Saturday, April 30, 2005

TV News For Dummies - Terminology

As many of our readers are MARKET 117 residents or people who haven't worked in the TV side of news, I thought I'd share a few terms and help you differentiate the types of stories you see on the news... all in honor of the May sweeps period.

Package - A package is generally a longer form story, traditionally about 1:30 on tape. This is the type of story that will be introduced by the anchors (10-15 seconds) and will be told by a reporter. A package will consist of that reporter's voice and soundbites from people involved in the story. If you see the reporter on screen in the middle of a package that is called a standup. Depending on the station, there could be a "tag" where the anchor comes back to wrap up the story before moving on to the next one.

VO/SOT - Stands for voiceover/sound on tape. This is read by the anchor. He/she will read a couple of sentences to set it up, then you'll see video related to the story... usually for about 15 seconds before a soundbite. After the soundbite there could be more related video or it could go back on camera to the anchor to finish the story. Also called VO/B (voiceover/bite) in some shops.

VO - Stands for voiceover. Same as a VO/SOT without the soundbite. Usually last 25-30 seconds.

Reader - This is where the anchor just reads a story, on camera, with no video. Sometimes there will be a graphic over his/her shoulder that is related to the story. Other times it'll just be the anchor. These are usually pretty short, maybe 20-25 seconds.

Live shot - This is where the anchors will "toss" to a reporter who is on location to introduce a story. A live shot can include a package, VO/SOT, VO or just be the reporter and whatever scene there is to be seen on camera.

Look live - This is used to give the appearance of a live shot for the sake of reporter presence or when a live shot is not possible. Basically its a package with a standup to start and a standup to close.

There are also many variatons of reporter presence that can be used... reporter on set, or at the weather wall, or in front of a video monitor etc.

Flick's Picks

The Pantagraph's Bill Flick takes notices of the Eddie Urish sightings a couple weeks ago while Brent Lonteen vacationed. He also tips his cap to 31 for it's reports on cheap gas... just like the segment formerly known as "Pump Scan" on 19.

Bill also gives credit to 25's Doug Smith for his efforts as I did earlier this month.

And A Good Time Was Had By All

Thanks to Lacey, Dan, Trisha, Stephanie, Kurt, Mark, Amy, Jay, and Lisa for continuing the tradition and making it out to bowling last night.

I was mostly not good, but did finish off the last game with a turkey.

Hope to see you and many others tonight at Mark's 10th annual spring party.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Let's Roll

Hey newsies... FYI for tonight

Going away party for JoEllyn starts at 9:30 at Kouri's in Peoria.

MacGregor bowling outing starts at 11 at Landmark.

We're going to try to make it out, but you never know.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Thanks To John And Donnie

Thanks to WMBD and WHOI, specifically John Alois and Donnie Tillman for covering the ICC women's soccer signings... I had three players sign with Coach Peterson today.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The State Of Local News

Not specific to MARKET 117, but Medialine's Open Line has some interesting thoughts about the state of local news.

Making A Difference Music

WMBD's music is so happy. Makes me smile.

You Say Toe-may-toe, I Say Toe-mah-toe

This was posted in the comment section at Peoria Pundit.
Does he really pronounce his name Sand OH vel? I always thought that was an
invention of WEEK to make his name sound less ethnic as in Sand o VAL.

If I can dig up some old e-mails, I'll share a pretty funny story about this, but no... WEEK did not invent some way for me to pronounce my name.

Congrats, Amy

Jeff reports (and I saw it on 31 at 10) that Amy Paul is this year's recipient of the YWCA "Lydia Moss Bradley Communications Award". The award goes to a woman who is a leader in the communications field such as journalism, marketing, or public relations.

Amy and I worked together for just about two weeks. I thought for sure she would be "two and out" and I'll bet (just a guess) if you ask her, she thought so too, but like me, she found love in MARKET 117. I'm such a sap. To her credit, she has become really involved in the community and I applaud her efforts on that end.

Totally unrelated, but I would just like it to put it out there for the record: Amy is a really, really good dancer as I witnessed at Darcy and Ryan's wedding. I'm jealous as I have no rhythm.

Hello Heart Of Illinois

Jim Mattson covered the Notre Dame/Pekin game last night. Actually, he was shooting their goalie for athlete of the week after she had one heck of a weekend in net.

I'm proud of how far my team has come this year, but Notre Dame really has a terrific program and I think they'll make a good run to state. As much as I was angered by the incident involving some of their fans at the start of the season, that should not take away from what their girls are accomplishing on the field and I wish them the best.

WHOI is the only station that has been to any of my games, although truth be told, they were there to cover ND both times and I have no problem with that. Last year, WMBD did a story on us and they and WEEK will mention our scores if I remember to call.

But back to HOI, I've got this theory. The way Jim covers high school sports, he really does personally get everywhere in the viewing area and has for years. With that focus, I want to say the great majority of teenagers in MARKET 117 know who he is.

Does anyone think that 10-15 years from now when all of these kids are adults... that this will have an impact on WHOI viewership? I wouldn't be suprised if it does.

(BTW... keep this clean or comments will disappear.)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Low Morale???

