I DECIDED TO STAY WITH COMCAST. Yes, you read correctly. I made the decision yesterday after coming ‘thisclose’ to switching to Verizon.
This is the reason and in no way do I take back anything I said previously (below) about Comcast. I simply used my head instead of my heart, and took the better deal.
Everyone’s decision is different – I’ll share my parents’ – but I live in a Philadelphia high-rise. Comcast is by far the easiest company to use in my building. I’ve asked the management to ask the board to look into competition and a group deal. (More on the group deal in just a moment.) Fios isn’t offered here and satellite dishes have been ruled legal, but I face the north side and am closer to the bottom of the building than the top.
I was able to overcome both of those obstacles back in South Beach and loved having DirecTV. Then at Riverwood, also in Miami, the condo management had negotiated deals with Comcast for basic cable that were part of our maintenance fees. Anybody could pay more for extras. I wish we had a similar system here for hundreds of units (twice the number there) that would also include basic internet.
I really looked into Verizon, which I use for my cell phone, and had a nice online chat about a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Buying the device would clear up the need for the internet – however, I went to the store and they were honest. The device would use data. The amount of data would depend on how much I use it, and I have the perfect amount for right now. I come very close to the limit but don’t exceed it. On the chat, I was told I could pay $20 more every month for unlimited data, but found out that wasn’t true when they checked at the store. Instead, they’d have to start the bill from scratch and I’d pay $40 more every month. Also, the speed would be much less than Comcast’s offer.
Comcast started as usual, a pain in the ass.
You’ll remember, or see just below, on Thursday, I threatened them and told them to look at this blog post that the world can see.
On Friday, I tried to call but they had their outage. After not getting through twice, I talked to a computer that told me my wait should be less than five minutes. I hung up after listening to oldies for an hour-and-a-half.
I would not do frustrating work with Comcast over the weekend, knowing my point was made on the blog, out there and even updated from the original.
Monday, we had a l-o-n-g series of Twitter direct messages.
They asked for my name and phone number. Then they told me the phone number “provided pulls up more than one account” and asked for my address. I gave it to them and told them to lose the two former addresses where I used Comcast, because those accounts have been closed for so long.
I’d been told specifically to ask for the loyalty team but got the social media corporate team. I insisted they read the blog because “I’m not repeating anything. I wasted enough time chatting & waiting to talk to Comcast people,” and I was in a rush. They didn’t know part of that rush was to get to the Verizon store, so they’d better be quick.
After a little more back-and-forth, and mentioning a similar increase for my parents, I was at the bookstore.
This is what Comcast offered:
Note the price went down by $20 from the original, but they didn’t give an exact total including taxes and fees. Eventually they did, and it was just $30 more than I was paying, better internet speed, and a DVR that would let me stream programming anywhere (once I learn how that works because I may have had the DVR before and never used it). I haven’t noticed any change in channels.
But I was unfamiliar with the approval form and away from home, using only my phone.
Eventually, I made it from the bookstore to the Verizon store and as I explained, they were honest that they couldn’t offer a better deal without Fios.
I have a digital antenna and can see all the local stations and subchannels for free.
I could’ve bought two more digital antennas since I have three TVs, but would’ve still needed the internet, as I explained. I already had a device that’s supposed to act as a mobile DVR that comes with a place to insert Roku or anything else.
But it’s also summer, when the networks are into reruns and a lot of nonsense, so I figured it would be less expensive and easier to stick with cable instead of making multiple changes I couldn’t be sure about. Potentially losing the news channels didn’t play much of a role, since I can read and stream the news, and I’m not planning on getting back into what so much TV “journalism” has become.
So that’s my story. Yesterday, Comcast ended up being very, very nice – and the better deal.
As for my parents in Florida, they got a similar Comcast increase for cable and the internet, but somehow their new bill was $100 more than mine!
I suggested since they have AT&T for their home phone (but are on my Verizon cell phone plan), they should consider switching to AT&T for the internet, which I had in Florida, and AT&T-owned DirecTV, which I really liked many years back when it was under different ownership.
That would make three different AT&T products for them and probably cost a lot less money. I hope they’ll be tough with Comcast and lucky with AT&T.
ORIGINAL FROM THURSDAY:
I don’t know how many of you still have cable TV or satellite these days. It seems everyone is a cord-cutter.
Looks like I’m about to join the crowd, and would appreciate your experiences and suggestions.
I have basic cable and internet. Nothing special. The fees have been going up, little by little for the past year.
Last month, I paid $131.54. This month’s bill came today and Comcast suddenly wants $185.09!
Mark my words: That will not continue. In fact, if I pay that one time, all the regulators will hear from me. Has anybody ever seen me bluff?
You’ll understand a lot more when you read the “chat” Glenjoe and I spent an hour preparing for you to read!
Then, my plan was that when I was done publishing, I’d call the Comcast Loyalty Team. That way, they could read this, instead of me having to explain everything all over again, so I can eat. But I had to be done by 9! Didn’t happen. Not even close. So tomorrow.
And why should I have to call? Doesn’t Comcast offer phone service?
Plus, how will they react after this story titled “Consumer Reports’ ‘What the Fee’ campaign targets Comcast for its TV, sports fees” in the Philadelphia Inquirer, posted online yesterday afternoon?
Keep reading. This is the transcript. Enjoy the back-and-forth more than I did!
Meanwhile, I’m glad I got a phone number because these two similar promotions of many I’ve gotten and saved over the past few months have different phone numbers. I wonder if they offer different prices.
