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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, January 31, 2008

How Did You Find Lost?

Did you like the season premiere of "Lost?" Was it worth the wait? Live up to the hype?

I'll admit that I'm not a fan. I didn't watch the first season, and haven't been able to get into it in subsequent seasons.... So tell me: Was it any good tonight? I'm interested to see what fans have to say about it.

Sensible Don Pulls Off The Road

Now "Sensible Don" Lewis has more time to call WLW-AM (700) talk shows.

Lewis, 63, a regular talk show caller for more than a decade, retires Friday after 40 years and four months as a Metro bus driver, usually on route #4 Montgomery Road out to Kenwood and back downtown.

The Bond Hill resident, who has driven over than 2 million miles without an accident, will be honored Friday with a 1 p.m. party at the Bond Hill Metro garage. He retires as Metro's current longest tenured driver, says Sallie Hilvers, Metro spokeswoman. (The above photo is of Lewis receiving the "National Safety Council 2 Million Mile Award" for 30 years without a preventable accident from Metro CEO Mike Setzer.)

Lewis will begin retirement by co-hosting WLW-AM 8-9 a.m. Saturday with Gary Jeff Walker. He hasn't been a regular Saturday co-host since last summer, due to a dispute with the station, he says. He first subbed for Mike McConnell in 1994, he says.

But he continues to call talk show hosts during the day, as he has for years. He got the nickname "Sensible Don" because "being a black man, I can say things that other (white) people can't say and not get in trouble." He considers himself "a conservative on issues of society," but supports Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.

Expect to hear more from Don on the airwaves. "I'll be calling them more because I'll have time on my hands," Lewis says.

Sweeps Are Here

Sweeps months starts today, as if you couldn't tell from the return of "Lost" and all the local TV news special reports and stunt....

Channel 12 has another cold murder case at 11 p.m. today after "Without A Trace," and a "Survivor" contest starting next week with the new "Survivor"...

Channel 9 has an I-Team report at 6 p.m. today by Brendan Keefe about unsanitary glassware in hotel rooms...

Channel 19 on Monday will show the cameos by Sheila Gray and Rob Williams in the new ""The Great Buck Howard" movie, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival last week. They shot the scenes in October 2006. John Malkovich stars as a washed magician who hires an apprentice (Colin Hanks, Tom's kid). Tom Hanks also appears in the film.....

Channel 5 at 5 p.m. today starts a local "Clash of the Choirs" competition with singers from Winton Woods High School, School for Creative & Performing Arts, Elder Glee Club, First Unitarian Church Choir, Cincinnati Super Choir, Cincinnati Sound, Allen Temple AME Church Choir and the Cincinnati Boychor. Many of the groups have ties to the Team Lachey from NBC's "Clash of the Choirs" in December. Courtis Fuller's segment will air at 5 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, then viewers can vote on their favorite choirs. And the winner... gets to sing "Derek Said it Would" for a Channel 5 promo.

Since you want to talk about local TV sweeps stuff – three posts were put"The First 48" Avondale murder blog very quickly today – here's a forum to talk about sweeps.

Derek said it would be like this?

Avondale's Peace Bowl Murder on A&E

One of the city's more embarrassing moments last year – the Avondale murder which halted the youth football "Peace Bowl" Aug. 12 – will be featured on "The First 48" today (10 p.m., A&E).

Earnest Crear, 19, was shot twice -- in the head and back – south of Knott Street and Rockdale Avenue while boys ages 6-12 were playing football in a tournament organized to promote peace and unity on inner-city streets. It was the 11th homicide in Avondale, and the city's 44th of the year.

Detectives Greg Gehring and Kurt Ballman interviewed witnesses who saw a group of young adults gathered on the street during the football game. Officers eventually learned the attack was in retaliation for an earlier fight involving Crear's friend and Dante Allen, 19, who was arrested 10 days later. Court records later showed that Allen, charged with felonious assualt in May, should have been in jail. But he had been released after a prosecutor failed to request a bond for Allen pending his trial.

This is the second straight week Cincinnati police appear on "The First 48."

Jeff Davis' New Radio Job

Since so many of you commented about the Jeff Davis firing three weeks by Cumulus (96 Rock/Supertalk, WARM98, greatest hits WGRR-FM), I wanted to pass along this update.... Davis starts Friday in sales for WDJO-AM (1160 AM), the Dusty Rhodes oldies station.

It's good news for a good guy, a radio geek who started at age 16 working for the old WCLU-AM (1320) in Covington after Elder High School classes. He had been with WARM98 since 1995, and done just about everything: overnights, morning show producer, traffic (the "Road Dog" on country Star 96.5), Carmon DeLeone's sidekick on WARM 98's recently canceled "Sunday Morning Music Hall," and Supertalk assistant program director. He was fired four weeks after the format switched to 96 Rock.

At WDJO, Davis "may show up on the air occasionally, too but it's really a sales job. Time for me to see how that side of the business lives," he says.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rosecrans New Blog

C. Trent Rosecrans has a new gig. The former Reds beat writer for the Cincinnati Post and, and a rotating guest during WLW-AM's Cincinnati Reds games broadcasts, has been hired as Clear Channel Cincinnati's online sports blogger and on-air sports reporter. He was on the air this morning with Alan Cutler, who called him Rosencrans.

His blog is posted on the WCKY-AM 1530 Homer website at

Friday, January 25, 2008

Has Strike Changed Your TV Habits?

With the Writers Guild of America strike completing its third month, and many of your favorite prime-time series ("Grey's Anatomy," "30 Rock," "Heroes," "The Office") out of original episodes, I want to know: Have your viewing habits changed?

Are you watching "American Gladiators," "The Moment of Truth" and more reality or cable series? Are you seeking out "Law & Order" or any new scripted episodes you can find? Maybe you're using the time to see DVD sets of old favorites.

Do you enjoy the writer-less late-night shows by Jay Leno or Jon Stewart?

Or are you striking back by watching less TV? If so, how are you spending that time?

I'm looking for people willing to comment for a story. I want you to email me your comments, not post them here on my blog. Email me, subject line "Writers Strike."

In your email, you must give your full name, age, your neighborhood or town, and a daytime phone number.

