Following our coverage of WMUB-FM's switch from being its own station to now a satellite for Cincinnati Public Radio, we received a press release from WNKU-FM (89.7 Highland Heights/Cincinnati and 94.5 West Chester).
Here's the main text of the release, courtesy of Chuck Miller, who is the station's GM:
Highland Heights, KY – “The sky is falling! The sky is falling on radio!” That seems to be the cry being heard around Greater Cincinnati as the local media landscape continues to tremor from sell-offs, mergers and lost jobs.
In just the last week or two, there have been shake ups at both ends of the dial - in both commercial and public radio – with Clear Channel selling 92.5 and 94.1, and now Miami University pawning off the programming and management of public radio station WMUB in Oxford to Cincinnati Public Radio (WGUC/WVXU) in response to budget cutbacks at the University.
That leaves WNKU as the last university owned and operated station standing, and the last bastion of local, community-oriented public radio in Cincinnati and beyond. And things are only getting better for 89.7 FM. In the last 3 years, Greater Cincinnati’s youngest public radio station has acquired a new signal in West Chester, recruited a new leader in GM Chuck Miller, purchased and installed a new transmitter to improve their signal, and significantly expanded its online presence. All the while, the station continues to focus more and more on the local community and local programming.
Things get even better for WNKU on February 7th. That’s the day that Mary Peale, former host of The Jelly Pudding Show on 92.5, joins WNKU’s Saturday lineup. A name for the show has not yet been determined, but for one thing is for certain. Mary Peale and her incredible musical knowledge and taste will remain on the air in Cincinnati.
“We’re really thrilled Mary is joining our dynamic staff. She brings WNKU a wonderful track record in our business that adds to WNKU’s creativity and pledge of local service,” says WNKU GM, Chuck Miller. “Being able to perpetuate the history that comes with the Jelly Pudding Show is an honor and responsibility we take very seriously.”
For those who may not know, The Jelly Pudding Show was created by Frank Wood, Jr. in the 60’s for air on the new classical station owned by his father. That station was, of course, the now legendary WEBN. The Jelly Pudding Show aired in the early morning hours and presented deeper album cuts from popular artists. The show with its album-oriented format became so popular, that it eventually led to WEBN changing from a mostly classical format to an album rock station. As that happened, the Jelly Pudding name went away for a number of years until the new owners of WEBN purchased 92.5 in the mid nineties, and the show was revived on Sunday nights with host, Mary Peale.
Now, the pudding has come full circle. The show that launched one of the first album-oriented rock stations in the country, has now landed at one of the country’s few remaining album-rock stations, 89.7 WNKU.
Other great things are happening on the weekend as well. Earlier this year, WNKU was mentioned in a local publication as being the best thing to do on a Saturday afternoon. Now, it only gets better with the following line up:
6a: Living on Earth – award-winning environmental news magazine
7a: Keep Antiquing – a locally produced antique show hosted by celebrity appraiser, Frank Farmer Loomis.
8a: Brian OD – continues playing great rock ‘n roll, but now at an earlier slot to give you a jump start to your Saturday morning.
12p: Mary Peale – Former host of The Jelly Pudding show. Enough said.
4p: Little Steven’s Underground Garage – Garage rock and other tasty treats at it’s finest presented by the legendary E-Street guitarist, A.K.A, Sylvio.
6p: Mr. Rhythm Man – voted Best Radio Show in Cincinnati by Cincinnati Magazine. If you’re not hip to this tip, get out from under the rock!
9p: The Golden Road – jam bands, jam bands, jam bands!
1p: Grateful Dead Hour – no explanation needed.
12a: Rainbow Bridge – progressive rock from the Beatles to Zappa.
Sunday will see changes also with the addition of Sunday morning music with Deb Randall, and Jefferson Airplane founder and Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Famer, Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch. Deb Randall has been a substitute host on WNKU for many years while maintaining a womens’ issues and music program on WAIF.
Jorma Kaukonen retired to a ranch in southeastern Ohio in 1989 where he and his wife began a guitar boot camp for aspiring students. Soon they began recruiting friends in the business to teach at the camp and before long realized they had enough great talent coming through to host regular concerts. Those concerts are now a new radio show that can be heard Sundays at 11am on WNKU and will feature guitar virtuosos such as G.E. Smith (of SNL fame), David Bromberg, William Lee Ellis, Will Kimbrough, and Tommy Emmanuel to name just a few.
The new Sunday line up will be as follows:
6a: On the Media – a compelling programming that questions common beliefs about television, radio, newspapers, books, films, and online media, and -- at the same time -- helps listeners understand the media as thoroughly as the media understands them.
7a: Voices - features singer-songwriters expressing a more meaningful side of life. Host Lori Holladay, carefully selects each song based on its lyrics choosing only those songs that bring an introspective look at life’s more poignant issues.
8a: Debra Randall – 3 hours of WNKU’s award-winning weekday format injected into your Sunday morning.
11a: Jorma Kaukonen’s Fur Peace Ranch (The concert series from Athens, OH)
12p: The Front Porch (folk and Americana)
3p: E-Town (Americana in concert with green living tips)
4p: Celtic Afternoon
6p: Music from the Hills of Home (Bluegrass and other stringed things)
9p: Acoustic Avenue (Music from the "unplugged side of life")
Gone are national programs such as Weekend Edition and This American Life. Make no mistake about it,” says WNKU Program Director, Michael Grayson. “They are great shows. But you can find them elsewhere in the market and anywhere online. Replacing these shows with local programming is just one more way for us to put more local voices on the air and really serve this community in a way that simply is not happening in radio anymore.”
Final analysis? The sky is not falling. Great local radio with a personality is alive and well on 89.7 FM and online at www.wnku.org. "We plan on giving your I-Pod a run for its money," added Miller.
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