WNWV Names New PD

Various trade websites report that Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting has picked its replacement for long-time smooth jazz WNWV/107.3 program director Bernie Kimble.

She’s Angie Handa, who comes to “The Wave” from a stint as assistant program director/music director of Clear Channel’s Phoenix smooth jazz outlet, KYOT. Her resume includes a gig at a another smooth jazz station in Phoenix, and other earlier experience at AC and Hot AC outlets.

Phoenix is a good market for smooth jazz (or “smooth AC”, or whatever it’s officially being called now), and it sounds like “The Wave” got a very good hire in that format.

And though Handa told the folks at Radio & Records that she thanks the WNWV folks for “rescuing (her) from Phoenix in the summertime”, let’s see what tune she’s singing in about 5 or 6 months…

Chuck’s Moves

OMW hears that long-time reader Chuck Matthews is keeping busy these days.

The former Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 Toledo programmer has picked up more work for his voiceover business – from a WTOD competitor.

We hear Chuck has been signed up to do voiceover and imaging work for crosstown newly-minted talk WDMN/1520, and sister LPTV MyNetworkTV outlet WMNT-CA/48 “My 48/58”.

We also hear he’s been doing work for a new small local ad agency based in suburban Perrysburg, and continues to search for his next full-time radio stop.

Could signing up Mr. Matthews for voiceover/imaging mean that WDMN is making a serious run at the Toledo talk market?

The station has basically had limited imaging in the past – well, if you count an occasional “Dominion 1520 JAMZ!” liner. And the frequent airing of “My 48/58” promos on 1520 include what sounds basically like a non-on-air type voicing the tags.

Just by sending an ID or liner or two, Chuck could instantly make the station sound like a player…

Columbus TV Outlet Sold

Guardian Television independent/religious/former ION affiliate WSFJ/51 Newark/Columbus is being sold.

The trade site TV Newsday (or is it tvnewsday, or TVNEWSDAY?) reported last week that Guardian is flipping WSFJ to Trinity Broadcasting, giving the Santa Ana CA-based religious TV giant its third full-power O&O station serving a major Ohio market.

(The others are WDLI/17 Canton in the Cleveland market, and WKOI/43 Richmond IN, a rimshot into the Cincinnati and Dayton markets.)

The move beans the end of the mostly secular “family friendly” format at what’s been known as “GTN51”, as TBN will presumably install its own 24/7 satellite-fed religious format.

But the spirit of “GTN51” lives on, in Guardian’s soon-to-be-launched “.2 Network”, a family-friendly entertainment satellite feed being offered nationwide to stations looking to add value to their digital subchannels.

In the TV Newsday article, Harry A. Jessell writes:

Reached by phone, Guardian CEO Richard Schilg declined to comment on the price tag, but said the proceeds will capitalize the .2 Network.

“It allows us to be debt free at the launch and gives us a war chest for future needs,” he said. “It is positive all the way around. The fact that the buyer is TBN preserves the religious legacy of the station for the Columbus community.”

And as such, we assume that explains an earlier comment by Guardian at “.2″‘s launch…that the digi-network wouldn’t necessarily land on WSFJ-DT 51.2.

At the time, station/network officials hinted at the prospect of a future group deal putting “.2” on another group’s Columbus outlet.

But TBN already feeds four of its own religious 480i subchannels on its DT stations – including WDLI-DT here – in addition to the 480i simulcast/main signal…and we’ll assume they won’t change that MO in Columbus.

The Newark-licensed station already has something in common with its soon-to-be sister full-power stations serving Ohio. (TBN, of course, has low-power translators basically at every wide spot on the road in Ohio and beyond.)

The station nudged itself closer to Columbus a couple of years back, and improved its coverage. Though the linked article refers to a new analog antenna installed in 2006, the new site between Newark and Columbus also carries WSFJ-DT.

Up here in Northeast Ohio, WDLI-DT did much the same, putting its full-power DT facility in Akron, where it sits just up the road from whatever remains of Rolling Acres Mall – basically across the street from facilities for WVPX/23 and WONE/97.5. Channel 17 analog has long-been based off Route 62 in Stark County’s Louisville, east of Canton.

And though Richmond IN-licensed WKOI hasn’t actually moved its transmitter recently – at least that we can see – its maximized DT facility will apparently give it much wider coverage of both Cincinnati and Dayton from its perch just east of Oxford…

Stopping By For A Visit

Our infrequent update schedule had one formerly regular reader assuming that we’re gone for good!

No, we’re not.

Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) has been out of town and busy, for one, and we’re about to leave Northeast Ohio for a while again.

