Monday, April 24, 2017

The Factor

I've always thought Bill O'Reilly is a tremendously talented broadcaster.

After reading a book by a former producer, I learned O'Reilly is responsible for every word of his now former FOX News Channel broadcast.  He either wrote it at a computer, scribbled it out on a note pad, or dictated it to a secretary of producer.

If you read a transcript of his show, and didn't know the author, you would think it was coming from a moderate, reasonable individual.

He is smart, and informed, and he knew how to draw an audience.  For 20 years, O'Reilly was the signature voice and face of the network.

Unfortunately, good broadcaster doesn't translate into being a good person.  O'Reilly denies all the harassment allegations and I get that.  You have to admit there's an awful lot of evidence against him.  You can forgive a mistake.  Overlooking a distinct and long standing  pattern is an entirely different story.

FOX News let O'Reilly go last week.

He doesn't need the money, but I'm sure Bill O'Reilly will re-surface somewhere.  I think his network days are done, at least for a while.  He could sign with a TV station group, or syndicate a show on his own.  He'd be perfect on Sunday mornings.

There was a radio version of the O'Reilly Factor.  It didn't last long.  O'Reilly went up against Rush Limbaugh, a tough time slot.  For the most part, Limbaugh had all the decent stations locked up.  That has changed, so the climate is right for O'Reilly to take another shot at it.  Podcasting to the masses is always an option.  There is already a subscription only podcast.

There is a place in the media world for Bill O'Reilly.  There has to be some serious image rehabilitation, responsibility taking,  and some daring sponsors first.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Andy's Angles: St. Nicholas

This is St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Scranton, almost next door to St. Matthew's, which was in this space yesterday.  They are separated only by Vine Street.

The sun wasn't my friend when I took this recent photo, but I think you get the idea.  It's a beautiful building.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Andy's Angles: Blessed

Our area is blessed, pardon the pun, to have so many historic and beautiful places of worship.

This is St. Matthew's on Jefferson Avenue in Scranton.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The First

It's sleeping Homer's first appearance of 2017, and it means I'm taking my first vacation week of the year.  There were a few scattered days off in January, but I haven't had a full week off since October.

I'm a little tired.  It's time.

Now, the standards:  no plans other than the gym, some bike rides, reading, photography, and possibly Kmart.

I have yet to decide on a vacation beard, which has been the standard the last several years.  I haven't touched a razor since Tuesday morning, so I'm on my way.

The weekend morning broadcasts are in the capable hands of Jim Hamill.

See you soon.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Getting Personal

I really don't get super personal here, but today will be an exception.

Let's go back a few months.  An old friend from junior high and high school called me out of the blue and suggested we get together.  I agreed to the concept, but I kept delaying the actual event.  My old friend knows the hours and days I work.  He was completely understanding and forgiving, even though I kept blowing him off.

I sent him a text the other day, saying I'm sorry for the delay.  I'm on vacation.  If you're still interested, name a time, day and location, and I'll make it happen.

It happened Tuesday night.

Part of me looked forward to it.  Another part dreaded it.  He suggested a little corner bar in Scranton.  I agreed, as long as it was non smoking.  It is.  By the way, Diet Cokes were exceptionally reasonable.  It's amazing how many bars soak you for a soda.  Responsible behavior is important, but it can be very expensive.  The food looked great.  However, I wasn't hungry.

The meeting went well.  We had some laughs about the old days, and caught up to current times.  I heard some stories about classmates that I didn't know before, and I'm sort of sorry I learned what I learned.  Be that as it may.

I don't know what my friend expected.  I assured him that I might have grown a bit, but I am essentially the same guy he last saw in a cap and gown nearly forty years ago.

Okay, here is some more personal stuff.  When I'm off duty, Mr. Television goes away.  The TV job is like a coat.  I like it a great deal, but I wear it only when I'm working.  When my shift ends, I enjoy and savor fading in to the background.  I talk for a living.  I don't do much when I'm away from the office.

Take a look at the photos you see here.  You see landscapes, buildings, rivers and a cat.  You almost never see me.  The same goes with Facebook and Instagram.  There is no need to be the center of attention.

What occasionally scares me, is I fear some people mistake retiring for arrogant, because I don't really say much when I'm off duty.  It's happened before.  If you have been offended, I'm sorry.  It wasn't intentional.  Thankfully, my friend "got it" and the night went well.

He suggested doing it again, and possibly adding another friend or two.  I left the door open.  Small steps.  I was one of those high schoolers who had a small, but close circle of friends.  That was more than enough.  There was no desire to be class president.  One of the best feelings ever was when I took off the cap and gown, and walked into the fresh, post-graduation air of an early summer evening.  As I have said here before, I liked learning.  I didn't like high school.

As for my friend, good times and bad.  That's typical.  We've all been there.  Back in the day, he was one of the funnier people at that soul crushing school of mine.  The laughs were important back then.  They still are, and he is still capable of delivering.

I'm sure there's a lesson in here somewhere.  Maybe, a moral of the story.  You may take what you please from the above paragraphs.  Looking ahead is important, but there are times it can be equally important to see where you came from.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wednesday Scrapple

Do people still care about Hatchimals?

The price of Donald Trump ties has skyrocketed on E-Bay.

The Frein trial moved faster than expected.  We learned a few new things, not a lot.  More than anything, it seems like a defense exercise to avoid the death penalty.

I was in a Burlington store the other day, and all but one of the front doors was locked.  There was no panic hardware on the inside.  It looks like an attempt to curb shoplifting, but it's a clear violation of fire safety laws.  Why am I the only one who noticed this?

"Quick Pitch" on the MLB Network remains one of the best shows on television.  No silly ESPN style schtick.  Just the highlights.  Outstanding!

The speed in which we went from a blizzard and two feet of snow, to flooding, to brush fires is amazing.

I found some very nice Easter flowers this year, but man, did the price go up!

Brian Williams can't seem to stay out of trouble.  He has been harshly criticized for remarks made during coverage of the U.S missile strike on Syria.  Williams talked about the beauty of American weapons, and many on social media let his have it.  Williams isn't my favorite guy, but look at intent.  I don't think he meant to diminish the importance and significance of human life.  It was just a poor choice of words.  Let's leave it at that.

I can't wait for the primary season to really heat up.

