Episode 6: The Media


Episode 6: The Media


Join Commonalities host Matt Dowling with Pittsburgh Media Figure John Steigerwald for a discussion on the importance of media in politics on Thursday, December 15th following the local, district, and statewide news on WMBS Radio 590AM / 101.1FM or on Facebook LIVE (https://www.facebook.com/MatthewDowlingPublic) at 11:15AM or download at: www.Commonalities.online. Steigerwald is a Pittsburgh-based sports reporter, commentator, and former sports anchor and second oldest member of the Steigerwald media family that includes his older brother Bill and younger brothers Paul Steigerwald and rock guitarist Dan Steigerwald. John worked on the sports anchor team at WTAE-TV (ABC), along with other Pittsburgh notables such as Myron Cope and Bill Hillgrove. He later moved to KDKA-TV (CBS) in 1985 and was an anchor and primary Pittsburgh Steelers reporter for 30 years. KDKA chose not to renew his contract in 2007. Until 2015 he was a "Sports Talk" host on the radio website of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He writes a weekly column for The Daily Caller and his web site is JustWatchtheGame.com. John's brother Bill Steigerwald is an ex-newspaperman and book author ("30 Days a Black Man" and "Dogging Steinbeck") who worked at the Los Angeles Times in the 1980s, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in the 1990s and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in the 2000s. Paul Steigerwald, also a former KDKA-TV sports reporter, held the position of Pittsburgh Penguins' television play-by-play announcer from 2006 until 2017. Learn more: https://theanswerpgh.com/radioshow/the-john-steigerwald-show

Episode Transcript
Starting now. Commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations, politics, religion, finances, all the topics your grandmother told you not to discuss with friends. And now your host, Matthew Dowling, and today's guests on commonalities. Well, good morning everyone, and thank you for joining us. We are actually doing today's show, uh, while we pre-record, uh, for the convenience of many of our guests. Today's show is live, and I am, uh, doing it from the W N B S studios off of Morgantown Street in Uniontown and producing is Bill Madden here with us today. Um, and we have a wonderful guest with us, a uh, Pittsburgh media icon, John Steiger, while John, how are you doing today? Good. How are you doing, Matthew? I'm doing well. I think, uh, most people, uh, in the, uh, in the Fayette County Uniontown area, know your credentials, know that, uh, you know, I remember as a, as a child that, uh, you were doing sportscasting with, uh, with some of the greats like Myron Cope, um, oh yeah. And you've been, uh, you've been doing, uh, some conservative talk radio since that point in time. But the reason we wanted to have you on today was so that we could have a little bit of discussion about the media's role in politics and how you've seen, uh, that kind of change in, uh, in your career span, uh, over the last couple decades. Well, I mean, how much time you got <laugh>? Uh, um, actually, um, you know, it's, it's two, it's two different from a national perspective, it's obvious. So, I mean, I'm, I'm pretty old. So I was out there selling cable TV door to door when I got outta college in, uh, 19 72, 50 years ago, believe it or not. Um, and I had to tell people when I knocked on the door, I, I, what part of the sales pitch was I would point outside to the, to the wire running on the telephone pole outside, I'd say, you see that silver wire that's a cable, and we're gonna connect the cable from to that, that's gonna run directly to your TV and you're gonna get great reception and blah, blah, blah. And I had people say to me, I will never pay for to watch tv. I'm never gonna pay. Just imagine somebody saying that now. And they said, um, some people would say, that's the way, that's a way for the government to spy on you. That's never gonna be in my house. I actually made really good money doing it cause, because I was, I, I was a, a recent graduate from college, and I, you know, I was getting, I, I, I had feelers out to get a, a real job, and I was making the equivalent of about probably, I don't know, $1,500 a week, working like 18 hours a week selling it. So, but I was good at it because I knew what it was and I knew what the future was, but I, you know, I was, I was charging five, I was asking for $5, that's how much it costs for a month, and look where we are now, where not, and, and back then, all you got really was some, um, good reception on the local channels, you know, perfect reception on, you know, the <inaudible> cable gives you and the, and the big, uh, the attraction that I was selling was that you could watch W o R TV in New York and watch Mets games. Um, so right now you have 150 channels at least, that you can watch, and then they're streaming. So just the, the, the way how much the technology has changed since, since I got out of college and the way, forget about what people see on tv, the way they watch TV has changed so much, much. Um, and then in the last 25, 26 years since, um, Fox has been on the, obviously they, they, the main cable news