Edward L. Esposito

Edward L. Esposito

Edward "Ed" Esposito is vice-president, information media for the Rubber City Radio Group. He oversees news and public affairs programs for www.AkronNewsNow.com, 1590 WAKR, 97.5 WONE and 94.9 WQMX. He is Secretary-Treasurer of the Radio Television Digital News Foundation; a former chair of the Radio Television Digital News Association and Foundation and a former president of the Ohio Associated Press Broadcasters Association. He's also served as a member of the Akron Press Club , Kent State University Student Media Advisory Board, Ohio Open Government Coalition, Northeast Ohio AMBER Task Force. He's lectured on broadcasting and journalism for the University of Missouri in China, as well as across the country for RTDNA and RTDNF. You can reach Ed through the newsroom at 330-864-6397 or by email eesposito@rcrg.net

UPDATE 3:27 p.m. Statement from AT&T: "All services affected by a burst steam pipe in an AT&T switching office in Akron early Tuesday evening are now restored. Technicians completed repair work Wednesday afternoon and services are currently running normally. We apologize for this inconvenience."

Earlier coverage:

UPDATE 6:15 a.m. According to NewsChannel 5, most 9-1-1 lines are operational in Summit, Stark and Medina counties.

UPDATE 9:01 p.m. AT&T reports the problem originated with a steam pipe in it's Akron facilities and expects to have service restored within the hour. Some communities are reporting service now gradually being restored with land line, cable services.


Here's a major disruption of AT&T phone, cable and DSL service hitting the greater Akron area as well as most of northeast Ohio extending into at least eleven other states and other major cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, Cincinnati, Minneapolis and points east and south into Texas.

There are reports the trouble is centered on AT&T facilities with a "steam accident" that dropped power service to the phone company facilities in downtown Akron.

AT&T problems

Here in the greater Akron area, there are several numbers to use as backup in event of a major emergency requiring police, fire or EMS services with 9-1-1 systems based on AT&T service for the foundation of their telecommunications at risk. Outages are scattered so some communities may still have service depending on trunk lines and mobile towers while others may have no service at all.

LISTING of numbers to call in greater Akron area for an emergency is your 9-1-1 calls are not being answered:


Medina County Sheriff: 330-725-6631
Brunswick PD: 330-225-9111
Lodi PD: 330-725-6333
Medina: 330-725-7777
Wadsworth: 330-351-4849 or 330-351-4847

Stark Sheriff Countywide: 330-353-1656
Alliance PD: 330-821-3131
Canton State Highway Patrol Post: 216-406-0847 (backup cell phone) 
Canton PD: 330-327-2921 or 330-933-6015
Jackson Twp, Beach City, Brewster, Canal Fulton, Hills & Dales, Lawrence Township, Massillon, Navarre, Wimot and Waynesburg PD: 330-353-0732
Jackson Twp, Beach City, Bethlehem, Brewster, Canal Fulton, Dalton, Lawrence Township, Lexington, Massillon, Navarre, Wilmot FD: 330-353-0732
Louisville PD: 330-875-2663
North Canton PD: 330-499-5911
Perry Twp PD: 330-478-5121
Portage County Sheriff: 330-351-5073
Aurora PD: 330-562-8181
Kent PD: 330-673-7732
Kent State University: 330-672-3070
Mantua: 330-819-6901 
Perry Twp: 330-844-5457
Ravenna, Charlestown, Deerfield, Edinburg, Palmyra, Paris, Ravenna Twp, Rootstown and Windham: 330-281-0573
Streetsboro : 330-352-3694
Suffield Twp: 330-904-7573
Barberton PD: 330-666-8866 or 330-414-5231
Bath Twp: 330-730-5554 or 330-612-3669
Copley PD: 330-666-8866
Cuyahoga Falls: 330-351-4789 or 330-351-4717
Hudson PD: 330-342-1800
Fairlawn: 330-666-8871
Green, Springfield, Lakemore & Coventry Twp PD: 330-858-5369
Macedonia PD: 330-468-1234
Northfield Village PD: 330-467-7112
Norton PD: 330-825-2491
Richfield PD: 330-659-9500
Sagamore Hills PD: 330-468-0900
Springfield PD: 330-733-1061 or 330-858-5369
Stow PD: 330-688-8214 
Tallmadge PD: 330-689-5890
Twinsburg, Reminderville, Twinsburg Twp PD: 330-425-1234
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 16:29

ESPN: Buckeye Crush Ratings, Too

Not only did THE Ohio State Buckeyes crush the Oregon Ducks to win the first-ever national collegiate football championship in the modern D1 playoff era, they also attracted the majority of eyes in America.

