Early Week Pileup

Some items have been piling up here at OMW World Headquarters, so it’s time to clear the traffic lanes…

QUICK EXIT: Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” has parted ways with reporter/anchor Justin Michaels, rather suddenly.

From a brief station memo about his exit from news director Jill Manuel:

I want to share the news that Justin Michaels is no longer with NewsChannel 5. Please join me in wishing Justin luck in his future endeavors.

From what we’re hearing out of 3001 Euclid, Manuel could well have added “…but don’t let him back in the building.”

OMW hears that Michaels’ exit happened after he had more than one open confrontation in the newsroom, and that it’s probably not likely that many NewsChannel 5 staffers will meet him for coffee any time soon…

IT’S SD INSTEAD: For some time, over-air viewers of New Vision CBS affiliate WKBN/27 Youngstown got a bonus – a full high definition simulcast of “Fox Youngstown” on WKBN’s 27.2 subchannel.

This especially served its purpose when the true home of “Fox Youngstown” was WYFX-LP/62, an analog station that was once paired with now-dark WFXI-CA/17 Mercer PA as “Fox 17/62”.

Of course, New Vision recently converted WYFX-LP to digital low power status, and is broadcasting (in HD) on the new WYFX-LD 19.

At some point, observers expected New Vision to downgrade the HD simulcast on 27.2 to standard definition, and that, they have finally done.

Viewers in the market say it appears to be deliberate…27.2’s PSIP information has changed to “WYFX-SD”…so now, the only over-air HD source for “Fox Youngstown” ls WYFX-LD 19. (Of course, “Fox Youngstown” is also available in HD on local cable systems.)

That has some over-air viewers with HDTV sets outside the immediate Youngstown/Warren/Niles area upset (not to mention some on the eastern edge of the Cleveland/Akron market), because WYFX is a low-power station.

We don’t know why WKBN decided to flip 27.2 to SD, though there are some advantages…for one, the move returns WKBN’s main CBS and local HD programming to full 1080i resolution. now that 27.2 is back to 480i.

When the “Fox Youngstown” HD signal was added (at 720p, Fox’s standard), the 27.1 CBS/WKBN side was downconverted to 720p, and some noticed occasional picture glitches.

We have also heard speculation that Fox forced the move, now that WYFX has an HD signal of its own, but we can’t at all confirm that..

ANN’S CORNER: OK, so we only call it that because this item involves Kent State University public outlet WKSU/89.7’s “Folk Alley” programming service… and because it came from Good Friend of OMW Ann VerWiebe, WKSU’s marketing type and official OMW Handler.

(Again, we’re pretty sure WKSU doesn’t pay her any extra to deal with us, much like public media counterpart Western Reserve PBS doesn’t pay Diane Steinert extra for that additional, unofficial title.)

Ann tells us that Folk Alley will be teaming up with NPR Music to webcast an important awards event:

Join Folk Alley and NPR Music for a live webcast of the 2011 AMA Awards and Honors show, Thursday, Oct. 13 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. The webcast is hosted by veteran Americana music radio DJ Jessie Scott and music critic Ann Powers and it will be streamed at FolkAlley.com and NPRMusic.org. Performances will be archived for on-demand listening. Leading up to the event, both websites will host a sidestream of music by this year’s AMA nominees and past winners.

Presented by the Americana Music Association, the annual Awards and Honors ceremony returns to the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville and features performances by roots music stars and emerging acts. Grammy Award-winner Jim Lauderdale acts as the on-stage emcee – inviting the best in Americana to the stage.

WKSU is pretty much a typical NPR local affiliate on the radio side, but Folk Alley continues to operate on the national stage…

JIM’S BACK: Our best “get well” thoughts to nationality/standards WKTX/830 Cortland operations manager/chief engineer James “Jimmy” Georgiades.

His fiancee, a regular OMW reader, tells us that Georgiades has been at home recovering from a heart attack late last month.

With the WKTX staff holding the place together and keeping it on the air while he recuperates, Georgiades will still do his regular radio show, “Dimitri’s Greek Radio Show,” on Sunday afternoons from 3-4 PM (in the Greek language).

