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Published: Monday, 10/4/2004

On its own, WTOD-AM walks the talk

WTOD-AM (1560), which carried the programming of No. 1-rated WKKO-FM (99.9) for 10 years, is now on its own. The Cumulus-owned station switched from country music to talk on Sept. 23.

Marketed as SuperTalk 1560, WTOD airs four nationally syndicated programs weekdays Bill Bennett (6:30 to 9 a.m.), Laura Ingraham (9 a.m. to noon), Tammy Bruce (noon to 3 p.m.), and Dave Ramsey (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.). The station operates from sunup to sundown.

WTOD s talk shows fall under the conservative umbrella, as do the nationally syndicated programs on Clear Channel s WSPD-AM (1370). In late 2002, WCWA-AM (1230), also owned by Clear Channel, tried the talk format with conservative hosts, but it switched to all-sports after 18 months.

Cumulus operations manager Tim Roberts believes WTOD will become a viable talk station in this market. While there are no plans for the station to operate 24 hours a day, Roberts is hoping that it goes to 5,000 watts (from the current 500 watts) before the end of the year.

Roberts said the station will have its own studio in about a month, and that will open some options for local programming. One of the options, he said, might be a talk show hosted by former Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, whose public-affairs program, Carty & Company, airs Sunday mornings on WTVG-TV, Channel 13. Finkbeiner said his television contract would allow for him to host a radio show.

Elsewhere in the market, Cornerstone Church-owned WXQQ-FM (96.9) has abandoned its contemporary hits/dance format. An official declined comment on the station s next step.

NEW HIRES: Simon Shaykhet started last week as a news reporter for WNWO-TV, Channel 24. He previously worked at WSYM-TV in Lansing.

Erin Logan is to start next week as a reporter for WUPW-TV, Channel 36. She has been working as a freelance reporter for WPRI-TV and WNAC-TV in Providence, R.I.

DEPARTURE DATE: Jim Taylor, co-anchor of the morning newscast on WTOL-TV, Channel 11, for more than 11 years, is leaving the TV news business to become a full-time student at the University of Findlay s Nuclear Medicine Institute. His final day at the station will be Oct. 29, according to news director Mitch Jacob.

TOLEDO CONNECTION: During a recent overnight stay in Utah, I spotted two Toledo TV alums news anchor Hope Woodside (WTVG, 1989-92) and sports anchor Megan West (WNWO, 2000-03) on the 9 p.m. newscast of KSTU-TV, the Fox affiliate in Salt Lake City.

RADIO MOVES: Dan McClintock has been hired as senior rock programmer for Cumulus-owned stations WXKR-FM (94.5) and WRWK-FM (106.5). He will also cover the 3-to-7 p.m. shift on WRWK.

Andi McKay, no longer WXKR s program director, will keep her on-air shift, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Dave Watters, who had been covering the 3-to-7 p.m. shift on WRWK, is now production director for the local Cumulus stations.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Jim Biggins, former co-host of the morning show on WVKS-FM (92.5), has returned to radio after an 18-month hiatus. He is now co-host of the morning show on WCEN-FM, a country station in Saginaw, Mich.

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