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C Block

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Everything posted by C Block

  1. I don't know about the Chicago market specifically, though I'd be fascinated to know what their security situation is there. When I was in Chicago a few months ago, I was shocked to see a WBBM live truck with full station branding on the exterior. Where I am, all of our live trucks are unmarked, and without going into too much detail, we take pretty extensive measures to ensure crew safety in the field. While live-for-the-sake-of-live definitely still happens, we try not to do it. Usually, if one of our reporters is live somewhere for the late shows, it's because that's where their story was. It often makes sense for the crew to stay on the scene, finish their story, do the live shot, and then drive back rather than rush back to the station and slam something together to make slot. A lot of stations are also just putting fewer resources into their late news and assigning fewer reporters to it. It used to be that the 10/11p news were many stations' bread and butter, but late news viewership is falling the fastest out of any daypart.
  2. Either that or they just figured that while they had their news set in the smaller studio, it wasn't worth it to try to move to the bigger one. Or, I don't know if KGO operated this way, but perhaps they rented out the larger studio to other outside productions. KTVU did that – KTVU rented out their much larger Studio A to other productions (including the filming of Mrs. Doubtfire) before they finally moved their main news set into there in 2012.
  3. I think KGO's set is really underrated. It has almost everything you'd ever need in a set: a nice home base, a distinct weather area, a unique interview/demo area, and a few different reporter standup positions. The topical graphics that they put in the monitors also always look really sharp. Even though it's pushing eight years old, it has held up very well. If that set debuted today, I think we'd all compliment it. The only thing that's a shame is that they didn't install a larger version of it in the studio that they gave away to KRON instead.
  4. If we’re going to complain about stations wasting money on sets, I don’t think this is the example. This is replacing a set that was more than 10 years old and had very few modifications to it. (Looks like in those pictures too that they are even saving the updated video wall from the outgoing set for something else.) At a certain point, things get old and outdated and need to be replaced. What KCNC just put in there is nice, modern, and not particularly excessive or opulent. Plus, as others pointed out, they probably saved some money on design by reusing the KCAL designs. I don’t think replacing a 10-year-old set with something functional, modern, and not over-the-top like what KCNC did here is a bad decision at all. If we’re going to talk about irresponsible excess, look no further than KDVR. They replaced a set that was what, barely three years old with something that has so many monitors that it probably cost a lot more than it looks. And the end product has terrible lighting and looks worse than what it replaced.
  5. Looks great. You can also see they now do weather on another big video wall in the studio, and there's also a sitting area. Nice to see something different as the 2003, 2008, and 2013 sets all had the same basic layout and designer. Some good pictures of the teardown and build: https://www.cbsnews.com/colorado/pictures/cbs-colorado-new-set-construction-behind-the-scenes/30/ It looks like they really used every square inch of what is otherwise a very small and outdated studio. The desk looks clunky, but I said the same about the KCAL set. The lighting looks good, the monitors are new, there are a few different presentation areas - what's not to like?
  6. And those are just the ones you know about!
  7. I don't get what's crazy about that. Comp days for working additional days as a salaried employee is pretty standard. I'm salaried. If I work an additional day, I get a comp day to use either in that pay period or in the future. My paycheck doesn't change. Working late or long hours because of breaking news or elections is one thing – everybody more or less expects that. But I can tell you that people are not coming in on their days off to do extra work for whatever reason without getting compensated for it at all. There are all kinds of work agreements out there. It's hard to know the exact details of anyone's agreement if you don't at least work for the same company. I do know of full-time on-air staff in big markets who are paid hourly. I don't think I've ever heard of an anchor in a big market who isn't salaried, but it's possible that there may be some out there. The point is that people like Maurice and Kristine aren't coming in on their days off to do network news just for the exposure and without anything in return. They are, at minimum, getting paid like it's any other day of work for them. I would imagine they have smart agents who ensure their contracts state that they might get paid a little bonus for doing network anchoring, but I can't be sure of that.
  8. Unpaid work is illegal in this country. They have to be compensated in some way or another for working an extra day. I would guess that they're probably salaried workers and get a comp day to take off at another time. If they're paid hourly (which some on-air people are!), then they get paid overtime. They might also get paid a little extra for anchoring a national broadcast if it's written into their contract.
  9. Funny to see that everyone on here almost universally pans KABC's switch to WABC music. I agree, but I can't help but wonder whether we might all have thought differently had they made these changes 10-15 years ago when CBS was similarly standardizing around the WCBS look. The WABC cut of Eyewitness News has become so recognizable with WABC for us that it feels wrong to hear it in Southern California. But, it's probably one of those things that doesn't matter a whole lot at this point. Most viewers are only watching for 5-10 minutes at a time at most, so who cares what the open music sounds like these days.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.*
  13. 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.
  14. 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/
  15. Sounds quite a bit like the format that KPIX has been doing for the last 18 months or so.
  16. 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.’)
  17. 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?
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. They replaced their plasma array backdrop with a seamless video wall.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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