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Monday, June 18, 2018

Breakfast Bites

Subway is no longer forcing its franchise holders to open at 7 am and serve breakfast.

While I have been in Subways early, I didn't experiment with the breakfast offerings of wraps and muffins.  I stuck with the subs.

One of the great joys in life is fasting for hours for blood work, having the blood drawn, then heading to Subway to inhale a foot long turkey and Swiss in thirty seconds.  I've done it twice.

As far as Subway breakfast goes, I've never had it.  A company spokesman says people just didn't think of Subway for breakfast.  The New York Post reports Subway is bringing in an outside consultant to professionalize operations, turn around slumping sales, and possible prime the company for a sale.

I don't think Subway is a bad place.  However, in a crowded industry, it just isn't special.  It seems to be a place you have to go for a quick bite, not a destination because you like the food.

Someone from Wendy's  tweeted snarky things about IHOP after the company announced a burger promotion, and a temporary name change to IHOB.  I was waiting for someone from IHOP to respond that Wendy's tried national breakfast roll outs twice-- and failed both times.

Burger King called itself Pancake King for a day.  This is the same chain that changes its french fries every few years because it still can't get it right.  BK still produces a good burger.

IHOP could have fired back.  It didn't.  I guess management was too busy watching all the free TV  it received for the name change hysteria.

Starbucks recently announced a price increase.  Moot point for me.  I never drink coffee.  At Starbucks and other high end coffee places, you're not paying for the beans.  You are paying for workers, rent, advertising, marketing, etc.  I am constantly amazed at the drive through lines at McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts on a weekday morning.  People love the stuff.

Bottom line:  food is a cutthroat business.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Twenty!

Today is my 20th anniversary at WNEP.

There are many days I walk in the door as terrified as I was on the first.

As I've noted here before, I still love news, and I'm having fun.  There is still a lot of gas left in the tank.

I'll see you tomorrow!

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Andy's Angles: Perhaps I Should Explain

Clearly, I didn't take this one.  One of our editors and associate producers Brittany did.  Joe wanted a picture to remind us of the dead of winter, and how great it was to have a wonderful summer day.

It was taken Tuesday morning.  I had just finished filling in for Tom Williams on Newswatch 16 This Morning.  Joe wanted to be photographed in a winter coat, and He asked me to photo bomb.  Upon further reflection, I think photo bombing is spontaneous, and not planned.

Anyway...

There are some things I miss about winter.  The most important-- I sleep better.  Regular readers know I work all night and sleep all day, and I keep that schedule even on my days off.  I find it easier to sleep when it's dark and I'm under a heavy blanket layer.  Dark curtains and a big air conditioner help, but it can't replace those cold nights and 4:30 PM sunsets.

Yes, I do like having four seasons, although spring and fall don't last long enough.  Yes, it's nice walking out to the driveway and not scraping a windshield, not slipping and sliding to work.

Excuse me.  It's time for a nap.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Unfinished Friday

REVISITING SOME EARLIER TOPICS...

In yesterday's entry, I pointed out that the Trump/Kim Singapore Summit reminded me of President Nixon's trip to the USSR and China in 1972.  A loyal blog reader and old radio friend pointed out that the Wilkes-Barre Township and Bradford County tornadoes struck as we approach the anniversary of the Agnes flood, also in 1972.

The New York Times recently reported the YES Network is close to signing Yankees' announcer Michael Kay to a big, new contract.  Why?  I've always been amazed the most famous team in baseball, in the largest market in baseball, settles for such mediocrity in the radio and television broadcast booths.  And as far as the radio booth goes, "mediocrity" is being kind. 

Regardless if you're Republican of Democrat, regardless if you supported Trump or Clinton, you have to agree that the past few years have not been the best in the history of the Justice Department.  It seems the rank and file do a great job.  Leadership, on the other hand...

I don't think there is anything that could happen that could get me interested in the World Cup. 

I dipped in and out of the FOX coverage of the U.S. Open.  Golf isn't really my thing.  First, I think FOX, after a slow start a few years ago, does a nice job on golf.  Second, who are these people?  So many new faces on the tour. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Dust: North Korea

It was deja vu.  Mindi Ramsey and I were on the set, getting ready for Newswatch 16 This Morning on Tuesday.  Images of President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un of North Korea were on the giant monitors in front of us.

