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Dallas-based CW33 news director says his station's immune from impending Tribune "NewsFix"

CW33's David Duitch

CW anchors and reporters would be robbed of their identities -- on-camera "face time" -- under a Tribune-mandated gambit to be tested this September on the company's Houston station.

Dubbed "NewsFix," it strips newscasts down to a collection of stories in which natural sound, graphics and sound effects air in a continuous stream without any appearances by station "talent." Instead, anchors and reporters will be reassigned to other off-camera duties. Ratings-starved KIAH-TV is scheduled to be be the first guinea pig, with other Tribune-owned, CW stations likely to follow.

It's all the brainchild of Chief Innovation Officer Lee Abrams, best known for launching the "Album Rock" format on FM radio stations. In a Tribune-released statement, Abrams said, "Incremental change at our television stations won't get it done. We have to be radically and noticeably different -- we have to imagine TV and TV news in a totally new way, one that breaks through and reinvents the decades-old, tired TV playbook."

Tribune plans to roll out NewsFix in increments, concentrating on those of its 23 stations "where we have the least to lose," Abrams told The Chicago Tribune. Chicago's longtime independent powerhouse, Tribune-owned WGN-TV, will be exempt for now and likely only "tweaked" under the new regimen. But Abrams also made it clear that "we have a lot of cities where we're not doing well . . . And we're not going to 'tweak' our way out of it. We have to do something dramatic. What happens sometimes is a station will mimic the big guy and end up with the poor man's version of traditional news."

In D-FW, CW33 news director David Duitch says there won't be any sweeping changes at the station. Asked via email, "Any chance of NewsFix happening at CW33 in the near future?" Duitch replied, "No chance."

Duitch, a former news director at Dallas-based WFAA8, joined CW33 in July 2008. He already has made numerous content and personnel moves at the station, including hiring a new anchor team and infusing newscasts with heavy helpings of sex and social media reporting. The stations also has used the slogan, "You Won't Believe The $#!T We Report"! next to a picture of co-anchor Walt Maciborski.

CW33's featured 9 p.m. newscast is hardly a ratings juggernaut, but it's not a total loss leader. The station usually has more total viewers than TXA21's two-hour prime-time newscast. And among 18-to-49-year-olds -- one of CW33's target demographics -- it regularly outdraws the 5 and 6 p.m. newscasts on two or more of the Big Four broadcast stations.

Fox4 experiments with new point/counterpoint feature on 9 p.m. newscasts


Fox4 anchor Steve Eagar moderated an illegal immigration debate on Wednesday's 9 p.m. newscast between Dallas lawyer Domingo Garcia and Adryana Boyne, national director of Voces Action. Photo: Ed Bark

Fox4's 9 p.m. newscast, aiming to be more interactive both on line and on the air, inaugurated a new debate segment during the first half-hour of Wednesday's edition.

Sources say it's corporate-mandated for all Fox-owned stations, and is supposed to be a nightly feature. Fox4 news director Maria Barrs has not responded to a question on whether it will or won't be.

The opening topic was the well-trod issue of immigration reform, with Dallas attorney Domingo Garcia adding to his long history of camera time while Voce Action national director Adryana Boyne provided a comparatively new face. Refereeing was co-anchor Steve Eagar while colleague Heather Hays again deferred to him. Previous anchor desk interviews with various analysts also have fallen to Eagar on a very regular basis. Maybe they'll alternate in due time. The "Man of the House" approach, whether fully intended or not, is ultra-antiquated at best.

Garcia and Boyne kept the debate civil, disagreeing most sharply on an "E-verify" system that would allow businesses to determine whether employees or would-be employees are eligible to work legally in the United States. Boyne is all for it and Garcia says it would be a "Big Brother" intrusion.

Eagar solicited comments to both the nightly "Viewers' Voice" segment and via facebook on Fox4's official page. Four Viewers' Voice comments, all reasonably stated, made the cut Wednesday night. And on facebook there are 99 comments as of this writing. Not bad.