ESPN reports nearly 33.4 million viewers tuned into the game Monday night, providing the network with an 18.2 rating and the largest audience and rating ever on cable television. It was a 31% boost over the 2014 BCS Championship game and was a great example of home-cooking in Columbus, where more than half of all television sets were tuned into the game. The Cleveland market, of which greater Akron makes up about a third, provided a 41.3 rating. Dayton and Cincinnati also provided major viewing levels.

More than 1.16 million viewers also took in the game online, a college football game record surpassing this year's Sugar Bowl matchup between Ohio State and Alabama. College football, though, still has improvement to catch up to World Cup online viewing.

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(ESPN) ESPN’s Monday night telecast of the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T — Ohio State’s 42-20 victory over Oregon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas – averaged 33,395,000 viewers and an 18.2 US household rating, according to Nielsen, delivering both the largest audience and highest rating in cable television history.

The National Championship game surpassed both College Football Playoff Semifinals from Jan. 1: the Allstate Sugar Bowl (28,271,000 viewers) and The Rose Bowl Game Presented by Northwestern Mutual (28,164,000 viewers), establishing the new most-watched cable program. In all, the first three games of the new College Football Playoff format (the beginning of ESPN’s 12-year agreement) are now the Top 3 most-viewed programs in cable history. Together, the CFB Playoff Semifinals and National Championship combined to average 29,812,000 viewers and a 16.0 US household rating. Additionally, ESPN has now televised the Top 20 programs in cable history. (chart below)
The College Football Playoff National Championship generated a 31 percent increase in viewership and a 26 percent increase in rating over the 2014 BCS National Championship: Auburn vs. Florida State (25,572,000 viewers & 14.4 rating). Additionally, the Buckeyes’ victory resulted in a 22 percent increase in audience and 19 percent gain in rating over the 2011 BCS Championship featuring Oregon vs. Auburn (27,316,000 viewers and 15.3 rating) which had ranked as the most-watched and highest-rated program in cable history before the new College Football Playoff debuted.
In the primary home markets of the two schools, the telecast delivered a 51.2 in Columbus, the No. 1 overall market, and a 37.6 in Portland, fourth overall. The top 10 metered markets (in addition to those of the competing teams) are the following: Columbus, Dayton (43.8), Cleveland (41.3), Portland, Birmingham (36.1), Cincinnati (26.5), Jacksonville (25.7), Knoxville (25.5), Greenville (24.1) and Atlanta (23.0).
In all, the National Championship set overnight post season college football records in 22 metered markets: Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Dayton, Denver, Ft. Myers, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, Norfolk, Philadelphia, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, Richmond, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.
The simulcast of ESPN’s main telecast of the College Football Playoff National Championship on WatchESPN attracted 1,161,000 unique viewers, 82,000,000 minutes viewed and average minute audience of 366,000. The usage represents an increase of 110 percent (553,000 unique viewers), 144 percent (33,600,000 minutes viewed), and 128 percent (160,000 average audience), respectively, over the 2014 BCS National Championship.
The CFP National Championship now stands as the best college football game ever on WatchESPN based on unique viewers, minutes viewed, and an average minute audience surpassing this year’s Sugar Bowl (912,000 unique viewers, 58.7 million minutes viewed, and an average minute audience of 256,000). It also ranks as the best non-World Cup event ever on WatchESPN.
“The inaugural College Football Playoff was a resounding success by all measures,” said John Skipper, ESPN President. “Fans responded in record numbers across television and digital platforms. It’s been a great first year and we look forward to the opportunity to build upon the excitement as we continue our long-term commitment to this tremendous event.”
Tuesday, 13 January 2015 11:59

Lombardi Trophy Heading West

Christmas brings with it the sights and sounds of the season; holiday songs, lots of blinking lights and sales at the mall. January has it's own sights and sounds of the season; bone-crushing hits, cheers and jeers at football stadiums and the annual trek taking the Vince Lombardi Trophy from it's security-glass enclosed home at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton to the Super Bowl.

The Lombardi Trophy goes to the winner of the NFL Championship and it has left the building, heading for Glendale, Arizona. Hall of Fame President David Baker delivered the trophy for packing and, as tradition holds, it'll be Joe Horrigan of the Hall who makes sure Lombardi gets to the field safe and sound for presentation to the winner. Lucky fans and visitors to the Hall of Fame were able to watch the start of the journey.

