Could It Happen?

The below items are just idle speculation on the part of your OMW Primary Editorial Voice, and have no fact or even rumor supporting them. They are NOT to be reprinted either as fact or even rumor. They’re just our thoughts.

But…could it happen?

HD SIMULCAST?: OMW notes today that among the parade of new HD2 feeds for various radio stations, Cox Broadcasting will simulcast dominant talker WSB/750 Atlanta on the HD2 subchannel of one its Atlanta FM stations. (In case you care, it’s classic hits WSRV, otherwise known as “97.1 The River”.)

In Chicago, CBS Radio airs a simulcast of all-news WBBM/780 on the HD2 subchannel of talk WCKG/105.9, and in Los Angeles, the CBS FM talker there (KLSX/97.1) airs Dodgers games from all-news KFWB/980 on its HD2 subchannel.

When the Cleveland Clear Channel cluster mounts HD2 subchannels for its FM stations, could we see an HD2 simulcast of talk WTAM/1100 on one of them? Maybe WMJI/105.7 or WMVX/106.5 could be a destination for such a move. The main HD channels, of course, continue to air a digital simulcast of a station’s over-air analog format.

As stations start thinking more and more of moving talk to FM, this would be a no brainer move, and would make sense for Clear Channel to do locally. There are really not many HD Radio listeners right now, but it wouldn’t take any effort to do, and could help position the station for the future…

(UPDATE – 6:11 PM 4/25/06 – So much for that…see the above item about Clear Channel’s HD Radio HD2 format plans in Cleveland. It’s still a good idea, though…even if it won’t be happening. It appears that Clear Channel, unlike CBS Radio, isn’t doing HD2 simulcasts of its AM news/talk stations.)

WINDY ROVER TROUBLE?: It probably won’t happen as soon as tomorrow, if it happens at all. But a Friend of OMW put this bug into our ears – that the presence of newly-minted CBS Radio hot talk morning hosts Opie and Anthony could spell trouble down the road for Shane “Rover” French, who moved to the above mentioned WCKG in Chicago after a successful stint on then-WXTM/92.3 here.

Rover, of course, is still heard on the same station here – now WXRK “K-Rock” – and the company declined to pit O&A against him on the former home of David Lee Roth and Howard Stern, WNCX/98.5.

While we don’t expect WXRK to move O&A out of afternoon drive, the move provides CBS Radio’s Chicago cluster with a live, morning drive option if they aren’t happy with Rover’s performance in the Windy City. (For that matter, the same could be said about another Rover affiliate, WKRK/97.1 Detroit.) It’s an option they basically did not have while the former Van Halen frontman was occupying the space formerly held by Stern.

Don’t read too much into this speculation, though. Again, it’s just something we’re throwing against a wall…and we have not heard any move to end Rover’s stint at his new home base or in Detroit. We do tend to think that CBS Radio will have a lot more patience with the formerly Cleveland-based show than they had with DLR, and we also think Rover’s at least got a shot of building an audience as a veteran radio host.

And again, we’ve said it before, we’ll say it again – there is absolutely no guarantee that the “Sex in a Church” duo will pick up where they left off nearly four years ago. (More speculation on THAT later.)

Furthermore, WCKG did not run O&A in drive time, either mornings or afternoons, when they were on before…the pair was delayed into nights. Stern was on in mornings back in 2002, and market icon Steve Dahl was – and still is – on in afternoon drive on WCKG.

But…we’re sure someone at CBS Radio is reminding him that O&A could well be an option in either Detroit or Chicago if ratings don’t improve. Radio’s a cruel master…

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