A Compact Stack

Sometimes, media news items happen in clusters of three or four, and that makes this blog much easier to write…

NEW CLEVELAND SOUND: The on-air deck is being shuffled at Murray Hill Broadcasting alt-rock/AAA WLFM-LP/87.7 “Cleveland’s Sound”, and the sound you won’t hear anymore is from the station’s original morning host.

Yes, we were scratching our collective heads when the new station, dropped onto the FM dial as a result of the audio of analog TV channel 6, announced a novice as host in radio’s most important timeslot:

OMW hears from multiple sources that “87.7 Clevelanders Rock” has found a morning drive host, and yes, our own reaction was, “who?”

He’s…drumroll, please!…Archie Berwick.

Again, who?

Berwick is a former CBS Radio Cleveland promotions staffer, who we’re told has been doing similar work with the New York Mets. As far as we know, though we could be wrong, Archie has no significant on-air experience.

Berwick, known only by his first name Archie on the air and also known as “The Black Mr. Rogers”, was a curious fit for a station hoping to gain music-focused listeners set adrift by two stations: WKRK/92.3, the former alt-rock “Radio 92.3” (now sports “92.3 The Fan”), and the former AAA WNWV/107.3 “V107.3” (now smooth AC under Rubber City Radio Group, using its former identity of “107.3 The Wave”).

Archie is out at the Agora, as the station brings in a high-profile Cleveland radio veteran.

He’s Dan Stansbury, best known by his last name as a sidekick to former Clear Channel rock WMMS/100.7 afternoon drive host Maxwell.

Maxwell’s band was broken up when Oak Tree didn’t renew his contract. The show resurfaced for basically a nanosecond in morning drive on CBS Radio classic rock WNCX/98.5.

Stansbury will host “The Stansbury Show” in afternoon drive on WLFM, which displaces “Lyd the Kidd”. But she moves to morning drive (as “Lydia”), and the “Cleveland’s Sound” game of musical chairs means Mr. Berwick is standing up without a chair.

The now-former 87.7 morning host took to Twitter to talk about his departure.

“new station not enough Money & They want to play all alternative archie don’t fit that category. I wasn’t the puzzle piece for the 877 puzzle. Kind of the stepchild that stuck out too much. I worked for you all. The people are my inspiration. So thank you all for being the best boss I ever had.”

And the new entrant in the Agora Radio Sweepstakes, Dan Stansbury, also had comments on social media.

On Facebook, he answered a question others certainly had…about how his new WLFM program would compare to “The Maxwell Show”:

“…it is a complete departure from the Maxwell show. I love and still talk to Max. he’s doing his thing and now it’s time I do mine.”

Maxwell’s current “thing” is as morning driver at still-Merlin Media rock WLUP/97.9 “The Loop” Chicago. The Chicago show is more music intensive, and doesn’t feature any of Maxwell’s Cleveland cast members.

And of course, WMMS itself moved on to air “The Alan Cox Show” in afternoon drive…a move that was more than successful for them.

And to tie this together, former “Alan Cox Show” co-host Chad Zumock will now be on the same station as Stansbury, with his Sunday night program on “87.7 Cleveland’s Sound”.

“The Stansbury Show” starts Friday afternoon at 3 PM. Be sure to fire up your old analog TV sets so you can hear it on Channel 6…

KENNY ON THE FAN: We weren’t taking a lot of bets that former Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN Cleveland” evening-previously-afternoon drive host Kenny Roda would land on WKNR’s competitor, “92.3 The Fan”.

While we still believe he won’t displace any of the station’s weekday hosts, Roda has indeed landed.

What 92.3 midday hosts Andy Baskin and Jeff Phelps called “The Roda Moment” debuted Wednesday on the CBS Radio sports talker. You can hear the first segment here (dubbed “Roda Report”).

Roda will appear on “Baskin and Phelps” each Wednesday at 12:40 PM to talk about a wide variety of sports topics. His first appearance Wednesday was via phone.

The veteran host has not exactly let moss grow under his feet after Good Karma dumped him, Will Burge and T.J. Zuppe in what many believe was a salary dump by the Galleria.

Roda appears (with Baskin) regularly on Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5’s Buckeye post-game coverage, and on the station’s “Dawgs on the Run” online video show…the show is seen on WEWS’ NewsNet5.com and on the WEWS mobile apps very early on Monday mornings.

And of course, we reported earlier that Zuppe landed as a reporter at “92.3 The Fan”, presumably taking the role of Indians beat reporter at least by Spring Training. The pair join former WKNR staffer Chris Fedor on the 92.3 airwaves…

AS SUSPECTED, SAME FORMAT: We considered it somewhat likely that standards WHTX/1570 Warren would return to a former format under the control of former LMA operator/would-be buyer/future owner Nelson Cintron, and it looks like we won the easy bet.

As it did when Cintron took over the station before, an OMW reader in the Mahoning Valley tells us that WHTX has returned to “its R&B format”.

We don’t have to drive to the Valley to guess that Cintron’s Sagittarius Communications is likely using the 24/7 satellite format “The Touch”.

In a legal settlement with now-former WHTX owner and OMW reader Chris Lash, Cintron also gained control of Whiplash Radio’s WYCL/1540 Niles, a daytimer that went off the air due to a host of technical problems.

If Cintron is able to return 1540 to the air, we assume that station will also once again mount the Spanish-language “La Nueva Mia” format it had before.

