Columbus, Akron And Youngstown

Our news this time around comes from the above-mentioned areas, and we start off with a shock, unfortunately…

PROGRAMMER DIES: Columbus alt-rocker WWCD/101.1 Grove City “CD101” is going through a lot lately.

As reported here, the station is in the midst of a move to the more powerful 102.5/Baltimore frequency, where it’s simulcasting now…and will become “CD102.5” when The Ohio State University moves its classical music to the 101.1 frequency.

The station’s long-time programmer won’t be there to lead that charge.

In a shocking piece of news, CD101 program director and afternoon drive host John Andrew Davis, universally known by his on-air name “Andyman”, has died.

The station has turned his page on its website into a memorial statement, and explains how such a young man died so soon – he was vacationing with his family in Michigan over the weekend, and drowned.

Quoting the station’s statement:

Andyman Davis started at CD101 in June of 1991 as on on-air personality and became CD101’s Programming Director in 1998. Andyman was the voice of CD101’s afternoon drive program and was voted Columbus’ favorite DJ on numerous occasions.

Davis is survived by his wife, Molly, and their three sons Johnny, Oliver, and Sammy. The station says it’ll announce memorial service information later.

Our condolences to the staff at CD101, as they deal with a devastating loss…

SPEAKING OF CD: We first learned of the frequency change involving CD 101 thanks to the “net gnomes” at Lance Venta’s RadioInsight.com – Lance and the gang picked up domain registrations for “CD101at1025.com” and “CD1025.com” days before rumors became reality.

Someone’s at it again in Columbus.

Quoting:

Saga Communications appears poised to flip one or two of its stations in Columbus, OH to Talk. 1035FMTalkColumbus.com and 1043FMTalkColumbus.com were both registered last week.

The stations, as RadioInsight points out, are WJZA/103.5 Pickerington, which kept the smooth jazz format going after splitting off northwestern simulcaster now-WODB/104.3 Richwood, which took the WODB calls and “Big Hits” classic hits format from sister now-WVMX/107.9 formerly-Delaware/now-Westerville…when that station jumped on the hot AC format left behind by Dispatch’s WBNS-FM/97.1 (now sports “97.1 The Fan”).

Whew.

If you’re a Columbus resident who has been out of the area for a while, you’ll certainly find the FM dial confusing when you get back.

At this point, it’s not clear if any talk format – if it does happen – would air on one or both frequencies. We could make the easy assumption that Saga would not register both domains if it didn’t intend on using both frequencies, though there could well be some misdirection going on here…even with both registrations.

If 103.5 is involved, it would become the latest casualty in the smooth jazz format, which lost its long-time Cleveland home late last year – when Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting’s WNWV/107.3 Elyria dumped smooth jazz to HD2 to feature the AAA format now known as “V107.3”.

We’ll pose the question we posed on our Twitter account – what content could Saga use, if it makes this flip?

North American Broadcasting’s WTDA/103.9 Westerville had a mostly unremarkable lineup as “Talk FM”.

The station only made a brief splash when it picked up popular Premiere host Glenn Beck for its schedule…and of course, Beck’s program eventually migrated back to Clear Channel talk WTVN/610. And of course, WTDA eventually dropped the “Talk FM” format for…classic hits.

Talk wise, there’s not a lot out there that isn’t already taken by WTVN , or sister talk WYTS/1230 “Your Talk Station”(sorry, our brain was apparently stuck in time before WYTS’ flip to Fox Sports Radio, which we even covered here!)…and if it is readying such a move, Saga is likely trying to get the best of the “second tier” and “third tier” syndicated talkers.

There is indeed a lot of syndicated talk product, but there’s a fairly big dropoff after you get the “big names” out of the way…and most of those names are on WTVN.

For Saga to be even remotely competitive with the market’s 600 pound talk radio gorilla, it’ll have to do more than just throw on a random lineup of available syndicated talkers on two rimshot signals.

We assume names like Westwood One’s Dennis Miller will be in the mix, if talk is indeed coming to either or both of the Saga frequencies.

