News Travels Slow to New Philadelphia

Over four days after the FCC approved WJER-FM’s move from Dover to North Canton, and after OMW reported the move in this item, the newspaper readers of the Dover/New Philadelphia area have finally learned of the action.

What’s that ABC News motto? We’ll modify it a bit – “More New Philadelphia newspaper reporters get their news about local radio from Ohio Media Watch than from any other source”. Heh.

There’s not much new ground broken in the Wednesday story by Times-Reporter business editor Lee Morrison. But he did manage to coax a quote or two out of Gary Petricola, the long-time owner of WJER-FM and its AM sister station, who’s currently operating the stations under an agreement with Clear Channel…which bought WJER(AM) and WJER-FM from Petricola in 2004.

Here’s a good one from Mr. Petricola: “We could be here until they decide we’re not going to be here.” Huh? That sheds a lot of light on things, Gary! You could be there until Clear Channel decides you’re not going to be there. One would assume that’s the case, since they now own the facility and you operate it under that reverse LMA. Or are you hinting what we talked about earlier…that any possible renewal of that LMA would include an out for Clear Channel to end the agreement and move the station north?

Oh, but it gets better from Mr. Petricola in the T-R article. Read on:

“It’s up to them (Clear Channel). I’m disappointed that they’re doing that. I’m disappointed that the commission saw it as something they could do. I have sadness about it, but that’s the way it is.”

Ummm…here’s what we don’t understand. That’s a quote from the man who was the sole owner of WJER until 2004, when the stations (both AM and FM) were sold to Clear Channel for $3.6 million.

You can’t HONESTLY tell us that this man believes his stations were bought by Clear Channel for that much money to remain in Dover! That’s insane. Gee, Mr. Petricola, you didn’t possibly look at a map and realize that 101.7 FM could very easily be nudged into Canton and beyond to, oh, we don’t know, be co-owned and operated with AN EXISTING CLEAR CHANNEL FACILITY just up I-77? Either you’re the most naive man in radio, or…well, we’ll leave it to the reader to figure out the other option.

And since we have learned that OMW’s original article on the approval has been printed out and tacked up on a billboard at WJER, perhaps he’ll read these words there, too…

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