Monday Pileup

Some random notes…

STILL WAITING: We’re going to hold off on trying to set a debut date for Clear Channel’s new Canton FM station, WHOF/101.7. We believe it’ll be “soon”, but we’re not going on a limb until someone at Freedom Avenue gives a heads up on the exact start time.

You may find out earlier, if you’re within range of the station’s signal, by turning on a radio to 101.7 FM…

WOIO GRAPHICS: We’ve passed along rumors, such as they are, that Raycom Media’s WOIO/19-WUAB/43 will make the Local HD News Race a four horse event…probably sometime in the next month or so.

Could we be seeing a preview of that conversion, even now?

“19 Action News” has spruced up its graphics package a bit. Though a number of the station’s existing elements (“Loud! Shout! WE’RE 19 ACTION NEWS!”) haven’t changed, the station is using a new font for its on-air identification graphics.

The new font is, to our eyes, a little “classier” than what the station has used for years. But…the station continues to use its long-time “19 Action News” logo in the older style.

The station’s news music package has been tweaked as well, but is still along the same musical lines as the “19 Action News” theme music used for some time…

WSPD TIFF: Relations between Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370 Toledo and controversial mayor Carty Finkbeiner have never been favorable, but they’re downright hostile lately.

The station was front and center at a mayoral press conference last week, with reporter Nik Rajkovic joined by a host of WSPD staffers, including program director/afternoon drive host Brian Wilson, news director Cassie Wilson, and the focal point of the current Mayoral Discontent – talk host/news reporter Kevin Milliken, who was refused entry to an earlier press conference.

Finkbeiner’s City Hall has basically cut off WSPD from all contact, though they were apparently willing to let reporter Rajkovic into the press conference last week.

But a clumsy effort to let him in, but reject the other WSPD staffers, led to a confrontation where the WSPDers eventually got through the door that appeared ready to break.

The dispute goes back some months, with the mayor’s office not happy with how the station talks about Mr. Finkbeiner on the air, and the station demanding an apology for a mayoral statement questioning the credibility of one of its hosts – morning drive host Fred LeFebvre.

This latest escalation of the conflict ended up with a cancellation of the press conference.

The mayor’s office has questioned the credentials of the WSPD hosts and management staffers, but we believe all of them have the proper state-issued news credentials. That’s quite common at a news/talk radio station.

And though there’s certainly something to be said for saying a talk radio station is hoping to ramp up publicity – much like WOIO/19 did when the office of then-Cleveland mayor Jane Campbell “threw them out of City Hall” a couple of years back – city officials often look somewhat petty when they do stuff like this.

By the way, though characterized as anything from a talk show host to a public affairs show host for his hour-long “Eye on Toledo” evening show, OMW readers know that Milliken – a former WNWO/24 reporter – has been working in the WSPD news department for some time. He took that role after the departure of news director Tom Watkins…who’s now doing a morning show on Cumulus talk competitor WTOD/1560 “SuperTalk 1560”.

While WSPD is not without its own “antics” here, this tried-and-true formula mostly comes as a result of thin-skinned, high-profile politicians who think they own the cities they run. We’ve seen it a hundred times before…

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