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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.

WVXU Adding New Talk And Information Shows, Dropping Music

wvxu new lineup 2021
Among the additions are Gene Demby's 'Code Switch', 'Asian View', 'Life Kit', 'The Arts Hour', 'A Way With Words', Christopher Kimball's 'Milk Street Radio', 'The Takeaway' and a return of 'Q'.

WVXU unveils first major schedule revamp since buying the station in 2005 from Xavier University.

WVXU-FM is going all in with news/talk programming, and adding some diverse voices to the Cincinnati Public Radio airwaves starting this weekend.

With the retirement of swing music host Bill Cartwright, and the end of National Public Radio's Ask Me Another with Ophira Eisenberg, WVXU this weekend will unveil the first major reboot of its programming lineup since acquiring the station from Xavier University in 2005.

Leaving the airwaves are John Diliberto's Echoes (weekdays 10 p.m.-midnight); repeats of Oscar Treadwell's Jazz With O.T., which continued on Sunday nights (10 p.m.-midnight) after his death in 2006; and Swing with Bill Cartwright (10-11 p.m. Saturdays), which traced its roots to 1976.

Why stop the music?

"We're news, talk and information 90% of the day, so it was a good time to let go of the music," says Jenell Walton, Cincinnati Public Radio vice president of content. Instead of replacing Cartwright and Ask Me Another in piecemeal moves, she took the opportunity to add a variety of voices providing national news, talk, information, analysis and entertainment.

Among the additions are Gene Demby's Code Switch, Asian View, Life Kit, The Arts Hour, A Way With Words, Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Radio, The Takeaway and a return of Q, an arts and culture series which aired on WVXU from 2011 to 2017. International news will be added to weekday afternoons with the BBC Newshour 3-4 p.m., in addition to the overnight BBC World Service (midnight-5 a.m.).

The revamped schedule moves the Cincinnati Edition replay to 8 p.m. weeknights from 9 p.m., and eliminates Cincinnati Edition repeats at 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Listeners also will hear less of NPR's signature newscasts next week when WVXU drops the fourth hour of All Things Considered at 7 p.m. for The World (moving up an hour from 8 p.m.), and replaces the fifth hour of Morning Edition at 9 a.m. with The Takeaway, a "fresh alternative in daily news" with listener participation. The Takeaway will be followed by Jenn White's national 1A talk show, which includes comments from listeners.

"Listeners can call in and engage with our programming an hour earlier in the day," Walton says.

The new lineup starts Saturday. Weekday shows will change Monday, Aug. 16. The WVXU-FM lineup will continue to be simulcast on Oxford's WMUB-FM (88.5). No changes are being made to 24/7 classical music WGUC-FM.

The new shows build on the station's motto of "connecting you to a world of ideas," and will "increase the number of people who will find something here that's for them," Walton said in the station announcement today.

John Diliberto's Echoes, a holdover from Xavier University's schedule, features a "soundscape" mix of jazz, acoustic, electronic, avante-garde and space music, according to echoes.org, which offers a subscription service.

"Most people don't come to us for that particular kind of music format," Walton says.

Jazz with O.T. will continue to air Friday 10 p.m.-midnight on WGUC HD2 which is available online, through the WGUC app or smart speakers. WVXU online archives for Jazz With O.T. and Swing with Bill Cartwright will be expanded in coming weeks.

Walton also notes that listeners' habits shifted during the coronavirus pandemic, with many people working at home and not just tuning in while driving to and from work. The station also explained the changes this way:

"Our new schedule will instead concentrate on programming with news, narrative and talk formats, which is what we’re known for … We’re striving to broaden the horizons of choice that we can offer and increase the number of people who will find something here that’s for them."

Here's the WVXU programming media release:

In the last few years, there's been an explosion of exciting new radio shows and podcasts focused on news, politics, current events, arts and culture, science, and storytelling. With an ear to bringing a wider diversity of voices to the Cincinnati airwaves and solidifying 91.7 WVXU as the full time news/talk/information station serving our community, Cincinnati Public Radio has made the decision to stop airing shows which are based on musical recordings.

The new schedule takes effect Saturday, August 14, with new programs such as Cultivating Place, A Way with Words and Code Switch and Life Kit.

"After 16 years of operating WVXU, it was time for us to make a complete commitment to bringing our listeners the best news, talk, analysis, and engaging public radio programming available," said Jenell Walton, Cincinnati Public Radio Vice President of Content. "By expanding the number of shows from member stations and media partners that we make available to our listeners, we're able to connect to more people in the community and increase the number of people who will find something here that's for them," said Walton

SATURDAY CHANGES (beginning Saturday, August 14)

7 a.m.: Cultivating Place (new) Subtitled Conversations on Natural History and the Human Impulse to Garden, this program is a voice for, with, and about gardeners and nature lovers of all manner around the globe, exploring how and why we garden - what we mean when we garden. Hosted by Jennifer Jewell. (Replaces an encore broadcast of Cincinnati Edition.)

11 a.m.: Code Switch and Life Kit (new) These two popular NPR podcasts are now joined together into a one-hour program. Code Switch tackles the subject of race head-on, exploring how it impacts every part of society — from politics and pop culture to history, sports and everything in between. Life Kit is here to help you get it together. From sleep to saving money to parenting and more, we talk to the experts to get the best advice out there. (Replaces Ask Me Another, which has discontinued production.)

10 p.m.: The Arts Hour (new) Authors, musicians, actors, and more are featured on this hour of arts coverage from the BBC, hosted by Nikki Bedi. (Replaces Swing with Bill Cartwright, who has retired.)

