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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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Friday, September 28, 2007

Two Angry Guys Back On The Air Monday

Surprise, surprise: The "Two Angry Guys" return to radio 6-10 a.m. Monday on WFTK-FM (SupertalkFM96.5), after months of rumors.

SupertalkFM96.5 scooped itself, by accidentally posting Richard Skinner and Tom Gamble as part of the new station lineup on its website late Friday afternoon.

"It was supposed to be a surprise," says Jeff Davis, assistant program director.

Skinner and Gamble, two former Kentucky Post sports staffers, have not worked together for nearly a year. It will be good to hear them together again. It will be good to hear their rants again.

Skinner and Gamble have broadcast together for about 10 years on WBOB-AM and Clear Channel's WSAI-AM and WCKY-AM. Clear Channel broke up the team last November, when Andy Furman was fired as WLW-AM's "SportsTalk" host.

Gamble moved from mornings to take over "SportsTalk" from November to March, when he voluntarily left the show and Clear Channel. Gamble, a full-time teacher at Northern Kentucky University, said he wanted to spend more time with his three young sons and wife.

Skinner, who had continued to do mornings solo on WCKY-AM (HOMER 1530), was fired in May. At the time, Skinner vowed it was "not the end of the 'Two Angry Guys.' "

Adding its first local morning show -- prime time for radio -- should help put SupertalkFM96.5 on the map. Furman has been the first and only local weekday host on the station, Cincinnati's first all-talk FM station.

"Ever since Skinner was fired by Clear Channel in May, we've been getting e-mails saying, 'Bring back the Angry Guys.' There were on morning radio for more than seven years, and people miss them. They were a tradition for many people," Davis says.

Skinner and Gamble replace the low-rated syndicated "Mancow in the Morning" show. Also Monday, Glenn Beck will move back an hour, to 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Dave Ramsey gains an hour, expanding to 1-4 p.m. Conservative Bill O'Reilly loses his afternoon slot, and will be heard on tape 7-9 p.m. Dennis Miller's new nationally syndicated show will air 9 p.m.-midnight.

Welcome back Angry Guys! We missed you!

ESPN Radio and TV Here Monday

ESPN Radio listeners likely will hear plenty about Cincinnati and the Bengals Monday before the Bengals-Patriots "Monday Night Football" game (8:30 p.m., ESPN and Channel 12).

"MNF" announcer Mike Tirico will do his national radio show from here 1-3 p.m. Monday. Tirico, one of the original ESPN Radio hosts for its launch in 1992, took over Dan Patrick's afternoon slot last week.

John Seibel also will broadcast his afternoon drive "SportsBash" 4-6:30 p.m. from Cincinnati. Seibel, born in the Dayton suburb of Englewood, has been with ESPN since 2000.

And speaking of Dan Patrick: He debuts his new syndicated talk show 9 a.m.-noon on Monday as an audio stream on his new website I haven't heard of any local station picking it up yet.

The Science of Chad Johnson

What makes Chad Johnson such a great receiver? Fox Sports answers that question in the premiere of "Sport Science" Sunday (9 p.m., Fox Sports Net Ohio). The new series uses the latest technology -- biomechanical sensors, high-speed cameras, computer graphics and an infrared motion capture studio -- to analyze top athletes in "CSI" style.

In Johnson's segment, "Sport Science" sets out to determine which makes a bigger target for a quarterback -- a 10-foot tall African elephant, or the Bengals All-Pro receiver. First they measure Johnson's vertical leap at 11 feet, "on par with the great leapers in the NBA," says John Brenkus, host and co-executive producer.

Then they use the motion capture technology as he catches passes to his left, right and over his head, proving that Johnson provides a potential target of 190 square feet – similar to a 10-foot tall elephant.

"Sport Science" in another segment explains Michael Jordan’s “hang time” by having basketball player Chris “Skywalker” Lowery leap over a Pontiac convertible while dunking a basketball.

That's pretty cool too.

Channel 9 Hires Two New Anchors

Finally we know who will be replacing David Rose as morning and 5:30 p.m. co-anchors on WCPO-TV (Channel 9). After a six-month search, Channel 9 has hired:

--Brendan Keefe, a reporter from WCBS-TV in New York with anchor experience in Hartford, to do the 5:30 p.m. news with Tanya O'Rourke and report at 11 p.m. He starts Monday, Oct. 8.
--Bernard Watson, weekend anchor at Fox's WHBQ-TV in Memphis, to co-anchor "Good Morning Tri-State" with Kathrine Nero starting Monday, Oct. 22.

Rose's contract was not renewed in March. He's now weekend anchor/reporter at Fox's KCPQ-TV in Seattle.

"It took us longer than we thought to find these two," says Bill Fee, Channel 9 general manager. "We were looking for two things – someone with anchor experience and someone who could do special projects or investigative reporting. These men bring extensive experience to the table."

