Monday, October 31, 2005

Canceled, Canceled, and Canceled

Hands in the air, Alito!8:06am: Three emails from Charles Schumer's press office hit the inbox announcing the cancellation of the Senator's upstate appearances today. If you think Chuck's going to waste his time in Schenectady and Albany while the rest of the Judiciary Committee gets all the attention, you are mistaken.

Four Bits

Ask not what your newspaper can do for you, ask what you can do for your newspaper.Considering all the fiscal misery at America's newspapers, this passage from Rex Smith's Saturday TU column, talking about his '06 budget, is noteworthy:
There won't be all the money we had wanted, but nobody will be pushed out of a job, and the paper we deliver to your home will remain full and robust. I look at it as keeping the faith: Readers trust us to give them a true picture of the world beyond their own experience in exchange for the two quarters they plunk down on the counter. That's a level of accounting I can handle.
Say what you will, it's hard to argue that you're not getting your $.50 worth. Except maybe on Mondays...


I can't wait for health care open enrollment to be over. Not because I'm so excited about my lavish benefits, but because I can't stand looking at MVP's "Blah-Blah-Blah" commercials ---not even for another second. MVP may be among America's best HMO's, but somebody over there needs to wake up and look for another agency. This isn't the first time Media Logic has done awful spots for the health care client; I still cringe when I think of their Care About You campaign, which was equally dreadful. I can still hear that bossa nova music, or whatever the hell that was.

On their website, the agency claims they are sometimes "accused of thinking too much". You won't hear that from me.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Electionist

Mr. Carr Goes to Troy?Author Caleb Carr is taking a swing at politics, seeking to represent his Town of Berlin district in the Rensselaer County legislature. Now that's what I call an entry level position. Carr, who lives up in the hills on a 1400 acre spread known as Misery Mountain Farm, is best known for his novels The Alienist and Angel of Darkness, great books which I highly recommend. Read them in order, but Angel of Darkness is of particular interest because a good portion of the book is set in Ballston Spa.

We hope he wins ---but if anything, Mr. Carr is way too qualified to hold elected office in Rensselaer County.

Press Release of the Week

In regard to the botched DWI case against SUNY police officer Jason Horvath, David Soares invoked the Bart Simpon defense:
I didn't do it! Nobody saw me do it! You can't prove anything!
Nobody from the DA's office showed up at Guilderland Town Court for an evidence hearing in Mr. Horvath's case, so he ended up with a speeding charge. Rather than accept any responsibility, Soares engaged in a wild bout of press release finger pointing, detailing how the court should have covered the butt of his ADA.
Of the "5000 cases" his office handles yearly in Guilderland Town Court, Soares said, "It is not surprising that there is an occasionally(sic) hiccup or a glitch on the part of the Court, the prosecution or the defense counsel."

Friday, October 28, 2005


Saying it takes up too much time and has become much less fun, the author of political blog Democracy in Albany has announced he's closing up shop after the election day.
Metroland named the web site best local blog earlier this year, calling it, "The most consistent and insightful forum on the Web for discussing the issues affecting the Capital Region."
This is bad news for hardcore local politics junkies.
You could count on Democracy in Albany to keep you on top of things, like the recent battle over charter reform and the upcoming election. DIA was particularly effective in keeping an eye on Jerry Jennings, offering a near daily critique of the mayor and the Albany power structure. As you might imagine, Jennings wasn't too crazy about that.
The blog wasn't just DIA's musings on the state of things; the site attracted a stable of interesting and articulate contributors who weren't shy about butting heads. Maybe one of them will pick up the torch.

The Horror

Get tuned up for Pumpkin Day tomorrow at the State Museum's free Horror Film Festival. Among the hosts are well known local filmakers Bruce Hallenbeck and Jeff Kirkendall, who in addition to hosting the festival's four classic films, will show trailers from their own work. The features include The Horror of Dracula, Carnival of Souls , The Haunting (the 1963 original), and Night of the Living Dead. Many horror geeks consider The Horor of Dracula the best vampire movie of all time, but seeing any one of these on the big screen will be a real treat.

