Things to do in Sacramento and Beyond

The Bee's guide to events, activities, arts and entertainment


By Sam McManis
smcmanis@sacbee.com

Local hiking expert Jordan Summers has just released a new, expanded edition of "60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Sacramento," an omnibus for those wanting to hit the trails close to home.

The updated guide, published by Menasha Ridge Press, and available at local bookstores and online, includes hikes in Davis, Roseville and more paths in Auburn.

Summers, who lives in Elk Grove, is a graduate of the National Outdoor Leadership School Wilderness Outdoor Educator program, a Leave No Trace Trainer, and a NOLS-Wilderness Medicine Institute certified Wilderness First Responder.

Even if it's not raining, outdoors enthusiasts will don hip waders Thursday through Sunday and head to Cal Expo for the annual International Sportsman's Exposition, which features products, demonstrations and contests galore.

Highlights include the dog dock jumping contest and sports dog agility competition, as well as a casting for accuracy contest for anglers. Among the display highlights is the Eastman Trophy Deer Display, and seminars include a bass tank demonstration from professional bass fishermen and tips about fishing for Delta Stripers.

Cost is $15 per day; kids 15 and under are free. Parking is $10. Thursday and Friday, the expo goes from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday's hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information, go to www.sportsexpos.com.

--Sam McManis

By Sam McManis

smcmanis@sacbee.com

Led by First Lady Michelle Obama, a group of national fitness organizations will attend to a set a world record for "most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period" to promote National Child Heath Day on Oct. 11-12.

Sacramento will be one of the regional sites where jumping jackers will gather and perform the exercise. People are encouraged to convene at the State Capitol steps at noon on Oct. 11 for Sacramento's effort, sponsored by California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance. Other jumping-jack venues in California will be Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, at the Hollywood sign, Universal City in Los Angeles and the Jamba Juice corporate headquarters in Emeryville.

Organizers are soliciting requests from schools and organizations throughout California to assemble additional groups of jumping jacks participants on Oct. 11. To register, email reception@cahperd.org.

The effort also will go international, via satellite. Organizers says they've set up events in every state as well as in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, Trinidad, Bermuda and Puerto Rico.

Call The Bee's Sam McManis, (916) 321-1145.

By Sam McManis

smcmanis@sacbee.com

The clock is ticking for runners debating whether to sign up for December's California International Marathon, which wends its way from Folsom to the steps of the State Capitol.

Open registration ends Oct. 1 at 11:59 p.m. After that, registration will remain open an additional two weeks only for runners who have achieved certain time standards in previous marathons -- standards on a par with Boston Marathon qualifying. If the maximum field of 7,500 runners has not been reached by Oct. 15, open registration will resume until the cap has been reached.

For more information and to view the time standards (based on age and gender), click here.

By Sam McManis

smcmanis@sacbee.com

The weekly free Yoga in the Park session will take on special meaning this Saturday at Sacramento's McKinley Park, as practioners will complete all 108 sun salutations for charity.

Called "extreme" yoga by organizers, the event promises to be one of the largest yoga classes ever in Sacramento, said organizer Gina Garcia. Starting at 9 a.m., participants will complete the two- to three-hour practice to raise funds for and awarenes of the Africa Yoga Project, a nonprofit spreading yoga and its nonviolent principles in Kenya. The Sacramento event is part of a national "Yoga Aid" project.

Last year's "Yoga Aid" event attracted 250 people to McKinley Park and raised $13,000 for the organization, Garcia said.

For more information, click here.

Not sure on what to do with dear ol' dad this Father's Day? It's Sunday, by the way, so it's time for a plan.

There's an array of activities, events and offers that can help make this Father's Day one to remember. Feel free to steal these ideas, which have been categorized interests, and adapt them to suit your father of honor's style and taste.

Hungry Dad: That old saying about the way to a man's heart being through his stomach? Pretty much true. So it makes sense to make or take dad out to a great meal Sunday. For those who want to grill up a great meal, head to Ikeda's California Country Market in Auburn or Davis and pick up one of their marinated tri-tips. Add some fresh vegetables and whatever you do, don't forget to grab one of their fabulous fruit pies.

By Sam McManis
smcmanis@sacbee.com

Now that the stormy weather seemingly is behind us in the Sacramento area, sailing season can commence. And the Lake Washington Sailing Club in West Sacramento is kicking things off with "Sail a Small Boat Day."

Under the helm of experienced sailors in the club, novice land-lovers on April 23 can experience what it's like to sail Lake Washington. The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the club off of Industrial Boulevard. Life jackets will be provided.

By Sam McManis

smcmanis@sacbee.com

Befitting its snarky point-of-view, the monthly political publication "Humor Times" will celebrate its 20th anniversary on April 22 with a variety show headlined by satirist Will Durst.

Durst, best known as a stand-up comic, writes a regular column for the Sacramento-based magazine. He will play ringmaster on a bill that includes the 1940s-influenced vocal group "Sister Swing," a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, a magician and a sketch comedy troupe. The event will be co-sponsored by Access Sacramento, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Tickets for the show, scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Coloma Community Center Auditorium, 4623 T St. in Sacramento, cost $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.HumorTimes.com. For further information, call (916) 456-8600.

Former world weightlifting champions Jerzy and Aniela Gregorek will make three appearances in the Sacramento area next weekend to promote their new fitness book, "The Happy Body: The Simple Science of Nutrition, Exercise and Relaxation." The book is geared toward people over age 50 seeking to maintain a toned, active body.

On Saturday, Sept. 11, the Gregoreks will read from and sign their book, available at www.thehappybody.com, at 6 p.m. at the Borders in Elk Grove (7415 Laguna Blvd.). On Sunday, Sept. 12, they will make two appearances: at noon at the Borders in Folsom (2765 E. Bidwell St.) and at 4 p.m. at the Avid Reader Bookstore in Davis (617 Second St.).

Since coming to the United States from Poland in 1986, the couple have combined to win 10 world weightlifting titles -- six for Aniela and four for Jerzy. They also are head coaches of the UCLA weightlifting team, a club sport at the university.

-- Sam McManis
smcmanis@sacbee.com

Are you ready for your 15 minutes of fame? Have you landed one of the guaranteed 200 registered slots for the Aug. 17 "American Idol" auditions  at Arden Fair Mall? Would you like to have your quest for singing celebrity documented in The Bee?

If you answered "yes" to all three questions, The Bee would like to talk to you for an upcoming story about the tryouts for the popular singing competition. If your interested, contact staff writer Sam McManis at (916) 321-1145 or smcmanis@sacbee.com.


The Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure," the annual Mother's Day 5K to support breast-cancer research, is known for its colorful T-shirts awarded to participants.

In a new twist, the public is able to vote on the shirt's design, raising even more money for the nonprofit organization. Now through Nov. 8, those logging on to komen.org/raceshirt can vote on the design online for a $5 donation. The design that garners the most donations will be used for the 2010 Komen "Race for the Cure," which last May drew 20,000 participants in Sacramento.

Patti Teale, co-race chair in Sacramento, says that 75 percent of the funds raised through the T-shirt selection promotion will be used in the Sacramento area for breast-cancer programs and screening.

Registration for the race itself, to be held on May 8, begins in February.


The Bravo network's resident workout diva, Jackie Warner, will bring her pitch to the Arden Hills Resort Club & Spa on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Warner, host of the reality series "Work Out," will answer all of your fitness questions in an hour-long presentation.
But, wait: There's more.
Warner's appearance is only part of a veritable fitnesspalooza at Arden Hills on Saturday. According to the resort's Web site, there also will be "yoga and body boot camp sessions, a jump rope demonstration, a pampering 'Beauty Zone' with hair and make-up applications, nutritious food sampling, and to top it off, a 'Grill Off' competition where guests compete in their quest to cook up the best "alternative to the traditional cheeseburger" beginning at 2:30 p.m."
The fun begins at 10 a.m. at the resort (1220 Arden Hills Lane, Sacramento) and ends at 4 p.m. But Warner will only press the flesh between 1-2 p.m.

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We knew all along that Taryn Winter Brill was too good to stay in a local market for long.

So it should come as no surprise that Brill, one of the only reasons to tune into Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento," has landed a national TV gig barely two months after leaving our fair city.

She starts Thursday as an entertainment reporter for ABC's "Good Morning America" (7-9 a.m. on Channel 10). Brill will do live and taped segments.

And, we hear, she will keep her tresses curly.

Blogger Cool DMZ at the snark-saturated Sacrag.com apparently made a horrible mistake at the video store the other day: He believed Mark S. Allen and watched one of the movies he endorsed.

"Good Day Sacramento's" Allen, one of the nation's most, uh, accomplished blurbmeisters, has a typically bombastic quote on the cover of the "August Rush" DVD: "“Your heart will be singing and your spirit will soar!”

DMZ, after watching the hideous movie, wrote: "Replace heart with bowels, and spirit with desire to physically damage your television, and you got yourself a quote."

Read all of Cool DMZ's blog post, which we think is much more entertaining than "August Rush," here.

Proving that its classic "Cat Stuck in a Tree" exclusive wasn't a fluke, Channel 3 now is documenting the saving of magpies in trees.

Obviously, those KCRA newshounds will not rest until all varmints are out of every tree in town.

Enjoy the video.

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We reported a few weeks ago that Dan Adams, News10's intrepid VJ (video journalist), would be retiring March 28. Hey, that's this Friday.

In preparation for his signoff, Adams has posted this farewell blog post on News10's Web site. It's heartfelt, but not maudlin - just like Adams.

He talks about the, ahem, glory days when he started at News10, working out of a "closet-size room" at a medical/dental building in Stockton as the station's bureau chief. And Adams also explains how he is able to retire at age 55: good financial planning.

A journalist who saves money? Who woulda thunk it.

March 24, 2008
Stop ... what?

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Fox40's competent and thorough reporter Mike Bond was doing a live report Sunday night from the scene of a candlelight vigil in Del Paso Heights on the one-year anniversary of a seemingly random killing.

As Bond was talking about how the police are hoping someone would come forward with information about the killing of Jelisa Office outside a house party last year, the photographer scanned the vigil crowd and hit upon a man wearing this T-shirt emblazoned in a stop-sign design: "Stop Snitching."

Kind of illustrates, don't you think, how difficult the police's job will be trying to get information on this case.

UPDATE, 12:40 p.m.: Your, uh, incompetent and shallow 21Q correspondent got it wrong. Reporter Mike Bond never mentioned that police are still looking for a gunman in the killing, but Bond also never mentions that anyone's in custody. We just assumed the killer was still at large. In fact, The Bee reported last April that a 16-year-old was arrested in the case. So, apparently, someone didn't "stop snitching" soon enough.

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It's rare for local news radio - or, heck, local TV, too - to step off the crime-politics-Britney hamster wheel of coverage and give us an-indepth arts story. So we have to give kudos to KXJZ (90.9 FM), Sacramento's NPR affiliate, for doing just that.

Paul Conley this morning aired a lengthy interview with jazz violinist Regina Carter that would be interesting even to those who think Jean-Luc Ponty is the goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Included: this anecdote about Carter's disbelief at being awarded a half-million-dollar MacArthur "genius" grant - a big deal in the arts world.

"First when he called, I actually said, ‘You know, I’m sorry, I can’t give any money right now, maybe in a couple of months.’ I thought they were calling for money. He says, ‘No, no, we’re actually calling because you’ve been nominated and we’re giving you, you know, this amount of money.’ And I said ‘Who is this?’ And he says ‘No, you obviously have never heard of the MacArthur Foundation.’ I said ‘I have, but why would you be calling me?’ And he explained the whole thing again. I said give me your name and your number and I said I’ll call you back.

Carter logged onto the MacArthur Web site, confirmed the caller’s identity and quickly called back.

“And I remember when I hung up, I just sat there for a long time stunned, staring out the living room window.”

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Our Bee blogging brethren (hey, try saying that three times fast) at Capitol Alert have followed up on the Channel 13 ethnic-slur controversy regarding graphics of legislator Don Perata (pictured) as a mafia figure.

Read the post here.

Your humble local media writer isn't the only one out there whose eyebrows (and ire) are routinely raised by the tabloid nature, and just plain insensitive reporting style, of Channel 13.

Our sister blog, Capitol Alert, today reports that Channel 13's stunt of showing a graphic of Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata as an apparent Mafia leader, pointing a gun skyward, has angered Italian Americans.

The anchor who delivered the story?

Yup, you guessed it: Chris Burrous.

Check out Bee staff writer Jim Sanders' blog item here.

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We are more than a week into the Eliot Spitzer story, and late-night comedians and editorial cartoonists are starting to run out of material.

But, fear not, you Spitzer wags.

Advertising and entrepreneurs have stepped forth to keep the story in our collective consciousness.

Here's a shameless plug preview of what you'll see in Thursday's Ad Hawk feature in The Bee.

Above is the Virgin Mobile cell phone ad featuring the philandering New York Guv. And below is an ad for Balvine Single Malt Scotch and the newly minted "Spitzer 9" baseball-style T-shirt available on shirtaday.com.

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Audrey Farrington, who for nine years served as vice president and general manager of Fox40 (KTXL), announced to the staff today that she will leave her position in two weeks.

Farrington declined to be interviewed, but sent a statement to The Bee via e-mail.

"It's my decision," she wrote. "I'm proud of what we have accomplished during my tenure and I leave a terrific team in place. I wish everyone well moving forward."

She did not detail her future plans.

The Tribune company, Fox40's owner, did not make Ed Wilson, president of Tribune Broadcasting, available to discuss the specifics of Farrington's departure or to talk about when a replacement for her will be named.

But Wilson, through a spokesman, released a statement of his own: "Over the last few weeks, Audrey's thought a lot about her role at KTXL-TV and come to the conclusion that she wants to resign from her duties as general manager. She's been with the station as GM since 1999 and, before that, spent 10 years there as director of programming and creative services. Her commitment to the station was unquestionable and we wish her the best."

Farrington has worked for KTXL for nearly 20 years, including 10 as the station's program director and creative services and promotions director. For two years, she was the director of programming at KTLA in Los Angeles, but returned in 1999 when Mike Fisher resigned as the station's general manager.

Station sources say Farrington's departure was not related to the recent takeover of the Tribune company by flamboyant billionaire Sam Zell, who visited the Fox40 newsroom about a month ago. In recent months, Fox40 has added reporters for its 10 p.m. newcast, hired a morning meteorologist and revamped its Website to feature videos.

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We knew it was coming, this being Holy Week and all.

Fox40 recently aired a story about a Citrus Heights man, Manny Duenas, who claims to have found an image of the Virgin Mary in a palm tree branch (see photo above) that he was trimming. "When I saw it, I had the goose bumps and I (was thinking), let me share this with my family."

He also shared it with the media.

Not to ruin reporter Jaime Soriano's hopes for an Emmy for this "report," but I just don't see the image in the branch.

What this does show is that local TV news eats up this kind of story.

We've had News10 telling us about the Virgin Mary in a muffin pan; Fox40 finding Jesus on a Lodi fence post; Fox40 finding Jesus and Mary on a pancake, and Channel 13 on a Yuba County woman who saw the face of Jesus burned into the wallpaper after a house fire.

Maybe I'm just too skeptical. Here's a gallery. Decide for yourself:

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March 17, 2008
We're rolling now

Look to your right. Yeah, over there. See it?

21Q finally - finally! - has posted its blog roll (actually dubbed "Links to Check Out," because not all of the links are blogs).

These are links that the 21Q Five often visit. Do not consider it an endorsement of the viewpoints expressed on these sites. They are just thought-provoking and deal with the same issues we chew over here.

We've also added easy buttons for you to share 21Q with your friends and enemies.

Enough of the self-promotion.

Now, back to the snark.

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Who says our favorite local non-mainstream media blog doesn't deal in reportage? Sacrag.com posted this "investigative" piece, blowing the lid off something I've been wondering each time I order a turkey and avocado sub (see photo) at Togo's.

Read the scoop here.

Lesson learned: Always say your order is to-go.

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He's Will Frampton (pictured), hired three weeks ago to replace Monika Diaz (now in Dallas). He's the first new full-time reporter News10 has hired in nearly three years.

News10 plucked him from a sister Gannett-owned station, WLTX in Columbia, S.C. A native son of the state, Frampton retains a charming Southern accent - but I'm sure consultants will tell him to lose that, post haste.

While at WLTX, Frampton spent three weeks embedded with the 218th Brigade Combat Team in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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After helping guide the post-Steve Charlier Channel 13 through the February sweeps as interim news director, Cameryn Beck (pictured) was appointed to the permanent position on Tuesday.

Bruno Cohen, president of channels 13 and 31, says Beck proved herself during the stresses of sweeps month and that she's gained the confidence of the staff. Beck, who came to CBS13 from Channel 3 in late 2005, had been the executive producer of Channel 13's news.

"She's a really charismatic leader - positive, upbeat and treats people with respect," Cohen says. "She makes employees want to root for her to do well and make the broadcast better."

Indeed, Beck may help Channel 13 heal from its PCSD - Post-Charlier Stress Disorder. Under Charlier's blustery leadership, Channel 13 changed almost its entire reporting lineup and fostered much rumbling in the rank and file. Charlier left Channel 13 in late January to join a start-up TV firm in the Midwest.

"Cameryn is a very collaborative person," Cohen says.

Here's the memo Cohen sent to staffers today:

It is my pleasure to announce the appointment of Cameryn Beck as News Director of CBS13 (KOVR). Cameryn joined us in August 2005 as executive news producer and was promoted in August 2007 to assistant news director. During the last month she has ably served as interim news director. I am continually impressed by her journalistic judgment, her innovative approach to newscast production and development and her charismatic, fair-minded leadership. It's particularly rewarding to be able to promote a very deserving member of our own organization - and to place a Sacramento native with thorough knowledge of the coverage area and deep roots in the community - into such an important position. Brent Baader will continue in his role as news director for "Good Day Sacramento" on CW31. Brent and Cameryn will both report to me. Please join me in congratulating Cameryn on her promotion and in providing her and Brent with your complete support. - Bruno

By day, Erik Candiani works as a Channel 13 creative services guy who makes those wacky 30-second promos.

By night, he's a budding filmmaker trying his hand at TV advertising. He entered a user-generated commercial contest sponsored by Tide - featuring the talking "spot" the company used in its Super Bowl ad.

This week, Candiani learned his ad is one of 10 finalists. Watch it on YouTube (above), but to vote thumbs up or down for Candiani, you must be a registered YouTube user.

His commercial is called "The Date," and it features local actors Brian Rife and Teri Flores. It was shot at Awful Annie's restuarant in Lincoln.

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Dave Walker and KCRA co-anchor/wife Lois Hart

Following up on our posting Monday about outrageous local TV news "teasers," reader Laura Breedlove passes along this anecdote:

A handful of friends were over for a regular Monday-night viewing of "Heroes" (pre-strike, of course), and we tended to mute the commercials to try and analyze what just occurred in the story. While the volume was muted, Dave Walker appeared on screen, “teasing” the 11 o’clock news. His headline: “Too Sexy?” No idea what story was being teased. But the headline lives with us for eternity. We all thought to ourselves: Yes Dave, yes you are.

Sacramento's only "classic" oldies station, K-HITS (92.1 FM), has been sold by longtime owner First Broadcasting of Dallas to Results Radio, which owns and operates 11 radio stations in Northern California.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, and it is expected to be finalized by the Federal Communications Commission within a few months.

K-HITS, which officially still carries the call letters KCCL, was the fourth format in as many years tried by First Broadcasting to improve ratings. The station had previously tried country music, a "Bob" (play anything) format, '80s rock and, since January of 2007, oldies from the '60s to '80s.

In the most recent Arbitron ratings survey, KCCL finished 22nd out of 31 Sacramento stations in the 12-plus demographic with a 1.3 rating.

Jack Fritz, owner of Results Radio, was unavailable for comment Tuesday. But Barry Cooper, the chief financial officer, says from his Santa Rosa office that the company is committed to improving the station.

Cooper also says there are no immediate plans to change the format of K-HITS.

"Our plans are simple: to make it a radio station that's performing well and is a profitable entity," says Cooper, who pointed out that Results Radio-owned stations in Redding, Chico and Yuba City are top-rated in their areas.

"We hope to do the same thing in Sacramento," Cooper adds.

First Broadcasting chief executive Gary Lawrence says in a statement that the company is "transitioning" away from radio in favor of television and wireless media.

"We are delighted that longtime local broadcaster Jack Fritz and his partners are acquiring KCCL," Lawrence says in the statement. "Jack is very community-foused and an outstanding station operator."

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Florence Low/flow@sacbee.com

Shameless plug alert: Be sure to check out Tuesday's Media Savvy column. It deals with changes at Sacramento's local PBS affiliate, KVIE, with the hiring of executive producer Lynn Margherita (pictured), whose background is in (gasp!) cable TV.

KVIE's apparent push to enliven its programming echoes the debate going on nationally about the relevancy of PBS.

The first salvo was fired by Charles McGrath, respected critic-at-large for the New York Times, whose commentary was provocatively titled: "Is PBS Still Necessary?"

A week or so later, PBS filmmaker Ken Burns ("The War") fired back with an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times titled: "Standing Up for Public Television."

Read both essays and decide for yourself. Better yet, read Tuesday's Media Savvy column. (Yes, I'm pimping my own story - sorry.)

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News10 anchor Dale Schornack 's blog is chock-full o' blasts from his past. And his latest entry features his "moment" with John McCain in 1991, when Schornack was leaving Phoenix for an anchor job in Dallas.

Check it out here.

More alarmingly, check out McCain's truly atrocious comb-over. We don't deal in political endorsements here at 21Q, but how can we elect a man who once sported this hairstyle?

There's a great audio clip, courtesy of the blog Lost Remote, sending up local TV news "teases" during sweeps months - or, heck, any time.

This satire comes close, but doesn't quite eclipse real teases we've heard in Sacramento, led, of course, by Channel 13.

My fave: Channel 3's now-classic "Cat Stuck in a Tree" (below).

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Sacramento public radio listeners, a loyal lot, have survived lo these many years without traffic reports on KXJZ (90.9 FM) during NPR's "Morning Edition" and the afternoon "All Things Considered."

Now, they no longer have to be surprised when there's an unexpected slowdown on the Cap City Freeway (as opposed to all the expected slowdowns). KXJZ's local anchors (Steve Milne and Donna Apidone) have started delivering traffic updates, courtesy of Traffic.com (the same outfit that Channel 3 uses).

Says news director Joe Barr in an e-mail: "We wanted more than just an on-air service and Traffic.com has a great online component. Not only will we have on-air reports five times an hour during 'Morning Edition' and four times an hour during 'All Things Considered,' but, starting Monday, listeners can go to our Web site to create customized traffic reports for their routes. They can also have customized reports sent to them by e-mail, text message or voicemail...with more to come...."

"The bottom line is that our listeners had been asking for us to provide traffic information and we've responded."

AccessSacramento, the cable-access channel that already streams its programming on its Web site, now has a channel on YouTube where it will post snippets from stories and programs (such as the video of Old Sac airbrush artist Alan Silva, above).

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Veteran News10 reporter Dan Adams, a four-time regional Emmy Award winner who became the Sacramento market's first "video journalist" in 2006, is retiring. His last day at News10 will be March 28.

Adams, 55, says in an e-mail that "there's no behind-the-scenes scandal or anything like that...but life holds some more adventures for me, and it's time to start them."

And no, you in the TV business who cringe at the "one-man-band" trend of reporters shooting and editing their own stories, Adams is not leaving because he was forced to be a VJ.

In fact, Adams volunteered to do it. And now others at News10 are going the VJ route. Anchor Dale Schornack has even blogged about how excited he is about VJing.

Anyway, Adams tells us he's moving to Mexico to enjoy the good life. (One word of advice, Dan: Sunscreen.)

This is a significant loss for News10. News director Stacy Owen could not be immediately reached for comment.

UPDATE: March 10, 2:45 p.m.: Stacy Owen emails a comment on Adams: "Dan is that rare combination of seasoned veteran and trailblazer. He has something that is so hard to find these days - a natural gift for looking at things with a critical eye. He takes nothing at face value, and is not one to accept any one perspective. That's why his decision to become a "one man band" was so significant. He saw the opportunity in being able to have creative control from beginning to end. Yet he doesn't just accept that this is the answer for our industry. He is still challenging us. In so doing, he is once again setting an example for his peers and for the industry."

Read Adams' extensive bio here.

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The 2008 National City And Regional Magazine Awards finalists were announced today, and Sacramento's bi-monthly publication, Sactown, received a nomination.

Senior contributing photographer Max Whittaker's photo essay from Afghanistan, "In Harm's Way" (see screen grab above from Sactown's June/July issue), was named a finalist for Best Photo Essay in all circulation categories. Whittaker's competition: Chicago magazine and Hour Detroit.

Alas, Sacramento's thriving magazine scene was shut out in the General Excellence categories and in writing and design awards.


Such unprofessional behavior displayed in the above video (hang around for the second minute of the clip, which is hilarious) by local TV news professionals would never happen in classy Sacramento.

No, we only have anchors giving beer to the homeless.

The Sac State Hornet and UC Davis Aggie newspapers fared well at two recent college journalism contests.

In a contest sponsored by the Associated Collegiate Press, the State Hornet finished first overall for “Interactive Elements” on its Web site. The Hornet also finished fourth nationally for newspaper Web sites and third for podcasting. And, in the print competition, Sac State finished seventh nationally in the Four-Year Weekly Broadsheet category. (The national champ for Four-Year Weekly Broadsheet was Sac State’s rival to the north, The Orion at Chico State.)

In the California College Media Association contest, the Aggie had some impressive showings in the contentious daily-newspaper category. The Aggie finished first for Best Editorial (staff), Best Feature Photo (Musa Zaid) and Best Cartoon (Kevin Burk). Overall, the Aggie won eight state awards.

The Hornet, competing in the weekly newspaper category, won first place for Best News Page Design (Ashley Evans), and had six other top-three finishes.

Meanwhile, in high school media competitions, advisor Brendan Hogan at Christian Brothers High School reports that his student-run TV news and sports operation, KBFT, has garnered some honors as well:

* At the spring nationals for student television, Christian Brothers won first place for live sports coverage (a boys basketball game). It also won first place for live daily or weekly news show.

* Students Austin Otto and Brittany Young placed second in a spot feature on-site contest at the 2008 Student Television Network Convention in Anaheim in January. Students Nathan Domek and Joel Johnston had an honorable mention in the Show Opening category.

Last year, KBFT did very well at the STN spring nationals with two first place awards.

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Screen shot from News10's "exclusive" story

I'm shocked - shocked! - to learn that local TV news outlets sometimes lift stories from newspapers and then try to pass them off as "exclusives."

OK, enough sarcasm.

What truly surprised me was that News10 had the fortitude to admit it should not have used an "exclusive" graphic on a recent story out of Stockton; it later removed the word from the story on its Web site.

(Here's another peeve that I see occasionally on Sac TV news: Using the "breaking news" graphic when the news actually broke hours ago and a reporter is doing a standup in front of a mostly deserted crime scene. But that's a rant for another time....)

Anyway, News10 assistant news director Michael Langley, who pulls no punches in his blog postings and often talks about the station's decision-making, issued a mea culpa in his latest entry.

(Since News10's blogs do not provide linking to individual posts, I'm pasting Langley's post below. Langley's prose is in italics; the viewer's comments are in quotation marks.)

Blog On This...
I have always maintained that I will post within this space the good, the bad and the questionable. Today, we have the bad, as illustrated by Bryan who sent me an email (the title of this post is the subject line of his email) about a story on news10.net this weekend.

"I'd like to know your station's policy on the use of 'exclusive.' My guess is your staff strayed from that policy this weekend, on at least a couple of levels.

"I logged on to your web site to find an 'exclusive' label placed on a story about a Stockton mother who lost her young son to violence and was now moving out of town.

"What made this exclusive? I read several newspapers a day and saw this story on the front page of the Stockton Record newspaper. All you did was steal the idea and put it on TV. So how is that exclusive?"

Bryan, thank you for calling us on this. You're right. We called something exclusive that was not. We failed in a couple of ways in part because of our zeal for the story, the powerful emotion displayed by the mother we interviewed and my own failure to question that fact when it was reported to me.

"Exclusive" is one of those words in journalism that you cannot use lightly. It still means something to our audience and our misuse will erode a) the impact of truly exclusive content, and b) our credibility as a news organization.

Bryan goes on to add that putting the "exclusive" tag on this story exploited this woman's pain. We agreed as we discussed this very thing this morning in our editorial meeting and took all reference off the story.

Bryan, and all, though we do not have an ombudsman I thank you for writing me. We will do better next time.

So we know that "American Idol" is a ratings boon for Fox nationally, but what about the local numbers?

Well, in the just-concluded February sweeps period, Fox40 easily earned the highest prime-time ratings, largely based on two nights of "Idol," plus "House" and other high network performers.

Here's the breakdown (Monday through Sunday):

Fox40: 8.5
CBS13: 6.9
News10: 5.7
Channel 3: 5.1
Channel 19: 2.4
Channel 31: 1.6
My58TV: 1.2

Want more "Idol" numbers for Sacramento?

As of last week, Fox40's ratings stood at a whopping 20.6, highest of any of the seven seasons. And so far this year, Tuesday nights are drawing slightly more viewers (21.9) than Wednesday nights (19.7).

Here's the full-season average ratings for Sacramento since the show's inception:

2002: 13.6
2003: 14.8
2004: 15.9
2005: 15.9
2006: 18.3
2007: 20.3
2008 (so far): 20.6

KBMB (The Bomb, 103.5 FM) has found a replacement for ousted Davey D and he's syndicated hip hop DJ Big Boy. He started Monday and assumed Davey D's 5-10 a.m. spot.

Check out an extended sound bite of Big Boy riffing about a meeting in Vegas with Michael Jackson. Don't worry, it's safe for work.

Want to know more about Big Boy? Here's his Web site.

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Without a doubt, this Channel 3 piece on a Chick-fil-A cow mascot - actually a woman shown out of, er, uniform and being interviewed by Richard Sharp - who was harassed in Elk Grove is the leading contender for LOL story of the week.

Then again, it's only Tuesday.

Kudos to Sharp for managing to keep a straight face throughout, especially when the 19-year-old ex-mascot gave this sound bite: "I want the next cow to go out there and stand on the street to have better protection than I had."

Hey, who said California cows are happy cows?

Had Channel 13 done this report, it would've played up the danger and used the alliteration: "Mascot Mauling" and speculated that the Mr. Pickles mascot on Fulton would be the next target.

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If you're looking for an educational opportunity for your civic-minded child, or if you're one of those political wonks who lurk around the Capitol, you're in for a treat.

C-Span, the governmental geek's channel of choice, will bring its "Campaign 2008" bus to the Sacramento area on Tuesday and hang around until Thursday before moving on.

The bus is a 45-foot mobile production studio that travels around the country to record campaign events for C-Span viewers. C-Span and Comcast are sponsoring the bus stop, which has been to 29 state cpaitals, 71 colleges and 95 schools.

So where can you catch it?

* Tuesday: 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., it'll be at Inderkum High School (2500 New Market Drive, Sacramento). Mayor Heather Fargo is expected to drop by.

* Wednesday: 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., it'll be at Sac State (6000 J St.), parked in front of the Hornet bookstore. Then, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., it'll be at the state Capitol (1107 L St.), on the north side, near 11th and L.

* Thursday: 8 a.m.to 11:45 a.m., it'll be at Folsom High School (1655 Iron Point Road, Folsom). Secretary of State Debra Bowen will be there.

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Yes, it's true. We can't make this stuff up.

National Public Radio's erudite host of "Fresh Air," Terry Gross, will appear Sunday night as a guest voice on "The Simpsons" (at 8 p.m. on Channel 40). Gross will be guest-starring with actor Topher Grace. (Now, there's a pairing we never thought we'd see.)

In the episode, Gross' dulcet tones and brainy banter will be heard on a car radio by the Simpson clan.

Says Gross in an NPR press release: “When I'm hosting Fresh Air, I try to sound as natural as possible. But when I was recording 'The Simpsons,' the director kept suggesting I sound ‘more cartoonish.’ So I had to channel my inner cartoon self.”

Local Angle Alert: Gross will be speaking - seriously, not cartoonishly - at the Mondavi Center in Davis on April 21 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $29-$40.

Well, the February sweeps period is mercifully over, which means we'll no longer be subjected to reports such as Channel 3's man-boobs reduction story (see video above) or Channel 13's latest we're-all-going-to-die scare story.

Which station racked up the big victories?

No surprises here.

Channel 3, as always, dominated at 5 and 6 p.m. - no station even comes close. In the morning, Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" beat Channel 3 in the 5-5:30 a.m. segment, but Channel 3 rebounded in other morning time slots.

KCRA also came out ahead in the noon hour, which is becoming a battleground between channels 3 and 13 - Walt Gray and Co. ekked out a 3.2 to 2.7 edge over Stefanie Cruz and CBS13.

In the always contentious late news, where advertisers really take notice, the winner depends on which station's spin you believe. Channel 13 has long maintained that its 10 p.m. news should be compared evenly with Channel 3's at 11 p.m., but the KCRA suits say only head-to-head competition should count.

In any case ...

CBS13 came in with a 5.4 rating at 10 p.m., Channel 3 with 4.7 at 11. News10, meanwhile, is nipping at the heels of KCRA at 11, finishing only .4 behind.

Meanwhile, here's a trend that no local TV suit will like: Viewership is either down or relatively flat in all time slots compared to previous sweeps periods. Could it be lingering effects from the writers' strike? Or are people just getting their news from other sources?

UPDATE (Feb. 29, 8:30 a.m.): An alert reader asks why we left out KCRA's 6:30 p.m. news - which has no competition from other local news outlets. "Don't Dave and Lois deserve a little respect for their hard work?" the reader asks. OK, so here goes: At 6:30, Channel 3 had a 6.4 rating, beating out "Jeopardy!" on News10 (5.8) and "Entertainment Tonight" on Channel 13 (4.5).

The numbers:

5 a.m.
Good Day Sacramento: 2.1
KCRA Reports: 2.0
News10 Good Morning: 1.3
CBS13.com: 0.8

6 a.m.
KCRA Reports: 4.1
Good Day Sacramento: 2.7
News10 Good Morning: 2.6
CBS13.com: 1.3
KUVS (Univision): 0.9
Fox40: 0.6

7 a.m. - 9 a.m.
Today (KCRA): 4.4
Good Morning America (News10): 2.9
Good Day Sacramento: 3.0 (7 a.m. hour). 2.4 (8 a.m.)
My58TV (KCRA sister station): 1.0 (7 a.m.), 0.8 (8 a.m.)
Fox40: 0.6

Midday news
KCRA: 3.2 (noon)
News10: 2.8 (11 a.m.)
CBS13: 2.7 (noon)

5 p.m.
KCRA: 9.4
CBS13: 3.4
News10: 3.0

6 p.m.
KCRA: 8.8
News10: 4.0
CBS13: 3.0
KUVS (Univision): 2.1

Late news
10 p.m.

CBS13: 5.4
Fox40: 3.8
My58TV (half hour only): 2.2

11 p.m.
KCRA: 4.7
News10: 4.3
KUVS: 1.3

The niche Sacramento-based magazine "California Golf & Lifestyle" has been acquired by Anthony Glover and his burgeoning high-end LuxLife Media, and a big relaunch of the bimonthly print and online publication will come soon, Glover says.

Unlike LuxLife - the lifestyle magazine that has a targeted audience (read: the ultra rich) - "Golf & Lifestyle" (apparently, they're dropping the "California," perhaps to attract a bigger audience) will be a subscription model. Mary Burroughs, who had been publisher, will remain as managing editor and creative director.

Glover, in a prepared statement, apparently couldn't help himself and fell back on sporting cliches: "To borrow from golf-speak, due to the overwhelming positive response, it seems we've 'picked the right club.' The golf world is eager for a magazine devoted to the golf and lifestyle side of the game."

Check out the Web site here.

February 27, 2008
Life is good after Channel 13

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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel photo

No, not for former news director Steve Charlier, who recently left to run a syndicate of stations in the Midwest.

We're talking about Lori Waldon (pictured), the former assistant news director, who fled the Channel 13 madness after just a year and now is the news director of WISN, an ABC affiliate in Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently published a glowing profile of Waldon.

UPDATE (Feb. 28, 6:30 p.m.): Channel 3 news director Anzio Williams checks in and gives a fuller explanation about Adrienne Bankert's status. Bankert's traffic career may be over, but she will soon be seen as a regular general assignment reporter and a fill-in anchor.

Inquiring readers want to know...

Where's Adrienne Bankert?

The Channel 3 traffic diva hasn't been on the morning traffic beat for the past two days, sending several readers (hmm...curiously, all male) into an e-mail tizzy.

Here's the deal, according to Channel 3 news director Anzio Williams:

The station has expanded its traffic team, adding Kristin Marshall (the reporter viewers saw Monday and today in the morning). "Adrienne is training her right now," Williams says.

I asked Williams if, as long rumored, the station is grooming Bankert for an anchor or reporter spot. He says it's not in KCRA's immediate plans.

Background on Marshall: She has worked as a traffic reporter at stations in Philadelphia and Baltimore. While in Philly, she finished second in wanderlist.com's "Sexiest Female in Philadelphia TV" competition.

Tsk, tsk. We in Sacramento are much too cultivated to objectify our female TV news personalities. Right?

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Former Sacramento radio host Phil Cowan, who seemingly had been in the business since Marconi, has kept a low profile since the cancellation of his KSTE show two months ago.

This gave Cowan fans hope that the former morning funny man (with Paul Robins)-turned-conservative commentator would land another radio gig. Well, no dice.

Cowan tells us he's giving up on radio. He's accepted a job with Ross Marketing ("One of those full-sevice advertising agencies," Phil says) in Fair Oaks Village.

Says Phil: "I'm excited. It's my first stab at self-employment."

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So, I finally received last week's The New Yorker in the mail (thanks for nothin', U.S. Postal Service), and I was struck by the cover drawn by graphic novelist and Sacramento native Adrian Tomine.

Called "Shelf Life," the clever nine-panel cartoon is enough to depress any striving author - or anyone who cares about the decline of reading for enjoyment and has seen the latest dreary reports on literacy.

It's kind of like Kubler-Ross' "stages of death." In panel one, you see the author plugging away at the keyboard, then the somewhat humiliating pitching to the publisher, followed by publication, the act of reading by a book lover, then the inevitable discarding, followed by the burning of the book for warmth by a homeless man.

The longer I gazed at the cover, though, the more heartened I got. In a way, books provide warmth and comfort to people on various levels. So is it better for a book to be remaindered and pulped, or put to use to comfort the homeless?

Tomine's cartoon does what the best graphic stories do - makes us think.

OK, so we know the standard modus operandi of local TV news - you plug the entertainment shows on your network (especially during a sweeps month, which February is) with "news" stories of dubious merit.

For the gang at Fox40, that means doing nightly "stories" on "American Idol," that ratings juggernaut that the station hopes will keep viewers tuned in to the 10 o'clock news.

On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, Fox40's newshounds did a preview story, a recap of the male singers and a recap of the female singers, respectively. Idol chatter, indeed.

But how were they going to promote "Idol" on Thursday?

In a brilliant stroke of cross-promotion, reporter Rowena Shaddox spent the first 30 seconds of her 2 minute, 9 second report showing clips from "Idol," along with Ryan Seacrest intoning "Even Idols aren't immune to the flu," and Paula Abdul weighing in with sage medical diagnoses such as, "Some of these girls are really sick."

Check out the report by clicking on the "Flu Vaccine" video on the main page.

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Chris ("Give Beer to the Homeless") Burrous, Channel 13's wildly unpredictable morning news anchor, will expand his media reach in town to radio - for one night, at least.

Burrous will be filling in for news-talk KFBK (1530 AM) evening host (7 to 10 p.m.) Bruce Maiman on Tuesday.

Radio is not exactly foreign territory to Burrous, since his TV morning show often takes viewer phone calls.

And, for good or ill (mostly ill, lately), Burrous is never at a loss for words.

It may be interesting to tune in for a night, if for nothing else than to hear what outrageous things he'll say.

February 20, 2008
Will KSAC abandon lefty talk?

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Might Sacramento soon be without a "progressive" talk radio station?

That's what syndicated radio host Peter B. Collins (pictured) has said on the air and on his Web site. Collins, whose show airs on KSAC (1240 AM) from 3 to 6 p.m., wrote, in part, that "the station just notified me and other program producers that it will change format in May if business does not improve."

Today, Paula Nelson, owner and general manager of KSAC, acknowledges that she's "had some offers from other formats."

But, she quickly adds, "I'd like to support Democratic and progressive radio in Sacramento. But, hey, if the progressive people can't come through for us and give us more advertising through our door, we're going to have to make a change."

A quick check of KSAC's Web site speaks to the uncertainty of the station. A graphic reads: "This site under construction."

"We're just trying to be honest and light a fire under our listeners," Nelson says.

In the most recent Arbitron ratings period, KSAC finished 21st out of 32 stations, with a 1.4 rating. That is, however, a significant improvement over its 0.4 rating from last year's numbers.

