A Cooler Combination

Cooler because, though we have highs in the mid-80s, it’s sure cooler than it was last time we set the air conditioning in the OMW World Headquarters to “freeze”…

A STEADY HAND: So, you’re a Cleveland TV station, and your news director has “made the move up” to a job with your parent company. You’re heading into an all-important period which will gain you new viewers…the 2012 Summer Olympics, live from London.

But SOMEONE has to run the newsroom until a permanent candidate is found, and it’s going to be kind of busy due to the aforementioned events to temporarily turn the duties over to an assistant.

Where do you turn?

If you’re Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, you put “Channel 3 News” in the hands of a trusted pro, and that’s just what’s happened at 13th and Lakeside.

To say former WJW/8 general manager Virgil Dominic is an experienced newsman is sort of like saying the Grand Canyon is this little hole in the ground in Arizona.

Dominic has been named interim news director at WKYC, guiding the ship with a steady hand until a permanent replacement for Rita Andolsen is found.

Andolsen, according to the item on our blogging colleague Frank Macek’s “WKYC Director’s Cut” blog, “has embarked on a new role as Director of Advocacy and Community Initiatives working closing with Gannett corporate and twenty other Gannett broadcast stations.” (Whew!)

For long-time watchers of local TV news in the Cleveland market, Virgil Dominic is basically “The Man Who Built NewsCenter 8″, leading the folks at Cleveland’s then-CBS affiliate to a decade and a half of dominance in local TV news.

Dominic left South Marginal Road in 1995, as the station was transitioning to a Fox affiliation (and later as a Fox O&O). The “Director’s Cut” item quotes WKYC president and general manager Brooke Spectorsky:

“For the past six years, he has been with us as a talent mentor and consultant, and we see this as a continuation of that vision.”

And yes, Virgil Dominic started his large market TV career as WKYC’s main anchor in 1965…

MORE AT 13TH AND LAKESIDE: “Good Company Today” co-host Joe Cronauer has indeed expanded his horizons at “Channel 3 News”.

The broadcasting veteran, previously best known as part of the “Brian and Joe” team on a number of area radio station, is now setting the alarm clock very early…joining the “Channel 3 News Today” morning team as a “lifestyles and features” field reporter.

Quoting the announcement, once again found on Channel 3 News senior director Frank Macek’s “WKYC Director’s Cut” blog:

Joe will scour the area looking for unique, unusual, fun, community based, interesting stories that he knows will get viewers talking.

That would put him as WKYC’s opposite number to “Fox 8 News In The Morning” reporter Kenny Crumpton, though we don’t know if, in fact, Cronauer will be “Kickin’ It”.

(Yes, it’s a bad joke.)

Cronauer joins “Channel 3 News Today” anchors Chris Tye and Erin Kennedy, weather anchor Hollie Strano, reporters Amanda Barren and Stephanie Coueignoux, and traffic anchor Pat Butler (shared with Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100)…

AND TO THE 3RD POWER: Our third brief item about the gang at 13th and Lakeside.

Not only will WKYC join NBC Summer Olympics coverage later this month, they’re also sending some people to London.

We’ve seen promos that say that two members of the aforementioned “Channel 3 News Today” – Chris Tye and Amanda Barren – are bound for England…though we don’t know exactly what they’ll do.

Presumably, they’ll try to bring stories of any Northeast Ohio athletes in the Games…

SPEAKING OF THE OLYMPIAD: Unless an agreement is reached soon, Dish Network customers in the Youngstown TV market will have to find some other way to watch the NBC broadcast network’s coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

That’s because on July 6th, they lost the Mahoning Valley’s NBC affiliate, Vindicator-owned WFMJ/21, in a carriage dispute between the local broadcaster and the second-largest satellite provider.

WFMJ is very much playing up the “David vs. Goliath” battle in an FAQ on its website:

DISH is one of the largest television companies in America. WFMJ is locally owned and operated right here in Youngstown. We are invested in Youngstown and other communities we serve, and we take our commitment to serve the public seriously. When large companies based in big cities take the local signal, sell it to you for a high price, and pay little or nothing to WFMJ, they are taking money and jobs out of Youngstown without providing anything in return. We don’t think Youngstown citizens should be asked to subsidize DISH Network or its wealthy shareholders.

The website advises viewers worried about losing NBC’s Summer Olympics coverage to consider moving to another cable or satellite provider, or to pick up the station’s free over-air broadcast signal.

In our experience, only those in far, outlying ends of the Youngstown TV market should have any problem picking up the WFMJ over-air signal, and even some of those folks have NBC affiliated alternatives available OTA, like the aforementioned WKYC, Pittsburgh’s WPXI/11 and the like.

Those looking for WFMJ’s local newscasts are now able to stream them live from the station’s website…

NEW DIGS: You may have noticed this week that the set for Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5′s “NewsChannel 5″ broadcasts is a bit cramped, and that you aren’t seeing the weather and sports anchors moving around at the main set.

That’s because the current set has been temporarily moved to WEWS’ Studio C, while a revamp is happening in Studio A this summer.

It’s no secret…6 and 11 PM co-anchor Chris Flanagan shares all the details on the station’s NewsNet5.com:

All newscasts are moving from Studio C to Studio A. Studio A is where ‘Academic Challenge’ and the Ohio Lottery drawings are broadcast out of. We will move back into Studio C after Labor Day.

We will unveil our new anchor desk, weather center and expanded state-of-the-art set later this summer.

There are pictures and video of the current setup, and there’ll probably be more along the way as construction gets going.

One of the primary features of the new set will be LED lighting, allowing the set to look crisper and brighter for viewers of the station’s HD broadcasts…and making things cooler in the studio, to boot…

JEFF’S DEBUT: We managed to catch some of Jeff Kinzbach’s audition for the 10 AM-3 PM time slot on Media-Com talk WNIR/100.1 “The Talk of Akron”…of course, in the time slot left open by the unfortunate death of station icon Howie Chizek.

The former star of WMMS/100.7′s “Jeff and Flash” team seemed genuinely interested in the job, at least if we’re reading some of his on-air comments correctly.

Kinzback lauded WNIR as one of the last bastions of true, local radio, and noted that he is an Akron area resident…eastern Medina County, we’re guessing, based on his comment that he was the announcer for his daughter’s high school band at Highland High School.

Up next in the audition rotation, unless things have changed from the earlier announcement: 25 year regular Howie caller John “Couch Burner” Denning on Thursday.

Regular fill-ins Bob Earley and Jim Isabella will handle the shift when other auditioners aren’t scheduled…

UPDATE 12:44 PM 7/11/12: Reader Derrick King notes in our comments to this item:

I managed to catch an announcement this morning on WNIR. The next new fill in is Monday when former WAKC news anchor and former Plusquellic administration official Mark Williamson takes the microphone.

Youngstown And Nearby

Most of the items this time around are from the Mahoning Valley, though at least one is from nearby…and one item involves the Cleveland market…

RICH MORGAN: Readers in the Youngstown/Warren TV market have been peppering our inbox with questions about market veteran Rich Morgan…who’s been absent from his duties as morning and noon meteorologist for New Vision-to-be-LIN CBS affiliate WKBN/27′s “27 First News”.

We did some digging, but the question could have more easily been answered (for both us and our readers) by going to Rich’s bio page on the WKBN-TV website

Rich Morgan recently had surgery and will be off of the air for a total of five weeks. He talks about it in further detail on his Facebook page, www.facebook.com/myvalleyweather.richmorgan. Kirstie Zontini is filling in during his recovery.

From Rich’s Facebook page, posted June 1st:

I am having surgery to relieve pressure on the nerves in my neck that control the strength in my arm.

Since the surgery, Rich has written about undergoing the therapy needed to recover.

We understand this has now been addressed on the air as well…though we don’t know when the station let viewers know about Morgan’s condition…

HER NEW JOB: This one’s not from the Mahoning Valley, per se, but is about a former Youngstown TV reporter.