I need comments by Friday, Feb. 1. I hope to hear from a lot of you!


From The Top, From Montgomery To Hawaii

Kaori Matsui, 16, from Montgomery performs on NPR's "From The Top" program for young classical musicians in a special two-hour show Saturday (9-11 a.m.) on WGUC-FM (90.9).

A violinist, the Sycamore High School sophomore will play Wieniawski's "Polonaise Brillante" in the second hour.

Matsui auditioned for the public radio program last summer while attending Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan. She got the call from the show in October, and taped it ov. 16 in Maui.

During the broadcast, Matsui chats with host Christopher O'Riley about her move from Japan, and love for lacrosse. She also is a member of the Starling Chamber Orchestra at the UC College-Conservatory of Music. She has been studying violin since 5, and someday wants to have her own chamber music group, play for a Broadway musical or teach.

A Minute With Andy Furman

My story in Sunday's paper has resulted in Andy Furman's return to radio, at least for a minute.

Starting Monday morning, Furman will do a one-minute weekday commentary on Dusty Rhodes' morning show on oldies WDJO-AM (1160) at 7:55 a.m.

WDJO-AM operations manager Rodger Kay says he called Furman after seeing my story about Furman saying his radio career was over, with the demise of SupertalkFM96.5. Furman's contract was not renewed when WFTK-FM switched to 96 Rock in December. He had worked there one year, after being fired by Clear Channel after 18 years on WLW-AM. The former Latonia Race Course promoter says he’s looking for promotion, public relations, marketing or sales work.

Kay says Furman's essays will be like Tony Michaels' old "One Man's Opinion" commentaries, "one of the most popular features" on WGRR-FM in the 1990s.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another First 48 From Cincinnati Tonight

"The First 48" features another Cincinnati Police case tonight (9 p.m., A&E), about a murder in the East End.

Here's the episode description for "Dead Sleep/Tag Team," Episode 92: Cincinnati Homicide Detective Kurt Ballman investigates a brutal beating death in the close-knit East End neighborhood. In Memphis, Lieutenant Toney Armstrong and Sergeant Mason use surveillance footage to track down the killer of local teenager."

The A&E reality series, about police investigative work in the first 48 hours after a crime, filmed here last year. A "First 48" crew returned to town earlier this month to film more episodes.

College Hill native Dion Graham, a New York-based actor, narrates the show.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

UC Bearcats on CinCW Tonight

Could this be a sign of things to come, after WXIX-TV's cancellation of the UC basketball contract after 26 years? The CinCW, WKRC-TV's digital channel, airs the UC-Connecticut Big East basketball game tonight (7:30 p.m., Time Warner Channel 20, Insight Channel 25).

The CinCW has scheduled four Big East basketball games produced by ESPN, which holds the rights to all Big East basketball and football games. Two will be Wednesday prime-time games that Channel 19 passed on, so not to pre-empt "American Idol" – tonight and Pitt on Feb. 27 -- says Rick Wagar, program director.

The CinCW also gets UC twice on its weekend Big East basketball package -- Marquette (Feb. 2) and Georgetown (Feb. 23). The CinCW also carried some UC football games as part of its weekend Big East football package last fall.

In early December, Channel 19 opted out of its 10-year TV deal with UC. The last Fox 19 original telecast was UC-Miami Dec. 29, the last assignment for director David Ashbrock before his job was eliminated. Fox 19 will has two more UC basketball games produced by ESPN -- Seton Hall Sunday and Connecticut (March 8).

Here's a warning to CW fans: CinCW will delay "Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants" to appoximately 9:30 p.m., and "Gossip Girl" to about 10:30 p.m.

A Moment Of Truth

Updated Thurs AM: So maybe the first question on Fox's "Moment of Truth" premiere Wednesday should have been: "Do you like the name Tinker?"

Former UC football player Tinker Keck was the first person in the hot seat. He went by his middle name, Ty, when introduced by host Mark Wahlberg. Keck, 31, answered 12 questions correctly, and wiped out on the 13th, when he lied about having touched a female client "more than required" as a personal trainer. He was going for a $100,000, and lost all of his previous winnings ($25,000).

The question not asked was: "You'd really do anything to get a few minutes of attention on national TV, wouldn't you?" The questions asked contestants were a mix of personal things that you'd not ask a person in public otherwise, or just dumb stuff: If your wife got flabby, would you want her to get liposuction? Do you think you're the best looking of all your friends? Do you consider yourself better looking than most men your age? As a football players did you sneak a peek at another man's privates while taking a shower? Have you used the Internet to flirt with other women since married? Have you gone through a coworkers belongings without their knowledge?

Frankly, this is stuff I don't want to know or need to know. I didn't find this whole humiliating process entertaining, though I'm sure many will for the shock value. It could be a big hit, but I won't be watching....

Did you watch? Will you watch again?

Below is what I posted Wednesday before the show...

Do you plan to watch Fox's "Moment of Truth" lie detector show after "American Idol" tonight? The show probably will do big ratings at 9 p.m. (Channel 19, 45) because it follows "Idol," and because of our curiosity in watching human train wrecks.

I wish I could tell you more about the show, but Fox only sent out a 3-minute preview to TV writers, not much more than you've seen on the constant promotions during "American Idol."

For a chance to win $500,000, and be on national TV, people are willing to be asked questions such as: Did you ever inappropriately touch female coworkers? Will you ever forgive your husband for his gambling loses? Do you ever wish you were born into another family? Have you ever made an adult video and uploaded it to the internet? Will you still be married five years from now? (They've already been asked the questions before the show while hooked to a lie detector. A voice over tells the audience if the person is telling the truth or not.)

Fox didn't tell us is that Jerry Springer is hosting the same show in England, called "Nothing But The Truth." It's one of 23 international editions from creator Howard Schultz ("Extreme Makeover"). You can see Springer stories at:,,2234394,00.html

My guess is that Springer makes a better host than Mark Wahlberg, who fronts the Fox show. Wahlberg doesn't bring much warmth or humor of the show from what little I've seen.

Actually, what I'd like to see is Walberg or Springer as a guest on this show. Wouldn't it be fun to see Springer answer questions like:

Do you regret your daytime talk show career?
Wouldn’t you rather be famous for a politician, than as a sleazy daytime talk host?
Do you feel guilty making millions off the pain, suffering or embarrassment of others?

