The Fox-STO Shoe Drops

We’ve discussed the rumors. We’ve discussed the reports from every outlet this side of “Shopper’s Weekly” that a sale of Cleveland-based regional sports network SportsTime Ohio was imminent.

It’s now official, slipped just under the Tax Impact Door of 2012.

As expected everywhere (including here), Fox Sports Media Group has signed on the dotted line, with a reported, estimated $230 million purchase of the network owned by the Dolan family, who also happen to own the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball.

Also noted in the deal, a long-term deal to bring the Indians TV rights back in the Fox fold…the Tribe aired on Fox Sports Ohio until the Dolans started STO in 2006.

Plain Dealer Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes reports that Fox will pay the Indians at least $40 million a year for the team’s TV broadcast rights over the next 10 years ($400 million), which is an increase from $33 million being paid yearly from STO into the Dolans’ other pockets at Progressive Field.

Hoynes notes that the new money helped the team do things like sign prized free agent Nick Swisher.

But, there are plenty of unanswered questions that need to be answered in the coming months, Hoynes says:

Although nothing has been confirmed, it appears Fox will operate two sports networks in Ohio to avoid scheduling conflicts. Decisions on STO programming are expected to be made in the next six weeks.

Not known – will STO keep its name as a Fox Sports entity?

The company operates second networks in markets like Florida (Sun Sports), Georgia (SportSouth) and Los Angeles (Prime Ticket) under other names. Or will the current SportsTime Ohio turn into Fox Sports Cleveland or Fox Sports Northeast Ohio?

Hoynes says STO’s current Indians broadcast team – Rick Manning, Matt Underwood and Al Pawlowski – is expected to continue, as is the deal with Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 to carry over-air games – at least in the upcoming 2013 season.

Though the PD writer says “on Fox”, it doesn’t seem to be clear yet if the Indians will move to the current Fox Sports Ohio, or air on their current home – whatever STO will be called assuming it does continue as a separate network.

We asked a spokeswoman for Fox Sports Ohio, who pointed us back to the press release as the only information coming out now.

Our guess is that for branding purposes, the Indians will be on the current FSO – or if not that, a rebranded STO with the Fox Sports name.

And of course, the fate of STO’s current non-Indians local programming lineup is apparently up in the air… giving the network’s staff some pause at the holidays. We haven’t heard any rumblings about this, as Fox will be making the decisions on STO’s programming over the next few weeks.

$230 million, plus $400 million for rights over 10 years sounds like a lot of money, but Hoynes points out that deals involving Fox Sports in New York and Los Angeles “dwarf” that money…

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Press Release Theatre (Vol. 9), The Time Warner Cable SportsChannel Edition

UPDATE 12/20/12 10:07 PM: We’re told that the network actually launched in August…we haven’t had Time Warner Cable’s digital service since before then.

But TWC’s own release talks about the network in terms of “will be” and “will bring”, so they must see this as a post-soft launch statewide.

Some wording fixed…

—–

Having apparently lost or abandoned its reported bid to buy SportsTime Ohio, Time Warner Cable is going ahead full steam with its own statewide sports network…called “Time Warner Cable SportsChannel”.

The network features Ohio high school and collegiate sports, and other as of yet unspecified programming.

And the move of TWC Northeast Ohio Network (NEON) fixture Les Levine to the statewide platform apparently affects Les’ soon to be former home on Time Warner Cable’s channel 23 in Northeast Ohio.

The release below says NEON will “transition to a new format featuring local weather information” early next month, but gives no word on the fate of the remaining programs on the local origination channel.

Here’s Time Warner’s release, which announces the new statewide platform for “More Sports & Les Levine”.

Of course, Les’ show has been on “SportsChannel” before…the original local cable sports channel which became Fox Sports Net Ohio. The show was called “More SportsChannel & Les Levine”…

—–

Time Warner Cable has announced that More Sports & Les Levine, a Northeast Ohio tradition for 20 years, now has a statewide audience on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, as of this week.

Most recently found on the Northeast Ohio Network (NEON) channel 23, More Sports & Les Levine can now been seen throughout the state live, Monday-Thursday from 6-7 p.m., on Channels 311 and 1311. Time Warner Cable’s channel 23 in Northeast Ohio will transition to a new format featuring local weather information in early January. Time Warner Cable SportsChannel 311/1311 will be the new home for local sports, including high school and college games, in addition to a variety of other original programming.

