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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, September 04, 2007

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?


at 9/04/2007 5:56 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cunningham is a clown, plain and simple. So it's no suprise he's joined the circus that features the likes of Limbaugh and Hannity.

at 9/04/2007 7:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting to read that Bozo's kid likes willie c....
there's no doubt that willie is a true CLOWN!!!

Cincy's national reputation as a backwater, conservative, ignorant, racist town will be surely reinforced with this Clown's national radio gig.

His supposed show of "entertainment" forwards insensivity, prejudice, sexual perversion & stupidity each & everyday!

Voice of the common arse!!!

at 9/04/2007 8:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's up with Local 12 having their traffic clown anchor the morning show again? I mean, kudos to them for actually promoting local people from within, but man, he's just too much Guy Smiley for me to bear that early in the morning.

at 9/04/2007 9:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cunningham will be just as bad on a national show as he is on the local...another embarassment for Cincinnati!

at 9/05/2007 12:29 AM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...

I don't understand why Cunningham acts the way he does though I hear it's due to he has the "best ratings" in cincinnati?

Personally, I think his show is bipolar. Sometimes I enjoy listening for local newsworthy stories of interest.

Then he turns around and does that insipid Stooge report and does bits of sexual sounds underneath his talking? What the hell is that about?

Somedays I listen but just as often, I turn him off. I guess I am supposed to like the juvenile adolescent, jerk mentality.

Oh, wait a minute...that's what Clear Channel has been doing for years!!

Cunningham will indeed fit in with the angry white shills on talk radio.

Once upon a time he could be interesting. Like when he covered the Marcus Fiesel case, his show was good for days.

Then it turns into a side show at the drop of a hat.

I miss the days of when MATURE men ran radio stations instead of a bunch of arrogant punks stuck in adolescent, dirty/shock talk mode.


at 9/05/2007 4:36 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

it didn't work on the first try. Won't work this time. Feel sorry for the 325 stations. I know 1 station they will lose. NO WAY KRC airs Willie...down to 324 and counting....

at 9/05/2007 8:42 AM Blogger Scott Chumley said...

As long as he doesn't lose his Cincinnati touch, take him national! McConnell became useless when all he could talk about was national topics.

at 9/05/2007 9:38 AM Blogger bmurdock said...

Well put Sophia... I liked Bill Cuttingham when he was Bill Cuttingham not "Willie."

Hate to pile on the Bob Herzog comment but I have to agree he is just a little too cheery for the newsdesk.

at 9/05/2007 10:26 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Willie is one of the funniest, most talented radio guys this city has ever had. Those of you who don't like him obviously have no sense of humor. My wife and 70 year old mother like him so don't give me this he's juvenile and adolescent crap, you just have to have a sense of humor ot enjoy him and not take everything he says so seriously ... Viva Willie!!!

at 9/05/2007 11:13 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Before Cunningham airs his first national show, he should be fired locally for what he said about Adam Dunn playing drunk.


He was a clown as an attorney, and he's even worse on radio.

at 9/05/2007 3:14 PM Blogger G-RANT said...

i could certainly do without all the stupid, repetitive sound-effects on his show.

oh, and the hypocrisy.

at 9/05/2007 6:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think he has the no. 1 rated show in the cityenough said

at 9/05/2007 9:38 PM Anonymous Doug said...

Bill Cunningham is a great representative of every day man. His voice should echo from sea to shining sea. I would like to welcome the rest of the free world to the mind evolution which is Bill Cunningham. Listen, learn and maybe one day you can be a decent, accountable and great American like Willie. Na Baby Na brother!

at 9/05/2007 9:46 PM Anonymous Dparks said...

As long as he doesn't lose his Cincinnati touch, take him national! McConnell became useless when all he could talk about was national topics.

McConnell is absolutely unlistenable since his show went national and his divorce!

His "national" topics are the same stale stuff he has talked about for years!

Get Mike back to local talk!

As far as Willie...local talk...I like him...when he speaks with that moron Sean Hannity...I turn off the radio!

at 9/06/2007 2:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am sooo dis appointed!!! I really like John Batchelor ( subbed for Drudge twice) You can not get a program like his anywhere. Meanwhile the airwaves are full of the Limbaugh want a bes. Limbaugh has grown old. I will not listen to Willie, I do hope it doesn't take long for him to fail. We need something different like Batchelor!!!

at 9/07/2007 3:05 PM Blogger JimmyD said...

It's easy to post under an anonymous name, how bout posting your name and standing by your comments. Willie is a Cincinnati legend. He is entertaining. He makes you think. Look at the opinions here, some love him, some hate him. His comments are outrageous at times, but you have to realize, half of what he's saying is for entertainment purposes. The moments he's serious, you realize he raises good points. He's not the racist people say he is, if you listen closely (and regularly) you'll hear that he does have a good solution for the black community. You can disagree with Jesse Jackson and the NAACP and actually care about the black community. Willie will be great nationally as he's great locally. It's all schtick people. Stop taking him so seriously.

at 9/08/2007 8:10 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Willie is entertaining thats it

at 9/08/2007 2:36 PM Blogger SiouxChief said...

Bill Cunningham is hilarious and intelligent. His show is entertaining, and I listen every day. I love the Stooge report and the back-and-forth banter he has with Seg. I hope that continues, in light of the fight they had Friday afternoon (assuming that wasn't staged). John, how about writing a story about the fight! We want to know more!

at 9/08/2007 5:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daren in Memphis writing....imagine the mt. rushmore of cincy that all the country sees, the four famous faces of the queen city....Pete Rose, Jerry Springer, Marge Schott and now Bill Cunningham...Popeye the Sailor says it best..."ell my embarrasking"

at 9/08/2007 6:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure what happened at the station...but I found this release on 700's website and was wondering the heck is going on? This might be a gag, but it says Cunningham is refusing to come back on for his show until something is done about Seg. Does anyone know what is going?

at 9/10/2007 12:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

to 9/8 at 6:58 pm.
Yea, I will tell you whats going on. Cunningham is on vacation and before he goes something like this happens.

at 9/11/2007 4:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

who cares what this useless nut does. Only 17% of the population listens to talk radio. Thus, the other 83% get it - dont waste your time on these nit wits.

at 9/12/2007 8:13 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Bill Cunningham is a GREAT AMERICAN!!!! I miss him. I wish he would come back. Scott Sloan sucks. He isn't funny. I hope he and Seg patch things up if that fight was for real. I don't think it was or the paper would be all over it. I am from Richmond IN and I download his poadcast daily. WILLIE, PLEASE COME BACK SOON!!! WE LOVE YOU!!!!

at 9/17/2007 2:18 PM Blogger nicomp said...

Mike McConnell used to tell anyone who would listen that he could never do a national show because he would have to ignore local events. He also derided WLW because it ran reruns of national shows on the weekends. He was happy to point out that a station with the resources of WLW should create original programming. Now he's part of that which he hated. It must be tearing him up... until he cashes the check.

at 9/23/2007 10:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

aha! Everyone complains but everyone listens. Beautiful marketing.

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