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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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Monday, May 07, 2007

Hispanics Demanding Apology From WLW-AM

Not only are "The Big Juan" billboards coming down, but the Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA is demanding a written apology and an explanation for the campaign. Chamber Board President Alfonso Cornejo hand-delivered a protest letter to WLW-AM last week about the "hateful campaign." He says Chuck Frederick, Clear Channel market manager, said all 82 billboards would be down by Tuesday.
Some along interstates and major highways were removed over the weekend.
In a letter to WLW-AM, and Clear Channel corporate executives in San Antonio, the chamber board said:
"Perhaps someone at your station believes there was humor in this hateful campaign. But rest assured, this is not funny in the least.... Pictures on the billboard do nothing to help our city or its people. To the contrary, they serve as a daily reminder of the offensive mindset that cause the disgraceful acts that divide our community."


at 5/07/2007 2:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imagine that, a tired marketing campaign (cryptic billboard for short period, with somewhat controversial resolution a short time later) giving the tired radio station EXACTLY the push they hoped for. Thanks Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA for having the thin skin to not let this go. Instead of just letting this go away with no chatter, the Big Tired One is getting just what they wanted.

at 5/07/2007 2:36 PM Anonymous Scott said...

Sounds like somebody needs a hug!

at 5/07/2007 3:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This country has succumbed to political correctness. Nothing happens in this world anymore without someone getting offended.

What a pathetic society we have become.

at 5/07/2007 3:25 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

the billboard was removed from 747 saturday.

at 5/07/2007 3:33 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was a funny billboard. Nothing more, nothing less. people have become too sensative.

at 5/07/2007 4:37 PM Anonymous Louis said...

Like WLW, the billboard sucked and wasn't funny.

at 5/07/2007 4:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people are just a little too sensitive... The billboard wasn't hateful. It was lame attempt at humor.

at 5/07/2007 5:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's easy to think people are too sensitive when you're not part of the ethnic group that gets offended. Parks needs to go - this kind of advertising is getting old.

at 5/07/2007 5:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have lost count on these blogs how many times I have see "Parks needs to go". How about coming up with a better line besides that.

at 5/07/2007 5:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, whites used to show Speedy Gonzalez cartoons. We used to see Jose Jimenez. We used to listen to Amos 'n' Andy. We used terms such as "Japs" and "Nips," and we used to tell jokes with the other "N" word. THOSE DAYS ARE OVER because enough people spoke up. Racial and ethnic stereotypes/slurs are no longer acceptable because we have responded to people who have told us their feelings were hurt. That was and is the right thing to do. Can't we find humor in the human condition without making fun of a person's ethnic background? Of course, to do that, one would have to THINK...something WLW stopped doing long ago.

at 5/07/2007 5:30 PM Anonymous Little Enos said...

That's because it's the same tired old hack posting the same tired old thing over and over and over.

That said, the Hispanic Chamber of Cincinnati is a JOKE!!! In the immortal words of Sheriff Buford T. Justice, "What in the hell is the world coming to"

To get this bent out of shape over an obvious 7th grade photoshop of a billboard is beyond absurd.

at 5/07/2007 7:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad they are coming down. I will say it another way. Loud mouth Darryl Parks (not his real name) should be shown the door. But see, dont you get it. They will now apologize and it will be like it never happened and then all the white males in this market will snicker and wait for their next trick. Boy, this really is a true full service radio station in good ole radio starved Cincinnati.

at 5/07/2007 7:08 PM Anonymous Rick said...

Perhaps they should advertise for their new friggin' MUTUAL FUND HOUR, that powerful new show that will have folks crawling over each other to hear the radio...

at 5/07/2007 7:15 PM Blogger Bengal43 said...

Any chance of a picture of this billboard for those of us who don't live in the Cincy area?

at 5/07/2007 7:25 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simply put, if you weren't offended by the billboards, you have NO RIGHT to tell those who WERE that they shouldn't have been. You're not them, you don't know. Oh no, they're taking away my right to be a jackass!!!

The "ooh, people need to toughen up" attitude is getting old. If you were smart enough to actually TALK with people of different races, colors, creeds, whatever - maybe you'd have a different outlook. But too many times, good ol' Mr. White Bread has no CLUE about what's going on in the world outside of his hollow little shell. ESPECIALLY in a town like Cincinnati..

People were bothered by it, they have a RIGHT to be bothered by it. Which argument is correct? Those who want to protect their "right" to make fun of other people? Or those who want to stand up for them?

at 5/07/2007 8:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Offensive? Maybe. But hateful? Isn't that a little over the top? I wish someone would explain how this silly, albeit misguided attempt at humor, is hateful.

A little play on words and a big Mexican. Just how is that hateful? All of you politically correct liberals, please, explain that to us.

at 5/07/2007 9:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for the Hispanic Chamber! Someone drew the line in the sand with the Big (Bully) One.

