Category Archives: midcap dagmar

LAF by the numbers

Top search: Suchita Vadlamani, WAGA

Recently this silly blog managed to grab the attention of its 400,000th set of eyeballs.  At around the same time, it recorded its 3000th comment.  That doesn’t necessarily speak to its popularity as much as it speaks to my inexplicable persistence in crunching out new material every week.

One reason for the persistence:  My stats show that most weekdays, there are between 500 and 700 clicks on this blog.   As two-bit non-commercial blogs go, it’s decent but modest data.  Every time I start to think that’s an impressive figure, there are moments like the one Friday, wherein I asked readers to start an Open Thread.  We heard crickets, yet the blog still had 567 views Friday.

Runner up: Dagmar Midcap, WGCL

I started writing LAF on February 12, 2008, a throwaway post fueled by a high octane beer.  I wrote nine posts that month.  I somehow got a total of 225 clicks the entire month.

The month to month stats show that LAF peaked last summer, at about the time I announced I was going to work at WXIA.  The blog, which started as a media critique, became tamer and more introspective.  Views dropped, but less than I expected.  To see the graphics more clearly, click on ’em.

I know this because WordPress provides a “dashboard” which allows me to manage the blog’s look, and to get a sense of its place on the internet.   For example, if NewsBlues links to one of my posts, I can see the incoming link.  It’ll tell me how many people clicked it to get to LAF.  My views always spike when NewsBlues lifts my material (except that one time, when they swiped my copy and info, but kinda forgot to link to me.  And no, I didn’t gripe to them about it.  It seemed an honest oversight.  They’ve consistently given LAF credit when due.  Plus, they’ve given me a free subscription.)

So here’s the weird and somewhat creepy part:

LAF Top Searches, Fig. 1

My dashboard also tells me what search engine terms people use to find LAF.  Because I’m mentioning WGCL’s Dagmar Midcap and WAGA’s Suchita Vadlamani in this post, my views will spike.  Apparently, there are untold numbers of lonely, hairy, Cheetoh-chomping dudes living in their parents’ basements who objectify these two News Professionals and have asked Google to notify them whenever their names appear on the internet.

Hey fellas!  How’s it going out there?

Here are snapshots I’ve made of my all-time search engine terms.  Although Midcap may have the Atlanta market’s most notoriety, objectification-wise,  Vadlamani significantly outdoes Midcap, statistically speaking, in a straight-up name-to-name comparison.  (However, many searchers add words like “legs” and “husband” and “journalism awards” [Kidding.  Sorry.] to the names, and those are counted separately.)

Top LAF Searches, Fig. 2

It’s worth noting that the only menfolk who crack the top tier are Jeff Hullinger, Jim Axel, Steve Schwaid, myself (with “blog” included) and Gregg Leakes.  Leakes is the husband of NeNe Leakes of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” fame.  I mentioned him exactly once on this blog.  Likewise, prior to now, I’ve mentioned Vadlamani exactly once.

It’s also worth noting what I would consider to be the dark horse third-place finisher after Vadlamani and Midcap:  Joanne Feldman, the weekend meteorologist on WAGA.

(This data is limited, however to folks I’ve actually mentioned in an LAF post.  There’s been no mention of, say, meteorologists Jennifer Valdez of WGCL or Karen Minton at WSB or Ashley McDonald at WXIA.   Until now.)

In the second tier (see right), I couldn’t be more delighted to see WXIA weekend anchor Valerie Hoff, myself, and Tom Waits listed consecutively.  And Franz Kafka makes the list.

Here are two last oddities from the dashboard:

LAF’s most views in one day — more than 1500 —  was the result of this post.  I learned that if you write something controversial about college football, the eyeballs come out of the woodwork.

This is my most-read post ever.  Some wildly popular blog in Dallas TX linked to it.  Dallas was / is the hometown of former DeKalb police chief Terrell Bolton.   Apparently, he’s still a controversial character there.

But this post is rapidly gaining, apparently thanks to internet creepos with Cheetoh-stained computer keyboards.

Thanks for visiting, guys.  Not to be rude, but you might consider getting a life.

Emmy notes

emmy-statuetteScanning the list of winners from Saturday’s Southeastern Emmy awards, a few things stand out.

A TV station in Columbia SC beat WSB and WAGA in the Investigative Reporting category.  WLTX produced a report in May 2008 about South Carolina prison inmates stealing the identities of Citibank card holders.  The inmates sold the information from inside the prison to co-conspirators, who used the info to charge purchases to the unsuspecting card holders.  WLTX’s best material came from an inmate who was part of the ring, who said of the victims:  “They’re well off. They won’t miss it, after all they don’t even have to pay for it, because once they contest the purchase, they won’t be penalized for it.”

WAGA general assignment reporter Julia Harding won two Emmys.  With insufficient seniority to kick her nights-and-weekends schedule, Harding won for a special report on the inability of Atlanta police to curb the smash-n-grab “blue jean bandit” crimes.  Harding also won for her coverage of the March 2008 tornado in Cabbagetown.

Dagmar Midcap won WGCL’s only Emmy, for a piece called Hurricane Hunters.  Midcap’s win helps cement her spot as WGCL’s franchise face.  Who says your main weathercaster has to be a meteorologist?

It’s better to win an Emmy than not.  But ultimately, the Emmys don’t mean much.  Ask Tony Thomas, the WAGA reporter who won three of them last year, then was asked to take a pay cut (he quit instead).  Thomas won another Emmy this year for his coverage of the downtown tornado.

Meanwhile — in a perfect world, Saturday’s Emmy banquet would have included several acceptance speeches like this one from Seattle.

The Cult of Dagmar

The subject of this post is kinda the proverbial gorilla in the room, an issue mostly sidestepped on this modest blog.  Dagmar Midcap is the foremost face of WGCL’s news, a weather forecaster without any meteorological bona fides.  But that doesn’t seem to matter (in light of that, though, it’s always amusing to see WGCL proudly display the AMS credentials of its other two forecasters, Laura Huckabee and Jennifer Valdez).  Midcap is blessed with what Anheuser-Busch might call “watchability.”  For a station of WGCL’s stature, any such asset is a plus, meteorologist or not.

On TV each night, Midcap is bland and buttoned-down, with almost no hint of the sexpot cult leader that rules her salivating fans. The cult of Dagmar is best found in locations outside of WGCL’s airwaves.  There are the billboards.  They used to display Midcap’s talents from head to sternum.  In recent months, the station’s promotion has toned down the hint of cleavage, concentrating on points north.  But the best place to look is Youtube.

Turns out that the radio show known as The Regular Guys worships Midcap.  And one of the Guys is a man who calls himself Southside Steve (SSS), a fortyish, ponytailed, overgrown frat boy who produces TV vignettes with titles like “Hooters Swimsuit Pagaent.”  He uploads them to Youtube, and several include Midcap.  “Are you into radio guys?” he asks leeringly in the piece seen below.  Yet as creepy as SSS seems, give Midcap credit for handling his drooling ickyness with grace and humor.

There are many other examples.  Even when SSS interviewed WGCL reporter Kim Fettig, he couldn’t resist a Dagmar question. Our favorite moment is when Fettig asks him if he was “creepy” during an interview with Midcap.  SSS’s  entire persona suggests that Fettig already knew the answer.

Curiously, the collection of Dagmar appearances on SSS uploads appears to end right around the time that WGCL hired Steve Schwaid as news director.  Schwaid has striven to strengthen WGCL’s credibility as a news organization, so it may not be a coincidence.

Meantime, go ahead and say it:  Way to play to the cheap seats, LAF.  Thank you very much.


“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.”

Oh, wait. Never mind.