Youngstown And Nearby

Most of the items this time around are from the Mahoning Valley, though at least one is from nearby…and one item involves the Cleveland market…

RICH MORGAN: Readers in the Youngstown/Warren TV market have been peppering our inbox with questions about market veteran Rich Morgan…who’s been absent from his duties as morning and noon meteorologist for New Vision-to-be-LIN CBS affiliate WKBN/27’s “27 First News”.

We did some digging, but the question could have more easily been answered (for both us and our readers) by going to Rich’s bio page on the WKBN-TV website

Rich Morgan recently had surgery and will be off of the air for a total of five weeks. He talks about it in further detail on his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/myvalleyweather.richmorgan. Kirstie Zontini is filling in during his recovery.

From Rich’s Facebook page, posted June 1st:

I am having surgery to relieve pressure on the nerves in my neck that control the strength in my arm.

Since the surgery, Rich has written about undergoing the therapy needed to recover.

We understand this has now been addressed on the air as well…though we don’t know when the station let viewers know about Morgan’s condition…

HER NEW JOB: This one’s not from the Mahoning Valley, per se, but is about a former Youngstown TV reporter.

We told you a while back that Peggy Sinkovich, who has reported for WYTV/33 (Trumbull County bureau chief) and later for the entire New Vision-LIN operation (adding WKBN-TV and WYFX-LP “Fox Youngstown”), was heading for Cleveland…where she’ll be seen on Local TV LLC’s WJW/8 “Fox 8 News”.

We have some more information on her role at Dick Goddard Way.

OMW hears that starting in the Fall, Sinkovich will be the new “I-Team” investigative reporter for “Fox 8 News”, with help from general assignment reporter Jack Shea contributing investigative pieces.

We hear that Sinkovich and Shea will likely be seen daily on the station, working out of the newsroom and presumably, spending less time off air…

BACK IN COUNTRY: Whiplash Radio’s WYCL/1540 Niles is back to a familiar format for the daytimer – classic country.

Yes, the station has also returned to its former name and imaging in the format – “1540 The Farm”.

The classic country “Farm” format was the first format change made by Whiplash owner and OMW reader Chris Lash when he bought the station from Beacon Broadcasting.

1540 has been through a number of formats going back to the Beacon days… Christian contemporary music, sports, standards music, and talk. Until the recent change, WYCL had been operating as a simulcast of Whiplash sister standards station WHTX/1570 Warren “Fabulous 1570”.

Those wondering what happened to the King of Youngstown Brokered Talk Radio, Louie b. Free, can be assured that his eclectic show goes on via WYCL, airing 8 AM-noon weekdays on “1540 The Farm”.

Both stations are operated by Jim Davison and Laurel Taylor’s JL Communications, and Jim tells OMW that “The Farm” can be heard in streaming audio on the station’s website, a subsection of the WHTX site… though those listening on smartphones and tablets via the TuneIn app are getting an entirely different feed.

Jim notes that the station changed streaming providers, and that feed comes from whoever took over the old WYCL feed.

WYCL also features a new outdoors show on Saturday mornings with host Jim Slinsky, and an antiques show will debut later this month.

The station will carry Notre Dame football in the fall…

HD ADD-ON: OMW hears that Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 Youngstown has followed many other Clear Channel talk stations in simulcasting its programming on the HD Radio side of a co-owned FM station.

The feed of WKBN is now being heard on the HD2 sidechannel of rock WNCD/93.3 “The Wolf”.

Just to the west in Akron, Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 gets similar HD Radio rides on the sidechannels of hot AC WKDD/98.1 and rock WRQK/106.9.

For now, at least, the feed of WKBN on WNCD’s HD sidechannel does not appear to signal any future move to an analog FM frequency…rather, it’s seen as a way to increase HD Radio listenership by offering the popular AM talker in the format…

AND NEARBY: In the Canton market, where D.A. Peterson top 40 WDJQ/92.5 Alliance “Q92” has once again managed to hire a promotions director who is not awaiting a criminal trial.

He’s local radio veteran and OMW reader Matt Spatz, most recently heard doing weekend/swing work at Rubber City Radio rock WONE/97.5 Akron.

He had previously programmed at Clear Channel Youngstown (rock WNCD, and top 40 WAKZ/95.9 “Kiss FM”) until budget cuts forced him out last October.

And the “criminal trial” reference is not at all aimed at Matt, of course…who practices clean living, as far as we know.

It’s a reference to a Louisville KY radio personality the Alliance station hired for the promotions director job a few years ago…who was very much in legal hot water when he was offered the job at “Q92”.

We’ll visit our own February 2008 item wrapping up the saga of Todd Kelly/Smith:

Former WDJX/Louisville KY personality and promotions guy Todd Kelly (Todd Smith) has been sentenced for defrauding listeners and donators by faking ALS, otherwise known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Smith has been sentenced to 15 years on state charges, which will be reduced to 5 years if he pays back some 74 thousand dollars in restitution, with interest. He’d already been sentenced to 84 months in prison on federal fraud charges.

Even if his sentence was reduced to 5 years, Kelly/Smith is still sitting behind bars in Kentucky, unable to run promotions for “Q92” or any radio station that’s not behind bars. (Unless he was released early, of course.)

Since this saga was resolved, WDJQ has managed to hire promotions directors not awaiting sentencing to prison, and we can assure them that, as far as we know, Matt Spatz will continue that trend.

Our congratulations to Matt…we’re always happy to see OMW readers do well!

And the item fits in our theme, as “Q92″‘s signal does well in the nearby Youngstown market…

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