> In regard to previous posts on the historical formatic
> demise of WMJI and the diverse radio product of Cleveland
> radio,CMatthews writes; "I believe a perceptual was done in
> '99 or '00. WMJI was perceived as the "news station" over
> WTAM. MJI had 3 reporters. WTAM a gaggle of over 15. Not to
> soon after Carmen went to WTAM. MJI's "news dept" consisted
> of Chip and Laurie."
> As a student of Cleveland radio since 1964, and as a part of
> a book I am writing,let me set the record straight on one of
> the more bizarre stories at World Domination Headquarters.
> Clear Channel, upon doing extensive market research and
> perceps, was stunned to find out that the Cleveland radio
> news and information image belonged to (God forbid) a
> country music station - 99.5 WGAR. MJI scored a close second
> and TAM (WWWE)was a distant third. With AM dominating-giants
> like WLW and WTVN, this really was a sore spot with Clear
I don't know the whole story like some who worked there, but I was tight with some MJI people back then, and it is true that WMJI rated above WTAM in news perceptuals in Cleveland at the time, and I am not surprised that WGAR was up there, too....maybe even #1. Both WGAR and WMJI had the best radio newscasts and service in town in the 1990s. I remember hearing about a big fight at WMJI when Clear Channel started gutting their news department, and that Ed at WGAR was furious, too, when they started gutting WGAR news at the same time.
> To add insult to WTAM's injury, in January of 2001, The
> Plain Dealer did a huge front page spread on winter weather
> information on Cleveland radio and it featured WGAR-FM
> Morning Anchor Ed Richards on the front page of the The
> Plain Dealer and identified 'GAR as the leading station for
> winter weather and school closings information in Cleveland.
> The article on GAR, Richards, and the country station's
> stellar national news image INFURIATED Clear Channel's M&M
> boys who, a little more than a month later, gutted GAR's
> news department by firing Richards (the architect of 'GAR's
> news image over the years) and eliminating newscasts outside
> morning drive.
> To replace him, they later brought in Laurie Hovater who
> Richards mentored and groomed for Clear Channel. They also
> moved long-time WGAR news anchor Ken Robinson to TAM.
> Why Clear Channel never put Richards on TAM is lost on a lot
> of us who were shocked by this seemingly bone-headed move.
> Instead, TAM kept guys with less talent and market
> experience like R.C. Bauer and Darren Thoms.
Probably because Ed conducted himself as a newsman, instead of a tabloid
hack who cuts down reports to dumbed-down quick-reads. "In depth, team-coverage"? Two voices each reading ten seconds is all show and no substance.
> Then you had the similar travesty with Denny Sanders at MJI,
> the PD at the number one rated station in Cleveland. He and
> Richards were canned within mere minutes of one another.
So was Scott Howitt, the generally #1 afternoon personality in town and later Danny Wright, who also hit #1 quite often. Gotta make WTAM look good by lowering the bar...so much easier and cheaper than actually building up WTAM.
> Today, Sanders is working for Telos and Richards, inducted
> in the Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2003, is in Corporate
> Communications at Medical Mutual.
Sanders is General Manager of Telos Systems and was also inducted into the Broadcasters' Hall Of Fame and got the Cleveland Association of Broadcasters Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000 while PD at WMJI. I was there, and, although many WMJI jocks, salespeople and engineering staff attended, not a single Clear Channel manager bothered to show up. Their table was completely empty in one of the most insulting things that I have ever seen. I remember Sanders looked at the table from the podium and said "well, it looks like there were more layoffs at Clear Channel today".
> Just another one of those stories of two guys who
> contributed a lot to Cleveland radio and, undeservedly, got
> the royal shaft. One of the chapters of the book will deal
> with how Cleveland television embraces its talent treasures
> and how Cleveland radio "eats" them.
Edited by HHH on 01/03/06 10:43 PM.