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.
Writers Strike Smacks February Sweeps
Our decline in prime-time network watching during the TV writers' strike contributed to a 17 percent loss (51,545 homes) in the 11 p.m. local news viewing audience – hurting Channel 12 the most.
Although WKRC-TV won the late news ratings as usual, Channel 12 lost more than 27 percent of its late news audience from February sweeps a year ago, according to Nielsen Media Research. It was the steepest decline of the three 11 p.m. newscasts.
The three major network affiliates – Channels 5, 9 and 12 – lost a combined 20 percent in prime-time. CSI: Miami, CSI: New York, Moonlight, Ghost Whisperer and other CBS dramas in reruns last month due to the strike were down 40-50 percent from a year ago. Yikes!
"All across the country, the strike has killed everyone with the lack of a strong lead-in programs" to late local news, says Steve Minium, acting Channel 12 general manager.
Even Channel 19's 10 p.m. news was down from a year ago, despite huge ratings for "American Idol" again this season.
It has been a very rough year for TV stations. May prime-time and late news viewing dropped preciptiously, due to nice weather, an early change to Daylight Savings time and increased use of digital video recorders. Premiere week ratings in September also were down from a year ago. And then came the strike, which wiped out new episodes for most popular dramas and sitcoms in February. "The writers' strike went on so long that people developed different habits," Minium says. "There are so many choices out there, and we won't know if they'll come back for a long time."
While Channel 12 took a big hit in the late news, ratings went up in the morning. So did ratings for Channel 19. These can be traced to a couple of factors – anchor changes at Channel 9 (Bernard Watson) and Channel 5 (weekend anchor Jonathan Hawgood replacing Todd Dykes), and Channel 12 being forced to take the CBS Early Show at 7 a.m. And more changes are coming, with Lisa Cornwell leaving 9, and Pete Scalia leaving 5.
Channel 19's ratings were up throughout the morning. And Channel 19 jumped to first place 7-9 a.m. here, ahead of the Today show or Good Morning America. Fox 19 has benefited from CBS' demand that Channel 12 drop its mostly local 7-8 a.m. show. Channel 12 has kept doing a local show 7-8 a.m. on its CinCW digital channel, though few are watching. It drew a 0.7 rating.
A few other notes:
--As usual, Channel 9 was a solid No. 1 in the 5-6:30 p.m. evening news, followed by Channels 12 and 5. (Despite the "Clash of Choirs" competition and heavy promotion at 5 p.m., Channel 5 still finished a distant third in household ratings. Station managers are hoping Channel 5 does better in demographics due out in a few weeks.)
--Channel 12 edged out Channel 9 at noon for the first time in years. Not sure why? Maybe Drew Carey’s presence on "The Price Is Right" 11 a.m.-noon?
--Channel 5's 11 p.m. news was third, beating "The Simpsons" on Channel 19. A year ago, it was the other way around.
So have you tuned out the 11 p.m. news? Switched to the morning news? Going to sleep earlier? Switched to Jon Stewart and Colbert? When new episodes of your favorite shows return, will you watch them and stick around for the late local news?
Sacred Spaces Debuts Sunday on CET
A couple of DVR alerts for Sunday night: CET premieres "Sacred Spaces," a one-hour documentary about the unique architecture and art in area churches.... while a couple of former residents show up on ABC's "Here Come The Newlyweds" reality show.Sacred Spaces:
If you have HDTV, this show is gorgeous. The local film, three years in the making, tours the inside of our great old churches in downtown Cincinnati, Covington and the suburbs. But it's not all statues and steeples. Producer Meg Hanrahan also provides a historical and social context to the churches, showing how Avondale Jewish temples have been adapted by African-American Christian congregations. This is truly educational TV.
CET will air the show with pledge breaks at 8 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Thursday March 6; and 4 p.m. Saturday March 8. (And probably several more times during pledge month.)Newlyweds:
Have you recognized anyone in the ABC promos on Channel 9? Two of the seven couples on the show have area ties: Former Mariemont residents Fawziah and Atif Bajwa, who moved to Chicago after the taping in California last summer, and Lance and Heather Burt Holmes of Middletown, who moved from Middletown to Colorado last fall. Heather is a 1997 Fenwick High School grad.
The six-week reality show premieres Sunday (10:02 p.m., Channels 9, 22). Each week the couples vote a couple out of the game. The winners could receive $250,000 or more.
Idol Chatter with Randy Jackson
"American Idol" judge Randy Jackson was in town today to promote heart health for the American Heart Assocation, but he couldn't avoid "Idol" chatter.
Starting with my question: Could Fox bring "American Idol" auditions here? This is what he said:
"Cncinnati is definitely on the radar (for "Idol" auditions). We might venture here.. We always go to an East Coast city, a West Coast city, a Midwest city and a couple of southern cities. We've done Detroit, Chicago and Cleveland. If we come back to Ohio, this has got to be the city."
Jackson, 51, blitzed Cincinnati today to promote the American Heart Association's
http://www.iknowdiabetes.org/ web site. He was diagnosed with the disease six years ago, after the first "American Idol" season. He came here to do publicity with fellow diabetic Harry Moore, 58, of Oakley, one of three people selected from a national campaign to tape a TV public service announcement with him in November. You can see it at the web site.
After his appearance on "Fox 19 In The Morning" today, Jackson and I talked about "American Idol" and his new album, "Randy Jackson’s Music Club, Vol. 1" due out March 11.
--On viewers eliminating the two youngest women, Alaina Whitaker and Alexandrea Lushington, each 17, last night:
"These two girls didn’t get much of a chance, but they're talented… They chose really rough songs. You never now who's going to make it. Once you hear "Welcome to Hollywood,"there is no guarantee. So many of those kids didn’t make it because they fell apart in Hollywood. Some kids fall apart as soon as they're on a (live) TV show, and the voting starts. What you're seeing now with these people being knocked out in the early rounds is because people's nerves just crumble. They realize that that 28 or 30 million people could be watching. And they go: Oh my god, I know I'm 17 and I aced my physics test, but this is something else! It's a different kind of pressure."
--What's different this season:
"This season is different. Because there are two strong front-runners – Carly Smithson and Dave Archuleta -- people are now zeroing even quicker on their favorites," he said.
--His take on this year's cast:
"This is one of the strongest seasons we've ever had. It could be the best top 10 -- potentially – if America votes correctly. Because ultimately it’s up to America."
--His new album due out March 11, the first day the 12 "American Idol" finalists sing:
"I wanted to do some music I could have fun with. And Paula Abdul and I have been talking about doing something together for a long time… I play on about half of it. It's an autobiographical compilation of sorts. There's a blues song, a rock song, a hip hop song and R&B. There's like every flavor of every rainbow on this record. It's all the music I've experienced in my life growing up.
