crew from WPTV-5-NBC in Palm Beach (Market #38) was
covering the DUI manslaughter trial of polo mogul John Goodman
yesterday, when the live truck, parked outside the courthouse, was
rocked by what seemed to be an enormous explosion.
The microwave dish had fallen from
the top of the extended mast and crashed
onto the roof of the truck. Luckily, the crew, inside editing
video, escaped injury. Chief Engineer Steve Billing called
it an "extremely rare event" and blamed "metal
fatigue." He ordered weekly "rooftop" inspections
to check "for bolt tightness" and "mechanical
is the first time this has happened to one of our trucks," Billing
wrote in a memo to staff, obtained by NewsBlues, "and
frankly I have never heard of it happening anywhere before."
In fact, according to Mark Bell,
who publishes the ENGsafety.com
website and newsletter, mast "blowouts" are not
entirely uncommon. According to Bell, the bolt or pin
securing the dish to the mast can wear or fall out. When the mast
extension is activated, the unsecured microwave dish can be
"launched by air pressure."
supplied us with photos of a similar incident at an unnamed
station in which the pan/tilt head assembly "blew out of the
mast of a live truck." The chief engineer reported the news
van "had been on scene for better than an hour and the crew
was preparing for their fourth live hit when the thing launched
like a mortar round." The incident, like the one in Palm
Beach, was attributed to metal fatigue causing a securing pin to
"Once again the industry gets
by another incident without killing somebody," noted Bell.
"Luck is a good thing."
WPTV's Billing agreed.
"We can't be too careful after what happened."
TICK, TICK, TICK
General, crippled by more than $658 million in long-term
debt, yesterday was able to temporarily douse the fuse on its
ticking financial time bomb. Faced with the very real possibility
of defaulting on a scheduled $363 million loan payment in March
2013, the company was able to renegotiate
terms...at a higher interest rate...and delay the payment long
enough to sell its roster of regional newspapers and pay down the
In exchange for the reprieve,
lenders are forcing Media General to raise a minimum of
$225 million in new notes by May 25. Of that, at least $190
million will be used to pay down the outstanding debt. The company
is only valued at $116 million.
Media General stock jumped 5%
yesterday on news of the three-year extension.
Davis, a reporter at Media General's WJAR-10-NBC in
Providence (Market #53), got pecked on the leg by an angry rooster
while she did a walk and talk. Video of the "attack," posted
on Facebook, has already become something of a
"That rooster actualy [sic]
chased me 3 or 4 times," reports Davis. "We
thought he went back into the chicken coop, when suddenly he
suprised [sic] me! Ironically he was the smallest rooster
in the farm!"
to grasp the irony of a rooster getting more media attention
than a company trying to refinance debt five times its value,
and you get a pretty good idea of who watches local TV news and
where their priorities lie.
"This is the Best!" wrote
one viewer. "She should get combat pay for that one!"
said another. "That's hilarious," said yet another.
"LOL! That was great! It's refreshing to laugh at the news as
oppose [sic] to getting that sinking feeling in your
stomach everytime you hear the all the bads news [sic]
going on in the world."
A.H. Belo stock price fell
45% in 2011, but company executives are still
getting big pay raises. CEO Robert Decherd's base
salary will jump 25% in April.
Station TV, the Birmingham company that pumps TV ads into
gas pumps to further irritate already irritated motorists, is expanding
its services to 32 ARCO stations in Los Angeles and San
Francisco and will soon expand to the Sacramento, San Diego, Las
Vegas, Phoenix, and Seattle markets.
Gas Station TV's programming
includes news from HLN, sports from ESPN, business
reports from Bloomberg TV, entertainment headlines from "Showbiz
Tonight," and local weather from AccuWeather.
THE ADVERTISING CHANNEL
As more and more people turn to
mobile devices for up-to-the-minute weather news, viewership has
dwindled at The Weather Channel. Only when severe weather
strikes, do viewers return to cable in large numbers.
a result, TWC
is increasingly turning to original "weather-related"
programming to fill the down time. Last month the network
began airing "Lifeguard!," about beach rescuers
in southern California. April brings "Turbine Cowboys,"
about people who build and maintain wind turbines. "Iron
Men," about New York ironworkers, starts in May. "Lights
Out," in June, is about an Arkansas crew that restores
power after severe weather. July brings the hurricane season and
"Hurricane Hunters," a series about people who
fly into storms to collect weather data.