Incorporating mini-debates into Fox4's 9 p.m. newscasts seems like basically a good idea, although the overall idea likely is to stimulate more of an animated Crossfire approach than the genteel discourse on display Wednesday night. We'll see where and how it goes. And also whether there are enough worthy topics and willing combatants to make this a five-nights-a-week gambit.

Copycatting CW33 (but let's see how far they dare go)

Some vigilant unclebarky.com readers have noticed that rival stations piggybacked this week on stories that originated on CW33's 9 p.m. newscasts.

The MAC cosmetic story, which aired Monday night on CW33, was reported Tuesday on WFAA8 by Shelly Slater. Also on Tuesday, NBC5 reporter Grant Stinchfield picked up on CW33's weekly "Project Husband" series while also crediting the station.

One reader cited "all the KDAF-TV (CW33) jokes" before asking of WFAA8's and NBC5's copycatting: "Does it 'legitimize' the 33 News or does it 'de-legitimize' the other stations?"

Hmm, let's not play the "de-legitimize" card just yet. Rather, here are some other possible story ideas from CW33's Tuesday night newscast. And if any rival stations copy them, then yes, they're officially "de-legitimized."


Indefatigable sex correspondent Shana Franklin found another novel way to assume the position in this story on women with the power to think their way to va jay-jay happy land.


Big Walt Maciborski, the station's co-anchor, used this visual aid during his brief narration of a short story on "Flying Pasties." They're supposed to shield some of your better kept secrets from full-body airport scanners, "though it's really unclear how the stickers will protect your private parts any better than regular underwear," a perceptive Maciborski noted.


Co-anchor Amanda Salinas took the helm -- and remarkably remained straight-faced -- while introducing this story on whether good looks can play a role in being hired. "Ladies, brains and experience should determine whether we get a job. But does beauty play a bigger role?"

This is a howler, considering CW33's hiring of blonde, beautiful and super-curvy Candace Crawford within a year after her reign as Miss Missouri USA. She's also Tony Romo's latest blonde girlfriend, an assignment for which Helen Thomas lookalikes need not apply.

Salinas herself replaced the comparatively dowdy Terri Chappell, who was sacked in late 2008 as part of a stationwide makeover by news director David Duitch.

This isn't to say that either Crawford or Salinas are brainless. But in the very cosmetic business of TV news, their looks obviously gave them a leg up during their CW33 job interviews.

Anyway, have at it, rival stations. A "Mind Orgasm" is a terrible thing to waste.

CBS11 names investigations head

CBS11 continued to rebuild its investigative unit Tuesday by hiring Lisa Blegen to head it.

Blegen, who arrives from Fox-owned WTVT-TV in Tampa, FL, will be the station's executive producer of Special Projects & Investigations, news director Adrienne Roark announced in a memo to staffers Tuesday night.

WTVT's most recent investigation prompted the Army to reverse its findings that a local soldier died of a snake bite after his family questioned the cause of death.

Blegen previously was a Milwaukee-based reporter and a special projects executive producer in North Carolina. She's a graduate of Minnesota's St. Olaf College whose awards include a Silver Baton duPont.

Roark, who joined CBS11 earlier this year, recently named early morning co-anchor Ginger Allen as the station's senior investigator. The unit had vanished after Allen moved to mornings and fellow investigators Robert Riggs and Bennett Cunningham left the station. The executive producer of CBS11 investigations also resigned after his staff went from the D-FW market's largest to non-existent.

Blegen had headed WTVT's investigation since 1997. Her first day at CBS11 is Aug. 16th.

An example of a WTVT investigation that freed an innocent man from a 15-year jail term was detailed in the trade magazine TV Week. The account can be found here.

CW33 adds Duarte Geraldino to reporting staff


Dallas-based CW33 has a new full-time reporter, and he's already on the air.

Duarte Geraldino, who's been well-traveled of late, joined the station earlier this month. The Brooklyn native and 2000 Williams College grad recently left Fox-owned KRIV-TV in Houston, where he'd been a reporter since 2007. He arrived in Houston from Baltimore's ABC affiliate, WMAR-TV after earlier reporting for NBC's Columbus, Ohio station, WCMH-TV, where he started in 2003.