11 p.m.: PRX Remix (new) An hour of stories from both independent creators and the PRX podcast network Radiotopia. (Replaces Paul Ingles Music Archive Showcase.)

SUNDAY CHANGES (beginning Sunday, August 15)

7 a.m.: On Being (new time) Krista Tippet's Peabody Award-winning program that asks the big questions about life now helps listeners start their Sunday mornings. Each week a new discovery about the immensity of our lives. (Replaces a Cincinnati Edition encore broadcast.)

10 a.m.: Wait, Wait… Don't Tell Me (new time) The Sunday rebroadcast of the popular NPR quiz now follows the news and puzzle on Weekend Edition Sunday. (Replaces The New Yorker Radio Hour, now at noon on Sundays.)

11 a.m.: A Way with Words (new) An upbeat and lively hour about language examined through history, culture, and family. Callers discuss slang, old sayings, new words, grammar, word origins, regional dialects, family expressions, and speaking and writing well. They settle disputes, play word quizzes, and discuss language news and controversies. (Replaces On the Media, now Sundays at 7 p.m.)

Noon: The New Yorker Radio Hour (new time) The audio version of one of America's favorite magazines moves to noon for your lunchtime listening. (Replaces Freakonomics, now at 4 p.m. Sundays.)

1 p.m.: Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Radio (new) Recognizable from America's Test Kitchen, Christopher Kimball's Milk Street Radio goes anywhere and everywhere to ask questions and get answers about cooking, food, culture, wine, farming, restaurants, literature, and the lives and cultures of the people who grow, produce, and create the food we eat. (Replaces The Splendid Table, now at 2 p.m. Sundays.)

2 p.m.: The Splendid Table (new time) Intimate conversations about food and its ability to connect people and lives. (Replaces Travel with Rick Steves, now at 3 p.m. Sundays)

3 p.m.: Travel with Rick Steves (new time) Public media's travel guru takes listeners on fascinating visits to some of Europe's best and least-known getaways. (Replaces rebroadcast of Wait, Wait… Don't Tell Me, now at 10 a.m. Sundays.)

4 p.m.: Freakonomics (new time) Each week, Freakonomics Radio tells you things you always thought you knew (but didn't) and things you never thought you wanted to know (but do) —from the economics of sleep to how to become great at just about anything. (Replaces This American Life rebroadcast, now at 9 p.m. Sunday.)

6 p.m.: Snap Judgment (new time) Glynn Washington's hour mixes real stories with killer beats to produce a raw, musical brand of storytelling that dares listeners to see the world through the eyes of another. (Replaces On Being, now at 7 a.m. Sundays.)

7 p.m.: On the Media (new time) NPR's long-running look at news coverage and journalism. (Replaces Fresh Air Weekend.)

9 p.m.: Reveal (rebroadcast) The Peabody Award-winning investigative journalism program from The Center for Investigative Journalism and PRX. (Replaces Snap Judgment, now airing Sundays at 6 p.m.)

10 p.m.: This American Life (new time – rebroadcast from Saturdays at 1 p.m.) Ira Glass's award-winning storytelling style takes a theme and puts together different stories on that theme. (Replaces hour 1 of Jazz with OT.)

11 p.m.: PRX Remix (new) An hour of stories from both independent creators and the PRX podcast network Radiotopia. (Replaces hour 2 of Jazz with OT.)

WEEKDAY CHANGES (beginning Monday, August 16)

9 a.m.: The Takeaway (returning) A fresh alternative in daily news featuring critical conversations, live reports from the field, and listener participation. The Takeaway, with interim host Melissa Harris-Perry, provides a breadth and depth of world, national and regional news coverage. (Replaces the 5th hour of Morning Edition.)

3 p.m.: BBC Newshour (new) Providing an international look at world news in the middle of the day. (Replaces the 2nd hour of Here & Now Monday-Thursday; Science Friday airs on Friday.)

WEEKNIGHT CHANGES (beginning Monday, August 16)

7 p.m.: Asian View (new) Asian View is a five-minute news segment broadcast by NHK WORLD-JAPAN. It features the latest news and deep analysis from Japan and the rest of Asia.

7:06 p.m.: The World (new time) Public radio's long-running magazine program with an emphasis on international news. (Replaces the 4th hour of All Things Considered. Reveal airs in this time slot on Fridays.)

8 p.m.: Cincinnati Edition Encore (new time) WVXU's daily talk show with host Michael Monks talking about the issues, newsmakers, and thought leaders here at home. (Replaces The World, now weeknights at 7 p.m.)

9 p.m.: q (returning) Tom Powers hosts this arts and culture magazine program from the CBC. (Replaces Cincinnati Edition Encore, now weeknights at 8 p.m.)

10 p.m.: Rebroadcasts of: Code Switch and Life Kit (Mondays), A Way with Words (Tuesdays), Cultivating Place (Wednesdays), Snap Judgment (Thursdays), The Arts Hour (Fridays). (Replaces hour 1 of Echoes.)

11 p.m.: Rebroadcasts of Latino USA (Mondays), Freakonomics (Tuesdays), Milk Street Radio (Wednesdays), and The Moth Radio Hour (Thursdays). (Replaces hour 2 of Echoes.)

Fridays at 11 p.m.: PRX Remix Select, a curated hour of stories from independent providers and the PRX podcast network Radiotopia. (Replaces hour 2 of Echoes.)

Here's a link to the updated programming schedule.

John Kiesewetter's reporting is independent. Cincinnati Public Radio only edits his articles for style and grammar.

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.