Two Bombshells

There have been two major pieces of news from the world of Northeast Ohio media in the past day.

And as big as the news from Cleveland radio was, news from the television side was even more amazing…

MEDICAL LEAVE: For nearly 11 years, WKYC/3 sports director Jim Donovan has had a secret few people outside 13th and Lakeside knew about…but now, everyone knows.

Donovan has been quietly battling leukemia.

And “everyone knows” now because at the end of his sports segment on Wednesday’s 11 PM news (we happened to be watching), Donovan talked about his medical condition, and told viewers he would be taking an extended medical leave to mount a new treatment – a bone marrow transplant.

WKYC weekend sports anchor Dave Chudowsky will be filling in during weekdays, and veteran local sports anchor Chuck Galeti – already in the building at 13th and Lakeside as host of SportsTime Ohio’s “Chuck’s Last Call” – will handle Chudowsky’s weekend shifts.

Our blogging colleague Frank Macek at WKYC has more details here, including video from Jim’s segment last night.

The item quotes WKYC president and general manager Brooke Spectorsky, who notes that normally, the station doesn’t talk about personnel matters, but that this is “a unique situation”:

“He has been battling leukemia for over ten years, and in partnership with his medical team has undergone multiple treatments. Jimmy is a very private person, and has managed to keep his incredibly hectic schedule and job without most of our staff and viewers realizing the physical and mental effort involved. But now, it’s time for him to try and beat this disease once and for all.”

When does Donovan hope to return?

From his segment:

“Here’s my goal: is to come back, healthier than I am now. And by the time I come back, the Indians hopefully will be in the playoffs, we’ll be watching the Browns play football, and I’ll be calling the games, and the Cavaliers will be all rebuilt, and it’ll be all better.”

Speaking of Jim Donovan’s role as the radio voice of the Cleveland Browns, we don’t know yet who could fill in for him – assuming the NFL gets its act together and there are actually games early this fall.

Generally, Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 sports director Mike Snyder has done Browns Radio play by play when Donovan slides over to the TV side to do preseason games on WKYC.

But for now, we don’t know if Snyder will be the 2011-2012 replacement for retired Cavaliers Radio play-by-play voice Joe Tait…Snyder and former Cavaliers star Jim Chones handled fill-in for Tait until his return near the end of the season.

And for that matter, the NBA season is apparently up in the air, too, due to that league’s own labor issues.

No matter, any of this. The important thing for Jim Donovan is to concentrate on his treatment, to get better, and to return when he’s healthy enough to do so…

ON THE RADIO SIDE: Word spread quickly that a former mainstay at the Clear Channel complex on Oak Tree was returning to the building, and in a big way.

Long-time local radio morning team “Brian and Joe” was blown out of then-hot AC WMVX/106.5 “Mix 106.5” due to deep Clear Channel budget cuts. (106.5, of course, is now variety hits WHLK/106.5 “The Lake”.)

But Brian Fowler, after some fill-in work (including at talk WTAM/1100 in the same building) while holding down a regular job at an advertising agency, takes center stage on yet another Clear Channel station.

We’ll quote directly from a memo by Clear Channel Cleveland operations manager Keith Abrams, which floated from Oak Tree all the way to the front lawn of the OMW World Headquarters:

“Brian Fowler will be joining the WGAR morning show to partner with LeeAnn Sommers. Many of you know Brian from his years in the market and with the company as part of the Brian and Joe Show. His morning show history in the market, being a hometown boy and…most importantly…his many talents will be a great addition to the WGAR team. The transition should be rather seamless as he and Leeann worked together for 10 years on the MIX staff and know each other well.”

Tim Leary, who had the unenviable task of directly replacing WGAR fixture Jim Mantel (now in North Carolina), is “no longer with the company”, according to word out of Oak Tree.

This is quite a return for Brian Fowler, who is wasting no time in joining the “WGAR Morning Show with Brian and LeeAnn”…he’ll be on the air the day after Memorial Day, Tuesday, May 31st.

And no, long-time co-host Joe Cronauer is not coming along for the ride.

He’s actually quite busy, as he’s officially now a daily co-host of WKYC/3’s late morning show “Good Company”. And don’t let the Rotating Joe on his “Good Company” bio make you too dizzy…

Dick Goddard’s Way

We even joked about it in the last item…is the stretch of South Marginal Road in Cleveland, in front of Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8”, Dick Goddard Way yet?

