Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Vacation Mail

During our four weeks away, we received dozens of emails about this, that, and the other.

For example, one alert reader tipped us off to the fact that KPTM's Calvert Collins does not appear to have majored in theology:

On Sunday, July 31st, Calvert Collins of KPTM did a report on a reunion of Boystown alums and noted that Father Flanagan's great grandson was in attendance.

Another fills us in on NTV, which has fed a fair amount of talent into the Omaha TV market:

As shitty as the town of Axtell is, it's in great shape compared to the station. The station sits literally in the middle of a cornfield . . . It looks like a mobile home park. Think Randy Quaid's character from "Christmas Vacation." There is trash all over the outside of the station. From just your run of the mill litter, to satellites and other big equipment that blew over and has never been picked up. . . . The news director at NTV is one of the most incompetent news people in the state (I'm counting Scottsbluff). His main duty is to deliver farm market reports for the morning and noon shows. It consists of verbatum repetition of grain, hog and cattle prices. It lasts for three plus minutes, no matter. And yes your ears will begin to bleed. Here's a sample.

In Grand Island, corn is off 5 cents on the spot price at 4 oh-five, and off 5 cents on the new crop at 4 oh-five. (Long pause) Grand Island wheat is up a nickel on the spot price at 3 oh-seven, (akward pause) down a penny on the new crop at three oh-six...

The station has no over the shoulder graphics (lost those back in early 2004), limited live-shot capabilities. Also a new "used" switcher has been sitting on the floor in master control for almost 9 months, but hasn't been installed.

The pay is terrible at NTV. $8/hr for reporters/photogs/producers, mid-twenties for anchors.

Another implores us to investigate Tracy Madden's dermatological status:

"What are those things on her face? Are they moles? They appear to be covered with makeup, but it's not hiding much. They're very distracting. Like that guy "the Mole" in that Austin Powers movie. It's all you can look at when she's talking. She's making good money, when her next vacation comes up, she should get to a skin doctor and get them taken off on Day One so they'll be healed up by the time she come back."

And then there was a 3,400-word missive from a new reader giving his (or her) take on Omaha's four news-carrying stations. Some highlights:

• KPTM has had the worst newscast since it debuted in 19-- whatever. Even when they run a promo for a story that I might be actually interested in seeing, I cannot bear to watch the whole newscast, or any part of it up until that point, because the production values are so hideous!

• The powers that be at KM3 (hey that rhymed) should pair Peterson up with weekend anchor Sarah Simmons, under the condition that she does something with her hair.

• I do think that it is nice that for Ryan McPike's 21st birthday that they made him Chief Meteorologist. And that his predecessor Mark Lee held the job for him in trust, almost like an uncle who is the overseer of an inheretence, until he reached the age of maturity to do the job. Beyond that there is something kinda off balance about those three (Deb [Ward], Greg [Peterson], and Ryan) sitting on the anchor desk together. It's like Mom and Dad are doing the news, and Jr. is doing the weather.

Travis Justice is the worst TV personality ever. And I use the word personality VERY VERY loosely. He has no tact, no real charisma, no sense of decorum, and he serves no real purpose for being on TV at all. Be it in his commentator role throughout the week, or his sports host gig on Sundays. He has yet to say ANYTHING that I can firmly agree with. He doesn't stir interesting or intelligent debate, and being a former score jockey doesn't really qualify you to be a commentator any way!

•What's with all the black and blue all over the place? The TRON look went out . . . okay the TRON look was never in, but let's do away with the black and blue and hints of red crap!

• KETV . . . I remember the good ole days of NewsWatch 7, Carol Schrader, Michael Scott, Jim Flowers, and John Knicely. I am even old enough to remember John Mooney. . . . We loved Carol. Carol was real people. If a story moved her, Carol would cry on ya. AND WE LOVED THAT! She was to date the most genuine anchor on Omaha TV. Didn't understand the hair, but we forgave that because, dammit it was Carol!

• Then along came Julie and Bill. The Cornell/Randby's out of FL. Julie went from reporter, to substitute anchor, to early morning anchor, to 5pm anchor, to Carol's job, in a 4 year period. And to this day, Julie refuses to show any positive emotion, eventhough she indirectly drove Carol out of her job. Julie and that geek she is paired with each night, Rob McCartney, are two of the most mismatched pair of anchors on TV since Dan Rather and Connie Chung. There is NO chemistry between these two. . . .

Jon Schuetz tries too hard to be funny, and I think after all of these years on the air it is finally time for him to let his Jack Lord haircut go! . . . I prefer John Oakey as a sports anchor, but if he must anchor the news, can he do it alone?

Andrea Breadeux [Bredow], or however you spell that, looks like one of those cartoon characters from the Frosty the Snowman Christmas Special that used to air every year. . . . Chuck McWilliams is a zombie.

