It’s On The Way

Ohio Media Watch, The Next Generation is coming soon.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The destination for the local ION station?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We bring this up here for two reasons.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A Compact Stack

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

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

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

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

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

Again, who?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What happened?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Changes Are Coming, But First…

One reason we’ve been almost “hiatus scarce” in recent days has been technical. But that’s about to change, and other changes will come to the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) as a result.

No, don’t worry…we aren’t planning on forwarding the website to our social media presence again. But as an early hint: you might want to start accessing the blog via our dedicated domain name

NEW BEAT: Long-time local radio sports reporter Matt Loede was part of the launch staff at CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” when it started in August 2011. (You might have read a little about it on a certain blog.)

We don’t know why, but Loede recently exited “The Fan”.

Though the 92.3 website doesn’t specifically list him as “Indians beat reporter” (or list him at all at this point), it appears that the opening will be filled by a former staffer of crosstown Good Karma sports WKNR/850-WWGK/1540 “ESPN Cleveland”.

After studiously avoiding poaching the Galleria for talent at launch, WKRK has brought aboard another former WKNR personality – T.J. Zuppe, one of three staffers fired in a talent purge last August.

Zuppe was most recently the Indians beat reporter at “ESPN Cleveland”, and was shown the door along with fellow staffers Will Burge and Cleveland sports talk veteran Kenny Roda in an apparent budget-related move.

Zuppe joins former WKNR personality Chris Fedor on the “Fan” staff. Fedor has been doing weekend/fill-in sports update anchoring and occasional talk fill-in for 92.3.

We don’t generally talk about ratings here, for various reasons, but a look at the most recent public Cleveland market ratings numbers shows that the folks in the Halle Building are probably celebrating “92.3 The Fan’s” most recent showing…it’s best as a sports talk station.

At the Galleria, WKNR does not show up in what’s now the Nielsen Audio ratings report…because Good Karma doesn’t buy the ratings…

SPEAKING OF THE HALLE: WKRK, and its CBS Radio clustermates, had a bit of a tense morning the other day.

Early Friday morning, it was believed that a downtown Cleveland street shooting happened on the Huron Road side of the aforementioned Halle Building, giving CBS Radio staffers a view of a lot of police activity.

This B-roll video from the scene, shot by Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, even shows one Cleveland police car directly in front of the CBS Radio cluster’s front door. (It’s the same door we showed you right before WKRK/92.3 flipped to sports in 2011.)

But the story, on WKYC’s WKYC.com, has changed since early Friday:

Two men were shot in the 1200 block of Prospect Avenue by an unknown gunman.

After being shot, the two victims ran to the area of E. 12th and Huron Road, and took a taxi to MetroHealth Medical Center, where they are being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

With that new information, we can now pretty safely assume that no CBS Radio Cleveland employees were hurt in the shooting…

NEW CO-HOST IN AKRON: We told you, back when local radio veteran Tony McGinty moved from the morning producer role at Rubber City Radio’s news/oldies/sports WAKR/1590 to a similar role at Clear Channel CHR WKDD/98.1, that a third, female voice would join him alongside WKDD’s Keith Kennedy.

That woman has now started at Freedom Avenue.

She’s Meg White, who comes to WKDD and Northeast Ohio from Bristol Broadcasting CHR powerhouse WVSR/102.7 “Electric 102.7” in Charleston WV…

DAVE HAS A PARTNER: “27 First News” in Youngstown, seen on LIN TV’s CBS-Fox combo of WKBN-TV/27 and WYFX-LD/19, has a new evening co-anchor.

She’s Erika Thomas, who the station says comes to the Mahoning Valley after a stint as “main anchor in Sioux City, Iowa.”

A quick Google search places her as the now-former evening co-anchor for “Siouxland News”, on CBS affiliate KMEG/14-Fox affiliate KPTH/44, a combo operated by Sinclair.

A goodbye video on her YouTube page is dated May 31 of this year.