We told you a while back that Peggy Sinkovich, who has reported for WYTV/33 (Trumbull County bureau chief) and later for the entire New Vision-LIN operation (adding WKBN-TV and WYFX-LP “Fox Youngstown”), was heading for Cleveland…where she’ll be seen on Local TV LLC’s WJW/8 “Fox 8 News”.

We have some more information on her role at Dick Goddard Way.

OMW hears that starting in the Fall, Sinkovich will be the new “I-Team” investigative reporter for “Fox 8 News”, with help from general assignment reporter Jack Shea contributing investigative pieces.

We hear that Sinkovich and Shea will likely be seen daily on the station, working out of the newsroom and presumably, spending less time off air…

BACK IN COUNTRY: Whiplash Radio’s WYCL/1540 Niles is back to a familiar format for the daytimer – classic country.

Yes, the station has also returned to its former name and imaging in the format – “1540 The Farm”.

The classic country “Farm” format was the first format change made by Whiplash owner and OMW reader Chris Lash when he bought the station from Beacon Broadcasting.

1540 has been through a number of formats going back to the Beacon days… Christian contemporary music, sports, standards music, and talk. Until the recent change, WYCL had been operating as a simulcast of Whiplash sister standards station WHTX/1570 Warren “Fabulous 1570″.

Those wondering what happened to the King of Youngstown Brokered Talk Radio, Louie b. Free, can be assured that his eclectic show goes on via WYCL, airing 8 AM-noon weekdays on “1540 The Farm”.

Both stations are operated by Jim Davison and Laurel Taylor’s JL Communications, and Jim tells OMW that “The Farm” can be heard in streaming audio on the station’s website, a subsection of the WHTX site… though those listening on smartphones and tablets via the TuneIn app are getting an entirely different feed.

Jim notes that the station changed streaming providers, and that feed comes from whoever took over the old WYCL feed.

WYCL also features a new outdoors show on Saturday mornings with host Jim Slinsky, and an antiques show will debut later this month.

The station will carry Notre Dame football in the fall…

HD ADD-ON: OMW hears that Clear Channel talk WKBN/570 Youngstown has followed many other Clear Channel talk stations in simulcasting its programming on the HD Radio side of a co-owned FM station.

The feed of WKBN is now being heard on the HD2 sidechannel of rock WNCD/93.3 “The Wolf”.

Just to the west in Akron, Clear Channel talk WHLO/640 gets similar HD Radio rides on the sidechannels of hot AC WKDD/98.1 and rock WRQK/106.9.

For now, at least, the feed of WKBN on WNCD’s HD sidechannel does not appear to signal any future move to an analog FM frequency…rather, it’s seen as a way to increase HD Radio listenership by offering the popular AM talker in the format…

AND NEARBY: In the Canton market, where D.A. Peterson top 40 WDJQ/92.5 Alliance “Q92″ has once again managed to hire a promotions director who is not awaiting a criminal trial.

He’s local radio veteran and OMW reader Matt Spatz, most recently heard doing weekend/swing work at Rubber City Radio rock WONE/97.5 Akron.

He had previously programmed at Clear Channel Youngstown (rock WNCD, and top 40 WAKZ/95.9 “Kiss FM”) until budget cuts forced him out last October.

And the “criminal trial” reference is not at all aimed at Matt, of course…who practices clean living, as far as we know.

It’s a reference to a Louisville KY radio personality the Alliance station hired for the promotions director job a few years ago…who was very much in legal hot water when he was offered the job at “Q92″.

We’ll visit our own February 2008 item wrapping up the saga of Todd Kelly/Smith:

Former WDJX/Louisville KY personality and promotions guy Todd Kelly (Todd Smith) has been sentenced for defrauding listeners and donators by faking ALS, otherwise known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Smith has been sentenced to 15 years on state charges, which will be reduced to 5 years if he pays back some 74 thousand dollars in restitution, with interest. He’d already been sentenced to 84 months in prison on federal fraud charges.

Even if his sentence was reduced to 5 years, Kelly/Smith is still sitting behind bars in Kentucky, unable to run promotions for “Q92″ or any radio station that’s not behind bars. (Unless he was released early, of course.)

Since this saga was resolved, WDJQ has managed to hire promotions directors not awaiting sentencing to prison, and we can assure them that, as far as we know, Matt Spatz will continue that trend.

Our congratulations to Matt…we’re always happy to see OMW readers do well!

And the item fits in our theme, as “Q92″‘s signal does well in the nearby Youngstown market…

Much Ado About Sports Radio

We actually predicted this before local CBS Radio sports outlet WKRK/92.3 “92.3 The Fan” debuted last August.

We’d been hearing rumors that CBS was going to launch its own national sports talk radio network, though at the time we believed it would be limited to the night/weekend hours to fill time on its full-fledged sports talkers. The comparison we made was with CBS’ initial efforts to air KMOX/1120 St. Louis-based overnight host Jon Grayson (“Overnight America”) on other large market CBS news/talk stations.

The show survived on KDKA/1020 Pittsburgh and WCCO/830 Minneapolis, but was hooted off WBZ/1030 Boston in favor of the return of local talker Steve LeVeille…who recently retired (this time, presumably on his own terms). “Overnight America” is now syndicated by the Dial Global empire.

Anyway, instead of going in-house/in-company, CBS Radio went with Fox Sports Radio for its off hours on “92.3 The Fan”. But…not anymore.

CBS Radio and Cumulus have announced that they’re joining forces for the 24/7 CBS Sports Radio network, which debuts full-time January 2, 2013 and will start offering CBS Sports updates to affiliates this September 4th.

The network will be operated by CBS Sports, and distributed and represented by Cumulus (which already does so for ESPN Radio…various reports from the business media world say that deal is ending).

In addition to “various components” of the programming being offered to the company’s large market locally-programmed sports talkers (including WKRK here), Cumulus sports stations will also air CBS Sports Radio… including Toledo’s WLQR/1470-WLQR-FM/106.5 “106.5 The Ticket”, now an ESPN Radio affiliate.

We’ll assume that Cumulus’ two ESPN affiliates in the Youngstown market, WBBW/1240 and Mercer County’s WLLF/96.7, will be aboard as well…the CBS press release only listed top 100 market stations.

CBS Sports Radio will also air 24/7 on CBS AM stations in a number of large markets, including the AM side of stations that moved to FM. That includes Philadelphia (WIP/610 moved to 94.1 FM) and Detroit (WXYT/1270 moved to 97.1 FM).

And yes, that more than likely means the end of the WXYT/1270 Detroit afternoon drive show hosted by Ashtabula native and Northeast Ohio radio veteran Doc Thompson (WMJI/105.7, WLW/700, etc.). If 1270 is going 24/7 satellite-fed sports in January, there’d be no room for Doc.

The move comes after NBC Sports and Dial Global announced they would launch yet another sports radio network, NBC Sports Radio.

The odd man out? Probably Yahoo Sports Radio, which will lose big market clearances in Detroit and Chicago, where it airs off-hours on WSCR/670 “The Score”. We can’t see it surviving in a sports radio market with two new big network-run services.

ESPN Radio will lose the Cumulus stations, mostly in medium and small markets.

Fox Sports Radio will lose some clearances as well…in addition to “92.3 The Fan” here, Boston’s WBZ-FM 98.5 “The Sports Hub” also carries FSR in late night hours. We are assuming CBS Sports Radio will displace other networks in off-hours on all of the large market CBS-owned stations.

That, by the way, might be good news for one Cleveland sports radio personality.

Since Good Karma sports WWGK/1540, little brother to “ESPN 850 WKNR”, lost Fox Sports Radio, the station’s Mark “Munch” Bishop had limited time opportunities to fill in on FSR – since his station’s main competitor picked up that network.

“Munch” has most recently been filling in on FSR late Saturday afternoons, when “92.3 The Fan” is in local programming. Starting in January, he won’t have that timing problem.

