Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Conspiracy Theory


Don't ask me who comes up with these things, but there is a conspiracy theory concerning the Super Bowl logo and the teams that will play in the game.

It all revolves around the colors.  Conspiracy theorists contend the colors of the logo correspond to the colors of the teams the league chooses to play in the ultimate championship game.  Above is the logo for the game that will be played in February of 2025.

The purple is easy.  Only one AFC team has purple in its logo, and that's the Baltimore Ravens.

The green is a little tougher.  Rule out the New York Jets because they play in the same conference as the Ravens.  The other two "green" teams" are the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles.  the Seattle Seahawks have a little green in their logo, and it is not the dominant color.

It's possible.  Three of the four teams made the playoffs this year.


You can flip it, with the purple representing the NFC's Minnesota Vikings, and the green of the Jets from the AFC.

Is the fix in?

Check back with me next year.

This year's logo is purple and red.  Moot point.  The purple Ravens were knocked out Sunday afternoon.  The red 49ers and Chiefs play for the title.

And, while I'm on the subject, I suggested taking the Ravens in Sunday's AFC championship game.  Loser.  I was right when I said bet on the Lions and take the points.  The 49ers won, but didn't cover.

As I write this, the Super Bowl LVIII point spread is fluctuating between 1 and 2.5 points.  That is essentially a "pick 'em."  I'll issue my yearly prediction next week.

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Up All Night with Melanie


If you count my college radio time, I've been working late nights, early mornings and overnights for almost 45 years.  Luckily, I save time by knowing all the back roads and side streets.  I can even pronounce Sans Souci and Nanticoke.

Be that as it may, you find little tips and tricks for staying alert at work when the rest of you are sleeping.

My current repertoire includes getting up occasionally and walking the halls, going outside for a few lung-fulls of fresh air, and a good stretch.  I don't go heavy on the caffeine, but I do stay hydrated.  Water.

A big part of the routine is clicking over to You Tube and listening to a song for a moment.  It starts the functioning of a different part of your brain, and it's refreshing.  I have a couple dozen "go to" songs.  It's mostly stuff from Gerry Rafferty, Robert Palmer, ELO, the Beatles, Tom Petty, a few 60's hits, etc.

My play list includes "Lay Down" by Melanie.

The woman had a voice.

Melanie died last week.  She was 76.

Melanie Safka, thanks for getting me through the night.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Media Monday


A big wrestling package is jumping basic cable for the world of paid streaming.  Yawn!  Get used to it.  In the near future, you'll have to pay for everything.  The recent NFL playoff game on the paid Peacock service set record numbers.  I could hear the cash registers ringing all over the country.  The streamers and the sports leagues now know you are willing to pay.

A bunch of "The New WKRP in Cincinnati" episodes recently popped up on You Tube (free).  It ran for two years, in syndication, in 1991.  I'd forgotten how dreadful it was.

This year's network news coverage of the New Hampshire primary was missing a lot of zip.  I'm guessing it's because of the lack of suspense at the outcome.  All the coverage seemed superficial to me.  It could be because of a dearth of reportorial gravitas.

The Los Angeles Times just laid off 115 newsroom employees, more than 20 per cent of its staff.

Some local newspapers are soon to be printed a couple of hours away, prompting an evening rather than a late night or early morning deadline.

Newspaper industry, you are your own worst enemy.

Jon Stewart is coming back to "The Daily Show" once a week.  He's the best anchor that show's ever had, but the "angry man" routine gets old-- fast.

CBS is airing a documentary about the early days of "The NFL Today," back when Brent Musberger was anchor.  In my book, Brent was the best pre game, and half time host-- ever.  Back then, there was a perception that if you didn't watch "The NFL Today,"  you were missing something.  I might break my Super Bowl Sunday television embargo and watch.  The book on the show's history was fascinating.

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Andy's Angles: Spring!


Even in the dead of winter, there is a sign spring is around the corner.  Paczkis are available at the Minooka Bakera.

I spied this sign as a stopped at a near by mini mart for a soda on my way to work Monday.  It warmed my heart on a single digit temperature morning.

Paczki is available in the days leading up to Lent.  It's a donut filled with jelly or pastry cream, and they're outstanding.

But, more than the delight for the tummy, it's a signal that winter is drawing to a close.  Lent and Easter, and spring are on the way.

Saturday, January 27, 2024

The Final Four


I nailed my picks on three out of the four divisional playoff games last weekend.  I might have hit on all four, but there was that "wide right" in Buffalo.

