About Bill

This is a tough one to write.

But there’s no other way to say it…the medical prognosis for “Uncle Bill” Weisinger, local radio engineer and volunteer leader of WSTB/88.9’s “Sunday Oldies Jukebox”, has taken a turn for the worse.

As such, the focus of those around Bill’s life in the past few days has been maximizing the time he has left on this earth.

This picture is from a 61st birthday visit by his “Sunday Oldies Jukebox” co-horts to the local care center where Bill is staying.

Bill is also still in touch with us here at OMW…telling us a group of local radio types were able to “find new homes” for all of the radio equipment in his condo.

Regular readers of the Mighty Blog need little introduction to Bill Weisinger, a long-time Friend of OMW.

In addition to heading up the “SOJ” effort and doing engineering work for the Streetsboro schools-owned station, Bill also has done engineering work for stations like Mount Union College’s WRMU/91.1 Alliance, and Kenston High School standards outlet WKHR/91.5 Bainbridge.

And even though he’s not out there working on it any more, Bill informed us (and others on his E-mail list) that WKHR had just installed a new antenna.

Back at WSTB, long-time general manager and OMW reader Bob Long tells us the station is in its third studio location after the fire at Streetsboro High School – in one of the temporary trailers the school has set up while it renovates the high school building.

You can bet Bill wishes he could be there, helping the effort…and you can bet the Friends of Uncle Bill wish he could be there as well.

Bill is still reading the GetWellBill.com site set up to send him messages, and we’re sure he’d appreciate a message…or a signal report on WKHR’s new antenna, even.

Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) is not a doctor, and we don’t play one on the Internet, so we’re not going to go into the details of Bill’s medical condition.

We only hope that he has as much time left among his friends as possible, and that the time left is rich. And if it were up to us, that time would be measured in “years”…


New Starts, Part Two

A week ending update of some new starts…some temporary, some permanent…

FILL-INS: Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 has gone to some experienced freelance sports help while it awaits the legal resolution of the case of weekend sports anchor Terry Brooks.

The station is turning to former WKYC/3 weekend sports anchor Mike Cairns to fill-in on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Since leaving WKYC, Cairns has physically gone – well, not far at all – as he’s been freelancing on various shows for SportsTime Ohio. (STO’s facilities, of course, are in the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center.)

In specific, “NewsChannel 5” sports director Andy Baskin notes that “Mike hosts the Ohio High School Kickoff show, the Viking Basketball Report and is co-host of Tee It Up Ohio. He also does play-by-play for STO’s OHSAA Coverage.”

The other freelancer at 3001 Euclid is also seen on STO, and was seen on WEWS tonight.

Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Browns beat reporter Andre Knott gets more TV face time, on the Channel 5 sports shows “5 On Your Sideline” on Fridays, and “Sports Sunday” on Sundays.

And yes, rather unfortunately for Andre, he has Sundays free these days…after the Cleveland Browns installed in-house employee Jamir Howerton as sideline reporter for the Browns radio network.

Knott is seen on STO’s Training Camp Daily, Berea Report, and the live call-in show Browns Red Zone.

The station’s news staff has pitched in so Baskin doesn’t have to work 7 days a week, with reporters John Kosich and Paul Kiska taking turns at the sports desk…

NO LONGER FILL-IN, AT LEAST IN INDIANA: Having his Monday through Fridays mostly free the past few months, WTAM/1100 weekend host and former WKDD/98.1-WHLO/640 host Matt Patrick is getting a day job.

Monday through Friday will find Matt in South Bend IN, where he tells us that he’s taking the open morning drive slot at Federated Media talker WTRC/95.3 “NewsTalk 95.3 MNC, Michiana’s News Channel”.

He’s filled in there a handful of times over the past few weeks.

Patrick joins a lineup very similar to what surrounded him at WHLO – WTRC features Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Matt tells OMW:

“We can be heard into Chicago! Not to mention I see Notre Dame from the studio! It’s a great station..a great team of people…and a fabulous opportunity!”

Matt tells us that he’s not abandoning talk radio in Ohio, as he’ll continue doing his WTAM weekend show (Saturdays from 1-4 PM) from back here in Northeast Ohio.

Matt also tells us he will continue doing fill-ins for WTAM “Big One” brother talker WLW/700 in Cincinnati, as needed…

CONGRATULATIONS: …to an OMW Reader at Freedom Avenue, for an addition to his family.

