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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, May 01, 2007

It's WLW, Of Course

Was anybody surprised that the Spanish-language billboards were put up by WLW-AM? In phase two of the campaign, there's a Mexican fellow, "The Big Juan." But we already knew that WLW-AM was the ugly American.... This helps build ratings? Only by having people talk about WLW. Again. So I won't say any more.


at 5/01/2007 12:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

WLW tricks are as old as the hills. Create controversy and then large numbers of poeple will talk about 700 and their ratings go up. Sort of like the bathroom humor they often crate. Sick! this station has got to change ownership and get a true 50,000 watt news/information/talk that is sensible and fulfilling, and not the junk they put out now.

at 5/01/2007 12:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

John, why combat a problem -- WITH SILENCE????

If you are as offended by these ads as I am, why not call all their advertisers and see how THEY feel about using stereotypical depictions of "Mexicans" (donkey and all) in billboard campaigns?? Then, file a report on what these advertisers have to say knowing their dollars are going to support garbage like that.

I have a feeling the advertisers will not like being linked to racism.

Someone needs to hold these racists accountable once and for all. I know you have it in you, John.

at 5/01/2007 12:51 PM Blogger Brad said...

Those billboards are hilarious.

at 5/01/2007 1:25 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those billboards did exactly what they were supposed to do. Get attention and get people talking about WLW. So go ahead and contact the advertisers and they will probably say "no comment" but truthfully LOVE the fact that the station is getting that much coverage. Controversy sells, just look how much money Howard Stern brought into radio stations

Kudos to the Clear Channel Marketing Department

Now if they can just dump the Paul Harvey. Listening to paint dry is more exciting than him.

at 5/01/2007 1:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Racism? Are you serious? A picture of a guy in a sombrero with a photoshopped donkey?

Offended by that? You must have really, really thin skin, or already have an axe to grind.

Get over yourself, pal.

at 5/01/2007 2:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether you think it is racist or not (I do not), it does not significantly increase those who listen to their station. It may get a few people talking for a short time, then it goes away, like Imus and the Va. Tech stories. To me, it is a tired marketing idea, recycled like everything else a tired radio station does. Ratings increases will be minimal at fear not thin-skinned ones.

at 5/01/2007 2:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Word on the street is that "Jaun" isn't even Hispanic! Just a hefty, local Caucasian Cincinnatian.

at 5/01/2007 2:48 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there anything more TIRED than what WLW does and goofy Darryl Parks, or whatever your real name is. What a real snooze. Then listen to 3-6 drive time of a large market radio station. YUCK!

at 5/01/2007 2:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

WLW makes a goofy joke about Big Juan. The new song from Rage Against the Machine calls for Bush to be 'Tried, Hung and Shot' Which side is responsible for the escalation in hate speach?

at 5/01/2007 4:41 PM Anonymous Rick said...

Absolutely hilarious billboard. keep it up, Clear Channel. This stuff is a riot.

To be offended is monumentally lame--but, they already knew that...

at 5/01/2007 4:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

WAAAAAHHHHH!!!!! The big bad radio people made fun of me, right after the big bad TV people took off my stupid news show!!!!! WAAAAAHHHH!!!!


at 5/01/2007 6:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

WLW's billboards are an ethnic slur against Mexicans by depicting a stereotype...and right after the Imus firing! Who's next? Jews? Gays? Blacks? Appalacians? Catholics? Where does it stop? Many listeners (Hispanic and otherwise) are offended. Just stop it. WLW used to be a proud leader of the community. Now they are a disgrace. Note to city council:
pull the billboard company's licenses, and see what happens.

at 5/01/2007 7:56 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only in Cincinnati could a racist and ethnic stereotype be used as an ad campaign and then laughed off by provincial members of the community.
This is the type of narrow thinking that has tarred Cincinnati as a backward community with serious racial problems.
The issue is not what you locals think of this, but the damaging conclusions others draw.

at 5/02/2007 12:43 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, this was a planned display of racism. Step one, a spanish translation of "radio for great americans" followed by a white guy in stereotyped Mexican get-up. This was clearly meant to be demeaning.

