Another Passing

We hate putting up two pieces of very bad news in a row, but…

OMW hears that long-time former WTVN/610 Columbus production director Scott Kahler has died.

His name has appeared once here before. Kahler was let go from Clear Channel Columbus in late 2006 in a round of budget cuts. In addition to his tenure in that building, we’re told Kahler also spent time at WBNS and WLVQ.

An obituary for Kahler can be found here, with information on memorial services this weekend.

We’re told his voice is instantly recognized by Columbus listeners, particularly on commercials for Scioto Downs.

Kahler was 61 years old…

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RIP Your LEEEEEADER

When you think of the phrase “larger than life radio personality”, one Jack Armstrong is the first name that comes to mind for many who have heard him.

A number of radio trade sites report today that Armstrong died over the weekend in his North Carolina home.

In Cleveland, the man born John C. Larsh took the air name Jackson Armstrong, and “Your LEEEEEEADER” blazed his trail on the old WIXY/1260 and then-WKYC/1100 (now Radio Disney’s WWMK and Clear Channel talk WTAM, respectively).

He gained fame, fortune and followers in many large markets, from Boston to Toronto to Los Angeles.

In recent years, Jack had been holding down morning drive at an FM oldies outlet in his home market of Greensboro, and his voice made it into Northeast Ohio at night on one of his old radio homes – 50,000 watt then-oldies blowtorch WWKB/1520 Buffalo – a show voicetracked out of North Carolina’s Piedmont Triad that sounded every bit “live and local”.

It was on this non-live show that your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) first heard “Big Jack”, as we were far too young to appreciate him when he was on the air here in Cleveland.

Thus, we only know second hand that he apparently was forced to give up the “Jackson Armstrong” air name when he landed on “Radio 11” – the name, from what we were told, was “owned” by WIXY. He then adopted the “Big Jack” air name for WKYC.

Much more at our friend and colleague Scott Fybush’s NorthEast Radio Watch

BREAKING NEWS: WHBC’s Russell Out In Budget Cuts

Even in better economic times, even when radio groups aren’t firing people left and right for “budget reasons”, it’s often said that taking a vacation in radio is dangerous.

NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton talk show host Brady Russell found that out.

OMW hears from numerous sources that NextMedia pulled the plug on Russell’s employment Thursday…while he was on vacation from his afternoon drive show on “NewsTalk 1480”. He was scheduled to return to the airwaves on Monday the 24th – which won’t happen now.

And as suggested above, OMW hears that NextMedia cites budgetary reasons for letting Mr. Russell go.

Starting next Monday, radio veteran Jim Albright, who has done much off-air work for WHBC in addition to hosting his own Saturday morning program, will take the 1480 afternoon drive position.

As far as we know, he’ll also continue to do his Saturday show. We’re taking bets on if he’ll still also do his other off-air duties, and perhaps be asked to brush the snow off the satellite dishes.

Brady Russell has had a bumpy ride at Market South.

Before returning to the building to help build the schedule for the new talk format on the AM side, he was best known at WHBC for getting dumped from the FM side for controversial, umm, talk radio-style comments on the AC formatted “Mix 94.1″…

Random Leftovers

UPDATE 8:21 PM 3/18/08: A name fix and another update below:

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In media news not involving canines in front of microphones, some stuff we need to revisit and update:

REVAMPING TWC: As it turns out, the vast empire that is the Time Warner Cable firmament in Northeast Ohio isn’t all “fixed” in a day.

The highly-touted and advertised digital channel realignment at the local cable operator is being done area-by-area over the rest of this month, at least. OMW hears that folks in places like Green (Summit County) and Kent have gotten the new lineup on the digital cable side.

Both areas are part of what the TWC folks call the “legacy” system – Time Warner Cable’s original Northeast Ohio footprint before the company merged in the Cleveland-based Adelphia and suburban Cleveland Comcast systems.

Our semi-educated guess: the thinking is that it’s easier to make these adjustments on the “legacy” systems, then align the newer acquisitions with them.

A brief touch on the subject on the TWC Northeast Ohio Network’s “Ask Time Warner” show last month – we haven’t seen this month’s show yet – indicated that the company had to do much negotiation to align various programming contracts among the three different parts of the system – legacy TWC, former Adelphia and former Comcast.

It was only after that was accomplished that TWC could move to align the digital lineup. Now, they’re dealing with – presumably – various technical issues.

So, hang in there…if you are in those latter systems, the changes are (eventually) headed your way…

REVAMPING WYTV: Just a short time after Parkin Broadcasting’s Youngstown ABC affiliate WYTV/33’s news operations – run by crosstown New Vision Television/WKBN/WYFX – announced that long-time weather anchor Stan Boney would become a news co-anchor with Angee Shaker on “33 News”…

…Ms. Shaker announced her departure from the station, and from TV news.

The Youngstown Vindicator has more in this March 13th article, where Shaker called her exit from WYTV a “family decision”. Her last day at 33 – er…the 27-run-33 newsroom – will be March 21st.

