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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, April 01, 2008

Dave Wagner Dropping Anchor in North Carolina

Dave Wagner leaving Channel 5 to anchor in Charlotte, N.C., comes as no surprise. I didn't expect him to stay around for long after losing his 11 p.m. WLWT-TV anchor job two years ago.

Not only is he moving on, but he's moving up. Wagner will co-anchor the 5, 6 and 11 p.m. news at NBC affiliate WCNC-TV in Charlotte, the nation's No. 25 TV market. Cincinnati is No. 33.

Here's the WCNC-TV announcement:

Wagner came to Channel 5 in September, 1999, from Tampa, Fla., to replace anchor Charlie Luken, who had resigned in June after six years to run for Cincinnati City Council. Wagner has co-anchored here with Norma Rashid, Anne Marie Tiernon and Sandra Ali.

Two years ago, Wagner returned to investigative reporting when Ali and Sheree Paolello became the city's first all-female co-anchor team at 11 p.m.

In 2005, Wagner and Ali had the station's best 11 p.m. news ratings since Jerry Springer and Rashid co-anchored in 1992, when Springer was doing both news and his syndicated daytime talk show. The Wagner-Ali team was second at 11 p.m. behind WKRC-TV (Channel 12) in May 2005.

Wagner has won 32 Regional Emmy Awards, four regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and numerous honors from the Associated Press and Society for Professional Journalists. He also is currently directing a documentary on the world's only known identical twin savant sisters. The documentary is scheduled to air this fall on the Discovery Network and Great Britain’s Channel 5, according to the WCNC-TV announcement today.

Wagner was born in Marion, Ohio, and grew up in Columbus and Dayton. He worked for stations in Lexington, Columbus, Milwaukee and Tampa. He had spent 12 years at Tampa’s WTSP-TV before coming to Channel 5.

He also has done some acting, appearing as a sportscaster in Adam Sandler's "The Waterboy" and as a newscaster on HBO's "From The Earth To The Moon."


at 4/01/2008 1:48 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cincinnati will miss Dave Wagner...he was one of the few good talents left at Channel 5. They were fools for not using him more in the last couple years. I always enjoyed his investigative stories though. I could picture him being the next Chris Hanson, Tom Brokaw or Stone Phillips. Good luck in Charlotte Dave!

at 4/01/2008 1:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kiese... I see in this blog entree that we're #33demo. I thought that Cincy was now #25 after a reconfigure including SE Indiana and N KY? Or is that not how Nielsen calculates things? BTW< I like Dave W. but he's not prety enough i guess for Ch.5

at 4/01/2008 3:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kiese, if the walls could talk at News 5.
you have nice thing to say about the guy on his way out but as you said it took him 2 long years to get out
the fact that the station let him linger meant he tried to ruin the place due to his bitter feelings
its been awful
look for 5 to IMPROVE without his negative little self
long two years of darkness is finally over

at 4/01/2008 4:47 PM Blogger bmurdock said...

I'm surprised it took him this long to get out of town.

Good luck Dave!

at 4/01/2008 5:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankfully Dave can get the kind of position he deserves, and it is only Channel 5's loss. They are digging themselves into a deeper and deeper hole.

at 4/01/2008 5:21 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck in Charlotte, Dave! You'll be missed! You were a class act at a station that never fully appreciated your talents. Hopefully you'll get to do more investigative stories there.

at 4/01/2008 7:29 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

if this annoucement doesn't say something to the highups at TV5 about their news management...then this proves that nothing will.
dave wagner is BY FAR the most talented reporter/anchor in this market. i can't believe 5 is letting him go.
wake up channel 5.

at 4/01/2008 8:16 PM Blogger Cincy RE said...

Channel 5's loss! Go Dave! I switched long ago to Clyde and Carol. I grew up with Jerry and Norma. Once Dave was cut from the majority of the newscast it was time to switch.

The local tv talent count is starting to rank up there with the Clear Channel cuts/losses of last Fall.

at 4/01/2008 8:23 PM Blogger Cincy RE said...

When is Wagner leaving for NC?

Who do you think Dyer will pick as their main male anchor, after Wagner's departure?...not many to choose from. Fuller, Dykes, Hawgood?

at 4/01/2008 9:24 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

He'll feel at home there, I think. Solid owners, number 3 in ratings, smallest staff in town (other than Fox)

BTW, we're 24th in census area, but not TV market.

at 4/01/2008 9:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Derek said it would be like this.

at 4/01/2008 10:14 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave Wagner has always been a class act!!!

He was a great anchor and a wonderful and credible reporter.

The decision to dump him as a main anchor at Channel 5 left many people scratching their heads in amazement.

It's like the people in charge there are following a manual titled..."How to absolutely make sure you come in Dead Last."

Congrats Dave!!! You deserve it after all the crap you swallowed at 5.

It looks like the nice guy finished first this time.

at 4/01/2008 10:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a huge loss for Ch. 5. Dave is a great anchor/reporter/individual and he will be greatly missed. I wish him and his family the best, he certainly deserves it.
He's clearly one of the best anchors to hit this city.
His departure is just one more reason why i won't be watching 5.

at 4/02/2008 12:15 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave Wagner had these factors against him at News 5: talent, maturity, credibility, experience. Rock on, News 5 managers (and consultants with generic TV news ideas)!

at 4/02/2008 10:11 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Working with and watching Dave Wagner work was truly a pleasure. He is a consummate professional - and IMHO the only thing left that could've POSSIBLY saved WLWT from total ratings disaster..

