Stan’s Exit? On The Way

OMW readers have known since last week that Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron” morning host Stan Piatt was headed for retirement after a 36 year run at the station.

Now, WNIR listeners know, officially.

The station aired a news story Monday, starting at 12 noon, that Piatt is indeed retiring “sometime between now and July”. (Yes, July. More on that later.)

The announcement was immediately followed by a call for “a funny person” to fill Piatt’s shoes on the station’s morning show, where Piatt’s replacement would sit alongside (still, presumably) incumbent co-hosts Steve French, Phil Ferguson and Maggie Fuller.

Those interested in auditioning were directed to E-mail the station.

OMW hears that the station’s official announcement of Piatt’s exit, combined with the call for auditions, was aired with good reason.

For one, we’re told that the station agreed not to “drag out” the process of Stan’s departure, which would make sense when you consider that WNIR is repeatedly calling for potential replacement candidates right now.

We’re also told that you probably shouldn’t expect to hear Stan Piatt on WNIR all the way into July 2014…and we’d be surprised he was still on the air in 2014 at all.

Piatt, as we’ve said before, is retiring for personal reasons…and will not pursue a radio gig in his new home area of Western Pennsylvania…

Updates And More Updates

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

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

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

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

Here’s your new “ESPN 850” schedule:

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

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

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

And after that, according to Thomas?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe D.L. Hughley is that answer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

UPDATE Departures And, Uh, Departures

UPDATE 8/21/13 8:30 AM: The always plugged in Bob Finnan sheds more light on WKNR’s Tuesday talent purge, where veteran personality Kenny Roda and the station’s Will Burge and T.J. Zuppe were let go in one day.

The News-Herald sportswriter says that Michael Reghi will have a more limited role as well, appearing only on the station’s official Cleveland Browns programming…as host of “The Rob Chudzinski Show” with the Browns head coach (also appearing on co-flagship CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”), and with a role on “Cleveland Browns Daily” during the regular season.

And, of course, as the pre-season play-by-play voice of the team, filling that role while regular season play-by-play man Jim Donovan calls the games with Bernie Kosar on his home station, WKYC/3.

The result? For now, at least, the station will no longer program local shows after “The Hooligans” ends, sending along the ESPN Radio feed. (That change, according to Finnan, also means Reghi is no longer doing the “10th Inning” baseball postgame show, or, apparently, any Cavaliers-themed postgame show.)

That means WKNR will apparently find something else to do with Je’Rod Cherry in the daytime lineup, in addition to his role on the Browns pre-game show.

There’s no word on what happens to evening co-host/producer Dave DeNatale.

With this new information, it becomes clearer…at least for now, “ESPN 850” is retreating entirely from local evening programming. That makes us wonder if it’s indeed a budget move.

Hey, how much did Good Karma pay for its share of the Cleveland Browns contract, anyway? Just a thought…

Finnan also brings along major news from Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100, which moves Cleveland Browns beat reporter Andre Knott into a position alongside afternoon drive host Mike Trivisonno, Knott later fronting his own show with Cleveland Indians beat reporter Nick Camino weeknights from 6-7 PM.

That’s been known previously around here as the “We’ll Re-Play Triv’s First Hour So He Can Go Home At 6” show…

This item was intended to have the title of “Departures And Arrivals”, but the Departure listings at OMW Airport are stacked up. And some of the planes haven’t even boarded yet…

THREE EXIT WKNR: We don’t know “why” yet, if it was a budget cut, a “change of direction” or something else, but three on-air staffers at Good Karma sports WKNR/850-WWGK/1540 “ESPN Cleveland” are no longer in the building at the Galleria.

Cleveland.com’s Glenn Moore has more:

Cleveland Browns beat reporter Will Burge, Cleveland Indians beat reporter T.J. Zuppe and on-air show host Kenny Roda were dismissed by the radio station, which is owned by Good Karma Broadcasting.

But the news filtered out directly from the now-former WKNR staffers on Twitter, all of them “taking the high road” and thanking the station and its listeners.

From Will Burge’s Twitter account:

2day a chapter closed in my career, unexpectedly but welcomed. Thanks so much to the fans of #3Deep & WKNR. Ill be back VERY SOON #FreeAgent

And from Zuppe on Twitter:

They say when 1 door closes, another opens. Unexpected change but will forever be indebted to WKNR for giving me the opportunity. #FreeAgent

And the biggest name is that of Kenny Roda, who’s been in any number of roles on WKNR (most notably afternoon drive) for over 20 years:

Thanks to all who have made the last 21 years at WKNR a remarkable, unforgettable & amazing journey.I enjoyed sharing it with you all.

Most recently, Roda has been paired with veteran sportscaster Michael Reghi on “Cleveland Sports Night”, weeknights 9 to midnight.