Geraldino, who majored in Asian studies and minored in economics at Williams College, had been a Wall Street corporate finance analyst before joining CNN's New York bureau assignments desk. He also co-produced programming for the all-news network's financial news network before getting his first on-camera experience at New York's Capital News 9, a 24-hour cable news channel now called YNN Capital Region.

While at WCMH, Geraldino also appeared as a guest chef on the station's noon news program. His biography says that he speaks both Spanish and Mandarin Chinese.

During Monday's 9 p.m. newscast on CW33, Geraldino reported on a cosmetics scandal. Here's an example of his work:


Another CBS11 meteorologist under the weather

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Fill-in Krista Villarreal and CBS11 meteorologist Jeff Jamison

It's always something. CBS11 meteorologist Jeff Jamison, whose principal beat is the station's weekday early morning news program, underwent a non-emergency appendectomy Tuesday night and is now recovering.

KRLD-AM radio's Krista Villarreal again is filling in while doing the same for TXA21/CBS11 meteorologist Garry Seith, who had a serious motorcycle accident in late June and isn't expected back until sometime in August.

Jamison's cbs11tv.com blog relates in considerable detail the long-term gas pains that finally prompted him to see a doctor.

WFAA8's Slater and Gables: tweetin' and bloggin' about their impending deliveries

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WFAA8 anchors Shelly Slater and Shon Gables are expecting soon.

Already short-staffed on the anchor front, WFAA8 will have to re-juggle again later this summer, when Shelly Slater and Shon Gables respectively are due to become mothers for the first and third times.

Slater, who co-anchors the Dallas-based station's 5 p.m. weekday newscasts and also fills in regularly on other editions, is having a boy with her husband, Clay. She's due in mid-August.

Gables, who anchors WFAA8's weekend early morning newscasts and reports on weekdays, is expecting a girl with her husband, Anthony. She has two sons from two previous marriages, and is due in late August or early September.

Both have been tweeting and/or blogging about their pregnancies, with Gables providing weekly updates on soulsummer.com. Her latest post, dated July 6th, is headlined "Pregnant and Perturbed."

"The baby is pinching some kind of nerve," she relates. "Her favorite targets the bah-dunk-a-dunk . . . (in) other words, my tail end, aka buttock. By the time I get off work, I feel like I've run a half-marathon. No rest for the weary!"

Gables also has solicited baby names via her blog while earlier posting pictures of her sonograms.

Slater, not quite so sharing, tweeted on July 8th: "I'm waiting on a lot of rain today (yes!) and longing for a nap! With 5 weeks left until I'm due, I am feeling drained!"

So how will WFAA8 juggle anchor spots during their maternity leaves? News director Michael Valentine, in an automated email response, said he'll be out of the office until late next week and won't have access to email.

Best guesses: Gloria Campos is accustomed to sliding over to the 5 p.m. newscasts while still co-anchoring the 6 and 10 p.m. editions. And Debbie Denmon, who had the weekend early morning shift before Gables' arrival, possibly could resume those duties while newcomer Casey Norton handles the evening/late night anchoring load.

Can we see some ID please? CBS11 explains its decision to reveal the name of a seriously injured Fort Worth police officer while rival stations held back (updated)

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Aftermath of FW squad car crash on WFAA8 and CBS11 websites.

Some readers have wondered about "proper procedure" during Thursday's late night news coverage of the high speed police chase that landed a Fort Worth officer in the hospital with serious head injuries.

One reader put it this way: "Channel 8 did not release the name of the officer . . . due to what they said was respect for the family's wishes. However, I flip over to Channel 11 and not only are they saying his name, they've got an on-camera interview with a friend. I do not know what the other channels did. I'm surprised you didn't blog about this contrast, since it's interesting to know if either Channel 8 got scooped or Channel 11 didn't respect the wishes of the family."

