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Challenges and Chaos Can’t Derail Juliet Huddy

“Huddy is persevering and even reinventing herself with a new travelogue show.”

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Photo Credit: WABC Radio

Changes are abound at 77 WABC in New York. But one constant for the News/Talk giant is Juliet Huddy. In three years at WABC, Huddy has been a pleasant, informed voice, albeit shifted from mornings to middays and back again. But in this climate, Huddy is persevering and even reinventing herself with a new travelogue show. 

When she landed at WABC in 2018, Huddy was thankful for the opportunity presented by then-program director Craig Schwalb. She left Fox News in 2016 as one of the high-profile Bill O’Reilly sexual harassment accusers and quickly realized the industry was willing to keep her sidelined.  

“I really was freaked out that I never was going to get a job in media again,” Huddy told Barrett News Media. “I didn’t think that I would have the problems that I did when I left Fox.”

Instead, her two-decade career at Fox that included a stint at the Fox New York affiliate almost felt whitewashed from the memory of any TV executives. Whether it was network, cable, or local, there were no takers for her talents. 

“I started reducing my demands basically down to smaller markets, top 50 and then top 75,” Huddy said. 

She had faith that TV honchos would read between the lines with her departure. But after several months, it was becoming abundantly clear that she would not get another TV gig, at least for the foreseeable future. 

WABC would throw Huddy a lifeline to salvage her sinking career. Social media connected her with the station. Huddy sent a tweet based on something morning hosts Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg were talking about. 

“Sid, of course, jumped on it,” she said. 

An online conversation caught the eye of Schwalb, who invited Huddy to have a presence in the morning show. 

“I owe everything to Sid and Craig Schwalb,” Huddy said.

Although delighted to get back on the air, there were awkward feelings for the veteran broadcaster as O’Reilly was a regular weekly guest with Bernie and Sid. She also learned that another frequent morning contributor Bo Dietl, the former NYPD detective, “had been tracking me down as one of the accusers.”

Huddy said, “It was just a strange place to work.”   

Her comfort level also suffered directly from Bernie and Sid, who would show their allegiance to then-President Donald Trump. Huddy, who was a lifelong Republican, had been vocal in her opposition to Trump. 

That, and her personal-turned-very-public allegations regarding O’Reilly also gave fodder for callers. 

“I don’t know that some of the talent helped out with that, put it that way,” she admitted. “When you’re painted a certain way, you really need the time to explain yourself and talk through it with the listeners who are upset with you.”

Curtis and Juliet 

Huddy didn’t have the platform with Bernie and Sid as the news person. Once she joined Curtis Sliwa to co-host the midday show, she had time to share her opinions but was now part of an ill-fated on-air “marriage.”  

Since Sliwa’s longtime radio partner Ron Kuby was axed by WABC in 2017, it was a constant rotation of co-hosts, usually women— including Rita Cosby and Eboni K. Williams—before Huddy got the chance to sit next to Sliwa, the Guardian Angels founder.    

“I felt very constrained. I felt like Curtis wanted me there as his sidekick, and I’m not a sidekick,” Huddy said. 

Ironically, Sliwa was instrumental teaming with Juliet, but “in his mind, being so instrumental meant that he could be the boss of me.”

A lack of chemistry is one way to put it, and Huddy, who already had been in the business for 25 years, was flabbergasted by the reception from the radio legend. 

“I never had an issue with my co-host, my colleagues, and talent. Never,” she said. 

Huddy survived longer than most in the “modern era” with Sliwa, allowing him to “drive the bus.” But as the show dragged on, she realized her voice was being suppressed by his larger ego. 

“That was when the dynamic between Curtis and [me] changed,” Huddy recalled. 

Whether it’s the Sliwa experience or dealing with angry callers for her lack of loyalty to the GOP and Trump, Huddy said she’s not adverse to fighting back. 

“I think I strive on chaos,” she said. “So, ultimately, I think it’s been a good experience.”