He’s a little more pragmatic in a phone interview with Kevin Kleps with Crain’s Cleveland Business, where Burge and Zuppe repeat the “different direction” line they heard from Good Karma management:

“I really can’t” talk about it, he said. “Maybe in the next couple days. I just found out today and have a meeting with my lawyer tomorrow.

“I won’t say anything negative about them,” Mr. Roda continued. “It’s part of the business. I’m just doing the normal stuff (in meeting with his attorney) — I’ve been through this three, four times now, whatever.”

Burge and Zuppe repeat the “different direction” line they were both told by Good Karma management.

Whatever that phrase means, we’ve learned over years it basically means “away from you”…

IS HE GOING OR STAYING?: Perhaps the worst keep secret in the Akron radio market, hinted about in our last update, has been the potential status of Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron” morning mainstay Stan Piatt.

Since at least last Thursday, Piatt has all but gone door to door telling everyone that he was about to retire from his decades-long perch at the Akron market talker.

OMW hears that Piatt told the audience the news at his second home, the Funny Stop comedy club in Cuyahoga Falls, on Thursday night… which would explain about a half dozen E-mails from OMW readers asking about it on Friday.

So, after 36 years as leader of the WNIR morning show, Stan Piatt is retiring and leaving Akron.

Uh, don’t throw that retirement party just yet.

We’re told he “alluded” to the not-yet-final news on-air this week, but Piatt has not yet announced that he’s leaving the show and “The Talk of Akron”.

OMW hears that when faced with another blow to their schedule, WNIR’s Bob and Bill Klaus launched into a frantic attempt to keep Piatt around.

It’s not a contract or money thing, as far as we know. Piatt has personal reasons to move and start a new life…reportedly, in Pittsburgh.

So, while the Klaus brothers lobby Piatt to forgo that new life, the announcement of his exit – and indeed, the decision to actually leave – are both on hold.

You probably can’t find any talk radio station in America that has seen the lineup blows that WNIR has seen recently.

Two hosts died…including Akron talk radio icon Howie Chizek. Piatt leaving would leave another large hole in the lineup, even with incumbent morning players Steve French, Maggie Fuller and Phil Ferguson in place.

And really, the Klaus Brothers haven’t exactly shined when it comes to filling those lineup holes.

Chizek was replaced, after a clumsy audition process, by long-time regular caller John “Couch Burner” Denning, who recently marked his first year in the time slot once occupied by his favorite host.

Evening host Tom Erickson’s replacement process was a bit smoother. After station regular fill-ins Bob Earley and Jim Isabella took turns in the slot, Isabella took the 7-midnight slot full-time. (Earley made it clear in both open time slot cases that he didn’t want the job.)

And then, we dial back years ago to the original replacement process for afternoon drive host Joe Finan…the veteran liberal talker retired from the station, only to resurface later on Clear Channel then-liberal talk WARF/1350 “Radio Free Ohio” (now sports “Fox Sports 1350”)…departing that station shortly before he departed this earth.

WNIR auditioned just about anyone who could sit in front of a microphone for the 3-7 PM slot…truck drivers, waitresses and maybe even a pro or two…until the mother of a former Cleveland Browns player saw a newspaper article, and thought it would be the perfect opportunity for her son Bob Golic – with a broadcasting background in sports radio and TV – to return to Northeast Ohio.

Golic fulfilled the “Akron Idol audition process” by subbing, unannounced, one night for Tom Erickson. The rest was carefully orchestrated history.

Even attempts to bring on radio pros – who weren’t referred by family – failed.

Jeff Kinzbach, most known for his role on the dominant WMMS/100.7 “Buzzard Morning Zoo” with Ed “Flash” Ferenc (“Jeff and Flash”), was in the WNIR audition rotation to try out for the slot left open by Howie Chizek’s death.

How’d that work out? Well, let’s just say the folks at Broadcast Park handled it about as badly as you could.

Quoting a certain media blog from the time:

Kinzbach posted that he’d heard a station promo for his week-long audition stint had been pulled, and that “someone had been hired”.

After not hearing from WNIR officials, and playing some phone tag with the station, Kinzbach posted that he was eventually told that was indeed the case, and that he was told that “they have hired a guy who was a frequent caller to the station.”

Hmm. “We’re not going to hire you, but we’ll make you track us down and make us tell you we’re not going to hire you”?

Kinzbach, of course, landed a much better gig…as morning host at Rubber City Radio rocker WONE/97.5.

If Stan Piatt is heading for Pittsburgh and away from WNIR, what will Broadcast Park do to replace him? The mind boggles…

FEAGLER’S LEAVING: You often forget how long some well-known local media personalities have been around, until they retire after 50 years.

