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'Action Auction' To Be Cincinnati-Dayton Simulcast For First Time

John Kiesewetter
Volunteers pass bids to the runners while WVXU's Tana Weingartner auctions a board in the WCET-TV studio last year.

For the first time, the annual spring TV auctions for Cincinnati and Dayton will be completely simulcast on WCET-TV and WPTD-TV April 20-25.

Unlike last year, Channel 48's Action Auction and Channel 16's Great TV Auction will be combined into "one fully integrated regional event," says Kellie May, manager of communications and digital initiatives for CET and Dayton's ThinkTV.

An attempt was made last year to merge the two -- both are part of the Public Media Connect regional partnership -- but the auction didn't air in Dayton. Instead, just two hours a night was simulcast on sister station WPTO-TV (Channel 14), the former Oxford station broadcast from WXIX-TV's tower near the Western Hills Viaduct.

Credit John Kiesewetter / WVXU
An auctioneer sells items at the 2019 'Action Auction.'

The auction also will return to six days (from five) this year. The 53rd Action Auction will air 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, April 20-24, and from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday, April 25.

Auction managers are seeking donations, sponsors and media personalities from Dayton for the live broadcast, May says.

"Last year we aired it a few hours each night on 14. Obviously it was not ideal, but we didn’t have the items from Dayton to support a full broadcast," May says. "We are working to review Dayton personalities and expect to have a great representation from both markets."

Credit WVXU
Rich Eiswerth, Cincinnati Public Radio president and general manager, at the 2018 'Auction.'

Cincinnati's original home shopping show offers viewers a wide range of gift certificates, tickets, vacation packages, goods, services, collectibles, art and wine. The most popular items have been gift certificates for restaurants, shopping, salons and other services; tickets to see concerts or the Reds, FC Cincinnati, Bengals, UC, Xavier and NKU games; and "unique experiences" for behind-the-scenes tours of restaurants, firehouses, TV stations or other businesses.

"CET and ThinkTV are actively seeking sponsors (opportunities from $300 to $5,000 available) as well as item donations. Depending on the amount of the donation, CET and ThinkTV offer online and on-air promotions for companies and donors," May says.

Credit John Kiesewetter / WVXU
Dr. O'Dell Owens returns to chair the 'Action Auction' for a 10th year in April.

Dr. O’Dell Owens will return for an unprecedented 10th year as Action Auction chair. In the station announcement he says: "From children learning to read with Sesame Street or The Cat in the Hat to adults being life-long learners with programs like NOVA or Independent Lens, the programs, services and resources provided by CET and ThinkTV are used throughout our community more than any other non-profit in the area. I'm happy to chair this event for the 10th year because I know, by supporting the CET/ThinkTV Action Auction, I'm supporting the ability of our local PBS stations to continue to provide this kind of high-quality content to our community. Please join me in supporting this year's regional auction."

The Action Auction also counts on community groups and individual volunteers to take bids from callers and set up displays for the hundreds of items sold every day.

Credit Courtesy WCET-TV
Volunteers taking auction bids on the phone.

"This event is only successful because of the generosity and support of the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton communities – sponsors, donors, bidders, buyers and volunteers – and we're looking forward to this coming April," says Mary MacDowell, WCET-TV community events manager.

For more information about the event, please call 513-345-6579; email; or  visit

WCET-TV was the nation's first licensed educational TV station on March 11, 1955. It is Greater Cincinnati's leading provider of education and enrichment in both living rooms and classrooms, the station says.

The joint Public Media Connect, formed in 2009, serves more than 3 million people in Greater Cincinnati and Dayton areas in these counties: Adams, Brown, Butler, Clark, Clermont, Clinton, Darke, Fayette, Greene, Hamilton, Highland, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Warren in Ohio; Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Carroll, Gallatin, Grant, Harrison, Henry, Kenton, Mason, Owen, Pendleton, Robertson, Scott and Trimble in Kentucky; and Dearborn, Decatur, Fayette, Franklin, Jefferson, Jennings, Ohio, Ripley, Rush, Switzerland, Union and Wayne in Indiana.

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.