BREAKING: CBS News’ Russ Mitchell Joins WKYC

It’s not often that a major news correspondent leaves one of the legacy “big three” news organizations to take a job at the affiliate level.

In an unprecedented move, Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 has made official the hiring of CBS News correspondent/”Evening News” weekend anchor Russ Mitchell as their new evening news managing editor, and primary 6pm/11pm weeknight anchor. He succeeds Romona Robinson, who left WKYC on December 16 after her contract ran out.

Russ’ start date at WKYC is January 16. His last day at CBS News will be Christmas Eve. A co-anchor will be announced soon as well, per GM Brooke Spectorsky’s comments to TV Spy and the Plain Dealer.

Russ had been a part of CBS News for the past 20 years, being the first anchor of the overnight “Up To The Minute” in 1992, later contributing to the short-lived “Eye to Eye with Connie Chung” and “48 Hours.”  Most recently, he was the anchor of “The Saturday Early Show” and the weekend editions of the “CBS Evening News,” in addition to being the network’s top correspondent and a regular contributor to the “CBS Evening News” and “CBS News Sunday Morning.” He has also reported on the devastation of Hurricane Frances, the Columbia shuttle disaster, the war in Bosnia, the attacks of September 11th 2001, the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, every presidential campaign since 1992 and four presidential inaugurations.

Prior to joining CBS, Russ reported and anchored for stations in Dallas, Kansas City and his native St. Louis.

More at TV Spy, TV Newser (which features the memo from CBS News president David Rhodes), Broadcasting & Cable, The Plain Dealer, WKYC.com and WKYC’s Director’s Cut.

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Last Call For 2011

This will be the last regular item until 2012, as we’re going on Holiday Hiatus.

Any major local radio/TV changes will be noted on our social media presence…and a reminder, you don’t even have to be “on” either Twitter or Facebook to find those. Hit this link for our Twitter page, or look at the “OMW on Twitter” section of this very site. The updates are mirrored on both services.

On behalf of the entire Ohio Media Watch staff (OK, your Primary Editorial Voice[tm] and our Secondary Voice, Nathan), we hope you have a Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and a joyous holiday season!

WAVE COMING IN: One reason we’re able to walk away from the blog a little early is that plans have already been announced for Cleveland’s upcoming major radio format change.

On Friday, Akron’s Rubber City Radio Group officially took over WNWV/107.3 Elyria from its long-time owners, Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting. WNWV had been AAA/adult rock “V107.3” (starting briefly as “Boom! 107.3”) since December 2009.

The “Triple A” format was towed away (get it?) at precisely 12 midnight Sunday night going into Monday morning. We dropped in on the signal at 11:59 PM, so we didn’t hear if there was any special sendoff to “V107.3”.

After the legal ID, we heard once-and-future “107.3 The Wave” personality Mark Ribbins give a welcome liner to the station’s “Smooth Jazz Christmas” holiday programming.

And yes, that makes 107.3 roughly the 19th station in the Cleveland market to go Christmas Radio, though with a different take than stations like CBS Radio’s WDOK/102.1 – dubbed “Christmas 102.1” for the holidays – and Clear Channel’s WMJI/105.7. We’re pretty sure there’s a travelers’ information station playing Christmas music somewhere.

The “Smooth Jazz Christmas” programming will end on Wednesday, January 4th, and a banner displaying the “smooth AC” format that’ll debut then now appears on the new Rubber City-owned “107.3 The Wave” website.

We took the liberty of copying the names of some of the artists pictured:

James Blunt, Seal, Anita Baker, Santana, Mindi Abair, Sara Bareilles, Lenny Kravitz, Chris Botti, John Mayer, Fergie

We’ve heard, but have not confirmed, that there will still be some smooth jazz instrumentals in the music mix after January 4th.

Mark Ribbins is obviously confirmed as a new/returning “Wave” personality, and we’ve also heard that Cleveland radio veteran Bobby Thomas is on board as well…though we have yet to confirm which time slots those personalities will occupy.

There should be at least one more local, live weekday personality riding the “Wave”‘s return.

We’ll have much more in our post-holiday return…

SMACKDOWN!: That’s the only word we can use to describe a recent FCC filing in a dispute between two local TV stations. And those gloves? They’re most certainly off.

OMW reported earlier that Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 filed to move its over air channel, currently at its old analog home at 8, to RF channel 31 – the channel it used digitally before the national transition to digital TV broadcasting.

