingston is your video vault curator.

The story shows Jeff, Flash and Laura Ferrell in-studio at WMMS’ then-current location, easily recognizable through the windows as being located in the upper floors of the Tower City shopping complex at Terminal Tower.

Livingston notes the recent one-day “reunion” of Jeff and Flash on the station that helped vanquish their 18 year run in 1994 – WNCX.

Kinzbach is now doing fill-in work at WNCX, now owned by CBS Radio, and Ferenc continues his work as a public information officer for the Cleveland Municipal Court. As far as we know, Ferenc also continues to host the labor show “America’s Work Force”, weekdays 4-5 PM on Radio One talk/brokered WERE/1490…

The Awards Post

Local TV and radio broadcasters spent a lot of time in Indianapolis and Columbus this past weekend, picking up awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Great Lakes Chapler (the local Emmy awards), and the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters.

Here are the winners for stations and organizations within the OMW primary coverage area. Of course, a number of operations did not enter nominations…



(Only categories with Northeast Ohio winners are listed. A full list of winners can be found at the NATAS Lower Great Lakes chapter website.)

Newscast – Evening – Market 1-20
19 Action News @ 11pm WOIO Daniel Brown Producer

Newscast – Morning/Daytime – Market 1-20
19 Action News This Morning WOIO John Bindas Producer

Weekend Newscast – Market 1-20
NewsChannel 5 at 11:00 Weekend WEWS Tracy Carloss Anchor
Sara Roth Producer

General Assignment Report – No Time Limit
Head Start Misspending WKYC Tom Meyer Reporter
Sarah Bachmann Editor
Jessie Eck Graphics

Continuing Coverage
Hidden Hazards WKYC Tom Meyer Reporter
Sarah Bachmann Editor
Jessie Eck Graphic Production Artist

Investigative Report – Series
Metrohealth Abuse WKYC Tom Meyer Reporter
Sarah Bachmann Editor

Historical/Cultural Program or Special (2)
Dream Deferred: The Legacy of Busing WEWS Hollie Brubaker Video Editor

Military: News Single Story/News Series/Feature or Segment
Operation Deep Freeze WEWS Melissa Watson Executive Producer
Ron Regan Chief Investigator
David Arnold News Photographer
David Hatala News Photographer
Robert Gardner Senior Editor

Senator Smith Home WKYC Tom Meyer Reporter

Sports – Single News Story
An Iron Will: The Gregory Iron Story WOIO Chris Van Vliet Reporter

Sporting Event/Game – Live/Unedited
High School Football Game of the Week Fox Sports Ohio Jeff Platz Producer
Bob Pennell Director
Tom Farmer VP – Executive Producer

All For One – The History of Cleveland Clinic Telos Productions Thomas Ball Director

Interview/Discussion – Program/Series or Special
Words & Music Cuyahoga Community College Alan Gilbertson Producer/Director/Editor
Tommy Wiggins Host/Talent Coordinator

Magazine Program – Feature Segment
Crime Stoppers Case Files: Isaac Hardges Pinpoint Media Christopher Rech Executive Producer
Brandon Kimber Director
Michael Gagliardi Producer
Ryan Lohr Editor
Andrew Jurcak Director of Photography
Matthew Howard Graphics Supervisor
Ray Szuch Stunt Coordinator

Magazine Program – Program/Series or Special
Crime Stoppers Case files: Harun Frizell & John Lundy Pinpoint Media Christopher Rech Executive Producer
Brandon Kimber Director
Michael Gagliardi Producer
Ryan Lohr Editor
Andrew Jurcak Director of Photography
Ray Szuch Stunt Coordinator
Matthew Howard Graphics Supervisor
Isiah Hodge Actor

Promotion – Program Image
STO Remembers SportsTime Ohio Michael Roche VP Marketing/New Media
Ty Towriss Producer
Pat Kenny Editor
Tim Earl Associate Producer
Mitch Greenberg Associate Producer
Keith Feicks Associate Producer
Scott Spicer Associate Producer

More Than Ink The Plain Dealer Dale Omori Producer
Andrea Levy Producer

Community Service
Crime Stoppers Case Files: Senior Citizen Special Pinpoint Media Christopher Rech Executive Producer
Brandon Kimber Director
Michael Gagliardi Producer
Matthew Howard Graphics Supervisor
Andrew Jurcak Director of Photography
Ryan Lohr Editor
Ray Szuch Stunt Coordinator

Crafts: Musical Composition/Arrangement (2)
Crime Stoppers Case Files Pinpoint Media Samuel Ramirez Music Director

Crafts: Director – Live or Live to Tape
Cleveland Indians Baseball SportsTime Ohio Patrick Murray Director

Crafts: Editor – Short Form
The Ball Cleveland Indians Eric Hewitt Editor

Crafts: Graphic Arts – Set Design
SportsTime Ohio Hyundai Studio SportsTime Ohio Greg Golya Creative Director
Ian Zeigler Designer
Joseph Von Enck Designer/Animator
Dave Brooks Scenic Construction Manager