It looks like Bill O'Reilly is in some serious trouble at FOX News.

It seems like a lot of criminals come to our area to hide, and it seems like an awful lot get caught.

It was chilly and breezy yesterday, but I actually managed to get a little sunburn.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Fly United

The dust hasn't totally settled on this one, but it's settled enough for me to yammer about it.

United recently came under fire for bumping a man from a flight.  The passenger didn't want to go, so they dragged him off.

It's disgusting behavior on United's part, and perfectly legal.  On the ticket, it says the airline has the right to bump you.

That's simply a lousy practice, and it should have been outlawed long ago.

Airlines claim their profit margins are slim, so they have to maximize every flight.  In this case, United said it needed the seat to get a full in crew in place for another flight at another airport.

Often, passengers book and never show.

I don't care.

Don't make your passengers suffer just because you have a hard time making money.  Figure out how to do it right, or go out of business.

Grampa Stroehmann doesn't reserve the right to take his bread back.  Ronald McDonald doesn't tell you he can snatch a Big Mac out of your hand if he feels like it.  Airlines shouldn't be any different.  Buy the ticket.  Take your seat.  Get your flight.  Receive what you paid for.  It's time for the government to step in.
The head of United said an incident like this will never happen again.  I hope he's right, and I hope other airlines follow suit.

Yes, there has always been financial consideration for those who voluntarily give up their seat.  It shouldn't come to a situation like that in the first place.

Monday, April 17, 2017


I hope you had a chance to see Jimmy Kimmel's Don Rickles tribute.

One part really jumped out at me.  Kimmel related a conversation with Rickles when Don asked "Keep my name alive."

Apologies for yammering on again about my old radio days.  I was very proud of what we accomplished there, even though the station was in decline when I arrived in 1981.

Even though its dominance ended a long time ago, people are keeping the legend of WARM alive.  There's at least one blog and one Facebook page that I know of.  That's great.

Here is what prompted this blog entry.

We went through a few program directors during my time at WARM.  John Hancock was the best.  He repaired a lot o damage and got the place humming again.  We were aggressive, we got out in to the community more, and we had a great time doing it.  It was fun to go to work.

For the last 25 years or so, John has been at WBT 1110, a blowtorch in Charlotte, NC.  He does 3 to 6 PM.  Thanks to my C. Crane internet radio and my Amazon Echo, I listen at least a few days a week.  John occasionally tells a WARM story, especially when it comes to the talents and the antics of the late, great Terry McNulty.  I've been mentioned in a few of those tales, and it's always a kick.

I've been on national TV and radio, and in a couple of movies.  However, my greatest delight is being mentioned on the radio in Charlotte, and someone keeping WARM, and what we did there, alive.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Andy's Angles: Pike County Courthouse

Milford is one of my favorite places, even though it's in the spotlight this month for a horrible event.

This is a dawn shot of the Pike County Courthouse.  On the right, you can see the steel skeleton of an addition.  They tried to tuck it into the back, much less obtrusive than an earlier design.

I can't say I'm a fan.  It will detract from the beauty and the historical nature of the building.

The need for space and security is acknowledged.  I would have built a totally new structure near by and used the old courthouse for something else.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Andy's Angles: Milford

History along Route 6 in Milford...

The building on the left is the old jail, now the sheriff's office.  Love the pike wind vane at the top.  the other structure is a county administration building.  Great style.  It really fits in with the old buildings in Milford.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Needle and the Damage Done

I couldn't believe what I was reading, and it seems like I'm using the phrase "Are you kidding me!?" far too often.

The Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders plan to erect a seven foot statue of Roger Clemens at the ballpark in Moosic.  There will be a Roger Clemens night, complete with free bobbleheads to the fans.

It bears repeating.  Are you kidding me?

Clemens pitched here.  Once.  That's it.  Once.  One and done.  Six innings.  Granted, he did draw the largest crowd in the remodeled stadium's short history.

Roger Clemens was a great pitcher.  354 wins.  He is third in all time strike outs.

While Clemens never  failed a drug test, he remains under the performance enhancing drug cloud.  He's not in the Hall of Fame.  It might never happen.  I'd certainly vote "no."  Without a doubt.

Clemens was named in the Mitchell Report as a steroid user.  His former trainer ratted him out.  That former trainer may or may not be reliable.  Clemens was tried for perjury and lying to congress.  The first trial ended in a mistrial.  He was acquitted in the second.

The Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders are now a private entity.  Lackawanna County sold control years ago.  The new owners can do as they please.  I can't help but question the thought process that went into the Clemens statue.

Thursday, April 13, 2017


Many years ago, I worked at a radio station with excellent ratings.  When the latest batch would come in, showing us dominating the rest of the market, one of the jocks would always say "Could you imagine what would happen if we did it right?"  The implication was that even a flawed radio station was drawing a good audience.  Getting rid of the flaws would have resulted in a phenomenal audience share.

I thought of those radio episodes when a saw a recent news release from the National Park Service.  It showed Steamtown's 2016 attendance was up 11.2 % from the year before.  Nearly 100,000 people came to Steamtown in 2016.

Could you imagine if they did it right?

First, the entrance is nearly impossible to find-- and it's gotten even worse since a new bus station was built at Lackawanna Avenue and Cliff Street.

Second, Steamtown doesn't change much.  There are occasional new displays, and the yearly RailFest.  Other than that, Steamtown in January still looks like Steamtown in July, minus the snow.

Third, Steamtown really doesn't seem to have integrated itself into the community.  Yes, there is some involvement in Scranton projects.  It's not enough.  Its semi secluded location has a lot to do with that.

Steamtown is a federal government entity, so it has a ready stream of revenue.  There's no major need to compete for the tourist dollar.  In a way, that's a good thing.  That's stability.  On the other hand, it encourages complacency.  Why go the extra mile?  We get money from the government.

I know there are other priorities.  However, could you imagine the people who would flock here if Steamtown did it right?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

More Mall Talk

Last week marked the 25th anniversary of the implosion along Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton that made way for the Mall at Steamtown, now the Marketplace at Steamtown.

Above are two photos I took that morning, as I broadcast from what used to be the First Eastern Bank building at Lackawanna and Washington.  I've been doing this a long time.  it was terrifying at the time because our broadcast had some technical issues.  Looking back, it was one of the most fun and rewarding days of my career.

