Stan’s Exit? On The Way

OMW readers have known since last week that Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron” morning host Stan Piatt was headed for retirement after a 36 year run at the station.

Now, WNIR listeners know, officially.

The station aired a news story Monday, starting at 12 noon, that Piatt is indeed retiring “sometime between now and July”. (Yes, July. More on that later.)

The announcement was immediately followed by a call for “a funny person” to fill Piatt’s shoes on the station’s morning show, where Piatt’s replacement would sit alongside (still, presumably) incumbent co-hosts Steve French, Phil Ferguson and Maggie Fuller.

Those interested in auditioning were directed to E-mail the station.

OMW hears that the station’s official announcement of Piatt’s exit, combined with the call for auditions, was aired with good reason.

For one, we’re told that the station agreed not to “drag out” the process of Stan’s departure, which would make sense when you consider that WNIR is repeatedly calling for potential replacement candidates right now.

We’re also told that you probably shouldn’t expect to hear Stan Piatt on WNIR all the way into July 2014…and we’d be surprised he was still on the air in 2014 at all.

Piatt, as we’ve said before, is retiring for personal reasons…and will not pursue a radio gig in his new home area of Western Pennsylvania…


Updates And More Updates

In which more is revealed, and new things come out…

WKNR CHANGES: The Semi-Extreme Makeover of Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” has some more details attached to it.

For that, we thank two people…Good Karma boss Craig Karmazin, and Akron Beacon Journal sportswriter George M. Thomas for writing about Karmazin’s appearance Wednesday afternoon on his station.

And the lineup changes prompted by the dismissal of 21 year veteran Kenny Roda, along with Will Burge and T.J. Zuppe and the essential demotion of Roda’s former co-host, Michael Reghi, become clear.

Here’s your new “ESPN 850” schedule:

6 AM-3 PM: Unchanged, with ESPN’s “Mike and Mike in the Morning”, “The Really Big Show” with Tony Rizzo and the newly moved “Cleveland Browns Daily” in their current time slots.

3-6 PM: “The Hooligans” retains Bruce Hooley, but replaces Greg Brinda with former football star and former “3 Deep” co-host Je’Rod Cherry, along with that show’s Emmitt Golden.

Notice that we said the WKNR schedule was unchanged after 6 AM, as Mark “Munch” Bishop moves from his pre-“Mike and Mike” time slot at 5 AM, to a new show from 6-8 PM.

And after that, according to Thomas?

Game-related programming will fill the prime-time hours until Greg Brinda, once part of The Hooligans, returns to late evenings to host postgame coverage related to the Indians and Cavs.

So, it’s not quite a total retreat from local evening programming, though we’d honestly expect a lot of ESPN Radio between Bishop’s 8 PM signoff and whenever the game Brinda’s covering ends.

And we do still believe it’s budget related, and nothing in the changed lineup will dissuade that thought.

For one, three people are totally gone from the Galleria, and station management admits they won’t be immediately replaced.

“Munch” is already (presumably) under contract with the station, and is just moving into the evening hours from pre-dawn duty.

For that matter, Brinda and Reghi are still (presumably) under contract, even with their now-reduced roles.

But, the station has set Kenny Roda free, and also saves money by not paying Zuppe or Burge. And there’s no attempt to regularly fill the 9 PM-midnight “Cleveland Sports Night” time slot, except by whatever post-game shows Brinda airs. (For that matter, even Bishop is only slated for two of the three hours formerly filled by “3 Deep”.)

And again, how much DID Good Karma pay to nab the AM side of the Cleveland Browns contract? We honestly don’t know, but would love to make the comparison.

Both Burge and Zuppe indicate (via Twitter) that they’ll be back soon, which could well have them following former WKNR type Chris Fedor in some part-time/weekend role with CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”.

But we haven’t heard about any impending hiring of any of the three former WKNR personalities at the Halle Building (or anywhere else). And there would appear to be no room in a full-time role for Roda, either at “The Fan” or elsewhere…though, as always, we could be wrong…

NO STAN GONE, YET: Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron” morning mainstay Stan Piatt is still on the station, and still in Akron.

But really…don’t expect that to last for THAT much longer.

OMW hears from basically all over the Akron market that the question isn’t IF Stan Piatt is leaving, but WHEN.

We hear the Klaus Brothers – WNIR managers Bill and Bob Klaus – are pulling out all the stops to get Stan to stay…through 2013.

But no matter what those stops are, it appears that Piatt will eventually leave Northeast Ohio for a new life in Pittsburgh, likely away from the radio microphone…for personal happiness.

And since we’re talking personal life issues and not a contract/money dispute here, there doesn’t appear to be anything the folks at Broadcast Park can do about it…

NEW WZAK’ER: The departure of afternoon drive syndicated host Michael Baisden left a big hole in the lineup of Radio One urban AC WZAK/93.1.

