What’s The Frequency, Kenneth?

With apologies to former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather…

We’ve covered the upcoming launch of the new CBS Radio FM sports talker in Cleveland, which some believe could launch as soon as Monday, like the proverbial blanket.

You might have noticed that most of our mentions of the new station say something like this – “92.3-or-wherever it lands”. We do that for a reason.

As of this writing, Sunday afternoon, we have no confirmation of which frequency CBS Radio will use as the home of the new sports station.

Most of the off-blog activity among our various sources has mentioned 92.3, but that means nothing.

Many of the sources are not in Cleveland, and couldn’t tell 92.3 from 98.5 even if you handed them a signal map.

So, we took up the offer of a non-radio friend, who was headed from our parts through the western edge of Cuyahoga County on Saturday, and he was willing to endure a heavy diet of alternative rock (with a little classic rock mixed in) for a drive from North Olmsted through Westlake, and even a little beyond.

Ouch.

We had no idea how bad the signal of the current WKRK/92.3 “Radio 92.3” was over there, in some of Cleveland’s most western vital suburbs.

The signal was, well, there, but it was a mile long and a couple of inches deep. It started fluttering when the terrain wasn’t favorable between there and 92.3’s transmitter near I-271.

At one point on the journey, we thought the signal was pretty strong, but realized when the song ended that the noisy alternative rock music was actually hiding some of the defects, with a steady buzz under the liner which followed. (Note: We didn’t have the luxury of choosing a mono signal, but that wouldn’t have helped that particular signal defect.)

Is this any signal to use to launch a new sports station?

98.5, by contrast, was clear and strong all the way, with no fluttering and no buzzing.

To be fair to 92.3, tropospheric conditions were pretty ideal on Saturday afternoon, and it could have had some impact from Detroit’s 92.3, Clear Channel urban AC WMXD “Mix 92.3”.

But that’s part of the problem for the 92.3 licensed to Cleveland Heights.

It’s directional to at least some degree. due to stations like WMXD (to the northwest), Clear Channel’s country giant WCOL in Columbus (to the southwest, also on 92.3), and adjacent channel Canton market D.A. Peterson top 40 WDJQ/92.5 Alliance (to the southeast).

Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) can’t get it out of his head – if you’re CBS Radio and you want to make a splash with “The Fan”, you do it on 98.5.

That leaves the disposition of two music stations…only one will survive.

The following is all semi-educated speculation. We haven’t heard a thing about it from the Halle Building or beyond.

As a reminder, though we’re usually pretty accurate, do not quit your job based on a blog post, message board post, Twitter/Facebook update or anything of the sort.

So, we move on into Speculation Land.

The conventional wisdom has been that CBS Radio, if it launches “98.5 The Fan”, will scoot WNCX over to the lesser 92.3 signal, leaving “Radio 92.3″‘s mostly unstaffed alt-rock format as the one without a musical chair to occupy.

What if it’s the other way around?

What if “98.5 The Fan” launches, and instead of moving WNCX, it is actually killed off…with “Radio 92.3” remaining in place?

Though it’s no secret that WNCX’s demos are aging, it’s still an iconic station. And it’s also no secret that low overhead is one reason WKRK actually makes money, at least a little of it.

And unlike WKRK, which counts (as far as we know) program director Dominic “Nard” Nardella as its only full-time employee, the end of WNCX would likely mean exits for weekday personalities Bill Louis (PD/middays) and local rock music star and long-time afternoon drive personality Michael Stanley, along with night personality Paula Balish.

(We’ll get to the Maxwell situation in a bit.)

Then again, CBS is taking on a bunch of new salaries to launch “The Fan”, and presumably, they aren’t paying peanuts to reunite former Fox Sports Radio hosts “Kiley and Booms” (expected, from what we hear, in morning drive). And yes, that’s Kevin Kiley paired with Euclid’s own Chuck Booms.

Was that one-day afternoon tryout of Maxwell on 92.3 not a chance for CBS Radio suits to check out how a mono signal would extend range for “The Fan”, but a chance to hear him on “Radio 92.3”? Are they eyeing a Maxwell Move from 98.5 AM drive to 92.3 PM drive? Again, note we’re hearing that “Kiley and Booms” are ticketed for AM drive on the new sports outlet.

Remember, “hot talk” on 92.3 has a history in afternoon drive, with “Opie and Anthony” enjoying ratings success for their delayed broadcast on that frequency. And it’d give him a shot competing against his replacement on Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7, “The Alan Cox Show”.

Let’s back away for just a bit.

The entire part about 98.5 vs. 92.3 we just posted is SPECULATION, and EDUCATED GUESSING.

We haven’t heard squat about the frequency issue, perhaps because the decision would be made locally…and the Halle Building has been tighter than any drum you’ve ever seen in all this speculation.

We also have not heard a thing about the fates of the current music formats on 92.3 or 98.5.

Again, don’t fear for your job until your bosses say goodbye to you. We’re just speculating, and have no information about how this move will play out, frequency wise. We’re really just guessing.

