Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The River Common

I attempted to walk the new River Common in Wilkes-Barre last week.

My tour began below, on the Wilkes University end, at South River and West South Street. The Luzerne County Courthouse is straight ahead.

It's hard to believe such a quiet and serene river was more than forty feet high, around this time, in 1972. On a recent morning, it was just a little water and a lot of flowers.

Here comes quibble number one. This is the view from the bridge over the portal, looking toward Northampton Street. Crossing South River Street can be an adventure. Steps have to be taken, pardon the pun, to make the area more pedestrian friendly.

This is the amphitheater area near Northampton Street. The Market Street Bridge is at the top of the photo.

Quibble number two: These lights are supposed to resemble sails. They don't work for me.

I do like how you have the ability to dip under the Market Street Bridge, saving people from having to dodge traffic on top. This is the view, peeking out from under the bridge, looking north, toward the courthouse.

This is the flood protection. Pocket doors/flood gates are hidden within these walls. They'll be pulled out and locked in when the river gets high.

Unfortunately, my tour was cut short. They were working on the section between the Market Street Bridge and the Luzerne County Courthouse. Next time.

Overall, this is a very good thing. do yourself a favor. If you're in the city, drop by and take a walk.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Sonic II

I visited the new Wilkes-Barre Sonic drive in just before its official grand opening nearly a month ago. The review was honest, but possibly a tad unfair. It can be inappropriate to make judgements before all the bugs are worked out.

There was a return visit late last week, around 9:00 AM on a weekday. I was the only car there, but a few others pulled in shortly after I arrived. I keep hearing about crowds here, but I've yet to see them. I do realize that 9:00 AM is not peak time.

The service? There was a delay of a minute or so after I pressed the red button. A gentleman who arrived just after me had the same issue. I thought my ordering station was broken.

I chose a cheeseburger and onion rings. The burger was just okay. As noted a few weeks ago, the rings are excellent. This doesn't appear to be the place to go when you're in a hurry, if you get my drift. Ordering lunch food during breakfast might have had something to do with it, but Sonic does promote "full menu, all day."

The ability to get something without an egg on it, any time of day, is a major plus for me. I like eggs, but when you get up in the middle of the night, lunch time arrives around daybreak.

Once again, I passed on some of Sonic's more popular offerings-- the drinks and desserts.

Chances are, I'll be back when I have time and I'm in the neighborhood.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

BPW, Part 2

Bad Photography Weekend continues with another ill fated artsy attempt. It's one of the towers on Wilkes-Barre's Market Street Bridge.

The sun was on my side this time (see yesterday's blog).

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bad Photography Weekend

It's been quite a while since I've inflicted a "Bad Photography Weekend" on you. My camera has been in its case for weeks. Chalk it up to the bad weather.

When the sun came out, so did the camera.

I walked the new Wilkes-Barre River Common last week, and a blog on that will appear here in a few days. Another adventure in fast food is also on the way.

This morning's offering-- an attempt to be artsy. It's a silhouette of the Market Street Bridge and the Luzerne County Courthouse, early on a recent morning. The reason it's an artsy silhouette is I'm an early riser, and many of my photographic expeditions are in the morning. There are times the sun is your friend, and then, there are shots like this.

Friday, June 26, 2009


It's amazing what you can do when it doesn't rain.

I jumped in the car because I felt the need to get away for a little while. Destination: Allentown. There was really no good reason, other than all this Lackawanna County Stadium talk got me thinking about Coca Cola Park. I was there just before it opened, and I wanted to see the finished product. Allentown is also home to one of the two Office Depot stores left in eastern Pennsylvania, but that's another story for another time.

The size of the stadium is deceiving. Coca Cola Park has a listed capacity of about 10,000. Yet, it looks smaller. It's not a tall structure. It features wide concourses, and the fans are close to the action.

Ballpark advertising is something we all have to live with. Coca Cola park features a couple giant outfield structures dedicated to ads. It's not quite as bad as I thought, but it's still something I'd rather not see. Unfortunately, there are big bills to pay.

The last time I looked, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs are second in attendance in the International League. The team is in its second season, so the novelty factor is still there. Plus, the Lehigh Valley is a decent sized metropolitan area, with a large fan base. The team is the AAA affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. The fan connection created by the parent club being an hour down the road certainly doesn't hurt.

