No Theme Anymore

We were going to have a “theme week” item, with three things all related in some way, and then…a whole bunch of other media news popped up…

THE FCC SAID THAT: Long-time listeners to Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” midday fixture “The Really Big Show” know it well…the infamous “Who Said That?” contest.

For those who don’t follow the antics of Tony Rizzo, Aaron Goldhammer and company: the contest, which ran until it finally ran out of gas last year, asked listeners to identify a random soundbite presumably from the world of sports.

As we recall, there were winners, but the latest incarnation of the contest ended with no winners last year, and the show dumped “Who Said That?” into File 13.

The prizes were apparently the problem.

Radio Business Report reports that the FCC has fined Good Karma $4,000 for the way it handled “Who Said That?” on the air. Quoting:

Things changed in the contest to identify the final clip in the contest. From the fall of 2007 until the contest’s conclusion 9/4/09 nobody was able to claim the prize. The station kept adding prizes to the pot. However, some of the prizes were no longer available due to the passage of time. But the station never noted this fact on air. The fact that the rules as posted on the web noted that some prizes may be replaced with others due to unavailability at the time of awarding was deemed not to remedy the fact that this was never announced over the air.

The FCC notes that in its defense, Good Karma/WKNR said that the “nature of certain prizes implied that they would no longer be available, thereby relieving the Station of the requirement to provide clarifying information.”

The folks at the Portals weren’t buying that explanation, thus, the fine. The agency says the implication wasn’t enough, and a “full announcement” should have been made.

Anyone who has followed the FCC’s handling of station contests over the years can tell you that it’s one of the agency’s biggest concerns…and perhaps Mr. Karmazin and the Galleria contingent should be relieved that there was only a $4,000 fine involved…

SNOWSTORM OF DOOM: It’s hardly the best combination for afternoon commuters…a mid-afternoon snowstorm, and thousands trying to get out of Cleveland at the same time.

Wednesday afternoon’s Lake Effect Snow Dump directly affected downtown, and affected local broadcasters as well.

Like, for example, Scripps’ WEWS/5, which went off the air at just after 5 PM…right in the middle of a Mark Johnson forecast. Here…you can watch it right on the “NewsNet 5” website.

The station says it doesn’t know if the outage at 30th and Euclid was related to the downtown snowstorm.

But if it was, the station being knocked off the air by a snowstorm in the middle of a Mark Johnson forecast could be the dictionary definition of “ironic”. (Though, to be fair to Mark, the Wednesday storm was really THAT bad.)

Also knocked off the air late Wednesday afternoon into Thursday morning was classical WCLV/104.9, though as the Plain Dealer’s Julie Washington notes, that could actually have been related to the station’s move to the “Idea Center” (with WVIZ/25-WCPN/90.3) in Playhouse Square, and not due to the weather.

And the commotion stranded not just commuters going home from work downtown.

We heard Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO/19 “19 Action News” anchor Sharon Reed on Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100’s Mike Trivisonno show via phone, herself unable to get into downtown and to the station’s Reserve Square facility.

And several players participating in Wednesday night’s game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls were delayed as well… though with the way the Cavaliers have been playing lately, they were probably hoping to cancel that game…

THE ANIMAL: Listeners to Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 Youngstown report that those promos for a new Youngstown sports station have a name, and a date, attached to them.

The station is apparently promoting the debut of “The Sports Animal”, a new sports station that’ll take the air (according to the teasers) on December 27th.

OMW readers already know that the station involved is current standards outlet WNIO/1390, which will ditch the older-skewing music for Fox Sports Radio, including FSR middayer Dan Patrick and Premiere’s separately syndicated Jim Rome.

How do we know the full lineup, which we’ve only speculated about now?

Long-time OMW contributor Nathan Obral tells us that WKBN’s teasers have included the voices of both Patrick and Rome, as well as the unmistakable voices of Joe Tait (Cavaliers) and Paul Keels (Ohio State Buckeyes).

Of course, Tait and Keels are already heard on WNIO, since it’s the Youngstown market outlet for both networks, though we’ll of course have to wait for Joe after his upcoming surgery.

Over at Cumulus sports WBBW/1240, Nathan points out the presence of a new local afternoon drive show on the station’s website – “Ryan & Christian”, presumably featuring the station’s Ryan Alessio and Christian Alshire.

The graphic indicates that “Ryan & Christian” expand to a full Monday-Friday 4-6 PM time slot. Now-former WBBW sports director John “Cappy” Caparanis moved over to Whiplash classic hits WANR/1570 Warren, where his “Tip of the Cap” program now airs Monday through Thursday in that same 4-6 PM time slot…

Caparanis had only been heard certain days of the week on WBBW, and Alessio, Alshire and others had filled the remaining days…

SPEAKING OF JOE TAIT: We heard his sub the other night, WTAM sports director Mike Snyder, tell listeners that Joe is ready for his surgery, which will take place at the start of January, and that he’s “doing very well”.

Snyder repeated that Tait, and everyone involved with the Cavaliers, hope he’s able to be back behind the Cavaliers Radio Network microphones “some time this season”…

UNCLE BILL SCHOLARSHIP: The memory of long-time Friend of OMW “Uncle Bill” Weisinger, local radio engineer and founder of WSTB/88.9’s “Sunday Oldies Jukebox”, has been invoked in a new scholarship.