But as far as we’re concerned, we’ll keep checking both 92.3 and 98.5 from now until this format change hits…

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All That’s Not FM Sports

We’ve been spending quite a bit of time – and getting a lot of information – about CBS Radio’s pending flip to an FM sports talk format in Cleveland.

There are plenty of other items floating out there, so let’s grab them…

CURTIS HEADS SOUTH: Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 in Cleveland recently dispatched “Good Morning Cleveland” anchors Pete Kenworthy and Kimberly Gill off the show, as we’ve reported already. (Kenworthy returned to the station recently, in a short-term deal to do field reporting.)

When the pair was informed their contracts wouldn’t be renewed by the end of this month, they were yanked from the air immediately, and anchor/reporter Curtis Jackson has filled in as the main anchor for the station’s morning newscasts.

Jackson won’t get the permanent nod, and not just because the folks on Euclid Avenue have other plans.

OMW hears that Jackson recently turned in a two month notice, and will head to Cincinnati as an evening anchor for Newport CBS affiliate WKRC/12 “Local 12″…which competes with WEWS’ sister station in the Queen City, ABC affiiate WCPO/9.

Back at the show that may or may not still be named “Good Morning Cleveland”, OMW hears that there are auditions being held for that show, and for an 11 PM anchor. We’re told that the auditions involve various people outside the station currently…

START OVER: Speaking of Channel 5, it has become the latest station on the Time Warner Cable lineup to feature the “Start Over”, the feature that lets digital cable viewers go back to the beginning of a live show they’ve joined late – and “Look Back”, which allows those viewers to go back and watch shows within a three day window.

From a TWC press release:

Both services, available to Digital Cable customers, require no pre-planning or in-home recording device and include NewsChannel5 news and select ABC shows in both high-definition and standard-definition format.

OMW hears that indeed, all locally originated programming will be covered by the service, and certain ABC shows will be available as well…we don’t have a list.

We’re told that syndicated programming won’t be able to take advantage of “Start Over” and “Look Back”. so you’ll have to either DVR or be on time for “Regis and Kelly”, “Wheel of Fortune”, “Oprah”, or in September, “Dr. Oz”.

By the way, we’d like to congratulate the Dead Trees edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, for finally noticing that Pete Kenworthy and Kimberly Gill are no longer anchoring WEWS’ “Good Morning Cleveland”.

You read about it here on July 5th, some three weeks ago…

RADIO LIBERAL: It’s been some time since Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 “Fox Sports 1350” ran liberal talk as “Radio Free Ohio”, but Northeast Ohio is getting another station in the format.

Well, small parts of Northeast Ohio are getting one.

That’s because the station involved is Radio Advantage One now-gospel WABQ/1460 Painesville, a small, directional Lake County station that reaches parts of the east side of Cleveland on a good day.

And the name spearheading this effort, set to begin Monday, is certainly a familiar one to OMW readers.

Cleveland Scene provided first word of the effort, in a “Scene and Heard” item on the alt-weekly’s website by Erich Burnett:

As blather emanating from the statehouse skews ever more conservative, it was only a matter of time before blather on our local airwaves started bending the other way. Frustrated liberal listener, Gary Richards has come to set you free.

The Euclid radio veteran is set to launch WABQ-AM 1460, a progressive talk station due to ramp up next Monday, August 1.

Yep, the LMA operator of the Dale Edwards-owned station is none other than Gary Richards, the broadcast veteran who once leased Columbus outlet WVKO/1580 as a liberal talk operation, picking up the format baton from Clear Channel talk then-WTPG/1230 in that market (now WYTS “Fox Sports 1230”).

Yes, we know we have some history with Mr. Richards, who established alt-rock WWCD/101.1 “CD 101” in Columbus (now at 102.5) and has had other broadcast efforts in the market, including some runs up here.

At WVKO, we occasionally poked fun at his station getting programming from the public Internet feeds of its syndicators. Gary reminded us that the WVKO LMA was a “less than shoestring operation”, he got the feed problems fixed, and life moved on.

For now, our only beef is that anemic 1460 signal, which doesn’t reach the OMW World Headquarters or indeed, a large chunk of the Cleveland market outside of Lake and northeastern Cuyahoga Counties.

We haven’t plotted a map yet, but we’d say there’s very miniscule overlap, if any, between the signals of 1460 and former liberal talk station 1350.

The Scene item touches on the low-end signal:

Counting its watts by the dozen, the Painesville station expects to reach much of the East Side, with sporadic coverage on the West for those who point their coat-hanger antennas in just the right direction.

The “watts by the dozen” is poetic license. WABQ puts out 1000 watts day, 500 watts night, directional.

This Radio-Locator daytime signal map of WABQ is definitely “for entertainment only”. In reality, you’ll endure static in most of the “distant signal” ring (into downtown Cleveland, for example), if not worse. The night signal is more restrictive, and smaller.

