Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NewsNight Akron to return to 9 p.m.

Well, it was nice while it lasted.

Beginning Jan. 15, NewsNight Akron will move from its 9:30 p.m. time slot back to its original time of 9 p.m. The show had changed times to allow NeoTropolis time to debut at 9. The Thomas Mulready production will now air at 8:30 p.m., so both shows will remain interlocked.

The Jan. 8th show will be our traditional "Newsmaker of the Year" debate. Last year's winner was Ralph Regula, and Dr. Luis Proenza won the previous year. This year's show will include a live audience as members of Leadership Akron will be in attendance.

As a new nugget to the debate, we are inviting the public to weigh in as well. A list of the 16 finalists should be on-line soon at Western Reserve Public Media , so weigh in and vote. You can also share your comments here.

I can tell you that the panelists have already begun quite a debate with email traffic .. I can only imagine the fireworks for the actual show.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Catching Up ..

OK .. after being challenged by folks all over town who keep giving me grief over not writing much (or at all) in the last two months, I'm making it my New Year's resolution to catch up.

Scribbles in the notebook:

NewsNight Akron's move to 9:30 p.m. from the 9 p.m. slot it held for years seems to be going well. I haven't gotten too many complaining emails from folks after the first week, so it sounds like viewers found us.

My Nov. 26th story on Lenny King (see below) is one that will stick with me for a while. To have life choices lead you to a life living under a bridge is tough enough, but to be attacked multiple times, including being set on fire, would leave me bitter I'm afraid. I'd like to believe I'd have the power to forgive the attackers, but I fear that I wouldn't. Lenny's story is really unique.

The University of Akron Soccer team is amazing. The NCAA needs to get rid of the penalty kick scenario though. It's no way to really settle who the better team was. Would we let the NBA Finals be settled on a free throw shooting contest? Ridiculous.

Can't believe Matt Patrick won't be on the air at WKDD after Friday. I don't remember the station without him.

I hope Mayor Plusquellic will promote some police officers soon. With Gus Hall now interim Chief, APD has NO Deputy Chiefs. All three positions are empty. That means four officers are being denied advancement for each vacancy. Promoting a captain to major also means that a lieutenant will get promoted to captain and a sergeant to lieutenant and a patrolman to sergeant.
Just like the military, there's an escalator as the higher ranks get filled. I understand why he kept one or two of the Deputy Chief slots open the last few years, but at this point, those promotions shouldn't have to wait while a permanent Chief is selected.

And while I'm on my bandwagon, I do hope the city will consider some of its senior captains as the long-term chief. Sylvia Trundel is well-respected and will-liked, and many in the Patrol Division tell me they'd feel "great" about having her as the department's new leader. Gus Hall is really dedicated and well-liked, so there's no immediate rush. Still, I hope that the nationwide search will include a fair review of the current leadership.

I learned a lot about the other side of public service during my wife, Lisa's, campaign for Akron School Board. It was odd to be working with some of the local leaders when I'm so accustomed to covering their events as a journalist. Many were very gracious with their time and advice for the campaign, while others weren't helpful at all. My goal now is to avoid a conflict-of-interest in my reporting. Lisa and I already have an agreement that there will be some things we can't tell one another, and if WKYC is pursuing a controversial story on the Akron Schools, I'll certainly raise my hand and step aside. Still, I hope that all my rants and raves to Lisa (and other board members I've gotten to know) about pitching more stories to the media will take shape.

I froze my you-kn0w-what off last Thursday night when I was live outside of Channel 3 for our newscast leading up to the Browns-Steelers game. The ratings were great that night, but the 15 minutes I spent in the cold wind of the third-floor balcony chilled me to the bone.

Today is the one-year anniversary of my role as co-anchor at 7 p.m. Hard to believe a year has flown by so fast. Carol Sullivan is now working as a morning anchor in San Diego. She left WKYC in the spring to head West after her husband, Mike, got a job with the Chargers organization. I fell so comfortable with Monica Robins by my side each night. No one works harder or is more dedicated in this business, and I'm so glad that she and I are teamed together.