Some of the promotional advertisements on local news/talk radio station WVLK-590 might have listeners taking pause.
The ads tout what the station calls the largest local news team in the area and have continued to run even after the early November layoffs of two of its three news reporters. The cuts were part of a restructuring by owner Cumulus that saw seven of the 42 workers at its six Lexington radio stations lose their jobs.
Rival news radio station WLAP 630 also has one on-air staffer and called the WVLK ads "misleading."
"We have always found their claims of having the largest local radio news team misleading, even more so now given the recent cuts to their news department ...," said Gene Guinn, market manager for WLAP owner Clear Channel. "While our competitors choose to grandstand over the air, we feel it best to stand by our coverage and let the listeners decide for themselves."
Both radio stations tout their partnerships with local television — WKYT in 630's case and WLEX in 590's — as backing up their claim of unmatched coverage. They also promote partnerships with other regional media.
Hal Hofman, general manager of Cumulus locally, said WVLK continues to stand by its advertisements and has no plans to take them off the air.
"When you look at WVLK's news content, compared to other radio stations in the market, I feel we still have that leadership position," Hofman said.
Lexington's non-profit National Public Radio affiliate WUKY-91.3 appears to have the largest radio news staff in the city. It also shares a Frankfort bureau with other public radio stations, including Eastern Kentucky University's WEKU-FM in Richmond, which also covers Lexington news.
WUKY news director Alan Lytle said he doesn't take issue with WVLK's advertisements because "a lot of our coverage isn't the kind of things you might hear on WLAP or WVLK."
"We don't do a lot of police blotter stuff," he said. "Our bread and butter are the policy issues, the government-related stories."
■ NBC's decision to have comedian Jay Leno host a prime-time talk show nightly beginning in fall 2009 has its advantages for local affiliate WLEX-18.
"If we can have a better and more consistent lead-in show to our late news, our late news will benefit," said general manager Tim Gilbert.
But the importance of the lead-in is questionable, he said.
"We have enjoyed a good deal of success with our late news product with virtually no lead-in whatsoever," Gilbert said, describing NBC's weak prime-time lineup.
But it's highly doubtful that Leno would be the top-rated program each night or even a majority of nights in a week, he said.
"That being said, on almost any night, I think that Leno has the potential to be the second-highest rated show," Gilbert said.
He added he also found a humorous disadvantage to the move linked to the Tonight Show host's reliance on political humor.
"I have not seen anybody get big laughs doing Obama jokes yet, and I don't know whether that's the extraordinary times we find ourselves in ... that people may think it's no laughing matter," Gilbert said.
Replacing Leno on The Tonight Show is Conan O'Brien, whose present time slot will be taken over by Saturday Night Live alum Jimmy Fallon.
■ WUKY recently won two Council for the Advancement and Support of Education awards.
It won an award of "excellence" for a two-part series on Lexington's Summer Youth Employment Program and shared a "grand" award with the University of Kentucky Libraries for a piece involving the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History.
■ Frankfort cable viewers could be without Fox affiliate WDKY-56 at the end of the year.
The Frankfort Plant Board has not yet reached an agreement with the affiliate to include it on its lineup, according to a report in the State Journal.
Network affiliates can require cable operators to carry their channels under federal law but, under that plan, the affiliates aren't paid by the cable companies.
WDKY owner Sinclair Broadcast Group has made strong pushes nationally to get cable operators to pay for its affiliates' programming since they're so highly viewed.
■ The University of Kentucky is accepting nominations for the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame through Jan. 16.
Individuals, both living and dead, are eligible and should be Kentucky natives or have spent a "significant portion" of their careers in the state.
For more information on nominating someone, www.uky.edu/CommInfoStudies/JAT/HallofFame/Forms/Nominee.pdf.
■ Local TV sports personality Ryan Lemond will find himself home this year when the University of Kentucky competes in the Liberty Bowl.
Lemond had been to each UK bowl appearance since the Outback Bowl on New Year's Day 1999. He covered the first three for WLEX and then went last year as a fan.
But his new employer, WKYT, for which he does occasional sports reporting, will be sending Dave Baker down, prompting Lemond to stay home and host a party.
"I'm actually looking forward to just being a fan," said Lemond, whose main job is now real estate.