Monday, March 13, 2006

Filling Gaps

Before we take a vacation, here are a couple of hirings to note:

KMTV has hired Dave Roberts as a reporter. Roberts is a native of New Jersey, attended Coe College in Iowa, and has worked at stations in Waterloo, Iowa, and Austin, Minnesota.

And WOWT has already found someone to fill Courtny Gerrish's weekend anchor seat. Jaime McCutcheon will join Paul Baltes at the station's outdated anchor desk and handle reporting duties. McCuthcheon is a graduate of the University of Georgia, who most recently worked in Macon, Georgia.

Her hiring suggests that Channel 6, which a year ago was awash in blond anchors, has been instructed by its consultant to hire more brunettes (see "Brummer, Sheila"). They're nothing if not transparently formulaic. We'll be interested to see the hair color on Andrea McMaster's replacement.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

F.F. Fs-Up Fire Feature

So KETV sends Farah Fazal out to cover a fire story Wednesday night at 10. And she turns in what, for her, is a better-than-usual effort. But it still sucked. We weren't going to mention it, thinking perhaps that we were being too nit-picky.

But then we received an email this morning from an alert reader, citing the very things we considered writing about:

We have been watching with amazement the broadcast news horror that is Farrah Fazal for many weeks now, and the "Fubar" nickname is spot-on!

Did you happen to catch her live report from a fire in Elkhorn last night? She referred several times to the home having 3 "fire detectors", and also a carbon monoxide detector (how that was germane to the story we'll likely never know). FIRE DETECTORS? I'm sure she was thinking of smoke detectors, which causes me to wonder a couple of things:

a) Why doesn't a person in her capacity know the difference and have the ability to convey it?
b) Does she have any in her home, and if so; did she read the box when she purchased them, or did she just wander around Home Depot in an endless search for "fire detectors"?

For the love of God, Channel 7, PLEASE find FUBAR an off-air job. She's even more painful to watch than WOWT's coma-inducing Gary Smollen. If you have any compassion for your viewers (or for the welfare of your news operation), you'll ditch this woman before she embarrasses you even further.

Big Six Weekend Mornings to Get New Faces

Anyone who has seen Sean Weide's Reader "Media Notes" column for this week knows the good news: Andrea McMaster is leaving the station to take a part-time gig with the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

McMaster, who just became a mom last fall, wants to spend more time at home. Her last day is March 31st, which happens to be the first day on the job for new anchor Mike Cronemeyer. Weide also reports that WOWT is searching for a woman to join Cronemeyer at the weekend morning anchor desk, meaning that the station may have a new duo on the air in time for May sweeps.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

The Cheerleader Strikes Back

In one of the more amusing contributions to the "Comments" section of OMAnews, someone identified as "journalism101" writes,

Everyone I know in local TV news has stopped reading this blog. This blog takes me back to high school, where the geeks at the Dungeons and Dragons table in the corner of the lunchroom made fun of the athletes and cheerleaders from afar. And like those nerds, Ted has shut off the actual journalists from joining the fun at the geek table by his censorship known as "moderation". The racist and sexist nature of Ted's writing is disgusting.

Where to start? After we stop laughing, of course. Just for giggles, let's dissect this brilliant missive:

"Everyone I know in local TV news has stopped reading this blog."

First, the fact that about 50% of the hits on this page come from Hearst, Journal, or Gray computers suggests one of three scenarios: (a) j101 doesn't know many people in local TV news, (b) j101 is deluded, or (c) all three companies have serious security breaches that allow non-employees to sneak in around the clock and use station computers to view this blog.

Second, based on tracking and other clues, we're 98% certain that j101 is the same dizzy anchorette who told co-workers she wouldn't consider them friends anymore if she caught them reading The Blog. This would also be the same ditz who filed a police complaint against The Blog, which we know about only because several of her co-workers told us about it and how idiotic they think she is for doing it.

"This blog takes me back to high school, where the geeks at the Dungeons and Dragons table in the corner of the lunchroom made fun of the athletes and cheerleaders from afar."

We're guessing she was a cheerleader. Cheerleaders everywhere must be relieved that she's finally standing up for them. They've long suffered the slights and humiliations that go with being perky and attractive and wearing really short skirts; it's about time that this persecuted group has a spokesperson.

"And like those nerds, Ted has shut off the actual journalists from joining the fun at the geek table by his censorship known as "moderation".

Um, longtime readers will recall that the "moderation" (why are we putting quotes around that word?) came about after several idiots posted very personal information about particular individuals in the "Comments" section. If j101 would like her address and phone number or graphic sexual remarks about her posted by some random reader, that's her business. But we won't be providing the forum.

