Monday, August 21, 2000

WCIN GM protesting lost programming




By John Kiesewetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Forget about that TV show. WCIN-AM General Manager John Thomas is truly a survivor, but his torch could be extinguished soon.

        WCIN-AM (1480), an independent AM station in a market dominated by big conglomerates, has lost eight hours of weekday programming — ABC's Tom Joyner Show and talk host Lincoln Ware — to rival Blue Chip Broadcasting.

        Mr. Ware, a 20-year WCIN-AM veteran, and Joyner are expected to be the cornerstones of WUBE-AM (1230), which Blue Chip is buying from Clear Channel to be a sister station for WIZF-FM (100.9). ABC has told Mr. Thomas he will lose Tom Joyner (6-10 a.m.) when the contract expires Sept. 14.

        “I'm going to fight it all the way,” says Mr. Thomas, who has written the Federal Communications Commission, the ABC Radio Network, and Walt Disney Co. which owns ABC.

        WCIN-AM has broadcast an appeal to listeners asking them to protest the Joyner move by contacting Darryl Brown, ABC Radio Network executive vice president in Dallas. (Phone: (972) 776-4618; e-mail: dbrown@abc.com)

        “I told ABC that they are assisting Blue Chip in trying to drive me out of business. That's what they're doing by taking eight hours of my most popular programming Monday through Friday,” says Mr. Thomas, who took over WCIN-AM in 1992, when it was in receivership.

        Mr. Thomas, an African-American, wrote to FCC Commission Chairman William Kennard because the FCC has been concerned “about the substantial decline in minority (broadcast) ownership” since the 1996 Telecommunications Act. He has not heard from Mr. Kennard.

        Mr. Thomas knows he faces an uphill battle. Blue Chip stations air Joyner in Louisville and Lexington, and “The WIZ” recently added ABC's Doug Banks syndicated morning show.

        “This is going to be a real fight,” he says.

        New show: Rapheal and the Black Tornado, two frequent WCIN-AM talk show callers, have been hired to replace Mr. Ware starting 10 a.m.-2 p.m. today.

        Rapheal Adams “loves talk radio” and has called many Tristate talk shows, Mr. Thomas says.

        Clarence E. Stephens, who is retired, has identified himself as “The Black Tornado” for years when calling WCIN-AM shows, Mr. Thomas says.

        They were selected from 85 people who responded to an open audition call earlier this month, after Mr. Ware resigned.

        Kiese-watching: Channel 9 considered suing Hamilton County and the Bengals for their denial to broadcast live from inside Paul Brown Stadium for the station's 8-9 p.m. special last Friday, says Scott Diener, Channel 9 news director.

        County and Bengals officials refused to let Channel 9 broadcast from various locations inside the stadium because the show included a three-minute piece by investigative reporter Laure Quinlivan, he says.

        Channel 9 and Ms. Quinlivan received a national Peabody Award for “courageous local investigations of fraud ... in the (stadium) construction” in May.

        The station ultimately decided not to sue. So John Popovich and Clyde Gray anchored the show from the plaza outside the stadium.

        Talk show highlights: “Confessions of infidelity” on Forgive or Forget (9 a.m., Channel 19); “Out of control parents” on Jenny Jones (10 a.m., Channel 64); and “Dad wants to marry my daughter” on Jerry Springer (11 a.m., Channel 5).

        WLW news: WLW-AM (700) dropped Ric Robinson's 12:30 p.m. weekday talk show after Friday's broadcast. Bill Cunningham takes his place today. Mr. Robinson, 48, a retired West Virginia State Police officer, hosted middays since Feburary.

       



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