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In Living

Mallet, covering last year's Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

In Living

Mallet and his horse, Jenkins, showing off their equitation ribbon.

Milwaukee Talks: WTMJ-4 anchor/reporter George Mallet




Audio Podcast: WTMJ-4's George Mallet talks about his station's switch to HD
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(page 2)


GM: I didn't do morning TV the whole time I was there. I anchored weekends, worked the night shift. In 2003, I took over "Good Day, Philadelphia." It was kind of a dream come true, but FOX was struggling. It was the fourth-place station in the market.

OMC: So going to a successful station in a smaller market is better?

GM: This is better. It's better to be at the No. 1 station in this sized market than to be at the No. 4 station in that sized market. There are probably people who feel differently about that, but the pressure to succeed without resources to do so can wear you down after a while. Bottom line is that these guys really made an effort to get me here. When I went back to Philadelphia, they were kind of indifferent. You go where you wanted.

OMC: It's been two years since you came to Milwaukee?

GM: It will be two years on Oct. 1. I like everything here except the weather, but I'm adjusting.

OMC: Do you find that Milwaukee is an unusual market, in that TV people stay here for a long time, and there are lots of locals? I mean, you're coming here in the post-Gousha, post-Taff era. You're not a local, your anchor partner isn't a Milwaukeean. Is that a challenge you have to overcome, or have viewers been receptive to you?

GM: I don't know why viewers have been receptive, but yes, they have. People have been very nice to me. It kind of reminds me of my time in North Carolina where I felt like I was really embraced. But it's also the attitude you have. I fell in love with Milwaukee when I interviewed here -- of course, it was July. The lake looked like the Caribbean.

(In a new city), you have to learn how to (pronounce) everything. You have to learn a little bit of the history. I read a little bit of Milwaukee's Socialist roots. (WTMJ) was smart; they brought me in and dropped me right on the street every night. You start to meet the players, and your education is accelerated that way.

OMC: How does your day shake out between anchoring and reporting?

GM: Every day is crazy, really, because I'm on the set until 5 p.m., then I show up with a car and cover stories.

OMC: Which side of the business do you like more, anchoring or reporting?

GM: I like both things. The reporting gives me more creative satisfaction, but the anchoring satisfies the performer in me.

OMC: I feel like I've seen a trend in local TV news that has moved farther from hard news toward "Dirty Dining," promotional stories, video news releases and feature stuff. As a journalist, but also as someone who wants to have a job, what are your personal philosophies in the direction local news is heading?

GM: I don't think I'd accept the premise that we've moved away from the other stuff. We've added these franchises like "Dirty Dining," which give us something to promote, so that we bring more eyeballs to the set. I'm really proud of the reporters that we have at our place. These young reporters that are just beating the trees every day, scaring up good stories -- we break a lot of news. They come in every day with some little tidbit that I didn't know anything about. With all the news we're doing, we actually have time for all of that.

OMC: So you think that some of the "fluffy" stuff is an addition to your harder news, because you have so many newscasts and news holes to fill right now?

GM: In the early afternoon, you're obviously seeing a lot of stuff that has been seen before on another newscast. I look at some of these franchises as an addition, as opposed to something that's taken away from our daily news coverage.

OMC: So, do you feel good about where local TV news is going?

GM: Well, I'm scared about young people not watching us, so in that sense, no, I'm terrified. But then again, I meet college kids all the time who do watch us in the afternoons. So maybe we're doing all right.

OMC: How's your chemistry with your coworkers?

GM: I love Courtny (Gerrish), she's a sweetheart. Like anything, it takes time to develop that comfort level, but we're pretty good friends away from work, too. She's the only person (from work) who came to my horse show last year.

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Talkbacks

blackchowjade | April 23, 2009 at 10:49 p.m. (report)

Dear George Mallet: I don't know anything about how your system works on the talkback show where you now reside in Milwaukee. I don't expect this to make it to any forum. I just hope this personal message reaches you. I am from the suburbs of Philadelphia. It has been 3 and a half years since my sisters black chow chow Jade was rescued off Burlington Island. It was one of the worst days of my life when I saw her the day before she died. I know that you also were very emotional that day on your program. Jade was owned by my sister Gale. I always wanted to thank you in person for bringing her tragic ordeal to the public hoping someone would come forward with some information leading to the arrest of such a horrible and barbaric human being. I still have nightmares about seeing her in the condition she was in. I loved that dog more than anyone could possibly ever know. I do believe in my heart she stayed alive long enough to see someone she loved, and that loved her very much. I still send cards to John Haldis (he got her off the island in his boat). Anyway Thank you for really caring. I miss seeing you on Fox 29 Good Day. I hope whoever reads this first finds it in their heart to get this message to you. Good Luck in your new home. Best Wishes Valerie Klein

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High_Life_Man | April 22, 2009 at 8:44 a.m. (report)

Courtney coming to the horse show....uh huhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuh.

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alba | April 21, 2009 at 12:44 p.m. (report)

He's a funny guy. Even though he likes to wear skin-tight t-shirts, I like him.

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LegallyBlonde | April 21, 2009 at 12:26 p.m. (report)

Like this guy. He's a breath of fresh air. He swears and isn't afraid to say what he thinks. Goal for 09: Do a shot with Mallet.

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Anti_GeorgeWill | April 21, 2009 at 12:22 p.m. (report)

crash1292-here is how to make enough money to have a horse, work hard, get some training in a good career.

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