The Shamrock Update

Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day as we write this, and we have a rather long parade of items to share…

MANUEL OUT AT 5: The long tenure of Scripps ABC affiliate WEWS/5 “NewsChannel 5” news director Jill Manuel has ended rather abruptly.

In what’s not really a surprise to anyone who’s even driven by 3001 Euclid, Manuel’s departure was announced late last week.

From one of those management memos that took the prevailing winds to the doorstep of the OMW World Headquarters:

Jill has informed me she is launching into bigger opportunities in another market so we have decided by mutual agreement to part ways effective immediately.

I want to thank Jill for her dedication to NewsChannel 5 and wish her well.

Assistant news director Dave Kaplar will hold down the NewsChannel 5 Fort, in his current role, until the station hires a permanent replacement for Manuel.

Regular OMW readers don’t need a recap of some of what’s happened in the newsroom at WEWS.

There have been some positives there over Manuel’s tenure, but the past few years at “NewsChannel 5” have been mostly marked by constant change in pursuit of better ratings.

(Just do a search on “Good Morning Cleveland” in our archives, if it doesn’t strain the servers.)

AND COMING: OMW is hearing that there is a big management change at another Cleveland TV station, and that change could be “all in the family”. More details as they’re confirmed…

THE ROVER EMPIRE EXPANDS: Clear Channel rock/talk WMMS/100.7 morning chien Shane “Rover” French is slowly rebuilding his syndication efforts.

His “Rover’s Morning Glory” has picked up another two stations, both owned by Clear Channel. Quoting our content partners at RadioInsight:

Clear Channel Alternative “103.9 The X” WXEG Dayton and Active Rock “93.1 The Fox” WTFX (Louisville KY) have joined the network of stations airing the program based at sister Rock 100.7 WMMS Cleveland.

As Lance notes, Rover’s syndication network dwindled to one station, alt rock WZNE/94.1 “The Zone” in Rochester, in his final days with CBS Radio. WZNE continues to carry “RMG” to this day.

After he did a doggie jump to Clear Channel and WMMS, Rover would later add stations in Huntington WV and Binghamton NY.

Of course, Rover was once one of “The Howard Stern Replacements” (Midwest Division), and briefly moved his home base to CBS Radio’s WCKG in Chicago…until, well, virtually the entire “Free FM” idea fell apart nationwide.

Rover’s own show was not at all successful in Chicago, and he returned to his then-home base at former alt-rock “92.3 Extreme Radio” (we believe it was WXTM back then), which is today’s sports “92.3 The Fan”.

Back in Chicago, CBS Radio eventually replaced the talk format on WCKG/105.9 with adult contemporary WCFS “Fresh 105.9”. The signal now is the FM simulcast of all-news AM powerhouse WBBM/780…

A LEGAL NOTE: We’ve gotten a few requests about the legal status of two cases involving high profile local media personalities – the domestic violence case against Good Karma sports WKNR/850 “ESPN Cleveland” “The Really Big Show” host Tony Rizzo, and the fireworks case involving the aforementioned Shane “Rover” French and co-host Michael “Chocolate Charlie” Toomey.

A quick check of court records in Medina and Cleveland show that the date of Rizzo’s jury trial has been delayed a number of times due to requests by both prosecution and defense.

The most recent upcoming date is March 27th, though you might want to wait before packing a lunch and heading to Medina…we wouldn’t be shocked if it’s delayed again, as both sides get their cases together.

As for Rover, court records show there’s a “final pre-trial conference” in his case on March 31st, the same notation in Toomey’s file.

And as we’re not Ohio Legal Watch, that’s it for now…

EXIT FROM TRIV: If we were to document the departure of the various young female sidekicks from Clear Channel talk WTAM/1100’s “Mike Trivisonno Show”, we might have to ask RadioInsight’s Lance Venta for an addtional server.

No, we haven’t really tracked the comings and goings at Triv’s show much recently. We believe our last item involving the show was the naming of former newsman Glenn Forbes as Triv’s producer.

The revolving “female sidekick” door apparently spun again on the Triv show, with Nicole Marcellino (she of the “Mr. Hero” commercials) no longer being heard from 3-6 PM on WTAM.

Oooh, the intrigue! The drama! (We’re being sarcastic.)

Nicole, a host for the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena, hasn’t really gone anywhere radio-wise.

Asked if she “left Triv” on Twitter, Nicole responded:

“Still on the air. Pursuing some exciting new opportunities! Stay tuned…”

We don’t know her hours or stations, but she continues doing traffic on the other stations at Oak Tree for Clear Channel’s TotalTraffic and Weather, or whatever it’s called now.