“We are very pleased to welcome Les and his show to our ever-expanding programming lineup,” said Vince Jones, director of sports programming for Time Warner Cable in Ohio and Kentucky. “Les brings with him an established and loyal viewership and we look forward to helping him grow it on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.”

Levine has been a fixture covering sports in Northeast Ohio virtually every weeknight since 1989. More Sports & Les Levine began on radio (WERE from 1992-94 and WHK from 1994-96), before moving to TV with Time Warner Cable in 1996.

Known throughout Northeast Ohio as “The Self-Proclaimed Voice of Truth & Reason,” Levine has regularly welcomed owners, general managers and coaches of the Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers. The show has featured over 25 Hall of Famers, as well as numerous Super Bowl and World Series participants.

“After being on radio or TV on a daily basis in Northeast Ohio for the past 23 years, I am looking forward to expanding the reach of ‘More Sports & Les Levine’ and I’d like to thank Time Warner Cable SportsChannel for the opportunity,” Levine said. “I’m told that I’m an ‘acquired taste’ and hopefully viewers around the state will give the show a try.”

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Levine has covered the Cleveland Browns and Indians for a variety of outlets and served as play-by-play announcer for the WHA’s Cleveland Crusaders (1972-74), Kent State football and basketball (1974-79), Cleveland State basketball (1985-2006), the AFL’s Cleveland Thunderbolts (1992-94) and countless high school football and basketball games.

About Time Warner Cable SportsChannel

Time Warner Cable SportsChannel is a 24/7 high-definition sports network currently found on channels 311 and 1311 HD across the state of Ohio. Through its partnerships with the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), Miami University and the Atlantic 10 Conference, with member institutions Xavier University and the University of Dayton, TWC SportsChannel will bring viewers more than 150 scholastic events and college basketball and hockey games annually, in addition to a variety of other original programming.

Chad And Larry

Two names have dominated local media news the past few days. Let’s start with the most recent update…

CHAD’S OUT: It was pure speculation in our last item…a prediction that comedian and Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7 afternoon co-host Chad Zumock would ride out the storm of an OVI arrest in Lakewood, his second in the past four years.

Here, let’s just see how wrong we were:

He might get a brief suspension under Clear Channel policy (as far as we know, Zumock wasn’t on the air Friday), but that’s about it, we predict…and at some point, he’ll probably mine it for comedic effect both in his standup routine, and with Alan Cox, Erika Lauren and the gang on WMMS…

Instead, Chad Zumock is on the outside looking in at Oak Tree (not the tree he’s charged with hitting), leaving “The Alan Cox Show” without a co-host in the multi-person afternoon drive show…except for on-air contributions by “Real World: DC” alumnus Lauren.

The E-mails and tweets came down fast and furious on Monday afternoon…Chad Zumock had been FIRED (their caps) as a result of his alleged drunk driving incident tangling with a tree.

“Dismissed” is the term we’ve heard from Oak Tree sources.

A good source of information on WMMS’ afternoon talk show is, well, WMMS’ afternoon talk show, where Alan Cox himself briefly addressed Zumock’s departure during the show’s Monday opening.

In the grand tradition of OMW, we’ll transcribe the important parts of Cox’s opening from the show’s podcast:

ALAN: (after noting Erika Lauren’s presence “behind the glass”) And, uh…Chad is no longer a member of this show.

Chad Zumock is gone from this program. He is no longer an employee of the company.

And, uh, I guess for anyone who’s tuning into the show, even five minutes late…you’re gonna miss all this.

So, T-Bag came into me before the show, and he said, “hey, how do you want me to deal with people who are, you know, they’re gonna be invariably calling about Chad, and what happened and blah-blah-blah.”

I said, “Well, there’s really not much for me to say. There really isn’t.”

ERIKA: It never was our business.

ALAN: It really wasn’t, no.

And I had pretty much the same information that everyone else had. On Friday, Chad was out, you know, and anybody who’s been reading the news online or whatever, I mean, you know as much as I do.

But, he had had a contract with the station and with the show, and as anybody with a contract knows, there are certain things in that contract that if they go awry, the thing gets voided.

