Rover And Kidd And Dave

A status update, first…Life is Intervening(tm) much less than it was, and we should be back to more regular blog updates soon.

We’re still mulling around a regular schedule, but for now…let’s delve in…

ROVER’S NEW GLORY: As posted below this, Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7 morning doggie Rover has been in the legal doghouse as of late.

But instead of his court schedule being on the TV news, the man known on his driver’s license as Shane French is getting attention for something much more positive.

The show’s annual “RoverFest”, which again drew thousands to Cleveland’s Voinovich Park, drew one visitor who got national attention…Amanda Berry.

Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight are known worldwide for surviving 10 years being held captive in a West Side home, then escaping to safety.

Two days after the womens’ now admitted captor accepted a plea agreement that basically gives him a “life-plus” sentence (1000 years), Amanda decided to enjoy herself at “RoverFest”.

Here’s the video, from the Rover Radio YouTube channel:

Beaming throughout, Berry’s appearance – apparently not scripted by the show or Rover in advance – got positive reviews.

And yes, if you believe Rover talking to the Plain Dealer’s John Caniglia on Monday, Amanda Berry’s RoverFest visit was unplanned:

Shane French, who uses the Rover tag for morning drive-time show, said he had mentioned on-air in the weeks leading up to RoverFest that the three women should go to the show to enjoy themselves. About 6 p.m. Saturday, three security guards told him that Berry was at the show.

“I was as surprised as anyone,” he said.

He said he asked a family member if Berry would want to go on stage. The cousin, however, said no. He asked Berry if it would be OK to tell the crowd that she was there.

“She asked me, ‘If I go out there, will you if you go with me?’ I said, ‘Sure. We can bring your family and friends, too,’ ” he said.

After her appearance, Berry returned after being called upon by rapper Nelly, dancing with her sister.

How is the RoverFest appearance going with her attorney? Caniglia has a quote:

“She looked happy,” said her attorney James Wooley. “She went to a concert. That’s it. People are asking me if she is breaking her reclusiveness. There’s nothing to it. She’s happy. She had a huge smile. And I loved seeing it.”

The day after RoverFest, Gina DeJesus and her mother talked to Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 reporter Stephanie Ramirez about a newly constructed privacy fence at their Cleveland home.

It appears that with the fate of their captor being sealed, at least two of the women he held captive have made moves to get their lives back….

KIDD PASSES: The big news nationally in the radio business is the unfortunate passing over the weekend of nationally syndicated morning host Kidd Kraddick, whose YEA Networks show airs on dozens of stations from its Dallas-area studio, near flagship station Clear Channel top 40 KHKS/106.1 “Kiss FM”.

The Dallas Morning News reports that it appears Kraddick died of cardiac disease, an enlarged heart according to a preliminary autopsy by an area coroner.

Kraddick, according to his Wikipedia page born in Northwest Ohio (Napoleon, outside Toledo), never had a huge presence on the radio in the Buckeye State.

A quick check of our archives places him in the past on the old top 40 WZOO/102.5 “102 Zoo” in Ashtabula, and on Cumulus top 40 WTWR/98.3 Luna Pier MI/Toledo. (102.5 is now Media One Group classic hits “Magic Oldies 102.5”, and WTWR is now AC WMIM “My 98.3”, aiming at Toledo’s Michigan suburbs.)

But make no mistake…David “Kidd” Kraddick, who died while attending a charity golf tournament in New Orleans on Saturday, made a huge impression on the radio industry as a whole.

Saturday on various Twitter feeds and Facebook pages, and in media stories covering reaction to his death, it was clear that Kidd Kraddick was a talented, hard working air personality who went the extra mile to make life better for children facing terminal illness (“Kidd’s Kids”)…

DAVE’S MOVE: We’ve probably received two dozen questions about this, and only put this here to end the questions.

Yes, we’re well aware of the involuntary departure of host/producer Dave Ramos from Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100.

We have heard numerous stories about “what happened”, but can verify very few of them.

About all we’re willing to say is that his departure comes amid rumblings that he may not have seen eye to eye with some of his colleagues at Oak Tree, particularly elsewhere in the cluster.

We reported earlier on Twitter that we hear Ramos has landed, as a part-time “20/20” sports update anchor at CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”, but we haven’t heard him there yet…

Partial Quick Hits

Partial, we’re calling it, because this brief update has a lot of items and many we missed.

Look for more whenever, however we can get a Round Tuit(tm)…

LAW AND ORDER, MEDIA DIVISION: No, we’re not talking about the Dick Wolf series of TV procedurals (clung, clung!).

It’s Cleveland’s Own version, with a number of media personalities getting on the wrong side of the law. Let’s update what we know so far.

ROVER’S BACK OVER: Clear Channel talk/rock WMMS/100.7 morning chien Shane “Rover” French came back to his doghouse, just days after being in another such place…a Cleveland courtroom, where the ringmaster of “Rover’s Morning Glory” had his first appearance on a charge of felonious assault.

The charge comes from an allegation that Rover, and show contributor Michael “Chocolate Charlie” Toomey, got on the wrong side of an off-duty police officer at a yacht club at Cleveland’s Whiskey Island in the early morning hours of July 5th. The alleged confrontation reportedly involved late night fireworks and inebriation.

Rover returned to “RMG” on Monday morning, and made a brief, impromptu statement which you can view right here, courtesy of RoverRadio.com’s YouTube presence:

Rover said that “the allegations are absolutely absurd, ridiculous, and not based in fact whatsoever. And in fact, if these charges weren’t so serious, it would be comical. But, it is very serious and I’m taking the matter very seriously”.

The WMMS morning host urged listeners to “resist” the temptation to judge his case, and says he’s 100% sure he’ll prevail “when all the facts come out”…noting that his lawyers made interviews and there’s surveillance video out there.

After all that, the show returned to its usual rotation of items like “Hook-up Hotties” and comedians unclothed on the show couch, but we digress.

KENNY’S BACK: “Fox 8 News In The Morning” reporter Kenny Crumpton returned to “Kickin’ It With Kenny” on Local TV-to-be-Tribune Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8” on July 4th week.

Kenny’s been “Kickin’ It” with things like ice cream, not beer.

We can’t find the current status of Kenny’s OVI case…and see below for details on the initial arrest…

CHUCK’S NOT: OMW hears that you can pretty much call it “Chuck’s Last Call” for sportscaster Chuck Galeti’s SportsTime Ohio program.

Though we don’t believe Fox Sports/STO has made an official announcement, we hear that Galeti is getting his off-air life together…and we wish him much success…

CLASSIC CLEVELAND: SiriusXM’s “Classic Vinyl” channel has gained two Northeast Ohio radio veterans.

Former CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 midday icon Nancy Alden and alt-rock radio mainstay Rachel Steele (most recently afternoon driver at Murray Hill alt-rock/AAA WLFM-LP 87.7 “Cleveland’s Sound”) are now staffing the satellite radio channel from its studios at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The connection presumably would be Kim Monroe, former programmer of former CBS Radio alt-rock WKRK/92.3 “Xtreme Radio (etc.)”, now the company’s FM sports outlet “92.3 The Fan”…and 92.3 was the former radio home of Ms. Steele (and WDOK is in the same building, the Halle Building).

OMW hears (but hasn’t officially confirmed) that Monroe has left her gig at WLFM, and that would presumably be proven by her removal of that station on social media profiles and her abrupt ceasing of 87.7 related updates after July 9th.

Monroe’s Twitter profile now lists her as programmer/host at “Classic Vinyl”.

RIK LEAVES: NextMedia hot AC WHBC-FM/94.1 morning co-host Rik Elliott is leaving for Utica NY, according to AllAccess.

He tells the trade site: “I have been hired to do afternoons and handle Production Director duties at GALAXY COMMUNICATIONS Classic Rock WOUR. My first day is JULY 29th.”

SOMETHING FROM NOTHING: We don’t really have time to get into this, so here’s a link to Beacon Journal columnist Bob Dyer’s follow up on what really was (initially) a contest mess up.