We then reported that WJW’s former RF channel neighbor, Winston Broadcasting CW affiliate WBNX/55 (RF 30), filed with the FCC in an attempt to block the WJW move back to 31, or at least get coordination with the station if the station gets FCC approval.

(Of course, despite all these channel moves, WBNX continues to display on digital tuners as “55”, and WJW as “8”, thanks to the underlying digital technology.)

In its filing, WBNX took a shot or two about Local TV LLC and WJW…and boy, has the fire been returned, and then some.

WJW has filed its response to the WBNX filing, and if there are any holds left, they sure haven’t been barred.

In its reply (here, follow along in PDF format!), WJW treats WBNX like a misbehaving child that needs to be sent to its room without supper.

Think we’re kidding? Take a look at this sample:

WBNI frankly deserves to be sanctioned for this filing, but the Commission should not waste any more of its time or resources on WBNI’s Comments. Instead, it should grant the Petition without further delay.

WBNX is referred to in the reply as “WBNI”, for corporate name Winston Broadcasting Network, Inc.. WJW is “Community TV”, short for the local corporate arm of Local TV LLC, Community Television of Ohio License, LLC.

WJW’s reply hits the WBNX filing on many fronts, among them, noting the “new interference” to WBNX’s facility from the moved-back WJW facility is under FCC “de minimis” interference guidelines…in other words, small enough to be allowed under the rules.

WJW rolls out a sample of what it says are 775 E-mails it has received from viewers since the June 2009 transition, complaining of difficulties in receiving the RF 8 signal. (Many of the complaints look similar to E-mails we’ve received here at OMW, and for that matter, we’re in the same boat here at OMW World Headquarters.)

And the WJW filing frequently notes that it’s the Cleveland market Fox affiliate, with “58 hours of local news programming every week”. And then, there’s this sarcastic shot across the bow at CW affiliate WBNX:

(WBNX) trumpets its independence, but neglects to mention that it offers viewers zero local news or public affairs programming. Put bluntly, it really matters if viewers throughout the Cleveland market can’t reliably tune into WJW over-the-air; a few WBNX viewers’ inability to watch reruns of The People’s Court and Frasier is considerably less important.

Ouch!

The filing also confirms, officially, what we’ve heard rumored for the past two years…that WJW was unable to obtain an interference waiver from Lima NBC affiliate WLIO/8-once-analog-35 to build out the 30 kW construction permit WJW still holds from the FCC.

And even then, says the WJW filing:

While former station ownership obtained a construction permit to increase power in conjunction with a new directional antenna that would attenuate the signal in the direction of WLIO(TV) and WWCP-TV, Community TV’s analysis of that solution indicates that any viewership gain realized from the power increase would be more than offset by the loss of viewers in the attenuated areas. Some, but not all, of that loss could be offset by UHF translators in the affected areas.

Though the FCC will likely not act on this request by the end of the year (it is, after all, December 19th), the WBNX filing indicates that it believes the approval will happen even with its objections.

And WJW rejects the “work with us” solution offered by WBNX as well:

(WBNX) is free to evaluate such interference itself and take whatever actions it deems appropriate and economic (such as seeking authorization for a small-area fill-in translator), but there is nothing in the Commission’s rules or cases to suggest WJW is required to participate in that process.

Responding to WBNX’s “they’re just trying to save money” argument, WJW’s reply notes that the station is spending $450,000 in rebuilt and backup transmitter equipment, and an additional $10,000 to 12,000 in power costs for the move…and that they can’t make such an investment in equipment if they’re not assured a move to RF 31 is the permanent solution.

We consider that the FCC is likely to side with WJW, though the move to UHF obviously won’t happen by the end of this year…

MORE TV ITEMS: As noted here earlier, Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 has said goodbye to Romona Robinson after a lengthy run as the station’s evening news anchor (or co-anchor).

We haven’t heard much about who replaces her, aside from the already confirmed information that the station has auditioned anchors from outside the market.

We hear rumors that a woman who’s a top 5 market network O&O anchor could be one of those auditioning.

Over at Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5, the recent spate of hiring continues with new reporter/MMJ Michael Baldwin incoming from Cablevision’s News 12 Long Island in suburban New York City. (That’s the same operation which recently hired former WJW/8 “Fox 8 News” anchor Stacey Bell.)

