“Desperate” is not too strong a word to use to describe WGCL’s quest to find an audience. “Shameless” may or may not be too strong. Shame is for people with pride. As the fictional Marcellus Wallace said, pride only hurts and never helps.
Loosened from those bounds, WGCL has long favored promos like the one we heard Tuesday: “There’s no eleven o’clock news on channel two tonight! CBS 46 news is on time.” The promo, delivered on-camera by Dagmar Midcap, beseeches viewers to try WGCL merely because the viewer’s options are otherwise limited.
Another WGCL promo references the piece about Midcap in the AJC last week. WGCL cheerfully shows the newspaper headline: “Fresh faced forecaster gets high profile at lowly (in the ratings) channel 46.” It’s a promo beseeching viewers to overlook the station’s admittedly “lowly” status and hey, try us anyway.
We give WGCL credit for a curiously refreshing amount of honesty in both promos.
And you know what? We’re kinda rooting for Midcap. True, she’s no meteorologist. But she’s a personality, and WSB has topped the ratings for decades on the strength of one woman’s personality. Midcap has a certain amount of natural talent. She appears to be bright enough to conjure up and deliver a forecast. She appears to have a pulse. If the choice is between her and Glenn Burns— and there’s no severe weather threatening– why not Midcap?
If WGCL’s new regime can produce a smart, enterprising newscast while promoting Midcap as its “star,” we’re OK with that.
Our only gripe: Can’t WGCL promote Midcap without letting its billboard photos linger downward toward her sternum? Didn’t women like Barbara Walters, Lynn Harasin and Veronica Corningstone fight that sort of stuff decades ago? Seems like that disappeared with the concept of the “weathergirl.”
Each Atlanta TV station posts short biographies of its news personnel on their web sites. The bios are usually filled with data about awards and college degrees. Some offer the occasionally-surprising nugget. We learn that WGCL’s Rebekkah Schramm has been a broadcaster since age 15. We learn that WSB’s Anissa Centers was a bone marrow donor. We learn that WSB’s Jeff Dore took out the trash at his first TV station and is the author of an unpublished novel.
Most bios are mind-numbingly similar. They tout the humble beginnings and family values of their subjects. They list resume highlights, awards and volunteer work. There are 42 of them on WSB’s site alone. We’ve perused a fraction of them.
Without question, the best bio we’ve seen is on Dana Fowle’s WAGA blog. Fowle writes “I’m generally disheveled and have a messy car… I also love red wine, rare steak, dark chocolate and strong coffee. I’m Type A, so of course, I wish I were smarter.” This is especially funny, given that Fowle is one of those scary-smart people.
The bio is the best part of Fowle’s blog. She hasn’t updated it in more than a month.
Dale Russell’s blog bio is a close second to that of Fowle, his I-team colleague: “My desk is a mess. I don’t smoke. I do drink. I have a politically incorrect sense of humor and a little problem with authority. (I’m working on that) And, I never get my expense reports in on time.”
Our least favorite bio belongs to WAGA’s Tom Haynes, which starts thusly: “Credibility, experience and a bit of an edge; that pretty much sums up Tom Haynes…” This is especially icky because it’s obvious Haynes wrote it himself. He goes on to tout his “journalistic expertise” and his position “front and center in FOX 5’s new, innovative and interactive newscast.” His bombast is almost Burgundyesque.
The journalistically-expert Haynes could learn a thing or two about humility from some of his colleagues.