Keefe has done three combat reporting tours in the Middle East for WCBS-TV, plus covered the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster and terrorist bombings in Madrid. "He has been sent all over the world," Fee says.

Keefe also has done investigative reporting in New York and for a Houston station. Before that he was a morning and weekend anchor in Hartford, Conn. He has an English degree at Kenyon College. See his bio at

Watson started in news as an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter, before working for CNN and CNN International. After earning a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University, he worked for TV stations in Vermont, Virginia, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Atlanta and Memphis. See his bio at

No Marconi for B105

Maybe they'll have better luck at the Country Music Association awards in November. Country music WUBE-FM (B105.1) didn't win a Marconi Award last night for best large market station of the year at the National Association of Broadcasters annual convention. KSTP-FM in Minneapolis won that category.

B105's Bill Whyte-Amanda Orlando morning team have been nominated for best large market personality of the year for the second consecutive year by the CMA. Winners will be announced during the 41st annual "CMA Awards Show" in Nashville on Nov. 7 (8-11 p.m., Channels 9, 22).

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Angelique Frame Update

Still no word on who will replace Channel 19 chief meteorologist Paul Horton when he leaves this weekend for Arizona, but one thing is certain: It won't be Angelique Frame.

The former Channel 5 (1997-2001) and Channel 12 (2001-04) meteorologist quit the TV business this summer, after working for the Sacramento CBS and CW affiliate.

She now works with her husband, former Channel 5 anchor Greg McKinney (1994-2003), on their Internet video business They just moved to San Diego to be close to one of their biggest clients.

McKinney, a Cincinnati native, started Webstorytellers a year ago. They produce TV news-like feature reports about businesses which companies can post on their web sites. They have clients in California, Kentucky, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Washington, Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin.

" 'Business Week' recently had an article online about how video and video advertising is going to boom on the web. We definitely want to be part of that boom. Now we just have to get the word out about it," she says. Their video about Covington's Systems Insight Inc. can be seen at

Frame says she doesn't miss TV. "I have no regrets, at all. This is much more fun, and there are no quirky newsrooms to deal with," she says.

I always liked her weather presentations, and thought Channel 5 made a mistake replacing her with Bryon Webre.

GMA Delays Pirates Feature

"Good Morning America" producers can't say when they'll air the feature – bumped from last Friday's show -- about underwater explorer Barry Clifford, who discovered the sunken Whydah pirate ship treasure on display at the Cincinnati Museum Center. "GMA" publicist Bridgette Maney tells me the piece won’t air tomorrow definitely, but it might go sometime next week.

"GMA" weatherman Sam Champion interviewed Clifford at Cape Cod, where the Whydah sank in 1717. As part of the package, "GMA" planned to follow the taped piece with a studio interview with Mark Lach, designer of the "Real Pirates: Untold Story of the Whydah" world premiere exhibit at the Museum Center here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Kim Taylor's Music on "The Unit"

If you watch CBS' "The Unit" season premiere today (9 p.m., Channels 12, 7), listen for the song "Myself" by Kim Taylor, Cincinnati musician and owner of the Pleasant Perk coffee shop on Montgomery Road in Pleasant Ridge. It's from her first album, "So Black, So Bright," recorded in 2002.

Taylor, a Florida native, came to Cincinnati in 1996 to finish a degree in English. She began performing locally, and never finished her degree. She lives in Wyoming with her husband and son.

Her website mentions tonight's TV show, but doesn't explain how her song was selected for the CBS spy drama.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Jim LaBarbara Back On The Air

Good news for Jim "The Music Professor" LaBarbara fans -- if you live in Kentucky.

LaBarbara, fired in March by classic hits WGRR-FM (103.5) after 14 years, returned to the airwaves at 2 p.m. today on country music WNKR-FM (106.5) in Dry Ridge -- which doesn't reach Cincinnati. He's doing 2-6 p.m. weekdays for the station, which can be heard in most of Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties.

LaBarbara, a Cincinnati radio fixture since 1969, was hired by General Manager Jeff Ziesmann, who sold time for WGRR-FM and LaBarbara's show in 1998-2000.

"I was convinced of Jim's value back then, when we used to take him on sales calls," Ziesmann says. "When nobody picked him up, I decided to hire him. We're looking forward to him speaking for our clients."

LaBarbara, 65, joins another long-time area personality at the station, Larry B, formerly of WUBE-FM (B105). He does 5-10 a.m. weekdays. Former afternoon host Jay Anthony has moved to 10 a.m.-2 p.m., replacing automated music, Ziesmann says.

LaBarbara, a member of the Rock Jock Hall of Fame and the Ohio Radio/Television broadcasters Hall of Fame for his rock 'n' roll days, also has done talk and sports talk radio in town. He did country two days in May on B105, subbing for Duke Hamilton, to compile an audition tape. LaBarbara said in May he had a "pretty good collection" of country music at home.

Time For Some Time Traveling

The premiere of NBC's time-traveling "Journeyman" today inspires this question today: If you could go back in time to Cincinnnati TV or radio stations, what advice would you give them?

