The New And The Former

Today’s items both involve a news director post at a Cleveland market TV station…one, with an incoming person to take the role, and the other, about a former local news director…

SHE CATCHES 5: New WEWS/5 VP/general manager Victoria Regan has tapped a new news director for the station.

She is Jill Manuel, who joins the Scripps Cleveland ABC affiliate from the news director’s post at Tribune-owned CLTV in Chicago, that city’s 24-hour cable news outlet. The Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal and the Chicago Sun-Times’ Robert Feder have more.

In addition to producing at FOX News Channel and CNN, and a stint as deputy director of communications for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, Manuel also has been executive producer in the newsroom of Chicago CBS O&O WBBM/2.

Yes, that’s the same WBBM-TV that “19 Action News” VP/GM Bill Applegate once ran, causing as much controversy as he does at WOIO/WUAB these days.

We can’t tell from the Chicago news articles if Manuel’s stint at WBBM overlapped Applegate’s time there as VP/GM. We’re guessing not, as Applegate was there roughly in the early 1990s.

At “NewsChannel 5”, Manuel takes the post vacated in February by Steve Hyvonen, who left to run the newsroom at Orlando CBS affiliate WKMG/6…

AND FROM OUR PAST: A long-time Providence RI investigative reporter is leaving that market’s ABC affiliate, basically saying he could no longer stick around amid changes at the station.

The Providence Journal reports
that WLNE/6 reporter Jim Hummel has left the station, “saying he was disturbed by the sensational direction” that “ABC6” was taking. Journal reporter Amanda Milkovits details Hummel’s concerns:

Hummel said there was pressure to sensationalize news and use slang –– such as “lowlife” and “thug” to describe defendants –– in an effort to increase ratings for the third-place local news station.

Using slang like “lowlife” and “thug” on the air…boy, that sounds familiar.

And there’s a reason, of course.

WLNE’s vice president and general manager is former WOIO/WUAB news director Stephen Doerr. And his former Cleveland newsroom, “19 Action News”, uses slang like “lowlife” and “thug” in pretty much every news story about criminal defendants, daily.

Among his other career highlights, Hummel covered the corruption trial that drove former Providence mayor “Buddy” Cianci out of office – and behind bars.

And one factor in his decision to exit “ABC6” in Providence? Cianci became a co-worker after his exit from prison, as the station recently hired the populist former mayor as its chief political analyst. Cianci also now does a radio show for talk outlet WPRO/630-99.7.

As for Doerr, the ex-“Action News” ND calls Hummel “admittedly, an old-school guy”, and quoting the ProJo article:

“I think ‘sensational’ is an overused word,” Doerr said. He said the direction is more “edgy.” When asked about the use of the words “thugs” and “lowlifes” on air, Doerr said, “We’re a work in progress. We’re trying to be more colloquial, use plainspeak.”

Doerr’s former newsroom has not exactly turned away from the “plainspeak”, as the aforementioned Mr. Applegate is clearly the driving force behind WOIO’s scrappy “we’re speaking for everyman” format…and continues to hire news directors who will carry out that mandate…


Metheny Out At CC/Cleveland

Our inbox has been peppered with anonymous tips all day out of the Clear Channel World Domination HQ at Oak Tree, and now it’s been confirmed by the various radio trade sites.

Long-time VP/Programming Kevin Metheny has left the building at Clear Channel Cleveland after a 10 year run in the post, and a 13 year run with the local cluster.

OMW hears that the exit comes at the end of Metheny’s most recent contract as the company’s head Cleveland programmer…

Lots Of TV Stuff

We’re mostly catching up with stuff this time, but felt it needed to be put up, at least…

GAUTHIER EXITS FOR HOME: We’d heard rumblings that this was about to happen, but WKYC/3 senior director and fellow blogger Frank Macek provides the confirmation and details on his “Director’s Cut” blog.

“Channel 3 News Today” co-anchor and “Channel 3 News Midday” anchor Barbara Gauthier is leaving the Gannett Cleveland NBC affiliate for Columbus.

No, she’s not going to Columbus, Ohio.

She’s heading for the other Columbus, in Georgia. Macek reports that Gauthier is heading for her hometown ABC affiliate, WTVM/9, as a primary anchor. WKYC news director Rita Andolsen says it’s the station Barbara grew up watching.

Her move has even prompted a prominent “breaking news” item on WTVM”s website:

After more than 20 years reporting and anchoring the news at stations and news outlets like WKYC in Cleveland, BET and WXIA in Atlanta, WTVM announces the addition of Columbus area native Barbara Gauthier to the talented news team at WTVM. She will join veteran co-anchor Wayne Bennett anchoring the 5:00 PM, 6:00 PM, and 11:00 PM, newscast starting September 3rd.

