Engineering Giant Passes

It’s not difficult to call Cleveland-based Telos Systems co-founder Steve Church an “engineering giant”.

Colleagues and engineering and other friends of Cnurch are mourning his passage, even far away from the company’s headquarters on Superior Avenue in downtown Cleveland. He passed away earlier today at age of 57, after a long battle with brain cancer.

We’ll start with an extensive remembrance of Steve Church, posted on the Telos Alliance website:

Frank Foti, CEO of The Telos Alliance, remembers that Church had no ego about his many achievements. “We had built a pre-production prototype of the Zephyr, and demonstrated it for one of the major distributors of pro sports programming. They liked what they saw, and sent a couple guys to Cleveland to cut a deal. Steve and I finalized the contract, and then they told us, ‘Telos is just a small company, and we’re going to find out who owns it, buy them out, and run it like a real business.’ Steve and I said nothing as we drove them out to the airport, and we high-fived each other on the way back. They had no idea that they were talking to the owners of the company!”

Today, Telos products are in thousands of radio stations in the U.S. and beyond, from telephone hybrids to Zephyr remote broadcast codecs and the popular Omnia series of broadcast audio processors.

Telos has a complete section on the company’s founder here, with pictures and a place to post remembrances, and we’ll close with the release on his passing…

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Remembering Steve Church

28 September 2012 Cleveland Ohio, USA

Colleagues and friends mourn the passing of Steve Church, engineer, entrepreneur, talk show host, and founder of Telos Systems and the Telos Alliance, a coalition of broadcast technology companies.

Over the past thirty years he created many of the products that ushered broadcasting into the digital age.

Steve was born in San Diego, California, and began his broadcast engineering career in 1975 at WFMK in Lansing, Mich. He later worked at W4 (WWWW) in Detroit before moving to Indianapolis, Indiana to become chief engineer at WFBQ/WNDE.

Church’s first innovation transformed the sound of radio talk shows. Having hosted such shows in addition to his engineering duties, he was frustrated by the poor sound delivered by the analog telephone adapters then in use, which were plagued by sidetone distortion. The problem was thought to be unsolvable even by Bell Labs engineers, but by applying DSP adaptive filtering, Church solved the problem and was able to eliminate sidetone distortion. This became the basis for his first product, the Telos 10 telephone hybrid, and Telos Systems was launched in 1985 as a part-time project.

Church later moved to Cleveland to become chief engineer of WMMS/WHK, still building the company in his spare time. Sales of the Telos 10 telephone hybrid increased, to the point that Church decided to quit his day job and commit to his company full-time. The rest, as they say, is history.

Church’s second breakthrough changed the way radio stations do remote broadcasts. What was once an expensive, complex and time-consuming undertaking with long distance telephone lines or satellite links was simplified when Church combined then-new MP3 audio coding with ISDN technology. The result was the Telos Zephyr, which enabled stations to set up and transmit broadcast-quality point-to-point digital audio in a matter of seconds. Zephyr has since become the most successful digital broadcast audio product of all time.

Next, Church applied packet switching and Ethernet technology to the routing of audio signals around the broadcast plant. The result was Livewire IP-Audio, which employs a linear audio-over-IP method. This technology has fundamentally altered broadcast studio infrastructure and spurred a new wave of signal routing within broadcast plants.

In 2010, Church, together with Skip Pizzi, authored the book Audio over IP: Building Pro AoIP Systems with Livewire. He has been well-published in numerous trade publications, has written many white papers, and given numerous technical presentations at NAB, AES (Audio Engineering Society), IEEE, SMPTE, and various other technical forums. In 2010 Church received the NAB’s radio engineering award.

At the heart of Steve’s work was a deep, abiding love for the medium of radio itself, a love manifested since childhood. He wrote, in 2008:

“Radio is a bit like a kiss, no? When passion takes a grip, a kiss connects two humans in an exchange of secrets and emotions. We kiss furtively, lasciviously, gently, shyly, hungrily and exuberantly. We kiss in broad daylight and in the dead of night. We give ceremonial kisses, affectionate kisses, Hollywood air kisses, kisses of death and (in fairytales) pecks that revive princesses. At its best, and in our imagination, radio has such a variety, and a similar power.

“It is well-known that one’s lifelong musical taste is pretty much imprinted during the teen years. Our connection to radio might be, as well. How many of us, during those sensitive years, listening to a great DJ or talk host, decided we wanted to be a part of that? … Think about the vast numbers of people for whom work is just work, and consider how fortunate we are to have found a vocation bound in such a way to our
inner spirit.”

Church fought a three-year battle with brain cancer. He passed away quietly at his home near Cleveland, on September 28, 2012. He is survived by his loving wife Lana, stepson Dimitri, mother Jacqueline Burgess, and brothers Brent Church, Dann Church and Todd Church. He was 57 years old.

The Telos Alliance (TelosAlliance.com) is a global leader in the research, development, and manufacturing of IP-Audio, telephony, and high-performance audio processing equipment for broadcasters. Telos, Omnia, Axia, and Linear Acoustic are Telos Alliance companies. The Telos Alliance is headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio USA, with additional US offices, plus sales, research and manufacturing offices in Germany, Latvia, Ukraine and China.

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A Savage Exit

As we quipped when liberal talk radio network Air America died, this would have been a much bigger story here a few years ago.

But with syndicated talk show host Michael Savage making his “triumphant” exit from syndicator Talk Radio Network now, we believe that only affects a single station in the OMW immediate coverage area.