• The NewsPlex was fresh and innovative when it was introduced about 10 years ago but it is time for an overhaul. Don't do away with it alltogether, but a new paint scheme and at least a different newsdesk would be nice.

• And tone down the theme music, we know the news is on, but don't kill us with the over the top symphony.

• Finally, saving the best for last, WOWT CH 6 For the Heartland. For as long as I can remember, and I am 31, my family and I have always been Channel 6 News viewers. . . . They always had the best sets, the best anchors, the best reporters. . . . Being the first on the air in Omaha, being the first to broadcast in color, once having Johnny Carson as an employee, and so on . . . now we have gone from all of that . . . . to Shiela Brummer?

• The set that they utilize for the majority of their newscasts . . . looks like they are in the basement of some military bunker, or nuclear reactor. The fake flashing monitors in the background are just DUMB!. . . . The graphics are tired, the fonts are basic, the pace of the newscasts are weak. . . . Brummer looks like a knock off Barbie doll. One of those off brands that you find in the toy department at Walgreen's. She is slightly cock-eyed . . is she smiling or is she being serious? And she doesn't have very good command of the English language.

• Love Dave Webber. . . . I like Courtney Gerrish well enough, but if she is a smoker, and I believe she is, she needs to quit. Because if her voice gets ANY deeper, I am going to start thinking that she is channeling Lucille Ball.

Lucille Ball, eh? Something similar happens to us every time we see Elictia Hammond; we think she's channeling Billie Hayes, the actress who played Witchiepoo on H.R. Pufnstuf.


rivercity_jack said...

Hello! Long time reader, first time poster. I am 26 and am also old enough to remember John Mooney at KETV along with the pre newsplex era of Schrader,Scott,Flowers and Knicley. However I do prefer Randby to Flowers. Randby isn't as doomsdayish when it comes to severe weather. Don't get me wrong, Bill likes what he does for a living, but I feel more at ease watching KETV over WOWT for severe weather. As for the "golden age" of WOWT in my book were the days of Gary Kerr, Byron Wood, and Dale Munson. Kerr was probably in my opinion, the best anchor Omaha ever had. I thought he got shafted back in '98 when John Clark cut him off of the 5pm broadcasts. I always thought that Mr. Kerr should have been paired with Ms. Schrader. That would have had credibility and experience written all over it. Just my 2 cents worth.

dannymccaslin said...

NTV sucks. Imagine KPTM crapiness times 50.

Gary said...

I agree with rivercity jack - gotta love Gary Kerr, Byron Wood and Dale Munson. The Kerr/Schrader pair would have been great. I liked Schrader/Scott too.

DarthSchrader said...

Hello! Long time caller, first time listener.

NTV stands for "Not TV".

KPTM sounds like it is broadcasting from a gymnasium, even though the building looks like a honky-tonk.

Here are some tips for KPTM on how to get better; from a viewer's perspective:

1. Turn the anchors' microphones up, or perhaps on. It is really annoying to have to crank the TV volume to hear the news. Why? Because when the ads come on, the friggin' TV speakers blow out.

2. Put mirrors in the TV personalities dressing rooms. Some days it looks like the kids forgot that it was picture day at school.

3. Allow your newscasters to actually engage in real banter with each other, and never force them to laugh at each other when they roll out some lame schtick.

4. Make the female anchor get knocked up and write an online diary about having stretch marks and morning sickness. Hey, it worked for Channel 7.

5. Let the sportscaster let out a swear once per night. That way he can get it off of his chest, and you can sell sponsorships for a contest. "Be the 42nd caller when you hear J.J. say (insert expletive here)."

6. Freshen up the set. Have a lot of fake monitors, radar screens, lights, strobes, disco name it. Make it look like Star Trek behind the anchors. Hire college kids to dress up, and run back and forth behind the anchors, so it looks like there is a staff of 2,000 working around-the-clock with "hot" news stories.

7. Cough up some dough around the station, and try to make Elizabeth Merriman (weekend weather-babe) not look like Terri Schiavo.

8. Never hire Travis Justice back.

rivercity_jack said...

As for KMTV, Deb Ward is cool and all, but I would have to agree that Sarah Simmons is better suited in the lead anchor position. I know I am going to upset the Tracy Madden fans, but I felt that WOWT should have hired Simmons to replace Persaud. Simmons has a more respectful and take charge presence on the air when compared to Ward, Madden or Cornell. My guess is that none of the Omaha stations will ever recognize her lead anchor potential and she'll end up going to Chicago or some other big market.

DiggerDog said...

Sorry rivercity jack, but you are wrong. WOWT should have promoted Omaha's best and best looking anchor in Courtny Gerrish to replace Persaud.

weatherwoman said...

I agree about Courtney. She was the obvious choice to me. Maybe she didn't want it?

Sarah Simmons would have been an excellent choice too. If she isn't a lead anchor soon she should look elsewhere. She is fabulous. Tracy just isn't my first choice for this spot, but I love her on the weekends.

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