THIS JUST IN: It’s Phelps With Fan’s Baskin

When we put up our right-before-launch item on CBS Radio’s new sports station, WKRK/92.3 “92.3 The Fan”, we noted that the station’s midday show would be hosted by Scripps ABC affilate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” sports director Andy Baskin and Fox Sports Ohio Cavaliers pre/post-game host Jeff Phelps.

With confidence, since Baskin and producer Lindsey Foltin had announced the pairing on Twitter on Friday.

Monday, the questions came – why is Andy Baskin joined by Reggie Rucker and the Plain Dealer’s Dennis Manoloff? And where is Phelps?

The answer is: a week late.

Just now on his “Talking Heads” program, Baskin announced that Phelps will indeed take the show’s co-host chair starting on Monday.

Andy was good natured about it, joking about the rotating co-hosts, and even giving your very own Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) our very first on-air shoutout (he’s done it before for us on NewsChannel 5).

So, there you go…and now that the last major cog has been cleared up in the launch of “92.3 The Fan”, we’ll scope out the competitive landscape…and have another update on different topics later today or early Thursday…

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Bruce Ryan’s Obituary

BRUCE E. HOFFMAN, (a.k.a. BRUCE RYAN), 63, of Cleveland, went home to be with the Lord on August 26, 2011, after losing his nine month battle with cancer.

He was born July 6, 1948, in Three Rivers, Michigan, to Robert Hoffman and Margaret Welty. Bruce was a long time successful broadcaster heard on WGAR (1979-1981) WZZP-FM/ WLTF-FM (1981-1995), WGAR-FM (1997) and radio and TV commercials.

He was the Education Director for the Ohio Center for Broadcasting in Cleveland (1996-2011) and National Education Director for the Ohio and Illinois Centers for Broadcasting with schools in Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Denver and Chicago.

He had a strong interest in the excellence of broadcast education in Ohio and established The Bruce Ryan Scholarship Program with his family to help students realize their career dreams of working successfully in the electronic media industry.

He cherished spending time with his family and his two dogs, Hitchcock, a rescue Shepherd Boxer from the Berea Animal Shelter, and Meily.

He was an avid model railroader, who also enjoyed watching trains in Berea and Olmsted Falls, and traveling by train. He restored a private Pennsylvania Railroad car (1984-1989) that was leased for Cleveland Browns tailgate parties and Cleveland Indians opener baseball games.

He was an Ohio High School Athletic Association Baseball and Football Official (1995-1999). Beloved husband for 41 years to Carol (Reeder) (a.k.a. Tracy St. John) who was also his partner on radio for 27 years; proud father of Amy (Hoffman) Sheridan and Carly Hoffman; loving grandfather to Hannah Sheridan, Nathan Sheridan and Ryan Schaefer, devoted brother to John
Hoffman and sister, Marian Hoffman. Bruce was a man of great faith, believing that every day was a gift.

He pounded the kitchen table and podiums at the schools, determined to instill his passion for life and work in others because his main concern was always for them and not himself. When asked how he was, he always responded “I don’t have any complaints,” even when he was experiencing excruciating pain. He greeted everyone with an enthusiastic “Happy ____________ !” (Fill in the day of the week.)

Bruce was an inspiration to his family, friends, coworkers and students.

Funeral service, 10 a.m., SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 2011, at The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 8235 Memphis Avenue, Brooklyn, Ohio.

He will be laid to rest at Sunset Memorial Park 6265 Columbia Road, North Olmsted.

Memorial contributions in his name are suggested to the American Cancer Society and the Berea Animal Shelter.

Fan Clear For Launch

UPDATE 8/29/11 12:46 PM: Despite what was announced on Twitter on Friday, Jeff Phelps is not on the air alongside Andy Baskin on the station’s midday show, “Cleveland’s Talking Heads”.

The first two hours, former Brown Reggie Rucker took the second chair, and Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Dennis Manoloff will round out the show with Andy.