Roker's thriving production company last year supplied TWC
Guard Alaska," a series that "throws the viewer
into the world of the men and women of the United States Coast
Guard stationed in rugged Alaska as they train and work in the
harsh environment conducting dangerous Search and Rescue
missions." The series was recently given a two-year
extension and has already spun off a new series involving a
U.S. Coast Guard station in Florida.
"The previous management
didn't really see the big picture," Roker said.
"They didn't think the audience would watch these kinds of
shows." The premiere of "Coast Guard Alaska"
increased viewership in its time slot by 35%.
So, is The Weather Channel
still really about the weather? Or is it about turning a profit
for Bain Capital, The Blackstone Group, and NBC
Universal, the consortium that bought TWC in 2008?
"Lately, I've been calling it 'The
your Surly Editor® told the Associated Press.
"I challenge you to visit TWC in prime time and not
hit a commercial in progress."
told you last week that Bob Caldwell, the 63-year-old
editorial page editor for The (Portland) Oregonian, died of
a heart attack after having sex with a 23-year-old woman.
Initially, the newspaper simply
reported Caldwell had died of a heart attack. Two days
later, it said Caldwell had suffered his fatal heart attack
while in his car. The following day, based on a police report, The
issued a "correction" and explained that Caldwell
had suffered the heart attack after a sex act in the apartment of
a 23-year-old woman. Caldwell, according to the paper, had
befriended the young woman at Portland Community College
and occasionally gave her cash for books in exchange for sex acts.
The woman, it turns out, wasn't
exactly a college student earning extra money: She was a
full-time call girl who advertised on a site called TNA
Board, a multicity service that connects sex workers with
customers. One admiring client, in an online review, called her
“the reigning princess of the West Hills.” She charged up
to $200 an hour and told prospective johns she wouldn't take
them on as clients without at least two references from other
prostitutes. According to her ad on tnaboard.com, "I
do not see newbies!"
But, wait. It gets better. Oregonian
Editor Kathleen Glanville was
fired last week for telling the paper Caldwell had died
in his car. Glanville reportedly "drove to the young
woman’s apartment and moved Caldwell’s vehicle from the
CNN reporters John King and
Dana Bash have
separated after five years of marriage. They have a
Williams, 68, the longtime news anchor at CBS-owned WBZ-4
in Boston (Market #7), is stepping down from the 11:00 p.m.
newscast "in order to spend more time at home with his
wife." He'll continue to front the station's 6:00 p.m.
The change comes after WBZ
shed a third of its 25-to-54-year-old viewers at 11:00 p.m.
over the past year. “His talent has nothing to do with whatever
the outcome of the ratings are at 11 o’clock,” said
President and General Manager Ed Piette, who does not
comment on personnel matters except when he does. “He’s an
amazing talent, an amazing newsman. It’s his decision. We
“This was my idea,” said Williams
story posted on the WBZ website. “They told me I can
work as long as I want. They've been very gracious to me. It's all
Jonathan Elias will take
over the 11:00 p.m. co-anchoring duties starting Monday.
Don Shelby, who retired
from CBS-owned WCCO-4 in Minneapolis (Market #15) in
2010, is joining BringMeTheNews's radio network as
a morning news anchor. The network, which consists of 30
stations, is owned by former KARE-11-NBC personality
Rick Kupchella. Shelby debuts April 4.
Rosenfield, a former anchor at WCBS-2 and WNBC-4
in New York, will be joining NBC-owned WRC-4 in DC
(Market #8) soon, according to DCRTV,
which scoops he is likely to anchor the 5:00 p.m. news.
Rosenfield, who anchored the
noon and 6:00 p.m. news at WCBS-2, was
a victim of cutbacks in May 2008. He worked in New York
television nearly three decades but has been on the beach for
almost four years.
