It’s On The Way

Ohio Media Watch, The Next Generation is coming soon.

We hope the transition won’t be too jarring for you. The core of this effort will remain as it is now, and the new site hopefully won’t cause many complaints.

Again, it isn’t a retreat to social media like we tried in the recent past…if anything, it’ll be an expansion.

In the meantime, there’s more media news to cover and talk about…

ROVER’S AFTERNOON COURT DATE:The case against Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7 and syndicated morning doggie Shane “Rover” French continues moving through the court system.

Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 reports that French and “Rover’s Morning Glory” sidekick “Chocolate Charlie” (Michael Toomey) had a pre-trial hearing on Tuesday, and are back in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court on December 5th.

A Cuyahoga County grand jury recently handed down a 13 count indictment upon Rover for a number of charges, linked to an alleged incident involving late night fireworks and an undercover officer last July on Whiskey Island…

SPEAKING OF 13TH AND LAKESIDE: Even recently, the WKYC Digital Broadcast Center has had a second over-air TV station in it.

ION Networks O&O WVPX/23 has been at 13th and Lakeside since the former PAX TV and WKYC owner Gannett entered a nationwide deal, where Gannett operated the local PAX affiliates in various markets, including Cleveland.

That deal fell apart, and also resulted in the WKYC-produced “Akron/Canton News” moving to Time Warner Cable’s NEON (“Northeast Ohio Network”)…until financial pressures shuttered the Akron-based newscast.

OMW hears that WVPX, which has still been in the WKYC building, is leaving by the end of this year.

The destination for the local ION station?

It’ll be the station’s former facility in Warrensville Heights.

Of course, after the end of “Akron-Canton News”, Channel 23 has no local programming, so it won’t be a difficult move back…

HO, HO, HELLO: Northeast Ohio radio stations have climbed aboard the Holiday Music Sleigh already.

The first local entrant into the Santa Sweepstakes is a station that traditionally “goes early” with Christmas music: Clear Channel AC WHOF/101.7 “My 101.7” in the Canton market, joined by sister hot AC WMXY/98.9 “Mix 98.9” in Youngstown.

The stations, and a Toledo sister station, have one thing in common besides Clear Channel ownership…they are under the oversight of the company’s regional programming manager for Northern Ohio (except Cleveland), CHR WKDD/98.1 program director/morning host/CC Akron-Canton operations guru/OMW reader Keith Kennedy.

(At this rate, we’re gonna have to sell Keith an ad based on the amount of space all his titles take up here on the Mighty Blog[tm]!)

In Cleveland, another traditional Early Christmas Flipper (no, not slipper) is CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1, still known as “New 102” after all these months.

The station is taking to both its website and Twitter to poll listeners about when it should slip into the phone booth (remember those?) and become “Christmas 102”:

Once we hit November 1st the New 102 Listeners have had one question and one question only on their minds: WHEN is New 102 going to “flip the switch” to Christmas 102 and begin our 24/7 holiday music? We have holiday cups at Starbucks, holiday decorations lining the aisles of our favorite stores and that wretched four letter S word filling the streets of Cleveland!

Even our own Jen and Tim in the morning co-host Tim Richards is beginning to wonder, WHEN will we start the holiday music season?

If there were a Radio Format Betting Window at downtown Cleveland’s Horseshoe Casino (or the new “Rocksino” at Northfield Park), we’d guess “after morning drive this Friday”.

And we’d also place a side bet, also just a guess, that “New 102” will give way to less stale branding after the holidays…

A BIT OF NASH: We still believe that Cumulus Youngstown market country powerhouse WQXK/105.1 won’t be shedding its long-time “K105” identity for Cumulus’ “Nash” branding.

But yes, a bit of “Nash” will be coming to the “K105” airwaves.

Cumulus is launching “NASH Nights Live”, a live syndicated show featuring Los Angeles country air personality Shawn Parr, in the 7-to-midnight (ET) time slot weeknights. (Yes, the show will be based in Nashville, and yes, Parr is moving there.)

The company says the show will air on all 84 of its owned-and-operated country outlets, so that means Parr’s effort will take over the evening slot on “K105”.

