Tuesday Grab Bag, Mid-November Edition

Just because we’re still kind of in a random mood…call it “OMW on Shuffle”…

GEORGE’S IN, BUT MOVED: OMW and other media outlets reported on the impending departure of Akron Beacon Journal movie critic George M. Thomas, who was one of the names listed in the newspaper’s massive budget cutback list a while back.

Indeed, Thomas’ role as movie critic was taken over by newly-dubbed “pop culture” writer Rich (Used-To-Be-R.D.) Heldenfels, adding movies and other things to his existing TV beat.

He’s baaaaack.

It turns out George was apparently apparently able to convince the newspaper’s new owners to keep him around in a different role: sportswriter, with a weekly sports media column.

That’s right, George Thomas will take up, for the Beacon Journal, a role that long-time Plain Dealer columnist Roger Brown has filled for that newspaper. Mr. Brown is, of course, out the door sometime between now and the end of 2006 by taking a buyout, as the PD has also been dealing with budget woes.

Mr. Thomas’ first sports media column (“Airing It Out”) appeared in today’s Beacon Journal. His first column is taken up by a number of items talking about THE Game in Ohio this weekend. And no, we’re not talking Steelers/Browns on the shores of Lake Erie on Sunday.

While we liked his call of WEWS/5’s Buckeyes coverage this week turning the station into “OSU North”, we’ll also point to Thomas’ new sports musings blog “The Sports Blitz”…with one of our favorite lines of his ever in the first entry:

“Normally I’m the last person in Northeast Ohio checking out 19 Action News on WOIO…”

He goes on to chastise the aforementioned CBS affiliate for its recent series “exposing” the Browns’ new decorating contracts at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

As George aptly points out, anyone with an IQ of over about 90 sees that series for what it was: a chance for WOIO to “stick it” to the Browns for the whole contract mess which ended up with the Raycom Media outlet losing the team’s local TV contract, due to its newsroom airing a 911 call involving relatives of team owner Randy Lerner.

In addition to the sports media beat, Thomas has already been versatile in the rest of his new department, writing recent stories on the Browns and Cavaliers. It looks like he’ll be a new second writer to backup Patrick McManamon, Brian Windhorst and the like, when the paper needs depth on the local teams.

Congratulations to George, who, of course, is a discerning OMW reader…

MOVING EARTH: OMW hears that more earth is moving at the Canton site that will, eventually, house the new tower for two antennas – Cumulus (eventually Clear Channel, some day, one of these days, maybe before your Primary Editorial Voice[tm] passes on) rock WRQK/106.9, and the incoming Clear Channel 101.7 operation, being moved north from Dover.

We don’t have any information on actual steel being moved into place for a tower yet, but if they’re planning on moving 101.7 north before Christmas, they’d better hurry. We hear there’s this thing called “heavy snow” possible around these parts in a month or two…

ZIPS LIVE: And an addition to our item about not being able to find the Akron Zips’ online streaming service, which will be needed to hear the team’s football and basketball games on the Internet since newly streamed WARF/1350 Akron “Radio Free Ohio” will block the broadcasts from its online feed.

We’ve helpfully been pointed to the “Zips Zone” logo on the right hand side of (You’d think the “live webcasts” thing would have helped us find it.) The service includes all Zips football and basketball audio, and even some football game video casts for those who live outside Summit County. Cost is $49.95 a year, or $9.95 a month.

The Zips have already started up their men’s basketball season on WARF, and Cleveland affiliate WERE/1300 with long-time voice Steve French (also morning sports/co-host at WNIR/100.1) doing play by play.

New to the women’s basketball games this year is WJER/Dover-New Philadelphia morning host Bill Morgan, in his new role as play-by-play man. He also does studio duties for the Zips-ISP Sports Network.

(While we’re at it, we didn’t realize the Zips had hooked up with the folks at ISP, who handle a boatload of college sports radio networks in cities all around the country…particularly in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions…)

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