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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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Thursday, November 29, 2007

New GM At Channel 12

I've been able to confirm the buzz going around TV stations tonight that Dotsy Klei, WKRC-TV (Channel 12) acting general manager, was fired late this afternoon. Klei, longtime sales manager, has been running the station since Chris Sehring quit in September to run a station in Portland, Ore.
Giving some comfort level to the Channel 12 staff is the fact that Steve Minium, former Channel 12 news director, has been named interim general manager by Clear Channel. Minium has been Clear Channel news VP, although he was told by the prospective buyers (Newport Television) that he wouldn't be part of the new management team. However, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that the $1.2-billion deal for Newport TV/Provident Equity Partners deal to buy the 56 Clear Channel TV stations could be in trouble.
It's been a strange time at Channel 12. Things have been on hold for more than a year, waiting for the station to be sold.

Few Surprises In November News Ratings

The local November news sweeps arrived today with few surprises. (Numbers are posted at the end.)

Channel 12 won the 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. news.

Channel 9 won at noon (a surprise) and 5-6:30 p.m.

Channel 19 won at 10 p.m. (no surprise).

Channel 5 came within a half-point of taking second place at 5 p.m. from Channel 12 (a surprise, considering Channel 5 was way off the pace in February and May. But a year ago, Ch 5 had jumped over Channel 12 into second place at 5 p.m., for the first time in eight years.)

Channel 5 was third at 11 p.m. (a small surprise, beating "The Simpsons." The cartoons had been more popular than Channel 5 news in February and May).

Channel 5 was fourth 6-7 a.m. (Did someone say the news comes fourth?) That's not really a surprise because of Channel 5's anchor desk upheaval. Co-anchor Lisa Cooney missed most of the ratings period to seek treatment in Jordan for her daughter's severe psoriasis, while co-anchor Todd Dykes was replaced by weekend anchor Jonathan Hawgood. (What I don't know is how low ratings were before the Dykes-Hawgood swap, which prompted the move.)

"We're not where we want to be, but we're headed in the right direction," says Richard Dyer, Channel 5 president and general manager. (How many times have we heard someone at Channel 5 say that?)

Some observations:

--News directors have told me over the years that a station moves into No. 1 in news often because of a move made by the previous No. 1 station. Case in point: For the first time in years, Tanya O'Rourke's Channel 9 beat Channel 12 for the noon news. It was the first "sweeps" period after Dayna Eubanks left Channel 12 in September, when her contract expired. Channel 12's lead-in ratings for "The Price Is Right" also have eroded since Drew Carey replaced Bob Barker in October.

--The decline in "homes using television" seems to have leveled off at 11 p.m., after a huge fall-out in May.

--Channel 9 was the only 11 p.m. newscast to increase rating and share from last November. Channel 9 is 2.4 points behind Channel 12 on the M-F average, but only 1.2 points behind on the seven-day average which includes ABC’s strong Sunday night lineup. (That's why Clyde and Carol work Sun-Thurs during sweeps.)

--Has doing local news in HDTV helped boost Channel 9 ratings? Not enough evidence yet, says Bill Fee, Channel 9 general manager. Although Channel 9 news is up at 11, newscasts ratings are flat 5-6:30 p.m. and down at noon and 6-7 a.m. He points out that overnight ratings are based on meters in only 375 homes (out of the 886,910 TV homes here, according to Nielsen).

"I think it helps. It will be something we'll continue to market until the other stations get on board," Fee says. Which could be a year away?

Here are the ratings and shares numbers.

7-6 a.m.
Channel 12: 5.6, 20%
Channel 9: 3.6 13%
Channel 19: 3.2 12%
Channel 5: 2.5, 9%

Channel 9: 5.0, 17%
Channel 12: 4.2, 14%
Channel 5: 2.0, 7%

5 p.m.
Channel 9: 8.4, 20%
Channel 12: 5.5, 13%
Channel 5: 5.0, 12%

5:30 p.m.
Channel 9: 8.1, 17%
Channel 12: 7.0, 15%
Channel 5: 4.2, 9%

6 p.m.
Channel 9: 9.2, 19%
Channel 12: 8.0, 16%
Channel 5: 4.5, 9%

10 p.m.
Channel 19: 5.5, 9%
Channel 64: 2.2, 3%

11 p.m.
Channel 12: 10.6, 21%
Channel 9: 8.2, 16%
Channel 5: 4.3, 9%
Channel 19 (Simpsons): 4.2, 8%

Source: Nielsen Media Research

Bonnie Lou, One Of My Favorites

I've gotta tell you, I had a great time visiting with Bonnie Lou, the retired Channel 5 entertainer, for the story that ran today.

I chatted with her and Judy Perkins, another former "Midwestern Hayride" star, at Bonnie Lou's Green Township home earlier this month, and then went back a second time to chat some more. She has great stories to tell about working with Ruth Lyons, Paul Dixon and the Channel 5 stars of the 1950s and 1960s. Sad to say, with Marian Spelman's passing last January, Bonnie Lou is the last of Channel 5's big stars from Ruth Lyons' "50-50 Club" 1958 Christmas album, which sold 250,000 copies(!)

To this day, at 83, she still refers to Ruth Lyons as "Miss Lyons." Why? "I always have. My mother taught me that way. Miss Lyons would razz me about that. But I said, "I’ve got to call you Miss Lyons."

So did she call Paul Dixon "Mr. Dixon?" That brought a huge cackle from the country star, and Dixon’s sidekick for nearly 20 years. "No," she said. "He was Paul Baby!" (Which is what everyone called him.)

Bonnie Lou was one of Channel 5's busiest stars. She was on "Midwestern Hayride" every Saturday night, co-hosted the "Paul Dixon Show" mornings M-F, appeared at least once a week on Lyons' "50-50 Club" at noon, and hosted "Six Star Ranch" from WLW-AM on the Mutual radio network.

Plus she did personal appearances to promote her records made at King Records. Her "Seven Lonely Days" and her comical "Tennessee Wig Walk" ("I walk with a giggle and a wiggle and a squak, doing the Tennessee Wig Walk!") each sold about 750,000 copies in the early 1950s, and each made Billboard's weekly country music top 10. And her "Daddy-O" was a King rockabilly hit, reaching No. 15 on the weekly pop chart in 1955.

She had offers to go to New York, but didn't. I'm sure many of her fans were glad she stayed in town. "I couldn’t have asked for any better. Everything worked out wonderful for me here. I made good money here," says Bonnie Lou, who lives in Green Township with her husband, Milt Okum, a retired Cheviot furniture store owner and magician. (Her birth name was Mary Joan ("Jo-Ann") Kath. Once I was puzzled to get a note from her with a return address label of "Mary Okum.")

In the coming months, Bonnie Lou will get some deserved attention – on Lee Hay's WVXU-FM "King Records Christmas" (11 p.m. Dec. 22), a WVXU-FM hour about King Records rockabilly music (in February) and a downtown Public Library panel discussion marking King Records 65th anniversary in April.