“NASH Nights Live” won’t replace a local show on the Youngstown country giant. The evening slot was long-ago surrendered to syndication with the program hosted by Cody Alan. (Oddly enough, Cumulus syndicates him as well…)

WHERE’S WEATHER: It’s a common complaint by those who turn to the cable/satellite network The Weather Channel…where’s the weather information?

The Atlanta-based network, now owned by the NBCUniversal borg (as if you couldn’t tell by the presence of former WKYC weathercaster and “Today Show” stalwart Al Roker), has gone back to its roots, at least a little.

Starting Tuesday, the network has constant local weather information on the screen, even during commercial breaks. Of course, if you’re on satellite, you’ll see a generic national information bar.

We bring this up here for two reasons.

First, the “24/7 local weather information” bar is not quite that – as local cable TV commercial inserts take over the full screen.

Second, Time Warner Cable itself recently launched “24 Hour Weather” on its Northeast Ohio systems.

That channel, which supplanted the aforementioned now-gone local programming channel NEON, should really be called “18 Hour Weather”, as tuning into cable channel 23 in the overnight hours is much more likely to uncover an infomercial (a holdover from the NEON days).

We had a recent question about NEON from a reader, who missed our earlier coverage.

The channel’s shows all ended, with the exception of “More Sports and Les Levine”. But you’ll need a digital cable box to see Les these days…he’s in his old 6 PM time slot on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (cable channel 311, or 1311 in HD).

We can’t tell if Levine’s show is in HD itself…our guess, watching on a small set, is that it’s produced in 16:9 SD widescreen…

WHERE’S ROGER?: We spent a lot of time, when he was here, poking fun at Cleveland Plain Dealer sports/media/real estate of the sports stars columnist Roger Brown.

Brown moved to Bristol, a city on the Tenneesee/Virginia border, to become a general news reporter for the Bristol Herald Courier.

He’s gone from there now, but no, he’s not headed back to Northeast Ohio.

Brown has moved to a city with one (allegedly) major pro sports team, the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, to become an editorial writer for the Jacksonville Times-Union:

Roger spent 12 years at the Cleveland Plain Dealer as a sports columnist, TV/radio critic and associate editor of the editorial page. As an editorial board member, he wrote editorials and op-ed columns and helped lead and edit that page, as he will here.

It’s Roger’s second job away from both Northeast Ohio and the sports/sports media beat, and we’re pretty sure his new role does not include writing about sales of homes owned by Jaguars players.

You can tell we aren’t really obsessed with the once-controversial columnist…this happened back in May, and we just stumbled upon his move to Florida today…

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An Experimental Blog Post

We’ve received a very mixed response to our “move” to social media.

While we’ve received a flood of new Twitter followers, others are openly hostile to that being the only outlet for Ohio Media Watch. And hostile may not be a strong enough a word.

So, we’ll try this: copying and editing our Twitter posts to a blog post, without all the responses, tags and whatnot.

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CRONAUER BACK TO RADIO, STILL ON TV: Joe Cronauer is now PM drive at Salem CCMer 95.5 The Fish. Still on WKYC, too, burning both ends of the broadcast day…

MOVING TO DALLAS: WDOK/102.1 Cleveland “New 102″‘s Kory heads for Dallas, for afternoon drive at KVIL/103.7…

NEXTMEDIA SOLD: WHBC/1480 and WHBC-FM/94.1 Canton and 31 other NextMedia stations to be sold to Dean Goodman’s Digity: RadioInsight If Dean Goodman’s name sounds familiar, there’s a reason. He was once lined up to buy hundreds of Clear Channel small/med market stations…

TIM CONWAY TO CLEVELAND: Tim Conway will appear at Ghoulardifest at 10 AM Sat. Nov. 2nd. Doors open one hour early to get everyone in place. Ghoulardifest moves this year, to the La Villa Conference and Banquet Center at 11500 Brookpark Rd. Tim Conway will be interviewed on stage by Dan O’Shannon, executive producer of ABC’s “Modern Family”…

Help Wanted – IT/Engineering

As a reminder, OMW regularly prints both Help Wanted and Job Wanted ads linked to the media industry or people in Northeast Ohio, free of charge.

This below ad comes to us from NextMedia’s WHBC/1480-WHBC-FM 94.1 in Canton. We have had it for a while, but haven’t been able to put it up until now due to our irregular publishing schedule.

If you’re interested, we strongly suggest that you get in touch with the station as soon as possible.

