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WKRC-TV To Air WEBN-FM Fireworks From Secret Location

Tana Weingartner
WKRC-TV will broadcast the WEBN-FM fireworks without Riverfest on Sept. 6.

The show must go on! WKRC-TV will broadcast the Western & Southern/WEBN-FM fireworks 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6, from an undisclosed location due to the coronavirus.

The location "remains a secret to comply with state and local" health orders preventing large gatherings during COVID-19, according to Channel 12 news. (How long will it remain secret?) Cincinnati, Covington, Newport and Bellevue canceled Riverfest for 2020 earlier this year.

"We had to have everybody be safe. And we couldn't have it in a place where there would be large numbers of people gathering, so this is how it worked out," said Jon Lawhead, Channel 12 general manager, to Channel 12 news.

"And now you have to watch it on television to see them, which isn't too bad of a thing for us," he said.

For four decades, hundreds of thousands of people have packed both sides of the Ohio River to watch the Riverfest Labor Day weekend fireworks called "the last blast of summer." 

Again Rozzi's Famous Fireworks on Channel 12 will be synchronized to a soundtrack on WEBN-FM (102.7). The fireworks tradition started in August 1977 to celebrate WEBN-FM's 10th anniversary.

Chanel 12's new main anchor team, Kyle Inskeep and Paula Toti, will host the telecast. Last year Good Morning Cincinnati anchors Sheila Gray and Bob Herzog anchored the telecast.

Channel 12 has broadcast the Western & Southern/WEBN-FM fireworks since 2016. Lawhead stepped up to air the fireworks after no TV station did them in 2015, when WXIX-TV's agreement expired, ending a 31-year TV tradition.

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.