Entries Tagged as 'CBS News'

blog dump


Some fairly discombobulated but enjoyable reading from my blog reader today with thanks to all the authors.

Even I know I don’t always say THE most interesting things everyday…variety is the spice of life.

Computers link directly with the brain (Life Hacker) – The opportunities with this technology are wonderful and a bit frightening. But isn’t everything.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Turning your favorite blogs into a printed tabloid (Twist Image Blog) – Hewlett Packard has created software called Tabbloid that takes any blog feed that you enter and creates a print out overview for you to read…sort of a Cliff Notes version of your RSS feed. Seems like this is just a seed of a bigger idea but you gotta start somewhere. Thanks Mitch Joel.

Scribbling on business cards (BryanPerson.com)- I met Bryan Person at PodCamp Boston a few years ago (he wouldn’t remember me) but he’s a very smart and likeable fellow who has fostered the Social Media Breakfasts around the country, which makes him a great networker. Well his blog today talked about creating business cards with enough white space to scribble notes on. My new cards have some room for scribbles.

Getting the best travel rates? (Life Hacker)- If you’re not sure use one or more of these five sites to help you compare. I’ve used Kayak with some success. But my travel experience also tells me that some days (and even some minutes, it seems) its a crap shoot.

And the new host of Meet The Press is? (New York Times)- Care to place your bets?

su2c – stand up to cancer

Stand Up 2 Cancer SU2C

Tonight, the anchors and managing editors from ABC News, CBS News and NBC News will take over our televisions in prime time.

And it won’t be about an election.

SU2C. Stand Up to Cancer. Please watch and, if you can, please give. Thanks!

don lafontaine – requiescat in pace


It was a bit of a jolt to be awakened this morning to hear on the radio (via CBS News) of the death of voice over legend Don LaFontaine. Over the past week the internet had been buzzing about his illness and hoping for Don’s full recovery.

It’s a discussion I pretty much stayed out of first off until I could ascertain the information about his illness was credible (not a awful internet hoax) and then because aside from a prayer I offered, there wasn’t much else for me to do.

Now the gift has ended for Don, as it will for all of us.

There was no bigger name in the modern day voice over world based not only on his talent but also his great income from his talent (he was the “stars” in many voice over newbies’ eyes). Don said many times he knew he was the luckiest man in the world which gave me a sense that he was probably a good fella, I never personally knew the man save for a few emails we traded. Participants in the VOICES 2007 conference enjoyed the opportunity to meet with Don during a panel discussion and it’s a memory I know they will cherish.

While this is a very sad loss for the voice over world, it’s a sadder loss for Don’s wife, his three children, family and close friends. For them and for whatever its worth, I offer my deepest condolences.

Requiescat In Pace.

the revulsion is still there

remembering the towers

I knew what was going to happen when I started the player. I had seen it hundreds of times from many angles.

Yet today when I clicked on the player, as I watched the event unfold again, my eyes squinted, my hands trembled and my posture was taut.

Knowing that the plane was going to crash into the second tower on September 11th didn’t ease my shock nor did it still the memories of everything that played out in the hours, days, weeks, months and years ahead.

The Internet Archive has collected video from all the major American and UK networks as the events of September 11th unfolded live on TV.

From a journalistic or media perspective it is an invaluable resource which again proves how the internet can be a wonderful educational tool.

You should watch it for that reason or because you are an American or because you are a human being.

So much time has passed and I am still so angry.

knock off the double speak


Companies big and small have to layoff people occasionally because revenues are not strong enough or expenses are too high or the owners want a better profit and salaries eat into their profit taking. If you own the company, you get to make these decisions and that’s the way it is.

Save for a contract, few people who are gainfully employed have an employment guarantee. We’re all grown ups and understand this to be a hard fact of life.

Everyone except public relations vice presidents, marketing heads, and HR staffers.

Either forced by their bosses or of their own accord, these normally clear speaking individuals start spewing a load of incomprehensible crap as soon as they or their company is asked for a media comment regarding lay-offs.

Case in point is the story in the New York Daily News today about a recent round of layoffs at WCBS-TV. The crux of the story is that for financial reasons, CBS ditched some on-air talent and behind the scenes staffers. Sad news for those affected, certainly, but jobs (ANY jobs) are only guaranteed if the money is available (or made available) to pay the staff.

So contrast the simplicity of that with this corporate speak baloney as reported by the Daily News:

The exact number of people leaving was unclear.

Reached Monday, Ch. 2 general manager Peter Dunn declined to discuss specifics.

