Thursday Afternoon Mix

…and no, we don’t mean “Mix 106.5” in Cleveland. At least in this update:

ITEM 1: NBC owned-and-operated Columbus station WCMH/4 has found a buyer. The Media General group, which up to now has mostly focused on the southeast U.S., is buying WCMH and three other NBC O&Os in smaller markets – Raleigh, Providence and Birmingham. The reported price – about $600 million.

While Media General owns a handful of stations in Kansas and Iowa, this is a big move north for them. Media General CEO Marshall Morton tells the Columbus Dispatch that the company’s “pleased” to add a station in a key political battleground and state capital. (You can almost watch the TV executives drool when they talk about hotly contested elections.)

We’ve lived in a market with a Media General station, and the company tends to standardize its newscast style…at least in the smaller southeastern markets. We wouldn’t be surprised if SOME changes are made at “NBC 4”, but tend to think they’ll not do a drastic overhaul in a market the size of Columbus. It’s just a guess on our part.

ITEM 2: While we’re in the state capital, AllAccess reports the resignation today of Dispatch hot AC WBNS/97.1 PD Jeff Ballentine, and the impending announcement of his replacement. Ballentine exits the building on April 28th.

(UPDATE: AllAccess reports that it’s Jay Taylor, regional operations director of the Triad Broadcasting cluster in Biloxi/Gulfport MS, coming aboard as the new WBNS-FM PD.)

ITEM 3: A correction to our earlier report on new Q104/Cleveland night guy Tim Richards. He’s indeed in the chair 7 PM to midnight, but we erred with Leeza Gibbons’ placement on the station. The 7-10 PM slot used to be occupied by current middayer John Connor, and Leeza aired 10 PM-1 AM. With Richards going to midnight now, it appears Ms. Gibbons is off Q104.

ITEM 4: We hear that some viewers out of the assigned ZIP codes for SportsTime Ohio actually got to see yesterday’s win over the Chicago White Sox. We understand that DirecTV is calling that an error, sort of a “free preview”, and that the non-Cleveland/Akron/Canton and non-Columbus customers WILL be blacked out for Saturday’s STO contest between the Indians and the Twins.

We also hear from the head cow at Moohead Radio that DirecTV was none-too-pleased with the publication of a certain presidential assistant’s E-Mail address, which we posted here as well. They asked Moohead to remove the address, which the Internet radio host says he won’t. They haven’t asked us yet. Frankly, we’ll wait for ’em…at least they’ll contact us!

DirecTV has only SportsTime Ohio to blame on this, and not us…as STO was actively giving that address out to viewers the other morning, saying “use this!” to contact DirecTV about the whole ZIP code/outer market issue…

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