We have no idea what happened between the announcements Friday on the Twitter accounts of Andy Baskin and producer Lindsey Foltin, but we’ll keep you up to date…

Our original item is below…

———-

It looks like CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” is ready for its launch, scheduled for Monday morning at 6 AM.

And we mean ready, as witnessed by this picture taken by a curious OMW reader Sunday night. The “Radio 92.3” logo didn’t last on the Halle Building door as long as the alternative rock format did on the air, losing by a few hours. (At this writing, 92.3 continues its music format late into the night, presumably right up until 6 AM, when it’s expected to slide over to WKRK’s HD-2 channel.)

Just about everything about “The Fan’s” weekday lineup has been officially announced one way or the other, either from the station’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, to tweets by incoming station staffers.

Here goes what we know at this writing, just hours before one of the most complex launches in recent Cleveland radio history.

“92.3 The Fan” has hired at least 10 staffers in its run up…compared to another recent format change – now-WHLK/106.5’s change from hot AC “Mix 106.5” to variety hits “106.5 The Lake”. That Clear Channel station actually let go two personalities (Daune Robinson and Jay Hudson) and hired none.

Some of the changes and confirmed items since our last run at this:

MORNING DRIVE: It is official – former Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” morning update voice Jeff Thomas assumes the same duties for “The Fan”, doing sports news updates and whatever else alongside “Kiley and Booms” on 92.3’s morning show. Jeff aired his last morning show on Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria on Friday. (We have no word what the WEOL folks will do in morning drive.)

We already mentioned that Cleveland’s Tony Mazur and Josh Potter, late of WEDG/103.3 “The Edge” in program director Andy Roth’s former home market of Buffalo, will produce the show. Potter has plenty of experience with two-man high-profile drive-time shows…he’s been the assistant producer for the popular “Shredd and Ragan” afternoon drive show on “The Edge”…

MIDDAYS: The hiring of Scripps WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” sports director Andy Baskin by “The Fan” was announced by his TV station on Friday – as expected, it’s most certainly an additional job for Baskin, who stays in his perch guiding the sports department at 3001 Euclid.

Joining Baskin in the 10 AM-2 PM time slot will be another veteran Cleveland sportscaster – Jeff Phelps, for a show called “Cleveland’s Talking Heads”. Phelps has most recently been the sideline reporter and pre/post-game host for Cleveland Cavaliers TV coverage on Fox Sports Ohio.

We assume he’ll continue that role…whenever the NBA ends its lockout.

Producing will be Lindsey Foltin, who comes to “The Fan” from WKNR.

Jeff Thomas will continue to provide updates through 12 noon…

AFTERNOONS: We now officially know who will be alongside former WFAN/660 New York City host Adam “The Bull” Gerstenhaber in the Fan’s 2-7 PM time slot.

He’s former Ohio State Buckeyes player and NFLer Dustin Fox, a Canton native and Glen Oak High School graduate, who is also paired with Fan middayer/WEWS sports director Baskin on NewsChannel 5’s Ohio State coverage.

Fox had some limited on-air time with competitor WKNR, acting as an occasional Ohio State guest/analyst, but he didn’t actually work at the Galleria.

The opening show of “The Bull and the Fox” promises guests including Indians president Mark Shapiro and…now-former Ohio State coach Jim Tressel, who coached Fox at The Horseshoe, both winning the 2002 National Championship in a much happier era for the Buckeyes and their fans.

We see on Twitter that Keith Britton moves from another “Fan” (non-CBS) sports talker, RadiOhio/Dispatch sports WBNS-FM/97.1 “97.1 The Fan” in Columbus, to produce “The Bull and the Fox”. And he’s getting razzed on social media already for, despite his Columbus ties, being a Michigan fan.

That alone might be worth tuning in to hear, particularly the interplay with former Buckeyes star Fox. Admitting to being a Michigan fan in Ohio is like being a Steelers fan in Cleveland. Not that any radio host might admit to that.

