Friday, March 28, 2008

From a Viewer to WBIR


Sam Walton once said something to the effect of listen to your people, they are your best idea generators.

In TV news, the same holds true be it the people who work there or the viewers. I don't watch much TV beyond the news channels, sports or TCM. When it comes to local news, I usually rotate between WVLT and WBIR. Given I watch most of my news in the morning since I work the graveyard shift, I feel that I can offer some good advice on what is going on. In a nutshell, I think WVLT does a better job. But since this is about WBIR, I won't waste space.

Basically the thing that hurts WBIR the most is the format of their morning show. Not their people, but the format. Style works very well (although I wish they would give Michele Silva more options on what to wear instead of the same black slacks every day), Live at Five works well and the evening news does what it needs to do.

I like the combination of Russell Biven and Lisa Cornwell. Like I wrote before, what kills them is the format. Ever notice how Russell flows seamlessly on Live At Five? He works best off the cuff so to speak, not reading from a teleprompter about the latest murder or county commission scandal. Save that for the evening news.

Lisa is a newcomer, so I reserve judgment on exactly what she does best. But if my instincts serve me right and they usually do, I think she works better off the cuff if given the opportunity to do so.

So to management, lighten up the format. At five o'clock in the morning, people are usually either half asleep or half awake. We want to be laughing and feeling good, not grieving and moping. The first 30 minutes can consist of updates on yesterday's news, overnight happenings, weather and traffic at the beginning, etc... But for the next 90 minutes, you should be taking advantage of it by being creative and informative (isn't that why you got into the news business to begin with?). Assign Brittany Bailey who I feel is being underutilized to the role of spot reporter for the morning. Have her do live reports on what is going on around the area.

Have a pet for adoption feature from Young Williams Animal Center. Interview someone about an event that is happening this weekend. Let Lisa kiss a
baby orangutan (or she can kiss me if she prefers).

So there you have it. I'm a man of many ideas, but I can express them in as few words as possible. Then again, this is just advice and you didn't even have to put me on the payroll. I'm looking forward to the new and improved morning news.

1 comment:

Lisa Cornwell said...

Chris,
Thanks for the nice post... I'll keep checking out your blog. I agree with a lot of what you wrote... I'd enjoy being able to ad-lib a little more. It's still a work in progress, so we'll see what we can do!

Take care,

Lisa Cornwell
Morning/Noon Anchor
WBIR-TV