Holiday Weekend Post

UPDATE 8:33 PM 5/29/10: There’s an update to the last story in this item. Please scroll to the bottom of the item for more…

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Here’s an update to get you through Memorial Day weekend…

LOST UPDATE: First, an update on Channel 5’s problems with the series finale of ABC’s “Lost”, parts of which were, well, lost to area viewers last Sunday night.

As we noted on our original item, the Scripps-owned local ABC affiliate was able to convince the network to allow it to rerun the show before a previously scheduled repeat tonight (Saturday).

The bad news, of course, is that the rerun was late Wednesday/early Thursday at 1:06 AM after ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live”, which meant most potential viewers had to set their DVRs to catch the show…and in some cases, hope the DVR worked.

Channel 5, under new VP/GM Sam Rosenwasser, has been apologizing all over the place for Sunday’s problems.

Not only has the station done so on its own airwaves – a change from Sunday night, when there was only a crawl about the problem and a brief “Watch Lost next Saturday night” message on the 11 PM edition of NewsChannel 5 – but WEWS has also apologized on its website, its social media accounts, and in display ads in both the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal.

As for the problem? It turns out our “educated guess” about why Time Warner Cable standard definition viewers weren’t having problems was 100% correct.

Regular OMW sources at 3001 Euclid tell us that indeed, the legacy SD feed of WEWS to Time Warner is accomplished by direct fiber feed. The HD version comes from the over-air signal, whether you’re watching with an antenna, on Time Warner, DirecTV or Dish Network (and we believe AT&T U-verse and WOW Cable as well).

The problems also affected SD viewers of services (like DirecTV) that use a “center cut” image out of the HD feed to serve SD viewers.

That’s why those SD/analog cable viewers were able to watch “Lost” last Sunday night without picture breakups and interruptions. Even some of those watching the HD feed didn’t consder those breakups to be serious enough to ruin enjoyment of the show for them.

Again, if WEWS’ equipment problems did ruin Sunday night’s “Lost” finale for you, if you didn’t watch or record it late Wednesday night, or haven’t watched it online at ABC.com yet, and have been able to avoid spoilers all week, the network wlll run it again tonight at 8 PM.

On the entire network, and we presume all engineering hands will be on deck at 30th and Euclid to make sure WEWS is running it glitch-free as well…

LESS LES: Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting is looking for a new morning host at its talk WEOL/930 Elyria, as Les Sekely is leaving the station for full-time teaching duties in Westlake.

Long-timie OMW tipster Nathan Obral passes along an article by Rona Proudfoot in the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram – of course, a newspaper co-owned with WEOL.

Sekely is exiting WEOL in mid-August, and Proudfoot writes:

(Station VP/GM Lonnie) Gronek said he anticipates talking and listening to a lot of people between now and then. He said he’s not sure how long the search will take but that as a last resort “there are a lot of syndicated shows out there.”

A draft of the ad provided to The Chronicle reads, “Are you a morning person? Do you have a passion for radio? Are you energetic and creative and have an engaging personality? Do you have a broad knowledge of current events, both local and global — from news and sports to pop culture? Are you quick-witted and able to handle challenging issues, subjects and callers?

“Our ideal morning-host candidate will also have a genuine desire to talk with and meet people from all walks of life. Are you ready to make a difference in the community, the county and region?”

Nathan Obral reminds us that the WEOL morning position is part-time, and the program now runs from 6:30 to 9 AM, hours Gronek tells the station’s sister newspaper “won’t change”…

HELLO, COLUMBUS 1: OMW hears that Clear Channel Columbus AC WLZT/93.3 had some changes starting Friday afternoon.

The station, under changes made by new program director Tony Florentino, is now known as “Soft Rock 93.3”, a change reflected in a new website name.

But it isn’t just a name change for the station, we hear.

Staffers are being told that the station’s music mix, now under Florentino’s direction, will be “more gold based”, about 85 percent “gold” being the goal…and fewer “trainwreck” segues between songs from artists like Elton John to songs by Adam Lambert.

