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

John Kiesewetter / WVXU

Play ball! The Cincinnati Reds return to the airwaves Sunday with the spring training opener from Goodyear, AZ, the start of seven months of Reds games on radio.

george clooney
Alastair Grant / AP

George Clooney's Smokehouse Pictures, Sports Illustrated Studios and 101 Studios are teaming up to produce a documentary series based on Jon Wertheim's SI story last Oct. 5 about prolific alleged abuse at Ohio State University.

Courtesy Bina Roy

Update 9 a.m. Tuesday Feb. 23:  Jerry Springer called from his Sarasota home to talk about his old pal Pat Barry, and told me how and why Pat left radio to become WLWT-TV's main weatherman in 1984. It was Springer's idea.

John Kiesewetter

Pat Barry, who parlayed his Q102 popularity into a Greater Cincinnati radio and TV career spanning five decades, died of COVID-19 Saturday afternoon, Feb. 20. He was 69.

John Sadak
Courtesy of Fox Sports Ohio

Play-by-play announcer John Sadak makes his Reds TV debut on Fox Sports Ohio's Access Reds Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.

John Kiesewetter

After the Reds suspended Thom Brennaman in August for a homophobic slur during a TV game, Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larking offered his services to Reds COO Phil Castelinni.

Courtesy Jenell Walton

Former TV reporter Jenell Walton is returning to her broadcasting roots as Cincinnati Public Radio's vice president of content beginning March 1.

Courtesy Clara doAmaral

You won't see Mount St. Joseph University's Clara doAmaral on A Perfect Planet, but you will see her frozen frogs.

John Sadak
Courtesy of Fox Sports Ohio

CBS Sports and Westwood One announcer John Sadak will be the Reds' new television play-by-play voice on Fox Sports Ohio, replacing Thom Brennaman, who resigned last September.

Lacey Terrell / Netflix

And then there were two. On the second day of the movie awards season, Amy Adams joined Glenn Close with a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Hillbilly Elegy.

Courtesy HGTV

Lara Spencer gave Good Morning America viewers a sneak peek today of her new Everything But The House show premiering 9 p.m. Friday, March 19, on HGTV.

Lacey Terrell / Netflix

Actress Glenn Close, who has won three Golden Globe Awards, could add a fourth to her collection for her performance as matriarch Mamaw Vance in Hillbilly Elegy.

Courtesy Walter Reuther Library/Wayne State University

Who knew that the movie 9 to 5 was inspired by Cleveland secretaries? Or that clerical workers at the University of Cincinnati and Cuyahoga Community College played a pivotal role in the "9to5" grassroots labor movement of the 1970s and '80s to get equal pay and benefits for women office workers?

Courtesy Sinclair Broadcast Group

In a move touted to "revolutionize the U.S. sports betting industry," Sinclair's Fox Sports regional networks will be rebranded as Bally Sports.

Courtesy ABC

Update 11 a.m. Friday Jan. 29:  HGTV's announcement for the Everything But The House premiere has been delayed 10 days, to around Wednesday, Feb. 10, says a HGTV publicist. The TV series debut with Lara Spencer and EBTH co-founder Jacquie Denny was "moved back three weeks," the publicist says.

Original post Tuesday, Jan. 26: HGTV will announce its Everything But The House TV series premiere date featuring the Blue Ash-based online auction company  "on or around Feb. 1," says a HGTV publicist.

Courtesey NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal is making big changes for hockey, NASCAR, pro wrestling and soccer fans by pulling the plug on the NBC Sports Network cable channel and acquiring WrestleMania rights for its Peacock streaming service.

The moves illustrate how media owners are grappling with the shrinking cable TV universe, as viewers switch to streaming.

Courtesy WLW-AM

America's Truckin' Network has returned to WLW-AM as a one-hour recorded show two months after the station dropped the live overnight show hosted by Steve Sommers.

Courtesy Greg Tatum

Former WKRC-TV producer Harry Traynor died this week, two months after completing a new documentary about the 1977 Beverly Hills Supper Club fire which killed 165 people.

