Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
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. Contact John at

Roger Ailes Had A Problem In Cincinnati Too

Roger Ailes

Sexual harassment allegations against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes reportedly reach back more than 45 years, when Ailes worked on WKRC-TV's daytime "Dennis Wholey Show" in 1969.

Ailes, then in his late 20s, harassed a 19-year-old model auditioning for Channel 12's short-lived syndicated show, according to Gabriel Sherman's July and September stories in "New York" magazine after former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson sued Ailes on July 6. Two weeks later Ailes resigned.

One of the first women interviewed by Sherman after Carlson's suit was Judy, 67, a former Cincinnati model.

In his July 13 "New York" story, Judy told Sherman that "during an audition for 'The Dennis Wholey Show' in 1969, when she was 19 years old, Ailes asked her to lift up her skirt and lie face down on a bed at the Sheraton Gibson Hotel in Cincinnati. 'I totally freaked,' she said, on the condition that I would only use her first name for fear of retribution. 'I got up and ran to the door. He stood in front of the door and locked it.' Judy managed to escape and tell her parents, and they took her to the police," Sherman wrote.

Credit Wikipedia
"The Dennis Wholey Show" also aired on Taft Broadcasting's sister station in Columbus, Ohio.

He quoted Judy saying: "I remember Ailes being manipulative and sweet-talking my parents out of pressing charges. Afterwards, he called my mom and said, 'If you ever need anything, you call me.' "

"Even back then (in Cincinnati), Ailes’s recklessness put his thriving career at risk," Sherman wrote in his Sept. 7 "New Yorker" follow-up storycalled "The Revenge of Roger's Angels." 

By then, Sherman said he had spoken to 18 women "who shared accounts of Ailes offering them job opportunities if they would agree to perform sexual favors for him and for his friends."

Ailes, 76, has denied all harassment allegations. He left Fox News in July after 20 years as CEO.

The Northeastern Ohio native came to Channel 12 in 1969 to resume his TV career after serving as a media strategist for Richard Nixon's 1968 presidential campaign. He had worked for Cleveland's "Mike Douglas" daytime show after graduating in 1962 from Ohio University. He rose through the ranks to become executive producer, then left to be a media strategist for Nixon. The successful re-invention of Nixon on television to win the White House in 1968 was chronicled in Joe McGinniss's book, "The Selling Of The President."

Former Enquirer TV columnist Martin Hogan Jr., who left the paper in 1969 to be a "Wholey Show" associate producer, said Ailes produced Wholey's nationally syndicated daytime talk show for Taft Broadcasting from Channel 12 until it was canceled at the end of 1969 or early 1970. Hogan said he was unaware of any sexual misconduct complaints involving Ailes back then.

"I've never heard of that one," Hogan said. "He did have quite a reputation as a ball-buster and a hellion. But I never heard of anything like that involving women."

Carlson, who made the first public accusations against Ailes, also worked in Cincinnati television. The former 1989 Miss America was a reporter-anchor at WCPO-TV (Channel 9) in 1992-94. She left Cincinnati to work at Scripps' sister station in Cleveland, and then the "CBS Early Show," before joining "Fox & Friends" in 2005.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.