If you're under the age of 40, there's a good chance you're a stranger to TV news. The median age of the network nightly newscasts is somewhere in the upper 50s and getting older by the year.
According to one broadcast researcher, younger viewers tend to gravitate to crisis coverage but then gradually 'return to watching sitcoms.'
Well, there's good news for all those twenty and thirtysomethings who wouldn't know Peter Jennings if he showed up on an MTV Web site or Katie Couric if she landed a guest shot on 'Dawson's Creek.' Now you can have news that screams, 'We're not stodgy, we come with attitude, and it's OK to laugh.'
Of course, you've got to get up early to see all this programming, which would make Edward R. Murrow roll over in his grave if he had a remote. 'The Daily Buzz,' produced by Dayton, Ohio's WBDT-TV and syndicated to WB stations nationally, airs weekdays on Portland's WB32 from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.
While the network morning programs and even KPTV's 'Good Day Oregon' go for anybody and everybody, 'The Daily Buzz' aims for young viewers who just might be interested in what happened to their world while they were allegedly sleeping.
And it's the only news show where the anchormen are tie-less, the anchorwomen joke about sex and the weather guy wears jeans.
'The Daily Buzz' also doesn't believe in being impartial: Anchors Ron Corning, Andrea Jackson, Peggy Bunker and Mitch English (who all look to be in their late 20s with enough personality to power a small country) spout off on any story or issue that strikes their fancy. And their combined fancy is struck often.
This past week, while one of the anchors was reading an item about the alien-obsessed Raelians and the cloning story, another anchor could be heard off-camera chirping 'coo-coo, coo-coo.' They didn't learn that from Diane Sawyer.
The three hours are packed with feature stuff, entertainment news ('Lights, Camera, Jackson' is one of the segments, anchored by Andrea Jackson) and, surprisingly, a hearty dose of national and international news, often set to music.
Unlike other morning news shows, it's practically devoid of interviews and centers on the anchors chatting and yukking and generally goofing off between (and during) stories. Not exactly all news, all the time. More like some news, some of the time.
But it's upbeat, all right, like any morning show. Featuring local news headlines crawling at the bottom of the screen and Portland area weather cut-ins, 'The Daily Buzz' is slowly attracting an audience that might otherwise be watching 'Gilligan's Island' reruns.
And in that regard, maybe you don't need ties after all.