Thursday, October 27, 2005


Here's an idea worth stealing: Salt Lake City's KUTV is offering viewers lifesize downloadable photos of their morning show talent that can be fashioned into Halloween masks. Cool ---here's a link to the PDF file.
I really think CBS 6 should jump on this immediately. What could possibly be creepier than opening the door and seeing Liz Bishop or Ed O'Brien standing outside? Scary stuff, huh kids? Better yet, use one of these with your costume. For example, put on the Judy Sanders mask, add a pointy black hat and you're good to go.
Watch out for poison candy and have a good time.

CC Socked by Stinky Earnings

Hey, Don Weeks! You leave your shoes OUTSIDE.Wow! Clear Channel really took a nose dive in the third quarter, with their net income dropping by a whopping 21%. I'm no bean counter, but even I know that's not good.
On the heels of this news, we've heard that in addition to banning open containers at their spiffy new headquarters on Route 7, the boss is now insisting that people remove their shoes when entering the building. This will not only reduce wear and tear on the carpeting but contribute to a clean and casual workplace. Coming soon: vinyl slip covers.

Loosely related, former WTEN sports director Dan Murphy has landed a two hour afternoon slot on WOFX. His show, Murphy's Law will air in that highly lucrative 3pm to 5pm time period.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Rachael Gray

Hey, pal...It's RACHAEL!John Gray's pretty sure he had a shot at Rachael Ray ---him and every guy who ever saw her doing food demos at their neighborhood Price Chopper, even the short, bald, married guys. Take my word for it. Truth be told, he had a better chance than most.
John's column in The Record this morning tells about an encounter with Ray several years ago at Guptill's. He was skating, she was shooting a story for WRGB. He held her hand, she skated her way through a shaky stand-up... In Hollywood, this is known as meet cute. I'd say it sounds like Cameron Crowe, except John writes that REO Speedwagon was playing; Cameron Crowe would never use such a patently un-cool band in one of his movies.

Any chance John had with her is now gone, not because she's married, but because he spelled her name wrong in today's piece. It's Rachael, not Rachel. Oops.

Take Another Look (At Your Creative)

I've been seeing The Gazette's Take Another Look spots quite a bit lately; Must be time to burn off all that trade with the TV stations.
Anyway, the next time you see one, take another look at the newspapers shown in the spot. Wrinkled, dingy, and creased, they appear to have spent a night or two in the dumpster. Jeez! You're paying all that money to produce a commercial and you can't get something printed up on nice stock for your shoot? Forget about newsprint rubbing off on your fingers ---these papers look like they'd leave your hands smelling like cat pee.

Flogging the Peacock

Martha and The Donald, in better times. Today, Trump would be crazy to let her anywhere near his throat.How do you know things are bad? Things are bad when you start running promos like this:
Tonight, Lost is a repeat...But NBC has all new drama!
I didn't make that up. Maybe this approach helps you tonight, what about next week? Martha Stewart's Apprentice and the bombastic Jerry Bruckheimer mess E-Ring have been a disaster. Stewart's show is so bad that Trump blasted it last week on Imus ---he even threw Jeff Zucker under the bus, claiming Zucker "never liked what he saw." Pretty soon it may not matter what Jeff Zucker thought.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

I Got a Rock

You're crazy, Linus. I say the Sox in five.I think you can pass on the first inning of tonight's World Series game (will they even manage to throw the first pitch by 8:30?) to watch the best holiday special ever: It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown (8pm WTEN-ABC). Sit with your little ones and show them what you looked forward to all year long, before there were three channels of kid TV on demand. Kids too jaded and cynical? Watch it yourself and remember what it was like when this was must see TV for every fifth grader.
United Features TV writer Kevin McDonough wonders if The Great Pumpkin could get on TV today:
Just as "A Charlie Brown Christmas" would be considered too religious by contemporary standards, "Great Pumpkin" trades in themes some might consider dangerously pagan or pantheistic. After all, the blanket-clutching Linus professes a personal belief in an autumn squash with higher powers.

