Thursday, April 24, 2014

Summertime Blues Thursday PM Finale

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(Eddie Cochran)

A Real Tale from the City: Michael Savage Gets Star Treatment in North Beach; High Fives and Fat Tony Adulation

 Quite a scene the other night outside the North Beach Restaurant where top syndicated-radio banana, Michael Savage, was outside roaming the streets and high-fiving, among others, Fat Tony from nearby Broadway.

Savage, who was no doubt celebrating his newfound radio ratings bonanza, went to see his friend, Lorenzo Petroni, the owner of the legendary Italian eatery who is battling a major illness.

Before Savage could make it into his splashy new vintage Jag convertible, several fans from across the street began converging on the SF-based radio star besieging the area into a sea of humanity.

The normally private sage, off the air, was blown away by the impromptu fans seeking autograph selfies and uber-high-fives! Looked like a scene out of Good Fellas --all we needed was Henry Hill.

After about 20 minutes of good, old-fashioned modern-day schmoozing, Savage took off in the Jag and left the North Beach corridor in style.

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KTVU's Adding Insult to Injury: Equipment Failure Hits NewsCast

 Equipment Failure at 2...When It Rains, It Pours...All hell breaks loose!

KTVU News all hell the other night when a massive audio problem glitch hit the newscast for almost half the program!

Some kind of equipment failure in Master Control. It was, fortunately, fixed during the show amid calls into the newsroom but the damage was already done. Red faces everywhere.

"Not a people error", said an embarrassed Twoser, but people don't care about that.

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KTVU and Post-Dennis Richmond Six Years Later; A Station in Crisis; Revolving Door of New Reporters; Management More Concerned About Tweeting American Idol Than News Product; Thursday Opener

 It'll be six years in May when Dennis Richmond retired from KTVU --May 2008--seems like ancient times. Six years in today's environment is like 20 lifetimes. Six years ago KTVU was still the legacy station with a roster of award-winning reporters, anchors, news writers and directors and some of the finest people working in TV News.

Today, after a series of debacles --the biggest of which involved the Asiana fake pilot's names read on the air, KTVU is a station in crisis. New reporters almost every day; the big ones still left being pushed my management to leave.

How bad is it when your News Director and Managing Editor of a once-storied operation are tweeting about American Idol?

Richmond wasn't perfect by any means but was respected and revered by KTVU staffers. He didn't get along with a lot of people and he often clashed, quietly, with fellow anchors. But he remained the face of the station and was credited with making and establishing KTVU as a news powerhouse. Especially at 10 O'clock.

Here's a story I told not so long ago: Richmond was ready to call it quits back in '08 and enjoy retirement and a steady game of golf. He had lingering health issues but was mostly fit and active.

I asked a prominent Channel 2 air personality if the station had asked Richmond to stay another year or so because he looked and sounded at the top of his game would he do so. The answer was yes. Emphatically yes. Only Richmond wasn't asked and in fact, encouraged to split. Let that marinate in your mindset.

I have both praised, admired and scolded KTVU since Richmond's retirement. Clearly it is not the same company. Sure, change is a constant in life and business but that should not have dramatically rearranged the furniture at 2 Jack London Square. It did.

I have been consistent. I was the FIRST to praise Channel 2 for its smooth transition post-Richmond into Frank Somerville anchoring the ship. I lauded Somerville as a quality lead anchor with solid credentials and news savvy. I was the FIRST to recognize Frank and Channel 2 for its immediate and tremendous coverage of the Asiana crash direct from the scene of the tragedy and eight hours of non-stop reporting.

I wasn't the one who wrote a press release about the coverage the Monday after.

I was not the one who read the fake names of the pilots on board that plane.

And today, I'm not the one who blasts out mind-numbing "BREAKING NEWS" silos every five minutes of NON-BREAKING NEWS. (Yeah, everybody does it here and around the nation, but 2's over-over-over is beyond embarrassing).

It would help that KTVU have a team of management that staff would respect and heed advice only the big boys who run KTVU are a bunch of low-rank amateurs. The GM has the people skills of a diseased cat. The News Director, Wonder Boy, is lampooned and satirized. At least Special Ed knew how to read the room. He knew what he was and what he wasn't. Wonder Boy thinks he Willie Mays but he's really Wally Pipp.

I didn't write the Monday Press Release. He did.

2008 was a long time ago but at least the anchors were not thanking viewers for trusting us. Reporters weren't coming and going. People weren't reading fake pilot's names on a teleprompter and tweeting out American Idol sweet nothings.

BREAKING NEWS: KTVU is the not the same KTVU.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's Been Nearly Six Years Since Dennis Richmond Retired From KTVU And Boy Has a Lot Changed

 Hard to believe it's been nearly six years since Dennis Richmond retired from KTVU.

On Thursday we will go into detail about Richmond and his farewell with a few exclusive details...

*Richmond was clearly ready to enjoy retirement but would have gladly stayed on at KTVU if management had asked--they didn't. Dennis wasn't angry, only slightly taken aback.

*At the time of his leaving, KTVU was on top of the Bay Area TV News domain and still churning out quality work--after Richmond's retirement, the brand that Channel 2 created has now been forever tainted.

Wonder what Richmond would think of today's KTVU newscasts...

We offer the details on Thursday.

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Wipe Out Wednesday Lunch Break

(The Surfaris)

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Baggarly Hit Piece on KNBR's Larry Krueger; Yours Truly Does the 'Will and Willie Show' and Kills; Wednesday 415 Media Mash and Notes

 Andy Baggarly, I guess, had an epiphany.

Baggarly, for those of you who care, is the alleged Giants "Insider" for CSNBayArea.

Although since Baggs has never really broken any significant news story, his body of work is sort of scant.

Except for killing on Jeopardy and wearing sun glasses in the press box, nobody knows for sure just what Baggy does.

Maybe this explains why he chose to write a hit piece on KNBR's Larry Krueger. I myself have at times been critical of Krueger, but making inferences about a nearly decade-old brouhaha that had been massively overblown seems a little curious and out of place.

Sort of funny and desperate at the same time.

Here's what I think: I think the Baggar wanted to stir the pot which sounds reasonable since he doesn't report anything of substance while covering the Giants. The whole let's not pick on Latin players would have significant more meaning and traction if the messenger was sincere. I don't believe the Baggar is sincere.

Kruger, according to a close source at Knibber, was furious over the article and called a lawyer. Because Baggarly never mentions him by name, (which I'm sure was done on purpose), there will probably be no legal ramifications but the damage is done. This story ain't over, folks.

MEDIA NOTES: I was a guest on the "Will and Willie Show", (Will Durst and Da Mayor, Willie Brown), last night at the Gold Dust Lounge at the Wharf. Had a blast. The show was both televised and broadcast for Clear Channel --I'll send a link soon and talk more about the show soon...That big dust-up at KRON involves a family matter and while there's a lot of tension and angst most of the troops are trying their best to move on...Lee Housekeeper, the big time SF PR King came by and shook hands with yours truly. What impeccable taste...Migrated over to Original Joe's in North Beach--packed to the rafters even on a Tuesday night. Mother Duggan was at the end of the bar exchanging pleasantries...Every time I make it over to the Wharf it reminds me of old 70's, Streets of SF fare: the Alioto's restaurant sign, 12 million tourists, the pungent crab aroma, (nice), and absolutely NO parking which is just as well since the cab ride from Boulevard sent me back 15 bucks--what a bargain...Talk later.

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