Our Next Pile Of Items

Now that Joe Tait has said “have a good life, everybody!” and retired to his southern Medina County farm, let’s get to the other items piling up in the OMW Topics List…

…SOON ON FM?: You may be hearing Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 in Cleveland branding itself as “NewsRadio 1100, now on 99.1 FM”, and soon.

That’s because it appears Cleveland is about to become the latest Clear Channel market where a powerhouse AM talk station takes up residence at an additional spot on the FM dial, and a translator we’ve talked about before is about to line up in place for that role.

It’s the former W262BN, which we’ve talked about before here.

Radio One tried to buy the Lorain-licensed facility and move it, on frequency at 100.3, closer to Cleveland. That effort, as we reported earlier, was shot down by interference-potential complaints by first adjacent Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 Kent.

After Radio One dropped out of the W262BN sweepstakes, Clear Channel bought the translator…and began the process of moving it to a new home on the WMJI/105.7 tower, with a planned 250 watt signal that would put a decent signal (especially in mono) on 99.1 FM over nearly all of Cuyahoga County.

Clear Channel filed for just such an application earlier this month, after completing an intermediate move – from 100.3 to 99.7, and filing a license to cover for its brief operation at that frequency.

It’s quite likely you never heard it, even if you were awake at whatever hour they lit the temporary facility up (designed only to facilitate further moves).

99.7 is, of course, first adjacent to the company’s own powerhouse country outlet, WGAR/99.5, and any such operation would have been wiped off the dial by WGAR’s hash, even at 99.7’s temporary location at the Ohio Turnpike/I-480 interchange near North Ridgeville.

Again, temporary…only enough to move it far enough east to move into Cuyahoga County, and down the dial enough to eventually reach what we’re assuming will be its permanent home, 99.1 FM.

As the licensee of WGAR, Clear Channel had more flexibility to move the translator “across the dial” and temporarily plant it at 99.7, and then plant it on second-adjacent 99.1.

And speaking of WGAR, that’s the station listed as the translator’s primary frequency, but don’t expect country music repeating at a second spot on the FM dial in Cleveland.

We’ll clarify here that we have no confirmed information that 99.1 will end up as a WTAM simulcaster, from Oak Tree or anywhere else.

But Clear Channel has started a trend of giving its powerhouse AM talk stations homes on the FM band in other markets…where it now repeats stations like KEX/1190, Portland’s 50 kW WTAM clone, on 102.3 FM, and Miami’s WIOD/610, on 100.3 FM.

Does the 50 kW flamethrower of WTAM need signal help? Generally speaking, not really.

But it appears Clear Channel is seeing the demographic writing on the wall, and is moving to put its big signal AM talkers on the FM dial, somewhere.

Doing it this way saves Clear Channel the dilemma of blowing up one of its successful full-signal FM outlets. Of course, the company just flipped 106.5 to variety hits “The Lake” WHLK (from hot AC WMVX “Mix 106.5”), but they’ve apparently experienced a lot of success with the flip so far.

Again, we caution we could be wrong about 99.1’s use as a WTAM simulcaster. (For that matter, we could be wrong about 99.1 as the translator’s final home on the FM dial.)

But we’re putting all our chips on “red” here, and betting on it from this corner…we don’t see any other obvious options…

NOW ON FM…: Northeast Ohio’s most recent full-power FM signal signed on recently, and we haven’t mentioned it here, yet.

It’s Penfold Communications religious WKJA/91.9 Brunswick, which actually camps out on a Crown Castle communications tower just south of Creston, north of Wooster.

WKJA’s 25 kW class B1 signal is primarily designed to hit the areas just west of Akron and Canton, with the COL of Brunswick on its northern edge.

On our radio in the OMW Mobile, we’ve had no problem picking up the WKJA signal in Akron, Canton, Cleveland’s southwestern suburbs or even as far east as western Geauga County.

Oddly enough, we had some signal problems with WKJA in Wooster, just 10 miles or so down the road from its transmitter site.

A quick look through the databases shows us that it’s because W220BP/91.9 Wooster, a 45 watt translator for the Bible Broadcasting Network folks, is apparently still on the air…getting clobbered by the new WKJA, but introducing some flutter in the immediate area.

Bible Broadcasting Network is aware of their displacement, of course. Earlier this week, they filed to move the Wooster translator to 91.5 FM.