Clear Channel Akron/Canton operations director/WKDD program director/morning drive co-host/OMW reader/you know the rest Keith Kennedy and “love of (his) life” Kara have welcomed the second baby in the WKDD morning drive show family.

From Keith’s Twitter account:

“Welcome Landon Keith-Alexander born at 6:20pm August 27th, 2010”

Landon joins the other member of the WKDD morning drive infant family, Katherine Ann, recently born to co-host Krissy Taylor, and her husband, sister top 40 WAKS/96.5 “Kiss FM” afternoon driver/assistant program director/music director/OMW reader Kasper.

If any other OMW readers are expecting birth, please let us know, OK? There’s something in the water…

MANSFIELD TALK: OMW hears that a TV station is picking up a show heard for a long time on the radio.

The TV station is Mansfield independent WMFD/68, and the show is “Plant Talk”, which we’re told is “a revival of a long-running call-in show” that aired for some 30 years on Clear Channel talk WMAN/1400.

We’re told the show airs Thursday nights from 7-8 PM, hosted by Bill Collins & Chuck Gleaves from the Kingwood Center in Mansfield.

While we’re visiting Mansfield, electronically, OMW hears that today is the last day on the job for Mansfield Christian School WVMC/90.7 general manager Josh Hooper.

Hooper, who hosted afternoon drive on the “Christian Hit Radio” station, will be replaced by Scott Saunders.

Hooper has a farewell message on his “Afternoons with Josh” page.

WVMC also operates translators W216AH/91.1 Ashland and W274AN/102.7 Jefferson (Wooster)…

AND SPORTS ALL OVER: High school and college sports are taking over the radio and TV airwaves starting this week.

We won’t list everyone, particularly those which haven’t changed their coverage, but some changes we’ve noted:

* We noticed that Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 Akron “Fox Sports 1350” is picking up the high school football baton much earlier this year, bumping Akron Aeros games to Internet-only this Thursday and Friday. In previous years, they’d run the games on sister talk WHLO/640 until the Aeros’ season is over.

We’d ask Keith Kennedy at Clear Channel, but he’s, umm, busy. (See above.)

Thursday’s opener with Akron Hoban vs. Garfield was heard both on WARF, and Rubber City Radio oldies/news WAKR/1590 Akron…as usual preceded by the station’s high school sports preview show.

* We noticed that Time Warner Cable’s schedule of games on the cabler’s Northeast Ohio Network (NEON) Channel 23 includes a healthy schedule of Akron area games, which must mean they were able to come to a production agreement this year for Akron games.

* And Fox Sports Ohio is in the mix with their “Game of the Week” – we believe competitor SportsTime Ohio joins the high school football game parade for the OHSAA playoffs.

College sports will feature a new MAC Football package on STO this year, with additional coverage of the University of Akron Zips on STO – also new to the regional sports network.

We’ll put up various releases and schedules in a separate post, probably sometime this weekend or early next week….

TALKING MARKET SIZE: And OMW hears that the Cleveland-Akron (Canton) TV market stays put at ranking number 18 for the 2010-2011 Nielsen TV season.

The area gained about 5,500 TV homes compared to 2009-2010, for a total of 1,526,200 homes.

Just above Cleveland on the list, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale and Denver swapped places…the Miami region moving up to 16th, and Denver moving down to 17th…

And Another Update

We’re mostly updating some of the busier items we’ve posted in the past couple of weeks…with one new piece of information, though it’s been sitting for a while…

JIM MANTEL REDUX: Helpful OMW readers have been alerting us to TV appearances by now-former Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5 morning host Jim Mantel, who was shown the door a week ago when the company reportedly declined to renew his contract.

Also gone from the morning show at WGAR is producer “Captain Tony” McGinty, who we understand is no longer with the show since he was tied in with Mantel’s deal.

Anyway, you don’t need to alert us to Mantel’s appearances on local TV, as he’s been no stranger to the tube in recent days.

Monday night, we’re told he did appear on WOIO/19’s “19 Action News at 11″…we believe Mantel made an appearance late last week on sister station WUAB/43’s “19 Action News at 10”.

