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Consumer Advocacy

South Florida Celebrates 40 Years of Sunshine

Al Sunshine, reporter for WFOR, Miami’s CBS O&O, is celebrating 40 years on-air.

Sunshine, yes, that’s his real name, began his career in 1972 with WTVJ, which was the CBS affiliate at the time, as a reporter/photographer.  Forty years later, he’s known for his “4 Your Money” segments where he investigates and reports on behalf of local consumers.

The key to his success? “He has survived because he’s somebody we can all relate to,” longtime colleague, WFOR anchor Elliot Rodriguez told the Miami Herald . “An average guy.”

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Longtime WNBC Consumer Reporter Joining WCBS

Popular New York consumer reporter Asa Aarons is joining WCBS, after spending 15 years with WNBC.

FishbowlNY reports that Aarons will start with the CBS O&O on Thursday, bringing his long-running “Ask Asa” series with him.

“All the scams that used to be done via mail or even on the street have now moved to the Internet,” Aarons told FishbowlNY recently. “I’ll be showing consumers how to make the technology work for [them], rather than against them.” Read more at FishbowlNY

WNYW Sued Over Ice Cream

A chain of New York ice cream stores has filed a lawsuit against WNYW following a report from consumer watchdog Arnold Diaz that accused the chain of falsely advertising its ice cream to be healthier than it is.

In May, Diaz targeted New York locations of the D’Lites ice cream chain for his popular “Shame, Shame, Shame” series and found that the stores were selling servings of ice cream that often contained four times the amount of calories and almost 10 times the amount of sugar as was listed on menu (video above). Read more

WFOR Turns Cameras on Reporter’s Messy Desk

“It’s safe to say, it’s a mess,” said WFOR reporter Lisa Petrillo, describing the desk of Al Sunshine, the CBS O&O’s chief consumer reporter.

For a sweeps story on messy work spaces, WFOR decided to turn its cameras on the veteran reporter, whose desk was cluttered with files, newspapers, and memorabilia–evidence of his nearly 25 years with the station. With the help of an organization expert, Sunshine threw away much of the items, including a file dated 2003 and a calendar from 2006 (video above).

“It was not a comfortable position to be in,” Sunshine told TVSpy via email. “The ‘junk’ was memorabilia from years of consumer reporting I never really wanted to get rid of. I still miss some of those old props.”

KKCO Investigates Tooth Found in a Box of Ice Cream

“There was a foreign object in my ice cream,” Kenneth Smalley, a resident of Grand Junction, CO, informed local NBC-affiliate KKCO.  “All the sudden there was a chocolate chip that wasn’t melting.”

Smalley suspected that the object was a tooth so KKCO took it to a dentist for further inspection (video above).

While a dental hygienist backed up Smalley’s claim that it certainly looked like a tooth, Dr. John Poovey, a general dentist, concluded that it was “100 percent” not a tooth. Poovey guessed that it was just a piece of plastic. The verdict brought relief to Smalley, but perhaps disappointment to KKCO reporter Aaron Luna, who may have thought that he had a major consumer advocacy story on his hands.

Accustomed to Busting Dirty Restaurants, WFTS’s Wendy Ryan Gets a Visit from Health Inspector

The tables were turned on WFTS‘s Wendy Ryan, who is well-known in the Tampa area for her “Dirty Dining” franchise, as she invited a health inspector into her own kitchen this week (video above).

Accustomed to exposing the health iniquities of local restaurants, Ryan was left scrambling when the health inspector noted multiple health violations throughout her kitchen.

“I know the rules and I’m just not following them,” Ryan said after the health inspector declared that her refrigerator was a “danger zone,” “and that’s very bad.”

[via Florida News Center]

Philadelphia’s KYW Orchestrates a $6 Million Giveaway for Viewers

Last week Philadelphia’s KYW began running a series from consumer reporter Jim Donovan called “Claim Your Cash” in which the station helps viewers receive money and property that they may unknowingly have tied up in Pennsylvania’s Treasury Department.

According to the CBS-affiliate, Pennsylvania has $1.6 billion in unclaimed money and property, much of it owed to residents of the Philadelphia area.  Donovan visited with Treasury officials and, after his initial report last week (video above), he’s appeared on KYW to read off the names of people that have money and/or property owed to them.

It sounds part game show, part early morning infomercial, and part consumer report but there’s no denying that KYW’s “Claim Your Cash” is having a significant impact on the station’s viewers, as well as the station’s viewership. Read more