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…

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 Storm Rides Out

On a day seeing Northeast Ohio pelted with thunderstorms (and some lost power or cable TV service), let’s take advantage of a calm period to update some items we’ve been piling up for the past day or more.

But nearly all of the below items have previously been announced on our social media presence…

THE END OF ONN: Ohio’s only regional cable TV news operation will be no more as of August 31st.

The Ohio News Network, an arm of the Dispatch operation in Columbus, announced Wednesday afternoon that its final day on the air will be the last day of August.

More from, well, the soon-to-be-shuttered network’s website:

“We launched our 24 hour statewide network in 1997 and have focused on bringing viewers coverage of Ohio news, weather, sports and politics in the most professional manner possible. Changing news consumer habits is the primary contributor to us making this most difficult decision. We thank viewers for the support of ONN over the past 15 years.”

The Columbus Dispatch’s Tim Feran writes on the end of ONN in the newspaper co-owned with the network, noting that the ONN Radio operation will not be affected.

One clue to a major problem for ONN could be right at the top of the ONN website, where some of the network’s major cable providers are listed along with the ONN channel number on those systems:

Time Warner Channel 362 AT&T U-Verse Channel 233 WOW! Channel 187 Insight Channel 58

ONN started on the former Adelphia system in the Cleveland area on analog channel 70.

After Time Warner Cable took over that system, ONN was bumped into the 100s, digital cable-wise, and eventually landed in the “digital simulcast” news tier alongside the other news networks in the 300s.

But ONN was nowhere to be found near the primary home of those networks, analog cable channels in the 30s…and we’re betting even digital cable subscribers still punch up the analog numbers for networks with no HD simulcast.

ONN, of course, is not available at all on either Dish Network or DirecTV…and never has been on either satellite provider.

In essence, especially outside Columbus – Dispatch’s home market and home of the company’s dominant CBS affiliate, WBNS/10 – ONN was a low-profile cable channel…something you can’t afford to be as a regional operation.

Then, there’s the the fact that Ohio is very separated geographically.

People in the Cleveland TV market generally don’t care about the day-to-day news in Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton or other markets.

People in the Cincinnati TV market generally feel the same way about Northeast Ohio’s daily happenings.

There are exceptions, such as major stories of statewide interest, or stories which affect more than one part of the state.

ONN’s greatest strength and highest profile was its use of bureau reporters at affiliate stations. Here in Northeast Ohio, that reporter has been ONN’s Cristin Severance, based at 3001 Euclid Avenue at Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5″‘s newsroom.

“NewsChannel 5” has long used reports from Severance and her ONN predecessors to beef up local news coverage. But at this point, it’s not known if WEWS will bring Cristin under its own wing after August 31st as a local reporter…or if another station will take advantage of her reporting skills…

TO CHICAGO: It had been rumored for awhile, and announced on a Facebook page, but it’s now official…former Cleveland radio host Maxwell is about to start a morning drive gig in Chicago.

Chicago media beat dean Robert Feder has more in his column on the TimeOut Chicago website:

Jim Richards, operations manager of Merlin Media classic rock WLUP-FM (97.9), coolly confirmed Wednesday that Maxwell, just in from Cleveland, will debut from 5:30 to 8:30am Monday on the Loop.

“Coolly” likely refers to Richards’ quote to Feder, saying “he’s not being advertised as the new morning man”.

To that end, Maxwell writes on his Facebook page that he’ll be “playing a ton of music”, so he’s basically not launching a “talk show” there.

And as such, not going along to Chicago for the ride are his talk radio sidekicks in Cleveland (Stansbury, “Chunk” and the like), who were along for his long stint in afternoon drive on Clear Channel talk/rock WMMS/100.7, and his blink-or-you’d-miss-it stint in morning drive at CBS Radio classic rock WNCX/98.5.

And of course, WMMS replaced Maxwell with Alan Cox, whose last gig was mornings at Chicago alt-rocker WKQX/101.1 “Q101”. Cox’s show on WMMS quickly became a ratings winner.

To confuse you even more, the original “Q101” became all-news “FM News 101.1”, and just recently flipped to adult hits as “i101”. “i101” and “The Loop” are sister stations, first under Emmis, and now under Randy Michaels’ Merlin Media.

And to end this mess, Maxwell has actually been already voicetracking for yet another Merlin Media station in Chicago, the new home of the “Q” alt-rock format, WKQX-LP/6-FM 87.7 “Q87.7”, where we’re told he uses the on-air name of “Slater”.