Here’s one intriguing part of the CBS Sports Radio announcement:

Opportunities for affiliates to regionalize their lineup by choosing from select programs currently featured on CBS RADIO or Cumulus sports stations.

Could that mean that you might hear “92.3 The Fan” personalities somehow on those aforementioned Cumulus sports stations in Youngstown and Toledo? (Or “97.1 The Ticket” personalities heard in Toledo?) Even on a limited basis?

That, we don’t know.

But the Sports Radio battle, nationwide and locally, is getting even more interesting…

Fallout And More

UPDATE 6/13/12 7:06 PM: The Asset Purchase Agreement (PDF) for Bernard Radio’s WRBP/101.9 Hubbard says that Educational Media Foundation will pay $500,000 for the Youngstown market station…


We had planned this as a “fallout” item after the testing of Venture Technologies’ WLFM-LP/6 “87.7″ FM Cleveland, but as they say in the news business…”This Just In”.

WRBP TO EMF: Just under a month ago, Bernard Radio urban WRBP/101.9 Hubbard “JAMZ 101.9″ was presented a resolution by the Youngstown City Council for its service to the community.

WYTV/33 reports from May 16th:

The resolution was in recognition of continued success in the urban format, and for keeping the radio station highly rated, profitable and on the air in Youngstown.

Well, for a few weeks longer, at least.

Bernard Radio has filed with the FCC to sell WRBP/101.9 to Educational Media Foundation, the California parent of the “K-Love” and “Air 1″ Christian music networks.

Long-time readers know that EMF currently owns one other station in the Youngstown market, rimshot WLVX/107.1 Greenville PA…which it bought along with other Pennsylvania outposts of Beacon Broadcasting. EMF later sold WLOA/1470 Farrell PA and WGRP/940 Greenville PA to Meadville PA-based Vilkie Communications, owner of classic hits WMVL/101.7 Linesville PA “Cool 101.7″.

We have no idea how EMF plans to handle its operations in the Youngstown market.

Presumably, one of the two stations will run the “K-Love” format and one will run the “Air 1″ format…we don’t know if they’ll move “K-Love” to the more centrally located 101.9 signal, or if “Air 1″ will be planted there.

Bernard Radio still owns (for now) oldies WGFT/1330 Campbell “Oldies 1330″ and urban talk WASN/1500 Youngstown. As noted above, EMF has little interest in AM stations, though it does still operate one in Toledo.

A reader tells us that WRBP is still pumping out the “JAMZ” this afternoon, and Lance Venta of RadioInsight tells us there is no LMA in the WRBP sales contract…

AND THE FALLOUT: The signal of that new “Franken FM” in Cleveland is sure getting out there.

In the second day of testing for Venture Technologies’ WLFM “87.7″, the market’s newest “radio station” is still running that four song loop of old Indians, Cavaliers and Browns fight songs, along with iconic local favorite Michael Stanley Band’s “My Town”.

We have opened up a brand new SoundCloud account, and here’s a scoped aircheck of the stunting…which has been going on since at least Tuesday afternoon:

The signal seems to be stronger to our ears. One table radio at the OMW World Headquarters was unable to pick up 87.7 on Tuesday, but has no trouble receiving it today.

And the signal has been reported by OMW readers as far west as Norwalk, and as far east as Geneva.

Unlike the Cleveland market’s other new station, Clear Channel alt-rock W256BT/99.1 “99X”, WLFM has no other near or distant competition for 87.7 FM…give or take a possible incursion from a channel 6 TV station in Paris ONT, if that station has not converted to digital yet. We don’t know if the station is in a “mandatory” market for digital conversion in Canada.

We want to again clarify: We have heard nothing about the audio (or visual) future of WLFM-LP. No facts, no rumors, nothing.

Readers have been wondering if the collection of sports-related songs was a stunt designed to signal a sports talk format.

We noted the unlikely prospect of a third sports radio competitor coming out of nowhere, and noted it would be a good LMA prospect for Good Karma Broadcasting to put the signal of sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850″ as a simulcast on the FM band, just down the dial from CBS Radio sports WKRK/92.3 “92.3 The Fan”.

But rumors take on a life of their own, and we just wanted to clarify that we are NOT classifying this information as a rumor or anything else but putting chess pieces together in our mind.

We’ve heard nothing from the Galleria, or third hand, or via rumor, that this sort of scenario is in the works. Nothing.

For all we know, the sports-themed songs are an attempt to “sound Cleveland” – as few songs exist that mention the city by Lake Erie. (Of the top of our heads, we can only think of Cleveland’s mention in the song “Heart of Rock and Roll” by Huey Lewis and the News.)

Maybe the songs were sitting on an iPod or smartphone or somewhere. Maybe the speculation is reading too much into it, or maybe Venture hopes to get Good Karma to do an LMA.

There are a lot of “maybes”, and not a lot of facts. So please, don’t start this rumor pointing to us…we literally do not know the future fate of “WLFM”…

It All Happens At Once

We paused long enough to take a breath or two, and then, six things happened in the space of a day.

And we’re sure we missed something…

LEON’S REDUCTION: A veteran TV anchorman in Cleveland is moving around his work schedule.

Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5″ anchor Leon Bibb, who has been anchoring the noon and 6 PM editions of the station’s newscasts, is no longer anchoring the 6 PM show as of this week…replaced by Chris Flanagan, the Dallas-Fort Worth anchor the station originally hired to anchor the 11 PM edition of “NewsChannel 5″.

Flanagan will be paired at 6 with his 11 PM anchor, Danita Harris, making it the first time in a while that “NewsChannel 5″ has had the same anchor team – like many stations – in both time slots.

But in addition to anchoring the 12 noon show, Bibb will still be doing “Other Things”, reports the Plain Dealer’s Chuck Yarborough…who has apparently picked up the local media beat for the PD from Julie Washington:

Sam Rosenwasser, Channel 5′s vice president and general manager, said Bibb has been reassigned to do two new programs, “Leon Bibb’s Ohio” and “Leon Bibb’s Perspective.” He will continue to anchor the station’s noon newscast as well as its Sunday morning news program, “Kaleidoscope,” Rosenwasser said.

“Leon is still a very vital part of what we have here,” Rosenwasser said. “We want to put a spotlight on what he has.”

OMW hears that these new “programs” are likely to be weekly feature packages that appear on “NewsChannel 5″ newscasts. “Kaleidoscope” is a half hour public affairs program.

What Leon Bibb has, in buckets, is the ability to tell a story…and that may be a Grand Canyon-sized understatement. We hope this is behind the decision, and it’s a showcase for Bibb…not the start of nudging him out the door.

We’re not surprised by the addition of Chris Flanagan to the 6 PM edition of “NewsChannel 5″, though…we expected it when he was brought in from the DFW Metroplex…

SHE’S NO LONGER THERE: Readers have been peppering our inbox and social media accounts asking where Clear Channel Akron hot AC WKDD/98.1 morning drive co-host Jenn Ryan has been.

We were told she was on vacation, which apparently was true until Friday…when calls asking for her at Freedom Avenue were answered with the phrase “Jenn is no longer with the company”.

That’s indeed the case, and the remnants of her presence on the WKDD morning show page with co-host/program director/cluster and regional operations director Keith Kennedy have been removed, well, “Soviet-style”, as we call it.

For that matter, her Facebook account has been deleted.

We pressed our ears really hard to the windows at Freedom Avenue, and we still have yet to learn what happened to Jenn Ryan…but she’s definitely no longer there.

We also don’t know who will replace her…

SHE’S BACK THERE: A young woman named Sue Tyler started her radio career in 1991 as an intern for WKDD, back then at Akron-licensed 96.5 (that frequency is today’s Clear Channel Cleveland top 40 outlet WAKS “Kiss FM”).

She even made it on the air at WKDD back in 1991, before ending up at stations like top 40 WDJQ/92.5 “Q92″ in the Canton market, and a run at the “Next Generation” rebuild of the rock format at iconic Cleveland rocker WMMS/100.7.