\And no one is picking up even a faint hint of the station in Warren, for example, thanks to second-adjacent local WHKZ/1440 and first adjacent semi-local WLOA/1470 Farrell PA, or in Akron (second-adjacent semi-local WHBC/1480 Canton),

That “much of the East Side” line may be a bit charitable. You aren’t picking this station up south of, say, Mayfield Heights, without a LOT of static…and indeed, 1000 watt stations in large urban areas are plagued by electrical noise even in their strong signal areas.

And even WABQ’s original home at 1540, now Good Karma sports WWGK “KNR2”, would have been a more centralized choice – though it’s a daytimer, of course, and gets wiped off the dial at night by KXEL in Iowa and CHIN in Toronto.

Enough with the signal, though…it’s the ride that brought Gary Richards there, and he presumably can’t change that.

We’re happy he’s bringing one of our favorite syndicated talkers in the format, Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller, back to at least some Northeast Ohio airwaves.

(And who is promised local host “Joe Cleveland”, anyway? We’re curious.)

So, as always (believe it or not), we wish Gary well, and hope for his success…though it will NOT be easy on 1460…no easier than it was for Mr. Edwards to try to deliver gospel music far from the original home of WABQ, 1540, or for that matter, Robert Conrad to reach much of his East Side classical music base when the station simulcasted WCLV/104.9…

WAR OF THE SUBCHANNELS: It’s all but nailed down now…the War of the Classic TV Subchannels begins Monday.

Confirming an earlier Time Warner Cable programming notice, putting WOIO 19.2’s change from “WeatherNow” to “Me-TV” on August 1st, the network’s own Twitter feed popped up this item this week:

@themetvnetwork
MeTVNetwork
From the Second City to the Sixth City, Cleveland, Ohio is getting Me-TV on August 1 on WOIO!

(When’s the last time anyone called Cleveland “The Sixth City”, anyway…1945?)

And what do you know…as a second classic TV subchannel gets ready to show up on Cleveland’s digital TV airwaves, Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 is not being shy about its own “Antenna TV”, which has been running on 8.2 since January.

Watching WJW’s daytime programming Wednesday, we caught frequent “snipes” – quick lower-third graphics – promoting Antenna TV’s weekend “Three Stooges Marathon” (complete with the channel listing for Time Warner Cable). Aside from an occasional 30 second promo, it’s the only promotion we’ve seen on 8.1 for 8.2.

Of course, Retro TV affiliate WIVM-LD/52 Canton and most of its simulcasters are in low-power digital, but Akron/Cleveland RTV outlet WAOH-LP/29 Akron and W35AX/35 Cleveland are still in analog…

AND SPEAKING OF W35AX: The Media-Com Cleveland station recently found out that its attempt to relocate digitally on RF 16 was rejected – citing interference to reserved “land mobile” allocations on RF 15 (Cleveland) and RF 16 (Detroit).

This is despite the use of that reserved “land mobile” allocation by WEWS’ RF 15 – one presumes that adjacent channels are OK for nearby stations, and both WEWS and W35AX are in the Parma antenna farm. (We suspect RF 15 is still marked for land mobile, despite WEWS’ presence on the channel.

Read the FCC’s letter to Media-Com here.

Media-Com’s Akron station, WAOH-LP, has filed for a flash cut on RF 29, and that’s still in the hopper.

29, 35 and all LPTVers will be required to convert to digital by 2015…

AMANDA’S BACK: Former Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 evening personality Amanda Casey has found herself a new radio home.

After moving to Mentor, as we previously reported, Casey started this week at Music Express country WKKY/104.9 Geneva…just up I-90 from Mentor, and a much closer commute for her than the Akron Radio Center.

Amanda replaces long-time afternoon driver Hoss, who left the station a few weeks ago.

Back on West Market Street, the Queen of Pink, Sarah Kay, took over the evening slot at the Akron country powerhouse…

All But Inevitable

We have a separate item with a bunch of other news coming soon, but first, the athletic elephant in the room.

There are skeptics, to be sure, that CBS Radio will launch an FM sports talk station soon in Cleveland, probably on the current WKRK/92.3 (now mostly unstaffed alt-rock “Radio 92.3”).

There are also people who doubt man really landed on the moon in 1969.

OK, so we are not ready to confirm on our own that “92.3 The Fan” – or whatever CBS ends up calling it – could launch as soon as next Monday, at very least by Labor Day.

But the noise is so loud, you could probably hear it from outside the two CBS buildings. (Though oddly enough, not much from inside those buildings!)

Too many people, unconnected to each other, with similar details, have come forward and let us know what they know about the formation of the new station.

We know the name of the new station’s program director, who recently ended a very successful run at a well-regarded, successful sports talk station in a smaller market than Cleveland…but still very much a pro sports town. He isn’t coming from Cedar Rapids IA or Billings MT (with apologies to those two towns).

We aren’t naming him here yet, though if we keep describing him, we may as well put up a picture of him.

He is, as far as we know, the only top-50(-ish) market sports radio PD who has left his job in the past month – and with no destination named.