Also new on the 93.3 airwaves – the station’s Heather Williams returns, in the 7 PM-midnght time slot…

HELLO, COLUMBUS 2: Speaking of Clear Channel in Columbus, its talk WTVN/610 is taking some cues from Cincinnati sister station WLW/700 “The Big One”.

Not like that’s new for WTVN, but this time, they’re taking the “controversial promotions” cue.

Looking to capitalize on controversy in Arizona – with a recently passed law aimed at illegal immigration – WTVN has been offering a contest for a free trip to Arizona, where, to quote the station, “Americans are proud, and illegals are scared”.

Quoting an article from the Columbus Dispatch:

About 5,000 people entered the drawing for round-trip airfare to Phoenix, hotel accommodations, a “few pesos” and the opportunity to “spend a weekend chasing aliens and spending cash in the desert.”

The station encouraged Columbus city employees to enter.

That, presumably, was because the city of Columbus banned city employee travel to Arizona in the wake of the state’s new law.

Like the backlash from WLW’s advertisements referring to the Cincinnati station as “The Big Juan”, Central Ohio Hispanic organizations are not thrilled with WTVN’s contest.

From the Dispatch:

At a news conference (Thursday), Reform Immigration for America called the promotion insensitive and offensive and said it inferred a racial bias. The group supports providing documents to immigrants already living in the country without permission.

Jose Luis Mas, chairman of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition, said at the news conference that the station was inviting the contest winner to “spend a weekend hunting human beings.”

Our question: Was Clear Channel Cincinnati AM operations guru Darryl Parks spending a lot of time in Columbus in recent weeks?

GOODBYE, TOLEDO: And Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370 Toledo afternoon drive host/program director Brian Wilson has apparently said goodbye to Toledo…just not on the air.

The Toledo Blade spent a bunch of column inches this week, breathlessly reporting that Wilson – and wife Cassie, CC Toledo’s former news director – have moved to Bedford County VA.

The newspaper’s Ignazio Messina writes:

The couple’s home in Perrysburg, which Wood County records show the Wilsons still own, was emptied of furniture and a neighbor Tuesday said the couple moved out five or six weeks ago.

Andy Stuart, WSPD’s vice president and market manager, refused to comment.

“Well I don’t think we want to make any comment about that,” Mr. Stuart said. “It’s not really a story.”

Brian Wilson is no stranger to broadcasting remotely, of course, even on WSPD.

For a few months, he even broadcast a show for a Baltimore talk radio station from Toledo, and occasionally, back to Toledo from Baltimore.

He was one of the earliest broadcasters to do ISDN-based remote talk radio fill-in for stations all over the country.

And in that same Clear Channel cluster, former WSPD-WVKS/92.5 host Denny Schaffer aired his Atlanta-based Internet talk show on WCWA/1230 for some time.

We’re reminded of the fuss that took place in Boston, when the print media there found out that market icon Gary LaPierre was doing his WBZ/1030 morning drive show from Florida.

Like Wilson, LaPierre made no mention of his location hundreds of miles away from his home market…and in the end, the fuss died down…

UPDATE 8:29 PM 5/29/10: We just found this link via an item posted on DCRTV.com.

The Radio-Online.com article quotes Wilson talking about the Blade article to his listeners on Thursday, and says he told them that Toledo was making him sick. Not politically, but literally:

“If you have known people who have moved in from other areas, there is something in the air, in northwest Ohio and the Toledo area,” he said. “What I have been told is that there is a residual of Toledo having been constructed on the former Black Swamp and if you’re not born here, you don’t enter the world with, I don’t know, the immunities or you grow up being able to deal with it.”

He said he saw doctors who told him to move out of Toledo or he would “have a severely truncated career.”