Sue ended up in Buffalo at Entercom’s WKSE/98.5 “Kiss FM” (no relation to the Clear Channel “Kiss” stations) and made quite a name for herself in Western New York, by then under the name Shannon Steele.

She’s back.

Apparently moving to Akron to be with her husband (according to an earlier AllAccess item), Shannon/Sue is coming back to the station where she started…2-7 PM, in an afternoon drive shift formerly occupied by the voice-tracked Tessa Hall out of, if we remember right, St. Louis.

(We don’t know if Shannon will be live or tracked, but she’s definitely in Akron for the reason stated above…)

RIZZO BACK TO TV?: We entirely missed the mid-May tweet of Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN 850″ middayer and former Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8 News” sports anchor Tony Rizzo:

Tony Rizzo

Uncle Rizzy will return to Cleveland TV, details coming.

But readers have also been asking about it before we found this tweet…and providing their own guesses, even.

We haven’t heard any final word on this.

Our legendary gut tells us that it’ll probably involve a weekend football-related show at Rizz’s old TV home, “Fox 8 News”. Don’t expect Tony to return to full-time sports anchoring, anywhere, while he’s still at “ESPN Cleveland”…

ONE MOVE: Yes, we are aware that former WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5″ reporter Dan Haggerty is now at 13th and Lakeside, being seen doing reporting work on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3.

OMW hears that is indeed the case for Dan, and it’s a full-time position…as opposed to the freelance work many reporters do when they cross the street with little fanfare.

We hear he’s “just a reporter”, with no anchor work in the mix at least now…

CHAD’S BRUSH WITH THE LAW: New Vision-operated Youngstown ABC affiliate WYTV/33 sports anchor Chad Krispinsky, just recently announced as 33′s regular weekday sports anchor in the combined New Vision (to be LIN) operation with CBS affiliate WKBN/27-Fox affiliate WYFX-LD/19 “Fox Youngstown”, made an ill-advised off-camera move that got him arrested.

The Youngstown Vindicator has more:

A Boardman police officer said he spotted Krispinsky’s car drifting partially into the center of the road on Market Street near McClurg Road. The officer didn’t pull over Krispinsky’s car but noticed him a short time later on foot on Roche Way and spoke with him.

After detecting the smell of alcohol on Krispinsky’s breath, the officer gave him field sobriety tests. Krispinsky refused to take a Breathalyzer test and was arrested and advised that his license would be suspended for one year.

The paper says it was the second such arrest for the 34 year-old WYTV sportscaster, who pleaded guilty to a “failure to maintain physical control” charge in 2010 after a Breathalyzer test came up over twice the legal limit.

Our advice to Chad?

Get on the horn to SportsTime Ohio, where evening talk host Chuck Galeti (“Chuck’s Last Call”), a former Youngstown sportscaster at NBC affiliate WFMJ/21, got his life back together after similar adventures.

Our guess is that among other advice, Chuck would tell Chad to make sure he didn’t look goofy while taking a mug shot…

A Nice Pile Of Items

One of our readers commented the other day that they wished “we’d post more often”…but of course, life continues to intervene, and off-blog business is keeping us very busy…dealing with both extreme highs and lows.

But…we’re around this afternoon, so here goes…

THE R WORD WATCH: When you’re 80 years old and have been doing weather on TV for 50 years, it’s no surprise that there’s speculation on your eventual retirement.

But for now, we have no information on when Local TV LLC Fox affilate WJW/8 “Fox 8 News” icon Dick Goddard will walk away from the green screen.

That speculation is ramping up because OMW hears that Goddard is reducing his on-air schedule, only working on the 6 PM edition of “Fox 8 News”. (One of his co-anchors, news veteran Wilma Smith, also only appears at 6. And of course, Andre Bernier has been alongside Dick on the evening newscasts of “Fox 8 News” for some time.)

There are rumors and rumblings that Goddard may exit around the time of the next Woollybear Festival – which would certainly be an appropriate time to announce his retirement, at the event in Vermilion that is synonymous with the iconic weatherman. Calendar markers can circle (or note on their smartphones) the date of September 30th for this year’s festival.

But for now, the only confirmed information we have is his schedule change. As noted, Wilma Smith has only been doing the 6 PM show for years…

NEW FOX NEWSIE: OMW hears that a long-time Youngstown TV reporter will be the next news type from the Mahoning Valley to head up the Ohio Turnpike.

We hear that WKBN-TV/27-WYTV/33-WYFX-LD/19 Trumbull County bureau chief Peggy Sinkovich is headed for “Fox 8 News” in Cleveland. We don’t know what role she will take, though we’re making the assumption she’ll be a reporter.

Sinkovich joined then-separate ABC affiliate WYTV/33 as its Trumbull County reporter in 2005, and started work for all the New Vision stations in the 2007 merger of the CBS, ABC and Fox affiliates’ news operations.

(As we reported earlier, New Vision is selling WKBN and WYFX to LIN, which will also assume the Shared Services Agreement to operate PBC’s WYTV. As a part of the LIN deal, WYTV and the other stations New Vision operates, but does not own, will be sold to a new owner as well.)

Before coming to WYTV, Sinkovich was a reporter for the Youngstown Vindicator…

RADIO 2012: Hats off to the Plain Dealer’s Chuck Yarborough, for an excellent (and accurate) article on the state of Northeast Ohio radio in 2012, in a world where Pandora is rising and the economy is flagging.

Yarborough talked with CBS Radio’s Cleveland market manager Tom Herschel, and Rubber City Radio country WQMX/94.9 program director Sue Wilson and her morning co-host Scott Wynn in Akron, about the importance of locally originated radio in the face of new media competition.

Not present in the article was perspective from Clear Channel, as local operations manager Keith Abrams declined to comment, as did representatives of the company’s corporate office in San Antonio.

And radio consultant John Gorman, best known for his long stint as program director of WMMS/100.7 in its world-famous days as “The Buzzard”, also chimed in…

SPEAKING OF RADIO PIECES IN PRINT: Even if you’re an avid fan of “Kiley and Booms”, the morning show at CBS Radio Cleveland sports talker WKRK/92.3 “92.3 The Fan”, you’ll probably learn things about co-host and Euclid native Chuck Booms in a recent Cleveland Magazine article.

“Almost Famous” recounts Booms’ comedy career, including a friendship with Jerry Seinfeld, and Booms’ Comedy Central show, “Comics On Delivery”.

We did not know, however, that Booms was very much a finalist to replace CBS-bound David Letterman at NBC…so much so, that he was surprised when Conan O’Brien was announced as Letterman’s replacement at the Peacock Network, as he had thought he won the job.

The article by Andy Netzel also notes that Booms fell into radio by getting a woman appearing on his Comedy Central show a tryout at Washington DC’s WTEM/980…but WTEM liked Chuck instead of her.

That station is where Booms paired with co-host Kevin Kiley to start “Kiley and Booms”, before the pair landed at Fox Sports Radio, and today, they’re in Cleveland on “92.3 The Fan”…

SPEAKING OF JOHN GORMAN: Our thoughts go out to Gorman, an OMW reader (as are many mentioned in this item), who is recovering from a recent stroke.

He wrote the following on his Facebook account, a status update that was then picked up by radio trade sites:

It was a minor, unexpected detour on the boulevard of life. That’s all. Yes, it’s true. I had a stroke this past week. I lost neither consciousness nor my faculties (though some believe I lost the latter years ago). My doctors feel my fortunate outcome was related to a preventive lifestyle of good diet & exercise.

AND MORE MEDICAL BEST RECOVERY WISHES: Local sportscaster Bill Castrovince (SportsTime Ohio’s “High School Sports Insider”, former WYTV/33 sports director) is an avid OMW reader, and let us know that he’s on the road to recovery as well.

I found out I had a brain tumor. It was cancerous and very aggressive, but they got it out by surgery and it’s been a long road since then.

