Posts Tagged ‘TV’

TV is Still Politically Powerful

May 19, 2017

IT  STILL  DOMINATES THE NEWS MEDIA SCENE

If anyone truly understood the political power of TV it was the late Roger Ailes, the creator of FOX News, who, according to news report, died because he fell and hit his head in the bathroom of his Palm Beach, Florida home.  He played a major role in helping Republican presidential candidates from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump get elected by advising them on how to  use TV.

President Trump certainly seemed to  understand Ailes’ “orchestra pit theory.” It enabled him to get tons of free TV news time, especially during the Republican primary fights. TV fell for the ploy hook, line, and sinker. Many, including me, believe this is the main reason he won the nomination. The “pit” theory, I read in Wikipedia, is explained in this Ailes quote:

“If you have two guys on a stage and one guy says, ‘I have a solution to the Middle East problem,’ and the other guy falls into the orchestra pit, who do you think is going to be on the evening news?”

During Nixon’s time, TV was, no doubt where, to a large degree, elections were lost or won. It was and still is where most people get their news. At least, that’s what a Pew poll tells us that was the case in 2016..  However, that is changing.

The poll shows that 57 percent of US adults get their news from TV, cable, network, and local; 38 percent from social media, websites/apps; 25 percent from radio, and 20 percent from print newspapers.

However,  the trend appears headed online.  50 percent of people ages 18 – 29 get their news online, 27 percent of them get it on TV, 14 percent on radio and 5 percent print newspapers.

49 percent of 30 through 49 years old get their news online, 45 percent  on TV, 27 percent  on radio, and 10 percent from print newspapers.

Seniors still depend on TV heavily, 72 percent ages 50 – 64, and 85 percent ages 64 plus. The  age 64 plus crowd give print newspapers their highest percentage, 48 percent.

Where I get my news? From TV, online, radio, and magazines.  What about newspapers? Definitely. Big time.  But, not print editions, unless you count the Ledger-Enquirer online copy of the print edition as a print edition. I read both the e-edition and the website edition. I also occasionally sample newspaper websites from Washington D.C, Atlanta, New York,  Israel, U.K., Russia, France, China, and other countries. It’s amazing what’s out there for us to read now.

 

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PAGE TURNERS BOOK CLUB FEATURES “THE NEWSMAN” SATURDAY AT 1 P.M. AT MILDRED TERRY LIBRARY

January 6, 2016

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JOIN ME SATURDAY, JANUARY 9TH,  AT 1 P.M. FOR A DISCUSSION ABOUT MY MEMOIR “THE NEWSMAN” AT MILDRED TERRY LIBRARY.

The book is this month’s selection by the Page Turners Book Club. If you want to read the book first, it is now an e-book and can be purchased very reasonably on Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites. Local public libraries also have a copy of the book. I will take questions about writing it during the Page Turner’s session.

 

Escape Radio, TV, Books, and Movies

March 4, 2015

When I was young, fiction interested me more than non-fiction.  Since my family subscribed to both the Columbus Ledger and the Columbus Enquirer, I did see the front page headlines on the way to  the  comics and movie ads, and I did  see the newsreels when I went to a movie, so I did  have an idea of what was going on in the world. But it was the feature films and the cartoons that I cared about.

Then, as I got older I became more interested in reality.  A highlight of the year was radio, and later, TV coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions.  And when, as a teenager, I got into radio broadcasting, announcers did a little of  everything back then. They read commercials, newscasts, and hosted disc jockey shows. It was the disc jockey shows that I wanted to do the most. Still, reading wire service radio news copy served me well when I matured enough to specialize in news, first on radio and then on TV. I learned to interview news subjects, edit audio tape for radio, and shoot and edit film and video for TV news. 

I basically stopped reading fiction, concentrating on non-fiction.  But, I never stopped going to  the movies,  watching entertainment TV,  and listening to music, live and recorded. All of us need some escape from the real  world. And now I find myself escaping even more when I watch TV and go to the movies.  There is so much distressing news in the world.  Fortunately, there are enough quality TV programs and movies to hold my interest. A prime example of quality TV programs is Downton Abbey.  The British are especially good at producing period series and movies for TV. Downton Abbey is over for  this year, but Selfridges, another excellent period series follows it, so I won’t complain.  

