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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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Friday, October 13, 2006

OK, Let's Fill Up That Big Screen

So what should we put on that big screen overlooking Fountain Square?
Bill Donabedian, managing director of the square for 3CDC, says “the sky’s the limit” in my story today
He talks about putting on sold-out Bengals or Reds games (it would be fun to watch Opening Day there! What a party!). He wants promotional videos from museums, the CSO and other cultural institutions, or other videos provided by organizations to advertise city events. He also says that 3CDC won’t be producing much video, but instead wants contributions from various groups.
So let’s give him a helping hand.
In the nearly 60 years of Cincinnati television, we’ve had some iconic personalities and programming gems that could be showcased on the downtown Diamond Vision. Instead of putting the giant 24-x-42 video board on screen saver, let’s give him 100 suggestions for stars and shows – or highlights from shows – that should be beamed over the city’s signature landmark.
Just off the top of my head, here are some suggestions of films or videotapes that could be retrieved from vaults, attics, garages or collections throughout the region:
1. Bengals Super Bowl highlight films.
2. Reds World Series highlight films – 1990, 1975-76, 1972 and 1972. Don’t forget the 1961 highlight film. What exists from the 1939-40 series? What other sports highlights?
3. "WKRP in Cincinnati." Not just the infamous "turkey drop," but show them all!
4. "Midwestern Hayride," Cincinnati’s country music showcase in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. (Maybe the one where Tex Ritter forgets the lyrics to "High Noon?") Who should be showcased from "Hayride?"
5. Dan Hurley’s Union Terminal TV specials from Channel 12.
6. Weren't there some Delta Queen documentaries?
7. The Cincinnati Pops concerts shot in Music Hall for PBS.
8. An old "Nick Clooney Show" from Ch 9 or Ch 12? Maybe one with Rosemary Clooney? Or little George?
9. Wasn't there an old "P.M. Magazine" clip in which George Clooney saying he wanted to be a big star some day?
10. Who has the Cincinnati history series (6 episodes) narrated by Charles Kuralt in the early 1980s?
11. Could the Calloways, or 98 Degrees, or Isleys, or others, provide some performance videos? Which other famous rockers and pop stars from here, dating back to Doris Day?
12. Was it the "Brady Bunch" that shot an episode at Kings Island?
13. Why not ask John Popovich to dig into his vault and put together some themed highlight packages from Cincinnati sports?
14. At least one episode of Rod Serling’s "The Storm," his live drama series at Ch 12 in the very early 1950s, years before "The Twilight Zone," exists. It should be in the big screen’s shuffle.
15. Could someone edit together a "Before They Were (Network) Stars" montage of Bill Hemmer, George Clooney, Ira Joe Fisher, Bob Holtzman, Edie Magnus, Woody Harrelson, Jean Shepherd, Vicki Lewis, Joe Morgan, Rocky Carroll, Rosemary Clooney, Ray Combs, Day, Andy Williams, Red Barber, Red Skelton? Who else?
16. Cincinnati scenes from "Rain Man" or "Little Man Tate." What other movies shot here?
17. Paul Dixon’s infamous rubber chicken "Chicken Wedding?"
18. Uncle Al. Which other local TV show hosts?
19. Coverage of the 1980 hostage take-over at Channel 9? Other big news events?
20. Opening Day parades?
Let’s give ’em plenty of ideas. We’re already one-fifth the way to 100.
You could think of this as a Wish List.
I think of this as Must See TV, a To Do List for 3CDC.
Who should be showcased among the TV anchors or news personalities? Or the famous guest stars on the Ruth Lyons and Bob Braun shows? What local musicians?
Add to the list!


at 10/13/2006 9:31 AM Blogger My Opinion Over Yours said...

Very telling that you would only mention reruns, and old ones at that, about stuff that happened only here.

Shouldn't it be used to promote the young artists that currently inhabit Cincinnati? Shouldn't it be used as an outlet for people to create new documentaries about Cincinnati?

Who are you catering to here? The nonexistant tourist population downtown?

There are more than enough social services, public programs, independent artists here to fill programming with information about them. You have a creative arts high school within spitting distance.

Seems to me you'd prefer the big screen to be over sized nostalgia box rather than tool to improve life for Cincinnatians, or at least try to make it an outlet to promote Cinicinnatians to create new original programming.

