Weekend Update Without Chevy Chase OR Tina Fey

As usually happens after a busy week here on the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm), we get updates on previous items…or find out more about what’s been heard on the air during the week.

Here we go again…

NUMBER 1: As it turns out, the TV side of FSN Ohio/WKNR’s “Cleveland Rants” isn’t yet being done at the network’s headquarters in Independence – on Rockside Road across I-77 from the Clear Channel World Domination Headquarters on Oak Tree. (If we’ve mapped the location right, it’s right behind the Bob Evans.) And when we get something wrong, we hear about it…a number of folks corrected us, telling us that for now, FSN’s part of “Rants” is actually being done from a TV production studio much closer to WKNR’s Broadview Road studio complex.

However, a permanent set for the show with Les Levine and Neil Bender IS being built – as Levine mentioned on a recent appearance on WKNR’s Kenny Roda show. And as we thought, a mole somewhere in the world of “Rants” tells us that Bender is indeed making the drive between TV and radio studios, though we hear that they’re ready in case he gets stuck in traffic…something that’ll be more likely when the TV side of the show moves back up to Independence.

Unless they, umm, well, put in something like an ISDN line allowing Bender to do the radio show from the TV studio. You know, at the rate gas prices are going up, that might be the more economical option at some point…

NUMBER 2: Denise Grollmus is back! Eeek. We don’t read the “Scene” weekly newspaper on a regular basis, so we missed the former Beacon Journal writer’s recent article on the shutdown of Written Communication Radio Service, the radio reading service for the blind otherwise known by the radio-style call letters WCRS.

For an article about radio, it’s actually pretty accurate by Grollmus’ standards. And she reminds us something we forgot – reports of $12,000-plus worth of gifts to “sports organizations” actually mostly helped fund “Beep Baseball”, a program that helps blind folks play baseball by putting a “beep” in the ball. We haven’t tracked the money issues or whatever caused state attorney general Jim Petro to start tracking the WCRS folks, but we were aware that “Beep Baseball” was one of their programs.

Grollmus gives the impression that the radio reading service was crushed in part due to its bingo competition with Ohio’s state-sanctioned gambling operations. We don’t know, ourselves, but we still think it looks bad to shut down a reading service for the blind when you’re running for governor…and we suspect Republican primary opponent Ken Blackwell could make at least a little hay out of this…

For those who don’t know, we have a history with Grollmus. After providing a long list of corrections to one of her Beacon Journal articles on local radio, we had to clean up after the youthful then-radio beat writer after she sent the mayor of Stow looking into zoning changes… for a radio station that would have had towers in Lorain County and studios in Independence…

NUMBER 3: Call to folks in the Dover/New Philadelphia area! We hear that the morning host at WJER-FM/101.7 there, which is owned by Clear Channel but being operated by the former local owner, mentioned a “sabbatical”, meaning he’d be off the air a week (until April 17th). Our listener down there thought they heard him talk about contract negotiations on the air.

We’ve done some double checking, and we haven’t been able to find any FCC approval to move WJER-FM’s city of license to North Canton…let alone any applications by Clear Channel to build those new facilities.

It’s widely assumed that when the process is approved, WJER-FM will disband its operations in Dover/New Philadelphia, and be moved up to the Clear Channel World Domination Headquarters (Southern Command) on Freedom Avenue in Stark County’s Jackson Township…and will be operated as a Canton market FM station.

We’re still not clear if WJER’s AM side at 1450 will make the move as well, at least physically, though Clear Channel does indeed own that station as well. WJER(AM) can’t target Canton, because its signal is not even heard clearly there, but it could well be run automated out of Freedom Avenue.

As we pointed out to our listener down there, if WJER-FM’s morning host is doing contract renegotiations, the length of said contract is obviously up in the air due to the events outlined above…

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