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March 26, 2007

Pedophiliac Priests Still at Large

An old reporter friend once told me there are two things you should absolutely stay away from if you want to keep your job. The first is writing anything about sex and the second is religion. It seems that many people are uncomfortable talking or even hearing about sex (unless it has something to do with them and then they are either boasting or lying) and really don’t like other people poking their noses into their religion or how they practice it.

And he also told me never, ever, ever tell people to look at a competitors’ work. Seems there is a journalism rule about doing that.

OK, so if you haven’t read Elizabeth Hamilton’s and Dave Altamari’s story in the Sunday Hartford Courant go to www.courant.com and find “Abusive Priest Still at the Wheel.” We’ll be here when you get back. It will make your blood run cold. At least it did mine.


Now that you’re up to speed, maybe you can tell me how it is possible in 2007, under the very noses of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Father Stephen Foley continues to own and operate the same kind of State Police-type car he used to lure young boys decades ago? He went after young boys who wanted to be firemen or cops with his signature Ford “Crown Vic,” just like the kind state cops drive. It even has lights and a siren. He’s still doing it.

According to an archdiocesan spokesman there have been 11 sexual abuse complaints against Foley since the early 1990s, some of which resulted in lawsuits with some being settled out of court.

Hamilton and Altamari write that “Foley parks his car at St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, where he has lived for the past 14 years, performing no official duties as a priest but receiving free room and board, health insurance and a monthly stipend from the archdiocese.”

That is good news for you folks who put a dollar into the collection plate every Sunday. No doubt some small percentage of that dollar goes to take care of Father Foley.

Foley continues to maintain he is innocent and the statute of limitations on any criminal charges have long passed.

Someday, sometime, somewhere there will be an archdiocese that will stop equivocating and simply say, “We blew it.” There will be no attempt to dance around the issue, no attempt to shield the public from the truly horrific job the church has done and to some degree continues to in protecting children. There will simply be a one-sentence confession: “We failed your trust and we should no longer be allowed to ask for it.”

And the true annoyance is the realization that for decades the church did nothing about these demons with a turned collar. They simply transferred them from parish to parish, as if defiling and desecrating the innocence of children in just one parish wasn’t enough.

It is time for the Catholic Church to do what it should have done when allegations of priestly philandering with young boys was proven: take away their collars and show them the door.

Full disclosure. In case you’re new to this column, I’m Jewish. No worry here about repressed rage from having some member of the cloth dilly-dallying with my shillelagh. But some of my best friends (and no, this isn’t a joke) are Roman Catholic, and to say they are incensed over how the church has dealt with the horrors of priests permanently scarring trusting children -- would be an understatement. One of my best friends is a Roman Catholic priest. We’ve never really talked about the issue, but I have no doubt he feels sad.

Some congregants have left the church. Walked away. Would gargle with broken glass before they would let their son get within 50 years of a priest. In protest others have simply stopped putting a dime in the collection plate. Just stopped.

Right about now some of you, back to the wall, are ready to utter the “How dare you” phrase. Not too far behind are the “You don’t understand the … ” You’re right, I don’t. I don’t get how hundreds of thousands of congregants of the Catholic Church, one of the greatest religions in the world, have not risen up in sheer revulsion and walked out.

 In December last year, no less than the Associated Press reported the Los Angeles Archdiocese would pay $60 million to settle 45 lawsuits by people who claimed they were abused by priests, but as many as 485 others were still pending.

It was in that same story the AP reported that 59-year-old former Catholic priest Stephen Michael Baker was arrested and charged with having sex with a 15-year-old boy. Specifically, the now-defrocked Baker was arraigned on an amended felony complaint that included one count of oral copulation of a person under 18, one count of sexual penetration of an unconscious person with a foreign object and three counts of sodomy of a person under 18.

The part that frightens me the most is that the church seems to want to pay 10s of millions of dollars for mistakes of the past and just move on. It dawns on me this is almost Easter. Might be a good time not only to acknowledge the sins of the father but also to fix the root cause.

Steve Kalb is a freelance reporter and TV news talent coach. He is also an adjunct professor of  broadcast journalism at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. You can reach him at sdkalb@gmail.com. (Note: The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Hamden Daily News.)

March 12, 2007

Treats From D.C.

It becomes ever more apparent the Bush Administration has little to no respect for the U.S. Constitution, the American people and those who would protect it. If we had any question before last week it is now clear beyond any reasonable doubt that this administration is not only woefully incapable of prosecuting a war -- illegal or not -- it is even less capable of taking care of its own veterans.

