Television 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.
WXIX-TV's weather team will be up to full staffing by the end of June with the hiring of Christie Dutton from Lexington's WTVQ-TV (Channel 36). The Fox 19 weather staff has been minus a third person since Rich Apuzzo was fired in October.
Dutton, the morning and noon forecaster, has been at Channel 36 since 2001.
Dutton grew up in Nicholasville, just south of Lexington, and earned a journalism degree from UK. She started in TV at Channel 26 in 1999 as a news producer, then left to take an on-air reporting job at WKAG-TV in Hopkinsville, Ky. She did a fill-in weather stint there, which resulted in a career change.
She has a meteorology certificate from Mississippi State University, and seals of approval from the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Assocation.
THIS JUST IN: And since someone asked in a posting a few minutes ago if this means the end for fill-in Pat Barry, a former Ch 19 and Ch 5 weatherman, here's what Barry tells me: "I have a ton of nights through the first week of July. I'm working something like 22 of 40 nights. After July 7, I don't know when they might need me again."
The "Studio 89" concert series returns to the air Monday night on WNKU-FM (98.7) with Lexington songwriter StollVaughan, who has toured with John Fogerty and John Mellencamp.
The broadcast begins at 9:04 p.m. Listeners also may attend the free show at 305 Landrum Hall on the Northern Kentucky University campus. Make reservations by calling 859-572-6500. WNKU-FM also will stream the audio at http://www.wnku.org and provide podcasts. "Studio 89" also will be videotaped for broadcast on KET later this summer (probably starting in August). And folks in West Chester and Fairfield area also can hear on WNKU-FM's low-power repeater at 94.5 FM.
Highlights of the 12-week season include Australian instrumentalist Xavier Rudd (June 18), before he tours this summer as the opening act for the Dave Matthews Band; Boston's Swinging Steaks (July 16); and Rob Fetters (July 23). For a full list, go to http://www.wnku.org/page_wnku.asp?p=0530720
Important note: If you're headed to see the show, be aware that the main entrance to NKU off US 27 is closed until August. Coming from I-471, continue south on US 27 to Martha Layne Collins Blvd. Turn right. Go about 1 mile, and it turns into Johns Hill Road, which runs along the west side of the campus.
WXIX-TV (Fox 19) and WKRQ-FM (Q102) are looking for the smartest graduating fourth graders to compete for an audition for Fox's hit "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader."
Kids who are graduating from fourth grade can call a Q102 hotline, 513-699-4424, and tape a 30-second audio audition. Already 60 kids have called, says Jenn Jordan, half of Q102's Jeff and Jenn morning team. Jeff and Jenn will pick 10 finalists by Friday noon and invite them to videotape auditions at Friday at Fox 19 in Queensgate.
The local winner from the 10 will be guaranteed an audition Saturday in Chicago before producers of the Fox series. However, the winner and his/her family are responsible for travel arrangements to Chicago.
A posting on my previous blog, about how Beverly Hills fire covereage in 1977 changed the TV news ratings landscape, pointed out that the live, mobile "instant cams" were brand new technology back then.
So that got me thinking: What would the coverage of a Beverly Hills fire be like today, with current technology?
--Live, national coverage on cable news channels picking up the live TV pictures from local stations?
--Would some of the victims trapped into the showroom have had time to call their loved ones on their cell phones and say goodbye, as some of the World Trade Center victims did on 9/11?
--Would we see cameraphone video of Walter Bailey interrupting the comedians on stage, and asking patrons to calmly leave the building?
--How else could cell phones/camera phones changed covering a huge tradegy, in which 165 people die?
I didn't want the 30th anniversary of the Beverly Hills Supper Club fire this weekend to pass without a reminder how the fire coverage changed TV history here. At the time of the fire in 1977, Ch 9 news with anchor Al Schottelkotte had been No. 1 in the market for 17 years. 17 years!
But that night helped change viewers habits to Channel 12.
When Channel 9 sent its live truck to the fire that Saturday night, Schottelkotte wanted to get as close to the fire as possible. Channel 12, instead, opted for a position a little farther away from the fire -- but on a hill with a direct shot to the station and tower. The result was the Ch 12 had a superior picture that night... and many viewers, like myself (then a local news reporter at The Enquirer) watched Ch 12 because the picture wasn't fuzzy and breaking up. Thousands of viewers like myself, who habitually tuned to Ch 9 for the Big Story, disocvered that Ch 12 could do a decent job covering a Big Story too.
Five years later, Nick Clooney's newscast on Ch 12 finally knocked legendary Schottelkotte out of first place. The Beverly Hills coverage helped a lot. So did strong ABC programming and Winter Olympics in the late 1970s and early '80s. (Ch 12 was ABC until an affiliate swap with Ch 9 in 1996.)
As I recall, Ch 12 and 9 each had the new mobile live "instant cams" capability back then, while Ch 5 had little mobile equipment. At the time, Ch 5 still invested heavily in huge studio cameras used for the weekday live Bob Braun variety/talk show.
It's interesting to compare 1977 to the TV news landscape today: Ch 12 has been the runaway No. 1 at 11 p.m. for about a decade (or longer?). Ch 9 continues to be a solid operation, and No. 1 at 5-6:30 p.m. And Ch 5 is way behind the race, as 30 years ago.... with fewer viewers at 11 p.m. than Ch. 19 has for new at 10 p.m., and fewer viewers than Ch 19 has for "The Simpsons" at 11 p.m.
Were you here in 1977? Did you watch the tragic fire on TV that night? What do you remember about it?
More SupertalkFM96.5 news: Jimmy "The Weasel" Salzarulo, last heard afternoons on WAQZ-FM, will do a general talk show on WFTK-FM (SupertalkFM96.5) 3-6 p.m. Saturdays, starting this weekend.
Here's the email from Jeff Davis, Supertalk assistant program director:
"I'm excited to announce that Jimmy "The Weasel" Salzarulo has agreed to do the Saturday 3-6 p.m. show. Weasel will do a general talk and interview show hitting on the hot topics locally, and talking about what's going on around Cincinnati and the Tristate, whether it's sports, music, politics or whatever. His pal Notorios may also be hanging out during those three hours. Notorious was Jimmy's traffic guy/sidekick when he was doing afternoons on WAQZ. We really can't afford to pay them both, so Weasel will pay Notorious in beer after the show."
