Changes Are Coming, But First…

One reason we’ve been almost “hiatus scarce” in recent days has been technical. But that’s about to change, and other changes will come to the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) as a result.

No, don’t worry…we aren’t planning on forwarding the website to our social media presence again. But as an early hint: you might want to start accessing the blog via our dedicated domain name

NEW BEAT: Long-time local radio sports reporter Matt Loede was part of the launch staff at CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” when it started in August 2011. (You might have read a little about it on a certain blog.)

We don’t know why, but Loede recently exited “The Fan”.

Though the 92.3 website doesn’t specifically list him as “Indians beat reporter” (or list him at all at this point), it appears that the opening will be filled by a former staffer of crosstown Good Karma sports WKNR/850-WWGK/1540 “ESPN Cleveland”.

After studiously avoiding poaching the Galleria for talent at launch, WKRK has brought aboard another former WKNR personality – T.J. Zuppe, one of three staffers fired in a talent purge last August.

Zuppe was most recently the Indians beat reporter at “ESPN Cleveland”, and was shown the door along with fellow staffers Will Burge and Cleveland sports talk veteran Kenny Roda in an apparent budget-related move.

Zuppe joins former WKNR personality Chris Fedor on the “Fan” staff. Fedor has been doing weekend/fill-in sports update anchoring and occasional talk fill-in for 92.3.

We don’t generally talk about ratings here, for various reasons, but a look at the most recent public Cleveland market ratings numbers shows that the folks in the Halle Building are probably celebrating “92.3 The Fan’s” most recent showing…it’s best as a sports talk station.

At the Galleria, WKNR does not show up in what’s now the Nielsen Audio ratings report…because Good Karma doesn’t buy the ratings…

SPEAKING OF THE HALLE: WKRK, and its CBS Radio clustermates, had a bit of a tense morning the other day.

Early Friday morning, it was believed that a downtown Cleveland street shooting happened on the Huron Road side of the aforementioned Halle Building, giving CBS Radio staffers a view of a lot of police activity.

This B-roll video from the scene, shot by Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, even shows one Cleveland police car directly in front of the CBS Radio cluster’s front door. (It’s the same door we showed you right before WKRK/92.3 flipped to sports in 2011.)

But the story, on WKYC’s WKYC.com, has changed since early Friday:

Two men were shot in the 1200 block of Prospect Avenue by an unknown gunman.

After being shot, the two victims ran to the area of E. 12th and Huron Road, and took a taxi to MetroHealth Medical Center, where they are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

With that new information, we can now pretty safely assume that no CBS Radio Cleveland employees were hurt in the shooting…

NEW CO-HOST IN AKRON: We told you, back when local radio veteran Tony McGinty moved from the morning producer role at Rubber City Radio’s news/oldies/sports WAKR/1590 to a similar role at Clear Channel CHR WKDD/98.1, that a third, female voice would join him alongside WKDD’s Keith Kennedy.

That woman has now started at Freedom Avenue.

She’s Meg White, who comes to WKDD and Northeast Ohio from Bristol Broadcasting CHR powerhouse WVSR/102.7 “Electric 102.7” in Charleston WV…

DAVE HAS A PARTNER: “27 First News” in Youngstown, seen on LIN TV’s CBS-Fox combo of WKBN-TV/27 and WYFX-LD/19, has a new evening co-anchor.

She’s Erika Thomas, who the station says comes to the Mahoning Valley after a stint as “main anchor in Sioux City, Iowa.”

A quick Google search places her as the now-former evening co-anchor for “Siouxland News”, on CBS affiliate KMEG/14-Fox affiliate KPTH/44, a combo operated by Sinclair.

A goodbye video on her YouTube page is dated May 31 of this year.

Thomas shares many other videos of her previous work on her own website.

Quoting a press release helpfully sent directly to us by WKBN/WYFX:

“We are extremely pleased to have a journalist of Erika’s caliber joining our news operation. Erika’s passion for news is a very welcome addition to our news team, her skills will only enhance our ability to provide our local viewers the very best in news coverage each and every day,” said Dave Coy, President and General Manager of WKBN and its sister stations.

