Friday, March 18, 2005

Assorted Qs & As

Some of the more frequent questions we’ve fielded since we began this little experiment a month or two ago…

Q: Why do you pick on Channel 6 so much?
A: For a couple of reasons. First, Channel 6 has led the ratings for a long time now, although they’ve faced stiffer competition of late. Not only that, but it seems pretty clear that they’ve traditionally had a bigger budget to work with. With those advantages, they should be cranking out a top-notch product.

But it isn’t happening. As we’ve noted several times, the "news" portions of the 6 and 10 p.m. casts have become creatively lifeless, sloppily executed, crutch-laden orgies of mediocrity that almost always degenerate into idiotic giggle-fests by the time they’re over. It’s mind-numbing to watch, and there’s no excuse for it in a market this size.

Second, because WOWT airs more news programming than anyone else in town (not to mention round-the-clock repeats on Cox’s Channel 1), there are both more opportunities to sample their product and more material to draw from.

Q: Why do you pick on Travis Justice so much?
A: Our first inclination was to answer, “Why wouldn’t we pick on him so much?” And we forget what our second inclination was.

Q: Seriously, don’t you have anything positive to say about him?
A: Actually, we do. He does a good job on sports, particularly on a couple of recent assignments. The first was the live show he did from St. Louis a week or two ago when Creighton was in the midst of the Missouri Valley men’s basketball tournament. Such broadcasts are difficult to pull off, and this one was very well done and reflected a good deal of serious effort.

The second was his live coverage immediately following the Jays’ victory in the championship game of the same tourney. In both cases, he was able to get interviews with the right people and then ask the right questions.

What we have problems with is KM3’s sticking him in our faces every night to hold forth on everything from Omaha’s annexation fight with Elkhorn to Dan Rather’s retirement. Every time we hear him say, “Here’s what I think,” we want to call KMTV General Manager Jim McKernan and scream “WHAT MAKES YOU THINK WE GIVE A SHIT WHAT TRAVIS THINKS?!”

What’s saddest about the whole arrangement is that this one segment completely obscures the rest of what has become a pretty high-quality newscast. We come away from each viewing so irritated by “For What It’s Worth” that it’s hard to remember anything else we’ve seen. We can only wonder how long it will take McKernan to give up on his ill-conceived brainchild.

For what it's worth, we think Channel 3 needs to find a way to make better use of him on sports assignments, or even spot reporting, and have him save his opinions for Todd 'n' Tyler.

Q: You seem to enjoy complaining about bad TV news, so why haven't you had a field day with KPTM?
A: Remember how we said WOWT, with its big budget, owed viewers a better product? Well, think of KPTM as the reverse of that. Honestly, what is their annual budget for news at 42? It can't be more than like $800, and at least half of that goes toward maintenance on the cage where they keep J.J. Davis at night. Most of their equipment appears to have been procured at garage sales and swap meets, and the INS should investigate the whole ooperation to make sure that their on-air staff isn't a bunch of illegal Canadian immigrants who are being used as news slaves.

It just doesn't strike us as fair to pick on them too much, given that Poopass Telecasting or whoever owns the station doesn't give them the resources to produce a respectable cable-access show, let alone a nightly hour-long commercial newscast. Picking on KPTM is like shooting fish in a barrel; it's just too easy. One reader has dubbed 42 the "Island of Misfit Newspeople," which we can't argue with. But they appear to be doing the best they can given what little they have to work with.

If we're going to pick on someone, it would be Poopass, which has landed itself not one, but TWO bargain-priced licenses in the past two decades, has milked them for millions in revenue, but has yet to plow any discernible amount back into improving the quality of its local product (i.e., the equipment and personnel comparable to those at competing stations). Call us old-fashioned, but we still believe that companies granted such licenses should be required to operate them, as per their agreements, in the public interest. Re-runs of "Will & Grace," "King of Queens," and "Just Shoot Me" aren't exactly on par with the 20+ hours of local news that Channels 3, 6, and 7 each produce every week.

Q: C'mon, really—what did Pat Persaud do to you to earn such wrath?
A: Honest, we don't even know Pat. We think we saw her shopping at Homer's once, about 15 years ago; other than that, zip. We're just sick to death of seeing her and all the mindless crap she's so mechanically churned out over the years.

See, we subscribe to the David Letterman school of thought, which says that TV requires concentrated effort if it's to be done well, and that (as corny as it may sound) the institution itself deserves the honest effort and respect of those who have the privilege of working on it.

Wonder why Letterman still nurses a grudge against Leno? It's not that Leno slithered in and stole "Tonight" out from under him; he probably got over that two or three hundred million dollars ago. What seems to piss Letterman off is that Leno has cheapened the Tonight Show as an institution with his robo-joke delivery and by squeezing it in around his 300 stand-up appearances a year, as if it were just another comedy club gig.

That same line of thinking drives our disdain for Persaud's work. For years now, she has failed to respect the medium, and, in turn, her audience by looking like an apathetic, bumbling hack—one who usually seems to be thinking, "Just let me read what I have to read, get my check, and go home."

Television and the audience deserve better.


Will said...

I get what you're saying about Pat Persaud. However, I don't think that Persaud "disrespects the medium" so much as she's simply lost interest in what she's doing. She's been coasting for at least five years now, but it's really been showing of late.

By the way, I would have preferred Malorie Maddox have been given the big seat, even though she's only been there a couple of months. She's already the best newscaster in town (male or female). She'll be gone in a year.

Ted Brockman said...

In the coasting lies the disrespect. She should've gotten out as soon as she lost interest.

Charles said...

My wife has a question. Not sure if it ever got answered. How tall is Dean Wysocki?

His torso and legs seem to have an odd proportion and he always looks like he is sitting on a stack of phone books when at the desk with the other anchors.

Dean said...

Ok...Charles tell your wife that Dean is about 5'8" WITH high heels on. And hey what's with the phone book comment....ouch.

KPTM weather

bigloser said...

Can we please knock off the worship of Mallorie Madox? She reads like a spokesmodel at a car show and cannot ad-lib. It's nothing but a lot of crutch phrases from her.

Is she hot? Sure. Does that make her a decent anchor? No. way. The best newscaster in town? You are on crack.

Renee said...

Travis Justice deserves all the picking on he gets. Who's idea was it that people care what a sports report thinks of other current events?

As for Dean, I second my husband's "stack of phonebooks" observation. But Dean seems like a friendly sort of guy so we don't hold that against him. I'd rather hear his opinion of current events than Travis Justice. Rumour has it Dean's an avid golfer so maybe he'll turn to sports reporting...

Charles said...

Personally, I'm not a fan of Sports at all. And Dean is my favorite Weatherperson, so I hope he doesn't get moved over to the sports desk.

Frateman said...

Praise the Lord and pass the biscuits...there is finally a
place to vent frustration at the
public relations efforts of local news organizations. It is limited
effort and newpaper rewrites that fill 18 minutes of available space.
Who really is doing any investigative stories. Not one station is making the effort to tell what is REALLY going on at City hall or County Government. They need to quit taking the handouts with fancy letterheads and
get their news the old fashion way, shoe leather and effort.
Thanks again, and keep up the good work.....I LOVE IT!

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