Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lessons Learned The Hard Way

Pat Miller is returning to his former perch, 3-6pm, afternoons on WOWO 1190 (and now on 92-3 fm) in January, closing a chapter in what has been called the greatest radio meltdown in Fort Wayne history. 

Kudo's to Fort Wayne's legendary blogger, AWB for digging out this story. You can find his work at

Now, if you are waiting for the Maven to gloat, you are in for a giant disappointment. While Mr. Miller's return is to be celebrated by his many fans and supporters, the damage to WOWO has been done, both in terms of financial loss and tarnished image and credibility. Mr. Miller will work hard, as he always does and will treat his callers and listeners with respect, compassion and tolerance. The true test of Pat Miller's successful return, however, will be the return of his loyal advertisers. Those were the businesses who's ad dollars seemed to evaporate after WOWO's failed Operations Manager Gregg Hacksaw Henson kicked Mr. Miller to the curb, took over his time slot and verbally urinated on WOWO's loyal audience. The Maven is sure that Mr. Miller is up for the challenge and we wish him well. 

Kudos to South Bend's Casey Hendrickson who has managed to keep WOWO afternoons afloat during this long and painful saga. Casey is very talented and would make a worthy fill-in for Mr. Miller's absences and should be considered for another slot on WOWO, as well. The Maven will sleep a little better at night knowing that Gary Snyder will never come back.

And while many will celebrate the triumphant return of Pat Miller, one must also take a moment to mourn the twelve WOWO/FedMed employees who lost their jobs either directly or indirectly as a result of Gregg Henson's malfeasance, and gross negligence in taking an iconic Fort Wayne radio station and reducing it to what many have called a laughing stock of the radio dial. 

Many dedicated people are working hard to 'right the ship' and their efforts are being seen and appreciated. The only question ..... is it too little, too late? 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Of The Good Guys......

While it was ignored by local media, Federated Media's Rob Kelley was released by the company over a week ago. Holding the title of Operations Manager, many inside the broadcast industry, locally and nationally, credit Kelley with the programming prowess that made Country-formatted K105 Federated Media's most successful radio property in terms of ratings and revenue. 

FedMed's wholesale jettisoning of staff, talented and otherwise, does little to quell the persistent rumor that the group of stations is for sale and the folks calling the shots in Elkhart are making their bottom line a little more attractive to prospective buyers. 

It is interesting to note that K105's website still carries a banner ad linking to a personal endorsement arrangement with K105's Kelley and Bussick Orthodontics. One has to wonder......with the loss of Rob Kelley, does Rob get to keep his teeth or does K105 get them back? 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Another One Bites The Dust...

The Maven has received more than a few emails and tweets asking why nothing has been written about the reported demise of Dave Wheaton, once a fixture in WOWO's "rip and read", "cut and paste", giggle-filled, mistake and gaffe-prone newsroom. 

As the TV pundits like to say, "the fact of the matter is" ...... The Maven really doesn't care. While the item was released in the Twitter feed associated with this blog, Wheaton's departure reportedly has not officially been announced by the company. Why publicize one's failure's? The loss of Mr. Wheaton is of little consequence or significance to the Maven personally, and to Fort Wayne in general. After the easily provoked, cry-baby former Operations Manager, and failed afternoon talk host, Gregg Henson blocked the Maven, and others, from the station's Facebook page, Twitter feed, and made those dandy death threats (on air and in social media), the Maven, like many, has changed listening patterns, leaving WOWO as an information choice only of last resort. 

We don't need to review and rehash the history of the good intentions, grandiose plans and clever schemes that were designed to restore WOWO's relevancy and credibility in the media marketplace less than two years ago. It's really not necessary to recount the comedy of errors, catastrophic failures and media blunders that have led to the firing of over 15 people from Federated Media. Today, WOWO suffers from far less credibility and relevance than before. Seeing a once revered Fort Wayne institution implode and crumble is not at all enjoyable. 

So, please let this blog posting serve as your personal notification that, Dave Wheaton has left the building. He has apparently been scrubbed from the website, has not been heard on the air, and both insiders and outsiders at 2915 Maples Road say he's gone. So, the Maven, like you, will take that as a "yes", and the bumbling newscasts based heavily on the Urban Dictionary for substance have now ended.

So, who's in charge now? Kylie Havens? 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Social Media Informality vs Neglegence

As Social Media revolutionizes the distribution of news and information, all of the benefits of speed are creating some unwanted side effects. Whether those side effects are worth worrying about seems to be a point of contention.