I cannot walk through that mall without thinking of implosion morning, the grand opening, all the stores, and all the promise that mall once held.  Things have changed a lot over the last 25 years.  should the mall have been built?  Hindsight says no, but at the time, it was the best idea on the table.  Sadly, no one was interested in restoring those buildings and no one wanted to come up with the money to do it.

Thanks to those of you who responded to last week's query about the name of the original toy store in the Viewmont Mall.  It was "Kids" before it was "Kay Bee."  "Kids" packed a lot in to a small space.  It seems there was something for everyone-- science to fun, and all ages.  I haven't been in a toy store in years.  I'll have to check out one of the big boxes to see how things have changed.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Media Tuesday

Don Rickles died last week.  90.  Big fan, in short bursts.  He nailed every appearance with Johnny Carson.  A Rickles and Howard Stern appearance on one of David Letterman's last shows was a classic.  Stern was so gracious and reverential.  Anyway, his comedy routine success could never translate to a successful sitcom.  Getting lost in all of this is Don Rickles had serious acting chops.  Read a list of his work.  There is some quality stuff.

If you can find it, watch Jimmy Kimmel's Don Rickles tribute.  It was fantastic.  It rivaled David Letterman's tribute to Robin Williams.  Kimmel might not match the numbers generated by Fallon and Colbert, but he could be the new King of Late Night.

CBS kicked Phil Simms to the curb in favor of untested rookie Tony Romo.  Giving a newcomer the "A" game every week is insane.  FOX was smart enough to put Troy Aikman on some European League games before he was moved up to the top team.  And, even when he did make it to the "A" team, Aikman was part of a three man booth.  CBS is taking a big gamble, and this one could bite it on the butt.

Note to the people who program The River 104.9:  Please stop fading "Baker Street" out early.

"Brockmire" on IFC, at least the first episode, is outrageously funny.  Long story short, Jim Brockmire is a major league baseball announcer who has an on air meltdown over a cheating wife.  He winds up in Morrisville, PA, as the public address announcer for the  Morristown Frackers.  The fracking references are hilarious, and Amanda Peet as the team owner is a delight.  Advice:  "Brockmire" is not for the kids.

Our friends at the Times~Leader print restaurant inspections every week, and that's a great idea.  You wonder how some of these places continue to function.  I worry about abuse of power, but some filthy establishments should be padlocked immediately.

Congratulations to former WARM 590 program director John Hancock.  Yesterday, he was named to the hall of fame at WBT 1110 in Charlotte, NC.  We still swap occasional texts and emails.  John was a great guy to work for, and he's become a legend in Charlotte.  It's a well deserved honor.

I topped 1,900 Twitter followers last week, and Facebook "likes" are steadily climbing.  Thank you.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Monday Scrapple

I will never understand why people don't grind their own pepper.  The pre-ground stuff has absolutely no flavor.

It's about time professional sports leagues stop being afraid of Las Vegas.

I know everyone says it all the time, but the year really is flying by.

Change is natural.  However, it's startling to watch the upheaval in American retail.  Some big names are gone, or are going.  It seems like just about everyone, except the discounters, are downsizing.

It has a clear political agenda, and there are times it goes too far, but the NY Post is always an entertaining read.

You have to wonder how the greats, like Chancellor, Smith, Cronkite, Reasoner, Murrow, Reynolds, and Jennings would handle the current political climate in Washington.

Even though most of the time I buy nothing more than a soft pretzel, I still enjoy walking around a mall.

I know how it works, but USPS, UPS and FedEx package tracking still fascinates me.

Crayola changes one color and gets billions in free publicity.  Genius.  The same goes for Monopoly tokens.  By the way, how has Monopoly survived all these years.  I always found it to be long and boring.

The circus has entertained millions over the years, but big cats and other animals shouldn't be crammed into cages and hauled around the country via train.

I'm not a pierogi fan.  However, I recently noticed pizza flavored ones.  Meh.  The ricotta was rather chalky.

Every town and every street has potholes, but there are some monsters on Olyphant Avenue in Scranton and the city should jump on this right away.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Andy's Angles: The Lackawanna

We've been showing and talking a lot about rivers lately.  Outside of hurricane and tropical storm visits, this is the rainiest period we've had in quite a while.

Luckily and thankfully, the Lackawanna has behaved itself.  It does have the capability to do a lot of damage.  Ask the people who live in the Plot section of Scranton.

These pictures were taken on a recent morning in Old Forge.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Andy's Angles: Biscuits

I'm always tickled when old buildings get a new use and a new life.  I do realize that it's not always feasible. 

The Hitchner Biscuit Company bakery in West Pittston is one of the success stories.  The building is now 18 apartments for the elderly and the handicapped.  WNEP's Jim Murdoch did the story when the building was dedicated, and I was jealous.  I would have loved to get a good look at the inside.

 You'd really love to see more of this.  I've put North Scranton Junior High in this space before.  That building is also apartments, plus a theater.

It would have been nice to see Lackawanna Avenue in Scranton in Scranton fixed up rather than imploded.  Unfortunately, the money wasn't there.  No one was stepping up to do it, and some of those buildings were beyond repair.
They even repainted the signs on the building, a perfect touch.

Friday, April 7, 2017

About the Cover

This month's blog header contains two of my loves-- water and railroads.

I like looking at water, not getting in it.  This is a shot of the rain and snow melt swollen Susquehanna River at West Pittston.  I took the shot the morning of March 30.
You just have to wonder how many trains crossed the Susquehanna over the years, all that cargo.  Somebody figured out a long time ago that trucks can do it better, and I get that.  It's not nearly as much fun.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Judge

He served Lackawanna County and the federal government.  Judge Edwin Kosik was an outstanding member of the bench.  I'm thrilled and relieved that he was found safe Thursday evening.

My first encounter with Judge Kosik was on my last day of high school.  He spoke at the commencement.  I remember he was funny and charming.  Unfortunately, I can't come up with any quotes.  Commencement addresses are vastly overrated.  All everyone wants is to get their diplomas and get out of there.  Nothing personal.