No matter what you might think of the guy, he certainly comes across (on-air) as knowledgeable, credible and relatable. And honestly, in this business, isn't that all that matters?

I, for one, am sad to see him go - although in his diminished role at WLWT, it was like he actually left long before now..

Hopefully you'll check this blog, Dave.. I wish you - and your family - all the best in NC..

at 4/02/2008 11:48 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 8:23, you assume there is going to be a main male anchor. I think its pretty obvious the main anchors are women now - and its the men anchors that are second tier.

Never thought much of Dave as an anchor, but he did turn out some great reports.

at 4/02/2008 12:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

They won't replace Dave...he isn't a main anchor anymore. Remember now they have the two chicks as the main anchors. Nobody will move up. If they replace Dave with an investigative reporter, they might consider Eric Flack or Michael Moely, although not sure how much investigative experience they have.

at 4/02/2008 2:28 PM Blogger Cincy RE said...

If WLWT wants to stop the bleeding, they might want to consider bringing back a "main male anchor."

Or at the very least dump the GM and News Director.

at 4/02/2008 4:43 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, this leads to the next big question. How much longer with they keep the two ladies anchoring together? They are still a distant third out of 3 in the ratings. Is this progress Channel 5?

at 4/02/2008 5:11 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave Wagner was the best thing to ever happen to Channel 5 News. Unfortunately, the stations management does not have the ability to recognize the talent and professionalism he brought to their newscast. His investigative reporting was unmatched in the Cincinnati area and will be missed by viewers. (Most of which have switched the channel since Dave was pulled from the 6 and 11PM news). The station continues to deteriorate and drop in ratings. I don’t understand why any business would continue to support a general manager who has made so many negative changes. What a fool! Best of luck Dave!

at 4/02/2008 7:38 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave's a pro. They should have used him on the Opening Day parade.

Sandra and Shari proved they should never be on the air without a telepropter. They have no ad-lib ability.

Over on the other hill, Channel 12 showed why Tara Pachmeyer should never be on the air...period. Her reports from the stadium ranked right there with first week students from the Ohio Center for Broadcasting.

at 4/02/2008 8:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave Wagner is a very good anchor, but an even better person. 3:05 is a fool for what he had to say. One of the nicest people I have ever come across

at 4/02/2008 9:07 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

kiese what were numbers on the opening day game on fsn ohio.
5 is reporting there parade was the most watched program of the day.

at 4/02/2008 9:16 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is quite obvious that WLWT’s station manager and news director have no idea how to provide viewers with quality broadcasting. They are more interested in flooding the screen with self promoting banners and annoying catch phrases than useful information that is newsworthy. How many times do they think viewers want to hear “where the news comes first” during a single story? Dave Wagner is certainly not the first member of the Channel 5 news team that has been pushed away by a news director with a hidden agenda. As a local business owner and past advertiser on the station, I would never again consider supporting a station that has so little regard for the people who dedicate themselves to doing what is honest and good. Channel 5 has in my mind, lost all credibility.

at 4/02/2008 10:42 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad.....I think the only thing that kept him at the station for the last two years was a contract he could not get out of. I found his resume posted online a couple of months ago that said he was in a contract until spring of '08. He is just another casualty in a long line of anchors and about 20 meteorologist to enter and exit that famous revolving door down there at Channel 5. The female co-anchor thing has to go..... Hire Randy Little, he is out of work last I heard. Channel 9 did a job on him just like 5 did to Dave Wagner.

at 4/03/2008 12:37 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

First off 3:05 YOUR A TOOL. Dave is a great guy, he will talk to anyone about anything and I have never once thought he was trying to ruin the place... that will happen all on it's own. I liken News 5 to the Bengals lot's of talent but the coaching staff has no idea how to win with that talent. Best of luck Dave! On to the bigger and better.

at 4/06/2008 3:36 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with 4/02/2008 9:16 PM Anonymous said, it's the managements' doing. They screwed up channel 5 and it won't get better until they are gone. As the band James says, "'s like a disease without any cure..." only instead of getting "Laid" people at channel 5 are getting SCREWED!!

at 4/06/2008 3:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave Wagner has been a class act at Ch.5. Like newscasters at other local stations, he is making a career move to a bigger station. Good luck to Dave and the many others who recently left Ch. 9 and 12. Channel 5 still has terrific talent, and I think that Todd Dykes, Michelle Hopkins, and Courtis Fuller all make credible, intelligent co-anchors with Ali and Paoello (sorry I botched her name). I think Ch. 5 wanted to try two women co-anchors, and I respect them for it. Heck, nobody complains when there are two males anchoring together. I like that Sheri P. is a hometown person, and I think she has a sincere approach to her delivery, as do Todd and Courtis. The others bring also bring many strengths to their jobs too. Good luck to you, Dave, and thanks for your dedication and positive delivery of the news. Cincinnati and the viewers of Channel 5 wish you a happy transition.

at 4/06/2008 10:28 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is that the station manager and/or new director of Ch 5 were reading this blog at "3:05" and tried to cover their tail...

at 4/08/2008 1:49 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Channel 9 will do just fine in the sweeps -- provided you watch the morning show and make it a "game" to see how many words and phrases Bernard Watson mangles! Geez.

at 4/10/2008 12:03 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I second that! Bernard Watson is the WORST anchor I've ever watched! It's painful how many times he stumbles over his words and then looks at Nero, like "please help me". Pathetic. I never watch the news anymore there so bad. Bring back David Rose!

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