Monday, October 23, 2017


You knew this was coming.

Every year, the National Weather Service issues its winter outlook.  Every year, I raise the skeptical eyebrow.

As you can see, Pennsylvania stands an equal chance of being warmer or cooler than normal.  The Great Lakes will freeze.  The south bakes.

The accuracy rate of a super long range forecast like this is fifty per cent.  Why bother?  It's an educated guess.  The National Weather Service emphasizes the "educated."   I stress the "guess."

Yes, there is a puddle of cool water in the Pacific that indicates this is a La Nina year.  I get that.  I also get that patterns change, currents move.

Personally, sorry skiers, I'd like to see a warmer and drier than normal winter.  Home heating bills come down.  There are fewer snow and ice related crashes.  Children stay in school.  People can get to stores to keep the economy moving.  The recreation industry suffers, but you can't have everything.

I'll meet you back here in April to see how it all works out.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Andy's Angles: Inside Breakfast

One feature of Thursday morning's Feed a Friend kick off breakfast was the chance for people to see the process in action.

Joe Snedeker and WNEP producer/photographer Frank Gerardi began work on this year's Feed a Friend public service announcement in front of the group.

Notice, in the top photo, my camera phone wasn't fast enough to catch Joe's arm movements.
If it hasn't hit the air yet, it will soon.  There are plenty of ways to get involved.  Information on TV and at WNEP.com.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Andy's Angles: Breakfast

There are some areas in which I am unashamedly old school.  I still believe the airwaves belong to the public.  Radio and television stations need to earn their keep.

One of the ways WNEP does that is through the Feed a Friend program.  You donate food and cash.  It all stays in our area to help families in need just before Thanksgiving.  Feed a Friend is now 33 years old.  It works.

There was a kick off breakfast Thursday morning.  We borrowed the Coaches 'Corner studio for donuts, bagels, muffins, etc.  It was a nice chance to meet the people in the organizations that distribute the food, and the businesses that help collect it.

Friday, October 20, 2017

A Passing and a Vacation

Passion.  The great ones have it.  Dr. Tony Mussari was a man of passion, and it's a long list-- a passion for government and politics, for news and information, for education and learning., for justice. Hundreds, maybe thousands of college students have better and more rewarding lives because Dr. Tony Mussari was one of their professors, their teachers, and their friend.

Dr. Tony Mussari died this week.  He was 75.

My sympathy goes out to his family, friends, and former King's College students.

By the way, Dr. Mussari was married to Kitch Loftus, a woman who showed me the ropes when I was a WARM 590 newbie.  She was a great help on a news series I worked on.  It won a Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters award, and it was my first award ever.  I still have the trophy.  Her kindness and professionalism were a big part of my early days, and I will be forever grateful.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

It's sleeping Homer's last appearance of 2017, and that means I'm burning off my last vacation week of the year.

You've heard it before-- no plans other than gym visits, bike rides, maybe some photography and a lot of sleep.  I visited KMart on my last vacation, and there's no need to stop by again-- unless I learn of a big sale.

It's funny.  Technically, my vacation began at noon Monday, and I've already been back to the office twice this week.  No worries.  It was for important stuff, and you'll read about one tomorrow.

I still have a few scattered days off before we ring in 2018, but this really is the last "block" of time I have to use.

It will be a full agenda when I return, including election day and several holiday related stories.  I know everyone says it, and it really is true.  The year has flown by.

The weekend morning broadcasts, once again, will be in the very capable hands of Stacy Lange.

I hope to see you soon.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Unfinished Thursday


David Letterman's appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Tuesday night was an absolute delight.  It was a reminder of Letterman's quick wit and story telling ability.  Plus, it was nice to see Letterman and Paul Shaffer together again.  I was afraid the interview would be twenty minutes of politics and bashing the usual suspects.  There was one quick Trump reference, and that was it.  Good television!  I especially liked Letterman's entrance, and hearing the old  Late Show theme again.

I've noted here that even though, through the internet, I can listen to just about any radio station in the country, I still enjoy driving early in the morning, playing with the car radio, and picking up distant stations.  WBBM 780, an all news blow torch in Chicago is among my favorites.  Excellent product.  There are areas in and around Scranton where WBBM booms in like the tower is next door.  Anyway, WBBM is in the process of moving its transmitter.  The new tower is higher than the old, so there will be a drop from the 50,000 watts WBBM currently puts out.  The owner, currently CBS, says there should be no drop in signal strength.  I hope they are right.  That shot of news is always appreciated overnight, especially so on the drive to work.

