WRTK/1540 "Rejoicing" In New Format

Well, HERE’S something different, at any rate.

100000watts.com reports that Beacon Broadcasting’s WRTK/1540 Niles has flipped from urban to black gospel, using ABC’s “Rejoice” 24 hour format – also known as “Musical Soul Food”.

Not like it’s a surprise to us here at OMW, of course. In fact, we predicted months ago that this is what Beacon owner Harold Glunt would do with the Youngstown-market daytimer. Glunt hung onto the station’s urban format long after he purchased the station, declining to flip it to a simulcast with “family friendly” oldies WANR/1570 Warren, WLOA/1470 Farrell PA and WGRP/940 Greenville PA.

The black gospel format fits perfectly within Glunt’s operation, which also includes Christian rocker WEXC/107.1 Greenville PA (“The Freq 107”). And Glunt’s hooked up with ABC 24 hour formats in the past, as WANR ran ABC’s “Memories, Unforgettable Favorites” shortly after Beacon regained control of the station from a group headed by Don Hanni III, which was running Air America liberal talk on the frequency.

We haven’t run over to the Youngstown/Warren market to hear the new WRTK format yet, but we assume Beacon is also running local paid religious programming as well…


Frustration – Our Own "Rants"

In the past week, OMW’s mostly resembled the classic Bill Murray movie “Groundhog Day”…what, with our menu pretty much limited to the same topics over and over again – SportsTime Ohio’s affiliates, David Lee Roth’s radio show, and the upcoming “Cleveland Rants” co-production between Fox Sports Net Ohio and Salem’s Cleveland sports talker, WKNR/850.

But that’s about all that’s going on right now, so we apologize for another “Rants” entry…and apologize for OMW looking like the background to a “Flintstones” cartoon – rock, tree, house, rock, tree, house, Dino, rock, tree, house…we’re actively looking for other stuff to talk about!

Anyway, WKNR has finally gotten around to putting a note about “Rants” on its website…after days and days of constant on-air promotion about the new “alternative” Indians post-game show, scheduled to start on Opening Day…

The mention on WKNR’s website once again calls “Rants” the show where there’s “no managed message”…implying, of course, that “official” post-game shows on WTAM/1100 and SportsTime Ohio are handing down the team’s Message from On High.

But whenever they added the “Rants” plug, and the picture above of WKNR’s Neil Bender and FSN Ohio’s Les Levine, the WKNR folks STILL HAVEN’T FIXED THE WEB STREAMING LINK!

That’s right, the problem we outlined some time back is still there. An unvarnished MP3 file link for live, continuing audio leads most browsers to trouble. Even if we set things up to hand off the MP3 link to WinAmp, which is built to handle MP3 live streaming, it fails. The only thing that works is directly entering the MP3 URL into WinAmp’s “Open URL” dialog.

It’s a bit frustrating, when your Primary Editorial Voice can figure this out on a blog, and the station isn’t paying attention to it at all…and we know we could help fix this if we were in that loop…

Another STO Update – This Time Over-Air

In addition to the list of cable providers mentioned below, SportsTime Ohio has announced agreements with stations in the Columbus market (WWHO/UPN) and Erie PA market (WICU/NBC-WSEE/CBS) to carry the over-air Indians games shown in Cleveland on WKYC/3.

The over-air network also includes previously announced affiliates WYFX “FOX 17/62” in Youngstown, and WLIO/35 (NBC) in Lima. We’re wondering if they’re still trying to sign up a Toledo broadcast affiliate, where the cable games will be seen on market dominant provider Buckeye Cablesystem. If they can’t get one of the broadcast stations to sign up, perhaps Buckeye’s “WT05”, the WB-to-become-CW affiliate, will step in…

Though the release says the WKYC games will be in HDTV on WKYC “and the ‘over the air’ network”, it’s our understanding that the HD broadcasts won’t be available to the other market affiliates…and the broadcast games will only be seen in HD on WKYC itself.

But that could be academic in the case of many of the affiliates. WYFX is a pair of LPTV/Class A stations with no HD feed, though the station does plan to provide an HD feed to cable systems. And neither WICU nor WSEE are even broadcasting their networks’ HDTV programs on their digital transmitters…yet, at least…

SportsTime Ohio’s Friday Press Release

It wasn’t quite what we predicted here in the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) the other day, but close.

As expected, SportsTime Ohio has issued its wrapup press release on the cable TV negotiations that have taken place in the past few weeks, saying it’s “close to finalizing” all of its talks. STO boss Jim Liberatore notes that in “just six weeks”, the new Indians TV network has signed up 17 cable providers, and says there’s a “strong possibility” that additional partners will be aboard before STO’s first regular season broadcast on April 4.

We’ll translate for him: “Hello, DirecTV! Dish Network, this means you, too!” By the way, if Dish Network does bring on SportsTime Ohio, we expect it to be on channel 431. Those who watch the behind-the-scenes transponder movement note that the non-public STO feed has moved onto a satellite that can be picked up by dishes pointed at 119 degrees…

As noted here, STO has signed up all of the region’s major cable providers, along with a number of smaller outlets. But some cable viewers won’t be seeing the network’s 63 home HDTV games.

The STO release lists the channel numbers for the network on the services which have signed up. (We’ll attach the list below.)

And, while most Adelphia subscribers near Cleveland will get HD games from STO on cable channel 798 (“HD Bonus”), it looks like HD STO games won’t be seen on outlying Adelphia systems in places from New Philadelphia to Van Wert, or near Youngstown and the Shenango Valley.

