Wednesday, December 8, 2010

PVI Updates Their Graphics...

WPVI's "Action News" is looking better than ever I must say. The station debuted a new graphics package and new open several days ago. Most notable is a new logo--a "circle 6" that has been inserted into the new open as well as graphics and over the "Big Board" and the Accuweather set. The new over-the-shoulders are also 3D now. Check it out on youtube at:

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Philadelphia NonStop"

I wrote about the new digital channel being developed by NBC10 back in late July and the new station, PHILADELPHIA NONSTOP, debuted not long ago. I finally had the chance this past weekend to check it out and I must say, I like it!
Justin Pizzi hosts "The Scene" which is a look at the Philadelphia area's hottest things to do, places to go, etc. Another show I caught, hosted by Glenn Schwartz, was "Inside the Vault" where each show re-airs a show from the Channel 10 archives..maybe PIXANN or a newscast from yesteryear. I caught the 11 week show "LIVE on City Line" hosted by Matt Lauer and Sheila Allen Stephens. It was the show's last airing--boy--has Matt Lauer come a long way since those days so long ago.
The channel also airs a weeknight 7 p.m. newscast which I have not had the chance yet to watch, but, gives viewers a chance to catch the local news after the normal "dinner hour".
If you haven't checked it out--do so, at WCAU's digital 10.2 over the air or on Verizon or Comcast's systems.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

UNBELIEVABLE Outcome of Wrong-Way Driver Story...

(Image courtesy of Tim Fleming & WPVI-TV) Eighty-six year old Margaret Lazor of Wilmington DE has been identified as the person behind the wheel last week, driving east in the westbound lanes of Rt 322 in Delaware county, then north along I-95 in the SOUTHBOUND lanes. Her actions caused four accidents along the way that could have been much worse and even been deadly. The incident was captured on video by a New Jersey man driving alongside her in the proper direction. (See the video HERE)
Pennsylvania State Police have cited Lazor for driving the wrong way on two highways and have required she be retested by the Motor Vehicle Division in order to get her driver's license back. If she passes, Lazor can once again drive our area highways! Because there was no criminal intent police were unable to charge her with anything else. If she pleads guilty to the charges she simply pays the fine she'll get in her mailbox and that will be the end of it. WPVI-TV reported that her neighbors say she is a "nice lady" and keeps to herself. One neighbor told reporter, David Murphy, that she felt bad for Lazor and was happy the story turned out for her the way it did.
Police report that Lazor "became confused" while driving and they were unable to confirm where she entered Rt 322 and exited I-95.
Is it just me or is this an outrage? What about the damages and costs involved in the four accidents she caused? What if it were you, me or one of your loved ones who may have gone head-on into her and been killed? I cannot believe this woman could possibly be back on our roadways sometime soon! It boggles my mind...

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Malvern based "Tango Traffic" has announced a partnership with WPHL-TV to begin a 24/7 traffic channel on WPHL's digital channel 17.4 beginning January 1st. “Now, for the first time, they can watch live local traffic reports on TV 24/7. They will also have the ability to personalize their commuter experiences by designating their favorite routes and streaming those route reports to their computers or mobile devices", said Tim Chambers, CEO of Tango Traffic.
Tango Traffic is the fourth traffic service in Philadelphia behind Metro Networks, Traffic Pulse and Clear Channel's Total Traffic. Tango Traffic is holding interviews November 14th at the WPHL studios for on-air hosts and producers. Read more about this venture HERE.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Pet Peeve

Watching the coverage of the torrential rain that hit our area earlier today rejuvenated a pet peeve of mine. Reporters who feel they must stand in deep water in order to convey "the whole story". If you stop and think about it, it's downright stupid...needless to say insulting to the viewer's intelligence. But time after time, flood after flood, reporters continue to report their story in knee-deep water. I'll never forget a few years back when ex CBS-3 anchor, Larry Mendte, was doing a live shot from floodwaters while walking and talking and slipped and fell into the water. CLASSIC!
It reminds me of every hurricane report we see of reporters foolishly standing in whipping 80 mph winds to tell "the whole story". Don't they realize all it takes is a nice sized tree branch, a piece of lumber -- or -- better yet...a washing machine (LOL) come whizzing into their live shot and directly into their head? I guarantee, it will happen one day and then News Directors will rethink their ways.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

FINALLY--Kerri Lee Halkett Is Departing...

Dan Gross of the "Philadelphia Daily News" has confirmed that Kerri Lee Halkett of FOX 29 News is FINALLY leaving! Station management has confirmed she will return to the air the second week of October for a "big on-air sendoff". She began at FOX in 2002 and at one time, station execs had all their eggs in KL's basket! No one is talking as to "why" the departure, except that her husband resides in Connecticut. Lauren Cohn, formerly from WCAU, was brought in from Chicago and will replace KL on the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. shows next to Thomas Drayton.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New Digital Channel Coming to WPHL-17

Tribune Broadcasting, the owner of WPHL channel 17 (a My Network TV affiliate), will debut a new digital network, Antenna TV, on January 3rd of 2011. The network's programming will include classic movies as well as classic shows "All in the Family", "Benny Hill", "Maude", "Dennis the Menace", "The Donna Reed Show", "The Partridge Family", "Married With Children", "Too Close for Comfort", "Good Times", "Three's Company", "Sanford and Son", "The Nanny" and "The Three Stooges". The network will also be made available to non-Tribune stations.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Orr, a NO-SHOW at Kammerer Going-Away Party

