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The Who And The Cincinnati Night That Changed Rock 

pete townshend
Courtesy WCPO-TV
WCPO-TV anchor Tanya O'Rourke intervews Pete Townshend about The Who concert tragedy.

Forty years ago on Dec. 3, 1979, 11 teenagers and young adults died while attending The Who concert at Riverfront Coliseum, now known as Heritage Bank Arena. 

They lost their lives when a dense crowd of concertgoers with general admission tickets pushed forward to enter the venue, crushing those already inside with no place to turn. 

Forty years after their deaths, WCPO reporter Tanya O’Rourke speaks with Cincinnati Edition about her one-hour WCPO-TV special airing Dec. 3 at 8 p.m. called The Who: The Night That Changed Rock.

O’Rourke discusses the interviews she conducted with Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, the only remaining full-time members of the British rock band; Bill Curbishley, The Who’s longtime manager; concertgoers; and family members who lost loved ones. 

Fred Wittenbaum, a friend and classmate of some of those who died, also joins Cincinnati Edition to discusses the importance of the P.E.M. Memorial Scholarship Fund, which he helped found.

In addition, WVXU’s Around Cincinnati will also be re-airing its award-winning documentary special that features interviews with concertgoers, police, lawyers, first-responders, reporters and others directly impacted by the tragic events that evening.  The program is called The Who: Thirty Years Later and was produced by host Lee Hay. It airs Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 7 pm on WVXU.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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Michael Monks brings a broad range of experience to WVXU-FM as the host of Cincinnati Edition, Cincinnati Public Radio's weekday news and information talk show.