“The strategic realignment of our team will allow the station to continue to invest wisely in the people and infrastructure that will drive future growth in ratings, revenue and community service,” Dunn said.

Just about all the CBS owned and operated stations around the country started layoffs recently.

In Chicago, WBBM-TV, also axed a bunch of staff on March 31st including the city’s supposedly top paid anchor, Diann Burns. The report in the Chicago Sun Times notes:

One source said the total reduction represented less than 10 percent of the station’s workforce.

“The reorganization of our team allows us to operate more efficiently,” said Elizabeth Abrams, director of communications at Channel 2. “We will continue to invest in the people and in the infrastructure that will drive our future growth in ratings, in revenue and in community service.”

WBZ-TV in Boston showed the door to staffers on Monday as well, according to the Boston Globe:

Local CBS station WBZ-TV (Channel 4) began making staff cuts, according to a station spokeswoman. The cuts are expected to be about 10 percent of the overall workforce of 220. “There have been staff reductions stationwide as a result of our restructuring for efficiencies and streamlining our operations while maintaining quality programming and service to the community,” said Ro Dooley Webster, spokeswoman for Brighton-based WBZ-TV. TV

Well, I guess our answers were rehearsed, weren’t they?

“…strategic realignment…”

“…invest in the people and in the infrastructure…”

“….our restructuring for efficiencies and streamlining our operations…”

Dunn, Adams and Dooley may have “said” it but it sure looks like somebody at corporate emailed them a script. Otherwise (and I have never met any of them) they may all be robots. And a 1970’s type robot at that, because nobody normally speaks that way. Lawyers do and nobody likes them. And maybe there’s a corporate CYA mode in effect here but stop, just please stop!

Be honest, take a day’s bad publicity and move on. Any company who issue’s a statement like those two on any corporate issue makes a company look totally insincere and no amount of “2 on your side” promos, little league sponsorship or whatever is going to fix that perception.

How about this WCBS-tailored example instead:

“I don’t know anybody who likes to be laid off or who likes laying people off and that includes us. Making these cuts was very painful for those extremely talented people directly affected, for our staff who will miss their valued co-workers and for the managers who had agonizing business decisions to make. Our business reality is that we have to compare our overall expenses to the long term growth of our station which still provides jobs for over 150 New Yorkers every day. While WCBS will now be better financially positioned long term, today it sucks for everyone involved.”

I’m sure there are lawyers and others who could punch holes and find millions of dollars in liability in that quote. But it acknowledges the pain of the situation for everyone (those leaving and staying), it addresses a long term business reality and it’s not corporate speak.

Honesty can still be the best policy.

Thanks for reading.

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the best voiceover performance of 2006

As we saddle up for the fourth quarter of the year, a time when networks like MTV and Premiere Radio Networks start assembling their countdown shows, I thought it fitting that I would announce (with 60+ days still left in the year) the best performance by a voice over talent in 2006.

The rules of this award, created by me and owned by me state that I cannot give the award to myself (darn those rule makers!)

No, the 2006 award for best voiceover goes to a voice that’s known by many generations both from his (ok, first clue: it’s a guy) radio and television voice work (some of it on-camera). He is also one of the oldest (clue #2), living (clue #3) and occasionally working (clue #4) voices around. He also loves to sail (clue #5).

On September 5th, like many Americans, I was watching the debut of the “new” CBS Evening News with Katie Couric opened the show with some headlines, read from her new multi-million dollar set inside her new multi-million dollar studio.

The new theme music was cued, the graphics came up and THAT voice intoned: “THIS is the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.”

The voice wasn’t just perfect because of its own rich quality, nor was it simply the really well paced read.
With all that included, the reason THAT voice worked so well was because the CBS Evening News, a broadcast steep in journalistic history, reeling not so long ago from a costly news scandal and now introducing the first solo female news anchor (which shouldn’t have been such a big deal) needed to deftly combine all the news gathering technology and fanciful broadcast elements with its storied (and successful) journalistic past.

When Walter Conkrite, the broadcast’s most famous and beloved anchor, introduced this newest version of the CBS Evening News, he was also imparting his implied blessing on this new news show. Almost so far in the background as to be imperceptible (as many good voiceover talents are) but authoritative and certainly recognizable enough to impart a feeling of trust in the news show that was about to be unveiled.To Walter Cronkite, I bestow The Best Voiceover Performance of 2006 Award. And to the CBS staffer who came up with the idea to use Cronkite, like they say in the beer ads: Brilliant!