Conference Championship Sunday will be a lot tougher.

First up, it's Kansas City at Baltimore.  KC gets 3.5 points.  I wasn't impressed with Kansas City last weekend.  Baltimore didn't turn it on until the second half of its game versus Houston.  While it's hard to bet against Patrick Mahomes, I'm taking Baltimore and giving the points.  It's going to be close, but Baltimore wins and covers.

Detroit visits San Francisco in the evening.  Neither team blew me away last weekend.  San Francisco struggled in the rain against Green Bay.  Detroit was good, but not great, in its game against Tampa Bay.  The Lions are one of the "feel good" stories of the season.  It is one of three teams never to reach a Super Bowl.  Houston and Cleveland are the others.  The streak continues.  The Lions are getting seven points.  San Francisco wins, but they don't cover.  Bet the Lions and take the points.

This year's Super Bowl will be a rematch of the 2012 game, which Baltimore won by a field goal.  Who wins?  We'll climb that mountain when we get there.

The game sounds like a yawner to me, but I do look forward to the run-up in Las Vegas.  It should be fun.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Charles Osgood


I'm sorry it's taken me a couple days to get to this, but I had to yammer on about the weather and New Hampshire first.

CBS News legend Charles Osgood died Tuesday.

When Charles Kuralt retired as anchor of "Sunday Morning," CBS chose Osgood-- someone older than Kuralt, and Osgood held the job for 22 years.  Osgood also spent some time anchoring the old "CBS Morning News."  That was back when the networks did actual news in the morning.

Osgood had warmth, charm, and charisma.  As I've said here many times, you can't teach that.  You can't bottle that.  Having noted that, I thought Osgood's best work was in radio.

Charles Osgood anchored top of the hour newscasts on the CBS Radio Network.  He also did short daily essays called "The Osgood File."  Great delivery.  Great voice.  He could make things cute and interesting in a minimum amount of time.

I should note that Osgood always considered himself a radio guy who went in to television rather than a television guy who started in radio.  I've stolen that description for myself.  His famous sign off was "I'll see you on the radio."

In my book, Charles Osgood was a God because he said "Short words, short sentences, short paragraphs.  There is nothing that can't be improved by making it shorter and better."


Osgood's college degree was in economics.  He said he got in to broadcasting because it looked like fun.  He was right.

Charles Osgood was 91.

Thursday, January 25, 2024

New Hampshire, Part II


The New Hampshire numbers are in, and here is a little analysis...

55 per cent of the vote is impressive for Donald Trump.  Nikki Haley's 45 per cent is nothing to sneeze at, but she should have done better.  Plus, Haley has to battle the perception that the race for the Republican presidential nomination is over.  Trump friendly Nevada caucuses in a couple of weeks.  Polls show Haley is trailing badly in the next primary state, her home state of South Carolina.

Haley's grabbing nearly half of the New Hampshire vote gives her reason to push on, as long as the campaign money is still available.  It puts her in a decent position if Trump's legal problems force a major issue down the road.  Still, you have to wonder if Haley can unite the party if that happens.

Ron Desantis dropped out of the campaign Sunday afternoon.  In spite of a big win in his reelection as Florida governor and a nice push at the beginning, the Desantis campaign never really took off.  Even Desantis admits he should have done more interviews and he should have been more accessible.  I'm not doubting the man's intelligence, but he seemed to give the same standard, rehearsed answer to every question.  I have a feeling Desantis bailed early to avoid an  embarrassment.  He was a poor third in New Hampshire polling, so he avoids the stench of an election night humiliation.  Desantis is only 45.  He's probably looking ahead to something else, like US Senate.  He had to distance himself from the presidential campaign and in a hurry.

Super Tuesday is coming up on March 5, and that's only six weeks away.  One-third of the delegates will be up for grabs.  Everything after that could be irrelevant.  

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Iced Over


The forecast called for unpleasant weather yesterday morning.  Ice.  That's worse than snow.  To make it worse, most of it was scheduled to begin during what we in the business call "morning drive."  It's the time period when a lot of people are headed off to work, and the children are on their way to school.

I'm a "safety first" guy.  If the weather is going to be iffy, stay home!  Work.  School.  Everything else.

My focus today is school.  Some districts called in "three hour delays."  Three hours!  What's the point?  It doesn't leave much education time.  Just go flexible or remote-- or simply make up the day at the end of the year.

At least, school districts were thinking about the safety of the students, the bus drivers, and everyone else on the road...  and there is nothing wrong with that.

