A Veteran of Real TV News in Memphis Passes, Some Morning Show Competition, A smart Move by some Local Radio Stations and When Is a Radio Remote NOT a Radio Remote

Longtime viewers of Memphis TV will know the name of Paul Dorman, formerly of WREC/WREG TV.  Mr. Dorman died earlier this week.  I was alerted to this by Todd Demers, the weather guru on WREG’s Morning show and former co-worker of mine.  Here’s a link for those wanting to check out more information on Mr. Dorman.  I never had the pleasure of working with P-D as he left about five years before I showed up on the scene and he didn’t come around much (at least when I was in the newsroom).  Still, his name is instantly recognized not only by those who watched WREC/WREG TV but also those who tuned in to the local news on radio as well.  I believe he had a 40-year run in the news business.  Talk about someone who has witnessed a lot of history in Memphis firsthand.   Wow.  Moving on…..

It’s been said that “it’s cheaper to create your own news programming to fill air-time than it is to buy a program to fill that space”.  Witness the explosion of news content over the last 20-years in just the Memphis TV market.  And now, one operation in Memphis plans to expand their news program another hour.  I’m told that WHBQ Fox 13 is planning to extend their morning show which runs from 5am to 9am by one hour so it goes to 10am.  That means it will go up against the locally produced “Live @ 9” on WREG and The Today Show on WMC.  I’m not sure how the numbers are looking for “Live @ 9 but I would think they have established themselves to some degree after not quite a decade in that slot.  And there’s nothing like some competition to spruce things up in a market.  Don’t know when the start date is, but I’m hearing that the expansion will be sooner than later.  If anyone has any skinny on this, please share.   Moving on…

WKNO Radio has found a clever way of keeping listeners updated on actual local news.  I’m not sure who the person is, but I’ve noticed on occasion in the afternoons, a young woman comes on during the local news break and does a Q&A with Bill Dries, who I think is one of the best all around news people in the Memphis area.  When Bill was in the radio business he seemed to be everywhere and I thought he was one of the best if not THE best reporter on the electronic side of the biz.  After a stint at the Commercial Appeal, Bill is now with the Memphis Daily News and does a bang-up job there.  I’ve heard Bill on WKNO and I believe he does a similar debrief on the Drake & Zeke show about once a week.   This is about the “synergy” and those radio stations and newspaper ALL benefit from this bit of cross-promotion.

Finally, I need someone who is much wiser in the ways of the world than I to clarify something for me.  It involves this issue:  When is a “radio remote” NOT a “radio remote”?  Apparently when it’s performed by certain radio group(s in Memphis that’s when.  We all know what a radio remote is:  You pay some radio station to promote some event and then some personality shows up on location and folks get to come by and “grip and grin” with personality and maybe if they are lucky during one of the “live” cut-ins,  the personality “might” put them on the air.  Plus, folks driving by the location see the radio station van/truck on location and some more folks might just stop by to see what is going on.  Well, in these days of “people doing more with less”, that is NOT the case with ALL radio stations.  It seems that instead of a “live” cut-in from the location, the personalities go into the station BEFORE they go on location, cut the audio for the remote in a “look-live” scenario and then head for the remote.  When asked why they no longer broadcast live from events, the answer pretty much depends on who on the scene you ask:  1) FCC rule prohibits live remotes after the Janet Jackson breast exposure.    2)It was a new corporate rule.   3) there was an equipment problem.

No word on whether you could just make up your own reason which would be 4) lack of manpower and money to make it happen.   Don’t get me wrong, some radio stations/groups still conduct actual remotes in the Memphis area.  Just not all of them.  Perhaps someone in the know could weigh in and share the skinny.

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11 Comments on “A Veteran of Real TV News in Memphis Passes, Some Morning Show Competition, A smart Move by some Local Radio Stations and When Is a Radio Remote NOT a Radio Remote”

  1. Pam Crittendon Roberson Says:

    Re: Paul Dorman

    PD was doing the noon news at WREG when I first started there many moons ago. I’ll always remember he would have his script ready at 11:30 so that he could stop and have a bowl of cereal before air time (that sometimes posed a problem should there be breaking news after 11:30). He was a sweet man, who was always a gentleman.

  2. Hi Joe,

    I used to get to meet Mr. Dorman when I worked with then reporter Doug Viar at WREG. I got the chance to meet him when Doug would fly into Memphis and we’d take a cab from Dewitt Spain over to the station. This was years before I was ever on the air at 3. Mr. Dorman was a class act and nice man. A real news guy.

    Here’s a link to one of his cast in 1979 YouTube:

    RIP Mr. Dorman.

  3. Jerry Tate Says:

    I m so sorry to hear of the death of Paul Dorman. He was one of the originals at Channel 3. He loved the station and beamed with pride when someone would ask about his “TV” years. Our careers spanned overlapping “news generations,” but he was a man I respected greatly. Paul and others who laid the groundwork for the station deserve so much credit for paving the way for television news do become the driving force it is today. He was one of those individuals who did so much with so little in the station’s early years. I remember my early years of doing sports on the 10PM Saturday night newscast that Paul anchored. He always kept a stop watch running on me so I didn’t go over my 5 minutes. He was a stickler for that clock. But, even though I would almost always go over my 5 minutes Paul never said a word to me. He would just give me “that look.” In the years before and after he retired, especially after, Paul and I shared some wonderful moments. He knew so much about the history of the station. I last saw when I visited him in the hospital about two years ago. He was a wonderful man. My heart goes out to his wife Julie and his family.