"It's a fun record. Hopefully people will like it. And there will be multiple singles from this record."
Colbert On Cunningham-McCain Flap
Did you see Stephen Colbert's brilliant take on the Bill Cunningham-John McCain flap on "The Colbert Report" last night?
You can see it online at our politics bloghttp://frontier.cincinnati.com/blogs/gov/
Or the Colbert sitehttp://www.indecision2008.com/blog.jhtml?c=v&t=30979&m=102142
Colbert's writers did a great job making fun of Cunningham, McCain's response and talk radio. My favorite line: "I've always hated him (McCain) going back to when Rush Limbaugh told me to hate him."
But curiously, the online bit ends abruptly, cutting off Colbert's final joke. Colbert concluded the piece by complaining about McCain: "He back-stabbed a man for noting that Barack Obama is probably a terrorist." Censorship? How about some truthiness here?
Will that line be seen when "The Colbert Report" repeats at 8:30 p.m. tonight?10:30 p.m. Update/Correction:
Just finished watching tape of the entire show. The Colbert back-stabbing joke appeared later in the half-hour, during "Threat Down," not as part of the Cincinnati report at the top of the show. Glad to see it! What a great show last night. Truthiness prevails!
Biggest Loser Auditions In Columbus
Just a quick note: NBC's "The Biggest Loser" will hold open auditions Saturday in Columbus for "outgoing and charismatic teams of two" for the sixth season.
At least the first 500 people will be seen by producers 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Café, 1421 Olentangy River Road. For applications and information, go to www.nbc.com/Casting/
Goodbye Pete Scalia
Channel 5 traffic reporter Pete Scalia will be paying a lot of attention to I-75 traffic reports… when he begins commuting to Dayton's Channels 22/45. Scalia has been hired to co-anchor the morning news.
"It's a good upgrade for him," says Richard Dyer, Channel 5 president and general manager. And it's another change for the "News 5 Today" morning show, which in the past 14 months has changed half its cast (weathermen Eric Green, co-anchor Jonathan Hawgood).
Scalia was hired 2-1/2 years ago from Channel 5's on-air traffic tryouts. At the time he was the keyboard player for the rock band Freekbass. But he wasn't a stranger to TV. After graduating from Ohio University in 1996, he worked as a Channel 5 production assistant back in the Crosley Square days before hitting the road to tour with a band. He's also been a Channel 19 production assistant, overnight WARM98 DJ, and a producer for Dusty Rhodes' morning show on old WSAI-AM (1530).
When the 1991 Oak Hills High School graduate was hired by Channel 5 in October 2005, Scalia said: "Even with my musical background and experience, I have always wanted to somehow end up in TV here in my hometown."
Now it's time to move on, to move up to a better job. He joins primary co-anchor Candice Hunter, who left Channel 5 last summer for the same stations. The Cincinnati connection here is news director Pat Casey, former Channel 19 news director.
Can he anchor? We'll see. Traffic guy Bob Herzog does a pretty good job as Channel 12's Saturday morning anchor.
One more thing: Don't look for another "Traffic Tryout" stunt by Channel 5. "We don't have plans to do that at this point," Dyer says.
Channel 5's Choirs Vote Ends Tonight
Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. today on Channel 5's local "Clash of the Choirs" competition, after Courtis Fuller profiles the last of his eight local choirs (the Cincinnati Boychoir) during the 5 p.m. news.
One this is clear: No way the Cincinnati Boychoir will win the online competition. Supporters for two choirs -- the Elder High School Glee Club and the Cincinnati Sound -- have generated over 95,000 votes each (or 46% each) of the 208,000 online votes over four weeks. Channel 5 really has touched a nerve here -- at least among friends and family members of the singers.
"This has been amazing. At the beginning of the month we wondered if we'd get 5,000 votes during the month, and we got 5,000 votes the first day," Fuller says. "I've received more email from this than anything I can think of in a long time."
On the 5 p.m. news Wednesday -- the last day of February ratings sweeps -- Fuller will announce the winner. The top vote-getter will perform at the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Saturday, as part of the show by the winning Team Lachey/Team Cincinnati choir from NBC's "Clash of the Choirs" last December. Tickets ($30) are available from the Carnegie http://www.thecarnegie.com/
or 859-957-1940. The winners also will sing a jingle for a News 5 promotion.
To see the eight choirs perform, or vote, go tohttp://www.wlwt.com/entertainment/15176845/detail.html
McCain Repudiates Bill Cunningham
Gee, why am I not surprised about this: John McCain comes to town today, and people are talking about WLW-AM's Bill Cunningham, not McCain's policies and promises. Cunningham is telling listeners that ABC News, Associated Press, the New York Times and other national media outlets want to interview him about his remarks warming up the crowd before McCain's Memorial Hall rally this morning.
Cunningham told listeners today that he was asked Monday to warm up the crowd today. On stage, Cunningham repeatedly referrred to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama by his middle name, Hussein. He also said Obama was part of the Richard Daley's Chicago Democratic machine, and a political hack. He said he didn't meet McCain, because he left before McCain arrived.
After the event, McCain said: "I take responsibility and I repudiate what I said... I will not tolerate anything in this campaign that denigrates either Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton."
Cunningham has been calling Obama "Hussein" for a long time. Back on Jan. 10, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann called Cunningham one of the "worst persons in the world" for referring to Obama as Hussein on his Sunday night nationally syndicated show.
Cunningham has relished the attention today. He'll relish it tonight on the TV news/talk shows, even if some paint him as a clown. On the air today, he's in Willie mode, which means we can't really tell if he's telling the truth when the convservative Republican says on the air: "I've had it with McCain. I'm going to throw my support to Hillary Rodham Clinton." Or when he says that program director Darryl Parks has banned him from the airwaves Wednesday. (He wasn't scheduled to be on Wednesday because of the Reds spring training opening game.)
Let's face it: WLW talk hosts -- especially Cunningham -- are masters of making themselves the center of attention. They seemingly can take any situation and make it All About WLW. McCain learned the hard way today about Cunningham's on-air schtick. I bet Willie won't be invited to any more McCain events.
Tuesday Debate Coverage
With the Ohio primary a week away, TV schedules will be scrambled Tuesday night for the Democratic presidential debate in Cleveland, and an Ohio Second Congressional District debate at CET here.