Why not have a "Cincinnati's home for urban hits" billboard followed by a white guy in blackface pretending to murder another white guy in blackface? Would that be funny? Oh, its just photoshopped fun!

How about "Radio in touch with the community" followed up by a priest and an uncomfortable altar boy? Oh, its not making fun of religion. Its all funny until it hits home. Is this really the best way to promote a radio station? Is this what WLW wants the community to think about it?

You know as well as I that the fine folks at WLW are proud as peacocks for their distasteful attempt at humor. Its a shame, and its just one more reason Cincinnati has a bad reputation.

Is it really such a bad thing to portray yourself in a POSITIVE light???

at 5/02/2007 6:06 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The thing that astounds me about 700 WLW is the fact that they even bother with this type of ad campaign. Say what you will about the station, but they are the leaders in this market. No other station can touch them for ratings dominance, and even when it comes to setting the news agenda for our area as well. How do they decide to respond to this - by being irresponsible and offensive. To paraphrase the spiderman catch phrase - With 50,000 watts of power comes no responsibility.

at 5/02/2007 9:47 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think WLW should have included Butler county's, Sheriff Jones in their campaign too. Get over it already. This politically correct stuff has gone too far as it is.

at 5/02/2007 9:50 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get tired of all the Mexican crap. My birth certificate says Ohio, not O-Mexic-O. If the MExicans don't like it, leave!

at 5/02/2007 10:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

One reason for WLW's ratings dominnance: Clear Channel owns and controls all 4 of the major AM signals. They're very careful not to take too much away from their cash cow. That's why they switched the call letters, frequencies and names of 550, 1360 and 1530 so many times. Remember 550 WLWA? 1360 Air America? 1530 WSAI? 550 WCKY? 1360 Homer? (there are more, I have lost track). Perhaps the Cincinnati Reds, enployers of quite a few Hispanic Americans, will remember these racial slur billboards when it's time to renew their radio contract.

at 5/02/2007 10:57 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow - people are seriously getting offended by these things? What an uptight city we live in.

If my name was Juan I'd be proud to have it plastered all over town.

at 5/02/2007 11:24 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never heard so many crybabies in one posting. The PC in this country is laughable.

I would have never known about these billboard if everyone wouldn't have created such a fuss about them. Same as Imus, if the media didn't push that in our face every night for two weeks, then the majority of Americans wouldn’t have heard about it.

People just need to SHUT UP and stop whining about every little thing that may be somewhat un PC

Life is too short to get upset over a stupid billboard.


at 5/02/2007 2:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its really a big shame a media market of this size has a 50,000 watt station that puts out nothing but garbage. Nothing will change as long as thjey are rated number 1 in the market. What else is there to choose from? This used to be a really good station years back, but now its just in your face and its all about ratings and revenue and as long as that is the case --- you get crap like WLW. Buy SIRIUS or XM and put yourself at peace. Who wants to listen to Darryl (not my real name) Parks yell at you on Saturday mornings and Jim Scott talk 100 miles per hour with his dubbed interviews.

at 5/02/2007 3:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its sad, but nothing going to change with WLW, as long as they are ranked number 1 in the market, and they make a profit for Clear Channel. They could care less. On their talk shows if they offend someone, then they just apologize and its like it never happened. A 50000 watt station, and you got people like Bill Dennison who could not put back-to-back sentences with stuttering. Look around the nation -- WJR, WSB, WBZ,WGN, these are real news/talk/information station. WLW is just smash mouth toilet radio!!
and its works in this market because Cincinnati is so straight laced they squirm and WLW just laughs and thinks up another joke!!

at 5/02/2007 9:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What would Anthony Munoz or Max Montoya have to say about these? What about the city's mayor? Can you imagine the uproar if the billboards targeted African Americans? Has anyone notified the Clear Channel people in San Antonio (where - being heavily Latino - this would go over really well, I'm sure)?

at 5/02/2007 9:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

at 5/03/2007 12:57 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe its YOU who needs to SHUT UP and LISTEN once in a while!