The aforementioned WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1″ gave away tickets and a luxury package to the Bon Jovi show at Cleveland Browns…er, FirstEnergy Stadium. You know, the one that was cancelled shortly after it was announced due to weak ticket sales.

Sarah Harkness won the deluxe package, including VIP treatment…but when the concert went away, WHBC-FM told her basically to go pound salt…”Mix” programmer John Stewart was quoted by Dyer as saying:

“How am I going to create a show?” he responded. “I can’t create something. It wasn’t any fault of my own.”

The “creation”, after Dyer shone the spotlight on Harkness and the concert giveaway, was to fly Harkness to Chicago for VIP treatment at a Bon Jovi concert there…smoothing over her frustration with the station.

Other winners of the Cleveland-was-not-to-be Bon Jovi concert tickets got Cleveland Browns tickets instead…

COUGAR UP: An OMW reader reports that South Shore Broadcasting’s WQGR/93.7 North Madison has ended stunting, put up regular programming (presumably the Top 40 mix promised earlier), and has launched its website.

Media One Group, which owns a cluster of Ashtabula stations, will operate “Cougar 93.7” from that strip mall in Mentor we showed you earlier…reportedly, moving in studios for sister station WREO/97.1 “Mix 97.1” or “Star” or whatever they’re calling it this week…

SANDUSKY SOLD: That was the headline in our E-mail this afternoon, but no, the home city of Cedar Point wasn’t on the auction block.

It’s Sandusky Radio, which operates stations in Phoenix and Seattle, which sold to Minnesota-based Hubbard Broadcasting.

We only mention it here because Sandusky Radio (with no Ohio broadcast holdings) has been part of the Sandusky Newspapers empire, which started way back in that small Northern Ohio city – and still operates the Sandusky Register and associated digital properties…

Welcome To A Busy 2013

And as usual when we start a new year, or return from a hiatus, there’s stuff waiting to land like so many airplanes.

We are probably missing a topic or three, so don’t be surprised if there’s a crash…we’ll pick up where we left off in a future update…

UPDATE 1:35 AM 1/5/13: Cox and Raycom have reached an agreement, and OMW social media followers tell us that the local stations, WOIO/19 and WUAB/43, are back in the Cox lineup.

Here’s part of what we originally wrote before Friday evening’s agreement…

THIS IS NOT CBS: A reported 65,000 subscribers to Cox Cable in 11 Cleveland suburbs went without CBS and MyNetwork TV programming since the start of 2013.

You read about them often, these programming cost disputes between TV station operators and cable systems…but they usually get solved, even at past-the-last-minute like two recent disputes involving Gannett, owner of Cleveland market NBC affiliate WKYC/3.

This one, involving Raycom’s stations including Cleveland market CBS affiliate WOIO/19 “CBS 19” and MyNetwork TV affiliate WUAB/43 “My 43 The Block”, took the local stations off Cox’s Cleveland suburban lineup immediately after the ball dropped in Times Square…

TEMPORARY WEWS GM: We generally don’t get into personal medical details here, but it says something that Scripps, owner of local ABC affiliate WEWS/5, is bringing in an interim general manager to push the station into 2013.

That’s sister WCPO/9 Cincinnati VP/general manager Steve Thaxton, who heads to Cleveland as a temporary detour from his planned exit from Scripps to pursue a graduate degree.

Cincinnati Enquirer media guru John Kiesewetter writes:

Scripps executives asked if he “would remain with the company and serve as the interim General Manager at WEWS in Cleveland on a temporary basis as Sam Rosenwasser remains out on a medical leave of absence. I have agreed to do so and will use that time as a transition period for both the company and myself. I have committed to be in Cleveland next Monday as they have been without a General Manager for several weeks.”

By all accounts we’ve heard, Rosenwasser is well-liked at 3001 Euclid, and is missed in the building.

We give our sincere wishes that his medical situation turns into a full recovery, and that he’ll be welcomed back into that building soon…a wish shared by high-level Scripps executives.

As noted above, Thaxton starts his temporary role at WEWS on Monday…

CBS…SPORTS RADIO!: OK, so that’s not a good textual imitation of the new sports network’s jingle, but it’s all over the place after CBS launched its full-time schedule this week.

At midnight on Tuesday night-into-Wednesday morning locally, CBS sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” made the switch from Fox Sports Radio to its company’s own network, bringing a taste of mid-1990’s sports talk with Scott Ferrall’s “Ferrall on the Bench”. (He’s even using the same show name that he did in his first run with Westwood One.)

But at the same time, “92.3 The Fan” put the old “Radio 92.3” alt-rock format to rest on its HD2 channel, supplanting the music kicked off the main channel by sports talk with…sports talk.

WKRK/92.3 HD2 is now the 24/7 home of the national CBS Sports Radio feed, the “Radio 92.3” format announcing its exit on Twitter:

Tonight we say goodbye to our home on 92.3 HD2 and welcome CBS Sports Radio. Thanks for listening and have a prosperous 2013. Rock On!

And unlike many HD2 formats, “Radio 92.3” never added an Internet stream as a companion service, so it’s gone…presumably ceding the alt-rock battle to Clear Channel’s W256BT/99.1-WMMS/100.7 HD2, known better as “99X”, with a side to Murray Hill Broadcasting’s AAA/alt-rock WLFM-LP/6 87.7 “Cleveland’s Sound”.

That isn’t even the biggest news about CBS Sports Radio from the Halle Building in downtown Cleveland.

One of “92.3 The Fan”‘s biggest stars will have his own place on the network’s national lineup, as “Fan” afternoon drive co-host Adam “The Bull” Gerstenhaber will host on CBS Sports Radio nationwide from 10 PM-2 AM (ET) on Saturday nights.

Despite numerous questions posted by Adam’s Twitter followers, no, Adam “The Bull” is not leaving either Cleveland or WKRK, where he is paired with former Ohio State Buckeyes player and Canton native Dustin Fox on “Bull & Fox”.

The CBS Sports Radio show will be a sixth day in the host’s workweek, and will even be heard on the local “Fan” as well – give or take play-by-play sports runover, like Saturday’s coverage of the NFL playoffs that bumps Adam “The Bull”‘s national debut on 92.3 until about 11 PM.

As noted, the 24/7 network feed is not only on 92.3’s HD2 sidechannel now, but also online and via the CBS “Radio.com” app…

AND MORE SPORTS RADIO: The recent moves by CBS and others have shaken up the sports talk radio landscape in Northeast Ohio.

* CBS Sports Radio has displaced ESPN Radio on a number of Cumulus-owned stations, including Youngstown’s WBBW/1240 (extending that station’s local afternoon drive show ” “Ryan, Christian & Ellis” to a 3-6 PM time slot) and across-border WLLF/96.7 Mercer PA.

* It’s also played heck with sports talk host Jim Rome’s affiliate list, as “Romey” signed up with CBS Sports Radio after years with Clear Channel’s Premiere Radio Networks.

In Cleveland, Rome stays (for now, at least) on Good Karma Broadcasting’s two sports talk stations – on WWGK/1540 “ESPN 1540 KNR 2” from noon to 1 PM (where he’ll be heard on parts of Euclid Avenue), then on WKNR/850 from 1 to 3 PM.

In Youngstown, Rome moves from Clear Channel sports WNIO/1390 “The Sports Animal” to WBBW, and will also be heard on WLLF.

In Akron, Rome loses his clearance on Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 “Fox Sports 1350”, and Rome fans in Cleveland lose a backup signal for the first hour of the show.

The Clear Channel-owned Fox Sports Radio affiliates are pretty much moving en masse to the network’s “replacement” for the Rome show – a new FSR show hosted by comedian and frequent Rome sub Jay Mohr.

Rome’s Premiere program was separately syndicated, and even full-time FSR affiliates didn’t automatically get “The Jungle”…so FSR filled its own satellite feed from noon-3 (ET) with a repeat of the network’s morning drive show.