Late last year, KSAC dropped its only local talk show host, Christine Craft, a move widely seen as done for cost-cutting reasons.

February 19, 2008
Newspapers vs. TV: Part 1,398

Cranky newspaper reporters are forever kvetching about how vapid local TV types steal their stories and present them as their own enterprise work.

My TV news friends (yes, I do have one or two) explain it away three ways:

1. Don't think of it as stealing. It's recycling the story. Everybody wants to be green, you know.

2. It's not news until it's on TV.

3. Imitation is the sincerest form of cliche - or something like that.

I bring this up because there is a scathing column in the Amador Ledger, by Raheem Hosseini, upbraiding Channel 13 and Channel 3 for stealing stories. Headline: "The fine, dumb cannibals."

Ouch!

Here are two excerpts from the column:

"Last November, there was an alleged road rage incident in the Martell Business Park. Nobody was hurt, though the disagreement led to a man being processed on a number of minor charges - most of which have been dropped. The Ledger buried the story on A3, yet the next day CBS 13's slick-haired bloodhounds came sniffing at the ankles of our newspaper, begging for all the information we had on the case. We said no.

"That night, our dismay at their laziness was replaced by disgust at their bottom-feeding knack for sensationalism when they made the incident their lead story of the night - portraying it as a life-and-death scenario in which a 72-year-old man had attempted to sacrifice innocent shoppers on the altar of his car grill...."

And then there's this...

"A day after the Ledger's "A tale of two cities" came out, we were strolling down Main Street in Jackson when we glimpsed KCRA's frumpy Rich Ibarra looking confused as he lazily dangled a microphone from one arm. His rotund cameraman balanced a lens with one hand and sported a plumber's crack with the other. They had the appearance of lost souls.

"We questioned what they were doing in Jackson. Perhaps Ibarra felt put on the spot by meeting the very journalists whom he'd come to rip off - or maybe he was just too good to talk to newspapermen who didn't smear their faces with layers of foundation. Either way, his cameraman mumbled, 'We heard about problems with this Main Street being a depressed area.' Before we could answer, he blurted, 'This street doesn't look so bad; there are people all over the place.'

"We suggested that Jackson's economic issues were relevant to our community's newspaper, but hardly the stuff of regional headlines. The cameraman gave a jolly smile and admitted that he and Ibarra were really just looking for an excuse to take a nice drive through the foothills. Ibarra's sorry excuse for media flim-flamery aired on KCRA that night."

People, people. Can't we all just get along?

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This posting is both a shameless plug and a mea culpa.

First, the plug: Check out my analysis this morning of the five morning news programs (during the 6 a.m. hour) and feel free to comment about whether I was (a) off base, or (b) way off base.

Next, I made a mistake. (Hence, the dunce cap I'm wearing in the picture.)

I listed Cody Stark as the CBS13.com weatherman in the morning. It's Jeff James.

No excuses on my part, other than I was just so mezmerized by anchor Chris Burrous that I must have hallucinated and put Stark onto the set.

My apologies.

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Sacramento author William T. Vollmann, a National Book Award winner, has been getting mixed reviews for his new nonfiction offering, "Riding Toward Everywhere."

That New York Times Book Review piece by Pulitizer Prize-winner J.R. Moehringer was brutally negative.

National Public Radio was much more kind. In fact, Vollmann appered on its excellent alt-morning show, "The Bryant Park Project," which put together an audio slideshow for its blog.

Check it out. It'll make you want to "catch out."


February 15, 2008
News10's HD snafu explained

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Several loyal readers have called, asking what the #$%@&* is up (and that's a direct quote) with News10's high definition signal, which has been on the fritz all week.

Let's not bury the good news: Station honchos say the HD should be back in operation by tonight, at the latest.

No doubt they're among the most relieved by the news. Fans of "Lost" can be fanatic, you know, and not seeing Kate and Sawyer (pictured) in HD is a big loss.

Still, Russell Postell, News10's general manager, has got some 'splaining to do...

"What happened was that we had a transmission line that burned out," Postell says. "It took us a couple of days to repair it. The only reason we haven't been on since fixing it Tuesday is that it's been too windy to go up to our transmission tower to get it back on."

Postell is quick to add that News10 will replay this week's episode of "Lost" next Thursday at 8 p.m., leading into a new episode at 9.

In other HD news: News10's HD-3 channel plans to air the Tour of California bike race on Tuesday as it wends its way through Winters, Davis, Woodland and Sacramento. News10 is also projecting its feed to a giant HD screen in Davis' downtown park on 3rd and F streets.

Usually, liberal MSNBC host Keith Olbermann reserves the No. 1 spot of his nightly "Worst Person in the World" for his favorite punching bag Bill O'Reilly.

But Thursday night, the dishonor went to Tom Sullivan for his comparison of the speaking styles of Adolph Hitler and Barack Obama. (Check out our earlier post on the KFBK alum.)

Whoa. Talk about "The Audacity of Right-Wing Radio Talking Heads"....

Listen (courtesy of the watchdog group Media Matters for America) to a segment of Tom Sullivan's radio show on KFBK (1530 AM) on Monday, in which he compares the oratorical style of Hitler and Barack Obama.

Here's the summary from Media Matters:

Fox News Radio host Tom Sullivan took a call from a listener who stated that when listening to Barack Obama speak, "it harkens back to when I was younger and I used to watch those deals with Hitler, how he would excite the crowd and they'd come to their feet and scream and yell." Sullivan then played a "side-by-side comparison" of a Hitler speech and an Obama speech. Sullivan mimicked the crowd during both speeches, yelling, "Yay! Yay!" When a later caller complained that Sullivan was "denigrating" Obama with the comparison, Sullivan said he wouldn't play it again, then begged: "Can I, please, one more time? Just one more time? Then I won't do it again. ... Until the next time."

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Yes, it's been a while since Mark Williams - the ex-KFBK conservative talker now plying his trade in Albany, N.Y. (brrr!) - had a really good street fight.

And the Sacramento Capitol steps have been a quieter place because of it.

But connoisseurs of Williams' unique brand of Commedia dell'Arte-meets-Political Theater can catch his act in Albany, where he spoke against a county resolution to bring the troops home from Iraq. The highlight: He pulled a Sinead O'Connor and ripped up the resolution before legislators' eyes.

Here's the video.

February 12, 2008
Have gun, will report

My item earlier today about Channel 13's penchant for having reporters point guns at the camera prompted one reader to charge me with overstatement and claim that our CBS affiliate and its sister station Channel 31 aren't trigger happy.

Au contraire...

Just a quick click through 21Q's archives points out these earlier, uh, shots that prove the stations have something of a gun fetish.

To wit:

Anny get your gun: Reporter Anny Hong on pellet guns...

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Chris Burrous with high-powered rifle...

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The late, lamented Taryn Winter Brill, locked and loaded...

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Lisa Gonzales stalking her prey...

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... the now-departed news director Steve Charlier, gun at ease for once.

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Eric Hogue, the former talk radio host at KTKZ (1380 AM) who last year moved to sister station KFIA (710 AM) to host a religious show, soon will be coming back to KTKZ.

Starting Match 3, Hogue will host a political show, "Capital Hour" between noon and 1 p.m. He says it will focus solely on local issues, such as the budget crisis and downtown development.

Hogue says his return to the dwindling ranks of political talk radio is badly needed.

"I mean, there's been nobody in town talking about these things," he says. "Tom Sullivan does his (KFBK) show out of New York now and Phil Cowan (at KSTE) is gone. These guys were my friends. I want to try to cover the same issues they talked about."

In recent months, Hogue has entertained the idea of running for the state Assembly (District 4), but dropped out after Assemblyman Ted Gaines decided not to run for John Doolittle's congressional seat.


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As sure as the sun rises in the east, as inevitable as death and taxes, and as annoying as cliched expressions used by hack writers, you know it's sweeps month when Channel 13 points a gun at the screen.

This time, it's new reporter Elyce Kirchner, who gets all tabloid-y and mimes shooting the viewer.

Niiiiice.

Ah, the Steve Charlier legacy lives on ...

February 8, 2008
KXJZ hires health reporter

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Health and fitness reporting seems to be the trend in media these days, and Capital Public Radio (KXJZ, 90.9 FM) has responded by hiring a fulltime reporter for the beat.

She is Kelley Weiss, who formerly worked at KCUR, an NPR affiliate in Kansas City, and wrote for the Kansas City Star.

Check out Weiss' work here.

February 7, 2008
Mike Remy out as KHTK boss

The radio exodus continues today as KHTK (1140 AM) laid off four workers - including longtime program director Mike Remy - as well as three in off-air administration.

Steve Cottingim, general manager of Sacramento's CBS Radio stations, confirms that Remy was let go as part of a cost-cutting move by the corporate parent. Cottingim adds that Jeff McMurray, the program director at sister station "Jack" (KQJK), will assume Remy's duties.

Remy was one of the first hosts (along with former Los Angeles Rams great Jack Youngblood) at the station after it switched to all sports in 1994. He'd been at the station since the days when it was KRAK, a country format.

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Note to KHTK (1140 AM) listeners: In a few months, your afternoons (noon to 4 p.m.) will never be the same.

Don Geronimo (on the left in the photo) , half of the Don & Mike syndicated radio team that airs locally on KHTK on our sports talk station announced on the air Wednesday that he will be leaving on May 30.

Read more here.

Mike O'Meara will soldier on by himself after Don checks out.


The Woodland Daily Democrat has started producing news videos that it posts on YouTube. The first few entries were straight forward words and footage stuff.

But check out the above video, in which photographer Matt Henderson, tongue firmly in cheek, talks about the paper's "solid matter transportation device" to whisk journalists to the scene of stories.

Gee, we didn't know a photo lab had that function.

February 7, 2008
Shawn Cash leaving The Zone

Another longtime radio voice is leaving: Shawn Cash, the morning guy at KZZO (The Zone, 100.5), will be off the air as of Friday.

Cash, who currently co-hosts the station's morning show with Hill Jordan, is best known for his decade-long partnership with Jeff Jensen both at KWOD and The Zone. (Jensen left the business more than a year ago and now is an advertising copywriter.)

Cash, however, will stay in the music biz. Or, rather, the Muzak biz. He's helping to start a company that provides music to retail businesses.

Who will replace Cash in the morning?

No one, immediately, says Steve Cottingim, top suit for Sacramento's CBS radio stations.

"We'll have Hill and maybe some fill-in hosts for awhile, at least," Cottingim says. "We'll be looking for a permanent replacement."

Cottingim says he will miss Cash.

"He did a terrific job for us for a long, long time and we wish him well," Cottingim. "This is not a situation where the guy is leaving to go across the street to another station. It's a whole new business for him."


If you haven't seen the site, The Palestra, run by and geared toward college students, it's worth a look.

UC Davis is well represented. One of the reporters is Carollyn Nguyen, who interviewed wacky Aggie students in preparation for Super Tuesday. Gotta love the student whose reason for switching his vote to Ron Paul is completely, uh, logical.


Loyal reader Jacqueline Hoeppner-Freitas of Garden Valley was watching PBS's Super Tuesday primary coverage, waiting all night for Barack Obama's speech and the erudite punditry from PBS reporters afterward.

Alas, Freitas tells us that Channel 6, our local PBS affiliate, cut away and returned to local programming before the Illinois Senator could speak.

So, what was so important to KVIE that it would preempt Obama?

A rerun of the Nova special, "The Mummy Who Would Be King," originally released in January, 2006.

Says Freitas: "I turned to another channel, but the problem is that as I type this
now, I don't have access to the expertise of the PBS newscasters and commentators, though apparently KVIE doesn't think that's important.

"I only recently moved to this area after 30 years of living in Oakland. I have never seen KQED -- the PBS channel in the Bay Area -- treat its viewers and members so shabbily. Perhaps the difference is that KQED respects its viewers. It's obvious KVIE does not assume its members and viewers are committed participants in the 2008 election process."

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Back today from vacation, where I stayed far away from the snow in the Sierra, I was troubled to read an e-mail making the rounds.

It seems that last Thursday, Channel 3 reporter Sharokina Shams and a KCRA photographer were involved in an auto accident racing to the scene of snowfall for a live report. Above is a photo of the car.

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Neither Shams nor Anzio Williams, KCRA's news director, were immediately available today for comment.

UPDATE at 3:30 p.m.: The photographer involved was veteran Ron Middlekauff, who suffered enough injuries that he apparently has yet to return to work.

In any event, here is the e-mail Shams sent to fellow reporters in Sacramento:

"Everyone, "This is a tough story to tell. And some of you on this email list are old friends I haven't talked to in a while, but, because most of you are in the news business, I wanted to share this. Some of you are journalism professors. You can share this with your students. The rest of you - please, tell your crews, be extra careful when they're out there in the world, gathering news. Managers, please think of safety first. And crews - your managers may not know how bad it is out there, so it's up to you to tell them. "My photographer – a very nice man we'll call Jay – and I got into a terrible car accident on Thursday, 1/31, driving to meet our satellite truck on an exceptionally snowy day, east of Pollock Pines in El Dorado County. We had to be live at 5 & 6 w/snow stories.

"Jay wanted to get a few driving shots of snow and asked if I’d be comfortable driving. I said sure and I drove, while he shot video out the window. Five minutes later, I had the car skidding out of control. I tried and tried to regain control but I couldn't. We slid across all lanes of traffic and then, screaming, we tumbled over a snowy embankment, 125 feet.

"I still don't know how we didn't die: our car flipped 5 or 6 times. As we were falling, I thought, “This is the end of this life. And I haven't said goodbye to anybody.”

"When our car finally landed, it landed on the driver’s side. My head was pushed up between the steering wheel & the windshield, against the ground, so I could see nothing. And I couldn’t move. I was completely helpless. I knew I was alive but I got even more scared because I thought Jay might be dead or dying. I thought, “If no one saw us go over, we’re both screwed because I can't see anything.” But, then, I heard him calling out my name.

"We were so blessed. A Cal Trans worker had seen car tracks that led over the embankment and followed them and found us. He said that's how they find people. They see tracks & follow them & find cars at the bottom of mountains.

"Jay was able to climb out of the broken windows. It took an hour and a half for El Dorado County firefighters to cut me out of the car and all the while, I could only hear them around me. I could see nothing. Then, the hill was steep and the snow was deep so they couldn't carry the stretchers up to the top. They tied me up on the stretcher and put it on the ground against the snow, which was falling onto my face. Then, they put a couple of firemen at the top of the hill and pulled the stretcher with a rope until they finally got me up to street level.

"I had been driving carefully. I had seen traffic coming to a stop up ahead, and began to do the same. But, as soon as I put the brakes on, the car started to slide, completely out of control. We had thought that we wouldn't need chains because the car was a 4-wheel drive and Cal Trans let us through without them. I think we were wrong.

"I have a broken finger and I'm sore and bruised. Also, there was blood coming out of my head 12 hours later once I was home. It seems to be because I was suspended upside down by my seatbelt for so long: all the blood had rushed to my brain and came out from my ear later. Jay had a cut on his forehead and a lot of soreness.

"I guess I'm telling you guys what you already know - no story is worth this. We weren't driving fast, but we did FEEL rushed that day - gathering enough for two live shots with complete insert packages and making it back to the location in time even though we hadn't started shooting 'till 1 o'clock because we were live with something else at noon in a different location. You know the drill.

"We almost died. Think about this. Jay is married, with children at home who depend on him. And he almost lost his life up in the mountains, telling a routine, run-of-the-mill snow story. We're not talking about journalists risking their lives in Iraq or Somalia. We're talking about a weather story.

"Sharo"

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Andy Alfaro/Sacramento Bee file, 2005


That revolving door at Channel 13 's newsroom will see its biggest departure yet on Thursday, when controversial news director Steve Charlier (pictured) squeezes through and leaves the West Sacramento building.

Charlier, who has overseen a complete overhaul (actually more than one) of the on-air talent and changed the tenor of the newscasts from sleepy to tabloidy, has accepted a position as senior vice president for news, product and operations for a startup outfit called Local TV.

Read more here.

(Local TV was formed last year by a group of Ohio investors to purchase the assets of Broadcast Media Group, which includes nine stations owned by the New York Times Co. Most of the stations are in the Midwest and South.)

Replacing Charlier on an interim basis will be Cameryn Beck, who had served as the assistant news director. In 2005, Beck was hired away from Channel 3, where she produced the 5 p.m. news.

The timing of Charlier's departure was curious, coming in the middle of the February sweeps month. Bruno Cohen, president of CBS's Sacramento stations, said Charlier was not forced out. However, sources at the station say he had interviewed for several news positions, including in Seattle, in the past few months.

"It's a terrific career move for him," Cohen says of Charlier, who was known for his aggressive management style that included jumping on desks, browbeating staffers and, once, spray painting "Interrupt the news for news" on the newsroom wall.

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Asked about Charlier's legacy, Cohen was emphatically positive.

"He's done a fantastic job for us," Cohen says. "When you look at the complete redevelopment of the Channel 13 news, he's put us in a much more aggressive position. We're winning the late news again (at 10 p.m.). He's affected virtually every time period at the station. He helped us get the merger (of Channel 31 and 13) done, which was very complex.

"In a backhanded way, he's responsible for prompting a lot of changes at Channel 3. They rushed their HD development in. They changed their news director because of (Charlier). He's made the market more competitive and he's brought up the level of journalism in the Sacramento region. As a consequence, I think the viewers have benefited, whether they watch us or anybody else."

In the press release from Local TV announcing Charlier's appointment, this was listed as Charlier's top accomplishment at Channel 13:

"While the TV maverick has an assortment of television successes to his credit, perhaps his most notable is the wildly successful TV launch of CBS13.com in Sacramento. The 5 AM and 6 AM news program on KOVR is based on the station’s website in a unique integration of new technology and traditional news."

Strange that Channel 13's morning show is listed as Charlier's big success. This is the program in which anchor Chris Burrous caused a stir by giving beer to the homeless. And the ratings have been poor. In the November sweeps, Channel 13 finished last at 5 a.m. and second to last at 6 a.m., failing to draw higher than a 1.4 rating.

Charlier's quote in the press release reads, in part: "The hardest part is leaving my staff at KOVR/KMAX. I know they’re more than ready to do it on their own, but I will miss them.”

6:03: Two Toyota Tundra spots, featuring a tattoo artist and a belt buckle. Can't you feel the testosterone.

6:06: The Sunsilk shampoo ads gives us three generations of sexpots -- Marilyn, Madonna and Shakira. For an ad with three hot women, it was far from stirring.

Coke's balloon ad: Great to see Charlie Brown finally win for once, especially when pitted against Stewie from "The Family Guy."

6:11: Frist and Carville, talking heads from different political parties, make nice on a tour of Washington, D.C. I wanted to laugh. I really did. But Bill Frist is just plain not funny. And Carville is just annoying.

6:21: You'll either love or loath the Gatorade lapping dog ad. If you're a cat person, forget it. But even some dog lovers will be grossed out by sound of the dog lapping at the bowl.

The second Etrade talknig baby spot wasn't as funny. Talking babies get old, fast.

Taco Bell's "fiesta platter": Hola, indeed.

6:26: Cross-promotion alert: Will Ferrell, in his guise as an old '70s basketball player in the upcoming movie "Semi Pro," plugs for Bud Light. Line of the night: "Suck one!"

What is it with '70s themes tonight: The Godfather, Rocky, Charlie Brown, Tom Petty at halftime, and ABA basketball players?

Oh, did I mention that Ferrell is one funny dude?

6:44: What a stark contrast: Beautiful model Adriana Lima in Victoria's Secret lingerie, followed by a fat tow-truck driver putting jumper cables on his nipples and swigging Amp Energy drink to start a car.

Well, that's it for me. Be sure to pick up Monday's Sac Bee to read my final analysis -- and what others think.

5:31: Shaq as a jockey? Funny for the first 10 seconds, wearisome by the end. I did like the name of the horse he was on: "Chunk of Love." Oh, you probably missed it, but the ad was for Vitamin Water.

Cars.com's second spot (shrunken head) was better than its first.

Salesgenie's second cartoon ad was as big a waste as its first.

5:35: Bridgestone tire's road hazard ad was worth a chuckle. The driver swerves to avoid Alice Cooper, a deer and ... Richard Simmons. Too bad Richard didn't get leveled. I'm just sayin'.

Bud Light and cavemen. That's soooo three years ago.

5:44: Hyundai's "big crazy twist" is no twist. How meta. Super Bowl viewers don't like meta.

5:54: eTrade's talking baby ad worked despite the fact talking babies is an advertising cliche. It was set up like a Web cam YouTube upload and ends with the baby spitting up. I liked it in spite of myself.

Bud Light's final ad was a guy getting sucked into a jet engine because the beer can make you fly. Uh-huh. We'll pass on this one. No more Bud Light, please. We've had our fill.

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5:01: Is that a neon electric guitar/arrow heading to the heart or a .... well, nevermind.

5:02: Those kids they let run out on the field to "mosh" to "American Girl," were they even alive in 1976 when Petty released this song? Just asking.

5:04: Are those dreadlocks on guitarist Mike Campbell, or did he just forget to shower?

5:06: Note on Tom Petty's beard: Is he trying out for ZZ Top?

5:10: Knew he'd play "Free Fallin'." Knew they'd hand out glow sticks, too. Doesn't matter. Great song.

5:13: Perhaps the only reference to Del Shannon in Super Bowl history.

5:16: Just what you'd expect from Petty: No nonsense rock 'n' roll. No overblown Super Bowl hype: A nice change from pompous Super Bowl routine.
Thank God: No wardrobe malfunction.

4:03: Go Daddy is telling us to go to its Web site to see Danica Patrick unzipped. Don't bother. It's a stupid play on words about a female body part. Just go away, Daddy.

And take Derek Jeter's Gatorade ad with you.

Dell's "Red" laptop didn't do much for me.

4:09: FedEx: Bravo! One of the best so far. Cars.com's "stone circle death match" macho ad fell flat.

Who woulda thought Tide would have a good ad: Talking stain. Way to go, guys

4:14: What is this strange fascination people have with the Budweiser Clydesdales? The "Hank" commercial, a "Rocky ripoff with a Dalmation in the roll of the corner man, was cliched.

4:19: As a vertically challenged person myself, I was deeply offended by the Garmin GPS ad in which Napoleon has a driving complex and his underlings give him a tiny horse. Seriously, it was a winner.

Toyota and badgers? Not so much.

4:25: Careerbuilder surprised me with ... an effective ad! The downtrodden employee's heart literally comes out of her chest and goes up to the boorish boss and quits. The only thing better: Had the heart b-slapped the boss.

Lizard's dancing to "Thriller" with Naomi Campbell? Whatev. (I did like the lizard with a grill, though.)

4:30: Sisyphus rolling a rock uphill? Hey, that's me doing a live blog -- I'm bushed. Anyway, that was for a GMC Yukon ad. Snore.

Bud Light's latest entry: Carlos Mencia teaches nerdy foreigners to score chicks. Best line: "You have the thighs of a sherpa." Ha!

4:39: The Planter's peanuts unibrow spot was mezmerizing. Is the unibrowed redhead attracting men because of her hirsuite brow? Nah, it's because the peanuts ... smell? Yuk.

Loved the Justin Timberlake Pepsi ad, hawking his MP3's. We'll stay away from the subtle sexual references of Justin getting sucked out of a restaurant by teen girls sucking on Pepsis through straws. There was something satisfying in seeing Justin getting hit in the crotch at a mailbox -- twice. Great to see a star willing to poke fun at himself. A real star, not Kevin Federline (remember last year?)

Doritos mousetrap? Really bad.

3:18: They always say the kickoff is 3:18. But it never is. We're awaiting the ads AFTER kickoff.

3:37: The first of many BudLight ads. Breathing fire guy almost torches the cat. A mild chuckle. Not as good as the "sausages" talking dog that's been running.

The Audi spot, aofrementioned, still held my attention. Those unfamiliar with "The Godfather" will be clueless.

3:47: Diet Pepsi Max: It took a while to get us interested -- hey, we were nodding off -- but like a chemically dependant shot of caffeine, it attracted us in the end. Loved the combover guy. Who doesn't laugh at a bad combover?

Bud Light redeemed itself with the "Dude, that's some serious cheese" spot. (Of course, it's hiding beer.)

UnderArmour's totalitarian spot? Awful. Salesgenie.com's cartoon? A waste of money.

Sense a trend here: Talking (or, in this case, screaming) animals. Of course, Bridgstone tires maneuver so well that the screaming squirrel is NOT hit.

Doritos' user-generated song: It won't get my 99 cents on iTunes.


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Now that we've all had time to recover from Paula Abdul's pre-game, uh, performance, I'm here to tell you that we'll be on hand to blog the real reason people watch The Big Game -- the ads. (Alicia Keys, on the other hand, showed how it's done.)

We don't care about the pre-game ads; the ones that really matter come during the game, when companies pay $90,000 a second (!) for the right to sell to the eyeballs of America, sans TiVo-skipping option.

Here's a preview of an ad I like, from Audi. Not sure which quarter it airs. Just enjoy.

Gotta get more guac. But I'll be back in time for the 3:18 p.m. kickoff.

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Really. I'm serious.

It's on Capital Public Radio's Web site during this pledge time.

Staffer Nick Brunner plugs the Peets Coffee thank-you gift.

Good stuff (the video - and the coffee).

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The most talented member - IMHO - of Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" lineup is leaving, alas.

Check out Taryn Winter Brill's farewell message here.

Please give me a moment to compose myself before I resume working.

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Lefty talk show host Christine Craft (late of KSAC in Sacramento and currently on San Francisco's KGO 810-AM) nabbed a choice interview on Sunday - Hector, the pit bull terrier rescued from NFL quarterback Michael Vick's "Bad Newz Kennels."

Hector (pictured with Craft in KGO's studio), now living happily in Oakland, didn't say too much about his nightmare as a dog-fighting participant, but the scars on his chest told Craft all she needed to know. Craft, however, did have a nice interview with Leslie Nuccio, Hector's new owner.

The dog, Craft tells us, is a sweetheart.

Read more about Hector's journey here.

January 28, 2008
KTKZ to end FM simulcast?

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That certainly appears to be the case, based on announcements going out over 105.5 FM (the FM simulcast for conservative talk AM station KTKZ 1380).

No official announcement from Salem Broadcasting yet, but word on the radio street is that the station will switch to a Spanish Christian format called "Radio Luz," with the branding, "Iluminando mente y corazon." (That means, "illuminating mind and heart," if my college Spanish can be trusted.)

Stay tuned.

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Alert the Peabody Awards committee.

Channel 3 traffic diva Adrienne Bankert recently made her first reporting foray to Blue Canyon.

It was unintentionally hilarious.

Here are some soundbites:

* "It's actually very fun. Snowflakes are actually coming down."

* "I can't believe (it), this is so exciting. This is cool."

* "When you come up here, you want to be prepared. I forgot my gloves, so 'Hi, I put my socks on my hands.'" (Giggles and waves to camera).

And, finally, her classic toss to Walt and Deirdre back in the studio:

* "Coming up in the next half hour, I'll show you what my mom packed for me to make sure I was well prepared."

January 25, 2008
Dana Jacobson update: Salud!

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This photo, shot during the infamous roast, has surfaced on the InterWebs and it explains a lot about why ex-News10 sportscaster (now with ESPN) Dana Jacobson went off on a profane tirade against Notre Dame and Catholics.

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Hey, who's that new weather guesser on Fox40's morning show?

It's the show's brand new meteorologist, Rosemary Orozco, who joined the station last week after a seven-year stint at KEYT in Santa Barbara.

According to a Fox40 press release, Orozco (pictured) is a Citrus Heights native who graduated with a broadcast journalism degree from San Francisco State. While at the Santa Barbara station, she pretty much did it all - morning news anchor, meteorologist, reporter and guest host of the business report. (What, she didn't do sports, too?)

January 24, 2008
Dirk explains it all

Great segment on My58TV's morning show. Every Thursday, meteorologist Dirk Verdoorn answers a viewer weather question. Today's query: "What is rain?"

What captivated me most was the teacher-pupil vibe going on between Dirk and anchors Chris Riva and Adrienne Bankert. They all played their parts to perfection: Dirk the wise, somewhat condescending, professor; Bankert the smarty-pants A student who knows all the answers and tries to impress teacher; and Riva the deer-in-the-headlights slacker who came to class unprepared.

Excerpt:

Dirk: "The water cycle. Are you familiar with that?"

Bankert: "I remember that."

(Riva: blank stare)

After Dirk explains it all, Bankert enthuses: "Looks just like what we saw in third grade."

Still later, Bankert gushed: "How do you know all this stuff?"

Riva, deadpanning: "He's a meteorologist."

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What is it about former Sacramento TV reporters making grossly inappropriate comments on national programs?

Wednesday, we told you about ESPN's Dana Jacobson (formerly of News10) being suspended for a profane rant against Notre Dame and, by extension, Catholics.

Now, it's Fox News' John Gibson (formerly at our own Channel 3), pushing poor taste to its limits with some awful comments about the death of actor Heath Ledger.

Gibson (pictured) jokes with colleague Tom Sullivan (another ex-Sac media type) that Ledger must have killed himself because of the stock-market tumble. Later, Gibson jokes that Ledger ended his life because he watched the Obama-Clinton debate.

An excerpt, courtesy of the blog "Think Progress", which streams some audio of Gibson's rant:

GIBSON: "Maybe he had a serious position in the market."

TOM SULLIVAN: "And possibly today, he looked at the window and said…"

GIBSON: “Oh my God.”

SULLIVAN: "His name’s not Keith Bledger, right?"

GIBSON: "He was depressed about yesterday’s downturn in the world stock markets."

Niiiiccceee.

UPDATE AT 10:23 A.M.: An alert reader points out two other ex-Sac media types who have made inappropraite on-air remarks: Rush Limbaugh and his "Monday Night Football" "black quarterback" comments, and Don Imus and his comments about the Rutgers' women's basketball team.

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Jose Luis Villegas/Sacramento Bee file/Dec. 6, 2005


So I made a rather broad-brush generalization in a posting the other day about how all local TV reports about Stockton are crime-related.

I didn't mean it literally. (Though, during a sweeps period in November, 2006, I did count up the stories and 22 of the 29 about Stockton were about crime.)

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Anyway, Tim Daly (pictured), News10's Stockton reporter, called me on my assertion and kindly sent me 15 recent non-crime stories that News10 has done from that lovely Central Valley metropolis. Here's Tim's list:

* Today, Stockton Arena (pictured, above), and Thunder hosting all-star game

* PG&E tree trimmers (as the big storm approached)

* Well-known Stockton doctor claiming successful Parkinson's Disease treatment

* Amtrak busier as gas prices increase

* Christmas donations to police for the needy

* Governor visits Stockton for foreclosure town hall

* Hot tub business adjusts to foreclosure climate - (fewer employees, fewer customers)

* New Sheraton Hotel opens downtown

* Toyota sued by local family in fatal traffic accident

* Effort to save downtown residential hotels

* Salvation Army giveaway

* Two kids offer free hugs, and put their efforts on YouTube

* Franklin High School recruiting scandal

* Franklin High School national essay award winner

* Point Break, a workshop for troubled teens

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Dana in her Sacramento days...

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...And Dana now at ESPN

The blogosphere is buzzing (OK, maybe it's a faint hum) with news about ESPN sportscaster Dana Jacobson's profane and sacrilegious tirade at a recent roast for colleagues "Mike & Mike" in Atlantic City.

Read the sordid details here.

You may recall, with the proper swell of civic, uh, pride, that Jacobson went to ESPN in October, 2002, after a stint as a sports anchor at our very own News10. She hosted a show called "The Red Zone." Now, she's just red-faced - and suspended from ESPN.

But at least Jacobson took responsibility for her remarks in her apology. Which is more than you can say about Channel 3 reporter Adrienne Bankert's "if I offended anybody..." apology after remarks about Jewish people.

Note to broadcasters: When it comes to religion, it's best to keep your thoughts to yourself.

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Northern California's two erudite radio talk show hosts, KXJZ's Jeffrey Callison (left) and KQED's Michael Krasny, will put their heads together (will there be room enough in the studio?) Thursday as cohosts of a public radio political forum, "Primary Concerns: California Speaks Up," from 9 to 11 a.m. on both stations.

The forum, a joint effort by Sacramento and San Francisco's NPR affiliates, along with KPCC and KPBS in SoCal, will include a panel of experts and listener call-ins. Callison and Krasny's topic will be the economy, specifically health care.

The second hour, broadcast from down south, will deal with immigration and foreign policy.

January 22, 2008
Death by...cholesterol?

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A tip o' the (chef's) hat to Fox40 for giving us a story from Stockton that doesn't involve crime.

The aptly named Fat's Grill and Bar recently made the largest cheeseburger in California, weighing in at 220 pounds and featuring 480 cheese slices. (Check out the story here.)

Wait! This might be a crime story, after all. That cheeseburger is murder on a guy's cholesterol level.

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Take this as a warning advance notice: Capital Public Radio is starting its winter pledge drive on Friday.

There are the usual array of bribes"thank you" gifts. But a new twist this year is that our NPR affiliate is jumping on the green bandwagon.

If you pledge $60, you can get a tree planted in your name as part of the Boca Fire Restoration Project in Tahoe National Forest.

If you'd rather have that Peets gift certificate or Dave Brubeck DVD, click here.

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News-talk radio station KFBK (1530 AM), which for several months has been auditioning a bevy of possible replacements on the morning news for soon-departing Kelly Brothers, has made a hire.

Ed Crane (pictured), a veteran of CBS radio since 1982 and currently an anchor and reporter for WCBS-AM in New York, will join KFBK as Amy Lewis' morning news cohost on Feb. 11. (Brothers' last day is Feb. 8.)

"I'm thrilled Ed has agreed to join KFBK," said Alan Eisenson, KFBK's operations manager, in a prepared statement. "He's a talented, seasoned, experienced journalist with a big personality."

Crane has worked in both television and radio throughout his career. Among his previous jobs: a reporter for "CBS Marketwatch" and anchor on CBS' program "Up to the Minute," both on television. On radio, Crane has anchored hourly news updates for the CBS network out of New York.

Brothers, who has been at KFBK for four years, recently replaced Tom Sullivan as Channel 3's business anchor. He will continue to give business updates in the mornings and afternoons on KFBK.

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It's from "Good Day Sacramento," naturally.

Click here, if you dare.

Jon Stewart (great to have him back) did a funny riff on the penchant of TV talking heads to use the cliche, "Take the gloves off," when talking about the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama smackdown.

Note to all media types: People spend time compiling lists of overused words, and many are perpetuated by our TV news friends. For instance, Lake Superior State University is doing an ongoing "banished words" blog.

Here's one example:

EMOTIONAL – “Reporters, short on vocabulary, often describe a scene as ‘emotional.’ Well sure, but which emotion? For a radio reporter to gravely announce, ‘There was an emotional send-off to Joe Blow’ tells me nothing, other than the reporter perceived that the participants acted in an emotional way. For instance: I had an emotional day today. I started out feeling tired and a bit grumpy until I had my coffee. I was distraught over a cat killing a bird on the other side of the street. I was bemused by my reaction to the way nature works. I was intrigued this evening to add a word or two to your suggestions. I was happy to see the words that others had posted. Gosh, this has been an emotional day for me.”

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Well, it's been a while since we've checked in on that revolving reportorial door at Channel 13. Since our last posts (Taryn Winter Brill and Rafer Weigel leaving), we need to look at the new faces recently on the scene.

* Laura Cole (pictured), a general assignment reporter who came from Columbus, Ohio.

* Andrea Menniti, a general assignment reporter who spent two years in Salinas.

* Andrew Luria, a sports anchor who was a morning news anchor in Santa Barbara.

Man, it must be hell to work in HR at that station, with all the comings and goings and recitations of benefits packages for the arrivals and COBRA plans for the departures.

A new Web site, hotnewz.tv, officially launches on Monday. It's a news program especially designed for college students, and we've snagged a preview of one of the "top stories" - a disquisition on the size of dorm beds.

It seems several colleges are replacing twin beds with doubles.

Says the news reader: "The extra mattress real estate doesn't just make hooking up easier; it also meets a different need - the literal growing student population. Studies show college kids are fatter than ever before."

Oh, so that's the Web site's demographic - husky, randy undergrads.

Here's the local angle: Hotnewz.tv already is available on large LCD screens in "high traffic areas" on the campus of UC Davis.

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We usually don't pity TV reporters, but our hearts went out to Fox40's Teri Cox and Channel 13's Koula Gianulias for getting Ron Pauled while doing live stand-ups Tuesday night outside the UC Davis Pavilion, where President Bill Clinton was stumping for his better half.

Then again, no one forced Cox and Gianulias to set up in front of the fervent Paul supporters. News10's Dana Howard, old pro that he is, wisely chose to do his stand-up far from the madding crowd.

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Deo Ferrer/Woodland Daily Democrat

What is it about Daisy (pictured) - the dog working with the Yolo County District Attorney to help victims of child sexual abuse - that makes the media use some questionable judgments?

First, we had the Woodland Daily Democrat setting up a photo (a la William Wegman) that made it appear like the dog was half-human and could take notes. A little flippant for a serious story on child abuse.

Now, we get News10 doing a fine report by Deborah Hoffman. But the anchor banter by Dale Schornack was of questionable taste.

After Dale and co-anchor Cristina Mendonsa talked about how cute and furry Daisy is, Schornack added: "Almost makes you want to get busted in Yolo County, doesn't it?"

Busted for child sexual abuse? Uh, no, Dale, it doesn't.

Then, a look of horror crossed Schornack's face as he realized what he had said. He quickly added: "Well, sort of."

Uh huh.

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I don't usually shamelessly shill for my Tuesday "Media Savvy" columns here on 21Q. But, I'm making an exception in this case because it's a Q&A with radio and TV legend Daniel Schorr, 91 (pictured).

Not only will you be able to read Schorr's thoughts on the state of the media world (hint: kinda bleak), but you'll also be able to hear the entire interview. Yup, I've succumbed and done a podcast. (After hearing my voice, you'll know why I chose print as my medium.)

Anyway, here's a taste of vintage Schorr from my interview:

Q: You talk in one of the commentaries about how, in TV, visuals dominate content. Is that troubling?

A: In many of the (reports) I did for CBS and CNN, you had to read the teleprompter, got to get the right shade of Max Factor to put on. You got to go out and stand on a street corner to say it because saying it in the studio doesn’t look exciting enough. Here (at NPR), I can do it just sitting down. Let me tell you, you may someday know that when you reach that age, sitting down is wonderful.

As if to illustrate Schorr's point about the importance of makeup in TV news, here's a YouTube clip of a MSNBC anchor's lipstick slip (coming at about the 30-second mark):


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Jose Luis Villegas/Sacramento Bee file, June 2002

There were only a few mild surprises in the Arbitron fall ratings for Sacramento radio stations, released this afternoon. Read the raw data for the 12-plus age category here.

(Note: Arbitron does not release specific demographic breakdowns to the media.)

Or, if you just want the executive summary, don't click off. We'll tell you all you need to know:

* And, in other news, the sun rose in the East: News-talk KFBK (1530 AM) once again finished in first place, with a 7.6 rating - down a blip from its 7.8 number in the summer book.

* Are you ready to rawwwwk?: It was a bountiful book for 98 Rock (KRXQ, 98.5 FM), led by morning team Rob, Arnie and Dawn (pictured). It jumped from ninth place in the summer ratings period to second place in the fall, with a 5.0 rating.

* "Right" talk makes a big jump: KSTE (650 AM), the conservative chat station, went from 11th to 4th this time around. It'll be interesting to see where it lands in the next ratings book (due May 6), after the ousting of local talker Phil Cowan.

* And now for the bad news: Soft-rock Mix 96 (KYMX 96.1 FM) fell from third to ninth, and country radio giant KNCI (105.1 FM) dropped from eighth to 10th.

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"Underdog," Mark S. Allen-approved


Can't you just feel the swell of civic pride when an alert reader pointed out to 21Q that Sacramento movie critic Mark S. Allen of Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" made a Top 10 list for 2007 on the widely read Internet site, eFilmCritic.com?

What's that? You mean it was a list of the worst critics, the ones who shill for studio movies, no matter their cinematic worth?

Oh, sorry.

Here's what Erik Childress, the journalist who authored the list, had to say about Allen, who checks in at No. 6:

(Allen) recommend(ed) the blasphemous Underdog with his own brand of rhyme and one of the worst-reviewed films of the year, Premonition, (140-of-152 negative at Rotten Tomatoes).

(Rottentomatoes.com is a site that aggregates reviews from media outlets around the country. "Underdog," for instance, garnered 48-of-56 awful reviews.)

Here are some of the blurbs attributed to Allen that eFilmCritic.com highlights to justify his inclusion on the list:

* "Funny, thoughtful and the most heart-felt movie you’ll see this season!" (P.S. I Love You)

* "Outstanding!" (Enchanted)

* "Exciting! Spectacular! Funny…and absolutely breathtaking from beginning to end!" (Meet the Robinsons)

* "One of the most original animated films ever." (Surf’s Up)

* "Awesome fun for thy whole family! Elephant sized laughs! Divine! Thou shalt laugh a lot!" (Evan Almighty)

* "See this movie, do not fail! You will leave with a wagging tail!" (Underdog)

January 10, 2008
A uniquely Davis problem

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This post has nothing to do with local media, but indulge me.

