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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.

Indian Hill native Daniel Strunk says competing on 'Survivor' a lifelong dream

Daniel Strunk runs with oars in a challenge on the season premiere of "Survivor"
Robert Voets/CBS
CBS Entertainment
Daniel Strunk runs with oars in a challenge on the season premiere of "Survivor" airing 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 9, on CBS.

The 2010 Indian Hill High School alum tells WVXU's Cincinnati Edition he got hooked on CBS' Survivor watching the first season in 2000 with his family.

Daniel Strunk, who competes on the 42nd season premiering Wednesday March 9, has been a Survivor fan since Day One.

"I think I was 7 when the first season came out (in June 2000), and I watched along with my parents and my brother. It was like a family activity that we did … and from there on out I was just hooked. I was a total fan," Strunk tells WVXU's Lucy May in an interview airing on Cincinnati Edition at noon Wednesday. (The 42nd season of Survivor premieres 8-10 p.m. Wednesday on CBS.)

As a young kid, "just the idea of being stranded on an island was unbelievably exciting, and having to scavenge for food, and do these unbelievably cool-looking challenges. I always thought I'd be good at puzzles, even as a young kid," says Strunk in the conversation recorded late last week. (When the audio is posted online, I'll put a link here.)

Robert Voets/CBS
CBS Entertainment
Cincinnati native Daniel Strunk makes his debut on "Survivor" 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 9.

Strunk, 30, will be identified on the show as a law clerk living in New Haven, CT, where he attended Yale Law School 2016-19, as I reported last month. He taped Survivor with 17 other castaways in Fiji by taking a break from clerking for U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Raymond Kethledge in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 2020-21.

The former Keating Muething & Klekamp summer associate now is an attorney at the Keller Lenker LLC law firm in Washington D.C.

In his CBS video biography for Survivor, Strunk credited "an amazing government high school teacher" who ignited an interest in law. A week later, I tracked down retired Indian Hill High School social studies teacher Steve Reger, who told me that Strunk was a child cancer survivor who won Indian Hill's first two Mock Trial state championships in 2009 and 2010.

On Cincinnati Edition, he explains how watching Survivor helped him endure three years of chemotherapy for leukemia at Cincinnati Children's Medical Center.

Courtesy Indian Hill Journal
"Danny" Strunk, an 18-year-old Indian Hill High School senior, appeared in an Indian Hill Journal story about his Slam Dunk for LLS fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

He approached competing for the $1-million sole Survivor prize as "the opportunity of a lifetime … You're living out a lifelong dream."

Tune in to Cincinnati Edition Wednesday and hear:

— How his mother reacted to Strunk being cast on the show.

— What he did on the boat ride to Fiji in the first episode.

— Whether he was concerned about having to eat bugs.

— If he enjoyed his seven-week stay on the island.

— Why Survivor continues to be so popular in its 42nd season.

— And how he used his love of Survivor in Yale Law School years before he taped the show. (Believe me, you don't want to miss that!)

Daniel Strunk appears on WVXU's Cincinnati Edition noon Wednesday, March 9. Survivor premieres 8-10 p.m. that night on CBS.