It’s not enough that Orlando’s main TV stations have thrown out their networks morning and afternoon schedules to show the Casey Anthony trial. On Thursday night, WKMG bumped part of CBS’ prime-time lineup for a trial recap.
Local 6’s Casey Anthony Special Report aired at 10 p.m., in the slot where a repeat of “The Mentalist” was scheduled to run. I suspect when ratings come out, Local 6’s bold move will prove to be a ratings winner. It was the most dramatic day of the trial with Cindy Anthony testifying that she was responsible for chloroform searches on the family computer and that stains in the trunk of Casey’s car were there when the family bought the vehicle.
Belated congratulations to WKMG investigative reporter Tony Pipitone and WESH chief photographer Pete Delis.
The two Orlando TV newsmen were honored with Regional Silver Circle Awards at the Suncoast Emmy Awards on Dec. 4 in Fort Lauderdale.
The Silver Circle Award recognizes those people who have made significant contributions to television over a period of 25 years or more. The Suncoast Chapter has offered these awards to television professionals in its southern U.S. region since 1989.
Could Orlando’s Channel 6 have been the site of one of the most unthinkable breaches of journalism ethics by the profession’s most trusted anchorman, Walter Cronkite?
That’s what a FBI informant claimed in documents obtained by a Yahoo! News blogger in a Freedom of Information Act request. According to John Cook, senior national reporter/blogger for Yahoo! News, the informant claimed that in 1969, Cronkite offered to help Rollins College students with an anti-Vietnam War protest, going so far as to say that if they invited Maine Sen. Edmund Muskie to address their protest, “CBS would rent [a] helicopter to take Muskie to and from site of rally.”
How does Channel 6, then known as WDBO-TV, fit into all of this? According to the FBI files, the informant says the protest leader was at WDBO to meet with newsmen about the planned Vietnam protest. The informant claims that while at the station, the leader discussed plans for the anti-war rally on the phone with Cronkite for about 45 minutes .
“[Redacted] told group he had been to CBS Channel Six in Orlando prior to meeting to speak to newsmen about Vietnam moratorium activities. [Redacted] related that while at TV station, Walter Cronkite, nationally known radio and television commentator, spoke to him by telephone for approximately forty five minutes and that Cronkite reportedly told [redacted] that CBS would have thirty six hours of coverage on Vietnam moratorium with ‘open mike’ to give demonstrators a chance to be heard. Cronkite noted, according to [redacted], that Senator Edmund Muskie would be in Orlando, Fla.,November 13 instant for Democratic fund raising dinner. According to [redacted], Cronkite suggested that [redacted] attempt to Muskie to come [sic] to Cape Kennedy to speak at Kelly Park rally to be held November thirteen instant. Cronkite allegedly told [redacted] that CBS would rent helicopter to take Muskie to and from site of rally at Kelly Park.”
WKMG reporter Tony Pipitone fronted the story on Local 6’s 6 p.m. newscast Friday night. “It’s a little bit of FBI history. How much of it is true or not, I guess we may never know,” he told anchor Lauren Rowe. He noted that the FBI destroyed most of its files on Cronkite in 2007 — it was only by happenstance that this particular file survived.
“You’re not buying it, are you?” Rowe asked Pipitone.
“I’m not buying it. I don’t think Cronkite would do that … but, who knows,” he said with a shrug.
I, too, strongly suspect this informant’s account is completely inaccurate. Still, I found it interesting that Pipitone and Rowe went out of their way to tell viewers twice that the current ownership and management of Channel 6 had nothing to do with alleged incident.
With all the hype about the arrival of the new Powerball lottery, WKMG missed the live drawing on Wednesday night. CBS was airing the People’s Choice Awards, and apparently it was running just a tad long. While the Powerball drawing was being shown live on WTMO-Telemundo 31, the credits were still rolling on the People’s Choice Awards on Local 6. Just as the final number — the big Powerball — had finished being drawn, WKMG began airing the drawing on a tape-delayed basis. I’m pretty sure the 11:15 p.m. Lotto drawing was also shown tape-delayed, too. …
WKMG was also dealt a possible setback from one its most interesting sweeps pieces, Tony Pipitone’s reports on the Guetzloe Files, the Orlando Sentinel reports. If you’ll recall, back in late 2006 and early 2007, WKMG obtained some personal files of tax activist/political consultant Doug Guetzloe. The facility where Guetzloe had his files put them up for auction because it had not received payment for Guetzloe’s storage unit. Guetzloe filed suit against the station and Public Storage, claiming they acted illegally in obtaining his personal and business papers. Lawyers for Public Storage and the TV station asked for a summary judgment against Guetzloe. Well, Judge Reginald Whitehead refused to do that, meaning there could be a courtroom showdown on the case. “The judge made his decision two weeks ago, but because of the holiday, we just found out about it,” Guetzloe told the Sentinel on Wednesday. Read more here. …
WOFL-Fox 35 is airing a one-hour pre-game show tonight starting at 6:30 p.m., leading up to Fox’s coverage of the BCS Championship between the Florida Gators and Oklahoma Sooners. … And finally, TV Guy Hal Boedeker says that reporters Gustavo Almodovar and Andrea Conklin have left WFTV-Channel 9.
Orlando’s local TV stations are so obsessed over Casey Anthony — especially now that it’s sweeps — maybe they just all need a hug? Sentinel TV Guy Hal Boedeker takes the local stations to task for overplaying a story about Anthony attorney Jose Baez hugging Casey twice while in jail.
Boedeker wrote: “No way, Jose,” WFTV-Channel 9 anchor Bob Opsahl said in opening the 5 p.m. Friday news. “Now hugs have him in trouble.” Anchor Martie Salt added: “Lawyers are never supposed to touch their clients, especially like this.” It was all rather breathless.
"Bland newscasts [that] lack a distinctive style."
That’s how Orlando Sentinel TV Critic Hal Boedeker characterizes WESH 2 News. It was part of a Sunday feature on the state of the city’s newscasts. He says top-rated WFTV "delivers fast-paced Eyewitness News with businesslike determination," and WKMG "has hit on a formula of offering reports that make viewers switch away from WFTV or stay up at 11."