I've got to share a "moment" that happened to me Wednesday night in my humble adopted hometown, the People's Republic of Davis.

Near dusk, in the gathering dark, I pulled into the parking lot of the Davis Food Co-Op to pick up some tempeh (my eldest son's decided to become a vegetarian). The place was pretty full, so I found a spot for my powder blue Toyota Prius somewhere in the middle of the lot.

When I emerged with my groceries a few minutes later, I walked toward my Prius.

But, wait!

It wasn't my powder blue Prius.

I looked around and there were four - count 'em - four identical blue Prius' in the parking lot. (And that's not counting the white Prius and the gold Prius also around.) I tried the first door. Oops, not mine. Then a second.

The third time was the charm and I was on my way home, thinking about the odd form of conformity in my notorious noncomformist town.

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Channel 13 morning new anchor Chris Burrous will be the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Public Relations Society of America, Sacramento chapter, on Jan. 24.

But - all due respect to Burrous - that's not the interesting part. Here's what the organization sent to members concerning the subject of his talk:

Chris Burrous, anchor and executive producer of the CBS-13 Morning News, will reveal the secrets. We'll also learn how his team has managed to successfully - and purposefully - driven away some viewers, why that's good for KOVR and how you can benefit from reaching a more targeted audience. CBS-13 Morning News continues to climb in the ratings locally, and has received national attention for its ruthlessly efficient effort at building a show watched by only the most attractive demographic.

Two things:

1) Driving away people as a strategy? Why hasn't anyone else thought of that?

And which demographic isn't "attractive"? (We suspect it's anyone over 17.)

2) Channel 13's morning news ratings are rising? Let's consult the November sweeps numbers: At 5 a.m., Channel 13 is last, with a 1.0 rating. At 6 a.m., Channel 13 is fourth out of five (Fox40 is last), with a 1.4 rating.

Want to attend the lecture? It's at the River City Brewing Company (545 Downtown Plaza, Sacramento) at 11 a.m. on Jan. 24. Cost: $30 for members, $35 for nonmembers.

Permit me a morning rant...

Tuesday was perhaps the most newsworthy political night yet, what with the New Hampshire primary and our own State of the State address by The Guv.

So, what happens when I turn on my TV for the 10 p.m. news Tuesday night?

Both Fox40 and Channel 13 lead with ... the weather.

Oh, come on. It had been a normal winter day in the area - drizzly rain in the Valley, snow in the foothills. No news there. Or, at least, nothing to merit top-story status.

But gosh darn it, Fox40 had Louisa Hodge and Channel 13 Anny Hong all bundled up and talking snow, so that obviously trumps the comeback wins of John McCain and Hillary Clinton and Gov. Schwarzenegger's budget musings.

I will give some credit to Fox40 for wrapping up its weather coverage relatively quickly and moving on to politics. But Channel 13 spent the first eight minutes on the weather, even wasting time analyzing Hong's snow garb.

Fortunately for news-loving viewers, at 11 p. m., both Channel 3 and News10 got it right and led with politics.

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Brian Baer/bbaer@sacbee.com


Capital Public Radio (KXJZ 90.9 FM) has set up an informative Web site archiving its coverage of today's State of the State address, as well as analyzing Gov. Schwarzenegger's previous SOTS speeches.

An interesting feature are the "cloud tags," which show the frequency of words the Guv used during today's address and in 2007.

We found several telling differences:

* "Budget": In 2008, he mentioned the word 14 times; 4 times in 2007.

* "Economy": 8 times in 2008; 4 times in 2007.

* "People": 29 times in 2008; 22 times in 2007.

* "Cuts": 5 times in 2008; 0 times in 2007.

* "Taxes": 6 times in 2008; 0 times in 2007.

* "Happy": 6 times in 2008; 0 times in 2007.

And finally,

* "Ladies": 4 times in 2008; 6 times in 2007.

daveyyyyy

We have no official word yet from management - hey, we'll get back to you - but we've got that Davey D (pictured), morning DJ at the hip-hip station KBMB (103.5 FM), is out.

Larry Lemanski, top suit at the Entervision radio cluster that owns the station, has not been available for comment. But we hear it was the usual thing: poor ratings. All traces of Davey D have been expunged from KBMB's Web site.

Davey D's morning replacement, at least for the short term, is DJ Short-E.

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Meanwhile, on the TV side, fans of Taryn Winter Brill (also pictured) and her comely curly hair are mourning. Soon, she will be the latest among the ranks of departing folks in the combined newsroom of Channel 13 and "Good Day Sacramento."

Brill, the "GDS" weekend anchor, has been replaced by Kelly Chapman, a former Miss Utah who, by the way, is married to Channel 13 weather guesser Jeff James. Brill, who is now doing general assignment reporting for "GDS," declined to comment on her departure.

UPDATE, 3:10 P.M.: You can still catch Brill in the anchor chair from 6-7 a.m. on weekends, before Chapman takes over for the final three hours.

When people e-mail "GDS," seeking a reason for the change, here's the curt response:

"Thanks for your e-mail and watching Good Day Sacramento. Kelly and Taryn have shifted because Taryn is moving on so she can be closer to her family on the east coast. This is giving Kelly a chance to ease into and learn the duties of the anchor desk."


Well, the wall-to-wall weather coverage by local TV news weather is behind us, at least until the next storm.

Two comments, one from me and one from an astute 21Q reader:

From me: Given the massive power outages, I'm wondering just how many viewers actually saw the coverage and how that might affect what the TV folks care about most - ratings. For instance, we in Davis had been without power from 9 a.m. Friday until about an hour ago (5:30 p.m. Saturday).

With no cable and no Internet access, my family learned more about the conditions from two "old media" standbys - newspapers and the radio (thanks to battteries).

From reader Tracy Ralls of Roseville: "Why can't local TV news cover the state Legislature and budget process with the same aggressiveness it applies to weather coverage?"

Excellent question, Tracy. Maybe if the state Legislature could hold press briefings on the windswept Yolo Causeway, it might draw more TV coverage.

Try as we might, we can't catch all the weather coverage.

So, it's left to readers to help fill in the gaps. One alert reader who prefers not to have his name shouted out here (and, no, he's not in the TV news biz) sends this missive:

"Another interesting weather coverage event today (was) on Channel 10. At about 4:50 p.m., Dan Adams was presenting a package from Vacaville about their emergency operations office. Of course, they were monitoring the television news. So Adams decided to show a close-up shot of the TV radar they were watching. The only problem? It was Channel 3's."

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If there's one seminal television image from today's storm, it would have to be the shots of Channel 3 reporter Mike TeSelle getting blown all over the banks of the Yolo Causeway during live morning reports.

At one point, TeSelle was even nearly horizontal as he did his shot. Viewers were so concerned, apparently, that they called and e-mailed the station and asked them to send poor old sopping wet TeSelle home to dry off.

"A couple of people even found my cell phone number and called me to ask whether I at least had a hat," TeSelle says, laughing.

But, you know what? Channel 3 couldn't have gotten TeSelle to leave even if they had tried.

"I love these type of assignments," TeSelle says after his 12-hour shift ended and, yes, he had dried off. "Yeah, I did (volunteer for it.)"

Those familiar with TeSelle, who has been at KCRA for nearly 10 years, can attest to his severe-weather reporting chops. He routinely reports from Blue Canyon during heavy snow periods.

Why does he do it?

"You want to be where the story is," TeSelle says.

But he's not doing it to draw attention to himself, he adds.

"Whenever you've got a story that involves snow or rain and wind, what viewers want to see is how people - or a reporter - deal with it," TeSelle says. "This was tough conditions today. Every time my photographer and I stepped out to do a hit (live report), we'd just get blasted."

Armed with a hand-held anemometer, which gauges wind speed, TeSelle says the highest reading he got this morning was 60.2 miles per hour. So, to illustrate it for viewers, he decided to do a test.

On the air, he leaned into the gust, like a ski jumper, spread his arms wide and let the wind keep him from falling on his face.

"I was thinking, holy moly, this is like covering a hurricane without the hurricane," he recalls.

Finally, at 3 p.m., TeSelle pulled off six layers of clothing, all soaked, and called it a day.

Saturday morning, though, he's back on the air. Only this time, he'll be snug in the studio as the anchor for Channel 3's morning news.

Curious thing Channel 13 did about 20 minutes ago:

It switched to what was reputed on the air as a "live" press briefing featuring Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the station's graphic flashed "Rancho Cordova."

Wait.

The Guv actually was in Los Alamitos (Orange County), talking to reporters. And the video was a Webcast at 1 p.m. made available to all media outlets.

What's up with that, Channel 13?

"If you don't have electricity right now, you're hosed.".
- Channel 3 anchor Deirdre Fitzpatrick

UPDATE 3:15 P.M.: Or how about this quote on Channel 13?

"I love to overreact."
- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger at a press conference.

UPDATE: 3:45 P.M.: Another contender...

"Red Cross is opening a 200-shelter bed."
- News10's Darla Givens

Channel 13's continuous weather coverage (just minutes ago, it was the first to report that the Tower Bridge is closed) is chock-full of TV news lingo.

Anchor Sam Shane, sleeves strategically rolled up, is unmoored and broadcasting from the station's important-sounding "Transmission Center."

Here are some of the insider terms that Shane and cohorts are throwing around (What they all mean, we really don't care):

* "Let me hot punch you some video."

* "Video on VTR8, guys in the booth."

* "Eddie, you're hot, live on TV."

* "Re-rack that video now."

* "BTR 6, let's pull it up, guys."

* "Let's play this with nat sound."

* "Let's toss to break."

Yes, please. We all need a break.

January 4, 2008
Channel 3 takes a break

Channel 3's continuous weather coverage is now over. "Days of Our Lives" now takes over on KCRA. (Channels 10 and 13 are still going strong.)

UPDATE at 2 P.M.: News10 signs off and switches to "General Hospital"; Channel 13 continues its coverage.

UPDATE: 3:10 P.M.: Channel 3 is back on the air, with Dave Walker and Lois Hart.

But, wait! What about "Days of Our Mike TeSelle"? Is the poor dude still shivering out on the Yolo Causeway, waiting for the 5 p.m. newscast?

Stay tuned. We'll ferret out Mike's fate.

Meanwhile, here's what a dry Mike TeSelle looks like.

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It's a legitimate question. Here are two things to ponder:

* What's with Channel 3 branding its coverage with the phrase "Winter Blast"? As Bee TV columnist Rick Kushman observes, it sounds like a new after shave lotion.

* Channel 13 got some choice live footage of an SUV slamming into the back of a truck. And, boy, did the station play the tape, over and over. Here's the link.

Still, it's a little unsettling how much apparent glee Channel 13's newsroom workers took over getting the video. In the background, you can hear one newsroom worker shout, "That's what I mean. It's incredible stuff!" Not to mention all the ooohs and awws audible when the car slams into the truck.

But, as anchor Chris Burrous was quick to point out, "We're out at the scene and it looks like the airbags (deployed)."

One of the most entertaining aspects of today's TV weather coverage is Mike TeSelle's reporting for Channel 3 from that wind tunnel known as the Yolo Causeway.

TeSelle's been out there since 4 a.m. So, how's he holding up?

Here's the highlight from his noon report:

"I am now on my sixth layer. I've put on two jackets. ... After seven hours, I'm soaked to the bone."

More late-breaking news on TeSelle's level of wetness to come as it happens!

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Reporting - live! - from Channel 3's, uh, parking lot just minutes ago, intrepid reporter Adrienne Bankert had this admonition to viewers:

"This is not a day to go out there and wear your flip flops, ladies."

Gee, who says KCRA's coverage isn't thorough?

The real reason Bankert was out in Channel 3's parking lot is that a tree fell on a station vehicle. Bankert was breathless: "This is absolutely phenomenal. This tree is down!"

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News10, which chose not to preempt programming early in the day, now is going with full weather coverage on its regularly scheduled 11 a.m. news. And anchor Kelly Jackson told viewers that News10 will stay on "at least until 1 p.m."

That means, for you soap opera fans, that "All My Children" will be preempted. Yes, it's that big of a storm.

(Full disclosure: As part of The Bee's content-sharing agreement with News10, sacbee.com is streaming News10 video of its weather coverage.)

Early highlights from News10's coverage:

* George vs. The Umbrella: Reporter George Warren, up in Truckee, struggled mightily to keep an umbrella from mangling him in the wind. The mere fact that he needed an umbrella was noteworthy. Rain, not snow, hit Truckee.

Finally, near the end of his report, Warren gave up on the umbrella, but he then couldn't get the darn thing to close. Warren to Jackson: "Kelly, wish you were here."

Over in Woodland, meanwhile, where winds were heaviest, reporter Angel Cardenas told Jackson: "I found out the hard way that our News10 parkas are not waterproof."

Hey, Angel, Mike TeSelle has Gortex.

tesellerain

Thoughts on the morning coverage of the rain and wind:

* Two extremes: Channel 3 preempted the "Today" show and went all-weather, all-the-time. On the other end, News10 chose not to preempt "Good Morning America" and went with a bare minimum of local cut-ins. Channel 13 went to its national morning show, but it had sister station Channel 31 to fall back upon.

Overkill by Channel 3? Lazy phoning-it-in by News10? What do you think?

Fox40, which rarely cuts in on regular programming, did, indeed, break in on reruns of "DeGrassi: The Next Generation" at 8:30.

* Top morning stunt: It's got to be Channel 3's Mike TeSelle (pictured), reporting horizontally from the Yolo Causeway. The guy lives for this type of thing. He actually volunteers to go to Blue Canyon.

(UPDATE AT 10:34: Channel 3 is really milking this TeSelle visual. Anchor Chris Riva told TeSelle that viewers are e-mailing in, telling the station to send Mike home. TeSelle smiled broadly and said thank you. But later, Riva confirmed that TeSelle jumped up and volunteered when the Yolo Causeway assignment came up in the news meeting.)

* Best rain wardrobe: We gotta go with Fox40's Kye Martin, in a powder blue rain slicker that didn't puff up like the Pillsbury Doughboy when the wind hit. (Stefanie Cruz's red "Good Day Sacramento" parka almost turned into a hot air balloon as she stood in an airport parking garage.)

Back to TeSelle: He felt the need to tell us what he was wearing, a la actors on the red carpet at the Oscars: "I've got the Gortex jacket and the rubber pants. And both are soaked through." Later, he added: "This rain has made it through all five layers."

Best old-school look goes to Channel 3's David Bienick, dressed in a yellow slicker and galoshes up to his knees.

* Cliche alert: Good news. I only heard the phrase "winter wonderland" (from Fox40's Louisa Hodge) once from the Donner Summit coverage.

* Best line of the morning goes to "Good Day Sac's" Mark S. Allen.
After Michele Kane, live in a wind-swept backyard, screamed in shock as a tree fell down while she was doing a report, Allen, in the safe, dry studio quipped: "Is it just me, or did it sound like (the tree) actually fell on Michele?"

* Is it just me, or did I detect a slight bit of disappointment among our local TV news folks because the "winter blast" wasn't worse. Yeah, there are some power outages, a jack-knifed truck or two, trees down, minor street flooding.

But, from the intense buildup over two days, it seemed like they wanted it to be much worse. After all, it would help ratings.

* Nice use of viewer photos uploaded via the Internet by channels 3 and 31. Citizen journalism strikes again.

* Here's a question: Did all other news miraculously stop happening because of wind and rain? I mean, our local stations told us nothing about the presidential election or any other local happenings, other than the weather.

* One good thing from the all-weather coverage: We didn't have to hear the morning shows breathlessly report about Britney Spears' latest meltdown.

Well, there's always cable for Britney, if you must know.

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Associated Press

Here's a fun way to watch local TV news as revved-up on-air talent delivers storm news; libation of choice is yours:

* Take a drink every time one of them says, "Calm before the storm."

* Take a drink every time reporters say, "The White Stuff" or "The Wet Stuff." If they say both, down the whole bottle.

* Take a drink whenever someone utters a clunky metaphor or simile.

Examples from today's early coverage:

"Right now, we can feel the storm knocking on the door." - Channel 3's David Bienick.

"Rain is going to fall like rocks." - Channel 13's Chris Burrous.

* And, finally, take a mighty swig every time a weatherguesser either (a) talks about how hard he/she is working, or (b) gives ridiculous advice.

Examples from Channel 13's Jeff James: "It's my time to shine." And, "My best advice is just read a long novel the next couple of days. Stay home."

Gee. Why didn't we think of that?

woodland dog.jpg
Deo Ferrer/Woodland Daily Democrat

Words matter, and Wednesday on 21Q, we didn't use the right word.

It was in the posting about a photo that editors at the Woodland Daily Democrat used on its front page. The photo showed a dog "taking notes," for a story on a canine assisting child abuse victims.

We said the photo was "doctored." What we should have written was that the shot was a "setup." The word "doctored" connotes Photoshopping, but that wasn't what happened. Rather, as we reported, the dog was propped up, draped in a trench coat and had human arms coming through it, with hands holding a note pad.

Semantics aside - on the question of whether editors should have identified the shot as a setup photo - which they did not - associate editor Jake Dorsey replied in a comment on our first post: "The photo was an homage of William Wegman, and Mr. (Deo) Ferrer (the photographer) made that clear to me, though it was left out of the cutline on accident. Also the Democrat has strict policies about what gets called a photo, and Mr. Ferrer's piece was just that - a photograph."

So, there you go.

For those unfamiliar with Wegman's work, here's a sample:

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Imagine waking up on Jan. 1, maybe a little bleary-eyed from too much, uh, celebrating the night before, picking up your morning paper and seeing this photo splashed across the front page:

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Deo Ferrer/Woodland Daily Democrat

Hey, is that a dog taking notes???

Whoa. That is a dog taking notes. Or, rather, half-dog, half-human.

That's what readers of the Woodland Daily Democrat saw Tuesday on that paper's front page. Photographer Deo Ferrer apparently sought a creative way to illustrate a story on a border collie mix that Yolo County is using to assist child victims of abuse. Read the full story here.

Anyway, the paper did not explain in the caption that someone wrapped a trench coat around Daisy the dog's body, cut holes in the back and then slipped a pair of human arms through the sleeves to make it appear as if Daisy was taking notes.

Daily Democrat editor Jim Smith did not immediately respond to our queries about whether the paper should have alerted readers that the photo was doctored set up and a human was hiding behind the propped-up Daisy. But...

UPDATE AT 3 P.M.: Smith, via e-mail, deferred comment to associate editor Jake Dorsey, who could not be reached today. But Smith did write: "A quick word, however, is that we have received no reader reaction except from the owner of the dog who liked the photograph."

Still, Jeff Reisig, the Yolo County district attorney, wasn't laughing.

"It was a surprise to us, too, when they ran that photo," Reisig says via e-mail. "Obviously, we had no input on their 'creative' choice. The program is serious."

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There's another loss for that revolving door that is Channel 13's newsroom.

Rafer Weigel, a general assignment reporter for the station for the past two years, will leave on Jan. 29 to join CNN Headline News as a sports reporter. Specifically, Weigel will be the sports anchor on Headline News' "The Morning Express with Robin Meade."

Coincidentally, Weigel is replacing Will Silva, another former Sacramento reporter, who recently left CNN for ESPN.

Weigel's father, Tim, was a longtime Chicago sports anchor. And that's where Weigel's interests are centered. But he says the two-year gig reporting news at Channel 13 gave him valuable experience.

"I had virtually no experience before this job (at Channel 13), so I thank Steve (Charlier, vice president for news) for giving me the chance," he says.

The experience, Weigel adds, will make him a better sports reporter, in the long run.

"This (news) business is shrinking," he says. "Gone are the days when you can say, 'I'm just a sports guy' or 'I'm just an investigative reporter or politics reporter.' You have to do everything. And with sports jobs disappearing at local stations around the country, you've got to be versatile."

Cable news, however, has become a haven for TV sports anchors who have seen local news cut back or even eliminate sports reporting from newscasts.

"Cable seems to be the one area now that's not getting downsized," he says. "It's a cliche, I know, but this (CNN job) is a dream job."

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Let's go out on a happy note, shall we?

Sure, we could dwell on the real and terribly serious top stories of the year: The Virginia Tech massacre, the Bhutto assassination, lead paint in toys, subprime mortgages, the Iraq War, etc.

But, why be depressed on New Year's Eve?

So, we're going all positive and will end our "Best of the Best-of Lists" with MSNBC's "Happiest Stories of 2007."

* Happiest story, chosen by MSNBC editors: Wesley Autrey (pictured) , the New York man who jumped on to subway tracks to save a teen who had fallen.

* Happiest story, chosen by MSNBC viewers: An 11-year-old kid in Decatur, Ala., who sleeps in a trash bin but was named his school's "Student of the Year."

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Stu Nahan as "Skipper Stu"/Courtesy of KCRA

One alert reader - and amateur local-TV historian - who'd prefer to not have his name shouted out here sent a missive to tell us that the Los Angeles Times' obit for Stu Nahan (which The Bee ran) got it wrong.

Well, that's what we at 21Q live for - to right the L.A. Times' wrongs!

Anyway, the L.A. Times wrote of Nahan: "While in Sacramento he was also the host of a children's TV program, appearing as 'Skipper Stu.' He would show cartoons while piloting his boat, the Channel Tender, accompanied by an octopus puppet, O.U. Squid."

No, no , no, says our Sactown TV historian. He writes:

"As I recall, 'Diver Dan,' another kids' show, had the boat named the 'Channel Tender.' He was on Channel 10. (Channel Tender?!...Get it?...Huh, huh?) In real life, he was Norm Bales, staff announcer and morning show host. He later earned a law degree and left television. Sadly, he died a number of years ago. His puppet sidekick was an octopus with the aforementioned name 'O.U. Squid.' (Corny, eh?) O.U. was pretty much just dangled on a string by a production crew member standing on a ladder who also provided the voice."

We found the ocular proof of our reader's claim with this clipping:

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Photo courtesy of planetxmagazine.com

bens spongeb


Now, this is odd: Of all the movie choices out there for Comcast video-on-demand customers in Sacramento to pick in 2007, the top choice was ... "Night at the Museum."

Yes, Sactown apparently loves Ben Stiller, even if the critics panned this flick.

Anyway, here's Comcast's list of top new movie releases among Sacramento viewers over the past year:

1. "Night at the Museum"
2. "Happy Feet"
3. "Borat"
4. "The Devil Wears Prada"
5. "300"
6. "Norbit"
7. "Alpha Dog"
8. "Blood Diamond"
9. "Freedom Writers"
10. "Barnyard"

And what are Sactown kids requesting from Comcast?
Here's the Top 10:

1. "SpongeBob SquarePants: Bubble Buddy"
2. "Diego: A Booboo on the Pygmy Marmoset"
3. "SpongeBob Squarepants: Walking Small"
4. "SpongeBob SquarePants: I had an Accident"
5. "SpongeBob SquarePants: Scaredy Pants"
6. "Barney: It's Home To Me"
7. "SpongeBob Squarepants: The Camping Episode"
8. "Dora the Explorer: BOO!"
9. "Dora the Explorer: Berry Hunt"
10. "Minnie's Birthday"


December 27, 2007
'Skipper' Stu Nahan, R.I.P.

nahan

Stu Nahan, famous for his film work as the sportscaster in the "Rocky" movies but perhaps best known in these parts for being a '50s kiddie TV host, "Skipper Stu," has died. He was 81. Read Nahan's obit here.

Nahan's death comes only a few months after he was given a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame.

A personal note: In 1983, when I was a painfully young sportswriter for the L.A. Times and in way over my head on the professional hockey beat, Stu (an ex-goalie and very clued in to the game) helped me learn the ropes. Stu, at that time, was a bigtime L.A. sportscaster and didn't have to help some snot-nosed 23-year-old newspaper hack. But he did, and I've always been grateful.

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When you log on to the brand spankin' new My925radio (nee, Y92.5 FM) - which went live this morning - up pops the home page asking listeners/users to give personal information and also provide a list of their Top 5 songs.

It's obvious that the newly all-automated KGBY is going for the whole interactive, Web 2.0 thing. OK, fine.

Then, we clicked on the "Listen Live" link, and here are some of the songs that My925radio claims to be "my life, my music":

* They play: Foo Fighters' "Learn to Fly," a Top 100 hit from 1999.

We say: Hmm. Maybe the station is trying to challenge 98 Rock, after all.

* They play: Joey Scarbury's "Theme From 'Greatest American Hero'," which went to No. 2 on the pop charts in 1981.

We say: Whoa. What a head-spinning transition. Maybe the station is trying to go even lighter than former rival Mix 96.

* They play: Deep Blue Something's "Breakfast at Tiffany's," a Top 5 hit in 1995.

We say: OK. We're back on safer pop-rock footing. Sounds like our local "Jack" station.

* They play: Thompson Twins' "Hold Me Now," a hit from 1983.

We say: So, we go reeling back to bad-haircut '80s electronica pop. Kind of a "new" oldies vibe.

* They play: Gavin DeGraw's "I Don't Want to Be," a Top 10 hit in 2004 that was the theme song for the teen TV drama "One Tree Hill."

We say: Got to appeal to that teenage girl demographic, you know.

Our conclusion: Basically, the station is all over the musical map. There are no DJs, and the automated woman's voice that says the artist and the song title sounds uncannily like the woman who gives the time of day on the telephone.

garden-and-gun-3.jpg Cookie_Mag.jpg

Some fancy New York PR firm has released its annual list of "Hottest" magazines. Not the "Best," mind you. You won't find the New Yorker or the Atlantic Monthly here. Rather, it's the most buzzworthy.

Our two favorite "Hot" mags:

* Garden & Gun: "Amazingly the Evening Post Publishing Co. found a way to mix sporting life and Southern landscapes as if it were completely natural. Being Southern never looked so good."

* Cookie: "Increasingly popular among fashionistas who have graduated on to motherhood, Cookie's focus on style, beauty and home décor has resonated with a sophisticated audience."

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National Public Radio’s public affairs show “Fresh Air With Terry Gross,” always on my personal best-of list, recently featured its Top 10 Cultural Trends of 2007, as selected by commentator John Powers.

Of particular interest is No. 5 on the list, which Powers and Gross call “The TMZing of America.”

Powers quote:

“(TMZ) is pure celebrity gossip, insider, prying, almost like a paparazzi Web site with delusions of grandeur. It then later became a television show.

“No one in America can turn on their television or go on the Internet without noticing that we now have endless access to the most trivial details of celebrities and pseudo-celebrities and clowns’ lives, that nothing that someone like Britney Spears does is ever happening in private.

Now, at one level you might say this is just because we’re a corrupt nasty culture interested only in trivial people - and that may even be true, partly - but what struck me more about it was that the celebrities constantly on these sites being followed by cameras and having their anrtics shown on the Internet is that they are on the cutting edge of the tranformation in our culture where we’re breaking down the old ideas of what’s public and what’s private.

“What’s spooky is not just that Britney Spears is being followed. Go on YouTube sometime and somebody will actually post something on people having an argument in a restaurant. And they’ll post that argument on a Web site...And these are people who aren’t famous...The idea of there being a zone of privacy we all have around us is being whittled away, often deliberately and happily.”

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Google Zeitgeist is an algorithm set up by the popular search engine that charts the "fastest-rising" searches among users for the year.

Bear in mind, this list is not the most searches, by sheer numbers. It's simply those searches that spiked the most times, that gained the fastest over the course of the year.

We find it not at all surprising, then, that four of the Top 10 were social networking sites - five, if you count YouTube.

One other observation: Check out the Google graphic (above) of the fastest gainers by quarter. What it shows is how addicted people are to scandalous behavior.

Look at the huge spikes for Anna Nicole Smith in the wake of her overdose death, Don Imus after his racist remarks, and teen star Vanessa Hudgens after her nude photos appeared online.

We could make some pompous and profound tsk-tsking remark here, but we just can't muster the righteous indignation.

And, if you can't muster the energy to click on the hyperlink to the Zeitgeist page, here is the list:

Fastest Rising (U.S.)

1. iphone
2. webkinz
3. tmz
4. transformers
5. youtube
6. club penguin
7. myspace
8. heroes
9. facebook
10. anna nicole smith

December 24, 2007
My92.5 goes live Wednesday

Say goodbye to Christmas music by this man:

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And, come Wednesday, say hello to these gnarly dudes:

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This is going to be a shock to the ears of some radio listeners.

For those of you who missed the story: On Wednesday morning, Y92.5 FM (KGBY) switches formats and becomes My92.5, and the frequency will be rocking. No, make that rawwwwkkkin'!

Dude, the station that has been playing sappy Christmas music all month will switch to a "Rock/Alternative Hits" format sans live DJs. Move over Perry Como (pictured above) and Bing Crosby; here comes Def Leppard and the Red Hot Chili Peppers (also pictured).

AllAccess.com, the radio industry publication, got the inside scoop on the format change. Here's an excerpt from its story:

"The target audience is adults 30-49, college grads, homeowners and families. The station should attract a 55/45 female-to-male ratio, with a core target being a 39-year-old female.

"The buzzwords used in the format tutorial depict a station that's heavy on music and viral listener-interaction, described as "SACRAMENTO'S 'mypod.' Listeners are supposed to drive the programming, and there will be no 'big name talent' hosting 'shows.'

"The station will be jockless for the first 60-90 days and the document hinted that there may not be a need for any air talent at all. On the other hand, there will be heavy Web-interactivity, emphasizing lifestyle and the creation of a MySpace social networking section. Listeners will be encouraged to interface on
Web site photos, videos, music programming ideas and online contesting.

"A strong emphasis was placed on what will not be on the station: 'no cutesy sweepers .... no corny jingles ... no hype, swooshes or bells and whistles' and, of course 'no talent initially.'

"The artists listed in the station's typical playlists range from the late '80s to late '90s; the most recent of the tracks listed was released in 2000. The artists were either Rock, Pop or Alternative-based, ranging from No Doubt and Santana to Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Def Leppard."

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We've got two year-end lists for today, both depressing.

(Sorry, but if you want holiday cheer, try tuning in to Y92.5, where they're playing nothing but Christmas music. Oh, wait, they've laid off all the staff...Nevermind.)

Anyway, on with our Best of the "Best-of" Lists:

1. It's sad when the Word of the Year, as chosen by a vote on Merriam-Webster's Web site, is some totally made up geek speak that isn't even made up entirely of letters. It's"w00t" - a gamer's exhortation that means the same thing as "yea!" We say, nay.

But the rest of the online dictionary's Top 10 was interesting. We love the inclusion of the word "blamestorming."

2. The newspaper industry publication Editor & Publisher announced its Top 10 stories.

The good news: The massive industry job cuts wasn't No. 1. It finished second behind Rupert Murdoch (pitcured) buying the Wall Street Journal. Thanks, Rup.

December 21, 2007
Classy exit for Paul Robins

Y92.5 FM Paul Robins' on-air goodbye this morning was heartfelt but not schmaltzy, a fitting way to cap off one of the longest and most successful radio shows. (Beloved sidekick Lori Sacco, as Robins predicted, couldn't make it through without weeping.)

As we reported Thursday, Y92.5 will change formats on Dec. 26. Word is it will be completely automated - no live DJs - and we hear the name is expected to be My925.

The audio from Robins' goodbye will be posted later today on Y92.5's current Web site. Here are some highlights:

* "I'd try to describe what is happening, but that would require me to use radio industry buzzwords that I've been avoiding for two decades."

* "I would appreciate it if you wouldn't be mad at them (management). It does nobody any good and it's not their fault. There's nobody to be mad at."

Well, except maybe a bunch of corporate suits who work in San Antonio.

Too subtle? Here's a more blatant hint:

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Channel 3 confirmed today that its newest reporter, Catalina Martinez (pictured), has been let go. Her last day is Friday.

This is the second time in the past year that Martinez has found herself out of work. In May, she left Channel 19, Sacramento's Spanish-language station. But she was hired shortly thereafter by Channel 3.

Martinez declined to speak with The Bee, citing KCRA's policy that employees must get permission first from management.

KCRA news director Anzio Williams was unavailable for comment.

But station president and general manager Elliott Troshinsky said, "We're making some changes here. We had some things not work out." He declined to elaborate.

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It will be the end of an era in Sacramento radio Friday morning when longtime Y92.5 (KGBY-FM) morning host Paul Robins signs off for the last time.

Robins, who hosted "The Paul & Phil Show" for 18 years and "The Paul Show" for the past year, has confirmed that he and sidekick Lori Sacco have been laid off as part of what is believed will soon be a major format switch for the soft-rock station.

"Anybody who does what I do and doesn’t know that this day is coming and doesn’t plan for it is a dummy," the 49-year-old Robins says. "There’s nobody at any radio station that ought to be thinking, 'I’m going to do this until I’m 65.' So, in that regard, nobody has the right to ever be surprised.

"I’ve always had my eyes wide open in this business and it happens sometimes. It’s very rare you get to pick the time. I know it sounds Pollyanna, but I’m not making it up: My overwhelming reaction is, 'Wow, isn’t it amazing I lasted 20 years?' And it has been really fun."

Neither Jeff Holden, general manager of Clear Channel's Sacramento stations, which includes Y92.5, nor station program director Sonia Jimenez returned calls or e-mails from The Bee asking for information about the expected format change.

Y92.5's new format is expected to be in place on Dec. 26, after the station's monthlong commitment to playing Christmas music ends.

There is industry speculation that Clear Channel will do the same thing to Y92.5 as it did to KBIG, another Clear Channel pop station in Los Angeles. That is, change it to an all-automated, slightly harder rock format.

As for Robins, he says he has been given permission by management to make an on-air goodbye. He says his final remarks will come just before 9 a.m., the end of the show. Clear Channel allowed Robins' former morning partner, Phil Cowan, to say goodbye to listeners last month when his KSTE political talk show was canceled and replaced by a syndicated consumer-affairs program.

"We’re not going to make a big deal about it and won’t talk about it until the end," Robins says. "It’s rare in radio that you get to say goodbye, and Phil was very fortunate to be able to do that. And wasn’t it a great goodbye? Similarly, I get the privilege of doing that, too."

In recent weeks, Robins has filled in for soon-departing Kelly Brothers as a host on the morning news on Clear Channel sister station KFBK (1530 AM).

Asked if he is a candidate to fill the spot when Brothers leaves in January, Robins says, "Yes, my name has been bandied about. But you'd need to ask management about (that position)."

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Sarah Gardner, a member of the KCRA anchor stable since 1993, is leaving the station after she and management failed to come to an agreement on a new contract. Her last day is Dec. 28.

Gardner has been an anchor on “KCRA News at 10” on sister station My58TV for the past few years and, since the departure last year of anchor John Alston, has filled in as an anchor on Channel 3.

“We had hoped that Sarah would stay, but she decided for personal and professional reasons to move on,” says Elliott Troshinsky, president and general manager of Channel 3 and My58TV. “We couldn’t reach an agreement that was satisfactory to both of us. We wish her all the best in the future.”

Gardner declined to discuss her negotiations with the station.

She did say that she will miss working at KCRA, but needed to make the decision for the sake of her family. She has a son with autism, and she and her husband, Chuck, helped co-found the M.I.N.D. Institute at UC Davis Medical Center. The M.I.N.D. Institute studies the causes, and helps in treatment of, autism.

"I love KCRA and love my job, getting to work with incredibly talented people," she says. "But it was one of those things where I wanted to make sure to give 100 percent to my family and 100 percent to my job, and the way things are now, it's impossible to do both."

Asked if Gardner sought a "flexible" schedule, Troshinsky says, "I don’t know what her reasons are for deciding this wasn’t right for her. But I respect her and like her. I only wish her the best."

News director Anzio Williams says others on the staff will fill in. "We have a lot of folks with talent," Williams says. "You'll be seeing more of Kevin Riggs and Pam Wu."

As for the long term, Troshinsky would not say when the two anchor positions would be filled. In January, Teo Torres will join the 10 p.m. newscast on My58TV, but Troshinsky says he is not a replacement for Alston.

"We do have a plan that will unfold over the next several months, but I’m not going to talk about it," Troshinsky says. "We certainly have a strong team of on-air people to continue doing what they do best."


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Each year, one of our favorite media-related lists is the Top 10 PR Blunders, as chosen by San Francisco's Fineman PR firm; see a Forbes story here.

This year's undisputed champ - no surprise whatsoever - was FEMA for its fake press conferences during the California wildfires. Hey, FEMA, doin' a heckuva job!

But we also liked the botched guerrilla marketing stunt in Boston by the Cartoon Network. What first appeared to be battery-operated, magnetic explosive devices (see photo above) turned out to be props to hype the show, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." But city authorities didn't know that at the time. They closed whole swathes - subways, freeways - of the city and called in the bomb squad.

Doh!

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Let's pretend you run a local TV station.

You learn just after 2 p.m. that a Sacramento County Sheriff's officer has been shot by a suspect believed to be a gang member. The police have closed an entire south Sacramento neighborhood, looking for the suspect, who is believed to be holed up in a house. Schools are locked down at a time when children are supposed to be let out.

So, what do you do at around 3 p.m., when the story starts to come together?
Stay with regular programming or go live?

Here's what our local TV executives decided to do today:

News10: Stayed with "Ellen" (but had brief cut-ins at several junctures). After all, this was Day 10 of "Ellen's 12 Days of Giving." And she also was making quesadillas!

Channel 3: Preempted "Rachael Ray" and went live, sans commercials, with Dave Walker and Lois Hart anchoring, three reporters on the ground and the station's helicopter hovering.

Channel 19: Stayed with its soap opera, but anchor Jairo Diaz-Pedraza interrupted occasionally with updates.

Channel 13: Stayed with "Dr. Phil" for nearly half an hour before changing to live, commercial-free coverage heading into its regularly scheduled 4 p.m. newscast.

Fox40: Stayed with the game show, "Crosswords."

December 19, 2007
Channel 3's ratings blizzard

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Ohmigawd, people!: On Tuesday, there was water...falling...from the sky...right here in Sacramento! And, in the mountains, snow. Who would've predicted that?

So where do local TV viewers go for extended weather coverage?

Same place they go normally – Channel 3.

Only more so.

Tuesday’s “severe” weather was a bonanza to Channel 3, especially in morning news. Check out these numbers for the 6 a.m. hour (Note: Ratings chart the percentage of all homes with television; shares measure the number of TV sets turned on at a particular time):

Channel 3: 5.2 rating/21 share.
Channel 31’s “Good Day Sacramento”: 3.0/12.
News10: 2.7/10.5
Channel 13: 1.0/4
Fox40: 0.1/1

More impressive: At 5 p.m., KCRA logged a 12.2 rating with a 23 share, demolishing the competition.

No wonder local TV suits do rain dances in their offices this time of year.

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Well, the Federal Communications Commission today voted, 3-2, to ease restrictions on allowing a single media company to own a TV or radio station and a newspaper in the same market.

Here in Sacramento, we don't expect any earth-shaking media ownership changes.

But we can't let the controversy pass without noting this cogent media analysis from Mississippi Senator Trent Lott (above). Speaking at a recent Senate Commerce Committee hearing about the FCC proposal, which FCC chairman Kevin Martin says will help struggling newspapers, Lott went off on Martin:

"I don't get why Republicans would be crying alligator tears over newspapers having problems. What? What are you doing? Look. They are losing readership because times have changed. It's technology. It's also because they give so much garbage, people get tired of putting up with it. In my area, we buy (newspapers) to wrap our mullet with."

By mullet, we presume Lott meant the fish, not the hairstyle. But you never know.

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Be on the lookout Wednesday when Time magazine names its annual, overhyped "Person of the Year."

Don't worry. They aren't going to honor us again. By "us," I mean "you."

Remember? Time named "You" - online users - as the POY for 2006. I'm laying down my money this year on Sen. Larry Craig Al Gore.

Meanwhile, for today's Best of the "Best-of" lists:

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I'm thankful that I didn't make this list of top media corrections on the Web site Regret the Error. (Not that I haven't made my share of boo-boos this year, just nothing monumental.)

Here are just two examples of the top media corrections of the year:

(1) From Independent Saturday (UK) magazine:

"Following the portrait of Tony and Cherie Blair published on 21 April in the Independent Saturday magazine, Ms Blair’s representatives have told us that she was friendly with but never had a relationship with Carole Caplin of the type suggested in the article. They want to make it clear, which we are happy to do, that Ms Blair 'has never shared a shower with Ms Caplin, was not introduced to spirit guides or primal wrestling by Ms Caplin (or anyone else), and did not have her diary masterminded by Ms Caplin.' ”

(2) And, back in the U.S., Slate magazine:

In the May 25 “Explainer,” Michelle Tsai asserted that an eight ball is about 10 lines of cocaine. While the size of a line depends on personal preference, most users would divide an eight ball into more than 25 lines.

21Q's resident fashion expert, Leigh Grogan, is away for awhile. So it's left to me, your trusty media correspondent, to gamely take over and review both the coverage and the fashion choices presented by local TV news reporters strutting their stuff on the hoary foothills of Blue Canyon.

