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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 17, 2008

Weather Alert: Horstmeyer Joins Fox 19

Steve Horstmeyer quit WKRC-TV (Channel 12) today to accept the chief meteorologist job at WXIX-TV (Channel 19). Wow! What a shrewd move by Fox 19!

This will pay double dividends for Fox 19: Not only do they get the most veteran TV meteorologist in the market -- and one of the most respected -- but the "Fox 19 Morning News" ratings could go up without reliable Horstmeyer on Channel 12's top-rated "Good Morning Cincinnati" newscasts.

Horstmeyer, 54, gave notice this morning. He will continue to work at Channel 12 through March 31, then sit out his "non-compete." He starts at Fox 19 on August 7. He will do the 10 p.m. news.

The 1971 Moeller High School graduate was hired by WLWT-TV weather icon Tony Sands to work off camera in 1977. He started on air at Channel 5 in 1978 doing weekend nights. In 1989, a year after Tim Hedrick came to town, Channel 12 hired him. He has worked for most of his 18 years at Channel 12 on the morning weekday news -- arriving at the station (often bicycling from his Madisonville home) at 2:30 a.m., and doing live weather segment for three hours.

Horstmeyer tells me he just wanted to have a normal life, and be a chief meterologist (which wasn't happening at Ch 12 as long as his buddy Tim Hedrick was there). He was chief meteorologist briefly at Ch 5 in the early 1980s, when DJ Pat Barry was hired to do the 6 & 11 p.m. weather.

"After all these years of doing mornings, you'd think you'd get used to it, but you never do. It was getting harder and harder. And at Channel 12, there's nowhere I could really go, " he says. "I have no ax to grind. I was treated nicely. I have no complaints."

He started talking to Channel 19 after his contract expired Feb. 4. He signed a deal Saturday with John Long, Channel 19 vice president and general manager. Then he surprised his boss, Channel 12 News Director Elbert Tucker, with the news Monday morning. Horstmeyer will remain on the air at Channel 12 through March 31 (Opening Day), then sit out his the rest of his six-month "non-compete." Ch 19 has been without a chief meteorologist since Paul Horton quit in September. The station has two meteorologists hired in the last 10 months, Christie Dutton and Frank Marzullo.

"Steve brings more than 30 years of television weather experience to Fox 19 along with the trust he has earned from an entire generation of Cincinnati viewers," said Steve Ackermann, Channel 19 news director, in the station's announcement today.

Long noted that Horstmeyer "has consistently ranked as one of the top two meteorologists in the market." He declined to name the other one, but I'm guessing it's Hedrick.

Tucker announced Horstmeyer's departure to the staff by saying his "contributions to our weather coverage have been phenomenal." He didn't mention that void he creates in the morning. Losing Horstmeyer means Channel 9's Larry Handley has the most tenure among the morning meteorologists.

Hedrick wishes his longtime colleague well: "I wish him the best. He's a great guy. It's been absolutely awesome working with him."


at 3/17/2008 7:01 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Way to go, Steve Horstmeyer and Fox 19! This is great news for both of you. (Gee, wouldn't it be BIG of the new owners of Channel 12 to allow Steve to get on the air earlier than August? What, exactly, is the point of such non-compete clauses anyway? If he left on bad terms, that's one thing -- but if they truly wish him well, wouldn't it be nice if THEY were nice to him, and allowed him on the air, during the prime bad weather time of the year around Cincinnati? Just asking...)

at 3/17/2008 7:09 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Steve Horstmeyer! He is the Senior Statesman of Cincinnati weather. He was a great contributor to channel 12. I guess after 19 years on the morning show, he needed a change. I hope he encourages channel 19 to have their own live radar. I suspect John Gumm will take over for him on Good Morning Cincinnati. Good Luck to you Steve.

at 3/17/2008 7:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

After all these years, SH finally becomes a "chief". And 19 gets its most credible meteorologist since the Appuzzo mess. A win-win for both.