Someone posted on Jeff's blog about low morale at a station...

As a coach, I regularly remind my girls... when I hear them complaining about their parents... that when they see me with my little girl, they need to remember that "that is how your parents continue to see you, even in your teens and despite how much you might be fighting and thinking they don't know anything, they do... and they love you."

I have friends who have moved on to much larger markets, some that current MARKET 117ers know, others I went to school with and still others I know from working in other markets. But in talking about their first/second jobs in smaller places, the majority will tell you in different ways, something to the effect of, "I make a lot more money now, but I've never had more fun or been closer to the people I work with."

I am confident in the truth of both of these statements.

Anchoring For Dummies - Poor Emphasis

I've been watching a fair ammount of news the past month, here, in Milwaukee, WGN as well as network and cable. This includes weeknights, weekends and mornings.

As I'm not a critic, I won't comment on anyone specifically and some of this is already under the TV news for dummies posts, but recently I've really noticed/heard things that are like nails on a chalkboard to me.

Just some thoughts... and if you anchor here or somewhere else and are reading this... take it for what it's worth... one viewers opinion.

Conjunctions don't need to be emphasized. Whenever I hear someone just screaming an "and" or a "but" I just shake my head. Often this will be the same anchor who glosses over words like "killed" or "dead." Read your scripts out loud as you are copy editing. They sound different in your head. Out loud will help you catch stuff and let you hear it before the show.

Also, each story has a different tone and pace, but all are important. This is the difference between reporting on set and anchoring. When you're only doing one story, you don't need to think about transitions and changes. As an anchor, you do. And your energy, even if the tone is down... your energy needs to stay consistent. Don't blow through stories cause they aren't A1 or A2. Your job is not just about reading and going home or to the bar. Embrace each story, no matter how big or small.

Think! Think about what you're reading, not just about getting through.

Yeah, He Called It

Thanks to WMBD's Mark MacGregor for sharing this from his journal via e-mail.

Rusty took Steve Scheuer out for lunch for his last day at work and I tagged along. We went to Chili's and discussed the entire situation along with the rumors that were quickly spreading about Edgar and Shannon becoming an item. Steve knew things, I heard things, and Rusty saw things and we all compared notes. It was to become more apparent this evening at Jimmy's for Steve's going away party. Shannon and Edgar had a corner to themselves and stayed side by side the entire evening as everyone buzzed with rumors around them.

Yeah, he called it.

Mark was also one of the only people who came out to Monterey to see our new life... before we came back here. His 10th annual spring party is coming up as is the Friday bowling event (this is your plug, buddy). I'd like to take a moment on Monday... I write again... Monday... to encourage other former newsies... to come on out... even just for a little bit. I emphasize Monday cause now you can't say you didn't hear about it till it was too late. Don't make me name names (and e-mail me for the info).

I'm also looking forward to getting to know the next generation of MARKET 117ers a little better... and meet any of the new ones.

Hey, I Hope...

Recent posts about "two and out", small markets and ability/marketability didn't offend anyone or get people down. Just re-reading them and I can see how they might. That was absolutely not the intent.

Much of it came from a conversation a friend and I were having over lunch last week... just wanted to get some of it out.

Like I've said, not my rules and just my opinion... do with it what you will.


If you watch 24, all I have to say about the end scene tonight is... whoa.

Can anyone who watched earlier seasons tell me what the deal is with the former president and what connection he has to Bauer etc.?

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Summers In Peoria

Taking the place of the WEEK link on my link list will be Summers in Peoria. CJ Summers works in in the television ministry at Grace Presbyterian Church and comments on media as well as the Peoria area in general.

Ability And Marketability

Shannon suggests that some readers/posters aren't fully grasping the ability and marketability concept, so I thought I'd post a little more.

Ability: you need to get the facts straight and the story done quickly. Can you take a difficult topic and make it easy to understand in a short period of time. I myself am a fan of the well told story, but in my travels I've seen, that's not always required. Four or five bites strung together with track and no personalization or beginning/middle/end... to fill 1:30 will suffice. Sad, but true... which is why I talk about a combination of ability and marketability.

Marketability: I'm gonna guess part of what you read next might offend some, but I don't make the rules... just observing. My definition here revolves around "looks" and "it" both of which I have blogged about before. All things being equal, the reporter/anchor that looks like a supermodel will get more offers than the reporter/anchor that doesn't. Yes, journalism should be the most important issue here, but it isn't. Again, not my rules.

The other issue with looks has to do with ethnic background. Whether they'll admit it or not, there are stations in larger markets that will lose, for example, "x" minority and will often look to fill that slot with that same, "x" minority. Do the math. There isn't a huge number of "x" minorities out there so if you're one and you apply for that job, you're immediately competing with fewer candidates for that job.

With all this in mind, when you get a new job, you'll still have to produce.

But what am I saying? In many (not all) instances a decent looking, decent live, but great journalist is less in demand than a supermodel (or specifically sought minority) looking, break through the camera type, but average (or heck, sometimes below average) journalist. If the latter is a good to great on the jouralism end, the sky is the limit.