——

Title: I/T & Broadcast Engineer

WHBC and Mix 94.1 is seeking an energetic, competent person for a position as “I/T & Broadcast Engineer”. Job duties are broad, allowing you to expand your knowledge and gain valuable experience.

Position Description:

This position supports information technology and broadcast infrastructure at our downtown Canton location and at two transmission sites within Stark county. You will be the first point of contact for user support, responsible for maintenance of multiple LANs, servers, desktops and portable devices. You will work within the WHBC engineering department, reporting to the Chief Engineer. This is a full-time position with occasional weekends and overnight assignments. You will be on call 24/7.

Primary Functions:

* Diagnoses and correct malfunctioning business related I/T systems
* Diagnose and correct issues with broadcast automation systems
* Installs, maintains, and troubleshoots software used in our business
* Provide user support to general staff with typical business software applications
* Provide user support to operations with broadcast software (sound editors, automation systems, traffic systems)
* Assist and train staff in the operation of business software
* Collaborates with Chief Engineer as needed to meet business goals

Secondary Functions:

* Make continuous improvements in all areas of responsibility
* Back-up critical storage devices
* Maintains inventory of software and I/T hardware
* Documents signal flow and wiring
* Be available to assist with other broadcast functions, some outside the office
* Participate in requirements analysis, design and installation of new studios and business
systems

Education and Experience Desired:

* Two-year degree (or equivalent) in Computer Science or related field
* Two or more years experience providing I/T services
* Cisco experience and CompTIA A+ certification desirable
* Administrator experience with Windows 7, Windows XP and Windows Server 200x in a
medium sized environment
* Experience configuring MS Office Tools, Outlook e-mail, Internet systems
* Understanding of audio production and basic electronics a definite plus
* FCC General Class Radio-Telephone license or SBE technical certification a plus

Some Specific Skills and Abilities Needed:

* Ethernet networking administration skills including VPN, routers, managed switches, firewalls,
access points
* Knowledge of IP-based audio routing/console mixing systems; IP audio delivery
* Knowledge of Windows scripting
* Ability to troubleshoot software and hardware problems
* Knowledge of broadcast quality storage and retrieval of audio
* Basic familiarity with applicable FCC regulations
* Ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing
* Able to work without close supervision and function effectively under tight deadlines
* Must work well with non-technical users who are critical team members
* Driver’s license with a good driving record

WHBC is an Equal Opportunity Employer, offering competitive wages and benefits.

Please send your resume to Engineering Dept, WHBC NextMedia, 550 Market Ave S, Canton OH 44702, or e-mail to dlamm (at) whbc.com. After reviewing your resume, we will contact you to schedule an interview.

Updates And More Updates

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

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

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

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

Here’s your new “ESPN 850” schedule:

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

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

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

And after that, according to Thomas?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe D.L. Hughley is that answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Akron/Canton News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It all starts Monday…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The station is posting the open morning producer job…

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

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

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

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…

Of George, Nash And Other Stuff

It’s a “name” theme this time around for your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm)…

GEORGE OF RESERVE SQUARE: Raycom Media CBS/MyNet combo WOIO/19-WUAB/43 has a new anchor who started this week, and he’s coming off a national stage.

George Smith was a reporter for sports TV giant ESPN for nearly 10 years, and moves to “19 Action News” as 4:30 PM and 5:30 PM weekday anchor (with Danielle Serino) and reporter for the station’s 10 PM news on “My43 The Block”, and the 11 PM news on “CBS 19”.

Smith’s “Action News” bio talks about what he did at the Worldwide Leader:

During his time there he covered four Olympic Games (Athens, Beijing, Vancouver and London), the NFL and many stories on the “news” side of sports.

His TV news and sports path took him to places including New York City, Boston, Oregon, and Houston after a print journalism career.

And George Smith’s bio shows he’s not exactly a stranger to Northeast Ohio:

Smith is a graduate of Oberlin College and serves on the board of the Heisman Club which supports Oberlin athletics. He’s active in alumni affairs and athletics at Oberlin College. While at Oberlin, he was an All-American in the 100-meter dash his senior year and was elected to Oberlin’s athletic Hall of Fame.

We don’t have the “19 Action News Anchor Scorecard” handy, but we believe Smith is the direct or indirect replacement for Paul Joncich.