Kosik was a no nonsense, get it done judge.  He had a sense of humor, but there was no fooling around.  I vividly remember a proceeding for accused killer William Dean Christiansen back in the 80's.  I was on the radio at the time.  Christiansen was a suspected serial killer who went by a number of aliases.  During that hearing before Judge Kosik, Christiansen insisted on calling himself something else.  Kosik said, and this is a quote I can remember "You can call yourself Rose for all I care."  It made for an entertaining radio report.  It's too bad cameras and microphones are forbidden in Pennsylvania courtrooms. Christiansen was found guilty.  He died in prison.

I was almost a little disappointed when Kosik was appointed to the federal bench.  When you had a Kosik hearing, you know it would be done on time, quickly, and efficiently.  Law students should study his work-- and learn.  Other judges should adopt the Kosik style.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Tornadoes and Floods

Three storm chasers were killed last week in a crash in Texas.  They were following a tornado at the time.  Dash cam video shows they were running stop signs and generally acting reckless.  My sympathy to their families.  I've railed against this practice in the past.  These expeditions seem less about science and more about thrill seeking, plus getting on TV.  In this case, it was the Weather Channel.  If there is some consolation in this, the storm chasers killed each other.  They didn't kill some innocent parent, rushing to get their children to safety.  This really has to stop.

I've been mentioning Susquehanna River levels a lot lately-- here, Facebook, Twitter, and on our weekend morning broadcasts.  Let me tell you why.  By the way, the shot above was taken last week, as the Susquehanna was on the way up.  I'm on the Pittston side of the Water Street bridge.

Born and raised here.  Thankfully, I've always lived out of the flood plain.  There was a change in this area after the Tropical Storm Agnes flood of 1972.  We became hyper sensitive to storm, river and flooding issues.    With every storm and flood, it's become even more intense.  I get that.  I read your emails and take your telephone calls.  It doesn't take much of a storm to trigger a round of concern.

Another way in which I consider myself lucky is that I watched river reporting veterans David DeCosmo and Kevin Jordan as a young radio reporter, and I eventually had the honor of working with them.  They knew how the Susquehanna, and every creek flowing in to it, behaved.  Kevin left us a few years ago.  David is retired.  I hope I carry on a wee bit of the knowledge.

I made several references to river levels, even though the Susquehanna at Wilkes-Barre stayed below flood stage for one simple reason.  There are times you need to know you don't have to worry.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Mall Talk

It looks like an aquarium and reptile display is on the way to the Marketplace at Steamtown in Scranton.  According to the press release, it's going to be big-- 17,000 square feet.

On the surface, it seems like a great idea.  No one is falling over themselves to lease the space.  If you believe the experts, big retail and malls are on life support-- even though Viewmont and Wyoming Valley appear to be doing OK.

On the other hand, if the aquarium/reptile display is poorly done, rinky dink or ill maintained, it will do more than harm than good.  Admission has to be priced right-- enough to make the place an experience, reasonable for families.
Management had better tread, or slither, carefully.  There has already some blow back from the animal rights people.  The fish and reptiles need to be treated well, or this could be a public relations fiasco.

Speaking of malls, Joe Snedeker and I were having one of our patented serendipitous conversations in the weather office last week.  I asked when he knew his career would be in science.  Joe said it was during trips to the old Viewmont Mall.  He used to hang out in the back corner of the toy store, where the science kits and experiments were kept.  I knew exactly what he was talking about.  The toy store was on the Grant's, later Kaufmann's end.  Left side as you walked out of Grant's.  The science stuff was at the back of the store.  I never bought anything, but I looked and I knew where it was.

Here's the big question:  I have a few years on Snedeker.  I remember the original name of the toy store as "Kids."  It later was taken over by Kay Bee.  Kay Bee is not questioned.  Was I right on Kids?

I'll copy this entry to Facebook and Twitter.  Drop me a line.  Thanks.

Monday, April 3, 2017

John Perry

courtesy:  Paul Lowry
John Perry died Friday.  92.

For a long time, John Perry WAS television news in Scranton.  He appeared, every night at 7 and 11 PM.  Looking back, it was so primitive-- but it got the job done.  You had the fires, plus the constant bickering at Scranton Council meetings, the weekly Luzerne County commissioners' controversy and a lot of assorted other government news.  The technology has changed.  The stories haven't.

It was all on film back then.  Field crews had to be done by around 3 PM to allow for enough time to process and edit the film.  People in the business now have to work fast because we have so many newscasts, plus social media and the internet to feed.  TV news pioneers had to work a different kind of fast because of those early deadlines.

If memory serves, John left to work in Binghamton for a while.  He came back to Scranton and WDAU.  Our paths crossed once in a while.  I was a radio pup in the early 80's, just as John was approaching retirement and an eventual move to Florida.    We exchanged some very basic pleasantries when we were both at the same stories.  I think I was too in awe to say anything else.

One of our photographers, Dave Jones, broke in under John Perry.  From the stories Dave tells, John was more than a co-worker.  He was also a teacher.

The man was a legend.  I'm lucky I had a chance to watch him work.

My sympathy to family, friends, and former colleagues.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Andy's Angles: Beavers

I've been meaning to get to these photos for a while.  They're from my recent trip to Dunmore Reservoir # 1.  The area apparently has an active and a busy beaver population.
I didn't see any on my visit, but I knew they were here.  Simply fascinating creatures.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Andy's Angles: April Fool!

No, I'm still a very happy employee of WNEP-TV.

I was playing around and did a selfie on the side of an NBC truck while then-presidential candidate Donald Trump was in town back in November.

Have a great weekend, and don't fall for any pranks.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Play Ball

It's time for my annual baseball season opener entry/rant.

Beginning Sunday, it counts.

Baseball has its problems, and it seems unable or unwilling to fix them.

Oakland doesn't draw and has a horrible stadium.  Move the team.  Do something!

Right around July 4, teams not in contention will start selling off players.  The annual early season surrender is maddening.

Baseball seems to have a problem attracting young people.

Minor league games are still a decent value.  Take out a loan if you're going to see a big league game.

Palyoff games end late at night and are not fan friendly.

Some people have problems with the pacing of games.  I'm okay with it.

Pardon me for a geezer moment, but I really miss the Game of the Week.  I know cable and satellite (and soon the internet) have made it irrelevant.  It was one of the joys of youth.  Every Saturday afternoon at 2, it was there.  Joe and Tony would give you a look at teams you wouldn't normally get a chance to see in Yankees and Phillies land.