In the past, that’s triggered something in the space-time-media continuum, but we’re not sure our exit from the region still results in major changes. One of our vacations a couple of years ago ended up with even Cleveland Browns GM Phil Savage scrambling for his job!

Heh. (Tongue in cheek, folks, we don’t really BELIEVE we have that kind of effect…it’s kind of a running joke.)

One of the biggest reasons we haven’t been here is simple…there’s just not that much going on during the lazy days of early summer. If we’ve missed anything, particularly in our core focus area of Northeast Ohio, let us know.

Until then, some random items that ARE going on…

WESTERN RESERVE BOUND: As first hinted in an article by Akron Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels, Kent-based public TV outlet WNEO/45-WEAO/49 will launch a new brand.

The stations will indeed adopt the overall name Western Reserve Public Media, with the TV stations taking the on-air name Western Reserve PBS.

A release sent to OMW by what’s now known as “PBS 45 & 49” says the new names kick in this fall, after the local pubcaster joins public radio outlet WKSU/89.7 in divying up new space in the United Building in downtown Akron – which happens July 1st.

The space, of course, is that no longer needed by current primary tenant WKYC/3 after the end of its “Akron/Canton News” broadcast on Time Warner Cable. WKYC will continue to maintain its Akron/Canton bureau there, but with space only needed for two – bureau chief and long-time “ACN” anchor Eric Mansfield, and what’s sounding like just one photographer.

And with the new name Western Reserve Public Media, WNEO/WEAO will call their new United Building space the “Western Reserve Broadcast Hub”.

The name change is actually rather interesting on other levels.

It’s one broadcast outlet’s answer to a question just about all TV stations face in the new age. Back in the day, a TV station’s channel number was be-all-and-end-all in branding.

Even stations with strong call letter or other identification have long prominently featured their channel number, both overall and in newscast identification. “Channel 3 News”. “NewsChannel 5”. “FOX 8 News”. “19 Action News”.

Starting on February 17, 2009, nearly all of these channel numbers become “virtual”, with only a few stations actually broadcasting on their former analog channels (WJW/8 among them) after the digital transition.

Though the PSIP program information stream still assures that WKYC will be “Channel 3” even if it broadcasts on digital channel 17 “under the hood”, this – and perhaps more importantly, the growing move of media organizations to the Internet – will likely nudge broadcast operations to reconsider some branding.

Back to PBS 45 & 49…er…Western Reserve PBS…er…Western Reserve Public Media.

Quoting the station press release:

Trina Cutter, president and CEO of PBS 45 & 49, said the new identity prepares the organization for advancements in broadcast technology. “The advent of digital television opens a new realm of possibilities for multiple broadcast channels,” Cutter said. “Western Reserve Public Media better reflects the breadth of public television services that we have already begun to provide to northeast Ohioans.”

Simply put, the numbers “45” and “49” mean less and less with digital TV, multiple subchannels therein, and the rapid growth of the Internet and other less traditional services.

And let’s not forget that Channels 45 and 49 have never, as far as we know, actually ever been on cable anywhere under those cable positions. To get to “PBS 45 & 49” on Time Warner Cable’s Cleveland system, a viewer has to find cable channel 9.

It’s similar to the “ideaStream” corporate name/branding for Cleveland’s WVIZ/25 and WCPN/90.3, though there’s no indication – for now – that WNEO/WEAO and WKSU will do anything more than share space and occasional programming collaboration (“Folk Alley”) at the United Building…

NO MORE ANALOG: While we’re talking about the digital TV transition, OMW hears that one Northern Ohio TV station has already turned off its analog signal.

Huh?

Yep, it’s the station most our readers can’t get anyway, Mid-State Television independent WMFD/68 Mansfield, on the edge of the Cleveland television market.

The station’s website notes that the analog channel 68 signal was turned off earlier this month, on June 16th. Only WMFD-DT/12, still dutifully PSIP-responding as “68.1”, remains.

The reason for the early termination? Mid-State successfully convinced the FCC that it needed the summer months to remove the analog 68 antenna, and replace it with the new DT 12 antenna. The digital side is currently served by an antenna that’s currently side-mounted on the tower.

Quoting from the station’s application for extension of time to complete its upgraded digital signal:

WMFD-DT CURRENTLY IS LICENSED TO OPERATE WITH A SIDE-MOUNTED DTV ANTENNA, AND THE WMFD-TV ANALOG ANTENNA IS TOP-MOUNTED ON THE TOWER.

A STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS OF THE TOWER HAS SHOWN THAT THE TOWER CANNOT SUPPORT THE ADDITION OF THE AUTHORIZED FINAL DTV ANTENNA TO THE STRUCTURE AS IT NOW STANDS, AND THAT THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE AUTHORIZED FACILITIES WILL REQUIRE BOTH REMOVAL OF EXISTING EQUIPMENT AND ADDITIONAL WORK ON THE TOWER ITSELF.

AFTER CONSIDERATION OF THE ENGINEERING STRESS STUDY, MID STATE HAS DEVELOPED A PLAN WHICH WILL ALLOW FOR ITS FINAL DTV FACILITIES TO BE CONSTRUCTED PRIOR TO THE DTV TRANSITION DATE.

Speaking of the aforementioned WNEO/45 Alliance, OMW already reported that the station expects to shut off analog 45 later this year, for similar reasons…with the final WNEO-DT also landing on 45 by the transition.

And like other local TV stations, WMFD cites Northern Ohio’s often fierce winter weather as a concern in construction timelines. (When the FCC came up with the digital transition date, did they not consult the National Weather Service?)

WMFD-now-only-DT is a part of the Gunther Meisse Mid-Ohio Broadcast Empire, along with ESPN Radio outlet WRGM/1440 Ontario, AC mainstay WVNO/106.1 “Mix 106.1” Mansfield, and sister LPTVer WOHZ-CA/50, which at last check ran weather information and assorted other programming…

ZAP!: OMW hears that the Clear Channel Columbus studio complex on West 5th Street got quite a jolt this week…a lighting jolt that took the stations off the air at shortly after midnight Wednesday night/Thursday morning.

The resulting damage? A laundry list of some of the nuts and bolts needed to run a modern radio operation, from audio board outlets, satellite receivers and cards, to STL equipment.

OMW hears that the company’s entire Columbus engineering staff spent all night Wednesday into early Thursday morning making fixes and swapping in spare or emergency equipment, bringing all the cluster’s stations back to the air by 2 AM, then fixing up the rest of the problems the rest of the late night/early morning hours.

It reminds us of the lightning jolt the company’s sister Akron/Canton cluster got some time ago, which forced one of those stations to run off of a small Mackie mixer board until the main board could be put back into service…

DENNIS’ MOVE: OMW hears directly from WCLV/104.9’s Robert Conrad on a new weekend program starting next month.

Well, it’s not “new”, per se.

“The Dennis Lewin Radio Program” has been heard most recently on Salem talk WHK/1420, and before that, on Radio One talk/brokered outlet WERE/then-1300.

It’s moving to classical WCLV starting on July 6th, though we don’t know if Mr. Lewin will (apparently) continue to pay for his airtime.

Mr. Conrad tells OMW about his new Sunday programming addition, and explains how it fits well with the station:

Dennis has had a colorful career as a contemporary and classical musician and teacher, but foremost among his passions is his successful radio program, “The Dennis Lewin Radio Program”.

During the show Dennis gives an in-depth view of the lives and times of the greatest composers, conductors and musicians of all time; including Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Copland, Stravinsky, Gershwin and more.

A hallmark of the program is Dennis’ interaction with the listeners. Be prepared for trivia quizzes, musicial and non-musical, and, perhaps, even being “on-the-air,” a new wrinkle for WCLV.

Listener calls on WCLV? Wow.

Lewin will be heard Sundays from 1 to 3 PM on WCLV. And his website notes that his radio show also airs on another station outside Northeast Ohio, New Hampshire low-power “World Music” outlet WXGR-LP/101.5 Dover NH…

SHE’S BACK, IN CLEVELAND AT LEAST: And speaking of Lewin’s former outlet, it’s about to get one of its key weekday hosts back.

Talk Radio Network mid-morning host Laura Ingraham is apparently set to return to the network on Monday. Ingraham airs in Cleveland on WHK/1420.

We say “apparently” because word of her return came from her own website:

***BREAKING NEWS***
It’s official! Laura will return to the radio airwaves on Monday, June 30. Buckle your seatbelts!

The June 30th return date has been given by TRN in recent weeks, but this is the first indication from Ms. Ingraham’s side that she’d return on that date – after a nearly month-long apparent contract dispute.

We’re assuming the website is under her control. She’s used it in the past few weeks to notify her listeners that she wasn’t off the air by her own choice, and has even used it to implore listeners to contact TRN executives directly.

Though we’ll assume WHK will be along for the ride for her return Monday, the lengthy absence has cost Laura one of her other large market Ohio affiliates.

Clear Channel talk WKRC/550 Cincinnati has dumped Ingraham just three days before her return, and will replace her with the former occupant of that time slot, Premiere’s Glenn Beck.

Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio guru John Kiesewetter on the move:

(WKRC-AM PD Tony) Bender says he got tired of getting the run-around from her people, while fill-in Monica Crowley was on the air, so he’s putting on Beck. Ironically, Ingraham’s website says she’ll return to her radio show on Monday. Too late.

Beck was bounced from the 9-noon slot on WKRC so the station could pick up area native Tony Snow’s FOX Radio program. Ingraham ended up in the mid-morning slot on WKRC after Snow left FOX for the White House press secretary job.

While WKRC went elsewhere in the time slot, Beck landed in Cincinnati on Cumulus then-talk WFTK/96.5 “SuperTalk FM”, which has since gone rocking as “96 Rock”.

Both hosts have TV presences. Since his first go-round on WKRC, Beck launched a successful evening show on CNN Headline News. And Ingraham’s “Just In” started last week on FOX News Channel, though for now, it’s apparently an audition.

Our apologies if that URL doesn’t work for Kiesewetter’s blog post. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s recent revamp produces URLs that look like extreme messes for its blog posts, under the header “PluckPersona” (whatever the heck that is), with lots of random characters. If you can’t find it, go to cincinnati.com and click manually on “Blogs”.

We just love it when changes are made for the good of the new service provider, and not for the ease of the public. Add to that the fact that the Blogger editor sometimes chokes on URLs with ampersands in them (like the FCC application linked for WMFD above), and…well, it’s frustrating for us…

Random Weekend Cleanup

Come to think of it, we have some early summer cleaning to do at the Palatial OMW World Headquarters as well…

JUNE 20TH: We did not note it here beforehand, but Friday was a busy day at the Clear Channel World Domination HQ compound on Oak Tree.

Cleveland talker WTAM/1100 morning host Bill Wills celebrated his 10th anniversary at the Northern Ohio version of “The Big One”. He joined ‘TAM on June 20, 1998 – from the original “Big One”, co-owned WLW/700 Cincinnati.

“Wills and Snyder” is a pretty typical large-market morning news/information/traffic/sports/weather/feature program. Wills is not controversial, for the most part (that’s left to hosts later in the schedule), but has stuck around. His stint at WLW lasted 13 years, so he’s no stranger to radio longevity.

The “Snyder” in the show’s current title is station mainstay Mike Snyder, WTAM’s long-time sports director who slid comfortably into the role after the unfortunate passing of one Casey Coleman…lost to listeners and the world way too early with his death from pancreatic cancer…

AND THAT SAME DAY: Clear Channel pulled out all the stops for one of its newest arrivals, as rock WMMS/100.7 Cleveland morning driver Shane “Rover” French hosted the live “Roverfest” event.

We’re not – as explained numerous times – in “Rover’s Morning Glory’s” target demo. And since he’s been back on the radio in Cleveland since April, that flood of RoverFans which followed links to us from blog postings on his own website has probably long left.

So, we didn’t stop by West 6th Street on Friday afternoon. But we’re sure the target audience enjoyed their day of “All Things Rover”…

CLEVELAND GETS PLUGGED IN: Plain Dealer media columnist Julie Washington weighs in Saturday on the addition of “People Meters” by TV ratings service Nielsen in the Cleveland/Akron (Canton) TV market later this year.

Some 600 lucky households will get these boxes starting in August, with the goal of accurately tracking daily viewership – which will get broken out into monthly reports, basically.

Quoting Ms. Washington’s article:

Often, stronger stations are hurt and weaker stations are helped when meters come to town, says local ratings guru Gary Stark, director of programming and research for Scripps-Howard Television Station Group and WEWS Channel 5.

If you were to open up the TV dictionary for Cleveland, the “weaker stations” entry would have two large logos…those of Raycom Media’s WOIO/19 “CBS 19” and WUAB/43 “My43”.

To that effect, local Raycom boss “The Controversial” Bill Applegate tells Washington that he expects his stations to be helped by what he calls “more accurate” data.

The move to continuously measure TV ratings is expected to eventually lessen the dependence of “sweeps periods”, the four times a year local stations pull out all the gimmicks and stops to help goose more ratings.

But Applegate notes that the networks will still offer “sweeps months” resources and promotions, presumably because there are still a lot of markets not on the People Meters… and he believes local stations will still attach their promotional efforts to those months as a result.

For now, Ms. Washington reports that stations will start getting monthly reports in addition to the “sweeps” reports they already get.

There appears to be no interest or talk about “live” or even daily ratings data being offered…which is probably a good thing, not to walk into that Max Headroom world of instant ratings feedback.

