Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lane Files Civil Suit/DeMentri Speaks

According to the Philadelphia Daily News' John Morrison, former CBS-3 anchor, Alycia Lane, filed a civil suit yesterday against a laundry list of defendants. They include: KYW's parent company, CBS Broadcasting; Michael Colleran, President/GM of KYW-TV; the owner of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News--Philadelphia Media Holdings LLC; Philadelphia Newspapers LLC a subsidiary of Media Holdings as well as former co-anchor Larry Mendte and Philadelphia Daily News columnist Dan Gross.
The entire story is HERE
In other Daily News "news"...Dan Gross is taking a lashing on the "Comments" section of his column today regarding his coverage of the Alycia Lane story. Check out the comments HERE
Lastly, Dan Gross also reports today that Michael Klein sat down yesterday with former NBC-10 anchor Vince DeMentri for HIS side of the story of his termination from WCAU-TV in July. Apparently, he dissed Gross because he reported on the relationship between DeMentri and Lori Delgado plus a past report about DeMentri's divorce proceedings. I reported September 19th of "the other side of the story" concerning DeMentri's firing as reported by website NEWSBLUES in late August. Klein's article should be good for interesting reading if nothing else.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pulling Out Glenn From the Archival Vault

I found some funny video of Glenn Schwartz of NBC10 in my old video and thought you might enjoy seeing it. Here's Glenn, in all his bearded glory, from his earlier days at WNYW channel 5 in New York.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The REST of the DeMentri Story

According to a post in late August on NewsBlues, it explains the motive behind the accusation of Vince DeMentri vandalizing not only fellow anchor Lori Delgado's car, but also a news photographer's vehicle as well.
Apparently, Delgado and DeMentri became involved in a nine month romance from late 2005 into 2006. Both were also married at the time. However, Delgado cooled things off once the rumor mill kicked in. A month later, she was reassigned to the Dawn Patrol anchor chair next to Terry Ruggles and DeMentri was given the 4 p.m. anchor slot. By late June of this year, the story goes, DeMentri became jealous of a relationship Delgado had with the photographer and allegedly vandalized both cars -- all of which was documented on station surveillance video! Station management were alerted by Delgado who subsequently went to police. However, when management told Delgado they had the culprit on security video "in the act" and it was DeMentri, she refused to press charges fearing their affair would put herself in a bad light. She asked management to deal with it discreetly which they did. DeMentri was confronted with the taped evidence by management and removed from the anchor schedule in July. He was never formally announced as being terminated but was also removed from the bio section of the NBC10 website several weeks ago. DeMentri now advertises his "talents" online looking for the next anchor gig in TV land. DeMentri and wife, Pat, a QVC host are in the midst of divorce proceedings. No word on the marriage of Delgado these days.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Good Old Commercials

As we take another look at some old video from the archives--this clip was from a show in 1982 called "America's Greatest Commercials". If you grew up in the 60's or 70's you remember some of these very commercials. This piece was done pretty creatively, with the classic Aretha Franklin song "R-E-S-P-E-C-T". Check it out:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Fall of the Chopping Block at Metro Traffic