Super Bowl XLIX will be held on Sunday, February 1 with the winners of this weekend's conference championship games between the Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers-Seattle Seahawks vying for the trophy.

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(Pro Football Hall of Fame) The Vince Lombardi Trophy has left the Pro Football Hall of Fame and is en route to Arizona where it will be awarded to the champions of Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. on Sunday, February 1.

Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker removed the illustrious NFL trophy from exhibit in the Hall's Lamar Hunt Super Bowl Gallery on Monday afternoon. The Vince Lombardi Trophy for Super Bowl XLIX has been displayed at the Hall of Fame for the past year and seen by the nearly quarter million fans who have toured the Hall during that time.

"There's no greater example of excellence than the Lombardi Trophy," stated Baker who was flanked by a gathering of fans at the Hall of Fame. "This is a trophy that belongs to every football fan."

Tuesday, 13 January 2015 08:40

Springfield PD Wants Suspected Meth Cooker

Springfield Police asking for some help finding a suspected meth cooker on the lam -- although they're warning residents not to be TOO helpful. 33-year old Leander Dwayne Kirk's home was targeted for a search warrant Monday and police say they found an active meth lab inside the Raymond Street home in Lakemore.
He's considered dangerous and police warn anyone with information to make a phone call and not attempt any action. 
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(Springfield PD) Leander Dwayne Kirk is wanted for FELONY MANUFACTURING OF DRUGS. The Summit County Drug Unit, Springfield Twp. Police, and Metro S.W.A.T., executed a search warrant at his residence on 1/12/15 and found and active methamphetamine lab inside the home. Leander is a 33 yr. old white male, 5'7", 170 lbs. with brown hair and brown eyes. Leander Kirk's last known address was on Raymond St. in the Village of Lakemore. 
Do not attempt to apprehend any wanted person(s). Contact the Springfield Twp. Police @ (330) 784-1609 or the Summit County Sheriff's office @ (330) 643-2181 if you have any information on the whereabouts of Leander Kirk. All information may be given anonymously. 
All wanted person(s) are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 
Monday, 12 January 2015 10:18

WGC Breaks Glass Ceiling With 2015 Pick

The local CEO of FedEx Custom Critical may be used to breaking barriers as a woman executive but she's also knocking down the glass ceiling in what had been a men-only lineup as honorary chair of the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational on Akron's storied Firestone Country Club. It makes Virginia Albanese the first woman to ever hold the post. 

Albanese called it a "tremendous honor" in a release from the WGC today. Tournament Executive Director Don Padgett noted Albanese has been a long time supporter of the event and helped create the Executive Women's Day program held in tandem with the Bridgeston Invitational.

The event is scheduled for August 3-9, 2015.

(Bridgestone Invitational World Golf Championship) Tournament officials today announced that local businesswoman Virginia Albanese, president and CEO of FedEx Custom Critical, has been selected as the honorary chairwoman for the 2015 World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, to be held August 3-9 at Firestone Country Club (South Course) in Akron, Ohio. With the announcement, Albanese becomes the first female honorary chairperson in tournament history.

"Virginia Albanese is the ideal person to be named as our honorary chairwoman," said Bridgestone Invitational Executive Director Don Padgett. "She embodies the values of philanthropy, leadership, community involvement, corporate success and selflessness, the qualities this position honors. As a member of the Bridgestone Invitational Championship Council, Virginia has been a long time support of the tournament and also helped to develop the event's highly successful Executive Women's Day that has sold out the last three years."

Albanese is president and CEO of FedEx Custom Critical, a leading North American expedited freight carrier and truckload brokerage located in Green, Ohio. Albanese joined FedEx Custom Critical in 1986 and quickly worked her way up the ranks, holding director positions in various departments where she placed a strong focus on organizational culture, operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. In each role, Albanese used technology to improve productivity. By streamlining processes she has improved efficiency and enhanced communication capabilities to move the company forward.

"The Akron community takes a great deal of pride in being the host city for the Bridgestone Invitational," Albanese said. "The Bridgestone Invitational does so much in the way of philanthropy in Akron, so it is a tremendous honor to assume the role of honorary chairwoman."

Virginia has been recognized for her leadership both at work and in the community. In recent years she was named Executive of The Year by the Society of Marketing Executives International (2014) and awarded the CEO Excellence Award by the Illinois Diversity Council (2014). She has also been inducted into the Northeastern Ohio Business Hall of Fame (2013), received the Women of Power Award from the Akron Urban League (2013), and also received the Leadership Excellence Award from the National Diversity Council (2014). She has been named to the Inside Business Power 100 list for the past four years (2011-2014) and the Crain's Cleveland Business Power 150 (2014). In addition, FedEx Custom Critical has been recognized as one of Northeast Ohio's top workplaces, receiving the NorthCoast 99 Award 13 times and making the The Plain Dealer's Top Workplaces list in 2013.