Move to Early Mornings

Prior to Sliwa’s apparent temporary departure from WABC, it became clear that Huddy could no longer work with him. Management offered a one-hour early morning news show at 5 a.m. with overnight host Frank Morano.  

“That was not something I would have chosen,” she admitted. “The situation with Curtis was just getting tenuous. It was one or the other, I guess, and that was me.” 

Huddy said the decision rested, ultimately, with Red Apple Media owner John Catsimatidis. 

“He could have gotten rid of me,” she said. “That was another option.” 

While not happy switching her body back to a pre-dawn broadcast, it did get her away from the anxiety with Sliwa, and based on the content; there was no longer a need to dump callers for using profanity toward her. 

Having said that, Huddy is in the business long enough to read the tea leaves. 

“The message was: ‘We don’t want you to have an opinion because it’s getting you into trouble, and it’s potentially alienating listeners,’” Huddy contended.  

Making the best of the situation, she enjoys working with Morano and has a setup to go live from home, although most times, you’ll find Huddy in the Third Avenue studio. Shortly after its debut, the Early News was expanded to 6:30 a.m., boosting the lead-in for Bernie and Sid. 

As part of the show that started in January, Huddy looks for stories to talk about that the “traditional” news stations would pass. 

Her new co-host is good friends with her old co-host, and she said Morano is “instrumental in Curtis’ mayoral run,” but it doesn’t cause on-air issues because “he’s so easy to work with.” 

While she “didn’t know what to make of” Morano initially, his work ethic has impressed her. 

“He’s a really hard worker. He’s an amazing interviewer,” she said. “I think he’s got such a huge future.”

Plus, Morano defends his co-host against people who complain to him about why she’s still on the radio station. 

“He’s got my back. I just really appreciate that,” Huddy said.

Within six weeks of her being taken off the midday show, Sliwa took a leave to run for mayor. Having won the Republican primary in June, at the very least, it keeps him off the air until November when he faces Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in the general election. 

Huddy said, “I’m guessing since he’s such a close friend of Catsimatidis, there will be space made available to him.”   

Despite Sliwa’s leaving, Huddy did not make any overtures for getting her old timeslot back. 

“I don’t even think it was really a thought in their mind, frankly,” she said. “[Catsimatidis] wants to bring his people in. I just knew the writing was on the wall about having my own show,” Huddy said. 

A solo weekend show was another option, but staying on a daily work schedule, even if it meant waking up in the overnight, was more important for her not to “fade off into the oblivion.” For a full-blown return to talk radio, “I don’t know that it’s the right place or it’s the right time,” she admitted.

Jet Set Juliet 

“I’m taking what life is giving me, and I’m making the absolute 100-percent best of it,” Huddy said. 

Her evolution at WABC includes a passion for travel with a daily segment using her moniker Jet Set Juliet on the Early News. Although Sliwa always referred to her with that name, she’s not ready to give him credit for creating it. 

“It came about while I was working with Curtis. I just don’t remember who came up with it,” she said. “I’d like to think that I did because it’s brilliant.” 

Coming soon, Huddy will host a video podcast edited from trips she takes around the world. She’ll use the station Stage 77 set with its state-of-the-art technology to incorporate the multimedia mixed with her “stand-up” introductions.  

It will get posted to the WABC website, and her social media feeds. 

“With where I am in my life, how old I am (51), where my husband is and what we want from our future, my five-year plan is: I really want to be living over in Europe, and I want to be covering travel, giving you the American’s perspective about living life like a local.”

Keeping the Red Apple Shiny 

Catsimatidis took over the legendary call letters in 2020 and quickly put his handprint all over 77 WABC. The billionaire businessman is the CEO of the Gristedes supermarket chain. The biggest difference from corporate owner Cumulus to Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Group can be found in two words: Family-run. 

“That can be great, and that can be bad,” Huddy said. “One day you can have a great relationship with your boss, and then next day it might not be that great. That’s a lot different than the corporate environment.”

