Tuesday, May 31, 2005


From Vanity Fair; Confirmed by the Washington Post.

Why many of us over 30 got into journalism.

Now the debate is raging over unnamed sources.

May Book - Portland TV News


KATU .9 rating/6 Share KGW 1.7/12 KOIN 1.1/8 KPTV 2.4/17 (last May 1.9/14)
KATU 2.5/12 KGW 3.9/18 KOIN 1.5/7 KPTV 4.1/19 (last May 3.3/16)

KPTV (5.5/19) beats Today Show (4.8/17) and GMA (3.2/11)


KATU (11am) 2.7/9 KGW 5/17 (last May 4.4/15) KOIN 2.5/8

Early News

KATU 4.8/10 KGW 9.5/21 (last May 9.3/20) KOIN 4.9/11 (edged out 2 the last two weeks)

KATU (6:30-7) 5.3/10 KGW 7.7/16 (last May 7.2 14) KOIN 4.2/8

Late News
KATU 3.7/9 KGW 7.9/19 (last May 7.9/18) KOIN 6.1/14 KPTV (10pm) 6.9/12

Unions in Newsrooms

In one week (Monday June 6), KOIN's photographers, editors and technicians will vote to join NABET (Nat'l Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians). Later this summer, reporters and anchors will vote whether to join AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists).

KOIN hasn't had a union shop for a long time. There are some unions and guilds in different newsrooms. As expected KOIN's management has asked employees to consider a no vote.

In the weeks ahead, you will be hearing from your supervisors and managers as to why we believe it is in all our interests to "vote no". Please understand that even if you signed an "authorization card" regarding this union, you still have a chance to vote for or against the union in the secret ballot election.

Unions represent lots of people in Portland's newsrooms. Do they help? KOIN employees are mostly hoping someone will stand for them on work rule issues (overtime, short callback, etc.).

I'm hoping folks can use this site to help them understand the plusses and minuses before they vote.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Memorial Day

I plan to take the weekend off, but wanted to tell everyone who's written or are just peeking in, thank you.

I continue to be amazed that so many people care so much about what they do (listening bosses?) and care so much about Portland. Or aren't in the biz and write in to help us make better decisions.

When I return, I want to write about newspapers, which I don't have as much insight to the daily tremors, but I hear enough from my reporter and photographer friends to start the ball rolling. I also want to write about diversity - or the lack thereof.

And lastly, because I think it's important to note that it all doesn't suck, I'd like to solicit who the best reporters in town are (all media), the best photographers, and the unsung heroes back in the shops.

I also plan to have my gmail up and running - as suggested.

Please be safe with your cars and your drinks (and other things). Wear lots of sunscreen.

This is fun.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

KBOO (my bad)

I was rightly scolded for excluding them.

KBOO has carved out an enthusiastic, committed niche for its audience and news product. They are the only station that has made a reputation for calling bullshit when their audience sees it. They follow up large scale public protests, they report hard on environmental and livability issues.

While the on air product of their operation clearly slants in one direction, so does the news. But, given our times and Fox News, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Their program hosts are well educated and ask very tough questions. During the recent political campaign, they were equally tough on all candidates asking about finances and influence.

They rightly brag about their volunteers and sometimes that shows in production values, voice quality, etc. But in the end, they do mirror a significant portion of Portland listeners and with their national feeds and public affairs program, provide a service and a different viewpoint than you'll consistently get on the other stations.

Portland Radio News

I want to thank one of the earliest posters who turned me on to the Portland Radio website, which has a link to the right. Most of the notations are about history and format and, my favorite, radio pre-sets. It's very entertaining, despite name calling and some things we won't do.

Here's my take on Portland radio news :

Other than KINK and OPB radio, when was the last time you heard a special report (1-3 minutes) on a major topic on KEX or its Clear Channel Portland network, KXL or KPAM? Radio's formats don't really allow it. I don't clock things, but with so many commercials per hour (15 - 20 minutes?) where would they get the time. In morning drive, shows are so heavily formatted that it keeps a station from showing off its reporting. Remember how Chris Sullivan became a star (other than hard work and talent)? He did a number of special reports - as did a number of the men and women, who are pretty much (my observation) assigned to faking live news (live from the newsroom) in the early morning.

