Finishing Out The Weekend – Four Ways

Just a few items to launch you into Monday:

STO DEBUT: We’d almost forgotten, but Sunday was the debut of the Indians’ new in-house TV network, SportsTime Ohio. We’d forgotten because the OMW World Headquarters (check your real estate listings soon!) is barely within the boundaries of Adelphia’s currently existing Cleveland area cable system. Though both the Tribe and Adelphia keep saying an agreement is expected soon, it didn’t come in time for Sunday’s STO opener – where the Indians bested the New York Yankees 7-5 in a spring training tilt in Winter Haven.

We hear from folks who did catch at least some of the game that the production had no major glitches, at least that they saw…not that we’d expect many from the professionals at WKYC/3, which is running the back end of all of this season’s televised Indians contests. We suspect that it probably reminded many of a FSN Ohio spring game, with the former FSN Indians’ voices on board for STO.

VIEW FROM THE OUTSIDE?: Speaking of the jilted Indians TV suitor, sports media columnist Roger Brown made it official in his Sunday Plain Dealer column – TV non-rightsholder FSN Ohio is teaming up with the radio non-rightsholder, Salem sports talk WKNR/850, for a post-game simulcast called “Cleveland Rants”. They’re spinning it as a more objective way to Talk Tribe than on the company-owned or flagship TV and radio outlets.

But perhaps the news buried within the news is more interesting. The show will mark veteran Cleveland sports radio/TV personality Les Levine’s return to a regular, live, pretty much nightly radio gig in many years. (We’re not counting the brief delayed rebroadcast of the Internet-based “Sports Club” show, or whatever that was called, which even landed on WKNR for a short time.) The Adelphia 15 sports talker joins up with WKNR’s Neil Bender for the “Rants” show.

We’re wondering how this affects Les’ future with Adelphia, and with the Time Warner Cable service which will take over Adelphia this summer. We suspect doing a show on STO-competitor FSN Ohio could end his long-running Adelphia show when that service dies, and may be a sign that the negotiations to move it to STO-tied TWC didn’t go well.

Certainly, Levine couldn’t be on both STO/TWC and FSN Ohio…so our guess is that FSN Ohio may find more for him to do, including perhaps moving his existing Adelphia show BACK to that channel. That assumes that he doesn’t put the show on hold with his new duties.

Yes, we mean “back”, as Levine’s TV show originated years ago on the old SportsChannel Ohio (FSN Ohio’s predecessor), then moved to Cablevision, which got bought by Adelphia. Anyway, FSN Ohio sure needs the material in baseball season, having lost the Indians games. This is just a semi-educated guess on our part, and nothing’s been announced out of the Levine camp or out of FSN Ohio, aside from the WKNR post-game simulcast.

The only problem here is that FSN Ohio has no studio space, so unless Levine did the TV show from WKNR or something…

BASKIN BROADCAST: One semi-related item. We neglected to pass along the word that a long-time FSN Ohio pre-game and post-game personality has made the jump to The Land Of Broadcast. Andy Baskin debuted this week as WKYC/3’s weekend sports anchor, replacing Mike Cairns. For someone used to working on Indians games, there’s no better broadcast place for him…with his new employer being the over-air home of the team.

JERRY-LESS: And a reminder – Monday at 9 AM, it’s the beginning of the Local Mid-Morning Talk Era at Clear Channel’s “Big One” in Cleveland, WTAM/1100. We don’t know much about what to expect this week. We only know that former ‘TAMer Bob Frantz will be the first voice you hear out of the 9 AM news on 1100 later this morning, and that he may be around another day this week as well.

Someone asked us if the competition to win WTAM’s midday slot would be akin to WNIR/100.1’s “Akron Idol”, the talent contest the Akron market talker held to replace afternoon drive fixture Joe Finan…who eventually resurfaced in middays on Clear Channel liberal talk competitor WARF/1350.

Umm, no. WTAM will be airing, presumably, professionals, or people with the prospect of becoming a professional.

The eventual occupant of the WNIR afternoon drive slot, former Cleveland Browns star Bob Golic, got thrown on the air in Tom Erickson’s slot late one evening as his “audition”…and unless he had started dropping F-bombs on the air that night, we’re pretty sure he already had the job locked up from the moment WNIR officials answered his phone call. (Or else, it’d have been, “Sorry, Bob, but we really like that delivery truck driver…we think he’d be a great host…”)

We’ve also been asked if we’re throwing our hat into the WTAM mid-morning competition. Aside from WTAM having no idea who we are…well, no, but thanks for asking. However, we certainly show in our entries here that we can be as long-winded as a radio talk show host…

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