Sunday, July 31, 2005

Attack of the Killer Photogs

You just know that Beth Geisel's appearance at Colonie Police headquarters Monday is going to be a mad house. A MAD HOUSE!
According to the TU, the former CBA teacher is expected to be charged with third degree rape in connection with an incident involving a 16 year-old student. Newsrooms have been swirling with lurid rumors about the case for weeks ---and Ms. Geisel's marriage to a prominent area banker makes the story even juicer.

I'm no lawyer, but if I were representing Ms. Geisel, I'd be trying to find out if the Colonie Public Safety Center has a back door.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Spelling Takes a Holiday

Hey, it's the weekend, what did you expect? I understand this is related to complaints from his patience.

Mail Bag

I've taken some flack over not allowing reader comments at Albany Eye. A long time ago I decided that this is something you read, not something you discuss, so get over it. However, we love your letters, and periodically post responses. We don't print the letters, mind you, just the responses.
To Name Withheld:
You were right about my cheap reference to seizures in a recent post about the Palace Theatre website. Sorry, dude. Epilepsy isn't funny, and I urge my readers to learn more about it before making their own stupid remark.

To RM:
I think your idea is funny, painting bullseyes on the sidewalks below Albany's crumbling facades, but I'm not sure the Downtown BID will agree. Did you see their Henry Hudson ad campaign? Then you know that they don't have a sense of humor. Feel free to take this up with BID head Pamela Tobin.

JD:
I'm pretty sure that using "buckled" to describe what happened to the Dunn Memorial Bridge is acceptable, but when you think about it, the bridge did sort of become un-buckled, didn't it?

To Jake:
I'm thinking Bridget Blythe, Lindsay Cohen, Ann Hughes, and Judy Sanders. Not necessarily in that order.

Now Try the Rest

If you think that this area's heavy dose of downstaters would guarantee excellent pizza, you'd be wrong. The Business Review reports that more generic, Anglicized pizza is headed our way:
The Hot Restaurant Group of Rochester, N.Y. is rolling out an expansion plan designed to put 100 Great Northern Pizza Kitchens in New York state and the surrounding states over the next five years. Company president Ken Greene said the chain's immediate expansion will take place with company-owned restaurants in upstate New York.
I'm sorry, but I'm not buying piza from some guy named Ken. Joe? Sure, why not. Sam? You bet. Angelo? Absolutely. Ken? Never.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Daybook Item

Nude Activist Painted in Butcher's Diagram Protests Eating Meat

Albany, N.Y. - Wearing nothing but paint markings that mimic a butcher's diagram of body parts, a PETA member will protest the meat industry under a banner that reads, "All Animals Have the Same Parts-Have a Heart, Go Vegetarian." The protest is a live re-enactment of a PETA ad featuring former Baywatch star Traci Bingham that ran in magazines and newspapers around the country:

Date: Saturday, July 30
Time: 2-3 p.m.
Place: Intersection of State and South Pearl streets

Exile on Swan Street

From the TU:
Christina Ricci left her office at the state Department of Parks and Recreation shortly after 5 p.m., dreading the battle she figured awaited her as she tried to get out of a parking lot at the bottom of Madison Avenue. "I think everybody is going to be down where I'm going to be," she said.
Hey, I know Cursed was bad, but a career ender? I think not.

Write On

The good news about the internet is that people are writing again. Judging by the quality of the writing, that's also the bad news.

I can just barely manage to squeeze one or two posts out of my feeble little brain every day. William M. Dowd, on the other hand, now there's a guy who can write you under the table.
When Mr. Dowd's not keeping an eye on things at the TU as associate editor, he writing ---and not just writing his columns that appear in the paper, but also quite a bit of stuff you can find on his various websites and blogs. And all of it's really interesting. Like East Egg Review, an online journal of thoughtful essays, and it's counterpart, Weathering Heights, described as Meteorology as a Metaphor for Daily Life, containing shorter more topical ruminations. The BarLOG is all about wine, beer and spirits (those you drink), and Taste for Travel, is well, all about travel.
All told, it's like a one man e-zine ---and a great pleasure in a world where 95% of all web content is unreadable.

