Sunday, November 17, 2019

Andy's Angles: Welcome to Winter

Don't I look absolutely thrilled to be standing in a cold rain, doing my first winter road report of the season?

My friend and co-worker, Sarah Buynovsky, took the northern tier.  That area was getting the change over from rain to ice, to snow first.  I took the south, where the rain was holding on longer than in the rest of our area, in spite of the 2,000 foot elevation.   It was important to show the contrast.  Sarah had the snow in Montrose.  I had rain, then ice, then snow, in Mount Pocono.

No matter hard you try, it's impossible to stay dry, especially on a windy morning, when the rain was coming at you sideways.  Photographer Jason and I were very fortunate.  A drop of water in the wrong place can put you temporarily out of business.  The gear stayed dry.  We stayed on the air.

And, it's just the beginning.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Andy's Angles: Marywood Christmas

First, I didn't take this photo.  It's actually a screen grab from a Newswatch 16 story done by reporter Stacy Lange and photographer Mike Cholko.  It's the mailing and printing building.

The architecture students at my alma mater, Marywood University, are decorating the campus for a drive-through Christmas light display.  The switch gets flipped December 4, right after the Christmas tree lighting in the Liberal Arts Building.

Christmas seasons at colleges are tough.  Students are occupied with finals, and they're gone by the middle of the month.  I was one of those people who was around during Christmas break because I was one of the townies who kept the radio station on the air.

Marywood has a big and beautiful campus, and I can't wait to see the finished Christmas project.

Friday, November 15, 2019

A Toast to 15

This blog turns 15 years old today, and I am happy to report that while other blogs have disappeared, this one endures.

Why?  Because I have nothing better to do with my time.

Seriously, it's a nice little creative outlet for me, and it's a chance to let you what's really going on out there.  I get a minute and half to tell my stories on TV.  The blog allows for the occasional perspective and analysis-- and a little fun.

It never had a ton of readers.  There is a solid 200+ hits every day, and I thank those who link it to their Facebook and Twitter pages.  I do that myself, once in a while, if there is an entry I feel deserves wider distribution.

Why the wine glass?  Crystal is the gift for a 15th anniversary, so drink up.

There is still some gas left in the tank.

I'll meet you back here tomorrow.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Say My Name

While I have yet to be a guest on Joe Snedeker's "Mr. Curiosity" podcast, at least I've been mentioned twice.

Let me give you the abridged version.  Norm Jones told the story of how he began working at WNEP, and I played a small role in that.  We had an opening.  Our executive producer at the time was watching tapes of applicants.  Yes, people sent out tapes in those days.   I walked in to the conference room to ask an unrelated question.  Norm's tape from his Ohio station was on the TV screen.  Loved his voice.  Loved the way he constructed a story.  I told the executive producer "There's your guy."  The rest is history.  While Norm is very happy out of the business, it's our loss.  He was a solid reporter an anchor.  More importantly, he's good people.

The same can be said for Kerry Brazen.  Good people.  On the podcast, Kerry told the story of  her internship here at WNEP, and I was around in those days.  We've remained friends, and wound up with adjacent desks here in the newsroom.  She referred to me as her "uncle."  While that made me feel very old, I do take it as a compliment.  I watched Kerry take on additional responsibilities.  She joined us at 4 pm producer.  "Taste Test" and "16 to the Rescue" were added to her corral.  The animal feature was new, and she's made "Taste Test" her very own.

Joe is always asking for me to appear with "Mr. Curiosity."  The jury is still out.  I think it would be as interesting as heck, but I'm still on the fence.

I'd love a podcast of my own, and it's very possible in the days to come.  I've been kicking around a few ideas.  Nothing jumps out at me, at this time.  When it does, you know the rest.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Book Review: "It Shocked Even Us"

Being a broadcaster does have at least one minor down side.  I spend all day with my nose in a computer, reading the news and writing the news.  Recreational reading has taken a back seat, and that troubles me a great deal.  I did try to remedy things during a recent vacation.  I recently reviewed a book on "Match Game."  Today, it's something completely different.

I bought "It Shocked Even Us" by Frank Cipolla several months ago, and I let it sit on a shelf.  Big mistake in litting it sit, unread.  I picked it up a couple of weeks ago, and I loved every page.

Frank Cipolla is a New York City kid, who got his start in radio at a tiny, now defunct, radio station in Washington, NJ-- just over the Pennsylvania line.  He went on to work in cable TV news, plus more radio and WWOR TV in Secaucus.  While the stations were different, he and I encountered many of the same types of characters and situations over the years.  Some of what Cipolla mentions is "inside baseball."  For the most part, even people outside of the industry will get what Cipolla writes about.  You'll enjoy it.

