Okay, I’m not going to waste valuable cyberspace going over how bad the WB News program is in great detail. Except for Tom McGee and Scott Roberts, the staff seems like they came straight out of high school. The technical side, while improving, is still a disaster. This is a news show that delivers just enough to keep the die-hard fans of Tom McGee happy, but not enough to attract other viewers. Here’s a list of things that they need to fix if they want to compete with the other area newscasts:

The set is claustrophobic: They were evidently limited by the size of the room, but the cameras are far too close to the on-air talent, and the lighting is atrocious. The newscast looks like it’s being broadcast from somebody’s living room. I think they need to find a new studio with adequate space.

Introductions are in order: The stylistic choice of having the reporters introduce their own stories is a mess. There isn’t enough room in the studio for them, so they have to stand outside, “on location, live in Charleston,” which is obviously just as far as the cables will reach outside of their West Side studio. And there’s no lighting out there. Half the time, the reporters miss their cues. And their microphones pick up other radio frequencies, so we hear police calls in the background. All this does is make the newscast look shoddy and waste air time. We can see the same buildings and roads in the background every day. At least build a newsroom set that you can cut to instead of doing these bad “remote” bits. If you can’t just have the anchors introduce the report, at least let those poor reporters stand inside the building.

If you don’t have teleprompters, buy some: If you do have them, start using them properly. I’ve overheard people in grocery stores commenting on how bad it looks.

For God’s sake get Scott Roberts a desk! The poor guy has no idea what to do with himself as he stands there giving the sports report. He fidgets, keeps glancing down at his notes, and winds up dancing around the set like a lummox. Scott’s a likeable guy, well-known to area fans. Don’t make him look like an idiot.

To whomever is writing the copy for the anchors to read: West Virginia State University offers classes in writing for television. If you’re not willing to take a class, at least take some advice: read your copy aloud to see if it sounds natural coming out of somebody’s mouth. I’ve watched your poor anchors stumble over some of the most poorly-written links and teases that I’ve ever heard. If they’re writing the copy themselves, they have no one to blame, but if somebody else is doing it, they need help, quick.

The McGee Factor: Finally, Tom McGee……he’s actually doing great. Despite all his well-documented off-screen bad behavior, the man can deliver on camera. Even when he’s delivering copy that appears to be written at a fifth-grade level, he does his best to make it work. His other anchor and the rest of the reporters are green as hell, but the only way to overcome that is to go out there every day and do their jobs.

I sort of want to root for this newscast. It doesn’t have the questionable, corporate-ordered ideological bias of WCHS or WOWK, and it’s cool to have a newscast originating from the West Side. But they really need to work on the technical issues, and let their staff grow into their jobs. I just don’t know if they’ve produced a professional enough product to compete with the other stations.

Tomorrow: The Rant that dare not speak its name (that means I haven’t decided which one to do yet).