Saturday, April 30, 2022

Andy's Angles: Spring


On this last day of April, I think it's finally safe to say that spring is here.

A recent expedition to find signs of spring was a failure.  However, there was success last weekend at my alma mater, Marywood University.  Yes, it was a college back in my day.

Be that as it may, I took this photo in the area between Nazareth Center and Madonna Hall.

It has its flaws, but the colors were too nice.  I couldn't delete it.

I was too interested in depth of field and getting a good focus on the flowers in the left center.  Notice the really nice definition in the stamens.  Unfortunately, I didn't pay enough attention to the exposure.  It came out on the hot side, and I even knocked down the light in editing.

Regardless, please enjoy the season.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Let's Review


My first vacation week of the year is in the books, so let's review.

I can't say I did much and that's okay.

There were a few trips with the camera, and I really needed the therapy that hobby provides.

I read a little, but not enough.

And I did manage to catch up on some rest.

I'll see you tomorrow morning at 5.

Thursday, April 28, 2022



By the time you read this, most of the building you see above will be gone.  It's the old Sacred Heart High School in Carbondale.

The school closed in 2005.  Some of the Sacred Heart family attempted to open a new school down the road, and it just didn't work/

This was a failure on so many levels.  The diocese was on a school and church closing spree, and it's sad they couldn't make this work.  The closing forced students to travel several miles if they wanted to attend Catholic school.

The building itself was allowed to rot.  And that brings us to where we are, with a soon to be empty lot.

Graduates have fond memories of the place, and I envy that.  All I remember about my high school was the soul crushing experience it provided, and in decrepit buildings.  One of my major regrets was not being around when my most hated building was demolished.

Graduates, remember that it was just a building.  The memories can't be taken away.

 The new owner has yet to release his plans for the site.

I'm sorry the Sacred Heart story doesn't have a happy ending, and I cannot escape the nagging feeling that this didn't have to happen.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Bear's Dad


So many people pass through our lives.  We don't know much about them, but we do know they were good people.

Before my beagle, Annie, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge several years ago, we would go for a long morning walk.  There was the occasional afternoon walk when she was in the mood.  One of our stops was a cemetery near my house.  That's where we would encounter Bo, and his dog, Bear.   The cemetery was part of their morning walk, and it was fenced in, so Bear could safely run free, and he loved that.  Bear was a big boy, with a wonderfully thick coat.   He really was a bear.  Our dogs got along well, and Bo always had a snacky bone treat in his pocket for Annie.  Bear was an interesting story.  If I remember right, Bo found him in the woods several miles away, either lost or abandoned.  Bear became Bo's best friend, and he was a great dog.  Bear passed away just a couple of years ago.

You know where this is going.  Bo died in March, but the obituary just hit the newspaper last week.

I had a college professor who taught there are no animals in heaven because animals have no souls.  I hope he is wrong and I'll know eventually, at least I hope I'll know.

I like to believe Bo and Bear are enjoying their walks together once again.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022



The laughs stopped 40 years ago.  The last original episode of "WKRP in Cincinnati" aired 40 years ago-- the night of April 21, 1982.

As I've written here before, the Fall 82 CBS schedule had room for one more sitcom.  It chose "Alice."   Great choice!   'Nuff said.

WKRP had a lot going for it.  Anyone who worked in radio can tell you they've encountered Johnny Fever types, along with Les.  Above all, Frank Bonner really nailed the sales manager role.  I worked with that guy, at several stops in my career.

Andy and Venus were the relatively calm ones in the sea of insanity. 

Jennifer is an attractive woman, but I was always a Bailey fan.

And, I did work for the real Arthur Carlson, who was an executive with the company that owned my old radio station.

In past WKRP discussions,  I  noted that I always found WKRP to be uneven.  Many episodes were okay, at best.  Several put you on the floor in laughter.  Some, like my personal favorite "Baby, It's Cold Inside," are touching.

Plus, who could forget the legendary "Turkeys Away!" episode.

CBS never did right by this series, bouncing it all over the schedule.