So that’s pretty much the long and short of it. I wish the guy nothing but the best…

Cox went on to note that “for all the crap he took from the audience, it’s almost impossible to dislike Chad”…reminding listeners that Zumock was still doing standup comedy and has a Twitter presence, and eventually, Cox and Lauren said “the show much go on”.

Cox noted that Zumock’s official exit from the building came on the same day that he started his morning drive show on Clear Channel brother rock station WDTW-FM/106.7 “The D” in Detroit. “The Alan Cox Show” Cleveland cast is not connected to the Detroit show, which features just Alan Cox and music.

As for Zumock, he E-mailed a statement to Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5’s NewsChannel 5, which was posted on the station’s NewsNet5.com website:

Have you seen my mugshot yet? I’m pretty sure it’s worse than Nick Nolte’s. But I guess I now have my next comedy album cover, so I’ve got that going for me.

Please know I am taking this incident very seriously. I’m very sorry for all the damage this has caused.

I will say this: Working at WMMS was meant a lot to me on so many levels. I put my heart and soul into the show and I hope a lot of you saw that.

I bleed Cleveland. This is my city and the best people in the world live here. We love a good come back. Let me get my act together and I’ll show you a great come back.

Thank you, Chad Zumock

Tuesday afternoon, Zumock posted a longer statement on his Tumblr blog….

LARRY’S ALMOST OUT: Cleveland Indians owner Larry Dolan hasn’t YET sold regional sports network SportsTime Ohio to the News Corporation’s Fox Sports empire, but everyone short of the children’s magazine “Highlights” seems to be reporting that the deal is imminent.

We’ll pick from one article filled with the most details, the one written by Plain Dealer Indians beat writer Paul Hoynes.

Fox Sports Ohio is close to purchasing SportsTime Ohio for between $200 million and $250 million, said a source familiar with the negotiations. The sale could be completed by the end of December and would increase the Indians’ rights fees for broadcasting their games from $30 million to an estimated $40 million a year.

That end-of-the-year deadline, which we’ve also heard from our own sources, has a possible reason, says Hoynes:

Fox and STO reportedly want the deal done by the end of the year because of new tax ramifications in 2013.

Fox is obviously buying the network to regain the Indians TV rights, which Fox Sports Ohio had until 2006’s debut of the quasi-in-house SportsTime Ohio.

But Hoynes says Fox can’t just flip a switch and turn STO into dust:

There were rumblings that STO would cease to exist after Fox’s purchase, but it appears that Fox will need two networks in Ohio to carry its programming. STO is expected to exist in some form through the Indians’ 2013 baseball season because there might not be enough time between the sale and Opening Day for Fox to complete its takeover.

Separately, Hoynes notes that Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 has “a contract for the 2013 season” to be the Indians’ over-air TV home. SportsTime Ohio’s production facilities are currently housed in the WKYC “Digital Broadcast Center” at 13th and Lakeside.

In a final, brief note, Hoynes reports what’s already been all but officially announced here and elsewhere: the Indians radio play-by-play rights will return to Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100.

But as Hoynes notes, the deal has not yet been officially announced either by the team or Clear Channel.

We’re wondering if all this activity on the TV side of things is delaying things on the team side.

One other note: Hoynes says while Tribe radio team Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus are paid by the Indians, TV broadcasters Rick Manning, Matt Underwood and Al Pawlowski get their paychecks from SportsTime Ohio.

That has been a Distinction Without A Difference, until now…

Early December

Here’s another update as we round into early December…as items seem to have accumulated in enough quantity to release them into the wild…

STO’S FUTURE: The occasional rumbling we’ve heard about SportsTime Ohio’s impending sale has turned into a loud roar.

Now, from just about everyone not named “Dolan”, we hear that the regional sports network owned by the family which owns the Cleveland Indians is thisclose to being sold.

Early on, there were rumors that Time Warner Cable and Fox Sports were the two interested parties, but now, it appears that the Fox empire is about to pull the trigger on purchasing STO.

OMW hears that Fox’s Los Angeles-based suits have been no stranger to the STO operations in recent days and weeks.

