Snowpocalypse ’08

* This morning was depressing.  Due to budget cuts, the station clipped our stage managers.  Today was our first day without them.

The stage manager helped wrangle any visitors to our shows.  This isn’t a big deal for my show since no guest in his right mind would come in at 4:30 a.m., but it is a major headache for the 5 and 6, which depend heavily on guests to eat time.  (The end result of all this, I predict, will be fewer guests and more boring morning shows.)

The big way this affects me is that I have to track down the commercial log every morning.  It’s this 478-page stack of paper that lists all the commercials throughout the day.  We use it to build our shows, since we need to know how much time to allocate to the breaks.  And the stage manager used to type up an easy-to-follow sheet every morning.  Now the producers have to wade through the mess.  Glorious.

Part of this brave new world is the friendly memos that come down the chain.  They remind us of the responsibilities we’ve had all along and the new ones chucked in our laps.  Imagine if your dog died and you got the following memo…

puppy1Your dog is dead.  This means you will not have your furry friend anymore.  You will need to get rid of all his things (toys, bowl, bed).  Also, you should dispose of the body.  We’re counting on you to hurry up and grieve so you can get back to doing twice as much work as you did when you started here.


* Another reason for rage (sorrow?) is the fact that a dusting of snow fell overnight.  This, of course, is reason to throw out lots of interesting stories so we can tell you what you would already know if A) you have access to windows or doors in your home or B) you’ve lived anywhere where snow falls at this time of year.

3735181_stdAs I frequently point out, I grew up in Michigan, where 12″ of snow is barely justification to wear mittens, let alone raise the terror alert level to red.  And even though I didn’t see a single snowflake on the way in to work, we still rang the alarm bells and blew up my show to herald the arrival of our white, flaky overlords.

I will make a guarantee right now.  Once we get some real snowfall, a dusting of this consequence won’t even be mentioned on the newscast.  We led with it today merely because the roads were previously clear.  There will be days when the roads will be much worse, and we won’t even mention them.

You should lead with weather when something unusual happens.  Winter is not unusual.  Today was the equivalent of leading with the news of an 80 degree day in June.

* On Thanksgiving, two dozen family members gathered at my parents’ house in Michigan.  It’s as close to a family reunion as we’ve had in eight years.  We ate.  And then we watched the Lions’ epic flame-out.  The mood became irredeemably somber.  I give thanks that there are only four more train wrecks to come this year.

sex-trick-busy-ll-de* In the UK, cash-strapped people are turning to sex to pass the time.  (A survey of 2,000 adults found sex was the most popular free activity, ahead of window shopping and gossiping.)  Wait… you can get sex for free?  How is such a thing possible?

* Dalai Lama: “Sex invariably spells trouble.”  I suppose that should make me feel better, what with the total lack of trouble and all. 

* When it comes to sex (or lack thereof), the big story of the weekend was the Chicago couple who refused even to kiss until they were married.  Are you kidding me?  Their first kiss came after they were married?  And they’d never even been alone together in the same house?  Unreal.

I mean, most girls I’ve been interested had the same stipulations, but we never even got close to the altar.

* Be glad you’re not 38-year-old Lois Kay Feldman, who got busted having drunken sex with a 26-year-old stranger inside the Metrodome men’s bathroom as a crowd of onlookers cheered and laughed.  On second thought, be more glad you’re not her husband.

* Radar Online presents the Most Dangerous Toys of All Time.  Hilarious.

Reminds me of this story from the Onion…

Wizco Toys of Montclair, NJ, recalled 245,000 Aqua Assault RoboFighters Monday after three dumb kids managed to kill themselves playing with the popular toy, ruining the fun for everybody else.

jordan* A new genetic test claims to be able to predict which sport you are best built for.  My body type is best suited to watching others compete from the safety of my couch.

* 64% of U.S. high school students cheated on a test in the last year.  Zero percent of me is surprised.

* There’s a company out there making a perfume and cologne inspired by Penn State University.  The perfume smells like vanilla, lilac, rose and white patchouli, while the cologne smells like Joe Paterno after a tough loss.

* From now on, when you’re stuck on the New York subway, they’ll give you an excuse note to show to your boss or teacher.  Meanwhile, if you’re stuck on the CTA, you’ll just have to keep on sucking it.


One response to “Snowpocalypse ’08

  1. As an Executive Producer of a morning newscast in Denver, I got a chuckle out of your weather rant. But reading about you losing your floor directors made me realize that you’re a bit out of touch with the rest of the TV world.

    You have to review the log YOURSELF to check your break times? Wah wah wah!!! I’ve done that at every TV station I’ve worked at. It takes me all of a minute and a half to do each day.

    At my station, we do two hours of news each weekday with a “producing” staff of two line producers, one EP, and a production assistant who writes, prints scripts, and on days when our field crew needs the help runs a live truck. We lost our assignment editor in staffing cuts in the spring. That’s it (and I know we have more resources than some other stations do). When one of the producers is off, I get to fill in, which is quite often (I *do* think it’s good to “get my hands dirty” on a regular basis).

    I would venture that in the wonderful world of Chicago, even AFTER staffing cuts, you probably have 2 – 3 line producers, an EP, and at least a couple of writers. Probably at least an AE who gets in by 4am — maybe he/she is there all night long.

    When you’re bitching about figuring out your break times during Christmas week, think of me… while I’m producing both hours solo so *two* people can take off work instead of just one.

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