We’re told that he thanks everyone (his family, friends, co-workers, and colleagues) for prayers, thoughts, and support he has received…


THIS JUST IN: Cavaliers Name Michael, Broadcast Team

The NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers have named the team’s new radio broadcast team.

And the new play-by-play voice is a surprise to many.

John Michael, a host on Fox Sports Ohio’s NHL Columbus Blue Jackets coverage, has the monumental task of being the next Cavs radio voice after retired legend Joe Tait.

Michael is not a stranger to working for a Dan Gilbert-owned team at Quicken Loans Arena… he was the first radio/TV voice of the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters.

Jim Chones’ stint doing analysis with Mike Snyder in Tait’s medical absence apparently won him that gig permanently alongside Michael.

And Snyder, the 20 year veteran of Cavaliers Radio and sports director of Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100, returns to his familiar role as the radio pre-game/halftime/post-game host.

We’ll have more on this, later today…

Ghoulardifest 2011 Release

This release on the annual Ghoulardifest is reprinted here in full, due to its wide appeal to our regular readership…the wording is as sent to us… — Your Primary Editorial Voice(tm)


OCTOBER 14th, 15th, 16th

5615 Chevrolet Blvd.
Parma, Ohio

Friday, 5:00p.m. til 9:00p.m.
Saturday, 10:00a.m. til 7:00p.m.
Sunday, 11:00a.m. til 5:00p.m.

Cleveland’s giant pop culture celebration, Ghoulardifest returns with a star studded weekend saluting one of the great radio stations of all time, the legendary WIXY 1260. Ghoulardifest VII will see the debut of Mike Olszewski and Richard Berg’s much anticipated history of the station, WIXY 1260: Pixies, Six-Packs and Supermen (Kent State University / Black Squirrel Press). Along with Mike and Rich, Ghoulardifest will host WIXY jocks Jim LaBarbara, Larry Morrow and Bob Charles, discussing the book along with their own stories about a very special time in Cleveland radio. It’s a rare and exciting opportunity to meet the pioneers of rock radio!

The 2010 Ghoulardifest was a huge success drawing more than 5000 to visit with the personalities that shaped their lives. This year’s Ghoulardifest promises to be the biggest yet, and one of the most successful conventions of its kind in the entire Midwest!


Charles Herbert has been in dozens of yours (and Ernie Anderson’s) favorite films, including The Fly, 13 Ghosts, House Boat (with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren), Please Don’t Eat The Daisies (with Doris Day), The Monster That Challenged The World, The Colossus of New York ….and many more. You’ve also seen Charles in The Twilight Zone, The Donna Reed Show, The Patty Duke Show, My Three Sons, Family Affair, Julia, One Step Beyond, Science Fiction Theatre, Johnny Carson… and on and on! Charles Herbert will be meeting fans all three days at Ghoulardifest!


More guests have been announced for this year’s Ghoulardifest, including:

Dick Goddard
– The long time Cleveland weather forecaster returns to Ghoulardifest with stories of his own career and tales of the pioneering days of Northeast Ohio television. And don’t be surprised to see one of Ghoulardifest’s favorite guests, the Plain Dealer’s Tom Feran discussing his best selling book “Ghoulardi – Inside Cleveland TV’s Wildest Ride”

Bill Ward
– The legendary voice of WJW joins us for a behind the scenes look at a career spanning four decades! Bill will also talk about his movie roles, including the film “Unstoppable.”

Son of Ghoul
– The longest running TV show of its kind in Northeast Ohio history, the Son of Ghoul returns to celebrate his 25th anniversary on the air! A huge fan favorite, SOG presents a side-splitting stage show that’s great fun for everyone in the family!

Jungle Bob
– Carrying on a Northeast Ohio tradition, Jungle Bob will present his hilarious look at the animal world that’s informative as well as entertaining.

Mark Dawidziak
– The respected Plain Dealer TV critic and author will cover a wide range of topics during his visit to this year’s Ghoulardifest.

Mike Olszewski & Rich Berg –
– They’ve authored what is expected to be one of the hottest books this Christmas season, WIXY 1260: Pixies, Six-Packs and Supermen. Rich and Mike will have a special stage salute to WIXY along with the jocks that made the station famous! It’s a rare opportunity to get your book signed by some of the legends of Cleveland radio!