Savage declared victory in his contract battle with the Oregon-based TRN, as he was seeking to be released from his deal to pursue deals with other syndicators.

From the host’s own MichaelSavage.com (forgive the upper case):

AFTER A GRUELING LEGAL BATTLE THAT COST HIM AND HIS FAMILY DEARLY, MICHAEL SAVAGE CAN ANNOUNCE HE WON! HE IS FREE AT LAST. FREE TO WORK WITH WHOMEVER HE WISHES IN THE RADIO INDUSTRY FROM TODAY FORWARD.

The item says Savage will be off the radio “for some time”. Indeed, he’s now entirely gone from the TRN website, in what we’ve called a “Soviet-style purge”.

The statement released by the company’s CEO Mark Masters is brief:

“We are all looking forward to announcing a bright future; radio’s October Surprise will begin on Monday, October 1st.”

This would have been a big deal here on the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) back in 2008. But as far as we can tell, there’s a single Savage affiliate left in Northeast Ohio.

That would be Media-Com talk WJMP/1520 Kent(/Akron/Cleveland/Jupiter), the puny AM sister station to the much more successful “Talk of Akron”, WNIR/100.1.

WJMP was running “The Savage Nation” on a 15 hour delay, weekdays from noon to 3 PM, also running the show live at 6 PM as long as the daytime station’s signoff time was after 6.

Friday afternoon, WJMP was airing Thursday night’s show with frequent Savage fill-in Jeff Kuhner, who just said he was “sitting in” without mentioning Savage, and without playing Savage’s theme music or opening.

Savage appeared briefly in late nights on WNIR itself, though we don’t know how long that stint lasted. The station now runs Salem host Mike Gallagher in the post-midnight hours (after Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon), along with TRN’s Laura Ingraham (“Ingram” according to the WNIR program guide page).

Savage’s affiliate history in Northeast Ohio was rocky, to say the least.

Featuring what is still one of our favorite quotes ever from a radio executive, Salem talk WHK/1420 Cleveland bounced Savage in 2008, in the middle of a controversy over his comments about autistic children.

From our July 2008 item quoting Salem Cleveland general manager Mark Jaycox talking to the Plain Dealer:

“This guy’s a knucklehead, and I want to get rid of him.”

Months earlier, he was squeezed off the schedule at Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 Akron, in a move not related to his on-air comments. WHLO reshuffled the schedule in April 2008 to make room for then-WKDD/98.1’s Matt Patrick, in his first regular talk radio stint.

It worked out well for Patrick, of course…he is now heard in morning drive at Clear Channel talk KTRH/740 Houston, with another show at sister talk KPRC/950. For Northeast Ohio listeners, Matt Patrick is also still is on the weekend schedule on Clear Channel’s big talker here, WTAM/1100 Cleveland (Saturday 1-4 PM).

After WHLO dropped Savage, Melodynamic talk WCER/900 Canton was Savage’s affiliate…but of course, WCER is now silent, after a brief LMA by former WINW/1520 programmer Curtis Perry III as gospel “Joy 900”.

(As near as we can figure, Perry recamped to the revived WINW, restarting “Joy 1520” from temporary facilities featuring 250 watts into a long-wire antenna on the northern end of downtown Canton.)

Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 Youngstown is also a former Savage affliate, dropping him a few years ago.

Again, this would have been a much larger story about 4 years ago.

We found two other active Savage affiliates in Ohio in a brief Google search: Clear Channel talk WIMA/1150 Lima, and Runnymede talk WHTH/790 Heath (AM sister station to WKNO/101.7, once licensed to Newark, now licensed to New Albany with a signal that reaches much of Columbus).

But like Dr. Laura in her last days on terrestrial radio, “The Savage Nation” has disappeared from big market clearances in Ohio radio…

Press Release Theatre (Vol. 6, The Kate And Travis Edition)

A mix of items, with today’s new releases and yesterday’s favorites…well, not quite. The below items are in no particular “copy and paste” order, and as the title suggests, come from Fox Sports Ohio’s Kate Buddenhagen and Time Warner Cable’s Travis Reynolds.

Before we dive into this item, one note: Don’t print those “92.3 The Fan/Indians” bumper stickers just yet…

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FOXSportsOhio.com Announces EXTRA POINTS

Online show featuring NFL & Browns discussion hosted by Zac Jackson with FOX Sports Next and FOXSports.com guests

FOXSportsOhio.com announces Extra Points, a new online show covering the Cleveland Browns and the rest of the NFL.

Extra Points is a weekly online show hosted by FOXSportsOhio.com’s Zac Jackson joined by FOX Sports Next’s Fred Greetham. Each week, FOXSports.com Fantasy Editor Ryan Fowler also joins Jackson for a fantasy football discussion.

There will be 64 episodes on FOXSportsOhio.com, including four new 3-4 minute shows each week throughout the 16 weeks that make up the NFL season.

Weekly topics include “Fantasy Plays and Sits” and “Bold Predictions”. Other segments focus on key topics coming out of each previous week’s game. For example, one segment last week was on Brandon Weeden with another on the Browns secondary missing Joe Haden.

The first episode debuted on Sept. 12, and the first several shows can now be viewed on FOXSportsOhio.com:

· Extra Points for Week 1: The Offense – Jackson and Greetham discuss the offensive woes in Week 1 and what could be done to fix them.

· Extra Points: Week 1, The Defense – Jackson and Greetham break down how the Browns’ defense matches up against the Bengals’ offense as the teams prepare for Sunday’s game.