Meanwhile, up in Mt Auburn, the evacuation of talent has begun. One GM, one weatherman...who's next. Stay tuned for more of this "developing story".

at 3/17/2008 8:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the Saturday morning guy...Creighton? He's filled in on many occasions and does a good job. Also, is it coincidence that he's also doing some morning reporting?

at 3/17/2008 10:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait to see Steve with Trisha and Jack! What a great combination!!!

at 3/17/2008 10:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats to both steve and fox19 i never saw that coming but the next question is besides pat who i guess gets the old heave ho dutton back to am and marzullo to weekend or vice versa

at 3/17/2008 10:52 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a perfect opportunity, though, to stick it to WXIX real good! Get Rich Apuzzo in Steve's old shift!

Now we are talking ratings wars! Rich could still do tv and his Skyeye weathercast, really.

at 3/18/2008 12:03 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

congrats to SH and Fox19 - both seizing the day. i am a transplant, so take this with a grain of salt: ch12 looks/feels stale and old. specifically, the weather graphics. they look straight out of 1997, whereas the other stations around here look/feel more like 2002. still behind, but farther along than ch12. add the bad graphics to freakish-looking anchors, and it's just a twilight zone of a newscast to watch.

at 3/18/2008 8:33 AM Blogger Brian said...

Congratulations to Steve. He taught me one of the most important lessons about this medium: "Eh, it's just TV."

And nice catch, FOX19.

at 3/18/2008 8:52 AM Blogger bmurdock said...

Great news for Fox19 and Steve Horstmeyer! This will give their weather team much more credibilty. How with this affect Christie and Frank? I'm guessing Christie will go to weekends and Frank stays on mornings?

at 3/18/2008 9:02 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is how a TV station is supposed to run. You recognize the problem and solve it by going out and getting/stealing the best person available in the market. Channel 5 and 9 should take notice. 12 will be fine. It will be interesting to see if the ratings change in the morning becuase of Horstmeyer leaving. I don't know what the contract situation is but twelve should look at John Bateman or Randi Rico on 5. They are both very good in my opinion and either would make a great am meteorologist.

at 3/18/2008 11:35 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Steve Horstmeyer! I agree that it is time to re-think the no compete clause, especially as we enter tornado season, and there is nothing scandalous about his move.
But bring Apuzzo back, YGTBK big time.
from the neighborhood

at 3/18/2008 11:37 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Derrick didn't say it would be like THIS.

at 3/18/2008 11:59 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

THIS IS HUGE! Congratulations to Steve and what a brilliant move by 19. He gives them an instant credibility boost on their news broadcasts. I don't see 12 hiring anyone else with the changes going on there, at least not anytime soon. But they are in serious trouble now. If I had to guess, I'd say they move Michelle Boutillete or John Gumm into the spot for good. They both would be a good fit and a much better option than anyone from the outside. Jeff C. could do a good job too, but I think they'll go younger. But I am really going to miss Steve on the mornings. The guy is funny. And yes, the other stations must be licking their chops now with the ratings fall likely to come.

at 3/18/2008 12:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:37 Great comment about Derrek!

at 3/18/2008 12:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember in the early 80s when some people actually said Steve wouldn't last in TV weather because he was missing half a finger and that loss would somehoe effect his pointing. Can you believe that? What a talented and professional person!

at 3/18/2008 12:40 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

So now which "Steve" will win the rating wars when severe weather happens? FYI: One certain Steve does not count.

at 3/18/2008 1:08 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will Horstmeyer still have the same kinds of quality equipment and forecasting tools available to him? Seems to me that 19 goes cheap there and 12 puts money into weather. Will he be frustrated by that?

at 3/18/2008 1:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Mr. Horstmeyer. If there is any one in this market more deserving of being promoted to chief, it's him. I just hope this move doesn't backfire on him, with the Apuzzo litigation still pending and the recent departure of Dave Ashbrock. Good Luck Steve - now I'll be torn between watching 12 and 19 when severe weather breaks.

at 3/18/2008 2:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm packin my bags!!! Movin to 19 in August. Congrats Steve. You are like a family member in my home in the mornings.

at 3/18/2008 3:17 PM Blogger whome said...

This leaves 12 without a good "second" to Tim

at 3/18/2008 3:17 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Will Horstmeyer still have the same kinds of quality equipment and forecasting tools available to him? Seems to me that 19 goes cheap there and 12 puts money into weather. Will he be frustrated by that?"

