‘It’s A Screaming Disaster’: Milwaukee News Sets Reviewed

By Kevin Eck 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has posted an interesting review of the local station’s news sets.  The article focuses on NBC affiliate WTMJ’s new set (pictured right) and the various reactions it evoked from those on both sides of the screen.

“It’s like being on a spaceship,” said WTMJ-TV anchor-reporter Courtny Gerrish.

“Punch it, Chewie,” added meteorologist Brian Gotter, making a “Star Wars” joke.

The futuristic-looking set so offended one caller that he left a message on my voice mail: “It’s a screaming disaster. It’s as ugly as any modern designer or architect could create.”

While one may think it’s a bit odd to review the sets and not the newscast, the article points out stations spend a great deal of time and money on branding and how they’re perceived by their audience.

The content of the newscasts aside, each local station’s broadcast is filled with subliminal visual cues intended to communicate things about them. Collectively, local newscasts are a rhapsody in blue, a color known for its tranquil qualities, and feature skyline shots with local landmarks in the background, whose illumination shifts depending on time of day.

The article also compares the sets for ABC affiliate WISN, CBS affiliate WDJT and WITI, the FOX affiliate.

Despite the reaction to WTMJ’s set, Steve Wexler, vice president of radio and television operations for Journal Broadcast Group, told the Journal Sentinel the station was in need of an update.

“It’s like your house,” he said. “There’s a time to paint the shutters, or maybe the furniture looks dated.” Such changes are intended “to be appealing and competitive” and “consistent with your brand.”

You can see more pictures of WTMJ’s set by clicking here.

[Newscast Studio]