Albanese earned a Bachelor of Science degree ('85) and an executive MBA ('95) from Kent State University. In 2013 was appointed by Ohio Governor John Kasich to the Kent State University Board of Trustees. She is past chair of The Boys and Girls Club of the Western Reserve and past chair of the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce. She also serves on a number of other boards to benefit the Northeast Ohio community, including Akron Children's Hospital and the Akron Community Foundation.

The Bridgestone Invitational annually donates approximately $1 million to charities throughout Northeast Ohio. Over the years, professional golf at Firestone Country Club has donated more than $23 million to worthy causes in Northeast Ohio. The signature charities of the Bridgestone Invitational are Akron Children's Hospital and University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital.

Monday, 12 January 2015 10:07

Knight Foundation Finalists Announced

Seven local projects made the cut for the 126 finalists in the Knight Foundation inaugural Knight Cities Challenge. The program targets innovative proposals in communities traditionally served by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Knight family was the driving force behind the Akron Beacon Journal. Winners will be announced this spring for a share of a $5 million dollar pool. 
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(Knight Foundation) The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced 126 finalists in the first Knight Cities Challenge, a national call for new ideas to make the 26 communities where Knight invests more vibrant places to live and work.
The challenge received more than 7,000 submissions. Submissions came from many public and government organizations, as well as design experts, urban planning organizations and individuals focused on making their cities more successful.
Each of the ideas focuses on one or more of three drivers of city success:
- Talent: Ideas that help cities attract and keep the best and brightest
- Opportunity: Ideas that expand economic prospects and break down divides
- Engagement: Ideas that spur connection and civic involvement
All 26 Knight communities are represented in the pool of finalists. An list of Akron winners is below. Winners, who will receive a share of $5 million, will be announced in spring 2015.
Akron, Ohio
- Akron League of Creative Interventionists Headquarters by the League of Creative Interventionists (Submitted by David Swirsky): Establishing a space for the creative community to hold meetings, workshops and programs, and brainstorm interventions designed to break down barriers between diverse populations.
- Better Block International Hostel and AirBnB by Team Better Block (Submitted by Jason Roberts): Strengthening the city’s sense of place by turning a vacant property into a cultural hub and hostel centered on a specific immigrant population.
- Chickadee Society (Submitted by Chris Horne): Fostering a love for Akron through a subscription service that delivers Rubber City goods and opportunities to enjoy area attractions and events.
- Downtown Babysitters (Submitted by Kurtiss Hare): Creating a new urban babysitting service in Akron to serve the needs of young talent and encourage more activity in Akron’s downtown core.
- Emerging City Leaders by Benwood Foundation (Submitted by Lori Quillen): Cultivating the next generation of civic leadership through cross-sector exchange between young leaders in Akron and Chattanooga, Tenn.
- Flashbulb by Bettie Street Block Watch and the University of Akron (Submitted by Carolyn Behrman): Taking the energy of Akron’s PorchRokr festival to diverse neighborhoods by creating a mobile entertainment vehicle to travel around the city hosting festive gatherings where people transform vacant lots into flower gardens.
- Weekend Student Popup Space by Kent State University and the University of Akron (Submitted by Kate Harmon): Creating a student-run pop-up space that will serve as a meeting spot for the community, spark collaboration and help launch young entrepreneurs.
Monday, 12 January 2015 09:12

LeBron, Cavs Lead NBA Sales

The Cavaliers may not be winning without LeBron on the court -- but they're winning without him at the cash register. For the fifth time in his career, LeBron James jerseys are the top-seller for the NBA. Two of those years came as a Cavalier, the other three as a member of the Miami Heat.

Kyrie Irving comes in sixth. The Cavaliers gear also leads the league, the first time the Cavs made the top 10 list since they placed at number 3 in 2010.

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(NBA) Ten-time NBA All-Star LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers secured the top spots as the NBA’s Most Popular Jersey and Team Merchandise, respectively, based on overall sales from adidas and NBAStore.com from October 2014 through December 2014.

This marks the fifth consecutive time James has claimed the No. 1 position on the list and his second such honor as a member of the Cavaliers. At No. 2 on the list is Golden State Warriors sensation Stephen Curry, whose successful season propelled him from the No. 7 spot. Rounding out the top five are the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant (No. 3), the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (No. 4), and the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose (No. 5).Additional highlights:

The Cavaliers last appeared on the team merchandise list in 2010 at No. 3.