I was thinking about this watching NBC's new "Journeyman" (10 p.m., Chs 5, 2), starring Kevin McKidd (HBO's "Rome") as a time-traveling San Francisco newspaper reporter. The show is not one of my new fall favorites. It's never explained how or why he randomly goes back in time. He can't even explain his lengthy absences to his wife, boss or family. And against "CSI Miami" and "The Bachelor," I don't expect this one to last the year.

(For the record, the shows I'll be watching tonight at "Heroes," "Two And A Half Men" and "Rules of Engagement," the best new spring comedy returning in CBS' powerhouse Monday lineup. I might record "K-Ville" to keep track of it. I highly recommend "Chuck," the Nerd Herd guy at Buy More (suspiciously like the Geek Squad at Best Buy) who becomes a secret agent, but I've seen the pilot. And I love "The War," but I've got on DVD, and will finish it later.

But let's play with the notion of traveling back into time here in Cinicnnati..... You could go back to 1996 and tell Channel 9 not to drop CBS and switch to ABC?.... Go back just 18 months and suggest that Channel 64 check out the new CW, instead of going MyNetworkTV?.... Advise Clear Channel what to with the station formerly known as MIX94.1?.... Go back in time -- pick any year -- and convince Channel 5 to stick with the meteorologist it has (Angelique Frame? Dave Frazer? Jim O'Brien? Joe Lizura? Or back to March and get Clear Channel to put the 2 Angry Guys back on 1530 Homer mornings?

What would you do? (Be nice!)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Goodbye Candice Hunter, Emily Longnecker

After subbing for Channel 5 anchor Sheree Paolello, Candice Hunter has landed a full-time anchor job in Dayton. Hunter anchors her last Channel 5 newscasts at 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. today, as her contract expires, before joining Sinclair's Dayton duopoly, WKEF-TV (Channel 22) and WRGT-TV (Channel 45).

Hunter will be the main co-anchor at 6, 10 and 11 p.m. for the Dayton stations, says Brennan Donnellan, Channel 5 news director. Pat Casey, the Ch. 22/45 news director (and former Fox 19 news director), declined to confirm that, saying a station announcement will come next week.

Hunter, who came here from Lexington, has been a versatile employee at Channel 5. She's worked some six-day weeks, filling in on the desk for Paolello (who returns from maternity leave Monday) and reporting the top story at 11 p.m.

"She’s a good reporter. She's a good anchor," Donnellan says. "We wanted to keep her, but she sees Dayton as a good opportunity for her."

The same goes for Longnecker, who appears on her final newscasts this weekend as her contract expires too. She will become a reporter at WTHR-TV (Channel 13) in Indianapolis, a larger market.

"We wanted Emily to stay, but she has what she thought was a better offer," Donnellan says.

Already one of the positions has been filled. Kristina Cruise, a reporter-anchor from Charlottesville, Va., arrives in mid-October to be a reporter and fill-in anchor, Donnellan says.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Chris Sehring Heading To Portland

This just in from Chris Sehring, who resigned last week as WKRC-TV (Channel 12) general manager. He's president and GM at KOIN-TV, CBS affiliate in Portland, Ore. Here's his email:


I am pleased to share with you (at last) that I will be joining Portland's KOIN-TV as its new President and GM. KOIN is the CBS affiliate in the 23rd DMA.

KOIN has a long, proud, and rich legacy as one of the premier television stations in the Northwest. I am thrilled to have this opportunity to contribute my skills and experience to KOIN's continuing success in these challenging and exciting times!

I wish you and my Cincinnati colleagues and friends great success in the future. As a "native Buckeye" with many family roots in Ohio, I am sure that our paths will cross again. Stay in touch!

With warm regards,


PS: I remain a staunch Bengals and Buckeyes fan here in the Northwest!

Did You Watch Kid Nation?

I'll admit it, CBS had me hooked on "Kid Nation".... for about a half hour. But when the four kid leaders found the history book advising them to divide into four teams by color, and turned into "Survivor" with a "showdown" (reward competition), I lost interest. Suddenly this wasn't about kids genuinely deciding to set up an orderly society on their own... It was just another reality competition show.

In the beginning, I had my doubts. I didn't like the fact that the TV producers -- not the kids -- picked the four leaders. (The kids couldn't elect four of their own?) But I was willing to see how the adventure unfolded. I was OK until they pulled out the blue, red, yellow and green bandannas.

I know the CBS producers will find some very compelling stories in the kids, like Jimmy, the 8-year-old who went home to New Hampshire, or Taylor, the "beauty queen" who doesn't do dishes. But I'm turned off by the heavy hand producers have in creating this "reality" -- what appears to be electric lights in the bunkhouse... a TV?... drinking root beer in shot glasses.... down to the the color-coded chairs for the four leaders at the town meeting... And I swear I saw baked beans on the dinner plates, when all they showed were kids struggling to make macaroni....