networks, msnbc, cnn, and Fox are competing. Um, but Fox jumped in there smart enough to see the, the void that was there for conservative news, and they're killing everybody. So the biggest change in the last 25 years has been Fox cuz, uh, because if you just try to imagine, you know, all the discussion that you're seeing now about the Hunter Biden laptop, there would be millions and millions of people still today that would not know what you're talking about. If you said, uh, hunter Biden's laptop, what do you think of that? And you asked 'em, they said, who's Hunter Biden? What's that? If you, that's what would be going on if there was no Fox tv because the other networks, including not just the two cable networks, but um, abc, cbs, nbc, they've basically, until very recently, they ignored the story. So if you don't have Fox there, and that's just one example of, you know, the same, you could say the same thing about the border. The border is now, the other networks are finally paying attention to the border after Fox has been beating on it for a couple of years. Um, so the fact that Fox has created a, a spot for conservative news and commentary, uh, that's the biggest change aside from the technical change that I just described from going from, you know, I watched you watching, uh, three stations to watching 150 stations and on the local level, um, when I started working at Channel four, we had a half hour news at six o'clock. We had a half hour news at 11 o'clock, that was it. Now they have a four o'clock, a five o'clock, a six o'clock, they're on three or four hours in the morning, all three stations. And most of it's garbage. But it's, it's different. And so that's the biggest change quantity has been is, is great. Much, much greater the quality. Much, much less. Yeah, I, you know, I've been surprised seeing the advances of, uh, what quality is acceptable, um, in news production. You know, I, years ago, we would've never thought, uh, of, you know, a reporter getting on their, uh, Facebook live on their cell phone right in front of them. No. And doing a preview of that story. Now, you know, that's expected in the field. And, and I'm even seeing people, uh, in the media world who, you know, their stations have requirements on them for a number of social media posts and interactions. Um, oh yeah. Because, you know, they, they really want them to, to be a persona. But, you know, the other change that, uh, that I think you started to get to with, with Fox is the 24 hour news cycle. And I think back here in Pennsylvania to, uh, I believe it, and I could be wrong, um, so catch me if I am, but 2005 ish was the legislative pay raise that happened in the middle of the night. You know, you think back to 2005, how much different, uh, even just then politics and the way it was covered was, uh, that you were able to, to push a pay raise through in the middle of the night because no one was watching. Yeah. And you, there's the things, and again, though, to me, the, the big, it's obvious that you can't get away with certain things, politicians or, and, and other people. And, and nobody can get away with anything anymore. You can't, you can't beat somebody up in a subway station without it being recorded by somebody and out on video, seen by millions of people. So you really can't get away with anything. But, but, um, the, the difference is that these, the stations have the ability to do this kind of stuff, but they, the, to me, the biggest sin that's being committed, not just by national, but even maybe more so by local, is it's omission, not willing to cover a story. There. There are great stories out there, uh, pushing through a pay raise in the middle of the night as one example. Um, I don't know that any of the three local stations, news operations would really make a big deal about that today. I just don't think they would. They did. Um, there's, there are so many stories that I see that I, excuse me, that I, um, covered on my radio show that I discussed on my radio show. And I look, and I, I I, I, the, the local stations aren't covering it. They just don't cover it. If it's not a murder or a fire or a car accident or the weather, it's not in the newscast. Anything that requires, um, enterprise, uh, requires a little bit of guts maybe to do the story. Um, it's almost non-existent and it's embarrassing. And I know, I know the people. I, I don't blame the people that you see on the local stations, and especially the ones who have been around for a while. If you, if you agree with what I'm saying, don't blame them because they know as, as well as I do, that it stinks and that it's the, it's the way it's being run by ownership and management. And they're afraid to do controversial stories cuz somebody might get upset and, um, it has to be a certain kind of a story for them to have the guts to do it. But they, they'll stay away from anything that, um, would, would get anybody upset. And even in sports, I don't know how long, how far you go back, excuse me, a lot. Um, you mentioned Myron Koch. Myron Koch did a commentary every night at six o'clock. Um, I, when I was doing sports at, I moved over to K D K A, the news director came to me and she said, I want you to start doing