Other systems without an HD channel listed may or may not just be omission at this point. The list also confirms the addition of Adelphia’s digital cable SD simulcast on channel 179 as an addition to the previously announced channel 17, and not a replacement…

Here’s the list:


SYSTEM – GEOGRAPHIC REGION: Analog Channel, Digital Channel, HD Channel
Adelphia – Cleveland & suburbs: 17, 179, 798-HD
Adelphia – Ashtabula area: 30, 179, 798-HD
Adelphia – Lorain area: 23, 179, 798-HD
Adelphia – Macedonia area: 97, 179, 798-HD
Adelphia – Port Clinton area: 17, 179, 798-HD
Adelphia – Shenago Valley and Struthers/ Lowellville: 71
Adelphia – Bryan: 15, 179, no HD
Adelphia – Cadiz / Amsterdam: 19
Adelphia – Defiance/ Deshler/ Napoleon/ Paulding / Wauseon/ Waterville: 37, 179, no HD
Adelphia – Cambridge/ Caldwell/ Apple Valley/ Newark/ Riverside/ Coshocton: 53, 179, no HD
Adelphia – New Philadelphia/ Minerva/ Sebring/ Newcomerstown / Carrollton: 69, 179, no HD
Adelphia – Marion: 69
Adelphia – Celina / Van Wert / Minster: 74, 179, no HD
Armstrong – Medina/Orrville area: 4,177-HD
Armstrong – Ashland area: 69, 177-HD
Armstrong – Boardman area: 66, 177-HD
Armstrong – Meadville, PA area: 69, 177-HD
BTC Multimedia – Bascom: 76
Buckeye CableSystem – Toledo Metro Area: 32, 653-HD
Buckeye CableSystem – Erie County: 57, 653-HD
CableSuite 541 – Conneaut area: 81
City of Wadsworth – Wadsworth: 77
Clear Picture – Central Wayne County: 10
Comcast – Lake & Lorain Counties: 73, HD is TBD
Cox – Western Cleveland suburbs: 58, 758-HD
Doylestown Cable – Doylestown: 16
Insight – Central Ohio: 60, 779-HD
GLW Broadband – Lorain County area: 37
Massillon Cable – Western Stark County: 11
Orwell Cable Television – Orwell area: 44
Time Warner – Northeast Ohio: 23, 523-HD
Time Warner – Northwest Ohio: 25, 757-HD
Time Warner – Mid-Ohio: 34, 758-HD
TSC Communication – Auglaize County: 12
WOW! – Cleveland area: 72, 221-HD
WOW! – Columbus area: 57, 221-HD

Station Not Many Can Hear Shuts Down

And no, we’re not talking about Media-Com’s Fox Sports Radio affiliate WJMP/1520 Kent.

(Sorry, we couldn’t resist!)

Under scrutiny by the Ohio attorney general, the folks at Written Communications Radio Service have been forced to shut down their radio reading service for the blind.

WCRS operated on a subcarrier of Akron University’s WZIP/88.1, providing reading of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, numerous magazines and original programming aimed at blind listeners. The station’s listeners needed a special radio to pick up the station out of the hidden reaches of 88.1’s signal.

WCRS’ operation of instant bingo games at the former Rollercade on East Market Street is being investigated by attorney general Jim Petro’s office, along with other operational questions. After being forced to shut down the instant bingo, WCRS kept going with regular bingo for a while…until finally closing the door on that as well. The loss of the bingo income led to the shutdown.

There’s talk in the Beacon Journal article about the local chapter of the National Federation of the Blind trying to restart the radio reading service, though we don’t know how likely that’d be. We’re wondering how many folks use the service these days, due to the advent of computer technology…but at least WCRS’ older listeners seemed to appreciate the service and its audio companionship…

Disclosure: As a teenager, your Primary Editorial Voice did some volunteer reading work for WCRS, which was then known as Tri-County Radio Reading Service…

Tracking Chuck Booms

Rumorama alert: Euclid resident and former Fox Sports Radio host Chuck Booms could be headed back to that network for weekend work.

Booms, along with former FSR partner Kevin Kiley, recently filled in on weekends on legendary Philadelphia sports station WIP/610. Aaron Bracy of the Cherry Hill (NJ) Courier-Post in suburban Philly said a couple of weeks ago the team could appear again, and called their first WIP appearance “bad”, saying the duo managed to “insult just about every Philadelphia sports icon” on their radio show.

Of course, Booms was most recently heard here in Northeast Ohio, in that tryout rotation for the WTAM/1100 Cleveland midday slot eventually occupied by Bob Frantz. OK, if you can call it a “tryout rotation”…

Diamond Dave’s Back

As (mostly) expected, CBS Radio syndicated morning man David Lee Roth returned to his on-air perch on WFNY, New York’s “Free FM”, and stations including CBS Radio classic rocker WNCX/98.5 Cleveland.

Roth told his audience that he was indeed suspended for two days by CBS, and went off on a rant about a memo by WFNY programmer Mark Chernoff with new show guidelines.

The new rules outline, well, the lack of some radio basics that Roth doesn’t seem to like…things ranging from having more topical interviews, less bumper music and more show prep. Oh, and there are less people in the Roth lair, which he referenced in his first hour for morning…but it hasn’t yet been confirmed that Roth’s manager and a sidekick are no longer with the show.

AllAccess reports that Roth said his program was “starting to gel”, but said the new guidelines come from “individuals in their late 50s who no longer have a connection to what’s happening in the neighborhood.” Interesting, coming from a 51 year-old guy who has featured old New York City nightclub stories from his uncle, and who was sharing old Jerry Lewis stories to open the show this morning…

So for now, it’s “stand down” for the troubled morning show. He’s not gone yet. We emphasize…YET…