Then, of course, is the point of the Inky article: the fees. Yes, there are taxes and franchise fees, but I’m going to focus on cable and satellite companies paying retransmission fees to the broadcast TV stations they carry because they’re more my expertise. Those are the stations we could get for free by antenna, if we chose to.
This is that part of my bill Philadelphia customers get.
Notice Comcast charges me $7.50 every month for TV stations and $6.75 as a regional sports fee.
Don’t forget we’re talking about the conglomerate Comcast. They own a lot.
First, I’m very, very angry those broadcast TV fees don’t go directly to the area TV stations for what was negotiated (forced on Comcast so we, the customers, pay for something we could get for free).
Second, Comcast owns WCAU-NBC 10 and WWSI-Telemundo 62 here in Philadelphia. I’d also be very, very angry if those broadcast TV fees are not in line with those TV stations’ ratings. NBC 10 may be a very distant second place to WPVI-6 ABC, so I’d think NBC 10 should get a very distant second amount, compared to 6 ABC. Isn’t that similar to the cost advertisers pay, but advertisers pay by program? And NBC 10 could promote Telemundo 62 all it wants but that doesn’t mean many people watch. Its retransmission fee should be relatively tiny. I’d love to know how much each station makes. They are federally licensed and regulated, so I suppose it’s possible.
One thing is for sure and that’s that Comcast-owned TV stations had better not be making more money than they deserve, compared to the competition. Otherwise, it may be a violation of a condition it agreed to when it bought NBC Universal.
And as far as the regional sports fee goes, is there any other than NBC Sports Philadelphia, formerly Comcast SportsNet? Yes, they pay to show Phillies games, which used to be free, over the air, before retransmission fees had been invented. Apparently that one cable station I hardly ever watch doesn’t get the whole pot of $6.75!
I know because on our bills, and between pages 3 and 4 of the transcript, it says both regional sports and broadcast TV fees only “recovers a portion” of the costs. So what happens to the rest? All customers should be angry!
(And speaking of sports, the NFL Network is not regional, so the April article in the Inky, “Comcast bumps NFL Network up a tier, adding $10 for the network,” is a separate fee for subscribers who want that particular channel.)
Anyway, it’s now well after 10pm. I spent that last 30 minutes with a computer that keeps freezing. I’m hungry, but I can’t wait to talk to somebody in Comcast’s Loyalty Team tomorrow. I’ll have that lucky person read this first.
On the other hand, your best advice on cutting the cord would be very appreciated below in the comments section.
Thanks to you, and of course Philadelphia-based Comcast. Yes, it’s a hometown company!
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There’s never a good time to write a story like this. We know there has been a school shooting in Texas, apparently between Houston and Galveston, and at least eight people have been killed. It’s a tragedy. We can blame security, gun laws, the National Rifle Association, and so on.
That’s not my point right now. We will be learning details in the next few hours and days.
A short time ago, I happened to be up and reading, with the TV on, so I heard what happened.
Of course, I hope I’m in the minority. It’s a Friday in mid-May. Most people were probably at work and school, and concentrating on what they were doing.
What do people do for information these days? They usually go to the internet.
Let’s see what people found on a local news website in the Philadelphia area.
As usual, WTXF-Fox 29 did nothing but take a story from their sister-station. Notice how KRIV-Channel 26 wrote their headline for their own audience. Imagine what people here thought. There’s also a Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Fla.
Heck, imagine what people in Santa Fe, N.M., thought, for that matter!
But nothing seems to get through to these people to become a valuable information source.
If the stations don’t respond to viewer complaints, maybe the Federal Communications Commission will. Click here for its Consumer Complaint Center. (The FCC admits its “authority to respond to these complaints is narrow in scope.”)
For the record, 6ABC had an original story. NBC 10 and CBS3 both had stories from their networks. All three of their stories had the word Texas in their headlines to avoid reader misunderstandings. People at those stations did more than simply click a button to accept a shared story. So apparently three stations’ websites care about avoiding reader misunderstandings and one does not.
But don’t expect anything different from Fox 29. I don’t think they’re going to change. These are my reasons.
Just three days ago, I posted the exact situation with taking a story and using the same, confusing headline online.
Obviously the message didn’t sink in. They have no shame.
By the way, to make matters worse, they miscategorized it in their “Local News” section!
Let’s go to today. The story is exactly the same sidebar the Texas audience is reading. But of course for them, it’s local news that’s much more likely to involve someone they know in some way. They are expected to feel differently, so the story and placement should reflect that.
Do you see the section title, Local News? Very misleading. No students in our area are able to talk about the subject. They weren’t there!
By the way, was the man crossing Roosevelt Boulevard or the car?
And for those of you who feel any sympathy for the folks at 4th and Market — don’t.
You saw me discuss this stuff recently. I also mentioned this type of stuff when I worked there. I was told on several occasions to stop writing because another station was going to be taking care of it, even though I was faster and usually done or close to it. That was usually a national story with information from the Associated Press forced on the Washington DC station, WTTG-Channel 5, simply due to its location.
Maybe Steve Chung will shake up the irresponsibility in Philadelphia and protect the folks in DC from their extra responsibilities, just because of where they are.
It’s now almost 2pm. I’ve dotted my Is and crossed my Ts. Yet WTXF-Fox 29’s main headline is the same (but the picture is different) and the sidebar is STILL in the Local News section. Does any manager at the station actually look at the website? Isn’t that part of managing? Looks like we’ll leave who does what and who doesn’t to Steve Chung and then perhaps lawyers.
They can’t be equal, much less better, as long as this is true.
Oh, my favorite line of today’s story? The one on the bottom of this Fox 29 article. Look for it in the red box.
