Summary: It's the newest fitness craze -- stripper, er, "pole" dancing! Station: WTAE Channel 4 Reporter: Kelly Frey When it Aired: Feb. 16 Running Time: 3 minutes, 58 seconds Visuals: * The phrase, "Latest Fitness Craze" under the caption, "Top Stories." * Frey slipping clumsily down a dancer's pole as she hollers like a kid riding a merry-go-round for the first time. Highlights: *A clip from the story, which leads the 11 o'clock "after hours" broadcast, in which the woman instructing the class lays down her manifesto: "I want them to feel sexy when they come here, feel motivated. I don't want them to be intimidated by anything I do." * When anchor Wendy Bell's voice cuts in, "Watch out! Pole dancing is the latest fitness craze! And could it be anchor Kelly Frey there giving it a whirl? You bet it is!" * When Bell gives us a second "sneak peek," "All right now, the video you can't afford to miss! Oprah did it, Extreme Makeover tried it too, but it was tough to find anybody really doing it in Pittsburgh, until early this year. So what is it? The hottest fitness trend that will tone every muscle in your body. And you see her there -- [Frey], brave enough to put on her workout clothes and give it a try. There's only one catch: Sorry, guys, this isn't for you." * As Frey fondles some fabric and begins her narrative: "Soft coverings on the walls, dim lights, a disco ball. This is anything but your normal gym. We're inside 'Fitness with a Twist' in Verona, where they are bringin' sexy back." * When Frey elaborates as the funky music plays, "Pole dancing: It is the latest fitness craze sweeping the country. A pilates-yoga-cardio combination that hasn't been in Pittsburgh until now." * When the instructor explains, "This class not only helps gets you in shape, but it makes you feel more confident as a woman, a little more sexy, and you know, learn some new moves." * When Frey innocently tells us, "Moves like the 'ballerina' ... to the 'backward bend' will make you sweat." * When the owner of the business says, "No one teaches us how to be sexy, no one teaches us to feel good ... and everybody feels beautiful when they leave." * When a woman who attends the class offers, "It's exciting and different ... Definitely I feel sexy. When I tell people that, they kinda laugh at me ... and at first I'm embarrassed but I'm proud of it now. I think it's cool." Funny -- I could swear I said the very same thing about a boyfriend once. * When Frey lists the clientele: "Attorneys. Teachers. Doctors. Moms." * During a lesson, when Frey ends up lying on the floor, laughing, and not looking very sexy at all. * When Frey says pole dancing, "force[s] you to focus." * When the owners invite us to "Come pole dancing, Pittsburgh!" I thought this was just for, ahem -- women only? What We Learned: My secret is out: now you know how I get my powers of concentration to write this column. Unanswered Question: Not in Pittsburgh until now -- so essentially you're telling us it's been around for at least ten years? News Value: 2. What a disappointment. I was all set to get my thong in a bunch over another T & A sweeps story, but this piece was about as hot as a Port Authority bus shelter in January.
Shakin' at the Salt Pile
Summary: An edifying salt pile update brought to us during a spell of treacherous weather. Station: WPXI Channel 11 Reporter: Timyka Artist When it Aired: Feb. 13 Running Time: 2 minutes Visuals: * The tagline "PENNDOT CREWS TREATING ICY ROADS WITH SALT." * A big pile of ... salt! Highlights: * When Artist reports, "Well, we're live right now in front one of PennDOT's seven salt piles here in Allegheny County." * When she says, "They've actually dumped about 2,000 tons of salt so far." * When Artist begins with the canned portion of her program: "With temperatures plummeting, today's snowfall is quickly turning into tonight's freezing rain." * When a female motorist, who appears to be 30-ish, remarks, "I can't believe it, it's a mess." * This stern word of caution from a PennDOT manager, "People need to know when they're comin' behind the trucks, and they're spreading and plowing, stay behind 'em." * When Artist asserts, "PennDOT says all 77 trucks are out." What We Learned: Better live in front of a salt pile than dead behind it. Unanswered Question: Once again, another story that exploits salt for little more than the visual stimulation it provides when shown in piles, and offers no substance -- 2,000 tons of this, and this many miles of that ... what does it all mean? News Value: 1. A downright in-salt.