After a 3-1/2 year absence, "The Fish" has returned to radio. Paul "The Fish" Sturgeon was added to the WFTK-FM (SupertalkFM96.5) airaves at noon-3 p.m. last Saturday. He's on again tomorrow, and he will fill in for Andy Furman 4-7 p.m. Monday.
Sturgeon, 38, was a part of the old WBOB-AM (1160) "The Score" and "Bob" sports stations from 1995 to 2000, when Clear Channel bought it and shut it down. He did periodic fill-in work at Clear Channel, but has been off the air since January 2004. His real job is in sales for a local marketing company.
"The chance to be back on the air talking sports, guy stuff and entertaining people -- I just can't quantify my exuberence," he says. "Sometimes you don't know how much you miss something until you get to do it again."
Sturgeon, a 1987 Lloyd High School graduate, had offers from stations out of town, but he didn't want to leave here. He studied communications at UK, and was thinking about law school, when he switched gears and started interning at The Score in 1995.
"This is something I've wanted to do again, but the right opportunity just hasn't been there," he says.
It's been quite a week for WBOB-AM alumni. Sturgeon started his new show last Saturday... Richard Skinner, who began his "Two Angry Guys" show with Tom Gamble on WBOB, was fired Monday from Clear Channel's WCKY-AM (HOMER 1530)... and Tim "The Big Dog Lewis," former WBOB PD and host, took over Skinner's morning show on Tuesday. Lewis had hired the "Two Angry Guys" in 1997.
By the way, from what I hear the "Two Angry Guys" will reunite, and do a morning show on Supertalk by the end of the year. Having the "Two Angries" in the morning, with Andy Furman in the afternoon, would give that station a boost.... though certainly not No. 1 in the market or anything crazy like that, despite Furman's recent claims that Supertalk is "the bigger one." Calm down, Andy :)
Five things you need to know about the May sweeps local news ratings: --Viewing dropped for newscasts on all stations, except Ch 12's "Good Morning Cincinnati" (not "Good Morning Tristate" as I originally wrote). --Ch 12 won all weekday newscasts again, except for the block won by Ch 9 a usual. --Ch 5 was last for all newscasts. At , more TV homes were watching "The Simpsons" on Ch 19 than Ch 5 news (D'oh!), as in February. --Ch 19 moved up to second at , from 4th a year ago, and won at dience share for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox prime-time viewing was down 10% from last May and 13% from two years ago. At the same time, TV viewing was down only 6% from two years ago. The combined local news audience share dropped 17% from last year, and 25% from two years ago.
The prime-time audience loss was attributed to an increasing number of people watching network TV shows online, or time-shifting their viewing on digital video recorders, and the nice weather. Nielsen Media Research does not count online viewing and DVR viewing in overnight ratings.
The audience drop can be the result of two factors – fewer people watching prime-time, and a lifestyle shift with people going to bed earlier. NBC's fourth-place prime-time ratings dropped 31% here from a year ago. Ch 5 averaged only a 5.3 rating 8-11 p.m., and a 4.4 rating at 11 p.m. for news.
Two years ago, when NBC was more competitive, Ch 5 jumped to second at in May for the first time in 13 years. Ch 5 has been third since.
Here are the ratings, TV homes and audience shares for May TV news:
Is it just me, or have the Clear Channel sports talkers on WLW-AM and WCKY-AM (HOMER 1530) seem to be reeking of being overly positive this week while the Reds have become the worst team in the NL?
The last person I remember ripping the Reds on the air -- not counting Marty Brennaman's criticism during the games -- was Richard Skinner on HOMER Monday morning, when he talked about the eventual firing of Mgr. Jerry Narron. He was fired after the show.
Since then I've heard Paul Daugherty and Tim Lewis talk about the attraction of bobblehead nights... what positives fans have found in the Reds this season... upcoming promotions that might make you want to buy a ticket (Doc read a list last night after the game)... or Lewis talking this morning about how it's still fun to take your young sons to a game to enjoy the experience.
Hello? I love the Reds, but the team stinks, and nothing much has been done to fix it...
Could Clear Channel execs be urging their personalities to go soft on the Reds (as they did with Marge Schott in the '90s)? Remember that the Reds radio contract expires at the end of the season, and St. Louis and other team have moved their games off the blowtorch 50,000 watt stick to smaller stations...
Or are CC sports hosts just bored and tired talking day after day about how to fix a bad team?
Robert Hatcher, the Westwood man who made it to the Hollywood round on "American Idol" in February, gets another shot at TV fame and fortune. He'll be a contestant on NBC's "America's Got Talent" $1-million competition this summer.
Jerry Springer, who replaces Regis Philbin as host for the summer series, told reporters today that one of the contestants was a talented singer who works for the Cincinnati sewer department. NBC confirms it's Hatcher, a contract night-shift dispatcher for the Metropolitan Sewer District who I wrote about in January. Hatcher, when I reached him, said he couldn't say anything. (The NBC publicist says contestants aren't allowed to speak to the media.)
Springer continues to ride a wave of good times since "Dancing with the Stars" on ABC's reality hit. He's taping a sitcom pilot this week in Los Angeles while preparing for the June 5 premiere of "America's Got Talent." NBC has first shot at the situation comedy, since NBC Universal owns his daytime talk show, he says. He's also booked appearances on the "Today" show and "Jimmy Kimmel Live," and as a presenter on the Daytime Emmys June 15. And he starts taping an 18th season of his daytime talk show in August.
Local "Jericho" fan David Brinker asked me to alert you about the protest campaigns over last week's cancellation of "Jericho" by CBS. Thousands of fans have sent peanuts to CBS, a reference to the Skeet Ulrich character saying "Nuts!" when asked if he would surrender.
Score one for Cincinnati Bell. The company is trying to cash in with Time Warner digital cable customers angry about missing the big season finales last Thursday due to a computer failure.
On page A9 of today's Enquirer, Cincinnati Bell has a color advertisement promoting it's "total home bundle" with DirecTV, home phone and Zoomtown. It reads:
"The season finales of Grey's Anatomy, CSI, and ER: Cable's Latest Victims." "How were last Thursday's season finales? Thanks to Time Warner's cable outage, subscribers in Greater Cincinnati didn't get to find out. Fed up with cable? Switch to a name you trust...."
