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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mancow, Talk Coming to 96.5 FM

Apologies to you who want to read about TV, but the buzz today is about radio...
Three radio industry trade publications/Web sites are reporting that Mancow, the Chicago-based syndicated morning personality, will be the morning drive show for a new talk format on 96.5. Trades say the talk format – the first on a commercial FM station here – could be launched by Cumulus next week, on or near Nov. 1. Besides "Mancow’s Morning Madhouse," the station could pick up Bill O’Reilly’s "The Radio Factor," now heard noon-2 p.m. on Middletown’s WPFB-AM (910).
Cumulus corporate program director John Dickey hasn’t responded to my phone and email messages, so I don’t have confirmation. Mark Masters, who syndicates Mancow, also hasn't return my calls.
Here’s what Tom Taylor reports in Inside Radio:
"Looks like Cumulus is going for a new FM talker in Cincy, led by Mancow. Remember that Cumulus sold the intellectural property of rhythmic AC "MOJO" to Radio One for a cool $5 million and had been simulcasting country "Star" WYGY on both its old 96.5 location and the former MOJO on 94.9. Next week they’ll end that simulcast and leave "Star" at 94.9. And up at 96.5 they’ll install an FM talk format with syndicated shows like Mancow (confirmed by Mark Masters at Talk Radio Network). And with (according to the rumor mill) Premiere’s Glenn Beck, Dave Ramsey and Westwood One’s Bill O’Reilly. No confirmation on any of those shows outside of Mancow."
All Access reports essentially the same thing, but adds that Phil Valentine from Nashville’s WWTN (Super Talk 99.7) will also be picked up on 96.5.
So will talk work on FM here?

Furman update

I went to WLW-AM’s "BengalsLine" broadcast at Rick’s Tavern in Fairfield last night, with Bill "Seg" Dennison hosting the show for a second week instead of Andy Furman. Dennison didn’t want to say anthing. When asked how long he’ll be doing "SportsTalk," he said: "Ask Darryl Parks," the Clear Channel operations director. Furman has been off the air since Oct. 13, when he was suspended with pay for calling Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh a "racist" on air Friday, Oct. 6. Houshmandzadeh had missed a paid appearance with Furman on WLW-AM on Thursday, Oct. 5, during the Bengals bye week.

So will talk radio succeed here on FM?


at 10/24/2006 11:42 AM Anonymous Dave in Atlanta. said...

FM talk would be okay if there was some local, edgier entertaining talk on there. I don't know about all of the syndicated talk though. Time should tell. Too bad it's not music. Cincinnati needs a JACK.

at 10/24/2006 12:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Move Jerry & Craig from KRC to WLW mornings. Get rid of Jim Scott.
Stop the McConnell experiment. WLW deserves local, at that time. Move Rush to WLW. Move Cunningham to evenings.

Return KRC back to Adult Contemporary, with Oldies on the weekend.

If talk is going to FM, make use of the talent and make stations entertaining. All of these changes would work....and profitable.

at 10/24/2006 12:20 PM Blogger Aaron said...

So will Dave Ramsey stay on WKRC, and will O'Reilly stay on WPFB?

As a reply to the above poster, Cincinnati already has a JACK-type format at MAX FM 97.7. Not a great signal, and from listening to it, not a great format anyways. Jack formats play basically all the crappy music from the 70s to now, instead of just crappy music from the 70s (like Mojo was) or crappy music of today (like Q102 or Kiss).

at 10/24/2006 12:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like all music is crappy so scrap it all - NOT!

Jim Scott would work better if he wasn't so distant sounding - like he's too programmed for any spontaneity. Does he even do anything live on the show in the morning? The way it sounds, he pre-records it the day before. Craig and Jerry sound like they are actually doing a live show.

Agree with McConnell - his show is too generic now and I just switch to Sirius. Cunningham's schtick just isn't remotely entertaining anymore - but again guys - the ratings book has WLW at the top with #2 a distance behind. I'm not looking for any changes there.

Kinda reminds me of moving Scoot to WINK before the Jacor monopoly on radio. Was that successful?

at 10/24/2006 1:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone think that Mancow can actually draw an audience in Cincinnati?? He couldn't even draw an audience in Chicago. He got fired from his last station and his ratings are in the toilet at his current outlet.

at 10/24/2006 2:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mancow is conservative leaning, and did great in demo in Chicago. I think that he'll do better here. Billed great, too. I think he'll do fine in Cincinnati. I'm looking forward to the new station.

96.5 won't beat WLW, but they might pull enough audience to knock WLW from the top. I could see these moves pushing WARM to #1, especially if 94.1 starts jammin after Christmas.

at 10/24/2006 3:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

cincinnati needs mancow, ever since howard stern left terrestial radio to move to sattelite we have been missing out on great on air personalites.

at 10/24/2006 4:09 PM Blogger BMurdock said...

