Our 2 Item Weekend Year-End Menu

Just a couple of items to close out the new year…

* Regular readers of this Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) know that we always give you a heads up when we leave town, as big things tend to happen in local media when we’re out of town. We didn’t know our power extended to the world of local sports.

It’s been a wild ride today for local TV and radio sportscasters, upon word from ESPN’s Chris Mortenson that the Cleveland Browns were going to fire VP/GM Phil Savage. The news even pulled WTAM afternoon drive host Mike Trivisonno away from his Texas Hold ‘Em computer poker game on his vacation…to do his show live this afternoon.

As it turns out, as we update this blog at about 6:30 PM on Friday evening, it sounds like Phil Savage is NOT being fired by the Browns. Triv’s in-studio appearance included a 6:10 PM phone call from Browns president John Collins, who says Savage “has not been” and “will not be” fired.

We’ll leave the details for the sports types, but we note that the news brought the first working on-air appearance for sportscaster Casey Coleman – via phone – since his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. There was a lot of confusion and a LOT going on behind the scenes at Browns HQ, and Coleman even was told by HIS sources that Savage was gone, and that an Atlanta Falcons staffer was going to come to the team to take his place.

No matter what, it was a very good thing to hear Casey Coleman’s voice back on WTAM, if only for a few moments. On a show earlier this week, Triv kept asking listeners to “pray for Casey Coleman”, repeatedly…so we were worried about the worst, frankly. While we can’t speak to his health, Casey sounded fine over the phone in his brief appearance.

We’d tell you how Salem sportstalk WKNR/850 did with the news, but WKNR’s web streaming has been down since the station’s deal with SportsTalkCleveland.com ended. And we’re a few hundred miles out of the station’s broadcast range.

* Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron finally gets a much-needed new coat of digital paint on its website. It looks to us like the new site – based on a Clear Channel template used by many stations – will allow the station to put up more content and features.

In case nothing else happens before the first of the year, we’d like to thank you for a wonderful 2005 for Your Very Own Mighty Blog of Fun(tm). The input from readers has been much appreciated. We’re not entirely sure what form this missive will take in 2006, or if it’ll even last the year.

There is a chance that your OMW primary editorial voice will move out of Northeast Ohio by spring 2006 or so, but we still could maintain this blog from remote…as we are this evening. We’ll keep you up to date.


Elyria/Lorain Talker Picking Up Another Talk "Big Name"?

UPDATE (12/29/05 10:25 PM) – WEOL’s website now confirms Sean Hannity is indeed that pixelated and fuzzy host pictured below, and that he’s coming to the station’s lineup. They don’t yet confirm a live 3-5 PM or 3-6 PM placement.


One of our regular tipsters – Lorain County resident Nathan Obral – noticed this picture on the front of talk WEOL/930 Elyria’s webpage:

Underneath what appears to be a picture of ABC Radio/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity, appear the words “Guess who’s coming to WEOL?”

It doesn’t take Lt. Columbo or Adrian Monk to figure out that it appears likely Hannity’s show will end up displacing WJR/Detroit-based talker Mitch Albom on the WEOL schedule, probably after the first of the year.

It’d be the second such move by the Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting-owned station in the past year. The talker picked up Premiere’s Glenn Beck shortly after he lost his clearance on Clear Channel talk powerhouse WTAM/1100 in Cleveland. And the addition of Hannity means WEOL will once again be the second regional outlet for a major national talk radio host not heard in the main part of the Cleveland market. Clear Channel Akron talker WHLO/640 also picked up Beck, and has run Hannity in afternoon drive for some time. (WHLO did not debut its current talk format with Hannity’s show in afternoon drive, by the way. That slot was actually first filled by a delayed broadcast of Rush Limbaugh.)

Lorain County IS actually in the Cleveland metro Arbitron market, but is not a full market signal for Cleveland at 1000 directional watts. It’s mostly a West Side phenomenon.

The “Guess who’s coming” question was also employed by WEOL before Beck’s addition to the schedule, only the picture featured Glenn Beck’s logo.

