Archive for February, 2010

A Silver Circle Day – or am I getting old?

February 20, 2010

Today I was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Silver Circle. NATAS is the organization that handles the local and national emmys.

Those inducted into the Silver Circle have been in the business, mentoring and contributing to the community for 25 years. 25 years. That’s a long time in one profession.

It was neat that my assistant news director nominated me – he’s already a silver circle member, organized a table for several members of our team and helped put a tape together.

I tried to keep my acceptance speech short. Unlike most of the other inductees, I live behind the camera. Trust me, it’s better that way for our viewers.  Below is my “acceptance speech.” and thanks  Gerry for your advice.

I want to thanks NATAS for this honor. There’s nothing better than getting an award for getting old.

I thank my team that’s here this afternoon. I promise to be shorter than a Wendy Saltzman investigative piece involving a local PIO.

I do want to thank the most important person here – my wife, Karen. Karen is my rock. My conscience and my life guide.. In June we will be married 33 years.

And also my sons – one is on his honeymoon right now and the other is at grad student at Harvard.

A true story

My family has been intimately involved in my career. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten calls from the newsrooms in the past with a problem and my kids ask for the blow by blow of the issue and tell me how we should deal with it. Often times they have the correct solution.

But as a silver circle it’s great to know that newsheimers is setting in, And more importantly as Eric Ludgood, my assistant news director and fellow silver circle member, just about everyone we interview for jobs these days and seemingly hire is younger than us.

So let me be brief and sum it all up with David Letterman’s help.

Top Ten List

Why I love being in TV news and a News  Manager

10. I get to watch TV all day and say it’s for work.

9. I get the opportunity to move my family up and down the east coast and tell my wife it’s gonna get better at the next job with the next general manager.

8. I’m not selling insurance.

7. Even though my two sons are grown up – and one got married this past weekend – I still get to wipe bottoms and change diapers at work each day and get paid for it.

6. As a news manager I pray for snow storms because I own stock in kroger’s and my 401k grows when people stock up on milk, eggs and bread.

5. I love asking the tough questions while doing news that actually helps you  and providing live, local coverage you can count on.

4. I get to watch the Masters and PGA events in my office and say I’m just making sure Tiger doesn’t let anyone play with his balls…golf balls.

3. I get to listen to my friends and people at parties tell e what they hate about TV News.

2. Dagmar works for me.

1. I get to interrupt People’s Court to carry live coverage of critical news events that people need to know about immediately – like Thursday’s coverage of a circus Zebra loose on the highway.

(Later I will add the video that they showed.)


American Airlines – how do you track luggage?

February 20, 2010

We’re back home from LA.

The wedding was, well, great. We had a wonderful time.

But did I hear you ask if we got our luggage? That’s a whole ‘nother story.

We arrived Thursday after 14 hours of travel and a promise from Janette at the Atl ticket counter T11 that our luggage would follow us. I thought she said it would be on our flight. I must have misunderstood her. We got it late Sunday. – Basically on the fourth day of our trip.

Here we are in LA for a wedding and all we had was the clothing on our back and my wife’s dress and my tux that we carried on the plane.

On Sunday morning – like I did twice a day – I called the American Airlines lost baggage line. I finally figured out how to bypass their voice mail picket fence designed to frustrate and infuriate you. Just say “Operator, Operator, Operator.”

I chat with a nice person who asks “you still don’t have your luggage?” Ok, call me foolish. If I had my luggage would I be calling the lost luggage line?

She looks in the file and says they have two pieces at LAX with my name on it. I said then it’s probably mine. She calls the airport and it turns out they never matched the luggage tag numbers with our name. It seems the luggage has been there at least one day. I can’t get her to tell me if it’s been there longer.

So. by late that evening we have our luggage even though we’ve spent hundreds of dollars on clothing for our pre-wedding and post wedding events. We’ve started the process of trying to get reimbursed. Wanna bet they lose our receipts?

So we put it behind us and enjoy our last day with our clothing and head home on Tuesday.

But bet you can’t bet what happens when we land. Yup, American Airlines misplaced one of our bags. I can’t make this stuff up.

The good news, we got it the next day.

And you wonder why I normally only do carry on?

La – the very latest

February 12, 2010

The road trip continues.

