Broadcast media bean counters don’t need a new reason to lay-off employees. Just when you think your position is somewhat secure, along comes a mutant strain of influenza to put you on the beach. On the beach is where we’d like to be right now. But we might get arrested for leaving our house.
Is it the younger generation, or have we become a bunch of old fools? The Washington State Patrol Twitter account warns that it is not monitored 24/7. If you have an emergency, call 911 on your telephone.
Local news anchors are broadcasting from their homes. Now you can catch a glimpse of the anchor holding his cat, or the candlelit motif of a news set arranged by a female meteorologist. Did I mention I hate “Cute”? Someone Tweeted @jwhittenbergK5 (Jake Whittenberg) “Do you need me to start a @gofundme so you can upgrade from that industrial shelving to something a little nicer? You seem like the light-birch shelving type.” Ouch! Hey, some newscasters will be doing remotes from their man caves. Does anyone still have the picture of the gambling dogs on their wall at home?
If Walter Cronkite were alive today, maybe he would be broadcasting the CBS Evening News from his 64-foot yacht, moored off Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard. Cronkite sits at the wooden table in the salon — the room accessible from the main cockpit. a faded blue couch wraps around two sides of the table. The upholstery is navy with marine code flags on it. Cronkite, smoking a pipe, delivers the newscast matter-of-factly, no happy-chat co-anchor. But at the close of the newscast, old Uncle Walter does a stand-up from the private cockpit off the bedroom, an ideal place to have a glass of scotch or iced tea and watch the sunset. “That’s the way it is, Tuesday, March 31st.”
The Corona Virus has affected the production of the marshmallow candy Peeps, which can be found hidden in Easter baskets, like raisins in your breakfast cereal or Brussel sprouts in your mashed potatoes. I know that as this quarantine situation continues, some journalists will bring up the debate, “peeps or no peeps?” Reporting sometimes breaks down to the mundane and sophomoric topics like “boxers or briefs”, and the question on everyone’s mind, “Hawaiian pizza, Yes or No?” With 15 hours of tv news time to fill, there are a lot of human-interest stories that one has to wade through to get to real news.
Social media reveals the man behind the curtain, the political beliefs of your local newscaster, weather meteorologist, traffic reporter, and radio personality. We knew where Irving Clark Jr. stood on issues, back in the day. Some hosts were neutral on topics, but many took sides and sparred on-air with listeners who disagreed. That was where the term “talk radio” came from. My hat is off to Dori Monson and others who can hold an audience for 4 hours each day without interaction with the listener. That is not true talk-radio, but rather infotainment. Listeners who disagree with Monson’s point of view say they loathe the man. But they listen, regularly.
The debate goes on over which network is the purveyor of “fake news.” Certainly, all of the cable news channels are slanted toward one political agenda or the other. KIRO FM’s Jason Rantz is often called upon as a guest commentator for Tucker Carlson’s FOX program. A gig like this could lead to bigger and better things for a radio host like Rantz. The Seattle skyline is the backdrop for Rantz’s rants, not a candle-lit mancave or mossy backyard deck.
As the shelter-in-place rules remain in effect, more people will turn to social media for communication. The Facebook prison will be overloaded with members who breach the peace (posting any picture or commentary violating the Facebook guidelines for political-correctness.) Ask me what it feels like to be quarantined and also shut out from posting on Facebook for 24-hours. For I am a sinner who is not of the elect and is predestined to damnation.