First, the coverage. Uh, nothing too scintillating to report here. It's the usual "Gee whiz - it's snowing and it's cold" report. We get the same old shots of motorists putting on chains. (Hey, in these times of dwindling newsroom resources, why not just rerun the old footage?)

Anyhoo, enough about the breathless reporting. Let's get to the really important stuff...how they looked.

We start with News10's resident Zoolander, Dave Marquis:

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A bold choice, Dave, going hatless. Such a dedicated follower of fashion is Dave that he risks hypothermia (heat escapes through the head, you know) for The Look. As for Dave's wardrobe, well, let's just say the official News10 jacket is not slimming. And we've seen oven mitts smaller than those black gloves he donned. But the red with the gold logo screams "serious newsman."

We turn now to Fox40's Kye Martin:

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Oh my, Kye, that's such a Hillary Clintonian black hair band. Bravo! We usually like The North Face as a choice of outer garment, but the white stripes going every which way makes the whole ensemble look too, too busy. Kudos for the green fleece underlayer, though. Matches nicely. We didn't know Fox40 paid so well that you could afford such nice duds.

Up next, Channel 13's Rafer Weigel:

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Work it, Rafer. Work it! Just adore the beanie pushed back a smidgen to accentuate your blonde locks. Nice accessorizing, having your notes strategically placed in the front pocket. Tres Anderson Cooper! But those snow pants are a touch too baggy, even for the snowboarder chic look.

And finally, here's Channel 3's Brian Hickey:

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What a train wreck. Where to start? How about the over-reliance on KCRA branding? It's there on his breast pocket, across his forehead, the microphone he's holding, the graphics on the screen. I haven't seen this many logos since the last NASCAR race. And about the head gear: One or the other, Brian, choose. Either the hoodie or the beanie. Both is overkill.


Good news for all you folks who absolutely must watch TV on Christmas morning.

Yup, same as last year, the "Yule Log" is returning to Fox40. The station announced today that the burning hunk of wood, brainchild of New York station WPIX lo those many years ago, will be sandwiched before and after Fox40's morning newscasts.

That's from 5 to 6 a.m. and then again from 8 to 9 a.m., for those who aren't familiar with the timing of the witty repartee of Fox40 morning talking heads Natalie Bomke and Evan Michael every weekday morning from 6-8 a.m.

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Mike Peters / Dayton Daily News / King Features Syndicate


Time for another installment of our best Best-of lists out there.

Today, we pass along Time magazine's top editorial cartoons for 2007.

Hmmm. Notice how often Dick Cheney comes up as a subject matter? What will the nation's editorial cartoonists going to do when Cheney retires to some controlled wildlife preserve to hunt quail?

Well, there's always a chance that Bill Clinton might become First Hubby. Lots of material there.

One personal note: Bee cartoonist Rex Babin got robbed and didn't make the top 10. But, for our money, we'll take Rex, day in and day out.

CORRECTION: In a blog posting late Thursday, it was incorrectly reported that Channel 3 reporter Adrienne Bankert met with Michal Kohane, executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, to apologize for making derogatory statements about Jewish people.

Kohane, in fact, met only with KCRA management; she says she received a written apology from Bankert.

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My58TV's morning show, the ratings-challenged 7-9 a.m. continuation of the popular "KCRA 3 Reports" earlier in the morning, will add a 6 a.m. hour starting Monday.

Actually, it will be a simulcast of the 6 a.m. hour of Channel 3's show, featuring anchors Walt Gray and Deirdre Fitzpatrick. So, essentially, the same show will air on channels 3 and 4 (on most cable systems). At 7 a.m., when Channel 3 switches to the "Today" show, My58TV viewers will continue to get the pairing of Fitzpatrick and Chris Riva.

On My58TV, the simulcast will replace paid programming at 6 a.m. and the reruns of the sitcom "Still Standing" at 6:30. Jami Gertz fans, no doubt, will mourn its loss.

KCRA is hoping that there will be viewer carryover from the 6 a.m. hour to improve My58TV's morning ratings.

In the November ratings sweeps, Channel 3's "KCRA Reports" easily beat Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" and "News10 Good Morning" in the 6 a.m. hour.

But, at 7 a.m., the ratings showed that Channel 3's viewers did not migrate to My58TV, which finished last with an 0.5 rating. ("Today" had the highest rating at that hour, easily beating "Good Day Sacramento, 4.2 to 2.7.) At 8 a.m., My58TV did a little better, beating Fox40's "Andy Griffith" rerun (0.7 to 0.4).

Channel 3 reporter Adrienne Bankert has met with local Jewish leaders and apologized for disparaging comments about Jewish people that she made two weeks ago during a speaking engagement at Sac State.

Michal Kohane, executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, confirmed this afternoon that they met with the traffic reporter on Monday and says that her organization is satisfied with Bankert's explanation.

"It was a good meeting, overall," Kohane says. "The conclusion we walked away with was that her comments were not made maliciously."

Bankert could not be reached for comment, and KCRA executives declined to discuss the substance of the meeting.

But Kohane called it "an opportunity not to educate so much as to build bridges and learn about each other."

"It wasn’t a malicious statement," she adds. "In fact, she said she meant it as a positive thing. But for a variety of reasons, it came out not sounding positive. Everybody in the room realized it was not her intent."

Kohane says her group had not sought Bankert's firing or any action against her.

According to a story by the State Hornet, Bankert made her comments during a meeting hosted by the International Students Christian Fellowship and attended by 10 people.

On Dec. 3, KCRA management issued a statement saying that the station "does not condone or endorse any comment that was made." Anzio Williams, news director at Channel 3, also said that they have "taken steps to address the matter internally." He did not elaborate.

Bankert issued an apology later that same day.

Kohane says that Bankert's apology to her and other Jewish leaders was "a lot more heartfelt."

"(Bankert) explained what she said. She didn’t get up and say, 'The Jews are rich, therefore it’s bad. Let’s take all their money,'" Kohane says. "But in her experience, she was fortunate to meet Jewish people who were fortunate. That’s not necessarily an accurate picture of all Jewish people all over the world.

"Her theology is, if God loves you, you’ll be successful and here’s an example of people who are successful. She saw it as a good thing. I truly believe that’s not how she intended it to come across. ... We are ready to move on."

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Channel 3 reporter Adrienne Bankert's remarks about Jewish people are bouncing around the blogosphere, where commentators have not been shy about weighing in on the matter.

At TV Spy, a news gossip site, a thread debating whether Bankert should be fired for her stereotypical comments at Sac State two weeks ago is going strong.

At rival NewsBlues, blogger "Surly Editor" included Bankert's "I've never met a poor Jewish person" among his top quotes of 2007.

At Soupcans, a post opined, "Not exactly the most enlightening thing to say to an audience, large or small, especially if you're a television personality." Then, it linked to a video of Bankert stomping grapes for a KCRA story.

But conservative blogger and radio host Debbie Schlussel says that it's futile to condemn Bankert. "The Jewish community of (Sacramento) - instead of shunning her -wants to 'educate' her. Puh-leeze. She doesn't like us Hebes. Get a clue. That won't change. It's like thinking you've changed Mel Gibson's mind. You haven't. And you won't."

Then there's blogger Too Sense, who identifies himself as "America's Worst Nightmare: A light skinned black man with a yarmulke."

He writes: "I've met quite a few Christians who like to talk about how much they love Jews. Here's some advice: DON'T. It's really (expletive) creepy. What really weirds me out is when black folks do it, since the last thing I wanna hear from someone I've just met is how much they 'love' black people, and most black folks I know feel the same way."

December 12, 2007
Best of the 'Best-of' lists

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We're enterting prime list-making season in the media world. It's a hoary tradition for news organizations to fill space inform the public by wrapping up the year. As a public service, we here at 21Q will check in occasionally to review the best of the best-of lists.

The New York Times Magazine had an intriguing "Year in Idea" issue on Sunday. But, we're not blogging about that. No, we're going waaaaay lowbrow with the light-as-air Web site Popsugar and its "Best Celebrity Mug Shots."

There, you can vote on the best-looking celebrity booking mug. The leader, as of this writing, is former Disney Channel actor Shia LaBeouf, who was arrested at a Chicago Walgreens for refusing to leave the store. (Just today, charges were dropped against the actor, who will be starring with Harrison Ford in the latest Indiana Jones pic. How's that for news you can use?)

Anyway, feel free, dear readers, to pass along other best-of lists you encounter - the weirder the better.

December 11, 2007
End of an era for Humor Times

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Well, gang, we knew this day was coming.

The Humor Times (known for most of its 16-year existence as the Comic Press News) has just published its final free monthly magazine. December's issue (see cover above) hits stands today. Come January, the Humor Times switches to a subscription model.

No more free rides, dude.

Publisher James Israel says declining advertising revenue and rising publishing prices forced the change.

How much coin will we have to fork over? Not that much: $17.95 per year. For more info: click here.

December 10, 2007
One woman vs. Comcast

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We begin the week with a heartwarming story about how the Little Guy (or, in this case "the Little Gal") can, after all, triumph against a large, soulless corporation.

Let me start at, well, the start.

For about two weeks, life was miserable for a Davis woman I like to call Mrs. Media Savvy. And when Mrs. Savvy ain't happy, ain't no one in the house is happy.

See, her favorite TV network, the Weather Channel, had stopped giving the "Local on the 8s" forecast, as well as the continuous temperature scroll at the bottom of the screen. It was curious that the Weather Channel's very raison d'être was the one thing the station wasn't providing.

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So Mrs. Savvy called Comcast, her cable provider. We will now recreate the conversation between Mrs. Savvy and the Comcast representative:

Mrs. Savvy: "Hello. Is there any way you can contact the Weather Channel to get them to run the local weather again?"

Comcast rep: "The Weather Channel? Do we have that? Is is channel 100 or something?"

(Is it any wonder why people get so frustrated with Comcast that they start Web sites, such as "Comcast Must Die," as Advertising Age columnist and NPR's "On the Media" host Bob Garfield recently did?)

Anyhoo, Mrs. Savvy is not going to be ignored.

Oh, no. She did what Comcast didn't do and contacted the Weather Channel directly. And, guess what? She got results.

Here's the e-mail the Weather Channel sent to Mrs. Savvy:

"After a simple rebooting of their Intellistar computer unit did not correct the problem, our technical account managers have decided to send a replacement computer unit to Comcast Cable (head-end #22410) in Davis, California, in an attempt to rectify the recent problems with their local weather experience on the eights of the hour.

"Later today, we will send a replacement WEATHER STAR computer unit to Comcast Cable in Davis; that will arrive tomorrow (Thursday, December 6th). Once the unit is installed correctly, the problems you have encountered with your local weather experience will cease. Tomorrow afternoon, one of our technical account managers will contact Comcast Cable and offer assistance with the installation of this hardware.

"We greatly appreciate your patience as we work with your Comcast Cable provider to correct this situation.

Sincerely,

Chris Hoitsma

The Weather Channel"

So again, Davis residents can find out the exact wind chill reading before heading out on their (city-required) bicycles. And, at last, peace has been restored to the household. Because, if Mrs. Savvy is happy, then everybody's happy.

Kudos to the Weather Channel for good customer service.

December 7, 2007
Funny end to a rough week

Hey, your 21Q media correspondent is a little bummed.

Why? Well, just look at what I've had to blog about lately - a radio host indicted on child porn charges, a local TV reporter offending Jewish people, "Good Day Sacramento" asking people to show off their scars, and Don Imus.

What's needed is a good laugh on a Friday afternoon.

So we present this hilarious YouTube offering poking fun at overheated Web 2.0 geniuses, who basically are trying to bury us "old media" types in the newspaper biz.

Enjoy.

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Popular KGO (810 AM) liberal radio host Bernie Ward - who was the afternoon host on Sacramento's KFBK (1530 AM) in the late '80s - was indicted in federal court in San Francisco Thursday on two counts of possessing child pornography.

Read the full story here.

Historical footnote about Ward, whose San Francisco-based show can be picked up by many Sactown folks on KGO: He left KFBK in March, 1990. He was replaced by Christine Craft.

So, guess who'll be filling in for Ward tonight on KGO?

Yup, Craft.

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Sactown native Adrian Tomine, who now calls Brooklyn home, is getting great reviews from writers in three countries for his first graphic novel, "Shortcomings."

The New York Times named it one of its 100 Notable Books of 2007. The Toronto Globe & Mail raved that Tomine "tackles ethnicity, love and pop-culture obsessions in a visual stew that would make Philip Roth proud."

And there's this from the London Times last Saturday:

"It seems unlikely that a story about the relationship problems of an aggressive second-generation Japanese American, with a secret hunger for Caucasian women and contempt for women of his racial group, could be original, convincing and unputdownable.

"But Tomine's latest book is all this and more. It is rendered with uncluttered beauty, the dialogue is so convincing that you can almost hear the characters speak, and it is alight with truth."

The most thorough review appeared recently in Salon.

As my 21Q colleague Rachel Leibrock reported a while back, don't look for Tomine to return to Sac any time soon.

Yo, Adrian, where's the love for Sactown?

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Carl Costas/ccostas@sacbee.com

Some Jewish leaders in Sacramento say they don't want Channel 3 reporter Adrienne Bankert fired in the wake of disparaging comments that she made about Jews in a recent talk to students at Sacramento State.

But they do want to meet with Bankert to try to educate the reporter, who told a Sac State Christian organization that she has "never met a poor Jewish person ever in my life" and opined about how Jews founded Hollywood and were prominent in banking.

Bankert later issued a statement, saying in part, "I apologize if anyone was offended by remarks."

Michal Kohane (pictured), executive director of the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region, says her organization considered issuing a press release denouncing Bankert and asking for sanctions.

"But the feeling was, it was a little disproportionate to what happened," Kohane says. "What we’re going to try to do is have a personal meeting."

Kohane says she has contacted the station, but has yet to hear back.

"Her commentary teaches more on the commentator than the issue," Kohane says. "(Bankert) demonstrated her lack of knowledge. I don’t feel she said something personally against me where I have to go and prove my bank account over it or bring every Jewish person in town to judge her."

However, at least one Sacramento-area rabbi, David Wechsler-Azen at Beth Shalom, says he was personally offended.

"As somebody who has been a poor Jew, as someone regularly approached by poor Jews for help, it’s just so factually inaccurate," Wechsler says. "It’s just really offensive for someone to portray Jews that way.

"She really needs to be made aware of all the Jewish philanthropies that make sure everyone’s taken care of. That’s the underlying Jewish premise: reach out your hand to the needy."

Rabbi Sheryl Nosan-Blank at Temple Or Rishon, in an e-mail, called Bankert's comments "shocking." Nosan-Blank was not aware of Bankert's comments until told of them by a reporter because she's been visiting relatives in Los Angeles. However, after reading Bankert's statement, she questioned the sincerity of the written apology.

"It is most unfortunate that Bankert's follow-up statement neither corrects her mistaken remarks nor directly apologizes to the Jewish Community," Nosan-Blank writes.

"Hopefully, this season of light will be one which helps all of us become more enlightened, building on our commonalities as people of good faith rather than building walls of hurtful bias and harmful stereotype."


Channel 19, without a news director since the September departure of Pedro Calderon, has hired CNN en Espanol producer Isabel Gonzalez for the Univision station's top newsroom spot.

She starts in January.

During her time at CNN en Espanol, Gonzalez was part of a Peabody Award-winning team for that station's Hurricane Katrina coverage. She also produced a CNN report on the 2004 Asian tsunami, which won a DuPont/Columbia University Award.

In addition, Gonzalez, who could not be reached for comment, has been a producer for Telemundo, TV Azteca and MVS in Mexico City.

In the November Nielsen ratings, Channel 19's 6 p.m. news finished with a 2.3 rating, just behind third place Channel 13 (at 2.7). At 11 p.m., Noticias finished a distant third (1.6) behind Channel 3 (5.7) and News10 (5.2).

December 6, 2007
Negative? Here's negative

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OK, so I've been accused by some local TV news folks of being overly negative about the state of their news coverage (even though I recently wrote a glowing "10 Reasons Why Local TV News Doesn't Stink" cover story in The Bee).

But I'm here to tell you that I'm a Pollyanna compared to former TV news veteran Mike James, whose Web site, News Blues, is infamous among TV types.

James recently gave an interview to another blogger, and check out these quotes about TV news:

"TV news, and those who draw paychecks from it, have become lazy, sloppy, and too willing to trust consultants rather than their own instincts. The industry no longer delivers news. It falls back on formulas. Content has become predictable. It takes the easy way out. It tries to fill an ever-increasing news hole with artificial preservatives.

"Someone needs to clean the kitchen, discard the spoiled meat and rancid vegetables, scour the cupboard, expel the vermin, hose down the joint, and chug a big jolt of reality. TV news has lost its way. Forget the excuses. No one cares that your bosses are asking you to fill more time with fewer resources. The business is contaminated. The content is fetid and foul, shallow and pointless. Get a job selling time share. Drive a bus in Reno. Do anything but continue foisting polluted, noxious news feces on the superficial American public.

Television news (if you believe it is a form of journalism) has the ability...the responsibility...to capture and preserve the moments, the events, that pass through our daily lives. Instead, it has fallen back on trivial weepies and frothy feel-goods, on medical "studies" and video news releases, or political spin and opinionated shoutfests, hypothesis, rumor, and supposition. TV news is no longer in charge of itself. It deserves to be shot at sunrise."


December 5, 2007
The hazards of Web streaming

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News10 and Channel 3 - right now! - are streamingthe California Hall of Fame ceremonies on their Web sites.

But News10 took it a step further, having entertainment reporter Jonathan Mumm go live from the "red carpet" before the event.

What a disaster.

I watched for eight minutes as Mumm and his photographer stood there, well, doing nothing. Just waiting. Oh, occasionally, Mumm would mumble something and point out Clint Eastwood's wife or some lesser known personality as the photog scanned the room.

But when the Guv and Maria finally made the scene, Mumm had to wait some more as California's first couple gave an interview to ... Channel 3.

Oh, snap!

Mumm kept looking back to the camera, sheepishly, as viewers on the Web stream could hear the Guv answering questions from KCRA - and even a KFBK radio reporter.

At one point, Mumm turned his head and told viewers: "I'd piggyback on what they (Channel 3) are doing, but Brandon (his photographer) doesn't have the shot. So we'll stay here."

At last, Mumm got his turn.

But compelling TV, it wasn't.

If anything, it shows how tedious a reporter's job usually is - you often just stand around, waiting a lot, and then grovel for a few minutes with the subject.

Advice to prospective journalism students: Go into welding.

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Close call for "Good Day Sacramento" this morning. The show lost audio in the 9 o'clock hour and was forced to act silly - and without sound.

Among the highlights: Mark S. Allen takes another shot at Channel 3's Walt Gray (see above); Tina Macuha holds up a "Quiet" sign, and Marianne McClary does the old disappearing thumb trick. They also brought in a white board and wrote out what was coming up on the show. Tres old school TV.

Fortunately, sound was restored in time for a memorable segment that qualifies for inclusion in our continuing feature, "Is it 'The Daily Show' or Local TV News?"

The segment featured Cody Stark hitting the streets of Sacramento to ask people to show him their scars. (FCC take note: One dude flashed a scar on his right buttock.)

The topper, though, was a man named Daniel.

"I got sucked into a boat propeller about two months ago and it did a number on me," the man tells Stark.

Then, he lifted up his shirt to show a hideous disfigurement that runs horizontally across his abdomen.

"See, that's where my intestines fell out," Daniel added.

Ewwwwwwwww.

Stark was smitten. But in the studio, anchor Stefanie Cruz had her head in her hands. (This thought bubble should've been over Cruz's head: "I once reported from Ground Zero on Sept. 11 for a Hartford station; now I'm reduced to this.")

Our editors won't let us post the scar-on-the-butt screen grab. Some things are too gross even for 21Q. But here's the link to "GDS's" report.

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First, it was Bruno Cohen, then Michael Langley. Now, it's channels 13/31 vice president for news Steve Charlier doing on-air stunts. Charlier gets shot with a paintball gun by "Good Day Sacramento" reporter Lisa Gonzales.

Here's the link.

OK, so which corporate suit will be the next to appear in a bizarre fashion on the air, Channel 3's Anzio Williams or Fox40's Tom Burke?

December 4, 2007
No Imus in Sacramento

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Associated Press

Your 21Q media correspondent has received several cyber missives and phone calls asking which Sacramento radio station(s) has picked up Don Imus' new show on WABC in New York.

Answer: None. Zip. Nada.

Imus' erstwhile CBS radio show - the gig he ignominiously lost amid the racially charged comments about Rutgers' women's basketball team - hadn't been broadcast in the Sacramento market for several years.

And as of yet, no one has picked up the syndicated feed of Imus.

Of course, you can listen to Imus online. Here's the link.

This just in: Anzio Williams, news director at Channel 3, has given 21Q this response to reporter Adrienne Bankert's's derogatory comments about Jewish people - originally published in a Sac State newspaper article:

"(KCRA) does not condone or endorse any comment that was made. We require all of our on-air talent to refrain from engaging in any outside activities or manners that impinge on our reputation of fairness, balance and accuracy.”

Asked whether Bankert has been disciplined, Williams says: “We’ve taken steps to address the matter internally and to make sure it doesn’t occur again.”

UPDATE (1:55 P.M.): Bankert, through KCRA management, has released the following statement:

"I have been made aware that certain remarks that I made to a small student
group at Sacramento State last week could be regarded as offensive
stereotyping to some individuals and the community at large. I never
intended any of my comments to be hurtful or to stereotype any particular
group. I am well aware of the harm that stereotypical comments can cause to
specific groups and our society in general. I apologize if anyone was
offended by remarks."

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Maybe it's time to start a new 21Q feature, "Local TV News Suits Behaving Bizarrely."

Our first installment, as you may recall, was on Bruno Cohen, honcho of channels 13 and 31, doing a disco dance on the air.

Now, here's News10's assistant news director Michael Langley (above).

Check out the video.

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From left: Channel 3's Lois Hart and Dave Walker, Channel 13's Sam Shane, News10's Cristina Mendonsa, Fox40's Thomas Drayton

There were no big surprises in the local TV news November sweeps, the much-hyped period when stations gauge audience to set advertising rates.

It was another dominating ratings book for Channel 3, especially on the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts. But the late news, considered the "signature" broadcast for stations, has become quite competitive, with channels 3 and 13 battling it out.

(Quick refresher for below: Ratings chart the percentage of all homes with television; shares measure the number of TV sets turned on at a particular time. Remember, people, this will be on the quiz.)

At 5 and 6 p.m., there's no contest: KCRA pulled in a 9.7 rating and a 20 share at 5 p.m., more than tripling the rating of its nearest competitor. (Channel 13 had a 3.0 rating and 6 share; News10 had a 2.9 rating and 6 share.) Then, at 6 p.m., Channel 3 had an 8.6 rating and 15 share, while News10 was a distant second at 3.5 and 6.

For the late news, Channel 13 had the highest rating, with 5.8 (10 share) for its hour-long 10 p.m. broadcast. That figure edged Channel 3, which had a 5.7 rating (13 share) for its half-hour newscast at 11 p.m.

(It is at this point that, as inevitably as Punxsutawney Phil will pop out to check his shadow on Groundhog Day, Channel 3 suits will say you can't compare late newscasts at different hours, and Channel 13 honchos will counter that, oh, yes you can.)

Anyway, at 10 p.m., Channel 13's number easily beat head-to-head rivals Fox40 (3.3 and 6) and My58TV (1.9 and 3). At 11 p.m., News10 (5.2 rating, 12 share) is catching up to Channel 3.

Not much change in the morning news, as Channel 3's local progam and the "Today" show beat Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" in nearly all the hours.

The results were not as good for My58TV's new 7 to 9 a.m. morning show, using Channel 3 talent. It garnered only a 0.5 rating and 2 share in the 7 a.m. hour and 0.7 and 2 at 8 a.m. Those numbers are about the same as those of deposed radio talkers "Armstrong & Getty" when they broadcast a simulcast of their radio show.

Fox40's two-hour morning newscast failed to break the 1.0 rating mark, even thought it has significantly beefed up its newscast.

And, finally, Sacramentans still like Dave & Lois more than Alex Trebek: Channel 3's 6:30 p.m. news (6.9 rating, 12 share) with Walker and Hart beat "Jeopardy!" (5.5, 9).

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Hector Amezcua/hamezcua@sacbee.com

The other day on "Insight," KXJZ's daily public-affairs radio show, host Jeffrey Callison interviewed playwright Richard Hellesen (above), who in 1987 wrote the script for Sacramento Theatre Company's now-annual production of "A Christmas Carol."

Hellesen's take on the Dickens classic has been widely performed at theaters throughout the country in the past 20 years. In talking with KXJZ, Hellesen recalled that Channel 3 shadowed the Sac Theatre Co. for weeks and aired a one-hour documentary about the production.

That nugget of information got Callison thinking. And he e-mailed his thoughts to 21Q: "I can't figure out if I think that's quaint (because an hour-long documentary was surely overkill), inspiring (because KCRA was dedicating so much time and money to in-depth local coverage) or sad (because it's hard to imagine anything like that getting made nowadays). All three, I guess."

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'Tis the season for religion in local TV news.

Here we bring you two recent items of interest involving local media, one serious and one silly.

THE SERIOUS:

Channel 3 reporter Adrienne Bankert spoke about her belief in God in front of the International Students Christian Fellowship at Sac State recently.

Avi Ehrlich, reporter for the school newspaper, the State Hornet, wrote about a mini-controversy stemming from Bankert's remarks:

Others took issue with parts of Bankert's message...One part of Bankert's presentation that (Sac State ethnic studies major Marc) Sorensen was uncomfortable with dealt with religious stereotypes.

As part of her presentation, Bankert asked: "Have you ever met a poor Jewish person?"

"I have never met a poor Jewish person ever in my life! Every Jewish person I went to school with had money, and if they didn't have money literally ... they knew how to get some. The Jewish people founded Hollywood, Jewish people were in banking, lawyers."

Bankert said she, herself, is a Jew in Jesus' name.

"I'm a Jewish person, because I'm saved by the blood of Jesus. He is Jewish, and I want what he's got for me."

Here's the link to Ehrlich's full story on Bankert.

And now, for THE SILLY:

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News10's Dan Adams found a woman in Natomas who has seen the Virgin Mary holding the baby Jesus on the bottom of her muffin pan.

Arrrgh! Add this to the litany of Jesus sightings that our local TV stations have uncovered - Jesus on a fence post, Jesus and Mary in a pancake, Jesus in a tree stump, etc. ...

Only this time, Adams punctuated his report by doing a stand-up outside The Bee's building, good-naturedly chiding your own 21Q/Media Savvy correspondent for poking fun at the true believers.

My only comment: Maybe the woman should wash out the bottom of the muffin pan before using it again.

Check out Adams' report here.

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This just in: Syndicated liberal talking head Ed Schultz will be doing his show live (9 a.m.-noon) Thursday and Friday from the studios of KSAC (1240 AM).

Plus: If any listeners want to meet Schultz, belly up to the bar at the Blue Gecko (1379 Garden Highway) on Friday between 5-8 p.m.

November 28, 2007
Memories of KAHI

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My story on Monday about the 50th anniversary of community radio station KAHI (950 AM) in Auburn prompted several readers to share their memories.

This one, from retired history professor Bob McCallum of Earp (south of Lake Havasu):

My friend Jeff March and another friend, Dave Darin, and I worked at KAHI in the early '70s. We were young radio jocks and thought we were God's gift. But KAHI gave us a dose of humility. During a morning newscast, an elderly lady, who was hired to give the news of El Dorado County, was on the phone doing the live newscast to the Auburn station. Suddenly, all of her poodles started barking loudly. She simply covered the receiver with her hand and yelled at her front door, "Come on in, I'll be done with the newscast in a minute." And nobody thought it was funny but me. I was laughing so hard, I had to leave the control room.

And then, there's this from Tony Rohl of Grass Valley:

It's too bad that no one included a brief reference to KAHI's founder, Charles Halstead, whose brother owned a pharmacy in Nevada City a few steps up from the National Hotel. Within months of firing up his radio station, he was at war with Auburn merchants for refusing to buy advertising on his station. He took to saying that he was broadcasting from the Auburn pig farm. As he slowly went broke, he would often leave his station unattended when he went for dinner or to take a nap. He'd put on an LP that in most cases was scratched and would start looping a portion of whatever song the needle got stuck on before he left. All in all, Charles "Charlie" Halstead was one of Auburn's more colorful characters in Auburn in the '50's.

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Starting a magazine is this market is relatively easy; maintaining it is another matter entirely. (Just ask Prosper magazine, bowing out after the December issue.)

So it is relief that we recently received the second issue of Salute magazine, the brainchild of El Dorado Hills resident Rob DeFeo. The cover boy is Italian blues guitar master Zucchero - so big that he’s apparently at one-name status.

In the past, we’ve reported on the genesis of the publication, which focuses on Italian Americans.

An encouraging sign in the second issue is the ads. Yes, they have more than a few. Most interesting ad: A two-page ad for Lasorda Wine. No joke - former Dodger manager Tommy Lasorda has turned vintner.

And, no, Giant fans, Lasorda didn't use sour grapes.

Check out Salute’s Web site here.

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This item about former KSAC (1240 AM) talker Christine Craft , which appeared two weeks ago in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, got our attention.

Turns out that, no, Craft has not bought Santa Cruz's KSCO radio. But she confirms to us that she's taken with the idea of doing just that.

"Michael Zwerling (the owner, pictured with Craft) wants to sell the stations but doesn't want to sell them to a corporate conglomerate," Craft says via e-mail. "It would be my dream to buy them and have a blast for the next twentyplus years programming great radio for the central coast. I've had some interest from investors and am seeking more. Can't hurt to ask?"

Craft would seem to be a natural fit for Santa Cruz, a lefty enclave that makes our own Davis look uptight by comparison.

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For those who aren't routine readers of The Bee blog Capitol Alert - and you really should check it out; it's free now, by the way - we pass along a link to reporter Jim Sanders' news that Channel 3's Edie Lambert will be marrying Assemblyman Lloyd Levine.

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Courtesy: chinatravelguide.com

Great report this morning by Capital Public Radio (KXJZ, 90.9 FM) reporter Steve Milne on a group of tax collectors from the Hubei Province in China, who have come to Sacramento State to study accounting for a year.

Listen to the story here.

Milne reports that while these accountants enjoy being in our fair city, there is one minor problem.

Laments student Fei Wang: "We are curious about what American people (are) doing in evening (laughs) because we don’t see many people outside. Maybe they are staying at home. You can see people everywhere in China at anytime."

Really? We decided to do a little research, and here's what at least one source tells us:

According to travelchinaguide.com: "If you're in (major city) Wuhan, you'd better try the bar named 'Soho,' which has a very up-to-date music and hot dancing. ... If you prefer the crazy music played by band, go to 'VOX,' where you can watch the live-band shows - although they're not so famous, their music is still pretty good. By the way, the drinks in 'VOX' are also cheaper than many other bars in Wuhan."


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We're shocked - shocked! - by the revelation that surfaced this morning. Not since Rosie Ruiz cheated to win the Boston Marathon has such a sporting hoax been perpetrated on the populace.

Kelly Brothers, the KFBK and Channel 3 reporter who participated in Thursday's media challenge in the Run to Feed the Hungry, has admitted to cheating.

Here he is, unburdening himself in his own words:

My time as reported on 21Q ... was a fraud.

I did the race with a few of my young kids and about 10 minutes in I heard those magic words... "Daddy I need to go to the bathroom...." We took an unauthorized turn on 51st St. and suddenly the 5k race was cut to 3.5k!

We worked our way down H St.... to the bathroom at Starbucks... and then (just like Rosie) sprinted for the finish line! And that's why my time is so seemingly impressive....

In all fairness, if you include the walk to/from the car ... we did do at least a 7k... just not in the "timed" portion.

Mea culpa

Upon further review, we'll let Brothers slide for his transgression. After all, he ran for charity ....

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Mark Williams (at right, yelling with a protester in a past photo), the former KFBK conservative talk show host who is suing his former employer, has landed a new full-time talking-head gig ... but not in Sacramento.

Starting Monday, Williams will be the afternoon guy on WROW, an AM station in Albany, N.Y. According to the industry Web site All Access, Williams will do the first week from his Northern California home before moving to Albany and starting live in upstate New York on Dec. 3.

But Northern California won't be rid of Williams. On his Web site, Williams writes:

"...(I)t is with great pleasure that I announce that as of next Monday, November 26, 2007, I will add to my menu of assignments the duties of afternoon talk show host on AM 590 WROW, which serves New York’s Capital District and Western New England (keeping an eye on Mitt).

That means that MarkTalk.com will be bringing to this life or death election a broad view, from the perspective of each important region. Northern California and the Capital District of New York have much in common but are still two very different places. Having a foot in each offers this site the opportunity to present to you a unique viewpoint, one which you will - I hope - appreciate.

The MarkTalk Podcast will continue ASAP and will have content specific to NorCal and not aired on the New York program."

UPDATE: In an e-mail to 21Q, Williams says: "We'll be splitting time between the cities. Actually a wonderful opportunity to present a unique perspective to listeners in both places during this particular election year. Additionally, Holly (his wife) and I are also both active in the Placer County community and hopefully will have even more to contribute given what will be an expansion of our already broad view.

"I will continue my local column (but will not be able to continue with CBS 13)."

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Well, it was all for charity, so race times don't really matter. Right, boss? I mean, you're not gonna make me put our actual times in the (cough) "Celebrity Media Challenge" at this morning's Run to Feed the Hungry.

Uh, turns out, yes.

Editors!

Some of us did better than others.

Bee TV columnist Rick Kushman (left) won his age group (50-55) with a time of 37:15. So much for the TV-critic-as-couch-potato cliche.

Other results for media team members in the 10K:

* Bee political columnist Dan Weintraub: 37:59

* Yours truly, Bee media writer Sam McManis: 40:51

* Y92.5 DJ Paul Robins: 53:29

* Bee staff writer Mary Lynne Villenga: 55:52

* Channel 13/31 anchor Stefanie Cruz: 56:17

And in the 5K:

* Channel 3 and KFBK's Kelly Brothers: 27:08

* Channel 13/31 anchor Michele Kane: 32:12

* Channel 13/31 anchor Lisa Gonzales: 32:40

Other media notables - not on the official team but impressive finishers nonetheless in the 10K:

* Bee political writer Kevin Yamamura: 38:53

* Bee assistant managing editor Scott Lebar: 42:39

* Clear Channel Radio Sacramento General Manager Jeff Holden: 53:56

* Former Channel 3 news director Dan Weiser: 58:32

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What now, Chris Burrous? Making fun of prostitutes?

Apparently so.

A few days before he delivered beer to the homeless, the Channel 13 morning anchor asked viewers to weigh in on which of the five women from Folsom arrested on a prostitution charge was the best looking based on their booking mug shots.

Burrous' co-anchor, Stefanie Cruz, was not amused. Here's their exchange (view the entire segment, posted on YouTube, below):

Cruz: "This is your (idea)...I know you wanted to do this segment but (me), not so much."

Burrous: "...I don't really care about the question...I just wanted to look at the picture...."

Cruz: "Honestly, I really find it to be a sad situation for these women...Whatever situation they're in, it's a desperate one. So I don't find it trivial."

Burrous: "I'm not saying it's trivial ...."

Cruz: "Well, you were asking which one was the best looking, so ...You ask, I tell. OK? Don't ask."

As Channel 13 intones in its promos for Burrous: "The future of news is here!"


Well, here it is, the video of "Good Day Sacramento" reporter Chris Burrous' now-infamous stunt on Monday, giving beer to a homeless woman.

Note, at the end, that Rich Wetzel, the CHP officer who gives traffic updates, did not approve. "A soft drink or water would've been great," says Wetzel, obviously embarrassed.

November 20, 2007
Everyone's a critic...

Reader Richard Bell of Grass Valley, apparently inspired by today's story in The Bee listing 10 reasons why local TV news doesn't stink, made his own list.

We'll share it and invite readers to add their own lists. Just click on the comment section below.

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"Five More Reasons to Watch the Local News," By Richard Bell

1. The Sarah Gardner Show, AKA Channel 3 Reports at 6. This show has special appeal to anyone in my demographic category (i.e., males from age 16 to age 95, or from any guy who just got a driver's license to one who may lose his soon). Her reading of the news is top-rate as is that of others on her show whose names escape me at present.

2. Channel 13's own Not Ready for Prime-time Players. The newscast where comedy - unintended though it may be - rules the day. From Sam Shane, whose voice bears an uncanny resemblance to Al Franken's Stuart Smalley, to Kurtis Ming's Chevy Chase consumer segment (I'm Kurtis Ming and You're Not), this show can mesmerize. Both Pallas and Brandi can shake their heads in disgust and "Titch, titch" with the best in town. Rumor has it the station will seek to expand its Latino audience with a series of special reports concluding with a blockbuster spring segment: Los Doce Daves de Cinco de Mayo.

3. Danny Pommell's Metaphors. He's like the kid in junior English who discovers metaphors for the first time. His teacher encouraged him, and he's been at it ever since. He drops occasional pearls of wisdom like " Daunte Culpepper's now slower than your grandmother's '83 Buick goin' north on I-5."

4. Mark Finan in the Severe Weather Center. There's something eerie involved here. Hard not to imagine Finan proceeding to a special elevator and heading down to a combination underground silo/wine cellar. Like the proverbial mail carrier of old, neither rain, sleet nor MikeTeSelle burying himself in a snowbank can stop Finan from firing up Doppler and allowing it to do whatever Doppler does to create all those colors on a weather map.

5. The New Guy: Damany Lewis. Channel 3 just had to get a reporter who bears a resemblance to Cuba Gooding Jr., both in voice and appearance. So, I have no guilt or remorse in saying to Channel 3, "Show me DaMany!"

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Bruno Cohen (left), president of channels 13 and 31, has released a statement about reporter Chris Burrous' "Good Day Sacramento" stunt of giving a homeless woman a case of beer:

"We have reviewed the situation and discussed it with Chris. He has a good heart, but clearly made a mistake and we sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by his actions.”


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Jay Henderson, a reader from Folsom, writes to say he was stunned on Monday morning to see "Good Day Sacramento" reporter Chris Burrous (left) give a case of beer and a bag of McDonald's food to a homeless woman during a live segment.

The Bee has confirmed that Burrous made the on-air gesture (beer of choice: Bud Light) while reporting from the homeless camp in Natomas set up by bounty hunter Leonard Padilla.

Is it proper for a TV news anchor to give beer to a homeless resident?

No answer from Channel 13.

Steve Charlier, vice president for news for channels 13 and 31, did not return phone calls. Brent Baader, the Channel 31 executive in charge of daily operation of "Good Day Sacramento," referred all calls to station president Bruno Cohen.

Cohen returned a reporter's phone call but agreed only to an off-the-record conversation.

Burrous also did not return phone calls.

But Henderson, who says he is a fan of "Good Day," says he was shocked by Burrous' actions.

In an email to The Bee, Henderson wrote, "I could not believe what I was watching. Apparently Mr. Burrous is unaware that alcoholism is prevalent in the homeless community, and is also one of the causes of homelessness. He has a record of insensitivity to their plight, but this example was over the line, in my opinion. I am still stunned at his actions."

Henderson says he emailed his concerns to station management and on-air talent. He says the only response he received was from Stefanie Cruz, Burrous' co-anchor on the Channel 13 morning show. Henderson shared Cruz's email response with The Bee.

Cruz wrote:

"Hi Jay,

Thank you for your e-mail and for watching Good Day. I really appreciate your feedback and I understand why you were offended. All of us did have a conversation about the segment. We agreed it was not the best decision. His intent was to have a little fun and not put down or make fun of the homeless people. I assure you we take these issues seriously and the last thing we want to do is offend or insult anyone.

Best wishes.

Sincerely,

Stefanie"

Though Channel 13 personnel would not talk to The Bee about the beer incident, on this morning's Channel 13 news -- co-hosted by Burrous and Cruz -- the anchors referred to the beer incident during a conversation with radio DJs Pat & Tom from KNCI.

Talking about the Thanksgiving parade the radio pair annually host, Tom Mailey said to Burrous: "We understand you're buying McDonald's and beer, so we want to thank you for that."

Partner Pat Still then asked Burrous: "How'd that go?"

Burrous: "Really well."

Cruz: "Not so much."

While the contraction of local radio continues with Phil Cowan's departure from KSTE (see posting below), here's some heartening news:

KXJZ (90.9 FM), Sacramento's public-radio station, continues to add reporters. A few months ago, it hired Ben Adler and now news director Joe Barr tells us KXJZ is going to beef up again by hiring an anchor for local portion of NPR's "Morning Edition" as well as a health reporter.

The morning news anchor will augment -- not replace -- morning host Donna Apidone, Barr says.

November 16, 2007
Phil Cowan out at KSTE

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Sacramento talk radio lost another local voice today when Phil Cowan left the air.

Cowan's conservative talk show (10 a.m. to noon) on KSTE (650 AM) had struggled for ratings. The big problem is that Cowan went against the mighty Rush Limbaugh on sister station KFBK (1530 AM). Cowan had hosted the call-in show for several years. He's best known, of course, as part of the morning duo on Y92.5's Paul and Phil show, which Cowan voluntarily left a year ago.

