That Big Day Is Here

We feel kind of short handed on this day, with major news breaking out all over, and just one person to keep track of it – your Primary Editorial Voice(tm).

But we’ll do our best…and please, if you hear anything, let us know…

AS SCHEDULED: It’s been rumored for weeks, and reported in major newspapers the past few days…and yes, it does appear radio giant Clear Channel has brought out the layoff axe.

Trade websites are starting to line up the job cuts, which are expected to affect roughly 7 percent of the company’s 20,000-plus workforce. (We’ve seen that “total workforce” number cited at anywhere from 20,000 to 30,000.)

As of yet, we’ve not heard of any layoffs at Ohio’s Clear Channel clusters, though they’re certainly expected.

OMW hears that “most” Clear Channel clusters are indeed having mandatory meetings later today, and that it is expected – as reported earlier – that the company’s sales force will bear the brunt of the job cuts today.

We’re hearing that there’s one odd “side effect” – the company’s FTP servers are down today for “emergency maintenance”. Is that cover wording for “sorting out employee access, so people being let go don’t do anything nasty on the way out the door”?

Again, nothing yet from Ohio, that we’ve heard…but unfortunately, we do expect more…

INAUGURATION DAY: The conventional wisdom about today’s Clear Channel cuts was that the company wanted to “bury the news” on a day pretty much devoted to the inauguration of incoming president Barack Obama.

That major event will happen just under two hours from this writing in Washington DC, and the coverage won’t be lacking.

As thousands of Ohioans descend upon the Nation’s Capital today joining the throng, they’ll be joined by thousands of reporters – including some from Northeast Ohio stations.

And local TV stations, via their networks, will carry large chunks of today’s festivities – much of it preempting programming clear into the evening.

Plain Dealer TV writer Mark Dawidziak delineates your TV viewing options, inauguration-wise, in this rundown. Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels does the same here, with some guide to how local stations are wrapping around the coverage.

(Note: As Mr. Heldenfels did, we saw an earlier press release from Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5, saying that the station was going to entertainment programming from 7-8 PM – presumably, “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” – but TV listings this morning show the local station going with ABC’s extended “World News Tonight”. The listings also show WEWS/5 and WOIO/19 going with network coverage during the day all the way until their local newscasts, but list WKYC/3 airing “Ellen” and “Dr. Phil” as usual.)

If you don’t want to wear out the remote, Heldenfels is also “live blogging” the TV coverage on his “Heldenfiles” blog.

And further underlining our New Media World, both the PD’s Cleveland.com and the Beacon’s Ohio.com feature live video coverage provided by the Associated Press – prominently displayed on each home page.

Radio-wise, we’ll assume that every news/talk station in the state will at very least carry their network’s live coverage of the Inauguration itself. We’ve heard both Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland and Media-Com Akron market talk WNIR/100.1 promoting live coverage – WTAM joining FOX News Radio at 11 AM, WNIR joining ABC News Radio at 11:30 AM.

We assume a sweep of the AM radio dial at noon will find the event on nearly every station, on local NPR outlets WKSU/89.7 Kent (and its simulcasters) and WCPN/90.3 Cleveland, and maybe even on some FM music stations. Considering the historic nature of this particular inauguration, we’d be shocked if Radio One’s WZAK/93.1 and WENZ/107.9 weren’t paying atention to this.

If you miss the inauguration itself, Western Reserve PBS will reportedly replay it at 9 PM tonight on WNEO/45-WEAO/49, with Cleveland PBS outlet WVIZ/25 carrying it live from 11 AM to 2 PM. We’re sure C-SPAN will also repeat it.

If you don’t want to watch any of this, it looks like your broadcast options are stations like Raycom MyNetwork TV affiliate WUAB/43 and Winston Broadcasting CW affiliate WBNX/55, along with non-news oriented cable networks…

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