Everyone Knows It's Windy

Just imagine! You lose all that weight only to break your neck falling over during a hurricane. How ironic.
Everybody gets so annoyed by reporters standing out there in hurricanes. Not me! If it means we get to see Al Roker land on his face again, I'm all for it. However: If you're going to stand outside when the wind is blowing like that, you really should wear a helmet and eye protection. You don't have to be a genius to know that there's all sorts of stuff flying around that could be hazardous. If you find yourself covering a hurricane, shatterproof goggles are a good idea, and your helmet should preferably have a chin strap, which must be kept tightly fastened at all times. This will make it easier to find your head after it's sliced off by a piece of aluminum siding.

Prime Real Estate

The TU ran a story last week about how The Gazette is now running small ads on their front page, and how The Record has whored out this sacred space with rather large ads ---but no, says the TU, our front page remains hallowed ground. Well, not exactly.
Maybe you've noticed those colorful stickers that are sometimes stuck to the front of your paper, the most recent one on Sunday, a promo for the TU's Easy Pay option. Not technically an ad, but it did mention Price Chopper. I've seen these in the past for people who are ostensibly advertisers, so I asked my media buyer friend, who said yes, they are selling those peelable ads, and no , they are not cheap.
I don't know about you, but I find that a whole lot more intrusive than some little banner ad at the bottom of the page. How prevalent is front page advertising? Check it out for yourself at Newseum's daily posting of the front pages of over 400 newspapers from 44 countries.

Monday, October 24, 2005


While I'm not a big fan of listening to newscasters on WROW read stories out of the daily paper, I really love watching Washington Journal ---particularly on Fridays when it's hosted by C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb.
Washington Journal is the anti-morning show, and Lamb the anti-TV personality who has never uttered his own name on the cable network he helped found in 1979. Some find Lamb a bit dry, but he's the best interviewer in television, stripping away the showboat theatrics of the Katie Courics of the world and getting down to business.
Brian Lamb's idea of fun is visiting the gravesites of U.S. presidents and vice -presidents, which spawned his book, Who's Buried in Grant's Tomb, so you may catch him at the Chester Arthur grave in Albany Rural Cemetery today ---or you can see him appearing at 2pm in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center at the UAlbany uptown campus. On the agenda? History, the media and democracy. I expect you should be able to find seats, since most UAlbany students don't watch a whole lot of C-SPAN.
You can also catch him at The Egg tonight at 7:30 where he'll receive the Empire State Archives and History Award, take part in a discussion and a little Q & A. The event is free.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Journalists, Either

Mark McGuire's nice piece on the future of print journalism ended up a featured item in Jim Romenesko's media news page at Poynter. As you might imagine, that gets a lot more people reading you than being mentioned in Albany Eye ---and all sorts of pesky editor types picking over your work. In this case somebody noticed that the Sac Bee was incorrectly listed as a paper that had been through some layoffs, resulting in a correction. Would you people lighten up! If the Bee hasn't already had layoffs, you know that it will sooner or later.

If you don't already check Romenesko every day you should.

Friday, October 21, 2005

This Is a Late Parrot

He's probably pining for the fjords!So...a British parrot succumbs to the bird flu. The first thing that came to my mind was the classic Monty Python Parrot Sketch. You can read the script here or go to this page and listen to that and other classic Python sketches. Let's all have a good laugh until the geese start falling out of the sky.

By the way: hate my clunky "blogspot" URL? You can also reach Albany Eye at and

Friday Notes

To Paul Vandenburgh:
The vast majority of your listeners don't want to hear about your friend (and client), Sprint manager Drew DiNovo. Your stories about him aren't funny, and none of this schtick, like today's "going away party" is the least bit interesting. Don't take it personally; I don't blame you for not knowing it stinks and I don't expect anyone over there to tell you.

The Many Faces of Alan
Don't rely on the TU's online version for today's story about Alan Chartock and the WAMC fund drive, because for the full effect, you really need to see the pictures. I have to agree with Alan that the paper has given the station's fund drives short shrift in the past; today's story by Mark "Black Hat" McGuire more than makes up for the lack of notice.

The latest addition to WTEN's weather staff has one of the greatest names I've heard on TV in recent memory: Katie Virtue. Does that sound like something out of Brenda Starr, or what?