Friday September 12th was not a good day for some at Metro Networks/Shadow Broadcast Services as several full-time and part-timers were let go in a company wide cost cut of labor. Philadelphia's operations lost two news writers as well as a producer who had been with the company over twenty years! Additionally, Tom McDonald was let go from the news side of the operation. You probably have seen Tom in many news shots on the local airwaves holding the Metro Networks microphone capturing that sound bite. Rumor is Metro will soon terminate their news service all together at all Metro operations nationwide. This could mean the demise of lone news guy Paul Periello who worked previously at WWDB.
Also, traffic anchors Deborah Byrne, Matt Tacha and Mary Cantell were among those laid off. Byrne and Cantell at one time served as back-up on Channel 10 and Fox 29.
If that isn't enough, traffic veteran Rod Carson was also let go. Carson began the traffic service, "Sunoco Go Patrol", back in the 70's with several others. He provided the very first television traffic report on KYW-TV's morning news in the mid 70's and it was his idea right here in Philadelphia to install a video camera on a building for the use of capturing traffic shots. WPVI-TV was the first television station in Philadelphia to use that camera, SKY 6, at Route 1 and the Schuylkill expressway. On top of his service with Sunoco Go Patrol and Shadow traffic, Carson has been with Metro Networks almost twenty years alone and has been on every radio station in the region. His latest full-time shift was handling the overnights on KYW newsradio the last several years.
As of now, the traffic schedules on KYW handled by Sam Clover, Pat Winters, John Brown, Tom Collins, Eric Herr, Brian Ramona, RJ McKay and Cindy Graham still stand. Metro Networks no longer handles traffic services for any of the Philadelphia television stations -- losing Fox-29 to Traffic Pulse in late Spring.
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists was voted into Metro Networks operations several month ago by employees who have tired of the poor management and broken equipment the past several years. Reports also include poor working conditions and little training for new-hires. Apparently, AFTRA had no intervention in the lay-offs on Friday and a meeting is scheduled for Tuesday between AFTRA negotiators and Metro management.
Metro Networks calls the move a "restructuring of its traffic operations" and plans to consolidate its traffic resources from 60 operations centers across the U.S. into just 13 regional centers. What this might mean for the Philadelphia operations center is that Philadelphia would also be responsible for handling one or two other markets which is the way Traffic Pulse has operated since its inception.
The restructuring is intended to improve the operating and financial performance of Westwood One and resulted in a staff reduction of 15 percent nationwide as well as a few relocations of operations centers planned by the end of this year. By the summer of 2009, the remaining markets will be relocated into the 13 operations centers mentioned above.
According to a Metro press release, the restructuring, as well as addressing underperforming programming, is expected to result in a $25-$30 million annual savings. Westwood One will host a conference call to its employees next week to discuss the reengineering of the company.

Monday, September 8, 2008

KYW Innovations

As I continue to go through my old video I found a segment aired on KYW's Eyewitness News back in 1986. It was a segment inspired by "NBC's 60 Year Anniversary of Broadcasting" special (remember, KYW was an NBC station initially).
Jerry Penacoli intro'd the piece while Judy Barton reported the segment of KYW "firsts". KYW-TV was initially licensed as W3XE and was granted permission to broadcast in 1932. The station was the FIRST television station in Philadelphia and the FIRST to sign on as an NBC affiliate. Founded by the Philco Corporation -- the first broadcast went to the homes of Philco employees.
By 1939, the station broacast the FIRST evening college football game -- Temple University played the University of Kansas.
By 1940, another FIRST. The airing of the Republican National Convention. That same year the station got their commercial license and the call letters changed to WPTZ, the first commercial station in the state and the second in the country (behind Pittsburgh's KDKA). The FIRST TV soap opera aired in 1942, "Last Year's Nest".
Other FIRSTS included: The first in the country to air a program from Walt Disney in color (1952); The Mike Douglas show which relocated from Cleveland to Philadelphia in 1965 and was later syndicated and moved to L.A. Former News Director, Al Primo, who went on to New York's WABC-TV, created the "Eyewitness News" format which began here in 1968. Lastly, KYW created the talents of Jessica Savitch, Tom Snyder and David Brenner. Check out the video segment:

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Philadelphia Loses SMOOTH JAZZ Station

Laura Nachman and Dan Gross have both reported what's been rumored now for the last several weeks--this past Friday evening Greater Media broadcast group dropped the jazz format (WJJZ-Smooth Jazz 97.5) after an unsuccessful attempt to gain listeners the past two years. The format originally aired on the 106.1 frequency--and was resurrected at 97.5 much to the appreciation of loyal listeners.
"Something new - Something now" is the new tag, for now. The website says to listen Monday morning at 9 a.m. for the new format and posted this letter:

Dear Listener,
After much consideration and review, our company has decided to make a change to 97.5 FM. As many people in the market know, we share a passion for this wonderful music, the smooth jazz format, and all the good people that made the special things happen for all of us.
For nearly two years we have committed substantial resources to this program. Unfortunately, we have had limited success with smooth jazz as judged by the marketplace. We are grateful for your loyalty and support, and we appreciate your understanding.
Like our other top tier FM radio stations in the market, we are committed to serving the largest population possible, and we are excited to offer our listeners a powerful new choice. We will reveal our new vision on Monday at 9am.
Again, we appreciate what you have done with us in the past, and look forward to a bright future together. Stay tuned, because the feedback we received from listeners tells us you will enjoy the new adventure!
Thank you for your continued support,
The WJJZ Family

Update/ 9/8/08: At 9 a.m.--the station formally announced the format as "soft rock". I listened over the weekend and love the music so far--which they've continued on into the new format!! Great station!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tracking Hannah

CBS-3's Kathy Orr will be putting in some extra hours with the arrival of Hurricane Hannah on our heels tomorrow (Saturday). Look for hourly updates on the storm's impact in the region as well as up-to-the-minute forecasts and livecasting...check in with as Kathy hits the web hourly with updates.