Fire On The Hill: Memories Of The Beverly Hills Tragedy, a combination of new interviews and WKRC-TV video from the fire, was telecast on CitiCable last month, making it eligible for a regional Emmy Award.

Courtesy Fred Rogers Center

I only met Joanne Rogers once. But I owed a huge debt of gratitude to the widow of children's TV host Fred Rogers – the inspiration for his Queen Sara Saturday puppet -- who died Thursday at age 92.

I've often said my most memorable interview from 35 years covering television was from spending a day with Fred Rogers at Pittsburgh's WQED-TV as he taped a Mister Rogers' Neighborhood episode in November 1997.

Update 3 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 12: Allworth Financial advisor Steve Sprovach will co-host WKRC-AM's Simply Money with Amy Wagner after Nathan Bachrach leaves the show  Feb. 23, Wagner says.

Courtesy Pete Miller

"Pistol Pete" Miller, a popular country music DJ at WUBE-FM, WYGY-FM, WNKR-FM and WNKN-FM, died at his Fairfax home Saturday. He was 59.

Courtesy From The Top

At age 9, Daniel Dorsey started playing the cello. At 17, he's performing on National Public Radio's From The Top showcasing young classically trained musicians.

Courtesy Hot Shot's Secrets

Calling it "a dream come true," Steve Sommers resumes his overnight conversations with truckers and insomniacs Monday, Jan. 11, two months after WLW-AM canceled his America's Truckin' Network show.

And he may be able to talk about politics, too.

Courtesy WKRC-AM

WKRC-AM morning host Brian Thomas wanted to thank his listeners for all the Facebook and text messages of support during his six-week coronavirus convalescence.

But he didn't have the "energy, ability or desire" to do anything since Thanksgiving.

Associated Press

UPDATE 10:30 A.M. NEW YEAR'S DAY 2021: My old pal Norm Clarke, the former Cincinnati Associated Press writer who was the man-about-town columnist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal (1999-2016), wrote this on his blog on Valentine's Day in 2019 -- on Phyllis McGuire's 88th birthday -- about her attending a Las Vegas gala about 10 years ago:

Courtesy Fox Broadcasting

Yep, it's been one bad, sad year with more than 335,000 lives lost to the global coronavirus pandemic. I could almost fill each letter with this retrospective with a notable death – but I won't. There are some other things worth remembering from 2020, such as how the Cincinnati riverfront was "Simpsonfied" in November.

Here's my socially distanced look back at the year of TV/Media/Radio/Movies stories from A to Z:

Courtesy Mercantile Library

Sara Pearce, who supervised the Cincinnati Enquirer Tempo section in the 1990s, died Sunday at age 68.

Full disclosure: I hired Sara as food writer in the early 1980s, when I was the Enquirer's features editor supervising the Tempo, Sunday Arts & Entertainment and weekly Food sections. After I was named TV columnist in 1985 – and after Pearce returned from the Orlando Sentinel and other papers – she was my boss.

Courtesy MTM

This week 41 years ago: Beloved Cincinnati Reds manager Sparky Anderson was fired from his sports talk show on WKRP In Cincinnati.

"I must be nuts. Every time I come into this town, I get fired," said Anderson at the conclusion of WKRP's "Sparky" episode.  It was first broadcast on Christmas Eve 1979 during WKRP's second season.

Courtesy Cincinnati Ballet

It sounds odd, but directing hundreds of basketball and football games, and dozens of WEBN Riverfest firework telecasts, was great training for David Ashbrock when WLWT-TV asked him to direct The Nutcracker at Home airing 8 p.m. tonight.


Dec. 23 update:  Laura Powell Fritz's obit has been posted by Walker Funeral Home in Mount Healthy. She was born 53 years ago in Washington, D.C. No services are mentioned. Friends are invited "to share a memory of Laura or leave a special message for the Fritz family" on the "Tribute Wall" tab.

Original post Monday, Dec. 21: Laura Powell (Fritz), who hosted WKRQ-FM afternoons for more than a decade, died Saturday after "a grueling battle with Crohn's disease," according to a GoFundMe account set up Sunday.