Not a single one of you should know me. Or any of my friends. But you do because we come from one of the hot school shootings of the month. Now we have another. Another community attacked that will only be further attacked by the NRA. Welcome to America, folks. This happens here.
Many of you compared the whole thing to one of those “Is the dress blue or gold?” things from back in 2015. You may remember, a Tumblr user named “swiked” uploaded an image of a dress, which caused a lot of debate about its color.
Is it blue and black, or white and gold?
If you’re like me, you don’t particularly care, although I’d go with blue and black, and wonder about anyone who thought differently.
Part of the reason is that I saw the dress. I hadn’t turned away. I didn’t put in any effort.
As for the sound, I heard the story on TV but wasn’t paying complete attention. I would’ve had to prepare myself to go (slightly) out of my way to listen, and I didn’t. Not even now, while I’m writing against the clock. Maybe later, after this is published. No promises.
If you know me, you wouldn’t be surprised the whole sound thing reminded me of something very different than the dress.
The dress involves seeing. This, like laurel or yanny, is about listening.
It’s that great controversy over what Cecily Tynan said when her microphone was supposedly off. (It never is and never assume otherwise.)
For those of you not from the Philadelphia area, WPVI-Channel 6 has been one of the highest rated TV stations in America for about the last 40 years, give or take a few. Their newscasts may still have more of a share of its market than any other station in the country, as well. (But not the number of viewers since the New York market – covering people in the city, halfway up to Albany, half of New Jersey and all of Long Island – is so much bigger.)
But 6ABC, as it’s branded now, earned everything by being stable yet moving ahead with the times, even when I thought it was impossible, like getting rid of the actual weather map on the wall that was written on, rather than computer-generated.
You’d recognize a newscast from 30 years ago and some of the people on it. They make great hires and don’t change like the season, like so many other stations. People have watched for generations and consider the ones they see on-air family. I’ve never seen anything like it.
(And in 1997, I just wish their assistant news director had called me back sooner than someone across the street at the NBC station. By the time she did, she got a recording from the phone company with my new number, and left me a message saying she recognized the area code which meant I had gone to the competition. I don’t think 6ABC ever hires anyone who has worked at the competition.)
Anyway, on Oct. 29, 2012, during coverage of Superstorm Sandy, Cecily was giving a special weather report while “World News Tonight” (or was it just plain “World News” back then?) would’ve normally aired. It was an important story so Action News had team coverage on the weather. Cecily tossed to her colleague, Adam Joseph, probably for details on a specific aspect of the storm. (I wasn’t in town then, but we can watch.)
It seems he hadn’t turned his microphone on. It can happen, especially during special coverage. Maybe there was no rundown to go by and they were flying by the seat of their pants. Sometimes, the audio operator in the control room would err. In this case, it was probably Adam’s fault, although there was apparently no mic check done to make sure it was working, even at a low level – and also remind him to turn it on if necessary.
Then, you’d think the audio operator would’ve shut off Cecily’s mic but probably made the split-second decision not to, instead, because Adam was speaking but not being picked up.
I think, in a tense moment during special coverage, Cecily did call him a name for making a technical mistake. Things slip out. No big deal among family and friends, unless it goes out over the airwaves.
“6ABC meteorologist Cecily Tynan could clearly be heard saying ‘Moron,’ after tossing to fellow meteorologist Adam Joseph who began speaking while his microphone was off.”
After his hit, according to the paper, Adam went on Twitter to deny Cecily used the word “moron” but “moments later” he “tweeted what seemed like a confirmation of the comment.”
It’s in the article, along with a caricature of the two engaged in rough sport (boxing). Great stuff!
And yes, there is now a promo with the two of them competing at things, just as a brother and sister would.
Finally, the paper described how news anchor since the 1970s, Jim Gardner, handled the situation just before 7pm. Jim is usually a hard news guy but not every second of every day, since he “made the matter more bizarre with a somewhat rambling explanation that Tynan had not insulted Joseph.”
“‘Maybe I shouldn’t even acknowledge this but the folks who thought that Cecily called Adam an untoward name when Adam was having trouble with his microphone, that’s not at all true,’ Gardner stated.”
You’ll have to go back and watch, or read it, to do it justice.
Ain’t it great to be able to get away with that stuff?
“One of Gardner’s legendary gags is to wait for longtime weatherman Dave Roberts (retired, father of actor David Boreanaz -Lenny) to begin his report. As Roberts says ‘We’re bracing for strong wind gusts today,’ Gardner passes gas. Loudly. Roberts and the crew start to laugh, then keep laughing until the camera returns to Gardner, red-faced and giddy, practically in tears.”
Can’t beat that!
OK, maybe that same article estimating his paycheck back then “at near $2.5 million” (that was exactly 12 years and 2 days ago) or perhaps more importantly, earning my respect for writing half his newscasts by himself rather than eating, playing, or other things anchors have been known to do.
Maybe that’s why I don’t think he’s seen a moment before 6pm, not even for promotions. Besides, Jim Gardner hardly needs promos. The people have been programmed for decades.
So I didn’t listen to laurel or yanny. I listened to Cecily, Adam, and – of course – Jim.
For me, that was the right call.
Speaking of calling and writing: Jim, if you ever need a hand on the job…
And happy birthday!
And for those of you in Miami…
(Disclosure: Ducis and I worked together in Miami so long ago, few if any of today’s interns had even been born back then!)
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Tragic story. Heartbreaking. The victims put their lives on the line and lost them, just to protect us.
And reports of it were made even worse because certain people at one victim’s local TV station don’t know the location is HuntingDon Valley — not HuntingTon Valley — and it’s right in their backyard, in Montgomery County!