On Camera Talent – Reporter
Ron Regan Compilation WEWS Ron Regan Chief Investigative Reporter

Crafts: On Camera Talent – Performer/Host/Narrator
Chris Van Vliet WOIO Chris Van Vliet Talent

Crafts: Photographer – Non-News (2)
Artistic Choice WVIZ/PBS ideastream David Staruch Photographer

Crafts: Video Essay
Walking With Unknowns WJW Ali Ghanbari Producer

Crafts: Video Journalist
Huron Hospital Closing WEWS David Arnold Video Journalist

Crafts: Technical Achievement
The Restorers – They Were All Volunteers Hemlock Films Adam White Director
Kara Martinelli Producer

Crafts: Writer – Program
The Restorers – They Were All Volunteers Hemlock Films Adam White Writer
Kara Martinelli Writer

Crafts: Writer – Short Form
The Ball Cleveland Indians Sanaa Julien Writer
Justin White Writer
Eric Hewitt Writer
Nick Gambone Writer


(Only categories with Northeast Ohio winners are listed. And yes, the Associated Press itself misspelled “Uhrichsville”. A full list of winners is in an AP story courtesy of Ohio News Network.)


Best Website: (1st) Steve Mehaffie, WHIO-TV, Dayton; (2nd) Darcie Loreno and Marly Kosinski, WKBN/WYTV-TV.


Best Broadcast Writing: (1st) David C. Barnett and Frank Barnett, WCPN-FM, Cleveland, “Frank’s Donation”; (2nd) Adam Slinger, WSYX-TV, Columbus.


Best Use of Sound: (1st) WJER-AM, Dover, “Our Heroes’ Homecomings”; (2nd) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “Drug Addiction Leads to Unfortunate Turn of Events.”

Best Documentary or Series: (1st) Jennifer Clark and Jamie Hambach , WJER-AM, Dover, “The Atwood Lodge Confrontation”; (2nd) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “2011 November Elections.”

Best Feature Reporting: (1st) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “Historic Landmark Receives National Attention”; (2nd) WJER-AM, Dover, “Remembering 9-11.”

Best Breaking News Coverage: (1st) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “Swift Action Leads to Abductor’s Arrest”; (2nd) WJER-AM, Dover, “Janesville Acoustics Fire.”

Extraordinary Coverage of a Scheduled Event: (1st) WJER-AM, Dover, “A Killer’s Fate”; (2nd) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “2011 November Elections.”

Best Continuing Coverage: (1st) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “Community Decides Fate of Dover High School”; (2nd) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “2011 Elections.”

Best Enterprise Reporting: (1st) Jessica Eggan, WJER-AM, Dover, “Managing Diabetes”; (2nd) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “Schools Prepare for Students’ Return.”

Best Reporter: (1st) Jessica Eggan, WJER-AM, Dover; (2nd) Jason Aldrich, WIMA-AM, Lima.

Outstanding News Operation: (1st) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville; (2nd) WJER-AM, Dover.


Best Breaking News Coverage: (1st) Mike Ward, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron, “August 2011 Copley Shootings.”

Best Continuing Coverage: (1st) Tina Kaufmann, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron, “The Williams-Bolar School Mom Case.”

Best Investigative Reporting: Tina Kaufmann, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron, “2011 Kelley Williams Bolar Case.”

Best Enterprise Reporting: Chris Keppler and Tina Kaufmann, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron, “2011 Kelley Williams Bolar Case.”

Best Anchor: (1st) Larry States, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron.

Outstanding News Operation: (1st) WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron.


Best Use of Sound: (1st) Mhari Saito, WCPN-FM, Cleveland, “Cleveland’s Jitterbugs Earn Medals and Pride”; (2nd) Jeff St. Clair, WKSU-FM, Kent, “Exploradio – The Natural Origins of Music.”

Best Documentary or Series: (1st) Jeff St. Clair, WKSU-FM, Kent, “Exploradio”; (2nd) WVXU-FM, Cincinnati, “Cincinnati Baseball: Crosley Field”

Best Feature Reporting: (1st) David C. Barnett and Frank Barnett, WCPN-FM, Cleveland, “Frank’s Donation”; (2nd) Amanda Rabinowitz, WKSU-FM, Kent, “Hard Hits on ‘Little Bobbleheads.'”

Best Breaking News Coverage: (1st) M.L. Schultze, WKSU-FM, Kent, “Stark County Seeks Shelter.”

Extraordinary Coverage of a Scheduled Event: (1st) M.L. Schultze, WKSU-FM, Kent, “9/11 Ten Years Later”; (2nd) Statehouse News Bureau, Ohio Public Radio, Columbus, “Ohio’s Bitter Battle for Collective Bargaining.”

Best Continuing Coverage: (1st) Mhari Saito and Dan Bobkoff, WCPN-FM, Cleveland, “The Natural Gas Economy”; (2nd) Bill Cohen, Statehouse News Bureau, Ohio Public Radio, Columbus, “Ohio’s Bitter Battle Over Collective Bargaining.”