We hadn’t seen detailed ratings, but we’ve always heard that Baisden did very well for WZAK…and presumably Skip Murphy, Reach Media’s replacement for Baisden, wasn’t the answer.

Maybe D.L. Hughley is that answer.

WZAK welcomes the comedian/actor to its lineup Monday…he’ll replace Murphy nationwide in the former Baisden time slot.

WZAK’s Sam Sylk interviewed Hughley, and you can hear that interview on the station’s website.

Hughley is no stranger to radio, having done mornings at WRKS in New York City (now ESPN Radio’s WEPN) for about a year…on a show that was intended for national syndication.

You might remember him from the sitcom “The Hughleys”, which aired on ABC from 1998 to 2000, then moved to UPN until it was cancelled in 2002…

NEW CLEVELAND SOUND: The hybrid FM/TV station programming a combination of alt-rock and adult alternative music known as “Cleveland’s Sound” has a new programmer directing that sound.

All Access reports that he’s Ryan Benes, late of CBS Radio and Clear Channel who joined Murray Hill Broadcasting’s WLFM-LP/87.7 (TV 6) as production director at its launch.

As OMW readers already know, Benes replaces Kim Monroe…and as All Access reports, he’s backed up by new music director “Bull”, the alt-rock veteran who has been heard middays on “Cleveland’s Sound”. “Lyd the Kid” took the WLFM afternoon drive slot once occupied by Rachel Steele…

WHLO CHANGES: Clear Channel Akron/Canton talk WHLO/640 morning news anchor John Amhrein has left the building.

CC regional operations manager and OMW reader Keith Kennedy confirmed the news as a comment on an earlier OMW item:

John Amhrein left to focus on his growing computer business. He had been burning the candle at both ends for some time.

We believe the business in question is Stark Laptops…and we may just buy one from John.

To put in the books what we weren’t around to talk about when it happened: WHLO, after having moved the WPGB/104.7-based syndicated “Quinn and Rose” show from morning drive to middays, and back again to mornings when Jim Albright’s local show moved to 9 AM shortly after the death of WNIR’s Howie Chizek, took “Q&R” off the air entirely last month.

The short explanation out of Freedom Avenue? “Quinn and Rose”, while great to work with, weren’t performing in the ratings and revenue department on WHLO.

The station points web readers to the WPGB website, and the iHeartRadio apps, for those who miss the show.

WHLO replaced “Q&R” with the syndicated “Wall Street Journal This Morning”….

UPDATE Departures And, Uh, Departures

UPDATE 8/21/13 8:30 AM: The always plugged in Bob Finnan sheds more light on WKNR’s Tuesday talent purge, where veteran personality Kenny Roda and the station’s Will Burge and T.J. Zuppe were let go in one day.

The News-Herald sportswriter says that Michael Reghi will have a more limited role as well, appearing only on the station’s official Cleveland Browns programming…as host of “The Rob Chudzinski Show” with the Browns head coach (also appearing on co-flagship CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”), and with a role on “Cleveland Browns Daily” during the regular season.

And, of course, as the pre-season play-by-play voice of the team, filling that role while regular season play-by-play man Jim Donovan calls the games with Bernie Kosar on his home station, WKYC/3.

The result? For now, at least, the station will no longer program local shows after “The Hooligans” ends, sending along the ESPN Radio feed. (That change, according to Finnan, also means Reghi is no longer doing the “10th Inning” baseball postgame show, or, apparently, any Cavaliers-themed postgame show.)

That means WKNR will apparently find something else to do with Je’Rod Cherry in the daytime lineup, in addition to his role on the Browns pre-game show.

There’s no word on what happens to evening co-host/producer Dave DeNatale.

With this new information, it becomes clearer…at least for now, “ESPN 850” is retreating entirely from local evening programming. That makes us wonder if it’s indeed a budget move.

Hey, how much did Good Karma pay for its share of the Cleveland Browns contract, anyway? Just a thought…

Finnan also brings along major news from Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100, which moves Cleveland Browns beat reporter Andre Knott into a position alongside afternoon drive host Mike Trivisonno, Knott later fronting his own show with Cleveland Indians beat reporter Nick Camino weeknights from 6-7 PM.

That’s been known previously around here as the “We’ll Re-Play Triv’s First Hour So He Can Go Home At 6” show…

This item was intended to have the title of “Departures And Arrivals”, but the Departure listings at OMW Airport are stacked up. And some of the planes haven’t even boarded yet…

THREE EXIT WKNR: We don’t know “why” yet, if it was a budget cut, a “change of direction” or something else, but three on-air staffers at Good Karma sports WKNR/850-WWGK/1540 “ESPN Cleveland” are no longer in the building at the Galleria.’s Glenn Moore has more:

Cleveland Browns beat reporter Will Burge, Cleveland Indians beat reporter T.J. Zuppe and on-air show host Kenny Roda were dismissed by the radio station, which is owned by Good Karma Broadcasting.

But the news filtered out directly from the now-former WKNR staffers on Twitter, all of them “taking the high road” and thanking the station and its listeners.