No, despite local rumblings in his home market, he is not headed for a promotion with his now-former station’s parent company.

He’s here (or somewhere else headed here), putting the finishing touches on the new sports talk station at 92.3, or whichever signal it uses.

What will air when “The Fan” starts in Cleveland? (And note, we haven’t confirmed that’ll be the name, but CBS uses that name for sports talkers in other markets.)

We have no confirmation on the lineup, but we hear a combination of talent is either being pursued or close to signing.

One name would mean a return to Cleveland radio for the show’s co-host, reunited with a former partner. (No, we’re not talking about a “Jeff and Flash” reunion or anything similar. The duo, in fact, have never aired together in Cleveland.)

Another would be a big promotion for someone at the CBS Radio sports flagship, WFAN/660 “SportsRadio 66 The Fan”.

And we’re hearing that there may be interest in one current local sports type, though that interest has not yet (as far as we know) translated to a contract offer.

But note this: So far, we’ve heard not one name out of the Galleria being in CBS’, well, eyes, so to speak.

Not one current or former WKNR host is being talked about – and we know for a fact that at least two former WKNR hosts are actually interested.

That is not to say that CBS won’t hire anyone from the Galleria for the station. We might not know that at this point.

But there appears to be a marked lack of interest in “poaching” WKNR talent.

Unless we just haven’t heard it yet, CBS also doesn’t appear interested in the Parade of Unemployed or Under-Employed Sports Radio Hosts that gets kicked around from time to time.

We hear the sports station will air local programming 6 AM to 10 PM at launch.

Nights could well be filled by something like Fox Sports Radio, which counts a current Cleveland affiliate in “KNR Minus 2″…er…WWGK/1540 “KNR2”.

But “KNR 2” doesn’t air FSR programming from 10 PM to 6 AM, because its transmitter near a drug store and former church at 80th and Euclid in Cleveland is blissfully silent in those hours – WWGK is, of course, a daytimer.

We hear the new CBS sports talker would be able to clear FSR in those hours, despite the current use part-time on WWGK…though it it decided to do so, WWGK would lose that programming within a month or so.

Remember: WWGK also airs the uncleared ESPN Radio programming not picked up by WKNR, including the last hour of “Mike & Mike”, and shows hosted by Colin Cowherd and Scott Van Pelt.

Note two things here:

1) We have not at all confirmed that CBS is interested in carrying FSR in non-local hours.

2) CBS did use Sporting News Radio in at least one market for off-hours programming, at the 2009 launch of WBZ-FM/98.5 “The Sports Hub”. We can’t find it on the station’s website, but we believe “The Sports Hub” does indeed now air FSR in the overnight hours.

And the use of FSR (or SNR, or whatever) in the late night hours on the new station could be temporary.

We’re hearing rumors again that CBS wants to provide its own networked sports talk programming for the company’s growing stable of sports talkers, much like it produces the overnight talk show “Overnight America with Jon Grayson” at its KMOX/1120 in St. Louis.

Grayson’s show airs on other CBS talkers, including “93.7 The Fan’s” sister station in Pittsburgh, KDKA(AM)/1020 “NewsRadio 1020”. It aired briefly on “The Sports Hub’s” news/talk sister station in Boston, WBZ(AM)/1030, until that station returned its live, local overnight show with Steve LeVeille.

A similar overnight show for the CBS sports talkers seems more likely with the addition of yet another station in Cleveland.

We’d also expect some weekend local shows out of 92.3-whatever-it’ll-be, though we’ve heard no details about that.

So, here we are.

From everything we’ve heard, the station’s launch could be as soon as Monday, with Browns training camp opening up (last we checked) on Friday.

We will say from the timeline we’ve seen from our various sources, “The Fan” (again, or whatever it’s called) will have to put the pedal to the metal to get on that quick. Our gut feeling pushes the launch to closer to mid-August, but that’s just a guess.

But we’re talking CBS Radio here, which has launched FM sports talk stations across the country. As the saying goes, “this isn’t their first rodeo”.

When this finally hits, and we’d go to the betting window and break open the piggy bank that it is going to happen, this will easily be the biggest radio story in Northeast Ohio in 2011 and beyond.

What about the competition?

We hear that you might hear the first sign of change on WKNR, if the CBS sports talker isn’t yet on by Monday, August 1st.

WKNR uses veteran imaging voice Paul Turner to voice all of its station liners, IDs and whatnot. It’s a move Good Karma chief Craig Karmazin made as soon as he took over the station, sending the imaging voiced by former WKNR program director Michael Luczak to the digital bit bucket

Turner also voices a decent number of CBS stations, including – we believe – at least one or two of its sports talkers.

Turner’s distinctive voice may no longer be heard on WKNR starting August 1st, we hear. You do the math.

Meanwhile, the new station would also be competing to some degree with “The Big One”, Clear Channel talker WTAM/1100.

Though WTAM is not “a sports talk station” per se, it currently airs all three Cleveland pro teams, and hosts like Mike Trivisonno and Bob Frantz can turn on a dime if the Browns, Indians and Cavaliers become Story Number One.

