We Thought They Only Did That At Beacon Broadcasting

From AllAccess.com today:

THREE TREES COMMUNICATIONS Christian Top 40 (THE HOOK) WWWD/MACON, GA and simulcast sister WJYF/VALDOSTA, GA has rolled out a brand new fall on air lineup and, for the first time ever, the station is live in every daypart. The changes all began last weekend when THE HOOK stunted with an ALL APOLOGIES, ALL APOLOGETIX WEEKEND as they played songs by the Christian parody band APOLOGETIX.

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Tell us, Mahoning Valley OMW readers…has Michael “Angel” Arch been spotted slipping out the back of WANR/1570 Warren’s Courthouse Square studios, heading south towards Georgia? Or, maybe he’s offering format change consulting services to CCM stations in other markets. Hmm…

Toledo and Mansfield – The Sequel

Touching on the western edge of the OMW coverage area:

* AllAccess reports that long-time Toledo radio personality Denny Schaffer is heading south. The WSPD/1370 afternoon host, who’s also been heard on “KISS FM” in that market, moves to Clear Channel Atlanta talker WGST/640, where he’ll take the open midday slot starting in early October. Among other folks who’ve been heard in that slot – “The Regular Guys”, a former Los Angeles team who returned to an FM morning gig in the Atlanta market recently, creating the opening. OMW notes that Denny’s got a big job on his hands…the WGST midday slot is up against WSB/Cox/Jones superstar Neal Boortz, who basically owns Atlanta talk radio. When WGST ran Premiere’s Glenn Beck up against Boortz, well, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty for Beck.

* The first confirmation that Mansfield “KISS FM” combo 98.3 and 107.7 are going to simulcast classic rock “The Fox” (WGLN/102.3 Galion) is on this new website for “The Fox Rock Network”…where 98.3 and 107.7 are now clearly visible on the new “Fox” logo…

WEWS "NewsChannel 5", It’s Your Turn

News flash: OMW doesn’t just have WOIO/19 in its sights.

A lack of sleep this morning, and curiosity about Hurricane Katrina, has us up at this early hour, and our TiVo landed on WEWS/5. (One of our regular rotating recordings is of ABC’s “World News Now”.)

Like almost all stations these days, “NewsChannel 5” has that ever, um, helpful news headline crawl…the TV invention borne out of the need to feed us extra information after the 9/11 attacks. Unlike WOIO, which uses the crawl on all of its newscasts, WEWS seems to limit it to “Good Morning Cleveland”, which we never see because we’re not usually awake at this hour.

It’s not the news headlines which bother us. It’s not the helpful 5 day forecast. No, it’s the self-promotion.

On this morning’s crawl, verbatim (thank you, TiVo!):

“YOU’RE WATCHING NEWSCHANNEL 5, HOME OF THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW. ON TODAY’S SHOW…GET YOUNGER AND HEALTHIER! TURN BACK THE CLOCK ON AGING WITH THE LATEST, MOST CRITICAL INFORMATION. AND, WHAT ARE THE THREE THINGS YOU NEED TO DO IN THE BATHROOM? WE’RE GOING THERE. THAT’S TODAY AT FOUR ON OPRAH, FOLLOWED BY LIVE ON FIVE.”

No, as Dave Barry might say if he were still doing his syndicated humor column, “we’re not making this up”. We get the feeling that if Hurricane Katrina were to somehow make it up here as a full-fledged 150 MPH-plus storm, the “NewsChannel 5” crawl would contain both crucial information and a plug for today’s Oprah, complete with a lengthy list of topics. Frankly, we don’t really need to know what “three things you need to do in the bathroom”…

Mansfield CC Cluster Moves

On the far-southwest end of OMW’s Sphere of Influence:

OMW hears that two “KISS FM Mid-Ohio” air talents are moving to Mansfield Clear Channel sister WYHT/105.3 (“Y105”), which is currently a Hot AC station. Making the move will be Nathan Tyler and Marty Scott, both voicetracking in from CC’s Columbus cluster. Tyler does overnights and weekends for there for WNCI/97.9, and Scott is also based there, doing weekend shifts.

The move is revitalizing the Mansfield/Ashland Radio Rumor Mill. Speculation has focused on a shift from Hot AC to CHR for Y105, and a subsequent format change (or changes?) to the KISS FM combo, a dual-signal station at 98.3/Fredericktown and 107.7/Loudonville. We’re not able to get a good bead on what might replace CHR on the 98.3/107.7 combo, or if the stations will even continue to simulcast. If OMW were at the Radio Betting Window, we’d put a $20 down on 98.3 and 107.7 becoming classic rock “The Fox”, perhaps becoming stations two and three simulcast with WGLN/102.3 Galion…already in the format.

With the move of the “KISS” air talent to Y105, a format change towards CHR, or at least some music tweaking, seems possible for that station.

At one time, long ago, WBZW/107.7 in Loudonville was a locally-owned smooth jazz station, and actually targetted nearby Wooster…as a competitor to Dix’s country WQKT/104.5, which now only competes locally with WKLM/95.3 Millersburg (not counting large Cleveland, Akron and Canton signals heard well in Wooster).