I haven’t anchored for the show since then, but I’ve slowly worked my way back to work, and now I’m voicing stories and highlights. And of course, I’m still shooting and covering games.

Yep, it’s been a long road, but I might get back on camera at the end of the season. We’ll see!

The “High School Sports Insider” show on STO is produced by Twinsburg’s Classic Teleproductions. Our best wishes to Bill as well!

FLASHBACK TO (JEFF AND) FLASH: Speaking of the station Gorman programmed, “Jeff and Flash” owned the morning airwaves at WMMS for some 18 years, until some guy named Howard Stern syndicated his New York morning show to classic rock WNCX/98.5.

With that event, and ownership changes, the long run of Jeff Kinzbach and Ed “Flash” Ferenc eventually came to an end in 1994, and a local TV news website recently shared video of the pair’s last day on “The Buzzard Morning Zoo.”

It’s Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5″‘s excellent “Video Vault” segment, which dips back into historic video in a section on the station’s NewsNet5.com. (We’ve been unsuccessful at embedding the video…follow the link above.)

Photojournalist Tom Livingston is your video vault curator.

The story shows Jeff, Flash and Laura Ferrell in-studio at WMMS’ then-current location, easily recognizable through the windows as being located in the upper floors of the Tower City shopping complex at Terminal Tower.

Livingston notes the recent one-day “reunion” of Jeff and Flash on the station that helped vanquish their 18 year run in 1994 – WNCX.

Kinzbach is now doing fill-in work at WNCX, now owned by CBS Radio, and Ferenc continues his work as a public information officer for the Cleveland Municipal Court. As far as we know, Ferenc also continues to host the labor show “America’s Work Force”, weekdays 4-5 PM on Radio One talk/brokered WERE/1490…

Two TV Notes

And from the world of local TV on this Tuesday…

MORNING GLITCH: The world of morning TV news has quickly become a hotly competitive landscape.

From the days where congenial “Today in Cleveland” hosts Tom Haley and Del Donahoo held forth on a folksy kitchen set on Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3, the playing field has turned morning news into a multi-hour, multi-anchor extravaganza at all four local TV news operations.

To say “the stakes are high” in local TV morning news would be an understatement. Two local stations are in the process of retooling those shows, which we reported below.

Today, Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 came to that battle…with the syndicated gossip show “TMZ”?

No, the substitution of “TMZ” for the last part of the highly-rated 8 AM hour of “Fox 8 News in the Morning” – an act that’s pretty much the definition of TV station insanity – was not deliberate.

The “Fox 8″ computer systems that run the production of “Fox 8 News in the Morning” failed, and in 2012, you can’t run a complex TV news show without computers in most cases.

While rebooting the ailing system, WJW kept viewers informed about the tech glitch with a prominent, red-colored crawl over “TMZ”, and via Facebook and Twitter from the station’s account and from its morning anchors, notably weather anchor Scott Sabol and news reporter Todd Meany.

That’s a far cry from “WKRP in Cincinnati” news director Les Nessman confidently informing program director Andy Travis that he’d made the station’s off-air status the top story on a newscast no one heard.

We imagine the decision to keep the station on the air with “TMZ” was made at the very last minute, though we’d have gone with a less controversial choice like repeats of “New Day Cleveland” (with co-host Kristi Capel from “Fox 8 News in the Morning”), if possible.

Assured that the computer systems would likely behave, “Fox 8 News in the Morning” resumed at 9 AM. After a glitch or two…the rest of the show went off without a hitch.

Why is this worthy of such treatment here on the Mighty Blog(tm) this morning?

See our opening lines here.

There is a LOT of money attached to morning TV news these days. There’s a reason shows extend from 4:30 AM to as late as 10 AM (for “Fox 8 News”) these days.

As a noted bank robber supposedly said when asked why he robbed banks…”that’s where the money is”.

And while the folks at Dick Goddard Way were crossing their fingers and hoping the computer systems would return to normal, they were hoping that folks wouldn’t find the other morning news options on the TV dial…though channels 3, 5 and 19 were limited in local news updates due to the presence of the network morning shows…

NEOTROPOLIS: Western Reserve PBS’ business-oriented show, “NEOtropolis”, is getting another overhaul.

The show is getting the third host in its three year history, Luke Frazier, and a new time slot, Tuesday nights at 9 PM on the main Western Reserve PBS stations, WNEO/45.1 Alliance and WEAO/49.1 Akron. It’s generally been seen in some combination with the local public affairs roundtable “NewsNite” (nee’ “NewsNight Akron”) on Friday evenings.

According to a Western Reserve PBS press release helpfully provided to us by station OMW Handler Diane Steinert (we’re sure she has a better title than that):

The third season of NEOtropolis has been re-envisioned with a broader content scope, focused on helping Northeast Ohioans make sense of the forces of change that impact our lives. The series will continue to explore the region, but the net is widened.

The show’s focus will be on changes including technology, globalization and diversity.

Host Luke Frazier is, according to the station release, “an award-winning public radio reporter and producer who currently produces and co-hosts Civic Commons Radio, a weekly public affairs program.”

Social media expert Kathleen Colan, who we’re pretty sure is a follower of the OMW Twitter presence, will report on “social media feedback and trends” as part of an expanded social media presence on “NEOtropolis”, which will stream live at not only the show’s website, but on Facebook.

“NEOtropolis” will get an early Saturday repeat at 3:30 PM on 45.1/49.1, and will also air on the Western Reserve Public Media “Fusion” subchannel 45.2/49.2 Thursdays at 10:30 PM. and Saturdays at 5 PM….

The Other Stuff

As promised, a few hours late…let’s go through the other stuff not connected (mostly) with the rebranding of CBS Radio AC (we think it still is) WDOK/102.1, now known to the world as “New 102″. For now…

THAT OTHER CONTRACT: The renewal of the contract of WDOK..er…”New 102″‘s morning man Trapper Jack Elliot became a public item, when Elliot told the Plain Dealer’s Chuck Yarborough late last week that the 2 year deal was sitting there, unsigned.

When he came back to the 102.1 airwaves on Monday, Trapper Jack informed listeners that the contract in question was signed.

The contract negotiation process for Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7 morning man Shane “Rover” French wasn’t quite as public, though the host of “Rover’s Morning Glory” was stoking the fire with hints like this on his Twitter account:

Bad news. Just got call from Clear Channel. They won’t let us back on air until contract is resolved. Hopefully soon. #AnyPartiesNextWeek?

Despite a following tweet. in which Rover said he believed “it will get done”, that sent the Rover Army into overdrive, and launched them into our E-mail box and our own Twitter account, looking for answers.

And, looking for them now. And, not happy when we said we didn’t know. (We didn’t know, honest.)

We brought a lot of this on ourselves, as we’ve said before.

When Rover and his merry band of morning yakkers left CBS Radio (then-alt-rock WKRK/92.3) and eventually landed at Clear Channel’s WMMS, we had everything but their lunch menus.

The folks at Oak Tree have learned since then…this time, contract negotiations between the Rover camp and Clear Channel were locked tighter than, well, any drum that’s locked tight.

In the end, it’s a win for Mr. French and the sub-Rovers, if you believe the host himself on Tuesday’s show…where he was touting a new 5 year deal that will keep him in the Land of Oak Trees until 2017.

Whew. Maybe we won’t have to hear plaintive cries of “IS ROVER LEAVING??!!? WHERE IS HE?!” for 5 years. (And yes, that’s a near exact reproduction of one E-mail we received.)

And no, we have no idea who “Jeffrey” is, or where he went. We took a quick look at the Rover Radio website, and saw no reference to him anywhere, including in the show’s cast list menu.

We have nothing against Rover, Duji and the gang. We quite frankly admire the fact that they’ve been able to whip the show’s fanbase into a frenzy, worried that the show is about to end/move/change. “Rover’s Morning Glory” has a large, and devoted, following.

It is the kind of connection between show and fan base that every radio effort dreams of. (And WDOK’s Trapper Jack got a taste of that over the past week as well.)