Jim Szymanski
– Veteran radio personality and the original master of ceremonies carries on that long tradition at Ghoulardifest VII. There will also be a special retrospective and salute to Jim for his own work on the Big Chuck and Lil John show. Plus, a Ghoulardifest celebration honoring the comedic talents of Art Lofredo, Roy “Captain Eddie” Leasure and, of course, the one and only Big Stash!

Mary Anne Winkowski,
– The ” Ghost Whisperer” – The true-life inspiration for the show “Ghost Whisperer”, you won’t believe the surprises Mary Anne has for fans at this year’s Ghoulardifest! She’ll be greeting folks at the Ghoulardi fest Saturday and Sunday and will also have autographed books and merchandise

John Thornburg
– You’ve enjoyed his work for years! The long time card artist will be discussing his many contributions to the Big Chuck and Lil’ John show.

The WIXY 1260 Band
– One of the busiest bands in Northeast Ohio makes a special appearance on Saturday to salute the legendary radio station.

– You’ll swear that Elvis has returned when Caesere channels the King on the Ghoulardifest stage!

And, of course, your hosts…
“Big Chuck” Schodowski and “Lil’ John” Rinaldi – Chuck will also discuss his book detailing his life in front of the camera starting with the king himself, Ernie “Ghoulardi” Anderson. John Rinaldi remains one of Northeast Ohio’s most beloved television personalities. Bob “Hoolihan” Wells – The “heir apparent” to WJW’s late night legacy returns with tales of the early days of Friday night lunacy.

And those are just a few of the stars who will be making appearances at this year’s Ghoulardifest, with many more to be announced in the coming weeks.


What would Ghoulardifest be without a HUGE dealer’s room? Here’s a chance to get a jump on your Christmas shopping with one of a kind collectibles, autographs, and hard to find toys, posters, videos, and much more. The dealer’s room has memorabilia and merchandise for every budget, available only at Ghoulardifest! Even more vendors this year!

Ghoulardifest is also a FAMILY FRIENDLY event! This year’s ‘fest includes continuous live entertainment on stage, plus contests, prizes, games, and a movie room featuring nostalgia TV shows & live skits.

The Wide World Of Media

Another set of items on our plate, and we’re hungry, so let’s eat…

5’S NEW ANCHOR: Again, this is no surprise to OMW readers, who read about it last week, but Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 has officially announced the name of its new 11 PM co-anchor.

The shoes Chris Flanagan has to fill at “NewsChannel 5” are big – those of retired anchor Ted Henry (who left those empty shoes in May 2009), but the anchor heading to Cleveland from Dallas is looking to hit the ground running.

From the station’s official release, posted this evening on NewsNet5.com:

Currently a morning news anchor at WFAA in Dallas, Chris has 15 years of broadcasting experience. At WFAA, he has covered major events such as the Ft. Hood massacre, World Series and Super Bowl.

Prior to working in Dallas, Chris was the main anchor at WOI in Des Moines, where he helped the station earn its first “Best Newscast” award. There he also hosted two Presidential debate specials and moderated the 2006 Democratic gubernatorial debate.

WEWS confirms that Flanagan will occupy the 11 PM co-anchor chair next to Danita Harris, with chief meteorologist Mark Johnson and sports director Andy Baskin still rounding out the team.

There’s no word on what Chris will do other than co-anchor the 11 PM weeknight broadcast with Harris, but in this converged, multimedia world, he’ll certainly do a lot.

From the WEWS release:

“We’re looking forward to adding Chris to our experienced team at 11p.m.,” stated NewsChannel5 News Director Jill Manuel. “He will play a role in expanding our in-depth coverage of stories northeast Ohioans want to know about before bed, as well as complement the personalities our viewers enjoy and trust.”

“Our audiences on all platforms will get to know Chris very soon,” added station VP & General Manager Sam Rosenwasser. “His contributions will add another layer of dimension to our already strong 11 p.m. newscast.”

We’d like to correct an error in our earlier item – Flanagan has been present at WFAA until his departure for Cleveland…most recently as co-host of the station’s mid-morning show “Good Morning Texas”. He went to that show after starting as an early morning anchor.