From Will Burge’s Twitter account:

2day a chapter closed in my career, unexpectedly but welcomed. Thanks so much to the fans of #3Deep & WKNR. Ill be back VERY SOON #FreeAgent

And from Zuppe on Twitter:

They say when 1 door closes, another opens. Unexpected change but will forever be indebted to WKNR for giving me the opportunity. #FreeAgent

And the biggest name is that of Kenny Roda, who’s been in any number of roles on WKNR (most notably afternoon drive) for over 20 years:

Thanks to all who have made the last 21 years at WKNR a remarkable, unforgettable & amazing journey.I enjoyed sharing it with you all.

Most recently, Roda has been paired with veteran sportscaster Michael Reghi on “Cleveland Sports Night”, weeknights 9 to midnight.

He’s a little more pragmatic in a phone interview with Kevin Kleps with Crain’s Cleveland Business, where Burge and Zuppe repeat the “different direction” line they heard from Good Karma management:

“I really can’t” talk about it, he said. “Maybe in the next couple days. I just found out today and have a meeting with my lawyer tomorrow.

“I won’t say anything negative about them,” Mr. Roda continued. “It’s part of the business. I’m just doing the normal stuff (in meeting with his attorney) — I’ve been through this three, four times now, whatever.”

Burge and Zuppe repeat the “different direction” line they were both told by Good Karma management.

Whatever that phrase means, we’ve learned over years it basically means “away from you”…

IS HE GOING OR STAYING?: Perhaps the worst keep secret in the Akron radio market, hinted about in our last update, has been the potential status of Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron” morning mainstay Stan Piatt.

Since at least last Thursday, Piatt has all but gone door to door telling everyone that he was about to retire from his decades-long perch at the Akron market talker.

OMW hears that Piatt told the audience the news at his second home, the Funny Stop comedy club in Cuyahoga Falls, on Thursday night… which would explain about a half dozen E-mails from OMW readers asking about it on Friday.

So, after 36 years as leader of the WNIR morning show, Stan Piatt is retiring and leaving Akron.

Uh, don’t throw that retirement party just yet.

We’re told he “alluded” to the not-yet-final news on-air this week, but Piatt has not yet announced that he’s leaving the show and “The Talk of Akron”.

OMW hears that when faced with another blow to their schedule, WNIR’s Bob and Bill Klaus launched into a frantic attempt to keep Piatt around.

It’s not a contract or money thing, as far as we know. Piatt has personal reasons to move and start a new life…reportedly, in Pittsburgh.

So, while the Klaus brothers lobby Piatt to forgo that new life, the announcement of his exit – and indeed, the decision to actually leave – are both on hold.

You probably can’t find any talk radio station in America that has seen the lineup blows that WNIR has seen recently.

Two hosts died…including Akron talk radio icon Howie Chizek. Piatt leaving would leave another large hole in the lineup, even with incumbent morning players Steve French, Maggie Fuller and Phil Ferguson in place.

And really, the Klaus Brothers haven’t exactly shined when it comes to filling those lineup holes.

Chizek was replaced, after a clumsy audition process, by long-time regular caller John “Couch Burner” Denning, who recently marked his first year in the time slot once occupied by his favorite host.

Evening host Tom Erickson’s replacement process was a bit smoother. After station regular fill-ins Bob Earley and Jim Isabella took turns in the slot, Isabella took the 7-midnight slot full-time. (Earley made it clear in both open time slot cases that he didn’t want the job.)

And then, we dial back years ago to the original replacement process for afternoon drive host Joe Finan…the veteran liberal talker retired from the station, only to resurface later on Clear Channel then-liberal talk WARF/1350 “Radio Free Ohio” (now sports “Fox Sports 1350”)…departing that station shortly before he departed this earth.

WNIR auditioned just about anyone who could sit in front of a microphone for the 3-7 PM slot…truck drivers, waitresses and maybe even a pro or two…until the mother of a former Cleveland Browns player saw a newspaper article, and thought it would be the perfect opportunity for her son Bob Golic – with a broadcasting background in sports radio and TV – to return to Northeast Ohio.

Golic fulfilled the “Akron Idol audition process” by subbing, unannounced, one night for Tom Erickson. The rest was carefully orchestrated history.

Even attempts to bring on radio pros – who weren’t referred by family – failed.

Jeff Kinzbach, most known for his role on the dominant WMMS/100.7 “Buzzard Morning Zoo” with Ed “Flash” Ferenc (“Jeff and Flash”), was in the WNIR audition rotation to try out for the slot left open by Howie Chizek’s death.

How’d that work out? Well, let’s just say the folks at Broadcast Park handled it about as badly as you could.

Quoting a certain media blog from the time:

Kinzbach posted that he’d heard a station promo for his week-long audition stint had been pulled, and that “someone had been hired”.

After not hearing from WNIR officials, and playing some phone tag with the station, Kinzbach posted that he was eventually told that was indeed the case, and that he was told that “they have hired a guy who was a frequent caller to the station.”