Our Valley reader tells us that after the WHTX format change, Jack Cory, long-time voice of standards WKTX/830 Cortland, thanked people for listening to “the number-one rated” nostalgia/easy listening station in “all of Northeast Ohio”.

Given market size, perhaps the adult volunteer hosts at Kenston Local School District-owned nostalgia WKHR/91.5 Bainbridge, in the Cleveland market would have something to say about that…

PARKS EXITS: We don’t really cover the Cincinnati market like we used to, but a veteran radio programmer based at Clear Channel talk WLW/700 there is out of a job.

Darryl Parks used to program WLW directly, before he was prompted to Vice President of news/talk programming for the entire Clear Channel chain nationwide.

Even in his new role, Parks was based at WLW’s studios, and even until last week, he hosted the station’s Saturday midday talk show. (You don’t find many corporate VPs doing a Saturday show.)

Parks helped mold original “The Big One” into an even “Bigger One” in his time programming the 50,000 watt flamethrower at 700 in Southwest Ohio.

What happened?

Well, Parks did write a very controversial blog on the WLW site about the FCC’s plans to rehabilitate AM radio.

There’s no confirmation connecting that with his dismissal by Clear Channel Media & Entertainment and Pork Rinds (the latter our own addition), and it could also just have been a budgetary move.

We go into this because when we were trying to cover media statewide from our Northeast Ohio perch, we talked about Parks and WLW a lot.

And at least back then, we understand that Parks was a reader of this very Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), though we expect he dialed back his readership here after we stopped covering his home base on a regular basis…

AND FINALLY…: The changes we’ve teased here are indeed coming, likely in the next week or two.

Again, we aren’t returning to our earlier move of basically limiting the OMW presence to social media.

In fact, this blog will likely grow, with some help we’ll tell you about soon…


Welcome To A Busy 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cincinnati Enquirer media guru John Kiesewetter writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We think we’ve solved some of the mystery.

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

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

Where’s the connection?

Consider the Family Maduri.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He’s now retired, before Goddard, even.

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

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

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

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

What happened?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

The Awards Post

Local TV and radio broadcasters spent a lot of time in Indianapolis and Columbus this past weekend, picking up awards from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Great Lakes Chapler (the local Emmy awards), and the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters.

Here are the winners for stations and organizations within the OMW primary coverage area. Of course, a number of operations did not enter nominations…



(Only categories with Northeast Ohio winners are listed. A full list of winners can be found at the NATAS Lower Great Lakes chapter website.)

Newscast – Evening – Market 1-20
19 Action News @ 11pm WOIO Daniel Brown Producer

Newscast – Morning/Daytime – Market 1-20
19 Action News This Morning WOIO John Bindas Producer

Weekend Newscast – Market 1-20
NewsChannel 5 at 11:00 Weekend WEWS Tracy Carloss Anchor
Sara Roth Producer

General Assignment Report – No Time Limit
Head Start Misspending WKYC Tom Meyer Reporter
Sarah Bachmann Editor
Jessie Eck Graphics

Continuing Coverage
Hidden Hazards WKYC Tom Meyer Reporter
Sarah Bachmann Editor
Jessie Eck Graphic Production Artist

Investigative Report – Series
Metrohealth Abuse WKYC Tom Meyer Reporter
Sarah Bachmann Editor

Historical/Cultural Program or Special (2)
Dream Deferred: The Legacy of Busing WEWS Hollie Brubaker Video Editor

Military: News Single Story/News Series/Feature or Segment
Operation Deep Freeze WEWS Melissa Watson Executive Producer
Ron Regan Chief Investigator
David Arnold News Photographer
David Hatala News Photographer
Robert Gardner Senior Editor

Senator Smith Home WKYC Tom Meyer Reporter

Sports – Single News Story
An Iron Will: The Gregory Iron Story WOIO Chris Van Vliet Reporter

Sporting Event/Game – Live/Unedited
High School Football Game of the Week Fox Sports Ohio Jeff Platz Producer
Bob Pennell Director
Tom Farmer VP – Executive Producer

All For One – The History of Cleveland Clinic Telos Productions Thomas Ball Director

Interview/Discussion – Program/Series or Special
Words & Music Cuyahoga Community College Alan Gilbertson Producer/Director/Editor
Tommy Wiggins Host/Talent Coordinator

Magazine Program – Feature Segment
Crime Stoppers Case Files: Isaac Hardges Pinpoint Media Christopher Rech Executive Producer
Brandon Kimber Director
Michael Gagliardi Producer
Ryan Lohr Editor
Andrew Jurcak Director of Photography
Matthew Howard Graphics Supervisor
Ray Szuch Stunt Coordinator

Magazine Program – Program/Series or Special
Crime Stoppers Case files: Harun Frizell & John Lundy Pinpoint Media Christopher Rech Executive Producer
Brandon Kimber Director
Michael Gagliardi Producer
Ryan Lohr Editor
Andrew Jurcak Director of Photography
Ray Szuch Stunt Coordinator
Matthew Howard Graphics Supervisor
Isiah Hodge Actor

Promotion – Program Image
STO Remembers SportsTime Ohio Michael Roche VP Marketing/New Media
Ty Towriss Producer
Pat Kenny Editor
Tim Earl Associate Producer
Mitch Greenberg Associate Producer
Keith Feicks Associate Producer
Scott Spicer Associate Producer