We haven’t been able to dig up the video URLs for either appearance on the “19 Action News” website – come on, Reserve Square, we know you hate us, but we’re trying to give you web hits here! – but we found another Mantel TV appearance in online video form.

This link should take you to the former WGAR morning host’s extended live appearance on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3’s “Good Company Today” on Thursday…and we’re pretty sure he didn’t pay for the airtime on the set next to Michael Cardamone and Andrea Vecchio (we assume Fred Griffith is on vacation this week).

There wasn’t a lot of “media news ground” broken in the interview, except that Mantel does seem open to non-country radio opportunities (though noting that he is, indeed, very familiar with the country music world after nearly 20 years hosting a morning show on a country station). He did joke that he “doesn’t expect to hear from the hip hop station”.

He did seem open to non-music and talk radio, though in Cleveland that pretty much means WGAR’s sister station WTAM/1100, owned by the same company which just declined to renew his contract after over 18 years.

Well, except for the unlikely prospect of Salem duplicating moves it has made on Chicago’s WIND/560, and hiring him for conservative talker WHK/1420 here. Unlikely may not be a strong enough word.

You do get the idea that Mantel would be happiest doing a morning drive country format radio show in Cleveland, but we’ve already poked holes in the prospect of that happening away from his former radio home at 99.5.

In the Old Days of Radio, a competing station would have already flipped and locked up Mantel as soon as he was contracturally available. In today’s world of Radio Consolidation, there are so many other considerations. For one, since companies own large clusters, many of the stations are no longer competing with each other.

By the way, our item on Mantel’s departure from WGAR is shattering the record for number of comments in our WordPress era.

As of this writing, the original item had 39 comments (!), numbers we haven’t seen since we had a more free-flowing comment section in our Blogger era.

Most of the commenters seem to be Mantel’s regular listeners, and it doesn’t appear to be an accident…a search on “Jim Mantel” on Google brings you to our item as first on the list.

We haven’t felt this “busy” over a personality change since Shane “Rover” French and company made their “Rover’s Morning Glory” move to Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7…

WHITNEY WENT HOME: A reader asked us why New Vision CBS affiliate WKBN/27 Youngstown anchor Whitney Ward was gone from both the “27 First News” airwaves and the station’s website, and…well, we didn’t know.

After all, we cover the Youngstown/Warren area from afar, and have not yet been able to acquire/set up the antenna that should nab us the station’s over-air signal in our perch far to the west.

So, we asked the one person who could give us the answer in short order, and as it turns out, her publication wrote about it last month.

Friend of OMW Andrea Wood, publisher of Youngstown’s Business Journal newspaper, passed along a scan of the print edition of mid-July’s “Media Scope” column by Stacia Erdos. Quoting:

Ward and her husband, Jon Splichal, will leave their home in Canfield and head about as far west as you can go, closer to home for both of them. Ward is taking a position with CBS affiliate KEPR in Pasco, Wash., in the “Tri-Cities” market, where she’ll anchor the 5, 6 and 11 o’clock newscasts. Her family lives in Olympia, about a four-hour drive away.

KEPR (yes, pronounced locally as “Keeper”) is part of the extensive Fisher chain of TV stations in the Pacific Northwest.

Though the “Tri-Cities” market (Pasco/Richland/Kennewick WA) is actually smaller than Youngstown, Ward tells the Business Journal that being near her family was the “main reason” for the move. You can find a Q&A with Ward in the print edition of the Business Journal, as the article is not online.

Speaking of the Business Journal, Erdos’ “Daily Buzz” video webcast now has its own dedicated site, with continued placement atop the main Business Journal site…and Wood tells OMW that the numbers of viewers are growing, with as many as 10,000 views some days:

“That’s up from 2,000 when we started less than a year ago. News on demand is really something. What’s interesting is when people watch it — 5 a.m. the following day — perhaps a week later if they’re out of town and want to catch up.”

Online video by non-TV sources is growing in the Northeast Ohio region, but only the Business Journal (with former WYTV/33 anchor Erdos) and Rubber City Radio’s AkronNewsNow.com (with Lindsay McCoy) are making a daily fully-produced video webcast as far as we know…

AND ONE MORE VALLEY ITEM: After soliciting and getting some help cleaning nasty graffiti – digitally – off the pictures, the incoming owner of WRTK/1540 Niles and WANR/1570 Warren has sent us his own “clean” version of a picture of the stations’ soon-to-be home at the WRTK transmitter site in Mineral Ridge.