Revelations over the contemptible manner in which this country has treated its returning soldiers was only eclipsed later in the week by the guilty verdict in the Scooter Libby trial and revelations regarding the FBI and improper and possibly illegal use of the Patriot Act.

But let’s digress for just a moment for a reminder that it was not the government that revealed the train wreck that was the treatment of our soldiers at Walter Reed. It was the “grand dame” of the establishment media, the Washington Post, that broke the story. Makes you want to go out and subscribe.

It was one of those stories that apparently came together thanks to nothing more than hard work and good reporters. And almost immediately many Republicans raced out from underneath their desks to chastise the government for not taking care of “America’s Finest and Bravest.”

Hey fellas, where were you the last six years, as the majority party, when reports of the Hell’s Kitchen that was Walter Reed were surfacing? The Washington Post reported that many Republicans knew of some of the problems, but did nothing for fear of embarrassing Army brass during the war in Iraq. Now that takes large brass ones.

This is what happens when you have the White House and Congress run by the same party. The ruling party doesn’t want to embarrass the temporary resident at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, so anything that might make him look bad gets swept under the rug. Look for lots of dust bunnies in the coming months.

Bad as that was the week got only worse. “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s right-hand man, confidant and friend, became a convicted felon. There is no mistake, Libby knowingly and corruptly misled and deceived a federal grand jury, and in doing so became the highest-ranking administration official since the Watergate era to be indicted and convicted of a federal crime. Nice job, “Scooter.”

His lawyers will try to get him a new trial on a technicality or try to get his sentence reversed on appeal. Conservatives are already screaming he should be pardoned. If you or I lied to a federal grand jury we would spend time in the slammer, probably rooming with someone we would really not like to get to know any better. Why should Libby be treated any differently?

Scared as I am to admit it, all of this pales to last Friday’s revelations about the FBI. A report by the inspector general of the Justice Department indicated there were many instances when national security letters -- which allow the bureau to get information from telephone companies, Internet services, banks, credit card companies and a host of others without a warrant or judge’s approval -- were used improperly and possibly illegally. Want this one in a nutshell? Your government spied on you. Not a bunch of terrorists. You. Scared? You should be terrified.

The FBI director said because he is in charge, he is accountable. Fine. Fire him. While you’re at it, toss out Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. It was Gonzales who wrote the legal underpinning for the Bush Administration, which attempted to legitimize torture and domestic spying. This AG has never understood that his job is to be the chief law enforcement officer to all Americans, not simply the consigliore to President Bush. Like FBI director Robert Muller, it is the attorney general’s job to ensure that those charged with enforcing the law are actually following them. Oopsy, obviously a few people didn’t get the memo.

Not bad. In a week we learned that our own government can’t take care of its returning soldiers, lies to its own people and illegally spies on them.

Can’t wait to see what this week brings. God help us all.

Steve Kalb is a freelance reporter and TV news talent coach. He is also an adjunct professor of  broadcast journalism at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. You can reach him at sdkalb@gmail.com. (Note: The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Hamden Daily News.)

February 26, 2007

Getting From There to There

If you are looking for reasons to leave Connecticut, our transportation infrastructure -- or more appropriately the lack of it -- has always been high on the list. Sure, you can drive just about everywhere in the state but depending on where and when, you could find yourself stuck in traffic for hours. Just try to drive from anywhere south of New Haven to New York City after 6 in the morning. Ha!

There are two simple answers to this problem of getting from there to there. The mayor of Tempe, Ariz., has one. He wants the Arizona Department of Transportation to widen a part of I-10 to 12 lanes in each direction. Yup, that’s 24 lanes of spiffy, high-speed motoring smack in the middle of a desert. Earth to Mayor Hugh Hallman: Have you gone completely bats? What are they putting in your coffee every morning? Yes, I know the Phoenix area is the fastest-growing part of the United States but for God sakes it is a desert! Just ’cause it’s flat doesn’t mean you have to pave it.

Obviously drinking tea, Gov. Rell has taken that other fork in the road. Connecticut is on a massive modernization program of Metro North. It’s about time. She hopes that by providing trains with seats not originally designed by the Marquis de Sade, heat in the winter and cool air in summer (compared with the current reverse conditions) and bathrooms that aren’t teeming with every possible mutant form of bacterial life the size of cocker spaniels, some of us will migrate from our inefficient cars to the world of efficient mass transit.

