More TV News
Well, it’s been a couple of weeks now since the network change that sent CBS from WJMN-TV to the newly established WZMQ. The Spectrum program guide still hasn’t caught up to the change, and if Facebook comments are any indication, many viewers haven’t either. It seems that the signal has been erratic, particularly with satellite systems.
If you’re a CBS junkie, and you can find the station, your favorite shows are still there, at the same times they always were. And though there was initial concern among sports fans, particularly with the NFL playoffs at the plate and March Madness on deck, fears have been allayed as all the games are being presented, as scheduled. Satellite reception has been spotty, but we’ve been assured that’s being worked on, with station engineers currently in the area.
Now that we’re past the awkward introductory phase, of particular interest to Word on the Street is the new station, TV19 WZMQ. Like when your daughter brings home the new boyfriend… What are your intentions young man? In addition to CBS programming, WZMQ shares some programs with its sister station, the established MeTV Marquette. So, there’s no excuse for missing Adam-12.
Of more interest is the half-hour of news on WZMQ in the traditional 6 and 11 o’clock time slots. While you may already be familiar with weatherman John Stehlin from his regular updates on MeTV, news anchor Haley Potter is a fresh face in the market.
The station’s slogan is “This is Home,” but the station is actually still in the movin’ in stage. Without a resident reporter, Potter relies on the occasional Zoom interview with a local newsmaker, and information about local events looks like it comes from a community calendar.
Stehlin’s weather is usually on point, but his map includes geographical references including Covington and McMillan. Nothing against those modest settlements, but, and we’re exaggerating here to make a point … nobody lives there!
According to Brian Trauring, a vice president with corporate owner Lilly Broadcasting, the whole thing came about quite quickly. At this time, broadcasts are originating out of Erie, Pennsylvania, but efforts are underway to hire local news content providers (formerly known as reporters), as well as a sales staff to help finance the operation.
Jumping into a pretty competitive market, with at least three other stations airing local news programming, Trauring indicates that they’re looking at this as an opportunity to try some new things and possibly break away from the traditional news format. Good idea. It’s a changing industry, and to be truly successful for the long run, you have to be in front of the change, and not behind it.
Trauring also understands the challenge of being the new guy in town, but says they’re looking forward to establishing their identity and becoming an important addition to the community.
Slick promos depicting the local lifestyle are okay, but when this new station solicits support in the form of advertising dollars, it’s reasonable to expect local presence in return. Potter plans on being here for the UP 200, so that’s a start.
We’re still in the honeymoon phase with WZMQ, and for a while, they’ll get the benefit of the doubt. Other than a sales office, it took WJMN a few years to establish residency, so maybe these things take time. Again… we’ll be watching.
As we lurch through winter, with the usual ups and downs of the times and temperatures, it’s fun to imagine what the upcoming summer season may bring. Observant locals surely noticed an uptick in visitors last summer. Our hotels and campgrounds were bursting at the seams, with reservations hard to come by, while the U.P. in general got enough good publicity to last at least a decade.
Visitors come for a variety of reasons, but certainly our local bar and restaurant scene contributes to the experience. Vacationing adults invariably judge a destination in part by its abdominal offerings, and Marquette grades out pretty well in that category. But we can always do more, particularly when there are obvious opportunities.
Like…WHAT IF someone bought the former Coco’s restaurant on Lakeshore Boulevard and turned it into a beach club? It’s been dormant now for a few years and was recently purchased by a local realtor, but last we checked, he had no plans but to hold on to the property.
Picture a hot day with a full complement of beachgoers lining Lakeshore Boulevard, hungry and thirsty. The Coco’s location couldn’t be more convenient, and with outdoor seating to go along with a dining room and bar, one could imagine the possibilities.
WHAT IF someone purchased the Kildare Irish Pub, currently listed for sale in a prime location downtown. There are no longer that many empty storefronts downtown, which only means more foot traffic, which means more people looking for dining and drinking options.
The Honorable Distillery plans on being open for summer, the Delft is expanding into the old Washington Shoe Store space, and the Masonic Center seems to be on an upward trajectory. So as downtown flourishes, individual businesses can hook a ride and flourish as well. The Kildare is a cute pub with one of the best outdoor seating areas in town. It’s been through a few hands over the recent years, with apparent limited success. But the time seems to be ripe for a resurgence.
And finally… the big WHAT IF. WHAT IF somebody took over the formidable operation at Upfront & Company? In October, it’ll be ten years since that place closed its doors, and it’s generally accepted to be a shame it isn’t open.
It was arguably one of the nicest places in the U.P. Plenty of space for dining, drinking, and dancing, as well as a complete banquet facility… all right off the lower harbor. Think of all the events taking place downtown with hundreds, if not thousands, of people looking for a place to drop some coin. The only trick to getting people to come in would be to open the doors.
Granted, the whole property comes with a pretty stiff price tag, but if someone could convince the owner to let the good times roll again and allow someone to resume operations at Upfront & Company, we’d have a downtown to compete favorably with any in the upper midwest.
WHAT IF? If you’ve got the time, talent, money, and ambition, maybe you can make the WHAT IF become NOW OPEN!