Does this mean no one can get another job if they don't fall into the category I describe? Absolutely not. But when looking to leave, doors will generally open faster for those who fit the profile.

The Unique Twist

Doug's other life. Posted by Hello

A number of local newsies do something "on the side." Some do freelance video work. Back in the day, my friend Melanie worked at Target. I love Target.

Doug Smith does probably the most interesting thing... he's a balloon artist (as mentioned in the previous post). You'll probably see him around at some of the bigger events on the weekends.

Please Disperse, There Is Nothing To See Here

Basically that's what Steve Tarter has to report on the February book in MARKET 117.

Update: there's some related discussion at Peoria Television Stations.

Death Of A Sales Tool

The WEEK Link, WEEK's unofficial blog is dead. Not that it had been active since last summer, but now... nothing. As I have said, not sure I want to know reporter's opinions on stories, but here's a list of things I think some of my former co-workers could blog about:

Dubbs could run a blog detailing all the people who ask him "where you gonna eat today?"

Mac could blog about home improvement or about the view from a car that looks like it wants to die, but manages to keep on going.

Doug Smith could blog about being a baloon artist (Doug owns his own business on the side called "The Unique Twist").

Jeff Muniz could blog about being a new dad.

Lee Hall could blog about The Basket Case.

I'm sure there are more, but even though I can't fall asleep, I am tired.

Cordes Lands In Indy

The New Orleans TV blog is reporting that former WDSU news director Margaret Cordes has been named executive producer at NBC affiliate WTHR.

Margaret is responsible for directing me to Peoria as you can read in an earlier post, but in recounting this story to Josh recently, he found the detailed version rather amusing so I'll share it.

So as the post says, I'm home in Milwaukee for Christmas, trying to figure out my next move. I had gotten to know Margaret while she was a producer at WISN. At this point, she was the assistant ND at WDJT, the CBS back home. After looking at my tape, she suggests having our mutual former co-workers help me towards Green Bay or Madison. Those markets are traditionaly feeders for Milwaukee and the managers at my old station all had pretty good connections in those markets.

Then she happens to mention that she used to work in Peoria and I should call Duane Wallace. I was supposed to go to Chicago the next day to spend some time with my friend Colleen (who coincidentally ended up moving to Los Angeles a few years after I moved to Peoria). I called up Duane, told him I wanted to get back into news and that Margaret suggested I call. He didn't have an opening, but I told him I could "swing by" on my way to Chicago anyway.

Keep in mind that I had been to Peoria only once before, seven years before this to visit Bradley. Having not looked closely at a map, I seriously thought Peoria was like Rockford in terms of time to Chicago and didn't realize how far it was from Milwaukee.

But the next day, I jumped in my dad's Jetta and headed down. Unfortunately, the radio was busted, it had no tape player and at some point I stopped to make sure I was headed in the right direction. So more than four hours of silence later, I end up in Peoria.

I meet with Duane. He says he likes my tape, doesn't have an opening, but he'll keep me in mind. I honestly never thought I'd hear from him again. So I headed up to Chicago. Seven hours of driving later, Colleen and I are out. We went to see Dracula, Dead And Loving It, which I only remember because about 10-15 minutes in, we look at each other and decide it was horrible. Only movie I've ever walked out of. A few days later, I end up back in LA, convinced that I'd be staying and to be honest, starting to feel a little better about it.

It was a Friday night, a couple weeks later. I had a great time out with some friends in Santa Monica. I finally felt at home. When I got back to my apartment that night, there was a message from Duane. He had received approval to hire a new reporter and wanted me to come back for an official interview with Gene Robinson, the GM at the time.

Of course, I got the job and when I got back to LA again, I called movers. My end of the conversation went something like this:

"I need to find out how much it's gonna cost to move from LA to Peoria, Illinois."


"It's kind of near Chicago, yes."

"Am I the only person that has ever asked about moving from LA to Peoria?"

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Reporter Blog

Jason and I went to school together. He is probably one of the smartest people you'll ever meet, so we (the rest of the broadcast students) wondered why he was doing this. Kidding.

Anyway, back a week or so ago, people were debating at Peoria Television Stations and Peoria Pundit about reporters blogging. Here's his.

Five Words

Monkeys Throwing Poop At Celebrities

(I must be tired)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Like I've Said, You Just Never Know Who You'll Influence

I've said something like that somewhere on this darn thing...

This is from a Mike Drew column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal last year. I bring it out in part as a continued tip of the cap to my friend Jerry. BTW... don't take this as a pro-Michael Moore post (I like some of his stuff, but not all of it), just a good story.

