The Post-Howie Era Begins
July 3, 2012 13 Comments
In announcements airing now on Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron”, the station says it’s about to begin the process of filling the open 10 AM-3 PM weekday time slot.
The station says it can’t “replace” legendary voice Howie Chizek, who died suddenly last month at the age of 65 while taking underprivileged kids and their chaperones to Walt Disney World in Orlando FL.
But the announcement – “a message from the Klaus Brothers (owners Bill and Bob Klaus)” voiced by WNIR production director Tom Cullison – acknowledges that the station does need to fill Howie’s time slot, and says a number of people will be auditioning for the job in the coming weeks.
Up first in the audition rotation the week of July 9th are a radio veteran and…a regular caller.
Jeff Kinzbach is best known for his long run with Ed “Flash” Ferenc (“Jeff and Flash”) in morning drive, on Cleveland rocker WMMS/100.7. Currently, Kinzbach is doing fill-in work at CBS Radio classic rocker WNCX/98.5. The announcement says Jeff will be heard on Tuesday, July 10th.
Thursday, July 12th, one of Howie’s most known regular callers tries his hand at hosting the show. He’s only been known as “Couch Burner”, but according to an Akron Beacon Journal article on Howie’s funeral, the 25 year regular Howie caller is known away from the WNIR call-in lines as John Denning.
The remainder of next week, 10 AM to 3 PM on WNIR “The Talk of Akron”, will be filled by regular fill-in hosts Bob Earley and Jim Isabella, who will continue doing so as the process continues. The announcement notes that both Earley and Isabella are also candidates for the permanent job.
Again, when your previous host was nearly cemented into the time slot for 38 years, not much seems permanent.
The process of replacing Howie is similar to, but not quite the same as the “Akron Idol” auditions to replace afternoon drive host Joe Finan. Finan “retired” from WNIR, then not long after, took the midday time slot at Clear Channel then-liberal talk WARF/1350 “Radio Free Ohio” (now “Fox Sports 1350”). He passed on shortly after his last show on that station.
This time, at least so far, there are no “waitresses and truck drivers” on the audition list…though the task is clearly more difficult than replacing Finan was. (Back then, at least a couple of readers encouraged your Primary Editorial Voice[tm] to throw the OMW hat into the ring, but it wasn’t to be. And, probably not this time, either.)
With that in mind, we wonder if there is another former Northeast Ohio celebrity who will read about this opening, and be urged by relatives to apply so they can return home. That’s reportedly how Bob Golic, the former Cleveland Browns/NFL star and actor (“Saved By The Bell: The College Years”), came to Broadcast Park…as the story goes, his mother saw an article about Finan’s retirement in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and urged him to apply so he could return to the area…