You Need This Calendar

You ask, “why do I need a calendar in 2013 at all, when there’s one right on my smartphone?”

Does your smartphone, even your tablet, include in its calendar full color, full size glossy pictures of some of the most interesting radio and television tower and transmitter sites, and broadcast facilities in North America and beyond?

Does it note famous dates in broadcast history, anniversaries and other dates of interest?

And you just try putting a nail through your smartphone or tablet’s screen to hang it on your favorite office or home wall.

Yep, it’s that time of year again… long-time personal and professional Friend of OMW Scott Fybush (“NorthEast Radio Watch”) has come out with another Tower Site Calendar.

We’ll let Scott and his wife Lisa do the honors with all the details on the 2013 Tower Site Calendar, which hangs in some of the best engineering shops, studios and homes in America.

And this picture is familiar to many locals, particularly those who endured frequent visits of the OMW Mobile while the facility was under construction in Parma…it’s a shot of the WKYC/3 transmitter site.

We’re pretty sure we were alongside Scott at the time.

Anyway, if you’re convinced by now, order one…and if you remember, tell Scott you heard about it from OMW…

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POPULAR CALENDAR SHOWCASES BEAUTY OF BROADCAST TOWERS

Twelve years later, what started as a lark is still going strong

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – To some, they’re eyesores on the landscape. But to one man, radio and television towers are landscapes, and beautiful ones, too. For a dozen years now, journalist/photographer/broadcaster Scott Fybush has created an annual wall calendar featuring artistic photos of important and historic broadcast tower sites from coast to coast, and he’s just released the 2013 edition.

“Some people may think all radio towers look alike, but the Tower Site Calendar shows every year that that’s not the case,” says Fybush, who has worked in radio and television news for more than two decades. The calendar began in 2002 as an outgrowth of his weekly industry news column, NorthEast Radio Watch, and its offshoot, “Tower Site of the Week,” a weekly feature at his fybush.com website.

“It has developed a passionate following in the broadcast engineering community,” Fybush says. “Engineers are notoriously underappreciated for the hard work they do, and the calendar is one little way I can help show some recognition for the infrastructure that engineers design and maintain to make sure all of us have easy access to radio, TV and our cellphones, too.”

The 2013 edition, now shipping from the Fybush Media store (store.fybush.com/store) features a fresh new page design, a spiral binding, and 13 new pictures taken from Fybush’s travels all over North America and beyond. Some of the highlights this year:

* The Sandia Peak TV/FM antenna farm high above Albuquerque, New Mexico. At more than 10,000 feet above sea level, this is the highest-elevation site ever featured in the calendar.

* WFXJ (formerly WJAX), Jacksonville, Florida. This historic site, built in the 1930s, sits amidst the greens of a golf course.

* KWAL, Wallace, Idaho. This unique site features two towers split down the middle by a busy coast-to-coast highway, Interstate 90, as it threads through a narrow valley.

* WVJS, Owensboro, Kentucky. A reminder of the impermanence of broadcast infrastructure, this calendar photo features three towers that were dismantled in 2011 after 65 years at the same site.

* WXXI-TV, Rochester, New York. A dramatic night photo showing a massive crane in action, removing an analog TV antenna from its 400-foot-high perch after the digital television transition made it obsolete.

In addition to tower photos, the calendar’s monthly pages include significant dates in radio and television history, as well as civil and religious holidays.

The 2013 calendars cost $18.50 each ($19.98 including sales tax for New York State residents) and can be purchased by check (payable to “Fybush Media”) or money order to 92 Bonnie Brae Avenue, Rochester NY 14618. Orders can also be placed with major credit cards, or online at www.fybush.com.

“Engineers email me all the time to ask if their towers can be a featured site or a calendar page,” says Fybush, who also anchors newscasts for NPR member station WXXI in Rochester.

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Letting Some Out

This may be one of our final blog updates of 2012, though we will continue to update our social media presence with breaking media-related news.