Not if WXIX goes HD by that time!

at 3/18/2008 3:34 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any word on what will happen with Christie and Frank? I think they're both great.

at 3/18/2008 4:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is great news for both 19 and steve. While I will be out of town in august when he starts I will certainly watch his weather reports when I come back.
Jack Trish and Steve will be a great and a dominant team again.

at 3/18/2008 5:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Seems to me that 19 goes cheap there and 12 puts money into weather."

Have you seen 12's radar? Clearly the worst in town.

at 3/18/2008 5:53 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is awesome news that Steve is coming to Fox 19! My only hope is that they keep Frank Marzullo on in the mornings. He's the only meteorologist I can tolerate while getting ready for work. Christie is a nice woman but she's just not right for the weekday mornings at Fox 19.

at 3/18/2008 6:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

That anyone would believe that 12 is ahead of the technology curve is a testament to WKRC’s marketing department. Watch any newscast and you will invariably see multiple tape “hits” in their packages. Talk about being behind – they’re the only station in town still shooting on video tape! Just because the “say” their Doppler is “most accurate” don’t make it so. Meanwhile, 19 had the “Tru View” technology a full year before 9. They touted it in promos for a spell, before coming to their senses and remembering that their game is convenience, not technology. And Kiess, didn’t Rich Apuzzo drop his suite against 19? I thought I read that on the clerk of courts website.

at 3/18/2008 7:06 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worst radar in town? Come on! Look at channel 9's with all of the "spinning icons" on the radar indicating rotation. At one time a ch. 9 met. stated there could be a dozen tornadoes forming the tri-state! 5's is just like channel 9. If you think 12 is bad because of the "clutter" on it, it is probably because it is so sensitive to the air. Channel 12's is a radar that the military uses too (I believe).

at 3/18/2008 7:52 PM Blogger annonymous said...

Congratulations Steve! Our family will miss you in the mornings. We look forward to seeing you on the 10:00 news. It is a shame that won't happen until August. Best of luck to you.

at 3/18/2008 8:21 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember when Steve Horstmeyer was a school teacher during the week at Dater Junior High and then he would broadcasts the weather for WLWT on the weekends. He is great! Good luck at your new job! Maybe the Fox19 News will gain some credibility now instead of the useless chit-chat at night!

at 3/19/2008 10:14 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really like Steve a and wish him the best. I can truly understand his wanting a change. I'll keep watching 12 though in mornings, but I think John Gumm would be best in that spot, and I'll still watch 12 at 10:00 because I like Cammy and Dave. Maybe I'll flip over to 19 at 10:30 to catch Steve's forecasts. Congrats, Steve - you will be missed in the mornings!

at 3/19/2008 11:58 AM Anonymous Jeremy Moses said...

A HUGE score for 19! While I can't remember the last time I actually WATCHED 19, I will definitely start watching them again! Congrats Steve, you finally made the big time buddy!

Jeremy Moses
Florence, KY

at 3/19/2008 12:00 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this glowing praise! Doesn't anybody remember what a jerk he always was to Cammie Dierking.

at 3/19/2008 12:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


at 3/19/2008 1:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cammy, aka Anon 12:00 PM, maybe he just didn't like you, ever think of that????

at 3/19/2008 1:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:44 - 12 shoots on DV-Cam, just for your information.

at 3/19/2008 2:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless I am very much mistaken, Cammie gave as good as she got to all of her co workers, Horstmeyer included.
from the neighborhood

at 3/19/2008 3:14 PM Blogger Toddy-O said...

I'm very happy for Steve. From the early days of weekends at WLWT with the great poobah Tony Sands, through the various managements at WLWT and then the move to WKRC, upgrading and marketing the weather department as the first fullblown meteorology department, only the best could happen for Steve.

Steve-your dad would be so proud of you....and so would mine.

I shall hoist a Heineken and cheer Congrats!

at 3/19/2008 4:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope the first thing Steve changes is the way 19 dribbles out weather tidbits and make you wait 30+ minutes to actually see the information you want.