Following Jeff Thomas at noon on the Fan update desk will be a very familiar name to OMW readers, and once a familiar voice to local sports radio listeners – though the voice has certainly changed since Anthony Lima used the moniker “SportsBoy Tony” calling into local sports radio shows as a teenager in the 1990s.

Lima moved on to obtain a solid education, and then a sports media career…starting at Gray NBC affiliate WTAP/15 Parkersburg WV-Marietta OH, then a two year run as a sports anchor/reporter at “YourNewsNow”, the Time Warner Cable 24 hour news channel, in Syracuse NY.

Lima “comes back home” as 92.3 The Fan’s afternoon sports update voice (12-6 PM), and even brings some sports talk radio hosting experience with fill-ins at a Syracuse sports radio outlet.

And he will appear elsewhere on the Fan’s schedule…more details later in this item.

EVENINGS: Our “all but certain” post earlier is now official, with former Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 Akron staffer and Akron Aeros broadcast team member Ken Carman taking the “92.3 The Fan” evening slot.

Carman is a young guy, not that long out of the University of Akron, but has had a meteoric rise through local sports media. He’s also done college play-by-play duties on both radio and TV, and took over the “Fox Sports 1350” local afternoon drive show when co-host Jon Marochino left to concentrate on the sister Canton market AC WHOF/101.7 “My 101.7” morning drive show.

Strongsville native Chris Fillar, until recently the sports director at Clear Channel’s Parkersburg/Marietta and Wheeling WV clusters, will handle the 6 PM-midnight update shift…

BEATS: We know the new Fan beat reporters for at least two of the major sports in town.

Former WKNR veteran/Metro Networks/Digital Sports Network name Daryl Ruiter will cover arguably the most important beat for the new station, the Cleveland Browns. (Don’t agree with us on that statement? Look at the colors in the 92.3 The Fan logo.)

Daryl toiled for many years at Metro Networks in the Independence Media Gulch, being heard remotely doing afternoon updates on WKNR, before moving in-house at the Galleria…handling everything from producing to Browns beat reporting to occasional hosting, not to mention engineering work.

After leaving WKNR, he boarded a ship that quickly started taking on water, Digital Sports Network, an online sports operation that had roughly a cup of coffee or two before sinking off the coast of Cleveland.com. (And no, that venerable online operation run by Cleveland Plain Dealer parent Newhouse had nothing to do with the wreckage of DSN, which was an independent operation with a marketing/hosting deal with Cleveland.com.)

Ruiter has been helping out friend Glenn Moore’s “Dugout Sports Show” online site/podcast until taking the call from “The Fan”.

Over at Progressive Field, it’ll be another Metro veteran as Indians beat reporter – Matt Loede, who’s also done sports work at WEOL for some 10 years.

Both Loede and Ruiter have already been busy this week, getting to know their new co-workers at the Halle Building, and covering some games along the way for their new employer.

If there’s been a hire of a Cavaliers beat reporter, we haven’t heard it yet. And considering the aforementioned status of the local team and the NBA, they’re probably in no hurry to bring that person aboard…

WEEKENDS: We’ve cobbled together most of the weekend schedule.

Former WKNR fixture Kendall Lewis, also known as “The BSK” (BSK stands for Big Sports Kahuna, for those who haven’t been around for a while), will handle Browns post-game duties, and also host Saturdays from 4-8 PM.

Joe Lull has covered Cleveland sports as a field reporter for the local Metro Networks operation for some time, which means he’s reunited with Thomas, Ruiter and Loede. (With Loede, he’s been doing regular sports work for WEOL as well.) His show will be from 1-4 PM.

Preceding him will be weekday afternoon update anchor Anthony Lima, with his own 10 AM-1 PM show.

And preceding Lima will be local sports radio vet Ken Silverstein, 7-10 AM.