OMW hears that the World Domination Headquarters is not at all worried about this new station.

Over at the Galleria, it may be a different story…

Address Alert

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ohiomediawatch.wordpress.com

If you are unable to reach the site otherwise in the next few days, this address should work fine.

Please bookmark the address and take note!

— The Management

That Pesky FM Sports Rumor

We’ve talked about it on Twitter. We’ve posted about it on message boards. We’ve vaguely hinted about it here.

But with rumors once again floating around about CBS Radio converting one of its Cleveland FM stations to a sports station, is it about to happen?

It may be, says Radio-Info.com columnist Tom Taylor, in this morning’s Taylor on Radio-Info column.

We haven’t heard much, at all, from CBS Radio’s operations locally.

But Tom tracks down an interesting piece of information related to such a format change, which the columnist says “could be happening soon”:

Is there a sports PD on the loose, one who just recently resigned from another station with no announced destination? He may be headed to Cleveland, and not just for a deluxe tour of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

CBS Radio has kept quite a lid on this locally.

We have been “pinging” various contacts in the sports media world here, and haven’t gotten any word of big “signings” you’d expect for a full-blown move into such a format.

But Taylor apparently has sources outside the market, who know of an outside hire-to-be that would program the would-be sports station. (And an actual program director for a Cleveland sports radio station? What a concept!)

Taylor’s item speculates that the target station for the format change could indeed be alt-rock WKRK/92.3 “Radio 92.3”, which has been without a regular weekday air staff since the revamping of the alt-rock format some time ago.

And here’s an odd twist.

On his classic rock WNCX/98.5 morning show and on Facebook, morning driver Maxwell has announced that he’ll “walk down the hall” Thursday and do an afternoon drive shift on…”Radio 92.3″, in addition to his regular WNCX show. It’s a “one time” thing, says Maxwell on his Facebook page.

Hmm. Do they need to check if live microphones still work in the WKRK studios?

We’ve been skeptics about this from the start, of course.

One reason is that we’ve been told numerous times that “Radio 92.3”, with extremely low overhead (electricity and music licensing, basically, give or take some weekend talent, some shared with other stations in the cluster), actually makes money for CBS Radio.

Another reason? CBS Radio has supposedly long sought to sell off its Cleveland cluster, along with other non-top 10 market clusters.

But in the current economic market, there would appear to be no ready buyers for an entire cluster of four class B FM stations in a market the size of Cleveland, and we’ve heard that CBS has no interest in selling off the stations separately or at a deep discount.

Just a short drive up the Ohio Turnpike and I-75, the company’s WXYT/97.1 “The Ticket” FM sports outlet is a ratings superstar, showing up atop the Detroit ratings much of the year.

Has the company finally decided that trying to replicate that here in Cleveland is worth the investment?

Is this finally going to happen? We can’t say. We’ve (again) heard no confirmation here of any such activity, though plenty of people even remotely connected to sports radio are asking us how to apply.

With no PD in place (yet, apparently), we’ve been suggesting contacting local CBS Radio SVP/market manager Tom Herschel.

Or maybe a better bet would be to contact the PD of “The Ticket” in Detroit (Jimmy Powers), since that operation would certainly provide some guidance for a similar operation in Cleveland.

But with the smoke from a would-be FM sports radio conversion getting out of crunchy rumor phase – the rumors have picked up again recently – we thought it was finally time to approach the topic, even if we don’t know for sure that it’s about to happen…

The Lost Item

We were researching something we had just written here, and…couldn’t find it.

As it turned out, the post below was written early in the morning Thursday.

On our computer. All ready to post here, but…we never got (all together now!) “a RoundTuit”…and your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) was the only one who could read it.

Until now. Here it is! Take a long breakfast or lunch, it’s a long one…

———–

PETE’S BACK, SORT OF: A week after Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 parted ways with “Good Morning Cleveland” co-anchors Pete Kenworthy and Kimberly Gill, you may notice that Kenworthy is back on the air.

No, not in the morning chair.

Anchor/reporter Curtis Jackson and the remaining “GMC” cast are keeping the chairs warm for whatever WEWS does next in the early morning hours.

But Kenworthy is back in the building – on a short-term basis.

OMW hears that he has signed up for a three month period doing reporting for the station. We actually didn’t see him on the air reporting a story from Canton, but noticed his byline on NewsNet5.com (more specifically, on the NewsNet5 Android app).

Gill is still out of the building at 3001 Euclid, though we hope both anchors land soon, permanently, somewhere…

LIVE WELL, NOT YET: Those looking to find WEWS’ new “Live Well” subchannel, scheduled to debut this month on the station’s 5.1 subchannel, will have to wait a while.

OMW hears that the lifestyle/home channel was scheduled to start this week, on July 11th. But now we’re told that the channel is more likely to start in September, delaying the planned launch.

We don’t know the reason for the delay, though it probably needs more setup time.