· Bold Predictions: Browns vs. Bengals – Jackson and Greetham offer their predictions for the Browns vs. Bengals game this Sunday.

· Fantasy Plays and Sits: Week 3 – Fowler and Jackson discuss which players to play and sit for week 3 in Fantasy Football, with a focus on the Browns and Bengals games.

· Say It Ain’t So, Joe! – Jackson and Greetham discuss the Browns’ secondary after Joe Haden’s four-game suspension.

Now through the end of the NFL season, log onto FOXSportsOhio.com each week for Extra Points!

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High School Football Coverage on Time Warner Cable: Week 6

Time Warner Cable will televise three high school football games this weekend on channel 23: Padua @ Walsh Jesuit, Lake @ N. Canton Hoover and Notre Dame Cathedral-Latin @ Benedictine.

Coverage will air on channel 23 based on the following schedule.
For customers in the Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown areas:
Friday, 11 p.m. – Padua @ Walsh Jesuit
Saturday, 10 a.m. – Padua @ Walsh Jesuit
Saturday, 2 p.m. – Lake @ N. Canton Hoover
Saturday, 8 p.m. – Padua @ Walsh Jesuit
Saturday, 11 p.m. – Notre Dame Cathedral-Latin @ Benedictine
Sunday, 10 a.m. – Padua @ Walsh Jesuit
Sunday, 1 p.m. – Notre Dame Cathedral-Latin @ Benedictine
Sunday, 8 p.m. – Padua @ Walsh Jesuit
Sunday, 11 p.m. – Notre Dame Cathedral-Latin @ Benedictine
For customers in the Canton and Mansfield areas:
Friday, 11 p.m. – Lake @ N. Canton Hoover
Saturday, 10 a.m. – Padua @ Walsh Jesuit
Saturday, 2 p.m. – Lake @ N. Canton Hoover
Saturday, 8 p.m. – Padua @ Walsh Jesuit
Saturday, 11 p.m. – Notre Dame Cathedral-Latin @ Benedictine
Sunday, 10 a.m. – Padua @ Walsh Jesuit
Sunday, 1 p.m. – Notre Dame Cathedral-Latin @ Benedictine
Sunday, 8 p.m. – Padua @ Walsh Jesuit
Sunday, 11 p.m. – Notre Dame Cathedral-Latin @ Benedictine

Coverage will also be available On Demand on channel 411, in the SPORTS category, the week following each game. Additional high school sports coverage can be found on channels 311 and 1311 (HD).

The complete 2012 high school football schedule (subject to change) is available at www.twcentral.com/localsports.

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Enjoy Heroes Better and Watch Marvel’s The Avengers
On Time Warner Cable Movies On Demand

Exclusive cast interviews, behind the scenes extras and more in Enjoy Better category

Beginning today, Time Warner Cable Digital TV customers can instantly enjoy Marvel’s The Avengers, and their other favorite superheroes on Movies On Demand. Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America and other favorite Marvel super heroes come together in this action packed adventure in an effort to save the world. In addition, customers can select the Enjoy Better category for exclusive cast interviews, behind the scenes extras and more from this super powered film.

The Avengers category includes the following films:
The Avengers
Iron Man 2
The Incredible Hulk (2008)

Extras:
The Avengers: Coming Together
The Avengers: Assembling Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
The Avengers: The Black Widow
The Avengers: An Unexpected Enemy

Marvel’s The Avengers is available to watch instantly in 3D, HD and SD. All versions of the film are available on the Movies On Demand channel. The 3D version can be found by selecting “Enjoy Better” and choosing “3D”. The HD and SD versions as well as extra features and films can be found by selecting “Enjoy Better” and choosing “The Avengers”. To enjoy 3D viewing, customers need a 3D TV with matching 3D glasses and a compatible Time Warner Cable HD or HD/DVR set-top box connected to their TV with an HDMI cable.

For more information about Movies On Demand, please visit www.twcondemand.com/EnjoyBetter.

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FOX Sports Ohio Announces Its Lake Erie Monsters Television Schedule

Network to air five Monsters games, beginning October 27 at 7:30pm

FOX Sports Ohio announced today its 2012-13 telecast schedule of the Lake Erie Monsters. The network will televise the Monsters’ productions of five games beginning Saturday, October 27 at 7:30pm when the Monsters host the Abbotsford Heat at Quicken Loans Arena.

A complete schedule of the Monsters on FOX Sports Ohio is below.

Handling the calls once again will be Doug Plagens, who enters his second season as the Voice of the Monsters. He serves in the same capacity for the Cleveland Gladiators, Quicken Loans Arena’s Arena Football League team.

Plagens will be joined by Cleveland hockey legend and Monsters assistant coach/Director of Hockey Operations & Team Services, Jock Callander, who will provide color commentary. Veteran Cleveland sports broadcaster Kenny Roda will return for his fifth season as rink-side reporter and intermission host on all telecasts in 2012-13.

Lake Erie Monsters 2012-13 schedule on FOX Sports Ohio
(all home games)

Saturday, October 27, 7:30pm
Abbotsford

Thursday, January 24, 7pm
Toronto

Thursday, February 21, 7pm
Milwaukee

Saturday, March 2, 7:30
Hamilton

Tuesday, March 19, 7pm
Toronto

*schedule subject to change

WCLV Going Non-Commercial

Classical WCLV/104.9 Lorain, the Cleveland market’s commercial classical music station, is joining its new sister stations in noncommercial land beginning January 1, 2013.

