Good morning all. With the Iowa caucuses today, it seems like a good time to talk politics, and we’ve got a bunch of local political stories to touch on. Let’s get to it.
Cincinnati City Councilman and U.S. Senate hopeful P.G. Sittenfeld is running neck and neck in with an opponent in the upcoming March Democratic primary, according to a new poll, but it’s not Ted Strickland. In a recent survey paid for by the Ohio Democratic Party, about 10 percent of 1,138 Ohio Democrats said they would vote for Price Hill resident Kelli Prather, an relatively unknown candidate who has never held elected office before. That’s the same proportion of support that Sittenfeld received in the poll. Strickland received 61 percent of the vote in the poll.
Sittenfeld’s campaign has shrugged off that poll, saying it’s biased and designed by the Democratic Party to support Strickland — who the party has endorsed — in the primary. Sittenfeld has raised a good deal of money from some notable donors, but has yet to catalyze much needed statewide recognition. Prather, meanwhile, has received little news coverage or other attention. She’s an occupational therapist whose harrowing experience as a victim of gun violence in 2004, when her husband shot her, inspired her to run for office, she says. Sittenfeld and Prather will debate in Cleveland Feb. 22. Strickland has declined to attend that event.
• More drama within the Democratic Party: A candidate to replace outgoing State Rep. Denise Driehaus in Ohio House District 31 says the local party is sidelining him over a research paper he wrote in 2009 while he was a student at Yale University. Candidate Ben Lindy says Hamilton County Democrats might take away his party rights — access to voter files and mailing information, lower postage rates and other benefits of being part of the Democratic Party — because the paper is now being used in anti-union arguments in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. That paper was published by Yale Law Journal in 2011 and is currently being used by anti-union groups in a case that could seriously undermine organized labor. Lindy says that’s not fair.
Hamilton County Democrat head Tim Burke has said he doesn’t want to totally marginalize Lindy but that the content of that paper is “bothersome.” In the research, Lindy found that public schools in New Mexico with mandatory union membership had higher SAT scores, but also lower graduation rates, than schools where collective bargaining arrangements weren’t mandatory. Lindy says in the paper that the results suggest collective bargaining arrangements for teachers actually hurt low-income students. He’s stuck by that particular research, but says that overall he supports unions and opposes efforts to restrict union dues collection in the current Supreme Court case. But he also points to other Democrats who have beliefs outside the party, such as those who are pro-life, and says he doesn’t deserve to be drummed out of the party for his position.
• Hamilton County Administrator Christian Sigman will step down from his job as county government’s top appointed official in September, he told county commissioners Friday. Sigman has served in the role — in which he helps set county budgets and oversees economic development plans — since 2011. He’s recently had a rocky time in the position, however, having been removed from oversight of riverfront development The Banks by county commissioners after he made statements suggesting that the county should consider working with another developer. Initially, commissioners considered firing him over those statements.
• Here’s a break from politics for a business story: Will local giant corporation Procter & Gamble split up? There’s a buzz going around financial analysts and others in the business world that it could, or should, happen as the company sees slow sales growth. It might be too large to grow any more, some experts say, and should consider splitting the company up. While the company has made some progress under new CEO David Taylor, lack of major progress could cause stockholders to push for the split-up, something that has happened at more than 300 other large companies in the last five years. Proponents of that course of action at P&G say it would allow the resulting companies to better focus on particular sectors of P&G’s business. However, others say the company’s sales problem exists across all its various enterprises and wouldn’t be solved by breaking them up. Already, P&G has sold off 100 smaller brands that were not as successful as its core products.
• And now, back to politics. Two political action committees supporting Ohio Gov. John Kasich as he vies for the GOP presidential nomination saw a significant slowdown in fundraising in the second half of last year, recently released financial disclosures show. Super PACs New Day for America and New Day Independent Media Committee, both of which were formed to tout Kasich’s bid, saw about $6 million in contributions from July to December last year. That’s little more than half the $11.7 million those PACs took in in the first half of the year. Much of that money came from big donors with ties to large corporations.
