Your Weekend Glunt Empire Update – Updated Saturday

From the OMW Glunt Bureau: The Warren steel supply magnate is getting all of his radio ducks in a row, officially.

Harold Glunt’s application to transfer full control of Beacon Broadcasting, Inc. to himself has been approved and completed. Glunt also filed to purchase daytimer WRTK/1540 Niles (now complete), and WLOA/1470 Farrell PA (approved this week by the FCC), under his own name. They’ll both migrate to the Beacon corporate identity shortly, which is just a formality, since he now controls 100% of the company.

The only missing duck in this Glunt row is WRTK. Now that he legally owns it, what happens to the programming? Is it the next link in the “family friendly” oldies simulcast being run out of Beacon’s WANR/1570 Warren, now heard on WLOA as well as Beacon sister station WGRP/940 Greenville PA? That’s what we’ve heard. Last time we were in the market, on the way to Pittsburgh earlier this week, 1540 was still running its urban format. That could change, now that Glunt actually owns the frequency. OMW doubts the newly-minted radio chain owner has a taste for urban formatted radio, but then again, we didn’t see him spearheading a four-station secular oldies format…

And while we’re visiting one of Our Favorite Obsessions, OMW hears that things are not all that harmonious under the Glunt Radio Umbrella, with staffers not thrilled with how things are going. Then again, when is everything all hunky-dory at small AM stations in the Mahoning Valley? And for that matter, what is Beacon sales manager and former majority owner Michael “Angel” Arch doing aside from an occasional fair remote? The commercial load on the 1570/1470/940 simulcast consists entirely of network makegoods and PSAs…every single time we’ve heard it, both in person in the market, and online.

If the goal for the “family friendly oldies” format is to generate money to help support Mr. Glunt’s other efforts, including Christian rocker WEXC/107.1 Greenville PA (Youngstown-targetting “Freq 107”), it isn’t working so far, at any rate.

SATURDAY UPDATE: We checked out the WANR/1570 webcast, linked above here. And we heard our very first commercials in the station’s current incarnation…a number of spots during a high school football game.

But really, that doesn’t count. You could grab someone from behind the counter at McDonald’s, and he or she would be able to sell high school sports in the Mahoning Valley without even finishing a coherent sentence.

You don’t have to go far for an example. A number of years ago, a high school football playoff game involving the nearest team – Mahoning County’s Berlin Center Western Reserve – was sold out on the very same frequency, AM 1570. There’s only one problem – the game was at night, and 1570’s 116 watt night signal does not reach anywhere NEAR that high school after dark. Yet, the game still sported 12 sponsors…each buying three spots in the game, trying to reach Berlin Center football fans who COULD NOT HEAR THE GAME unless they drove north about 10 miles from the stadium. OMW doesn’t remember the other team involved, but it was from outside the Mahoning Valley.

Closer to OMW, it appears the a similar thing happens not far down the road even today. Canton talk/religious WCER/900 aired the game between Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary and Cuyahoga Falls’ Walsh Jesuit last night. This, despite the fact that that WCER’s 75 watt night signal struggles to reach even southern Summit County…let alone at the game’s location.

Despite some past complaints that WCER’s operators may have been, umm, slow to drop power at night during such events, we haven’t heard any indication that such behavior is still taking place. And we’ll give WCER some benefit of the doubt here…both St. V’s and Walsh are large private religious schools with a broad base of students and supporters in the region.

As far as Beacon goes, outside the high school spots, there have been – as near as OMW can tell – NO paid local sponsors on WANR/1570. And the same goes for the other Beacon AMs, except for Shenango Valley spots airing on WLOA/1470 and WGRP/940 during another regular sporting event…Pittsburgh Pirates baseball. Take away the sports, and it’s makegoods from ABC’s satellite networks and religious PSAs, all the time. Maybe they need to change format again to “All High School Sports, All The Time” to make money?

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