Thomas replaces Teresa Weakley alongside co-anchor Dave Sess. Weakley left WKBN/WYFX to co-anchor the morning newscast at now-LIN TV sister station WIVB/4 in Buffalo

VALLEY STATIONS CHANGE HANDS: Continuing the Mahoning Valley theme, two radio stations in the Youngstown-Warren radio market are in new hands. Or old “new hands”.

Former Cleveland city councilman Nelson Cintron Jr. filed to purchase Whiplash Radio’s WHTX/1570 Warren and WYCL/1540 Niles – under his Sagittarius Communications – in October of last year. It’s a deal the FCC blessed with approval two months later.

But Cintron, who immediately LMAed the stations and flipped formats (WHTX to urban adult contemporary using the syndicated “The Touch”, and WYCL becoming Spanish-language “La Nueva Mia”), never actually took ownership of either station.

By May, 1540 had returned to owner Chris Lash’s “The Farm” classic country format, and 1570 returned to standards as “Fabulous 1570”.

The stations are now returning to Cintron, in what’s being called a court settlement. Cintron sued Lash and his Whiplash Radio, LLC over the transaction, in a suit we found in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. The settlement has not yet made it to online court records.

On his way out the Mahoning Valley Radio Ownership door, long-time OMW reader Chris Lash has given us a rather interesting statement:

“The formats I tried didn’t work. While they have worked very well in other markets that were currently in, we couldn’t get them to work there. I failed not only in programming, but in character judgement as well. No matter what we tried and worked with, it didn’t work. It changed my whole prospective on the business.”

Lash has been living in Florida in the last part of his ownership of the two local stations, and still operates stations in Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska (a non-commercial trio running his “Cat Country” format) and two commercial stations in Tenneesee.

We’ll have to depend on Mahoning Valley ears to hear what Cintron is doing with the stations, though we presume a return to his previous formats listed above would be a good bet…though Lash recently took WYCL off the air due to a number of technical problems…

ANN’S CORNER: We’re overdue for this item from “Ann’s Corner”, a regular feature with items brought to us by (all together, now!) long-time personal and professional Friend of OMW Ann VerWiebe, public relations/marketing guru for Kent State University public radio outlet WKSU/89.7-and-its-many-simulcasters.

As always, Ann sent this to us very much on-time, but we didn’t get a Round Tuit(tm) until now:

WKSU Assistant News Director Amanda Rabinowitz was presented a prestigious National Murrow Award from Radio-Television-Digital News Association (RTDNA) at an Oct. 14 ceremony at the Times Square Marriott Marquis in New York, N.Y. The award was presented by ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn during the live-streamed formal event. The winning entry previously won a Regional Murrow, competing against work from large market radio stations in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.

Rabinowitz was honored for Best Sports Reporting for an in-depth report on the misuse of prescription painkillers by college athletes.

Ann’s release helpfully notes that Rabinowitz, a WKSU news staffer since 2007, is currently the local weekday host for NPR’s “Morning Edition”…

MIKE O’S CORNER: And here are some items from another Friend of OMW, long-time Cleveland radio type Mike Olszewski.

Mike tells us about a benefit for Sonny Geraci, who was lead singer for the popular Cleveland-based group “The Outsiders” and later, for “Climax”.

He says Geraci recently suffered a devastating stroke, and a benefit will be held for him this month:

“We’re having a benefit at a huge concert venue in Streetsboro on November 15th and 16th with all proceeds going to Sonny,” Olszewski tells us. “Even the artists are donating their services, and what a lineup!”

A web page for the event says it features “over 20+ national artists” including some pretty big name contemporaries of Geraci, and you can see those artists in the YouTube video promoting the event:

Tickets start at $35 per person each day, and can be bought online.

Mike tells us it’s “also going to be filmed for a benefit DVD and a local PBS presentation, with all proceeds to Sonny.”

He quotes Geraci’s friend Chuck Kocisko:

“A year and a half latter, Sonny is still unable to walk. Knowing the financial hard ship with all of this, a few of us decided to help the Geraci family. All proceeds generated from this event will be used to offset the huge expenses incurred by the Geraci Family, and to rehab the Geraci’s home for more home care. The home needs to be ADA useable before bringing Sonny home for any length of time.”

Olszewski will be busy in Streetsboro that weekend, displaying his collection of rare “Superman” artifacts at a benefit for the Twinsburg Library

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