Digging Out

UPDATE 12/14/10 1:11 PM: We’ve added a new second item…scroll down…


Pardon us while we put the shovel aside. After all, we’ve been dealing with yet another Northeast Ohio snowstorm…

FROM TWO TO NONE: The older-skewing Youngstown market has long had two standards outlets – Clear Channel’s WNIO/1390 Youngstown, and Cumulus’ WSOM/600 Salem.

It is about to have zero standards outlets, as WSOM has ditched the standards music for talk as “NewsTalk 600”.

“NewsTalk 600” features a mix of Premiere and Talk Radio Network programming, including Premiere’s Glenn Beck and Jason Lewis, and TRN’s Michael Savage, Rusty Humphries, and the morning drive show “America’s Morning News”, along with Westwood One’s Dennis Miller.

It’ll also apparently carry (we didn’t hear it) CBS Radio’s overnight show with Jon Grayson, and long-time OMW contributor Nathan Obral reports hearing some standards music on WSOM right before Grayson’s show late Monday night 12-1 AM – apparently because the station hasn’t yet cleared a talk show to run right before it.

Beck and Lewis have not been in the lineup of Clear Channel’s own WKBN, and were heard on rimshot CCM/hot AC WEXC/107.1 Greenville PA. The former “Freq 107” and “C107.1” recently flipped to the satellite-fed CCM “K-Love” format under its new owner, California-based Educational Media Foundation.

Over at 1390, OMW readers already know that WNIO is just days away from shuttling away the standards (and occasional Christmas music).

It’s heading for a sports format, which, according to on-air announcements on sister talk WKBN/570 and a graphic on the existing WNIO website, will be known as “The Sports Animal”. (That’s a nickname Clear Channel uses for its sports stations in some other markets.)

“The Sports Animal” will debut on December 27th, the Monday after Christmas. As we previously reported, it’ll feature Fox Sports Radio, including midday host Dan Patrick, who is in the FSR lineup, but who landed on Cumulus sports WBBW/1240 via his initial separate syndication deal.

Patrick’s show is now produced by DirecTV Sports, and airs in TV form on that satellite provider, as well as on Fox Sports’ regional TV networks (including Fox Sports Ohio).

As expected, 1390 will also carry sports talk titan Jim Rome, separately syndicated by FSR parent Premiere.

Will the standards format reappear somewhere in the Youngstown market?

We wouldn’t be surprised, though the format’s older demographics are looking less appealing to potential operators, even in an older-skewing market like Youngstown…

NO MORE ROOSTER: The crowing rooster sound was long the audio signature of the Agri Broadcasting Network, established by iconic Ohio farm broadcaster Ed Johnson back in 1972.

The remnants of “the ABN” are now history, with current owner AdVance Broadcast and Communication throwing in the towel, with this message on the company’s website on Friday by company COO Lindsay Hill:

…It is with great regret that I share that today marks the final day of operations for AdVance Broadcast & Communication, Ltd.

I’d like to thank our advertising partners and friends who have supported this journey through the years. And, express my sincere appreciation to each of you for tuning into your radios to join us “on the farm” everyday.

The story of “ag radio” in Ohio is quite complicated.

As near as we can figure, AdVance bought ABN from Clear Channel, and Johnson’s son Bart, along with former ABN employee Dale Minyo, started up Ohio Ag Network as a separate operation.

That network continues on a number of the same stations that also ran ABN, including Dix country/sports WQKT/104.5 Wooster…

BUILDING THE EMPIRE: This is not in Northeast Ohio, but involves a Northeast Ohio operator.

He’s OMW reader Chris Lash, who under his Whiplash Radio now officially owns classic country WYCL/1540 Niles “Youngstown’s Country Legends” and classic hits WANR/1570 Warren “The Blizzard”. (WYCL is the former WRTK, Lash recently changing the calls to match 1540’s on-air nickname. Or, his own initials.)

Lash had been sniffing around the Pittsburgh market to add to the Whiplash Radio Empire, and says he signed a letter of intent to buy dark WZUM/1590 Carnegie PA, which has been owned by the Believe and Achieve Educational Center.

The Pittsburgh suburb of Crafton, which was home to WZUM’s towers, decided they would rather develop the land instead have it as home to a radio station, and recently voted to raze the towers so the site could be used for development.