Wilson is using Clear Channel’s Lynchburg VA facilities to broadcast his WSPD show, near his new home…

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Channel 5’s Lost Mystery

UPDATE 7:37 PM 5/25/10: WEWS will air “Lost” at 1:06 AM early Thursday morning, in addition to the previously scheduled ABC network repeat of the show’s finale at 8 PM on Saturday…

And yes, our apologies for inadvertently mixing up the Beacon Journal’s Rich Heldenfels with the Plain Dealer’s Mark Dawidziak. That part of the item has been corrected…

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UPDATE 9:20 PM 5/24/10: The WEWS item linked below has been updated with a new message from newly minted VP/GM Sam Rosenwasser:

The equipment involved in last night’s problem was important hardware – it takes the ABC signal and makes it possible for our viewers to receive it in high-definition on their digital cable tiers. We believed that we had equipment and back-up systems in place to ensure an uninterrupted signal, but we learned the hard way that we were wrong.

I know you are uninterested in technical explanations; all you really care about is that you weren’t able to watch much-anticipated programming.

To those asking why their non-HD signal was affected, some systems (including DirecTV) “center cut” the HD signal for SD/analog subscribers.

Rosenwasser says “as a fan of the show and the guy who runs the station”, he’s “even angrier” about the problems than viewers who have been complaining, and notes:

* Engineers worked around the clock to diagnose the problem. We identified the source of the interference early this morning and we’re correcting it with new equipment.
* Channel 5 will re-broadcast the “Lost” finale this Saturday (May 29th).
* I am working with ABC to try to re-air the episode even before this coming weekend.

The natives are still restless, though, as we noted earlier.

Our original item is below…

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We think we’ve solved the mystery of the hit ABC show “Lost” on Sunday night.

No, we don’t mean the fate of the survivors of Oceanic 815, the “Smoke Monster” or any mystery about the series itself.

The mystery for many Northeast Ohio viewers: What was disrupting the broadcast of the highly-anticipated series finale on Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 in Cleveland?

An ongoing series of picture and sound dropouts and glitches made the show not at all enjoyable for a large number of Northeast Ohio viewers.

The station itself notes on NewsNet5.com:

Equipment problems at WEWS-TV caused the signal to break up during the finale of Lost Sunday night.

Station engineers worked through the night to isolate the transmission issue. The problem continued into the 11:30 news and into early Monday morning, but crews were able to fix the faulty equipment.

The natives, if you will, are restless.

The linked item above now has dozens of comments, calling for anything from the station’s license revocation to removal of its status as the market’s ABC affiliate, and that’s not even counting calls for the execution of station staffers. (Really, folks…it’s just a TV show.)

The station notes that the “Lost” finale will be re-aired Saturday night at 8 PM, which is a previously scheduled network encore.

The above linked item also links to video on ABC.com, where properly equipped Internet users can watch the finale online.

So, what about the mystery?

The Plain Dealer’s Mark Dawidziak notes:

Disruptions were reported by viewers watching Channel 5 on Cox Cable, DirecTV and Dish Network, although Time Warner cable subscribers in Akron said the signal remained clear throughout Sunday night’s 21/2-hour final episode of “Lost.”

Long-time readers know that the OMW World Headquarters(tm) is served by Time Warner Cable’s Cleveland-based system, the former Adelphia.

And we were on the case ourselves last night on our Twitter account, noting that the breakups were NOT occurring on analog cable channel 5, but were happening on the HD side of things (cable channel 1005, or the clear QAM version on 5.1).

Our educated guess is that WEWS uses a legacy fiber feed to deliver the old “analog” (now SD) version to Time Warner, and that last night’s problems involved the over-air signal – which Time Warner (we guess) uses to deliver the HD version of WEWS to its viewers.

Thus, with the over-air signal not involved at all on the SD/analog cable version on cable channel 5, those viewers were not seeing any problems.

We’ll try to confirm our educated guess, and will update this item as needed…

Clearing Off The Virtual Desk

Here’s just a collection of stuff once again topping our virtual desk. We’ve been meaning to clean this thing off…though there are still a couple of items we’ll have to take off later…

20 QUESTIONS: OK, so they’re 10 questions each to two people, but both are Northeast Ohio radio types.

The popular trade site “AllAccess” spotlights two local radio types in its weekly “10 Questions” section.