Tuesday, January 23, 2024



I know the media world is changing.  Daily.  Rapidly.

Sports Illustrated laid off most of its staff Friday.  There are money and licensing issues.  It's complicated.  I'm not sure I understand it, and I've been studying, and in the media for 45 years.  I even know how to pronounce Tunkhannock and Throop.

I had a Sports Illustrated subscription when I was a kid.  I think it was 19 cents a week when I was in high school.  Its weekly arrival was a treat.  There was no ESPN back then, no glut of sports media.  It was just the nightly news, the morning paper, and the magazines-- Sport, the Sporting News, Baseball digest...

It wasn't just the writing in Sports Illustrated, which was wonderful.  It was the photos.  Great stuff.  Athletes bursting in color, almost jumping off the pages.  You really looked forward to the big issues after the World Series and the Super Bowl.  The swimsuit edition was the stuff dreams are made of.

You know the story.  Anything in print has been in serious decline in recent years.  Sports Illustrated was under the Time umbrella for years.  It's changed hands.  The weekly became a monthly.  It suffered from neglect.  It really needed someone to give it tender, loving care-- someone to revive the brand.

It doesn't look like that's going to happen.  I wouldn't be surprised to see Sports Illustrated go out of business.  A bit of history, and a lot of my childhood, will be lost.

By the way, it was three out of four correct in my football picks this last weekend.  I'll have something to say about Championship Sunday later this week.

Monday, January 22, 2024

New Hampshire


Tomorrow is New Hampshire primary day, and as someone who is in to politics, I always looked forward to it-- big field of candidates, reporters and voters out in the cold and the snow, anticipation of an exciting year ahead...

Yes, there is a bit of unfairness that a handful of small states can determine the future of the entire campaign.  New Hampshire is fascinating, but the time for a national primary, or a series of regional primaries is long overdue.

I heard some pundits on the radio the other day, saying the race for the Republican presidential nomination could be over when all the votes are counted tomorrow night.  Strange system, we have.

Be that as it may, the numbers will be analyzed and analyzed again this week.  It's very likely we'll be thinking about November long before the ground hog makes his winter weather prediction.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Andy's Angles: Street Stars


This was a contender for this month's blog header, and even though this isn't the greatest photo I've ever taken, I do like it.

I'm on Biden Street in downtown Scranton, near the intersection with Wyoming Avenue, pointing west.  Bank Towers is on the right.  The Jermyn apartments are on the left, and the big WEJL 630 tower atop the Scranton Times building is in the center.

The streetlights really pleased me-- the starry effect caused by a small aperture.  I also like the Scranton banner hanging off a pole in the upper left.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Andy's Angles: Not a Creature Was Stirring


There is something sad, yet oddly satisfying about a college campus on holiday break.

This is a shot at the University of Scranton on the day after Thanksgiving.  It was just the two of us-- and squirrel and me.  Yes, it's not the greatest shot, but the little bugger scampered away as I approached.

I went to college just up the street, at Marywood, and being on campus during holiday breaks was not uncommon.  We had a radio station to run, and there was no automation back then.  No computers.  We needed bodies.  Granted, it was a short broadcast day, 1 pm to 1 am.  It only took two or three of us, per day, to keep the hits spinning.

The holiday radio station atmosphere was enjoyable.  The only other bodies I would see would be the occasional classmate, and the security guards dropped in from time to time to make sure we were okay.  There was always a relaxed vibe, and that became even more apparent during holiday breaks and summers.

I still work more than my share of holidays, and I was at the television station on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning a few weeks ago.  I've been lucky, but there are still times I long to put a Billy Joel album on a turntable somewhere.

Friday, January 19, 2024

A Cold Anniversary


Sunday is the 30th anniversary of the coldest day ever recorded here in our area.  On January 21 of 1994, it hit 21 degrees below zero at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.


I was working "down the street" at the time.  Our usual morning reporter asked for a long weekend, long before the forecast, and I was drafted to fill in.  No problem.  I always enjoy working mornings.

Our big stories that day were a group of pro life advocates taking a bus trip to Washington, Scranton's mayor appearing on the Don Imus radio show, trash collectors working in the bitter cold, and a large water main break on Penn Avenue in Scranton.

We put most of our efforts in to the water main break.  Water was gushing up from the street and freezing instantly.  Plus, hats off to the guys who had to get down in a frozen hole to fix it.  TV technology was a lot different then.  We needed cables to connect the camera to the live truck.  Wires and connectors kept snapping in the cold.  We were down to our last cable, and it was a short one.  It meant to get the water main break in the shot behind me, I had to stand in a snow bank up to my knees.  The things I do for viewers!

