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Wishes For 2004 

Media musings for the new year

Kick back with me if you will, as we ponder changes I'd like to see in 2004 from our friends in the wacky world of media that slice, dice and dole out information from the latest war news to Bennifer.

Read a paper, watch TV, Mr. President. Was I the only one who recalled the movie Being There when George W. mentioned that he doesn't bother to watch TV or read newspapers or magazines because his people and wife "tell him what he needs to know"? When Peter Sellers' illiterate, slow-witted character in that film became an accidental political celebrity, he remarked, "I don't read" when asked what newspapers he digested each day. Arrogance in the White House? We report, you decide.

Narrow the scope of breaking news, ye locals. Especially during sweeps, local TV news departments stretch our patience with live cut-ins with questionable stories that can wait until the newscasts. A school bus hitting a stump ain't it. Crying wolf too often creates tune-out or, worse yet, indifference.

Local TV sportscasts need a transfusion. Charlotte sportscasts are shrinking along with their coverage. One fact: Stations seldom sent crews on the road for Carolina Panthers away games in this winning season, save News 14, which often covers them best. The "official Panthers station," Fox 18, has much of their show material produced for them by the team. WCNC-TV does the best job with NASCAR, but I'm not the only person heading elsewhere to look for sports information. Scrap the highlights I can get on ESPN.

AND ANOTHER THING Richard Marx and REO Speedwagon replaced "Jingle Bells" and "Winter Wonderland" the day after Christmas, as the former Star 104.7-turned-Christmas 104.7 went back to a rock format as K-104.7. "K" ostensibly stands for "kool," as one promo voice told us. "We'll just play a lot of "kool' songs from yesterday and today." This is a format change from the old "Star"?

And the power of print and broadcast was apparent during the holidays, as over $300,000 was quickly raised for the Make-A-Wish foundation in the name of Hope Stout, a local girl with bone cancer. Newspapers and radio stations got on the bandwagon together for this cause.

Stay tuned, and Happy New Year...

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