Also at 3001 Euclid, Channel 5 launched a year-long “Building Better Neighborhoods” project – to deal with the growing number of vacant homes in area neighborhoods due to the foreclosure crisis.

And if it’s nearly the end of the year, it’s time for TV/multichannel provider disputes.

The biggest locally is between Raycom’s WOIO/19-WUAB/43 and AT&T’s U-verse, with both Raycom stations warning U-verse viewers that they could lose the station if an agreement isn’t reached.

Raycom’s side has a page here, we can’t find any similar page on the U-verse site…

PILOT PASSES AWAY: OMW hears that veteran local TV helicopter pilot Bill Asad has passed away at the age of 61.

For many years, Asad has been at the controls of Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO/19’s “19 Action News” chopper.

An OMW reader also tells us:

He was a former Marine and Ohio firefighter and a real class act.

According to his obituary in the Plain Dealer, calling hours for Asad will be Tuesday from 4 to 8 PM, at Busch Funeral Home on Ridge Road in Parma…

The Elephant In The Radio Room

Long-time readers may have noticed that we’ve had almost nothing on one of the biggest changes about to hit Cleveland radio…changes at AAA/adult rock WNWV/107.3 “V107.3”, the Elyria-licensed station that is being sold by Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting to Akron’s Rubber City Radio Group, owners of oldies/news WAKR/1590, rock WONE/97.5 and country WQMX/94.9.

The application to sell the station was approved by the FCC on November 28th, and closing – and a temporary move of the station to RCRG’s Akron Radio Center – should happen soon. A part of the sales agreement is that Rubber City won’t be able to operate 107.3 from its current Elyria home, thus the need to move to Akron until permanent Cleveland area studios are put together.

We have our reasons for not saying much, but most of it is…well, we don’t trust a lot of the information we’ve heard.

In the time since the sale of WNWV was announced, we’ve heard speculation that the station would carry pretty much every format imaginable. We’ve heard just about every format except polka. We’ve heard smooth jazz, smooth AC, soft AC, alt-rock, syndicated talk (!) and even a retooling of the current “V107.3″‘s AAA rock format as possibilities.

The first public item causing stir in the local radio community was this item from Cleveland Scene writer Anastasia Pantsios, entitled “V 107.3 to return to snooze music format”:

In late 2009, Elyria-based WNVW 107.3 FM abandoned its rapidly fading “Wave” format — “smooth” jazz & soft R&B — in favor of something a little more contemporary and upbeat. It became V 107.3, which featured a “Triple A” format— a mix of contemporary and classic rock, with artists like Steely Dan and John Fogerty getting airtime alongside newer acts like the Black Keys, Snow Patrol, and Clevelander Kate Voegele.

But after two years in which the uneven, mismanaged and under-resourced V107.3 failed to catch fire, the station will return to the world of smooth contemporary sounds. Dave Koz, Yanni, and Lionel Richie fans can rejoice when they wake up from their naps. For most Northeast Ohioans, the station might as well be going off the air, as “smooth” anything has bled followers across the country. Only about two dozen stations nationally still feature this soporific format.

For out-of-towners, Scene is Cleveland’s “alternative weekly” tabloid newspaper, and the ratio of rock music fans vs. smooth jazz/AC fans in its readership is probably 50,000 to one.

Pantsios’ article spells out the end of “V107.3”, with employees “out of work effective December 16; they have been ordered not to discuss their severance or the station’s format change.”

We do hear Facebook chatter that V midday personality Ravenna Miceli has lined up a special music mix for what is expected to be her last week on the air – this week.

Meanwhile, the out of work V folk will be replaced by others. Rubber City Radio has placed this help wanted ad everywhere from the Plain Dealer to radio trade site All Access:

WNWV Cleveland is looking for full and part time on-air talent with strong communications skills and ability to connect with listeners on-air and online. For part-time, weekends a must as well as availability for occasional weekday fill-ins. Proficiency in content creation & social networking a must. NO PHONE CALLS. Resume and audio demo required to Nick Anthony, c/o Rubber City Radio Group 1795 West Market Street Akron, Oh 44313 or email to nanthony (at) rcrg.net The Rubber City Radio Group is an EOE.

Friend of OMW Lance Venta at Radio Insight snooped out a domain registration by Rubber City:

Rubber City has registered 1073TheWave.net for its new acquisition. The station had flipped from Smooth Jazz “The Wave” to AAA in December 2009. We’re assuming this will be a revised Smooth AC this time around much like the format has evolved in other markets should the move to the previous format take place.