If you have a favorite Bonnie Lou story or memory, please post it here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bill Hemmer Makes New York News

Did you see the Bill Hemmer profile in the New York Observer? About how he joined Fox News Channel in 2005 after leaving CNN?

You've read most of the info on this blog before, but it's nice to see him get some publicity. In the story, Hemmer says ratings for his 9-11 a.m. "America's Newsroom" show on Fox have increased by 15%, while CNN's "American Morning" ratings have fallen 16% since he left two years ago.

A few other nuggets:
--He tells a great story about arriving in Baton Rouge to cover Katrina, his first story for Fox, and encountering 15 CNN staffers eating pizza. The story, he says, shows that CNN had grown plump and was no longer hungry. "At Fox we do more with less," says Hemmer, a Delhi Township native who left Channel 9 for CNN in 1995.
--Look for FNC to send the versatile Hemmer and "America's Newsroom" on the road to cover the presidential campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire next year. (I'm not surprised. He's very good at covering lots of things, particularly politics. Remember his "Chad Lad" days covering the 2000 Florida recount for CNN?)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

November News Ratings Update

November sweeps end Wednesday, and it doesn't look like any huge shifts in TV news viewing trends. With only two days to go, it's pretty obvious that Channel 12 will win mornings and 11 p.m., and Channel 9 will win 5-6:30 p.m. The one surprise is that Channel 9 will win noon, instead of Channel 12 (maybe from Drew Carey replacing Bob Barker on "The Price Is Right?" Or Dayna Eubanks departure?)

Here are the standings through Monday:
6-7 AM: 12, 9, 19, 5
Noon: 9, 12, 5
5-6:30 P.M.: 9, 12, 5
10 P.M.: 19, 64
11 P.M.: 12, 9, 5. (Ch 5 news virtually ties "The Simpsons," 4.2/8% share for Ch 5, 4.2/9% share for Ch 19).

I'll have more details and numbers on Thursday.

ChanThrough last night, here's

Monday, November 26, 2007

I-Team Reporter Laure Quinlivan Out At Ch. 9

Here's some Breaking News you probably won't see on Channel 9: Award-winning investigative reporter Laure Quinlivan will leave the station after her final two stories air Tuesday and Wednesday on Channel 9.

Quinlivan, one of the most honored TV reporters in Cincinnati history, was told in October her contract would not be renewed because the station is "cutting costs," she says. Earlier this year, Channel 9 cut loose Michael Flannery and Brian Patrick in budget moves.

"I don't know what I want to say about (leaving), except that I've had a good run at Channel 9 news," says Quinlivan, who is in her 40s.

Quinlivan has won two prestigious Peabody Awards, the Alfred duPont Columbia silver baton, the Walter Cronkite Award for Political Reporting, two Society of Professional Journalists Awards for public service, an Investigative Reporters and Editors award and 15 Emmys.

Hired in 1995, her 13 years are the longest of any past or present member of the Channel 9's investigative "I-Team." Channel 9 created the unit after anchor Pat Minarcin's 1987 investigation exposed Donald Harvey as a Drake Hospital serial killer, which also won a Peabody.

Bill Fee, Channel 9 vice president and general manager, declined to comment. "I'm not prepared to give any comment at this point," he says.

For her last two stories, Quinlivan returns to two favorite topics: Over-the-Rhine development (6 p.m. Tuesday) and Dean Gillispie (11 p.m. Wednesday). She says the Dayton-area man was wrongfully convicted for kidnapping and raping three women in 1988.

Quinlivan won a Peabody Award for her one-hour 2001 documentary called "Visions of Vine Street." Her "New Visions of Vine Street" last year won a 2006 Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists. She also won Peabody and duPont awards for her investigation into Paul Brown Stadium construction problems.

Quinlivan has been reporting on Gillispie since 1999, eight years after he went to prison. Recently former Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro joined with the University of Cincinnati-based Ohio Innocent Project on the Gillispie case.

"I really wanted to finish up with these two, because they mean so much to me," she says. "I think this is a great way to go out."

Quinlivan lives in Mount Lookout with her daughter, 13, and son, 7 months. The Toledo native and Miami University graduate says she was not concerned about her contract renewal when she returned from maternity leave in August. She moved to Cincinnati almost 13 years ago from Washington D.C. because she wanted to raise her daughter here, and be close to family.

"I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I have a new baby, and great friends here, and a lot of passion for this city," she says. "I'm exploring options. I could leave town and continue investigative reporting, but that’s not my first choice. I like it here."

Also at question is what happens to the I-Team? The website lists only two reporters, Quinlivan and Hagit Limor. Quinlivan says three photographer-producers are assigned to the I-Team: Phil Drexler, Tony Mirones and former sports photographer Sean Dunster.

Will we see more and more short-form "investigations" by anchors Clyde Gray, Brendan Keefe and Bernard Watson? Will another station in town hire her? (She doesn't have a non-compete, she says, so she could jump to another station in January.) Is this the end of an era for the I-Team as we've known it?

Channel 5's HDTV Outage

Channel 5's HDTV receiver broke down Saturday, which is why football fans didn't see NBC's prime-time Patriots-Eagles game in HD.

Here's an update this morning from Richard Dyer, WLWT-TV president and general manager:

"We experienced a major failure of our NBC High Definition receiver on Saturday and were unable to secure a replacement from the network in time for last night's Sunday Night Football broadcast. We apologize for the game being available only in standard definition and are efforting to resolve the problem ASAP.
"Rest assured that next Sunday night's Bengals vs Steelers game on NBC will be available on WLWT-HD. We look forward to resuming our full menu of HD programming very shortly." Sincerely, Richard Dyer

Joe Nuxhall, One Last Time

I'm back in the saddle after four thankful days off, after cranking out the holiday TV list last week (which ran Sunday) and helping cover the passing of Joe Nuxhall.

And that's where I'll begin today… I've got three Nuxhall things to pass along, one last time, before I move on to other things:

WEBN-FM: Have you heard the Nuxhall tribute that Joel Moss did on WEBN-FM? It's on his blog.
He took a song about Joe that a Hamilton band (friends of Mr. K) recorded in 2004, when Joe retired from Reds radio, and added some terrific, rare Nux clips to it. You'll hear him calling his first game back in 1967, Junior's game-winning inside-the-park home run and a snippet of Joe complaining about umpire Dave Pallone from the infamous 1988 Pallone-Rose shoving incident that ended up with Marty & Joe being summoned by the commissioner's office. (I don't recall hearing the Pallone clip repeated before.) Says Joe on the clip while fans booed and tossed trash on the field: "He's a rotten umpire, that's the best way I can put it… Pallone deserves it."

CET: CET repeats the last two installments of "Joe Nuxhall, My Life: Baseball and Beyond" at 7:30 p.m. today and Tuesday (Channel 48). You could call this Joe Nuxhall's greatest hits. Today he talks about Jim Maloney throwing a spitball to Giants Hall of Famer Willie Mays (my favorite Nux story), Jackie Robinson's debut, and his transition to radio in 1967. On Tuesday, the last of the four-part series taped in 2005, he discusses the 1970s World Champion Big Red Machine, Pete Rose, Marty Brennaman and the 1990 wire-to-wire World Championship team in the final show. It ends appropriately with this regular Joe talking about his legacy, a quote we've used several times in the past two weeks: "It's always a nice feeling to be appreciated… But I just want people to think of me as one of the regular guys."
All four episodes are posted at Search Nuxhall.

