One gem, three oddities

Four stories jumped out at us from WGCL’s website.  All had an odd quality to them. (None was the “Restaurant Report Card,” which we’re unofficially ignoring these days…)

Mike Moore, WGCL

Mike Moore, WGCL

Mike Moore delivered a piece the site calls “bad news takes stressful toll on Atlantans.”  Predictably, WGCL took no credit for any of that “bad news.”  Moore did man-on-the-street interviews with three men who were losing jobs or afraid of losing jobs.  It led us to expect some sort of unemployment-malaise-mindset think piece.  But the three vignettes developed into no real storyline.  The most interesting thing about it was Moore’s stylish striped overcoat, which caused an audible buzz in his intro.

(Why would a striped coat cause a buzz?  Andy Funk explains:  “Sharp, vertical transitions between white and black — such as from striped clothing — lead to the greatest amount of high-frequencies in a video signal. Due to the way live shots are sent back to the station (microwave signal with the video FM-modulated and the audio as a subcarrier, often at 4.83 MHz), video with a lot of high-frequency content can encroach upon the audio subcarrier and be heard as an objectionable buzz.”  Thanks for that, Andy.)

An engineer at WGCL got the word to Moore, who shed the coat by the time he delivered his live tag, eliminating the buzz.  Grade:  C

Tom Waits

Tom Waits

The peculiarly-titled “Missing Couple Talks to CBS 46” was the work of Harry Samler. WGCL gave it the “we ask the tough questions” treatment, but Samler correctly treated the elderly couple with kid gloves.  “Just tell us what happened,” Samler said in the only moment approaching a tough question.  “You tell me,” answered the no-longer-missing Sam Hewatt good-naturedly.  He and his wife left a Waffle House in Loganville and ended up in Hoover Alabama.  “Next time, someone else will be driving” said Samler in his live shot.   No other station talked to the couple, probably because they recognized it as an odd personal embarrassment rather than a news story.  Still, Samler’s Grade is B-.

Sarah Parker, WGCL

Sarah Parker, WGCL

WGCL now re-broadcasts vignettes from Sarah Parker’s live shots from the station’s “Better Mornings” program.  Good thing, a) since Better Mornings frequently shows up as an asterisk in the ratings, Parker’s work gets some actual eyeballs and b) her squirrelly antics, shown later, may open some of those eyeballs for the 5 – 7am show.  In this vignette, Parker dons Tom Waits-style eyewear and a bikini top over a t-shirt, then does a cannonball into a pool, nearly clobbering some training Navy Seals.  Since Better Mornings professes not to be a newscast, we have to evaluate Parker’s performance and style, with a resounding grade of B+.

Harry Samler, WGCL

Harry Samler, WGCL

Saving the best for last, here’s Samler again.  We wish we’d seen this story before we declared the death of whimsy.  This is borderline brilliant, almost Corvinesque but without the darkness.  Samler produced a breezy, funny yet informative story about Decatur’s new parking meters.  The writing is cute and chatty.  The nat sound hits are splendid (especially the meter cops laughing about the fines).  Samler’s standup enhances the tone and bridges the storyline.   And the piece concludes with an amusing two-line punchline, a nice example of giving the viewer something unexpected at the end of the piece.  Great success. Check it out.  Grade:  A-

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Doug Richards is a reporter at WXIA-TV. This is his personal blog. WXIA-TV has nothing whatsoever to do with this blog, under any circumstances, in any form. For anything written herein, Doug accepts sole credit and full blame. Follow him on Twitter: @richardsdoug. All rights reserved. Thanks for visiting.

2 thoughts on “One gem, three oddities

  1. Justin

    Thanks for the explanation about the coat buzz. I do believe I’ve heard that noise before when people on TV have been wearing similar clothing. Speaking of which, is it just me or do certain types of striped clothing look terrible on TV. I usually notice it on men’s suit jackets and ties. John Pruitt wears a jacket (gray, I think) that makes me go cross-eyed.

    I caught Harry Samler’s report on air last week and cannot believe WGCL decided to give that poor old couple the WATTQ treatment. You’re right that he basically treated them okay except for that one question, but whoever decided to make this a hard-hitting piece deserves an “F”.

    Samler’s other piece on the Deactur meters was good. I saw a brief mention of the meters on WSB and either WXIA or WAGA. I’m sure WSB would never in a million years do a story like that since it’s not serious or important enough. So definitely a big kudos to WGCL for balancing their Tough Questions with a good feature piece.

    I’m not sure anything could get me to watch early morning news. Mainly because I’m not awake at that time, but also because most of it makes me want to smoke a big fat one, like you know who. At least that way I’d forget what the traffic and weather are like, so the constant updates would come in handy. However, if Dagmar Midcap were in a bikini…..

    Also, is Bill Gaines okay/still at WGCL. I haven’t seen him on air in a couple weeks it seems like.

  2. Pingback: Parker’s plate | live apartment fire

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