And add this just out there today, from the industry E-mail newsletter RAMP (Radio and Music Pros) (free subscription link here):

RAMP has learned that once the station officially changes hands, Rubber City will flip it to Smooth AC under its former identity of “107.3 The Wave,” the name it was known as during most of its 22 years as a Smooth Jazz outlet before going Triple A in 2009. “It will feature Pop and Urban AC vocals along with Smooth Jazz vocals and instrumentals,” SVP Nick Anthony tells RAMP.

With RCRG’s Nick Anthony talking openly about the new station, at least in the radio trade press, we guess that the secret’s “out”.

There have certainly been a lot of pieces out there, but we haven’t comfortable enough to confirm details on what we’ve heard before now.

Readers may recall we tracked everything but the lunch schedule of incoming personnel at new CBS Radio sports talker WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” in Cleveland. But this is entirely different…and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if our friends at West Market Street floated a few trial balloons in the air, hoping they’d reach us.

Meanwhile, regarding “92.3 The Fan”, almost none of our information was coming directly from the Halle Building, due to the national CBS Radio effort to build the new station.

It’s certainly clear that major changes will be coming at the 107.3 spot on Northeast Ohio’s radio dial…soon…though we haven’t heard an exact date for the format change…

Tracy McCool For Stacey Bell At Fox 8

It’s no surprise to anyone, particularly anyone reading the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), but it’s now official.

Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8 News” morning co-anchor Tracy McCool is putting the early alarm clock away, and will sit alongside anchor Bill Martin on the 5 and 10 PM editions of “Fox 8 News”, starting in January.

Our friend Rich Heldenfels at the Akron Beacon Journal had first word of the move this afternoon on his Ohio.com blog “The HeldenFiles Online”:

McCool told me she takes the anchor chair on Jan. 2; she called the promotion “awesome.”

But though word is now official, it’s no surprise to either OMW readers or those, in general, watching doings at Dick Goddard Way.

From our item about now-former “Fox 8 News” evening co-anchor Stacey Bell’s departure, last month:

The announcement of Bell’s departure appears rather sudden, but we’ve talked about her impending exit here for weeks…and have already passed along word that “Fox 8 News in the Morning”‘s Tracy McCool has been the odds on “in house” favorite to move to the evening co-anchor chair alongside Martin.

We heard nothing of outside candidates…something we have heard about the opening left by Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 evening anchor Romona Robinson, who exits on Friday. (Could one of the candidates in the Replace Romona Sweepstakes have top 5 market background?)

And we saw McCool “filling in” alongside Martin, after Stacey Bell had already gone to New Jersey. We were impressed…and didn’t frankly know if her evening stint had already started.

Who replaces McCool on “Fox 8 News In The Morning”? The Beacon Journal/Ohio.com’s Heldenfels has one thought:

No word on what will happen on the station’s morning show, although Kristi Capel may add it to her duties.

It would seem to make sense as a possible move from here…

Romona Leaving WKYC

UPDATE: We just wanted to link Plain Dealer writer Mark Dawidziak’s very extensive article to this item. We’ll have more speculation and rumblings in a later post.

As Mark notes, rumors of Romona Robinson leaving WKYC have actually been around for a few months, coinciding roughly with six months of contract talks that failed to produce a new deal…but the actual “final day” has been in the rumor mill for about a month now.

He also gets WKYC GM Brooke Spectorsky to confirm that there have been auditions to fill the soon-to-be-vacant position…

———-

This has been in the local TV news rumor mill for about a month, and we now hear it’s official.

Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 evening anchor Romona Robinson is leaving “Channel 3 News”, effective Friday, December 16th.

And yes, this is what we hinted about in our earlier item about another evening anchor’s departure, that of Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 mainstay Stacey Bell.

More later…

Technical And Non-Technical

UPDATE 12/6/11 6:23 PM: If you’re just seeing this notice, we’ve added one more update we forgot…at the end of this item…

——–

We have some “facilities” items up front, and a nice mix of non-technical stuff after that. Scroll down for the latter…

THE WBNX FLY IN WJW’S OINTMENT: We breathlessly reported here recently that the Federal Communications Commission had issued an “NPRM” (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) that would clear the way for Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 in Cleveland to return to the promised land they once occupied on the TV spectrum – UHF channel 31.

