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Friday, June 30, 2017

Media Friday

As you know by now, WNEP launched some new graphics Tuesday afternoon.  The debut was smooth, but there will be some tweaks and enhancements in the days to come.

A lot of people have said nice things about the LA Tarone obituary that ran on Newswatch 16 Monday.  Thank you.  Two things really made it work-- the talents of photographer and editor Corey Burns, and the vision of producer Tanya Cleary, who recognized we needed more than 90 seconds to tell the story.  That extra minute meant a lot.

I'm a week and a half in to my Sirius XM free trial through Amazon Echo, and I love it.  Do I love it enough to pay $20 a month?  I don't see it going in that direction.

CNN had to pull back a web story on Trump and the Russians.  If there was ever a time to double and triple check a story like that, now is the time.  The media can be its own worst enemy.

A picture of Clay LePard and I generated dozens of hits on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Clay moved on to Orlando, Florida this week.  He's a good kid and a solid journalist.  Big things are in his future.

In spite of all the recent talent changes and controversies, FOX News still dominates cable.  That's a testament to consistent branding.

Stephen Colbert's 18 week winning streak over Jimmy Fallon was broken last week.  Colbert was in reruns for two days, but I sense some of it could be fatigue from the one note nature of Colbert's broadcast.

Independence Day approaches, and apologies for a geezer moment, but I don't think anything will ever top the tall ships that dominated TV that day in 1976.

Greta Van Susteren is out after six months at MSNBC.  In previous stops, she always delivered a decent broadcast.  I don't know what went wrong here.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

First Person: Tarone



I fired up my computer Sunday night and learned WILK's LA Tarone had died.  Lung cancer.  58.  We did a short piece Sunday night and on the Monday edition of Newswatch 16 This Morning.  My assignment for that broadcast was a preview of the last minute state budget negotiations.


When the broadcast was over, it was time to shift gears.  There would be no new budget news until the afternoon, so I suggested a piece on Tarone's passing.  He was in your home, and rode along with you in your car for a very long time.  Before his WILK days, Tarone was on WYLN, a Hazleton TV station, and he wrote for the Hazleton Standard~Speaker newspaper.




I texted program director Nancy Kman for permission to stop by and talk.  Granted.  Photographer Corey and I arrived a little after 7 AM.  We recorded some phone calls, got our hands on some of LA's old radio shows and Facebook photos.  I interviewed Nancy and morning co host John Webster during commercial breaks.  We had more than enough material.  We also had some time, so Corey and I waited for mid day host Sue Henry to arrive.  She knew LA for more than thirty years, and was with him when he passed.


Sue came in a little after 8.  I asked if she wanted to talk.  She agreed, and Sue shared some nice memories.  We should all be so lucky to have someone say such nice things about us when we pass.


It was then time to head back to the station to put together a piece for our noon broadcast.  I never met LA Tarone.  When you are doing an obituary, there are times personal knowledge is a huge help.  Thankfully, the WILK staff was generous with their memories, and the piece came together rather nicely.


I've known most of the WILK staff for a very long time.  I have to note that I love my job and WNEP treats me very well.  However, I love being in radio stations.   Radio was my first job.  I'm fascinated by how things work, how the equipment and procedures have changed.  Regardless, watching people communicate, the intimacy, the immediacy, is always a draw.  Plus, the WILK staff are good people.


When Corey and I got back to the station, I reviewed the interviews and chose the best parts.  It wasn't easy because there were so many interesting answers to my questions.  It didn't take long to write the story, but I did take some time arranging the elements into the order I felt worked best.  There were three versions before I settled on the final one.  As I was doing that, Corey was listening to the sound of the WILK callers, and the archived material from Tarone's shows.  He picked some great segments that illustrated what LA Tarone was all about.


I should also note that our noon producer Monday, Tanya, afforded me a little extra time to tell the story.  It really helped.  You really couldn't sum up LA Tarone in 90 seconds.


