The Parade

It’s a short parade of news items, as local media is pretty quiet, news-wise, just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

But one parade is at the front of our larger parade, so to speak…

HO HO HO!: Northeast Ohio radio has its first Christmas music station of the season.

As no surprise to anyone, it’s Clear Channel AC WHOF/101.7 “My 101.7” in the Canton market, which started rolling out the holiday tunes at 9 AM Wednesday. WHOF is traditionally at or near the start of the Christmas Music Parade.

“My 101.7” is also offering the traditional AC format via a website link to iHeartRadio’s “Soft Rock” offering.

And as of this writing, WHOF is alone in the format…but that won’t last long.

A quick trip to the website of CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 would certainly make you think that the Cleveland station had already started the Jingle Bells.

The site bears something of a holiday theme, and the station’s holiday themed logo proclaims it as “Cleveland’s Christmas Station”.

But musically? Well, unless you consider the Pat Benetar rock anthem “Love Is A Battlefield” to be holiday music…not yet, on the air at least.

Make no mistake, the Christmas music is coming soon to 102.1, as a station staffer posted on the WDOK Twitter feed just Tuesday:

we haven’t announced when we’re switching over the air yet…but I would dust off your santa hat, it won’t be long now…

Other possible flips?

Salem CCM WFHM/95.5 “The Fish” is still pumping out the Christian contemporary format, and Clear Channel variety hits WHLK/106.5 “The Lake” is still spinning its non-holiday music wheel.

Of course, last year, WMVX “Mix 106.5″‘s music mix gave way to Christmas music, before leading the way to an “all over the road” music playlist that gave way to today’s “Lake”.

In the Youngstown market, Clear Channel classic hits WBBG/106.1 has been promising holiday music in its future for a number of weeks now, but it’s not happening yet…

HAVE A GOOD BOOK EVERYBODY!: Retired Cavaliers radio voice Joe Tait has written a new book.

Gray and Company, the Cleveland-based publisher of a variety of locally-themed books, has unveiled “Joe Tait: It’s Been A Real Ball”.

Quoting a Gray and Company release:

The book celebrates the inspiring career of “the Voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers” with stories from Joe and dozens of fans, media colleagues, and players. Co-written with award-winning sports writer Terry Pluto, the book hits the highlights of Tait’s long career and also uncovers some touching personal details.

The folks at Gray and Company tell us that Joe’s book is available in local bookstores, and online (in both print and eBook form) at Amazon.com and BN.com.

More can be found at the website devoted to the book: JoeTaitBook.com

WITHER THE TRANSLATORS?: Two translators that seem destined to give Clear Channel FM future presences for news/talk stations are still in motion.

W273BL/102.5 Akron has been delivering Educational Media Foundation’s Christian rock format, “Air 1”, via 10 watts from the Akron antenna farm for some time.

The station recently received a construction permit for 77 watts for the same site – and lists Clear Channel hot AC WKDD/98.1 Munroe Falls as its new primary station.

In a quick drive around the Akron area on Tuesday, it sounds to us like they are still sitting on 10 watts – and the programming is still EMF’s “Air 1” feed.

Now, if “Air 1” is moving from a 10 watt ride to a 77 watt ride, we wouldn’t spend a lot of time on it.

But Clear Channel and EMF have a deal…where in some markets, CC puts new formats on EMF-owned translators (like they’ve done in Minneapolis), and in return, EMF can use Clear Channel HD sidechannels to feed its own formats to commercial band translators (like they’ve done in Detroit via the HD carrier of urban AC WMXD/92.3 “Mix 92.3”).

EMF’s need comes from an FCC rule: you can’t feed commercial band translators via satellite, EMF’s primary delivery system. So, by using the HD2 feed of a commercial station (WMXD), EMF can farm out “K-Love” to four Detroit area commercial band translators.

Here?

Well, W273BL has no such problem at 102.5 in Akron.

The “Air 1” feed comes via a non-commercial band translator, W215BS/90.9 Hinckley, which itself is fed via satellite – since you can feed non-comm band translators via satellite.

Is 102.5 FM in Akron destined to become an FM home for, say, Clear Channel talk WHLO/640…which conveniently already resides on WKDD’s HD2 sidechannel?

It would seem likely, though the general reaction out of Clear Channel’s World Domination HQ/Southern Command on Freedom Avenue has been “huh?”.