But we wouldn’t mind if if that fanbase developed a little patience, particularly when the host himself said at the outset that he believed a deal would get done, and told listeners/Twitter followers not to panic…

EXIT TO MONTREAL: CBS Radio hot AC WQAL/104.1 “Q104″ afternoon personality “Heather B” is headed back to Montreal.

Heather Backman came to Q104 from Montreal’s “Virgin Radio”, and her return will be to that city’s CHOM as morning co-host, according to an article in the city’s English language daily, the Montreal Gazette…

MORNING TV PARADE: Up first in the Parade of Revamped Morning TV News Shows in Cleveland…NewsChannel 5.

The “Good Morning Cleveland” float at Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 early Monday was handled by new co-anchors Mike Dunston – in from Orlando’s Fox affiliate WOFL/35 “Fox 35″ – and Macie (McInnis) Jepson – former “Fox 8 News”ie from the 1990s.

The duo joined existing “GMC” players Christine Ferrera (weather) and Alicia Roberts (traffic) for their first show.

Outgoing at 3001 Euclid is reporter Dan Haggarty, and incoming is new MMJ Shay Harris, who’s anchoring the new Saturday “Good Morning Cleveland” and joining MMJ Josh Boose other mornings during the week (presumably with one day off to account for Saturdays).

Shay shares Orlando Fox affiliate WOFL/35 on her resume with new “GMC” anchor Mike Dunston, though we don’t know if they worked alongside each other.

The new TV News Morning Parade continues next Monday, when WKYC/3 anchor Chris Tye moves from 7 PM to mornings to replace outgoing anchor and Channel 3 News veteran Mark Nolan.

Who is going to…not anywhere we know of, yet, radio or TV. (Sorry again, Mark!)

PIECING A STATION BACK TOGETHER: When you move a radio station, sometimes the complexity of a move isn’t obvious to the public.

That’s what’s been happening at Rubber City Radio smooth AC WNWV/107.3 Elyria “The Wave”, with studios that left that city of license last week when Rubber City bought the station from previous owner Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting.

Rubber City plans new studios for “The Wave” in the heart of the Independence Media Gulch – we’ve heard on Rockside Road not far from I-77, making 107.3 neighbors with other Cleveland broadcasters including Clear Channel and Salem.

But until that’s all set up, WNWV has to live somewhere…since the sales agreement with ELB specified that it couldn’t stay in that company’s Elyria facility. (We don’t blame the ELB folks…they continue to run talk WEOL/930 there.)

Thus, the temporary home for “107.3 The Wave”‘s reincarnation is a studio at the Akron Radio Center on West Market Street, just across the hall from country powerhouse WQMX/94.9…and therein lies the rest of this item.

After all, in the modern age of radio, it wasn’t just a broadcast signal that had to be moved…and will be moved again, when 107.3 scoots north to Independence.

The move of analog 107.3 meant the temporary end of not only the station’s HD signal, but its streaming audio feed…but at this writing, both have returned.

Now, we’re not quite in the range of 107.3′s digital HD Radio signal, so we don’t know if its HD3 carrier is still sending out the all-classical HD channel from Kent State University’s WKSU/89.7 to the western reaches of the Cleveland market.

The deal was struck with previous owner Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting. WNWV’s HD2 feed is “Wave Classics”, a smooth jazz-only feed also found online

Until the move to Independence, “The Wave” continues to maintain Cleveland sales offices on Center Ridge Road in Rocky River…

RADIO CHANGES IN THE VALLEY: OMW already told you that Whiplash Radio standards WHTX/1570 Warren “Fabulous 1570″ LMA operator Jim Davison was bringing aboard partner Laurel Taylor to run the station, and the pair has added daytime sister station WYCL/1540 Niles to their oversight.

After launching a simulcast with WHTX’s standards format, WYCL has moved back in a talk direction.

“Fabulous 1570″ morning man Gary Rhamy will continue simulcasting his program on both stations, now 7-11 AM weekdays.

After 11 AM when standards continue on WHTX, WYCL will be all talk, dubbing itself “Valley Talk 1540″.

King of Youngstown Brokered Talk Radio Louie b. Free nudges his program an hour later, and will talk on “Valley Talk 1540″ from 11 AM to 3 PM. He’ll be followed by a new, local afternoon talk show hosted by Ralph Bellamy.

Free is now also listed as Public Affairs Director of both Whiplash stations, hosting a one-hour “Valley Talk Public Affairs” show simulcast on both WYCL and WHTX Saturdays at 8 AM.

And what do you know…local political figure Don Hanni III makes his return to talk radio on WYCL. For the outset, he’ll be heard Saturdays from noon to 4 PM, but Hanni’s “The New Talk of the Town” will also air weekday evenings in the summer…when WYCL’s daytime broadcast hours allow.

And it’s really not all that “New”, Hanni’s show, that is. (Well, we’re sure he’ll have new topics.) It’s not even his first shot at talk radio in the above-1500 range on the Mahoning Valley AM dial, or even his first usage of that show name.

From sister station WHTX’s history page, in a passage also seen on Wikipedia:

In 2005, WANR picked up a liberal talk format, becoming the Youngstown/Warren area affiliate of the Air America Radio network. It also broadcast a local talk radio program called The New Talk of the Town, hosted by local political figure Don Hanni III. The liberal talk format was operated by Hanni and associates under a local marketing agreement, but would be cancelled weeks after its’ launch after a dispute between WANR owner Beacon Broadcasting and Hanni.

(Conflict of interest alert, sort of: OMW Secondary Editorial Voice[tm] Nathan Obral is the webmaster for the Whiplash stations, including WYCL, WHTX and Corry PA-based WHYP. He didn’t write or contribute to this item, tho.)

WYCL is adding “Smooth Central Jazz” with Dennis Vaughn weekend afternoons, and we assume those “To Be Announced” slots on the 1540 schedule will bounce back to a WHTX simulcast until filled.

And the Whiplash stations have signed another one year deal to carry broadcasts of both the Mahoning Valley Scrappers minor league baseball team based in Niles, and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

WHTX is the primary home for both teams, but game conflicts would result in the overflow game on WYCL when possible…

Technical And Non-Technical

UPDATE 12/6/11 6:23 PM: If you’re just seeing this notice, we’ve added one more update we forgot…at the end of this item…


We have some “facilities” items up front, and a nice mix of non-technical stuff after that. Scroll down for the latter…

THE WBNX FLY IN WJW’S OINTMENT: We breathlessly reported here recently that the Federal Communications Commission had issued an “NPRM” (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking) that would clear the way for Local TV LLC Fox affiliate WJW/8 in Cleveland to return to the promised land they once occupied on the TV spectrum – UHF channel 31.

Viewers all over the immediate Cleveland/Akron area, including right here at OMW World Headquarters, have been struggling with WJW’s post-transition signal on VHF channel 8, particularly with modest indoor antennas that can pick up pretty much every other station in the market with little difficulty. Before the transition, WJW’s UHF 31 signal “just worked”, as the saying goes.

We expected a speedy timeline for WJW’s return to RF channel 31, if there were no roadblocks.

Cross-town Winston Broadcasting CW affiliate WBNX/55 has just put one of those potential roadblocks up.

In a response to the NPRM (PDF download) filed November 23rd, WBNX notes, among other things, that WJW hasn’t turned to solutions it has already pursued with the FCC:

WJW is licensed to operate on Channel 8 at 11 kW ERP….WJW holds a valid construction permit to increase its ERP to 30 kW. There is no indication that WJW has attempted to operate at the authorized power increase, an increase which, logically, may resolve some or all of WJW’s concerns.

Moreover, WJW has pending at the Commission two applications for digital replacement translators, which the station apparently intended to use to resolve precisely the reception issues for which it now seeks a more dramatic and deleterious solution.

And further:

It is unclear precisely why WJW has (apparently) decided to abandon its earlier well conceived plans to increase power, directionalize its signal, and fill-in with digital replacement translators.