Thanks to the WILK staff for their help and the kind words on Facebook.  My sympathy to LA Tarone's family, friends, and fans.


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Professional Skeptic

Jack Smurl died last week.  75.  My deepest condolences to his family and friends.


Mr. Smurl first came on the scene in the mid 80's when he and his family claimed their West Pittston home was haunted.


I do not mean to be offensive, but I never bought it.  Not then.  Not now.  Too many things didn't add up.  Too many things didn't make sense.


I do feel very sorry for the Smurl family.  They were constantly harassed during this ordeal.  A Scranton bar even organized a bus trip to the Smurl home.  That was simply mean and insensitive.


The so called paranormal investigators at the Smurl home, who had access, seemed more intent on furthering their own fame than finding out what was really going on in there.  Below is a picture of my hand, holding a WARM microphone, as the investigators held a mini news conference on the Smurl's back porch.  It's from Robert Curran's book, "The Haunted."  Mr. Curran died in February.

The Smurl saga is now local legend.  It was fascinating at the time, and it remains of interest.  I will forever have the feeling that something just wasn't right.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Print It

I've used this space to complain about sloppy newspaper delivery before.  In spite of a few emails, the situation hasn't improved.  In fact, a clerk at a mini mart tells me it's gotten even worse.

My emails have been respectful and diplomatic.  The newspaper didn't even have the courtesy to reply.

Another newspaper is now on the "sloppy" list.  Three calls on the 18th failed to produce a Sunday newspaper.  The one time I was able to reach a human rather than a machine, I was told they were having "issues."  There were follow up emails to circulation, and even upper management.  Like the other paper, there was no response.

First, you can crow about all your awards and quality journalism, but if you can't get the product into the reader's hands, it's worthless.  And, yes, there are still some people who prefer the print edition.

Second, mistakes happen.  I get that.  It's tough to find good people, who will get up in the middle of the night, in all kinds of weather, to deliver your product.  I get that, too.  The least you can do is say "I'm sorry."

Monday, June 26, 2017

45




I haven't blogged, yet about the 45th anniversary of the Tropical Storm Agnes flood.

There's a good reason why I've avoided the topic.  Everything that can be said has already been said.

Yes, there is still a need to inform those who weren't here at the time as to what went on, and that's the theme of today's blog.

I'm afraid we really haven't learned very much.  I do you know you couldn't abandon everything in the Susquehanna flood zone, but we've built up, again, in places that should be left alone.

The flood walls and levees are great, but all it takes is one weak spot, and it's Agnes all over again.

Let's remember all those who struggled in the days after the water went down.  Let's pray it never happens again.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Andy's Angles: Daybreak

Admittedly, a quickie camera phone photo, but here's what I like about this one.

It's the Lackawanna County Courthouse from the Spruce Street side..  Upper left, night sky, lower right, dawn approaches.

Enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Andy's Angles: Sheridan

I've featured the General Philip Sheridan monument here before, but never the night time view.

The white stone really stands out in the dark night.  The monument, which is one of my favorites, always reminded me of a giant chess piece.  It makes a nice statement at the corner of Adams and Spruce.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Business Friday

Food and media today...

Subway thinks the way to reverse a slide is to install self service touch screen ordering stations and video menu boards.  Touch screens work elsewhere, but Subway is one of those places where you can guide the "sandwich artist" through the customization and creation process.  I'm not sure how touch screens will work with that.  As I see it, here's the reason for the decrease in sales:  Subway used to be a place to get a fast and reasonably priced lunch.  Service speed is still okay, but Subway isn't the value it used to be.

McDonalds is experimenting with fresh, rather than frozen beef.  Great idea.  On the other hand, it slows down the process because the burgers have to be cooked to order, rather than in advance.  McDonald's service is already slow.  This can't be good.

Sirius XM announced a deal where it streams through Amazon's Echo.  Very smart.  I used to have a home Sirius XM radio and loved it.  Unfortunately, it became lass of a value after some talk channels were dropped and the price went up.  I'm not in a one month free trial.  I'll let you know how it goes.

