Some Other Monday Stuff

We were going to do our usual Monday “mix” item, but the previous entry got a bit larger than we expected.

So, here’s the rest of the “mix”…

NEWS HITS HOME: We’ve noted a few occasions where a local news organization either becomes the story, or is directly affected by it.

Among other items: recently, Raycom Media CBS affiliate WOIO/19-MyNet affiliate WUAB/43 saw a high profile killing just across the street from their main entrance at Reserve Square in downtown Cleveland, at Perk Park. The same station was literally waterlogged a few months ago, due to a fire in an apartment in that high rise that sent water down into the Reserve Square basement housing the WOIO/WUAB operations.

But this item hits a local newsroom hard, and directly in the “heart”.

On a typical day, word of a fully-involved house fire in Portage County’s Randolph last week would have likely seen Record-Courier reporter Marci Piltz as one of the first on the scene. But in this case, she was literally first on the scene…as a victim.

The newspaper which employed Piltz reports that she – and a friend she was visiting at the Randolph home – were killed in that Thursday fire.

Newsrooms in the world of print media, especially, are having a hard enough time dealing with layoffs, consolidations and cutbacks. But one can only imagine the kind of emotional body blow they’re dealing with in Ravenna.

Or, for that matter, at the ABC News Radio headquarters in New York City, where newsman George Weber will no longer be working…because he was found stabbed to death in his Brooklyn apartment over the weekend. (ABC News’ radio arm, of course, also has been morning the death of commentator Paul Harvey.)

Our condolences to Marci Piltz’s friends, family and Record-Courier colleagues…

NOT YET, BUT…: We continue to get questions about the status of the planned tower which will hold the new digital antenna for Cleveland Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, and ideastream PBS affiliate WVIZ/25.

So late Sunday afternoon, we took another run to Parma, and to the Broadview Road transmitter location in question.

And there are signs of activity, though steel is not rising into the air, yet.

Since our last visit a few weeks ago, the tower sections we saw in front of the WKYC transmitter building have been moved.

They’re still lying on the ground, but some have been moved to just behind the building, and others, back at the base of the WKYC radar tower (pictured here, from the public street that runs alongside the WKYC property).

You can also see what appears to be a small blue-colored crane-like device. We do mean “small” – there’s no way this thing is getting the tower fully constructed. But…it’s movement.

As the weather breaks, our guess is that construction on the new WKYC/WVIZ tower will begin in earnest sometime in the next couple of weeks…with the digital transition looming on June 12th.

To that effect, WKYC Director’s Cut blogger Frank Macek notes the planned early sign-off of TBN O&O WDLI/17 Canton (April 16), and notes that indeed, it’ll make life easier for WKYC-DT, which will camp out on digital RF channel 17:

…this extra time will allow us to do more testing and tweaking on our new channel prior to the actual transition date, once our new tower is constructed in Parma that will house both WKYC and WVIZ.

WKYC itself, along with all the major network affiliates in the Cleveland/Akron (Canton) TV market, still plans to keep its analog signal going until June 12. But the move likely means that it would (tower construction permitting) be able to show up with a full-power digital RF 17 signal on the transition date with less difficulty…

LARS: Westwood One parted company last week with syndicated evening talk host Lars Larson, but he’s already landed with a new syndicator.

Larson will be heard starting next Monday via Compass Media Networks, a new company established by a former Westwood One executive.

Among Lars’ reported 150 affiliates is talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron”. As with all of its syndicated programming, WNIR runs Lars Larson on delay in a weekend time slot (7-10 PM Saturday and Sunday), though he’s occasionally heard live weekday evenings as the “fill-in” for local host Tom Erickson.

OMW hasn’t heard if Larson will continue to be heard on WNIR.

But if the station’s online schedule is to be believed, WNIR has picked up Talk Radio Network host Laura Ingraham for the weekend 10 PM-12 midnight slot formerly occupied by Westwood One’s Bill O’Reilly…declining to join up with that network’s replacement for the Fox News Channel host, Fred Thompson.

Oh, wait, they are carrying “Laura Ingram”! Sorry about that! Heh.

It’s actually a return to WNIR for Ingraham. She occupied the 7-10 PM Westwood One time slot, and was heard in recorded form on WNIR, before she moved to Talk Radio Network’s mid-morning schedule. Larson took over the Westwood One evening syndication…

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