Mr. Donabedian seems to have the right idea by promoting the now. What a waste to make a Cincinnati-only TV Land channel.

at 10/13/2006 9:32 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Brady Bunch and The Partridge Family did episodes at KI. Also, Doris Day had her own sitcom, altho it was not centered around Cincinnati. War Games with Matthew Broderick featured a scene where Cincinnati was "blown up" in a simulated nuclear attack. 3CDC should be rounding up stars from Cincinnati to do messages: Clooney, Sarah Jessica, Carmen Electra, Frampton - who else is from here that's alive? What about clips from works of deceased Cincinnatians? With some footwork and creativity that screen should be filled 18/7.

at 10/13/2006 9:39 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

the "Video Project" WXIX produced for WEBN's "Album Project"

at 10/13/2006 9:42 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There are more than enough social services, public fill programming with information about them."

Yeah, right. Fountain Square needs to be inundated with social service messages. Let's have "how to" panhandling videos to train the homeless.

at 10/13/2006 9:56 AM Blogger rosario said...

I would like to see a live feed from a city with a more lively downtown. It would be cool to go downtown and be able to watch what people in Chicago were doing in real time.

at 10/13/2006 10:12 AM Anonymous UC Fan said...

How about we switch the cable feed from Time Warner to Satelite (DirectTV or another provider) so we can televise all the UC Athletic events that Time Warner won't carry on ESPNU!

at 10/13/2006 10:20 AM Blogger Radio Free Newport said...

Sorry John, but this is a perfect example of what is wrong with the predominant mindset in Cincinnati. "My Opinion Over Yours" said it best. Good lord, why would we want to run so much old stuff on it, especially when no one who saw it the first time around won't even come within 20 miles of downtown?

The screen should feature what is happening NOW: Fringe Festival, Know Theater, CAC, Freedom Center...turn them all loose. There is no shortage of great artists in town.

But gosh, that ol' Bob Braun sure was good for a couple yuks...

at 10/13/2006 10:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about Cotton Comes to Harlem and that "suburban kids on dope" movie with Michael Douglas? And "Rain Man?" Weren't they all show here?

at 10/13/2006 10:51 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well RFN, part of the problem with this area is the people who like to reminisce about the past, do so too often and those who are younger or new to the area have no respect for the past. Clips from what we did well should be just "at home" as those things that are new, like local artists, cultural events, etc. And this is a brainstorming exercise, so all answers are right.

at 10/13/2006 10:54 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember that you are programming to lots of people and tastes. So sports, old clips, new artists, other events all work. No one genre should be programmed 18 hours a day.

at 10/13/2006 11:05 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would set it up as multi use artists old shows, movies and history footage of cinci like footage of all the various floods the subway tunnel etc and have a time temp ticker as well

at 10/13/2006 11:17 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Recent WEBN fireworks displays would be good, but only if the sound can be matched to the size of the screen! Seriously - crowd shots and scenes showing the excitement of the day would be ideal.

30 and 40 year old clips from TV shows? That just happened to be shot in or include somebody from Cincy? I can't think of a bigger waste of this screen than to show that stuff.

Show what is happening in the REGION, right now. Helicopter views of the city, clips of CSO or SCPA performances, people having fun in Mt Adams, etc. Promote what is happening now, not what some idiot Hollywood fool dreamed up.

at 10/13/2006 11:20 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mayor Slim and the 7 Dwarves - also known as City Counsel meetings.

Artimis reports

Downtown Murder Victim of the week

Schedule of Events for THE BLANKS

at 10/13/2006 11:39 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bob Shreve

at 10/13/2006 12:21 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rights issues? (As in copyrights)

at 10/13/2006 12:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've got it! Let's do a task force and form a committee to send to NYC to see how and what they do for the video in Times Square, at tax-payer expense. Then let's set up a sub-committee for fairness and video-centric inclusion. Then let's do public hearings and community outreach to really decide what needs to be done. By then, the LED's on the screen should need replacing and it won't be in the budget so we just won't use the screen anymore.

Sounds like Cincinnati.

at 10/13/2006 12:44 PM Anonymous anonymous said...

I saw the final game of the World Cup on a giant screen like this on in Portland -- it was so much fun! So many people, vendors, retailers, etc.

I think definitely big sports events, those that would draw a crowd downtown.... But also, it's really important to be culturally aware and show visual art. Like Julian Stanczak, who will be working on the Fifth Third parking garage across from the CAC. Other artists who will be in town working and/or showing here.

I wouldn't mind a constant reel of Sex and the City with sjp, though.

I think that whoever said that govnt and committee meetings should be broadcasted is a genius. That would be amazing, though it would likely not bring a large crowd.

at 10/13/2006 1:04 PM Blogger Brad said...

All UK basketball all the time.

at 10/13/2006 1:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say, I agree with some of the posts here. The reason Cincinnati is dying - and yes, you have to admit that it IS, in fact, dying - is that people don't want to go downtown to see old reruns of Bob Braun or Rosemary Clooney. They were great for their time, but this is the 21st century!