And that’s all we know, which is almost everything at this point.

We’d like to make just one point which should be obvious by now.

A lot has been made at the potential for “92.3 The Fan” to basically wipe WKNR off the sports radio map…much it by those who have issues with “ESPN 850” for one reason or another (midday co-hosts Aaron Goldhammer and Chris Fedor, etc.).

CBS Radio has made it very clear they are in this game, the sports radio game in Cleveland (and beyond), to stay.

They’ve assembled a very interesting live and local lineup, with minimal use of syndication. CBS is committed to the sports format in Cleveland and in dozens of other markets, launching similar stations all over the place.

The stations have mostly been successful.

* “97.1 The Ticket” in Detroit basically knocked Clear Channel’s WDFN/1130 “The Fan” out of the local sports talk game when it moved from AM 1270, and a CC budget cut coinciding with that success prompted the company to fire ALL of 1130’s local hosts. (They’ve since re-added a few.)

“The Ticket” is pretty much a fixture atop the Detroit ratings since its move to 97.1.

* “98.5 The Sports Hub” in Boston has rapidly diminished that market’s established AM sports outlet, WEEI. It’s overtaken WEEI as the number one sports station, a reign that continues even after the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup on 98.5.

There are other CBS Radio FM sports talkers that haven’t had instant top ratings.

* “93.7 The Fan” in Pittsburgh is mid-pack in the ratings, despite losing AM sports talk competitor ESPN O&O WEAE/1250 “ESPN 1250”. That station left the format not because of its new competitor, but because ESPN exited the format on the owned station in a smaller market. 1250 is currently Pittsburgh’s Radio Disney outlet. Clear Channel’s WBGG/970 is 93.7’s remaining competitor, and took the ESPN programming. Recent reports say that “The Fan” in Da Burgh is scoping out taking the Pirates’ rights from Clear Channel talk WPGB/104.7.

But that’s our point.

CBS Radio is not “experimenting” with sports radio expansion.

In Cleveland, the station has no local play-by-play rights, but will certainly aggressively pursue them whenever those rights start becoming available.

(Wouldn’t an interesting first move be to steal the Ohio State University Buckeyes from WKNR, when that contract comes up next year?)

But there’s no mistaking…CBS Radio wants the Cleveland Browns rights, and bad. Look at that logo again…it’s orange and brown. That’s no accident.

We still don’t know exactly when the Browns can shop around again, but we believe there’s an option year next year, and the contract with Clear Channel runs through 2013. (We’d appreciate any correction to that.)

We also hear CBS is also “very interested” in the Indians contract, whenever that comes up.

As for WKNR, well…

We have heard what are surely consultant-driven tweaks on WKNR’s highest profile show, “The Really Big Show” with Tony Rizzo and company, weekdays 9 AM-1 PM.

We heard shows with and without Rizzo’s sidekicks, Aaron Goldhammer and Chris Fedor. We’ve heard speeded up shows that almost sounded like they were sprinting on the air. That is likely because consultants are advising spoken word stations to tighten up their segments in a PPM world.

We’ve heard WKNR respond to the loss of voiceover guy Paul Turner with…another deep voiced guy doing a pretty good Paul Turner impersonation.

We’d like to hear more. Despite some of the hits “ESPN 850 WKNR” gets among those anxious for a new competitor, Craig Karmazin is not going to shrink, fold up his tent and go home.

But will he make major changes responding to his new competitor?

We realize much of this reporting on Cleveland’s new FM sports station has been one sided, since we haven’t heard much from the Galleria. But we’d love to hear if anything is in the works there on Monday, or beyond.

To use a sports comparison here…the Cleveland Browns open their 2011 NFL regular season on September 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Just showing up with nice uniforms and good athletes will not mean that the officials will award the game to the Browns without playing, just like beating the Bengals will not mean an automatic berth in the Super Bowl.