That’s how long Dick Feagler has been practicing some form of journalism or news commentary in Cleveland, dating back to stints in print with the Cleveland Press, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and in between, an ad hoc syndication effort with suburban Northeast Ohio newspapers.

Broadcast news watchers remember him in the past from commentaries on local TV newscasts, and for a 2 year stint in the 1990s as news co-anchor on NBC affiliate WKYC/3.

Since 1997, Feagler’s home base has been Ideastream PBS affiliate WVIZ/25’s weekly program “Feagler & Friends”, a news interview and roundtable program.

The last “Feagler & Friends” will air September 27, according to a release from the local public TV outlet:

The Sept. 27 program will be recorded earlier in the week in front of a live audience in the Westfield Insurance™ Studio Theater at the Idea Center at PlayhouseSquare, home to ideastream. This special presentation of the weekly public affairs series will find Dick and special guests reminiscing about a half-century of memorable news stories and the people who populated them. Presented in the traditional “Cleveland-style” of Feagler & Friends, the final show will be filled with lively talk, feisty discussion and considerable sidebar conversations. The program will also feature Dick’s final “Commentary,” a familiar forum from Dick’s days as a newspaper columnist and TV commentator.

As you’d expect in the days of digital TV, the last “Feagler & Friends” will repeat over the following days on WVIZ’s “Ohio” subchannel…

TWO REPORTERS HEADING OFF: WKYC/3’s Jennifer Lindgren and WJW “Fox 8″‘s Annette Lawless are heading off to new jobs.

Lindgren moves to Dallas, where she’ll work at CBS O&O KTVT/11. And Lawless heads back home to Kansas, where she’ll anchor at Gray ABC affiliate KAKE/10 Wichita.

(And yes, they do call the KAKE viewing area “KAKEland”.)

Lawless has been a regular reader of Your Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), starting her time reading us back when Youngstown market ABC affiliate WYTV/33 was SSA-subsumed into New Vision (now LIN TV) CBS affiliate WKBN/27.

She watched with interest, as the exact same process was happening to her former home station in Topeka, ABC affiliate KTKA/49. It too was purchased by Parkin Broadcasting/PBC, which bought WYTV, and operated by New Vision Television, which bought WKBN and took over WYTV’s operations. (Vaughan Media now holds both WYTV and KTKA for LIN TV.)

We promise much more…as a regular reader and Twitter follower, we’ve asked Annette to answer a series of E-mail interview questions… which we’ll send off very soon…

AND ONE ARRIVAL: Cable and satellite viewers, after some uncertainly, learned shortly before launch that they’d receive Fox Sports 1, the new national sports network Fox is launching to go up against ESPN (and to a lesser extent, CBS Sports Network and NBC Sports Network).

Just days before Saturday, clearances were announced for some big TV fish – Time Warner Cable, the area’s dominant cable provider, as well as Cablevision and suburban Cleveland operator Cox Cable, as well as satellite services DirecTV and Dish Network.

What happened?

It would appear that Fox blinked, says Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand:

The frenzied rush that saw several of the country’s biggest distributors agree to carry FS1 at launch occurred only after Fox surprisingly backed off its asking price of $0.80 per subscriber per month, according to multiple high-level sources.

Cablevision, Cox, DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable agreed to carry the new, heavily promoted all-sports channel, but only at the same rate they were paying for the previous channel, Speed, which was $0.23 per subscriber per month.

Fox told the distributors that it would convert Speed into FS1 and allow distributors with existing Speed deals to carry it at Speed’s rate, or at least close to it, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the talks.

Put simply – it’s hard to compete against the ESPN Behemoth if no one’s watching, so Fox apparently decided to try squeeze more money out of providers down the road, and establish FS1 with larger viewership at launch.

The “conversion” means that if you’re looking for Fox Sports 1, you’ll generally find it where your provider had Speed, and companion network Fox Sports 2 replaces Fuel.

On our Time Warner system, Speed was on channel 75, and that’s where Fox Sports 1 lives today. (Note: channel 75 is not available on analog extended basic, as a digital box is required.)

There was a bit of a channel move on DirecTV, where FS1 landed on channel 219. (It’s on Dish Network on channel 150.)

Those using other providers can find their Fox Sports 1 channel here

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…

Posting To The Holidays

This will be the last regular news post of 2012, barring any major (and we mean major) Northeast Ohio media news. We’ll continue to put breaking media bulletins and other observations on the OMW Social Media Presence(tm) (uh, our Twitter and Facebook accounts).

May all of our readers have a very happy holiday season, and we’ll see you in January…but, until then…

AL BARTHOLET’S REPLACEMENT: Kent State University public radio outlet WKSU/89.7-and-its-many-simulcasters has found its replacement for retiring general manager Al Bartholet.