I'm not doing this to launch into an unfavorable rant on Lackawanna County Stadium. Considering its age, the Moosic ballpark still delivers a mostly favorable fan experience. Traffic is always a nightmare, but you'll have that when you put thousands of people in the same place at the same time. Coca Cola park has two ways in and two ways out. That has to be a good thing. It's unfair to compare a 20 year old ballpark with one that's state of the art. I doubt the chance to build a new stadium is in the near future, and as I've noted earlier, a new stadium might not be the answer to the issues here.

Still, if you're going to do it over, Allentown would be a nice model to follow.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I don't want to turn the blog into "Obituary Central," but I do feel compelled to say a few words about Farrah Fawcett. She lost her battle to cancer today.

Fawcett's illness was the subject of a recent NBC documentary. Sad doesn't even begin to describe it. The woman suffered. It was heartbreaking.

She wasn't what you'd call a great actress. I didn't own the poster, but I do remember repeated staring sessions at King's in Dunmore as a teen, and that's what's bugging me.

Farrah Fawcett was 62, and she will always be the poster girl. She wasn't supposed to get sick and grow old.

Her struggle and passing show that a lot of years have gone by, and I really didn't want to be reminded of that.

As for Michael Jackson... he sold millions of records and he had millions of fans. I respect and admire that. However, he was a peculiar man, and often, that shined brighter than his talent.

Sports Fashion

I'm no fashion expert, but due to the lack of anything really major happening, a few comments today on a couple sports teams.

The Oregon Ducks, who change their uniforms every few years, are out with their 2009 look.

The Ducks have always been on the cutting edge. If you do a search, you can see all the different styles the team has used during the past couple decades. I'm a big fan of green. This one isn't too bad, even if it does remind me of the uniforms from the movie "Rollerball."

The NBA's Philadelpha 76'ers are going in the opposite direction. The team announced Tuesday that it's returning to its look of the sixties. I'm generally a traditionalist, but this look appears so old and dated. The just dumped logo, which first appeared in 1997, was too hip for my tastes. The Sixers could have found something in the middle, traditional, yet fresh.

Red, white and blue are back in. Silver, gold, and black are out. The owner says they are returning to the look the Sixers had when they won the world championship, twice. Newsflash: it'll take more than a new logo and uniforms.

Let's not kid outselves here. Teams change logos to get you to buy more stuff-- like caps, tee shirts, jerseys, and sweatshirts. I have a feelings sportings good stores in southeastern Pennsylvania will be a little busier than usual in the months to come.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ed McMahon

He has been called the number one second banana in broadcasting history.

Ed McMahon died yesterday. He was at Johnny Carson's side for about thirty years. McMahon knew his job was to make Carson even more funny than he was. The Aunt Blabby and Carnac characters were good because McMahon was the ultimate set up man. It can be tougher to be the straight man, than the one who gets the laughs.

Johnny Carson got all the credit, but some of that should have gone to Ed, who made it look too easy. Ed had that quality you can't teach-- people liked him.

McMahon made a lot of money during his lifetime. He also spent a lot of money, and his final years were so sad-- especially that Larry King appearance when McMahon was on the verge of being thrown out of his home.

Ed McMahon was more than the "Tonight" show. There were the commercials, his work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, "Concentration," "Star Search" and all those bloopers shows. There were distinguished years in the military before and after broadcasting called.

I know it sounds strange, but I enjoyed reading all the obituaries yesterday and today. It's great fun for someone who enjoys the history of the biz. Comedian Tom Dreesen, who appeared on "Tonight" 61 times said Ed was the greeter. Carson was like most hosts. He didn't like to talk with guests before the show, fearing the "on air" segments would lose their spontaneity. Ed was the guy who encouraged young comedians, the guy who gave advice, their first friend on the show.

I'll always remember that hearty laugh and "You are correct, sir."

Ed McMahon was 86.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Adventures in Consumerism

Kodak announced it will cease production of Kodachrome film later this year. The move makes sense. It accounts for less than one per cent of Kodak sales. There's only one lab left in the country that processes it.

Kodachrome became a specialty product. Most people were like me. When I was shooting film, I used a cheaper, all purpose film. Then digital came around.

Paul Simon helped make Kodachrome famous. I wonder what kids will think then they stumble across the song on an oldies station. "Dad, what's film?"

And then, there's a Pizza Hut. I was never in love with its food. It's a fair, albeit generic product. Pizza Hut is branching out into pasta, and the chain wants to freshen its image. "Pizza" is disappearing from the signs in an effort to appeal to a younger crowd. The restaurants will now be known as "The Hut."

