Sunday, September 25, 2005

Day 21 - Media watching from the car

Day 21 from Los Angeles as I bid the wife goodbye at LAX and head east (anyone remember THAT other 1970s group from Champaign, Ill.?) on Route 66. I’m not really Tod, Buzz or Lincoln Case in a Corvette convertible, but does anyone remember Martin Milner, George Maharis or Glenn Corbett?
In truth, very little of “Route 66” was filmed on Route 66 itself. But it was one of those anthology series highlighted many of the better character actors in Hollywood, was well-written and involved places most people never even knew – along Route 66. I hope to see some of those places in the coming days.
I would have a great deal of difficulty relocating to the West Coast, except for Oregon, which is quite different than California. If I had one place in California to choose, it would be San Diego … except I don’t sail … and sunburn easily … and don’t like sushi … and don’t surf.
But I’d move there. However, the adjustment will be difficult. I’d have to wear shorts and flip-flops all the time, my glasses would have to hang by those strings, eat California cuisine, retain my balance during earthquakes and breathe the dirtiest air this side of Houston.
And I’d have to watch shows an hour later than I do now in the Central Time Zone – Daylight or otherwise. That means the news at 11 and Leno or Letterman on past midnight when the first guest arrives on stage. Sorry, but that is WAY past my bedtime. I’m at the age where I can’t even keep my eyes open for the late night Cinemax Skinemax soft core porn movie.
I’ve had the chance to see some of the work in other Southwest and Pacific Northwest cities. Television newscasts continue to prove that Dallas-Fort Worth is blessed with some of the better teams and operations in the country.
Los Angeles is particularly disappointing. The men looked either old and tired, mannequin-like and stilted or like male models and actors seeking a different vocation. The women did not appear to be Hollywood beauties, except for the UPN anchor who displayed far too much cleavage for any city’s newscast, and looked to be older than in other markets.
The reporters inspired no confidence in their reports, especially reporting from the Gulf Coast during the two hurricanes. The weathercasts were operable, but what would they pay for a Troy Dungan or Kristine Kahanek? And there is no one like Dale Hansen in any city that I have visited (LA, SF, Phoenix, etc.).
On the radio, I wish there was a sports talk station as entertaining as 1310The Ticket. Most hosts either scream or focus on a single issue, repeating the same calls and same answers all day long. Granted, in Dallas, the Cowboys dominate, but not like this.
Also, there is no one like Norm Hitzges, loaded with more information and anecdotes than any computer.
The best radio newscast was found in San Francisco on KCBS with its all-news format. It was crisp, informative, quick and covered many items each half-hour. The traffic reports were understandable, even for a foreigner like me.
Listening to AM radio in the daytime means having to deal with the big three national talk show shows (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly) on almost every station in every market. Unless you can obtain the odd station carrying the liberal Air America radio, or sports talk, everything on AM talk is basically “Pete and Repeat.” Dennis Prager has the same thoughts as Lars Larson as Laura Ingraham as Michael Reagan. No one is as vile as Michael Savage and he should not be on anyone’s radio waves, but in radio, as in life, there is no accounting for taste.
As I wrote before, many places on the road have no access to strong signals so the CD player is red hot from usage.
Being a retired newspaperman, I love a good newspaper and thus far, the best overall package is the San Francisco Chronicle and the Arizona Republic. The Los Angeles Times looks stuffy and gray and other papers were thinner than the excuses from philandering husbands.
I’d adjust to the weather and food; not sure about the media. But these days, who is?

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