That Seventies Intern

Liz Bishop's Boy ToyGreg Floyd celebrated being named the new CBS 6 anchor by going on the Paul Vandenburgh show Thursday morning. He really knows how to have a good time.
Floyd was gracious enough not to slam Fox 23 for demoting him when they hired John Gray, and he mentioned that "Liz and I go a long way back".
They most certainly do. Floyd, who's 46, was an intern at WRGB in 1979, so there's a good chance he spent some time sharpening Liz Bishop's pencils and fixing her coffee ---or doing whatever it is Liz Bishop would have her taut young male interns do. And back in the swinging seventies that could be anything ---you saw Boogie Nights, didn't you?

The Life of Bryan

The Business Review (AKA, the Chamber of Commerce Newsletter) has been trying really hard lately to be interesting. They actually had a couple of stories recently about the local music scene, including one about Bryan Thomas. Thomas, along with being one of the area's most talented musicians, is among the local artists behind The Hidden City.If Albany has a hipster scene, it's homepage is The Hidden City,my hands down pick for the area's coolest web site. It's a good place to send newcomers looking for the smart crowd ---and something to show your friends who can't understand why you still live here.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Stirring Things Up

Yum-0!No, I'm not obsessed with Rachael Ray, why do you ask?
Anyway, I'm sure a lot of you saw that BIG profile of the girl from the North Country in yesterday's Times (If you don't have an account, there's a version here). The reporter visited with the "cooking rock star" and her mom at Ray's Adirondack cabin, where they cooked and ate and talked and had a grand old time. You know that all this attention is driving the Rachael Ray haters insane, but c'mon, how could you not like her? While looking over the Rachael Ray drinking game, she said,"This is awesome, but man, people are going to get hammered."

Mark Marks the Spot

Mark McGuire paid a visit to the WAMC fund drive Wednesday morning. How do I know this? Because every five minutes Alan Chartock kept talking about how he was there in the studio writing a story that will run in Friday's TU. If you could feel someone quirm over the radio, people would have been driving off the road all over the Capital Region.
McGuire also heard Alan play clips of what's been the highlight of the 700-thousand dollar fundraiser so far, his interview with folk legend Peter Yarrow. Yarrow, in town for an Alice Green for Mayor event, explained in song that no, Puff the Magic Dragon is NOT about smoking reefer ---and played a fractured but heart rending version of my favorite Peter, Paul and Mark song, Right Field. The fund drive continues...

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Greg Floyd, Anchorman

CBS 6 has finally found someone to anchor with Liz Bishop: Greg Floyd. Mark McGuire reports that Floyd will join the station's 6 & 11 newscasts right after November sweeps ends, in early December. Interestingly, Fox 23 will keep him in the anchor chair through November, "But the station expressed confidence Floyd will remain a professional during his final weeks with the company." Damn right you will, Floyd, or we'll toss you right out on your ass.

Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Broadcasters

Hey, kids: ever thought you might like to work in the exciting world of TV or radio? Then take some time tomorrow to stop by Albany's Crowne Plaza for the New York State Broadcasters Association Career Fair.
In the interest of full disclosure, it may be a job where they want to cut your pay by 15% (WRGB), offer you no benefits (Albany Broadcasting), prevent you from taking fluids inside their shiny new building (Clear Channel), fire you for no good reason (WTEN), or make you anchor with Liz Bishop (also WRGB) ---but other than that, it really is very exciting and glamorous.
Not qualified? No problem, there are associate producer and account executive positions available. Those seeking on-air jobs should bring demo tapes; high school students applying for on-air work at Capital News 9 should also bring their working papers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Tales from the Fund Drive

WAMC Fund DriveIt only took 22 minutes Monday morning to hear my favorite WAMC fund drive story, Alan Chartock's classic account of the "small liberal arts college" incident. It's the one about how he and David Galletly were summoned to meet with some local bigwigs about the future of the radio station, but what the bigwigs had in mind was more a shake down than a business meeting.
Come to our campus, they said, but don't ever utter the word "abortion" on the air. Your board of directors? Our people will control it, and if you turn us down on this, we'll see that your station loses all its funding. Alan has never named the college or the prominent business leaders in question, but it's clear who they are ---just as it's clear that what they wanted was to steal the soul of the radio station. Alan and David walked out and the rest became the stuff of fund drive mythology.