  4. JD Says:

    Hi Joe!
    Nice comment on Paul Dorman.
    If you watch the close of his newscasts he would say, “That’s the news….have a good day!” Within the pause, he would wink ever so slightly, and then finish the statement.
    I once asked him what that was about and with a twinkle in his eye, he said it was a wink to his wife. A fine man. A Professional.
    Stay Well…….JD

  5. The GM Says:

    Sorry to hear about Mr. Dorman. I grew-up watching him at noon. I was always a Ch 3 viewer more than a Ch 5 viewer.

    The GM

  6. Joe G. Says:

    I never got a chance to meet Paul Dorman (or Russ Hodge, for that matter), but I did hear lots of stories about Paul and the old WREC gang from the studio crew from time to time. They were all highly impressive with Paul’s professionalism and missed him greatly.

  7. ready camera one, take two Says:

    Sorry to see the passing of some of the gentlemen and trusted names of news lately.

    Regarding the radio remotes…I’m more bothered by news and traffic reports that are recorded, uploaded and replayed throughout the hour. I’m sure others have driven thru an accident location or traffic problem that is reported but has been cleared or doesn’t exist or happen upon a major traffic problem that does exist and hear no mention of it.
    Similar situation with DJs voice tracking for other markets. I never know who’s live anymore. I have an iPod. Why do I need a radio? Make the information mean something for me. In college my professor’s rant was always, “Local, local, local!” Seems to have changed a bit.

  8. Bob Says:

    I promoted an event back in 2004 and attempted to purchase a live remote from AM Sports Talk 790, Kix 106 and Rock 103. The Rock 103 sales person woulden’t return my calls since my buy with her would not be over 5k, but the 790 and Kix sales people great. 790 had an engineer and did a full show with three on air folks there. Kix showed up in a logoed van and the talent recorded the live hits via cell phone and then left. He was on site but wasn’t live. That was back in 2004. Im shure things have gone down since then.

    I know a certain company in town had their traffic talent recording some traffic updates back in early 2000. Like Take Two, I was would go buy a big backup only to see that it had cleared. I believe they used to use a formula to estimate time to clear and never checked to see if it had cleared.

    Back in the day I was sent to shoot an accident that had quickly cleared and got yelled at on air by the traffic talent saying that the camera guy is not showing the accident. I wanted to yell back but I didn’t have a mike.

  9. Joy Says:

    I had the privilege of meeting Paul Dorman when I was about 12–many years before I married into the Channel 3 family. He was a Methodist layspeaker and gave the evening message at my church one Sunday. I was thrilled that he took the time to sign my autograph book before he left. He was so gentlemanly and was certainly one of a dwindling generation of classy news folks.

  10. Joe Says:

    On radio remotes: Throughout my career I’ve worked both sides of the fence. As a talent remotes were great. Most Memphis jocks get $100 per hour, so giving up 3 hours on a Saturday afternoon is time well spent. I’ve even been part of a staff that was known to verbally argue over who gets remote assignments. I always enjoyed the money but hated to deal with the “prize pigs” and ass hole clients who would never be happy. In my experiences, the smaller the market the more “live” a remote would be. My remotes in Memphis were phoned in and pre-recorded from the scene. The guys on the bored always liked to edit me and make sure I did not hit 61 seconds….God forbid. Pre-recording breaks before arriving on the scene was not an option….I never had a sales rep that could get remote copy before I arrived on the scene.

    As a sales rep, remotes were a dirty word. In fact, clients don’t per se pay for a remote. For a client to “buy” a remote they just need to spend a certain dollar amount on a schedule…say 3K or 5K….and the remote is “added value.” Selling broadcast time to someone who is accustom to buying broadcast knows the game, they buy a schedule (with GREAT rates) and ask, “now what ya gonna give me for ADDED VALUE?” Remotes tend to be the first thing thrown on the table. Sometimes the client wants one…sometimes the radio rep must pull it from their bag because the remote magically gives the client the added value that makes his 5K investment for the month worthwhile. It is hard work rationalizing the irrational decision of buying advertising. When the client is invoiced, the statement will show each spot that aired and the rate…and each remote break is simply a :60 second line on the invoice, with a rate comparable to other :60 second spots. The invoice will also bill for the talent hours in addition to the schedule investment. So if you have a 3 hour remote, the invoice will include a $300 talent fee to reimburse the payment to the jock.

    Additionally, the sales rep is always required to attend a remote without any compensation other than the commission (which will most likely be less than the jock’s talent fee), and the sales rep is required to come up with the free food by arranging a trade deal with a restaurant (pizza joint).

    Many great radio minds believe that radio remotes are a determent to radio programming and of very little benefit, if any, to the advertiser. I agree with this philosophy. Who is motivated to run out on the car lot and spin the wheel for a CD or T-shirt? Or a free slice of pizza? Remotes are only useful to provide visual aid….the only product of radio the client can see. It is a sign of the times when the consultants and experts say don’t do remotes and the stations refuse in an effort to keep the money coming in with as much ease as possible.

    • Joe Says:

      I failed to mention that the most important issue on radio remote discussion is already included in your post. Reason four, lack of resources, is dead on. If radio groups are requiring a jock to “can” his/her breaks prior to arrival, this most likely means that the radio group chooses not to hire a part time weekend jock or board op to take the live feed.

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