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Published: 9/29/2003

Baseball knocks 36 off `First'

Taking note of the Toledo media:

FIRST TO LAST: In trying to gain a competitive edge over other late-night newscasts, WUPW-TV, Channel 36, anchors often tell viewers that they are seeing a story “First on Fox.” That's one benefit of having Toledo's only 10 p.m. newscast.

But starting tomorrow and continuing deep into October, WUPW is going to be “last” more than it is “first.” For up to 23 days over the next four weeks, its newscast is likely to start between 11:45 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. -- depending when that day's baseball playoff game ends.

Fox's six-year, $2.5 billion deal with Major League Baseball includes the exclusive television rights for post-season games. (The first round of the playoffs starts tomorrow. If the World Series goes to a Game 7, it would be played Oct. 26.).

As a result, WUPW will have a limited news presence as the November sweeps loom. “[October] is very frustrating when you're trying to build consistency and momentum going into a ratings period,” general manager Ray Maselli said.

He said WUPW will have a two-minute news break at the end of the fourth inning during the first two rounds of the playoffs, and a 45-second to one-minute update during World Series games.

VACANCIES: On its corporate Web site, Clear Channel is advertising for some key positions in its five-station cluster in Toledo. Openings include program directors for WIOT-FM (104.7) and WSPD-AM (1370), a morning-show host on WSPD, and night DJ on WVKS-FM (92.5).

Bill Michaels, director of programming operations, downplayed the vacancies.

“This is a transitional business. People move all the time,” he said in an e-mail. “Just this time, it all bunched up on us. We've had people here for a long time, and now it's our turn; Cumulus goes through this more than I do. So what? This is a good chance for us to `upgrade' in all these positions.”

NONSTOP MUSIC: WXQQ-FM (96.9) has been on the air for more than five months, but it has yet to air a commercial. Operations manager “Brandon” (who goes by his first name only) says he has not hired any on-air or advertising-sales personnel. The Cornerstone Church-owned station has a contemporary hits/dance format, competing against the likes of WVKS, WTWR-FM (98.3), and WJUC-FM (107.3).

DEBUT: WWWM-FM (105.5) was to unveil its new morning show today. Jeff France replaces Brian Casey, who was fired last week. Lyn Casye O'Shea, a holdover from the previous show, now receives equal billing -- The Wakeup Bunch with France Man and Lyn.

DOUBLE DUTY: WXKR-FM (94.5) program director Andi McKay recently filled in as weathercaster on the WNWO-TV, Channel 24, morning newscast for seven consecutive weekdays. Afterward, she covered her regular shift, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., on the classic rock station.

STAYING PUT: WNWO weekend anchor Richard Sharp has signed a one-year contract extension, according to news director Lou Hebert.



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