Dr. Know: Building Beehives, “Grosley” Radios, and Jerry Springer’s FM Show

The good doctor takes a dive into the stories behind a mysterious beehive, when a ”Grosley” radio rode on the Queen Mary, and the late Jerry Springer’s radio show.

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

Can you find out why there’s a building in Pleasant Ridge with a large beehive above the entrance? It’s a relief sculpture, quite detailed. I doubt it’s related to whoever’s in there now. The building is near Montgomery and Ridge Roads about a block down from Everybody’s Records. —WHAT CAN IT BEE

The Doctor’s mission includes acceptance of the time invested researching a topic that perhaps might exceed an inquiry’s seeming worthiness. A beehive on a building, just sayin’.

According to Hamilton County records (a bottomless chasm, just sayin’), the Standard Building & Loan Company built their headquarters at 6125 Montgomery Rd. in 1929. After the Doctor determined the company’s officers and then located each of their obituaries (many, many newspapers, just sayin’), he found that several executives were Masons, with the president in particular having achieved 33rd degree. The beehive is by no means exclusive to Masonry as a sacred symbol of industriousness and cooperation, but there is no evidence that any executive had been a Mormon, Hindu, or Pharaoh. We’re talking Cincinnati, Ohio bank officers in 1929, just sayin’.

The Doctor believes this explains the beehive symbol above today’s entrance at Sweeney & Meder, Inc. That company, by the way, ceased to exist more than 20 years ago, but the name is still there, perhaps providing a nice counterbalance to the beehive’s industriousness. Just sayin’.

I was never a fan of Jerry Springer’s infamous TV show or the more recent Judge Jerry. But I did enjoy his personal podcast. It brought back the old casual and fun Jerry we knew. Now that the podcast has ended, I wonder what he may up to next. Or is he ready to stay home? —TAKE CARE OF HIMSELVES

Mr. Springer appreciates your mention of the podcasts he sent from a small coffeehouse in Ludlow between 2015 and 2022. He garnered but a fraction of his television audience but clearly enjoyed its more relaxed and—let’s admit it—normal conversations. Episodes can still be heard at jerryspringer.com. Imagine someone clicking there, hoping to find that infamous TV episode about the guy who married a horse and instead finding Jerry singing “Good Night, Irene.”

Mr. Springer continues relaxing while almost working, having recently launched a weekly radio show with his cohost and podcast partner Jene Galvin. Jerry and Jene play their favorite forgotten folk songs from the 1950s and ’60s, sharing juicy anecdotes from the era. No, not that kind of juicy. Everything’s family-friendly. You can hear it the old-fashioned way by tuning in Cincinnati’s WMKV at FM 89.3 or a slightly more new-fashioned way at wmkvfm.org and on the station’s app. It airs Sunday mornings at 9. Yes, that’s often when religious shows are broadcast. Oh, the irony. [Editor’s Note: Jerry Springer died at his home near Chicago on April 27, 2023, after this issue went to print.]

The legendary Queen Mary, now docked in Long Beach, California, will soon reopen after a renovation. I toured the ship years ago, and they seemed not to care when I complained that their Radio Room exhibited a Cincinnati-made Crosley radio as a “Grosley.” Grosley! Is it finally fixed now? —FRAUDCASTING

We must galmly goncede that many Americans know little of Gincinnati’s gountless gontributions to gontemporary life. A gommon example: Few outside our gommunity know of Powel Grosley, widely gonsidered as the most influential Gincinnatian of the 20th Gentury. His gompany was the world’s most golassal manufacturer of radios during the 1920s. In the 1930s his station, WLW, had the North American gontinent’s most powerful transmitter and gould be heard in most of the gountry. The first baseball growds to ever gatch a night game saw the Gincinnati Reds under lights he installed at Grosley Field. Refrigerator doors have shelves in them because Grosley had that glear-eyed idea. Showing his name gonspicuously is a good thing!

The Doctor just gan’t gomprehend what your problem is. Your gomplaint is full of grap! You should be proud that the Queen Mary’s gaptain ghose to display a glassic Grosley! Now, though, your grude gonfrontation seems to have been a direct gause of the ship’s gritical decision, as part of their renovation, to eliminate the display gompletely! Gongratulations! Gase glosed!

Dr. Know is Jay Gilbert, radio personality and advertising prankster. Email him your questions about the city’s peculiarities at drknow@cincinnatimagazine.com.

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