Assorted Midweek Stuff

Just enough to clear off our plate as we’re heading into midweek…

NEWS EXIT: OMW hears that Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” assistant news director Roberta Petterson is heading south, for a new gig as news director…at a station that may be in the same state that seems to be attracting Northeast Ohio’s professional basketball players lately.

(Though it would appear that a certain “King” could have taken lessons from Zydrunas Ilgauskas with his own exit. And if you’re just learning about “Z’s” departure from us, you need to get out more…)

We don’t know exactly where Petterson, who joined WEWS after a stint in Pittsburgh, is headed…

TWO DEATHS: Two Cleveland men who made it to the world stage have died…and this may be the only place they’ll be mentioned in the same item.

This item on the Plain Dealer’s Cleveland.com may be the best remembrance of legendary comic book figure Harvey Pekar, who died Monday at the age of 70:

Hailed as the “Bard of the Banal,” Pekar became a national figure by chronicling his life and times in the acclaimed autobiographical comic book series, “American Splendor.” He portrayed himself as a rumpled, depressed, obsessive-compulsive “flunky file clerk” engaged in a constant battle with loneliness and anxiety.

The linked article features a video tribute by the PD’s Michael Heaton, who calls Pekar “the heart and soul of Cleveland”, and there’s a nice sampling of linked tributes around the web.

Most of our readers probably remembered Pekar’s turns on the old NBC version of “Late Night with David Letterman” (as we did), until – so we’re reminded – he talked a bit too much about NBC parent General Electric, and was basically disinvited from the show by Letterman. As far as we know, he never appeared on Letterman’s current CBS “Late Show”.

But he also once appeared on “Late Night” with another NBC and Cleveland icon – “Today Show” weatherman and former WKYC/3 weatherman Al Roker.

The second death, we’ll give a brief mention…as it’s all over the world news today.

New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner died early Tuesday at the age of 80.

We only mention it here because Steinbrenner is a Cleveland native who tried to buy the Cleveland Indians in the early 1970s. Rebuffed, he ended up buying the Yankees…and we all know what happened after that.

The Plain Dealer’s Cleveland.com puts up what it calls one of Steinbrenner’s “last interviews”, with PD sportswriter Bob Dolgan in 2006, here

BIG WILLIE: We know that “Big Willie” is heading for TV, though his show’s name may change.

Raycom Fox affiliate WXIX/19 in Willie’s home base of Cincinnati is airing the pilot shows that WLW/700’s Bill Cunningham taped in Chicago this week.

But one of the shows is missing, says Cincinnati Enquirer radio/TV guru John Kiesewetter:

The fifth show taped by the Tribune Co. in Chicago last month – featuring child beauty pageant contestants and their moms – will not air. The mothers sued Cunningham and Tribune after the taping, saying they were deceived by producers.

Kiese notes that the snicker-inducing title “Big Willie” will likely change, and reviews the pilot episodes here.

Will the show make it to Cleveland? Quoting Kiese:

Tribune executives want to see ratings and research from the test markets, (Tribune executive and ex-WLWer Sean Compton) says. “Willie” will air on Tribune stations in Chicago, Indianapolis and New Orleans, but maybe not in New York and Los Angeles this month.

Tribune will look at quarter-hour ratings, to see if or when viewers tune out or back in, Cunningham said.

The early roll-out seems a bit more limited, and there’s no mention of Local TV-owned Fox affiliate WJW/8 (Local TV is basically operated by Tribune), but if things go well, Cunningham’s show could be offered to other companies by early 2011, with a launch in the fall of next year…

The arrangement with Raycom’s WXIX in Cincinnati seems local, rather than corporate, though “Big Willie” or whatever it’s called would certainly be a fit somewhere in the Reserve Square lineup…particularly on MyNetwork TV affiliate WUAB/43 “My 43″…

SPORTS VOICE: Regular OMW reader Chuck Matthews has picked up a pretty decent voiceover client.

He’s providing the station voice for Curtis Media’s “Triad Sports Network”, a new network of three stations in the Greensboro/Winston-Salem NC market – WSML/1200, WCOG/1320 and WMFR/1230.

The company cobbled the three-headed ESPN Radio-affiliated “network” together by removing WSML from its eastern simulcast of news/talk WSJS/600 Winston-Salem, flipping WMFR in High Point from a sister talker to WSJS to sports, and adding newly acquired WCOG in Greensboro to the mix.

WCOG is the North Carolina Triad’s former Radio Disney affiliate. Disney sold the station, as though it maintains large market stations like Cleveland’s WWMK/1260, it’s been selling middle and smaller market Radio Disney outlets.

Speaking of sports, Chuck also recently added another ESPN affiliate to his voiceover roster – KCMC/Texarkana – through his deal with Benztown Branding.

And of course, the Lakewood native continues in his “day job” as creative director at the Rubber City Radio cluster in Akron…

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3 Responses to Assorted Midweek Stuff

  1. Tim says:

    Bill Cunningham is becoming quite popular. First his own channel on IHeartRadio and now his own tv show. I do find his show to be informative and listenable even if he does lean right. I like him much better than Rush Limbaugh.

  2. Yekimi says:

    Chuck did an incredible job of filling in for Tim Daugherty while he was on vacation. If I was Tim, and they told me Chuck would be filling in whenever I’d be gone, I’d never take another vacation again!

  3. Nathan Obral says:

    There was a media-related connection to the Steinbrenner story.

    Remember that George lost out in the Indians sweepstakes to none other than – Nick Mileti, founder of the Cavaliers. At the same time, Mileti headed a syndicate (that included Jim Embrescia) who bought the former WKYC-AM and FM from NBC, turning them into WWWE and WWWM, respectively. Not to mention moving both the Cavaliers and Indians radio play-by-play – as well as “Sportsline” – from WERE/1300 onto the newly-minted “3WE,” exposing Herb Score, Pete Franklin and Joe Tait to regional audiences.

    Had The Boss bought the team, who knows how things might have turned differently?

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