That Long Delayed Update

As regular readers know, Life Often Intervenes when it comes to the ability to update this blog. We’re often able to put up brief updates on Twitter and Facebook, but not able to set aside the time for a full blog post.

We have the time, so here we are…

FREE BEER AND HOT WINGS: A Youngstown station is offering Free Beer and Hot Wings.

No, don’t start lining up at Cumulus classic rock WYFM/102.9 “Y103” hoping for no-cost booze and snacks.

“Free Beer and Hot Wings” is the name of a morning drive show, syndicated by Compass Media to about two dozen markets out of its home base, Townsquare rocker WGRD/97.9 in Grand Rapids MI.

Quoting the Wikipedia article on the new Y103 morning show:

The show is hosted by Gregg “Free Beer” Daniels and Chris “Hot Wings” Michaels with Eric “Zane” Zeitunian, “Producer” Joseph Gasmann, Jr, Assistant Producer Steve McKiernan, and Robot. The show is syndicated mostly throughout the Midwest and Eastern United States.

The article notes that listeners/viewers to DirecTV Sports’ “Dan Patrick Show” have heard (and seen) the show fill-in for Patrick.

WYTV/33 (and presumably WKBN/27 and WYFX/19) notes:

Mr. Sports is still on air at the station in the afternoon. The other morning radio personality, Wendy Swick, was laid off when Y-103 changed to the national program.

The move was prompted by a bombshell involving the station’s long-time morning host and former program director.

As we’ve already reported, Scott Kennedy admitted to having child pornography on his computer.

There’s really no quicker way to find the exit door at a radio station. Upon the news becoming known, Y103’s webmaster removed all traces of Kennedy at lightning speed.

And it appears that there’s no quicker way for a radio station to “move on” from such news than to install a syndicated morning show.

WYTV/WKBN/WYFX reports that Kennedy faces a prison sentence of up to 10 years, and fines of up to $250,000, at his August 25th sentencing…

IT’S ABOUT US…ER, YOU: We stumbled on Gannett NBC affiiliate WKYC/3’s newest local show the same way we occasionally find ourselves watching the station’s 12:30 PM weekday infomercial – by watching “Channel 3 News” beforehand.

And that’s rather appropriate, since “It’s About You” – airing Saturday mornings at 10:30 right after the Saturday version of Channel 3’s morning news – is very much Infomercial Powered.

A quick way to describe it: It’s “Good Company Lite”, without the non-sponsored segments and with less staff.

And yes, it’s “Good Company”‘s Andrea Vecchio and Joe Cronauer on board, but even they aren’t around for some of the segments…we endured a long piece with a dentist talking about cosmetic dentistry, followed by a window company representative talking about windows.

Both were solo, without either Vecchio or Cronauer to be found. If the goal is to keep people watching through what is essentially a half-hour series of brief infomercials, why were they off screen for half the show?

We see the point of the show. In the Economic Reality of 2011, TV stations are selling everything but the furniture. Having such a “hosted show” certainly beats sitting through a straight-ahead nationally produced infomercial about a new sweeper or something.

But, barely.

Our Secondary Editorial Voice(tm) notes that WKYC apparently has cancelled the Saturday edition of “Channel 3 News at Noon”. Listings now show children’s show “Willa’s Wild Life” in the noon time slot on Saturday..

WHILE WE’RE AT 13TH AND LAKESIDE: OMW readers are peppering our inbox, wondering why WKYC weather anchor AJ Colby is still on the air.

It’s not that they’re trying to get rid of him…in fact, the readers are fans, who know that it was announced that May 29th would be Colby’s last day at the station, and he’s on the air into June.

WKYC is indeed still looking for his replacement, as noted in this ad posted on the station’s website.

We’re told by sources at 13th and Lakeside that as we suspected, AJ is still leaving the station, but has agreed to stay on until his replacement is brought in. We hear that could take another month or so.

Readers have been asking, “why can’t the TV station just hang onto Colby?”

From a news story by the Plain Dealer’s Mark Dawidziak back in April, quoting the forecaster:

“(News director Rita Andolsen) said they were just going in a different direction. I don’t know what the different direction is, but I apparently didn’t fit into it.”

As legions of TV and radio staffers know, “a different direction” usually translates to “away from you”…

AKRON TV VETERAN RETIRES: A man who has been synonymous with behind the scenes operations at local TV stations in the Akron area is retiring at the end of this month, after a long career.