WMUB-FM: Oxford’s WMUB has a podcast of its award-winning 2004 “Forum” show with Joe Nuxhall, Marty Brennaman and Neal Conan from NRP’s “Talk of the Nation.” The “Talk of the Station” call-in show originating from the Great American Ballpark won awards from the Public Radio News Directors, Ohio Public Broadcasting and the Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists.'s a direct link to the WMUB podcasts:

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Birthplace Of Cincinnati TV Dead At Age 59

Cincinnati’s birthplace of television soon will reduced to rubble.

WLWT-TV's original Studio A on Chickasaw Street beneath the University Heights tower – and later the first home for WCET-TV (Channel 48) -- will be razed by the end of the year.

The studio on "Mount Olympus," as the huge complex overlooking the city was called, was built for the city's first commercial broadcasts on WLWT-TV (then Channel 4) on Feb. 9, 1948 for $600,000.

Ruth Lyons' "50-50 Club," the city's most popular TV show in the 1950s and '60s, and the Saturday night country music "Midwestern Hayride," were televised from the hilltop facility.

More than 7,600 people toured the studio at an open house on April 19, 1948. That month WLWT-TV became NBC's second affiliate in the nation, after WNBC-TV in New York. Channels 9 and 12 didn't sign on until 1949.

While Crosley Broadcasting originally had grand plans for Mount Olympus at the advent of TV, they never panned out. By 1951, just three years later, Crosley had moved the "50-50 Club" and other shows to Crosley Square, the centrally located home of WLW-AM since 1944 at Ninth and Elm streets downtown. The transmitter and tower have remained at Mount Olympus.

Crosley then leased the studios to WECT-TV – the nation's first licensed public TV station – for $1 a year. From 1959 to 1976, CET broadcast Lilias Folan's yoga shows, Irma Lazarus' interviews and "Action Auction" from Mount Olympus. The Sports Time cable channel and Paradigm Communications were based there. Gary Burbank taped a sitcom pilot there in the early 1990s, "It's The Pitts."

So why won't Mount Olympus see a 60th birthday?

"It’s a business decision. We looked at the cost at rehabbing the building, but it was exorbitant. We didn't want to pay for the upkeep any more," says Tim Hudson, Channel 5 assistant chief engineer.

The roof leaks, and there is no air-conditioning. The studio mostly has been used for storage of old WVXU-FM equipment acquired two years ago by WGUC-FM, which broadcasts from the Channel 5 tower.

Channel 5's owners, Hearst-Argyle Television Inc., approved the demolition earlier this month. By the end of December, all that will remain will be the "garage area" housing the WGUC-FM and WVXU-FM transmitters, and Channel 5's backup analog transmitter, Hudson says.

"It's a tired old building and it needs to come down," Hudson says.

It's a historic old building, and it's a shame to see it go.

Do any of you have remembrances of going to shows at Mount Olympus? Or working there?
Tell us all about them....

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Why Not A "Best of Joe Nuxhall" CD?

I've really enjoyed listening to WLW-AM today and yesterday, with all the talk from hosts and callers about Joe Nuxhall. But the best part was the wonderful archived audio that WLW-AM kept rolling out -- everything from Nux's call of Bench's HR on Johnny Bench night, and Joe Oliver's game-winning single in Game 2 of the 1990 World Series, to Nuxie complaining about an umpire's blown call, Jose Rijo calling the Banana Phone from the clubhouse to complain about those Marty & Joe Potato Chips in the 1990s, or that wacky 1977 iinterview with Jonathan Winters.
Hat's off to Dave "Yiddie" Armbruster and Bill "Seg" Dennison for collecting these terrific audio clips!
Now here's an idea: How about a "Best of Joe Nuxhall" CD with these great soundbites, augmented by remembrances by Marty and Thom Brennaman, and definitely Yid and Seg telling their favorite Nuxie stories.
It's too late to do for Christmas, but they could have it out for Opening Day, and sell it all year, through next Christmas... Maybe even make it a fund raiser for the Joe Hope projects in Fairfield, to finally build that Joe Nuxhall Gym at the One Way Farm for abandoned and abused kids, and the Joe Nuxhall Character Education fund, and the Reds Rookie Success League for needy kids, and his scholarship fund.
Yeah, we can download podcasts from these various WLW shows about Nux... but why not pull together Nux's best audio, and maybe some of his stories they have on tape, and do it as a CD? What a marvelous keepsake!
What would you want to hear? Which are your favorite Nuxhall moments from Reds Radio?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanks, Joe

What a sad day... never again will we hear a Reds game described by Marty & Joe, with the passing late last night of Joe Nuxhall. Where do I begin? He was my summer soundtrack for 40 years....

As a Reds fan, you always knew something exciting was happening, or the ball could be a home run, by how excited Joe was. I'll miss that. Sure, sometimes you couldn't understand what exactly had happened -- a fly ball to left-right-center field? -- but we'd figure it out sooner or later. We loved Nux, that was all part of his charm.

I'll never forget his excitement when Joe Oliver singled in Billy Bates from third base in Game 2 of the 1990 World Series at Riverfront, when the Reds were sweeping Oakland. I thought Joe was going to jump out of the booth! I heard that call on the radio driving in to work today. Still makes me smile.

That's what I'll remember most about Joe. He made me smile. He made all of us smile. He made thousands or millions or gazillions of Reds fans smile from his pitching (135 wins), his hitting (15 HRs and 78 RBIs in 16 seasons, good enough to pinch-hit occasionally. As he liked to say, "If you swing the bat you're dangerous!") and his broadcasting. He also made tons of kids smile through the Joe Nuxhall Character Education Fund started with his son, Kim, in Fairfield schools, and giving out about $450,000 in scholarships to about 400 high school seniors, and his campaigning for school levies and school construction. Or helping Santa pass out candy at Fairfield City Hall, after the tree-lighting ceremony.

I was fortunate enough to be with him many times. One of my favorite memories was interviewing him at his home in 1996, where he has photos framed and signed balls in his basement den. It was like a Nux Hall of Fame. In a nearby storage room, he found a Wiedemann Beer poster from his first year on Reds radio in 1967... One like it is in the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum now, but it was a special thrill to see it stashed away at his house years ago.

In recent years, when I needed to interview him, I'd head to the Bob Evans in Fairfield for breakfast. He was always there at 7 a.m. to eat at the front counter with his son and three pals. I felt so honored when Kim would hold the 6th seat at the counter for me, and I'd slide in next to Nux. Wow, I felt I was being admitted to a special inner circle.

Looking back, I'm also proud to have done stories about Nux's generosity, with the character and scholarship funds and raising money for the One Way Farm home for abandoned and abused kids.... so people outside Butler County could understand what a totally selfless man he was. The only person I'd met like that was Mr. Rogers. Our conversations at Bob Evans always would be interrupted by folks wanting autographs. He always smiled and signed. He never turned anyone away.