Suddenly, it was 1972.

I remembered President Nixon's trips to China and the USSR in 1972.  It was fascinating.  Television images of things we hadn't seen up close before-- the Great Wall, The Forbidden City, the Kremlin.

Even though the U.S./North Korea Summit was held in neutral territory, I remembered those presidential trips 46 years ago.  There was quite a bit in common.  An American president was talking with leaders of countries we feared engaging in a war.  Like North Korea, the Chinese and Soviets were not known for their human rights.

China is still around.  The USSR isn't.  There have been ups and downs in our relationships with China and Russia, but so far, the missiles are still in the silos.

By all accounts, North Korea, while a nuclear power, is a mess.  Electricity is spotty.  The economy is a disaster   There isn't enough food to go around,  Kim needs to be taken seriously on the world stage.  North Korea needs change to survive.  It began on a Tuesday in Singapore.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Homework

A school district in Nassau County, New York is eliminating homework for elementary school students.  The superintendent says studies show young children gain nothing from it.  Homework works best in junior high and high schools.  Instead, children will be encouraged to do some reading at home.

Really?

I remember getting slammed as a kid, many nights at the kitchen table doing the dreaded long division.

I'm a moderate here.  I always believed kids should get a little something, in all grades, especially the early ones.  Kids have to develop good study habits.  Those will come in handy in high school, and especially college, where it's all homework.

By the way, it never ends.

I've been in the business a long time, and I've worked with a lot of people.  One of the big differences between the professionals and the amateurs is homework.  The good producers, reporters and photographers have a curiosity about the world around them.  They watch TV news, they read books and newspapers, they talk with people about what's important to them.  I understand the need to unplug and recharge the battery, but the learning process, the homework, never ends.

Start young.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

You Talk Too Much

A coworker and I were thinking about it the other day.  Now that Tom Snyder has retired and passed, now that Charlie Rose has self destructed, now that the Bob Costas hosted "Later" on NBC is a distant memory, now that "Nightline" is multi topic...  are there serious, yet entertaining interviews on TV?

I thought of including Larry King in that group, but he mailed in that show for years.  People went on it because they knew they'd have an easy ride.  It was something you watched because there was nothing else you liked at 9 PM.  Piers Morgan wasn't around long enough for me to figure out why that show was such a train wreck.

Yes, there are interviews on C-SPAN and a couple other places.  The hosts are competent, but nothing to make you want to turn a dial.  It seems like there's an opening here, a void that needs to be filled.

Yes, David Letterman has a well received interview show on Netflix.  I love Dave, but not enough to pay to watch him.

In a similar vein, when I was a kid, teen, and even a young man, there was a big number of local DJ's/radio personalities to look up to, to emulate, to admire.  Who do young people use for inspiration these days?  There are exceptions.  In the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area, we have The Prospector, Frankie Warren, Doc Medek, Rocky and Lissa, Jeff and Amanda.  Gary Chrisman is THE brand in Williamsport.  I'm sure I'm leaving out a few others, and I apologize.  There is some great local talent out there.  I wish there was more.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Monday Scrapple

Not only are we losing D Day veterans, we're losing people who realize D Day was a huge deal.

I don't know how Floridians live with alligators wandering through their yards.

I'm an old radio guy, and I always admired Anthony Bourdain's voice and delivery.

Why does Dickson City still have culm banks?

It's almost mid June-- time for the back to school sales to start.

Asphalt plants have been open for several weeks-- and some roads are still awful.

The person who invented peach iced tea deserves an award.

A Las Vegas win would have been a better story.  Congratulations to the Washington Capitals.  I don't follow hockey.  Like the NBA, the season lasts too long and too many teams make the playoffs.

The NBA Finals turned out to be a bust-- a Golden State sweep over Boston.  And, I really don't care where LeBron James plays next year, even though he is a tremendous talent.

Amazon is out with some new products.  Voice activated technology is so fascinating.

I'd really love to be in on the Singapore Summit.

