First, I make it a habit to buy the local newspapers when I travel, and I couldn’t help but notice that the Springfield News-Sun and the Middletown Journal looked just like the Dayton Daily News and even carried some of the same wire stories inside. They’re all owned by Cox Enterprises — which incidentally also owns WPXI-TV (11) in Pittsburgh, WTOV-TV (9) in Steubenville and WJAC-TV (6) in Johnstown.
Well, it turns out that four of Cox’s western Ohio papers have merged their printing facilities into a new plant south of town, and it appears that as of this month, they’re being edited from a central location as well.
This should be a familiar arrangement to news consumers in Pittsburgh, since the Tribune-Review is doing something similar — most of its suburban newspapers, including the Valley News Dispatch of Tarentum and the Daily Courier of Connellsville, are now laid out at the newspaper’s North Side offices.
By consolidating several newspapers in one location, the Trib and Pittsburgh appear to be on the leading edge of a trend. It’s arguably leading to fewer journalism jobs, but in an age of dwindling newspaper readership, perhaps consolidation preserves the jobs that remain.
Second, I had a pleasant visit on Friday at WDJO (1160), licensed to Florence, Ky., but primarily serving Cincinnati. Formerly a religious broadcaster, ‘DJO is now operated under an LMA and is running the 1950s and ’60s oldies that were dropped by the former WSAI 1530 (which is using its historic WCKY call letters again) when it picked up a “liberal talk” format in 2005. (That format bombed, and it’s now all-sports “The Homer.”)
WDJO’s airstaff includes several ex-WSAI “good guys,” including Cincinnati broadcasting legends like Dusty Rhodes and Jack Stahl, but it’s helmed by the relatively youthful GM Brian Kauffman, who’s also one of the partners in the LMA.
Kauffman seems very bullish on the oldies and he’s a fan of the former WIXZ (1360) and “13-Q” WKTQ (1320). He says WDJO is aiming for disaffected baby-boomer listeners left behind by ‘SAI and Cincinnati’s WGRR-FM (103.5). WGRR had long been the market’s oldies standard bearer, but like Pittsburgh’s WWSW-FM, it’s dropped most of its ’60s songs, added more ’70s titles, and is now calling itself “Cincinnati’s Greatest Hits.”
While listeners in their 50s and 60s don’t represent a prime demographic to advertisers, ‘DJO has a robust sales staff, a tight playlist with a good mix of Cincinnati hits and artists, and a nice suite of studios inside “19 Broadcast Plaza,” the former downtown school building that’s the headquarters of Cinci’s Fox affiliate, WXIX-TV (19). Frankly, the ratings aren’t great, but ‘DJO is hampered by a lousy night signal (990 watts directional).
I have a feeling that WDJO has a lot of online listeners, and that while its audience may not be large, it’s devoted. There certainly seemed to be a lot of commercials on the air, which augurs well for the station’s success. Here’s hoping Kauffman and his crew can make a go of it — and wouldn’t it be nice to have a full-time oldies station like WDJO in the Pittsburgh area? (Hint, hint. Anybody listening?)
Since I’m the resident propeller-head of PBRTV.com, it should come as no surprise that I recently attended the annual international geek-out known as “Dayton Hamvention.” I thought I’d pass along a few tidbits of Pittsburgh interest.