The status change is part of the transfer of WCLV to Ideastream, owner of public radio outlet WCPN/90.3 and PBS affiliate WVIZ/25. WCLV moved its studios to the Idea Center before that announcement was made.

Cleveland Classical Radio, with management led by WCLV president/co-founder Robert Conrad (an OMW reader, by the way), has been operating WCLV for Ideastream after the public broadcasting outlet took over the station’s license. (Ideastream took over Radio Seaway, Inc., the station’s licensee.)

The application to transfer WCLV to Ideastream included an assurance that the public broadcaster would continue to operate the station as a classical music operation.

The move will allow WCLV under Ideastream to follow a path well traveled by classical music stations elsewhere that have converted to noncommercial operation…among them, New York City’s WQXR, which (after a frequency change) transferred to the ownership of public broadcaster WNYC.

It would presumably also allow WCPN to add WCLV as an HD2 sidechannel, though we know of no such plans in the works at this early stage. WCPN currently operates in HD Radio, but has no sidechannels at this time.

In a late night edition of Press Release Theatre, the official release on the WCLV move to noncommercial status is reprinted below…

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WCLV 104.9FM, Northeastern Ohio’s Classical Music station, will begin operating as a noncommercial station on January 1, 2013. The audience will continue to enjoy familiar WCLV programming with familiar voices presenting the greatest music of the past five hundred years and the rich arts and cultural resources of today.

With the transition, WCLV is following commercial classical music radio stations in New York City, Boston and Seattle that have successfully converted to a noncommercial format.

WCLV is now affiliated with ideastream, the multiple media public service organization that operates noncommercial stations WVIZ/PBS and 90.3 WCPN. Studios for all three stations are at Idea Center® at PlayhouseSquare.

The transition will allow generous businesses and organizations to support the work of WCLV, and will give individuals who appreciate hearing classical music on the radio the opportunity to provide support through donations large and small.

“For five decades, WCLV has served as a focal point and megaphone for Northeast Ohio’s arts and culture resources and activities,” said Robert Conrad, WCLV’s President and Co-Founder. “This change to a noncommercial format will allow the station to continue serving our audience and to grow and evolve, much as our region’s vibrant arts and cultural assets are evolving and growing today.”

“The Northeast Ohio community identifies arts and culture as a primary asset of the region,” said Jerry Wareham, President and CEO of ideastream. “Because of the extraordinary generosity and good work of co-founder Robert Conrad, his partner Richard Marschner and their colleagues, the citizens of the region will continue to benefit from the availability of classical music and arts and cultural programming on the radio,” he continued.

ABOUT WCLV
Established in 1962, WCLV has gained an international reputation as a leading classical music broadcaster and producer and distributor of culturally oriented programming.

In 1965, WCLV began the Cleveland Orchestra radio broadcasts, now heard twice weekly at 104.9 and distributed world-wide.  WCLV was one of the first FM-only commercial stations to carry the Metropolitan Opera live from New York. From 1969 to 2009, WCLV was the anchor station for the weekly City Club Forum broadcasts, which it continues to air. Other programs of note produced by WCLV for local broadcast and national distribution include Weekend Radio and selected concerts by Apollo’s Fire – The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra. 

Local live broadcasts by WCLV include a monthly series of CIM Live programs from the Cleveland Institute of Music, wall-to-wall coverage of the bi-annual Cleveland International Piano Competition, and regular broadcasts from Baldwin-Wallace University, Cleveland State University and Oberlin College. In 2008, Jubilation, the Stuart Church Choir Festival began its annual live broadcasts, currently presented from St. John’s Cathedral. In the spring of 2012, the station aired four broadcasts from the newly established ChamberFest Cleveland. Regular delayed-broadcasts by the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire – The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra and the concert series of the Cleveland International Piano Competition are also presented.

In addition to its highly regarded musical programs, WCLV keeps its audience informed with hourly Wall Street Journal Reports, four daily broadcasts of the BBC World Service News and local news reports at 7:00 and 7:30 AM, 12:06 PM and 5:00 and 5:30 PM.  

Over the years, WCLV has won many honors: four Gabriel Awards, three for Best Radio Station Nationwide and one for Best Religious Program; a NAB Marconi for Best Classical Radio Station; New York Radio Festival Silver and Gold medals for Best Classical Station Worldwide; two Ohio Governor’s Award for Support of the Arts; a Gracie for best interview program dealing with women’s issues; and numerous local awards.

In 2001, to assure continuation of classical music on the radio, ownership of WCLV was donated to the community through a nonprofit corporation and transferred to ideastream in 2011.

ABOUT ideastream
ideastream is a multiple media public service organization that applies the power of media to education, culture and citizenship. It includes WVIZ/PBS, 90.3 WCPN, educational and public service cable channels, broadband interactive video distance learning, the Internet and other interactive media.

Based on careful and ongoing ascertainment of community needs, ideastream acquires, creates and delivers content that connects those who seek knowledge with those who have it.

ideastream leverages technical, creative and financial resources through partnerships with other organizations that share interests in education and public service. Support comes primarily from contributions made by individuals, foundations and corporations. Funding from state and federal agencies also plays a critical role.

ideastream has attracted national attention as a new model for public service media. The services of ideastream multiple media are utilized by more than 2.8 million people a month.

Our Big Catchup Post

Yes, we’ve been gone a while. (“Life Intervenes”, you know.)

