Of course, it would have to be an extremely messed up clock without a concept of time, but alas... It's here and I'm back. What's happened since the pause?
News 2 Houston is now Local 2.
I was in Lufkin the first night of the whole "changeover" but I do have to say something about it. For whatever reason, I actually feel better. Sure the content isn't all that great, and the graphics still are a bit much, but it's a tad comforting to know that it's no longer News 2 Houston. My cap is now a collector's item, I suppose. Unfortunately, we didn't see any dead weight leave the studios (not really expecting that either) with the new change.
Well, that's a bit of a story. The people who brought us the "NewsCenter" and "News 2 Houston" itself had started a change at a number of their stations. Post-Newsweek's ops in Detroit (WDIV), Orlando (WKMG) and Miami (WPLG) for example were among the first to show the "Local" concept. In our situation, we still have the same stupid "set" that's based on the open concept of so long ago and these god-awful promos. You know the ones I'm talking about. They all start with one of the anchors and only their first name as if we've always been their friends, and from there it leads to what exactly "local" means to them. In essence, it's all rehashed.
And no, I don't like the idea of "Radar" the weather dog. It's not really that cute or gimmicky. Should I care that Bill Balleza built his doghouse? At least that's one thing he seems to be able to do correctly...
And the Weather Garden is an interesting concept too. I know it's been around for a while, but I didn't realize it was in other cities. I saw a version on Little Rock's CBS affiliate, KTHV. Sad thing is, they had a better execution on how to shoot it, even at night. They're pretty good, and in ways they remind me of KPRC, just if they had gone a better way years ago.
End of that bit.
Well, what else do we have?
A bit more of a tirade on local programming, perhaps?
You gots it.
I've scoured a number of tapes from the mid-80's to today and you know what I'm most apalled at? The lack of local programming on our network affiliates. Sure there are a few bright rays about, but in essence, it's all but dead today. The only reason you see so much news these days is the reason that it happens to be much cheaper to produce those shows and rake in the money soon after through Ad revenue and all the other fun ways of profiteering. Why else would KRIV have 4 hours of morning news (5-9) AM? It's a trend that's been passing through major markets for the last few years and finally made it's way here. I do think that their two tickers are a bit much. This is ironic, in the sense that when they promoted the AM news only a year or two ago (right before the addition of another hour) there was one promo where the advertising department was trying to put together... A Promo! One of the suggestions was for tickers to run on all sides of the screen at all times. Baby steps, it seems, this is.
Scanning through tapes, I saw a bit of nostalgia pass by... Good Morning Houston. Why isn't that back on the air again?
For a period (1985-1991), it was the #1 Local Morning Show in the country, and captured 40% of the viewing audience at 9AM. Nothing comes anywhere near close to that today, anywhere. Enough people have stories, enough events happen, enough advice and products can be promoted and hawked and people can call in... Everybody wins. We know why that show failed in the end though. It stopped covering local happenings and focused more on personal and health issues. It was gone in 1993. Debra(orah, if you watch 11) Duncan came about in '98 and tried to strike it up in a similar vein, but that only lasted for so long, as it was canned in 2002. The newer set survives today, though as the set for Houston Texans Coverage.
And though nobody's really that sure where Jan Glenn is these days, Don Nelson is obviously in front of the camera today. Lisa Tripani (91-93 Host, Reporter, Anchor) is still at the station as well, though she retired from the hosting and news department and currently works on the business end of things.
Anybody ever watch our spanish stations? Not necessarily the ones with local news, but just in general.
I think we have more than any single market in the country. I believe it's about 5 now.
I actually grew up watching these guys, 45 and 48 (now 47) anyway.
Take a look at KTMD in 1993. For a while I wanted to either work for them or KXLN, the station with the superior news/everything product. Why do I say that? This was about the time that the stations both started looking more professional. KXLN had (and still does have) very good production values, with one of the better looking operations in town, also poised to move to their new building in the Galleria area in the not to distant future. It's a bunch of steps up from their current location in an office park off Kirby Drive. KTMD is still in the same building it has been since going on-air in 1988 which is actually not that far from KHWB's studios off Westpark and on Stoney Brook.
It's the KZJL's you have to look out for. They don't have any local news product, but most of their programming is local. A few months ago, when I was around Dallas, I saw that their owners (Liberman Broadcasting) seem to have picked up another station, KMPX. Formerly one of Daystar's (Religious Net) flagships, the station is something I don't think I'd see any kind of minister ever watch. They too have a version of "La Raza TV" which is... you guessed it. Relatively clean, dirty programming, replete with ass shaking, and rather interesting "humor". I'm not a prude or anything by a decent stretch of the imagination, but everything needs a limit.
Long enough? Maybe more later...