Just Some Random Stuff

…with no connection, that we know of:

MORE OHIO MOVES: You invoke Scott Fybush, he’s bound to check in.

The NorthEast Radio Watch and 100000watts.com editor, and long-time friend, who could recite station moves and allocations off the top of his head, checks in with another Ohio FM move we forgot about…and it’s linked to the recent FCC rules changes talked about in an earlier item.

This one is Saga Broadcasting’s application to move Columbus market smooth jazz outlet WJZK/104.3 Richwood much closer to Columbus, with a new community of license of Grandview Heights.

WJZK is currently rimshotting the state capital from the northwest, from a site near Marysville – paired in the smooth jazz format with another rimshot from the east, WJZA/103.5 Pickerington.

The moves which allow this are pretty complex, and involve:

* The move of Saga’s WQEL/92.7 Bucyrus to a COL of Richwood, to replace the “lost service” caused by the WJZK move. Bucyrus needs no COL replacement facility, due to the presence of WQEL sister nostalgia outlet WBCO/1540. In a deal already announced, WQEL will also be flipped to the folks at the Bible Broadcasting Network, due to ownership concentration concerns caused by WQEL’s relocation into the Columbus market.

* The downgrading of WPAY/104.1 Portsmouth from a class C station to a class C1 station. WPAY can operate at 100,000 watts for one very specific reason, as far as we can tell – its transmitter location is on the Kentucky side of the Ohio/Kentucky line, just across the river from Portsmouth. The application drops it to 35,000 watts.

We hear there are other Ohio moves prompted by this relaxing of FCC guidelines, but so far, we haven’t heard any that affect our primary coverage area of Northeast Ohio. We’ll keep you posted…

A BUSY MAN: He moved from being morning host at then-WJER-FM/101.7 Dover-New Philadelphia to being sports director of the station which is now solely WJER(AM) 1450, with the move of its former sister station north as Clear Channel AC WHOF/101.7 North Canton.

Somewhere along the way, Bill Morgan added the Zips Sports Network to his resume, announcing University of Akron Zips women’s basketball games and hosting pre/post-game and studio shows on ZSN flagship WARF/1350 in Akron.

Now, we’re told Bill has added yet another job to his list – television voice of the indoor football team the “Canton Legends”.

(That shows you how much we don’t know. We had no idea Canton HAD an indoor football team, let alone that they’re in the American Indoor Football Association! Or, for that matter, that there is an American Indoor Football Association.)

We’re told Morgan is hosting the weekly “Inside Legends Football” program, which the team says airs Wednesdays at 7 PM on “various Stark and Tuscarawas County cable television outlets”.

But it would appear that along with local origination channels, local low-power outlet WIVM-LP/52 Canton-WIVN-LP/29 Newcomerstown is also carrying the show, as the station’s cable channel numbers are given on the team’s page about the show (Time Warner Canton digital 585, and TWC-formerly-Adelphia Tuscarawas County channel 99), and the show is on the WIVM/WIVN online schedule.

We don’t know if Bill’s calls of TV games will be seen on cable or the WIVM/WIVN combo. The team’s site promotes streaming video of games starting with a game on Friday…

"My 101.7"’s Lineup

OMW hinted a while back about the new local morning show on Clear Channel’s new Canton market AC outlet, WHOF/101.7 “My 101.7”. We now have the entire lineup.

Mornings will be “live and local” with AC veteran Gary Rivers handling wakeup duties.

Though we’re told Rivers had a brief stint in the 1990’s at WHOF’s main competitor, now NextMedia-owned AC outlet WHBC-FM/94.1 “Mix 94.1”, he’s recently been doing radio in the Central Ohio city of Marion.

After holding down mornings at Clear Channel AC WDIF/94.3 “Mix 94.3” there (hey, it’s only one channel off from his new competitor!), Rivers has been heard in the same time slot on a rather interesting low-power FM outlet that’s competing with WDIF – WDCM-LP 97.5, where he’s also been the station’s program director.

