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…

The Train Goes On

Here we go…it’s time to distribute what we have as of late, and even some stuff we missed…

MORE PRAYERS: It is a scene unlike anything we’ve seen in local media. A popular personality not as a polished TV host, but a crying wife just praying for her husband to be brought back to her.

Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8 News in the Morning” co-host Stefani Schaefer wasn’t smiling about the latest news or Hollywood gossip in her return to the show on Wednesday morning.

No, she was Roger’s wife, giving an update – the first she’s given on TV – on her husband’s medical condition. He fell in a construction accident on April 27th and has been hospitalized ever since.

Surrounded on a long couch by pretty much the entire “Fox 8 News in the Morning” on-air crew, in a very emotional appearance, Stefani thanked viewers for their prayers, which she said were “working”:

“I see your notes on my Facebook page and the emails that you send and the calls to the station. That’s what carried us through. That literally carried us through this,” Stefani said in a message to the multitude of caring viewers. “I can’t thank you enough for your prayers because they have gotten us to this point. I have my husband, and he is alive.”

Stefani Schaefer returns to “Fox 8 News in the Morning” tomorrow…hoping to save her off time so she can spend time with Roger in his recovery, a recovery which she said doctors have told her will have its “ups and downs”.

For those who missed Schaefer’s appearance on Wednesday, the Fox8.com article linked above has video links…

PASSING ON: Sadly, one former local TV personality did not survive the weekend.

In our last update, we told you that Brian McIntyre – the former Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 and Ohio News Network Cleveland bureau reporter – was in hospice care.

And NewsNet5′s Mike Waterhouse reports that facility…the Hospice of the Western Reserve…is where McIntyre passed away Sunday after a battle with cancer:

Two qualities many people most likely recall about McIntyre are probably his smile and ability to make others laugh.

After his stint as ONN’s Cleveland bureau chief, which ended up with McIntyre working out of 3001 Euclid, he became a community relations specialist for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.

He leaves Megan, his wife, and Gavin, his son, who will no doubt have help and support from his “family” of co-workers both past and recent…

INCOMING: Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 afternoon mouth Mike Trivisonno has brought aboard another producer.

After Ryan Gohmann left the “Big One’s” afternoon drive funfest – of his own accord, as we earlier reported – it’s night news anchor Glenn Forbes taking on a role that Triv quipped “only seems to last about six weeks, I don’t know why”.

We’ll decline that open opportunity, and note that on Wednesday afternoon’s program, new producer Forbes (“no relation to former Cleveland NAACP chairman George Forbes”) got the usual first day run-through of “Get To Know the Producer”…

OUTGOING: We briefly mentioned the apparent announcement from Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 “Good Company” co-host Andrea Vecchio that she was leaving the program, and sure enough, she is…with no apparent TV destination, yet.

Cleveland Plain Dealer writer Chuck Yarborough weighs in about what was indeed a surprise announcement – to both viewers and co-workers – with a quote Vecchio put up on her Facebook page shortly after our most recent update:

“Well, my immediate plan is to enjoy some time off first,” Vecchio wrote. “My work schedule often included working weekends with movie junket travel and other events around town. I’m definitely in need of some R & R, so I’ll likely visit my family in Florida to unwind. When I get back, I’ll finally have a chance to take in an afternoon baseball game to see the #1 Cleveland Indians! As for work, I love working in Cleveland television. We’ll see what the future holds. I did hear they’re casting for “Iron Man 3″ (wink wink).”

Vecchio is winking, of course, to her “blink or you’ll miss it” turn as a reporter in “The Avengers”, the mega-hit movie that did partial filming in downtown Cleveland. (Hey, didn’t someone open a casino down there recently? We think we saw something about that on TV.)

We have no word on any immediate future gig for Vecchio, either in film or local TV, though it sure sounds like she’s angling for some sort of role on another station…and she’s promising Facebook “friends” she’ll keep them updated on “what’s next”.

WKYC GM Brooke Spectorsky tells Yarborough that “for now”, “Good Company” would continue with remaining co-hosts Michael Cardamone and Joe Cronauer.

We saw CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 “New 102″ afternoon driver Desiray McCray joining them the other day…we don’t know if that falls under the “let’s get a radio personality to fill-in” rule of local mid-morning talk TV, or if they are actively searching for a third host to replace Vecchio.

Note, of course, that Cronauer had a long radio background (“Brian and Joe”) before becoming a regular “Good Company” fixture…

AVERAGE JOE: Cardamone came to “Good Company” (and its predecessor, “Studio 3″) after gaining a measure of fame as a contestant on the reality show “Average Joe”.

“Average Joe” is coming to Cleveland radio, and we’re not talking about either Cardamone or his former TV show.

This “Average Joe” is one Joe McGuire, who All Access reports has been the APD/imaging director/PM driver at Green Bay WI’s WIXX radio, and takes the 7 PM to midnight slot weekdays at CBS Radio hot AC WQAL/104.1 “Q104″.

McGuire takes the Q104 night slot vacated by Kory, who moved to middays on sister AC WDOK/102.1 “New 102″ in the continuing Reshuffle Of The Blocks In CBS Radio’s Wall Of Women (Audiences).

He does indeed go by the air name “Average Joe” in Green Bay, and his bio on the WIXX site is rather, uh, interesting.

“Average Joe” apparently got programmer Dave Popovich’s attention by sending a poster for a resume, and vows to All Access that he’ll attend Browns games…wearing “Green and Gold”. We assume he’s aware that if that “green” looks more like “black”, he’s taking his life into his own hands…

FRANKEN FM SOON?: We were notified by about a half-dozen readers that Cleveland’s assumed-soon-to-be “Franken FM” had taken rather interesting new call letters.

Low-power TV outlet WXOX-LP, which has a construction permit to move to analog channel 6, is now WLFM-LP. The station’s owner, Venture Technologies, moved those calls over from its similar outlet it owns in Chicago.

And of course, it’s not the ability to broadcast an analog TV signal on channel 6 that is in play for any of this.

WLFM-LP (in Chicago) was leased from Venture by former executives of former Clear Channel Chicago smooth jazz outlet WNUA/95.5. When Clear Channel dumped smooth jazz on WNUA for Spanish-language contemporary music, the executives relaunched it on WLFM-LP…which, since the audio of analog channel 6 lands it on the FM band, gave Chicago a new smooth jazz “radio station” at the top of the band at 87.7 FM.

That lasted until just recently, when the group running “The L” shuttered the smooth jazz “radio station”…citing the FCC’s recently imposed 2015 deadline, which will shut down all of the so-called “Franken FMs” by requiring the TV side to go all digital. The audio of digital channel 6 doesn’t show up on the FM band, due to the different technologies.

The move of the WLFM-LP calls to Cleveland’s would-be “Franken FM” (think “Frankenstein”, not Senator and former Air America host and “Saturday Night Live” alum Al Franken) has opened up speculation.

