Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Class Act

When the Maven first got wind of Jeannette Hendrix Rinard's impending departure from the morning show on WAJI 95.1, it seemed like a scenario that we see all too often in radio these days. A popular station jettisoning talented, long time personnel based up on the whims of spineless General managers fueled by the cold and uncaring calculations of some non-radio bean counter at some far off corporate headquarters.  
Upon further investigation, this is not the case. After a quarter century in the business, the last 16 at WAJI 95.1, Ms Rinard's departure is of her own choosing and is the beginning of a career she will certainly love. Beginning next school year "Jnet", as her radio friends call her, will become  an Interactive Media Instuctor at the Four County Area Vocational Cooperative and will afford her more time with her family and more opportunities to serve her community.. 
Her tearful goodbye to her listeners and co-host Dirk Rowley, was one of the most genuine and touching moments the Maven has ever heard on the radio in a very long time. Kudos to WAJI 95.1 management for allowing Jeannette to complete her last show with the same amount of dignity and class that she has always projected. 
Best wishes, Jeannette....you will be missed. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Just Plain Lousy

The Maven's last critique of a WOWO News copy/webpage offering was met with so much, uh, attention, the Maven thought they would pick a random story from the weekend and try again.
While the headline "Man Hits House with Truck, Runs Away" does grab one's attention, the visual of a man holding a truck in his hands and banging the side of a house, does seem, uh, less than plausible.

You can follow along, if you desire:

#1: Folks. Now, the Maven realizes that WOWO's high-priced consultant has been encouraging the WOWO News staff to write in a "personalized, intimate, and relaxed" manner ( I can't recall the exact wording of the email critique I saw, but that's pretty close). However, the word "folks" is overused to the point of distraction. Stop it.

#2: They. Who is they? The police, the neighbors? Identify who "they" are.

#3: Guy. See point  #1. Your consultant, sitting in that sunny locale and composing programming critiques for his many radio station clients from the well-appointed confines of his 31 foot sailboat would not be happy to know that you have also turned that word into an irritant. Please Google the phrase "fingernails on a chalkboard" for more enlightenment. 

#4: Cops. Please. While your coworkers and friends at the bar and the nearby Starbucks may refer to them as "cops", they are law enforcement officers who put their lives in danger everyday to protect your privileged asses so that your may sit in an air conditioned news room and search through the Urban Dictionary to find cutesy words to "spice up" your news copy. Stop it. Show some respect.

#5: "alcohol had something to do with this". Tell me, did alcohol drive the truck, hit the house, call the police, or write this insipid news story? Tell me, I'm dying to know. 

#6: Isn't there supposed to be some "relate-able" graphic to go in this box? Draw me a graphic. Doesn't someone in your office have an advanced art degree?

Yes, there is one more glaring error. Did you spot it? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

They Just Don't Care

The Maven takes a lot of crap about being a crotchety nit-picker. But when garbage news copy like this is published on the web and read on the air, I make no excuses. This is like shooting fish in a barrel.

While I could probably find a few more issues with this copy, I stopped at 11...no use in piling on, right?

From what I can gather from the article, there were a couple of shootings early this morning that left one person dead and a couple more injured.

The complete (if you want to call it that) article can be found, errors and all, here:


Follow along with me:

#1: It's an update, ok, fine. Then you tell me, again, it's an update. Sloppy. The second "Updated" is redundant.
#2: This copy appears to be written for the ear, but I'm looking at it with my eyes. And once again, you infer that it's an update. Stop updating me and tell me the story......
#3: "out at the Eden Green....." Hello, Kayla Blakeslee! This one has your fingerprints all over it. The Eden Green complex sits dead (sorry about the pun) in the center of the city of Fort Wayne. "Out at...." would refer to an area outside of the city, or, at the least, far removed from the downtown area. No one on the WOWO news staff is from Fort Wayne, so, it makes sense that you are all confused.
#4: This sentence is so flatulently verbose, it should be removed. Police always welcome information from the public, so the words "police are now asking...." are unnecessary.

#5: "shooting erupted...". No, volcanoes erupt, shootings "happen". And for God's sake don't say "shots rang out".
#6: "the first one..." The word "one" is redundant and in unnecessary to tell the story.
#7: "half past two...". The only person in the world that uses the phase "half past two" is your grandmother, and even she is embarrassed by your writing. What's wrong with two thirty?
#8: "in the second shooting..." Try "other" shooting. You have described one, this is the other.
#9: The word "intersection" is misspelled twice, in two different ways. "intersecton" and "inersection". Spell check would have nailed this. Why do you have such little regard for your audience?
#10: "two shootings..." yes, mentioned that. It's redundant, again.
#11: Verbose and painful to read.