I was web surfing and shopping for a new clock radio.  I saw a model I liked from a well known manufacturer.  I read the description.  FM, but no AM radio.  Pass.  Those in the radio business should be worried.  Clock radios go now. Are cars next?

According to its Facebook page, the SGT Jan Argonish Memorial Motorcycle Ride had planned on fading out after ten years.  Organizers now say they plan to keep it going.  Money raised goes to veterans' charities.  Great people doing great things.  I'm happy.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Equal Time

A woman called Talkback 16 to complain "the weekend guy" is no longer giving out the Cash 5 payout, and she was going to discontinue watching unless the Cash 5 payout announcement was restored.

I'm assuming I'm "the weekend guy".  The name is Andy.

I am genuinely sorry I have a dissatisfied customer.  I really am.  We're not in the business to upset viewers.

Here's the story.  I dropped the Cash 5 payout announcement when the Pennsylvania Lottery turned Match 6 into a "seven days a week" game.  The lottery segment of the weekend morning broadcasts became too long, and it was too many numbers coming at you too fast.  I didn't think it was good television.  You still get the lottery numbers, including the biggest payouts of the bunch--MegaMillions and PowerBall.  The payouts for all the games, including Cash 5, scroll by on the "ticker" several times during the broadcast.

There is a reason for everything.  Angry woman, please give "the weekend guy" another chance.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Tuesday Scrapple

NBC's Al Michaels made a stupid joke during Sunday night's game.  He apologized.  Drop it.  Look at the body of the man's work.  Everyone should be allowed to make a mistake once in a while.

I get way too much joy out of refilling my pepper mill.

Whatever happened to vanilla flavored toothpaste?

I work with several dog lovers, and many of their pets came from shelters.  That makes me happy.

Fellow blogger David DeCosmo pointed out that yesterday was "Department Store Day."  I'm glad I grew up in an era when these places existed.  It's only a matter of time before the remaining few disappear.

Eddie Rabbit said it first, and I agree.  I love a rainy night.

Why aren't more people taking about the Lackawanna County reassessment ballot question?  Is there resignation to its failure?

David Letterman is on Jimmy Kimmel's show tonight.  I expect it to get political, and I expect to hit the "off" button.  Can we simply have fun for just one night?

Twitter hasn't put me on its 280 character list.  No worries.  I rarely Tweet.

I like municipal election years.  Taxes remain steady.  Streets get paved.

Why are gasoline prices still so high?

Too warm to too cold too fast.

I wouldn't mind seeing the Houston Astros in the World Series, but I'm also happy the American League Championship Series won't be a sweep.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Sorry I Couldn't Stay

the 4th annual BlogCon was held Saturday at the Penn State campus in Dunmore.  It was a day long conference about for for bloggers.

The above shot was taken in a mingle area, before the thing really got rolling, in another room.

When you work all night and sleep all day, something has to give, so my stay at BlogCon was a very short one.  I had a bagel, shook a few hands, exchanged pleasantries with a few people.

The parking lot was filling up as I was leaving, and id made me happy to see so many people who care about the craft.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Andy's Angles: The Old Days

Whether those old days were good or bad is up to you.

Some rail cars that were once part of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus now call Scranton home.  I caught them in the space between the Steamtown National Historic Site and the Electric City Trolley Museum a few weeks ago.

A Newswatch 16 story reported the cars were acquired by the Lackawanna Dining Car Preservation Society.  It grabbed two sleeping cars and an animal car.  They will preserved so future generations can get a taste of circus life.
When you look at the cars, you can't help but think about all the people and animals that traveled from city to city, entertaining millions.  The circus was a big part of American life.

One thought dominated my thinking.  Even if the animals were well cared for, boxing them up and sticking them on a train was really no way to live.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Andy's Angles: Progress

September 2017
October 2016

A recent photographic expedition took me to Archbald.    Love it or hate it, a new power plant is going up, just off the Casey Highway.  It's an impressive sight in the day, and even more so at night.  It's all lit up, with aircraft warning beacons dotting the cranes.

These two photos were taken roughly one year apart.  You can see how far the project has moved along.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Follow Up Friday

Call Ripley!

As I said yesterday, I needed a new driver's license photo.  I pulled in to a nearly full parking lot at 9:45 in the morning, and I feared the worst.  A receptionist handed me a number print out, like you get at the supermarket deli counter.  My number was called before I had a chance to sit down, and I was out the door in six minutes.  I don't know what all those other people were doing there.  I suspect it was some sort of test day.

Some people at New York University did a study and predicted the death of traditional AM/FM radio.  The reason:  radio isn't connecting with those born after 1995.  I get that.

