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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.

Rob Braun Talks About His Career And Future Plans On 'Cincinnati Edition' Wednesday

John Kiesewetter
Rob Braun left WKCR-TV in June after 35 years.

Got a question for Rob Braun? The former WKRC-TV news anchor will talk to callers during his visit to WVXU's Cincinnati Edition noon Wednesday with host Michael Monks.

Braun, 62, left Channel 12 in June after 35 years when his contract expired. He turned down a new deal from owners Sinclair Broadcast Group because he didn't "fit well with the Sinclair News model."

Earlier this month, he announced he was leaving TV news to become the corporate spokesman for family-owned Heritage Bank based in Burlington, Ky., after talking to WCPO-TV and WLWT-TV.

Braun confirmed to me that he left WKRC-TV because Sinclair made local TV anchors read a commentary  complaining about media companies pushing "their own personal bias and agenda to control exactly what people think" in March 2018. Braun tried to rewrite Sinclair's script in his own words, but it was rejected.  

"When they made me read that stuff a year ago, that's when I made up my mind (to leave). The station was evolving into something I didn't believe in. I couldn't do it," he told me.

Credit John Kiesewetter
Rob Braun chats with meteorologist John Gumm during a 2016 newscast.

The son of long-time Cincinnati TV personality Bob Braun was hired by WKRC-TV in 1984 from Knoxville's WBIR-TV. He had previously interned at WLWT-TV, but managers of the NBC affiliate didn't hire him due to nepotism because the Bob Braun Show was on the air until fall of that year.

For Channel 12 news, Braun interviewed presidents on Air Force One and reported from the Soviet Union and war zones.

"I always had a bag packed in my (car) trunk my entire career, if I had to go some place" to cover breaking news, he said.

It's no surprise, he said, that veteran reporters Deb Dixon, Joe Webb and Jeff Hirsh left Channel 12 when their contracts expired. Co-anchor Cammy Dierking also has told managers she's leaving when her contract ends in December.

"The job I had was like being the quarterback. It was the best time of my life. But the team was gone, and I was ready to go," Braun said. "We had a helluva run."

After studying business at the University of Cincinnati, Braun owned a food concession business; ran restaurants in Cincinnati and North Carolina; and dabbled in acting and on-air commercials. He did commercials for Pepsi, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Joseph Toyota and Dalton Georgia Carpet Outlets.

Braun "agreed to represent Heritage Bank exclusively," according to the company announcement. Founded 29 years ago, Heritage Bank has grown to 19 branches in Northern Kentucky and Greater Cincinnati. He will attend bank grand openings and other events; be "front and center" in the bank's advertising campaigns; and "lend his expertise in broadcast production story telling behind the scenes," said the company media release.

Working for the bank as a contract employee gives Braun plenty of time for chores on his Northern Kentucky farm, where he raises cattle, hay, soybeans and wheat. Farming was his way to unwind while working in TV news.

"This is the calmest I've been in 40 years. It just feels good to be calm," he says.

Cincinnati Edition airs noon-1 p.m. weekdays on WVXU-FM (91.7) and WMUB-FM (88.5).

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.