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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, August 27, 2007

Dave Lee Dies

Friends of Dave Lee, longtime oldies DJ on WKRC-AM, say he died Sunday morning. He was best known for his celebrity impersonations on the air.

When Forrest Gregg coached the Bengals, Lee called the NFL office and fooled Commissioner Pete Rozelle into thinking he was talking to the Bengals coach. Rozelle gave him permission to air the bit on WKRC, and Lee later appeared on "Good Morning America" because of the bit. But I can't remember what the prank call was about. Do you?


at 8/27/2007 11:00 AM Anonymous Mike Martini said...

Dave did a better "Harry Caray" than Harry Caray! It felt awkward seeing him wait on customers at Radio Shack in Northgate Mall, but, as those of us in the radio business know, the broadcast biz can be very unkind, even to those with armloads of talent.

at 8/27/2007 11:07 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear this. I always enjoyed listening to Dave

at 8/27/2007 12:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saddened to hear the news. Dave had a unique talent, for which there is no longer a need in this button-pushing, automated, no-talent radio mess that the business has become.

I replaced Dave Bunce, (he went by his real name at the time)when he left WUBE to go to Houston in the mid-70's. He returned to 55KRC a couple of years later with his "voices".

[John, check you files. I think Dave was involved with a pirate radio station in his garage in Saylor Park when he was a teenager.]

Like so many of the radio "jocks" of the 60's & 70's Bunce's talents were silenced way too soon, first by boring programming then by death. God must have needed a "mid-day" guy in heaven, who does impersonations.

Fred Slezak

at 8/27/2007 12:45 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave was quite the character.... lots of them. While working in the programming office at 55KRC I'd never know if it would be Ronald Reagan or Alfred Hitchcock on the phone. 55KRC during Dave's time there was one of the best radio stations in America and I'm proud to have been part of it and I know Dave will be missed.

Dan Allen

at 8/27/2007 1:19 PM Anonymous Bobby Leach said...

Dave Lee ON GMA-

Monday night football was on Channel 12 at the time and there was a game that lasted past 1AM. Which meant Nick Clooney and the 12 news show didn't get on til almost 1:30.

Later that morning that's all we talked about with the 12 staff and starting kicking around ideas on how to shorten games.
I Knew we had a good bit and asked Phil Samp for the NFL front office number. We knew we couldn't get through but Forrest Gregg could. Bob The Producer Berry and myself wrote the bit up and Dave executed it to perfection.
Someone at 12 made the comment it should be on GMA, so I called and told them the Today show was interested, but since the game was on ABC we would give them first refusal. Dave and I was on a flight out the next day to New York.

at 8/27/2007 1:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very sad. Dave Lee once deejayed a dance I attended back in the 80s. He was a friendly fella and will be much missed.

at 8/27/2007 6:41 PM Anonymous Brinke Guthrie said...

A great fellow to work with, and he will be missed. I worked many years @ Q102 (and once in a while @ 55KRC.) I could do a few impressions, but not even close to Dave's way. Genius.

RIP Dave.

at 8/27/2007 7:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a tidbit. When Dave was at UC, he was taught announcing skills by the late Ron Wilson (WCET Programming), something that Ron was proud to tell you....and something Dave was proud to tell say too!

Dave was a perfectionist but he was good.

Somewhere in Heaven, Dave's getting ready to do a remote giveaway at a McDonald's in that old KRC RV. Thankya very much.

at 8/27/2007 9:43 PM Anonymous JC McCoy said...

check the Cincinnati board on radio-info,com.....I posted some details abot Dave's arrangements

at 8/27/2007 9:43 PM Anonymous Rick M. said...

I recall hearing 'Harry Caray' when I turned on 55KRC one night in about 1992 or 93. The Cubs had been in town that day so I figured Harry Caray must of jumped in a cab and went to the KRC studios to hangout and then give a sportscast. What else was I supposed to think? Lee absoultely nailed the 'Harry Caray' voice.

at 8/28/2007 1:42 AM Blogger George said...

When I was a feature reporter at channel 12, I had Dave call some congressman who was in the news for speaking out against then Pres. Reagan. Cameras rolled as Dave got the guy on the phone and had him eating crow and squirming in his seat. It was something. We had to bite our lips to keep from laughing in the studio during the prank. Dave was a sweet guy who I admired much for his personality as much as his talent.