We’ll see…

KID RADIO: Radio Disney’s WWMK/1260 Cleveland is no longer the only kid-friendly station in Northeast Ohio – well, sort of, if you count HD Radio.

That’s after Akron Public Schools-owned AAA WAPS/91.3 Akron “The Summit” launched a new HD subchannel called “KIDJAM!”.

Quoting a station release:

Backed by a prestigious grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, KIDJAM! is designed for children ages 8-12. KIDJAM! entertains and empowers children through peer-to-peer motivation promoting confidence, dream building, and respect.

Tommy Bruno, general manager of WAPS explained, “Music can be a powerful tool. KIDJAM! spans five decades of music that appeals to children and adults. Between songs, kids, “KIDJAMMERS,” promote and celebrate harmony not just in music but harmony in family, friends, and life.”

The new station features not just the “kidpop” music featured on Radio Disney, according to the release…which says it’s designed so young people and their parents can “listen together”:

A typical set features Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, The Jonas Brothers, intermixed with The Beatles, The Jackson 5, Taylor Swift, Owl City, Dave Matthews Band, and Paul Simon.

The new service is now live on WAPS’ HD3 channel, and online at the station’s website.

And WAPS promises a dedicated site for “KIDJAM!” soon.

By the way, we didn’t know WAPS had an HD2 channel, as we had to move our antenna a bit to get the HD feed at all. We don’t know what they’re playing on WAPS HD2, though it sounds rock-ish to us in a brief listen…

SPEAKING OF WAPS: Linked on the “Summit” website is a June article in the Youngstown Vindicator – about the station’s recent eastward expansion, filling the off-hours at WKTL/90.7 Struthers, the school-owned station there that only programs part of its broadcast day.

With the students off for the summer, the WAPS programming is heard almost exclusively on WKTL, aside from its usual weekend ethnic programming.

Could that arrangement become permanent?

Struthers school superintendent Robert Rostan says yes. He describes to the Vindicator a similar situation which led to the closure of the school-owned station (WHHS) in the Cincinnati suburb of Hamilton recently:

“The radio program is dying out,” he said. “It’s not a big hit with teenagers anymore. The interest is not there.”

As a result, student-run programming at WKTL will cut back four hours in the fall – from a 7 PM conclusion weekdays to a 3 PM wrapup. And in the Vindicator piece, Rostan sounds like he’s already prepared for the end of student-run radio on WKTL:

Looking down the road, a full-time WAPS feed is a definite possibility, said Rostan, although he stressed that the weekend ethnic programming will continue.

The situation at adult-run WAPS is certainly somewhat different than the situation at WKTL, despite the fact that both stations are owned by their respective school districts.

WAPS is certainly promoting its Mahoning Valley connection as if it expects to be around full-time. The station has even come up with a “90.7 The Summit” logo that we’ve seen on TV – as we recall, on fellow non-comm broadcaster Western Reserve PBS (WNEO/45-WEAO/49)…

BILL UPDATE: We’re still hearing updates directly from “Uncle Bill” Weisinger, the local radio engineer and volunteer program director at WSTB/88.9 Streetsboro’s “Sunday Oldies Jukebox”.

And directly…that’s a good thing.

OMW reported earlier that Bill, a long-time reader and Friend of OMW, has been battling a cancerous tumor.

He’s now in a local care facility, and still an active reader of the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm).

Bill tells us that the recent radiation treatments he has started receiving are “a good thing”, added to his chemotherapy.

He still reads the GetWellBill.com website set up to send messages to him, and we’re sure he would appreciate your words…

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12 Responses to Columbus, Akron And Youngstown

  1. Nathan Obral says:

    The only realistic product available for such a talk format on 103.5/104.3, besides the aforementioned Dennis Miller, is pretty much TRN’s cavalcade of stars (Mancow, Laura Ingraham, Jerry Doyle, Savage, Phil Valentine, Rusty Humphries, Phil Hendrie, plus distribution rights for Take on The Day’s Dr. Laura).