Instead of co-anchoring with her, Boney will solo on the news desk until a replacement co-anchor is put into place…

UPDATE: We’re told there’s already a new anchor in place to sit alongside Mr. Boney at the anchor desk. We’ll update that tomorrow…

REVAMPING SPORTS: Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850 WKNR” Cleveland has a new afternoon sports update anchor.

He’s Dave DeNatale, who until now has been sports director at the Lorain County combo of country WOBL/1320 Oberlin and oldies WDLW/1380 Lorain, owned by local broadcasters Doug and Lorie Wilbur.

Dave takes the afternoon spot at Metro Networks vacated by Daryl Ruiter, who moved “in-house” with WKNR and now produces the station’s afternoon drive show with Mark “Munch” Bishop.

DeNatale, who warmed up for his stint on WKNR with a play-by-play contribution to the station’s MAC basketball tournament coverage, will continue doing Oberlin College play-by-play…

UPDATE: Our apologies to Dave for messing up the spelling of his last name. We were set straight by a friend of Dave who went to Bowling Green State University with him…

It’s Official: Rover To 100.7, Er, WMMS

As reported here weeks ago…it’s been officially announced at Oak Tree.

Clear Channel rock WMMS/100.7 has announced the start of “Rover’s Morning Glory” on April 1st, according to a company press release that found its way to our humble mailbox.

A clip from the release is below. Though the show won’t debut on good ol’ 100.7 FM until 4/1, Clear Channel says they’ll “preview” the show on wmms.com and on the HD2 subchannel of 100.7 starting tomorrow.

The release is below…and RoverRadio.com is sporting the WMMS logo with the wording: “A new era begins…April 1, 2008.”

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Monday, March 17, 2008, Cleveland, Ohio…Cleveland’s Rock Station, 100.7 FM WMMS is pleased to announce the addition of Rover’s Morning Glory. The popular morning show, which can also be heard in Memphis and Rochester, will originate from 100.7 WMMS beginning on Tuesday, April 1st.

“Cleveland Loves Rover and so does WMMS,” said Kevin Metheny, Vice President of Programming for Clear Channel Radio. “2008 marks WMMS’ 40th Anniversary and we could not think of a better way to celebrate than to join forces with the most sought after radio personality in Cleveland.”

“As I hinted in haiku on RoverRadio.com (while under a gag order from our former employer), we’ve found new friends in the Cleveland market,” said Rover. “Clear Channel believes in our vision and is focused on growing the show in a major way. Decades of WMMS heritage and our years-long record of morning dominance will combine to be an unstoppable force like the city has never before seen.”

“This is THE premiere morning show in the market and we are excited to reserve 6 a.m. – 11 a.m. for Rover on WMMS,” says Program Director Bo Matthews. “We are committed to bringing the best possible programming to the airwaves each morning and Rover’s Morning Glory is the perfect match to the personality driven station that WMMS has become.”

Hanging In There

Yes, this is one of those “unannounced hiatuses” we alluded to in our recent update about the state of this site.

We’re only resurfacing to let you know that, though we always appreciate your updates, we’re already aware of:

* BAS Broadcasting flipping new acquisition WLEC/1450 Sandusky from sports, last week, to oldies/standards/whatever you call the ABC Radio-fed “Timeless Favorites” music format.

* The announcement that long-time WYTV/33 Youngstown weather anchor Stan Boney will be moving to the news side as co-anchor on “33 News”, now run by crosstown WKBN/27-WYFX/17-62 owner New Vision Television…. (March 17th is the date quoted in the press release)

* Anything else we forgot to list here

Again, we always want the updates, but for the next while, it may be a long time before (or if) we post them.

Thanks!

Another Sign The TWC Lineup Changes Are Soon

We reported earlier about planned changes to mostly-the-digital lineup of Time Warner Cable’s Northeast Ohio systems, as channels above 100 will be realigned to a near-identical lineup sometime this week.

The TWC legal notice we quoted from their website said the changes would be “on or about March 4th”, which at last check, is tomorrow.

Here’s another sign, courtesy of our friend Frank Macek, senior director at Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, and an item on his “Director’s Cut” blog:

ALL Time Warner systems will now carry Weather Plus on Channel 372.

This is effective March 4

Since the item was posted late last week, we’ll assume the date – tomorrow – is still the target for the TWC digital realignment.

The new lineups are available in PDF format on the company’s website devoted to the restructuring – twclineup.com

The lineups we’ve seen, for both the former Adelphia systems in suburban Cleveland and the Akron-based TWC systems, show a new entrant – the HDTV feed of local CW Network affiliate WBNX/55 Akron – sitting in the “Local HD Channels” area at 407. We have no word on if WBNX’s digital/HD feed will start this week.

The lineups also indicate a separate channel for SportsTime Ohio’s new HD feed, which has shared time with FSN Ohio’s HD games (Cavaliers, etc.) on the former Adelphia channel 798. STO HD goes 24/7 at the start of the Indians season next month…