Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Channel 6 Useless Feature of the Week

Almost as revolting as its "Live at 4" rundown of grocery specials is WOWT's "Burglaries and Break-ins" segment on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. Reported by bulbous Brian Mastre, this little gem is no more than a sampling of places that have been hit by crime in the past week or so. Compounding the inanity this week was a tag by anchor Tracy Madden informing us that we can find a list of all the week's burglaries on the station's "Reminders Board."

What the hell is the point of this? Are there people sitting at home wondering where they might find crime info? Are these people saying "Thank God Channel 6 has aired this feature and posted it on the internet"? Not bloody likely. But, as they must say a lot in Channel 6 management, "What the hell...it'll kill two minutes."

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Wacky Weather Weekend

Anyone who thinks that moronicism in weathercasters is confined to local stations should've spent an hour or so watching the Weather Channel on Saturday or Sunday.

As Hurricane Katrina charged toward the Louisina-Mississippi coast, Weather Channel personnel could barely contain their glee. Approximately thrice per half hour, viewers were treated to an overwrought, drum-saturated graphics package reminding us that we were watching continuing coverage of the storm. In fact, it was so overdone that it often looked like a Saturday Night Live parody.

Then there were the on-air meteorologists, who got more excited the longer Katrina remained a Category 5 hurricane. "This may be one of the worst hurricanes in American history!" one of them gushed. Similarly, as the storm weakened, so did their enthusiasm (Katrina was a Category 4 storm by the time she made landfall). Around midnight, one guy tried to convince viewers (or maybe just himself) that the storm could still shift direction and come ashore west of New Orleans (a more disastrous scenario); it was if he were rooting for that to happen.

If you're having trouble grasping just how worked up these people were, just think back to anytime Jim Flowers was on the air during a tornado watch or blizzard. On the Weather Channel, the only difference is that there are about ten Jims running around yelping like excited chihuahuas, eager to tell anyone who'll listen how bad things could be.

• • •

While we're on the topic of weather, WOWT viewers were treated to fill-in anchor Sheila Brummer's disclosure (to high-talker/meteorologist Jeff Jensen) that she is frightened by thunderstorms. "That's why I don't do weather!" she announced.

Really, Sheila? That's odd, because we had always assumed you didn't do weather because YOU'RE NOT A METEOROLOGIST! Or is this just more of your stiff "banter"—you know, stuff you say just because you think it sounds like something an anchor should say?

When will Big Six management realize that Brummer is in no way a suitable substitute for Tracy Madden? She's clearly out of her league and doesn't seem capable of improvement. While Madden is knowledgeable, understands the stories she's delivering, and appears to have examined her script prior to airtime, she stands in stark contrast to Brummer's crosseyed-deer-in-the- headlights personna. Brummer always seems about two stumbles away from what used to be called a "nervous breakdown." She looks jittery and ill-at-ease—not exactly a soothing on-air presence.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Next Thing You Know, It'll Be Jack Mefaster Who's Turning One

Anyone who caught the last half hour of Thursday's "Live at Daybreak" witnessed some of the program's worst moments since the end of the Thom Knight era. For starters, the normally appealing Malorie Maddox apparently came to work dressed as England's Queen Elizabeth II. Either that or she was under the impression that it was "Dress Like Grandma" Day.

Then Jim Siedlecki, looking and acting even more like Gomer Pyle than usual, spiced up his banter with meteorologist Scott Akin by blurting out, "Wow, there are lots of computers here!" Yeah, Jim—holy shit—there are cameras, too!

The highlight, however, came during the normally excruciating "First Birthdays" segment. Reading what was clearly a prank submission that got by the producer, the already off-kilter anchors announced that one youngster "enjoys playing with his wiener dog."

