Correcting Mr. Brown

OMW should probably do this more often, but Friday’s column by Cleveland Plain Dealer sports media columnist Roger Brown prompted us into action:

* Despite what Mr. Brown has now written twice, the Ohio News Network (ONN) is not “the state’s cable network”. We have to assume he did NOT mean to imply that the State of Ohio owns ONN. In fact, the Dispatch folks in Columbus (CBS affiliate WBNS/10, sports/talker WBNS/1460, and the Columbus Dispatch) own ONN, and always have. The correct wording would be: “the statewide cable network”.

And if Roger’s speculation on ONN landing the Indians cable TV rights is correct, that’d probably prompt most of the state’s cable operators to move it out of their digital-only tiers (Time Warner) or high analog numbers (like Adelphia, which has ONN locally on snowy cable channel 70). No matter who picks up the cable rights, we’re pulling for WKYC/3 or another local station to pick up the over-air rights. The Indians have been off over-air TV for FAR too long.

* Brown notes that “many suspect” that Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 is “pulling a (ratings) stunt” with the dismissal of afternoon drive co-host Kim Mihalik last week. Huh? Who are these “many” you’re speaking with, Roger? It was pretty clear to OMW, from both public and private sources, that Ms. Mihalik is no longer sitting alongside afternoon motormouth Mike Trivisonno due to Clear Channel budget cuts in Cleveland.

We’re wondering if WTAM program director Ray Davis was chuckling loudly when he replied to Brown’s E-Mail. It’s almost as funny as the time a certain former Akron Beacon Journal radio writer prompted the mayor of Stow to check into WWVA/1170 Wheeling WV’s proposed “move” to her Akron suburb, and to find out what zoning changes would be needed…despite the fact that the writer was incorrect, and Stow would only be the city of license for the now-abandoned proposed move.

For those who stumbled onto this blog elsewhere, it grew out of our long-time posts to the Radio-Info message board dedicated to Cleveland and Northeast Ohio radio. Like most topics, the regulars there have chewed over WTAM’s dumping of Mihalik…but as far as we can tell, not a single person suggests that her dismissal was a “ratings stunt”. And folks, this is a group of folks who can speculate a full-blown format change of an FM station to sports! (OK, maybe OMW was involved in that. We’re still living it down.)

Roger’s style is far too close to, well, what we do here. But, there’s a difference. Roger Brown is employed full-time as a sports/media columnist for the largest newspaper in the state of Ohio, and his work appears in print up to four times a week in a paper with readers numbering into the hundreds of thousands. Ohio Media Watch is an unpaid effort by a mostly unknown columnist and his contributors, which appears on – if we’re lucky – a few thousand computer screens over the course of a week.

“Many people” suggest that Mr. Brown’s column is often more gossip than news. We’re not entirely sure if one of those “many” people is a Roger Brown column staple, Ronnie Duncan…

It’s not that we don’t read Roger, and not that we don’t really like him. He often has very interesting news tidbits. But…since he’s basically the only game in town, OMW thinks Mr. Brown should be held to a higher standard than, say, a weblog.

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