By the way,I believe this was the bit we submitted to Good Morning America.

at 8/28/2007 8:40 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave Lee called NFL Commish Pete Rozelle with some proposed rule changes like

1) getting rid of the referees.

2) keeping the clock running during incomplete passes and....

3) no TV time outs...just a split screen during commercials with the game on one side and the commercials on the other.

it was a funny bit, but sometimes comedy raises interesting questions esp. since #3 is actually being done by ESPN during some car races.

Dave and his ilk will be missed!!

at 8/28/2007 9:33 AM Anonymous Dan Carroll said...

I had the good fortune to work with Dave Lee for a short time in the early 90's. The stories he told me then about the early days in radio will be treasured memories. Dave had a spark, humor, wit, and creativity found in to few radio "personalities" these days. I knew him as a kind and caring man who was 100 percent professional when ever he was in the radio studio. Thank you Dave Lee, and God's speed.

at 8/28/2007 10:50 AM Blogger Ann (Haven) Thompson said...

I enjoyed doing news during the very entertaining Dave Lee shift. The only time I ever saw him get upset was when Rich King, as a joke, changed the order of Lee's huge sound effect collection. So when he wanted, for example, applause, he got a toilet flush.

Ann (Haven) Thompson

at 8/29/2007 7:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


I worked a WKRC 1988 - 1989. My show at WKRC was featured on NIGHTLINE and they brought their cameras into the studio to hear pp-eoples comments on the MAPLETHORPE EXIBIT. I was very worried that the show wouldn't turn out good ,but DAVE LEE done me a favor and called in using one of his voices and saved the day.

at 8/30/2007 4:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


You can download the Forrest Gregg mp3 hear

Dave Lee was one of the best air personalities ever to be heard in Cincinnati. Rip

at 8/30/2007 11:21 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I worked at WKRC in high school and college, it was such a thrill to have Dave introduce me on the air when I was about to start the newscast. I had listened to him for years as a kid. And an honor to work with him as a professional. Not many people get to do that. Chad Pergram

at 9/03/2007 1:49 PM Blogger RAY said...

I listened to Dave Lee on a transistor radio, as I delivered mail in Forest Park during the late 70s and early 80s. I met him at Northgate Mall when he was doing a meet and greet for WKRC radio. We spoke briefly, ending our encounter with a request that he play an "ELVIS" song for me on his daily broadcast. A couple of weeks later, Dave recalled our Northgate conversation, referred to me by name, that was a postman in Forest Park and added that I was a devoted "ELVIS" fan and wanted to hear one of "ELVIS'" less played recordings. Dave's last words were, "so, Ray, here's a song you you". He proceeded to play Tom Jones'rendition of "Delilah". A QUESTION TO THOSE THAT BEST KNEW MR. LEE...Was there a reason for that tune that I have been unable to comprehend for 25 years? Thanks!

at 9/04/2007 12:38 PM Blogger bbaker364 said...

I hate to hear Dave Lee has died I met him 17 yrs ago when he was working as a salesman at eastgate radio shack after he and other djs where let go at 55wkrc we talked about his days in radio and talked about his characters he did and he was glad he was apart of radio and Cincinnati Radio history .he was very nice guy ......Bill Baker

at 9/12/2007 6:02 PM Blogger james cox said...

I knew Dave from the late sixties when I attended CCM/UC with him. On many occasions we would get to class early to watch him mimic the professors that we were about to have.He would do the their voices and the mannerisms to a T. Later when the real professor would start teaching we would all laugh when we saw a repeat of what Dave had just imitated. As I got to know him better I found out that he was an excellent drummer and he joined my rock band for a year.After graduation I moved to Hollywood where I worked with many talented people but none more so that Dave.I was saddened to read that in later years he had to work at Radio Shack but it typical of how Cincinnati had spit out so many talented people. Jim Cox

at 5/07/2008 12:10 PM Anonymous Tim Collier said...

I had the pleasure...and I mean REAL PLEASURE...of working with and getting to know Dave Lee when I was at 55WKRC back in the early 90's. What talent! But not only that, what a genuinely nice guy to share a studio with. I'll always have fond memories of hearing him yell on the intercom "Timmie, I need a sound effect of..." and I'd drop everything and cart it up as fast as I could so he could pull off whatever bit he was doing...and we'd laugh like a couple of kids afterwards.
Anonymous had it right...God needed a mid guy jock to do the Oldies for the Lunch Bunch show in Heaven. Rest in peace, buddy...

Tim Collier

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