For several years, reporter Mary Hartnett has covered the tobacco industry for the Chapel Hill, N.C., public radio station. Next week, she moves to Indianapolis to report on, among other things, the proposal to ban smoking in Indianapolis restaurants. On May 2 Mary Harnett begins her role as news manager and local host for WFYI.
Hartnett, 42, will be the local host of All Things Considered on WFYI-FM (90.1) beginning Monday, May 2. She'll have the title of news manager for the Indianapolis public radio station, which ultimately plans to provide what it calls "in-depth, comprehensive local coverage that delves into the issues, the players and the cultural experiences that directly impact and influence the daily lives of Hoosiers."
"It's going to be a challenge because it's starting, in a way, from scratch," Hartnett said in a telephone interview. "But the nice part is, I'll be able to have a say and a part in planning and shaping how things are going to be, from the bottom up. I like that."
She'll start out doing local news breaks at the beginning of each hour during All Things Considered (4 to 6:30 p.m. weekdays) and providing some reports for Scott Hoke's local breaks during Morning Edition (5 to 9 a.m. weekdays). As WFYI's news operation develops, she intends to build relationships with other Indiana public stations so they can share news reports. This eventually will lead to a full daily local newscast on WFYI.
In a city with so little local radio news, that's good news.
"We want to do it soon, definitely," she said of the full newscast. "I guess it's just a question of having enough material to put in there and making sure it's more than just stuff to read. It's important to have some audio and to make it a real radio newscast."
'Cooking Under Fire'
When public television dips its toe into the waters of reality television, it usually tries to do something educational and history-related, like The 1900 House and Colonial House. So Cooking Under Fire (8 p.m. today, then 8:30 p.m. Wednesdays beginning next week), a coast-to-coast cooking competition complete with weekly eliminations, back-biting contestants and jump-cut editing, is jarring, to say the least. Highly entertaining, too, but jarring.
The show pits 12 competitors trying to show how quick and creative they can be in the kitchen. One chef gets "86'd" - booted - every week. The winner gets a job as a chef in one of Todd English's New York City restaurants (English is one of the hosts).
In one episode, contestants have 10 minutes to create a dish using one egg and whatever they can find in a Los Angeles restaurant kitchen. The results - from omelets to a dessert - look amazing. If only they could figure out how to get us a taste, now that would be creative.