>Cunningham Staying, Cincy’s Newest LPFM To Finally Debut, and Severe Weather Coverage

>As the Cincinnati area recovers from severe storms late Monday night (more on the coverage below), here’s a couple cleanup items…

“Big Willie” To Stay at WLW: We got word late Monday afternoon from TSMW reader Harry Yeprem that WLW’s last major midday anchor will be staying, after all.

Bill Cunningham talked to John Kiesewetter Monday, and confirmed that he’s not going to Tribune’s talk WGN-AM 720/Chicago to follow his former lead-in Mike McConnell.

Apparently, he was off air last week because he wouldn’t commit to an extension. (We’re also hearing he went to lunch with Tribune executive Sean Compton and McConnell, and was also punished for that – but, if that’s true, it seems a bit of an extreme reaction. Just our opinion.)

And, we also hear that his “Big Willie” show will debut either June 28 or July 5 on 16 Tribune television stations, as well as WXIX-TV 19/Cincinnati, and run for the week. (We presume that the latter is simply Tribune’s way to throw Cincinnati a bone, since they own nothing in the area.)

WVQC-LP To Finally Debut Soon: We found this on the Kiese Blog… and it looks like it’s a “drop dead” date commitment.

WVQC-LP 95.7/Cincinnati will finally launch their FM signal, almost 1 year after it was supposed to happen, on July 2nd.

They got a $100,000 grant from the Ohio Valley Foundation a few months ago, and are now constructing their tower site on top of Essex Studios in Walnut Hills. From that organization’s website, we found out that they’re located on – what else – Essex Street between McMillan and Taft, just off Reading Road. (It’s not far from Bonneville Broadcasting’s Cincinnati studios at 2060 Reading.)

We’re not clear on how that signal will get from Media Bridges to the tower, but some sort of STL link is needed at the distance they’re going to have to cover. (No, in this case STL doesn’t stand for the hated MLB team from St. Louis, Missouri – but Studio to Transmitter Link.)

You’ll recall we were among the first to talk about their planned launch last August – but in today’s economy, funding is not easy to come by. That grant from OVF was what they needed, and they got it.

Congratulations to Media Bridges’ staff on bringing them just that much closer…

Severe Weather Coverage: And finally, for Cincinnatians at least, the major, blackish-looking elephant in the room.

By blackish, we mean the storm clouds that raked across the area late Monday night, leaving flooding, wind damage, structure fires (including the famous so-called “Touchdown Jesus” statue in Monroe in Butler County), and even a possible tornado in the Cincinnati city limits!

We were able to sample storm coverage from just about every Cincinnati TV station Monday night…and more so when a tornado warning covered the very heart of the city in a scary, nighttime scenario.

We thought that WKRC-TV 12 did a fairly decent job of covering the situation…getting out of the way when the tornado threat passed.

WLWT-TV 5’s Kevin Robinson also had no-nonsense weather coverage; given that Chief Meteorologist Kevin Robinson worked for The Weather Channel before his move here, that didn’t surprise us.

We can’t say WCPO-TV 9’s Cyndee O’ Quinn did a bad job, either, really, covering for Steve Raleigh.

But…and we say this with some hesitation… WXIX-TV 19 could have done better once the tornado warning ended. Instead…well, you’ve heard the complaints from people before… the same information was repeated over and over again, especially when there wasn’t anything new.

Granted, yes, we’re fans of the shows WXIX took off the air late Monday night…and in hindsight, yes, the storms had the potential to turn tornadic again at any point after the warning was allowed to expire at 11 PM.

But… the rotation clearly had diminished, the National Weather Service didn’t mention any more reports of rotation with the storms. At that point, if you’ve got nothing new to report, it’s time to get out of the way, in our opinion. Quick cut-ins would suffice.

We realize Steve Horstmeyer is probably told to stay on the air whenever severe storms are in the metro area. So we’re not pinning this on him. (Full disclosure: If you’ve read yours truly’s personal thoughts blog, you know that Your Tri-State Media Watcher would occasionally work alongside Horstmeyer to deliver the 6:45, 7:15 and 7:45 AM news when the latter was on WKRC-TV 12 while 12 had their Fountain Square studio.)

But in the summer and especially here in the Ohio Valley, when it gets above 85 degrees with 70 degree dewpoints, thunderstorms can and do blow up and, occasionally, hold on through 11 PM. Horstmeyer knows this – he’s been here for his entire life and has worked here for over 30 years. TV stations should know that when their meteorologists say to “get out of the way for now”, that’s when the non-stop coverage should end…

And Finally: One year ago, TSMW was tracking the launch of WQRT-AM 1160/Florence.

The station launched exactly one year ago today, branded as “Q1160” at first – but after station management discovered that “Q” had been servicemarked by crosstown WKRQ-FM 101.9, was quickly re-branded as “Real Talk 1160”.

Since then, although still working with its almost-not-quite-across Hamilton County nighttime signal, WQRT has done its best to hang in there… and has even added local talk, with Andy Furman taking the PM drive slot in February 2010.

We’d like to see WQRT actually make it. Since it must protect the nighttime signals of KSL-AM 1160/Salt Lake City, KFAQ-AM 1170/Tulsa, and, closer to home, WWVA-AM 1170/Wheeling, WV, it can’t exactly up the juice. And it’ll always have WLW and WKRC-AM 550, along with other, out of market flamethrowers such as 840 WHAS/Louisville to contend with.

Still…the fact is, it’s there…it’s given a home to a host who was once thought to be headed out of the area to continue doing talk radio…and it’s probably not going anywhere for a good while.


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