Those doing the speculation are looking at the obvious format holes in Cleveland…let’s see if any of them have legs:

* Of course, with Rubber City Radio flipping WNWV/107.3 back to smooth jazz(/AC) as “107.3 The Wave”, it would be rather unlikely that the WLFM calls get reunited with the former Chicago format. Besides, the calls were more associated with the iconic Chicago train system than any musical play.

* Several wonder if the outlet would become a Spanish-language station, with much more coverage than stations like WNZN/89.1 Lorain and WHWN/88.3 Painesville (both non-commercial). WLFM owner Venture has a history of leasing the “Franken FM” audio signals to ethnic/foreign language operators, so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility. Though the “87.7 FM” audio is on top of the non-commercial band, the license belonging to a commercial TV station means the outlets can sell regular advertising…not just non-comm “underwriting”.

* Alternative rock is another “format hole” in Cleveland, with the flipping of CBS Radio’s WKRK/92.3 from “Radio 92.3″ to sports “92.3 The Fan” last August. Of note here: The Chicago station that carried the WLFM-LP calls is now alt-rocker WKQX-LP “Q87.7″, leased from Venture by Merlin Media to replace the original alt-rock WKQX/101.1, which Merlin flipped to all-news as “FM News 101.1″.

Close observers will note here that Merlin Media is the current Randy Michaels Radio Empire, and that Michaels – who used to be Clear Channel’s radio boss – traipsed all over Ohio buying stations for that company. The suburban Cincinnati resident is no stranger to radio in this state.

It wouldn’t take much to create a “Q87.7″ clone in Cleveland. But we have no idea if Merlin, as a company, or Randy, as its leader, are interested in such a business opportunity here…

We’re Back

Whew. That was a long hiatus, wasn’t it?

As explained in the previous items, various issues affecting your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) are not done yet. But we missed this blog, frankly.

We will not “be back” on a daily basis, and life off-blog may still intervene from time to time. But, overall, we have returned.

We’ll start with some newer stuff, and recap some other things that happened in our absence…most of it in a “Twitter Recap” of items we’ve posted before on our social media accounts.

So, let’s get this going…and if we missed anything, we’ll put it up later…

DON’T DARE DIETER: The last time that rock/talk WMMS/100.7 “Rover’s Morning Glory” cast member Dominic Dieter was making national news, it was because he was injured in a stunt that brought the show’s “Dare Dieter” segment to an end.

This time, it was Dieter’s mouth that did it.

We’ll let the Plain Dealer’s Chuck Yarborough do the heavy lifting:

Dominic Dieter, a member of the “Rover’s Morning Glory” team on WMMS-FM/100.7, has been disciplined by station owner Clear Channel for an off-color suggestion to a father worried about his daughter’s possible homosexuality.

In response to an email from the father, Dieter advised the father to have a friend “screw [her] straight.”

To say there was an outcry from the gay and lesbian community is, well, an understatement.

A sample, from the website LGBTQNation, in a post by GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Senior Media Field Strategist Justin Ward:

This is not okay. Not on any level, and not in any context. We trust that the majority of fair-minded Americans will agree. Make no mistake, if this young woman is, in fact, gay – or if she’s simply not interested in having sex with any of her father’s friends, then what Dieter is suggesting is rape.

Fast forward to Monday, after the GLAAD folks talked with Clear Channel Cleveland market manager Keith Abrams. Dieter offered up a recorded apology on Monday’s “RMG”, but wasn’t otherwise on the show. From a transcript:

I regret what I did say. My comments were inappropriate. They were inexcusable, and just downright stupid. And I want to make it clear; there was absolutely no intention to promote physical or sexual violence.

Abrams has his own response to the PD’s Yarborough:

“We take matters of this nature very seriously; his comment was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to those who were offended. We can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and Dieter has since apologized on air and is fully aware that what he said was unacceptable.

Abrams notes that immediately after Dieter’s Friday remarks, other “RMG” cast members called him to task for it, and that the show (we didn’t hear it) moved into a “productive” on-air discussion about “the acceptance of all lifestyles”, complete with calls from members of the gay community.

There’s no word on the length of Dieter’s suspension. We haven’t listened to the show this week to see if he’s back on…

NOT AT WTAM ANYMORE, THAT’S WHERE: When a cast member of a highly-rated afternoon drive AM radio talk show goes missing…well, that’s by far our most asked question of the hiatus: “Where’s Gohmann?”

That’s Ryan Gohmann, who returned to Oak Tree to join the fun on talk WTAM/1100′s Mike Trivisonno Show…and has now left the program, and left the station once again.

Gohmann left WTAM before back in 2007, segueing from his role as Bob Frantz’s producer to Florida, to become the assistant program director/morning drive producer at Clear Channel sister talk WFLA/970 Tampa.

In 2012, OMW only hears that the answer to the Most Asked Question of Our Hiatus is “Ryan’s decision to leave WTAM was his own decision”. This time, we have no word of an impending or already nabbed new gig for Gohmann, but we’ll let you know if such word pops up…

LEFT SWITCH: Aside from a shoestring effort by LMA operator Gary Richards at Painesville’s WABQ/1460, liberal talk radio has otherwise pretty much been left for dead in Northeast Ohio.

There’s at least a pulse, somewhere.

In a time slot that has seen conservatives Glenn Beck and most recently, Laura Ingraham, Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria has returned Dial Global syndicated liberal host Stephanie Miller to airwaves on much of Cleveland’s west side.

Richards runs Miller on WABQ as well, but WEOL does a much better job of rimshotting Cleveland’s western suburbs (and places like Medina) than 1460 does of rimshotting Cleveland’s eastern suburbs. Both boast 1000 watt signals during the day, but WEOL has the considerable advantage of being lower on the AM dial.

Thus, even some Akron area fans of Miller’s show during its run on then-liberal talk WARF/1350 “Radio Free Ohio” have a shot at listening to her on WEOL…through some static. (This is by far not the Radio Battle of the Titans, signal wise.)

WARF, of course, is today’s “Fox Sports 1350″.

Why did WEOL make the change? It’s right on the station’s website:

We made this programming change because we needed to balance our programming in order to better serve both sides—both conversations. We were hearing too often that listeners perceived the station had swayed to the extreme right since two of our daytime talk shows were conservative.

Though it has carried Beck, Ingraham and continues to carry Premiere afternoon driver Sean Hannity, WEOL has been far from defined as “a conservative talk station”.

The noon-3 time slot is filled by another Dial Global talker, consumer advocate Clark Howard. We assume Cumulus Media is pitching the station on its new show with former Arkansas governor, Republican presidential candidate and Fox News Channel weekend host Mike Huckabee, but we don’t expect WEOL to pick it up for the reasons cited above.

Remember, WEOL used to feature news blocks from AP Radio Network News in many of these same time slots…and still airs a news/service non-politically polarized local morning drive show.