The Petition and Supplement are virtually silent on this issue, observing only that WJW already has the equipment necessary to begin operations on Channel 31. This sounds like little more than a cost-saving measure, which is either ironic or entirely predictable given the fact that WJW is ultimately owned by a private equity firm and is commonly held with attributable interests in approximately 20 other full power television stations across the country.

In the filing with the FCC, WBNX’s engineers believe the station will lose a few thousand viewers (just under 3,000 households) with WJW back at RF 30, even though the two stations co-existed as adjacent channel neighbors pre-transition.

The response notes that any pre-transition viewers who may have lost WBNX-DT reception on RF 30 had analog 55 as a backup.

WBNX also tries to throw water on WJW’s claims that the digital move to 8 lost it ratings, even going so far as to cite an article by the Plain Dealer’s Julie Washington blaming the loss on Cleveland’s move to live people meter technology.

Oh, and our favorite part of the WBNX filing is at the end of this quote:

“The petitioner’s arguments are unpersuasive and its data unreliable. Moreover, WJW has not attempted to resolve its coverage issues by alternative solutions-for which it already has the authority-that would not interfere with WBNX’s signal. WJW’s proposal should be denied, or, at a minimum, the Commission should defer consideration of the proposal until after a reasonable time to determine more definite data about the impact of the proposed substitution.

Or, perhaps it is an effort to jockey for position for prime UHF real estate in the event of a spectrum auction and repacking.”

As far as we can tell, Local TV LLC (indeed, owned by equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners) is an operating concern, and is not one of the players trying to acquire UHF spectrum for future sell-off.

Engineers we’ve talked with tell us there’s a problem with WJW increasing to 30 kW on VHF 8, as specified in their construction permit – it could present problems with Lima NBC affiliate WLIO, now on 8, and much of the signal increase would bathe the fishes in Lake Erie, not viewers south of the station’s Parma transmitter site.

Furthermore, the applied-for UHF fill-in translators, licensed to Canton and Austintown but mostly serving eastern Portage County, would do absolutely nothing for in-market Akron and Canton viewers. Unless you’re east of, say, Ravenna, they’d do nothing for you.

Raycom CBS affiliate WOIO/19 has mostly solved that problem, at least in Summit County and parts of northern Stark County, with its RF 24 digital fill-in translator in the Akron antenna farm…but the proposed WJW facilities would be far from the population center of the market. And WOIO could use a marketwide change/upgrade as well…particularly for those suffering from on-channel signal CFPL/10 London, Ontario, Canada booming across Lake Erie.

In its filing, WBNX appears to realize that the WJW application could well be approved, and offers an alternative:

In the event the Commission is inclined to grant WJW’s Petition, WBNX respectfully requests any such grant be conditioned on the results of an extended test period during which WJW would have authority to operate Channel 31 on a test basis. (The Petition and Supplement suggest that WJW already has the Channel 31 equipment on-site and installed, as a remnant of the station’s dual-channel operations during the digital transition period. Thus, as a practical matter, testing should be feasible.)

By doing so, the stations would be positioned to work together (and with the Commission Staff as warranted) to measure, evaluate, ascertain, and resolve interference instances of interference caused by WJW to WBNX viewers or, in the alternative, to demonstrate that the public interest harms are too great to permit WJW to make a permanent channel change.

We’re also wondering, for example, why WBNX did not object to WJW being granted pre-transition space on RF 31 oh-so-many years ago.

This filing could well mean that WJW won’t be able to light up on the UHF band by the end of the year, but we suspect it’ll only be a delay, not a deal breaker…

An OMW reader in the Canton area says he has (apparently) heard the return of Pinebrook Corporation gospel WINW/1520 Canton, which has been silent for much of the year.

Oh, but don’t try to get the station if you’re straying far from Martindale Road or Canton’s northeast side.

Our reader tells us that as he was driving by WINW’s site, he heard a very weak signal playing gospel music, which disappeared less than two miles away.

There was no ID, he says, within that brief time. He says the signal was very weak directly in front of the Martindale Road transmitter site.

We noted earlier that WINW obtained a Special Temporary Authorization to return to the air, pending approval of its very, very late renewal application.

But we’re pretty sure that return would have to be at 1000 watts, not at a power enough to be lost past the convenience store down the street from WINW’s facility…

AND WHILE WE’RE ON THE UPPER END OF THE AM BAND: Two stations that are very much operating, to the east of Canton, have hired a new news voice.

Whiplash Radio standards WHTX/1570 Warren “Fabulous 1570″ and its simulcaster, WYCL/1540 Niles, have added Alan Courtright as morning news anchor. Alan joined the stations on Monday morning.

The move is the latest to be made by LMA operators Jim Davison and Laurel Taylor, and we hear they’ve signed a renewal with Whiplash owner and OMW reader Chris Lash to run both of Lash’s Mahoning Valley stations, starting January 1st.

1570 and 1540 now simulcast for the duration of 1540′s daytime hours of operation, with 1540 splitting off from 10 AM to 2 PM weekdays for the talk show hosted by Louie B. Free…the only holdover from previous WYCL LMA operator Philip Cato’s “Talk of the Town” format.

Courtright, of course, is no stranger to radio news…and that’s not just because of his late father, veteran Cleveland radio news voice Ken Courtright, and sister Julie Courtright, now in the newsroom of Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 (a former radio home of her father).

Alan himself was doing radio news fairly recently, in a stint with Rubber City Radio’s WAKR/1590 Akron and its “AkronNewsNow” newsroom…

ANN’S CORNER: No, Kent State University NPR outlet WKSU/89.7 Kent-and-its-simulcasters marketing and public relations guru Ann VerWiebe doesn’t pay us for “Ann’s Corner”…though she is very much a Friend of OMW.

But the local public radio outlet is busy again, so here’s a summary of stuff Ann has passed along to us:

* Detroit radio veteran Matt Watroba, who joined WKSU-based FolkAlley.com as a producer and part-time host, is now a daily host on the folk music stream (5-7 AM and noon-2 PM). Watroba came to Folk Alley after a 22 year-stint on WDET in Detroit hosting the show “Folks Like Us”, displaced by a format change. He’ll also do the “AlleyCast” podcast, and like most radio folks in 2011, encourages interaction via social media…

* WKSU guest contributor, poet/author/educator George Bilgere will be a guest on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” this Saturday (12/10). The show airs on WKSU Saturday evenings live from 6-8 PM, and repeats Sundays at 10 AM. It also airs in its Saturday live time slot on Ideastream’s WCPN/90.3 in Cleveland, and other “PHC” affiliates nationwide…

* Public radio isn’t immune to marking the holidays, and WKSU is no exception. The station is streaming classical and folk all-seasonal music at WKSU.org. And beginning Monday, December 12th, the holiday streams will migrate to HD Radio – on WKSU HD2′s Folk Alley and WKSU HD3′s Classical HD sidechannels. A complete list of holiday programming on the main WKSU signals can be found here

BROWNS LOCATOR: Given the way the NFL’s Cleveland Browns are playing this year, the team might prefer hiding from local TV viewers.

But there’s a prime time game scheduled for this week – the team’s traditional clash with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And since it’s a Thursday night contest, it’ll air on the NFL Network – itself doing a pretty good job of hiding from local cable TV viewers.

Regular readers know that the NFL requires cable/satellite networks to sell those games to local TV outlets in the two cities involved, and thus, Thursday’s NFL Network Browns/Steelers game will also air on WJW/8 “Fox 8″.

The station plans what appears to be an hour-long pregame show as well…

A Snowy Mix Piling Up

As we write this item, the first snow of the season can be seen outside the OMW World Headquarters.

Meanwhile, our items are piling more than the snow in this short-lived event…

THIS JUST IN, FROM THE FCC: Monday, the Federal Communications Commission officially approved the $6.5 million sale of Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting AAA WNWV/107.3 “V107.3″ to Akron’s Rubber City Radio Group.