That's what makes you WLW flackeys so mad - is when other people DO stand up and voice opposition to your white washed world in which you can proudly display lawn jockeys and make fun of people based on nothing but their ethnicity.

And life is too short to NOT stand up to idiots who think these billboards are okay and in no way shameful.

If the owners of this radio station do not take notice of this blatant display of racism and do nothing about it, they might as well change the name to Klear Khannel Kommunications.

There are much better ways to portray a business to your community. WLW falls into the same category as to why Don Imus was criticized. WLW plays host to so many politicians and news makers. They should think twice before going on those poisoned airwaves ever again.

Channel 5 must be very proud to be once again associated with such a fine disaster.

at 5/03/2007 9:51 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, ANON 11:24AM on 05/02..

Crybabies? Well, in case you missed it, those same "crybabies" got Don Imus FIRED and cost numerous big media outlets MILLIONS of dollars in ad revenue..

Unfortunately or not, people ARE offended by these things. Not to mention that illegal immigration is a HUGE hot topic right now.

Uninformed blowhards are EASY to come by these days.. But people who actually take the time to THINK about how their words or actions will influence others? Not so much.

Whether or not you and I are offended isn't the issue here. It's that there ARE people being offended by all kinds of things these days.. And like it or not, we have to live with them. And unfortunately for THEM they have to live with US. It isn't as simple as "shut up" or "leave the country."

You have no more rights than anyone else in this country. We're too "me me me" these days - and it might get even uglier before we figure out a way to change things.

at 5/03/2007 10:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 5/3/07 9:51 AM. You said it perfectly. Too much me, me, me, as in "That offends ME" You are partially correct that folks should be corteous to others, however along with that is the fact that those others should also lose the hair trigger reaction to anything someone says being so offensive that it cannot stop until that person loses there job and anything else we can take away from them along the way.
See, I believe Imus was a complete idiot for saying what he said, and should have known better. BUT, his apology was sincere, and was accepted by the b-ball players themselves, however the worst racial slur offenders of all, JJ and Al, wouldn't rest until they got the man fired.
Discrimination is not and should not be equated the same thing as saying something ignorant or stupid. The PC police keep lumping all in the same boat, to the detriment of REAL issues of discrimination that should be dealt with seriously. The result is like the boy who cried wolf, after a while, it all fades into white noise (no pun intended there) that we all just tune out all together. What were you taught in Kindergarten? Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names may result in a good lawsuit that pays the Rainbow PUSH Coalition lots and lots of hush money....

at 5/03/2007 11:03 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carlos Mencia said it perfectly

"words only hurt you if you let them."

I, as an American whose parents are from Mexico, could care less what someone who I don't know thinks about me based on my race.

I honestly can't believe I am wasting time on writing about a dumb billboard. People can be mad if they want to, but I am too busy LIVING MY LIFE to care.

at 5/03/2007 11:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crybabies? Well, in case you missed it, those same "crybabies" got Don Imus FIRED and cost numerous big media outlets MILLIONS of dollars in ad revenue..

And how proud those people must be that they corrected such a huge injustice. After all, because a hack like Don Imus hurled an ignorant slur at a group of women, it must be true, right? Amazing how many people were offended by Imus - last time I checked there were only 10 people on the Rutgers women's basketball roster. And, the names "Jesse Jackson" and "Al Sharpton" weren't among them.

Some people make it their business to be offended by everyone and everything. It must really suck to go through life like that.

at 5/03/2007 1:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 5/3 11:45, unfortunately for us, it doesn't suck for people like the Justice Brothers to go thru life like that, it actually lines their pockets quite nicely, thus making sure it will never be necessary for either of them to go out and find gainful employment like the rest of us. Yet another redistribution of our wealth to their pockets.