We talked about this on our social media presence, completely unaware that the News-Herald’s Bob Finnan had this item in his November 17th column:

Speaking of Fox Sports Ohio, it appears to be close to purchasing SportsTime Ohio. A source said if Fox buys it, it will broadcast the Indians and STO would no longer exist. The Dolan family is expected to retain its minority share in the cable franchise. Many thought Time Warner Cable was close to buying STO, but Fox appears to be very close to pulling the trigger on the megadeal.

OMW hears that the Finnan item caused quite a stir among employees at STO, with many worried about their jobs.

Another print type with his eye on sports media, the Akron Beacon Journal’s George M. Thomas, goes into further detail in an Ohio.com blog post, saying that “if” STO is sold, it will happen by the end of the year. (Separately, we’ve heard the same.)

But unlike his colleague in Lake County, Thomas says he’s hearing that SportsTime Ohio won’t be merged lock, stock and Chief Wahoo into the existing Fox Sports Ohio:

What’s more intriguing is that the stations will not merge; they will remain separate entities much in the way that FS South and SportSouth operate independently of one another in the Atlanta area and beyond. One has more of a regional flavor catering to multiple states and the other is more locally based.

Thomas points to SportSouth’s schedule as a possible clue that Fox Sports will hang onto at least “some” of STO’s local content if a merger happens. (Our guess: if Thomas is right about this, the Indians games will still move back to Fox Sports Ohio’s main channel.)

For now, no one appears to know for sure…so it’s the waiting game for STO employees.

The network, as long-time OMW readers know, uses production facilities at Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3’s “Digital Broadcast Center” at 13th and Lakeside.

No one that knows anything yet has a guess what happens to WKYC’s STO-linked over-air Indians game rights, where Channel 3 airs 20 games per year…

SPEAKING OF GANNETT: The multimedia company has yet again pulled a retransmission consent deal with a satellite provider out of a hat.

Back in October, WKYC owner Gannett went to the wire and then some with Dish Network.

The late night deadline came and went without Gannett’s stations being removed from the nation’s second largest satellite-to-home video provider, and an agreement happened the next morning.

Flip the deadline to November 30th, and the satellite firm to DirecTV, and history repeated itself this weekend, right down to the announcement of the agreement the morning after the deadline.

Gannett acknowledged the deal with a brief statement that was posted Saturday on the WKYC website:

Gannett and DirecTV have reached an agreement regarding DirecTV’s continued retransmission of Gannett stations.

NBC would have been hit hard by a Gannett blackout on DirecTV…the company owns not only WKYC, but also a large number of NBC affiliates in markets from Atlanta and Tampa to Phoenix and St. Louis.

On to the next round of the Retransmission Consent Sweepstakes…

JIM’S IN: MediaCom talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron” has found its second full-time replacement in the past few months.

He’s a voice that’s familiar to WNIR listeners from frequent fill-in stints…which became almost marathon in nature after the death of midday iconic host Howie Chizek and illness, and later death, of evening host Tom Erickson.

Jim Isabella takes the shift Erickson once occupied – 7-11 PM weeknights and 4-7 PM Saturday afternoons.

First word came Thursday night on what’s now Isabella’s own show, and Friday, the newspaper that’s been his other employer had word about the radio promotion for “a member of the Beacon Journal family” in Rich Heldenfels’ “HeldenFiles” column.

Heldenfels quoted a statement by WNIR that the station didn’t see fit to send us, or post on its website:

Isabella, a substitute host on the station for the last two years, saw his work increase during the many months Erickson was off the air and after the sudden death of Howie Chizek in June. “From that exposure WNIR’s audience became much more familiar with Jim’s talents,” said a station announcement, and Isabella generated positive feedback that led to the full-time job.

If we recall correctly, Isabella has been a correspondent covering high school football for the Beacon Journal…and the end of that season would presumably leave his Friday nights free.

Isabella took to his Facebook account to answer those congratulating him on the gig:

THANKS to all of you, I am truly happily surprised and overwhelmed by the out-poring of support … did not see that coming …

WNIR’s other regular fill-in, weekend evening host and “Rockin’ On The River” maestro Bob Earley, said many times on the air that he wasn’t interested in a full-time talk gig at the station.

And from what we see on Facebook, at least, Earley appears quite happy with Isabella taking the weeknight gig…

TIME TWO: The OVI arrest of Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7 afternoon co-host Chad Zumock this week wasn’t his first.