Replacing Cowan in the 10-noon spot will be syndicated consumer talker Clark Howard.

His departure makes Bruce Maiman (KFBK's evening guy) as the lone local talk-show left. Remember, KFBK's Tom Sullivan has moved to New York and been syndicated.

The past year has seen a procession of departures -- Mark Williams, Eric Hogue, Christine Craft, Enid Goldstein, Scott & Sims. (KSTE's lone local voice now is the morning team of Armstrong & Getty, more variety than overtly political.)

"As we've been working to realign KSTE to counterprogram KFBK, we realized we had to make this move to provide the listeners something different," says Jeff Holden, general manager of Sacramento's Clear Channel stations, which includes KSTE and KFBK. "Rush is such a dominant force that it was hard to break through."

Holden said Cowan's low ratings did play a part in the decision to cancel the show. "If it had shown a dramatic increase (in the last ratings period), it might have made a difference," he said.

But he had nothing but praise for what he termed Cowan's "professionalism." Holden says the station plans to stream Cowan's last 15-minute segment, during which he said goodbye, on the KSTE Web site later today.

November 16, 2007
Great ad libs in local TV news

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So Fox40 devoted about two minutes last night to the Victoria's Secret models getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

After the requisite cheesecake shots and Mensa-type interviews with the models, including Heidi Klum(left), the segment ended and segued directly into ... Kristina Werner(right) and the weather.

Werner looked sheepishly into the camera and cracked: "I just can't believe how unattractive those girls are."

You could hear laughter on the set, to which Werner was quick to add: "I'm soooo kidding!"

Over at Channel 3 last night, Leticia Ordaz had wrapped up a story on Ripon High School cheerleaders who were suspended from school for writing the school letters -- Indians No. 1" -- on their backsides. Dave Walker slyly looked over to co-anchor Edie Lambert and said, "Probably not the end of this story."

And, finally, a cautionary note about ad-libbing: It's best for reporters doing live stand-ups to rehearse what they will say.

When Channel 3 went live to Damany Lewis for a fan reaction piece on Barry Bonds' perjury indictment, here's the verbatim transcript of Lewis:

"Dave, I can tell you, you know, this debate has been going on for four years. The investigation started four years ago and fans, well, the debate has been going on for that long. If Barry Bonds is innocent or guilty, well, tonight the debate continues."

So, to recap: There's a debate and it's been going on for four years. Got that?

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Brian Baer/bbaer@sacbee.com


If this isn't a perfect metaphor for John McCain's struggling (and financially ailing) presidential campaign, I don't know what is. His black SUV broke down during a campaign stop in Sac, and he was forced to leave the Sheraton in a taxi.

Turns out the "Straight Talk Express" makes a few stops, after all.

And Channel 3 was there to provide the hilarious raw footage on its Web site. The raw video shows McCain fussing -- nay, obsessing -- about his luggage and blaming the media in a jocular fashion for "sabotaging" the car. "It's probably one of those reporter guys," he grouses. Later, while waiting for the taxi, McCain waved to passersby on the street and yelled to them, "Get rid of these jerks" -- meaning reporters and photographers.

Here's a question anchor Walt Gray didn't answer during the noon news: Was McCain planning on taking the taxi all the way to San Francisco, his next campign stop.

If so, no wonder his campaign coffers are empty.

November 15, 2007
Stop the madness

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It's bad enough that News10 and Fox40 both reported last night on the so-called blue ghost that "mysteriously appeared" on a convenience store surveillance tape -- hey, wasn't that a plotline on "The Simpsons"? -- but Fox40 took it a step further.

Later in the newscast, it reported on a woman in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (where else but Florida?) who claims she saw the images of Jesus and Mary on her pancake. Naturally, they sold the pancake on eBay.

Fox40 seems to have an affinity for Jesus images. A couple of months ago, it sent a reporter out to Lodi to do a story on a woman who saw Jesus on her backyard fence.

November 14, 2007
When local TV reporters attack

This sweeps month has seen its share of aggressive local TV news reporting. Course, our local correspondents aren't shrinking violets under normal circumstances, but they appeared to have taken their interview steroids Tuesday night.

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First, we go to Channel 13's newest reporter, David Begnaud (left), who had an Abbott and Costello "Who's on First?"-type exchange with John Erickson, a teacher's aide from Alta accused of kissing and fondling students. As Erickson is walking back to his house, Begnaud engages him:

Begnaud: "Did you actually confess to them (neighbors)?"

Erickson: "That was a no comment."

Begnaud: "I know, but can you tell me ...."

Erickson: "Was that a no comment?"

Begnaud: "Did you really touch some girls?"

Erickson: "Was that a no comment? (Then, pointing to the reporter's notebook.) There's my attorney's (phone number) right there."

Begnaud: "So why did you violate the trust of kids?"

Erickson: "There it was right there. No comment."

Begnaud: "What would you tell parents who are watching?"

Erickson: "No comment."

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Then, on Fox40, another new reporter, Michelle Liu(right), tangled with the lawyer for the Roseville cop Sacramento County cop Chris Guerrero (21Q stands corrected) accused of getting preferential treatment for a DUI offense.

After the lawyer prattled on about a police video that shows that his client was not impaired, Liu testily asked: "Can we see this video if you say it proves he was not driving drunk?"

To which the lawyer, Joseph Hougnon, responded, snippily: "We're not going to try this case in the public. I'm pointing these facts out to you to bring some fairness to what's been reported."

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Yes, it's come to this. Mark S. Allen sets himself on fire this morning on "Good Day Sacramento."

There's nothing to add.

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Local TV news stations can be excused for touting their scoops - especially during sweeps month - but News10 went way, way a wee bit overboard Tuesday night when reporting the latest about Kings' center Justin Williams.

Teasing the story at the top of News10's 11 p.m. show, anchor Dale Schornack intoned: "We break the news to the Sacramento Kings' Justin Williams that he will not face criminal charges...."

Then, in introducing sports guy Bryan May with the story, anchor Cristina Mendonsa crowed that News10 broke the story online, on TV and to Williams - as if we forgot what Schornack had said just a few minutes before.

And then, May comes on and talked about breaking the news to Williams: "He was pleasantly surprised is a good way to describe it, when our camera crew showed up. Justin Williams was at his Natomas home tonight when he found out - from us - that the Sacramento County District Attorney's office had decided not to file criminal charges (in a sexual assault complaint)."

And then...Williams gives this sound bite: "You're the ones who gave me the news, so I just had to call my lawyer to make sure."

This much is sure: No one will accuse News10 of being overly modest in its Kings reporting.


Another installment of the semi-popular blog series: We watch local TV news during sweeps, so you don't have to.

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The good: Channel 13's Mike Dello Stritto (pictured, left) delivered an interesting feature report about a Sac State professor who's spent five years working on a DNA identification project in Tanzania. Great reporting by Dello Stritto, mainly because he just got out of the way and let the professor tell the story herself. We'd like to see our local TV news stations do more news features that aren't crime- or- personal-safety-related.

The bad: Channel 13 led its late news Monday night with a Steve Large (right) report on the car accident that claimed the lives of two UC Davis students on the crew team. (A third passenger is "clinging to life.") larrrgee.jpg Fine, but Channel 13 had a significant sin of omission. Neither Large nor anchors Sam Shane and Pallas Hupe told us that the accident happened on Friday morning. It's OK to do a follow-up on an accident, but be sure to say that the news is three days old - especially if it's leading your newscast.

The good: Channel 3 took a stab at citizen journalism Monday night by using photos from a passerby, Dorian Dunlap, to show how Countrywide Home Loans left stacks of loan documents outside a mailbox in West Sac - a situation ripe for identify theft. KCRA's Damany Lewis took the citizen tip and material and talked to post office spokespeople and got a statement from the company.

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The bad: On Thursday night, Lewis reported live from the oil spill in San Francisco. Apparently, desperate to spice up his stand-up report, Lewis picked up a plastic water bottle and showed it to the camera: "We took an unscientific test here of the water at Crissy Field. No one knows as of now what exactly is in this." Well, Damany, here's a guess: Two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen - and probably a little crude oil.

The good: Fox40 sports guy Jim Crandell (right) never minces words. On Friday, reporting on the Sac State basketball team's slaughter at the hands of Top 25 Kansas State, Crandell told viewers: "Now, I understand why Sac State will play at Kansas State, but - you know what? - it makes no sense. They have no chance."
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The bad: On the same sportscast, Crandell threw out an obscure reference that no one I know has ever heard of. To wit: When describing how a tall Cleveland Cavalier player grabbed a rebound away from the Kings, Crandell said, "It's like playing Annie, Annie Over, for crying out loud." Annie What? Here's the definition from www.gameskidsplay.net.

The good: On Friday night, News10 anchor Cristina Mendonsa told the engrossing story of a Navy psychologist - and former Fair Oaks resident - who wrote a book about her experiences counseling soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mendonsa also practiced full disclosure by saying on the air that she has known the woman, Heidi Kraft, for a long time. (On her blog, Mendonsa added that the two were on a high school cheerleading squad.)

The bad: Transitioning out of the report, Mendonsa turned to co-anchor Dale Schornack and said: "An incredible woman." Schornack countered: "Let's go to another incredible woman ..." and then turned to meteorologist Patty Souza. Cringe. Souza: "Thanks, Dale. We've got some incredible news about rain coming in."

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Sure, it's for one night only. And it's not on the 11 p.m. news, which erstwhile anchor John Alston left a year ago in a contract dispute.

Rather, Alston will do a thespian turn Tuesday night on "Law & Order: SVU" (at 10 p.m. on Channel 3).

So which is Alston going to be - the victim or the perverted homicidal suspect?

Uh, neither. Our sources tell us Alston will play ... a reporter.

We called Alston, who still chills in Sactown. But, apparently, he's gone totally Hollywood and didn't call us back. Maybe his people will.

News10 reporter Monika Diaz (see blog item below), who has been with the station since 2003, will leave on Nov. 18 for a job at WFAA in Dallas.

This marks a huge jump in status for Diaz. Dallas is the nation's fifth-ranked TV market; Sacramento, 20th.

"She's that good," says Stacy Owen, News10's news director. "We'll miss her."

This is News10's first opening for a reporter in about three years.

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Here it is, local TV sweeps month, prime time to scream at and frighten viewers, and News10 leads its newscast Thursday night with the latest toy recall.

OK. So far, they're with the program. But wait ... what's with the lousy sweeps-mentality execution?

First, they didn't use the requisite word "scare," as in "toy-recall scare."

Then, reporter Monika Diaz (pictured) was woefully unclear on the whole tabloid approach that she was to adopt. Her tone was actually measured. Plus, no eerie synthesizer music played. Sure, she quoted concerned parents, but also found parents who aren't paranoid. She talked to officials and merchants and presented a balanced picture.

Sheesh. What a disappointment.

Worse, Diaz broke a cardinal rule of local TV news reporting at the end of the package when she told anchor Cristina Mendonsa that her advice to parents was: "Just don't panic."

Ohmigawd, Monika! How do you expect to reap ratings gold with comments such as that?

View her report here.

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Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

KVMR (89.5 FM), Nevada City’s crunchy-granola public radio station, recently completed its “Autumn of Love” pledge drive and raked in a record $110,000, according to program director Steve Baker.

Among the contributors: a baseball cap-wearing dude named Michael Moore (pictured at a rally last summer at the Capitol), the acclaimed documentarian and flaming leftist.

Moore dug deep, kicking in $1,000. Plus, during two airings of an hour-long interview with Moore, the station raised $7,500. And wait – there’s more! Moore donated 100 DVD copies of “Sicko,” his latest doc, to give to new subscribers.

Why does Moore care so much about a cool, but small, community-funded station? Well, his sister lives in Grass Valley, and Moore has said he often listens to the station online.

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Memo to News10's Ryan Yamamoto, who is still getting guff for his dance moves in a promo for his advertorial story on the ABC show "Dancing With the Stars":

Ryan, check out the "ladies of 'Good Day Sacramento,'" bustin' moves on this morning's show in a segment on football. I hear traffic reporter Courtney Dempsey (above) gives lessons.

November 8, 2007
Call Kurtis: The Sequel

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Today in The Huffington Post, the popular online news site, blogger Trevor Butterworth (who heads an organzation, STATS.org, which examines how the media covers science and statistics) takes recent reports on "toxic mattresses" to task. Among those reports was "Call Kurtis"; Channel 13's Kurtis Ming (pictured, right) aired his story Friday.

Step-by-step, Butterworth (pictured, left) dismantles the legitimacy of the TV reports - which originated at Channel 13's sister station in Chicago - and scolds reporters for failing to mention that the man making the claims has a huge conflict of interest.

Here's an excerpt:

The real evidence that reporters are asleep on the job does not come from the jumble of junk science about chemical poisoning, but the fact that People for Clean Beds is run by a rival mattress manufacturer with a hefty economic stake in scaring people about buying mattresses that meet the new regulations.

Mark Strobel founded "People for Clean Beds" specifically to oppose the new fire-safety requirements. He manufactures beds, which are exempt from the regulations and, as a consequence, can only be purchased with a doctor's prescription. He has no apparent scientific background beyond a BS degree. It's also not clear that anybody but Mark Strobel is involved in running "People for Clean Beds."

What is clear is that if you scare people into thinking that the new regulations will cause them harm, you raise the odds of more people getting a prescription for a Strobel Bed.

Conflict of interest anyone?

Strobel, by the way, is quoted extensively in the "Call Kurtis" segment.

On a positive note, Ming did give credit to "our sister station in Chicago" for the interviews, which he didn't do when airing a report from San Francisco station KPIX on online ripoffs the other day.

Butterworth, whose journalism has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and Salon.com and other publications, goes into more depth in debunking the mattress story in an article posted in STATS.org's Web site.

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Channel 3 has hired Teo Torres to anchor its 10 p.m. newcast on My58TV. Torres, according to a press release issued by the station, will also do general assignment reporting for KCRA.

He begins in January.

Still no word on when Channel 3 will announce a replacement for 6-and-11 p.m. anchor John Alston, who left the station a year ago last week.

Here's Torres' bio from his current gig as morning news anchor at KRON in San Francisco.

Just in time for sweeps, noted Sacramento bounty hunter Leonard Padilla made a grand gesture - thumbing his nose at county officials, actually - by offering his fallow land in Natomas to the homeless.

Now, Padilla has never met a camera he didn't like, and the local TV media lapped it up. Fox40 and News10 ran straightforward stories, basically taking Padilla's offer at face value, but quoting County Supe Roger Dickinson as saying Padilla is violating a zoning ordinance.

However, channels 3 and 13 didn't give the gadfly bounty hunter a free pass.

At 6:30 Wednesday night, KCRA's Lois Hart and Dave Walker grilled Padilla in a live interview. It was great TV, classic no-nonsense Dave & Lois reporting and, frankly, about time somebody called Padilla on his grandstanding.

Here's an excerpt of Lois bringing the hammer down on Leonard (and check out the YouTube clip above):

Hart to Padilla: "You're not suggesting that we should leave those people living in squalor in that neighborhood?"

Padilla: "Well, one person's squalor is another person's home."

Hart: "Oh, it's all garbage and feces. It's terrible."

Padilla: "You can go into houses sometimes where people in upper middle class America have been doing drugs and all that. And I can show you feces and terrible bedrooms...."

Later, Walker and Padilla had a testy exchange:

Walker: Some are saying, Leonard, that you just want to keep your name out politically here."

Padilla: "Then don't put me on the air, Dave."

Then, at 10 p.m., Channel 13 deserves kudos for its scoop on Padilla's legal problems on that very 60 acres of land. Reporter Mike Dello Stritto obtained court documents showing that the government is foreclosing on Padilla's property because he owes the IRS more than $2 million.

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Dello Stritto (right) had his own testy exchange with Padilla, confronting him with the documents, dated June 1, that states Padilla had 30 days to give up the property. When Dello Stritto told Padilla he no longer owned the land, the bounty hunter shot back: "I own the property. They've just got a lien on it."

Dello Stritto: "So you're really just making a statement (with the offer to house the homeless)?"

Padilla: "Kicking a-- is what it's called."

All told, Sacramento's four local TV news directors should send Padilla a nice flower arrangement as thanks for giving them some juicy material during sweeps month.


November 7, 2007
Call Kurtis ... uh, Anna

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I enjoyed Kurtis Ming's special report Tuesday night on how some online shoppers get bilked by an outfit called Webloyalty, Inc., which disguises monthly charges on a user's bill.

I also liked the nearly identical report by KPIX investigative reporter Anna Werner, which aired on Nov. 2. Channel 13 has yet to post the video from Ming's report on its Web site, but, trust me, it's pretty much the same as Werner's package, only with Ming's voiceover.

(UPDATE: Channel 13 now has posted the video online. View it here.)

Throughout, Ming throws out phrases such as "the people we interviewed" and "Fernandez told us...." Turns out, it was Werner, not Ming, who did the asking. Introducing the piece, Ming boasted: "Let's see if I can figure out what's going on..."

Silly me. I thought this was actually reporting by Ming.

Sure, KPIX is a CBS sister station to KOVR, but it seems to me a reporter's got to acknowledge that his work came from another station. Example: When The Bee runs a story written by a Fresno Bee reporter, it credits the Fresno paper, right there in the byline.

But Steve Charlier, vice president of news for Channel 13, defended the use of Werner's report.

"We work with KPIX on multiple stories daily," Charlier says. "We have an open feed. Probably in a day we'd share two stories each way with KPIX. Anna and 'Call Kurtis' work together all the time and sometimes split shoots."

But what would it have hurt if Ming had added one sentence to his intro, something along the lines of "Anna Werner of KPIX filed this report"?

Charlier's response: "I resent what you're implying. We run about 200 stories a year in which a person calls Kurtis and it's strictly local and probably another 25 that the premise might come from another CBS O-and-O (owned and operated station) and we'll go out and localize.

"Then we'll probably run another 15 or so that, from a legal standpoint, the company will say, we prefer you air their story." Charlier says Tuesday night's Call Kurtis report fell into that category.

"To compare newspapers to TV in this case would be wrong. The advantage of having an O-and-O station is that you can share stories."

OK, this isn't as bad as Channel 3 recently running a video news release without attribution, but still....


Last week, we showed you an old KZAP commercial, but this week's trip down memory lane comes from the TV archives via YouTube. It's the most brilliant, kitschy TV promo out there.

It's from 1986, and it features actor Leslie Nielsen (pre-"Naked Gun" movies) extolling the virtues of "News Star 40," the state-of-the-art (back then!) hulking satellite truck used by "TV40" (now Fox40).

From the cheesy opening scene of the guys in the booth stressing because the live shot fell through ("I know we shouldn't have tried to go live ... beyond the Nut Tree") to Nielsen's mock serious intonation ("Yes, beyond the Nut Tree"), it's pure gold.

This was a time, remember, when live shots from anywhere beyond Vacaville was darn near impossible.

Enjoy the video.

November 6, 2007
Ryan Yamamoto busts a move

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I know I should get all huffy and indignant when local stations waste precious air time, sending reporters onto the sets of popular prime-time shows that just happen to be broadcast on the same network.

But I'm having a hard time getting outraged by News10's Ryan Yamamoto, who will report tonight from the set of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." That's because I'm too busy ROTFL at Yamamoto's dance moves on this funny promo the station played Monday night.

Ryan, Ryan, Ryan.

Put some funk into it, dude.

November 5, 2007
And in this corner...

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First there was Rosie O'Donnell vs. Donald Trump. Then 50 Cent vs. Kanye West.

Now, it's Bruno Cohen vs. Elliott Troshinsky.

Yup, in the current edition of the well-read TV industry trade publication, Broadcasting & Cable, Channel 13/31's Cohen (left) flings down the gauntlet to Channel 3/My58TV's Troshinsky (right).

Here's a sampling from the story:

KCRA has long been the big dog in Sacramento, but the CBS-owned KOVR appears poised to stop that. With new news sets, overhauled sales operations and a revamped approach to programming on both KOVR and sister CW station KMAX, the CBS duopoly is on top of its game.

“KCRA still outbills us, but if you look at how the duopoly performs, we substantially outbill them,” says KOVR/KMAX President/General Manager Bruno Cohen.

Read the entire story here.

November 5, 2007
Our 'Dumb ... Sacramento'?

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Oh, those wacky "journalists" at The Onion. Such kidders.

The editors of the satiric Web site, podcast, videos, newspaper, etc., now have produced its first atlas - "Our Dumb World: The Onion's Atlas of the Planet Earth, 73rd Edition" ($27.99, Little Brown, 256 pages).

And, yes, Sacramento get a mention.

On the "map" of California, there's a star next to Sacramento and this identifier: "Voted third most arbitrary location for a state capital."

Don't you feel a swell of pride? For The Onion's snarky take on San Francisco and Los Angeles, you'll have to pick up the book yourself.

(And, no, the "atlas" did not say which cities are the first and second most arbitrary locations for a capital.)

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This time, it's Serene Branson (pictured), who will be departing Sacramento's CBS affiliate after the November sweeps.

Branson, who has been at Channel 13 for two years, has told news director Steve Charlier that she will head to Los Angeles to try her hand in the nation's No. 2 market. She already has some freelance stories lined up for KCBS.

"(Los Angeles) has always been my goal," says Branson, who grew up in Southern California and attended UCLA. "I worked in Palm Springs and Santa Barbara to get my feet wet. When the opportunity presented itself up here in Sacramento, people told me that Sacramento is a great news market and that people in L.A. will take you seriously from Sacramento.

"I came up here and was very honest with Steve from the start that I was hoping to use Sacramento as a stepping stone, for lack of a better term."

Charlier says "we encouraged Serene to grow and spread her wings from here. I hope it works out for her. She's got a good opportunity at KCBS."

Branson's departure comes a week after Bridget Cannata left the station for personal reasons.

"The one thing we tell our reporters, especially as we brought people in to rebuild the station, is that we're a large company and we want to help our reporters stay within the company and go to a bigger market. That's a sign we're doing our job," Charlier says.

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Courtesy of KCRA
A local Toyota Tacoma driver tells Channel 3's Lynsey Paulo that his vehicle is unsafe.

(Note: In case you didn't notice, the local TV news sweeps period began Thursday night. We'll be checking in from time to time on the good, the bad and the just over-the-top in the late news - the big battleground.)

The good:
All four stations had interesting and relatively restrained "special reports."

Channel 3's consumer reporter Lynsey Paulo reported that the Toyota Tacoma has a "surging" malfunction (although the automaker won't call it that.)

Channel 13's Sam Shane reported on how the roofs of new houses are in greater danger of collapsing during a fire because they use metal trusses rather than nails. (But, Sam, did you have to carry around that metal slab throughout the newscast?)

News10's Cristina Mendonsa went to Reno to report on a special school for gifted children and how, in California, we tend to neglect our most gifted students in underachieving GATE programs.

And Fox40, which doesn't label its reporting as "special reports," had a thorough and detailed political piece by Lonnie Wong on the ballot initiative that could change the way California's electoral votes are distributed.

The bad:
Channel 13 proved once more that it's not above scaring viewers just to get them to tune in.

Right before the conclusion of "Without a Trace" - a show that scares most parents in its own right - anchor Pallas Hupe delivered this "teaser" for the 10 o'clock news: "Parents and cops are afraid there may a shooting tomorrow at a local school...."

And now, back to "Without a Trace."

What?!

If that's not the most blatant trick to get people to tune in, I don't know what is. It was total manipulation. Of course, we waited a half hour for Channel 13 to present its story. It turned out to be a follow-up on the teen and his father found murdered in their North Highlands home.

Reporting on a prayer vigil, Ron Jones quoted teens as they speculated that the shooting might have been gang-related - but without a speck of facts to back that up. Then, Jones interviewed a mother of one teen, who refused to be identified on camera, who said she was going to keep her child home from school - the same one that the murdered boy attended - because she feared "retaliation."

What was drastically downplayed in the report was that police have not linked this case with gang activity.

Contrast Channel 13's sensationalistic coverage to that of the competition:

Fox40's Kye Martin and News10's Monika Diaz struck just the right tone, interviewing friends and witnesses but not engaging in wild speculation. Chanenl 3's Richard Sharp, though not as over the top as Channel 13, did interview the same concerned mother whom Jones queried, but at least Sharp didn't dwell on one woman's idle speculation.

I found this old commercial for erstwhile Sacramento rawwwk station KZAP on YouTube and just had to share.

Now, KZAP left the airwaves long, long before my time, but old-timers say it was (and note the ironic use of '70s lingo here) a "bitchin' " free-form experimental station. Had it stuck around, KZAP would've turned 40 next year.

Duuuuude!

Anyway, here's a Wikipedia entry on KZAP for the uninitiated.

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As we reported last week, Channel 3 investigative reporter Josh Bernstein is leaving the station. And now we know where he's going: KNXV, the ABC affiliate, in Phoenix.

Bernstein will be part of a four-reporter investigative team, which also includes a computer-assisted reporting expert and its own executive producer. Bernstein replaces Abbie Boudreau, who left the Phoenix station in September to join CNN as an investigative reporter.

"These openings are very rare," Bernstein says. "I couldn't pass up the opportunity. There are only a handful of (local TV) stations that have a real investigative team, and (the Phoenix station) makes a serious commitment to investigative projects."

As for his two years in Sacramento?

"No hard feelings," Bernstein says. "I had a great time in Sacramento. I worked with some great people, especially my photographer Mike Williams, who has a real passion for the job."

But ....

"I'd like to see more commitment, not just here at KCRA - but at every station in Sacramento - to investigative reporting," Bernstein says. "That's a way a station can make its mark in this market, because, frankly, we don't see much of it here."

This is Bernstein's last day at Channel 3. He starts in Phoenix in December.

October 31, 2007
When Meg met McClatchy

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Photo courtesy of editor.blogspot.com

The McClatchy Baghdad bureau's Iraqi women reporters rubbed shoulders with celebrities Tuesday night in Beverly Hills at a shindig in which they received the Courage in Journalism Award from the International Women's Media Foundation.

Among the celebs: movie stars Meg Ryan (pictured on the screen above) and Angelina Jolie, who were on hand to praise the journalists, who risk their lives daily to bring readers the news from the war.

Little-known fact, as reported by McClatchy news honcho Howard Weaver (a.k.a. McClatchy's vice president of news) in his blog: Ryan once was a journalism student at New York University.

Hey, if the acting thing doesn't work out, Meg, give us a call here at 21Q.

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This has to be a blow to Channel 13 right before the November sweeps, which begin on Thursday.

One of its best young reporters, Bridget Cannata, has quit the station in the middle of her contract. She had been with the station since July of 2006. (Check out our blog from last week, when we reported some of Channel 13's new hires.)

Cannata could not be reached for comment, but Steve Charlier, the station's vice president for news, says she left to be closer to her family in San Francisco.

"She's a loss for us," Charlier says. "We thought the world of Bridget."

Cannata, you may recall, was the reporter who gave Channel 13 its biggest scoop during last November's sweeps when she used her BlackBerry to text message the verdict in the Mario Garcia murder case from the courtroom, where cameras were not allowed.

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So that hilarious video we posted last week of News10's morning team getting scared by Halloween characters has made CNN's "American Morning." (Look under the video heading "top stories.")

The kicker is that CNN anchor Kiran Chetry (pictured), who introduced the clip, formerly worked at News10. Afterward, Chetry said: "The set hasn't changed a bit, by the way, since 1999."

Hmm. She's right. Channel 13 and Channel 3 have changed the looks and the color schemes of their sets. But News10 is sticking with the wood-paneled, red-and-gold combination.

Memo to News10 honcho Stacy Owen: Time for a redesign, per chance?

Be sure to check out Saturday's Scene story in The Bee about Channel 3 using interviews, sound bites and charts from a video news release without what some believe was adequate and full disclosure. UPDATE: Here's the link to the story.

Judge for yourself.

Here is the link to the video news release (VNR) sent to the station by Autobytel, the parent company of Myride.com. (Note: You must have Quick Time to view this video.)

And below is Channel 3's report, which the station posted on its YouTube page.

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Channel 13 has hired four - count 'em - four new reporters. News director Steve Charlier says two of the reporters are replacing Naj Alikhan, who left in early October, and Charlotte Fadipe, who left in late summer. The other two spots are new positions.

The new arrivals (pictured above, left to right, in order they appear below):

* Reggie Kumar, from Palm Springs. (Check out Kumar's appearance this morning on "Good Day Sacramento" here.)

* Elyce Kirchner, from Providence, R.I.

* David Begnaud, from Shreveport, La. (Note: Check out David's demo reel; he hosted the Miss Louisiana pageant!), and, from up the road:

* Kristina Lee, from Chico.

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On News10's morning show today, viewers saw "traffic and weather together on the ..." uh, on the floor, actually!

It seems the News10 producers pulled a Halloween surprise on the anchors, scaring the bejesus out of meteorologist Monica Woods (left)and traffic reporter Melissa Crowley. Woods and Crowley screamed like tweens at a scary movie, then Woods ducked under the desk and Crowley took off running. (Oddly, anchors Dan Elliott and Kelly Jackson stayed composed.)

And no, smarty-pants, they weren't frightened by the sight of the morning show's latest ratings.

Anyway, Woods had the best line after regaining her composure and her ability to sit back upright: "As soon as I saw what the screaming was about, I hit the floor. My only other option was to jump in Dan's lap! I think I made the right choice."

Watch the video here.

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The meteoric rise of former News10 traffic diva (and former contestant on "The Bachelor" and former 49ers cheerleader) Julie Durda continues unabated, even after that unfortunate incident at KRON in San Francisco (where she may or may not have accidentally dropped the F-bomb on air).

Here’s an item from today’s Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Sun-Sentinel:

“THE FORECAST? HOT WSVN-Ch. 7 has found its replacement for Elita Loresca, the morning and midday weathercaster, who was named by men's magazine FHM as the sexiest weatherwoman in America. ...

Julie Durda, a Sacramento, Calif., native, who has been working at KPHO in Phoenix, will take over Loresca's duties on Nov. 1.

"Julie is the perfect fit for a new Today in Florida weather anchor," WSVN vice president for news Alice Jacobs said in a statement announcing Durda's hiring. "She is knowledgeable, energetic and has a passion for weather."

Like Loresca, she's extremely telegenic.”

At this rapid rate of ascent, Durda will be on the network news in no time. Watch out, Katie Couric.

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Josh Bernstein, the only local-TV journalist whose job was strictly as an investigative reporter, is leaving Channel 3. He is said to be headed to a station in a larger market to be part of an investigative team.

Bernstein confirmed to us that he is leaving the station, but declined further comment. Anzio Williams, Channel 3's news director, did not immediately return a reporter's phone call.

However, we have obtained the memo that Williams sent to his staff Wednesday:

Congratulation to Josh Bernstein who has decided to move on from
KCRA-3/MY58. Josh came to Sacramento two years ago to help lead our
Investigative reporting unit. Josh's ability to dig deep for detailed
information on daily stories and his thoroughness on investigative stories
will be missed. We wish Josh the best as he moves forward with his career.
You still have time to say good-bye, his last day is Oct 31. A nationwide
search is currently underway to hire another I-Reporter.
Anzio

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Sacramento Bee/Bryan Patrick/bpatrick@sacbee.com

A few notes on Sacramento's fire coverage in Southern California:

1) Nine photographs from Bee photographers Randy Pench, Bryan Patrick, Kevin German and Jose Luis Villegas will be featured tonight on the "CBS Evening News With Katie Couric." The show airs locally at 5:30 p.m. on Channel 13.

According to The Bee's director of photography, Mark Morris, a CBS producer saw The Bee's photo slide show on sacbee.com and was so impressed that she wanted to use the shots as "bumpers" between stories. That is, the photos will appear on the screen for about five seconds between stories and before heading into commercials. The Bee will receive credit for the photos at show's end.

2) Channel 3, in cooperation with the Sacramento chapter of the American Red Cross, will air a telethon for fire victims on Thursday. The telethon will run from 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., with KCRA providing live "cut-ins" throughout the day.

"Our viewers care very deeply about what is happening in Southern California," said KCRA president Elliott Troshinsky in a release. "This is merely a vehicle to help them offer whatever they can to assist those in need."

3) Kudos to News10 for making the decision to preempt "Jeopardy!" and go to "Wheel of Fortune" late on Tuesday night to cover Gov. Schwarzenegger's press conference. (Channel 13 did not preempt programming and Chanenl 3 covered it as part of its 6:30 p.m. news.)

No word from News10 honchos as to whether they heard from angry "Jeopardy!" fans - and whether those fans phrased their complaints in the form of a question - but News10 made the right call.


Preemptive Memorial Honors Future Victims Of Imminent Dam Disaster

My favorite fake-news source - yes, even wittier than "The Daily Show" - is The Onion News Network, which pokes merciless fun at overwrought cable news and its sensationalistic coverage.

The most recent offering features the "impending" flooding in Folsom (yes, our Folsom) and the construction of a memorial in advance for the victims. There's some nice footage of Folsom Lake and computer-generated previews of the "inevitable" flooding.

Fake correspondent Brian Scott intones: "But this year, Sacramento County's government decided to act, budgeting $20,000 to construct a memorial for the victims of the inevitable tragedy."

Faux Folsom's "mayor," Joseph Sheridan, holds a press conference, saying, "I will take the full responsibility for the tragedy when it happens. I am tendering my resignation, effective the day the dam finally breaks."

Great, funny stuff. Enjoy.

October 23, 2007
Radio ratings roundup

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Time again for another round of Arbitron ratings for our local radio stations. (Note: Arbitron, the ratings service, only released numbers for overall listening, ages 12-plus, to the media. Check it out here.)

Anyway, you can almost predict the reaction from the radio community. It seldom changes, book to book:

a) KFBK (1530 AM), which always wins overall and won again this time, will hear from jealous competitors who'll say, "Yeah, but five years ago, you were pulling in a 12 share."

Here's a highlight for KFBK: A source told us that, in the advertising-rich 25-to-54-year-old demographic, the station finished first in the 7 p.m.-to-midnight time slot, the first time that's happened in many years. KFBK's DJs/shows at night? Bruce Maiman (replacement for the fired Mark Williams) from 7-10 p.m. and then George Noory's "Coast to Coast." (He's the syndicated UFO-spotter).

b) Hip-hop station rivals KSFM (102.5 FM) and KBMB (103.5 FM) will try to spin the numbers to their advantage, as deftly as a DJ scratches out a beat. Only this time, the stations finished in a dead heat in 12-plus, in fifth place with a 4.2 rating.

c) In the country music showdown, KNCI (105.1 FM) still rules with a 4.0, but The Wolf (KNTY, 101.9 FM) is chipping away with a 2.9. KNCI, it should be noted, fell from 5.2 to 4.0 in one ratings book.

d) The End (KDND 107.9 FM) still shows no ill effects from the fatal water-drinking contest last January. The End finished second overall with a 4.6 rating.

e) Those stations which did not do well in the 12-plus category will say, "Sure, but you should see the demographic breakdowns. We did great with 18-to-34 year-old minivan-driving women with three kids who have asthma."

Speaking of which, Mix 96 (KYMX 96.1 FM) finished first overall among women in the 25-to-54 -- its prime age demographic.

Well, anyone who wants to leak release demo ratings that make their station look good (or the other guy look bad), you know where to find me.

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Jennifer Steele, one of the most versatile reporters/news readers in Sacramento, is jumping stations - from KFBK (1530 AM) to Mix 96 (KYMX 96.1 FM).

Steele (pictured), the host of the erstwhile noon news on KFBK and a capable fill-in for Kitty O'Neal on the afternoon news, said her goodbyes on the air late last week.

She's said to be joining the morning team at The Mix as the news reader, starting Nov. 1. But Steve Cottingim, general manager of CBS stations in Sacramento - of which Mix 96 is one - declined to comment. (Hint: There are still t's to cross and i's to dot on the contract.)

Filling in for Steele on KFBK and sister station KSTE (650 AM) is Bob Williams, according to KFBK operations manager Alan Eisenson.

This has been a rough month for KFBK. First, Tom Sullivan left for New York (Yes, yes, I know: He's still on the air, though syndicated), then Kelly Brothers announces that he'll leave the morning show at the end of December. Now, Steele moves on.

October 22, 2007
Another KSAC departure

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Three weeks after Christine Craft's departure, liberal radio station KSAC (1240 AM) has lost another local voice - Douglas Everett (pictured at left).

Everett, host of "Radio Parallax" on Saturday nights, confirmed that he has parted ways with the station, but declined to comment further. His show, however, still can be heard at 5 p.m. Thursday nights on KDVS (90.3 FM), the student-run station at UC Davis.

Meanwhile, Everett will be filling in for Jeffrey Callison today on "Insight" - at 2 p.m. on KXJZ (90.9 FM).

For those keeping track at home, KSAC now is down to only one Sacramento-centric show - Popp Off (at 11 a.m. Saturdays), hosted by Mary Jane Popp.

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Sacramento Bee/Jose Luis Villegas and Randy Pench

In what shapes up as an epic tussle between local public radio giants, KXJZ (90.9 FM) "Insight" host Jeffrey Callison will interview KQED/KQEI (88.5/89.3 FM) "Forum" host Michael Krasny at 2 p.m Friday on Callison's home turf in Sac.

This is a must-listen, you NPR nerds.

Krasny (at left) will be appearing in Sacramento and Davis this weekend to promote his memoir, "Off Mike: A Memoir of Talk Radio and Literary Life." That's the reason he'll be with Callison, but I'm sure they'll trade interviewing secrets.

(Krasny, by the way, will be at the Avid Reader on 1600 Broadway in Sacramento at 5 p.m. Saturday, then drive down the road to the Avid Reader in Davis, 617 Second St., for a 7:30 signing.)

We wonder how many in KQEI's audience will bag the station's 2 p.m. airing of "The World" to catch Krasny on the competition.

To read a recent Media Savvy column on Krasny and his book, go here.

I've taken some shots (OK, more than a few) at "Good Day Sacramento's" Mark S. Allen. So, last week, when I saw a clip of MSA browbeating Janet Jackson over the Super Bowl "wardrobe malfunction" that happened years ago, I sighed but decided to let it go.

You can only bash a guy so much, you know. Plus, the attention just encourages him and puffs up his sense of importance.

But it turns out that Allen's "interview" has made the rounds on the Internet and he's being ripped from West Sac to West Virginia.

Here's the lead to a Dayton (Ohio) Daily News column by Amelia Robinson, entirely devoted to MSA:

I don't know "Good Day Sacramento" anchor Mark S. Allen from a box of staples, but let me just say for the record: What a jerk.

Read the entire column, a classic rip job, here. She even brings up Allen's DUI conviction. Ouch!

Watch the Jackson interview clip here.

Watch MSA's "apology" to Jackson here.

Finally caught up with Kelly Brothers, who says that his move to Channel 3 will mean he will give up anchoring the KFBK (1530 AM) morning news, alongside Amy Lewis.

Brothers says he will leave the show at the end of December, when his contract expires. But he will continue to provide business updates on KFBK, as well as for Channel 3.

We also learned this: KCRA will build Brothers a broadcast studio at his financial services firm - Genovese, Forman, Burford & Brothers.

Brothers says waking up at 3:50 a.m. during his four years hosting KFBK's signature show became a grind. When he starts at KCRA, his first report won't be until 6:25 a.m.

"Even before the whole Tom (Sullivan) thing broke, I told Alan (Eisenson, KFBK's operations manager) that I didn't want to do another summer of getting up that early," Brothers says.

“I’m leaving for my sanity. That extra hour and a half sleep I’ll get, cumulatively, will make me a happier person. But I’ll miss working with Amy and the gang. KFBK is a great gig.”

Brothers also says it was a difficult decision to leave News10("I had a great rapport with the morning team") for Channel 3, which is "an opportunity I can't pass up."

He adds: "I want to do the type of financial reporting that is consumer-friendly. I want to do stories that will impact people and their lives, and make both them and their children financially literate."

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Channel 3, which has been without a financial analyst since Tom Sullivan moved to New York to work for the Fox Business Network, has picked a familiar face to replace him - Kelly Brothers.

Brothers spent 14 years with KCRA before leaving to become a morning news anchor for KFBK radio (1530 AM) nearly four years ago. In addition, Brothers used his master's degree in business to become a financial adviser. And, since January, 2006, Brothers has been doing two morning business reports for News10.

Brothers did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment on the move.

News10's loss is Channel 3's gain, and it comes two weeks before the start of the November "sweeps" period.

KCRA news director Anzio Williams says Brothers will start next week and will be "a major part of our morning news and Web site." Brothers also will do special reports for Channel 3's evening news.

"We’re very happy to have him back," Williams says. "We think this is going to be big. The entire staff is excited. We’re looking to change the way we report on business in this market. I’ve been telling folks it’s not about Wall Street as much as it’s about families and their financial struggles and the different challenges they run into.

"Kelly can add his busines expertise to his television experience."

Russell Postell, general manager of News10, says he wishes Brothers well. Postell says Brothers worked on a freelance basis for News10, so therefore did not have the standard "non-compete clause" forbidding him for working for a competitor.