And the mainstream media generally ignored 700's "intended to generate controversy" ploy.

You lose 700!!!!! You lose!!!!!

at 5/07/2007 9:24 PM Anonymous The Big Juan said...

I don't get what the big deal was. I thought they were funny.

at 5/07/2007 11:54 PM Blogger Scott Evans said...

I'm now boycotting all Mexican restraunts and businesses until the Hispanic Chamber issues an appology for being idiots.

Thank you.

Also Speedy Gonzalez was a hero to most Mexicans, as he was always one up on Sylvester. After all he was the fastest mouse in all of Mexico. Arriba Arriba!

at 5/08/2007 6:57 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's tired is the recycling of a lame advertising gimmick. How many times have we seen radio stations put up an 'offensive' billboard, only to have someone complain? THAT'S THE WHOLE STRATEGY! They get more mileage for their advertising by generating some contraversey than if they just put up something that wasn't offensive. I'm not saying people shouldn't complain about things that they find objectionable, but keep in mind that this was likely the plan all along. Right on the heels of Don Imus how can anyone think that this wasn't a calculated move aimed at generating contraversey, and designed in a way to anger someone, without being 'over the top' offensive enough to lead to any real trouble.

at 5/08/2007 9:38 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

For a campaign with its dated echoes of the 1980s-1990s WEBN style, the Big Juan billboards have certainly succeeded in generating the required howls of protest from the hypersensitive. Give it a "C" for creativity - and an "A" for effect. Too bad Randy Michaels isn't heading CC's radio efforts; instead of issuing an insincere corpo-apology, he'd probably have responded with a bigger and brassier followup campaign.

The Big Juan. As in "Juan Valdez," from the famous campaign on behalf of Colombian coffee, one of the most famous advertising trademarks of all time...a campaign which is still running, by the way, in the enlightened year of 2007! It would be hoped that the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will continue to fight this "negative" image, much as if it were an illegal narcotic, by going after the "source" (those pesky Colombian coffee farmers) than the "user" (li'l ol' WLW).

Speaking of bruised sensitivities, has anyone noticed radio's sudden post-Imus move to civility and dry, NPR-ish wit among shock jocks? No? Gosh, what a surprise!

The poster who took the standard PC potshots at Speedy Gonzalez, Amos 'n' Andy and America's astonishing inability to be sweet and kind towards its World War II enemies may have his/her liberal credentials in order, but little else. For the record, let it be noted that:

(1) The poverty stricken but verbally witty (even in a non-native language) Speedy overcomes his underclass status by utlizing his extraordinary acceleration and intellect to triumph over his Caucasian oppressor (as portrayed by Sylvester the Cat) in every episode...generally in under six minutes time per cartoon. In this light, Speedy serves as a fine role model for children of *all* ethnic backgrounds.

(2) "Amos 'n' Andy" was created by two white Southern guys who used the minstrel dialect of their youth to deliver dialogue from some of the best comedy writers in history. But if you done get past dat dere style o' speakin', Kingfish - you'll also find that this show was the *only* place where white Americans learned that blacks could succeed in professions, and could establish a largely self-sustaining economic universe. Add 20 or 30 years, take away the dialect, dumb down the writing, add the occasional epithet of "honky" - and you get "The Jeffersons." But no one even suggests that George and Louise should be banished from TV Land. (Perhaps the only real difference is that its executive producer was the Norman Lear, the 1970s equivalent of a Good Liberal Housekeeping Seal of Approval.)

And finally,

(3) I'm not so certain that we're all that superior to our "intolerant" grandparents and their references to "Japs" and "Nips". Remember the "Bin Laden Sucks" bumper stickers that began appearing circa 9-12-01? And today, the "elephant in the room" seems to be our unspoken fear of Muslims in America. Is that person moving in next door to me a "safe, moderate" Muslim or a "fundamentalist radical" who talks to fellow terrorists every evening? All it takes is one more tragedy for the customary guilty-till-proven-innocent choruses to start. No, we're not superior to the people who came before us.

There's more that should be said, but I need to log off before I'm caught. It's time for me to wash my heresies clean at another re-education session here at the Marge Schott Memorial Political Correctness Training Center.

at 5/08/2007 10:05 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the Hispanic council do something useful for its hispanic community like teach illegal mexicans how to become legal?

at 5/08/2007 10:40 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

OH NO 700 WLW might lose there hispanic audience.

