Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Traffic to Go Getting a Face

A KETV source tells us that adolescent traffic reporter Laura Liggett is a transitional figure. Sometime in the near future, we're told, Channel 7 will add an on-screen personality to tell us how little is happening on local streets and highways.

Morning traffic reports are an interesting topic. For example, we just love it when the Channel 6 morning crew gives us a "live view" of some spot or another on I-80 at 5:35 and there are maybe two cars in sight. Scott Akin or Malorie Maddox, having had all ability to speak spontaneously beaten out of them by a consultant's monotonously repetitive format, will typically assure us that "things are running smoothly," even though it's comically apparent to viewers that there's barely anyone on the road at that hour.

Such moments point out how superfluous 99% of these "reports" are in a market this size. Honestly, even when there's a problem, how much do these updates do to alleviate congestion? Not much, we're guessing.

Then again, in some demented way, we loved the early days of radio station KKAR, when they'd have retired deputy sheriff Chris Saklar driving around in a 1987 Dodge K-Car (get it?) and phoning in traffic updates. What always amazed us was the obscure locations he chose to report on.

"No problems to report here at 39th and Dorcas," he'd say, as if he'd expected it to be a major trouble spot. Somehow, though, he never seemed to notice places like 90th and Dodge or I-80 at 42nd Street. "I'm at 73rd and Izard," he'd beller cheerfully, "and it's smooth sailing this morning." Ahh...those were the days.

So it's with similar anticipation that we await KETV's new on-screen traffic ace. With the exception of about six days a year, there's not gonna be much to report on, so whoever gets the job will have to spend a lot of time making it look like there is. And that, friends, is a recipe for some really idiotic television.

This could be fun.


P.Wellington said...

Chris Saklar is the best. Commander Andy, even in his plane couldn't compare.

Charles said...

In advertising there is a big surge in using computer animated characters. I've seen it in McD's adds and "wendy" from the Bag 'n Gag stores and on a recent trip to the East coast a creepy character for IGA supermarkets.

Maybe the news stations could create a 3D rendered or flash animation character for such dreary spots. They are no more creepy than some newscasters and at least their 2 dimensional personality fits their 2 dimensional existence.

joeygrisgris said...

Aren't 2 dimensional personalities, 2 dimensional existence, and news anchor/reporter redundant terms?

Thomas York said...

This is a greatr blog and dead on. I rarely watch the tv news anymore because of its over-produced schlock factor and lack of journalism. The traffic reports always make me laugh. Anyone who has ever visited other major metropolitan areas during rush hour knows that Omaha's traffic is mere child's play.

omanextgen said...

And what about the promo that KKAR used to run for their morning show (maybe the still do?): "You get up yada yada yada, leave the house, and then it hits you: OMAHA TRAFFIC". Puhlease.

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