And for afternoons? Forget it. Again, other than the cut ins (and OPB & KINK), where are the newscasts? Again, news wasn't making money. Radio news here is too repetitive and no one on the AM dial seems to be willing to brand themselves as different and special. Everyone is team coverage and traffic and weather together... I will say the radio people I know work very hard (they have to - they're sent everywhere) and care deeply about their own product.

So here's my brief thoughts about the station which do the lionshare of the reporting - you can add the always excellent John Erickson to the mix, but he works for Clear Channel too. I will say, you are more likely to hear stories on the radio that TV is shying away from - city council, legislature, etc.

KEX - The deepest team and the most experienced. Brad Ford runs a good operation and some their people are top notch. Like most, they are drawn to crime and accidents, but they do get around. They have lots of voices (Neal Pendland, Jim McLaren (who sounds like Jim Howe)) that have been in the market a while. KEX's strength is familiarity and they don't change much. They do slip in a feature or two that bounces around the network, but it's too rare. Don't hear too many grumblings other than work load and other issues. The reporters here seem to understand their job and do it well. Over at 103, John Erickson is the dean of news readers (like Pat Boyle and others) who is a draw.

KINK - How do they slip in all that news around all that music? Sheila Hamilton anchors the team with the excellent Jacob Lewin out on the street. They delve into lots of topics (politics, land use, environment, etc.) that no one takes real time to cover. They also have the freedom to do so because of their history and reputation. They make few changes so this is a very stable place.

KOPB - With Morgan Holm piloting the ship, you can guarantee they will not get caught up in crime (unless there's a big trend). There's lots of politics, lots and lots of environmental stories, lots of stuff from Salem, and a little attention to Portland government. They have the biggest audience to feed, so they try to be big picture. Kristian Foden-Vencil sounds like an Englishman trying to fake an American faking an English accent. Get past that, he's a pretty good reporter. They have the best reporter (my estimation) in Colin Fogerty - good pipes, boils down issues to understandable working person language.

KPAM - Who is listening? This still sounds like an experiment, although they obviously paid huge bucks to get Bob Miller - did he bring an audience? The news here always sounds like catch as catch can, and they keep letting reporters go. Bill Gallagher who really wants his talk show back is the news director. He does know the market. They were smart enough to hire Peter Linsky who watches business better than anyone - KXL showed Peter the door. And Frank Lenzi would be killer at a station where people listened (hello Sheila Hamilton).

KXL - They finally have a news director - Doug Carter, but this is the house that program director James Derby built. They do a better job than KPAM sounding like an all-news/talk format. The morning team of Steve Leader and Rebecca Marshall do an okay job, and at least they're willing to spend some time with their "experts" from Washington and locally. But it's clear from their promos and their nod to Lars that they want listeners to think they're Fox News Portland. Fair and balanced. Kevin Allen (great pipes) and Charlie Maxton are hustlers and seem to be everywhere.

It's hard to be comprehensive here and I hope posters add their two cents. For all the trouble radio formatting is in (and how people are flocking to satellite), would it hurt some of these news operations to slow down and let their reporters be reporters?

One last thing: the radio stations news pages suck. You can't get a sense from them what's happening, or get any real legs from some of the reporting. Doing their sites would be very labor intensive, and we know that (putting text and/or audio) would divert them from getting out in the field

Quick Update - re:KOIN

KOIN's Assistant News Director Irene Mahoney is gone. Whether fired, asked to leave or "resigned to pursue other opportunities", this makes the top two people in that newsroom gone. She was there a year. The last person to hold down that spot was John Ray, who is now a flack in Portland. He was at KOIN for about 20 years.

Guessing this is not the last person from the news management team shown the door.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Francke Case Thoughts

Things seemed to be working.

The Oregonian's huge investigation into the Michael Francke case brought out expected reaction from the Tribune's Phil Sanford and KATU's Eric Mason - the two reporters in town who don't go a season without doing a story or three about the 16 year old case.

I think it's fair to say no one following the story can't be dazzled by all the contradictions, conspiracy theories, forgotten memories, etc. I don't know who did it. I do know that we will not hear the end of it in our lifetimes.

Les Zaitz is one of the O's most thorough reporters. I think to easily dismiss his and Noelle Crombe's investigation just because it clashes with Stanford's possible version, or because we want to hack at the Oregonian isn't fair. It still left me with questions including wondering about Frank Gable's so-called innocence. Remember, everyone in the joint is innocent.

