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C Block

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Everything posted by C Block

  1. The music change is weird and not necessarily a good fit for KABC, though it's not as weird of a music change as what WLS switched to.
  2. It's kind of a silly term that doesn't mean anything, and I don't know whether viewers really care or notice. I usually don't write it in reporter tosses and will instead just write "reporter XXX has the story from XXX" as that's just simpler to say anyway. Stations have all kinds of different types of arrangements with other stations. The most seamless type is under the same owner, at least operationally. Stations under the same station group can share content really easily. Depending on how their IT is set up, they can view and download video directly from each others' servers, view assignment grids, Slack channels, and even entire show rundowns of other stations. Of course, where an owner owns stations can be somewhat arbitrary geographically – it's not like a station in Philadelphia has a reason to pull content regularly from their 'sister station' in Phoenix. Then there are all sorts of less formal arrangements between stations that don't have the same owner, but are located in adjacent markets. These ones might be less noticeable to the viewer. Usually, they're at least the same network affiliation, but not always. Under these arrangements, stations are probably sharing content more often because their content is more pertinent to one another, but the process of sharing content is more manual. These arrangements rely on assignment desks to email out their assignment plans of the day, phone calls to coordinate what content they're interested in and when they need it, and FTP/fileshare downloads to send it. (Of course, back in the day, there was a lot more sharing via microwave, satellite, or fiber.) Are these arrangements 'sister stations?' They obviously have share more interest in content, but operationally they are distinct, and corporate owners will have different policies and practices that will drive newsgathering and editorial tone differently. Also, the whole Nexstar blockade of not sharing any content with any other non-Nexstar station regardless of affiliation for 24 hours has changed things a lot. That whole practice needs to stop, and I don't know why the network feed services (Newsedge, News Channel, NNS, et al) are putting up with that.
  3. He's writing this as if the industry isn't already a revolving door of talent. Has he watched the news at all in the last decade? Even in big markets, it's pretty astounding how much attrition there is on and off screen. I don't think I could name more than a handful of reporters on competing stations. When I turn on Denver TV, there's barely anybody recognizable to me on there. This is nothing but great news for the media industry workforce, and employees can now more freely vote with their feet and escape bad employers who don't pay enough. Not that we have much choice anyway with at most a dozen station groups now. Of course, noncompetes have been watered down quite a bit already. Most stories I hear these days of people breaking their contract involve the station group threatening to sue them, then the employee gets a lawyer to point out all the ridiculous claims. Then, the station group is too cheap to go through with the lawsuit anyway and they back down immediately. There are so many other new laws at play too. Noncompete clauses are already unenforceable in California, but a new law that went into effect in January makes all contracts with noncompetes void *altogether.*
  4. Branding is important in every industry, but there is such a thing as overthinking it. Of what viewers we still have, I think all they really care about other than the news content is that the branding isn't distracting. I think all that most viewers care about is that the news content is of quality, that the anchors and reporters look decent, that the lighting in the studio is crisp, and that the newscast isn't riddled with production errors. Viewers no longer care or have any attachment to anachronistic branding devices. I'll never forget a conversation I had with two acquaintances in Los Angeles a few years ago. They were musicians and did not watch television and thought that "KTLA," "Eyewitness News," and "Good Day LA" were all the same station, and they assumed that local TV news was still stuck in those 70s-era trappings.
  5. Mark Mester is returning to television – as main anchor at KMIR in Palm Springs: https://nbcpalmsprings.com/2024/04/19/welcome-mark-mester-to-the-nbc-palm-springs-family/
  6. Sounds quite a bit like the format that KPIX has been doing for the last 18 months or so.
  7. Video is moving pictures. I don’t think it’s too strange to call them photographers. Every station can also have their quirks and have slightly different terms for the same role or function. I know KUSA is pretty adamant about calling them ‘photojournalists,’ while I know some stations also use the term “camera technician” or “ENG operator.” I also know that some stations used to have union contracts that were so strong that the ‘photographers’ were strictly there to worry about the camera and were forbidden from conducting interviews (that was the role of the reporter) or driving or operating the live truck (a role for the ‘live truck operator.’)