Calerie and I were talking about it over the weekend-- how do those giant bumblebees get off the ground?

The general election is still four months away, and I can't wait.  It should be interesting.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Andy's Angles: Fernwood

 They are all over the Poconos.  Resorts from the glory days, falling into disrepair.  Today, it's Fernwood, near East Stroudsburg, scene of a huge fire Sunday night.
 The recreation building and arcade burned.  There used to be boxing matches and assorted other activities in here over the years.  The walls remain.  Everything inside is gone.
A religious group bought Fernwood in December, and intended to turn it into a "world peace center."  A spokesman says the plans are delayed, but still on track.  I walked around the property and looked at the buildings that didn't burn.  It didn't appear much work had been done.  In fact, it looked fairly shabby.  Fernwood had been closed for several years, and the property really looked that way.

I've had the opportunity to tour other Poconos resorts in the same boat, including Mt. Airy in Paradise Township, before it changed hands.  The musty stench was unbearable.  There was one solution:  a bulldozer, and that's what the new owners wisely did.  You hate to lose history, and it would have been really neat to see those buildings and hotel rooms restored.  It would have been enormously expensive.  You had to start over.

It's clear the recreation building at Fernwood will have to go.  I'm not sure about the rest. 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Andy's Angles and First Person: Fernwood

I am usually up well before my alarm, so that gives me a chance to check my email and WNEP.com, so I'm off and running as soon as I get to the office.  I woke up late Sunday night to the news that one of the big buildings at the old Fernwood resort, in Middle Smithfield Township was burning.
I arrived at the office just as photographer Greg returned from the scene.  I looked at the video, listened to a fire chief interview, and banged out two versions of the story for Newswatch 16 This Morning.  Photographer Erich arrived.  He loaded up a truck and we headed to Monroe County.

By the way, the amount of traffic on the roads of Monroe County, even at 3:30 am, is astounding.

Erich found a safe place to park the truck, lit the scene, and we were off and running.

After the braodcast, we found a couple of former Fernwood employees and a third person who remembered Fernwood's glory days.  We were supposed to meet up with a fourth person, but time was not our friend.  We waited as long as we could, but we had to head back to the office.  Apologies.

As I listened to the interviews and picked out segments, Erich found old video of a Fernwood boxing match.  It was in the building that burned, and it added quite a bit to the piece.  Script written, approved, and edited.  Friend and co-worker Carmella Mataloni would wrap around my piece at noon, with the latest information.

It was a good mix.  Carmella had the latest facts.  I had the "people piece."  Everything worked out nicely.

More on Fernwood tomorrow.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Always

Brit Hume of FOX News Tweeted what you see above after last week's suicide of Kate Spade.  I don't think it's an original quote, but that doesn't matter.

Simple, yet striking-- and a thought that escapes most of us.

It reminded me of how often I've fallen short.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Media Thursday

Even though other people have said things just as bad, Roseanne left ABC with no other choice.

Is the television odyssey known as the Harrison Avenue Bridge Project over yet?

Robert Mandan, Chester Tate from "Soap" died recently.  86.  Great Pyramid player.

Leukemia claimed Bob Fuss of CBS Radio News recently.  Only 64.  Fuss worked for all the major networks at one time or another.  Clear and concise.

Allie LaForce is leaving CBS for Turner.  I don't know why contract negotiations broke down, but it's a mistake for CBS to let her get away.

The NY Post has been reporting CBS is less than happy with the Jeff Glor ratings on the CBS Evening News.  It's a solid broadcast.  As I always say with CBS, it's not the product, it's the lead-in.

The Post also reports NBC News is quietly putting together a streaming service. It's an attempt to lure young cord cutters.  CBS has had one for a while now.  It seems to be a "must have." Tuesday was a big primary election day, and ABC News streamed the results, complete with anchors and reporters, on its web site.

Even though I can listen to any song at any time through Amazon Echo and other devices,  I still linger in the car when something I like comes on the radio.

The second season of Brockmire on IFC isn't as good as the first, mostly because there's less Amanda Peet, but it is still outrageously funny.

Big changes in the Miss America pageant, long overdue.  That thing stopped being relevant in the Bert Parks days.