Can't they settle this writers strike so we can get back to great TV dramas and comedies, instead of crap like this? Or will big ratings for "Moment of Truth" and "American Gladiators" mean fewer and fewer scripted dramas and comedies after the strike is settled?

Now for the moment of truth: Are you curious enough that you'll watch tonight? (And if you do, please post your comments here after the show.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Craig Kopp Named WNKU-FM News Director

Former WEBN-FM newsman Craig Kopp has impressed WNKU-FM folks in his three-month stint as "Morning Edition" anchor that he's been named news director. Smart move.The position had been vacant for 2-1/2 yeas, since Maryanne Zeleznik left WNKU-FM for WVXU-FM, after Cincinnati Public Radio/WGUC-FM bought the Xavier station.

Kopp moves from part-time to full-time status. He'll oversee two reporters, Steve Hirschberg and Matthew Kelly. It's the first personnel move by Chuck Miller, the general manager hired from New Orleans in December.

Kopp did news for WEBN-FM 1976-96, then moved over to sister Clear Channel station WKRC-AM. He lost his job as WKRC-AM morning co-host when Jerry Thomas retired in December 2006.

"My first professional passion is radio news," he says in the NKU announcement today. "To be given this chance to head up the news department at such a special radio station is a real blessing. WNKU is probably the coolest station in town with the most unique and hip music you'll ever hear. If WNKU News is as clued in as the rest of the radio station, we'll do very well."

Says Miller in the statement: "We’re thrilled to have Craig on board. He has long been a respected asset to our region. We look forward to our news department's growth and service to the community at large as we all join Craig in the creation of local service with a difference."

It's good news for NKU, and for Kopp.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Chic Poppe, We'll Miss You

For more than 40 years, Channel 9 reporter/photographer Chic Poppe had a sixth sense when it came to finding breaking news. He was legendary for being the first journalist at the scene of a crime or fire, sometimes arriving before the police. But Channel 9 was able to keep Saturday's retirement party secret from Chic, who always knew everything.

The party at the Duke Energy Center was packed Saturday night. Channel 9 staffers showed their love and admiration for Chic by producing a half-hour tribute tape. Police Chief Tom Streicher appeared on the tape. Sheriff Si Leis attended the party! (When has Si Leis ever come to any function honoring a news reporter???) Three former news directors came to salute him (Scott Deiner from the CBS affiliate in Dallas, Jim Zarchin from Scripps cable HQ in Knoxville, and Stu Zanger who still lives in town.)

It was an evening filled with tales about how Poppe was on the front lines of breaking news, decades before the current Breaking News wars here. And how respected he was for his great sources and amazing instincts. Many of these stories I recounted in my Page 1 profile on Dec. 28:
--How he'd shoot traffic during a bad snowstorm by pointing the TV camera out the window, while driving his Channel 9 news van.
--How he slept with 6-7 police/fire scanners/pagers, to get to breaking news before any other reporter.
--How he got his camera set up in the kitchen of a Price Hill home, with a great view of a neighboring house sealed off during a hostage incident. The SWAT team eventually arrived at the same house, and officers were not happy to find Chic already there! Shortly after the SWAT team sharpshooter set up in the kitchen, a police commander knocked on the door and escorted Chic out of the house. (Streicher recalled this one on the tape.)
--And my favorite story: Chic got exclusive video of Donald Harvey, the 1980s Drake Hospital serial killer, as he walked down a Hamilton County courthouse hallway to the grand jury by (a) figuring out the back route deputies used and (b) hiding in a janitor's closet, and (c) jumping out to shoot video of Harvey as he was passing by. If that happened today, deputies probably would have pulled a gun and shot Chic. This is my favorite tale because it shows his institutional knowledge, great sources and creativity in getting the news.

Poppe retired at the end of the year after knee surgery and learning he had prostate cancer. He was one of a kind, a true Cincinnati news legend. Whenever other stations and news outlets heard Channel 9 mention Chic Poppe by name, and give him credit for getting video or information, they knew they were nailed on a story and had to hustle to catch up.

I'm hoping you also have some good stories about Chic, or want to congratulate him upon his retirement. I can't wait to read them.

Chic, you're the best. We miss you. Enjoy your retirement, if you can ignore the scanners....

Is Furman FInished?

Is there no place on local radio for Andy Furman? That's what he thinks. He says his radio career is over.

"Certainly it is (over), if I want to stay in town," he says. And he wants to stay in town. Furman says he was approached by sports talk stations in Miami and Dallas after his contract was not renewed by WFTK-FM last month, when "SupertalkFM96.5" changed to "96 Rock." Faced with the choice of continuing in radio in another state, he has decided to stay here (Florence), where his wife is a teacher and two teens (15 and 14) are in school.

"I love it here. My life is here. My kids like it here. This is my home," says Furman, who moved here in 1981 to be the promoter for Latonia Race Course.

Here's the problem: With Cumulus dumping Supertalk, all of the local sports talk/general talk stations are owned by Clear Channel, which fired him without cause after 18 years in November 2006. He has remained friends with many at Clear Channel, but I can't see the company rehiring a guy it fired. I'm guessing he feels that way too when he says, "I've decided the radio chapter of my life is over. It was fun.... I had a good run."

He's looking for work in public relations, promotion, sales or marketing.

So here's what I want to know: Can you think of any radio station which should pick up Furman? And can you suggest sports teams or companies which would be wise to hire Furman? What would be a good fit for him?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Coughing Up The Truth

So I've been had? As soon as I posted that blog about "Changes On The FM Dial," I get a phone call from a friend in FM radio about the my news about Gary Willis of Atlanta being named 96 Rock program director.

He reminds me that when WEBN-FM ran a contest back in 2000, when the station would give away $1,000 at the sound of a dead guy "coughing up the cash," that the dead guy's name was Gary Willis. And one of the guys behind the contest was WEBN-FM' program director Michael Walter... aka "The Dolphin."

And now I know why 96 Rock/Cumulus folks have been so cagey about the news.... and dodging any questions about Gary Willis.... just like WEBN-FM did seven years ago, when I reported that the "coughing up the cash" guy was a hoax ...