One is Clear Channel Akron market hot AC WKDD/98.1 former morning man and former talk WHLO/640 midday host Matt Patrick, who is featured in the “10Q” “On The Beach” section.

Like others who have been featured in the section in the past – including at least some OMW readers – Patrick uses the “On The Beach” platform to pitch his resume for a full-time gig somewhere, complete with a website showcasing his work.

Of course, Matt Patrick is not 100% “On The Beach”…you could say he has a shop on the beach selling items to tourists, as a weekend and fill-in host for Clear Channel Cleveland talker WTAM/1100.

But whatever WTAM is paying him for the weekend talk slot, it clearly isn’t a full-time job, even given the market size differences – and of course, Patrick’s 30 year gig as a top-rated morning drive host in the Akron market grew his paycheck over the years.

The other local radio type in “10 Questions” this week is also in the Akron market…Akron Public Schools AAA WAPS/91.3 “The Summit” program director Bill Gruber.

And interestingly enough for us, Gruber is asked a question about reacting to commercial competition for his non-commercial station – and doesn’t even indirectly mention the Elephant In The Competition Room, Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting AAA WNWV/107.3 Elyria “V107.3”.

In specific:

4. What kind of tactics do you use to effectively compete with commercial radio?
We use the same competitive programmatic and promotional tactics they utilize so well, without the burden of commercial-clutter and corporate mandates breathing down your neck.

“Corporate mandates” doesn’t even remotely describe locally-owned “V107.3”, which also positions itself against that big-company-owned competition.

But Gruber describes the station’s music mix as “melodic and tempo-driven, the perfect blend of familiar and new”, which highlights the fact that WAPS and WNWV are offering two very different flavors of the “AAA” format.

Gruber also details the station’s recently-started simulcast arrangement with WKTL/90.7 Struthers in the Youngstown market – putting “The Summit” format on the high school station in hours where it is not locally programmed.

He mentions that WAPS approached the Struthers district, and provided the various equipment to control and automate the station when it is not being run out of Struthers. He also says the station has expanded public affairs commitments to the Youngstown area.

And he says his favorite format outside his own would be called “Smart Talk”, with a hodgepodge of both public and commercial talk offerings found all over the radio band. We might not list the exact same hosts on our list, but Gruber’s imaginary station concept would claim Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) as a P1…

DAVE CHECKS IN: We’ve done some tracking of the career of Dave DeNatale, the former Metro Networks afternoon sports update anchor once heard on Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” in Cleveland.

We brought word when Dave was hired to do play-by-play for minor league baseball’s Lake Erie Crushers in their first season in Avon, heard on the Internet via the site SportsJuice.com.

And we noted that this season, the team is mounting broadcasts of Sunday home games on Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria, with WEOL’s Tim Alcorn and Rob Polinsky on the call.

What happened to Dave?

DeNatale checks in with the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), telling us that in addition to the WEOL broadcasts, the team is continuing its Internet broadcasts – but with a new voice:

The team parted ways with me in April and have brought in Tim Calderwood, who was the Frontier League’s Broadcaster of the Year in 2009 for Traverse City. I consider Tim a friend and I think he’ll do a first-rate job.

Dave says he doesn’t know why the Crushers parted ways with him.

After the Crushers’ first season, DeNatale joined Bowling Green State University’s Falcon Sports Network as studio host and network producer for BGSU football and basketball games (he’s a BGSU alum). Dave also continued to call Oberlin College football and basketball games when there were no BGSU conflicts.

As for now? Dave, like some other broadcasters recently, has been recovering from heart-related problems:

I’m currently under the weather dealing with complications from atrial fibrulation, a coronary disease. However, I am planning on beating this and being back on the air very soon. Somewhere.

We hope so. From everything we’ve heard, Dave is one of local media’s “Nice Guys”, and is talented as well. An excerpt from a letter he sent to Crushers fans via E-mail:

When I took this job, I had zero professional baseball play by play experience on my resume. In fact, I think I had done about five baseball games period!