Taff said that when he started in broadcasting, "a guy took me under his wing
and taught me the business. He said, 'Pass it on,' and I said I'd do that.
"It's been such a joy. I should have been a teacher. I take kids on stories
and into the studio, and when I'm through they know everything I know."
Then, the big surprise. Taff recalled a Davison (Mich.) school board
election in the early 1970s, when he was anchoring and doing commentary on Flint
television. Taff said: "Michael Moore, 17, with the amazing mind we see today,
was elected to the board. But it wouldn't seat him because of his age, though
nothing in the rules demanded that. So my commentary said, 'We'll be on you,
until you seat him.' "The next day I got a call from a little bitty voice.
It was Mike, asking if he could come down and shake my hand. I said, 'sure,' and
three carloads of kids showed up. Mike and the rest were intensely curious about
learning news and how to use film. For a year and a half, twice a week, they
showed up. He'd grown up around United Auto Workers feeling sorry for
themselves, and he said, 'I'm going to show the world.'
"One day, years later, he was filming in Milwaukee, and I asked him if he remembered me. He introduced me to the group around him as 'the man who taught me to have courage.' I wish I'd taught him to have a little more balance."
Quite a story, but it demanded verification. A couple of days later I got it, from
Moore. Moore wrote of Taff: "He was the one media person in a town dominated
by General Motors to have the courage to report the truth."

Making A Difference For A Blogger

CJ Summers comments with his appreciation for WMBD's coverage of the water buyout story.

Dear Jimmy

And of course Mac, Mike, the shooter and reporter...

Thank you for making it to and running the Can Do event story. If others made it out tonight, thank you too... I just wasn't flipping that much and didn't see.

34 pieces of artwork were sold raising $2400 for the Can Do 4:13 Scholarship Fund.

Like I wrote earlier, every little bit helps.

PS... hope Mrs. Jimmy is doing well cooking the bun.

Update: Thanks too to WHOI for covering the event!

Small Market Doesn't Mean It Sucks

This is a misconception. I've had this on a list of things to blog about for a while... just getting around to it now. I've recently written about "two and out" and reasons why people might not take that approach to working in MARKET 117.

Someone posted a while back on Jeff's blog... and I just went back to it:

Why do people stay in Peoria for years? Because they aren't good enough to
That isn't entirely true (although yes, in every small market there are people you just won't want to watch... hell, forget small, try any market).

Let me do an expanded hypothetical from the "two and out" post. This general thought applies to quite a few people I'm close to, but no one specifically.

You get a job at in MARKET 117 at one of the three stations. Maybe you're making 20K... maybe you come in at something closer to a frontline job and you're making 40K, or you're somewhere in between (I'm not talking about the people making the most money in the market).

(By the way, most people outside the biz who learn how what starting reporters make are generally stunned.)

Your spouse gets a job they like. Maybe it's with one of the great hospitals or a solid school district or one of the two Fortune 100 companies.

Time passes...

Now you've been here two or three years... your spouse is fairly happy and might be making a chunk more. Or your family has really settled in to the community... whatever it is.

You can look for a job in another market and depending on your combination of ability and marketability you might generate some interest. But if you get an offer you have to consider:

a) the way things are in the industry today, it probably isn't for a huge ammount more than you're making now in a place with a very low cost of living

b) you might not be the one making more money and depending on what your spouse/significant other does, they may have trouble finding something they like/make the money they're making here.

c) you recognize that there are several communites here that are great to raise a family

In talking to a news director about a larger market where we both know people, it was explained to me that the ballpark money my friends are making isn't always what's being offered... and most likely not what would be offered to someone coming from MARKET 117.

Let's say a reporter in a top 20 market makes 70K. But a news director, in the interests of saving money is willing to take a chance on someone from here, but only for 35 or 40K. If that person anchors weekends here and is making 30, you can see where the challenge is. If that person is single with no attachments/commitments... fine. But it'll take you forever if ever to make the money your counterparts in the new market are making. Still some people are thinking more about the destination and I can understand that.

But if your focus is more than just a market number, the choice gets tougher.

Are there some people who can't leave cause no one is interested? Absolutely. But that blanket statement doesn't ring true, especially to someone who knows first hand what many of the people who commit to staying here are capable of.

I'm Not A Critic... Not Really... More Like A Cheerleader

Really. Over dinner tonight I was expressing to a friend that I never know what people think of this blog thing until they talk to me.

People I've talked to who aren't in news or who have never worked in news seem to like the perspective.

Newsies usually have a similar take, although on occasion I will hear of grumblings. For the grumblers:

It doesn't matter what I think. Someone at one station doesn't like that I give credit to another station for something... don't pay attention. You're not on some random list I've thrown out here. So the heck what.

My friend's neighbor, who I'm also friends with suggested that I could be a critic, but really I'm too close to too many people still working at the three stations to do that. And really I don't have the time to do it the way I'd want to do it. Maybe 20 years from now when my kids are out of the house, and everyone I know is out of the biz (well, except Mac) and I'm more crotchety. Is that how you spell crotchety?

I'm more of a cheerleader for the people who deliver our news here... most doing it for little to no money... many with fairly crappy hours. Of course I have a great deal of respect for what they do because I used to do it. That's really why you won't see me call out stuff/people that I see on TV... that makes me reach for the remote or yell at the TV like it's football season and my team just got jobbed. Read the intro to TV news for dummies for related thoughts.

Can Do, Part II

The Can Do Arts sale comes to a close tonight with a big event at the the Liberty Street Bistro 320. I had wanted to be there, but we already had a previous commitment.