Thank heaven for reruns and You Tube.

One more TV note before I hit the "publish" button...

Jim Hartz died last week.  82.  He was a local news anchor and did two years on the "Today" show from 1974 to 76.  Warm.  Folksy.  Down to earth.  Hartz had the misfortune of anchoring "Today" when "Good Morning America" was starting to get noticed.  NBC retooled "Today."  Hartz out.  Tom Brokaw in.  NBC put Hartz out on the road for a year.  He then left for a local anchor job in Washington and did quite well.  He was good on "Today,"but ABC started doing a better morning show, and NBC placed the blame on Jim Hartz.  He deserved better.

Monday, April 25, 2022

Jeez, That Was Quick!


There is an old saying in the media biz, and I learned it shortly after I started working in commercial radio in 1981.

If it don't pay, it don't stay!

CNN+ just couldn't attract enough paid subscribers and it's shutting down.

CNN+ hired a few stars, including Chris Wallace, who I've always liked and respected.  There is a place for him somewhere on the main channel.

This isn't funny.  A lot of good people are losing their jobs.  It's just the result of a flawed business model.  There is enough news content for free, and people just didn't want to pay for something extra, that wasn't all that special.  On top of that, CNN is ratings challenged, so why would people pay for something they won't watch for free?   As it currently stands, CNN is a damaged brand.

As for other media types taking delight in this, always remember that the view is nicer from the high road.  Take a little internal delight, if you must.  Smile to yourself, and move on

CNN is under a new corporate structure, with new management.  Many feel CNN will veer away from that ill advised opinion based programming and  move back to good, old fashioned journalism and hard news. 

One can only hope.

Straight news might not be sexy, but it generates the quality audience that advertisers want.  You might not be at the top of the cable news ratings heap, but you can hold your head high.  Be proud of your product.

And, you will make money, so it stays.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Andy's Angles: The Mural


The project is scheduled to start tomorrow.  A crew will fix the cracks and other issues in the retaining wall near where the Central Scranton Expressway meets Jefferson Avenue.

Above is a quickie camera phone shot I took the other morning.  Below is just a shot I took as I was playing with a new, wide angle lens last spring.  I kept the shutter open to get some light trails, but there wasn't much traffic and I judged this one to be a failure.  Well, not totally.  It did help me get a feel for the lens, what it does well, what it doesn't do well.  I was generally pleased.

Be that as it may...

A Lackawanna County spokesman says he's not sure if the mural will be repaired or replaced.  I vote for repaired.  It's big.  It's bright.  It's colorful and it says "Scranton."  Please, no more tributes to "The Office."  It just wasn't funny.

The locals get the mural.  It's easy to understand for the visitors.

There are many times when familiar is good.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Andy's Angles: It's Electric!


The news came down the other day.  A bank bought the Scranton Electric Building on Linden Street in downtown Scranton.  It's will become the bank's new corporate offices, and about 130 people will work here.

The project brings new life to Scranton, jobs, economic boost, etc...

And it also preserves an old building.  It was constructed in 1896, and it is best known for having the giant "Electric City" sign on the roof.

I attempted to get a little artsy in the photograph above.  I took the shot just before Christmas a couple of years ago, as you can tell by the decorations on Courthouse Square.  To dress is up a bit, I changed most of the photo to a black and white/vintage look, but I kept the color on the roof sign.

The renovations should be finished in a couple of years.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Week One!


It's sleeping Homer's first appearance of 2022, and that means it's my first vacation week of the new year.

No plans.

With any luck, I'll get out with the camera for a big, sleep a lot and recharge the battery.

The broadcasts are in good hands this weekend.

I'll call you back later.

Thursday, April 21, 2022



We have touched on it briefly, here and on the air.  A caller brought it up on Talkback 16, so it's time for a quick refresher.

When I am doing a string of live reports during snow storms, I change baseball caps between hits.  It's not to be a clown.  It's not to make a fashion statement.  It's all rather simple.