(Merlin, of course, LMAs the audio signal of WKQX-LP from Venture Technologies, which owns WLFM-LP/6-FM 87.7 here in Cleveland, prepping for a launch as AAA-formatted radio station “87.7 Clevelanders Rock”. And, again, WLFM-LP are calls moved to Cleveland from the Chicago station. There, we think we’re done.)

We don’t know when the radio personality known as Maxwell and the radio executive known as Randy Michaels crossed paths first…we believe the former Cleveland radio host worked under Randy’s domain at Clear Channel Radio at some point in his career. Michaels left Clear Channel before Maxwell started at WMMS.

Maxwell was cruising along at WMMS until contract renewal time, where we’re told he was basically asking for similar money to what morning driver Shane “Rover” French got to move to the station.

WMMS held its ground, and moved on…eventually bringing “The Alan Cox Show” to the station, keeping the afternoon drive talk component to its so-called “man cave” male-targeted mix…

SUIT SETTLED: The legal wrangling is finally over between D.A. Peterson Canton market top 40 outlet WDJQ/92.5 “Q92” and its former morning hosts, Pat DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco.

And in the end, it looks like a win for the former “Q92” morning stars, and a “moving on” for the station.

The Canton Repository wraps it up:

Former radio personalities Pat DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco can keep streaming their Internet show, and their former employer must pay them unused vacation time.

The newspaper reports that it’s a victory for the pair, which got the OK earlier to continue the Internet show despite a non-compete contract provision covering a radius 60 miles from the station near Alliance, but, according to Stark County judge Charles E. Brown Jr., not covering a non-terrestrial radio show on the Internet.

The Repository article says DeLuca and DiFranco will get their unpaid vacation time…apparently when “Q92” receives past broadcast audio that both sides agreed the pair will not use.

The Canton market top 40 outlet replaced “The DeLuca Show” with what is now known as “The Nikolina & Jeremiah Morning Show”…

FOX 8 AKRON: We now know, as we tipped you first on social media Wednesday afternoon, where Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8 News” will hang its bureau hat in Summit County.

After abandoning its nearly 12 year home at “Studio 8” at Summit Mall, “Fox 8 News” is going to college in Akron…literally.

The station and the University of Akron are unveiling a new Akron bureau home for “Fox 8 News”…at the UA School of Communication.

Quoting a press release from UA:

“The studio provides us a more central location, with easier access to news breaking out of Akron and surrounding cities,” says Greg Easterly, president and general manager of FOX 8. “In addition, there are so many scholars on the university campus—political analysts, lawyers, scientists, engineers, specialists in education, health and psychology—professionals who can help us inform our viewers and will be more easily available to our reporters.”

Easterly talks about the move from Summit Mall, in an article by Akron Beacon Journal pop culture writer Rich Heldenfels:

“There was nothing bad about it,” WJW General Manager Greg Easterly said of the mall location. “It was a very visible location. We had always had a vision to tie a store in with it. … We had an idea of what we wanted it to be and it never quite came together that way.”

So, “Fox 8 News” is trading neighbors…from Orange Julius at Summit Mall, to the University of Akron’s “Z-TV” student television operation, WZIP/88.1 and The Buchtelite at UA’s Kolbe Hall. UA School of Communication interns will get opportunities as well.

The Heldenfels article notes that WJW will share space with a “Z-TV” production studio, and Akron-based reporter (and UA graduate) Dave Nethers will use an office at Kolbe Hall.

The article notes the attention paid to the Akron/Canton area by Cleveland TV news operations, with WKYC/3’s former Akron/Canton News broadcasts and WEWS/5’s bureau down the hall from Heldenfels at the Beacon Journal.

And omitted, with good reason, is Raycom Media WOIO/19-WUAB/43’s “19 Action News”, which has no bureau in either Akron or Canton.

We guess gassing up and driving south on I-77 is their definition of…(cue Drew Carey’s voice)…”everywhere!”…

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…

———–

EMMY AWARDS

(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

Politics/Government
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

Documentary
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

Commercial
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

OHIO ASSOCIATED PRESS BROADCASTERS AWARDS

(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.)

MEDIUM MARKET RADIO AND TELEVISION

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

LARGE MARKET RADIO AND TELEVISION

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

SMALL MARKET RADIO

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.

MEDIUM MARKET RADIO

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.

LARGE MARKET RADIO

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.