Hmm. “We’re not going to hire you, but we’ll make you track us down and make us tell you we’re not going to hire you”?

Kinzbach, of course, landed a much better gig…as morning host at Rubber City Radio rocker WONE/97.5.

If Stan Piatt is heading for Pittsburgh and away from WNIR, what will Broadcast Park do to replace him? The mind boggles…

FEAGLER’S LEAVING: You often forget how long some well-known local media personalities have been around, until they retire after 50 years.

That’s how long Dick Feagler has been practicing some form of journalism or news commentary in Cleveland, dating back to stints in print with the Cleveland Press, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and in between, an ad hoc syndication effort with suburban Northeast Ohio newspapers.

Broadcast news watchers remember him in the past from commentaries on local TV newscasts, and for a 2 year stint in the 1990s as news co-anchor on NBC affiliate WKYC/3.

Since 1997, Feagler’s home base has been Ideastream PBS affiliate WVIZ/25’s weekly program “Feagler & Friends”, a news interview and roundtable program.

The last “Feagler & Friends” will air September 27, according to a release from the local public TV outlet:

The Sept. 27 program will be recorded earlier in the week in front of a live audience in the Westfield Insurance™ Studio Theater at the Idea Center at PlayhouseSquare, home to ideastream. This special presentation of the weekly public affairs series will find Dick and special guests reminiscing about a half-century of memorable news stories and the people who populated them. Presented in the traditional “Cleveland-style” of Feagler & Friends, the final show will be filled with lively talk, feisty discussion and considerable sidebar conversations. The program will also feature Dick’s final “Commentary,” a familiar forum from Dick’s days as a newspaper columnist and TV commentator.

As you’d expect in the days of digital TV, the last “Feagler & Friends” will repeat over the following days on WVIZ’s “Ohio” subchannel…

TWO REPORTERS HEADING OFF: WKYC/3’s Jennifer Lindgren and WJW “Fox 8″‘s Annette Lawless are heading off to new jobs.

Lindgren moves to Dallas, where she’ll work at CBS O&O KTVT/11. And Lawless heads back home to Kansas, where she’ll anchor at Gray ABC affiliate KAKE/10 Wichita.

(And yes, they do call the KAKE viewing area “KAKEland”.)

Lawless has been a regular reader of Your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), starting her time reading us back when Youngstown market ABC affiliate WYTV/33 was SSA-subsumed into New Vision (now LIN TV) CBS affiliate WKBN/27.

She watched with interest, as the exact same process was happening to her former home station in Topeka, ABC affiliate KTKA/49. It too was purchased by Parkin Broadcasting/PBC, which bought WYTV, and operated by New Vision Television, which bought WKBN and took over WYTV’s operations. (Vaughan Media now holds both WYTV and KTKA for LIN TV.)

We promise much more…as a regular reader and Twitter follower, we’ve asked Annette to answer a series of E-mail interview questions… which we’ll send off very soon…

AND ONE ARRIVAL: Cable and satellite viewers, after some uncertainly, learned shortly before launch that they’d receive Fox Sports 1, the new national sports network Fox is launching to go up against ESPN (and to a lesser extent, CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network).

Just days before Saturday, clearances were announced for some big TV fish – Time Warner Cable, the area’s dominant cable provider, as well as Cablevision and suburban Cleveland operator Cox Cable, as well as satellite services DirecTV and Dish Network.

What happened?

It would appear that Fox blinked, says Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand:

The frenzied rush that saw several of the country’s biggest distributors agree to carry FS1 at launch occurred only after Fox surprisingly backed off its asking price of $0.80 per subscriber per month, according to multiple high-level sources.

Cablevision, Cox, DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable agreed to carry the new, heavily promoted all-sports channel, but only at the same rate they were paying for the previous channel, Speed, which was $0.23 per subscriber per month.

Fox told the distributors that it would convert Speed into FS1 and allow distributors with existing Speed deals to carry it at Speed’s rate, or at least close to it, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the talks.

Put simply – it’s hard to compete against the ESPN Behemoth if no one’s watching, so Fox apparently decided to try squeeze more money out of providers down the road, and establish FS1 with larger viewership at launch.

The “conversion” means that if you’re looking for Fox Sports 1, you’ll generally find it where your provider had Speed, and companion network Fox Sports 2 replaces Fuel.

On our Time Warner system, Speed was on channel 75, and that’s where Fox Sports 1 lives today. (Note: channel 75 is not available on analog extended basic, as a digital box is required.)

There was a bit of a channel move on DirecTV, where FS1 landed on channel 219. (It’s on Dish Network on channel 150.)

Those using other providers can find their Fox Sports 1 channel here

Akron/Canton News

And we don’t mean the former TV newscast which aired on WVPX/23 and Time Warner Cable…

DELUCA’S LANDING: When former D.A. Peterson top 40 WDJQ/92.5 Alliance “Q92” program director John Stewart took a ride down U.S. 62 and I-77 to downtown Canton to a new radio home, many expected him to “bring a friend”.