Right-wing talk is on the weekday lineup, but it is music that fills the frequency on Saturday and Sunday evenings. 

Within months of Catsimatidis’ purchase, Bruce Morrow “Cousin Brucie” was brought back to WABC decades after leaving. Tony Orlando is also spinning classic hits and 970 WNYM host, and Saturday Night Live alum Joe Piscopo does a weekly Frank Sinatra. 

“I know Catsimatidis loves that type of music,” Huddy said. “It’s his baby. He can do whatever he wants to it.”

That is another change from the Cumulus regime, freeing the schedule of brokered shows to beef up original WABC content on weekends. 

The station just expanded the Rat Pack programming with Dean Martin’s daughter Deana and one-time American Idol finalist Constantine Maroulis, a Tony Award nominee, who grew up in Brooklyn to Greek parents. Huddy thinks the family heritage endears him with Catsimatidis. 

“I’m sure they love each other probably because of that connection,” Huddy said.

Incidentally, Huddy, a self-proclaimed “music freak,” proposed doing her own 1980s show. Nothing was offered by WABC brass. 

While WABC under Catsimatidis has shown deep pockets, one area where they have gotten tight is in the news department. They abruptly ended a deal recently for iHeart to provide weekday newscasts. Curiously, program director Dave Labrozzi took over the midday anchor shift. Likely to keep it under the radar, Labrozzi briefly chose the on-air name, Rocco Lorenzo, before dropping any name altogether. 

“It’s an unusual way to do things,” Huddy said. “But I’m not running a radio station. I never would want to, and I would never want to be a boss. I’m the last person to judge decisions being made like this. All the power to them. It could be an incredible trend.”

More conservative moves are on the talk front, led by Greg Kelly, who was plugged into (most of) Sliwa’s slot. The former Fox 5/WNYW morning co-host went right-wing with a popular Newsmax show. 

“I’m just surprised at how right he has become,” she said of her former Fox colleague. “I never got that from him. Is he doing this for effect? Is he doing it to be more of an entertainer than journalist? I think when you’re working for Newsmax, you’ve got to look at people and think ‘that’s not necessarily journalism.’ I’m not sure where his head is.” 

Station management and/or Catsimatidis himself will have a decision to make should Sliwa, 67, lose, as predicted, in the mayoral race.

“You’d have to look at the ratings to see who did better, as I’m guessing that’s what will dictate whether he’ll return to those hours or not,” Huddy said.  

Kelly’s narrative is a perfect fit alongside the other station hosts. However, Huddy would like them to loosen up on the barrage of right-leaning talk by tapping into the growing number of Independents.

“I would hope that they would realize that, and they would start to maybe pick up on that,” she suggested.

Personally for Huddy, the working relationship with program director Labrozzi has improved since the Curtis fiasco ended. 

“I don’t think he had a real understanding of who I was,” she admitted. “I don’t know why that was exactly. I have my ideas. We have a much closer relationship and camaraderie than we did before.”

By comparison, she misses working with Craig Schwalb, who took a flier on her and will “always have a ton of love for him.” 

Her strong feelings for television aren’t going away either. 

“I literally have dreams about it and it hurts my heart [when] I see a breaking news story and people that I used to work with covering it,” Huddy admitted. “It still gets me every single time.” 

BNM Writers

The Cost of “Thoughts”

Jack Del Rio made a classic mistake of wondering aloud about topics that people in public positions aren’t allowed to think about on Twitter.

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The first recorded use of the expression, “A penny for your thoughts,” was made by Sir Thomas Moore precisely 500 years ago (1522). But, no doubt, a penny went much further in the 16th century.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s most recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) shows that inflation continues to increase above expectations. The current annual rate of 8.6% is the highest since 1981. The cost of thoughts, or at least saying them aloud, well, saying certain things in a public forum, has gone up far more than the CPI.