“News Leader 9” and its sister FOX affiliate, WXTX/54, are owned by Raycom Media, which of course also owns Cleveland CBS/MyNetwork TV combo WOIO/19-WUAB/43.

But in the Southeast, Alabama-based Raycom is a local TV powerhouse. It owns a number of highly successful stations, including the news leaders in many markets in that part of the country.

And Raycom is in the process of launching a brand-new full-power all-digital NBC affiliate in Myrtle Beach SC…which has long watched NBC programming from Raycom’s stations in Columbia SC and Wilmington NC…with a full local newsroom.

With that, we assume Gauthier will not be in the Columbus GA version of the basement at Reserve Square, despite the common ownership…

AND SPEAKING OF THAT BASEMENT: This one’s actually growing a week’s worth of cobwebs, as we missed the item by Cleveland Plain Dealer media columnist Julie Washington last Wednesday.

Getting her ticket out of the “19 Action News”-plex is one Markina Brown, and what a ticket it is.

Ms. Washington reports that the WOIO/WUAB weathercaster moves from the Reserve Square basement to the TV penthouse, as primary anchor for Los Angeles station KTLA/5, the Tribune-owned CW Network affiliate.

And Ms. Brown heads to the nation’s second largest market as a newly-married woman, hearing that her new gig was in the works after returning from her honeymoon in Cancun. It’s hard to imagine anyone in local media having a better 2008.

She’ll take along long-term ties to Northeast Ohio, as Washington reports that her new husband is an East Cleveland native.

“Action News” news director Dan Salamone says the station is launching the proverbial “nationwide search” for her replacement, and that the ever-active Jeff Tanchak will hold down the weather fort solo through the afternoons and evenings starting Friday, until Markina is replaced…

AND BACK TO 13TH AND LAKESIDE: …where “Channel 3 News” meterologist Betsy Kling is finally a new mother to a baby girl.

And back to Frank Macek, who tells us on the “Director’s Cut” blog:

Congratulations to Channel 3’s Betsy Kling and Paul Thomas, who welcomed Josephine Frances into the world Monday evening.

Josephine Frances, Mom and Dad are doing well.

She is 8 lbs 11oz and is 21.5 inches long.

More pictures are linked from the story here. We’d link the picture page directly, but Blogger chokes on ridiculously long, random-named URLs with a lot of ampersands in them…

A Follow-Up Or Three

Followups, clarification and other stuff…

THE SAVAGE FALLOUT: When we passed along word that Salem Cleveland talk outlet WHK/1420 was dumping Talk Radio Network host Michael Savage over recent remarks about autism, we didn’t know what the station would do in the 9-11 PM time slot until August 4th, when it announced it would start a new lineup.

Friday, WHK aired Savage’s show as normal, and the station did so again on Monday night.

WHK/Salem Cleveland general manager Mark Jaycox announced last week that ABC/Citadel syndicated host Mark Levin would take over for Savage, but that clearance doesn’t start till next week.

By the way, we’re just the messenger here.

We’ve been pelted with E-Mail from campaigns from both sides of the controversy – those pushing for Savage to be pushed off the air as a scourge of radio, and those defending the host as a champion of free speech – and we aren’t passing along any of it.

We’ll continue to pass along news of how the program does as far as affiliates go, particularly in Ohio, but not much else. Please hold your E-Mail campaigns for those who care.

Repeat after us: It’s a radio show. It’s just a radio show.

It is a radio show that has a couple of more Northern Ohio affiliates than we realized when we wrote the last item.

Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 Toledo carries “The Savage Nation”, though it does not during the winter months due to WTOD’s daytimer status.

And we didn’t remember that Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 Youngstown still carried Savage until we heard the show ourselves on Friday evening. (And thanks to the OMW readers who also reminded us.)

AND SPEAKING OF WKBN: When we heard Savage on WKBN, we also heard frequent on-air announcements that mean ABC Radio mainstay Paul Harvey is losing another talk radio affiliate.

Starting Monday, WKBN moved Harvey off its own airwaves, but the Chicago-based commentator stays in the family on South Avenue…his various segments now air on WKBN’s sister standards outlet, WNIO/1390.

In moving Mr. Harvey off of WKBN, Clear Channel Youngstown had a ready-made place to land his program…an option most other Clear Channel talk stations (WTAM, etc.) did not have.