CBS-3 bids farewell tomorrow to Doug Kammerer, the morning weatherguy for the 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. "Eyewitness News" and 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. "Eyewitness News on the CW" broadscasts. Kammerer is headed for D.C.'s NBC affiliate to become Chief Meteorologist beginning next Monday, the 23rd. Station co-workers threw Kammerer a going away party at a Spring Garden hangout last week and most notably absent was Kammerer's sidekick, Kathy Orr.'s Marnie Hall reports what I've also been hearing the last year -- that Orr and Kammerer did not see eye to eye more often than not. The problems began during last winter's once-in-a-lifetime heavy snows when station management decided to put Orr and Kammerer in "top billing status". Orr, the station's "Chief Meteorologist" had big issues with sharing her top billing with Kammerer which led to who got more facetime, who got to lead the coverage, etc. Once LaRosa accepted a position with The Weather Channel and departed the morning broadcast was when management found a solution to their problem by placing Kammerer in the morning weather slot, thus, separating the two. Orr and Kammerer never had much to talk about from that point on and there's been no love lost on either part. Orr's attitude is basically "don't let the door hit ya in the you-know-what", according to a few in-the-know.
It's quite a shame in that I preferred Kammerer over Orr any day and felt he was probably the best in this market since Rob Guarino was let go from FOX-29. I had high hopes KYW would bring on Guarino in Kammerer's slot but that wasn't meant to be with the newly hired Justin Drabick, who, lacks in the personality department.
Best of luck to Doug in his new job...keep up the great personality and the naturalness you display. You'll definitely do well in D.C.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I thought this was an interesting tidbit I've heard a few times now and comes from the newsroom at Channel 6. The tidbit is the possiblity of a 4 o'clock "Action News" once Oprah ends her run in that timeslot. It certainly seems plausible...since local programming would be much cheaper to air than the cost of syndicated fare. Scuttlebut is that Brian Taff and Shirleen Allicot are being considered for the anchor positions. Both have certainly been groomed in the anchor chair recently, Taff moreso with Allicot filling in while Monica Malpass was on maternity leave.
Who knows if this is just rumor or actually fact. It's anyone's guess -- but -- is fun to entertain the thought. If this pans out, "Action News" will compete with Channel 10's "NBC10 News First at 4" as well as Channel 3's "Eyewitness News".

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Channel at NBC10

Dan Gross reports today in the "Philadelphia Daily News" the folks at Channel 10 are in the process of putting the final touches on a new 24/7 digital channel that will appear on the Comcast and Verizon Fios channel lineup. A new studio has even been built to accomodate the new channel which will be a local lifestyle-type channel to the likes of "LXTV" aired on WNBC-TV in New York.
Shows that air on LXTV are "1st Look" (a look into local restaurants and sites); "Open House" (a home decorating type show) and "I Do" (wedding planning tips) to name a few. Also, Gross reports some type of local news effort on the channel in the weekday 7 p.m. hour.
Currently, Channel 10's other digital streams are sports programming from NBC Universal as well as the now-defunct Weather Plus! which continues to run minus any national programming.

WHO is Shirleen Allicot?

In my local news surfing...I've seen Shirleen Allicot reporting a few times on "Action News" as well as filling in on the anchor desk recently. Yesterday, once again, she sat alongside Rick Williams filling in for Monica Malpass. So, I wondered, who IS this Shirleen Allicot anyway?
According to, Allicot joined WPVI in May from "News 12 Network" in Connecticut where she began her career shooting, writing and editing her own stories and anchored the weekday morning newscasts. Allicot is a native of Queens, New York with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.
Hopefully, we'll see more of her on the anchor desk! She sure is much more of a compliment to the 5 o'clock newscast than Monica Malpass.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Maria LaRosa Spotting

Maria LaRosa, former CBS-3 morning meteorologist, has completed her maternity leave and is on-air at The Weather Channel. I spotted her on the evening shift one night this week working with Jim Cantore in the 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. timeslot. She's looking good and her hair is a bit longer these days.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

...And The New Morning Anchor on CBS-3 Is...

Erika von Tiehl has been named the new co-anchor of CBS-3's "Eyewitness News" opposite Ukee Washington. Von Tiehl comes to Philadelphia from Miami's CBS4 where she anchors the 5:30 PM and 10 PM newscasts, a position she's held since October 2007. Prior to Miami, Von Tiehl anchored at Buffalo's WKBW-TV where she covered the October 2006 winter storm that brought the city to a halt and left more than 400,000 without power. Expect an August debut.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Chris May has tweeted that CBS-3 will hatch their plan in the next month or so to join FOX-29 on the 4:30 a.m. hour with "Eyewitness News". KYW will be the second in this market to bring news to their viewers at the earlier hour...a trend across the country to capture the ever-important advertiser dollar and important rating.
In addition, CBS-3 will revive their Saturday morning newscast they abandoned a year-and-a-half ago due to cost-cutting.
No word yet on Liz Keptner's replacement, let alone WRC-TV bound Doug Kammerer's.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Former CBS-3 Reporter Promoted...

