By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Aug 26, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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You probably didn't notice if you were watching at home, but Channel 12 pulled of a complicated live prime-time telecast Wednesday night without a hitch.

We always notice the glitches, but a problem-free broadcast can slip by without comment. 

 Channel 12's Republican gubernatorial debate -- billed as the "UpFront Town Hall Challenge" -- deftly balanced satellite remotes from five cities around the state, where questions came for Scott Walker and Mark Neumann

With production assistance from Milwaukee Public TV, which allowed the one-hour commercial-free forum to air in high-definition,  Channel 12 tied in groups of voters in Green Bay, Madison, Wausau, La Crosse and Eau Claire, where it was simulcast, along with Milwaukee's Channel 10.

There was a slight, and unavoidable, audio delay between Milwaukee and the other Wisconsin cities.

Dean Maytag, director of broadcast operations at the ABC station, told me creating that network was the most complicated technical challenge the station has taken on.

"Absolutely. Not to get too technical, but it's trying to coordinate the live shots, it's trying to coordinate the communication with each one of these people. The whole audio thing took literally days to work out," he said.

"When you look at the wealth of experience that we had here, that were working on this thing, it's really impressive. There's people in here with 25, 30 years of experience."

The experience of forum moderator Mike Gousha also contributed to the smooth broadcast. Before the forum, Gousha warmed up -- or cooled down -- the audience at Marquette University's new Eckstein Hall, the home of the university's law school

"Here's something for you to keep in mind for all of you in the audience tonight. You could be on camera at anytime," he told the crowd. "And it is good to know that because we've all seen, oh, let's think about instances in very public places where people are doing things they probably regret having done.

"Just keep that in mind, pay attention, and you'll all look great on television," he said, asking the audience not to applaud except at the open and close of the broadcast.

This isn't the last such telecast of this political season. The general election candidates for governor and the U.S. Senate will be the focus of 90-minute forums airing Oct. 15 and Oct. 22 on Channel 12.

On the air: Kudos to "Riggs," (Andy Riggle) the afternoon voice at WRNW-FM (97.3) -- better known to listeners as "Radio Now" for a letter asking the mayor of Waukesha to rename the city Wauke$ha after singer Ke$ha for today's Milwaukee appearance. He didn't get the temporary renaming of the city, but Riggs' stunt got a lot of pub for the station's new format, as well as for himself.

  • Emmy host Jimmy Fallon is doing three and a half hours of TV interviews today, including a chat with "Morning Blend" co-host Tiffany Ogle. That interview will air on the 9 a.m. Friday show on Channel 4. NBC's Emmy telecast airs on Channel 4 at 8 p.m. Sunday.
  • Speaking of the Emmys, NBC will offer live streaming of the backstage activity at Sunday night's Emmy telecast on both its own website and the Emmy site.
  • David Letterman makes his first appearance on "The View" Sept. 7 to welcome fellow heart patient Barbara Walters back to the show after a summer break following surgery.
  • Monday night's second season finale of "Real Housewives of New Jersey," brought 3.4 million viewers to Bravo, the highest rated Monday night show on the cable channel, according to Nielsen Media Research numbers.
  • Sandra Bullock has scheduled her first post-divorce interview for Tuesday morning with Matt Lauer on NBC's "Today."
  • Major Garrett is leaving Fox News Channel, where he's been White House correspondent, to return to print reporting for the National Journal.

Oooh, scary zombies: AMC has released a trailer for its new zombie thriller, "Walking Dead," which premieres with a 90-minute episode, quite naturally, on Oct. 31:

Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.