Do you have Zoomtown & DirecTV? You happy with the service and reliability?
CET has placed a webcam at the Cincinnati Museum Center so you can watch local paleontologists assemble a dinosaur skeleton. I haven't seen much action today or yesterday, but CET folks say you can watch them preparing the carnivorous dinosaur Allosaurus fragilis "bone by bone" until the skeleton is completed with the skull on July 8.
So here's a surprise: Richard Skinner, one of the "Two Angry Guys" radio team, wasn't angry that he got fired unexpectedly Monday morning. And after talking to him and Tom Gamble, the other one of the "Two Angry Guys," I'm convinced that they'll be back on radio by the end of the year -- on SupertalkFM96.5, the new FM talk station with Andy Furman afternoons. It's just a hunch, but a good hunch, I think.
Background: For 11 years, former Post sportswriters were radio's popular "Two Angry Guys." First on WBOB-AM (1160), and since 2000 on Clear Channel's 1360 and 1530. They were so good that in November, when Clear Channel fired Andy Furman, that Tom Gamble was tapped to replace Furman as WLW-AM "SportsTalk" host. In February, Gamble decided he didn't want to work 6-9 p.m. and miss his family, and turned down the job. Since March, when his contract expired, the only radio he's been doing is "Sunday Morning SportsTalk" with Skinny. Skinner's ratings dropped without co-host Gamble, and he was fired Monday. Don't expect Gamble to continue on"Sunday Morning SportsTalk." He may be done at Clear Channel too, after what happened to his buddy Skinny.
So let me connect some dots: --Skinner seemed confident Monday that he'd find a new radio job. He wasn't depressed or worried. "This isn't the end of the Two Angry Guys," he said. --Gamble tells me that Clear Channel talked to him about taking over the Homer morning gig. I assume this means replacing his good friend Skinner. He refused. "I thought we were good together. I feel loyal to our show. I think the "Two Angry Guys" can still work." --Jeff Davis, assistant program director at SupertalkFM96.5, says "We'd love to have the Angry Guys." (Sure they would!) --SupertalkFM96.5 has syndicated Mancow in the morning that's not tearing up the town. When Mancow's first year is up in early November, it would be about 6 months after Skinner and Gamble left Clear Channel. That would be the typical length of a "non-compete" clause. --SupertalkFM96.5 needs a local morning show to establish itself as a talk station. You gotta be strong in morning drive, radio's prime time. --What other station in town would want a morning sports talk team?
So my best guess: The Two Angry Guys will be on Supertalk96.5 by Thanksgiving.
Sounds like they think they'll be working somewhere eventually. What's your prediction?
Don't count on Time Warner Cable to replay the season finales of "Grey's Anatomy," "CSI," "ER," "Scrubs" and other shows that digital-level customers missed last Thursday night due to a Time Warner computer failure.
Time Warner folks told me Friday they considering asking the networks for permission to replay the botch episodes locally. It's not going to happen. All Time Warner plans to do is alert me (us?) when the networks have scheduled reruns for those missed shows. Some help. (Actually I can tell you when the season finales will repeat: The week before those shows return in the fall. The season finales always rerun the week before.)
If you don't want to wait until September, Time Warner folks suggest that you go to the networks websites and watch the missed shows there. In other words, after paying TWC each month, you should go to another method of delivery to see the shows you paid for and didn't get. Some help! (And what about "ER" and "Scrubs," which aren't streamed by NBC? You're outta luck, I guess.)
For the record, here's what Time Warner Public Affiars Dir. Karen Baxter said today:
"We have made inquiries and we will let you know when the season replays are scheduled to air. "Replays of network programs are solely at the discretion of the network and the option to replay a program is not a local decision. We are certain that the networks will be rebroadcasting these popular programs. "The best option for fans to catch last week's episodes as soon as possible remains the networks' web sites. All of us at Time Warner Cable are very sorry for this inconvenience. Many of us are fans too and we know how upsetting it was to have your favorite shows interrupted."
Richard Skinner, the only local morning sports talk host, has been fired by Clear Channel's WCKY-AM (1530 Homer). He was told after his show this morning. His name and blog have been removed from the station's web site. Dave Armbruster, Homer program director, says Tim Lewis -- the "Big Dog" from old WBOB-AM who has been doing overnight WLW-AM news -- will take over 5:30-9 a.m. Tuesday. Gregg Doyel, a writer from CBS Sportsline frequently heard on Lance McAlister's afternoon show, will host 9 a.m. to noon with Mo Egger, a Homer sports talk producer and frequent fill-in. Armbruster says the changes were made to increase ratings. "It was time to change directions." For 10 years, Skinner was half of the "Two Angry Guys" with Tom Gamble on WBOB, WSAI-AM and WCKY-AM. He had been working solo since November, when WLW-AM fired Andy Furman.
Heading into the final three nights of May sweeps, it doesn't look like there are any seismic changes in the local news races from February sweeps. Sweeps end Wednesday night with finales for "American Idol" and "Lost."
--Channel 12 winning , , and
--Channel 9 winning 5, and
--Channel 19 winning
--Channel 5 last in all newcasts , and again fourth at behind "The Simpsons" on Channel 19. (Two years ago, Channel 5 had pulled into second place at for the first time in 13 years.)
The morning news remains very tight, as usual:
--Channel 12, 4.8 rating and 19% share --Channel 19, 3.5 rating and 14% share --Channel 9,3.3 rating and 13% share --Channel 5,2.6 rating and 10% share
And if anyone cared – and it looks like few did – ABC's "National Bingo Night" show at tanked here with a 3.3 rating and only 6% share of audience, in third place for the hour. "Bingo" also was third natioally. Maybe everyone was out playing Bingo…
Saturday AM update: Time Warner says digital cable (only digital level) throughout Greater Cincinnati crashed Thursday night due to a "computer failure." Each channel had to be rebooted individually. They said they started about 10:20 p.m., and it took about an hour.... although some customers told me their service was out until noon Friday. Time Warner says their considering asking networks for permission to repeat the finales missed Thursday night. Ch 9 also apprising ABC of situation. Some shows can be found online, but not NBC's ER or Scrubs. I'll post more as I know it next week. Thanks for all the emails and comments. --Kiese
Did your Time Warner Cable go out last night when you wanted to see the season finales of "Grey's Anatomy," "CSI," "ER," "Scrubs" and other shows? How frustrating was that? Tell me about it.