And thanks to our colleague and friend Blaine Thompson over at Indiana RadioWatch, for the easy-to-paste link from Cleveland.com. We didn’t feel like digging around to see wherever they stuck Ms. Washington’s article this time, or if they even posted it…

MS. INGRAHAM “BACK”?: Fellow media blogger Brian Maloney at his “Radio Equalizer” has been keeping tabs on missing Talk Radio Network midday host Laura Ingraham.

Actually, Ingraham has been missing only from her syndicated radio show, which is on the schedule of Salem Cleveland talker WHK/1420.

She’s doing a TV tryout on the FOX News Channel, and has told just about anyone within earshot that no, she isn’t sick, no, she isn’t leaving radio, and that her absence from the TRN show is, well, their idea.

While TRN continues to insist that Ms. Ingraham will be back behind the microphone “on or before” June 30th, Mr. Maloney uncovered a pretty telling and interesting E-Mail memo sent by the Oregon-based syndicator to her affiliates.

While the reported memo continues to state that Laura Ingraham will be back soon, it trumpets the sudden popularity of her current fill-in, TRN weekend host Monica Crowley.

(Locally, affiliate WHK dumped the Laura Ingraham Show Without Laura Ingraham for about a week for Salem’s own Mike Gallagher, but we are told they’ve returned to the Ingraham show with Crowley aboard.)

The purported TRN memo gushes excitedly about the “unsolicited” feedback from listeners and program directors about Ms. Crowley. Reading it, you think she was about to explode as the Next Big Radio Star, and the company is asking around about what weekday time slot would be best for Crowley to expand beyond weekends. Crowley’s own show is only carried in the region by Cumulus talk WPIC/790 out of Sharon PA, which is heard in much of the Youngstown market.

In reality, it’s probably a very public negotiating ploy to tell Laura Ingraham “see, you can be replaced if you don’t agree to our terms” – and to hasten her return to the program.

The memo seems to indicate that Crowley will continue to occupy the slot while Ingraham is gone, sending fill-ins like fellow TRN weekender Tammy Bruce to the sidelines…

AND OTHER STUFF: Since we aren’t making a daily commitment to this thing, we’ve missed a lot of smaller items…like various on-air moves in markets outside our usual focus, like Columbus and Cincinnati.

And a reader noted that we missed a lot about the on-air turmoil that’s apparently been going on at Toledo NBC affiliate WNWO/24, with various exits and contracts not being renewed.

We’re just reminding readers that…well, we’ll get to what we get to.

As a free service of your Primary Editorial Voice(tm), who has A Life and then some, it’s difficult to keep up with everything.

The easiest way for us to follow the markets outside Northeast Ohio is to have detailed, already written information (from various newspapers, trade sites, etc.), but even then, we may not have time to get to stuff and repost it here. Since we’re not really “breaking” a lot of items from outside our home area, we’re in no hurry if the news is already up elsewhere.

So, we appreciate the “heads up”. And please, keep sending us tips.

But we have no obligation to put up any specific item – and sometimes, may not even have the time if we have the inclination.

Thank you for your cooperation, as always…

BREAKING NEWS: TV Staff Bloodbath In Cincinnati

Cincinnati CBS affiliate WKRC/12 is now firmly in the hands of Newport Television, the operating arm of Providence Equity Partners – the company which bought the former Clear Channel Television outlet a while back.

It looks like a large number of staffers are no longer in Newport’s hands.

Cincinnati Enquirer radio/TV guru John Kiesewetter reports on his blog today that a number of WKRC staffers are out of work, the result of massive cost-cutting across the Newport chain.

Kiese’s latest report says as many as 18 WKRC employees – 11 on the news side, 7 in engineering – could be on the cut list.

Newport just took over the 56 TV stations formerly in the Clear Channel fold, and a Newport spokesperson tells the Enquirer that the 158 cuts comprised about 7.5% of the company’s national workforce.

Of course, Clear Channel itself has seen job cuts and budget tightening, as it heads for the completion of its own sale to a pair of private equity firms…give or take a few bumps along the way…

Akron Gospel Radio Voice Silenced

A mainstay of Northeast Ohio gospel format radio has passed away.

Clear Channel passes along word that Anne Robinson, who has been involved with the long-running Sunday “Gospel Brunch” program and its predecessors on Akron’s WARF/1350 for over 40 years, passed away on Tuesday.

Robinson is called “one of the originating voices” of the “Gospel Brunch” show, which has aired on either AM 1350 or now-sister talk WHLO/640 in some form each Sunday, since the run started with the debut of her “Gospel Time” program in 1964 on the old WADC.

The show has survived even recent format changes on the sports outlet now known as “SportsRadio 1350”.

The folks on Freedom Avenue tell us that a tribute to Robinson will be aired Sunday from 7:30 AM to 10 AM on WARF/1350….