The Photoshop-fixed version obscures a four-letter word we don’t use here at the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), a word in graffiti that will be totally gone before owner Chris Lash moves WANR in, and operates both stations from the facility not terribly far from the various truck stops, motels and restaurants that line the I-80/Ohio 46 interchange.

Studio-wise, both stations are now operated from the Beacon Broadcasting leased studio complex on Courthouse Square in downtown Warren…itself the former home of WRRO/1440, now Salem’s WHKZ, operating from its transmitter site in Lordstown and presumably controlled out of Summit Park Drive in Independence.

We’ll learn WRTK’s new direction around September 1st, the date Lash takes over both stations. WANR will continue as a Fox Sports Radio affiliate, presumably heavy with local sports broadcasts (which even in the economy of 2010, are the closest thing to a money printing press in the Mahoning Valley).

There’s at least one other technical surprise regarding Lash’s new operation…which we’ll share in a later item…

The WKSU Item

Kent State University’s WKSU/89.7 has been so busy lately…we’ve talked with the station’s Ann VerWiebe the past few days more than we’ve talked with some of our relatives.

But…there’s been a lot to talk about on East Summit Street…so, let’s get started…

THE SOUND OF REGINA: Plain Dealer columnist Regina Brett makes her local public radio return with a new weekly show on WKSU.

The former Friday host of Ideastream WCPN/90.3’s “The Sound of Ideas” launches her own program on the Kent-based public broadcaster, making her roughly the 20th person in the past 5 years to shuttle back and forth between WCPN and WKSU.

The program, however, won’t be the usual political/issues talk show.

From a description in the press release written by the always-helpful Ms. VerWiebe:

The weekly radio show was inspired by Brett’s book God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours, an inspirational collection of essays and stories about the lessons that life had taught based on a popular column she wrote after turning 50. Each show features guests with insights, tips or fresh concepts to help people create a greater life for themselves and for others. Programs will revolve around themes of life’s transitions and universal issues of home, work, community and finding a personal balance.

“The Regina Brett Show” will air Wednesday nights at 7 PM, starting September 8…

AND MORE PROGRAMMING NOTES: Shortly after we heard about Ms. Brett’s new show, WKSU announced another new spoken word program…this, on the station’s daily schedule.

The station will add the Boston-based “Here and Now” show weekdays 12 noon-1 PM, starting August 30th:

The hour-long news magazine is produced by WBUR in Boston and hosted by veteran journalist Robin Young. The fast-paced program features a broad-range of topics from public policy, foreign affairs and technology to food, culture and the arts. Reports from the WKSU newsroom will also be part of the Monday through Friday broadcasts.

WKSU general manager Al Bartholet cites the public radio audience’s hunger for news and information:

“Airing ‘Here and Now’ over the noon hour means that breaking news won’t have to wait until ‘All Things Considered’ begins at 4 p.m. Young’s program is produced with the curious, intelligent and information-hungry public radio audience in mind. Plus, an additional news hour means more opportunities for the WKSU news staff to present stories on arts and culture to Northeast Ohio listeners.”

Robin Young has extensive news experience, a 25 year career working for the Discovery Channel, CBS, ABC and for NBC’s “Today Show”

The release also notes the Thursday evening show “Other Voices”, offering hour-long audio documentaries at 7 PM…

AND IN NON-PROGRAMMING ANNOUNCEMENTS: We already mentioned the WKSU-based Folk Alley’s Android app – added to the existing iPhone/iOS4 app.

The station has been busy offering a full menu of smartphone and smart device apps.

In addition to the iPhone/iPod Touch and Android versions of the WKSU and Folk Alley apps, the station is also now directly supporting the iPad…allowing the use of more text and images than just running the iPhone version on the iPad.

If the iPad version of the WKSU app is not available in the iTunes store yet, it will be soon.

All of the WKSU apps play the four WKSU streams, with high-quality streaming available assuming you have the bandwidth to support it. We can play the high-quality versions of the WKSU streams with no problem on the 3G connection on our Android device.

The streams include the main WKSU simulcast (HD1), the Folk Alley feed (HD2), the Classical Channel (HD3) and the News Channel (HD4).