Next week I'll be watching Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton on Fox's "Back to You." I'll put "Kid Nation" on the DVR, but to me it's not Must See TV this fall.

Did you watch? Will you watch again?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cincinnati's Pirates on GMA

The Cincinnati Museum Center's world premiere pirate exhibit gets local and national attention by ABC’s "Good Morning America" and Channel 12 this week.

Tonight Channel 12 airs "Real Pirates: An Exclusive Look" (at 7:30 p.m.), a behind-the-scenes look at the museum's "Real Pirates: Untold Story of the Whydah" exhibition.

On Friday, "Good Morning America" (7-9 a.m., Channels 9, 22) will mention "Real Pirates" while in Cape Cod with underwater explorer Barry Clifford, who discovered the sunken Whydah pirate ship. After the Clifford piece, "GMA" is scheduled to interview exhibit designer Mark Lach, while airing video from the Museum Center.

More than 150 items from the ship – which sank in 1717 off the coast of Cape Cod – are on display through January in the National Geographic exhibit.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Rich Apuzzo on Channel 5 (Promos)

Rich Apuzzo's cameo on a Channel 5's new weather promotion doesn't mean we'll soon see him doing forecasts for the station.

"We have no plans for Rich to do weather for us. This is just a one-time deal," says Brennan Donnellan, WLWT-TV news director.

Apuzzo, fired by WXIX-TV (Channel 19) last October, appears in a yellow T-shirt reading "Bring Back Rich Apuzzo" in a spot for Channel 5 chief meteorologist Derek Beasley taped last month in Ault Park. He delivers the tag line, "Hey, Cincinnati, Derek said it would be like this."

It's a clever way to break through the clutter, to get people talking about the Beasley promotion. (Three spots have been produced from one shoot – 30, 10 and five seconds, Apuzzo says.) "They wanted kind of a fun image to the thing," Apuzzo says.

But it's more than just that to Channel 5.

"We recognize that Rich Apuzzo still has a solid reputation as a meteorologist in this market. For him to give his de facto endorsement, by being in a promo, was important, that someone with his credibility respects Derek Beasley," Donnellan says.

Apuzzo has heard quite a buzz about the spots since they debuted last Thursday. "Everybody seems to enjoy it. I love broadcasting, and being in the public eye," he says.

For now, he does daily forecasts from his Mount Washington home studio on his website, He also does forecasts for other websites and weather consulting, while staying in touch with managers at Channels 5, 9 and 12. He has done some fill-in work at Dayton's Channels 22 and 45, for Pat Casey, his former Fox 19 boss.

"If something comes up here, I'm totally available," he says. "I’ve been looking nationally (for a TV job). We love it here, but I've got to pay the bills."

Monday, September 17, 2007

What Did You Think Of The Emmys?

Well, I went 5 for 10. How did you do?

I guessed right on best variety show (The Daily Show), drama and comedy actresses (America Ferrera, Sally Field), best movie (Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee) and miniseries (Broken Trail). My gut told me The Sopranos would win best drama, but I felt Heroes had a better season, and influenced a half-dozen new TV shows this fall. I never figured Amazing Race and James Spader would repeat...

For me, the best part was The Daily Show writing nominations, with Alberto Gonzales not remembering anyone. The worst part was the Jersey Boys -- what did they have to do with The Sopranos other than their name?

What did you think of the show? What was the best line you heard on the show?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Emmy Picks: Mine and Yours

Here are my picks for the Prime-Time Emmy Awards tonight on Fox (8-11 p.m., Channels 19, 45). You make yours, and we'll see how we did at the end of the show.

House, The Sopranos, Heroes, Grey's Anatomy, Boston Legal.
My pick: Heroes (but I expect The Sopranos to win big tonight)

Ugly Betty, Two And A Half Men, 30 Rock, The Office, Entourage.
My pick: The Office (but isn't it time for Two And A Half Men?)

The Daily Show, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Bill Maher, Colbert Report
My pick: Daily Show

James Gandolfini, Hugh Laurie, Kiefer Sutherland, James Spader, Denis Leary.
My pick: Hugh Laurie (but James Gandolfini will probably win it)

Edie Falco, Mariska Hargitay, Patricia Arquette, Sally Field, Kyra Sedgwick, Minnie Driver
My pick: Sally Field (but Edie Falco probably wins)

Steve Carrell, Tony Shalhoub, Alec Baldwin, Charlie Sheen, Ricky Gervais.
My pick: Alec Baldwin

America Ferrera, Felicity Huffman, Tina Fey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Mary-Louise Parker.
My pick: America Ferrera

Bury My Heart AT Wounded Knee, Inside the Twin Towers, Longford, The Ron Clark Story, Why I Wore Lipstck To My Mastectomy.
My pick: Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee

Broken Trail, Prime Suspect: Final Act, The Starter Wife
My pick: Broken Trail

American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway, Amazing Race, Top Chef
My pick: American Idol (But Project Runaway probably will win, or Dancing with the Stars. Actually I'd be happy for any of these to end the Amazing Race winning streak.)

