Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio

Kirk Baird

A few final 'Idol' thoughts

As the ninth season of American Idol fades in our minds, and we look forward to a summer of pop culture possibilities, I thought I'd purge my head of American Idol and Crystal Bowersox:

First, let me say it's been a heckuva ride and a lot of fun covering all-things Crystal for the past few months. Thanks for reading and thanks for the e-mails and voicemails. It's not often something as big as Crystal's Idol run comes along to a city like Toledo, and it was a blast documenting as much of the frenzy as I could.

As for Crystal ... through it all -- the weekly pressure-packed performances, the judges' critiques, the homecoming, and the finale -- she handled everything with class and dignity. She represented herself, her family, and her community well. I lost track of the number of times I heard other media comment to each other about how well-spoken Crystal is or what a nice, genuine person she is.

In the end, she was gracious in defeat, and enthusiastic about the future possibilities Idol has now afforded her.

Look for her new album to drop in the fall followed by a summer tour. Essentially, the same schedule that Adam Lambert is on now.

Neither Lee's nor Crystal's single sold particularly well when compared to Idol seasons past. But I expect her first record -- which will be originals only -- to be a hit with critics and to fare better with record buyers than Lee's record will.

Time will prove that Lee may've won the title, but Crystal won the career.

That's what I found myself wondering at 3 a.m. Sunday as I skipped through the four local affiliates and their newscast coverage of the major storms.

Channel 13 and 11, WTVG-TV and WTOL-TV, respectively, were covering the weather chaos as expected. WNWO-TV, Channel 24, was on it as well.

WUPW-TV, Channel 36, however, failed to cut away from its syndicated programming for live news-weather coverage of the storms, which, so far, resulted in seven deaths and millions of dollars in damage. Instead, the station ran a live radar image in the bottom-left corner of the screen.

I'm guessing such token coverage of the storms was mandated by the FCC, otherwise, what was the point? "Hey, there's a really big storm headed your way -- including tornado activity -- but we're not cutting away from our regularly scheduled programming to tell you anything about it."

WUPW has made some big strides in improving its news coverage, and felt strongly enough about its product to move its 4 to 5 p.m. newscast to 6:30 p.m., where it competes with the ABC, CBS, and NBC network newscasts. But by not keeping its 10 p.m. news crew around through Sunday morning to cover the storms live, as the trio of other local affiliates did, the station missed out on an opportunity to prove to local viewers its commitment to news. The coverage also would have given viewers the rare chance to sample all four local newscasts at the same time. Again, if you're WUPW, another great way to showcase your product.

Kudos, though, to 11, 13, and 24 for their late-night storm coverage.

Sure, maybe the weathermen seemed a bit too excited at times over the storms, but the coverage was about as good as you can expect under the circumstances. And, truth be told, it probably saved some lives in the process.

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