As a practical matter, nearly all FSR affiliates also carried Rome. But with his departure, FSR is now programming the new Mohr show down the network line.

And yes, in Youngstown, Mohr was subbing for Rome the day that “The Sports Animal” debuted, wasting no time ripping Mahoning Valley native son Bernie Kosar, Mohr not knowing (or caring) that he was being heard for the first time on the radio in Bernie’s hometown of Boardman.

We don’t generally cover Columbus these days, but a brief note: the CBS Sports Radio Jim Rome affiliate list put out before the switch listed Wilks country WNKK/107.1 Circleville – a Columbus rimshot which ran Cleveland’s “Rover’s Morning Glory” in its days as CBS-owned alt-rock WAZU “The Big Wazoo”.

WNKK was later removed from the list, leading us to wonder if someone at CBS jumped the gun on a format change there that may, or may not, happen.

One other side note about CBS Sports Radio: it has taken one former Northeast Ohio radio personality off the air, at least for now.

Cumulus is heavily invested in the joint venture with CBS, and in Fort Smith AR, it decided to flip rocker KLSZ/100.7 “Rock 100.7” to CBS Sports Radio as “The Ticket”…and that flipped former Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 personality George McFly off the air. He recently started doing afternoon drive for the station.

We believe George is “still employed”, judging from his social network updates, so we hope he lands safely in Arkansas soon…

THE COUGAR/MIX MYSTERY: Some of our own social network followers have been asking us about two signs visible at a shopping strip center across the street from the Kmart in Mentor.

The signs, pictured here in a photo sent by one of our Twitter followers, proclaim a presence for two radio stations – “Cougar 93.7” and “Mix 97.1”.

We think we’ve solved some of the mystery.

93.7, as reported here earlier, is the new FM frequency licensed to North Madison…won in a 2010 auction by South Shore Broadcasting, owned by Leslie and Chris Kidner. The station took the call letters WQGR (which would certainly be a good match for a radio station with the name “Cougar”) and has a construction permit now.

97.1 is owned by Ashtabula’s Media One Group (nee’ Sweet Home Ashtabula), and – when its full 50,000 watt signal is in operation, makes no secret of its desire to cover Lake County, which happens to be where Mentor is located. 97.1 is currently still using the name “Star 97.1”, but various websites indicate it’ll become “Mix 97.1” soon…like this site hosted on a page of the current “Star” site.

Where’s the connection?

Consider the Family Maduri.

Chris Maduri is a long-time Cleveland radio executive best known for his stint running CBS Radio’s Cleveland cluster. He’s now in a similar management role at the aforementioned WLFM-LP 6/87.7, which operates as a AAA/alt-rock radio station under the name “87.7 Cleveland’s Sound”.

Maduri’s wife Valerie is president of X-Factor Media, Chris Maduri is “managing partner” and both X-Factor and Valerie (with her first name misspelled) are listed on the WQGR FCC application. Both are listed as having no ownership stake in WQGR licensee South Shore.

And of course, Media One Group provides that final connection, as both Media One and WLFM have members of the Embrescia family present.

Others might take this further, speculating that 97.1 is being prepped for a move west towards Cleveland as an eventual radio replacement for WLFM-LP when, or before, it loses its analog TV license in 2015.

We have no evidence that this is about to happen…so we’re not moving the chess pieces around. We’ve also been told numerous times that the 97.1 signal can’t really get close enough to Cleveland to be a credible rimshot.

Last time we did this sort of FCC sleuthing with the Ashtabula group, we got a nastygram from someone there, and no help to correct whatever they think we got wrong.

Our gut tells us that South Shore intends to superserve Lake County with its new “Cougar 93.7”, something Media One has tried to do for years with that big 97.1 signal out of Ashtabula…and that shopping center across from the Mentor Kmart is a good place to place a Lake County presence for both stations, no matter what their formal or official relationship…

NEW STATUS: As we reported here earlier, it’s finally happened…with the new year, now-Ideastream owned classical outlet WCLV/104.9 has moved to non-commercial status.

Long-time WCLV president, co-founder and regular OMW reader Robert Conrad explains the change for listeners on the station’s website, after mentioning the success of many non-commercial classical outlets elsewhere:

And given the volatility in all media these days, it has become apparent that WCLV’s future also lies in the land of listener and community support. So on January 1, 2013, WCLV became the nation’s newsst public radio station. This completes the transition of WCLV into the ideastream
family and now gives listeners who appreciate classical music on the radio as well as businesses, foundations and other organizations, the opportunity to support this institution which has become so much a part of the quality of life in the greater Cleveland area.

Yes, commercial free doesn’t mean “free”, so the station moves into asking for donations and support…you’ll find a link to do so on that page.

When the move to non-commercial status under Ideastream was first announced, we speculated openly that the change would allow WCLV’s signal to be heard on Ideastream NPR outlet WCPN/90.3’s HD2 channel, and sure enough…Robert Conrad tells OMW that it has happened with the New Year:

One big piece of news, WCLV’s programming is now being carried on 90.3WCPN’s HD 2 channel, making it possible for listeners in Geauga and Lake Counties who lost WCLV’s singal when it went to 104.9 to receive it once again with an HD radio.

Of course, with WCLV in commercial mode before 2013, putting its signal on non-commercial WCPN’s HD2 channel would not be possible…

A QUICK VISIT: Electronically, that is, with Rubber City Radio Group owner/general manager Thom Mandel, who talked about his Cleveland market station with Plain Dealer columnist/”The Minister of Culture”/brother of a famous actress Michael Heaton.

Mandel goes into the process which led the Akron-based company to change back to “The Wave” identity from Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting’s last format on the station, AAA “V107.3”:

And we found that most of the folks we identified as being listeners of Adult Alternative thought they were getting it from other stations. No one told us they thought they could find it on 107.3. What we also found was that, even though it had been off the air for two years, “The Wave” was still Cleveland’s third-best-known radio brand name, after “Majic” and “The Buzzard.” Whatever we did, we knew we had to bring back the name.

Mandel also offers up an opinion about what happened to “V” (“advertisers couldn’t figure out who or what they are. The ratings sucked.”) and notes that everything that could go wrong for the station did, including the economic crash.

He also explains the differences between the current “Wave” and the ELB-launched smooth jazz format which preceded “V107.3” for decades, saying the current incarnation of WNWV is “a lot more multidimensional (than) it was”.

The “Wave” owner gives props to his staff, including middayer Mark Ribbins, a “Wave” veteran recently named operations manager for the station since it moved to Independence as the Cleveland arm of Rubber City Radio.

The article doesn’t mention Mandel’s Akron cluster, which includes oldies/news WAKR/1590, rock WONE/97.5, country WQMX/94.9 and online operations including the news site AkronNewsNow.com. Heaton only notes that Bath Township resident Mandel “has been in the radio business for more than 35 years, virtually all of it in Northeast Ohio”…

*** BREAK! BREAK! *** This is a long item, and the remainder of it is primarily about the Youngstown market, though there is a Cleveland connection to the next item. Time to rest your eyes, and if you have no interest in the Mahoning Valley, we’ll see you next time…

HE’S RETIRING, NOT DICK: As a long-time viewer of Cleveland TV news, your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) remembers Mark Koontz as the weekend/backup meterologist to Cleveland TV legend Dick Goddard on WJW/8 (now Local TV’s “Fox 8”).

It was said more than once that Koontz was waiting around South Marginal Road, perhaps hoping to take over the top spot at WJW when Goddard retired, which of course, he hasn’t, even now after 50-plus years on local TV and over 80 years on the planet.

That presumably led Mark to a job to the southeast of Cleveland, where he joined Vindicator NBC affiliate WFMJ/21 Youngstown as a weekend meteorolgist in 2002 and took over the station’s top weather spot in 2007.

He’s now retired, before Goddard, even.