Dallas TV critic Ed Bark got the confirmation on his departure from WFAA management, and says he’ll be in Texas “for most of October”.

And he notes the original item in the online TV news gossip supersite NewsBlues.com:

The subscription website newsblues.com first reported Flanagan’s impending transition, saying he had to “wade through six months of focus groups to get the job.”

From what we hear out of 3001 Euclid, that last statement by NewsBlues is no surprise to anyone…

WCLV TRANSFER OFFICIAL: The donation of classical mainstay WCLV/104.9 to its new owners at Cleveland public media empire Ideastream is complete, according to long-time WCLV president and OMW reader Bob Conrad:

October 1 was the date of the closing that passed ownership of WCLV 104.9 to ideastream, the Cleveland public broadcast organization which also operates WVIZ-TV and WCPN FM.

But operationally, nothing has changed.

WCLV moved into the Idea Center at Playhouse Square last year, even before announcing the station sale.

And Conrad’s Cleveland Classical Radio still has the “keys” to run the station for just over a year, as part of the sales arrangement:

WCLV will continue to be operated under an LMA by Cleveland Classical Radio until November 1 of 2012, the 50th anniversary of WCLV. At that time, full operational responsibilities will pass to ideastream.

At least one trade report said that would happen this November, but it’ll be November of next year instead.

Even after Ideastream takes control over WCLV programming, expect very little change. The transfer agreement includes all-but-a-promise that classical music will stay on the station well past the end of the LMA…

RADIO CHANGES AT THE TOP: As Bob Pittman moves up to become the CEO at Clear Channel Radio (after a smaller role there), there are changes in public radio as well.

Gary Knell, most recently the president and CEO of Sesame Workshop (yes, home of PBS children’s TV icon “Sesame Street” and its associated items), takes over as president and CEO of NPR on December 1st.

The news item from NPR itself has more:

Dave Edwards, chairman of NPR’s board of directors, this evening called Knell “an extraordinary leader with extensive experience in public media, programming and education.” For his part, Knell said in a statement that he’s thrilled to be joining “one of the world’s most respected and leading providers of news, music and cultural programming.”

Krell takes the positions left open after Vivian Schiller left NPR in a Whole Lot of Controversy (see the linked NPR item for more).

Public radio watchers note that though he has a dozen years running the House of Big Bird, he has no public radio background – though he does have lots of experience dealing with government funding sources, not a small item for NPR and other public media outlets.

Locally, NPR affiliates include Ideastream’s aforementioned WCPN/90.3 in Cleveland, Kent State University’s WKSU/89.7-and-its-long-list-of-simulcasters, and Youngstown State University’s WYSU/88.5…

Weekend Special

A few items hanging around for the weekend, hiding from all the rain and chilly temperatures…

WEST MARKET CHANGES: Two staffers are no longer at the Akron Radio Center, as the AkronNewsNow newsroom faces an economic-driven “retooling” of some of its operations. But one other staffer is returning.

The layoffs are of two key on-air names at the Rubber City Radio Group newsroom on West Market Street in Akron, which serves oldies/news/sports WAKR/1590, rock WONE/97.5 and country WQMX/94.9: WAKR morning news anchor/assignment editor Marcy Pappafava, and veteran sports anchor/morning news editor Joe Jastrzemski.

Yes, that’s right, Joe Jastrzemski is “on the beach” after a 17 year run covering sports at the Akron stations.

It’s probably much easier to list what he has NOT covered…he’s been a regular at high school, college and pro sports events, and other events like the annual Akron Marathon, which he just covered again last week.

From Joe’s WAKR bio, still in place at this hour on AkronNewsNow.com:

“Following four years in Cleveland, Joe moved onto WELW-AM in Willoughby for over a decade as News and Sports Director. Joe moved to WAKR in 1994 and has been in Akron ever since.

The Associated Press has honored Joe for having the best regularly scheduled sportscast (2005, 2006 and 2007) and also recognized Joe as Ohio’s Medium Market Radio Sportscaster of the Year, Reporter of the Year and News Anchor of the Year.