That said, there are strong arguments that those who put him there were given too much weight, and he probably had shitty representation. I'm guessing he never sees a free day again in his life, no matter who is going to bat for him.

I know that Eric Mason made a cottage industry out of the Francke case, selling new news directors from KOIN to KPAM to KATU on his breathless stories. Many of his colleagues remember his live shot the moment the verdict was announced when he basically told his audience it was a shocking decision. Shocking to him.

In the end, this is another back and forth between news outlets focused on the O. It started with Packwood, got even larger last year when the Willamette Week scooped everyone on Goldschmidt, and now this. What it says to me is the O wants to own the big stories. So whoever breaks the next big one, watch Sandy Rowe try to one up you.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Cough, Cough, Hack, Hack

Sorry. Computer had the flu - just about cleaned out the virus and hope to post later tonight.

Topic - Francke case - whose life (or livelihood) is on the line?

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Ch- Ch- Ch- Changes

Before we start the new week, I (not the queen) thought I'd talk about changes.

In newspapers, other than a big change (Galen Barnett) on who decides the look (and content) of the editorial pages, the big shake-up was 2004 when Lora Cuykendall got the boot from the great and powerful Jaynes (threatened Dwight?), and they laid off bunches of good folks. As we've read, the Trib is now a mixed bag for folks. And WillyWeek has a new editor that most folks seem to like and look forward to his leadership - Hank Stern who watched City Hall for the O.

In radio, the changes have been formats - Charley, some personnel. The saddest one (but methinks it was good for her personal life) was when Rebecca Webb started waking up early, early again to re-join KINK, sending the very good Sheila Hamilton to afternoon drive (and probably making KINK better there).

**BTW - since I don't work in radio, it would be great if someone could post radio arbs sometime in the future. I think we'd love to see Lars vs. Franken numbers, z100 vs OPB, KINK & K103 in the am drive.

In TV, we've noted KOIN's woes (some very very good posts), and about a year ago, KPTV elevated our correspondent McCreery to News Director.

But what does change usually mean? Someone walks in the door and asks, who's been here longer, where's the (perceived) dead wood. Some changes are made for the better, some (like KOIN and FM97.1) are disasters.

Your Sunday question, when has change in your shops been good?

Enjoy (finally) the sun.

Friday, May 20, 2005

KOIN - Another Experminent to Come

This evening KOIN employees were told that their news director & station manager Dan Salamone resigned to "pursue other interests."

In his short time he gave Portland "news to the point".

When he arrived KOIN was in second place. Now, it will land in third in most of the newscasts it does with perhaps the lowest morale of any newsroom in Portland (save perhaps the folks at the Trib who are still cursing the upcoming move).

He was at KOIN for less than two years, which is about the average for news directors in this sized markets (24th largest in the country). What you are likely to see is some change in on-air personnel, two new unions for its employees (hoping for better treatment), a new look of graphics and perhaps a new set (it usually comes with a new boss). KOIN's news will likely be in limbo for a while as it is up for sale along with the others in the Emmis group. It is a perfect opportunity for KATU, which is poised to be the #2 news station in Portland.

What is hoped for internally (so I'm told) is someone who will use this as an opportunity to turn KOIN around and learn from this 18 month or so experiment.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Who's In Charge - TV Part II

We've decided to hold off until next week to talk about radio and newspaper, because we got a fantastic question from an anonymous poster:
Anonymous said...
I'm curious, many here say that these newscasts are nothing but crap, and that there is no real reporting going on. How do you define good reporting and a good newscast? What kind of content do you want?

We're starting to get the responses we hoped to get, plus maybe (it is in my shop) it's starting to get people talking about content. So let's keep this thread going. What kind of newscast would you want?

Plus, it was very cool to hear from the news boss at Channel 12 who, although a bit defensive, said his am formula wouldn't work at night. Instinctively we know that, but why not Patrick? Unless it would give away house secrets, what would your ideal newscast say about your community, how its growing, etc.?

Since today we're focused on an officer involved shooting, we're not following what was a great news day in Portland - Tim Boyle's challenge to Portland's City Council, the cell phone tax and who might start a petition drive to kill the new "voter owned election."

On a side note - thanks to everyone contributing in a thoughtful way. Maybe we're getting some people's attention. That's what we wanted.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Who's In Charge

We thought today we'd talk about the ultimate decision makers and what their employees and some PR people we know think about them. It's clear we know broadcasting, so we can only venture a few things about folks at the O, the Trib, WWeek and the Merc. We also don't know that much about KBOO, other than we can tell you that if you want passion, walk in that building - it reminded me about when we got started and really cared.