  8. I'm watching it on Pluto TV via Google TV on my Sony TV (...I think I got that right.) But it's on a 2-3 minute delay. Is that always normal for Pluto?
  9. That's not the new set – that's a temporary setup in their second 'studio.' That's their newsdesk and looks like one of the walls of the soon-to-be-replaced set with a new wrap on it. I would expect they'll get something pretty similar to the KCAL set.
  10. Thanks to Colorado's pay transparency law, I am shocked at how poor the pay is in the Denver market. KDVR/KWGN also seems to be at the bottom of the pack, at least from what I've seen of producer pay. I don't think Denver is really a destination market anymore for most people in this industry.
  11. For a company that throws (or used to throw?) away a lot of money at consultants to tell them what to think and do, this looks pretty underwhelming for a group-wide graphics package.
  12. I feel fortunate that I've only ever worked for bygone-era small station groups that no longer exist and O&Os. I think the likes of Scripps, Tegna, Nexstar, Gray et al are in for a perilous financial future as they have far fewer alternate revenue streams. The O&Os at least will be able to rely on live sports in major markets and the backing of the network to stay relevant to some degree. For a rural market ~120 station with no major national or college sports team, what is the roadmap? Advertising is way down everywhere. Retrans fees will likely go away. The networks don't really need partnerships with affiliates much longer now that they have their own streaming platforms (not that those are making any money either.) Syndicated programming is going away, and these kinds of stations can't really replace it with more news as it's near-impossible to find more 22-year-olds willing to endure the grueling quality of life of working in small market TV. I think what's happening at Scripps, particularly in the small markets, is a telltale sign of just how rocky the industry will become in the next 5-10 years at the lower end. I'm not sure if the other station groups will go to the same extreme lengths that Scripps is currently taking, but I think we will see more small market stations shut down news departments and farm out their news to regional and national divisions within their station groups. I don't think these problems are confined to OTA television either. I think the economics of the entire entertainment industry are fundamentally broken. The only thing that still makes money is advertising on conventional distribution platforms, but that audience has been shrinking for decades. Nobody other than Netflix has been able to figure out how to monetize online media in a meaningful way. Streaming has become so saturated that I'm not fully convinced it'll work out for any of the media conglomerates.
  13. The more I read Rich Lieberman, the more I'm convinced that he no longer has any sources. He is the equivalent of an elderly fanfic blogger but for local TV. Lieberman doesn't see the ratings; I do. For the first two weeks of this month, KPIX was virtually tied with KGO for #2 at 6pm. I think their format and anchor changes have had a lot more of an impact than the branding change. I think adding news at 7pm, moving national news to 6:30, and putting Juliette Goodrich on the 6 and 7pm were all good ideas that made KPIX at least somewhat more competitive again. I'm not always sold on their unconventional leads and enterprise story ideas, but I suppose they're at least trying something different. The most underperforming network O&O in that market though for sure is KNTV – literally hashmarks for their 11pm some nights. KTVU's Like It Or Not, a mindless show that costs no money to produce, regularly gets higher ratings at 11:30 than KNTV does for their 11pm news or the Tonight Show.
  14. They replaced their plasma array backdrop with a seamless video wall.
  15. This is happening in pretty much every small market station that Scripps owns. I know KERO and KSBY are pre-taping their late news as well. KSBY is getting some more latitude than KERO because they're #1 in the market, but it's still pretty bad. The whole thing doesn't make much sense. Staff at these stations are pre-taping "modules" of stories after the early evening news to run at 10 and 11pm. They don't really get done with everything until about 8:30 or 9pm anyway. And then an anchor and director still sit around after in case they need to update anything or insert it into the rundown.
  16. KMGH moved Jeopardy from 6:00 to 3:30 in the late 90s sometime after the switch to ABC. It went back to 6:00 in 2006 when Oprah moved to KCNC, though they kept the Jeopardy reruns at 3:30. KMGH got rid of Jeopardy and Wheel shortly after Scripps bought the station and when Scripps was in a big push to get rid of as much syndicated programming as possible.
