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Ch.4 Gives Postles a Cruel and Cold Assignment


By now, long-time readers of this blog should realize that local TV news is increasingly becoming a cruel, cruel world.

I couldn’t help but think of that while watching veteran Channel 4 news anchor Don Postles outside at the Erie Basin bundled up in a heavy coat and wearing a ridiculous green snow hat at the top of the 6 p.m. news Tuesday.

To tell the truth, I thought it was hilarious in a cruel, cruel way.

Don Postles: Nice hat

Don Postles: Nice hat

The man has been on TV in Buffalo for something like 38 years (he has anchored at all three news stations) and recently celebrated his 20th anniversary on Channel 4 and the news producer or management still felt it had to send him out in the cold because we needed an anchor to show viewers how cold it is outside?

Really? That was some way of saying happy anniversary.

Of course,  sending Postles out in the cold wasn’t an unique news choice. This morning on NBC’s “Today,” co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Matt Lauer and news reader Natalie Morales were outside in 10 degree weather in New York City.

“Why are we out here?” asked a shivering Guthrie.

“Our executive producer decided (it was) the only way we could communicate the truth of the misery of the morning,” answered Lauer before “Today” reporter Kevin Tibbles did a report on the cold grippping two-thirds of the nation.

“Nice to see you guys sharing the pain,” cracked Tibbles.

One of Postles’ jobs Tuesday was to introduce reporter George Richert at the Erie Basin to tell us that no matter how cold it was Tuesday it still might not be cold enough quickly enough to freeze the ice in time for an outdoor hockey tournament more than two weeks from today.

If Channel 4 felt the need to make two guys freeze to death Tuesday, it should have sent Pope Don Paul outside because at least he does the weather. I’m sure he could find a ridiculous hat to wear outside, too.

Amusingly, weatherman Al Roker was inside this morning at the start of “Today” before venturing out in the cold.

Many reporters who have left local news in recent years have told me the one thing they really won’t miss is going outside in the frigid temperatures — often near the Skyway — to tell viewers it is cold outside. They often have said doing those stories is a rite of passage for young reporters.

Of course, Postles isn’t a young reporter. He is a decade past eligibility for his AARP card and earned a a senior discount at Tim Horton’s several years ago. So watching him outside in his green hat made  me wonder if the assignment was Channel 4 management’s way of telling him it was time to retire.

I’m kidding, of course. He most likely was sent out there to freeze because some producer like the guy running “Today” or some consultant thinks putting anchors in the middle of the action will draw more viewers.

But when I kidded with one veteran media watcher about my retirement theory, he quickly responded: “If they are telling (him to retire), they picked a good way.”


The Buffalo Sabres’ 2-1 win over Toronto  Monday had about an 8 rating on MSG, which is about one-third the rating for the Sabres opening win over Philadelphia on NBC affiliate Channel 2 Sunday afternoon. The Sabres game had a rating as high or higher than everything in prime time, including CBS’ popular Monday night programs.

 This just in: Newlyweds Max and Katie Bichler of Buffalo are among the 11 teams competing in the next edition of CBS’ Emmy-winning reality series “The Amazing Race.” The first episode airs Feb. 17. Truth be told, I hate it when there is a Buffalo connection to a reality series because it means I might have to watch it for 10 minutes or so. At least they make for a nice looking couple, which is probably one reason they were selected.

Max and Katie Bichler

Max and Katie Bichler

Inquiring minds want to know: How did Channel 4′s “Wake Up!” do in the ratings on the second day of co-anchor Jordan Williams’ tenure there. The ratings improved substantially, but Channel 2’s “Daybreak” still held a decisive victory – 7.5-4.7.  As I’ve written before, the morning race is a marathon and not a sprint.

Memo to Sabres analyst Rob Ray, who has taken Harry Neale’s analyst spot on the team’s telecasts: Please stop referring to the Sabres as “us.” I know you played for the NHL team, but you’re a broadcaster now and should try to sound somewhat objective.

Speaking of the Sabres, I didn’t hear Kevin Sylvester call the Sabres win over Toronto Monday, but three hockey fans I know and respect told me he did a much better job on play-by-play than he did last season when he subbed for Rick Jeanneret.

Finally, AMC announced early this morning that “Mad Men” will return at 9 p.m. Sunday, April 7 with a two-hour season premiere. The last season(season five) will be available on AMC On Demand starting on Feb.11.


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8 responses to "Ch.4 Gives Postles a Cruel and Cold Assignment"

  1. Ray says:

    Having worked with Don Postles before at Ch 2, doing this assignment outside in the cold had to have been a HUGE blow to his already oversized ego.

  2. Doug says:

    I for one like seeing them outside. Its good to see them suffer. If they would do the whole news cast outside I might actually watch more often.

  3. While the producers are telling Rob Ray to stop referring to the team as “us”, they can also teach him the difference between “seen” and “saw” and when they should be used in a sentence. At least 6 separate times during Monday’s broadcast he said “I seen them before the game”, “I seen the replay”. Each time is like nails on a chalkboard to me.

  4. Steve says:

    Postles is used to stepping outside in the cold temps…he gets in his smoke breaks. I think its good to get your anchors out in the field on big stores like these. It hasn’t been this cold in 2 years. My complaint is getting them in some decent matching “red coat type” gear. Postles had the goofy hat, George a hood covering most of his face. It looked amateurish.

  5. GMan says:

    I think sending any reporter to do an “on the scene ” broadcast is ridiculous. Standing in front of a police station when someone gets arrested, in front of a hospital when they get shot or injured in an accident isn’t giving the viewer any more info than can be obtained by just making a few phone calls . The “live” feeds should stop immediately, although Don Paul should be made to do the “weather outside” at Hoak’s parking lot Everytime we have a good windstorm. Now that would be great “reality TV.”

  6. Bill J. says:

    I was thinking the same thing about sending Don Paul out in the weather. What would make more sense than having the weather guy outside! Especially someone who gets so excited when the weather is horrible. The worse the weather, the more excited the guy gets. Even if we have days and days of nice weather, that tool is is looking for the next storm to beat his chest over

  7. Tina says:

    It does seem as if Don Paul gets the royal treatment. I have seen Bryan,Mike and Amelia work the 11 p.m. shift and then be there early the next morning. I have never seen Don Paul do that. He also seems to get all of holidays off as well.

  8. JOHN PALMER says:

    I wonder how often anchors and reporters would be sent out into the bitter cold on stories,if the dipsy doodle producers,news directors, et.al.,went along with them.As it is now, news managers sit in their warm offices with little concern about those sent out to work in the cold.Things would change in a hurry if managers had to share the pain.

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