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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.

WXIX-TV Adds To Morning Anchor Team, Loses Rebecca Smith

Lauren Minor, Andrea Finney, Rebecca Smith Aug 2021.jpg
Courtesy WXIX-TV
Lauren Minor (left) will do WXIX-TV traffic reports and co-host "Fox 19 Morning Xtra"; Andrea Finney (center) from Harrisburg will join the morning anchor desk in October; and Rebecca Smith will leave the station Aug. 23 after four years as traffic reporter.

Anchor Andrea Finney from Harrisburg, Pa., joins the morning team in October from Harrisburg, Pa.

WXIX-TV reporters Lauren Minor and Stefano DiPietrantonio will join the Fox 19 Now morning anchor team, along with newcomer Andrea Finney, to replace Jessica Brown and traffic reporter Rebecca Smith.

Brown left in July for Boston, the nation's No. 10 market, after nine years at the station. Smith, traffic reporter since 2017, had been filling in for Brown on the 9-11 a.m. Fox 19 Morning Xtra show with meteorologist Frank Marzullo since Brown's departure.

Smith announced Tuesday she is leaving the station Monday, Aug. 23. Her daughter starts kindergarten this fall. "She said it was a really tough decision," says Debbie Bush, WXIX-TV vice president and general manager.

Smith said on a Facebook Live Tuesday: "It's been a tough couple of years for us with this pandemic, but we'll get through this together."

Minor, the primary traffic back-up person, will take over those duties permanently, and become Marzullo's Xtra co-host 9-11 a.m. Minor grew up in Northern Kentucky and earned a communications degree from Northern Kentucky University in 2013.

Dan Wells, co-anchor for the 4:30-9 a.m. newscast, will work with a rotating team of anchors including Finney, Minor and Stefano DiPietrantonio.

Finney, an anchor from WHP-TV in Harrisburg, Pa., will join the Channel 19 anchor desk in late October. A 2012 Arkansas State University graduate, Finney has worked for TV stations in Little Rock, Ark.; Shreveport, La.; and Alexandria, Va.

"We welcome Andrea Finney to the team and viewers will love the combination of Frank Marzullo and Lauren Minor on Morning Xtra,” says Steve Hyvonen, news director.

"We're extremely lucky. We have a cast of very versatile people who can do everything," Bush says.

Reporter Morgan Parish will move from afternoons to mornings, joining reporters Lauren Artino and Drew Amman. Meteorologists Catherine Bodak and Olga Breese will continue to work some mornings, too.

"We have the biggest morning news team in Cincinnati. I think that's one of the reasons we're No. 1," Hyvonen says.

Smith had previously worked for stations in Lexington, Ky., Iowa, Arkansas, Oklahoma and her native Tennessee. She told her Facebook Live viewers Tuesday that she plans to resume her "Coffee Walk" Facebook videos, and may do some on cooking or parenting.

"I love you guys. You're awesome. You're what I'm going to miss the most," Smith said.

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.