It doesn't matter how you try to spin it: Carolyn Johnson's exit to SoCal leaves KGO-TV in a mini-crisis.
The anxiety level in the newsroom is far over the norm and there's griping that NO ONE has any confidence in Tracey Watkowski, Channel 7's "The Woman who wore Prada" News Director.
To be blunt, says a well-placed station source: "She's in over her head. Nobody has any faith in her nor trust."
Making matters worse, KGO and the other stations are in a sweep period and while the ratings are good, there's a significant polarization inside the newsroom --those that support Trixie and those that don't. I still don't get it that Trixie hasn't called a staff meeting to try to find harmony in a news operation that needs it --this isn't KTVU mind you, (we'll get to them shortly), and Channel 7 still puts out a fairly decent news product day in and day out.
I'm a big Nick Smith fan. And I think Dan Ashley is the very best anchor in the market. Dan Noyes is the finest investigate reporter in the city and although I have major issues with Wayne Freedman, the SF veteran tonsil is a damn good street-side reporter. Some other quickies:
Larry Beil: Your serious look combined with a sort of pompous demeanor belittles your quality presentation. Larry, every now and then, LAUGH! Enough with the curing cancer appearance --makes you look like a self-serving egotistical jerk.
Carolyn Tyler: Carolyn, you have way too much influence at 900 Front to allow them to treat you like crap. Sure, you've just re-upped and that's fine. But I'm sorry, you need a more prominent role--they take you for granted.
Cheryl Jennings: How did this woman become such a complete phony overnight? The fake looks of concern, the incessant giggle with the faux mock outrage and self-importance aura --Jennings is a Trixie favorite which might explain why there's so much angst at KGO-TV and so is Freedman who once called me to lecture how "great Tracey is." Really?
Then why is the newsroom and staff so rife full of anger and bewilderment? I wanted to find out. I called Trixie and left numerous messages not so long ago and Trixie didn't answer any of 'em--keep in mind we have spoken in the past and she seems to be a capable woman in charge but her people skills, according to a respected newsroom staffer, are non-existent and she doesn't do a good job of delegating --the departure by Johnson was not Watkowski's doing but it certainly didn't help that it was on her watch.
Trixie: Read the room. Get a box of sandwiches from Grumpy's and let loose at a meeting. YOU need it---THEY need it and if you can't produce, at least try to fake it.
*KTVU: a potpourri of inner-office incompetency highlighted by complete doofus-management that still has ZERO leadership virtues and a staff in utter disbelief about the news content and direction of the product From well-placed sources at the Jack London Square Channel 2 outpost...
-- The constant, revolving door policy of new reporters almost every other day. The lack of a cohesive message. The onslaught of murder/mayhem Oakland/Richmond stories that has overtaken the newscasts...The cheapening of the "10 O'clock News" into a vagabond resource of immense story-load insignificant non-stories...the obscene "BREAKING NEWS" silos that have become a source of great embarrassment among staffers who are disgusted by the barrage. Who's behind it? Wonderboy himself, Lee Rosenthal, the News Director that has ZERO allies and a plateful of resentment. It's now 100% certain that Rosenthal got the KTVU gig because he's an "expert" on Social Media and that's a crock. Yeah, how cool does Somerville look doing a stand-up in the middle of 10 O' clock telling views how the Tweets are stocking up --seriously, what a horrid look!
Not helping matters: GM, Tom Raponi and his incompetent leadership which exists of carrying on a state-of-denial tenure. Raponi simply can't handle the rigors of the job and despite numerous chances to get it right, sits back in idle silence and simply runs a no-hands-on work approach. Hey Tom, it ain't working. Get a grip.
SPORTS TV WARS: Not helping matters at KTVU is the in-house griping in the sports dept. where sloppy seconds, Joe Fonzi and Fred Inglis, continue to bark and bark loud behind the scenes in rampant jealousy and disgust that, unlike Mark Ibanez, they do all the work and don't get paid $300K a year! Inglis is not a major name--he should know better. Fonzi should understand his best days were about 20 years ago when Bill Clinton was president. In any event, the mass grumbling continues--this doesn't bode well for a happy ending.
*Sarah and Vinnie UPDATE: She just signed a pretty good re-up and while that's swell, her husband, the dorky second who sounds like a reject from a Fresno IHop, is OUTRAGED! His wife not only gets the big bucks but has been warding off horny groupies that have tried to romance her ways off the dorky side-kick. At ALICE Radio, several well-known male models from nearby Stars have been openly flirting toward her majesty complete with candy grams, racy self-portraits and get this!!, a love letter laced with enough romantic code words to fill AT&T Park. She's speechless --he's sort of limp. Stay tuned!
*Hot Girl! NBC Bay Area's hottie Eastbay reporter, Cheryl Hurd, was at the centerpiece of Montclair traffic Tuesday while doing a live shot getting actualities outside Crogans. Several star-struck fans made it a point to hug the sexy sister as she made her way up Mountain Blvd. It looked like a scene out of 'Inside Edition.'
*Gary Radnich at KNBR: "Hey can someone get us all some sodas?" Interns flock to soda machine to get six orange sodas. The big shot with the Bentley failed to buy. Tacky Tacky Tacky.
*Finally, Playboy is about to embark on the city looking for willing, able and sexy media TV reporters and anchors to decloathe --You'd be surprised who they have their sights on and I'll tell you, exclusively soon on 415 Media.
*Follow me on Twitter
Talk of the Town