Here are my favorite quotes about Nux from Marty Brennaman:
--About his endless charitable nature: "They (people) don't know about it because he doesn't talk about it. He doesn't do things and then pat himself on the back and make sure everybody in captivity knows what he's doing. He legitimately would not care if anybody ever knew about it, because he derives enough satisfaction by himself, in doing what he does, that he doesn't need everyone to know about it... Honest to God, I've never known a person with a measure of celebrity who has zero ego like he does. I've never known anybody! I mean, we are in a business that breeds egomaniacs.... I've been blessed because I've been associated with him for all of these years. He taught me a helluva lot about humility, because I've got a pretty good ego. I've learned a lot from him. And when the day ever comes that I walk away from this business, the one overriding thing that I will be thankful for is the fact that I spent 30 years in radio booth with him." (2006)

--On Nux being an instutitution: "People talked about Pete Rose being the sports institution in this town, but Pete Rose didn't hold a candle to Joe. I've never heard anyone in my 23 years ever utter a negative comment about him. So if we're talking institutions, Joe is the No. 1 sports institution in this town. Pete Rose is not even in the same league with him." (1996). Just last March, Brennaman put it this way: "With all due respect to Pete Rose, there is no bigger figure in City of Cincinnati than Joe Nuxhall. In all the years we've been together, going back to '74, I have never heard one person ever ever utter a negative comment about him. That's almost unbelievable! You can’t expect that of anybody!"

When I heard that Nux died, I hustled over to Bob Evans this morning. Check out my story posted on the web.

If you have some favorite Nuxhall memories, feel free to add them here. I'll try to post them when I can... but I'll be busy the next few days helping out on our Nuxhall coverage. And check out our Nuxhall stories, photos and videos at

Thanks Joe for helping us enjoy life... and showing us how to live it.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Colerain-St. Xavier on ONN Friday

The Ohio News Network will televise (on tape delay) the Ohio High School regional football championship game between unbeaten rivals Colerain and St. Xavier from Nippert Stadium. ONN's pregame begins at 9:45 p.m., with the game at 10 p.m. on Time Warner Channel 105.

Kickoff is 8 p.m. Friday at Nippert Stadium, an hour after the start of the UC-Coastal Carolina basketball game at UC's Shoemaker Center next door.

Dave Bacon and Greg Frey, the former St. X and Ohio State quarterback, will announce the game on ONN. Highlights and scores from other Ohio playoff games will air after the game.

An Everlasting Joy

Here's a DVR alert for "The Everlasting Stream," a KET production which airs nationwide on PBS today (10 p.m. Channel 48 and on KET2 on Insight Channel 23). Record this one and savor it.

The one-hour documentary, which premiered on KET a year ago, tells the story of the unlikely bonding of a white big-city journalist named Walt Harrington going hunting with four African-Americans in Glasgow -- Bobby, Louis, Carl and his father-in-law Alex.

For 20 years, the former Washington Post reporter has left his expensive suits and White House dinners behind to learn about friendship and other life lessons while hunting rabbits each Thanksgiving with the four Glasgow guys. It's a great hour of television – pretty pictures, wonderful natural sound, great blues soundtrack – told in a conversational style. Harrington adapted the script from his book, "The Everlasting Stream: A True Story of Rabbits, Guns, Friendship and Family."

The project dates back to 2004, when Bill Goodman -- KET "One to One" host and a Glasgow native – read the book and suggested Harrington do a KET adaptation. It was shot in 2005.

Although KET shoots three long-form documentaries at year, this is the first KET film on PBS since 2000, and it certainly deserves the national attention. But the pace is slower than commercial prime-time TV, and you have to listen closely, so that's why I suggest you record the show and savor it – instead of having November sweeps programs or the 10 p.m. news competing with it for your attention tonight. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Insights Adds NFL Network HDTV

Football fans in Northern Kentucky should be thankful for Insight. The cable operator will launch the NFL Network's second season by adding high-definition telecasts, starting with the Colts-Falcons game on Thanksgiving.

The NFL Network HD will be available on Channel 926 to all insight HDTV customers in Northern Kentucky who subscribe to any digital package which includes the NFL Network on Channel 547. The NFL Network airs about 1,000 hours of HD programming a year, says John Dobken, Insight spokesman. Insight is Northern Kentucky's major cable system.

Unlike Insight, Time Warner here does not carry the NFL Network or Big Ten Network. Kevin G. Kidd, southwest Ohio Time Warner president, did not want to speculate when his system would get those sports networks. "Negotiations continue with both at the Time Warner corporate level," he told me Tuesday night.

Steve Stewart Pinch Hits For Nuxhall

Steve Stewart from the Reds speakers bureau will host the "Reds Hot Stove League" call-in show on WLW-AM at 6:05 p.m. today for Joe Nuxhall, who's still in Mercy Hospital Fairfield.

Son Kim Nuxhall said this morning his father is still awaiting results from tests to determine reasons for his low pulse rate. He says Nux's breathing is much better, after experience shortness of breath last weekend. Doctors have mentioned putting in a pacemaker, but no decisions have been made, Kim says.

And if you haven't voted for Nuxhall to be a finalist for the Baseball Hall of Fame's Ford C. Frick Award (presented to Marty Brennaman in 2000), here's the link:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Queen City Jewels In HDTV

I saw Time Warner's "Queen City Jewels" trilogy of high-definition films tonight at the Cincinnati Museum Center. You'll be able to see them starting Thursday on demand on Time Warner Channel 1111, if you're a Time Warner digital cable subscriber.

Time Warner spent about $250,000 to make three 7-minute HDTV films showcasing the Museum Center, Cincinnati Zoo and Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. The pictures shot by Maurice Glover, TWC senior multimedia developr, were terrific. We screened them in the Museum Center theater; I can only imagine what they'll look like on a HDTV set.

Our Time Warner Southwest Ohio division is one of the first in the nation to offer local HDTV on demand. It could be the first, but they're being cautious by saying one of the first. So far they only have these three shows.... but it's a start. Kevin Kidd, the SW Ohio division president, and the man behind this project, says the 7-minute films will be offered to TWC systems from coast to coast, to promote tourism here, "so people will be able to see what Cincinnati and southwest Ohio has to offer." (Unfortunately, they'll see a lot about the Pete Rose exhibit which will be removed from the Reds Hall of Fame before Opening Day.) But these films make these three institutions look pretty cool.

I wonder if other producers have local HDTV films that could be placed on TWC's HDTV on-demand Channel 1111?

Win Hannah Montana Tickets

See, I got your attention. And folks at WKRQ-FM figure that a chance to win free Hannah Montana tickets will get them lots of hits on and lots of listeners to WKRQ-FM (101.9, aka Q102).

Q102 will broadcast what it's calling the city's "first ever live on-air music test." (Some folks will post here to tell me if this has already been done before.) Then listeners will be directed to log onto the website, and listen to Q102 to complete the test. Everyone who completes the test will have a chance to win a pair of Hannah Montana tickets, says Patti Marshall, operations director.

