Two New HD2s

CBS Radio has launched HD2 channels on two of its digital signals in Cleveland. OMW hears the switch was flipped earlier today.

Alt-rock/talk WXRK/92.3 “K-Rock” goes back to its format past for the future on its HD2 channel. We’re told the secondary format is similar to how “Xtreme Radio” sounded before the recent changes in the music mix on 92.3, with more “harder” alt-rock cuts.

(No, they won’t air “harder” versions of Rover or O&A’s shows on the HD2 channel. Yes, that was our attempt at humor.)

Across the hall in the CBS Radio compound, classic rock WNCX/98.5 is airing an “Hispanic CHR” format on its HD2 channel.

We’ve talked about this before, as CBS announced its HD2 formats some time ago, but the formats on 92.3 and 98.5 are officially up and running. Well, for those who’ve bought an HD Radio receiver, which we do not have here in the palatial OMW compound…

The CBS Radio HD2 stations join Clear Channel’s two HD2 outlets as options for Cleveland HD Radio listeners – the “new hit music” format on the digital side of top 40 WAKS/96.5, and the “Lake” AAA format on hot AC WMVX/106.5’s digital signal…


BREAKING NEWS: Adelphia Sale Closes

Reuters and other news wires report tonight that the $17 billion acquisition of Adelphia’s assets by Time Warner and Comcast has been completed.

That paves the way for Time Warner to take over the Cleveland-based Adelphia system effective at midnight tonight. Along with the area’s Adelphia customers, Time Warner also takes in Comcast systems in the Cleveland market in a complicated system swap with that operator. In turn, Comcast takes over some Time Warner systems in other markets.

We can’t speak for Comcast, since the palatial OMW World Headquarters in northwest Akron is on the Adelphia side.

But Adelphia’s been running what presumably is the last edition (under that title, at least) of “Ask Adelphia”, its local questions-and-answers show on cable channel 15. We missed most of it, but this month’s edition concentrates on the merger, with an assurance that not much will change when TWC takes over tomorrow.

One thing that does appear likely to change is the presence of NFL Network on the cable lineup. Time Warner has given prior notice that it could drop the NFL-run cable channel when it takes over the new systems, and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the folks at the network.

Not only has NFL Network been running an advertising blitz aimed at Time Warner’s non-carriage of the channel, it’s running a regular crawl tonight telling TWC customers that the channel could go away at midnight, and asking them to call an NFL Network toll-free line to register their complaints.

Other channels could go away for ex-Adelphia and ex-Comcast customers locally as well, as ESPNU and the HD version of ESPN2 are reportedly on the “we don’t have the rights” chopping block.

But other channels could be new to people formerly on those systems, including the HD version of TNT and the HD feed of local UPN -> My Network TV outlet WUAB/43 “My 43″…

Waiting for the News

OMW is still waiting for what’s expected to be a major piece of radio-related news out of Canton, as we reported on Friday. Expect to read more about it in the next day or so…

And in an entirely unrelated item, we’re also getting rumors regarding new developments in an ongoing story we’ve been covering here on your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm). We understand that news should also be coming over the OMW transom in the next day or so…

UPDATED: Rover Loses His New Home Doghouse, Heads Back to Cleveland

Chicago Sun-Times media columnist Robert Feder is reporting that formerly Cleveland-based morning host Shane “Rover” French is losing his slot on his flagship station, CBS Radio talk WCKG/105.9 Chicago “Free FM”.

UPDATE: Billboard Radio Monitor confirms that Rover and his crew will indeed be headed back to Cleveland, and will once again be based at CBS Radio alt-rock/talk WXRK/92.3 “K-Rock”. Updated quotes from Rover, and from WXRK management, are below.

Feder reports that newly re-crowned CBS Radio bad boys Opie & Anthony will take the morning slot at the station where Rover has been doing his syndicated morning show since early January. AllAccess reports that the change starts tomorrow morning, with O&A also netting a new clearance at another CBS “Free FM” talker, KIFR/106.9 San Francisco.