WEBN-FM veteran Michael Walter, who knows WEBN-FM inside out, is the new program director for raucous 96 Rock, WFTK-FM.

Walter worked at WEBN-FM from 1992-2004 in sales, promotion, program director and on the "Dawn Patrol" morning team. He left in 2004 for Clear Channel's Atlanta stations, and was let go last month. He knows how WEBN-FM operates.

He's ready to rock and roll. This could be a lot of fun.

Changes On The FM Dial

Wow! The day after Arbritron ratings come in, and we have at least three radio changes:

The Sound, WSWD-FM (94.9): Tommy BoDean is out as program director of "The Sound," the day after the station's best ratings in a year on the air. BoDean, the former PD as Clear Channel's KISS107 and MIX94 (2004-06), had been hired a year ago, shortly after the station debuted.
Patti Marshall, Bonneville FM operations manager, wouldn't talk about it. "Bonneville does not comment on former employees," she says.
Whatever happened, it came down quickly. "I haven’t even posted the opening yet. Anyone insterested should contact us," she says.
"The Sound," which premiered in November 2006, was tied for third (with country music WUBE-FM) with listeners ages 18-34.

96 Rock, WFTK-FM, 96.5: Gary Willis from Atlanta has been hired to program the 96 Rock format launched Dec. 14 by Cumulus. He's a Midwest native (they don't say where) who had previously worked at stations in Atlanta and Cleveland, among others.
Karrie Sudbrack, Cumulus market manager, says Willis brings "an innate understanding of the region and the market, and a rock sensibility like no other we’ve seen." (Kiese note: See previous blog, "Coughing Up The Truth," revealing that Gary Willis is actually Michael "Dolpin" Walter, former WEBN-FM program director/DJ/promotions director from 1992-2004. He was fired by Clear Channel last month in Atlanta, and starts at 96 Rock next week.)

WAKW-FM (93.3): Kelly St. James and Daryl Pierce are leaving the airwaves to concentrate on their off-air jobs in a shake-up at the Christian adult contemporary station.
Kurt Wallace from Indianapolis will do the 2-7 p.m. shift previously held by Julie and Daryl Pierce. Julie moves to 10 a.m.-2 p.m., replacing St. James.
The station also has will add two hours of music weekdays, until 10 p.m., at the request of listeners, says Rob Lewis, program director and morning co-host.

Another Departure From Channel 12

WKRC-TV (Channel 12) has lost another key manager as employees wait for Clear Channel to sell its TV division.

Local 12 Director of Engineering Hank Hundemer, a 13-year veteran, leaves Jan. 25 to join Randy Michaels' TV operation. He will be vice president for engineering for "The Other Company," a division of Tribune Media, he says.

Michaels, the radio wiz who ran Jacor Communications (WLW-AM/WEBN) and Clear Channel's radio division, last month was named CEO of Tribune Company's broadcasting and internet business unit after former business parter Sam Zell acquired the Chicago-based media giant.

Michaels also heads the new broadcast management company which provides shared services for the 23 Tribune TV stations and the TV stations owned by Fort Wright-based Local TV LLC.

Michaels was the founding CEO of Local TV last year, when it purchased nine TV stations from the New York Times. Robert Lawrence, Randy's long-time friend and former Jacor executive, was promoted to Local TV president and CEO from COO when Michaels left the company for Tribune last month.

In the past six months, Channel 12 has lost GM Chris Sehring, acting GM Dotsy Klei and two anchors, Dayna Eubanks and Paul Adler. Clear Channel announced in April it was selling its 51 TV stations for $1.2 billion last April to Providence Equity Partners of Rhode Island. The transaction has not been completed.

Hundemer says his decision to leave has nothing to do with the Local 12 ownership situation. He seized an opportunity to work with Michaels, whom he called "an industry visionary." The move "doesn't have anything to do with what's going on here," he says.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Yo, Dog, American Idol Is Back

Yo, Dog! I forgot how much I missed hearing Randy Jackson calling everyone Dog on "American Idol." I'm glad it's back.

I thought the first hour has been a little slow. The big change this year, to me, is doing touchy-feely profiles on the bad singers, as well as the good ones. That way you can't tell if the person is gonna suck or not. However, I'm guessing that the bad singers who got extra special treament -- the Philadelphia tour guide and the girl from Allentown with the big star ear rings and silver eye shadow -- didn't realize they were advancing through the auditions, and given screen time, so Fox could showcase how awful they sang. Maybe that's why the dude with the baritone monatone and Alexis Cohen from Allentown were so shocked or upset that they weren't going to Hollywood.

The best part so far has been the "I Love Rock & Roll" montage of bad singers. Honestly, I've always enjoyed the first weeks of "American Idol" because it's so funny, because the singers were so horrendous. Tonight wasn't as much fun, because there were fewer singers? Producers might think we'll enjoy this mix more, but I'll probably watch less. I just want some good laughs. (William Hung, where are you?) I wait until the Hollywood round, or the Final 12, to get invested in the good singers.

Did you enjoy the "American Idol" premiere?

Fall Radio Ratings Are In

Good news for country music WUBE-FM (B105), adult contemporary WRRM-FM (WARM98.5) and alternative rocker "The Sound" (WSWD-FM) means bad news for Clear Channel, the area's largest radio operator here with eight stations. The competitors are putting on the heat, according to fall quarter Arbitron ratings released today.

Clear Channel’s WLW-AM (700) remains the No. 1 station for all listeners – as it has been for eight years -- and Clear Channel's WKFS-FM (KISS107.1) and WEBN-FM (102.7) are No. 1-2 for the 18-34 demographic.

But Bonneville's B105 toppled WLW-AM from the top spot for listeners ages 25-54, a demographic sought by most advertisers. WLW-AM had been No. 1 on that list for over three years.

Travis Moon, B015 program director, attributed the boost to new music from Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift and other artists. "We play a lot of great music," he says.

Another factor is the lack of competition. B105 gained 49,500 listeners from a year ago, when Bonneville bought the country "STAR" from Cumulus. Bonneville changed the format to the classic country "WOLF" on WYGY-FM (97.3).