Best Enterprise Reporting: (1st) Vivian Goodman, WKSU-FM, Kent, “Gay in Ohio”; (2nd), Anne Glausser, WCPN-FM, Cleveland, “Be Well.”

Best Anchor: (1st) Rick Jackson, WCPN-FM, Cleveland; (2nd) Steve Brown, WOSU-AM/WOSU-FM, Columbus.

Best Reporter: (1st) Mhari Saito, WCPN-FM, Cleveland; (2nd) Tim Rudell, WKSU-FM, Kent.

Outstanding News Operation: (1st) WCPN-FM, Cleveland; (2nd) WLW-AM, Cincinnati.


Best Use of Photography: (1st) Robert Meluch, WFMJ-TV, Youngstown, “Baseball Boys”; (2nd) Jordan Burgess and Kris Sproles, WDTN-TV, Dayton, “911 Skydive.”

Best Feature Reporting: (1st) Joe Aulisio, WKBN/WYTV-TV, Youngstown, “Jake Hostetter’s Courage To Play”; (2nd) James Brown and Trey Back, WHIO-TV, Dayton, “Taps.”

Best Photographer: (1st) Robert Meluch, WFMJ-TV, Youngstown, “Best of 2011″; (2nd) Joe Cromer, WTOL-TV, Toledo.

Outstanding Sports Operation: (1st) WTVG-TV, Toledo; (2nd) WKBN/WYTV-TV, Youngstown.


Best Use of Photography: (1st) Ali Ghanbari, WJW-TV, Cleveland, “Courage to Heal: Josh’s Story”; (2nd) Andy Wallace, Ohio News Network, Columbus.

Best Continuing Coverage: (1st) Tom Meyer and Sarah Bachmann, WKYC-TV, Cleveland, “Hidden Hazards”; (2nd) WCMH-TV, Columbus, “Inside Senate Bill 5/Issue 2.”

Best Investigative Reporting: (1st) Ron Regan, WEWS-TV, Cleveland, “Operation Deep Freeze”; (2nd) Brendan Keefe, WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, “Cincinnati’s Ghost Station.”

Best Enterprise Reporting: (1st) Jenn Strathman and Melissa Watson, WEWS-TV, Cleveland, “Lead Law”; (2nd) Cristin Severance and Andy Wallace, Ohio News Network, Columbus, “Warren Massage Parlors.”
(OMW Note: Severance is based at WEWS in Cleveland.)

Best Reporter: (1st) Ron Regan, WEWS-TV, Cleveland;(2nd) Brendan Keefe, WCPO-TV, Cincinnati.

THIS JUST IN: Romona Robinson to “19 Action News”

There’s a TV news bombshell this time…out of Reserve Square.

Raycom Media’s WOIO/19-WUAB/43 “19 Action News” announced just moments ago the hiring of former Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 “Channel 3 News” primary anchor Romona Robinson, who will start at “19 Action News” on February 2nd.

The untold story here…apparently at least one person at Reserve Square is not happy with the hiring, and “not happy” is perhaps an understatement.

The hiring, oddly enough, also returns Robinson to her original Cleveland TV home, WUAB/43. WUAB is now WOIO’s MyNetwork TV sister station, and Romona first made her mark in Cleveland on the station, as the co-anchor of then-independent WUAB’s “The 10 O’Clock News”.

Here’s the official “19 Action News” release, hot off the virtual press and delivered directly into our E-mail box…



Respected news anchor will anchor afternoon and evening newscasts for Cleveland’s most talked about television station

CLEVELAND, OH January 24, 2012 – Seven time Emmy Award winner Romona Robinson has found a new broadcast home. Ms. Robinson is joining 19 Action News where she will be anchoring afternoon and evening newscasts.

One of the most respected journalists in Northeast Ohio, Romona began her career as an award winning anchor of the 10pm news on WUAB. Her first day on air will be February 2nd.

“Romona Robinson is a perfect fit for 19 Action News.” comments WOIO/WUAB CBS 19 Vice President and General Manager Bill Applegate. “She’s a dynamic personality. Her years of community involvement have earned a special place in the hearts of Clevelanders. We welcome her with open arms.”

Romona adds, “I love this city and what I’ve come to realize, particularly over the last few weeks, is that the people of Northeast Ohio have truly become my family. I can’t put into words how excited I am to join 19 Action News.

They have embraced my journalistic values and my commitment to the community and I can’t wait to get started on this new adventure. There’s no place like home!”

“Romona Robinson is an accomplished journalist that has earned the trust of Clevelanders”, 19 Action News Director Dan Salamone comments. “19 Action News always has the viewer in its best interest, through an ongoing commitment to breaking news and weather, as well as investigative reporting. It’s a perfect format for Romona to continue to do what she does best.”

Weekend Cleanup

With such a busy week, even the weekend provides us with the opportunity to clean up news from the remainder of the week…

NOLAN RADIO AND THEN SOME: We were mostly playing around last week when we were speculating about the radio future of now-former Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 morning news co-anchor Mark Nolan.

Though that speculation intersected with changes at CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1, now known as “New 102″, it turns out Mark’s return to radio will take place at a different location – not at One Radio Lane, but at 6200 Oak Tree Boulevard.