I'm sure the marketing geniuses have done the research, and there's evidence to indicate the name change will increase sales.

I think there's a more effective way to get customers through the doors. Make better food.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Even people who normally don't seem to care have been complaining about the rain.

It's even more depressing when you do the math. There have been only a few dry days this month, and June is almost shot. That's one-third of summer. Independence Day is less than two weeks away. It won't be long before we're seeing back to school sales, and hearing Jerry Lewis get ready for his song.

I enjoy catching up on my sleep, on a rainy day, more than most people. When you work weekends, and at night, and snooze during the day, the weather really isn't a factor. I have to admit the rain is getting to me.

It was particularly bad this weekend. There were so many parties and festivals that were diminished because of the clouds and showers. The U.S. Open golf tournament on Long Island wasn't pretty.

Trying to look on the bright side, there's still a lot of summer left, even though this ugly weather pattern shows no signs of changing.

You have to put it all in perspective. Areas along the Susquehanna River were covered in flood water 37 years ago this week. I remember it vividly, even though I was well outside the flood plain and only 10 years old at the time. Rivers, creeks and streams are now swollen and potentially dangerous, but we're still quite a distance away from severe flood danger.

There's nothing you can do abut the rain, other than hope it soon will be over.

Friday, June 19, 2009

This Old Stadium

A study was released yesterday showing Lackawanna County Stadium needs $13 million worth of repairs.

I'm no engineer or architect, but for some reason, that sounds right for a 20 year old stadium. The major issue is water infiltration, which has been a problem since day one. Some concrete is deteriorating.

Something more than the condition of the stadium bothers me. It's the attitude.

Current figures show SWB Yankees attendance is in the bottom third of the International League.

Yes, the weather has been horrendous. Yes, attendance here traditionally doesn't pick up 'til summer and the kids get out of school.

It's still reason for concern. We're spending a lot of money on a product that's fails to draw a crowd.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


At least it's given us something to talk about beside the lousy weather.

Governor Rendell has to balance the state budget. In addition to cuts in spending, he's proposed raising the income tax by more than 16 per cent. If you make $50,000 a year, this will cost you five dollars a week.

Look, no one doubts the state is in economic trouble. All states are. The economy is in tough shape, and there are no signs of a quick turnaround. Can more be cut? Sure. The governor reasons that more state cuts mean local governments would have to pick up the slack, translating into property tax increases. You're going to pay one way or the other.

Here's the thing that really bugs me. Rendell calls the tax increase "temporary." It's a three year thing. Does anyone really believe that?

In another money related note, Eddie Bauer has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and the company is being sold. It's a familiar story. Sales are down. The debt load is crushing. The new owner says it will keep the stores and the catalog operation. The Chapter 11 filing bankruptcy gives the company a chance to reorganize and shed some of its debt.

Good luck.

I do like Eddie Bauer merchandise. I don't like the prices.

Looking back over old news stories, there were predictions a lot of other retailers would go Chapter 11 or close totally this year. It's happened to a few, but not as many as predicted.

Does that mean things aren't as bad as we think, or these companies are hanging on until the very end?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Today is my 11th anniversary at WNEP.

I did an internet search yesterday, wondering what married couples receive for their 11th anniversary. If you're going the traditional route, it's steel. Fashion jewelry is the gift on the modern side.

I do occasionally buy myself things to celebrate occasions. The only jewelry I wear is an atomic watch, and only when I'm working. I'll pass on the jewelry.

The door is wide open on steel. My car is only a year and a half old. I don't need a new refrigerator or other major appliance. Steel looks out as well.

I'll have to settle for something simple that makes me happy, like a small ice cream cone. Vanilla.

Thanks to the news director who hired me in 1998, and all my co-workers, past and present.

Happy 11 !!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

What a Wonderful World

We live in a great time.

We put a man on the moon. Thanks to the internet, there's a world of information and entertainment at our fingertips. Televisions can receive hundreds of channels. Pop Tarts with added fiber. You can get five hours of energy from drinking a two ounce bottle of liquid. Wendy's is coming out with boneless chicken wings. You can go just about anywhere on the planet, and still make and receive cellular telephone calls. There's a 64 calorie beer. The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup. Pepsi Max. Atomic clocks. Paying bills via computer and internet. LED flashlights. Diet Dad's Root Beer. Movie theater stadium seating. Six Super Bowl wins for the Steelers. Bing. Quilted toilet paper. Toasted subs. Satellite radio. Laptop computers. Tagless underwear. Magic Jack. Tomato plants that grow upside down. Cargo pants. GPS units. The Sham-Wow. Heated car seats. WNEP2.