It was an uncomfortable morning, but a satisfying morning.  And, I'm happy to say I was a part of history.

Finally, just for the fun of it...  Let's pick some football games.  It's Divisional Playoff Weekend in the NFL.  I'm taking all four home teams:  Baltimore, Buffalo, San Francisco, and Detroit.

If Kansas City loses, sell your stock in Paramount.  CBS really wanted a Dallas/KC Super Bowl.  Dallas has the national following.  KC has a Taylor Swift following.  I can't see how they'd be thrilled with a Rust Belt Super Bowl of Detroit and Buffalo.

Thursday, January 18, 2024

Follow Up Thursday

First,  I'm still waiting for an answer to my email.  I asked the people who run the parking program in Scranton why meters aren't enforced on Juneteenth, but they are on MLK Day.

I've always felt it was bad karma to advocate for someone losing their job, but here goes.  Why are Mike McCarthy, Mike Tomlin and Nick Sirianni still working?

McCarthy leads the Dallas Cowboys, notorious under achievers.

Mike Tomlin told the Steelers he will be back next season, the final year of his contract.  That's unfortunate.  The Steelers lost to some awful teams this year.  Penalties.  Sloppy play.  Unprepared.  It all reflects back on the coach.  Tomlin loses control of his team at least once a year.  Trivia:  What team has surrendered the most points during its last five playoff games?  The Pittsburgh Steelers.  I add this is the guy who thinks Mitchell Trubisky, Kenny Pickett and Mason Rudolph are the answers to the team's quarterback problem.  If that isn't enough, you cannot overlook that classless exit at the news conference after the Buffalo loss Monday afternoon.

The Philadelphia Eagles simply quit playing for Nick Sirianni this season, and it was an embarrassment.

You just wonder how these things can happen.

CBS could have done something interesting with the 12:30 am time slot vacated by James Cordon.  It gave us a "comedy" game show on the cheap, with a bunch of unknowns.  What little humor there is, is forced to the extreme.  I'm not a Seth Meyers fan, but the people over at NBC are sleeping a little easier these days.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024



I hope someone can explain this to me.

I had some business in downtown Scranton Monday afternoon, on the Martin Luther King, Jr. federal holiday.  I wondered if the parking "meters" would be enforced on a federal holiday.  This is what I turned up on a visit to

  • Meter Parking 8am-5pm. There is no enforcement on the following holidays: New Year's Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day
MLK Day was made a federal holiday in 1986.  Juneteenth became a federal holiday in 2021.  How could the group that runs Scranton parking observe one, but not the other?

I wasn't going to make a "federal case" out of it.  I paid the $3 to be on the safe side, but this makes absolutely no sense to me.

That's Scranton!

By the way, I emailed the company that runs the city's garages and meters.  If and when I receive a response, you'll be the first to know.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Mind Games


The great Yogi Berra once said that "90 per cent of baseball is half mental."

Today, it's that silly and pointless thing I do every year to trick myself that spring is right around the corner...

The three coldest months of the years are December, January, and February.  January is now half over, so that means winter is half over!

In reality, it isn't.  Far from it.

We are entering the statistical two coldest weeks of the year.  We've received some whopper snow storms in late January, February and March.

So while the calendar says winter is half over, the worst of the season is still ahead of us.

In my book, December flies by because you have the holiday distractions.  Plus, the weather usually isn't all that bad.  February is a short month, and you can feel the sun getting a little stronger.  March is one of those transition months that isn't sure if it wants to be winter or spring.

January is the toughest nut to crack, but at least we are making progress.

Monday, January 15, 2024

Monday Scrapple


I know I've been doing a lot of Scrapple entries lately...

Former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has the wins and the trophies, but can he really be considered a great coach?  His record without Tom Brady was embarrassing.   Plus, for years, the AFC East was a notoriously weak division.  Belichick cheated.  Poor draft choices.  Contempt for the media.  Poor sportsmanship (remember those Super Bowl losing handshakes?)  Overrated.    

Today's "I remember the lyrics to an old song" offering is a Paul McCartney song from 1979, called "Arrow Through Me."

I can deal with the cold.  Snow and ice is a much different story.

Sorry, NBC.  There is nothing I want to pay to watch on Peacock.

There is nothing like the beauty of an old style movie theater marquee.