Under campaign finance rules, Super PACs have no contribution limits but cannot coordinate directly with candidates’ campaigns. Kasich’s fundraising has trailed other candidates in the heated primary race. Similar super PACs for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio raised $30 million last year, for instance. The PACs supporting Kasich have seen an uptick in fundraising, however, in the last couple weeks, as primary season starts in earnest. Kasich hopes some of that support pays off in Iowa tonight, where he’s trailing far-right candidates like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Donald Trump in polls of Iowa’s staunchly conservative caucus-goers.
That’s it for me. Enjoy this warm weather while it lasts, eh?
There are so many things happening on local stages it’s a bit of a challenge make recommendations. But every one of these productions has some sort of conflict at its heart.
Grounded opened Wednesday night Ensemble
Theatre Cincinnati. George Brant’s a one-woman script is about a
fearless fighter pilot whose career is cut short by an unexpected
pregnancy, marriage and parenthood. Her new job is to fly military
drones from a trailer outside Las Vegas; but she goes home to her family
every night — and before long, she has trouble sorting out the
boundaries between her two worlds. Kathleen Wise makes her ETC debut
with this challenging performance, a woman who knows her way “in the
blue” as a pilot, but must navigate new paths when she’s relegated to
the “chair force,” wandering remotely “in the gray,” targeting
“personality strikes.” Michael Haney is back in town to stage this one,
and he always succeeds with making solo shows a powerful experience. Grounded
is a pressure-filled, cautionary tale, gripping but not easy to watch.
Nevertheless, it’s compelling theater. Through Feb. 14. Tickets:
Karen Zacarías’ Native Gardens, a world premiere, opened at the Cincinnati Playhouse last evening. Her Book Club Play was a Playhouse hit in 2013; this time around the subject is a tad more serious, but it’s handled with deft humor as neighbors battle over styles of gardening — formal vs. natural — and choices driven by cultural differences. New neighbors Pablo and Tania are of Hispanic descent, moving in next door to Frank and Virginia, who are as waspy as can be. You can imagine where that goes: Straight down the road to audience gasps as the couples insult one another when boundaries are crossed. The 80-minute show wraps up neatly — maybe a little too much so. But there’s no denying this is a show that has lots of comic appeal involving circumstances many people will recognize. Through Feb. 21. Tickets: 513-421-3888.
Tonight is the opening for Black Top Sky at Know Theatre. Christina Anderson, a resident playwright with New York City’s New Dramatists, makes her Cincinnati debut with this show about the residents of a housing project. Ida, 18, befriends Klass, an unpredictable young homeless man. Their friendship forces Idea to make a choice: Embrace the struggle for justice or embrace a life with her successful boyfriend. Kimberly Faith Hickman, who staged 2014’s The Twentieth-Century Way for Know, is back from New York to direct. Andrew Hungerford, Know’s artistic director, chose this show because he was “struck by the poetry of the language, the visual poetry of the stage directions and the gut-wrenching timelessness of the story.” He adds, “It flips from humor to heaviness at the speed of light.” Onstage through Feb. 20. Tickets: 513-300-5669.
Shakespeare’s chronicling of King Henry VI took three plays back in the 16th-century; Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has rearranged them into two productions, one onstage now and another coming next season. This portion details the roots of the War of the Roses, with relatives vying for power — it’s truly a historic “game of thrones.” It’s also is a predecessor of today’s action movies, with lots of combat — and the fiery presence of Joan of Arc (played with zest by Caitlin McWethy), as England’s zeal for dominance in France runs a parallel track to the jockeying for position among royal relatives back home. Through Feb. 13. Tickets: 513-381-2273.
Hey hey all! Here’s what’s going on around town today.
The University of Cincinnati is hosting a two-day national conference on race and policing starting today. The conference comes in the wake of the July 19 police shooting of Samuel DuBose by UC police officer Ray Tensing. DuBose was unarmed when Tensing stopped him for a missing front license plate. Tensing ended up shooting DuBose and has been indicted on murder charges for his death. The conference will feature panels and talks by national experts on policing and race issues as well as talks by Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac, former Cincinnati City Manager Valerie Lemme and others. Sessions on police profiling, challenges to trusting law enforcement, gun policy and other issues will also be offered. A UC student group called UC Students Against Injustice, meanwhile, has planned a protest of the event, calling it a “PR stunt” in light of what they say are failures by the university to make substantive changes following DuBose’s death.