B105 also ranked third with younger listeners (18-34), tied with sister station "The Sound" (WSWD-FM 94.9). "The Sound" had an incredible surge completing its first year, jumping from No. 10 a year ago by nearly doubling its audience.

Bonneville's WKRQ-FM (Q102) was next on the 18-34 list, giving the company three stations in the top five for the younger demographic.

Cumulus also scored well in fall. WARM98.5 and "greatest (rock) hits" WGRR-FM (103.5) placed third and fourth, respectively, in the overall rankings behind WLW-AM and B105.

Cumulus' WFTK-FM (96.5) also hit a record high in fall, jumping from No. 23 in summer to No. 16. But the news came a month after owners dumped Andy Furman the "SupertalkFM" talk format after one year and switched to "96 Rock."

T.J. Holland, Cumulus operations manager here, says most of the station's fall growth came from adding the Tom Gamble-Richard Skinner "Two Angry Guys" morning show Oct. 1.

The "Angry Guys," who remain the morning team for the rock format, increased morning ratings from No. 20 to No. 4 with men ages 18-34. That’s the same target audience for Clear Channel’s WEBN-FM and classic rock WOFX-FM (FOX92.5).

"Tom and Richard had a very strong debut on 'FTK. Having a morning show already fourth in the demo is great. We're absolutely thrilled where '96 Rock is going," Holland says.

On the other hand, Clear Channel’s Radio 94.1 – the former MIX94.1, now operating as WNNF-FM – showed no growth with a 2.9 audience share, the same as summer, while falling from No. 9 to No. 11. A year ago, as MIX94.1, it was No. 7 with a 4.3 share.

And one last note on the fall ratings: WLW's Gary Burbank didn't go out on top. The station waw No. 3 in afternoon drive, behind B105 and WARM98. Burbank was first in summer, and a year ago.

Here are the 12+ rankings and shares, and top 10 lists for the other demos:


1. WLW-AM, 8.8; 2. WUBE-FM, 7.6; 3. WRRM-FM, 7.0; 4. WGRR-FM, 6.2; 5. WEBN-FM, 5.8; 6. WKFS-FM, 4.7; 7. WMOJ-FM, 4.6; 8. WOFX-FM, 4.4; 9. WSWD-FM, 4.1;

10. WKRQ-FM, 3.9; 11. WIZF-FM, 3.8; 12. WKRC-AM, 3.7; 13. WYGY-FM, 2.0; 14. WNNF-FM, 1.7; 15. WAKW-FM, 1.5; 16. WFTK-FM, 1.4; 17. (tie) WDBZ-FM, WLQT-FM, 1.1; 19. (tie) WCKY-AM, WPFB-FM, WHKO-FM, 1.0

22. WDJO-AM, 0.9; 23. WCIN-AM, 0.8; 24. WTUE-FM, 0.7; 25. (tie) WFCJ-FM, WOXY-FM, WSAI-AM, 0.6; 28. (tie) WSCH-AM, WMMX-FM, 0.5; 30. WGTZ-FM, 0.4.


1. WUBE-FM, 8.8; 2. WLW-AM, 7.6; 3. WEBN-FM, 6.9; 4. WRRM-FM, 6.7; 5. WOXF-FM, 6.0; 6. WGRR-FM, 5.8; 7. WMOJ-FM, 5.6; 8. WKRQ-FM, 5.0; 9. WSWD-FM, 4.7; 10. WKFS-FM, 3.3.


1. WKFS-FM, 9.2; 2. WEBN-FM, 8.8; 3. (tie) WUBE-FM, WSWD-FM, 8.3; 5. WKRQ-FM, 7.6; 6. WIZF-FM, 7.0; 7. WMOJ-FM, 5.9; 8. WRRM-FM, 5.0; 9. WOFX-FM, 4.1; 10. WYGY-FM, 3.2.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Kiese Pick: Pete Rose's 4,192

Monday night baseball is back! Just a reminder that FSN Ohio airs Pete Rose's record-breaking hit No. 4,192 from Sept. 11, 1985 at 8-11 p.m. (or so) tonight . It's the debut of FSNO's "Reds Rewind Classics," nine straight Monday night replays of entire Reds games.

In my Friday blog, I listed all nine games.

Sure beats "American Gladiators".... though "Prison Break" returns tonight, along with a new "Kyle XY" on ABC Family, "CSI: Miami" with Elizabeth Berkley as Horatio's ex, and NBC's "Medium."

Cindy Matthews Update

Cindy Matthews has achieved her goal – a full-time anchor job.

The Sycamore High School graduate, last seen on Fox 19 last summer subbing during Sheila Gray's maternity leave, has been named 6 and 11 p.m. co-anchor on Youngstown NBC affiliate WFMJ-TV.

Yes, it's starting small, but the Mariemont native told me last May that she figured she would have to move to get a full-time anchor gig. "I'd love to stay and work in my hometown, but I know it's fairly likely I'll have to move somewhere else," she said.

Her Channel 19 stint came nearly a year after she subbed on Channel 9 during Kathrine Nero's maternity leave in summer 2006. Between the two local TV jobs, she spent most of a year traveling to Cambodia, Thailand, Los Angeles, Seattle, and to see her mom in Florida.

On Youngstown's Channel 21, Matthews will be paired with Bob Black. He had been working without a permanent co-anchor since Autumn Ziemba left the station last spring.

Word of her Youngstown job comes from Dave Sess, a 1982 Colerain High School graduate who anchors at 6 and 11 p.m. on Youngstown's CBS affiliate, WKBN-TV (Channel 27).

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Jeff Davis Fired By WFTK-FM

Many may know Jeff Davis as the Fan Cam guy on the Great American Ball Park scoreboard playing the Skyline Shuffle and other games with fans. Or you might know him as Carmon DeLeone's sidekick on WARM 98's recently canceled "Sunday Morning Music Hall." Or for a while the overnight guy on WARM98. Or as the "Road Dog" traffic reporter for old 96.5 The Star, or doing traffic for other stations. I mean, the guy is versatile. And now, unemployed.

Davis has been with WARM98 since 1995. He did overnights, was the morning show producer, and most recently was the program director for sister station WFTK-FM, SupertalkFM96.5. He was fired Friday, four weeks after the format switched from FM talk to 96 Rock.

