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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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Friday, April 04, 2008

Farewell Becky Freemal

Add another name to the growing list of TV folks leaving town: Becky Freemal, WCPO "Good Morning Tristate" reporter, joins the list with Dave Wagner, Richard Jordan, Lisa Cornwell, Pete Scalia and Sasha Rionda.

Freemal, Channel 9's morning news general assignment reporter, is the second "Good Morning Tristate" on-air person to quit for an anchor job in another market. The Cincinnati native, who had worked for Channel 9 for three years, leaves today to become a morning anchor at Fox's WFXR-TV in Roanoke, Va. Before coming here in 2005, the Ohio University graduate worked for WKRC-TV, TKR Cable (now Insight) in Northern Kentucky; WNNE-TV in White River Junction, Vt.; KMID-TV in Midland, Texas; KCBD-TV in Lubbock, Texas; and WBAY-TV in Green Bay.

Cornwell, Channel 9’s morning "Breaking News Center" anchor, left last month to become a morning anchor at NBC’s WBIR-TV in Knoxville. The Arkansas native got out of her three-year contract a year early, after she was moved from weekend sports anchor to morning breaking news reporter in September.

All the recent morning news changes could make May sweeps very intersting. In the past year Channel 9 has lost David Rose, Cornwell and Freemal. Top-rated Channel 12 lost meteorologist Steve Horstmeyer, a 19-year morning fixture (making Channel 9's Larry Handley the most tenured morning forecaster). Channel 19 has changed meteorologists several times since Rich Apuzzo was fired 18 months ago. And Channel 5 switched anchors in October, then lost traffic guy Pete Scalia to Dayton's Channel 22 last month.

It will be interesting to see how all these changes impact viewers habits.


at 4/04/2008 10:41 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off topic: Jeff Brantly complaining bitterly about Edwin Encarnacion NOT being a clutch hitter...then Edwin hitting a game winning homerun seconds later was one for the ages.

at 4/04/2008 11:11 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck, Becky! Channel 9 is only going downhill from here, you're smart to get out of there. The new morning anchor is awful, the "breaking news" center is so stupid and pointless, and the Lisa traffic girl makes me want to vomit she's so bad. You're making the right move by getting out while you can. You were the only reason I still watched chan 9. You are a beautiful girl, and I'm sure you'll do great in VA! Congrats - We'll miss you in Cincy! I'm now turning to channel 5.

at 4/04/2008 11:31 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

You certainly cannot fault Freemal for leaving for anchor job. I am sure 9 will survive without her.

at 4/04/2008 12:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, I will fondly remember every one of Becky's live shots starting, "Well, (anchor), I can tell you....."

at 4/04/2008 12:50 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully, somebody at her new station in Virginia will require Becky to wear some makeup. Uggghhh!

at 4/04/2008 1:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wishing Becky well, we had one comment when she came on screen,
'MOTOR MOUTH'--never knew til the second sentence what she was saying, her mouth was too closed and fast, we had to wait til she repeated it, maybe slower, perhaps she was told she talked too fast,and I hope they train someone else differently. The guys are wonderful, they speak distinctly, WATSON is new and very good, as all the others are.Some never learn...........

at 4/04/2008 2:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow...what nasty comments on a very solid and talented reporter from posters 12:39 and 12:50.

Probably someone off camera from 9 or 5...who could never have made it on air.

There are more than a few of those kind of people out there..especially at 5.

Back to Becky...she was a very good reporter and not full of herself.

Down to earth, smart and a hometown gal.