There’s no word on a timetable for the deal to close, or on what the new owners plan to do with the station…

STAFFING UP: For some time, Gannett NBC affiliate WKYC/3′s morning newscast has featured former chief meteorologist Mark Nolan as its only news anchor…usually sitting alongside morning meteorologist Hollie Strano.

That’ll change soon.

WKYC has hired Erin Kennedy, evening anchor at Providence RI combo WPRI/WNAC, as its new morning co-anchor. In Providence, she was a co-worker of Local TV Fox affiliate WJW/8 “Fox 8 News” reporter/weekend anchor and OMW reader Mark Zinni.

From fellow blogger and WKYC Senior Director Frank Macek’s “Director’s Cut” blog:

“I’m looking forward to becoming part of such a terrific morning show,” said Ms. Kennedy. “And I’m excited to work with such a strong and enterprising news team. More than anything, I value Channel 3′s commitment to making a difference in the Northeast Ohio community. My husband and I can’t wait to put down roots in this dynamic and progressive city.”

Hollie Strano will remain as the show’s weather anchor, and reporters Amanda Barren and Stephanie Coueignoux, and “Ways To Save” segment host/producer Matt Granite, also remain in place.

One part of her resume is unusual for the Cleveland market:

Erin is fluent in Spanish, and a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists. She has reported from Mexico; covering stories on immigration and the drug trade. While in Providence, Erin was the creator, producer and anchor of “Webcast en Espanol.”

We don’t know if Northeast Ohio’s Spanish-speaking population is large enough to garner attention from its big English-language-only network affiliates, but if WKYC believes so, it has its anchor.

Note, of course, that Univision O&O WQHS/61 has no news presence at all…it’s only in Univision’s hands because the Spanish-language network bought the former Home Shopping Network stations in bulk. “Univision 61″ only airs one local program – a Sunday public affairs show that looks for all the world like it’s taped in the WQHS lobby.

Macek’s item says Erin Kennedy starts in early January, after she and her musician husband move here…

AND SHE USED TO BE HERE: “Fox 8 News” had quite a sendoff for long-time evening co-anchor Stacey Bell, who moved to New Jersey to be with her husband, New York Jets running back coach Anthony Lynn.

Could she be back behind the TV anchor desk in New Jersey soon, as well?

OMW hears that Bell has taken an anchor position with Cablevision-owned local news channel News 12, which has operations in areas all around New York City and its suburbs (including New Jersey).

We hear she’s expected to start at News 12 in February, giving Stacey a long time to catch up with her husband without having to work. The pair has had a commuter marriage for years.

We don’t know which arm of the News 12 empire will feature Bell, but even Connecticut or Long Island is a much shorter commute than Cleveland…

DANIELLE, NOT SHARON, FOR A FEW: A tidbit from the Facebook presence of Raycom Media CBS affiliate WOIO/19 “19 Action News” 4:30 PM co-anchor Danielle Serino:

In addition to my role on the 4:30 broadcast with Paul Joncich, I will be filing in during the 5:30 news, as well as anchoring the 10pm news on our sister station WUAB. My new role begins today and should last for the next 6-8 weeks.

As we commented to someone else, “that would basically be Sharon Reed’s anchor schedule, right?” That it is, but we have no idea what Sharon will be doing for the next 6 to 8 weeks…

PROMOTION FOR OMW READER: We’ve often joked that Clear Channel Akron/Canton operations director Keith Kennedy, who programs hot AC WKDD/98.1 and co-hosts that station’s morning show with Jenn Ryan, currently voicetracks middays on AC WHOF/101.7 “My 101.7″, and also oversees programming for Clear Channel’s Ashland/Mansfield cluster on top of his local duties, does everything but sweep the snow off the microwave dishes at Freedom Avenue.

He’s got quite a few more dishes under his programming oversight now.

That’s because Keith has been named Regional Programming Manager for Clear Channel in Northern Ohio, with a number of markets in his portfolio now: Akron/Canton, Toledo, Youngstown, Ashland/Mansfield, and Defiance.

That’s nearly every Ohio Clear Channel market north of Columbus, with the obvious exception of the Cleveland market…larger markets are under a different structure in Clear Channel’s recent restructuring.

So, Keith Kennedy is obviously a long-time OMW reader, and upon finding this news in another trade report, we reached out and asked him about it:

“I can confirm I’ve become the RPM for Northern Ohio. I’m thrilled to work with great stations, strong brands and excellent people.”

Keith will retain all of his current duties at Freedom Avenue, and won’t be coming off the air there at all…

ANN’S CORNER: It’s been a while since we gave space to long-time Friend of OMW Ann VerWiebe…marketing and public relations guru for Kent State University-owned NPR outlet WKSU/89.7 Kent and its myriad of simulcasters and translators.

But there’s more WKSU-related news, so here we go.

* The station has successfully completed its “Sound of the Future” capital fundraiser. From a release helpfully provided by Ann:

The station raised a total of more than $5 million in the largest fund raising effort in WKSU’s 61-year history. The four-year campaign focused on raising funds to upgrade WKSU’s broadcasting infrastructure in a move towards digital technology.

We are grateful to everyone who donated to or worked on the Sound of the Future campaign,” (WKSU executive director/general manager Al) Bartholet says. “Its success means better sounding radio for Northeast Ohio as WKSU moves through our next half century. Digital technology makes the station more efficient and effective as we continue to provide quality public radio to the region.”

Gifts to the Sound of the Future campaign were divided between cash and pledges, documented planned gifts and in-kind donations. The largest percentage of the total went to WKSU’s digital conversion, the station’s News & Information Fund and Folk Alley.

In addition to the full HD/digital conversion of all the station’s full-power repeaters, WKSU’s on-air studio was reequipped and dubbed “The J.M. Smucker Company Studio”.

No word on if the gift includes free jams and jellies…

* The Ohio Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) named WKSU reporter/producer Vivian Goodman as Best Reporter in Ohio for the year 2010 (in 2011 awards). The list of Best of Show, First Place and Second Place winners includes pretty much the entire WKSU staff.

The complete Ohio SPJ 2011 winners list – including for TV, print and other categories – is at the awards’ site here.

A quick look at the radio list shows a number of awards for both WKSU and its main public radio competitor, Ideastream’s WCPN/90.3 Cleveland (among them, Best Public Affairs Program for WCPN midday talk show “Sound of Ideas”), among others.

And there’s that Best Anchor award to Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 Cleveland anchor and OMW reader Tom Moore…well deserved for the Oak Tree veteran.

* Speaking of OMW readers getting awards, WKSU got five national awards in the Communication Contest produced by National Federation of Press Women (NFPW), including awards to Goodman and reporter/producer Amanda Rabinowitz.

And look! This is “Ann’s Corner” for another reason:

2nd Place: Online Newsletters, Interim Director of Public Relations and Marketing Ann VerWiebe for “Folk Alley Chat.”

Hey, we know her from somewhere. At least we didn’t miss it this time! Congratulations, Ann…

SPEAKING OF FRIENDS OF OMW: Former Clear Channel Youngstown programmer Matt Spatz is still an OMW reader.

Matt was programming rock WNCD/93.3 “The Wolf” and top 40 WAKZ/95.9 “Kiss FM” at South Avenue, until falling victim to the most recent round of Clear Channel budget cuts.

Matt checks in, and tells us: “I’m doing fine. I’ve had numerous inquiries from stations from around the country about PD, OM and morning show openings. Just waiting for the right one.”

If you’re hiring, and want to add Matt to your team, he can be reached via E-mail at matthewspatz (at) msn.com, or via phone at (330) 502-1254. (A reminder: upon request, we run both Help Wanted and Situation Wanted ads free of charge for anyone in the radio and TV industries.)

Despite being involuntarily thrown “on the beach” in the Clear Channel cuts, Matt has a positive attitude. “I’m blessed to have some great people around me,” Matt tells us…


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