In the small world category, Cipolla has pages dedicated to his radio adventures with Jim Bosh.  Cipolla and Bosh worked together in Elizabeth, NJ.  I used to listen to Bosh during his time at WILK in Wilkes-Barre, though we never met.  Cipolla also tells a Joann Pileggi story.  Joann and I worked together for years at WYOU.  There is also a paragraph on Frank Deom, a former WNEP photographer, who did a stint at WWOR

And, one of the biggest kicks of all-- my book came autographed, and Frank enclosed one of his business cards.  I dropped him an email, to say how much I loved the book.  He replied quickly, and that was really neat.

If you really want to know what happens when the cameras are off and the microphones are dead, buy this book!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019



In analyzing last week's election results, I neglected to tell you about my predictions.  The Cognetti win was not a total surprise in Scranton.  The margin was larger than I expected.  That poses a number of issues.  Will Scranton Democrats unite all factions and rally around an obviously popular candidate?  Will the size of her victory scare off challengers in two years?  Much depends on job performance.  In politics, you can attract a crowd quickly and lose it just as fast.  She does seem to be the favorite of the newspaper crowd, so Cognetti will get the benefit of the doubt from some in the media when something goes wrong.  And, no matter how good you are, something always goes wrong.

Debi Domenick's win for Lackawanna County Commissioner was not a total surprise.  I did raise an eyebrow over her strong second place finish.

Last month's World Series between Houston and Washington was the third lowest rated of all time, and that's a shame.  Yes, some games were blow outs, and the games last way too long.  On the other hand, there were some great stories here, with interesting players.  If you missed this series, you missed a good one.

Sears/KMart is closing about 100 more stores.  In our area, Wilkes-Barre Township, Berwick and Williamsport are going early next year.  A chain that once had close to 4,000 is now down to a couple of hundred.  I've said it before, you cannot cut your way to prosperity.  I would not be surprised if the rest of the chain goes belly up after what is likely to be a horrible Christmas season.  It's too bad.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veterans Day

There are times I am exceptionally proud of my alma mater, Marywood University.  It was a "college" back in my day.

For the past several years, students have been planting American flags in the field behind the Fine Arts Building.  You can access it from North Washington Avenue.  There is one flag for every soldier's death in the global war against terror, nearly 7,000.

In one hand, it's nice to see the students are aware and active, and that no sacrifice is forgotten.  On the other hand, it makes you sad when you think one flag represents someone who never came home to their family.

One quick story before I go on this Veterans Day.  I was in the Dunmore Sheetz the other morning.  Two soldiers were also in the store.  As I waited for my hot dogs, I could hear several people go up to the soldiers and say five simple words:  "Thank you for your service."

On this Veterans Day, thank you.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Andy's Angles: Election Day

It's my belief that you pay for elections, so you deserve to see how they work.  You can take pictures inside a polling place, stay out of everyone's way, and not be intimidating.  That's always been our goal, and I am proud to say, at least on stories that I've been involved with, there is a 100 per cent success rate.
Thanks to the people in Hazleton.  It was nice meeting so many Newswatch 16 fans.  You have a city where great things can be achieved.

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Andy's Angles: Take the Long Way Home

I saw this from the passenger's seat as photographer Jason and I drove north on Interstate 81 near Wilkes-Barre the other morning.

If you look carefully on the blue section on the back of the left side, you'll see the logo for the Bay Area Rapid Transit system.  Yes, it's a San Francisco rail car in Luzerne County.  I know there's a place in the region that rehabs subway and rail cars.  I would like think there is some place closer to San Francisco where it can be done.  It's also possible the car was sold and was headed to a new home.

We'll never know and it was a fascinating sight.

Friday, November 8, 2019

Half and Half = All Bad

It was election morning.  A woman walked in to a polling place, dressed in red, white and blue, and sporting an American flag pin.  I complimented her on the patriotic attire.  She replied that she is a social studies teacher.  I told her that, in my view, social studies teachers do noble work.  I meet so many people, especially young people, who have no idea how politics, the government, law, courts, etc work, and it makes me sad.

What I heard next caused me to lose my stuff-- half saddened, half outraged.  The teacher explained that many of her social studies classes are being phased out, in favor of STEM.

Don't get me wrong.  Science, technology, engineering and match are important.  Those are the skills students need to get good jobs, and I am thrilled we are encouraging young women to enter those fields.

All that STEM knowledge can be rendered irrelevant if we don't produce good citizens.  You simply have to know how the world around you works.

Teach STEM.  Leave some room for the rest.