Year-End Closeout Sale

At Crazy OMW…EVERYTHING MUST GO!

Oh, sorry, not that kind of “closeout”. We’re just looking under the chair here for some leftover items, and some updates…

MORE BOOM: Tributes and funny stories keep pouring in for Len “Boom” Goldberg, the long-time WMMS/100.7 voice who passed away this week.

The Plain Dealer’s Julie Washington has a story in Friday’s paper about the man almost everyone calls simply Boom. Washington says Boom was found dead in his South Euclid home on Wednesday, and died at the age of 74.

Washington says Goldberg’s family is planning a service next week at Faulhaber Funeral Home in Broadview Heights.

One funny story we’ve heard from OMW reader, Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 Toledo program director and voice-over guy Chuck Matthews: a recording is floating around somewhere of a recording session between Boom and Mitch Todd, one of “THOSE” big voices you hear doing various imaging work for stations across the country.

It seems Mitch was trying to school Boom on how to pronounced “Cleveland”. We’ll let Chuck pick it up from a recent comment:

Boom tells Mitch, on the audio, that he’s been saying “Cleeeeve-land” longer than Mitch has been alive. Sounding like a whipped little boy Mitch’s reply “Ok Boom, whatever you say.” FUNNNYYYY!

Our thanks for the corrections on this – we had the wrong production voice. It was Mitch Todd, who is now doing production for Sirius Satellite Radio.

We never met Boom…we’ve only heard his voice. But it sounds like Boom enjoyed a funny story or two, or five, or ten, over the years…

THE OSU BUCKEYES IN THE BCS TITLE GAME ON…WHK?: Salem Cleveland talker WHK/1420 has been advertising its broadcast of the Bowl Championship Series title game January 8th, featuring THE Ohio State University Buckeyes battling with the Florida Gators.

Umm, aren’t WHK and sports talker WKNR/850 no longer being operated by the same people?

As it turns out, WHK has picked up the rights to the national radio broadcast of the game by ESPN Radio, with Brent Musburger and former Buckeye Kirk Herbstreit on the call.

The Buckeyes Radio Network feed, of course, will be heard on WKNR…the local affiliate now operated by Good Karma Broadcasting, though still technically owned by Salem until the $7 million sale is finalized…

WAPS FUNDRAISING: A tip of the OMW hat (if only we wore them) to the Akron Public Schools-owned AAA outlet, WAPS/91.3 “The Summit”.

The Akron Beacon Journal’s Jim Carney focuses on the station’s “Future Radio Campaign”, where it’s raising $300,000 for new equipment. About half the money is being raised from listeners.

The station’s page on the campaign promises the new money will go for a “new, higher-powered transmitter”, a panel antenna aimed at “dramatically improving” the station’s signal, and equipment to take “The Summit” into the HD Radio age.

We have no idea what power increase WAPS could get, if any, as any paperwork that would be required to do so has not been filed yet…

More Reflections on "Boom"

Like those local radio icons who passed before him in recent weeks, WMMS veteran Len “Boom” Goldberg basically defined what happened around him on the radio.

Like Jaybird Drennan, whose voice you instantly hear in your head when you think about long-time Akron country outlet WSLR “Whistler 1350”, “Boom” was the voice of “The Buzzard”.

He was also the station’s longest running air personality, continuing with weekend airshifts on WMMS long after others took over his full-time duties.

Former WMMS programmer John Gorman checks in with OMW, and offers this reaction to the news:

The news is a shock to all of us. I just spoke with Boom a few days ago and we were planning to have lunch in a couple of weeks. He was in good spirits and felt well when we talked.

From what I understand Boom’s now teaching God how to get a thunderous, authoritative voice like his.

Boom’s long-time radio home has started airing a number of his old sweepers and other production. WMMS has also put up the beginning of a tribute page here, which opens up with classic Boom production audio, and the page promises to add more.

To that end, OMW hears that anyone who has more audio to contribute should contact the folks at ‘MMS, as they are actively looking for more.

