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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.

Celebrating 25 Years Of WXIX News With Tricia Macke

Courtesy WXIX-TV
Tricia Macke started as a freelance reporter when WXIX-TV premiered its local news on Oct. 18, 1993.

Tricia Macke's model TV career – she has the longest continuous tenure of Cincinnati's four late news anchorwomen – came only after Macke giving up her modeling career.

Macke is the only remaining original member of WXIX-TV's news team which celebrates its 25th anniversary today. The city's fourth late newscast premiered on Oct. 18, 1993.

The ambitious Macke was working three jobs in 1993 – anchoring midday news on News/Talk WCKY-AM (1530), doing freelance reporting for Channel 19, and "doing a lot of modeling for Van Leunen's and McAlpin's, which was paying my bills" a year after she had graduated from Northern Kentucky University, she once explained to me.

Credit Courtesy Tricia Macke
Tricia Macke in the 1990s.

Every Sunday, Macke appeared in Sunday Enquirer advertisements in what she recalls as everything "from moo moos to undies."

Until Channel 19's general manager opened his Sunday paper and saw her modeling a bra and underwear.

"The general manager told me that I couldn't do any more modeling because it didn't look right," she told me in 2006. She explained her financial situation, why she was working three jobs. "Within a week, I had a full-time job offer from Channel 19 -- and I stopped modeling."

That's one of my favorite stories, and one that few at Fox 19 remember. The station also doesn't talk about its short-lived half-hour midnight newscast, which was launched 25 years ago along with "Cincinnati's first and only Ten O'Clock News."

Credit Courtesy WXIX-TV
Jack Atherton and Phyllis Watson co-anchored the first "Ten O'Clock News" on Channel 19.

The first newscast was broadcast from WXIX-TV's original location, at 10490 Taconic Terrace in Woodlawn, off Glendale-Milford Road.

Credit Courtesy WXIX-TV
Rich Apuzzo, Channel 19's first chief meteorologist, died of brain cancer in July 2015.

Anchoring the first newscast were Jack Atherton, Phyllis Watson, meteorologist Rich Apuzzo and sportscaster Greg Hoard, the former Post and Enquirer sportswriter and former WLWT-TV sports anchor.

Some of the first reporters and producers hired by original news director Greg Caputo were Dave Culbreth, Ann Alexander, Karla Stanley, Allison Hunter and Wendy Burch.

When I first saw Kevin Frazier as weekend sports anchor and UC basketball analyst, I knew Channel 19 had a TV star in the making.

Only 29, Frazier had very little TV experience. But he was a natural and very bright. I was right. Frazier is Fox 19's most successful alum.

The Entertainment Tonight co-host worked his way up the TV food chain through ESPN, Fox Sports, NBC's Inside Schwartz sitcom, The T.Ocho Show with Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens, CBS' Grammy Awards and Thanksgiving parade specials, and  CBS' current Saturday morning Game Changers children's TV block.

Credit Tyler Golden / Courtesy CBS
Courtesy CBS
"Entertainment Tonight" co-host Kevin Frazier started as Channel 19's weekend sports anchor and UC basketball analyst.

Fox 19 also gave a start to the MLB Network's Chris Rose, a 1993 Miami University graduate who began as a WXIX-TV sports producer and worked his way onto the airwaves. He joined Fox Sports in 2000, where he was studio host for The Best Damn Sports Show Period (2001-09), and appeared on Fox's Major League Baseball, Sunday NFL and college football programs. Since 2011, he has co-hosted Intentional Talk and other MLB Network studio shows.

WXIX-TV also celebrated its 50th anniversary in August as Cincinnati's fourth commercial station, launched Aug. 1, 1968. A few weeks later, the station expanded its news presence to 4-5 p.m. and 11 p.m., the first head-to-head challenge in nearly seven decades to late news on Channels 5, 9 and 12.

Channel 19 news alums include Sheila Gray, Bengals radio announcer Dan Hoard, Dan Carroll, Pat Barry, Steve Norris, Hagit Limor, Regina Russo, Gina Germani, Paul Horton, Scott Schneider and Ben Swann.

I'm sure you can name many others. 


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.