• One of the region’s most iconic and beloved museums had a banner year in 2015. The Cincinnati Museum Center, housed in historic Union Terminal, had its second-busiest year since it opened in 1990, attracting nearly 1.5 million visitors last year. And it saved the best for last: It also had its single busiest month in December, when 224,000 people streamed through its doors. Museum officials credit popular temporary exhibits like the Lego-themed “The Art of the Brick” and “Mummies of the World” — along with the center’s permanent exhibits — for the success. The good news for the museum comes as Union Terminal prepares to undergo an extensive two-year restoration.
• Yesterday we told you Cincinnati City Councilman and aspirant to the U.S. Senate P.G. Sittenfeld was holding a news conference in Columbus to announce a big idea on gun control, a key issue for his Senate campaign. Well, here are the deets — Sittenfeld wants to pass an amendment to the Ohio constitution that would allow cities to make their own gun laws, meaning that places like Cincinnati could pass tighter restrictions on guns as long as they were within the scope of state and federal laws. The amendment would also allow cities like Cleveland to reinstate bans on assault weapons that were overturned by the Ohio Supreme Court in 2006. The drivers behind Sittenfeld’s call for the amendment are two-fold. One, he used yesterday’s announcement to criticize Republican lawmakers who recently expanded the places concealed carry license holders can have their guns to include places like college campuses and daycare facilities. He’s also made the move to further illustrate differences between himself and his primary opponent, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. Sittenfeld has drawn attention to past pro-gun votes by Strickland.
• Online voting registration may soon be an option for some Ohioans, but only for those with a valid Ohio driver’s license. Legislation setting up online registration not requiring signed paperwork is making its way through the Ohio state house and has bipartisan support. Lawmakers are hoping to get the bill passed in time for it to go into effect before the Oct. 11 deadline for the November election, but some conservative groups say it should be held until 2017 so online security issues can be vetted to prevent hacking. The Ohio House of Representatives is next to vote on the bill, which would go into effect 90 days after it is passed.
• One in four children under the age of six is food insecure in Ohio and the state is 38th in the country when it comes to childhood poverty, a new study says. The Ohio Children’s Defense Fund conducted the study, which found that 653,000, or 24 percent, of Ohio kids don’t get enough to eat. That sets poor children up for learning and development challenges that can linger for years, the organization says. OCDF says efforts like school lunch programs and other initiatives that help low-income people are vital to fixing that problem, and has pushed lawmakers to do more to expand those programs.
• Finally, did Ohio Gov. John Kasich shine in his first
Trump-less debate last night? Well, not so much, but he also didn’t crash and
burn either. Kasich mostly ignored addressing traditionally hard-right primary
voters in the debate’s host state Iowa, which has a Feb. 1 primary looming.
Instead, he spent much of his time sending a more pragmatic and even friendly
message, a move pundits think is calibrated to woo New Hampshire’s less ideologically-hidebound
conservatives set to cast their own primary vote Feb. 9. Kasich again tried on
the compassionate conservative routine last night, pulling out his best lines
about the ways biblical scripture have informed his stance on the need to help the needy. Kasich also said that speedy action would have been the best response to the ongoing crisis with Flint, Mich.'s lead-polluted water scandal.
If you just read the blurb above about childhood poverty, know about the lead crisis in Sebring, Ohio, are familiar with the state's economic performance or the way Kasich’s
administration deals out food stamp work waivers, that probably sounds a little
disingenuous. But then, welcome to the world of politics. By comparison, the
rest of the GOP field had a pretty rowdy night, even absent Trump. U.S. Sens
Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, along with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, tangled over
immigration, which is shaping up to be a huge issue among xenophobes, err, I
mean GOP primary voters. Most of the other candidates faded into the
background, with Cruz and Rubio getting the most airtime — 13 minutes of
speaking time a piece. Kasich came in at a respectable 9 minutes, though mostly
avoided tangling with or being addressed by the other candidates. Trump,
meanwhile, still leads in the polls despite skipping the debate in protest.