Who do you think will win?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Good Morning, Lisa Cornwell

Lisa Cornwell's new role at Channel 9 news finally has been revealed… when she showed up as the "breaking news center" anchor on "Good Morning Tri-State," as WCPO-TV downsizes its sports department.

Cornwell, 33, a sports reporter for 2-1/2 years in Mississippi and here, has never done TV news. Sports producer Mike Mattingly, who has appeared on camera occasionally, has been transferred to special projects. Sports now has only four staffers: Dennis Janson, John Popovich and two photographers.

"I took a hard look at the newsroom and thought they (Cornwell, Mattingly) could be better used in what the audience wants from us – breaking news and special projects," says Bob Morford, news director.

Cornwell, 33, tells me that she's always been a news junkie.

"When I wake up in the morning, I put on MSNBC first, and then ESPN 'SportsCenter.' I get my news first, and my sports second," she says. "I'm really excited. I've never done news on television. It's definitely a change for me."

Cornwell grew up in Fayetteville, Ark., where she was a two-time all-state basketball player in high school, a three time All-American junior golfer and the 1992 Arkansas Female Athlete of the Year. She became close friends with Tiger Woods when they played on the same American Junior Golf Association team.

Woods' father gave her some golf tips. "He would never talk to Tiger on the course, only on the practice range. Because of that he had a lot of time to help me out during my practice rounds."

More changes are coming for "Good Morning Tri-State." By the end of the month, Kathrine Nero should have a new co-anchor to replace David Rose (and fill-in Terry Daniels).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


After going nowhere in the ratings -- except for Christmas music each November -- Clear Channel has pulled the plug on MIX94.1. The new branding is "Radio 94.1," with a tighter play list and less chatter. The station website urges "MIX" fans to tune in MIX stations in Lexington or Dayton, and says the "Wake Up With Whoopi" show can be heard as a web stream.

The station's target audience remains the same, women ages 25-44, explains Mark Anderson, program director. But it has pulled pop and dance songs for "a new kind of adult contemporary" format featuring lots of Matchbox 20, Goo Goo Dolls, John Mayer, plus music from the past 20 years by U2, the Eurythmics, Pretenders, No Doubt, Nickelback, Nelly Furtado, Dave Matthews Band, Maroon 5 and INXS.

"Music hosts," not DJs, give the name of each song. "The audience has always asked for that information,"Anderson says. The last 10 songs aired are listed on the station’s new web site.

In spring quarter, MIX94.1 ranked No. 13, with a 2.7 percent audience share, down from No. 8 in spring 2006. The biggest ratings success came last fall, a No. 7 finish for airing Christmas music all November and December.

Give it a listen and tell me what you think....

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dayna Eubanks Resigns From Ch. 12

Dayna Eubanks has resigned from WKRC-TV, the second anchor to leave Channel 12 in two weeks as the long stable Clear Channel station undergoes changes prior to being sold to Kansas City-based Newport Television.

Eubanks has a new job – and has her Symmes Township home on the market – but she won't say where she's headed.

"I can’t talk about it yet," she told me todayt. Eubanks, who came to Channel 12 from Detroit in 1994, has anchored the 4 p.m. news since its debut 10 years ago. She also anchors at noon.

Eubanks' last day is Friday. General Manager Chris Sehring also leaves Friday for a new job in a new city. (He also has refuses to talk about his next gig.) Saturday morning anchor Paul Adler left Sept. 1 for a Springfield, Mo., station closer to his hometown. And Clear Channel New VP Steve Minium, the former Ch 12 news director, has announced he will not be joining Newport Television.

Eubanks says a number of factors helped her make "a very, very difficult" decision to leave Chanel 12: Her son, Jay, just started his freshman year the University of Michigan; her contract expired Sept. 1; and the TV station is going through "a challenging time" awaiting new ownership.

"Jay is leaving, and I have chances to pursue something I've wanted to pursue for a while,"
Eubanks says.

The only hint she gives about her future is to say, "I'm very interested in new media." As daytime breaking news anchor, she anchored Local 12's Internet coverage of the David and Liz Carroll murder trials earlier this year.

The 1979 University of Kansas graduate has been honored for her involvement in many community organizations here. The single mother says she's thankful for the support of her church, friends and co-workers.

"This has truly been a remarkable experience here (at Channel 12), working with these people, and not just on the air," she says.

She also wanted to thank her noon and 4 p.m. viewers. "They are very loyal at 4 p.m., and we didn’t promote it much," she says.

News Director Elbert Tucker says he's "weighing several options" for replacing Eubanks and Adler.

Who do want to watch anchoring Channel 12 news at noon, 4 p.m. and Saturday morning?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Willie & Seg: Just Another Stunt?

So was the "fight" between Bill Cunningham and Bill "Seg" Dennison legit last Friday? Or just another publicity stunt? And will we ever know? Or care?