I could be wrong, but I think 6:22am was the earliest I've ever heard this one.

The station needs to raise 700 thousand dollars to meet operating expenses, so they're back at doing what they do second best. I say second best because what they do best is make good radio. What they do second best is motivate their audience to support what they're doing.
I've heard people on commercial stations run down WAMC, derisively calling what goes on there as a "begathon". To them, let me ask this: How much money would your listeners pay to keep you on the air?

Monday, October 17, 2005

Girl Power

SoccergirlThe internet, it has been said, will not make everyone famous for 15 minutes, but famous to 15 people.
There are exceptions, of course ---in fact, one of the web's biggest celebrities works right in our backyard. Soccergirl (you may not want to click this link at work unless it's for journalistic reasons), is the 26 year-old internet sensation from Germantown whose podcasts rank among the most popular on Apple's iTunes service. Her profile begins:
Confident and busty, I don't like to keep my best features under wraps.
Indeed. There's no shortage of revealing pictures at Soccergirl's home page, but it's also where you find her "shows", mesmerizing blends of original music, interviews, rambling sexy stories, and monologues. As you might imagine, she's pretty excited about the whole video iPod thing. It's all a little rough around the edges ---don't expect WAMC's Roundtable, unless you expect to tune in someday and hear Susan Arbetter in the bathtub.
Why is she so popular? Soccergirl, who lists her occupation as archival librarian (and exhibitionist), is like that really smart girl from high school who came back from her first year in college a complete freak. Brilliant, beautiful, and way out of control.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Double Vision

I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with lifting text directly from a press release, but...
WRGB: McMillian told investigators he was afraid to go back to jail and was convinced he could outrun officers because of all the video games he played.

Capital News 9: McMillian told investigators he was afraid to go back to jail and was convinced he could outrun police officers because of all the video games he's played.

Quotes from the Week That Was

I can't stand seeing coppers on horsies.
-WROW's Paul Vandenburgh, expressing his disdain for mounted police patrols.

They are taking the cross-town bus.
-Amber Alert test message accidentally played statewide on Sunday.

When someone yells fire in a movie theater, does everyone stand around and wait until it's verified?
-Explaining the false Amber Alert to the TU, a State Police spokesman hilariously misused Oliver Wendell Holmes' famous passage from Schenck v. US.

I wasn't drunk, I was upset. They shouldn't accuse me unless they have evidence. It pisses me off they do this low-life stuff.
-Hebron Town Supervisor Ken Talkington, on been accused of being drunk at a town budget meeting.

He lies better than he drinks, and he's a pretty good drinker.
-Hebron Town Board member Brian Campbell on Ken Talkington.

Each horn dog must complete a day of community service, and Conlon was ordered into drug treatment.
-From the Post's story about a couple arrested for fornicating on a Brooklyn street.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Payola Fallout

Donnie Michaels, Payola Pimp

Donnie Michaels, former FLY 92 program director, must be getting a little hot under the collar right about now. Michaels, Eliot Spitzer's payola poster boy, now works at Clear Channel's WHYI in Miami; earlier this week the media giant canned two radio managers implicated in the SONY BMG pay for play scandal ---and you know they've been taking a close look at Michaels.
Donnie's (Donnie???) exploits at Albany Broadcasting were chronicled in just about every news story about Spitzers's case, and it's fair to wonder if he continued taking goodies after moving to Miami.

If you ask me, there's no penalty severe enough to punish someone for playing J-Lo records on the radio.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Anchorless in Albany

WRGB in Albany, NY is looking for anchor to team up with our established female anchor on our 6pm and 11pm newscast.
Maybe they should change that to still looking. WRGB is staring down the barrel of November sweeps and they still haven't managed to fill that empty anchor chair. It was rumored that Jerry Gretzinger and Greg Floyd were in the running, but nothing's happened on that front ---and a well placed source says that CBS 6's front runner for the slot turned them down cold.
This isn't a good time to be making the hire, either. For years, the TV industry has faced an acute shortage of male anchors, especially those that convey the right touch of experienced confidence. In smaller markets, you frequently see an older man anchoring with a young woman; we could well end up with the opposite situation here, but if they don't hurry it will look more like Harold and Maude than Demi and Ashton.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Hy Art