Joe’s sports experience goes beyond reporting; he has also served as the public address voice of Canal Park for the Akron Aeros for the last ten years, and also works the microphone for Cleveland State men’s and women’s basketball since the 1977-78 season.

Joe also has done play-by-play for the Akron Aeros as well as coverage of Summit County high school games.”

Jastrzemski has also been news editor during the “Ray Horner Morning Show”.

And since Pappafava has been the news anchor for the program, that leaves one on-air opening…and someone returning to the Akron Radio Center will take that role starting Monday.

Lindsay McCoy left the building to take a position as editor of the Cuyahoga Falls edition of Patch.com, the network of local news sites set up by America Online (and now run by AOL’s Huffington Post subsidiary).

She’ll be back on WAKR on Monday as Ray Horner’s news anchor.

It’s definitely a bittersweet set of changes for RCRG VP/Information Media and long-time OMW reader Ed Esposito.

On the “bitter” side, Ed tells us it’s “tough to say goodbye” to Pappafava and Jastrzemski.

“They’re both quality people and quality performers”, Esposito says, noting that he’s known Joe Jastrzemski for 20 years, as one of the first people he met when returning to Cleveland.

Oh, and Ed also hired Marcy – out of a previous career as a retail buyer and manager. The Pittsburgh-area native has been serving as the current president of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters, quite a change from buying trips for big retailers in large cities in her pre-radio life.

But while saying goodbye to two colleagues and friends, Esposito says he’s happy to bring McCoy back to the newsroom, calling her “a great part of our more recent history” who will bring qualities such as “enthusiasm and energy” to Horner’s weekday broadcasts.

“The Ray Horner Morning Show”, with Jastrzemski’s exit from the building, will no longer have regularly scheduled sportscasts, though the show will present sports news as needed.

And the station will continue its carriage of numerous local sports events, including a complete schedule of high school sports play-by-play broadcasts.

In fact, Esposito tells OMW, the station’s high school basketball schedule will be even more extensive this season – thanks to the absence of the Cleveland Cavaliers on the WAKR airwaves, due to the NBA lockout…

RTDN-LOCAL: Esposito is coming off of his terms as chairman of the Radio Television Digital News Association and its associated educational foundation – the news organizations recently changed the “News Directors” part to “Digital News”, so the pair is now known as RTDNA and RTDNF.

The news industry group has long had a bit of an Akron flavor to it, and not just because of Esposito…president-emeritus Barbara Cochran, as we’ve reported before, is also an Akron native.

And now, yet another person with local ties is in RTDNA’s hierarchy.

He’s Vincent Duffy, news director of public radio’s Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor MI – who many likely still remember from his time at Kent State University’s WKSU/89.7-and-its-many-simulcasters…not to mention his stint as the second host of Western Reserve PBS’ Friday night news/discussion show “NewsNight Akron”.

Duffy was WKSU’s program director until April 2007, when he left to become news director of the network of three Michigan NPR outlets.

At the organization’s recent convention in New Orleans, Duffy was named chairman-elect of RTDNA. Here’s video, from the RTDNA/F’s YouTube page, of him after he was chosen for the role.

Congratulations, Vince, in your new role!

NOT A NEW ROLE, AT LEAST YET: Just a day removed from his exit from Good Karma Broadcasting sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850″‘s “Xs and Os with the Pros”, former Ohio State and NFL star lineman LeCharles Bentley popped up on the station’s competition.

But Bentley’s 5 PM Friday visit to “The Bull and The Fox” on CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” was not at all about his radio career.

LeCharles had a lively chat with Adam “The Bull” Gerstenhaber and Dustin Fox about, well, not radio…but football, first the Ohio State Buckeyes, and then the Browns.

There was no mention of his self-imposed departure from WKNR, which is detailed in the item just below this one. Indeed, there was no mention of WKNR or his recent stint there, at all.

He was last heard on that show Wednesday evening, spending much of Thursday evening tweeting about his departure, and retweeting supportive messages from listeners.

We have heard nothing about any future on-air role at “92.3 The Fan” for Bentley. As we noted, the Friday spot on “The Bull and The Fox” was not any audition…it was a football talk…