Back at WKJA – Penfold is apparently operated by one of the affiliate churches of Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa CA, and WKJA is operating as a direct simulcast (with local legal IDs) of Penfold’s KRTM/88.1 Yucca Valley CA and its own California simulcasters.

Penfold also has the on-air name “New Life Radio”, but uses it sparingly on the air…leaving local listeners confused when they hear a station in Northeast Ohio (on 91.9 FM) proudly identifying as “KRTM, 88.1″…

FROM ON AIR TO THE INTERNET: Rubber City Radio’s Ryan Haidet has already accomplished a lot as a young broadcaster straight out of Kent State University.

At West Market Street for four years, Ryan’s been doing morning drive traffic on the Akron company’s stations (oldies/news WAKR/1590, country WQMX/94.9 and rock WONE/97.5), news reporting, entertainment reporting, and news reporting and editing work on RCRG’s AkronNewsNow.com.

It’s those last skill sets that bring Ryan to his new job – at Gannett WKYC/3’s Metromix.com, the company’s extensive entertainment website.

With his career change, Ryan reflected to OMW:

“I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for all of the experience I gained working with all of the folks behind the microphone and behind the scenes.

Rubber City Radio certainly helped get my feet wet in this ever-evolving business. While it’s emotionally hard to say goodbye and sign off, I’m looking forward to the new challenges I will face as a member of Metromix.com at WKYC in Cleveland.

As listeners know, I am a big fan of entertainment news, which will be the general focus of my new position at Metromix.com.”

Followers of Ryan’s work at RCRG know he’s the local station’s reality TV expert, and know he covers the genre extensively not only for the radio stations (“Reality Check”) and AkronNewsNow.com, but also for the national website RealityTVMagazine.com.

He regularly travels to conventions and events involving such high profile shows as CBS’ “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race”.

But listeners may not know that Ryan’s mother recently passed away.

“I can’t wait to dive in, and I’m thrilled to be turning the page to the next chapter of my life. Mom, I hope you’re smiling down on me throughout this new adventure.

Just because the microphone in Akron is going silent at this point in my career doesn’t mean you have seen or heard the last of me. Stick with me. Stay tuned…”

At this point, there’s no word on who will replace Ryan at Rubber City, in any of his roles.

His last day on West Market Street will be April 22nd…the same day AkronNewsNow.com “wrangler”/administrator/designer Bryan Siegfried leaves the building for a software company job…

OUCH: Toledo TV observers could see this train heading down the tracks, and the train has arrived. Crashed, really.

And when observers of TV in the Erie PA market realized that SJL Broadcasting was taking over ABC/Disney’s two smallest O&Os, including WTVG/13 “13abc” Toledo, they probably knew it was coming as well.

The Toledo Blade reports that SJL – having taken over WTVG earlier this month – has already brought out the job axe.

Only a week after SJL Broadcasting purchased WTVG-TV, Channel 13, and station officials announced there would be no job losses among the station’s 100 or so employees, approximately two dozen positions have been eliminated.

The job cuts were to Channel 13’s production, support, Web, and sales staff — none involved on-air talent — and included several buyouts, sources at WTVG said.

The job cuts mirror similar cuts announced earlier at the other ABC-to-SJL station, WJRT/12 Flint MI, though that station lost two high-profile, veteran anchors.

Again, no surprise to SJL watchers, or the broadcast industry in general.

The small company (a family operation linked to the Lilly/SJL stations in Erie) doesn’t spend a lot of money, and certainly doesn’t have the same budget as a major broadcast network.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see a spate of high-paid anchor contract non-renewals at “13abc” some time down the road…

THE ENGINEER OF THE TALK OF AKRON: The aforementioned WNIR “The Talk of Akron” makes a habit of running job advertisements on the air, and this is no exception.

The Akron market talker is looking for a new chief engineer.

Here’s the actual print ad:

WNIR/WJMP Radio and WAX-CH 35 and WAOH CH 29 in Akron, Ohio has an opening for Chief Engineer. Position requires Transmitter, Studio and IT equipment background.

Contact Bill Klaus: 330-673-2323 or billklaus@wnir.com

Media-Com and Media-Com Television are Equal Opportunity Employers.

No, there’s no mention there about keeping stations on the air with the help of duct tape and string.

OMW hears that the station’s current chief engineer will exit the building the first week of May…

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