commentaries at 11 o'clock. I said, okay. Um, and Sam Nover was over on channel 11. He was doing commentaries. Not every night, but often, you tell me the last time you saw anybody do a commentary on a local sportscast doesn't happen. And it's not because they're not capable of doing it or not, not even because the people you're watching aren't good at it. It's because management doesn't want it. It's, it's, it's evolved from being afraid that you might offend somebody to, you might say something that someone disagrees with. And that's how, that's how insane it's become. And just, just, and, and again, I don't know how far you go back, Matt, but, um, Al Julius, when I was working at K D K A was a guy named Al Julius. He was a Shakespearean actor, but in a really smart guy. He did at least a two and a half minute commentary every night at six o'clock. And it was just him, his face speaking into the camera. No B roll, no, no other video to talk about. No sound bites. Just his well-written, Shakespearean delivered commentary. Try to imagine somebody getting away with doing that on local news today. Wouldn't happen. Can't do it. Yeah, they don't, you, they don't, you don't, you can't do anything that takes longer than a minute and a half. Yeah. Every, everything has to be in that concise, uh, sound bite and Oh. Yeah. Well, here's what happened. I, I get let people in on a little secret. I can't tell you exactly what year it was, but it was in the late nineties, probably, uh, maybe even closer to the mid, mid nineties, uh, which is a, you know, a long time ago to some people. But when you get up to be in your seventies, it's not that long ago, um, back then, um, they, they, uh, the meters showed up. These are meters that are connected to your tv and that's how they measure or record what you're watching. They used to do it. The Nielsen, uh, ratings used to be they would give people a diary to fill out, and you took their word for it. That, that, that they wrote down what they were watching. Well, then they came up with these meters and it's probably, it's probably more sophisticated now than I remember. Probably not even a, a wire. It's probably Bluetooth, you know, it's probably re it's wireless. But anyway, it, it, there's, there's like, I think there's like, uh, 600 TVs they would hook it up to in the, in the market. And that's how they would get their ratings. But they were able to measure the ratings in, uh, every 15 minutes. So they, when they produced a newscast, they were mostly concerned with ratings. So they, it wasn't about a story that you wanted to do. And if it required three minutes, three and a half minutes, uh, or a two minute report followed by a minute and a half interview, that would be okay. But now it's all, and I'm not that familiar with exactly how it works, but it's structured in a way that in order to get the credit on the meter, a certain story has to run at a certain time. And if the meters record every quarter hour, so there, when a story hits, what time weather hits and the newscast, what time sports comes on, all that is determined by how it's gonna affect the meters. So they're think, so there's no thinking involved anymore. It's, it's all about the meters. And it's all about the ratings. The only ratings they look at are, are, uh, that they care about are people 25 to 54, because that's what the advertisers care about. Say if you're, if you're 60 years old or if you're 20 years old, they don't care if you watch. You're out of that demographic and, and you're not who they're targeting. Hey, we have to get a quick break in here, John. Uh, but I want to keep using the same example that we were before because you were talking about news stories that people may be afraid to cover. And I haven't heard as much coverage about this as I thought I would. Uh, back to, uh, the same example, legislative pay raises. And I don't mean to beat up my, uh, my recent colleagues because I know they, they do work hard, but we see, uh, a huge increase December 1st. Those, uh, state representatives and state senators got a raise of $7,400 a year. Um, this year, uh, huge increase tops, uh, six figure salaries for legislators. And we're not hearing talk about that in the media. So when we get back from this commercial, I wanted to discuss why, uh, why we may not be, and see what your thoughts are on that. Uh, automatic cola increase that the legislators got. John. You are listening to commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. We'll be back after this brief break to recognize our sponsors. When it comes to buying a home, what you see isn't exactly what you get. That's why home buyers should call Dave Dowling at Grandview Inspections at 7 2 4 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. You'll see colorful flowers, freshly painted walls, granite countertops, blaming hardwood floors and other touches. What you can't see is the cracks, ancient plumbing, dangerous wiring, or broken appliances that might be revealed when you hire a home inspector. And when it comes to home inspectors, knowing yours has the qualifications and experience needed, should be your number one concern. Dave Dowling with Grandview Inspections is an