Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Year in Review

Sometimes, you can't help but stick your foot in your mouth, especially if you're Joe Snedeker. Proving that he is a lightning rod for controversy, Snedeker joked that morning show co-anchor Kim Supon should choose between her job and her kids.


A visibly-upset Supon left the set during a commercial break, and no amount of excuses could cover up Snedeker's slip of the tongue. Working moms everywhere got pissed off and flooded the Talkback 16 message boards. The next week, Snedeker apologized on-air, and now all appears to be well.

While Snedeker's stupid comment was perhaps the biggest event for media watchers, 2005 also brought plenty of other things to newsrooms everywhere. New faces, diseases, expansions, and even a lawsuit.

Welcome to the jungle

Turnover is common in any television market, and 2005 was no different for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Dave Pingalore and his gigantic smile headed west to Cleveland, Justin Pizzi hopped on the turnpike and ended up in Philadelphia, and Megan Dardanell realized public relations paid more than reporting.

In their place came a set of fresh, new faces. With the exception of Dia Wallace, the newest crop of reporters seems to be younger, i.e. Ryan Leckey, Carmen Grant, and Laurie Monteforte. Joe Holden gets the "Wowzers" award for making a huge jump from Market 186 in Virginia to Market 54 right here.

What's in a name?

WBRE and WYOU got a fresh start this year with brand new on-air identities. Are you ready? Hold onto your seat for "WBRE News" and "WYOU News!"

Could they come up with anything less imaginative?

Anyway, the Nexstar duopoly ditched their old identities, which used their on-air channel numbers, because of their move to HDTV. That, and nobody really watches those stations on 28 or 22 anymore. Unless you live in Schuylkill County, where it seems some people don't know about this neat thing called "cable television."

Growing pains

Nexstar also loosened the death grip on their wallet and let WBRE and WYOU open a new bureau in Stroudsburg. The idea was to pay more attention to the Poconos region, which seems like a smart move.

In related news, WBRE is moving their Williamsport bureau. Their current one is set to be demolished for a downtown theater project. Let's hope their new place comes with an on-call exterminator.

Everyone needs a hobby

Quite a few people found ways to keep themselves busy when they weren't in the newsroom. Rosa Yum sold jewelry on eBay to raise money for hurricane relief efforts, Diane Lee recorded a CD, Scott Schaffer and Julie Sidoni cut a few rugs, and Phil Schoener realized he's getting sick of 50 Cent's music.

All we need now is for Lee to record a duet CD with Mike "I'm a little bit country" Lewis. Chart topping hits from the people who bring you the news!

I sue you, you sue me

Phil Yacuboski found himself in a bit of a quandry this year. Nexstar wasn't going to renew his contract at WYOU, so what's he to do? Sue! Because, well, what would this market be without a lawsuit to keep things interesting?

Yacuboski asked a judge to void the non-compete clause in his contract, which prevented him from immediately working on-air in this market, because it was somehow illegal. His lawyer said Yacuboski just wanted the option to look around.

Either that or he's itching to join Nexstar refugee Brandie Meng at WNEP.

I'm not aware of any further activity on the lawsuit, and unless Yacuboski is willing to become a Newsbot, he'll be sitting this one out.

Battling disease

Tom Clark got quite a scare when he found out he had prostate cancer. Fortunately, the cancer was caught early, and following surgery, he was back guessing the weather at WNEP.

Lyndall Stout is already the official media spokeswoman for breast cancer detection, so why hasn't Clark pegged himself as Mr. Prostate Exams Save Lives? He's a perfect success story for early detection. Come on, let's have someone look out for the guys!

Some free advice though, don't promote it like "Buddy Check." There's just something about calling your male friend and saying, "Hey man, didja check your prostate yet? The TV says you should do that!"

Happy anniversary!

2005 marked the 20th anniversary for scrappy little WOLF-TV. It began life as a tiny independent station that showed old horror movies, and after jumping to Fox, became NEPA's outlet for Married With Children and The Simpsons. WOLF also got notoriety in 1991, when it became the first station to have a newscast produced by a competitor (WNEP).

Terrorists lurk among us

Until this year, Bill Kelly was simply known as the head honcho at WVIA, and a former DJ during the glory days of WARM. Now, according to the Department of Homeland Security, he could be a terrorist!

Kelly's name somehow ended up on the mysterious no-fly list (probably because of the obvious TERRORIST BEARD), which means he'll be subjected to extra security screenings and perhaps some personal time with a fat, sassy security screener armed with latex gloves.

Riding the wave of blogs

Earlier this year, WNEP started to experiment with blogs. The plan was to have reporters and other staffers write about day-to-day events, and other mundane errata. Few reporters opted to blog, and Andy Palumbo is the only person who does regular updates. Still, it's an interesting read.

Oh, and then there was this schmuck who started a blog under the pseudonym of Howard Beale...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for your outlook on the year. By the way, this blog is one of the only sites I check daily. Whoever you are, you do a great job with it. Keep up the good work.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous Tom Carten said...

My thanks, as well. I like seeing a site that consistently takes the high road and keeps its focus. Valid criticism is fine and I also look forward to intelligent discussion on the news and its gathering.

Should you be found out, may your bosses praise you for your integrity and fair hand.

2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL - Yeah Howard, we have cable here in Schuylkill... too bad most of us are stuck with something other than Service Electric... Comcast, Wire Tele View, JB, Blue Mountain, GMP, ShenHeights... and if u live in parts of Western Schuylkill, Adelphia from Dauphin County where you only get Harrisburg channels. I'm on the Comcast system and the signal from 28 is subpar. As far as I'm concerned, it's no big deal who comes to town to cover our news, whether it's WNEP, WFMZ, WGAL or TV2, there isn't a whole lot happening here to fill up 10 minutes, let alone a full 22-minute newscast... besides there's more coverage of our sports here than news. Truthfully, Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, and Schuylkill should become its own market.

Keep up the good work Howard...

8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

REgarding the Snedeker Supon flap; it seems equally unprofessional for Supon to have bolted the set. Kind of a double standard? You can't pick on a working mother and you have to excuse me because I am upset and a woman so I can walk. IF a dude walked off the set he'd be in pretty hot water. Have no problem with working women, mind you, but we cannot have it both ways.

12:12 PM  

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