Friday, September 30, 2005

The Camera Never Squints

Our friend over at Capital Region People, Dave Lucas, posted this week about the annual HDTV "Best and Worse" in TV Predictions. Editor Philip Swan, who rates how celebs will fare under the harsh reality of the digital world, explains: The High-Definition TV picture is so clear that aging signs and skin imperfections are dramatically visible.
I would never be so rude as to post a list of area media people who aren't going to fare well with HDTV. You're smart people, you can figure that out for yourselves. Suffice to say, those uncomfortable with the way they look now aren't going to be happy ---but they can rest assured, these new cameras have features that will, well, soften the features.

WTF?

I'm pretty sure that if you heard Joan Baez saying "fuck" on TV your head would explode. PBS was in full agreement this week as they once again offered two versions of a program to affiliates, one sanitized, and one as the director intended. You may recall that they did this earlier this year with the Frontline doc A Company of Soldiers. This time it was Martin Scorsese's Bob Dylan documentary, No Direction Home. PBS says that to their knowledge, only one station in America aired the unedited version, New York's WNET.

I asked WMHT about this and they didn't get back to me. No surprise ---I mean really, it's not like I'm Mark McGuire.

Oh, The Humanity

Paul Caiano Getting HammeredPhil Bayly and Paul Caiano of NewsChannel 13's morning crew headed to NYC Wednesday to hammer nails with Katie Couric at Humanity Plaza. So far the effort has built something like 30 homes and scores of doghouses. It's tough to knock people who are building houses for hurricane refugees victims, but some media wags are saying that this stuff crosses the line of objective journalism. Hey, ethics shmethics...can't you see we're building houses here? With Warner Music?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

For Your Friday Daybook

Attention! Attention! Senator Joe with a gun!!!
MEDIA ADVISORY
Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno will announce funding for the Troy Police Department Emergency Response Team, Friday, September 30, 2005 at 11:00 a.m. at the Troy Police Department training facility...After the announcement, Senator Bruno will participate in shooting range and live fire hostage rescue exercises. Members of the media, including photographers, are invited to attend.
I wonder if he'll bring the horse? Now THAT would be a photo op.

Uhhhh...Nevermind

That no drinking anything anytime rule at Siena? Yesterday's geyser of media attention brought out no less than Father Kevin to explain that it was all taken ut of context. Apparently the fluid ban is only to be enforced late at night, and in certain situations. Whether this clarification came in time to stop the college from looking idiotic remains to be seen.

Going Nowhere Fast

There was a time not so long ago, that WTEN seemed to be getting somewhere.

They'd taken an aggressive stance on breaking news, they were tightening up the look of their on-air product, and they were aggressively promoting themselves. The other stations in town hadn't only noticed the change, they were concerned that WTEN could be on the verge of a serious ratings breakthrough. Now? WTEN has fallen into a funk that can only result in being cemented to the number three position. So what went wrong at WTEN? Rene "Here, we're going to have fun" LaSpina. If her housecleaning was meant to change the direction of the station, it's worked. They are now moving backwards instead of forward.
Insiders report that the mood on Northern Boulevard is dark and getting darker. How long this can go on without them taking a hit ---like in the November book?

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Not a Drop to Drink

You've got to feel for Siena College spokeswoman Janet Gianopoulos, who found herself in the unenviable position of explaining Siena's new no fluids policy. The college has banned the public consumption of beverages on campus; This means no bottles of water, no cups of coffee, no cans of soda. Nothing. "Safety first, that's what it's all about," she told the Times Union.
I would advise Gianopoulos to brace herself. The school's stupid solution to on-campus drinking(of alcohol) is about to make them the laughing stock of America.

Editor's advisory: Beware the stampede of local TV reporters charging over to Siena to get a piece of this.

Bond. James Bond.

OK, OK... I know we knocked his cheeky emails, but we'll let Richard Arthur have this one:
James Bond Gets State Prison for DWI

ALBANY, NY – District Attorney P. David Soares today announced that JAMES ALLAN BOND, 51 of 263 Broadway, Rensselaer, NY, was sentenced to State Prison for a term of 1/13 to 4 years by the Honorable Thomas A. Breslin. BOND has pled guilty on August 2, 2005 to one Count of Driving While Intoxicated as a Felony.
This poor sap's been listening to the James Bond stuff for his entire life, why should the DA's office be any different?