Brown, the primary sports anchor at Fisher's KATU-2-ABC
in Portland (Market #22), is suddenly out the door after seven
years. The station isn't saying why.
Brown was recently named Oregon
Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and
Sportswriters Association. She's been replaced by weekend
sports anchor Craig Birnbach.
Audrey Barnes, a former
morning news anchor at WBAL-11-NBC in Baltimore (Market
#24) who has been freelancing in the DC market, has been hired as
a general assignment reporter at Fox-owned WTTG-5 in
DC (Market #8). She starts next Monday.
Teresa Priolo, a morning
news anchor and reporter at WRGB-6-CBS in Albany, NY
(Market #58), is leaving the station after four years to “begin
anew.” She's found work as a freelance reporter at WNYW-5-Fox
in New York, according to TVSpy.
Gordon, the veteran chief meteorologist at Sinclair's
WICS-20-ABC and WICD-15-ABC in Champaign, IL (Market
#82), is leaving
the station to become executive director of Springfield’s Hoogland
Center for the Arts.
Gordon, a graduate of the Mississippi
State University Broadcast Meteorology program, has long been
active in local theatrical and music productions. He's worked at
the Sinclair duopoly since 1990 and starts his new position
“While it will be sad to step
down from a job that I have held and enjoyed for so long, I don’t
think it will come as a surprise to my friends or to people who
know me well that the opportunity to work full time at the HCFTA
is the one thing that could lure me away,” Gordon said.
NO MOVING EXPENSES
Daniels, a meteorologist at Desert TV's KPSP-2-CBS in
Palm Springs (Market #145), who was laid off when the station was
sold in January to the owners of competitor KESQ-42-ABC,
has been rehired as a morning news anchor. She starts Monday.
“I’ve been collecting
unemployment now for about six weeks, so I’m really happy,” Daniels
said. KPSP morning co-anchors Todd Piro and
Stella Inger have both left since the station was sold. Piro
has been hired as the new morning anchor at NBC-owned WVIT-30
in Hartford (Market #30). And Inger started this week at Belo's
independent KTVK-3 in Phoenix (Market #13).
Shortly after Inger
announced her departure in mid-February, Daniels said she
got a call from the station's new owners. “When they could've
hired outside, they went back to the people who, unfortunately,
like me, who didn't make the cut.”
anchorless newscast on Tribune's last-place KIAH-39-CW
in Houston (Market #10), has
added Bernard “Bun B” Freeman, an "award
winning" rapper to its staff. Because every news staff needs
$6,000 TOUR OF FOX NEWS
News Channel contributor Dick Morris has been
reprimanded for offering a personal tour of Fox News
headquarters in New York as an auction item to benefit a Florida
The tour sold for $6,000 but will
Bill Shine, executive vice
president of programming for Fox News,
told TVNewser that “The tour will absolutely not
take place nor would something like that have ever taken place
if we were aware of it.” Morris, according to Shone,
apologized profusely and admitted it "was a major
No word on whether the auction
winner got his money back.
BLUEZETTE'S GRAMMAR YAMMER
"A PBS mind in an MTV world."
A letter from a reader in New York
inspired today's lesson:
You may have already covered
this one, but Armen Keteyian, investigative correspondent for CBS
News, [recently] used the 'word' "irregardless." I was
under the impression that it's not a word. That it's 'regardless'
or 'irrespective.' Can you clarify for me? I heard it's now in
certain dictionaries. Perhaps it's evolved? I would love to hear
Carol is right. "Irregardless"
is a nonword. Regardless or irrespective is the word
Armen was looking for.
- Carol Perry, VP Broadcasting /
- IF Management, Inc
You will find certain words, like "irregardless," in
dictionaries--words that Mrs. B hopes you will not use. Be sure to
notice labels like dial. (dialectical), nonstandard, and obsolete
before assuming that the dictionary is endorsing them. The primary
job of a dictionary is to track how people actually use language.
The goal of a usage guide, like Mrs. B's favorite Garner's
Modern American Usage, is to protect you against words (and
phrases) that are considered nonstandard by well-educated people.