Sure enough, the following day, Monday, the dedication was made.

Fox 8 News’ Lindsay Buckingham reports that the dedication ceremony was private on Monday morning, with a long list of local dignitaries, and Fox 8 personalities both past (Tim Taylor, Belinda Prinz) and present (Bill Martin, Andre Bernier and master of ceremonies Lou Maglio).

Viewers could watch the private ceremony via video on Fox 8’s website, some of which is embedded in the story we’ve linked above.

As Dick marks his 50 years in local broadcasting, those who want some of the behind the scenes stories can pick up his book, “Six Inches of Partly Cloudy”, put out by Cleveland publisher Gray and Company.

We got ahold of a copy of the 144 page softcover book, and since we’re not really a book review site, we’ll let the publisher’s description take the stage:

Legendary Cleveland TV personality and pioneering meteorologist Dick Goddard celebrates a remarkable 50 years on television with this grab-bag of personal stories, witty cartoons, fun facts, and essays about weather, pets, Ohio history, the TV business, and much more. Also included are favorite stories about Dick told by his friends and colleagues—and dozens of photos.

And yes, there are those who believe Dick should retire sooner rather than later.

But really, the book reminded us that Dick Goddard’s 50 years of broadcasting are full of stories of a not-exactly-perfect man, even in his early years in front of the camera. When picking up one of his earliest awards, both Dick and his boss at the time expressed surprise that he was getting an award.

Dick’s forecasting is solid, near as we can tell, just as much so in 2011 as when he started at then-KYW/3 in the 1960s.

And his on-air quirks?

Some may be fueled by the fact that he’s 80 years old now, but it’s not all that much different than his entire career…despite serious doubt in his very early years that he’d even make it past a few weeks as a TV weatherman, his charm and good humor rules the day. You can’t beat a well-loved personality who just happens to do solid forecasting.

In the end, as we’ve said very often here, Dick Goddard leaves those studios on South Marginal…er…Dick Goddard Way…when he’s ready to retire. Fox 8’s VP/GM Greg Easterly knows that, and so does everyone else in the market…

Clearing Out The Week

Some of this will seem familiar to you, if you follow our Twitter account. Some, won’t, but the Twitter feed often turns into a place we can “take notes” on future topics.

There will be no word on some persistent rumors, discussion of which will be found on our social media presence. Let’s just say we’re not a “Fan” of the chances of a certain rumor involving a major Cleveland FM station coming true any time soon…

FOX 8 SPORTS: The sports department at Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 is increasing to three.

Joining veteran anchor John Telich and new sports reporter Allie LaForce will be a third member of the department, according to TVSpy.com.

P.J. Ziegler has been working as sports director of NBC affiliate WVVA/6 in the Beckley/Bluefield market of Southern West Virginia(/Western Virginia) since late 2005.

But the move to South Marginal (is it officially Dick Goddard Way yet?) means a return home, according to his WVVA bio:

P.J. is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and is a 2003 graduate of Kent State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism.

When not bringing the two Virginias the latest local sports news he can be found working out at a local gym or watching sports on television. His favorite team is the Florida Gators, but he still roots for the Cleveland Browns, Cavaliers and Indians.

The TVSpy item says he’ll be a “reporter and fill-in anchor” for Fox 8, but we don’t know how that works out re: the sports anchor schedule at WJW. We saw newsie Lou Maglio doing sports the other night, and we don’t know if Allie LaForce will have regular anchoring duties…

QA-WHAT?: Those depending on digital cable boxes to deliver high-definition programming may have no idea what “QAM” means.

It’s the cable TV standard to deliver digital channels “behind the scenes” of the boxes, and many TV tuners can decode those signals directly, without boxes.

Usually, that only means the non-box set will get so-called “Open QAM” channels – non-encrypted, generally the local over-air stations in digital/HD form.

Here at the OMW World Headquarters in Time Warner Cable’s ex-Adelphia land, we get the HD/digital feeds of all the network affiliates this way on one of our HD sets, including whatever digital subchannels TWC carries from the station (i.e. WKYC/3 and WOIO/19’s weather subchannels, public TV subchannels, WJW/8’s Antenna TV, WUAB/43’s This TV and the like).

