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Monday, March 24, 2014

Al Roker -- Nice Guy, But Maybe Creating Some Stormy Weather?

This is just a little followup after my blog entry on Al Roker and the Discovery Channel's "Investigation Discovery" episode on sundown towns he helped produce. I guess the weatherman has joined ranks with those depending upon hucksterism to hype viewership of television shows with which he is associated.

Personally, I like Al. He is a very popular television personality as is evidenced below. He seems like a gracious, nice man. I hate to see some contradictions to his positive image in his recent projects. I will let Al's website speak for his goals and work ethic.

On his website, Al, Owner/CEO of Al Roker Entertainment, touts his firm as "a multi-media production company dedicated to producing original, award winning, factual-based TV programs."     They claim to be "a television production company specializing in highly compelling, entertaining unscripted programming."

Here is some text from the site (

"As a hands-on business owner, Al is involved in the selection, creation, and development of the productions emanating from Al Roker Entertainment. Since these programs bear his name, Al focuses on programs that are honest, high quality, and in most cases, contain organic storytelling. For Al, these tend to be programs that don’t artificially create drama or high stakes, but instead allow Al Roker Entertainment to document both the on-screen activity and back story. Through this meticulous programming selection process, Al is able to “create programs that I can watch along with my kids.”

These shows include "Coast Guard Alaska" on The Weather Channel, "Kimberly's Simply Southern" on GAC TV, "DEA" on Spike, "The Bluegrass Boys" on Discovery, "Bordertown: Laredo" on A&E, and, of course "Injustice Files -- Sundown Towns" on Investigation Discovery.

I have already questioned the veracity of a claim made on "Injustice Files -- Sundown Towns." You can read that on an "All Things Wildly Considered" March, 2014 entry.

Now, I find that the "Today" show recently did a phony meltdown featuring Al Roker going off on radio and television host Billy Bush, who, at the time, was interviewing Johnny Weir during the Sochi Olympics. In the clip, Al seems to be schooling Billy about his proper place on the broadcasting food chain in the NBC/Universal family hierarchy.

“You are infotainment, nothing more, nothing less,” Roker said to Bush. “Do not elevate yourself.” 

Then, Al does a particularly nasty rant that reportedly NBC wants every media site to run for publicity. The crew surrounding the duo — and Bush himself — cracks up throughout most of the video as the expletives and threats fly.

“Everybody in this f---ing crew wants to say what I'm saying, but they don't because they're afraid,” Roker said while getting in Bush's face. “They're afraid to damage your f---ing fragile ego. All right? So stop it! And I'm gonna hound you … I'm gonna live on you like a tick until you stop this sh--!”

“You don't know where I'm gonna pop up, you don't know where I'm gonna be,” Roker yelled. “I'm gonna be your worst nightmare.”

(Tony Maglio. "Al Roker Rants at Billy Bush: ‘You Are Infotainment, Nothing More, 
Nothing Less.’" WRAP. March 21, 2014)

The YouTube Video, click here:

Hey, Mr. Al Roker, I realize you wish to maintain high standards. You, yourself say, "creating programs that I can watch along with my kids." How old are your kids, by the way? Perhaps you should consider this in the face of some recent activity. When all hope is gone and television becomes nothing but sensationalism and dumb stunts from those on respected news shows, people like me will turn off the television set and return to our trusty stereos for some old, reliable music.

You may want to have it both ways, but I believe a commitment to never "artificially create drama or high stakes" is a commitment you should honor. I think you have stumbled lately. I have never experienced the stress of working for national television; however, I taught high school language arts for decades, and I can tell you keeping true to my word in the face of educating the public was pretty tough. Perhaps it's time to review some personal policies.

"I get bitter, angry and disbelieving and I tell my kids 
there are a lot of idiots out there. I also want them 
to know that being successful is not the real world -- 
that their parents get treated better because they're on TV."

 --Al Roker

P.S. -- Why doesn't the blog on your site have any entries? Just wondering.

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