BREAKING NEWS: Paul Harvey Has Died

UPDATE 2/28/09 10:22 PM: ABC News has posted its extensive story on Paul Harvey at ABCNews.com

UPDATE 2/28/09 10:06 PM: ABC News Radio has produced an hour-long tribute to Paul Harvey, hosted by regular substitute Gil Gross.

Paul Harvey News affiliate WAKR/1590 in Akron aired the special tonight, and program director Chuck Collins noted on the air that the ABC Harvey tribute will air again Sunday at noon…

UPDATE 2/28/09 9:08 PM: Here are some articles on the death of Paul Harvey –

USA Today’s Peter Johnson

The Associated Press

Mr. Harvey’s syndicator, ABC Radio Networks, has released a statement here from network president Jim Robinson. Quoting it:

Paul Harvey was one of the most gifted and beloved broadcasters in our nation’s history. As he delivered the news each day with his own unique style and commentary, his voice became a trusted friend in American households. His career in radio spanned more than seven decades, during which time countless millions of listeners were both informed and entertained by his “News & Comment” and “Rest of the Story” features.

Even after the passing of his loving wife Angel in May 2008, Paul would not slip quietly into retirement as he continued to take the microphone and reach out to his audience. We will miss our dear friend tremendously and are grateful for the many years we were so fortunate to have known him. Our thoughts and prayers are now with his son Paul Jr. and the rest of the Harvey family.

———-

Word is coming out tonight that veteran ABC Radio commentator Paul Harvey has died at the age of 90.

We’re still tracking down details…we’ll link them here later.

For now, the official confirmation comes from a brief mention of Harvey’s death atop the front page of ABCNews.com tonight…

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Joining the Twitter World

OMW has been continuously updated since June 2005 (give or take a short hiatus or ten), so if you’re new here, you’re forgiven if you think we’ve been around forever.

In fact, when announcing the start of OMW on one of the various message boards, we joked that we were “the last on earth to start a blog”, and wondered if some household pets had beaten us to the blogging punch.

Fast forward to today, and we wonder if we’re the last on earth to Twitter.

Starting our Twitter account today, we think we beat a few cats and dogs to the World of Tweets. Feel free to follow us at, you guessed it, ohiomediawatch. (Or is that @ohiomediawatch?)

From that link, if you’re already on Twitter you can click the “Follow” button under our Twitter account name, and that makes it easy.

We promise that you won’t be forced to read about our lunch menu or grocery shopping. We’ll mainly limit our “tweets” to announcement of new posted items, making it easy for you to know if we have an update here.

We may also throw in occasional random media-related items, links or just thoughts with no place in an OMW update. We’re also able to send out mobile updates.

We’re still getting the hang of the Land of Tweets.

Like many who didn’t dip their toes into the TwitterWater, we were having trouble grasping the concept…but once we were “in”, we got it. We could describe our thoughts, but really, just getting in there and watching/updating/responding will bring it into focus much quicker.

So do some media outlets, as we’ve reported earlier. We’ve signed up so far to follow many major media outlets: WKYC/3 (wkyc), WEWS/5 (WEWS), WJW/8 (fox8news) WOIO/19 (19actionnews) and Rubber City Radio-WAKR/1590’s AkronNewsNow (akronnewsnow). We’re still searching for others.

So, welcome to the “next step” in our online evolution. Hopefully, the notification provided by Twitter will help you be able to come back here when we actually have material…

THIS JUST IN: WKDD Wants To Return Home

It’s been nearly eight years since Clear Channel Akron market hot AC WKDD stopped airing from its transmitter site on Bellaire Lane in Cuyahoga Falls in 2001 – its format heading for Canton-licensed 98.1, the former WHK-FM and WTOF-FM.

WKDD has now officially filed to return to that former home.

The station, now licensed to the Akron suburb of Munroe Falls, has filed an application with the FCC to move from its current Hartville facilities on 98.1, to the Bellaire Lane site…and literally to the same tower that the former WKDD/96.5 occupied going back to its days as WCUE-FM. (Back then, the Bellaire site was in the old Northampton Township.)

The only difference, assuming the move gets FCC approval, is that the station now known as WKDD will be coming from that tower on 98.1, as 96.5’s transmitter site moved north to Brecksville as Cleveland-market top 40 WAKS “Kiss FM”.