Today we'll start with TV news - Tomorrow radio news - and Friday we'll try print. Please join in, especially if you disagree with what the going buzz is.

As always, we go in alphabetical order:

GM - David Olmsted. More a programming and sales guy. Lets his news director run the shop. Despite consistent low ratings since he got there, he really hasn't made any bold firings - he should.
ND - Mike Rausch - his claim to fame came in the mid-90's when he made old-stodgy KGW (then) hot. He started the helicopter wars. At KATU he hasn't done much. There have been a few anchor changes, most of the new hires have pink faces and blond hair and no idea what they are doing. His desk is run by Eric Spolar (a former photographer) and Norm Gunning, who came to the market with electricity - but read that with respect. He knows everything. Their Executive Producer is Roberta Altstadt. She isn't liked internally and she sends hilarious memos - which we'll post in the near future. They aren't setting anything on fire, but with the implosion of KOIN, KATU is seeing numbers go north. They have very good and seasoned photographers but they don't seem to be pushed. It's surprising that Rausch hasn't molded them in his KGW model - they'd easily be better. Now, they're just okay. Anchor Steve Dunn may be the best in the market, but he seems bored.
BOTTOM LINE-If Rausch got his old legs back and hired better reporters, watch 'em grow.

The #1 station in the market. GM is Paul Fry who is smart enough to leave things alone.
ND is Rod Gramer who is really the only real news guy running a TV shop. He hires good people and gets out of their way. His top three in command are well seasoned and do a good job, but as we've noted before, they're playing the crime/blood game a bit much these days. Rick Jacob, the Assistant News Director has Eugene and KOIN roots, and runs things day to day. His news judgement is sound. Sally Ramirez is the Executive Producer - keeps an eye on the shows and make sure they're filled with news. Joe Arndt watches over the best assignment desk in the city - the photographers here rightfully win lots of awards. They have reporters who, from top to bottom, can wear that moniker. KGW's only fear is complacency, but they have good leaders that should have them on top for at least another 5 years.
BOTTOM LINE - The SoCal Trojans of the market. Someone has to be really good and really different to knock them off.

The GM is Kim Montour, who is just keeping the seat warm for the next person. She's a corporate news director who is respected by news managers within the Emmis parent company, but that's not saying much about a corporation not well liked by its TV news employees.
The ND is Dan Salamone, who came here from Albuquerque about a year and a half ago and is making KOIN in his own image and likeness. With the exception of a few veterans on air (Gianola, Boddie, Donahue, Whelan) the staff you see is brand new. It shows. His number two, Irene Mahoney, came from LA, his Managing Editor John Bell hails from Cleveland and his Executive Producer Aaron Beckman is famous internally for being afraid of his own shadow. None of these people seem to care about Portland, what people want to see or its history. The re-hiring of Kelley Day was thought to be the beginning of a turnaround, but after a one day bump, her numbers have plummeted. Channel 6 used to have the best producers in the market, but now most of them are bullied and beaten and don't make too many independent decisions. The photography staff is changing but not challenged. KOIN is in sad shape and a new owner will likely say aloha to these news managers. If not, KOIN may be insignificant. The last time KOIN was good was when often hated Kerry Oslund ran the shop. Oldtimers who hated him then want him back.
BOTTOM LINE-How low will they go and who will they blame for their woes? Will they fire Donahue and act like it was his fault?

The Dr. Jeckle/Mr. Hyde of market. A great morning cast and the police blotter at night.
GM - Teresa Burgess. She's really in charge of two stations, plus satellite in Bend. She's well thought of and the only woman to run a station in the market. Her instincts made her wait out the growing pains in the morning and now it beats the Today show - and it should. It's good.
ND - Patrick McCreery. He used to be the number two for Troy McGuire who engineered KPTV's nightly dominance - brought in the graphics and the pace and made the old Channel 12 news (Kim Singer and Lars Larson) a far away memory. He's in charge but not lighting anyone on fire. A good staff of photographers and editors and a decent assignment desk. Their EP came from KGW, but doesn't show it. Assistant News Director Debbie Curren does a good job and knows the market, but considering their reliance on crime, that means keeping the skanners loud and clear. They just added Managing Editor Bruce Williams who was on the desk at KOIN forever. He could be a catalyst if they want to start covering news again. The reporters range from good (Kerry Tomlinson is world class) to awful, but their format is the star. They have good pleasant attractive anchors and the best meteorologist/weatherman in the market, Mark Nelsen. If he was on 8, it would be like Annika Sorenstam. Everyone would be way back in the rear view.
BOTTOM LINE - If they can arrest their ratings fall with a nightly newscast that looks like their morning show, they'll probably beat KGW's 11pm numbers again.