Dan Skinner

Daniel E. Skinner comes in from San Antonio-based Texas Public Radio, where he’s been president and general manager for the past six years.

Skinner has been in public radio for 32 years, with 20 years of general manager experience.

Quoting a release sent our way from (you knew it was coming!) long-time personal and professional Friend of OMW Ann VerWiebe:

Based in San Antonio, TPR operates KSTX FM, an award-winning news and information station; KPAC FM, a classical music station; and KTXI FM, a news and classical music station in the Texas Hill Country.

Previously, he was department head and general manager of Purdue University’s WBAA AM & FM (1992-2006); program manager and then manager of internal operations and programming for Ball State University’s WBST (1987-1992); and operations manager and then program director for Hutchinson Community College’s KHCC (1980-1987).

Skinner is a longtime advocate for public radio. He has been a member of Public Radio in Mid-America (PRIMA) since 1995 and is its current vice president. The organization serves as a forum on issues in public radio, advances the public radio industry and its services, and offers numerous professional-development opportunities.

He was also vice chair of the Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations, a statewide consortium of public television and radio stations, and served on its executive committee.

Skinner takes over the general manager’s chair at WKSU on January 2, 2013.

And for the incoming GM, here’s a list of WKSU-and-its-many-simulcasters, courtesy of “Ann’s Corner”:

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

THE LAKE NEEDS A CAPTAIN: Due to Tony Matteo’s departure for the operations manager job at Clear Channel’s Wichita KS cluster, there’s an opening at the company’s adult hits WHLK/106.5 “The Lake” in Cleveland.

Ah, but the Oak Tree folks are doing things differently.

With sister country WGAR/99.5 program director Charley Connolly adding PD stripes for WHLK, the station needs, uh, a “captain” for “The Lake”. (Get it?)

If you’re just the kind of, uh, mate who wants to help Connolly steer the ship, here’s the ad for 106.5’s new Executive Producer slot:

Clear Channel Media + Entertainment Cleveland is looking for an ‘out of box’ creative thinker to be the Executive Producer of 106.5 The Lake. Candidates need to know how to make a radio brand come to life through creative and engaging imaging.

Creativity is a must; but so are killer organizational skills, incredible attention to detail and excellent follow through.

We are looking for candidates with a strong knowledge of programming and past experience is a major plus!

Production skills and knowledge of NexGen helpful.

Please rush an email with materials (sample writing, production, programming philosophy or anything else that would sell you to us) to (charleyconnolly-at-clearchannel-dot-com).

Though Clear Channel didn’t place the ad here, we did, we remind you that “Clear Channel Media + Entertainment is an Equal Opportunity Employer”.

You know that’s real because we didn’t add the “Pork Rinds” part…

FILLING THE GAP: Well, as much as you can fill the gap after letting someone like now-former Clear Channel top 40 WAKS/96.5 “Kiss FM” assistant program director/music director/afternoon personality Kasper get away in a budget cut, at any rate.

Java Joel

Cleveland’s “Kiss FM” has moved night slammer* “Java Joel” Murphy into Kasper’s former afternoon drive time slot, and another voice familiar to many Cleveland listeners takes over nights.

But unlike his time at One Radio Lane (RIP 2012), Rob Kruz won’t be back here in Cleveland.

Kruz

Kruz (without the first name) left CBS Radio hot AC WQAL/104.1 “Q104” here in February 2010 to take the night gig at Clear Channel top 40 WIHT/99.5 “Hot 99.5” in Washington DC.

Thus, he will be heard on the local top 40 outlet via the magic of voicetracking from somewhere in the suburbia of our Nation’s Capital, unless perhaps he happens to be visiting his old hometown.

“Java Joel” is, as far as we know, still broadcasting live and direct from the Oak Tree Clear Channel Media+Entertainment+Pork Rinds World Domination HQ in the Cleveland suburb of Independence.

* – And yes, we believe it’s some sort of radio trade publication law that we have to call the night personality at a hit radio station a “night slammer”…

HOWIE’S ESTATE: The late radio icon Howie Chizek was mainly a private man when he turned off the microphone at Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron”, where he held forth in middays for nearly 40 years.

Those who know him are probably cringing about a front page story in the Akron Beacon Journal, where Phil Trexler laid out a lot of information on the disposition of Howie’s estate.

We’re not going to retread the ground well covered by Trexler’s piece in this Mighty Blog(tm). Anyone who’s interested can go to the story link…

AMANDA GONE: Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3 reporter/anchor Amanda Barren has left the building (13th and Lakeside) to return to West Virginia.

Amanda Barren

Barren came to Channel 3 News from WSAZ/3, the Charleston/Huntington market’s NBC affiliate, where she was a weekend anchor and reporter. She returns to WSAZ to co-anchor the station’s 5 PM newscast.