The dedicated Folk Alley app, of course, only plays the Folk Alley stream.

Dedicated would be the word for the young man directly responsible for all this, a recent high school graduate who has written all the apps for WKSU. From the appropriate release:

The WKSU apps were developed in-house by the WKSU web development team under the lead of IT Director Chuck Poulton. The WKSU apps follow the release of the Folk Alley Player iPhone app last summer. Both were created by James Savage, a recent graduate of Hoban High School (Akron, Ohio) who will attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., in the fall.

And for those of us in the Android world, there’s a backstory to the creation of the WKSU apps:

Savage constructed the WKSU Android app in part using code from NPR’s app. In the same atmosphere that prompted public media powerhouse NPR to share content on NPR.org through an open source API, the network invited input from the community in the development of the its Android app. Sharing this type of information reflects the spirit of the Android operating system and also NPR’s mission of public service and cooperation between content providers and the listening audience.

All of the apps are downloadable for free in the appropriate place: the iTunes Store for the iOS4 devices, and the Android Market for Android devices. And background audio is supported on iOS4, and of course, on Android.

You can find out more at the WKSU website…complete with screenshots of the apps.

And of course, WKSU’s programming is available on your good old fashioned radio, at WKSU/89.7 Kent, WKSV/89.1 Thompson, WKRW/89.3 Wooster, WKRJ/91.5 New Philadelphia, WNRK/90.7 Norwalk, and translators W298BA/107.5 Boardman, and W239AZ/95.7 Ashland. (Yes, we did that entire list from memory, though we needed help with the translator call letters…)

AND SPEAKING OF THE WEBSITE: Our news from East Summit Street is not complete, yet.

WKSU has revamped its website…the most notable change is the placement of news on the new front page of WKSU.org.

Before the change, if we remember right, you had to go to the WKSU News page to discover the station’s news output…

AND THANK YOU: …to WKSU’s Ann VerWiebe, for all of the above information.

Like her counterpart (in the “Talk to OMW” department) at Western Reserve PBS, Diane Steinert, Ann is always accomodating and cooperative with your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm).

It’s a tradition that goes back to Bob Burford’s time as public relations director/OMW handler at East Summit Street…and we’re appreciative! There’s something about those Kent-based public broadcasters that make them accessible…

The Big Followup

As usual when major media news breaks here, we spend time afterwards sorting it all out…

MANTEL’S EXIT: It’s the day after long-time WGAR/99.5 morning man Jim Mantel was shown the door at the Clear Channel Cleveland country outlet, and instead of being behind the microphones at Oak Tree, he’s communicating with his fans via social media.

Mantel noted on his Twitter account:

“Probably heard that I’m no longer on the air at wgar. Was lucky to do morning in my hometown for 18 1/2 yrs. On the other hand shot 78 today”

He confirmed via that same Twitter account that the end of his contract meant the end of his over 18 year run as WGAR’s morning drive host, in a response to a listener:

“Contract was coming up and they decided not to renew it.”

We’re told that Mantel also appeared on WOIO/19-WUAB/43’s “19 Action News”, but can’t find a link to the story on the station’s website.

Of course, Mantel is by far not the first well-compensated morning drive star (or media personality in general) to see the end of his run when a station did not want to renew his deal.

Radio and TV stations across the country, and certainly in Northeast Ohio, point to the flagging economy…when deciding not to pay large salaries to even the most popular personalities. We have chronicled those stories extensively here at OMW over the past few years.

Whether a radio station renews a contract or not, and how much it costs to do so, matters little to the listener.

And in the country format, with long-time loyal listeners, it’s no surprise that those listeners are weighing in online…with several comments already posted to our earlier item on Mantel’s exit.

WGAR’s Facebook page, at this writing, is filled with wall posts from disgruntled listeners. (Click on either of the “Others” links to see them.)

If those listeners indeed will “stop listening” to WGAR to protest Mantel’s removal as morning drive host, there are plenty of alternatives – though none in the immediate Cleveland radio market.

Cleveland is literally ringed with powerful and successful out of market country stations – including (west to east) Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting’s WKFM/96.1 Huron “K96”, Rubber City Radio’s Akron market WQMX/94.9 Medina, Cumulus’ WQXK/105.1 Salem “K105” and Music Express’ WKKY/104.7 Geneva.