at 5/08/2007 12:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 5/7/07 7:04, what the heck is a "Full Service Radio Station"???? Do you want them to check your fluid levels or something?
It's called "Broadcasting", so it will appeal to the broadest segment possible that the station can make a profit selling ads for. It's nothing nefarious, its not hateful. Stereotype? yeah, probably so. Ever been to a Mexican restaurant? I doubt all of Mexico looks the way the decor and menus at Don Pablo's portrays, but I don't here the outcry for them to paint all the adobe stucco walls white and take all the pictures of chili peppers off the menus.
7:25, you are right, people who wnat to be offended by it have every right to be so, just as I have every right to sit home and pick my nose all day every day. However, just as it would be advisable for me to go out and get a job and be a productive member of society (that's a longwinded way of saying fit in), it would also be advisable for the squeaky wheels out there to quit holding their breath til they turn blue (I mean no insult to blues musicians!) and move on. It's OK to shake your head if you feel the need, but opening your mouth to cry about it simply confirms for the rest of us how socially immature you are too.
And as to the one who said if it was my group being made the butt of the joke I would feel different, I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. I have too much to look forward to day to day to get all hot and bothered about someone I do not even know and what they think of me.

at 5/08/2007 12:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you took offense by this board, you have real personal issues...

at 5/08/2007 1:43 PM Blogger larryb said...

The mans saying one with his finger because he cant say it in english. Why the fuss looks like some of the the mexicans i seen in the history books at school. But wait a minute, i almost forgot, the majority bows to the minority in the name of money.

at 5/08/2007 1:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

But when were they scheduled to come down? Does the original contract have them staying for another week or month?

at 5/08/2007 2:14 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

I can't find out when billboards were supposed to come down. Lamar Advertising exec, and WLW-AM executives, aren't talking to me. (Well, Clear Channel market manager Chuck Frederick, who promised to call me back Monday, returned my call at 6:50 a.m. knowing I'd not be there to get it.)
My guess is that the Big Juan billboards are coming down sooner than contracted, because the board on I75 south at Western Hills Viaduct is blank, instead of being replaced by another message.

at 5/08/2007 3:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about that goof ball Cunningham getting stuck on his roof. Right Willie, I guess you just happen to have your cell phone in your pocket in case you got stuck on the roof and could call 911.

at 5/08/2007 6:31 PM Anonymous Rick said...

I demand an apology from all Hispanics for having to punch freaking "English" on my USA ATM!

That's right: NOW!

at 5/09/2007 9:58 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

12:17PM.. So, anyone who was offended by the billboards isn't a "productive member of society" and is "socially immature?" Not sure I follow what you mean.

at 5/09/2007 10:19 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love these posters who say "I'm boycotting Mexican restaurants!" and "What about Juan Valdez?!" This is so sad, because it really speaks to their mindset on Hispanics, and shows they have a negative perception of all things Hispanic.

Juan Valdez has no negative connotations. He is an innocuous character. He is a Colombian coffee farmer, and is a symbol of pride in the quality of that country's coffee beans.

WLW's billboard has nothing to do with Colombia or coffee. It is aimed at MEXICO (a different country from Colombia, I need to stress). The billboard campaign carried a Mexican flag. I think it speaks to a mindset also that all immigrants are from Mexico - as if there are no other countries south of the US.

As for boycotting the MEXICAN restaurants - seriously, you can't celebrate another country's culture and enjoy their food? And we in the US do not consume truly Mexican food when we go to Taco Bell and Chi-Chi's. That style of food is considered Tex-Mex, because it more reflects Texan additions to traditional Mexican cuisine.

So bottom line, not everything hispanic is negative. And boycott the restaurants if you wish. But seriously, lets stop slinging truly negative images around, and take some pride in how you portray yourself. WLW could learn a thing or two from Juan Valdez.

at 5/09/2007 1:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 9:58 AM, that's because YOU CAN'T READ FOR COMPREHENSION. I didn't say the people offended by the billboard weren't productive members of ssociety, did I? however, you do win a cupie doll, I do believe they are socially immature.
Is this what you all want society to devolve into???? Are you all aware that there is already a website where you can "post" the license plates of drivers you feel are "Bad drivers??????" Do you want one for pepole who you feel are insensitive now too????? Go tell your mommy, if that makes you feel better. Hopefully, at some point, your MOMMY will tell you what mine told me: GROW UP AND QUIT BEING A FRIGGIN' BABY!!!!!!!

at 5/10/2007 10:19 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Anon 5/8
Hey Radio Boy, sorry I forgot that the Borinnati radio market was the 28th largest market in the US.
Oh well, I'll just keep trying to figure out what " continuous in depth team coverage" means when WLW's news has two people reading two sentences regarding something that happened 9 hours earlier.

at 5/10/2007 11:07 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um, actually, I think YOU are the only one here who is "socially immature." Nice attitude and VERY impressive vocabulary, tough guy.

YOU are the one who can't seem to understand what people write here.. I merely asked you to *clarify* what you meant, since, quite honestly, your previous post was confusing, at best. Someone asks politely for clarification, and you lash out? Tsk tsk.. manners, little one.

I made no inference as to my personal opinion or anything else. And you can keep your kewpie doll. I wouldn't want to make you cry. Now, back to the playground with you.

at 5/10/2007 8:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Offended? Then go back to Mexico....enough of coddling these illegal aliens....

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