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'Action Auction' Bidding Open; Telecast Begins Sept. 9

John Kiesewetter
Dr. O’dell Owens, seen here at the 2019 telecast, has returned as 'Action Auction' chair for a unprecedented 10th year in 2020. ";

Action Auction bidding began on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7, for the Cincinnati-Dayton public television stations' first joint auction. 

The delayed CET/ThinkTV Action Auction will be simulcast on Channels 48 and 16 for the first time Wednesday, Sept. 9, through Saturday, Sept. 12.

The biggest fundraiser for Southwestern Ohio public TV stations has been postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic, from April and June.

Credit WCET-TV
WCET-TV's big studio in the past has been filled with hundreds of 'Action Auction' volunteers every night.

Due to COVID-19, viewers for the first time may use online bidding "in addition to the on-air showcase," which will limit the number of volunteers needed, says Kellie May, manager of communications and digital initiatives.

Also new this year, winning bidders must make an appointment to pick up their merchandise at either WCET-TV, 1223 Central Avenue, across from Music Hall, or WPTD-TV in downtown Dayton.

"We are so thrilled to present the much-awaited CET/ThinkTV Action Auction this year in a way that keeps everyone involved safe, so that we can continue to provide inspiring content and services to our communities," said Mary MacDowell, community events manager, in a media release.

"Because of the need for social distancing – meaning fewer volunteers and people in the studio – this year's auction will look much different than before, but we are excited about adjusting the event and adding online bidding so we can hope to be successful despite COVID-19," MacDowell said.

The Action Auction broadcast also will be shorter this year. It will air 7-11 p.m. Wednesday-Friday Sept. 9-11; and 3 p.m.-midnight Saturday, Sept. 12. In February, the stations had announced a six-night Auction airing Monday through Saturday April 20-25.  Last year the Auction saired Tuesday-Saturday. 

In February the stations announced this will bethe first year for the Auction to be simulcast in Dayton. Last year it was simulcast on WPTO-TV (Channel 14), which was originally broadcast from Miami University in Oxford but now uses WXIX-TV's Cincinnati tower. Until last year, Dayton's ThinkTV broadcast its own Great TV Auction on Channel 16.

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.