John Kiesewetter: Media Beat

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.

tv's new face
Pxhere

What happened to Barak Shapiro? Where's Aly Cohen? How will WLW-TV fill Lisa Cooney's anchor job? And who are all these new TV reporters on Cincinnati newscasts?

Before May ratings' sweeps start Thursday, here's a look at the major changes and new faces on TV since last May:

middletown ohio
Al Behrman / AP

Yes, it's true: All the visits to Middletown by Oscar-winning director Ron Howard were to scope out locations for his Hillbilly Elegy movie based on J.D. Vance's memoir of growing up among working-class "hillbillies" in the Butler County steel town.

But only a fraction of the film will be shot in Ohio, unless things change, says Ami Vitori, a Middletown City Council member and a Middletown Visitors Bureau board member.

Courtesy Greater Cincinnati SPJ

Update 8:45 a.m. Thursday April 18:  Clyde Gray says he's "blown away." Carol Williams quoted a Macklemore/Kesha song. Here's what the former WCPO-TV news co-anchors told me about heading into the Greater Cincinnati Journalism Hall of Fame June 27:

Courtesy Internet Movie Database

Actor Gabriel Basso (The Whole Truth) will star in Hillbilly Elegy as "J.D. Wade," the fictionalized name for J.D. Vance, who wrote the book of the same title about growing up in Middletown, Deadline reports.

Hillbilly Elegy "is a potential star making role for the young actor," Deadline says.

Courtesy Ambriehl Crutchfield

For the second time in less than a year, Ambriehl Crutchfield is learning a new city.

Crutchfield, a Nashville native and 2018 Western Kentucky University graduate, joins the WVXU-FM news department Monday as a general assignment reporter. Last fall she interned at Chicago Public Radio's WBEZ-FM.

Courtesy WCET-TV

Laure Quinlivan's film on the innovative design of Cincinnati Police District 3 headquarters in Western Hills is getting national play on public TV stations in celebration of Earth Day.

Now called Blue Goes Green, the program will air statewide in Kentucky at 10:30 p.m. Friday, April 12, on KET. It was called Cincinnati LEEDs The Nation when it premiered in 2017 on WCET-TV.  

Jerry Springer's new fall court show will air on WSTR-TV (Channel 64), which broadcast his daytime talk show for years.

amy adams
Chris Pizzello / Invision/AP

Update 9 p.m. Thursday April 11: Glenn Close will follow up her Oscar-nominated performance in The Wife by playing J.D. Vance's grandmother in Hillbilly Elegy.

Courtesy Meg Hanrahan Media

The one-hour film about E. Lucy Braun, an ecology pioneer and University of Cincinnati professor, will be distributed to over 100 public TV stations by the National Educational Television Association.

A Force For Nature: Lucy Braun, which premiered Oct. 7 on WCET-TV, was produced by Meg Hanrahan of Madeira and Voyageur Media Group, a nonprofit organization which creates media about science, history and culture.

Courtesy WKRC-TV

Former WKRC-TV news anchor Brad Johanson is gone from WRAL-TV in Raleigh, N.C., after one year.

"There was a personnel matter and we handled it immediately," said Joel Davis, WRAL-TV general manager, in an email to the News & Observer. "Brad Johansen is no longer with the station."

tim hedrick
John Kiesewetter / WVXU

On this date: Cincinnati's second television station, WKRC-TV, debuted as Channel 11 on April 4, 1949. It moved to Channel 12 on Oct. 20, 1952 as part of the nationwide TV frequency realignment.

The Taft family owned the station, and until 1960 it broadcast from the Tafts' Cincinnati Times-Star evening newspaper office at 800 Broadway downtown. That's where Rod Serling did his first TV drama, The Storm, and comedian Soupy Sales (known here as Soupy Hines) did his show in the early 1950s.

Courtesy by BoBCat Studios/History

After years pursuing the Deadliest Catch off the shores of Alaska, Emmy-winning producer Jeff Conroy has returned to the lower 48 states for a comprehensive look at The American Farm.

Conroy, a 1994 Miami University graduate, is an executive producer of the eight-hour documentary series premiering 10 p.m. Thursday, April 4, on the History Channel.

Courtesy WCET-TV

Update 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 23: WCET-TV and Dayton's ThinkTV managers have announced Action Auction pick-up schedules for Cincinnati and Dayton bidders.

Courtesy WUBE-FM

Fifty years ago today, WUBE made the risky decision to drop Top 40 rock 'n' roll hits and play what was called "country western music."

The gamble sure paid off, despite low ratings in the 1970s before the country music boom of the 1980s fueled by Garth Brooks, Shania Twain and other stars. For most of the past 25 years, the station has been in the top five here.

John Kiesewetter

Top of the ninth inning. Bases loaded. Reds up 5-3. Game on the line.

So why did WKRC-TV cut away from the Opening Day game to air CBS coverage of the NCAA tournament? Talk about March madness.

Courtesy Oxygen Media

The 2016 Rhoden family murders in Pike County, Ohio, gets national attention when Oxygen devotes two hours to The Piketon Family Murders at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 31.

Seven members of the Rhoden family, plus Hannah Gilley, the fiancée of one of the victims, were murdered execution-style on April 21-22, 2016. 

John Kiesewetter

Play ball! Fox Sports Ohio's Opening Day plans again call for the 4:10 p.m. Thursday game to be simulcast on WKRC-TV (Channel 12).

WCPO-TV, WLWT-TV, WXIX-TV and WKRC-TV will provide extensive Opening Day coverage on their morning newscasts. All four stations, plus FSO and CitiCable, will air and stream the noon parade.

Courtesy Cincinnati Reds

This one belongs to WVXU! As part of our Opening Day preview on Cincinnati Edition, Marty Brennaman talks candidly about his decision to retire, his "very emotional" final season, his favorite Reds teams and the "chance meeting" which prompted Brennaman to apply for the Reds Radio job strictly out of courtesy for his boss in Norfolk, Va.

"I had no intention" of applying for the Reds opening when Al Michaels left after the 1973 season, Brennaman said during a far-ranging interview with Howard Wilkinson, Cincinnati Edition host Michael Monks and me to air at noon Monday on WVXU-FM (91.7), WMUB-FM (88.5) and wvxu.org. (After the show airs, I'll put a link to the 25-minute interview here.)

Cincinnati Public Radio

Update noon Friday, March 22: Services for WGUC announcer Frank Johnson will be private. A private gathering in memory of Frank is being planned by his family and friends.

Award-winning photographer Gordon Baer -- whose work appeared in Life, Time, Newsweek, People, National Geographic, The New York TimesLondon Daily Mail and other publications -- has died at age 78.

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