Understand the Facts

God! I wish I'd seen this pamphlet back in March.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Scratched

What was worse yesterday for NYRA? The disastrous first race that sent three jockeys to the turf? The power trouble that fumbled 200 large in wagering? Or George Pataki deciding to announce that he wouldn't be taking on Eliot Spitzer next year? What? Pataki couldn't wait until Thursday to declare he's seeking a "new path"? His noon event sent track-focused newsrooms into a tailspin, but fortunately, some people still know what's important:
Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno will hold a media availability today, Wednesday, July 27, at 2:00 p.m. at the Saratoga Race Track by the press box on the rail, next to the Winner's Circle.

I Scream, You Scream, We all Scream for I-Team

Hey, WRGB: You haven't done an I-Team report in like two months, do you think it's time to pull it off the web site? Ever since Amy Polacko left to flack for Pepsi, there hasn't been anyone to track down evil window contractors or test useless products. To be honest, I only miss the I-Team because the pieces were easy to make fun of, but what does it tell us when WRGB abandons a major franchise that was once so heavily promoted? I'm not sure how a major consumer reporting commitment goes from HUUUUUGE one day to nothing the next ---especially after being relentlessly told that the stories were so important.

Flowbee, anyone?

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Pay to Play

First of all, a great big thank you to Elliot Spitzer for explaining how J-Lo's music ever got on the radio ---I've been wondering about that for a long time. Secondly, maybe you don't remember former FLY-92 program director Donnie Michaels, but according to documents the AG's office released after their payola settlement with Sony, Donnie was a very busy guy while at Albany Broadcasting. What the heck; I guess if someone offered me a laptop and a trip to Vegas, I might almost be persuaded to play some of that crap on my radio station, too. Almost.

Bring Out Your Dead

John "I Talk to the Dead So You Don't Have To" Edward is slated for two appearances in August at the Crowne Plaza. They're both sold out, but if you really want in, you can find tickets online for under $200. Edward, a master of what's known in the psychic business as the cold read, has pulled the wool over the eyes of thousands of people ---probably millions if you count his now-defunct Crossing Over TV show. Maybe it's just me, but isn't there something wrong with tricking people into thinking you're communicating with their dead loved ones?

So what are you to do when the snake oil salesman comes to town? Get into the tent, friends, there's a great story there, even if it does cost you $200.

While he's here, maybe local construction companies could use him to locate bones before they start digging ---it might be cheaper than hiring Hartgen Associates after the fact.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Double Shot Mozart Monday

"We focused our programming on what listeners really wanted to hear. We increased the music and we decreased the talk."
Hmmm. More music, less talk. Could be the PD from any one of the area's radio stations, but it's not ---that quote's from Scott Sauer at WMHT. I guess more music and less talk is what they got when they fired most of the on-air staff in 2003.

The station recently announced that they're buying bankrupt WBKK to increase coverage to the west. Sauer says they were originally looking elsewhere, which makes you wonder if they're following the wrong river. If I were after affluent, well educated listeners, I'd be thinking Hudson Valley, not Mohawk Valley. He also says the station will eventually be reprogrammed with a "'new and distinct' classical format". Classic country, perhaps?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Local Blogger Makes Good

Area blog Reality Sandwich may not have made Metroland's Best Of, but they scored a mention today in a New York Times story (registration may be required) about the video blogging movement. Video bloggers post short clips of things that interest them, from ordinary day to day stuff like Reality Sandwich shopping at the farmer's market or visiting Yaddo ---to elaborate no-budget productions that look like rejects from your local cable access channel. What did we do before the internet, anyway?

Got MILF?

Wakin' Up with the Wolf is knee deep in their hunt for "Capitaland's Hottest Mom", but you still have time to get your entry in before voting begins on August 12. Remember, photos should be strictly PG.

