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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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Monday, March 03, 2008

Local TV Ohio Primary Plans

Election coverage on WLWT-TV (Channel 5) begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, as soon as the polls close, and goes four straight hours until Jay Leno’s Tonight Show.

I think it's a risky move – will Ohio be counted before dawn? – but Ch. 5 News Director Brennan Donnellan says he has plenty of material to fill four hours. (All the other stations will do news cut-ins and crawls until 10 p.m., then you'll see newscasts on Channel 19, Channel 64 (from Channel 12) and on Channel 9 (pre-empting ABC News "Primetime" special.)

Says Donnellan: "We have reporters specifically assigned to vote counting in Hamilton, Butler and Warren counties, plus a statewide perspective. If there are more delays, that's a story and we'll have it covered. We've also prepared a signficant number of political perspective stories, so it'll be lively and informative even if the vote count is delayed."

Channel 5's gameplan includes:
--Sandra Ali, Sheree Paolello, Dave Wagner and Courtis Fuller anchoring from our studios.
--Live reporters throughout the Tristate, plus reporters in Columbus reporting on statewide returns.
-- National perspective from our Hearst-Argyle Washington DC bureau
--Emphasis on the Presidential primaries in Ohio, but also reporting on the Cincinnati Schools levy, the Zoo levy, 1st Congressional District, and other local races
--Political discussion with Bill Cunningham, Lincoln Ware, Gene Galvin and Roxanne Qualls.

HBC's “The Biggest Loser” will air 2:05-4:05 a.m. early Wednesday (late Tuesdsay).

Here are the other stations' plans:

Channel 19: Says News Director Steve Ackermann: "We'll have numbers on FOX19.COM and on our lower-screen ticker throughout the evening. We'll start both the website and the ticker results as quickly as we have numbers, but keep in mind that Hamilton County counted VERY slowly last time, so I don’t know how quickly after 7:30 we'll see things. FOX gives us positions during prime-time -- including American Idol — that we'll use for live updates and we'll be on the air promptly at 10 p.m."

Channel 9: GM Bill Fee says "WCPO will produce a special hour report on the Ohio primary Tuesday 10-11 p.m. anchored by Clyde and Carol. We'll be live from both party HQs in Cincinnati as well as the board of elections. Brendan Keefe will be live in Columbus with Clinton's campaign. We'll be in Cleveland as well, teaming up with Scripps-owned WEWS there. No plans to go beyond 11:35 p.m. because we believe viewers will want to see Nightline at 11:35 for national news on Texas and Ohio. We'll also do election updates on the half-hour, about 2-3 minutes, starting at 7:30."

Channel 12: News Director Elbert Tucker says: "We will have seven crews in the field here and in Columbus. We will be focused on breaking election news on the air and on our web site throughout the course of the evening. We will have comprehensive live coverage with Local 12 News at 10 on My64. We will have comprehensive live coverage and a breakdown on the big election stories on Local 12 News at 11 p.m."

And Tuesday night and Wedneday you can tell me who did the best job...


at 3/03/2008 7:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am glad 12 is not pre-empting Jericho for election coverage.

at 3/04/2008 8:58 AM Blogger Cincy RE said...

4 hours! Seriously!!! I know NBC doesn't have any real programming on Tuesdays, but come on! The newsmakers of NEWS 5 make it sound like its going to be the end of the world! Thank god for radio and satellite.

at 3/04/2008 10:34 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

And John won't watch any of the coverage, and on Wednesday he will ask who did the best job while sharing none of his own thoughts. Didn't we just go through this in November?

at 3/04/2008 1:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

And audio books. I just got Ken Follett's new "World without end(20+ discs) and "Rhett Butlers People"(12 Discs). Thats called beating a horse to death, starting it that early. Polls dont even close till 7:30
At lease I'll still get a chance to watch Jeopardy,unlike a couple of weeks ago.
from the neighborhood

at 3/04/2008 1:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the students at Ohio Center for Broadcasting, UC, XU and NKU...and maybe even Scarlet Oaks watch and study how not to ad lib-because WLWT talent can't! Riverfest and now this. When will this insanity end?

at 3/04/2008 3:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This will make for some terribly boring TV. Prior to absentee voting changes, at least those numbers came out right away. There won't be any returns in this thing until about 9:30, at the earliest. We won't know local results for Zoo or CPS until about 11 or 12. There's a boat/paddle problem here.

at 3/04/2008 5:56 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the radio stations doing? WVXU? WLW? The Buzz? Is WNKU doing anything?

Of course, does radio even matter in elections any more?

at 3/04/2008 7:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

An open to letter to the new director of Channel Five,
This is for the large contingent of us who are not watching what you call a news program. First there is the matter of the fact that I dont care for the hype and continuous garbage you feel is news. I dont care if Derek said it would rain frogs. I would not watch your channel if the world was ending and by some chance your channel had a live feed to it. According to recent ratings your channel rates just higher for the news than a test pattern. A test pattern though has more personality than any 5 people on your news team. I am tired of the ten times too big weather graphics. I am tired of your shenanigans that you call news.
There is no need to continue showing four hours of coverage of an election where it wont even end until midnight. This not a November election then it might make sense but i still doubt anyone would watching. Maybe if they they saw semi decent commercial on your station as they were channel surfing and forgot to change when it was finished. Good luck coming of the basement.
Sincerely a highly disgruntled Kentuckian,

at 3/05/2008 7:09 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 1:55 was dead-on concerning the ad-libbing. The WLWT presentation was a joke...I could only watch for a few minutes at a time to catch some of the local numbers.

The channel 5 anchors and reporters just kept stumbling and bumbling over the same subject repeatedly (running out of ballots in Clermont county). At times the reporter on the scene didn't know if she was in Bethel or Milford.

While Huckabee's concession speech was being made, News 5 was live at some polling place in Clermont county where they ran out of ballots 6 hours earlier.

Lincoln Ware should have dressed in an Obama t-shirt. What a cheerleader. Cunningham was his usual pathetic and pitiful self.

And I only saw about 15 minutes of it, grand total all night. MSNBC and FOX News offered lots of insight into the ramifications of the results with easy to read graphics. Thank God for cable and Internet.

at 3/05/2008 10:53 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the way, anon 7:09 works at wcpo.. which apparently stands for "we can't put on" mccain.

and where's john's analysis?

at 3/06/2008 11:12 AM Blogger skippercollector said...

I spent a very pleasant Tuesday evening doing EVERYTHING wrong. My answer is going to disagree with both those posters who wanted only the election coverage and those who wanted the regular programming.
I watched a John Denver program on PBS from 8-9:30 p.m., the second half of New Amsterdam from 9:30-10 on Fox, and Jericho on CBS at 10 p.m. During commercial breaks between 9:30 and 11, I went channel surfing, not just the local affiliates, but also CNN, CNN Headline News and MSNBC. My only complaints were toward the end of Jericho, when there were two breaks for election news. Fortunately, both WKRC and CBS had the sense to pick up the program where it had left off, rather than ignoring it.
I got most of my news the next morning on the radio or from the newspaper.
I know, incorrect answers....

at 3/06/2008 12:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Channel 5 doesn't care about Huckabee's concession speech because he is a Republican. Don't you know that channel 5 is part of the liberal media.

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