Nice thought if I could figure out what to do with my car. Full disclosure: My wife works in New York three or so days a week. Like most people who work in New York who have more brains than a rake, she takes the train. She drives to New Haven praying to her own special deity there will be a space in one of the two lots near the station. Usually the garages are full by 8 a.m. and there is a five-year waiting list for a parking permit for the garage next to the station.

If you think that wait time is whacked, it is also not unusual. Milford’s waiting list is three years long, Stratford about the same. Fairfield? Those folks put their parking space in their will. There has been talk for years about building another parking garage in New Haven but the city and the state have been spitting at each other over who gets how much of the revenue.

Then there is the cost of “training.” Metro North is one of the highest-priced commuter rail services in the region, second only to Amtrak. You might call its rates confiscatory. A 40-mile trip on SEPTA from Thorndale, Penn., to Philadelphia costs $5.50. That’s about $0.14 per mile. On the commuter line from Rockport, Mass., to Boston, a ticket will set you back $7.75. That’s about $0.18 per mile for the 45-mile trip. On the Metro North New Haven Line, the 80-mile jaunt into the Apple costs us $18 -- almost $0.30 per mile.

And that doesn’t include the price of parking, assuming of course you can find a space. The last time I was in Massachusetts, most commuter lots on the commuter rail line were going for $2 to $5. Outside Philadelphia, I paid as little as $0.50 a day. New Haven? $10.

Why are trains and parking so much cheaper in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania? The legislatures in those states have rightly determined that mass transit subsidies actually save money. Fewer people driving cars means less wear and tear on the roads and less pollution. Connecticut has NEVER seen mass transportation as anything more than an evil stepchild.

It is time we looked at mass transportation not as something we have to do but something we want to do. It is time to build lots of parking garages so people can park their cars and take the train to work. It’s time we ran lots of buses so people can get off a train and take a bus to their job. Or take a bus to the train. It is time we built a train line from New Haven to Hartford and then on to Springfield. In short, it is time we recognize that like it or not we can’t build a 24-lane I-95 through Connecticut. We’ve been talking about this for decades. It is time we actually stop spitting and do something

Steve Kalb is a freelance reporter and TV news talent coach. He is also an adjunct professor of  broadcast journalism at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. You can reach him at sdkalb@gmail.com. (Note: The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Hamden Daily News.)

February 12, 2007

Guv’s Proposal Works for Me

It is a political given that if no one seems to like what you are doing then you’re probably doing the right thing. Democrats and Republicans alike were stunned last week when Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, proposed raising the income tax, the cigarette tax and phasing out the infamous car tax. If some Democrats called it a bold move and then a bad idea the next morning, some Republicans called it nothing short of betrayal.

Democrats are incensed that they now have to take the unenviable position of fighting against a tax increase that would fund 50 percent of local education costs. And Republicans have to fight a tax increase.

There are two novel (these days) points to Rell’s proposal. First, in a marked and almost singular contrast to many of the pandering politicians in Washington, the governor is proposing to pay for our responsibilities.

Second, she isn’t willing to use one-shot revenues to do it. House Speaker Jim Amann thinks we should use our rainy day fund to pay for ongoing expenses. Speaker Jim Amann needs a sanity check. That is how we got into that fiscal mess back in the ’80s when tax and spending projections were balanced on the head of a pin with stunningly creative accounting, which was also incredibly fiscally irresponsible. We don’t need to revisit history. It was bad enough the first time.

It is this kinda stuff that makes people dislike and not trust politicians. Everyone knows we need to fully fund the state’s portion of education cost sharing. We’ve been talking about this at the very least for the last decade, but Republicans would never support a tax increase and Democrats are loath to be labeled as “tax and spend.” So nothing ever got done. The state and federal government continued to mandate more and more programs, policies and procedures and you and I paid for them in increased property taxes. Along comes a Republican governor who says, “Let’s get the job done and fund the ECS and raise the state income tax to pay for it,” and you would think she is advocating military school for every child under 18.

The governor also hasn’t completely ruled out a “millionaire’s tax.” Democrats are now suggesting “millionaires” make over $200,000 or so a year. That’s silly. I figure if your adjusted gross income (AGI) is over a million dollars (line 43, for you tax types) then you should have to pay an additional half-percent more in state income tax. Nothing fussy. If line 43 is over a million, add an additional half-percent.