The Times Union is advertising for a temporary editorial cartoonist to fill in for John de Rosier, who's on hiatus until April 2006. Until then, the paper's picking up cartoons from other papers, but they're also featuring the work of Hy Rosen.
Rosen worked for the TU from 1945 to 1989, signing on when he was just 22 years-old. You may know him better for his sculptures around town, like the Martin Luther King memorial in Albany's Lincoln Park, and the downtown statue of Tom Whalen and his dog Finn. For a real taste of Rosen's style, check out his 1998 book From Rocky to Pataki; the book's text is by former AP reporter Peter Slocum, and makes a good read for those challenged in the institutional memory department.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

TV Guide Grows Up

TV GUIDE Goes LargeLike a lot of people, I grew up with TV Guide kicking around the house. In fact, I remember eagerly waiting for the arrival of the magazine's annual fall preview edition, my gateway to the exciting new TV season. How sad is that? Maybe if I'd spent more time trying to do the New York Times crossword puzzle instead of the one in TV Guide, I wouldn't be here today.

After 52 years TV guide is going big, abandoning its familiar small dimensions and becoming a full-size magazine. TV Guide's circulation has been in a steady downward spiral for years. First newspapers stole away many of their eyeballs with free weekly inserts like the TU's ON TV book; now, with the advent of sophisticated, surfable grids on digital cable, all printed listings are becoming archaic. Printed listings remain popular with the older audience, and those slow to embrace new technology, like yours truly.

This week's final small format editions pay tribute to the classics, with today's stars recreating famous TV Guide covers from the past.

Monday, October 10, 2005


The graphic fronting the Life-Money section in today's TU is so huge they had to print the page sideways. To read the story, which is about gas mileage, you have to unfold the section and turn it clockwise; I'm not against breaking down newspaper paradigms, it's just strange to hold the paper way. And for folks riding to work public transportation, this really turns the subway fold on it's ear. Oh, sorry ---I forgot for a moment that no one uses public transportation around here.

Reader's Corner

Albany Eye begins with you, so we're always interested in what our readers are thinking about, no matter how strange or mundane.

Jeepers Peepers
One frequent correspondent is being driven mad by the term leaf peeping and wishes to see it banned by editors everywhere. When I hear the word peep, I think of someone looking through your window at night, or those delicious chick shaped marshmallow treats. Anyway, the writer kvetched that a certain large well known local daily paper recently contained an article that had something like a dozen references to leaf peeping, leaf peepers, and peeping at leaves ---and, he says, all other area media are guilty of the same.
I must ask you, Mr. Name withheld, is it really the use of leaf peeping that troubles you, or is it those peeping leaves? From Wikipedia:
A person who leaf peeps is called a leaf peeper. Leaf peepers are often tourists and are known for driving slowly on public roads.
I's say anyone who's ever driven up Vermont Route 7 on a Saturday in October, hates leaf peepers.

A Clear Channel radio employee has written to tell us about the no-beverage policy in their spankin' new headquarters up on Route 7. Apparently, there are no open containers permitted anywhere in the building, except, presumably, the lunch room. Please! How are they going to afford to buy up more local radio stations if they have Carpet Master up there cleaning coffee out of the rugs every other day? Maybe next the coffee and soda drinkers will be banished to the outdoors, like the smokers. Seriously ----who do they think they are, Siena College?