Across town, Laura Ingraham is still listed 10 AM to noon weekdays on the schedule of Spirit Media variety WELW/1330 Willoughby, but very few people who can pick up WEOL would have a shot at that east side station.

As far as we know, no Northeast Ohio station has yet picked up Mike Huckabee’s show…though we wouldn’t be surprised to see Cumulus Youngstown market talkers WSOM/600 Salem and WPIC/790 Sharon PA find a place for the in-house program.

MILLER, ON THE CONSERVATIVE SIDE: Another Miller, this one a conservative host, is now being heard in Cleveland.

Dennis Miller’s Dial Global show gains a Cleveland clearance, delayed 9 PM-midnight weekdays on Salem talk WHK/1420. The move bumps Cumulus’ Mark Levin and the local show “Kelly and Company” hosted by Tom Kelly.

Kelly is still on the WHK schedule in his original Sunday 4-6 PM time slot…he added late weekday evenings after WHK sent Michael Savage packing and replaced him with the then-two hour Levin show…

MANSFIELD CHANGES: Just a few months ago, Clear Channel’s Ashland/Mansfield cluster bumped classic hits “My 100.1 and 98.3″, adding the cluster’s 100.1 Shelby and 98.3 Fredericktown as FM simulcasters of talk WMAN/1400.

The 100.1 frequency, a northern rimshot into Mansfield, became the primary promoted signal. 98.3 rimshots Mansfield from the south, from a transmitter site in southern Richland County.

Not anymore.

It’s been officially announced on the WMAN web site…100.1 is going off in a different direction, leaving 1400 and 98.3 as the only WMAN signals.

The announcement on the main WMAN page reads, in big white on black letters:

ALERT: WMAN IS LEAVING 100.1 FM, TUNE TO 98.3 FM OR 1400 AM

The change is reflected on the station’s new logo, which now “leads” with FM 98.3, with 1400 AM below.

Where is 100.1 going?

An OMW reader alerted us to an E-mail from Clear Channel, directing to a new Facebook page:

There, this is one of the messages posted:

A radio station in Mid-Ohio under construction. We will sign on Friday May 4th at Noon.

Though we don’t know if this feed is on the air (we are, after all, well within WNIR’s signal range), a brand new feed for “My 100.1″, listed in the “Oldies” category, is stunting:

Amid the usual “construction” noises of a pounding hammer, liners promise “there’s a new radio station being built right now at 100.1 FM…you’d better listen when it debuts Friday at noon”.

“Pardon the dust,” indeed.

Another liner tells listeners they can still find WMAN on 98.3 FM or 1400 AM (yes, voiced by Clear Channel regional operations director and OMW reader Keith Kennedy), and we’ve heard an odd music mix from Michael Stanley to Frank Sinatra in the stunting.

Again, since we hear Howie Chizek instead of a Mansfield-area station on 100.1, we don’t know if this is being broadcast on 100.1 yet.

We assume Clear Channel will scoot the WMAN-FM calls over to 98.3, as they reside right now on 100.1 Shelby…

MOVING ON: After being synonymous with Cleveland radio and TV traffic reporting for a long time, Terry Groden has moved to fill some big broadcasting shoes.

At the peak of his time with Metro Traffic/Metro Networks, Groden was the local director of operations in Cleveland, even after Westwood One bought Metro.

He survived the closure of Metro’s Independence Media Gulch office and continued to do news and traffic embedded at Salem’s nearby facility.

TV viewers knew Groden as the primary fill-in for Metro’s traffic reporters at WOIO/19′s “19 Action News”…first for Rick Abell, and more recently for ground-based Joy Redmond.

He apparently survived the merger of Metro into Clear Channel’s Total Traffic…but Groden has moved on.

OMW hears that he’s filled the big shoes of the late Bruce Ryan as the new education director at the Ohio Center for Broadcasting.

Our best wishes to Terry…

THE TWITTER RECAP

Most of the following has been already shared in brief on our social media presence on Twitter and Facebook. And we’re sure we’ll miss something. But here’s what we’ve noted…with some new information…

CC CUTS: We briefly noted the usual Clear Channel seasonal job cuts, but here is some interesting detail we haven’t shared yet with you.

We told you that we hear a total of 8 employees at Clear Channel’s Oak Tree facility in Cleveland were involuntarily separated from their jobs (now, that’s a way to put it).

On air talent no longer toiling at Oak Tree include long-time WTAM Saturday morning host Bob Becker and classic hits WMJI/105.7-country WGAR/99.5 air personality Jim Hart.

Also out the Oak Tree door: WGAR morning producer Sean Lowery, 40-year veteran administrative assistant Kathy Seman, marketing/promo director Jen Black, and two associated with sports coverage at Oak Tree: Indians radio network senior producer Stephanie Hagele and WTAM “Bob Frantz Show” producer/Browns producer Brian Motsay.

Both Hagele and Motsay got on air references after their dismissals…with Indians Radio play-by-play voice Tom Hamilton giving Hagele a strong on-air job reference in the middle of the Tribe’s opening regular season contest.

Frantz, from what we heard, wasn’t as specific about losing Motsay, but he sounded rather ticked in veiled references to Motsay’s exit in a segment we heard shortly after the job cuts.

And now, the untold story.

Among his duties during WTAM’s evening shift, Motsay ran the local control board for WTAM’s broadcasts of Indians baseball, since Frantz’s show is not on the air during that time. (Hagele, of course, was at the network level.)

OMW hears from a very reliable source that when it came time to relieve Motsay of his duties at WTAM, he was shown the door IN THE MIDDLE OF A WTAM INDIANS BROADCAST.

Now, we realize that he’s just “the local board op” in the case of WTAM, flagship of the network, but a station which gets the network feed (being produced in another studio) like all other affiliates do.

But…couldn’t they wait until the game was over? For continuity’s sake, if nothing else? The concept of sending the guy to the exits mid-game seems a bit odd to us.

Oddly enough, OMW hears that aboard behind the board for the Indians broadcasts this year is the man who once held the job Sean Lowery lost in the most recent Oak Tree budget cuts…former WGAR morning producer Tony McGinty, who lost that job when WGAR didn’t renew the contract of host Jim Mantel (still in North Carolina, we trust). He’s returned to Cleveland after a stint at a station in Maine.

But Tony had nothing to do with any of the activity above – and may be learning of some of it by reading this item. He’s a good guy, and we’re very much glad to see him back in Cleveland…

BROWNS PRE-SEASON GAME ON WOIO: Disgusted with how Raycom Media CBS affiliate WOIO/19′s “19 Action News” aired 911 tapes of a family tragedy back in 2006, Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner moved with swift speed to end the station’s contract as the Browns’ local over-air partner…a deal which included broadcasting the Browns pre-season games on “Cleveland’s CBS 19″.

Shortly after coming to a settlement with WOIO, the games landed on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, which has been the Browns pre-season partner ever since.

So, why is the team’s August 10th pre-season game slated to air on “CBS 19″?

