Clearing Out

The rain is clearing out, according to the weather forecasters…and so are we. The inbox, that is…and we have some updates on old items…

RUMORS DYING: We passed along rumblings in Tom Taylor’s always excellent “Taylor on Radio-Info” column that involved the Cleveland market.

The original rumors noted sale talks that could involve the cluster of four CBS Radio stations in Cleveland – alt-rock WKRK/92.3, classic rock WNCX/98.5, AC WDOK/102.1 and hot AC WQAL/104.1.

Tom initially noted that the possible buyer could be Cumulus Radio Investors, the latest acquisition effort involving Cumulus Media, that was interested in some five markets CBS wishes to sell – including Cleveland. (CBS has actively been interested in selling its operations in markets below the very largest.)

Stand down. Nevermind.

Taylor notes that the rumored talks are apparently dead:

Now I hear that the CBS asking price was ultimately too “frothy” for the buyer. Lew Dickey said when he took the wraps off the Crestview Partners-backed CRI that he’d potentially be up for paying 7-8 times cash flow for premium properties. But CBS – Les Moonves – is probably still locked in on the multiples it got in the last batch of selloffs.

We’ve noted here time and again that despite expressing quite public interest in selling stations in its non-top-10ish markets – Moonves has repeated that sentiment at various conferences – CBS is not in a hurry to dump stations in Cleveland or anywhere else. If they get the number they’re looking for, they’ll sell, but this is by far not a “fire sale” operation.

And we’ve heard rumors, separately from Tom Taylor’s reporting, that the Cleveland CBS Radio cluster was about to be sold, or even “has already been” sold.

Other than what we’ve reprinted from Mr. Taylor, we’ve heard absolutely no evidence to support an agreed-upon sale, or near sale, of the Cleveland CBS stations.

Meanwhile, those who were following the rumors in “Taylor on Radio-Info” are probably breathing a sigh of relief, even if it’s only temporary.

Cumulus is not exactly known for high staffing levels. The company decimated staffing in former Susquehanna markets (including big markets like San Francisco), and has been a very active participant in recent layoff rounds – along with just about every other major or even minor radio company in the recession.

But we get the idea that Cumulus is very much a “lean and mean” company when it comes to staffing…recession or no.

And a quick search on the “Cumulus” name right here in the OMW search box (now to the right in our WordPress version, or a pull down menu in the mobile WordPress version) will provide plenty of examples…

AWARDS: For various reasons, we don’t spend a LOT of time with awards, but as a public service, here are some links we found with awards information.

Instead of linking to the various local TV stations, we’ll just go here for the list of local Emmy awards presented last weekend.

The local NATAS (Lower Great Lakes) chapter includes not only markets like Cleveland, Youngstown and Toledo, but also reaches into Pennsylvania and Indiana. As last year, the Hoosier stations picked up a decent number of awards.

And the folks on West Market Street are noting their third national Edward R. Murrow Award (Small Market: Radio) for the website AkronNewsNow.com, the online news component of Rubber City Radio Group’s oldies/news WAKR/1590, rock WONE/97.5 and country WQMX/94.9.

MOBILE: While we’re talking about West Market, AkronNewsNow now has an iPhone app in Apple’s App Store. For now, other mobile users can access ANN’s mobile-browser-friendly sub-site.

And we believe Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 is the first Cleveland market TV station to make its station/news app available on the Android platform, adding to its existing iPhone app…and since we have an Android device here at OMW, we hope the other area TV and radio stations follow suit.

(Youngstown’s WKBN/27 was actually the first TV station in the region to have an Android app, and the My Local TV folks, creators of the WEWS app, have apps for WUPW/36 “Fox Toledo” and Dayton’s WDTN/2.)

Semi-related…the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Cleveland.com has launched its own new mobile-friendly site, in what appears to be an improvement over the previous version in our brief time using it.

Ah, but newspapers strike again.

We saw the announcement in a tweet from Cleveland.com that took you to a story on the traditional site, with a link to go to Cleveland.com (and thus, pull up the new mobile site on a mobile browser) that did not work.

One note: we urge the folks at Cleveland.com to NOT wall off the traditional site from mobile users.

Point your mobile browser to NYPost.com for a very bad example of that…there is NO WAY to access a regular New York Post link from a mobile browser, rendering the content inaccessible to everyone but desktop users.

Links followed from Twitter or Facebook on a mobile device get “swallowed” into the main menu of the mobile New York Post site, where the original article sometimes can’t even be found. (We do have an alternative mobile browser that presents a desktop user agent.)

Given that social media is a prime traffic driver to news websites, and that much of that social media is consumed on mobile devices, that doesn’t make a lot of sense to us.

Go mobile, content providers, but go smartly. And with a reported 160,000 new registrations per day, the Android platform is quickly showing that “the mobile app strategy” is not just putting up an iPhone app. And that’s not even mentioning the very popular Blackberry platform.

The iPhone and its related devices are the leaders and insanely popular, but the overall popularity of smartphones means there are now millions of people out there with capable devices that aren’t made by Apple.

Forgive us for wearing out the soapbox…it’s about to break…

ADS: Readers may notice that some Google ads are appearing on OMW.

That decision wasn’t ours. It’s part of the “free” bargain for our use of the WordPress.com system, and the ads pop up without any intervention from us. We receive no income from the ads.

(Oddly enough, the Google-powered Blogger had no “forced” ads.)

The ads are also showing up in the mobile version of the site. At least on our Android device, they are causing some very slight formatting issues… the text is pushed to the very edge of the mobile window.

If you’re noticing the same, E-mail us via the link up at the top of this blog, making sure to note what device you are using. The “WPTouch” skin used for the mobile version works on a wide variety of mobile device browsers, including the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android devices and WebOS devices…

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6 Responses to Clearing Out

  1. Gus says:

    Fox 8 had an Android app, since I had it on my phone but deleted it since I wasn’t really using it (as I am no longer in NE Ohio). It was developed by a third-party company, who also developed the almost-identical Android apps for the two stations in my local market (Richmond, VA) that have them (WTVR – CBS 6, and WWBT – NBC 12).

  2. chuck says:

    FOX 8 has a app for Droid. I downloaded it two weeks ago.

  3. Jeremy at TSMW says:

    For the record: I’m using iPhone’s new OS4 on an iPod touch and having zero issues with text being pushed to the very edge.

  4. RL says:

    On the CBS radio cluster– What kind of money is CBS Radio asking? and if Cumulus is offering 7-8 times revenue what figure are they looking at?

    I’ve also heard rumors that Cumulus has made low-ball offers to buy Salem & Radio One, both of which were turned down.

    • RL, I don’t know all the financials.

      Cumulus is definitely out there, stalking, but are they looking for Cleveland? There are very few buyers out there…but CBS is in no hurry.

  5. Tom Lavery says:

    It would have been interesting to see Cumulus in Cleveland and see how the connection between Cleveland & Youngstown would have been.

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