If TWC does not have a home on the regular digital cable lineup for a subchannel, like subchannels for ION’s WVPX/23 or the part-time religious programming on WBNX/55.2, it won’t show up on QAM.

Anyway, some of those depending on QAM tuning to get the HD locals found them disappearing recently, primarly in the Akron/Canton area.

We got confirmation of that from Diane Steinert, Communications Coordinator and OMW Handler at Western Reserve PBS (WNEO/45 Alliance-WEAO/49 Akron), who told us they had viewer complaints that the station’s QAM feed had gone away.

It’s a trap.

No, not Diane’s word from station engineers, but it is a literal trap.

A frequency move of the QAM channels in some TWC areas apparently moved them onto frequencies that are trapped by some cable installations…a practice dating back presumably to the old analog days, allowing the cable operator to “block” pay channels like HBO at the customer end, if the customer didn’t pay for them.

The problem is apparently not widespread, but TWC’s Travis Reynolds confirms to OMW that those having the problem should call TWC:

Any customers experiencing this issue can contact us and we’ll send a technician out to fix it. We are aware of the issue and it’s actually a simple fix for us, however, we need to be notified because we have no way of knowing proactively who is impacted.

The first thing a QAM-using customer should do, even before calling TWC, is rescan their channels.

QAM is kind of the “back alley” of digital cable, and cable companies can – and will – change channel assignments at will.

The digital cable boxes can handle this underlying change without any trouble, but your TV set’s digital tuner can’t.

Meanwhile, here on the ex-Adelphia end of their system, TWC moving a lot of analog channels away
from the 70s in the lineup cleared up a whole bunch of QAM problems we had.

Now, all the stations are clear…and we’re blaming our low-end HDTV set’s tuner for not being able to handle the analog adjacent channels. All is working now, though…

NO ONE WANTS IT: There was quite a bit of speculation about FCC Auction 91 in Northeast Ohio, putting a number of FM construction permits up for bids… including one unfilled allocation at 96.1 for Ashtabula.

The Eagle Eyes of your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) spotted a Media One company on the qualified bidder list.

But at very least the Ashtabula arm of Media One would likely not be able to own yet another signal in the region. (Cue E-mail from Ashtabula, surely saying we got something wrong, if not everything.)

Sure enough, it was the Jamestown NY-based arm of the Media One empire bidding on a station near there, a bidding war it lost to competitor Cross Country Communications.

Who would own 96.1 back in Ashtabula?

Well, as it turns out, no one.

The Ashtabula allocation is one of 36 “FCC Held” results in Auction 91, and if you follow that link and click on the Ashtabula link, you’ll find that it had no bidders in 62 rounds of bidding.

We’re curious as to why there were no potential bidders – like perhaps Music Express Broadcasting, the owners of country WKKY/104.7 Geneva. They were up for the construction permit for the new 93.7/North Madison allocation, but lost to South Shore Broadcasting.

We’re asked “what happens now?” – and all we can say is that it’s likely the FCC will put up the allocation in the next auction process.

Meanwhile, in heated bidding just up I-90 in Erie PA, an Auction 91 construction permit went for over $2 million…

AND STILL ON: You’d have to be under a rock, we guess, to not have heard of the Doomsday prediction by California-based religious broadcaster Harold Camping.

You’re still here reading this, and we were around Sunday night to write it, so the predicted Rapture (set for May 21st at 6 PM local time, according to Camping) never happened.

What does this have to do with local media?

Camping’s Family Radio owns two Northeast Ohio outlets…Akron market WCUE/1150 Cuyahoga Falls, and Youngstown’s WYTN/91.7.

We don’t know if it’s automation, non-believers at the helm or what, but a quick check of WCUE on Sunday night had it pumping out the same “inspirational” music Family Radio pumps out every Sunday night.

We don’t remember for sure, but we’re pretty sure Camping’s organization got main studio waiver status for WCUE several years ago, so 1150 is but a repeater of Family Radio’s Oakland CA-based satellite feed, with legal IDs inserted by automation.

So, if no one was at WCUE’s transmitter site in the former Northampton Township this weekend, it wasn’t any rapture…it was standard radio operations practice in 2011…

Missing And Lost

This is a very hard story to write…one that affects a Northeast Ohio broadcaster and his family.