  

 

CBS Sunday Morning in the Limelight

November 10, 2014

As I sat watching the illuminating CBS magazine program CBS Sunday Morning,  which has been on the air for  35 years, I learned the roots of the word “limelight,”  which, besides meaning “the center of public attention,” also means an actual light used to illuminate a stage, providing the first following spotlights,  I had to reflect on what an entertainment and informative  treasure CBS gives us every Sunday morning.

The program’s Almanac feature spotlighted Scottish inventor Thomas Drummond who, on November 9th, 1825,  successfully demonstrated a brilliant light produced by a white-hot flame from burning calcium oxide. (Calcium oxide is lime.)  He used a parabolic reflector to direct the light. Theaters quickly embraced the limelight to light stages and provide spotlights before the advent of electric lights. (Wikipedia tells us that Drummond didn’t actually invent limelight. Sir Goldsworthy Gurnery did that. Drummond made it work.)

This is one TV news magazine that leaves you feeling good after watching it. You can’t say that  about the others.  I get tired of being depressed by reports of the bad things going on in the world, so I  look  forward to this program, which I record every week.  Sometimes I actually watch part of it  when it airs. (more…)

An Advertiser’s Solution to Commercial Fast-forwarding

June 21, 2013

As I watched a rare commercial break this morning – I record just about everything I watch and fast-forward through the commercials – I was truly impressed with some photographic magic.  A fresh-faced, well-scrubbed young teen-age boy came  on the screen to tell me about the problems drugs can cause a guy. As he explained what they do to the brain, his face morphed seamlessly into a scraggly bearded,  unkempt, troubled youth. As I said, it was seamless. And, the video trick did not distract from  the message; it  enhanced it.

This type of video art made me reflect on how advertisers could cut way down on people fast-forwarding  through commercials by doing more of it. In other words, give the viewer something artistic and/or entertaining to watch. Some do.

The very effective Aflac duck commercial is a prime example. That one is quite expensive to make so not every advertiser can afford something like it. However, much lower-budgeted commercials can also be artistic and entertaining. Some of you may remember from many years ago the two local seniors advertising Southern Maid No-burn Bacon. At the end of their verbal sparring, one would always end with, “He’ll never learn.” A lot of folks laughed at those commercials and bought that bacon.

PBS’s “Mr. Selfridge” Stirs Memories of my London Experience

May 13, 2013

As I watch the extraordinary  United Kingdom ITV series “Mr. Selfridge” on PBS, I have to reflect on my department store experiences in London.  I’m not sure whether I went into Selfridge’s, but I went into a department store in the posh Kensington section of London and bought a British-style hat.  I bought the hat so I would blend in with the folks on the sidewalks. It didn’t work. No one else was wearing a hat like that. Everybody was wearing baseball-style caps just like the ones in the good old USA.

I definitely visited Harrod’s and Fortnum Mason.  Both lived up to their reputations. They were shows within themselves. Harrod’s is huge, the largest department store in Europe and has extraordinary merchandize displays.  Selfridge’s is the second largest in the U.K. Fortnum Mason is not all that big, has only a few departments, but is luxurious and patronized by the Royal family. Queen Elizabeth has visited the store herself.  It is also  famous for its many restaurants and its high tea service.

Visiting those stores helped me understand why a department store could be a tourist attraction.  Harry Selfridge, the American who founded Selfridge’s in 1909, said that he wanted his store to be a shopping adventure. That’s what you get in the world-famous department stores in London.

My Encounter with Jonathan Winters

April 13, 2013

Naturally, when I  learned that one of America’s most unique comedians had died, I thought about my encounter with him.  Jonathan Winters, who died at the age of 87, was funniest when he was ad-libbing.  His off-the-wall humor definitely found an audience, and I was happy to  be in that audience.

I met him when he dropped by WSB Radio and TV in Atlanta for some  publicity interviews. I forget what he was promoting.   What I remember most is that he was always “on.” He was brought in the WSB Radio newsroom where we were working and started performing for us the minute we shook hands.