So many signs point to this being just another scam to draw attention to the station and Cunningham, and to drive traffic to the WLW-AM website for the "official statement" (which I'll print here, so you don't have to go there).... If you compare all the instant attention to this "fight" Friday afternoon to the secrecy by the Big One around Andy Furman's suspension/firing a year ago, then it looks like another stunt.

If you didn't hear, here's what happened. In the final half hour (2:30-3 pm) Friday, around the time of the Willie-Seg "Stooge Report," Willie and Seg got into an argument. According to Scott Sloan, who was filling in for Burbank (3-6 pm), Willie threw a newspaper at Seg, and Seg hit Willie in the face. The altercation continued in the hallway.

--Even before Cunninghman's show ended, Sloan was on the air talking about it. If this were really serious, would they go public with it? NOBODY talked about Furman's absence during his suspension. Employees were ordered not to talk about it. They also didn't talk about the Clear Channel firings right after Thanksgiving. But this "fight" they talk about intstantly?

--By 5:30., Sloan was telling listeners a Clear Channel memo had been issued ordering air personalities not to talk to Seg when he did his 20/20 sports reports. Gee, when Furman was suspended, Big One employees were ordered not to talk about it -- and not to talk about the fact they were ordered not to talk about it....

--When Seg did his 5:40 sports report from Great American Small Park, Ken Griffey Jr. interrupted him to ask "what happened at the station?" Dennison said: "An altercation ensued. I took care of myself, but Willie is a little messed up." Listeners also heard that Willie had a busted lip, or might have lost a couple of teeth.... If this were serious, you'd think someone would know exactly what injury Cunningham suffered? No, instead it sounded more like WWE hype and theatrics to me. Cunningham is a smart attorney; if he was assaulted, why hasn't he filed charges? Or a police complaint?

--Cunningham and Dennison are good friends, and coworkers for 24 years. Earlier in the week, Cunningham said Seg would do NFL scores and recap during his new nationally syndicated Sunday night talk show starting Oct. 7. (So if Seg doesn't appear on Willie's new national show, I guess the fight was for real?)

--I can think of one reason why Seg would want to punch Willie: I'm sure that Dennison, who is down at Great American Ball Park for all the Reds games, heard plenty of negative comments from players about Cunningham's broadcast remarks that Adam Dunn was drunk the night he missed third base. Then Willie went down to the stadium and apologized to Dunn on Thursday. So maybe the Big One pulled this stunt to make Cunningham a "victim," to get some sympathy after his slanderous remarks about Dunn?

--When opertations director Darryl Parks was on Saturday 9-11 a.m., he said Cunningham was saying he won't return to his show on Monday. Are there any Clear Channel insiders reading this who can tell me if Cunningham already had time off scheduled for this week? Again, this sounds like another scam where somone gets "suspended," when the person is actually on vacation... How many times has Cunningham pulled that one...

--Parks also said on the air Saturday that he couldn't talk about (ordered by Clear Channel HR department, he said), and encouraged everyone to go to the website to read the statement. They're really encouraging people to go the website, to increase traffic. So here's what's on the website:

"Dear 700WLW Listener:
Our goal is to entertain and inform you each day. The staff at 700WLW is a family, and at times can be considered a dysfunctional family. Any family has disagreements and arguments. Unfortunately, our disagreements may end up being exposed to hundreds of thousands of people.
On Friday, September 7, 2007, an ugly and uncalled for incident was broadcast on 700WLW. The disagreement, argument and physical altercation was never meant to be heard. Bill Cunningham and Bill Dennison have been friends and co-workers for over 24 years. They have each brought us hours of entertainment. I hope this will continue.
Bill Cunningham made the statement he will not return to 700WLW until Mr. Dennison has been reprimanded. As of this writing, I have been in contact with Mr. Cunningham and his representatives and we are working toward a resolution of this issue. I hold out hope Mr. Cunningham will return to his daily show in the near future. We are also in the process of investigating this incident internally.
In the meantime, I hope you continue to enjoy the varied and popular programming on 700WLW.
Darryl Parks
Director of AM Operations
Clear Channel Cincinnati

--If Willie did provoke Seg, how about making Cunningham broadcast from a WLW billboard (like Wildman Walker in the 1991)... until the Reds win... a pennant?
--If Seg really assaulted Cunningham, then where's the police report or a law suit?
--If Furman was fired for questioning if TJ Houshmandzadeh was a racist, what are the consequences for Cunningham calling Dunn a drunk on the air?

But if Seg refuses to appear on Willie's show, or the "Stooge Report," or on Cunningham's big new national show, then maybe this is all legit.

Either way, what folks at WLW want is attention. And they're creating it.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

A Lion in the House" wins in a tie

"A Lion in the House" shared a special Emmy Saturday night with Spike Lee's "When the Levees Broke" in a tie vote.

Co-producer/director Julia Reichert told the audience, "This is really a surprise. This is just a small film from Ohio."

