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The Five Spot: Todd Meany, Co-Anchor, ‘Fox 8 News in the Morning’

Feeling a bit disoriented these days, stuck at home, with days running together? If you’re in Cleveland, tune into Fox 8 News in the Morning and anchor Todd Meany will help set you straight with his “What Day Is It?” segments. They’ve been featured in The New York Times and CNN, are viral on YouTube and really are helpful, depending on the day. Meany started at Nexstar Media Group-owned WJW Cleveland in 2000 and has been on the morning team for 15 years. Before that, he was a reporter and anchor at WTOL in Toledo, Ohio, and at WOAY in Beckley, West Virginia. Meany and his wife, Joy, a teacher, have three sons. After his April 10 morning shift, he chatted with B+C content director Kent Gibbons, and here’s an edited recap.

The ‘What Day Is It?’ segments are amazing. How did they come about? The genesis of it was something that we’re all dealing with right now. Nobody has any dentist appointments or doctor’s appointments or get-togethers with your friends, so there’s no real need to know what day it is. My news director Andy Fishman called me in, it must have been last Monday, and said, ‘I’ve got a great idea. Nobody knows what day it is. Let’s do something where we just tell people what the day is.’ I said, ‘OK.’ He goes, ‘I picture it like a Letterman bit, where the anchor talks to you and you just say the day and then that’s it, and then it just goes right back to the anchors and nothing else is said about it, just that.’ We got the graphics department on it, the producer picked out the game show music and it was just born from that. I think it all came together within a matter of a couple of hours.

Are you doing them in the studio or from home? Everything is in the studio. All the reporters are home. Our weather people are home. Most of the producers are home. But we’re keeping our four anchors, our main anchors, in the studio and they all feel comfortable enough to stay. Everything is being done in the studio, which I think adds to it because the anchors are right there and they can react and you get that reaction from them, too.

I’m sure they’re popular, but have you had any negative reaction to them? Brian Stelter, the media guy from CNN, put it out there and of course everyone said, ‘It’s a Fox station. Don’t trust it.’ That was the only negative I really saw.

Have you seen anybody copy it or is everyone respecting your originality? I saw one station in Connecticut copy it as of yesterday. But it’s great. If anybody can bring some kind of fun or lightness to the viewers in this situation that we’re in right now, you know, why not? Let’s give them something that they can at least have a little fun with and share with their friends. I think it’s great.

What are you missing most during this societal shutdown? I play in a band here in Cleveland [called Air Molar] and I do miss the music. I miss getting out into the clubs and performing and just being with people, because we play about twice a month. For me, it’s a nice release from being on TV and relaying the news every day. It’s a nice break to get out there and just let loose and play some music and have a beer and see my friends.

BONUS FIVE

What’s on your DVR?
Schitt’s Creek. We’re up to season six. My wife and I are hoping to finish that up. I just watched Ragnarok on Netflix because I’m a big superhero fan.
All-time favorite TV show? I’m a big game show guy. If there’s a game show on, I’m probably watching it. I think Match Game is probably my all-time favorite TV show.
Destination on your bucket list? Anywhere outside of my house.
Favorite podcast? The Ricky Gervais Show.
Most-used apps? Reddit. My Yahoo Fantasy Football app or basketball. Microsoft Teams because we have to use it all the time. Twitter. Facebook.