9 should have used her a lot more.
Their loss.

at 4/04/2008 2:55 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good riddance.

at 4/04/2008 2:59 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck to Becky Freemal, we will not miss her at news time. We called her 'motor mouth' , could not understand the first 2 minutes of her news, until she repeated it again, then we saw her open her mouth, and slow up the speech. Have even called the station to tell them, but nothing came of it.\We need good news people, Watson is very good, new, and the guys are great, most gals are too. Farewell.

at 4/04/2008 3:24 PM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Yes, Brantley should win the 'FootinMouth' award for that one. Still I would much rather listen to him, or anyone else for that matter than White Noise and Creepy.


at 4/04/2008 3:56 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good luck Becky, hope someone teaches you to open your mouth, literally, and slow up the first few words and lines of the News, that is the part you swallow, and it takes a second time to hear and catch your words. Too fast is not good, listen to your speech on a tape. The guys are terrific on the channel, Watson is new ,he is very clear, as they all are.

at 4/04/2008 6:31 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

All the best Becky. You and Larry Handly were the only reason why I still watched the morning show on WCPO. Now I will just tune in for the weather and nothing else. I just hope they do not replace you with that person who did the school closings this past winter. She was horrible.

Sue in hamilton

at 4/04/2008 7:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Anon 11:11...Channel 9 is getting worse and worse. I've recently switched, not sure who's showing up anymore and the new guy is bad...really bad.

at 4/04/2008 9:47 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is off topic but needs addressed.

This morning as the horrible news of the lost firefighters was breaking, I turned to Fox 19 (the only "local" news in the morning after 7 a.m.) about 8:30 and saw a close up of some lemon tarts. Of course they had brief snippets of what was going on, but what an opportunity to shine and bring the many interested people to that scene as it unfolded, and as we prayed for a different outcome.

The other channels didn't seem to break into Today, GMA, etc., just the five minutes every half hour, but perhaps they can't? Anyhow, Channel 19 had an opportunity I felt they lost.

God bless the lost firefighers and their families.

at 4/04/2008 11:36 PM Anonymous sore throat said...

start fire fighters blog...12 needs some wood shed time

at 4/05/2008 7:48 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

just so that hot hot hot Denise Johnson does not leave. She is a morning refresher for me.

at 4/05/2008 8:12 AM Blogger Toddy-O said...

Becky has done wonderful. I saw it when we worked together at little ol' TKR Cable.

Good luck to Becky and her husband!

Todd Osborne

at 4/06/2008 9:49 AM Blogger Cheviot Sports Authority said...

Why is the called a blog? By the time it is up-dated the posts are irrelevant. PATHETIC!

at 4/06/2008 1:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a heads up she is leaving to be the main anchor not the morning anchor. Just thought you would like to correct that.

at 4/06/2008 9:41 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey kiese found a pretty funny article about jack atherton.

at 4/07/2008 11:28 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I for one found Freemal to be one of the worst in recent memory,along with David Rose. Sorry, but no spark.
from the neighborhood

at 4/07/2008 11:45 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will miss the black, triangular glasses that she wore when she didn't have time to put her contacts in on Saturday morning...

at 4/07/2008 12:05 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kiese - Becky at 9 and Wagner at 5 aren't the only reporter defections in town about to be announced. Sniff around one of those two stations for another change that's coming soon.

at 4/07/2008 12:13 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great girl, not so great reporter.

at 4/07/2008 1:39 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will hate to see Becky leave- but i enjoy the morning show.I think it's tuff to find that mix between news and entertainment. I think that they do a great job. I do also enjoy Rob and Shiela on fox.

at 4/07/2008 6:04 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll take a shot at this one.

"This morning as the horrible news of the lost firefighters was breaking, I turned to Fox 19 (the only "local" news in the morning after 7 a.m.) about 8:30 and saw a close up of some lemon tarts. Of course they had brief snippets of what was going on, but what an opportunity to shine..."

I didn't see that newscast, but I'm guessing the time was about 8:27 or 8:28. That would be wrapping up the half hour. And I'm sure the firefighter story was on the air by 8:32. Conventional wisdom surrounding morning shows is that people watch for about 15 minutes. That's why the 4.5 hours from 4:30 to 9:00am is really more like 9 thirty minute newscasts instead of one long one. People want to see weather and the other news of the day as well as the big story. And at that time of day, what was known could be summed up in a couple of sentences. To hang with it constantly would have been repetitive and ultimately boring because the same information would have to be repeated over and over. That, of course, would lead to accusations of 19 "being heartless" and "taking advantage of the situation". 19 is not equipped to cover one story in the 24 hour news style of CNN or others.

"The other channels didn't seem to break into Today, GMA, etc., just the five minutes every half hour, but perhaps they can't?"