No, I really want you to tell me about it. Please e-mail me. I'm looking for frustrated viewers for a story about the outage. Please include your name, age, neighborhood or suburb, and daytime phone.
Also tell me if you gonna watch the finales you missed online today or sometime soon....
Smooth jazz returned to local airwaves at noon today when WCIN-AM (1480) after an eight-yea absence. Bob Cox, the St. Louis receiver appointed by Cincinnati federal court, says smooth jazz was an obvious void in the market.
The 24/7 satellite service plays Anita Baker, Boney James, Grover Washington Jr., George Benson and other artists not heard here regularly (except Saturday nights on WARM98) since the short-lived WAVE crashed (1995-99).
The daytime signal is fairly strong, with 4,500 watts. But it still will be tough to hear at night with only 300 watts.
UC's electronic media students at CCM must have been thrilled to see local TV news crews covering the annual black-tie student awards ceremony last night -- until they saw the 11 p.m. news.
Channel 12 showed Channel 12 General Manager Chris Sehring at the podium, and a quick sweep of the banquet goers at Northern Kentucky Convention Center.
Channel 9 showed Channel 9 anchor Clyde Gray, who received an award, and Channel 9 anchor Carol Williams, Channel 9 meteorologist Steve Raleigh and Channel 9 sports anchor Dennis Janson.
Neither station named any of the student winners at the 20th annual Frederic W. Ziv Awards. But we saw the station executives and anchors. How many times have you seen more of Carol, Clyde or Cammy instead of those honored at community events? Isn't that how TV stations usually cover award-winning news?
Did you see the eight Cincinnati Country Day School kids on "Good Morning America" today talking about Project Hope? They've raised over $500,000 to support a South African village. ABC has photos on its website: http://abcnews.go.com/gma Click on "HOPE in South Africa."
I can't get anything done at work today because everyone is talking about "American Idol" last night. I had figured -- and so had many others - that Melinda Doolittle would make it to the final two next week. But she went home last night...
Long before I knew Melinda's mom was from Cincinnati, and her dad from Hamilton, I thought she was the best singer this season. In the last couple of weeks, though, I was disappointed that she didn't have more of a stage presence, compared to Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis. But I figured she'd be there in the end with Jordin.
But it's reality TV, and quite unpredictable, and that's one of the reasons we watch. ("Survivor" fans had figured that Yau-Man would make it all the way, too.)
Did you think Melinda would make it to the finals, or win it all? So why was Melinda voted out last night? Who will win? And who would you pay to see perform in concert or buy a CD: Blake? Melinda? Jordin?
CBS has nuked "Jericho," and "The Class," but saved "The Unit" for fall.
CBS' new fall TV lineup will have five new shows, including three dramas -- but only one will be a crime show, reverse a trend in recent years. We'll see only one new comedy (from the creator of "Two And A Half Men"), a new reality show. We won't see the Emmy-winning "The Amazing Race" or Julia Louis-Drefus "New Adventures of Old Christine" until mid season.
The five new shows match the new show total for NBC, and combined still don't match the overhaul coming to ABC (11) this fall. Fox and CW announce on Thursday.
CBS' moves include sending "Without A Trace" back to Thursdays, with James Woods' "Shark" moving from 10 p.m. Thursday to 10 p.m. Sunday. "Rules of Engagement," a pretty solid spring comedy with Patrick Warburton ("Seinfeld") and David Spade, gets the prized 9:30 p.m. Monday slot after "Two And A Half Men."
Here are blurbs on the new shows: --"The Big Bang Theory," only new sitcom (8:30 Monday) about two computer geeks (Johnny Galecki from Roseanne, Jim Parsons from Judging Amy) with a hot neighbor (Kaley Cuoco, 8 Simple Rules). --"Cane," Florida-based soap about Cuban-American family in sugar cane and rum business. With Jimmy Smits, Rita Moreno, Hector Elizondo. It will air at 10 p.m. Tuesday against "Boston Legal." Doesn't sound like a sure thing to me... --"Viva Laughlin," a casino drama starring Hugh Jackman (also produces) and his rival (Lloyd Owen, "Young Indiana Jones Chronicles"). Like ABC's short-lived "Cop Rock," songs will advance the plot. Based on BBC show, "Viva Blackpool." Airs 8 p.m. Sunday, against "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and "The Simpsons," which also sometimes uses music to advance the plot. --"Moonlight," CBS' only new detective series stars a vampire (newcomer Alex O'Loughlin). Maybe there's a crossover with ABC's "Pushing Daisies," about the guy who can bring people back to life with his touch? ("Moonlight" airs at 9 p.m. Friday.) --"Kid Nation," CBS' new reality show, has 40 kids living for 40 days on their own to establish a new town in New Mexico. Sounds like a kid version of "Survivor?" It will air at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
ABC's decision to make a TV sitcom from a TV commercial -- "Cavemen," based on the Geico spots -- started me thinking of possible other TV shows based on commercials. Obviously, the TV networks have run out of ideas. So maybe we could help them by suggesting how to make TV series based on TV commercials.
I can think of a few. You can add others. Let's have some fun.
--"AFLAC!" If the Geico Cavemen deserve their own show, why not the AFLAC duck? Maybe with Yogi Berra as the wacky neighbor? Or he could make a cameo each week? Maybe comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who does the duck's voice, could make a cameo too?
--"Jared on the Subway": Jared from the Subway commercials intervenes in people's busy lives and gets them to eat right, eat fresh.
--"Marty & Joe": Based on their popular Kroger commercials, the comic adventures of Big Joe Nuxhall and his little buddy Marty Brennaman. Or will Marty's hair and makeup demands bust the budget?
--"Derek Said It Would Be Like This:" If ABC can do a drama about a lawyer who's a prophet ("Eli Stone"), why not a series about a TV weatherman who not only uncannily gets the forecast right every single day, but can predict many other future events? Like the TV news ratings and anchor changes?