In addition to morning reporting, Barren was also part of the WKYC “Live on Lakeside” midday news magazine team.

Video of that show saying goodbye to her is here, and video from “Channel 3 News Today” is here

K-LOVE OR AIR 1: Just the other day, a regular reader asked us what was taking so long in the sale of Bernard Radio urban AC WRBP/101.9 “Jamz” in the Youngstown market to religious broadcasting giant Educational Media Foundation.

Today, we have an answer.

The Youngstown Vindicator’s Guy D’Astolfo reports that the sale of WRBP to EMF will close in January, and the local urban format on 101.9 will go away on December 30th…to be replaced by Christian radio on January 1st.

Quoting:

Jamz DJs have begun to tell listeners about the coming change.

“We’re saying goodbye on the air now, letting folks know we are going away,” said (station manager Skip) Bednarczyk. “Most of our listeners knew about the sale but assumed nothing would change.”

Those listeners obviously haven’t followed the history of EMF, which invariably changes newly acquired stations to one of its two satellite formats: “K-Love” (Christian contemporary) or “Air 1” (Christian rock).

And EMF already has a “K-Love” outlet serving the Mahoning Valley…rimshot WLVX/107.1 Greenville PA.

At this point, we don’t know if EMF will install “Air 1” on 101.9 on January 1st, or if there’ll be some sort of shuffle with the “K-Love” feed on 107.1.

But we do know, thanks to the Vindicator article, that WRBP’s move into the EMF fold will silence another Bernard Radio station in Youngstown:

As a result of the sale, Jamz 101.9’s sister station, (urban talk) WASN-AM 1500, will go off the air.

Jamz was the radio group’s money-maker, and it kept WASN afloat, according to Bednarczyk.

Without Jamz, there was no choice but to shut down WASN.

Unlike before, where EMF bought 107.1’s two AM sister stations (WGRP/940 Greenville PA and WLOA/1470 Farrell PA) and even ran “K-Love” on them for a while before selling them off, EMF did not purchase WASN. As a rule, despite stragglers like WNWT/1520 in the Toledo market, EMF has a distaste for AM radio.

The financial loss of the income from “Jamz 101.9” was apparently too much to consider keeping its AM daytimer sister station going after the sale…even if it was a place, Bednarczyk told the newspaper, where “the black community expressed its concerns and issues and had a dialog.”

Presumably, Bernard sister classic hits WGFT/1330 “Oldies 1330” is staying on the air. Though really, Bernard Radio’s sole purpose as an operating company is to keep radio stations going until the highest bidder comes along…

CHANGES IN SPORTS: Readers in the Youngstown radio market tell us that local hosts on Cumulus sports WBBW/1240 are hinting at upcoming programming changes.

The changes are no secret to anyone who reads this blog.

Cumulus will flip something on the order of 50-plus sports stations from ESPN to CBS Sports Radio, when the latter’s 24/7 feed starts in January. Cumulus is heavily involved in CBS Sports Radio in a joint venture.

Thus, the lineup on/name of “ESPN 1240” (and same for its Cumulus sibling across the PA border, “ESPN 96.7”) is going the way of the do-do bird at the end of the year.

We don’t know what Cumulus will call WBBW and WLLF/96.7 Mercer PA… perhaps they’ll adopt a “Fan” style name in markets where CBS doesn’t already have such a station…

HOLIDAY CHEER: And time for some public radio holiday cheer, now that the commercial stations that are going to play holiday music have started doing so in one form or another.

First, a release from “Ann’s Corner” about holiday themed music and programming at the aforementioned WKSU.

Then, we’ll have a note about a new stream at Ideastream public outlet WCPN/90.3 in Cleveland.

But, Ann goes first, as always. She sent us the release over a week ago, so some of the events have already passed…

—–

WKSU makes the season sparkle with a series of holiday-themed programs and classical and folk music streams for the month of December. Holiday music streams are currently available online or through WKSU’s iPhone and Android apps. Music moves to WKSU’s HD-2: Folk Alley and HD-3: Classical HD Radio channels on Dec. 10 with Christmas classical music being added with more frequency to general on-air broadcasts through Dec. 25. Access the music streams and find the complete holiday programming schedule online at www.wksu.org/features/holiday2012 .

Special, stand-alone programs start on Monday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. with a new installment of NPR’s Hanukkah Lights featuring Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz. The next week, evenings at 8 p.m. offer a variety of Christmas music, from early music on Monday and classic works on Tuesday and Wednesday to carols on Thursday and Celtic selections on Friday (which also hosts other folk shows until midnight).