But, why can't we make a Fig Newton without seeds ?!?!?!?!?!? It's a wonderful product-- low in calories for a cookie, high in fiber, tasty, and a relatively guilt-free snack... but those darned seeds ! I love Fig Newtons, but I hate spitting out seeds for hours afterward-- even after brushing my teeth.

Note to scientists: work on it.

And, we're moving.

Let me back up a bit. I noticed blog hits decreased after the WNEP.com redesign a few months ago. Then, I started whining like a petulant child, claiming visitors to the web site couldn't find the blog.

To shut me up, management is moving the blog from the "ABOUT WNEP" section to "COMMUNITY." It will be in both places for a while, until visitors get used to the new location, and I find something else to complain about.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Enough Blame to Go Around

David Letterman made a crude remark about one of Sarah Palin’s daughters last week. Letterman joked that the daughter got “knocked up” at a Yankees game during mom’s visit to New York.

Letterman said he meant the 18 year old, not the 14 year old who was along on the trip.

No matter which child Letterman meant, it was wrong. I’m no prude, but the kids should be off limits, especially when it comes to tasteless sexual humor.

On the other hand, and you knew it was coming, Palin dragged her children into the spotlight. We saw them during the campaign. We saw them on the TV talk shows after daughter Bristol had her baby. Some will argue that Palin made her own family fair game.

And if that isn't bad enough... Letterman is using the controversy for ratings while Palin is using it to get on television as often as possible.

Both Palin and Letterman should have known better.

And, while I’m on the subject of late night television, did you see the Daily Show the other night? Jon Stewart interviewed CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric. Well, it really wasn’t an interview. All Stewart did was insult the size of Couric’s audience, and its age. All the evening news broadcasts attract a slightly older demographic.

Couric took it all in good spirits, while all Stewart did is show he’s a horse’s rump. I guess if you go on a show like that, you should know what to expect. Still, it was disrespectful and rude.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I was there when history was made, sort of.

WNEP turned off its analog transmitter at 11:59 Friday night. The transmitter is on Penobscot Knob in Hanover Township. I was at my desk back at the station in Moosic.

Number of phone calls received? Zero! Not one digital related call on my shift, 11 pm Friday to 9 am Saturday. We did get some calls when DirecTV lost our audio feed Saturday morning, but as far as viewers unprepared for the digital switch-- none.

I guess all those months of mind numbing announcements and crawls did the trick.

Thank you for making my night a quiet one.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Random Friday

Thanks to the administrator of NEPA Blogs for adding a link to this blog. It's greatly appreciated. Stop by when you get a chance. Our area has some talented writers and thinkers, excluding myself.

I generally sleep during the day, and I wander the planet at night. I don't mind the occasional cool and rainy day, but the last three weeks have been awful. This has been the most depressing weather pattern in quite a while.

Bing has really grown on me.

Beginning tomorrow, you can pick your own FaceBook name. As the great Terry McNulty would have said, "Everybody say whopee."

I've discovered people aren't talking about Twitter as much as they did just a few weeks ago.

Chastity Bono. What's up with her?

During a stop in an electronics store yesterday, I looked at one of those new "netbooks." I like the concept, but I wasn't impressed. The screen was too small and hard to read. For just a little more, you could get a nice full sized laptop.

There are mixed reports on the new Wilkes-Barre Sonic. I've read internet entries that say it's impossible to get close to the place. I passed by yesterday, around 9 AM and saw plenty of open stalls. I guess it depends on the time of day.

Trooper Joshua Miller is being laid to rest today. One of the best ways to honor his memory is to get a full, open, and honest accounting of exactly what happened Sunday night.

USA Today plans to begin charging for an internet version of the paper. I think they'll soon discover people can do without it.

Don't ask me why, but I find myself stopping on the Travel Channel more often these days.

NBC has cancelled "My Name is Earl." TBS considered picking it up and producing new episodes. Unfortunately, TBS couldn't make it work financially. "Earl" is gone, except for reruns.

Iron City brewing is keeping its offices in Pittsburgh, but beer production is moving to Latrobe. The brewery says it's cheaper to brew in Latrobe rather than renovate the Pittsburgh facility. At least the jobs are staying in western Pennsylvania, but the city is losing part of what makes it special.

