Plain Dealer Saturday Folo

Two items from the keyboard of Cleveland Plain Dealer TV/radio writer Julie Washington in the Saturday morning paper:

WMMS SWITCH: A brief item on the WMMS/100.7 replacement of “Sean, Hunter and Cristi” with Premiere’s “Bob and Tom“. Washington notes that the Indianapolis-based duo has always been brought up when a morning show opening comes up, but now, it’s finally happening. She also reminds us that B&T co-host Tom Griswold is a Cleveland-area native.

She quotes Clear Channel regional programming head Kevin Metheny about the outgoing WMMS morning crew (pictured here in a March article in the Scene weekly newspaper): “They are looking elsewhere, and we are attempting to support their search.” (That’s sure better than physically throwing them to the street and saying “get lost”, no?)

And Washington notes that the Clear Channel Cleveland rocker has had “at least 13 morning shows in the past 12 years”, after the departure of “Jeff and Flash” in 1994. Has it really been that many? Wow. We’re reminded that perhaps the last morning show that gained even any brief traction for ‘MMS was “Brian and Joe”, the team which got moved over to sister WMVX/106.5…where they remain today.

The volatility of the WMMS morning slot is somewhat amazing, especially when you realize that every other Clear Channel station in the Cleveland market has kept a morning show for YEARS. We believe the newbie in that lineup is WAKS/96.5’s syndicated Valentine, who’s only the low man on that totem pole because “Kiss FM” has only been around as a station for about 7 years (starting as Lorain-licensed 104.9).

Then, there’s WMVX’s Brian and Joe, WGAR’s Jim Mantel, WTAM’s “Wills and Coleman” (nee’ “Wills, Webster and Coleman”), and the morning show longevity king at Oak Tree, market icon John Lanigan and partner Jimmy Malone on WMJI/105.7.

We’re not sure about the exact order of tenure there, but all four of those shows have been on for some time, and WMMS can’t seem to keep a morning show for two or three ratings books. We’ll see if “Bob and Tom” change that…

TV RATINGS: Washington’s main article on Saturday concerns the local TV news ratings horse race, focusing on an apparent migration of morning news viewers from WKYC/3’s “Channel 3 News Today” to WJW/8’s “Fox 8 News in the Morning”.

FOX 8 president/GM Mike Renda proclaims the latter show’s team is “hitting their stride”, and notes that roving reporter Kenny Crumpton (“Kickin’ It With Kenny”, pictured here) is the “straw that stirs the drink”.

Meanwhile, over at WKYC, boss Brooke Spectorsky mostly blames NBC’s flagging prime-time lineup for the morning show’s ratings woes, and hopes that’ll begin to improve with the new fall season.

The rest of the day seems to be a news ratings dogfight between three of the four local news operations, WKYC (#1 at 6 and 11 PM), WJW (tops at 5 and 6 AM and 10 PM), and ABC affiliate WEWS/5 (first at noon, closing on WKYC at 11 PM).

Sorry, Reserve Square, you know better than we do that the news is not as good for WOIO/19-WUAB/43’s “19 Action News”. Washington notes the CBS station’s noon show is second to WEWS, but the CBS/UPN combo’s newscasts are last in every other daypart. WOIO/WUAB news director Dan Salamone is reduced to digging out a near demographic tie with Channel 3 at 11 PM (viewers 25-54).

WOIO will apparently start a new digital channel, according to the article, though it’s not clear what they would add…we’ll assume it somehow involves news or weather. There’s no new network out there waiting for a home, as both The CW and My Network TV are spoken for (the latter on WOIO sister WUAB), and “The Tube” music video service is already on WUAB’s subchannel. Our guess – a weather channel to go after WKYC’s “NBC Weather Plus”…

Washington also notes that WEWS/5 investigative reporter Duane Pohlman is off for (planned) health reasons, not related to an apparently quite messy divorce case…we’ll leave those details for Washington’s article…

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