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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.

Courtis Fuller on 'extended medical leave'

Courtesy WLWT-TV
Courtis Fuller anchors WLWT-TV's weekend evening news and hosts Let's Talk Cincinnati on Saturday night.

WLWT-TV weekend anchor missed Martin Luther King Jr. Day events for the first time in 30 years.

WLWT-TV's Courtis Fuller, a surprise honoree at the 2015 King Legacy Award Breakfast for his commitment to local Martin Luther King Day events, could not attend Monday's festivities for health reasons.

"I’m off work on extended medical leave," Fuller said Sunday night in an email. "As far as the MLK Day events, this is the first time in 30 years I have not hosted the citywide program."

Although he has appeared in WLWT-TV promotions earlier this month for the Martin Luther King Day events, Fuller has not anchored weekend newscasts since before Christmas. He also hosts Let's Talk Cincinnati, the station's Saturday night local news magazine program.

Courtis Fuller King Leegacy Breakfast 2015 WLWT crop.jpg
Courtesy WLWT-TV
Courtis Fuller was honored during the King Legacy Breakfast in 2015 at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Fuller has been one of the most visible faces of the annual King Day events, which begins with the King Legacy Award Breakfast at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. In 2015, the organizers honored Fuller at the breakfast.

The Pittsburgh native has spent most of his career in Cincinnati. On his 30th anniversary in broadcasting in 2014, Courtis and his wife Marla established the Courtis Fuller Journalism Scholarship at the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation for student pursing a degree in journalism. Richard Dyer, WLWT-TV general manager at that time, called Fuller "a tireless journalist with a great heart to serve our community and its young people."

Fuller left the TV station in 2001 to run for mayor as a member of the Charter Party. After winning the primary, he lost the general election to incumbent Charlie Luken, another former Channel 5 anchor. Fuller hosted a radio talk show before returning to WLWT-TV in 2003.

In addition to the MLK Jr. Coalition King Day, Fuller has been involved with the Council of Christian Communions, Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, NAACP Freedom Fund, Cincinnati Human Relations, Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion, the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra board, the Greater Cincinnati Tall Stacks Commission, the U.S. Department of Education's Back-to-School National Advisory Board and the National Association of Black Journalists' executive board.

A classically trained violinist and opera fan, Fuller hosted the Cincinnati Opera's "Opera Goes To Church" program at Allen Temple A.M.E. in Bold Hill on Nov. 3.

In an email Sunday night he told me:

"I’m off work on extended medical leave. The support of my WLWT family has been amazing. I look forward to getting back to the station as soon as possible.

"As far as the MLK Day events, this is the first time in 30 years I have not hosted the citywide program. My thanks to everyone who has inquired. Have a good night and a better day tomorrow."

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.