Thursday, August 30, 2007

Live from Erie, It's Inland Empire News!

"Wow, how about that weather out there," Inland Empire news anchor Raychel Vendetti sighed this morning to the meterologist sitting next to her. The two hosts were discussing last night's thunderstorms and today's sweltering 100+ degree heat.

Vendetti hosts "Inland Empire Live," a half-hour daily newscast on KHIZ-TV, Channel 64. But when the anchor steps outside the studio later today, she won't exactly be in the middle of that crazy I.E. heat.

Vendetti may be commenting on life in the I.E., but she's actually in a studio 2,000 miles away -- in Erie, Pennsylvania, to be exact. Vendetti is the morning anchor for WSEE-TV's morning show -- but takes time out to also host the KHIZ show (via satellite).

KHIZ, a small station based in Victorville (with a tower in Barstow), conveniently forgets to mention that fact while touting its local newscast:
Local LA News that's first and foremost about the Inland Empire - only on KHIZ! Join your hosts Raychel Vendetti and meteorologist Ray Petelin, live weekday mornings at 7AM. Later-risers can catch our rebroadcast at 7PM.

"IE Live!" is a 30-minute daily live newscast complete with the latest in local news and weather focusing on the Inland Empire, but also covering the greater Los Angeles region.

"IE Live," which launched in December, is the only newscast focused on the Inland Empire. Here's a clip of a fire in Hesperia, for example:

So why the unusual decision to use anchors based at WSEE-TV in Erie, Pa., of all places? (Check out their bios on the WSEE website here.)

According to Erie Media-Go-Round -- yes, your source for all Erie media news -- one of the major owners of KHIZ is a New England man named Kevin Lilly, who happens to also have his name on WSEE's license. Just like radio stations that quietly use voicetracks of DJs hundreds or thousands of miles away -- and pretend they're actually live, locally, in the studio -- low-budget KHIZ is attempting to put on a news show with as little expense as possible.

Still, it's bizarre to think that these anchors introducing a story about a fire in Hesperia are sitting in Erie, as Erie Media-Go-Round notes:
When Ray reports today that it will be sunny and a high of 63 degrees in the desert, the locals don’t know that he had to walk in sub-freezing temperatures, snow and ice to get to the WSEE studios in Erie to deliver that forecast. The story makes it sound like Rachel may have been formerly of WSEE, which is not true.

KHIZ airs mostly home shopping shows, with a handful of other low-budget programs... and "Judge Hatchett."

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