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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 05, 2008

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.


at 2/05/2008 5:23 PM Blogger liz said...

Ever since he was in syndication I have not listened to him. Too boring! Now that his is local again, I will give him a listen-to tomorrow. Looks like WLW would have told us about that at other times of the day.

at 2/05/2008 5:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm excited. The show is so much more interesting when it's just local. When it's national it feels watered down and impersonal, which makes sense when you're trying to appeal to a broader audience.

McConnell's show is the only show that is still fresh for me after 15 years of listening to WLW. He doesn't rely on gimmicks or shtick. It's just a guy given us his opinion and telling stories about his life.

at 2/05/2008 7:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

So much for besting Glenn Beck and Laura Ingram in 24 months......

20 affiliates after 17 months, 7 live, wow, that's sad.... I think Alex Jones has more affiliates than that.

LOL... McConnell "suggested we pull the show."

How about "Mike, people aren't that interested in your trucker topics and with all the mouth breathers and burping truck drivers calling in, your show sucks... and lose the know-it-all-tude, dude."

at 2/05/2008 7:50 PM Anonymous CHEVIOT SPORTS AUTHORITY said...

Finally, that program was nothing more than the Illegal Alien/Global Warming Program. What a bore. He was listenable before going "National". Perhaps he can regain some local flair and earn a spot on my dial again. Dropping that crap is first good thing to come from Clear Channel in a long time (Other than canning Bill Boshears).

at 2/05/2008 9:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's welcome news. Local issues were always Mike's strong suit. It's nice to have a reasonable voice discussing local issues on the radio again. While he was nationally syndicated, local non sports talk radio had been reduced to the mind numbingly dull Brian Thomas, Willie's over the top schtick and the wack jobs at DaBuzz. Welcome back Mike

at 2/06/2008 1:53 AM Anonymous DP said...

I wish McConnell all the best, but he's coming back to local topics is too late for me, and everyone else who has written that station off. Even the baseball broadcasts are tainted by the stupidity of the people in charge of the place.

at 2/06/2008 5:21 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good news!

Mike is interesting when he has interesting things to talk about.

There is nothing interesting about generic national news items.

Mike is no Hannity...thank the good Lord.

Hannity is not interesting in the least!

at 2/06/2008 6:47 AM Anonymous moogie said...

i don't know how anybody can listen to this inane boring jackass.

you people have a taste for crap.

at 2/06/2008 8:26 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I noticed yesterday he was sounding much more local, and his show was a ton better too. I really am not convinced he was all that crazy about being syndicated to begin with, no matter what some might say. I had talked several years back to him about the fact that he should go for it nationally, (this was when Hannity was just taking off) and he replied at the time that he didn't really want to, because as a nationally syndicated host his subject matter was severely limited versus what he could do day in and day out as a local guy.
He never really sounded too into the idea of being national either, just didn't sense any real enthusiasm in his voice.

Welcome back, Mike. Now all you need to do is announce when you are taking the next Rivermen Rafting bus trip, and when you are reinstituting "Frequent Caller Day".

at 2/06/2008 10:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

A local radio program? That won't last much longer. And I love the comment about needing a "variety of voices." Yes, if WLW is known for one thing, its diversity.

at 2/06/2008 10:53 AM Anonymous Poodle Hat said...

Diversity - An old, old wooden ship that was used during the Civil War era.

at 2/06/2008 11:43 AM Blogger Robert Scott said...

I did not know Mike left the daily syndication but I did notice that he sounded more like his old self yesterday. This will probably be an improvement for his daily show. I'm still glad he is on nationwide, on Saturday. Sometimes I listen to him on Louisville's 840 WHAS when 700 WLW is pre-empting talk radio to air college basketball games.

at 2/06/2008 1:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am in total agreement with most that his show did go down when he went national. But I think it 's lack of national success though was more of a poor marketing job and an unwillingness of WLW to "fully commit" to the move.

It's unfortunate because I think Mike is a far superior talk show host than his competition, especially Hannity and Beck. I don't know how anyone thinks that two old Rock DJ's, who convinced someone to let them "talk" when the talk radio boom hit, are now political experts! Ingraham is different because she has worked in the political realm and has a Juris Docor. Hannity is a college drop out and Beck didn't even go to college!

And before it's said, I know Mcconnell is an old rock jock too. But at least he did get a college degree and by no means does he prentend to be a political expert. I think he would prefer talking about "those in the fast lane driving too slow" than if Mccain is really a Liberal.

at 2/06/2008 5:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

(Psst... McConnell was a rock DJ at one time...)

at 2/06/2008 5:35 PM Blogger Hayama-SB said...

I knew something was different when he was giving out the number with a 513 area code instead of the toll-free number.

at 2/06/2008 5:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Put me in the set of people who never listened to the national show. Almost the week it went into effect, I was gone. Horrid.

Now local again, I'll be checking back in.

Regarding Brian Thomas: he is rapidly developing into a Jim Scott-like morning radio automaton. It is so smooth, slick and button pushing anymore.
I find the style disagreeable, as I do with Jim Scott.

I liked the early Brian Thomas, with John Phillips, when they would just talk. Now Brian is a rollin' slick morning radio dude.

I really dislike the style, the show. I haven't really listened since John left. Not being a crank. it just kinda sucks now.

at 2/06/2008 7:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

McConnell= college dropout get your facts straight

at 2/06/2008 8:50 PM Blogger liz said...

I've heard Mike say he DIDN'T get a college degree. Did he go back and get one lately???

at 2/07/2008 12:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are plenty of college graduates that don't have enough sense to cross the street. I'm not sure why that makes or breaks a "good" talk show host.

at 2/07/2008 1:01 PM Blogger Joseph said...

I really don't think Mike dropped out of college. My facts are very straight. He realizes the importance of a good education.

Anyway the point is that Mike IS an old rock who, albeit very opinionated, doesn't PRETEND to be some expert on political science. You don't hear him going on and on about "conservative values" and longing for "Reagan Republican" like Beck and Hannity. That wimp Beck is only qualified to debate whether Foghat should get back together. I hope people aren't actually paying attention to his unedecuated opinons on politics.

at 2/07/2008 1:07 PM Anonymous CHEVIOT SPORTS AUTHORITY said...

Why would McConnell need a college degree? He knows everything about anything as it is. What a bore, and when he talks about his beer drinking, I just have to laugh. He couldn't carry my cooler.

at 2/07/2008 1:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

No offense - but how do you all find time to do nothing but listen to the radio all day? I'm always taken aback by how many people are experts on these radio personalities.

at 2/07/2008 1:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I personally find Mike's show quite entertaining. I enjoyed his national show for the short time I heard it but I'm looking forward to hearing what he can do on a more local level. I never was able to hear the local version as I didn't live here back then. Go Mike!

at 2/07/2008 1:55 PM Anonymous CHEVIOT SPORTS AUTHORITY said...

1:14, I sit in my office all day between trips to the water cooler, restroom, coffee pot, coke machine, kitchen and cigar breaks. While in there, I like to have a little back ground noise, while passing the time on the computer or the telephone. It is called, I believe multi-tasking. Most of the crap on the radio goes in one ear and out the other, but occasionally there is something interesting.

at 2/09/2008 1:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1:55...
I am like you. I have the radio on in my office all day, and I come and I go.
So I do hear a lot of radio.
I am a talk-radio junkie.

We really do have a life and a job!

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