I hear B-95 is also running a contest looking for the area's hottest mom, except in that contest, Chuck and Kelly are giving away an air conditioner.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Radio Vigilantes

If nothing else, the internet has made it much easier to complain. It's also given folks a tool for activism, like the people (person?) who call themselves Asian Media Watch. The group is after JR Gach over several shows in June they found particularly offensive ---and they've even posted audio files and transcripts on their web site. This follows in the wake of reports in May that the FCC was investigating an errant "MF" that got on the air.

You may hate JR -and I don't, I think he's funny- but there's a place for him on the radio dial. He pushes things to the edge ---and in today's bland sea of local commercial radio we need a little more pushing and a little less sucking.

By the way: Prefer your radio uncensored? Now you can download JR shows to your iPod and listen anytime.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Signing Off

Don't expect to turn on your radio and hear Jerry Jennings any time soon. Now that Archie Goodbee is officially in the Democratic primary, WROW has pulled the Mayor's show until after the general election in November.

In other news, the Mayor will attend a noon press conference today announcing the Downtown BID's new line of souvenir hats.

You've Tried the Rest

Metroland's Best of the Capital Region issue was the most sought after item in local newsrooms Thursday (besides the donuts, of course). Among the highlights,
Best TV News: NewsChannel 13
Best Daily Newspaper: The Post Star
Best TV News Reporter: Kumi Tucker
Best Daredevil Act: MELEE
There's plenty more where that came from ---and this year the list included a blog or two; a special tip of the hat goes out to Democracy in Albany, named Best Blog for their tenacious pursuit of local politics and politicians.

And by the way, I DO TOO write about Metroland!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

No Swag for You

Note to Mark McGuire's cubicle neighbors: There will be no free t-shirts and hats when he returns from the press tour. Mark reminded me that TV critics don't take that stuff anymore, or the more lavish gifts crass network execs used to foist on media writers. They will, on the other hand, eat their shrimp and quaff their cocktails; it would be rude to turn down your guest's offer of food and drink.

Check Mark's blog at the TU online.

Meter Man

You've got to see the PSA for Albany's new parking meter cash keys. I don't know if it's actually been on the air, but you can find it at the Albany Parking Authority's website ---just click CashKey Video.

In the spot, a flustered woman is searching through her pocket book for a quarter, then with a magical sound effect, TanMan (Jerry Jennings) appears on the scene armed with a cash key. "Hey, I can help, he says. "I have a key to the city!" Oh, boy. He's not the Mayor, he's an urban parking super hero who will pay for your meter ---then presumably stick around to protect your car from all the masonry falling off downtown buildings.
I'm curious if PSA's starring Jennings, like the anti-graffiti spot frequently seen on Time Warner cable, will need to come off the air as we close in on election day.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Writing on the Wall

MELEE's tag on Albany's Central Warehouse is no more ---but not before police nearly arrested the crew hired to paint over the four foot high letters. Several weeks ago, people driving 787 looked up to see the astonishing work of graffiti, eleven stories up at the top of a sheer, stark wall. Not to condone the graffitistas who blight our cites, but you've gotta admit, MELEE's work was pretty ballsy. It's since been painted over, so we'll have to wait and see if MELEE strikes again ---meanwhile, read how the WP's ombud spanked the paper for it's dealingswith a notorious graffiti artist in Washington.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Board Meeting

Need to talk about local radio and TV but can't find anyone interested in listening? Boy, do I know the feeling! That's when you turn to web message board CapitalGold Forum. Topics range from the super geeky, such as posters daring each other to identify photos of radio transmitters, to discussions of what goes on inside area newsrooms. Some of the comments are pretty good, like this one on the departure of Mr. Pagliarulo from WRGB from "eng_whiz":
This from his online bio at 6:
"Joe's a native of Long Island and has worked 13 years in broadcasting with a goal of getting back home. Well, he made it."

This from the San Antonio Biz Journal regarding his move to WOAI:
"I am so excited about this opportunity," Pagliarulo says. "... and I'm so happy I'll now call San Antonio home."
Ouch! Easy folks ---Pags may jump in his Buick GN, drive over here and kick our asses.

Is it Bigger than a Bread Box?