Her partner Steve Bognar named all the children in the film and the staff of Cincinnati Children's Hospital. To get all his thank-yous to crew, family, friends and sponsors out, he had to raise his voice before the time's -up music drowned him out.

Among those joining Reichert and Bognar at the ceremony in the Shrine Auditorium were Cincinnati-based producer Melissa Godoy, Delhi native editor Jaime Meyers, and Karen Durgans of Yellow Springs, who is still involved in outreach and educational programs developed in concert with the film.

The families of the children featured in the film were represented by Northern Kentuckians Adam and Shelly Ashcraft. Adam's brother Justin is one of the five patients in "Lion."

The win came four hours into a ceremony that still had several categories to complete. Show producers promised the show would be cut to two hours before it shows up on E Entertainment TV in a week.

An Elaine Stritch moment

Elaine Stritch got the night's biggest laugh when she went to the stage to accept an Emmy as best guest actress in a comedy for her hilarious turn as Alec Baldwin's mother on "30 Rock." After referring to her long decades in show business, she said, " "I still can't get over the fact I feel the way that I do. It's un-(bleep)ing-believable.
She did not, for the record, say "bleep."

Rules for accepting Emmys

They send some earnest, fun-loving officials out to the stage before the show starts to giive the audience, especially winners, some directions. Such as :

-- If you name is called, get up on stage quick. As a special bonus, anybody who runs down the aisle from the back gets an extra 15 seconds for the acceptance speech.

-- For speeches: Be funny, be heartfelt, be witty. Mostly, be quick.

-- Stay in your seats for whole show. (Apparently this show doesn't have seat-fillers to cover for people who slip out for a drink after their categories are called.)

Familiar faces in LA

Guest blogger Margaret A. McGurk posting from the Creative Arts Emmys in Los Angeles:

Delhi Jaime native Meyers, who worked on the Emmy-nominated "A Lion in the House," was among the nonfiction throng at the TV academy on Friday night. Meyers is one of a growing crowd of Wright State University students who are making a living in movies and TV.

Since leaving WSU, Meyers has worked on dozens of projects. Her newest gig is as associate editor on the documentary film "Spine-Tingler: The William Castle Story," due out in 2008.

At the Creative Arts Emmys

This is guest blogger Margaret A. McGurk, posting from Los Angeles:

Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert, whose documentary "A Lion in the House" about five young cancer patients at Cincinnati Children's Hospital is nominated for a special Emmy, bumped into some old friends when they came to Los Angeles for Saturday's ceremony. Their nominated two-part film, aired on PBS stations including WCET.

Reichert unexpectedly bumped into her old friend, editor Pamela Scott Arnold, at a Friday night reception thrown by The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for nominees in all nonfiction categories. Arnold worked on "Emma and Elvis," the 1992 film that earned an Oscar nomination for Riechert. Arnold's work on "American Masters," nominated for outstanding nonfiction series, scored Arnold (who has a trio of previous Emmy nominations to her credit) an invitation to the Friday night bash

Reichert also had a chance to catch up with Stanley Nelson, a friend from the days when independent documentaries were called "underground." Nelson's "Jonestown: The Life and Death of the People's Temple " is nominated inn the same special category as "Lion" -- exceptional merit in nonfiction filmmaking. The third nominee in the category is Spike Lee's Hurricane Katrina story, "When the Leeves Broke."

The Creative Arts Emmy are not being broadcast live. They are being taped, however, and will be shown as a two-hour special on on E! Entertainment Television at 8 p.m. Sept. 15, the day before the Primetime Emmys.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Channel 5's Fireworks Statement

Channel 5 managers declined to talk specifics about their choices of camera angles or other aspects of their Cincinnati Bell/WEBN-FM fireworks telecast Sunday, when I asked for comment on criticisms of the broadcast. Instead I was sent this email from Richard Dyer, Channel 5 president and general manager:

As you know, I did receive e-mails from a portion of our audience expressing their disappointment with Sunday's fireworks broadcast and here's how we've responded:

"In spite of many months of planning and preparation by a team of experienced professionals, our presentation fell short of expectations for some viewers.

"Your criticisms about distant camera angles and obstructed views has been heard loud and clear and will be considered lessons learned to make our 2008 broadcast better than ever.

"WLWT has a nearly 60 year history of delivering outstanding live broadcasts to Tristate viewers, from Ruth Lyons in the '50s, the Reds in the '80's and most recently the Flying Pig Marathon and Tall Stacks. We will make the necessary adjustments and commit to delivering a much more enjoyable and satisfying product in 2008."


A footnote from Kiese: Channel 5 has a four-year deal for the WEBN fireworks, through 2010.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Terry Daniels, Lisa Cornwell Make Channel 9 News

This much we know: Lisa Cornwell no longer is a weekend sports anchor, and former Ch. 5 weekend anchor Terry Daniels isn't the permanent replacement for David Rose as the "Good Morning Tristate" co-anchor.