News started getting out Friday when Clear Channel Cleveland staffers openly congratulated Nolan on Twitter for an unspecified gig in that Independence building… and it didn’t take long for us to uncover what that gig will be.

Mark Nolan takes over the midday shift (10 AM-2 PM) at Clear Channel classic hits WMJI/105.7 “Majic 105.7″, starting February 6th.

Though the outside press release wasn’t due until next week, our friends at Oak Tree recognized the Cat Was Out Of The Bag (between us and a note from the folks at Cleveland Magazine), and issued that release on Friday.

And it reminds readers that despite a long tenure as a weather forecaster and news anchor at WKYC, Nolan has not at all been a stranger to radio:

He has been guest hosting on the station since 1995 and for nearly seven years Nolan’s weather forecasts were broadcasted during the Lanigan & Malone Morning Show. He has worked in a variety of positions, both on-air and in production, with roles throughout Ohio at WNIR and WKDD in Akron and WZKL in Canton. Nolan also spent 18 years on-air at NBC Affiliate WKYC TV. He is a Cleveland native and a graduate of Kent State University.

Nolan will replace Chuck Collier, Cleveland radio legend, who unexpectedly passed away on September 22, 2011. Collier spent nearly 40 years on-air in Cleveland as part of sister station, WGAR, and WMJI since 2005.

“I’m looking forward to sharing ‘Cleveland’s Greatest Hits’ with Northeast Ohio on a daily basis,” said Nolan. “I have a passion for radio and I am honored to join such a great heritage station in my hometown.”

Of course, that part about replacing Chuck Collier needs an asterisk, as the midday shift on WMJI was actually a second voicetracking job to Chuck’s main role as afternoon driver at country WGAR/99.5.

And in that role, Oak Tree has also announced that fill-in Shotgun Taylor will take WGAR’s afternoon drive slot, and will be permanently heard 2-7 PM weekdays.

Another asterisk here, of course, as “Shotgun Taylor” (as even readers of the Cleveland Plain Dealer now know) is the on-air persona of WGAR program director Charley Connolly…who started voicetracking the station’s evening show in April 2010.

The station says long-time WGAR voice Kat Jackson will be now be heard 7 PM to midnight, though it doesn’t say where she’ll be based.

Kat actually worked at WGAR for a number of years, before heading to sister Washington DC market country station WMZQ as its assistant program director/night personality. She left that station in August

PUPPET JOURNALISM: When we heard that the folks at Reserve Square have been using puppets to re-enact portions of the corruption trial of former Cuyahoga County commissioner Jimmy Dimora, the item almost started writing itself.

Yes, Raycom Media’s Cleveland TV news circus, WOIO/19-WUAB/43’s “19 Action News”, had its newest act. And we’re no stranger to chronicling those acts right here in your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm).

But it’s not quite as simple as that, and “19 Action News” actually has some admirers in the journalistic community for “The Puppet’s Court”…and that’s saying something.

Oh, sure, not everyone’s on board…like associate professor Randy Reeves of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, who tells the Plain Dealer’s John Caniglia:

“It’s entertaining … it’s professionally done, but it’s not news…This is a line I wouldn’t cross. The visual distracts from some pretty serious stuff. Even at the end of the newscast, it’s puppets. I can’t get past that.”

But others make the broader point: in 2012, the federal justice system does not allow cameras or microphones into the courtroom, long after most local jurisdictions have routinely allowed them.

Rubber City Radio VP/information media and long-time OMW reader Ed Esposito makes the point on the website of the Radio-Television Digital News Association:

We should consider the irony that much of the government’s case against Mr. Dimora was built on the same type of technology citizens are denied in seeing justice at work; recorded telephone conversation, video surveillance, the use of computer programs to track transactions and contracts are tools the people’s government (and the defense) have available to present their case. But the tool of the people — the media, through its reporters — cannot use the recordings or actual testimony of those involved because it’s in federal court.

Or as Ed says later:

No free and open society should tolerate someone else pulling the strings otherwise when it comes to the public’s justice system. That is, unless we’re comfortable with the image of Big Bird sending folks to the Big House.

As a local newsie, Esposito is certainly no stranger to the antics at Reserve Square over the years, noting the station’s “aggressive style” in the RTDNA piece.

But he says he has “great respect for the creative vision that uses one of the oldest forms of entertainment (and satire) to not only portray details surrounding one of the biggest public corruption cases to hit Ohio but also make a statement on the federal judiciary’s long-outdated insistence that public understanding of justice is still rooted in the time of Johannes Gutenberg and now the technology employed a thousand years ago by storytellers: puppetry.”

Since it is “19 Action News” we’re talking about here, we’re only surprised that the Puppet Prostitute portrayed in one of the “Puppet Court” segments kept her shirt on…

SPEAKING OF ED: …who’s about to get “Ed’s Corner”, much in the style of another long-time Friend of OMW, WKSU public relations/marketing guru Ann VerWiebe…

Esposito, a veteran Northeast Ohio broadcast journalist, has long had ties with the aforementioned Radio-Television Digital News Association and its educational arm, the Radio-Television Digital News Foundation.

