Blathering in Front of TV Cameras

    By Walter Brasch   Several TV networks covered the Rose Parade. ABC, NBC, RFD, the Hallmark network, and Univision had frequent interruptions to unleash commercials on us. The Home and Garden network ran the two hour parade uninterrupted—except for endless on-air self-promotion about HGTV and its programs. The networks had commentators who chatted with each other and seemed to spend more time enjoying being on air than in reporting the parade. They aren’t unusual. TV news—including parade coverage—has become more of a personality-based medium than a news medium. The Happy News TV anchors chat with each other. A few seconds here. A few seconds there. “With Tonight’s weather forecast is Susan Brown” has been replaced by: “Hey, Suze, … Continue reading

Weathering a Blizzard of News Media Bravado

Ginger Zee is an ABC News weather person. She’s 32 years old, has a B.S. in meteorology, and says even in high school she wanted to be a TV network weatherperson. Not a scientist in a lab studying and analyzing weather, but a TV weather person. For more than a decade, she worked local and regional markets, mostly in Michigan and Chicago. Her other qualifications are that she is photogenic, has a somewhat bubbly personality, wears a size 4 dress, weighs 125 pounds, and was her high school homecoming queen. If she wasn’t on TV, she says she’d have loved to be a bartender. It’s entirely possible she’s competent. But, it’s also possible that TV execs bypassed thousands of other … Continue reading

The Fluff Factor: Today’s Journalism

Will someone please buy gags for Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford? It makes no difference what the color is. Plain or polka-dotted. Painted or sequined. Scented silk, Egyptian cotton, or an auto mechanic’s oil-soaked rag. Just as long as it can be stuffed into their mouths. When their mouths are open, the personality-drenched hosts of NBC’s fourth hour of “Today” are swilling cocktails, blathering about themselves, or interrupting their guests. It makes no difference who the guest is. Cookbook or romance author. Relationships or nutrition expert. A-list actors. No one gets more than a couple of seconds without cross-talk with one or both of the hosts. They may think it’s funny. Or, maybe, like authors who are sometimes paid … Continue reading