More Than Ink The Plain Dealer Dale Omori Producer
Andrea Levy Producer

Community Service
Crime Stoppers Case Files: Senior Citizen Special Pinpoint Media Christopher Rech Executive Producer
Brandon Kimber Director
Michael Gagliardi Producer
Matthew Howard Graphics Supervisor
Andrew Jurcak Director of Photography
Ryan Lohr Editor
Ray Szuch Stunt Coordinator

Crafts: Musical Composition/Arrangement (2)
Crime Stoppers Case Files Pinpoint Media Samuel Ramirez Music Director

Crafts: Director – Live or Live to Tape
Cleveland Indians Baseball SportsTime Ohio Patrick Murray Director

Crafts: Editor – Short Form
The Ball Cleveland Indians Eric Hewitt Editor

Crafts: Graphic Arts – Set Design
SportsTime Ohio Hyundai Studio SportsTime Ohio Greg Golya Creative Director
Ian Zeigler Designer
Joseph Von Enck Designer/Animator
Dave Brooks Scenic Construction Manager

On Camera Talent – Reporter
Ron Regan Compilation WEWS Ron Regan Chief Investigative Reporter

Crafts: On Camera Talent – Performer/Host/Narrator
Chris Van Vliet WOIO Chris Van Vliet Talent

Crafts: Photographer – Non-News (2)
Artistic Choice WVIZ/PBS ideastream David Staruch Photographer

Crafts: Video Essay
Walking With Unknowns WJW Ali Ghanbari Producer

Crafts: Video Journalist
Huron Hospital Closing WEWS David Arnold Video Journalist

Crafts: Technical Achievement
The Restorers – They Were All Volunteers Hemlock Films Adam White Director
Kara Martinelli Producer

Crafts: Writer – Program
The Restorers – They Were All Volunteers Hemlock Films Adam White Writer
Kara Martinelli Writer

Crafts: Writer – Short Form
The Ball Cleveland Indians Sanaa Julien Writer
Justin White Writer
Eric Hewitt Writer
Nick Gambone Writer


(Only categories with Northeast Ohio winners are listed. And yes, the Associated Press itself misspelled “Uhrichsville”. A full list of winners is in an AP story courtesy of Ohio News Network.)


Best Website: (1st) Steve Mehaffie, WHIO-TV, Dayton; (2nd) Darcie Loreno and Marly Kosinski, WKBN/WYTV-TV.


Best Broadcast Writing: (1st) David C. Barnett and Frank Barnett, WCPN-FM, Cleveland, “Frank’s Donation”; (2nd) Adam Slinger, WSYX-TV, Columbus.


Best Use of Sound: (1st) WJER-AM, Dover, “Our Heroes’ Homecomings”; (2nd) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “Drug Addiction Leads to Unfortunate Turn of Events.”

Best Documentary or Series: (1st) Jennifer Clark and Jamie Hambach , WJER-AM, Dover, “The Atwood Lodge Confrontation”; (2nd) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “2011 November Elections.”

Best Feature Reporting: (1st) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “Historic Landmark Receives National Attention”; (2nd) WJER-AM, Dover, “Remembering 9-11.”

Best Breaking News Coverage: (1st) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “Swift Action Leads to Abductor’s Arrest”; (2nd) WJER-AM, Dover, “Janesville Acoustics Fire.”

Extraordinary Coverage of a Scheduled Event: (1st) WJER-AM, Dover, “A Killer’s Fate”; (2nd) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “2011 November Elections.”

Best Continuing Coverage: (1st) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “Community Decides Fate of Dover High School”; (2nd) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “2011 Elections.”

Best Enterprise Reporting: (1st) Jessica Eggan, WJER-AM, Dover, “Managing Diabetes”; (2nd) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville, “Schools Prepare for Students’ Return.”

Best Reporter: (1st) Jessica Eggan, WJER-AM, Dover; (2nd) Jason Aldrich, WIMA-AM, Lima.

Outstanding News Operation: (1st) WTUZ-FM, Urichsville; (2nd) WJER-AM, Dover.


Best Breaking News Coverage: (1st) Mike Ward, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron, “August 2011 Copley Shootings.”

Best Continuing Coverage: (1st) Tina Kaufmann, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron, “The Williams-Bolar School Mom Case.”

Best Investigative Reporting: Tina Kaufmann, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron, “2011 Kelley Williams Bolar Case.”

Best Enterprise Reporting: Chris Keppler and Tina Kaufmann, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron, “2011 Kelley Williams Bolar Case.”

Best Anchor: (1st) Larry States, WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron.

Outstanding News Operation: (1st) WAKR-AM/WONE-FM/WQMX-FM, Akron.


Best Use of Sound: (1st) Mhari Saito, WCPN-FM, Cleveland, “Cleveland’s Jitterbugs Earn Medals and Pride”; (2nd) Jeff St. Clair, WKSU-FM, Kent, “Exploradio – The Natural Origins of Music.”

Best Documentary or Series: (1st) Jeff St. Clair, WKSU-FM, Kent, “Exploradio”; (2nd) WVXU-FM, Cincinnati, “Cincinnati Baseball: Crosley Field”

Best Feature Reporting: (1st) David C. Barnett and Frank Barnett, WCPN-FM, Cleveland, “Frank’s Donation”; (2nd) Amanda Rabinowitz, WKSU-FM, Kent, “Hard Hits on ‘Little Bobbleheads.'”

Best Breaking News Coverage: (1st) M.L. Schultze, WKSU-FM, Kent, “Stark County Seeks Shelter.”

