Brian O'Donnell

Contributor to Around Cincinnati and Host of local special programs

Brian O’Donnell has been sharing his love of music on the radio since the early 1970’s. He is a true public radio renaissance man hosting classical music on 90.9 WGUC weekday mornings; contributing music and arts features for 91.7 WVXU’s Around Cincinnati program; and hosting Saturday Morning with Brian O’D on WNKU. Musicians, artists and community arts leaders regularly stop by to record interviews with Brian— from Jaime Laredo with the Linton Music Series, or J.R. Cassidy from the Northern Kentucky Symphony, to a curator of an exhibit at The Cincinnati Art Museum, or a soloist in town to perform with the CSO, his relaxed style puts everyone at ease and lets their story come through.

Listeners always ask “Do you like getting up that early?” His response, “Yes, I do, but I pay for it in the middle of the day, when I feel like a zombie. I love the early morning, whether I'm at work or not. Being up before almost everyone else gives you a different perspective on the day... and there's a certain solitude about it. It is much different than STAYING up until the wee hours, and I've done my share of that, as well.”

Ways To Connect

Iconic local music legend Bobby Mackey is in the studio with Brian O’Donnell in advance of his March 9 appearance at the main branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. During that talk, he’ll share stories of his music career and of his haunted nightclub in Wilder.


The next concert from The Carnegie in Covington is a walk down memory lane for local TV fans. Nancy James and Rob Reider, longtime regulars on the old Bob Braun Show, will perform together on February 28 and they are in the studio to talk with Brian O’Donnell about their memories of those days and what fans can expect to hear during Thursday’s concert.


After more than 15 years of providing the music for salsa dancing on Mad Frog Mondays, Cincinnati band Tropicoso is ending this energetic tradition at the end of January. While a new, monthly event will start up in March, Band leader Nicholas Radina is in the studio with Brian O’Donnell to discuss the reasons behind this decision, and what dancers can look forward to starting March 8.


The Benjamin Carlson-Berne Memorial Scholarship was established to provide instrumental music lessons for underserved youth in the Cincinnati community. To raise funds, they will host a benefit concert on February 1 with acclaimed pianist Terrence Wilson. Susan Carlson joins Brian O’Donnell to talk about how this scholarship program came to be and details on this concert at the School for Creative and Performing Arts.


If you haven’t made New Year’s Eve plans quite yet, consider the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s gala A Night At The Moulin Rouge. Conductor John Morris Russell and the gala chair, Hengameh Nassef, join Brian O’Donnell to provide a preview of the evening’s festivities including a concert, dinner, dancing, and a silent auction, which includes a lease of a Mercedes Benz.


Titans of the music industry, Columbia Records, is celebrating its 125th Anniversary with the release of the book 360 Sound: The Columbia Records Story by Grammy-nominated author Sean Wilentz. He joins Brian O’Donnell to talk about the amazing artists who have recorded for Columbia Records: from Al Jolsen to Billy Joel; from Phillip Glass to Dixie Chicks. He also talks about the late, great Andy Williams and his connection to Cincinnati.


Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Zak Morgan is a Cincinnati kid who writes smart, funny songs for kids that every parent can also enjoy. The Barber of the Beasts is his newest CD and it features 12 original story-songs, Zak’s take on the classic Swingin’ on a Star, and illustrations by the great C.F. Payne. He joins Brian O’Donnell to talk about his music, his live shows, and this new collection of songs.


The Cincinnati Pops are gearing up for their annual Christmas concert, this year featuring award-winning singer Amy Grant. Conductor John Morris Russell joins Brian O’Donnell to talk about that concert, the recently released Home for the Holidays CD, and some of the special guests who will join the Pops in 2013 including The Chieftans, Patti Austin, Judy Collins and Mandy Patinkin.


Artists and authors David and Barbara Day join Brian O’Donnell to talk about their new book of drawings and stories about our ever-changing city. Vanishing Cincinnati seeks to preserve some of the classic architecture and geography of this area as was seen from the 1800’s on in a unique and artistic way. The book’s launch will take place on Sunday, December 2 at the Main Branch of the Public Library downtown.


Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist of Over the Rhine will be performing a special Valentine's Day concert for broadcast on WVXU. Linford and Karin recently celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary and have been touring, writing and recording together for over 20 years. For this broadcast Karin & Linford will perform songs from Over the Rhine's entire catalogue and will share with interviewer Brian O'Donnell some stories and reflections on their relationship and their adventurous life together.

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