As we write this item, we wonder what radio or whatever it turns into will be like in 40 or 50 years. Will there be someone on whatever the equivalent of a blog is, reminiscing about one of today’s younger “stars” after his or her 30 or 40 year run?

Probably not. Unless radio gets its act together and realizes that PEOPLE, particularly locally, bring local PEOPLE to the radio.

RIP, “Boom”…

BREAKING NEWS: WMMS Voice Len "Boom" Goldberg Passes Away

We don’t have many details on this, but OMW hears that iconic WMMS voice Len “Boom” Goldberg has died. Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

“Boom” was quite simply THE voice of Cleveland’s world-famous rock radio station for some three decades. When you thought of “The Buzzard” in your head, it was Len Goldberg’s voice you were hearing…even if you never listened to 100.7, as he was also the “Voice of WMMS” on various advertisements and in promotions.

More information as it becomes available…

BREAKING NEWS: WRQK Swap to Clear Channel Filed

And when they say “long-rumored”, AllAccess means “reported on OMW months ago”.

The popular trade website reports that the swap between Cumulus and Clear Channel, involving rock WRQK/106.9 Canton locally, has been filed with the FCC. The official FCC filing for the proposed WRQK transfer can be found here.

As previously reported here on OMW (many, many times), Cumulus gets the Clear Channel clusters in Ann Arbor and Battle Creek in Michigan in exchange for sending WRQK to the Clear Channel Akron/Canton World Domination HQ/Southern Command on Freedom Avenue.

And as we’ve reported many times, the new tower now erected at 22nd and Whipple NW in Canton is meant to hold the antenna for WRQK, along with one for incoming Clear Channel outlet WHOF(FM) North Canton…the 101.7 signal known until yesterday as Dover’s WJER-FM.

More later…

Some Other Topics, And Some Updates

Regular readers of OMW know that we kind of go in cycles…when certain news events swirl around, we swirl around with them.

So, with one update to a previous item, and another update to another previous item later, let’s start with a new update to…umm, a previous item…

WEWS IN HD, AND WOIO?: One of our regular sources at 3001 Euclid Avenue confirms further what we saw on Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5 a while back…the station is indeed readying for HDTV news.

Our source tells us you can expect to see Ted Henry, Lee Jordan, Leon Bibb, Danita Harris and the gang in HD “by late January”.

Not only that, the scuttlebutt is – and are you sitting down, folks? – that Raycom Media CBS/MyNetworkTV combo WOIO/19-WUAB/43’s “19 Action News” is also getting ready for an HDTV local news conversion. The rumor mill says that was actually also supposed to be done next month, but will be delayed…so WEWS would presumably beat WOIO to the HD punch.

Whenever “19 Action News” completes its HD control room, that will make Cleveland – as far as we know – the only television market in the country with all four of its local news operations in HD. (We forgot to check the sky around Reserve Square for airborne porcine creatures.)

Our source at WEWS expresses some skepticism about an HD helicopter in the air at any of the four local operations, though we have heard separate rumblings that at least two local stations were seen “kicking the tires” on such systems at trade shows.

And we also harken back to an article we reprinted from a trade publication a few months ago, where WJW/8’s engineering folks talked about a future expansion in HD production and news gathering at the FOX O&O down the road, including a “SkyFOX” retrofit for HD.

At least a part of the wait there was looking for a 720p camera that would work in the helicopter (720p is WJW’s HD format), and of course, the transmission system overhaul needed to be able to do HD “live” outside the studio.

WEWS, meanwhile, is the only local station able to run syndicated, recorded HD programming, such as “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” weeknights…

WHBC STUFF: Some of the rumored changes to WHBC/1480’s programming are about to come to fruition at the NextMedia oldies outlet in Canton.

OMW hears that the station plans to start carrying Westwood One’s “Jim Bohannon Show” in late nights in January, along with Sporting News Radio in evenings…to act as sports programming on nights the station is not carrying local or regional sports events (high school, Browns/Cavs/Indians, etc.).