Extraordinary Coverage of a Scheduled Event: (1st) M.L. Schultze, WKSU-FM, Kent, “9/11 Ten Years Later”; (2nd) Statehouse News Bureau, Ohio Public Radio, Columbus, “Ohio’s Bitter Battle for Collective Bargaining.”

Best Continuing Coverage: (1st) Mhari Saito and Dan Bobkoff, WCPN-FM, Cleveland, “The Natural Gas Economy”; (2nd) Bill Cohen, Statehouse News Bureau, Ohio Public Radio, Columbus, “Ohio’s Bitter Battle Over Collective Bargaining.”

Best Enterprise Reporting: (1st) Vivian Goodman, WKSU-FM, Kent, “Gay in Ohio”; (2nd), Anne Glausser, WCPN-FM, Cleveland, “Be Well.”

Best Anchor: (1st) Rick Jackson, WCPN-FM, Cleveland; (2nd) Steve Brown, WOSU-AM/WOSU-FM, Columbus.

Best Reporter: (1st) Mhari Saito, WCPN-FM, Cleveland; (2nd) Tim Rudell, WKSU-FM, Kent.

Outstanding News Operation: (1st) WCPN-FM, Cleveland; (2nd) WLW-AM, Cincinnati.


Best Use of Photography: (1st) Robert Meluch, WFMJ-TV, Youngstown, “Baseball Boys”; (2nd) Jordan Burgess and Kris Sproles, WDTN-TV, Dayton, “911 Skydive.”

Best Feature Reporting: (1st) Joe Aulisio, WKBN/WYTV-TV, Youngstown, “Jake Hostetter’s Courage To Play”; (2nd) James Brown and Trey Back, WHIO-TV, Dayton, “Taps.”

Best Photographer: (1st) Robert Meluch, WFMJ-TV, Youngstown, “Best of 2011”; (2nd) Joe Cromer, WTOL-TV, Toledo.

Outstanding Sports Operation: (1st) WTVG-TV, Toledo; (2nd) WKBN/WYTV-TV, Youngstown.


Best Use of Photography: (1st) Ali Ghanbari, WJW-TV, Cleveland, “Courage to Heal: Josh’s Story”; (2nd) Andy Wallace, Ohio News Network, Columbus.

Best Continuing Coverage: (1st) Tom Meyer and Sarah Bachmann, WKYC-TV, Cleveland, “Hidden Hazards”; (2nd) WCMH-TV, Columbus, “Inside Senate Bill 5/Issue 2.”

Best Investigative Reporting: (1st) Ron Regan, WEWS-TV, Cleveland, “Operation Deep Freeze”; (2nd) Brendan Keefe, WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, “Cincinnati’s Ghost Station.”

Best Enterprise Reporting: (1st) Jenn Strathman and Melissa Watson, WEWS-TV, Cleveland, “Lead Law”; (2nd) Cristin Severance and Andy Wallace, Ohio News Network, Columbus, “Warren Massage Parlors.”
(OMW Note: Severance is based at WEWS in Cleveland.)

Best Reporter: (1st) Ron Regan, WEWS-TV, Cleveland;(2nd) Brendan Keefe, WCPO-TV, Cincinnati.

Rolling Through The Month

Things are piling up again here at the Always In Flux OMW World Headquarters, but we also have a couple of separate items to put up later…

HEGAN RETIRES: A familiar voice along the Cleveland Indians Radio Network won’t be heard next year.

That’s because veteran broadcaster Mike Hegan, who has spent the past 23 years as a Tribe broadcaster, is stepping away from the booth after this season is over.

He’s spent most of those 23 years with Indians play-by-play voice Tom Hamilton on the team’s radio network, based at flagship Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100. He’s also spent time in the Indians’ TV booth.

But we didn’t realize, as the Plain Dealer’s Paul Hoynes reports, that his health affected his travel schedule this year:

This season, Hegan cut back his schedule because of health concerns. He did home games on WTAM AM/1100 with play-by-play man Tom Hamilton and Jim Rosenhaus, but limited his travel to Detroit and Chicago.

The 69 year-old Hegan gets honored by the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, and by the team itself in a ceremony before Saturday night’s second game.

But after 50 years associated with professional baseball, as a player and a broadcaster, Hegan isn’t going into retirement entirely.

In a news release, the team says he’ll become “an alumni ambassador”:

He will continue to impact the Indians organization by joining the Indians Alumni Ambassador program, serving as a resource for Indians broadcasting, community and business initiatives.

There’s no word yet on any specific role Hegan will fill for the team, but they’re likely happy to have him around in any capacity…

EVERYTHING THAT, UH, MOVES AROUND: Under new program director Tim Daugherty, Rubber City Radio rock WONE/97.5 has made a few changes. Now, they’re making a few more at West Market Street.

After adopting the slogan “Everything That Rocks”, and becoming the full-time Akron market home of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns (oldies/news/sports WAKR/1590 still simulcasts the Browns after the Indians pack it up for the year), WONE has shuffled its schedule.

Don’t worry…if you have a favorite weekday WONE air personality, they’re all still there…they’ve just moved around the checkerboard.

* Morning drive, with Daugherty and co-host Christi Nichols as “Tim and Christi”, remains unchanged.

* Middays: Former evening personality Sandra Miller makes it “Miller Time” on WONE in the middle of the day.

* Afternoon Drive: Now-assistant program director T.K. O’Grady slides into afternoons.

* Nights: And that means Steve Hammond moves from afternoon drive to nights.

