Updates On Julie Dolan, WNKU, Cheri Lawson, Carol Williams And Peter Z
Catching you up on the Comings & Goings of Cincinnati TV/radio personalities:
CHERI LAWSON: The last member of WNKU-FM's news team, "Community Stories" reporter Cheri Lawson, was let go last week. After 7-1/2 years and "numerous NPR features and spots for NPR," acting general manager Aaron Sharpe and program director Liz Felix "gave me the boot…. I was told my stories didn't fit the format. No one ever asked me to do it differently," Lawson says.
She's working part-time hosting "All Things Considered" at Eastern Kentucky University's WEKU-FM in Richmond, Ky.
Lawson is the third person in three months to leave WNKU-FM (89.7), which is being shopped by a broker for NKU. (At least two prospective buyers have visited the station.) General manager Sean O'Mealy left in October to manage a Pennsylvania station group; morning host Elaine Diehl quit to host afternoon drive on our sister station, classical WGUC-FM.
Sharpe tells me that "Community Stories are on hiatus while we retool the format and look for the right producer. We haven’t done news of any kind in over a year."
When Diehl left, Keegan moved to mornings last week "while we search for a full-time assistant program director," Sharpe says. Until that position is filled, the weekday lineup is: Keegan (6-10 a.m.); Liz Felix (10 a.m.- 4 p.m.); Aaron Sharpe (4-6 p.m.); and Pam Temple (6 p.m.-midnight).
Newlywed Dolan starts Jan. 9 in Louisville, where her husband works. Morning anchor Jennifer Baileys will move to evenings. The Sycamore High School graduate and Montgomery native had hosted Channel 9's "The Now Cincinnati" since it premiered two years ago.
CAROL WILLIAMS: Dolan's departure changed Williams' retirement plans. Last December she announced that she would leave at the end of 2016, after 30 years anchoring at WCPO-TV.
Williams now says she will remain at Channel 9 through February sweeps, giving general manager Jeff Brogan and news director Chip Mahaney more time to fill two key anchor positions.
PETER ZOLNOWSKI: After 11 years in Dallas radio, Peter Zolnowski has returned to the Cincinnati area as program and operations director at classic country WNKR-FM (106.7), serving Northern Kentucky from Dry Ridge.
"Peter Z" worked at WCKY-AM (1530) and WSAI-AM (1360) in 1994-98, and then at WGRR-FM in 1999-2005, when CBS transferred him to KLUV-FM in Dallas.
At WNKR-FM, he's reunited with former WGRR-FM DJ Jim LaBarbara, now the 10 a.m.-2 p.m. country music host, and owner Jeff Ziesmann, "an old friend and my top salesman when I was managing 1530 & 1360," Zolnowski says.
"Peter Z" will host afternoon drive (2-7 p.m.) starting in January. He will replace Jay Anthony, who will be become Zolnowski's assistant. Anthony "will continue on-air on a fill-in basis at first, with more to come after I get settled into the operation," Zolnowski says.
CHANNEL 5: Anchor changes are coming, as I explained in my Wednesday blog post "WLWT-TV Hires Morning Anchor, Moves Mark Hayes To Evenings."
Colin Mayfield from Louisville's WLKY-TV -- Julie Dolan's new station -- will co-anchor "News 5 Today" with Lisa Cooney starting in January. Morning anchor Mark Hayes, hired two years ago to replace Todd Dykes, moves to evenings to anchor at 10 p.m. on Channel 5.2/MeTV . And traffic reporter Kyla Woods tells me why she left on Dec. 1 after five years.