Koontz’s last day at WFMJ was Friday, and he’ll be replaced by former AccuWeather senior meteorologist Mark Wilhelm…a New Philadelphia native and a graduate of tOSU (The Ohio State University).

WFMJ is also announcing that Jess Briganti officially takes the morning weather spot on the station’s “WFMJ Today” morning show…she’s been there on a fill-in basis after the departure of Mark Monstrola…

NOT K-LOVE OR AIR 1, YET: California-based Christian radio mega-operator Educational Media Foundation was supposed to take over control of Bernard Radio’s urban WRBP/101.9 Hubbard, and change the Valley station’s format to one of its satellite formats…but that hasn’t happened yet.

Since the first of the year, numerous listeners tell us that 101.9 has been playing not “K-Love” or “Air 1”, or the previous “Jamz” urban format, but…the Sounds of Silence, and we’re not talking about the Simon & Garfunkel hit.

What happened?

It’s been pointed out to us that FCC records show that EMF’s applications to take over 101.9 and to change it to non-commercial status are still in the pending “ACCEPTED FOR FILING” mode. For that matter, the station’s May 2012 license renewal filing shows the same status.

Now, the EMF folks could well work up a programming agreement to put one of their formats on WRBP until the sale closed, but they apparently haven’t done so. EMF programmed “K-Love” on then-Beacon Broadcasting’s WEXC/107.1 (now WLVX) Greenville PA while awaiting their purchase of that station to close.

We’ve heard that the original intent was to launch one of the EMF formats on 101.9 right after the calendar changed to 2013.

So, we don’t know why they haven’t done so with 101.9, and we still don’t know for sure if the current WRBP will relaunch with “K-Love” (still heard on 107.1) or “Air 1” as a complimentary format to that PA rimshot signal.

We do know that Bernard’s urban talk/AC WASN/1500 Youngstown is noting its last day on the air on its website, January 31st. (We aren’t nearly close enough to the signal to know if it’s still on the air at this writing.)

The rumor mill says either WASN, classic hits WGFT/1330 Campbell “Oldies 1330” or both will end up in new ownership hands, and that one of the stations will be paired with FM translator W233AI/94.3 Niles.

That translator is in the process of being sold to Helen Bednarcyk, who is (as far as we know) the wife of Bernard’s general manager in Youngstown, Skip Bednarcyk.

The 94.3 translator would certainly be upgraded from the current 2 watt licensed power level at 2 meters (!) to a much more powerful signal, up to the translator limit of 250 watts. Such a signal could cover much of the populated area of the Mahoning Valley.

What happens to the 1500-or-1330/94.3 combo when all the pieces are in place?

Well, there’s certainly an urban hole in the market with the move of Bernard’s 101.9 to Christian format operator EMF…a hole that Sagittarius Broadcasting’s WHTX/1570 Warren is going to try to fill to some degree, if only on AM.

If it hasn’t happened already, the standards outlet now owned by Nelson Cintron plans to flip to the urban AC format “The Touch”, which was heard in Akron on then-WTOU/1350 back right after Jaybird Drennan and the “Whistler” country format went away. (The station is now, of course, Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 “Fox Sports 1350”, see above item about Jay Mohr.)

“The Touch” is a satellite 24/7 format offering from Cumulus Media, and 1350’s use of the format was so long ago that ABC Radio/SMN ran the format then…

All Over The Map

UPDATE 12:10 AM 10/11/12: Jim Davison tells OMW that he will continue as operations manager of WHTX/1570 Warren, which will continue in its current standards format as “The Fabulous 1570” and retain its current staff and features.

Jim also confirms that WYCL/1540 Niles has changed from classic country to a Spanish-language format as of Tuesday afternoon…

—–

We’re catching up again with a wide variety of media items, both in kind and location…

DISH DEAL: Viewers to Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, and visitors to the station’s WKYC.com, were warned…if the broadcast chain didn’t reach a deal with the folks at Dish Network, Channel 3 could disappear from that satellite service by October 8th…that was this past Monday (early morning).

When midnight came and went with WKYC still available to Dish Network subscribers, we wondered what was going on.

As it turns out, the parties extended their negotiations into Monday morning, and finally announced a deal had been reached…meaning WKYC and other Gannett stations were never removed from the Dish lineup.

Beyond the brief press releases from each side, there’s a story.

Yes, it’s the Hopper DVR, a Dish Network box that can zap commercials automatically from network prime-time programming (“AutoHop”), the same feature CBS honcho Les Moonves recently said “cannot exist”.

We’ll let Variety’s Jill Goldsmith explain:

Gannett’s retransmission deal with Dish expired at midnight Sunday, and the disagreement was resolved by Monday morning with no blackouts but a significant rate increase to cover Dish’s controversial Hopper DVR feature, which lets viewers watch network primetime shows commercial free the day after they air. Broadcasters have sued for copyright infringement, and a judge in Los Angeles is considering a request for a preliminary injunction.

Dish had said that Gannett was looking for a “300 percent” increase in retransmission fees, the extra fees presumably to make up for the Hopper’s “AutoHop” feature serving up shows without commercials.

As the court case and Mr. Moonves’ statement would indicate, this will probably not be the last such fight.

But for now, Dish Network customers in the Cleveland TV market won’t lose WKYC and NBC programming…

THE SHARON HAS LANDED: You knew that when controversial anchor Sharon Reed left Reserve Square, she’d land somewhere else…eventually.

That “somewhere else” is St. Louis.

The former Raycom CBS/MyNet WOIO/19-WUAB/43 “19 Action News” anchor has nabbed a prime gig in the Gateway City…5, 6 and 10 PM co-anchor at Belo CBS affiliate KMOV/4. The station itself announces her impending arrival, with an October 30th start, here.

What KMOV does not mention is something local viewers and OMW readers know all too well…her nationwide notoriety for removing her clothes on camera in WOIO’s now-infamous “Body of Art” series.

That’s covered by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Joe Hollerman:

Reed made national headlines in 2004 when she agreed to be recorded disrobing for artist Spencer Tunick’s nude group photo shoot in Cleveland. Reed was covering Tunick’s shoot for WOIO Channel 19. The segment reportedly sent ratings through the roof and earned Reed an appearance on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Yes, Sharon Reed will always be known as “The Naked Anchorwoman”.

And with that, we’re done poking fun at Ms. Reed, a capable journalist who has made some questionable career choices in her past.

You won’t see us talking about her again unless she makes more such choices in Missouri…or if she gains positive national attention for her journalistic skills…

STO AND FRANCONA: Unless you’ve been under a rock the past few days, you know that former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona has been hired to manage the Cleveland Indians.

All of Cleveland’s sports-oriented radio stations, Clear Channel talk and Indians flagship WTAM/1100, Good Karma sports WKNR/850 and CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”, covered Francona’s introductory press conference on Monday live.

TV stations kept to regular programming for the most part (many streaming the press conference online), but SportsTime Ohio also carried the Francona press conference live.

That’s no surprise, considering that STO is owned by the Dolan family, owners of the Indians.

What was a surprise to us is how the local regional sports network (RSN) handled the press conference.

At the scheduled 11 AM start of Francona’s press conference, it hadn’t begun yet…so STO dutifully played the scheduled “Zumba Fitness” infomercial.

A few minutes later, just before Francona and Indians general manager Chris Antonetti took to the stage, STO broke in with a very brief introduction by the network’s Ashley Collins…and then a live shot of the empty stage (with reporters seated in front of it).

When the press conference was finished, Collins came on again, and basically just said goodbye. STO cut back immediately to the infomercial then in progress.

Is this any way to run a sports network connected to the team itself?

Our social media suggestion was for STO to go on at 11 straight up with one of its primary hosts, with discussion and walk-up to the press conference, and a recap afterwards.

If Bruce Drennan, Chuck Galeti or Al Pawlowski weren’t around, maybe they could have borrowed whichever sports anchor was elsewhere in the WKYC building…WKYC is, after all, the Indians over-air TV home.

