Friday, August 8, 2003

WIZ hopes bus brings fans onboard


John Kiesewetter

Will a free appearance by Ginuwine appease fans of the long-gone Doug Banks morning show?

Russ Parr, whose syndicated morning show replaced Banks on WIZF-FM (100.9) three weeks ago, will bring his "back to school bus tour" here next Friday. R&B singer Ginuwine will be along for the ride.

Parr will spend all next weekend in the Tristate at the Black Family Reunion to promote his 6-10 a.m. radio show.

"He's coming here to make the show work in Cincinnati," says Terri Thomas, WIZF-FM program director.

The WIZ dropped Banks when the station's contract with ABC for the show expired in July, Thomas says. Although it came as an abrupt change to WIZ listeners, the station owners had been planning the switch for months.

"Our company, Radio One, owns the Russ Parr Show, so we decided to go with Russ Parr," she says.

Parr, based at Radio One's WKYS-FM in Washington, D.C., has 3.2 million listeners in 45 cities. The former owner and operator of Rapsur Records left Hollywood in 1989 to begin a radio career.

Thomas admits the "big change" has been difficult for Banks' loyal listeners. The show had aired here on WCIN-AM (1480) until 2000, when Blue Chip Broadcasting bought old WUBE-FM (now WDBZ-AM, 1230). Radio One acquired Blue Chip a year later.

"Radio is like people's friend, and people are very passionate about the people they hear on the radio," she says.

Because Parr is new to the city, the WIZ will invite teens from community organizations and orphanages to his live broadcast 6-10 a.m. next Friday at the Ritz, 1752 Seymour Ave. Doors open at 5:30 a.m.

Also expected to appear at the party are recording artists Rah Digga, Big Gipp of the Goodie Mob and ATL, she says.

The Wiz also will give away $2,500 in cash prizes, plus free school supplies, she says.

Back on 'Today'

Glendale's Don Mueller and two of his children will appear again on NBC's Today show Monday to promote the finale that night of Who Wants To Marry My Dad?

Son Chris will explain why Christy, the former Miss USA, would make the best stepmother, while daughter Heidi will support Christena, the other finalist. It could be an awkward scene, because the two women have not seen each other since the final episode was taped 21/2 months ago.

The series ends Monday (10 p.m., Channels 5, 22) with Mueller proposing to the woman selected by his four grown children.

McKinney looking

Former WLWT-TV (Channel 5) morning anchor Greg McKinney says he could be back in the local TV picture soon.

"I'm looking forward to what's ahead. I'm talking to other stations, and I wouldn't rule anything out," says McKinney, who resigned last month after nine years.

The 1979 Colerain High School graduate refused to talk about his sudden departure during the July ratings period. Usually TV personalities don't exit until after the four-week ratings' period. Weekend anchor Elena Echarri also quit during the July ratings book.

McKinney is married to meteorologist Angelique Frame, who jumped to WKRC-TV (Channel 12) in November after Channel 5 terminated her contract. She was Channel 5's chief meteorologist in 1999-2000, but lost the position when the station hired Byron Webre during her maternity leave.

Fuller speaks

Courtis Fuller says he's finished with local politics.

"I would never have come back to Channel 5 if that (politics) was still on my radar. My focus has been to get back into (TV)," says Fuller, who returned to Channel 5 last week as morning co-anchor. He continues to host a 10 a.m.-noon talk show on WCIN-AM (1480).

Fuller quit Channel 5 two years ago, after 13 years, to run for mayor against Charlie Luken. He won the September primary, but lost the November election.

"I feel like a utility player," Fuller says. "I told Richard (General Manager Richard Dyer) I would do whatever he wanted me to do to help."

With McKinney's resignation and the departure of Terry Daniels for Toledo in December, Fuller is the only experienced back-up anchor for Dave Wagner.

TV today

Monk (10 p.m., USA) thinks his prime suspect is in a coma.

The grim reaper (Ellen Muth) gets her first post-mortem kiss on Dead Like Me (10 p.m., Showtime).

Talk show guests

Regis and Kelly (9 a.m., Channel 9): Kevin Costner, Naomi Watts.

Wayne Brady (10 a.m., Channel 9): Randy Jackson.

The View (11 a.m., Channel 9): Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J.

Caroline Rhea (3 p.m., Channel 19): Donnie Wahlberg.


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