Monday, January 31, 2011

You Heard it Here First...

As I reported over the summer...WPVI recently made it official: The debut of a new 4 o'clock "Action News" once Oprah ends her run in that timeslot. Brian Taff, Shirleen Allicot and Alicia Vitarelli will anchor. Adam Joseph will handle weather duties for the new show.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

First Impressions of Tango Traffic Channel

Wow. I can certainly say that this new traffic channel is just what I expected. Very Mickey Mouse type presentation and certainly nothing much.
I watched today for about thirty minutes, which was all I could handle. The announcer, a young male, made reference to a camera shot of I-76 at Passyunk Avenue as being I-76 at the 26th Street ramp. Obviously, not very well trained and not able to read the camera shot location. On another note, he made reference to "all the bridges doing fine, in case you're coming up to South Philly for the Eagles game from Delaware". I don't know of any practical route between Delaware and South Philly that would require using any of the area bridges.
On another report, a 7.5 mile back-up on the southbound NJ Turnpike showed a map with lots of red cars. Then, POOF---within the next report, all the red cars were gone as was the delay! Obviously, the electronic map does not really correspond to the actual traffic volume but is manipulated somehow since a delay that lengthy doesn't just "go away" within three minutes. So, these guys' *sensors* aren't really based on the actual traffic volume but are nothing more than graphics manipulated by a computer.
The graphics are a bright green and the information across the bottom of the screen leaves one scratching their head. For example, "slow at Spring Garden", but--they don't tell you what highway they're referring to that is "slow at Spring Garden". Obviously, if you know the area highways, it would be I-76. But eastbound or westbound? "Slow at Rt 363/Trooper Rd"...hmm, must be Rt 422. East or West? Another example, "slow 4 miles into Mid-County tolls". This delay must have been the southbound side of the PA Turnpike's N.E. Extension yesterday. Why they don't clue you in as to WHAT highway they're referring to is beyond me.
Then, there's the music. Some very strange selections of music that will certainly annoy anyone over the age of 40. Why they wouldn't select a more soothing, laid back music bed is baffling. There were also volume issues...commercials playing way louder than the programming...and the music then playing even louder while the announcers' audio played lower. You certainly better have your remote handy watching this channel.
All-in-all....a frustrating waste of air time that looks like a public access or college-type production. Today's live anchor debut wasn't much better. A few cheap shots at humor come off weak and the illustration of the particular highway that ran down the left of the screen rarely matched the illustration the anchor was giving with camera or map shots. Additionally, other major highways get no mention, the Rt 309 Expressway, Delaware's I-495, New Jersey's A.C. Expressway, Rt 70 or Rt 73 to name a few.
Which leads me to one last point. Cameras. How can a station that claims to be "your 24/7 traffic source" serveing a tri-state region (NJ, DE and PA) NOT have camera views from Delaware's DelDOT or New Jersey's DOT? I've always found that to be odd that the local Philadelphia stations have never spent the money to bring in NJ and DE DOT cameras. I find it to be just what I figured with this "traffic channel", that they would go the cheap route and not cough up the bucks to also provide New Jersey & Delaware residents the camera shots of their traffic problems.
Basically, this channel isn't something I would waste my time on. I believe it would be more exciting watching paint dry. I'll continue to get my traffic information while watching the local morning newscast, then, in my car, on my way to work. You decide what's best for you...