It wasn’t Ashley Collins’ fault.

And there was clearly some preparation by the SportsTime Ohio folks…the network put numerous explainer graphics onscreen during the press conference itself. (And they could have even printed out that material shown onscreen and given Ms. Collins something to talk about.)

No, if you tuned into STO at 11 AM expecting the Francona press conference, you’d have learned of a remarkable way to firm up your abs. (We don’t know if Zumba Fitness is any good, we’re just making an offhand comment…)

BACK IN THE JUNGLE: You read it here on OMW…when Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” scooted the first hour of Premiere’s “Jim Rome Show” over to its half-lung sister, er, brother station, WWGK/1540 “KNR2” (we call it “Puny 1540”), WKNR “The Really Big Show” midday ringmaster Tony Rizzo was taken out of the fill-in rotation for Rome.

He’s baaaack.

In what sounded like a very last minute decision, Rizzo and co-host Aaron Goldhammer filled in for Rome…today, Wednesday, October 10th.

Rizzo was open about the situation to his once-again national audience, explaining that management’s decision to expand “The Really Big Show” to 1 PM bounced Rome’s show off of 850 AM…and bounced Rizzo off the fill-in list.

The move had one odd effect: With its own Tony Rizzo hosting the Rome show, the show’s first hour returned to 850 for one day. (It was also airing in its usual place on “KNR2”.)

Rizzo even joked about how many people Rome’s producers had to call for the emergency fill-in before finally turning to him.

Of course, as we’ve already reported, “The Jim Rome Show” moves to the CBS Sports Radio network next January…

WREO UPDATE: An OMW reader tells us that Media One hot AC WREO/97.1 Ashtabula “Star 97.1” has indeed returned to the airwaves outside Ashtabula County.

As we mentioned earlier, massive antenna destruction by a storm has meant that WREO wasn’t being heard much past Geneva or Conneaut…and now, presumably, it’s back on the air for listeners in Lake County and in Erie PA.

Just don’t get used to that familiar “Star” handle.

Domain supersnoop Lance Venta at RadioInsight tells us that the domain mix971fm.com has been registered by Media One’s Roger McCoy, program director of two sister stations – country WYBL/98.3 “The Bull” and classic hits WZOO/102.5 “Magic Oldies”.

Mix 97.1 logoFurther snooping by Lance revealed a starter Facebook page for “Mix 97.1”, complete with a logo…shown here.

(We don’t know for sure that it’s connected with the Ashtabula stations, though the page says “A community page for WREO-FM” – usually marked on non-official sites compiled by Facebook itself.)

The “Mix” handle would certainly fit with WREO’s existing hot AC format, and it’s not even being used in Cleveland anymore…the old WMVX/106.5 “Mix 106.5” having transformed into adult hits WHLK/106.5 “The Lake”…

CHRIS SELLS OFF: Long-time OMW reader Chris Lash is no longer a radio station owner in the OMW coverage area.

Chris’ Whiplash Radio is selling its two Mahoning Valley stations, classic country WYCL/1540 Niles “The Farm”, and standards WHTX/1570 Warren “The Fabulous 1570”. FCC filings indicate that Whiplash sold the stations to Nelson Cintron Jr.’s Sagittarius Communications LLC for $150.000.

The sale means that another OMW reader – Jim Davison – will no longer be operating the Youngstown market AM pair for Whiplash. Jim and his partner Laurel Taylor started off LMAing 1540, and later added 1570 to their oversight.

Chris gave OMW the following statement:

“For the first time in 13 years, my company doesn’t own a radio station. My family and doctors are hoping to keep it that way. I want to wish Nelson and his company all the best with our former Youngstown stations.

And I want to thank Jim Davison and his staff for doing such a great job with the stations during their LMA period. Jim has become a great friend, and besides being one of the foremost authorities on Cleveland radio history, he proved that he can be a very good operator of a radio station.

I’ve retired to Florida, and we’ll see what the future holds with the radio business. I will always have the passion for it.”

We can’t check from here, but OMW hears that WYCL/1540 may have already flipped to a Spanish-language format.

And that’s no surprise, considering that former Cleveland City Council member Cintron has been involved in the Cleveland market’s newest Spanish-language radio station, non-commercial WHWN/88.3 Painesville.

(The FCC application indicates that he has 33% of WHWN’s ownership…we presume he divested the rest so he could buy two commercial radio stations…) A quick check of the FCC ownership records for WHWN shows that Cintron has always had 33% ownership of the station, the rest split with two family members…

HD ACTION AT FREEDOM AVENUE: There are two new additions to the family among HD Radio sidechannels at Freedom Avenue, otherwise known to new readers as the Clear Channel Media+Entertainment+Ice Cream Akron/Canton cluster. (Yes, we’re just kidding about the frozen dessert part.)

Both are specialty channels, but only one is new.

That’s Golden Flashes Radio, a 24/7 stream heard on rock WRQK/106.9’s HD2 sidechannel, dedicated to Kent State University sports.

In addition to both replay and live Golden Flashes sports contests – and not just football and basketball – Golden Flashes Radio will feature a daily Kent State sports show and other university related content.

In between the Kent State content, Golden Flashes Radio is playing AAA music…presumably from Clear Channel’s Premium Choice/IHeartRadio channel dedicated to the format…at least at launch.

If you’re not among the handful of people with an HD radio set, Golden Flashes Radio is available via IHeartRadio here, and in the various IHeartRadio mobile apps for smartphones and tablets. The station’s on-air ID is prominently featuring the IHeartRadio feed.

The second new HD sidechannel at Freedom Avenue is something we knew was coming.

EMF, the California-based parent of the Christian contemporary “K-Love” and Christian pop “Air1” formats, will indeed use hot AC WKDD/98.1’s HD3 channel to feed its translators.

We don’t know yet which service will use WKDD HD3 to feed the translators. Our guess is that it’ll be Air1, which counts translators including W273BL/102.5 Akron.

But we don’t know which translators will be fed by WKDD HD3. And we don’t know if the newly restarted W291BV/Solon, another Air1 outlet recently heard repeating Clear Channel country WGAR/99.5, will be fed from there, or via a new HD sidechannel of WGAR itself.

And we also don’t know if either “Air1” or “K-Love” has made it to WKDD HD3 yet. Our HD radio set is currently not working.

Of course, the analog/HD1 formats of all of the above stations aren’t changing at all. You’ll still hear hot AC music on WKDD, rock on WRQK and country on WGAR.

And the placement of an EMF format on WKDD’s HD3 sidechannel means that the station is keeping the HD2 simulcast of talk WHLO/640 Akron on WKDD’s HD2 channel…but we don’t know if Golden Flashes Radio bumps the WHLO simulcast that had been heard on WRQK HD2…

All That’s Not FM Sports

We’ve been spending quite a bit of time – and getting a lot of information – about CBS Radio’s pending flip to an FM sports talk format in Cleveland.

There are plenty of other items floating out there, so let’s grab them…

CURTIS HEADS SOUTH: Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 in Cleveland recently dispatched “Good Morning Cleveland” anchors Pete Kenworthy and Kimberly Gill off the show, as we’ve reported already. (Kenworthy returned to the station recently, in a short-term deal to do field reporting.)

When the pair was informed their contracts wouldn’t be renewed by the end of this month, they were yanked from the air immediately, and anchor/reporter Curtis Jackson has filled in as the main anchor for the station’s morning newscasts.

Jackson won’t get the permanent nod, and not just because the folks on Euclid Avenue have other plans.

OMW hears that Jackson recently turned in a two month notice, and will head to Cincinnati as an evening anchor for Newport CBS affiliate WKRC/12 “Local 12″…which competes with WEWS’ sister station in the Queen City, ABC affiiate WCPO/9.