It’s not like we didn’t see this coming.

No, really, we did see this coming, though it didn’t exactly take an expert to figure it out.

From an item we filed last November, when WKDD won the community of license change from Canton to Munroe Falls:

Presumably, the change from Canton to Munroe Falls could eventually allow WKDD to nudge the 98.1 signal somewhere else (say, closer to Akron), though it doesn’t change the various other considerable technical considerations that would limit any such move…among them, a powerful second-adjacent Cleveland signal in CBS Radio’s WNCX/98.5, not to mention a third-adjacent signal right in Akron – Rubber City Radio’s WONE/97.5.

The WKDD application covers all of this, with mentions of allowed or grandfathered short spacing throughout this document. It also addresses nearby stations in Ashtabula (WYBL/98.3, a relatively new station once owned by Clear Channel) and Fredericktown (WXXR/98.3, a station still owned by the company), not to mention an allocation filed in London, Ontario, Canada.

The new Bellaire facility would be a 50 kW class B station 138 meters above average terrain, so it’d definitely improve WKDD’s coverage in the Akron market. Here’s a predicted contour map, also from the application.

Shortly after Clear Channel realized that the former WTOF-FM’s facilities east of Canton in Louisville were just not adequate for the Akron market – not long after the “Great Frequency Swap of 2001” in Northeast Ohio – the new home of WKDD moved to the Hartville site in northern Stark County…which it will continue to use until this application is approved…

Another Friday Mix

It looks like another Friday mix as we close out the week, though we could have another piece of news later today.

And no, “Mix” doesn’t mean we’re going to put up a computerized female voice announcing songs…

PRINT WOES: As the rumor mill buzzes about yet another round of job cuts said to be in the works at one Northeast Ohio newspaper publisher, yet another major daily newspaper has printed its final edition.

Denver is a one newspaper town after today, as the very last edition of the Rocky Mountain News hit the newsstands and reader doorsteps this morning.

And yes, there is an Ohio connection here…”The Rocky”, as it’s called in Colorado, was owned by Cincinnati-based Scripps, the same chain which closed the Cincinnati Post last year. And of course, Scripps also owns two Ohio ABC affiliates – Cincinnati’s WCPO/9 and Cleveland’s WEWS/5.

Scripps put “The Rocky” up for sale just this last December. You don’t need to be an economist or a scholarly observer of the newspaper industry to know that selling a newspaper in 2008/2009 is even more difficult than selling a home – particularly when you map out just four weeks to sell the thing.

The obituary for the Denver market’s second newspaper is familiar…it was killed by a poor economy, slumping ad sales, and all the other economic woes print media has faced. Unique to print: the loss of $100 million worth of classified advertising, swiped by the Internet and free online sites like Craigslist.

The now-dead paper’s website has a lot of information on the closure, including an excellent in-house produced 21 minute video on the end of “The Rocky” called “Final Edition”.

The Rocky Mountain News’ closure today presumably leaves the only remaining newspaper in what was a joint operating agreement – the Denver Post – in better financial shape.

But Dean Singleton, Post publisher and chief executive of Post owner MediaNews Group, was left Thursday to assure readers that the Post will…umm…survive. Those economic realities faced by newspapers will only be slightly less daunting to the remaining Denver newspaper, which may not stem its own losses even without a competitor.

Out west, the Hearst-owned San Francisco Chronicle, the city’s major daily newspaper, recently announced that it was for sale…and if that didn’t happen, the paper could itself close down, leaving only the free tabloid version of the San Francisco Examiner behind. (Singleton’s MediaNews owns papers around the Bay Area, including in Oakland and in San Jose.)

Oddly enough, one Denver radio executive tells Inside Radio that radio there will “undoubtedly see a lift” from the Rocky Mountain News’ demise.

We’ll have more details on those local newspaper rumors as soon as we can confirm them. Even if they aren’t accurate, we’re not going out on a limb when we predict more bad newspaper news in Northeast Ohio, and probably soon…

UPSIDE: We have a small piece of economic/employment good news, at least for one Ohio radio guy.

He’s Glenn Forbes, the former Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370 Toledo staffer who lost his job in the Clear Channel Inauguration Day job massacre…one of 1,850 Clear Channel employees to hit the unemployment line on January 20th.

