By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Dec 10, 2009 at 11:00 AM
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The addition of a studio audience is one of the things that will separate John Stossel's new Fox Business News show from the classic John Stossel of ABC's "20/20."

Stossel will be letting his libertarian flag fly freely in the one-hour weekly show, "Stossel,"  that debuts tonight at 7 on the Channel available on satellite and digital cable (it's Channel 353 on Time Warner, Channel 1353 for HD).

"I said I wanted to do a libertarian show, and Fox said 'OK,'" Stossel told me during a telephone conversation on Wednesday. In the last few years at ABC -- he was there for 28 years -- he's been doing specials where he was allowed to express his beliefs, but never in a live-to-tape format.

In his new job, he's focused full-time on being a commentator.

About that time as ABC's myth-buster in chief, Stossel's thankful that the network "let me put things on the air," but he predicts "fewer battles about it" under the Fox News umbrella.

"Peter Jennings would look away when he'd see me in the hall," Stossel recalls of the reaction his style got from more traditional journalists ABC.

But his time at ABC made him a "brand," and his move Fox Business Network is clearly an attempt to broaden the channel's audience.

"I assume that's why I was hired," Stossel said.

He'll also make regular appearances on Fox News Channel.

The main topic of tonight's debut show wasn't clear when Stossel spoke with me. He had already taped a backup show focusing on the half-century since the publication of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged," a classic text of libertarianism.

Or, it could be the show he tapes today about climate change.

Stossel says his shows won't be tied to the news of the day, but a discussion of bigger issues. The topic of health care won't necessarily be tied to the latest action in Congress.

"I always think the important news is what happens slowly," he said. "If you think about what really matters, who gets elected matters less to your life than the women's movenent, or the birth control pill or the development of the computer chip." 

Channel 12's holiday special: With week's snow and cold, it seems like a good time for the Milwaukee's ABC affiliate's annual "12’s Season To Celebrate," hosted by anchors Kathy Mykleby and Toya Washington from Red Arrow Park. The one-hour special airs at 7 tonight.

One more weather delay: Channel 4 didn't air "The Mike McCarthy Show" in its usual 6:30 p.m. Wednesday slot because of endless Stormageddon coverage. Instead, the weekly show hosted by the Green Bay Packers' head coach airs at 6:30 tonight.

On Radio: All-Christmas WRIT-FM (95.7) again offers some interesting local holiday programming, starting today at 2 p.m. When Mark Belling -- from Clear Channel sister station WISN-AM (1130) hosts an hour of his favorite Christmas songs.  Dave Murphy and Meg McKenzie host holiday guest deejays in the 9 a.m. hour starting Friday with Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. County executive Scott Walker guests Monday, Channel 6 sports director Tom Pipines joins them Tuesday, and Channel 6 morning faces Rob Haswell and Nicole Koglin join them Wednesday.

  • The "Connie and Fish" morning show -- which simulcasts on Clear Channel's WQBW-FM (97.3) and Madison's WZEE-FM -- raised over $200,000 for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin last week in a 24-hour radiothon.
  • Chicago radio veteran turned podcaster Steve Dahl writes in the Chicago Tribune that since he launched his one-hour daily "Dahlcast" in September he's had more than 750,000 downloads. "There is still a very viable audience out there somewhere for personality-driven radio, and that someone needs to figure out a better way to measure it. Either that, or the future of this local, wacky personality-driven radio is probably going to be on the Internet."
  • As Howard Stern's Sirius satellite radio contract nears its end, he's talking about moving on. Of course, that's likely a negotiating stance. 

This may have crossed a line: CBS redubbed bits of its annual "Frosty the Snowman" cartoon special with audio from the network's "How I Met Your Mother" and "Two and a Half Men" in a video called "Frosty the Inappropriate Snowman."

It's all over the Internet, where kids looking for the old Frosty could easily happen upon this one. For the record, I'm no fan of the original Frosty (other than the fact that it resurrects Jimmy Durante's voice every year). This year's airing of the 1969 cartoon is scheduled for Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. on Channel 58.

This bit of viral video is pretty funny. But does the attempt at adult humor with a kids' cartoon go too far?


Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.