It was insane to play football in Kansas City Saturday night, and the governor of New York made the right decision in postponing the Steelers/Bills game.

It looks like 2024 will also be the year of Taylor Swift.

One of the satellite radio channels recently featured Casey Kasem's countdown of the top 100 hits of 1970.  Friends, that was music.

Now that stores have everything locked up, I no longer feel guilty about shopping on line.

Pat McAfee needs to go away.

I can't believe no one noticed the Secretary of Defense was missing.

Today is the 15th anniversary of a US Air flight landing in New York's Hudson River.  It is as amazing now as it was back then.

Some of my best friends are Dallas Cowboys fans.  Yet, I take great delight in that Sunday afternoon humiliation.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Andy's Angles: Birds


This is a mid December shot from the Green Ridge Shopping Center in Scranton.

It happens every winter.  A group of birds hangs out here for a while, and then moves on.

I was able to catch a couple in flight-- one behind the blue car and one below the silver car.

I'll be trying this one again before the winter is through.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

About the Cover: The View


It is a serendipitous blog header this month.  Usually, I have something in mind, before I set out with my camera.  This month, I happened to see the vista, pulled out the camera, snapped off a few, and here we are.  They looked good on the camera screen, and even better when I saw them on a big computer screen.

This is the view down the valley from the industrial/business park high atop Jessup.  Scranton is off to the left.  Carbondale is on the right.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Follow Up Friday


I think I set a record this year for LEAST amount of live NFL game watching.  It's been absolutely zero on Sunday afternoons and nights.  Maybe a few minutes on Monday night.  None on Thursday.  I did catch some games on the radio.  As for television, it's been mostly NFL Network overnight weekend replays, with the sound down.  I did watch a considerable amount of the Saturday evening game between Houston and Indianapolis because I was trapped in a hotel room because of the snow storm.  I forgot how good Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are.  I was startled at how much I enjoyed the game, even though I couldn't possibly care less about the teams involved.

This is the 25th anniversary of the HBO series "The Sopranos."  Popular and critically acclaimed.  Years ago, I said I didn't like it because it was a festival of every bad Italian-American cliché.    I watched more this week on You Tube, to see if I've mellowed and my feelings have changed.  Nope.  It's still a festival of every bad Italian-American cliché.

I had to conduct some business in downtown Scranton Wednesday morning.  The little kiosks that replaced the parking meters worked fine, but at least with a meter, you knew where your space was.  The placement of the meters defined it.  And by the way, $2 for an hour is outrageous.

Chris Christie's 2024 presidential run ended the same way as 2016-- with an early exit.  The former New Jersey governor is really good at TV, and I expect to see him quite a bit this year.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Andy & Randy


Once upon a time, WNEP was part of a group of television stations owned by the New York Times, and it was a great company to work for.  I really enjoyed it.  In a fit of genius, the Times sold the only profitable division of the company, to a new group called "Local TV."

"Local TV" was run by a man named Randy Michaels, who made his fame and fortune in radio.  He came through on a tour shortly after the purchase, and I thought he was brilliant and absolutely charming.  I mentioned that I grew up on and in radio.  He knew about the history of my former employer, WARM, down to the signal pattern and other 590's in the east that we had to protect.

Local TV didn't last long.  It sold to Tribune.  Tribune sold to Tegna, and that is where we stand today.  I'm happy.

Randy Michaels is still very active in the radio business, and I still subscribe to radio industry newsletters.  You can take the boy out of radio, but you can't take the radio out of the boy.

Michaels recently penned an op ed piece in  Some auto makers want to drop AM radios in cars.  The broadcast industry is fighting that.  Michaels reasoned that the industry shouldn't be legislating.  It should be improving.

One line in Michaels' piece really hit home.  He mentioned that a lot of AM stations sell weekend time slots to quack medical cures and shady financial advice.  Michaels closed that paragraph by saying a station you can't trust 24 hours a day is a station you can't trust.  I'll expand that to silly overnight shows that expound the existence of Martians and every outlandish and unproven conspiracy theory out there.

The bottom line on Michaels piece was AM's problems will be solved if programmers simple produced a product that consumers find attractive.


Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Wednesday Scrapple


Houston, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and the Los Angeles Rams are in the NFL playoffs.  If you need proof there are too many teams in the playoffs, there it is.

I can live with the cold.  Snow is a completely different animal.

Golden Globes?  No interest.  None.

And, who is Jo Koy?  Is he supposed to be funny?