Please, no more:

"Well that's the wind speed and direction, stay tuned because we'll be back in just a few minutes with the relative humidity and the second digit of tomorrow's high temperature!"

at 3/19/2008 7:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Randy has gotten away from radio. And besides that, I think he's got a full plate, if you know what I mean.

As for Steve H., congrats on the move. I'm sure you did what you felt was best for you and your family.

at 3/19/2008 9:07 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a GREAT move for XIX. It's bold, it brings credibility to the wx dept, and will make a great 10pm team. All things that make one think Ackermann had nothing to do with it. Nice job Mr. Long.

at 3/20/2008 7:36 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

12 and 9 are the only TV stations in town with REAL radars. 5's radar is old and outdated. 19 doesn't even have a radar. No way 19 will buy new weather equipment.

at 3/21/2008 5:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it raining or snowing now? Look out the window. Will it rain or snow tomorrow? What is the temp?
There. There's the weather.
For the life of me I cannot get this weather-man frenzy.

at 3/22/2008 8:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as who has the best radar, 12 may have an old one, but 5 is just feeding you lines. Their "5" radar sites are just the National Weather Service sites plus one in Cincinnati. Anyone can tap in to those NWS feeds, if they want to drop the dime.

at 3/24/2008 12:09 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 7:36 AM: I like how u said 9's radar is a REAL Radar and 5's radar is outdated, when they are the SAME RADAR NETWORK!!!!!

at 3/24/2008 1:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

WXIX needed to upgrade their news/weather personalities. Steve will fill the void nicely.
Now, if WXIX would just hire a decent sports anchor!. Anyone ever thought of Andy Furman in that role?

at 3/26/2008 8:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a good move by channel 19. Steve Horstmeyer has a part of this city for long time and it is good to see good people get what they deserve.

at 3/31/2008 7:20 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve, John and I are going to miss you on channel 12. We have watched you since you have been their. Channel 12 and us will miss you, you made my morning weather. We will follow you to 19. Good Luck on your new job. Take care and God Bless. We love channel 12, but you made channel 12 in the morning. John and Donna Collins, Lynchburg, Ohio

at 3/31/2008 8:38 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hate to see this, Good Wishes to Steve but going to FAUX news lowered my opinion of him.

at 4/04/2008 7:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always been a loyal channel 12 viewer but this move has forced me to give channel 19 a try. Now, if they can just get John Lomax to Fox, I'm certain the transition would be much easier. Fox has no idea what lies ahead for them. Steve Horstmeyer is so incredibly knowledgable about so many things. Just wait and see. This is a brilliant move for Fox.

at 4/14/2008 9:10 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, what a change this has been! I have been a loyal Channel 12 viewer for years, even staying and switching channels when they went to the CW! John Gumm is a nice guy but is certainly not Steve Horstmeyer! Having been on vacation when the announcement was made I had to research the Enquirer to find out what happened! My morning news/weather "dream team" has been broken up. Guess it is time to see what Fox 19 has to offer! But can you bring John Lomax to Fox 19 also? Please?!! Good luck to you Steve! See you in August at 10:00!Debbie in West Chester

at 4/15/2008 12:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been watching Steve ( and the crew from 12) for over 14 years. He has always been the foremost on "The Drama of Weather". I will be tuning into 19 on August 7.
Kim in West Chester

at 4/15/2008 1:14 PM Blogger Peggy24 said...

Thank God for the Internet. I kept wondering where Steve was on the morning broadcast. I thought maybe he was on vacation and then decided something must be wrong. I hope Steve got a good deal. He deserves it. I've always watched his forecasts because he doesn't try to alarm people and basically always kept it real. I felt I could trust him. It will be nice to have him on the air at 10 p.m.

at 4/22/2008 9:05 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve the mornning show on 12 is not the same since you have left..
I thought you were on an extended vacation. I will be seeing you on Fox 19 in August. Good luck! and enjoy this time off.

at 4/24/2008 7:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations Steve!!! I, too, thought Steve must have been on one of his extended hikes but became concerned when he was gone so long. I went on the hunt on the internet and found he had changed employment. Steve, we have watched you for years for your report of the river level in Maysville. Since we camp at the Lively Lady in Aberdeen (we think you-know-who is a sweetheart) we have always depended on you for information on the river. We will certainly turn on Fox19 at 10:00 to catch your weather. We'll miss you in the mornings.
Terry and Lisa Leesburg, Ohio

at 4/25/2008 10:19 PM Blogger Pat Blackburn said...