Calvin Hughes, former reporter and weekend anchor for CBS-3's "Eyewitness News" until 2006 has been named co-anchor of the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. news at ABC affiliate WPLG-TV in Miami where he departed for.
Hughes has been co-anchoring the 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., 9 a.m.-10 a.m. and noon newscasts since moving to WPLG in October 2006. He was one of the first reporters to arrive in Port-au-Prince Haiti in January to report on the devestating earthquake there.
Hughes resides in Miramar with his wife and two children.

Monday, June 7, 2010

So Long Doug Kammerer...

I was disappointed to read Michael Klein's news today that CBS-3 morning weatherguy, Doug Kammerer, is leaving the station this summer. Kammerer has landed the Chief Meteorologist position at Washington D.C.'s WRC-TV. Kammerer started in this market at NBC's WCAU-TV and has spent the past three years at KYW's CBS-3. Kammerer was probably my top two favorites for to WPVI's Adam Joseph. Good luck Doug!

Friday, May 28, 2010

WIBBAGE is back...

Not sure how long it's been back, but WIBBAGE-FM is back on the radio dial in Ocean City, NJ at 94.3 FM and online HERE--playing hits from the 60's and 70's. CHECK IT OUT!
Bob Charger, one of the original WIBBAGE guys, hosts mornings 6 to 9 a.m. Also, John records Landeker, another WIBBAGE original, hosts "Into The Seventies" Saturday nights 7 to midnight!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

David Aldrich Lands Back On His Feet

Former FOX-29 weatherguy, David Aldrich, has landed the Chief Meteorologist slot at CBS affiliate WVLT-TV in Knoxville, TN. Aldrich, one of the nicest, down-to-earth types you could ever meet, says it's a dream come true for him. Check out his blog HERE.
Congratulations David! Philly's loss is Knoxville's gain.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Vince DeMentri Involved in ANOTHER Incident...

Former WCAU anchor/reporter, Vince DeMentri, is now involved in an incident in New York. DeMentri, who was hired several months ago by WPIX-TV, is now facing an assault charge. The full story is HERE, courtesy of the New York Post.
You may remember, DeMentri was suspended in 2006 while at WCAU after a verbal altercation with weatherguy Glen Schwartz. In 2008, he was let go by the station for an incident between he and a fellow anchor involving accusations that he took some personal items. A settlement was reached between he, the station and the anchor involved.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

TV News Observations

Does anyone actually rise at 4:30 a.m. in time to watch FOX 29's "Good Day at 4:30"? Only my bed and I know that I will never see the darkness of day at THAT hour...but did record the 4:30 show to check it out. Definitely not much traffic at that hour...and the typical weather segments with Sue along with news of the day. I have never been able to get used to or take a liking to Mike Jerrick. Probably a nice guy...just has never grown on me.
Speaking of FOX 29, I see they continue with their new format during the 5, 6 and 10 p.m. shows of doing more chat, opinion and conjecture than actually giving us "news". In a nutshell, this format is really what most TV newscasts have become. A wasteland of air time! I will never like this format, period! Just give me the news of the day. Is that so hard?
Over at Channel 6, I saw Lisa Thomas Laury anchoring with Rick Williams on the 5 o'clock news yesterday. It reminded me of the days "back when". It was good to see LTL on the desk for a change! I would much rather watch her any day than listening to Brian Taff's grating accent! Wow, it really is annoying.
I see Channel 6 has a new/second promo airing for the Action News "Big Board". Sure does make illustrating a story or the weather much more interesting and animated! My understanding is that one of those can cost big bucks! I've heard in the range of $300,000 including all the software. I'd be curious if that's accurate.
I hear Denise James remains sidelined as she continues her recovery from shoulder surgery.
Over at Channel 3, Liz Keptner sees her remaining days on the anchor desk continue to dwindle. Her last day is just a little more than a week away (May 28th). Still no "official word" from management on whom her replacement will be. Personally, I'd enjoy seeing Pat Ciarrocchi again in the mornings. Who knows if she'd even be interested in those grueling hours? I have a feeling Natasha Brown might be in the running for the job. We shall see!
Meanwhile, I can't comment on anything on Channel 10's airwaves as I do not watch NBC 10 News and haven't in several years. In my opinion, their news product has gone down the tubes; I don't care for most of their reporters and have never cared for Tim Lake or Terry Ruggles.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

So Long Liz...

CBS-3 morning anchor, Liz Keptner, says goodbye to the dawn patrol on May 28th, according to this morning's "Philadelphia Daily News" article by Dan Gross. Keptner says she wants to spend more time with her family.
Keptner joined channel 3 in 2005 as the Lehigh Valley reporter then began to substitute anchor for Susan Barnett who was the previous anchor for the early-morning broadcast. Barnett was actually demoted to make way for Keptner...Barnett relegated to reporter. That only lasted several months when the Larry Mendte/Alycia Lane saga blew up and both were removed from the air. Barnett was relegated back to anchor status in the 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. anchor chair where she has remained.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

So Long Jamison...

NBC 10's Jamison Uhler has gotten a another city. Philadelphia's loss will be Tampa's gain when Uhler returns to the Sunshine State after four years here -- to anchor the 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. newscasts for WFTS' "ABC Action News" beginning in June. Uhler came to our city from Orlando where he was a reporter for station WFTV. Check out the story from the Tampa Tribune.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Dear Phillymediawatch,

I was wondering if you or any of your readers saw Ch. 6's "exclusive" interview with the Route 422 road rage suspect earlier this week.

While I normally admire Action News for the quality of their newscasts and jouranlistic integrity, I found this interview downright shameful. I understand that the suspect was following his attorney's advice in not discussing the incident itself, but what made the story so disgusting was that the suspect used the newscast on the most-watched station as a vehicle to broadcast his self-centered attitude. He showed no remorse and bitterly complained about how HE was the victim and how the media destroyed his image. What a lack of class!

Even if he hadn't gotten involved in this particular incident, he still carried a loaded gun in his car. Why did he feel he needed it? If he chose not to point or fire the gun at the victim, he still could have been charged with carrying a loaded firearm if he was not licensed to do so. The fact that he shot the woman proves that he wanted to hurt or kill his intended target. His actions of that day wipe out his overall character.

Action News said they tried to contact the victim for an interview, but she did not respond. Why would she want to? She already suffered enough from the incident, and it was only made worse by the reporter getting an exclusive interview with the suspect BEFORE interviewing the victim or family members. I can't blame her for not wanting to comment. I'm sure she's outraged!

Why would Action News choose to interview him, knowing the suspect's attorney advised him not to speak about the incident? Even once the interview was completed, the reporter should have realized that it was just a shameless promotion, and it is questionable why it even made air. One would think the executive producers or news director would have made a better judgment call when it came to the ethics and quality of the piece. This story has really shaken my faith in Action News. What's worse is that we're not even in sweeps yet, and even if we were, Channel 6 doesn't need to lower itself to this level; It's already far enough ahead of the competition.


RESPONSE: Dan, thanks for writing. You bring up some very valid points...points that, in my opinion, speak for themself. I actually did see the report you describe. I believe, if memory serves me correctly, the reporter was Walter Perez. I agree, the man who fired the gun (John Yannarell) is not the victim. I too thought to myself, "it's all about him".

I then read an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer that reported the 50 year old man had eight prior driving citations in Montgomery, Chester and Delaware counties involving the disregard for stop lights and stop signs. Obviously, this man has some "issues"...but, unfortunately, the media has to present both sides of the story. Channel 6 gave Elizabeth Cox the option to be interviewed and she declined. I agree, however, that he may have used the interview to slant the facts in his favor. But again, if the victim, Ms. Cox, refused the interview--what other option did Channel 6 have than to present "the other side" of the story.

Thanks for your email. Your thoughts and viewpoint are appreciated!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Action News New Big Board Promo

Has anyone seen the new Action News promo for "Big Board"? The station's newest news technological tool in presenting weather, traffic and other stories, Big Board is a large touch screen TV monitor where several graphics and live video can be manipulated by the touch of a finger. In addition, the talent can draw and illustrate with their finger literally over the picture or graphic being presented. WPVI is the only station in this market to own this piece of equipment. CNN also comes to mind as they too have a big board.
The promo is a thirty second fun and amusing look at "big board" and the various Action News staff who use it, including Adam Joseph, Karen Rogers, Melissa Magee, David Murphy, Nydia Han and Allie Gorman as they are shown drawing, manipulating and illustrating with an instrumental piece of music playing in the background. CHECK OUT THE PROMO HERE.
Adam Joseph seems to be the one who's best mastered big board's capability as evidenced during the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Condolences to the Poindexter Family...

Former KYW-TV reporter, Malcom Poindexter, died today at the age of 84. Poindexter was one of the first reporters hired for KYW newsradio's launch in 1965. He went on to the TV side two years later in 1967. Read more HERE...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Adam Joseph Misses a YouTube Moment

Saturday night's "Action News at 11" came close to being a youtube moment for weatherguy Adam Joseph.
Rob Jennings introduced Adam for his weather segment, saying he's never gotten the hiccups during a television news broadcast but that Adam was fighting them moments earlier. Joseph, who laughed and had a plastic cup of water sitting on the news desk, confessed that his hiccups are "very loud", "very frequent" and "you don't want to hear them", breaking Jennings into laughter -- saying "we'll be listening very closely Adam".
Joseph then replied "hopefully the next three minutes are smooth sailing or this may be a youtube moment if they come back".
Fortunately for Joseph, they did NOT come back and the forecast went on without missing a beat.

MORE "Good Day"...

If five hours of FOX 29's "Good Day" isn't enough for you, Sue Serio announced on tonight's FOX 29's News at Ten that beginning Monday March 29th, "Good Day" debuts a new start time of 4:30 a.m.
"Good Day" debuted April 1, 1996 as "Good Day Philadelphia", a two hour morning news/infotainment show with hosts Tracey Matisak and Don Tollefson with the "FOX Early Morning News" preceding it at 6 a.m. which was later combined into a three hours block of the "Good Day" brand. The show then expanded to a 5 a.m. start and in September 2009, expanded to five hours from 5 to 10 a.m.
Serio is the only original remaining since the show began.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Condolences To the Dennenberg Family...

Long-time consumer reporter/advocate, Herb Dennenberg, passed away March 18th at his home in Wayne/Delaware county, of an apparent heart attack. Dennenberg was 80 years old.
Dennenberg was WCAU TV's consumer reporter for more than 20 years and continued his consumer advocacy after leaving Channel 10 in 1998 by writing columns for various newspapers, including the most recent version of THE BULLETIN.
His obituary can be found HERE.