Back at the show that may or may not still be named “Good Morning Cleveland”, OMW hears that there are auditions being held for that show, and for an 11 PM anchor. We’re told that the auditions involve various people outside the station currently…

START OVER: Speaking of Channel 5, it has become the latest station on the Time Warner Cable lineup to feature the “Start Over”, the feature that lets digital cable viewers go back to the beginning of a live show they’ve joined late – and “Look Back”, which allows those viewers to go back and watch shows within a three day window.

From a TWC press release:

Both services, available to Digital Cable customers, require no pre-planning or in-home recording device and include NewsChannel5 news and select ABC shows in both high-definition and standard-definition format.

OMW hears that indeed, all locally originated programming will be covered by the service, and certain ABC shows will be available as well…we don’t have a list.

We’re told that syndicated programming won’t be able to take advantage of “Start Over” and “Look Back”. so you’ll have to either DVR or be on time for “Regis and Kelly”, “Wheel of Fortune”, “Oprah”, or in September, “Dr. Oz”.

By the way, we’d like to congratulate the Dead Trees edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, for finally noticing that Pete Kenworthy and Kimberly Gill are no longer anchoring WEWS’ “Good Morning Cleveland”.

You read about it here on July 5th, some three weeks ago…

RADIO LIBERAL: It’s been some time since Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 “Fox Sports 1350” ran liberal talk as “Radio Free Ohio”, but Northeast Ohio is getting another station in the format.

Well, small parts of Northeast Ohio are getting one.

That’s because the station involved is Radio Advantage One now-gospel WABQ/1460 Painesville, a small, directional Lake County station that reaches parts of the east side of Cleveland on a good day.

And the name spearheading this effort, set to begin Monday, is certainly a familiar one to OMW readers.

Cleveland Scene provided first word of the effort, in a “Scene and Heard” item on the alt-weekly’s website by Erich Burnett:

As blather emanating from the statehouse skews ever more conservative, it was only a matter of time before blather on our local airwaves started bending the other way. Frustrated liberal listener, Gary Richards has come to set you free.

The Euclid radio veteran is set to launch WABQ-AM 1460, a progressive talk station due to ramp up next Monday, August 1.

Yep, the LMA operator of the Dale Edwards-owned station is none other than Gary Richards, the broadcast veteran who once leased Columbus outlet WVKO/1580 as a liberal talk operation, picking up the format baton from Clear Channel talk then-WTPG/1230 in that market (now WYTS “Fox Sports 1230”).

Yes, we know we have some history with Mr. Richards, who established alt-rock WWCD/101.1 “CD 101” in Columbus (now at 102.5) and has had other broadcast efforts in the market, including some runs up here.

At WVKO, we occasionally poked fun at his station getting programming from the public Internet feeds of its syndicators. Gary reminded us that the WVKO LMA was a “less than shoestring operation”, he got the feed problems fixed, and life moved on.

For now, our only beef is that anemic 1460 signal, which doesn’t reach the OMW World Headquarters or indeed, a large chunk of the Cleveland market outside of Lake and northeastern Cuyahoga Counties.

We haven’t plotted a map yet, but we’d say there’s very miniscule overlap, if any, between the signals of 1460 and former liberal talk station 1350.

The Scene item touches on the low-end signal:

Counting its watts by the dozen, the Painesville station expects to reach much of the East Side, with sporadic coverage on the West for those who point their coat-hanger antennas in just the right direction.

The “watts by the dozen” is poetic license. WABQ puts out 1000 watts day, 500 watts night, directional.

This Radio-Locator daytime signal map of WABQ is definitely “for entertainment only”. In reality, you’ll endure static in most of the “distant signal” ring (into downtown Cleveland, for example), if not worse. The night signal is more restrictive, and smaller.

\And no one is picking up even a faint hint of the station in Warren, for example, thanks to second-adjacent local WHKZ/1440 and first adjacent semi-local WLOA/1470 Farrell PA, or in Akron (second-adjacent semi-local WHBC/1480 Canton),

That “much of the East Side” line may be a bit charitable. You aren’t picking this station up south of, say, Mayfield Heights, without a LOT of static…and indeed, 1000 watt stations in large urban areas are plagued by electrical noise even in their strong signal areas.

And even WABQ’s original home at 1540, now Good Karma sports WWGK “KNR2”, would have been a more centralized choice – though it’s a daytimer, of course, and gets wiped off the dial at night by KXEL in Iowa and CHIN in Toronto.

Enough with the signal, though…it’s the ride that brought Gary Richards there, and he presumably can’t change that.

We’re happy he’s bringing one of our favorite syndicated talkers in the format, Dial Global’s Stephanie Miller, back to at least some Northeast Ohio airwaves.

(And who is promised local host “Joe Cleveland”, anyway? We’re curious.)

So, as always (believe it or not), we wish Gary well, and hope for his success…though it will NOT be easy on 1460…no easier than it was for Mr. Edwards to try to deliver gospel music far from the original home of WABQ, 1540, or for that matter, Robert Conrad to reach much of his East Side classical music base when the station simulcasted WCLV/104.9…

WAR OF THE SUBCHANNELS: It’s all but nailed down now…the War of the Classic TV Subchannels begins Monday.

Confirming an earlier Time Warner Cable programming notice, putting WOIO 19.2’s change from “WeatherNow” to “Me-TV” on August 1st, the network’s own Twitter feed popped up this item this week:

@themetvnetwork
MeTVNetwork
From the Second City to the Sixth City, Cleveland, Ohio is getting Me-TV on August 1 on WOIO!

(When’s the last time anyone called Cleveland “The Sixth City”, anyway…1945?)

And what do you know…as a second classic TV subchannel gets ready to show up on Cleveland’s digital TV airwaves, Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 is not being shy about its own “Antenna TV”, which has been running on 8.2 since January.

Watching WJW’s daytime programming Wednesday, we caught frequent “snipes” – quick lower-third graphics – promoting Antenna TV’s weekend “Three Stooges Marathon” (complete with the channel listing for Time Warner Cable). Aside from an occasional 30 second promo, it’s the only promotion we’ve seen on 8.1 for 8.2.

Of course, Retro TV affiliate WIVM-LD/52 Canton and most of its simulcasters are in low-power digital, but Akron/Cleveland RTV outlet WAOH-LP/29 Akron and W35AX/35 Cleveland are still in analog…

AND SPEAKING OF W35AX: The Media-Com Cleveland station recently found out that its attempt to relocate digitally on RF 16 was rejected – citing interference to reserved “land mobile” allocations on RF 15 (Cleveland) and RF 16 (Detroit).

This is despite the use of that reserved “land mobile” allocation by WEWS’ RF 15 – one presumes that adjacent channels are OK for nearby stations, and both WEWS and W35AX are in the Parma antenna farm. (We suspect RF 15 is still marked for land mobile, despite WEWS’ presence on the channel.

Read the FCC’s letter to Media-Com here.

Media-Com’s Akron station, WAOH-LP, has filed for a flash cut on RF 29, and that’s still in the hopper.

29, 35 and all LPTVers will be required to convert to digital by 2015…

AMANDA’S BACK: Former Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 evening personality Amanda Casey has found herself a new radio home.

After moving to Mentor, as we previously reported, Casey started this week at Music Express country WKKY/104.9 Geneva…just up I-90 from Mentor, and a much closer commute for her than the Akron Radio Center.

Amanda replaces long-time afternoon driver Hoss, who left the station a few weeks ago.

Back on West Market Street, the Queen of Pink, Sarah Kay, took over the evening slot at the Akron country powerhouse…

Clearing Out The Week

Some of this will seem familiar to you, if you follow our Twitter account. Some, won’t, but the Twitter feed often turns into a place we can “take notes” on future topics.

There will be no word on some persistent rumors, discussion of which will be found on our social media presence. Let’s just say we’re not a “Fan” of the chances of a certain rumor involving a major Cleveland FM station coming true any time soon…

FOX 8 SPORTS: The sports department at Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 is increasing to three.

Joining veteran anchor John Telich and new sports reporter Allie LaForce will be a third member of the department, according to TVSpy.com.