Tom Taylor’s “Taylor on Radio-Info” newsletter reports that the tower destruction could happen within 30 days…which gives World Champion Tower Hunter Scott Fybush at NorthEast Radio Watch just under a month to get to Pittsburgh and take final pictures of the WZUM site.

After originally considering a Carnegie site, Lash offered to base the station at the Crafton site and hire employees to work there, but development it is, and WZUM is about to fade as only a memory into Pittsburgh radio history.

Chris is moving to Pittsburgh, where he will still operate the Youngstown market stations, and continue his role operating non-comm WYNS/89.3 “Hybrid FM” in the Southwest Ohio town of Waynesburg.

Will he try to buy something else?

Well, another AM in Pittsburgh, WPYT/660 Wilkinsburg, was on the market…but has just been sold to another operator – AllAccess reports that the new owner will be Tim Martz’ Radio Power, Inc., at a price of $290,000…

SHUFFLING: OMW hears that two broadcasters are out at online sports outlet Digital Sports Network – ex-WKNR/850 staple Kendall Lewis, and WEOL/930-Metro Networks veteran and freelancer Matt Loede.

We don’t really cover online-only operations, and have heard a lot about what May Have Happened, but will not get into the details unless we receive solid confirmation.

We earlier reported that former WTAM afternoon co-host/producer Paul Rado left DSN shortly after its launch, to concentrate on his “Star Frame Bowling Challenge” TV show.

“Star Frame” airs Saturdays at 4:30 PM on Raycom Media MyNetwork TV affiliate WUAB/43 “My 43”, and has now added a second clearance Saturday at midnight on sister Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO/19…

LAYOFFS: OMW is hearing about some off-air layoffs at a Northeast Ohio TV operation.

Don’t worry if you don’t know what we’re talking about…the layoffs have already happened, and those affected already know their fate.

We’re nailing down some details, and will have an update soon…

MATT’S BUSY: The holiday season often means many fill-ins at talk radio stations, keeping those hosts busy…and Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland weekender Matt Patrick is no exception.

Matt tells us that he’ll fill in for WTAM morning drive host Bill Wills the week of December 27-31, as well as doing the 9 PM-midnight show at Clear Channel original “Big One” talker WLW/700 Cincinnati. (We’re not sure when he’ll sleep, somewhere in between, we imagine. We know technology will be involved, with Matt doing some of the broadcasts from his Hudson home studio.)

Matt will also do afternoon drive Christmas eve and 10-midnight New Years’ Eve on WLW.

His “day job” is as morning drive host on WTRC/95.3-1340 “Michiana’s News Channel” in the South Bend IN market, and we assume a fill-in will be in place there while he subs on the WTAM morning drive show…


3 Responses to Digging Out

  1. Ron Luyster says:

    Just what NE Ohio needs…two more stations with silly sports and egomaniac political talk. I feel badly for those who enjoyed the great music that was offered by WSOM and WNIO and have no other source available. Thank goodness for the internet but unfortunately not everyone has access to it or at least a high speed connection. AM and FM radio has been almost nothing but repetitious dreck for a long time.

  2. Patrick Fabian says:

    What disappointing news regarding AM 1390 WNIO AM 600 WSOM…far more of a reflection of poor sales management than lack of an advertising market. There are more than enough sports and talk stations out there and such decisions ignore the relatively strong Arbitron ratings of these stations. Smart business would dictate consolidating these two similar but distinct audiences to create and promote a viable, strong Adult Standards presence on the dial in northeastern Ohio. While the demographics might skew “older,” I will have you know this listener is only 28 years old.

  3. Steve Wiandt says:

    I was disappointed to learn earlier this week that WNIO was changing formats, but I was consoled by the fact that I could still listen to the music I love by turning to WSOM. (I have both stations set on my car radio.) That peace was short-lived. This morning while listening to WSOM I learned it was changing, too. That really upsets me that both stations are changing formats to blend in with the others. I don’t have anything against Talk or Sports stations, but they are all around us in northeast Ohio. I like to listen to the news and then turn the station to some familiar, relaxing music. That is how I relax on my way to and from work. (My drive time is about a half-hour. And I’m 45, for the record.) How does a station like K-105 hang onto the same format for 20-some years? There was a time when there were several Oldies stations in the area. Now most have changed.

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