We must have been On Hiatus(tm) when Joncich left Reserve Square. This past summer, he became the noon and afternoon anchor for CBS affiliate KLAS/8 in Las Vegas.

Of course, Smith isn’t the first journalist to trade a network gig for a local one in Cleveland. Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3’s Russ Mitchell left CBS News for the evening co-anchor/managing editor job at 13th and Lakeside…

CHRISTINE’S LEAVING: Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” “Good Morning Cleveland” meteorologist Christine Ferreira is “heading home”.

A station memo says Christine is heading to her hometown in southeastern Pennsylvania outside of Philadelphia to “pursue other interests” near her hometown.

(No, we don’t know if those other interests include a TV weather job in that certain rather large market nearby, but the Philly TV stations should be interested if that’s what she wants to do.)

We got word of this a couple of weeks and change ago, but Christine will continue at 3001 Euclid “through the month of February”…

NEW GRAPHICS ON LAKESIDE: Every once in a while, TV stations get the itch to change up their news graphics.

In 2013, you can change that to “TV station groups”, as nearly all major TV groups present a unified look on all of their owned and operated stations.

Find yourself in Phoenix, and a quick look at the news produced by ABC affiliate KNXV/15 will look familiar to you if you’re a WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” viewer, as both stations are owned by Scripps.

So it is with mega-group Gannett, which is in the process of rolling out a new TV news look at all of its stations.

The new Gannett news look hit Cleveland’s WKYC this week, and thanks to a YouTube user we only know as “News89”, you can look at it even from afar:

If you’re a fan of TV news graphics and themes, you’ll probably find a lot to watch on “News89″‘s page…including other examples of the new Gannett graphics package.

The look is pretty utilitarian and minimalistic, or “clean and crisp” if you prefer. It incorporates the upcoming story slots that have previously aired in right-hand side graphics on some editions of “Channel 3 News”…

NASH FM 105.1?: If you were fearing for the loss of 30-plus year brand “K105” for Cumulus Youngstown market country powerhouse WQXK/105.1 Salem, relax a little.

The dust was kicked up earlier this week.

Cumulus made a big splash by returning the country music format to the nation’s largest market, turning the former WFME(FM)/94.7https://ohiomediawatch.wordpress.com/ Newark NJ (New York’s outlet for religious radio giant Family Radio) into country WRXP-to-become-WNSH “Nash FM”, giving the Big Apple its first full market country outlet in some 17 years.

How does that affect Northeast Ohio?

Cumulus is going “all in” with country music nationwide, and then some, planning to plant the “Nash” branding on anything from magazines to existing Cumulus country stations.

There are 83 such stations (with WNSH), and one is most certainly a powerhouse locally…the aforementioned “K105”, which has a grandfathered signal that pretty much reaches all of Northeast Ohio to some degree.

It is a dominant station in Youngstown, which counts many listeners from the Canton area and beyond…and even had a sales office in Canton when Cumulus and its predecessors owned now-Clear Channel rock WRQK/106.9.

(UPDATE 1/24/13 9:50 PM: K105 afternoon driver Heather Stevens tells us that the station has a Canton-area sales office in North Canton, though someone forgot to tell the station’s webmaster…)

Here’s the line that got people worried. It’s from an article in the Wall Street Journal.

The switch is part of an effort by Cumulus, the second-biggest radio broadcaster by stations after Clear Channel Communications Inc., to begin converting all of its now 83 country stations across the nation to the newly created NASH brand starting on Tuesday.

Nash FM 105.1? Say it ain’t so, Mr. Dickey!

OK, so it might not be so. Some clarification comes in a Wednesday article in Inside Radio, one of the most recent stops in Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey’s “Nash, We’re Really Serious About This” media tour:

With 83 country stations already, Cumulus Media could add to its roster. “We’ll be opportunistic,” Dickey says. “We have a unique position in this format and we’re going to leverage it.” In the meantime more stations will roll out the “Nash FM” brand. Some will use it as their handle, others with strong local positions like “99.5 The Wolf” KPLX, Dallas will refer to themselves as a “Nash station.” Some Cumulus country outlets will carry the 24/7 Nash FM programming, but many others will pick up vignettes, weekend programming and live music events. “The presence of the brand will be felt on all of our country stations,” Dickey says.

