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I open today’s episode of “As The D.J. Turns” at a Chicago television station studio. The weather segment of the 10 p.m. news is taking place.

METEOROLOGIST: Government officials don’t know if Florida can be reattached to the rest of the country after the hurricane.

ANCHOR: A horrible situation. Thanks Gus Towind. And speak of hurricane force winds, the Bulls are blowing by everyone in the NBA these days.

EVERYONE IN THE STUDIO BREAKS UP LAUGHING.

SPORTS ANCHOR: That’s right Kelly Prompter. . .

Okay, my example is a little overboard. But I wanted to use it to make my point that the happy talk on Chicago newscasts is more annoying than fingers on a chalkboard. I was an anchor of the my college television station’s news program for a semester. We were taught to chat things up between segments, which is called happy talk by many who follow or work in local television news, as a way to keep the program on time if it was running slow so it would end as scheduled.

And in theory, it’s not a bad idea if the anchor has a strong comment or question. I watch one Chicago station for my local news consistently and the newscasts are strong except when they start to yuck it up and I frequently shout at the TV “Shut Up!” I’ve watched the newscasts of the other programs and they are not much better.

But I have seen newscasts in media markets much smaller than Chicago and they transition from news to weather or from news to sports really smoothly and in an intelligent and non-annoying way most of the time. The Chicago stations could learn from them.

UNTIL NEXT TIME. . .

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