We’re actually surprised WEOL didn’t make this move sooner. Albom’s syndication by ABC Radio ended some time ago, and he’s been selling the show himself out of WJR. And Albom’s home station is widely heard in Northern Ohio…and has a powerful 50,000 watt signal that booms across Lake Erie into Lorain/Elyria.

One unanswered question – does this mean the end of WEOL’s local 5 PM newsmagazine “5 O’clock World”? That’s where staffer Larry Wright ended up on the schedule after WEOL picked up Glenn Beck, once “The Other Side of Morning Drive” was wiped out by the move. It’s possible that the station will run two live hours of Hannity and keep the local 5 PM show….it’s certainly been done at other Hannity affiliates, including one which used to employ a certain OMW primary editorial voice…

He’s Still Filling In

When Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370 program director/afternoon drive host Brian Wilson took that gig recently, he was most known in talk radio for his regular fill-ins for stations across the country. It looks like that’s continuing.

Wilson is filling in this week for WBAP/Dallas-Ft. Worth mainstay Mark Davis, both on his local show, and his new ABC Radio syndicated midday show. (The show doesn’t air in Northeast Ohio as far as we know, but is available via ABC’s satellite radio “News and Talk” channel.)

While Wilson is electronically transporting his voice to the DFW Metroplex, he’ll be replaced on the air in Toledo in this week between Christmas and New Years. Among his fill-ins on WSPD are local TV newsman Kevin Milliken (WNWO NBC 24), and one of the weather folks at that same station. Tomorrow’s show will feature an interview with one of that fill-in host’s competitors, WTOL/11 (CBS) meteorologist Dave Carlson.

We’re not very familiar with the Toledo TV market, but we’re told Carlson is retiring after some 33 years in the city…making him basically their equivalent of Cleveland’s Dick Goddard, who’s been forecasting snow, rain and some occasional sun in the Cleveland market for one year longer than OMW’s primary editorial voice has even been on this earth!

Our best to Mr. Carlson as he hangs up his forecasting hat.

WCER/Canton’s "Patriot News Hour" – YIPES!

Driving in the afternoon near Belden Village Mall, the OMW Mobile was close enough to Canton to get a car radio to stop on that market’s talk/religious WCER/900, still promoting itself on-air as “News/Talk WCER 900”.

OMW can’t remember what USED to be on the station at 3 PM, but the show we heard Tuesday afternoon is definitely an oddity in the mainstream news/talk world.

According to WCER’s website, the show is called “The Patriot News Hour w/ Jim and Eric Cederstrom”.

Anyone landing on WCER looking for even TRN’s Jerry Doyle would be drawn away by this. Now, OMW’s primary editorial voice is not quite WCER’s target audience…we’re more into mainstream secular talk (of all viewpoints), and WCER, even in a turn trying some secular talk, is still positioning itself to Christian lifestyle listeners with strong conservative-leaning viewpoints…some of them, we’d presume, would be a target audience for this sort of program.

But the show’s production values are awful. The hosts are feeding their program via an unequalized phone line that sounds even worse than WNIR’s weekend remotes or that station’s occasional Bob Golic Out Of Town show. Maybe we’re not the best judge of the show, since the content seems to be heavy on conspiracy theory talk laced with ads for companies selling gold…but it’s bad.

It’s the kind of show that normally airs on commercial shortwave outlets like WWCR/Nashville TN, where the station sells the airtime to the show’s producers to reach a small audience of hobbyist shortwave listeners. It’s so bad that the one and only Dr. Laura may be a *relief* to listeners at 4 PM, and that’s saying a lot.

For now, we continue to tab WCER with the “talk/religious” format description. When we first heard the station, it was promoting a 15 minute morning session reading the Holy Bible…in which they’d read the entire Bible over the course of a year. The Canton station is an interesting mix of secular conservative talk and religion…something Christian-oriented Salem doesn’t really do much on its local secular talker, WHK/1420 Cleveland.