LaRosa Baby Watch

CBS-3 loses a member of the Eyewitness weather team after today when morning weathermeister Maria LaRosa begins her maternity leave. LaRosa is expected to return in time for Christmas. In the meantime, however, Doug Kammerer will step up to the plate for the dawn patrol shift beginning Monday. He'll hold down the fort Mondays through Thursdays with Carol Erickson filling in on Fridays. LaRosa is expecting "another boy".
UPDATE/September 9, 2008: Congrats to Maria and her family on the arrival of another bouncing baby who was born yesterday.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Hire At FOX-29

Dan Gross from Philadelphia Daily News reports the hiring is close for the anchor chair vacated by Dave Huddleston. Information points to Sacramento California's FOX affiliate and weeknight anchor Thomas Drayton as being the likely replacement. Huddleston was let go a few months ago and the vacancy has been filled up to now by Kerri-Lee Halkett.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Some Video Fun On The Way

My intention with this blog is to make this a place for not only some scoop from the industry...a little gossip here and there...a look back at previous on-air talent...but also for a place to come to see some old video clips of Philadelphia TV news from years past! Let me explain.
I purchased my first VCR in 1981 for about $800.00 and recorded constantly! This became a hobby of sorts for me. I recorded everything from local and network newscasts and promos, clips from TV shows, TV Guide's special anniversary shows, the network yearly "year-in-review" segments aired each New Years eve, noteworthy news stories (such as deaths, marriages, plane crashes, earthquakes, weather phenomena, etc.) and even clips from ABC TV's "One Life To Live". My video collection consists of probably 300 video tapes!
Prior to the age of the internet--I attempted to come up with a way for others to enjoy this material and made the mistake of advertising my collection for purchase. I made nothing. I only charged for the cost of the tape itself and postage. Needless to say, I became deluged with orders to the point I could not keep up! Each tape ended up costing me hours of time to transfer/edit and I gave up that venture after about six months.
On a side note, I was even able to make tapes of all the news events that occurred and were missed by one Iranian hostage--Joseph Ciccipio of Norristown Pennsylvania. I spent months creating these tapes...transferring news events at my disposal from the period he was held hostage. I then mailed him the tapes to "general delivery/Norristown". A month or two later, I received a personal phone call from Mr. Ciccipio thanking me for my effort and told how much he enjoyed and appreciated the tapes. He said Dan Rather did something similiar for him but he "enjoyed mine much better". Who knows...maybe he was just being overly kind.
As the years went on, I got older and had less time and my hobby of recording went by the wayside. However, as I mentioned--I have this "endless collection" of video and what do I do with it?
I've contemplated the last several years how to put some of this material online for others to enjoy. These videos mean nothing to anyone in my family except me and a very good friend of mine who is also a news phenatic. As the years go on--I'm sure the video quality of these tapes will continue to deteriorate. So, the time finally arrived and I purchased the necessary software to transfer this video onto the hardrive and to "youtube" for you.
My plan is to create a new hobby in transferring alot of this great stuff to video files to post on youtube. I will share some HERE as well.
So--after a week of trying to learn how to work with this new software and without fanfare--let me share with you my first video clip I created today. It is a promo from the Fall of 1986 for KYW's Eyewitness News and Linda Gialanella's weather.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Fox 29's "The Last Word" debuted last night at 11 p.m.. "News at Ten" ended without the usual closing music or credits. Dawn Stensland introduced the show directly out of the last segment of the news saying "now politics takes center stage and for that--we go to Kerri-Lee Halkett".
Kerri-Lee stood on-set and introduced the top three stories which were:
*Hurricane Gustav Upstages The GOP
*A Low-Key Republican National Convention Comes To Order
*McCain's Running Mate's Pregnant 17 year old Teenage Daughter