WDCM promotes itself as “Marion’s Community Radio Station”, and is owned by the U.S. Open Drum and Bugle Corps organization.

From its website, it looks like it operates much like its commercial competitor, with many of the usual features you’d expect from a commercial outlet. And Marion is small enough in area that the WDCM-LP signal has no trouble covering the city itself.

Here’s the rest of the “My 101.7” on-air lineup:

10 AM-2 PM – Daune Robinson (voicetracking in from the Clear Channel World Domination HQ on Oak Tree, where she is heard on country WGAR/99.5 and oldies WMJI/105.7)

2-7 PM – Jon Marochino (long-time swing/weekend guy for hot AC sister station WKDD/98.1)

7 PM-midnight – Sean Stevens (midday personality at Clear Channel Youngstown sister AC outlet WMXY/98.9 “Mix 98.9”)

OMW hears whispers from Freedom Avenue that this new on-air lineup will begin on Monday, February 5th…

Tuesday Night Grab Bag

Some items from the OMW Secondary Coverage Area (i.e. outside Northeast Ohio):

WHIO-FM MOVE?: Recent changes in the FCC regulatory process have started affecting Ohio. We’ll let long-time Friend of OMW Scott Fybush detail what’s happened, from the most recent edition of his NorthEast Radio Watch (thanks in advance, Scott!):

The new rules streamline the process by which AM and FM stations change their communities of license, frequency and class. For AM signals, any change of community was once considered a “major change,” requiring a filing window that, in recent times, came only once every three or four years. For FM stations, changing communities was done through a cumbersome two-step process that began by filing a petition to alter the Table of Allotments, and only then was followed up with an application to move the station itself.

Now that’s all changed, and most of those moves can be filed as a simple one-step application, without waiting for a window.

We haven’t gone through the applications yet for Ohio – but we have stumbled on one of interest in the Dayton area…thanks to an OMW tipster in Southwest Ohio.

Cox Radio has applied to move WHIO-FM 95.7 Piqua to a new community of license of Sharonville, a northern Cincinnati suburb. The FCC Service Area plot of the new proposed signal is here, putting it squarely in the Cincinnati market from a transmitter location near that suburb.

WHIO-FM, now simulcasting Cox’s news/talk WHIO/1290, is the former 80’s outlet WDPT “Dayton’s Point”…which rimshots Dayton from the north. We’ll make the grand assumption here that Cox has no interest in simulcasting a Dayton news/talk outlet in Cincinnati.

Some message board types have noticed the presence of First Broadcasting in the technical application for the WHIO-FM move – we found it here – and wonder if the new facility will end up in that broadcaster’s hands at some point. First owns adult hits trimulcast “Max FM” in the Cincinnati market, and the Sharonville-based 95.7 stick would fill out some areas not covered by it now, at least.

As part of the proposed move, Cox is also applying to nudge its WZLR/95.3 Xenia west closer to Dayton, with a new transmitter location near Beavercreek.

We are sure there are more out there, and maybe we’ll ask Mr. Fybush (hi, Scott!) if he’s found any such moves elsewhere in Ohio.

Cox has put a major effort in promoting the WHIO FM simulcast, so we’ll have to assume they’ll move it to another FM frequency if the 95.7 move goes through…

PAGANO TIME: We didn’t say much about this at the time, but popular radio meteorologist Pat Pagano was among the recent casualties at Clear Channel talk WTVN/610 Columbus.

It must be “one of those things”, as Pagano is not even based in Central Ohio. His self-run weather “service” operates out of his home in Long Island NY…where he feeds his forecasts via an ISDN line.

But for some reason, Pagano caught on at WTVN, and had enough of a Columbus market following that another station swooped in to take his services after WTVN dumped him.

Pagano is now heard on Saga oldies WODB/107.9 “B107.9”, during that station’s morning show.

