September 24th, 2001
ONE WAY TO GET RID OF FREEWAY CHASE MANIA: The federal government's
continuing restrictions on aircraft flights mean that everyone's
television news choppers remain grounded. It's frustrating
for stations, but some producers and writers privately say
they don't mind the fact that they don't have to deal with
getting a show with "real" news content blown out for an often
GISELLE'S BACK: Well, coming back, anyway. Giselle Fernandez
has been named the new co-anchor of the KTLA/Los Angeles "Morning
News". Early in her career, she was a weekend anchor for the
Tribune station (before it was owned by Tribune!) Her caeer
includes stints at some network owned television stations,
national magazine shows, and her own production company. Fernandez
takes over the post vacated by original KTLA Morning News
co-anchor Barbara Beck, who parted company with the station
after a decade at the pioneer morning show.
CROSSTOWN MOVE? It's been rumored for months. Now, there are
new reports Nancy Bauer-Gonzales will be the new news director
at KCAL-TV/Los Angeles. Bauer was recently news director at
KNBC, a station that has been swept up by a whirlwind of changes
since getting a new general manager. The move would certainly
give her more time with her family...her husband, Dave Gonzales,
is a KCAL anchor.
MINI-EDITORIAL COMMENT: We might take a lesson from the BBC
or ITV during the crisis America is facing. We've reduced
our international news coverage to a handful of 15 second
voiceovers in most local newscasts...and then, usually only
if there's incredible video. Take a moment to watch a BBC
newscast on BBC America, or your local PBS station which runs
British newscasts. They cover world news every day...and with
2-3 minute packages to boot. During a visit to Great Britain
about a month ago, it reminded me how far our newscast have
"strayed" from the original objective of television newscasts,
and how competition continues to send them further out of
control. There is life outside of our ADI's!
A STAGGERING WEEK: "The Buzz" focuses on news, and not opinions.
I'm going to veer off course for a moment though, to talk
about what an incredible job many in our profession did this
week. The cooperation was incredible, and to see networks
sharing feeds, and videotape what America needed to come first
was wonderful. In Southern California, we saw major radio
chains like Clear Channel and Infinity dumping hundreds of
thousands of commercials, and turning their music stations
into all-news outlets for the day. CBS simulcast its news
on MTV, VH1, and TNN. The Food Network and Home & Garden Networks
signed off the air, out of respect for the victims, and their
families. And, the all-sports radio and cable networks put
things in perspective, with talk show hosts becoming instant
newscasters. It was bumpy at times. We got stuff wrong. But,
we got a lot right, and we were calm in doing it. When American
needed us, we came through....and are still doing it.
RTNDA CANCELLED: Many news managers were among those stranded
by the shutdown of America's air traffic system, a shutdown
that couldn't have come at a worse time for them. RTNDA officially
cancelled its 2001 convention, which had been expecting about
GETTING THE SIGNAL OUT: It's a minor problem compared to the
loss of life, but the destruction of the World Trade Center
created a major problem for many New York City broadcasters.
The towers were home to many TV and radio station transmitters.
WABC-TV and WNBC-TV were knocked off the air, and had to turn
to UHF stations to get their signals out. In the video of
the towers, and the destruction, you can see the television
OWNERSHIP APPEAL: One non-attack related story...Some major
television station group owners are in a courtroom battle
with the Federal Communications Commission over ownership
limits. The FCC currently limits owners from owning stations
which reach more than 35% of the nation's total audience.
The idea is to promote diversity, and prevent monopolies.
But, most broadcasters (except for ABC) argue that the rules
are outdated, and that competition is driven by the marketplace.
Attornies for the broadcasters challenging the rules called
them "arbitrary". Viacom and Fox have a special interest in
seeing the rules repealed, because after recent deals, the
existing rules would require them to divest some of the properties
they now own.