They aren't supposed to. The network requires that their commercials be run locally in exchange for providing the content. If it's a public safety issue, preempting is justifiable, but they have to be able to explain themselves later.

at 4/07/2008 6:58 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoever said to start the firefighter blog is right on. From where we watch channel 12 is very lucky to have one reporter at night who keeps them going you can see each day the entire place just mailing it in except for the one guy

at 4/07/2008 9:15 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

A reply to 2:59 and you comment about her being a "motor mouth" if you didn't like how fast she spoke you could have switched to channel 12. They like to talk slow there so all the old people can keep up. Keep it real Becky. We all LOVE the way you talk. We all know you will kick butt in VA.

at 4/08/2008 9:28 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:58 your post is entirely unintelligible.

at 4/08/2008 2:32 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

to 9:15,, NO we are not old people, but if you turn your head for a second and do not hear the first 5 words of the NEWS , you have lost the story. Then you wait for a repeat in a few seconds, and you hear again what it was you did not hear the first time. A tape would be a good way to check the progress, anyone, singing or talking.

at 4/08/2008 4:10 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous 12:05:
Who else from channels 9 and 5 are leaving?

at 4/08/2008 6:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that 29 people even watch local news. I couldn't name one person on local news and haven't watched a local newscast in probably 3 years. What I remember of it, I felt brain cells dying by just watching it.

at 4/09/2008 12:54 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, Anon 6:18 - so why are you even commenting on here? If you don't watch the local news and have no interest in it, why are you reading this blog? Gimme a break.

at 4/09/2008 3:35 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only in this goofy little town would people get so worked up over the departure of some insignificant feature reporter on the early morning news that is only watched by people over the age of 74

at 4/09/2008 4:57 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read this blog because I find the non local personality posts interesting and relevant to my TV watching experience. I just couldn't believe the number of posts over a local station employee leaving. I've become convinced that 99% of the posters on this blog are employees of the local affiliates.

at 4/10/2008 10:46 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:57 - you're just NOW figuring this out???

at 4/10/2008 11:29 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll disagree about the notion that all people that post a comment here are in the business.

I am a former employee of several stations however, I watch local television, get most of my information from local television (al beit partially lifted from the Enquirer) and live in this community. And I am way below age 74! Those people are watching reruns of Sit and be fit on 48!

Yes, someone leaves and it brings comments. Look at what happened when Ira Joe left, or when Bill Hemmer went hiking or WLWT's news braintrust has done something that defies logic, people talk. This avenue didn't exist (and yes, I included the WLWT line because it's been that way for many, many years). It's good to comment. It's also good to criticize when it needs to be done.

For every station's loss in Cincinnati is another market's gain. One loss at 5 brought a gain to San Diego, one loss at 19 was a gain to Boston, and so on. So, let us continue to comment, ponder, criticize and comment again. I'm just happy we, in Cincinnati, still have a Radio/TV column!

at 4/10/2008 12:34 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the opportunity to work with Becky on a few occassions and she was always prepared and extremely professional. In addition to the commitments she made to Ch 9's newscast, she should also be rememeberd for her strong committment to the community - especially through her volunteer work. Even with the tough hours she kept as a morning TV reporter, she still found time to volunteer. Good luck to you, Becky!

at 4/10/2008 1:25 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is it that Channel 9 lets someone go who is a cincinnatian and can read when anchoring, but hires someone that is not from here and can't read?

at 4/10/2008 2:44 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:57 pm - And you, my friend, are a rocket scientist.

at 4/10/2008 2:46 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe she can take Bernard with her? He's bad.

at 4/14/2008 3:19 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey 2:38 why do you have to make something up like that? I checked her new site out and nowhere did it call her Rebecca or say her last name was freeball. GROW UP AND GET BACK TO WORK YOU IDIOT!

at 4/15/2008 11:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

3:19 I'm all grown up now and back to work.

at 4/16/2008 10:02 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Michael Moely is leaving Ch. 5 too. He's headed to Myrtle Beach/Florence to co-anchor.

Talk about a mass exodus. Defections to the max!

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