Weekend Catchup, Early November Edition

Some items, some we’ve been sitting on:

MORE CLEAR CHANNEL STUFF: We’re hearing some nationwide rumors that are filtering down into Ohio, about the future of Clear Channel.

In specific, it appears the world’s worst kept secret is that the radio giant is rumored to be spinning off its research subsidiary, Cincinnati-based Critical Mass Media. The company’s association with Clear Channel actually dates back to the Jacor days – Jacor, of course, was eventually swallowed (gulp!) by Clear Channel.

Clear Channel’s moves are watched under the proverbial microscope these days, due to the recent announcement that the company is looking to “go private”, with a number of private equity firms supposedly interested in a piece of the action. (And an arm of the search giant Google, if you can believe that!)

We’re reminded that Clear Channel has been cutting an awful lot of people lately nationwide, and those familiar with the company seem to think it’s more than the usual budget cutting. Could the company be “going lean” in anticipation of the above events?

Maybe the company is mindful of CBS’s “Black Rock Massacre” publicity recently – where it dumped 115 staffers in one move nationwide – and is not making these moves a “big news” event…

VILLAGE BACK IN THE HOUSE: OMW noticed some time ago that Village Television, an urban-oriented local cable TV channel, had disappeared from Channel 20 of what used to be Adelphia’s Cleveland cable system – now owned by Time Warner Cable.

It’s back.

And it’s so happy to be back, the channel which calls itself “Your Diversity Channel” is running a continuous scroll announcing its return to its former cable channel home.

We don’t know why it left, or why it came back.

Among the channel’s staff is Ronnie Duncan, the morning drive host on Radio One talk WERE/1300…

TALKIN’ CINCY: As it turns out, new Cumulus Cincinnati FM talker WPRV/96.5 “SuperTalk” did indeed debut on Thursday.

Cincinnati Enquirer TV/radio guru John Kiesewetter noted Thursday that the station will eventually pick up self-syndicated advice talker Dave Ramsey from 2-4 PM, with his start date delayed until November 14th. Ramsey has been airing on Clear Channel talk WKRC/550.

Sporting News Radio will fill that gap until then, and it’ll also fill 7-9 PM weeknights… in the slot we’ll call the “As Soon As Andy Furman’s Lawyer Can Clear Up the Non-Compete” Show.

Kiesewetter approaches that topic in an article on Furman today:

Gary S. Lewis, vice president and general manager for Cumulus’ WPRV-FM, said Thursday he had thought of possibly adding Furman to his lineup. He refused to say if he had talked to Furman or a representative for Furman.

“Anything that we’d consider an opportunity for us to upgrade our programming, we’d have to think about,” says Lewis, also GM for Cumulus’ WRRM-FM (98.5) and WGRR-FM (103.5).

Hmm. Sounds to us like someone who’s already got the Andy Furman liners recorded in his automation computer…

Not to be left out, crosstown media writer Rick Bird at the Cincinnati Post has more on the WPRV launch. In this article today, he does not mention Furman’s potential move to the Cumulus FM talker…likely because it’s a subject he’d already approached in a previous article.

He does get long-time WLW/700 “Sports Talk” host Bob Trumpy to weigh in on Furman’s firing from the Clear Channel talker. Bob’s not thrilled with Furman or his antics, and says he’s not interested in returning to his old job.

Bird also calls former baseball player Tracy Jones, who hosts WLW’s “Extra Innings” post-game show, a “leading candidate” to end up in Furman’s old slot on the station…

SHOUT OUT TO OMW, PART 2: At this rate, we should join the Newspaper Guild.

OMW has been tipped that we were officially invoked in yet another newspaper article about upcoming Ohio radio changes…this time, it’s the WHIZ-FM/102.5 construction permit to move from Zanesville to the Columbus ex-burb of Baltimore, a move which would clearly take it out of the Zanesville radio scene.

WHIZ Media Group president Hank Littick tells Zanesville Times-Recorder writer Brian Gadd that the approved construction permit “is just an option”, one the station went after because another station applied to move “from Wilmington to Mount Sterling”.

That would be Vernon Baldwin’s effort to move the COL of WKLN/102.3 Wilmington to that small community just southwest of Columbus. We can’t find the disposition of that effort, but we found the original NPRM here on the FCC’s website. We’ll assume that it’s gone, because of WHIZ’s successful effort to get the Baltimore CP.

Littick tells the Times-Recorder:

“There’s been no secret about this. We started this process about a year and a half ago. If we didn’t do this, we would have lost our chance effectively, forever, of being able to be in that market. We’ve always had the ability to do this, but quite frankly we’re a small market business and really didn’t want to enter the Columbus market.

“This approval just means we can now move forward and look at this option,” he added.

We’ve looked at this again and again, and nowhere does the WHIZ Media Group president say that the station is not leaving town. And of course, WHIZ/1240 and NBC affiliate WHIZ-TV/18 are not leaving town.

The “option” above, of course, is not for the relocated WHIZ-FM to serve Columbus as a station owned by the Zanesville-based company. The “option” is for WHIZ to cash in big time by selling a new FM signal that will cover the Columbus market.

We haven’t heard anything, but we’re guessing the community-minded folks at WHIZ will use some of that cash to go after another FM in the area. We just don’t know which one.

Two options would be Christian Voice of Central Ohio’s WCVZ/92.7 South Zanesville, the Zanesville outlet for that company’s “The River” CCM format, and locally owned rimshot oldies outlet WYBZ/107.3 “Y107.3” Crooksville.

Speaking of the CVCO folks, they’ve just started expanding far beyond Ohio.

AllAccess reports that the Columbus-based religious broadcaster is buying a small AM station in Alabama. The reported pricetag on WAJF/1490 Decatur AL (near Huntsville): $167,500. We’re not sure, but we believe that’s the company’s first station outside of this region…

Speak Your Mind