I didn't see the live coverage that night on any of the stations. But I've since looked at the available coverage on the WFAA8, CBS11, Fox4, NBC5 and CW33 websites. Only CBS11 identified the injured officer, Richard Lambing, on its Thursday, July 8th 10 p.m. newscast after withholding his name on its 5 and 6 p.m. editions.

WFAA8 at the same time was the most emphatic in telling viewers that his name would continue to be withheld. During his introduction to the station's 10 p.m. story by Chris Hawes, co-anchor John McCaa said, "This officer is a 15-year veteran. Respecting his family's wishes for privacy, we will not be telling you his name. But this is a remarkable man."

Among four news directors contacted for comment, only CBS11's Adrienne Roark and CW33's David Duitch were willing to explain the station's decision-making. WFAA8 news director Michael Valentine responded "Sorry, no comment" via email. Fox4 news director Maria Barrs has not answered an email requesting comment.

On CBS11's Thursday, 10 p.m. edition, co-anchor Karen Borta said that "sources close to the family" had identified the injured officer as 37-year-old Richard Lambing, whose name was officially released Friday morning by the Fort Worth police department. Reporter Carol Cavazos' subsequent report included an interview with neighbor and "family friend" Charley Parker, who said of Lambing, "He went to school with my boys, and in fact I went to his graduation ceremony from the police academy."

Roark, in a telephone interview Tuesday, said that CBS11 "had high level sources close to the family confirm his name and tell us it was OK to release it. So we did. If somebody had said to us, 'Don't release the name out of respect to the family,' we wouldn't have released the name."

Roark also said that the decision to identify the officer was first debated within the newsroom. "We did have a discussion. Absolutely."

Duitch said that "our reporter on the story (Giselle Phillips) was hearing a name but we did not feel we had enough sources to confirm it nor confirmation that the family would be okay with us reporting it. I have long felt it is better to be right than first, but preferably both."

These can be tough calls. But in this case, Lambing's family knew of his accident and his injuries well before CBS11 identified him. So there was no danger of the family first finding out through the media. The entire Fort Worth police department also apparently was informed of the officer's identity. So how long, in this particular case, should a family and the Fort Worth PD be able to, in a sense, embargo such information? Both Lambing and the police department are funded by taxpayers, after all.

Some rival stations can cry foul in private if they'd like. CBS11 at least is willing to defend its actions in a public forum..

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Tues., July 13) -- All-Stars edge Talent in battle of summertime heavyweights


The Brewers' Ryan Braun takes a dive and makes the catch during NL's win over AL in Tuesday night's All-Star game. Photo: Ed Bark

Major League Baseball's All-Star game, the only one that really matters among the four major professional sports, prevailed in the D-FW ratings Tuesday night against NBC's always formidable America's Got Talent.

They went head-to-head from 8 to 10 p.m., with Fox's coverage of the NL's first win over the AL since 1996 drawing 325,742 viewers in those two hours to Talent's 298,597.

Overall, the two hour, 59 minute game -- 7:50 to 10:49 p.m. -- averaged 312,170 viewers while also topping the prime-time charts among advertiser-coveted 18-to-49-year-olds.

We now pause briefly to note how competitive and entertaining the game was despite the pitcher-dominated 3-1 score. The NL's determination to end its long losing streak and the awarding of World Series home field advantage to the winning league again put baseball's annual All-Star gathering in a league of its own. The NBA, NFL and NHL All-star games are high-scoring farces for the most part, with players going through the motions rather than competing all-out.

As the above picture shows, baseball's All-Stars take their game very seriously. Milwaukee Brewers' outfielder Ryan Braun, shown above, easily could have hurt himself with that full-out dive early in the game. But he made the catch and likely inspired his NL teammates to make an even more concerted effort to win this game. It was great stuff throughout the night, with Texas Ranger Ian Kinsler finally ending the game with a long drive to right center that for a moment looked as though it could be a game-tying 9th inning home run for the AL.

OK, on to Tuesday's local news derby results.

