You on the Tube

9News tries its hand at television 2.0.

Such occasions will be rarer when Your Show is trimmed by a half-hour. However, Schrager isn't discouraged by having a smaller canvas to fill, and he plans to keep pushing for more presidential candidates to drop by as the 2008 Democratic convention in Denver nears. "It strikes me as blatant hypocrisy to hear these people say they want to talk about issues of substance, and then they won't sit down in a twenty-minute format and do just that," he says.

Of course, politicos seem a bit wary of viewer questions in general these days. Some of the YouTube debate snippets faced by Dems last month were incisive, but submissions such as a global-warming inquiry delivered by a squeaky-voiced snowman probably explains why some Republican candidates have been reluctant to sign up for a similar session. Schrader, though, doesn't see Your Show as a gimmick.

"I'm sure there are people out there who doubt our commitment and wonder if they'll really have impact and input — if it's really their show," he says. "And each week, we've got to prove them wrong."

It's not Adam Schrager's show. It's your show.
Mark Manger
It's not Adam Schrager's show. It's your show.

Meanwhile, at a station across town...: Channel 7's Hendrik Sybrandy specializes in many of the same subjects as does 9News' Schrager — politics chief among them — and he says he was looking forward to covering next year's convention for his longtime station, where he's worked since 1992. But it's not to be. Sybrandy's contract was not renewed; his last day at 7News is August 17.

Dire financial conditions at daily newspapers have attracted lots of attention lately, yet these aren't fat times for local television signals, either. Many broadcasters have paid for expansion onto the web and various other platforms by eliminating some behind-the-scenes positions through automation, asking employees to take on more responsibilities (today's backpack journalist does the job of reporter, camera operator and sound expert all by his lonesome) and trimming costs, such as travel expenses of reporters like Sybrandy, who was once quite the globetrotter. "I went to Kosovo and Bosnia, traveling on an aircraft carrier as part of those two trips, and went to California for the earthquake and fires and Rodney King," he recalls. "But that was a different era. I'm sure Channel 7 isn't unique in this regard, but we don't even travel that much in Colorado anymore. It's got to be quite a bit to sell management on trips out of our immediate viewing area."

At this point, Sybrandy, who started his TV career in 1983, isn't sure if he'll stay in TV or move on to another field, in part because his main areas of interest don't seem in vogue anymore. "I like to cover more issue-oriented stories — things that have more substance to them and aren't just quick-hitting spot news or the crime of the day," he says. "I think that's something an awful lot of stations don't give enough weight to in this day and age."

The times, they have a-changed — for the worse.

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