He's a radio geek and proud of it. (And a great guy, too. Another one bites the dust...) He started at age 16 working for the old WCLU-AM (1320) in Covington after his 7th period class at Elder High School, playing Top 40 songs from 45 rpm records. Nearly every station in town is on his resume: AMs 1160, 1180, 1230, 1320 and FMs 94.1, 94.9, 96.5, 98.5, 105.1, 107.1

He hopes to be back on the Fan Cam again this year at GABP, while he looks for full-time or part-time radio work. I hope I see him around the ball park, he did a good job. I'll let you know where he lands....

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Must See TV For Cincinnati Reds Fans

What a great idea: FSN Ohio will televise classic Cincinnati Reds games – complete games! – for nine weeks, starting 8 p.m. Monday.

Leading off: Pete Rose, of course. Pete breaks Ty Cobb’'s all-time hit record with No. 4,192 from Sept. 11, 1985, at old Riverfront Stadium against the San Diego Padres.

Thom Brennaman and Jeff Brantley will host these "Reds Classic Rewind" telecasts at 8 p.m. Tuesday, which will run three hours or so.

The rest of the FSNO lineup:

Jan. 21: 1990 NLCS Game 6 vs. Pittsburgh, Oct. 12, 1990.

Jan. 28: 1990 World Series Game 4 vs. Oakland, Oct. 20, 1990.

Feb. 2: 1978 Tom Seaver’s no hitter vs. St. Louis, June 16, 1978.

Feb 11: 2006 Reds comeback vs. Cleveland, June 30, 2006.

Feb.18: 1988 Tom Browning’s perfect game vs. Dodgers at Riverfront, Sept. 16, 1988.

Feb 25: 1975 World Series game 3 vs. Boston at Riverfront Stadium, Oct. 14, 1975.

March 3: 1975 World Series game 6 vs. Boston at Fenway Park, Oct. 21, 1975.

March 10: 1975 World Series game 7 vs. Boston at Fenway Park, Oct. 22, 1975.

Why didn’t someone think of this before? What a great way to forget about the writers’ strike!

If they do it again next winter, which games would you love to see again? First on my list would be Game 2 of the 1990 World Series, with Joe Oliver's game-winning RBI in 10th inning off Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley.

Ugly News

Some ugly news for "Ugly Betty" fans: One of the few remaining original "Ugly Betty" episodes won't air tonight on Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO-TV (Channel 9). Instead viewers will see a three-year-old St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital show, "Fighting for Life," with Marlo Thomas.

Channel 9 scheduled the 2005 St. Jude's show months ago, as part of the station's commitment to the hospital. "ABC sprung the new episode on us just recently," says Scott Dailey, a Channel 9 programmer.

You'll have to set your DVR for 1:05 a.m. Friday (late tonight) for Channel 9's delayed broadcast. Those north of town can watch it on Dayton's Channel 22. Or you can catch it online.

One more TV note: "Grey's Anatomy" tonight (9 p.m., Channels 9, 22) is the last original episode of the season, until the writers' strike ends. Also new tonight: "30 Rock," "My Name Is Earl," "ER," "CSI" and "Without A Trace." Most of them are nearly out of episodes too. Then TV really gets ugly.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Heeeere's Johnny!

THIS JUST IN: CET repeats the Carson/Late Night TV "Pioneers of Television" at 10 p.m. Friday 1/11/08 on Ch. 48. --Kiese

Sorry for the late notice, but here's a DVR alert for Johnny Carson fans: Tonight's "Pioneers of Television" on PBS is a wonderful tribute to Carson (8-9 p.m., Channels 48, 16).

It has great old clips from Carson's "Tonight" show, and comments from former coworkers like Ed McMahon and Doc Severinson, and former competitors Dick Cavett, Regis Philbin and the late Merv Griffin. Oddly enough, producers didn't interview David Letterman, who idolized Carson. But they do have comments from Jay Leno, who succeeded him, and former guests Betty White, Phyllis Diller, Bob Uecker and Barbara Eden and others.

Carson 's segment is the longest -- but it comes 26 minutes into the hour. The first half is devoted to Steve Allen, who invented the format still used today, and Jack Paar, a fascinating conversationalist who hosted the "Tonight" show between Allen and Carson.

I love Steve Allen, and the "Pioneers of Television" rightly praises his many talents -- sketch comedy, ad-libs, composer, interviewer -- as "an inventive arsenal of comedy." It's amazing the sidekicks Allen had in the 1950s, who went on to greater things: Tom Poston ("Newhart"), Don Knotts ("Andy Griffith Show"), Pat Harrington ("One Day At A Time").

The Paar clips are fun too. They show both his serious side (interviews with John F. Kennedy, brother Robert F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro) and lighter side (Jonathan Winters, Tommy Smothers).

It's a fun, fast hour. Enjoy.

Steve Stewart Heading to KC Royals

Former Reds radio voice Steve Stewart will be working with a different Baseball Hall of Fame announcer this season, Denny Matthews of the Kansas City Royals.

Stewart, 45, did Reds games for three seasons with Hall of Fame announcer Marty Brennaman. He was hired in February 2004, before Joe Nuxhall's final full-time season. He has been working for the Reds speakers bureau since Marty's son, Thom, and Jeff Brantley were hired for the 2007 season.

"Overall, the Reds have been good to me. It was a great experience here, and I learned from it," says the St. Louis native.

Stewart will do Royals Radio Network pregame and postgame shows, and call "selected games thgroughout the season," the Royals announced today.

Matthews, winner of the Hall of Fame's 2007 Ford C. Frick Award, returns for a 40th season with Bob Davis, Kansas University basketball and football announcer and former Royals TV voice. Stewart says he will call games when Davis has KU basketball and football conflicts, and when Matthews doesn't travel to road games.

"I'm the third guy, but I'm fine with that. I'm excited about the opportunity. These jobs are hard to get with only 30 teams," he says.

In his four years here, Stewart also did some play-by-play for UC football and basketball and Xavier basketball, and Reds TV pregame shows. Before joining the Reds, he had broadcast some Baltimore Orioles games for four years, plus the Class AAA Richmond Braves and University of South Carolina baseball.

