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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media – comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Local media is still his beat and he’s bringing his interest, curiosity, contacts and unique style to Cincinnati Public Radio and 91.7 WVXU. Contact John at johnkiese@yahoo.com.

VOA Broadcasting Museum Open Saturday For Tours

John Kiesewetter

You can see Uncle Al and Captain Windy’s “Uncle Al Show” costumes, Jerry Thomas’ “Granny” dress, Larry Smith’s puppets, the old Voice of America control room and antique radios at the monthly open house 1-4 p.m. Saturday at the National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting in West Chester Township.

Baby Boomers will see lots of cool stuff in this little-known museum:  Silky varsity-style jackets from WLW-AM, WKRC-AM, WSAI-FM, WUBE-FM and WGRR-FM; life-size cardboard cut-outs of Nick Clooney and Ruth Lyons; Jim Scott’s microphone and headphones; the 1950s radar used by WLW-TV (Channel 5); VOA transmitters and photos; a 1980s TV station control room; and 100 years of radios, some predating the first Crosley models in the early 1920s.

The Greater Cincinnati and Ohio Museum of Broadcasting area inside the yellow Art Deco landmark includes a photo gallery of 100 Cincinnati broadcasting greats such as, and entertainers Red Skelton, Rich King, Bonnie Lou Okum, Red Barber, Peter Grant, Don Herman, Chet Atkins, Fats Waller, Eddie Albert, Earl Hamner, the Mills Brothers and Grandpa Jones.

If you’re planning to visit, note that “during the construction phase there could be some mobility and access issues for some guests,” according to the VOA site.

Here are a few of my favorites from my June tour:

Credit John Kiesewetter
A life-size promotional cut-out of Cincinnati TV variety show host Nick Clooney offers a discount on Green Magic all-purpose cleaner. Nearby is a similar life-size cut-out of Ruth Lyons promotes Star-Kist Tuna.
Credit John Kiesewetter
This old Crosley radio had preset buttons for Crosley’s WLW-AM and four other Cincinnati AM stations. It also received police and amateur radio broadcasts and international signals.


Credit John Kiesewetter
Visitors sit in this 1960s VOA control room and hear how the Voice of America station was built in the 1940s during World War II by Crosley engineers.
Credit John Kiesewetter
“Uncle Al” Lewis and wife Wanda “Captain Windy” Lewis wore these costumes on WCPO-TV’s live “Uncle Al Show” weekday mornings for 35 years (1950-85).

The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting, 8070 Tylersville Road, West Chester Township, is one mile east of Interstate 75.

The museum is open 1-4 p.m. the third Saturday every month. Admission is $5; children under 12 are $1.

For information go to the VOA museum website call 513-777-0027.

John Kiesewetter joined the WVXU news team as a TV/Media blogger on July 1 2015, after nearly 30 years covering local and national broadcasting for The Cincinnati Enquirer. He’ll be posting news about Greater Cincinnati TV, radio and movies; updating your favorite former local TV/radio personalities or stars who grew up here; and breaking news about national TV, radio and media trends. You’ll also learn about Cincinnati’s rich broadcasting history.