All four of these stations have some fringe in-market coverage in the appropriate geographic parts of the Cleveland market, but country format stations often “play to the room” – with programming, particularly morning shows, that cater to the station’s hometown area.

Will Mantel’s exit from WGAR prompt an in-market country format competitor?

Well, his availability (after any post-contract non-compete period) may embolden someone to step up to the plate…but we’re having a hard time finding likely in-market candidates for a format change.

CBS Radio would otherwise be a candidate to mount a new country station…but the company is very much in “caretaker” mode in Cleveland, hoping to find an eventual buyer with CBS’ national mandate to sell “smaller market” (non-Top 10 market) stations. It’s the same reason a sports format flip at CBS in Cleveland is unlikely, despite CBS’ recent passion for big FM sports talkers.

The other two major competitors in Cleveland, Salem and Radio One, basically don’t do country. (Radio One once owned the country outlet in Urbana in southwest Ohio, WKSW, but that’s now owned by Main Line with Radio One’s exit from the Dayton area.)

And the market’s former smooth jazz outlet, ELB’s WNWV/107.3 Elyria, already made its change to AAA late last year as “V107.3”. (As noted above, ELB has experience in the format with long-time country outlet “K96”.)

Meanwhile, Jim Mantel is left to work on his golf game…

SHE WON’T BE HER KIDS’ RADIO HOST: Nationally, the big news in radio Tuesday night was The End of the Dr. Laura Show.

Talk Radio Networks’ long-running advice show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger dropped that bombshell on CNN’s “Larry King Live” last night, saying she’ll exit talk radio when her TRN deal ends at the end of this year:

In announcing her decision “not to do radio anymore” after being in the business for more than 30 years, Schlessinger said, “I want to be able to say what’s on my mind and in my heart and what I think is helpful and useful without somebody getting angry or some special-interest group deciding this is a time to silence a voice of dissent.”

Schlessinger has been in a bit of hot water lately, due to an incident on her radio show (again, quoting the CNN piece):

National furor erupted when Schlessinger used the N-word 11 times in five minutes during a call August 10 with an African-American caller who was seeking advice on how to deal with racist comments from her white husband’s friends and relatives. The conversation evolved into a discussion on whether it’s appropriate to use the word ever, with Schlessinger arguing it’s used on HBO and by black comedians.

She apologized for the incident on her program.

And though Schlessinger framed her exit from radio as a “freedom of speech issue”, she says she’s “not retiring and not quitting”, and will continue to express herself via avenues like her website and YouTube channel.

And all this fuss over “Dr. Laura” has prompted most Ohio listeners to say, “she’s still on the radio?”

After years of clearances on big Clear Channel talkers like WTAM/1100 in Cleveland, Schlessinger has all but disappeared from the radio dial in Ohio – supplanted on large market stations mainly by Premiere’s Glenn Beck (even if Beck did himself disappear for a while from many of those same stations).

“Dr. Laura” used to be syndicated by Premiere, of course, but eventually migrated to TRN after Schlessinger took over ownership of her own show via her “Take on the Day Productions”.

Dr. Laura’s Ohio affiliate list in 2010 has just three stations – Canton’s WCER/900, Findlay’s WFIN/1330 and little WBLL/1390 in Bellefontaine.

Like the demise of liberal talk network Air America, this would have been a much bigger Ohio story a few years ago…

VALLEY UPDATE: We shouldn’t be surprised, we guess, but the incoming owner of now-Beacon Broadcasting’s two Ohio stations is a regular OMW reader.

And as a result, Chris Lash tells us of some of his plans for WANR/1570 Warren, and sister daytimer WRTK/1540 Niles.

Lash will take over WANR and WRTK September 1st in a local marketing agreement, pending approval and closure of his purchase of the stations.

WANR will continue under his ownership as a Fox Sports Radio affiliate, and we guess the station’s local sports commitments will continue – and maybe grow.

WRTK will go a different format direction, which Lash says he’ll announce after he takes it over. Until simulcasting WANR, WRTK ran Christian contemporary music, once using the Beacon handle “Freq 1540”.

Lash tells OMW that he’s already in the process of renovating the former WNIO studio building on Webb Road in the Mineral Ridge section of Trumbull County (the current WRTK transmitter site), and will move both stations’ operations into that building.