Columbus Dispatch columnist Ann Fisher tells the story in an article from earlier this month. “B107.9” picked up Pagano’s forecasts with the help of a sponsor – concrete maker Scioto Ready Mix, with ownership which depended on Pagano’s weather outlook in his WTVN days.

Sometimes, when it comes to radio and popularity, it’s just best not to ask why…and take the check…

AAR AND FRANKEN: What could have been huge radio news in Ohio has now become a footnote, due to changes in the world of liberal talk radio.

You’ve probably heard already that a New York City real estate developer has agreed to buy whatever’s left of Air America Radio, the liberal talk network that originally put the format on the map.

And you’ve also probably heard that Air America’s most known host, comedian/author Al Franken, will do his last show in mid-February…amidst speculation that he’s running for the U.S. Senate from his home state of Minnesota.

Since that speculation about Franken began, the landscape for “progressive talk” has changed drastically in our home state.

Two stations that were once format mainstays, Cincinnati’s WSAI (1530, then 1360), and Columbus’ WTPG/1230, are now off doing other kinds of talk radio. And the lone survivor in the liberal talk arena in Ohio, Akron’s WARF/1350 “Radio Free Ohio”, dumped Franken’s show weeks ago in favor of Jones Radio’s Ed Schultz…moved up from his previous 3-6 PM time slot.

WARF does run Air America hosts Randi Rhodes and Rachel Maddow…along with Schultz and Jones Radio stablemates Bill Press and Stephanie Miller.

So, the news wouldn’t appear to affect the local liberal talk outlet…at least for now.

We’re wondering if Air America’s new owners are indeed going to focus on more “digital technology” and less radio, as has been speculated elsewhere, and how that would affect Ms. Rhodes in particular – who’s basically the only “name” host Air America has now.

And we wonder how those developments affect the national viability of the format, even with many stations (like WARF) depending on other non-AAR talent for the most part…

Del Donahoo Retiring

Literally millions of current and former Northeast Ohioans grew up watching Del Donahoo roam Ohio for interesting stories and interesting people…and now, the long-time WKYC/3 personality is retiring.

Donahoo announced the retirement Monday on the station, and the local NBC affiliate is airing a week’s worth of “Del’s Folks” stories on all of its newscasts, leading up to the end of his 39 year tenure this Friday.

WKYC is offering a special web page for Del’s departure from the local TV airwaves, with pictures, some of his stories and a way for viewers to send him a “farewell”.

Del calls his retirement a “mutual decision”, in a Julie Washington article in today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer. And Julie’s article reminds of us of very recent sad news in Mr. Donahoo’s life… the passing of his beloved wife Martha last October, after their 58 years of marriage…

Stuff That Hasn’t Happened Yet

Since we’ve been away, some reminders of things that are “still out there”, but not completed yet…

WKNR CHANGES: Though we’ve been “away”, OMW has tried to get more information on whatever changes could be coming to Good Karma Broadcasting sports WKNR/850 Cleveland.

And the situation is eerily quiet.

So quiet, we’re beginning to wonder.

Is this “the calm before the storm”, with Good Karma boss Craig Karmazin getting ready to make a major overhaul? Or is it as we suggested earlier – that there are no major lineup changes in place, and there’s nothing to talk about?

We’ve said this before, and we’ll say it again – we’d be shocked if WJW “FOX 8” sports anchor Tony Rizzo wasn’t in the WKNR mix with a regular, daily presence…either hosting on his own, or paired up with another host. We just don’t know when it’s going to happen.

We also don’t know when Karmazin and company will obliterate all of the imaging still voiced by former WKNR program director Michael Luczak.

And perhaps Karmazin has been busy elsewhere. One of his FM stations in Madison WI recently flipped from a hip hop format to rock.

One WKNR change we believe is new happened last night.

Afternoon drive host Kenny Roda extended his “Happy Hour” show until 7:30 PM, to match the start time for the Cleveland State Vikings basketball pre-game show.