Blame London…the London 2012 Olympics, that is. The games will take over the airwaves of NBC from July 27th through August 12th, and that includes the airwaves of WKYC.

Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN Cleveland”‘s newest addition, now-former Cleveland Plain Dealer sportswriter Tony Grossi, explains:

The home team controls the date and time of preseason games, but the Lions were locked into Aug. 11 because of their own logistical issues and declined to move the start time to the afternoon to accommodate WKYC.

The Browns declined to have the game aired on a delayed basis. WKYC, which is contractually obligated to produce the broadcast, had to offer the game to a competing station. It worked out an agreement to air it on WOIO Channel 19.

Note the date: it had originally been thought that the Browns/Lions pre-season tilt would be on August 11, but the final NFL pre-season schedule puts it on the 10th. That doesn’t do away with the Olympic conflict, of course, so we’ll assume WOIO will still air the game and the Lions are still unwilling to move the time.

“CBS 19″, of course, still airs nearly all of the Browns’ regular season games due to its CBS affiliation.

But if the team visiting Cleveland Browns Stadium on Any Given Sunday is in the NFC (the Browns and most of their opponents are in the AFC), the game will be seen on Fox – locally, Local TV LLC Fox affilate WJW/8.

That applies this year to the opening game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and the December 16th contest with the Washington Redskins, if it’s not “flexed” into Sunday Night Football on NBC. (Stop, we can hear you laughing from here!)

The other non-standard game is the Thursday Night Football game on September 27th, when the Browns play at Baltimore on NFL Network. All of the cable/satellite games are sold to local affiliates in the two teams’ market, and we don’t know who will buy the rights to that game yet…

TONY: And yes, after being kicked off the Plain Dealer’s Browns beat due to a controversial tweet about Browns owner Lerner, veteran sportswriter Tony Grossi moved over to become a columnist for ESPNCleveland.com, the website of Good Karma sports WKNR/850-WWGK/1540.

Grossi does not have a show of his own on WKNR, but spent a lot of time on the station as a guest in the run-up to the recent NFL Draft…

SPEAKING OF GROSSI’S LONG-TIME HOME: The Plain Dealer and its Cleveland.com have entered a “partnership” with WKNR’s new competitor, CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”.

We can’t find any online references to the deal from either organization’s website…we found out about it because midday co-host Andy Baskin (“Cleveland’s Baskin and Talking Phelps Heads” or whatever they call the show now) mention it briefly.

At very least, it appears to involve regular appearances by Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com sports staffers on the 92.3 airwaves…

SPEAKING OF 92.3: New voices on “92.3 The Fan”‘s weekend schedule include Baskin’s co-worker in Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5′s sports department, Mike Cairns.

“19 Action News” sports anchor/reporter and former WTAM/1100 sports staffer Mark Schwab has been heard on the “Fan” weekend schedule often as well.

And WKRK has lured a name from…Erie PA.

Mike “Chico” Bormann was most recently heard on now-Cumulus sports WRIE/1260 “The Score” in that Northwest Pennsylvania market…and signed up for what appears to be a weekend-only gig at “92.3 The Fan”.

Though “Chico” has 10-plus years in the Erie market, he’s a native Clevelander, so it’s a homecoming for him.

And we’re wondering, based on past experience in other markets, if when Cumulus took over the Erie cluster from former owner Citadel, they kindly offered Bormann an opportunity to keep his afternoon drive gig…at minimum wage.

It’s just a guess on our part…we don’t know if that actually happened in Erie. But it did happen at Cumulus Toledo, where such an offer was made to former WTOD/1560 morning host Tom Watkins…

ANOTHER QUICK 92.3 ITEM: The CBS FM sports talker has returned to a popular smartphone app.

TuneIn, which has versions for all the major mobile platforms, used to carry CBS Radio stations as a part of its aggregation directory – which also appears at TuneIn.com.

CBS recently asked TuneIn to remove its stations, but the two sides apparently didn’t stop talking… CBS and TuneIn recently came to a deal adding all the company’s spoken word stations (news/talk/sports) to the TuneIn directory.

That brought “92.3 The Fan” back to TuneIn within hours of the announcement.

But those looking to listen to WKRK’s sister stations (WDOK/102.1, WQAL/104.1 and WNCX/98.5) on a smart phone still need to turn to CBS’ Radio.com app (iOS and Android) or the CBS Cleveland app (ditto).

We are a big fan of TuneIn on the official OMW Smartphone, an Android device. Not only can you pick up just about all the non-Clear Channel stations (they’re on iHeartRadio), and record those stations on the Pro version of TuneIn…you can also change the kind of stream, picking whatever the station offers.

We often switch to the AAC feed, which is brighter and more “open” to our ears than MP3 streaming…

THIS IS NOT THIS: An apparent contract end bumped the MGM-owned movie digital subchannel This TV off of WUAB/43.2, a subchannel of Raycom Media’s MyNetwork TV affiliate WUAB/43 “My 43 The Block”.

The network made a quick landing on WBNX/55.3, a subchannel of Winston Broadcasting’s CW affiliate WBNX/55.

But don’t expect it to return to Time Warner Cable anytime soon. A TWC spokesman says there are “no plans” to bring This TV back to TWC. We’re guessing because subchannel carriage is tied to the host channel, since WUAB quickly got “Bounce TV” (43.2 now) added to cable carriage…

Y-TOWN FLIPS: There are some recent format changes we haven’t tracked in the Youngstown radio market.

Whiplash talk WYCL/1540 Niles moved back to a full simulcast of sister standards WHTX/1570 Warren “Fabulous 1570″. But in the process, WYCL midday talker Louie b. Free’s show survived (his checks, after all, do clear), and is now heard 10 AM-2 PM on the newly combined “Fabulous 1570/1540″.

Jim Davison and Laurel Taylor, under the JL Communications banner, are still LMAing both stations from Whiplash owner Chris Lash. (And all are OMW readers, well, at least Jim and Chris are.)

Bernard Radio talk WGFT/1330 Campbell quit yakking at some point. It’s now “Oldies 1330″…

AND SINCE WE PROMISED: The latest voiceover clients for long-time OMW reader Chuck Matthews:

Alaska Integrated Media sports KUDO-AM/1080 The Ticket Anchorage/AK

Appaloosa Broadcasting sports (ESPN) KRKI-FM/Rapid City SD

Cookeville Communications sports (FSN) WPTN-FM/The Eagle Cookeville TN

Great Plains Media sports (FSN) WZIM-FM/The Ticket Bloomington/Normal IL

El Dorado Broadcasters’ rocker KXFM/San Luis Obispo

Chuck says he’s doing VO work for all the stations, and producing his work for KXFM. “Radio imaging available on retainer or barter via Benztown Branding/Cumulus Media Networks,” Chuck tells us…

The Elephant In The Radio Room

Long-time readers may have noticed that we’ve had almost nothing on one of the biggest changes about to hit Cleveland radio…changes at AAA/adult rock WNWV/107.3 “V107.3″, the Elyria-licensed station that is being sold by Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting to Akron’s Rubber City Radio Group, owners of oldies/news WAKR/1590, rock WONE/97.5 and country WQMX/94.9.