Dave Dial was most recently heard on Dix country WQKT/104.5 Wooster, doing an afternoon live, local show called “The Best of the Best”…until the station decided to return to the Dial Global satellite feed already heard most of the day.

Dave, an OMW reader, has been unemployed since then…and is still very much looking for work. But now he has a new, even more personal struggle.

Dave, and Tami Cassidy (advertising executive and editor at Trogdon Publishing/The Trading Post newspapers) are looking for their missing teenage daughter, who hasn’t been seen for nearly six weeks now.

There are also stories from the Medina Gazette, and CBS affiliate WOIO/19’s “19 Action News”, about missing 17 year-old Crystal Dial.

Here’s a picture of a younger Crystal with her father.

She’s believed to be out of state with her boyfriend, who according to the reports, has an arrest warrant out on him.

Dave tells us that he and Tami Cassidy were “high school sweethearts” who got married when he was originally program director at WWST (now oldies WKVX), and that they were married for 14 years.

Dealing with unemployment (or underemployment) in the tough industry of broadcasting is more than enough for one person, but worrying about the safety of your daughter on top of that is almost an unimaginable burden…

Passings In May

From two different parts of the outer OMW Coverage Area, two noted broadcasters have passed away recently.

Since we don’t know all that much about either man, we’ll mostly let the information we’ve been provided carry the day…

WALT: Known on-air in the Ashland/Mansfield/Mid-Ohio area as Walt Roberts, a veteran broadcaster in the region is no longer with us.

Roberts, known away from the microphone as Walt Stampfli, was quite instrumental in management and station ownership. (His radio stations are now a part of the Clear Channel Mid-Ohio cluster for the most part, with the Mount Vernon stations with BAS Broadcasting.)

We’ve been provided a copy of his death notice:

Walt “Roberts” Stampfli, 84, of rural Ashland, passed away peacefully at his residence on Tuesday evening, May 17, 2011.

He was born in Cleveland, Ohio on March 20, 1927 to the late Charles Alvin and Clara Louise (Pope) Stampfli. He was a graduate of Collinwood High School in Cleveland and attended Kent State University.

Walt began his radio announcer career in Newark, Ohio in 1951. He then worked at radio stations in Elyria, Cleveland, Warren and Mansfield, Ohio before coming to Ashland in 1962 as an announcer for WNCO AM/FM where he enjoyed doing his morning show weekdays from 7-9 a.m. Walt became President and General Manager of WNCO AM/FM. In 1989 he put Low Power TV Station W59BP, Ashland on the air. He then acquired WMVO-AM/WQIO-FM in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and later acquired stations in Galion, Loudonville, and Fredericktown, and became the President and General Manager of the Ashland Broadcasting Corp.

Walt was a community minded person. He attended the First United Methodist Church. He was active in Demolay and was Past President of the Ashland County TB Association, The North Central Ohio Broadcasters Association, The Mansfield Playhouse, The Mansfield Little Theater and the Ashland Noon Lions. He had also served as a board member of the Ohio Association of Broadcasters, The Ashland Chamber of Commerce, the Richland Economic Development Corp., the Ashland Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Ashland AAA Board. One of his proudest appointments was when he served as the Ohio District 11 Representative to the National Association of Broadcasters

He had served in the United States Navy on a destroyer escort during World War II.

On March 17, 1973 he was married to Joan M. Hurd who survives him. He is also survived by one daughter, Sarah S. (C. Benjamin) Hoggard of rural Ashland; one son, Dean R. (Darla J.) Stampfli of Ontario, OH; five grandchildren, Noah Stampfli, Jack Hoggard, Grace Stampfli, Samuel Hoggard and Isaac Stampfli. He is also survived by “The Old Timer”

Walt was preceded in death by his parents, one sister, Betty Olsin; one brother, Charles Alvin Stampfli, Jr. and several aunts, uncles and cousins.

Funeral services will be held Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 10:30 a.m. at the First United Methodist Church with the Rev. Dan Bilkert officiating. Burial, with military honors provided by the Ashland Veterans Honor Guard, will be in the Ashland Cemetery. Friends may visit with the family on Friday, May 20, 2011 from 7-9 p.m. at the Denbow-Primm-Kemery Funeral Home and also from 10:00 a.m. to the time of the service on Saturday at the First United Methodist Church. The family suggests that memorial contributions may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 220 Sandusky St, Ashland, Ohio 44805 or to Hospice of North Central Ohio, 1050 Dauch Dr, Ashland, Ohio 44805.

