Archive for July, 2007

Leisure time is a good thing
July 19, 2007

Leisure time is a good thing. Who could disagree?

Leisure time should be at the beach, Bushnell Park, Fenway Park, on your couch — not in the line at the store.

I always get behind the person who has to fish through his or her belongings to find the elusive CVS card, and then pays by check. This person first searches for a pen, sometimes two — because the first is dead, then logs the purchase in his or her checkbook register, recalculates the balance, then writes out the check. The cashier then asks for a license, and in some cases pages a manager to come approve the transaction. Those behind this person in line juggle their sundries and groceries and are undoubtedly thinking the same thing: “Am I in a time warp?”

When I find myself in this situation, I think to myself: This is 2007. We have satellite radio, 500 channels on TV and cameras on cell phones. Does this antiquated shopper also use a rotary phone at home? Does this dinosaur still watch a black-and-white television? Does this relic of the past still think Joe Namath will lead the New York Jets to another Super Bowl and can’t wait to vote for George McGovern in the next election?

I remember in the 70s — long before ATMs — my mother would have to rush to the bank on Friday nights to get cash for the weekend. I vividly remember her writing checks at stores. That’s the way it was done then. Now, like the vast majority of people, my 60-something mom uses a debit card and goes to the ATM. A transaction that used to take 5 minutes, often takes less than 1 minute. Anyone with a checking account can get a check card. The scanner at the register approves the sale in seconds and instantly adjusts your checking account balance. It is so easy and very considerate to your fellow shoppers.

To be fair, maybe there should be special checkout lines for those who want to pay by check. There could be a dark-paneled waiting room with television sets airing re-runs of “Laverne and Shirley” and the Watergate hearings. The restroom would have an avocado green toilet and sink. This waiting room would be a total throwback to the things we are glad to see gone: Smoking would be allowed.

I’d like to hear from you. Be sure to leave at least your first name and town with your comments.

Footnote on Broadcast House entry
July 17, 2007

I also want to mention that in just over a year, WFSB will be opening a state-of-the-art weather center, exhibit and newsroom at the Connecticut Science Center at Adriaen’s Landing. It will be right across the street from Broadcast House.

Click Here For More Information

Bye, Bye Broadcast House
July 10, 2007

As many of you know, WFSB is moving into a brand-new building with all state-of-the-art technology — Everything in it is new, except for the people! Most of the staff has already moved, but the news department is still working in Broadcast House until next week as crews put the finishing touches on our new newsroom.

Why are we moving? Broadcast House was built in the early 1960s, and it shows. This iconic building has served us well for the past 46 years, but it was constructed when our news crews shot stories on film, and technology has progressed rapidly since then.

When Broadcast House opened, there were parking lots where skyscrapers now stand. For years, there has been no employee parking. Even all of our news vehicles can’t fit in our rather small garage. Our new building has plenty of parking.

As we packed our boxes, we reminisced about all the events that happened here and the people who came through the doors at 3 Constitution Plaza. Did you know that President Lyndon Johnson visited Broadcast House in 1964? Every governor since Abraham Ribicoff has been interviewed in our building, along with U.S. Senators, presidential candidates and members of Congress. We’ve had UConn players, and some Hartford Whalers. Some well-known singers performed in Studio B for the Brad Davis show.

Some national television figures have worked here, like Bill O’Reilly, Randall Pinkston, Mika Brzezinski, Joe Tessitore, Melissa Francis and Gayle King.

Speaking of Gayle, she even brought her best friend Oprah Winfrey here, and our station made tabloid headlines when Oprah announced from our set that she was secretly engaged to Stedman Graham.

I met my wife, Kara, here in 2000, and we became one of several couples who met at 3 Constitution Plaza.

There were plenty of things that went on here that started the wheels turning for a new television facility. Our three banks of elevators broke down frequently and passengers were often frightened by an occasional jerky plummet. We’ve had bats and other creatures, a flood, broken bathrooms, windows that don’t stay closed or open, and pieces of the concrete exterior falling to the ground. The climate in recent years left much to be desired — often, it was like a sauna or an igloo. As long as I can remember, Denise has used a portable heater on her desk.

Still, we’ll miss the old place.

As for the future of our corner of Constitution Plaza, we hear all sorts of things. My guess is the building will be bought by a developer and demolished, along with the dump next to us, which used to be the Clarion, Sonesta and Hotel America. It’s been home to pigeons and, likely, rats since the mid-1990s. If I had to predict, I’d say a high-rise hotel will rise in the place of Broadcast House to handle the growing hotel room shortage downtown. The proximity to Adriaen’s Landing makes this a prime location for a hotel.

Bye, bye Broadcast House. Thanks for the memories.

EDIT: Our first broadcast from the new station is sometime next week. No exact date yet.

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