Catching Up, Big Time

We apologize for being less active lately. We’ve kind of been preoccupied lately (which is a very, very good thing), so here’s our catchup item for Saturday:

WEWS CHANGES?: We have a tip on some changes in the works at Cleveland ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5”.

After recent changes involving former anchor Stephanie Schaefer – now NBC “iVillage Live”‘s Sissy Schaefer (we hear it’s a long-time nickname for her, dating back to childhood) – WEWS seems to be settling on an anchor pattern.

OMW hears that Danita Harris is taking the co-anchor role at noon and 6 PM, with “Live on Five” continuing with Lee Jordan alongside Leon Bibb. Jordan will also continue alongside veteran anchor Ted Henry at 11 PM.

The Harris move would impact “Good Morning Cleveland”, but we have no word who will take her place on that program… as far as we can tell, she won’t be working 5 AM to 6 PM…

WWOW CHANGES: It’s no surprise to us, since we reported here first that Conneaut AM station WWOW/1360 was being sold to Gates Mills-based Cause Plus Marketing for $200,000.

An OMW reader quickly pointed out Cause Plus and president John Marra Jr. was the operator of “BOGO Wines” (“Buy One, Give One”), a religious-backed website that sells wine to raise money for adult stem cell research.

A quick look at the comments on the front of the BOGO Wines page shows testimonials from the conservative Family Research Council, and Catholic radio operator Ave Maria.

That brings us to an item in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where Marra tells the PD’s Julie Washington that the ABC “Real Oldies Channel” format is indeed going away on WWOW, and will be replaced by Catholic-based religious programming from the Eternal Word Television Network.

We believe Canton outlet WILB/1060 “Living Bread Radio” runs the EWTN feed, which was also heard on WLOA/1470 Farrell PA, the Youngstown market rimshot which recently flipped to Sporting News Radio from a simulcast of Beacon Broadcasting sister oldies outlet WANR/1570 Warren.

Marra tells Ms. Washington that he doesn’t know how it would affect local on-air staffing. We THINK WWOW has had a local show in morning drive, but we find it hard to see how that would continue with the EWTN feed…

BIG CHUCK/LIL JOHN PARTY: It’s kind of a sore spot for us here at OMW, since we got a lot of heat from our exclusive item that WJW/8 “FOX 8” was nudging long-time fixture “Big Chuck and Lil John” off the schedule next year.

“Big Chuck” Schodowski then took the High and Classy Road, and told the aforementioned Julie Washington that he was contemplating retirement in 2007.

Today, Julie reports that the show aired a 40th Anniversary Special this morning at 10…but don’t worry, if you missed it, they’ll air it again late tonight at 12:30 AM.

The “Big Chuck and Lil John Fan Club” contributed material, including a new opening built on decades of clips from the show and its predecessor, “Hoolihan and Big Chuck”.

And yes, we’re aware the fan club folks were not thrilled with our original item, which we stand by even today. Like some of our other exclusive items, please aim your ire at the source, which would be WJW and FOX itself.

It’s water under the bridge, anyway, because Big Chuck himself has taken the heat away with his own retirement announcement. We wish him well, and admire his class and grace. He could have easily launched into his employer, but he did not… for that matter, he could have easily launched into us, and he did not…

BYE, BYE DAN: AllAccess and Radio and Records Online report that former WAKS/96.5 “Kiss FM” program director Dan Mason, who left the Clear Channel Cleveland top 40 outlet to program sister Miami top 40 WHYI “Y100”, has now left that station.

We don’t know why. Mason tells both trade publications that he’s “ready for his next opportunity”, and AllAccess hints that a “major market Midwest PD” could be in line to replace him in Miami…

TAKING THE WEEKEND OFF: And that’s it for us until Monday.

Short of a radio station making a major format change, or a TV station dumping its entire staff, we’re walking away from the Mighty Blog of Fun(tm) entirely until Monday. We do, though, have someone watching the comments, and will be alerted if anything needs to be removed.

Do us a favor…go out and enjoy the weekend after you read this. Don’t come here until Monday. Step away from the keyboard, enjoy the warm weather, and perhaps get together with a nice friend and enjoy the day.

That’s what we plan to do… so we’re just letting you know that you won’t see anything new here until Monday. Enjoy!

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