From 7-8 p.m., CET (Channel 48) and WVXU-FM (91.7) will simulcast a taped debate between Democrats Victoria Wulsin and Steve Black. Kathy Lehr will moderate the "Focus: Election 2008" discussion between the candidates and Enquirer reporter Howard Wilkinson and WVXU-FM news director Maryanne Zeleznik. (Republicans Jean Schmidt and Tom Brinkman each declined to participate in a CET Republican forum.)
At 8 p.m., Channels 5 and 2 will broadcast the premiere of "quarterlife," the new NBC drama from Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick ("thirtysomething," "Once and Again," "My So-Called Life"). It was moved from 10 p.m. in Cincinnati and Dayton because of Cleveland debate. "The Biggest Loser," which will air nationally 8-10 p.m. Tuesday, will be broadcast 8-10 p.m. Saturday on Channels 5, 2. At 9 p.m., Channels 5 and 2 and MSNBC will carry the Democratic presidential candidate debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama from Cleveland State University. "NBC Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams will moderate the debate, along with "Meet the Press" moderator and NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Tim Russert. At 10:30 p.m., Sandra Ali and Sheree Paolello will anchor a "News 5 Special" from Cleveland with debate reaction. They also will report from Cleveland during the 5-6:30 p.m news, and at 11 p.m. news.
Congratulations Rachel Horn!
She did it! Congratulations to Rachel Horn, the 15-year-old Walnut Hills High School sophomore, who won the $75,000 "Jeopardy!" teen tournament. She beat two 17-year-old high school seniors.
"Jeopdardy!" says she's the youngest woman ever to win the teen tournament in its 21-year history. Rachel didn't know that until I spoke to her after the show. "Wow, that's pretty cool!" she said.
Did you hear Alex Trebek tonight mention to Rachel that he once lived in Cincinnati? Back in 2002, he told me that in the late 1950s, when he was 18, he spent a summer her to be with a girlfriend: "I was dating a girl. It was a nice summer. I worked in a large apartment complex, and was on the maintenance crew. So we mopped halls and sorted garbage." (How romantic!)
She's the second local Jeopardy! champ in nine years. Dave Abbott of Fort Thomas won the $100,000 Tournament of Champions nine years ago this week.
Rachel called being on the show "a lot of fun, an experience of a lifetime." She'd love to return to "Jeopardy!," but there's a catch. "I can't come back as long as Alex (Trebek) is host," she says.
Congrats to Rachel! You were so poised and confident! And smart! You made all of Greater Cincinnati very proud!
Cincinnati Needs A WKRP Landmark
Here’s a great idea from Jim Thompson, a huge "WKRP in Cincinnati" fan: He wants TV Land to erect a permanent tribute here to the beloved sitcom, a bronze statue of WKRP newsman Les Nessman, as part of the TV Land Landmark program.
Thompson, 59 of Clermont County’s Miami Township, wants all "WKRP" fans to nominate Nessman and Cincinnati for the TV Land Landmark statue at The cable network has put up bronze statutes of Mary Tyler Moore in Minneapolis; Bob Newhart in Chicago; Andy Griffith in Raleigh, N.C.; Jackie Gleason as bus driver Ralph Kramden in Manhattan; Elizabeth Montgomery from "Bewitched" in Salem, Mass.; and Elvis Presley in Honolulu, site of his 1973 concert.
So why not a bronze memorial for the Silver Sow Award-winning newsman? With turkeys lumped at his feet?
Of all the 'KRP crazies, Thompson picked newsman Nessman because he was at the center of the funniest episodes of the old CBS sitcom (1978-82).
"Most people will never forget Les's commentary in the famous Thanksgiving turkey drop episode. Like many of us, Les wasn't afraid to talk about something he knew nothing about, like sports, when he mispronounced golfer Chi Chi Rodriguez's name as 'Chy Chy Rod-ri-gqeeze.' There were many funny characters on that show, like the Big Guy and Dr. Johnny Fever, but none of them personified Cincinnati like Les," he says.
Thompson envisons a Lesman statute outside 617 Vine Street, the former Enquirer building, where the station was supposedly located. (Trivia buffs know they called it the Osgood R. Flimm building.)
Raymond "Buz" Buse, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber public relations manager, likes the idea. "It's something missing from our landscape. WKRP made Cincinnati a household name across the nation," he says. He'd like to see a tribute to each of Cincinnati's stars, possibly near the Aronoff Center. (Our own Walk of Fame? That's a cool idea too.)
But it may be too late for a WKRP statue, no matter how many online votes TV Land receives. Says Paul Ward, TV Land senior vice president: "TV Land is currently evaluating the landmarks initiates to see how it fits in with our branding strategy," he says. (It sounds like TV Land wants out of the statue business.)
I love the idea, especially with the 30th anniversary of the "WKRP" premiere this September. There should be a tribute to WKRP living on the ground in Cincinnati. Do you agree?
Talkers Magazine Ranks Local Hosts
If you ranked Cincinnati's most important radio talk hosts, would Lincoln Ware be ahead of Bill Cunningham? Would Mike McConnell be ahead or behind Willie?
"Talkers" magazine, the self-proclaimed "Bible of talk radio and the new talk media," has released its annual rankings of "the 100 most important radio and talk show hosts in America."
Three local hosts made the "Heavy Hundred:"
No. 59: Lincoln Ware, WDBZ-AM.
No. 69: Bill Cunningham, WLW-AM and Premiere Radio Network
No. 86: Mike McConnell, WLW-AM and Premiere Radio Network (the list was compiled before McConnell’s weekday syndication ended Feb. 1.
The Top 15: Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Don Imus, Ed Schultz, Mike Gallagher, Neal Boortz, Bill O’Reilly, Dave Ramsey, Howard Stern, Mancow and Mark Levin. Mancow #14? Ahead of Bob & Tom (#45) or Mike & Mike (#47)???
Here's the list:
The magazine also mentioned an additional 150 hosts, including syndicated home improvement expert Gary Sullivan from WKRC-AM (550) and Jay Love, who left WDBZ-AM last month.
No local sports talk hosts made the list.
I think Lance McAlister and Paul Daugherty deserve to be mentioned. Lance is always prepared and entertaining. I think Doc is going a very good job, with insightful guests and commentary, without the radio theatrics of Cunningham or Andy Furman. Reminds me of the old Trumpy/Collinsworth no B.S. days.
How would you rank local or national hosts? Who here deserves national recognition?
Rachel Horn and Viewers in Jeopardy
Good news and bad news for Jeopardy fans: Rachel Horn from Walnut Hills High School plays in the $75,000 "Jeopardy!" teen tournament Thursday -- but you won't see it on Channel 9 Thursday.
