Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Inside Scoop From Mr. Sponge

The irrepressible and wise Mr. Sponge, of Minvolved fame, has graciously agreed to pitch in over here whenever the spirit moves him. Today, apropos of the whole Kevin Ray Underwood affair, he provides us with some needed first-hand expertise regarding Oklahoma and the Oklahoma media. He writes:

Dear Kevin-M:

I see that you have taken an interest in a product/resident/attraction from the great state of Oklahoma. Congratulations!!! Oklahoma is the most underrated of all the states in the Union. I'm very excited that you have decided to use your media organ to bring more attention to the land of the Sooner.

I would like to share my Oklahoma expertise with you so that your readers can have a more comprehensive reading experience on the topic of Kevin Ray Underwood, the would-be Cannibal from the small roadside town of Purcell, OK.

First of all, if you are looking for accurate news information in Oklahoma, there is only one place to go: News 9 with Gary, Kelly, Amy and Dean. Seriously, DO NOT FUCK AROUND WITH NEWS CHANNEL 4, IT IS AN INFERIOR PRODUCT!!!

The second thing you need to know about Oklahoma news is that it is dominated by two things: weather reports detailing the constant threat of tornadoes and wild fires and the Ogle family, currently represented by brothers Kelly and Kevin.

Kelly Ogle is the main anchor for News 9. He is a folksy and seemingly dedicated news personality; the type of guy who's credibility comes from an uncanny ability to make slightly-passed-middle-aged Oklahoma women blush during weekend "celebrity" appearances at Mathis Brothers Furniture out on West Reno. The man's name tag literally reads "one of us", yet...he is on the television. This sort of cheaply manufactured dichotomy blows people's minds in Oklahoma. We Minnesotans shouldn't get all huffy about this sort of thing, after all, don't we all miss Paul Magers?

Kelly has been handsomely rewarded for his moderately handsome skills and appearance. He has received numerous state and national awards for his reporting; the highlight of which was when he won the 1999 "Best Anchor" award from the National Academy of Television Journalists. Kelly was also News 9's star reporter during the OKC bombing coverage; practically camping out at News 9's Denver bureau throughout the entire McVeigh trial.

Kelly has so much gravitas that not only is he the flagship anchor on Oklahoma's most popular news channel, but he also has his own weekly opinion piece called "My Two Cents".

These folksy ditties give Kelly the opportunity to display some of the reporting skillz that got him the promotion to the big chair at 6 and 10. It's his little way of letting the hard working people of Oklahoma know that despite all of the fame and fortune--not to mention the blushing women at every public appearance--he hasn't forgotten his roots. What a guy.

A typical My Two Cents consists of Kelly tackling a topic that is "too hot to handle" for your typical newsman. Prime parking spaces for pregnant moms, overblown weather coverage, a poor reception for the new OU basketball coach...no topic is off limits for Kelly and his investigatory eye. Oklahoma, he's watching...and watching out for you.

Kevin Ogle is the lead anchor at News Channel 4. He is Kelly's brother. I'm not really sure which one was born first, but I'm going to roll with the assumption that Kevin is older by a hair. Actually, I should know the answer to this question. During my last visit to the in-laws in Wewoka, News Channel 4 was running a taunting series of flashback ads that pit little Kevin against little Kelly in a battle of childhood newsboys. According to the delusional hacks at News Channel 4, Kevin won the battle and he, presumably, has continued his supremacy right up until this very day.

Unlike Kelly, Kevin is a little soft/rough around the edges. While Kelly is clearly always "on", you get the sense that Kevin is the type of guy who has let down his guard long enough to have slipped his phone number to a fawning middle-aged Okie woman or two during an appearance at some lesser car dealership/furniture store appearance on the bad side of town. He also looks like he enjoys steak. A lot. Perhaps with every meal.

Kevin got his start in the wonderful field of sports photography. Unlike Kelly, it seems that Kevin has had to claw and fight his way to the upper peaks of Oklahoma news. He has had stints in radio, print, and several minor TV stations throughout Oklahoma and, gasp, Arkansas. As any good Okie can tell you, if you have to slum it in Arkansas...well, maybe you should just stay on the wrong side of Fort Smith.

Kevin eventually made his way back to the big city in the heart of the heartland. In the late 90s he was the main man behind an investigatory series called "The Power of Prayer". This put him on the track to Oklahoma news star hood. Of course, to be anyone in the Oklahoma news business, you have to weigh in on the 800 lbs gorilla in the room: the OKC bombing. Kevin accomplished this task in 2004 with a story on an OKC bombing survivor. It was a story of hope and survival. I'm very sure that it made people cry. This was about the time that News Channel 4 began to run ads that attempted to provoke News 9's Kelly into responding to his up-and-coming brother.

I should mention that both Kelly and Kevin are the sons of the late Jack Ogle, the Dave Moore of Oklahoma TV news broadcasting.

I also should mention that there is a third brother named Kent. He anchors the News Channel 4 morning show with third rate co-host Sarah and 4th rate meteorologist David. I can't even remember their last names. Kent actually seems like a decent human being with no ego issues whatsoever. He sings in his church choir and he lives on an acreage. Maybe this is why his ratings are so low. Gotta make those Mathis Brothers appearances!!

Reportedly, all three brothers maintain a solid personal relationship with one another. Secretly, I kind of hope that they hate each other. I know that this is a terrible thought and I apologize for having it. I just think that they would make a wonderful subject for a Shakespearean version of Anchorman. I've thought enough about this topic that I have come up with an ending to the tragedy: In a fit of jealousy Kevin accidentally kills the youngest survivor of the OKC bombing while trying to scoop Kelly on the biggest story of the 15-year anniversary of the bombing (perhaps he runs her over with the News Channel 4 van). Being that he is so close to the action, Kelly reports on the death and earns news anchor of the year awards at both the state and national levels. Kelly also takes the time to run a special My Two Cents which laments the cutthroat news business and the pressures that it puts on people to succeed and be first with the story. Kent is offered Kevin's anchor chair but he turns it down to live a life of quite solitude on his Edmond acreage. He will sing a song of great regret and subtle irony at the conclusion of the play. Of course, no one will pay attention to it.

I digress...

In summary, if you wish to learn more about Kevin Ray Underwood, you should really go no where else but News 9. News Channel 4 is for suckers.

by Mr. Sponge