Jack Del Rio, defensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders (formerly known as the “Washington Football Team,” and before that, the Washington Redskins), made a classic mistake of wondering aloud about topics that people in public positions aren’t allowed to think about on Twitter. Specifically, his Tweets compared (what he called) “the summer of riots” to January 6th at the U.S. Capitol. As the late, great Alex Trebek would say, Del Rio’s comments were “in the form of a question.”

Faced with media scrutiny about his Tweets, rather than back down, Del Rio referred to January 6th as a “dust-up at the Capitol.”

Can I tell you a trade secret of press flacks? They all have a small can of lighter fluid and a pack of matches within reach behind a piece of glass with the words “break only in the case of emergency” scrawled on it. Certain phrases or words will cause a press person, at great personal danger and sacrifice, to break the glass, douse themselves with the accelerant, and strike a match before flinging their immolating body in front of the podium. Okay, not literally, but I guarantee the Commanders’ public relations director would think this alternative less painful than hearing those words come out of Del Rio’s mouth in front of the press gaggle.

The controversy that followed was swift and certain: as was the reaction from Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera. He promptly assessed a $100,000 fine on Del Rio for his comments.

Two points here: First, this is not a sports story. Talk Radio observers should be far more concerned with the consequences of this story than NFL or sports fans. Second, it doesn’t matter what you think happened on January 6th. You should still find the fine issued by Rivera chilling, whether you call it an insurrection or a dust-up.

I used to believe that comedian Bill Maher and I were about as far apart on the political spectrum as any two Americans could be. Maher and I, however, hold similar views on freedom of expression.

On his HBO show, “Real Time,” Maher defended Del Rio by saying: “In America, you have the right to be wrong. They fined him; the team fined him $100,000 for this opinion. Fining people for an opinion. I am not down with that.”

Because this is where we meet, I’d like to buy Bill Maher a drink and have a laugh over all the times he’s been wrong, or we can share that drink and a smile for understanding that freedom of expression IS the foundation of democracy – no matter who’s right or wrong. Freedom of expression is an issue where liberals and conservatives must find common ground.

The football team currently known as the Washington Commanders may need another name change. Perhaps the “Comrades” would reflect the team’s philosophy better? Levying such a hefty punishment for stating a political (and non-football) point of view because it is out of step with what is apparently official policy seems more reminiscent of the Politburo’s posture than a free society.

Del Rio’s words are understandably offensive to many. At the very least, they were ham-handed for someone who has been in the public spotlight for so long. But a $100,000 fine? Stifling political opinion is far more dangerous than anything Del Rio said.

Taking the Del Rio incident into context with the “Cancel Culture” of the past few years, Talk Radio hosts should look over their shoulders. Del Rio is also an excellent reminder to think twice before posting a politically unpopular opinion on social media.

Inflation has eaten away at the value of a penny and increased the cost of making politically incorrect statements, including on the air in recent years. What inhibits individuals from expressing their thoughts, beliefs, opinions, and emotions is a threat to Talk Radio and democracy.

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BNM Writers

Joe Pags’ Dream to Work In Media Started Early

Pags knew a career in media was for him ever since he was ten years old, even before his vocal chords did.

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If you’ve ever been required to interview someone for a segment or article, you know pretty quickly when it’s going to be a bumpy ride. 

Joe Pags was answering my initial questions as freely as Ebeneezer Scrooge hands out Krugerrands. Teeth have been pulled from the human head with greater ease. It just wasn’t happening. 

After a few minutes, I think I grew on him.

I discovered we actually had a few things in common; both of us lived in Lake Worth, Florida, we knew a lot of the same places and faces, and we both understood that summer heat in Florida is like purgatory. 

However, Pags and I will both have a fond devotion to The Noid. We will always share the memories of being a manager at Domino’s Pizza. 

“I worked at Domino’s when pizzas were delivered to your door within 30-minutes, or it was free,” Pags said. “After a while they went to 30 minutes or three dollars off the price. Too many people were getting into accidents trying to beat the clock.”

