Around The Corner And Around The State

It’s yet another mixed bag for midweek…

SOMEONE CALL THE MEDIA!: This time, he didn’t use any profanity, so we got the note without it falling into the OMW “Spam” folder first.

Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron” morning sports voice/co-host Steve French felt the need to let us know:

Your favorite whipping boy, WNIR, is still the runaway #1 in the latest monthly ratings (see Radio and Records).

Also, WNIR today announces no layoffs.

Some other breaking items into the OMW newsroom: Water is wet! Grass is green! The sun rises in the east and sets in the west! We’ll get right on those stories after we finish this item.

Mr. French is apparently only a semi-regular reader of your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), or at very least, a selective one.

Sure, we’ve ribbed the Brady Lake Media Empire for various things.

For one, its inability to air a regularly scheduled car dealer remote using anything but an unequalized phone line…when a very, very modest one-time investment many years ago could have brought the voices of Howie Chizek and Bob Golic – from the car dealership just two miles down Ohio 59 from the station’s studios – in near-studio quality every single week, without further ongoing cost.

(Oops, that soapbox is about ready to break!)

We mention the station also doesn’t feel the need to invest in a backup power generator, which has taken WNIR off the air for long periods of time about a half-dozen times dating back to the big 2003 blackout.

We poke fun at the puny little automated AM sister station to WNIR, low-wattage directional sports daytimer WJMP/1520 Kent-Akron-Cleveland-Chicago-Los Angeles. But we’ll assume even people INSIDE Broadcast Park do that as well.

And yes, the station continues to use its reworked-from-TV-news “Talk of Akron” jingle package that debuted over 20 years ago…and WNIR’s talk show hosts constantly walk over the first few seconds of the ABC Information Network newscasts for no apparent reason.

But we think we’ve been fair, on the whole.

Consider this snippet from our 2008 year-end message:

But…the station continues with its full schedule of locked-in local programming, 5 AM to 11 PM weekdays, 6 AM to 7 PM weekends. There’s no talk of layoffs on Route 59 between Kent and Ravenna as far as we know…slow and steady, the station goes on as it has for decades.

It continues to be at or near the top in the Akron ratings, though there’s some argument to be made for the fact that the station’s audience skews older…and that’s something WNIR will have to address at some point. At times, WNIR seems perpetually frozen in time at about 1984.

The important stuff is local content, with studios and offices long paid for, with very little capital expense….

There – aside from also pointing out that the station’s audience skews older, we covered this back in January. (We assume the “no layoffs” poke in Mr. French’s message refers to an item later regarding classical outlet WCLV/104.9, thanks to a note we received from WCLV president Robert Conrad. But with WNIR, we’d already been there.)

Regular OMW readers know that we don’t do regular posts on either radio or TV ratings.

And for good reason – especially on the radio side, the “12-plus” ratings don’t tell the entire story, and those with agendas can slice-and-dice the demo numbers to make their point.

The good folks at Arbitron frown upon release of anything past the publicly-available 12-plus numbers, and we’re not even sure we’re legally allowed to provide anything more than rankings in that overall category.

So, we basically don’t do ratings. But we’ve written many, many times that WNIR has been #1 or nearby in the Akron 12-plus ratings. And they’ve been there for a very, very long time…pretty much their entire time in the talk format, if we recall correctly.

And we’ve made it quite clear that the Brothers Klaus’ operation on Ohio 59 between Kent and Ravenna is an important part of the Northeast Ohio radio landscape.

(Did we mention that we like Steve French’s play-by-play for the University of Akron Zips? Oh, he was also on WKDD/then-96.5’s “Waking Crew” show for 13 years.)

Oh, and your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) has been a listener nearly as long as Howie Chizek has occupied the midday talk time slot on 100.1 – which actually pre-dates the station’s days as a full-time talk outlet with the WNIR call letters.

We poke a little good natured fun at WNIR (and for that matter, Mr. French). But that doesn’t mean we consider either to be our “Whipping Boy”. But…thanks for the material! We had some fun with it…

COLUMBUS RETIREMENT: Something we missed in our run through the Columbus Dispatch’s media-related items on the other day…the retirement of a long-time talk radio personality in the market.

Dispatch radio/TV writer Tim Feran reports that WOSU/820 host Fred Andrle is hanging up the headphones at the NPR outlet owned by THE Ohio State University, with his retirement set for late May.

Andrle launched the mid-morning show “Open Line” in 1988, after joining the WOSU family on the TV side at WOSU/34 in 1980…thinking he’d be doing the daily radio call-in show for only “two or three years”, he tells Feran.

Andrle has set May 29th as his last “Open Line” show date, but he tells the paper he won’t be inactive:

Andrle, who has written a book of poetry, said he plans to continue writing, travel and occasionally host specials for WOSU after his May 29 departure.

Until late May, Andrle can be heard weekdays from 10 AM-noon, with a repeat airing from 7-9 PM, on 820 AM in Columbus…one of a very small number of NPR affiliates still on the AM dial. Of course, the show can also be streamed via the WOSU site linked above…

ANOTHER PASSING: Our condolences, again, to employees of RCK 1 Group talk WKKX/1600 in Wheeling WV, as a second member of their radio family has passed away.

West Virginia Media CBS/ABC/Fox affiliate WTRF/7 and sister newspaper The State Journal report that WKKX talk host and newsman Tod Jeffers has died at the age of 67.

Among the stations on Jeffers’ resume according to AllAccess – Columbus’ WBNS-FM/97.1, which recently changed from hot AC to sports as “97.1 The Fan”.

WKKX is mainly a Wheeling-centric station, and doesn’t cover nearly as much of the Ohio side of the Ohio Valley region as Clear Channel talk competitor WWVA/1170 (or the two local TV stations, WTRF and Cox NBC affiliate WTOV/9 Steubenville OH).

But we did note the passing of Ohio Valley broadcast legend George Kellas…who was a co-worker of Jeffers at WKKX. That means the Wheeling talk station’s employees are now grieving over the second staff member death in under two weeks…


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