  17. I don't think you can draw much from URL purchases. Remember years ago when NBC purchased nbcdenver.com and everyone thought that meant KUSA was going O&O? Those were the days.
  18. That might still be true to a degree in the afternoon and prime access. But at 4am? That's not really the case except for maybe Fox affiliates. I think we'll see more big three affiliates drop news before 5am and run more national news.
  19. I think the overall trend of stations expanding and adding more newscasts at all times of the day may be coming to an end. It was certainly true in the last decade or so that more news was the most cost-effective programming most stations could produce. A lot of stations also kept expanding in the early morning as a trick to boost ratings for later hours. Now that advertising revenue is way down all across the board, plus with the producer shortage, it may not be worth it to even bother with things like news at 4am anymore. A newscast is only worthwhile if people are watching and if you can sell the ad slots. The pandemic definitely changed things too. People aren't commuting as much, and I don't think there's as big of an audience at 4am anymore. (There never really was a big one to begin with.) Some cities have been hit harder by remote work than others, but in San Francisco, nearly all stations permanently canceled their 4am news during the pandemic. KTVU is now the only one on the air before 5am. I'm surprised this hasn't happened in more markets yet. As for holidays, it really all depends on the station group, the holiday, what day of the week the holiday falls on, and the whim of management. Holidays actually have higher ratings than you'd think because so many people are sitting at home with nothing else to do. Most places where I've worked, I think they've tried to strike the right balance of offering some kind of news product while keeping expectations in check. I also know some stations where the managers are so hard-wired that they demand running their full schedules even with a skeleton staff, holidays be damned.
  20. Who is making millions in local TV these days, even in market #1?
  21. I read the whole petition. It’s a bit weird and reads more like a high school essay at times. It does a lot of conflating FNC with FTS and the Dominion suit, but it doesn’t really make a very clear connection between FNC and WTXF other than that both broadcast Fox News Sunday. The petition would be stronger if it could point to specific examples of false election claims being broadcast on WTXF via Fox News Sunday, Level 1 and 2 cut-ins, and/or NewsEdge packages during that timeframe. There might be some instances of such a thing, but even so, it’s probably a far cry from what was being broadcast on FNC at the time. Don’t get me wrong – NewsEdge definitely does sneak slanted reporting through its PKGs that it passes along to affiliates almost every single day, but I don’t know if there was much during that time that rises to the same level of libel as Sidney Powell on Maria Bartiromo’s show. I don’t know how far this will go, but it’s still interesting, and another headache for the Fox legal team. The FCC’s notion of license holders having a duty to the public might be a product of a bygone era, but it’s possible the FCC could take this seriously. Is a corporation that settled in the biggest defamation lawsuit In American history worthy of holding an FCC license, even if the defamation didn’t happen on FCC-regulated airspace? It’s an interesting question, and while this whole thing might not go very far, perhaps it’s still worth exploring in an FCC hearing.
  22. I never worked with her, but I universally always heard that she was great to work with.
  23. Legoland has been very aggressive with their media campaign. They've been buying up ads and pitching a lot of stories to TV stations wherever they open up new locations. When the one opened up here, we did a few stories and segments on it. I got tired of all things Lego and passed on any of their other pitches about new exhibits or events because I didn't really see much news value in them. It's very possible that Lego bought ads on WCBS from the sales department and then turned around and pitched the news department to do a live shot out there for 'newsworthy' reasons, unbeknownst to either news or sales. This is an unfortunate circumstance that makes it look like Lego paid for the ad and the segment even though it's likely they paid for the ad but not the segment. Or, maybe I'm giving WCBS too much of the benefit of the doubt, and perhaps they are pay-for-play. In that case, it's inexcusable.
  24. I'm pretty sure that's from the network DC set. And no, I doubt that was live – it was probably taped too.
  25. I'm pretty sure there's still a hiring freeze at Disney.
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