What Pags did not mention was that even when you legitimately made it in less than 30 minutes, you had people questioning your delivery time. I guess that’s human nature.

Soon, pizzas were just for eating, not working; Pags started his radio career in 1989 in Palm Beach County, Florida.

After that, it was a stint as a television anchor from 1994-2005 in Saginaw, Michigan, and then Albany, New York. From there he was called back to radio and landed at the Clear Channel Talk Flagship, WOAI, in 2005. The Joe Pags Show has been a fan favorite since its debut in 2005.

For Pags, the media dream started early on. 

“I grew up listening to talk radio at a very young age and was determined to make my living doing it one day,” Pags says. “I actually have a tape somewhere on which I erased the DJ’s voice and recorded mine over the songs.” 

Pags is probably thrilled that the tape will never be released.

Years later, he found he could pay the bills doing something he loved. “I’m lucky enough to work with great people on both local, and national radio and television,” Pags explained.

As a kid, Pags listened to Neil Rogers on WIOD. It was consistently a top-rated show in the MiamiFt. Lauderdale media market and had been since his Miami debut in 1976.

“I also remember Steve Cain, Rick, and Suds on that station,” Pags said. “It was a lot of talk radio, but it was fun. It was entertainment. Rush Limbaugh was doing the politics stuff back then.”

Pags knew a career in media was for him ever since he was ten years old, even before his vocal chords did.

“When my voice changed at 13, I developed more of a bass tone; I knew I was on my way. I had a New York accent and had to shake that.”

Before he embarked on a career in radio, his music career was going well. Pags played French horn and saxophone; apparently, he was pretty good.

He played gigs at the prestigious Breakers Hotel, among many others. “I used to play at the Backstage lounge adjacent to the old Burt Reynolds Dinner Theater in Jupiter,” Pags said.

No word on whether Reynolds ever caught Pags live or not.

As a kid, he played baseball. Pags said he was pretty good. What took center stage for Pags was music. It was the French horn and saxophone that captured his heart. 

“I played professionally on the Empress Dinner Cruise on the Intracoastal Waterway,” Pags said. “I also did gigs at The Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach. We made some good money.” 

Before Domino’s and radio and music, it all started with a strong desire to succeed. That often comes from your family’s belief in you. Sometimes it’s not there.

“I knew that if I worked hard enough, if I showed the love for the work I was doing, then I’d succeed,” Pags said.

His family lived in Lake Worth, Florida, from 1973-74, and Pags returned every so often. “I got back to Florida recently when I went to Mara Lago and watched 2,000 Mules.

San Antonio has been home for the past 17 years for Pags and his family. “I’ve been here at WOAI. I’ve got my own studio in a great area.” His daughter Sam is his executive producer. I asked Pags if there was any nepotism when it came to hiring Sam.

“Darn right, there is nepotism,” he said. “This is Joe Pags media. I get to hire whoever I want,” he quipped. “Sam has always had a love of broadcasting. When I became syndicated in this business, I told her I trusted her more than anyone else I knew and asked her to produce my show.”

The other day I spoke with Will Cain for a piece. He told me if I visited Austin, I should also see Texas. So I asked Pags what Cain was trying to say. “He means Austin is a city like Portland; only it’s in Texas. There’s a lot of homelessness in Austin. A lot of crime. The University of Texas in Austin goes far to the Left.”

Where does Pags’ tough demeanor come from? 

“My father was 100 percent Italian. We had some good pasta dishes around our house with my grandparents around,” Pags explained. “We didn’t have a good bakery in Lake Worth, so I remember my mother and aunts bringing great bread recipes over from the homeland.”

Pags has always been interested in what takes place on the periphery, not just the core of matters. He’s done a lot of things throughout his life. That experience has helped shape his radio show. Pags said his show tends to be white-collar, but he grew up blue-collar all the way. 

