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October 20, 2006
Friday media raves

It's a crazy world. It's gettin' crazier.
- Unidentified man interviewed by Channel 3's Mike TeSelle.

Raves easily outdistance rants in this week's local-media rundown. Here's our list:

1. I really, really wanted to hate TeSelle's report on the theft of a Smokey the Bear statue in Elk Grove. I mean, why spend five minutes on this fluff when there are people dying in Iraq?

smokey.jpg

But after watching Channel 3's report, TeSelle won me over. The best part was not how the culprit returned Smokey with painted-in bloodshot eyes and wearing some cool silver sneakers. And it certainly wasn't TeSelle's too-cute stand-up, where he popped out from behind The Bear to report that the thief was a 50-year-old man from Contra Costa County.

No, it was the information that Elk Grove fire officials are arming the bear statues (there are actually two of them off I-5 in Elk Grove) with pricey GPS tracking devices so that they can be easily found if stolen again.

Crazy world, indeed.

2. Channel 13/Channel 31 gets breaking-news kudos for its coverage Thursday of the lockdown at McClatchy High School after a student fired shots nearby. Reporter Naj Alikhan provided live updates on the station's Web site even after "Good Day Sacramento" signed off.

Great use of real-time reporting on the Web.

3. Nobody does light features better than Channel 10's Jonathan Mumm. He took that obligatory Halloween-preview assignment and produced an entertaining feature about the Folsom Ghost Train. Mumm's report was fun and playful without going overboard. He delivered the voiceover in Vincent Pricean tones and his photographer used Hitchcockian camera angles.

4. Give it up for Capitol Public Radio's on-air staff, who gamely made it through pledge week without once cracking from the mind-numbing sameness of the spiels they deliver.

callison.jpg
Even late this morning, Jeffrey Callison (left) and Donna Apidone were still positive and perky when asking for support. It was kind of heartbreaking to hear Callison say, "We've got $109,000 to go and just 24 minutes left in the drive. I know you can do it. Get to the phone and call...."

Obviously, CPR didn't reach its goal of raising $380,000. And now, the pledge drive's over. If you feel guilty for not pledging, I'm sure the station wouldn't mind if you send 'em a check.

5. Sound bite of the week: "The media is the nervous system of the human condition." - Michael Harrison, editor of "Talkers" magazine, on Enid Goldstein's show on KCTC (1320 AM).

Yeah, I don't know what it means, either. But it sounds great.

red hat.jpg
6. And finally this: Hardened newsman Walt Gray at Channel 3 sported a new look on the noon news the other day. He was interviewing a group of Red Hat Society members - you know, those women of a certain age who wear purple dresses and gaudy red hats - when he donned a floppy bright red sombrero with a purple feather.

We fully expected Gray to break into a rendition of Three 6 Mafia's "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" but, alas, he ran out of time.

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