No, not actual breaking news, as some of our E-mailers (not readers) haven’t figured out…

CLEVELAND RADIO HISTORY INTO HISTORY: As we write this, early Sunday morning, the storied Cleveland media address “One Radio Lane” is no longer occupied by, well, any radio stations.

CBS Radio’s local operations in Cleveland have been split between two locations for some time.

At the Halle Building in Playhouse Square, it’s been “the wall of men” – male audience grabbers…classic rock WNCX/98.5 and sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”.

At One Radio Lane, on a sketchy part of St. Clair Avenue near 26th Street, it’s been the “wall of women” – female audience stalwarts…AC WDOK/102.1 “New 102” and hot AC WQAL/104.1 “Q104”.

Here comes some co-ed housing.

Tuesday after “New 102’s” morning show with Trapper Jack and Jen Toohey, WDOK(shhh) went live from its new studios at the Halle Building.

“Q104” followed suit later in the week, bringing all of CBS Radio’s Cleveland properties under the same former legendary department store roof.

There’s a lot of radio history at One Radio Lane, and “New 102” midday personality Kory (the first WDOK voice from the Halle), evening personality Jaci Fox and “Infoman” Jim McIntyre weigh in with their observations and memories on the station’s website.

Though CBS Radio has only been using the building since the mid-1990s, McIntyre points out that One Radio Lane’s radio history goes clear back to 1969, when WABQ and WXEN broadcast from the St. Clair Avenue building.

OMW hears that CBS has repurposed two existing production studios at the Halle Building to bring the four stations under the same roof, and we’re told it’s a tight fit.

The move is actually a return to the Halle Building for “New 102″‘s Jaci Fox, who worked for 92.3 in its alt-rock “Radio 92.3” days…then segued to on-air control room producer for “92.3 The Fan’s” afternoon drive “Bull and Fox”…

STOPPING THREE DAYS: We’ve talked about the speculation both here and on our social media presence, but it looks like rumors could be turning into reality, and soon.

Could Cleveland become the largest American city without a daily newspaper?

Readers here are well aware that the parent company of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Advance Publications, has converted local newspapers to three-day-a-week publication schedules in places like New Orleans.

We always thought it was a matter of time before that sort of move would come to Cleveland…and the “time” may be early next year.

Unlike Advance’s other projects, one of the Plain Dealer’s unions got out ahead of the news…and is urging people, and area leaders, to show their support for a seven-day newspaper.

Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3’s “Channel 3 News” ran a story by Tom Beres on the union’s effort (Gannett, of course, owns many newspapers elsewhere, including the national USA Today)…and the Plain Dealer itself then picked up the story about itself.

Ombudsman Ted Diadiun weighs in on the paper’s coverage of itself, and the union’s campaign, here.

The Newspaper Guild Local 1 effort also expands to a Facebook page.

What’s a good timeline if you’re trying to guess when Advance has in mind to make possible changes? This, from the WKYC story:

Members of the Newspaper Guild at the Plain Dealer say they have been told changes and layoffs are coming but have not been told specifics.

The Guild has an agreement preventing any layoffs until January 31, 2013.

To many people under a Certain Age, used to getting information at light speed online, the very notion of printing news on newsprint and distributing it to the front door may seem quaint.

But though Cleveland is an older market than some, we aren’t putting any bets on Advance keeping the Plain Dealer Dead Trees Edition around seven days a week…

TOM PASSES ON: There aren’t many radio stations in America whose web pages have two hosts listed under “In Memoriam”.

But the rough year continues for the folks at Broadcast Park, the Akron area home of Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron”.

Evening host Tom Erickson, after a long hospitalization, died November 3rd.

The station, already recovering from the death of iconic midday host Howie Chizek, mourned the loss of one of its hosts for the second time this year.

On Tom’s “In Memoriam” page, a nod to his affection for space, science and otherworldly issues:

We’ll miss listening to T.E. “til eleven” but we can still tune into Tom on any starry night…just look up!

After initially saying no event would be held to mark Tom’s passage, his family has set up a remembrance.