NBC5 swept a downsized three-way 10 p.m. competition, winning in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for news programming on most stations.

The Peacock also ran the table at 6 a.m. and notched a 5 p.m. win in total viewers.

WFAA8 had the edge at 5 p.m. among 25-to-54-year-olds, with two stations also splitting the golds at 6 p.m. CBS11 won at that hour in total viewers and Fox4 took first place in the 25-to-54 demographic.

Meteorologist Garry Seith still recovering from motorcycle crash


TXA21/CBS11 meteorologist Garry Seith remains on the mend from a serious late June motorcycle accident and isn't expected back to work until sometime in August, the station confirms.

Former NBC5 meteorologist Krista Villarreal, who lately has worked at Dallas-based KRLD radio (1080 AM), is filling in on occasion during Seith's absence.

We wish him a safe, sound and speedy recovery.
Ed Bark

CBS11's Ginger Allen opting out of early mornings to become station's lead investigator


Ginger Allen, CBS11's early morning co-anchor for the past three years, is returning to the gumshoe beat as the station's "senior investigative reporter."

Staffers learned of the change in a memo from news director Adrienne Roark, who said that Allen will remain on CBS11's yawn patrol until the end of this month in tandem with holdover Scott Sams.

"We will now start the search for her replacement," Roark said.

Allen previously had been part of a three-reporter investigative unit with Bennett Cunningham and Robert Riggs, both of whom have left the station.

"As most of you know, it is a high priority for us to rebuild our investigative team," Roark said in the memo. "This was a tough decision for Ginger, as she loves anchoring and working with the morning team. But it was one she made for two reasons: her love of investigative reporting, and her love for her family."

Allen and her husband, Scott, have two children who are "getting more involved in school and sports," Roark said. At the same time, her husband's job demands lately are requiring him to travel more.

"This move allows her to put her family first and continue doing what she loves -- stories that make a real difference in people's lives," Roark said.

Allen joined CBS11 in 1999. The station's early morning program, which recently joined Fox4's in starting at 4:30 instead of 5 a.m., continues to run fourth in the D-FW Nielsen ratings. In the summer of 2007, Allen replaced early morning co-anchor Shannon Hori, who left CBS11 to join CBS-owned WFOR-TV in Miami. Roark joined CBS11 from WFOR earlier this year.

All ears for award-winning NBC5 mini-ads

Dallas-based Stephen Arnold Music recently won a national Promax/BDA Gold award for the below series of four "Sonic Branding" spots on behalf of NBC5.

The company defines Sonic Branding as "a process that affects change with consumers via the auditory experience." In these cases, the already ingrained three-note NBC chimes theme is matched to natural sounds from a White Rock Lake bike trail, Billy Bob's, a McKinney Ave. streetcar and a Frisco Roughriders game.

See what you think. Or better yet, what you hear. From this perspective, they're slick, effective, imaginative and all together addictive.
Ed Bark

Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Thurs., July 8) -- LeBron-athon paces prime-time

LeBron James' announced move to Miami, otherwise known as ESPN's super-hyped The Decision, emerged as prime-time's top-scoring program Thursday.

The one-hour special drew 210,375 D-FW viewers from 8 to 9 p.m., with a very substantial 140,249 of them in the advertiser-coveted 18-to-49 age range. Coming in second during that hour were the Texas Rangers, who eventually blew a four-run lead to lowly Baltimore. The 8 to 9 p.m. portion of the game had 190,016 total viewers while ABC's summertime newcomer, Rookie Blue, ran third with 176,444 viewers.

The 12th edition of CBS' Big Brother premiered at 7 p.m., edging ABC's competing Wipeout in total viewers by a score of 176,444 to 162,871. BB also comfortably won the hour among 18-to-49-year-olds. Other than ESPN's LeBron-athon, it was the night's most-watched program in that demographic.

A repeat of CBS' The Mentalist ran first at 9 p.m. in both audience measurements.