It doesn't take much to soak a baseball cap during a snow storm.  I'll put on a different one while the last one I wore dries in the truck.  Carrying multiples guarantees a warm and dry cap.  It's simple.

The station supplies most of my caps.  Others come from other sources, like network web sites and even E Bay.

Hurricane season is coming, so the caps will get a work out.  I hope to have retired the snow boots for the season.

Stay dry!

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

First Person: Snow Day


The best laid plans, once again...

There was serious snow in the forecast.  Meteorologists Valerie Smock and John Hickey started talking about the possibilities over the weekend.  They were right.  The higher elevations would get a lot of snow beginning Monday night.  The rest of us would receive a soaking rain, just what we needed, he says sarcastically.

Tuesday, I was slated to do some internal things at the office.  That changed with a text from the boss late Monday afternoon.  Staffing was being juggled.  I was to grab my boots, hats and winter coat and head to Freeland early Tuesday morning.

No problem.  While reporting on snow can be a lot of the "same old," this storm was different.  It was in the spring, after Easter.  Buds were on the trees.  Road crews had unhooked the plows.  This storm had a real newsy hook.

I don't know who made the call to send us to Freeland.  Regardless, it was a wise decision.  The amount of snow depended on elevation, and there are few places higher than Freeland.

My station arrival time was 2 am.  Photographer Erich joined a few minutes later, and it was then the trip to Freeland.  The drive was slow, but I've been in worse snow situations.  It was really coming down in Freeland, plus there was a frisky wind.

Erich and I made it through Newswatch 16 This Morning and a couple of updates in Good Morning America.   Team effort-- Mindi Ramsey and Joe Snedeker at the office, Courtney Harrison and photographer Bonnie in the hills of Wayne County.

There is a balance to covering snow.  If it's not a crippling storm, you can provide useful information and have a little fun at the same time.  My coworkers understand that.

It was then off to talk to Freelanders about coping with a spring time snow.

As Geoffrey Peterson used to say on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, "good town, good people."  We made the rounds in the borough, doing interviews, making friends, and it was a good time.

The job was only half over.  Erich and I drove back to the office to craft something for our noon broadcast.  I had the story written in my head on the return trip.  It was just a matter of listening to the interviews, picking out segments and getting a script in to the computer.  I do like working with Erich.  We are usually on the same page.  I told him what I wanted, and where I wanted it.  He made it happen.  Erich was already thinking that way, anyway.

The story aired in its designated slot, and my day was done.  I really looked forward to the short ride home and an opportunity to get out of wet clothes.

By the way, noon Tuesday also marked the start of a week off.  More on that, later.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Parrothead Not


A new Margaritaville themed resort is planned for the Poconos, and I think that's great.  Jobs.  Tourism.  Economic boost.

Will you see me there?  The Magic 8 Ball says "severely doubtful."  I don't dislike Jimmy Buffet, but if I hear "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise" once year, that's more than enough.

Here is what really surprised me.  When the news broke Monday morning, several of the younger people on the newsroom staff erupted with squeals of delight.  I expected "Margaritaville in Monroe County" would appeal to an older crowd, and I was wrong.

Is it the music?  Is it the yummy combination of fruit juice, sugar and tequila?    Is it flip flops and pop tops?  Is it lettuce and tomatoes, Heinz 57, French fried potatoes, kosher pickles and a cold draft beer?

We'll know the answer when the place opens in a couple of years.

Monday, April 18, 2022



Last week's Brooklyn subway was beyond hideous, and there are so many troublesome aspects.

I have to point out one, of the many, that is bothering me more than most.

The surveillance cameras weren't working!

It just reinforces every dysfunctional and unresponsive government stereotype out there, and it really illustrates New York City's problems.

Statistics show a major crime problem.  People don't feel safe, and this just adds to it.

As one New Yorker said after that horrible incident, "I still have to go to work."  Yes, riders will not abandon the subways.  They will spend more time looking over their shoulders.  They have to.  The city can't and won't do it for them.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Andy's Angles: Big and Rusty

We've seen these two here before-- a couple of old diesels outside the Von Storch shop in Scranton.

