Beacon Stations For Sale

We’d already heard that at least one of the Beacon Broadcasting Youngstown market stations – Christian/eclectic rock/talk WEXC/107.1 “Indie 107.1” Greenville PA – had interested buyers… even before owner Harold Glunt passed away in late January.

Now, all five Beacon stations along the Ohio/Pennsylvania border are up for sale.
In addition to some helpful tips from OMW readers, we received this release directly from Pittsburgh-based station broker Ray Rosenblum….who clearly knows that the Beacon stations have been covered in OMW frequently…
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Ray H. Rosenblum, Media Broker/Consultant/Appraiser P. O. Box 38296, Pittsburgh, PA 15238 PH: 412-362-6311; FAX 412-362-6317 E-mail: rayhrosenblum (at) hotmail.com

NEWS RELEASE Fri., Feb. 26, 2010

5 Beacon Broadcasting Radio Stations For Sale Following Owner’s Death

The Executor for the estate of the late Harold Glunt has announced that the 5 Beacon Broadcasting, Inc. radio stations in Ohio and Pennsylvania are being put up for sale.

The Media Broker for the sale is Ray H. Rosenblum of Pittsburgh, PA.

According to Mr. Rosenblum, the stations are WANR(AM-1570) in Warren, OH; WRTK(AM-1540) in Niles, OH; WGRP(AM-940) and WEXC(FM-107.1) both in Greenville, PA; and WLOA(AM-1470) in Farrell, PA.

Harold Glunt, the principal owner of Beacon Broadcasting, died on January 25th. The Executor of his estate is his son, Dennis Glunt.

In a statement to Beacon employees, Dennis Glunt said that “this move will help to stabilize the employment at the stations. . .and best preserve value for the estate.”

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Monday’s Follow

This one is mostly updates or comments, on earlier items…we were quite busy over the weekend, as you can see. Though there is at least one “new” item or two…

ANOTHER POLITICIAN: Our blogging colleague over at Gannett Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3, senior director and “DIrector’s Cut” blogger Frank Macek, tells us that former WKYC anchor Tim White isn’t the only former station anchor to head for the ballot box.

As we noted here, White filed in the Democratic primary for the 17th Ohio House seat being vacated by Josh Mandel, a Republican running for state treasurer.

“Scott Newell also ran last year and won,” Macek wrote on a comment to our earlier item.

As it turns out, the former WKYC reporter/anchor, best remembered for his turn as host of the “AM Cleveland” midday talk show in the 1980’s, is serving his first term on Pepper Pike City Council.

Newell was just sworn in last month, and is serving alongside a star of new media on the Pepper Pike council – popular political blogger Jill Miller Zimon (“Writes Like She Talks”).

But the former WKYC anchor and host is not exactly a newcomer to civic service, even in his hometown of Pepper Pike. He’s been on that city’s Planning and Zoning board since 2002.

There must be something in the political water in Pepper Pike, as that’s also White’s Ohio home city…

THAT’S ROBIN: Speaking of midday TV talk shows, one of 2010’s got a name change recently.

The Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8” 10 AM show formerly known as “That’s Life” has been renamed for its one and only host as “The Robin Swoboda Show”.

It makes sense to us….the “That’s Life” name already seemed a bit unnecessary, anyway. The show’s always been a vehicle for Robin, a long-time local TV personality who came to prominence as an anchor on the old “NewsCenter 8”, back in WJW’s CBS affiliate days.

Of course, she also spent some time in radio, as a morning drive co-host at Salem CCM WFHM/95.5 “The Fish”.

If the “That’s Life” name seemed silly, Swoboda’s teases before the change were even sillier…”new set, new host…WHATTT???”, she said in mock horror in promos before the name change…that alone telegraphed the new name to us…

AND MORE ON J.R.: Both broadcast and non-broadcast friends, and family, gathered Saturday in Oak Harbor to remember former Cleveland radio personality J.R. Nelson.

Nelson, born James Marik, and originally from in that same area, went on to greater fame after he left Cleveland, of course.

We touched on a bit of that in our earlier item on his death, but here’s a well-written summary from our friend and colleague Scott Fybush’s NorthEast Radio Watch this week, who notes Cleveland’s role in his career:

But like many of the radio people who were working for Cleveland-based Malrite in the early 80s, he made the migration to the New York market – or at least to the swamps of Secaucus – to be part of the 1983 launch of Z100 (WHTZ 100.3 Newark). Nelson was an integral part of Z100’s groundbreaking “Morning Zoo,” serving as the station’s production director and imaging voice, as well as sidekick to ringmaster Scott Shannon.

Nelson eventually returned to Cleveland, then moved on to Detroit, where he had been doing production and imaging for the CBS Radio cluster there until two years ago. Nelson’s imaging work was heard worldwide, including on many British commercial stations.

He died on Tuesday (Feb. 16) at his home in the Detroit suburbs after a long battle with bladder cancer. Nelson was 60.

They’ve Got A Name, Or A Letter

Cleveland’s newest radio format launched with a “Boom” around the end of 2009…literally.