architectural engineer with over 30 years of commercial construction experience and hundreds of inspections under his belt. A home inspection is an opportunity for you to hire an expert to walk through the home and prepare a report outlining the home's major components. What needs immediate attention and what will require maintenance after you move in Your home is one of your biggest investments. So make sure your investment is everything you hoped it to be. Call Dave Dowling at Grandview Inspections at 7 2 4 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. Are you enjoying the program? You're listening to support commonalities and help keep us on the air by making a donation of five 10 or $25, or any amount you feel comfortable sharing [email protected] Again, that is donate.commonalities.online on the worldwide web. Buy our host a cup of coffee or help pay for airtime at donate dot commonalities online. Founded in 1991, bright Stripe has succeeded on the premises of quality work done right at an affordable cost. At Brights Stripe personal service has always been a must. We stripe to be the premier asphalt ceiling and striping company in the region. Matt George, the owner of Brights Stripe llc, brings experience from his construction and maintenance company, mountain Creek Construction and Maintenance. Matt has provided excellent customer service to many happy businesses and homeowners. Bright Stripe is the premier provider of seal coating or pavement ceiling. The process of applying a protective coating to asphalt based pavements to provide a layer of protection from the elements, water, oils, and UV damage. They also specialize in driveway and parking lot. Crack ceiling. Crack ceiling is the process of applying a protective coating to asphalt based pavements. Bright stripe also abides by all safety laws and standards in line striping and layout. For a no obligation estimate, contact Bright Stripe at 7 2 4 4 3 7 6 0 9 0. Is your business using analog strategies in a digital marketing world? If so, then contact Matthew or Rebecca Dowling at Coordinated 360 for a professional consultation where we bring in-depth knowledge and functional expertise with a holistic perspective. Coordinated 360 provides digital marketing, paid ad and media buying services, web design, social media management, video production, and more for businesses, organizations, and political campaigns with decades of experience. Matt and Becky at Coordinated 360 can help you craft your unique message and share it with the world. For a no risk media evaluation and recommendations, call 7 2 4 3 2 0 22 12 or visit us online at www.coordinatedthreesixty.com. Find us also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or email info coordinated three sixty.com. You're listening to Commonalities where guests Find Common Ground through Uncommon Conversations. Well, thanks for sticking with us here on W Nmb, S five 90 am 1 0 1 0.1 fm. And, uh, you can download this podcast every place you find your favorite podcasts. Uh, or visit [email protected] That's commonalities.online. I'm Matt Dowling, your host, uh, along with our guest, John Steiger Wild Media Ledged, uh, from the Pittsburgh area. And, uh, we're talking today a little bit about, uh, media and politics and that importance and how that's changed over the years. Uh, before we went to break, we mentioned that there was an automatic cola increase for legislators that, uh, equaled $7,400, uh, this year. And like I said, I don't mean to, uh, to beat up my colleagues, but, uh, this is something that I'm not hearing, uh, out there in the media as much as I thought I would. Now that Pennsylvania legislators are, you know, topping six figures. John, what are your thoughts? When, when did that happen? Uh, that happened on December 1st. I'm, I'm, I don't know how I missed it. A shame on me. Um, if, if I, I don't read the, I don't get the newspapers delivered to my house anymore. Uh, not that there are any that are even being delivered, but, um, so I, I get most of my news online and I'm surprised I didn't see that. But, uh, I, and again, I don't watch local news. I I can't last a minute and a half watching it cuz it's, it's so bad. And so maybe I, I should watch it, but I I, they don't pay me. Put it this way. They don't pay me enough to watch local news every day. <laugh>. So, so, um, but that, that's a story that, you know, again, you're talking about the changes there used, the local stations used to have a Harrisburg reporter. They used to have a reporter who lived in Harrisburg and did reports on state government, if not every day, several days a week. And, um, they don't do that anymore. I mean, they, they had a regular report from somebody in Harrisburg on the state, whatever state, whatever was happening in statewide politics, they don't do it anymore cuz No, no, they're, they've dumbed down their audience, Matt, to the point where that's not a, that story. This isn't important enough to people and they don't know how to do it to make it interesting. Um, what if they, if they, if they wanted to do that story the right way, you would, first of all, you would choose to do the story and you would confront the politicians who voted for it