It seems that the person making the list of what to show needs to be a little more in touch with what a "real" city does. It's one of the typical things wrong with the foresight of this city - has anyone in charge ever been OUT of this city to see how major, growing cities bring people from the suburbs to town? Give a call to the tourist centers in Chicago, NYC, LA, SF, Portland. I'm sure they could give you some advice!

Sad to say, but it's like Mark Twain said: "When the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati, because everything happens 10 years later there." Why can't we be ahead of the curve ... for once!

David -

at 10/13/2006 1:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Fear the Tiger video.

Actually no, let's not do that.

at 10/13/2006 2:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know who owns the Screen or the rights to put things on the screen, but we could possibly put this to use to help fund other projects.

We could sell time frames to local News channels and use that money towards community redevelopment, arts funds, etc. Then leave the remainder of the screen time to things like local artist videos, local events, sports, etc.

Just an idea to use this humungous investment for some return to the community. I know this might sound "evil," but if done right could seriously help Cincinnati in a big way.

at 10/13/2006 2:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

They should show the Friday Night Fu and the King Of Cornhole.

at 10/13/2006 2:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does this TV have sound, and where and how many speakers are there?

at 10/13/2006 2:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Cool Ghoul, Larry Smith Puppets and I second the Bob Shreve sugeestion.

at 10/13/2006 2:44 PM Anonymous G in SF said...

Horrible list, yet some excellent replies (particularly my opinion over yours).

My vote goes to thought-provoking visual art from forward-thinking local talent, both past and present.

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

something done in europe is the showing of opera or symphony on screens in the parks. Free concerts for the masses - and the people come out and enjoy them.

I say go cultural -

at 10/13/2006 4:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's do 18/7 of a violinist eeking out the most sour, long-haired, classical music we can find so we can say Cincinnati is the most sophisticated city in the nation. Uhhh - on second thought - let's not.

What a bore this is going to be if the yupsters get their hands on this. All dweeb grunge musicians and tasteless art. How about a balance of a little of everything?

at 10/13/2006 6:56 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah most items on the list are far from progressive. Doing any of those things who fit right into the Cincinnati hackneyed stereotype. Visual art is the best idea out there. Play the Bengals game during the Bengals games, or the Reds Game during the Reds' games. No one is going to sit down and watch a TV show or documentary about steamboats. That is ridiculous. What sort of message about our downtown would we be sending if we started broadcasting reruns of PBS documentarys in our new "entertainment district?" Who are we trying to attract, the elderly? It needs to be something noncommittal like media art or just nice imagery. Something that people can appreciate just by walking by it. This thing should only add to the atmosphere, not add events, like shows with beginning and ends.

at 10/13/2006 7:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Other old local shows to be shown

Skipper Glynn Ryle (One of his Sunday shows)
Bob Shreeve (especially the night that Red Skelton showed up unannounced)
Some of the top stars that used to visit Ruth Lyons (Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin and there are many others)

at 10/13/2006 7:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

all kies all the time

at 10/13/2006 9:45 PM Anonymous Erin said...

I like the idea of Bengal’s and Reds Games. But there should be some kind of discounted parking offered -or a decrease in fare worked out with Central Parking for spectators who come to watch the games there.

I think it would be a good idea to set up a "text message" feature. Where people can text their message and it would appear on the board. (Think: "XYZ will you marry me?") They would need to find a way to filter obscenities - I'm not sure how that would work out.

What about soliciting local businesses to advertise on the board. For example, Metronation or Shanghai Mama's displays a weekly "code word" that if mentioned by a shopper, they receive 15% percent off? Something like that….

Queen City Jobs could show open job opportunities.

Something could be worked out with the Mayor or City Council to give a 30 second commentary that explains ongoing improvements in the city or issues on the table effecting residents.

I hate to say it - but, it might be a lucrative idea to sell "time" on the board during political campaigns. It would give people an idea of who candidates are and what they stand for.

Local News could do a weather update periodically/Artimis Traffic routes displayed.

Updates to ongoing community projects can be shown - The Banks, community cleanup and so on. Also, pics of community events - Tall Stacks, MPMF, WEBN Fireworks, Oktoberfest....

Advertisements for downtown real estate (anything commercial or residential within a X block radius)

A map of the area and its attractions - like

Bus schedules - Metro and Tank.

The rules of park should flash up on a pretty consistent basis.

Wedding announcements?

Whatever gets put up their – it needs to be inclusive of the people who already aware of the Fountain Square renovation but are too apprehensive to visit the area. Before we start making grand plans to attract tourists, we should be focusing on convincing the current citizens of the downtown and surrounding cities to feel safe there. Area residents need to be made aware that this is a well-thought out and executed plan that will have long term benefits for the city with their participation.

at 10/13/2006 9:50 PM Anonymous Erin said...

