Air Traffic Control

The comings and goings in Northeast Ohio media are starting to stack up like planes waiting to land or take off at Hopkins Airport, so let’s clear some of these jets now…

JIM’S BACK, NO, REALLY: Stop us if you’re heard this before – Cleveland Browns Radio Network play-by-play voice Jim Donovan will be back in the booth on Sunday, after undergoing successful bone marrow transplant surgery in his 10 year battle with leukemia.

No, really, he’ll be back…and not just on radio.

OMW passed along word weeks ago that Donovan’s Browns Radio partner Doug Dieken said to expect Jim back in the booth for Sunday’s season opener against Cincinnati…that word coming from Donovan’s radio sub, WTAM/1100 sports director Mike Snyder, and passed along to us and the world in a WTAM.com article written by WTAM newsman and OMW reader Tom Moore. (There, we think we have that order right!)

Monday, Twitter was blowing up with sportswriters and beat reporters mentioning Donovan’s appearance at the Browns training camp in Berea, so we asked around, and CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” Browns beat reporter Daryl Ruiter told us that Donovan was indeed preparing for his return to the Browns radio booth.

Now, it’s official, thanks to Donovan’s TV employer, Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, which also announces that Jim will be back in front of the camera starting Monday, September 12th…at 6 PM and 7 PM.

But earlier, the Lake County News-Herald’s Bob Finnan got the story from Donovan, who says he is definitely feeling up to the task.

He was released from University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center – one of that facility’s first patients ever – in late June, and set a goal to return to the Browns Radio booth for the start of the regular season.

A quick recovery from the transplant made it possible, he tells the News-Herald’s Finnan:

“Right now, my blood counts are almost perfect,” Donovan said. “My immune system is back and getting stronger. I’m 85 days after the transplant. When you get to 100 days, it’s a road mark for the doctors and you to see how it’s engrafting. All signs are very, very good.”

And good enough to return to TV at the same time, though he’ll only do the 6 PM and 7 PM WKYC newscasts for now.

All we know is this: it’ll feel “right” to us on Sunday to hear Jim Donovan in the booth.

Mike Snyder is a very capable sub, but we’ll be optimists and hope for an end to the NBA lockout, so he can occupy the Joe Tait Perch at the Q…and yes, based on recent reports, some call us a dreamer…

BIG CHUCK AND LI’L JOHN BACK: In our continuing theme of “big name” local broadcasters returning…yes, Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8” is bringing back two of their biggest names.

The station premieres a half-hour show featuring classic “Big Chuck and Li’l John” skits, starting Saturday at 11 AM.

OMW hears that there has been some new production for the show, somewhere, though we don’t exactly know what form the show will take.

The show had been rumored to be destined for WJW’s 8.2 “Antenna TV” subchannel (where such classic skits would fit well, and could probably repeat often), but it’s on the main channel’s programming schedule at least for the next couple of weeks (as well as a late night Saturday night/Sunday morning repeat at 1:30 AM).

Perhaps they will seed reruns of the new show on 8.2 at some point when a few are in the books…

BROWNS SHOW ON 8: Among the changes announced on WJW recently – a new “Browns Insider” weekly show featuring – and presented by – the local NFL team.

Quoting a release by Browns PR staff on the new show, which will air on “Fox 8” on Sundays from 11-11:30 AM:

The program will be hosted by the Browns’ Jamir Howerton, and will feature a weekly one-on-one interview with Head Coach Pat Shurmur, conducted by Browns Senior Editor Vic Carucci. The show will also contain a player interview segment with Fox 8’s Allie LaForce. Other content will consist of interviews with members of the Browns coaching staff, as well as features on current and former players. The program will also air live on the team’s scoreboard prior to home games, and portions of the program will be archived online at ClevelandBrowns.com.

Sure sounds like the TV equivalent of “Cleveland Browns Daily”, which the Browns air weeknights at 6 PM on Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850 WKNR”, doesn’t it?

It looks like the Browns are moving more and more in the direction of controlling as much of their own media as they can…

FALL SHOWS: The new Browns show, and the “Big Chuck and Li’l John Show” skit show are also listed by the Plain Dealer’s Mark Dawidziak, in the annual rundown of what local TV stations are doing programming-wise this fall.

It’s a good guide, if you’re wondering where your favorite talk show, court show or other syndicated programming is going this season.

The Big Question was answered long ago, when Scripps stations like WEWS/5 opted to replace outgoing Queen of Daytime Oprah Winfrey with a Friend of Oprah, “Dr. Oz” (Cleveland native Mehmet Oz).

But Mark’s piece does answer one question we had – the 10 AM airing of “Dr. Oz” will be on a one week delay from the new airings at 4 PM…

BYE, BYE, TONY: Long-time syndicated sports radio host Tony Bruno is leaving his late-night perch at Fox Sports Radio – again.