Charlize Theron has been cast as one of the leads in a new Addams Family movie, due out for Halloween next year.  Why?  Doesn't anyone have any new ideas?

And, it looks like ABC has its ducks in a row for the Singapore summit.

Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos will lead broadcast coverage from Singapore with “World News Tonight” Anchor David Muir, Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and “This Week” Co-anchor Martha Raddatz, Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl, White House Correspondent Tara Palmeri and Correspondent Karen Travers on the ground with the latest developments from the summit between North Korea and the United States.  Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega will report from Washington, D.C. on the reactions stateside. Tom Bossert, ABC News Contributor and former Homeland Security Advisor to President Trump, will contribute to ABC’s ongoing coverage. 

On Sunday, June 10 “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” will be anchored by Stephanopoulos and “World News Tonight” will be anchored by Muir from Singapore. Stephanopoulos will anchor “Good Morning America” from Singapore starting on Monday, June 11. In the run-up to the summit, Raddatz will report from Seoul, South Korea before arriving in Singapore. “Nightline” will devote its entire program to the North Korea summit beginning Monday, June 11.
 
ABC News will cover the North Korea summit and all summit events on ABCNews.com and its live 24-hour streaming news network ABC News LIVE beginning Monday, June 11 with reporting and analysis from ABC News anchors, correspondents and analysts. Comprehensive coverage will be available on ABCNews.com, ABC News social pages (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) and the ABC News OTT and mobile apps.


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

It's Rather Creepy

I must have a dozen of those shoppers club cards.  I hate them, but you can't function these days without them.  They entitle you to a few cents of your favorite products.  It doesn't seem like much, but it does add up.

A card in my arsenal that gets among the most use is one from a giant drug store chain.  This chain also sends me e-mails, informing me of sales on products I've purchased in the past.  It's nice to know what's on sale without plowing through the newspaper circulars on Sunday.  By the way, it's another nail in the newspapers' coffin, but that's another entry for another time.  On the other hand, it creeps me out.  Someone is always watching, counting, tallying, observing...

Sometimes, I think saving a few cents on a bottle of diet cola really isn't worth it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

50: RFK

Robert Kennedy was murdered 50 years ago today.

While I don't remember the Martin Luther King, Jr. assassination in April of 1968, I vividly remember the Kennedy killing, even though it was only a couple of months later.  Let me back up for a moment, I strongly recall the riots that followed Dr. King's death, but I have no memory of the shooting that started it all.

The RFK murder was a little different, and let me explain.  It was ritual in my house growing up.  CBS Morning News at 7:00 AM, Captain Kangaroo at 8.  Every day.  No exception.

Kennedy was shot after winning the California primary, so the news was fresh-- and frightening in the morning.  When you're young, you frequently view events through the eyes of,  and the reaction of, your parents.  My parents were Kennedy people.  I remember them speaking of the sadness that gripped the country after the JFK assassination.  I could see they were upset by what was unfolding in California on that early summer morning.

History showed us the Kennedy campaign was gaining steam in 1968.  While Eugene McCarthy was a strong anti Vietnam was candidate, Kennedy was increasingly seen as having the best chance of beating Nixon and quickly ending the war.  I can understand my parents concern.  My brother was approaching draft age, and by 1968, just about everyone had seen what an unmitigated disaster Vietnam had become.  By the way, I shouldn't sell Nixon short here.  The United States withdrew troops during Nixon's term.  The official end came when the North overran the South, and that was on President Ford's watch.

There was always Hubert Humphrey, by most accounts a fair and decent man.  When the dust settled in Chicago, Humphrey had the Democratic nomination.  However, no one could electrify like RFK.

Bobby Kennedy remains a fascinating character.  He clearly had flaws-- personally and politically.  His charm and charisma overcame those.  I'm so sorry Dr. Tony Mussari from King's College and former Scranton Mayor Jim McNulty are no longer with us.  I'd love to talk to them about 1968.  Both were very politically active at the time.

If you get the chance, check out RFK assassination coverage from the big networks on YouTube.  It's amazing how well they covered the mayhem that night and morning with equipment that is so primitive by today's standards.