"The racist and sexist nature of Ted's writing is disgusting. "

Ahh, the new last refuge of the scoundrel: the race/sex card. Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that we're a pretty equal-opportunity operation when it comes to doling out criticism, and none of the criticism offered has ever focused on ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. You'll notice, for instance that one of our most frequent targets, Travis Justice, is a white, male, heterosexual. Ditto John Knicely.

Coversely, if you check our list of People We Like, you'll find a wide variety of folks, young and old, male and female. Admittedly, there's only one African-American name on the list, but given the scarcity of African-American reporters in this market, that's hardly surprising from a statistical perspective.

"Journalism101" seems an inappropriate name for someone who has so little regard for facts. Perhaps "Reckless101" or "PeaBrain 101" would be a better fit.

Jim Flowers Drinking Game

Make up your own, using any or all of these phrases:

• for the balance of (honest to god, he actually referred to the "balance of the state" recently)
• let's go topside
• top out at
• head into (or heading into)
• band (or banding)
• nuisance snow
• plowable snow
• polar plunge
• precision

P.S. Early last week, in a pathetic attempt to win back the Edward R. Murrow Award for Hysterical Weather-Guessing from KETV's Bill Randby, Ejacu-Weather Jim predicted two big snowfalls before March 15th. The calendar is ticking.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A Lunatic Vents

From the Annals of Stupidity, we offer this little morsel, submitted by a seemingly not-so-bright reader:

I stumbled onto this blog and I think this type of bashing is outrageous. Because of you (mr. or ms. blogger) I think congress ought to pass laws to get you prosecuted. These people that you write about, their rights need to be protected. Theres no law against lying, but you lie to defame someone falsely, in which case it's slander or libel. But this doesn't curtail a right to free speech. This is criminal speech. This type of speech denies someone else of their right. A right to a fair trial is denied through perjury. A right to law and order is denied through incitement to riot. A right to your good name is denied with slander or libel.

Hmm. Our reactions:

(1) Are we the only ones who see the irony in the fact that this person didn't sign his or her real name to the comment?
(2) Are we the only ones who see the similarities between this post, rants by The Tool on Z-92's Todd 'n' Tyler show, and an installment of the mercifully defunct "For What It's Worth"?
(3) As George F. Will has been heard to ask, at what point did there become a right to go through life without ever being offended by anything?
(4) How does offering opinions on particular programs, stories, or personalities constitute libel?
(5) Who the hell is "on trial"?
(6) How low is this dork's IQ?

Better than FUBAR, But...

We thought it was bad enough when KPTM hired Calvert Collins straight out of college last May. However, it seems that Channel 7 has now sunk to hiring people who aren't even out of college yet, as is the case with reporter Laura Liggett. She graduates from UNL in May.

Granted, she is better than FUBAR Fazal, but that's not exactly a huge bar to leap over, is it?

The Channel 7 website features Little Miss Liggett's bio, and all we can say is, "Wow." To begin with, it's written in first-person. And then there's the content. Here are a few highlights:

• "I've been asked a dozen times if I realize how lucky I am to be working in Omaha so early. My response to that: Yes. Not only do I realize how lucky I am, I have gratitude to match. I truly couldn't orchestrate a better 'first job.'"

The few times we've seen her, she hasn't been able to orchestrate a coherent sentence, so this isn't exactly a revelation.

• My family supports me more then I deserve at times.

Insert your own proofreading rant here.

• I am blessed to have the same three best friends since first grade. They keep me -- well, me.

Now we know who to blame.

• Aside from the most important people in my life, I fill all other down time with church, cartoons or eBay.

Cartoons and eBay? Holy shit. Do you think this is the sort of thing a young Tom Brokaw would put on his bio if he were just starting out today? Raise your hand if you'll ever be able to take seriously anything this woman says.

Monday, March 06, 2006

WOWT Pulling Anchor Up from Lincoln

Another of our many alert readers tells us that WOWT has chosen KOLN/KGIN weekend anchor Mike Cronemeyer to join Andrea McMaster at the desk on Saturday and Sunday mornings. According to this tip, he'll be on the job by the end of March.

From what we're told, this guy will fit nicely into the Channel Sucks fold. Our reader says that "he manages to speak without opening his mouth and just might be a stiff as Knicely himself." And, the source continues, Cronemeyer appears to be "a master at turning the Lincoln Journal Star's morning headlines into his daily package."

