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May 6, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Serving a new kind of medium well
As part of a seven-year partnership between NBC-owned WTVJ-TV, Miami, and The Miami Herald, when Herald senior writer Martin Merzer headed off to cover the conflict in Israel for a month, the station outfitted him with a mini DVC Pro to shoot footage. The print reporter was “hesitant” at first, said WTVJ News Operation Manager Jeff Liebman. But Mr. Merzer overnighted back to the station three pieces on daily life, including the most recent one called “The Very Unhappy Tour,” in which he visited sites of various suicide bombings. “The first couple of pieces were a little rough, but this last one was phenomenal,” Mr. Liebman said. “The tour was great-we gave it four minutes, which we never do.” When Mr. Merzer left Israel, he handed off the camera to Al Chardy, the Herald reporter taking over the assignment.
From newsroom to recording studio
Most Southern California residents know him as the dean of local anchors, but few realize that KCAL-TV, Los Angeles, newsman Jerry Dunphy has an avocation: He’s an accomplished lyricist. About 10 years ago, Mr. Dunphy-who in his head had long been applying his own words to popular songs-began setting pen to paper and came up with an assortment of ditties. He decided to get a professional opinion, so he showed some of his work to his son-in-law, former California lieutenant governor and current country music recording titan Mike Curb, founder of Curb Records. Mr. Curb was duly impressed and encouraged Mr. Dunphy, who teamed up with an assortment of composers and got down to business. Before long, his lyrics were being recorded by the likes of TG Shepard and Wayne Newton. Now, Mr. Dunphy plans to release a CD of his pop songs and ballads tentatively titled “From the Desert to the Sea-From My Heart to Yours.” (“From the desert to the sea” is Mr. Dunphy’s trademark on-air greeting, and, yes, he has also turned that into a song.) The L.A. legend hopes to have the album-which will feature performances by various artists, including Vegas headliner George Bugatti-out in a few months, with plans to sell via an 800 number.
Loose lips sink weather forecasts
A cardinal rule in broadcasting: On-air talent should be careful what they’re saying when wearing a mike. On April 29, just after 9 a.m., the “Today” show’s Al Roker tossed the weather segment back to local stations. At KNBC-TV, Los Angeles, viewers saw about 20 seconds of black, during which weatherman Christopher Nance was heard saying, “Are we ready guys? All right, let’s do this one for the pedophiles.” When the video appeared, Mr. Nance stepped into the picture carrying a feed from Mount Wilson-but by then the allotted time for the local weather segment was over and the station cut back to network programming. KNBC management met with both Mr. Nance and the operations manager to implement safeguards to ensure the situation won’t happen again. They also reiterated to talent that when a mike is on, they should consider it live. Another precaution put in place was that audio will not be recorded until the cameras are rolling and all tapes will be double-checked to make sure they are cued correctly. “Obviously this was an inappropriate off-camera comment that was accidentally broadcast on air,” said a KNBC spokesperson. “KNBC and Christopher Nance deeply regret it and apologize to our viewers.”
A similar incident happened on April 24, according to the weekly Nashville (Tenn.) Scene, when viewers watching “As the World Turns” on CBS affiliate WTVF-TV heard part of a station news meeting that was accidentally aired. They heard staffers insulting the network movie “Living With the Dead” as well as making fun of people who watch rival NBC affiliate WSMV-TV.
WJLA’s Solly dies at 53
Dale Solly, ABC affiliate WJLA-TV, Washington, weekend anchor, died of a heart attack at his home April 27. He spent a total of 10 years at the station. He was 53. The funeral was held May 3 in Mr. Solly’s hometown of Cleveland, and a memorial service will be held in Washington on Tuesday.