“92.3 The Fan” won’t win the Cleveland sports radio ratings race just by going on the air on Monday. There is an entrenched competitor (not to mention the huge competition from Clear Channel talk WTAM and rock/talk WMMS for the male audience!), and we know the folks at the Halle Building are aware of that.

We often suspect that 92.3 program director Andy Roth, assuming he’s reading this blog, has had a bunch of out-of-body experiences reading our items about his new radio station. He may have looked behind him a few times to see if anyone was watching.

We’re sorry for that, Andy, but we look forward to the future of sports radio in Cleveland however it shakes out…and you’re always welcome to proactively drop us a line.

And that goes for the folks over at the Galleria as well…we’ll have a lot of fun listening to and watching the back and forth in this true radio battle.

As we finish this item, just after midnight hours before “92.3 The Fan”‘s launch, a major hat tip to our Secondary Editorial Voice(tm), better known as long-time OMW helper/tipster Nathan Obral.

This was certainly a “team coverage” story if ever there was one for a media blog.

Both Nathan and your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) were inundated with information, most of it so on target that we paused a few times to make sure we had confidence in the information.

We had Andy Roth’s name and destination before he even left Buffalo. Both of us found out about “Kiley and Booms” before Kevin Kiley’s home station in Miami even knew he was coming here.

Nathan had a number of key pieces of information that we didn’t have on this side of the blog.

The kudos, though, go not directly to us, but to those who supplied accurate, updated information from literally all over the country.

As we said early on, “if you saw what we’re seeing, you’d be on board with this, too”, when skeptics said this wasn’t coming.

It’s over with now, at least the debut is about to be.

Let the sports radio battle begin…

Weekend Quick Items

Two quick items, the first written by our own Secondary Editorial Voice, the second, your Primary…

MICHAEL STANLEY ON LEAVE: This is probably the very last thing CBS classic rock WNCX/98.5 wanted to deal with right now.

In the wake of canceling (and Soviet-style purging) “The Maxwell Show” earlier in the morning, PD/midday host Bill Louis posted on WNCX’s website a bombshell regarding longtime afternoon drive icon Michael Stanley.

You might have noticed something is up in the afternoons. Michael Stanley will be taking an extended leave of absence to deal with personal matters. We respect his privacy and wish him well.

We’ll still be bringing you the best Classic Rock every afternoon for your drive home.

Evening personality Paula Balish filled in for Michael on Friday afternoon, and disclosed the website posting during the 4pm hour. No word on if she, or whomever, will assume the afternoon slot in his place. (Especially considering whomever will take the slot vacated by Maxwell’s departure is another big question mark.)

(UPDATE from your Primary Editorial Voice[tm]: OMW hears that Michael is not ill, and is attending to a personal family concern. As far as we know, he will return to the WNCX when the personal leave is over. We felt the need to clarify this, because some were concerned about his own health. It is a serious situation, but not a reoccurence of previous health problems for the WNCX afternoon driver…)

BRUCE’S PASSING: Veteran Cleveland broadcaster Bruce Ryan had a lot of friends – both in area radio studios, and at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting in Independence, where he shaped a lot of future broadcast careers.

Bruce Ryan passed away this past week, we hear Friday afternoon at his home. He had been at a local hospice.

Since we learned of the news, our inbox has been peppered with notes from many who have worked with him, knew him, or were instructed by him at OCB.

He apparently touched a lot of lives in this broadcasting market.

Though he’s most known in recent years for being director of the local broadcasting school, Bruce Ryan had an on-air run at stations like the former WGAR/1220 (now Salem Christian talker WHKW) and WLTF/106.5 “Lite Rock 106.5” (now Clear Channel variety hits WHLK “The Lake”).

We have word of Bruce’s memorial services, as well.

They will be Saturday, September 3rd at 10 AM at the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd, 8235 Memphis Ave. in the Cleveland suburb of Brooklyn.