FINALLY, congratulations and our best to Peter Thorne. The
KCOP reporter can now be seen on WPIX-TV 11 -- the WB station
in New York. Says Peter: "I'm very excited at making this
market leap and launching this new phase of my television
news career." Thorne will be a general assignment reporter
and backup anchor for the station's Emmy Award winning morning
newscast. Good Luck Peter!!!
WHO SAYS DOT COMS ARE DEAD? The Tribune Company, and newspaper
publisher Knight-Ridder are buying online job service Headhunter.net
for a reported $200 million dollars. The two companies are
already operating a joint online business, CareerBuilder Incorporated.
The two sites get an estimated six million visits a month.
They're taking on Monster.com, which reports 26 million visits
VICTORY FOR VERONICA: Veronica Villafane is the new Region
Eight Director for the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
She'll represent six states, including California. Veronica
is a freelance reporter for KCOP (UPN 13)/Los Angeles. She
says her main focus will be to increase membership, expand
the group's job bank, and organize workshops.
NEW L.A. TELEVISION STATION: There's a new television station
in Los Angeles. It's Spanish-language KAZA-TV, Channel 54.
The station is part of the new Aztec America network, which
is a joint operation involving Television Azteca, Mexico's
second largest broadcaster...and Pappas Telecasting, which
owns a chain of English-language stations in the U.S. TV Azteca
is supplying KAZA's programming. The station has studios in
Glendale, and its transmitter is on Mt. Wilson, along with
those of the major Los Angeles stations. The intent of the
new network is to take on giants Univision and Telemundo.
Univision is planning to launch a second network next year,
using stations it bought from the USA Networks.
AOL/TIME WARNER GETTING BIGGER? AOL/Time Warner is saying
"no comment" to to reports it's bidding for Spanish-language
network Telemundo Communications Group. Telemundo is owned
by Sony and Liberty Media. AOL, General Electric's NBC, Viacom
and Hispanic Broadcasting have signed confidentiality agreements
allowing access to financial information in preparation for
making a bid analysts say could exceed $3 billion for the
Telemundo network and TV stations.
THE PATTER OF PITTA IS BACK: KTVU/Oakland "Mornings On 2"
Reporter Mark Pitta is back on the job, after a self-imposed
vacation. He told a San Francisco newspaper in mid-August
that he was taking a vacation, because he was burned out from
the early-morning shift.
September 3rd, 2001
MORE FIREWORKS AT KNBC: News Director Nancy Bauer Gonzales
officially leaves the station today (August 31) after three
years as the top newzie, and a dozen years at the station.
The departure is officially described as "mutual". It's been
a rocky year for KNBC, with a major shakeup underway that's
included everyone from writers to anchors.
CBS TO THE RESCUE? The clock is ticking for OCN, the Orange
County NewsChannel, which owner Adelphia says it will shut
down in less than a week. Some prospective buyers have been
looking over the books, including the Orange County Register.
This past week, a top CBS News official toured the cable channel's
Santa Ana facilities. OCN and KCBS-TV/Los Angeles have a long
standing trade deal, with OCN supplying regular headline segments
for KCBS's newscasts.
BOSS GETS HONORED: Hal Eisner, as in Hal Eisner.com, is elected
to the Board of Governors of the Academy of Television Arts
and Sciences representing the Los Angeles Area Peer Group.
It's Hal's third term on the board. He's going to be busy,
because he's the executive producer of L.A.'s annual Emmy
awards, is on the APTRA and RTNA boards, and also supervises
the APTRA Academy for aspiring journalists.
HE CAN KEEP HIS SWIMSUIT: Dan Shadwell moves from one CBS-TV
affiliate to another in California. The KCOY/Santa Maria anchor/reporter
is headed to KFMB/San Diego.
PACK THAT COAT: Weathercaster Angela Buckman moves from KCRA-TV/Sacramento
to WISH-TV/Indianapolis. She'll anchor the 5, 5;30, and 11
p.m. newscasts at her new TV home.
FOX 40 PICKS UP A SPORTSCASTER: Anthony Amey joins KTXL-TV/Sacramento
from WPMI/Mobile, Alabama.