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thedrifter
01-26-06, 08:18 AM
A minute with ... Mike McConnell
Iraq trip insightful for talk radio host, but don't mention Pete or O.J.
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Twenty years ago, rock 'n' roll DJ Mike McConnell took over the "Midday" show on WLW-AM (700) - and he hasn't stopped talking. The suburban Philadelphia native studied broadcasting at the University of Dayton. He joined WLW in 1984 as the commercial production director. He took over "Midday" from Alan Gardner in fall 1985. In 2005, he broadcast from Iraq, as part of a Defense Department tour for talk radio hosts, and from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. McConnell, 50, of Blue Ash, also does a three-hour national call-in show, "The Weekend," on WLW and 110 other Clear Channel stations.

Born to talk: I couldn't get a talk (radio) job, so I came to WLW in Cincinnati as a commercial production director. Randy Michaels and Alan Gardner were hosting "Midday" then. ... It wasn't unusual back then for anyone in the station to stop in during the show. John Phillips, Bob Trumpy and I would just stop in, and eventually I just stayed there.

Favorite topics: The audience picks the topics more than the host does because you can't tell them what to talk about. And it's usually driven by the news.

Least-favorite topics: Pete Rose and gambling, and the O.J. Simpson trial. ... There's nothing new on them.

If I wasn't on radio, I'd be: A forest ranger.

On going to Iraq: Being in Iraq was the most interesting week-plus of my life. I was exposed to two cultures I had never seen before - the military culture and Mideastern culture. It was an incredible experience. In many ways, it was not tremendously more dangerous than Cincinnati. It's bombs (over there), not bullets. The Marines I stayed with weren't shaking in their boots over the violence. No one was panicked.

Talk of the nation: People think Cincinnati is conservative, but not compared to the people who listen to the "The Weekend."

John Kiesewetter

Ellie