We’ll let daughter Heather Nagel describe this weekend’s event:

To celebrate Tom’s life, his children Heather and Erik Nagel will be hosting a Celebration of Life gathering to honor a man who loved this community and the people in it. The gathering will be held on Sunday November 18, 2012 from 3-6pm at Roses Run, 2636 North River Rd, in Stow.

This gathering will be a chance to celebrate Tom with great memories and smiles for all family, friends, and listeners. The gathering will be held thanks to support from Roses Run and Ripper Owens Tap House, two places that Tom enjoyed very much.

Let us all remember Tom together with the zest for life that he enjoyed the last 40 years as a member of our local media and community.

For now, it appears frequent station fill-in Jim Isabella is handling the bulk of Tom’s schedule, except perhaps for Friday evenings…Isabella is a sports correspondent for the Akron Beacon Journal.

As he has been before, AAA WAPS/91.3 “The Summit” host and former WNIR fill-in Bill Hall has been handling Friday evenings, and at least one Saturday afternoon.

We don’t know what WNIR will do to permanently fill the 7-11 PM weeknight/4-7 PM Saturday shift.

Of course, WNIR hired long-time Howie Chizek regular caller John “Couch Burner” Denning to replace the late Mr. Chizek. And no, we’re not doing any reviews…

MORE ALAN: It turns out that, without much surprise, Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7 afternoon drive host Alan Cox has signed a contract renewal.

Cox addressed the issue on the air on his show…noting that the company basically split the contract length difference with him – Clear Channel wanted three years, Cox said, and he wanted a one year deal, so it ended up being two years.

In addition to WMMS’ “Alan Cox Show”, he’ll end up doing morning drive on a Clear Channel FM station in Detroit.

We believe the station is rock WDTW/106.7 “The D”, and Cox said his Detroit show will be a regular, music-oriented program as opposed to his talk show in Cleveland.

Alan Cox has ties to the Detroit area…and though he told listeners that he’ll generally be doing that show from Cleveland, he’ll occasionally be in Detroit and do his WMMS show from there – with the rest of the “ACS” cast, including Chad Zumock and Erika Lauren, back at Oak Tree, talking to a chair.

As OMW readers know, Alan Cox is no stranger to a “side gig” within the Clear Channel universe…having been featured on a St. Louis rock station for some time…

COPPER THIEVES: Hoping to make a killing selling stolen copper, thieves often target radio station transmitter sites…where if they’re not careful, the killing they make could be suicide.

This U.S. Attorney’s office news release out of Cleveland says two people, Thomas M. Carbone and Katie M. Stanton were charged with “the malicious destruction of federally-licensed communications lines” in a federal indictment.

The facility hit in August is Radio One gospel WJMO/1300’s North Royalton site, and after the damage and theft, the release says:

This unlawful removal of copper depleted the signal strength of the supported radio station, thereby impeding the station’s ability to broadcast emergency messages, according to the indictment.

Emergency repairs cost nearly $11,000 while permanent repairs will cost an estimated $125,000, according to the indictment.

Those doing such mischief often don’t realize that as a broadcast station is a federally-licensed facility, their misdeeds escalate rather quickly into a literal “federal case”…

YOUR 92.3 THE FAN LATE NIGHT LINEUP: When word came out that CBS Radio was launching its own 24/7 sports radio network, we quickly sounded the death knell for Fox Sports Radio in the overnight hours at CBS’ local jock talker, WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”.

Not that it took a crystal ball to realize that, of course, but it’s now official.

The network has its full late night lineup, with Boston’s Damon Amendolara’s “D.A. Show” going national from 2-6 AM (ET).

The CBS press release for the new show specifically mentioned a number of large market affiliates, including “92.3 The Fan”.

D.A. will be preceded on CBS Sports Radio by none other than Scott Ferrall and his “Ferrall on the Bench”, presumably to be picked up locally by WKRK at midnight weekdays following Ken Carman’s local show.

Ferrall had a previous syndication run, and is currently heard on Sirius XM’s Howard Stern channels.

Again, don’t expect CBS Sports Radio long-form shows, even the show hosted by the soon-to-move-from-Premiere Jim Rome, to replace local shows on the company’s large market sports talkers (including WKRK).