Some warn if you raise taxes on the rich they’ll move to states like Florida or Nevada where there is no income tax. You think a multi-millionaire living in Litchfield County or Greenwich is going to move to hurricane alley or a desert to save a measly couple of grand in income taxes? That is what they make accountants for.

Look, there are people moving to Florida and Nevada and they’re not necessarily millionaires and they are not doing it to escape taxes. Mary and Joe Lunchbucket are tired of shoveling snow. In return for almost nonstop sunshine, warm tropical breezes and no income taxes they run the risk of having their neighborhood flattened by any number of hurricanes that pass by each year or getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. Don’t forget the alligators.

And we should get rid of the car tax. It is just a silly tax. Why should someone in Greenwich with a new Mercedes pay the same percentage of car taxes as someone in Bridgeport driving a beaten-up old Ford? Will a few people in Greenwich make out? Probably. Will the rest of us break even? The math says more than likely.

Remind me again why this is a bad idea?

Me? I’m hardly rich but I like living in a state that pays for its responsibilities. I’m happy to pay my taxes because in return I get a decent quality of life in a state with four seasons. The mosquitoes around here are pretty small, too.

Steve Kalb is a freelance reporter and TV news talent coach. He is also an adjunct professor of  broadcast journalism at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. You can reach him at sdkalb@gmail.com. (Note: The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Hamden Daily News.)

January 29, 2007

Trust Me

I was watching TV the other night and caught one of the shopping channels. It was touting the new Microsoft Vista operating system. If I understand it correctly, one of Vista’s new features is that it will allow you to track where your kids have gone on the Internet and how long they were there. The movie “Enemy of the State” with Will Smith immediately came to mind. Somebody always knows where you are or where you have been. Ask your kids where they surfed, and then check. That same technology probably works well with wives checking up on husbands and husbands checking up on wives. Trust. Then verify.

So we send mixed messages to our kids. You can surf the Internet, but don’t go to those porn sites. And just to make sure you’re not lying to me, I’ll check. You can watch cable, but none of that porn and none of those violent movies. And just to make sure you don’t, we’ll block them from coming into our house. Technology has become a second set of eyes from which we can monitor the comings and goings of our children. In the interest of allegedly safeguarding our children there is no software too expensive or sophisticated and no technology too intrusive that will prevent us from finding out everything our kids do and compare it to what they say they do. When it comes to our kids there is no impenetrable wall of privacy, no door that is completely closed. Our children can’t be trusted.

And just in case our children didn’t get that message when they are young, we make sure they get it as they get older. At 18 you can join the armed forces and see the world. You can break the law and be tried as an adult. You can sign for a loan. You can get married. Even though your signature effectively becomes your bond the day you turn 18, you can’t buy a drink anywhere in the 50 states. The reason? We adults believe 18-year-olds are too young to drink. They’re not responsible yet. Three years from now they’ll be adults. They can join the Army and kill people, get tossed in jail for breaking the law, but they’re not adult enough to hold in check the seductive advances made by “demon rum.” What moron thought this made any sense in the first place?

Maybe it is us, not them, who are irresponsible. I don’t know about you but I was taught that trust goes both ways. I would have sooner been slowly dropped into a vat of boiling oil than to have lied to my parents. Forget about corporal punishment. There was that look my father had. You know, that look. It was the one you got when you did something you knew you weren’t supposed to do but you did it anyway. It almost never worked out the way you thought it would and he would always find out.

What followed was a stern reminder of the house rules, which I believe came into being about the time I was 7 or 8. Rule No. 1 came in two parts. The first was the 5th Commandment: “Honor thy Father and Mother.” The second part was that their trust for me was unquestionable and universal. Rule No. 2: Don’t do anything that would change rule No. 1.

More and more we trust people less and less. Parents check on kids; wives and husbands on each other. I know my word is good in all 50 states and it doesn’t need to be notarized. Thanks for the trust, dad.

Steve Kalb is a freelance reporter and TV news talent coach. He is also an adjunct professor of  broadcast journalism at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. You can reach him at sdkalb@gmail.com. (Note: The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Hamden Daily News.)

January 15, 2007

Tweed Needs a 21st Century Facelift

Someone needs to rescue Tweed New Haven airport from a handful of self-serving politicians, the city of East Haven and a few loud and selfish homeowners. I don’t know if it would take buying 20 or 30 or 50 homes to turn Tweed into a regional airport, but the feds should buy ’em, or take them through eminent domain and bulldoze them. If New London can take homes for a private development then clearly the feds can take houses for a municipal airport for the express purpose of increasing safety and promoting air travel.