We have most recently known Bill O’Neil as station manager at Western Reserve PBS, the Kent-based public TV outlet (WNEO/45 Alliance-WEAO/49 Akron), but his 40-plus year broadcast history includes some 31 years at Akron’s original commercial TV station, WAKR(-WAKC)/23, the city’s long-time ABC affiliate which is today’s Cleveland market O&O for ION Networks as WVPX/23.

O’Neil joined what was then “PBS 45 & 49” in 2003. Quoting a station press release helpfully provided by communications coordinator and OMW Handler Diane Steinert:

At Western Reserve Public Media (WNEO/WEAO), O’Neil was hired to supervise the station’s administrative, accounting and personnel functions. In 2006, he was named manager of Engineering/IT Services and in 2008, he was appointed station manager.

And no, we’ll not do what we occasionally do by accident, give Bill a Promotion by Blog.

In between his lengthy time at WAKR/WAKC, where he was program director, operations manager and production manager over the years, and joining 45/49, O’Neil worked at Canton’s WOAC/67 (now TCT’s WRLM/47) as general manager.

And the release notes that he had an instant connection with 45/49’s station management when he was hired in 2003:

“The first time I met Bill, he informed me that he was a fellow graduate of Notre Dame,” said Trina Cutter, Western Reserve Public Media president and CEO. “I nearly hired him on the spot! Employing him has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

And though we frequently mention the help we get from Diane Steinert at Campus Center Drive, Bill O’Neil is a regular reader of the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) as well…and has also helped us out directly.

We wish him well after a stellar career in local TV, and urge that he keep reading and keep in touch. In fact, there’s a new E-mail from him just now…

COMING BACK HOME: A regular OMW reader is returning to Northern Ohio from Columbus.

He’s Steve Kelly, who left his job at Dover/New Philadelphia’s WJER/1450-once-101.7 for a successful run at Saga’s Columbus cluster, most recently as assistant program director/afternoon driver at AC powerhouse WSNY/94.7 “Sunny 95”.

Steve tells us he’s returning to the Tuscarawas Valley as program director/morning driver of WTUZ/99.9 “Z Country”. He starts there June 20th.

“I am looking forward to working at one of Ohio’s truly great country stations,” Steve tells us.

And he’s also looking forward to less driving. Though he has had a place in Columbus, he’s returned to the Dover/New Philadelphia area often, driving some 117 miles each way…he notes the figure like a man who has certainly kept track of the exact distance.

And though he signed off his afternoon drive gig at Columbus’ “Sunny” on Friday, Steve notes that he may still do some part-time on-air work for the station at some point down the road.

Best of luck to you, Steve!

SPEAKING OF SUNNY: This news is actually pretty cloudy, but we need to note it.

Before a brief stint programming Clear Channel hot AC WMVX/106.5 “Mix 106.5” (now variety hits WHLK “The Lake”) in Cleveland, Don Hallett was most noted for his long stretch as program director of the aforementioned WSNY/94.7 “Sunny 95” in Columbus into the mid-1990s.

All Access reports this month that Hallett passed away in May.

We stumbled onto this column by Inside Radio’s Mike Kinosian, which focuses on consultants who return to programming stations. It was written in early 2006, right after Halllett moved from his consultancy (“The Positioning Works”) into the “Mix” PD chair…

QUICK HITS: Just a few quick final notes:

* Rubber City Radio Group (Akron’s WAKR/1590-WONE/97.5-WQMX/94.9) has won its fourth consecutive national Edward R. Murrow Award for best local news radio website, for its AkronNewsNow.com
* Speaking of the folks on West Market Street, it’s a Battle Royale between Akron mayor Don Plusquellic and WAKR, with most of the firepower coming out of South High Street. Very interesting reading in this column by the Beacon Journal’s Bob Dyer…
* Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting AAA WNWV/107.3 “V107.3” has won the Scene Magazine 2011 Reader Poll as “Best Radio Station”…
* Talk (?) WYCL/1540 Niles operator Philip Cato has indeed added veteran brokered host Louie B. Free to his lineup, weekdays from noon to 3 PM. Free has been replaced 11 AM-1 PM on Bernard Radio talk WGFT/1330 by an extension of TRN’s Laura Ingraham and self-syndicated Dave Ramsey into full three hour time slots…
* Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7 Cleveland morning driver Shane “Rover” French (“Rover’s Morning Glory”) apparently nabbed an interview with one of the female players in the Rep. Anthony Weiner scandal, but that’s about all we care to mention…

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