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The Prehistoric News 

Anchorman and the woolly mammoth

So I went to Anchorman this past weekend. Having spent many years in local TV newsrooms hither and yon, I had to see if Will Ferrell would get it right. Yep, the look and the feel of a 70s local newsroom weren't bad, and the laughs were there, though it felt a little like an SNL skit that went on too long.

But does the Ron Burgundy prototype ring true, and even scarier, is Ron Burgundy still out there?

The blow-dried, polyester-clad 1970s anchorman with more likeability than actual journalistic chops did exist in most cities. Remember, children, this was when five or six channels were all you had on the TV set, ratings were huge, and the top dog anchorman in a market was the man.

Anchors that came up through the reporting ranks and settled in the cozier anchor chair were better at what they did, but they weren't immune to ego, Consort hairspray, and plaid sports coats (for some reason, beloved by sports guys). For teenaged Will Farrell fans, this must look like an exhibit at the Smithsonian, right next to the woolly mammoth.

Local TV news will never go back to the Anchorman era of solo anchor guy and the deluxe boys' club, with few chicks allowed. Diversity was a good thing, but truth be told, women anchors are often still the unspoken second banana or relegated to weekends and health reporting beats. Viewers also watch local newscasts less, thanks in part to the 200-plus channels they can now choose from.

It's just that no one told the big three networks that times have changed. Right, Dan, Tom, and Peter?

RADIO WAVES Gaston County's small WSGE-FM 91.7 is fundraising with a benefit concert at the Evening Muse in NoDa August 1. A veritable cornucopia of local singers and bands will appear, including David Childers and Poprocket, and tickets are 10 bucks at the door. WSGE, funded by Gaston College, is known for promoting and playing local and regional musicians.

Stay tuned.

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