Because of a prior commitment to air the "Cincinnati Auto Show" 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Channel 9 will pre-empt the first night of the two-night teen tournament. (Whoops!) Channel 9 made the agreement months ago, before it learned that Jeopardy had scheduled the teen tournament... or knew that the 15-year-old Hyde Park girl would make it to the finals...
So here's your viewing options:
--Wait until 7 p.m. Friday, and watch the two-part finals 7-8 p.m. Friday on Channel 9. (They'll pre-empt "Wheel of Fortune," and run back-to-back "Wheels" 7-8 p.m. Saturday.
--Set the DVR for 1:35 a.m. late Thursday/early Friday and record the Thursday Jeopardy. Make sure to give yourself extra time, since the show runs until 2:05 a.m.
--If you're in the northern 'burbs, you might be able to watch Jeopardy from Dayton's Channel 2 at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, as usual.
Horn was impressive again Wednesday, though not nearly as dominant as she was in the first round. She answered 16 of 17 correctly, while last week she took control of the game by answering 28 questions. She started the Double Jeopardy (second round) in second place, but quickly jumped into the lead thanks to a category of Ohio trivia (called "Let's Go To Ohio"). Can you believe it? They used this category knowing they had an Ohio kid playing the game? One of the answers was Cincinnati.... You'd think they would have used a different category so not to give her an unfair advantage. (She got 3 of them right, and her competitors each got one of the Ohio questions right.)
There are many reasons to root for Rachel. She's been very calm and cool and confident. And smart. I'd root for her anyway if she wasn't from Cincinnati because she shares my love for Duke Ellington's sax player (Johnny Hodges) and the Marx Brothers (Harpo in particular). No, we're not related...
All the money won by Horn Wednesday, and last week, does not carry over into the finals. The teen champion with the highest two-day total on Friday is guaranteed $75,000. If he or she wins more than that in two days, the winner keeps the larger amount. The second-place finisher is guaranteed $25,000, and the third-place person gets at least $15,000.
One more guarantee: The phone will ring off the hook at Channel 9 tomorrow when people discover they can't see the teen tournament finals, or they can't see "Wheel of Forutne" as usual.
Cunningham Praises His Mother
WLW-AM listeners tell me that Bill Cunningham opened his show today with some very emotional remarks about his mother, Mary Ellen, who died Friday. This was his first show since the funeral yesterday.
I know WLW-AM will make his show available on podcast… but if you heard his comments, would you share some of them here?
Nuxhall Not Headed To The Hall Of Fame
Say it ain't so.... The Baseball Hall of Fame voters ignored the 82,304 online votes for Joe Nuxhall -- 10 times more than the second-place online finisher -- to give the Ford C. Frick Award to Seattle Mariners voice Dave Niehaus. He has been the Mariners' voice all 31 years the team has existed.
This doesn't bode well for Nux, who died Nov. 15 at age 79. Son Kim Nuxhall told me yesterday: "This has to be his best chance to win, hands down. It will never be like this again."
Despite the huge online tally (67%) , Kim knew there was no certainty his father would be inducted in Cooperstown this summer. When Reds fans told him in recent months that his father was a sure thing for the Frick Award, Kim says he would remind them about Negro League star Buck O'Neill. "How he was never voted into the Hall of Fame while he was living is beyond me," Kim said.
O'Neill, who died in November 2006 at age 94, will be inducted into Cooperstown this summer.
Do you think Nuxhall will ever make it into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Coopertown?
Bill Cunningham Working For The Mormons?
Now here's something to think about: What if the Mormons ran WLW-AM? What would it sound like?
It could happen. Bonneville – which owns WUBE-FM (B105) and WKRQ-FM (Q102) -- may be interested in buying WLW-AM from Clear Channel, which has been ordered by the U.S. Justice Department to sell two Cincinnati stations. Bonneville is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The government has ordered Clear Channel to sell either one of two specific pairs of stations -- news-sports talk WLW-AM (700) and top 40 WKFS-FM (KISS107.1) or classic rock WOFX-FM (FOX92.5) and adult contemporary WNNF-FM (Radio94.1). The mandate is part of the government's conditional approval of the $28-billion acquisition of Clear Channel, the nation's biggest radio owner, by two private equity investors, Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners. Clear Channel must sell two of its eight Cincinnati stations because Bain and Lee Partners also control half of Cumulus, which owns three stations here. The divestitures were ordered so that Bain and Lee Partners would not have a monopoly on radio advertising rates here, the government said.
Clear Channel executives have not decided with tandem to sell, says Michelle Clarke, company spokeswoman. A decision must be made by the time Bain and Lee Partners close on the Clear Channel deal, which is expected to occur before March 31, says Mark Mays, Clear Channel CEO.
The most attractive package would be WLW-AM, the 50,000-watt station heard in 34 states, and KISS107, the No. 1 station with listeners ages 18-34. But they won't be cheap. Brokers estimate that Clear Channel's AM flagship could cost anywhere from $50 million to more than $100 million, plus another $30-35 million for the FM rocker.
The pair of FM stations could be had for about $65 million -- $45 million for FOX92.5 and $20 million the former MIX94.1, brokers say. Although WLW is the flagship, the 800 pound gorilla in this market, selling off WLW-AM "makes the most sense because Clear Channel can get the most money from it," says Rob Riggsbee, president of Inside Media, a Newtown media-buying agency. The idea is that Clear Channel wants to cash out quick, to get the private equity deal done.
Among the potential buyers are Bonneville, and Randy Michaels, the former Clear Channel radio division president and WLW-AM owner, says John L. Pierce, a Florence-based media broker. Michaels is head of broadcast operations for the Chicago-based Tribune Co., which owns TV and radio stations.
Bobby Lawrence, the former Jacor radio executive who heads LocalTV LLC in Fort Wright, the TV company he started with Michaels, says he's not interested in radio these days.
"If I ever got back into the radio business it would be to own WLW, which as you might remember was our flagship back when we started Seven Hills. Unfortunately that doesn't work for us right now as we are exclusively working on building out our TV platform. No radio in the portfolio," Lawrence told me tonight.
"I had heard that the Bonneville folks had a strong interest. They would be a natural buyer for this kind of a situation. Frankly it is my bet that CC won't sell WLW. It's just too valuable and an asset you can't duplicate," Lawrence says.
After Bonneville bought the B105/Q102 group in late 2006, "Bonneville executives said they wanted a local news-talk AM (station) here," Riggsbee says.
