The Week Ender

The week ender, as we head into the weekend…

ALBRIGHT TO MIDDAYS: The death of iconic Akron talk radio host Howie Chizek has left a major hole in the schedule of his 38 year home station, Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron”, which is vowing to continue its all-local talk lineup…while faced with the unenviable task of figuring out who will be heard on WNIR, permanently, from 10 AM to 3 PM weekdays.

The unfortunate demise of Akron’s talk radio king has also presented an opportunity for a competitor.

Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron has announced that starting July 9th, morning show host Jim Albright will move to the station’s 9 AM to noon time slot, with, quoting a station press release from Clear Channel regional programming manager and OMW reader Keith Kennedy, “a new Akron centric call in talk show” that is meant to “fill the void of entertaining, compelling local talk radio created by the untimely death of legend Howie Chizek.”

It is not a move that would have been at all likely while Howie, dominant in the ratings for nearly all of those 38 years, was still alive.

The WHLO schedule change flips Clear Channel syndicated show “Quinn and Rose” back to a live clearance from 6-9 AM. WPGB/104.7 Pittsburgh-based Jim Quinn and Rose Somma Tennant were moved to the delayed 9 AM-noon clearance on WHLO when Albright was hired for mornings.

Of course, Jim Albright rose to prominence in the Akron radio market on WNIR, hosting the station’s popular “The Dating Show” for many years.

After a stint doing marketing for the now-defunct Carousel Dinner Theatre in Akron, Albright eventually landed first off-air, then on-air at NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton. He last hosted afternoon drive there, before being supplanted by WHBC sports director Sam Bourquin…

AND SPEAKING OF WHBC: The Canton station has provided at least a partial radio landing place for an Akron radio news and sports veteran.

Joe Jasztremski had covered just about every possible sporting event, and was also morning news editor until budget cuts forced Rubber City Radio news/oldies WAKR/1590 to let him go after 17 years. Assignment editor and morning news anchor Marcy Pappafava was also released in those cuts.

Jasztremski wasn’t directly replaced, and Lindsay McCoy (recently married, by the way) returned to the station to take the morning news anchor position.

But Joe Jasztremski is being heard on radio in the area again. OMW hears that Joe has been doing fill-in news anchoring in afternoons at WHBC/1480.

We don’t know if he’ll help out Sam Bourquin on the sports side of the WHBC ledger, but he’d certainly be a natural…and probably even covered games with a number of Canton area schools as their games intersected with nearby Akron area schools…

IT’S BAAACK: The return of the historic Cleveland sports fight songs-and-Michael Stanley Band’s “My Town” loop on WLFM-LP/87.7 (TV 6) provides us with a peg to update the story.

The Plain Dealer’s Shaina Cavazos provides the newspaper’s first run at the upcoming local station, headed up by former Cleveland radio executive and owner Tom Wilson.

And Cavazos’ article lets a cat out of the bag…Wilson’s former radio ownership partners, Tom Embrescia and Larry Pollock, are also a part of this venture, though apparently a silent part.

We’re learning more about the music mix Wilson envisions for the radio station that only exists on the FM dial because the audio carrier of analog TV channel 6 lands there:

The still-in-the-works format of talk, a blend of “more mature” rock music and a team dedicated to everything Cleveland will fill a hole that Wilson said he sees in Cleveland’s radio market.

The station will be aimed at the 25-44 demo, Wilson tells the Plain Dealer, though expects “even older and younger listeners” to tune in. Streaming audio will allow those outside the station’s listening area to follow along.

Off-blog, we’ve been doing some digging on the Wilson-Venture Technologies connection, and here’s what we’ve found.

Tom Wilson’s Malibu Broadcasting has partnered with Venture on a number of TV (and radio-from-TV) ownership ventures.

FCC records list Malibu as a 25 percent owner of WLFM, LLC., the company which launched the previous WLFM-LP, the low-power TV 6/87.7 “radio” combo in Chicago which launched as smooth jazz “The L”…days after Clear Channel abandoned the format on WNUA/95.5 (now in its second incarnation as a Spanish-language outlet).

After nudging into smooth AC territory like most smooth jazz stations, including Rubber City Radio’s relaunched WNWV/107.3 “The Wave”, the former WNUA general manager running “The L” bowed out, citing the FCC mandatory deadline of 2015 for such LPTV operations to go digital.

We also found Wilson’s Malibu Broadcasting as part-owner (49%) with Venture of the Four Seasons group of two TV stations in the Quad Cities (IA/IL) market, WBQD-LP and WAOE.

The Wilson-Venture collaboration reportedly started with Las Vegas outlet LPTV outlet KTUD-LP.

Of the above, only the Chicago station (now Merlin Media-run alt-rock WKQX “Q87.7”) is one of the so-called “Franken FMs”. The rest operate as TV stations.

FCC records still list Venture Technologies Group as sole owner of Cleveland’s WLFM-LP, though ownership records on non-Class A LPTVs are difficult to find.