For those not able to attend online expressions of sympathy may be made to the family by using the funeral home website www.dpkfh.com

BERNIE C: Word of the passing of former North Central Ohio radio personality “Bernie C” comes from a former colleague of his:

Bernie C has passed away in California of congestive heart failure. Bernie held down weekends as a DJ at WNRR in Bellevue, Ohio, when the station was all live all the time.

His real name was Bernie Celek. He had been one of the original staff in 1973, along with Bill Weisinger (Uncle Bill, who recently passed in Cleveland), Bob Ladd, Kim Newsom and Jim Larvik.

WNRR is today’s BAS Broadcasting classic hits WOHF/92.1 “The Wolf”, part of the extensive BAS Sandusky-area cluster…

Some Tuesday Leftovers

Here are some items we haven’t visited, or updates to what we have, or random pieces of information…

VALLEY RADIO: As we promised, an earlier item on Mahoning Valley radio changes has been taken “backstage”.

We can’t explain it until later this week, but we are trying to nail down facts related to the item in question.

Expect an update here Wednesday or Thursday…

FACEBOOK FRENZY: Cleveland market TV stations are giving away the store…or the iPad 2…or car leases…as a result of incessant promotion of their Facebook pages.

And quite frankly, it’s driving us nuts.

You can enter the various station contest by clicking “Like” on their Facebook pages, and the promotion for the content has almost overpowered the actual, uh, news content.

We’re half expecting Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 to change its newscast title to “NewsChannel 5 Powered By The iPad 2”, but that’s just one example. All four stations in the Cleveland market with news operations are promoting their Facebook contests in similar ways.

There are two things to consider here.

1) We already noted here that Local TV Fox affilate WJW/8 “Fox 8” has a national lead in the number of Facebook friends…the number propelled by a charity promotion recently.

2) We’re told that the Full Court Press for these promotions is coming from the stations’ parent companies, which means you’ll likely see other Scripps, Gannett, Local TV and Raycom stations doing this in other markets…

MORE SUBCHANNELS: Raycom’s CBS affiliate WOIO/19 (or MyNetwork TV affiliate WUAB/43) is getting another subchannel.

Raycom has announced a nationwide agreement for “Bounce TV”, a subchannel dedicated to African-American audiences.

And in this TVTechnology story, the company’s WOIO and WUAB are listed as future affiliates.

From the story:

Bounce TV will launch in the fall and target African Americans, primarily 25-54, with a mix of movies, sports, documentaries, faith-based programs, off-net series and originals. It recently acquired the rights to nearly 400 African American-skewing movies, and several college football and basketball games, in a series of licensing agreements. The network will air 24/7.

OMW already reported that WOIO is listed as a future affiliate for “Me-TV”, one of three networks offering “classic TV”. Two are already in the market: RTV/Retro TV, on Media-Com’s WAOH-LP 29 Akron/W35AX Cleveland and Image Video’s WIVM-LD/39 Canton and its numerous simulcasters, and Antenna TV, on WJW/8.2.

So, how does Reserve Square divide up all this subchannel goodness?

We don’t know, but our friend Trip Ericson at RabbitEars.info has some educated guesses.

Trip believes both Me-TV and Bounce TV will end up as WOIO subchannels, presumably bumping the station’s “WeatherNow” (now on 19.2).

Why not put one of them on WUAB? The MyNetwork TV station operates its 43.1 main feed in MyNetwork TV’s 720p format, and only has one subchannel right now – This TV on 43.2.

It would make sense to put a second subchannel on WUAB, but…

Trip notes that eventually, Raycom will put out mobile DTV streams for both WOIO and WUAB, and he expects them both to land on WUAB’s signal.

Why?

VHF is not a good choice for mobile TV, and WOIO is on RF channel 10.

WUAB is on RF channel 28, which makes it more suitable for mobile DTV streams for both stations.

This is mostly an educated guess. But WOIO will have at least one UHF component, which brings us to…

TRANSLATOR APPROVED: Those hoping to catch either Me-TV or Bounce TV cringed at the above item, since WOIO’s RF 10 signal is notoriously hard to pick up OTA in much of the market.

That could change sooner than expected, at least for many viewers south of Cleveland.

