Less than six weeks after Phil Cianciola was fired by WTMJ-AM (620) from the afternoon "Green House," the Milwaukee radio veteran is ready to launch the next phase of his career .
His daily podcast, or "The PhilCast," starts posting at noon on Thursday, with some surprise guests. Of course, since they're surprise guests, he's not identifying them, although he did tweet this week about his first show: "Someone's bitter and it's not me."
Spending some time with Cianciola in the studio he's built in his basement, he's clearly not bitter, and he's looking forward.
But I had to start off with his firing, and the story out there that he and "Green House" host Jonathan Green didn't get along, and that, ultimately, a dispute between them was behind the firing.
"Could be," is the only answer Cianciola would give.
He says, somewhat philosophically, "14-plus years, and -- we move on. Not unheard of in the business. Somebody once told me a long time ago you're not a true veteran until you've been fired three times. Guess which number this was?"
Yes, it was three. "So, you can refer to me as a veteran broadcaster now, yeah."
The veteran broadcaster knows his business, and times aren't great in radio for on-air folks. There aren't many spots on Milwaukee's radio dial where his style would work. He's not a conservative political talker, so WISN-AM (1130) isn't a likely spot for him.
"There's a very small market for what I do in this city," he says, although he plans to stay in the Milwaukee area.
He's blogged about talking to Chicago's WGN-AM (720), where he'd love to end up. Cianciola could fit well in a format that includes guys like Garry Meier and John Williams.
"I had a great time, and I like what I hear at WGN. And you can still get WGN up here, so it wouldn't be like leaving that connection totally," he says.
In the meantime, he's made a "small investment" to get the equipment to record and edit his podcast.
"It's mobile," he says. "I'm gonna be able to go to events and record, I'm going to be able to go to potential sponsors and record.
"It's pretty amazing what you can do with a few hundred bucks and some patience and some people who know what they're doing with a cable. You can go pretty far."
While there are plenty of amateur podcasts out there, the test "PhilCasts" show a technical sophistication that makes it easy to listen to. Regular features from his old radio gig, including "Pack Yak," will be there.
And one of Thursday's guests will become regular -- although Cianciola won't say who it is.
"It is a name you will recognize from Milwaukee media ... Is that a good tease?" he asks.
AND THEN THERE'S JANE MATENAER: Another long-time Milwaukee radio voice, Jane Matenaer, was silenced earlier this year when WMYX-FM (99.1) sent her packing.
She debuts a new comedy, "Morgue Lady" on Nov. 7 as part of the Racine Theater Guild's new season of "Comedy Tonight" performances. The show features tales about growing up as an undertaker's daughter in a funeral home.
Here's where to find ticket information.
ON TV: Milwaukee fourth-grader Tony Capla, a student at Pershing Elementary Schol, is scheduled to be on Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" morning show on Thursday to demonstrate the skill that won him the mooing crown at the Wisconsin State Fair.
- Milwaukee's Michelle Kamke tries for the big prizes on CBS' "Price is Right" at 10 a.m. Thursday on Channel 58.
- Jake Pavelka was announced as the next "Bachelor" on Tuesday night's installment of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." Pavelka, who was a viewer favorite on the last run of "The Bachelorette," begins his next quest for "reality" show "love" in January.
- Dave Levy, the San Diego chef who spent much of this season of Fox's "Hell's Kitchen" with his left wrist in a cast, won this edition of foul-mouthed Gordon Ramsay's cooking competition on Tuesday night. This season featured Milwaukee-trained Suzanne Schlicht, who was cut a couple weeks ago.
ZACH BRAFF ISN'T DEAD, BUT HE IS FUNNY: An Internet rumor that "Scrubs" star Zach Braff had died led Braff to post a funny video on his Facebook page to prove that he's still around for the latest season of "Scrubs," where he'll be making some appearances.
His "I'm alive" video follows below.
Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for OnMilwaukee.com. 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 OnMilwaukee.com.
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.