French will continue doing “Rover’s Morning Glory” on his other current affiliates.

In Cleveland, WXRK VP/GM Tom Herschel is about as close to jumping for joy as you can get in print, telling the Billboard Radio Monitor folks:

“We’re excited to have Rover and his crew back in the building. His audience in Cleveland has been incredibly loyal and has supported his show since he first went on the air almost five years ago. I couldn’t be happier about their return.”

And no wonder. Sources tell OMW that Rover continues to do well in Cleveland, and a return to the former show mothership can only help.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Julie Washington covers Rover’s move back to Cleveland, and says the show will continue to air from a Chicago studio for “the next few weeks”, with a return to Cleveland expected in mid-August. Washington says Rover’s cast is expected to come to Cleveland intact.

In addition to talking to Washington, the returned WXRK morning doggie himself dishes quote to Radio and Records Online about his move back to Cleveland, and the demise of the show in Chicago. Rover says “K-Rock” a “great home base for the show”:

“We have a great working relationship with management there — they really understand the show. We’ve enjoyed our time in Chicago, but the station just wasn’t a good fit for us. That’s not an indictment against them, it’s just that they’re skewed to a much older audience than what we target. We were also concerned that they wanted to focus exclusively on Chicago, which was detrimental to our affiliates. It was a mutual decision, and there is no ill-will between us whatsoever.”

Back in Chicago, Feder calls “Rover’s Morning Glory” “one of the biggest bombs in Chicago radio history”, and notes the show’s “microscopic ratings” helped WCKG to finish “dead last” among every major Chicago station.

Of course, Feder hasn’t been a fan of Mr. French and company since day one… when he listed just about every out-of-work Chicago radio personality he felt would be a better fit to replace Howard Stern on WCKG.

And though he’s been harsh on Rover and the gang, he had a point in that Chicago seems to nearly violently reject any personality that has no local ties or background.

Being born and spending his very early years in Chicagoland wasn’t enough for Shane French… the market’s listeners reject “imported” talent, and Rover had no on-air history in the market. Embracing the market, by doing such things as putting on a Chicago Cubs baseball cap (see above), didn’t overcome that at all.

If he’d have come in and worked his way up on Chicago radio, it may – or may not – have been a different story.

For what it’s worth, Chicago wasn’t Stern’s strongest market…his show did OK there, but it wasn’t dominant like it was in New York or Los Angeles. For that matter, O&A are also imports…from the same New York studio which once was Stern’s home.

We’re not saying Rover would have owned the market if he had long-time Chicago radio history…that just didn’t help his cause.

As if losing the Windy City to O&A isn’t bad enough, Rover will have to endure listening to incessant promos for the CBS/XM duo on his once and future flagship station.

“K-Rock”, of course, airs O&A in afternoon drive, and is bringing the duo to town September 23rd at the Tower City Ampitheatre…

McConnell’s Syndication

An update on the syndication effort of WLW/700 Cincinnati midday host Mike McConnell, which starts today:

McConnell tells Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio columnist John Kiesewetter that his show started airing today on “a handful of stations”, though none of them are listed. He says a month or two down the road, that affiliate list could be “significantly higher”.

The veteran WLW midday talker (pictured here in an Enquirer file photo) says the syndicated version of the show can run something different – like pre-taped interviews – if there is local breaking news on WLW. But even McConnell admits that if there’s a huge local breaking news event in Cincinnati, the station will have to tap a local host to cover his program on WLW.

He says his existing program won’t be radically changed for WLW listeners, noting that he hasn’t focused more than 25 percent of the time on local topics in some time.

McConnell tells Kiesewetter that his goal in this is “to win”, and thinks it’ll take him about two years to be atop the list of syndicated hosts in the mid-morning slot. He’s not fazed at all by competition including Premiere/Clear Channel stablemate Glenn Beck, former Premiere host Dr. Laura (often aired in the 9-noon ET slot in the Eastern time zone), or TRN’s Laura Ingraham.