Paul Harvey has mostly been absent from his own program in recent months. He’s been ill, and mourning the loss of his beloved wife Angel a while back. Though we haven’t heard it, we understand Harvey is returning to the airwaves part-time, starting with doing his 15 minute Saturday newscast.

In addition to the standards format, WNIO also carries newscasts from WKBN (and those produced for WKBN elsewhere in the Clear Channel system), and is the flagship for the New York-Penn League minor league baseball team the Mahoning Valley Scrappers…

A SAFE RATINGS STATEMENT: Regular readers of OMW know that we generally don’t do radio ratings posts.

For one, most of the publicly available numbers are “12-plus”, the counting of listeners 12 and over that is known as radio’s “Beauty Contest”. They’re pretty to look at, nice to point to, but in the end, don’t really mean much on the business side.

For another, it’s very easy to slice and dice demographic numbers to make them fit a broadcaster’s point. (“Look, we’re number one in men 18 to 22 who eat cheese!”)

But we feel comfortable enough to make one assessment, based on numbers we’ve seen and really can’t put up here.

It does appear that new WMMS/100.7 morning host Shane “Rover” French had a significant debut on his new affiliate. We’ve heard that out of Oak Tree, but we have seen numbers – from elsewhere – to back it up, with “Rover’s Morning Glory” bringing a significant listener boost to the WMMS morning drive slot.

A caveat or two: For one, it remains to be seen if the ratings in question hold up in the long-term, and how much of the listenership increase is “sampling” – due to the show’s well-publicized move from WXRK/92.3 “K-Rock” to WMMS.

But if Mr. French and his crew hang onto a decent chunk of it over a few books, the once-busy revolving door of WMMS Morning Drive may be getting a long rest.

We wish we could go into detail, but OMW and all other online sources are not allowed to reprint in-demo numbers, let alone 12-plus numbers. (We know at least one message board claims that they can print rankings, and that’s it, in the 12-plus demo. We don’t have lawyers on retainer, so we won’t do even that.)

But what would appear to be a coming stability in the WMMS morning drive slot, after years of a rotating cast of hosts along with one attempt at airing syndication (Bob & Tom), is definitely news…

Savage Flap Prompts WHK To Drop Show

The ongoing flap over controversial remarks by Talk Radio Networks host Michael Savage has cost him his Cleveland affiliate.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Julie Washington reports that Salem talk outlet WHK/1420 Cleveland has given Savage his walking papers, after widely reported on-air comments about autistic children that have caused both advertiser and affiliate drops nationwide.

Salem Cleveland general manager Mark Jaycox is quoted by Washington on the move, with wording you don’t normally hear from a radio executive:

“This guy’s a knucklehead, and I want to get rid of him,” Jaycox said.

The WHK move ends the station’s contract with TRN for Savage, which Washington reports was set to last through 2010.

“The Savage Nation” is down to one Northeast Ohio affiliate now, Melodynamic talk WCER/900 Canton. WCER GM Jack Ambrozic tells Washington that he’s keeping the show.

WHK will mirror a move made by another former Savage affiliate, Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron, by bringing in ABC/Citadel syndicated talker Mark Levin for 9-11 PM. (In the “Fortunate Timing” department for the Freedom Avenue folks, WHLO dumped Savage for Matt Patrick’s new 5-7 PM local show, and Levin, before the current controversy started.)

Local WHK weekend host Tom Kelly’s “Kelly and Company” will air – in what we presume is a brokered slot – from 11 PM to midnight.

Jaycox described the reaction to the controversy to Washington, saying he pulled the plug “after receiving about two dozen calls and emails from parents of autistic children, who said they were hurt by the remarks”.

Washington reports that the station will make the changes starting August 4th, and we don’t know if Savage’s show will continue to air tonight or next week.

For the moment, Savage is still listed on WHK’s website, along with an apology for the remarks by Salem national news/talk PD John Butler…

"KY" on XM

The big news this week is that competing satellite providers XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio are about to get the FCC go-ahead for a long-planned merger, according to the Wall Street Journal.

There’s a smaller piece of local-related news about one of the two services as well.

XM’s “Decades” channels frequently do tributes to legendary radio outlets of the past, and Cleveland is in the spotlight tomorrow.

WKYC/3 senior director and “Director’s Cut” blogger Frank Macek gives the heads up about Friday’s tribute to the top 40 days of “Radio 11”, which carried the WKYC calls now only on television after the whole Westinghouse/NBC mess of the 1960’s sent “KYW” packing back to Philadelphia. (Today, of course, 1100 AM is Clear Channel talker WTAM.)

The tribute to “KY” will air on XM’s 60’s channel, 6, from 4 PM-9 PM on Friday afternoon and evening.