Thomas shares many other videos of her previous work on her own website.

Quoting a press release helpfully sent directly to us by WKBN/WYFX:

“We are extremely pleased to have a journalist of Erika’s caliber joining our news operation. Erika’s passion for news is a very welcome addition to our news team, her skills will only enhance our ability to provide our local viewers the very best in news coverage each and every day,” said Dave Coy, President and General Manager of WKBN and its sister stations.

Thomas replaces Teresa Weakley alongside co-anchor Dave Sess. Weakley left WKBN/WYFX to co-anchor the morning newscast at now-LIN TV sister station WIVB/4 in Buffalo

VALLEY STATIONS CHANGE HANDS: Continuing the Mahoning Valley theme, two radio stations in the Youngstown-Warren radio market are in new hands. Or old “new hands”.

Former Cleveland city councilman Nelson Cintron Jr. filed to purchase Whiplash Radio’s WHTX/1570 Warren and WYCL/1540 Niles – under his Sagittarius Communications – in October of last year. It’s a deal the FCC blessed with approval two months later.

But Cintron, who immediately LMAed the stations and flipped formats (WHTX to urban adult contemporary using the syndicated “The Touch”, and WYCL becoming Spanish-language “La Nueva Mia”), never actually took ownership of either station.

By May, 1540 had returned to owner Chris Lash’s “The Farm” classic country format, and 1570 returned to standards as “Fabulous 1570”.

The stations are now returning to Cintron, in what’s being called a court settlement. Cintron sued Lash and his Whiplash Radio, LLC over the transaction, in a suit we found in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court. The settlement has not yet made it to online court records.

On his way out the Mahoning Valley Radio Ownership door, long-time OMW reader Chris Lash has given us a rather interesting statement:

“The formats I tried didn’t work. While they have worked very well in other markets that were currently in, we couldn’t get them to work there. I failed not only in programming, but in character judgement as well. No matter what we tried and worked with, it didn’t work. It changed my whole prospective on the business.”

Lash has been living in Florida in the last part of his ownership of the two local stations, and still operates stations in Kansas, Colorado, and Nebraska (a non-commercial trio running his “Cat Country” format) and two commercial stations in Tenneesee.

We’ll have to depend on Mahoning Valley ears to hear what Cintron is doing with the stations, though we presume a return to his previous formats listed above would be a good bet…though Lash recently took WYCL off the air due to a number of technical problems…

ANN’S CORNER: We’re overdue for this item from “Ann’s Corner”, a regular feature with items brought to us by (all together, now!) long-time personal and professional Friend of OMW Ann VerWiebe, public relations/marketing guru for Kent State University public radio outlet WKSU/89.7-and-its-many-simulcasters.

As always, Ann sent this to us very much on-time, but we didn’t get a Round Tuit(tm) until now:

WKSU Assistant News Director Amanda Rabinowitz was presented a prestigious National Murrow Award from Radio-Television-Digital News Association (RTDNA) at an Oct. 14 ceremony at the Times Square Marriott Marquis in New York, N.Y. The award was presented by ESPN investigative reporter T.J. Quinn during the live-streamed formal event. The winning entry previously won a Regional Murrow, competing against work from large market radio stations in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.

Rabinowitz was honored for Best Sports Reporting for an in-depth report on the misuse of prescription painkillers by college athletes.

Ann’s release helpfully notes that Rabinowitz, a WKSU news staffer since 2007, is currently the local weekday host for NPR’s “Morning Edition”…

MIKE O’S CORNER: And here are some items from another Friend of OMW, long-time Cleveland radio type Mike Olszewski.

Mike tells us about a benefit for Sonny Geraci, who was lead singer for the popular Cleveland-based group “The Outsiders” and later, for “Climax”.

He says Geraci recently suffered a devastating stroke, and a benefit will be held for him this month:

“We’re having a benefit at a huge concert venue in Streetsboro on November 15th and 16th with all proceeds going to Sonny,” Olszewski tells us. “Even the artists are donating their services, and what a lineup!”

