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MetroCity

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MetroCity last won the day on January 3

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About MetroCity

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    Haver of Worst Nightmares & Hater of Tired Clichés
  • Birthday 06/06/1972

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  1. Those weather shots from outside the studio are done with a hard-wired camera, mic and IFB. Depending on the configuration of his home WiFi, it’s possible the signal in Lee’s yard isn’t strong enough. At my home, the signal inside is fine, but if I take three steps outside the back door, I drop 50%.
  2. The promo music is an adaptation of a pop song called “Still The One”, recorded in 1976 by the group “Orleans”. (Not to be confused with a very different song with the same name from Shania Twain.)
  3. I never understand reasoning like this. Graphics packages in the 21st century involve little more than new software and perhaps swapping out a server and a keyboard (plus training and replacing the library of stock elements). It’s not like you need a whole floor of printing presses and diesel generators. If WABC or anybody else wanted to make radical graphic changes at any point, they could and would. The thing to remember is, when you make a colossal overhaul of your graphic look, it affects more than lower thirds. If your whole look changes radically overnight, suddenly your whole libraries of full screens, banners, over the shoulders and franchise opens are dead. Add in promotion graphics and the rest of the station on air look (because it’s always tied to News), and you are literally reinventing the wheel. That means rebuilding everything before launch, or on the fly. Graphic looks are not like re-painting the living room. It’s building a whole new house. But a subtle change might give your lower thirds and banners a refreshed look, while preserving the possibly thousands of images in your library. Graphics created with the updated look will still blend in. And over time, everything will change. Until the next time. You might not like graphic updates that are only subtle changes. But from a practical point of view, they are the only kind that work and preserve sanity.
  4. Helicopters are great tools, but they’re not cheap. A helicopter can cost a station up to two million dollars A YEAR. Most stations contract with one of the few big vendors to lease the helicopter, camera and microwave equipment, pilots and, in some cases, the chopper reporter. A lease usually includes a standard number of use ‘em or lose ‘em hours per month (which might not be as many as you might think), and then an added fee per hour over the included bundle. That over the top use could be around $700 an hour or more. Want a back-up bird while the chopper is in for maintenance? Want pilot coverage on weekends or for days longer than pilots are legally allowed to fly? Those are extra. The expense is why some stations end chopper use or sell sponsorships. Also remember, when winds reach a certain level, or weather deteriorates, choppers don’t fly. They’re not airborne Hummers. They’re flying Toyotas. in mid-sized markets like those in Oklahoma, the helicopter might be an important tool during severe weather season, but they are money suckers the rest of the year. If a station can’t draw a straight line between the annual expense and a multi-million dollar revenue advantage, a helicopter is a hard sell. If a new owner has added millions of dollars to leveraged debt to buy a station, the sell is even harder.
  5. Scripps has enough infrastructure in place in Florida to put together a news operation in a fairly impressive time. In addition to West Palm, there are stations in Tampa and Tallahassee. Also, even though this has only just been announced, odds are this has been in progress since the deal was first discussed. Yes, one big challenge will be a facility that can be built out. But, with technology, that is not as difficult as it once was. A newsroom can be separate from the existing broadcast plant and linked by fiber. A stand-alone newsroom can go anywhere for now. I also wouldn’t bet money on WPTV producing a WSFL newscast for long (if ever). South Florida viewers are very parochial. They would have little interest in an imported newscast. As far as WPLG and its operation goes: Originally, Graham was only going to manage WPLG for BH for two years. That’s apparently expanded to an indefinite arrangement, which is obviously working. Added to that, the Graham family has had a long, personal friendship with Warren Buffett. That helped explain the original sale to Berkshire Hathaway. If BH ever considered selling WPLG, I wouldn’t be surprised if it were offered back to Graham first. The list of other potential suitors is long. ABC would be at the top of that list. While Disney is not actively interested in more stations, there are a very few jewels they would love to acquire if they were individually available, and not part of a group. ( including WPLG, WCVB, WSB, WFTV, WJLA)
  6. Keep in mind this list is ONE person’s opinion. Scott’s. It has no basis in thorough evaluation or investigation. This is not the US News & World Report list of best hospitals. He doesn’t explain his methodology, but is likely based solely on e-mails he receives over the year (which admittedly are many). The same can also be said about the “worst” list(s) he will publish by the end of the year. One of my concerns about his list is that it doesn’t appear to show consistency in how stations might be compared, in terms of management style, competitive edge, staffing, equipment, local quality of life, etc.. For instance, anybody who knows TV knows that WSVN is one of the most competitive, best staffed and technologically equipped stations in the country. KMGH, on the other hand, has been a terrible station since black & white days. I don’t understand how they’re on the same list, or, even more head-scratching, how KMGH is higher on the list than WSVN. I’m also having a hard time understanding KPRC on the list. There’s nothing specifically wrong with it, but there’s nothing record-setting either. There’s not much of a reputation of any kind. They do have a competent owner (Graham) and a new building. But among Houston stations, they have rarely been the top payer or player. Scott is entitled to his opinion, and he might be more in tune with this than many people. But he is not without his own biases or sets of standards that might differ from yours or mine. It’s only his opinion. I might respect it more if his daily blog showed the same high standards of quality he seems to expect from others.
  7. In addition to keeping viewers from changing the channel, another benefit of starting at :57 or :58 relates to advertising rates. “End Breaks” (commercials that air at the end of a program) are usually priced according to the ratings of the ending program. “Internal Breaks” are priced according to the program in which they run. If the newscast has higher ad rates than the show preceding it, then an End Break will be moved into the newscast, allowing the news to start a minute or two earlier. During the Oprah years, some stations might have made more money keeping the Oprah end break, but the risk of losing news viewers was too high to chance it. And, it didn’t make a lot of dollar difference. Oprah was a loss leader. It cost so much money to buy, stations rarely made any profit from it. The real payoff was in the increased viewers for news.
  8. That’s humor, right? It wasn’t bad enough that WPIX has been a train wreck for years. But Tribune management was well aware of it, and chose not to do a thing about it. Maybe they didn’t want to spend the money. Maybe they didn’t want to make changes (other than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic) because they were shopping the stations. Maybe they didn’t want to upset buddies elsewhere in their bloated and disconnected management structure. Maybe it was all of that and more. There is absolutely nothing about the WPIX newscast that makes it appointment television. No definitive goal or mission, no identification with a demographic or community, no interest in the boroughs or the suburbs and absolutely nothing distinctive or compelling. WPIX is the hospital food of television news. Scripps does have its own problems (such as WMAR). But Scripps might give WPIX a fighting chance to succeed and not just continue to flounder.
  9. MetroCity