I could not imagine what it was like sitting in a jet, when one of the doors suddenly blows off.  It's a miracle no one was killed.

It thrills me when one of my rewards programs saves me three cents per gallon on gasoline.

One of the largest radio station owners in the country, Audacy, recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.  The head of the company cited an advertising downtown.  For a lover of "traditional" radio like me, I find that frightening.

I would not enjoy being a passenger in a self driving car.

Barstool Sports' Dave Portnoy recently won a $ 1 million bet on the Rose Bowl.  Portnoy is very wealthy, so a million to him is like $10 for the rest of us.  Still, I'd be afraid to bet that amount of money.  I feel guilty and nervous sticking $5 into a slot machine.

I still haven't tried the new and improved Big Mac.  I look forward to it, if I can still afford one.

Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis predicted a "nasty" election this year.  Ya think?

As I was throwing the bull with several coworkers this week, I was shocked by the number who had not seen the movie "Broadcast News."

Harry, keep the change.

The Jimmy Kimmell/Aaron Rodgers feud is pointless and boring.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024

First Person: Winter Storm


It only happened for the third time in my 25+ years at WNEP.  I stayed at the hotel next to the station.

The boss emailed me Friday morning, asking if I wanted a room.  The forecast was still on the iffy side, but more bad than good, so I took the news director up on her offer.  Thank you!

There are plusses and minuses.  I don't sleep well in hotel rooms, but if I stayed home, I probably wouldn't have slept, anyway.  It was due to the anxiety of wondering how the drive to work, in a snow storm, would be.  I have an all wheel drive suv that's great in the snow, and there has never been a problem before.  Still, I erred on the side of caution and it really wasn't an error.  The roads were pretty bad Saturday night.  Where I live, and in Moosic, there was a combination of snow, rain, and sleet.  Not good, and the drive to work, even if it was only eight miles, would have been an adventure in terror.

Thanks to the staff at the Hampton Inn, who swung an early check in for me.  You can't hit the normal 3 pm check in time and still expect to get enough sleep to work an overnight shift.  They're good people.

As for my weekend work shifts, meteorologist Ally Gallo nailed the forecast on Saturday and Sunday.  Reporter Melissa Steininger showed us the snow covered and slippery roads in Monroe County during live reports Sunday morning.  Storm reporting isn't all fun and games.  Our eastern counties appear to have been hit the hardest.  I fear our crews will be back at it this week, with flood potential, and then more snow on the way.

As I was checking out of the hotel Sunday morning, I told the desk person that even though I enjoyed my stay, I hope I don't see them again for quite a while.

Monday, January 8, 2024



  1. occurring or discovered by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
    "a serendipitous encounter"

You never know what you'll find when you stroll through the WNEP archives.

I dug in to the computer files on New Year's Eve.  My goal was to find an old New Year story for a "Video Vault" segment.  As I scrolled through the massive amount of video, I discovered that New Year's Eve, 2023, was the 40th anniversary of the grand opening of the Lackawanna Station hotel.  It was a Hilton back then, and above is a photo I took several years ago.

The building had been closed for years, and it was nearly torn down.  Thank heaven, common sense prevailed.  It would have been a tragedy to see something like this destroyed.

Tours were offered before renovation began in the early 80's, and I regret not being there for that.  I was never inside when it was a train station.  

At least, I was around for the finished product and it's been a good 40.

Sunday, January 7, 2024

Andy's Angles: Rust

 This train has appeared in this space before, but it is a new shot, taken on Black Friday in November.

Even a half decent photographer will tell you that it's not just the subject. It's the setting.  A rusting old train in a repair yard., on a windy and grey November morning.  Weeds.  Trash.  Debris.

It just said late fall, early winter grey day desolation to me, and I couldn't resist taking a few photos.

Saturday, January 6, 2024

Andy's Angles: The Cardinal


I am convinced animals know things.  I've had dogs and cats who were exceptionally affectionate and clingy when I was going through tough times  It was always great to see an especially waggish tail, even as I arrived home form work or a similar event in a state of despair, and you have no idea how often that happens.

The cardinal above isn't real.  He was hanging from a branch, in a tree, at Nay Aug Park in Scranton just before Christmas.

It has been said cardinals represent the souls of the departed, who come back for a quick visit.  My family was experiencing an unexpected and sudden loss in October 2020 when a cardinal appeared in a tree, adjacent to a front picture window.  My mom and sister were in the room with me at the time, but I'm the only one who noticed him staring through the window.  He was there for a good ten minutes, not moving, his gaze fixed through the plate glass.  He then flew off to visit others left behind, I presume.