I'm watching an experiment in Buffalo, NY.  WECK 1230/102.9 has switched to a "full service" format.  It's like those AM radio stations of the past-- disc jockeys, plenty of news and weather, community involvement, etc.  Music is for adults.  I've been listening a lot lately, and it brings back some pleasant memories.  Whether it's financially feasible and commercially viable is a different story.  My fingers are crossed.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

There Goes the Sun



The summer solstice has come and gone.  The days are getting shorter, and I'm not complaining.

I've always found it strange when you get up to work an overnight shift and it's still daylight.  It's easier to sleep in the dark, and shrinking daylight doesn't bother me.

I will admit to loving early sunrises.  Those November, December and January short days can be depressing.

June and July are the tough months for those of us who work on the other side of the clock.

As I have said here many times before, don't cry for me.  This is the life I have chosen, and if a little too much daylight is my biggest problem, I'm darned lucky.

I do realize I'm in the minority here, so enjoy the bright.  Enjoy the light.  Enjoy the heat.  Summer can fade rather quickly.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I Wasn't Kidding

Let's take you back to Sunday morning.  I was doing my standard Sunday morning broadcast, but Joe Snedeker was filling in for Noreen Clark.  As I introduced Joe at the top of one of our four hours, I made a sweeping hand gestures.  Joe took note of it, and I explained that was my Allen Ludden impression, and I occasionally do it as an homage to the great Password and Password Plus host.

I should have made a screen grab of my thing, but here is Ludden in action from 1980, making the hand and arm gesture I occasionally copy.
So, why do I offer the occasional homage to Allen Ludden?

He brought life to a rather tame and dry game show, but the biggest reason is, and I've prattled on about this before, but it's been a while, the guy looked like he was having the time of his life every time he stepped on stage.  It appeared there was no place he'd rather be.  I always admired that.

Allen Ludden loved his work, and so do I.

By the way, there is another impression in my anchoring repertoire.  If you see my left arm way out, that's Steve Bosh, who anchored on WPIX in the late 70's and 80's.  He was always a favorite.

Thanks for watching.  See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Tuesday Scrapple

Scott Pelley's last broadcast as CBS Evening News anchor was last Friday.  It was a classy sign off.

Katy Perry has become the first Twitter user with 100 million followers.  Not surprised.  major entertainer.  World wide audience.

I spent some time at my alma mater, Marywood University, last week.  Believe it or not, I was in a building I had not visited before-- and it's an old building.

Will Amazon and Walmart eventually own everything?

There are multiple reports Bill O'Reilly is planning a comeback.  It looks to be a subscription web site.  I'm not surprised, again.  The trend in the business is for entertainers and journalists to own their content, like podcasts and web sites.

The British never gave me the warm fuzzies, but it's been one heartbreak after another for the people on the other side of the pond.

A few different teams find themselves in first place in Major league Baseball, and it's nice to see things turned around.

14 teams in the International League and the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Railriders are 10th in attendance.  In all fairness, things don't pick up here until schools are out.  Thanks to the blizzard, schools were in session late this year.  Also, the spring weather has been lousy.

There aren't many things better than a well made submarine sandwich on a great roll.

Stephen Furst's passing over the weekend inspired me to look at some "Animal House" clips on YouTube.  A hilarious movie, from beginning to end.  Hearing things like "zero point zero" and "double secret probation" can still make me laugh.   Furst was also in 97 "St. Elsewhere" episodes, one of the best series of all time.

How does a four year old get his hands on a gun?  A loaded gun?

Not saddened by the demise of Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus, but I'm tickled that three of its old rail cars will stay here in our area.

My hand reaches for the radio any time an ELO song comes on, but only to crank up the volume.




Monday, June 19, 2017

Violation!

I was at the supermarket last week.  It was a chain that actually seems to value your time because they manage to have more than one cash register open at a time.

