One of the biggest noticeable changes at newly-re-branded Channel 2 --KTVU-Fox2 is the talk between anchors; sports, weather, anchor and reporter during live shots. It's nothing out of the ordinary--but it's become so much a part of KTVU's newscasts that some people are aghast at its presence. Take a deep breath.
There's nothing wrong with some genuine banter as long as it doesn't sound fake and forced. Worse yet, if the exchange is uneven and/or contrived then we have a problem. So far, based on my watching, and I've been watching a lot of Channel 2 news lately, I don't see any issues. As a matter of fact, for the most part I like what I see and hear.
KTVU's old owners, Cox Media, was adamant about more stick to the teleprompter approach. And such policy was one of 2's staple ingredients to success. Could you imagine Dennis Richmond having a back-and-forth on-camera with Azenth Smith? Good luck. That's not to denigrate Richmond and his four-decade career at JLS--it's just to point out that as good as Richmond was he was never considered the greatest ad-libber. Nor did he like idle chit-chat between anchor and reporter --it wasn't his style nor Cox's --now it's become pervasive on virtually all newscasts --a KTVU version of "Happy Talk." Most of it has worked thus far, although there's a few rough edges to sort out.
Frank Somerville is good at asking legitimate questions. His back and forth recently with Tom Vacar, who was doing a live shot from the Port of Oakland was proof positive. He asked some pointed questions to Vacar about why it's taken so long for the union and management to sit down to negotiate a contract, (a deal has now been reached) and Vacar obliged with some solid, specific reasons for the stalemate. It was honest and straightforward to the core and made for a compelling local TV news segment.
Not all of KTVU's anchors are up to the chore. Gasia Mikaelian is a competent, attractive news reader but her interview and ad-lib skills are less than decent. She tends to come off looking like she's out of place --which can often lead to awkward moments on her newscasts. It's not glaring but it needs work.
Overall, KTVU and it's talk mode are more than adequate, in fact, quite welcome at times. After all, it's a part of the FOX handbook.. As long as it remains genuine and functional there's no problem. Talk doesn't necessarily have to be cheap.
*Follow me on Twitter