I'm not sure what to think about this. I know my knee jerk reaction is to say it's a waste of an FM signal. The old mindset was that AM was for sports/talk and FM was for music (it took me a long time to get used to hearing Bengals games on "The Fox"). Maybe this will be the way of the future? With Ipods, Internet radio, satellite radio and (to a smaller extend) HD radio maybe FM will become the new AM? Most of the FM stations spend more time talking than playing music during morning drive time anyway. Why not throw in the towel and just go all talk? Personally FM radio does nothing for me anymore. Most of the FM stations are more interested in building their audience by being cute and funny (at best) than playing music. I remember the old days when the DJ's had or at least appeared to have a genuine interest in the format they were playing.

The all talk format could work here if it's faster paced and less stuffy than AM talk. There has to be a hook, a gimmick, something different than what is being offered on AM. Mancow could be a start - from what I've heard he's sort of a poor man's Howard Stern (minus the FCC fines). If he's too rude and crude he won't fly here in conservative Cincinnati (see Bubba the Love Sponge). Guess only time will tell...

at 10/24/2006 4:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If they're going to bring a shock-jock to Cincinnati, I'd rather hear Opie & Anthony out of NY than Mancow.

Mancow isn't conservative-leaning, he's boredom-leaning. At least Opie & Anthony still manage to be entertaning (based on what I've heard when driving in my friend's car that has XM).

at 10/24/2006 7:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's nothing that says an FM-talker couldn't succeed here EXCEPT when you fill it up with boring syndicated programming.

That (and Clear Channel) has turned local AM into a wasteland.

Spend some money, Cumulus, and use some local talent. There are a number of radio pro's available.
Let WLW go down with "Stuttering" Segman, boring Sloan, and blow-hard Willie.

at 10/24/2006 8:48 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me add peoples desire for more syndicated talk to my "People Will Buy Anything" list; which includes NASCAR, country music and bottled water.

Anon 7:32. I don't equate local talent with radio pro's.

I'd like to hear Carla Wren on the air here and other NON know-it-alls with a personality.

We don't need any more radio pros like Sloan and Sterling.

But hey, if syndicated talk makes money for Cumulus, so be it.

What I don't hear discussed is the number of people listening to the radio vs. ratings. I've heard that pie is shrinking over the last 10 years or so.

at 10/24/2006 8:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Mr. Anon 8:48, the pie IS shrinking. Since the Fall of '98, radio listenership has dropped a WHOLE 2 PER CENT!! WOW! Guess it's time to shut 'er down! Oh, wait! The total number of people listening INCREASED from roughly 137 million people to 146 million people. Turns out, more poeple ARE tuning in but listenin gless, a whole 2 per cent less.

You guys with your "radio is dead" crap is very humorous. Satellite has grown to over 10 million subscribers - unless you discount the thousands of unsold cars that Sirius has been counting as "subscribers" - and yet total number of radio listeners has increased.

How do you figure?

at 10/24/2006 9:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's a BAD idea, but it really doesn't matter to me. I listen to XM anytime I want music, and 1530 when I want talk/sports. I was checking 96.5 daily to see what the format was going to be (I wanted to give smooth jazz another try). But now that I know it's going to be TALK, I will quit checking.

at 10/24/2006 9:56 PM Blogger JackHill said...

FM talk can work in Cincy...and even with syndicated shows. NOT however with the likes of Glenn Beck, Dave Ramsey etc. If you're going to do talk on FM, do a hot talk format. Hosts like Tom Leykis in the evening and O&A in mornings. Otherwise, all you have are the AM rejects.

What will they do on weekends? Go heavy on sports? Or do what Real Radio does in Orlando and play rock? THAT will be more interesting to me than the weekday lineup.

I prefer ClassX, anyway. ;-)

at 10/24/2006 11:02 PM Anonymous dave in atlanta said...

Real Radio in Orlando is a very entertaining station. The rock on the weekends is great too. If 96.5 can manage to sound like Real Radio they may have something.
Too bad Real Radio is owned by CC though, because the Shannon Burke show is hilarious and would be good for the afternoon slot on 96.5.

Agree with everyone's comments on the "new" McConnell show. I listen to it on XM during the day and it sounds horrible. Bring back the LOCAL..(even though I am listening out of town).

at 10/25/2006 8:02 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's the fall ratings period..just another WLW ploy to get free attention....John in West Palm

at 10/25/2006 9:23 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

So John and everyone else...has anyone checked out They have been streaming for about a year now - somewhat like a Jack format.

at 10/25/2006 9:25 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Silly me - looks like WTRO went dark. Sorry.

at 10/25/2006 9:28 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops - even sillier me - the domain is They are there and streaming away.
Thanks for your patience. I have them set up in iTunes and never go directly to their website. :O)

at 10/25/2006 1:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cincinnati radio is awful. I proudly own XM because I finally got snapped listening to local radio. When they (stations) try to change the format or swtich shows around, it appears as if they alway go the conservative route. I realize Cincinnati is a conservative town, but the radio personalities in this town have been on to long. Change WLW. Jim Scott needs to stop taping his interviews. I haven't listened to him in years and I bet he is still doing it. Mancow is tired news and guess what, he is conservative as well. Like someone mentioned earlier, he got fired in Chicago for a reason. Clear Channel needs some competition. Radio was fun when there were stations fighting, but this doesn't happen anymore because people like their silly routines. Change the routine and try something different. Mancow is not the answer. Find something fresh, odd, unique and stand up for radio because it needs some help.
XM and Sirius provide that opportunity. Make the switch, its worth the money.

at 10/25/2006 4:15 PM Blogger BMurdock said...

