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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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Thursday, December 07, 2006

Liberal Radio, R.I.P.

Liberal radio died in Cincinnati today at age 23 months.
With Jerry Springer calling it quits after Friday’s show, Clear Channel today announced it will kill off progressive talk from WSAI-AM (1360) on Monday in favor of tape-delayed advice shows. Goodbye Springer, Al Franken and Ed Schultz. Welcome back Dr. Laura.
Clear Channel launched "the revolution of talk radio" 23 months ago with Jerry Springer’s show. Well, the revolution is over. Springer is quitting radio to do movies, TV roles, a Bud Light commercial and other opportunities from his "Dancing with the Stars" popularity. He was down to only about two dozen stations, from a peak of 53, and had been dropped from Air America, which filed for bankruptcy in October.
With the format averaging only about 1% of the audience here, and liberal talk being a tough sale in a red state, I figured Clear Channel will try something else. I never guessed this hodgepodge of advice shows called ""
Anchoring afternoon drive (4-7 pm) will be Atlanta consumer reporter Clark Howard ( The same show will repeat the next morning (7-10 a.m.). Afternoons will be filled with one-hour reruns of old WKRC-AM shows by Gary Sullivan, Ron Wilson and Steve Overbeck.

The lineup:
5-7 a.m.: Wall Street Journal (live feed)
7-10 a.m.: Clark Howard (previous weekday afternoon show)
10 a.m.-1 p.m.: Dr. Laura Schlessinger (tape-delay)
1-2 p.m.: At Home with Gary Sullivan (old WKRC show)
2-3 p.m.: In The Garden with Ron Wilson (old WKRC show)
3-4 p.m.: Steve Overbeck’s Autoline (old WKRC show)
4-7 p.m.: Clark Howard (new show, taped 1-4 pm in Atlanta)
7-10 p.m.: Neal Boortz (tape-delay)
10 p.m.-1 a.m.: Dr. Joy Browne (tape-delay)
1-5 a.m.: Joey Reynolds (live from WOR in NY)
Rerun radio sounds pretty cheap to me, but Bender says programming costs for these syndicated shows are "pretty much the same" as the progressive talk shows. But they’ll be easier to sell by Clear Channel account reps who handle both WKRC-AM and WSAI-AM. And it gives Clear Channel a niche, up against talk on WLW, WKRC, WCKY, WDBZ, WCVX (formerly WTSJ) and new Supertalk96.5.
Like I said, this surprised me. What else could they have put on a weak AM station?


at 12/07/2006 4:19 PM Blogger Rob Bernard said...

You'd think that with all that they could manage to get more than the 1AM-7AM slots live.

at 12/07/2006 5:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i would rather have new live shows by gary,ron,and steve instead of old tape delayed shows

at 12/07/2006 6:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will miss the Ed Schultz show, he is much better than Rush and Billy at WLW. I say this not based on politics, but they way he conducted himself on his show.

at 12/07/2006 7:42 PM Blogger Michael A. Banks said...

Hm ... is WSAI's Cincinnati audience too small for Jerry?

What happens on weekends--WSAI picks up WKRC's lineup?

at 12/07/2006 7:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Program costs are "pretty much the same".

Hell yes they are...there are no costs so long as the station airs the national commercials sold for each show. These are all barter deals.

Why spend money for a good radio station with some local content when you can do it for FREE.

While you are at it Cheap Channel, make sure you throw in some tape-delayed new "updates" so we can here Tuesday's news on Friday, like Homer does with sports updates.

at 12/07/2006 9:03 PM Blogger BrianDammit said...

Big Eddie was the only reason I listened to WSAI-AM. Ah well, at least I can listen on the web.

at 12/07/2006 9:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh matey!

at 12/07/2006 9:45 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Larry King will soon be featured on 1360.

at 12/07/2006 9:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are there any jobs open at WSAI?

at 12/07/2006 9:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


at 12/08/2006 12:32 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, You had mentioned in the article "WSAI drops liberal talk" that Dr. Laura will be BACK on the airwaves in Cincinnati after a several year absence. She is already on the air in the Cincinnati area. Dr. Laura can be heard on WCVX AM 1050 ( formerly WTSJ ) from 8pm until 10pm.