Bonneville has major new-talk AM stations in Washington D.C., Salt Lake City, Seattle and other cities, says Peter Handy, a Dallas-based radio broker for Star Media Corp. "Stations like WLW – minus the 'bad boy' image – are of big interest to Bonneville," Handy says. So if Bonneville bought "The Big One," how would it change? Would they tone down Bill Cunningham and Scott Sloan, or just part ways? I imagine some sexy and sensational topics would be off-limits. The whole wise-ass, in-your-face tone of the station could change, I'm guessing. Maybe Powel Crosley Jr. is smiling at the prospects… If WLW-AM is sold, the buyer also control most of the top sports franchises. Whichever tandem is sold, the Bengals will lose an affiliate. Bengals games have been simulcast on WLW-AM and FOX92.5 (and WCKY-AM, 1530 Homer). Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan says the team's deal is with Clear Channel, and the team would talk to Clear Channel about adding games to another station.
So lots of things could change if WLW-AM changes hands. If Clear Channel sells off the two FMs, it probably would prompt more format changes, but nothing as dramatic as what could happen to WLW-AM.
In terms of Cincinnati radio changes, this could be The Big One. What do you think?
News From The Breaking News Center
Here's some breaking news you haven't seen on Channel 9's Breaking News Center: Lisa Cornwell, Channel 9's Breaking News Center reporter since its debut last September, is leaving the station for Knoxville.
Cornwell will co-anchor morning news on Knoxville's WBIR-TV (NBC affiliate Channel 10) next month, after February sweeps end. Here's the WBIR-TV announcement: http://www.wbir.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=54322
Cornwell, 33, has been at Channel 9 for nearly two years. Until August, she was a weekend sports anchor and sports reporter. She was moved to morning news when Channel 9 reduced the sports department to two (Dennis Janson, John Popovich) from three. I hear she wasn't happy about being moved to news, so it doesn't surprise me that she's leaving the station.
She definitely was the best female sports anchor in town until her move last year... and one of the best I've seen here. (I liked Kathrine Nero and Cammy Dierking too.)
Which women sports anchors have you liked or not liked to watch?
Children's Hospital Radiothon On WARM98
Dueling radiothons for kids? That's what we have with the sixth annual three-day WRRM-FM (WARM98.5) "Cincinnati Cares for Kids Radiothon" for Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, and WUBE-FM (B105) third annual one-day "Country Cares for St. Jude Kids" radiothon for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.
WARM98 is broadcasting from Cincinnati Children's Hospital 6 a.m.-7 p.m. today and Friday, and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday. The station has raised more than $1.2 million since 2003 for the hospital.
Donations may be made online at www.cincinnatichildrens.org/radiothon or
www.warm98.com or by calling the radiothon hotline at 513-221-KIDS (5437). Among those volunteering at the phone bank Friday and Saturday will be Roberta Camp, Miss Ohio 2007.
The final tally will be announced at 6 p.m. Saturday. Last year WARM98 listeners donated $220,113.
Super Bowl "House" Repeats Friday
If you DVRed "House" after the Super Bowl – and didn't capture the entire show because the game ran long – you can catch a repeat at 9 p.m. Friday. Tony Phillips, Fox 19 marketing director, says the station "received a fair amount of calls following the Super Bowl from folks who set their DVRs to record 'House' and got only part or none of the episode due to the game run-over. We must not have been the only market with this issue as FOX has scheduled a special encore of the episode this Friday, 2/15 at 9pm. If you could help me get the word out, it would be much appreciated."
Oscar-winner Mira Sorvino stars as Dr. Cate Milton, a psychiatrist trapped at the South Pole and the research station's only doctor. When she becomes ill in the middle of her assignment, Dr. House and his team direct her treatment by webcam.
TV Show Renewals And New Episodes
This just in: NBC has renewed Life, Chuck and (no surprise here) Heroes have been renewed for the 2008-09 TV season. All three will have "major re-launch campaigns next (TV) year."
NBC also announced the return in April for some of your favorite scripted series: The Office, 30 Rock, ER, Scrubs, My Name Is Earl, and others. CBS says How I Met Your Mother, Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory return with new shows March 17, and CSI comes back on April 3. Yeah!
Here's the NBC release on new April episodes:
BURBANK - February 13, 2008 - NBC will resume the broadcast of many of its scripted series in April with new original episodes following the settlement of the Writers Guild of America strike, including The Office, 30 Rock, My Name Is Earl, Law & Order, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, among other programs, it was announced by Ben Silverman, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios, and Marc Graboff, Co-Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios.
The list of comedies and dramas includes: My Name Is Earl (Thursdays, 8-8:30 p.m. ET), which will return with a one-hour episode on Thursday, April 3; the Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock (Thursdays, 8:30-9 p.m. ET) will begin on Thursday, April 10; likewise, the Emmy-winning The Office (Thursdays, 9-9:30 p.m. ET) also resumes with new episodes on Thursday, April 10; and Scrubs (Thursdays, 9:30-10 p.m. ET) will come back with original episodes beginning Thursday, April 10.
ER (Thursdays, 10-11 p.m. ET) also will come back on Thursday, April 10 with new episodes following the complete run of Lipstick Jungle, which concludes on March 20.
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (Tuesdays, 10-11 p.m. ET) will return with fresh episodes on Tuesday, April 15. Law & Order (Wednesdays, 10-11 p.m. ET) resumes with original episodes on Wednesday, April 23. Meanwhile, Medium (Mondays, 10-11 p.m. ET) continues in originals.
Specific plans for other NBC scripted series are currently being determined and will be announced later.
Is WLW-AM For Sale?
Is WLW-AM, the city's No. 1 station, for sale? That's today's bombshell.
The U.S. Department of Justice today ordered Clear Channel to sell stations in Cincinnati, Houston, Las Vegas and San Francisco in order for a group of private equity investors led by Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners to proceed with purchasing a controlling interest in Clear Channel.
Cincinnati and Houston are targeted because Bain and Lee Partners control a 50 percent interest in Cumulus Media Partners, which owns stations in those markets. Cumulus owns WRRM-FM (WARM98.5), WGRR-FM (103.5) and WFTK-FM (96.5 Rock). Clear Channel owns eight stations: talk stations WLW-AM (700) and WKRC-AM (550); rock stations WEBN-FM (102.7), WKFS-FM (KISS107.1), WOFX-FM (FOX92.5) and WNNF-FM (Radio94.1); and sports talks stations WCKY-AM (1530 Homer) and WSAI-AM (ESPN 1360).
The combined audience share for Clear Channel and Cumulus stations exceeds 59 percent in Cincinnati, the government said. So tghe divestitures were ordered so that the new owners would not have too much control over radio advertising rates here, the government said.