"Kelly is an excellent person and we enjoyed worknig with him," Postell says. "I still think Kelly is actually a better fit with News10 than (Channel 3). He embodies what News10 is about (that is, connecting with the community)."

Postell says Brothers did not seek a better deal from News10.

"Kelly's not that kind of guy," Postell says. "He didn't pit one against the other. He just said this is what he wants to do and we respect that."

Alan Eisenson, operations manager at KFBK, said in an e-mail that Brothers will continue to anchor the KFBK morning news.

Update on Christine Craft, who last week annouced she was departing lefty talk radio station KSAC (1240 AM):

KSAC owner Paula Nelson, whom we couldn't reach last week when we posted the news about Craft, has piped up now.

Nelson says she didn't want to oust Craft, but said it wasn't financially prudent to keep her on the air for three hours during afternoon drive-time with what Nelson called low ratings.

"One of the things people need to understand is that shows come and go, but this is a very competitive market and when you have one of the lowest-rated shows in the afternoon drive, you have to reassess," Nelson says.

"(Craft) made it sound as if we were having financial problems. No, the problem was paying someone whose numbers were in the toilet.

"Morning and afternoon drives have to be the strongest parts of your day. Now, if she’d wanted the midday (slot), we could’ve negotiated that."

Craft's ratings against other Sacramento stations in the 3-to-7 p.m. hours were not available. (Arbitron doesn't release its figures to the media.) However, The Bee recently acquired the Arbirton figures showing how Craft performed against KSAC's syndicated liberal talkers in the 25-plus category.

Stephanie Miller, the morning host, finished ahead of Craft overall, but Craft rated higher among 25-plus women listeners. Craft's numbers were better than Ed Schultz (late morning) and Randi Rhodes (midday).

Nelson says she understands listeners' concerns about not having a local voice for liberal views on Sacramento radio.

But will she replace Craft with a new hire rather than a syndicated talker?

"I’d like to," she says. "I'm keeping my ears open. I’m hoping somebody who can be a good fit and bring in some good numbers will contact us."

Perhaps inspired by The Bee's recent "Green Week" (yeah, right!), Channel 3 is letting scientists from Lawrence Berkeley Lab use its 1,600-foot transmission tower to measure greenhouse gas emissions.

As Kevin Riggs reports, the monitoring system will team with another placed on a tower in the Bay Area to determine how emissions come from the notorious polluters there compared to us clean-and-green folks here in Sacramento.

KCRA: Where the environment comes first?

October 12, 2007
Way to sell it, Michael

It's been a while since I've checked in on the blog musings of News10 assistant news director Michael Langley, whose posts often provide insight into the station's decision-making process. (No punch line: I like his offerings.)

So, what do I find this week from Langley?

Well, on Monday, he blogs about the fatigue of working (at least) an 11-hour day.

Excerpt:

Now I'm here at 8pm just trying to finish up things I needed to do. Today things. Not projects or anything like that. I have no idea if your job is the same. If so, now you know YOU'RE not alone. Dang. (Sorry, this post had no value as a window into a journalism world but I had to vent to you.)

Then, the very next day, Langley posts a blog entry titled, "Want a job?" News10 apparently is looking for an assignment editor and a planning editor.

Hint to applicants: Be ready to work at least 11 hours a day and to go home dog-tired. Then again, you will be "committed and connected" to the community - or, at least, to the newsroom vending machines.

After all, the unwritten rule is: You can't leave work until after the boss leaves.

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My, my. We should be so proud here in Sacramento. A recent Washington Post story on "blurb whore" movie reviewers devoted two whole paragraphs to "Good Day Sacramento's" own Mark S. Allen. Allen, as you may know, has apparently never met a studio movie (or a free junket to L.A., New York or London) he didn't like.

Paul Farhi of The Post writes:

There are, in fact, nearly 200 stations across the country affiliated with CBS, and many have their own on-air movie reviewers. Among them is Mark S. Allen, who co-hosts the local morning show on KOVR-TV in Sacramento, which is owned by CBS. But you wouldn't know that from movie ads that carry Allen's frequent raves. ...

Since he also works for Sacramento's KMAX-TV, which carries programming from the CW network, Allen might be credited as a "CW" reviewer. Sometimes he's a two-fer. Newspaper ads for the recent Disney bomb "Underdog" carried Allen's comment - "See this movie. Do not fail" - and listed him as a critic for "CW/CBS Stations." Which is true, but only sort of.

Now, we've known about this for years. But it's nice to see MSA get, uh, recognition for his "blurb whoring" on a national scale.

Actually, it's not the first time. Allen, it seems, is renown for his blurbability. Both eFilmCritic.com and Flak magazine have touted MSA's ability to kiss up to the studios.

Not only that, but the industry trade publication Variety reported in 2001 that when the watchdog group Citizens for Truth in Movie Advertising filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against movie studios, charging false advertising, Allen was one of the reviewers cited as being a blurb offender. The Variety of July 15, 2001 says:

The complaints, filed in L.A. Superior Court by four individuals and a group called Citizens for Truth in Movie Advertising, allege the ads failed to disclose that some reviewers quoted had some or all of their expenses, including airfare, meals and hotels, paid for by the studios.

The complaint names Maria Salas (Telemundo/Gems Television), Jim Ferguson (The Dish Network), Jeff Craig (Sixty Second Preview), Mark S. Allen (KMAX-TV, Sacramento), Ron Brewington (American Urban Radio Network) and Earl Dittman (Wireless magazine) as examples of reviewers frequently quoted in newspaper and TV ads. The six are not defendants in the suit.

So, something to keep in mind when MSA tells us to "run, not walk" to the latest "feel-good hit!"

October 11, 2007
Christine Craft out at KSAC

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Christine Craft, who's been Sacramento's lone lefty radio talk show host, says she has parted ways with KSAC (1240 AM).

Craft, who has been on "vacation" since early September, had been scheduled to return this month. But she says she could not reach a contract agreement with station owner Paula Nelson. (Nelson could not be reached for comment today.)

Peter B. Collins, a syndicated host, took over Craft's 3-to-6 p.m. slot in September.

"Paula Nelson offered me a one-hour program starting in November if I can find sponsors," Craft says. "But I'm not really a salesperson. I'm a lawyer and a media person. So, I'm basically unemployed now.

"I have very much enjoyed three years of working at KSAC and getting the local progressive community organized and active. And I have nothing bad to say about Paula. I'm glad she gave me the opportunity."

Craft had been at KSAC for three years; she was the last remaining local talk show host on the station.

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Channel 13's Chris Burrous, who hosts a morning show that is significantly ratings-challenged, thrives on self-parody.

So it was hard to tell whether he was completely goofing or not when he appeared on Sunday's "Good Day Sacramento" to beg viewers to tune in to his show to save his job.

Bald-faced begging, be it with a wink or entirely sincere, always gets our attention. First, Burrous showed the ratings from last Friday, in which his Channel 13 morning show delivered a 0.6 rating. The competition: Channel 3 had a 4.5 ratings; News10 a 2.6.

Then Burrous pulled his best Stephen Colbert-hardened newsman's face and said: "Let me tell you, if I can get a one-shot from camera six. (Pause) Job's on the line. I don't know if I'm going to get to stay, because if these numbers don't get better soon, out the door...."

Later, Burrous pretended to call people randomly from the phone book, begging them to watch his show. Here's the clip.

Can't you just smell the desperation?

October 8, 2007
Sactown gets dissed in NYT

Everybody seems to get excited when Sacramento gets a mention nationally, so I've got to point out a really random mention in Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

Author Robert Sullivan ("Rats," "Cross Country") was commissioned to do a loooong piece on director Todd Haynes' Dylan-inspired movie. When talking about the different film styles and film stock used for the different time periods in the movie, Sullivan wrote:

...(Christian) Bale's born-again Dylan would be filmed in the bad-TV video that befits a Sacramento, Calif., church basement.

Now, was that really necessary? Sullivan could've chosen any middling American city to mock, but Sactown apparently seemed like the perfect punchline. You know, I'm sure our church basements aren't any more dingy and our video capabilities any less professional than, say, those in Peoria.

Of course, Sullivan once "praised" Sacramento in a Jan. 2007 New York Times op-ed, in which he praised our light rail and urged New York to build one on 42nd Street. The tone was, if even Sacramento can do it, why not New York?

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Channel 3, which has been down a few reporters/anchors in recent months, has hired Damany Lewis. Lewis, who will be a general-assignment reporter, comes to Sacramento from WXII in Winston-Salem, N.C., the 46th-largest market in the nation. (Sacramento is No. 20). Both KCRA and WXII are owned by Hearst-Argyle.

(Now, if KCRA can only find a 6 p.m. anchor to replace John Alston. It's only, like, been almost a year.)

"When they called me up about the position in Sacramento, I was flattered. It's an exciting time, and busy. I'm going to miss this place, but it's part of the business," Lewis told the Winston-Salem Journal. "You move on. You try to leave your mark someplace, do good work, and you hope viewers appreciate what you do."

Lewis made some national news a few years ago for his coverage of Hurricane Ophelia. During a stand-up, the wind blew so hard that his hat went flying - and Lewis almost did, too. Scroll down on to view the video.

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October 5, 2007
KVIE lands a big one

Whoa, we've heard about generous donations to local public TV station Channel 6 (KVIE) in the past, but this one's a doozy.

On Monday at Morey Elementary School, Joe and Gavin Maloof, along with some Kings players, will be handing over a $100,000 check to KVIE as this year’s beneficiary of the George J. Maloof Sr. Community Cup. The donation will help support KVIE’s Literacy Initiative.

This is the ninth nonprofit the Maloofs have financially supported. But, apparently, it's not just money. Joe and Gavin and a few players will read to the Morey students after Monday's ceremony.

Hey, for a hundred grand, the Maloofs better get one heckuva tote bag as a thank-you gift from KVIE.

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When the press release landed in my in-box today, I almost couldn't believe it. Best news all year.

In November, 2008 - a little more than a year from now - Nielsen Media Research will install electronic Local People Meters to measure ratings in Sacramento.

What this will mean to you, the viewer, is that those local TV news sweeps during the months of November, February and May will be history. See, these LPMs measure ratings continuously, thus enabling TV stations to avoid stacking all their ratings bells and whistles into three months of the year.

Be still my heart! This is fabulous news. Now, the TV newscasts will have to put their best stuff on the air all year round.

Before I commenced dancing a celebratory jig around my desk, I e-mailed Bruno Cohen, president of channels 13 and 31, to ask about the advent of LPMs.

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Bruno (at right) sure knows how to deliver a buzz kill.

He writes back: "The LPM's operate 24/7/365 and will, over time, create an environment in which the traditional rating periods will be de-emphasized. But the cyclical nature of the ad business continues to be very influential.

"Remember that ad time is sold in advance, not the day of air, so historical performance is a key to understanding how pricing is negotiated. The February, May and November ratings periods continue to be important in the markets that have had LPMs for years."

Uh-oh. Sounds like we might still have to watch scare-inducing "special reports" after November, 2008.

Stay tuned.

October 3, 2007
Restrain yourselves!

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So that silly contest that "Good Day Sacramento" weekend anchors Taryn Winter Brill and Cody Stark have been waging - called "Anchor Obsession," in which Brill openly lusts after late-night talk show host Craig Ferguson and Stark after singer Dolly Parton - reached a new level the other night.

For a second time, Brill got some national exposure on "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson." View it here.

Ferguson is playing along nicely. But you've got to think that, in the back of his mind, he's fretting that Brill's "obsession" might be the real deal. As he said of Brill in his monolgue, "I think it's getting a little stalkery."

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Hey, I've got nothing against puns. In fact, I admit it: I've used a few puns in my day.

But TV news totally abuses this linguistic crutch. I suppose it's excusable when reporting "soft" news about a deer or a bear sighting. But when you get all punny on a hard news story, that's just not right.

Which brings to mind Channel 13, which breathlessly reported Monday night on the arrest of an ice cream vendor in South Land Park, accused of fondling school children.

Instead of just reporting the story straight, however, Steve Large had to get cute. Examples:

* "If he's found guilty of this crime, he's going to have to trade in this bar (he raises an ice cream bar) for time behind bars."

* "One ice cream vendor has left a bad taste in the mouths of students and school staff in South Land Park."

* "That's when students say he stopped concentrating on selling these sweets and started doing some sweet talking."

Please, please. On sensitive stories such as this, lose the cheap, too-clever-by-half wordplay.

Here's the report.

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It's official: Tom Sullivan has gone all New York on us.

The popular KFBK (1530 AM) talk radio host confirmed what The Bee reported on Sept. 20 - he will be co-hosting a morning show on the fledgling Fox Business Network, beginning Oct. 15.

"It's all business, all the time, but it's not going to be like CNBC," Sullivan says, announcing his intentions today on KFBK's afternoon news.

"CNBC had it all to themselves. And they talked to the bankers and the brokers. But there's 99 percent of the people out there who want to know what to do with their money, that don't get the information. So we're going to do a lot differently on the Fox Business Network."

The show, as yet unnamed, will air from 7-9 a.m. (Pacific) and will focus on the stock market and personal finance, he adds.

He says the new show eventually will be syndicated, meaning "you'll start hearing calls coming in from all around the country."

After the weekday TV show concludes, Sullivan says he will do his noon-to-3 p.m. radio show for KFBK from a studio in the same New York building.

Sullivan has been on vacation for two weeks. He will be back on the KFBK airwaves Monday.



October 1, 2007
Identity crisis at 1320 AM

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So, a colleague this afternoon wanted to check in on the Colorado Rockies playoff game, and he asked me which station in town carried ESPN radio.

I told him 1320 (KCTC) and forwarded him the Web site for online streaming.

Much to my surprise, when you click on the Web site, you get this strange mishmash of ESPN Radio and "Talk Left" Air America programming.

It's been more than eight months since 1320 changed formats, but the Web site hasn't followed suit. They still have lefty radio hosts Enid Goldstein and Scott & Sims highlighted, and the same explanatory box telling why the format was going to sports.

How lame. It's time for KCTC to update its Web page.

September 28, 2007
This man runs two Sac stations?

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Yes, folks, that indeed is Bruno Cohen, the top suit at channels 13 and 31, donning Elton John-like glasses and earrings and busting a move like Travolta on today's "Good Day Sacramento." (He's flanked by reporters/disco divas Courtney Dempsey and Tina Macuha.)

Well, it's good to see Bruno doesn't take himself too seriously.

View the carnage report here.

It's been, oh, at least two weeks since local TV news has had a good bear story out of Tahoe. (It's too early for rampaging deer stories; those are in November, in time for sweeps.)

But Channel 3 this morning aired a report (check it out above) on the amazing rescue of a bear stuck on a bridge in Tahoe.

Equally as amazing is that Walt Gray and Deirdre Fitzpatrick resisted temptation and didn't resort to too-cute bear puns to give the story added zest. To their credit, Walt and Deirdre kept a slightly ironic tone throughout the report, just as I'm trying mightily not to say that I could bearly wait to blog on this without paws. Har.

Yeah, I'm a hack writer. But you already knew that.

Two of Sacramento's monthly/bi-monthly magazines have won Ozzie Awards, recognition for top magazine design by a panel of experts put together by the industry publication, Folio magazine.

Sactown won the "gold" award for "New Magazine Design" for its April/May edition, beating out Heal (a cancer survivors' publication) and AtHome in Fairfield County (a Connecticut lifestyle mag).

And Prosper won the "gold" for "Redesign" for its June edition.

Click here for a complete list of winners.

September 25, 2007
Own a Schornack

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You never know what you're going to find in used furniture stores.

When the weekend edition of "Good Day Sacramento" sent Lori Wallace to an Elk Grove consignment store just to rummage around (hey, they've got a lot of time to fill on that show), the intrepid reporter stumbled upon quite a find - a used table (plus six chairs) from a Sacramento "celebrity" - a.k.a. a local TV news anchor.

View the clip here.

Because "GDS" thrives on wackiness, it did a quiz to choose which anchor ditched traded in the table: Channel 3's Walt Gray, "GDS's" Marianne McClary or News10's Dale Schornack?

The answer was ... Schornack.

(Just wondering: Are times so hard at News10 that the main anchor has to sell off his furniture?)

Anyway, Schornack was actually nice enough to answer my e-mail to confirm that the table was indeed his.

"I wish I had some good stories to go with the table, maybe it would sell faster," Schornack writes. "We actually have some gawdy stuff they refused to take (white couches, only used by the dog)."

If you want an original Schornack, the table and chairs can be yours for $395.

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Despite going up against new prime-time programming, the first night - Sunday - of Ken Burns' nearly 15-hour documentary, "The War" (featuring many Sacramentans), earned very good ratings ... but below those of his 1990 PBS documentary, "The Civil War."

"The War" was seen by 15.5 million viewers. Plus, there was a repeat airing that drew additional viewers.

“The War” airs this week through Wednesday, then next Sunday through Oct. 2.

Read more here.

Oh, and don't worry: We're not going to do a spoiler here and tell you wins.

September 24, 2007
Update on 'Mongolia' filmmaker

You might recall that, a few months ago, we reported on a local young filmmaker, Chris Rufo, who, through some grit and pluck, completed a documentary about Mongolia and is close to getting it sold to National Geographic and the Documentary Channel.

Rufo checked in to say he's got a new project - "We've already raised $80,000 in investor capital," he says - about a Muslim baseball team in the Gobi desert.

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Uh oh. Here we are again with another popular morning radio show pulling a stunt involving ... water.

No worries. No loss of life - Arnie States just lost his dignity. As if the rotund, Curly-esque comedian on 98 Rock's top-rated morning show "Rob, Arnie and Dawn" really cares about what you think.

Here's what went down in the studio last week:

The gang, which has a video camera in the studio, puts some of its more visual gags on its Internet site for the viewing pleasure of its audience. So, apparently, Arnie was having some ear problems and showed Rob and Dawn how he cleans out his ears without a docter's help.

The ewww factor got ratcheted up a notch when Arnie took his shirt off (Dude, you got some serious moobs there) and tilted his head into a bowl. Then he sprayed water from a bottle into the ear canal and showed off the wax that came out.

Dawn's reaction: "This is really lame."

Truer words were never spoken.

Rob, however, had the best line: "You know, there's a history of radio shows and water interacting in a bad way."

View the video - at your own discretion - here.

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September 24, 2007
Popular Sac blogger logs off

Beckler, the popular local blogger who goes by the name Heckasac, is pulling away from the keyboard and quitting her gig.

Here's her going-away post.

Then again, close Beckler watchers predict she'll be back. Stay tuned.

September 20, 2007
Reading the other blogs

I read the other media blogs in Sac so you don't have to....

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* Stefanie Cruz, on "Good Day Sacramento's" blog, sheepishly admits to triteness in reporting the latest O.J. Simpson saga.

But you can also detect a measure of pride that late night TV host Jimmy Kimmel mocked "GDS" and other unimaginative local TV news anchors for falling back on the old "squeezing the Juice" line.

Here's the link to Kimmel.

* Great rant recently by News10's Dan Adams, about the slow service at P.F. Chang's.

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Is it too much to ask that, when you're on your lunch break, you can get served in a restaurant in a half hour or less? I think not. Unless, apparently, you're eating at PF Changs in downtown Sacramento.

To celebrate the new job that our talented assignment manager, Jennifer Watts, just got (at ABC News in NY), five of us from the station went to PF Changs for lunch ... Jennifer Smith, Marcey Brightwell, Jenn Watts, photojournalist Brandon Atchison, and I. We got there at 11:50 ... the place only half full. We ordered right away ... and then waited ... and then waited ... and then waited ... and then waited some more. We asked what was going on with our order. Finally, at 12:50, Marcey and I had to go on a story, just as the food arrived. The manager said he was sorry and the meal was on him. What meal? We left unfed.

Come on PF Changs, get your act together. It's too late for me ... I won't go to your restaurant again ... at least not the one in Sacramento. By the way, I did finally get lunch ... a PayDay candy bar I bought out of the station's vending machine. Sheesh!

* The always-provocative sacrag.com blog skewers the alt-weekly Sacramento News & Review for its "coverage" of an anti-war rally.

Take heart, SN&R. The Bee is routinely skewered (and occasionally praised) by those snarky Ragsters.

* Zach Melchiori, formerly one of Channel 13's Internet czars, has taken his tech blog to Prosper magazine, Zach's new employer.

September 19, 2007
Bob Dylan shills for 21Q

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OK, not really. But be sure to turn to Page 3 of Thursday's Scene section in The Bee for a "very special" Ad Hawk feature.

Bob Dylan will tell you to read our beloved blog.

Actually, it's a cool Internet viral ad publicizing Bob's new greatest-hits compilation, which we've tinkered with for our own self-promotion purposes. See, Columbia Records unleashed its techies to make it so users could personalize messages on the cards that Dylan holds up (in a scene from his famous documentary, "Don't Look Back").

Want to do your own message for friends - or enemies? Go here.

It's been more than a year since Mark Williams, the conservative nighttime radio talk show host, was fired from KFBK (1530 AM) .

And for months, Williams has declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding his ouster.

But now, on his blog, Williams writes about seeking a six-figure settlement from KFBK and its parent company, Clear Channel.

KFBK general manager Jeff Holden, target of the criticism in Williams' blog posting, declined to comment on the matter for legal reasons.


September 17, 2007
Pledge drive goes visual

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We know you love public-radio pledge drives as much as I do, so you'll be interested to know that not only can you hear the likes of KXJZ's Jeffrey Callison and Donna Apidone (pictured) begging asking for donations, but now, you can see them, too, on a fuzzy Web cam mounted in the studio.

Capital Public Radio wags are calling it "Fundervision."

Hey, things get pretty weird during pledge time.

Why don't you call and donate so that they can get back to their real jobs?

Here's the link.

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(Photo credit: Cable Risdon, 2002)

Ladies and gentlemen, Ken has left the building.

In truth, Ken Burns doesn't leave town until Fridaymorning, after concluding tonight's �world premiere� of his documentary, �The War,� which features some Sacramentans. He�ll be in San Francisco for another �world premiere� Friday night.

But, since the judge finally signed the restraining order barring us from within 2,000 feet of Burns, we, alas, will not be blogging about him Friday. Kidding, just kidding.

Seriously, a large and appreciative crowd showed up at The Crest for the final installment (see the previous two postings below) of Burns� �Victory Tour� of Sacramento before the Sept. 23 start of his PBS epic. Many of the World War II vets and family members interviewed in the doc were in attendance, as well as a gaggle of PBS geeks who worship (and rightly so!) Burns.

We�ll give you the highlights. But first, about this �world premiere� thing:

Sacramento is actually the fourth city to have a �world premiere.� The other three cities Burns chose to feature in his epic � Luverne, Minn., Mobile, Ala., and Waterbury, Conn. � already had their �world premieres� earlier this month. On Sept. 7 in Luverne, the sellout crowd in the school gym gave him repeated standing ovations. On Sept. 8 in Mobile, 3,000 people showed up to hear him at a local college. And on Sept. 10 in Waterbury, the town held a parade for Burns.

Here in Sac, Burns was treated like the public-television rock star he has become. And they gave him a standing ovation after the 81-minute clip concluded.

Congresswoman Doris Matsui, who was also there, said, �Ken Burns, you�re an inspiration to all of us.�

David Hosley, general manager of KVIE, which sponsored the showing, said Burns �defines what public television is.�

It all sounded very pious, but Burns showed a sense of humor to deflate any pomposity. Just before introducing the preview of the 14-hour film, he joked, �Filmmakers hate to show clips. So I�ve told the ushers to lock the doors. You�ll be out by 10 o�clock tomorrow morning, if we take no bathroom breaks.�

Hosley moderated a Q&A afterward, and Burns graciously answered the same questions he�d been asked since 7:30 this morning, when he went on local TV and radio talk shows. All told, he made seven appearances in 14 hours and still seemed ready to talk even after Hosley wrapped things up.

Someone asked Burns, best known for �The Civil War� and now �The War,� what his next documentary will be about. He smiled and said it will be a look at the history of America�s national parks.

�Nobody dies,� he quips. �It�s soooo nice.�

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It's 3:30 and, as far as I know, Ken Burns is still at The Avid Reader, signing books.

I wimped out and left at 3.

The man is indefatigable.

A crowd of about 40 Burns groupies showed up to hear the filmmaker talk about "The War" and answer questions. Then came the signing of the companion book for the series.

One woman - I kid you not - actually genuflected in front of Burns as he signed her book and then gushed, "I just wanted to thank you on a number of levels for your body of work."

Burns seemed slightly embarrasssed by that, but he is nothing if not gracious.

His fans are certainly hard-core. One, Joan Kruger, a professor at American River College and Delta College in Stockton, bought three books. She showed up early and says she's been a Burns fans since he produced "The Civil War" 17 years ago.

"He is incredible," she says. "The thoroughness of his research! And he's so blessed to have PBS give him the time to explore these subjects. Even if it's a subject you aren't really that interested in, he can hook you."

Dennis Wright of Sacramento, a Vietnam vet, brought a bunch of mementos from that war for Burns to sign.

"I just had to come down and be in his presence," Wright enthused. "It's a privilege to have a man of his status in Sacramento."

Another man in a three-piece suit handed over a book for signing and said to Burns: "Your work is like a diamond in an ocean of garbage."

What strikes me is Burns' patience. Scores of people wanted to chat him up about any number of things, and he obliged.

And when Pamela Henstell, the West Coast promotions director from his publisher Knopf, told Burns he had to sign another giant stack of books, he didn't bat an eye. This man is no diva.

"Hey," Burns told Henstell, "I heard on Monday night that the book is No. 4 on Amazon.com. And it isn't even published yet."

Next stop for Burns: The Creat Theatre at 7 p.m. for an invitation-only screening and talk.

Editor's note: Ken Burns, creator of the upcoming PBS documentary "The War," is in Sacramento today, presenting excerpts of the film, doing a signing for a book connected with the project, and leading a screening at the Crest Theatre. We're stalking following the filmmaker for the day. Watch 21Q for updates.

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So here is Ken Burns, the acclaimed documentary director, famous for a cinematic technique called "The Burns Effect," standing before a packed house at the California History Museum and trying in vain to get a DVD in the computer to project onto the screen.

Well, at least Burns had a sense of humor about it.

"Normally, I'd be travelling with my children to do this, but school's started," he says, adding later, "My Luddite status has been completely verified in front of you."

The crowd - ranging from World War II vets to high school history students to politicos such as Secretary of State Debra Bowen - ate it up, chuckling knowingly.

Once the technical difficulties were cleared up, Burns showed a 10-minute clip from the seven-part, 14-hour epic, which will premiere locally on Channel 6 on Sept. 23.

If you happened to glance at Burns during the preview, you would've thought he had never seen the footage before. (In fact, he spent six years gathering and editing footage.) Sitting in the front row, he leaned forward, hand on chin, intently watching. The images, clearly, still enthrall him.

It was somewhat surprising because you figured that - having trotted out the same footage and the same spiel during countless personal appearances the past few months - Burns would take the time to check his BlackBerry or maybe slip out the back for a breather.

But no - the guy has a certain evangelical zeal about "The War."

Before the museum appearance, Burns did interviews with News10's Jonathan Mumm and a crew from Capital TV News. His PBS publicist, Brian Moriarty, watched the 54-year-old Burns work the media and marveled at his stamina.

"I'm almost half Ken's age, and I feel like such a wuss because I can't keep up with him," Moriarty says. (Burns has got five rotating publicists from PBS - Moriarty handles the West Coast.)

After the interviews were over, Burns rejoined Moriarty and joked, "That was my 657th interview for this."

We'd say he's underestimating it a bit. Not only has Burns presented the documentary in each of the four cities featured - Sacramento, Luverne, Minn., Mobile, Ala., and Waterbury, Conn. - he's also recently made stops in Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Atlanta, New York, etc.

"It's like a relay race," Burns jokes, "but there's no one for me to hand the baton off to."

Make no mistake, Burns is not complaining. He actively seeks every possible venue to hype the documentary - especially as its Sunday premiere will be going up against several new shows in the network fall TV season.

"It's the old high school corollary: If a tree falls in the forest and no one's there to see it fall...well, it's the same for me. If you make a documentary that you really are proud of and no one's there to watch it, did it really happen?" Burns says. "So I don't mind at all answering the same questions about it."

KFBK's Kitty O'Neal, the moderator of the museum event, tried to cover some new ground during the Q&A. O'Neal, noting that now, as then, there was a debate about how much information to give the public about the war, asked Burns to comment on the Iraq conflict.

And Burns didn't back down.

"We debate that very thing today," he says. "Our government doesn't even let us see the caskets coming home."

Burns' only other overtly political statement concerned public sacrifices today versus during World War II: "After 9-11, (the government) told us not to worry our pretty little head and go shopping. We perhaps could've tried to wean ourselves from foreign oil."

But he quickly added: "There's not a political bone in this documentary."

The biggest laugh came when O'Neal asked Burns why he chose Sacramento as a featured city.

Burns: "If you said, pick a West Coast city, your first choice would not be Sacramento." (Big laughs.) It has nothing to do with you. (Chuckles.) We fell in love with Sacramento. But if we chose other cities, like Seattle or San Francisco or Los Angeles, they'd come with too many preconceived notions."

Burns' next stop: a 2 p.m. book signing at The Avid Reader on 16th and Broadway.

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Channel 13 led its late news Tuesday with a story about "bullies with an air gun" who shot a pellet at a 7-year-old boy riding his bike in Cameron Park.

Two comments:

1. We heard, not once but twice, that classic parental lament whenever horseplay turns serious: "You could've taken an eye out!"

2. What is this strange fascination Channel 13 has about shoving objects in front of the camera to make a point? Just off the top of my head, I recall Dennis Shanahan sticking a brownie into the camera, Tony Lopez attacking the camera with his hand, and Steve Large duct taping the camera when talking about a robbery.

Now, we get Anny Hong going all "Charlie's Angels" on us and pointing a gun (albeit a fake, plastic one) at the screen.

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PK CRAFT

Christine Craft, the lone liberal radio talk-show host locally, will be off the airwaves at KSAC (1240 AM) for the rest of September. And there’s a chance she may not be back at all.

The official word, confirmed by Craft today, is that she has four weeks of vacation time accrued, but that she’ll lose it if she does not take it immediately. (In her stead, the station will run syndicated programming.)

Meanwhile, Craft says she’s been in talks with Paula Nelson, the station manager, and that the show might have to be reduced from three hours to one in order to save money.

As a result, Craft says she isn’t sure if she will return. Nelson’s only comment: “We need to get through these negotiations on a new contract, and then I can say more.”

Craft says her mandatory vacation has nothing to do with her daily coverage of the shaken baby death trial in Roseville. She says it's unfortunate that she no longer will be able to provide coverage for KSAC listeners.

In her time off, Craft says she will occasionally be filling in on KGO (810 AM), the huge Bay Area talk station that can be heard in parts of Sacramento.

September 10, 2007
Changes to daytime TV

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All of you daytime TV fans should check out today's story in The Bee about changes in the programming.

Suffice it to say, it's not a good day for soap fans. "Passions" is off the air at NBC (Channel 3 locally), and only digital TV subscribers can catch new episodes.

Meanwhile, several readers have asked why Channel 13, a CBS owned- and-operated station, does not air the long-running, Emmy-winning CBS soap, "Guiding Light."

Channel 13 hasn't done so for nearly a decade, and current station manager Bruno Cohen says there's no chance that "GL" (whose actors are pictured) will be making it on air any time soon. Its spot in Channel 13's lineup is occupied by "Montel Williams," which Cohen says gives the station solid ratings.

But why, if Channel 13 is owned by the network, doesn't it carry a network show?

Cohen's answer: There's more advertising money to be made from syndicated shows, such as "Montel."

"Occasionally, we'll get a call about 'Guiding Light,' usually from someone who's new in town," Cohen says, "but there hasn't been a huge response."

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Just when we thought Channel 13's quest for shock-value reporting and cynical pandering disguised as news couldn't get any more blatant, along came Serene Branson's report Thursday night on a men's-only hair salon in Modesto.

Branson: "The owner of the salon Tiitz says maybe this was too much for Modesto."

Gee, ya think?

Branson then went on to salaciously say of the salon, "Think Hooters meets hair salon...Stylists wear low-cut referee shirts and short shorts."

I'm no prude, but this story does not belong on a respectable newscast.

Judge for yourself by clicking here.

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You'd think that our local TV news folks would have learned to avoid "covering" these blatantly manufactured store-opening "news" events, which only makes the stations look silly and lends weight to criticism.

(See Krispy Kreme, Chick Fil-A, Ikea, etc.)

Today, it was the opening of the Boudin bakery at Fulton Avenue and Fair Oaks Boulevard that got morning TV all in a lather.

Several local stations were offenders. But My58TV's morning show - little sister to KCRA's "Where the News Comes First" - sent out reporter Brian Hickey, a photographer and LiveCopter3 to cover arrival at the new store of the "mother dough," said to be 158 years old.

Watch the report below to learn what's so special about "mother dough." I don't want to waste the bandwidth to explain.

A snippet:

Hickey to "master baker" Fernando: "Does it move? Does it talk?"

Fernando: "Oh, it's going to move, believe me."


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Pedro Calderon (pictured), who oversaw many ratings successes but also saw many disgruntled employees leave during his tenure, is no longer news director at Channel 19 (KUVS), Sacramento's Univision affiliate.

The change at the top of KUVS' newsroom was confirmed this morning by Maryam Banikarim, Univision's chief marketing officer; Steve Stuck, Channel 19's general manager, directed all inquiries to the corporate office.

The search for a replacement will begin immediately, Banikarim says. She did not elaborate on Calderon's departure.

Under Calderon, who was elevated from anchor to news director in 2005, Channel 19 consistently finished first in the ratings for late news in the 18-to-34-year-old demographic. (Channel 19 is the only Spanish-language TV news outlet in Sacramento.)

But some former Channel 19 employees say Calderon's confrontational management style created rifts in the newsroom and led to the departures of more than 20 editorial employees - out of a newsroom of about 30 - in the past 2 1/2 years. Included among the high-profile departures: "Voz y Voto" hosts Xochitl Arellano, Pablo Espinoza and Arnold Torres; reporters Tatiana Bedoya, Catalina Martinez and Cristina Godoya, and Modesto bureau chief Alberto Godinez.

Behind the scenes, the producer of "Voz y Voto" and the evening news also resigned, as did three photographers. Perhaps the biggest loss: two-time regional Emmy Award-winning photo journalist Felix Mendoza, who left to join the satellite news service PacSat International.

Calderon could not be reached for comment.

Here's an interesting post by Zach Melchiori, one of the Web gurus at Channel 13. (It's from Zach's personal blog, as opposed to his Channel 13 tech blog.)

Anyway, he talks about a recent incident in which Channel 13 found out about a breaking story at 1 p.m. but didn't post it on its Web site. Rather, it waited until 5 p.m., hoping for a scoop. In the meantime, The Bee posted the story on the Web, beating 13 to the punch.

Melchiori makes some solid points about how, in this 24-hour news cycle, stations risk getting beat on a story by holding them to the TV broadcast.

August 31, 2007
Fox40 gets fortuitous scoop

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On Thursday night's Channel 13 news, reporter Serene Branson filed a report a plane crash at a Cameron Park airport, saying that a witness, Walter Helm, "was first on the scene."

Uh, not quite.

Truly first on the scene was Fox40 reporter Lonnie Wong and photographer Albert Im, who just happened to be shooting B-roll (background footage) for a story about an earlier light plane crash at the airport when they filmed the fateful takeoff of the plane that killed two passengers and critical injured another two.

(Above is a screen grab from Fox40's footage seconds before the plane crashed.) To see Fox40's report, click here.

Fox40, naturally, realized its good fortune and led its newscast with the report, showing the takeoff and crash several times. It also had shots of EMT's trying to revive a passenger and other shots fresh on the scene that you usually don't see on local TV news.

The length of the report -- 3 minutes 45 seconds -- seemed a tad excessive. But, hey, Fox40 had the exclusive video.

As Woody Allen once said, 90 percent of life is just showing up.

August 31, 2007
News flash! It's still hot

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On this coming Labor Day weekend, let's pause a moment to pay tribute to local TV news reporters who've been subjected to inhumane conditions by being sent out all day on weather stories that basically say this and only this: "Gee, it sure is hot out."

Poor Leticia Ordaz (pictured) at Channel 3 was sent to Modesto on Wednesday night and West Sacramento last night to talk to people who basically all confirmed that, hey, it's hot. She finally lost it on Thursday night's late news, spraying the camera with a mist bottle.

Ordaz did find one yahoo interesting person, a Modesto dude with no AC in his home who spent the night in his car with the engine running(!). The guy's quote: "It's hard with the price of gas, but you've got to stay cool some way."

The most ironic report came Thursday night when News10 sent Cornell Barnard to Lathrop, where there had been a 15-hour power outage. Barnard, in a live stand-up, intoned: "Yeah, Dale, this neighborhood is finally cooling off tonight. Power restored just a short ti--"

Then the screen went to black for three seconds, before News10 switched to Barnard's prerecorded package. The signal was restored by the end of the report, after which anchor Dale Schornack quipped: "And that was a pretty effective demonstration of what a rolling blackout looks like, in case any of us forgot. Thanks."

August 30, 2007
That's gotta hurt!

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No, that's not anchor Dale Schornack hitting meteorologist Greg Lalka below the belt at the weather map during a recent News10 broadcast.

Let us explain.

See, News10 has this cute feature out at the California State Fair, in which the public can pretend to be a weather forecaster and get a photo taken in front of the map. The station has posted thousands of photos on its Web site, certainly none more humorous than this.

Maybe these kids were recreating a scene from "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy."

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That new voice you hear on public radio station KXJZ (90.9 FM) is reporter Ben Adler. He comes to Sacramento from Monterey's NPR affiliate, KAZU, where he was the news director.

The addition of Adler increases Capital Public Radio's newsroom to seven.

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The Sacramento Humor Times, for 16 years a free monthly publication providing editorial cartoons and funny essays, soon will drop the "free" part.

Blame it on the lack of advertising -- a situation that's hitting all aspects of print media. Says publisher James Israel in a statement: "The free paper has not been generating the advertising support it used to."

Israel says he'll print four more free isues, then start the subscription model. Cost: 12 issues, $17.95 -- $12.95 if you subscribe by Sept. 30.

In March the circulation was 35,000. It'll be interesting to see how many devoted Humor Times readers (we see 'em in cafes around town all the time) will want to pay for it.

Channel 13 wasn't the only news organization to film a recreation of Sen. Larry Craig's bathroom encounter. (See blog post just below.)

Slate magazine took it a step further and actually went into a restroom and used cheesy black-and-white noir style.

Uh, enjoy.

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That wacky Chris Burrous, host of Channel 13's morning show, and weather guesser Jeff James, recreated the alleged lewd conduct of Idaho Sen. Larry Craig in a Minneapolis airport restroom stall.

Wow. For once, we were left speechless at this episode of playing footsie between anchors. Though Leigh Grogan, The Bee's fashion writer, took James to task for wearing sandals with a suit.

Check out the video here.

August 28, 2007
Stop the madness

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Well, it must be August -- notoriously the slowest news month of the year.

Why else would both News10 and Fox40 send reporters and photographers out to Lodi to cover the story about the woman who claims the face of Jesus has appeared on her backyard fence?

Here's News10's version.

How many times do we have to see these stories of the Savior appearing on grilled cheese sandwiches, weeping blood from a statue, etc. I have great respect for one's faith, but is it news? Think not. It's more of a Rorschach test.

Then again, what do I know? As of this afternoon, it ranked No. 1 on News10's Web site's most viewed story.

August 28, 2007
Cheesecake shot

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But we mean that in the best sense. Really.

Last night, Fox40 devoted almost three minutes of its 10 o'clock news to the state election reform proposal that would no longer give all the state's Presidential delegates to the popular vote winner. Instead, if the Republicans would win, say, 20 percent of the districts, it would siphon 20 delegates from the Democrats.

It's a political story with huge implications.

It's also a story that local TV news usually avoids because of the so-called Snooze Factor. Meaning, no good video, no sexy story.

But we have to give a tip of the hat to Fox40 reporter Kye Martin for using a visual aide -- a cheesecake divided into slices -- to jazz up a "process" story. We'll even forgive Kye's trite declaration: "Meaning they can have their cheesecake and eat it, too."

We'd like to see more political reporting on local TV news. So, too, do politicos. Obviously, what's needed is more cheesecake shots.

Here's hoping Martin's boss let her put the cheesecake on her expense account.

August 27, 2007
Can't this man be stopped?

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The man, of course, is conservative pundit Mark Williams (ex-KFBK talker who's gone national as a free-lance cable TV mouth).

This liberal blogger at CrooksandLiars.com is trying his best to accomplish that.

I especially liked the guy's nickname for Williams -- Wingnut.

August 27, 2007
DJ changes at The Zone

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It was a little more than a year ago that venerable morning radio team Shawn and Jeff were ousted at The Zone (KZZO, 100.5 FM).