An early Sunday morning hat tip to OMW reader Ed Esposito for that information…

Little Doubt: Maxwell Out

It appears that CBS Radio Cleveland classic rocker WNCX/98.5 is moving on without “The Maxwell Show”.

Program director Bill Louis is on the station this morning, playing the station’s usual classic rock music, with not a hint of any mention of “The Maxwell Show”, the talk show which has occupied the WNCX morning drive airwaves.

And the exclamation point on Maxwell’s exit comes when you go to the WNCX website, which has been scrubbed of all mentions of the show, not to mention “The Maxwell Show”‘s own section of the website, which returns “Page not found – Sorry, no posts matched your criteria” as of this morning.

We coined a phrase for this: it’s the most complete “Soviet-style purge” of a station’s morning show that we’ve ever seen, both on the web and on the air.

We don’t know the behind-the-scenes on this yet.

We do know that just one studio over, CBS Radio’s Cleveland cluster (male audience division) is about to debut a new, high-profile, multi-person morning show on WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” – set to start as a sports station on Monday.

With Kevin Kiley, Chuck Booms, update anchor Jeff Thomas and producers Tony Mazur and Josh Potter, is there any room for the similarly-staffed “Maxwell Show” in the Halle Building competing for that audience?

It would seem not.

A major hat tip to our own Secondary Editorial Voice(tm), Nathan Obral, for posting this news on his Twitter account on Thursday evening…

The Fan, One Week Out

With the debut of CBS Radio sports station “92.3 The Fan” on WKRK/92.3 less than one week away, we have to update some stuff…including some loose ends regarding the outgoing “Radio 92.3” alt-rock format…

LINEUP (NEARLY) SET: The station’s weekday host lineup is nearly set, with a couple of things still out there.

* We already knew that former Fox Sports Radio duo “Kiley and Booms” (Kevin Kiley paired with Euclid’s own Chuck Booms) were set to anchor morning drive.

We hear that a familiar voice when it comes to morning drive sports radio news updates will join them, though we haven’t confirmed that as of yet.

We hear that speculation that Kiley will be doing his part of the show via ISDN from his home area of Northern Virginia is inaccurate, with Kiley to sit next to Booms in the Halle Building each morning. Or, at least, in the same studio.

We blame a Miami Herald story on Kiley’s departure from WQAM/560 there for part of that, by the way. Kiley’s general manager told the paper that his host was leaving his Dallas-based show with former Dallas Cowboys great Michael Irvin to go home to Virginia “for personal reasons”…while it was known by many that Kiley was heading for 92.3’s morning drive slot here. Maybe “for personal reasons” meant that he had to pick up some stuff in Virginia first.

* It is all but confirmed that Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” sports director Andy Baskin will be heard on “The Fan” from 10 AM to 2 PM.

Though this cat was let out of the bag by Akron Beacon Journal sportswriter George Thomas in his Friday “Airing It Out” sports media column, we have also been aware of this news since last week. And the phrase “have you heard about Andy Baskin and the new sports station?” has been heavy in our E-mail the past week or so, though we haven’t heard from Baskin ourselves.

Baskin will be paired with someone, but we don’t know whom.

As of yet, we hear that no co-host has been named for the 10 AM-2 PM slot on 92.3, and that the second chair could be filled by anyone from a newspaper type, or another radio type, or an ex-athlete. We could find out on Monday at 10 AM.

Baskin is not at all a stranger to radio.

He does NewsChannel 5-branded sports updates on CBS Radio brother classic rocker WNCX/98.5, and has done them for three years (remotely – he’s not a part of the station’s morning show crew).

And his NewsChannel 5 bio points out that it’ll be a return to the frequency to him.

He was sports director of the old “92Q” WRQC, the station’s top 40 incarnation some years back. (It’s also Booms’ return, of course, after a brief stint as a morning co-host in the “Jammin’ 92.3” days.) Baskin also did sports talk on WBNS/1460 “The Fan”, back in its days as an AM outlet, so he’s no stranger to saying “The Fan” into a microphone.