I'm a science guy, and I wanted to pass this off as a merely curious bird, taking a break, on a fall morning.  Somehow, it seemed more than that.  Much more.  I know we see what we want to see, and I wanted to see a little hope.

Mr. Cardinal made my day.

Friday, January 5, 2024

Unfinished Friday


I touched on this briefly the other day, and then decided it needs an entry of its own.

A big investment group, the one that now controls several local newspapers, has been on a buying spree.  The target is inner city bus stations.  The new owner closes the stations and sells the land at a profit.  So far, more than thirty!

I should add that our friends at CNN are the ones responsible for the original reporting.

With the bus stations closed, riders get their tickets on-line, but they are forced to wait for the buses at the curb. If they're lucky, they get a plastic shelter.  The riders are subject to the elements, crime, and all the other bad things that can happen outside, often at night.

Riders in our area are fortunate.  The bus stations, like the ones in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, are in the hands of the government.  They're not going to close.  At least, people will have access to a chair, a toilet, warmth, a stale muffin and a soda out of the machine...

The numbers show inter city buses, like Greyhound and Trailways, handle twice the passenger load as Amtrak.  The trains are the government infrastructure darling these days and I get that.  Rail is important.

But, buses are the choice of lower income groups.  The bus is their only affordable option.

There is another factor at play here:  dignity.

Thursday, January 4, 2024

Media Thursday + The Smothers Brothers


Tommy Smothers, half of the Smothers Brothers, died just after Christmas.  Has any other TV series made such an impact with only 72 episodes?  Let's look at this on two levels.  First, CBS fired the Smothers Brothers because of the show's anti Vietnam War content.  CBS was getting pressure from Washington, advertisers, and several affiliates.  The show knocked "Bonanza" off the ratings heap, a major accomplishment, so the show struck with a chord with the American people.  Still, the movers and shakers didn't like it.  The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour was a hot potato, so it was gone.  Rewatching clips this week, the material was funny and clever, unlike the sledgehammer style "jokes" currently on late night TV.

Second, look at the list of musical, writing, and performing talent that came out of that show:  Pat Paulsen, Jennifer Warnes, Bob Einstein, Mason Williams, David Frye, David Steinberg, Steve Martin, Rob Reiner, Howard Hesseman, Allan Blye (who later produced "Sonny & Cher), Lorenzo Music, Peter Bonerz and Glen Campbell.  It was just an amazing group of people.

The late Norman Lear is given credit for helping change television and that it is true.  But, the Smothers Brothers did it first.

Tommy Smothers was 86.

Moving on...

NBC dumped the great Al Michaels from its NFL playoff coverage.  Mistake.  Even though Al lost a little off his fastball, he's still better than 95 per cent of the talent out there.  In a playoff game last year, Michaels was saddled with Tony Dungee. who brought absolutely nothing to the table.  On Amazon over the past two years, Michaels worked with Kirk Herbstreit.  Even though Herbstreit is a college expert, I didn't think he was bad.  No, I didn't pay for the Amazon games.  I did watch the replays on the NFL Network.  Al Michaels is one of the people who built the modern age of the NFL on NBC, and he deserves better.  So do the viewers.  Having said all of that,  Michaels is stuck with some awful games.  There is nothing left to prove.  He is among the best ever.  Quit.

The "Jeopardy!" producers have parted way with Mayim Bialik as host.  I didn't have problem with her.  Ken Jennings, once you can get past his thin voice, is a little better.  Just remember, the show is the star.

It's been noted here that I use sports talk radio as an escape from the real world, and the holiday season is usually death valley, with "best of" shows and weak, fill in hosts.  This year, because the NFL and major college bowl games were so prevalent on what used to be days off, the networks brought in better talent.

"A Charlie Brown Christmas" on Apple TV is tragic.  The show is an American classic, and it should be on free tv, for everyone to see, as much as possible.

Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina are rapidly approaching.  Let the games begin!

HBO's "Real Sports" with Bryant Gumbel came to an end last month.  Sports journalism is over, and I've always thought Gumbel is one of the most skilled broadcasters of our time.

