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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. Contact John at

Help Make 50th 'Action Auction' A Big Success

Action Auction chairman Dr. O’dell Owens at the main podium.";

OK, people, listen up. We all need to help make WCET-TV's 50th "Action Action" fund-raiser a big success.

It's a great way of saying thanks to the nation's first licensed public TV station for Big Bird, Cincinnati Symphony and Pops concerts, "Downton Abbey," Ken Burns documentaries and yes, even those nostalgic rock music specials packed with pledge breaks.

You can easily help CET in many ways:

DONATE: CET still needs gift certificates, goods, services or unique experiences to be sold on the"Action Auction"April 25-29, just six weeks away.

Credit Provided by WCET-TV
"Action Auction" Items up for bid.

They sell all kinds of stuff from A to almost Z,from Automotive items to  Wine.

Popular items each year include catering; clothing; collectibles/memorabilia; computers; concert, Reds and theater tickets; gift cards to all kinds of places;  golf items;  health and body items; home goods or services; jewelry; kids items; lawn and garden stuff; salons and spas; sports memorabilia; tools; travel/vacation/hotel  packages; and wine and beer.

Unique experiences are cool too.  Donations this year include being a "Hamilton County Sheriff for the Day" and lunch with Sheriff Jim Neil; dinner for four at a Cincinnati firehouse; a private tour for 10 at the Cincinnati Observatory; and a tour of the WLWT-TV studios.

If you own or manage a business, make CET an offer they can't refuse.

VOLUNTEER: Help answer phones during the telecast, or move auction items on and off the set, or help with customer service. If you had fun helping at the Auction years ago, come back for the 50th. If you've never done it, you'll be surprised how much fun you have being part of live television.

Credit WCET-TV
Former WGUC-FM host Mark Perzel selling an "Action Auction" board.

STAR POWER: If you're a TV or radio personality – and I know many read my blog – then step up and volunteer to auction a board. Encourage your TV/radio coworkers to join you. I'm sure your kids watched "Sesame Street," "Barney" or "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" like the rest of us, and you've watched more than one "Nova," "American Experience" or "Masterpiece Theatre" too. Let's add some star power to the 50th!

SHARE A MEMORY: To celebrate the 50th, WCET-TV wants viewers and former volunteers to share their memories for videos to air before or during "Action Auction" this year.

Perhaps you made lifelong friendships volunteering at the Auction. Or met a popular TV/radio/sports personality in Studio A, or in the LaRosa's dining area for Auction workers in Studio B. Maybe you got a great bargain, treasured keepsake or favorite sports collectible from Channel 48 – or some really fine wine.

Credit WCET-TV
WCET-TV test pattern from the 1950s.

WCET-TV, the nation's first licensed public TV station (March 11, 1955), started as an "educational TV" station in 1954 with 90 percent of its funding coming from school districts, universities, the public library and Archdiocese of Cincinnati.  The "Action Auction" was created after a 1966 fiscal crisis, when the Cincinnati Board of Education withdrew $117,000 after a school tax levy failed. The first “Action Auction” raised $31,000 in 1968.

We can't make this "Action Auction" the biggest. The record was set back in the 1980s or '90s when they sold a new home and new cars each year.

But we can make it the best.

If you have something to give – items, your time or a story – contact the Auction office by emailing or calling 513-345-6579.

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.