Standoff Disrupts Lorain County Broadcasters

An overnight standoff with a man who left a Lorain County mental hospital, then holed himself up in an Oberlin barn before committing suicide early this morning, was also a problem for two area radio stations.

Regular OMW reader Nathan Obral tells us that the standoff location along U.S. 20 was “within shouting distance” of two locally co-owned stations, country WOBL/1320 and oldies WDLW/1380. That meant that not only could the stations’ two morning hosts not even get into the studios to do their regular shows – Jeff Vietzen for WOBL and Rich Kelly for WDLW – but the stations’ news departments were also unable to get on the air and report on the situation. Because they weren’t facing the same problem, WEOL/930’s Colleen O’Neill and WTAM/1100’s Greg Saber were able to cover the standoff.

Local authorities also closed the nearby Lorain County Joint Vocational School.

Nathan tells us that since both WOBL and WDLW were running on automation when the standoff situation began, they at least were able to remain on the air… even if they weren’t able to “go live” until nearly 10 AM.

Report: Jim Meltzer Out at Clear Channel/Cleveland

AllAccess is reporting tonight that long-time Clear Channel Cleveland market manager and regional VP/GM Jim Meltzer has left the building. They quote Meltzer: “I had a great run and we built some really great properties.”

The trade website reports that the company’s central region senior VP/GM, Bill Gentry, is looking for Meltzer’s replacement.

Watch 19 Action News Wednesday Night – OR DIE!!!!!


OK, so it’s a standard ratings-grabbing attempt by local TV news operations, and Cleveland CBS affiliate WOIO/19 isn’t the first to do it for its “19 Action News”. But this one is especially over the top.

As videotape of various people standing at exploding, fiery gas pumps rolls, 19’s promo announcer implores you that the station will have “THE ONE THING YOU CAN DO TO SAVE YOUR LIFE”… in its report Wednesday night on “19 Action News” called “KILLER PUMPS”.

Presumably, the only way you can save yourself from catching on fire or getting killed at the gas pumps is to wait until Wednesday, and wait for the helpful folks at WOIO to give you that piece of crucial information.

Or, perhaps you can use common sense, and follow the instructions that are put up by nearly every gas pump in America. You know, stuff like don’t use electronic equipment by the pump, and more importantly, don’t build up static electricity by going back and forth between the inside of your car and the pump.

There. We saved you from having to endure the over-the-top “WATCH 19 ACTION NEWS OR DIE” hype. It’s a public service, courtesy of OMW…

A Taste of Jim Rome

Some time ago, Salem Cleveland sportstalker WKNR/850 proudly announced that they’d be running a replay of Premiere midday host Jim Rome’s show at 12 midnight each night. Some of us apparently assumed incorrectly that Rome’s show would air in its entirety, from midnight to 3 AM.

Not true, night owls.

We heard this once before, but have verified it tonight. ‘KNR’s overnight “Rome Replay” is better titled “A Taste of Rome”. The station squeezes the show into a much smaller time slot than a full 3 hour replay. The first time we heard this, Rome’s replay ended at 1:30 AM (!!), just in time to make way for…you guessed it…an infomercial.

This early Tuesday morning, WKNR played the first segment of Rome’s first hour from Monday. After a very brief commercial (promo) break, just 25 minutes later, they began the second hour replay of Monday’s show. Assuming this wasn’t a computer glitch, it sounds like they’re hurrying things along for a 1 AM infomercial.

Anyone expecting to catch the full Jim Rome show on WKNR in overnights is apparently going to be disappointed. We checked the schedule on WKNR’s sparse website, and it lists nothing after Kenny Roda’s afternoon drive show…thus reflecting the thoughts of many sports radio listeners in the market, that 850 basically shuts down after 7 PM weekdays (except for an Ohio State game or two).

It’s not like we can blame SportsTalk 850 for going after that easy overnight infomercial money…we just expected to get Romey in his entirety. But we’re likely to raise the ire of the station’s management again with this entry.

As we told them the last time they complained…if anyone attaches any credibility to our words here, it’s entirely up to them. Though they apparently feel particularly attacked by us, we’ve mentioned many times that there’s a lot we enjoy out of WKNR. (Scroll down a page or so to read just one example.) We’ll mention another right here – we think station regular Neil Bender did a very capable job filling in for Kenny Roda on the Friday after Thanksgiving, and as mentioned below, he was our final choice on the radio dial that afternoon.

If you can’t take our criticism, well, you don’t have to answer us. OMW makes its motivation quite clear, and basically, while we do our best to strive for accuracy… we’re just a blog with an opinion or two. That’s all. We do not represent OMW as the Be All and End All of Media News and Opinion in this region, and never have. Any “swagger” you think you’re reading here is entirely tongue in cheek, and always has been.

It’s the Internet, after all. Take what you read with a box of salt.