I was a TV and broadcasting geek, even as a kid.  The first Game of the Week of the season was a treat.  I'd check out the pre game show set, the graphics, the music, the presentation.  Above is a video I lifted from YouTube, containing one of the best network sports themes ever.

I think a lot of baseball's decline stemmed from the end of the Game of the Week.  CBS dropped most Saturday games when it landed the baseball contract in 1990.  All CBS was interested in was the playoffs and World Series.  The sport never recovered.  I was never a big fan of the way NBC did things.  However, that Saturday afternoon game was more than a game.  It was a celebration of baseball.  Baseball needs that.

FOX does a great job with baseball.  Good announcers.  Solid production.  Unfortunately, try to find the game of the week.  Time slots change.  Some days, it's on cable.  Other days, the broadcast side gets a crack at it.  Note to FOX and MLB:  Fans love consistency, especially baseball fans.

It seems ESPN's Sunday night game has become the Game of the Week.  My schedule doesn't allow frequent viewing.  From what I've seen, it's good.  The time just doesn't work for a lot of people.

It's possible to get dozens of baseball games piped in to your home every week.  What baseball really needs is one "event" a week-- something you just have to see.  Bring back a really good Game of the Week.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Unfinished Thursday

Revisiting earlier topics...

LED STREET LIGHTS:  I talked to someone in the electricity and lighting business the other day.  He agrees with me.  LED street lights don't seem to be as bright as the ones they replaced.  The light seems to go out rather than down.  I suspect a lot of the issues deal with color temperature, focus, aiming, etc.  The smart thing to do is to go LED, but add more of them.  Some of the neighborhoods in my little town are really dark.

NCAA BASKETBALL:  This year's tournament seems to be a yawn.  America loves a Cinderella.  It looks like Cinderella stayed home this year.  OK, maybe Gonzaga and Oregon-- but both teams have solid records.

THE BLIZZARD OF 17:  Most of it was absolutely horrible.  There were some fun moments.  Historic snowfall, and it was interesting to experience and broadcast a little slice of history.

TEDIUM:   Every day is "National ______ Day."  It used to be cute.  Now, it's just tiresome and tedious.  Stop it.  Stop it now.

MOVIES:    Remakes and super heroes. Enough already!  A CHiPs movie?  Are you kidding me?

CHUCK BARRIS:   I neglected to pay off on a story I started in an entry last week.  Mike Wallace of CBS asked a "Treasure Hunt" (produced by Barris) contestant if she felt humiliated and embarrassed.  The woman replied no, she had the time of her life.  Chuck Barris watched the interview.  He sent the woman a magnum of champagne and two dozen long stemmed roses and signed the card "A Fan."  It bears repeating.

LATE NIGHT:  Colbert and his tired anti Trump routine is still beating Fallon and his silly games.  Do yourself a favor.  Watch Kimmel.  Better yet, watch Carson on Antenna TV.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL:  Congratulations to the winners and all who competed.  The playoffs are way too long.

PSU:  Spanier found guilty.  Curley and Schultz admitted it, and testimony once again proved Paterno knew what was going on very in this whole sorry affair.  You can't un-molest the children, but you can admit what a disaster this was and fix the culture.

RETAIL:  What a horrible year it's been, and the train wreck is only beginning.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


As I was in my hotel room during the blizzard a couple of weeks ago, unable to sleep because I didn't have a radio, my mind wandered.

Are there live overnight local DJ's anywhere in America?  I know there has to be some, somewhere.  Even the major markets have gone to voice tracking overnights.

There are several all night talk shows that are live, but not local.  It doesn't mean they can't be entertaining.  Larry King did a good show before he started mailing it in.  Ben Maller on FOX Sports Radio is my current favorite.

My mind wandered a little more...

Ed Bradley of CBS News came to Wilkes-Barre for a lecture at the Kirby Center.  It was the late 80's or early 90's.  Bradley talked about the magic of being in a radio station for the first time-- the lights, the dials, the meters, the buttons, the microphones.  I get that.

There used to be a lot of media magic.

I remember my first time in the old channel 22, in the basement of Scranton Prep.  Big lights, big cameras. Film cans all over the place. Wow!

It's not just broadcasting.  I made a few visits to the old Scranton Tribune newsroom on North Washington Avenue back in the day.  I can still smell it-- a mix of cigars, cigarettes, newsprint, and ink.  Typewriters clicking away, the teletype machines...  If you ever saw it, you know what I mean.

And then, there's the roar of the press.  If you ever get the chance, watch a newspaper being printed, before they all go away.  Those old presses were an amazing sight.  I'm sure those in the business took it for granted.  To the rest of us, it was simply amazing.  A giant machine, made up of several parts, working in harmony to get the latest news on the street.  That's magic.

Today's radio stations are little more than computers and microphones.  I get that.  Times have changed.  Do more with less.  The same goes for TV.  We have some amazing technology now.  We don't need those big trucks to "go live" any more.  New equipment is about the size of a cell phone.  It takes seconds to get video on the air, rather than hours.

Things are better in so many ways.  Except magic.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Steve Corbett

WILK radio bounced afternoon talk show host Steve Corbett last week.

I'm not going to say I know him well, but I do know him.  We crossed paths at WARM back in the 80's and I thought he produced compelling radio.  I didn't listen to the WILK show, and I'm assuming it was standard Corbett.  The greatest sin of all is to be dull.  There's a lot of dull stuff out there.  Corbett was never dull.

Steve Corbett told the Times~Leader that his anti Trump stance got him fired.  I'll take his word for it.

Having been around radio for a long time, it all comes down to ratings and money.  A manager doesn't care what you say as long as you draw a crowd-- and it's a crowd the sales department can turn into dollars by selling commercials to businesses.

Maybe Steve Corbett's ratings were good, but advertisers didn't want to be associated with the broadcast.  I've seen it happen.  Maybe his ratings were lousy.  I don't know.  Corbett told the newspaper that management said his ratings were low and the company wanted a change.

Steve Corbett first came to the area as a newspaper reporter and columnist.  It is the columns that I will now address.  I give the guy credit for going out and seeing what was going on.  He was at the news conferences, in the courtrooms, and even in the Tunkhannock area  several years ago when there were reports of a real live tiger on the loose.  By the way, the tiger was never found.  It was in interesting story for days.

