August 06, 2008

Local news

I've always had a love-hate relationship (more accurately, a hate relationship) with the local news. This goes back to my childhood growing up halfway between the Pittsburgh and Youngstown markets. One Youngstown station had a guy who was kind of ugly but very professional, so I usually watched that one (I won't identify him because I'm afraid that it might lead to him having a minor auto accident, like Morgan Freeman). This was before beauty became the most important thing about local news ... back when, if you were lucky, you'd catch a news broadcast on channel ll that featured Chilly Billy, the weekend horror host, who also played a newsman in Night of the Living Dead.

Clearly George Romero isn't just a genius ... he's a metagenius. But that's a topic for another entry.

How local news has devolved over the last few decades! I'd say something kind of negative about how hotness has apparently become the main requirement for local morning news teams, but to do so would imply that local morning news has substance that deserves more gravity than the average colon cleansing infomercial. So why do I watch the morning news rather than Night Court and Designing Women on TVLand? This is one of the mysteries that will continue to plague us. I hope it's not because the women on the news are, uh ... hmm. Well. Anyhow.


Rosemary said...

The decline has been so gradual and seductive, too, that I don't think I even thought about it until we lived in CO and could get the local news from Cheyenne, Wyoming. They actually reported on things like what bills the state legislature was debating, and what happened at the previous night's city-council meeting. Oh yeah!--that's what's *supposed* to be on local news.

It was such a small market, it was clear that it functioned as a sort of farm team for new broadcast journalists right out of college; I don't think there was anyone on there who was over the age of about 27.

This amateurism led to a fair number of hilarious gaffes, which also made it worth watching. Most memorably, I tuned in one night just as the 10:00 news was to begin, and the credits were rolling for whatever TV show or movie was just wrapping up.

The music over the credits was some sort of disco tune, and suddenly the screen cut to the news studio, where one of the anchors was boogie-ing down in his chair, white-man's overbite and all. Suddenly he saw himself in the monitor, realized he was on air, and froze like a deer in headlights. What I wouldn't give to have had TIVO at that moment!

Anonymous said...

Does channel 16 still have that dramatic music over the intro and the channel 16 News chopper? It kind of sounded like the theme music to Quincy mashed up with the Mission Impossible theme?

Good memories.

Michael said...

And what's worse is that, honestly, in high-definition, most of the local anchors aren't even good eye candy.