Showing posts with label WDSU. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WDSU. Show all posts

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Oh, baby, dat's a lotta Spandex!

I remember when Scoot was the morning guy at WRNO in New Orleans in the 1970s. WRNO was the antithesis of this, and Scoot in the Morning would have had a field day with Airwaves Scoot on WDSU-TV.

Then again, it was 1983. It was "interesting," 1983 was.

Don't judge your parents harshly, kids. People smoked a lot of weed in 1983 . . .
and this was their brain on dope.

Scoot, Scoot, Scoot. You watched the
WKRP episodes where Dr. Johnny Fever turned into Rip Tide, didn't you?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Another grown-up exits the scene

Now it's Bill Monroe who has passed from this mortal coil, another media grown-up who hasn't been -- and can't be -- replaced.

Monroe died Thursday at age 90, leaving behind a legacy as the first news director of Channel 6 in New Orleans, and as Washington bureau chief and moderator of
Meet the Press for NBC television.

Times-Picayune's obituary tells the story of a career defined by integrity . . . and guts:

In 1950, The New Orleans Item, one of the city's two afternoon papers, hired him as an editorial writer. Mr. Monroe had had print experience as a New Orleans reporter for the United Press wire service before he went to war.

Four years later, when WDSU was looking for a news director, Mr. Monroe applied for the job -- and landed it. When he joined the NBC affiliate, it was six years old.

The news staff amounted to "three or four people who just read the news," he said in a 1998 interview. "Early television reporters were converted from newspaper reporters."

Mr. Monroe hired a fleet of seasoned journalists, including the reporters Alec Gifford, Ed Planer and Bill Slatter, and the photographers Mike Lala and Jim Tolhurst.

By that time, the station had already made a name for itself in 1951, when it covered U.S. Sen. Estes Kefauver's organized-crime hearings in New Orleans. Five years later, after Earl K. Long was re-elected governor, Mr. Monroe sent Gifford and Lala to Baton Rouge to show what he felt would be an interesting legislative session.

This was long before open-meetings laws, but nobody said anything, Mr. Monroe said in the interview, because everyone seemed to believe that someone had given them permission.

"We were there a week and a half before we were challenged," he said.

Long tried to have them removed, but the New Orleans delegation resisted because they had become stars.

"That experiment "put people in touch with the Legislature in a way they hadn't seen before," Mr. Monroe said in the interview. "The Legislature came alive. We got more letters for that than any other thing we did."

During that period, the station started airing editorials that Mr. Monroe wrote and delivered. The station stirred up controversy when it called for calm during the civil-rights period, when New Orleans' public schools were facing desegregation.

There were about 50 editorials related to the civil-rights movement, Mr. Monroe said.

The station's call for calm "appealed to the common sense of a lot of people in New Orleans," he said, "but that mild message, in the context of the times generated a bit of hatred toward the station."

Mr. Monroe said he received death threats, and advertisers threatened the station with financial ruin if it didn't back off. But station owner Edgar Stern Jr. stood firm.

For the editorials, WDSU won a Peabody Award, broadcasting's most hallowed honor, and a national award from the Radio and Television News Directors Association.
A THOUGHT EXPERIMENT: First, picture a television station running regular editorials, thoughtfully delivered. In many markets -- despite the death of the "Fairness Doctrine" decades ago -- that's difficult enough right there.

Then picture a news director adamantly advocating for a wildly unpopular position . . . just because it's the right and responsible thing to do. Picture him doing this some half a hundred times over the course of a year or so, despite hate mail and death threats.

Now picture the station's (most likely) corporate owner stand behind the station's wildly unpopular editorial stance despite advertisers' threats of an economic Armageddon.

I lost you a step or two ago, didn't I?

That's because the grown-ups have left the building. The loss is all ours.

Monday, December 20, 2010

If Nash said it. . . .

If there are Marks-a-Lots in heaven, we're gonna be all right. Nash Roberts will have the weather covered.

The legendary New Orleans weatherman and hurricane guru got promoted to the ultimate Weather Center this weekend at age 92.

If it was a storm, and if it was in the Gulf of Mexico, Nash Roberts had it covered, and he pretty much always knew where it was going to end up -- and this in the age of doing math on paper, peering into World War II-vintage radar scopes and drawing TV weather maps with a black, felt-tip marker.

If Nash said it, it must be so -- that's what about three generations of folks in south Louisiana came to think of the fixture on Channels 4, 6 and 8. May the Good Lord see things the same way as ol' Nash -- the poor, sunken city of New Orleans' meteorological guardian angel -- gets sent up to the majors.

in New Orleans announced the sad news Sunday evening:
During a career that lasted more than 50 years on local television, New Orleans viewers came to trust his calm and accurate forecasts so much so that the question “What does Nash say?” was the way many gauged the potential impact of an impending weather system.

“Sometimes I wish I knew myself why I am right,” Roberts said in a 1998 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “But a portion of it is just instinctive. It’s just a talent I have.”

Roberts retired from meteorology and his on-air role at WWL-TV during hurricane season in 2001. Throughout his career, he was the informed and educated voice of calm and reason, and his forecasting with felt-tip pens (which served him well, years into the high-tech age of broadcast meteorology) helped illustrate the direction of hurricanes since 1947. When he was inducted into the Greater New Orleans Broadcasters Association’s New Orleans Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the group commented that Roberts had been on the air longer than 95 percent of the stations in the country. By the time he retired, Roberts had worked at three of the city’s television stations.

For over five decades, the New Orleans native was a rock of stability during trying times: the horror of Hurricane Audrey in 1957, the devastation of Hurricanes Betsy and Camille in the 1960s, and the heart-stopping threat of Hurricane Georges in 1998. Roberts was there through it all, with his simple map, felt-tipped pen and lifetime of weather wisdom.

The Times-Picayune summed up Roberts’ impact in 199
8, in a special issue commemorating 50 years of television in New Orleans: “His power is tremendous. Some of us won't go to sleep until Nash says it's OK. His strong suit is personal forecasts - a mix of hunch and 50 years of knowledge - mapped out in Magic Marker.”
NASH ROBERTS is gone. Now the Gulf Coast is stuck with those damned computer models, none of which was produced by a supercomputer with even a fraction as much processing power as a certain meteorologist's brain.