"Both Thom and Marty have been very supportive of me. They've spoken to other teams on my behalf," he says.

As for the Reds speakers bureau, that will continue without Stewart, says Rob Butcher, Reds media relations director. "We will fill the dates with front office employees, broadcasters and local former players," Butcher says.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Fingers and Jones Take Over Burbank Slot

Eddie Fingers and Tracy Jones finally took over the old Gary Burbank slot at 4:25 p.m. today.

They put an end to the stunts – the hyped parade of guest hosts 3-6 p.m. since last Wednesday – by replacing Bill Cunningham and Bill "Seg" Dennison doing the afternoon drive show today.

Cunningham came on the air at 3 p.m. telling listeners he had spent his vacation at Clear Channel HQ in San Antonio (not Florida), and signed a "five-year, guaranteed bonus-ladened contract to be on from noon to 6 p.m." He gave up the scam at 4:25 p.m., and introduced Fingers and Jones.

Fingers, 50, morning host at sister WEBN-FM for 22 years, had filled in for Burbank on and off over the years. Jones, 46, has hosted WLW-AM's weekend Cincinnati Reds post-game call-in shows. He has never done a full-time weekday radio show.

So what do you think of WLW-AM's choice to replace Burbank?

Willie & Seg at 3 p.m.

The stunts continue at WLW-AM. Now Bill Cunningham is on 3-6 p.m. with Bill "Seg" Dennison, filling the Burbank slot. Cunningham opened by claiming he spent his vacation at CC HQ in San Antonio, not Florida, and signed a "five-year, guaranteed bonus-ladened contract to be on from noon to 6 p.m." My guess is Willie's "guarantee" lasts one day, if that much... and that Tracy Jones and Eddie Fingers will take over soon. The Arbitrton ratings period starts Thursday, so this silliness will end soon... Is anyone amused by this?

Friday, January 04, 2008

David Ashbrock Leaves Channel 19

Another victim of budget cuts: David Ashbrock, the terrifically versatile producer-director at WXIX-TV (Channel 19).

Ashbrock has done just about everything in 27-1/2 years at Channel 19. He directed UC basketball and football games; the coaches’ shows; directed some 10 p.m. newscasts; designed the news graphics, mapping and opening animation; helped set up the new HDTV switcher and monitoring scheme; plus produced, directed and edited specials about the Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Zoo and the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. He won 32 Emmys in 27-1/2 years.

But he was told that his job as station executive producer was being eliminated after Channel 19 terminated its UC television contract last month. His last duty was to direct Channel 19's final original UC basketball telecast, the UC-Miami game last weekend.

"I was shocked, but not surprised, because I've seen this happen so much in the business. I thought I was immune because I wore so many hats, and put in so many hours," says Ashbrock, 51, of Blue Ash. "I was a producer, director, editor, writer, graphics designer, production manager and technologist."

Channel 19 coworkers were shocked too.

“I did a lot of problem-solving for people on the staff, with production technology issues or editing or lighting. I’m called on a lot by a lot of people, and they asking, 'Who's going to take care of this now?' I didn't know what to tell them. I did lots of things that made our place function more efficiently,” he says.

But Ashbrock's stature in the TV industry reaches far beyond the walls of the Channel 19. He is very respected throughout the TV business, having served for 10 years on the National Emmy Awards Committee for the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS). Since 2001, he has been chairman of the National Emmy Awards committee, which writes rules and regulations for national sports, news, documentary daytime and technology Emmys. His wife, Peggy, is former regional administrator for the Emmys.

He's also sought after by regional/national sports networks. He has freelanced on Reds games, Xavier basketball, A10 basketball, Cyclones hockey, Bengals preseason games, golf, bowling and indoor soccer.

And he's a very nice guy, a real class act. He refused to talk about his termination until after the UC-Miami game. "I didn’t think it was right to comment while I was still employed there," he says.

The Moeller High School (1974) and UC (1978) grad worked two years at Channel 9 before hired by Channel 19 in 1980. A few months later, Channel 19 got UC basketball rights.

Now he's unemployed. Add his name to the list of those who lost their broadcasting jobs in '07: Laure Quinlavin, Andy Furman, John Phillips, Brian Patrick, WEBN’s Mr. K, Will Sterrett, Duke & Rob Ervin from the Gary Burbank Show…

Ashbrock says he has received a couple of "quite serious" calls from potential employers. He also plans to create a production company, and continue freelancing for regional and national sports channels.

"If I only wore one hat, I'd be very nervous about trying to find a job. But I'm excited about the opportunities of what I might be doing," Ashbrock says.

I know many current and former TV workers read this blog. Do you have some stories about working with Ashbrock? Will you add your tribute to him here?

It's Not Brian Thomas Either

Gary Burbank's replacement won't debut until next week, as I've expected all along. I'm told Brian Thomas told listeners on his WKRC-AM morning show today that he's filling in 3-6 p.m. today on WLW-AM. Yesterday it was Tim & Jeff from Kiss 107, and Wednesday was Rush Limbaugh, so Clear Channel is filling the void by promoting personalities from sister stations.

I'm still expecting to hear Tracy Jones and Eddie Fingers take over the show next week... Maybe not until Wednesday. The ratings period begins Thursday, Jan. 10.

WARM98 Cancels Sunday AM Music Hall

Classical music lovers won't be waking up to Carmon DeLeone after this Sunday. WRRM-FM (WARM98) has canceled his "Sunday Morning Music Hall" after 16-1/2 years, in a budget cut. The final show airs 8-10 a.m. Sunday.

"We hope that 'SMMH' might someday find a new home on the air in Cincinnati," says DeLeone in an e-mail. He's music director for the Cincinnati Ballet, Middletown Symphony Orchestra and the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra in suburban Chicago.

The show was not in the 2008 budget, but DeLeone was allowed to tape a farewell show Thursday night. (He didn't learn about the cancellation until Jan. 1, when he returned home from Chicago.)

"Sunday Morning Music Hall" premiered Easter Sunday March 31, 1991, as a three-hour show, 8-11 a.m. Two years ago, when Cumulus bought the station, it was cut to two hours. Arbitron's summer quarter ratings ranked DeLeone's show as No. 3 among all listeners in its time slot.

