Chris Clark, WCNCs (Channel 36) new sports director, has this eye thing going and this head thing going.
Eye thing first.
When he was a kid, hed mock his dad, who used to do a look-me-in-the-eye thing, like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. He thought it was something that would also work on TV, and does it with high school football coverage.
Hes been on for about a month, and players he covers already get it.
Theyll come over and point to their eyes and point to the camera, says Clark. If the kids do it, they know Ill put it on television. Theyre yelling, Looking at you! Does it have anything to do with football? No. But everyones having fun with it and remembering it.
Now the head thing.
Clark says he used to have a mop of hair like the Zack Morris character from Saved By the Bell. When he was working at a station in Atlanta, he was taken off-air and put into a producers role. Nobody cared what he looked like behind the scenes, so he shaved his head. His wife loved it.
Now hes one of the few bald TV news personalities in Charlotte.
When I go on camera, I stick out like a broken finger. People think, Is that Dr. Evil? Its noticeable. It stands out. It turns heads. Thats the first step. The second is to keep the eyeballs on you.
Clark, 37, grew up in suburban Washington. His family was in the construction business and raised horses.
He started college at Wingate, then transferred after two years to Bowie State University in Maryland so he could play baseball. His career has taken him to sports broadcasting jobs in Clarksburg, W.Va., Savannah, Ga., Tampa and Atlanta.
He says he was drawn to the job at NBC Charlotte because he always wanted to run a sports department and try things he thought might work to energize sports segments. Right now, hes putting together a series, Real Men Live Like Real Men, showcasing cool cars and man caves.
Local sports segments have been de-emphasized at many stations around the country. Most sports fans already know the stuff thats happened because its been on ESPN, he says. For local TV though, anyone who wants to see sports is going to hang around and see it.
Theres 25 percent of the viewers who just dont care we can go on and say were going to show you how to make lead into gold and they wont watch it. But theres that group in the middle if you dont talk sports to them with a lot of stats and figures and make it interesting, theyll watch it. If you make it interesting youll grow an audience, and thats what I hope I can do here.
WSOC (Channel 9) reporter Dan Tordjman, who apologized last week on his personal Twitter account for a September tweet that said he expected New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano to be accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, has left the station. He hasnt been on air since the Sept. 20 incident, and Channel 9 aired a correction and apology for Tordjmans personal post last week. He had been with station for a year. Joining WBT-AM (1110) later this month as program director is Jason Furst from upstate New York where he programs three stations. He replaces longtime WBT-er Carl East, who left the station this week.
WTVI (Channel 42) has returned to providing a civic affairs program, Off the Record airing at 9:30 p.m. Fridays. It is modeled on the long-running Final Edition, which was canceled in 2009 during a round of budget cuts. Panelists on last weeks first edition were Herbert White, editor of The Charlotte Post; reporter Shawn Flynn of News 14 Carolina; Beatrice Thompson, news and public affairs director of WBAV-FM; and Observer political reporter Jim Morrill. It is hosted by WTVI general manager David Rhew, a former WBTV (Channe1 3) reporter who unintentionally provided a homage to the old show when signing off the broadcast: We hope youll tune in next week at 9:30 for Final Edition excuse me, for Off the Record.
Anniversary of note: consumer reporter Don Griffin marked 30 years at Channel 9 on Thursday. Wayne Brown, who managed WPEG-FM (Power 98.7) and WBAV-FM (V 101.9) in the 1990s and was active in Charlottes civic community, died last weekend in Atlanta of liver cancer at age 55.
Doug Kellett, known for his fill-in host duties at WBT-AM, takes over as morning host on Raleighs WPTF-AM (850). Mike Seidel of the Weather Channel will speak Saturday at the annual Radio Television Digital News Association of the Carolinas meeting in Charlotte.
Three local barbeque chefs, Zach Goodyear of Saucemans BBQ, Debbie Holt of Clyde Coopers BBQ and Sam Jones of Skylight Inn, will be filmed for an episode of Destination Americas BBQ Pitmasters Saturday at the N.C. Music Factory during Time Warner Cable BBQ & Blues Festival. Owen Stuart, 17, of Charlotte has advanced to the Top 24 round on Foxs The X Factor with his group Playback, which will be mentored by Simon Cowell.