But it took the departure of Rik Elliott from the morning show at NextMedia hot AC WHBC-FM/94.1 “Mix 94.1” for the long-expected change to happen.

Now programming “Mix” from Market South, PD Stewart has done the expected…brought in his former morning drive host at Q92, Pat DeLuca, to co-host the “Mix” morning drive show.

“DeLuca and Kathy in the Morning” will officially debut on Monday, but this week, DeLuca has been taking part in WHBC’s annual “Wishes Can Happen Wish-A-Thon”.

DeLuca announced the word on his own DSN site shortly after signing the deal with NextMedia:

We’ll be edgy, controversial at times, hilarious and serious – all without being obscene or filthy.

This isn’t a change of my personality, this is personal growth within my career. I look forward to shedding the “shock jock” stigma and actually be taken seriously as an entertainer and show host. I’m excited about engaging and entertaining those of you who’ve listened for years, as well as the massive audience Mix has already built.

Working for Mix 94.1 also gives me the privilege to once again work with the man who built my career – John Stewart. As my Program Director at Q92 he always pushed me to be my best while giving me the latitude to develop my own personality. He gave me his faith and trust and I did not let him down. In January 2013, John left his position at Q to accept a new position as Operations Manager and Program Director of WHBC AM/FM. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be working for and with this man again. He’ll be my direct boss, and I’m confident I’ll deliver exactly what he expects out of me.

The picture from the “Mix” website, by the way, is by photographer Joe Kleon… a former Northeast Ohio radio type who worked with DeLuca at Q92.

DeLuca tells his listeners/readers that NextMedia is on board with him continuing his Internet business, though the current situation means DSN will stream only music for now…he says personalities Greg Mack and Liz are on “temporary hiatus”, and that his own online show is “on hiatus” as well:

The DeLuca Show is currently on hiatus, but I do expect myself, Stacey, and Virgil to resurface very soon on The DSN Network of stations. Ramping up for a brand new morning show takes a lot of time and effort and I simply don’t have the time for TDS right now. I’m sure you understand.

And no, former Q92 co-host Charlotte DiFranco isn’t coming to Market South, as DeLuca’s teaming up with incumbent “Mix” morning co-host Kathy Vogel (see the name of the show, and the picture above).

DeLuca tells his readers/listeners that he’s aware he’ll have to do a more adult focused morning show on “Mix”:

Like prior shows we’ll be the show of opinions, but unlike other incantations of my broadcasts we will not alienate anyone and you’ll actually be able to enjoy an excellent show while your kids are in the car.

It all starts Monday…

FROM AM TO FM: “Captain Tony” McGinty had a long presence on the FM dial in Cleveland, most notably as producer for Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5 morning personality Jim Mantel (now in North Carolina).

After some part-time off-air work at Oak Tree, running board for Cleveland Indians games for the company’s talk WTAM/1100, McGinty landed at the team’s longest running affiliate, Rubber City Radio news/oldies WAKR/1590 Akron, as producer of the station’s “Ray Horner Morning Show”.

He’s now heading back to FM and to Clear Channel, but not in Cleveland.

OMW hears that “Captain Tony” will become morning drive co-host at the company’s top 40 WKDD/98.1 in the Akron market, alongside host/program director/CC operations manager/OMW reader Keith Kennedy.

McGinty will also become WKDD’s assistant program director. OMW hears that a third voice, a female, could join the show soon.

And yes, that means WKDD’s most recent co-host, Shannon Steele, has exited the building. From AllAccess on July 24th:

She posted on her FACEBOOK page, “I no longer work for WKDD as I was let go today. I will miss each and every one of you with my whole heart. Thanks for the memories.”

People are repeatedly asking us “why was she let go”.

Our numerous friends on Freedom Avenue clam up when we ask about it, so we don’t know, but it does appear from the timing (a three week gap) that her departure wasn’t at all related to her being replaced by McGinty.

Back at West Market Street, afternoon news/traffic/sports reporter Aaron Coleman, who’s also gearing up for this year’s WAKR high school football post-game show with morning news editor/traffic reporter Jasen Sokol, will fill in as morning producer after McGinty leaves the Akron Radio Center.

The station is posting the open morning producer job…

AND ONE YET: OMW has heard from numerous sources that a “big announcement” about the future of a local radio personality could be coming VERY soon.

This would be a Big Deal in the Northeast Ohio market in question, with a long-running presence pulling back from a long-time perch.

As we haven’t nailed down all the facts yet, that’s all we’re going to say…but keep watching this space for details…

Browns Radio Set For 2013

The Cleveland Browns have set their 2013 radio programming schedule, and the team’s affiliate list on the Cleveland Browns Radio Network.

The 23 affiliates across the state – in addition to three Cleveland flagship stations – include no stations owned by Clear Channel.