What else? That limo driver from the White Castle commercials (oh, the stories he could tell)? Who from beer commercials? Let's have some fun today.
5/17 UPDATE: WCIN-AM has a new operator, Bob Cox, appointed successor receiver by the federal district court. Cox, of St. Louis, says the station is not for sale. He plans to it around with a new format to be unveiled by the end of the week. He wouldn't say it would be music or talk. All the on-air staff -- one full-time person (Savannah) and nine part-timers were terminated on Tuesday when the heartbeat stunt began. --Kiese
OK, what's up with WCIN-AM (1480)? Anyone know? Or have a good guess?
Tune in 1480, and all you hear is a heartbeat on the station, which has branded itself as "the pulse of Cincinnati." I'm told that on the hourly station ID, you'll hear: "You asked for it, and prayed for it... Coming soon."
Is WCIN going gospel? For years WCIN has played gospel on Sundays, and done a mix of R&B, jazz and syndicated talk the rest of the week. The station has been in receivership and for sale for several years.
GM John Thomas just told me: "I can't say anything until tomorrow." Was the station sold? "No." You changing formats? "I can't comment."
It's been a tough go for WCIN-AM since WDBZ-AM lured away Lincoln Ware and signed on seven years ago. Even before that, WCIN-AM tried classical music. In recent years WNOP-AM (740) owners gave up jazz and sold to the Catholics, and WCVG-AM (1320) switched from gospel to all-Latino last summer.
Back to the drawing board. ABC canceled a bunch of comedies, and announced 11 new shows -- more than twice that NBC did yesterday. Four of the 11 are sitcoms -- including one with the Geico caveman and a new Christina Applegate comedy -- while NBC didn't roll out any new comedies Monday.
Say goodbye to "George Lopez," "In Case of Emergency," "Help Me Help You," "Knights of Prosperity, " "Big Day," "What About Brian," "In Case of Emergency, " "Six Degrees," "The Nine," "Day Break" and William Shatner's short-lived game show, "Show Me The Money." No surprises here, except for maybe "What About Brian."
Still on the bubble is Jim Belushi's "According to Jim." It may be back for midseason.
Back for sure are two spring tryouts, "October Road" and "Notes from the Underbelly." Not on the fall schedule is "Lost," which will return sometime in early '08 to run without repeats into May sweeps. Also back are "Supernanny" and "Wife Swap."
The four comedies are: --"Caveman," a "unique buddy comedy" (I love the TV PR lexicon) about three modern cavemen in Atlanta. --"Sam I Am," with Christina Applegate with amnesia, and discovering that she wasn't a very nice, honest or loving person before her eight-year coma. --"Miss/Guided," from Ashton Kutcher, about a woman (Judy Greer, "Arrested Development") who returns to her alma mater as a guidance counselor. --"Carpoolers," about four guys who carpool. Hey, that should last three weeks. Stars include Fred Goss (from "Sons & Daughters," fictionally set in Hamilton last year), Jerry O'Connell and Faith Ford.
The seven new dramas are: --"Private Practice," the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff with Kate Walsh, Tim Daly, Amy Brenneman and Taye Diggs. --"Pushing Daisies," from Barry Sonnenfeld ("Men In Black") and Bryan Fuller ("Heroes") about a detective (Lee Pace) whose touch brings dead things back to life. With Chi McBride, Kristin Chenoweth, Swoosie Kurtz. --"Dirty, Sexy Money," an idealistic lawyer (Peter Krause) goes to work for a filthy rich family (Donald Sutherland, Jill Cralburgh, William Baldwin). --"Eli Stone," a San Francisco lawyer who becomes a prophet after some hallucinations. Only in San Francisco? With Jonny Lee Miller, Victor Garber. --"Women's Murder Club," based on James Patterson's novels, about a San Francisco detective, district attorney, newspaper reporter and medical examiner who join forces to solve crimes. With Angie Harmon, Paula Newsome. What's up with San Francisco on ABC this fall? --"Big Shots," about four CEO buddies, with possibly the strongest cast of fall so far: Dylan McDermott, Joshua Malina, Michael Vartan and Christopher Titus. --"Cashmere Mafia," about four career girlfriends. With Lucy Liu, Bonnie Somerville, Mirando Otto and Frances O'Connor. Will debut after "Dancing with the Stars" and "The Bachelor" fall season ends in November.
So here's something to talk about: Did you watch the "Grey's Anatomy" spinoff? Will you watch more? Do you disagree with any of the ABC shows canceled? Which of these new shows sound most promising? Cavemen???
First the good news: Fourth-placed NBC has rewnewed "Friday Night Lights," all three "Law & Order" shows and the entire Thursday lineup, including "Scrubs." That should make a lot of people happy.
More good news: NBC ordered 30 episodes of "The Office," and 25 of "My Name Is Earl," instead of usual 22. More shows, fewer reruns. Smart.
Gone are "Crossing Jordan," "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip," "The Black Donnellys," "Andy Barker PI," "20 Good Years," "Kidnapped" and "Raines." Also not mentioned in NBC's 2007-08 season release is "The Apprentice," so we'll have to see if Trump is done at NBC.
Midseason replacement shows include "The IT Crowd," with Cincinnati native Rocky Carroll ("The Agency," "Chicago Hope"), based on the British comedy about quirky IT guys, and the "Lipstick Jungle," adapted from Candace Bushnell's ("Sex and the City") novel by Lakota HS grad DeAnn Heline and her writing partner, Eileen Heisler. It premieres in January after NBC's Sunday night football at 10 p.m. Sunday, against ABC's "Brothers & Sisters."
The new shows: --"Heroes: Origins," a spin-off of "Heroes" introducing a new character, one of whom will be chosen by viewers to become a regular cast member in fall 2008. NBC ordered a combined 30 episodes for "Heroes" and "Heroes: Origins." My guess is that there will be about eight "Origins," airing once a month, to cut down on "Heroes" reruns.
--"Bionic Woman," a remake of the 1976-78 series starring Michelle Ryan ("EastEnders") as a bartender with super powers after a car accident.
--"Journeyman," a San Francisco newspaper reporter (Kevin McKidd, "Rome") travels through time and change people’s lives.