The application to sell the station was approved by the FCC on November 28th, and closing – and a temporary move of the station to RCRG’s Akron Radio Center – should happen soon. A part of the sales agreement is that Rubber City won’t be able to operate 107.3 from its current Elyria home, thus the need to move to Akron until permanent Cleveland area studios are put together.

We have our reasons for not saying much, but most of it is…well, we don’t trust a lot of the information we’ve heard.

In the time since the sale of WNWV was announced, we’ve heard speculation that the station would carry pretty much every format imaginable. We’ve heard just about every format except polka. We’ve heard smooth jazz, smooth AC, soft AC, alt-rock, syndicated talk (!) and even a retooling of the current “V107.3″‘s AAA rock format as possibilities.

The first public item causing stir in the local radio community was this item from Cleveland Scene writer Anastasia Pantsios, entitled “V 107.3 to return to snooze music format”:

In late 2009, Elyria-based WNVW 107.3 FM abandoned its rapidly fading “Wave” format — “smooth” jazz & soft R&B — in favor of something a little more contemporary and upbeat. It became V 107.3, which featured a “Triple A” format— a mix of contemporary and classic rock, with artists like Steely Dan and John Fogerty getting airtime alongside newer acts like the Black Keys, Snow Patrol, and Clevelander Kate Voegele.

But after two years in which the uneven, mismanaged and under-resourced V107.3 failed to catch fire, the station will return to the world of smooth contemporary sounds. Dave Koz, Yanni, and Lionel Richie fans can rejoice when they wake up from their naps. For most Northeast Ohioans, the station might as well be going off the air, as “smooth” anything has bled followers across the country. Only about two dozen stations nationally still feature this soporific format.

For out-of-towners, Scene is Cleveland’s “alternative weekly” tabloid newspaper, and the ratio of rock music fans vs. smooth jazz/AC fans in its readership is probably 50,000 to one.

Pantsios’ article spells out the end of “V107.3″, with employees “out of work effective December 16; they have been ordered not to discuss their severance or the station’s format change.”

We do hear Facebook chatter that V midday personality Ravenna Miceli has lined up a special music mix for what is expected to be her last week on the air – this week.

Meanwhile, the out of work V folk will be replaced by others. Rubber City Radio has placed this help wanted ad everywhere from the Plain Dealer to radio trade site All Access:

WNWV Cleveland is looking for full and part time on-air talent with strong communications skills and ability to connect with listeners on-air and online. For part-time, weekends a must as well as availability for occasional weekday fill-ins. Proficiency in content creation & social networking a must. NO PHONE CALLS. Resume and audio demo required to Nick Anthony, c/o Rubber City Radio Group 1795 West Market Street Akron, Oh 44313 or email to nanthony (at) rcrg.net The Rubber City Radio Group is an EOE.

Friend of OMW Lance Venta at Radio Insight snooped out a domain registration by Rubber City:

Rubber City has registered 1073TheWave.net for its new acquisition. The station had flipped from Smooth Jazz “The Wave” to AAA in December 2009. We’re assuming this will be a revised Smooth AC this time around much like the format has evolved in other markets should the move to the previous format take place.

And add this just out there today, from the industry E-mail newsletter RAMP (Radio and Music Pros) (free subscription link here):

RAMP has learned that once the station officially changes hands, Rubber City will flip it to Smooth AC under its former identity of “107.3 The Wave,” the name it was known as during most of its 22 years as a Smooth Jazz outlet before going Triple A in 2009. “It will feature Pop and Urban AC vocals along with Smooth Jazz vocals and instrumentals,” SVP Nick Anthony tells RAMP.

With RCRG’s Nick Anthony talking openly about the new station, at least in the radio trade press, we guess that the secret’s “out”.

There have certainly been a lot of pieces out there, but we haven’t comfortable enough to confirm details on what we’ve heard before now.

Readers may recall we tracked everything but the lunch schedule of incoming personnel at new CBS Radio sports talker WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” in Cleveland. But this is entirely different…and we wouldn’t be at all surprised if our friends at West Market Street floated a few trial balloons in the air, hoping they’d reach us.

Meanwhile, regarding “92.3 The Fan”, almost none of our information was coming directly from the Halle Building, due to the national CBS Radio effort to build the new station.

It’s certainly clear that major changes will be coming at the 107.3 spot on Northeast Ohio’s radio dial…soon…though we haven’t heard an exact date for the format change…

Lorain County Mourns Loss

One of the biggest names in Lorain County media has passed away.

The newspaper he ran, the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram, reports the “unexpected” death of publisher A. Cooper Hudnutt, dead at the very young age of 57.

Quoting the newspaper itself:

Hudnutt, known throughout Lorain County as simply “Coop,” was found dead in his Elyria home, according to family. He had been publisher since 1991, when he replaced his father, Arthur D. Hudnutt.

He also served as president of the board of Lorain County Printing and Publishing, which operates The Chronicle and various print, radio and online web properties.

And that last sentence also brings this into the broadcast world, where the company owns a number of Northern Ohio stations under the Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting name: Cleveland market AAA WNWV/107.3 Elyria “V107.3″, sister news/talk WEOL/930 Elyria, and a cluster of stations to the west, country WKFM/96.1 Huron “K96″, and Norwalk’s AAA WLKR-FM/95.3 and oldies daytimer WLKR/1510 “Kool Gold”.

Lorain County Printing and Publishing also owns the Medina Gazette newspaper.

Our condolences to the family, friends and extended work family of Hudnutt at the various Chronicle-owned properties…

The (online) Wave loses its’ PD

Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting’s smooth jazz/new age WNWV/107.3 HD2, aka “The Wave,” is now without a program director – and its’ last local personality.

Former PD/afternoon voice Mark Ribbins’ last day at the Elyria-based, Cleveland-targeted station was on Thursday, September 30. Mark was the last person held over from WNWV’s primary channels’ previous format, which was flipped to adult album alternative in late December. Ribbins stayed on board to program the smooth jazz format online and 107.3 HD2, in addition to hosting afternoon drive duties. He had been a part of WNWV since 1998, and previously worked at then-gospel WRDZ/1260, which is now (for now) Radio Disney-owned WWMK.

The smooth jazz format with continue, without any personalities, for the immediate future.

That Columbus Blue Jackets FM Flagship Shuffle

Ever since Dispatch/RadiOhio sports WBNS/1460 began simulcasting on their sister 97.1 frequency back in January 2009, the longtime OSU and Columbus Blue Jackets flagship station was never able to make it a full-time simulcast. This was due to Fun With Radio Columbus market alt-rock WWCD/101.1 having been the team’s FM flagship since the team’s 2000 inception – and as a result, “97.1 The Fan” would have to break away from their AM counterpart to run ESPN Radio whenever the team’s coverage began.