Monday, March 15, 2010

So Long to Another FOX 29'er...

Six year reporter, Robin Taylor, has been shown the door at FOX 29, unfortunately. Taylor, who was freelancing at the station since September, was recently told to pack her things and hit the door when management discovered she had irons in the fire in Pittsburgh.
For those who don't know the biz lingo, "freelancing" means you're working without a contract on an as-needed basis. Taylor had been at the station more than six years when her contract expired in September and was not renewed. They did, however, keep her services in a freelancing capacity. In need of a permanent position, Taylor pursued other opportunities and landed a Consumer Reporter position at Pittsburgh's WPXI beginning next month. Her intention was to continue freelancing until then to make a smooth transition from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. That was not meant to be, apparently.
FOX29 has done it again - - terminating another talented, competent employee. Sure does make one wonder where the head is of the powers-that-be at FOX.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Larry Mendte Interesting Read...

A friend tipped me off to an article in this month's "Philadelphia Magazine" written by former CBS 3 anchor, Larry Mendte. For any of you who have tired of local news OR just plain don't watch anymore, Larry brings to light some interesting reasons why. He also provides some changes that could be made by station managers in bringing the local newscast BACK to being -- LOCAL.
How many times have we seen a newscast lead with a story not related to Philadelphia. I'm not speaking of a big national story like earthquakes or disasters but, for example, the Kate/John Gosselin saga. FOX 29 led a newscast one night with the Gosselin saga. Why? Because it was an easy celebrity driven story that the stations think brings viewers. As Mendte points out, local newscasts have forgotten that they can position themselves as being the authority on what happens HERE, in OUR town. The national news outlets have done a good job in providing national stories and the business news outlets handle covering the business scene well on a national level. Why can't local newscasts come out of the 80's (the pre internet, IPOD era) and realize that in order to bring back the viewer you have to give a reason to tune in? It's too easy, as Mendte pointed out, to air the L.A. car chase video clip doing a voiceover that we've seen on every national newscast already. It takes talent, drive and money to concentrate on focused reporting like what is happening at City Hall, or, a construction project in Montgomery county as Mendte explains.
The entire article is HERE and is definitely a must-read if you're like me in that you no longer watch local news on a consistent basis OR are tiring of the flashy graphics, the weather leads, the cheap and irrelevant "special report" stories...Definitely some very good and valid points made by Mendte. Unfortunately, I see nothing changing because local newscasts are all about "how to do it the cheapest for the biggest rating".

Friday, March 5, 2010

FOX 29's Chit Chat

FOX 29 is tweaking its 10 p.m. show by adding lots of chit chat, including a segment called, "Hot Topics", ala "The View" on ABC daytime.
Tonights "Hot Topics" segment kicked in at 10:16 p.m. with guest, Dom Giordano, of WPHT's "Big Talker" at 1210 on the AM radio dial. Giordano gave his thoughts and opinions on the military trials process of the 9/11 terrorist suspects, the webcam lawsuit of Lower Merion School District, a story that broke the week before last, as well as the national unemployment rate of 9.7%.
By 10:24 p.m., just four minutes later, a similiar "Hot Topics" segment, this one called "a reality check" as FOX 29 called it. Yet, ANOTHER on-set talking head with opinions and conjecture by Buzz Bissinger, "a long-time Philadelphia journalist/author" as FOX introduced him. Kerri Lee Halkett and Thomas Drayton exchanged some irrelevant/uninteresting personal viewpoint then went to a break.
By 10:31 p.m., yet some more discussion with my least favorite weekly segment, "Mob Talk", by reporter Dave Shratwieser...a five minute and thirty second segment! And, by 10:39 p.m., we shouldn't forget the lame "Top 5 Bad Days"...a stupid segment the newscast has done for quite some time that provides video clips of stupidity across the nation. The segment ended with more personal thoughts/banter by Halkett and Drayton.
Throw in two stories and yep, MORE BANTER, this time between John Bolaris, Halkett and Drayton about the new airport body scanners "coming to an airport near you".
This is what FOX 29 calls a newscast. I vote for throwing this newscast to the test signal of days gone by. Considering FOX's competition is "NBC 10 News at Ten on PHL-17" and "Eyewitness News at 10 on the CW" one can see why they win their timeslot. Certainly, not much competition in my opinion.
FOX-29's leadership has managed to slowly dig a deep grave for its newscasts compared to the news from ten years ago led by Rich Noonan and Jill Chernekoff. We've seen many faces come and go since those days, like Carl Cherkin, Frank Cariello, Donya Archer, Traci Matisak, Don Tollefson, David Aldrich, Rob Guarino, Bill Vargus, Nefertiti Jaquez, Dawn Stensland, George Mallet, Tom Burlington and the list goes on.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Weather Sells!