I like everything about these two-- the colors, the dirt, the rust and corrosion, the weedy setting.

I wish it was a nice, blue sky day, but in a way, the clouds add to the "aged" effect.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Andy's Angles W&W


If you stop by here on a regular basis, you know I like trains, especially diesels.  The older and the rustier, the better.  I spotted this gem recently at the Von Storch repair shop in Scranton.

It's tough to read, but it says Winchester & Western on the side.  A Google search shows that railroad operates in Virginia, West Virginia and Maryland.

It happens every time I see an old train.  The song "City of New Orleans" plays in my head.  I wonder how it got here, where it's been, what it's hauled, and what happens next.

Sadly, if it's at Von Storch, there's a good chance it will be salvaged for parts and scrap.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Growing Despair


It is my Thursday before Easter ritual-- set out for some flowers to brighten up the house, and this year, it was a real challenge.

There is an art to it.  You have to find flowers still in the bud stage and hope you time it right so they are blooming on Easter Sunday morning.  They look good in the store, but when you bring them to a warm and humid kitchen, they explode.

Big box home improvement store number one had a lousy supply and they seemed to be lacking tender, loving care.  I found a pot of tulips that were adequate.  The soil was dry, and I fixed that when I returned home.  The rest of the selection, if you can call it that, was hideous.

Big box home improvement store number two was even worse.  I left empty handed.

I had to hit a supermarket for some other things.  Low and behold, there was a potted plant I rather liked.

Flower Tent, you might ask...  It seems there aren't as many as there used to be, and none were close to my route.

This is one of those years where I didn't get exactly what I wanted, but I wound up with some things that will work.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Fearless Gilbert


Actor and comedian Gilbert Gottfried died Tuesday.  He had heart problems and was only 67 years old.

The man was fearless.  He made jokes right after 9/11.  He made jokes right after the Japan tsunami.  He got in trouble both times, losing jobs, money and fans.  A little fear might have served him well.

Other than those blemishes on his record, I thought Gilbert Gottfried was outrageously funny.  If I was channel surfing, and I landed on Gilbert, I stayed.  He was the highlight of every celebrity roast and he was one of the best "Hollywood Squares" celebrities-- ever.

When I watch a comedian on late night TV, I watch the reaction of the host as much as the comedian.  If Johnny Carson invited you over to the couch after an appearance, you were golden.  There is a clip on You Tube of Gilbert with David Letterman.  Letterman laughed, and Dave has seen more than his share of comedy.

Gilbert Gottfried could work blue.  He could work clean.  There was a common denominator:  funny.  Put the kids to bed and watch "The Aristocrats."  It wasn't just the joke.  It was the voice.  It was the delivery.

I'm so sorry we lost him.

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Wednesday Scrapple


Enough with the rain!

Having said that, mid spring is a great time of the year.

It appears the Oakland A's have given up on the season, with an early salary dump.  The fans deserve better.

I'm not a big social media person, but I do enjoy when an old friend drops a line.

Another expose' of the Penn State football program shows disciplinary issues going back more than forty years.

I used to frown on nuts in brownies.  I've become a fan in recent years.

Doesn't the state of New York seem to have more than its share of crooked politicians?

Plenty of sneezes lately.  I'm afraid it's an early start to allergy season.

Can we start fixing potholes, please?

I never fail to pause when I see a train.

Few things beat the joy of snapping a good photo.

Vacation coming up in a week.  No plans.  More later.

I recently scored a copy of an ancient Chet Huntley biography.  I'll review it after I get through a few other books first.

The Pennsylvania Primary can't get here fast enough.  the suspense is killing me.

I really enjoy going to the supermarket and actually finding what I'm looking for.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Media Notes


There has been considerable gnashing of teeth over Major League Baseball games transitioning over to streaming services, and those services are not free.

New York Daily News sports media writer Bob Raissman suggests simply turning on the radio.  Fewer games on free TV could spark a radio resurgence and I'm all for that.  Baseball is a great radio sport.