This lesson was taught to be my one of my favorite TV news directors, but it also applies to radio:  The stations that survive and prosper are the ones that do the best job of reflecting their communities.  So many radio stations these days are the broadcast equivalent of an MP3 player.  Still others take syndicated talk shows off the satellite, and offer amazingly little local content.  There is no audience engagement. 

A radio station in Philadelphia is offering a free webinar on how to produce better radio commercials.  There is a catch.  You have to spend some advertising dollars with the station.

Bad radio commercials are really nothing new.  On top of that, when I hear a radio station say "commercial free," it drives me insane.  You're teaching the audience that commercials are bad.

I'm a broadcaster and a believer.  Good things can happen, but they don't come easy.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Thursday Scrapple

It's nice to see the New England Patriots are mortal, and the Pittsburgh Steelers seem out of control.

I'd rather spend my day with the radio, Drew Carey, Night Court, Barney Miller, and Scrubs reruns rather than most new things on TV.

Burger King is introducing spicy chicken nuggets because Wendy's dropped its spicy chicken nuggets.  I'll probably try them, even though to most fast food chains, "spicy" translates into "salt."

A fall chill has its charm, but it will be here soon enough.  Enjoy the warmth.

I need to get my driver's license picture taken, and I dread it-- even though my last couple of visits have been quick ones.

Hurricanes, fires...  I will forever be in awe of nature.

Part of my work Monday was dedicated to getting election preview stories ready.  Where has the year gone?  It seems like the primary was yesterday.

I'll be meeting with my accountant to do income tax returns before you know it.

Keeping a schedule in my phone isn't my thing.  I find Post Its and Sharpies more effective.  Both are marvelous inventions.

Fall foliage colors don't quite seem right this year.

Still at 140 characters on Twitters, and I'm still okay with that.

I know a lot of roads need to be paved, but do we have to do them all at once?

The U.S. soccer team won't participate in the World Cup this year.  Sorry.  I just can't get interested in soccer.

Perhaps I'd be watching the MLB playoffs if I could find them on TV.

The Yankees' story is proving to be, by far, the most interesting of the post season.

Say it isn't so!  Dunkin' Donuts is considering reducing the variety of donuts it offers.

You don't appreciate how important they are until you grab a jacket without a tech pocket.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Giveth and Taketh

It's change of season time, and that means more than different temperatures and earlier sunsets.

I will really miss the aroma of a freshly mown lawn. It's one of the scents of summer.  Loved it as a kid.  Love it as an adult.  It's magic.

It's only early October.  There is still some lawn mowing left to do.  There is also some bike riding time in there, and I know those days are numbered as well.

While bikes and lawns go away, something returns.  I've written about this before, and it's not the easiest thing to put in to words.  You really have to experience it.

It seems to be more pronounced in the fall and winter.  There's a cemetery around the corner from me, and it features several tall evergreens.  The wind makes an ominous wooshing sound when it whips through those trees, and it takes me back to the similar sound the wind and a tree made outside my bedroom window as a kid.

The bedroom window tree is long gone, and the cemetery recently reduced its number of evergreens.  During a recent walk, I recently discovered there are still enough to make that spooky woosh, a sound that takes me back to stormy nights and windy winter days.

 There is that youthful innocence of the smell of freshly cut grass.  There is that windy sound that takes you back to childhood, and the charm of going for a walk on a grey fall day.

The bottom line is that every season has its charm, and it might not be something that jumps right out at you.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Fast and Hungry

Thankfully, situations like this are rare.

It's been a while, so my doctor and I agreed I should get some bloodwork.  Fear not.  It's just routine.

I'm sure most of you have been  though this before, but you fast ten to twelve hours before the lab draws the blood.  I usually go a few extra hours to be on the safe side.  My last food was at 1:00 PM.  I arrived at the lab at 7:00 the next morning.  No food in all that time.  Just water-- and a lot of it.  

Some gym time helped take my mind off my hunger.  The lack of food really wasn't the issue.  I really missed my morning diet colas.

I was in and out of the lab in about twenty minutes.

I then had a choice.  Where should I go to break the fast.  My lab is in the middle of fast food and chain restaurant heaven, but I really didn't feel like breakfast.  

I decided on that big hoagie sandwich chain.  It opens at 7:00 AM.  I'll repeat one of my fast food gripes.  McDonald's has made a big thing of "breakfast all day."  I'd rather have a burger in the morning than an egg sandwich in the evening.

I zipped down the North Scranton Expressway, and I arrived at the front door of the sandwich shop a few minutes after opening time.  Let me correct that.  It what was "supposed" to be opening time.  The door was locked.  As I was walking back to the car, a worker came out and apologized, saying there was a water leak in the dining room and she couldn't open on time.