Thanks to WMBD and WEEK for having the scholarship fund's founder on live this week. Same goes to WMBD and WOAM radio. Its a great cause and every bit of exposure goes to help a great bunch of kids.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Hello Heymann

A quick hello to former WCIA bureau chief Alan Heymann who checked in on the blog while I was on "hiatus."

Kicking And Screaming

A little crossover here, but as a soccer coach, I am really looking forward to Will Farrell's new movie "Kicking and Screaming." It's not out until May 13th, but click the link to watch the trailer. It, at least is funny. We'll see if they've used all the best stuff already.

To be honest, I hope it's better than the last Will Farrell movie I saw "Anchorman." It had it's moments, but I was disappointed overall.

Wait... Will Farrell as news person, Will Farrell as soccer coach.

If my life is ever a movie... hmmm.

Make that hmmm and yikes.

Thanks For Everything, Jerry

The end of the May sweeps period will mark the end of an era in Milwaukee (my hometown) television. Jerry Taff, who for much of the past 25 years was the main anchor at WISN, will anchor his final newscast.

Unlike most aspiring journalists he worked with, I avoided working with him while I was in college. I wasn't sure I'd ever work in news after I got out of school and didn't want to waste his time. But when I moved to Peoria and started pushing myself hard to get better at this, Jerry was there for me. And he has continued to be there for me even since I have left TV.

I'd drive home for a weekend and he'd work with me till the wee hours on a Thursday or Friday night, going through tape and sitting me down on set... all after putting in a full day. And he didn't try to make me a clone of him, but instead helped me find my own voice. It's not that we agree on everything or that I accepted everything he ever said... and I don't think he expected me to. But he always made me think and work a little bit harder.

Lots of people influenced my ten years in television... too many to list here. But few invested the time and effort that Jerry did and for that I will always be grateful. And I will always consider him a friend.

Jerry has helped hundreds of people who work/worked in TV news in one way or another. To current newsies: if you can find a mentor to fill this role in your career, you'll be better off in the long run.

Two And Out

In football, you hear the term "three and out." For small market TV news talent, it is "two and out." It refers to people who are here two years (or less) and gone forever. The "two" is where traditionally, a station invests a year in "showing you the ropes", you invest a second year to "pay them back." Over this period of time, you'll see these people hits peaks and valleys in terms of their storytelling, delivery and their skills as a journalist... but in the end you should see them improve quite a bit (with anchors it's more likely three years due to contracts and station's wanting a longer commitment from a frontline face). Yes, I know it doesn't always work this way, but it does in theory.

People who are "two and out" have just the right combination of ability and marketability. Keep in mind that some people will have more of one or the other... not an even split. Where they end up will also depend on what kind of job they're aiming for (anchor, reporter/anchor, reporter), the size of the market they want and their level of patience.

I was having some of this conversation the other day with a friend who doesn't work in news, but grew up here and does watch. I came up with a list of people I think are of "two and out" caliber (in no particular order).

1. Will Koch 2. Donnie Tillman 3. Liza Danver 4. Jeff Muniz 5. Trisha Skidmore 6. Kimberly Laburda 7. Paul Ferrante 8. Jill Henriksen

So what's the other side of this? There are people who are/were good enough to leave after two years, but decided to stay based on the quality of life in Central Illinois (having lived in a few other places, I can tell you if you want to own a home and live in a relatively safe area... this is pretty darn good). There are people who are looking to leave, haven't received the right offer yet and don't want to leave here just for the sake of leaving here. And there are also others who because they lack the right combination... either get no offers, or get no offers they're interested in.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Turn Off TV Week

Why Turn off the TV?Television cuts into family time, harms our children's
ability to read and succeed in school, and contributes to unhealthy lifestyles
and obesity. Here are just a few of the facts:
On average, children in the US will spend more time in front of the television (1,023 hours) than in school this year (900 hours).
Forty percent of Americans frequently or always watch television during dinner.
As US Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher said at the Kick Off of TV-Turnoff Week 2001, "We are raising the most overweight generation of youngsters in American history...This week is about saving lives."
Just a couple of thoughts...

Okay, I think most of us can agree that less TV and more exercising or reading can be a good thing, but man, it is such a scapegoat. Saving lives? Really? Saving brain cells, sure. But some people are just going to be lazy, TV or no TV.

I also find it funny that it coincides with the first few days of sweeps. Wonder if it'll make a difference in ratings? Wonder if any TV station groups have considered a lawsuit.

Home Team Hero

Usually the photographers at WEEK shoot the home team hero segment. Today, Doug Smith proved to be a hero himself.

Doug was covering the Judy Baar Topinka news conference. On his way out he noticed a woman in a car who wasn't moving. He ran and notified a hospital employee who notified emergency personnel.

Sources tell me it turns out she was in diabetic shock and if she ended up sitting in that hot car another 15 minutes, she would have died.