You might need to double-check the WONE website in case you’re lost and looking for your favorite air personality at the Akron rock station, and maybe adjust your lighting accordingly depending on what time of day it is, but they’re all still there.

One casualty of the changes on West Market Street is Tim Daugherty’s voicetracked afternoon drive oldies show on WAKR.

Newcomer Brad Shupe has been handling those duties, “for now”, said WAKR program director and Rubber City Radio operations director (and OMW Reader) Chuck Collins on his Monday WAKR show.

Shupe comes to Rubber City Radio from country WTUZ/99.9 Uhrichsville, where he was operations director and morning drive host at the Dover/New Philadelphia-area station.

Of course, long-time OMW reader Steve Kelly has the WTUZ job these days, returning home to the Tuscarawas Valley after a stint at Saga’s Columbus cluster…

WHERE’S WILLIE: We’ve noted that due to the connection between Tribune and WJW/8 “Fox 8” owner Local TV LLC, we expected Clear Channel talk WLW/700 Cincinnati star Bill Cunningham’s new syndicated talk TV show to appear on Cleveland’s “Fox 8” at some point.

Due to a management agreement between the two TV firms, Local TV is often considered “Tribune Jr.”. Tribune does a lot of things for the Local TV stations, including running the stations’ websites under the Tribune Interactive banner.

But the mainly in-house syndication of the drastically changed “Bill Cunningham Show” is not bringing it to Cleveland.

Cunningham’s TV affiiate list contains nearly all Tribune stations.

OMW reader Jeremy Moses, former editor of Tri-State Media Watch, pointed out one Local TV station on the list – KAUT/43 “The Spot” in Oklahoma City – and we found one other, WGNT/27 “CW 27” in the Norfolk/Portsmouth/Virginia Beach market in Virginia.

But the other Local TV stations are missing, including WJW, and sister stations with no Tribune LMA, including WGHP/8 “Fox 8” in the Greensboro NC market.

Local TV is based in the Northern Kentucky suburbs of Cincinnati. The show is getting clearance there, in Cunningham’s home market, via a deal with Raycom Media’s WXIX/19 “Fox 19”.

Tribune has said that this initial rollout could be a “test run” for wider national syndication in 2012.

Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio guru John Kiesewetter, as expected, has been following developments in “Willie World” closely.

Sunday, he noted that Cunningham has undergone quite a transformation, in looks and in topics, for the TV show.

Viewers won’t see any trace of “Bill Cunningham, the Great American” or “Willie” ranting about “Barack Hussein Obama,” as he did at a John McCain’s 2008 rally in Cincinnati.

Instead of talking about the Tea Party or debt ceiling, the new TV Bill does shows about pot parties and dysfunctional families, among many other topics.

He said the show is aimed at a 35-year-old single mother of two, with a high school education, who is unemployed or working second shift – not his male-oriented radio audience.

“Guys who look like me aren’t watching TV at 1 p.m., so I’m doing topics I would never do on radio,” he said.

You get the idea that Bill is uncomfortable with the TV transformation, looks wise:

“They spent $30,000 on suits and shirts. Every Tuesday a guy spray tans me. I come out looking like a burnt French fry. I make John Boehner look pale,” he said.

But Tribune TV exec Sean Compton, who worked with Cunningham years ago at WLW, tells Kiese that the migration to the TV side may give viewers a look at the “real” Bill Cunningham:

“What you see on TV is the real Bill Cunningham. Radio for him is theater.”

If you want a preview of what you’re missing in Cleveland, Kiesewetter has his own review of the opening “Bill Cunningham Show” on TV here

WCER OFF?: We haven’t been near a car radio that can pick up Melodynamic Broadcasting gospel WCER/900 Canton “Joy 900”, but we hear it’s been off the air for a few days.

We also hear that LMA operator Curtis A. Perry III had been on the air previously, asking listeners to send donations, presumably to help “keep the station on the air”.

We don’t know if the two events are at all connected.

Small stations with small staffs often go off the air…at least until they can contact a contract engineer making a living providing “on call” services to a laundry list of stations, to check out what went wrong…

LANDING HARD: The 747 plane belonging to a well-known local television personality made a “hard landing” at Akron-Canton Airport on Tuesday.

But there’s still no word if televangelist Ernest Angley of Cuyahoga Falls’ Grace Cathedral was actually on board when the jumbo jet blew a whole bunch of tires on the CAK runway.

The always media and social media savvy airport actually notified its Twitter followers of the event, and even provided an attached picture of the jet on the runway.

AkronNewsNow’s Larry States has more…noting that the jet may have been undergoing a semi-annual qualification procedure.

And we’ll note that of course, Angley’s ministry also owns local CW affiliate WBNX/55 Akron…

Mid-September Grab Bag

There isn’t really a lot connecting all of the below items, but here we are with the grab bag anyway…

KIMBERLY GILL LANDS: After being unceremoniously dispatched from the Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 morning show “Good Morning Cleveland” in early July. co-anchor Kimberly Gill has a soft landing to the east.

CBS O&O KDKA/2 in Pittsburgh announced that Gill is joining their news staff. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

Ms. Gill will co-anchor at noon and 4 p.m. with Stacy Smith and serve as a reporter. She most recently co-anchored the morning news program for the CBS affliliate in Cleveland.

No, Maria Sciullo, Kimberly was on the ABC affiliate…though, of course, WEWS actually started as a CBS affiliate decades ago. Many decades ago.

Gill joins KDKA along with Susan Koeppen, a former CBS consumer correspondent and former staffer at crosstown Hearst ABC affiliate WTAE/4, and she starts later this month.