As things settle down a little, we can come up for air and shovel out a lot of items. We’ll revisit some items both here and on our social media accounts, and put in some new items as well.

A warning…you’ll definitely need to bring a lunch for this one…

NFL NETWORK, TWC MAKE FRIENDS: Northeast Ohio’s Time Warner Cable subscribers didn’t have to wait until Thursday to get the long-awaited NFL Network.

TWC’s Travis Reynolds confirms to OMW that the NFL-owned cable channel is indeed now available systemwide, a process that happened at about 11 AM Saturday.

Who won the battle which lasted some 8 years?

The NFL got an important point they asked for…Time Warner is making the network available on its Digital Basic tier, not in the extra-cost ($5.99/mo.) Sports Pass tier. (The associated NFL RedZone, which features live look-ins during key Sunday NFL game plays, will be in that extra-cost tier.)

And no, putting the network in analog Extended Basic wasn’t likely…though that’s where it was years ago on the old Adelphia system locally until Time Warner bought Adelphia, and yanked the NFL Network.

As noted in our previous item, the deal does not affect over-air carriage of Thursday night’s epic NFL battle (cough, cough!) between the hometown alleged NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, and the hated former Browns, the Baltimore Ravens.

Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 bought the local over-air rights this time around, and will air Browns/Ravens as scheduled (and will air the NFL Network feed directly, if the promos with that creepy bearded NFL Network character are any indication).

The local over-air carriage is not tied to the cable/satellite network’s availability, but is an NFL rule to provide hometown, over-air coverage in the two markets involved in the game.

Of course, if the game is not sold out, it does not air in the home market…either on the over-air carrier or on the cable network involved (NFL Network, ESPN, etc.).

It’s one reason the rightsholder for one cable game, Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8, banded together with the team and a beer company to buy out a few thousand tickets to avoid a blackout.

The news is certainly welcome to Browns fans who are Time Warner subscribers outside the immediate Cleveland/Akron TV market. In markets like Youngstown and Columbus, the cable/satellite games do not air on a local over-air station…

92.3 THE INDIANS FLAGSHIP?: It hasn’t happened yet, but last week, there was quite a bit of speculation that CBS Radio was nearing a deal to move Cleveland Indians broadcasts to its sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”.

Crain’s Cleveland Business got it started last Monday, noting that several sources were saying that CBS Radio was the “front runner” to take the local rights package from Clear Channel, which has aired the team on talk WTAM/1100 for years. (The article is behind Crain’s subscriber wall.)

The Cleveland Plain Dealer carried an item also confirming the negotiations, but both newspapers were clear that the deal (for either company) had not yet been signed.

Both articles say Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN Cleveland” dropped out of the talks early on.

But the Crain’s article quotes one source as saying they were “blown away” by CBS Radio’s offer to move the team’s games to just over one-year old “92.3 The Fan”…though there’s no word on any dollar value.

As we’ve long said, we expected CBS to “back up the Brinks truck” to bring major league play-by-play to “The Fan”, and that appears to be happening.

The company has certainly done so in other markets, and you only have to head about 100 miles to the southeast to find an example.

This season, 92.3’s sister station in Pittsburgh, KDKA-FM/93.7 “The Fan”, grabbed the Pittsburgh Pirates from…yes, Clear Channel talk WPGB/104.7.

One wild card in this is the relatively anemic signal of WKRK.

Though it’s enough to cover much of the immediate Cleveland area, there are holes in the 92.3 signal, to the west and to the south in particular.

The east-side based WKRK signal has to account for powerful 92.3 signals in Detroit and Columbus, and to the southeast, those outside the immediate Cleveland area have to pick it out from adjacent-channel interference from D.A. Peterson top 40 WDJQ/92.5 Alliance “Q92” in the Canton market.

There are some wondering if this will be the catalyst for CBS to move “The Fan” to the more powerful 98.5 signal, presumably scooting classic rock WNCX to 92.3. We have yet to hear any rumor, even, that would suggest such a move is happening.

If the Indians move to WKRK, and it doesn’t move from 92.3, of course, the team has an extensive radio network surrounding Cleveland, with long-time carriers such as WEOL/930 Elyria, WQKT/104.5 Wooster, WAKR/1590 Akron, WHBC/1480 Canton, WKBN/570 Youngstown and WFUN/970 Ashtabula.

But those stations would not be a perfect fit with 92.3, if we’re talking about Indians coverage in a post-WTAM world.

For one, nearly all of them are highly directional AM signals that miss some areas, especially at night. WQKT is the exception, being on FM, and it’s actually a rather good option into much of the area southwest of Cleveland.

But…as an OMW reader pointed out to us, these stations often preempt Indians broadcasts for such things as high school sports coverage. That particularly applies to WQKT, which either preempts the Tribe or moves the Indians coverage to sister oldies WKVX/960. WKVX’s 32 watt night signal goes away roughly at the Wooster city limits.

If WKRK doesn’t move to 98.5, and gets the games, we expect the team will helpfully direct those outside the 92.3 and affiliates signal reach to the league’s extra-cost “GameDay Audio” feeds, either from MLB.com, or from the “MLB At Bat” mobile app.

That’s what happened in St. Louis, where CBS Radio talk blowtorch KMOX/1120 lost the rights to KTRS/550, a heavily nighttime directional station that is still part-owned by the St. Louis Cardinals. (KMOX eventually nabbed the rights again.)

Even 98.5 wouldn’t be a perfect replacement for Cleveland’s own blowtorch, WTAM.

