>End Of Year Message 2009

>What a year 2009 has been in the radio and TV world in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Eastern Indiana.

From Clear Channel cutting talent…good talent in January (and again 3 months later), to the end of analog television, to anchor returns and meteorologist departures… 2009 was not the best year in broadcasting.

But…we look to stay positive here at the Blog of Fun. It wasn’t the best year…but it also wasn’t the worst.

The biggest stories of 2009 were the first two in the above list. Clear Channel’s cut of over 1800 people on Inauguration Day was the broadcast giant’s latest effort to cut costs. It didn’t totally work, as three months later they went back to slash over 600 more people… but that would prove to be the end of the mass downsizing on the broadcast side.

In print, however, it would be a whole other story, as the Enquirer would lay off over 100 people, shut down CiN Weekly (converting it into Metromix Cincinnati) and end columnist Peter Bronson’s column in July.

A couple weeks after that, turmoil would reign at WLWT-TV 5. First, news director Brennan Donnellan would leave in July. Chief Meteorologist Derek Beasley would depart in August to head to Mobile and take the position at WPMI there (which is owned by Newport Television, which owns WKRC-TV here, making his former competitors there more like co-workers).

A few days after Beasley’s departure, WLWT hired replacement news director Stacy Owen, who took 3 months to find the station’s new Chief Meteorologist in Kevin Robinson, bringing him back home after a stint with The Weather Channel.

Analog TV was also a big story. All of the full power stations except WSTR-TV 64 shut down analog broadcasting in June (WSTR had already shut their analog transmitter off on the original February 17 date). Almost as quickly, WCPO found it had lost many viewers when the VHF signal proved to be less powerful than advertised. So that station set about first increasing power, then ultimately filing a Petition for Rulemaking to move from digital RF 10 to RF 22. (End of Year Update: at last check, WCPO still hasn’t filed to make the switch – but we’d say that’s coming sooner rather than later – the petition was approved 12/7.)

Radio and TV broadcasting also lost some legendary figures both nationwide and locally, from Soupy Sales (October) to Paul Harvey (February) and “Uncle” Al Lewis (March) to Michael Jackson (June) to George Michael (last Thursday).

But…like we said, we want to end this year on a positive note.

Where’s the silver lining, you may wonder? It’s this: that even though many good talents have come and gone, there’s still great talent employed locally.

Take the good folks at WKRQ-FM 101.9 for example (and for that matter, the entire Bonneville Cincinnati cluster, which also has WREW-FM 94.9, WYGY-FM 97.3 and WUBE-FM 105.1). We saw MANY examples from Bonneville of good community service from the start of the year to its end, including “Bras Across the Bridge” (breast cancer awareness), “Camp Carr”(toy collection for Toys for Tots), and “Stuff the Bus” (filling a TANK bus with non-perishables for needy families in NKY). (Yes, we realize all the cited examples are from the final quarter of the year…but, there were too many to mention, and we can’t remember all of them.)

Or use the still-to-be-launched WVQC-LP 95.7 as another example. The group of people involved with that effort through Media Bridges is an example of radio BY Cincinnati, FOR Cincinnati, featuring local bands, local-minded talk programs, and local, home-grown talent behind all of it. We’re hoping to see Media Bridges and WVQC succeed in 2010.

Anyway, stations like Bonneville’s holdings and WVQC still do (or they will) employ community minded people. We believe that will continue into 2010. It is people like those up at Bonneville and Media Bridges that make broadcasting great… and we see bright things for all of those involved at both…and any station that keeps its community the focus…

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