    WJZ 7PM News?

    The ratings for CBS Evening News are still soft. CBS probably feels the show could get a little nudge from airing at 6:30, when news numbers are traditionally higher. WJZ doing news at 7:00 isn’t really a big gamble, since they know there were already news viewers in that time slot. They’ll just have to include national headlines for those people accustomed to national news then. And, as election season picks up, a 7:00 newscast will be almost guaranteed a full boat of political ads, meaning good money regardless of the numbers.
  10. It might not be things the viewer ever sees. “Technical upgrades” could include replacing or updating cameras, robotics, lighting grid or lighting panel, etc.. Any of those can be time consuming to remove, install and test. Setting aside a weekend to do it is not unusual, since it displaces a minimum number of shows and people.
  11. All the networks have full broadcast facilities and on duty/ on call staffs in Washington. If absolutely necessary, Washington is the go-to network back-up for New York.
  12. People who thinks producers are making the decisions about whether or not to run talent opens, have no understanding of the hierarchy of a newsroom. Show opens are serious business, and their form, format and appearance are strictly the domain of the news director, creative services director and general manager. No producer in any station I’ve ever worked had unilateral power to drop, modify or replace an open. In the past, WABC has replaced the talent opens with generic stingers when: an anchor slot is open and a rotation of people are sitting in; an anchor is out on extended medical leave; a newscast is airing off the clock at an unusual time, such as after football; during continuous breaking news coverage, where a standard talent open might be inappropriate. Opens are not like teases or bumps where a producer or director can call an audible and elect to drop or change it. To station management, they are as important as the hood ornament is to a Rolls Royce owner. Whether an open is a short stinger or a fully produced talent showcase, it is the baby of those far above a producer pay grade.
  13. As those of us over a certain age will remember, this is not a new idea. Back in the days when television stations (other than a few metropolitan powerhouses) went off the air at the end of the broadcast day (usually around 1:00 AM), the national anthem was played. Then, when they signed on again (usually around 4AM), it was played again. Once stations adopted a 24 hour schedule (late 70s/ early 80s), the sign-off/ sign-on routines went away.
  14. The problem with this theory is that it ignores the fact that EWN This Morning and Bill Evans were already very popular in the morning, already funneling a significant audience to GMA. I don’t think Sam Champion will produce a significant ratings increase. Instead, and probably more importantly, he will protect the current position and help prevent a ratings slip. In this case, no significant numbers change could be viewed as a success.
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