With WWCD’s pending relocation to the FM/102.5 Baltimore facility by the end of the month (as the 101.1 facility was purchased by WOSU Public Media), the NHL franchise announced a new arrangement between the three stations back on September 16. Starting with the team’s home opener on Friday, October 15, WBNS/97.1 will become the team’s new FM flagship station, in tandem with WBNS/1460 (curiously enough, the 1460 facility was downplayed significantly in the press release). As the Ohio State games – both football and basketball – are the station’s top priority, soon-to-be WWCD/102.5 will still carry any displaced games in the event of schedule conflicts.

The team’s ancillary weekly shows, “The Coach’s Show with Scott Arniel” and the “Blue Jackets Sunday Morning Skate” (formerly known as “Breakfast with the Blue Jackets”), which aired on both WBNS AM and FM prior to the new agreement, remain on both stations.

Up in Northern Ohio, the “Wheeling Island Hotel and Casino Blue Jackets’ Radio Network” affiliate base includes two Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting stations – talk WEOL/930 Elyria and AAA WLKR/95.3 Norwalk (both stations air select games in-between Cavaliers and OSU Basketball broadcasts), as well as Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 Akron and sports WTIG/990 Massillon/Canton. No Cleveland station proper has ever been an affiliate…

News, Scattered and Sown

There have been so many stories that have popped up over the past week (notwithstanding the flap between Matt Patrick and the entire Michigan State Spartans fanbase for his remarks on coach Mike D’Antonio back on Monday… so much has been said that this list of articles across the country should suffice).

As OMW’s Primary Editorial Voice ™ noted late last week, a guest editor would likely be brought aboard to help out as a Secondary Editorial Voice ™. As such, this will be my first “guest post” on OMW. So, without further ado, here we go with the latest radio/TV news:

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“CAPTAIN TONY” LANDS: The former producer for country WGAR/99.5′s former morning host, Jim Mantel, now has a new gig in the Pine Tree State.

Photobucket“Captain Tony” McGinty is headed to Nassau Broadcasting country WTHT/99.9 Auburn/Portland to produce the “Dave and Michelle” morning show on “99.9 The Wolf,” hosted by Dave Winsor and Michelle Taylor, respectively.

McGinty was let go along with Jim Mantel from WGAR back on August 17 after Clear Channel declined to renew Mantel’s contract… and Tony was tied into any Mantel deal with WGAR.

There’s no word yet on a start date at “99.9 The Wolf,” but they do stream online.

BREAKING – DARYL RUITER LEAVES WKNR: In what seems to be a common occurrence at WKNR/850, yet another long-time staffer at the Good Karma-owner sports talker has left the building.

PhotobucketDaryl Ruiter, the station’s update anchor during “Munch in the Morning” and “Mike & Mike,” Browns beat reporter, webmaster and station engineer, departed from “ESPN 850″ yesterday. He confirmed that Friday was his last day on Twitter, saying that it was “sad to say goodbye after 12 wonderful years but looking forward to the opportunities the future brings.”

Ruiter had been heard off and on at WKNR since 1998, but most of that time was working at Metro Networks’ Independence facility before Good Karma hired him internally to do engineering work and produce what was then Mark “Munch” Bishop’s afternoon show. Eventually, it later evolved into doing update anchoring, Browns beat reporting, and occasional fill-in hosting on the weekends… all at the same time.

Ruiter’s departure not only leaves WKNR short of a Browns beat reporter… it comes after WKNR jettisoned update anchor Jeff Thomas, reporter Bob Karlovec, and board-op/engineer Eddie Mularz back in May. (More on the first two later on in this post.)

At this same time, a group called Digital Sports Network made the following post on their twitter account:

“DSN would like to officially welcome Daryl Ruiter to our team. Stay tuned for our broadcast lineup coming soon.”

The Digital Sports Network advertise themselves as “your source for Cleveland Sports – COMING IN TWO WEEKS! Radio Programming and Blogs Featuring Cleveland Sports! Also partnering with Cleveland.com.” For the past month or so, a companion WordPress blog and Facebook fan page have been in operation, offering Cleveland sports news and opinion. Among the staffers listed on the blog are former Metro Networks/WKNR staffer Matt Loede (who is also a sports announcer with WEOL/930 Elyria) and Tony Mazur.

As for DSN’s radio programming plans… the domain sportsradiocleveland.com has been mentioned by people supposedly close to this venture, but it is an undeveloped page, with the GoDaddy.com material still on there. But Ruiter, Loede, and Mazur would have to be a part of said plans, even as they still faces an mammoth battle against WKNR, if not just because of the terrestrial radio vs. internet radio factor.

Smart phone technology, and the future of wireless internet radio, do show promise of leveling the playing field… but it will take serious time for this effort to develop, and to make some headway into the local media scene. The addition of Ruiter into the mix is a very smart and solid move.

Q104, SOON TO BE LESS “WILDE”: For those who follow OMW’s Twitter feed, Hot AC WQAL/104.1 personality Rebecca Wilde dropped a bombshell of sorts on her Twitter page on Wednesday, September 15:

“Off to travel the world!! Last day at the Q is Oct. 29th!”

On September 22, the “Wilde and Fee” co-host officially confirmed her departure on her bio page/blog on Q104′s website. And indeed, she’s leaving WQAL on October 29 for an extended travel sabbatical… with little to no sign that she may make a reentry into radio:

“There is a whole big world out there that has been calling my name and I have finally decided it’s time to go check it out.  I will miss Cleveland like you cannot even imagine.  I have some time before my final goodbye but I want to thank you for everything…….for all the love, the success and the joy that you and this city have bestowed upon me.  I truly feel like I will be leaving a huge family and many friends behind.”

Wilde will leave the station just one month shy of her 10th anniversary over there; co-host Allan Fee celebrated his in late July. Of course, Fee originally was WQAL’s off-air program director before assuming the morning host position that Danny Czekalinski vacated in 2004… Wilde herself started in middays before succeeding Carole Chandler (Sullivan) as morning co-host in 2003.

Now the attention is directed towards who will replace Rebecca Wilde on the morning show; the smart money should have to be on current afternoon host Jen Toohey. And Rebecca, best of wishes upon your upcoming travels. Would we all be so lucky or fortunate…

PUTTING THE “NEW” IN NEWS GRAPHICS: Lest we forget the fine folks at Reserve Square, Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO/19 made a very noticeable change this past weekend.

One could make the case that, after “19 Action News” made the conversion to HD back in November 2007, they ended up with one of the ugliest graphics packages in town. So much could be said about that look, but by far, the biggest offensive was the massive “19ActionNewsHD” logo that compressed the text on the L3 graphics.

Fortunately on Monday (and no doubt coinciding with the start of CBS’ fall lineup) WOIO unveiled an updated graphics package. The on-air look is cleaner and crisper, and the bottom-of-the-screen ticker was refreshed as well. The biggest improvement was the merciful excising of the “HD” from the Action News logo.

