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:

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…


2 Responses to All That’s Not FM Sports

  1. Chris says:

    Glad to hear that Channel 5 now has TWC’s “Start Over” and “Look Back.” I use both services quite a bit for other channels.

  2. Tim says:

    WKKY moved to 104.7 some time ago.

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