Sunday, October 04, 2009

WCVB Introduces "On the Record"-- Ditch the Pop Quiz

Kudos to WCVB Channel 5 in Boston. Today they launched a new show, "On The Record," which is focused on local political issues. It aired right after national political program "This Week" at 10 a.m.

One of the main reasons there's a general decay in public interest in politics is because the media doesn't cover local politics. And when they do cover them, they tend to focus on the horse race and not on the issues that matter to the people.

WCVB's "On The Record" was refreshing. It's all about local politics, and the format kept a nice pace that should even be attractive to those who don't follow the subject 24/7. It's only a half-hour, and the content wasn't nearly as dry as other local political shows (which I don't even bother to watch).

In its first episode, the show covered the Mass. Senate race. Hosts Janet Wu and Ed Harding interviewed Senate candidate and U.S. Representative Mike Capuano (he did well). The roundtable discussion following the interview focused on other candidates, noting Steve "My ad is on every 10 minutes" Pagliuca and the fact that Martha Coakley, according to one panelist, started running for the seat before former Sen. Ted Kennedy passed away (but as another panelist pointed out, is still the front runner).

I do have one serious complaint. WCVB should never ever again put a pop quiz in front of one of its guests. They sprang one on Capuano, asking very esoteric questions that I would not expect my elected officials to know off the top of their heads. Pop quizzes are attractive because they make the politicians squirm; except they don't add to the debate. Plus, now that they've done one, it will cause any future candidate to second guess whether they want to come on the show.

Great job with the new program, WCVB. But ditch the pop quiz.

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