February Can’t Leave Soon Enough

As we look forward to March, and the eventual return of Spring to Northeast Ohio – which is usually closer to mid-to-late April in actuality…

SOME PRE-WKNR FLIP ITEMS: As Good Karma sports talk WKNR/850 becomes “ESPN 850”, and sister WWGK/1540 becomes “KNR2”, we have some related and semi-related items.

First up is a directly related item: Akron Beacon Journal sports/media columnist George M. Thomas’ take on the situation, in an article in Saturday’s ABJ.

The article is a pretty comprehensive take on the changes, which you’ve all read about right here. But unlike some other media writers in the past, Mr. Thomas actually reported this story first-hand…OMW hears he was in the WKNR studios Friday afternoon during owner Craig Karmazin’s appearance on afternoon drive host Kenny Roda’s show.

Karmazin tells Thomas in the article, like he told listeners on the “Saturday Morning Sports Show”, that he is looking to increase the diversity of the station’s on-air lineup. The question usually got posed by callers Saturday attached to the name of former WKNR host Kendall Lewis, who will appear in that very time slot next weekend.

Questions about Lewis, and about occasional WKNR fill-in Les Levine, usually elicited a positive response from the station’s owner. But Mr. Karmazin pointed quickly to not-so-good research results when asked about another former ‘KNR staple, Bruce Drennan.

Don’t expect to hear Mr. “I Lovvvvvve Ya, Cleveland!” on AM 850 (or AM 1540) anytime soon.

But it’s not like that many were clamoring for him…in our time checking in with most of the “Saturday Morning Sports Show”, we only heard Drennan mentioned about two or three times. Even former ‘KNR host Geoff Sindelar, who swore off full-time radio work years ago due to his business interests, got mentioned more…

SPEAKING OF BRUCE: Mr. Drennan gets name-checked by the Beacon Journal’s Sheldon Ocker in Sunday’s paper.

And though we’d nearly bet the farm against him returning to his former radio home, it looks like Indians-owned TV outlet SportsTime Ohio may pick up Drennan when he’s available to work.

Ocker writes:

Ever since last fall, there have been indications that the Indians would hire Bruce Drennan to host a talk show on the team’s television network, probably in the afternoon.

Of course, we’re not just pulling stuff out of the air when we say “available to work”.

Ocker says that Drennan reportedly will be released Friday from a five-month prison sentence in West Virginia for that tax evasion case related to the host’s admitted gambling on sports.

The fact that his prison time is linked to tax charges, and not sports gambling charges, apparently removes the stigma from his potential employment by, umm, the network run by the city’s Major League Baseball team.

And though he’s still going to be under house arrest for another five months, Ocker says Drennan “might be” allowed to leave home for work.

Ocker stands up for Drennan’s chances, saying he’s “served his time” and should be able to make a living in his chosen profession.

We have no problem with that, personally. If someone wants to hire him, who are we to stop them in righteous indignation?

The tax/gambling case was never our problem with Mr. Drennan. We, too, believe in “second chances”.

We’re just not huge fans of his style, to be honest. But we’ll still tune in from time to time if he shows up on STO – though we’ll hit the remote instantly if he starts singing show tunes…

BARACK-O-MANIA: The Monday evening rally in Cleveland for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama is apparently a big enough deal for Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100 to cover it…live.

The station has run promos all weekend for their “live, team coverage” of the Obama rally at Cuyahoga Community College’s eastern campus. WTAM’s promos say morning drive host Bill Wills will co-anchor the coverage with mid-morning talk show host Bob Frantz.

Hmmm. Now that’s a combination!

We haven’t heard Frantz’s take on Sen. Obama, though as a pretty straight-ahead conservative, it’s hard to believe Frantz would be in Obama’s corner.

It’ll be interesting to hear how Mr. Frantz handles his role Monday night…

FUNERAL COVERAGE: Cumulus talk WTOD/1560 “SuperTalk 1560” Toledo program director Chuck Matthews passes along word that the station will carry live coverage of the funeral of slain Toledo police officer Keith Dressel.

WTOD starts its coverage at 10 AM Monday.

We don’t know if WTOD’s competition, Clear Channel talk WSPD/1370, is also carrying the funeral live. But, a number of items about the story are on morning host Fred LeFebvre’s website, so we’re sure they’re talking about it…

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