    Which, save for Premiere’s Dan Patrick, pretty much constituted the final on-air lineup for WTDA.

    That or you take the Salem Radio lineup, which may be ideologically appealing, but can’t draw flies. Or recycle Bob&Tom or Rover for mornings. Maybe take fliers out on D-G/Cox’s Neil Boortz and Clark Howard. Then we get into Micheal Smerconish, Lou Dobbs, John Batchelor or Fred Thompson territory… after that, the pickings get very limited. If you’re desperate, there’s Alex Jones to turn to. 😉

    We all know how WTDA’s talk format turned out in the end, but at least they had one local host during the day. In spite of a marginal signal and non-existent promotion. Will Saga be willing to spend money for at least one local host, let alone a local newscaster?

    I hope Saga is playing around with the FM talk concept. They would be better off dropping the smooth jazz so as to simulcast “B” on 103.5 instead.

    (BTW, WYTS became a Fox Sports Radio affiliate last January. It would be easy to not notice it, few people apparently notice 1230 still exists these days. 🙂

    • Saga has done liberal talk in other markets, right?

      I’m not at all suggesting they go full-time liberal talk with 103.5/104.3, but Columbus was one of the best markets for D-G’s Stephanie Miller. I wouldn’t suggest the other hosts, but Steph might work in AM drive for them.

      However, I suspect Phil Boyce and company are hard-selling them on the TRN lineup. It wouldn’t be the first station, or even the first FM station, to do just that…go talk powered by TRN. Is TRN clearing any of those hosts in Columbus, now that 103.9 is in the talk bin dust heap of history?

      • Nathan Obral says:

        Newark’s WHTH/790 carries Savage at night, and WLOH AM/FM carry a mix of TRN (Ingraham/Doyle) Salem (Bennett/Hewitt) and WOR-RN (weekend advice) fare.

        Since WYTS flipped to FSR, WTDA to classic hits and WVKO to Catholic programming, WTVN is now the only news/talk station in the Columbus metro. And they carry only all of the Premiere fare, save of course for ABC/Citadel’s Mark Levin.

  2. Ann V. says:

    Crushing news about Andyman! I was driving through Columbus a couple of weeks ago and thinking about how great the playlist was on CD 101.

  3. Our thanks for the heads up about WYTS…we were “stuck in the past” while writing this, apparently. As I’ve noted in our correction, we even covered the move to FSR extensively when it happened!

    We can’t afford a proofreader. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it…

  4. Chuck says:

    Love Neal Boortz. In most markets, all things being equal (signal, etc) where head to head against Rush, Boortz does well. Sometimes even beating “El Rushbo”.

    • I think Boortz would work. He does well on WHIO, no? It’s hard for him to gain traction on non-Cox O&Os outside the south, but I think Columbus might be a good market for him.

      I still think TRN has the upper hand in any flip of 103.5/104.3 to talk. My guess is that Saga will be attracted to a turnkey format, which the TRN lineup basically is in this example.

  5. Liz Mozzocco says:

    To elaborate on the WAPS HD2 station… it’s called “Summit Flashbacks” – new wave, 80’s alt and early 90’s alternative… a throwback to the station’s format when we were at 89.1.

    • Thanks, Liz, and good to be able to attach “OMW Reader” to your name! (Well, at least once.)

      As we noted, it was a BRIEF listen…had enough time for about a dozen musical notes. Heh.

  6. Liz Mozzocco says:

    We’re all OMW readers over here. Hope you can get that antenna adjusted and take a listen to the Flashbacks channel!

  7. Tim says:

    Maybe Columbus could think out of the box for the new talk station. What about an all Hispanic talk format in English. I know Columbus not a major Hispanic enclave but I am sure this is a format of the future. It could become a big hit in cities as diverse as Chicago, Los Angeles and Miami. Hispanics are the 2nd largest group in this country and continue to grow. Geraldo, Ray Suarez, George Lopez, and Marc Anthony are just some names that come to mind as possible hosts. If done right it could be a refreshing alternative to the current radio scene.

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