Quasi-quoting the Coasters: "Yakety-Yak -- will you ever stop talking back (and forth)"?
As on Fox-5 News at 10:
"We used to have a box of tissues ... Do you want me to run out and get one? ... My sleeve will do ... Here, I'm new (extends sleeve) ... We like you ... That's very nice of you ... Windy day, not a nice day to ride a motorcycle, even if you're good at it ... I don't think that stopped a lot of them ... Maybe the fun happens when you're parked ... The fun is dodging and weaving between the trucks on motorcycles ... That might be a bigger attraction than the girls in bikinis ... Who would you rather see, me or the bikini-clad ladies?" ...
S-H-A-D-D-U-P! ... Please?
Such was the babble among John Huck, Darren Peck and Olivia Fierro one night for 50 seconds. ... So?
Not long enough to coax a clock's minute hand off its fat fanny. Merely a moment vis-a-vis total news time. And yet ...
Comparatively speaking, the peppy patter segment was shorter than eight stories -- and longer than 22 of them. More than two-thirds of the night's news didn't merit the same time allotted the happy-yappies. (Yes, I timed them. Yes, I need a life.)
Credit Fox-5 for featuring several pieces with informational meat on their news bones that night -- the Lake Mead drought, the dangers of driving in stiff wind, a local angle on planes hit by birds -- while some shorter pieces were of minimal interest anyway. But others weren't.
Chummy chatter chewed up more airtime than affordable housing, Mexican swine flu (the early stages), local proposals to squash illegal prostitution and jack up parking ticket fines and marriage license fees (to fund domestic abuse programs), money for Nevada national parks, a DOA seat belt bill in Carson City and Henderson cops cleared in a St. Rose Hospital shooting.
"Olivia's new, and we're trying to give her exposure not just as an anchor, but a person," says Fox-5 news director Adam P. Bradshaw. "I get as many viewers calling, saying, 'How come people don't talk?' as people saying we're wasting their time. They want to know these people they invite into their homes every night."
Commendable in concept, but questionable in proportion for what The New York Times once cutely (and oh-so-accurately) labeled "forced palsy-walsyness."
Old news about TV news? You could scrape enough mold off this ancient complaint to make penicillin jealous. But stations need a new move-yer-butt! mindset to snare c'mon-already! young viewers: A Twittered/Facebooked/blogged/Blackberryed generation inhaling info instantly, bypassing the set structure of TV news. Raised in the belly of the media beast and hip to its tricks, they're far less tolerant of momentum-murdering ... well, palsy-walsyness.
Click off, log on -- they're gone, baby, gone.
When the nattering rivals the news -- "Who would you rather see, me or the bikini-clad ladies?" -- why stay?
Station Break: This column is on vacation next week. Coincidentally, so is this columnist.
Contact reporter Steve Bornfeld at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0256.