Let's salute Doug for a) being observant, and b) acting quickly.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

TV Thought For The Day

From Bill Flick in Tuesday's Pantagraph:

Have you noticed -- TV has become so complicated that to see what's on, you
need a master's degree just to read all the grids in TV Guide.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Now This Is Compelling Television

I was watching this on TV a few weeks ago during my "blogging hiatus."
Takeru Kobayashi of Japan achieved an unprecedented fourth victory at the
Nathan's Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest, setting a
new world record of 53.5 hot dogs and buns in 12 minutes. The event, which was
broadcast live as part of an hour-long show on ESPN, attracted more than 5,000
fans to the corner of Surf and Stillwell avenues in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

This to me is impressive. In twelve minutes, I think I could eat five or six hot dogs. My only question is how does one discover they can eat that many hot dogs that fast?

My friend Brett wonders about the really big guys and how do they feel losing to the skinny little guy every year.

Where's The Love?

A quick check of newsteams... WHOI has a bio up for it's newest sports person, Jill Wunrow, but still nothing on the WMBD site for Trisha Skidmore or the WEEK site for Jill Henriksen.

Update: Jill's bio showed up on WEEK's website today. Still nothing for Trisha, who I was able to meet this past weekend.

Conventions Galore

In an earlier post, I wrote of the benefits of conventions. This is the week...

The Radio and Television News Director's Association (RTNDA) and National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) are holding their annual conventions in Vegas and I know several people who are there... hopefully they get off the strip and get a chance to enjoy a Fatburger.

The Illinois News Broadcasters Association is holding one this coming weekend in Decatur.

Great places to network and learn something new about the industry.

How Times Change

Caught up with Mark MacGregor... director extraordinare... the other night. He promises to post about how he "called it" as it pertains to Shannon and I getting together.

After seeing Mark, we ended up at Chuck E. Cheese. Thrill for the kids and actually not too painful for me as Sunday is the "slow" night there.

Drove back to Pekin down Farmington road and commented to Shannon that I used to go out on Sunday nights... down to Jimmy's or wherever cause I didn't have to work till 1:30 on Monday.

Now I'm hanging with a giant mouse and home by 9. I'm old... and getting older by the minute.

Still Watching "24"

Haven't posted about it in a while... but I'm still "sucked in" to "24." Anyone else watching, please share your thoughts. I feel like someone high up in the government (on the show) is connected to the terrorists. Just a feeling.

A Good Cause

I had mentioned that I took Friday off to help out a good cause. For people interested in checking it out or newsies interested in covering... it's the Can Do Arts sale. For those who complain about only hearing bad news... here's some good stuff.

The sale is part of the Can Do 4:13 Scholarship Fund which provides $1,000 to each fourth grader at Peoria, IL's Irving Primary School in the classes of 2002-2003, 2003-2004, and the current 2004-2005 classes at Irving Primary School. The "Can Do Kids" have been challenged to graduate from high school. Once they enroll at an accredited post secondary education institution they will receive money. This includes universities, colleges, technical training schools, junior or business colleges, or even cosmetology school.

The kids artwork is on display all week at Peoria area businesses. The goal is to sell each piece of the Kids' artwork for at least $50, so that we can continue funding their Can Do Scholarship Fund. Businesses include: Lindsay’s on Liberty, Baurer Furniture, AAA Motor Club, CEFCU, Peoria Banking Center, Finish Line Ford, Green Chevrolet, Jim MaComb Chevrolet, Riverside Community Church, The Cutting Edge, Upscale Resale and others.

I got to meet some of these kids on Friday and they are terrific.

Can Do was started a few years back by this really terrific woman I've gotten a chance to know through work. Jennifer was on WMBD This Morning, this morning. She'll be on WMBD's 3-D Morning Show (between 8:30 and 9), WEEK's noon show tomorrow (between 12:30 and 1) and WOAM radio's morning show (between 8:30 and 9) on Friday.

It all wraps up with an event at 4:30 PM on Friday at the Liberty Street Bistro 320 next to/above Lindsay's.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Congrats, Colin

I've heard through the grapevine that former WMBD photographer Colin Hinkle is going to be doing some freelancing at WLS. Congrats, Colin!

A Good Read And TV Using It's Power For Good

Steve Tarter reviews Window to the Future in his latest column. I've been too busy to even get through "Blink."

He also covers how WEEK helped with selling tickets for the St. Jude home.

And On The 16th, They Rested

Actually all temp tax people across the country said, "never again." Kidding.

We got dinner at Jimmy John's last night. The one in Pekin is next to the H&R Block.

It was closed and looked like a ghost town. It struck me last night looking in... how clean, even sterile it was... now that all the late filers have either been taken care of or filed extensions.

You never see a story at H&R Block on the 16th, do you?

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Flipping... Again

Just saw Will Koch do "10 at 10 sports." I get the sense he really likes sports.

He does a good job with it.

Waxing Nostalgic

Drove around my old neighborhood on the way to WMBD yesterday. When I first moved to Peoria, I lived in the apartments over by Circuit City, but eventually moved in with Brent Lonteen and Jerry Warfield.

This was the Purtscher house... a small three bedroom not too far from WMBD. Over the years, various trios of newsies shared this place. Before my time, I'm told it was quite the party house. And what a deal too: $500 a month rent... split between three people. Even with CILCO, cable and phone, it was a steal. I think I was paying 450 myself at the apartment.

