Archive for August, 2012

Connecticut Losing TV Viewers
August 30, 2012

We received some unsettling news from Nielsen, the folks who conduct ratings for the television stations.      The Hartford/New Haven market remains the 30th biggest television market in the country, but we lost nearly 10,000 TV homes, or households…in one year!     For the 2011-12 season Nielsen listed 1,006,280 households, and 996,550 for the 2012-13 season.   Yikes!

We were not alone in the northeast.  # 7 Boston, #1 New York,  #53 Providence,  # 113 Springfield, # 80 Portland,  and # 95 Burlington, VT also suffered losses.     New York lost 3,000 households, and you don’t have to be a mathematician to see that our loss was far worse.

So who gained?  Plenty of places, including  #2 Los Angeles (gained 50,000 homes,)  #9 Atlanta, # 10 Houston,  #71 Honolulu, even #11 Detroit.     Markets 12-17 all grew:  Seattle, Phoenix, Tampa, Minneapolis, Miami and Denver.   My old market of Grand Rapids, Michigan jumped from 42 to 39, even though it lost households.

Why the big drop?  Our ratings guru Rob Luciano says part of the plunge can be blamed on people switching from television to the internet.

On a depressing note, Denise D’Ascenzo told me when she was first hired at WFSB in 1986 this was market # 21.   When I got here in 1992 it had slipped to #23, and we were at #27 a few years later.   Nipping at our heels at #31 is Kansas City, Missouri.     It also lost households, so I think we might hold steady at #30 for a while.    

As you may know, the Hartford New Haven market comprises the entire state, with the exception of Fairfield County.   A strong argument could be made that part of the county should be in the Hartford market.   Danbury and Bridgeport are both closer to the capital city than midtown Manhattan.     Adding those cities would be a dramatic increase in households.

For sports fans:  we remain the biggest television market without a major league team.

Zany Comics Share More than Good Sense of Humor
August 30, 2012

There is a about a half century difference in their ages, so this can’t be filed under “separated at birth,”  but Denise D’Ascenzo and I could’t help but notice the uncanny resemblance between the late comedienne Phyllis Diller and Channel 3′s Scot Haney.     They both have similar senses of humor and a distinctive,  infectious laugh, and Scot seemed unusually saddened by her passing last week.   Hmmm.

Long lost grandmother?  A crazy aunt? What do YOU think?

also read:


A New Team on Eyewitness News at 11
August 28, 2012

Those of you got my tweet last night were the first to hear the news, before it was even announced.   After more than four years of being by myself on Eyewitness News at 11, I am getting a co-anchor!   Weekend anchor Hena Daniels will be joining me on the news desk for Connecticut’s most watched 11PM news sometime next month and we are excited about the new team.   

It’s been a lonely broadcast since 2008 when Denise D’Ascenzo decided she wanted to spend her nights with her family, and I am looking forward to the company. 

You can follow me on twitter for more details as they become available.     You can congratulate Hena right here at

Also read:

This too:

What to Expect in the Fall Campaign
August 23, 2012

Now that the primary is over,  the general campaign is well underway.   Linda McMahon and Chris Murphy are attacking each other in television ads, the parties are getting ready for their national conventions, and the state is waiting to hear from Chris Donovan.

The House Speaker has not said whether he will endorse Elizabeth Esty, the woman who beat him on August 14th, or whether he’ll remain on the ballot on the Working Families Party line.   

On this week’s Face the State we talk about the Donovan issue with the president of the Connecticut AFL-CIO John Olsen, and the executive director of the Working Families party, Lindsay Farrell.    Farrell talks about her party’s endorsement, which, if Donovan drops out, does not automatically go to Elizabeth Esty.    

 Also look for a comment by Olsen that is sure to create a war of words between the state’s best known progressive blog, My Left Nutmeg, and the unions.     Olsen called the blogger who runs the site, “a lunatic.”

We are also joined by Republican Chris Healy and Democrat John Droney, former chairmen of their respective parties.   During our taping, there were some great exchanges between the two about the senate race, Donovan, and the state of the two parties.   

Join us for Face the State this Sunday morning at 11 on Face the State, only on Channel 3.

Never Noticed this in Connecticut Cabs
August 23, 2012

I saw this during a recent cab ride in Chicago.     Who knew cabbies had to put up with vomiting passengers?     Is it a problem  here?

also read about the new cabs in the capital city:

The Importance of Viewer Tips
August 22, 2012

As I mark my 20th year at WFSB this summer, I was recently asked about the role viewers play in news stories.     The answer:  a huge role.