Finally, a couple of people sent me this, which strikes me as the sort of story reporters tell when the sit around the campfire:
ROWLEY, Mass. --A reporter for Rowley's weekly newspaper died after her car collided with a van carrying disabled adults. The crash that killed 49-year-old Liz Ichizawa occurred Tuesday at the intersection of Route 1 and Wethersfield Street. Ichizawa, who worked for The Town Common newspaper, had recently written a posthumous profile of longtime Rowley resident Margaret Smith, who was killed in an accident at the same intersection in July.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Stems and Seeds

Joe Pags, Eh?
Joe Pagliarulo's hoping that Canadians find his voice as rich as poutine and as sweet as maple syrup. The former CBS 6 (union busters) anchor is now chasing VO work, and being repped across the border by an Ontario firm that describes him thusly:
"Joe Pagliarulo's voice is astonishing and enthralling. His Herculean voice beams, muscling it's way through as a clear, unrivaled force to be reckoned with."
Only We Can Do That To Our Employees
Another attack on the media this week, and I'm not speaking figuratively. WTEN photog Marty Miller, who's well known in the news business for his tenacious pursuit of breaking news and sleeping in a room full of scanners, was assaulted by the owner of a truck involved in a fatal accident at a Bolton landing construction site. I'd say "allegedly assaulted", except the incident was captured on tape and shown repeatedly on WNYT and Fox 23. Donald Kingsley was charged Friday with harassment and criminal mischief.

All About Alan
The delighfully ubiquitous Alan Chartock graces the front page of this week's Business Review. The profile addresses a question on the mind of many listeners, namely how long will the station's 64 year-old leader hang in there? The answer: "Until they take me out by my boots".

Also in the paper this week: a bland assessment of the local TV business climate that makes the point (stop the presses!) that viewers have more choices these days. What it doesn't mention? The bad situation at WTEN. This isn't the first time Business Review Barbara Pinkney has chosen to ignore what's going on over on Northern Boulevard.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Please Sir, May I Have Another?

What was that in the sky this morning? Was it fog? Some sort of strange cloud? A trick of the eye, perhaps? No, no, and nope. It was the steam pouring from the ears of general managers and news directors who picked up the TU and read Mark McGuire's column about Capital News 9. His piece details what became obvious on Sunday in the hours following the Ethan Allen capsizing: that from a breaking news standpoint, CN9 didn't just own that story, they bent the other stations over their knee and administered a painful and humiliating spanking.

Whether they make any money or not is a story for another day.

Ask Kermit

Kermit Hall wants you! UAlbany has announced that they're holding open houses for reporters eager to ask the president some questions. The next session is a week from today, so come up with some good ones. You could ask the prez about the unruly students marauding around Albany neighborhoods, or have him explain this nanotech stuff, or query him about the football team's 0-4 record ----or you could be the first person in your newsroom to realize that he is probably the area's foremost expert on the Supreme Court. If I'm not mistaken, there's been some discussion of that stuff lately; Hall, who's has written extensively on the Court and constitutional law should be a great resource.

By the way, did you know that there is a Hall Hall on the RPI campus?

All Rachael, All the Time

Rachael Ray Heats Up the KitchenThose who think there's more than enough Rachael Ray on TV aren't going to be happy. Oprah Winfrey has taken the sassy Food TV star under her wing to produce a syndicated show slated to premier in Fall '06. Word is that Oprah will pump up Ray's profile in advance of her debut next year, much in the way she helped make Dr. Phil a star before his show hit the air. Queensbury furniture store Sutton's Marketplace has to be loving this; I don't know what it took to get Rachael Ray in their commercial, but they're geting their money's worth.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Shawn Killinger, FAiled ApprenticeFor those of you still vaguely interested, Former CBS 6 (union busters) morning reporter Shawn Killinger got the axe last night from Martha Stewart. In the TV business, Killinger told Martha, you have to "fake it 'til you make it". I guess this means Killinger will head back where she can fake it 'til she makes it, the anchor chair. Shawn had better learn that if she wants to be "The white Oprah", she'd better learn to keep it real.

Meanwhile, the other former Apprentice with local ties, Jennifer Crisafulli, continues to rebuild after her disastrous brush with power.

Andrew Wilwho?

You know, I don't think I've heard Andrew Wilkow even once since WGY moved his show from afternoon drive to 9-noon. I used to listen all the time, and now? This is testament to something that's always been known in radio, that morning and afternoon drive are powerful time periods. It used to be I'd switch around between JR, Wilkow, and WAMC (how's that for eclectic?). Since listening to the radio at work isn't really part of the plan, I just don't get to hear him anymore. In the dwindling ranks of local talk shows, I always found Wilkow's a refreshing voice. And even if you didn't like him, you could expect him to get his facts straight.