Steve Corbett was the only newspaper columnist, in the metro area, during my era, who was actually capable of selling newspapers.  You might not have agreed him, but it was entertaining stuff.  For a long time it was "must read."  You bought the newspaper because you wanted to read Corbett's column.

I'm looking forward to seeing Steve's next move, and I hope it involves the printed word.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Let There Be Light

It was inevitable.  The orange glowing streetlight in front of my house has been replaced by one of those LED jobs.

I remember when my childhood neighborhood got the new and brighter street lights.  It meant those evening Frisbee games, and games of catch lasted a little longer because the light was much stronger.  Yes, they gave everything an orange cast, but on the other side of the coin, I loved the brightness.

As noted in this space before, the jury is still out on the LED's.  They are in just about every light and lamp in my home.  Great energy saving, or so they say.  However, I don't think they're bright enough for streetlights.  I've noticed that in some towns, they've added more lights on more poles to compensate.  So far, in my little town, it's just replacements.  No additions.  That should change.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Andy's Angles: The Flagship

I was at WARM from 1981 to 1991.  Some of this was from before my time.  Some wasn't.

The card is from a collection WARM put out prior to my arrival.  All the DJ's had them, and so did the vehicle you see above, "The Flagship."  It was a studio on wheels.  It's tough to see from the pictures, but each of the DJ's had their name on one of the stars.

The Flagship was still around by the time I arrived.  It was painted differently, and it had clearly seen better days.  In fact, I was the last one to drive it.

This wasn't from that last day, but I showed up at the station one weekend afternoon, outside of my normal work hours.  One of the DJ's, Steve St. John asked what brought me to the station.  I replied that I was assigned to take the Flagship to some show at the Kingston Armory.  I will never forget Steve's words:  "Someone is going to get killed in that thing one of these days."  Thankfully, it wasn't me on that particular day.

I do remember pulling an overnight shift, then taking the Flagship home, because I was driving it in the St. Ubaldo parade later that day.  It saved me a trip back to the station, in the opposite direction.  Bill Kimble was the program director at the time.  When I asked for permission to take it home, he said yes and added it was okay "as long as I could guarantee the security of the Flagship."  Are you kidding me?  Who would want it?  It was on its last legs, and most of the equipment inside didn't work.  I live on a hill, and my major fear was having it roll away during the nap I took after my overnight shift and prior to the parade.  I didn't sleep well, fearing the worst.  Luckily, there were no problems on that day.  The only issue was in an Interstate 81 construction zone.  The Flagship didn't handle well, and it was a tight squeeze through the construction barriers.  I made it without a scratch.

And then, there was the end.  I had another Saturday Flagship assignment.  I don't remember where I was, but I was on Interstate 81 north, heading back to the station in Avoca.  Around Dupont, it started making awful noises and the engine stopped.  I had enough momentum to make it over to the shoulder.  I don't know how I got back to the station.  I tried calling managers.  No luck.  This was the era before cell phones and e-mail, so I was stuck-- and so was the Flagship.  It sat along the Interstate all weekend until someone arranged for a tow on Monday.  Embarrassing?  Absolutely.  My hands are clean.  Due diligence, and no one in management said a word to me.

I later learned the engine was missing something important-- oil.  It either all leaked out unexpectedly or no one bothered to check on a regular basis.  I suspect the latter.  The engine was shot.  It would cost a fortune to replace.  The Flagship was old and wasn't worth it.  If memory serves, the carcass was sold to someone in Wyoming County.

It was beautiful while it lasted.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Andy's Angles: Tickets

I recently had to dig for my Social Security card.  Don't worry or celebrate.  I'm not retiring.  I needed it for part of a freelance project.  They needed to see the actual card, even though I know the number.  More on that on a later date.

While I was searching, I came across these two movie ticket stubs in a box of keepsake type material.  Both were from the movie theater complex that used to be behind the Viewmont Mall in Dickson City.  I'm figuring the stubs are around 35 years old, maybe more.

Obviously, I kept them for a reason.  However, the reason escapes me.  They might have been from dates.  They might have been from group movie night with college friends.  They are definitely from the college era.

Because I can't connect the stubs to anything specific, I should have pitched them in the trash.  I just couldn't do it.

Friday, March 24, 2017


A web site named goodcall.com published a list of overlooked dream cities, with a population under 300,000.  Scranton was second.  Erie came in first.

Strange to say, but I used to be a frequent vacationer in Erie.  My first trips there were during Tom Ridge's run for governor in 1994.  My itinerary was the same for each vacation visit.  I'd drive out on Route 6, one of the best rides ever.  Scenery.  Small towns.  beautiful, but long.  I'd get a room at a downtown hotel, indulge in their appetizer specialty called the "basket of fire," walk ten blocks to the lake, watch the water, go back to the hotel, do a little driving and wandering for a couple more days, then go home.  My return trip was on Route 17 (now Route 86) across the southern tier of New York.  There would be a stop in Corning to visit friends on the way back.

Erie has its charm, but # 1?  I don't see it.  It's a great place in the summer and fall.  Winter?  Forget it!  There are attempts at a downtown revival.  Erie has a minor league baseball stadium, a restored theater (like Wilkes-Barre's Kirby Center) and an ice hockey.  There's a downtown park that's filled with a festival just about every weekend.  Some restaurants, not much retail.  Gannon University.  A couple of hospitals.  A bayfront hotel and a casino.  You can't forget about Presque isle State park.

The outskirts of the city look like any other one-- a mall, countless trip malls and other stores.  There are some beautiful vineyards along the lake.

I found the people of Erie to be very nice.  Unfortunately, they've heard the nasty Erie jokes so long, they start to believe them.  Industry has deserted the place, and Erie is the definition of "rust belt."

Overall, it's not a bad place, and I like it there (when the weather cooperates).  Top billing on the list?  Well, I'm not there yet.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

The King

Chuck Barris was a genius.  Let me restate that, in no uncertain terms.  CHUCK BARRIS WAS A GENIUS.

Every reality show, past, present, and future, can be traced back to Chuck Barris.