and make them answer the question, why do you think you deserve a raise? And why was this done in the middle of the night? And if you don't do, if you don't think that's a story, number one, that you have an obligation to your viewers to do, or number two, you don't think that's a good TV story because it's good tv, then you need to just, just quit. You need to shut the whole operation down and go home. So, how they don't, how they don't see that as a good story, especially now with the way the economy's going. Uh, and I, and I should say that it's possible that they did the story. I didn't see it. But, um, my guess would be if they did it, they didn't do it right. They didn't, they didn't, um, they didn't dwell on the controversy enough, or they didn't, they didn't mine the story enough to get the important stuff out of it. And also to maybe, I don't know, cause a little bit of a debate or combine it with someone from some statewide organization who could talk about why they should or should not have gotten the raise. That's the way you do the story. Maybe they all did it and I didn't see, see it, but that's not the kind of story they do anymore. And to be honest with you, that's, that's a big story. That's an obvious one. I'll give you one. This is an example of from just a few days ago I did the, I did, I opened my show, um, Monday, I think it was by saying, don't vote for Rachel Heisler. That was the first thing out of my mouth. Uh, you probably don't know who Rachel Heisler is. She's running for controller for City of Pittsburgh. Michael Lamb is the guy leaving the job. He's, he said he's gonna run for county executive in Allegheny County. And Rachel Heisler is his, uh, his deputy or the deputy controller. She wants the, the the top job. So she's running for it now. It's Pittsburgh. So I'm guessing that she's running in a primary because there's not gonna be any Republican gonna get any votes. So, um, she had an ad that I saw online that said, come for donuts and drag. And she's doing a fundraiser that will include a drag, uh, queen performing. And it said on the ad that it's family friendly, a drag queen show. Now if you have any idea of what good television is and someone brings that to your attention, number one, you gotta, you go find Rachel Heisler and you say, what makes you think that a drag queen is a good thing to have with donuts and kids at a fundraiser. And number two, you make sure that you tell your staff we will be at that event and we will get video of this drag queen and we're gonna do a story on it. I would be willing to bet lots of money that there was not one word mentioned about that on any of the three stations. That is a great, first of all, it's a story that is a good story. Maybe you don't care about drag queens, but it, I don't know if you're paying any attention to what's going on in the national news. There's a lot of talk about that, a lot of discussion about it. And here it's happening right in Pittsburgh. And if, if you don't think that that's a good television, then I, I don't know. And and then you, then you should stop wondering why the ratings stink, which they do, by the way. Well, and, and I think, so. That's, that's just an example. I, and I, again, I don't watch the news. Maybe I missed it. They did it. But I'm, I've gotten to the point where I, I I know well enough to not even bother to watch cuz it's not gonna be on there. So I don't have to sit through a newscast, you know, they didn't do it, but I'll be happy to be corrected and criticized for unfairly criticizing them for not doing a story that they did. But I haven't had anybody do it yet. You know, in, in my time in the legislature, what I found, uh, was number one, um, rather than getting requests for comment or, uh, you know, any kind of my take on, on a bill or legislation that was happening or, or anything relevant in Harrisburg, um, we were really out pitching the stories that we wanted told. Um, that's right. You know, there it was. If we put out a press release and it was written the right way, um, a lot of times we could get whatever coverage we were looking for. Yeah. Right. You. Know. Well that's the answer to that is that that shows the laziness and the lack of enterprise on the part of the stations, the local stations. It shouldn't take you sending out a press release. As a matter of fact, it should be done the exact opposite. They shouldn't be doing any stories based on a politician's press release, cuz you're not gonna send out a press release to cover a story that's gonna be detrimental to your cause. So you're, you're asking as much for a promotion of your cause as you are for coverage of it, which is understandable in what you should do. But looking at it from their standpoint, they should be looking at it whether it's a good story or not. And they, and they should have, there should be some built, I don't care whether it's a Democrat or Republican, uh, legislator, if the press release comes out, the first thing that you should view it with is skepticism. You shouldn't, you shouldn't say take it as base value if, if you put out a press release saying you've just come up with this wonderful idea. And it's a, it's a law that's gonna help