Again, as noted, this will be a second job for Baskin…he’ll remain as WEWS’ sports director.

His name was noted on the air briefly last week by the last guy to do the TV sports/talk radio split, Good Karma Broadcasting sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850″‘s Tony Rizzo, former sports anchor at Local TV LLC WJW/8 “Fox 8″…

* He’s not on the air yet, but Adam “The Bull” Gerstenhaber (no, he won’t use his last name on the air) has been laying down the groundwork for his new Cleveland audience by very extensive use of social media.

He’s been doing online commentary on Browns and Indians games, sharing details about himself and his life (he just moved to Lakewood) and interacting with listeners and future listeners, much like he did in his stint at New York’s WFAN/660, the original “Fan” sports talker.

One thing he hasn’t been able to share yet – the name of his 2-7 PM co-host…

* Like the E-mail about Andy Baskin’s involvement with “The Fan”, one name has been peppering our inbox attached to the station’s 7 PM-midnight slot.

He’s Ken Carman, the former Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 Akron “Fox Sports 1350” afternoon drive host who has continued his work on the broadcast team for the minor league Akron Aeros on that same station.

We haven’t confirmed his hiring yet, but if we turn on the radio to 92.3 Monday evening at 7 and don’t hear his voice, we’ll be shocked.

And with the Aeros in the home stretch of their season, we’ll assume Jim Clark can handle the team’s call solo in the last week or two…

* As we reported earlier, Fox Sports Radio will fill 92.3’s overnight hours, and presumably some weekend hours.

A lot is still not known yet, at least by us.

We’ve heard a number of names kicked around for other on-air and off-air duties, including update anchors and beat reporters, but nothing confirmed.

We also have no details about what local programming “The Fan” will mount on weekends, though we certainly expect that the station will do a lot on weekends.

Off-air, CBS Radio promotions staffers have been showing up at the infamous Muni Lot before the Browns’ first two pre-season games on behalf of “The Fan”, a radio station that has yet to take to the airwaves.

* And that “Radio 92.3” loose end…we hear that the station’s only live, local show, Sunday night’s local music showcase “Inner Sanctum”, has found a landing spot.

Starting Sunday, September 4th, we hear that “Inner Sanctum” will slide over to Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting AAA outlet WNWV/107.3 “V107.3”, not even missing one week on the air. (The last show on 92.3 will air Sunday night.) As far as we know, it’ll retain the same 10 PM-midnight time slot.

The move makes sense, when you consider “Inner Sanctum’s” “Pat the Producer” worked with V107.3 program director “Rocco” Bennett at WENZ/107.9, back in its rock days as “The End”…

* Coming up: What is WKNR doing about its coming competition? We’ll tackle (get it? tackle?) that in a later item…and yes, there are plenty of signs that the Galleria is gearing up for the battle…

Some Other Stuff

We’re just a week away from the debut of a new station that’s held much of our attention lately…CBS Radio’s incoming Cleveland sports talk outlet, the transformation of alt-rock WKRK/92.3 “Radio 92.3” to “92.3 The Fan” next Monday.

We’ll have plenty more to update about that story later today. But for now, some other stuff…

JIM’S COMING BACK: With health problems sidelining him from calling Cleveland Browns preseason games on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, a lot of viewers are wondering…when will Jim Donovan return to the microphone?

Thanks to his Browns radio partner Doug Dieken, we have an answer – soon.

Browns AM flagship Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 newsman (and OMW Reader) Tom Moore talked to Dieken, who says Donovan is getting ready to return to the booth for the regular season opener September 11th against Cincinnati:

Dieken said he had talked to Donovan before the game Friday, and according to Dieken, “He says he’s feeling great and he’s looking forward to being back for the opener.”

We don’t know if Donovan’s return to the Browns radio booth means his return to WKYC, where, of course, he is sports director.

