Thursday, September 28, 2000

'Exclusive' bad call for Channel 12

        As Paul Harvey would say, here's “the rest of the story” about how WKRC-TV Sports Director Brad Johansen got an “exclusive” interview with Bengals owner Mike Brown on Monday, after coach Bruce Coslet resigned.

        The Bengals produced it for him, that's how.

        All day Monday, Channel 12 had boasted that it had an exclusive conversation with Mr. Brown. In fact, Mr. Johansen introduced the tape at 6 p.m. Monday by saying that the Bengals owner “sat down with me for an exclusive one-on-one interview ... this morning.”

        What Channel 12 didn't tell viewers was that the interview was taped for the Bengals Weekly show (11:30 a.m. Sunday, Channel 12) produced by the team's marketing department, not Channel 12 news.

        Says Jack Brennan, Bengals publicity director: “The Mike Brown interview was arranged by our people who run the program. We produce that show. It's our program.”

        At no time did Channel 12 reveal that the interview was set up and produced by the Bengals, not the station.

        Folks at WCPO-TV (Channel 9) cried foul over the incident. Mr. Brennan denied Channel 9's request for a one-on-one with Mr. Brown after Monday's press conference, only to see a rival station promote its “exclusive” interview hours later.

        “I talked to Channel 9 and explained the situation. I can understand their feelings,” Mr. Brennan says. He says that the marketing department set up the interview with Mr. Johansen, the Bengals radio announcer who appears regularly on Bengals Weekly with radio analyst Dave Lapham and former Channel 9 reporter Tanya O'Rourke.

        “The (Bengals) public relations department is aiming to have an even-handed relationship with everyone (in the media),” Mr. Brennan says.

        The Bengals do not place any restrictions on Channel 12's use of Bengals Weekly interviews, he says.

        “We considered that (excerpt) a promotion for our program,” Mr. Brennan says.

        So it was just a promotion for somebody else's TV show? And Channel 12 wanted you to think it was a great big exclusive by a hustling sports director.

        So now you know the rest of the story.

        CORRECTION: The Rosie O'Donnell Show is airing 3 p.m. this week on WLWT (Channel 5), as regularly scheduled. Our TV WEEK magazine incorrectly lists Montel Williams at 3 p.m.

        Montel has aired at 9 a.m. this week because of the Summer Olympics. It moves to 10 a.m. next week, when NBC's Today show expands to a third hour (7-10 a.m., Channels 5, 22).

        SHARK BITES: Move over, Crocodile Hunter, here comes Shark Gordon. Animal Planet cable adds another Australian personality today, when Ian Gordon debuts his Shark Gordon series (10 p.m., Animal Planet).

        “I hope this program will be able to get some of the popularity which Steve Irwin (Crocodile Hunter) has been able to achieve,” says Mr. Gordon, 42, who has studied sharks for more than 20 years.

        “Steve's been very successful, but we want to be our very own entity,” he says.

        He became fascinated by sharks while spear-fishing as a teen. “They're like totally cool animals,” he says.

        To know sharks is to love them, he says. Shark Gordon will show “people how wonderful these animals are, and how they deserve to be around,” he says.

        “These predators existed long before T-Rex, but we know more about dinosaurs than we do about white sharks,” he says.

        Mr. Gordon says sharks “are not as bad as people say they are. The most dangerous thing you'll ever do in your life is turn the ignition key and drive out of the driveway,” he says.

        “But they are potentially dangerous animals, and they deserve a certain amount of respect.”

        In the premiere, Mr. Gordon tags sharks with electronic data recording devices to be used in studying their social interaction.

        Radio highlight: Len Goorian hosts Latin Satin, a half-hourprogram of Latin American big band music from the 1930s and '40s from his private collection, at 9 p.m. Friday on WMKV-FM (89.3).

        The Springdale nonprofit station also has added Fascinating Rhythm, a one-hour American music program hosted by Peabody Award winner Michael Lasser, at 8 p.m. Saturdays.


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