Tag Archives: Rolland Smith

Frank Cipolla Relives Best Moments for Autobiography

CIPOLLA 8x10 HEADSHOT 1-15Whether you know his work from name, voice, or face, chances are if you’ve been paying attention to New York news coverage in the last three decades you know Frank Cipolla.

His longevity and versatile reporting skills for radio and TV are the framework for his 2011 autobiography, It Shocked Even Us and More Crazy Stories Covering Local News. (Available directly through Cipolla’s website, itshockedevenus.com)

No need to be a war correspondent for anecdotes. Cipolla has tons, probably enough for another installment from his beat in the five boroughs and New Jersey. His time at WNBC is a favorite chapter worth the price of the book on its own. As a newscaster, Cipolla was on the front line for some of biggest egos in the business: Howard Stern, Don Imus and Soupy Sales.

Cipolla tells Tuned In it was equally stressful and hilarious.

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Death of WCBS Reporter John Slattery Shocks Colleagues

johnslattery1He was a consumate pro, who was one of the great New York TV street reporters. John Slattery passed away suddenly early Thursday. Tuned In has learned that the veteran WCBS-TV reporter died of an apparent heart attack in his sleep. A spokesperson could not confirm his cause of death. He was 63. His death comes just hours after filing a story for the station.

His death stunned colleagues and competitors alike.

“We are saddened by the unexpected passing of our friend and colleague John Slattery… He was great at reporting the news and was someone we counted on to cover big stories for us, both here in New York and around the world,” Peter Dunn, WCBS President and GM, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with John’s wife, Suzie, and their children and grandchildren.”

During a legendary 35-year run in New York City, Slattery intersected with some of the most famous anchors the market ever saw. After a stint at Philly’s WCAU, Slattery reached the big time when Eyewitness News came calling in 1979. He spent five years with WABC, where Roger Grimsby and Bill Beutel still ruled the roost. The station also added Ernie Anastos and Tom Snyder while Slattery was pounding the pavement. While there, he was part of Channel 7’s John Lennon assassination coverage. In 1981, Slattery made history as the first reporter to conduct a post-Watergate interview with former president Richard Nixon.

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Use of Social Media on Local News ‘Detrimental to the Journalistic Profession’

Grymes MacedoTelevision news has always been about garnering the ratings. That’s what news directors and GMs liked. Now, it’s not only about sales revenue and the Nielsen numbers. Today there’s a definite realignment with social media. At the same time, there’s also evidence  of “dumbing down” the broadcasts.

If you’re up early on the weekend, for example, you may have noticed a different look on WCBS-TV.

With Cindy Hsu, a solid pro, moved to weekend nights, Channel 2 is opting for style at the desk.

Teaming anchor Andrea Grymes (above left) and recent hire Diane Macedo (above right) has the feel of girls “playing TV.”

Thankfully, the initial giggles and smiles have eased. That isn’t the type of chemistry essential in New York. Altoona, maybe, but not NYC.

Grymes is a decent enough reporter, but lacks in the substance department, especially when placed behind the desk. As for Macedo, her stock is apparently rising with management as an occasional fill-in anchor at other times.

Rolland Smith logged nearly 40 years in local news, including many in New York a generation ago at the aforementioned WCBS. He says change is not always for the better.

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Milestone Moment: WNBC’s Chuck Scarborough Marks 40 Years On Air

Chuck+ScarboroughAmerica was in the final throws of Watergate. It was March 25, 1974 when Chuck Scarborough debuted on WNBC. An anchor from the outset, Scarborough has weathered various co-anchor combinations, multiple news directors and a sale of the company.

Scarborough, 70, and WNBC would not participate in this piece, but this celebration of four decades on the air in New York goes on without the legendary anchorman.

He’s the longest serving anchor in New York behind only Rafael Pineda, who has been seen uninterrupted on Univision’s WXTV/Channel 41 since 1972.

Scarborough was hired to helm Channel 4’s new 5 p.m. edition of NewsCenter4. Ultimately, he was named lead anchor at 6 and 11 p.m.

He had his share of on-air partners from Pat Harper and John Hambrick, to Lynda Baquero and Jack Cafferty.

But, of course, he is most remembered for his time with Sue Simmons. Their 32-year tandem ended in June 2012. (See video clip below.)

Simmons recalls the night “Chuck and Sue” was born.

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