Behind the Scenes at Channel 6

Sunday was Courtny Gerrish's last night on Channel 6. She's departing for the bright lights of Milwaukee, where she'll anchor the late afternoon news. To understand why she's leaving, we think it'd be fun to imagine the conversation that must have taken place nearly a year ago, when Gerrish was hoping to fill the anchor vacancy on the Big Six's 4 p.m. newscast. If WOWT GM Frank Jonas and News Director John Clark sat down to discuss the situation, it must've gone something like this...

FJ: Well, John, how are things progressing on the opening at 4 p.m.?
JC: I think I've got it narrowed down to two options.
FJ: Oh yeah?
JC: Yeah. Courtny would like to move into the slot. And there's this woman from Des Moines who's interested.
FJ: So what are you thinking?
JC: I don't know. Courtny's been with us for what, eight or nine years? She's bright, attractive, able to do just about anything we ask of her and do it with poise. I can't recall ever hearing her screw up or sound stupid. She's probably as good as any female anchor in town.
FJ: Yeah, she pretty much carried the morning show for a lotta years.
JC: Yeah, there is that.
FJ: But what about the one from Des Moines?
JC: Her name's umm...Brummer. Sheila Brummer.
FJ: Is that the one whose tape you had me look at?
JC: Yeah, what'd you think?
FJ: Well, she's not exactly charismatic. Seems like a stumbler and doesn't come across as all that bright. And she's got a creepy smile she gives the camera every now and then.
JC: Uh-huh. Her eyes kinda glaze over. Weird, isn't it?
FJ: To say the least. What station is she with?
JC: Well, here's the deal: she's not exactly with any station right now. She was anchoring mornings at KCCI, but they let her go. Nobody's saying why.
FJ: Oh, I think that's the one I was reading about. It was an interview with the news director or GM or somebody, and he refused to comment on why they weren't renewing her contract.
JC: Other than that, I don't know much.
FJ: So let's review the facts. On one hand, we have a proven, long-time anchor/reporter who's bright, articulate, and perfect for the job. Probably could anchor at any station in town.
JC: Right.
FJ: While on the other hand, we have a marginally-talented, kinda dull, often scary-looking woman from Des Moines who is suddenly and mysteriously unemployed.
JC: Yep. And kinda cross-eyed.
FJ: Well, the choice seems pretty obvious to me. How 'bout you?
JC: It's not even close, in my mind.
FJ: We're in agreement, then?
JC: Absolutely, Chief. Want me to offer her the job?
FJ: Yeah, sure.
JC: I'm on it.
FJ: And John?
JC: Yeah, Frank?
FJ: Try to break it to Courtny gently, okay? I mean, she's probably thrilled to be working with geniuses like us—don't get me wrong—but she might be a little disappointed. Once she sees who we've hired, I think she'll understand.
JC: Sure, Frank. I'm sure she'll be fine with it. We're such a great station, Courtny'll probably be here another twenty years.

Tree Regulation in Ralston?

From the KM3 Action 3 News website on Sunday...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

And the Downward Spiral Continues

Someone at KETV apparently decided that the station's descent into the gutter wasn't progressing quite fast enough, so who got to fill in for Julie Cornell on Thursday but FUBAR Fazal?!

Not only is her delivery at the anchor desk every bit as bad as when she's reporting, her facial expressions fall somewhere between constipated and terrified. And then there's that voice. Fazal is the only person we've ever heard who ALWAYS sounds as if she's wearing a mike packed in a fistful of cotton.


We've griped about a lot of local talent. Justice. Smollen. Murrell. Collins. Persaud. But none of them can touch FUBAR when it comes to earning our disdain. She displays a combination of incompetence and aesthetic repulsiveness that is perhaps unprecedented in this market. In other words, we can't write enough bad things about her work to adequately convey how much we hate seeing her on our TV screen.

Our biggest question is this: Where the hell was everyone else? What about Brandi Petersen? Or Suzanne Deyo? For God's sake, even Elictia Hammond (Did we really just type that?), Laura Liggett, or the frickin' janitor would be preferable to the doltish FUBAR, whose repeated references to a "United Pacific" train several weeks ago will forever ring in our ears.

KETV can do whatever it wants to try to endow this creature with credibility, but it's not gonna work. No matter how much you polish a turd, it's still a turd.

The Fantastic Four...If You Count FUBAR

Here to protect us? Good god. What have we done to deserve this?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

KPTM Hires Weekend Co-Anchor

In his "Media Notes" column in this week's Reader, Sean Weide reports that that KPTM has hired Scott Patterson from Albany, NY to fill the weekend anchor chair next to the divine Amanda Mueller. Patterson is a grad of Syracuse University and has worked in print journalism as well as several stations in Albany. According to the story, he'll start in the next couple of weeks.
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