The last time I flew out of White Plains, N.Y., was about 15 years ago. It reminded me of photos I had seen of airfields in the Marshall Islands right after World War II. It looked suspiciously like a rows of Quonset huts with bad lighting and leaky roofs. It was pretty awful.

So I had a planeload of second thoughts before I bought a flight from White Plains to San Francisco, with the obligatory stop in Chicago. I knew some work had been done on the airport but figured it probably now looked a little like Tweed with the same abysmal service and airplanes. After all it is right next to Greenwich. If you pay big money to live in Greenwich you don’t expect to hear noisy planes -- or any planes for that matter. Come to think of it you probably don’t expect to hear anything. It is after all Greenwich, thank you very much. Birds that flock there probably need to get their flight plans approved by the town.

Fifteen years ago Tweed was, like White Plains is now, a vibrant airport. At least a half-dozen airlines flew in and out of Tweed. Continental, United, American and USAir are four that immediately come to mind. Passengers’ most frequently given reasons for bypassing Tweed for Bradley or New York are infrequent flights, overpriced seats and weather issues at certain times of the year that cause flight delays.

Nonsense. It was the regional jet that killed Tweed and it will also be the regional jet that saves it. The minute fliers found out they didn’t have to get into a noisy, cramped propeller-driven cigar tube -- with engines not much bigger than my lawnmower -- they migrated by the plane-full to airports that have regional jets. It is not that a regional jet flies that much faster then a turboprop or that it is much more comfortable. But it is a jet. A turboprop sounds like last century’s technology and these days no one is interested in last year’s technology.

White Plains is a modern regional airport serviced by at least a half-dozen airlines including United, AirTran and American, which appear to fly regional jets exclusively. The building is clean and well lit and though the parking rates are criminal, it is just a short walk from the parking garage to the terminal.

In contrast there is Tweed. The airport needs to grow. It needs longer runways to allow for slightly larger, more fuel-efficient regional jets. It needs a “clear zone” for the safety of nearby residents. It needs a terminal that is clean, modern and inviting instead of the current “erector set” design. What nearsighted functionary ever thought that this minimalist, warehouse design looked anything more than supremely ugly? It is an embarrassment. Governors and legislators, past and present, who have allowed Tweed to operate like this should be ashamed of themselves.

It is no secret that regions survive and prosper in large part due to their transportation infrastructure. Just look at what the state is willing to spend to make sure you can drive everywhere. We’re widening and rebuilding anything that even looks like a road. What our seemingly myopic legislators now need to do is make sure we have a vibrant air transportation system. And it can’t just be Bradley airport. There are more than enough people living between Old Saybrook and Milford and halfway to Waterbury to make Tweed a vibrant regional airport.

As for the argument that people who live near the airport don’t want jets, I’d recommend a good real estate agent. My suspicion is those who complain the loudest have moved to the “shore” sometime in the last 10-20 years. Question: When you bought your home did you think those large lit and paved sections of flat land were bicycle paths? What prompted you to think (other than incantations from the real estate agent) the airport would disappear or become a home to single engine crop dusters? I have a slightly more understanding view for those who have lived there for generations. They have roots and the feds should make sure those people are well compensated.

For the rest? Feh! Fair-market value and not a dime more.

It is unfair to all of us that a few people and the mayor of one city have been able to block the improvement of the region and its airport for decades. That should end.

Steve Kalb is a freelance reporter and TV news talent coach. He is also an adjunct professor of  broadcast journalism at the University of Connecticut, Storrs. You can reach him at sdkalb@gmail.com. (Note: The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Hamden Daily News.)

January 2, 2007

RIP Local News

WELI radio, licensed by the FCC to New Haven and charged with serving the Greater New Haven area, has shuttered its news department. In its heyday, WELI operated a market-leading, award-winning news department staffed by almost a dozen seasoned journalists.

Its “local” news has now been “outsourced” to Syracuse, N.Y., which will record the “news” and “send” it down to the station in an e-mail attachment or something similar. The immediacy of radio is now history, relegated to the scrap heap.

It is not as though there is no more local news to report; if anything there is more than there was two decades ago. But starting today, Jan. 2, 2007, if it happens in the Greater New Haven area you’ll be the first to know -- once Syracuse finds out it happened. There will be no local reporters, no local anchors, so if a major event takes place locally -- a hurricane, blackout, train strike or wreck -- don’t hope for much from your radio. That says nothing about the daily “mundane” things like your electric rates or taxes going through the roof or someone in a mask holding up a bank or shooting someone on the street.