How long will it take for them to figure it out? I took the screenshot above at 53 minutes. Do you think it’ll go more than hour? Is there any responsible party at this TV station to check, fix and take responsibility?
Look! It’s just a 40-minute drive from the TV station at the end of rush hour! The post has been up longer. I’ll bet people working at the station live in Huntingdon Valley, or not too far away.
Oh, and I don’t care what the article says. They should know the local place better than the Associated Press writer across the country in Los Angeles, read the copy before posting (unless they’re in a race with the competition to be first), and correct any mistakes.
By the way, wouldn’t it be Miramar Air Station (with capitals) since it’s the full name of the location?
Tell me I’m wrong!
This is the fourth largest TV market in the country. Shouldn’t this station be run better? No wonder people aren’t watching!
Who is, and isn’t, to blame over this error? (Insiders know what I’m thinking!)
But look at the nonsense from Mississippi they’re more concerned about, just for clicks, than fixing mistakes that make them look dumb. Relevant for the audience, or lowering themselves and their reputation? Oh, THAT’s why they always claim We Go There! This fits their branding.
This place needs to clean house, at least in one department!
UPDATE: Felt curious and checked. Now, up more than two hours! Embarrassing!
Maybe they were concentrating on the taste, or the smell. (That would be embarrassing!)
READY FOR BED: Three hours of incorrect information, Huntington vs. Huntingdon, on Facebook…
and an article updated more than an hour after it was written with that same mistake, plus Air Station still lowercase.
So as of now: CBS3 got the location right, and also a picture.
6ABC got the location right, but no picture.
And NBC 10 got the picture, but misspelled the location.
Final thought: Facts don’t matter to Fox 29 Philadelphia. “Likely half the staff & budget” — along with burritos and Sonic — are more important.
UPDATE, Friday, April 6, 2018: Same mistake from last night still up on Facebook and the article, except picture of the deceased added.
Now today, do you see anything local on these two stories in the Local News section? Do you know why they’re there, other than not paying attention to detail?
“In 2016, it had been 31 years since our last national championship for basketball, and now, just two years later, Villanova is once again the national champion! What a remarkable accomplishment for the players and for Coach (Jay) Wright and his staff, and what a wonderful time to be a Villanovan!”
It was around this time, two years ago, I was waiting for WTXF-Fox 29 to officially hire me. Of course, when you’re dealing with corporations, everything gets in the way.
I got this email from the news director, the day after the game.
Of course, the first line didn’t end with a question mark or exclamation point. Different people are held to different standards.
Of course, he didn’t let me know “either way by Friday,” as he said. Villanova won on Monday, April 4, 2016. You can see he emailed this the next day, April 5. That Friday would’ve been April 8. Instead, I did not find out until Tuesday, April 12.
That same Tuesday, I gave my two weeks at WCYB, leaving there after April 26, and starting at Fox less than a week later, on May 2. I had been given the option of starting May 9 but knew there was a ratings period and wanted to be as much help as possible, as soon as possible. So I quickly got mover and cleaner estimates, and my friend Scott found a temporary place for me to stay. The good folks at WCYB made sure to honor me with a cake. Lots of people involved with my departure and arrival!
I’m sure Fox management appreciated that move I rushed – just like I appreciated the imaginary transportation, hotel and lunch they provided during my interview! (What’s the best emoji for sarcasm that covers everything about them in that last, long sentence?)
My time at Fox was not pleasant because they seemed to care more about nonsense social media that would pull at people’s heartstrings, rather than real, relevant news. They also did not take the 11-page critique they had asked me for into consideration. (Click here to see it.)
They did take my advice to use Facebook more often, but never thanked or acknowledged me in any way. I remember being told during my one face-to-face interview (Feb. 29, 2016) that one Facebook post an hour may be too much! In other words, exactly the opposite. Some people can never be satisfied. Maybe they’re too insecure.
Note: I think I’ve kept every emailed promise, accusation, etc. Some people won’t look very good if-when it all comes out. That’ll be up to our representatives. Same thing when all the witnesses start talking about their experiences. I left that place in the middle of nothing short of an exodus.
I must make public I hope I’m not infringing on the NCAA’s trademark nastiness by using words like Villanova and phrases like national championship.
I also don’t think certain lawyers would agree there are “informal” uses, either!
The Main Line’s Villanova University was named after Saint Thomas of Villanova. It was founded in 1842 by the Order of Saint Augustine. The other school
“traces its roots to the Universidad de Santo Tomas de Villanueva (Saint Thomas of Villanova), founded in 1946 in Havana, Cuba, by American Augustinians with assistance from European Augustinians. When the Castro government expelled the Augustinians from Cuba in 1961, several of the American Augustinians came to Miami where they founded Biscayne College. … When University status was attained (in 1984), the name of the institution was changed to St. Thomas University to reflect its Cuban heritage.”
Another thing, friends, is you know I have a long memory.
That last line I quoted isn’t exactly true. Biscayne College didn’t become St. Thomas University; it became St. Thomas of Villanova University, but folks on the Main Line didn’t like that competition, so the name – How did they put it? – was shortened. I found it didn’t take more than a few months, and the second change wasn’t even mentioned in The Voice, Miami’s Catholic newspaper. I checked the 1984 issues. Seems they went through a lot of trouble for nothing.
The shortened name used for such a short time even has an unofficial Facebook page, but not much is on it, as you probably would’ve expected!
As for me, I’ve never been a college basketball fan. Growing up in Miami, the University of Miami didn’t even have a team from around the time I was born until I was in 9th grade (you look the dates up!), so I didn’t grow up with it. Also, if you blink, the players are gone – either graduating, dropping out, or a few going professional. There’s no chance to remember more than a few individual players, unless you’re a die-hard fan or journalist (or live in Connecticut, where any high school stars are remembered forever).