everybody and everybody should get behind this. I, if I'm a, if I'm a good journalist, I'm not buying that for one second until I look into it myself and I'm, and then I'm gonna go find, I'm gonna go find, if it's a Republican and put it on, I'm gonna go find a Democrat to get his or her, um, take on it for two reasons. That's the way it should be done journalistically. And again, it's good t v. And, and you know, I, I think my feet were held to the fire the most when I was on AM radio stations across the Commonwealth, or, you know, from time to time when I was on the half hour call in show on pcn. Yeah. Um, you know, but, but there aren't many people watching pc pcn, um, you know, to, to see that kind of good journalism. But that was the one time when you were put on point and counterpoint and, uh, and had to have the answers. You could've done the show naked, Matt. Nobody would've known. <Laugh>. That that is true. Hey, we have to get one more break in, uh, when we come back. I wanna talk a little bit about Facebook and, uh, the age of Trump in the media. You are listening to commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. We'll be back after this brief break to recognize our sponsors. Founded in 1991, bright Stripe has succeeded on the premises of quality work done right at an affordable cost. At Bright Stripe personal service has always been a must. We strive to be the premier asphalt ceiling and striping company in the region. Matt George, the owner of Bright Stripe llc, brings experience from his construction and maintenance company, mountain Creek Construction and Maintenance. Matt has provided excellent customer service to many happy businesses and homeowners. Bright Stripe is the premier provider of seal coating or pavement ceiling. The process of applying a protective coating to asphalt based pavements to provide a layer of protection from the elements, water, oils, and UV damage. They also specialize in driveway and parking lot. Crack ceiling. Crack ceiling is the process of applying a protective coating to asphalt based pavements. Bright stripe also abides by all safety laws and standards in line striping and layout. For a no obligation estimate, contact Bright Stripe at 7 2 4 4 3 7 6 0 9 0. Is your business using analog strategies in a digital marketing world? If so, then contact Matthew or Rebecca Dowling at Coordinated 360 for a professional consultation where we bring in-depth knowledge and functional expertise with a holistic perspective. Coordinated 360 provides digital marketing, paid ad and media buying services, web design, social media management, video production, and more for businesses, organizations, and political campaigns with decades of experience. Matt and Becky at Coordinated 360 can help you craft your unique message and share it with the world. For a no risk media evaluation and recommendations, call 7 2 4 3 2 0 22 12 or visit us online at www.coordinatedthreesixty.com. Find us also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, or email info coordinated three three sixty.com. When it comes to buying a home, what you see isn't exactly what you get. That's why home buyers should call Dave Dowling at Grandview Inspections at 7 2 4 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. You'll see colorful flowers, freshly painted walls, granite countertops, flaming hardwood floors, and other touches. What you can't see is the cracks, ancient plumbing, dangerous wiring, or broken appliances that might be revealed when you hire a home inspector. And when it comes to home inspectors, knowing yours has the qualifications and experience needed should be your number one concern. Dave Dowling with Grand View Inspections is an architectural engineer with over 30 years of commercial construction experience and hundreds of inspections under his belt. A home inspection is an opportunity for you to hire an expert to walk through the home and prepare a report outlining the home's major components. What needs immediate attention and what will require maintenance after you move in your home is one of your biggest investments. So make sure your investment is everything you hoped it to be. Call Dave Dowling at Grandview Inspections at 7 2 4 2 0 8 4 1 0 8. Are you enjoying the program? You're listening to support commonalities and help keep us on the air by making a donation of five 10 or $25, or any amount you feel comfortable sharing [email protected] Again, that is donate.commonalities.online on the worldwide web, buy our host a cup of coffee or help pay for airtime at donate dot commonalities. Online. You are listening to commonalities where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. This is commonalities on five 90 Wmb s uh, 1 0 1 0.1 fm, and five 90 am Also, uh, commonalities is available any place you download your favorite podcasts. You can also find the video version on Facebook. Uh, search for Matthew Dowling Public on Facebook. And, uh, and connect with us and the show. Tell us who you'd like to hear from in the future and what topics you'd like us to discuss. I'm with, uh, John Steigerwald today, who many of you know, uh, from his days as a sportscaster, uh, really a media icon or legend in the