To all of you who are sooooo outraged about WLW and the billboard campaign, thanks. It's tools like you who are the reason Speedy Gonzales cartoons have been banished from the face of the earth. And we all know what a slap at Mexicans THAT was, right??? Why don't all of you self righteous buffoons go cry at the Taco Bell and the Don Pablos, since they utilize lots of the same imagery and motifs to look like "Authentic" Mexican restaurants?

at 5/03/2007 2:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of you who have labeled these billboards offensive were put off by the puritans who have objected to WEBN's offensive billboards in the past. Apparently it's OK to offend the moral sensitivity of some people, but it's wrong to offend the ethnicity of others. The double standard kills me.

And then there are you smug Cincinnati bashers who have jumped on this as yet another opportunity to suggest that we are somehow more backward than the rest of the country. I would remind you that this kind of garbage goes on everywhere, ie, New York and Don Imus.

This whole thing is silly and has done exactly what the WLW folks intended. Get over it.

at 5/03/2007 3:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. My name is Juan.

I am not Hispanic, but I am fat, and I'm offended that WLW is calling me "big".

Does this sound absurd?

So do all the people complaining about evil WLW and their "racist" billboard.

at 5/04/2007 12:31 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Its a shame you just don't get it. What is the need to make fun of ANYONE to promote a news/talk station? This is just a mean campaign, but it really does reflect the station, I'll give them that.

at 5/04/2007 9:34 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to thank those that have spoken out AGAINST the billboard. For those of you who are saying "what's the big deal?" you are just showing why Cincinnati continues to have a perception by people outside the city as close minded, unwelcoming to minorities, and narrow minded. It's a shame because I have found that most people in this area are indeed open minded but it's you loud ignorant bigots that seem to get attention. The good news is that within a generation you'll be irrelevant.

at 5/04/2007 9:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

no, Anon, 5/4 12:31, it's a shame YOU just don't get it. Stop looking to have your feelings hurt all over the place. Move on....

at 5/04/2007 11:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Latest Spring ratings STILL has WLW number JUAN.... The "peps" love it... say no more...

at 5/04/2007 11:02 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you all stop drinking coffee when Juan Valdez popped out of the closet with his mule. You'll all too PC....

Happy May 5th Drink a Beer and get over it.

at 5/06/2007 4:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

WLW. What a loser station this has become. It was such a giant for many years, but not its just toilet humor and agitating hosts.
As for their news. Ha if you want to call it that. 2 examples - You can hear a story at 5AM and then it repeats every half hour the entire day. Secondly, did you ever notice when there is a shooting or serious issue at 3 or 4 am , you dont hear about it until about 9am. I think they just call District 1 Police and get their updates instead of having reporters on duty around the area, like large market stations are doing. Oh well, this is Mayberry after all.

at 5/07/2007 9:09 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a shame because I have found that most people in this area are indeed open minded but it's you loud ignorant bigots that seem to get attention. The good news is that within a generation you'll be irrelevant.

If this was a racism issue, then I'd give your comments more attention. But it's not. It's people like you that continue to give Cincinnati the reputation as being uptight and conservative.

I bet Juan is getting annoyed that people insist on trying to make this into a big deal.

at 5/07/2007 11:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the billboards are ignorant. If anyone has really known someone from Mexico - they would never depict them that way. It is a shame that WLW feels the need to encourage such ridiculous stereotypes. It's scary that Cinci has moved onto exacerbating more stereotypes that are insulting and that a media stronghold would encourage it.

at 5/08/2007 11:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 5/6 4:06, you keep tossing out the "Mayberry" label, like that is a completely bad thing. I submit it's not, and too bad for you if you think it is.
Also, try getting informed please about what other radio stations in these urban utopias you keep harping about are doing in their newsrooms. You are a fool if you think it is any different in other cities. For example, one of those other newsrooms I know of in Nashville, TN is also doing the news for Memphis and Knoxville, as well as some cities in Alabama. Do you honestly think ANY of those reporters at that station have time to run around at 3AM chasing a police shooting?

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