We know Roda has hosted in the 7-8 PM hour for things like the weekly Buckeyes-themed show, but we believe this “no brainer” half-hour extension hasn’t been done before. We seem to recall that the station usually has run network programming (once ESPN, now FOX Sports Radio) in such situations before, when there’s no local show at 7 and a play-by-play event was at 7:30…though, as always, We Could Be Wrong(tm).

And too often in the past, the formerly Salem-owned sports talker has acted like there’s a giant wall between programming “before 7” and “after 7″…

WHOF MORNING SHOW: OMW hears that there will indeed be a local morning show at new Clear Channel Canton market AC outlet WHOF/101.7 “My 101.7”.

And as a teaser, we’re told that whatever it is, two names will NOT be involved: former WHBC-FM/94.1 morning host/program director Terry Simmons, and syndicated Premiere morning star/comedienne Whoopi Goldberg.

For what it’s worth, WKTU/103.5 New York City-based Whoopi has generally been placed on Clear Channel’s rhythmic AC stations, and probably would be out of place on a straight-ahead AC outlet like WHOF. And with the station baring its fangs at “Mix 94.1”, we doubt they’d go syndicated in morning drive anyway.

But that said, they’ll be doing it without Simmons, the WHBC-FM mainstay recently let go by NextMedia. We’re told the new morning show host will be a surprise to most…

CLEVELAND’S OWN: Our brief item on the latest affiliate loss by Shane “Rover” French’s WXRK/92.3-based morning show “Rover’s Morning Glory” has prompted a lot of speculation.

“Rover” only remains syndicated on two outlets outside of Cleveland – in Rochester NY and Memphis TN. Those are both CBS Radio-owned stations that are headed for other owners, as a result of the company’s divestiture of its smaller market stations.

(We were also corrected in our earlier item – Rover did appear on one other non-CBS Radio-owned outlet besides recent affiliate loss KPNT in St. Louis…a small Cape Cod MA outlet which dropped him in May.)

After all of the affiliate losses, Rover has become sort of the Cleveland version of Washington DC’s “Don and Mike”, based at CBS Radio hot talker WJFK-FM/106.7 in that market… a local show that just happens to have a handful (or less) affiliates. But unlike “D&M”, we wouldn’t be surprised to see Memphis and Rochester exit the Rover Kennel soon, due to the ownership issues.

We don’t spend much time with “K-Rock’s” morning doggie, but the last time we checked in, the show sounded like a local Cleveland program, with talk about Browns players and the like.

But despite the speculation, we don’t see Rover leaving “K-Rock” anytime soon. He still does very, very well in the proper demos in the Cleveland ratings.

While we’re electronically visiting “K-Rock”, we hear that former WMMS/100.7 morning co-host Cristi Cantle is now doing weekend shifts on the CBS alt-rock outlet.

With former co-host Hunter Scott now programming the aforementioned NextMedia Canton AC outlet, WHBC-FM/94.1, we lost track of the third member of WMMS’ last local morning drive show. For that matter, we’d have to search our own archives to be reminded of his name…

The Return

OK, so we snuck in here Friday, but we’re officially back. And…we think we have a solution for our “comments problem”.

For now, we’ll leave the comments “turned on”. But a more permanent solution is on the horizon, which we hope to announce in the next week or two. Until then…we’ll dive into some leftovers:

FRANTZ CONTROVERSY: Yes, we’re aware of the hot water WTAM/1100 mid-morning host Bob Frantz got into last week.

We don’t have much to say about it now, as it’s basically over, but we understand Frantz’s show was pulled from the air briefly one day last week after the host related an off-air comment by a listener.

The listener’s “comment” was directed at a local congresswoman, who was on Frantz’s show as a guest before she walked out – apparently not at all happy with the host’s questions.

We believe it happened in the context of Frantz relating the listener’s comment second-hand in the manner of “this is not the kind of thing we want to air”, and the original comment did not air, or come from Bob himself.