The move will not displace staff, so we’re told, as overnighter John Allen will stick around to do various production duties.

We also hear the station is continuing to talk to talk radio syndicators looking for other talk programming, though as we’ve said repeatedly, there really is not much “out there” that hasn’t been locked up locally…either by Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron (which claims Canton rights to programming), or even talk/religious WCER/900 in Canton itself.

To that end, OMW would expect even existing on-air personalities to dial back on music more and more, and fill time with information instead of songs. It’s not that big of a stretch for a station that runs news updates four times per hour even outside of drive time.

By the way, Bohannon is actually making something of a return to WHBC. The station was, long ago, an affiliate of Mutual Radio’s “Larry King Show”, the overnight talk show that made today’s CNN host what he is today. Bohannon was King’s regular fill-in, so we’re sure he was heard quite often over the years on 1480…

And across the hall, we hear new WHBC-FM/94.1 program director Hunter Scott tried the microphone on for size doing a fill-in this week for the station’s Steve Rockford. And could his presence liven up the music mix on “Mix”?

COLUMBUS TALK PROTEST: A group of regular listeners to Clear Channel talk WTPG/1230 “Progressive 1230” is hoping to repeat recent liberal talk radio history.

They’ve launched a website hoping to get online signatures in support of the company keeping the station’s liberal talk lineup, instead of implementing the station’s announced change to a mix of conservative and sports talk as WYTS “Talk 1230, Your Talk Station” on January 8th.

The group is hoping to reap the same success as a series of efforts in Madison WI, where Clear Channel reversed its announced change of liberal talk WXXM/92.1 “The Mic” to sports talk a few days ago.

And we hear from some of those involved that they’re also encouraging advertisers to 1230 in Columbus to redirect some of their advertising money to the online stream of Ohio’s only remaining liberal talk outlet, Akron’s WARF/1350 “Radio Free Ohio”.

The site has audio of one group member, “Dave from Columbus”, calling Jones Radio’s Ed Schultz show on Wednesday, and Schultz’s own call to his guest-hosted show about the topic.

Dave’s also a regular caller to another WTPG staple about to lose its Columbus home – Jones’ Stephanie Miller show…where he identifies himself as “Dave from Columbus (Gahanna, actually)”.

The reference comes from the fact that 1230 in Columbus was one of Miller’s first two affiliates and her first large market affiliate, and many of the show’s callers in those early days were referring to their locations by Columbus-area suburbs and landmarks…

Station Owner Passes

We’ve been meaning to put this up since it was brought to our attention by long-time friend and colleague Scott Fybush over at NorthEast Radio Watch…

Dick Plessinger was perhaps best known in Ohio for running the country’s only “all-Elvis” radio station, Cincinnati market AM outlet WCVG/1320 Covington KY. Plessinger, who recently sold that station – now Regional Mexican “La Ley” – to Davidson Media Group, passed away December 19th.

We’re reminded that Plessinger also owned Cincinnati market rimshots WAOL/99.5 Ripley and WAXZ/97.7 Georgetown, which were eventually sold to First Broadcasting…and are now paired up with WOXY/97.7 Oxford as adult hits outlet “MAX FM”.

Scott tells us that Plessinger was especially proud of the “all-Elvis” format on WCVG, which gained the small station worldwide attention. If we recall correctly, it was NOT a “stunt”, but actually lasted at least a year or two.

RIP, Mr. Plessinger…as your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) appreciates involved local owners with a flair, we mark your passing…

WJER-FM Is Dark

OMW hears that Dover’s WJER-FM 101.7 has officially signed off the air, after a day and change airing a loop with staff members urging listeners to tune to WJER(AM) 1450.

The AM frequency continues the programming that had been simulcasted on both frequencies the past few months…and as reported earlier, the 101.7 frequency is expected to return to the airwaves sometime after the first of the year from its new Canton transmitter site with…a new format…