P.J. Ziegler has been working as sports director of NBC affiliate WVVA/6 in the Beckley/Bluefield market of Southern West Virginia(/Western Virginia) since late 2005.

But the move to South Marginal (is it officially Dick Goddard Way yet?) means a return home, according to his WVVA bio:

P.J. is a native of Cleveland, Ohio and is a 2003 graduate of Kent State University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism.

When not bringing the two Virginias the latest local sports news he can be found working out at a local gym or watching sports on television. His favorite team is the Florida Gators, but he still roots for the Cleveland Browns, Cavaliers and Indians.

The TVSpy item says he’ll be a “reporter and fill-in anchor” for Fox 8, but we don’t know how that works out re: the sports anchor schedule at WJW. We saw newsie Lou Maglio doing sports the other night, and we don’t know if Allie LaForce will have regular anchoring duties…

QA-WHAT?: Those depending on digital cable boxes to deliver high-definition programming may have no idea what “QAM” means.

It’s the cable TV standard to deliver digital channels “behind the scenes” of the boxes, and many TV tuners can decode those signals directly, without boxes.

Usually, that only means the non-box set will get so-called “Open QAM” channels – non-encrypted, generally the local over-air stations in digital/HD form.

Here at the OMW World Headquarters in Time Warner Cable’s ex-Adelphia land, we get the HD/digital feeds of all the network affiliates this way on one of our HD sets, including whatever digital subchannels TWC carries from the station (i.e. WKYC/3 and WOIO/19’s weather subchannels, public TV subchannels, WJW/8’s Antenna TV, WUAB/43’s This TV and the like).

If TWC does not have a home on the regular digital cable lineup for a subchannel, like subchannels for ION’s WVPX/23 or the part-time religious programming on WBNX/55.2, it won’t show up on QAM.

Anyway, some of those depending on QAM tuning to get the HD locals found them disappearing recently, primarly in the Akron/Canton area.

We got confirmation of that from Diane Steinert, Communications Coordinator and OMW Handler at Western Reserve PBS (WNEO/45 Alliance-WEAO/49 Akron), who told us they had viewer complaints that the station’s QAM feed had gone away.

It’s a trap.

No, not Diane’s word from station engineers, but it is a literal trap.

A frequency move of the QAM channels in some TWC areas apparently moved them onto frequencies that are trapped by some cable installations…a practice dating back presumably to the old analog days, allowing the cable operator to “block” pay channels like HBO at the customer end, if the customer didn’t pay for them.

The problem is apparently not widespread, but TWC’s Travis Reynolds confirms to OMW that those having the problem should call TWC:

Any customers experiencing this issue can contact us and we’ll send a technician out to fix it. We are aware of the issue and it’s actually a simple fix for us, however, we need to be notified because we have no way of knowing proactively who is impacted.

The first thing a QAM-using customer should do, even before calling TWC, is rescan their channels.

QAM is kind of the “back alley” of digital cable, and cable companies can – and will – change channel assignments at will.

The digital cable boxes can handle this underlying change without any trouble, but your TV set’s digital tuner can’t.

Meanwhile, here on the ex-Adelphia end of their system, TWC moving a lot of analog channels away
from the 70s in the lineup cleared up a whole bunch of QAM problems we had.

Now, all the stations are clear…and we’re blaming our low-end HDTV set’s tuner for not being able to handle the analog adjacent channels. All is working now, though…

NO ONE WANTS IT: There was quite a bit of speculation about FCC Auction 91 in Northeast Ohio, putting a number of FM construction permits up for bids… including one unfilled allocation at 96.1 for Ashtabula.

The Eagle Eyes of your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) spotted a Media One company on the qualified bidder list.

But at very least the Ashtabula arm of Media One would likely not be able to own yet another signal in the region. (Cue E-mail from Ashtabula, surely saying we got something wrong, if not everything.)

Sure enough, it was the Jamestown NY-based arm of the Media One empire bidding on a station near there, a bidding war it lost to competitor Cross Country Communications.

Who would own 96.1 back in Ashtabula?

Well, as it turns out, no one.

The Ashtabula allocation is one of 36 “FCC Held” results in Auction 91, and if you follow that link and click on the Ashtabula link, you’ll find that it had no bidders in 62 rounds of bidding.

We’re curious as to why there were no potential bidders – like perhaps Music Express Broadcasting, the owners of country WKKY/104.7 Geneva. They were up for the construction permit for the new 93.7/North Madison allocation, but lost to South Shore Broadcasting.

We’re asked “what happens now?” – and all we can say is that it’s likely the FCC will put up the allocation in the next auction process.

Meanwhile, in heated bidding just up I-90 in Erie PA, an Auction 91 construction permit went for over $2 million…

AND STILL ON: You’d have to be under a rock, we guess, to not have heard of the Doomsday prediction by California-based religious broadcaster Harold Camping.

You’re still here reading this, and we were around Sunday night to write it, so the predicted Rapture (set for May 21st at 6 PM local time, according to Camping) never happened.

What does this have to do with local media?

Camping’s Family Radio owns two Northeast Ohio outlets…Akron market WCUE/1150 Cuyahoga Falls, and Youngstown’s WYTN/91.7.

We don’t know if it’s automation, non-believers at the helm or what, but a quick check of WCUE on Sunday night had it pumping out the same “inspirational” music Family Radio pumps out every Sunday night.

We don’t remember for sure, but we’re pretty sure Camping’s organization got main studio waiver status for WCUE several years ago, so 1150 is but a repeater of Family Radio’s Oakland CA-based satellite feed, with legal IDs inserted by automation.

So, if no one was at WCUE’s transmitter site in the former Northampton Township this weekend, it wasn’t any rapture…it was standard radio operations practice in 2011…

Supersized Update

As promised, here’s our update that spans all over the map, and with updates on just about every subject area we cover. How big is it? Let’s just put it this way…we’re lucky Blogger doesn’t charge at all, let alone by the kilobyte…

WVPX HD: Put on hold by Ion Media Networks’ bankruptcy a while back, the HD upgrade at Ion’s local owned-and-operated station is complete.

Over-air viewers of Akron-licensed WVPX/23 are now seeing an HD feed on 23.1, and viewers of Time Warner Cable will get the station on their HD cable boxes soon…if it has not happened already.

We can also pass along word that in the former Adelphia Cleveland-based system, those picking up clear QAM feeds can find WVPX’s HD feed on RF channel 78.2.

Another oddity of the clear QAM feeds – though they do not appear on cable boxes in the Cleveland-based arm of the TWC NEO system, Western Reserve PBS’ HD WEAO/49.1 and its subchannels are available to those picking up the QAM feeds, mapped to their over-air channel numbers.

WEAO’s main feed is still available on analog cable channel 9 in the former Adelphia system, and WEAO/WNEO’s HD feed and subchannels are on cable boxes in the “legacy” Time Warner Akron/Canton/Youngstown area systems. Time Warner lists the feed as “WNEO” even in the WEAO signal area.

Anyway, back to WVPX. We don’t have a complete list of programming in HD, but it appears that prime-time off-network shows (such as “Ghost Whisperer”) and at least some movies are in HD. Shortly after the launch, we saw an Ion movie in the daytime hours that was not only in HD, but using its original aspect ratio…which should make some movie buffs very happy…

YOUNGSTOWN HD/DIGITAL ACTIVITY: It seems the dust has settled, and Parkin/New Vision ABC affiliate WYTV/33 in Youngstown is now pumping out a million watts of power.

Viewers all over the Mahoning Valley and beyond report drastically improved reception from the new facility. (No, we can’t get it from the OMW World Headquarters…but we also have trouble with New Vision sister CBS affiliate WKBN/27 from this far out on our modest setup. We imagine those in the far eastern suburbs of Cleveland and Akron should have a better shot at it.)

WYTV is indeed more powerful than WKBN, by a few hundred kilowatts, but the station’s antenna is much lower than the WKBN antenna.

