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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, June 26, 2007

Bill Tonnis Signing Off WLW-AM

After more than 20 years, newsman Bill Tonnis will sign off WLW-AM July 6 to embark on new career as youth minister at Our Lady of Visitation Catholic Church in Green Township.

"I feel I've been called to do something more positive with young people," says Tonnis, 47, a Green Township resident. "I thought I'd regret it if I didn't attempt this."

The 1978 Elder High School graduate earned a master's degree in religious and pastoral studies from the College of Mount St. Joseph three years ago. In February he released his "Listen To Your Heart" CD.

Tonnis started in radio at WVXU-FM while attending Xavier University. He hosted NPR's "Morning Edition" 1982-84, while working part-time at WLW-AM. He has been full-time since 1984 or so, he thinks. After years as a reporter, he now anchors 11:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. weekdays on WLW-AM and other Clear Channel stations.

"It's unusual to be with one station this long," he says. He'll miss his "daily connection with thousands of people" listening to WLW-AM. And he'll miss his co-workers. "The current news team here is one of the best we've had," he says.

He's certainly worked with a bunch of news people since the 1980s…. Kathy Lehr, Matt Reis, Bill Ridenhour, Don Webb, Ann Alexander....

How many more names can we add to the list?


at 6/26/2007 2:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey John, - Whatever happened to Bill Ridenhour? As a kid, my parents listened to him every morning along with JFPO.

at 6/26/2007 3:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is ann alexander?

at 6/26/2007 4:34 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

He retired years ago.

at 6/26/2007 5:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another great: Rachel Murry

at 6/26/2007 5:47 PM Blogger Todd O said...

Dan Carroll, Mike Redden, Mark Haney and Alan Gardner to name a few.

Am trying to remember the overnight newscaster during the Bozo years with the booming voice (and used to work at WHIO)

at 6/26/2007 10:45 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

That would be Charles Van Zant. Great newscaster and even classier person. He was poo-pooed time and time again by the lame brain that is Darryl Parks. He is finally not working the graveyard shift, quite happily at channel 12. Good for him and good for Bill Tonnis. How many others will abandon the sinking SS Parks? get out while the getting out is good!

at 6/27/2007 1:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gave always enjoyed Bill T and shall miss his voice when he is gone.

That Van Zant guy had an AWESOME VOICE. I am glad he is still employed.

But honestly, WLW needs to CHANGED their 30 minute news updates instead of being the same ol thing ALL DAY LONG. Sheesh.

at 6/27/2007 1:35 PM Blogger Tri State Internet Sports said...

Bill Tonnis is a class act. There was never a better co-worker than Bill. Always ready to help a host out with a story, or a producer find something to add to the show.

Good luck Bill. Your voice will be missed.

at 6/27/2007 1:37 PM Blogger Tri State Internet Sports said...

What about Ali Miller, Bridgett Dougherty

Totally agree about Charlie VanSant. Great guy.

at 6/27/2007 4:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. John, what about Matt Reis.
I know he left WLW for WSB in Atlanta and then disappeared. Do you know where he may be? I remember when he did a saturday talk show with that bazaar Carmine a long long time ago. Talk about weird!!

at 6/28/2007 8:17 AM Blogger bmurdock said...

Carmine... forgot about him and his Snagglepuss impression. Heavens to betsy - even...

at 6/28/2007 9:55 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck to Bill. Now if we could just rid the damn place of the others and start over, it would be a start!!

at 6/29/2007 4:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked with Bill about 10 years ago and found him to be a great guy. I wish him well and hope for success for him on his new path. The other names that have popped up bring back good memories, especially Matt Reis and David Wecker. There old show was a lot of fun to produce.
Darryl Parks is really an okay guy and when you are number one it is hard to change. If the station slips he is out on his ear and he knows it, so why mess with the programming. It is not broke, so he doesn't have to fix it.
Good luck again to Bill Tonnis

-Phil "my glass with" Wiedeman
Thank Matt Reis for that nickname

at 6/29/2007 6:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

to anon at 4:37.
That is exactly what I am waiting for --- Darryl Parks to slip so he can go and trash radio can then maybe become good radio.

at 7/03/2007 1:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kiese, what ever happened to Carmine? Was radio just his hobby and he went back to his real job, or what? I couldn't stand him, but I couldn't turn him off either, because I hated him so much I wanted to hear someone finally call in and rip him.

at 7/03/2007 1:15 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

I don't know what happened to Carmine. I thought he had a brief stint at an Indianapolis station after here, and I've lost track of him. Maybe somebody knows and will post here.

at 7/05/2007 8:23 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Kiese. Anybody know???
He would have made an interesting personality for the failed "Air America" network. At least you couldn't avoid slowing down and looking at the trainwreck with Carmine at the controls.

at 7/05/2007 11:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a member of OLV church and the mom of a teenager, I am looking forward to working with Bill on keeping the youth group going. Just so you know, you have big shoes to fill, Rachel was awesome, but you enthusiasm and commitment to this endeavor are quite obvious.

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