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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Media Notes

It's been a while since Media Notes appeared here...  issues, new and old.

AM 1640 returned to the air in the Scranton area but only for a few days.  It was off for several months, back on for a few, and now off again.  I don't know who is responsible-- PennDOT or the Turnpike Commission.  I e-mailed them both, and I got "Huh?" in response.  The station broadcasts traffic alerts.  When nothing is going on, it relays National Weather Service radio forecasts.  It's a nice little feature, and I missed.  Hitting a car radio button, while driving, is a lot easier and safer than fumbling with the phone.  I went up a notch and e-mailed a complaint to my state representative.  As of yet, no response.

Speaking of weather, The Weather Channel is cancelling Wake Up with Al later this month.  Simple economics.  Roker pulls down big money, plus the show is produced in New York.  Everything else comes out of Atlanta.  30 year forecaster Vivian Brown also left the network.  As you know, The Weather Channel is one of my favorite targets.  When more people started getting their weather from their phones, interest in The Weather Channel dropped.  Instead of doing the weather better, with better presenters, The Weather Channel went junk-- reality shows, hurricane hype, the ultra silly practice of naming winter storms...  You know what?  People discovered they can do without The Weather Channel.

They all deny it, but a recent dust up might have had something to do with the cancellation of Wake Up with Al.  According to the New York City tabloids, management wanted Roker to hype the Florida arrival of a fizzling hurricane.  Roker wanted to do the Katrina 10th anniversary.  It's more proof The Weather Channel still doesn't get it.

By the way, The Weather Channel just announced Sam Champion loses his morning anchor slot.  He goes to evenings, as much of the network's reality shows go away.  All of this is scheduled for November.  Management has finally figured out that the way to be valuable to viewers is to do the the weather.  They can get "reality" program in two dozen other places.

It's opening weekend in the National Football League.  For me, pre game shows were "must viewing."  Those days ended long ago.  Rather than solid information and good conversation, CBS, FOX, and ESPN try to out-joke each other.  The NFL Network used to be the exception to the rule, but it's now drifting into silly territory, especially the Sunday night wrap up show.

I've been reading mostly excellent reviews of Stephen Colbert's first CBS Late Show.  Did I miss something?  It was average, and that's a stretch.  First guest George Clooney had nothing to say and was a real bore.  Jeb Bush was a lot more interesting, as the second guest.  It's clear parts of both interviews were hacked out.  The editing was sloppy.  A New Orleans jazz band as the "house band" seemed too nichey for me.  Donald Trump jokes?  Low hanging fruit.  We missed part of the ending, the Jimmy Fallon bit, thanks to bad switching on the local level.  The set looks more game show than talk show.  I'm going to fire my broker for not getting me invested in LED lighting companies.  CBS broke the bank on LED's for the Colbert set.  No announcer.  Forgettable opening sequence.

Olbermann...  Ferguson...  Letterman...  how I miss you all.