Forbes has landed as a news editor at Newark’s WCLT/1430 and sister WCLT-FM/100.3 “T-100”. He tells OMW that he started at WCLT last week.

Oh, that reminds us of another media landing: Former WNWO/24 Toledo “NBC24” primary anchor Jim Blue hops onto the Ohio Turnpike, heads into Indiana, and south on I-69 to a startup TV news operation in Fort Wayne IN.

Blue will be the news director and primary anchor for Nexstar Fox affiliate WFFT/55 “Fox Fort Wayne”‘s new 10 PM newscast, which is set to begin in April.

Our original hat tip on this goes to our colleague Blaine Thompson at Indiana RadioWatch, who told us about it earlier this week.

While we’re talking about the Barrington Broadcasting-owned NBC affiliate which once employed Blue, we’ll point to an excellent article in the Toledo Free Press: Media personalities join Toledoans pinched by economy.

WUPW “Fox Toledo” reporter Barrett Andrews talks to Blue, and to local radio personalities dumped in recent corporate downsizing – including former Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 morning host Tom Watkins, who left instead of being paid minimum wage for his two hour “Toledo Today” weekday program. (And really, when your pay barely justifies gassing up the car to drive to the studio, do you have much choice?)

But on the subject of WNWO, we feel the need to highlight this:

Shenikwa Stratford, who most recently served as the station’s primary anchor, had been with the station more than seven years. Some people thought she, too, had been a victim of the layoffs this winter, until she explained to viewers that her departure was on her own terms.

“The station offered me to stay here as long as I wanted to be here, but I decided almost a year ago that after I had this little girl, I wanted to be able to stay home,” she said in her televised farewell.

We’ve pointed this out before, but “some people thought” she’d been laid off because, well, the Toledo Blade reported that she had been among those laid off. Feel free to plug “WNWO” into our search box for a reminder…

SATELLITE INFOMERCIALS: If you have a satellite dish and a burning need to watch infomercials, you can now do so on both major satellite TV services.

Numerous OMW readers tell us that Multicultural Broadcasting infomerical outlet WOAC/67 Canton has landed in the Cleveland local channels lineup of Dish Network, airing the parade of long-form TV ads on channel 47.

A quick trip to Dish’s local channel lookup confirms the WOAC addition.

47, of course, is the underlying RF channel for WOAC’s now-digital-only operation. WMFD/68 Mansfield is also in the Dish lineup on its RF channel, 12.

Though Dish seems to be gravitating towards that RF channel numbering for stations which no longer offer analog broadcasts, the FCC continues to mandate that digial channels identify by their old analog number in “PSIP” information sent out with the digital stream.

Thus, despite Dish Network, WOAC continues to show up as “67-1” on digital over-air tuners, and WMFD as “68-1”. WOAC and WMFD already have DirecTV carriage on the Cleveland local channels packages, as 67 and 68…

Sue Ann Robak Exiting WEWS

OMW has confirmed that WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” sports reporter/anchor Sue Ann Robak is working her last week at the Cleveland ABC affiliate.

We hear that Robak’s contract isn’t being renewed, and that Friday will be her last day at Scripps-owned Channel 5. We’re also hearing that she won’t be replaced, and that the “NewsChannel 5” sports department will shrink to just two people – sports director Andy Baskin and reporter/anchor Terry Brooks.

Though WEWS has indeed managed to become the only local Cleveland TV news operation to avoid direct layoffs, Scripps – along with every other major TV station ownership group – is trying to cut costs amid the cratering advertising market and the faltering economy.

We reported on the company’s efforts to cut costs just last week. Note the phrase “hiring freeze” in that item, which explains Ms. Robak not being replaced.

And not renewing an already-expiring contract is a pretty straightforward way to do just that. (Remember, struggling Gannett didn’t come to a renewal agreement with now-former WKYC/3 anchor Tim White, opting instead to elevate anchor Romona Robinson to primary solo anchor for most newscasts.)

When we say WEWS will opt for a two-person sports department, we mean that quite literally. OMW hears that an off-air sports producer was moved into a news producing role, and wasn’t replaced.

So, when your Cleveland Cavaliers are once again hoping to drive to an NBA title, and when the Cleveland Indians open their regular season at Progressive Field in April, it’ll be up to Baskin and Brooks to juggle long schedules…much like Robak did herself when she was the ONLY member of the “NewsChannel 5” on-air sports staff.