Just Give Me Something I Can Use

The promo for this week's Media Project promised some sort of dust up between Rex Smith and Lydia Kulbida; It was actually sort of contentious by the show's usual standards.
Rex said that the hurricanes may have been TV's story*, but the recovery is a print story. Why? Because of the time and patience required to cover the latter ---and once the great video has all been shot, the TV operations will pack up and move on. Lydia was indignant at this affront to the electronic media, because after all, she's there to defend TV news.
The truth is that Rex is probably right. If anyone wants further convincing, they should read David Carr's piece in Monday's Times, titled A Story Better Told in Print. And if you want even more convincing, look at how once the statues had fallen and the rolling live shots were over, TV pretty much abandoned the Iraq War story.
Now, if you want to have some real fireworks on that show, start critiquing local tv news...

*Oh...Want more on how the storms were "TV's story"? Read David Carr's More Horrible Than Truth: News Reports.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

The Case of the Tantalizing Tease

A trial would have been a media spectacle.
-Don Kinsella, Attorney for Beth Geisel
Now that David Soares has managed to put the Beth Geisel case to bed, it's time for the DA to set his house in order. Friday, we told you about the bizarre press advisory Soares flack Richard Arthur sent out in advance of Geisel's Monday appearance in court, which included this unusual line: There is a possibility that this Office will have something to say about the case shortly thereafter. Over the weekend, Arthur continued the build up for the anticipated plea deal, telling the TU, "You don't want to miss it", and the NY Post to "Stay tuned".

As a member of the media, I appreciate Mr. Arthur's enthusiasm in pitching stories. We need it and he dishes it up ---but as a citizen I find it a little disturbing. The district attorney's office holds extraordinary power; Shouldn't we expect a little restraint and decorum when dealing with serious matters? Oh, well. At least Mr. Arthur has gotten the message about sending out email with wise ass subject lines, and if this Soares thing doesn't work out, maybe he can find something with Ed Lewi. Of the media circus, Soares told The Record:
The buck stops with me; I take full responsibility. And to the extent that I've offended the public, I apologize.

The Big Turn Off

Turn Off CBS 6A lot of billboards have so much information on them that they're impossible to understand as you drive past them. Not this one.
As you can see, NABET, which is fighting wage and benefit cuts proposed by WRGB, has cranked up its PR campaign against the station. The union says to expect more of the same, possibly including anti-CBS 6 radio and cable schedules. What about advertising on broadcast TV? Placing these sort of ads on other TV station's in town can be tricky; Even though WTEN or WNYT find "Turn Off CBS 6" an appealing idea, they may be unwilling to take the business. If you know anything about TV sales, you know they have to feel pretty strongly to turn down someone's money.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Stuck a Feather in His Cap...

That's a nice-a radio show!Congratulations to Don Weeks, who was named Medium Market Personality of the Year Thursday night at the NAB's Marconi Awards. We didn't report on this earlier because we thought he'd won a macaroni award, which sounds somewhat less prestigious. My bad.

Phantom Pholly Phollow-Up

The coverage of Phantom Phriday in CBS 6's morning news was even worse than I expected.

Reporter Marci Natale appeared through the morning, waving around Phantom tickets, interviewing Phantom phans, and pumping up the event as "the biggest show ever to hit Schenectady". During the 8:25 cut-in, she was actually even wearing a Phantom hat, and saying that 80,000 tickets for the 30 or so performances wouldn't last long.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not blaming her for this sales department manufactured "news" story. Would you expect the recently hired Natale to complain about this humiliating assignment to news director Beau Duffy? Me neither. He's the one that gave this the OK, and when the sales weasels are calling the shots in your news room, you'd better go along to get along.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Leftovers

Ach Du Lieber!
After Mark Bardack's incessant barrage of press releases, I will attend Oktoberfest at the Great Escape, even though it's only September. What really caught my eye was the promise of "beer inspired events". I'm sure that my idea of beer inspired events and The Great Escape's idea of beer inspired events are not the same thing, but whatever.