But rather than leaping to another national sports network – and Bruno has been at all of them – he is exiting the national scene to return to his beloved Philadelphia, where he’ll helm a local show on WPEN/97.5-950 “The Fanatic”.

Bruno’s done that before, but this time, he’s moving to Philadelphia, and will concentrate on the local program…which means that the very last “Into the Night with Tony Bruno” show will air on FSR on Friday night. Yes, THIS Friday night.

That means that starting Monday, FSR will offer new programming to affiliates that carried Bruno, like CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” in Cleveland (one hour, 12 midnight-1 AM), Clear Channel sports WNIO/1390 “The Sports Animal” in Youngstown, and the world headquarters of Tony Bruno Syndicated Radio, Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 “Fox Sports 1350” in Akron.

Monday, FSR will debut “Fox Sports Evenings”, with weekenders Rob Dibble (MLB all-star pitcher) and Mike North (former Chicago radio/TV talk host).

Dibble once worked at ESPN Radio with Dan Patrick, and North became a radio talk show host after owning a number of hot dog stands, bumping into radio station brass, and eventually becoming one of the original hosts on now-CBS Radio-owned WSCR in Chicago (brother station to WKRK).

We don’t know if this is permanent or not, but it’ll be an interesting combo.

And since Tony Bruno is fully exiting network radio, after stints at ESPN, Sporting News Radio (now Yahoo Sports Radio) and two stints at FSR, WARF won’t be able to follow him.

The Akron station has carried all of Bruno’s syndicated stints, even switching networks once or twice to do so.

The best guess on Bruno’s return to local radio? “The Fanatic” is now facing a huge FM challenge from incumbent CBS Radio Philadelphia AM sports talker WIP/610, which recently took over the spot at 94.1 from long-time rocker WYSP…and WPEN likely considers a local Bruno show fully focused on Philadelphia to be a key component for them in the FM Sports Radio Race…

A FACE FOR TV TRAFFIC: Metro Networks is still operating its Cleveland presence out of Detroit, with some local personalities “embedded” at area affiliates.

The ranks of Metro “embeds” in Ohio are likely to grow, as the company is searching for new TV traffic reporters in the state.

No, we don’t know which, if any, Cleveland stations would be affected. Metro has one TV embed in the market right now, Joy Redmond at CBS affiliate WOIO/19’s “19 Action News”, who took over for long-time Metro staffer Rick Abell.

The ad, from Metro’s Howard Bouten in Detroit, is below. The “totaltraffic.com” E-mail address is a reminder that Metro is merging into Clear Channel, though that merger is in suspended animation right now due to government review…

————-

Metro Traffic is immediately seeking candidates for several ON-AIR television positions in various Ohio Markets. Openings are Full-Time, Part-Time and Fill-In positions.

These Metro TV Traffic Anchors will be based at the TV station locations but managed from the Detroit Regional Hub. Successful candidates will have appropriate broadcast experience and skills, ability to multi-task, experience reporting traffic, knowledge of the roads in the appropriate OH market, a relentless nature and no fear of time pressure. Reporting, editing and writing experience may prove to be valuable in some cases. All submissions will be reviewed by broadcast affiliates for approval.

Submit a package ASAP that could include video demos, writing samples, a resume, audio samples, a cover letter and references to:

Howard Bouton
Regional Director of Operations
3000 Town Center #2160
Southfield, MI 48075

OR

OhioTVOpenings (at) totaltraffic.com

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4 Responses to Air Traffic Control

  1. Becky and Ron Schaaf says:

    I couldn’t be happier that Jim is back!! His subs have done fine, but nobody can replace Jimmy Donovan….nobody!!

    Also, because of Jim sharing with the world what he was going through, I finally got my rear in gear and signed up as an official bone marrow donor. I haven’t been contacted to donate yet, but I’ve done all the preliminary stuff to be on their list to be called. I hope I am able to give at some point and help someone the way Jim was helped.

    Jim, WELCOME BACK!!! We will be watching!

  2. MrCleaveland says:

    Do you know anything about “The Point After”? That was a post-game Browns show hosted by Jim Donovan that ran every Monday at 7 p.m. on Channel 3. The panel included Sam Rutigliano, Tony Grossi, and Doug Dieken. I loved that show, but when I tuned in last night at 7, all they had was yet another newscast.

    Is “The Point After” gone for good? Did perhaps STO pick it up? Anybody know?

    • See our item “Clearing Out The Inbox” just down the scroll, right after the video for Fox 8’s new weekend morning news.

      I’m also told that STO returns “Sunday Strategy” this year with the exact same cast (including Jim when he comes back to that show), except it’s before the game instead of after.

      • MrCleaveland says:

        Thanks. I missed that item.

        It’s too bad they killed The Point After. It was on for years, and I thought it was pretty popular. It had just the right tone and a good cast. Oh well.

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