If you can’t make it out to this Sunday’s Cincinnati Entertainment Awards ceremony at the Madison Theater, you can still watch the performances and see which local musicians won by watching this year’s live stream, brought to you again by the folks at ICRC-TV.
Starting at 6:45 p.m. the show, featuring performances by The Slippery Lips, The Whiskey Shambles, Rumpke Mountain Boys, Noah Wotherspoon Band, Buffalo Wabs and the Price Hill Shuffle, Abiyah and Jess Lamb, will be simulcast on YouTube. You can watch below:
The show will be rebroadcast television on Sunday, Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. (channels TBA; we’ll keep you posted).
If you’re attending this year’s event in person Sunday, doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are available in advance here and also at the door. Click here for more info.
Sen. Marco Rubio (Republican)
It took a book deal and 16 years for the Florida senator to pay off his student loans. In a 2012 speech, Rubio revealed he just paid back his school loans: “When I graduated from law school, I had close to $150,000 in student debt.” Rubio graduated from the University of Florida in 1993, and earned his J.D. from the University of Miami in 1996. The year prior was his first year in the Senate and he served in the Florida House from 2000-2008.
What’s up with the campaign?
With Scott Walker out of the race and Jeb Bush unable to gain any momentum, Rubio appears to be the most electable establishment candidate. Despite much of Rubio’s agenda, he has the appearance of a rational candidate by sharing the top of the polls with Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Ben Carson.
In a world where no other career politician in the Republican field can make any noise, the Florida senator is virtually the right-wing’s only option for a seasoned politician to capture the White House.
Rubio has been slowly crawling up in the polls with debate performances ranking from middling to great. Right now, he’s a distant third behind Trump and Cruz and is only a few points above bottom-tier candidates like Chris Christie.
Voters might like:
● He’s easily the best speaker amongst the Republican candidates. Rubio isn’t going into government with obstructionism like Cruz, and he isn’t bombastic like Trump. Maybe some other establishment candidates would be better presidents, but Rubio is the establishment’s best shot at winning and not letting the Executive Branch fall to the hands of more controversial Republicans, Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
● Rubio is a conservative’s conservative. He says he’ll cut gas taxes, increase military spending and opposes an increase to the minimum wage. There’s also the obligatory lines of regulations killing business. Rubio does not bring a lot new to the table, but this by-the-book Republican is easy for voters to wrap their head around.
● Remember Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America” attitude? Rubio brings positive energy to the Republican platform. Cruz is more of a firebrand and even on the left with Sanders, a lot of rhetoric is doom and gloom. Rubio’s youthful appearance and positive attitude could set a tone for conservative values that can potentially attract new member to the party. He also speaks Spanish and fills in a demographic gap for the GOP.
...but watch out for:
● Rubio is seen by the far-right as a “traitor” on immigration policy. One of his immigration policy proposals is amnesty to illegal immigrants who do not have criminal records. Liberals might see this as a positive, but considering Rubio’s right-wing approach to virtually every other issue, it’s hard to imagine anyone from the left supporting him just for this issue. Latinos do lean more socially conservative, however immigration isn’t their top priority.
● Since running for president, Rubio has missed about one-third of his senate votes. His attendance record on the senate floor is the worst among Republicans and worse than Clinton’s and Obama’s attendance when they each ran for president. He even missed the vote on the $1.8 trillion spending bill last year. Rubio has been very outspoken about being annoyed with Washington, which begs the question: Why is he running for president?
● The Florida senator plans on increasing military spending by $1 trillion over the next 10 years. Rand Paul and fiscal conservatives ask the legitimate question of how he can be conservative and want to increase federal spending so dramatically. The military already soaks up 53 percent of all federal spending, and Rubio hasn’t addressed how he plans to pay for the dramatic increase.
One of Rubio’s priorities is cutting taxes for families. You can read his full plan here. However, the major cuts especially for the wealthy raises concerns on raising the debt.