--"Chuck," a computer geek (Zachary Levi, "Less Than Perfect") becomes a government spy after accidentally downloading government secrets into his brain.
--"Life," a detective (Damian Lewis, "Band of Brothers") wrongly imprisoned returns to the police force to work under a demanding boss (Adam Arkin, "Chicago Hope").
NBC has scheduled only one new reality series for fall:
--"The Singing Bee," a karaoke showdown in which contestants must accurately sing lyrics to popular songs, even after the music stops.
Three midseason series are:
--"The IT Crowd" with Rocky Carroll ("Chicago Hope," "Roc," "The Agency"). No scheduled premiere date.
--“Lipstick Jungle,” NBC calls this a dramedy from Helene and Heisler ("How I Met Your Mother," "Murphy Brown") about a movie executive (Brooke Shields, "Suddenly Susan"), a designer (Lindsay Price, "Beverly Hills 90210") and a fashion magazine editor (Kim Raver, "24").
--"World Moves," with dance teams demonstrating their athleticism and creativity in a reality show from "American Idol" judge Randy Jackson and the World Hip Hop Championship creators.
ABC announces its fall lineup Tuesday, CBS goes Wednesday and Fox & CW announce Thursday.
Move over Jeff Ruby, and let Doc Kremchek share the news spotlight out of Cincinnati. Dr. Timothy Kremchek, Reds medical director and respected sports medicine expert (aka Doc Hollywood), appears on the "Fox Report" with Shepard Smith today (7-8 p.m., Fox News Channel) to talk about New York City banning aluminum bats from youth baseball, says a spokesman for Kremchek.
If you miss it, the segment will be posted sometime next week on Kremchek's Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine website, http://www.beaconortho.com
WLW-AM's promise to work with local Hispanic groups after removing "The Big Juan" billboards with the stereotypical Mexian has generated a prompt response from one local Latino leader.
Alfonso Cornejo, the Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA board president, has asked that WLW-AM, the city's No. 1 talk station, tone down its talk about immigrants and immigration to ease the city's race tension.
Cornejo received a letter Thursday from Churck Frederick, local Clear Channel market manager and WLW-AM general manager, expressing his regrets for the billboard campaign and his interest in being "part of the solution moving forward." Frederick didn't use the word "apology," but Cornejo accepted it as one.
So on Friday Cornejo personally handed a letter to Frederick suggesting how WLW-AM could be part of the solution: "We ask you to pledge that your station's airwaves will not permit divisive rhetoric, especially in the form on-air comments, concerning immigration or the ethnic makeup of our community. The recent advancements in race relations made since the Cincinnati riots are too precious to put at risk for a larger market share."
Next week Frederick will meet with Jason Riveiro, president of the local League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to talk about sensitivity sessions or a multi-cultural advisory board for WLW. Bill Cunningham at a sensitivy session? I don't know that would ever happen, but Latino and other groups realize the impact that WLW-AM's conservative talk hosts -- and callers -- have as the city's No. 1 station. Yet they're seeking limitations on free speech....
So "The Big Juan" billboards are gone, but their impact could be felt for a while. We'll see how this plays out.
Did you see Ch 5 traffic reporter Pete Scalia surprise his girlfriend live on TV today? Scalia invited Amy Storer in to talk about her Cincy Chic online magazine, and moving back here from Philadelphia, shortly after 6 a.m. today.... Then dropped down on one knee and asked her to marry him. She was totally surprised and overwhemled, to say the least. She said yes, and then got off the best line: "Where the engagement news comes first, News 5." You can see it on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rU5jGCi6NPI Or on the Ch. 5 site: http://www.wlwt.com/video/13301026/index.html?source=
The Television Critics Assocation has asked members for nominations for TV's best, as the 06-07 season comes to a close May 23.
So I'm soliciting your help on two of the categories. One is similar to the blog I wrote a few weeks ago about evaluating the 06-07 season. Here they are:
--Outstanding New Program: Best new series televised for the first time between May 26, 2006, and May 24, 2007. I'm allowed three nominations -- so which would you pick? I'm leaning towards Heroes, Ugly Betty and Brothers & Sisters. Among the others: 30 Rock, Jericho, Friday Night Lights (which has been renewed for fall, according to TVweek.com today), Rules of Engagement, Men In Trees, Shark, Dexter, Dirt, This American Life, My Boys, Sarah Silverman and a bunch of shows that likely will be canceled next week: Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip, The Black Donnellys, Andy Barker, Kidnapped, Justice, Raines, The Nine, Daybreak, etc.
--Program of the year: The best program -- series, special, movie, news -- on TV this broadcast year, since May 26 last year. I'm leaning towards Heroes, House and Ugly Betty, though I'm tempted to nominate Jon Stewart's Daily Show. Or American Idol? Grey's Anatomy? The Office? 30 Rock? Your recommendations?
--Just saw a post to this blog about "24" and I've decided to add my own third category: What show were you most disappointed in this year? Which show creatively disappointed you the most? Was it 24? Lost? Studio 60? You tell me.
So what does "The Music Professor" know about country music? We'll find out when Jim LaBarbara subs for Duke Hamilton 3-7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday on WUBE-FM (B105.1). In fact, you might hear him a little today, as he sits in with Duke this afternoon for a refresher course on running the board.
LaBarbara says he has a "pretty good collection" of country music at home -- Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts, etc.
"I try to keep up with all music," says LaBarbara, 65, who was fired in March from WGRR-FM after 38 years on radio here. He was No. 4 afternoons in the winter ratings when his contract was not renewed in a Cumulus budget move.
Subbing for Duke Hamilton two days on the city's No. 2 station will allow LaBarbara to show his versatility for prospective employers. "I’m limited in my radio options because I’m not leaving Cincinnati," says LaBarbara, who also has done talk radio and sports talk.
Until November, when the station was traded to Cumulus (WRRM-FM, 98.5), LaBarbara had worked down the hall from B105. He was hired by WGRR-FM in 1993 by Marty Thompson, now B105 program director. Thompson calls the two-day a chance "to help out a friend. This is an opportunity for him to get back on the air and put a tape together."