It’d cover the immediate Cleveland market very well, but can’t be heard in “38 states and half of Canada” at night at all, being a local FM station and not a 50,000 watt AM station.

“92.3 The Fan” is certainly likely to go after the other play-by-play contracts in the market. We believe Clear Channel’s deal with the Cleveland Browns (flagship WMMS/100.7 and AM flagship WTAM/1100) expires at the end of this NFL season…

87.7’S SOUND: Yes, as we noted here, Murray Hill Broadcasting AAA/alt-rock WLFM-LP 6/87.7 “Cleveland’s Sound” did finally debut on Sunday, September 9th.

Listeners tell us the station is running liners actually mentioning the two defunct stations it hopes to mine for lost listeners – CBS Radio former alt-rocker WKRK/92.3 “Radio 92.3” (now sports “The Fan”, see above), and former Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting AAA outlet WNWV/107.3 “V107.3” (now Rubber City Radio’s smooth AC “107.3 The Wave”).

Crain’s Cleveland Business has been following this new station since before day one, providing first details of what the station had planned.

And the business newspaper comes through again, with an article on the launch by writer Michelle Park. (Like the article about the Cleveland Indians radio rights, this one is behind a subscriber wall.)

WLFM’s Tom Wilson tells Crain’s that the station had to wait for a consulting engineer to be able to come from Chicago, and that WLFM invested “a few thousand dollars” to install a direct studio-transmitter link to overcome audio problems pointed out on the Internet (presumably including posts right here on your Mighty Blog of Fun[tm]).

The new station is mostly being praised online by those looking for such rock music, but we saw how far a passionate music core got those two now-defunct stations. (Though to be fair, there were other factors…CBS’ desire to start a sports station in Cleveland, and the ownership change at WNWV.)

To Crain’s, Wilson defended the choice of radio novice Archie Berwick for radio’s most important time slot, morning drive…telling the paper that “sometimes, the raw talent that’s never been on air, that doesn’t have the strict radio presentation, are the best.”

As previously noted here, Berwick, known as “Just Archie” at 87.7, has no previous on-air experience at all.

His sole contact with the industry before the WLFM gig was as a promotions assistant at the local CBS Radio cluster. Of course, former CBS Radio market manager Chris Maduri is involved with the new station.

Archie tells Crain’s that his listeners can “expect the unexpected”.

We haven’t tuned into “The Archie Morning Show” yet, and will give Mr. Berwick the same courtesy we gave once-syndicated CBS Radio morning man and “Van Halen” frontman David Lee Roth…we won’t review his show in its early days.

We actually never fully reviewed Mr. Roth, even though his show may have been the worst thing to ever hit major market FM radio airwaves.

A particularly bright spot and good move for “87.7 Cleveland’s Sound” was the hiring of someone with alternative rock radio chops…popular former 92.3 personality Rachel Steele is also the station’s music director along with her afternoon drive on-air duties.

And Marty Bender, known as Marty Sobol back in his Cleveland radio days, is the program director for “Cleveland’s Sound”. Bender ended up in Indianapolis before returning to Northeast Ohio, and was most recently executive producer for Premiere’s Indianapolis-based morning duo “Bob and Tom”. He was once program director for the old rock challenger to WMMS, WWWM/105.7 “M105” (today’s Clear Channel classic hits WMJI “Majic 105.7”). And of course, “Bob and Tom” had a short run at WMMS.

So, some good pieces are in place, and some moves have people scratching their heads at “Cleveland’s Sound”.

One thing is still clear: despite some newspaper articles and online attention (not just us and the message boards, but in social media), “Cleveland’s Sound” will have to promote the dickens out of itself.

After all, as we’ve told you many times, 87.7 is not a radio frequency. It’s the audio carrier of analog LPTV channel 6, and despite the fact that Murray Hill reportedly signed a five-year lease on its space at the Cleveland Agora, the FCC still plans to shut down analog LPTV in September of 2015…making “87.7 FM” go away.

(We presume that the Murray Hill folks would say that the station would seek a new home, but there are probably not a lot of folks betting that the radio entity known as “Cleveland’s Sound” will make it to 2015 in any form…)

DAN AND JACQUE TO LOUISIANA: Last Friday was Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8 News” anchor Dan Jovic’s last day in the building at South Marginal Road, or Dick Goddard Way if you prefer.

Jovic and his wife, former “Fox 8 News” staffer Jacque Smith, are heading to Shreveport LA. Dan will be morning anchor at the market’s NBC affiliate, KTAL/6, and Jacque will anchor in evenings, according to both the couple and the Arkansas TV News blog. (The Shreveport market contains a chunk of Arkansas, as part of the “ArkLaTex” region.)

Jovic was a web producer, member of the “Fox 8 News in the Morning” team as a technology reporter, and was also on another “team” at the station…the “Friday Night Touchdown” high-school football extravaganza that features what may be half the station’s staff.

(OK, so we’re exaggerating.)

Best wishes to both Dan and Jacque in Louisiana!

BARTHOLET RETIRES: A fixture in the local public broadcasting community is calling it a career.

Al Bartholet, general manager of Kent State University’s WKSU/89.7-and-its-many-simulcasters, is retiring in December.

Bartholet started at WKSU back in 1980, and was the station’s top leader for some 11 years. He was previously station manager, and spent nearly 20 years as director of development and operations coordinator…and was a student employee at the station before graduating in 1976.

How does one replace Al Bartholet?

Well, we presume the station/university will lead an extensive search. The station has retained Livingston Associates to find its next general manager, and you can see the job description here.