Marginal Tax Rate
0 – $75,000
0 – $150,000
$75,001 – $150,000
$150,001 – $300,000
Marco Rubio supports a major conventional
ground war against the Islamic State in Iraq. It isn’t clear on whether he
wants an invasion of Syria or not.
Hey all. Here’s the news today.
In the wake of a big municipal water scandal, Cincinnati officials are pushing for tests on some of the city’s water. You’ve probably seen the huge headlines about Flint, Michigan, where a change in water sourcing triggered the corrosion of pipes and caused some of the city’s residents to be exposed to unhealthy, even toxic, levels of lead. There is evidence that state officials knew about that corrosion and did nothing, which has led to a major controversy. Cincinnati City Councilman Christopher Smitherman yesterday asked for testing following revelations that some 16,000 properties served by Greater Cincinnati Water Works get their water through lead pipes.
Smitherman says the city has a “moral duty” to make sure lead contamination isn’t happening through the city’s water supply. Replacing lead the lead pipes could cost $82 million, but many are on private property, so the city would be expected to split the cost with private owners. Smitherman’s suggestion, which will be discussed Monday in the Law and Public Safety Committee he chairs, drew response from City Manager Harry Black and other officials reassuring the public that Cincinnati isn’t in Flint’s position and that the water here is safe. Regular tests are conducted on sample households in the city, and 95 percent of households tested have very low or no lead in their water, according to Black.
• The last hospital in Cincinnati that performed abortions when fatal birth defects are detected in fetuses has ceased that practice. Mothers carrying fetuses that cannot survive outside the womb were able to obtain abortions at Christ Hospital, but now will now need to go a nearby Planned Parenthood clinic or leave the city for the procedure due to a change in hospital policy. The hospital performed 14 such procedures in 2015 and 18 in 2014. The new policy now allows abortions only when a pregnancy is a threat to the life of the mother, a policy followed by the city’s other major hospitals. The change comes following revelations that Christ and other hospital weren’t properly reporting the procedures to state officials, which led to a push from the Ohio Department of Health for the data.
• Cincinnati City Councilman and U.S. Senate hopeful P.G. Sittenfeld is pushing his proposals for new gun control laws today in Columbus. Sittenfeld, who is challenging former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland in the Democratic primary for the chance to try and unseat Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Portman, has made gun issues a keystone of his campaign. Sittenfeld is proposing an amendment to the state’s constitution to make firearms harder to obtain for those who might use them for violence. Several gun control advocates are joining him at a news conference at the statehouse, where he’ll announce the details of his proposal.
• Back to women’s health: The Ohio Senate yesterday passed a bill that would strip state and some federal funds from Planned Parenthood because the women’s health provider performs abortions. That bill now has to go back to the state House, which will approve minor changes the Senate made. The bill came after filmmakers Center for Medical Progress, an anti-abortion group, released a video purporting to show Texas Planned Parenthood officials offering to sell fetal tissue. However, that video was heavily edited, the organization says, a contention that a grand jury in Texas agreed with. That jury declined to bring charges against Planned Parenthood, instead indicting the filmmakers on felony records-tampering charges. Pro-choice advocates have blasted Ohio’s legislation, pointing out that it stems from the now-discredited activist video and that the government funding in question never went for abortions, instead funding vital women’s healthcare services. The House is expected to pass the legislation, which will then go to Gov. John Kasich for approval.
• Finally, as you probably already know, Donald Trump has decided to boycott tonight’s GOP presidential primary debate unless moderator Megyn Kelly is removed. Trump really, really doesn’t like Kelly, but anyway. Should Trump pull out of the debate for certain, he might draw a bunch of viewers away from the circus… I mean, uh, debate. But he might also give an opportunity for other candidates, including Ohio. Gov. John Kasich, to have more speaking time. Trump has dominated the debates so far, mostly with the kinds of rhetorical gushes that have hard-right GOP voters enthralled and leave others scratching their heads. There’s a chance that in his absence, a more substantive debate might occur, one that allows Kasich to showcase his long experience as a career politician. That could be a vital opportunity, as it’s definitely make or break time for candidates like Kasich facing down the Iowa primary just days away and with New Hampshire voting just about a week later. Trump leads in both of those states.