After all, the folks over at Local TV’s WJW/8 have only recently managed to insert local commercials on the 8.2 “Antenna TV” feed, months after its January launch, but haven’t done a legal ID on it to save their lives. (Well, at least that we’ve ever seen.)

In a brief subchannel note, someone edited a Wikipedia page to indicate that Univision O&O WQHS/61 would add the company’s second network, TeleFutura, on 61.2.

But we can’t find any evidence that such a move is planned…

WHILE WE’RE IN SUBCHANNEL LAND: “Bounce TV”, a new subchannel aimed at African-American viewers, has set a launch date.

The new channel, which will show up on either local Raycom outlet (WOIO 19.3 or WUAB 43.3), starts September 26th.

By the time it does start, “Bounce TV” will join Weigel/MGM classic TV subchannel “Me-TV” on the Raycom stations. “Me” could start on WOIO’s 19.2, replacing “WeatherNow”, as soon as later this month…if Time Warner Cable’s legal notices are to be believed…

PAT’S RETURN: We don’t generally cover either print media or other Internet sites, but we’ve tracked him before.

Former Akron Beacon Journal sportswriter Pat McManamon, who has been a sports columnist for the AOL Fanhouse site, returns home to covering Ohio sports via the FoxSportsOhio.com website, according to a release from the regional sports network:

McManamon brings more than 25 years of journalism experience to FOX Sports Ohio, where he will serve as a sports reporter, analyst and commentator on http://www.FOXSportsOhio.com.

McManamon will provide fans with comprehensive analysis of Ohio’s major sports teams as he writes news, features and columns about sports news surrounding the state. In addition, he will bring his “Beside the Point” blog back to readers and fans of Ohio teams. FOXSportsOhio.com plans to revive the “Beside the Point” community of devoted followers as well.

Readers can expect to see his first post on July 19.

The release mentions nothing about McManamon being on the FSOhio TV network, though they’ll certainly tap his knowledge, reporting and expertise when needed on the TV side of things…

MARCONIS: Maybe they’re actually the “Macaroni Awards”, and he gets nominated because he eats on the air?

OK, so the NAB’s Marconi Awards nomination list is out, and sure enough, Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 afternoon drive carnivore…er…host Mike Trivisonno gets another nomination for Large Market Personality of the Year.

That’s actually no surprise, because Triv is no stranger to the Marconi Awards nomination list.

But just down the list, Radio One urban WENZ/107.9 “Z107.9” afternoon driver/program director Colby “Colb” Tyner is nominated for “Medium Market Personality of the Year”.

We’re not sure how Cleveland can be both a “large market” and a “medium market”…but at any rate, both are nominated…

BRIEF STOP IN TOLEDO: We don’t spend a lot of time these days with Toledo, or Columbus, or areas outside of our core service area of Northeast Ohio.

But we have occasionally covered moves involving “Andrew Z”, Clear Channel top 40 WVKS/92.5 “Kiss FM” former morning co-host Andrew Zepeda, mostly involving his exit from that station.

While his former crew continued on as “The Morning Rush”, Zepeda – exiting some legal problems involving his non-radio business – is about to take his old crew on.

The Toledo Blade has more:

Beginning 6 a.m. Monday, Zepeda will take to the airwaves with a crew of familiar names to his listeners on the recently launched WXKR-HD2-FM 100.7, The Vibe, a top-40 station owned by Cumulus Media. Andrew Z in the Morning, The People’s Show, will broadcast from 6 to 10 a.m. weekdays for four hours of entertainment, current events, and popular culture talk — the same format as his former show, which continued on without him and was later renamed The Morning Rush.

Regular readers know that “100.7 The Vibe”, until recently alt-rock “The Zone”, is actually an FM translator (W264AK) being fed by an HD2 channel attached to sister classic rocker WXKR/94.5.

Cumulus has started these outlets in markets from Atlanta to Kansas City. In that city, a comedy formatted station known as “Funny 102.5” has put up some respectable numbers…and Cumulus translators in Atlanta host the former-full power alt-rocker “99X” and a new 80s/90s format station called “Journey 97-9”.

Not only is Zepeda trying his comeback with fewer watts (82 vs. 50,000), says The Blade:

Zepeda’s deal with Cumulus is a “substantial pay cut” over what he made at WVKS, he said. It’s also a day-to-day contract, meaning Zepeda is an at-will employee for the first time in a decade. But the radio host said he considers the deal “an investment in my career and my future” with “a company that’s growing.”

But despite all that, Andrew Z has a competitive fire:

“If I have to destroy that show, it’s only business,” he said. “There’s only room in the market for one No. 1 show. May the best man win and I’m very confident that it will be us.”

His new boss, Cumulus’ Scott Meier, has perhaps the most interesting quote, referring to Zepeda’s legal problems stemming from a former business:

“I think anybody who lives in any kind of life these days has baggage,” he said. “I think people have learned that he’s a much better radio host than a pizza store operator.”