Albany continued to crumble yesterday, sending unsuspecting passersby fleeing as fragments of 100 State Street rained down from ten stories high. From the TU:
About a half-dozen chucks, none much larger than a bread box, landed on the sidewalk.
I'm old enough to have actually had a bread box in my kitchen, and as I recall, ours was the size of a small microwave, so those are some pretty serious "chucks" falling out of the sky.
Thank goodness no one was hit while using their parking meter cash key.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Meanwhile, In the World of Animals

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. (AP) - More than 100 poodles were taken from a home in western New York after living in what officials called deplorable conditions.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - An abandoned adult alligator is loose somewhere in the Southern Tier. Another was captured in Wayland on Friday by an animal control officer after the alligator frightened a local dog.

RANDOLPH, Vt. (AP) - A Williamstown man is dead after colliding with a moose on Interstate 89. Thirty-nine-year-old Glen J-Murphy was driving south on the interstate in Randolph early Wednesday when his truck hit a moose.

UPDATE: A CapitalNews 9 staffer, who shall remain nameless, urged me to add this animal story:

ENUMCLAW, WA - King County sheriff's detectives are investigating the owners of an Enumclaw-area farm after a Seattle man died from injuries sustained while having sex with a horse boarded on the property. The county Medical Examiner's Office ruled that the death was accidental and the result of having sex with a horse.

And this one, for God's sake:

Man Allegedly had Sex with Guide Dog

Junket Junkie

Mark McGuire files his first dispatch from the Television Critics Association press tour today. Since it's July, that means it's time for network execs to stand up in front of America's TV critics and explain their Fall schedules. You have to feel for them ---imagine having to pitch Father of the Pride to a bunch of jaded media writers, munching shrimp and tossing out embarrassing question. That's why Jeff Zucker gets the big bucks.
The TU is again posting Mark's press tour blog in their online edition. There haven't been any entries since last Thursday; I'm sure this has nothing to do with all the booze and food heaped on the touristas ---it's more likely he can't find his laptop under all the swag.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Media Muggles

Who could possibly resist yanking down their pants and joining the Harry Potter hype orgy? Nobody.
The real story here isn't that (gasp!) children are reading, but the amazing worldwide PR extravaganza surrounding the release of the sixth installment in the J.K. Rowling series. The TU got into the act this morning, running a front page teaser promising quidditch results in the sports section. While there were no box scores, there was an account of a recent match at Hogwarts and more on the persistent doping allegations against Harry Potter. No word on whether quidditch writer Emily Callen is related to TU Executive Sports Editor Bill Callen.

If we could only get all these kids reading newspapers...

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Check Out the Real Situation

I was going to write something about The Glenn Slingerland Situation, but Metroland's Erik Hage has done a much better job than I ever could. Slngerland's cool, off kilter weekly show is easily the most interesting program on local TV. Rather than attempt to describe it, let's just say if you enjoy a tasty groove and women in slinky black dresses, this will be right up your alley. Check it out on UPN affiliate WNYA Sunday at 10pm, Thursday at 11pm, or Fridays at 12:30am.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Classical Consolidation

From the Business Review:
WMHT Educational Telecommunications, a public broadcaster based in Rotterdam, N.Y., has purchased the commercial broadcast license and transmitter for classical music competitor WBKK 97.7 FM.
No word on the fate of Laura Carlo's wacky classical morning show.

Tangled Web

I've found the Capital Region's most annoying web site ---and friends, that's saying a lot. The Palace Theatre's hideous mess of a homepage looks like a bad flash animation shooting game, with pictures of upcoming acts crisscrossing the screen like mechanical ducks. Roll your mouse over the images and you get text that's nearly impossible to read, but that doesn't matter, because what you really want is to left click and see if you can take out the Moscow Ballet. Web designers should learn that a little of this stuff goes a long way ---especially for clients trying to project a classy image.