After Brent got married, Ryan Goble moved in. Eventually Jerry got married and Ryan and I moved away... and the Purtscher legacy (if that's what you want to call it) was done.

My favorite memory there was in May of 98. I had come back to Peoria one last time (or so I thought) for Shannon. She had finished a year at WMBD and was going to move out to Monterey.

We're on our way to meet her dad's family for lunch (she lived in an apartment down the street from Purtscher) when I told her to stop by the house. She was annoyed cause we were already late. We got out of the car and told her I wanted to take her to the place where we had our first kiss... to ask her to spend the rest of her life with me.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Old Habits Die Hard

If you don't work in news, but ever watch it with someone who does/did... don't let them have the remote.

I'm flipping tonight between the three stations. If you're normal, you watch one newscast and get informed. If you have that tv newsie tendency, you're flipping furiously to see "what everyone had." I don't do this all the time, but you know what they say about old habits...

I did have to laugh at myself tonight though... I stopped flipping for a few minutes to watch "The Simpsons." Homer was praying to God and says something to the effect of if this is going to happen, give me no sign. He leaves milk and cookies out for God too... and says something to the effect of if you want me to eat them, give me no sign. Then he eats. Those Simpsons writers kill me.

Nice Move, Amanda

This is a little late, but kudos to WHOI news director Amanda Wozniak for bringing in Jake Miller to fill in temporarily... after his station in Fort Wayne dropped news. Being out of work is tough, but in TV news it can be even harder cause your tape will age.

There are some NDs out there, who, when looking to hire an anchor... don't want to see the "best show you've ever done" and saved from when there was breaking news and great crosstalk. They'll want to see "last night's show" which is why in TV news they say it is a lot easier to get a job when you have a job.

Two Standups?

I was in Milwaukee last weekend. One of the stations there was doing something where reporters had two standups in stories.

One was very video poor, so I was okay with that, but one was very visual and the photog did a great job with the b-roll and the way he/she framed up the interviews. But still two standups. I don't know if they're trying to get their reporters more face time or what...

Not sure how I feel about it. From a storytelling perspective, it feels very intrusive to me. But from a "connecting to your audience" view, it probably has some merit. Haven't traveled much since taking my non-video job kast summer, which means I haven't been watching as much stuff from other markets... so I don't know if this is some consultant thing that's catching on elsewhere.

Volunteering With A Step Back To My Roots

I had the day off today. Spent part of it volunteering to shoot video for a great cause, which I will post about soon.

Thanks to Lyn Coverstone of Master Video Productions in Washington for volunteering his time and equipment. He also let me shoot some myself, which I do occasionally miss.

As part of that step back, I spent part of the afternoon at WMBD, dropping off the video and catching up with old friends. I said to Mary Brown, "remember when I used to come in with doughnuts?" Today I came in with two of my three kids.

Heated Debate

There is a heated debate going on at Peoria Television Stations about should people working in news be blogging. As a previous post of mine has been put up on the "for j-blogging" side, I do want to clarify my thoughts for those who don't follow the link.

I don't want to know a reporter's opinion on a story. I don't. On a personal note, as someone who is friends with/knows a lot of reporters, I actually like seeing them cover something where I know what they think and then judge how they covered it. More than nine times out of ten, I think they do a good job.

I do think if we've got reporters blogging about what they think of an issue or topic, it just gives viewers ammunition to accuse them of bias one way or the other. While I have stated in the past that TV news is slightly watered down journalism, I don't think there's a need to take it a step further (by the way, I said this when I worked in TV news and will say it if I ever again work in TV news).

My old post does state just a couple of things I think newsies could blog about, but even with that there could also be a very gray area. Hypothetically speaking... let's say a reporter was irritated because not only did a certain gambling mayor not return their phone calls for an entire week, and also gave out a phony phone number for the attorney who was supposed to be handling things. Hypothetically speaking of course. Maybe if the reporter blogged about that, the mayor might not comment the next time comment was needed... or maybe they'd make a stink about it... even if it was true. You get the idea.

I understand Bill's point about people appreciating columnists, but I think that needs to be separate from people who cover the news. Another poster mentioned possibly burning bridges and I think that's a very valid point. Maybe, as I think someone else suggested, a GM does a blog, much like some GMs do commentary. Just a thought...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Joker's Wild Redux

Remember the game show, The Joker's Wild? I loved that show. You know, the one where they had three big screens and to score big you were hoping for jokers. Jack Barry would yell, "joker, joker... joker." There is an elipse there cause that last joker always took a little while longer... I'm guessing for effect.

I'm going to also guess that in just about every TV newsroom, in every market that has at least three affiliates doing news... there are three television sets together to monitor what's on your air and what's on the competition.

I don't know who or where I got this from, but when all three stations were running the same story at the same time... I'd yell, "joker, joker, joker." If you work in a newsroom and are reading this, I suggest you try it too. Its kind of fun.

Shannon and I were just flipping tonight, but I recognized it right away... and fittingly the "joker" was the gambling mayor, Lyn Howard.

Update: a poster questioned whether some of the younger newsies would get the Joker's Wild reference, so I've added a link to something called gameshow galaxy with a page about the show.