In local news derby results, WFAA8 had its biggest day in recent memory, running the table at 5, 6 and 10 p.m. in both total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds, the main advertiser target audience for newscasts on most stations.

There was no love, though, for WFAA8's 6 a.m. Daybreak. NBC5 swept that time slot while WFAA8 tied for third in total viewers with CBS11 and fell to fourth among 25-to-54-year-olds.

PROGRAMMING NOTE -- CBS Radio's 100.3 Jack FM and TXA21 are collaborating on a series of three late night half-hour music programs titled All Jacked Up. The first one is Friday, July 9th at midnight, with episodes also scheduled for July 16th and 23rd.

Jack FM deejay "Chandler" hosts, with contributions from Amber White. "This is a great chance to check out local bands without ever leaving the couch," Chandler says in a publicity release.

Featured on the first episode are Adler's Appetite, Silver Loves Mercury, Rivethead, One Seed and Uncle Barky Hates Entertainment Tonight. (Actually that last band hasn't been formed yet.) The show also will take a look at Ozzy Osbourne's recent stop in Dallas to promote his book.

WFAA8 hires Colleen Coyle as new weekend Daybreak weathercaster


Dallas-based WFAA8 has tabbed Colleen Coyle from CBS affiliate KPSP-TV to be the new Daybreak weekend meteorologist. A posting on the show's Facebook page says her first day at the station will be on Wednesday, July 14th.

KPSP serves Palm Springs, CA and the Coachella Valley, where the summer weather is invariably dry and in the triple digits. Coyle did the early morning weekday forecasts for the station. She is originally from Atlanta and describes herself as "a bit of a daredevil" who loves bungee jumping, roller coasters and chasing tornadoes. She spent about a year-and-a-half at KPSP before jumping from TV market No. 142 to D-FW, which is No. 5.

Yan leaves CW33, joins CNN


Holly Yan, hired as a "backpack journalist" in May 2009 by Dallas-based CW33, is moving on to CNN. Her last day at the Tribune-owned station was Friday.

Yan joined CW33 after being laid off by The Dallas Morning News, where she spent five years as a reporter. She'll now be working for CNN Wire, which provides content for all of CNN's "platforms," including television, digital and radio.

Her former DMN colleague, Dan X. McGraw, remains at CW33. He also was laid off by the DMN before being hired by the station with Yan.

Credit where it's due: Dogged work by WFAA8 gumshoe Brett Shipp prompts statewide action on faulty natural gas couplings

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WFAA8's Brett Shipp has been digging up big stories since joining the station in 1992 and becoming a full-time investigator three years later.

He's won numerous and prestigious national awards along the way. But Shipp's incredibly dogged work on the lethal dangers of faulty natural gas couplings and steel pipes may end up having more import than all of his previous efforts put together. That's because state officials finally have deduced, "in what appears to be a huge about-face," Shipp reported Tuesday, that all of these couplings must be removed statewide.

The price tag could be in the billions, he said. But three home explosions in the past year, resulting in one death and two serious injuries, have finally prompted action.

Shipp has been on this case for almost four years, with state officials cold-shouldering him at every turn. It's not glamorous or grandstanding work by any means. It is, however, proof positive that investigative reporting at the local TV station level can and should be preserved. You just need the right people to carry it through, and Shipp has proven himself time and time again in tandem with WFAA8's other veteran investigator, Byron Harris.

Fox4 also has an oft-capable gumshoe in Becky Oliver, who did some very solid work in the May "sweeps" ratings period. And CBS11 currently is rebuilding its all-but-decimated unit under new news director Adrienne Roark, who says it's her No. 1 priority.

Shipp is in a league of his own, though. As was his father, Bert Shipp, an assignments editor without peer during much of his 40-year career at WFAA8.

The elder Shipp's presence at WFAA8 was instrumental in luring his son from Dallas-based KDFW-TV (Channel 4), where he spent two years before making the jump. He since has won three national Peabody Awards and a like number of duPont awards in just the past seven years, including both of them in 2008 for his reporting on the faulty gas couplings.