In a fight between the corporate bean counters and the public’s need and right to know, the public lost. WELI news is the victim of over a decade of collectively bad management, a myopic and cynical view of the listeners and those corporate bean counters.

It wasn’t always that way. I had worked at a variety of small radio stations before my first “real” job at WELI in the mid-’80s. Professionally it was a good place to be. Along with a few TV and radio stations in other states, it was owned by Fred Walker and Broadstreet Communications. They believed in local news and in being a “community” radio station. We had local personalities on the air involved in public service programs (like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.) and we took pride in being part of the community in which we worked. Mr. Walker was willing to spend cold, hard dollars to back up his commitment to the community. The station co-sponsored everything from jazz concerts on the New Haven Green to July 4th fireworks at Lighthouse Point Park. As a news department we took pride in being “live, local and late-breaking,” at least as often as any TV station in the state. It showed in ratings and revenue.

A word here about why radio and TV stations exist. Contrary to what you might think, stations are not here to serve as just another outlet for Jerry Springer or Rush Limbaugh. Stations are licensed (unlike newspapers) by the federal government to “serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.”

What that meant up until recently was that our “job” was to serve the public. We had a responsibility to provide community programming, to give voice to the voiceless and tell you what was happening or would happen in your community. Make no mistake about it, we were going to make money in the process, however that was not the only reason we had a license.
But times changed. WELI was sold to the corporate bean counters. Worse than anything, they aren’t broadcasters. To them a radio station is just like a gas station or a 7-11. How do we make the most money and spend the least. Soon gone were the local talk shows where local people could talk about local issues. Local personalities were replaced by rightwing, reactionary, syndicated programming. Why pay for local talent when you can pay nothing for a syndicated show? The blood was on the wall. Soon the news department started to shrink, the victim of a “who cares” bottom-line mentality that puts profits above all else.

Not that profits are a bad thing, but having a broadcast license is now a license of print money. Where else but a radio or TV station can owners turn a 30 percent profit margin and call that “ordinary?” Many radio and TV stations routinely turn 40 percent to 50 percent a year in “return on investment.” Outside of broadcasting just about any chief financial officer of just about any company would kill for an ROI of 15 percent. Stop & Shop is lucky with 4 percent.

So it was of little to no surprise to me a month or so ago when word started filtering down that San Antonio-based Clear Channel, the owners of WELI and over 1,000 other radio stations, had started to strip once vibrant news departments of their staffs. Albany, N.Y., Springfield, Mass., and Providence, R.I., all saw their departments downsized to one or two news people. The “local news,” it was decided by some “leading light” in the company, would come from strategically placed “news hubs.” For WELI and stations around here, Syracuse will provide news “product” and traffic reports to stations up and down the East Coast. Stations had used “news hubs” on a limited basis before, but now the limits are gone.

As for me, my “firing” was almost anti-climatic. Since I was technically only a part-time employee I wasn’t “fired.” I just don’t have any work. Professional purgatory. That’s fine. I am a reporter and a journalist and if I can’t practice my craft at WELI I have no doubt there is some place that can use my skills. Just between you and me, I was actually hoping to see Donald Trump (or his surrogate) walk into the room and announce, “You’re fired!” It would have been a fitting end.
But I am unimportant. This column isn’t about me. You deserve better than a pre-recorded newscast from Syracuse. You should demand that broadcasters do what their license requires them to do, “serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.” If they cannot or will not then maybe they no longer deserve the license. If you are looking for a station that does deserve theirs, I’d suggest WTIC in Hartford, WICC in Bridgeport and WINS and WCBS in New York. All produce excellent newscasts and programming. NPR also has some excellent reporters and programming. So too WQUN, which is owned by Quinnipiac University.

By the way, the winner of my previous column’s “Worst of the Year” award was “Faux (Fox) News” for crimes against journalism for its anything but impartial reporting.

With respect to both Edward R. Murrow and Charles Osgood: “Good night and good luck. See you on the radio.”

Steve Kalb is an award-winning former reporter and talk show host for WELI radio. He is also an adjunct professor of broadcast journalism at the University of Connecticut at Storrs. You can reach him at sdkalb@gmail.com. (Note: The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the Hamden Daily News.)


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