Not only has Channel 6 done their "weather specials" within the 11 o'clock Friday night broadcast two weeks in a row, but now, Channel 3 has jumped on their own band wagon tonight with a "CBS-3 Eyewitness Weather Special Report".
The regular "Eyewitness News" broadcast led with three weather-related stories followed by Kathy Orr's regular weathercast, then four more stories, sports and a good-bye.
At 11:15, the weather special kicked off anchored by Kathy Orr and Doug Kammerer with another weathercast for the week ahead as well as a "super extended ten day". Then, you got it---eight commercials...eating up four minutes then back to Kathy & Doug with Doug giving us a "look back" at the winter history of the December storm that dumped 23.2 inches on Philadelphia the week before Christmas. Then, just a mere 3 inches of snow in January and two huge storms in early February...a 28.5 inch storm followed by the first blizzard warning since 1996 giving us 15.8 inches in the city. Finally, the 5.6 inch storm last night into today giving us a whopping 78.7 inches thus far for the '09/'10 winter season. In comparison, Buffalo NY has gotten 69 inches compared to Chicago's 49.3 inches there. Finally, Minneapolis/St. Paul's 40.7 inches and Denver's 46 inches is no comparison to here in the City of Brotherly Love, says Kammerer. We then were treated to seven more commercials, another three and a half minutes. Kathy went into the next segment with a taped interview with meterorologist Jim Eberwine from the National Weather Service, asking where all the snow is coming from? The answer, El Nino, which is the warm water current in the eastern Pacific ocean. This moisture has played a big part in the east's winter storms. By picking up Pacific moisture, throw in some Gulf moisture along with some Atlantic moisture, and, BOOM--a huge winter storm! Eberwine's prediction for March? "It could be rough if storms continue to form from the Gulf of Mexico". According to Orr, March temperatures will be below average while precipitation will be more than average. Another six more commercials, a CBS 3 promo and a quick goodbye from Orr & Kammerer.
The point? Sales, sales, sales...the station was able to sell 10.5 minutes of advertising for 9-1/2 minutes of information. But, I will say Channel 3's "special" was much more informative than Channel 6's.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I experienced something pretty neat tonight on the website during the 5 p.m. "Action News". The station decided to create an online webchat complete with webcams not only on the weather set but also on-set with Rick & Monica as well as a third webcam in the control room. Additionally, there was live audio on-set as well as on the weather set so you could see and hear the talent while each reporter's package was airing during the live broadcast. According to webchat host, "Corey", this was the second time they've done this...the first during the last storm which I actually caught one morning during the "Action News Morning" broadcast not long ago. Corey indicated this was a special webchat event and not currently "the norm".
As we watched Rick & Monica during the live show, we got to see Rick teaze Monica about her "baby belly" and say that her outfit was designed by Barnum & Bailey's. We also learned that Monica's twins are boys and she is due in June. Also, that Rick is suffering from a nasty head cold and taking something over-the-counter..."though, if I need something more my wife can always write a script". She must be a physician. Also, that Rick's home is only two minutes walk for his child to walk to school while Monica has to fight traffic for her son to get to school on-time. By 5:45, we heard Monica say "mmm, I'm ready for some dinner", to which Rick replied, "ugh, I'm ready for my bed". Before we knew it, they were saying goodbye and to stay tuned for Jim Gardner and "Action News at Six".
Rick packed up his laptop (they must be able to bring their own laptop on-set) and both he and Monica disconnected their mikes from the main anchor line, got up and turned over the chair to Jim Gardner, wearing a dark blue pair of jeans, shirt, tie and suit jacket.
Within two minutes the news open began and Jim was off and running. Sports guy, Keith Russell, arrived on-set within the first few minutes of the broadcast, sitting next to Gardner. During the first commercial break, Gardner looked to Keith to remind him to keep the language and demeanor professional, then turned to the webcam to welcome the viewers behind the scenes. At another point, Gardner turned to Adam Joseph to ask for a quick explanation of why we didn't see accumulations from today's snow. Joseph's answer was that the snow was light with a combination of tempearatures, especially GROUND TEMPERATURES, being too warm. Cecily Tynan's accuweather teaze eminated from the anchor desk and she commented on one of the snowtograph pictures that were displayed of a cute local boy she took a liking to. During the break, she talked with producers in the control room to confirm she would be getting a PennDot camera shot of I-95 near Philadlephia airport to illustrate road conditions and snow falling.
Gardner then threw it to Cecily at the end of the newscast for a quick throw to Adam Joseph in the weather advise viewers that new computer storm models would come out at 10 p.m. and that they would both be combing over the storm details for the 11 p.m. forecast. Gardner then quickly teazed a segment for the 11 o'clock of a look at Dave Roberts' retirement through this cold and snowy winter. THAT should be some fun viewing!! --->VIDEO HERE<---
At the end of the newscast, Corey asked Keith & Jim if they would mind sticking around for a few questions from web viewers. The first question was for Keith, from "Mike", asking who does his hair. Obviously, being bald--it was a bit of comic question to which Russell replied, "a razor, soap and water...".
The next questions were directed to Jim, asking what he does for dinner to which he replied that he goes home for dinner each night, allowing him about 45 minutes to spend some quality time with his family. I thought he said he has little ones who are very important to him, but, that must be incorrect as I thought his children are grown. Another viewer asked when 6ABC went on the air, however Corey nor Jim knew the answer. According to wikipedia--WPVI signed on in April 1971. However, WFIL-TV signed on as a Dumont network in September, 1947...changing to ABC (the first ABC affiliate in the country) in April 1948 but continuing to carry the Dumont network until its demise in 1956. Someone also asked who his most memorable interview was which took some thinking on his that point--I signed off as my dinner was eagerly awaiting me!
Good job to Corey and the powers-that-be at PVI for an innovative way to bring the viewers behind the scenes of "Action News".