Been missing you. Thought maybe you went exploring and would come back with exciting tidbits. Decided to check the WKRC webpage and did not see you among the weather people. Did internet search and found you. I will be checking you out in your new place. You made the news for me. Can you do something about getting the complete weather within the first 15 minutes on WXIX?

at 4/30/2008 6:43 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a total shocker. My sister and I had noticed Steve hadn't been on in the mornings so my sister had looked at the Channel 12 website and even noticed that Steve's bio was missing. After googling further I found out why. I enjoy Steve on WRKC I hope that his personality will mix well with the folks on FOX. While I hate that he's left I do wish him well.

at 5/01/2008 7:48 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I missed the memo that Steve was moving to another station. I thought he must be sick, having surgery or long term chemo. Glad to see otherwise.
I like his weather best because he gave us details, i.e. rain? a drizzle or a downpour! Take that to 19 Steve.

at 5/02/2008 5:26 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so glad to hear that Steve has not left the area. I watch channel 12 early while I am getting ready for work and will miss him,but will be glad to see him at 10:00 on channel 19 news, which I watch while I am getting ready for bed.

at 5/02/2008 11:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh I am so glad to see that Steve will still be on T.V. doing weather. I have watched channel 12for many years and I looked forward to the information he relays to the viewers. I thought he was on an extended vacation and would be reporting on that when he got back. Hang in there looking forward to seeing you in August!

at 5/02/2008 11:23 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you will still be doing weather. My husband and I were wondering?? We have woke up to you every morning for the past 22 years. It was hard when Camy left, but it will be harder without you. Good luck to you and we will be watching 19 in the evening before we go to bed now!

at 5/08/2008 8:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I literally grew up watching Steve Horstmeyer. I remember getting up for grade school at 6am and watching WKRC. I think John Lomax and Jill Kelly were the anchors back then. Every few days they'd show a shot of the suspension bridge and Steve would say "there's my favorite Cincinnati landmark". By the way, anybody know whatever happened to Jill Kelly? She left WKRC when she had her baby and she never came back.

Anyway, I'm sorry to see Horstmeyer leave channel 12, but I'm happy for him finally getting the primetime slot. He has definitely earned it.

As for which station has the best technology, I think some of it is overrated. Like the multiple doppler radars for instance. What good does that do you? Yes, you can see what a thunderstorm looks like when it is in Louisville or Indianapolis, but by the time it gets to Cincinnati it might have died out or strengthened.

Also, when they look at a 3D map from an angle, it just makes it harder to tell where it is raining.

at 5/14/2008 6:59 AM Blogger Missy said...

I wondered what happened to Steve on Channel 12. I thought he was on one of his vacations, until weeks passed by and there was no Steve. I have watched Channel 12 in the morning for many, many years because of Steve and will miss him, but I wish him the best of luck! I can not wait to see him on the Fox 19 evening news. Luckily, I had already watched this newscast at 10:00, so it will just make it more enjoyable! Way to go Steve Horstmeyer and Fox 19. The only thing I am saddened about the whole situation is that we have to wait until August to see you again. However, it will be worth the wait! I am so proud of you, Steve!

at 5/14/2008 7:12 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reason I stayed with channel 12 mornings after Cammi moved on was Steve. I have never liked the addition of Anna as I find her hard to understand and Bob is just to hyper. I am glad to know that I will be seeing Steve again soon.. I sure have missed him. I admit that I had quit watching Channel 12 because he wasn't there. Best of Luck Steve, isn't is nice to know you have a huge fan base. * Maysville KY Fan

at 5/19/2008 9:15 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve has always been my favorite weather man...he seemed the most serious and definately the most experienced..I always wondered why he wasnt the head meteorologist at wkrc..Tim is ok but seems to be more interested attention than anything and that hairline of his is atrocious..but oh well...I am very happy for Steve he should have made a move a long time ago..too bad we have to wait until August

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