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 (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…


3 Responses to And Another Update

  1. Tim says:

    It would be interesting if WHK 1420 picked up Mantel and Tony. The show could be like 80 percent talk and 20 percent music. There would be no playlist since WHk is a talk station. What about a country music/ conservative talk hybrid type station. Country music listeners tend to be conservative for the most part.

    • Neil from Beachwood says:

      That would sound horrible! It would be almost as bad as WHK was back in the 1980’s, when its format was …


      I do agree, however, that WHK would do well to follow the lead of both WIND (Chicago) and WNYM (NYC area), and replace Bill Bennett with a local talker. Bennett’s style is too low-key for morning drive, and local availabilities are insufficient for adequate coverage of traffic and local news.

      Who should fill the position?

      How about a dark horse candidate: Bob Frantz.

  2. DC says:

    The only way Mantel (or anyone else) will be on WHK is if they pay for the air time.

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