FYI - Sorry, I made a number of spelling and grammar errors in my previous post. I type too fast and hate to proofread.

at 10/13/2006 10:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

to erin the idea of bus schedules on the big screen i dont think is a good idea i mean with government square 150 yards or so away waste of time besides with all the different routes you could miss several of the busses you were waiting for:-) How about showing other attractions in the downtown and riverfront area and showing a map of how to get there,like conventioneers who want to take in a game. Unless they have a radio network like an old drive in theatre and you have a radio to listen to i dont think there is any sound its just like the big screens at pbs and cab. is this correct john about no sound from the big screen?

at 10/13/2006 11:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say it would be an absolutely huge mistake to show reruns on this screen. Talk about scaring people away! Fresh, unique is the way to go. You cannot show a documentary or other old shoe unless you are having the Red Hat Ladies or some other senior citizen group on an outing to watch the screen.

And showing the hostage situation at WCPO on a big screen?....what are you thinking...seriously! Wow. I can't even imagine how you could remotely think that is a good thing. This is supposed to be positive and promoting...not depressing and scary!

at 10/14/2006 12:38 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fourth vote for Bob Shreve. Maybe the first time Alice Cooper stopped by?

at 10/14/2006 12:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


Off topic but...

Can you find out why WRGT has begun showing the same FOX football game as WXIX?

If the past, it's been great being able to see two different NFL games. At times, we could see up to five different games.

Also, can you find out why both of them air football at the same time? At times, if 19 couldn't air a 1pm game, because of a Bengals 1pm home game, 45 would air a game.

Enquiring minds want to know!

at 10/14/2006 12:25 PM Anonymous Anonymous said... make that watching 5 different games in one day (2 CBS, 2 FOX and the Sunday night game)

at 10/15/2006 3:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, why can't CBS show all of the NFL in High Definition? Fox always shows thier games in HD.

at 10/15/2006 8:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

yea why no hd bengals game on cbs today or most times we want answers like NOW or hd games come on cbs get it in gear someone from 12 get on the ball and get it done please

at 10/15/2006 11:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

? for the group. It just occured to me that 5 isnt doing the traffic in the evening anymore, my job has had me working till 6:30 so i watched and no Scalia at night when did that change

at 10/16/2006 12:42 PM Anonymous traffic guy said...

hey folks just wanted to let you know that on news 5 breakfast blogs, you can post comments on each subject

at 10/16/2006 2:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they were using too many AA batteries to keep Scalia's "pac-man" traffic board lit up AM and PM.

Or perhaps the young Mr Scalia was missing his mommy's curfew by being out past 6:30 at night.

at 10/16/2006 2:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

We carry every game that we can IN HD.(WKRC) That would be a CBS National decision. Maybe CBS national needs to get more HD production trucks. I am all for the big screen being used for sporting events. How about art and video that is created just for the big screen. Lets tap into that talent pool in Cincinnati. Could be a rotating project for High School kids, College students, and professional artists/photogrphers/videographers.
Out with old in with the new.

at 10/16/2006 3:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"suggestions of films or videotapes that could be retrieved from vaults, attics, garages or collections throughout the region"

Most of you ding dongs missed the point of the exercise. This was to think of existing things that could be used or recycled (low cost), not a diatribe about how artsy craftsy snooty we could get in our cultural auras.

at 10/16/2006 5:48 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

one thing i would like to see on the big screen during the late spring thru fall is a family friendly movie on the big screen on the square and make the movie free but have food vendors selling movie theatre food

at 10/17/2006 8:43 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, I hate to break it to Mr. Anonymous above, but "young Mr. Scalia" spent quite a bit of time on the road as a touring musician before the traffic gig - so he more than likely kept YOUR mother out way past HER curfew more than once.

Also - the post before that? Not him. Just an FYI.

at 10/17/2006 11:48 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's the bigger question. What's the point of having that board down there if no one is there to watch it?? The fountain square fiasco is an embarrassment. Several hundred people showed up when they were expecting 40,000??? I guess the only people watching the TV will be 5/3 office workers.

Maybe we could have that poet do more political discourse on the big TeeVee. Kenny Blackwell would love that, I'm sure.

at 10/17/2006 1:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also - the post before that? Not him. Just an FYI.

what are saying that pete is being impersonated by another bored news 5 staffer

at 10/17/2006 6:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

if i remember right when pete checks in hie screen name is THE TRAFFIC GUY

at 10/19/2006 1:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

my last thought on the big screen, since it seems everyone is tying to remember all the people who have been on what tv station and what not lets put up puzzle pics of the various reportes and anchors and let the public try to decipher who the pic is of

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