Off the Dial

Boys & girls, meet Bluto.

We gave my son a guitar for Chanukah.  No lessons, just a small guitar.  He and his sister fool around with it and have a lot of fun.  A couple of days ago, they asked me to play a song.  I haven't the slightest idea how to play a guitar, so I just started strumming it.

What song do you think popped into my head as I looked at my lovely children, ages four and seven?  Yes, you're exactly right –  a song from Animal House.  (You were expecting, He's Got The Whole World In His Hands?)

I don't know why it just popped into my head – probably the worst song ever.  "I gave my love a cherry…"  If you're not familiar with the song – click here to watch the scene from the movie.   If you're not familiar with the move, I can't help you.  But I'll wait while you go rent it and watch it.

Here's the funny part – my kids loved it.  They actually started singing it themselves, over and over again as kids do.  I finally had to show them the real thing.  We surfed it up at youtube (the clip above).  Benny loved when he smashed the guitar, but Lea was a little confused.  "The girls liked the song," she said.  They both wanted to know why the togas.  I told them it was a costume party. 

So yes, I exposed my kids to a (great) movie they probably shouldn't see for a few more years.  At least we didn't surf up the food fight scene.

Bluto

Lights out at WTVH in Syracuse

Tough news from some friends of mine in Syracuse this week.  After 60 years of broadcasting, CBS affiliate WTVH is basically shutting the doors on local news.  They've laid off 40 people and merged the news operation with competitor (and my former station) WSTM.

You can read the whole story in the Syracuse newspaper.

Another sad economic story, but just a bit different.  When most companies merge, not too many people notice except those who work there or maybe some vendors and customers.  TV news is different – we get attached to those anchors and reporters.  Case in point, we just got an email this morning about Chris Suchan.  He's the local meteorologist who moved to Tampa six months ago.

It's actually an old story in Utica, NY.  The first TV station to hire me, WUTR, stopped their newscasts in 2003.  But that's a very small television market.  It's #169 out of 210 (which is Glendive, MT in case you're curious). Syracuse is 81.  Charlotte is 24.

I hope this isn't a trend in TV news, although I'm sure many stations will start cutting back on some newscasts.  They've got to make money just like any other business, but also have unique responsibilities.  Local TV stations (and radio, thanks!) are vital resources for safety issues, breaking news and for watching local politicians. 

Yeah, most of the time it's easy to make fun of them for sending reporters out to stand in front of empty buildings in the dark ("I'm standing here live where a few hours ago, City Council made a decision…") but those same reporters are watching out for us and our tax money. 

Let's hope the trend of completely giving up on local news stops here.