But I loved when somebody I consider a mentor – Miami news legend Eliott Rodriguez – put his live shot from Vilanova’s 1985 championship up on Facebook, this morning. It happened while he worked for WPVI’s Channel 6 Action News, during a break from the Miami market.
You’ll have to watch. I commented jokingly, “Full of information! But other things never change.”
He responded, “The pictures tell the story,” but couldn’t remember whether he or his photographer suggested doing the live shot from the top of the van. Turns out, maybe they should’ve! And Jim Gardner always had the perfect response.
Jim is still there today and still in first place, even against the Super Bowl and Olympics on NBC in February. Says something about stability and being true to yourself, and what you stand for.
See who was referred to as a “distant fourth” twice in the above article! Let’s just agree it was well-deserved. Heck, they changed their Facebook policy between the time of my interview and the time I started. That wasn’t much more than two months!
And to leave you on a much more pleasant note, here’s a much more recent picture Eliott posted: Two former Philadelphia folks, including one who worked at KYW-TV3. It was taken in March. Glad to see Eliott and Marc Howard looking happy! Goes to show there is life after TV news!
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I’m going to give the writer the benefit of the doubt because reporters don’t usually write headlines, and the headline goes after the format rather than the person.
The article started by criticizing Mike Jerrick’s on-air behavior on International Women’s Day, March 8. It quoted Peter Jaroff – assistant professor of media studies and production at Temple University and a former WPVI-6ABC producer – who described the situation perfectly.
Jaroff told the paper,
“You’re supposed to chat and fill up time and be engaging to your audience, and that can get you in a lot of trouble.”
Let me repeat: “Fill up time and be engaging.”
He didn’t say for how long or how often. Let’s look at the situation.
WTXF-Fox 29 puts on a six-hour morning show.
(I mentioned people who know me. They also know I hate the phrase “show” rather than “newscast” because a newscast is special with the responsibility of informing people about important current events and controversies – even though they typically air too much crime and too many fires, often without putting any of it in perspective. A “show” can be anything.)
Jerrick is on the air for four hours straight, from 6 to 10am. His broadcast, Good Day Philadelphia, actually starts at 4. (Yes, it’s the same name as all the other local Fox stations call their morning shows because they copy.)
Speaking of copying: Today, were we supposed to look at this and know where St. Mary’s County is? No clues. The company itself owns three Fox 5s. That doesn’t include affiliates. But this didn’t cost a cent!
It begins with hard news. Certainly, a lot of the content is from the day before because very little happens between 11:30pm and 4am, except for the crime and fires.
Jerrick is as good as anybody when he goes on the air at 6.
But let’s start before 6.
I worked with him for 15 months. I’ve seen him at 5:30am daily, before the public at 6, telling producers and an executive producer his intelligent, educated, experienced opinion – usually right – on what stories he should be talking about and which shouldn’t air. Four hours, or actually six, can be a long, long time – and a lot can happen to change things.
There will never be a TV station that has the staffing it really needs.
Jerrick would start out doing the news, correcting mistakes in scripts based on what aired earlier, what has changed since then and what he knows is the truth. (In other words, somebody else’s mistake.) He won’t let a live reporter go without making sure viewers have all the facts they need.
That may throw off the time, and producers have to go almost by the second – which probably makes them crazy – but realize Good Day Philadelphia producers do two straight hours in the control room. That’s a lot, even for the most disciplined, attentive, anal person trying to get as much new material on as possible.
The producers can’t read every script before they air. Scripts are still being written moments before, especially in breaking news situations. Jerrick and his counterpart, Alex Holley, may be told a few quick points in their earpieces and given a line or two. Very few TV news anchors can do that as flawlessly as they do multiple times every morning, while keeping tabs on what the live picture is showing, or if the signal goes bad.
At 7:30am, there’s often a live interview with a newsmaker, victim, etc. Jerrick and Holley consistently show the right tone, depending on the situation.
I haven’t forgotten their great job with the return of a station intern, wounded in the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting, who lost a loved one. Or the controversial Philadelphia sugar tax that mostly affects soda. Or the superintendent of the School District of Philadelphia about needing 1,000 new teachers when the other teachers hadn’t gotten a raise in five years and put up a billboard on busy I-95, making sure everyone sees the claim Philadelphia doesn’t value its students. I remember Jerrick and Holley making sure to present both sides, playing devil’s advocate when necessary, and give everyone a fair shot – for journalism and conscience.
I know because in each of those situations, I took notes and when each was over, I quickly got in and out points to put the video on the web, and wrote stories that started with the new information Jerrick and Holley were able to gather. Often, they made the interviews memorable experiences and that’s exactly what TV goes for: memorable experiences involving people associated with your station. The bosses get credit, the station makes money, but it’s Jerrick, Holley and company who actually do the work.
I’ll tell you now, I have not watched for a moment since I left last Aug. 10. Too painful. And that personal story is far from over. The people I’m writing about may not know that but their bosses sure do!
So how can Jerrick and Holley go from being hard news people – bringing viewers every new fact possible while guaranteeing their accuracy, while sitting inside a studio – and suddenly become time fillers at 9? They’d have to be extremely talented and well-rounded, or bipolar!
Sure, they report breaking news the executive producer decides is important enough until 10:00, but the *show* transitions from hard news to arguably nonsense and no matter how slowly that process takes, and the audience changes, it still involves the same on-air people.