An item earlier this month by our blogging colleague Frank Macek in WKYC’s “Director’s Cut” blog said Donovan responded “remarkably well” to his bone marrow transplant, part of his treatment for leukemia, but we don’t know if he’s able tor return to the Browns radio booth AND the WKYC sports desk.

Donovan normally does the WKYC pre-season games, with WTAM sports director Mike Snyder taking over play-by-play on the radio side…then Donovan does the regular season games with Dieken on the Browns Radio Network.

NBC affiliate WNYT/13 Albany NY weekend sports anchor Andrew Catalon has been doing the WKYC preseason games in Donovan’s absence.

His bio indicates that he’s done various network play-by-play work (including curling in NBC’s Olympics coverage) and at least one New York Giants preseason game, and regular fill-in on the network’s “Sports Desk”.

If WNYT sounds familiar to you as an OMW reader, there’s a good reason: WNYT primary weekday news anchor Jim Kambrich spent 10 years in Akron, at then-WAKC/23’s “23 Newsday”…

VETERAN VALLEY PLAY BY PLAY VOICE HOSPITALIZED: A veteran sports play-by-play voice in the Mahoning Valley was looking forward to the start of the high school football season.

Sadly, instead of being behind a microphone this week, Whiplash Radio standards WHTX/1570 Warren sports broadcaster Bob Church is sidelined in the hospital.

Church suffered “a massive heart attack” Friday, according to WHTX operations manager Jim Davison, less than a week before he was set to return to calling high school football games.

Davison tells us that announcers Ed Kornlos and Tim Gaffey will call games on WHTX in Bob’s absence.

We don’t know much more about Church’s condition, but sincerely hope he fully recovers and is able to return to something he truly loves, calling high school sports on the radio…

PD CHANGE IN AKRON: The change isn’t apparent to listeners of Rubber City Radio rock WONE/97.5 Akron, because the on-air lineup is not changing.

But morning co-host Tim Daugherty and midday host T.K. O’Grady have swapped off-air roles at the station.

Daugherty takes over as program director, swapping titles with O’Grady, who is now assistant program director.

As noted, both men remain in their existing on-air roles: Daugherty still hosting mornings with Christi Nichols, and O’Grady still helming the station’s midday shift.

And of course, Daugherty still voicetracks afternoon drive on sister oldies/news WAKR/1590…though with his extra time at West Market Street, he may well be in the building when that shift airs…

GOLDEN VOICE SUES: Remember Ted Williams?

He’s the out of work Columbus radio voice who was “discovered” by a Columbus Dispatch reporter panhandling along a Central Ohio road. Once the reporter heard his “Golden Voice”, Williams became a national sensation…being offered various gigs, from voiceover work for Kraft to a job with the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

(He did the Kraft spot, but the Cavaliers eventually pulled back after various problems surfaced in Williams’ life, including repeated stints in and out of rehab.)

One of those offers extended to Williams was a reality TV show entitled “Second Chances of Life”.

TMZ reports that he’s now suing the people involved in that project, including big voiceover names Randy Thomas and Joe Cipriano. (Hat tip to All Access for the find, since we don’t spend a lot of time with TMZ.)

Quoting the TMZ item

Williams — the homeless guy who became famous for his voice of thunder — claims when he hit it big earlier this year, he couldn’t handle the pressure and was plagued with “significant drug and alcohol abuse” and was “totally incapable of understanding what was happening to him or handling [his] own affairs.”

According to TMZ, the suit says Thomas, Cipriano and producer Zev Suissa “got Williams to sign a ‘one-sided, onerous, burdensome, non-negotiated and blatantly unfair’ deal that gives them a huge chunk of any money Williams makes,” aware of his substance abuse issues.

There’s no word on if the trial will be on truTV, the cable network once known as Court TV, or if Williams will do voiceovers for his own lawsuit…