He started as a page at NBC.  Barris moved to ABC where was one of his jobs was to keep an eye on American Bandstand, so Dick Clark didn't take payola.  ABC later allowed Barris to develop game shows.

As stated in his book, and my copy is pictured on the left, Barris wanted to do game shows, but he didn't want what he thought was an overdone and tired question and answer format.  That led to the birth of The Dating Game and The Newlywed game, among many others.

Chuck Barris never intended to appear on camera.   John Barbour was the intended host of The Gong Show. Barbour never grasped the concept of a bad talent show, rather than a good one.  He was replaced and the rest is television history.

I was never a huge fan of The Dating Game and The Newlywed game.  The Gong Show was funny for a while.  I veered away when it went over the top.  However, you'll love Chuck Barris after you read the book.  It's not all about his game shows.  It's about selling it all, moving to France, and looking for meaning in life.  It's a great book, one of my all time favorites.

It's not all laughs.  There were struggles to get shows on the air, battles to be taken seriously, allegations he was ruining television, and he lost a daughter, the pretty little girl who you saw on The Gong Show, to drugs.

Chuck Barris died of natural causes in Pallisades, New York Tuesday.  87 years old.  Writer, composer, television show producer...

You know what bugs me?  Chuck Barris was reviled.  60 Minutes and  Mike Wallace tried to nail his hide to the wall several years ago.  A lot of people thought Chuck Barris was the absolute worst-- degrading television, having fun at the expense of others.  Bunk.

Ryan Seacrest is the toast of the town these days.  He is executive producer of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians."  It's one of the worst shows on television.  Ever.  Period.  Full stop, as Shepard Smith would say.  Barris productions were Masterpiece Theatre in compared to that garbage.  People love Ryan Seacrest.  Don't ask me why.  Chuck Barris had an image problem, and it follows him to the grave.  That's wrong.

Chuck Barris was The King.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Jimmy Breslin

As someone who makes his living behind a keyboard, I always admired Jimmy Breslin.

Backing up for a moment, I never aspired to be a newspaper reporter, but I have great respect for the profession.  It was always a treat when the morning and afternoon newspapers arrived on the front porch when I was a kid-- and the out of town papers on Sunday.  It was extra special when the NY Daily News and the NY Post started becoming available around here on weekdays.

My early radio days were spent watching, in awe,  the competition among the two Scranton newspapers and the two Wilkes-Barre papers.  We were so lucky around here to have real competition, and the readers benefited.  There were some gifted writers back in the day.

Jimmy Breslin worked for a few different papers in New York, and he was the total package.  Blunt, yet poetic.  His column on JFK's grave digger, the last man to serve the 35th president is viewed as a masterpiece.  Breslin was connected.  He had sources.  Breslin also had that elusive "everyman" quality, and that encouraged people to open up.  His editors knew he could sell papers (something very few columnists can do), and he had the freedom.

If there is one knock, it is that Jimmy Breslin became celebrity journalist, and was often bigger than the stories he covered.  I'm not sure if anyone is at fault.  Sometimes, that's just the way it happens, but there was a wee bit of the despised "It's all about me" in there.

Jimmy Breslin died Sunday.  He was 88.  One of a kind.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

First Person: Violence

I barely had time to take my coat off at 2:30 Monday morning.  Shooting and stabbing, East Broad Street, Hazleton.

Photographer Jason loaded up one of our trucks and we headed south.  It was quite the scene as we came down the avenue-- flashing red and blue lights all over the place, a dozen police officers, and a lot of blood on the sidewalk.

We got some quick facts from one of the detectives, and it was time to get on the air, plus update social media.  The chief later arrived and filled in the blanks.

Man and woman fought in club.  Fight moved to sidewalk.  Man stabs woman.  Security guard shoots man who had the knife.  I've been doing this a long time, and this was a new one on me.

There are many days I'm thankful I got my start in radio.  It trained me in quickly spotting the essential elements of the story, boiling it down quickly and efficiently.  Yes, I'm allowed to pat myself on the back once in a while.

After the last units cleared the scene, and I watched the fire department hose the blood off the sidewalk, it was time to return to the office and put together a story for our noon broadcast.

Photograher Dave put it together.  Next thing you knew, a live update was on the air, and it was time to hand off the story to someone else.

Someone once said that, when it comes to bars, nothing good ever happens after midnight.  I'm sure we'll be following this one for a while.  It appears the security guard will not be charged.  It's likely the security guard prevented a homicide.

As it stands now, both the shooting victim and the stabbing victims will survive.  This one could have ended a lot worse.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Unfinished Monday: Blizzard Edition

The snow started falling one week ago tonight...

A lot of things impressed me, and here is a partial list:  the volunteers, young and old, who shoveled the area around fire hydrants...  neighbor helping neighbor...  stranger helping stranger...  people stuck at work for extra hours, or even days...  the work of the road crews and first responders...

I spent one night in a hotel, and that was more than enough.  Other than out of town assignments, this is the first time a storm has kept me from getting home.  As I noted last week, I slept poorly.  It wasn't the hotel's fault.  One of the factors was the lack of a radio.  I always sleep with the radio on at home.  I guess the days of clock radios in hotels are over.  There was a very nice clock on the night stand.  No radio.  The hotel had wi fi, and I could have punched something up on my phone, but I didn't want the hassle.  Mistake on my part.

Was the snow removal a perfect operation?  No.  There were things that could have done better, but show me any venture, personal or professional, public or private where there wasn't room for improvement.  I trust the Blizzard of  '17 will be used as a teaching moment.  At least, interstates weren't shut down and drivers stranded, as in past storms.

It seems like most of the problems were in the cities.  As one mayor noted, the snow couldn't be pushed.  It had to be picked up and carried away.  Try to do that on a narrow street with cars parked all over the place.  It's not easy.  Outside of hiring an army, I can't think of a solution.  If you have one, I'd love to hear it.

For a writer, the words for this part are difficult to choose.  The storm was serious business.  People died.  Property damaged.  Crashes.  Injuries.  We haven't heard the last of this.  Schools have to make up days.  Roof damage.  Removal bills.  I don't want to make light of the situation, but working for my little slice of the blizzard was rewarding.  We got some good information out there on a timely basis.  I upped my social media game.  I watched coworkers rise to the occasion.  I got to know some a little better.  I don't want to use the word "fun" when so many were experiencing so many horrible issues.  It reminded me quite a bit of covering flooding back in January of 1996, when I was down the street.