It's not peaches and cream.  I live in the Scranton area.  The Phillies are on the radio here.  The Yankees aren't.  The Yankees broadcasts remain unlistenable, anyway.  I do have satellite radio at home, and you can get most games free through smart speakers and smart phones.

Streaming's loss is radio's gain.

Switching gears...

Norah O'Donnell has signed a contract to remain anchor of the CBS Evening News, a last place broadcast.  As I've written here, ad infinitum and ad nauseum, the CBS problem isn't the anchor, it is weak lead-ins from local CBS stations across the country.

CNN is under a new ownership structure, and new management is on the way in.  Some think this means a shift away from opinion based programming and back to hard news.  One can only hope.

Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins died over the weekend.  An ESPN personality is catching some heat, for an insensitive tweet, as the news broke.  Time and place.  The Tweet contained a frank assessment of Haskins' short career.  While it might have been true, it was too soon.  There is plenty of time for that later.

Monday, April 11, 2022



I don't know how this one escaped me, but it did.

During one of my blog maintenance, graphics, and writing days, I looked at the top of the page and noticed I had passed the 5,000 entry mark.

It's actually misleading.  During the early days of this blog, 17 and a half years ago, we used another platform, so there has to be at least a few hundred entries there.  I wish I could find them, but I suspect they are gone for good.

It all adds up to a lot of writing, a lot of photos, and a lot of nonsense.

Regardless, I've enjoyed giving you this peek in to my life and what's in my head.  It also gives you some insight in to broadcasting and the news business.

Expectations have always been realistic.  I know this is never going to burn up the internet, but there is a loyal bunch of people who stop in every day to see what's going on.  I sincerely thank you.

Be well. Stay safe, and your support is greatly appreciated.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Classic Andy's Angles: Team Effort


Yesterday, I kicked off a weekend dedicated to memories of the Lackawanna Avenue, Scranton implosion.  It took place 30 years ago Tuesday.

I'll spare you a rehash of the details.  Please consult my April 5 blog entry for the background.

Anything like the size of live coverage of something as big as an implosion takes a lot of people.  I was lucky to work with a great bunch, who gave up part of their weekend to make some interesting TV.

I don't remember who took the top photo, but it was taken in the lobby of my old TV station, and I think it was before the blast.  Dave Jones is at my right.  He was in the helicopter on implosion morning.  Dave and I went to college together, we worked here together, and he started at WNEP a month after I did.  Dave retired in October.

The gentleman on my left is Chief photographer Jim Keenan.  He shot my audition package in the late 80's.  The man had a calming effect.  All was well when he was in the driver's seat of the news car.  When you handed him a script to edit, you knew a good story would be the result.

Below is the control room crew that chilly April morning, a diverse bunch who came together to document local history.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Classic Andy's Angles: Implosion Weekend


It was one of the major events that shaped downtown Scranton, so it deserves another trip down memory lane.

As I noted in Tuesday's blog entry, it was the 30th anniversary of the implosion that helped make way for the new downtown mall.  Considering I have a head full of memories and a box full of photos, I should expand on the events of 30 years ago.

I mentioned that I anchored my old TV station's coverage from one of the upper floors of what was the First Eastern Bank building at Lackawanna and North Washington.  I blogged Tuesday that I was not alone.  Chief photographer Jim Keenan and director JR Azaravich were with me.  When the implosion was delayed and I had to fill time, Jimmy and JR saved me.  Jim was getting new shots out the windows, and JR punched them up on a portable switcher.

That's Jimmy in the top photo.  JR and I are at the bottom.  JR is positioned at the switcher.  I'm at the makeshift anchor desk.  To orient you, South Washington Avenue is at my right, and the left of the photo.  On my left, photo's right, is Lackawanna Avenue, pointing toward the implosion site.

More on the team effort tomorrow.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Loose Friday


I was doing what I normally do late in the evening-- listening to JT the Brick, a sports talk show on satellite radio.  Monday night, he was dipping in and out of the radio play by play of the NCAA basketball championship.  That last minute was exciting-- but it took ten minutes to play!  If basketball, pro and college, solves the "length of game" issue, I might become a fan.