You Go Girl
The Martha Stewart Apprentice proved a huge disappointment for ratings hungry NBC execs this week. Did anyone tune into see former CBS 6 morning reporter Shawn Killinger? Killinger recently told TV Guide that she wants to be "the white Oprah". Let's hope she isn't among the first to hear Stewart's version of Trump's "You're Fired", the lame catchphrase, "You just don't fit in".

Unwrapping Trojan Politics
There's a website for everything these days, so naturally someone's blogging about Collar City pols. The Troy Polloi is a sharp-tongued journal that chronicles the arcane ins and outs of the city's political scene. For the sake of comparison, it's a lot funnier than Democracy in Albany and a lot less long-winded.

You Deserve a Break Today
Tired of schlepping that camera around? Sick of the story you've been assigned? Got yourself a case of the Saturdays? Stop by Stewart's and get a $.60 sundae, all day today. You deserve it.

The Case of the Wanting Website

I always look forward to Richard Arthur's usual flurry of Friday press releases from the District Attorney's office. Yesterday, for example, we heard the tale of the coke dealers turned in by neighbors because they were making a racket. Of the noisy reprobates, DA David Soares observed, "Criminals tend to engage in anti-social behavior." Indeed, Mr. Soares, indeed.

Another release told of Beth Geisel's Monday morning court appearance. Richard Arthur notes:
There is a possibility that this Office will have something to say about the case shortly thereafter.
A possibility? It would be page one above the fold if you didn't have something to say!

Anyway, I wish the DA's office would pull its act together and get a web site up. It's really surprising that the PR minded DA has overlooked this valuable tool which would allow us to link to their releases. Who's running the IT department down there? Sol Greenberg?

Friday, September 23, 2005

Nuts About the Weather

Stevens Claims Japanese Control the Weather!Look who was in Drudge today: Former WRGB weatherman Scott Stevens, who quit his job at Pocatello, Idaho's KPVI to pursue his obsession with the climate control conspiracy. What climate control conspiracy? Stevens theorizes on his Weather Wars website that the Japanese and Russians are messing with the world's weather for economic advantage. Well all righty then.

WRGB ditched Stevens in 1995 after learning that he didn't have a meteorology degree ---even though his resume claimed he had been employed as a meteorologist, and that he was a member of the American Meteorological Society. At the time, Stevens told the TU:
"Meteorologist is a very vague term . . . and then when you get into television on top of that, it adds another whole mix into it."

Phantom Pholly

Phantom of the Opera is hitting Proctors in February for a marathon 26 day engagement. 26 days! That's a lot of Phantom!
A show like this means big advertising money, so local sales departments were throwing out promotional gimmicks to help land a bigger chunk of the buy. Among those is today's Phantom Phriday. For Phantom Phriday, CBS 6 and B95 teamed up to make an event out of tickets going on sale. The phabulously phun morning includes giveaways, food ---and live reports. Certainly there's nothing wrong with phriendly morning team Chuck and Kelly being live at Proctor's, but WRGB? Give me a break. I don't know what it costs to buy coverage in that morning newscast, but the price has been paid.

WRGB's no stranger to this sort of thing. Who could forget them whoring out their morning news to Dunkin' Donuts a few years back, with boxes of donuts and logo emblazoned coffee mugs littering the set? The line between sales and news has moved in recent years and I expect it will keep on moving. I say pfui.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Start the Presses

The TU is looking to add 66,000 square feet to their facility in Colonie to accommodate new presses, equipment that would make the process more efficient and give them a better looking product. While I find ye olde letter press charming, I can't imagine advertisers are happy with the paper's archaic technology, which limits the use of color ---and often renders the color that is used out of registration. Will pressroom jobs be lost? Maybe not. Presumably, the paper will be able to offset (get it?) a less labor intensive process by bringing in more contract printing.

Also: I had already started writing about the Business Review ignoring this story when this hit their online edition. What a cynical bastard. Shame on me!

Because That's Where the Money Is

Is it just me or does this sound like your sixth grader wrote this?
(Albany - CBS 6) - Police are still looking for the latest bank robber in Albany. A woman walked into the Key Bank at Madison and South Pearl Monday and handed the teller a note. She took off with some cash.