As we noted to someone else, given Tom Wilson’s long history of doing business with Venture, they probably have no problem (and some arrangement) with him to start ramping up WLFM here…even if “Murray Hill Broadcasting” is nowhere to be found in the FCC records, yet.

Though Wilson and his partners can certainly cite a record of success in this market dating back to the 1980s, it’s impossible to overstate the barriers we cited earlier…the station’s “dial position” and lack of history as a radio station in any form, the temporary nature of the setup due to the aforementioned FCC deadline, and the like.

But in a world where music is found on Pandora, iTunes, Spotify and similar online and smartphone services, is the target audience (particularly the lower end of it) even interested in finding music on the radio in 2012, on a station they’ll have to be directed to find?

And how much of the “rock and entertainment talk” mix will mirror what’s already being done rather successfully at Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7?

That station’s fully local talk segments, “Rover’s Morning Glory” in morning drive and “The Alan Cox Show” in afternoon drive, are both ratings monsters. We’re wondering where 87.7 will go that is not already served by what WMMS is already doing.

We’ll see.

We’re still “rooting” for Tom Wilson, as it’s a very good story for those who like local radio.

But it seems a rather high mountain that WLFM will have to clear to be successful…

PLEASE STAND BY: We’re not sure what was going on, but Thursday night was a tough night for some local TV operations…and their viewers.

Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 lost its over air signal in the middle of prime time, an outage which spilled over to the first few minutes of “Channel 3 News at 11”.

The outage did not affect viewers watching on most local Time Warner Cable systems, as WKYC sends a fiber feed to the cable company that bypasses over-air reception. (More on Time Warner, later.)

It did drop the station off of some other cable systems, and DirecTV and Dish Network, particularly on HD feeds that apparently use the over-air signal to feed the services.

We spotted WKYC’s over-air signal back on the air shortly after the start of “Channel 3 News at 11”, and the other services returned after that.

But if you were an Akron-area Time Warner subscriber looking for NBC programming Thursday night, you may not have had that alternative…the cable company says an outage knocked out service to many Akron area viewers Thursday evening.

It appears subscribers on the former Adelphia system (Cleveland, and northern and western Summit County), were not affected…and the OMW World Headquarters can confirm that from our end.

All returned to normal before the midnight hour…

HIS OHIO: The first special hosted by Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” anchor Leon Bibb aired Wednesday evening.

The half-hour special “My Ohio with Leon Bibb” featured the veteran anchor spotlighting various people and places in the region.

It pre-empted a repeat of ABC’s popular sitcom “Modern Family”, which we’re told still aired late night Wednesday on Channel 5.

“My Ohio” is one of the projects Bibb has taken on after changing his anchor schedule. Though he is still helming the weekday editions of “NewsChannel 5 At Noon”, he’s no longer anchoring at 6 PM…the station moving to match its 11 PM anchor lineup of Chris Flanagan and Danita Harris…

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7 Responses to The Week Ender

  1. Adam says:

    Look for Maxwell and Stansbury to get another chance at the plate. Probably a few other NE OH retreads as well.

    It’s gonna be a long, hard road for this station no matter what. Hope these guys plan on advertising. Starting from scratch in the twilight zone of FM…good luck with that!

    Hey, maybe I’ll bring this up tomorrow morning at Starbucks! Nyuk nyuk, hey-ohhhhhh!

    • Secondary Editorial Voice (tm) says:

      Won’t happen. Maxwell himself posted on the show’s informal FB page that it basically died a quiet death. He’s since gone on to the aforementioned WKQX (in an uncredited role).

      It’s safe to say that whatever takes root at WLFM will be very different from the farce that was “V-107.3.” Mainly because there are actual broadcasters in charge of this thing instead of the third-generation heirs of a small-town newspaper publisher. If – and again, IF – Tom Wilson et al. have a long-term plan to account for 87.7’s inevitable conversion to HDTV, they will do well. (Might be a good idea to embrace wireless-based internet radio, for one.)

      Regardless, the cries of “RETREAD!” and “UNIMAGINATIVE!” will soon fly forth attacking the new station, whenever it signs on. It’s just human nature amongst jaded Clevelanders.

  2. Andrew Boggs says:

    Glad to see Joe Jastremski still hanging in there – worked with him at WERE NewsRadio 1300’s in the late seventies – early eighties!-)

  3. Gail from Barberton says:

    640—-please keep Quinn and Rose from 9-12am daily. Think Albright will be a good start for replacing Howie.

  4. Gail from Barberton says:

    PS—My 1st choice would be Matt Patrick but doubt he would move back after getting settled.

  5. Mark says:

    This is a preemptive strike on Clear Channel’s part to stop Jim jumping ship to WNIR, assuming the Klaus’ were considering him for the late afternoon slot.

    As I’ve speculated before, Bob Golic moves up to Howie’s old slot, and late afternoons are up for grabs. It’s either Jim Isabella or Phil Ferguson. Not sure if Bob Earley is interested.

  6. kkennedy says:

    Mark – Jim wouldn’t go back for any $$ amount. Ask him. He’ll tell you.

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