These three stories became the top stories of segment 1's "Today On The Trail". Next, John Bolaris was brought in live from Lafayette Louisiana reporting on the impact of Hurricane Gustav. Kerri-Lee then finished up the hurricane coverage with some FOX video and promoted's photo gallery of images of hurricane damage from Mississippi to Texas.
From there, it was on to the Republican's revamped convention plans and a four minute live interview with New Jersey Senator Bill Baroni from the floor of the convention in Minneapolis MN.
John McCain's campaign budget was the next story--$10 million dollars raised since announcing Alaska Governor Palin as his Vice Presidential choice last week.
Kerri-Lee then reported John McCain overnighted in our city's Rittenhouse Square with video of his plane arriving at PHL International. She commented how she had a couple of friends text message her saying they saw him dining in Devon and the press corp waiting for him at ROUGE. McCain's "Straight Talk Air Tour" was in the city today as he made more appearances in the area. A soundbite of Senator Joe Biden also aired, commenting on curtailing their campaigning plans due to the Hurricane.
Next, the story was supposed to be the pairing off of campaign chemistry between Cindy McCain and Governor Palin's husband. However, the control room punched up the sound bite again from Biden as Keri Lee reminded us "hearing again from Senator Joe Biden".
Kerri-Lee then jumped the gun to go to a segment about political polls. The control room bailed from her and went into the five second "FOX 29 News The Last Word" intro. The first commercial began ten minutes into the show.
Segment 2 began with that political poll segment -- asking "how important are the DNC and the RNC"? This opened a three minute live discussion on-set headed by Kerri-Lee--with reporter/political guru Bruce Gordon and an author/speaker from Temple University discussing, in general, conventions for the Republicans and the Democrats.
From there, it was on to "other news" of the day: the murder/suicide of five people in Camden; teachers walking the picket line in the Souderton School District and vacationers flocking to the Jersey shore for the last hurah of summer.
Segment 3 was one minute each with Joe Staszak's sports segment and John Krasting with the weather forecast. Kerri-Lee did a quick voiceover of Mayor Michael Nutter rapping to the SugarHill Gang on stage at a concert in the city.
The show wrapped up by more shameless promotion: John Bolaris being live in Louisiana as well as radar, maps, slideshows, 2008 convention coverage, blogs and the "Palin Baby Drama" on the myfoxphilly website. More promotion of topics for tomorrow's show then followed.
Finally, the "last word" of the night was a video piece from Louisiana as Governor Jindal reacted to the hurricane hitting his state.
Initial reaction? No biggie..."same ole same ole presentation"...and meaningless political coverage in that I didn't learn anything NEW. Not a show I'd stay up to watch. Just MY opinion.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Changes at Action News Mornings

"The Gossip with Marnie Hall" at reports some changes on the horizon at 6ABC. Sarah Bloomquist is expected to replace Tamala Edwards on the 5-7 a.m. anchor chair sometime soon. Of course, channel 6 does not acknowledge anything. Personally, everytime Sarah subs for Tamala I say to myself how much more pleasant and bubbly she seems. Though, I have to wonder about this change when the current morning team are winning the ratings race and the new morning news promos currently airing.

In addition, Amy Buckman moves from "reporter" to "web producer". Sources say Buckman is thrilled with the move. However, this would be considered a demotion in the industry. Watch the entire story HERE.

After The Strike

FOX 29 and Action News both went live on the 5 o'clock newscasts today for another report on the effects of Hurricane Gustav.
6ABC's Nydia Han reported live on the phone from Houma Louisiana for the noon-cast. She made her way to Morgan City for the 5'oclock cast...but reported via phone again stating that due to the fierce winds and rain she and her photographer had to put their satellite dish down. A producer and cameraman were also stationed in Houma Louisiana for coverage there and all documented their experience on the internet via TWITTER.
Meanwhile, over at Fox 29 News at 5--John Bolaris had to report via a streaming web feed via SKYPE from his hotel room in Lafayette Louisiana. They were in Morgan City this morning -- then -- due to go outside to report from the Cajun Dome in Lafayette. However, because of the winds and danger...they were sent indoors and forced to report directly from his hotel room.
John Krasting covered the local weather story from Olde City.