MEDIUM MARKET TELEVISION

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.

LARGE MARKET TELEVISION

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.

The Parade

It’s a short parade of news items, as local media is pretty quiet, news-wise, just before the Thanksgiving holiday.

But one parade is at the front of our larger parade, so to speak…

HO HO HO!: Northeast Ohio radio has its first Christmas music station of the season.

As no surprise to anyone, it’s Clear Channel AC WHOF/101.7 “My 101.7” in the Canton market, which started rolling out the holiday tunes at 9 AM Wednesday. WHOF is traditionally at or near the start of the Christmas Music Parade.

“My 101.7” is also offering the traditional AC format via a website link to iHeartRadio’s “Soft Rock” offering.

And as of this writing, WHOF is alone in the format…but that won’t last long.

A quick trip to the website of CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 would certainly make you think that the Cleveland station had already started the Jingle Bells.

The site bears something of a holiday theme, and the station’s holiday themed logo proclaims it as “Cleveland’s Christmas Station”.

But musically? Well, unless you consider the Pat Benetar rock anthem “Love Is A Battlefield” to be holiday music…not yet, on the air at least.

Make no mistake, the Christmas music is coming soon to 102.1, as a station staffer posted on the WDOK Twitter feed just Tuesday:

we haven’t announced when we’re switching over the air yet…but I would dust off your santa hat, it won’t be long now…

Other possible flips?

Salem CCM WFHM/95.5 “The Fish” is still pumping out the Christian contemporary format, and Clear Channel variety hits WHLK/106.5 “The Lake” is still spinning its non-holiday music wheel.

Of course, last year, WMVX “Mix 106.5″‘s music mix gave way to Christmas music, before leading the way to an “all over the road” music playlist that gave way to today’s “Lake”.

In the Youngstown market, Clear Channel classic hits WBBG/106.1 has been promising holiday music in its future for a number of weeks now, but it’s not happening yet…

HAVE A GOOD BOOK EVERYBODY!: Retired Cavaliers radio voice Joe Tait has written a new book.

Gray and Company, the Cleveland-based publisher of a variety of locally-themed books, has unveiled “Joe Tait: It’s Been A Real Ball”.

Quoting a Gray and Company release:

The book celebrates the inspiring career of “the Voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers” with stories from Joe and dozens of fans, media colleagues, and players. Co-written with award-winning sports writer Terry Pluto, the book hits the highlights of Tait’s long career and also uncovers some touching personal details.

The folks at Gray and Company tell us that Joe’s book is available in local bookstores, and online (in both print and eBook form) at Amazon.com and BN.com.

More can be found at the website devoted to the book: JoeTaitBook.com

WITHER THE TRANSLATORS?: Two translators that seem destined to give Clear Channel FM future presences for news/talk stations are still in motion.

W273BL/102.5 Akron has been delivering Educational Media Foundation’s Christian rock format, “Air 1”, via 10 watts from the Akron antenna farm for some time.

The station recently received a construction permit for 77 watts for the same site – and lists Clear Channel hot AC WKDD/98.1 Munroe Falls as its new primary station.

In a quick drive around the Akron area on Tuesday, it sounds to us like they are still sitting on 10 watts – and the programming is still EMF’s “Air 1” feed.

Now, if “Air 1” is moving from a 10 watt ride to a 77 watt ride, we wouldn’t spend a lot of time on it.

But Clear Channel and EMF have a deal…where in some markets, CC puts new formats on EMF-owned translators (like they’ve done in Minneapolis), and in return, EMF can use Clear Channel HD sidechannels to feed its own formats to commercial band translators (like they’ve done in Detroit via the HD carrier of urban AC WMXD/92.3 “Mix 92.3”).

EMF’s need comes from an FCC rule: you can’t feed commercial band translators via satellite, EMF’s primary delivery system. So, by using the HD2 feed of a commercial station (WMXD), EMF can farm out “K-Love” to four Detroit area commercial band translators.

Here?

Well, W273BL has no such problem at 102.5 in Akron.

The “Air 1” feed comes via a non-commercial band translator, W215BS/90.9 Hinckley, which itself is fed via satellite – since you can feed non-comm band translators via satellite.

Is 102.5 FM in Akron destined to become an FM home for, say, Clear Channel talk WHLO/640…which conveniently already resides on WKDD’s HD2 sidechannel?

It would seem likely, though the general reaction out of Clear Channel’s World Domination HQ/Southern Command on Freedom Avenue has been “huh?”.