On Saturday, Dec. 22, at 6 p.m., Garrison Keillor presents a holiday-centered A Prairie Home Companion (re-aired on Dec. 23 at 10 a.m.), followed by folk host Jim Blum’s annual mix of holiday music – new and old. The schedule for Sunday, Dec. 23, includes more public radio music programs for the holidays and Baroque Era Christmas with host David Roden.

On Christmas Eve morning, WKSU airs the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols live from King’s College in Cambridge. The Christmas Day celebration starts early with non-stop classical Christmas music beginning after NPR’s All Things Considered on Dec. 24 and airing until the return of Morning Edition at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 26.

Holiday observations continue on Dec. 26, at 8 p.m. with the Kwanzaa program, A Season’s Griot, hosted by storyteller Madafo Lloyd Wilson. Seasonal programming comes to an end on WKSU with the traditional New Year’s Day performance by the Vienna Philharmonic, live from the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. The concert of waltzes, polkas and other lively tunes begins at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, with the orchestra under the baton of Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Möst.

—–

Now, it’s WCPN’s turn:

“Swingin’ Sounds of the Season” is a 24 hour a day holiday jazz music stream at
http://www.ideastream.org/holiday/swingin
The stream will run through New Year’s Day.

For a uniquely swingin’ and jazzy approach to holiday music – where no one gets run over by a reindeer – tune in! ideastream’s own jazz authority Dan Polletta has spent hours carefully blending classic holiday recordings by greats including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald and Dexter Gordon with new takes on seasonal songs from the likes of Carla Bley, Cyrus Chestnut and Wynton Marsalis that will help warm you up during the winter holiday season. With so many tunes randomly streamed, you’re assured a unique jazz combo every time you listen. Enjoy!

Chad And Larry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ERIKA: It never was our business.

ALAN: It really wasn’t, no.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you, Chad Zumock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Letting Some Out

This may be one of our final blog updates of 2012, though we will continue to update our social media presence with breaking media-related news.

No, not actual breaking news, as some of our E-mailers (not readers) haven’t figured out…

CLEVELAND RADIO HISTORY INTO HISTORY: As we write this, early Sunday morning, the storied Cleveland media address “One Radio Lane” is no longer occupied by, well, any radio stations.

CBS Radio’s local operations in Cleveland have been split between two locations for some time.

At the Halle Building in Playhouse Square, it’s been “the wall of men” – male audience grabbers…classic rock WNCX/98.5 and sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”.

At One Radio Lane, on a sketchy part of St. Clair Avenue near 26th Street, it’s been the “wall of women” – female audience stalwarts…AC WDOK/102.1 “New 102” and hot AC WQAL/104.1 “Q104”.

Here comes some co-ed housing.

Tuesday after “New 102’s” morning show with Trapper Jack and Jen Toohey, WDOK(shhh) went live from its new studios at the Halle Building.

“Q104” followed suit later in the week, bringing all of CBS Radio’s Cleveland properties under the same former legendary department store roof.

There’s a lot of radio history at One Radio Lane, and “New 102” midday personality Kory (the first WDOK voice from the Halle), evening personality Jaci Fox and “Infoman” Jim McIntyre weigh in with their observations and memories on the station’s website.

Though CBS Radio has only been using the building since the mid-1990s, McIntyre points out that One Radio Lane’s radio history goes clear back to 1969, when WABQ and WXEN broadcast from the St. Clair Avenue building.

OMW hears that CBS has repurposed two existing production studios at the Halle Building to bring the four stations under the same roof, and we’re told it’s a tight fit.

The move is actually a return to the Halle Building for “New 102″‘s Jaci Fox, who worked for 92.3 in its alt-rock “Radio 92.3” days…then segued to on-air control room producer for “92.3 The Fan’s” afternoon drive “Bull and Fox”…

STOPPING THREE DAYS: We’ve talked about the speculation both here and on our social media presence, but it looks like rumors could be turning into reality, and soon.

Could Cleveland become the largest American city without a daily newspaper?

Readers here are well aware that the parent company of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Advance Publications, has converted local newspapers to three-day-a-week publication schedules in places like New Orleans.

We always thought it was a matter of time before that sort of move would come to Cleveland…and the “time” may be early next year.

Unlike Advance’s other projects, one of the Plain Dealer’s unions got out ahead of the news…and is urging people, and area leaders, to show their support for a seven-day newspaper.

Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3’s “Channel 3 News” ran a story by Tom Beres on the union’s effort (Gannett, of course, owns many newspapers elsewhere, including the national USA Today)…and the Plain Dealer itself then picked up the story about itself.

Ombudsman Ted Diadiun weighs in on the paper’s coverage of itself, and the union’s campaign, here.

The Newspaper Guild Local 1 effort also expands to a Facebook page.

