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Monday, June 18, 2018

Breakfast Bites

Subway is no longer forcing its franchise holders to open at 7 am and serve breakfast.

While I have been in Subways early, I didn't experiment with the breakfast offerings of wraps and muffins.  I stuck with the subs.

One of the great joys in life is fasting for hours for blood work, having the blood drawn, then heading to Subway to inhale a foot long turkey and Swiss in thirty seconds.  I've done it twice.

As far as Subway breakfast goes, I've never had it.  A company spokesman says people just didn't think of Subway for breakfast.  The New York Post reports Subway is bringing in an outside consultant to professionalize operations, turn around slumping sales, and possible prime the company for a sale.

I don't think Subway is a bad place.  However, in a crowded industry, it just isn't special.  It seems to be a place you have to go for a quick bite, not a destination because you like the food.

Someone from Wendy's  tweeted snarky things about IHOP after the company announced a burger promotion, and a temporary name change to IHOB.  I was waiting for someone from IHOP to respond that Wendy's tried national breakfast roll outs twice-- and failed both times.

Burger King called itself Pancake King for a day.  This is the same chain that changes its french fries every few years because it still can't get it right.  BK still produces a good burger.

IHOP could have fired back.  It didn't.  I guess management was too busy watching all the free TV  it received for the name change hysteria.

Starbucks recently announced a price increase.  Moot point for me.  I never drink coffee.  At Starbucks and other high end coffee places, you're not paying for the beans.  You are paying for workers, rent, advertising, marketing, etc.  I am constantly amazed at the drive through lines at McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts on a weekday morning.  People love the stuff.

Bottom line:  food is a cutthroat business.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Twenty!

Today is my 20th anniversary at WNEP.

There are many days I walk in the door as terrified as I was on the first.

As I've noted here before, I still love news, and I'm having fun.  There is still a lot of gas left in the tank.

I'll see you tomorrow!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Andy's Angles: Perhaps I Should Explain

Clearly, I didn't take this one.  One of our editors and associate producers Brittany did.  Joe wanted a picture to remind us of the dead of winter, and how great it was to have a wonderful summer day.

It was taken Tuesday morning.  I had just finished filling in for Tom Williams on Newswatch 16 This Morning.  Joe wanted to be photographed in a winter coat, and He asked me to photo bomb.  Upon further reflection, I think photo bombing is spontaneous, and not planned.

Anyway...

There are some things I miss about winter.  The most important-- I sleep better.  Regular readers know I work all night and sleep all day, and I keep that schedule even on my days off.  I find it easier to sleep when it's dark and I'm under a heavy blanket layer.  Dark curtains and a big air conditioner help, but it can't replace those cold nights and 4:30 PM sunsets.

Yes, I do like having four seasons, although spring and fall don't last long enough.  Yes, it's nice walking out to the driveway and not scraping a windshield, not slipping and sliding to work.

Excuse me.  It's time for a nap.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Unfinished Friday

REVISITING SOME EARLIER TOPICS...

In yesterday's entry, I pointed out that the Trump/Kim Singapore Summit reminded me of President Nixon's trip to the USSR and China in 1972.  A loyal blog reader and old radio friend pointed out that the Wilkes-Barre Township and Bradford County tornadoes struck as we approach the anniversary of the Agnes flood, also in 1972.

The New York Times recently reported the YES Network is close to signing Yankees' announcer Michael Kay to a big, new contract.  Why?  I've always been amazed the most famous team in baseball, in the largest market in baseball, settles for such mediocrity in the radio and television broadcast booths.  And as far as the radio booth goes, "mediocrity" is being kind. 

Regardless if you're Republican of Democrat, regardless if you supported Trump or Clinton, you have to agree that the past few years have not been the best in the history of the Justice Department.  It seems the rank and file do a great job.  Leadership, on the other hand...

I don't think there is anything that could happen that could get me interested in the World Cup. 

I dipped in and out of the FOX coverage of the U.S. Open.  Golf isn't really my thing.  First, I think FOX, after a slow start a few years ago, does a nice job on golf.  Second, who are these people?  So many new faces on the tour. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Dust: North Korea

It was deja vu.  Mindi Ramsey and I were on the set, getting ready for Newswatch 16 This Morning on Tuesday.  Images of President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea were on the giant monitors in front of us.

Suddenly, it was 1972.

I remembered President Nixon's trips to China and the USSR in 1972.  It was fascinating.  Television images of things we hadn't seen up close before-- the Great Wall, The Forbidden City, the Kremlin.

Even though the U.S./North Korea Summit was held in neutral territory, I remembered those presidential trips 46 years ago.  There was quite a bit in common.  An American president was talking with leaders of countries we feared engaging in a war.  Like North Korea, the Chinese and Soviets were not known for their human rights.

China is still around.  The USSR isn't.  There have been ups and downs in our relationships with China and Russia, but so far, the missiles are still in the silos.

By all accounts, North Korea, while a nuclear power, is a mess.  Electricity is spotty.  The economy is a disaster   There isn't enough food to go around,  Kim needs to be taken seriously on the world stage.  North Korea needs change to survive.  It began on a Tuesday in Singapore.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Homework

A school district in Nassau County, New York is eliminating homework for elementary school students.  The superintendent says studies show young children gain nothing from it.  Homework works best in junior high and high schools.  Instead, children will be encouraged to do some reading at home.

Really?