Unlike most new syndicated hosts, McConnell has a track record nationally. His Premiere-syndicated “Weekend with Mike McConnell” airs on 120 stations nationwide, not all of them owned by Premiere and WLW parent Clear Channel. And his regular WLW-based midday show has aired nationally for the past four months via WLW’s slot on XM Satellite Radio channel 173…

Casey’s Back

We’d heard about this, and have confirmed it from the WTAM/1100 website.

Veteran sports voice Casey Coleman returns to the WTAM morning show that bears his name tomorrow, August 1st.

“Wills and Coleman” producer “Scooter” posts the word officially on his show recap page. We hear that Casey was on with substitute host Brad Sussman this morning to announce his return.

The “Casey Update” page on says Coleman has been getting “plenty of exercise” and walks three miles a day…hoping to return to the Browns Radio Network sideline reporting job this year.

Here at your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), we don’t even get up to three miles a day in our walk… and we don’t have pancreatic cancer!

Casey’s also apparently a regular visitor to the Browns training camp, which started last week.

We are continually inspired by his dedication, and his will to continue enjoying both his life and his work in the face of a terminal cancer diagnosis. If there’s justice in this world, Casey will only leave this earth after the Browns win the Super Bowl next February. Or, the following year. Or…you get the idea.

OK, so maybe some miracles are too much to ask for…but we’d surely enjoy that…

Loose Ends

A couple or three things to follow up on:

NO MUDD, YET: A quick check of our regular morning drive recording of WNCX/98.5 reveals what sounds like a jock-less morning show today on the CBS Radio Cleveland classic rocker.

But the station is now promoting the start of the new morning show “later this week”, which would seem to fit what we’ve been hearing about the show OMW reported will be fronted by the former WWWM/”M105″ personality once known as “The Mudd”.

A helpful message board type pointed us to his “440Satisfaction” entry, which reveals that “Mudd” is better known radio-name-wise as Wynn Richards. If the name rings a bell for you where “Mudd” does not, it’s because he also counts WGAR/1220 on his local radio resume.

And Richards/Mudd was also heard on then-WWWE/1100 “3WE” under an entirely different name, “Tony Manero”…when he was in the “Mudd” on then-3WE sister station M105.

That shows you our AM radio background, as we do remember the name Wynn Richards from those days in the early 80’s…we probably heard him on WGAR at some point in 1981. We don’t remember Tony Manero, though…or for that matter, Wynn’s stint as “The Mudd” on M105.

Wynn left radio in 2000 after a stint at a Fresno station, and went into the cell phone industry. He tells the 440 folks that he was (at the time of his entry) a “communications specialist” for then-AT&T Wireless.

The morning show composition around Wynn/”Mudd” is still not known. We are hearing some very interesting names, including some already in the CBS Radio Cleveland compound and doing work on other stations…

FINDING JIM MUELLER: Another message board regular reminds us that former Browns Radio Network analyst Jim Mueller was hired in 1999 to do public address announcing for Browns home games at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

We found this Akron Beacon Journal article from that year (seen in Google’s cache only) that mentions Mueller’s intonation at the team’s first game returning to Cleveland. We can’t find anything that tells us how long that job lasted, or if he’s still doing it today.

UPDATE: An OMW reader tells us that Mueller did the Browns PA gig for that one year, 1999. As we reported, he’s been quite busy doing PA work for major auto racing venues since.

OMW reported last week word from a suburban newspaper’s Browns beat writer that Mueller is expected to be the team’s TV play-by-play man for pre-season games this year.

A commenter to our earlier item reminds us that Mueller was the long-time voice of the Mullinax auto dealerships, and says he now does the same work for Pat O’Brien Chevrolet – complete with the folksy theme music he once used on the Mullinax ads!