We're only adding this because they've done weather for fun (and water cooler talk). They just added a talk show on Sunday morning that few people watch with former city council candidate Nick Fish. What's that about?

Our thoughts. We didn't get too nasty, but we know some of you will.
Someone asked for more posts, but one a day is about all we can get to. We just wanted to be the spark.

Happy 25th MSH.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Homestretch TV News Ratings

There is a little more than a week for the Portland TV stations to gather viewers to make money for the summer and early fall.

The news is not surprising, but we think it says something about how the stations are not recruiting viewers and don't have a product that people have to see. Are local newscasts becoming irrelevant? Lots of us don't think we're creating a product people need - just doing what's easy and rarely making a difference.

So here goes. A couple of notes - the first number is the program rating - the percent of TV homes in the market (about a million). The second number is the share - percent of viewers watching that newscast at that time.

5am - 6am - M-F
KATU .7/7 KGW 1.6/12 KOIN .9/7 KPTV 2.3/17

6am - 7am - M-F
KATU 2.3/11 KGW 3.9/18 KOIN 1.5/7 KPTV 4.0/19

7am - 9am
KATU (GMA) 3/11 KOIN (CES) 1.2/4 KGW (Today) 5/17 KPTV (GDO) 5.2/18

**The news in the morning is that KPTV's Good Day Oregon is the gold standard for taking a format, tweaking it just right, combining the right people, and staying away from their nightly bloodbath. KGW's only threat is here in the morning, otherwise, the market is KGW's.

11am/Noon - M-F
KATU (11am) 2.6/9 KOIN (noon) 2.7/11 KGW (noon) 5.0/17

KOIN gave the noon away when it showed ShirleyHancock the door in 2001, had some growth when Reed Coleman and Mark Hendricks still worked there, but Anna Katayama can't help them. The telling thing here is how KATU pretty much keeps its audience from AM Northwest and the View, how KGW pretty much doubles it's leadin (Regis & Kelly) and how KOIN fumbles its good lead from a soap opera.

5pm -M-F
This used to be a horse race until early 2001. KGW is like Seabiscuit, although its starting to show signs of wanting to wallow in the mud - not building on its dominance that came with covering real stories.
KATU(1 hr) 4.4/10 KOIN (1/2 hour) 4.1/9 KGW 9.0/20 (more than double the competition)

KATU is starting to edge out KOIN in every early newscast - that trend started last summer.

6pm - M-F
KATU (6:30) 5.2/10 KOIN 3.8/8 (6-6:30) 3.9/8 (6:30-7) KGW 8/16 (6-6:30) 6.5/13 (6:30-7)

So think about this - in 5 years, the stations have lost 20-50% of their audience. That says volumes about deciding what to cover. On average between 5-7, just under half of the TV's in Portland are on, and, again on average, about 17% of all homes are watching local news.

The late news numbers say more about KOIN and its inability to ride the wave of some strong CBS numbers, and KPTV starting to see a slide in its numbers - which we think is format.

KPXG (KGW produced) 1.4/2 KPTV 6.3/11 - no contest here, but KPTV's numbers are starting to fall. It used to be the highest 10pm newscast, but that's changing (they still promote old numbers at the end of the broadcast)

KATU 3.8/9 KOIN 6.2/14 KGW 8.2/19
KOIN wins prime time (CBS) but those staying up flip over to KGW. ABC is starting to look respectable, but KATU can't hold the audience.

Lessons here: KOIN's gotta make changes fast - they've already lost a GM, could their News Director be close behind. The numbers have dropped since he came on board and a union vote is on the way. Ouch.
KGW seems to be cruising, but again, it's doing more crime than it needs. They have good managers there - why not stay ahead of the fray and distance the newscast even more.
KATU is glowing from the early news numbers, which will probably save the job of its News Director, something the staff isn't too happy about.
KPTV should be pouring champagne every morning, but will start to worry when it's 10pm numbers start to be on par with KATU's 11pm.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Mt. St. Helens

Just think. Many of the people reporting this week on the 25th anniversary of Mt. St. Helens weren't even born when it blew its top in 1980.