After serving as chairman of both RTDNA and RTDNF, Ed stepped down from direct involvement with the organization…for a while. But he’s back as secretary/treasurer of the RTDNF.

Not that Ed isn’t busy enough, of course, overseeing all news operations for Akron-based Rubber City Radio Group, which owns news/oldies WAKR/1590, rock WONE/97.5 and country WQMX/94.9 in Akron, the news website AkronNewsNow.com, and its latest addition, Cleveland market smooth AC WNWV/107.3 “The Wave”.

The RCRG West Market Street newsroom provides Cleveland news and traffic to “The Wave”, and has recently added its weekly public affairs program “Spectrum” – with a regionally-expanded focus – to the WNWV airwaves.

WNWV itself is temporarily broadcasting from a West Market Street production studio, until making the physical move to a new Independence studio sometime in the spring…

TV CAROUSEL: No, the Carousel of TV Changes hasn’t stopped going around this week.

The latest news on the TV side of things is a word of a new 12 noon co-anchor at Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8’s “Fox 8 News”.

She’s Jennifer Jordan, a New York City TV market veteran most recently seen on CW network affiliate WPIX/11, who’s also been seen on nearly all the other major New York City news operations over the past 10 years.

The New York Daily News had first word of Jordan’s move to Cleveland, and says she’ll start at “Fox 8 News” on January 30th…

TRY, TRY AGAIN: Clear Channel in Cleveland now has a second construction permit for its attempt to mount an FM translator at 99.1.

Long-time OMW readers know that the translator was given the approval to make the move…first from its Lorain-licensed site (W262BN/100.3) to a temporary turn-it-on-for-one-day location in North Ridgeville (W259BI/99.7), to the eventual permanent home for what will apparently become W256BT, the 250 watt 99.1 faciility on the tower of Clear Channel sister station WMJI.

“Not so fast”, the FCC said after issuing the 99.1 construction permit the first time.

That CP was rescinded with a request for more technical documentation, and last week, the newly revised application got another FCC approval.

Though absolutely no information has even been rumored locally, it appears somewhat likely that Clear Channel intends to add 99.1 as a presence on the FM dial for talk WTAM/1100 (“Newsradio WTAM 1100…now on 99.1 FM!”).

Clear Channel has made a number of similar moves recently in other markets, using FM translators to get heritage AM talkers on the FM band with a second signal.

In other markets, the company has blown up underperforming full-power FM stations to provide new FM homes for AM talk formats (Sacramento’s KFBK is the most recent example)… but that’s not an option in Cleveland…

BYE, BYE, MCFLY: A veteran weekend personality at a local country station is heading south.

But it’s not another radio job that has Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 personality George McFly heading for new vistas in Fort Smith, Arkansas.

George’s wife has accepted a new position there with her company, so Saturday, the WQMX personality said “farewell” to his audience, as he’s heading to Arkansas with his family next week.

McFly has certainly had a high profile at the Akron market country powerhouse, and not just on weekends.

George was a regular fill-in for WQMX’s “Wynn & Wilson in the Morning”, and was often called on to work middays, afternoons and nights during the week.

He also served as the videographer and photographer for station events and concerts, and helped the station launch its social media presence.

George McFly tells OMW:

“I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Rubber City Radio Group. To have an owner who supports live and local radio is so awesome.

I need to thank Ken Steel for hiring me and Program Director Sue Wilson for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the success of WQMX.

I will miss my WQMX family and the great listeners who have made me a part of their lives for many years.

Our listeners are one-of-a-kind.. it’s great getting calls from listeners to see how my kids are doing, share things about their life or just to say Hi.

I leave here with so many great memories and hope to one day return to the area. Keep it Real & Keep it Country!”

George can be reached via E-mail, Facebook and Twitter. And in his new Arkansas home market of Fort Smith, McFly hopes to continue his career in country music radio…

The Local Media Scorecard

Yes, as a reader asked, this has indeed been one of the busiest periods of change in Northeast Ohio media…and we’ve been covering that particular topic for some six years and change.

“You can’t tell the players without a scorecard,” so the saying goes, so let’s update the Local Media Scorecard as we write this late on Sunday night…

YES, THERE IS A RUSS: Heading off our scorecard is the debut of Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3’s new evening anchor and managing editor Russ Mitchell, whom you might recognize, possibly, from his 20 year tenure at a little operation known as CBS News.

And it was hard for us not to make the direct comparison between Mitchell’s most recent role – as anchor of the weekend editions of “The CBS Evening News” – to his Sunday night debut on “Channel 3 News”.

As we’ve noted before, Sunday nights are important to local TV stations, and you’ll often see the “weekday” anchor team…especially after ratings grabbing events like NBC’s “Golden Globes” coverage this weekend.

There was some national and international news in Russ Mitchell’s Sunday night mix.

After news of a local apartment building fire, the newscast turned to an update on that grounded Italian cruise ship, and late word that Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman is expected to announce his departure from the race on Monday.

