Au revoir, WBZ News

When I moved to Boston from New Orleans almost 30 years ago one of the things I had to do was find a local tv station to get my news from. After checking out the options I ended up going with WBZ, the local CBS affiliate. The fact that I watched the news on the CBS affiliate back in New Orleans may have helped, but mostly it was the fact that I liked how WBZ presented the news, both in content and in the anchors and reporters.

But over the last three months or so, I started to become dissatisfied with the WBZ news, mostly because of how many times the news got delayed or flat-out preempted by sporting events on the weekend. Part of it was due to all the coverage of the New England Patriots, a team I’m sick of hearing about in a sport I couldn’t care less about. Yes, WBZ is the official broadcast partner of the Patriots, but while some folks I know refuse to watch the WBZ News because of that fact, I preferred WBZ’s news in spite of it.

Sunday night was the Super Bowl (or as I call it, the Stupid Bowl), and I opted to watch my Victoria DVDs rather than watch the game, not even caring to see the ads since I knew I could watch them online after the game if I ended up wanting to. In the weeks leading up to the game, I rooted for the Pats’ opponents, just as I do all season long, And once I knew they’d be facing the Eagles I often tweeted with the hashtag #FlyEaglesFly.

You can imagine how it pleased me to see tweets saying that Pretty Boy Brady and the Pats were losing, and ultimately lost the game. When I saw a tweet saying that WBZ was starting their post-game coverage sometime before 11 pm I turned it on so that when they started the 11 pm news I would already have my tv on the right channel. Except 11 pm came and went and they never did throw the coverage to the studio for even a quick look at what’s going on in the world apart from football. They didn’t even do a weather report, meaning if I hadn’t caught their 8 pm newscast I’d have to get the weather report online. (My DVR had grabbed the 8 pm newscast but I had already deleted it, opting to just watch the news at 11 pm.) It turns out the latest weather video on their site was an hour before the 8 pm weather report, and th-th-th-th-that’s all, folks.

That was the last straw for me. The post-game coverage turned into a 2+ hour version of their 5th Quarter sports show that runs after the 11 pm news on Sunday nights. To make matters worse, by the time 11:15 (the usual time for the weather forecast) rolled around the sports team was simply standing out on the field essentially saying the same things that they had already said, seemingly just to eat up more airtime. In addition, David Wade, the news anchor that joined the reporters out in Minneapolis, was either doing fluff bits or was saying so little I doubt anyone cared what he was saying.

I normally had my DVR set to record all of the WBZ newscasts in case I missed them, but before I went to bed I set my DVR to also get the newscasts from WCVB, the local ABC affiliate. I had checked out WCVB’s news last year but was so unhappy with the darkness of their news sets it didn’t let me give the reporting a fair chance to win me over. As I watched their newscasts on Monday I discovered that I still disliked the dark sets but I liked how they delivered the news. I also found that the WCVB weather reports gave a lot more information than WBZ’s weather team gives, and even their graphics are better than I had seen last summer.

I’ll be removing the WBZ newscasts by the end of the month, and I still get my national news from CBS, partly because I know CBS will do more real news coverage. I’m not saying ABC News doesn’t do actual news coverage, but I do know the crew on CBS This Morning are reporters first and foremost, but I’d never consider Michael Strahan a journalist. His hosting The $100,000 Pyramid locks him in as an entertainment host in my book, not a journalist.

On my Android phone, WCVB’s app is so much better than WBZ’s. Not only do they not make you get a separate app for their weather information like WBZ does, but if I tap a notification about a story from WCVB it goes right to the story. The notifications from WBZ’s app dump you to the app’s home page and make you have to root around to find the story they just have you a notification about. I just wish WCVB’s app could let me disable topics I don’t care about like Sports and Entertainment.

I miss Lisa Hughes, Paula Ebben, David Wade, Liam Martin and the other anchors and reporters I’d come to consider friends, and it doesn’t seem right getting weather reports from people other than Danielle Niles, Pamela Gardner, and Barry Burbank, but I am enjoying the additional information I’m getting from the anchors, reporters and weather team over at WCVB. I also miss the weekday Fresh Grocer segments with Tony Tantillo, but c’est la vie. I’ve even started unfollowing Twitter accounts for WBZ folks and adding the WCVB team as I find out who everyone is and want to read their tweets.

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