Remember our phrase for her? “The Overworked Sue Ann Robak”? We’ll be able to apply that phrase to Mr. Baskin and Mr. Brooks soon…

Odd And Not So Odd Midweek

This midweek post is an odd collection of items…though we’ll start with the “not so odd” part…

CALL HIM A HALL OF FAMER: After next Tuesday, Clear Channel Cleveland country outlet WGAR/99.5 will officially be able to call one of its staffers a “Hall of Famer”.

As OMW reported back in October, WGAR afternoon drive star Chuck Collier will be inducted into the Country Music Radio Hall of Fame in Nashville on March 3rd.

Quoting a Clear Channel release on next week’s induction:

After his induction ceremony on Tuesday, Collier’s image will join the wall of those enshrined, located inside the Nashville Convention Center, as a permanent honor. With his induction, Collier joins an exclusive group of fewer than 100 members inside the Country Radio Hall of Fame. Collier was picked for this honor by a national board of industry leaders.

“This is definitely one of the highlights of my radio career,” said Chuck Collier. He continued, “Country Music has been such a big part of my life and it is incredible to be recognized with one of the top honors in the industry.”

“I could not be happier for Chuck,” said WGAR Program Director Brian Jennings. He continued, “Chuck is such a huge part of WGAR and an even bigger part of country music than most realize. He’s been witness to some of country music’s greatest moments and a player in many more.”

Collier – also WGAR’s music director – has been saying the WGAR call letters nearly continuously for nearly 40 years. Aside from a brief stint in New York City, he’s been a WGAR mainstay – dating back to 1970, when he joined the station which was then on AM 1220.

(For those coming in from the outside, 1220 later became sports talker WKNR after WGAR camped out on 99.5, and is now religious WHKW “The Word”.)

He’s also no stranger to picking up awards and getting recognition. Collier was inducted into the Ohio Radio-TV Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2005, and won an NAB Marconi Award in 2007 for Large Market Personality of the Year…

UH, OK…WE’RE STILL FIGURING THIS OUT: Clear Channel Toledo rock WIOT/104.7 afternoon driver Pyke has apparently established quite a beachhead at the iconic Northwest Ohio rocker.

And like a lot of personalities, he’s been branching out via voicetracking.

Pyke has already been voicetracking within the Clear Channel empire, doing morning drive for alt-rock WTZB/105.9 “The Buzz” in the Sarasota FL market.

But as for Pyke’s newest outlet? Uh…OK.

AllAccess reports that Pyke is now handling the noon-3 PM shift (“Pyke’s Afternoon Delight”) at Tallahassee FL market rimshot AM active rocker WSBX/1020 – we presume also via voicetracking from Toledo.

Yes, we said “AM active rocker”, and yes, we said “Tallahassee FL rimshot”.

The station is operated by one Woody Nelson, a former Southern California radio type who gets a lot of humorous pokes from various radio message board types.

Some would call his story “unintentional comedy”, and it’s been a quite a struggle to get the small daytimer near Thomasville GA (owned by his mother) up and running…which finally happened a couple of months ago.

We’ll decline to enter into the message board fray, but note that Nelson is quite a self-promoter in the mold of one Dino Costa, the former WATJ/1560 Chardon sports talk host who made the arrival of a transmitter an event in his “help wanted” ads for a talk station he was briefly running in Jacksonville FL.

Nelson and Pyke apparently are friends and former co-workers from Nelson’s time at “Cabo Wabo Radio”. We’ll leave it to the reader to research the disposition of that operation, and to find the various conversations about WSBX and Mr. Nelson on the message boards.

Nelson, who does morning drive on his station, had apparently planned an “active talk” format for AM 1020, but cites the end of Westwood One’s syndication of Tom Leykis for nudging him into “active rock”. Yes, on a small city, small market rimshot AM station that makes Kent’s WJMP look like a powerhouse into Akron.

It shows the ease of voicetracking…Pyke can help out his friend’s station from the comfort of Toledo, and continue to enjoy his popularity on WIOT.

In case you want to check out what Pyke sounds like on an AM “active rock” station in a small southern Georgia town, WSBX does offer a web stream at its website

MAJIC OLDIE: No, that’s not “oldie” in terms of the music on Clear Channel Cleveland classic hits station WMJI/105.7 “Majic 105.7”, but a website.

