Stand by…for news.

Monday, August 9th, 1999

Random notes are piling up on the Curmudgeon Desk this week, so it’s time to take care of some of that business. Scribbled notes in one hand, nifty five-asterisks separators in the other, we begin.
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After spending some time decrying the "Breaking News" wolf-crying of Atlanta’s TV stations, I throw up my hands as I watch their latest series of ‘proof of performance’ promotional ads. 11Alive, it seems, is your Breaking News leader! We get there first! We deploy more uninformed reporters than the other guys! We splat the whole unfinished mess onto your screen!
And you’re proud of this?
The ongoing devaluation of the phrase "Breaking News" means the verbiage-meisters will have to come up with a new term. "Mega-Super-No-Kidding-Ultra-Urgent-End-of-the-World-News"?
Which will then, of course, be run into the ground. Again, a reminder to TV news producers: when a new story comes into the newsroom, there is a term for itit’s called "news."
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You’ve got to admire the clever construction that is "The Blair Witch Project." New York Times critic Janet Maslin said "like a cabin built entirely out of soda cans, ‘The Blair Witch Project’ is a nifty example of how to make something out of nothing." Indeedreports are that the success of the film (it brought in some $24.5 million last weekend, second only to the mega-budget Bruce Willis flick) are due to the skillful manipulation of buzz, of hype, of the promise of a scary good time, without needing the visceral depiction of blood and gore onscreen.
So I’d say these kids were paying attention in film school. And yet these filmmakers are being criticized in some corners for adroitly making terror out of vapor. Give them an A+! Give them a few million to pay off those student loans!
Oh, and by the way, the CP-16 film camera used in the movie (abandoned by the vanished young filmmakers!) is being auctioned off on the web. Of course.
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I think I’m Paul Harvey today. Page 2!
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A casual reference two weeks ago to WGKA (AM 1190) as a station that plays classical music earned me a testy e-mail from Mike Rose, the station’s General Manager:
"In a recent column on Atlanta radio, you mentioned AM Stereo 1190. You implied that we were an all classical station."
Well, no, I implied you played classical music. "Judging from your knowledge of our station, you probably haven’t listened to us for three years. We eliminated the stereo and all-classical format three years ago."
Uh…I listened very recently, but since my 1985 Honda has no AM stereo receiver I just assumed you were still stereocasting. I heard no announcements that said "now back in glorious mono!" Last time I punched the button for 1190, I heardclassical music.
Mike concludes: "You would enjoy The Voice of the Arts, 1190 WGKA, if you would listen."
True enough, Mike, and as many people have discovered, if they don’t listen, they won’t enjoy it. Thanks for your note.