In fact, we hear that Nanci “The Fabulous Sports Babe” Donnellan, a former syndicated host once rumored to be going national out of Tampa, will maintain her live-and-local 2-6 AM show on that city’s “Fan” sports talker…and won’t be bumped by “The D.A. Show”…

FREE PUBLICITY: We’re reminded of an early “WKRP in Cincinnati” episode.

“Big Guy” Arthur Carlson was reluctant to spend any money to promote the lagging station which had just flipped from elevator music to rock.

When program director Andy Travis suggested some sort of publicity stunt (“a free one, right?” said Carlson), they eventually got media coverage over protesting senior citizens upset that their easy listening music went away.

Well, no one’s protesting in the lobby of the Agora, where Murray Hill Broadcasting AAA/alt-rock WLFM-LP/87.7 (6) is operating as “Cleveland’s Sound”.

But they are getting some free publicity.

Placing himself next to Shena Hardin on the second day of her court imposed sentence for driving around a school bus, WLFM morning man Archie Berwick got himself on at least two TV stations and in the Plain Dealer.

Quoting the PD:

And a radio station personality stood beside her with a sign that read, “If she’s an idiot, so am I.” Archie Berwick, who said he is with WLFM FM/87.7, said everyone has made mistakes, and it’s insulting to call someone an idiot.

The original court ordered sign held by Hardin said: “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.”

As for Archie’s presense…it was a media circus, why not a court jester?

Though Archie did not wear a station T-shirt and his only sign with the (handwritten) station name was a smaller piece of paper he held in his hand, the station (at least, if not Archie) had publicity in mind.

A few hours after his appearance, the “Cleveland’s Sound” website had an article written by Archie, with a picture presumably taken by a station staffer.

(Note: As of this writing, the article and picture have been removed.)

The upstart, top-of-the-dial rocker also got some free local publicity on “The List”, the Scripps-produced evening show airing on 6 of the company’s stations, including WEWS/5 locally.

Local “List” reporter Mike Brookbank featured WLFM on a recent “Around Town” segment, the local insert to the otherwise national show.

As we said on social media, it’s after the porcupines. Or at least the mention of same…

HO HO EARLY: The leader in the Northeast Ohio Christmas Music On The Radio Parade is no surprise.

After all, Clear Channel AC WHOF/101.7 “My 101.7” in the Canton market is traditionally one of the earliest Christmas Flippers (as opposed to Christmas Slippers).

And now, Cleveland has joined the fun.

CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 “New 102” took the holiday music turn and the holiday name “Christmas 102” on Friday afternoon, and hours later, Clear Channel classic hits WMJI/105.7 “Majic 105.7” joined in…proclaiming itself “Cleveland’s Christmas Music Station”.

Down the Ohio Turnpike a few dozen miles east-southeast, we hear that WMJI’s-sister-joined-at-the-hip classic hits WBBG/106.1 “Big 106.1” in the Youngstown market is also in Sleigh Bells mode, which they’ve done around the holidays for at least 10 years…

IF A STATION GOES OFF THE AIR, AND NO ONE HEARS IT…: Melodynamic Broadcasting’s WCER/900 Canton has been silent for some time, and now it’s added the scarlet FCC letter “D” (deleted) to its call sign.

A tip of the hat to Cleveland Classic Media’s Tim Lones for noticing that sometime last month, the FCC issued the radio license death penalty to the Canton station.

You can read the FCC’s letter to Melodynamic here (PDF).

After dumping its talk format, WCER lit up briefly as “Joy 900”, the new home of Curtis A. Perry III’s gospel format (in a presumed LMA).

But at some point, it went off the air again…Perry resurfacing on his old station, Pinebrook Corporation’s WINW/1520, with a revival of “Joy 1520”.

Like WCER, there was a “D” in front of WINW’s call letters for some time…but Pinebrook owner Patrick Barb was able to convince the FCC to reinstate the signal after various issues with mail and correspondance.

FCC records show that WINW is running 250 watts from a temporary long-wire antenna, just north of the heart of downtown Canton on Cleveland Avenue…