Two Youngstown Cumulus Changes – WHOT and Rock 104

A pretty reliable source clues OMW into some changes at two Cumulus/Youngstown stations.

Our Mahoning Valley source tells us that WWIZ/103.9 “Rock 104” program director Jim Loboy is out of that post, and has moved over to the morning producer position at sister CHR WHOT/101.1 “Hot 101″…for long-time morning team “AC and Kelly”.

Rock 104’s Matt Spatz reportedly takes over as program director of the Cumulus rocker. (And OMW knows that Matt has been spotted on the various local radio message boards in the past, so if he’d like to drop us a line, we’d love to hear from him about what he has planned for Rock 104…)

More On That Toledo TV Thing

There’s a good reason OMW doesn’t touch on media news out of Toledo often – we don’t really know the market.

A correction to our earlier report regarding Raycom Media (owner of WOIO/19 and WUAB/43 in Cleveland) and its merger with Liberty… it turns out that Raycom already owns Toledo NBC affiliate WNWO/24. Local media watchers there say it’s likely that the newly merged Raycom will have to sell one of the two stations it’ll end up with – the other being Liberty’s WTOL/11. It’s expected by most that WNWO will be on the Raycom chopping block because of the merger.

Though Raycom says it’ll apply for a waiver, it isn’t considered likely to be granted, according to an article in the Toledo Blade newspaper. TV duopoly ownership rules apparently don’t permit one company owning both stations in a market the size of Toledo, but Raycom is allowed the duopoly in Cleveland with 19 and 43.

Browns Preseason: Week 3

OMW realizes that WOIO/19 is basically an easy target. We’re trying, as we continue to grow this blog, not to take too many pot shots at the local CBS affiliate…even if they deserve pretty much all of them.

So, we’ll open our look at the third Browns preseason TV telecast on a positive note.

* The team of Sam Rosen, Bob Golic and Brian Brennan is meshing well. And in his second week as a “co-analyst”, after the disaster that was week one’s play-by-play role, former Browns defensive lineman and WNIR afternoon host Golic was insightful, not just funny. For the first time this preseason, we got “off camera” information that really helped to understand what was going on, on the field between the Browns and the Carolina Panthers. (But, don’t lose the humor, Bob! Especially if a game turns into a blowout, which we worry will happen a lot this season with the Browns, the humor is darn near necessary to keep people watching.) Golic wasn’t perfect this week – for one, he didn’t realize until being corrected by Brennan that having too few men on the field wouldn’t result in a penalty – but it was, in general, a solid effort.

* 19 Action News anchor Sharon Reed turned in a pretty solid sideline performance, with much less of the fluff we saw from her in week one. 19 sports director Chuck Galeti also did well. Someone must have gotten out the word that actual, well, information was key, not just self-promoting and clowning. Good work.

All in all, it was a decent performance for WOIO in its third game as the Browns preseason home.

But – and you knew there’d be a but, didn’t you? – there was one thing that bothered us, and it had nothing to do with the on-air performance of the massive WOIO Browns Coverage Team.

At OMW World Domination Headquarters in northwest Akron, we have digital cable and high-definition service from Adelphia. Though we actually haven’t managed to buy a full-fledged HDTV set, we always watch shows on the digital/HD channel wherever possible, since the picture quality is outstanding even on our 32″ Toshiba analog set…being fed from the cable box (Scientific Atlanta 8000HD) in down-converted 480i via a component video link. (If you don’t understand any of that, trust us, it looks good.)

But of all the local over-air digital TV stations, WOIO-DT always looks the worst, when it comes to airing upconverted SD (standard definition) programming. We suspect some of this is because WOIO apparently has no digital equipment in its Reserve Square studios (SD, HD or whatever), and that it takes the final analog output from its switcher and feeds it directly into the upconverter. The result, and 19’s general picture settings, means a washed out picture even in digital mode…which looks like someone there turned up the contrast way too high.

In the Browns game broadcast last night, the WOIO-DT version showed some problems with the upconverting from analog to digital. It was intermittent, but at times, live action looked like it was off in terms of the frame rate, and the video almost took on a film quality…or at least, it appeared even the live action was run through the same filter stations use to produce promos of stutter-stepping football players.

It didn’t last the entire game, but it was enough at one point to drive OMW to Adelphia’s analog cable channel 4.

We’re told by others that this is an ongoing problem with WOIO-DT, and has been seen in other programming, including “19 Action News”. (Note: When WOIO’s digital signal reproduces CBS’s prime time HDTV programming, it looks fine. And more good news for HDTV fans – OMW has learned that CBS’ “Late Show with David Letterman” will broadcast in high-definition starting on Monday!)

And our final Browns preseason TV note: this word on the ratings for week one and two, courtesy of the Browns media staff:

“Despite a 90-minute inclement weather delay in the preseason opener against the New York Giants on August 13th, the game, which began at 8 p.m. and did not end until after midnight, had a 15.4 rating and a 29 share.

The second game in Detroit against the Lions on August 20th kicked-off at 1 p.m. and produced a 15.9 rating and 39 share, which was the highest rated show that day by 50%.

Both games were the highest rated television program in the city of Cleveland each week.”