"Tim, Dick, Robin And Casey – Together Again"

A brief promo for WJW/8’s “FOX 8 News In The Morning” implies something of a one-day reunion of a former long-time station on-air team during Monday’s show…anchors Tim Taylor and Robin Swoboda, weatherman Dick Goddard and sportscaster Casey Coleman. (You can also see a graphic promoting this at FOX 8’s website.)

We’re not sure what’s up here. For one, Taylor and Goodard work together every night on FOX 8 News at 6. And Casey Coleman’s current health situation is well-known…we’ll be thrilled if he’s able to come in to the FOX 8 studios tomorrow even for a brief appearance. Or, perhaps WJW will send out a camera crew to his suburban Cleveland home. On today’s Cleveland Browns Radio Network broadcast, Jim Donovan noted briefly that Casey was “feeling well”, and WTAM’s web page updating Casey’s condition would appear to confirm that…that obstacles to some of his cancer therapy seem to be in the past for now.

Robin Swoboda, of course, recently left the morning co-host position at Salem Cleveland CCM WFHM/95.5 “The Fish” for family reasons, and it’ll be good to see her make such a visit as well.

Anyway, just a heads up from this corner…perhaps Tim Taylor’s recent retirement announcement got folks waxing nostalgic up on South Marginal Drive, and they arranged this visit…

Here A Game, There A Game…Everywhere But…

It was an interesting afternoon looking for talk radio on the Northeast Ohio radio scene this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. Almost everyone was out of their regular schedule, carrying a football or basketball game.

* WTAM/1100 afternoon motormouth Mike Trivisonno was not heard on The Big One…instead, the Cleveland Clear Channel talker carried a college football game of some sort. (We can’t remember who was playing, but we THINK it was Nebraska vs. Colorado.)

* On Akron market talker WNIR/100.1, the voice of play-by-play man Bill Needle was heard, via telephone, from South Padre Island TX, as the Kent State Golden Flashes men’s basketball team took on Rutgers.

* On Clear Channel talker WHLO/640 in Akron, we believe it was the Kent State women’s basketball team in action. (All of this is starting to run together.)

* On CC sister liberal talker WARF/1350 “Radio Free Ohio” in Akron, your Akron University women’s basketball Zips took on Cleveland State.

Would you believe who was NOT carrying any sports play-by-play on Friday?

Hang on, we’ll wait.

You guessed it, the Cleveland market’s only sports format radio station, Salem’s WKNR/850. Instead of sports action of any sort, the mighty ‘KNR featured…its regular afternoon sports talk show, with station staffer Neil Bender filling in for afternoon drive host Kenny Roda.

And oddly enough, the only OTHER sports format radio station in the region, MediaCom east suburban rimshot Fox Sports Radio affiliate WJMP/1520 Kent, was also running sports talk instead of play-by-play, with FSR’s Scott Ferrall filling in for afternoon driver Chris Myers. (We don’t expect much out of WJMP, and we don’t believe it even gets sports play-by-play overflow from sister station WNIR.)

Believe it or not, as a listener, we’ll give this nod to WKNR. Here at OMW Central, we didn’t really have a lot of interest in an out-of-market college football game, or any of the local college basketball offerings…so we ended up with Mr. Bender on our radio on Friday afternoon. We just thought it was odd that sports play-by-play was all over the dial on talk radio stations, while sports-formatted stations were doing regular sports talk…

More Indians/ONN Stuff

Plain Dealer sports/media columnist Roger Brown does some more musing today on the prospect of cable’s Ohio News Network (ONN) picking up the Indians TV deal this season.

This time, Roger speculates that ONN is hoping to ride the Indians’ success on the field to prominence on Ohio’s cable television lineups. Presumably, this would come in some parts of the state at the expense of the Cincinnati Reds, a team which we suppose Roger believes would lose long-time fans because the Reds stink and the Indians could be headed back to World Series Land.

We’ve heard of reaches before, but this one crosses a few counties.

One thing we did think about while sharing this news with a relative who has satellite TV at home…to the best of our knowledge, ONN is NOT carried by either DirecTV or Dish Network. They only carry the local over-air stations, and FSN Ohio. If ONN picks up the Tribe, they’d surely want the satellite audience in Ohio, no? We haven’t heard any rumblings that ONN is even aware of this potential problem…and the Indians 2006 season is not THAT far away.

One would also presume that the Dispatch Broadcast Group folks in Columbus – ONN’s owners, not the state of Ohio, Roger – would want more money from both satellite and cable operators to cover the reported cost of picking up the Indians broadcasts. And as more than one OMW reader noted, Time Warner…just months away from becoming Northeast Ohio’s most prominent cable operator…carries ONN on a digital channel. (119, if we remember right.)

In all, there are lots of hurdles ahead in this deal as far as potential viewers are concerned. OMW hopes the Indians are aware of that.