Viewers all over the immediate Cleveland/Akron area, including right here at OMW World Headquarters, have been struggling with WJW’s post-transition signal on VHF channel 8, particularly with modest indoor antennas that can pick up pretty much every other station in the market with little difficulty. Before the transition, WJW’s UHF 31 signal “just worked”, as the saying goes.

We expected a speedy timeline for WJW’s return to RF channel 31, if there were no roadblocks.

Cross-town Winston Broadcasting CW affiliate WBNX/55 has just put one of those potential roadblocks up.

In a response to the NPRM (PDF download) filed November 23rd, WBNX notes, among other things, that WJW hasn’t turned to solutions it has already pursued with the FCC:

WJW is licensed to operate on Channel 8 at 11 kW ERP….WJW holds a valid construction permit to increase its ERP to 30 kW. There is no indication that WJW has attempted to operate at the authorized power increase, an increase which, logically, may resolve some or all of WJW’s concerns.

Moreover, WJW has pending at the Commission two applications for digital replacement translators, which the station apparently intended to use to resolve precisely the reception issues for which it now seeks a more dramatic and deleterious solution.

And further:

It is unclear precisely why WJW has (apparently) decided to abandon its earlier well conceived plans to increase power, directionalize its signal, and fill-in with digital replacement translators.

The Petition and Supplement are virtually silent on this issue, observing only that WJW already has the equipment necessary to begin operations on Channel 31. This sounds like little more than a cost-saving measure, which is either ironic or entirely predictable given the fact that WJW is ultimately owned by a private equity firm and is commonly held with attributable interests in approximately 20 other full power television stations across the country.

In the filing with the FCC, WBNX’s engineers believe the station will lose a few thousand viewers (just under 3,000 households) with WJW back at RF 30, even though the two stations co-existed as adjacent channel neighbors pre-transition.

The response notes that any pre-transition viewers who may have lost WBNX-DT reception on RF 30 had analog 55 as a backup.

WBNX also tries to throw water on WJW’s claims that the digital move to 8 lost it ratings, even going so far as to cite an article by the Plain Dealer’s Julie Washington blaming the loss on Cleveland’s move to live people meter technology.

Oh, and our favorite part of the WBNX filing is at the end of this quote:

“The petitioner’s arguments are unpersuasive and its data unreliable. Moreover, WJW has not attempted to resolve its coverage issues by alternative solutions-for which it already has the authority-that would not interfere with WBNX’s signal. WJW’s proposal should be denied, or, at a minimum, the Commission should defer consideration of the proposal until after a reasonable time to determine more definite data about the impact of the proposed substitution.

Or, perhaps it is an effort to jockey for position for prime UHF real estate in the event of a spectrum auction and repacking.”

As far as we can tell, Local TV LLC (indeed, owned by equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners) is an operating concern, and is not one of the players trying to acquire UHF spectrum for future sell-off.

Engineers we’ve talked with tell us there’s a problem with WJW increasing to 30 kW on VHF 8, as specified in their construction permit – it could present problems with Lima NBC affiliate WLIO, now on 8, and much of the signal increase would bathe the fishes in Lake Erie, not viewers south of the station’s Parma transmitter site.

Furthermore, the applied-for UHF fill-in translators, licensed to Canton and Austintown but mostly serving eastern Portage County, would do absolutely nothing for in-market Akron and Canton viewers. Unless you’re east of, say, Ravenna, they’d do nothing for you.

Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO/19 has mostly solved that problem, at least in Summit County and parts of northern Stark County, with its RF 24 digital fill-in translator in the Akron antenna farm…but the proposed WJW facilities would be far from the population center of the market. And WOIO could use a marketwide change/upgrade as well…particularly for those suffering from on-channel signal CFPL/10 London, Ontario, Canada booming across Lake Erie.

In its filing, WBNX appears to realize that the WJW application could well be approved, and offers an alternative:

In the event the Commission is inclined to grant WJW’s Petition, WBNX respectfully requests any such grant be conditioned on the results of an extended test period during which WJW would have authority to operate Channel 31 on a test basis. (The Petition and Supplement suggest that WJW already has the Channel 31 equipment on-site and installed, as a remnant of the station’s dual-channel operations during the digital transition period. Thus, as a practical matter, testing should be feasible.)

By doing so, the stations would be positioned to work together (and with the Commission Staff as warranted) to measure, evaluate, ascertain, and resolve interference instances of interference caused by WJW to WBNX viewers or, in the alternative, to demonstrate that the public interest harms are too great to permit WJW to make a permanent channel change.