Gee, it must be a ratings period... And speaking of radio ratings stunts, which station will be the first to go all Christmas music? I don't figure it to be FM 94.1 again, the old MIX, since it switched formats to Radio 94.1. Or will stations just stream Christmas music on line, as you can get now on Q102's site?

HBO Tackles Ohio State, Michigan

Even if you're not a rabid Ohio State or Michigan fan, HBO's "Michigan vs. Ohio State: The Rivalry" (10:30 p.m. today) is great fun to watch. Most everyone around here has at least heard of legendary OSU coach Woody Hayes, and he's the dominating figure of this hour.

HBO does a great job of quickly explaining the 100+ year rivalry with wonderful archival film, including the 1950 game in a blizzard which featured 45 punts. (Michigan won 9-3). Then it quickly jumps into the Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler years. Each had coached at Miami University, and Bo was an assistant under Hayes at OSU, before they became arch enemies. (Well, not really, as the show reveals their relationship after they retired from the game). HBO found plenty of old comments from Hayes, but the real gem is a long interview HBO conducted with Schembechler at Michigan Stadium two days before he died last year, right before the Ohio State game.

Along with great game video (including Hayes punching out a Clemson player in the 1978 Gator Bowl, which cost him his job), HBO has an A list of talking heads from both schools: Dan Dierdorf, Jack Nicklaus, Archie Griffin, Earle Bruce, Desmond Howard and players like Jim Mandich, Cris Carter, Rex Kern, Tom Skladany and Chuck Ortmann. It also includes a segment on Ohio players who crossed the border to be stars at Michigan. My favorite quote comes from Earle Bruce, the former Hayes assistant who replaced Hayes: "He's the meanest sucker you've ever seen."

And if this is not enough, ONN devotes two hours to "100 Years of OSU/Michigan" 10 p.m. Wednesday.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Jimmy Salzarulo Joins The Sound

Jimmy Salzarulo is back in the building. The DJ formerly known as Jimmy the Weasel is back at the Reading Road studios, now owned by Bonneville, where he had worked at the old WAQZ-FM for CBS/Infinity. Today he starts middays on The Sound 94.9 (WSWD-FM). He had been doing a weekend talk show on Cumulus' SupertalkFM96.5 (WFTK-FM).

Clayton moved from middays to morning drive on The Sound today.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Dan Hoard's Busy Day

Dan Hoard will call a football-basketball doubleheader on WLW-AM (700) Saturday. As soon as the UC-UConn football game ends, he'll hustle over to Fifth Third Arena to call the UC basketball game with Chuck Machock, says David Armbruster, WLW-AM sports operation director.

Jim Kelly and Scott Springer will continue broadcasting from Nippert Stadium until Hoard is ready to go for the basketball game. WLW-AM will do the Mick Cronin pregame interview during half-time of the football game, and do the Brian Kelly postgame interview during half-time of the basketball game.

On Nov. 24, when UC plays football at Syracuse, and the basketball team hosts Fairfield at Fifth Third Arena, Hoard will do the football game. Steve Stewart, the former Reds radio announcer now working as the Reds speakers bureau, will call the basketball game.

Stewart also will do Xavier basketball season opener at 7 p.m. Saturday on WKRC-AM (550) with Byron Larkin. He's subbing for Joe Sunderman, who’s recovering from eye surgery, Armbruster says. XU games will be on either WLW or WKRC, so not to interfere with Louisville and UK on 1360 and 1530.

Saving The Best of the Fall TV Season

This is the time of the TV season when networks must decide which of the new fall TV shows they'll keep, and which they'll cancel. And with the writers strike -- which could wipe out prime-time scripted series until spring, near the end of the TV season -- network execs must try to figure out which new shows are losers or keepers.

So here's my question: Which of the new fall shows are your new Must See TV? If you had to make a passionate plea to bring them back after the strike -- which could mean next fall -- which new shows are worth saving: Cane? Bionic Woman? Cavemen? Private Practice? Big Shots? Journeyman? Life? Pushing Daisies? The Reaper? Gossip Girl? K-Ville? Women's Murder Club? Samantha Who? Dirty Sexy Money? Any others? And which would you cancel immediately?

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Sweeps: Local News Week 1

After the first week of November sweeps, here's a look at the weekday news ratings:
Channel 12 is winning 6-7 a.m. and 11 p.m. news, and second 5-6:30 p.m. and noon.
Channel 9 is winning 5-6:30 p.m. and noon, and ranks second 6-7 a.m.
Channel 19 is third 6-7 a.m., and first at 10 p.m.
Channel 5 is fourth at 6-7 a.m., with Jonathan Hawgood instead of Todd Dykes, and fourth at 11 p.m. behind "The Simpsons" on Channel 19, and third at noon and 5-6:30.

UC Basketball Bounces Around Ch 19 Schedule

Someone asked me how the find Fox shows on Channel 19, with UC games this weekend. So below you'll see the plan in an e-mail Tony Phillips, marketing and promotion manager. A couple of notes:
--Jim Barber will fill in for play-by-play man Jeff Piecoro until UK football season ends. Anthony Buford return as analyst.
--UC baskeball will bounce around some Fox shows through March -- but not "American Idol" or "House." (Or "24" if writers' strike ends.)

Hi John.. Here’s the deal... We have UC games all weekend.

FRI 11/09 UC (Belmont @ UC) 8-10pm

FRI 11/09 Next Great American Band bounces to 11p-12a

SAT 11/10 Don't Forget The Lyrics (Friday edition) bounced to 6-7pm

SAT 11/10 UC (Western Carolina @ UC) 7-9pm

SAT 11/10 America’s Most Wanted runs in pattern 9-10pm

SAT 11/10 Cops bounces to 11p-12a

SAT 11/10 Mad TV bounces to 12a-1a

SAT 11/10 Talk Show with Spike Feresten bounces to 1a-130a

SUN 11/11 UC (Bowling Green @ UC) 8-10pm

SUN 11/11 The Simpsons bounces to 11-1130pm

SUN 11/11 King of the Hill bounces to 1130p-12a

SUN 11/11 Family Guy bounces to 12a-1230a

SUN 11/11 American Dad bounces to 1230a-1a

NOTE: FOX19 Ten o’clock News runs in pattern (10pm) all weekend.

Jeff Piecoro and Anthony Buford return as announcers. However, until UC football season ends, Jim Barber will sit in for Jeff Piecoro.