It notes a deadline of Saturday, September 29 for “full consideration”.

A big thanks to long-time Friend of OMW Ann VerWiebe, WKSU’s marketing guru, for the heads up.

And though we’re biased, WKSU’s incoming general manager would do very well to hang onto, and promote, Ann. She represents the station very well, and has always been professional and pleasant in her dealings with the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm)…

OK, now take a break, stretch your legs and come back. We’re not done yet…

WEST MARKET CHANGES: There’s a bit of on air shuffling at the AM side of the Akron Radio Center on West Market Street.

Rubber City Radio oldies/news WAKR/1590 has made a change in afternoon drive, with “Bobbi with an i” taking over for Brad Shupe. Shupe continues elsewhere in the building, including weekend on-air work on country WQMX/94.9 and rock WONE/97.5.

If “Bobbi”‘s voice sounds familiar to WAKR listeners, there’s a reason. She’s also the studio host of the station’s “At Your Service” block of Saturday morning talk shows, including various shows on money, gardening, home improvement and health. The block is repeated Sunday evenings on WAKR.

The news-heavy station has also found a replacement for morning news anchor Lindsay McCoy, who left to become a multimedia journalist at Vindicator NBC affiliate WFMJ/21 Youngstown.

Now-former WHBC/1480 afternoon anchor Scott Jennings will be heard in that time slot later this year. Until he takes over morning drive news anchor duties on the “Ray Horner Morning Show”, Jennings will work elsewhere in the WAKR news anchor rotation.

He has also worked at Findlay’s WFIN/1330, where he reported on that city’s extensive flooding problems.

Until Jennings moves to mornings, Mark Williamson – the former Akron city spokesman and news director/anchor for the former WAKC/23’s “23 Newsday” – will continue to anchor morning news alongside veteran WAKR host Ray Horner and traffic reporter Amani Abraham.

Back at Market South in Canton, OMW hears that Michaela Madison heads north from WTUZ/99.9 Uhrichsville in the Dover/New Philadelphia area to replace Jennings at WHBC.

Also at WAKR – “The Hunting and Fishing Show” joins the Akron station’s Sunday evening lineup starting October 7th at 6 PM.

Quoting a release from the show:

The Hunting & Fishing show originally aired on Kent’s WNIR and WAOH LP channel 29 and has built a large following of faithful listeners. Show host Steve Jones of Portage County has long been an active member of the outdoor media community advocating for youth involvement in the sport. Co-Host Jack Kiser, who also hosts the statewide award winning fishing program “Buckeye Angler” which aired on the Ohio News Network and PBS affiliate 45/49 in Kent, and is the outdoor editor for Record Publishing family of newspapers, brings a mix of anecdotal and often humorous fishing tales to the mix. A television version of the live call-in format program can be seen on Armstrong cable systems that lie in the Medina, Ashland, Orrville, North Lima and Boardman areas.

Both the TV version and the radio version will be done live – the TV show at 4 PM Sundays at Armstrong’s Medina facility, and the radio show at 6 PM at the Akron Radio Center.

Google Maps tells us that it’s a 34 minute drive between the two studios, and we assume the TV version ends at 5 PM…

FOX LEAVES WHBC: NextMedia talk WHBC/1480 Canton morning co-host Matt Fox has left the station.

The Canton Repository has details:

Fox has taken a position outside radio, the specifics of which he is choosing not to divulge. “It’s a small company in Minerva owned by a friend of mine,” he said. “I’m going to be doing some marketing for them.”

Like countless other morning drive radio hosts before him, the Repository reports that the early alarm clock was a factor in Fox’s decision.

He’ll continue to co-host the public television home improvement show “Around the House with Matt and Shari,” which has apparently migrated from Western Reserve PBS (WNEO/45-WEAO/49) to the national PBS “Create” channel, with numerous airings on Saturdays.

Locally, “Create” is seen on the 25.4 subchannel of Ideastream’s WVIZ/25 Cleveland, and is not carried among the Western Reserve PBS subchannels.

At least temporarily replacing Fox on the newly renamed “Canton’s Morning News” is someone who is no stranger to WHBC.

Repository sports columnist Todd Porter, a regular WHBC fill-in, is sitting alongside WHBC program/news director Pam Cook…

CAN YOU HEAR STAR?: Media One Group hot AC WREO-FM/97.1 “Star 97.1” Ashtabula is proud of the reach of its 50,000 watt transmitter.

Even on the “Star 97.1” website, it proclaims, “Mentor, Cleveland, Erie and you!”

Lately, that’d be more accurately put as “Jefferson, North Kingsville, Geneva, and you!”

We’ll let the station itself tell the story:

We are having some work done on our star 97.1 radio towers. We hope to have it done soon so that we can get back to providing you with the regional coverage and fun tunes you love from Cleveland to Erie. We have a very low signal going out to Ashtabula and Geneva right now. We miss you all as well.
Be back soon from your Star 97.1 family

OMW hears that the antenna took significant damage in a recent storm, and had to be replaced.

There’s good news for the folks missing “Star” in Mentor and Erie, as OMW hears a new antenna is in the house…and weather and tower crew availability permitting, it should be back up on the tower very soon…

QUICK HITS!

33RD: A tip of the hat to OMW reader and sports anchor John Telich, who just started his 33rd year at what’s now “Fox 8 News”. Of course, WJW-TV was Cleveland’s CBS affiliate when John started there, and we’re pretty sure it wasn’t even on South Marginal Road back then…

FRESH JAVA: Fans of Clear Channel top 40 WAKS/96.5 nighttime personality “Java Joel” Murphy should check out his interview with Chicago’s Margaret Larkin and her “Radiogirl” podcast.

