Three Beacon Items

Three things out of Thursday’s Akron Beacon Journal caught our attention:

* TV columnist R.D. Heldenfels catches up with WUAB/43’s affiliation with My Network TV. It’s a pretty basic article, and doesn’t contain any comment from WUAB/WOIO general manager Bill Applegate. We only note that because just once, we’d like to hear a comment from one of the new “My” affiliates…something to the effect that “we chose My Network TV because, frankly, it cost a lot less than The CW”. So much for a lack of spin, eh?

* We normally don’t touch on print media here in OMW, but we just had to comment on the Beacon’s story about its own fate. Bids are due today for Knight Ridder, the chain which owns the ABJ and several other big city newspapers. McClatchy, a Sacramento-based group, is considered the likely winner. That’d be good news for local newspaper readers, in our opinion…McClatchy’s Sacramento Bee is generally well-regarded, and the chain’s not known for large rounds of budget slashing.

But we couldn’t help but notice the quote from Beacon Journal editor Debra Adams Simmons. “I believe that the Akron Beacon Journal will continue to exist, whether or not the (parent) company is sold,” Simmons is quoted as saying in the article.


Ummm…when was the last time a major daily newspaper with no in-city competition actually FOLDED? Sure, companies could make drastic changes in the newspaper and its contents, but the newspaper business isn’t in THAT bad a shape…at least yet.

* And we note, with some sadness, the potential fate of a “radio station” most of Akron can’t even hear. The Written Communication Radio Service (WCRS) is the local agency providing radio reading services for the area’s blind population. It’s been around for ages. In fact, your Primary Editorial Voice volunteered as one of the service’s readers as a teenager, back when WCRS was known as the Tri-County Radio Reading Service. WCRS airs its readings over a subcarrier of Akron University’s WZIP/88.1.

Now, WCRS’ existence is in jeopardy. State Attorney General Jim Petro’s office has problems with how WCRS operates the bingo games that run in the old Rollercade roller rink on Akron’s East Market Street, a facility which now houses not only the games, but the WCRS studios.

We don’t claim to have any special knowledge of this case beyond what’s in the Beacon today, but it’d be a shame if the loss of a large chunk of that bingo money would force WCRS off the air. Someone’s got to step up here, and though we have no idea if Attorney General Petro reads the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), we’d like to remind him of something.

Umm, Mr. Petro? You’re running for governor, remember? No matter what the technicalities involved in running WCRS’ in-house bingo games, your office basically forcing a radio reading service for the blind to close after decades does not look good for you.

We’d strongly advise that you get together with long-time WCRS executive director Marcia Jonke and figure out a way for them to return to normal, fundraising-wise…no matter what’s happened up to this point. If the bingo problems just aren’t “fixable”, maybe you can shepherd them to another source of funding and look like a hero.

Just some advice…

Speak Your Mind