That was entirely expected, since Clear Channel’s rock/talk WMMS/100.7 and talk WTAM/1100 lost game rights to a combination of CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”-classic rock WNCX/98.5 and Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850”.

The list also includes no Dayton affiliate. Clear Channel sports WONE/980 in that market carried the games for years. Unless there’s some sort of unexpected last minute deal (Main Line sports WING/1410 “ESPN 1410”, perhaps?), it appears Cleveland’s NFL team won’t be on the radio in Dayton.

And yes, NFL teams are allowed to affiliate in other team’s markets (Dayton is in the Cincinnati Bengals’ area). Up here, Massillon’s WTIG/990 “ESPN 990” has long carried the Bengals in the heart of Browns Country.

The release lists the weekly programming for the team in the 2013 season, and contains numerous pairings across the CBS/Good Karma divide.

For one, “92.3 The Fan” evening host Ken Carman will pair up with “ESPN 850” competitor Je’Rod Cherry (“3 Deep” co-host and ex-NFL star) for the first pre-game show, the two hour “Browns Game Day”, on WKNR.

Two hours later, “Countdown to Kickoff”, also on WKNR, will feature “ESPN 850” midday host Tony Rizzo (“The Really Big Show”) and Cherry teaming up with one of Rizzo’s “92.3 The Fan” time slot competitors, Jeff Phelps of “Baskin & Phelps”.

Note that the official pre-game shows are only listed on WKNR and the Browns Radio Network. “92.3 The Fan” will do its own pre-game programming.

But after the game, it’s WKRK stepping up as the official post-game flagship for the network, with a two hour post-game show hosted by Phelps and 92.3 colleague and ex-OSU/NFL star Dustin Fox (co-host of the Fan’s “Bull and Fox” with Adam “The Bull”). Like WKRK in pre-game, WKNR will go off on its own for post-game coverage.

WKNR will carry a “preview” show weekly with the station’s Michael Reghi and Browns network host Vic Carucci.

And the two Cleveland sports stations and the network will simulcast the weekly show with Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski, Tuesdays 7-8 PM in pre-season and Thursdays 7-8 PM in the regular season. The host pairing consists of two hosts normally heard on each Cleveland station in the evenings, “92.3 The Fan” evening host Carman, and “ESPN 850 WKNR” “Cleveland GameNight” co-host Reghi.

Speaking of Michael Reghi, he’s the answer to the question “who does radio play-by-play in pre-season, when Jim Donovan is doing the TV games?” The role, when Clear Channel had flagship status, had been handled by WTAM sports director Mike Snyder.

WNCX/98.5’s role, as expected, is limited to the gameday broadcast…though presumably the station will talk up the Browns and have guests on its local shows all season long.

So, here’s the official Browns radio programming and affiliate list. Note that we presume the team goofed on the frequency of its Sandusky-area affiliate…it should be WMJK/100.9, not 94.3….


Jim Donovan and Doug Dieken to Call Games

BEREA, Ohio – The Cleveland Browns, ESPN 850 WKNR, CBS RADIO’s 92.3 The Fan and the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network announced on Monday their 2013 season programming that features more than 23 scheduled hours of Browns coverage each week, including more than nine hours dedicated to the Browns on gamedays.

The seven weekly shows, plus Browns game broadcasts, contribute to the more than 1,000 combined hours of Browns-related content expected annually on the club’s all-sports radio partner stations and the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network.

Leading the unique local triplecasts on ESPN 850 WKNR, 92.3 The Fan and CBS RADIO’s WNCX (98.5 FM) are long-time voice of the Browns Jim Donovan (play-by-play) and analyst Doug Dieken, with Jamir Howerton once again reporting from the Browns sideline. Michael Reghi will handle play-by-play duties during the preseason.

Details are listed below on the seven regularly scheduled weekly pregame and postgame shows, including information on The Rob Chudzinski Show that will air simultaneously on ESPN 850 WKNR, 92.3 The Fan and the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network.

The Browns in March announced a long-term partnership with local all-sports stations 92.3 The Fan and ESPN 850 WKNR, and incorporated both in the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network. The partnership increases community outreach and further connects these stations and the Browns to the community through joint philanthropic endeavors, including an annual radiothon.

The PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network encompasses 23 affiliates plus three flagship stations (ESPN 850 WKNR, 92.3 The Fan and 98.5 WNCX). It carries Browns elements and content throughout the year, providing the team’s fans with unprecedented access and exposure throughout the year.


Browns Game Day (two-hour show beginning four hours before kickoff)
ESPN 850 WKNR and the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network

Hosts: Ken Carman and Jerod Cherry

Carman and Cherry get gameday started, featuring analysis and live reports from members of the Browns broadcast team.