Barrie Youngfellow died Monday.  75.  She played one of the waitresses on the forgettable 80's sitcom, "It's a Living."  Regular readers know I'm an enormous "Barney Miller" fan.  Youngfellow played a lady of the night in a two part episode, among the funniest ones in "Barney Miller's" long run.

We just came through a special election--just one legislative district, and they still couldn't get it right.  There was issue with more than 300 mail in ballots.  Luzerne County blames the state.  And, people wonder why so many have lost faith in our elections.

Tuesday's Scranton implosion anniversary touched off a debate over the Lackawanna Avenue mall.  A mistake?  Perhaps.  Remember the time.  Those developers who specialize in new uses for old buildings weren't around in 1992.  A mall was the best option, and the only option, at the time.  The devil was in the details.  The mall was a monolith and never an integrated part of the downtown.  Self contained.  There was no reason to venture outside its walls.  A better design would have helped the rest of the downtown, but malls were on their way out, anyway.

The Tiger Woods comeback is a fantastic story.  However, I'm suffering from Tiger overload.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

The 116th


It's only a special election, in only one legislative district, but there are some interesting things to note in Tuesday's contest for state house.

Robert Schnee, a Democrat turned Republican cruised to victory.  Schnee was already a known vote getter, having a seat on Luzerne County Council.

Amilcar Arroyo, the Democrat was a distant second.  Arroyo was one of the major faces and voices during the immigration law controversy in Hazleton.  I just wonder if there was some lingering resentment over that.

Every election depends on turnout.  Arroyo didn't energize his base and get his people to the polls.  Schnee did.  That is how you win an election.

There were some troubling things here.  Turnout was less than 15 per cent.  14 per cent of the people who did go to the polls wrote someone in, and that is a hefty percentage.  It's clear there are a lot of people who were unhappy with the candidates the Republicans and Democrats selected for them.

Libertarian Paul Cwalina was barely a blip on the radar.  Will there ever be a viable third party?

The seat didn't flip.   It belonged to Republican Tara Toohill before.  It belongs to Republican Robert Schnee for the next eight months.

Schnee doesn't live in the new 116th.  It will be another new face in Harrisburg come next year.

There will be more change in the fall.  District lines will be different, and Schnee doesn't live in the new 116th.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

The Mighty Axe Swings


I always thought it was cool that ABC populated its summer schedule with game shows.  Those days are over.

Match Game:  gone.

Card Sharks:  gone.

The Hustler:  gone.

Dating Game:  gone.

I think Match Game fell out of favor when host Alec Baldwin was involved in a deadly gun accident on a movie set.  Replace Baldwin and salvage the show.  I always thought there were better choices out there.

Card Sharks could have been a major hit, but the pacing was way too slow.  The producers should have spent more time watching the Jim Perry version from the 70's.  Perry was great, and he knew how to move the show along.

The Hustler needed work, but I was forgiving because I'm a huge fan of host Craig Ferguson.

I never saw the updated Dating Game.  The original was very good.

ABC keeps Pyramid and Press Your Luck, a wise move.  Elizabeth Banks is really good on PYL.  I'm still not sold on Michael Strahan as Pyramid host, but it is one of the best game shows of all time.  

There are plenty of games out there worthy of revival.  I hope some network finds them.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

The Great Implosion + 30

The thought of this day brings great happiness, and yet causes my stomach to tighten up at the same time.

Today is the 30th anniversary of The Great Implosion.  A handful of buildings on Lackawanna Avenue in downtown Scranton were blown up for what would become the Mall at Steamtown.

To refresh your memory, it was a big deal.  Huge.  After years of talking and fighting, the downtown mall was finally becoming a reality.  Some buildings were already torn down and it was time to get rid of the rest in one fell swoop.

I was working "down the street" at the time.  My assignment was to do a series of stories during the run up to the implosion.