He shared pictures with us, which need editing (due to nasty graffiti!), and we’ll try to put them up here later today…

Jim Mantel Out At WGAR

Veteran Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5 morning star Jim Mantel is now officially a man without a station.

Sources at Oak Tree confirm that Mantel is out as morning drive host at WGAR, as is morning show producer “Captain Tony” McGinty.

As usual, the “Soviet-style purge” has removed the “Mantel in the Morning” page from WGAR’s website, and Mantel’s name from the station’s air personality list.

Mantel’s Twitter account is still around, though it hasn’t been updated since Sunday.

McGinty’s Twitter account is no longer accessible as of this writing, and the Google cache for the account shows it was updated recently. McGinty’s Facebook account is also missing.

UPDATE: An OMW reader tells us that McGinty is available on Twitter under a new account name.

UPDATE: We’re also told McGinty has a new Facebook page address, too.

From a memo announcing Mantel and McGinty’s departure from Oak Tree:

(WGAR program director) Charlie (Connolly) begins the search begins today for WGAR’s next morning show. On the interim, he and Lori Hovater will handle morning duties.

We don’t know why Mantel is gone from WGAR, along with his producer, but the best educated guesses involve ratings – remember, Cleveland is now firmly in PPM land – and what we’d have to assume is his more-than-decent compensation package, earned by hosting a top-rated morning drive show for many years…

The Beacon Ohio Empire Sold

OMW hears that a buyer has been found for the two Beacon Broadcasting stations in Ohio, and that a prospective buyer is lining up for the remaining Pennsylvania-based Beacon stations.

Pittsburgh-based broker Ray H. Rosenblum announced today that Beacon’s WANR/1570 Warren and daytime sister WRTK/1540 Niles are being sold to Whiplash Radio, LLC, a company owned by husband-and-wife team Chris and Kathy Lash.

Chris Lash currently operates non-comm community station WYNS/89.3 “Hybrid FM” in Waynesville, outside Dayton in Southwest Ohio. WYNS and Cincinnati-market WMWX/88.9 Miamitown are owned by Bill Spry’s Spryex Communications.

In addition to operating the Waynesville station for Spry, Lash also does morning drive. He has operated or owned other stations in Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Lash and his wife picked up both WANR and WRTK, and associated real estate, for $50,000. The stations are currently operating as a sports simulcast (“Fox Sports Radio 1540 and 1570”).

Rosenblum’s release notes that negotiations continue with another buyer for the remaining Beacon stations, now-mainly-AC WEXC/107.1 “C107.1” Greenville PA, and classic country simulcast WGRP/940 Greenville and WLOA/1470 Farrell PA.

The Beacon stations went on the block after the death of Beacon patriarch Harold Glunt in January of this year, and are currently under the oversight of Glunt’s son (and executor of the estate) Dennis Glunt.

The release from Mr. Rosenblum is below…


NEWS RELEASE August 16, 2010

Sale Announced Of 2 Beacon Broadcasting Radio Stations
In Warren/Youngstown, Ohio

Dennis Glunt, the Executor for the estate of the late Harold Glunt has announced that the 2 Beacon Broadcasting, Inc. radio stations in Warren/Youngstown, OH have been sold to Whiplash Radio, LLC of Waynesville, OH, subject to the approval of the Federal Communications Commission.

According to Media Broker Ray H. Rosenblum of Pittsburgh, PA, WANR(AM-1570) in Warren, OH and WRTK(AM-1540) in Niles, OH have been sold for a total of $50,000, including real estate. The stations are currently simulcasting a sports talk format.

The principal owners of the buyer, Whiplash Radio, are Christopher and Kathy Lash of Waynesville, OH, where they operate WYNS(FM-89.3). During the past 25 years Mr. Lash has owned and operated radio stations in Pennsylvania and Tennessee.

Mr. Rosenblum noted that negotiations are continuing with another prospective buyer for the sale of the remaining Beacon stations in Pennsylvania. They are
WGRP(AM-940) and WEXC(FM-107.1) both in Greenville, PA; and WLOA(AM-1470) in Farrell, PA. All 5 stations are in the Youngstown, OH market.

Harold Glunt, the principal owner of Beacon Broadcasting, died on January 25th. The Executor of his estate is his son, Dennis Glunt.