Ad-libbing from a live shot has become a commodity, particularly in the Bay Area. There's exceptions of course, but the vast majority of our beloved correspondents couldn't ad-lib their way out of a paper bag. They mysteriously become incompetent and clueless. All the more irritating is given the fact that without notes and prompters, they look and sound like rank amateurs.
It's not just field reporters but anchors too. That's what I loved about Pete Wilson. He was borderline genius on breaking news. He asked good, concise questions and was terrific on virtually any event, incident, natural disaster, like the earthquake in '89. Same too with Evan White and Bob Jimenez. For all his anchor acumen, Dennis Richmond was a terrible ad-libber. Don't know why but Richmond seemed more apt in a controlled environment. Frank Somerville is very adept at the art of ad-libbing and that was never more apparent during the Asiana Air crash. Ken Bastida knows how to ad-lib--ditto Allen Martin but Liz Cook is a train wreck, I'm sorry. I give props to Janelle Wang at KNTV who has shown marked improvement from earlier days when doing an unscripted show was not one of her high points. The worst of the bunch is Darya Folsom. Darya is a gusher. Breathless and golly gee at that too, she sounds as if she's at the circus. Her partner, Mark Danon, is fairly adept and that was the case during the BART train incident Wednesday. Hey, KTVU, give credit to Sal Castanada who also excelled on the BART story on unexpected notice.
**I heard about the big radio brouhaha regarding Rush and Hannity and didn't write it because, frankly, the station locally is worthless. Beige wallpaper really, an outlet most people can't hear and radio talent so devoid of anything meaning and worthwhile to listen too. Just my opinion.
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