I have to agree with the last post. Sirius satellite radio was the best present I've ever gotten. My only regret is not getting the portable Ipod like model. I may upgrade to that one someday...

As for Opie and Anthony you can get a podcast of their show off Itunes.

at 10/25/2006 4:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Broadcast radio in general seems to be in a ridiculous funk. And that includes the whole range of available programming options.

What do we have? There are exceptions, but our ears are generally assaulted by:

Overly shrill and obnoxious syndicated morning shows, patronizing talk shows (on both sides of the politial aisle), moronic call-ins to aforementioned patronizing talk shows (does anyone ever think about what they will say before they dial the phone?), commercialized music formats, slickly produced national programs with little to no local context (i.e. NPR, ESPN and others), etc.

Notable exceptions: KRC and WLW both have some good stuff in their morning programs. Despite what Anon said at the top, Jim Scott still has radio chops. It's hard to keep it going for over 30 years.

At work I listen to Internet radio. In the car I listen to CDs, sporting events or one of the local community/public stations. And not a corporate hack in sight!

at 10/25/2006 7:49 PM Blogger Rick said...

John, you never have to apologize for reporting on radio... There are obviously many of us who are interested in the behind-the-scenes apects... I wish your column was always TV/Radio. It only seems logical to cover both...

And, I am with the poster who mentioned Carla Wren. She is a fantastic radio personality.

at 10/26/2006 12:04 PM Blogger utech said...

Cincinnati needs Glenn Beck!
Beck made a passing reference to an announcement about Cincinnati today on the Inside Feed, but no other information so far.

at 10/26/2006 1:43 PM Blogger Willa Frank said...

i listen to glenn beck on 610, out of columbus. wish i had cable to be able to see his CNN headline show.

at 10/30/2006 7:49 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This entire incident shows why Darryl Parks needs to go. Isn't it funny that he has nothing to say? Park it Darryl.

at 10/31/2006 2:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really don't think FM Talk Radio will fly in Cincinnati. Especially on 96.5 FM. It hasn't worked in many other markets. It doesn't matter who is on the air- If you bring vulgar and controversial hosts to conservative Cincinnati radio, I guarantee it won't work. I am 30 years old, and personally do not like talk radio anyway. If I want radio or talk, I listen to 700 WLW. Cumulus should turn 96.5 FM into an all-dance station or an all 80's music station. Even like an all 50's and 60's station would be good. Cincinnati needs something different, not FM talk radio. I won't be listening to 96.5 at all.

at 11/02/2006 11:44 AM Anonymous Samiam in Cincy said...

I was so ticked off when they took Glenn Beck off 550 that I stopped listening to them altogether. I'm in a marketer's "target demographic" and an FM talk station will reap the benefits of achieving my loyal ear. There are much bigger issues in the world than the sports team of the moment, the square being completed and the disenfranchised black youth of Cincinnati. Tackling the bigger issues of our nation with humor and insight is what I want to listen to. I found out today about the change and immediately preset my dials to 96.5. They have my pledge to be a loyal listener and I will tell as many of my fellow talk radio listeners as I can. Imagine, being able to hear talk radio under a bridge, in a rain storm, by stop lights .... you can't do that with AM.

at 11/02/2006 4:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God Glenn Beck is coming back!

I boycotted 55 KRC when they took him off, and replaced him with Tony Snow. Went and joined The Insider, so I could listen to GB streaming.

As for GB being on 96.5 being just a rumor, I checked GB's web site today. Cincinnati is back on the affiliate list; however no time is listed yet as to when he'll broadcast. I'd assume it'd be the usual 9 a.m. to noon time slot, but two Cleveland stations airs him 10 a.m. - noon, and 3 - 5 p.m.

The only thing that would make GB's return better is if 96.5 would also carry him on the weekends.

Now if only GB would bring his tours closer to Cincinnati. *sigh*

at 11/03/2006 4:49 PM Blogger delidel66 said...

Rusty Humphries is here!!!! finally. I have been listening on the internet at for 2 years and praying he would come to our market. He will take over the nighttime here. I can't wait til all cincinnati learns about his show!!

at 11/03/2006 5:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

CHICAGO LOVES MANCOW.. I hope we will be able to hear him still, if he really is moving to ohio.

at 11/04/2006 9:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

any idea what 96.5s web address is?

at 11/08/2006 8:52 PM Anonymous said...

Mancow is a hack and was fired from his home town station. Bring in Opie and Anthony. I've been listening to them for years. They're light years ahead of Rover's show as well. O&A are a proven hit on XM as well as 25 FM markets.

What good is "local" shows if they suck?

at 11/20/2006 6:02 PM Anonymous J. Graber said...

I became aquainted with Mancow on Fox and Friends, and was quickly drawn to his fast paced wit. I see the Chicago area does not like him. That being the case, I'm sure we will love him downstate. Send him down our way---we like him!!!

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