12 October 2007

[pdx_media] The New Look of AM Northwest

1006. The newly launched KATU rebranding isn't just limited to the newscast. As noted elsewhere, it's extended to the AM lifestyle show, a Portland original since 1976 (meaning it's been on the air 31 years), AM Northwest.

AMNW came on as the local partner to ABC's then-new experiment in an AM newscast to compete with NBC's Today and whatever the heck CBS had on at the time. The network called it AM America; perforce, to sync with the network's branding (I am presuming here, but I bet I'm getting it), we had AM Northwest. For a good long time, it was helmed by legendary KATU weatherman Jim Bosley and a handful of co-hosts (notably the recent Consitution Party gubernatorial candidate, Mary Starrett).

These days, AMNW is being hosted by Helen Raptis and Dave Anderson. These two fit AMNW like a warm handshake. Both have a casual, friendly style that's pleasant to watch; for Dave it's no doubt from his history as a stand-up comic (and KEX afternoon host), and Helen...I dunno, maybe it's just clean living. Whatever it is, they're perfect for the show. Here's a screenshot of them and the standard AMNW chyron graphic:

What I didn't have the time or the equipment to really capture is that, like the newscast chyrons, AMNW's lower thirds have animation too. In this case it's the pastel blocks of color that characterize the rest of the graphics; they either bubble up or lightly fly in from the left, disappearing quickly, either way, imparting a light, bubbly sense of energy that's appropriate to a lifestyle program such as this.

Speaking of motion, here's another quick and dirty slideshow movie of the AMNW opening, composed of a stack of screenshots:

It might run a little fast. Sorry about not having any sound; my software is rather limited right now–because the new theme kicks ass. It's really good and really appropriate as well. Energetic and fun.

This is a vast departure for the program from it's most recent graphic treatments. The previous show logo, if all will recall, was a variation on the KATU logo, which was in stylistic lockstep with the rest of the Fisher net. The new look AMNW is a bright, confident, polished morning show with an identity all its own. The new look says it's arrived. The show even has a brilliant page with its own URL (http;//www.amnorthwest.tv) that reflects the change in design, and has pretty cool icons for sections such as books and recipes (Helen even has a "book club" reading list of her own).

Before we leave AMNW for now, let's stop by a few more screencaps:

This one looks like a typical announcement graphic of an upcoming event:

Note here also the use of what some (including me) call a "big-dot halftone" pattern–the "polka-dot" background that merges with itself and then demerges. It's a very effective theme that forms kind of the basement layer on which the rest of the theme is built. Whoever figured to use this nailed it two ways; first, it's unique at this time–no other morning program (so far as I know) uses it, and this treatment uses it just right. The house typeface for the new look seems to be Futura–clean, geometric, light, and in harmony with the rest of the design.

And here's one I caught that shows off the KATU logo better than my earlier nicking of the KATU.com version of the logo:

The tagline, "On Your Side", is obvously part of the new KATU identity.

But, Will It Blend?

The new-look AMNW has radically revamped its look and, even though the set's not been changed, the graphics package has infused the stalwart Portland morning show with a new energy and attitude. The graphics are bright, cheeful, and welcoming–completely in concert with the lifestyle sector the show stakes itself out into.

The whole thing works, and works well. The hosts like it so much they had it replayed just a few minutes in. If that isn't success for a graphics package, I don't know what is.

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.Chris said...

but the set will be changing soon though. right now they are on location while the new set is being built. its just a matter of time after the new set is up when they will start to work on the news set. (hey, it happened back in 2002 when they did a graphics change as well as a set change)

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Thanks for your heads-up. We'll certainly keep an eye out for that new set.

I'm a morning person ... just not that kind of morning person