In the past, the Key Bank has been a popular target for crooks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Career Opportunities

John Gray checks in today with some advice for recent grads, and an account of breaking into the business that to many of you will sound very familiar. The kid from Troy who worked his way up to news anchor makes for a pretty good story.
Gray's columns in The Record show him as more a liverwurst guy than a pate' aficionado; more a WGNA listener than a WAMC member. It's kind of hard to understand why WNYT ever let him get away ---especially considering his talent for connecting with regular people. Yes, I like my anchors to be smart, but with all due respect to the late Peter Jennings, you would never have heard him talking NASCAR, like Brian Williams.

Did today's piece contain a tidbit about why he left channel 13? You be the judge:
If you love the job, the low pay won't matter. At least until you buy a house.
Again, who among us can't relate to that?

Staff Cuts on the Nines

Back in May, Time Warner announced that they were consolidating their upstate news operations ---an fact, Syracuse's 24 hour News 10 Now will actually be anchored in Albany. Such is life in the age of fiber optics. This was supposed to mean the loss of about a dozen positions in Albany, but word on the street is that many more jobs are being cut, including some reporter and photographer positions. That's an unconfirmed report, but if true, it's a troubling sign. There's only one way for Capital News 9 to do what they say they do, and that's to have boots on the ground. Here's what GM Al Marlin told Mark McGuire on 5/25:
The most important thing is the local stories we are providing to our customers will not change.
We'll see about that, won't we?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Tough Assignment

Yesterday's Strong Street fire in Schenectady presented a gut-wrenching scene of failed rescues, lost children, and emotionally distraught relatives. You have to watch yourself at events like this, because not everyone appreciates that the working press is there to do a job, just like the police and firefighters. This was the case yesterday as Gazette photographer Meredith Kaiser was punched by a bystander while shooting at the fire. She was not reported to have suffered any serious injury. Remember: When you hold up that camera, you will sometimes go from being an observer to being a target.

Voice of Authority

Joe PagliaruloDo you miss Joe Pagliarulo? Me too! If you need to hear Pags right now, go check out his demo at Voice123.com. I don't know to what extent Pagliarulo did voice over work while anchoring at union-busting CBS 6, but now that he's unshackled from the constraints of journalism, the sky's the limit ---and with a voice like that, he certainly won't have trouble finding work.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Union Busting Weasels

Turn off CBS 6: That's the rallying cry of union workers at WRGB who are on the job without a contract. I've never needed much encouragement to turn off CBS 6, but I'm not really the target of NABET's campaign.
This is still an area with a heavy union presence ---whether that gets people to skip CSI or not watch any football on Sunday remains to be seen. As for advertisers, salespeople don't like to go on a call and have the conversation be about the problems at their station.
At least one advertiser has said he's turning off CBS 6: Jerry Jennings. The mayor said he won't run any ads on WRGB until they play fair with NABET.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Utterly Eliot

We know when a man can't milk a cow and this man can't milk a cow.
That's what Assemblyman Pat Manning said about Eliot Spitzer Friday, after announcing he was joining the increasingly crowded race for governor. I'm not sure if Manning was speaking literally, but he's right: I can't imagine Eliot Spitzer milking a cow. Nor John Faso or William Weld, for that matter. Randy Daniels? Nope.
Farmers are among the smartest and most competent people I've ever known, and while there's a big difference between living on a farm and being a farmer, I can see Pat Manning milking a cow.
A long shot? Absolutely ---but the 6' 11" Manning may well be the only man in New York who can capture the imagination of New York voters.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Media Hound

Mr. Press ReleaseAttorney Don Kinsella says that both sides of the Geisel case have been advised not to try the case in the media. Of this, Albany County DA David Soares should take special note. Soares has basked in the limelight of local and national press hungry for a juicy tidbit about the case. He's seen what frequent media appearances did for the career of Jeanine Pirro ---and playing moral compass for the Capital Region is clearly a role he enjoys.

Meanwhile, after practically promising an indictment on August 24, Soares has been silent on the Porco case. Not to diminish the seriousness of the charges against Mrs. Geisel, but one could argue that the DA has his priorities backwards.

Speaking of the Geisel thing, the Business Review reported Thursday that Thomas Geisel had been promoted by Key Bank. This poses an interesting question: Should the story have included mention of his recent unwelcome notoriety? It didn't. Nor did the TU's story today. The unfortunate truth is that he is inextricably linked to the Beth Geisel saga ---and it would be valid to question whether this is the time for Key Bank to raise his already high profile.