Pittsburgh area. Um, but John now does, uh, a show on AM 1250, the answer out of Pittsburgh, uh, and it is conservative talk radio. Uh, before the break we started to, to talk a little bit about how the media in politics and its role has changed. Uh, and I said I wanted to get to talking about, uh, Facebook and what Facebook has done or changed, uh, in your opinion as far as politics goes. And then also, um, the age of Trump. We saw, uh, some very big changes here in the last presidential election and, uh, in our last, uh, eight minutes or so. I wanted to, to touch on that a little bit, John. Well, I'm, I'm not a big fan of Facebook. Never was. Um, I actually have never really been on Facebook except for a friend of mine who was involved in social media long before it was cool. And he used to post my column that I was writing, um, up there for me. And, and that was it. But I, I never even, I never posted anything myself, and I'm not a big fan of it. And then with, with what's happened with Zuckerberg and what's been going on the last couple of years, um, I, I like it even less. But I do know that the, the people who work in local news are required, at least they were for a long time. I assume they still are. They were required to do things on Facebook, including live productions. And it's a, you know, it's almost gotten to the point that if you aren't on Facebook, then you're not doing your job. And, um, I I I, it obviously has had a, a major effect on the way people cover things, but it's also, I think, contributed to the laziness on the part of the, the news operations because you have a, an audience, kind of a captive audience to your, your Facebook, um, friends and you, you put stuff out there and I don't know how much money they're making from Facebook right now with, you know, selling ads. Uh, I'm sure it's nothing close to what they make still from selling TV time. But, um, it's, it's had an effect. I'm not so sure it's a good one. And I, I think when you're, what you're finding out now what's happening with Twitter and they're finding out what was going on there and how it was being manipulated, that people are going to be less and less likely to trust what they see on any, uh, media, I guess a a news media slash social media platform. Why would anybody trust anything you see on it ever again, based on what we've heard from about Twitter just in the last month or so, in. In, isn't. There social? I don't think the future's good for 'em from that standpoint. It isn't there still. And, and you know, I'm, I'm thinking of the, the weathermen that I follow from the Pittsburgh media market, and I, I know some of those guys um-huh <affirmative> and they're good people, but I, you know, I look at some of the things that they pa they post on Facebook, and I know they are just to get likes and interactions. Um, yeah, no, they're, they're silly. They're goofy in a, in a way. And, you know, I ha I think back to, you know, when I was a kid or a generation before that, even, uh, there was some kind of, uh, belief that there was honest work in journalism. And you know, I, I know that we want to personalize these people. We want to humanize these people that way. You, you feel like they're your next door neighbor and and you want to hear the news from them. I get that. But at some point in time, don't we make things a a little too personal? Don't we open that door between. The well, you know, people well think it's, yeah, I think it's different when you're, when you're putting it on Facebook, it's kind of the thing that people expect and I think they expect something different from there. It's, uh, on there than what they see, uh, on the, on the news at night or in the morning. And so I think you can get away with it more. I, I I, I, I think I, I don't know know if I can, I, Joe Donardo would've done it, but he would've done it his way. He took, he took weather very seriously, so he wouldn't have been fooling around. He would've looked at it as a way to give people 24 hour weather service. So I, I don't see any of the things you're talking about now. I I, I've seen him online being done by other people and I know what you're talking about, but it's also that, that's another example of what's wrong with local news, Matt. The, uh, the, I can get the, I can get the weather in Stan Bowl on my phone in 15 seconds while we're on the air right now. I can, I can, while we're speaking, if I wanted to, I could give you the we weather forecast for Istan Bull. And I'm not exaggerating. So. My phone, whether I want it, whether I want it or not, my phone gives me the weather for Cupertino constantly. Yeah. Okay. So if you, if you were doing a n uh, if you watch a local newscast on any of the three stations, they do, how many weather forecasts do you see in an hour? And they're talking about, well, it might be raining, uh, a little later today. We, we, uh, right now it's clear, but when we come back, we'll tell you what it's gonna be doing later tonight as if somebody has to wait for them to come back and tell them what's gonna happen tonight. Oh, you said might rain. Let me look at my phone here. Oh yeah, it says there's a 50% chance rain at nine o'clock. I get it. They still do