But you all embraced me very quickly and allowed me to bring the excitement of Lake Erie Crushers baseball to your computer every single night. 2009 was the best summer of my life, and that’s not just because the team went on to win the championship.

It’s because I looked forward to coming to work every single night. I loved being associated with such a great team and a great organization. And I loved the relationships I made along the way.

Although I won’t be the voice of the Crushers anymore, no one can take away the memories of last summer or the friendships that resulted because of it.

CABLE CHANNEL WOES: Some major cable/satellite channels are facing a big problem this weekend – their satellite homes could face major interference.

It’s all explained in this item we found on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3’s “Director’s Cut” blog by Friend of OMW Frank Macek, written by Channel 3’s Dave Summers:

Last month Intelsat lost control of its communications satellite called “Galaxy 15”. Since then it has been floating eastward and this weekend or next, it is expected to drift into the orbit of another communications satellite. That could interfere with cable programing across the U.S.

Cable networks that could be affected are MTV, Discovery Communications, Comcast Network groups, and A&E Television.

Presumably, that includes MTV sister channels like VH1 and Comedy Central, the Golf Channel (owned by Comcast), and the sister networks to A&E.

But Northeast Ohio cable viewers shouldn’t see those channels go away, according to Summers.

Both Time Warner Cable and Cox Cable say they have contingency plans, plans a Cox executive says they “don’t anticipate” needing to use. (We’ll presume both DirecTV and Dish Network also have such plans, which we’re guessing include temporary transponders on other satellites…)

Brian And Nolan

Two entirely unrelated items, but they happen to be here at the same time…

BRIAN SOLO: OMW hears from former Clear Channel hot AC WMVX/106.5 co-host Brian Fowler (“Brian and Joe”) that he’s getting some time behind a microphone actually connected to a radio transmitter this week.

Thursday and Friday, Brian will be subbing for vacationing OMW reader Scott Miller on the CBS Radio classic rock WNCX/98.5 morning drive time show, alongside co-host Jeff Blanchard.

Brian tells us:

It’s been a little over a year now that I’ve put on the headphones and talked
in a microphone for an actual radio station air shift since my departure from
WMVX. I’m looking forward to joking around with Jeff on the Cleveland airwaves
again.

Brian and former WMVX co-host Joe Cronauer have been keeping busy with an Internet radio venture, and Brian himself now has a full-time non-radio job with Cleveland advertising and marketing agency Dadada Media Group…

NOT MARK: The “Nolan” in our subject header is not Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 morning news host Mark Nolan.

He’s a brand new baby boy, and congratulations to Jack “Kelly” Helbig, a staffer at Ideastream’s WCPN/90.3-WVIZ/25 in Cleveland, and his wife on the May 13th arrival of their first son, Nolan.

We hear both baby and mom are home, healthy and doing fine…

What We Know, And Don’t Know

Most of the below items are questions and tips from readers, that we haven’t been able to get answers about. If you know, drop us a line.

We also have some regular news items in the mix…

MIKE HEGAN: A number of listeners asked us if we know why Cleveland Indians Radio Network voice Mike Hegan hasn’t been in the broadcast booth with partner Tom Hamilton. IRN pre-game host Jim Rosenhaus has been taking Hegan’s place.

Well, we’ve asked around, and the word out of Oak Tree – home of Indians Radio Network flagship WTAM/1100 – is basically silence…we don’t know why Hegan hasn’t been around.

An OMW reader tells us what we did hear out of Oak Tree – that Hamilton noted on the air that Mike Hegan will be back in the booth for the team’s upcoming homestand. The reader says it sounded health related, but we don’t know any more than that.

Whatever it is, Hegan’s return is good news for Tribe fans, and we hope things go well in the future for him…

ELVIS IN THE BUILDING: That’s “Elvis” not as in Presley, but as in “Duran”…New York City-based syndicated morning man Elvis Duran.

And “the building” is Oak Tree, as Clear Channel top 40 outlet WAKS/96.5 “Kiss FM” – his local affiliate – will originate Duran’s show on Wednesday morning.