Just saw that WLW-AM has posted this "Billboard Update" on its 700WLW website:
"We sincerely regret any offense created by our recent billboard advertisements. We moved quickly last week to request immediate removal by the billboard company. They are in the final stages of that process."
But that's not an apology, say Alfonso Cornejo, Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA board president, and Jason Riveiro, president of the local League of United Latin American Citizens chapter. Their organizations were among a coalition of 20 religious, ethnic and community groups which demanded a written apology last week for WLW-AM's "The Big Juan" billboards showing a Mexican man in a sombrero with a donkey.
"I consider it an update. I think they need to make a press release. I just happened to stumble upon the statement (on the web). They need to make a press release so people who need to hear it can hear it," says Riveiro, the spokesman at Tuesday's press conference. He says he has an appointment Tuesday with Chuck Frederick, WLW-AM general manager and Clear Channel market manager, to discuss setting up sensitivity sessions and a multi-cultural community advisory board for the station.
The website statement "is not an apology," Cornejo says. "That's not what we're looking for. We want a letter addressed to us, apologizing and explaining to us what happened. I spoke to Chuck Frederick Monday and Tuesday, and I'm told I'll get a letter of apology Thursday."
In an email this morning, Frederick tells me all the billboards have been taken down.
Cindy Matthews -- who vanished from Ch 9 last summer -- returns to TV Friday to fill in during Sheila Gray's maternity leave from "Fox 19 In The Morning." Matthews will appear on the show Thursday, and then co-host with Rob Williams on Friday, the day Gray is scheduled to deliver her baby.
Matthews was last seen subbing during Kathrine Nero's maternity leave from Ch 9's morning show. Ch 9 news director Bob Morford told me last fall Matthews was taking some time off from TV to travel Asia and elsewhere. She called Ch. 19 to offer her services knowing that Gray was expecting soon, and Tricia Macke was headed for maternity leave immediately after the May sweeps ends May 23.
"I think Cindy is a great choice. She'll do a good job, and she's such a nice person," Gray says.
Are you looking forward to seeing Cindy Matthews back on the air?
Back in January, Robert Hatcher -- the Westwood guy who made it to the Hollywood round on "Idol" -- told me that the women were better singers than the men this season. That turned out to be so true, with only one guy in the final four.
My guess is that Melinda and Jordin will be the two finalists singing on May 22. Who do you think will win: Blake, LaKisha, Jordin or Melinda?
Not only are "The Big Juan" billboards coming down, but the Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati USA is demanding a written apology and an explanation for the campaign. Chamber Board President Alfonso Cornejo hand-delivered a protest letter to WLW-AM last week about the "hateful campaign." He says Chuck Frederick, Clear Channel market manager, said all 82 billboards would be down by Tuesday. Some along interstates and major highways were removed over the weekend. In a letter to WLW-AM, and Clear Channel corporate executives in San Antonio, the chamber board said: "Perhaps someone at your station believes there was humor in this hateful campaign. But rest assured, this is not funny in the least.... Pictures on the billboard do nothing to help our city or its people. To the contrary, they serve as a daily reminder of the offensive mindset that cause the disgraceful acts that divide our community."
Have you ever been a contestant on "The Price Is Right?" My colleague Lauren Bishop is looking for Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky residents who have been on the show. She's writing a story tied to Bob Barker's retirement.
If you've had the chance to "come on down" at CBS Studio City, then e-mail Lauren at email@example.com. She wants to know when you appeared on the show, if you won anything, and your impression of Barker. Be sure to include your full name, age, town or neighborhood, and a daytime phone number.
I know some of you love him, and some of you hate him... But starting Saturday, you'll hear less of Darryl Parks. The opinionated WLW-AM operations manager loses an hour of his Saturday morning talk show to a paid program, the "Mutual Fund Show."
Parks will be "in the bunker" with Sensible Don for just two hours () Saturday, so Alan Bold's "Mutual Fund Show" can air at The "Mutual Fund Show" also airs on Clear Channel's WTVN-AM in Columbus, WTAM-AM in Cleveland and WHAS-AM in Louisville.
Winter quarter Arbitron ratings (Jan.-March) came out today with several surprises.
--The Sound: "The Sound" (WSDW-FM, 94.9), was a strong #2 for men ages 18-34, second to WEBN-FM. It was #3 for all listeners ages 18-34 (behind KISS and 'EBN). It's operated by Bonneville, which is buying the old CBS/Entercom cluster of WKRQ-FM (Q102) and country WUBE-FM (B105.1) . "The Sound" has more than doubled the audience that CBS had a year ago for rocker WAQZ-FM on 97.3. The strong debut for the mix of AAA/new & '90s alternative rock/Top 40/Hot AC -- surprised me given all the carping about lousy Cincinnati radio by readers of this blog.
--SupertalkFM96.5: Many have been asking how Andy Furman is doing on SupertalkFM96.5, and now we know: Not so super as I had expected. Furman's afternoon show on Cumulus' WFTK-FM was #18 overall, while Lance McAlister's sports talk on WCKY-AM (HOMER 1530) was No. 13. He was also beaten by Dayton country station WHKO-FM, and Christian WAKW-FM. Overall, the station was tied at #19 with the BUZZ (WDBZ-AM), while HOMER landed at #17. Furman and GM Karrie Sudbrack, hired away from Clear Channel in February, say they're pleased with the first full ratings book for the talk format new to the FM dial. Furman also says more definitive ratings come out Friday, for his exact 4-7 time period. What was released Thursday was for Arbitron's afternoon block of 3-7 p.m.
"Supertalk is brand new. People are just beginning to find us now. We almost beat WCKY in our first book. I'll take that," says TJ Holland, operations director. Sudbrack says she's "definitely exploring putting on more local shows" on Supertalk.
At 7 p.m. Sunday, the weekly "City Talk" urban issues show with Michael Sweeney and Tom Schaefer, moves to Supertalk from WSAI-AM. Councilman Chris Bortz will talk about the Banks project.
