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Ch.2 gives news viewers the business

By Alan Pergament

What if they just canceled a TV newscast because there wasn’t
any significant news?

That thought came to mind Monday while watching Scott Levin and Maryalice Demler co-anchor the 5:30 p.m. news on Channel 2.

It was such a slow news day that it would have been a good idea to have just canceled the newscast.

Through no fault of the co-anchors, the newscast on Memorial Day was a classic example of trying to fill 30 minutes with plenty of nothing. In fact, there was so little news that it played like a paid program at times.

Of course, since all governmental offices and many private businesses are closed on Memorial Day it wasn’t easy for Channel 2 to "keep people in power accountable" since there wasn’t much local news beyond stories about parades, crimes and accidents.

If content was the guide, it probably would be best if Channel 2 cut its 90-minute afternoon news block down to 30 minutes on holidays and gave the anchors and reporters some extra time off so they had the energy the rest of the week to be "on our side."

But the 90-minute news block at all the stations isn’t as much about covering the news as it is selling the commercials in between the news segments.

On Memorial Day, Channel 2’s Dave McKinley had a report on the safety of amusement park rides, there was brief story about a boat fire on the 190, and a network piece on the Supreme Court about to give a ruling on same-sex marriage.

Then Channel 2 ran a five or six minute piece from its sister station in Minneapolis about a tragic story in which a hauling trailer was detached, ran into a car behind it and killed two family members three years ago.

Since Channel 2 apparently thinks its viewers are 10-years-old, Levin and Demler followed with some commentary about how sad the story was. As if viewers couldn’t see how sad it was without being told.

It would be a pleasant surprise if Channel 2’s anchors could let a story run without adding some obvious commentary. Oh, well, at least the commentary wasted some time Monday.

Then it was off to Levin to "report" on a Consumer Reports feature about whether expandable garden hoses are the real deal. I put "report" in quotation marks because Levin’s participation primarily dealt with his personal experience with the innovation that mostly got positive reviews. 

Soon there was an "As Seen on TV" feature testing whether a food sealer could keep chips and cereal fresh.

As if the garden hose and food sealer “stories” weren’t enough free advertising, there was a quick story about Target launching a new bridal line.

There also was time for Kevin O’Connell to deliver three weather reports of various lengths, accurately advising viewers it was going to rain today.

It is easy to rain on Channel 2’s parade of free advertising, which was a pretty sad example of what passes for local TV news on holidays.

If there are long lines at local stores today to buy expandable garden hoses, food sealers and bridal gowns, you know what station you should hold accountable.

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Television | TV news
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