He said he had been a Marine  gunner on the aircraft carrier Bon Homme Richard in the Pacific during World War II.  He told us about a Marine general addressing some Marines about to leave the carrier to go a mission.  Imitating the general speaking to the troops, he said, as best as I can remember, “Now, men, you are about to go on an important mission. I had hoped I could go with you, but….”  Just as it was with all of the characters he portrayed on TV shows, characters like  Maude Frickert, who he played wearing a white wig and a granny dress, and football coach Piggy Bladder, it wasn’t just what he said, it was the way he said it that had people in stitches.  He had us in stitches in the WSB Radio newsroom.  I ran into him in the mens room before he left.  There were two or three of us using it at the time.  As we washed our hands, he continued to crack us up with his improvisations.

I was glad I got to meet him. He was definitely an original.

TV is not the Wasteland that it Once Was

June 4, 2012

Television may still be a wasteland, but no longer a vast one.  Former Federal Communications Chairman Newton Minow, who was appointed to the FCC by President John F. Kennedy in 1961, coined the “vast wasteland” phrase in a speech to the National Association of Broadcasters, complaining of the endless junk on commercial TV at the time.  

Newton Minow (Photo courtesy: Newton Minow)

He told the broadcasters at the NAB convention, “When television is good, nothing – not the theater, not the magazine or newspapers – nothing is better. But when it is bad, nothing is worse.”  Then he challenged them to sit down in front of their TV sets a for a day and watch their station’ s programming and added, “I can assure you that what you will observe is a vast wasteland.”

 At the time, in most cities, there were usually only three or four channels to watch, so that gave the three major networks a lot of power to influence the public.  With the advent of cable, that changed, and now we have hundreds of channels to choose from, and there is some really fine programming available, though, it’s definitely not in the majority.

For instance, I just finished watching  the PBS The War of the World series.  It has given me a truly interesting perspective on the causes of the many wars of the 20th century, the most violent century in history.  For instance, Niall Fergurson, the Scottish historian who wrote and narrated the series, maintains that World War III is not something that could happen. It’s something that has already happened.  More on that in a future post.    

 

CONGRATS PHILLIP!

May 24, 2012

He does not sing my kind of  music. Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, and Harry Connick, Jr. are my kind of pop male vocalists. I know, it’s a generational thing.  However, Phillip Phillips obviously sings his kind very well.  Watching him on American Idol has helped me better understand a style that is currently popular, and I especially enjoyed his triumphant performance of “Home.”  I must admit that the fact that he is from the Albany, Georgia area caused me to want him to win. Pure state patriotism and the fact that I have relatives living in Albany definitely played a role. However, he, from all I have heard and read, is a fine young man.

Jessica Sanchez , the young lady that he won over, definitely deserved to be in the final. Not only does she have a beautiful voice, she knows how to use it, and the American Idol judges’ comments about her musical maturity being way beyond her years are right, in my view.  I also agree  that she has a great career ahead of her.  Phillip does, too.

On the 11PM news following the Idol show, WTVM had a live report from the high school football stadium in Leesburg where, according to the reporter, thousands had gathered and went nuts when Phillip won, but showed us no video of that event. Really strange.

Stream of Consciousness

April 3, 2012

I have to hurry to get this in before  Monday is over since I pledged that I would try to have a new post by every Monday. I’m not thinking about any  single subject right now so I guess I’ll go with stream of consciousness.

I’m glad Dee Armstrong is doing the 6 p.m. news on TY again.  She’still good at it.

When I watch the candidates for  president rant on TV I am reminded of the old saw that “the outs view with alarm, and the ins point with pride.” That’s always true.

I wish Congress would spend more time concentrating on things needed to help our country and the rest of world and less on partisan warfare.

I wish state legislators would work more for the common good and less for lobbyists.

I wish there were an adult – no, I don’t mean pornographic – movie in one the theaters in Columbus. Well, there are a couple at the second-run Peachtree 8, but I’ve already seen them.

I wish Hollywood would make more adult movies, things like Midnight in Paris, The King’s Speech, and Hugo. Yes, I know that the star of Hugo is a child, but it’s still an intelligent, visually stunning  movie.

Chef Lee’s II is closed on Mondays I learned again tonight.

Doc Martin is quite entertaining.  It appears to be going on forever.

I’m getting sleepy so I’ll say good night.