There are indications Pennsylvania won't have a new budget by the start of the July 1 fiscal year. It's not the first time that's happened, and the people in Harrisburg wonder why citizens have lost faith in government.

I still can't believe there are millions of people who still are not ready for today's analog television shut off.

Remember, Sunday is Flag Day.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


"It was once said that the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped."
--Hubert Humphrey

I attended Tuesday's graduation ceremony at Scranton State School for the Deaf. It was the last one at the school as we know it. The state is getting out of the "educating the deaf" business. The school is being turned over to the privately run Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf. Scranton becomes the northeast campus.

Let me tell you a bit about the Tuesday program. It was held in an un-air conditioned gymnasium. It was stiflingly hot and uncomfortable. It was the world's longest seven student commencement exercise.

Then, toward the end, it touched me. The seven graduates showed a video of their time on campus. They looked like a tight knit and happy bunch. The valedictorian later told me she loved SSSD because, unlike mainstreaming, people at the school were just like they are. That's important. It took me a while to realize how important.

The other touching moment came when each student was given a rose to present to their parents. These kids had a tougher climb than the rest of us. I'm sure their parents felt the pain as much as their children. The roses were a terrific way to say "thank you."

I easily could have blown off my high school and college graduation ceremonies. I didn't want to be there. I would have been just as happy with a mailed diploma. But, I did it for my parents. They stuck by me in high school. They paid for most of college. They picked up the slack around the house while I was in school, and playing around at the college radio station, and then working odd hours at a commercial radio station. They were proud to see me on stage. I couldn't and wouldn't take that away from them.

Let's get back to SSSD for a moment. The student population is small. The school costs a lot of money to run. SSSD might be something we can't afford.

On the other hand, these kids deserve a quality education. There's a proposal to ship secondary students off to Pittsburgh. There has to be a better way-- something to keep our kids here, not on a bus to Pittsburgh.

Remember what Hubert Humphrey said.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I placed a "Site Meter" on the blog one year ago today. It tracks the number of hits. On this first anniversary, we're just a few away from 63,000.

I'm constantly amazed that people take a few moments out of their day to read this, and thank you for stopping by.

It's a treat when someone says they read this thing every day, and many of the hits come from far outside the area.

For some strange reason, the blog seems to be well read in Harrisburg and New Jersey. Why? I really don't know.

A foreign hit comes in from time to time. I think the record for distance is the Netherlands.

Someone from San Diego checks in just about every day. The same goes for Wisconsin and there are always a few Texans dropping by on weekdays.

Mid week is peak time for blog hits, and the most popular blogs are the ones that deal with "inside television" stories.

The peak month was October of last year. I really can't offer a reason.

I Googled myself not too long ago, and discovered that some of my photos appear on other blogs and web sites. I'm not complaining. I've "borrowed" from others during the four and a half year life of the blog.

Again, thanks for being here, and tell a friend.

>>>UPDATE<<< The San Diego blog reader has revealed himself. He's a Carbon County native, now working in SD television. One mystery has been solved.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Sorry, and Thanks

We in the news media often have a difficult relationship with law enforcement. They keep us back from crime scenes. Information never flows as quickly and freely as we would like. There is a long list of similar complaints.

But, at least I know I'm going home at the end of the day. Police officers don't have that luxury. A Pennsylvania State Trooper never made it home Sunday night. He was trying to stop a man who kidnapped his son at gunpoint.

My deepest sympathy to the family of Trooper Joshua Miller, especially his wife and three children. Also, my condolences to Trooper Miller's State Police family.

We can't forget about Trooper Robert Lombardo, who was wounded Sunday night.

We don't say it often enough. Thank you.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Confession

I admit it. I shop at Walmart.

Okay, I'm not fond of many of the things the chain has done-- like mistreat employees, like drive little stores out of business, like play super mean hardball with manufacturers, etc. On the other hand, they're cheap. There's one every few miles, and they never close. That's important to me because I work extremely odd hours.

The New York Times did a Saturday story on Walmart's annual meeting. Before I get in to it, notice the new logo. It's supposed to be kinder, gentler, and less threatening. The colors are softer. A sunburst replaces the star. Upper case letters are gone. Personally, I don't care.