I am kind of ( not really ) suprised at Clear Channel that they are only having live programming from 1am until 7am and then will be going to tape delayed programming. That means that during the most important part of the day both during afternoon and morning drive time that the "new" WSAI will actually being doing tape delayed shows. That is a pretty big gamble that they are taking. As for the "old" shows that are coming over from WKRC does that mean that they will just be rehashing old programs from now on out and what do they plan to do with the channel when THIS does not work out either like their experiment with "liberal radio"?

I wish they would bring back totally live, local programming but I am afraid those days are long, long gone and that we will have to deal with only "canned" nationally syndicated shows. What are your thoughts on that?

at 12/08/2006 2:01 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is exactly the kind of crap you get when big media conglomerates are allowed to control the majority of stations in one market. Lots of groups complained about this when the FCC was giving away the store to the Clear Channels of the world. Once again big business gets what it wants and quality programming goes out the window.

at 12/08/2006 5:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, this programming will offer a counter to the live political talk found all day long on KRC and WLW. Good move! If only Dave Ramsey could be added to the mix. SAI would have all the top advice shows. A live show at night to add would be Bruce Williams instead of Neal. Neal does not fit the line-up. And Bruce is live from 7 to 10 p.m.

at 12/08/2006 9:52 AM Blogger BMurdock said...

Is it just me or does it look like the powers that be at Clear Channel just don't know what to do with the station? Why not just sell it off? How much competiton can a 5000 watt station give the rest of their stations?

What joke...

at 12/08/2006 11:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

they wont sell wsai just in case some other corporation might come in and make it into a profitable one

at 12/08/2006 12:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

And Darryl Parks is an uber-programmer for this company? Let's take note of the past several years shall we?

1530 WCKY - Adult Standards (until 2003)
1530 WSAI - Oldies (2003-2005)
1530 WSAI - Lib Talk (2005-2006)
1530 WCKY - Sports (2006 - ???)

4 formats in a span of 3+ years. Nice continuity!

1360 WSAI - Sports (until 2004)
1360 WCKY - Sports (call letter change - 2004)
1360 WSAI - Lib talk (call letter and format change/swap - 2006)
1360 WSAI - Infocrap (2006)

I wonder how much it costs to change the stations identity's each time. That seems like a good use of corporate money. Way better than actually paying a warm, live body to actually broadcast from that dump. What a joke Parks and that whole company have become.

How long until the sports fortmat becomes a syndication dumping ground? Oh wait, it already is except for a few hours a day.

at 12/08/2006 12:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 5:46AM...Dave Ramsey is on 96.5 every day at 2

at 12/08/2006 7:07 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? No Marilyn Harris repeats? Dang!

at 12/08/2006 7:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


Ex-Talk Show Host Indicted in Wife's Death
GRETNA, La. (Dec. 7) - A popular former radio talk show host accused of fatally shooting his estranged wife was indicted Thursday on a second-degree murder charge.

Vince Marinello, 69, appeared alone at the hearing because his attorney withdrew from the case last week. He has not yet entered a plea in the case and an arraignment date has not been set.

He is accused of shooting his estranged wife, Mary Elizabeth Marinello, twice in the face on Aug. 31. The 45-year-old respiratory therapist died the next day.

at 12/09/2006 8:03 AM Blogger Rick said...

Bad operator...

at 12/09/2006 10:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again. Sick of the switches? Get satellite radio.

You can hear Big Eddie live on Sirius Talk Left.

at 12/09/2006 2:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

No, get rid of Darryl Parks and let the cluster be purchased by RadioActive, who knows what to do with these stations!

at 12/09/2006 5:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put Randy Michaels back in charge

at 12/10/2006 2:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

most of what they are offiering is available somewhere else already. and I don't know if its because of my location but 1360 actually comes in better than 1530.

at 12/11/2006 1:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm absolutely thrilled with the new lineup. I wish they'd run Clark Howard live, but it'll be good to hear him in Cincinnati. I loved listening to him when I was in the Dayton area on WHIO.

I like the new lineup. Props to ClearChannel.

at 12/13/2006 7:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say we bring back the "ALL ELVIS" format

at 12/13/2006 7:31 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

And they say Clear Channel did not change the face of Cincy radio! Remember the good old days when Randy at KRC would plant a "bug" in the programming meetings at WLW..and Good Old Jim Scott had a Mike Sells bag in his back pocket instead of a grippo bag? Maybe Jerry can do his retirement thing and let "Granny" do his morning slot?

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