We’ll let WSTB general manager Bob Long provide the details:

WSTB Radio and Streetsboro High School have established the William P. Weisinger Scholarship Fund in memory and honor of “Uncle Bill” who left us early last month. Bill was the engineer for WSTB and the founder of the Sunday Oldies Jukebox. He was well known throughout the area and the Akron/Cleveland broadcast community and was a longtime Treasurer for SBE Chapter 70.

If you or your company would like to contribute to this scholarship fund, visit our website at or and click on the scholarship link.

Regular OMW readers are well aware of “Uncle Bill”‘s recent death, and will remember him…

ALSO PASSING ON: A man whose voice and talent made him a giant in Toronto media, who started right here in Northeast Ohio, has passed away.

We’ll let OMW reader Ed “Richards” Byers, a long-time local media type now off the air in public relations, tell the local end of this story of Mahoning Valley native Mark Dailey in a very personal way:

Mark was a native of Girard, Ohio and cut his teeth in broadcast news at WNIO/1540, Niles back in 1969.

He went on to news at WHOT/1330 in 1971 and entered TV at WYTV, Channel 33, Youngstown.

From there he made the quantum leap at age 20 to CKLW – The Big 8’s 20-20 News Department and after two years there, he was hired by Dick Smythe at CHUM-AM, Toronto.

Mark went back into TV at CITY-TV Toronto and was a mainstay there for the past 30 years.

He was loved and will be deeply missed. He was my best friend, Best Man at my wedding and Godfather of my children. – Ed “Richards” Byers, WNIO, WHOT, WYTV, 1220/WGAR, FM 99.5 WGAR.

How much of a mainstay was Mark Dailey at CityTV? The “Torontoist” website has that side of it…and video of Dailey on the air:

There will be other announcers, of course, but Dailey defined an era of Toronto television that is almost entirely gone. Very soon now, there will be no more advertisements with Dailey intoning “Citytv. Everywhere,” in his usual fashion, and the world will be a little less grand.

In addition to being the long-time “Voice of Citytv”, Torontoist reports that the station used his extensive talents as a news anchor/reporter…and the attached video provides a lot of evidence of that…

TIFFANY AND MR.BIG: A former Cleveland TV reporter is turning to social media to get her documentary some airtime.

Former “19 Action News” reporter Tiffany Burns produced the documentary “Mr.Big”, which we told you about earlier.

MR.BIG follows the story of several people who have made false confessions to murder during an undercover Royal Canadian Mounted Police sting which is considered entrapment in other countries but is legal in Canada.

There are samples of the documentary at its extensive website.

And on that site, a note on why it’s personal for the former local TV reporter:

Director Tiffany Burns has a personal connection to the documentary: her brother is one of the many Canadians who have been targeted by a “Mr.Big” undercover scenario. In his case, video of his confession convinced an American jury to ignore DNA evidence pointing to other suspects and witnesses who saw Sebastian across town at the time of the murders. While she was researching his case, Tiffany realized Sebastian Burns and his friend Atif Rafay are not the first people who have falsely confessed to murder.

Tiffany’s latest project relating to “Mr.Big” is to get it TV airtime. And, taking a page from fans of TV sitcom icon Betty White, she’s taken to social media to do so.

Head to the Facebook page for KCTS 9, the PBS station in Seattle, and you will see digital democracy in action. Dozens of people have signed the wall, essentially voting for the broadcaster to air “Mr. Big” in their Pacific Northwest viewing area and simulcast it from their website.

A release from Burns says KCTS had originally agreed to air “Mr.Big”, but station officials “changed their minds’, prompting the Facebook campaign. Burns notes that a “Mr.Big” sting resulted in a high-profile murder trial involving her brother, which took place in Seattle.

One U.S. station didn’t need a Facebook campaign to persuade it to air “Mr.Big”. Burns notes that WLNE/6, the ABC affiliate in the Providence market, has agreed to run the documentary.

But that’s not as random as it sounds…as OMW readers are aware, WLNE is run by VP/GM Stephen Doerr, Burns’ former boss in his time as news director of “19 Action News”.

With her ties to Northeast Ohio, we wonder if a Facebook campaign will pop up soon, trying to convince either Ideastream PBS affiliate WVIZ/25, or Western Reserve PBS’ WNEO/45-WEAO/49, to air the program…

QUICK NOTES: And a couple of quick notes, as this is getting way too long:

* Congratulations to veteran Chicago media observer Robert Feder, a recent OMW reader, for his new job at “TimeOut Chicago”. The local entertainment publication will feature Feder’s column on its website.

The former long-time Chicago Sun-Times columnist had been observing the media scene for Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ and its “Vocolo” blog network, which was recently absorbed into the WBEZ main website…

* Good luck to a Northeast Ohio native in the reality TV spotlight.

Regular readers know we follow the CBS reality/travel show “The Amazing Race”, and one of the final three teams in Sunday’s last leg has a member with local ties.

The Plain Dealer’s Mark Dawidziak reports that she’s Jill Haney, who lived in the area for her first 19 years, growing up in Valley View…


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