That provided the perfect segue to a live, on set exchange between Mitchell, a veteran of covering national political news, and WKYC’s Tom Beres, a veteran of covering local political news.

What could be the greater role for Mitchell at 13th and Lakeside is that of managing editor, with direct input at very least into the shape of his own newscasts (6 and 11 PM weeknights), and providing journalistic direction to the entire operation.

With that in mind, here’s audio of an interview with Mitchell – conducted last week by Ed Esposito, VP/information media for Akron’s Rubber City Radio Group…home of oldies/news WAKR/1590, rock WONE/97.5, country WQMX/94.9, and recent Cleveland market addition smooth AC WNWV/107.3 “The Wave”.

Oh, and of course, Ed is a long time reader of your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm).

Esposito’s interview with Mitchell was conducted immediately following his appearance on the WAKR “Ray Horner Morning Show”.

And yes, as seen in this picture provided by Esposito, the newly minted WKYC anchor knows the way to Akron now, as he was there in person.

Here’s Mitchell in WAKR’s West Market Street studio, with “Ray Horner Morning Show” news anchor Lindsay McCoy, and Ed…

OTHER CHANGES: It’s hard to escape some of the other changes in Cleveland TV news this coming week. Some of them were even referenced during Mitchell’s first WKYC newscast on Sunday night.

Take, for example, a story by Erin Kennedy, the station’s new morning co-anchor.

Noting that she’d have more Monday on “Channel 3 News Today”, a promo for the newly revamped morning show appeared not long after…featuring Kennedy, new morning co-anchor Chris Tye, and the rest of the morning show crew.

And then, when WKYC sports director Jim Donovan was finished with his sportscast, it was noted that he begins his new tour of duty as “Channel 3 News at 7″ news co-anchor on Monday. Donovan joked that “I’ll change my first name to James” as a news anchor. As noted earlier, Donovan will also remain as WKYC’s sports director.

With all the changes in January alone, is it any wonder viewers may actually be looking for a Cleveland TV news scorecard?

In addition to all the noted changes at WKYC, Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5’s “NewsChannel 5″ has brought on two new morning co-anchors and an 11 PM co-anchor.

Local TV LLC’s Fox affiliate, WJW/8 “Fox 8 News”, lost its long-time evening co-anchor to a family move, replacing her with its long-time morning co-anchor, and replacing her with the morning show’s traffic reporter/midday show co-host.

And stations have brought on new reporters…er…multimedia journalists.

Isn’t it amazing that Raycom Media’s “19 Action News” (CBS affiliate WOIO/19-MyNetwork TV affiliate WUAB/43) is the model of on-air stability in 2012?

And even Reserve Square has added a new morning traffic reporter.

Ashley Johncola’s the former “Face of Fox Toledo” at WUPW/36 in that market, and her old Toledo station is undergoing changes itself, as LIN TV announced its sale to American Spirit Media recently…an operator that is, according to FCC filings, mounting a “Shared Services Agreement” that will end up turning over news operations to Raycom CBS affiliate WTOL/11.

The Toledo Blade has more.

We generally don’t cover Toledo these days, but it sounds a lot to us like what Youngstown ABC affiliate WYTV/33 went through when it was sold to Parkin Broadcasting, with operations ending up at the Sunset Boulevard studios of New Vision CBS affiliate WKBN/27-Fox affiliate WYFX-now-LD/now-19.

If we have readers at “Fox Toledo”, a quick search on “Parkin” in our archives will give you an idea of the likely future. It’s not a pretty picture, and shows a lot of job losses and consolidation…

YOUNGSTOWN DISH DEAL REACHED: Speaking of the New Vision stations, a last minute deal avoided the removal of WKBN, WYTV and WYFX from Dish Network late Sunday night.

Quoting a story on WKBN.com:

New Vision Television (NVT) and the Dish Network have reached an agreement in principle, averting the removal of WKBN-TV, WYTV, and FOX Youngstown, from the satellite provider’s channel lineup starting Monday.

The item says it’ll be a three year deal.

Of course, with New Vision owning or controlling three out of Youngstown’s four commercial TV stations, the only commercial station left on Dish Network without a deal would have been Vindicator NBC affiliate WFMJ/21… alongside Western Reserve PBS’ Youngstown market outlet, WNEO/45…

AND ONE RADIO NOTE: In Sunday night’s news mix at WKYC was a story by anchor and Akron bureau chief Eric Mansfield.

It’s a story we really should have noted earlier, but it ends up with a happy ending for one Akron radio personality who has literally been unable to do her job after a battle with bronchitis.

That’s because Clear Channel hot AC WKDD/98.1 morning co-host Jenn Ryan has basically had no voice the past few weeks…certainly no voice suited for someone who makes her living talking in front of a microphone.

Eric Mansfield’s story notes that Ryan got vocal cord treatment at the Cleveland Clinic…in effect, literally moving her vocal cords back into place. Coughing during Ryan’s bout with bronchitis apparently dislodged what is very vital for a radio personality.