Joel tells the story behind his return to Cleveland – from a voicetrack gig out of Chicago to a live Cleveland show (after losing his gig in Chicago, and being on the Radio Beach for a while). He also tells Margaret the origin of his on-air nickname, and that he never set out to be an air personality.

Joel is also music director of sister adult hits WHLK/106.5 “The Lake”, which he tells Margaret means he gets to pick out the variety station’s musical “curveballs”…

NOT OURS: We got one inquiry about the “strange” video ad which appeared on the bottom of one of our items.

Just a clarification here – for now, at least, any advertisements (video or otherwise) belong to WordPress, as part of the “cost of doing business” here on the free version of WordPress.com.

At this time, we have no connection to the ads, or input into which ads air. They don’t show up on all items…

THIS JUST IN: TWC, NFL Network Reach Deal

UPDATE: OMW readers tell us that the NFL Network is already showing up on channel 346 (1346 HD), and RedZone is being seen on channel 347 (1347 HD).

TWC’s Travis Reynolds confirms that channel placement…

——-

For football fans, the long, cable nightmare is over. Well, at least the nightmare for Time Warner Cable subscribers.

After what seems to have been a decade, Northeast Ohio’s dominant cable provider has struck a deal with the NFL Network.

NFL Network will be on Time Warner Cable starting on Sunday, and in full in time for Thursday’s game featuring the Cleveland Browns, but the deal does not affect local over-air carriage of the Cleveland Browns/Baltimore Ravens game – Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 will air it in Cleveland. (Local stations in the game’s two affected markets buy the rights to re-air the cable/satellite game under NFL rules, and even ESPN games air on local stations in the participating teams’ home markets.)

According to the release, TWC will place NFL Network in the Digital Basic tier, and NFL RedZone in the Sports Pass tier.

Here is the press release in full, sent out by Time Warner Cable on Friday evening:

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Time Warner Cable & Bright House Networks sign multi-year deals to carry NFL Network & NFL RedZone

NFL Network reached multi-year agreements with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, the country’s respective second- and sixth-largest cable providers, for carriage of NFL Network and the NFL RedZone channel, it was announced today.

NFL Network and NFL RedZone will debut in Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks homes beginning this Sunday September 23, with full launch before Thursday, September 27.

“We’re delighted to have reached an agreement for NFL Network and NFL RedZone that provides a good value to our customers,” said Melinda Witmer, Executive Vice President and Chief Video and Content Officer for Time Warner Cable. “The additional games this year and the proven appeal of NFL RedZone will certainly prove to be a draw for our customers. We look forward to a long and productive relationship with the NFL.”

“We thank our customers for their patience while a fair deal was reached for all involved,” said Steve Miron, CEO, Bright House Networks. “It is especially rewarding to say yes to our customers who have requested NFL Network’s award-winning coverage.”

“We are excited to work with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks to bring fans football 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” said NFL Network President and CEO Steve Bornstein. “Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks subscribers will be able to enjoy our weekly Thursday Night Football schedule, our award-winning Sunday NFL GameDay shows, NFL Total Access, NFL Films programming and much more. In addition, the NFL RedZone channel is a truly exciting way to enhance your Sunday football viewing experience each and every week.”

Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks are major cable providers in the home markets for 12 NFL teams (Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Kansas City, New York Giants, New York Jets, San Diego and Tampa Bay). For Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, NFL Network will be available on the Digital Basic and Sports Pass tiers, and NFL RedZone will be available to Sports Pass customers.

NFL Network is the home of Thursday Night Football — 13 primetime NFL regular season games from September through December — and is the destination for all that happens around the sport of football. NFL Network airs seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and provides viewers with more than 2,500 hours per year of original programming, including: NFL Total Access, NFL GameDay, the new four-hour NFL AM weekday morning show, Top 10, Playbook, NFL Replay, NFL Classic Games plus the Emmy award-winning Sound FX and America’s Game.

NFL Network also features every NFL preseason game, the Senior Bowl, plus more coverage of the NFL Draft, Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony, NFL Scouting Combine and Super Bowl than anyone else.

The extraordinarily popular NFL RedZone, produced by NFL Network, whips around every NFL game on Sunday afternoons, delivering the touchdowns and most exciting moments as they happen and in high definition. When a team goes inside the 20-yard line, fans see the crucial plays live. The channel keeps fans up-to-date in real time, switching from game to game with live look-ins, highlights and a chance to see every important play. For more information on NFL RedZone, visit http://www.nfl.com/redzonetv.

87.7 Cleveland’s Sound Launch

Murray Hill Broadcasting’s WLFM-LP 87.7/TV audio 6 has launched jockless as rocker “87.7 Cleveland’s Sound”.

We’re the worst source for music format definitions, so we’ll borrow a reader’s description of the music mix as AAA with an alt-rock lean. Feel free to correct us in the comments.

As expected, “87.7 Cleveland’s Sound” is running promos with previously reported morning drive host Archie Berwick promoting his “Archie Morning Show” starting Monday (Archie: “Two things will make this show different, I’m black, and I’ve never done this before!”).

We are on what we have called “deep hiatus” and are using our smartphone to put this in. We aren’t going to be able to update this, this week.

But here’s a start, and have fun in the comments to add more information for readers of this item and this blog…