We reported here that WOIO applied for a digital fill-in translator on UHF 24, which would sit in the Akron antenna farm near what’s left of Rolling Acres Mall.

And the FCC recently issued a construction permit for the operation, which will put out an 11 kW signal from the same area as ION O&O WVPX/23 and Western Reserve PBS’ WEAO/49, not to mention TBN O&O WDLI/17.

Now, all three stations are somewhat more powerful than WOIO’s fill-in translator (again, fill-in means it’ll be in ADDITION to the existing RF 10 facility).

But the combination of being on UHF and near the Akron/Canton areas means many there will probably be quite happy when it lights up.

Based on the coverage of New Vision Fox affiliate WYFX-LD/19’s 15 kW stick in Youngstown, the WOIO fill-in translator should at very least cover most of Akron and Canton with little problem.

And no, we don’t know when it will go on the air – only that it has FCC approval to do so.

Construction permits last three years, so in theory, Raycom could sit on this thing until 2014…but we assume the plan is to construct it a lot sooner than that.

A quick check of the FCC database shows that WJW/8’s application to reallocate to its old home of RF channel 31, and to add fill-in translators on RF channel 21 (Canton) and 46 (Austintown), are still only in the application stage..

WHERE’S JON?: Jon Marochino has bounced around Clear Channel’s Freedom Avenue compound so much, you’d think he was a Super Ball.

And when he bounces around the schedules of the CC Akron/Canton stations, we are often asked “Where’s Jon?”

We’re not usually up in morning drive, but we’re pretty sure Jon is now helming the AC WHOF/101.7 “My 101.7” morning show with incumbent co-host Amy Malone. That’s the opening created by the, uh, departure of host Gary Rivers.

(Do a search on his name for previous items, we’re not going to revisit it here.)

With Jon Marochino doing the wakeup shift on “My” (at least for now [he is indeed the permanent new host at WHOF, and has been since January]), it pulls him off the afternoon drive schedule at hot AC sister station WKDD/98.1…and the station has pulled in a Clear Channel voicetracker to take his place.

We’re pretty sure Tessa Hall, now heard in afternoon drive on WKDD, is based at St. Louis sister station WSGX/100.3 “GenX Radio”, where she’s listed on their schedule from 4-9 PM.

And yes, that station should sound familiar to regular OMW readers.

That’s because Tessa’s lead-in there is a Northeast Ohio-based radio personality…Clear Channel Cleveland rock/talk WMMS/100.7 afternoon drive talk host Alan Cox, who voicetracks his “GenX Radio” midday shift into St. Louis from Oak Tree…

CONGRATULATIONS: Our sincere congratulations to CBS Radio hot AC WQAL/104.1 “Q104” morning co-host Jen Toohey (“Toohey and Fee”), who announced on-air last Friday that she is pregnant.

You might recall that Toohey got married to Nate Lyons some time back, a piece of news which was also shared enthusiastically with listeners.

Listen to her announcement here on the Q104 website.

Again, our congratulations to both Jen and Nate!

Rudy Pie Passes Away

When noting the passing of notable media figures, we occasionally point out that the person is pretty much synonymous with their field.

That’s certainly the case for long-time Akron high school sports radio broadcaster Rudy Piekarski, who died of natural causes Tuesday at the age of 69.

Rubber City Radio’s AkronNewsNow.com has more here, and the Beacon Journal’s Ohio.com has more here.

Over his decades on the air, “Rudy Pie” called thousands of games on a number of radio stations…starting out with a lengthy stint at now-Rubber City Radio oldies/news WAKR/1590 Akron, then showing up on a number of area signals, including Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron in recent years.

It’s his time there that brought us to a picture of him broadcasting a game on WHLO featuring former Cavaliers star-turned-Miami Heat player LeBron James, during LeBron’s run with the St. Vincent-St. Mary Fighting Irish.

The picture is on the front cover of James’ book “Shooting Stars”, and WHLO/CC Akron/Canton operations director Keith Kennedy told us at the time that the “WHLO” banner was Rudy’s own.

In his most recent years, Rudy engaged in the common practice of buying airtime for his games, then making his money by selling sponsors…not a difficult task in sports-mad Northeast Ohio.

But we hear that Rudy went about it with vigor, and was as hard working away from the microphone as he was on the air…