Now... BEYOND this weekend, here's what we got (assuming no program changes due to the strike):

FRI 11/16 UC WOMEN's Basketball (Valparaiso @ UC) airs 4-6pm

(News will do halftime report at approximately 5pm)

FRI 11/16 UC (Coastal Carolina @ UC) airs 8-10pm

FRI 11/16 Next Great American Band bounces to 11p-12a

SAT 11/17 Don’t Forget The Lyrics (Friday edition) bounced to 6-7pm

SAT 11/24 UC (Fairfield @ UC) airs 1-3pm

MON 11/26 UC (South Carolina Upstate @ UC) airs 8-10pm

MON 11/26 Prison Break bounces to 11p-12a

TUE 11/27 K-Ville bounced to 11p-12a

SAT 12/08 UC (UC @ Illinois State) airs 8-10pm

SUN 12/09 America’s Most Wanted bounced to 6-7pm

SUN 12/09 Cops bounced to 11p-12a

SAT 12/29 UC (UC vs. Miami Ohio at US Bank Arena) airs 8-10pm

SUN 12/30 Cops bounced to 11p-12a

SUN 12/30 America’s Most Wanted bounced to 12-1a

WEDS 1/9 UC (Syracuse @ UC) airs 8-10pm

WEDS 1/9 Kitchen Nightmares bounces to 11p-12a

THUR 1/10 Back to You bounced to 11p-1130p

THUR 1/10 'Til Death bounced to 1130p-12a

SAT 1/19 UC (Pittsburgh @ UC) airs 4-6pm

SUN 1/27 UC (UC @ Seton Hall) airs 12-2p

SAT 3/8 UC (UC @ Connecticut) airs 4-6pm


Strike Update: 24 Delayed Indefinitely

Fox has postponed the January season premiere for "24," due to the writers' strike. "The seventh season premiere of 24 is being postponed to ensure that 'Day 7' can air uninterrupted, in its entirety," Fox announced late Wednesday.

Will ABC also delay the early 2008 premiere of "Lost?"

But there is good news: Viewers will see some new shows on Fox early next year. The network announced premieres for two new dramas, "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" (Jan. 13), "New Amsterdam" (Feb. 22), plus the seventh season of "American Idol" (Jan. 15-16).

"Prison Break," which ends for fall next Monday, will return Jan. 14 instead of April 14. Fox also will move "Bones" to Friday, and will air "House" reruns at 9 p.m. Monday instead of "K-Ville," which will suspend production this week due to the strike.

Here is the Fox release:


In light of the recently announced strike by The Writers Guild of America, FOX has revised its lineup for January and the remainder of the 2007-2008 season. (The new schedule is subject to change, pending resolution of the strike.)

The highly anticipated drama TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES will have a two-night premiere on Sunday, Jan. 13 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) and Monday, Jan. 14 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), the show's regular time period. PRISON BREAK, which has its last November airing on Monday, Nov. 12 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT), returns to Mondays (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) beginning Jan. 14.

The seventh season premiere of 24 is being postponed to ensure that "Day 7" can air uninterrupted, in its entirety.

Television's No. 1 show, AMERICAN IDOL, returns for Season Seven with a two-night, four-hour premiere event Tuesday, Jan. 15 and Wednesday, Jan. 16 (8:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). New game show THE MOMENT OF TRUTH premieres Wednesday, Jan. 23 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT).

Two popular FOX dramas take over Friday nights starting Friday, Jan. 4, when BONES has its time period premiere at 8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT and encores of HOUSE begin weekly appointments at 9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT. Comedy 'TIL DEATH also moves to Fridays, beginning with the time period premiere on Friday, March 7 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT).

HOUSE will air in its regular time period after AMERICAN IDOL on Tuesdays (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) starting Jan. 22, and also will encore on Mondays (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) beginning March 10. An original episode of HOUSE with guest star Mira Sorvino will immediately follow Super Bowl XLII on Sunday, Feb. 3, as previously announced.

In addition to AMERICAN IDOL, the Sunday-night animated comedies – THE SIMPSONS, KING OF THE HILL, FAMILY GUY and AMERICAN DAD – as well as ARE YOU SMARTER THAN A 5th GRADER?, DON'T FORGET THE LYRICS!, COPS and AMERICA'S MOST WANTED: AMERICA FIGHTS BACK all will continue with original episodes, while a mix of original and encore episodes is currently planned for HOUSE, BONES, 'TIL DEATH and BACK TO YOU. Encore episodes of BACK TO YOU will follow AMERICAN IDOL on Wednesdays (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) beginning March 12.

Several new and returning shows are set to premiere in the spring. The drama NEW AMSTERDAM debuts Friday, Feb. 22 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT). The Farrelly Brothers comedy UNHITCHED premieres Sunday, March 2 (9:30-10:00 PM ET/PT) for a six-week run in the time period. On Monday, March 3, unscripted role-reversal series WHEN WOMEN RULE THE WORLD (working title) debuts (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). Friday, March 7 marks the series premiere of comedy THE RETURN OF JEZEBEL JAMES (8:30-9:00 PM ET/PT). Fiery chef Gordon Ramsay suffers no fools on Tuesday, April 1 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT), when HELL'S KITCHEN returns for Season Four. And new drama CANTERBURY'S LAW starts making its case Friday, April 11 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT).

New series joining the FOX schedule include:


TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES is an exciting reinvention of the "Terminator" film franchise. Again facing relentless Terminators that will stop at nothing until 15-year-old John Connor (Thomas Dekker), the future leader of the resistance, is eliminated, Sarah Connor (Lena Headey) stops running and starts fighting back against fate and the machines that are out to get her son. The show also stars Sumnmer Glau as John's classmate, the fearless, otherworldly Cameron; and Richard T. Jones as FBI Agent James Ellison.


THE MOMENT OF TRUTH (previously announced as NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, working title) will put contestants to the test – the lie detector test – to reveal whether or not they are willing to tell the truth for a chance to win half a million dollars. The new game show is hosted by Mark L. Walberg.


Executive-produced by the Farrelly Brothers, this single-camera comedy revolves around four unattached friends who actually want to be married and must navigate the tricky waters of dating in their 30s. The series stars Craig Bierko, Rashida Jones, Johnny Sneed and Shaun Majumder.

About WHEN WOMEN RULE THE WORLD (working title):

Set in a primitive, remote location, this unscripted series explores what happens when a group of strong, educated and independent women, tired of living in a man's world, rule over a group of unsuspecting men used to calling the shots.


From Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, this comedy stars Parker Posey as Sarah, a successful children's book editor who reconnects with her estranged and free-spirited younger sister Coco , played by Lauren Ambrose. The series also stars Scott Cohen as Sarah's no-strings-attached boyfriend, Marcus; Michael Arden as her loyal and slightly terrified assistant, Buddy; and Ron McLarty and Dianne Wiest (in a recurring role) as the girls' meddlesome parents, Ronald and Talia.


This drama series tells the story of a brilliant and enigmatic New York homicide detective, John Amsterdam (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who has a profound secret: He is immortal, and will not age until he meets his one true love. Also starring are Zuleikha Robinson as Amsterdam's new partner, Eva Marquez; Alexie Gilmore as Dr. Sara Dillane; and Stephen Henderson as Omar, Amsterdam’s sole confidant.


From the producers of "Rescue Me," this courtroom drama centers on rebellious defense attorney Elizabeth Canterbury (Julianna Margulies), who's willing to bend the law in order to protect the wrongfully accused. The series also stars Aidan Quinn (in a recurring role) as Canterbury's husband, Matt; Ben Shenkman as her colleague Russell Krauss; and Keith Robinson and Trieste Dunn as Chester Grant and Molly McConnell, the associates rounding out Canterbury ’s legal team.

