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Ex-'Daybreak'er Kondo; no bitterness about KATV.

click to enlarge KONDO: No more TV.
  • KONDO: No more TV.



Though her gig on KATV’s 5 a.m. to 7 a.m. morning show lasted barely five months and ended with a lot less ceremony than it began, former “Daybreak” chatter Shareese Kondo says: no hard feelings.

“I tell people, I wasn’t a TV personality,” Kondo laughs, “I was a TV experiment.”

A brave experiment? Yes. A little nuts? Ditto. Though news director Randy Dixon and Co. deserve to be commended for taking a gutsy gamble, the show — featuring KATV’s Melinda Mayo and Beth Hunt, joined by newcomers Kondo (formerly a local print journalist and PR flack for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service) and Nicole Capri (the bubbly educational programs director of the Arkansas Repertory Theater) — was obviously a little too chipper and estrogen-fueled for the farm-report-watching crack o’ dawn set. As soon as the four-on-the-floor format hit the air in April 18, the grumbling began.

“Part of the complaints are that they say it’s a bunch of women sitting around,” Dixon said in May. “I think if they’d watch the program, they’d see that that’s not what it is.” Dixon’s hopes went unanswered, however. Across the state, you could hear the sound of the KATV faithful changing the channel. On Sept. 16, Dixon called Kondo and Capri into his office separately, and told them it wasn’t working4 out. It would be their last day on the air.

For her part, Kondo said while she understood there would come a time when the show would either work or not in the Little Rock market, she had no sense that the ax was about to fall (though she had gotten an inkling of that from Little Rock TV veteran Bob Steel, who told her the KATV’s Daybreak was “the right show at the wrong time”).

“I’m not a big television watcher,” Kondo said, “and that’s probably my problem…I’m not sitting down watching television between 5 and 7 in the morning, but for viewers who are, they obviously know what they like and what they don’t like.”

Kondo said she’s actually relieved that her time on the show is over, as she doesn’t have to wake up at 3 a.m. anymore — a schedule that meant she was often in bed before her school-age children. As for work, Kondo said she is considering her options, including an offer to help “If another station comes calling, however, it’s likely they won’t get far. While she said her time at KATV allows her to say she has “run the gamut” in terms of journalism-connected employment, Kondo adds that she’d be “hesitant” to get back in front of the cameras any time soon.

“There are people out there who go to school to do that kind of work, and who really want to do that kind of work,” Kondo said. “Let the doors open for them.”



In other news, if you heard a lot of sirens on September 29, don’t worry. That was just the sound of fire trucks zipping all over town, trying to put out the dozens of ex-Arkansas Gazette staffers who simultaneously burst into flame when they read that day’s Democrat-Gazette editorial — “Another one gone/Birmingham Post-Herald, R.I.P.” — about the demise of yet another old-line newspaper.

“It’s like another death in a dwindling family,” the DoG editorialist wrote. “This time the dearly departed is the Birmingham (Ala.) Post-Herald, a fighting newspaper since the 1870s, and one that fought particularly hard for civil rights during the seggish Sixties.”

I find it hard to believe that the Great Chuckling God of Irony didn’t descend from Mount Olympus and personally shake Paul Greenberg’s hand for that one. See, we used to have our own “fighting newspaper” around here, which did more than its share in the battle for civil rights. And while the DoG sheds crocodile tears over the Post-Herald, it should be noted that they didn’t even respect the old Gazette enough to allow her a farewell edition.



DoG pound.

david@arktimes.com
















“I tell people, I wasn’t a TV personality,” Kondo laughs, “I was a TV experiment.”

A brave experiment? Yes. A little nuts? Ditto. Though news director Randy Dixon and Co. deserve to be commended for taking a gutsy gamble, the show — featuring KATV’s Melinda Mayo and Beth Hunt, joined by newcomers Kondo (formerly a local print journalist and PR flack for the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service) and Nicole Capri (the bubbly educational programs director of the Arkansas Repertory Theater) — was obviously a little too chipper and estrogen-fueled for the farm-report-watching crack o’ dawn set. As soon as the four-on-the-floor format hit the air in April 18, the grumbling began.

“Part of the complaints are that they say it’s a bunch of women sitting around,” Dixon said in May. “I think if they’d watch the program, they’d see that that’s not what it is.” Dixon’s hopes went unanswered, however. Across the state, you could hear the sound of the KATV faithful changing the channel. On Sept. 16, Dixon called Kondo and Capri into his office separately, and told them it wasn’t working4 out. It would be their last day on the air.

For her part, Kondo said while she understood there would come a time when the show would either work or not in the Little Rock market, she had no sense that the ax was about to fall (though she had gotten an inkling of that from Little Rock TV veteran Bob Steel, who told her the KATV’s Daybreak was “the right show at the wrong time”).

“I’m not a big television watcher,” Kondo said, “and that’s probably my problem…I’m not sitting down watching television between 5 and 7 in the morning, but for viewers who are, they obviously know what they like and what they don’t like.”

Kondo said she’s actually relieved that her time on the show is over, as she doesn’t have to wake up at 3 a.m. anymore — a schedule that meant she was often in bed before her school-age children. As for work, Kondo said she is considering her options, including an offer to help “If another station comes calling, however, it’s likely they won’t get far. While she said her time at KATV allows her to say she has “run the gamut” in terms of journalism-connected employment, Kondo adds that she’d be “hesitant” to get back in front of the cameras any time soon.

“There are people out there who go to school to do that kind of work, and who really want to do that kind of work,” Kondo said. “Let the doors open for them.”



In other news, if you heard a lot of sirens on September 29, don’t worry. That was just the sound of fire trucks zipping all over town, trying to put out the dozens of ex-Arkansas Gazette staffers who simultaneously burst into flame when they read that day’s Democrat-Gazette editorial — “Another one gone/Birmingham Post-Herald, R.I.P.” — about the demise of yet another old-line newspaper.

“It’s like another death in a dwindling family,” the DoG editorialist wrote. “This time the dearly departed is the Birmingham (Ala.) Post-Herald, a fighting newspaper since the 1870s, and one that fought particularly hard for civil rights during the seggish Sixties.”

I find it hard to believe that the Great Chuckling God of Irony didn’t descend from Mount Olympus and personally shake Paul Greenberg’s hand for that one. See, we used to have our own “fighting newspaper” around here, which did more than its share in the battle for civil rights. And while the DoG sheds crocodile tears over the Post-Herald, it should be noted that they didn’t even respect the old Gazette enough to allow her a farewell edition.



DoG pound.

david@arktimes.com














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