Back to the NY Times... At the annual shareholder's meeting, Walmart's president said store designs will be tweaked. Health and beauty products and groceries will be on the same side of the store so customers don't have to wander. Aisles will be wider. Products won't be stacked as high. There will be more and better signs, and more and better electronics. There will be fewer brands of some items, like toothpaste, so customers won't be overwhelmed by all the choices.

Nowhere, nowhere, nowhere does he mention my Walmart pet peeve, and the major annoyance of just about every other Walmart shopper I've ever spoken with. Open more cash registers! Get me in and out. Don't make me wait in line.

Walmart can design the most wonderful store in the history of mankind, but if you keep me in a long line, I'm shopping elsewhere.

It all comes down to this. A store re-design is a one time expense. Hiring people to run the cash registers costs money every day. Do the math.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

D Day

Today is the 65th anniversary of D Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy.

Above is a picture of the national D Day Memorial in Bedford, VA.

As I've written in the past, I've always been surprised and disappointed the D Day anniversary usually passes with very little attention.

We, as Americans, should change that.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Time Passages

I have two passings to note today.

The first is former Congressman Frank Harrison. He served the 11th District for one term in the early 80's. I met him a few times, and it really wasn't enough opportunity to form a solid opinion. He served in Washington only two years. Again, it really wasn't enough opportunity to form a solid opinion.

I'm sorry to say it, but Harrison is likely to be remembered for bad luck, bad timing, and bad advice. He happened to be on a trip to Costa Rica, if I remember correctly, when the giardiasis story broke. For those from out of the area, or who are too young to remember, the old Pennsylvania Gas and Water Company didn't build water filtration plants until it was forced into it by the state. According to the company "beavers under stress" used reservoirs as a big toilet, and the water that came through our pipes was unfit to drink. The beavers were allegedly under stress because development forced them to move around. The beavers were unavailable for comment. Anyway, Harrison's political opposition alleged Harrison was killing time in Costa Rica while his constituents were sickened by the water. Harrison countered, and rightfully so, that it wasn't a federal issue. It was up to the state, and what was the Department of Environmental Resources, to address the problem.

As we know all too well, perception can equal reality. The political opposition painted Harrison as a guy who just didn't care. Harrison didn't fight back effectively, at least on this crucial issue. Negative campaigns have always been a part of northeastern Pennsylvania history, but this one took it up several notches, where it remains today. It's unfortunate, and that's putting it mildly.

Harrison should have made some gesture to show he cared, that he had a grasp of the giardiasis situation. It didn't happen, and it cost him his job.

Frank Harrison died in Galveston, Texas at the age of 69. Natural causes.

The other passing is Radio & Records magazine. Both the print and internet versions went belly up on Wednesday. I remember we all couldn't want to get our hands on R&R when it came in every week. It was entertaining and informative, especially the weekly gossip column called "Street Talk." It ranked the week's musical hits, according to format. You can't forget about the want ads. It was the radio industry's bible for several years.

40 people lose their jobs. Radio & Records was 36.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

What Are You Trying to Hide?

Over the years, I've discovered the general public really doesn't seem to care when the media is denied access to certain events. I never really quite understood that. After all, we are your surrogates, and bad things can happen when they're done out of public view.

Be that as it may, there are a couple things you should know about.

WFMZ TV 69 in Allentown reports its photographer was kept out of Reading High School's Tuesday night commencement. The superintendent said coverage would not be allowed because the graduating students would need permission slips signed by a parent or guardian.

Please note that the ceremony was taped by the school district's cameras for its own cable television channel. On top of that, I'm sure there were dozens of still cameras inside the center where the commencement was held. And, I'm sure many of those photos are on the internet right now, which has a greater reach than WFMZ or any other television station. Did the parents give permission for the internet? I think not. This looks like a case of the superintendent having fun harrassing a television station.

The Hazleton Standard Speaker reports a reporter from its sister newspaper in Pottsville was removed from Shenandoah Valley High School's Monday night graduation ceremony. A photographer was allowed to stay. The superintendent's secretary said, according to the paper, that a "no press policy" had been passed.

Rememeber what happened in Shenandoah last year? Some high school kids beat a man until he died. Some pleaded guilty. Some were found guilty of minor charges. The governor wants a federal investigation. I'm guessing the newspaper was looking to do some story on how this has been an extremely difficult year in the Shenandoah Valley School District.

Regardless of the motive, the reporter should have been given access. The rule is this: The media has the same rights as the public. No more, but no less. These were public events, paid for by your tax dollars. You deserve better.