Saturday, December 1, 2018

Lights On, Nobody Home

It's one thing when the crusty old Media Maven throws rocks at local media, but it's quite another when regular viewers take the trouble to whine and complain. 

From a friend's Facebook page:

Local media, especially TV, no longer holds a crown of credibility. 

In the quest for higher profits, lower operating expenses and more profit for ownership/stockholders, many once-proud journalistic operations have been reduced to cut-and-paste stenographic services. Most local TV news is an endless stream of press release rewrites and worthless feature stories provided by out-of-market sources. 

When regular viewers/users of media notice and feel the effects of cheap-skate operators, it's only a matter of time before advertisers will start to notice. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

They All Look Alike, Right?

Uh, kids. That's the wrong Notre Dame.

When you kids were cruising the interwebs looking for a nice picture of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana to accompany your news cut and pasted a copy of the wrong Notre Dame. 

The stately building pictured above is Notre-Dame de Paris, AKA Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. That's in France, kids. 

For future reference, here's what the University of Notre Dame in South Bend looks like. (Think Golden Dome).

Careful kids, they may ask for your Macaroni Award back...

Saturday, November 3, 2018

60 Seconds with City Hall or 60 Second Campaign Commercial?

By happenstance, the Maven has discovered an interesting "program" that appears on WLYV 104.3/1450 weekday mornings around 5:45am. This "program" may appear on other Adams Radio stations in town, but the Maven has only heard it at this time and on this station. 

"60 Seconds With City Hall" is hosted by John Perlich, Director of Public Information for the City of Fort Wayne. The basic format of the "program" is Mr. Perlich reading the latest press release created from his office. While this may seem rather pedestrian and innocuous, the Maven has noticed that these "programs" have announced recent awards the City has earned as well monetary grants the City has won, under the leadership of Mayor Tom Henry. In a "program" last week Mr. Prelich was lavish in his praise of Senator Joe Donnelly in securing cash for the City. The Maven is sure the Senator's campaign was most appreciative of the mention on the radio. 

Besides the obvious annoyance of this "program" cutting into regular music programming at precisely 5:45am, it often ends up-cutting into a song already playing. 

No stranger to media and politics, the Maven notes that this "program" seems to offer a convenient conduit for a sitting mayor, running for reelection, to publicize city accomplishments to reinforce his campaign positions. Brilliant! While that scenario has not happened, yet (Municipal elections are a year away), the fact that other Democrats running for reelection (Senator Joe Donnelly, for example) have been mentioned in previous "programs". 

Now, some may argue that this is no different than a mailed or emailed press release, the Maven points to some marked differences. First, press releases from outside sources are used at the discretion of the station/media outlet in regular, station-produced newscasts. In this case, it would appear that the station/media outlet is accepting, scheduling, and airing a pre-produced "program" hosted by a City employee and produced by, as the title says "City Hall". 

On the occasions the Maven has listened to the "program" through its completion, there has been no mention if it's a commercial, a news-feature, a public service announcement, and there's no "tag" saying the "program" was provided by the City of Fort Wayne.

And the Feds may have an interest in "60 Seconds With City Hall" as it applies to the FCC Sponsorship Identification Rule as well as the Federal Trade Commissions Native Advertising Rule. Here's a link:

And then there's the Federal Election Commission. They just love stuff like this. 

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Kayla? Sure...

When WOWO announced that station veteran Kayla Blakeslee was assuming host duties on Fort Wayne's morning news, the Maven initially was disappointed. This was an opportunity for WOWO to replace the legendary Charly Butcher with a high-profile air talent, possibly a national talent. 

However, upon reflection, the selection of Kayla appears to have been a stroke of genius...a word the Maven rarely uses in describing the Fed-Med management team, south of town in the big double-wide in the cornfield. 

For the Fed-Med managers, Kayla delivers in three critical areas that relate to listeners and advertisers. Comfortable, capable and familiar. Oh, and she's already on the payroll!

Ms. Blakeslee is a familiar voice and personality, so in shifting to the host chair, listeners won't have to deal any adjustment to the on-air presentation. While her first few years with WOWO were rather rocky and mistake-prone, she's learned well from those tutoring her to become quite comfortable and confident with local geography, street names, and the movers and shakers in local business and politics. The Maven is also sure local advertisers and politicians will find that her change to blonde hair and proclivity for wearing black leather, as seen in her introduction announcement as Charly's replacement, will provide a very attractive package for car dealer remotes, supermarket grand openings and wooing more financial planning firms to WOWO's advertiser ranks. 