Northeast Ohio Ford Dealers Countdown to Kickoff (two-hour show beginning two hours before kickoff)
ESPN 850 WKNR and the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network

Hosts: Jeff Phelps, Tony Rizzo and Jerod Cherry

Phelps, Rizzo and Cherry host a two-hour pregame show, featuring respected Cleveland football voices, including Donovan, Doug Dieken, Vic Carucci, Jamir Howerton and more. The program will be broadcast from BrownsTown at FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns, prior to all home games.

Browns Football (game broadcast)
ESPN 850 WKNR, 92.3 The Fan, 98.5 WNCX and the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network

Preseason talent: Michael Reghi (play-by-play), Doug Dieken (analyst) and Jamir Howerton (field reporter)

Regular-season talent: Jim Donovan (play-by-play), Doug Dieken (analyst) and Jamir Howerton (field reporter)

The Cleveland Browns Postgame Show (two-hour show following the game’s conclusion)
92.3 The Fan and the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network

Hosts: Jeff Phelps and Dustin Fox

Phelps and Fox take fans through all the postgame reaction, including live comments from Head Coach Rob Chudzinski and other members of the team. Fans will also have their voices heard through phone calls and social media. The program will be broadcast from BrownsTown at FirstEnergy Stadium, home of the Cleveland Browns, prior to all home games.


Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford (Monday-Friday, 1-3 p.m.)
ESPN 850 WKNR and the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network

Hosts: Vic Carucci and Nathan Zegura

Carucci and Zegura host this daily two-hour program from the Cleveland Browns training facility, regularly providing an inside look, detailed analysis and expansive access to the team and Browns personnel.

The Cleveland Browns Preview Show, Driven by Liberty Ford (Mondays throughout the preseason, 7-8 p.m.; Wednesdays throughout the regular season, 7-8 p.m.*)
ESPN 850 WKNR and the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network

Hosts: Michael Reghi and Vic Carucci

Reghi and Carucci host this hour-long weekly preview program, which features a Browns player each week, as well as insights and analysis from other members of the Browns broadcast team.

* The Cleveland Browns Preview Show will air on Monday, Sept. 30 in Week 5, Tuesday, Nov. 26 in Week 13 and on Thursday, Dec. 26 in Week 17.

The Rob Chudzinski Show, Presented by Allstate (Tuesdays throughout the preseason, 7-8 p.m.; Thursdays throughout the regular season, 7-8 p.m.*)
ESPN 850 WKNR, 92.3 The Fan and the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network

Hosts: Michael Reghi and Ken Carman

The only place to catch the Browns head coach each week as Chudzinski delivers exclusive insight into the Browns’ preparation for the upcoming game.

* The Rob Chudzinski Show will air on Tuesday, Oct. 1 in Week 5, Thursday, Nov. 27 in Week 13 and on Friday, Dec. 27 in Week 17.

Cleveland Browns Weekend (Saturdays 6-8 a.m.)
92.3 The Fan and the PNC Bank Cleveland Browns Radio Network

Hosts: Vic Carucci and Nathan Zegura

Browns Weekend wraps up the best of Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven by Liberty Ford, in this two-hour weekend format.



1590 AM

97.5 FM

970 AM

92.7 FM

1480 AM

94.1 FM

94.3 FM

850 AM

92.3 FM

98.5 FM

95.5 FM

1450 AM

1330 AM

1430 AM

95.3 FM

93.1 FM

1440 AM

106.1 FM

100.9 FM

94.3 FM

107.7 FM

1540 AM

Wheeling (W.Va.)
1600 AM

104.5 FM

1240 AM

102.9 FM

*Gameday flagship station

Yet Another Retrans Battle, And A Bit Of Football

The latest retransmission consent battle (read: over money) has left Dish Network subscribers in the Cleveland TV market without CBS or MyNetwork TV programming…since early Thursday morning.

The dispute between the nation’s number two satellite TV provider and Raycom Media removed WOIO/19 and WUAB/43 from the Cleveland local channels lineup.

So, since we’ve been down this road before, let’s bring in both sides…first, the local TV stations:

For months, we have been working to resolve this matter, but so far have been unable to reach an Agreement with Dish Network for the continued carriage of WOIO and WUAB. This is particularly disappointing because all the other TV providers in our area have Agreements with us and those Agreements are fundamentally similar to the one we have been negotiating with Dish Network.

As a result, on August 1st, Dish Network customers lost access to WOIO and WUAB.

Raycom urges Dish subscribers to call the company, and suggests alternative providers like DirecTV, Time Warner Cable and Cox Cable.

Oh, and:

And you can always get your local broadcast channel free over the air.

We needed that laugh. More on that later.

Enter Englewood, Colorado, and the folks at Dish Network, who say Raycom “blocked” viewers from their channels on the satellite service.

(quoting Sruta Vootukuru, director of programming) DISH has offered to pay Raycom the same rates as our primary competitors; yet Raycom has stalled negotiations, refusing to accept that fair offer. DISH has negotiated hundreds of local retransmission agreements and on behalf of customers, we hope Raycom will soon agree to terms in line with market standards.”