Walk Of Shame

Pekin Mayor Lyn Howard and wife Joan Howard enter the Tazewell County Courthouse Thursday morning. Photo by Josh Bradshaw / Times staff Posted by Hello

And not the kind you do in college. Let's hear it for my guys... WMBD's Ben Dwyer (in the black) and WEEK's Doug Smith in the yellow (plus I think WHOI's Scott Weas, although I can't tell from Josh's photo) and of course Pekin Times photographer Josh Bradshaw for doing such an excellent job on this psuedo perp walk. Shooters never get enough credit.

See... a post related to MARKET 117.


Hey thanks for reading! MARKET 117 has received 10,000 hits as of today.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Dating And News

People who work in TV are just like people who don't. But there is a perception that somehow people on TV are different. Trust me... they aren't.

Schedules are different, for the most part. Dating... when you work in TV can be tough... especially when you work nights (done around 10:45/11:00). There can also be that weird recognition thing for on-air people too.

You don't have to share who you are, but I'm wondering if any current newsies would care to share any dating stories/challenges.

Almost Tax Day Live Shot

Lisa Miller was live at the post office for the obligatory almost tax day live shot. She does a pretty solid, consistent live. Something was wrong with the tape that her package was on though.

I did this shot my second year at WMBD. I thought it went went great. Bill Lamb even took the time to tell me he liked it. It was the "walking and talking" kind that the consultants say you have to have. That was the only other thing I would have liked to see from Lisa tonight, but I recognize the situations are different... mine was night of... there were people driving up to the box.

At one point, I just interrupted someone mailing their taxes, stuck my head in their car and we started talking. Spontaneous, unscripted... good live TV. Unfortunately, no one was rolling an air check. Ahhhh. That's the worst feeling when you're looking to put together a tape.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A Sense Of Style

I'd like to commend Josh Brogadir on his efforts to do something a little different while covering the "gambling mayor" on Monday. Lots of short, quick bites... he's definitely feeling out what will eventually be his "style" (by the way, for people back in the day... doesn't Josh look like a young Jim Dugan?).

For my tastes, it got a bit choppy, but developing your style as a reporter is trial and error. When I would look back at the stuff that I thought was decent at the time usually I'd find it either okay, or I'd just plain hate it. But that's all part of growing as a reporter. I've said this before somewhere, but reporters who think it was good just cause it made air will take longer to improve. Josh's story shows me he's someone who is willing to take chances with his storytelling and that will make me pay attention to his future work.

Like anything, we have to learn to crawl before we walk and walk before we run.

Credit To The GM

I want to give WEEK GM Mark DeSantis credit for posting on Jeff's Peoria Television Stations blog. While it might seem minor to most, he is making himself visible to a growing audience that, if they're reading Jeff's blog, is obviously interested in local TV news here in MARKET 117.

While blogging is still not yet "mainstream", it is clearly growing at a rapid pace and Mark is embracing that.

Staying At Home

Congratulations to soon to be former WEEK producer JoEllyn Curry who will be leaving the station to spend more time with her young daughter. Being a stay at home parent can be the toughest, but also the most rewarding job there is.

So I've Been Feeling That My Blog Is Getting Cluttered

Cluttered, not with posts that weren't important to me, but posts that don't go with the description (or thesis if you will) of the MARKET 117 blog.

So I've decided to create separate blogs. Check out Pekin Girls Soccer when you get a chance. Plans are in the works for separate commentary about Pekin's gambling mayor.

Of course there will be crossover if either of those two topics is on TV :-)

Separating The Blog

Hey folks... thanks for reading my blog. I've been away from it for a while, but I'll be back tonight with the end result hopefully being a separation the TV stuff (the original purpose of the blog) from the soccer and Pekin gambling mayor stuff.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Thanks, Lee

Thanks to Lee Hall for mentioning that Pekin defeated Central 2-0. Pekin Girls soccer is now 2-1 on the season.

Monday, April 04, 2005


A disappointing end to a fabulous season.

Light Blogging Again

Another busy work week, two big soccer games and two practices, plus the NCAA title game will keep me off the computer most of the week.

Random, yet somehow connected thoughts... follow along.

Still watching 24, Survivor and The Apprentice... started watching Desperate Housewives (guilty pleasure that I would have been watching in the fall when it debuted, but it interfered with football).

Watched the Final Four. North Carolina has more NBA talent than Illinois, but I think they are very undisciplined. Sounds like Michigan v North Carolina for the title, with this year's Tar Heels playing the role of the Fab Five. Look for Illinois to win, but based on the talent of their opponent and their coach's Final Four experience, they'll have nothing to be ashamed of if they don't.

Very funny segment on WMBD tonight with Lisa Miller and a very orange haired John Alois talking about the NCAA's.

Props to Rachel Ryan (formerly of WMBD) and Dana Anderson (formerly of WHOI) on their Walk Smart, Drive Smart spots that have been airing on local TV.

Best of luck to Shelli Dankoff (formerly of WMBD) who is running for school board in Washington.

Congrats to my Pekin girls soccer team which for the first time has defeated Washington after a tough 2-1 win over the weekend.