The government did not specify which stations must be sold here. But I'm told that Clear Channel managers here told employees Tuesday that the company could consider selling off WLW-AM and KISS107.1, or the tandem of FOX92.1 and Radio94.1 (the old MIX94.1).
Selling WLW-AM isn't that far-fetched. Yes, it has the biggest audience, and probably generates the most money. But with Willie, McConnell, Jim Scott and the news staff, it likely has the highest payroll. If CC wants to get this $19-billion deal done, it could dump the Big One and KISS and move on. What other properties would be more attractive?
Get braced for more radio changes in Cincinnati
Which stations do you expect them to spin off? Would they sell WEBN? Which ones would benefit from a change in ownership? And how much would you bet that former WLW owner Randy Michaels could end up with his old station again?
B105 Radiothon And Free Concert
Country B105 want listeners to show they have a heart on Valentine's Day by contributing to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital during an on-air campaign Thursday, or at a free concert Friday night at Turfway Park
B105 will host its third annual "Country Cares for St. Jude Kids" radiothon 5 a.m.-7 p.m. from Newport on the Levee. Last year B105 raised $252,415, part of over $30 million pledged nationwide.
Parents of two former St. Jude patients – Louie Hentz from Lakeside Park and Elena Desserich from Cincinnati – will participate in the radio broadcast.
The fund-raising continues at the "St. Jude Jam" wrap party 9 p.m. Friday with Keith Anderson ("Pickin' Wallflowers") and Dan Varner. Donations will be accepted during the concert, which is free and open to the public, says Ron James, B105 promotions director.
Rachel Horn Still In Jeopardy!
Rachel Horn, the Walnut Hills High School sophomore, told me that the hardest part of being in the "Jeopardy!" teen tournament was keeping the secret, not being able to tell anyone how she did.
Well, she has to keep the secret a little longer in the $75,000 two-week tournament. She advanced tonight to the semi-finals.
Horn, 15, of Hyde Park, stunned her competitors on tonight's telecast, correctly answering 28 of 30 questions. She won with $33,199, despite losing $2,000 on a daily double. She nearly doubled the total for second-place finisher, Melissa Luttmann, 14, from Memphis ($18,400). Third was Janelle Lamber, 17, from Brooklyn ($11,200).
What obviously helped Horn was practicing for the competition by watching the show using a "flashlight buzzer system" rigged by her father, David. She often had first shot at each question by being the first person to press the button after host Alex Trebek read the clue.
"It helped with my timing, so I could get in as soon as we're able," she explained to me.
In my Life section story today, Horn told me that "everybody has been pestering" her about how she did on the show. The two-week tournament (ending Feb. 22) was taped in two days last month (Jan. 14-15). Now she'll have to keep the secret a little longer. As she told me: "All I've been able to say is: I can't tell you. You have to watch the show."
I'll let you know when she's on again.
Dan Patrick In Town
When Dan Patrick broadcast his nationally syndicated radio show from Clear Channel in Kenwood today, I hoped he twisted some arms into carrying it here.
Patrick, a 1974 Mason High School graduate, came home last night to speak at Miami University. He did his show from here 9 a.m.-noon, carried by Clear Channel's WONE-AM (980) in Dayton, and streamed and podcast on http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/danpatrick/
His topic at "Miami of Ohio" last night -- a phrase that the university is trying to eradicate -- was "Athletes As Heroes: Are There No Role Models Any More?" Of course, that meant talk of Pete Rose. Here are some sound bites:
--Pete Rose: Patrick says he'd put Rose in the Baseball Hall of Fame as a player, but not a manager. He talked about growing up in Mason idolizing Rose and wearing No. 14. He says he once interviewed Rose at Pete's Florida home, back when he was denying he bet on the game. Patrick says: "I told him, 'Pete, you're embarrassing Cincinnati.' I knew the bookie he bet through. He was a neighbor."
--On his college days: "I wasn't smart enough to get into Miami of Ohio (that phrase again), but now I'm here giving a speech? What happened to standards?" said Patrick, a University of Dayton gradaute. Later he 'fessed up to being a poor college student. "I skated through, much to my regret. A 2.2 (GPA), looking pretty good to me! I was an idiot."
--On making commitments: Patrick says he had a spirited debate over dinner with Miami president David Hodge over why university presidents let popular coaches out of their contracts to take jobs at bigger schools. He also said he turned down offers from CBS and NBC while at ESPN, to honor his contract with ESPN. "Once you lose your word, you're lost your integrity. But players don't care. Owners don't care. It's a cesspool."
--On pregame shows: Patrick, who left ESPN after 18 years in August to do a syndicated show and write for Sports Illustrated, took a swipe at ESPN and former colleague Chris Berman when saying he didn't find pregame shows enlightening: "I don't know if I get anything from it but 'back-back-back.' Is that a subtle dig at ESPN?"
I enjoy listening to Patrick. I wish Clear Channel's WCKY-AM (Homer 1530) would carry him 9 a.m.-noon. He should be on in his hometown.
ABC Renews Nine Shows
More good news for TV viewers anticipating that the writers' strike may end this week, and new episodes could resume by April: ABC has renewed nine shows for the fall 2008-09 TV season.
First season series "Pushing Daisies" (remember that one?), "Samantha Who?," "Private Practice" and "Dirty Sexy Money" will be back, along with (no surprises here) "Grey's Anatomy," "Desperate Housewives," "Lost," "Ugly Betty" and "Brothers & Sisters."
TV Week says ABC execs won’t reveal which series will return with new episodes this spring.
What other ABC series do you want to see returning in the fall?
Cute Kid Update
Jayshawn Armstrong didn't make the top five this morning in the Beautiful Baby Search contest on "Live with Regis and Kelly." Over 300,000 online votes were cast Monday for the 10 semi-finalists, Regis Philbin announced on Tuesday's show.
Jayshawn will receive $1,000 in Walgreens gift cards. The winner announced on Friday gets $125,000 towards a four-year college education.
Jayshawn is the foster son of Megan and Mike McCuen of Montgomery.
"The reason we entered the contest was to secure his future, but it wasn't mean to be," Megan told me after the show today. "What were the chances? One in 300,000? But we became a finalist. We were surprised."Monday posting:
Jayshawn Armstrong of Cincinnati
is one of the most beautiful babies in America
– according to "Live with Regis and Kelly" -- and he could be $125,000 richer with your help. Jayshawn, 22 months, is a top 10 semi-finalist (from nearly 300,000 entries) announced today in the "Live with Regis and Kelly" Beautiful Baby Search contest. Another cute kid in the contest hails from Greensburg, Ind: Cy Miller, 20 months.