In my hand held basket, four items.  Four.  Quatro.  Quatre.  I headed for a line that clearly said "15 items or less."  As I turned the corner, I clearly saw more than 15 items on the belt before more.  Much more than 15.  The cashier looked embarrassed.  The offending customer saw my eyes pop out of my head and started apologizing profusely, saying a store employee told her to get in that line, which I do not doubt.

Most of her purchase was already scanned.  The cashier was quick and efficient.  The undue extra wait wouldn't be that long.  After the offender's transaction was completed, she apologized again.  I replied that if waiting in line an extra minute was the worst thing that was going to happen to me, it was a good day.

I paid for my four items and left.

Fast forward a couple of hours.  This popped up in a massage on my WNEP Facebook page"

Hi! I'm the woman you were behind at ----------  today (green sundress, more than 15 items!!!😁). Just wanted to tell you, because I didn't want to draw too much attention, you are much more handsome in person than on tv! I mean, who doesn't love a compliment?! Hope you enjoy the beautiful day!!

It was worth the wait, and yes, it was the worst thing that happened to me on that particular day.

I'm a lucky guy.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Andy's Angles: Downstream

Outside of a few industrial areas, the Susquehanna River looks good just about everyplace if flows.


One of the best examples is right here, in Sunbury.  This is the Monday morning view, looking downstream from the gazebo near Market Street.


As I noted here yesterday, it had been a long time since I had a chance to visit Sunbury.  My stay was a short one, but I did enjoy it. 


I took the walk from the river over to the police station.  Yes, empty storefronts-- but some occupied ones, too.  It looks like the city realizes the Susquehanna is its greatest asset-- and downtown can benefit from the tourist traffic.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Andy's Angles: Sunbury

Trips out of the metropolitan area are rare these days.  My news assignments usually keep me close to home.  Monday was a rare treat-- a ride to Sunbury.


There wasn't much time for photography, but I did manage to get to the gazebo overlooking the Susquehanna River.


Today, the upstream view.  After a rather mediocre spring, featuring more than enough cloudy, cool, rainy days, it was great to get out into the sunshine, and get a great view of the Susquehanna.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Hey, 19!

Tomorrow is my 19th anniversary at WNEP.

I know I say it every year, but the time has flown by and I've been lucky beyond belief.

The job is still fun.  I work with some great people.  The learning never ends, and I've really enjoyed watching some young people come through the doors and evolve into fine young broadcasters.

Thanks for watching and reading.  Let's keep it going.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Do We Really Need This?

A contractor has been fixing Blakely Street and the O'Neill Highway in Dunmore for the last couple of years.  The project, thankfully, is nearing an end.

New sidewalks, new pavement, new signals, and as you can see above-- new signs.

Signs noting cross streets is a great idea...  but, do we really need this one?  If you can't see there's a shopping center on the right and a cemetery on the left, you are in major trouble.  By the way, this is the view looking north.  There is an identical sign over the southbound lanes.

Your tax dollars, hard at work.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Media Wednesday

It didn't take Megyn Kelly long to step in it, did it?

I'm impressed with how the major networks have been quick to dump regular programming to air the latest from Washington, and around the world.  That stuff costs money, but broadcasters do have the responsibility to inform.  The airwaves belong to the public, and all to often, some lose sight of that.

I'm a fan of JT the Brick, who does 8 to 11 PM on FOX Sports Radio.  When the local station is doing play by play, I usually ask my Amazon Echo to play WSAI AM 1360 in Cincinnati.  What a mess!  Two commercials often play at once, network rejoins are sloppy.  It's clear that the people who run the place don't listen to their own station.

Can any Gong Show revival come close to the original?  I understand the Chuck Barris version went off the air decades ago, so this is the Gong Show for the new generation.  I'm sure I'll give it a few minutes-- the curiosity factor.