“I liked the Superman movies. I enjoyed Rocky,” Pags explained. “As a car-buff, I loved the Burt Reynolds films with Smokey and the Bandit. Stuff like that.”

Lake Worth, like a lot of other Floridia areas, has been known to be a little rough and tumble. Just watch Cops for a week if you don’t believe me.

Pags said other than a little shoving match at the bus stop, he didn’t encounter much rough stuff. “I was a musician, I wasn’t in that mix. Perhaps a scuffle in little league.”

When he was a teenager, he thought music would be it. “I’d played with some big-hitters at the time, like The Coasters,” Pags said. 

“Music career opportunities really didn’t come along as I’d hoped. In some ways, people in the industry were full of it. I still did some freelance work on the saxophone.”

Pags said he was always willing to work for what he got. “I poured coffee and ran errands for $4 an hour,” Pags said. “I had my car repossessed, and got evicted from my apartment. I still kept at it. I never was deterred from what I wanted. I knew what I wanted, but never really expected things to happen the way they did.”

Pags said if some youngster asked how to be what Pags is today, his answer was succinct. “Pour coffee, run errands, whatever you have to do.” 

I asked Pags what he does in his downtime? Let’s just say he’s not running to tee-off at 7:00 am with the guys at the club on his day off.

“I’m a domestic sports car guy,” he says with pride. “I’ve got three Corvettes, a Camaro Super Sport. My Camaro was a 1967, red with white stripes. I sold that car so we could afford to adopt our daughter. I got the better end of that deal.”

He doesn’t do any weekend racing on local tracks like other aging Indy wannabes. “I like to look at those cars in the garage,” Pags said. “My dad was a big car guy. My dad is probably why I’ve succeeded in my life and career. Not for the reasons you’d think.”

Pags’ relationship with his father had the typical ups and downs. Same as it is for most men.

“My father didn’t think I’d amount to anything and had no problem relating that to me,” Pags said. “Conversely, my Mom was always extremely supportive of my interests and goals. I knew if you were good at what you did, people would take notice.”

Pags said his father excelled at being a naysayer. A glass is a half-empty kind of guy.

“He was so negative. He thought I’d never succeed at anything,” Pags explained. “I was out of the house at 17, and I was determined to become something. To prove him wrong.”

Before his father passed away, Pags believes his father became aware of a lot of things. 

“A light went on in his head, and he was just so surprised I could make a living doing what I did,” Pags explains. “When I became a big enough success, he recognized my drive and determination. I’m still not sure if he was hard on me because he thought it would help me in the end. Whatever his reasoning was, it gave me the drive and determination to see things through.”

Pags’ father became so proud of his son that he’d tell friends Joe was going to be on Fox News and how they should tune in.

“It was my mother, with her ultimate support, that really made me want to succeed. For her,” Pags explained.

“I learned that if someone disparages you or makes you feel small, you have choices. You can go into a shell and take it. Believe what people say. Or you can go out and knock down some doors. If you want me to do something, tell me I can’t do it. Soon I will be syndicated on 200 stations. All that came from believing in myself. I’ll prove it to iHeart. To other broadcasters.”

Pags said at some point; you’ve got to find some kind of edge. 

“I knew I wasn’t going to agree with things my father believed and said, just to shut him up. I had to stand up for my own beliefs.”

I can relate to a guy like Pags. He’s got a tough exterior, not easy to crack. But like me, I know in the center is a soft, creamy nougat. 

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BNM Writers

Where Is the Good Stuff?

By the “good stuff, I’m not even referring necessarily to the happy or “feel good” tales of human kindness, child wonderment, or cute puppies.

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Good Content

A couple of stories about bears actually brought me to this declamation of sorts.

What you’ll see (or read, actually) is nothing new and certainly not any type of original complaint or assessment, but as I spend my days digging, crafting, and stacking stories on double homicides, house fires, high gas prices, and low voter turnout, it’s becoming that much more difficult to balance out a newscast with the good stuff.

