Friday, July 20, 2007

An All TV Special.

For a town that has no weather to speak of, we sure are passionate about how the weather is forecast and reported. Soon to be darkening the doors of the KEYT studio on TV Hill is the "talent coach."

The "talent coach" is a consultant from Iowa who advises station management about their on-the-air-talent. He also makes suggestions about how news-personnel can improve their broadcast presence by, for example, "being more animated" or "using their hands more." It's always nervous time when these consultants make their periodic visits. Last year at this time when the talent coach showed up, humidity honey Kate Wentzel, the stations' popular meteorologist was shown the door.

The reasons given for putting Kate on the next jet stream out of town were always kind of foggy. Something about a difference of opinion over the use of the term "marine layer." I never would have guessed that those two words could be so controversial. In any event Kate is back in Florida at WPBF the ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach.

Note that I no longer use the term "weather babe." Although Kate herself told me that she wasn't offended by the designation I've gotten a lot of flack from others about my use of it. As someone once pointed out to me, men who report the weather are "meteorologists" therefore women shouldn't be weather babes. Or so the logic goes.

Okay then. In other news, high pressure hunk Dave Hefferman recently completed his tour of duty reporting the weather on KEYT's morning news when isobar idol Rosemary Orozco returned to the broadcast following her maternity leave.

Having solved the station's weather woes perhaps the talent coach won't be so preoccupied with it this time and will focus on other areas of the newscast. Hopefully he likes expressive eyebrows. If he doesn't, 5 p.m. anchor Joe Gehl could be a full-time project for him.

* * *

TV doesn't have to be highly polished to be entertaining. One of Santa Barbara's most popular shows is actually on public access. It's called "Santa Barbara Uncensored." The title is a little misleading. You'd think with that kind of name and its popularity, it's the local version of "Girls Gone Wild!" Hardly.

The hosts are Mike Schmitt, Teddy Steinkellner and Jake Longstreth. Mike and Teddy both just graduated from Dos Pueblos High. Mike is off to NYU in August. Teddy will be an incoming freshman at Stanford in September. Jake is still in high school and will be entering his junior year at Laguna Blanca when school starts up again in the fall.

The show's set consists of a couch, an easy chair and a coffee table. Kind of Dick Cavett like, except Dick never propped his feet up on the coffee table which I was kind of surprised to see the boys do since two of their three mothers were in the studio at the time.

On the day my 11-year-old daughter and I went down to see the taping (she's a big fan of the show) the regular director couldn't make it. So Teddy's mother, Cheri Steinkellner was in the control room and Teddy's father, Bill, was manning the cameras (and also supplying the live laugh track) along with Mike's parents Bob and Betsy Schmitt. That's actually some high priced help at work there. Bill and Cheri are screen writers whose credits include 23 episodes of "Cheers."

More unscripted than uncensored (after all, how risqué can it get with the parents right there) it's an excursion into the mind of the male adolescent with three high school aged tour guides.

On this particular day the topics of discussion included the new Harry Potter movie, summer vacation plans and Mike's story about a visit to New York where he played chess against a "drug addict" in Washington Square and "got torched." Hopefully that was a reference to the outcome of the chess game and not to some side visit to a Greenwich Village watering hole.

Thankfully there was no talent coach in sight. After all, if he had a problem with "marine layer" he would probably have gone ballistic over the expression "got torched."

"Uncensored" can be seen Friday night at 9 p.m. on Channel 17.

* * *

Have you ever wondered if the people you see giving testimonials in commercials are actors or actual users of the product? I was watching TV the other day and to my surprise I saw Santa Barbara attorney and mediator Judith Rubenstein doing a commercial for "Dr. Frank's Pain Reliever."

Judith tells me that she did the spot over three years ago as a favor for the good doctor and its been running scattered all over the country ever since then.
Kind of like the on-air personnel at a TV station after the talent coach makes a visit.

* * *

Today's last word goes to Dr. Laura who used her Thursday News-Press column, which ran under the headline, "Big Mouths, Small Handouts," to gloat about the inability of Santa Barbara Newsroom to find a source of funding.

Where is Sara McCune's check? She was vocal enough about being willing to pay tens of millions of dollars to buy the News-Press, but she wasn't willing to put up the hundreds of thousands to keep its so-called substitute afloat.

What lazy, cheap, power-hungry hypocrites.

Meow! Kind of makes you long for the good old days when Laura's column never had anything local in it.

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