Starting next week, though, half of the team will be on the morning drive-time shift. Shawn Cash (who had been the station's afternoon DJ since his demotion) will join Hill Jordan as The Zone's new morning team. (Cash's former partner, Jeff Jensen, has gotten out of the crazy radio biz and now works in advertising.)

Monica Lowe, who had been handling the morning shift solo for the past several months, started on middays (10 a.m.-3 p.m.). That means that Lowe will be competing directly against her hubby, Pat Martin, the midday jock at 98 Rock (98.5 FM). Then again, it's not really competing since the formats are way different.

Keith Brooks will be The Zone's afternoon drive-time personality and a new hire will soon take over evenings at the station, according to Sacramento CBS Radio honcho Steve Cottingim.

Update: Jensen has kept his hand in on radio by recently getting a weekend gig at the country station The Wolf (KNTY 101.9 FM).

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Just back from a restive vacation, where I was able to catch the local TV news in that exotic locale known as ... Fresno!

I return with a far greater appreciation for the quality of newscasts in Sacramento. After all, I have survived watching KMPH's morning show, "Great Day Fresno."

Yes, we may be subjected to "Good Day Sacramento," but in Fresno it's always a "great" day -- apparently. "Great Day" anchors Kopi and Kim make Mark S. Allen look like a PBS correspondent. I love how Kopi does the weather while pointing to the map with his smiley face coffee cup.

I went on "Great Day's" Web site and watched penetrating stories such as "Cake or Pie: Which Is Better?"

It felt so nice to return to Sac on Saturday and tune in to "Good Day Sacramento" and watch serious and sober journalistic endeavors, such as "GDS" reporter Alan Sanchez receiving an enema from a viewer. Go to "Good Day's" Web site to view, if you dare. (Thankfully, it's not explicit.)

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Well, it's that time of year again. My58TV is staging its "Host Hunt," with the two winners to receive a year-long contract to appear in on-air promos and other publicity schemes.

The contestants have been winnowed to six. And there's still time to vote for your favs. On Friday, Aug. 17, they will reach the Final Four, and then, the two winners will be announced in a one-hour special on My58TV on Aug. 27.

The latest "challenge" for the contestants: to interview a member of the Channel 3 news team. The interviews were as revealing about the Channel 3 "talent" as they were about the aspiring hosts.

Here's what we learned:

* Consumer reporter Lynsey Paulo keeps her Emmys in her china cabinet.

* Reporter Mike TeSelle says he'd be an accountant if he wasn't in TV news. But when his interviewer, Anthony, shot back with the question, "What's 100x88?," TeSelle was stumped.

* Reporter Brian Hickey told his interviewer, Marcus, that the best way for a beginner to get ahead in TV news is to make him coffee.

* And morning anchor Walt Gray revealed intimate secrets about his personal life with his beloved wife, News10 weather guesser Monica Woods. The revelation: "Since I work for the No. 1 station, I really don't get into (talking TV) too much (with Monica)...In terms of ratings, we don't go there."

Walt did concede that, at home, Monica controls the remote and the couple watches News10.

As for the contestants, one of the questions asked of them on the My58TV Web site was to list their "secret pleasure." Three of the six listed "chocolate," but Shannon said, oddly, "people playing with my hair."

Er, get in those votes now, folks!

So I get this e-mail from Craig The Dog-Faced Boy, the afternoon jock at 98 Rock (98.5 FM), with the subject line: "Extras Needed for '08 Bod Squad Calendar."

Now, if that doesn't make you want to click on the e-mail, I don't know what would. I mean, who hasn't wanted to be a part of the annual 98 Rock calendar, which traditionally features scantily clad women with interestingly placed tattoos?

Anyway, here's what the e-mail says:

"Hey

What's up?!?! It's Dog.

You may have heard that we're in the middle of shooting pics for 98 Rock's 2008 Bod Squad Calendar. For one of the months, (we) need about 100 "extras." If you wanna help out and maybe make a cameo in next year's calendar, meet up with us at Empire (R & 15th, Downtown Sac) no later than noon Saturday (Aug. 11).

Later,

Craig The Dog-Faced Boy

In the most stunning cessation of hostilities since peanut butter and chocolate decided to work together, rival National Public Radio affiliates KXJZ (90.9 FM) of Sacramento and KQED/KQEI (88.5 and 89.3 FM) in San Francisco/Sacramento have entered into a content partnership.

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Starting Monday, KXJZ will begin airing "The California Report," an informative statewide news program produced by KQED. It will air weekdays at 8:50 a.m.

Wow. This would never happen in commercial radio. Imagine 98 Rock and "Jack" collaborating on a program. Ain't gonna happen, folks.

But the public radio sphere is more genteel. And, even though the stations have similar programming and have fought for listeners since KQED launched the KQEI signal in Sac back in May, 2003, lately they have been joining hands in public-radio brotherhood and singing "Kumbaya."

"We've been looking at ways to collaborate," KXJZ station manager Carl Watanabe says in an e-mail response to our query.

"For instance, last fall we jointly presented statewide coverage of the gubernatorial debate. It was Capital Public Radio's local production with KQED's host in San Francisco, and the on-air staff included (KXJZ's) Marianne Russ. I hope we'll find other projects to do with KQED."


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Gee, we'd been wondering what former 21Q resident Lisa Heyamoto has been up to since she left our cozy confines in the blogosphere and sought different digs in The Bee's metro department.

Well, turns out, Lisa has been garnering credit on Wikipedia for coining a term: "Google Twin." That is, that person who shares your name, but whose information comes up ahead of yours when you do an online search.

Congrats to Lisa, but let the record show that she wrote her story, with said term, while she was a member of The Bee's features department. (And a resident of 21Q!)

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"The Sports Show," that wacky half-hour recap of sports news that airs after the late news Saturday nights on Channel 13, went poolside last week.

And now, the people who produce it are in troubled waters - with station management.

Seems hosts Gary Gelfand (left) and Arran Andersen (right) , along with their executive producer, thought it would be fun to stage a "pool party". And what naturally goes with that? Why, comely young women and beer, of course.

(Correction: We orginally reported that the "live shot" took place both in the pool and the hot tub. We have since confirmed that there was no hot tubbin'.)

Callers to Channel 13 - and a few e-mailers to your media correspondent - asked whether the bikini-clad models were of drinking age. As it turns out, station manager Bruno Cohen and news director Steve Charlier were asking the same thing.

"We investigated and, to our knowledge, there was not (underage drinking) going on," Charlier tells us.

However, the semi-salacious nature of the segment drew the ire of Charlier and Cohen.

"We had some conceptual and editorial problems with what was going on there," Cohen says. "It would surprise me greatly to see anything like that again."

The hosts and their executive producer have been told as much, Charlier confirms.

"It is something we’ve talked to our staff about," he says. "More than anything, we addressed what the content of that show should be and it’s sports. We’re the only sports show in the market that dedicates a half hour, and I think we do some good feature content on local athletes. That’s the type of content we want on there.

"I still don’t want a traditional sportscast, as I've said before. But we’ve got to be smart and focus on sports."

Postscript: This is what you get when you hire a sportscaster (Gelfand) who, on his station bio, lists Will Ferrell as his role model and his dream job as "Grip on a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar shoot." A tip of the beer stein to you, Gary.

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The Channel 13 morning show, which already has a provocative voice in anchor Chris Burrous, continues to push the envelope when it comes to local morning TV news.

Former KFBK conservative talker Mark Williams (pictured) will give his views on politics and social issues every other Monday at 6 a.m. He starts Aug. 20.

The addition of Williams is yet another indication that Channel 13 is carving a niche for itself in the market as the right-wing station in town. It has used Republican spinmeister Rob Stutzman as an evening news political commentator, and nightly commentator R.E. Graswich leans right, as well.

Then again, Burrous' morning show actually has been accused of a left-wing tilt, after his publicized tiff with Rush Limbaugh recently.

Steve Charlier, vice president for news at channel 13 and 31, could not immediately be reached for comment.

But Burrous tells us this morning that, "although I don't speak for the station," he wants all points of view from local media mavens on his show. He's talking about getting writers from the Sacramento News & Review, the Sacrag.com blog, as well as Sactown and Prosper magazines to regularly appear on the show.

"We're just trying to make this show as relevant as possible for where we call home," Burrous says. "You don't do that by running lots of video from Kansas City. And while we've got the day's hard news covered, I figure these publications and pundits do a superb job of covering other things in-depth or just covering issues and items that I'd never notice or we couldn't possibly cover."

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Because 21Q readers miss the fashionista musings of Leigh Grogan, who's been " target="_blank">on vacation, your humble media guy has been asked to weigh in on fashion.

So ....

How about some fine "Good Day Sacramento" apparel, courtesy of cafepress.com?

You can purchase everything from a maternity dress to a thong with Channel 31's slogan, "Don't leave home until 10 a.m."

We know you'll see this on runways from here to Milan.

Hey, a "GDS" thong sure beats a News10 coffee mug or KCRA hat when it comes to originality.

And, remember, it's "Made in the USA."

August 7, 2007
Banned in Sacramento?

We all know that the parting between conservative talking head Mark Williams and his former employer, KFBK (1530 AM), was about as amicable as the Alec Baldwin-Kim Basinger divorce.

Now, it's seemingly reached a new level.

Seems Williams was filling in last Saturday for syndicated right-wing talker Mike McConnell, whose show airs from 10 a.m. to noon on KSTE (650 AM), KFBK's sister station in the Clear Channel fam.

Every single station in the 100-plus markets that carries McConnell's weekend show aired it, as usual, with Williams filling in - except for KSTE. Operations manager Alan Eisenson confirmed that the station ran a "best of" Armstrong & Getty Show instead. He did not give a reason for the switch, but ...

Let's face it, all of you Williams fans who bother contact me: Your hero is never going to be back on the air, at least on a Clear Channel station, in Sacramento.

We e-mailed Williams, who wrote us back: "I wish I could comment. Can't. Lawyers won't let me."

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OK, so it wasn't exactly prime time, but the weekend edition of "Good Day Sacramento" got some network recognition Monday night from Craig Ferguson (left), host of CBS' "Late Late Show."

It seems that "GDS" anchor Taryn Winter Brill has a thing for Ferguson and has waxed eloquent about him on the weekend show. She even framed a photograph of the Scot.

But, while Brill was praising Ferguson's dry humor, co-anchor Cody Stark was showing his appreciation by pretending to stick his finger in Ferguson's nose.

Ferguson showed that clip, then looked into the camera and mugged: "On the one hand, attractive woman, likes the show. That's nice. On the other hand, what the hell are you doing with the finger in the nose there? I'm kind of insulted but in a sexy way."

No word yet on whether Ferguson has taken out a restraining order against Brill.

August 6, 2007
News10's FCC fine

Oh, calm down. It wasn't because of a wardrobe malfunction featuring Ryan Yamamoto or due to Melissa Crowley swearing a blue streak about the hellacious traffic. Nothing that sensational.

No, it seems News10 was fined $6,000 by the feds for a "willful and repeated violation of Section 73.3526(e)(11)(iii)."

Whoa. Sounds ominous.

Actually, according to the FCC notice released Friday, the station simply forgot to "prepare and place in its public inspection file a Children's Television Programming Report...for each calendar quarter reflecting the efforts it has made ... to serve the educational needs of children."

News10, in the filing, said that "as a result of staff turnover and miscommunications concerning the requirement to publicize, it did not air the announcements" on where to find the files from 1998-2001 and 2004 through November of 2005.

In other words, the dog ate News10's homework.

"This was no surprise to us," says Russell Postell, News10's president and general manager. "We noticed the error when were were reapplying (for the station's license) and brought it to (the FCC's) attention."

KXJZ (90.9 FM), Sacramento's National Public Radio affiliate, will shake up its news and information programming starting Monday.

Gone will be "News & Notes," a public affairs program dealing with issues affecting African Americans. It had aired from 1-2 p.m., but its listenership has been small, station executives say.

What's added will be an extra half hour of "All Things Considered," which, starting Monday, June 13, will begin at 3:30 p.m. And the popular business program "Marketplace," will air twice - at 3 p.m. and its usual time at 6:30 p.m.

Carl Watanabe, station manager, says "Marketplace" is updated three times daily. "The features are the same, but the market news is new each time, so it won't be the same program," he says.

So here's the new afternoon lineup: 1–2 p.m. "The World"; 2–3 p.m. "Insight"; 3–3:30 p.m. "Marketplace"; 3:30–6:30 p.m. "All Things Considered"; 6:30–7 p.m. "Marketplace."

August 6, 2007
Splatter TV

Those marketing guys at Channel 13 never stop, even when they aren't doing wacky promos for their newscasts.

Erik Candiani, of the station's creative services department, has entered a Heinz ketchup user-generated commercial contest being waged right now on YouTube.

Two on-air "talent" appear in the spot - Mark S. Allen and Gary Gelfand. It's shot at Awful Annie's restaurant in Lincoln.

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From our "Where Have They Gone?" file comes this word about three former Channel 13/Channel 31 reporters who all are now working in the Bay Area.

* Former Channel 13 weekend anchor Patti Lee (pictured left) is freelancing as a reporter for KTVU, the Fox affiliate in the Bay Area.

* Former Channel 13 reporter Charlotte Fadipe (pictured right), whose contract was not renewed last month, is freelancing for KPIX as a reporter.

* And former "Good Day Sacramento" weekend reporter Heather Hudgens is now the traffic reporter at KPIX, the CBS affiliate in San Francisco.

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Former KFBK (1530 AM) afternoon anchor Jay Alan, who left the station in March to become communications director for the California Conservation Corps, is now leaving that job.

Although he's staying in government.

Alan (real name: Jay Alan Wierenga) has been appointed assistant director of communications for the governor's Office of Homeland Security. He starts Monday.

So, you might actually hear Alan on KFBK again, only this time as the interviewee. "Let's hope it's under the best of circumstances," he says.

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When no controversy exists, Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento" has no qualms about manufacturing it. Take that tired shtick done by the feckless Mark S. Allen, where at least once every two weeks he "storms off the set" in anger. (Let's just say he's no De Niro when it comes to acting.)

Actually, the latest spat on "GDS" seems legit. Either that, or the two combatants - anchors Chris Burrous and Taryn Winter Brill - are hecka good actors.

Here's the deal: A few days ago, the I'll-say-anthing Burrous dismissively referred to his former weekend "GDS" co-anchor Brill as "Taryn Winter Shrill." Brill - now partnering with Cody Stark on weekends, while Burrous anchors Channel 13's morning news and contributes to the weekday "GDS" - was none too pleased.

Anyway, apparently the producers thought it'd be great TV to have the two hash out their differences on the air. (Hey, isn't that what the H.R. department is for?)

Brill: "Chris, you have a problem with my voice? I have a problem with the area on you between your chin and the top of your head."

Oh, snap!

Brill: "Chris, you're messing with the wrong East Coaster. I'm game whenever you're ready."

P.S.: Later in the show, there's a "Question of the Day" segment. The question was: "Who would you like to compete against in a foot race?"

Burrous' answer: "I want to race Lois Hart. And I want to be behind her. I think she's hot."

That man really will say anything on on the air - at least until the FCC intervenes.

Hot on the heels of My58TV's interview last week with the Playboy bunny mom in Tracy, the station known for soft news struck again this week with an interview with two lingerie models for Victoria's Secret.

Intrepid anchor Deirdre Fitzpatrick, apparently realizing the ridiculousness of the assignment, asked Heidi Klum and Marisa Miller: "What is the strangest thing about (talking about bras) being your job?"

The "ladies," as co-host Chris Riva called them, didn't catch the irony.

"I love it," Miller enthused.

Klum: "I feel like we're test-driving the bras, you know...So I feel proud that I know what's coming up next."

OOOOKKK then....

Once Riva stopped drooling, he pulled it together enough to ask a question of Miller.

Riva: "Now Marisa, you grew up at least some of the time in Watsonville?"

Miller: "How'd you know that?"

Riva: "When I have super models on the show, I do research."

The most amazing? They spent four minutes of precious airtime on this story.

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Fox40's evening news will have a different look in the next few weeks.

Gone are three familiar faces - reporters Jonathan Carlson, Tim Sakahara (pictured) and Georgette Copes.

Replacing them are Michelle Liu (who formerly worked in Springfield, Ill.), Bethany Crouch (who comes from the Tri-Cities in Washington state) and Jamie Soriano (who worked in Salinas).

Liu started at the station this week, and Crouch and Soriano come aboard in late August, according to news director Tom Burke.

Burke, however, declined to talk about the reasons for the departures of Carlson, Sakahara and Copes, citing the station's personnel policies. But he did add that "there's nothing sinister. TV news is a fluid business. People move around."

Carlson is said to be moving to the East Coast. Sakahara is moving to a station in Hawaii, and Copes is relocating to San Diego.

Behind the scenes, Sakahara's wife, Karisse, also has left her position as executive producer of News10's morning show.

Poor Curtis Carroll. The West Sacramento man has a phone number that's one digit away from the main phone line for Channel 13 and sister station Channel 31. (And, no, we're not going to give out his number here.)

Anyway, he says he's tired of fielding calls complaining about the newscasts on both stations. So tired, in fact, that he has recorded the following outgoing message on his home-answering machine:

If you thought you reached Channel 13 or Channel 31, home of adolescent anchoring, juvenile journalism and the worst newscast in the state, you didn't. You got that number wrong. If you got the right number, leave a message. Thanks.

Carroll, in an e-mail, explains his plight: "My wife and I have had our phone number for nearly 19 years, a few years before Channel 13 relocated to West Sacramento. We've had to endure hundreds of misdials and have always been pleasant. In the past dozen or so years, their news quality and commitment has slowly declined to the point now it barely could be called journalism. In my own small way, I am getting retribution."

Ouch.

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We try to be fair at 21Q (maybe the only blog in the 10-year history of blogs that strives for fairness), so when a local TV news stations does something positive, we report on it, as well.

Steve Charlier, Channel 13's news honcho, called today to crow that his "Call Kurtis" investigative team was responsible for "shutting down" the Medical Board of California's ineffective drug and alcohol diversion plan. See The Bee's story here.

Several damning state audits also may have played a huge part. But, yes, evidence from Kurtis Ming's special reports during the last two sweeps periods on the medical board's lack of response against former Sacramento plastic surgeon Brian West was used as evidence in last week's hearing. (That's West, pictured left, being confronted by Kurtis.)

We commend Ming and Channel 13 for its work. But our earlier criticisms had little to do with the story itself. Rather, we had problems with the sensationalized way Channel 13 presented the pieces - scary, synthesizer music; quick-cutting camera shots, and Ming running down a flight of stairs to try to catch the doctor in question.

Here's what we posted on 21Q in November:

Over at Channel 13 at 10 p.m., there was another scare-the-stuffing-out-of-you “special report.” This time, it was Kurtis Ming’s investigation into a plastic surgeon (Brian West) with an alcohol problem who allegedly has disfigured patients but hasn’t been reprimanded by the state medical board.

It was a weird feeling of deja vu. All that talk of flesh-eating infections, the gross video of women’s disfigured limbs, the righteous indignation Ming exuded.
Then it hit me: This was a Channel 13 “special report” from LAST NOVEMBER. Yup, the same story, albeit updated. Back then, they called it “Plastic Disasters.” This time, no catchy name, but Ming recycled (or “repurposed,” as the current journalism catchphrase goes) the report.

The new stuff was that the “drinking doctor,” West, had landed a job in Long Beach. Ming and a Channel 13 photographer stalked him and chased him down three flights of stairs, throwing questions at him. Cheesiest of all, we saw Ming sprint down a hallway to catch West as he was driving out of the parking garage.


July 30, 2007
Radio ratings roundup

The Arbitron radio ratings are out, and KFBK (1530 AM) continues to dominate. It is Sacramento's top station in the 12+ demographic - the only numbers Arbitron releases to the media.

Still, we've learned that, in the advertising-important 25-to-54-year-old demographic, The Eagle (KSEG, 96.9 FM) finished first with a 5.9 rating, edging out KFBK at 5.7. (More on KFBK below.)

Other notable numbers from the Arbitron book:

* Hip-hop station KSFM (102.5 FM) made a huge leap in the overall ratings to No. 2 with a 5.3 rating. A year ago, it was eighth at 3.9.

* The End (KDND, 107.9 FM) continues to show no ill ratings effects from last January's water-drinking contest death. It finished fifth overall and had its higherst rating in more than a year.

* 98 Rock (KRXQ, 98.5 FM) dipped this time around - from third overall last spring to ninth this time.

* In the country music showdown, newcomer KNTY (The Wolf, 101.9) finished with a 1.8 rating and made little headway in challenging established KNCI (5.3).

* The oldies format seems to be showing signs of life in Sacramento, as KCCL (92.1 FM) saw its ratings improve from 0.6 last year to 1.4 after switching to playing the golden hits.

* KFBK seems to have gotten a slight ratings bump with the addition of R.E. Graswich on its afternoon news. In the 25-to-54 demographic for that time period, KFBK saw its ratings rise from 5.2 this winter to 5.4 this spring. It ranks second in the 25-to-54 behind The Eagle. (However, in the previous ratings book, Jay Alan and Kitty O'Neal and the afternoon news were ranked No. 1 in the same demo from 4 to 7 p.m.)

Alan was still anchoring for the first half of the current book, but KFBK operations manager Alan Eisenson says "the third month was the highest of the three months, so it looks like we got a bump with R.E. The bump was probably also due to the Angora fire."

Hey, want to see some embarrassing early footage of Sacramento news legend Stan Atkinson?

Of course you do.

That's why Stan himself alerted your media correspondent to this YouTube post from Channel 50 in Santa Rosa, where Stan and some business partners developed a newscast in 1972.

Notice the sports guy? Yup, that's Jon Miller, the Giants broadcaster. (He was going bald even then.)

But what's up with Denny Ryan, the weather guy and that mustache? That is LOL funny, as is the weather map that falls apart.

Says Stan, via e-mail: "Ahhhh...those were the times. Guess I like this piece so much...cuz I’m never funny. But...this is!"

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Competing against stations with bigger staffs and budgets, Capital Public Radio's KXJZ (90.9 FM) news department has won two awards in the annual Public Radio News Directors Inc. awards.

"Dina's Diary," an account by cancer survivor Dina Howard, won first place in the documentary category. (The series was produced by KXJZ senior editor Paul Conley.)

In the Best Series category, KXJZ capitol bureau reporters Marianne Russ (left)and Jenny O’Mara finished second for their four-part series, "All About Bonds," before the November election. KUOW in Seattle was awarded first place in that category.

Not judging by this shameless exploitative piece of drivel story that Channel 3's sister station, My58TV, aired today about a Tracy mother of four who appears in Playboy's "Hot Housewives and Vicious Vixens" photo spread.

The biggest surprise is not that KCRA, whose brand "Where the news comes first," has descended into "Good Day Sacramento" territory - it's that one of its more respected reporters, Rich Ibarra, did the story.

The woman, Felicia Crowton of Tracy, tells Ibarra: "I'm definitely going to look back on this and be proud of myself."

Too bad that KCRA's news department won't be able to say the same thing.

Morning anchors Chris Riva and Deirdre Fitzpatrick seemed downright embarrassed to be introducing the story.

Oh, and if you can't get enough of the Tracy mom, Dave and Lois will interview her live at 6:30 tonight on the Channel 3 news.

We haven't checked in with our hometown YouTube vlogger LiberalViewer (a.k.a. Allen Asch) for far too long. He's still plugging away, although until recently, without using clips from Viacom shows. (He's in a three-way copyright tiff with YouTube and Viacom.)

Anyway, he broke his "Daily Show" ban to comment on "The Simpsons" creator Matt Groening's interview with Jon Stewart. Groening had told Stewart that Rupert Murdoch has forbidden the show from parodying Fox News because "the Fox viewer might confuse our cartoon with actual news."

LiberalViewer had a field day with that. Enjoy the clip.

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This one goes out to all of those e-mailers out there who keep asking me, "Where did Channel 3's Grace Lee go?"

Read about Grace in the Honolulu Advertiser.

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Bay Area news anchor (KGO/Channel 7) Pete Wilson died Friday night of a heart attack while undergoing hip-replacement surgery. Wilson, known for his cutting asides and exaggerated sighs during news stories, was hugely popular both on local TV news and radio in San Francisco.

He was 62.

Before moving to the Bay, Wilson did a three-year stint in the early 1980s as the anchor at Channel 40 (KTXL, now called Fox40). His counterpart at Channel 3, Stan Atkinson, remembers Wilson as a "super guy."

"(Pete) was (Channel 40's) first major effort to get into the news business in a serious way," Atkinson says. "I remember Pete experimenting with a 'sit-down' newscast - sitting in a spartan armchair - doing the show. It was interesting, but didn't stick. But Pete was trying to get them on the map."

Cal Bollwinkel, the program manager at Channel 40 when Wilson anchored the news, says he was not surprised that Wilson quickly moved to a bigger market.

"He made quite an impression in the short time he was here," Bollwinkel recalls. "He had a very strong personality."

Atkinson says Wilson never forgot his time in Sacramento.

"He was thoughtful enough to mail a properly done rip about me retiring,
which was read at my swan song event," Atkinson says.

July 20, 2007
Sims back at KWOD

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Sacramento Bee/Randall Benton

It's official: Andy Sims (pictured) is the new midday DJ at KWOD (106.5 FM). Sims had been a fill-in for the past month after Hill Jordan left the station, but he officially got the gig this week.

It's a return home for Sims, who took a brief detour about a year ago to go to sister station KCTC (1320 AM) to become a leftie political morning host. When KCTC switched its format to all-sports in February, Sims was out of a full-time gig, though he filled in on weekends at KWOD.

Now, Sims' midday shift ends at 3 p.m., when his old KWOD morning co-host Rubin starts his four-hour shift.

In another move, Andy Hawk is taking over Jordan's music director position at the station.

July 20, 2007
Take our news quiz...

...and win valuable prizes!!!

OK, here's the deal: A few days ago, Michael Langley, the assistant news director for new media at News10, posted a scathing blog entry taking to task a rival station for what he called a lapse in journalistic decorum. It's called "An Open Letter to Journalists."

I'll give you a few minutes to click and read Langley's blog post. ... ... ... ... ... ...

OK, that's enough time to read Langley's screed.

The thing was, Langley didn't name the station that violated the family's privacy on the motorcycle story. But your local media correspondent has sussed out the station's identity through sheer investigative grit.

Now, comes the contest: If you can name the offending station - click on the "comments" link below to make your selection - you'll be eligible for a limited-edition, autographed 8x10 glossy of the 21Q crew. (Second prize is two autographed photos).

Hey, they'd fetch a lot on eBay.

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Congratulations to "Insight," the daily public affairs show hosted by Jeffrey Callison (pictured, left) on KXJZ (90.9 FM), on its third anniversary today. To celebrate, the station will air a very special "clip" show with greatest hits from the past three years - interviews on water issues, redistricting, the homeless and tax reform.

Nah. Just kidding. "Insight" actually will air a compilation of its best live, in-studio music performances today, including a song or two by Jackie Greene. If you, like, work for a living and can't tune in today at 2 p.m., you can listen to the archived version on the station's Web site.

* A thumbs up, too, to Matt Coker, the editor of the alt-weekly Sacramento News & Review for bowing to public pressure and adding the wildly popular "Ask A Mexican" feature to the rag's lineup.

* So I'm inching along on the Yolo causeway this morning on a hellacious daily commute and I see that a Channel 31 satellite truck is parked on the levee bank. And I noticed this: It's been a year and the trucks still have the old UPN network affiliation emblazoned on the side. C'mon, guys: spend the money and spray paint CW on the side.

* It's not official yet, but the popular "Radio Parallax" Thursday-night radio show on KDVS (90.3 FM), hosted by Sacramento physician Douglas Everett, will be expanding to the AM dial on KSAC (1240 AM) on Saturdays. Word is, it will be a different show (not a replay), but in the same vein as the KDVS show.
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* Best publicity stunt of the week goes to KDND (The End, 107.9 FM) and its new morning show, “The Wake Up Call with Jason, Kelly and Gavin.” (These are the folks, by the way, who replaced the crew that sponsored that ill-fated and fatal water-drinking contest last January.)

It seems Gavin is going on vacation in August, and the crew has extended an offer to Kevin Federline (pictured, right) to fill in. No word yet from K-Fed, who recently met with L.A. radio execs, looking for a job.

* Mark Williams, the conservative talk-show pundit fired from KFBK, continues to find work on cable TV. He's been on Fox News three times in the past week - talking about border issues, John Edwards and John McCain.

Now that we've blown out the candles on our virtual birthday cake and we're a year old, 21Q, everyone's favorite blog for all things Sacramento, has some changes to announce.

(Wait. The marketing department says they are exciting and innovative changes. And those folks are right.)

We have a new resident at 21Q: Bee movie critic Carla Meyer. Carla is no stranger to multi-platform journalism - she appears regularly to talk film on KFBK (1530 AM) - so it's only natural that she join the blogosphere. Not only will Carla give you the 411 on movie news and scuttlebutt around Sacramento, but she also will provide the early scoop on upcoming movies - the good, the bad, the ugly.

You can check out Carla's bio over there on the right of our main page.

In fact, all the residents of 21Q have updated bios, chock full o' fun facts about ourselves, because, you know, last year's bios were sooooo 2006.

Another exciting and innovative change: We're making it easier for you, the readers, to e-mail us by placing a one-click link directly below each posting. Notice, too, that there's also a comments section for you to tell us what you think about our views.

And, finally, some melancholy news (which the marketing department wants us to downplay). You'll notice that 21Q resident and night life diva Lisa Heyamoto has moved out of the neighborhood.

She hasn't gone far - just down to the second floor of The Bee's world headquarters to become a member of the hard-hitting and (repeat after me) exciting and innovative metro reporting staff.

Meanwhile, the tireless crew here at 21Q - which, by the way, has not missed a single day of blogging, holidays included - will continue to dig into Sacramento's rich cultural landscape.

Word up, science geeks.

Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, that wacky duo from the Discovery Channel show "Mythbusters," will be coming to the Mondavi Center on Nov. 10 (at 7:30 p.m.).

For those who don't know, this is a show that appeals to the science- and- technology-challenged, as well. The duo debunks urban myths (the stolen kidney in the hotel room, anyone?) by showing viewers why they can't be possible.

Tickets are on sale now for $37.50 and $52.50 through the Mondavi box office, www.mandaviarts.org or by calling (866) 754-2787.

July 17, 2007
What did he say?

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You know how, sometimes, you're sort of watching TV, but actually doing two other things at the same time, and then you hear something so outrageous that you think your ears are deceiving you?

Happened to me Monday night while I was watching Channel 13.

It was a 15-second teaser for the station's morning show featuring tech-savvy anchor Chris Burrous (pictured). I thought I heard Burrous say (while pointing to a computer monitor): "Did you know that more lesbians live in this part of Sacramento than anywhere else? Neighborhood secrets revealed!"

Nah. Couldn't be what he said.

But, noooo. He said it. Channel 13 re-ran the teaser four times during its late news and then during David Letterman's show.

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Sacramento Bee/Jose Luis Villegas

It was open season on local TV news earlier today at the Capitol.

The event: the Commonwealth Club of California’s Voices of Reform Project roundtable.

The debate: the "potential for better coverage of public policies" in TV news.

Representing local TV: news directors Anzio Williams (pictured, above) of channels 3 and 58 and Steve Charlier of channels 13 and 31, as well as political reporters Marcy Brightwell of News10 and Kevin Riggs of Channel 3.

Among those representing political interests: Pablo Espinoza, former Channel 19 reporter-turned-deputy director, Speaker’s Office of Member Services; Bob Jimenez, former NBC reporter and current communications director for state Sen. Ron S. Calderon, and Jeff Macedo, the governor's deputy press secretary.

Moderator: Steve Swatt, former Channel 3 reporter, now a public relations consultant.

First, let's hear from Williams and Charlier.

Williams called covering state politics a "challenge," especially when a typical "long" story on KCRA runs 1 minute 45 seconds. ("And I'm trying to get it down to 1:20.") He said TV avoids "process" stories and must find a way to "put a face" on an Assembly bill. "If Kevin (Riggs) doesn't leave this two-block radius of the Capitol, then that's missing the point (of a story)."

Charlier, whose stations do not have regularly assigned Capitol reporters, said he assigns stories based on merit and that any number of his reporters can cover state government. He said his station will not cover a story just because politicos have sent out press releases.

That got Jimenez going.

"You can't just send anyone down (to the Capitol) to report," he said. "Those are the kind of people who get manipulated or may even get the story wrong...."

Both Jimenez and Espinoza noted that TV news has a public trust (it's part of the FCC license), but that networks care primarily about the bottom line.

Espinoza told the story of standing outside a Capitol conference room where a meeting about the growing budget stalemate was taking place.

"No one (from the media) was there at all," he said. "Then I saw two cameramen whizzing by, going upstairs. When they came back down, I asked (the cameramen) where they'd been and they said it was a hearing on Sen. Calderon's porn tax. I mean, OK, that's good legislation, but there was nothing new on that story that day."

Charlier and Williams' made the point that, for better or worse, TV news outlets are for-profit businesses, and that ratings matter. (Several studies have shown that politics rates low on viewer preferences.)

But Williams' remark comparing coverage of politics to coverage of auto mechanics drew some grumbles from the crowd. Williams added that politicos who complain about lack of coverage are no different from the gripes of non-profit groups or of religious groups with whom he recently met.

Charlier was more blunt: "Would you watch 45 days of budget coverage every evening?"

Said Jimenez: "I don't think the news should be a popularity contest. We still teach (journalism students) in college that you need to give people what they need to know..."

Espinoza: "I don't think anyone is asking TV stations to do something that's not going to be good for business. What I'm asking for is open-mindedness in the newsroom."

So, who "won" the roundtable discussion?

I'd have to say it was Stacy Owen, news director at News10, who wasn't there.

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Five nights a week on “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart,” you can see the words of politicians come back to haunt them in news-clip montages that expose their perceived hypocrisy with biting hilarity.

Nothing is funny, however, about “War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death,” a new documentary narrated by actor Sean Penn that will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Crest Theatre. Tickets: $10.

Left-leaning filmmakers Loretta Alper and Jeremy Earp use the same style of juxtaposing the harsh realities of the Iraq war with alternately sunny Bush administration sound bites made in the run-up to the conflict.

Indeed, it’s a documentary style used effectively in recent years by filmmakers Michael Moore and Robert Greenwald. In fact, many of the same clips trotted out here are those in Moore’s “Fahrenheit 9/11.” There’s President Bush’s “yellow cake uranium” sound bite, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's Seussian “There are known knowns...,” and Vice President Dick Cheney’s “we’ll-be-greeted-as-liberators” line.

But this documentary ratchets up its own agit-prop a notch by also putting sound bites of a smirking Rumsfeld talking about the humanity of U.S. “smart bombs” up against images (culled from foreign news footage, by the way) of Iraqi and Afghan children maimed by those same bombs.

What makes “War Made Easy” worth watching is not the charges of propaganda leveled against the government. Rather, it’s how the mainstream media, particularly cable TV news stations, played a major role in making the case for war.

Judging by the news clips pieced together, the media comes off as either co-conspirators or dupes, and seem little more than mouthpieces.

Alper and Earp wrote “War Made Easy,” but its inspiration - and much of the material - comes from progressive media critic Norman Solomon, whose voice is heard almost as often as Penn’s.

Solomon, a pundit for progressives, makes no pretense of objectivity. But using the mainstream media’s own words and images against them, he makes a persuasive argument that a “drumbeat media echo effect” helped sell the war to the American people.

Fox News’ pro-war coverage is taken as a given in this documentary. But Solomon comes down hard on CNN and MSNBC, as well, for stoking pro-war sentiment. Plus, the three networks and major newspapers, such as the New York Times and Washington Post, do not go unscathed.

Solomon, for example, excoriates a CNN news chief for boasting – on air – that the retired generals it was using for “expert analysis” got the “thumbs up” from the defense department.

Late in the documentary, clips of TV and print reporters issuing “media culpas” about how they should have been more skeptical is compared to clips of reporters saying the same thing in the latter days of the Vietnam War. “The media establishment,” Solomon says, “is always way behind the grass roots.”

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Weekend programming on many local radio stations, especially on the AM band, is typically a vast wasteland.

But KSAC (1240 AM) has just added some new Air America shows to spice up the weekend - and two on Sunday are particularly provocative.

Alt-country icon Steve Earle hosts a music/agit-prop issues show (aptly named "The Steve Earle Show") from 7-8 p.m. Sundays, followed by rapper Chuck D with "On the Real," dubbed as a look at "under-reported" news stories with some hip hop thrown in.

Earle's eclectic guest list has ranged from Ben Folds to Patti Smith to Dick Cavett to Colin Firth to Devo. They talk politics, art and music, play songs live and fight the man.

Chuck D's format is similar, with more chatter. He's had the likes of Jamie Foxx, Spike Lee and, strangely, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys in studio.

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Your cranky media correspondent has long railed against radio hosts who endorse products and services with on-air testimonials for everything from credit unions to Lasik eye surgery. It's especially irksome when reporters and anchors on news stations do the spots.

It's an ethics thing - separation between editorial and advertising and all that.

But I've learned to stop grinding my teeth about it. Really, I have. (In fact, let my tell you about my dentist, Dr. Shiny Tooth, who's offering a special deal to new customers this week. I've been seeing Dr. Shiny Tooth for four years now and let me tell you, I haven't regretted it ....)

Uh, sorry. I almost succumbed to that testimonials thing.

Anyway, KFBK (1530 AM) has scaled back - a bit - on testimonials by its talent (a.k.a. on-air personnel), but I heard something distrurbing Thursday during the afternoon news with Kitty O'Neal and R.E. Graswich. It was - dare I say it? - an "advertorial" trying to conceal itself as an "interview."

Kitty and R.E. paused for a break and, suddenly, here is sports reporter Pat Walsh (pictured above) acting like a talk show host being "joined by" D-list actress Tanya Roberts.
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But Walsh didn't ask Roberts (at left) about "That '70s Show" or "Charlie's Angels" or whatever thespian endeavor she's currently pursuing. No, all the "questions" revolved around Tahiti Village, a timeshare owned by Consolidated Resorts Inc. in Las Vegas.

The sad part is that the faux interview wasn't much different than, say, an entertainment segment on "Good Day Sacramento." Anyway, at the end of the spot, Walsh gives the phone number as any good talk show host would.

Then, Kitty and R.E. came back and tossed it to ... Pat Walsh for a sports report.

Ugh!

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In addition to Charlotte Fadipe's departure (see item below), we've just learned that two other reporters are leaving Channel 13.

Weekend weather forecaster Angelique Frame (pictured) announced today that she is leaving the station, and Bora Kim has been replaced as the station's Stockton reporter.

"We're sorry to hear that Angelique is leaving," says Steve Charlier, vice president for news at channels 13 and 31. "I understand her husband got a good job in San Diego."

Charlier would not comment about the firing of Kim.


July 11, 2007
Fadipe out at Channel 13

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Charlotte Fadipe, one of Channel 13's most-experienced reporters with nine years at the station, is leaving at the end of the July when her contract expires.

A former British Broadcasting Company (BBC) reporter who was educated at Oxford and earned a master's degree in communication at UC Berkeley, Fadipe was known for her lilting English accent and her versatility in reporting everything from crime to politics to features.

Fadipe would not say why the station declined to renew her contract. Steve Charlier, vice president for news at channels 13 and 31, would not comment on Fadipe's departure, other than saying, "I believe she wanted to get out of TV news."

"There are some new opportunities out there for me, and I'm excited," Fadipe says. "I think it might turn out to be the best thing for me."

For the time being, Fadipe will stay in the Sacramento area, where she owns a house. She is not immediately looking for another TV reporting job, she adds, saying, "I've got roots here, especially in the African American community. There has been some interest elsewhere in the media field."

Fadipe is the only African American reporter at Channel 13 (Courtney Dempsey is a traffic reporter at sister station Channel 31 and Ron Jones is a weekend anchor), and one of the few in the Sacramento market.

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Nothing like a smokin' hot babe who is also a criminal to get local TV news all in a lather.

One of the top stories on Fox40 Monday night was the arrest of a credit union teller in Carmichael who allegedly stole the PIN numbers of clients and then withdrew vast sums for her personal gain. We've got no problem with the story placement - it was sort of a slow news day, after all.

But the way normally judicious Fox40 reporter Teri Cox introduced the story was cringe-worthy: "Her customers say she is absolutely adorable, but police say she is absolutely a thief."

What, we wonder, do looks have to do with this report?

Had the teller been a man who was easy on the eyes, would Cox have begun her report: "He may look as hunky as George Clooney, but police say he's hunkered down as a thief"?

Can you say double standard, folks?

... courtesy of Anderson Cooper.

On Thursday night, on his "360" news magazine on CNN, Cooper ran a special report called "Edge of Disaster" that, essentially, turned Sacramento into one huge lake.

Here's a partial transcript of reporter David Mattingly's report, which included "re-creations":

Mattingly: "This is the scenario. It's been raining for days. The normally dry, hard ground is near saturated. But the California sun is out now, peeking through the clouds in Sacramento.

