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.

Courtesy WYEP-FM

Liz Felix, one of the last voices heard on WNKU-FM, will return to playing Triple A music as evening host on Pittsburgh's WYEP-FM.

Felix was WNKU-FM's assistant program director and program director from early 2015 through September 2017, when Northern Kentucky University sold FM stations in Highland Heights and Middletown.

Courtesy FC Cincinnati

FC Cincinnati will have a new radio affiliate for its new league. Under a two-year deal announced Tuesday, FC Cincinnati's inaugural Major League Soccer season will be broadcast on oldies WDJO's three frequencies: 1480 AM, 99.5 FM and 107.9 FM.

Courtesy Cincinnati Reds

Play ball! Half of the Reds' spring training games will be televised by either Fox Sports Ohio or the MLB Network, starting with two telecasts this weekend.

FSO will air 10 games live, while the MLB Network will carry nine games, with some duplications of the FSO schedule.

John Kiesewetter

Three TV series "are actively considering" filming in Greater Cincinnati, says Kristen Schlotman, Film Cincinnati executive director.

A series could start shooting here in "a couple of months," Schlotman told WVXU-FM's Cincinnati Edition listeners Wednesday.

tommy thrall
Bill Violona / Courtesy Pensacola Blue Wahoos

A few things to know about Tommy Thrall, new Reds radio announcer: He loves baseball and he loves radio. He grew up listening to Hall of Famer Denny Matthews call Kansas City Royals games.

And Reds fans have heard him a couple times – during spring training a year ago, and last September when Marty Brennaman was off hosting his annual golf classic.

Courtesy Cincinnati Reds

Barking Fish Entertainment has launched a GoFundMe campaign to finance a film about Marty Brennaman, who's entering his 46th and final season as the Reds' radio voice.

Producer Terry Lukemire seeks to raise $75,000 for a 90-minute documentary, How We Lookin’? The Marty Brennaman Story.

Courtesy Media Grouip Ohio

The Dayton media empire created by James M. Cox has been sold to an international investment company.

Apollo Global Management is acquiring WHIO-TV, news/talk WHIO-AM, country WHKO-FM, rocker WZLR-FM, the Dayton Daily News, the Butler County News-Journal and Springfield Sun, plus 13 other TV stations from Boston to Seattle.

Courtesy NBCUniversal

Guess who's coming to Taste of Cincinnati?  NBC's American Ninja Warrior fans!

Producers for the reality TV competition will construct their obstacle courses on Second Street for 10 days in May, overlapping with the annual Taste of Cincinnati food festival Memorial Day weekend (May 25-27) on Fifth Street.

rod serling book
Courtesy University Press of Mississippi

Author Nick Parisi will discuss the Cincinnati roots and influences of The Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling here Feb. 17-19 to promote his book, Rod Serling: His Life, Work, and Imagination.

Parisi, a Long Island resident and Rod Serling Memorial Foundation board member, devoted a chapter in the book to Serling's first TV dramas on The Storm, WKRC-TV's live weekly series in 1951-52, eight years before CBS debuted his iconic Twilight Zone.

Phillipe Antonello / Courtesy Hulu

Twenty five years after ER made George Clooney a star, the Kentucky native returns to TV on May 17 in the war satire Catch-22 on Hulu.

Courtesy Brian Douglas

Zac Efron's Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, shot here a year ago, will play in theaters this fall to be eligible for movie awards, the Hollywood Reporter says.

Courtesy Fred Rogers Co.

For the 51st anniversary, give the gift of Fred Rogers. Spread the word that the excellent Fred Rogers documentary, Won't You Be My Neighbor?, debuts on broadcast television 8 p.m. Saturday.

Morgan Neville's film, which opened in theaters last year on the silver anniversary of the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood public TV premiere, was the highest-grossing documentary of 2018 ($22.6 million). And rightfully so.

Chris Felix / Fitton Center

Joey Votto stares at me as I walk in the door. That's the first picture I noticed at the Reds Hall of Fame's "Road Trip" art exhibit at the Fitton Center in downtown Hamilton.

It's an amazing lineup: Bench, Rose, Morgan, Peter, Larkin, Nuxhall, Andy Warhol, Leroy Neiman, Jim Borgman, C.F. Payne, "Peanut Jim" Shelton and Schottzie.

In prints, sculptures, cartoons, sketches and photographs.

WVXU file

Dan Hurley is good at many things – except retiring. He's failed at it several times, due to his sense of civic responsibility and love for broadcasting.

Maybe this time he can finally kick back after hosting his last Cincinnati Edition talk show 1 p.m. Friday on WVXU-FM. He's been the "three-month interim host" for nearly a year. Michael Monks takes over Monday, Feb. 4, when the show resumes broadcasting five days a week.

tommy thrall
Courtesy Cincinnati Reds

Update 11:30 a.m. Thursday Jan. 31: This just in from Karen Forgus, Reds Senior Vice President of Business Operations, about Tommy Thrall's addition to the Reds Radio team:

“Tommy Thrall was added to our broadcast staff for 2019 as our 'utility' broadcaster. His duties will include hosting the Reds on Radio post-game show and producing stories and interviews for the radio pre-game show. Additionally, he will fill in on play-by-play for the games Marty is not working. We have no plans beyond 2019 at this time.”

Thrall is expected to do the postgame show starting with the Reds-Indians spring opener Saturday, Feb. 23. Marty Brennaman and Jeff Brantley will call the game.

Courtesy Pete Miller

"Pistol Pete" Miller and "Jimmy the Weasel" Salzarulo, who lost their radio jobs to automation in December, have returned to the airwaves on Classic Country WNKN-FM (105.9 in Middletown, Oh.) and WNKR-FM (106.7 in Dry Ridge, Ky.).

"Man, am I happy to be back on the air," says Miller, let go by Hubbard's country "Wolf" on Dec. 4 after 22-1/2 years on WUBE-FM (B-105) and its "Wolf" sister station.

Courtesy MLB Network

When you watch a biography of Reds Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench, you expect to see lots of World Series highlights available for years on DVD.

That's all part of BENCH, a terrific 90-minute MLB Network Presents film premiering 8 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 30 on the MLB Network. But the stars of the show are Bench, now 71, being a single father to sons Justin, 12, and Josh, 9, in their Florida home.

BENCH also will bring back a flood of memories for Big Red Machine fans with the sights and sounds from Riverfront Stadium, spring training, the Reds' dugout, and Bench's foray from behind the mask into the entertainment world with Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, Hee Haw, David Letterman and his own TV show.

Courtesy Sundance Film Festival

Former High School Musical star Zac Efron won rave reviews for the Sundance premiere of Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile  but critics weren't that impressed with the film about serial killer Ted Bundy shot mostly in Northern Kentucky a year ago.

"It’s a star vehicle that starts and ends with its star, the film around him struggling to justify its existence. Efron is wicked, the film less so," says Benjamin Lee for The Guardian, who gave the film three of five stars.

WVXU file

It's the end of an era, not the end of a career, for Howard Wilkinson.

My old pal Howard is cutting back on his work schedule at WVXU, but he'll still be writing columns and heard on the airwaves. Just not as much.

John Kiesewetter / WVXU

Johnny Bench, the charismatic and beloved Hall of Fame Reds catcher, returned to Cincinnati for the premiere of MLB Network's BENCH documentary with a comment about almost everything, as usual.

The only thing that left him nearly speechless was watching the two-hour preview with friends and fans at Great American Ball Park. BENCH premieres 8 p.m. Wednesday Jan. 30 on MLB Network.

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