ANN’S CORNER: Here are two items of note from public radio WKSU/89.7’s Ann VerWiebe…a Good Friend of OMW and the station’s OMW Handler. (No, she doesn’t get paid extra for that, as far as we know!)

The first one is about a statewide public media news effort reporting on Ohio issues, involving WKSU and two other big Ohio public radio stations:

90.3 WCPN ideastream®, WKSU and WOSU Public Media are collaborating with NPR to pilot StateImpact, an ambitious local-national journalism initiative to report on government actions and their impact on citizens and communities. Eight state-based projects were selected to pilot with NPR on the StateImpact launch and will participate in a two-year pilot phase.

Two journalists have been hired – one for the radio side of the project, one concentrating on the project’s website.

And, with Ann just back from a trip in the FolkAlley.com RV from a music festival in Northern Michigan – yes, we understand she drove at least part of the way – there’s a reminder that a big folk music event locally has moved on the calendar:

The Kent State Folk Festival has always been a moveable feast. This year, the event takes that charge literally as it shifts to mid-September with yet another stellar line-up of the best in roots and folk music. From Sept. 21 through 25, Kent will be the epicenter of a musical celebration that crosses generations and cultures. Highlights include dozens of free performances throughout the city for Folk Alley ‘Round Town on Friday, Sept. 23 and the beloved workshops at the Kent State University Student Center on Sept. 24.

Much more information is available at KentStateFolkFestival.org.

And the Festival is not at all off-topic for a media blog, as WKSU and owner Kent State University have been intimately involved in the Folk Festival for many years. And WKSU airs the Folk Alley feed not only online, but on its HD3 subchannels, and in the WKSU iOS and Android apps…

JIM MIDOCK BACK IN THE NEWS GAME: Well, at least online, at any rate.

Jim Midock recently retired as news director of Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 Kent “The Talk of Akron” as a result of personal health battles.

But the veteran radio journalist is keeping a toe in the waters with a new blog called NewsPleasure.com.

From the name, and the “About me” blurb Midock has written, it appears the blog is mostly up to give Midock an outlet to have a little fun with the news…now that he’s not kicking it around weekday mornings on WNIR with Stan, Maggie and Steve:

This Blog is meant to make you smile. It’s not meant to be taken too seriously. One laugh makes my day.

So no, Midock isn’t going after AkronNewsNow.com or Ohio.com with his effort, he’s just having a little fun…and his WNIR listeners are probably quite happy to learn that he’s doing so…

BALD AND THE BEAUTIFUL: Matt Haze, who Northeast Ohio listeners may remember (under the name Jake Reynolds) from his stint at Clear Channel Akron/Canton’s stations, dropped us a note about his latest project:

Not long ago, I launched a new podcast called THE BALD AND THE BEAUTIFUL. I co-host it with Tracy Pendergast, who is a former contributor to the former Maxim channel on Sirius/XM.

We do the show 3 times a week and episodes are no more than 15 minutes to match the busy, quick lifestyle of online listeners. We interview interesting people (so far including a Playboy playmate and even VO pro Joe Cipriano) as well as have fun with important life topics.

It’s like a mini quick morning show for listeners that want to be entertained, but don’t want to spend all day listening.

We’re over 2,000 Facebook fans already after just 3 months doing it!

Best of luck to you, Matt!

Changes And Other Stuff

It’s a changing world, but even more so in local media…

THE CURIOUS CASE OF WINW…ER…WCER: When last we visited the world of Curtis A. Perry III, operator of gospel daytimer WINW/1520 Canton, he was basically drowning in water – radio wise.

The station, which he claims to own through a time brokerage-to-purchase agreement (despite license transfer paperwork not being filed with the FCC), has been off the air since earlier this year. The FCC deleted WINW’s license, saying the station didn’t respond to a letter that Perry says they received too late.

There has been quite a bit of vandalism to the station’s Martindale Avenue transmitter site, including copper theft and transmitter damage, and we’re pretty sure the WINW towers are being held up by bailing wire and gum.

What a difference a few weeks makes.

Perry told his tale of woe to the Canton Repository, but that tale of woe has turned into one of triumph.

That’s because Perry has started another time brokerage-to-purchase deal with a facility that’s in much better shape than the silent WINW – Melodynamic Broadcasting’s WCER/900.

Friday, Perry took over operations of WCER, and flipped the station’s talk/religious format to his own gospel music format, dubbing his new operation “Joy 900 WCER”.

The Perry LMA not only ended the station’s curious mix of second-tier and third-tier conservative talk, and religious talk.

The format change ended Dick Waco’s long-running “Original Big Band Show”, which had been on WCER on Saturday mornings…and started back in 1968 on WHBC/1480.

(And no, Alex Jones fans, it’s all about the money…WCER was Northeast Ohio’s home of the Austin TX-based syndicated conspiracy talker.)

Now, with Perry mounting a new time broker-to-purchase of WCER, what happens to his efforts to save WINW?

They would appear to be unnecessary, given that WCER is a better facility, even at half the power of WINW…its 500 watts are non-directional and cover Stark County like a glove, and even WCER’s 75 watt night power can reach inner city Canton and parts of Massillon…give or take skywave interference from CHML/900 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

And of course, WINW is a daytimer, with no night power at all.