To read more about DeLeone and the show, my colleague Janelle Gelfand has posted part of her 1997 story about the show on her classical music blog:

I'm not sure which station in town might pick up "SMMH." Any suggestions?

Jericho Back Feb. 12

This just in from CBS: "Jericho" second season premieres 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12. Here's the release. (What happened to Gerald McRaney? Somebody fill me in...)


"Jericho" stars Skeet Ulrich, Ashley Scott, Lennie James, Kenneth Mitchell, Brad Beyer and Alicia Coppola

Esai Morales ("NYPD Blue") Joins the Series as a Recurring Cast Member

"Reconstruction" — When the Cheyenne government puts an end to the battle between Jericho and New Bern, Major Beck (guest star Esai Morales) leads the reconstruction efforts to restore Jericho's power and communication with the outside world, on the second season premiere of JERICHO, Tuesday, Feb. 12 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

JERICHO returns for seven episodes beginning February 12, following one of the most unprecedented and impassioned displays of fan support on behalf of a television series. JERICHO stars Skeet Ulrich, Ashley Scott, Lennie James, Kenneth Mitchell, Brad Beyer and Alicia Coppola.


Jake Green: Skeet Ulrich
Robert Hawkins: Lennie James
Emily Sullivan: Ashley Scott
Stanley Richmond: Brad Beyer
Eric Green: Kenneth Mitchell
Mimi Clark: Alicia Coppola
Gray Anderson: Michael Gaston
Heather Lisinski: Sprague Grayden
Major Edward Beck: Esai Morales
Mary Bailey: Clare Carey
Darcy Hawkins: April D. Parker
Jimmy: Bob Stephenson
Bill: Richard Speight, Jr.
Trish: Emily Rose

Thursday, January 03, 2008

TV's New Reality

The midseason reality shows are arriving this week, thanks to the writers' strike. Are you watching any of them? Or just waiting until "American Idol" premieres Jan. 15?

"The Celebrity Apprentice" premieres 9 p.m. today. "1 vs 100" returns Friday, along with Carson Kressley'ss "How To Look Good Naked" new reality series at 9 p.m. Friday on Lifetime.

NBC's "American Gladiators" debuts Sunday, and "Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann" starts Monday on ABC.

Do any of these remotely interest you?

How about Fox's "Moment of Truth" (Jan. 23), in which contestants answer questions while hooked to a lie detector?

Or MyNetworkTV (Channel 64) bringing back "Paradise Hotel," with 11 singles at a resort hotel on Feb. 4? This time around, after the 9 p.m. national prime-time network telecast, a TV-MA version will air 1 a.m. that night on the Fox Reality Channel.

And on Monday, Feb. 18, the proud Peacock network delivers "The Baby Borrowers." Teen-age couples (ages 18-20) will set up home, get a job, and become parents to babies, toddlers, then preteens, teens and senior citizens in the span of three weeks. Can't wait to see that one?

Enjoy "Law & Order" while it lasts, and the return of "Lost" on Jan. 31. Soon we'll see another "Big Brother," "Survivor" and "Dancing With The Stars."

So tell me if you're watching any of the new reality shows, or plan to, and what you think of them...

Did You Like Letterman's New Look?

OK, let's get down to the really important issue of the day: Should David Letterman keep the beard or shave it off? How long will he keep it?

When I tuned in last night, the first new shows since the writers' strike began on Nov. 5, my first thought was: Gee, I'd better trim up my beard, it's getting too bushy... I think the beard would look better on Dave if he keeps it short. (And I wish I could say that WLW-AM's "Showbiz Stuff" by Rich Walburg was right, that Dave and I are separated at birth...) Conan's beard looked good. Maybe it's because Dave's was so gray. (When my son David was young, he once observed: "Dad, you're getting some brown in your beard!")

I watched Leno's monologue, which he claims to have written himself, and thought he was pretty funny -- though not as long as his usual opening. ("Do you know there are actually more people picketing NBC now than watching NBC?"). Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee was a funny guest for Leno... then he filled time with a cooking segment with Emeril Lagasse. Conan spun his wedding ring to kill time without writers, then brought out Bob Saget. Jimmy Kimmel's first guest was Andy Dick. Will the guest lists get better than Emeril, Dick and Saget? Or will Hollywood's big names refuse to cross the picket lines?

Did you watch Letterman, Conan, Leno, Kimmel or any of the late-night shows last night? What did you think?

And should Dave or Conan keep the beards?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Two Angry Guys Back Monday

Don't get mad at 96 Rock, the Two Angry Guys will return. Richard Skinner and Tom Gamble had said they would be back from vacation today... But Tom Gamble just assured me they will be back Monday.

The guys on Wednesday were at WFKT-FM (96.5) -- which changed from SupertalkFM96.5 to 96 Rock on Dec. 14. They have been off the air since then.

Gamble says they're working on when to do news, traffic and commercial breaks ("the clock") during their 6-10 a.m. show. Gamble says the Two Angries might play a couple of songs each hour also... so this should be interesting. They're back at 6 a.m. Monday, "just in time for Ohio State to be embarrassed by a SEC team for the second year in a row," Gamble says.

Rush Limbaugh? It Must Be A Stunt

They can't be serious. Rush Limbaugh's syndicated show is replacing Gary Burbank on WLW-AM? I'm guessing it's a stunt, and that the real Burbank replacement will debut tomorrow... or Friday... or possibly Monday.
I'm still guessing that we'll hear Tracy Jones and Eddie Fingers by Monday.
Two days ago, at least Channels 5 and 9 reported Monday morning that it would be Jones and Fingers. Fingers has been missing from the WEBN-FM Dawn Patrol this week, and I'm told he's on vacation. Nobody else is talking at WLW-AM....
I still consider Limbaugh a stunt. Clear Channel owns Limbaugh, so they could easily arrange this. And this puts a little space between Burbank and his actual replacement, so there's maybe less of a comparison. Just my hunch.
As Darryl Parks says, radio is all about ratings and revenue.... and I'm guessing WLW-AM can generate more revenue with a local show and local commercials 3-6 p.m., in afternoon drive than Limbaugh.
Your thoughts?

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