Still in limbo, FCC-wise, is a new translator that would presumably be tabbed as an FM simulcast voice for the company’s talk WTAM/1100 “The Big One” in Cleveland.

But Clear Channel, after receiving a construction permit for W259BI/99.1 that was rescinded, has filed a new amendment to get it going again…an amendment that was received at the FCC on Tuesday.

We can’t tell from the new filing what CC did to address earlier FCC technical concerns. (Feel free to read it here in PDF format.)

The newly revived 99.1 translator application would appear to have the same technical specifiations – 250 watts at 238 meters from the WMJI/105.7 tower in Parma.

Now, we’ve confirmed none of this, aside from the easily available FCC information filed for the public.

There’s no buzz about these stations either at Oak Tree or at Freedom Avenue, which makes sense when you consider that the moves are likely being orchestrated by Clear Channel corporate.

The company has mounted FM translator simulcasts for its big AM news/talkers in a number of markets, including the aforementioned Minneapolis, Portland OR and Miami (which now has two FM translators).

So, it’d appear likely to happen with 99.1 and 102.5 here…but there’s no official word yet…

TED HITS AGAIN: It’s been quite a year for former Columbus radio personality Ted Williams, discovered panhandling by a Columbus Dispatch reporter in January as a homeless former radio personality.

“The Golden Voice” went viral, YouTube style, and then got a long list of job offers as his story went worldwide…a run that included a number of national TV appearances.

Later in the year, we heard that he entered and left rehab, and entered again, and most of those job offers (including a gig as the arena voice for the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena) went away.

Ted’s back.

Boston-based New England Cable News has picked up Williams as its station voice, reports the Boston Herald’s Jessica Heslam.

Heslam writes that the formerly homeless voice is doing the NECN gig, well, from his home. Yes, he has one:

NECN station manager Stacey Marks Bronner sought out Williams because he’s got a “one-of-a-kind voice,” in the words of station spokesman Skip Perham.

The father of nine now lives in a condo in Dublin, Ohio, with his longtime girlfriend, doing the voice-over work for NECN from his at-home studio. He said he’s got a great lawyer, mended “a few bridges that were kind of burnt” with family members and has an inspirational memoir coming out next year.

NECN flew Williams to Boston, according to Heslam, where network staffers presented him with a Boston Red Sox jersey – with number 9, the number a certain other Ted Williams, the Hall of Fame ballplayer, wore.

Far from the worldwide scrutiny, where Ted Williams, the voice guy, has become another statistic in the “Where are they now?” category…and reportedly sober since May…maybe the Columbus man has finally hit his home run…

SHOPPING FOR CABLE: Local cable giant Time Warner Cable is opening up a new retail store.

The store in the Servus Centers complex at 1919 Brittain Road in Akron – directly across from Chapel Hill Mall – opens up Friday at 9 AM.

Unlike the company’s large numbers of customer service centers, the retail store is meant to showcase, and presumably sell, its products. TV service in 2011 is far from the days where you could just get people to sign up because you offered clear reception and a few dozen cable-only channels.

From a TWC release:

The new, 2,800 square-foot store showcases Time Warner Cable’s services, offering consumers a hands-on opportunity to test-drive products.

We certainly hope that statement is accurate.

We’ve been to AT&T stores that promise a “hands on test drive” of the company’s competing U-verse service, only to find a thinly masked system running short videos off a DVR.

A presence on Brittain Road in Akron’s Chapel Hill area is not new for the cable company…not at all.

TWC (we believe as either, or both, Warner Cable and Warner-Amex Cable) long had a customer service center a few blocks down Brittain Road, just south of Chapel Hill Mall.

The current customer service center in the Chapel Hill area, we believe, is further down Brittain Road in Midway Plaza…though we wonder if TWC will move it back up Brittain Road into the new retail store…

Some Other Stuff

We’re just a week away from the debut of a new station that’s held much of our attention lately…CBS Radio’s incoming Cleveland sports talk outlet, the transformation of alt-rock WKRK/92.3 “Radio 92.3” to “92.3 The Fan” next Monday.

We’ll have plenty more to update about that story later today. But for now, some other stuff…

JIM’S COMING BACK: With health problems sidelining him from calling Cleveland Browns preseason games on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, a lot of viewers are wondering…when will Jim Donovan return to the microphone?

Thanks to his Browns radio partner Doug Dieken, we have an answer – soon.

