Thursday, April 21, 2011

Comparing Outsized Media Personalities in Lansing and Madison

Many know that I lived in Lansing for 17 years so I know many who are still working journalists and were once journalists before their current occupations. Married twice to Journalism graduates of giant public universities, I have written for pay since 1981. Thus I know something about media personalities.

Although there are many media celebrities in Michigan, there is no personality that is a bigger media conglomerate than Tim Skubick. Armed with a tape recorder and a microphone at the Capitol, Skubick was syndicated on radio. I have seen Skubic as a commentator on local commercial television. Skubick was the voice of halftime shows at Michigan State University when I went to Badger games. Of course, he is the long-standing moderator of “Off the Record” Friday night on Michigan Public Television. I have watched it on-line in Madison.

Madison has two media personalities that are similarly ubiquitous. One is Channel 15 weatherman Charlie Shortino. He is not just a host of the Channel 15 morning show and does the local component of Al Roker, he is a frequent public speaker. Shortino does weather on local commercial radio. Shortino has even been a celebrity server at the World’s Largest Brat Fest near the Dane County Coliseum.

Compare Shortino to Neil Heinen. Heinen is as reliably politically correct as Madison itself. He writes predictable columns in “Madison” magazine. Heinen has a Sunday morning public affairs show that I never watch because it has poor production values and softball questions of small guests. To Heinen, mob rule is democracy and Wisconsin voters were to blame for electing Governor Scott Walker and firing the heroic Mayor Dave Cieslewicz.

Although busy, Skubick was never too busy to talk with me. Shortino would never be too busy. If Heinen were on fire, I would not urinate on him to put the fire out.