I remember getting slammed as a kid, many nights at the kitchen table doing the dreaded long division.

I'm a moderate here.  I always believed kids should get a little something, in all grades, especially the early ones.  Kids have to develop good study habits.  Those will come in handy in high school, and especially college, where it's all homework.

By the way, it never ends.

I've been in the business a long time, and I've worked with a lot of people.  One of the big differences between the professionals and the amateurs is homework.  The good producers, reporters and photographers have a curiosity about the world around them.  They watch TV news, they read books and newspapers, they talk with people about what's important to them.  I understand the need to unplug and recharge the battery, but the learning process, the homework, never ends.

Start young.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

You Talk Too Much

A coworker and I were thinking about it the other day.  Now that Tom Snyder has retired and passed, now that Charlie Rose has self destructed, now that the Bob Costas hosted "Later" on NBC is a distant memory, now that "Nightline" is multi topic...  are there serious, yet entertaining interviews on TV?

I thought of including Larry King in that group, but he mailed in that show for years.  People went on it because they knew they'd have an easy ride.  It was something you watched because there was nothing else you liked at 9 PM.  Piers Morgan wasn't around long enough for me to figure out why that show was such a train wreck.

Yes, there are interviews on C-SPAN and a couple other places.  The hosts are competent, but nothing to make you want to turn a dial.  It seems like there's an opening here, a void that needs to be filled.

Yes, David Letterman has a well received interview show on Netflix.  I love Dave, but not enough to pay to watch him.

In a similar vein, when I was a kid, teen, and even a young man, there was a big number of local DJ's/radio personalities to look up to, to emulate, to admire.  Who do young people use for inspiration these days?  There are exceptions.  In the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area, we have The Prospector, Frankie Warren, Doc Medek, Rocky and Lissa, Jeff and Amanda.  Gary Chrisman is THE brand in Williamsport.  I'm sure I'm leaving out a few others, and I apologize.  There is some great local talent out there.  I wish there was more.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Monday Scrapple

Not only are we losing D Day veterans, we're losing people who realize D Day was a huge deal.

I don't know how Floridians live with alligators wandering through their yards.

I'm an old radio guy, and I always admired Anthony Bourdain's voice and delivery.

Why does Dickson City still have culm banks?

It's almost mid June-- time for the back to school sales to start.

Asphalt plants have been open for several weeks-- and some roads are still awful.

The person who invented peach iced tea deserves an award.

A Las Vegas win would have been a better story.  Congratulations to the Washington Capitals.  I don't follow hockey.  Like the NBA, the season lasts too long and too many teams make the playoffs.

The NBA Finals turned out to be a bust-- a Golden State sweep over Boston.  And, I really don't care where LeBron James plays next year, even though he is a tremendous talent.

Amazon is out with some new products.  Voice activated technology is so fascinating.

I'd really love to be in on the Singapore Summit.

Calerie and I were talking about it over the weekend-- how do those giant bumblebees get off the ground?

The general election is still four months away, and I can't wait.  It should be interesting.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Andy's Angles: Fernwood

 They are all over the Poconos.  Resorts from the glory days, falling into disrepair.  Today, it's Fernwood, near East Stroudsburg, scene of a huge fire Sunday night.
 The recreation building and arcade burned.  There used to be boxing matches and assorted other activities in here over the years.  The walls remain.  Everything inside is gone.
A religious group bought Fernwood in December, and intended to turn it into a "world peace center."  A spokesman says the plans are delayed, but still on track.  I walked around the property and looked at the buildings that didn't burn.  It didn't appear much work had been done.  In fact, it looked fairly shabby.  Fernwood had been closed for several years, and the property really looked that way.

I've had the opportunity to tour other Poconos resorts in the same boat, including Mt. Airy in Paradise Township, before it changed hands.  The musty stench was unbearable.  There was one solution:  a bulldozer, and that's what the new owners wisely did.  You hate to lose history, and it would have been really neat to see those buildings and hotel rooms restored.  It would have been enormously expensive.  You had to start over.

It's clear the recreation building at Fernwood will have to go.  I'm not sure about the rest. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Andy's Angles and First Person: Fernwood

I am usually up well before my alarm, so that gives me a chance to check my email and WNEP.com, so I'm off and running as soon as I get to the office.  I woke up late Sunday night to the news that one of the big buildings at the old Fernwood resort, in Middle Smithfield Township was burning.
I arrived at the office just as photographer Greg returned from the scene.  I looked at the video, listened to a fire chief interview, and banged out two versions of the story for Newswatch 16 This Morning.  Photographer Erich arrived.  He loaded up a truck and we headed to Monroe County.

By the way, the amount of traffic on the roads of Monroe County, even at 3:30 am, is astounding.

Erich found a safe place to park the truck, lit the scene, and we were off and running.

After the braodcast, we found a couple of former Fernwood employees and a third person who remembered Fernwood's glory days.  We were supposed to meet up with a fourth person, but time was not our friend.  We waited as long as we could, but we had to head back to the office.  Apologies.

As I listened to the interviews and picked out segments, Erich found old video of a Fernwood boxing match.  It was in the building that burned, and it added quite a bit to the piece.  Script written, approved, and edited.  Friend and co-worker Carmella Mataloni would wrap around my piece at noon, with the latest information.

It was a good mix.  Carmella had the latest facts.  I had the "people piece."  Everything worked out nicely.

More on Fernwood tomorrow.