The Maven wonders when English and Grammar became optional courses in high school and college.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Indiana's News Center Grammar Checker Broken

Here's the latest assault on the English language, perpetrated by the dedicated journalists and bastions of credibility out on Butler Road. Apparently the rules for singular and plural have not been loaded in their computers.

Indiana News Center needs to come clean and admit that their news stories are out-sourced, and written in a third world country.

The bigger crime is that no one knows, or cares about things like this. 

But, if INC would screw up a Bob Rohrman car ad (which they do regularly) all Hell would break loose.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Handicapping The WOWO Afternoon Auditions

For the past few weeks listeners and the remaining "post Henson meltdown" advertisers have gotten to sample the talents of three men who seek to fill the dearly departed Pat Miller's shoes at WOWO 1190 (and now on 92.3 FM). Say what you want to about Mr. Miller, but he delivered a loyal audience, loyal advertisers, and program that you could listen to while you drove the kids to Little League practice. But radio carpetbaggers from out of town thought they knew better.
Now, Zach Bonahoom, Matt Kelty and Gary Snyder can do nothing but sit back and wait.

The wheels turn slowly out there at 2915 Maples Road.  As you read this, the management of WOWO 1190 (and now on 92.3 FM) are comparing notes, running reports, creating Excel spreadsheets and Access databases to tabulate, formulate and eventually decide who will fill the coveted air chair from 3 until 6 each afternoon at the once-great WOWO. Or, in typical FedMed style, they'll pull out the dart board and take a stab at it. What is known, for sure, is that you can bet they tell the home office Mishawaka that they used the former, not latter process to make their choice.

While no one has asked, the Maven would like to offer some guidance for those poor souls tasked with filling this Fort Wayne Radio void.
The be fair, any good talk show host should be judged by the same yardstick. Having hired and fired a few talk show "hosts" in my time, the Maven offers these categories:

  1. Personality - does the host have one?
  2. Preparation - does the host sound like they are prepared?
  3. Believability - does the host sound believable or are they "just making stuff up"?
  4. Audience Engagement - does the host actively involve the audience, as opposed to talking at them or ignoring them?
  5. Execution - is their "dead air"? Does the host hit "breaks" at the right time and keep the show on time?
  6. Interviewing skills - does the host actively interview guests with thoughtful questions? Does the most ask the guest to illustrate or defend a controversial point?
  7. Sustainable Content - can this host produce engaging content week after week?

How did they do? While no one embarrassed themselves, it's clear that the choice should be a fairly easy one. But, then, again, remember who we're dealing with here.

Zach Bonahoom was a breath of fresh air. His energy was good, he sounded happy to be on the radio. High marks for personality and preparation. Zach engaged his audience and seemed believable in his presentation. I did not hear dead air, the breaks seemed to run on time and the news (ick) was on time. Zach did ok with his interviews, and like the other hosts, this is always a place for improvement. The few missteps were minimized by Zach's positive energy and presentation. As for sustainability, Zach was smart to balance guests with callers to give listeners variety and a chance to interact with guests. For never hosting a radio talk show, Zach Bonahoom did very well.

The second contender was former Mayoral candidate and grand jury star Matt Kelty. Matt seemed to also have good energy in his delivery, but, at times, seemed a little tentative with his presentation. To be fair, Mr. Kelty would probably have been alittle more at ease presenting architectural models to an audience of school board members, but did present in a conversational manner. Mr. Kelty did confuse most of his audience with by branding his program "High Energy Radio" (a service marked slogan owned by a large radio chain). The next day the name had morphed into "High Energy State" with an incomprehensible slogan about uploading, downloading, sideloading, etc. Matt sounded prepared when he interviewed his guests, but had the nagging issue of interrupting them as well as finishing their sentences for them. That's a rookie mistake that any good program director could help fix. Matt had a couple of dead air episodes, but it's not clear they were his fault or if the blame could be laid at the computerized audio system WOWO uses. That's the one that plays 4 audio sources on the air at the same time, usually on weekends when no one is within 20 miles of the place. Another lingering question is the sustainability of Mr. Kelty in this position. While he did have knowledgeable guests, they all seemed to be of the same, general tone and topic which the audience might not see as interesting and engaging. The Maven recommends that Mr. Kelty keep his day job.