Friday, Bloody Friday

For today's daybook:
Albany, N.Y. With their nude bodies covered in "blood" to depict the plight of animals skinned alive for their fur, PETA members will hold a "die-in" and lie silently in a pile outside a local J.Crew store on Friday.

Date: Friday, September 16
Time: 12 noon
Will the "nude activist" be there? If so, I'm in!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Labor Pains

It's WRGB's turn to be under the union spotlight, and in a town like this, that can be a very hot place.
NABET's contract with CBS 6 expired in June, and since then, the station's union employees have been working under an extension that expires this weekend. Will there be a strike? Probably not, but if you remember the last strike at WRGB, you know that a walkout would result in some fabulously bad television ---it's also unlikely that there will be a lockout by station management. Maybe NABET and WRGB management will come to terms when they meet today ---but if not expect some anti-CBS 6 activity at Saturday's Labor Parade in Albany, as well as other union PR efforts tageting the viewers and advertisers.

This n' That

From The Record:
Dear Mr. Fix-It: I have seen some strange lights in the sky over Cohoes in recent weeks. I don't know who to call to report these sightings. Can you help me? BUD, COHOES
Wow...they're taking this tabloid thing seriously, aren't they? If you'd like to ask Mr. Fix-It a question, no matter how ridiculous, leave a message at 518-270-1233.


Hanging Around
I've been told that this is up on the cork board in least two local newsrooms ---and one of them is a TV station. Be careful out there kids; I've heard stories about people getting yelled at for hanging up subversive material in the workplace. Read the whole thing here.


Ch-ch-ch-changes?
Paul Vandenburgh last week promised there were big changes coming to WROW, but I'll be darned if I can figure out what's different. For example, I tuned in Monday morning and he was still there.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Headlines and Legends

Ford to City: Drop DeadThe day will come to pass that our newsrooms are populated by people who don't remember the most famous headline ever ---but until then, we can expect the occassional homage to this masterful line, like in Tuesday's Troy Record which includes the headline, Troy to Rensselaer: Pay up!
William Brink, the former Daily News managing editor who wrote the screamer for the October 30, 1975 edition, died this Summer; His obit included this newspaper moment:
On Oct. 29, 1975, President Gerald Ford ruled out federal aid for the city to prevent an unprecedented default. Using a pencil on sheets of newsprint paper, Brink wrote, "DROP DEAD," then, above it, "FORD TO CITY."
"Terrific," said Editor Mike O'Neill, who recalled Brink yesterday as "a great newspaperman, a superb writer and editor ... with a surefire instinct for a good story or headline."
The rest, as they say, is history.

Ho Ho Ho

Prairie Ho CompanionGarrison Keillor may sound funny on the radio, but don't piss him off. That's what happened when a Twin Cities blogger started selling these t-shirts. Stupid, annoying bloggers!
We at Albany Eye always thought that parody was a protected form of speech, but apparently when you make fun of a humorist, there is a canceling effect that results in cease and desist letters. This is a physical law that has been proven by scientists.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Dropping Anchor

When is CBS 6 going to find somebody willing to sit next to Liz Bishop? In recent years the slot has looked more like an ejection seat than an anchor chair ---and there are no shortage of stories about Liz's less than sunny disposition.
Who would want that job, anyway? It may well be that the age of the anchor is over. Look at WNYT. It doesn't seem like they've suffered ill-effects from the departures of Chris Kapostasy and Ed Dague, and allowing for decling news viewership, their numbers are actually up. That's the sort of evidence that can't be good news for anybody who fronts a newscast.
So who will be WRGB's next male anchor? Someone who doesn't mind on-set chemistry that includes a dose of hydrochloric acid.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Benita Zahn, writing in the station's Gulfport Journal blog:
As evening settles in and the moon turns from gold to a burnished red and lowers in the sky, we circle our vehicles like in days of old.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

In the universe of local power couples, it doesn't get bigger than Rex Smith and Marion Roach. You all know Rex, he's the editor of that newspaper ---but as is so often the case, his better half may really may be his better half. You be the judge:

She: NPR commentator
He: Weekly gig with Alan and Lydia.

She: Writes books.
He: Writes about the weary world of newspaper editing.

She: Worked for the New York Times.
He: Worked for Newsday.

She: Flaming redhead.
He: Unruly eyebrows rivaling those of one Mr. Frank Ames of Saranac, NY.

Wow...It's like Heartburn, without all the booze and stuff, of course.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Passing the Hat

In the words of Billy Fuccillo, WAMC's Katrina fundraiser yesterday was HuuuuuuuuGE!
Their day-long radiothon raked in over $500,000 , which is an amazing testament to the station's wide reaching influence and generous (not to mention deep pocketed) supporters. They were so busy yesterday, they often dispensed with reading comments from contributors, a long-standing fund drive tradition ---and if you were listening at about 4pm, or watching on Time Warner channel 3, you were treated to Alan joining Jay Ungar and Molly Mason for a spirited version of Woody Guthrie's When That Great Ship Went Down. Nice work.

Road Trip II

WNYT's Katrina crew continues to file reports from the Gulf Coast ---and make entries to their Gulfport Journal blog, like this from Benita Zahn:
The sun rises and the day looks glorious. Perfect beach weather. Except the beach here in Gulfport is blighted. The homes along much of the coastline are simply gone. Not flattened...but gone...and the materials that made up the homes, blown to towns far away.
I don't know...Considering some of the beaches I was on this Summer, that actually sounds pretty good.
Then there's executive producer Eric Hoppel, who let some guy named "Sonny" break the RV the station borrowed:
It wasn't long after that when "Sonny" showed up. For a small fee, he was willing to empty the waste water from the RV and re-fill our fresh water tanks. I helped him empty the tanks. He helped me open the locked storage compartments on the RV. (Apologies to the Alpin Haus folks. The key is broken off inside one of the locks.)
Someone will have some explaining to do back at the home office.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Get on the Bus, Gus

Don't forget to get this one in the daybook, folks: The Bring Them Home Now bus tour rolls into town on Wednesday, and according to Mark Dunlea, Cindy Sheehan will make an appearance. With all due respect to those anemic weekly demonstrations in downtown Delmar, this should make other local Iraq war protests look like small beer.

Cold Front

Tom Mailey's been around the market for a long time, and you'd have a hard time finding anyone to say something bad about him ---unless you look in today's Inside Politics story in the TU. Schenectady County legislator Joe Suhrada is saying that Mailey isn't just making too much money ($40,000) for his part time gig with the county, but that the job is unnecessary. Says Suhrada,
"I don't want to bash the guy, (but) that's work that could be done by volunteers."
At least Suhrada didn't stoop so low as to criticize Mailey's credentials from Mississippi State's Broadcast Meteorological Program. The only ones who do that are the other meteorologists in town, who think their sheepskin smells better because it wasn't from a distance learning school.

Four More Years

From the looks of things, Jerry Jennings hasn't been spreading around much of his $400,000 campaign warchest, at least not on local TV or radio. And why should he? Archie Goodbee's campaign has turned out to be a huge disappointment, with Goodbee seeming more like the invisible man than the upstart challenger. Since you're not likely to see the Jennings TV spots played anywhere, you can check them out at his web site. Textbook stuff to be sure, but what's with the annoying and unnecessary time-lapse photography? Maybe if Archie Goodbee showed time lapse of city neighborhoods getting worse, we'd actually have something interesting to report on primary day.

Freedom Toast

If you love French toast the way I love French toast, you'll be delighted to hear that IHOP has oficially opened their French Toast Festival. Well here's a flash, friends: French toast isn't actually French ---it comes from Albany. Maybe I'm the only one who didn't know this. As usual, local writer and historian Don Rittner has more.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Road Trip

WNYT has dispatched Benita Zahn, along with a photographer and producer, to the Gulf Coast for a close-up look at the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. They travelled south in a caravan that included a crew from Rochester sister station WHEC, a satelite truck, and an RV crammed with botteled water, food, and supplies. The crew will be filing reports from in and around Gulfport, Mississippi, which has become a major jumping off point for media covering the story; you can keep up with the latest on their trip in a blog posted on the stations website.

Pause for the Cause

When it comes to raising money, WAMC really knows how to rally the troops; Tomorrow the station turns its attention to Hurricane Katrina, with a special one-day radiothon to aid disaster relief. Since there are limits the type of fundraising the station can do, the effort required special dispensation from the FCC. Tune in and give it up ---or switch to Time Warner channel 3, where you can donate directly if you have digital cable.