At this time, Montgomery, Ala.-based Raycom has refused DISH the legal right to carry its programming unless DISH pays more than four times what it was paying under the previous agreement.

About that “always free over the air” line from WOIO/WUAB/Raycom – regular readers are laughing along with us, well aware of the difficulty many over-air viewers in the core of the Cleveland area have in decoding the 9.5kW/still-getting-interference-from-Canada signal currently offered by WOIO.

Folks in the Akron/Summit County area get a lot of help from the well-placed WOIO digital translator on RF 24, but viewers north of Akron have no shot at that low-power signal.

Dish Network has much more on their side on a site called “Fair Satellite”, here.

Our take? This would get resolved a lot faster if it happened about a month later, when the Cleveland Browns open up the regular season on September 8th…in a game with the Miami Dolphins televised by WOIO’s network, CBS.

Pre-season games are handled once again this year by Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, which opens up its four game warmup slate next Thursday (!) against the St. Louis Rams.

By the way, Browns pre-season play by play on the radio side, with Jim Donovan on TV, will be handled by WKNR’s Michael Reghi…taking the role that Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 sports director Mike Snyder did for many years prior.

While we’re talking Browns in this item anyway, a note: the End of the Clear Channel-Browns relationship has popped up again, this time in Mansfield.

We hear that Mid-State sports WRGM/1440 and its 97.3 FM translator “ESPN 1440 & 97.3” take the radio broadcasts from long-time Mansfield rightsholder WMAN/1400(-WMAN-FM/98.3).

Anyway, back to the Dish/Raycom dispute…as usual, you can watch many of the shows on both channels online. has an extensive selection of full episode video, and is heavily promoting the existing streaming of their local newscasts…

Quicker Hits

Random thoughts about recent media news…since we have more time…

THE PAIN FEELER: The pain was felt by dozens of staffers at the Cleveland Plain Dealer on Wednesday, which dropped the job axe on a large number of its editorial staff as it prepares to go to four-day-a-week home delivery.

From the Newspaper Guild union’s “Save The Plain Dealer” Facebook page:

Today, The Plain Dealer eliminated the jobs of approximately 50 journalists whose dedication produced one of the country’s best newspapers. The layoffs abolished more than one-third of an already depleted newsroom staff.


Many of those let go will be familiar names to readers – reporters, columnists, photographers and artists whose bylines have accompanied some of the paper’s finest content, and whose expertise touches virtually every subject the paper covers, from transportation and investigative reporting to education and sports coverage. Many others, though less well-known publicly, have been every bit as essential to the quality of The Plain Dealer. They are editors, page designers and others whose skills have ensured a high-quality daily newspaper.

We have no doubt that the gifted Plain Dealer journalists whose jobs were spared will continue to do good work. But they will do so in spite of, not because of, the radical changes that Advance Publications is imposing on its newspapers.

Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” reporter John Kosich reports that employees who didn’t get a last day at work – they were informed of their layoffs by a phone call Wednesday morning telling them not to come into work – got together on the steps of the newspaper’s Superior Avenue building for goodbyes among themselves, and commisseration from those who were spared.

The newsies then went to Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland’s Ohio City area, where they were treated to free drinks…courtesy of newspapers, employees and friends from across the country:

This is pretty amazing. Our phones have been ringing off the hook all day from other newspapers and individuals all across the country and even Norway offering to buy rounds of beer for The Plain Dealer journalists laid off today. The support is touching and really show how important our Local newspaper is!

The impetus for the generosity was most likely a tweet from Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz, picked up by the Poynter web site:

Fellow journos: Pls join me & call 216.621.4000 to pay for a brew or two tonight for laid off Plain Dealer staff. Thnx @Mrkt_Grdn_Beer.

And we aren’t the only ones to notice the irony at the page carrying the Poynter article on the PD layoffs. Look, over there to the right!

Latest Jobs
Sports Reporter
Northeast Ohio Media Group
Northeast Ohio Media Group

The Northeast Ohio Media Group is the new digital entity overseeing the future of Advance Publications’ operations in Cleveland, particularly the online content which will become more important with a revamped (and less Plain Dealer content and employees).

A quick look at one of the job ads shows a very different job description than what the departed PD journalists worked under. For one, we bet the need to know SEO (Search Engine Optimization) principles was not in the print newsies’ job descriptions.

Some of the layoffs were voluntary, hoping to spare others from losing their jobs. Among those on that list, according to NewsChannel 5, were reporters Tom Breckenridge, John Mangels and the face of the Newspaper Guild union in all this, Harlan Spector…

ARIEL: It’s been the “Ariel Castro Show” all morning on Cleveland TV all morning, with all four local newsrooms airing live coverage of the sentencing of the man who kidnapped and held four people hostage for years – Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, Michelle Knight, and the young child born in captivity to Ms. Berry.

It’s been wall to wall on all stations, and all news operations are also offering a live video feed of the proceedings.

And one station, Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, is offering a separate online feed labeled “Warning: Unedited Live Castro coverage”…