Of course, in comparison to WOIO’s sister station (and former FOX O&O/Local TV outlet) in Birmingham, Fox affiliate WBRC/6… well, there IS no comparison…

DOWN ON THE FARM: Whiplash Radio LLC’s WRTK/1540 Niles continues to make additions to their “Farm” classic country format.

WRTK has picked up three weekend programs; first, Dial-Global’s “America’s Grand Ole Opry Weekend” on Saturday mornings from 9am-11am, “Country Music Greats with Jim Ed Brown” on Saturdays from 11am-1pm, and “Country Gold with Rowdy Yates” on Sunday mornings at 9am. But the most noteworthy addition, however, is the “Wheeling Jamboree,” which WRTK now carries on Saturdays from 1pm-3pm.

Yes, this is the very same program that originated on WWVA/1170 Wheeling for nearly 80 years, first as the “WWVA Jamboree,” and later “Jamboree USA,” before being quietly canceled on December 6, 2008 after three years worth of reruns. Since then, Clear Channel’s concert arm LiveNation spun off the program to a local non-profit, and sold off its’ longtime host venue, the Capitol Music Hall, to the Wheeling Convention Bureau. (The Capitol still hosts studio space for the entire Clear Channel Wheeling cluster.)

The Wheeling Jamboree now airs on “The Watchdawg,” WKKX/1600 Wheeling, WWVA’s all-local talk rival, and has since entered syndication, owing to WKKX’s non-existent 33 watt night signal (as opposed to WWVA’s massive 50kW signal).

Plus, as noted in this tweet from The Farm, the recent purchase of WRTK and Fox Sports affiliate WANR/1570 Warren may not be the last major move made by station owner Chris Lash. I guess we shall have to wait and see…

OTHER Y-TOWN NEWS: I was tipped off on some changes that occurred at Bernard Radio’s WASN/1500 Youngstown some months ago. Back in early January, WASN changed formats from gospel music to an urban talk format.

WASN has a local morning show hosted by “Tracey and Friends” from 7am-10am, followed by Syndication One hosts Warren Ballentine (10am-1pm) and the Rev. Al Sharpton (1pm-4pm), and Citadel host Michael Basiden (3pm-7pm), respectively. Basiden even did his show live from WASN’s studios this past Wednesday as part of his One Million Mentors tour, which had a stop in Youngstown.

The switch to urban talk also meant that a WASN mainstay, a local talk show hosted by Louie Free (which aired regardless of WASN’s past gospel and Hispanic formats), made the move to sister station WGFT/1330 Campbell, which sports a conservative talk format as “1330TALK.” Even though both stations are daytime-only, both WASN and WGFT‘s websites now feature 24-hour web streaming.

Also, there have been some rumblings that a significant station in said market could be sold in the very near future, but it’s still a very developing situation. Stay tuned…

KARLOVEC!!!: Newly minted WEOL/930 Elyria morning host Jeff Thomas isn’t the only former WKNR staffer that has seen a revival of, well… “good karma…” in Lorain County, even.

Since the start of the high school football season, former WKNR producer/host/Browns beat reporter Bob Karlovec has been the lead play-by-play man for classic country WOBL/1320 Oberlin’s HFSB broadcasts, joined alongside Darryl Maynard and sideline reporter Eric Girod.

Karlovec is hardly a stranger to Lorain County; he called games for WEOL from 1977 until 1992, and served as that station’s sports director for much of the same time. He joined WKNR upon the station’s July 1990 launch on the AM/1220 facility, and was there in numerous capacities until his dismissal on May 4, which was concurrent with Jeff Thomas’ release.

Bob’s addition also meant that former WOBL color man Jason Gibbs (who is also WKNR’s program director) was shuffled over to sister station WDLW/1380 Lorain’s broadcast crew, and is now teamed up with longtime play-by-play man Don Vincent and sideline reporter Rick Amador.

As for Jeff, he quietly returned to the field of play-by-play, serving as a fill-in sideline reporter for WEOL’s tape-delayed “Medina County Matchup” back on September 10. (Due to the big-time, big deal Elyria-Elyria Catholic game the previous night, his services were no doubt needed.)

WELL, HELLO (AGAIN) LARRY: Former Clevelander Larry Elder will be returning to the radio airwaves, on venerable Citadel talk station KABC/790 Los Angeles. The official announcement was made Wednesday afternoon during Sean Hannity’s own program.

It’s also a return to KABC for “The Sage of South Central,” where his show was once even nationally syndicated at, from 2002 until 2007 (ABC Radio replaced his show with WABC’s Mark Levin).

Back in the late 1980s, Elder hosted a public affairs show on PBS affiliate WVIZ/25 Cleveland, which eventually moved to then-Fox affiliate WOIO/19 as “The Larry Elder Show.”

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That’s it from here… have a great weekend!

You’ll Need A Scorecard

You’ll definitely need a scorecard to keep track of weekend talk radio in Ohio and beyond…in four steps…

STEP ONE: We’ll start off at the Clear Channel complex in the Kenwood area of Cincinnati, where sister talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland weekender and former WKDD/98.1-WHLO/640 Akron voice Matt Patrick, as scheduled, did a 12 noon-3 PM Saturday shift on the original “Big One”…WLW/700.

As we pointed out before, WLW is filling that time slot – formerly occupied by now-former WLW host Mike McConnell’s Premiere syndicated “The Weekend” – locally. Scott Sloan, who has been subbing in WLW’s weekday midday time slot since McConnell left, did the show on WLW last week.

(More on both McConnell, and “The Weekend”, later.)

Patrick was almost directly preceded by the man who could decide if he appears on WLW in the future: Darryl Parks, CC Cincinnati AM operations chief, who also regularly hosts the 9-11 AM Saturday “Midday” show…though his immediate lead-in was a quasi-infomercial hour we won’t mention here again unless the host pays us…

STEP TWO: With Matt Patrick in Southwest Ohio for the day, someone had to take the 1-4 PM Saturday shift he has been occupying back at WTAM…and who took the shift is sure a surprise.

That Saturday afternoon shift was filled by former sister hot AC WMVX/106.5 “Mix 106.5″ co-host Brian Fowler, marking his return to Oak Tree since “Brian and Joe” were canned for budget reasons.

Joe Cronauer, by the way, was recently heard filling in for Trapper Jack on CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 “Soft Rock 102.1″…and Fowler had an earlier turn filling in for Scott Miller at CBS Radio classic rock WNCX/98.5.

The pair has not been on the air together since leaving WMVX, though they have produced a regular podcast we’ve already mentioned. Fowler now has a regular “day job” with a local advertising agency.

Like Patrick in Cincinnati, Fowler gave the impression the WTAM show was a one-time appearance, unless he hears any more from the station. (Curiously, Fowler got liners done by the regular station voice, though we would not read too much into it…)

STEP THREE: And it appears McConnell is not long for “The Weekend”, or, it not long for him.

