I’m Free, I’m Finally Free, & Life as a VJ in San Fran

Man gets out of prison after many months and starts shouting “I’m free, I’m free!”.  He runs by a little boy while still shouting “I’m free, I’m free!”.  Little boy says “Big deal, I’m four.” (rimshot)

That’s a very old joke, and this is a very old show.    Seriously, as I shout “I’m free” it is because I am no longer a customer of cable TV. Regular readers of this blog know that I’ve had cable service since first moving to Memphis back in 1989.  I bought the whole package back then and each year as the cable rates climbed like clockwork around the first of the year, I started scaling back, first cutting the premium channels and then considering going to an antenna alone.  Then in the early part of this decade I decided to try one of those satellite dish things.  I liked it, thought it was cheaper and was ready then to pull the plug on cable.  The one thing that cable had that my wife really liked was the “Local on the 8′s” weather and local radar.  My lovely and talented bride so “no” to giving cable the boot.  So for years we had both cable and satellite, giving us a lot of time to evaluate the merits of both.  And we did just that and quite seriously.  Then the good folks at the cable company made a BIG mistake….they pulled the plug on MSNBC, at least on the basic package that we had.  We were told, “you can still watch MSNBC but you just need to get a cable fox for each TV”.  That’s when my wife, who is slow to anger, said “Okay, we will get a box for each TV”.  And we did.  But it wasn’t a cable box for each TV, it was a satellite box for each TV.  They were installed Wednesday morning.  She made the call to the cable company to tell them we were cancelling our service.  The person who answered the phone asked why and she told them.  When that person attempted to talk her out of it she told him it was already a done deal.  But the cable company gets one final gouge at us.  It seems they won’t be able to come out to unhook the service until sometime next week so we will just have to keep on paying for service until then.  That’s okay.  I will give them that.  We’re cable free which means we can expect to get bombarded with special cable offers from here on out.  And by the way, HD REALLY DOES LOOK GREAT. And yes, we are moving on……

A couple of months ago at the ever popular Cooper Young festival, I ran into a former coworker of mine from WREG.  Christine Connelly and her husband Bevin Bell (also a former WREGer) were in town for a visit.  They left the Bluff City for the Bay City a few years ago and to my knowledge have never looked back.  Both love the big city life and seem to be enjoying life in general.  CC is working as a VJ at KRON in SF.  She is one of two VJ’s I know with former WREGer Jamey Tucker at WKRN of Nashville being the other.  I talk to JT on a regular basis so I know what he generally goes through.  What CC goes through on a regular basis blows my mind.  I will attempt to share with you what she shared with me although the initial telling was fogged somewhat by adult beverages consumed by the listener (me) at the Cooper Young Fest and the passage of time since.  CC said she anchors a show and then hits the street.  She says it’s all about the timing and time is not something she has a lot of.  She drives to the location, shoots the video she needs and then starts looking for  one of those coffee places with the highspeed wifi connection.  She says on any given day she may turn out a combination of all or part of the following: A news package, a mini-package for a live shot, a vo/sot (voice over/sound on tape) for non-TV folks and a vo (voice-over). In the course of editing the package, she also has to create her own graphics in the field.  She says she has gotten superfast on editing (no kidding).  I attempted to look at recent stuff she created while on-line but was not able to do so.  I told her I couldn’t begin to imagine the pressure she was under.  I’d probably collapse after the first day.  Some say the VJ model is where we are headed as the bottom line shrinks at TV stations.  Others say there is no way this will happen here.  It will be interesting to see where everything stands in five years.

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6 Comments on “I’m Free, I’m Finally Free, & Life as a VJ in San Fran”

  1. DTV Dave Says:

    If you’re using DirecTV you can get “Local on the 8′s” information for your zip code (assuming that you have entered your zip code into the receiver). You just push a button on the remote control to bring it up.

  2. Apple Smarts Says:

    It saddens me that so many markets are going to VJ’s. I know it’s cheap but with the deadlines we are under everyday…it seems like an incredible amount of stress for one person to deal with.

    I think TV stations are making a big mistake by making this the norm. The quality of the video and the content is so much better when created by reporter/photographer teams.

    Maybe it’s time to leave the business.

  3. memphis belle Says:

    this reminds me of the one-man band operations small market stations expected of new hires. working up to bigger markets meant eschewing that and simply reporting. Now, it’s back to the future. is news gathering really becoming that outdated? Sheesh.


  4. [...] for channels where they were on my service in Atlanta. After talking to my friend Joe Larkins, who recently removed the last vestiges of cable from his house in favor of satellite TV, I decided to give that a try. [...]

  5. Joe G! Says:

    More than 20 years ago, I was a one-man band in rural Western Kentucky. I liked it, but it was serious work. Also the cameras weren’t as small. And you had to go back to the station. There was no wi-fi back then.

  6. jack church Says:

    Joe, I need a fix and I need it real bad! Can you please post something new. Your public needs you.


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