Similar comments in other markets have gotten hosts suspended for long periods of time, or even fired.

In Rochester NY, sister Clear Channel talk WHAM/1180 host Bob Lonsberry was “on the beach” for months after such wording, though in that case, it was his own. He was eventually returned to WHAM, but not after some major controversy blew over.

Anyway, Bob was back on the air as normal on Friday, with no mention of all of the earlier problems. We suspect he’ll be a little more careful in relating incendiary listener comments in the future…

WOAC-TV CHANGES: As it turns out, WOAC/67 Canton’s digital signal popped into our TV recently…and we noticed changes.

MultiCultural Television, the new TV arm of New York City-based MultiCultural Radio, has officially taken over the station formerly owned by Scripps and formerly the home of “Shop at Home” and “Jewelry Television”. The latter network took over programming of WOAC and the other SaH stations after Scripps abandoned their shopping network.

Under another corporate arm, Scripps owns Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5, but the company never had any intent to operate WOAC/67 in a duopoly with WEWS.

Anyway, mark “infomercials” as the format for WOAC in the MultiCultural era. And the station is running frequent on-air announcements directing interested people to call a 212 area code number to buy on-air time…

WHILE WE’RE ON THE TV DIAL: Another Cleveland market station with small viewership is apparently changing languages.

OMW hears that WRAP-CA/32, an LPTVer broadcasting from a downtown Cleveland office tower, will move from home shopping to Spanish language programming as an affiliate of the Azteca America network.

The move gives Cleveland (nominally) its second Spanish-language TV outlet, after Univision O&O WQHS/61. Considering that the Hispanic population in Northeast Ohio is not exactly huge, we’re wondering just how many people watch either station.

Univision got WQHS in a package deal when the network bought out the old Home Shopping Network outlets. And in most large markets, Univision mounts a local newscast – but they have no local programming in Cleveland as far as we know.

And it would appear the WRAP-CA transmitter site could serve what Hispanic viewers there are in Northeast Ohio if it moved, say, about 30 miles west…round about where the only Spanish-language FM in the market is licensed (WNZN/89.1 Lorain)…

WHK ANNIVERSARY: OMW hears that Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland is going to air a special celebrating the station’s 85th anniversary in March.

Producer John Palmer’s Verity Media has been hired by the station to put the show together. And Palmer tells us he would like some help:

I’m looking to find as many personalities – both local and national – and as much media and memorabilia as I can, in order to pay proper tribute to the station’s history.

Maybe a friend of a friend used to record (insert former WHK programming here) and he’s got it saved on his computer. Or people that might know where former staffers are located. We need them to make this project complete.

Drop a note to John if you’d like to help out…

BREAKING NEWS: Rover Loses St. Louis

It’s not quite in the “major” breaking news category, but since we’re here anyway, getting ready for our “official” return on Monday…

CBS alt-rock/talk WXRK/92.3 “K-Rock” morning host Shane “Rover” French has just lost another affiliate.

Emmis St. Louis alt-rocker KPNT/105.7 “The Point” dumped Cleveland-based “Rover’s Morning Glory” after this morning’s airing, just a couple of hours or so ago.

OMW hears that the station proclaimed that “Rover is Over” just minutes after the end of the show at 10 AM St. Louis time, and played supposed listener calls with such choice comments as “shoot the dog!”.

“The Point” has already put up the web page for Rover’s replacement, something called “The “Fandango Experiment”…hosted by former KPNT air personality Donnie Fandango returning to the station for morning drive:

MOVE OVER, ROVER – FOR THE FANDANGO EXPERIMENT

Effective immediately, Rover’s Morning Glory is history on The Point.

Because you demanded it, we’re introducing an all new Point morning show, with a helluva lot less talk, and a ton more music.

The new local show starts Monday.

“Rover’s Morning Glory” was on the St. Louis station as its replacement for former morning man Howard Stern. But the Emmis-owned outlet was the only non-CBS Radio station making that move…