Montel dispatches messages from home
Posted: Dec. 19, 2006
Inside TV & Radio

Tim Cuprisin

Before he became a daytime talker, Montel Williams did his time in both the Marines and the Navy.

With 22 years in uniform, he knows what it's like to be on duty during the holidays.

"I've spent Christmas at seas, deployed and afloat, thinking people didn't care about me," he says.

He'll run video of his recent visit to U.S. warships in the Middle East on Thursday and Friday on his show, which airs at 2 p.m. weekdays on Channel 4.

Among the servicemen taking part is Milwaukee's Josh Marks, whose wife, Kristi, recently gave birth.

"We took a video message from his wife. He didn't get a chance to see his son before he left," Williams says. "The baby's sitting there on his wife's lap. It was just a tremendous moment."

Marks and his family appear on Thursday's show. Another Milwaukeean, James Harrell III, may appear on Friday's show or could pop up over the next week, according to Williams. Harrell's wife, Latonia, and their five children are at home in Milwaukee.

With his time in the military, Williams has a strong set of views on the war in Iraq.

"As we listen to all the politicians pontificate about bringing the troops home, people forgot that these troops have names," he says. "I wanted to take for a second over the holidays to remind people that there are names and faces behind all of this."

You can hear the conversation with Williams in the latest podcast edition of Inside TV & Radio, available at

A NEW GIG FOR ROCK: Former Channel 58 sports director Rock Rote says he's signed on as national account manager for Madison-based Weather Central Inc. Rote will market interactive touch-screen technology to TV stations around the country. His contract at the CBS station wasn't renewed, and he ended nine years there in July.

You can get more information on Weather Central at

MORE ON DOC: WFMR-FM (106.9) program director Steve Murphy says the retiring Doc Severinsen has not quite retired as the principal pops conductor at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

"I interviewed Doc on WFMR December 8th, and he said he was looking forward to his last concerts in June," he e-mails.

Severinsen, best known for conducting the band on NBC's "Tonight Show" back in the Johnny Carson era, gave what was billed as his last TV performance on Tuesday's night's Channel 12 holiday special.

STEVE'S ON THE BLOCK: Comedian Steve Harvey'ssyndicated morning radio show signs on in Milwaukee Jan. 2, as WKKV-FM (100.7) shuffles its schedule.

He'll replace Doug Banks' syndicated morning show, which has aired for years on the station better known as V-100.

"He was doing well," says operations manager Kerry Wolfe. "It's just an opportunity for us to expand.

"This guy has been on the air a year now and pulled, amazing, amazing shares where he's already been on the air," Wolfe says of Harvey.

Wolfe cites triple-digit percentage growths in Los Angeles, New York and Detroit, among other markets.

Banks' show is syndicated by ABC, while Harvey comes from Premiere Networks, owned, like WKKV, by Clear Channel.

But Wolfe says that's not the reason for the change.

"We came after them; they didn't come after us," he said

Reach Tim Cuprisin at (414) 224-2397 or e-mail