By the “good stuff, I’m not even referring necessarily to the happy or “feel good” tales of human kindness, child wonderment, or cute puppies. I’m really just talking about the low end of the meter things; an innocuous bill passing, a road-widening project, or maybe even an upgrade in consumer technology somewhere.

We all realize if a show rattles off an unending laundry list of death, destruction, corruption, and high pollen counts, the only winners are therapists, pharmacies, and liquor stores. But it’s no longer as easy as it once was; I mean, I may be overstating for dramatic effect, but at the end of the day, it really does seem like not only are there fewer accounts to raise the serotonin levels, but those we do find cannot sufficiently dilute those newscasts from their continual tales of woe.

To expand my point, I return to the bears. 

Over the years, I have come to count on bears, and for a good reason. Most bear content consists of the giant creatures, often with their youngsters in tow, doing things we find cute, intriguing, thought-provoking, and/or hilarious. 

If you have never seen a giant black bear rumbling around inside an SUV they’ve just illegally entered or busting into someone’s kitchen and raiding the pantry or the garbage shed, can you even say you have truly lived?

Well, the short answer is you probably can, but I’m the one on the keyboard at the moment, so roll with it for now.

True, those stories often come at the expense of some weary camper, homeowner, or utility worker, but for the audience, it’s generally rejuvenating, even medicinal. A simple Google or social media search will lead you to an overflow of the best of bears in news content. Therefore, as you will see…they trend.

But here’s what has happened of late to turn those stories in a downward direction. Here, in this part of New England, our news stories about bears recently have revolved around them being killed. They destroy some crops or a garden and move on towards somebody’s house, and they get shot. They break into a shed and don’t run off; they get shot. They are euthanized; their cubs get tranquilized for relocation and then don’t wake up. It’s certainly a shift.

Suddenly, we are back to where we started with our content. What was once a sure thing is now added to the dark category of story selection. Still, it is often viable content because it’s a pro and con topic; it has angles and follow-up potential.

Now know this; I am not proposing a referendum involving bears, but rather just offering a long-winded metaphor of sorts.

We do not know when the time-tested default stories are going to turn on us. I do think it will usually happen when our backs are turned. That probably means the digging we do has gone even more profound than before. We cannot always count for all those elements in a story to be out in the open.

Like most of us, I read or at least do a hard scan of a lot of reports, releases, summaries, and everyone else’s take on what’s happening. Fortunately, I can sometimes find fundamental components dropped down further than they ought to be or not allotted enough attention due to time or space constraints.

In police work, these obscure details would often lead to another suspect, another criminal charge, or even an exoneration or a new investigation. 

I find little difference in this present position:

A hi-rise building fire is brought under control when the alarm’s sprinkler system douses much of the flames just as fire crews arrive. Now, that’s great, but there’s a bit more upon looking a little deeper.

The sprinklers knocked out the elevators, and firefighters carried a disabled burn victim down 14 flights of stairs. 

Part of their job?

Sure, but worth peeling the layers off that onion.

Drivers going the wrong way is another big thing around here. On the interstates, the highways, the local roadways, it’s happening a lot and often, as you might guess, with tragic results. So a driver is taken into custody after going the opposite way on not one but two different thoroughfares within like fifteen minutes.

Good story, good arrest, good write-up. 

How did they catch the wrong-way driver? 

The trooper turned directly into the driver’s path and took the crash impact to stop him.

Where did we that aspect of the incident?

Paragraph four or three-quarters through the stand-up.

Now, of course, all coverage and treatment of stories is subjective, and the intent here is merely for me to find a way to say I’m not seeing enough or finding enough “good stuff” to balance out my newscast, so I am going to loot and gut everything I can when necessary.

And that’s just on the local side. Do not get me started on the national beat.

I hope it’s not that people are starting to slip on their quota of good deeds, but it has forced me to think and work just a little harder. 

It’s disappointing when I cannot even count on the bears anymore.

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