The Maven wishes Ms. Blakeslee well in her new position and hopefully, WOWO/Fed-Med will allow her to grow into her new position and not micro-manage her, as Fed-Med often does with morning show hosts.  

Sunday, October 7, 2018

What's So Funny?

The Maven wonders what was in the coffee (or the brownies), as the crew of WANE 15's First News Saturday conducted what could only be called a "giggle-fest" Saturday morning (10/6/18)

While bright smiles and an upbeat attitude work well for morning programs, the Maven noted that the atmosphere was more than just jovial for the morning broadcast as both anchors seemed to be enjoying a joke not shared with the audience. 

The fun and frivolity weren't confined to just the West State studios, WANE 15's reporter-ette reporting live from a farmer's market seemed to get caught up in the fun. At one point, her giggles became so distracting that she actually turned her back on the camera and guest, to compose herself and then wrapped up her reported as she fought back the giggles. 

Now, the Maven is known to enjoy a good laugh, but really, kids. 

What was so damn funny that you couldn't share with the audience? 

You left us out. The least you could have done is to share those brownies. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Words From Someone Smarter Than Me

Is radio taking the same path to irrelevance that daily newspapers have fallen prey to?

The Maven invites you to read the words of radio-insider Dick Taylor who defines the issue and offers some suggestions and insight. 

Here's Dick's blog:

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Who Will Fill Charly's Shoes?

With the untimely passing of WOWO's Charly Butcher, WOWO's parent, Federated Media is facing more than just an employment quandary. 

It's hard to replace a legend, and it's even more difficult to replace someone who worked as hard at and who was as committed to his craft than Mr. Butcher. 

The people who operate FedMed don't handle change very well unless they're the ones making the change. The sudden loss of a beloved air personality has, according to people on the inside, created a debate about where Charly's replacement will come from. 

Here are FedMed's options, so the Maven has been told:

Promote from within the FedMed organization. Most likely the candidate would be someone from the South Bend cluster's News/Talk operation. There are more than a few talented individuals there.  

Conduct a nationwide search for an up-and-coming morning talent (hopefully more effective than their recent hire for K-105 mornings...more on that in an upcoming issue). One of the pitfalls of a nationwide search would be hiring another Gregg "Hacksaw" Henson. Henson is best remembered for triggering an advertiser revolt by firing Pat Miller, taking over his show, threatening the lives (on air) of several local right-to-life leaders and his attempt to kill WOWO's popular and enduring Penny Pitch charity. 

One more option would be to reach out to former FedMed employees who have moved onward and upward. Ryan Wrecker, now at KMOX, would be an example, as well as other FedMed alumni who still call Fort Wayne home, but now toil in other careers. 

If you're interested, here's what Charly's job entails: (thanks to Indiana Radio Watch, from their weekly column - used with permission):

Federated Media in Fort Wayne is looking for an experienced, multi-faceted News-Talk host for WOWO 1190AM/107.5FM’s morning show.

You’ll host “Fort Wayne’s Morning News” (FWMN) which airs 5A to 9A. It is a fast-paced presentation of the day’s top news, traffic, weather, sports, business news and farm news. It also airs live on MYTV from 5:30A-7:00A. Our morning host will work with a wide rolodex of local, state and national newsmakers ranging from local mayors, police chiefs, sheriffs and fire officials to Indiana’s Governor, Senators and Congressmen.

The Morning-Drive host is responsible for, but not limited to:

• Hosting FWMN from 5a-9a
• Prepping content for FWMN
• Reporting and following live breaking news events
• Reporting and researching local news events
• Monitoring sources for breaking news on-air and online
• Interacting with the Fort Wayne community both online and in person
• Audio editing and logging
• Appearing at local events and monthly remotes
• Booking and calling guests on occasion

Ideal candidates will have experience working in a daily newsroom environment and hosting experience. They will be able to work well with others and have a good understanding of local issues, politics and economics. They’ll need to be a morning person as our morning host shift can start as early as 4A and they must be comfortable on live television. The ideal candidate must be savvy with social media and able to inform and entertain online and on-air while also being fair and balanced. Most importantly, our ideal candidate will have the desire to learn the heartbeat of WOWOland and share it with our listeners.

If you’re interested in joining our team, please send a cover letter and resume, as well as a link to your digital portfolio/demo, to WOWO News/Program Director Kayla Blakeslee at