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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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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

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?


at 2/19/2008 2:56 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very very touching...

at 2/19/2008 3:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like so many people, I don't listen to WLW anymore, but I used to love it when Willie called his Mom back on the night time show. His interaction with his Mom on those shows was great, they showed his human side amidst the circus of the rest of the show.

at 2/19/2008 3:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

very touching, very emotional stuff, both at the opening and also during the 2:40 Stooge Report. It was a rare peak behind the curtain to see who the wizard of Oz really was, even if only for a moment.

at 2/19/2008 3:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Show is up on his page on the site now. It's at the beginning of the hour 1 and the end of hour 3.

at 2/19/2008 4:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very short, very simple. Willie said when he awoke today, he told his wife he didn't feel like doing his show. With Willie beginning to cry, he told the listeners that his wife asked him, what do you think his mother would have wanted him to do. Willie said, very noticeably sobbing, that his mother would have wanted him to go to work and that is what he was going to do.

If you were listening, you felt his pain! It was real and genuine and my heart goes out to Willie and his family.

at 2/19/2008 4:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very sad, and very touching - almost made me cry.

at 2/19/2008 5:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

He broke down when he made reference to "buried my Mom yesterday"... Could barely make it to the commercial break.

No matter what age we are, losing our Mom is monumental...

at 2/19/2008 6:15 PM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...

I have heard Willie call his mom in recent months...yes, it was at the beginning AND END of the show he spoke of the beginning, he seemed to catch himself off guard when he relayed he did not want to go to work. His wife asked, what would your mom want you to do?

There was a very long pause and you could tell he had difficulty getting out the station ID to the 12.30 news.

Then with SEG, he shared more how his mom had had a heart attack but did not want to worry anybody...had encouraged him to work Thur and Fri as she could hear him from the hospital room.

Very touch and had me grabbing a kleenex. No matter what you think of Willie, losing your parent is ROUGH. And his mom is the only real parent he ever had.

And as somebody said, it's always rough to lose your mom.

I was cringing in fear that callers would say on the air "sorry about your mom" but am hoping the phone answerers gave strict orders NOT to bring up his mom on the air.

THAT would've been painful since WORKING was probably a temporary welcome distraction, to temper his grief a tiny bit.

at 2/19/2008 6:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


Excellent article Sunday on the digital TV transition. Much better than I have seen elsewhere.

at 2/19/2008 7:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear William,

So very sorry about your mother passing.

PLEASE take this time to honor what your mother taught you and refrain from your sex talk when you speak to local news women, politicians and the like.

You show no respect for the women you have on your show.
Mud wrestling, jellow, these are professional married women.

We'll pray for you and your mother tonight.

Your dear mother taught you better.
Hope you take this to heart and just not use it for more smut radio.
Your neighbor
Gloria from Indian Hill

at 2/19/2008 7:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bill ended the show with Mom, I Love You. Very touching stuff. Made sure I called my Mom today.

at 2/19/2008 7:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

How sad, that it takes something so tragic, that none of us would wish on out worst enemies, to show a human side to someone who's become a sub-human character. I knew him well before he started to believe his own WWF-style hype. He was the kind of guy who knew and understood honor and respect in a real way. It's only in recent years that he's found money more appealing than real humanity, and less appealing than stepping on /over old friends to save his own face. Maybe this truly sad wake-up call will bring the real Billy Cunningham back to life. We can hope.

at 2/19/2008 8:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont listen to WLW anymore..however I used to like to hear Willie talk to his mom during the show. Sorry to hear about his mother passing, god bless her and the Cunningham family.

at 2/20/2008 11:29 AM Blogger JimmyD said...

I think it showed that he's human, which shouldn't be a shock to anyone. The man is a professional. He's entertaining and he's good at his job. He gets a bad wrap, but it's part of his job, of which he's good at.
My heart goes out to Willie in this difficult time. He was very close to his mom and his final words were so touching. That anyone who is fortunate enough to still have their mom or dad to enjoy every minute because it goes too fast. Very true.

at 2/20/2008 2:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

He's back doing his "sex offender mouth breathing old man" act today when he just talked to what he called a hot Fox News reporter.

I'm over it.
I feel like I'm listening in to a dirty old man making heavy breathing calls.

Bill - YOU'RE A GRANDFATHER, aren't you?
It's time for that sex stuff from him to stop.
Sad, but true - you know his mom didn't approve of that ... clean it up, Grandpa ...!

at 2/20/2008 6:55 PM Blogger Aviator said...

Sad to hear about Willie's mom...
Change of topic-Can we discuss how bad the weather guys (at least 2 stations in particular) screwed up the weather report last night! "Only expecting an inch at the most". Morrow/Hamilton Twp recieved a solid 3". A typical 15 minute ride to work took 45. Did anyone notice that Raleigh was missing from the newscast tonight?

at 2/20/2008 8:01 PM Blogger Joseph said...

I listened to part of his show Sunday night, and it gave me pause because "he was trying" and it was GOOD (like many years ago). I forgot that Willie can be a GREAT talk show host, when he wants to be. Since CC and Parks took over, he has sunk into toilet humor and lazy topics. I guess anyone would with a dork like Parks as your boss.

I do feel bad for the loss of his mom. If there is a "bright side", maybe it will motivate him to start doing a good show again.

at 2/20/2008 10:54 PM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...

re: Raleigh, he was coughing doing the weather last night and said he was fighting a cold.

Willie was talking about the weather folks again as he got emails from folks complaining how GMA could NOT be watched due to Channel 9 hogging the whole morning.

i am so tired of crap on the tv screen FOR DAYS about school closings, delays, repeated ad nauseum. Bill Fee from Channel 9 claims in many email complaints "it's what the viewers want"????

I NEVER watch the three broadcast stations duriing this weather junk for that very reason. Good thing I am not a network person...your shows get ruined for sure. Who wants to tape or dvr a show with WEATHER FORECASTS/closings/32 county maps all over the place.

at 2/21/2008 9:25 AM Blogger Aviator said...

Amen Sophia!

I am a news/weather junky, but lets get real! It is overkill! I'm curious as to how they will handle the weather on Friday morning.

at 3/01/2008 7:08 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

very very touching when I heard on a radio the other day.I shedded my tears.My heart goes out to him and his family.I love to listen to his show.

at 4/03/2008 6:22 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep the jacket Willie

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