Monday, March 8th, 1999
Threat of a storm sends panicked Georgians to grocery stores to stock up on
wait for it
bread and milk. Wanted murderer here, child molester there. Yes, I’m watching Fox 5’s News at 10. You know, the one with that cluttered, bricky-techy background and where the talent names are tossed in letter by letter from the right side of the screen. (Why? Because we can.) Yeah, Fox 5. The one that’s currently running a promo that throws every conceivable dictionary word ("Urgent, Innovative, Intense, Serious
" ) at the screen in 30 seconds to see what sticks to their newscast—and nothing does.
After that meaningless promo barrage, I check WAGA’s website to see if they’ve got the same pointlessness there. But type carefully if you’re trying to find it http://www.fox5.com/ will take you to some people trying to sell (possibly illegal) cable TV converters. The real Fox 5 site is www.wagatv.com. That might be hard to remember because the folks at Fox-owned WAGA have done everything they can to make you forget the proud WAGA call letters. They want to establish "Fox 5" as the single, unified brand that you turn to for news, endless episodes of the Simpsons, and people who throw chairs at each other on talkshows. Problem is when you have something like the 50th anniversary of a station, those pesky four letters are bound to come up every now and again.
The Fox 5 site reports that the station signed on the air in April 1949, but that was contradicted by a report last week on Fox 5’s News at 10 that, indeed, the station turned 50 exactly this past Monday. I’ll go with that because I trust Doug Richards’ credibility over the anonymous fingers behind their somewhat stale web pages.
Richards’ "Closer Look" did a decent job of flashing back through the images of a bygone station. We saw the terrier named WAGA that served as the station’s mascot in the early days (hmm maybe stations need mascots again) and we beheld a bunch of white guys in bad 60s and 70s garb reporting on the steps of the statehouse. We saw former WAGA GM Paul Raymon admit he dressed up as a cowboy TV host named Pecos Paul (but he uttered nary a word about presenting two decades worth of really bad editorials.) We beheld Lester Maddox and Hosea Williams and (if you watched very carefully) Guy Sharpe and Richard Belcher and Forrest Sawyer and some of the other people who moved on from WAGA while the getting was good. I didn’t catch images of long-time WAGA anchor success Brenda Wood, or Chuck Moore, or Ken Watts.
In fact, I was just settling in and enjoying the nostalgic hit when the report was over—no more time to look back, we’ve got news to report! And what news was that? I’m not kidding: A dog (not a terrier) comes to the rescue of an overwhelmed pig! That story coming up on Fox 5 News! And stay tuned for the Battle of the Broken Hearts on Jerry Springer—right after the news.
There’s no mistaking that television has changed, right? Happy birthday, terrier station.