We made it to ORD – otherwise known as Chicago. The challenge was finding out if Karen had a seat,

We stopped at the first American Airlines desk to see if Karen was going to be taking my seat and I would be fending for myself getting to Jan and Ben’s wedding.

Rule 1 – Always be nice to ticket agents. If you’re nice they will try to help and at least not work against you. If you play the nasty game you will lose. I promise.

Our agent was Pam. She was awesome. First she told us what a nightmare this place was this morning because of the issues in the NE and Dallas with weather. She’s been with the company for 32 years – she has street cred.

So she started working the computer. First Karen had no seat, then they put her in coach. Now understand I traveled for years for NBC and had a ton of miles and I used a ton of it to get us in first class. Hey, it’s our son’s wedding and we deserve it.

I was in first, but for some reason Karen now only had a coach seat. Pam did her magic at the keyboard and got us a ticket.

Miracles can happen.

BTW – Rule Number 2 – get every agent’s name. The AA agent in Atl –Janette could have been a little more helpful. She had a little bit of an attitude. I was nice, honest.

So we grabbed some lunch with plans to kill 3 plus hours at Ord. O’Hare, the home of some fine fast food cuisine and Dunkin Doughnuts.

We did try to grab an earlier flight but they were oversold by 5 folks or so and 20 people on the standby list in front of us.

I’m not complaining. As I sit here writing this we’re now on our flight.

We have our first class seats. Nice seats, Karen is happy so I’m happy.

Now, maybe we can relax for a few hours after the past 24 hours of stress.

When we land it starts all over again. We have a production schedule to make sure we get everything done for tomorrow’s rehearsal dinner and then the Saturday nuptials.


I don’t remember our wedding 32.5 years ago anything like this.

Update – after 14 hours we’re here.

But the question is where our bags are? AA can’t find them

Gee, I want to thank Janette the gate agent at gate T11 who promised, promised that our bags would be there. Interesting – this is the same person who assured us that Karen had a seat only to find she wasn’t even on the list when we got to Chicago to connect.

So at the Lax bag office I asked AA where our bags are. They don’t know. The agent admitted that AA is one of the few airlines that don’t track bags.

How can they NOT track bags – especially with homeland security concerns?

Trying to get to la for our son’s wedding

February 11, 2010

here’s an entry from the cabin of an AA flite to Chicago….

will update later
We’re now on our third or fourth flite change…

this is an update from 34,000 feet on the way to Chi town.

Originally we were to leave at 8:25 and fly to dallas and connect to la

Then last night we got word we had a later flite into and out of dallas – all cool

then after we checked in this am we got an email saying we were moved to an earlier flight.

as we were waiting at the gate we got another email saying our flt to dallas was cancelled and the dallas to lax was cancelled.

They put us on a flite to chicago with connections to lax. But at this point only one of us actually has a seat on the flite – that’s me. We’re now enroute to Chi, but if there is only one seat then I’ll put Karen on it and find any airline that can get me to Lax.

Talk about stress – I can handle ratings, now coverage, budget meetings – but this is a little higher on the stress meter.

adding to it

Karen’s best friends from Philly lost their flites – so last night I was on the phone using hundreds of thousands of miles of airlines miles trying to get them to the wedding.

If you have daughters talk them into eloping. Remember they drive the wedding train, the groom just goes where he is told to go. (Love my soon to be daughter in law)  …sorry for snowmagadon

I’m back…

February 5, 2010

I figured I needed to get my blog going again.

There are several reasons.

First I expect members of my staff to keep their blogs up to date. So it’s only fair that I keep a blog going.

Second, for those us old timers we need to make sure we’re using, playing with and connecting with you through all the platforms available to us. Speaking of platforms, it’s rather clear that we are consuming news more frequently and in different ways.

Recent research shows you are using local TV for content and the web with a surprising increase of folks getting news updates via their smartphones. On the downside – newspapers. In fact, in some categories some demographics get more news via their phone than the newspaper. Hint:  There’s no future in newspapers.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. I have two sons, one 26 and the other 21. I’m not sure the last time they read a newspaper except when they were visiting mom and dad. (We read the NYTimes daily. Yes, I’m feeling old.)

However, they are voracious news consumers via the web – especially CNN. I would lay odds that they are more knowledgeable about world events than I was at their age. There’s that age thing again.

So, I’m back and will stay connected.

One of my hopes is that I explain and answer questions you may have about what we do here at CBS Atlanta and our news decision making.