News out of Chicago places him in afternoons on WGN/720 starting in August – as expected, WGN’s Steve Cochran was told his last show in the 1-3 PM time slot was Friday. (It’s not known how the station will divide time between McConnell and earlier host John Williams, who is presumably staying.)

Maybe that finality led to McConnell’s run on “The Weekend” finishing a little earlier than expected.

On the web stream of Louisville KY’s WHAS/840, we heard KFI/640 Los Angeles host Tim Conway Jr. do the Saturday “Weekend” show, announcing that he had “signed a three year deal” to be the show’s permanent host…but that he’d be gone most of the summer due to a pre-scheduled vacation, with fill-in hosts rotating on the show.

We’re not all that familiar with Los Angeles talk radio, so we don’t know if any of that was accurate or not a joke.

But McConnell’s name has been officially excised from the show’s open, in a quick edit job.

Two Ohio notes in all this: We’re told by WTVN/610 Columbus weekender Dirk Thompson that the station hasn’t run “The Weekend” in “over a year”, though we seem to recall Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio guru John Kiesewetter noting the post-WLW “Weekend” with McConnell hosting airing on both WTVN and WHAS.

And yes, Tim Conway Jr. is the son of THAT Tim Conway, the Cleveland-area native actor and comedian known worldwide for his stints on “The Carol Burnett Show” and “McHale’s Navy”, not to mention “Dorf on Golf”…

AND STEP FOUR: We received a tip confirmed by long-time OMW reader/Lorain County-based tipster Nathan Obral, of a fill-in at a local talk station.

And Nathan tells us it was a return to the airwaves Friday morning by long-time local radio voice Jeff Thomas, subbing on Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria’s morning show.

We hear that Jeff could repeat the fill-in one day next week.

We’re also told that Jeff did a regular talk show, and wasn’t doing a sports show – despite his lengthy sports radio background as the morning update voice on Good Karma sports WKNR/850 (via Metro Networks).

Of course, WEOL would have a good reason to try out a new voice…as incumbent morning drive host Les Sekely is leaving the station in August, heading for full-time teaching work. But we don’t know if Jeff is the only voice getting a try-out…

Live From Northeast Ohio

We just wanted to dispel the rumor that we’ve moved to another state, and are doing this blog remotely, while you thought we were still in Ohio.

Heh! We couldn’t resist…

BATH TOWNSHIP, OHIO…HELLO!: Read that in the voice of CNN’s Larry King, as the veteran talk show host dropped in at the Bath Township mansion of Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James this week – to conduct an interview with the soon-to-be free agent to air on Friday’s edition of “Larry King Live” (9 PM Eastern, last we checked).

The King Meets The King was a huge story on local TV and radio this week, as both sports and news operations let out pieces of the interview offered up as a preview by CNN (“Cleveland has the edge to bring LeBron back”, etc.).

And yes, King asked King James for his location in suburban Akron, “just a few miles away” from James’ very modest upbringings in local housing projects.

You can read a transcript of the interview, or watch a clip from it, here.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that King’s show is “struggling”, with its “lowest monthly viewer total in nearly 20 years” – an average of 653,000 viewers each night.

The show that King James is putting on? It is drawing more viewers, presumably, if you count the near saturation coverage the LeBron Free Agent Sweepstakes is getting on the various networks of ESPN.

And then, there’s “LeBron Watch”.

It’s a regular sports radio feature, but it isn’t heard on Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 (the Cavaliers “mothership”), or even on Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850″. Or for that matter, the sports radio station in LeBron’s hometown of Akron, Clear Channel sports WARF/1350 “Fox Sports 1350″. All three stations cover LeBron-related items on a daily basis.

Nope, it’s on ESPN O&O WEPN/1050 “1050 ESPN” in New York City. You know, home of the Knicks and the nearby New Jersey Nets, teams which both hope that the Big Apple wins the LeBron Sweepstakes.

Though they’d cover LeBron either way if he went to New York City, WEPN is the Knicks’ flagship station. The Nets are on crosstown CBS Radio sports WFAN/660 “SportsRadio 66″.

AllAccess reports that “1050 ESPN” launched “LeBron Watch” on May 14th with a three-hour special, promising daily updates on LeBron “and other free agents on the market”…

DETROIT VOICE: Speaking of sports, Thursday afternoon, we heard new WKNR afternoon update anchor Rob Pascoe read a story about the now-infamous “blown call near perfect game”, where a Detroit Tigers pitcher was robbed of baseball’s highest achievement in a game against the Cleveland Indians Wednesday night.

We thought – “Hmm, who is this guy, and is he doing these updates from Detroit?”

It turns out that he (apparently) is much closer to Comerica Park than he is to Progressive Field.

A quick Google search led us to Pascoe’s page on the website of CBS Radio all-newser WWJ/950 in Detroit, which places all but a year of his media career in Michigan:

Following his stint at (sports talk station) WDFN, Pascoe landed at WWJ News Radio 950 in March 2009. He considers it an “honor” to be working with the entire staff at WWJ.

Of course, the apparent fact that Pascoe is in Detroit is no surprise to OMW readers.

We spent a lot of time reporting on the end of Metro Networks’ local presence in the Cleveland market, which turned out to lead to a handful of Metro staffers “embedded” at the company’s Cleveland market affiliates, including now-former morning sports update anchor Jeff Thomas at WKNR.

(And no, we don’t have any update on Jeff’s post-WKNR path, but we’d appreciate hearing any news about it – if one of our readers does know!)

At the time the closure of Metro’s offices/studios in the Independence Media Gulch took place, the sports station was not taking any updates from Detroit (Metro’s new hub covering Ohio markets), but apparently, that plan has now taken hold.

Pascoe’s good…a professional, smooth, major market talent that led us to wonder about his presence in the much larger market of Detroit.

But he sounded a little “detached” to us…referring to local sports teams too often as simply “Cleveland”, like he was a national anchor with no connection to the teams.

Unlike a certain Northwest Ohio newspaper and its apparent obsession with the physical location of local radio talk show hosts, this is mostly just cleanup of an old item for us.

After all, we’re not about to send a photographer up I-75 to Detroit…

PROMOTION: OMW gives a Tip of the Hat to Sally Spitz, the long-time local radio/TV personality and sales executive, for her recent promotion.

Spitz is now “Co-Manager, Local Sales” for Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting AAA WNWV/107.3 “V107.3″.

She shares the title of sales manager with national sales manager Lynn Walko, and OMW hears the opening came due to Wayne Meyers heading into management at the Playhouse Square complex of public broadcaster Ideastream (PBS affiliate WVIZ/25 and NPR affiliate WCPN/90.3).

Of course, Sally is also seen weekdays on Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5′s “Spotlight 5″, a sponsored segment seen at the end of “NewsChannel 5 at Noon”.

Congratulations to Sally!

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