On the other side of the “Good Morning Cleveland” purge, we continue to see Gill’s former co-host, Pete Kenworthy, doing that short-term reporting fill-in gig on “NewsChannel 5” itself.

And the anchor who temporarily replaced Kenworthy and Gill, Curtis Jackson, has left Northeast Ohio…starting his work at Newport CBS affiliate WKRC/12 Cincinnati…

CONDOLENCES TO MICHAEL: It is now public…the reason behind CBS Radio classic rock WNCX/98.5 afternoon driver Michael Stanley’s recent personal leave request.

And it’s a very sad reason.

All Access reports that Michael’s wife, Denise Skinner, has passed away.

All Access says that Denise worked in the past for both record companies and radio trade magazines:

DENISE was part of CAPITOL’s marketing department during two separate runs, and had worked for R&R in sales/marketing during mid-’80s. She moved to OHIO and was married to longtime love, MICHAEL STANLEY of the MICHAEL STANLEY BAND, who is heard daily on afternoons at CBS Classic Rocker WNCX/CLEVELAND.

We found out that Michael’s wife was seriously ill shortly after the personal leave announcement was made, but made the decision to not publicize that news here.

Our sincere condolences to Michael Stanley on his loss…

THE SPORTS RADIO WAR: We have two (and a half) samples from the battleground in Cleveland’s Sports Radio War, between incumbent sports talker WKNR/850 “ESPN 850”, owned by Good Karma Broadcasting, and newcomer WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”, owned by CBS Radio.

CBS is pulling 9,230 promotional items out of its arsenal – that exact number of free tickets for an upcoming Cleveland Indians game, honoring returned veteran slugger Jim Thome, on Friday, September 23rd at 7:05 at Progressive Field.

From a CBS press release:

92.3 The Fan, the only FM sports radio station in Cleveland, will be giving away free pairs of tickets to those fans who attend select Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan events throughout Northeast Ohio.

Join 92.3 The Fan personalities and staff for on-field activities and special contests throughout the game. Plus enjoy a postgame fireworks celebration including choreographed scoreboard video of Jim Thome’s biggest plays and Sugardale dollar dog night.

With the Indians knocked out of playoff contention, we’re wondering how many paid ticketholders will surround those 9,230 attending free thanks to “92.3 The Fan”…but even in his return, Thome is still a very popular figure among Indians fans.

Over at the Galleria, there appears to be no corresponding promotion at “ESPN 850 WKNR” (we think free Browns tickets might be a good counter), but the station appears to be concentrating on increasing its own existing efforts.

We can’t remember if they’ve been out on remote before, but evening show “Xs and Os with the Pros” brought LeCharles Bentley and Je’rod Cherry to a Parma Heights sports bar this week with two current Browns stars – cornerback Joe Haden and wide receiver Greg Little.

Browns players have been all over both WKNR and “92.3 The Fan” in recent weeks, as the booking war for guests reaches a fever pitch.

And there’s at least one sign that WKNR is bringing in more help in the marketing side of the Sports Radio War.

From an add in the Job Market section of All Access:

ESPN Cleveland (ESPN 850 WKNR and ESPN 1540 KNR2) is looking for an energetic and enthusiastic Promotions Director to coordinate all station promotional activity, including; creating, planning and carrying out the logistics of 300+ sales and programming oriented promotions per year, managing and maintaining the internship program, maintaining the web site, etc.
The ideal candidate must have a good marketing mind and people skills, and be able to build lasting relationships with promotional partners.

Next to that advertisement, the Good Karma Broadcasting-owned station is also advertising for a full-time salesper…er…Sports Marketing Consultant.

Since Good Karma bought WKNR, outside marketing has always been important to the station. And they apparently believe they need to amp up that effort with competition over on the FM dial…

BYE, BYE FSR: In a move that’s no surprise to long-time OMW readers, WKNR’s “little brother” station has indeed lost Fox Sports Radio.

Daytimer WWGK/1540, now known as “ESPN 1540 KNR2”, has replaced FSR in its afternoon and evening (until sign-off) lineup with ESPN Radio programming – such as the afternoon drive show hosted by Doug Gottlieb. Gottlieb’s show does not air on WKNR, due to the station’s local programming.

The move is due to new competitor WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” taking FSR for its late night programming. We reported first (long before that station’s debut) that “The Fan” was taking FSR, which would give WWGK a 30 day window to drop the network.

Of course, “KNR2” has already featured some ESPN Radio programming that WKNR can’t air on the 850 side of things.

It took the last hour of ESPN flagship “Mike & Mike” to allow the local “Really Big Show” to start at 9 AM. It also airs ESPN Radio shows by Colin Cowherd and Scott Van Pelt, of course, in addition to the first hour of Premiere’s “Jim Rome Show”, when Tony Rizzo and company expanded their WKNR show again until 1 PM…

BYE, BYE, BILLY: For some time, Clear Channel Akron market hot AC WKDD/98.1 has featured Hollywood news and gossip in evenings, as an affiliate of Westwood One’s “Billy Bush Show”.

Here’s something that is not gossip – that arrangement has ended.

From a WKDD social media update:

Hope you don’t mind, we are back to music at night. We moved all the Hollywood gossip to WKDD.com to make room for the music.