--WGRR: The trade for WGRR-FM from Entercom/CBS has paid off for Cumulus. Under Keith Mitchell (formerly MOJO), the station jumped to #3 overall. The station now plays mostly classic hits from the '70s, '80s and '90s. "We've made some subtle changes, and it's done well," Holland says. (Have some of the old MOJO listeners tuned in WGRR?) Longtime DJ Jim LaBarbara, who was fired in March, was #4 afternoons on WGRR-FM for all listeners, behind WLW's Gary Burbank, WUBE's Duke Hamilton and WEBN's Jay Gilbert. Mitchell replaced him last month in a budget moved ordered by corporate.
--WKRC: After Jerry Thomas retired in December, after 44 years on the station, ratings went up. The station jumped to #8 from #10 in fall. The new morning show -- with Jerry's kid, Brian, and John Philips -- was #9 in the 25-54 demo advertisers want, up from #14 in fall.
--MOJO: MOJO cooled off, after a fall debut at #9 on the new frequency (100.3) with a new owner (Radio One). WMOJ-FM fell to #11, behind #10 sister station WIZ.
--WOLF: The move of country WYGY-FM cost the station more than half of its audience, compared to a year ago. Bonneville's WOLF 97.3 draw a 1.5 share of the audience, compared to a 3.7 share as STAR 96.5. The WOLF signal is not as powerful as the old Cumulus station. But Bonneville now owns both, so it can protect B105 from losing too much to a second country station. And with some listeners uphappy about WOLF dumping Ken & Kitty, we'll see which way ratings go for the spring quarter.
--WLW-AM: No surprise. Still #1 with all listeners and 25-54. --WUBE-FM: No surprise. Still #2 with all listeners and 25-54. --WEBN-FM: No surprise. #1 with men 18-34, #2 (to KISS) for all 18-34, #3 25-54. --WOFX-FM: "Bob & Tom" still kick butt. #1 morning show 25-54 & 18-34, and #2 with all listeners (age 12 and older).
I heard Scott Springer sportscasts this morning on WLW-AM for the first time in two weeks. He had another bad reaction to a shot his neurological movement disorder (oral mandibular focal dystonia). As he explains it, the muscles around my mouth and lips don't cooperate with what the brain is telling them to do.
But he won't be back tomorrow. Bill Bangert will resume fill-in sports reports Friday, because "the experiment didn't go so well." Read more about it -- and his thoughts on reality TV -- on his blog http://700wlw.com/pages/onair_scottspringer.html
See the boy in the middle, with the maroon striped shirt? That's Travis Banks, 9, of Goshen on the "Ellen Degeneres Show" airing 10 a.m. Thursday on Ch. 9. Banks, a third-grader at Spaulding Elementary in Goshen, shows Degeneres the "focus glasses" he invented for the school's Invention Convention in February.
"Ellen" publicist Melissa Little says that Degeneres, during the taping Tuesday night in Burbank, Calif., tried on the eyeglassed with blinders and ear plugs.
Not only did Travis and three other kids get to be on national TV, but Ellen also gave each an iMac for coming on the show, Little says.
Says Darrell Edwards, Spaulding prinicipal: They're to help kids who have problems paying attention in class. It was a cute little invention."
Don't expect to see reporter Michael Flannery, whose contract was not renewed March 30 by Ch. 9, on another TV station any time soon. Although Flannery did not have a non-compete, meaning he could work for another station immediately, "none of the other (stations) have called. I'm still looking," he says.
Flannery 48, and father of three (8, 6, 4) has been doing some freelancing, but hasn't found a full-time job yet.
We were talking because Debbie Baker at the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati is organizing a thank-you party for Flannery June 10 at Crossroods Community Church, Oakley. She wants to hear from "anyone and everyone" who was touched by Flannery's "9 On Your Kids Side" reports on Ch. 9. He raised more than $1 million in five years to help area kids in need.
If you were helped by Flannery, email Baker at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 513-761-5400. The 6:30 p.m. program is free and open to the public. Tickets for a 5 p.m. appreciation dinner before the program are $10 for adults, $4 for children. She's also collecting funds for a "Gift of Grace," named for Flannery's daughter with Down Syndrome, to provide activity and therapy funds for children.
Those of us who heard Cris Collinsworth in his early days of WLW-AM's "SportsTalk" know he's come a long way in 18 years. And none of us -- even Collinsworth himself -- ever envisioned that he'd win national Sports Emmys for his commentary. But on Monday night, Collinsworth broke his own record by winning a seventh Sports Emmy for outstanding sports studio analyst (for HBO and NBC), and then he won an eighth for best game analyst.
"To win both is ridiculous. I never got a Super Bowl ring, but I had a pretty good night in broadcasting. That will do for me," he says.
The best studio analyst honor comes from both NBC's "Football Night in America" pregame show and HBO's weekly "Inside the NFL." His competition was TNT's Charles Barkley, ESPN's Jay Bilas and Kirk Herbstreit, and Fox's Jeff Hammond.
The game commentary award was for his NFL Network games last fall. His competition was Fox's Tim McCarver and Darrell Waltrip, NBC's Johnny Miller and ESPN's Jerry Bailey.
When I talked to Collinsworth today, he didn't forget his humble beginnings in Cincinnati radio. He thanked Bob Trumpy, Bill Cunningham, Andy Furman and others at WLW for their guidance and patience.
"The hardest thing I ever did was being put in a room (studio) by myself, and doing a show for three hours," he says. "Did they beat me up? Yes. Did I almost get fired? About 10 times. I didn’t go to journalism school. Lots of the mistakes I made, I made on WLW. But you survive over time, and eventually get pretty good."
OK, so maybe I'm a homer, but I think Collinsworth deserves the Emmys. I think he's one of the best? Do you? I also like Joe Morgan on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, but he wasn't a nominee. Which announcers do you like on what sports?
Was anybody surprised that the Spanish-language billboards were put up by WLW-AM? In phase two of the campaign, there's a Mexican fellow, "The Big Juan." But we already knew that WLW-AM was the ugly American.... This helps build ratings? Only by having people talk about WLW. Again. So I won't say any more.
Consumer expert Clark Howard will broadcast a show for Greater Cincinnati listeners only at 4 p.m. Thursday on WSAI-AM (1360). Howard, heard twice daily on 'SAI at 7-10 a.m., and 4-7 p.m., is coming to town for his book tour. He'll sign "Clark Smart Real Estate" ($13.95; Hyperion) at 7 p.m. Thursday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Norwood.