What’s a good timeline if you’re trying to guess when Advance has in mind to make possible changes? This, from the WKYC story:

Members of the Newspaper Guild at the Plain Dealer say they have been told changes and layoffs are coming but have not been told specifics.

The Guild has an agreement preventing any layoffs until January 31, 2013.

To many people under a Certain Age, used to getting information at light speed online, the very notion of printing news on newsprint and distributing it to the front door may seem quaint.

But though Cleveland is an older market than some, we aren’t putting any bets on Advance keeping the Plain Dealer Dead Trees Edition around seven days a week…

TOM PASSES ON: There aren’t many radio stations in America whose web pages have two hosts listed under “In Memoriam”.

But the rough year continues for the folks at Broadcast Park, the Akron area home of Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron”.

Evening host Tom Erickson, after a long hospitalization, died November 3rd.

The station, already recovering from the death of iconic midday host Howie Chizek, mourned the loss of one of its hosts for the second time this year.

On Tom’s “In Memoriam” page, a nod to his affection for space, science and otherworldly issues:

We’ll miss listening to T.E. “til eleven” but we can still tune into Tom on any starry night…just look up!

After initially saying no event would be held to mark Tom’s passage, his family has set up a remembrance.

We’ll let daughter Heather Nagel describe this weekend’s event:

To celebrate Tom’s life, his children Heather and Erik Nagel will be hosting a Celebration of Life gathering to honor a man who loved this community and the people in it. The gathering will be held on Sunday November 18, 2012 from 3-6pm at Roses Run, 2636 North River Rd, in Stow.

This gathering will be a chance to celebrate Tom with great memories and smiles for all family, friends, and listeners. The gathering will be held thanks to support from Roses Run and Ripper Owens Tap House, two places that Tom enjoyed very much.

Let us all remember Tom together with the zest for life that he enjoyed the last 40 years as a member of our local media and community.

For now, it appears frequent station fill-in Jim Isabella is handling the bulk of Tom’s schedule, except perhaps for Friday evenings…Isabella is a sports correspondent for the Akron Beacon Journal.

As he has been before, AAA WAPS/91.3 “The Summit” host and former WNIR fill-in Bill Hall has been handling Friday evenings, and at least one Saturday afternoon.

We don’t know what WNIR will do to permanently fill the 7-11 PM weeknight/4-7 PM Saturday shift.

Of course, WNIR hired long-time Howie Chizek regular caller John “Couch Burner” Denning to replace the late Mr. Chizek. And no, we’re not doing any reviews…

MORE ALAN: It turns out that, without much surprise, Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7 afternoon drive host Alan Cox has signed a contract renewal.

Cox addressed the issue on the air on his show…noting that the company basically split the contract length difference with him – Clear Channel wanted three years, Cox said, and he wanted a one year deal, so it ended up being two years.

In addition to WMMS’ “Alan Cox Show”, he’ll end up doing morning drive on a Clear Channel FM station in Detroit.

We believe the station is rock WDTW/106.7 “The D”, and Cox said his Detroit show will be a regular, music-oriented program as opposed to his talk show in Cleveland.

Alan Cox has ties to the Detroit area…and though he told listeners that he’ll generally be doing that show from Cleveland, he’ll occasionally be in Detroit and do his WMMS show from there – with the rest of the “ACS” cast, including Chad Zumock and Erika Lauren, back at Oak Tree, talking to a chair.

As OMW readers know, Alan Cox is no stranger to a “side gig” within the Clear Channel universe…having been featured on a St. Louis rock station for some time…

COPPER THIEVES: Hoping to make a killing selling stolen copper, thieves often target radio station transmitter sites…where if they’re not careful, the killing they make could be suicide.

This U.S. Attorney’s office news release out of Cleveland says two people, Thomas M. Carbone and Katie M. Stanton were charged with “the malicious destruction of federally-licensed communications lines” in a federal indictment.

The facility hit in August is Radio One gospel WJMO/1300’s North Royalton site, and after the damage and theft, the release says:

This unlawful removal of copper depleted the signal strength of the supported radio station, thereby impeding the station’s ability to broadcast emergency messages, according to the indictment.

Emergency repairs cost nearly $11,000 while permanent repairs will cost an estimated $125,000, according to the indictment.

Those doing such mischief often don’t realize that as a broadcast station is a federally-licensed facility, their misdeeds escalate rather quickly into a literal “federal case”…

YOUR 92.3 THE FAN LATE NIGHT LINEUP: When word came out that CBS Radio was launching its own 24/7 sports radio network, we quickly sounded the death knell for Fox Sports Radio in the overnight hours at CBS’ local jock talker, WKRK/92.3 “The Fan”.

Not that it took a crystal ball to realize that, of course, but it’s now official.

The network has its full late night lineup, with Boston’s Damon Amendolara’s “D.A. Show” going national from 2-6 AM (ET).