CityBeat was on-board for all the fun of the seventh annual ShipRocked cruise, sailing from Miami to Costa Maya, Mexico last week. The cruise provides a unique experience for diehard rock fans to get up close and personal with their favorite bands on the high seas.
ShipRocked is made up of a tight-knit group of fans called “ShipRockers” They are divided into two categories: Survivors who have endured previous ShipRocked cruises, and first time cruisers called Newbs.The ShipRocked group of friends stays in touch with each other year-round through a Facebook forum where cruisers can support each other and reminisce about their amazing cruise experiences.
Diehard Shiprockers start a day early on Sunday night at the official pre-party at the Clevelander Hotel in South Beach, where fans saw performances by The Dead Deads and a surprise acoustic performance with Joe Hottinger and Lzzy Hale from Halestorm.
Halestorm kicked off the party playing “Apolcolyptica” off their new album, Into the Wild Life, and continued to play their hits for an hour as the Norwegian Pearl sailed away from Miami.
While on board, fans saw live music everyday from 1 p.m. until 2 a.m. These fans go from show to show with no nap in sight to see all of the bands perform live. Every band performed two to three shows while on-board to give each person a chance to see every show. Bands included Halestorm, Five Finger Death Punch, Seether, Nonpoint, HellYeah, Stitched Up Heart, Red Sun Rising, Helmet, 10 Years, Avatar, We Are Harlot, Doll Skin, The Dead Deads, and many more.
Besides the non-stop Rock, other activities also take place, like Deck Wars, where fans competed against each other with members on Nonpoint band teams. Some activities were canceled due to the high winds at sea, but there was always something to do between your favorite band performances. Whether you started your day with Rock & Roll yoga, participated in scavenger hunts or tried your hand at late night karaoke.
Cruise ships in general are pretty fancy, so you really never get over the sight of dudes with mohawks and huge tattoos sipping beverages and eating their four-course meals on fine china.
On Tuesday, Avatar performed as the sunset over day two. Avatar was the most fan-requested band to be added to the ShipRocked lineup and the Swedes did not disappoint. Their high energy show kicked off a night of music that included We Are Harlot, Seether and an on-fire set by HellYeah on the deck that may have been the loudest of the week.
Band members can be seen all throughout the boat taking photos and talking to fans. All bands also participate in meet and greets, where fans can meet and take a photo with their favorites on Tuesday and Thursday.
The cruise pulled into Mexico on Wednesday and cruisers could disembark for a beach-party option in Costa Maya, where Like a Storm led beach wars and fans could relax with an open bar on the beautiful Mexican sandy beaches.
One of the highlights of Wednesday night was seeing The Stowaways perform. The Stowaways were assembled by Danny Hill with guitar axe throwers like Dave Ellefson of Megadeth/Metal Allegiance, Oli Herbert from All That Remains and Bumblefoot. The band pulled in as many artists onboard as possible and practiced for many hours on Monday and Tuesday to pull off a show that highlighted everyone on stage. Special tribute was made to Scott Weiland and there was also an all-hands-on-deck finale tribute to Lemmy Kilmister and Motorhead.
There were weather issues that forced the cruise to move live performances scheduled for Thursday indoors. Five Finger Death Punch was one of the cruise headliners that was supposed to close out the whole event on the pool deck stage. In true ShipRocked family fashion, when the storm rolled in the band stepped up immediately and said they would play two back to back shows inside the Stardust Theater so that all fans could see the final show. The band played until 2 a.m. to make sure everyone could close out the party in true Metal fashion.
For Amy Harris' photos from 2016's ShipRocked, click here.
From a dark studio strung to the brim with Christmas lights comes a
music that seems as if it could have originated in an Indian temple, yet it
resonates with the charm of American Folk music. A barefoot guitar player taps
his foot on a pedal as he strums along flawlessly next to his bandmate, who is
playing an instrument of his own creation — a sitar with some strings and a
bell removed, frets added and a homemade capo fashioned out of plastic rollers
and a piece of a lampshade.