"A rain cloud has at last lifted and the streets of the capital are busy again. People enjoying the outdoors. Then suddenly, a few hours later, the storms return. The wind kicks up and the Sacramento River, already swollen from the earlier rains, now surges. Lashing at the 2,400 miles of aging, crumbling levees that snake around much of Northern California.

"Here the water rises higher and higher. This is the city most vulnerable to flooding in the entire United States. Even more so than New Orleans. But the real danger is beginning to unfold just over there, beyond the capital dome and the skyscrapers of downtown.

"In sprawling tracks of suburban housing built right up to the edge of the levees, people are anxious. Can the levees hold back a flood?....

"And as the water rises, anxiety turns to fear. But the worst is yet to come. A powerful earthquake strikes. And the decrepit water-soaked levees begin to shake and start to dissolve....

"Homes alongside the levees are instantly under water. Owners who haven't evacuated, swept away in a rush of muddy torrents. Thousands drove or were airlifted to shelters scattered across the northern Sacramento region.

"In downtown Sacramento, city streets are swamped, important government buildings are cut off. And as waters continue to surge, the affects of this catastrophe are just beginning."

Whoa. That sure scared the stuffing out of us. Only after that overwrought report did Mattingly add: "Though our scenario is fiction, it describes a genuine and terrible risk, punctuated by recent and very real levy failures and floods."

It certainly got our attention.

July 6, 2007
TV news smackdown

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Wow! Here's something new to fill the dog days of local TV news...

Usually, the 30-second promotional ads that air during newscasts fall into one of three categories: (1) the scary "exclusive report" type, with eerie synthesizer music, (2) the chest-thumping, back-slapping, reporter-on-your-side dreck, and (3) the obligatory weather and traffic gambit.

Rarely do we see one station going after another.

But Channel 13 Thursday night ratcheted up the rhetoric with an openly disdainful promo attacking Channel 3. They never use KCRA's name in the spot, but the meaning is obvious.

It opens with "Good Day Sacramento" gadfly Mark S. Allen tossing tennis balls up and down. Then he starts to go on about how boring tennis is as a sport and recommends that people tune in to the weekend edition of "GDS" instead of watching Wimbledon.

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The spot closes with Allen smirking into the camera and saying, "News comes first? Yeah, when they're not playing tennis."

Snap!

Obviously, "GDS" sees an opening to improve its ratings Saturday and Sunday morning, because Channel 3's weekend news will be pre-empted by the tennis coverage.

We love the viciousness of the promo, but we've got to wonder whether the move might backfire. See, we had totally forgotten that the Wimbledon finals are this weekend. Doh! Now, we'll be sure to tune in!

July 5, 2007
This was inevitable

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Channel 31's wacky "Good Day Sacramento" has a MySpace page.

And here's some info about the show you probably didn't know: It is male, 34 years old and a Libra.

Funny, we always figured "GDS" as female, 11 years old and a Cancer.

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* In other terribly important media news, Channel 3 anchor Dave Walker last night revealed his super-secret hot dog recipe on the air: split the hot dog down the middle, add cheese, wrap it in two slices of bacon, grill.

We (and probably Lois, too) worry about your cholestorol level, Dave.

July 5, 2007
Provocative Prosper

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So the new issue of the relaunched Prosper magazine is out. And it reminds me of that exchange between Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in "Annie Hall."

Keaton's character asks Allen's if he's read this penetrating and insightful look at China in the New York Times Sunday magazine. Allen quips, "No, I didn’t read the piece on China’s faceless masses. I was, I was, checking out the lingerie ads."

In that same vein, I couldn't get past the cheesecake cover shot of tennis player Anna Kournikova on Prosper's cover. Actually, it's just a shot of her lower half.

It's provocative, I'll give you that. Many would say exploitative of a female athlete, too. The only thing preventing the photograph from being suitable for a Maxim cover is the masthead that partially obscures certain details.

What's next for this once-conservative, button-down business publication? A brown paper wrapper?

If you'd actually like to, you know, read the story that goes along with the va-va-va-voom cover photo, click here. It's a fine piece about how your average investor can become a professional sports owner, albeit in "minor" sports.

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Here's some good news in these days of shrinking newsrooms and journalistic retrenchment: Our local public radio station, KXJZ (90.9 FM), is actually hiring reporters, not laying them off.

News director Joe Barr says that the station is looking for a reporter to anchor the local news during "Morning Edition," leaving local host Donna Apidone free to tell us the weather forecast, report on traffic snarls, and list the underwriters.

"The plan is for the news anchor to create additional news content for newscasts and other segments and be responsive to breaking news in the morning," Barr says. "Meanwhile, the host (Apidone) will be even more on top of traffic and weather and other important information contained in the breaks.

"This staffing model is in line with many other large market public radio stations and even NPR."

For us, the change is good. One of the few - very few - gripes we have had with KXJZ's coverage is the lack of traffic updates in the morning. Strangely, its main competition for the National Public Radio audience, KQEI (89.3 FM, a satellite of San Francisco's KQED), gives more Sacramento traffic than the station headquartered at Sac State.

But it looks as if that soon will be rectified.

These are your pledge dollars at work, listeners.

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That irrepressible leftie radio host Christine Craft (right) on KSAC (1240 AM) has introduced a new weekly feature that, at first blush, sounds racist but actually is meant to foster ethnic and religious understanding.

It's called "Ask a Muslim," and it features Craft and Basim Elkarra (left), the executive director of CAIR's (Council on American-Islamic Relations) Sacramento office, who will field listener questions during the 5 o'clock hour of Craft's show each Wednesday.

"Basim is articulate and very funny, and that's one of the reasons he's so effective a communicator," Craft says. "He's well versed on the intricacies of Islam but can make it come across clearly and with humor."

Craft says she is not ripping off the idea from the OC Weekly's Gustavo Arellano, whose snarky Q-and-A, "Ask a Mexican," has become so popular he's recently published a book of the same name. (Aside to Matt Coker, new editor of the Sac News & Review and Arellano's former editor at OC Weekly: When are we going to get "Ask a Mexican" syndicated here? It'd be hugely popular.)

"I used to have someone come on the air who was Iranian to answer questions, but it wasn't anything formal," Craft says. "I've talked to Basim before on issues and just thought he'd be perfect for something like this."

* In other KSAC news, the station has recently brought
Randi Rhodes'
Air America show back. It airs from noon-3 p.m. weekdays.

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Local viewers of Spanish-language television will soon have another choice.

Media mogul Amador Bustos (pictured), whose 35-station radio empire includes four stations in his hometown of Sacramento, will be launching a new Spanish-language television channel in Sacramento on Sunday.

The channel, an affiliate of the Azteca America network in Mexico, will be called KSTV and will air on Channel 32 (for analog TV viewers) and on Channels 196 and 620 for Comcast digital cable viewers.

(SureWest cable subscribers will not receive the channel, but an Azteca America spokesman says the network is negotiating with “several cable operators.”)

At the start, most of the programming on the new channel will be from Azteca America, including soccer games, telenovelas and prime-time entertainment, such as comedies and dramas. There is also a national evening news show from Los Angeles.

Bustos says, however, that KSTV's goal – “hopefully within 12 months” – is to create a stable of local programming, including newscasts specifically designed for Sacramento and Central Valley viewers.

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Currently, the only Spanish-language news is provided by KUVS (Channel 19), a Univision affiliate.

“Univision has done an outstanding job, trailblazing in this (Sacramento) market,” Bustos says. “Sacramento is a mature TV market and I think it can support another station.

"We’ll be very competitive with them, just like Azteca America is competitive with (Univision) in Mexico. We have many resources that can help us.”

Certainly, Sacramento has proven to be a hungry market for local TV news. Channel 19’s 6 p.m. weekday newscasts have finished first in the market (English- and Spanish-speaking) for the 18-to-34-year-old demographic for eight consecutive ratings periods, according to Nielsen Media Research. In May, the latest ratings period, Channel 19 finished second behind only Channel 3 (KCRA) in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Bustos says that, starting next month, KSTV will share studio space with his Sacramento radio stations - in the former headquarters of Channel 31, which last year moved to sister station Channel 13’s West Sacramento facilities.

“We’ll also share (programming) between radio and TV,” Bustos says. “We’ll have recording artists coming in to talk to our radio (hosts) and, while they’re there, we’ll tape them to TV, too.

“That is relatively inexpensive, and we’ll do public affairs programs, too. Doing local (TV) news is much more complicated and more of a capital outlay. We need to generate revenue in the first 12 months to support starting local news.”

KSTV is the third television station that Bustos Media has acquired in the past year and a half. The company also owns TV stations in Salt Lake City and Milwaukee. The Milwaukee station, WBWT, is an Azteca America affiliate.

Azteca America has broadcast rights to Mexican Soccer League games. In late May, the MSL championship game on Azteca America boasted higher ratings than the NBA conference finals, the Indy 500 and a NASCAR race.

Local TV news saw a significant bump in viewership Monday during coverage of the Angora fire in South Lake Tahoe. But, as almost always in breaking-news situations, Channel 3 (KCRA) dominated.

According to numbers compiled by Nielsen Media Research, KCRA was especially strong at 6 p.m., when its share (see below) nearly tripled that of the next-highest station, Channel 13 (KOVR).

Note: Ratings chart the percentage of all homes with TVs; shares measure the number of TV sets turned on at a particular time.

6 a.m.

Channel 3 5.1 rating/25 share
News10 1.4/6.8
Channel 31 1.3/6.3
Channel 13 1.1/5.3
Channel 19 0.9

5 p.m.

Channel 3 12.2 rating/24.7 share
Channel 13 3.3/6.6
News10 2.6/5.3

6 p.m.

Channel 3 9.5 rating/19.5 share
Channel 13 3.4/6.9
News10 3.0/6.1
Channel 19 1.7

June 27, 2007
Inspiring new e-magazine

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Feeling uninspired? Kinda blah? C'mon. Admit it. You're kind of bummed. We can see it in your slouch.

Well, a Gold River entrepreneur is here to help.

Dana Hall (pictured) launched a new e-magazine, Passionate for Life, last week that is chock-full o' advice and, well, inspiration from a gaggle of life coaches.

One contributor is author Lisa Steadman, who recently appeared on NBC's "Today" show to plug her new self-help book, "It’s a Breakup, Not a Breakdown."

The site is divided into categories: career, spirit, single life, marriage, family, travel, health, women’s interest, helping others, and baby boomers.

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Your humble servants here at 21Q blog every day - multiple times, even. We see it as a good habit, like brushing our teeth.

It's just something we must do. Our editor says so.

Other local media bloggers, alas, aren’t so profilic. (If this is considered throwing down the blogging gauntlet, then so be it.) But, those bloggers do weigh in every few days or weeks, imparting their deepest thoughts to their fans.

What say we give you a rundown of what they’ve been posting?

Over at News10, news director Stacy Owen tries to placate irked McClatchy High School students, who think their school is being unfairly targeted by the media when outlets reported on a student bringing a gun to school recently.

Meanwhile, reporter Dan Adams laments the decline of newspapers. Hey, reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated, pal.

And sports reporter Ryan Yamamoto tells us what he’s had to eat at the end of every blog posting. (Dude, mix in a salad occasionally.)

At Channel 13, anchor Pallus Hupe opines on the starving and abused special-needs children discovered in Iraq. But, to lighten the mood, in an earlier blog posting, she gives readers her polysyllabic "Word of the Week” – vernacular.

Stefanie Cruz of Channel 31's “Good Day Sacramento” tells us about a run-in she had with a rude woman at the Railroad Museum.

And then, there's this from My58TV’s “hosts” Travis and Kelly:

Travis provides an insightful review of that cinematic treasure, “Knocked Up”: “Most of the humor is from the characters bagging on each other, which I think is pretty funny.”

And Kelly writes about the unbearable cuteness of her niece, McKenna.

Now, a question: What’s up with Channel 3? No blogs whatsoever. KCRA purports to be so hot on the Web, posting videos and online polls on its site and throwing stuff on a YouTube subscriber page. Well, why not blog?

Really, we can’t live without finding out what Dave and Lois think of Paris Hilton, how news director Anzio Williams justifies story placement, or whether Del Rodgers eats at Del Taco.

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Former KFBK conservative talk show gabber Mark Williams, now doing fill-in hosting on San Francisco's KSFO (560 AM), staged an on-air "Support Our Troops" rally in Santa Rosa on Sunday.

And, in typical combative Williams fashion, he got into a heated exchange with an anti-war protester, going nose-to-nose at one point. Williams (at right, in sunglgasses) and the protester jawed for a couple of minutes, then a little shoving ensued.

The brouhaha all began when Williams asked the unnamed man why there were only seven anti-war protesters at the event. The man called Williams a "Nazi" - not the first time he's heard that, by the way. And just as the two looked as if they were going to come to blows, Williams says he deftly extricated himself by "by planting a big kiss on the guy's cheek and walking away."

Listen to the heated exchange here.

(Williams is about to launch a subscription-based podcast of his commentaries. Details here.)

Slate, the online magazine, has ventured into the video world.

And one of the quirky stories it's posted has a (tenuous) Sacramento connection. It's about the assassination attempts on former President Gerald Ford, giving a shout out to Sacramento and, er, "Squeaky" Fromme before focusing on the poor guy who took a bullet for the former president in San Francisco.

View the video here.

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When listeners click on the “listen live” Web links for Capital Public Radio stations Tuesday, hoping to hear classical music on KXPR (88.9 FM) or news and jazz on KXJZ (90.9 FM), what they will hear instead is a recording that explains how online broadcasting is being threatened.

It's part of a nationwide effort in which many radio stations that stream music will observe a “Day of Silence” to protest stiff increases in music royalties - established by the Copyright Royalty Board in March and scheduled to go into effect on July 15.

Congress is currently debating the Internet Radio Equality Act, which would overturn the royalty board’s ruling.

We first reported on the ruling in April in the Media Savvy column and posted a report about the protest last week.

It is spearheaded by such Web radio heavy hitters as Live365 and Los Angeles public-radio giant KCRW, but it also includes many smaller streaming audio sites.

“If this goes into effect, it’s going to seriously affect our music programming because the royalty rate will be 250 percent what it is now,” says Carl Watanabe, station manager at KXJZ and KXPR.

Roseville's Jeff Scammon, founder of Wild West Radio, also will go silent on Tuesday. Scammon had previously said he would continue broadcasting.

And KVMR (89.5 FM), a Nevada City public radio station, is joining the effort. Sacramento's KQEI (89.3 FM) will keep streaming but will post an on-screen message to users about the royalty debate.

Meanwhile, nearly all local commercial stations plan to keep streaming.

“We don't see the wisdom in penalizing our listeners,” says John Geary, general manager of Sacramento’s Entercom stations, which include 98 Rock (KRXQ, 98.5 FM) and KWOD (106.5 FM).

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This won't come as a news flash to anyone who's ever turned a radio to the AM band and heard the likes of Rush Limbaugh (pictured), but a new study has the hard numbers confirming that talk radio is dominated by conservative talking heads.

The report from the "progressive think tank" Center for American Progress, released this week, details that 91 percent of the weekday talk-radio programming is devoted to conservative hosts. In the top 10 media markets, it's slighty more balanced - 76 percent conservative.

Here in Sacramento? It's 68 percent conservative.

Just thought you'd want to know.

June 22, 2007
Where's Taryn?

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Several e-mailers (curiously, all men) have written to ask where Taryn Winter Brill has been the past couple of months.

Brill, a co-host of Channel 31 "Good Day Sacramento's" popular weekend show, has been off the air since May. Well, guys, here's your answer, courtesy of channels 13 and 31 honcho Steve Charlier: "She’s is on medical leave. I hope to have her back by the end of this month."

When Brill returns, she will find that her co-host has changed. Chris Burrous has moved to the "big time" - weekday mornings on Channel 13 - and Cody Stark has taken over weekends. It'll be interesting to see how Brill and Stark mesh.

Roof Man, of course, is that dude who scales great heights to retrieve foul balls during River Cats games at Raley Field.

Branding Man - sans cape - is KCRA/My58TV morning anchor Chris Riva, who shows in this video that he isn't shy about making shameless plugs for his station.

We love this meeting between the super heroes. Roof Man stays in character nicely, as does Branding Man.

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On Tuesday, many Internet radio stations will observe a "Day of Silence" to protest an increase in music royalties - established by the Copyright Royalty Board in March and scheduled to go into effect on July 15.

The protest is spearheaded by such Web radio heavy hitters as Pandora, Live365 and KCRW, but it also includes many of the "little" streaming audio sites.

One Internet broadcaster who will not be going silent on Tuesday is Wild West Radio. (That's the station's cowboy mascot at right). Founder Jeff Scammon of Roseville says he is going to keep broadcasting, even though he supports the effort.

Scammon says he's holding out hope that the Internet Radio Equality Act making its way through the House and Senate will overturn the royalty board's decision, which would be too costly for small operators like him to stay in business.

"I'm not sure if this stunt (on Tuesday) would really serve any viable purpose," Scammon says.

"I've voluntarily paid my monthly royalties because I felt it was the right thing to do. I can guarantee that I will not pay any retroactive fees, regardless if some entity wants me to or not."

June 19, 2007
Space aliens in Davis!!!

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There's a new children's DVD scheduled for release later this month. It's set in an alien universe. Naturally, it was produced in Davis.

The DVD, "Blitz from Blop," focuses on education but with an entertaining outer-space theme. Its target audience is those ages 3 to 9, but we suspect some parents might enjoy its "Mork and Mindy" homage, as well.

The brainchild behind the venture is Cheri Gyuro Benson, a former Fox40 reporter, who serves as executive producer. Most of the characters and production staff hail from Davis and Sacramento.

On Saturday, June 30, at 4 p.m., Benson will unveil the DVD at an event open to the public. It'll be at the Davis Art Center (1919 F St., Davis.)

If you can't make it there, you can order the DVD by calling (831) 917-1180 or sending an e-mail to blitzfromblop@gmail.com.

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Our local public radio station, KXJZ (90.9 FM), received raves last year for its special report, "Dina's Diary," in which it gave a cancer patient a microphone and let her report on her treatment and recovery.

Now, the station is going the citizen journalism route again. It gave Sacramento Ballet dancer Ilana Goldman a mike and recorder to document the troupe's recent trip to China.

Paul Conley, KXJZ's senior producer, winnowed the audio to a nine-minute report that will air Wednesday at 6:40 a.m. and again at 8:40 a.m.

Nine minutes on a single subject? As KXJZ news director Joe Barr put it, "it's another only-on-public-radio stories we love to do."

You also can hear the report on KXJZ's Web site. Goldman and Ballet director Ron Cunningham will discuss the trip Wednesday on "Insight" at 2 p.m.

(By the way, retired Bee photographer Jay Mather, you may recall, produced a photo blog titled China en Pointe for our humble publication last month. That's Jay's shot of Ilana interviewing kids, above. Want to relive Jay's experiences? Go here.)

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Say you're a budding local writer - hey, and who isn't these days? - and you want to get in print. Or, you're an inventor wanting to get the word out on your revolutionary gizmo. Or you're in a rock band seeking pub.

How do you find the right person at the correct media outlet to make your pitch?

One way is to purchase the hot-off-the-presses "2007 Gorman's Northern California Edition Publicity Guide." The subtitle is way too long to note here, but suffice it to say, it's an exceedingly thorough survey of editors and publishers of publications in areas as diverse as Ecology (the Eel River Reporter) to Family (Hum Mums) to General Media (the Dixon Tribune).

OK, so at $59.95, it's a tad pricey. But your humble media correspondent finds the guide indispensible. I mean, where else can you find info on Moonshine Ink from Truckee just four pages away from the New Yorker?

June 18, 2007
Will Sac 'pig' out next?

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Well, we can only hope.

We're talking, of course, about adding the KPIG radio format to the airwaves here.

On Monday, Chico radio station KZAP (96.7 FM) changed from its "club" music format to the Americana music favored by KPIG, which started as a quirky Santa Cruz station and has migrated to an online streaming site and a syndicated service.

Sacramento is without an Americana radio station. Also called alt-country, this is the genre that features artists too edgy and folkish for mainstream country stations KNCI (105.1 FM) and The Wolf (KNTY, 101.9 FM).

KPIG has been nominated three times as a "Triple A Station of the Year" by industry publication Radio & Records and was named among the top five "Old School" radio stations in the United States by Entertainment Weekly.

June 13, 2007
Old/new media disconnect

So Channel 3 (KCRA) should be commended for signing that deal with YouTube to put content on the video-sharing Web site.

But before you think that KCRA has gone all "new media" on us, take a look at the videos they post. Notice that KCRA has decided to "disable" the comment capability.

No, no, no.

KCRA just doesn't get it. YouTube is all about commenting, giving every single viewer the opportunity to weigh in on the news report just seen. Repeat after me, KCRA: "Interactivity."

At least KCRA does allow users to comment on its home page. And this comment, posted by user "Downstryke," says it all: "Your videos would be much more useful and interesting, and encourage community participation and solutions, if you would enable commenting on individual videos. For example, in your feature about abandoned houseboats, community members have numerous ideas how pollution should be prevented and abandoned housing should be reclaimed."

If KCRA doesn't want to have to deal with overtly snarky - or outright profane - comments, too bad. That's part of the "new media" deal, guys. You gotta police the "comments" section.

Meanwhile, we're a little discouraged that more YouTubers aren't flocking to KCRA's content. Its top-viewed video in the past week was "Author Shares BBQ Cookout Recipes," with a piddling 2,301 views. In a YouTube universe, that's almost nil.

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The new edition of Muscle & Fitness magazine - which always gets a place of honor on our coffee table - has hit newsstands with Arnold Schwarzenegger as the cover boy in celebration of The Guv's 60th birthday.

Actually, it's two Arnolds - young and, well, not-so-young. See, The Guv poses with a cardboard cutout of his earlier, more ripped and toned self.

The mag devotes 28 pages to Arnold, with a "movie narrative" written by senior editor Joe Wuebben. And there are five versions of the cover, with a couple of them featuring more humorous poses - hey, kids, collect them all!

We've taken a close look at all five, and we have got to wonder: Could there have been some Photoshopping going on? To slim down The Guv, just a little? Just askin'.

If not - you go, Guv!

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There are Channel 13 news viewers out there who have never really accepted Sam and Pallas and still long for the days of Paul and Jen. (We know this because we're still getting e-mails from those viewers, but we're too nice to tell then to move on with their lives.)

Anyway, you can catch a glimpse of deposed anchors Paul Joncich and Jennifer Whitney in a resume tape for weather guy Dave Bender (pictured), posted on the station's Web site.

Channel 13 posted years-old "video resumes" from "talent" ranging from Chris Burrous (so skinny in his younger days), Lisa Gonzales, Courtney Dempsey, Marianne McClary (doesn't even look like the same person in her "Good Morning Las Vegas" tape), Jeff James and Michele Kane.


Here's some good news for fans of community-access TV: Access Sacramento has retained its funding.

As we reported here a few days ago, the Sacramento Metropolitan Cable Commission was threatening to take away grants for two popular local features, "Hometown TV" and "Game of the Week."

But the commission on Thursday not only voted unanimously to retain the funds, but even kicked in money to get two new vehicles for the crews.

Ron Cooper, Access Sac's executive director, today wrote in an e-mail to supporters: "...We thank the members and staff of the Cable Commission for
their continued support and recognition of community-produced television and radio."

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Fox40's "Morning News," lagging behind all but My58TV's a.m. broadcast, has hired a new anchor in the hopes of drawing in more viewers.


Evan Michael, who has spent five years as morning and noon news anchor at KOAA in Colorado Springs, Colo., will join Natalie Bomke on Fox40's 6-8 a.m. news, starting Tuesday.


Tom Burke, Fox40's news director, says Michael "shows great passion for news and a familiarity of Northern California."


Before working in Colorado Springs, Michael was a reporter and anchor at a station in Chico.

Nina Mehlhaf, who has co-hosted with Bomke after the departure of Jennifer Parker, will return to reporter.

In the past two years, Access Sacramento - the county's community-run cable access TV service - has aired more than 80 locally produced events as part of its "Hometown TV" and "Game of the Week" programs.

Want to catch the Festival de la Familia or the prep basketball playoff from Arco Arena? Access Sac provided the coverage, largely thanks to a grant from the Sacramento Metropolitan Cable Television Commission.

But the future of "Hometown TV" and "Game of the Week" is in jeopardy, according to Access Sacramento executive director Ron Cooper. When the cable commission meets at 2 p.m. Thursday at the Board of Supervisor's chambers to approve Access Sacramento's budget for the next fiscal year, both grants are on the proposed chopping block.

"This would mean a 20 percent reduction in our annual budget and the loss of many fine community and sports television productions from throughout the county," Cooper wrote in an e-mail.

Cooper is asking for strong public support to help sway the commission to renew the funding.

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AP Photos/Charles Dharapak

I rant, therefore I am...

We realize it's called local TV news. The emphasis for our four stations, naturally, is on what's going on in our area.

But - and this has long been our pet peeve - there are many times when our newscasts simply ignore major national and international stories. Perhaps they assume that everyone watches the early-evening network news for that, but recent ratings show that's not true. When we do get national coverage, too often it's simply because it is accompanied by cool video.

The glaring lack happened again Tuesday night. We were watching Channel 3 (KCRA) - your humble media correspondent rotates which stations to frequent, by the way; tonight, it'll be Fox40 - and not a single second was devoted to the surprising 30-month jail term given to ex-Cheney aide Lewis (Scooter) Libby.

Granted, it was a strong news night locally, what with the cop shootings in Shingle Springs, a couple of eye-pleasing wildfires, and a Channel 3 update on its real-estate scam investigation.

But couldn't they find a quick 10 seconds for Libby's sentencing? I mean, c'mon, take away one highlight clip from sports guy Del Rodgers or lose that funny show-ender on the drunken golf-cart driver.

Local news honchos shouldn't assume that viewers have caught news of Libby on the noon, 5 or 6 p.m. reports. Hey, some of us work all day.

Fox40 provided a 1 min 30 second report, complete with tape. News10 gave the Libby story 30 seconds during the first 15 minutes of its late newscast. Channel 13 waited until 40 minutes into its hour-long late news show to give 10 seconds to Libby's sentencing. (This morning, The Bee ran a front-page headline with a "teaser" to a story inside on Libby - and that might be considered by some as under-playing the story.)

I've pretty much given up on local TV news to give me stories from Iraq. But to ignore a Bush administration official going to jail? Bad call.

You can be darned sure that every station in the market covered the Paris Hilton going-to-jail saga.

Where's the love for Scooter?

June 4, 2007
Must-see Sac sites?

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So a new book has landed on our desks, "1,000 Places to See in the U.S.A. and Canada Before You Die," by Patricia Schultz.

But of the 60 or so entries devoted to California, the author mentions just two places you must see in Sacramento - the Railroad Museum and the Delta King.

We've seen both places.

Does that mean we can die now?

Certainly we can think of a few other noteworthy Sacramento destinations that are can't-miss spots for tourists. Feel free to post your comments below. Here's our list:

1. That big, shiny thing downtown. Think it's called the state Capitol.

2. Sutter's Fort - or at least the Una Mas takeout place across the street.

3. The American River Parkway, the prettiest stretch of asphalt bikeways in the region.

4. The thrill ride called "The Screamer," on which, of course, you are forbidden by law from screaming.

5. The Virgin Sturgeon restaurant-bar-barge that once sank but was resurrected, proving you can reclaim your virginity.

June 4, 2007
KCRA and YouTube

Hearst-Argyle, the parent company of Channel 3 (KCRA), announced today that it has reached an agreement with YouTube to post content on the popular video file-sharing site.

KCRA is one of five Hearst-Argyle stations that will have specific "channels" on YouTube. (The other stations are in Boston, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Manchester, N.H.) You can see KCRA's YouTube content here.

In a prepared statement, Hearst executive vice president Terry Mackin said, "We have invested significant resources in our growing digital media efforts. With Google (YouTube's owner) and YouTube, we can now better engage users and advertisers ...."

Hearst stations also plan to ramp up its high school sports coverage, using consumer-generated content to augment its staff coverage. Much of that content will appear on YouTube.

Of course, those who waste their work days watching YouTube videos already know that KCRA has a big presence on the channel via unauthorized postings from viewers. Our favorite is this four-second news "tease," posted below.

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We use the asterisk (*) because it's not the entire Air America lineup that has returned to Sacramento after KCTC (1320 AM) dumped the format to become an ESPN affiliate.

Rather, it's just the syndicated Air America show"Ring of Fire," featuring Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (pictured) and, uh, two other leftie talking heads.

KSAC (1240 AM), the lone remaining "progressive" station in town, has picked up the program and is airing it from noon to 3 p.m. Saturdays.

For those who have dogged your humble media correspondent with e-mails, saying that they've heard there would be more - no, there are no plans for that.
Paula Nelson, KSAC's owner, confirmed that she's quite pleased with her current weekday lineup and has no plans to replace existing shows with any additional Air America content.

Today, My58TV begins its second annual Host Hunt, in which regular people like you (!) compete for a one-year contract to host events and tape promos for KCRA's sister station.

Last year's winners, voted on by visitors to the My58TV Web site, were the personable Kelly and Travis. Registration for a shot to do it this year runs through June 15.

The actual auditions start in late June, and 12 finalists will be chosen by July 20. Then the online voting will commence.

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... But neither Ms. Couric nor Mr. Gibson can beat out Judge Judy (pictured, below), at least when it comes to the local ratings in the 5:30 p.m. time slot.

We are talking, of course, about the May ratings, released last week. We already gave you the local TV news numbers, but it's interesting to chart the progress (or lack thereof) of CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric.

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Couric has bombed nationally in her nine months as Dan Rather's replacement. Indeed, the show's ratings have reached all-time lows and there's talk in the media-industry publication TVWeek that CBS president Sean McManus will face hell from affiliates when he speaks to them this week in Las Vegas.

"They're not going to like being No. 3, but they've been very supportive, with a lot of them going seamless into the `Evening News' and promoting it a lot," McManus demurred in the TVWeek article. "They're not being impatient. I've heard nothing from any affiliate at all about disappointment in the numbers."

But as it turns out, viewers in Sacramento don't hate Katie as much as those in the rest of the country. Of course, they don't love her like they love Brian Williams, whose NBC Nightly News spanked both CBS' Couric and ABC's Gibson (who is No. 1 nationally). The reason for that, we suspect, is that its "lead-in" show, Channel 3's 5 p.m. news, dominates its time slot.

Here are the raw numbers for 5:30 p.m. (Quick refresher: Ratings chart the percentage of all homes with television; shares measure the number of TV sets turned on at a particular time.):

1. NBC Nightly News (Channel 3): 9.5 rating, 19 share.

2. Judge Judy (Channel 31): 3.7, 7

3. CBS Evening News (Channel 13): 2.9, 6

4. ABC World News Tonight (News10): 2.7, 5

5. King of the Hill (Fox40): 2.2, 4

6. Primer Impacto (Channel 19): 1.3, 3

7. That '70s Show (My58TV): 1.1, 2

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Capital Public Radio's ownership expanded Thursday when the non-commercial station announced an agreement with the University of the Pacific to buy KUOP (91.3 FM) in Stockton.

For six years, CPR has had a licensing deal with KUOP to operate the station - airing news and jazz programming from Sacramento's KXJZ (90.9 FM). But the move, which still must clear Federal Communications Commission hurdles, ensures that the Stockton-Modesto area will retain National Public Radio coverage.

In 2005, UOP had sought buyers for the station - interested parties included CPR, San Francisco's public-radio powerhouse KQED, and several religious broadcasters - but eventually took it off the market because the offers were not to its liking.

"I re-initiated contact with them after I came (to CPR)," says president and general manager Rick Eytcheson (pictured), who assumed the job in December. "This is a great opportunity for us. The signal is really strong, and there's well over a million people in the San Joaquin (County) signal area.

"In most states, that alone would make it a large market. But it's really underserved by electronic media. There are no TV stations in Stockton, although there is print (the Stockton Record)."

As part of the agreement - terms were not disclosed - UOP will provide CPR with an on-campus studio. Eytcheson says no plans are in place to open a Stockton bureau, but that it certainly will be considered.

"We hadn't considered it before because our situation was tenuous (a month-to-month licensing deal with the university)," he says. "But now it makes sense to develop a local presence."

Other stations owned and operated by CPR include the classical stations KXPR in Sacramento (88.9 FM) and KXSR in Groveland (91.7 FM), and news/jazz stations KQNC in Quincy (88.1 FM), KKTO in Tahoe City/Reno (90.5 FM) and KXJS in Sutter (88.7 FM).

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... and Channel 3 (KCRA) continues its dominance, according to Nielsen Media Research figures released to stations Thursday.

That's never more evident than in the early evening news, where Dave Walker and Lois Hart (pictured) continue to rule. At 5 p.m., Channel 3 finished first, with a 10.1 rating - nearly double the combined figures for channels 13 (a 3.1 rating) and 10 (2.2 rating) at that time.

At 6 p.m., Channel 3 dominated again, with an 8.6, while Channel 13 (2.9) and News10 (2.8) trailed.

The late news remains the only really heated competition. Channel 3, once more, finished first at 11 p.m. with a 6.9 rating, edging News10 (6.6). Channel 19, our Spanish-language affiliate, had a 1.5 rating at 11 p.m.

At 10 p.m., Channel 13's 6.8 rating beat Fox40's 5.0 and almost matched Channel 3's rating at 11 p.m.

In the mornings, Channel 3 staved off competition from Channel 31's "Good Day Sacramento," which is gaining viewership but still unable to knock off KCRA. Channel 3 was most dominant in the 6 a.m. hour, posting a 4.8 rating. "Good Day Sacramento" had a solid 3.0 in that time slot, followed by News10 at 2.6, Channel 13 at 1.3 and Fox40 at 0.7.

The only poor numbers for KCRA came from the new 7-9 a.m. morning newscasts on sister station My58TV. Despite having essentially the same newscast, format and talent as Channel 3 earlier in the morning, My58TV garnered only a 0.6 rating.

That's paltry compared to "Good Day Sacramento" - 4.4 in the 7 a.m. hour, 3.4 in the 8 a.m. hour. And it's also the exact same rating that the simulcast of the "Armstrong & Getty" radio show got in the same time slot on My58TV during the February ratings period.

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Courtesy of KCRA

Many would argue that the most famous Channel 3 (KCRA) alum would have to be David Gregory, the White House correspondent who has taken the place of retired Sam Donaldson as the man most annoying to presidents. (Helen Thomas is, hands down, the most annoying woman to any POTUS. You go, Helen!)

But no, we say Gregory's star power dims compared to that of ex-KCRA sportscaster Stu Nahan (pictured).

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Stu Who?

You've no doubt seen him playing cameos of a sportscaster in nearly every "Rocky" movie. His Hollywood credits also include playing sportscasters in films as varied as "Private Benjamin," "Brian's Song" and the unforgettable "Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan's Island," not to mention guest shots on TV's "Bay Watch," "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch" and "21 Jump Street."

Of course, to many of us, the height of Nahan's thespian career was his classic scene with Sean Penn in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." Stu's in the dream sequence with the stoner surfer dude Jeff Spicolli, played by Penn. We highly recommend renting the DVD.

Anyway, the movie and TV gigs were sidelights for Nahan, who for decades was a sportscaster in Los Angeles. And longtime Sacramentans may remember him as "Skipper Stu," the kiddie TV host on Channel 3 back in the 1950s. (See photo of him chatting up kids, above.) After that, he was Sacramento's first sportscaster, anchoring with Stan Atkinson on KCRA's evening news.

Now 80 and recovering from a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma called Burkitt's, Nahan will receive a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame on Friday.

It's a fitting capper to a career that began in our little town. Congrats, Stu.

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QUESTION: WHAT DO THESE TWO MEDIA FIGURES HAVE IN COMMON?

So The Bee's Leigh Grogan (pictured, left), the nation's foremost "American Idol" beat writer, was being interviewed live this afternoon by Kitty O'Neal and Tom Sullivan on KFBK (1530 AM). (Kitty and Tom were broadcasting from L.A., where the "Idol" finals are being held.)

But after about five minutes of giving expert analysis, Grogan suddenly heard nothing but dead air on her end of the phone line. The three-way connection between Tom and Kitty, Leigh and the KFBK studio had been broken - or so Grogan thought.

A few seconds of silence ensued, then Grogan went all Howard Stern (right) on us and muttered, aloud, "Oh, sh**, I lost them!"

Uh, not quite, Leigh. KFBK listeners heard Grogan's profanity loud and clear. Only the connection between Sullivan/O'Neal and the studio had gone dead.

Fearing retribution, either from the Federal Communications Commission or from your very own Media Savvy correspondent, Grogan immediately called (me, not the FCC) to apologize.

"It wasn't intentional," she says.

Having the honor of sharing a cubicle with Leigh, I can honestly attest that she never uses the S-word in the office. No, usually it's much saltier language.

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Today's Media Savvy column on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" - co-host Renee Montagne (pictured) speaks at UC Davis Wednesday night - got us thinking about the extent of the show's popularity in Sacramento.

Sure, a cynic might suggest, only highbrow academic types might listen to NPR news, but not a mass audience, right?

Think again.

Arbitron, the radio ratings service, measures noncommercial stations' listenership, but it doesn't bundle the results with the figures of commercial stations.

However, we got ahold of the "Morning Edition" numbers at KXJZ (90.9 FM), and the show stacks up pretty well.

In the 12-plus overall ratings, "Morning Edition" on KXJZ finished third with a 5.7 rating, behind only the morning news on KFBK (1530 AM) with a 7.9 share and "Armstrong & Getty" of KSTE (650 AM) with a 7.4 share. And, in the advertising-coveted 25-to-54 demographic, "Armstrong & Getty" was first with a 7.9, the "Rob, Arnie & Dawn Show" on 98 Rock (KRXQ, 98.5 FM) with a 6.5 and "Morning Edition" on KXJZ with a 6.4.

Now, if you were to add the "Morning Edition" listeners who tune in on the region's other, rival public radio station KQEI (89.3 FM), "Morning Edition" would rate even higher.


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So, do you grouse that our local TV newscasts don't cover enough national and international news?

Of course you do. That's one of the top complaints your media correspondent fields from readers.

Well, if you're craving a more international perspective on the news (and, no, not just what people in Darfur think about the plight of Delta and Dawn), Channel 3 (KCRA) has teamed with CNN to provide video coverage of global news on the local Web site.

CNN announced the partnership today. That's what we need in Sacramento - more Christiana Amanpour (pictured).

Well, there goes another one ...

Not all the newsroom resignations at Channel 19, our local Univision affiliate, are on-camera "talent."

One of the station's top behind-the-scenes producers has announced his departure. Artemio Armenta, who produced the statewide political show "Voz y Voto" and the Channel 19 6 p.m. news, is leaving to become a govermental affairs associate for the Public Policy Institute of California.

Armenta has been with Univision since March of 2002.

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Since leaving as News10's morning anchor last month, Sharon Ito has kept a low profile, working on what station honchos have called a major online initiative.

Today, Ito has resurfaced as host, moderator and prime mover behind "News10 live_online."

Throughout the day, Ito will be blogging, posting video and moderating a chat forum about news of the day. This morning, between 11 and noon, she will have a live chat.

Part of Ito's mission is to lift the veil off News10's news operation, tell people how decisions are made and give them up-to-the-minute tidbits, such as the current whereabouts of those whales.

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Hey, the door swings both ways at Channel 19 (KUVS, Univision's Sacramento affiliate). The station has had some high-profile departures in the past year, but spokeswoman Carolina Rojas Gore has announced that three new reporters have been hired.

Pamela Diaz, who formerly was an intern at Telemundo 48 in San Jose, has been hired as a reporter. And Anabel Monge, who has worked for Spanish-language stations in Texas and Fresno, is now the Modesto bureau chief.

The most high-profile hire is Martha Minjarez (pictured), who will start next week in an undefined role. Minjarez has spent eight years at Univision 26 in El Paso, Texas, as a reporter and weekend anchor.

An official announcement has yet to be made, but we hear that by the end of this month, passengers waiting for flights at Sacramento Interational Airport will get the Prosper magazine welcome page when they tap into the airport's free Wi-Fi service.

Jeffrey Young, editor in chief of Prosper, let slip today in an interview with yours truly that the magazine has reached a deal with the airport to sponsor the service. A spokeswoman for the airport says Wi-Fi has been in place since last summer.

What does Prosper, the two-year-old business/lifestyle publication, get out of the sponsorship deal?

Exposure. Lots of it.

"There will be a gateway page you’ll go through (when users log on) that hopefully will push more people to our (Prosper) site," Young says. "Then they’ll see more material from us. We’ve done it because you can’t keep yourself in one niche. We're expanding big into the Web."

A redesigned Prosper magazine will be unveiled late next week, with its June issue. Maria Shriver is the cover subject.

Look for more on Prosper's relaunch in an upcoming Media Savvy column in The Bee.

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The staff at KBFT, the student-run TV newscast at Christian Brothers High School, can now lay claim to having the top daily-morning prep newscast in the nation.

On Wednesday, KBFT was awarded first place in the 2007 Student Television Awards in the category of Best Weekly or Daily Live Show.

The station also won first place for Live Sporting Event for its coverage of the CB basketball team.