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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.


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.