No worries.

One plus of this chain is there is almost one on every corner.  I traveled down the road a few miles and found an open shop.  Turkey and swiss, piled high with every vegetable in the bins.  A quick shot of oil vinegar.  Bag of corn chips on the side, plus a nice sized diet cola.  All were inhaled in record time.

As the "sandwich artist" was preparing my breakfast, I told her the story of why I was so ravenously hungry, so early in the day.  As I was cleaning my table and getting ready to leave, she asked how everything was.  I told her that I was tempted to have another.  I didn't.

The fast was difficult, but the celebratory sandwich almost made it worthwhile.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Web Notes

It looks like Twitter is expanding its capacity for entries from 140 characters to 280.  The way I see it, it's another nail in the blogging coffin.  Twitter was sort of a mini blog.  Now, it's even closer to an actual blog entry.  I will admit, it makes me sad.  There are some great blogs out there.  There used to be more.

As I've said before, if you're considering a blog, go for it.  Writing is a great outlet, and it's even more fun if you add a photo or two.  This blog turns 13 in November.  More on that as the day approaches.

I am occasionally surprised at how my brain works.  I've already written how I keep the same overnight schedule on my days off.  It's easier on my body than bouncing around sleep and wake times.  I do most of my writing in those overnight hours.  Maybe the quiet makes it easier to focus.

The 6th annual NEPA BlogCon is set for October 14th at the Penn State campus in Dunmore.  I'll try to stop by for a few minutes.  Save a bagel for me.  Awards are not part of the BlogCon agenda this year, so there goes my chance at a Blog of the Year in the news and politics category threepeat.  I'm honored to have two, and yes, the framed certificates are still on my wall.

I've been assembling my Top Ten Photos of 2017 in bits and pieces during the year, and I already have ten photos that I really like.  There are two choices-- weed out a few, or, what is more likely, do a Top Ten with some honorable mentions.  If all goes as planned, you'll see them in this space beginning in mid December.

Legendary sports broadcaster Dick Enberg has started a podcast.  He was always one of my favorites.  Enberg retired at the end of last baseball season, as play by play guy for the San Diego Padres.  He was the voice of NBC Sports for a long time, calling eight Super Bowls.  CBS was his last network.  He was one of the NFL and NCAA basketball broadcasters.  I'll give you a review someday soon.

I'm a big fan of the old Drew Carey sitcom.  Drew and his friends were such losers, and much easier to relate to than, for example, the whiners on Friends.  I've never been able to make it through an entire Friends episode.  Anyway, Drew worked in the office of a department store.  Office desks frequently held the latest Apple products.  State of the art at the time.  Watching now, those multi colored products look so archaic.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Andy's Angles: The Ride

I've had the rare opportunity to snap a lot of pictures lately, so there has been a back up in the queue.

This one was from September 10th, at the 10th annual SGT Jan Argonish Memorial Ride.  SGT Argonish lost his life in Afghanistan 10 years ago.  Since then, motorcycle riders have been raising money for veterans' charities in Jan's name.

Hundreds of bikes, and the people who love them show up every year.  It's an impressive sight.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Andy's Angles: My Happy Place

I always refer to Blakely Park, along the Lackawanna River as my "happy place" even though I spent a lot of time during an unhappy time in my life.  I walked the park just about every morning, several years ago, when I was "between jobs."  I'd frequently cross the pedestrian bridge over the river, follow the path, and venture into Olyphant.  Great scenery, and the fresh air and exercise did me good.

The park hasn't changed over the years and that's a good thing.  Keep it simple.  Water, trees, walking path, portable bathroom.  That's just about all you need.  I occasionally walk the park for fun-- even though I can't help but think of all the mornings I spent here while pondering my future.

Every town should be lucky to have an asset like this, and develop it into something really nice.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Unfinished Friday

I know it fits the definition, and I have yet to hear any objection to its use.  However, I cringe when I hear the word "massacre."  It just sounds so insensitive to me.  Words are powerful tools, and "massacre" does have quite the impact.  I'm sure it will be in my news copy, but I will try to avoid writing it.

I was on the air during the Orlando Pulse nightclub shootings in June of 2016, and I was on the air again during the Las Vegas shootings Monday morning.  It was sickeningly familiar.  First, you hear about the incident.  Then the numbers of victims start coming in.  In both cases-- the numbers were small at first.  Then, there was a drastic and sickening jump.  I wasn't anchoring that day, but I was in the newsroom during the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings.  It was the same thing.  Small numbers at first, and then a gasp inducing jump.

