We Will Let You Sleep With Our News Anchors if You Will Just Watch our News During Sweeps, What is Going on With the Make-up On CNN, & Instances of Lip-Lag are Growing here in the MidSouth

Having been out of the TV Nooz business for coming up on five years now, I kind of forget when we enter into ratings periods.  Yes, there was a time for me when it was all about “the book” as TV folks call the ratings period.  If you hadn’t taken vacation time or had some family event you wanted to attend, it all had to be worked around “the book”. Oh yah, and postpone any illness that you may have because life as we know it will cease to exist if for some reason you don’t show up for work.  The realities of the ratings books came roaring back recently.

I had stopped by to talk to some folks about a project I’m working on and there was a TV blaring in the waiting area.  I wasn’t really paying attention until I heard someone mention that you needed to make sure and watch during the evening news and the early morning news to register to win/grab/inhale $100-thousand dollars.  Plus if you were the specific caller you would win 300 dollars.  Yes, it was WREG, News Channel 3.  I’m not sure what other stations  are doing and it may be quite similar.  It all reminds me of the great car giveaway that WREG did about 10 or 15 years ago that IMHO seemed to help start the Memphis TV market on doing everything and anything to get people to tune in to watch the local news.  At the time, WREG was giving away three cars and while I can’t remember specifics (I guess I’ve tried to block it from my memory) if you wanted one style of vehicle, you had to watch a specific newscast.  We received tons of postcards.  They occupied one side of the studio.  We had to sort through those cards to make sure each card went into the correct bin.

Now, I don’t want to cause any undue hardship for those who work on the local news but if you want to get viewers to watch and “know the secret phrase” or whatever, Here’s what you promotions folks need to do: Give viewers a chance to have sex with someone from the newsroom in the newsroom.  And to really boost ratings, let them “have a go at it” with whomever they choose (news anchors/reporters/videographers/producers) right there on the weather desk during the newscast.  The shot could be squeezed back into the corner of the screen (kind of like when you have a weathergasm)  so it won’t interfer with your regular newscast.   I’m thinking that ought to really boost ratings.  Now, some might say “Oh we could never do that”.  I say why not. I’m reminded of a anecdote attribute to Mark Twain.  I’ve copied and pasted it here and wanted to share. It is said that, at one point in his life, Mark Twain walked up to a proper woman of class and stature and asks, “Madam, would you consider having intimate relations with me for a million dollars” to which the woman replied, “of course I would!”. Mr. Twain goes on to ask the woman, “Then, madam, would you consider having intimate relations with me for one dollar?” to which the woman replied, “of course not! What kind of woman do you think I am?!?”. His reply, “I believe we have already determined that, now we are negotiating price”.

If you are going to sell yourself, go all the way and for a really big boost in ratings.  Nuff said there. Moving on.

What is going on with the make up on some of the female anchors on CNN and Headline News in the mornings.  There are these attractive women (no I don’t know their names and really don’t care but they are on around 8 to 9am) and they don’t seem to have any features on their respective faces because they are wearing so much make-up.  Maybe they are being made up for the H-D broadcasts (no I still don’t have H-D reception but give me time) but whatever it is,  it is distracting.  I know when I was on the air I had one woman stop me at the grocery store to tell me that I should tell whoever put my make-up on for me that they are using too much.  I said I would share that observation “immediately” with the make-up person and I did.  That was easy since I put on my own make-up as do most folks in this sized market.  Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else noticed “too much make-up” on the folks delivering the news.  Moving on…

I mentioned this is a previous post about seeing video in news packages during a newscast that had issues with lip-lag.  I saw it happen when I was the in the Raleigh-Durham area and have seen it locally as well.  I’m now seeing it on commercials.  The most recent incidence was on a cable spot airing on The History Channel regarding a furniture store that is giving beds to the less fortunate.  The company is Ashley and the guy (yes, normally it’s a woman pitching the products)  had about a half second of lip-lag.  Yes, it was distracting.  Whatever happened to quality control?  I’m just saying.  Okay, I’m off my soap-box.  Now back to your regularly scheduled internet surfing.

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11 Comments on “We Will Let You Sleep With Our News Anchors if You Will Just Watch our News During Sweeps, What is Going on With the Make-up On CNN, & Instances of Lip-Lag are Growing here in the MidSouth”

  1. Tom Says:


    What happened to Steve Dawson? Is he gone?

  2. joelarkins Says:

    That’s a good question. The word I heard was that SD left the Fox 13 Building for good a while back (check previous posts on this blog) and that for a while after that, MP was just saying that Mr.D. was off. I had heard that he had taken a position with a local hospital. However, nobody has been talking about that and nobody has shared any particulars with me.

