Dr. Know: Time Zones, News Anchor Closeness, and a Sunken Stadium

The good doctor explores troubling issues, including Eastern Standard Time, the space between married news anchors, and the long-gone Parkway Arena.

I recently moved here from Detroit and was surprised to learn that Cincinnati is in the Eastern Time Zone. With all the other things I’m adjusting to, I didn’t expect that. Has Cincinnati always been EST? It’s on my mind now that we’ve moved the clocks ahead. —TIME IS ON MY OTHER SIDE

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

Humanity has been arguing about time since, well, the beginning of time. Even after progressing past the sundial, pendulum, and Fitbit, we continue to bicker over setting the clock. And Cincinnatians have an extra burden: endlessly reminding people that, no, we do not live in the Central Time Zone. At one time we did, but that was back in the 1880s after Big Railroad tried to cram Time Zones down Americans’ throats. Official Cincinnati Time, though, stubbornly remained off by 22 minutes. Try scheduling that play date.

It was 1927 when our great-grandparents dragged every home in Ohio over to the Eastern Time Zone. But Cincinnatians had already gotten the same result by declaring the city a permanent “more daylight” town years earlier. (Everyone used to call it that, until citizens decided that arguing whether “daylight saving” is singular or plural makes for better entertainment.) Chicago, not to be outdone, legislated itself from CST to EST in 1936, then changed its mind nine months later. Seriously, what else would you expect from those crazy Midwesterners?

TV news anchors are all practicing social distancing in the studio. That’s fine, but why do WLWT’s Mike Dardis and Sheree Paolello do it? They’re married! Is the station’s policy that strict? Do they socially distance at home, too? Why can’t this married couple sit closer during their newscast? —SO FAR AWAY

The Doctor thanks you for raising this topic as a question. Today’s tendency is to declare everything as evidence of a conspiracy. They’re too close! They’re spreading the virus into the camera and out of everyone’s TV! Quick, retweet this now or we’ll all die!

Mike Dardis says that while he and Paolello are asked this question regularly, they feel certain that the opposite question—why are you sitting so close to each other—would crash the station’s inbox. After several years as co-anchors on WLWT’s evening newscast, the announcement of their engagement and marriage in 2019 got some media attention, but only briefly. Now, as the pandemic requires all in-studio anchors to be properly distanced, Dardis and Paolello don’t expect every viewer to be aware of their unique situation, and they also simply want to set a good example.

A viewer thinking, Hey, why aren’t those people farther apart? is shifting attention from the story to the reporter, and any journalist not named Geraldo Rivera wouldn’t let that happen.

I remember riding on Central Parkway near Music Hall as a kid in the 1950s and going past something like a sunken sports stadium. The open-air rows of seats dropped below street level. Driving along there now, I see no trace of anything like that. Is this a memory or a dream? — FIELD OF TEAMS

File your blurry vision under M for Memory; the Parkway Arena was a Cincinnati sports landmark for more than 30 years. Before it was built in 1932, summer wrestling and box­ing matches happened at places like Redland Field (before the historic name change) and Coney Island. Parkway Arena quickly became a popular outdoor summer venue, showcasing young athletes like Cassius Clay (before the historic name change) and Ezzard Charles. Its proximity to Music Hall allowed the occasional last-minute move indoors when the weather looked threatening. Don’t worry, classical music lovers: We are not aware of a Moonlight Sonata being disturbed by a Goon-Night Testiculata.

Your childhood glimpses of Parkway Arena were of its declining years; attendance peaked before the 1950s. It closed for a while, rallied briefly in the ’60s, and was torn down (up?) in 1967. Unlike other beloved Cincinnati sports venues of the past, there is no plaque at 1718 Central Parkway to commemorate this once-grand underground palace. The Doctor valiantly fights the urge here to make a joke about Plummet Mall.

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