EDITORS WARNING: Do not visit the Palace web site if you are prone to epileptic seizures.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Fan Mail from Some Flounder

Regarding our post Pack Your Pags and Get Out, "JP" writes:
What research did you look at? It's all VERY positive on me and CBS 6. The ratings are the highest the station has seen in many many years. Way to get it wrong. Cite your sources in your lame little weblog, loser.
I'm not sure what's funnier about this email from Joe Pagliarulo, the subject line, which reads DORK, or the fact that he didn't refute the corneal damage rumor.

Pack Your Pags and Get Out

It's no surprise that Joe Pagliarulo is leaving WRGB for a radio gig at ClearChannel mothership WOAI-AM, San Antonio. Rumors of Pags departure have been swirling for months, including one that he'd suffered early-onset corneal damage from the giant wrinkle erasing studio lights aimed at Liz Bishop.
What does this mean for WRGB? Nothing.
Those who would know say that if research is to be trusted, Pags wasn't exactly Joe Popularulo with area viewers ---and we've seen bigger local anchors depart without hurting their station's performance. I half expected a different sort of departure ---possibly involving Liz's consigliere Fred Dicker taking Joe out in a rowboat for a little Fredo fishing.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Watch the Parking Meters

I'm sorry, but Brian Nearing's story about the new "cash keys" for feeding Albany's voracious parking meters reads like a press release from the mayor's office. I don't mean to be cynical ---after all, the cash key has been hugely successful in such bustling cities as Auburn, NY, Morgantown, WV, and Harrisburg, PA.
Economic development guru and chairman of the Albany Parking Authority, Kevin O'Connor clearly sees this as the key to economic revitalization:
"We are always looking for innovative ways to improve parking in Albany. Our research indicated that we needed to make parking more convenient, so we've made a large investment to do just that."
It's not like we're asking people to carry around cinder blocks in their pockets, they're quarters. If Mr' O'Connor wants to make my life more convenient, I'd suggest 5 minute free parking outside the Starbucks at State and Pearl.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Everybody Must Get Stone

Wild animals. When they're dead, infected, rabid, acting strangely, wandering in places they doesn't belong, or being a nuisance, the man to see is Dr. Ward Stone. Stone, legendary head of ENCON's wildlife pathology unit, has a long reputation as the go-to guy for your critter questions ---and not just for his vast knowledge, but because he can always be counted on to lay it out straight. Isn't that refreshing when talking to someone on the agency side?
Stone now can be heard hosting his own radio show, In Our Backyard, on WAMC. While Stone isn't exactly Ira Glass, the program is a compelling brew of information and activism, tapping into his extensive network of people in the environmental community. Oh, and if you have any specimens for Dr. Stone, be sure to pack them up properly. Your mailman will thank you.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I Love That Dirty Water

On a hot day, nothing sounds more refreshing than a dip in the Hudson, right? In fact, the State has provided a list of places that may be good swimming spots, even though some are qualified as Requiring Additional Action to Become Feasible. Maybe one of those additional actions will be replacing the brown water with clean, fresh water, but whatever.
One wag in my office suggested that this story could be improved with a little reporter involvement ---and then listed the reporters he'd like to see involved. Just so you know, I do not condone such talk in the workplace, and will not relate the list of women he'd like to see frolicking in the Hudson (Lindsay Cohen), his descriptions of their bathing suits (Ann Hughes), or the activities in which they would be engaged (Bridget Blythe).

Sure...But There is a LOT of Weather

On WROW this morning, Fred Dicker, comparing Capital News 9 to its Time Warner sister station, NY1, called the local 24 hour news operation a "third or fourth rate operation."

Sounds like somebody didn't read the memo about that strategic partnership.

Friday, July 01, 2005

A Modest Proposal

Metroland, for all its virtues, is a little dry in the news section ---but let's face it, most people don't pick up the Capital Region's favorite alt weekly for the journalism. That said, I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.

Instead of printing the paper's adult advertising in that handy disposable pull-out, why not just put the grown-up stuff in the paper and print the news stories on a four page insert. This way, when people pick up their copy, they could throw away the news and keep all the useful content: reviews of music and restaurants, arts listings, the personals, and so on.

I strongly encourage the publisher to consider this approach to restructuring Metroland ---if he hasn't already.