Monday, February 22, 2010

Larry Mendte

This will be a short post because a Chicago columnist covered the return of Larry Mendte to Tribune TV's sure to read the posts by readers of the article as well.

Friday, February 12, 2010


Tonight was a first for Channel 6 when they did a shortened newscast and bailed out at 11:18 after the sport segment.
Jim Gardner said goodnight and said "Accuweather Special Report is next on channel 6". Six commercials then followed going into the first segment of the "special report". Cecily Tynan then began stating that everyone is talking about the weather with two blockbuster storms this week alone topping our all-time total snowfall record. She then went on to give the typical forecast, went to break for five more commercials...came back for a few more words and statistics, followed by six more commercials! The third and final segment was simply to give credit to "Paul", an Accuweather producer, and then said goodnight. Guess what? Six MORE commercials before going into the ABC feed of "Nightline". That's 23 commercials total at 30 seconds each...for 11.5 minutes of commercials alone...leaving 4.5 minutes of information for this "special report".
I have no idea what Channel 6's motive was for this stunt because it was about as innovative and exciting as watching paint dry. Was it just an opportunity to catch up on some lost revenue from days before when they went live with the 14 hours of continuous snow coverage perhaps? Who knows...

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I have some thoughts on the coverage of the record snowstorm provided by Channel 3 and FOX 29. These all-day "snow coverage specials" are 90% fluff and completely assinine in my opinion. If stations are going to do this, why not make them more informative? For example, who wants to see Bob Kelly or Thomas Drayton make a snow angel, or Sally's new puppy jumping into the snow, or Fred at a bar in S. Philly, minus one front tooth, talkin' about the "beer is just a-flowin'". What about those who absolutely HAD TO DRIVE at some point in the storm? Those who could in no way cancel or postpone their driving? Do station managers really think outside of the box? During Channel 3's coverage you got no more than two traffic reports an hour. The reports Bob Kelly provided were very informative--showing highway conditions, explaining what problems there were -- and covering the mass transit issues. It just wasn't enough coverage. When snow has affected all area highways--why does there need to be time constraints? FOX 29 didn't even HAVE a traffic traffic reporter doing anything. What's up with that? How can a major market TV station be so cheap as to not have a traffic reporter on staff? I noticed Channel 6 brought in Matt Pellman to provide adequate coverage, but again, not enough reports in my opinion.
Yes, some of the new technology unveiled by KYW & FOX 29 was incredible. The new "U Video" technology by Iphone users, as well as the skype video and streaming video. However, once again, the U video contributions were more of the "look at my daughter's swing set in my backyard" or a guy sitting in a lawn chair, beer in hand, with his fishing pole and cooler---amongst mounds of snow...more fluff!
Valerie Lavesque provided a live report from the news van via Skype, as she headed east on the A.C. Expressway. This was a perfect opportunity to provide a live report of a road condition on a specific portion of highway. Yet, she missed that opportunity--never once pointing the camera directly in front of her at the highway. Her report was to illustrate the beauty of the snow in the trees lined next to the highway. Informative? I think not...nothing more than self-promotion of new technology.
One could only hope the station "powers-that-be" could somehow lessen the fluff factor during these specials and add more information the viewer can use. Unfortunately, I can almost guarantee that won't happen any year soon since these snow specials yield boo-coo ratings.

Friday, February 5, 2010

An Embarrasing Gaffe for Bolaris' "Weather Authority"

Imagine where in the heck the producer's head was who was in charge of the FOX29 News at 5 broadcast today?
John Bolaris was literally in the middle of his weather segment, illustrating with "FOX FUTURECAST" the intensity and direction of the storm to hit our area during the overnight hours. All of a sudden, literally in mid-sentence, you see Bolaris give a downward brow and say "I'm getting a wrap so I guess I gotta go?"...You then hear him huff and say..."back to the desk...okay...I didn't even get a chance to get to the snow amounts there, uh...I needed to show snow amounts, I think we need to get to the snow amounts, if I could have the time to get to the snow amounts". At that point, he was sitting at the anchor desk with Halkett and Drayton who both responded, "go ahead John...yes John, that's critical". Bolaris then said, "let's go to the snow amounts--we REALLY NEED TO GET TO THAT, PLEASE...let's go to the maps and show the snow amounts..."
Finally, at that point, the snow amount graphic was displayed, Bolaris continued to illustrate expected snowfall totals and then wrapped up the segment throwing back to Halkett and Drayton.
WHAT A TRAIN WRECK *THAT* WAS TO WATCH! Completely embarrassing...and what a joke for a station trying to brand themselves as "The Weather Authority". And, what might have been the rush, you ask, that Bolaris end his weather segment? A toss to a reporter standing in Stanton Delaware to show a few flurries flying through the air...