The Scott Pelley replacement sweepstakes fascinates me.  I stand by my prediction.  Jeff Glor gets the CBS Evening News, but Norah O'Donnell, who now does the morning broadcast,  becomes chief anchor.  It will be very similar to the ABC arrangement.  I'm sure CBS is looking for some star power, but I don't see many stars available at the moment.

A recent study shows small town radio stations, that are part of local groups, owned by big companies, have been adding news.  Yay.  Radio is a spectacular medium for news.

The NFL has okayed hard liquor ads during its games.  We're used to them.  I doubt anyone will notice.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tuesday Scrapple

Will there ever be an awards show without political overtones?  Winners, just go on stage, say thank you, and depart.  We'll all be much happier.

It seems like there's a "Sears/KMart imminent demise" story in the news every day.  Is there anything new here?  It seems like it's the same doom and gloom over and over again.  Wake me when it finally happens.

Adam West, TV's Batman died over the weekend.  88.  He was perfect, one of the best voices ever on TV.  What made the show was the villains.  Personal favorite:  King Tut.

Spring is a great time of year.  Unfortunately, in our area, it doesn't last long enough.

Is there anything better on a broiling afternoon than cold iced tea?

I spent a little time in Sunbury yesterday, first time in a long time.  That area along the river is nothing short of spectacular.

I don't like Instagram and Snapchat because every other customer has a more interesting life.

I'm glad that stuff wasn't around when I was growing up.  I don't think I'd like having every moment of my life documented.  Remember The Truman Show?

How did society exist without Sharpies and Post-Its?

I know it has a major political slant, but the New York Post manages to be entertaining day after day after day.

The just concluded NBA season seemed interminable.  The NHL wasn't far behind, but I admit it was a kick to see the Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup.

Please don't forget that tomorrow is Flag Day.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Revealation

Let's review a few things already established here in past entries.

I liked learning.  I hated school.

I always wanted to be in news and broadcasting.  However, I could never come up with a "moment" or a great reason.  I do remember always playing with a radio as a kid-- not for the music, but for the news, the jingles, the disc jockeys.  I was parked in front of Walter Cronkite every night at 6:30.

I was at the car dealer for service the other day.  One of my favorite high school teachers walked in a few minutes behind me.  I'd see this gentleman a few times a year, usually walking through the mall.  We'd exchange pleasantries and go on our separate ways.  This was the first extended conversation as adults, ever.  By the way, I had this person for a consumer economics course.  I think it was the most valuable elective my high school ever offered.  I understand it's been discontinued.

If what I've read about mental health therapy is true, they'll let you yammer on for a while, and usually you come to your own conclusions.  That's exactly what happened last week.

I got to talking about my favorite teachers back in the day, the ones with enthusiasm, the ones who actually seemed interested in their jobs, the ones who actually had something to say, the ones who could involve me.  As I verbally ticked off my list, I realized that the vast majority were in the English department.  I did enjoy some social studies courses and maybe one science.  Otherwise, it was all English, all the time.  The written word.  The spoken word.  And look what I've been doing for a living for the past few decades.

I guess some people were a bigger influence than I believed.  The man at the top of the list died several years ago.  I think the rest are still around.  If you're reading this, and you remember me, thank you for all you've done.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Andy's Angles: The Founder


An early morning shot of the George Washington statue at the coroner of North Washington and Linden , at Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton-- one of my favorites.

It was a foggy, misty morning, and the statue looked that much brighter on a dismal, chilly June morning.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Andy's Angles: Fix It!

I should have gotten to this one sooner. 


We needed a backdrop to introduce some Memorial Day pieces, so one of my go-to locations is part of Nay Aug Park in Scranton dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives in recent wars.


I was lucky, in that there's a gazebo type structure at the head of Davis Trail, just to the right of this photo.  it kept me out of the rain.


