A Note of a Birth, A Note About Survival and A Note About an Annoyance.

I’m starting at the end and working my way back to the top on this post.

As someone who has worked on a lengthy newscast (more than an hour long) I know there are just so many ways to say things and to transition to the next story without being  repetitively redundant.  I know it can be taxing for the producer AND the anchors (if she or he helps write that is) to come up with a different way to say something.  As a former anchor I had more than one flash of deja vu while on set as I thought I had somehow been caught up in my own endless loop of Groundhog Day.  Having said that, I found that on my primary source for weather these days (The Weather Channel) that those happy-go-lucky weather anchors wear out the phrase “That’s right”.  “That’s right” has to be one of the most over-used and un-necessary  transition in news and weather.  Consider this exchange:

Anchor 1: We’ve got some changes in store for the forecast!

Anchor 2: That’s right, some changes are coming and we’re going to tell you about them

Anchor 1: That’s right and that’s coming up right after the break.

The message that “That’s right” sends to me is that the 1st Anchor must have a habit of getting things wrong so the 2nd Anchor’s job is to confirm a simple and basic fact and that without saying “That’s right” there may be some question as to whether the 1st Anchor has a clue about anything in the world.  Then there is the possibility that the anchors are “word counters”.  These are anchors who worry that their partner on the desk gets to say more words or lines than they do and therefore ANY thing that comes out of the mouth is reason for rejoicing because he or she can now claim to have uttered more words on a newscast.  Some folks who have never worked in the news business may be thinking that I’m making up this scenario.  I think there are enough producers and anchors who will back me up on the truth of this.

Why is this such a big deal.  This morning as I listened to TWC I counted five “that’s right” from three anchors in the span of about ten minutes.  Is it a trivial thing? Perhaps.  But now that I’ve pointed it out, start counting the number of times you hear that phrase in the course of your local newscast.  I think you will be absolutely amazed.  That’s right Joe. Moving on.

I flew my wife and mother-in-law to Houston over the weekend to attend a wedding.  My wife was torn about this as the wedding started at 5pm Saturday which as luck would have it is the same time that her beloved Vanderbilt Commodores were playing host to the Auburn War Eagles/Tigers/Plainsmen.  (Trivia question: What other team in the South also has three mascot names).  Jamey, you aren’t allowed to answer. What made this such a big deal is that Vandy (yes Vandy) is undefeated and if the ‘Dores win another game or two, they could be “bowl eligible”. ESPN even had “Game day” at Vandy which I’m sure is a sign of the Apocalypse. But on with the point of this post.  The relatives we were staying with (Pam Reiland and her husband Mike) were feeling Bethany’s pain so Mike Reiland went to his “man cave”, set up the DVR to record the game in HD.  After a good time was had by all at the wedding reception, we drove back to their abode and Mike showed us how HE watches a game.  He started with the opening kick-off and then started zipping through commercials and the inconsequential stuff until he saw a score change.  Then he would rewind to a point prior to the big play and we would watch in real time.  Once the big action was over, he would proceed to a higher speed again.  We ended up watching most of the fourth quarter of the game in real time although we still zipped through the commercials.  Bottom line. Vandy won.  Sorry Jamey.  And while I’ve used SD TIVO for about a year to watch an hour long program in 45 minutes, I never had tried this on a sporting event.  Some say I missed the point of watching a complete game in real time.  Maybe, but if the game is over, watching it with a DVR is like watching it with enchanced highlights of the game on a sportscast.  Plus, this was in HD and I was amazed at the quality of even  the SLO-MO.  Heck, I might even start watching baseball on TV now that I can zip through all of the head-nodding, crotch-scratching and tobacco juice spitting and just concentrate on the action.  And finally,

Congratulations to Tommy and Yvette Stafford.  Long-time TV folks in the Memphis area will remember the work of T and Y in the market.  They moved off to a beautiful area of Virginia and since both were tired of the direction they felt TV news was going they started a “good news” newspaper called Nelson County Life.  Tommy put me on the subscription list and Bethany and I both enjoy reading it even though we’ve never been to that area.  On top of everything else, the folks in the area have embraced T & Y and their efforts.  Well, there must have been some other embracing going on as T&Y are now the proud parents of a boy, Adam Thomas Stafford.  For more information and pictures, check out this link.

Okay, I’m off the soapbox.

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6 Comments on “A Note of a Birth, A Note About Survival and A Note About an Annoyance.”

  1. the tall tv guy Says:

    Joe,

    What gets me sometimes is the cute transition chatter between the news anchors moving from one story to the next, or adding a cute pun to the end of a human interest story.

    Congrats to the Staffords!! Didn’t he operate a TV station in Dyersburg a few years ago?

  2. joelarkins Says:

    I think Tommy was involved in an effort to put a low power TV station on the air in the general Dyersburg area but I’m sketchy on details. Most folks remember Tommy from his news coverage of the West Tennessee area as he reported for several Memphis TV stations and also served as a weatherman on several stations as well.

  3. Lew Says:

    That’s right! And also count the times they say “as well.” Congrats Tommy! That’s great!


  4. Oh yes, an LPTV for a brief time, bad memory, very bad. “Now back to our regular programming, and a happy place!”

  5. JD Says:

    Joe I am so glad you touched on this! FOX has Val saying “YEAH! RIGHT!” Ernie comes back with “YEAH! YEAH! ALRIGHT!” and then it’s on to something else…..”YEAH!”

    Can’t tell you how many times I have had to chastise my 4th graders for saying “YEAH” to everything. Too bad they didn’t learn(or weren’t around for) the comment: “It’s all about……..you guessed it! TIMING!”

    Congrats to the Stafford’s!


  6. “Man Cave” was a term invented by the HGTV Network. Find out the real deal at http://www.themantuary.com

    Be A Man.

    – The Founding Father


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