My Favorite Local Talk Shows

When it is a slow news week on the media front, it is best to focus on general topics instead of specific events.

One topic that is regularly ignored is the local talk show. The local talk show is the cornerstone of public affairs programming. It is a strategic tool that public affairs and community relations departments of TV stations use to improve their reputations. But the viewership isn't that high. That's why I wanted to share ideas about what can make these shows better.

"Perspective" with Monique Caradine Kitchens, WPWR-TV (Channel 50)

Monique Caradine Kitchens knows how to find a good story. For almost 20 years, she has worked as a public relations and media expert with a background in radio and television. Three years ago, Mrs.  Caradine Kitchens became the host of the weekly public affairs show, "Perspective" on WPWR-TV--which is taped at Fox Chicago studios and airs Sundays at noon. (Full disclosure: I appeared as a guest on the show in February 2009)

"Perspective" is a good show but it can better. For one thing, the show could be live instead of taped. It will help the host or fill in host (Kimbriell Kelley) be more timely even with the show's magazine style topics. If there were a specific development in medicine or politics, the viewers will learn more about it from an expert on the spot.

Economic Development In Northwest Indiana:

There also needs to be more emotion. The guests tend to be robotic--with the exception of Mr. Otis Monroe (featured in the segment above at the 12:15 mark). When I watch the show, I don't want to feel like I'm watching Meet The Press on NBC. I want some passion, energy, excitement and a little drama.

"Off 63rd" with Garrard McClendon, WYCC-TV (Channel 20)

I cover all media outlets on this blog, including public access and public broadcasting.

One host who seems to have boundless energy is Garrard McClendon, PhD. His show, "Off 63rd", airs Thursday evenings at 6:30 p.m. on WYCC-TV. Some folks have told me that he needs to tone it down but I've met him before and I think that's part of his identity. He has the kind of energy that I was just talking about with the Perspective show above. But he really needs an hour for his live format to work.

In addition to that, he needs to limit his guests from 3 to maybe two people. To make things even better, he should air magazine-style human interest stories to break up the monotony of the show and the visual fatigue one experiences when looking at a dark studio. This is not the Charlie Rose show. I want to see some of his viewers profiled for their work in the community as well as the big name folks he usually interviews.

I was trying to think of some more shows, but I'm tired. LOL!

Can you think of any talk programs (radio, online or TV) that are Chicago focused?

Thanks for reading.


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  • Finding one on 50 is real unbelievable. Of course, they rip off the Walter Jacobson title "Perspective," which used to be on 32 at 8 a.m., but apparently now is Fox Chicago Sunday. As I also mentioned, while there seems no use for 50, apparently they felt duty bound to honor their Gary license.

    Since you bring up McClendon on 20, there are all sorts of local talking head shows there, including the Chicago Bar Association and The Professors (somehow I don't take City College Professors seriously, and apparently off for the summer).

    Of course, there are the prerecorded political segments on the Sunday morning news, and U and Me and WCL previously mentioned.

    Since you mention radio, everything on AM is talk, the question only being if it is local or syndicated (except for Greg Jarrett, which is neither). I'm sure you can tell Mully and Hanley or Big John Howell what to do. Do you listen only to Love 100.3 (apparently now under another brand)?

  • Shoot me, I forgot Chicago Tonight, Chicago Tonight the Week in Review, and Check Please.

    I do have suggestions there:

    1. CT: Get rid of Elizabeth Brackett and Carol Marin.

    2. TWiR: Don't ask the sports guy (other than Lester Munson or Laurence Holmes) the political questions.

    CP, of course, was famous for shelving its pilot, featuring some pointy headed professor pushing the Dixie Kitchen until its 100th episode.

  • In reply to jack:

    I definitely caught the "Check Please" joke about President Obama.

    But I do understand what you mean about Channel 11. I used to intern there (and that set is MUCH smaller than it appears on TV). However, you have execs there who use the Channel 7 strategy of "what worked in the 80s will work in the '10s". That is definitely a strategy for losing in today's changing marketplace.

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