Not Just LeBron

We have plenty of items that have nothing to do with a talented young athlete choosing to throw a ball into a hoop in a different city.

But since LeBron James has dominated the media both here and outside of here, we’ll start off this item with the obvious…

LESOUTH BEACH: The now-former Cleveland Cavaliers star was Topic 1, 2 and 3 even before he scraped Northeast Ohio off of his shoe in an hour-long ESPN special on Thursday.

That special, by the way, was the highest rated TV show Thursday night…and had over a quarter of Northeast Ohio’s TV homes watching…by far, the largest rating. (Miami, “King” James’ new home, had half the ratings.)

Brian Dulik has more from this item in the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram:

The top three local markets were Cleveland/Akron (26.0), Columbus (14.2) and Miami/Fort Lauderdale (12.8). Chicago (10.7) was sixth, while New York City (10.4) had the seventh-highest mark.

As expected, local media went into overkill around the announcement.

Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” in Cleveland did as announced – offered local talk and reaction, mostly venting by the station’s hosts and callers – through the night…right up until ESPN’s “Mike and Mike” started at 6 AM Friday.

The station also offered local talk much of the day on Friday, including a pre-emption of Premiere’s “The Jim Rome Show”. (Of course, the presence of substitute hosts made that call a lot easier.)

And the station’s personalities have been on the ESPN TV side almost hourly. We looked up and caught afternoon co-host Kenny Roda on the Worldwide Leader, TV side, three times over the past few days, and we hear Roda also made an appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America Saturday”.

And in print, WKNR’s newly-installed evening team of LeCharles Bentley and Je’rod Cherry (“X’s and O’s with the Pros”) got mentioned in the New York Times.

As did “Really Big Show” host Tony Rizzo, WKNR’s biggest name…who said Friday that he would not participate in the national media circus, for one reason:

Tony Rizzo, host of “The Really Big Show” on WKNR 850AM, an ESPN station, opened Friday morning by warning the national news media not to call him for comment on the mood of the region. “I’m only talking to Clevelanders today!” he announced, and the implication was clear: only Clevelanders could understand. Later he offered Gilbert, a native of Ohio rival Michigan, the highest possible praise. “He’s one of us,” he said.

Rizzo did appear on “The Jim Rome Show” Friday, with a guest host from Houston, and we believe he and co-host Aaron Goldhammer are set for another turn sub-hosting in “The Jungle” soon. Goldhammer is another WKNR mainstay who has made appearances on the ESPN family of TV networks.

Over at Clear Channel, where the Cavaliers games are actually heard on talk WTAM/1100, that station was unable to join in early due to the Cleveland Indians’ contest with the Tampa Bay Rays.

But Oak Tree enlisted its FM stations, with at very least rock/talk WMMS/100.7 (which carries some Cavaliers’ overflow games), classic hits WMJI/105.7 “Majic 105.7” and top 40 WAKS/96.5 “Kiss FM” airing a special on the announcement with Cavaliers radio network voice Mike Snyder and WTAM sports reporter/host Andre Knott.

We hear that like the effort at the Galleria, Oak Tree (with WTAM presumably on board after the Indians game) went until 5 AM with its reaction on the local sports bombshell, with “Kiss FM” going live and local during morning drive Friday with afternoon driver/APD/MD/OMW reader Kasper, who has probably been sleeping since he got off late Friday morning.

(Of course, Kasper had to get up at some point to voicetrack his new Saturday afternoon shift on Clear Channel’s sister “Kiss FM” outlet in Dallas. We’re betting he didn’t spend the entire shift talking about LeBron James leaving Cleveland.)

Other Indians affiliates, including Rubber City Radio oldies/news WAKR/1590 Akron and NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton, provided bulletins on “The Decision” during the game itself.

And local TV stations sent reporters and sports anchors far afield, including to LeBron’s new home of Miami…we spotted Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 reporter/OMW reader Mark Zinni and Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 sports anchor Terry Brooks reporting from Miami.

WEWS also used a reporter in Miami from Tampa FL’s WTSP/10, a station WEWS general manager Sam Rosenwasser used to oversee.

As for WKNR, its “ESPN Cleveland” website shows what’s important in Cleveland sports now…there’s a countdown that shows there are 19 days until Cleveland Browns training camp begins. LeBron who?…

DAVE’S RETURN: One of our readers spotted this (we believe it was long-time reader/Lorain County-based tipster Nathan Obral), and we’ve confirmed it.

Former Metro Networks-based/Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” afternoon sports update anchor Dave DeNatale is back with WKNR.

He’s taken over the 3-7 PM sports anchor shift he originally inherited after Metro’s Daryl Ruiter moved in-house at the Galleria, only this time, though still working for Metro, DeNatale will be at the Galleria as well as an “embedded” staff member.

(Of course, Metro has no local broadcast facilities after abandoning its perch in the Independence Media Gulch last year. Metro’s Jeff Thomas continued at WKNR as an “embed” until he was taken off WKNR a while back.)

In addition to his update anchoring duties, Dave is producing the aforementioned “X’s and O’s with the Pros” program with LeCharles Bentley and Je’rod Cherry, and will contribute to “ESPN Cleveland GameNight” as well.

And OMW hears that DeNatale had a procedure called “a cardiac ablation” last week to help correct his irregular heartbeat.

Congratulations to Dave, for his successful return and improved health…

PASSING ON: You probably couldn’t count how many high school sports games Larry Miklas called in the Mahoning Valley, but it’s probably in the thousands. Miklas died last Sunday in Niles at the age of 60, after a brief illness.

The one-time steel worker jumped into radio at Sharon PA’s WPIC/790 after attending broadcast school there, according to his obituary, and continued to work in the steel mills before being laid off. He also worked a full-time job as a lineman for Time Warner Cable for 25 years.

But it’s his prolific work calling high school football and basketball games over 20 years – at stations like WBBW/1240, WANR/1570, WRTK/1390 and WASN/1330 – that has cemented his legacy in the Valley.

Miklas also spent a year as the radio play-by-play voice of Cleveland’s first Arena Football League team, the Thunderbolts, on WHK/1420.

The picture shown here from the Holeton-Yuhasz Funeral Home obituary has Miklas wearing a “Network 15” logo shirt with the call letters WANR and WNRB – AM 1570 in Warren, and AM 1540 in Niles.

That would put the picture from the early 1990s…the stations joined up in an urban contemporary format simulcast shortly after the fire at the former WOKG “Talk 1570” in 1990.

The stations are once again co-owned by Beacon Broadcasting – for sale after the death of company president Harold Glunt – and are once again simulcasting…running sports talk as “Fox Sports Radio 1570 and 1540″…


One Response to Not Just LeBron

  1. 74wixygrad says:

    Well, inquiring minds wanted to know and agonizing hearts wanted to vent. Big story for the past few days, now time to move on.

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