Here's video of Shipp's Tuesday night report, in which state officials at last acknowledged that something has to be done:

Snyder signs off, ending 30 years at NBC5 with a dignified goodbye


Last words: "And I'm outta here. Goodnight." Photos: Ed Bark

Anchor Mike Snyder said goodbye to viewers and his NBC5 stage at the close of Thursday's 6 p.m. newscast, exiting with class, dignity and by his lonesome.

Following a tribute film narrated by co-anchor Jane McGarry, Snyder opted to be a solitary man during his last minutes on the air. He sat within a few feet of McGarry's vacated chair, keeping his voice firm and his words trim as he ended a 30-year run at the Fort Worth-based station.

It was quite a contrast from the previous July, when Snyder came close to breaking down while telling McGarry he loved her during their final 10 p.m. newscast together. That was painfully maudlin. This was much, much better.

Snyder "retired" against his will in times when long-term, once highly paid anchors are being shown the door at stations around the country.

"It has been a good ride," he said, noting the "front row seat" he's had for a wide variety of major news stories.

"Most of all, I'm going to miss you," Snyder, 56, said to the TV land denizens who watched him say goodbye. "I will miss visiting with you from this chair."

But he hopes to saddle up again in some other media venture. "You will hear from me again," he pledged.

His last words included the same riff he's been using on his Facebook page. It's borrowed from Dennis Miller's weekly sign-off during his "Weekend Update" days on Saturday Night Live.

"And until we meet again, that's the news," Snyder said. "And I'm outta here. Goodnight."

A last shuffling of his anchor desk papers could be heard as the camera panned away and meteorologist David Finfrock entered from stage left to shake Snyder's hand a split-second before the newscast ended.


McGarry, who had joined Snyder for the bulk of the newscast, did a nice job of narrating an extended tribute to her longtime colleague.

It highlighted Snyder's reporting from the field -- in times when anchors regularly got out and about -- and his extensive charity work on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Angel Tree Christmas drive and many other worthy organizations.

"He was quickly on a first-name basis with the movers and shakers of North Texas, the people Mike called the titans," McGarry said of his early years at NBC5.

Snyder might admit in retrospect that he got a little too close to some of these titans, becoming a consort as much as a chronicler of their activities. He also regularly wore his heart on his sleeve during the many MDA telethons he emceed. Snyder was never one to hide his emotions, and they regularly hit viewers over the head when a softer touch would have served him better.

Still, Snyder did a lot of good for many people, even while acknowledging that his marriage to the job and its news anchor persona in large part cost him his first marriage. All these years later, Snyder is the father of three grown children and two 'tween daughters from his second marriage to wife, Lyn. He arrived at NBC5 as a 26-year-old kid and leaves with a good deal of maturity, battle scars and accomplishments.

"You see," McGarry said at the close of the tribute film, "what makes Mike excel as a newsman is the same thing that makes him a great family man. He really cares about getting it right."

Here's the tribute video:

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcdfw.com/video.

Jake and Jilted: she dishes, he sits sullenly in sneak peek of their two-ring circus on Monday's Bachelorette


Official splitsville graphic for Jake Pavelka/Vienna Girardi. ABC photo

As fans of The Bachelorette well know, Dallas pretty boy Jake Pavelka and his Venus Flytrap, Vienna Girardi, will "confront" each other on the hit summer show's Tuesday, July 5th edition.

In ABC's first "sneak peek" at their sit-down, Girardi tells all-ears host Chris Harrison why she took their breakup to "the tabloids." Pavelka, a pilot by trade, affixes a grim countenance and waits his turn.

Pavelka co-hosted WFAA8's supplicant Good Morning Texas on Friday and Monday without spilling any of the juice he's been saving for other media outlets. He'll pop up again nationally on ABC's Bachelor Pad spinoff, which is scheduled to premiere on Aug. 9th.