In recent days, RFK, Jr. has gone public with his thoughts that more than one gunman was responsible for his father's murder.  He claims there is physical evidence to back it up.  I don't know.  Kennedy was shot in a crowded hotel passageway.  I can't believe there was a second gunman, and no one saw him.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Advice from the Old Man

The other day, I mentioned the benefit of college summer classes.  Let me expand on that.

I do realize the following:  You sometimes really need the summer break, many have jobs that get in the way, many live in dorms and go home for the summer.

On the other hand, summer classes, at least in my day, were much more informal and relaxed.  They didn't take up a lot of your time.  Some schools charge less for summer credits.  You only take one or two courses, so you can really concentrate on the material.

The biggest advantage, as I saw it, was spreading out the course and credit load.  Those credits you earned in the summer put you ahead of the game.  It was less to worry about and tackle in the spring and the fall.

When I was a radio pup, another part timer and I were on the same staff.  We were both college students.  The other part timer had a better voice, and at least back then, was a better broadcaster.  But, when the station needed help on short notice, I was the one who received the call.  The reason was simple.  I was available.  By the time my junior and senior years rolled around, I had banked plenty of credits, thanks to attending in the summer, I wasn't on campus much.  The other guy was stuck at school.  I was at work.

By the way, that other guy is enjoying a long and very successful career in larger market.

Bottom line:  It might not sound like fun, but go to school in the summer.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

About the Header: Maria Hall

We'll begin the new month with the last Marywood University photo for a while.

This is Maria Hall.  I will admit, I was never in here until several years after I graduated.  It houses the advance and development office.  A friend used to have her office in here, and I'd drop by to say hello during my rare visits to the alma mater.

It's been a while since the header consisted of a tower or cupola picture, and this one fits the bill.

If memory serves, I heard this was a carriage house back in the day.  It's been nicely renovated, and it's one of Marywood's most charming features.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

20

Lake Carey was ripped apart by a tornado 20 years ago.  It struck late at night.  Two died.  I saw pictures and video of the damage.  It was horrible.

I was "between jobs" when it happened.  One job had just ended.  I was looking for another.  I was talking with WNEP, and honestly, it didn't seem to be going anywhere.  I was finishing up a job interview trip to Charleston, West Virginia when the storm hit.

Lake Carey was not alone.  There was a tornado outbreak that day and night, back in 1998.  I remember hitting some nasty storms as I drove across Route 68 in the Maryland panhandle.  Fatigue got the better of me and I spent the night in Harrisburg, PA.  The storm outbreak was so severe and so wide, the news director who interviewed me in West Virginia called me at home, to make sure I arrived okay.

Tornadoes have always frightened me.  Other than hiding in a shelter, there's not much you can do -- and they cannot be stopped.

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Creeper

I noticed it last week, on Thursday, while I was taking a relative on a 20 mile drive to a medical appointment. There was a ton of traffic on the interstate.  It was clear people were getting an early, early jump on Memorial Day weekend.

In the past, Friday afternoon was get-a-way day.  Now, it's creeped up to Thursday.  Can Wednesday be far behind?

Independence Day is another set of challenges.  It's on a Wedesday this year.  Some people will take off the first half of the week.  Some, the second.  A lot of people will take the entire week.  Next to Christmas week,  the first week of July has to be an exceptionally popular one for vacations.

Summertime holidays are not the only ones subject to creep.  Black Friday used to be the big Christmas shopping day.  Then, it creeped up to Thanksgiving.  Some stores now kick off their sales on Wednesday.  I'm not sure if it can creep any earlier.

Are there observances that can avoid the creep?  Maybe.  Labor Day.  Schools and colleges are open.  It's tough to get away earlier and stay away later.

Even New Year's Day has been creeped upon.  Some celebrations for young people take place at noon on New Year's Eve.  Others start in the evening for those who can't or don't want to stay up late.  There is still the magic of the clock striking midnight and a new year beginning.  I had a great time in Pottsville at the start of 2018, even though temperatures were in the single digits.

The same goes for Christmas.  Midnight mass is fading away in favor of earlier services.

The great George Carlin used to say "You don't tell time.  Time tells you."  I'm not sure if that's still true.