Quoting a station release:

The morning after the exclusive listener show with Jason Derulo, Elvis Duran will broadcast his nationally syndicated morning show from the KISS FM studios. The national broadcast will take place on Wednesday, May 19th from 6 a.m – 10 a.m. at KISS FM’s Studios located at 6200 Oak Tree Boulevard, 4th Floor in Independence, OH 44131.

“Elvis Duran has been waking up New York for more than 20 years,” said Bo Matthews, Program Director for 96.5 KISS FM. He continued, “KISS FM has carried the Elvis Duran Morning Show for nearly two years and we are excited to have Elvis bring these exclusive events to Cleveland.”

In case you’re wondering, the “exclusive listener show” is at Euclid Avenue’s “Barroom Cleveland” tonight…the station has been giving away tickets.

But the “we don’t know” part concerns Mr. Derulo.

We could be showing our age here, but we’d never heard of that person until we received the Clear Channel press release.

Now, will our younger readers please remove themselves from our lawn? Thank you…

WVPX: We’ve also received reader questions about reception problems for local ION O&O WVPX/23, the Akron-based station that was once the Akron/Canton area’s local ABC affiliate (as WAKC).

We noted that WVPX’s over-air signal was off the air for a while earlier today…and we normally have no difficulty receiving it.

There has been some speculation that WVPX is finally building out its construction permit for a 1000 kW signal, which was approved back in mid-June 2009.

That seems like a likely explanation. But speculation about tower work by Raycom Media CBS affiliate WOIO/19 for its low-power digital fill-in translator on RF channel 24 is premature.

Though the WOIO LD application will indeed share a tower with WVPX, along with Rubber City Radio rock WONE/97.5 and Akron Public Schools AAA WAPS/91.3, it has yet to be approved by the FCC.

WOIO/Raycom can’t do any construction on the fill-in translator until it receives the proper construction permit…

WE JUST NOTICED: We have no idea why we just figured this out in May 2010, but there were some technical moves involving the Youngstown TV market last summer and fall.

For one, New Vision Television did indeed turn in the license for one of its low-power Class A outlets that made up the “Fox 17/62” simulcast… the now former station being WFXI-CA/17 Mercer PA. (We were going to link it, but the station has disappeared from the FCC online database.)

The LPTV end of the “Fox Youngstown” operation is superfluous these days, anyway, with many more over-air viewers catching it on sister CBS affiliate WKBN’s 27.2 in HD – compared to the remaining analog LPTVer, WYFX-LP/62 Youngstown.

Speaking of WYFX, it has a 15 kW low-power digital application for RF channel 19 (sound familiar?). It characterized the July 2009 application as a “displacement”, since analog 62 is indeed outside the new TV core channel range.

Whether this ever gets built is anyone’s guess. Long-time readers will recall that WYFX has had digital companion applications in the past (RF 35, if we remember right) that are no longer on the books…and New Vision may be happy with the current “home” of “Fox Youngstown” in full-power HD on WKBN-DT 27.2…

Entrances And Exits

Time to head to Cleveland’s electronic equivalent of Grand Central Station (Tower City?), and chart a whole bunch of Cleveland TV entrances and exits, and a small radio note…

THE NEW MELISSA: OMW hears that Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8” has found a replacement for meterologist Melissa Mack…who left Cleveland with great fanfare for a new job at CBS O&O WBZ/4 in Boston.

She’s Angelica Campos, who shares a now-former employer with Raycom Media CBS/MyNetwork TV WOIO/19-WUAB-43 “19 Action News” morning forecaster Jason Handman – State College PA-based AccuWeather. (We don’t know how long Angelica had worked there, so we don’t know if they worked together.)

You can get a preview of Campos at two video pages – on the AccuWeather site, and at YouTube.

OMW hears that WJW was originally looking to hire the Michigan TV forecaster we hinted about some time ago – morning meteorologist Hally Vogel from Grand Rapids ABC affiliate WZZM/13 – but she apparently didn’t take the station up on its offer. (Oddly enough, WZZM is owned by Gannett, owner of Cleveland NBC affiliate WKYC/3.)