Saturday, January 30, 2010


I cannot help but scratch my head over today's snow event, an event that wasn't really called for by the local forecasts. Well, not until last night when they all began to reconsider their forecast. For example, Channel 6's "AccuWeather" said no more than flurries at most for the city south into Delaware county. By the 11 p.m. Friday forecast, Cecily Tynan said we could see "a coating to 2 inches" and on Saturday morning's forecast by Melissa Magee the call was for "a coating to one inch" at most. Channel 10's Hurricane Schwartz said on Thursday "nadda, none, nothing". By 1 o'clock today the snow was falling in parts of Chester county and by 2 p.m., in Montgomery county. I was on the Schuylkill expressway driving from King of Prussia to Center City at about 2:30 p.m. and it was coming down fast and furious and the roads were icing fast.
What puzzles me is how, in this day and age with all the super mega color pinpoint fast-track weather dopplers, can a forecast seem so outta whack! The only one who came the closest was former FOX29's Rob Guarino's weather site MYWEATHERLIVE.COM All week long, Guarino and his team of meteorologists followed this storm across the country backing off on the liklihood it would hit our area with a foot of snow as originally thought. However, all the way up until today, they kept with the strong liklihood that the storm's water vapor would allow it to move more north than the local weatherfolk were predicting. Sure enough, it happened! By 7 p.m. Atlantic City got 6 inches and Philadelphia International 2". Too bad Guarino isn't onboard on our local airwaves! Channels 3, 6, 10 and 29 should take their dopplar radars and toss 'em in the garbage!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sad News To Report...

I've learned from Facebook that former WCAU-TV anchor, Ken Matz, died Saturday January 23rd after a battle with cancer. His son, Justin, posted the announcement Saturday night: "My father, Ken Matz, passed away on January 23 after a long fight against cancer. He fought a long, hard fight and died with his wife, Deb. I miss him very much."
Bloggers who knew or worked with Ken were fast to respond...Richard posted his thoughts, "Ken gave me my first job in broadcasting at WIBG in 1971, and remained a strong influence in my life for decades. I could not have asked for a better or kinder mentor. I miss you, Ken". Matz began his career in radio at WRAW in Reading, PA in 1964. After several years, he went on to Harrisburg from 1966 to 1969 as "Gary Smith". He returned to his native Philadelphia in 1969 where he worked at Top 40 station WIBG Radio 99 until 1976. WXTU personality, Leigh Richards posted her heartfelt thoughts: "We're so sorry to hear this sad news. Your father was a great guy. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all his loved ones".
Matz later worked at KYW newsradio in 1976 after leaving WIBG, then on to a few other stations before landing on his feet in television at channel 6 in Miami, FL where he worked from 1990 to 1992. When Larry Kane jumped ship from WCAU to KYW-TV in 1992 it made room for Matz...who came back to Philadelphia and eventually co-anchored with Jane Robelot. Robelot later went on to the CBS Morning News and Matz was paired with Renee Chenault where he remained until his departure in 1998 back to Florida to enjoy retirement with his wife, Deb.
My condolences go out to the Matz family.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Channel 6 Buzz...

Word from Marni Hall is that Channel 6 management is trying to rid a certain older, more established reporter from the payroll by moving her to different shifts in an attempt she quits. Newsroom sources tell me who it is but I'll leave it to you to guess who YOU think it is. It's not too hard to figure out.
Also, I hear John Rawlins will be off the air by May because management has decided not to renew his contract.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Malpass--Don Lancer Hits It On The Head!!

I was just perusing the web and decided to check in on Don Lancer's blog and boy am I glad I did! I'd like to share...a post where he remarks about Channel 6's Monica Malpass. He hit it on the head and said what I've been thinking for years! Maybe Malpass might think about taking his advice!! Check it out HERE...
I've never been a favorite of Malpass and find her more annoying the longer she's on-air. She's as phony as they come having met her personally and worked with her for a period of time a few years back. She condascending and stuck a few notches above the rest of us common folk, to be honest. I would've thought after being a mother the past nine years she may have come down a few pegs but, no cigar.

FOX 29 "Weather Authority"?

Has anyone else noticed that FOX-29 now brands themselves as "The Weather Authority"? I noticed just the other night when I decided to tune in for a spell to see what might be new. I don't watch regularly because I cannot stand Kerri Lee Halkett's delivery and voice.
It seems like FOX-29 continues finding themselves in an identity crisis. First, they were "The Winter Weather Station" a few years back followed by "Big Picture Weather", then "THE Weather Station"...and now "The Weather Authority". Nothing new in the actual weather presentation. No new graphics, no new radars, just simply "The Weather Authority".
I cannot help but wonder what exactly makes Bolaris and FOX-29 "The Weather Authority" anyway? I don't find them to be nearly as accurate or reliable as when Rob Guarino presided during their time as "The Winter Weather Station" and "Big Picture Weather".
Guarino, as you may know, was let go from FOX to make room for Bolaris -- and headed to Albuquerque to call weather. He has returned to the area to be closer to an ill father and to be with his children again. Guarino has found success as co-owner of so check it out.

Friday, January 8, 2010

...More FOX-29 Notes

According to newsroom scuttlebutt which can be just that...or sometimes--dependable information, this is the beginning of the end for FOX-29's Sue Serio. Newcomer Sally Ann Mosey has been slated a seat on "Good Day Philadelphia" during the 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. portion. This relegates Sue Serio to contributing from the field during that timeframe and in the studio for only the first two hours of the show.
While watching the show this morning, I could not believe my ears during a live shot by Shaunette Wilson who was reporting from Claymont Delaware. When Mike Jerrick introduced her, she responded with "where am I Mike?"--he reminded her she was in Claymont. Her response was something to the effect of being tired. Continued "excellent reporting" by FOX 29! Wow, she must have been very tired not to know that she was standing in a Home Depot parking lot off Naaman's Road in Claymont Delaware!