It’s very rare, but I remember the morning hero, reporter Steve Keeley, breaking three new stories live at three different locations one morning! It’s a combination of his sources and reading everyone’s social media (and I included every police and fire department’s tweets in three states when I wrote everyone’s).
The station is too cheap to hire other people.
STOP FOR A SIDEBAR: All I ever got from the station, other than hard times, was a green t-shirt and hat for the St. Patrick’s Day parade in 2017. Most other places give gift bags when you start.
But I got a Good Day Philadelphia Weekend shirt that one of the anchors, Bill Anderson, actually spent time and money to make all by himself! Don’t believe me? He did that to connect with viewers and increase ratings – and then the bosses took him off the show and gave him a reporting franchise, For Goodness’ Sake! Some thanks and appreciation!
Bill is still doing what he does, great reporting, substitute anchoring, and wardrobes.
Yes, folks. This is the fourth largest TV market in America and this is what a local native – great person, great at his job – obviously feels forced to do. Somebody should be ashamed, and it’s sure not Bill!
BACK TO THE STORY: At 9, one of the 4-6am anchors usually joins Jerrick and Holley. They’re given a list of topics to ad lib about. That means no real scripts for them or their director, who has to make sure the right video is playing. Reporters who were on the air earlier usually change stories – not because of news happening, but planned events. Everyone’s time is planned out so there’s no waste, or rest on a bad day.
There’s a lot for the anchors to keep track of while making small talk with weathercaster Sue Serio, the most open, genuine human you’ll ever meet – and traffic reporter Bob Kelly, who has to keep track of all roads and transit in the region, get all the facts as they change without getting confused, and then find the live shots or make the graphics you see without any help. Oh, and then it’s Kelly’s Classroom or Camp Kelly, depending on the season, and Breakfast with Bob weekly.
So there’s a hell of a lot that goes on that viewers don’t see, except for the same faces, over and over again. How they seem to know everything – and at that hour – is incredible! They deserve credit, not scorn.
Of course, the viewers want the local angle, rather than the network or cable morning shows. There’s a place for it but honestly, it’s not for me.
I’ve often thought of Mike Jerrick as Johnny Carson. Who except Dom DeLuise and Joan Rivers ever had a public spat with Johnny?
I mean, Jerrick is from the Great Plains (Kansas), smart, funny, and – yes – older. That’s valuable and lacking in too many places today. I wasn’t around when Carson (from Iowa) started on The Tonight Show in 1962 and wasn’t allowed to stay up late enough to see him until I was old enough, and still, a lot was over my head.
No, not everything goes as planned. That’s the nature of live TV. How the people on-air react is what separates amateurs from professionals. The anchors you see on that station I really don’t like are professionals.
So Mike and Alex’s job is basically to fill time, and it works because they’re often #1 in the later time periods. That means they do very, very well – especially because one of their competitors is the nation’s powerhouse station.
Something ironic: The article with the title about a format possibly being on its way out barely touches on history. It used to be a white guy doing the news. Or two white guys. Same with weather and sports. Then came Adam and Eve – a man and a woman. The article quotes University of Maryland journalism professor Linda Steiner as saying network executives see that “as the kind of ideal nuclear family.”
But this isn’t Leave it to Beaver. This is Fox. So you have to expect a little pushing of the boundaries, especially from a station with the brand We Go There.
As seriousness turns to silliness, children have headed out to school. If they’re home sick, how would you compare Jerrick’s behavior to afternoon soap operas in the past? Or to the lowlifes too often seen on daytime talk and reality shows, these days? Do you want your kid watching Maury(a KYW-TV3 alum) orSpringer? The difference is, Mike is the serious newscaster, earlier in the morning. (I’ve never asked him which role he prefers, if either.)
And HBO’s John Oliver used Jerrick as an example of someone who spent “the entire day (International Women’s Day) acting inappropriately.”
Yes, times change. Jerrick – with daughters and grandchildren – would be one of the first to support #MeToo.
He also keeps colleagues on their toes and the audience interested. I give management and the parent company no credit for that. Absolutely none. It’s the people you see, and I don’t have a bad thing to say about any of them. And when the show is over, they clean up (if necessary), meet to discuss the good and the bad of the morning, plan the next show, and then go out to shoot all the special segments viewers see. It’s usually not far from 12-hour days.
Do you think all the pre-NFL Draft features happened on their own or by magic? It was big planning, changing clothes and going with the flow – just like at the newsdesk but with a little more wiggle room.
So he said “bullshit” when President Trump’s assistant Kellyanne Conway – a local woman – used the phrase “alternative facts” about the Trump inauguration’s crowd size. WHO WASN’T THINKING THAT? And he took his punishment knowing he shouldn’t have used the word, and knowing the station had to pretend to care about Federal Communications Commission rules.
Tom Snyder – who anchored here at KYW-TV3 in the late 1960s – shot a bird on WABC in New York, in the early 1980s. This is how he remembered it, years later, on CNBC.
I can imagine the same situation here.
And who was totally honest about needing to take a few months off?
Nobody is perfect but Mike Jerrick – with the job he has – is pretty damn close. (I can say the same about Alex Holley who, among so much else, has made her own family out in Texas, our own family.) It has earned him promotions and made him a national figure. And I sure hope he’s not working for the money. (I’ve always said money is freedom.)
And don’t tell me Ryan Lochte (pre-2016, Rio) didn’t deserve to be laughed at after his interview,
I’d never put any of them on my show and I doubt Mike would either, unless they did something SO ridiculous that everyone was talking about it.
The article pretty much says Jerrick found his niche and compares him to the Today show’s first host, Dave Garroway, buried here at West Laurel Hill Cemetery.