A close friend of the Maven recently posted what appeared to be a spelling/grammar faux pas by a CNN anchorette/reporter on his Facebook page. While the reporter took advantage of Social Media's informality by using the word "waaayyy", she immediately followed it with the improper use of the word "to" instead of the correct "too". 
Our friend received a castigating email for being "waaayyy" too concerned about proper spelling, grammar and accepted journalistic style within the Social Media arena. Our friend, in his response email held his own, pointing out that while "waaayyy" could be dismissed under the new doctrine of informality, the "to/too" could not when reporting news or opinion for CNN, also noting that on CNN's other platforms, including TV, this would not be acceptable.

An isolated incident? No. USA Today also suffers from spelling issues on Social Media, however this instance is not a case of being "informal", this is a textbook case of stupidity and a lack of quality control. With no grumpy editors looking over their shoulders, Social Media "journalists" are free to write what they want with no editorial controls. Again, this would never be tolerated in their print product. 

The old yarn of "Speed, Accuracy, Truth.....pick any two" applies well to Social Media and the News. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

News Sentinel Loses Sight Of Site

The Maven is beginning to believe that spelling and grammar are as optional in the newspaper business as they appear to be in our public schools. I'm sure the new site for Erin's House will be quite a sight. Someone should also be flogged and throttled for the misspelled headline, too.

An otherwise well written story about a unique and honorable organization.......and no one caught this? Or no one at the News Sentinel cares?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Fire the Headline Writer

You folks at the Journal Gazette are making this too damn easy. 

An "armed" gun store?  I would hope that the gun store was "armed", that's what they sell. 

While your cranky editor will call "bullshit" and say the the headline is "technically" correct (which it is), it is also ambiguous and confusing, much like your editorials. 

Might a headline like "Gun Store Armed Robbery" confuse the reader less? But maybe the Journal likes to keep their readers baffled and confused. Nice work. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Journal Gazette = Big Tease

The locally-owned morning newspaper likes to portray itself as a trusted community resource, full of important and timely information, excellent journalism, an aggressive watchdog for the readers they serve. 


The Journal Gazette is nothing more than an over-dressed, chain-smoking hooker, sitting at the end of the bar, making promises she won't deliver. But she will gladly take our money. 

Today's "Best Bets" section, viewed on line, purports to offer a list of community activities and events for their audience. As you can tell, the Journal offers nothing but cut and paste information about City and County offices being closed for the holiday. Even habitual TV viewers have the intelligence to tell that this information has been procured from some master calendar somewhere at 600 West Main. No effort, apparently, was made to research any worthwhile activities going on today, or even rewrite the closing information to match style. The Maven recognizes that this is Fort Wayne, but, this is embarrassing. Best not share this with the Convention and Visitor's Bureau for distribution in their materials. "Fort Wayne, Where Absolutely Nothing Is Going On". 

The message is clear, according the the Journal Gazette, there is nothing going on in our town today, so, please go about your business, boring as it may be. 

(updated 1:16pm 11/12)

Here's how the News Sentinel does it:

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lazy Media, Chapter 6

Before the Maven get's accused of bashing the poor, helpless souls at WOWO, let me state that all media does this. WOWO just happens to provide a wonderful, textbook example of "PR Journalism". 

Other than "breaking news" and the run-of-the-mill traffic accidents and such, most "news" we are treated to usually consists of regurgitated press releases or "media handouts". Fort Wayne sees very little "enterprise" reporting where a reporter actually sniffs out a story and reports on it. The now-retired Mike Dooley of the News Sentinel and, to a lesser extent, Frank Gray of the Journal Gazette are the only two reporters who do actual reporting that is not in response or reaction to an existing story or event. Think about this the next time one of the "blow-dried" TV news anchors stares into the camera and proudly states "as we were the first to report"...... sure, pal.

Below is a portion of a Press Release from The City of Fort Wayne's web site proudly crowing about our beautiful Martin Luther King bridge. The second screen capture is how WOWO, and most other media in our town handle such a news story. Check the links out to the content of each and count and compare the paragraphs; note they all start and end with the same words. While some media may polish or rewrite such PR offerings, many, like what WOWO has done here, simply cut and paste the copy while adding their logo as if it were original reporting. 

Here's a portion of the City's screen capture:
The complete webpage is here:

And here's a portion of WOWO's screen capture. 
The complete webpage is here:

While WOWO does share news "resources" with the AP, Indiana's NewsCenter and the Journal Gazette, you will notice that WOWO gives no credit to the City. It's just cut and paste. 

Seems ironic that school children might be tossed into terminal detention ... for something Fort Wayne "journalists" do every day.