Since Kim Mihalik left the show some years ago, the “female voice” role on the Triv show has been filled by various former interns, traffic reporters and others…

STOP US IF YOU’VE HEARD THIS BEFORE: Radio One announced the replacement for Jeffrey Wilson, the long-time general manager of the company’s Cleveland cluster who was promoted to regional vice-president of Radio One’s midwest stations.

Wilson’s move to regional VP, and Eddie Harrell Jr. moving from Columbus to become the local VP/GM at Radio One Cleveland, was already posted here on the Mighty Blog(tm) back in December:

OMW hears that the company’s Cleveland VP/GM, Jeff Wilson, is being promoted to regional oversight of five Midwest markets. He’ll still be based in Cleveland.

We hear that Radio One Columbus VP/GM Eddie Harrell Jr. is heading to Cleveland for day-to-day oversight of urban AC powerhouse WZAK/93.1, Z107.9, gospel WJMO/1300 “Praise 1300″ and talk/brokered WERE/1490 “NewsTalk 1490″.

So, either it took a while for it to become “official”, or Radio One has just been slow with the press releases.

Replacing Harrell in Columbus, just to note, is Randy Hershoff…

HEY TONY: Former Plain Dealer sportswriter Tony Grossi has finally been given a regular on-air show at his current employer.

“Hey Tony”, riffing off the name of his Q&A columns in the PD and now on, will air Tuesday nights from 6-7 PM on Good Karma’s WKNR/850.

“The Really Big Show” co-host Aaron Goldhammer will join Grossi.

Since joining Good Karma, Grossi has mostly written for, with a number of on-air guest appearances on other WKNR shows…

ARENA FOOTBALL: The Arena Football League Cleveland Gladiators, once heard on WKNR, are returning play-by-play broadcast to that station’s competitor.

The Gladiators and CBS Radio announced that for the third straight year, sports WKRK/92.3 “92.3 The Fan” will be the team’s radio home.

Doug Plagens, who also does radio work for the co-owned AHL Lake Erie Monsters, returns as Gladiators play-by-play man.

When Plagens is broadcasting the Monsters, veteran Northeast Ohio sportscaster Tim Alcorn (from Elyria-Lorain Broadcasting talk WEOL/930 Elyria) takes over in the Gladiators booth.

That was indeed the case for the arena football team’s home opener on Saturday. Plagens was doing the Monsters call on Salem religion WHKW/1220 “The Word”, and Alcorn was calling the home opener for the Gladiators on “92.3 The Fan”.

We have no idea which game WHKZ/1440 Warren was carrying. The station simulcasts WHKW for the bulk of its broadcast day, but it’s also listed as carrying Gladiators games…

SPEAKING OF WHKW: A long-time local radio personality associated with gospel music in Cleveland has returned to the airwaves.

Ronny Knight was best known as the afternoon drive personality on Radio One gospel WJMO, first at 1490 AM and later (swapping with brokered talk WERE) at 1300 AM.

After leaving “Praise 1300”, Knight briefly resurfaced on New Spirit Revival Center gospel daytimer WCCD/1000 Parma.

He’s got more watts these days.

Knight is fronting the show “Showtime Radio with Ronny Knight and Friends”, which recently started airing Saturdays from 2-4 PM on WHKW/1220.

Ronny tells us that he is “paired with newcomers E.B. Smith and the Spicy Latina, Nancy Montes”.

Though WHKW is heard on both the iHeartRadio and TuneIn apps, Ronny doesn’t know if the show is part of the WHKZ simulcast of WHKW in the Mahoning Valley…

JOE ZINGALE PASSES: When it comes to Cleveland radio ownership, Joe Zingale was a big name.

Zingale, a part of two former Cleveland radio ownership groups, died last Monday after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 80.

Radio-wise, the former WHK/1420 account executive joined colleagues Norman Wain and Bob Weiss to start the company which bought then-WIXY/1260 and WDOK/102.1 in the mid-1960s.

His second round of Cleveland radio ownership saw him partner with cousin Nick Mileti (then Cleveland Cavaliers owner) and Tom and Jim Embrescia to buy then-WWWE/1100 and then-WWWM/105.7 in the early 1970s.

Zingale then took over the Cavaliers from his cousin Nick, before selling the team to advertising executive Ted Stepien.

Bob Weiss’ son Gary, now working for Radio One in North Carolina, tells Tom Taylor’s “Tom Taylor Now” daily newsletter that “Joe Zingale and his wife Mary Jo exited the radio business in the early 1980s and went to Italy,” where he says the Zingales had a number of olive vineyards and villas…

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