But an apparent claim on the trademark by a distant CBS Radio HD2 subchannel snuffed out the name of Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting’s shiny new AAA format on WNWV/107.3 Elyria, which shifted from its 20-plus year run as smooth jazz “The Wave” to “Boom 107.3”.

The apparent trademark claim forced WNWV to quickly reposition as simply “107.3 Cleveland” for the past few weeks, but the station has landed on a new identity.

Timed apparently with a Saturday piece on the station by the Plain Dealer’s Michael Heaton, WNWV grabbed the last letter of its held-over call sign, and is now known as “V107.3”.

The station’s Facebook presence has moved to a page under the new name, and we heard program director/afternoon drive host Ric “Rocco” Bennett using the “V” name on-air on Saturday afternoon.

About that article…it’s no mistaking if you sense the “WMMS back in the day” influence on the new AAA station. Quoting Heaton:

Three former WMMS employees are behind this new aural attack on corporate radio. Lonnie Gronek, Ric “Rocco” Bennett and consultant John Gorman are the independent Davids battling the Goliaths of Clear Channel and CBS Radio, which operate a total of 10 stations in Cleveland.

Gronek is Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting’s VP/GM, Bennett is known for his “Rocco the Rock Dog” days at WMMS and WENZ/107.9 “The End” (most recently, he was doing weekends/swing at Rubber City Radio rock WONE/97.5 Akron), and any long-time OMW reader doesn’t need reminding that Gorman was the program director of WMMS, long before Clear Channel eventually took over the station.

Would “V107.3” be, basically, what a non-corporate-owned WMMS-of-the-past would sound like if it aired in the year 2010? Quoting Heaton again:

At V107.3, Bennett is the only one of the three whose name might still be known to listeners from his WMMS days. The mission at the new station, however, is not to replicate those old playlists but to honor the spirit of that eclectic programming.

It’s certainly a more eclectic version of the AAA format, which airs elsewhere in Northeast Ohio on Akron Public Schools-owned WAPS/91.3 “The Summit”.

While we’re talking about the newly-christened “V107.3”, we neglected earlier to note its airstaff.

“Wave” hold-over Mike Gallagher continues in the “V” morning drive slot, and Bennett takes 2-6 PM. But we hadn’t yet mentioned the addition of Cleveland radio veteran Ravenna Miceli from 9 AM-2 PM.

And yes, as the Heaton article points out, the new “V” middayer – the former long-time midday voice at WMJI/105.7 – is indeed the wife of “V” consultant Gorman.

But given her long-time on-air presence in the market and her run at WMJI, it seems silly to open up the mention of her in the article by calling her “Gorman’s wife”.

Miceli points out in the PD article that she has experience in the format long pre-dating both her days at WMJI and her marriage to Gorman:

“My first job was a AAA station on Martha’s Vineyard. People are always blown away by it.”

He’s Running, and He’s Probably Running

It seems like the entire media and political world kept a close eye on filings for Northern Ohio congressional primary races due Friday. But while one high profile local media personality isn’t running – yet – the local media personality who is running may surprise you.

When the 4 PM deadline hit, former Mahoning Valley congressman-turned-con-turned-radio host Jim Traficant did not file in the Democratic primary for two congressional seats he’s been eyeing – his former slot in the 17th District, now reconstituted to take in part of the Akron area, with former Traficant aide Tim Ryan in office now, or the 6th District, which includes southern parts of the Youngstown area, a seat held by Charlie Wilson if we remember right.

When your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) heard that Traficant declined to enter either Democratic primary, it was obvious to us…he’s going independent.

And according to this Associated Press article, that’s exactly what he’s going to do.

According to the AP blurb, Traficant “is leaving the Democratic Party and considering a run for office as an independent.” He has yet to determine if he’s going to run, and in which district.

The article quotes Traficant’s statement on, you guessed it, his Saturday afternoon talk show on Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 in Cleveland.

The move shouldn’t be a surprise to diehard Traficant watchers.

Though he’s been a member and officeholder in the Democratic Party for decades, that’s almost required to win office in the Democratic stronghold that is the Mahoning Valley. Throughout his political career, Traficant has basically been almost a one-man party of his very own.

Since exiting the custody of the federal prison system, Traficant has spent time around independent political types, and has mixed it up with those people.

So, no surprise here, and it gives Traficant more time to do his WTAM weekend show…with the filing deadline for non-party candidates some months down the road.

But what is a surprise is a candidate who filed for office on Friday.

He’s former Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 Cleveland anchor Tim White, who we thought was happy living in Wyoming after leaving 13th and Lakeside.

Apparently he wants to return to the Cleveland area, according to a story on his former home station’s website, as a political figure:

Former Channel 3 anchorman Tim White has filed to run for the 17th House District seat.

That’s the seat now held by Josh Mandel who is running as the Republican candidate for State Treasurer.

White left Channel 3 in December, 2008. He has homes in Pepper Pike and Wyoming.

He is running as a Democrat. Some people found that surprising.

White said, “Think blue dog.”

Actually, we’re surprised by the whole thing. We didn’t know White had political aspirations even after he left “Channel 3 News” late last year.