Still in limbo, FCC-wise, is a new translator that would presumably be tabbed as an FM simulcast voice for the company’s talk WTAM/1100 “The Big One” in Cleveland.

But Clear Channel, after receiving a construction permit for W259BI/99.1 that was rescinded, has filed a new amendment to get it going again…an amendment that was received at the FCC on Tuesday.

We can’t tell from the new filing what CC did to address earlier FCC technical concerns. (Feel free to read it here in PDF format.)

The newly revived 99.1 translator application would appear to have the same technical specifiations – 250 watts at 238 meters from the WMJI/105.7 tower in Parma.

Now, we’ve confirmed none of this, aside from the easily available FCC information filed for the public.

There’s no buzz about these stations either at Oak Tree or at Freedom Avenue, which makes sense when you consider that the moves are likely being orchestrated by Clear Channel corporate.

The company has mounted FM translator simulcasts for its big AM news/talkers in a number of markets, including the aforementioned Minneapolis, Portland OR and Miami (which now has two FM translators).

So, it’d appear likely to happen with 99.1 and 102.5 here…but there’s no official word yet…

TED HITS AGAIN: It’s been quite a year for former Columbus radio personality Ted Williams, discovered panhandling by a Columbus Dispatch reporter in January as a homeless former radio personality.

“The Golden Voice” went viral, YouTube style, and then got a long list of job offers as his story went worldwide…a run that included a number of national TV appearances.

Later in the year, we heard that he entered and left rehab, and entered again, and most of those job offers (including a gig as the arena voice for the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena) went away.

Ted’s back.

Boston-based New England Cable News has picked up Williams as its station voice, reports the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam.

Heslam writes that the formerly homeless voice is doing the NECN gig, well, from his home. Yes, he has one:

NECN station manager Stacey Marks Bronner sought out Williams because he’s got a “one-of-a-kind voice,” in the words of station spokesman Skip Perham.

The father of nine now lives in a condo in Dublin, Ohio, with his longtime girlfriend, doing the voice-over work for NECN from his at-home studio. He said he’s got a great lawyer, mended “a few bridges that were kind of burnt” with family members and has an inspirational memoir coming out next year.

NECN flew Williams to Boston, according to Heslam, where network staffers presented him with a Boston Red Sox jersey – with number 9, the number a certain other Ted Williams, the Hall of Fame ballplayer, wore.

Far from the worldwide scrutiny, where Ted Williams, the voice guy, has become another statistic in the “Where are they now?” category…and reportedly sober since May…maybe the Columbus man has finally hit his home run…

SHOPPING FOR CABLE: Local cable giant Time Warner Cable is opening up a new retail store.

The store in the Servus Centers complex at 1919 Brittain Road in Akron – directly across from Chapel Hill Mall – opens up Friday at 9 AM.

Unlike the company’s large numbers of customer service centers, the retail store is meant to showcase, and presumably sell, its products. TV service in 2011 is far from the days where you could just get people to sign up because you offered clear reception and a few dozen cable-only channels.

From a TWC release:

The new, 2,800 square-foot store showcases Time Warner Cable’s services, offering consumers a hands-on opportunity to test-drive products.

We certainly hope that statement is accurate.

We’ve been to AT&T stores that promise a “hands on test drive” of the company’s competing U-verse service, only to find a thinly masked system running short videos off a DVR.

A presence on Brittain Road in Akron’s Chapel Hill area is not new for the cable company…not at all.

TWC (we believe as either, or both, Warner Cable and Warner-Amex Cable) long had a customer service center a few blocks down Brittain Road, just south of Chapel Hill Mall.

The current customer service center in the Chapel Hill area, we believe, is further down Brittain Road in Midway Plaza…though we wonder if TWC will move it back up Brittain Road into the new retail store…

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3 Responses to The Parade

  1. Yekimi says:

    Used to be able to pick up 102.5 WDVE out of Pittsburgh fairly regularly but that translator put the kibosh on that. Yeah, I know I can listen online via Iheartradio but [here comes the ‘back in MY days’ rant] it was a lot more fun tooling around in my car tuning around the dial to see what distant stations I could pick up. But with gas well over $3 a gallon, those days are over.

  2. Patrick says:

    WMJI 105.7 flipped to all christmas music at 10AM today (Thursday 11/17)

  3. Pingback: Translator Report 11/22 – RadioInsight

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