Boxtroll Logic: Station With the Most Boxes Wins

By Mark Joyella 

As cold weather marched into states where 40 degrees is considered cold, news managers made the tough–but critical–call: we need boxes. Lots and lots of boxes. So on CBS-owned KTVT Monday, viewers were face-punched with a 14-box.

Not bad, but nowhere near the high-water mark for on-screen boxapaloozas, Atlanta ABC affiliate WSB, which unleashed on the world a comic 25-box during a winter storm in January 2014. The message to viewers: we planned for the storm, we have lots of reporters, and we put them in place to cover every conceivable angle on the story for you. Of course, most of that message is really inside the newsroom back-slapping that doesn’t tell viewers anything. Just get to the forecast, the roads, and the school closings. I get it, you have a lot of reporters on this. Can we have one of them tell us something now?

KTVT 10Back in Dallas, the box count at KTVT dropped by 10 p.m., in favor of a little show-us-your-boxes-on-the-set razzmatazz: two screens up front, a four box in the back, school closings on the ticker, snowflakes in the corners, and the largest CBS eye in Texas underneath.

Over at ABC station WFAA, North Texas viewers were shockingly¬†deprived, given the most meager four-WFAAbox at 5 p.m. What kind of message does that send? That you don’t have enough reporters? That you don’t care? That you aren’t technically proficient enough to produce America’s first 120-box?

Funny thing about that four-box, though. You could actually make sense of it. You could see the reporter, their location, and they were all live pictures. Without ruining the whole megabox craze, even WSB can’t deliver a true 25-box with live sources for each–it’s just stunt window dressing. But again, this isn’t really about sharing information, it’s about building the brand. So on with your boxes, you boxtrolls!