One would expect that the heritage K105 branding for WQXK would be considered a “strong local position” by Cumulus, so it appears likely you’ll hear wording like “K105, a Nash station” instead of a wholesale name change…

DENNIS AND FOX: It was almost like a punchline when we heard it (credit whoever put that in our head)…”Dennis Kucinich is going to work for Fox News Channel”.

But it was no joke, as the veteran Cleveland-area congressman, former Cleveland mayor, occasional presidential candidate and diehard liberal did indeed join the roster of contributors to the conservative-leaning TV news network.

While there are other liberal contributors to FNC, Dennis brings his own brand of populism to the staunchly right-leaning channel.

And Kucinich looks forward to that, he tells Plain Dealer Washington bureau chief Stephen Koff:

“All networks provide a service,” he said. “People who are familiar with my perspective know that I relish the opportunity to go into the lion’s den.

“I don’t yield to anybody on standing up for what I believe in,” he continued. “If all you do is talk to people who agree with you, how are you going to change anybody’s mind?”

Kucinich “likes to mix it up”, writes Koff.

We didn’t see his debut on FNC’s “The O’Reilly Factor” last week, so we’ll have to see how that phrase is defined in action with the Congressman’s new TV stint…

DANI’S FUNERAL: WKYC/3 assignment editor Danielle Fink, who died in a car accident last weekend (see earlier item below), will be remembered in services this coming weekend.

OMW reader Adam Gercak tells us that her funeral mass will be Saturday morning at 11, at the church she attended all her life and where she sang in the choir, Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church.

Calling hours for the woman so many in the local TV news world knew as “Dani” will be at Maher Melbourne Funeral Home, Friday from 5 to 8 PM.

Condolences to Danielle Fink’s family can be sent via the funeral home’s website

SKATING BACK: The National Hockey League’s billionaire owners and millionaire players finally decided how to share all these riches, so NHL hockey is back on the ice after a long lockout.

So, too, is Ohio’s only NHL team, the Columbus Blue Jackets…which returns to Northeast Ohio radio with the resumption of play.

A quick check of the websites of all three Cleveland/Akron area Blue Jackets affiliates shows the team’s games returning to the airwaves…including:

Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 Akron “Fox Sports 1350”
Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria
Spirit Media talk/variety WELW/1330 Willoughby

On all three stations, the Columbus-based NHL team’s games are subject to being bounced off the air due to local high school, college or other professional sports…

PERCY’S QUEST: You’ve got to say this about former radio station owner Percy Squire…he doesn’t give up easily.

The former head of the Stop 26 Riverbend group, who lost his stations in bankruptcy proceedings to the D.B. Zwirn investment firm (headed by Daniel B. Zwirn, the major Stop 26 creditor), tried his hand at mucking up the current FCC proceedings of the Zwirn stations – operating under the name Bernard Ohio.

Radio Business Report reports that Squire was unsuccessful in challenging the license renewals of Bernard’s Youngstown market stations, including WRBP/101.9 Hubbard, WGFT/1330 Campbell, and WASN/1500 Youngstown and Bernard’s WVKO/1580 and WVKO-FM/103.1 in the Columbus market.

Squire also tried to block the sale of WRBP to Educational Media Foundation, the California-based Christian radio giant, and that station’s application for a main studio waiver (needed to run EMF’s satellite-fed formats without a local studio).

RBR notes:

Part of Squires objection was based on what it called an improper transfer of control when Fortress Investment Group took over hedge funds controlled by DBZ. It said that even if the licensee entered into an LMA with Fortress the situation was improper due to its assertion that Fortress was pulling all the strings at the stations.

It also said that there was foreign ownership in excess of the 25% limit.

Bernard responded that there weren’t any facts backing up Squire’s petition, and that the foreign ownership arguments were “virtually impossible to comprehend”.

Bottom line: RBR says the FCC turned away Squire, the license renewals for the Bernard stations were approved, and the sale of WRBP/101.9 to EMF was also approved.

FCC records show that the WRBP sale was approved on January 11th, and already show the station as repeating EMF’s KLVR(FM) Middletown CA, the nominal primary station for the company’s “K-Love” feed.

We’re told that EMF planted its younger skewing “Air1” Christian rock format on former “K-Love” Youngstown rimshot WLVX/107.1 Greenville PA…