This is what we don't know: We don't know what Cornwell will be doing at Ch. 9. She told viewers Sunday night that she was leaving sports to join the "morning team." But Bill Fee, Ch. 9 vice president and general manger, remains very secretive about her new role. (It apparently won't be as "Good Morning Tristate" co-anchor.)

"Lisa is working on a special project. Newsrooms are evolving. I can’t say what she’s doing. She’s not leaving the station,” Fee says. Her new position will be announced later this week, he says. Doing something for the website, maybe?

Former Ch. 5 weekend anchor Daniels, who left for Toledo in 2002 after nine years, co-anchored with Kathrine Nero today. He'll be around "for about a month," until a permanent replacement for Rose arrives. (Rose's contract was not renewed in March.) Daniels left Toledo's WTOL-TV a year ago.

Ch. 9 also continues to look for a 5:30 p.m. news co-anchor, Rose's other job. That job should be filled by the end of the month too, Fee says.

Bill Cunningham Going National

After stints subbing for Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, Bill Cunningham gets his own weekly national radio show starting Oct. 7. Cunningham will replace Matt Drudge and "The Drudge Report" on Premiere Radio Networks (owned by Clear Channel) on Sunday nights.

Drudge airs on 325 stations from New York (WABC-AM) to Los Angeles (KFI-AM), and Premiere hopes to keep them all with Cunningham, says Sean Compton, Clear Channel vice president for radio programming and a former programming executive for Cincinnati-based Jacor Communications, WLW-AM’s previous owner. Compton, son of Dale "the Truckin' Bozo" Sommers, has been a fan of Willie's since he started at WLW-AM in 1992, right out of Connersville High School.

WLW-AM will air "Live on Sunday Night With Bill Cunningham" 9 p.m.-midnight Sundays (instead of the Cunningham reruns which have aired in recent months). It will air nationally 10 p.m.-1 a.m., with the final national hour often being a repeat of the first hour, Compton says. "Drudge" airs here 10 p.m.-1 a.m. Sundays on sister station WKRC-AM (550).

Cunningham will continue to do a local show 12:25-3 p.m. weekdays on WLW-AM, unlike Mike McConnell. When Premiere began syndicating McConnell’s weekday morning from WLW-AM last year, he changed from local to national topics.

Cunningham says his show will be less political than Drudge. "I try to be an entertainer, to make people laugh," he says. Sports reporter Bill "Seg" Dennison, his long-time sidekick, will appear on the national show to do NFL scores at 10:40 p.m. and 11:40 p.m., Cunningham says.

Drudge affiliates have been told that he is quitting radio to focus on his website and other endeavors. His last show will air 10 p.m.-1 a.m. on Sept. 30.

Willie is not a complete stranger to the national stage. He's been on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and on Hannity's and Limbaugh's radio shows, and simulcast on XM Channel 173.

So how will Cunningham do with a national show? What do you think?

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Did the Fireworks Fizzle?

Is it just me, or was the Channel 5 telecast of the WEBN fireworks one of the worst ever? I've been watching for years, on 19, 12, 9 and 5, and I can't remember being so disappointed.

Why did they keep using that long shot from miles away, with the twin tower blocking the view? Sometimes the fireworks on the screen were smaller than the WEBN logo in the corner of the screen. Where was the camera located? Devou Park? Denver?

Channel 5 had one decent camera that captured the fireworks dead on, but they didn't go to it often enough or stick with it long enough. And why so many Sky 5 helicopter shots? I believe the fireworks were meant to be experienced looking up at them from ground, not looking down from above.

We got to see some parts OK, like the smiley faces during Nixon's "I am not a crook" line. And the fireworks shooting across the Purple People Bridge (a first!) during "Won't Get Fooled Again." But too often they'd cut back to the long-distance camera.... and then we'd see big flash behind those twin buildings, so we knew we were missing something.... And how many times did they cut to a close in camera, and we'd see only the bottom fragments of fireworks overhead?

And where was the special butterfly fireworks they featured in the first hour? Did you see it on TV? I didn't. Soundtrack creator Joel Moss told me it was to explode during the silence after Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" ended abruptly (as on "The Sopanos" finale)... but I couldn't see it. And later in the show, when Channel 5 replayed the "highlights," they showed the "Don't Stop Believing" segment again -- but cut away to the anchors at the silence. They never mentioned the special butterfly shell during the highlights. In fact, the anchors didn't explain anything about the special effects or soundtrack -- "Back to the Future," the "Journey" reference to the "Sopranos," etc. (except for "The Simpsons") during the recap.

I know many people at Channel 5 worked long and hard all day preparing for the live 2-hour telecast. And they raved after the show about how spectacular it was to watch in person. But the TV experience was not very good. I'd give it a D, less than average. In my opinion, Channel 5 needs better(closer) camera locations and a better director. So we don't get fooled again.

Do you agree? Or did you like the fireworks telecast? Now it's your turn to play TV critic....

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