Limbaugh Settlement on Prescription Drug Charges

It’s not exactly a surprise, considering that authorities in the West Palm Beach FL area have been looking into this for a long time…but hearing “radio host gets arrested” is enough to perk up anyone’s ears.

As it turns out, Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh came to a settlement with prosecutors over so-called “doctor shopping” charges, which involved turning himself in to local police in Florida this afternoon. He was released after posting $3,000 bail.

The settlement reportedly calls for the filing of one doctor shopping charge against the popular host, to be dismissed in 18 months if he does not violate the law, and continues successful treatment of his addiction to prescription pain killers. Limbaugh also paid $30,000 worth of prosecution costs…and will have to dig out $30 from his change a month to pay for what’s being called “supervision”.

The release by Rush’s lawyer, Roy Black, is posted here on Rush’s website. Black says the host pleaded not guilty on the one filed charge, and continues to maintain his innocence in the case.

Limbaugh’s program airs on a whole bunch of Ohio stations, including WTAM/1100 Cleveland, WHLO/640 Akron, WKBN/570 Youngstown, and WFUN/970 Ashtabula…

Laura For Snow

It turns out Clear Channel talk WKRC/550 Cincinnati may not have, umm, needed listener help to select a replacement for FOX News Radio host-turned-presidential spokesman Tony Snow.

AllAccess is reporting that the station picks up TRN’s Laura Ingraham for the 9-noon slot vacated by the new White House press secretary, starting next Monday.

Ingraham was one of four hosts on WKRC’s website poll – the others being former time slot occupant Glenn Beck, money host Dave Ramsey and Cox/Jones’ Neal Boortz. While Boortz could have been a dark horse due to his presence on Cox’s WHIO/1290 Dayton, we didn’t really expect anyone but Ingraham to take the opening.

For what it’s worth, despite the announcement, the poll is still online at this writing…which means it has about as much influence on WKRC’s decision as it did, well, before they announced Laura Ingraham as the new host…

SportsTime Ohio To Air First Non-Indians Programming

It’ll still be baseball, and still be at Jacobs Field…but the first non-Indians event for team TV outlet SportsTime Ohio will be a high school baseball contest between Cuyahoga Falls’ Walsh Jesuit vs. Cleveland’s St. Edward’s.

The game on May 4th at 7 PM, part of the 3rd Annual Cleveland Indians Charities (CIC) High School Hardball Classic, will also air in high-definition on SportsTime Ohio. The network says is the first ever local high school sports event ever presented in HDTV.

That’s not hard to declare, considering that the FSN Ohio broadcast of the Cleveland Cavaliers game against the San Antonio Spurs in February was first ever local sports event broadcast in HDTV, and STO partner WKYC/3 had the first ever local baseball game in HDTV for the Indians’ home opener. And the HD part itself is also not difficult, since STO’s facilities at Jacobs Field and through WKYC are already fully equipped for it.

In the team’s press release, STO’s Patrick Kilkenney says the game will be “the first of many commitments” by the network to provide other local sports programming.

Here Comes The Format, And There It Goes!

Late last month, OMW brought you word that Beacon Broadcasting daytimer WRTK/1540 Niles had picked up a new format.

The Youngstown/Warren market station had been running a local urban format under previous ownership D&E Communications, which Beacon’s Harold Glunt continued to run after taking over, mostly out of inertia. WRTK finally signed up with the ABC Radio Networks’ “Rejoice” black gospel 24/7 format nearly a month ago.

They’ll have to look for another one.

AllAccess reports that ABC is shuttering “Rejoice”, also known on the air as “Musical Soul Food”, on July 28th. The company is also shutting down another feed Glunt’s Beacon Broadcasting has used before, the standards/soft AC “Memories” format. That format made occasional appearances in evenings and weekends on Beacon’s WANR/1570, before it launched a locally run oldies format simulcast with co-owned WLOA/1470 Farrell PA and WGRP/940 Greenville PA.

We don’t enough about the world of 24/7 black gospel formats to know what Beacon will be able to choose from. Maybe they’ll set up a computer and locally automate the format, like they do at 1570/1470/940 after 6 PM weeknights…

BREAKING NEWS: Akron/Canton TV Newscast Extended A Month

It had been feared that the WKYC/3-produced “Akron/Canton News” could end its run on Time Warner Cable channel 23 at the end of this month…but there’s apparently been enough response to give it at least another month of life.

The Akron Beacon Journal’s R.D. Heldenfels reports on Ohio.com this afternoon that Time Warner will continue airing the newscast “at least” through the end of May, which gives TWC and WKYC more time to evaluate the future of the newscast anchored by WKYC’s Eric Mansfield.

TWC spokesman Bill Jasso tells Heldenfels that the move to save the newscast is “headed in the right direction”, and puts odds at its continuation through the end of 2006 to be “better than 50-50”.

The cable company took over the role of airing the newscast produced from the WKYC Akron/Canton Bureau at Main and Market last summer, when the agreement between WKYC and WVPX/23 ended in uncertainty about that over-air station’s future.

The problem is simple – “Akron/Canton News” is a costly venture, and wasn’t pulling in the kind of advertising revenue that could support it. At least part of that would likely be due to the much lower profile on a local access cable channel.

But the newscast, if it survives through the summer, will pick up more eyeballs on the fringes of the Akron/Canton area…with the eventual absorption of the local Adelphia systems by Time Warner. Adelphia officials are targetting July 31st as the “essential” date for that merger to be completed…

Here’s Your Tony Snow Replacement Menu in Cincinnati

Clear Channel talk WKRC/550 Cincinnati is now hosting an online poll…where listeners can go to tell the station who they’d like to hear in the 9 AM-noon slot vacated by FOX News Radio’s Tony Snow with his move to the White House staff.

The choices?

Neal Boortz
Laura Ingraham
Dave Ramsey
Glenn Beck

Well, there are at least two of the options we pointed out here a while back. Ramsey already airs in a delayed 10 PM-noon clearance, and we think he’s been elsewhere on the schedule before. And Boortz’s Cox/Jones show airs weekdays on Cox news/talk WHIO/1290 up in Dayton…

Akron Winter ’06 Book

OMW believes that Arbitron’s guidelines don’t allow us to put up the entire list of 12-plus numbers. But we think we’re still allowed to give you the order in the “vanity” numbers for Akron’s Winter 2006 book:

1. WQMX/94.9
2t. WDOK/102.1, WMJI/105.7 and WNIR/100.1
5. WONE/97.5
6. WENZ/107.9
7. WAKS/96.5
8. WKDD/98.1
9. WZAK/93.1
10. WMMS/100.7

Since we watch news/talk/sports a lot around here – Cleveland’s WTAM/1100 took a dip in Akron, as did WHLO/640 (a smaller dip) and news/standards WAKR/1590. There was a slight uptick for liberal talk WARF/1350, though it hasn’t quite yet reached its highest numbers as a sports talk station. Cleveland sports talker WKNR/850 was down a bit in Akron.

If you want to see our definition of “slight” or “smaller”, we can’t help you any more than directing you to Radio & Records Online for the full 12-plus numbers. We believe we’re not even allowed to directly link to the Akron numbers, so you’ll have to find it yourself in their Ratings section.

Again, as we point out repeatedly – A) we are not experts at analyzing ratings, and B) these are the 12-plus “vanity” numbers, which really don’t mean anything. But they’re up, so here they are.

Cleveland’s are due out tomorrow, and from what we can see, they aren’t embargoed as in past books. We’ll do the same with Cleveland tomorrow, and leave it to others to tell you what they think these relatively meaningless numbers mean…