As the program wrapped up, Maddox salivated as she mentioned that pro tennis player Andy Roddick was scheduled to visit the station later in the day. We can only imagine Roddick's consternation upon seeing that a blond-haired Ruth Bader-Ginsburg lookalike was batting her eyelashes at him.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

A Blog After Our Own Hearts

She isn't local, but Today Show news reader Ann Curry easily could be. She's as self-absorbed as Elictia Hammond, as brainless as Andrea McMaster, as able to botch copy as Suzanne Deyo, and as prone to break into a smile at inappropriate times as Sheila Brummer. Seeing all that ineptitude oozing out of one person is quite a sight. Check out the "I Hate Ann Curry" blog by clicking here.

Another Curry-hater offers this to gawker.com.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Back—and Bigger and Badder Than Ever

When we last posted here, we expected to take just a couple of weeks of vacation. But we were having so much fun that two weeks became three and three turned into four, and before we knew it, we'd spent four weeks out of town. You can't have too much vacation, can you?

While we were away, it appears that very little happened. WOWT, after playing Dave Webber's nearly two-month absence the way the Soviets used to handle the "colds" suffered by its leaders, finally came clean and let the world know that he'd suffered clogged arteries. Why it took the station six weeks to even acknowledge his absence remains unclear. Dorks.

Other than that, Andrea McMaster still comes across as a moron who can't regulate the volume of her voice, Elictia Hammond still radiates a witch-like aura, John Knicely seems as clueless as ever, and Travis Effing Justice remains employed, defying all attempts to explain that sad fact.

Other odds and ends we've noticed since we got back:

• There has been something about Devon Patton that creeped us out, but we couldn't quite put our finger on it until the other day when it finally hit us: the guy barely moves his lips and always seems to be talking with his teeth clenched. Give him a dummy (or have Travis sit on his knee) and it would appear to be a cut-rate version of Willy Tyler and Lester.

Sheila Brummer, we feel safe in saying, was a bad hire for Channel 6. A friend showed us a tape of her appearance on one of Greg Wagner's outdoor reports (she was shown kneeling next to Wagner's chair, near or under the desk). Does she think this will enhance her credibility? Or that it'll make viewers like her more? It's hard to believe that the Big Six allowed it, but given that no one seems to be minding the store, it's not a total surprise. We're pretty sure the segment would make several people at Brummer's old station in Des Moines snicker, at the very least.

• Brummer does fill one hole left by the May departure of Pat Persaud; she is the only female at WOWT who makes us turn the channel to watch anything else that's on...even if it means missing this week's specials at Chubbs.

• Hasn't Gary Smollen been declared legally dead, yet? Listening to his snivelling reports, we can't help but think of Milton from "Office Space."

• More than a few readers have sent emails commenting on KETV reporter Todd Andrews' stint filling in for anchor Rob McCartney last week. The most frequent item mentioned was his hair, parted in the middle and looking disturbingly wet. Having seen a tape of it, we see what you mean. While Andrews sounds great, he does appear to be sartorially challenged. Yikes.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Journal Broadcasting Buys KM3

Emmis Communications is selling its TV operations in bits and pieces. Among the deals reported earlier today is the Journal Broadcast Group's purchase of Omaha's KMTV, along with stations in Fort Myers, FL and Tucson, AZ, for a total of $235 million.

This seems like especially bad news for those of us who despise the sight (and sound) of Travis Justice on our TVs: Journal radio stations Z-92 and Big Sports 590 feature the bloated blowhard on a regular basis, even going so far as to give him his own show on the latter.

The purchase also will bring Journal's former Omaha General Manager, Jim McKernan back into the fold. McKernan is currently KM3's GM and is the programming genius who thought what Omaha viewers really wanted was a daily dose of Justice's nasal musings on current events.

According to its website, Journal currently owns 38 radio stations (eight of them in Omaha) and 7 television outlets. It is the same outfit that, upon acquiring WOW radio, casually tossed aside those history-laden (and now unrecoverable) call letters in favor of the forgettable KXSP moniker. One can only imagine what they'll do with KM3.

Emmis Sells Nine TV Stations [TheStreet.com]
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