OMW hears that there will eventually be a voice on WKDD’s night show (we’ll assume a voicetracker at some point will fill the shift), but for now, the music rolls on…

FALLING RANKINGS: Arbitron has released its radio market rankings for 2011 (Arbitron PDF), and pretty much all Northeast Ohio markets dropped in those rankings.

The 2011 Arbitron list drops Cleveland to market 30. Akron is now market 78. Canton is 135, and Youngstown-Warren is now market 129.

Cleveland drops from 29 in the Spring 2011 rankings, and Akron drops from 76. Canton drops from market 129, and Youngstown-Warren was 125 last spring…

Entering July

And we start the month with a long list of topics, some that have been sitting here a while, and others brand new…

MATT’S LANDING: Like, for example, the word of the Houston landing place of Northeast Ohio-born-and-bred talker Matt Patrick.

The former Clear Channel Akron market hot AC WKDD/98.1 and talk WHLO/640 host, who holds the 1-4 PM Saturday slot at Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland, is making a big splash at a huge Clear Channel station in Houston.

Starting Tuesday, July 5th, “Houston’s Morning News with Matt Patrick” takes over morning drive at the company’s news/talk flagship there, KTRH/740. Matt will be joined by news anchor Lois Melkonian, inbound from her afternoon drive stint at yet another big Clear Channel talker, KOA/850 Denver.

Matt tells David Barron at the Houston Chronicle:

“I’m excited to be in Houston,” he said. “It’s not easy to replacing somebody who has been on the air for so long, but we have a lot of good things coming up and I’m excited to be part of that.

Matt has caught up with your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) from his new home base in Houston, and again acknowledges that it’s hard to replace a long-running show. But he’s clearly pumped up for his new gig:

I am excited to be part of what has become the newest and most exciting form of news/talk in morning drive. I have been doing this type of personality news/talk in the morning for a while now…and it works! It is the future!

When Clear Channel called and asked if I would like to do this format in a top 10 market on a heritage station..News/Talk 740 KTRH…I was THRILLED! The gang here in Houston is incredibly talented. INCREDIBLY talented!

I will be…I’m sure…the target of a few well thrown stones…I’m a big boy. I will work hard to make this show the winner I know it will be!

Patrick replaces the now-former morning news hosts at KTRH, J.P. Prichard and Lana Hughes, who Barron says have been working together at the station for some 27 years.

Pritchard tells the Houston paper that the pair wasn’t surprised by the change, which he says “reflects the changing nature of radio”:

“Lana and I both understood this was going to take place at some point,” he said. “It’s a trend. It’s not personal. It’s the way radio goes. Clear Channel has been very good to both of us. It’s the market forces, the way of the world.”

The changing nature of the KTRH show with Matt Patrick at the helm may jar some listeners. CC’s local general manager tells the paper:

Eddie Martiny, general manager for Clear Channel Communication’s Houston stations, acknowledged that the departure of Hughes and Pritchard marks the end of a traditional morning news show on KTRH, Houston’s longtime news-talk market leader, and the beginning of what he hopes will be a show more similar to the Fox and Friends show on Fox News.

Which means it’ll probably be more like the show Matt Patrick did for Federated Media’s South Bend IN news/talker, WTRC-FM/95.3 “95.3 MNC”, with a healthy dose of Patrick’s conservative talk opinions, mixed in with news and other talk from his co-host and others.

The Houston news does not affect Matt Patrick’s local radio presence.

As previously reported, Matt will continue to do his Saturday 1-4 PM show on WTAM/1100, and fill-in for sister “Big One” talker WLW/700 Cincinnati, via ISDN from Houston (and presumably from Cleveland if he’s visiting his now-former home area for the weekend)…

LYNN’S WIN: We haven’t gotten a Round Tuit(tm) on this one, but felt the need to add it to the record.

One man was synonymous with urban format radio in Cleveland for decades.

Lynn Tolliver eventually rose to become operations manager of urban AC WZAK/93.1, where he used his on-air talents to make himself a star in the market.

He lost it all locally when Radio One picked up WZAK about 10 years and change ago, and moved on without him. But now, he has a Big Win under his belt, and is heading back home.

The Plain Dealer’s Michael Heaton reports that Tolliver’s early rap music work has finally resulted in a court ruling in his favor, with some money headed his way:

Former local DJ and early rap artist Lynn Tolliver won a $1.2 million judgment by a New York jury in a lawsuit over the unauthorized sampling by the Black Eyed Peas of his 1983 song “I Need a Freak.” The sample was used in the band’s hit single “My Humps.” It sold over 2 million copies in the United States.

The suit apparently came out of a dispute between Tolliver and an early collaborator, who the local former air personality says agreed to pay him royalties, then licensed the song to the now-popular group without his permission.

After Tolliver’s star turn as the king of urban format radio in Cleveland in the 80s and 90s, he left to become program director of Tampa’s WTMP…a gig which also eventually ended.

Right before heading to Florida, he also had a brief involvement with then-WRTK/1540 Niles, until Beacon Broadcasting bought and changed the format of the station. (1540 is now Whiplash Radio’s WYCL/1540, being operated by Philip Cato’s Skylar Cato Broadcasting.)

The PD story quotes him:

“I’ve been unemployed the last few years and was near bankruptcy,” said Tolliver. “So this is a blessing. I plan on moving back to Cleveland in the next six months. I’ve written 300 songs in the last two years.

“I don’t get all that money, and I don’t have any of it yet, but this couldn’t have happened at a better time,” he said.

