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Everything posted by MetroCity

  1. New York is too different from region to region for one statewide newscast to find traction. Upstate people hate downstate people; the (NYC) northern suburbs don’t care about anything or anyone other than Metro North; Long Islanders are too busy being stuck in traffic; and everyone hates Staten Island. I think the solution for WPIX is to move out of Midtown East, and move to Queens. Then, build a newscast and image that is New York City, other than Manhattan. Forget Manhattan news. Concentrate on the other four boroughs and their 7,000,000 residents. It’s harder to do, an
  2. Over the years, I’ve interviewed with both of these people. I’ve competed against each of them at different times, and worked with a number of their former employees. Nothing in these articles surprises me. The golf club story is an extreme, but quid pro quos are not uncommon. Unfortunately, one thing this investigation does not touch on, is the fact that these types of alleged management biases and activities are not unique. Anybody who has ever worked in a top five market has either worked for people like this, or worked across the street from them. Also, make no mistake about it. T
  3. Nexstar being a publicly traded company is somewhat irrelevant. Nexstar is so big, the NewsNation budget is just a blip in the budget. Yes, they had big launch expenses, but they came at a time when they were integrating new acquisitions into the company, and likely already making big capital purchases. And yes, they do have a significant staff. But in a company of that size, the NN staff isn’t necessarily a stand-out, especially when post-merger layoffs and attrition would have offset them. In the big picture of Nexstar, NN is a low cost, low risk venture. Relative to the rest of
  4. This kind of thing has happened before, in the long ago days of CONUS, Florida News Network, and other regional or adhoc consortiums. They are a giant pain, but only until the suits are tired of their big bad bully struts. This will last until there is one huge national breaking news story in a Nexstar market, and the networks are desperate for station video, and stations are desperate for network resources. Then they’ll all grit their teeth, come to some sort of “agreement”, and all get on with more mundane matters. Like logos and crawls.
  5. It was possibly a local or regional cable buy.
  6. For those old enough to remember it, the first day of News Nation was very similar to the first day of CNN. Like any new broadcast, it will take time to evolve. Hopefully not to the same point as the current CNN. True, it is not an MTV style in your face production. But it is not only an alternative to the chaos of the other news networks... it is an alternative to the so-called reality and game show gluts on the broadcast and entertainment networks. It’s not something I’ll likely watch every day or for the entire three hours. But like local morning newscasts, and the old CNN, it will be one I
  7. I don’t know why there seems to be surprise or mystery surrounding this “ownership change”. This was the plan from the beginning of the Tribune sale, and it was no secret. Because of the number of stations involved, Nexstar needed to divest WPIX (and others) to get FCC approval; but they didn’t want to lose it forever. That’s why the WPIX sale price at the time was pretty cheap, and why it included the buy-back option. If you go back and read the articles and analysis of the Tribune sale, this was widely expected and predicted. Some thought it would be when ownership rules were relaxed. Othe
  8. 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%.
  9. 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.)
  10. 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 l
  11. 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 c
  12. 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 m
  13. 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, equ
  14. 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 k
  15. 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 televisi
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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 med
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. It’s nice to see someone preserving the minuet.
  23. OK. Let’s come in off the ledge, un-twist our panties and un-clutch our pearls... and ask an important and unpopular question. How relevant is a television traffic report in 2019? Really. Every commuter worth their salt relies on traffic apps, and there are loads of them. Even Google Maps shows traffic now. TV traffic has always been dubious, because the information ages quickly, and each report is only relevant to a select geographic area. If you live in Union County, then Long Island and Westchester traffic reports mean nothing to you. Traffic apps, which every commuter depe
  24. That could indicate they prefer reliable, easily available and serviceable equipment that works and is more user friendly; or that the Tribune nightmare electronics can’t integrate into Nexstar’s systems; or that the small handful of Tribune corporate engineers who are the only ones who understand these frustrating devices are not joining the Nexstar payroll; or all of the above.

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