I do make a habit of watching TV and listening to radio shows across the political spectrum-- liberal, conservative, moderate.  I've always believed it makes me a better journalist.  You have to know what everyone is thinking.

As I've said here before, beware of those who think they have all the answers.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I Feel Better Already

It's been a yearly ritual for years-- getting a flu shot, and I got stuck last week.

For the past several years, there hasn't been much planning.  If the personnel in the drug store didn't look busy, I got my shot.  This year, I made an appointment with my doctor, and was in and out in minutes.

By the way, one of the best advancements in recent years was getting the flu shot into pharmacies and big stores.  Those roving clinics you see at fairs and farmers markets are great, too. Make the vaccine easily available to as many people as possible.

Does a flu shot guarantee I won't get sick this winter?  No, but it does give you a fighting chance.

I've heard all the excuses-- I don't like needles, the vaccine will make me sick, etc...  Forget those!  Just go and do it.  Insurance covers it, and even if you don't have insurance, it doesn't cost that do much.  Do it for yourself.  More importantly, do it for the people around you.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

I Need to Know

Tom Petty's passing this week triggered a memory, and even though it's something only old radio people would get, I'll pass it along anyway.

Once upon a time, disc jockeys were allowed to pick their own music.  I know, that's unbelievable by today's standards.  The home office gives you a play list, and that's what you have to adhere to.  If not, there will be consequences.  Severe consequences.

There's a thing in radio called the "segue."  It can be defined as the transition between programming elements.  In this case, it is the transition between songs.  Some jocks liked to find a song that begins on the same note as its predecessor, or songs that easily flowed in to each other.

If I remember right, there was a music publication that printed segues suggested by radio people and readers.  I'm sure if you do a web search, something similar will show up.

My favorite segue was something drastically different, and it involved one of my favorite Tom Petty songs, "I Need to Know."   It wasn't a major hit.  It peaked at number 41 on the Billboard magazine chart in 1978.  Regardless, I loved it.

If you're not familiar with "I Need to Know," it has a rather abrupt ending-- a cold ending as we say in the biz.  I loved to pair it with a song that has a really strong, cold open.  More often than not, it was Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart."  I think I played the pair just about every week during my WVMW FM days-- such a long time ago.  It's tough to describe.  You had to hear it.  Springsteen isn't among my favorites, but I am a huge fan of "Hungry Heart."

The segue wasn't as easy as it sounds.  We were playing vinyl on old turntables, and you had to time it just right.  I was really good at it by the time I stepped away from college radio in January of 1983.

Tom Petty left us far too soon, but he leaves behind a great body of work.  I'm very sorry he's gone.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tuesday Scrapple

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner died last week.  91.  Say what you want about the guy, but he had a profound impact on American culture.  Not many people can say that.

It's now official.  California is moving its presidential primary to March.  That's a game changer.

I watched "Late Late Show" with James Corden for the first time, in a long time, last week.  Charming personality, but the show hasn't evolved much in its first two years.

I've grown fond of needle point gel pens.  There are some exceptionally "fine" ones out there, pardon the pun.

Fall weather is back, and I'm happy-- even though I see the end of cycling season approaching.

OJ Simpson was paroled Sunday morning.  he played by the rules and got out early.  Still, it is difficult to separate him from that double homicide case.

More proof last week that college sports, especially basketball,  can be dirty.  I can't see a simple way of fixing it.

One of life's great joys is plain Cheerios.

Let's Make a Deal's Monty Hall died Saturday.  96 years old.  Not a huge fan of the show, but Hall performed masterfully for more than 5,000 episodes.  In the Allen Ludden biography I read recently, I learned Hall played a role in developing Password.  He received zero compensation for his work.

My cell phone, not an iPhone, is about two years old, and I'm perfectly happy with it.

Once again, nothing on the new fall TV schedule jumps out at me as "must watch."

I haven't been watching much live NFL this season, and I don't miss it.  I did catch an NFL Network replay of a game CBS analyst Tony Romo did, and he is very good.  Still, I wouldn't have handed him the #1 team job.

Monday, October 2, 2017

About the Cover

The Pittston Christopher Columbus has been in space before, but the statue is back, with some photos taken last week.

The statue, first placed here in 1969, was knocked off its pedestal in December.  It was repaired and re-placed back in August.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Feed a Friend

The collection barrels were delivered to the station last week, so that means WNEP's annual Feed a Friend food drive will begin soon.

Of all the charities, of all the times we ask you for help, Feed a Friend is at the top of my list.  You have the ability to help your neighbors, and it's exceptionally easy to do.  It's also a kick because so many school students get involved.
You'll see the information on WNEP and WNEP.com in the days to come.

Thanks for helping.