But when you (allegedly) drive drunk and hit a tree, you’ll land on the local news…as evidenced by this item by writer Jen Steer on Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5’s NewsNet5.com:

Cleveland radio personality and comedian Chad Zumock was arrested in Lakewood early Friday morning.

The police report said Zumock, 37, was driving westbound on Lake Avenue when he went off the road and hit a tree at about 3:18 a.m.

He was not injured and refused to take a breathalyzer test, the report said.

Zumock’s arrest was, we’re told, very briefly mentioned by Alan Cox on the afternoon drive “Alan Cox Show” Friday…we’re told Cox said it was “none of his business” and moved on.

As noted in the header for this section of the item, it’s not Zumock’s first run in the “drinking and driving” department.

He turned his 2008 DUI arrest in Kent into fodder for his standup routine. You could watch it on a YouTube video that we can no longer find.

Zumock had scheduled appearances at the Funny Stop in Cuyahoga Falls this week, and a Saturday appearance with his Hall and Oates cover band (“I Can’t Believe It’s Not Hall and Oates”) at downtown Cleveland’s House of Blues.

We’ll spare you the YouTube video of that one.

How will the OVI arrest affect his WMMS gig? Probably not much.

As we saw online, and heard from others in person, a decent chunk of WMMS’ audience has probably gone through similar…or has at least worried about a cop pulling them over for OVI.

He might get a brief suspension under Clear Channel policy (as far as we know, Zumock wasn’t on the air Friday), but that’s about it, we predict…and at some point, he’ll probably mine it for comedic effect both in his standup routine, and with Alan Cox, Erika Lauren and the gang on WMMS…

HE’S MCFLYING HIGH: We neglected to pass along word of a Friend of OMW climbing up in the broadcasting world.

After landing in Fort Smith AR due to a job change by his wife, former Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 personality George McFly landed a weekend gig at a decidedly non-country station: Cumulus rock KLSZ/100.7 “Rock 100.7” in that Arkansas market.

The folks at “Rock 100.7” must have liked what they heard, as McFly recently took over the station’s weekday afternoon drive time slot, apparently losing his first name.

George passes on his greetings to his friends in Northeast Ohio, and says he’s hoping to visit the area early next year…

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…

Press Release Theatre, Vol. 7

The releases are piling up.

But we’ll start, as always, with Ann’s Corner, from long-time Friend of OMW Ann VerWiebe…promotions and marketing guru for Kent State University’s WKSU/89.7-and-its-many-simulcasters.

There’s even a picture as a bonus!

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WKSU LAUNCHES STREET-SIDE STUDIO IN ITS AKRON NEWS BUREAU

WKSU Akron StudioWKSU is pulling back the curtain and putting its news production on view in downtown Akron. The street-side studio in the United Building fronts South Main Street with a view of the Federal Building. With events including the recent Jimmy Dimora trial making Akron the center of Northeast Ohio journalism universe, having a full-time presence in the heart of the city has been vital. Reporters Tim Rudell and Mark Urycki currently work primarily from WKSU’s Akron Bureau.

The extensive Main Street Studio project involved retrofitting and soundproofing and office in the United Building, including replacing the standard window with extra thick glass designed to minimize street noise from one of Akron’s busiest intersections at Market and Main.

Inspired in part by WGN’s sidewalk studio in Chicago, WKSU Executive Director Al Bartholet wanted to create an interactive environment that would bring WKSU’s news literally to the public.

“Downtown Akron is a vibrant city center and WKSU’s Akron News Bureau is well situated to be at the heart of the action! We are very excited to see what the future holds for the Main Street Studio, our new ‘window to Akron,’” Bartholet says.

The Akron Bureau allows WKSU staff to create quick turn-around reports away from the station’s home base at Kent State University. The new Main Street Studio will be a hub for regional reporting as well as occasionally hosting WKSU’s broadcasts of “All Things Considered” and “Morning Edition.” The space welcomes journalists from around the area as the Summit County anchor point for election night coverage on Nov. 6.

Support for completing the new studio came from the J.M. Smucker Company, along with the Lisle M. Buckingham Fund of the Akron Community Foundation, the Mary S. and David C. Corbin Foundation, the Mirapaul Foundation, State & Federal Communications and anonymous individual donors. Microphones and headphones were provided through a gift from Audio-Technica.