We’re also wondering, for example, why WBNX did not object to WJW being granted pre-transition space on RF 31 oh-so-many years ago.

This filing could well mean that WJW won’t be able to light up on the UHF band by the end of the year, but we suspect it’ll only be a delay, not a deal breaker…

IT’S BACK?:
An OMW reader in the Canton area says he has (apparently) heard the return of Pinebrook Corporation gospel WINW/1520 Canton, which has been silent for much of the year.

Oh, but don’t try to get the station if you’re straying far from Martindale Road or Canton’s northeast side.

Our reader tells us that as he was driving by WINW’s site, he heard a very weak signal playing gospel music, which disappeared less than two miles away.

There was no ID, he says, within that brief time. He says the signal was very weak directly in front of the Martindale Road transmitter site.

We noted earlier that WINW obtained a Special Temporary Authorization to return to the air, pending approval of its very, very late renewal application.

But we’re pretty sure that return would have to be at 1000 watts, not at a power enough to be lost past the convenience store down the street from WINW’s facility…

AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE UPPER END OF THE AM BAND: Two stations that are very much operating, to the east of Canton, have hired a new news voice.

Whiplash Radio standards WHTX/1570 Warren “Fabulous 1570” and its simulcaster, WYCL/1540 Niles, have added Alan Courtright as morning news anchor. Alan joined the stations on Monday morning.

The move is the latest to be made by LMA operators Jim Davison and Laurel Taylor, and we hear they’ve signed a renewal with Whiplash owner and OMW reader Chris Lash to run both of Lash’s Mahoning Valley stations, starting January 1st.

1570 and 1540 now simulcast for the duration of 1540’s daytime hours of operation, with 1540 splitting off from 10 AM to 2 PM weekdays for the talk show hosted by Louie B. Free…the only holdover from previous WYCL LMA operator Philip Cato’s “Talk of the Town” format.

Courtright, of course, is no stranger to radio news…and that’s not just because of his late father, veteran Cleveland radio news voice Ken Courtright, and sister Julie Courtright, now in the newsroom of Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 (a former radio home of her father).

Alan himself was doing radio news fairly recently, in a stint with Rubber City Radio’s WAKR/1590 Akron and its “AkronNewsNow” newsroom…

ANN’S CORNER: No, Kent State University NPR outlet WKSU/89.7 Kent-and-its-simulcasters marketing and public relations guru Ann VerWiebe doesn’t pay us for “Ann’s Corner”…though she is very much a Friend of OMW.

But the local public radio outlet is busy again, so here’s a summary of stuff Ann has passed along to us:

* Detroit radio veteran Matt Watroba, who joined WKSU-based FolkAlley.com as a producer and part-time host, is now a daily host on the folk music stream (5-7 AM and noon-2 PM). Watroba came to Folk Alley after a 22 year-stint on WDET in Detroit hosting the show “Folks Like Us”, displaced by a format change. He’ll also do the “AlleyCast” podcast, and like most radio folks in 2011, encourages interaction via social media…

* WKSU guest contributor, poet/author/educator George Bilgere will be a guest on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” this Saturday (12/10). The show airs on WKSU Saturday evenings live from 6-8 PM, and repeats Sundays at 10 AM. It also airs in its Saturday live time slot on Ideastream’s WCPN/90.3 in Cleveland, and other “PHC” affiliates nationwide…

* Public radio isn’t immune to marking the holidays, and WKSU is no exception. The station is streaming classical and folk all-seasonal music at WKSU.org. And beginning Monday, December 12th, the holiday streams will migrate to HD Radio – on WKSU HD2’s Folk Alley and WKSU HD3’s Classical HD sidechannels. A complete list of holiday programming on the main WKSU signals can be found here

BROWNS LOCATOR: Given the way the NFL’s Cleveland Browns are playing this year, the team might prefer hiding from local TV viewers.

But there’s a prime time game scheduled for this week – the team’s traditional clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And since it’s a Thursday night contest, it’ll air on the NFL Network – itself doing a pretty good job of hiding from local cable TV viewers.

Regular readers know that the NFL requires cable/satellite networks to sell those games to local TV outlets in the two cities involved, and thus, Thursday’s NFL Network Browns/Steelers game will also air on WJW/8 “Fox 8”.

The station plans what appears to be an hour-long pregame show as well…