OMW reader Chuck Matthews points out that there’s still an old WMJI website out there on the Internet today.

The 1996 vintage site from the station’s OmniAmerica ownership days is hosted on somewhere on the servers of the web provider which built it for WMJI, and is likely to bring back some listener memories.

Click on the “Majic DJs” page, and you’ll see a lot of names listeners will remember.

For one, the station’s morning show was “Lanigan, Webster and Malone” in those days, with John Webster still in the mix with John Lanigan and Jimmy Malone…and now-WJW “Fox 8” sports anchor and WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” mid-morning host Tony Rizzo on sports. (At the time, of course, Rizz went across the OmniAmerica hall after the WMJI morning show to do his sports talk show on WHK/1420 “The Voice of the Fan”.)

The weekday airstaff included names such as Ravenna Miceli in middays and Scott Howitt in afternoon drive, with Sandy Bennett in overnights.

And look! It’s WKYC/3 morning host Mark Nolan as a “Fill-in Air Talent”, before he eventually landed as the Cleveland NBC affiliate’s chief meteorologist, then morning news host.

The page also includes a picture of Chris “The Mighty” Quinn, the local radio legend (and OMW reader!) who passed away recently, Denny Sanders and now-WTAM/1100 afternoon news anchor Carmen Angelo early in his radio career…

New Syndie Hosts

Two new syndicated talk radio hosts are embarking on a new national journey…one, expected, and one, just announced.

ALREADY SET: The “expected” host is former Republican presidential candidate, Tennessee senator and star of NBC’s “Law & Order”, Fred Thompson, who takes the Westwood One 12 noon-2 PM weekday clearance being abandoned by Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly and his “Radio Factor” starting on Monday, March 2nd.

One of O’Reilly’s two Northeast Ohio affiliates has already announced that it is carrying Thompson’s Washington DC-based show: Spirit Media talk/variety WELW/1330 Willoughby is listing Thompson’s show on its online schedule, and has a blurb about the new host on its programming page.

The other “Radio Factor” affiliate, Media-Com Akron market talker WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron”, still lists O’Reilly’s delayed weekend evening clearance on its website schedule.

Our bet – that WNIR will keep the Westwood One satellite feed/delay going on Saturday and Sunday nights, and start airing Thompson’s show a week from Saturday evening.

It’s what the station did when Laura Ingraham’s old Westwood One evening show was replaced by a show hosted by Portland OR-based Lars Larson, who still airs Saturday and Sunday 7-10 PM on delay…and sometimes live, when local evening host Tom Erickson takes a night off.

With WNIR’s “bread and butter” being local programming, the station doesn’t spend a lot of time messing with the weekend evening/late night national talk show replays – nor, really, should it…

AND NEW: Clear Channel’s Premiere Radio syndication arm is beefing up its conservative talk lineup.

The company has launched KTLK-FM/Minneapolis-based host Jason Lewis onto its nationally-syndicated schedule, airing from 6-9 PM (Eastern) weekdays.

Lewis is a familiar voice to Rush Limbaugh’s listeners…he’s been a frequent sub for Rush for a while now.

And talk about fertile ground for new talk show hosts…the Rush Sub Brigade has launched no fewer than four hosts into their own syndication deals. On that list: Salem’s Michael Medved, KOGO/San Diego host Roger Hedgecock (via Radio America), KFBK/Sacramento host Tom Sullivan (via Fox News Radio) and now Lewis.

Of those hosts, only one – Medved – is heard locally via Salem’s own Cleveland talker, WHK/1420.

Lewis’ new show means Premiere has a stake in its own syndicated conservative talk programming from 9 AM through 9 PM weekdays, counting the company’s new joint venture with ABC Radio for Sean Hannity.

We’re wondering how Clear Channel stations will take to Jason Lewis. Many of them have moved away from controversial Talk Radio Networks host Michael Savage, and ABC Radio’s Mark Levin has picked up a lot of those clearances (and recently expanded his show to the full 6-9 PM Eastern time slot from a two hour 6-8 PM show).

Will the Clear Channel Levin affiliates pick up Lewis, even on a delayed basis?

We’ll see…