As Dawg Yawp plays its song “I Wanna Be a Dawg” in WNKU’s Studio 89, the duo
emits a powerful sound that blends together traditional Folk instruments with
electronic elements. Their John Cage-esque ability to reinvent new ways to play
music (minus slapping a dead fish on a piano) sets them apart from any other
folk artist. It’s the perfect combination of worldly and psychedelic.
“It sounds amazing to sit there and listen to all of the different elements
coming together,” says WNKU’s sound engineer Matt Moermond as he watches a
video of the performance on his iPad. “They did big things this year. Their new
music has even more of an electronic side with a lot of samples and layers.”
The video is part of the station’s promotion of local music. Dawg Yawp is one of
the artists that has been featured as the station’s Local Discovery of the
Month, an honor that has also been spotlighted other Cincinnati-based artists
such as Jeremy Pinnell, Multimagic and The Yugos.
Moermond remarks on how the Local Discovery videos — all filmed in Studio 89 — have
become viral on social media. With the help of sharing and instant viewing on
Facebook, a WNKU video of a Jeremy Pinnell performance has had more than 13,000
Along with the monthly spotlight, WNKU plays a song by a local artist at least once
an hour. However, it isn’t just music from Cincinnati. For WNKU, local means as
far as their radio signal goes out. Artists from areas nearby Cincinnati, such
as Columbus and Indianapolis, can also enjoy being aired on the station.
WNKU’s Assistant Program Director Liz Felix sees playing local music as the
convergence of the station’s mission.
“Ultimately our mission is two-fold: play awesome music that’s not necessarily
exposed anywhere else and tying into the local community,” Felix says. “Playing
local music is both of those things together, and I think that’s what exciting
Both Felix and Moermond say they are blown away by the quality of recordings
they receive from local artists. So much so, that it is difficult for them to
pick who they will feature each month because there are so many great artists
to choose from.
“This is music that I would have no problem telling other people in the record
industry, ‘Here are the great bands from Cincinnati,’ and I think they would
stand up against any national release,” Felix says.
The local artists featured monthly are chosen from the pool of local artists
already being played on WNKU. The station also looks for artists who are
actively releasing new music and who may be familiar, but not too widely known.
“It is extremely important that we play the local artists and support the local
scene,” Moermond says. “That’s one of the main reasons that we’re here. It
gives bands a voice that they may not otherwise receive in broadcast. We were
the first ones to ever air Walk the Moon.”
Local artists can submit their music to WNKU in order to be played. Moermond
says when he is listening to local music submissions, he looks for quality.
While quality production is a requirement for airtime on WNKU, he says this
does not mean that music has to be expensively produced, as there are ways to
make quality recordings within your home.
Moermond also explains that local music submission should clearly be marked as
local recordings. The station receives so many submissions a day, it is easier
to find local music that is marked as such.
Aside from submissions, Moermund and Felix say they try to attend shows
throughout Cincinnati at least a few nights per week to stay in touch with the
local music scene and discover new artists. They enjoy artists who present
lively, energetic performances no matter how small or large the crowd. Both
agree it is as much fun as it is necessary to be in tune with the local music
The vibrant scene also gives them a unique sampling of the many local artists
making great music.
Accelerate Great Schools, a nonprofit made up of business leaders, educators and philanthropists, will be giving a grant of $128,000 to help aid a partnership between CPS and the nonprofit TNTP (formally The New Teacher Project) in developing a better hiring system for its principals. It will also give a grant of up to $1.3 million to help St. Francis de Sales in Walnut Hills and St. Cecilia School in Oakley to implement a blended learning model next school year with the help of the nonprofit Seton Education Partners, which works with disadvantaged students in Catholic schools.
The make-up of the seven-month-old nonprofit's leadership leans heavier on the side of business leaders and philanthropists than on educators. Some have questioned the motives behind the group, wondering if they're actually most interested in promoting the charter schools in the city. The group's initial plan for the money when it launched last May had $15 million going toward creating charter schools that would partner with CPS or the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.