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.
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.
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.