As of now, there’s no new FCC activity either on the deleted license of WINW, or on the license of WCER, but this did just happen.

We don’t know what studio facility Perry is using to operate WCER, but educated guesses put him at his own former WINW studios on West Tuscarawas Avenue in downtown Canton…and not at WCER’s facility at 22nd and Whipple…

GMC?: OMW hears that at least one more change is coming to the morning news block at Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 in Cleveland, which has been known as “Good Morning Cleveland”.

It’ll be the departure of one of the show’s remaining cast members, with reporter/anchor Curtis Jackson still remaining as fill-in anchor.

As of yet, there are no rumblings as to who will take over for Pete Kenworthy and Kimberly Gill on a permanent basis. As reported below, Gill and Kenworthy did their last “GMC” on Tuesday morning, and were out the door after finding out WEWS would not renew their expiring contracts…

THREE FOR TRAVIS: Time Warner Cable local spokesman Travis Reynolds has sent us quite a few interesting items, but we haven’t gotten around to posting them yet. Now, we will.

* The dominant local cable system is jumping into the Harry Potter craze with both feet. Travis tells us that there are actually still (as of late Monday morning) free vouchers for tickets to see an opening day screening of the latest Harry Potter film:

Time Warner Cable customers can receive free movie ticket vouchers for an exclusive, opening day screening of the final Harry Potter film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 in 3D.

The vouchers, redeemable for four (4) general admission tickets to the July 15, 1:05 p.m. show at Cinemark Valley View, are available at Time Warner Cable’s Strongsville store. Vouchers** will be distributed to Time Warner Cable customers on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The vouchers, while they last, are only available at TWC’s Strongsville office on Dow Circle, and not at other TWC offices. The vouchers do not guarantee you’ll get a seat – we imagine the show will be packed – so the cable company advises those who get the vouchers show up early at the theater.

Travis also tells us they’ll give away four tickets and various Harry Potter promotional items this week via the TWCable_NEO Twitter account.

The TWC giveaway is just one of two for the cabler in the entire company – the other showing is in Staten Island NY…

* Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania TWC customers can now add Digital Cable services they don’t already have, such as premium movie channels…directly from their digital cable box.

How it works:
• When a customer tunes to a channel not currently subscribed to, a prompt will appear offering the opportunity to upgrade and listing the price.
• The customer presses the SELECT button and the order is placed. If the customer has established a Purchase PIN for ordering Movies On Demand they will be required to enter it at this time. (Note: Time Warner Cable recommends that every customer utilizes the purchase PIN and parental control PIN features to avoid unexpected charges.)
• Once the purchase is accepted, a confirmation screen appears and the new service will be available. If an error occurs the customer will be prompted with a phone number to call Time Warner Cable to complete the transaction.

There’s nothing in the TWC press release about being able to shut off Digital Cable services (i.e. removing a premium network like HBO) via the box, so we’ll assume you’ll still have to pick up the phone for that…

* The cable company has beefed up its iPad app. From a release:

TWCable TV™ 2.0 includes a variety of brand new features including over 100 live channels, an enhanced program guide, remote DVR manager, and the ability to change channels on your set-top box from your iPad. Now you can watch even more of your favorite networks on your iPad from any room in the home.

The iPad app is free to TWC video customers with broadband Internet service, and is available, as always with iOS, in the iTunes Store. If TWC plans a similar app for other tablets (Android, etc.), it hasn’t announced such plans…

GOOD PROFILE: He’s clearly one of Cleveland TV’s nicest guys, and veteran Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8 News” sports anchor John Telich got a nice profile in a local newspaper recently.

The Lake County News-Herald’s Theresa Neuhoff Audia profiled Telich in an article called “For John Telich, it’s a marathon, not a sprint”.

Telich has been with WJW since 1980, and for anyone who knows him, they know that article name is not an accident (or a saying from the original “Joe Schmo Show”).

From the News-Herald:

While working in South Dakota, Telich did a story on a man who ran the Boston Marathon. It motivated him to start running. He became hooked and has done numerous endurance events over the years. He completed his first triathlon in 1985 and to this date he’s done more than 100.

He’s also competed in three Ironman distance races, which is a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile marathon.

The article says Telich (who is 58, by the way) is next set for the 100 mile “Burning River” endurance run later this month, which starts in Willoughby Hills and winds through the area to its eventual finish in downtown Cuyahoga Falls.

But it’s not just his running, or extensive sports knowledge, that makes John Telich unique.

Telich said he strives to be friendly with everyone. It’s the way he was raised.

“I just try to be nice to people,” he said. “Being nice isn’t hard, but it does go a long way.”

And as the News-Herald notes, Telich tries to be nice to people with his presence in social media. He’s an avid Twitter and Facebook user, and we’ve communicated with him in that way quite a bit over the past year or so…and he’s always been kind and gracious to us…