Then, the big day arrived.  It was a Sunday morning, and it was also the beginning of daylight saving time.  That meant the early crew call was even earlier.  It was cold and it was breezy and I arrived at the station much earlier than scheduled.   Blame it on nerves.  Full time television employment started in September of the year before, and this was one of my very first "major" assignments.   I made sure my notes and scripts were in order, and I grabbed the portable tv monitor I liked best, before anyone else could get their hands on it, and took it to my remote location.

Not only was my station broadcasting the implosion live, we were doing an hour long show leading up to the actual blast.  The station preempted "CBS News Sunday Morning," so you knew this had to be enormous.  Charles Kuralt took a back seat for the day.  I was scheduled to be a very small part of the broadcast.  Open the show, close the show, and introduce a couple of pre taped "packages" on downtown Scranton history, and how the actual implosion would work.

And, dear readers, that's when the wheels came off.

We had three live locations downtown.  I was set up on one of the upper floors of what was then the First Eastern Bank building at Lackawanna and North Washington.  I had a great view, and the photos you see on today's page are mine.  One of the other live locations was at Steamtown.  I don't recall exactly where the other one was, but I think it was on the far end of Lackawanna Avenue, near the state office building.  Our helicopter was in the air.  We had several unmanned cameras ready, including one on top of one of the buildings that was to be imploded.

The people in charge of the implosion wanted our Lackawanna Avenue studio cleared out.  We explained it couldn't be done.  There had to be people inside to keep the station on the air.  There was a compromise.  A few people could remain, but they had to stay far away from the huge windows facing Lackawanna Avenue.  An aside:  we positioned a seismograph in the studio to measure the effect of all that falling masonry.  It barely blipped.  It made fears that the impact would send Scranton falling into the abandoned mines an even bigger joke.

Part one:  two of our three live locations failed because of technical problems, so my tiny part of the broadcast became the majority.  In fact, it was the only part.

Part two:  some of the thousands who came to watch got too close.  It took a while to herd them back, and the implosion was delayed.

Add up one and two, and yours truly had to talk for 20 straight minutes.  The broadcast's producer was afraid to fill time with commercials, fearing the implosion would take place while we were away.

I got really lucky that day.  Because I had done many of the stories leading up to implosion day, I knew enough to ramble on, and chew up the clock, as we say in the TV biz.   All the information was in my back pocket, ready to be pulled out in case of an emergency, and this clearly was an emergency.

Plus, I had two guardian angels with me in the bank building that morning.  One was chief photographer Jim Keenan.  He kept getting different video  shots out of the bank window.  When I ran out of steam, a different picture would come up and I would have something new to describe.  JR Azaravitch was behind the controls of a portable switcher, and he also helped by punching up different views of the implosion area.

My earlier instructions from station management was to shut up when I heard the warning siren.  I wish I could adequately describe the feeling of relief when those sirens finally went off, followed by the booms, and then the massive cloud of dust that traveled east on Lackawanna Avenue, eventually enveloping my bank office in darkness.


And then, it was over.  It was a mixture of exuberance for keeping the balls in the air when things were falling apart around me, and exhaustion for yapping for so long.  I was never so relieved when I saw those credits start to roll.

Management was happy.  I was happy.  I wouldn't call it a stellar performance, but it worked.  Team effort.

The station sold VHS copies of the broadcast, and yes, I paid for mine.  There were no freebies, in spite of helping save that Sunday morning broadcast.  The money want to a local charity for the homeless, and I was honored to be selected to present the check at a dinner.

I cannot walk through or drive through downtown without thinking of that morning, 30 years ago.

Monday, April 4, 2022



I've been doing this a long time, and Monday, one week ago, was one of those unforgettable days.

It's only happened a few times-- when the video coming in to the newsroom inspires a gasp.

One memorable time was the night Hugo Selenski escaped from the Luzerne County jail.  October 2003.  I looked at the video our crew was sending in to the newsroom.  There was the audible gasp when we saw the bedsheet rope, leading from the broken window.  It looked like a scene from a movie, except it was very real.