Online voting through midnight tonight at www.liveregisandkelly.com will determine who will be among the top five finalists. The top five will be announced Tuesday (9 a.m., Channels 9, 7), and flown to New York to be on the show Wednesday. All five will participate in a photo shoot for sponsor Parenting magazine. Parenting editors and "Regis and Kelly" producers will select the winner on Friday. The lucky boy or girl will receive $125,000 "to be used toward a four-year college education," the show says, and a cover photo on Parenting magazine. The other four finalists will receive $25,000.
The five semifinalists not invited to New York receive $1,000 in gift cards from Walgreens, another contest sponsor.
If I reach Jayshawn's mother, I'll post more info.
Have Some Digital TV Tips?
As we're nearing Feb. 17, one year away from the transition from analog to digital TV, I'm looking for your advice. As part of my package of stories, I want to list tips about buying a HDTV set and enjoying HDTV from those of you who own one (or more).
What words of wisdom do you have for people shopping now for a HDTV to replace their analog set? What type and size of HDTV did you select, and why? What would you do different today? Tell me if you're watching over-the-air (anyone using rabbit ears?) or with cable or dish.
Will you e-mail me
, subject: Digital TV? Please include your full name, daytime phone, suburb/neighborhood and age. I'm need your suggestions in an email, not anonymous posts on this blog.
Thanks for your help.
Reds Spring Training TV Schedule Set
Fox Sports Net Ohio will broadcast three Monday games from Florida
next month. All will be in standard definition, no HD. Two will be in prime-time.
The schedule: "Reds Live" premieres with a one-hour special on Opening Day, at 1 p.m. Monday, March 31.
Monday, March 10: Reds vs. Yankees, 7:15 p.m.
Monday, March 17: Reds vs. Tigers, 1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 24: Reds vs. Blue Jays: 7:05 p.m.
No word yet on how many Reds games FSNO will do in HD this season, or if FSNO will have a deal with Time Warner for HD carriage.
Happy Birthday Channel 5!
Channel 5 won't make a big deal out of this, but I will: WLWT-TV turns 60 years old on Saturday. Happy Birthday!
The city's first TV station began commercial operation on Feb. 9, 1948, when experimental W8XCT became WLWT-TV (then Channel 4). Six days later, on Feb. 15, WLWT-TV celebrated "T Day," inaugurating the new "Mount Olympus" telecomunications studios beneath the new TV tower on Chickasaw Street in University Heights. (The aging historic building still owned by Channel 5 is slated for demolition soon.)
I'm told that Channel 5 newscasts will mention the birthday Saturday, but hold off making a big deal until April 19, the 60th anniversary of WLWT-TV becoming the first NBC affiliate, says Richard Dyer, Channel 5 president and general manager.
But I won' wait to celebrate Cincinnati’s TV pioneers. (WKRC-TV and WCPO-TV would not sign on until more than a year later.) By Feb. 9, 1948, Crosley Broadcasting already had many TV broadcasting achievements: the first variety show, Reds telecast, UC football game, and Harlem Globetrotters game.
Here's a list TV history list I've compiled over the years from interviews, publications and old WLWT press releases:
April, 1937: Crosley Radio Corp. starts experimental TV station, W8XCT, which becomes WLWT (Channel 4) in 1948.
April 26, 1939: Crosley demonstrates "modern television"’ for reporters on the roof of Carew Tower. A Crosley iconoscope camera was used in New York World's Fair TV demonstration.
June 4, 1946: W8XCT resumes broadcasts, which had been suspended in 1942 due to World War II.
Jan. 20, 1947: Construction permit issued by FCC for WLWT.
July 31, 1947: W8XCT broadcasts first regular program, a variety show, from Carew Tower studio.
Sept. 21, 1947: First Cincinnati Reds telecast on W8XCT from Crosley Field.
Oct. 11, 1947: First W8XCT football game, UC vs. Dayton from Nippert Stadium.
Nov. 30, 1947: First W8XCT professional basketball telecast from Music Hall, Harlem Globetrotters vs. New York Celtics.
Feb. 9, 1948: W8XCT becomes WLWT on first day of commercial operation. Before then, W8XCT was averaging 20 hours of broadcasting per week. That number steadily increased to 35 hours a week by the end of 1948.
If you were producing a 60th anniversary special for WLWT-TV, what would you include in the show other than Ruth Lyons, Paul Dixon and "Midwestern Hayride?" What favorite moments/personalities would you like to see again?
Help me compile a list.
Uncle Al and Cincinnati Television
Author/TV producer Jim Friedman has quite a guest star list for his "Cincinnati Television" Arcadia
book signing 2-4 p.m. Saturday at the Sycamore Plaza Barnes & Noble, 7800 Montgomery Road
, Kenwood. Uncle Al and Captain Windy – Al and Wanda Lewis from the "Uncle Al Show" -- will attend the Q&A session, Friedman says. Also participating in the panel discussion –and available for autographs -- will be Rob Reider, Rosemary Kelly Conrad, Bill Myers, Dave McCoy and puppeteer Larry Smith.
Sounds like a fun time.
McKeown Cultivating B105 Listeners
Denny McKeown says his move to country music WUBE-FM (B105.1) this Saturday (6:30-9 a.m.) is a homecoming. For three years, he broadcast from the same Reading Road studios on WGRR-FM (103.5), before the station was swapped to Cumulus in fall 2006. Cumulus then moved the show to the new SupertalkFM96.5 format on WFTK-FM... and scuttled the show and format last December, after a year. McKeown, 66, says he had kept in touch with Jim Bryant, Bonneville market manager for B105, Q102 and the Wolf. And when the show was canceled in December, Bryant invited him back.
"This was meant to be. I'm very happy," McKeown says.
McKeown figures he'll cultivate an audience quickly at B105, which didn't happen at Supertalk. The FM talk station didn't have many listeners, particularly with his show on for four hours (7-11 a.m.). He's much happier with his old 6-9 a.m. slot.
"The audience is better for me at 6 a.m. than 9-11 a.m., because people are up early and doing stuff," he says. At Supertalk, "I would run out of roses and books to give away to anyone who would call. You can only talk for so long without callers. Those were very long days."
McKeown is a talk radio pioneer. He started on old WCKY-AM, which launched the city's first talk radio format in 1981. In his later years working for WKRC-AM (1992-03), his show was distributed nationally by Clear Channel. He says Bonneville may syndicate the show – but only regionally, so callers questions would be about plants common in this area.
McKeown owns the Bloomin' Garden Center and landscaping service in Blue Ash. He's also a Sunday Enquirer columnist.
