New And Followup

We start the week with some follow-up items, a rumor or two, and at least one new actual news item…

NEW VOICE: A few OMW readers have asked about this, and now the announcement has officially been made.

Radio One urban WENZ/107.9 “Z107.9” Cleveland has replaced its previous syndicated morning show with another syndicated program.

It’s “The Rickey Smiley Morning Show” replacing syndication vet Russ Parr in the Z morning slot.

AllAccess quotes Radio One Cleveland OM Colby Colb:

“He’s going to bring a new and exciting energy to the radio station and the city of CLEVELAND.”

In the announcement, Smiley talks about the man he’s replacing on WENZ:

“Make no mistake. RUSS PARR is the mentor to THE RICKEY SMILEY MORNING SHOW. RUSS taught and is still teaching me this game.”

We’re sure Parr is thrilled with the compliment, though we’d assume he’d rather still be on in Cleveland…

NEW HD2…er HD4: Kent State University’s WKSU/89.7 has announced the addition of the new HD4 “WKSU News Channel” stream to nearly all of the station’s full power transmitters.

We say “nearly all” because of the tweet WKSU sent out this morning:

HD-4 now broadcasting on WKSU, along with WNRK (Norwalk), WKRW (Wooster), and WKRJ (New Philadelphia) with WKSU’s 24 x 7 News Channel

Missing from that list is WKSV/89.1 Thompson, but we’re sure that WKSU will get a Round Tuit(tm) with that final signal soon.

Here at the OMW World Headquarters, we are indeed picking up WKSU-HD4, and can confirm that it is the existing “WKSU News Channel” feed – available only online until now – that is powering the new HD4 subchannel.

In addition to airing some NPR news/talk programming already heard on the main WKSU channel, “News Channel” also offers some other NPR, PRI and other public radio shows not heard on 89.7 and the other WKSU main signals, along with the BBC’s “Newshour” and its overnight news programming…

NOT NEW YET: We’ll take a brief excursion into Crunchy Rumor Land. None of the below has been confirmed.

But for one, the future ownership of CBS Radio’s Cleveland cluster could be in play.

A rumor item in Tom Taylor’s excellent “Taylor on Radio-Info” column recently sets us into motion:

(CBS boss) Leslie Moonves made a point of bringing it up during his most recent quarterly call, and despite the fact that this is not the optimal time, TRI hears Moonves may be entertaining offers for as many as five markets. In the rumor mill – San Diego. Phoenix. Orlando. Cleveland. And Riverside-San Bernardino.


The only buyer roaming the tundra with that kind of equity would seem to be the new Cumulus Radio Investors. Lew Dickey enrolled Crestview Partners in the project to look for “premium radio broadcast companies.” That would certainly describe CBS, wouldn’t it? Though I’m told Cumulus Radio Investors might not necessarily be bidding on all five markets. Lew’s talked about being willing to pay 7 times to 8 times cash flow for the right properties. And if you knew you could knock some costs out of the operations, you’d be able to justify paying a higher multiple.

Has a sale already happened, or is it about to happen? That, we can’t say. We do know that CBS executives in general, and Moonves in particular, have repeatedly expressed a desire to sell smaller-market radio properties… i.e. below the very largest markets.

But there is smoke out there…we’ll have to see if there’s a significant fire on the other end.

A Cumulus acquisition would more than likely not be good news for employees at CBS Radio’s stations in the Cleveland market.

The company is known for being lean, and a quick search on its name right here in the OMW Search Box would provide a lot of evidence of that reputation.

And “knocking some costs” out of the operations, if that’s indeed what Cumulus boss Dickey has in mind, can’t be a good sign. Or, you could just ask the company’s employees – and former employees – in places like Youngstown and Toledo.

It sounds to us like “Cumulus Radio Investors” would run like “Cumulus Radio Partners”, the group Dickey got together to buy the former Susquehanna Radio stations – theoretically financially independent from the main Cumulus group, but run by Mr. Dickey and the Cumulus team.

Still, we hope for the best for those at CBS Radio’s four local stations – alt-rock WXRK/92.3, classic rock WNCX/98.5, AC WDOK/102.1 and hot AC WQAL/104.1 “Q104”.

Another rumor we haven’t confirmed – of impending personnel changes at a Cleveland AM station. That’s all we’ll say for now, as we have no word that it’s happening right now…

KICKING AROUND THE RATINGS: Regular readers know we don’t kick around the ratings much, for a variety of reasons.

But we’ll pass along this article, written by Cleveland Magazine’s Lynne Thompson.

It talks about the overall impact of the introduction of Arbitron’s Portable People Meter into the Cleveland market late last year, including that device’s first immediate effect – the format change from smooth jazz to AAA at Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting’s WNWV/107.3 Elyria “V107.3”.


“It took us from the Top 10 right down to 15th, 16th, 17th in 30 days,” says vice president and general manager Lonnie Gronek.

The article also says that CBS Radio took alt-rock’s performance in other PPM markets into account when tweaking WKRK/92.3’s rock playlist last year, and says that Gronek “is seeing improvement” in V107.3’s ratings since a “slow start”.

And that brings up why we don’t talk about ratings on a regular basis here.

All the figures quoted, except for snippets offered up by the local radio executives (CBS Radio programmer Dave Popovich cites that WKRK is “no. 1 among 18 to 34 year olds” in ratings through March), are from Arbitron’s 12-plus figures – even quotes from one of the ratings company’s PR flacks.

There’s a reason for that – the 12-plus figures mean only slightly more than nothing in the radio game, especially now.

There’s a reason Arbitron releases those numbers – they aren’t of much use to sales departments or non-subscribers.

And yes, we’ll occasionally get such demo numbers/snippets from local radio staffers…but only when the numbers look good for the stations in question. Positive spin, you know…


One Response to New And Followup

  1. mark says:

    Any idea on why 107/9 dropped Russ Parr, was it because of raitings or something else. I really enjoyed Russ Parr and I listed to Ricky Smiley today, I was not impressed.

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