Friday Closure

Unless another major local Northeast Ohio media personality decides to step down, this will close out the week for your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm).

Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) is groggy, and most of our earlier activity via our Twitter account was before we found both caffeine and our first meal of the day…hopefully, this will be more coherent, after we’ve met both requirements.

And it’s not all followup to that big Thursday evening news…

SPEAKING OF WHICH: The Other Shoe in the Matt Patrick’s Future Sweepstakes dropped this morning on Clear Channel talk outlet WHLO/640 Akron, where the 30-plus year host from hot AC WKDD/98.1 also hosts a separate, mid-morning local talk show.

The folks at Freedom Avenue weren’t saying much Thursday about the future of that program, except to note that Patrick would have a separate announcement for his WHLO listeners today at 9:06 AM. And boy, did he.

Unlike on the WKDD website, where there’s now a section with both audio and text from Patrick’s 7:45 announcement that he’s stepping down, there’s not much on the WHLO site about the long-time personality’s exit from the talk radio side of his work.

But indeed, Matt Patrick will leave Freedom Avenue entirely in mid-December. His last WHLO show will be December 17th, one day before what’s sure to be a Big Deal – his last show after 30-plus years on WKDD the following morning.

And, well, Matt doesn’t sound all that happy that he’s leaving both gigs.

After “making (his) decision” not to return to the WKDD morning drive post, Patrick told his WHLO listeners this morning that he’d hoped that Clear Channel would make him an offer regarding staying on the air in his 9 AM-noon talk show slot on WHLO. Such an offer, he says, never came.

So, he clarified again that he’s “not retiring” – wording he also used on WKDD, but which did not make it to the prepared statement on his exit – and Patrick told his WHLO listeners that he’d return “somehow, somewhere” after his December 18th exit…presumably after some family time and regrouping.

(The “somehow, somewhere” line is interesting. The competitive landscape ahead of Matt Patrick is rather intimidating if he hopes that means a return to radio in the Akron market. We’ll dissect the options, if there are any, in a separate post in the next few days.)

Why is Matt Patrick walking away from the Clear Channel microphones?

Well, regular OMW readers might recall that the folks at Freedom Avenue advertised for a future WKDD morning drive opening – effective January 2010 – back in April, on the AllAccess trade website.

We picked up on that, and Matt Patrick himself picked up on our item, responding that his contract was indeed up at the end of the year…and that the advertisement basically dragged the negotiations into the open.

It doesn’t take much to figure out the rest.

Clear Channel, like many of the financially-strapped mega-broadcasters in 2009, is likely trying to shed itself of expensive contracts, or get that high-paid talent to take deep pay cuts, particularly in markets the size of Akron(/Canton).

We have no insight into how much the company pays Matt Patrick, but it’s not a stretch to imagine that they approached his contract talks with cuts in mind…and that the two parties couldn’t get their numbers close enough to forge a new deal.

That’s the economic reality of radio in 2009…high-paid, veteran local personalities are almost “dead men walking” until their next contract renewal negotiations.

So, between now and then, Matt Patrick will play out the string on both WKDD and WHLO, with a likely heavily-hyped “last show” on 98.1 on December 18th, a day after he hangs up the talk radio hat over on WHLO…

ANOTHER PROGRAMMING ANNOUNCEMENT: For once, the promise of a “major programming announcement” on Good Karma sports WKNR/850 Cleveland “ESPN 850” was not something about a charity golf tournament.

The station announced during Friday’s “Really Big Show” that sports director Mark “Munch” Bishop will mount a new, local sports talk show from 5-6 AM weekdays, starting Monday, called “Munch in the Morning”.

That time slot is not a typo.

Bishop, of course, was originally hired by WKNR to host the 3-6 PM afternoon drive slot now occupied by former Cavaliers TV play-by-play voice Michael Reghi…and now, he’ll be hosting a one-hour early morning lead-in to ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” show.

And yes, we also noticed that “RBS” leader Tony Rizzo brought in “program director Jason Gibbs” to make the announcement. Not “assistant program director”, the title Gibbs took over from RBS executive producer/sidekick Aaron Goldhammer.

It’s the first time the Good Karma-owned sports outlet has actually had someone with the title of “program director”. Programming-related management wasn’t even in the consideration before Goldhammer took the APD title, and boss Keith Williams is a sales-oriented general manager.

It’s no stretch to guess that Good Karma boss Craig Karmazin generally has more programming input into his station than any of his employees…

DIGITALLY YOURS IN YOUNGSTOWN: Over-air viewers of Western Reserve PBS in the immediate Youngstown area now have their options back.

The folks on Campus Center Drive have announced that W44CR, the low-power digital translator aimed at low-lying areas of the Mahoning Valley, is on the air. It replaces W58AM, the long-time analog translator for WNEO/45 in Youngstown which long broadcast on Channel 58. At least one OMW reader tells us he’s picked up the new signal already.

The new facility is located at the same location – the WFMJ/21 tower just south of downtown Youngstown. It’s necessary because many viewers in the immediate Youngstown area are unable to pick up the WNEO signal due to terrain issues between the Valley and Salem, where the 45 facilities are located…

AND SPEAKING OF WESTERN RESERVE PBS: One of the Kent-based public TV outlet’s most popular local programs is “NewsNight Akron”, the weekly news roundtable show featuring Akron-area journalists…hosted by WKYC/3 anchor Eric Mansfield.

“NNA” is moving to a new time slot…just a bit later than its current perch at 9 PM on Fridays, to a new regular time slot of 9:30 PM on the same night.

We’ll electronically bring in a regular “NNA” panelist – Rubber City Radio-WAKR/1590 VP/information media and OMW reader Ed Esposito – to explain…in one of his “Letters from the Editor” on AkronNewsNow.com:

We’ll still be yipping and yapping about news and community events in our hometown but we’ll be doing so a bit later to make room for a hip new program about the local economy. I know — the words hip and economy really don’t belong together — but this fresh approach to money mattes in our region adds a new element to programming aimed at showcasing just what makes northeast Ohio tick, and the kinds of things we should think about to help make northeast Ohio improve.

The move is scheduled to take place next Friday, November 6th…so if you’re a “NewsNight Akron” junkie, it’ll still be on at 9 PM tonight.

Or, you could be like us….we pick up the show off of two TiVo recordings, at the early time slot and a 5 AM Saturday repeat.

The linked article by Ed Esposito primarily focuses on one of our earlier items, the impending departure of WKDD morning drive icon Matt Patrick. It’s worth a read for that reason, as well…

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