Back then, the reporting was great and the competition fierce. The editor for the defunct Northwest Magazine (every Sunday in the O) took crews away from the daily coverage, almost causing fist-fights. Photographers from all organizations had to hold steady in helicopters and single engine planes to get those iconic shots of the eruption. No gyrocams here. The reporting (radio and TV) was breathless, but (if you were around), weren't we all? Everyone, rightly, won awards - including a Pulitzer for the Longview paper for its awesome coverage.

Now, when the mountain burps, it's 'round the clock coverage (they assume people are home), repeated every 10 minutes for your enjoyment (which means, you only have to stick around). Most of the time, the anchors don't know their geography (what's north or west) or have taken the time to read up on the history.

Now, most of the stations have pretty seasoned people on the desk, so they know where to go - and the photographers (who I think are the true journalists in most organizations), make sure their papers and stations get the best pictures.

I guess my point here is to pay homage to a time when reporting and not technology told the story, when the real heroes in newsrooms were the technicians who figured out how to get images and words transmitted (no cell phones, satellites, etc.). And when stations knew that breaking news isn't a T-bone accident on 82nd & Duke.

Cheers to the pioneers.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Portland Tribune

So... the Trib is moving its editorial offices to Clackamas County. Word on the street is that its reporters are not too happy, they worry about the appearance - and criticism that's likely to come from the Willamette Week and the Mercury. They won't have to worry about the O - it's almost a law that our large daily will never refer to its Tuesday & Friday competitor.

Methinks the paper is doing such a nice job, and since technology can make anyone very mobile, it will have no effect.


BTW - Not Mike Donahue.

Friday, May 13, 2005

David Apple and the Weather

David Apple, who did the weather for KPTV & KATU in the 80's and 90's died this week. He was a very nice man. He did a lot in the community and cared (and listened) to his audience about what they needed. When it was planting time, he talked about that. When a big storm was coming (we call them weathergasms), he didn't overdo it. He was a meteorologist and a forecaster, not a performer.

There are a few left in the market - Zaffino, Nelsen & Hill are true meteorologists. They studied it in school. They know the history of the region. Most,if not all of the others are not. They took a correspondence course offered by Mississippi State - pay the school, go on TV! Let's face it, the most talked about weather person in Portland in the recent past is Daria O'Neill.

Most of the surveys about TV news put weather coverage near the top. We all talk about the weather every day - but do we need to take 4 minutes from every 22 minutes of content in a half hour newscast to say it's gonna be cold, or wet, or blustery? That's an old argument. What these surveys don't say is what do you need from TV weather people - I'd guess just the facts ma'am. And if you asked in a survey if you'd rather have producers give that much time to weather at the expense of a story about a tax increase, or a human rights case, or the JTTF, would they go with the latter? Surveys never seem to ask the right questions.

A wake for David Apple will be held Wednesday the 18th (the 25th anniversary of the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens) at 6pm at the Jennie Bramhall House at 5125 NE Garfield.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Getting Started

I have lots of friends inside Portland's newsrooms and radio stations. All of them.

Do I work in one of them? I do.

The dirty truth in the media is that most people love what they do and hate the companies and some of the people they work for. That's no different than most jobs, but the big difference is that most employees don't affect what we think about, talk about, get worried about or elated about.

So let's open this vein. Schulberg or Carlin or Turnquist don't have the contacts, the space, the backing or the inclination to tell the inside stories. Hopefully we can and give you, the reader, an understanding (and maybe some power) of how things work and how things CAN change.

Like how one radio station gutted its popular format to become the iPod shuffle station - wildly (again) misjudging the radio audience.

Like how a powerhouse TV station lost its way and is now (kinda) up for sale, again.

Like how one station uses old ratings to tout its bloody nightly newscast, when its format seems to be turning viewers off now.

You'll get to read some of the funniest in-the-room memos of managers who don't know their own internal audience - and treat these professionals like kids.

I also hope it offers a forum (anonymously, of course) to the reporters and photographers and writers and producers and editors to let us in on their world - and the decisions made.

Let's go.