  3. JD Says:

    Hi Joe!
    As usual, I scratched around and found out that Steve Dawson has officially retired. At the moment…golfing and traveling with Mrs. Dawson.

    As to the CNN anchors appearances…I have it on unofficial word that it is some kind of CGI effect in between “Max Headroom” and “Tron” with infra red lighting mixed in.

    As to “The 100,000 Goblin Give-A-Way” on 3…How about a contest to get Cori Ventura, Austin Oneck, Alex Coleman or Claudia Barr “pied” on live TV? That ought to jack the ratings up quite a bit! (Relax guys just kidding!)

    As I recall wasn’t there a contest where you could have dinner and a movie with your favorite personality on one of the 3 stations many years ago? I know the WWF did it with some of the wrestlers and it did get the show #3 for several weeks. (Win a home visit from your favorite wrestler)

    Win a dinner date with Mike Matthews!

    I go along with you on the lip sync. Some of the shows are like watching those old kung fu movies where the lips move a split second with about 5 minutes of dialog. Digital Bugs! “Momma, get Real Kill!”
    Stay Well!……….JD

  4. The GM Says:

    Regarding sweeps giveaways: My station’s budget for such “marketing” is ZERO. We found delivering the best product day-in and day-out is more effective. We win every newscast (HH/A25-54) with the exception of one weekend night.

    As for lip-synch, we have found it is usually a problem at the cable company and their outdated receivers.

    As always, all the best.
    The GM

  5. joelarkins Says:

    The GM,
    I’m curious about something. In your market, do any of the other stations subscribe to the “let’s buy our viewers” mentality. I understand there is no budget for your station but do the other stations do the giveaway thing? Are they successful? What do the people who buy media think about the giveaways? Do they understand that the ratings numbers may be boosted artificially? Do they care? I think viewers generally expect to see “sweeps” pieces produced by the news department. Are there are lot of those in your market? Are they generally over the top such as “Giant Rats on the Loose in the Downtown area” or “Men Whipping Out Their Stuff in Local Parks”? Just curious. As always, thanks for checking in.

  6. The GM Says:

    My market is a very traditional market and I have the advantage of managing the heritage boomer. We have stiff competition from another affiliate and the third tends to be that station that cannot catch a break. Stunts in sweeps happen but not to the level of Memphis.

    When I was most recently in the River City I was amazed at how “sold” every portion of a newscast is much less the “here’s some money” if you watch us mentality. It is a marked difference to where I am now. At some point in the past ten years, certain managers lost their backbone, lost their bearings and made compromises. The genie is out of the bottle. I’m still waiting for Memphis TV to have the murder of the day sponsored by a funeral home. “You kill’em, We chill’em”

    All the Best,
    The GM

    P.S. Don’t think I’m some purist. I came out of sales and I understand the need to drive ratings and revenue. I just believe there’s not a right way to do a wrong thing. Buying ratings is never right and never lasts — it is wasted money. Good coverage, complete coverage, objective content does . . . and oh yeah, weather. They got to like your chief met.

  7. joelarkins Says:

    Careful “The GM”. That attitude you carry may be enough to prompt me to get back into the TV news biz and head for your market.
    As for the sponsored “murder/death of the day” you may be on to something in a city the size of Memphis. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a sponsorship in that capacity. A former GM I worked for would probably give you a stuffed toy moose for thinking “outside the box”.
    As for the genie being outside the bottle, someone put the genie in there in the first place so it CAN be done. It would just take a lot of “will” and that, sad to say, is sorely lacking.

  8. Doug Johnson Says:

    Lip-lag? That’s what she said!!

  9. joelarkins Says:

    Oh Geez! There you go with that fresh mouth again! LOL Oh wait, that’s what she said!. Doug, you are a dog!

  10. The GM Says:

    Based on the way I run a station, I sure I couldn’t afford you. 🙂
    The GM

  11. DTV Dave Says:

    Two big sources of lip-sync problems are editing software (it usually just needs to be re-started) and video processing (the things that add squeezes, snipes and such to the video). Any time the video gets more processing than the audio, and the audio is not purposefully delayed by the same amount that the video is, you have a miss-match.

    Another problem is with DTV receivers (or converter boxes). They can get out of sync and require a power-down and back up again. I’ve had three receivers side-by-side before, and had none of them agree with each other as far as lip-sync. Since the satellite providers and most cable companies use receivers like these to pick up the broadcast stations, the same thing can happen with them. Just like any other computer, they benefit from an occasional re-starting.

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