Rover Loses An Affiliate, Ready To Gain Many More

Alternative rocker WMAD/96.3 Madison WI has flipped to country as “Star Country 96.3”. WisconsinBroadcasting.com has audio of the change, and of a goodbye message from station program director Brad Savage.

And yes, CBS Radio alt-rock WXTM/92.3 Cleveland’s “Rover’s Morning Glory” is among those mentioned in the goodbye message…as the Madison station was one of the first two affiliates for the show fronted by Shane “Rover” French. (The other – Columbus’ WAZU/107.1, also known as “The Big Wazoo”.)

Rover and his jolly morning gang are packing their bags for Chicago, where the Radio Dog will be barking from CBS talk WCKG/105.9 “Free FM” starting next week. While keeping WXTM on the Rover Roster as an affiliate, the show will also add a number of other stations next week…including markets such as Detroit, Cincinnati, Rochester and Memphis. The complete list is on Rover’s website, though they haven’t taken WMAD off the affiliate roster yet.

BREAKING NEWS: Other Indians TV Shoe Drops

(UPDATED: 12/26/05, 12:35 PM)

The second part of the Cleveland Indians’ new TV deal has now been officially announced.

As expected, it’s Time Warner Cable that’ll be the Tribe’s new cable TV partner starting in 2006, with what the team calls a “non-exclusive” contract to carry the 150 regular season and 8 Spring Training games tabbed for cable TV. The Indians-connected “Fastball Sports Productions” – a new company owned by the team’s ownership group – will also offer the games to other cable providers in the team’s television territory, and to both major satellite providers.

The team is hoping for “100 percent” coverage of the cable/satellite territory formerly covered by long-time team cable partner FSN Ohio…and says they’ll get about half of that already with the expanded Time Warner Cable footprint in the region.

As announced earlier, Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 will air 20 over-air games…the first time the team’s been on broadcast TV for years. WKYC will also produce all of those games in high definition, and will produce the rest of the team’s schedule for “Fastball”, which isn’t being announced as the over-air name of the team’s new channel.

What will that channel include?

An Indians.com article on the new network by Anthony Castrovince notes that “(game) distribution is key” for the team right now, and that the network won’t be a 24/7 offering in the early going…but quotes Indians president Paul Dolan as saying “(o)ur goal is to get to a point where it is a full-time regional sports network with full-time programming.”

The games are expected to air on TWC’s existing local programming channel (cable channel 23) and similar channels on other cable systems during the 2006 season…with satellite providers carrying the games on one of their “occasional” channels.

And that brings us to a still-unanswered question. What happens if the Time Warner deal to purchase the local Adelphia and Comcast systems doesn’t happen before the first pitch on the Fastball-produced network? Will those poor souls left still under the Adelphia and Comcast banner – and we’re talking about your friends right here at OMW – be able to see the Indians?

We’d be shocked if they didn’t offer up the games on the Adelphia and Comcast systems, for they comprise the largest part of the Cleveland cable TV footprint. We’d expect Adelphia, for example, to offer the games on local channel 15 until TWC takes over and rejiggers the local lineups. With the presence of 8 Spring Training games, the Indians’ TV venture will likely start before TWC takes control of Adelphia and Comcast systems locally.

OMW also notes that the Tribe plans an over-air TV network in addition to WKYC/3, that will air the 20 games tabbed for broadcast television. One presumes that stations in Columbus, Youngstown/Warren, and perhaps Toledo will be involved. The Indians release also says the team expects to air “all” games in HDTV at some point, though it notes that only the WKYC games are definitely expected to be in HD for now.

Santa Bob

Spotted on the always interesting “Browns Tonight” on WOIO/19 this Christmas Night… look who’s playing Santa! It’s “Santa Bob” Golic!

Too bad the former Browns defensive star and WNIR/100.1 afternoon drive talk show host couldn’t come down the chimney and deliver his former team a win against Pittsburgh on Saturday. Ouch. Don’t talk to us about that one for a while…