It has come to my attention that, as of June 12, all TV in the U.S will make the transition to digital. Because of this, I will probably lose a show I have been enjoying for the past year or so.
Often, while Amy sleeps, I am already conscious and worrying about the world situation by 4:00 a.m. To find out the very latest without disturbing her, I use an earbud in the dark to listen to my clock radio, an old Sony Dream Machine with AM/FM, a CD player, and TV and weather bands. I presume the analog TV band will disappear on June 12 as part of the DTV transition.
But while it still exists, I have been tuning to ABC7 Chicago to catch an early morning network news broadcast they air.
There is a very odd element of mystery to this show.
For one thing, I’m not completely sure what it’s called. Until 4:30, it seems to be World News Now. Then, for the final half hour from 4:30 to 5:00, it becomes America This Morning for no apparent reason. The show sounds exactly the same, with the same anchors giving America the same world news now, this morning, whatever — but suddenly the name of the show is changed going in and out of commercials.
I don’t know, perhaps there’s a whole different look that I’m missing on my clock radio.
For another thing, World News Now doesn’t seem to have an actual website. Since we’re well into 2009, it’s annoying for even a little local restaurant to lack a Web presence. That a national network news broadcast is without one is positively mind-breaking. I have Googled, and I have searched the ABC News site, but there seems to be no specific home page or section for World News Now, or whatever it’s called.
You know what they do have? They have a World News Now page on Facebook.
Facebook, it turns out, is where you will actually find videos and other digital proof that this program exists. In fact, viewing a video clip from this morning’s show — a story about a woman who spent $7,000 on a billboard begging to be hired — is where I have finally seen the faces of co-anchors Jeremy Hubbard and Vinita Nair for the first time.
They seem presentable.
Seriously, ABC News: Follow the example of HirePasha.com and put up a website. If you want, contact me and I’ll build you one. As reported in the story, Pasha Stocking has received “more than 800 hits” by using her $7,000-per-month billboard to drive traffic to her website. Clearly, of these two media, figuring out which one is more cost-effective should be a no-brainer.
The thing I like about World News Now/America This Morning is that it gives you breezy tidbits of the news of the day, which are appropriate for the early hour. It’s a quick news breakfast sandwich, not a coma-inducing news dinner.
On radio at that hour, my option is the BBC World Service on WUWM.
Now, while I love that there is a news organization which still reports current events using a vocabulary above the fourth grade level, the Brits are five or six hours ahead of us, so they’re fully awake and ready to hear about horrendous atrocities in Africa and the impending end of electricity worldwide. Listening to this stuff while still lying in bed before dawn can stir suicidal impulses — and that’s before the cricket scores begin.
Personally, I even prefer WNN/ATM to Good Morning America, because GMA mixes in way too much smarminess and heartstring-tugging from the likes of Diane Sawyer. Here I am, simply trying to watch the news, and there she is weeping with joy over the miraculous resolution to an unspeakable horror suffered by a family from Kentucky. Following that, it’s the Jonas Brothers. There’s way too much emotional yo-yo trickery.
No, what I want is what WNN delivers: A brisk news brief, anchored by slightly detached people who sound like they have showered. Only then am I ready to absorb the global ramifications of the news as analyzed on NPR’s Morning Edition, or the powerful news capsule that is the CBS World News Roundup — or the spitting, Twittering news mess delivered by a sweaty Rick Sanchez later on at 2 p.m.
Actually, I’ve been able to avoid Rick Sanchez for the past month and a half, thanks to Mischke’s webcast streaming live every afternoon at City Pages.
Mischke does not Twitter yet, as far as I know, but at least he has a Web page.