So bottom line: Mike Jerrick is the right person for the job, the station is lucky to have him and I will blame any future fall in ratings with changes in front of and behind the camera, or the end of an era – not Mike.
(For the record, I was NOT in contact with ANYBODY associated with the station for weeks before, or while writing. The thoughts are completely my own.)
Speaking of people I like, I can’t say enough about the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre survivors outside Fort Lauderdale. They’ve spoken forcefully and eloquently about the need for stricter gun laws.
Just wait, but some of them and other high school students will be old enough to vote by this year’s midterm elections. Mark your calendar for Tuesday, Nov. 6. Every member of Congress will be up for (re)election, along with about a third of the Senate.
Plus, 39 states including Pennsylvania and New York (I’ll get to that one in a few moments) will be (re)electing governors, and there will be many state legislature elections. (If I remember correctly, in ancient times in Florida, you could register to vote at 17 but not actually vote until your 18th birthday.)
Then, in two (hopefully) short years, more than half of today’s high school students will be able to vote in the 2020 presidential election.
Anyone who dismisses the Stoneman Douglas student group over their ages is stupid because they’ll be voting before you know it, and are already convincing other voters! Same for that Fox News host, Todd Starnes, who was troubled by how Cameron Kasky took down Sen. Marco Rubio, the one-time presidential candidate, over whether he would agree to refuse further political contributions from the National Rifle Association during a CNN Town Hall. (Click here to watch and read it all.)
The young people are absolutely right about the need to make gun laws stricter. As for what changes, there are many so I won’t be specific. However, as powerful as this group and their supporters become, I worry about all the federal judges President Trump is appointing, and at least one justice so far on the Supreme Court. The young people and 100 million other Americans may convince some legislatures to vote their way, but those bills-turned-laws will have to be upheld if challenged.
I’ve mentioned Kasky’s mother has been a friend for many years. Besides beating a sitting senator in a debate, he’s the one who had to leave the 60 Minutes interview that aired last Sunday for a family dinner. (Ask them, not me.)
It’s not my place to name Kasky’s mother because she has not spoken out publicly (nor does she have to, with her son doing the job much more than adequately), but for those who are getting over school shootings or need a reminder of how devastating the situation has been for not only the community but 17 families, his mother shared this post on Facebook on Sunday.
nor this self-proclaimed “physical education instructon and football coach” in an outer Atlanta suburb with whom I have two friends in common. He apparently feels it necessary to use some dumb “gun permit” that never expires, that somebody made up, as his profile picture. I’ve read his take on gun issues too many times. I think his priorities are off and he has too much time on his hands. I hope we never meet.
Before leaving the topic, a possible solution to the guns-in-schools problem.
“As schools around the U.S. look for ways to impose tougher security measures, … they don’t have to look further than urban districts such as Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York that installed metal detectors and other security in the 1980s and 1990s to combat gang and drug violence”
“Security experts believe these measures have made urban districts less prone to mass shootings, which have mostly occurred in suburban and rural districts.”
“Officials in some suburban and rural school districts are now considering detectors as they rethink their security plans after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.”
Let’s hope tougher security measures including installing metal detectors is a solution to save lives.
Now, a slightly less vicious politicalstory (and I mean slightly):
Yesterday, I mentioned Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon running for governor of New York against fellow Democrat Andrew Cuomo. (I’m shocked this politician doesn’t have his picture at the top of his official webpage!)
“New York is my home. I’ve never lived anywhere else. … I was given chances I just don’t see for most of New York’s kids today. …Our leaders are letting us down.”
In the video, Nixon noted she grew up with her single mom in a one-bedroom fifth-floor walkup.
She has been a vocal critic of Gov. Cuomo’s educational policies. According to People, she accused the two-termer of being the main cause of the divide between the state’s “richest” and “poorest schools.”
Today, JTA reported, “Her two eldest children from her first marriage are Jewish and have both been bar- and bat-mitzvahed.” (I hate that phrase! You can’t simply add an –ed to a word that’s not English!)
but now, the New York Post is reporting Nixon is being “denounced” by arguably the Big Apple’s most prominent lesbian politician, former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
Besides being the first openly lesbian governor in the U.S., I think Nixon would be the first governor in the U.S. to go topless. Just a thought, for those interested. Or would you have preferred to see Richard Nixon topless?
And rather than me leave you on that last note, there’s an update after I showed you:
“Data aggregator eMarketer … released a report indicating Google and Facebook’s (aka “the duopoly”) dominance of the digital ad market is about to be less dominant, as “smaller players” like Amazon and Snapchat are on the rise.”
Why were we supposed to care? That’s a good question I’m still trying to figure out. Let’s just say nobody is perfect, not me for one — especially not the corporate people who run TV station websites — nor the giraffe, of course.
We were all waiting for April to have her baby.
Giraffes give birth after 14-16 months. Labor is short, and takes as little as 30 minutes. There was absolutely nothing abnormal nor unusual when April gave birth, except for the live streaming, and that was the key to their success: people watching live on YouTube.
So why was this important? There’s nothing special about April, 13. This wasn’t her first calf, but her fourth. Her mate was a much younger 3-year-old named Oliver. He became a father for the first time.
And this afternoon, I Googled “giraffe birth,” selected “news” and came up with ten stories, all more recent and have nothing to do with April.
For some reason, the attention lasted way longer than anybody thought. Preparations were made for what to do when she gave birth. Both “It’s a boy!” and “It’s a girl!” graphics were made. The zoo’s owners had a list of dos and don’ts for the media, even though they streamed everything. This was the birth.
I don’t know why other owners of pregnant giraffes don’t do it, or maybe we’re not interested because it has already been done.
