Tuesday Night Grab Bag

Some items from the OMW Secondary Coverage Area (i.e. outside Northeast Ohio):

WHIO-FM MOVE?: Recent changes in the FCC regulatory process have started affecting Ohio. We’ll let long-time Friend of OMW Scott Fybush detail what’s happened, from the most recent edition of his NorthEast Radio Watch (thanks in advance, Scott!):

The new rules streamline the process by which AM and FM stations change their communities of license, frequency and class. For AM signals, any change of community was once considered a “major change,” requiring a filing window that, in recent times, came only once every three or four years. For FM stations, changing communities was done through a cumbersome two-step process that began by filing a petition to alter the Table of Allotments, and only then was followed up with an application to move the station itself.

Now that’s all changed, and most of those moves can be filed as a simple one-step application, without waiting for a window.

We haven’t gone through the applications yet for Ohio – but we have stumbled on one of interest in the Dayton area…thanks to an OMW tipster in Southwest Ohio.

Cox Radio has applied to move WHIO-FM 95.7 Piqua to a new community of license of Sharonville, a northern Cincinnati suburb. The FCC Service Area plot of the new proposed signal is here, putting it squarely in the Cincinnati market from a transmitter location near that suburb.

WHIO-FM, now simulcasting Cox’s news/talk WHIO/1290, is the former 80’s outlet WDPT “Dayton’s Point”…which rimshots Dayton from the north. We’ll make the grand assumption here that Cox has no interest in simulcasting a Dayton news/talk outlet in Cincinnati.

Some message board types have noticed the presence of First Broadcasting in the technical application for the WHIO-FM move – we found it here – and wonder if the new facility will end up in that broadcaster’s hands at some point. First owns adult hits trimulcast “Max FM” in the Cincinnati market, and the Sharonville-based 95.7 stick would fill out some areas not covered by it now, at least.

As part of the proposed move, Cox is also applying to nudge its WZLR/95.3 Xenia west closer to Dayton, with a new transmitter location near Beavercreek.

We are sure there are more out there, and maybe we’ll ask Mr. Fybush (hi, Scott!) if he’s found any such moves elsewhere in Ohio.

Cox has put a major effort in promoting the WHIO FM simulcast, so we’ll have to assume they’ll move it to another FM frequency if the 95.7 move goes through…

PAGANO TIME: We didn’t say much about this at the time, but popular radio meteorologist Pat Pagano was among the recent casualties at Clear Channel talk WTVN/610 Columbus.

It must be “one of those things”, as Pagano is not even based in Central Ohio. His self-run weather “service” operates out of his home in Long Island NY…where he feeds his forecasts via an ISDN line.

But for some reason, Pagano caught on at WTVN, and had enough of a Columbus market following that another station swooped in to take his services after WTVN dumped him.

Pagano is now heard on Saga oldies WODB/107.9 “B107.9”, during that station’s morning show.

Columbus Dispatch columnist Ann Fisher tells the story in an article from earlier this month. “B107.9” picked up Pagano’s forecasts with the help of a sponsor – concrete maker Scioto Ready Mix, with ownership which depended on Pagano’s weather outlook in his WTVN days.

Sometimes, when it comes to radio and popularity, it’s just best not to ask why…and take the check…

AAR AND FRANKEN: What could have been huge radio news in Ohio has now become a footnote, due to changes in the world of liberal talk radio.

You’ve probably heard already that a New York City real estate developer has agreed to buy whatever’s left of Air America Radio, the liberal talk network that originally put the format on the map.

And you’ve also probably heard that Air America’s most known host, comedian/author Al Franken, will do his last show in mid-February…amidst speculation that he’s running for the U.S. Senate from his home state of Minnesota.

Since that speculation about Franken began, the landscape for “progressive talk” has changed drastically in our home state.

Two stations that were once format mainstays, Cincinnati’s WSAI (1530, then 1360), and Columbus’ WTPG/1230, are now off doing other kinds of talk radio. And the lone survivor in the liberal talk arena in Ohio, Akron’s WARF/1350 “Radio Free Ohio”, dumped Franken’s show weeks ago in favor of Jones Radio’s Ed Schultz…moved up from his previous 3-6 PM time slot.

WARF does run Air America hosts Randi Rhodes and Rachel Maddow…along with Schultz and Jones Radio stablemates Bill Press and Stephanie Miller.

So, the news wouldn’t appear to affect the local liberal talk outlet…at least for now.

We’re wondering if Air America’s new owners are indeed going to focus on more “digital technology” and less radio, as has been speculated elsewhere, and how that would affect Ms. Rhodes in particular – who’s basically the only “name” host Air America has now.

And we wonder how those developments affect the national viability of the format, even with many stations (like WARF) depending on other non-AAR talent for the most part…

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