And we heard Vogel would have been coming back home if she’d accepted the “Fox 8” job, rumblings confirmed by her WZZM bio:

It was in Cleveland where she started her career in television. Born and raised in Ohio, Hally is no stranger to Great Lakes’ weather.

Hally graduated from Kent State University with a BA in Radio/TV Production and a minor in Broadcasting.

We don’t know when Campos will start at South Marginal Road…

TWO EXITS: Two high-profile local TV names are either headed off the air, or will be soon.

The first exit is at WKYC/3 and the upcoming exit will be at Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5. The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s “Tip Off” column has both:

WKYC TV 3 veteran reporter Michael O’Mara (who also has a law degree) has left the station to join the Hennes Paynter Communications. Soon, WEWS TV 5’s chief investigator Duane Pohlman will leave television, too, for a management job in a new media journalism venture in Austin, Texas.

The PD’s Michael McIntyre notes the loss of institutional knowledge in shrinking local TV newsrooms, making him wonder “if there will be more than a handful of reporters left who can tell the difference between Parma and Parma Heights”…

AND A RADIO NOTE: We won’t rub it in…by the time you read this, you’ve likely heard that the Cleveland Cavaliers have made an early playoff exit, losing Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to Boston by the score of 94-85.

The season’s end means that, by nearly all accounts, Cleveland Cavaliers iconic play-by-play voice Joe Tait has just one more season left to call a Cavaliers title.

And the presence, or lack thereof, of a certain Akron native on the team in 2010-2011 – and beyond – will make no difference to Tait’s retirement plans.

We can’t find the article, but Tait recently told a local reporter that next season will be his last as the Voice of the Cavaliers, “LeBron or no LeBron, championship or no championship”.

UPDATE 9:35 PM 5/14/10: We found the article and the quote…it’s from an article by the Plain Dealer’s Bill Lubinger, writing about Tait’s entry into the Basketball Hall of Fame:

Tait, who is contractually committed through the 2010-11 season, turns 73 Saturday. He has had knee, ankle and back surgeries and uses a cane. The end of a career is in sight.

“One more year,” he said. “Win, lose or draw, LeBron or no LeBron, that is it.”

——–

If they’re gonna “Win One for Tait” (we didn’t get T-shirts out there in time this year!), it will have to be next season.

Meanwhile, over at non-Cavaliers rightsholder Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850”, the audio equivalent of “throwing in the towel” up against the Cavaliers’ game on Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 was not hosted by evening host Kenny Roda, or even station owner and occasional fill-in-against-huge-competition host Craig Karmazin.

“The Best of ESPN Cleveland”, a clip show hosted by young station staffer T.J. Zuppe, aired instead. And we have the spelling correct because Mr. Zuppe started following our Twitter account a few days back.

This sort of “every sports fan in Cleveland is listening to the other station” conflict won’t happen for a while now, with the Cavaliers out of the playoffs, and any playoffs not only unlikely for the Indians or Browns, but far off…

Rick Gilmour Dies

Former Cleveland radio talk show host Rick Gilmour has died of cancer, at the age of 48.

The station where “Gilly” spent most of his radio career, Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100, has more.

Gilmour’s death is, unfortunately, no surprise to OMW readers. We wrote about his struggle with cancer in late March, noting that he’d been transferred to hospice care.

Though he hasn’t been on the air regularly for some years now, listeners still remember Gilmour’s unique style and voice.  After a stint at crosstown talker WERE/1300 (now a Radio One talk station at 1490 AM), Gilmour was hired at WTAM to replace Morton Downey, Jr.

Oddly enough, that’s one thing he had in common with Premiere syndicated host Rush Limbaugh, who is heard on “The Big One” weekdays from noon to 3.

Limbaugh was hired by KFBK in Sacramento CA in 1984 as a local talk show host, to replace…you guessed it, Morton Downey, Jr…