Mansfield – who recently guest co-hosted on the WKDD morning show with Keith Kennedy – notes that Ryan is expected to be back on the air later this week, assuming she gets the OK from her doctor.

And a note to the headline writer on WKYC.com – we’re pretty sure the Clear Channel facilities on Freedom Avenue aren’t in “Cleveland”…and we know that Eric Mansfield himself very much knows the difference.

In the interview with Ed Esposito, Mitchell notes Mansfield as a good example of the kind of anchor who brings reporting skills to the TV news anchor desk…

A Week of Bombshells

There are so many new media news items this week, you’d think your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) was on vacation in a far off land. (That’s our standard statement and rule here at OMW – if we leave town, all heck breaks loose.)

We have more big news from the local TV and radio scenes. We’ll start with radio, since it’s the most recent item…

YOUNGING UP: It would appear that the major changes at CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 “New 102″ are nearly complete.

So, if you’re an AC warhorse like WDOK, and you’re tasked with “younging up” the aging station…and you’ve already started tweaking the music mix…what would be a good move in that direction?

Say, why not move the morning co-host at your younger-skewing sister station, Hot AC WQAL/104.1 “Q104″, over to the 102 side?

That’s exactly what they’ve done at WDOK, as Jen Toohey – until now the co-host of Q104’s “Toohey and Fee” – moves to the other studio at One Radio Lane, paired up with incumbent WDOK, er, “New 102″ host Trapper Jack Elliot and “infoman” Jim McIntyre.

Quoting a station press release:

“A great adventure lies ahead for our new show. To work with Trapper and Jim and be part of the New 102 is so exciting – I can’t wait to get started,” states Toohey.

Toohey comes from sister station Q104 where she co-hosted the “Toohey and Fee Show”. Trapper & Toohey will hit the airwaves from 5:00-10:00AM weekdays, beginning Monday, January 16 and will be heard on-air, streaming online at http://www.new102.com and through the Radio.com app on mobile devices.

Toohey has been on maternity leave from Q104. When she returns to One Radio Lane, let’s hope she walks in the right studio door.

The timing of the announcement is quite, umm, interesting, considering that it was only Monday that co-host Terry Moir announced her departure from the seat across from Trapper Jack, stating that it was due to the desire to cut down her two-job workload and to spend more time with her family.

As far as the business of “New 102″‘s music tweaking, here’s more from the station’s release:

WDOK 102.1 FM is now “The New 102,” Cleveland’s station for AC hits.

“The New 102 means Better Music and more of it. Artists you love like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Adele and Taylor Swift can now be heard along with the best songs from the 80s, 90s and 2000s,” explains Program Director Dave Popovich. “More music means 20 songs in a row during the work day.”

But they aren’t done at One Radio Lane.

First of all, who replaces Toohey alongside Allan Fee on Q104?

Fee announced on his own show on Wednesday morning Toohey’s departure to the other half of CBS Radio Female Audience division, noting that “their show is shorter” and “more attuned to her new baby lifestyle”.

There’s no word of “(Whoever) & Fee” for now. Katherine Boyd has been filling in for Toohey on Q104, but there’s no word if she’s up for the permanent gig. Fee said Wednesday that they’ll have more information next week.

Second, how long is “The New 102″ going to last as a station name?

We still expect the station to install a national CBS brand, perhaps the much rumored “Fresh 102″, at some point in the near future.

And third, what “live and local” show will replace the syndicated “Delilah” in evenings?

We happen to know one of “Delilah”‘s biggest Northeast Ohio fans…and we’re shocked that this woman hasn’t called out the Ohio State Highway Patrol looking for the missing Seattle-based host…

THE TV BOMBSHELLS: The anchor chairs continue to spin at Cleveland TV stations.

As expected, morning “SkyFox” traffic reporter Kristi Capel is indeed coming out of the helicopter at Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8″ and onto the news set, as the new morning co-anchor at “Fox 8 News in the Morning”.

She replaces Tracey McCool, who moved to the evening editions of “Fox 8 News”, replacing Stacey Bell, who moved to New Jersey to be with her professional football coach husband.

Quoting WJW’s release:

“Kristi has been a part of the winning team in the morning with SkyFox traffic and now her role is expanding,” said WJW President and General Manager Greg Easterly. “Her engaging personality adds to and compliments our six-plus hours of local programming in the morning.”

The “Fox 8″ news item also clarifies that Kristi Capel will continue to be seen on the 10 AM show “New Day Cleveland”, where she’ll maintain an as-of-yet unspecified role.

There had been rumors of another traffic anchor coming over to Dick Goddard Way, but those rumors don’t seem to have much to support them for now. For the time being, at least, Rob Tabor is filling in doing “SkyFox Traffic”, though we have no idea if he’s in the helicopter or on the phone from Detroit…

The other existing “Fox 8 News in the Morning” players are unchanged: anchors Wayne Dawson and Stefani Schaefer, “Kickin’ It With Kenny” field reporter Kenny Crumpton, reporter Todd Meany and weather anchor Scott Sabol…

TV BOMBSHELL TWO: With Chris Tye heading to mornings as the new co-anchor of Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3’s morning news program, the question was asked: What about the 7 PM show he’s been co-anchoring with Robin Swoboda?