Loosely related: Clear Channel is at it again, whining to Congress that they aren't allowed to own more radio stations. Sirius, here I come.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Given Up for Lost

If you think I need to get a life, check out the blog devoted to Martha Stewart's Apprentice!
It's actually a pretty good way to keep tabs on Shawn "I Want to Be the White Oprah" Killinger, who used to be the morning reporter at union busting CBS 6. You'll find handy thumbnail stats from each episode, bios of the contestants, and descriptions of the key scenes. Log on today ---and join the millions of people not watching the show tonight. Things don't look good for the Trump spinoff; NBC has thrown it up against Lost, swapping it out with their other Wednesday night dog, E-Ring. Judging from the lack of promotion, the network has pretty much given up on both these shows.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


On the talk radio front, WROW's Paul Vandenburgh spent the morning wondering if the Ethan Allen had been removed from the lake (it had, last night) and blasting Lake George mayor Robert Blais for leaving town in the midst of of the Ethan Allen aftermath. If Blais left town, he didn't go far. The mayor delivered an emotional statement minutes ago at a press briefing held in front of the Warren County public safety building.

Missed It by That Much

Capital News 9 may have done a good job covering the Ethan Allen accident, but according to Mark McGuire in today's TU, they fumbled a key piece of exclusive video. The 24 hour news channel's Lake George webcam apparently captured the boat departing on its ill-fated Sunday afternoon cruise ---which a viewer pointed out to them could be replayed because the camera archives images for 24 hours. This could be the time for a new slogan:
Technology so advanced even we don't understand it...

Monday, October 03, 2005

In a Guilded Cage

Free Sponges for AllWRGB isn't the only operation in town experiencing labor trouble. Newspaper Guild employees at the TU have been wrangling with the paper over the details of a new contract for over a year now, and on Sunday, the membership overwhelmingly rejected the company's latest contract offer. Unlike the NABET v. WRGB affair, which involves mostly engineers and photographers, the nearly 300 Times Union Guild employees include a wide range of workers from all over the building ---even the sales staff are members.

Meanwhile in New York, work continues on the "glittering glass office tower -46 stories tall - the new Hearst headquarters". The 46 story monument is scheduled for completion in April '06. Maybe they'll have wrapped up this contract thing by then.

The Ethan Allen

Ethan Allen CoverageYesterday's terrible accident on Lake George provided another showcase for Capital News 9's ability to provide continuing coverage of major local news stories. Even at 7pm, as other stations were mired in network programming, CN9 was replaying Warren County Sheriff Larry Cleveland's press conference from earlier in the day. Local news directors and GMs will blithely tell you that the Time Warner news operation is not their competition; I'm not so sure viewers would agree.

Capital News 9's monopoly on 24 hour local news will not last forever. Sooner or later, one of the affiliates will join the game, most likely utilizing a piece of their digital spectrum to provide their news product all the time. Until then, despite their shortcomings, CN9 is the winner.

From the media literacy department, a good analysis in Mark McGuire's column on the use of graphic footage in yesterday's reports, particularly about how WNYT dealt with the issue. The station, McGuire points out, will not usually air pictures of bodies, "unless there are a lot of them". And why no wall to wall coverage? Even under such extreme circumstance, "Sports fans are a lot less tolerant of interruptions," said WNYT News Director Paul Conti.

Spelling It Out

WRGB General Manager Bob Furlong laid down the law to NABET members last week, in a letter detailing changes in the TV that business justify his draconian 15% wage cut.
In response, NABET quotes a recent Freedom Communications annual report as calling WRGB's 2004 a “fantastic year”, and that, “Growing audiences and growing profits at the same time is what 2004 was all about.”

Furlong also took a cheap shot at NABET Local 21's president, WNYT Reporter Bill Lambdin:
It is sad that you are being misled by an individual from another television station and the union. What is their vested interest in this negotiation? The individual from the other station gets to knock off a competitor and use you to try and improve his position at the next WNYT negotiation. At no threat of losing his job or having to put up with a strike. The union is stretching out the negotiations telling you that by trashing the station in public we will be more agreeable.