Shticks that Work

Edited by David Landis, LCI CEO/President 

This post originally appeared on the blog of our Phoenix Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) affiliate, HMA PR.  Our favorite local “shtick” is, of course, still the incomparable Jan Wahl (of KRON-TV and KCBS Radio fame), who wears many hats.

by Scott Hanson, HMA PR
While watching the local news recently, I thought it was interesting that KPNX-TV’s (NBC) weekend weatherman goes by Dr. Matt Pace. Commendable, for sure, that he has earned his PhD.
Dr. Dean Edell at KGO-TV in San Francisco had a PhD; but I don’t ever remember another broadcaster going by “Dr.,” other than former coach and National Basketball Association TV analyst, Dr. Jack Ramsey. So – I’m going with: “that’s his shtick.”
It reminded me of former Phoenix and Sacramento, Calif., weatherman Dewey Hopper, who used to carry an umbrella during his weather segments. Today, Kathy Sabine on Denver’s KUSA-TV (NBC) uses a red umbrella in her 9News Back Yard broadcasts.
And Royal Norman, of KTVK-TV (IND) in Phoenix, who used to wear different colored shoes during his weathercasts.
I checked in with some of our Public Relations Global Network (PRGN) agencies to find out what shticks they’ve seen in their markets.  Here are some examples:

  • Back in the early ‘90s, meteorologist Steve Swienckowski worked a unique split-shift/split-city weekend: he did weather for the weekend morning news at KOVR-TV (CBS) in Sacramento, Calif., and then drove to KTVU-TV (FOX) in Oakland to do the same for their evening newscasts. He actually had a segment called “Steve’s Shtick,” in which he talked about “whacky news that no one else would use.”
  • Nick Kosir, meteorologist at WJZY-TV (FOX) in Charlotte, N.C., is the “Rapping Weatherman.” He’s good. And his Twitter handle, @RappingWXman further supports his shtick.
  • At San Francisco’s KRON-TV, movie critic Jan Wahl is known for wearing different hats on the air.
  • Cleveland’s Dick Goddard, meteorologist for WJW-TV (FOX), is a market icon. He’s known throughout northeast Ohio for his annual “Woollybear Festival” — the state’s largest single-day festival featuring caterpillar races.
  • In Nashville, Tenn., Rudy Kalis, longtime sportscaster at WSMV-TV (NBC) has a trademark of “wild” sweaters. They include every pattern and every color of the rainbow, comprising some of the most awful Christmas sweaters you’ve ever seen (although there is some debate as to whether the sweaters are just his go-to wardrobe vs. his shtick).
  • Captain Sandy (Joe Cox) delivered the weather at Savannah, Ga.’s WSAV-TV (NBC) in the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s. He actually had his own song as part of his shtick:
    • “Yo ho, yo ho, what’s the weather going to be? Here’s the man who knows, so just you wait and see. Here is Captain Sandy and the weather he has found, for Savannah and for Chatham and the counties all around.” His shtick also featured puppets Calamity Clam, the tide-watching clam, Wilbur the Weather Bird, a pelican that dropped out of the ceiling with the forecast and a giant thermometer named Arthur Mometer. Now THAT’s some shtick!

Who else should be on the list? Let me know in a comment below or send your thoughts to [email protected]

36 thoughts on “Shticks that Work

  1. This is great advice for anybody. Shticks help build personal brands – whether for professional reasons or how you want anybody to remember you. You just have to stick to them!

  2. I want to see this “rapping weatherman”! 🙂 Great insights Scott. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Great examples of how shticks can create unique personas and brands. Thanks for letting us share your informative post, Scott!
    – Elena

  4. I love the idea of having a schtick… I had a college professor, she was also the PR director of a regional hospital, who only wore pink shoes. They were always professional looking shoes, but I’m sure it was an easy/fun talking point with new acquaintances.

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