Friday, January 11, 2008

American Idle

Yes, it is that time of year, and with the writer's strike still going we're going to be inundated with American Idol.

Yet for the life of me I've never understood why other networks and their local affiliates spend so much time promoting a show on another channel.

While Idol may qualify as a water cooler show, that doesn't mean it should be discussed at your water cooler if you don't work for a Fox station. You've gotta know the producers of Idol have to be laughing it up when the competition spends so much time promoting their show.

And here's a number to consider. Last year Idol had an average of 30 million viewers. Which means 270 million people in the country didn't watch. That's 90 percent of your audience. Do you really want to spend time promoting a show that most people don't watch?

There are plenty of other fun subjects for a relaxed morning show. You might even find a show on your own network to talk about.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Thursday's story ideas

Political campaigning via phone. How does the "do not call" list apply to politics?

Millions use over the counter cold & cough medicine to get high. Do parents check to see what's really in the medicine cabinet?

Houses that always sell, even in this market. What are the factors (waterfront, school district, etc.) that can make or break it for you come resale time?

Recycling old cell phones. In some cases, you can sell them for decent money. Some organizations (women's shelters, for instance) refurbish them and give them to people for emergencies.

Green investing. How to find out if your mutual fund invests in environmentally friendly companies.

Refund anticipation loans. How much interest is it really costing someone to get a refund a few weeks early?

No homework for kids? Some schools are following this trend.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Wednesday's story ideas

Violent crime is down in many of the nation's big cities. (But I'll bet your newscast is still loaded with crime stories.) What's the perception in your market?

A Roger Clemens sidebar... when is it legal to tape a conversation? Hint: depends on what state you're in.

Iowa & New Hampshire results. If you're in a state other than those two, is this affecting the decisions of the local voters?

Good small market story: If you're in the market for an organ transplant, your chances are not as good as if you lived in a big city.

China bans plastic bags from supermarkets. Will this start a trend here?

Selling NFL playoff tickets on the Internet. Legal in your market? And if you're a buyer, how do you know if the seller is legit?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Is Britney news?

Today while waiting in line at the supermarket I did what most people do when they're done sorting coupons; I checked out the tabloids. Along with the usual miracle diets and space alien abductions was the name "Britney" plastered over the most unflattering photos the paparazzi could snap.

Which begs the question being asked in many newsrooms these days. Is this stuff news? And does it belong in a local newscast?

Is this woman's life water cooler talk? Probably. Does it affect the life of the average viewer of local news? Uh, no.

But then again, neither do car wrecks.

If you're a producer still in need of a New Year's resolution, how about taking the "no Britney" pledge?

Trust me, there are plenty of outlets from which viewers can get their gossip. Take the high road and put the news back in your newscast.

Tuesday's story ideas

Sales of DVDs are dropping. Is it the technology, fears of a recession, or the fact that Hollywood just hasn't been making very good movies lately?

Some state legislators are working to help people avoid foreclosure. Check to see what's happening along these lines in your market. (Thanks to Megs for that idea.)

New studies show "moderate" sun exposure is good for you (Vitamin D) but what about the risks of skin cancer? Talk to a dermatologist to find the happy medium.

New Jersey considered putting "mini windmills" on its highways to generate electricity from the wind current created by cars. (This assumes the traffic in Jersey actually moves fast enough to create a breeze. Note to Governor: getting rid of the toll booths might help.)

Speaking of tolls, how much gas can you save by getting one of those EZ Pass gadgets? How much does one minute of idling cost you??

As schools try to combat childhood obesity, is weight training appropriate for young people?

Tattoo removal. Yes, they're popular, but many people want them gone as they get older.
Lie detector tests. How accurate are they, and can people "beat" them? (Just in case Roger Clemens actually takes one.)

Monday, January 7, 2008

Monday's story ideas

Huckabee's flat tax plan. What would it mean to various income groups?

Half of doctors surveyed say they've prescribed placebos. Just wondering... how much did patients pay pharmacies for this?

National unemployment rate is at a two year high. How are things in your market?

Travel flash. Cruises are a real bargain in January.

Consumer electronics manufacturers say they'll make their products more environmentally friendly. Meanwhile, how can people recycle electronics in your market?

January is a great month for clearance sales. What are the best bargains?

Supreme Court hears arguments on whether lethal injection is inhumane. Check out the capital punishment situation in your state.