Browns AM flagship Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 newsman (and OMW Reader) Tom Moore talked to Dieken, who says Donovan is getting ready to return to the booth for the regular season opener September 11th against Cincinnati:

Dieken said he had talked to Donovan before the game Friday, and according to Dieken, “He says he’s feeling great and he’s looking forward to being back for the opener.”

We don’t know if Donovan’s return to the Browns radio booth means his return to WKYC, where, of course, he is sports director.

An item earlier this month by our blogging colleague Frank Macek in WKYC’s “Director’s Cut” blog said Donovan responded “remarkably well” to his bone marrow transplant, part of his treatment for leukemia, but we don’t know if he’s able tor return to the Browns radio booth AND the WKYC sports desk.

Donovan normally does the WKYC pre-season games, with WTAM sports director Mike Snyder taking over play-by-play on the radio side…then Donovan does the regular season games with Dieken on the Browns Radio Network.

NBC affiliate WNYT/13 Albany NY weekend sports anchor Andrew Catalon has been doing the WKYC preseason games in Donovan’s absence.

His bio indicates that he’s done various network play-by-play work (including curling in NBC’s Olympics coverage) and at least one New York Giants preseason game, and regular fill-in on the network’s “Sports Desk”.

If WNYT sounds familiar to you as an OMW reader, there’s a good reason: WNYT primary weekday news anchor Jim Kambrich spent 10 years in Akron, at then-WAKC/23’s “23 Newsday”…

VETERAN VALLEY PLAY BY PLAY VOICE HOSPITALIZED: A veteran sports play-by-play voice in the Mahoning Valley was looking forward to the start of the high school football season.

Sadly, instead of being behind a microphone this week, Whiplash Radio standards WHTX/1570 Warren sports broadcaster Bob Church is sidelined in the hospital.

Church suffered “a massive heart attack” Friday, according to WHTX operations manager Jim Davison, less than a week before he was set to return to calling high school football games.

Davison tells us that announcers Ed Kornlos and Tim Gaffey will call games on WHTX in Bob’s absence.

We don’t know much more about Church’s condition, but sincerely hope he fully recovers and is able to return to something he truly loves, calling high school sports on the radio…

PD CHANGE IN AKRON: The change isn’t apparent to listeners of Rubber City Radio rock WONE/97.5 Akron, because the on-air lineup is not changing.

But morning co-host Tim Daugherty and midday host T.K. O’Grady have swapped off-air roles at the station.

Daugherty takes over as program director, swapping titles with O’Grady, who is now assistant program director.

As noted, both men remain in their existing on-air roles: Daugherty still hosting mornings with Christi Nichols, and O’Grady still helming the station’s midday shift.

And of course, Daugherty still voicetracks afternoon drive on sister oldies/news WAKR/1590…though with his extra time at West Market Street, he may well be in the building when that shift airs…

GOLDEN VOICE SUES: Remember Ted Williams?

He’s the out of work Columbus radio voice who was “discovered” by a Columbus Dispatch reporter panhandling along a Central Ohio road. Once the reporter heard his “Golden Voice”, Williams became a national sensation…being offered various gigs, from voiceover work for Kraft to a job with the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena.

(He did the Kraft spot, but the Cavaliers eventually pulled back after various problems surfaced in Williams’ life, including repeated stints in and out of rehab.)

One of those offers extended to Williams was a reality TV show entitled “Second Chances of Life”.

TMZ reports that he’s now suing the people involved in that project, including big voiceover names Randy Thomas and Joe Cipriano. (Hat tip to All Access for the find, since we don’t spend a lot of time with TMZ.)

Quoting the TMZ item

Williams — the homeless guy who became famous for his voice of thunder — claims when he hit it big earlier this year, he couldn’t handle the pressure and was plagued with “significant drug and alcohol abuse” and was “totally incapable of understanding what was happening to him or handling [his] own affairs.”

According to TMZ, the suit says Thomas, Cipriano and producer Zev Suissa “got Williams to sign a ‘one-sided, onerous, burdensome, non-negotiated and blatantly unfair’ deal that gives them a huge chunk of any money Williams makes,” aware of his substance abuse issues.

There’s no word on if the trial will be on truTV, the cable network once known as Court TV, or if Williams will do voiceovers for his own lawsuit…

All That’s Not FM Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From a TWC press release:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Well, small parts of Northeast Ohio are getting one.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Scene item touches on the low-end signal:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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