The CBS press release for the new show specifically mentioned a number of large market affiliates, including “92.3 The Fan”.

D.A. will be preceded on CBS Sports Radio by none other than Scott Ferrall and his “Ferrall on the Bench”, presumably to be picked up locally by WKRK at midnight weekdays following Ken Carman’s local show.

Ferrall had a previous syndication run, and is currently heard on Sirius XM’s Howard Stern channels.

Again, don’t expect CBS Sports Radio long-form shows, even the show hosted by the soon-to-move-from-Premiere Jim Rome, to replace local shows on the company’s large market sports talkers (including WKRK).

In fact, we hear that Nanci “The Fabulous Sports Babe” Donnellan, a former syndicated host once rumored to be going national out of Tampa, will maintain her live-and-local 2-6 AM show on that city’s “Fan” sports talker…and won’t be bumped by “The D.A. Show”…

FREE PUBLICITY: We’re reminded of an early “WKRP in Cincinnati” episode.

“Big Guy” Arthur Carlson was reluctant to spend any money to promote the lagging station which had just flipped from elevator music to rock.

When program director Andy Travis suggested some sort of publicity stunt (“a free one, right?” said Carlson), they eventually got media coverage over protesting senior citizens upset that their easy listening music went away.

Well, no one’s protesting in the lobby of the Agora, where Murray Hill Broadcasting AAA/alt-rock WLFM-LP/87.7 (6) is operating as “Cleveland’s Sound”.

But they are getting some free publicity.

Placing himself next to Shena Hardin on the second day of her court imposed sentence for driving around a school bus, WLFM morning man Archie Berwick got himself on at least two TV stations and in the Plain Dealer.

Quoting the PD:

And a radio station personality stood beside her with a sign that read, “If she’s an idiot, so am I.” Archie Berwick, who said he is with WLFM FM/87.7, said everyone has made mistakes, and it’s insulting to call someone an idiot.

The original court ordered sign held by Hardin said: “Only an idiot would drive on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.”

As for Archie’s presense…it was a media circus, why not a court jester?

Though Archie did not wear a station T-shirt and his only sign with the (handwritten) station name was a smaller piece of paper he held in his hand, the station (at least, if not Archie) had publicity in mind.

A few hours after his appearance, the “Cleveland’s Sound” website had an article written by Archie, with a picture presumably taken by a station staffer.

(Note: As of this writing, the article and picture have been removed.)

The upstart, top-of-the-dial rocker also got some free local publicity on “The List”, the Scripps-produced evening show airing on 6 of the company’s stations, including WEWS/5 locally.

Local “List” reporter Mike Brookbank featured WLFM on a recent “Around Town” segment, the local insert to the otherwise national show.

As we said on social media, it’s after the porcupines. Or at least the mention of same…

HO HO EARLY: The leader in the Northeast Ohio Christmas Music On The Radio Parade is no surprise.

After all, Clear Channel AC WHOF/101.7 “My 101.7” in the Canton market is traditionally one of the earliest Christmas Flippers (as opposed to Christmas Slippers).

And now, Cleveland has joined the fun.

CBS Radio AC WDOK/102.1 “New 102” took the holiday music turn and the holiday name “Christmas 102” on Friday afternoon, and hours later, Clear Channel classic hits WMJI/105.7 “Majic 105.7” joined in…proclaiming itself “Cleveland’s Christmas Music Station”.

Down the Ohio Turnpike a few dozen miles east-southeast, we hear that WMJI’s-sister-joined-at-the-hip classic hits WBBG/106.1 “Big 106.1” in the Youngstown market is also in Sleigh Bells mode, which they’ve done around the holidays for at least 10 years…

IF A STATION GOES OFF THE AIR, AND NO ONE HEARS IT…: Melodynamic Broadcasting’s WCER/900 Canton has been silent for some time, and now it’s added the scarlet FCC letter “D” (deleted) to its call sign.

A tip of the hat to Cleveland Classic Media’s Tim Lones for noticing that sometime last month, the FCC issued the radio license death penalty to the Canton station.

You can read the FCC’s letter to Melodynamic here (PDF).

After dumping its talk format, WCER lit up briefly as “Joy 900”, the new home of Curtis A. Perry III’s gospel format (in a presumed LMA).

But at some point, it went off the air again…Perry resurfacing on his old station, Pinebrook Corporation’s WINW/1520, with a revival of “Joy 1520”.

Like WCER, there was a “D” in front of WINW’s call letters for some time…but Pinebrook owner Patrick Barb was able to convince the FCC to reinstate the signal after various issues with mail and correspondance.

FCC records show that WINW is running 250 watts from a temporary long-wire antenna, just north of the heart of downtown Canton on Cleveland Avenue…