It will be good to hear him back on the air.
Welcome To The Jingle, Patty Duke
Ever since I knew I' be interviewing actress Patty Duke, I've been humming the theme song to her 1960s TV sitcom I watched kid with my older sisters, Kathy and Karen. It was apparent during Patty Duke's speech at the Aronoff Center tonight that plenty of women there also fondly recalled "The Patty Duke Show"(1963-66), in which she played identical teen-age cousins, Patty and Cathy. And we're not the only ones. "I don't get on an airplane without first standing in an airport and hearing someone sing that theme," the 61-year-old actress told me during an interview before her Smart Talk Women's Lecture Series speech at the Aronoff Center.
So if you were there Tuesday night, and that tune has been playing in your head, here are the lyrics which explained the differences in the identical cousins. (See if you can sing the theme before looking at them!)
Meet Cathy, who's lived most everywhere, But they're cousins,
From Zanzibar to Barclay Square.
But Patty's only seen the sights
A girl can see from Brooklyn Heights
What a crazy pair!
Identical cousins all the way.
One pair of matching bookends,
Different as night and day.
Where Cathy adores a minuet,
The Ballet Russes, and crepe suzette,
Our Patty loves to rock and roll,
A hot dog makes her lose control
What a wild duet!
Still, they're cousins,
Identical cousins and you'll find,
They laugh alike, they walk alike,
At times they even talk alike
You can lose your mind!
When cousins are two of a kind.
McConnell Ends Daily Syndication
I thought it was odd to hear WLW-AM's Mike McConnell talking about the Cincinnati
rain this morning on his nationally syndicated show… but now I know why. His national show ended last Friday. (Here's a story they won't
be talking about on the Big One, to paraphrase the line they say every newscast.)
McConnell says he and Premiere Radio Networks -- Clear Channel owns WLW-AM and Premiere -- decided to pull the plug because so few stations carried the show live. After 17 months, he had only 20 affiliates, with only 7 going live 9 a.m.-noon. Those seven were in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Georgia, he says.
"You need a cross-section of stations, up and down the East Coast, so you get a variety of voices," McConnell says. McConnell had been talking to Premiere since November about increasing live carriage. When no progress was made, " suggested we pull the show," he says. His national "Weekend" show is not in jeopardy. It is heard on 130 stations, and about half carry it live.
Super Bowl TV Records
The NY Giants victory over the undefeated New England Patriots set a Super Bowl record Sunday with 97.5 million viewers – but fell short of breaking the all-time Super Bowl ratings record set by Cincinnati-San Francisco in 1982.
Super Bowl XVI on Jan. 24, 1982, in the Pontiac Silverdome drew a record 49.1 rating and 73% audience share. That means 49.1 percent of the nation's TV sets were tuned to the game, and 65% of the TV sets in use were tuned to the game. The Giants-Patriot game averaged a 43.3 rating and 65% audience share. Sunday’s game didn't set a ratings record because the American population has increased, along with the number of people with TVs.
Sunday's Super Bowl LXII was the second most watched show in TV history to the 106 million viewers for the "M*A*S*H" series finale on Feb. 28, 1983.
Channel 19's Super Bowl XLII broadcast drew a 42.9 rating and 64% share, slightly below the national average and slightly above Super Bowl XLI (Colts-Bears) on Channel 12 a year ago (41.7/63%). So more more than one-third of all viewers here watched something other than the Super Bowl.If you weren't watching the game, what did you watch Sunday night?
A Super Sunday?
For once, the Super Bowl game was better than the commercials. Do you agree?
The best came first: Bug Light enabling a guy to breathe fire. That made me laugh out loud. Sadly, I can't say that for most of the Super Bowl ads. P&G's talking shirt for Tide was OK, and so was the FedEx carrier pigeons. Overall, the spots lacked wow factor. And I don't blame the pregame hype about the commercials, because I tried to avoid the publicity last week so I'd be surprised. Instead I'm disappointed.
What were your favorite spots? They're all posted at on myspace.
Channel 19 Anchors In New Feature Film
When Channel 19's Sheila Gray and Rob Williams responded to a movie casting director's phone call more than 18 months ago, they never dreamed they would be seen in a movie at the Sundance Film Festival.
Gray and Williams have a cameo in "The Great Buck Howard," a film starring John Malkovich, Colin Hanks and his father, Tom Hanks.
They'll show the clip Monday on WXIX-TV's "Fox 19 Morning News" (in the 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. hours). It also will be broadcast during the 10 p.m. news Monday.
Much of the film is about an over-the-hill magician (Malkovich) making a comeback by performing a spectacular illusion on stage in Cincinnati – although virtually nothing was shot here, according to Fox movie critic Steve Oldfield, a Bellevue resident and native who attended the Sundance Film Festival premiere Jan. 20.
"They just used stock footage," says Oldfield, who has been Fox's movie critic for 13 years. He also works part-time at Channel 19, and teaches at Villa Madonna Academy in Villa Hills and the University of Cincinnati.
Colin Hanks plays a law school drop-out who ignores his father (real-life dad Tom Hanks) to become an apprentice and manager for the washed up magician/mentalist. They try to revive Howard's career by staging a big stunt. When it backfires, Howard makes national and local TV headlines.
"He ends up in the hospital after collapsing on stage in Cincinnati, and Rob and I are news anchors reading the story about his hospitalization," Gray says.
They filmed their parts in October 2006 on the Fox 19 morning news set under the direction of David Ashbrock, a station director at the time. Dan Carroll did a cameo as a TV newsman, but he didn’t make the movie.
"We were told it would be released in 2007. Now I hear it's coming out in July. We're dying to see it," Gray says.
What Happened To Jay Love?
So what happened to Jay Love? Nobody at The Buzz (1230 WDBZ-AM) will say what happened to the afternoon talk host who vanished from the airwaves two weeks ago. His 1-4 p.m. shift has been absorbed by expanding Lincoln Ware's show to 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and program director Jeri Tolliver to 2-5 p.m.
It's the second time Love – son of founder and former owner J. Ross Love — has left the station. He quit in 2006 to work for AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati (AVOC), but returned to his afternoon shift last year.
I guessing he didn't leave voluntarily this time. Tolliver and VP/General Manager Lisa Thal don't return phone calls. Thal replied to my email questions about Love by saying only: "Jay is no longer with the station. Hope all is well with you."
Love started in radio as Jim Scott's WLW-AM producer in 1995. He was a WIZ morning DJ and newsman 1997-2000, then helped his father put The Buzz on the air.
What happened to Jay Love? Was it a budget cut? Or something else? If you know, please post some comments...