So, Lynn Tolliver is coming back to Cleveland…but it sounds like he’s concentrating on songwriting, not radio…

ME-TV SOON?: An eagle eyed OMW reader spotted this in the Programming Notices page that Time Warner Cable publishes in local papers, and on its website:

On or after July 25, 2011, Lifetime HD will be available to HD customers; WOIO is changing programming on WOIO Weather Now which will become MeTV Entertainment.

That would go along with the recent update on the Me-TV national website about the network showing up on a subchannel of Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO.

When you search for a local affiliate, the site says “WOIO 19-2 – Coming Soon!”, which would indicate that Me-TV is indeed replacing WeatherNow.

And since the TWC notice does not indicate a move of “WeatherNow”, it would appear that the service won’t move to 19.3 or some other configuration (a WUAB subchannel?).

Note, per usual, that the move doesn’t mean that Me-TV is showing up on exactly on July 25th…note the “on or after” wording which is part of every change that’s listed in the TWC legal notices. But it’d be a good date to start looking.

With WOIO replacing WeatherNow with Me-TV, TWC doesn’t have to do anything. It already carries 19.2.

Of course, Raycom has a deal with African-American-oriented entertainment channel Bounce TV, which will show up on one of the WOIO/WUAB subchannels at some point. If it’ll be on 19.3, that’d be a good reason “WeatherNow” goes away, at least on WOIO…

DWINW TRYING TO COME BACK: We earlier noted the saga of now-silent Canton black gospel outlet WINW/1520, which was felled by vandalism, and lost its license when the FCC inquired about its status (getting an anonymous tip about the station being silent), and then got no response from owner Pinebrook Corporation. The FCC finally found the station at its downtown Canton studios, but too late for the station to act.

The station, or at very least its LMA operator, is trying to come back.

The saga is told in an article in the Canton Repository, where the paper talks to station operator Curtis A. Perry III:

“It’s more than frustrating,” (Perry) said. “I miss the (listeners). It was my way of communicating. It was a voice in the community for the church. Like most black-owned radio and TV stations, it’s our vehicle to communicate with one another. Back in the day, we’d call it the ‘drumbeat.’

“I’ve had a lot of people call me. I didn’t realize they missed the water until the well ran dry.”

The station is trying to come back with a new transmitter and other repairs, but the biggest problem is that WINW’s license is now deleted in the eyes of the FCC.

The article tells the story of the FCC letter sent to “an outdated address”, which turns out to be a Cuyahoga Falls P.O. Box apparently once held by Pinebrook president Patrick Barb…who is curiously silent in all this.

Even the FCC filing to try to reinstate the station’s license was filed by Perry’s lawyer for his CAP III Productions, Inc. as the station’s time broker and manager “under the direction of Pinebrook”. Here’s the letter (PDF) Perry’s lawyer sent in March…Barb is only represented in a letter affirming that the facts in the filing are correct.

OK, we’re confused here.

The Repository calls Perry the “owner/manager” of WINW, and says he completed a $300,000 time brokerage-to-purchase deal in 2008, “but still is awaiting transfer of the license from its former owner.”

Mr. Barb has not filed any transfer papers with the FCC, and we’re curious why he is not represented in the FCC filings to resurrect the station (other than his Pinebrook being listed as current owner), and why he has waited from 2008 to 2011 and still not filed a transfer application.

Thus, Perry is not the owner of WINW at least in the eyes of the FCC, and we’re wondering (even with Barb’s letter affirming the facts of the filing) if he has legal standing in the FCC’s eyes.

Despite the warning you get when you pull up WINW’s records in the FCC database:

Deleted facilities cannot be reactivated. Interested parties must file an application for construction permit during the approprate AM application filing window.

…the FCC will take that not-so-shiny “D” off a deleted station’s call letters if there’s some sort of error in the process.

We’ll see if the saga of the misdirected letter is enough, but we’re pretty sure licensees are required to keep current, up to date addresses on file.

Anyway, WINW clearly serves a need for its listeners, and we hope the entanglement gets solved soon enough…

NEW LOCAL PERSONALITY: Whiplash Radio standards WHTX/1570 Warren “The Fabulous 1570” is getting a new local morning man.

He’s Gary Rhamy, a Youngstown radio vet who was heard most recently on Cumulus standards WSOM/600 Salem…as we recall, he was a victim of a Cumulus budget cut a couple of years back, long before the station flipped to a talk format.

WHTX operations manager Jim Davison tells OMW that Rhamy starts his new weekday 7-11 AM show on July 11th.

He will also be interviewing different artists in the mornings that we grew up listening to, like Herb Reed of the Platters, Lou Christie, Sonny Geraci, The Sweet Inspirations, Bobby Rydell, The Edsels, The Dubs, Tommy James, Gary Puckett and so on.

Plus, we are putting together some great prize packages from these artists like signed photos and CDs, books, and other neat items like they used to give away in the past.

And, Bill Ward from WJW TV 8, and formerly the great voice of the old WGAR 1220 AM, is doing liners for Gary, which began rotation on the station last week.

Davison also notes some weekend programming moves:

WHTX also added on Saturday mornings: “Weekend Radio” with Robert Conrad of WCLV, as well as “Footlight Parade” with WCLV’s Bill Rudman, as well as Dick Clark’s “Rock, Roll and Remembered”, Dick Robertson’s “American Standards By The Sea”, and on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 PM “Sounds of Sinatra” with Sid Mark.

The station runs Dial Global’s syndicated “The Lounge” format outside local programming, and is the home radio station for the New York-Penn League Mahoning Valley Scrappers…