The Sound Cleans Up

Don’t toss out those old election yard signs. Collect as many as you can and dump them off at 94.9 The Sound (WSWD-FM) to benefit local nonprofit organizations.

For every campaign sign delivered to The Sound studios, 2060 Reading Road, just north of Dorchester, during business hours (8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.), The Sound will donate 50 cents to Give Back Cincinnati, Cincinnati Park Board, SPCA, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, Make-A-Wish, American Heart Association or the Free Store Food Back.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Strike Two: More Shows Shut Down

It wasn't surprising that Letterman, Leno, Conan, Colbert, the Daily Show and other late-night programs shut down immediately due to the writers strike, but after two days Associated Press says a mess of prime-time shows are closing down: The Office, Desperate Housewives, Two And A Half Men, Rules of Engagement, Big Bang Theory (all 3 from CBS Monday lineup), Back To You, Til Death, Carpoolers and midseason replacement New Adventures of Old Christine.
Wire reports also say Grey's Anatomy and K-Ville are shooting their last episodes for now this week.
With December holiday specials, we still probably won't see a big prime-time impact until January.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Nick Lachey Heads Home To Lead NBC's Choir

Nick Lachey will come home to lead Cincinnati's entry in NBC's "Clash of the Choirs" big holiday prime-time competition to air the week before Christmas.

Lachey, a 1992 School for Creative and Performing Arts graduate, will help assemble the ensemble after auditions this weekend. He won't be here for the open casting call 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at Walnut Hills High School (moved by NBC from the SCPA). He will be here for callbacks sometime after the private by appointment auditions Friday -- which are all booked -- and the open auditions Saturday.

And here's another change as of Wednesday morning: NBC says every amateur singer who comes to the auditions 9-6 Saturday will be seen, not just the first 300 people in line. Singers must be 18, and prepared to sing 16 bars a capella. You should bring along a Cincinnati application from NBC's website... which has not be posted as of now (11:30 a.m. Wednesday). Here's the link:

NBC will have application forms at the high school too, I'm told.

Lachey and casting directors will select 20 singers to go to New York Dec. 13-21 for rehearsals and the live telecasts.

Lachey and the locals will be competing with celebs and choirs from four other cities: Patti LaBelle/Philadelphia, Kelly Rowland/Houston, Blake Shelton/Oklahoma City and Michael Bolton/New Haven, Conn. "Clash of the Choirs" will air Dec. 17-20 on NBC. Viewers will vote off one choir Monday and Tuesday, with 3 singing in the finals Wednesday, and the winner announced Thursday.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Immediate Impact Of Writers Strike

Networks may have enough scripted prime-time series in the can to get through the end of the year, but the impact will be seen immediately today. Letterman, Leno, Conan, Kimmel, Colbert and The Daily Show all will be repeats tonight. Letterman, The Daily Show and Colbert will be dark all week. Ellen DeGeneres' daytime show also didn't tape today.

So which late-night show will you miss the most, if the strike goes on for a long time? (The 1988 strike went 22 weeks, longer than five months.) And tell me how/if your viewing habits change because of the strike. I want to hear how the strike impacts you.

Dan Patrick On SupertalkFM96.5

Could Dan Patrick's new syndicated show be picked up by SupertalkFM96.5, aka WFTK-FM?

That's the question today after Patrick's new syndicated show aired for about 15 minutes at 10 a.m. Monday, coming out of the "Two Angry Guys," instead of Glen Beck. The station switched to Beck by about 10:20 a.m.

General Manager Karrie Sudbrack says Patrick's brief Cincinnati broadcast was an accident. But she didn't rule out adding the former ESPN talk host/anchor sometime in the future.

"While Dan Patrick is not out of the question, the answer is that the network feed picked up the Patrick feed for the first few minutes of the Glen Beck show. I will keep you posted if and when that change could occur," she says.

Patrick would make a good fit with the "Two Angry Guys" (6-10 a.m.) and Andy Furman (4-7 p.m.). His show is on WONE-AM (980), Dayton's Clear Channel "Sports Animal" 9 a.m.-noon weekdays. (Clear Channel ended the WCKY-AM (1530 Homer)/WONE-AM simulcast last summer.

The Mason High School and University of Dayton graduate quit ESPN in August after 18 years. Last week it was reported Patrick will write for Sports Illustrated, while longtime SI columnist Rick Reilly will join ESPN.

Somebody will pick up Dan Patrick here. Wonder if it will be Supertalk or 1530 Homer or somebody else?

NBC Moves Saturday "Choir" Auditions

If you want to audition for NBC’s “Clash of the Choirs” Saturday, don’t go to the School for the Creative and Performing Arts. NBC has changed the location and time for Saturday’s open casting call, according to producer Margaret Pergler.

Auditions are now scheduled 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Walnut Hills High School arts and sciences wing, 3250 Victory Parkway, Pergler says. Last week casting director Jonathan Tanzman said all auditions -- by appointment on Thursday-Friday, and the open call Saturday -- would be at the SCPA. Pergler gave no reason was given for the move. The private auditions -- which are all booked up -- will be Thurs-Fri at Walnut Hills, I'm told.

Singers must be at least 18. NBC spokeswoman Amber James says the first 300 people Saturday definitely will be seen. If time allows, even more will be seen, she says. Details for the Cincinnati auditions, and an application form, should be posted at once NBC nails down all the details, maybe by the end of today. The Cincinnati celebrity coming home to lead the choir has not been announced by NBC.

"Clash of the Choirs" airs over four nights, Dec. 17-20, the week before Christmas on NBC.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Attack Of The Sweeps II: Zoom Zoom Doom

So what's this "Zoom Zoom Doom" sweeps story that Channel 5 is promoting for Monday @ 11? Just caught the tag line of the promo before "SNL" Saturday night. Anyone seen it? I know Channel 9 is promoting a story about testing kits that test for lead paint Monday @ 11. "Are your children's toys safe?"

Friday, November 02, 2007

Another Linz On The Amazing Race?

The Linz family in Anderson Township will be watching "The Amazing Race" season premiere at 8 p.m. Sunday (Chs 12, 7) to see if son Tim appears on the show. He was still a St. Xavier High School student and didn't compete two years ago, when his older brothers and sister won the $1-million prize.
We might see Tim in LAX international terminal in Los Angeles, when the teams are rushing to Ireland from the Playboy Mansion starting point, says his mom, Teri.
Tim and his father, Tom, were in LAX last summer when they saw a guy with a video camera on his shoulder, and guessed correctly that the guy was from "TAR." Tom chatted with him, who told him to tell his kids hello. Later, the cameraman shot the grandfather-son team come up to Tim and ask for help, mom says. Tim, a Mount St. Joseph student, has signed a waiver to appear on TV, she says. So we'll see Sunday if Tim gets his wish and finally appears on the show....

Regis & Kelly & Mike

Did you see Mike Wong of Fairfield on the “Regis & Kelly” Halloween show Wednesday? Wong is dressed as the paparazzi next to Regis, who is dressed as Harry Potter. Wong and friend Chip Burnside were two of six people brought on stage during the show. The other four were from New York, he says.

