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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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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.


at 1/17/2008 7:01 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how he takes on WEBN, especially in the morning.

at 1/17/2008 9:38 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seriously, who cares? This stunt is ridiculous and confusing. Who cares.

And why are the Angry Guys not being used in the best way possible? Every time I turn the station on, it is either playing music or they are talking to some radio chick. HELLO! We want SPORTS TALK from the Angry Guys.

at 1/17/2008 9:41 AM Blogger bmurdock said...

Indeed... Lets just hope he doesn't turn 96Rock into WEBN though...

at 1/17/2008 10:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

kiese this is offtopic, but reno 911 new season premiered last night. A reader was asking that a few weeks ago.

at 1/17/2008 11:06 AM Anonymous matt said...

Hey John,

Now that the stuff on 700 in the afternoon seems to have settled down, could you do a blog post on where the behind the scenes people ended up, especially Duke?

In the immortal words of Gary, are right to know supercedes our right to exist.

at 1/17/2008 10:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please let 96Rock bring back the format like the POWER PIG...
Playing old and new material from Classic Hard Rock and Classic heavy Metal bands like Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Slayer, Queensryche..lot of the hair band era and songs from bands rarely played by these bands..

at 1/18/2008 12:05 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, the Angry Guys have never been 100% sports talk even when they were on Homer. My guess is that even with the couple of songs, the entertainment talk, etc..they still talk more about sports today as there was a commercial break every couple of minutes on Homer when they were on.

Personally I like the new format and it sounds as if Richard & Tom are having fun with it.

at 1/18/2008 9:11 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mandatory meeting at Clear Channel Friday afternoon at 4:30. Uh oh.

at 1/18/2008 1:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will the fact that Eddie Fingers is off of the Dawn Patrol be a factor in the success of 96ROCK?

at 1/18/2008 2:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yay, more mediocre "rock" radio...hello iPod.

at 1/18/2008 3:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

rumor-CC Cincy is being bought.

at 1/18/2008 6:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've actually been listening to 96Rock a lot recently and think it's a good station. It's nice to have more options for rock on the air since 97.3 switched formats to whatever it is now (not rock). I really miss Jimmy and Notorious in the afternoons because they were hilarious. Maybe 96Rock can get those guys and make the station even better.

Good luck 96.5. I hope others decide to give you a chance! Oh, and I never listened to the Angry Guys before but have pretty much switched from 102.7 and 92.5 in the morning. Keep up the good work!

at 1/19/2008 5:39 PM Anonymous Sedi said...

Is anyone else just fed up with all the shuffling of radio recently? For once, I'd like to see some continuity and see how things pan out for some.
Just when we get settled in on one format, things and people change. May be I will look at satellite...This is getting stupid.

at 1/20/2008 1:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

That 4:30 mandatory meeting that called in Jim Scott and the overnight people was so Chuck could wish a happy first and fifth anniversary to the ones who are still there and have everyone sing "Happy Birthday" to those with January birthdays.


I can't make this stuff up.

at 1/20/2008 2:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

God, FM is dead. Corporate Rock Stations with playlists mandated by corporate HQ, the return of Payola. Anyone with a WEBN frog sticker on their car in this day & age is a fool.

at 1/21/2008 9:38 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Radio like TV is loosing, or has almost lost, it's originality and gone to syndication. What made the media outlets fun was how they incorperated the local news and happenings to there daily programs. Now it is all about money and what is cheeper. Either get a syndicated program or hire cheap labor. It is sad what the media outlets have become.

at 1/21/2008 11:00 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Radio like TV is loosing, or has almost lost, it's originality and gone to syndication. What made the media outlets fun was how they incorperated the local news and happenings to there daily programs. Now it is all about money and what is cheeper. Either get a syndicated program or hire cheap labor. It is sad what the media outlets have become.

amen 9:38 I saw this a long time ago. Expecially when WEBN had to give nicknames to there "talent" because if they used their real name they may be able to start a real career. I always thouhgt that was so ridiculous.
The age of entertaining radio is over. No one wants to develop talent anymore. Just cut costs and read a script. BORING.
If WEBN and stations like it had cahones, they would hire someone who can bring in and deveolop talent that are interesting to listen to. It could start a feeder program so that other stations can use those people. Instead we get hirings like Eddie Fingers and Tracy Jones on afternoon drive time. YIKES!!Will it happen? I doubt it.
Well, good luck everyone with your choices. Hey, For $10 a month you can get satellite radio.


at 1/25/2008 9:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who cares any way. The station is doomed from the start. Just take a look at 97.3 for an example. Cincinnati will not support the station enough to be a $$ maker and there for it will fail. Bringing in Dolphin just because he was the PD at WEBN is stupid too. He had to have his hand held on everything he did by the people who are still at WEBN. Mark my words, you only have about 2 years of 96ROCK so if you like it enjoy it wile you can. Myself, now that i know Mike Walters is in charge i just switched off. Dolphin you are a tool, my tall can is in the air!

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