And we didn’t see the answer coming.

“Channel 3 News” sports director Jim Donovan joins Swoboda, as a news co-anchor, starting next week. And no, he’s not giving up the sports desk.

From our blogging colleague Frank Macek’s “Director’s Cut” blog”:

“Jimmy is more than sports, he’s a great storyteller and an astute interviewer,” stated Brooke Spectorsky, President and General Manager of WKYC. “Channel 3 viewers across the region love his quick wit and passion for his work.”

“Now it’s time for Jim to bring all that energy to a wider range of subjects,” remarked News Director Rita Andolsen. “Jim has always been a news junkie, now he’ll have the chance to expound on that knowledge and cover a lot of big issues facing Northeast Ohio.”

“I’m happy to take on a new challenge,” added Donovan. “We’re going to do some interesting and different things with the 7pm show, and I look forward to working on some very special projects.”

As noted, Donovan will continue to anchor sports at 6 and 11 PM.

And, as far as we know, continue his role as the radio voice of the Cleveland Browns…a job he won’t have to do again until late summer, since the local NFL team stinks on ice and is not in the playoffs, again…

Two TV Notes

And from the world of local TV on this Tuesday…

MORNING GLITCH: The world of morning TV news has quickly become a hotly competitive landscape.

From the days where congenial “Today in Cleveland” hosts Tom Haley and Del Donahoo held forth on a folksy kitchen set on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, the playing field has turned morning news into a multi-hour, multi-anchor extravaganza at all four local TV news operations.

To say “the stakes are high” in local TV morning news would be an understatement. Two local stations are in the process of retooling those shows, which we reported below.

Today, Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 came to that battle…with the syndicated gossip show “TMZ”?

No, the substitution of “TMZ” for the last part of the highly-rated 8 AM hour of “Fox 8 News in the Morning” – an act that’s pretty much the definition of TV station insanity – was not deliberate.

The “Fox 8″ computer systems that run the production of “Fox 8 News in the Morning” failed, and in 2012, you can’t run a complex TV news show without computers in most cases.

While rebooting the ailing system, WJW kept viewers informed about the tech glitch with a prominent, red-colored crawl over “TMZ”, and via Facebook and Twitter from the station’s account and from its morning anchors, notably weather anchor Scott Sabol and news reporter Todd Meany.

That’s a far cry from “WKRP in Cincinnati” news director Les Nessman confidently informing program director Andy Travis that he’d made the station’s off-air status the top story on a newscast no one heard.

We imagine the decision to keep the station on the air with “TMZ” was made at the very last minute, though we’d have gone with a less controversial choice like repeats of “New Day Cleveland” (with co-host Kristi Capel from “Fox 8 News in the Morning”), if possible.

Assured that the computer systems would likely behave, “Fox 8 News in the Morning” resumed at 9 AM. After a glitch or two…the rest of the show went off without a hitch.

Why is this worthy of such treatment here on the Mighty Blog(tm) this morning?

See our opening lines here.

There is a LOT of money attached to morning TV news these days. There’s a reason shows extend from 4:30 AM to as late as 10 AM (for “Fox 8 News”) these days.

As a noted bank robber supposedly said when asked why he robbed banks…”that’s where the money is”.

And while the folks at Dick Goddard Way were crossing their fingers and hoping the computer systems would return to normal, they were hoping that folks wouldn’t find the other morning news options on the TV dial…though channels 3, 5 and 19 were limited in local news updates due to the presence of the network morning shows…

NEOTROPOLIS: Western Reserve PBS’ business-oriented show, “NEOtropolis”, is getting another overhaul.

The show is getting the third host in its three year history, Luke Frazier, and a new time slot, Tuesday nights at 9 PM on the main Western Reserve PBS stations, WNEO/45.1 Alliance and WEAO/49.1 Akron. It’s generally been seen in some combination with the local public affairs roundtable “NewsNite” (nee’ “NewsNight Akron”) on Friday evenings.

According to a Western Reserve PBS press release helpfully provided to us by station OMW Handler Diane Steinert (we’re sure she has a better title than that):

The third season of NEOtropolis has been re-envisioned with a broader content scope, focused on helping Northeast Ohioans make sense of the forces of change that impact our lives. The series will continue to explore the region, but the net is widened.

The show’s focus will be on changes including technology, globalization and diversity.

Host Luke Frazier is, according to the station release, “an award-winning public radio reporter and producer who currently produces and co-hosts Civic Commons Radio, a weekly public affairs program.”

Social media expert Kathleen Colan, who we’re pretty sure is a follower of the OMW Twitter presence, will report on “social media feedback and trends” as part of an expanded social media presence on “NEOtropolis”, which will stream live at not only the show’s website, but on Facebook.

“NEOtropolis” will get an early Saturday repeat at 3:30 PM on 45.1/49.1, and will also air on the Western Reserve Public Media “Fusion” subchannel 45.2/49.2 Thursdays at 10:30 PM. and Saturdays at 5 PM….


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