I know I've been down this road before, but it's a new year.  Indulge me for a moment.  I worked for Bob Yuna at the old, old, old channel 22 in the mid 90's.  Great guy.  Great boss, and I'm tickled that we are still in touch after all these years.   Bob taught me the stations that prosper are the ones that do the best job of reflecting their communities.  Be that as it may, watching my radio brethren get out in to the community thrills me.  I went to Honesdale last month to see Michael G. Stanton take his annual outdoor shower for children in need.  Prospector at Rock 107 is always out doing something.  The same goes for Doc and Chewy at Froggy 101.  The great Gary Chrisman in Williamsport has a strong, community based broadcast.  My high school friend, Jerry Padden, at Cat Country in the Lehigh Valley is on the list.    I'm sure I'm missing others in central Pennsylvania, the coal region and the Poconos.  I'm sorry.  I just don't get out that way all too often these days.  Love to see it, and I look forward to more this year.  Radio is more than a computer hard drive in a sterile,  below ground level studio.

The company that owns CBS is considering merging with the company that owns CNN.  That, dear readers, would be a news powerhouse, and it could save both news organizations.

You know FOX is drooling over the potential of a Dallas vs Kansas City Super Bowl next month.  The Cowboys have a strong national following while the Chiefs presence puts Taylor Swift in the stadium.  However, the Super Bowl is just about indestructible.  People will watch, no matter who plays.  I'll be asleep.

For some reason, several old "Man v Food" episodes and clips are popping up on You Tube.  I forgot how awful that show was.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Business Wednesday: TMG


By the time you read this, the former TMG Health building in Jessup will be gone.  I took the photo you see above early in the morning of December 21st.

Long story short:  This building is only 11 years old.  11!!!!!  TMG was sold.  The new owner liked people working from home, and there was simply no need for the office space.

It's surprising on one take, and a yawn on the other.  

It surprises me that there is no market for a modern office building.

It's a yawn that an empty lot is more marketable than a building.

No matter how you view it, it's sad.

In a similar vein, our friends at CNN recently reported that the company that recently purchased four local newspapers has grabbed more than 30 Greyhound bus stations across the country.  Once again, the real estate is more important than the buildings, and I'll have more to say on that soon.

Back to TMG...  As I stood there on a windy, but sunny winter morning, I thought about all the changes in the American economy that made a relatively new building expendable.    The pandemic pushed ahead things that were likely to happen anyway.

By the way, this was my first time up this way in ages, and I was shocked by all the new development.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Scrapple New Year



I haven't been in a movie theater since July of 2012, and none of the holiday selections enticed me.  The French Revolution is fascinating, but I don't see how "Napoleon" can be any fun.

Today's offering in the "remember the lyrics, even if you haven't heard the song in years" is "Gone Too Far" by England Dan and John Ford Coley.

Speaking of music, I detested the television show, but the Partridge Family's music was pretty good.

Yes, it's schmaltz, but Dan Fogelberg's "Same Auld Lang Syne" is a masterpiece, it it still takes me back to the old WARM 590 control room in Avoca.

I'll have a few words on the Smothers Brothers, and the passing of Tommy Smothers, later this week.

January is the toughest weather month of the year, in my view, but you can already feel the days getting a wee bit longer.  Having said that, I'm already seeing predictions for an upcoming weekend storm.

Hey, we're already through the first month of meteorological winter, and the half way point is in sight!

I'm not complaining, but doesn't it seem like every recipe begins with onions?

Deion Sanders is Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the year-- a college coach, an educator of young men, who did not know the location of Mount Rushmore.

Guy Fieri and Ryan Seacrest both signed huge money television contracts late last year.  It boggles the mind.

McDonald's is putting more sauce on Big Macs.  They already have too much!

The construction of a green bell pepper fascinates me.

Your true character shines through with the way you react to bad situations.  Patrick Mahomes.    

Even though the name and the Pittsburgh headquarters will remain, US Steel is not in US hands, and that makes me sad.  In fact, the number of foreign controlled "American" corporations is frightening.

"I stashed the bill in my shirt" is one of the greatest song lines, ever.

Did our newsroom really need multiple emails from PennDOT, saying drivers' license centers would be closed on Christmas?  Did anyone really think, "Hey, it's Christmas morning.  I think I'll get my license renewed."

I am not a Dallas Cowboys fan, but I did feel pretty good for former head coach Jimmy Johnson over the weekend.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Happy 2024!


Yes, the year has flown by.  Let's just say I've had better.

This is my yearly refrain.  I never thought the flip of a calendar page has great significance, but if it gives you the incentive for a fresh start at something, have at it.

Thanks for stopping by every day-- here in cyberspace, and also on television.

Be safe, and let's hope for a happy and peaceful 2024.