A web page for the event says it features “over 20+ national artists” including some pretty big name contemporaries of Geraci, and you can see those artists in the YouTube video promoting the event:

Tickets start at $35 per person each day, and can be bought online.

Mike tells us it’s “also going to be filmed for a benefit DVD and a local PBS presentation, with all proceeds to Sonny.”

He quotes Geraci’s friend Chuck Kocisko:

“A year and a half latter, Sonny is still unable to walk. Knowing the financial hard ship with all of this, a few of us decided to help the Geraci family. All proceeds generated from this event will be used to offset the huge expenses incurred by the Geraci Family, and to rehab the Geraci’s home for more home care. The home needs to be ADA useable before bringing Sonny home for any length of time.”

Olszewski will be busy in Streetsboro that weekend, displaying his collection of rare “Superman” artifacts at a benefit for the Twinsburg Library

Quick Hits For May

Some quick hits before we focus on Cleveland’s media obsession this past week…which will be in a separate item as soon as we get a Round Tuit(tm)…

SUNNY FORECAST: Congratulations to former Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” morning weather forecaster Christine Ferreira.

As predicted, she’s landed at a TV station in her new/returned to hometown area of Central Pennsylvania, Hearst NBC affiliate WGAL/8 in Lancaster PA…where she’s that station’s midday and weekend forecaster

FRIENDLY GHOST – IN NORTHEAST OHIO, AT LEAST: OMW reader Kasper has returned to the Northeast Ohio airwaves, via the magic of Clear Channel’s voicetracking.

He’s now heard in afternoon drive at the company’s Akron market now-CHR WKDD/98.1…and three hours after his show ends, the other radio member of his household, wife Krissy Taylor, does a nighttime show for the station.

Kasper always went first-name-less before, but has adopted the name “Adam” at his new home base, Clear Channel top 40 powerhouse WRVQ “Q94” in Richmond VA.

He told Twitter followers that “Adam” is actually his middle name, and tells us that he made the switch just to change things up at this point in his career.

Back in Northeast Ohio, on a signal that doesn’t do a bad job at all of reaching his hometown of Youngstown, or much of former home base WAKS/96.5 “Kiss FM”‘s territory, he’s just Kasper, as per usual…

MOVE MADE: OMW hears that Cleveland’s Radio One cluster is in new digs at 6555 Carnegie Avenue.

Urban AC WZAK/93.1, hip hop WENZ/107.9 “Z107.9”, gospel WJMO/1300 “Praise 1300” and brokered/talk WERE/1490 “NewsTalk 1490” had long been based at 2510 St. Clair Avenue.

The CBS Radio cluster nearby had already left, with AC WDOK/102.1 “New 102” and hot AC WQAL/104.1 “Q104” exiting “One Radio Lane” a couple of blocks away…and camping out with clustermates sports WKRK/92.3 “The Fan” and classic rock WNCX/98.5 in cramped space at the Halle Building…

EGG AND FORMAT FLIPS: A pair of Youngstown market stations that are no stranger to format flips have done so again.

Apparently no longer headed for former Cleveland City Council member and WHWN/88.3 Painesville principal Nelson Cintron’s ownership, WYCL/1540 Niles is once again classic country “The Farm”, and WHTX/1570 Warren has returned to standards as “The Fabulous 1570”.

Cintron’s Sagittarius Communications had planned to buy the stations last fall from OMW reader Chris Lash’s Whiplash Radio, and the formats had already changed – Spanish-language “La Nueva Mia” on 1540, and urban AC using Cumulus’ “The Touch” 24/7 satellite format on 1570.

More on this one as we hear how things unraveled and returned to the past…and the composition of the “Group Radio LLC” company listed on the stations’ websites, but not in FCC records (at least that we can find)…

Welcome To A Busy 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cincinnati Enquirer media guru John Kiesewetter writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We think we’ve solved some of the mystery.