Many of the stories we break come from tips from our viewers.     People who watch Eyewitness News  really are everywhere, and we always appreciate an e-mail or a phone call.   Sometimes tips seem a little wacky, but often they lead to legitimate stories.    

I’ll give you an example.  One of the reports that I filed for my last station (WWMT)  20 years ago, so impressed the news director here at WFSB, he hired me.    

It started with a phone call from a couple in Bangor, Michigan,   who told a tale of an old woman who had dozens  of wild dogs who romped and defecated throughout their neighborhood.     The odd part of the call was that the couple claimed the woman burned the dogs in her yard when they died.    

            If I look like I’m smelling something hideous, it’s because I am

It seemed crazy to me, but our crew took a ride out there and we were revolted by what we found.     There were dogs everywhere, barking and running alongside our news car.    The property reeked of feces and a stench I could not identify.   The old woman spoke to us on camera, saying her neighbors were complainers and that she loved the dogs and cared for them.   Then she took us to the burn barrel.

                                      The woman and her burn barrel

I don’t know if we have burn barrels in Connecticut, but they seemed to be everywhere in parts of West Michigan in the Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo and Battle Creek area.    They look like a big industrial drum and people burn trash and yard waste and in this woman’s case, dogs.

I nearly gagged when the woman showed me the charred carcasses that filled the burn barrel, and then she explained that she burned them when they died…and in some cases when they were very sick, yet barely alive.

Our report on the news that night led to the woman being charged and the dogs taken away.      And it all began with a tip, from a viewer.     

I thank you for all the tips Channel 3 viewers have sent me over the past two decades, and feel free to send more my way at

You can watch the 20th anniversary piece put together by Denise D’Ascenzo right here:

Esty & Roraback Promise Exciting Race in CT-5
August 16, 2012

VIDEO LINKS BELOW    Republicans didn’t want to run against Elizabeth Esty and Democrats didn’t want Andrew Roraback, but that is the race in Connecticut’s 5th district.   Both candidates are our guests on Sunday’s Face the State, and their order in the broadcast was determined by a flip of the coin.  

Both were asked about patching up things with their rivals after a brutal primary campaign.    Esty was called “Republican light,” and Roraback was tagged as “too liberal.”    During the taping, Roraback said his former opponents are now supporting him; Esty couldn’t say that.    Embattled House Speaker still has not endorsed her, and his name is slated to appear on the November ballot on the Working Families line.      We asked Esty how that could impact her race.     “I am confident we (Donovan and Esty) will be moving forward together,”  Esty told me.

We also talked about Roraback’s efforts to grab the independent voters who might be hesitant to vote Republican after six years of Democrat Chris Murphy.    Many of the same people who voted for Murphy, also voted for Roraback in his state senate races.

We questioned Esty about a problem she may have with progressives.      The state’s leading liberal Democratic blog, “My Left Nutmeg,” has compared Esty to Pinocchio.    

You can see the interviews in their entirety, this Sunday morning at 11 on Face the State, only on WFSB Channel 3.     Kevin Rennie, Duby McDowell and Brian Flaherty provide analysis.

Watch Roraback:

Watch Esty:

Watch McDowell, Flaherty, and Rennie:

WFSB Announces U.S. Senate Debate
August 14, 2012

WFSB will host an hour long, commercial free debate between the two candidates for U.S. senate on Sunday, October 7th,  at 11AM in the Face the State studio.

Both Republican Linda McMahon and Democrat Chris Murphy have accepted our invitation.   More details to come.

Hanging Ten in Hartford?
August 14, 2012

Surfing and Connecticut seldom appear in the same sentence, as Long Island Sound tends to be a bit too placid for those who like to ride the waves.    Instead of driving to Rhode Island to hit the surf, a local man  figured how to go surfing in Hartford.  Yes, Hartford.

Earl Henrichon hangs ten on his board, hauled by a boat on the Connecticut River!

Greenberg Campaign Worker Arrested
August 14, 2012

Eyewitness News has learned a volunteer Mark Greenberg’s campaign has been arrested, accused of trashing a vehicle belong to the campaign of Republican rival Lisa Wilson Foley.

According to the Wilson Foley campaign, James Pavlick ripped down a sign, and damaged the truck.     A source told Eyewitness News Pavlick was wearing a Greenberg tee-shirt when he was arrested.

Tune to Channel 3 and for more details.


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