WKSU broadcasts NPR & Classical Music at 89.7 FM, and is a service of Kent State University. WKSU programming is also heard on WKRW 89.3 FM in Wooster, WKRJ 91.5 FM in Dover/New Philadelphia, WKSV 89.1 FM in Thompson, WNRK 90.7 in Norwalk and W239AZ 95.7 FM in Ashland. The station broadcasts four HD Radio channels – adding WKSU-2 Folk Alley, WKSU-3 The Classical Channel and WKSU-4 The News Channel to the analog broadcast schedule. The WKSU website is www.wksu.org.

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FOX SPORTS OHIO PREPS FOR CAVS WITH THE RETURN OF “TIP-TOBER”

Cavs’ TV home to feature preseason games, replays, roundtable & more throughout October.

CLEVELAND, OH – As the Cleveland Cavaliers gear up for the 2012-13 season, FOX Sports Ohio gets fans ready with special Cavs programming and FOXSportsOhio.com features throughout the month of October, or “Tip-tober”.

In the return of Tip-tober, FOX Sports Ohio features various programs, including two Cavaliers preseason games, two Cavaliers Showcase replays, one Cavaliers Roundtable, Cavaliers Live: Season Preview, and Access Cavaliers.

New in October, Cavs fans will also get a unique behind-the-scenes look at the FOX Sports Ohio Cavs broadcast team through a series of promotional vignettes called ‘Off Mic.’ Each new piece will give an inside look at the career beginnings, highlights and personal perspectives of a Cavs broadcaster as he/she made her way to becoming part of the FOX Sports Ohio family.

FOXSportsOhio.com will also help fans get ready for Cavs season. NBA and Cavs expert Sam Amico will host weekly online chats at the start of Cavs training camp. Readers can also look for Amico’s NBA team previews and training camp and season previews. Additionally, Cavs fans can like FOX Sports Ohio on Facebook and follow @FOXSportsOH on Twitter throughout #Tiptober for a chance to win prizes.

The following is a complete listing of the Tip-tober programming on FOX Sports Ohio.

Two LIVE Cavs preseason games:
Cavs v. Milwaukee Bucks Tuesday, Oct. 9 at 7pm Canton Memorial Civic Center
Cavs @ Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7pm Wells Fargo Center

Two Cavaliers Showcase replays:
The first replay, airing Monday, Oct. 15 at 8pm, will be the game from February 2, 2012. Kyrie Irving and the Cavs held off the defending champions Dallas Mavericks. Irving sealed the win with a reverse lay-up with just sixteen seconds left on the clock.
The second replay is scheduled to air Monday, Oct. 22 at 8pm, featuring the game from March 19, 2012 when the Cavs defeated the New Jersey Nets. Tristan Thompson helped earn the Cavs’ big victory with 27 points and 12 rebounds.

Cavaliers Roundtable:
A 30-minute Cavaliers Roundtable will additionally air during Tip-tober, where broadcaster Jeff Phelps sits down with second season standouts Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson, veteran Anderson Varejao, and new-comer Jeremy Pargo to discuss training camp, the upcoming season, and more.
Premieres Monday, October 8 at 6pm | Check local listing for replays.

Cavaliers Live: Season Preview:
The FOX Sports Ohio Cavaliers broadcast team of Fred McLeod, Austin Carr, Jeff Phelps, Campy Russell, and Allie Clifton will bring fans up-to-date on Cavs training camp and how the team will attack the 2012-13 season.
The half hour program premieres Monday, October 29 at 6:30pm. It will replay later that evening at 10pm.

Access Cavaliers:
Fans get total behind-the-scenes access with this 30-minute Cavaliers-produced show.
It premieres Friday, Oct. 5 at 2:30pm. Beginning Nov. 2, a new show will air every other Friday at 2:30pm with replays each week.