it like it's 1956 that you, that you're gonna, you're depending on them for the weather. And again, that's laziness. They gotta fill time, Matt. And so the weather fill each, each little weather hit fills two and a half to three minutes. That's, we, that's time they don't have to worry about filling with actual, you know, news or maybe commentary or something interesting. So that's, you know, when you brought up Facebook and these guys on the weather doing their stuff on Facebook, um, that's just, that's a, that's the best example of why. And I, I know those guys and they do a great job and they, there are times when it's really helpful when there's a snowstorm coming and your phone doesn't really give you the details or there's a tornado in the area or something like that. But, and those guys, I know I won't give you any names, but I, I've been in situations where they've been pressured to go on the air and talk about thunderstorms, severe thunderstorms on the way, and they will say to the producer, well, you know what, I, I, you know, I don't think they're gonna be that severe, but that, but they're told, well, yeah, we'll make 'em severe. Okay. We need people to watch. And that's the kind of stuff that goes. On, you know, and, and in defense of some of these, uh, journalists, especially some of these, uh, young television journalists that are out there, I know one who's currently on, uh, W T A E and he hates to be thrown out into the, every bureau chief goes out and does the weather from, you know, Delmont and Pittsburgh. Yeah. And, and wherever else. Yeah. Because he's not able to cover a real story that he would enjoy doing. And, uh, you know, and I had those conversations. If you're, if you're, yeah, if you're interested in doing really hard hitting stories, local news is the wrong place for you to be working. And let me tell you something I told you about the meters. Okay? If, if a certain area has a, a certain, a, a good number, number of meters during a certain ratings period, February or May, November, February and May are the ratings periods, they know where the meters are. So if you, your stories in your neighborhood become a lot more important to the news stations if a lot of people in your neighborhood for that month happen to get meters, cuz that's how they get their ratings, it really stinks. And, and here's the thing, um, when I was working at, uh, channel four, four a million years ago, almost 40 years ago, I left there in 1985. That's a long time ago. But in those days, and, and long after that, but specifically then I remember, we know we were competing hard with K D K A, we were, we were one and two and in the ratings periods we would fluctuate back and forth. And I'm, I'm, I'm not, I can't be a hundred percent accurate on these numbers, but I, I'm gonna say that the number that we would get, which would be a share of the audience, one, one ratings period, we'd get a 22 and KK would get a 21. Maybe the next ratings period would be switched and Channel 11 would get a 12 or a 15. So you add all that up and it adds up to about 60. Okay? If you added up what the stations get now in the 25 to 54, um, demographic at six o'clock, it wouldn't add up to 10. That's how, that's how, that's how it's changed. And, and they keep doing the same things over and over again. The ratings still stink. Nobody tries anything different. And this doesn't just Pittsburgh, it's everywhere. And if, and if you would get three televisions and put 'em in your living room and tune them to two, four and 11, uh, and turn it on at six o'clock, if you watch the newscast, the same thing would be happening on all three stations at all the time. The weather would be on at the same time, sports would be on at the same time. They would, they would be covering basically the same stories. And they do it every day. And believe me, there are people working at the stations who were around the old timers who were around when they actually made some effort at covering news and there are very few of them left now. They know, they just come in and, um, I don't want you what, take what I'm saying and blame any of it on anybody who you see on television cuz they're not making those decisions. No. You know, it all, it all comes down to ratings and, uh, and we've seen that, uh, over the years become more and more important. Um, well John, I thank you so much for having this conversation with me. Uh, I, I've sure en enjoyed talking about, uh, the way the media's role has, has changed, uh, and how we can stay ever vi vigilant to make sure, um, you know, that, that the media does things like fight political corruption and, and do what they need to do. Right. Hey, my guest today has been John Steigerwald. Thank you so much for being with us from AM 1250. The answer in Pittsburgh, you're listening to commonalities on five 90 W mbs. This has been commonalities, a show where guests find common ground through uncommon conversations. Copyright 2022 coordinated 360, all public broad cash should be done with prior written approval from Matthew Dowling. All requests should be sent to [email protected] Thank you for listening to commonalities.

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