On the other hand, I was supremely disappointed with this section of the park.  It was dark.  It was trashy.  It was weedy, and the trees are badly in need of a trim.  There are lights on a flagpole near by.  Running a line just an extra few feet to light the memorial wouldn't be that difficult.  I know the area, so I made sure photographer Erich loaded some extra lights into the truck.


As for the overgrown trees, weeds, and trash...  that's up to the city.  soldiers who gave their lives deserve better.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Taste Test: Pepsi Fire

Let's establish some things right off the top.

My colleague and friend, Kerry Brazen, does a great job with the Taste Test franchise.  She took it over several months ago, and has really made it her own.  Watch every Tuesday.

Once in a while, a product comes along to pique my curiosity, so I yammer on about it here.  Kerry's job is safe.

I've never been a coffee drinker, and I really don't get the high end coffee culture.  I don't see the value, but if you enjoy it, go nuts.

It has been established that I bleed diet cola.  Diet iced tea is a close second.  Diet Pepsi is my drink of choice, and I won't turn down an icy Diet Coke.


Pepsi is out with a limited time only flavor-- Pepsi Fire.  The can calls it "cinnamon flavored cola."

I do like cinnamon, but only in sweet things.  Some cultures and cuisines use cinnamon in savory dishes, and I just don't get that.  To each, his own.

Getting back to Pepsi Fire, there is only one fly in the ointment.  It doesn't come in diet.  In spite of that, I bought a 12 pack anyway.

So, how is it?  It has a nice cinnamon bite.  Sweet, but not as syrupy sweet as I expected.  A lot of cinnamon things have a chemical after-taste, and that's missing here.  It's pretty good, and I'm really sorry it doesn't come in a diet version.

I believe Pepsi Fire is on Kerry's list of things to test.  Keep watching for what her test reveals.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Unfinished Thursday

REVISITING EARLIER TOPICS, AND SOME NEW ONES...


I've been doing this a long time, and it continually amazes me at how many times government bodies feel it's okay to keep you out of its business.  The latest case is the Scranton Sewer Authorities.  It appears if the authority spent a ton on legal fees.  Look, I have no problem with making money-- as long as it's done ethically and honestly.  If all is above board, open the books and do it now.  So far, efforts to get the state's auditor general involved have been rebuffed.  Now, Scranton council wants the attorney general to step in.  There's nothing to indicate crimes have been committed, so I'm not sure if Harrisburg will take a look.   Scranton taxpayers have been put through the wringer in recent years.  They deserve to know what's going on.

Cellular phones have been around for decades.  I remember my first-- bolted in to my news car at WARM radio.  It was cutting edge at the time, and it really helped us put news on the air faster.  Smaller units were just coming in as I was exiting.  I could imagine what we could have done with those.  Anyway, it still irritates me to no end to watch people talk and drive at the same time.  On top of that, it's downright dangerous.  Stop it.  Stop it now.

Testimony in the Jessie Con-ui murder trial has been nothing short of tragic, sad, and disgusting.  On day one, as expected, we learned the defense wouldn't fight the conviction, but it would oppose, strongly, the death penalty.  As I noted on my Facebook page, it was shades of Eric Frein.

The trees around Courthouse Square in downtown Scranton have grown up nicely, and they have really helped soften the harshness of all that granite and concrete.  As hard as I've tried, I still can't warm up to that big wall that does nothing for the square.

Newspaper headline this week:  "Popular Restaurant Closes."  Newsflash:  the body of the story had a line from the owner, saying his customer base has dwindled.  That doesn't sound like a popular restaurant to me.

Tuesday was the D Day anniversary, and I say it every year.  Why isn't the D Day anniversary a bigger deal in this country?

I find the priest in Luzerne County, who allegedly misappropriated $130,000 one of the most fascinating stories to come down the pike in a long time.



Wednesday, June 7, 2017

House Cleaning


It was long overdue.

I finally took the time the other day to get rid some e-mail accounts I rarely used.

For the ones I kept, there was a cleaning out of my "SAVED" folder.

I wasn't in danger of running out of storage space.  It was just time for a house cleaning.