FOX SPORTS OHIO TIP-TOBER 2012 SCHEDULE

Friday
Oct. 5
2:30pm
Access Cavaliers *new show every other Fri. starting 11/2/2012

Monday
Oct. 8
6pm
Cavaliers Roundtable

Tuesday
Oct. 9
7pm
Live Cavs Preseason Game: Cavs v. Bucks

Monday
Oct. 15
8pm
Cavaliers Showcase replay: game from Feb. 2, 2012

Wednesday
Oct. 17
7pm
Live Cavs Preseason Game: Cavs @ 76ers

Monday
Oct. 22
8pm
Cavaliers Showcase replay: game from Mar. 19, 2012

Monday
Oct. 29
6:30pm
Cavaliers Live: Season Preview

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C-SPAN’S CAMPAIGN 2012 BUS TO VISIT CLEVELAND ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2nd IN PARTNERSHIP WITH TIME WARNER CABLE

C-SPAN Launches Five-Day University Tour through Ohio

WASHINGTON (October 1, 2012) – The C-SPAN Campaign 2012 Bus will embark on a five-day tour throughout the state of Ohio. During the Campaign 2012 Ohio Tour, the bus will visit universities and colleges to speak with students and the public about C-SPAN’s extensive Campaign 2012 programming and resources, in addition to asking bus visitors to share their thoughts on campaign issues via Tout, a video-based social media service. For a look at the entire Ohio Tour schedule visit: www.c-span.org/bus.

The tour kicks off in Cleveland, and area residents will have the opportunity to tour the bus. To take an online tour of the bus go to Bus Tour.

“Time Warner Cable is pleased to partner with C-SPAN to bring the ‘Campaign 2012’ Bus Tour to Ohio, providing a unique opportunity for university and college students to become engaged in this year’s election,” said Ed Kozelek, Regional Vice President of Government Relations at Time Warner Cable. “During the bus tour, students will have the opportunity to learn about the multimedia resources C-SPAN provides. The tour will also help students understand how the media can have an impact on the presidential campaign as well as down ticket races.”

Aboard the Campaign 2012 Bus, visitors will learn about the following programming and resources via HD TVs, touch screen computers, laptops, and mobile devices:

C-SPAN’s Campaign 2012 website, including video of candidates and campaign events, information on key state races and the electoral college and ways to follow the social media related to the campaign.
· C-SPAN’s in-depth public affairs event coverage.
· C-SPAN’s web offerings, including archived video going back to 1987 through C-SPAN’s vast Video Library and Congressional Chronicle.

The many ways to connect with C-SPAN including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, YouTube, XM Radio, and iPhone and Blackberry apps.

During the visit to Cleveland, C-SPAN representatives will encourage citizens and students to share their thoughts on the presidential campaign. Participants will be asked to comment on the presidential candidates and the issues most important to them in this election cycle. Their responses — captured in 15-second videos via Smartphone and shared instantly — will be uploaded onto various C-SPAN social media platforms, including C-SPAN’s own Tout page (http://www.tout.com/cspanpolitics). Responses in this week-long election special will also be highlighted on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Case Western Reserve University 9:30am – 11:00am
10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44106

University of Akron 12:30pm – 2:30pm
382 Carroll Street
Akron, OH 44325

Follow the Road to the White House with C-SPAN’s political coverage on the C-SPAN networks, C-SPAN Radio, and http://www.c-span.org.

In Cleveland, C-SPAN can be seen on channels 39 and 359, C-SPAN 2 on channels 360 and 876, C-SPAN 3 on channel 361 and 877.

In Akron, C-SPAN can be seen on channels 21 and 359, C-SPAN 2 on channels 360 and 876, C-SPAN 3 on channel 361 and 877.

About Road to the White House
Launched in 1988, C-SPAN’s signature political program, “Road to the White House,” features regular coverage of the candidates, issues and events that shape presidential politics. C-SPAN’s 2012 election Web site, www.c-span.org/Campaign2012, is a one-stop resource of presidential election coverage and includes streaming video of announcement speeches and candidate events, schedule information and related resources.

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

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

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

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FOXSportsOhio.com Announces EXTRA POINTS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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High School Football Coverage on Time Warner Cable: Week 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FOX Sports Ohio Announces Its Lake Erie Monsters Television Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, October 27, 7:30pm
Abbotsford

Thursday, January 24, 7pm
Toronto

Thursday, February 21, 7pm
Milwaukee

Saturday, March 2, 7:30
Hamilton

Tuesday, March 19, 7pm
Toronto

*schedule subject to change