Unfortunately, I ended up working the Saturday morning of the birth, April 15, and I hated working weekends. Nobody else was actually there to help with any complications arising from technical and legal aspects of the birth.
It wasn’t my scheduled day anyway (apparently the ONLY THING the misguided station ever appreciated from me, officially on paper), but I hadn’t worked since Monday, April 10, because of Passover.
So I walked into the newsroom after having been off for most of a week, April hadn’t given birth during my time off (unfortunately!), but somebody who worked overnight had live streaming of the YouTube feed on the station’s Facebook page going on, just in case.
There was a lot for me to catch up on after so many days. The zoo’s owners wanted all the free publicity it could get, yet make every cent possible, and the Fox TV Station Group did everything legal to help.
Wouldn’t you love to just walk in and see this?
The whole Fox TV station Group went way overboard with a story that did not deserve it.
Luckily, the zoo changed the YouTube sponsor from Toys”R”Us to Babies”R”Us, which was a clue, and then April gave birth at about 10am, after about 16 months.
AFTERBIRTH ALERT! (Click pictures to enlarge.)
An estimated 1.2 million people around the world watched live. I don’t remember how well we did showing the zoo’s live stream compared to the local competition also showing the zoo’s live stream.
In fact, I can’t say anything about the competition except I usually had no time or interest in watching, WPVI usually beat us and the ABC-owned station group really has their act together – as opposed to Fox, as I showed you recently.
It didn’t do much for the main sponsors, the owners of Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us, whose cartoon mascot Geoffrey the Giraffe was on screen. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. in September. I hope they paid cash.
This past week, going with her owners’ habit of doing anything for publicity, April ate the lettuce from above a New England Patriots sign, rather than one with the Philadelphia Eagles, and that obviously means she is predicting the Patriots will beat the Eagles in the Super Bowl.
The video runs about a minute, and Animal Adventure Park did say,
“April the Giraffe weighs in, in a very big way, on her prediction for the winners of Super Bowl LII ! We wish both teams and their fans luck!”
because it didn’t want to lose a single tourist or online shop dollar from either side’s fans.
April lives in Harpursville, N.Y. 13787, outside Binghamton. She should’ve known Philadelphia would be her home team, compared to the competition. We’re just 191 miles away and about a three-hour drive (2:59).
On the other hand, Foxboro, Mass., where the Patriots play, is 287 miles and more than four hours (4:10) away. And that’s even closer than Boston!
You’ve seen many parents. It obviously doesn’t take brains to have a baby.
The zoo’s earlier gimmick was making money off a contest to name the baby.
People who paid chose zookeeper Allysa Swilley, who chose the name Tajiri — or “Taj” for short — explaining it stands for king, hope and confidence in Swahili.
Don’t expect any gift from me when Taj turns one in two months and 11 days!
P.S. From what I found, The Courier-Post had the best, most comprehensive list of animals making their Super Bowl predictions. Those seven are really worth checking out!
“Investigators say Lawal apparently tried to use his black Honda hit a person who had just gotten out of a car.
“Then, on foot, Lawal chased another person who had tried to detain him, and then charged at the off-duty officer after he approached, leading to a violent struggle.
“During the struggle, the officer fired about ten shots, hitting Lawal in the torso, legs, and face.”
Lawal was killed, and the officer was treated for minor injuries and released from the hospital.
Thursday morning, WCAU identified the officer as Det. James Powell, a 23-year veteran assigned to External Services and was off duty at the time.
Investigators told the station, before the shooting,
“Lawal continued driving east on Bigler before making a U-turn and returning toward the intersection of Broad and Bigler near Marconi Plaza. … A Good Samaritan used his truck to block his path. … Lawal then allegedly chased the Good Samaritan on foot before walking back to his Honda.”
“A police spokesman confirmed this afternoon terror was being considered as motivation.
“He said: ‘Anytime someone is trying to run people over we got to look at that angle and see what the investigation leads us.’”
That, and the line from WCAU, were the only mentions I could find of possible terrorism.
Note just yesterday, Edward Archer was convicted of shooting police officer Jesse Hartnett in an ambush, two years ago. Archer had pledged his allegiance to ISIS and said he had acted out of religious inspiration. So terrorism on a local level has been in the news this week, but in a different story.
However, in this week’s case, WTXF reported,
“The detective fired several shots, knocking the man to the ground and then continued firing—striking the man 13 times in all.”
That had Police Commissioner Richard Ross (left) concerned.
Tuesday, the Inquirer reported “Ross said he had reviewed surveillance video of the shooting and had ‘some concerns’ about ‘whether all the shots were necessary.’”
New district attorney Larry Krasner (right) promised WTXF “an ‘even-handed’ review of” the shooting.
The Inky reported Powell will be assigned to administrative duties while Internal Affairs investigates the shooting.
The Philadelphia Police website has nothing on the shooting, including a press release. It hasn’t yet made the list of officer-involved shootings.
If you are a witness to the police shooting incident at Broad and Bigler on Monday, 1-29-18, or if you had any interaction with the operator of the black Honda Accord, please contact the Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation Unit at 215-683-1866.
From what I could tell, this story that made international headlines and possibly involved terrorism deserved more news coverage than it got locally: one station reporting police didn’t think it was.
At least there are things on the department’s Facebook page everyone in the area can agree on. Come to think of it, maybe it’s the reason we haven’t heard more about the shooting.
Every media organization sent crews to the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Those journalists, no matter how good they are, couldn’t be in two places at once. And the police department is planning for fans celebrating the Eagles victory over the New England Patriots — or that other possibility.