Top 10 Most Popular NBA Jerseys:

1. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

2. Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

3. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

4. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

5. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

6. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers

7. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks

8. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

9. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

10. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

Top 10 Most Popular Team Merchandise:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

2. Chicago Bulls

3. Golden State Warriors

4. Los Angeles Lakers

5. San Antonio Spurs

6. Oklahoma City Thunder

7. New York Knicks

8. Miami Heat

9. Boston Celtics

10. Los Angeles Clippers

Sunday, 11 January 2015 13:34

UPDATE Medina City Issues Water Alert

UPDATE The all clear has been sounded by Medina after Avon Lake Regional Water System officials lifted the water restrictions spurred by icing along the system's Lake Erie intake pipes. The City thanks residents but noted in the event of any future icing issues restrictions could be re-imposed.

(City of Medina) Please be advised, effective immediately, the water conservation order that was issued January 11, 2015 has been lifted. Avon Lake Regional Water has been able to send water to replenish the city's tanks. We sincerely appreciate the patience and understanding of our businesses and residents. Should the City experience any further interuption in water supplied to us from Avon Lake Regional Water due to icing conditions in Lake Erie, we will provide a new notice of water conservation request based on conditions at that time. Please check the city website for updated postings and information.

Previous coverage:

The frigid tempertures are freezing ice around the water intakes at Avon Lake, and that's a big problem for customers of that city's water system -- including Medina. 

Customers are being asked to restrict their use of water until water supply tanks can be refilled. The water system asks that supplies be used only for drinking, cooking, personal washing and toilet flushing. Companies are also being asked to curtain their operations requiring the use of water until the situation improves.

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(City of Medina) Please be advised that the water provided to Medina City has been interrupted by Avon Lake Regional Water.

The City was notified at 8:25 a.m. this morning that the water intakes in Lake Erie were freezing over and Avon Lake Municipal Staff are working to open them.

We were requested late this morning to issue a conservation order. The City has notified the critical water users in the City and also request City users to curtail and restrict the use of water as much as possible until Avon Lake is able to send water to replenish the City's tanks.

The City will send out another press release lifting the ban upon tanks being adquately replenished. Water is to be used only for drinking, cooking, personal washing, and flushing of toilets. Industry has been requested to curtail operations requiring water use to preserve water supplies for human consumption and to hold a reserve of water for possible fire defense. All help and conservation is appreciated.

Sunday, 11 January 2015 11:35

New Franklin Fire Investigated

No injuries reported but New Franklin fire and police are investigating an apparent arson at a vacant home on Lieb Drive in the early morning hours Sunday.
A police patrolman spotted smoke and fire at the home; New Franklin FD and Clinton FD firefighters responded and brought the fire under control. Damages were estimated at $10,000.
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(New Franklin Fire Department) The City of New Franklin Fire Department responded to a residential structure fire at 637 Lieb Dr., on January 11, 2015 at 12:55 a.m.
A New Franklin police officer on patrol noticed smoke and fire near the front door of the vacant struture. On arrival New Franklin firefighters extinguished a fire in the entryway.
Damage is estimated at $10,000. 
New Franklin firefighters were assisted by Clinton Village firefighters.
The fire has been determined to be suspicious, and New Franklin Fire and Police are investigating. 
Tuesday, 06 January 2015 07:38

Welcome Back, Old Man

You didn't think Old Man Winter was staying away from Northeast Ohio for long, did you? The mild December giving way to arctic cold and lake effect snow advisories this week and the first real test of winter driving skills this morning.

Akron Snow and Ice Control says they've had 51 trucks on local roadways since the snow and ice started falling around 1:00 this morning. The snow buildup isn't the problem on local roads, however, it's the cold with temperatures in the teens making it harder for salt to work it's way into any ice.

A couple dozen school delays and closings in the greater Akron area, most in Stark and Wayne Counties but conditions were far worse to the southeast, especially from Wooster to Mansfield. Many schools were also closed in the Columbus area by the winter storm, which is paking more of a snowy punch for central Ohio.

A Lake Effect Snow Advisory was issued for the period starting at 9:00 tonight through 9:00 Wednesday evening.

The National Weather Service forecasts even more bitter cold dropping in across the region thanks to an Alberta Clipper bringing cold arctic air from Canada and highs only in the teens; gusting winds are also dropping the wind chills felt on skin to the minus ten range.