In the traditionally staid world of network news, Dan Harris is a fairly cool dude. In January, the World News Sunday anchor and ABC news correspondent launched Amplified, a weekly indie rock show that features guests like Andrew Bird, Dan Deacon, and Bon Iver (these may not be household names to those that fill midtown Manhattan newsrooms but across the East River in Williamsburg these musicians are as cool as jeans that are three sizes too tight and flannel shirts that haven’t been washed since 1967).
But now Harris has some competition in the unlikely form of NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. Williams has just launched BriTunes, an online “web experiment” that features some segments with musical giants (one is called “What’s on Yo Yo Ma’s iPod?”) but also includes an interview with up-and-comers Deer Tick, a band from this reporter’s side of town that is popular enough to have recently opened for child actress turned indie-rock queen Jenny Lewis, but still flying low enough under the radar to tour in a Safari and crash on people’s floors instead of hotels.
We should have had an inkling Brian Williams knew his stuff when he appeared on SNL in 2007 with Feist, but a Brian Williams indie-rock web show? It’s a testament to the imaginative and experimental power of the Internet that such a program exists but props must also go to these newsmen for letting their hair down and feeling comfortable enough to rock out. Let’s just hope we don’t see Brian at McCarren Park on the weekend or drinking PBR’s at Union Pool. That’d be a little too close for comfort. Got to maintain a little of that newsroom gravitas.