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

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

Where’s the connection?

Consider the Family Maduri.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He’s now retired, before Goddard, even.

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

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

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

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

What happened?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Theatre (Vol. 9), The Time Warner Cable SportsChannel Edition

UPDATE 12/20/12 10:07 PM: We’re told that the network actually launched in August…we haven’t had Time Warner Cable’s digital service since before then.

But TWC’s own release talks about the network in terms of “will be” and “will bring”, so they must see this as a post-soft launch statewide.

Some wording fixed…

—–

Having apparently lost or abandoned its reported bid to buy SportsTime Ohio, Time Warner Cable is going ahead full steam with its own statewide sports network…called “Time Warner Cable SportsChannel”.

The network features Ohio high school and collegiate sports, and other as of yet unspecified programming.

And the move of TWC Northeast Ohio Network (NEON) fixture Les Levine to the statewide platform apparently affects Les’ soon to be former home on Time Warner Cable’s channel 23 in Northeast Ohio.

The release below says NEON will “transition to a new format featuring local weather information” early next month, but gives no word on the fate of the remaining programs on the local origination channel.

Here’s Time Warner’s release, which announces the new statewide platform for “More Sports & Les Levine”.

Of course, Les’ show has been on “SportsChannel” before…the original local cable sports channel which became Fox Sports Net Ohio. The show was called “More SportsChannel & Les Levine”…

—–

Time Warner Cable has announced that More Sports & Les Levine, a Northeast Ohio tradition for 20 years, now has a statewide audience on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, as of this week.

Most recently found on the Northeast Ohio Network (NEON) channel 23, More Sports & Les Levine can now been seen throughout the state live, Monday-Thursday from 6-7 p.m., on Channels 311 and 1311. Time Warner Cable’s channel 23 in Northeast Ohio will transition to a new format featuring local weather information in early January. Time Warner Cable SportsChannel 311/1311 will be the new home for local sports, including high school and college games, in addition to a variety of other original programming.

“We are very pleased to welcome Les and his show to our ever-expanding programming lineup,” said Vince Jones, director of sports programming for Time Warner Cable in Ohio and Kentucky. “Les brings with him an established and loyal viewership and we look forward to helping him grow it on Time Warner Cable SportsChannel.”

Levine has been a fixture covering sports in Northeast Ohio virtually every weeknight since 1989. More Sports & Les Levine began on radio (WERE from 1992-94 and WHK from 1994-96), before moving to TV with Time Warner Cable in 1996.

Known throughout Northeast Ohio as “The Self-Proclaimed Voice of Truth & Reason,” Levine has regularly welcomed owners, general managers and coaches of the Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers. The show has featured over 25 Hall of Famers, as well as numerous Super Bowl and World Series participants.

“After being on radio or TV on a daily basis in Northeast Ohio for the past 23 years, I am looking forward to expanding the reach of ‘More Sports & Les Levine’ and I’d like to thank Time Warner Cable SportsChannel for the opportunity,” Levine said. “I’m told that I’m an ‘acquired taste’ and hopefully viewers around the state will give the show a try.”

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Levine has covered the Cleveland Browns and Indians for a variety of outlets and served as play-by-play announcer for the WHA’s Cleveland Crusaders (1972-74), Kent State football and basketball (1974-79), Cleveland State basketball (1985-2006), the AFL’s Cleveland Thunderbolts (1992-94) and countless high school football and basketball games.

About Time Warner Cable SportsChannel

Time Warner Cable SportsChannel is a 24/7 high-definition sports network currently found on channels 311 and 1311 HD across the state of Ohio. Through its partnerships with the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA), Miami University and the Atlantic 10 Conference, with member institutions Xavier University and the University of Dayton, TWC SportsChannel will bring viewers more than 150 scholastic events and college basketball and hockey games annually, in addition to a variety of other original programming.

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!