There was another when we got our first look at last week's Interstate 81 snow squall crash in Schuylkill county.

The legendary Jack Buck said it during a baseball game, but it applied here: "I don't believe what I just saw."

I'm sorry that it happened during a tragedy, but the old man can still be awed.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Andy's Angles: Sugerman's


I do know Sugerman's, as a department store, closed in 1995.  It was a huge building and part was used as a warehouse.  The rest became a flea market, and I cannot recall when that started.

Most flea markets are weekend things.  I work weekends, So I've never been here.  I haven't visited the other ones here in our area.  The one at the Circle Drive In along Business Route 6 in Dickson City draws massive crowed Sunday mornings.

Odd to say, but my mother brought home a cat from the Circle flea market back in the 70's.  The free kitten was the runt of the litter and she turned out to be just a fantastic feline, perhaps the best I ever owned.  Smart.  Loyal.

I digress.

Flea markets are popular weekend activities here in our area, and all those vendors need a place to go.  I suspect they will drift off to other places.  There is more than enough empty retail space around here.  It's possible some landlord will step in to fill the void.

Those vendors are getting tossed out, through no fault of their own.

Take a look at the photo above.  I deliberately left it wide to show all the potholes and ruts in the parking lot.  From what I'm told by people who have been there, the inside has been neglected as well.

Next question:  What becomes of the site?

Saturday, April 2, 2022

About the Cover: Farewell, Old Friend!


The rumors had been around for several weeks.  Something was up at Sugerman's.  The news landed with a thud last weekend.  The flea market that had occupied the old department store is closing.  Last Day:  April 24.  The building is shot and it needs massive repairs to stay open.

Sugerman's started as a department store and it is almost impossible to describe to someone who was never there.  The store closed in 1995.  It was Walmart before Walmart, except there was furniture, major appliances, a pet shop, a snack bar and more.  There were clothes, shoes, a supermarket, furniture, small appliances, large appliances, books, records, health and beauty items, stationery, a pharmacy, musical instruments, sporting goods, a travel department...

I was a geek, even way beck when.  The stationery department was a "must visit" any time I was up that way.  I still have a pen I bought there.

I can't say it was an attractive store, but it did have everything, and the price was right.  For years, Sugerman's was one of Lackawanna County's major employers, and in its heyday, I suspect just about every home in the county had at least one thing from Sugerman's, most likely an appliance.

You have to remember, these were the days before the big box specialty stores.  Walmart wasn't here yet.  No Dicks, Office Max, Staples, Home Depot, Lowes, Circuit City, Best Buy...  Sears sold a lot of appliances back in the day, but Sugerman's had them beat, and probably by a long shot.

Things changed over the years.  Service went down hill rapidly.  I remember the evening I was out to replace a television.  I saw a size, make and model that really worked for me.  Good price.  No sales person to be found.  I went to Service Merchandise instead.  Sorry Sugerman's.  I wasn't going to beg you to take my money.

Regular blog readers know I can get oddly sentimental over the strangest things.  I didn't shed a tear when Sugerman's closed.  You had a good thing going, and you blew it.  I felt sorry for the people who worked there, but the store didn't deserve to stay in business.

A few more Sugerman's memories here tomorrow.

Friday, April 1, 2022



Barring unforeseen major circumstances, this is the last time I will address Chris Rock getting slapped by Will Smith at Sunday night's Academy Awards.

Today's blog entry centers on two quotes.

The first comes from Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post.  On the Tony Kornheiser podcast, Hornady said "Since when did awards shows become roasts?"  She was right.  Clever and dignified has given way to, well, what you heard Sunday night.

The other came from the great David Letterman.  He hosted the Academy Awards in 1995, and the performance was panned by most.  I thought it was okay, but then again, I'm a huge Letterman fan.  On his You Tube channel, Letterman talked about his year and added "At least, no one got hit."

Violence cannot be defended, but when the producers book low brow comedians, you are asking for trouble.  Chris Rock can be outrageously funny, and I've enjoyed a lot of his work.  Time and place.  Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

It's time for a little restraint.