Last on the list is the current 9pm-12midnight WOWO talk show host and political chameleon Gary Snyder who also holds down a full time afternoon job at a small AM radio station in Marion, Indiana. Mr. Snyder previously hosted a time-brokered talk show on WGL 1250 on Saturday mornings. Time-brokered means that the host basically "rents" the air time from the station, often reselling the commercials within the show to advertisers and pocketing the proceeds. The free market at work! Hearing Mr. Snyder on the WOWO facilities was a definite improvement over the prehistoric studio audio from WGL Gary's style has always been a cross between speaking and hollering with a nice Hoosier twang thrown in for good measure. Gary always sounds prepared as evidenced by his meticulous work of lining up politically connected guests, many with national reputations. It's a shame, thought, that Gary does not "interview" his guests, he merely turns the station over to them to espouse their platform, hawk their book, or just ramble. Mr. Snyder also failed to question them on their points, and never once, would allow callers the opportunity to ask questions of his guests. After the guests would depart, Gary would talk with callers about the interview, and did little to engage the callers, sometimes finding himself with nothing to say but to thank the caller for their call. The Maven respects Mr. Snyder for holding down two jobs, especially in this economy.  

My money is on Zach Bonahoom. He's politically connected, has access to timely, local guests, savvy enough to interview them without annoying them, and his interaction with callers was genuine and believable. And, Zach offers a younger voice and perspective that WOWO continues to say they want as they attempt to make talk radio relevant and expand and grow a younger audience to replace their older and less appreciated/desirable older listeners. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

122 Minutes of Voyeur Radio.....

122 minutes of Gary Snyder is all the Maven could take. It's clear that Gary's tryout for WOWO's 3-6pm talk program has one main focus. 
It's all about Gary. 

In those 122 minutes, Gary spoke with a number of "guests", yet never allowed WOWO listeners to call in and question the guest, or even make supportive comments. 

Mr. Snyder did take phone calls, but only after the "guest" had left the air. Most callers sounded like Gary's poker buddies following instructions written for them on bar napkins, the remainder seemed to be clueless people who enjoy hearing themselves talk on the radio.  

Is there a place within the media for something like the Gary Snyder show? Of course, Gary would make a fine Public Access Cable TV host who plays big band records in his underwear while smoking cheap cigars. 
Oh, sorry about that, we already have a guy that does that. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Move Over INC News.....It's WOWO's Turn

A dear friend posted this on his Facebook page, and we use this with his permission. 

WOWO News can't seem to get the story straight. Is the person arrested an Outlaw member, or not? Only his lawyer knows for sure, and for sure, will be contacting the folks on Maples Road and in Mishawaka on Monday demanding some sort of accommodation, I'm sure. 

WOWO News, as you may recall, convicted a man of murder in print and on the air a few weeks ago.....stating that he did, indeed, kill someone, when, in fact, he was charged with murder according to police and court documents. 

This egregious example shows that no one cares about accuracy and no one seems to understand the trouble that sloppy journalism can bring. Ask Sherry Skufka at the Journal Gazette. Have her tell you the Banditos/Cockroach story....it's an expensive one.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Heat Is Off INC, For Now.....

The folks out on Butler Road at INC can relax today.....looks like WNDU in South Bend has taken today's prize for ignorance and stupidity in the use of the English language.

WNDU must have been way TWO busy TWO check the spelling of the word too, to, or is that two?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Station Without A Clue

It is apparent that the management of INC does not care about their news product.

Fresh on the heels of yesterdays "inhabitance" vs "inhabitants" fiasco, here comes their latest assault on the Queen's English:

"changing his closes....". What is distressing is that no one notices, or worse, no one cares at INC.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

English, A Second Language At INC?

Spelling may not count on Facebook or Twitter, but is still counts in that antiquated, rarely well done thing called Journalism. 
What would your high school English teacher think about this? 

Henson's Revenge Part 3....

Apparently there will be another "try out" session for WOWO's vacant 3-6 afternoon slot. After a week of the boyish charm of Zach Bonahoom and the showcasing of the head-scratching High Energy Radio/State with grand jury star Matt Kelty.......the Maven has learned that political chameleon Gary Snyder will have a shot at the famous WOWO air chair July 16-20. At least the chair should be familiar to Mr. Snyder as he now appears on WOWO's 9,800 wats nightly from 9-12 midnight. One would think that Mr. Snyder might have a leg up on the competition since he already knows where the bathroom is and how to work the vending machines. But, ya gotta wonder if Gary is clear on the fact that he's now on FM. I could have sworn that WOWO's FM frequency was 92.3.....not 92.5 as he offers on his Twitter profile.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Confused? Yes I am!

OK, Indiana News Center .... which is it? 

Is Aqua Indiana being investigated OR do you and David Long just WISH they were being investigated? 

Apparently only the headline writer knows for sure. 

WANE TV appears to have it correct: