That's Entertainment, Not News
All this attention over a non-issue is ridiculous. First, to Elizabeth Rose [Airtime "The Story Local Media Ignored," Nov. 10, page 40], when you say Daytime
is WFLA-TV's morning show, you incorrectly imply it's the station's morning news
program. Ms. Rose, Sen. John McCain and The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz have obviously never watched the program. It is clearly obvious that Daytime
is entertainment television and in no way associated with news or journalism (as Kurtz claimed).
I find it hypocritical that no one is denouncing pages in popular magazines that look like product reviews when they are actually advertisements (one tiny word on the page indicates this), or the numerous radio spots that sound as if a DJ is telling you how great his experience was at business X when in fact it's a paid spot.
Since I started doing media relations for a national nonprofit disaster safety group, I have been surprised at the pay-for-play offers I've received.
Wendy Fontaine, former producer, WFLA-TV Tampa, Fla. (received via e-mail)
Viewers Like Local
P.J. Bednarski's column "Here's to Local Yokels" [Oct. 27, page 49] is right on! I've been looking at local television audience research for nearly two decades. Viewers want more programming variety from everyone, including their "most trusted" source, the local station.
While a minority of local stations gets beyond news in meeting those expectations, there are exceptions. Viacom's KMAX-TV in Sacramento—a UPN station which already does five hours of live, local programming in the morning—this fall began Good Evening Sacramento, a one-hour live, local entertainment and lifestyle program. The program airs at 7 p.m. The corporate and station management deserve considerable credit for taking the risk to try something new.
Franklin E. Graham, president, C3:Convergent Communications Consultants, Sarasota, Fla. (received via e-mail)
TV will never be local again. Not because of consolidation. Not because of the ruthless pursuit of revenue. Not because of the fear a GM experiences when he considers risking his net cash flow. TV will never again be local again because cable has seized the opportunity. Local news, sports, local politics, local help wanted, local real estate, local health care, local finance, and local arts/entertainment programs all exist on my local cable system today.
Once, there were local investment and travel and entertainment shows. These ad dollars and audience have moved to cable quickly. Slowly but surely, regional/national advertisers have moved an ever growing share of their budget to cable.
Gerry Fraenkel, sales manager, Adapt Media, New York (received via e-mail)