I guess, to sum it up, it was an interesting and fascinating experience.

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for spring.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Andy's Angles: Dunmore Snow

There is nothing like a heavy wet snow, and deserted streets.  I took this photo around 4 am on the 10th.  It's Blakely Street in Dunmore.  That's the darkened post office in the background.  Shortly after I took this shot, the snow picked up in intensity and it started sticking to the roads as the temperature dropped.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Andy's Angles: Prep Snow

I generally keep the same schedule on my work days, and my days off.  That means I'm usually prowling about while the rest of America sleeps.

These are early AM photos, from the 10th, mot long after the show started to fall.  The scene in Scranton Prep, on Wyoming Avenue.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Remember When???

I'm trying to end a horrible week on a happy note.

Winter can't last forever.  Warm and sunny days are coming, eventually.  Think good thoughts.  Let's hope for a gradual melt down so rivers, creeks and streams stay within their banks.  We want a speedy return to normal and an end to disaster declarations.

I want my co workers to return to their homes, rather than live at the hotels next door to the office.

I want to hear lawn mowers.  I don't want to hear snow throwers.  I want to smell freshly cut grass.  I'm tired of the odor of desperation.

I want my legs to be tired from riding my bike, not trudging through snow.  I want sore arms from lifting weights at the gym, instead of shoveling snow.

Above, a sunny and warm picture of Carbondale City Hall and the park across the street, taken on a beautiful afternoon in May of last year.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

PS: Blizzard of '17

Some post scripts on the Blizzard of 17...

Adversity often brings out the best in people.  As I noted yesterday, our live van repeatedly got stuck in the deep snow, and there was always someone there to help us out.  Thanks again.  We weren't the only ones.  People helping stranded drives was a scene I saw over and over again.

After a snow event, its traditional to beat up on road crews.  I'm not going to do that here.  The snow was falling fast and furious.  There was no way to keep up with it.  Road crews couldn't thrown down salt and anti skid material at the beginning because it would just get buried under more new snow.  Was there room for improvement?  Most certainly.  Interstate on and off ramps were lousy.  I understand they were concentrating on the main traveling lanes, but cars and trucks had to exit and enter, too.

I think a key to this is getting cars and trucks off the roads.  The state has to pull the trigger on more severe trucking restrictions.  Some of that was done early, before the storm started.  The ban should have been more severe.  There isn't much you can do about cars.  I suspect part of that was business that chose to remain open.  I know you need some essentials in a storm, like drug stores and gas stations.  Of course, there are hospitals, law enforcement, and other emergency services.  As for the rest, one day off in a major emergency wouldn't hurt.

I did enjoy the Newswatch 16 story on the pre blizzard beer rush at distributors.

I had my first experience with the Hampton Inn, next to the station, in Moosic.  I slept poorly, but I always do in hotel rooms.  It wasn't their fault.  Clean place, great staff, good breakfast.  And, having said that, I hope I never stay there, ever again!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Storm Stories

This entry is not coming to you from my home office, so I don't have access to a lot of graphics and photos...

Let me tell you about my day.

I got up about midnight Tuesday morning, shaved, showered, etc, and headed to the office.  There was a couple of inches of snow on the ground and it was coming down pretty hard.  However, the drive to the office was a breeze.

WNEP management made assignments the day before.  Carmella Mataloni got the Poconos.  Ally Gallo was sent to Pottsville.  Photographer Erich and I were designated to be the "metro" crew.  No problem.  I like working in the cities.  That's where the people are.  That's where the stories are.  Cities, as you can see below, even in the middle of the night, are well lit.  There's action.  There's activity.

Producer Kim and I discussed location-- Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, or any of the surrounding communities.  We decided I would work out of our Wyoming Valley Newsroom.  Public Square is pretty in the snow.  The office gave us the chance to get warm and dry between live reports.  We had access to computers to check the latest information, and it was changing by the minute.

The photo above was a real kick.  PEMA, the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, was watching several television stations around the state to see what the blizzard was doing.  I was on one of the monitors at PEMA headquarters in Harrisburg.  It was nice to help.  Obviously, our work is held in high regard, and is a trusted source for the decision makers in Harrisburg.

After we finished Newswatch 16 This Morning and Good Morning America duties, it was off to work on a story for our noon broadcast.

The roads were horrible, as expected when you get two feet of snow in a short amount of time.  We got stuck four times!  Thanks to those who shoveled us out, pushed us out, and towed us out.

There was a lot of housekeeping to do when I got back to the office, and some recording for a future project.  More on that down the road.

I finally got a chance to leave at 3 PM, but the roads were still terrible.  It was a short walk next door to the Hampton Inn.  As I write this, every appliance I have is recharging. Jeans and socks are drying on the heater, even though I have extra.  Some other staffers here and I are getting together for a little lobby party, which will be long over by the time you read this.  Joe Snedeker put a group photo on his Facebook page.  In nearly 19 years of working at WNEP, it was the first time I stayed in one of the adjacent hotels.  There were a few times I was out in hotels in Hazleton and Hawley for storm coverage, but this was the first time I couldn't make it home.  Thanks to management for making the offer.

One other thing I should note...  I started doing some social media things very early Tuesday morning and the hits/likes started piling up immediately.  Thank you for the Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and blog followers.  Tell your friends.  It means you turn to us for the latest information and some things we don't have the time and opportunity to show you on TV.  I still have my social media reservations, but I will admit it did make me feel good.

I headed back to my hotel room just before 10 pm.  I don't sleep well in hotel rooms.  I miss my radio.  I miss my pillows.  I miss my cat.  This stay was no exception.  I got about three hours sleep, and headed back to the station to see if the staff needed any help.  The situation was well in hand.  I hung around for some computer time anyway.

This will sound weird but I will say it anyway.  Working a blizzard was a lot of fun.  Adverse conditions, technical challenges, travel issues...  It's a long list.

I'm not much of a cheerleader, but even though tensions were high and there was considerable stress, there were no arguments, no raised voices, and a ton of teamwork.  I was proud to be part of it.

Having said all that, let's not have another blizzard for a very long, long time.

I'll have a few days off.  The blog continues.  See you again on TV Saturday morning.