Their post Bachelor breakup has provided a summertime feast of spillage, with Girardi mouthing off to The Star while Pavelka took his grievances to the slightly higher brow People. Both posers are getting what they want -- star treatment -- and what they deserve -- rampant ridicule. Hey, someone had to take Tiger and Elin off the frontburner. They're s-o-o-o-o-o yesterday now.

Here's the clip:


July dawns with assortment of D-FW news/views on CW33, Rebecca Miller, Mike Snyder and Rebecca Aguilar


Rebecca Miller gets graphic on CW33 news. Photo: Ed Bark

Resplendent in red and now with greatly improved visuals, weathercaster Rebecca Miller remains the single best reason to watch and often otherwise endure CW33's 9 p.m. newscasts.

Her forecasts are concise, conversational and relatable. And she now has a playground worthy of her skills, as Wednesday's edition showed. CW33's newscasts were by far the last to convert to HD in the D-FW market. The station is still relatively new at providing crystal clear pictures. But it's getting markedly better at show and tell, with a sleeker studio look and increasingly decent-looking graphics that stand in stark contrast to the old converted garage look.

The station's turn toward sometimes super-cheesy sexual content and dumb-ass slogans ("You Won't Believe The $#!T We Report") have been repeatedly criticized in these spaces. But fair is fair. And Wednesday's edition was fairly solid on content from start to finish. Not great by any means. And maybe it was just an aberration. Still, there was nothing really cringe-worthy, although social media reporter Pelpina Trip perhaps should reconsider using the terms "old man" and "old lady" in her discourses on popular videos.

CW33 obviously is striving and sometimes embarrassingly straining to keep its parent network's younger target audience from totally tuning out. There's nothing wrong with making that effort. But believe it or not, it can be done with some degree of intelligence.

Here's an example. Reporter Shana Franklin, whose current lot in life is patrolling the station's recently created sex beat, had an interesting and valid story Wednesday night on two SMU professors who have created a virtual reality program aimed at teaching students how to avoid unwanted sexual advances. It led the newscast, and rightly so.

Another Wednesday entry, Barry Carpenter's report on "Mommy Makeovers," also played better than it might sound. And former Dallas Morning News reporter Dan X. McGraw, one of CW33's trio of "backpack journalists," had an interesting story on conflicting drinking ordinances at Grapevine Lake.

So maybe a very muted round of applause is merited. CW33 increasingly looks markedly better visually. And on Wednesday night at least, its overall content wasn't an eyesore either.

***Former Fox4 reporter Rebecca Aguilar, still awaiting a hearing -- or a possible settlement -- in her discrimination case against the station, has hopes of landing a show on Oprah Winfrey's upcoming OWN cable network. So she's put together a video and entered "Oprah's Search For The Next TV Star: Your OWN Show."

Aguilar says she wants to search the country for selfless people who are "making a difference for others." Her three-minute video further states her case, and you can see it -- and vote for her if you'd like -- by going here.

***NBC5's Thursday, July 1st 6 p.m. newscast will be the last co-anchored by Mike Snyder, who's leaving the station after a 30-year tour. The station's official line is that he's voluntarily "retiring." But Snyder has made it clear both in these spaces and to Fort Worth Star-Telegram writer Robert Philpot that this is not quite the case.

On his Facebook page, Snyder noted that a retrospective on his career at NBC5 will shown during his final newscast. "I hope you will be there to watch."

And on her Facebook page, his longtime colleague and co-anchor, Jane McGarry, wrote, "What was I thinking? I'm buying appetizers and first drink for everybody at Mike's party. These are NEWSPEOPLE . . . which means the first drink will be in not a glass, but a pitcher :)"

McGarry herself may end up "retiring" after her current arrangement with NBC5 ends. Snyder was dropped from the station's 10 p.m. newscasts in July of last year and McGarry got the same treatment in February of this year. Both have been anchoring the 5 and 6 p.m. weekday newscasts at substantially reduced salaries.

Snyder's last contract with NBC5 was for one year -- and now that year is up. McGarry likely is working under a one-year deal as well. Both say they have new career path ideas beyond NBC5, but neither is ready to disclose them.