I couldn't believe the stuff that was in there...  old and worthless photos, e-mails from people long departed from the friend zone, an e-mail or two from people who have passed away, benefits notices from companies that I used to work for, credit card statements from accounts long cancelled.  Plus, tons and tons of receipts from on-line purchases.

Wow!  Did I buy a lot on-line.  Do I even go into brick and mortar stores any more?

The "delete" key got quite the work out.  Yes, I did keep quite a few things, items of sentimental value.  I will admit to being an old softie.

And, I did make a vow for regular e-mail reviews.  The folders will never get that cluttered again.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Dear Me:


It was an assignment I looked forward to, and dreaded at the same time.  One week ago, I was sent to North Schuylkill Elementary in Fountain Springs.  Even though it was my first time here, soon to be graduating seniors were carrying on their tradition of going back to their elementary school, to receive, and then read letters written to themselves when they were in sixth grade.

It was a great concept, but it was scheduled to start at 9:30 am, and it was more than an hour's drive back to the station.  I really wanted the story to appear on our noon broadcast.  Logistics and the clock were not my friend.  It smelled like it was going to be a rush job.  The story deserved more than that.

Photographer Corey, assignment editor Lindsey, and I came up with a plan.  We would take one of our satellite trucks, with editing capability inside.  We'd do the story.  I'd write and edit in the truck, saving the trip back to the office.  More on that later.


As for the story itself-- it was great.  The kids were friendly, respectful, and well spoken.  The seniors showed up in caps and gowns.  Elementary school students lined the hallways to congratulate the seniors on completing their mission.  Great pictures.

Photographer Corey chose a senior to wear a wireless microphone.  As luck would have it, she wants to be a sports broadcaster, and was very comfortable on camera.  The kid has a future.

I chose another to read his letter on camera.  He listed his favorite TV shows, and it included Newswatch 16.  I didn't believe him, so I looked at the letter written in 2011, and there is was.  This kid was chosen completely at random, and he was fantastic.

After a couple more interviews, and more video, it was back to the truck.  Corey drove north as I fired up my laptop and started banging out the sentences.  I finished around Humboldt, so we pulled over into a Turkey Hill lot.  I recorded my voice track, matching words to video.  I then handed off to Corey who matched video to words.  Yes, it did have some "rush" elements, but overall, I was very happy with the product.  Judging by the social media comments, you liked it, too, and I appreciate that.  We transmitted the video back to the station with about ten minutes to spare.

As I was at North Schuylkill, I thought of what I would have written at the end of 6th grade.  If anyone read it back then, I likely would have been headed for some counseling.  6th grade was one of my worst.  My grades were great, and don't ask me how I accomplished that.  I was in a school I hated, in a town I didn't like, with a teacher I despised.  Other than that, it was great.

Good luck graduates.  I hope you enjoyed your little look back, but focus on the future.  Be well.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Media Monday

The rumors have been around for a while, and CBS pretty much confirmed it last week.  Scott Pelley is out as anchor of the CBS Evening News.

I will admit that Pelley wasn't the most dynamic anchor in the world.  In fact, the CBS Evening News was his first anchor job, but he brought gravitas back to the Cronkite chair.  It was badly lacking after the Katie Couric days.

You knew the direction of the broadcast on the first night Pelley took over.  CBS returned to the classic theme music used way back when.  The music has changed again, but it was the perfect message for that opening night, six years ago.  CBS kept it up.  I always thought, since Pelley took over, the content was rock solid.

The big suits say Pelley was done in by the ratings and some friction with the head of the news division.   I know nothing about the alleged friction, but I do read the ratings news.  Yes, CBS is in last place.  However, you can't pin that all on Pelley.  Inside baseball:  A broadcast's ratings are influenced by the ratings of the show that directly precedes it.   Local CBS stations in a lot of big markets are struggling, so there wasn't a big audience leading in to Pelley's broadcast.  An anchor switch won't change that.

