Enough To Run

We’re a day late, and hopefully not a dollar short…but to be honest, aside from issues like the news video sharing plan among Cleveland TV newsrooms, not much has been going on.

We do have some items this Tuesday morning, though…

SPORTS SHUFFLE: Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 and Media-Com sports WJMP/1520 in the Akron market* have shuffled networks and formats quite a few times before, and OMW hears it’s in the works again…at least network-wise.

It won’t be happening right away, but we’re hearing “SportsRadio 1350” will officially return to the Fox Sports Radio affiliate lineup later this year – taking the network from Kent-based daytimer WJMP.

We’re hearing that “Fox Sports 1520” will indeed make the direct network swap with 1350, and that the Lightbulb Rimshot Daytimer on Route 59 Across From The Wal-Mart will take the Sporting News Radio affiliation that WARF is leaving behind.

We believe the switch is expected to happen sometime in early June, as we’re hearing out of the Brady Lake Media Empire that 1520 has been given notice by Fox Sports Radio to end its carriage on WJMP.

OMW hears that the 1350 lineup will remain the same after the switch in two key time slots – the station will continue to carry syndicated shows from The Content Factory’s Dan Patrick (9-noon) and Tony Bruno (10 PM-1 AM).

(Yes, it’s a Clear Channel-run Akron sports station, so there’s some state law that requires WARF to carry Tony Bruno…)

And we also hear that it’s expected that Premiere early afternoon sports talk mainstay Jim Rome will make the move from 1520 to 1350 as well. Of course, unless you’re in the parking lot of that Wal-Mart between Kent and Ravenna, you’re probably listening to Romey on Cleveland affiliate WKNR/850 “ESPN 850”, but that’s another matter.

Some of this became a bit muddled recently, with Fox Sports Radio adding Patrick’s already-syndicated-separately show as a regular part of their lineup. That’s placed the former ESPN Radio/”SportsCenter” personality on both WARF (via syndication) and on WJMP (via FSR) for the past few weeks…the latter clearance by default, really.

Bruno’s Content Factory show is not a part of the FSR lineup, and WJMP is long into its night’s slumber when Bruno airs at 10 PM Eastern, anyway.

And yes, the asterisk means that WJMP is technically “in the Akron market”, but doesn’t serve a large chunk of even Akron itself with a listenable signal…

NO THIS YET: There’s still no sign of actual programming on WUAB-DT 43.2, the digital subchannel of Raycom MyNetwork TV Cleveland market affiliate WUAB “My43”, which is slated to run the new “This TV” digital network soon.

OMW hears from readers that Raycom has already debuted the “This” programming on a subchannel of WUAB sister station WXIX/19 in the Cincinnati market…and we also hear that “This TV” Cincinnati has now received digital cable clearance on Time Warner Cable’s massive system in Southwest Ohio.

This leads us to believe, as we predicted, that TWC’s massive system up here in Northeast Ohio will add “This TV” as well, presumably somewhere in the 370s digital channel wise.

We have no idea when WUAB-DT 43.2 will light up with “This TV”. We only suspect that it must be soon, due to WXIX’s carriage, and due to the fact that they can’t possibly put up only the “This TV” ID slide on 43.2 for another year and four months…

SALEM’S COLUMBUS EXIT: Trade sites report that the general manager of Salem’s only Columbus radio property, religious WRFD/880 “The Word”, has left the building.

AllAccess reports that WRFD GM Dan Craig has exited, replaced – for now – by sales manager Tom Heyl.

OK, so we added the “for now” part, as WRFD is supposed to be headed for the portfolio of local broadcaster Christian Voice of Central Ohio, owners of crosstown CCM WCVO/104.9 “The River”, and the “Promise Network” of religious FMs in central and southern Ohio.

The move is Salem’s exit from the Columbus market, but it’s not been without stalling… Salem filed with the FCC in December for an extension of time to connsumate the deal with CVCO, which had been approved by the FCC in September.

No, we don’t know why the WRFD deal has been held up.

And we don’t know if one of CVCO’s other moves far from Ohio is related.

Some time ago, the Columbus-area broadcaster bought two AM stations in the Huntsville AL market (WTKI/1450 Huntsville AL-WDPT/1490 Decatur AL) – and installed a talk/religious simulcast on both of them known as “ProTalk”

“Pro” or not, the talk is gone from the now-silent Huntsville stations, with this message on the “ProTalk” website:

The Management and Board of Directors wants to thank our very dedicated listeners and advertisers of ProTalk.

As a result of current economic conditions, we have been forced to cease operations in Decatur and Huntsville.

The site directs Alabama listeners to send questions to WCVO general manager Dan Baughman, and gives a link to his E-Mail address at “104.9 The River”.

Again, we don’t know what this has to do – if anything – with the delayed CVCO purchase of WRFD back in Columbus…but we had to note it somewhere…

KELLAS PASSES: When your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) was in the Wheeling/Steubenville market recently for the digital TV transition of CBS(/Fox/ABC) affiliate WTRF/7 there, we did our usual run through the Ohio Valley radio dial.

We noted that on RCK-1 Group local talker WKKX/1600 Wheeling (“The Valley’s WatchDAWG”), mid-afternoon host Steve Novotney was “in for” afternoon driver George Kellas.

Sadly, Kellas won’t be returning to his afternoon show, or anywhere – as numerous media sources in the Wheeling area report that Kellas died of cancer last Thursday at the age of 53. The Wheeling Post-Intelligencer newspaper – calling Kellas “The Voice of the Valley” – has more.

And that “Voice of the Valley” tag is not at all hyperbole…nor is the description of “Ohio Valley broadcasting legend”.

For one, Kellas’ passing was also noted by his two former television employers, the aforementioned WTRF (where he worked from 1982 to 1994), and Cox NBC affiliate WTOV/9, where he worked from 1994 to 2002.

A veteran sports anchor for both stations, he branched out – not only into sports ownership (he owned the indoor football team known as the Ohio Valley Greyhounds), but into local issues talk radio…the most recent stint at WKKX being only his latest foray into the medium.

(We also seem to remember that his WKKX show was also once heard on WEIR/1430 Weirton WV, just across the river from Steubenville.)

Kellas started in broadcasting at now-Clear Channel talk WWVA/1170 in the mid-1970’s, and spent many years there as well…sometimes overlapping with his TV stints.

As for his current home, WKKX’s website contains a scrolling message:

“In Memory of George Kellas II / Please keep his family in your prayers / Georgie will be missed by all who knew him”

Kellas’ WKKX bio is still up, with a detailed look at his career and life, here.

Even in a market the size of Wheeling, it’s hard to find anyone that could be identified as the “voice” of the market as much as Kellas was there. If you’re outside Wheeling and knew of just one local radio/TV personality there, it was probably George…

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