From the channel’s website:

Sonic Sound Salutes- This Week: WKYC in Cleveland, OH
4:00 PM – 9:00 PM

60’s on 6 “Sonic Sound Salutes” continue as we re-create great 60’s radio stations across America. Terry ” Motormouth” Young transforms the 60’s on 6 into these great stations every Friday with their original jingles, DJs, and local happenings. This week WKYC in Cleveland, OH.

And even if the XM/Sirius merger gets the FCC’s OK before then, we’re pretty sure that won’t change…

Thursday Tidbits

A few late week tidbits for you…

UPDATE 10/27/08 5:35 PM: From Morrison’s agent, Steve Swienckowski from the David Crane Agency:

“All charges related to a July incident involving former WUPW Meteorologist Mike Morrison have been dismissed, and all references on his record have been expunged.

That is the ruling of a court in Toledo as of today. “

BAD WEATHER: OMW hears that WUPW/36 “Fox Toledo” chief meteorologist Mike Morrison is “no longer in the building”.

Morrison was arrested early Sunday morning at a downtown Toledo nightspot, reports the Toledo Blade:

According to police, several restaurant patrons saw a man urinating on a van owned by Sounds of Music, a disc-jockey company.

Police said the man, identified as Mr. Morrison, became verbally abusive when he was asked to stop and refused six times to provide police with identification, a report said.

The Blade says Morrison pleaded not guilty Monday to three charges linked to the incident, public indecency, intoxication, and resisting arrest.

And as we mentioned, the forecast of seeing him again on “Fox Toledo” is quite dim…

PROMOTED: It’s a happier forecast for a key figure at a locally-based radio syndication company, who’s been promoted.

Beachwood-based Envision Radio Networks ups affiliate relations director Rebecca Pixley to VP of its new sales division. Pixley will continue to handle affiliate relations for large markets.

The local syndicator has its hands in a large number of radio projects, including short-form and long-form programs in all sorts of formats…

A WORD FOR FILL-INS: It’s summer, which means local radio personalities often have fill-in hosts handling a week or more worth of shows for them.

We’d like to make one request, based on hearing a couple of talk radio fill-ins in the past few weeks.

Can you please, please, please, tell us who you are? And that you’re filling in for the host?

We make the plea after hearing the vacation fill-in for Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron late afternoon host Matt Patrick a week or two back.

The voice sounded familiar, but it took a good 15 minutes into the fill-in host’s opening monologue before we picked up a clue to the name of the host…it was WJW/8 “FOX 8” weekend weatherman Brad Sussman, a frequent local fill-in in the Northeast Ohio Clear Channel universe.

Brad? This isn’t TV, and there’s no “Brad Sussman / Fill-In Host” graphic in front of the radio… and though you do fill-in fairly often, we didn’t quite pick up your voice at first. (We also don’t know if Sussman was doing the WKDD part of Matt Patrick’s schedule that week.)

Then, we heard a voice we did not recognize filling in for NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton’s Jim Albright a week or two ago. This host did eventually say his name, but we didn’t recognize it (John Hanson? Hansen? Or was it something else?).

We’re kind of old school when it comes to identifying yourself on the radio…say the name, the show name and station name often.

Maybe we were the only frustrated listeners out there…

SPEAKING OF WHBC: The station, as expected, is “going all out” as Canton enters its most important time of the year…with the Pro Football Hall of Fame Ceremonies and all that comes with that.

With Mr. Albright’s return, we’ve heard the station promoting a number of live remotes, starting this Friday, related to HOF events.

And Albright and mid-morning host Ron Ponder will take part in a number of off-air HOF related events as well, as will morning drive hosts Fred Chenevey and Pam Cook.

The station seems comfortable with Albright doing afternoon drive, when he basically seemed to be pushed into just “filling the time slot” immediately after the departure of Brady Russell.

The long-time former host of Akron market talker WNIR/100.1’s “Dating Show” was doing off-air work on Market South, when NextMedia apparently realized they had a veteran talk host actually in the building, and started a Saturday morning show with Albright…a show we believe Albright still does, even after his promotion to weekday afternoon drive…

ION DAYTON: TV Newsday reports that the ION TV folks are touting a new affiliation in Dayton.

Low-power outlet WRCX-LP 40 has picked up the network, which developed out of the old “PAX TV”.

The station touts the ION affiliation in a promo seen on its website, which calls the station “Dayton’s Urban Vision”. The promo would indicate that WRCX is now calling itself “ION 40”.

We’ve written about this LPTVer before, when it became the Dayton market affiliate of the Cleveland Cavaliers Television Network…