Speaking of the FCC...

In order to aid relief efforts, the regulatory body has seized the phone number 1-800-RED CROSS from a company they claim was squatting on the sequence in hopes of an big payoff.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Bring Me the Head of Ted Williams

Help meeeeee...I tend to think if an artist calls it art, then it's art. This made for some lively discussion when I visited MASS MoCA with the wife this Summer, but even among all the odd stuff in the old factory, we saw nothing as unusual as the creepy faux death mask of Ted Williams on display at a Chelsea's First Street Gallery. The Daniel Edwards exhibit, which is cheekily titled, The Ted Williams Memorial Display with Death Mask from The Ben Affleck 2004 World Series Collection, is on display until October 1; Pair a visit to the gallery with a ballgame and you've got yourself a perfect day.

Nine Things I Hate About You

If TV news is phony and manipulative, cable news is phony and manipulative to the tenth power. That said, from the required reading department comes Jack Shafer's scathing critique of Katrina coverage on cable news. The 24 hour channels have yanked out all the stops in reporting this unprecedented story, including all the tricks in the book for creating artificial drama ---as if this situation really needs it.

Hot Stuff

Lick me...I mean LIKE me!Who would have figured that one of America's most polarizing media figures is Rachael Ray? The spunky girl from the Adirondacks has become an ubiquitous presence on cable ---but not everyone loves the Food TV star, as evidenced by the plainly named blog, Rachael Ray Sucks. For the most part, the posts at RSS aren't very clever; After all, It's easy to bash someone like the terminally upbeat Ray, who I've found delightful since I first saw her cooking in my local Price Chopper.
On the other end of the spectrum are the people who can't get enough of her. For a taste of that, there's Dirty Minute Meals, a strange and exhaustive list of double entendre and vaguely sexual things Ray has said during various shows ---and you don't have to look far to find her saucy spread from FHM. Some enterprising folks even came up with a Rachael Ray drinking game, based on some of her most frequently repeated phrases. Take my word for it: Don't try this on a school night.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Holy Flying Water Tower!

From the newly tabloid sized Troy Record:
With the landmark, checker-board-painted Latham water tower hovering on the horizon, members of New York Army National Guard Monday pitched in to help fill the gaping cargo hold of the New York Air National Guard C-5A Galaxy transport at the east end of the runway of Albany International Airport.
If you think that the hurricane is big news, how about that levitating water tank? I would bet RPI has something to do with this...

We Want Fred

We recently noted the dubious value of Fox 23 podcasting their newscasts; This left one of our readers wondering why we can't get something useful as a download, namely Fred Dicker's daily show on WROW.
Dicker's 10am program from the Capitol is must-listen radio in some circles, and let's face it: 10am isn't exactly the most convenient time for everyone. It's puzzling that WROW hasn't done this already. Offering the show as a download would give some extra value to advertisers ---and allow us all to hear such priceless moments as the Dicker v. Farrell brouhaha whenever we get the itch for some interesting radio.

Busted

Maybe you remember seeing Mai Shiozaki doing mornings at WTEN last year; After she vanished, we figured she was on to bigger and better things, being slick and attractive and all. Well, not exactly.
Shiozaki was reportedly arrested for shoplifting from a chic North Shore boutique in August. It sounds like the case was given the Massachusetts equivalent of an ACOD ---and according to police, Shiozaki explained she needed the outfit for some upcoming job interviews. To me, this gives her sort of a Winona Ryder kind of allure, but I'm not sure everyone will see it that way.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Private Dick

I don't get the here! network. I mean, I get it -here! calls itself America's first gay television network- I'm just not willing to fork over the $300 a month Time Warner would probably want for full access to the cable universe. Anyway, here! kicked off a series of private eye movies recently, based on the Albany detective of Richard Stevenson's Don Strachey novels. Third Man Out, centers around the murder of a gay activist who'd been outing politicos at the Capitol; Strachey, no doubt with inside info from his assembly aide partner, sets out to sift through the corrupt halls of the LOB. Ironweed it ain't.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

On Holiday

Albany Eye is enjoying a long weekend at an undisclosed location. We'll be back on Monday 9/5. Some of us have to work on Labor Day, right?