Revisiting The Who Tragedy Of 1979

On Sunday I wrote about a terrific documentary about The Who airing Saturday, "Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who" airing Saturday (commercial free 9-11 p.m., VH1). The full-length feature film is a Magic Bus ride through their greatest hits, with concert footage from the Monterey Pop Festival, Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, the "Tommy" and "Quadrophenia" tours, and the 2001 Concert for New York City.

I noted that a couple of minutes in the second hour were devoted to the 1979 tragedy here, when 11 people were crushed trying to get into a concert at Riverfront Coliseum (now US Bank Arena) on Dec. 3, 1979. The concert was sold as "festival seating," or general admission, with the first people in able to get the best seats down front. Drummer Kenney Jones says in the film: "Still it haunts me to this day… Cincinnati was an emotionally devastating situation." Band members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey aren't quoted about the Cincinnati concert, although they provide a running commentary about the band's five decades throughout the film.

Anyway, the story prompted this e-mail below from Mark Simpson of West Chester Township, who says he was there that night:

Hi, John: I couldn't help but notice the article in Sunday's paper about The Who documentary. You mentioned in the article about The Who concert in Cincinnati, back in 1979, where 11 people were fatally crushed outside the arena, when the crowd impatiently rushed the doors, which had failed to open on time.

I would like to clarify the details of what really happen that night as I was the very first person to get through the door that night. I was 16 years old at the time and remember every detail, like it was yesterday, as the chain of events unfolded during that night. The normal procedure was to have all the doors open at least an hour before the show, as they had always done in all previous shows I attended, this night was different and was noticed immediately.

As the night progressed and the crowd got larger on the plaza, which was very dark by the way, the sound check was going on inside. I had gotten there very early, around 6:30-7:00 pm, and was first at the door. No one was even on the plaza at this point, with the building corner to my left and what was iron railings separating each door to my right.

What struck me as a failure by the Coliseum around 8:20 pm, as the crowd had built itself up to over 3,000 people waiting, as it was cold that night, was one security guard/usher came up to the ONE door I was standing at, the other 10 doors continued to my right side.This usher ONLY opened/unlocked the ONE door and walked away. I realized that this was going to create a real problem as the crowd in the back took one or two steps forward, and just like dominos people fell into the one doorway. I was able to get through as others fell behind me,with no way to get up from the surge.

I can only hope that that the truth gets out about what really happen, as several people blamed the crowd, which in no way could even see up front, or blamed The Who for anything, this was totally the fault of the one usher who did NOT unlock the other remaining 10 or so doors, which would have allowed the flow of the crowd to come in, instead of being bottlenecked in between the building, and the metal railing,which also allowed no escape. Those railings, by the way, are no longer there...

I hope somehow this can be passed on to The Who members, so they can know what happened that night and the true breakdown of problems that lead to the tragedy to unfold. The fact that it was general seating had nothing to do with what took place. This was a slow buildup of the crowd over the hours, with poor lighting on the plaza, structural problems with the door entrance (railings separating each door) and staff not opening ALL doors to allow an even flow of crowds into the main plaza entrance, not a rush to the stage. Please pass this eyewitness account from the very first person through the door that night to The Who members so they can understand they were not at fault.

Feel free to post my comments. I will add that due to this event, the coliseum and the city made some changes to keep this from happening again, but this all could have been avoided in the first place if they had just opened all the doors, before the shows start, as they had been doing all along. General seating is really not an issue, so much as doing the obvious.

I feel very lucky to have made it inside the only open door that night, and will never forget the people that lost their lives, all because the rules were not followed, by Coliseum staff and management.

Thanks John and Best Wishes

Mark Simpson

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Lucy Van Pelt Was From Mariemont

This is a great story. Lucy Van Pelt, the popular "Peanuts" character, got her name from a Mariemont woman? I thought I knew a lot about Charles Schulz cartoons, but this one is new to me. (I never cease to be amazed at Cincinnati connections to TV, past and present!)

My blog about PBS' "American Masters: Good Ol’ Charles Schulz" Monday prompted several e-mails from Jan Watkins of Milford, who led me to Louann Van Pelt in Colorado Springs. The former Mariemont resident was a neighbor and friend of Joyce and Charles "Sparky" Schulz, when they moved to Colorado after marrying in 1951.

Louann and her husband, Fritz, were interviewed for by "American Masters," but cut from the show. In fact, the 90-minute Schulz show didn't mention his year-long stay in Colorado, before moving back to Minnesota.

So in the PBS show you met the real-life Charles F. Brown and Linus Maurer, whose names were used by Schulz, but not Louann Van Pelt. Here's her story:

"Sparky created Lucy while in Colorado Springs (in 1951). He did remark once that he didn't think my nickname of Lou was suitable, although I'm not sure why," she says.

"He actually tacked on the Van Pelt surname after they moved back to Minneapolis. It was sort of a way to say 'Hi!' to us who always read the strip," she says.

Louann was 11 in 1940, when her family moved from Iowa to the Mariemont area. She and Fritz graduated from the old Plainville (now Mariemont) High School. The Van Pelts moved in 1947 to Colorado, where Fritz was a teacher and school administrator. Fritz's father, Merrill, was the University of Cincinnati band director (1929-1947) and Cincinnati Public Schools music supervisor.

"Fritz and Sparky were in the same 20th Armored Infantry Division during WWII. Sparky made Sergeant and Fritz was the Company Bugler. When we accidentally found them in Colorado, we became fast friends, taught them to play bridge, loved them and their then two children. We've had a few visits over the years, and the men talked by phone from time to time. When Sparky became syndicated (in 1951 or '52), they decided to return to Minneapolis-St. Paul."

"Schulz and Peanuts: A Biography," a new book by David Michaelis (HarperCollins, $34.95), says the newlywed Schulzes went four months without making any friends in Colorado Springs until they met the Van Pelts, "an attractive, witty couple around whom laughter and conversation came easily."

Louann Van Pelt agrees with "American Masters" and Schulz biographers that Lucy's blunt, domineering personality came from Joyce, the humorist's first wife.

"We have always felt and said that Lucy is fashioned after Joyce. She was very opinionated," Van Pelt says. "I always hasten to tell people I'm actually much kinder than her, and would never snatch that football away" when Charlie Brown wanted to kick it.

Linus was named after Schulz's old Art Instruction college buddy Maurer because Schulz "thought the fact that his name began with the letter 'L' would help to fit it with Lucy’s name," he later wrote to Fritz, according to the Michaelis book.

Louann figures her PBS interview was cut because of her severe hearing loss. "I'm so nearly deaf I couldn't answer questions or respond to Fritz with anything like casual chat," she says. "Good Ol' Charlie Brown" producers David Van Taylor and Ali Pomery have told the Van Pelts that a tape of their interview has been donated to the Schulz Museum and Research Center in Santa Rosa, Calif.

And that's how Lucy Van Pelt's ancestory traces back to Mariemont.

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