Elsewhere on Sunset Boulevard, the multi-station combo is preparing to add the Youngstown market’s first HD newscasts.

It was supposed to happen back on April 19th, but viewers/OMW readers in the market, including PBRTV’s Tom Lavery, tell us that newscasts on WKBN and its sister stations are still in SD.

We can’t find a reference right now, but we seem to recall the update will also bring WYTV’s MyNetwork TV subchannel (33.2) into the world of HD…

WIN IT FOR JOE: When will local sports radio legend Joe Tait hang up his headphones, and turn the Cleveland Cavaliers Radio Network microphone over to someone with very big shoes to fill?

We don’t recall when he said it, but a recent profile of Tait in the Chicago Sun-Times –“Tait, as in great” – has this:

Tait, 72, has said that next season will be his last. If he sticks to that, the breed of working NBA broadcast greats will be down one.


We reported earlier that Tait’s contract was renewed, indeed, through the end of the 2010-2011 season, thoguh even at age 72, Dan Gilbert is likely to keep the iconic Cavs broadcaster behind the microphone for basically as long as he wants.

Tait tells the Sun-Times:

”I feel old, fat and tired,” the signature radio voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers said. ”Some days, I feel like I could go on forever. Other days, I’m not sure I’ll make it past noon.”

and…
‘In a year, the house will be paid off,” said Tait, Evanston (IL)-born and a graduate of Monmouth College. ”Then all I want to worry about is taking care of Jeannie and enjoying the sunsets.”
Though he does sound like a man ready to retire after a long and illustrious career, he tells the newspaper he very much still enjoys his work…enjoyment, presumably, that will be magnified ten-fold if the Cavaliers manage to do what no Cleveland-based major professional team has done since 1964…win it all.

Win one for Tait, indeed.

By the way, tonight’s Game 5 of the first round NBA playoff series against the Chicago Bulls will air on Fox Sports Ohio, and will also be simulcast on broadcast partner Raycom Media MyNetwork TV affliate WUAB/43. The WUAB broadcast of FSOhio games are also in HD, giving over-air viewers a chance to see the game in the crisper TV format.

And by the way again, we’ve confirmed through numerous sources part of an item we ran earlier: The Cavaliers Radio Network is indeed produced at Quicken Loans Arena, not at the facilities of flagship Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100. That means new Cavs Radio Network producer Marty “Big Daddy” Allen doesn’t have to go back to Oak Tree for his new job.

We should have realized this, since the Cavs’ post-game radio show gives 420-exchange phone numbers, the same exchange as used by the team and arena. WTAM uses the standard 578 exchange, an old “choke” exchange used by local broadcasters for years.

Back in the day, the 578 exchange was used so floods of radio contest and request calls didn’t bring down other phone network users, though technology has rendered that problem obsolete…

WHILE WE’RE TALKING ABOUT OAK TREE: A former WTAM staffer is making quite a career change.

Former WTAM news director R.C. Bauer left the building in October 2006, taking a news management gig at sister Clear Channel talk WFLA/970 in Tampa FL.

He got a promotion to the top programming job at the successful Florida station in early 2009, after Gabe Hobbs felt the Clear Channel downsizing axe.

Bauer is leaving WFLA on his own…and to a higher “station” as it were.

Radio-Info.com columnist Tom Taylor provides us the confirmation of a tip we received late last week, in his column which landed in E-mail boxes Monday morning:

RC Bauer hears the call of the ministry and is leaving radio – and his job as Director of Information and Services and PD of talker WFLA, Tampa (970) – to become a full-time minister. RC’s departing the Clear Channel roster at the end of May to become executive pastor at the Generations Christian Church in Trinity, Florida.

Taylor notes that R.C. will remain on WFLA’s local programming advisory board, and could even do some fill-in for the station once he moves to his new role as a pastor…

THE TRIBE IN THE ‘BULA: That’s Ashtabula, and the Indians are getting some FM air-time in that extreme Northeast Ohio community.

Media One Group features both the Indians and the team’s nearby minor league affiliate, the single-A Lake County Captains, on sports WFUN/970 “ESPN 970”.

Conflicts this year will push the major league club onto sister country WYBL/98.3 “The Bull”, with the April Indians/WYBL schedule here.

Last Sunday was a conflict of particular note, with the Captains on WFUN, the Indians on WYBL, and the Cleveland Cavaliers on Media One’s WZOO/102.5 “Oldies 102.5”.

SPEAKING OF MINOR LEAGUE BALL: By the way, according to a Captains release, Spirit Media talk/brokered WELW/1330 Willoughby is resuming its role as the team’s flagship outlet in 2010, with “selected games” on WFUN and WZOO.

Over in Lorain County, we neglected to inform you that the Lake Erie Crushers, the Avon-based independent minor league team, gets a partial broadcast presence this year, with Sunday afternoon home games heard on Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria.

It’s not the entire schedule, but the team had no over-air call in its initial season.

Former WOBL/1320-WDLW/1380 and Metro Networks staffer and voice of Oberlin College sports, Dave DeNatale, called the games online via SportsJuice.com. DeNatale was the afternoon sports update voice at Metro for Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850” in Cleveland, until the local Metro Networks operation closed its Independence facility.

For WEOL, staffers Tim Alcorn and Rob Polinsky are calling the Crushers’ Sunday afternoon contests…

TWC AWARDS: The local arm of Time Warner Cable picked up a lot of hardware at the Ohio Cable Television Association’s annual award ceremony – for a number of programs on its Northeast Ohio Network (NEON) and associated Local On Demand (LOD) channel.

Here’s the list, courtesy of a TWC release:

The 9 Awards:
Excellence in Local Programming – NEON/LOD programming
Education Outreach – Connect A Million Minds
Product Launch/Promotion – Viewer’s Choice LOD Contest
Community Outreach – Connect A Million Minds
Live Action Sports Programming – High School Football Game of the Week
Community Affairs Programming (2) – Helping Hands and Great Lakes Science Center Partnership
Entertainment Programming – Made Here
PSA/Promotional Message – Connect A Million Minds 30-second spot

The awards are called the “Image Awards”, which are “established to honor OCTA members’ efforts to build and enhance relationships with their customers and foster a positive image in their communities.”

The local programming is part of the service’s arsenal in competing against satellite and other multichannel providers like AT&T U-verse. Or as TWC VP/Communications and OMW reader Bill Jasso puts it:

“NEON and LOD are unique to Time Warner Cable, an added value only available to our customers.”

THE ZONE IS BACK: It had been speculated by many of our Toledo-area readers for some time, but Cumulus has indeed used an FM translator to bring back a format recently killed to give sports WLQR/1470 “The Ticket” an FM home.

As expected, W264AK, the former Cavalry Chapel-owned religious translator at 100.7 FM, has moved to a more centrally located facility in Toledo, and is now under Cumulus control at 100.9 FM – pumping out the “Zone” alt-rock format displaced by sports on the former WRWK-now-WLQR-FM/106.5.

Tom Taylor’s Radio-Info.com column notes that the feed is coming from classic rock WXKR/94.5’s HD2 channel, and that Cumulus did much the same in Atlanta for an alt-rock station there (“99X”).

The Calvary Chapel folks, meantime, have completed their end of the swap with Cumulus, broadcasting the network’s religious programming on 1560 AM. The station long held the WTOD call letters, but Calvary Chapel changed calls Friday to WWYC.

This page on the church’s website incorrectly identifies the new station as being at 1590 AM, and incorrectly identifies the new WWYC as an FM station – though it also notes the AM station’s daytime-only operation.

The station does have a construction permit for a whopping 3 watts of nighttime power, a level that might cover a few blocks around the transmitter – if the signal doesn’t get clobbered by the skywave of Radio Disney’s WQEW/1560 in New York City. (We’re betting on the Mouse.)

As Cumulus’ WTOD, the station ran a mostly syndicated talk format.

The WTOD calls are now being parked on a Cumulus station in Hartsville SC…