At least it makes one thing easy for WKYC – the newsroom there didn’t have to go searching far for a picture of the candidate…

D.C. Bound

As posted on our Twitter account earlier, CBS Radio hot AC WQAL/104.1 Cleveland “Q104” night personality Rob Kruz is headed for Washington DC.

Actually, according to tweets and pictures on his own Twitter account, that should be “has headed”, as Kruz has already taken the drive to DC. He is expected to hit the airwaves in Our Nation’s Capital on Wednesday…to take over the night time slot at Clear Channel top 40 WIHT/99.5 “Hot 99.5”.

We have no word yet who replaces Kruz back at Q104…

J.R. Passes On

UPDATE: Visitation will be at 11 AM Saturday, and services 2 PM Saturday, at the Crosser Funeral Home in Oak Harbor, OH.

Details, and the obituary, are on the funeral home’s website

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Word is quickly spreading through the Cleveland radio community about the death of J.R. Nelson, who was battling cancer, but reportedly died of a heart attack Tuesday.

Former WMMS/100.7 programmer and current broadcast consultant (WNWV/107.3) John Gorman tells OMW:

(J.R.) worked at WHK, WMMS in the Malrite days, and I hired him as production director at WMJI under Omni America. He also did many of the parody songs for the Buzzard Morning Zoo on WMMS in ’85, ’86. I believe his last station – and the one he retired from was CBS Radio’s WYCD/Detroit.

Other OMW readers remind us that J.R. was also known for his on-air work at the old WGAR/1220, including in his stint as WGAR’s overnight air personality. The 50,000 watt signal of 1220 carried J.R.’s booming voice on the nighttime airwaves as far afield from Cleveland as North Carolina.

But nationally in the business, J.R. Nelson is known as an original member of one of radio’s most iconic gatherings…the “Z100 Morning Zoo” at top 40 powerhouse WHTZ/100.3 in New York City. At the time of Z100’s launch, it was a Malrite sister station to WHK/WMMS…

Two Quick Hits

As earlier passed along on our Twitter feed

EXITING CHARLOTTE: Details are scarce right now, but trade site AllAccess reports that not that terribly long after he arrived, Mike Kenney is no longer market manager of Clear Channel’s Charlotte cluster.

AllAccess reports that OM Bruce Logan steps in as interim GM of the company’s Queen City (North Carolina, that is) cluster.

We’re following the news here, of course, because it’s been just a few months since Kenney arrived in Charlotte from Northeast Ohio. He left his post as market manager of Clear Channel’s Cleveland cluster in late August 2009.

We got the impression at the time that Kenney was hurried to Charlotte to “fix things up” there.

His departure from the Charlotte cluster, AllAccess says, was announced much like his predecessor’s exit – in a quick E-mail this morning.

By the way, we’ve double-checked our own archives, which include clips from official releases out of Oak Tree, and Mike Kenney’s last name is indeed spelled with two “e”‘s…

STRIKE ON NOTICE: Newsroom employees of the Akron Beacon Journal authorized their union – the Akron Newspaper Guild – to strike last night, though that doesn’t mean a strike is imminent…and negotiations are apparently still ongoing.

The union continues to point out that the Black Press-owned daily is “not pleading poverty” – it just wants to pay union members lower wages…saying that newsroom managers and non-union employees aren’t being asked to take cuts.

A release from the union, which was helpfully sent to our mailbox by the union last night, is reprinted below:

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Feb. 10, 2010

AKRON NEWSPAPER GUILD TAKES STRIKE AUTHORIZATION VOTE

Contact: Stephanie Warsmith, secretary of the Akron unit, at 330-328-8566

The Akron unit of the Newspaper Guild overwhelmingly approved a strike authorization vote Wednesday evening. There was just one dissenting vote cast.

The vote gives the Guild’s bargaining committee the authority to strike if and when the committee thinks it’s necessary. The Guild recognizes the challenges facing the newspaper industry and has been open to discussing possible solutions.

“The last thing we want is a strike but we are willing to do whatever is necessary to secure a fair contract that reflects the valuable contributions of our members,’’ said Bob DeMay, the Guild’s president and an assistant photo editor at the Akron Beacon Journal.

The Guild and company have been negotiating for more than a year, with the union’s members operating under the terms of a contract that expired in July 2008.

The Beacon Journal is asking the Guild to accept concessions that would equate to a 25 to 30 percent decrease in wages and benefits, including a 16.75 percent pay cut, a pension freeze, a larger share of health care costs and a change to sick pay that would be worse than what WalMart offers.

The company’s lead negotiator told the Guild negotiating team that the newspaper isn’t pleading poverty but simply doesn’t want to continue paying at the current levels. Newsroom managers – among the highest paid employees in the newsroom — and non-union employees elsewhere in the building, are not being asked to accept similar cuts. The newspaper also is hiring for positions outside the newsroom. The company has refused the Guild’s repeated requests to open its books.

The Guild represents about 85 reporters, copy editors, photographers, assistant editors, page designers, artists, sports statisticians, librarians and secretaries – a number slashed more than 50 percent over the past 10 years through layoffs, buyouts and attrition.

Guild members annually win state and national awards, earning the newspaper respect and recognition.

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