So, who is next?  Anthony Mason is the temporary anchor.  The New York Post reports of a division at the network level.  There is no consensus choice.  Norah O'Donnell would be great, but she is doing nicely on the morning broadcast.  There's an old saying in the business that you don't wreck one broadcast to fix another.  Jeff Glor seems to be a popular choice.

I suspect CBS will follow the ABC model.  David Muir anchors World News Tonight, but George Stephanopolous is the network's chief anchor.  CBS will give the evening job to Glor, but Norah O'Donnell will be in the main chair for the big events.

And then, there is Kathy Griffin.  The alleged comic was recently photographed with a bloody severed fake Donald Trump head.  She's apologized.  CNN has cut its ties.  Griffin co-hosed the past couple of New Year's Eve broadcasts.  Griffin would say something in poor taste and outrageous every year.  CNN would show mock horror-- and then hire her back the next year.

I love the First Amendment as much as anyone, but Griffin wasn't funny before and she's not funny now.  She couldn't get attention to she reverted to saying outrageous things as a substitute for funny and as a way to get attention.  David Letterman was fond of saying that there is a price to be paid for being stupid.  Kathy Griffin is stupid.

Friday, Griffin blamed President Trump for derailing her career.  Nope.  Not by a long shot.  The wound is self inflicted.

Gilbert Gottfried said some unfunny things after the Indonesian tsunami, and he is still sitting on comedy Elba.  His comments pale in comparison to Griffin's action.  Gilbert should have a little bit of company on the island. 

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Arena at Night

I really wasn't a big proponent of the Luzerne County arena.  The things are notorious money losers, and if they were such a big financial bonanza, private developers would have been falling over each other to build them.

This arena seems to be doing better than most.  It's becoming a mature building and there are challenges ahead.  It has to keep up with the times.  That takes money and vision.

Having said all that, it is a cool looking building, especially at night.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The View

Several days ago, I whined about the lack of good runway views at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.  This is about the best you get.  It's at the top of the escalators.  The restaurant, gift shop, and boarding area are off to the right.

It's tough to tell in this photo, but the windows are covered with a series of frosted horizontal stripes.  yes, the stripes shade the sun, but they really wreck the view.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Friday Scrapple

No matter what caused Tiger Woods' driving
impairment, his fall is nothing but sad.

I'm still having a problem watching anything Steve Harvey does.  I hope he enjoys his "me" time.

When you work late nights, early mornings, and overnights, heat and sun are your enemy.  Still, the current weather pattern is really awful.

Every year, I say I'm going to hit a church picnic or firemen's carnival.  Every year, I manage to miss all of them.

Is it time for major league baseball players to shave?  Enough with the beards!

I don't know how that driver survived Sunday's Indianapolis 500 crash.

I didn't show much emotion at my high school and college graduations, so it surprised me when I got a little teary watching the demolition of my college radio station building.

Can't believe it's June already.

The yearly update of the AP Stylebook still excites me.

It was great to see all those communities observing Memorial Day, in spite of the rain.

I've been hit with a soft ice cream craving recently, and so far, I've managed to resist stopping for a sundae.

Comedy Central ran a "Scrubs" marathon on Memorial Day.  Even though I have the complete series on DVD, I watched several episodes Monday.  Great stuff!

Three Mile Island is closing.  I've driven past many times, and it never fails to send a chill down my spine.

Sorry for the people losing their jobs when Air Products in Hanover Township closes.

Mr. Met got fired for flipping off a fan the other night.  Did the person in the costume really think he could get away with that?

Scott Pelley and Kathy Griffin:  I'm working on a Media Notes blog for early next week.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

About the Cover

It's June.  I wanted something that screamed "summer."  This year, it's been hard to find.  I came upon this scene on a recent time killing, scenic drive through Wayne County.

The lilac bush was simply amazing, one of the great aromas of this time of year.

Enjoy the month, if summer ever arrives.